Friday, December 30, 2005

i'm super cool

Yes, it's been a while. I've been busy distracting myself playing Realmz. Old school game for the Mac that I used to play when I was in middle school. Sadly, one of the few games that allows you to create your own party of characters. All I have to say is that TC Chau is a badass.

On a lighter note, I stayed up late last night for a stupid (or brilliant) reason. I was in the bathroom drawing on the mirrow. What was I drawing?.... facial hair. Not just one rendition, but several versions -- including one with a old school Chinese hero beard... complete with a section erased so that I could put my hand there as if I were stroking it. It's fantastic... trust me. ;-)

Sunday, December 25, 2005

merry xmas!

Question: Since "Xmas" is an acceptable abbreviation for "Christmas," does that mean that "Jesus X" is an acceptable abbreviation for "Jesus Christ?"

Jesus X - bringing Xianity into the 21st century.
(read: "Jesus Ex, bringing Christianity into the 21st century")

Friday, December 23, 2005

more weirdness

Dream #1: Stolen presents

I was in someone else's apartment in a big city (like New York or something) and I had my Xmas presents for my family on a table by the door. Randomly two kids appeared who tried to steal the present that I got for my mom. I pursued the kid into the kitchen. I wasn't too close behind, but as he turned around the kitchen table I jumped across it and landed a kick to his face. At that point I could have left him alone, but I was pretty agitated at him doing what he did, so I slapped him a few times on the face. I usually don't do that, so I explained to the guy how I've never done that to anyone before, but that he deserved it. After that, I let him go.

When I went back to the living room, I noticed that the kid snatched one of the other gifts on his way out the door. That really pissed me off. Not only did he steal again, but he stole the present that I got for the dog, which is a dog toy worth $2.99. What a pain in the ass. I ran downstairs to the street and saw the kids in a Hummer parked across the street. I ran across the street and in a moment of brilliance jumped onto the hood of the car. They must have been expecting that (for reasons unknown) because the car was covered in grease. It was like holding on to an exhaust hood at a restaurant. I slipped off as he accellerated away from the curb and I found myself flying through the air.

Once I was on the hood I realized I was in trouble. There was no reason why the kid wouldn't start the car just because I was there. My worries were confirmed as I flew through the air in what seemed like slow motion. As I flew, I glanced around to see if I would get hit by any oncoming traffic. I saw a few cars, but I could tell from the looks of the drivers' faces that they saw me as I flew. I soon noticed that it didn't just *seem* like slow motion, it really *was* slow motion. The cars were still going normal speed, though they slowed down to see the random guy floating in the air.


Dream #2: Flickr taken over!

In this dream Flickr, the awesome photo site, became part of Rob Galbraith's site, an awesome photography site. I was pretty pissed off since I like flickr and Rob Galbraith has no business taking it over. Not only that, but they completely changed the name. All instances of the flickr logo were replaced by a banner with the same logo as At this point, I realized this was too crazy to be true and that I must be dreaming.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

do i really live here?

I looked back at 2005 today and counted up the number of days I was out of Cleveland. Guess how many days...

Not totally sure, but it's somewhere around 62 days, give or take a few. Yikes! (happy "Yikes!")

Monday, December 19, 2005

good news!

Looks like there is a 100% chance I'll be moving out of Cleveland next year. Where to? Don't know yet. But I know that I'll be at least going *somewhere*!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

beautiful greymouth...

Day 3 - Greymouth
The wonderful Top 10 Holiday Park at Greymouth. Note that there are 50 such parks that are in the Top 10. Yeah... We count good.

Originally uploaded by paulip88.

No better way to finish day 3 than gagging over the car parked next to your cabin.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

cheapest trip ever

Typical trip cost: US$1000 per week
Estimated trip cost: US$3285
Actual trip cost: US$2370

An awesome trip that's 30% under budget? Even more awesome!

Day 2 - Hamner Springs
View from the top of Conical Hill

Originally uploaded by paulip88.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

i'm alive!

Hey all! For the record, I'm still alive. I haven't had internet much recently, but thanks to Samsung's free internet kiosk here in Sydney I can make my first post in three weeks.

