Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Or... "Why it never hurts to ask..."

I love it when this happens...

Just over two weeks ago, Dick and I bit the bullet and bought a Wii. I had toyed with the idea of getting one well over a year ago - back in the days when they were sold out, and impossible to find. Once they were back on the shelves, we considered getting one again, but we kept putting it off, and putting it off, but of course, it was inevitable. I finally played one when I was in Chicago visiting Tammy and her Mom, and I was hooked!

We bought our Wii at Costco on Sunday, September 13th from our local Costco. The price of the unit was $244.99 - $5.00 off regular price. We also bought Costco's Wii accessory pack, which includes an additional controller, an additional nunchuck, and a wheel. We then drove across the street to Best Buy, and bought a few more accessories and a couple of games. While we were at Best Buy, we noticed that they offered Wii combo packs, which included most of the things we ended up buying, also at a reduced price. Okay, good to know.

We brought our Wii home, set it up, and have been having a blast with it. Super Fun!

We loved it so much, that we went to Best Buy the following weekend, and bought one of those handy Wii combo packs for my Sister and her boyfriend as their housewarming gift.

All was well in the Wii World.

...until I noticed a headline two days later that stated that Nintendo was going to drop the price of the Wii by $50.00.


I'd waited all this time, and when I finally buy not just one unit, but two units, the price drops?!

Whatever.... We'd already opened and played them, so I figured it was a lost cause. Not a huge biggie, but still a bummer.

Until today...

This afternoon, I was back at Costco (it's obviously a regular pilgrimage for me) and there I saw the Wii units with their new price of $194.99. *sigh*

When I went to check out, I asked my cashier about their policy of price drops. I figured it was a long shot, but I might as well ask.

Well, he didn't blink and said all I needed to do was to bring my receipt to the return counter and have them issue me a refund for the price difference.


So, I came home, picked up my receipts, and headed back out.

Sure enough - no problem at all. I was credited $54.75 back onto my Costco Am Ex.


So then, I went across the street to Best Buy. I went to the Customer Service Counter, receipt in hand, and again, I was credited $54.75 to my credit card.

Yep - that's $109.50 that I wouldn't have gotten back if I hadn't asked.

I've gotta say that I'm pretty impressed with both stores right now. I realize that they don't have to go out of their way to do price adjustments for you, but I sure do appreciate that they did it at all.

Happy Day. I love saving money. :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

My niece in a commerical for CA Academy of Sciences

One of my nieces has made her television commercial debut in a new spot for the California Academy of Sciences! Here she is with her fake TV Dad. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fun with the boys

I spent the afternoon hanging out with "The Boys" - David, Miguel and Christopher.

We met at Christopher's pad downtown, then headed out for an afternoon of food and fun shopping. We started out at Pearl's - a great hamburger joint near Christopher's place. Yum.

The boys are throwing a 70s-themed party next weekend, so we all needed to do a little shopping for costumes.

First stop: the Halloween Store on Van Ness where the boys all found wigs and accessories.

Miguel and Christopher or
Ponch and John?

Next stop: we went into a couple of thrift stores on Polk Street, where we all scored on some great clothes for the party! (photos coming next week! Must keep the element of surprise!) Let's just say, the boys all talked me into buying something that I'm not sure I would actually buy without all of their influence! ;)

It was a gorgeous, sunny day, and we all felt like finding some ice-cream. We went to Grubstake for Root Beer Floats and ice cream treats. Yum!

thanks for the photo, David!

Mmmmmm... Root Beer Float!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Out and About

It's a beautiful day here in SF - mid-70s, clear and sunny. Happily, I was able to get out to enjoy the today.

My day started with a dentist appointment at 11:00. My dentist's office is on the top floor (26) in a gorgeous art deco building just off of Union Square. Here's the view I had from my exam room. You can see Alcatraz on the left, and Coit Tower on the right. Not bad. :)

View from my Dentist's Office

After my appointment, I had lunch with my friend, Philip, at Yerba Buena Gardens. The weather was just perfect. We found lunch at the Farmer's Market inside the Metreon, and ate outside.

Yerba Buena Gardens, with the SF MOMA in the background

I went to the Powell Street MUNI station to catch the MUNI Metro home. They had an interesting advertisement campaign up for the Monterey Bay Aquarium's new Seahorse exhibit. It was actually quite pretty.

The Secret Lives of Sea Horses

Once I was back in the Castro, I stopped off at our local grocery store to buy stuff for tonight's dinner. On my way home from there, I walked past the neighborhood park, and noticed a girls softball game going on. I stopped for a bit to watch, then overheard some kids in the stands cheering for "Rooftop". I realized that's the same school that my 3 nieces attend, and remembered that my eldest niece was playing softball this year! I asked some of the kids in the nearby stands if she was there, and they pointed out that she was playing in Left Field! Go Evie! That was a nice surprise! It turns out that I caught the last 3 plays of the game, and was there to witness their first victory of the season so far. Cool!

