Random Quote:

Tom: "I've been doing homework nonstop...except when I stop."


2010 Year in Review 
Looking back to 2010, it's hard to believe how much I can fit into a single year. I spent the year exploring new places, trying new things, and taking advantage of all my new California life has to offer.

I kicked off the year by attending CES, the Consumer Electronics Showcase in Las Vegas, where I got to see the latest new tech including 3D TVs, trying out new games and digital cameras, and navigating through miles of vendors .

The weather in SoCal in early 2010 was very unusual, and featured a tornado which managed to flip a car just a couple miles from where I live. However, this weather did make for exceptional skiing at Mt Baldy -- that is, if you could get through the crowds.

The weather also delayed a trip I had planned to Aspen, so I decided to go to Mammoth instead for some epic turns above the treeline. In mid Feburary I finally did meet up with my dad in Aspen, but after one good day of skiing the weather turned on us once again and ended our trip early (I will try again in 2011).

Later in February, I attended SpaceUp San Diego, where I got to meet dozens of other space enthusiasts, argue about crazy space ideas, and participate in a moon pie eating contest.

In March, I met my dad in Tampa, FL to see Phillies Spring Training. We saw 3 games from behind the Phillies dugout, ate breakfast at Lenny's and also played several rounds of golf amongst alligators. I was also making good progess with my Boeing ONE/AIAA high-powered rocket team, as the year's design was nearing completion and construction was well underway.

During the start of April, I managed to fit one more Colorado ski trip in thanks to winning a twitter challenge for "guessing the mess" on I-70 -- I won lift tickets and free lodging at Copper and Breckenridge. Later that month, my program at work (X-37b) was launched on its first historic mission to orbit. Also, I participated in a local hike in Fish Canyon, which is only open to the public once a year and features a waterfall.

In May, I went sailing to Catalina Island, this time on the back side of Two Harbors. We did a bit of hiking, kayaking through caves, and hanging out on the beach [See video]. I also went back to NASA JPL for their yearly open house, where I got to see flight hardware for the next Mars Rover "Curiosity" and the original Hubble camera returned by a recent Shuttle mission. Also in May, I enjoyed the Riverside Air Show which featured a great F-15 flyover.

June marked the beginning of summer, and there was no better way to start it off by attending LDRS (Large and Dangerous Rocket Ships) in the desert. I watched massive 25-foot multistage rockets launch and explode, and I also got to meet Kari Byron from Mythbusters. A few weeks later was an incredible backpacking trip in Zion National Park, where we hiked the 14-mile West Rim Trail and did various other hikes. I also went on a camping trip to Yosemite National Park where I got to re-live the Panorama Trail. Late in June, I went to a gun range with a friend from work to try out his new AK-47 pistol and play real-life Duck Hunt.
July continued the fun with 4th of July fireworks on the Huntington Beach pier. Anaheim hosted the All Star game this year, so I got to go to the All Star Summer convention which had the 2011 World Series trophy. At the show I was also interviewed on SportCenter! (Well, not exactly!) I attended the Home Run Derby a couple days later. July was also the month of the annual Aerospace Summer Games.

In mid-July, my Boeing ONE rocket team completed our rocket and launched it in the AIAA Rocket Launch competition. Despite the 117 degree weather at the launch site near Mojave, the launch was a ton of fun and the team had a lot of success. Unfortunately, the rocket's 2nd stage went way downrange and wasn't found until a month later when we setup a search party and finally found it near the dry lakebed, where we had a little fun afterwards and subsequently got stuck. Late in July, my parents visited after a trip to Santa Barbara -- they hoped to see the Jay Leno show, but were disappointed when the line was cut off just a couple dozen people ahead of us when the studio became full.

Summer fun continued in Kernville where I joined a Meetup group for whitewater kayaking, tubing, cliff jumping, camping, natural hot springs, and rope swings on the Kern River. Late in the season, the Phillies came out to the West Coast, so I watched them play at Dodger Stadium and in San Diego. Phillies fans literally took over Petco Park during the Padres series as part of a promotion for Phils fans to travel to other cities to watch games. At the end of the month was the Flight & Controls summer picnic.

I went to Las Vegas the weekend after by birthday with a few friends, where I relaxed in the Mandalay Bay lazy river and visiting the pawn shop featured in Pawn Stars. Later in the month, I went to Palm Springs to compete in a USC-sponsored golf tournament. Not only did my team win the tournament (Net AND Gross), I got to play all 5 public PGA West/La Quinta Resort courses! In the same month, I also won a Boeing golf tournament! Space 2010 was also hosted in Anaheim this year, where I was a panel member in Education Alley.

Come October, the Phillies were in the playoffs for the 4th consecutive year. They swept the Cardinals (and Halladay pitched a no-hitter) but had trouble against the Giants in the NLCS. During a break in the excitement, I attended the MCAS Miramar Air Show in San Diego where I got to see a Globalhawk and a kick-ass night show.

I spent a couple weeks on a business trip in Washington DC, but made it back in time for another backpacking trip to Death Valley and Panamint City ghost town. First we explored Badwater Basin (287 ft below sea level) salt flats. Then we backpacked through waterfalls and past tarantulas to finally get to the ghost town, where we camped in hiker-maintained cabins and explored mineshafts.

Just a week later, I headed down to the Anza-Borrego mud caves, where we hiked slot canyons and the caves. I spent Thanksgiving in NJ, which I spent in downtown Philly and at a Flyers-Devils game featuring a shoot-out. Early in December, the X-37b finally landed to the excitement of my team. I played kickball at Angel Stadium with a local league.

Later in December, Mammoth Mountain got hit with 15 feet of fresh powder in a week, so I took a quick trip up there for some early season skiing. The top gondola was opened for the first time in a week and the back bowls produced waist-deep powder! The cap off the year, I met my family in San Antonio, Texas for the winter break, where we stayed at the JW Marriott and played golf at the site of the Valero Texas Open, went horseback riding at a dude ranch, and visited the Houston Space Center where they took our picture "for security purposes". Later, I extended my trip by travelling to Austin to celebrate New Years and play more golf before the year ended.

Now that it's April 2011 and I'm finally publishing this blog entry, I realize it will be tough this year to live up to what 2010 had to offer -- but I will definitely continue to make the most out of life in California!

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