The trips been awesome so far, but all good things come to an end and I'll be back in the States in a few days. Yes, complete with my golden tan from my extra couple weeks on summer this year. :-)

I'll have some more updates and commentary too. Expect to see a few new photos posted as well. You know I took a bunch. Maybe 7GB worth?

Till next time...

Sunday, November 20, 2005

and i'm off!

And at 3am in the morning, I start my journey. I'll be there in 36 hours! Yeah... it doesn't really take that long to fly to New Zealand, but I'm spending most of today in Los Angeles. Going to check out the Getty!

You'll probably hear from me again before I return. Check back?

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I just checked United's schedule for "entertainment." Allegedly I have to watch a movie about two 11-year-olds who fall in love. Please tell me this is some sort of joke...

Thankfully Qantas will bail me out with a slew of 6 movies on the trans-Pacific flight. I might even get 7 on the way back. That may be a new record for movies. Sure beats the super combo of Like Mike, Juwanna Man, The Tuxedo, Garfield, and (probably some movie with Jennifer Love Hewitt, basketball, kids, or all of the above) that I got to see on the flight from Chicago to Hong Kong.

2 more days


Apologies to everyone for being so busy. Grad school applications is incredibly time consuming. I need a vacation. :-)

Plans for when I come back? Aside from working my butt off, there's a NEOUPA/Web Association event the night that I get back. Heh heh... nothing like a night out to cure jet lag?

And I really need an MP3 player that has a 30 hour battery life or something. Not sure if I'll have any chance to charge up between my 7 hour transit to LA, the 3 hours on the bus in LA to the Getty Center, and the flight from LA to New Zealand. I'm really counting heavily on in-flight movies. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on the way to LA (oh wait... that's not the name of the movie... jerks...)

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

i'm back!

I made it back! Nothing like driving 1400 miles in two days.

Yesterday I had the fun adventure of driving through Boston. Drove down stretches of the Jamaica Way and the VFW. Fun with rotarys. ;-)

So after about 22 hours on the road in the last two days (wow!), here are some of my observations:

From driving over the Appalachians:
Both types of drivers have a tendency to go slow up hills, and fast down hills. For trucks, I understand because the truck is heavy and full of stuff. Sure, it may be annoying, but they can't help it. Cars on the other hand, there is no excuse. There's nothing more annoying than some jackass who passes me down a hill going 90mph then crawls up the next one at 70mph. Pick a speed and stick with it. You'll get better gas mileage that way.

There is also the variant of people who slow down when passing people. Yes, you heard me right. No, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Usually what ends up happening is the cars just sit side by side for a few miles before some other event breaks up the stalemate (usually other traffic). Note this people, to pass, you must go faster than the other car. If you slow down, that defeats the purpose.

From driving at night:
High beams. Some people just don't understand how to use them. Specifically, some people leave them on ALL THE TIME! Thanks for trying to blind me.

From passing 99% of the cars on the road:
People respond differently to faster traffic. The ones who have good road awareness stick to the right when not passing and move over when they see someone coming up from behind them. I thank these people. They make my life a lot easier. On the other hand, there are those who hang out in the passing lane thinking that they are the speed king. Often, this isn't the case. If they move over, that's still cool. If they don't then I'll have to be a jerk and pass them on the right.

The nastier variant are those who get in a position to pass, but then sit there, leaving about 5 car lengths between them and the car they are in position to pass (note that they aren't passing). Here, I'd typically hold up and start the countdown, waiting for them to see me and move over like a gentleman. If they don't take the noble way out, I'll be forced to pass on the right and slip over in front of their slow self to get in front of their ill-conceived roadblock. Not the nicest thing to do, but I gave them a way out.

Once I did this, complete with a full suite of turn signals (as always... ;-). Apparently the guy had no idea what was going on (missed me sitting behind him, missed me passing him, missed my turn signal), honked at me, and tried chaging me down. Yeah. Thanks. You should have sped up before. Plus you wouldn't have thought I was cutting you off if you were actually paying attention to driving.

From being on a road full of trucks:
Trucks have a certain driving etiquette that makes them generally predictable and courteous. They generally stick to the right (90%+) and they often even wait for cars to pass first, knowing they accellerate slower. Another things that I've noticed is that when a truck has passed another truck, the slower truck signals with their high beams when it's clear to move back to the right lane. The passing truck often responds by flashing the hazard lights briefly or flashing the lights (low beams) to acknowledge. If only regular drivers had such training.