"Go Rooftop!"

That was a nice way to end the day!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sunset from the Top of the Mark

It doesn't get better than this. Gorgeous City, Gorgeous Weather =
Gorgeous View!

"American Idiot" Theater Reviews

Opening night for "American Idiot" was Wednesday.

Here's what some local critics had to say:

SF Chronicle

San Jose Mercury News

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fun with Anagrams!

A couple of weeks ago, Dick were having a slice of pizza at our local "Escape from New York" on Castro street. They recently put the frame back on the wall of celebrities who have left autographed photos for them. One of the photos was of our friend, San Francisco-based author, Armistead Maupin. The headline under his photo read "Armistead Maupin is a Man I made dreamt up".

I explained to Dick that "Is a Man I Made Dreamt Up" is an anagram for Armistead's name. People have been speculating for years that this is his pen name, not the actual name he was born with. After all, one of the main characters in his "Tales of the City" series is named Anna Madrigal, whose name is an anagram for "A Man and a Girl". (her character was born male, but had a sex change as an adult.)

Well, seeing as Dick's Father was Armistead's Junior High School English Teacher, it's safe to assume that it really is the name given to him by his parents, and that it just happens to make one of the best anagrams ever.

After remembering how cool of an anagram Armistead's name makes, it made us wonder if our names would convert to any interesting anagrams.

My cousin, Bruce, just led me to this site that makes anagrams out of names:

First I tried my full name: Trina Kristin Chow, which came up with:


...not thrilled with that one, so I tried just my first and last name and got:


that's a little more fun!

Not nearly as cool as Armistead's but it'll do. :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Donated Blood - at last!

My iron level was finally high enough (40% - the minimum is 38%) for me to donate blood today.

The last time I successfully donated was in April. I try to donate every two months, but the last 3 times I went to donate, my iron count was below the 38% minimum.

I'm always so bummed when I'm turned away, and can't donate. It seems like such a waste.

I was very happy that I was finally able donate today. Makes me feel good. :)

Monday, September 14, 2009

Happy Birthday, Dick!

Happy Birthday to my wonderful husband, Dick - the man who puts a smile on my face, and love in my heart every day that we're together.

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, and many, many more!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Thunder & Lightening

Last night, I woke up around 5:00am to the sound of very loud thunder. Next came the lightening, and finally, heavy rain. This lasted for about half an hour, and started up again around 8:15am.

The thing is: we hardly ever get thunder and lightening storms in SF. On top of that, I didn't think it was even supposed to rain this weekend, so the whole thing really took me by surprise!

I'll admit, I'm not a fan. I know some people (my Mom) LOVE thunder and lightening storms. Not me.

This morning, I went to my computer and went to all of my usual pages, including Windows Live. What I saw absolutely cracked me up! I literally laughed-out-loud!

I've always loved this little girl and her black kitty, but this morning, I love her even more! She feels the same way about thunder and lightening as I do! (and the kitty doesn't seem to be bothered at all!)

Thursday, September 10, 2009

"American Idiot"

Last night, I went with my sister, her boyfriend, Graham, and Dick to see American Idiot at Berkeley Rep. (Great venue, by the way.)

If you're a regular reader of my blog (and it's okay if you're not) then you already know that I'm a huge Green Day fan.

The production of American Idiot that we saw last night is a stage musical adaptation of the album by the same name. It was directed by Michael Mayer, who was the director of the Tony-Award Winning Spring Awakening (which I loved).

Here's a great article about the show that was recently in the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

..and another one from the SF Chronicle.

So, yes, it's the World Premiere of the show, and actually, it's still in Preview mode. The show actually opens next week, and is playing through the end of October. My sister and I have tickets to see it again at the end of the month - because we are just that geeky. :) As a bonus, that show will also have a "Post-show discussion" with cast/crew. I'm feeling like a bonafide groupie now.

So, my review:

Let's start by stating the obvious: I knew going in that I was going to love the music. Not only was I going to love it, but I already *knew* the music, which I think is also a plus when seeing a new show. I also had a semblance of an idea of the storyline - a very broad idea, but the over-all story, which also helps.

Really, the most important factor to me was that they played/sang/performed the music well, and they did. The cast was really spectacular - loads and loads of talent. Especially noteworthy to me were the leads of Johnny (the actor had won a Tony award for Spring Awakening) and St. Jimmy (loved him!).

The set was fantastic - minimal, and affective. I also liked the way they incorporated the band into the set (like the violinist who was perched way up high on the scaffolding).

The story - like I said, I had an idea of the very broad plot, which granted, isn't very deep. (and I'm okay with that). One thing that I appreciated was that they separated the main character in the album to be three main characters in the play, which I thought worked quite well. Gave the story more dimension.

