Dina’s Tiki Party 2009

Titki Dude
Dina, Daniel, Ho, Beo, and Lauren put a lot of work into the decorations

Last weekend I went to a graduation party Dina and Daniel organized to celebrate Dina, Ho, and Lauren’s graduation this year.  It was a great BBQ event and I had a lot of fun.  I only knew about 1/10th of all the people there, so I kept entertained mainly by ecording the events of the night with my cameras.  I did end up speaking at length with some interesting people.

Tri and Tri working on the Tiki Bar
Beo and ho hard at work on the Tiki Bars
Daniel and Tri get the grass for the decorations - photo by Dina Nguyen
Daniel and Tri get the grass for the decorations – photo by Dina Nguyen
The Completed Tiki Bar
The final Tiki bars

Planning for the tiki party started months ahead and construction on the tiki bars started in May.  The tiki bars went through a couple of revisions, but the end result looked great.  I was very impressed with the work Ho, Daniel, and others did with the bar.  The other decorations in the form of tall dried grass, christmas lights, flowers, and tiki totems really added to the atmosphere.  When the sun began to set and the lights came on, it really came into its own.  For Danielle, Daniel, and I – deciding whether we could attend the Tiki Party was a roller coaster ride of decisions.

First off, we needed to see if Danielle would be working that weekend.  Then, once we found out she *would* be working that weekend, we had to know if she would be able to get out on time.  Once we had finally decided to go, Danielle threw a monkey wrench into it all by having a horrible allergic reaction to some bad shrimp.  After going to the ER and getting an injection of what was essentially liquid Benadryl, Danielle was no longer in mortal danger.  Although the medicine given to her made her unable to go to work because it made her insanely dizzy and tired, she really wanted to support her sister, so, at the last minute, we decided to go to NYC.

Ten Avocadoes and it still wasn't enough guacamole
10 avocadoes! And other husks from the guacamole making

We ended up arriving just an hour before the party was to start thanks to some annoyingly slow traffic on the Verrazano Bridge and Belt Parkway.  This is always the case in the summer as people who have apparently never seen water, people flying kites or running before.  So they have to look while driving and, therefore, slow everyone else.  Danielle supervised the making of the guacamole.  Even though 10 avocadoes were used, it was completely gone by the end of the night.

BBQing the Ribs
Ho running the BBQ

Ho focused on BBQing the ribs, steak, and vegetables.  Brian focused on grilling burgers and hotdogs.  When Danielle wasn’t battling dizziness, she focused on the chicken.  Various guests brought a large portion of the alcohol.

Brian and his MMA Buddies Tend to the Burgers and Hot Dogs
Brian grilling the hamburgers and hot dogs

I brought along the DJ equipment I bought while in HS so Daniel could use my amp and speakers for the party.  We had a bit of uneasiness at first because my amp hooks into a mixer and getting knocked about for the past 10 years or so has messed up something with the internal wiring.  If you try and adjust the volume on the mixer, the music starts fading in and out.  Heck, even if you just leave it along it starts fading in and out.  So it needs to be set to a magical spot where the music remains at a costant volume.

Daniel plugs in my DJ equipment
Daniel setting up the DJ equipment.

Dina’s about four years younger than I am, so it really made me feel old when her friends at the party (some of whom were still in school) asked me what school I was attending.  I have been out of school for as long as they’ve been in.  Shoot, I was out before some of them started.

More Peeping
The Party from a Peeping Location

I think the party topped out at about 60 people, so the BBQing had to go on for quite some time before everyone had been sated.  Even then, people were munching on food late into the night.  Which brings me to the one part of the night that sucked.  Dan literally got sick to his stomache.  This was tragic for two reasons.  One, he felt badly the whole night and couldn’t really enjoy it.  Two, his departure from the party (he went inside to drink some ginger tea) cause a huge drop in the number of people I knew at the party.  He also missed out on some of the best parts of the party, including a lesson in the psysiology of alcohol poisoning.

Peeping Tom Three
Again from the same location

Technically, I greatly enjoyed busting out my new 50mm f/1.8 II lens.  I had been itching to try out that f/1.8 aperture in a low light situation and it didn’t dissapoint.  Although I did get *some* blurry photos, most of those were due to people moving around.  I was mostly able to get the camera to have a fast enough shutter speed that I was able to handhold the camera and get some good shots.  This allowed me to only have to throw my 580EX onto my other camera with the 28mm-105mm f/3.5-5.6 lens.  I was very, very happy with my shots and I’m now craving the substantially more expensive 35mm f/2 (it costs 3 times as much) for those times when 50mm is just a little too long.  Of course, it’s an issue magnified by the 1.6x crop factor in my camera, but I’m quite a few years away from getting a full frame camera.  So I’ll definitely be looking to get the 35mm whenever I get a chance.

Dan and Xixi chalk up the bars
Dan and Xixi chalk up the bars

I had a great time and it was worth the whirlwind travel Saturday just to attend.  I’m hoping to have my [much more modest] BBQ some time this summer as soon as I get a BBQ.  It’s one of the events we’ve been looking forward to as home owners.  Congrats to the class of 2009.

This Year's Graduates
Congrats Dina, Ho, and Lauren!

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