Connecticut - decent number of cops. Not sure what they were doing.
New York - One cop in the median with lights out. Not sure if it was really a cop.
Pennsylvania - No cops anywhere to be found.
Ohio - Typical cop hanging out near Lordstown. No cops at the highway patrol ramp or by SR44.
Massachusetts - As far as I could tell, people just went as fast as traffic permitted. No cops.

Random sight of note:
On I-84 in New York I had the pleasure of seeing a Target truck pass a Wal-Mart truck. Yeah. Take that, Wal-Mart!

Sunday, November 13, 2005


Quick post.

Good name: Bar Mitzvah
For a bar in a Jewish neighborhood (like Squirrel Hill, the Heights area in Cleveland). Or for a celebration for someone like Laz passing the Bar exam. Laz, I'm disappointed that we didn't take up this opportunity.

Bad name: Seaman brand Clam Chowder
Just say it a few times. It just sounds wrong.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

one more state down?

For those who don't know, I've been working towards the goal of hitting all 50 states. I've made good progress, thanks to a few road trips with my parents, but I'm still short a few.

I just realized that this weekend I'll be checking another state off the list: Rhode Island. No, I'm not stopping, but I'll be driving across the entire state Monday morning. Woo!

Maybe I'll visit Mark in the spring and cross off Delaware too. Those small states are tough to come by! Luckily, I have managed to get some difficult ones out of the way already, such as Alaska and Hawaii. ;-)

States left:
North Dakota
New Mexico*

The ones with asterisks I've come within 50 miles of, but still managed to miss.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

sprained ankle month

Yep. It happened again. I twisted my ankle. Unlike last November (or was it two years ago), I can still walk. We'll see if I can keep it up tomorrow. As long as it doesn't jeopardize my tramping abilities....

tramping - Kiwi term for hiking

Monday, November 07, 2005


It's been a while since my last update, but fear not. I'm not laying down the pen (er... keyboard) after doing this for a year. I'll keep it going... keep it fresh.

The short of it is that I've been busy. Went to DC last weekend to visit Darin. This weekend I'm heading over to Chicago and New England. No, not because they're not close to each other. More like that's my last weekend (eek!) here for a while, so I have to cram everything in. Yes, I need to be in these places. No joke.

After that, I'll be off on my merry ways exploring new continents. Literally. :-)

2005 Capsule:
2/21: Ellicotville, NY
3/18 - 3/21: Alexandria, VA
4/16 - 4/17: Pittsburgh, PA
6/26 - 7/1: Montreal, Quebec
7/1: Seattle, WA
7/2 - 7/3: Vancouver, BC
7/3: Victoria, BC
7/4 - 7/5: Olympic NP, WA
7/6: Mt. Rainier NP, WA
7/7 - 7/9: Somewhere over the Pacific Ocean
7/9 - 7/17: Japan (Hiroshima, Miyajima, Tokyo, Mt. Fuji, Kiso Valley, Kyoto, Nara, Himeji)
7/30: Niagara Falls, ON; Toronto, ON
9/24 - 9/26: Boston, MA
9/27: Hanover, NH
10/6: Durham, NC
11/4 - 11/6: Alexandria, VA
11/10 - 11/12: Chicago, IL
11/13 - 11/14: Somewhere in New England
11/20 - 11/22: Somewhere over the Pacific
11/22 - 12/2-ish: New Zealand ("ish" from the International Date-line... and my Alzheimer's)
12/2-ish - 12/12: Australia
12/13: Christchurch, NZ

The rest of the time I was in Northeast Ohio or en route to someplace.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

o'er there?

Is that my mom on top of some mountain? Oh yeah... I brought her there.


nate clements

Clements, regarded by many in the NFL as one of the league's top five cornerbacks, and just 25 years old, is eligible for unrestricted free agency after this season. The five-year veteran has strongly hinted that he expects to be the NFL's highest paid cornerback, and Buffalo will probably have to use the "franchise" marker, at a cost of roughly $9 million for the qualifying offer, to retain their 2001 first-round draft choice.

Yes, this makes up for him being the only person to beat me in the shuttle run in elementary school.