The others that I went with felt the story was lacking, but more importantly, that they didn't feel a connection with the characters. I don't disagree with them, but it didn't bother me nearly as much. Whereas Hair was targeted at the Hippie Generation (and I'll admit I haven't seen it), Rent was targeted at Gen X (hello! Raises hand!), this story is centered around Gen Y. I'm not sure if it's that we, of an older generation, can't relate to them, or if it's just too hard to care for these characters.

As I said earlier, they're still in Previews, and may still be ironing out some kinks. I'll be curious to see how and if the show evolves much when I see it again at the end of the month.

My general feeling after seeing the whole production is that it was a cool mix of Rent and Spring Awakening, both of which I loved. Plus, it's Green Day music! What's not to love? If you liked either (or both) of those shows, I'd recommend this one. Or, if you're a Green Day fan... Or, BOTH!

Here's a short video of Green Day talking about American Idiot
on Access Hollywood.

This image was projected on the side of the wall outside the theater

The Idiot Cocktail sign cracked me up

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Chow Family Portrait

I had mentioned just over a week ago that the entire Chow Family got together to take our first family portrait in over 27 years.

Our photographer and friend, Rob Vreeland, of Murphy Dog Studios sent us the first sample of the full family shot.

that's a whole lotta Chow...

I think it's beautiful! I love the composition. I love the setting. I love that he managed to get all 18 of us to look at the camera and smile all at the same time!

We're hoping to photoshop in my cousin, Bruce, who was away on business, and was unable to make it. It'll be tough to get it "just right", but we'll certainly try.

We're all very excited to see what the rest of the photos look like!

Thanks, Rob. Great job!


I don't have a digital scan of the last family portrait that we took way back in 1982, but I did manage to find this photo that we took of the family in 1981. My cousin, Kenneth, (who is now 28, and a doctor) was just a baby, and my cousin, Cheri, (who is now 25!) wasn't born yet.

Chow Family, 1981

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The State Street Review Reunion Weekend

State Street Review Alumni

Oh, my - what a weekend! I'm only now recovering, and finding some quiet time to post photos and jot some thoughts down.

The reunion was held in Madison, WI - home base of the guard. The guard was started by the amazing Sal and LuAnn Salas in 1978, and continued through 1993. (with a hiatus in 1990 and 1991.) Sal and LuAnn are two of the most talented, dedicated and nurturing people that I know. They taught hundreds of "kids", (teenagers through early 20s) throughout the years. They were, and still are, pioneers in the activity. During the 13 years that the color guard was competing, they made finals at WGI (top 15 in the world) 12 times, winning 5 times in a row, as well as 1 second place finish, and 2 third.

Sal and Lu Ann Salas

We've been planning this reunion all year, and all of the hard work paid off this weekend.

We held the event over 3 days: Friday evening, Sal and LuAnn hosted a social at their home, Saturday night, we had the banquet, and Sunday afternoon, we met for a picnic at LuAnn's school, where we used to rehearse. It was a wonderful three days of reuniting with old friends, meeting new ones, laughing, reminiscing, and remembering. Personally, I stayed up very late each night, hanging out and having so much fun - I hardly slept at all!

I was SO happy to reconnect with so many friends. I had two friends in particular who I was very close with during 1992-1993, but we fell out of contact years ago. The three of us got back together this weekend, and it was as if no time had ever passed at all. I know we'll be seeing a lot more of each other now.

Christy, Adrian, Barb, Henry & Trina
Together again!

I really love this photo. Of course, I love all of the people in it, and I'm so glad we were finally all together again! But the other thing that cracks me up is how tall I look in it! I never look tall in photos! I'm always the short one. :)'

As happy as I was to see my old friends again, the guard geek in me was just as thrilled to meet lots of people who were in the guard years before me, and who I had watched for years and years on video. Guard Geek Heaven! :)

One of the projects that I worked on prior to the reunion was a DVD with three different presentations: a compilation of 1-minute video clips from each of the 13 years of shows, a slide show presentation of over 200 photos collected from throughout the 13 seasons, and an "In Remembrance" portion, which honored each of the 15 friends and family members who are no longer with us. We were able to project the presentations onto a large screen to share with everyone during the event.

The DVD presentation

I think the "In Remembrance" portion of the evening was particularly moving. We played a slide show with a photo and the name of each of the individuals, shown to music. As each of the names were put onto the screen, we lit a candle with that person's name on it at the table. It's so sad to think of each of those individuals - most of whom died so young. I'd hope we honored them well.

"In Remembrance"

We had about 50 alumni attend the reunion in total - not bad, considering it's been 20 years since the last reunion, and over 30 years since the first year of the guard. At the end of the evening, we took group photos of members from each of the years. I thought it was so cool that we had members represented from every single season! Way back to 1978! I was surprised when we realized that my last year, 1993, (and the last year of the guard) had the largest representation of 10.