Friday, October 28, 2005

east cleveland

East Cleveland is a messed up place on so many levels.... from the block busting that happened in the 50s/60s to the substandard housing, the low income, high unemployment, to the fact that over 30% of kids have been exposed to lead paint.

Somehow I stumbled across the master plan for the city. Interesting, depressing...

Note how almost the entire city is highlighted for substandard housing... and lead paint... Especially sad considering how much character the buildings in the city have. It's a shame.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

moving is annoying

You know how it always seems like you miss that one important thing when you pack for a trip? Or you need to use your fingernails the day after you cut them?

I'm experiencing the same thing many times over while moving. Some examples:
  • needing to reference my copy of Sun Tzu's The Art of War, which I just moved after not touching it for almost a year
  • needing to reference my Modern European History textbook, which I also just moved after not ever reading it since I bought it
  • needing my Office 2000 CD so that I can install the grammar checker, which was in the first box that I moved since I *knew* that I wouldn't be needing it

Yes, I know. It will only get worse.

counting crows

I want a new Counting Crows album, dammit.

If this isn't the right way to go at it, I don't know what is. Clearly this post will work, right?

Friday, October 21, 2005

er.... this is getting out of hand

There's just a bit too much craziness going on here. Writing 23 essays is crazy enough. Tack on a 3 week vacation and some huge projects at work. Then tack on some more craziness with being forced to move in the middle of all this. Not being able to go to NYC for Queen (which would have been more OK if not for the craziness with Darin).

Now I'm trying to figure out how to show up in Hong Kong for a week before the year is out. Grandma's not doing so well so I should pay a visit. I looked at changing my itinerary for LAX, New Zealand, and Australia.

From Sydney on Qantas - About 900 USD
From Christchurch, NZ on Air New Zealand - About 900 USD
From Los Angeles on Cathay Pacific - About 900 USD
From Cleveland, OH on United - About 900 USD

What the hell? They're all the same price! The first three are about the same distance and would cut short my NZ/Australia trip. The last one is a lot more distance, but I have to use more vacation time. None of them are cheap (all very average prices).


Any idea how much gasoline we use? For the record, a few hours ago I pumped in the 2,000th gallon into my car.

At today's prices, 2,000 gallons would cost about $5,000. Yes, $5000! That's more than my car is worth!

Sounds like a lot doesn't it? How about looking at it this way... During that time I drove about 46,000 miles in my car. Overall, I'm getting 23.75 miles per gallon. Pretty decent by US standards - totally unacceptable to the rest of the civilized world.

Now imagine if I wanted to "Grab life by the horns" and drove a sweet 2001 Dodge Durango (I bought my car in 2001) with an estimated 13 mpg city / 18 mpg hwy rating. My car gets an estimated 22 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. Needless to say, as a Cleveland Heights resident the last 3 years, I'm almost never on the highway. Anyway... back to the sweet Dodge. At 15 miles per gallon, I would have used a little over 3,000 gallons of gas by this point, compared to my 2,000. Fantastic! I've never wanted a Dodge Durango more!

Yes, I have a graph of my gas usage. And yes, you can tell when I went on vacation by looking at the gaps where I didn't buy gas for a few weeks.

An analyst would be quick to point out that my gas mileage is cyclical... actually, I believed it was cyclical through anecdotal evidence and then proved it with said graph. The graph also proves that Michelin MXV4 Plus tires do not improve your gas mileage as advertised. Air filters have also done nothing.

The only thing that affects the trend line is my travel schedule. Road trips result in a healthy uptick. Three week trips to Montreal, Vancouver, Washington, and Japan over the summer of this year caused the this summer's uptick to never show up in the 6 month moving average.

Surprising, it seems like garaging my car in the winter helps. I had the use of the garage for the winters of 2002/2003 and 2004/2005. No garage in 2003/2004. The 2001/2002 winter should be ignored since the crappy winter gas mileage is hidden by the road trips back home from Pittsburgh for various holidays, as well as road trips for mid-semester break and spring break. Note the high peaks and low valleys.

Yeah... I'm a dork. Go amuse yourself by looking at some photos (see right nav).

embark sucks

Not sure why Kellogg uses them, but is by far the most unreliable online applications system I've seen.

I was definitely annoyed when the entire system was down for an entire weekend when I started the application. Now, I'm just getting irritated by the fact that the system is being really flaky with taking in uploaded documents.

I did everything two nights ago to make sure that I wouldn't get any strange errors. Apparently I didn't do a good enough job. While everything went great the first time uploading, the system was having some severe problems today. I'm not sure if it's because the system was overloaded, or if it's just broken, but it started complaining that it couldn't recognize the Word documents that I was uploading. Granted, I have made some updates since Wednesday, but how does that explain why it took an RTF file, then refused the exact same file immediately afterwards (I was testing it).

Eventually I was able to upload everything using the document manager. At least that worked. Phew!

Monday, October 17, 2005

crazy essays

So for grad school applications you're supposed to write essays with the goal of painting a complete portrait of yourself. That's what I'm trying to do. But have I gone too far?

Some topics that I've managed to hit so far:
  • An entire essay on ultimate frisbee
  • An entire essay on fixing my car
  • An entire essay on Romance of the Three Kingdoms
  • Mentions of Laz, Jeff Mann, Maia
  • Mentions of rebuilding a kitchen, building computers
  • Lots of random references to travel and photography

Sunday, October 16, 2005

more flights!

I finally redeemed some airline miles! Spent 20k on a flight from Christchurch, New Zealand to Sydney, Australia. What a deal!

With that, I'll cover 13 airports, 5 countries, 3 continents this calendar year. Or... 15 airports, 6 countries, 4 continents between mid-December 2004 and mid-December 2005.

Border crossings - 12:
Montreal (YUL)
Cleveland (CLE)
Vancouver (car)
Port Angeles (boat!)
Osaka (KIX)
Honolulu (HNL)
Rainbow Bridge/Niagara (car)
Peace Bridge (car)
Auckland (AKL)
Sydney (SYD)
Christchurch (CHC)
Los Angeles (LAX)

So who's up for Almost Queen in January?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

thanks, ohio

If Ohio is good at one thing, it taxing its residents. Nothing like paying federal income tax, state income tax, high sales tax, and municipal income tax... TWICE.

Somehow I'm not surprised...

Friday, October 14, 2005

almost queen, part deux

Last post was short. So here's a longer one. ;-)

A few months I wrote up this post raving about the cover band Almost Queen. This weekend I was going to go with Greg to see the real thing in NYC (sans Freddie Mercury of course). However, since I have a ton of stuff to do (read: grad school applications), I surrendered my ticket to Greg's gf.

So now Almost Queen has new meaning when I see them when they return to town on January 20th. ;-)

Be there or be square.

You all are a bunch of squares.

pine ridge

Moving to Pine Ridge in Willoughby Hills. First half month free plus $1500 credit towards rent. I'll take it!

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

gates murders towers

Since renamed Gates Mills Place...

My top reasons for not wanting to live there:
  1. Location - At Mayfield, SOM, and I-271, it's a traffic hellhole. Good luck getting through there at any time during the daytime... especially rush hour.
  2. Apartment towers not cool - Something about waiting for elevators and having to drag groceries across the parking lot, down the hall, up the elevator, and down another hall just doesn't appeal to me... especially considering that I plan on moving myself. Ouch!
  3. Murder - We don't call it Gates Murders Towers for no reason. And it's not "Murders" just to make it a better replacement for "Mills." It's plural just like the murders themselves. Nothing like neighbors who keep trash cans on their balcony filled with acid and body parts. At least the other guy was considerate enough to toss the body in the trash.
  4. Bosnia/Rwanda - aka Building B from what I hear from past residents. I've also heard some choice remarks about some of the people.
Top reasons to consider living there:
  1. Cheap! - Cheap rent for a big well maintained apartment!
  2. Close to work! - At least for me (note the traffic hellhole)
  3. Close to shopping! - If you're not facing the river valley, you're facing the Target.
End result? There's plenty of places in the area that don't have cons #1, #2, #3 and #4... with all the pros. I'll let y'all figure out the rest. I'd still rather live in Cleveland Heights.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

fav restaurants

Hong Kong: The restaurant at the bottom of Aberdeen street for lunch. Awesome. Yeah, I know the name, but I'm not going to try to spell it in English. Two words, second word is Hong (same as in Hong Kong). They make good moon cake too.