1993 - 10 members, with 4 of our instructors

I cannot express how thrilled I was the entire weekend. What an amazing experience - everyone was so happy to be there. We know we won't wait another 20 years before the next one!

For those of you who may be interested, here are videos of the two years that I marched.

1992 - Country Western

Find more videos like this on The State Street Review Alumni Site

1993 - "State Street's Adventures in Wonderland"

Find more videos like this on The State Street Review Alumni Site

Friday, September 04, 2009

Harry Potter Exhibition!

We went to "Harry Potter: The Exhibition" at the Museum of Science and Industry this morning. What a cool exhibit - it had displays of sets, props, and costumes from all of the movies so far in the Harry Potter Franchise.

We weren't allowed to take photos inside the exhibit at all, but we did take this one photo in the lobby of the museum.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tapas in Chicago

We're in Downtown Chicago for the night, and hooked up with Jason for dinner. Jason is a wealth of information for all things Chicago, and had plenty of great suggestions of places we could go to.

He mentioned a good tapas restaurant a few blocks away, which sounded good to all of us. Once we walked there, we all recognized - we ate at "Cafe Iberico", a place we had all been before with my sister when she lived here! (this is the same place, right, Sis?) It was really yummy!

Standing outside the restaurant, taking a photo for my Sister!

Jason and Tammy, contemplating the menu

Fast Food Fun in Des Plaines!

Tammy and I picked up my parents from O'Hare airport at 2:00. We were all pretty hungry, so Tammy suggested "Paradise Pup" - a Hot Dog/Hamburger joint in Des Plaines which was featured on the Food Network. The hog dogs did not disappoint! I love a good Chicago-style hot dog! If you happen to find yourself in Des Plaines, I highly recommend it!

Tammy, Dad and Mom at Paradise Pup!

After we ate, Tammy offered to take us by the original McDonalds, which also happened to be in Des Plaines. (who knew there Des Plaines is such a hub for interesting Fast Food facts?) Unfortunately, the McDonalds Museum had closed only an hour before we arrived! Bummer! It looked cool though.

We're staying downtown tonight, and are heading out to see the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry. Very exciting!

My Mid-West Vacation, Day 2

Day 2 of my fabulous Mid-West vacation brought me to one of my favorite places: the Art Institute of Chicago. It's one of my favorite museums in the world. I love coming here.

On my way to the museum, I passed by Millennium Park. Tammy took me here a couple of years ago - such a cool, and interesting space! So much to see!

The new Modern Wing of the museum just opened a couple of months ago! Great timing! The new wing is gorgeous - great lines, and light.

All of the windows on the side of the wing look out over Millennium Park. Very pretty.

As much as I love the Art Institute, the highlight of my trip downtown was spending time and having lunch with my dear friend, Jason!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

My Mid-West Vacation, Day 1

I'm on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N!!

I flew into Chicago last night, and I'm staying with my friend, Tammy, in the suburbs. I have a lot of friends in this area, and I'm trying to make my rounds - it's one of my favorite kinds of vacations.

My morning started off fairly early (for this Pacific Standard Time Girl). I met Eileen in a Starbucks in Elgin at 9:00am. We were able to visit for an hour and a half before she had to take off for work. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo (WHAT?!). Sorry, Eileen! We haven't seen each other for almost a year and a half, but joked that we were pretty up to date on each other's happenings through Facebook! :)

Next, I drove to Schaumburg (of Guardsmen fame!) and met Christy and her little boy, Donovan, for lunch at the Cheesecake Factory. Christy and I were really close when we marched together in a guard in Madison, WI, in 1992 and 1993. We were bus partners, even. :) One of our grandest adventures was when were drove (with my sister, too) from Madison back to CA. What a great road trip that was! Shockingly, we lost touch, and probably haven't seen each other in about 14 years or so. Crazy. Regardless, when we saw each other today, it was as if no time had passed at all. I love friendships like that! Her little boy, Donovan, is amazing, and I'm completely enamored with him. We had a great time at lunch, then waltzed around the Woodfield Mall for hours. I'm SO glad to have Christy back in my life again.

Christy and Donovan

I came back to Tammy's house, and we had a lovely grilled dinner. I've lucked out - the weather is really perfect this week. Hope it keeps up! After dinner, Tammy and her Mom introduced me to the Wii. Hard to believe, but I've never played one before. It should come as no surprise to anyone that I LOVED it! I'm trying to figure out why Dick and I don't have one of these things! We played carnival games, we bowled, played a little tennis, and baseball. Super fun!

Here's a photo of my little Wii avatar (is that what they call it?). Pretty cute!

Wii Trina

Tomorrow wil be another fun-filled day of visiting friends! I have plans to go downtown and hook up with the fabulous Jason Heidemann!