Tampa, FL: Bern's Steak House. It's more than dinner - it's an event.

Florence, Italy: This place at the NE corner of the marketplace (the one that's actually still a marketplace, not the old one that's considered a tourist attraction. Not sure what it's called, but I do remember it's closed on Tuesday (or was it Thursday?).

Toronto: For lunch, this place in Scarborough. No, I don't remember the name! But if you go on 401, you get off at the second street past Kennedy, go North for a while, and it's in the shopping mall on the right towards the back. For dinner, there's this place in Chinatown towards the North end. On the east side of the street, but before it gets dead. It's the one with a big back room. Front room looks nondescript but has a big serving station on the left that's almost the size of a bar. Yeah... this description sucks... made it really hard to find it last time.

Montreal: Lots of good food. Vargas has a great prime rib. It's downtown by the Reine Elizabeth Hotel.

Las Vegas: Bellagio Buffet. It's worth it.

Vancouver: I'm not sure you can go wrong with any restaurant in Vancouver.

Japan: OK... not a classy joint, but there's this chain of curry joints that's the Japanese equivalent of Skyline Chili. In other words, it's like crack. There's one in Kyoto two or three blocks south of the train station on the right.

Newark: Um... really shady neighborhood by the Greyhound station. There's this place right by it called Forno (oven in Spanish). Classy and tasty. Makes a great Xmas eve dinner if you happen to be stranded in Newark's Airport with a bunch of fresh friends you are escaping the city with.

Boston: I've never had bad food in Boston. But Legal Seafood is good for (you guessed it) seafood.

Fried Chicken: Popeye's will destroy KFC any day of the week. There's a reason Popeye's is the chicken joint of choice in airports such as Hotlanta, Raleigh/Durham, and !Hong Kong!.

Cleveland: Italian - Geraci's at Warrensville and Silsby in University Heights. Chinese - dinner at Siam Cafe. Yes, Chinese food at the place which has a Thai name, Vietnamese employees, and Cantonese food. Oh... and in Chinese it's really names "East China Sea." Sushi - Matsu at Chagrin and Farnsleigh in Shaker Heights. Milkshake - Banana milkshake at Tommy's on Coventry in Cleveland Heights. Thai - Mekong River in Cleveland Heights on Lee at Superior.

Places to avoid: Mongolian Barbeque. Only go if it's to see off a *good* friend or to join a group to celebrate something for a *good* friend. Never go if you don't feel obligated to attend as a social function. Guaranteed to overcook your food. MacDonalds - Ever since they started microwaving their burgers around 1998 it's been an insult to the culinary arts (as if they ever cared). Did I mention the "bacon" that was not only perfectly rectangular, but also perfectly flat... with perfectly straight and parallel lines of "fat" that had the exact same texture as the rest of the "bacon?" Any Chinese food place in Pittsburgh - it would either be really bad, really inconsistent, really slow, or really over-rated. Chinese people drive to Cleveland for Chinese food .

- Yes, this is a more tame topic after I heard some remarks about my last post. But hey, at least people are reading!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

yet more travel...

Yes, you heard me correctly. I more travel! No, not totally vacation time. More like visiting more schools. I'll be in Chicago November 10 through November 12 visiting schools. Thanks to John for letting me crash. I'll do my best to bring over some Boddington's. ;-)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

defective underwear

Marc's is a great place to shop, but sometimes it takes a bit of courage to get the most of the place. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I'm talking about buying "slightly irregular" products. Generally, Marc's has undergarments for sale, but the prices aren't anything remarkable. However, if you're lucky, you'll go to Marc's when they have some in the closeouts section. The caveat is that these garments didn't pass QA and are sold with bright blue brand on them indicating some shortcoming.

So what might go wrong? For undershirts, I've gotten tons without any issue. Needless to say, it boosted my confidence a bit. Never will I spend full price on undershirts again! Then I decided to continue my exploration and dive into the world of defective briefs... mistake?

I wouldn't go so far as to say it's a total mistake, but I've definitely noticed some differences. The one that would bother me the most is the low cut front. No, this is not by design. Sure, it has plenty of room "down there" for a cold day, but I worry that it won't do so hot if I were in a "warmer" situation. The other problem is that there's this extra cloth by where my ass is. I don't think I have a small butt, but apparently these briefs will accomodate a booty that's a few inches bigger than mine.

In conclusion: Undershirts are safe. Briefs - if you have a big butt and a small package, it's your (one and only) lucky day! Otherwise, buyer beware.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

netgear update

An update on the Netgear drama...

After the surgery, there was a brief scare when the network adapter lapsed back into being retarded, but it's condition has since stabilized. Although it sports a significant scar (not to mention the huge heat sink protruding from it), it's doing well. Aside from the one relapse the day of the operation, it's been doing well ever since.


Wednesday, September 28, 2005


So sometime towards the middle of last year I bought a large quantity of books. I finally finished one of them. Yes, four volumes of Romance of the Three Kingdoms is now done. Although I might read it again at some point. Despite the enormous number of characters, poor editing, and plain old biased perspectives, it was a great read.

So what's next? Um... I think I'm going to focus on writing for the next couple of months. Then I'll shift back to photography, and then maybe I'll do a bit of reading. :-)

Friday, September 23, 2005


You know how I've moved every single year since I graduated from college? Finally this year I was able to stay put for over a year (been here since June 2004). I was going to stay here till August 2006, but it looks like things aren't going to work that way. Real bummer, especially considering that I'm trying my best to focus all my time and energy on grad school applications. These essays aren't going to write themselves, you know!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

american cheese sucks

I just ate some, but I stand by my assertion that American cheese sucks. Brie is so much better for anything that American cheese is good for....

Although I've never tried Brie on a hamburger... couldn't imagine it being worse though. More fat and cream = better, right?

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

damnit netgear

Damnit NetGear... you made me do it.

For almost half a year I dealt patiently with your crap hoping that eventually you would end your rebellious stage and behave like a good network adapter.... but no.... you made me do it.

You could have worked flawlessly, or at least only die on me only periodically. But instead you chose to be fickle. I gave you your chances you bastard. I gave you more than your fair share of chances. But no, you had to be a pain in the ass.

My trials with your retarded behavior remind me of dealing with Sprint PCS. Months and months of crap with nothing to show. But finally, I decided to do something about it. I'm not proud, but it's not my fault... you made me do it!

You forced my hand. I wanted to leave you alone, but no. You forced me to whip out the surgical blade, slice you in half, then pry you apart with a screwdriver. Sorry... I didn't use a sterile blade... didn't give you any anesthesia. But hell, you deserve to suffer a bit after all the crap you put me through. Besides, it's for your own good, motherf*cker.

Now you sit in your normal spot, but you look a little different. Where's you're shiny grey jacket? Oh? Gone? What's that there in it's place? I see... a heatsink that I stole off my dead computer. Yes, your friends will all laugh when they see you. "What the hell is that wireless adapter doing with that gross heatsink on it?" they'll say as they point, appalled at the sight they see.

To be honest, I don't know why you need that thing either. Perhaps your true parents (yeah, you're adopted, bitch!) dropped you as a child. Or maybe it's just a birth defect. These things happen these days.

My intentions were good, I assure you. Maybe after you go a few weeks without passing out from the summer heat you'll realize that I'm really trying to help.

You had your chance. I saw you stumble, but I gave you a chance because I thought you could learn to walk on your own. Alas, I was wrong.

Monday, September 12, 2005

travel time

Yep. I just got more plane tickets!

Here's what's going on....
September 24-26: Boston
October 15-17: New York City
November 20 - December 13: New Zealand and Australia (and maybe even a little bit of LA)

Non-plane related travel:
September 27: Detroit
October or November: Alexandria, VA

Sunday, September 11, 2005


So there is a method behind the madness?

Saturday, September 10, 2005


Yesterday I officially doubled my one of my investments. I had $2,200 invested in the RS Global Natural Resources Fund, and it's now appreciated by over $2,200. Not to brag, but that is simply amazing, especially considering I made that initial investment at the end of 2003, so it hasn't even been two years yet.

Do I feel bad that I didn't invest more? Absolutely not. Sure, it's doing great, but I wouldn't want to put everything I have in some risky sector fund. But heck, this is what I want out of my sector funds!

Am I going to put more money into it? It's tempting, but considering it's already performed so well, not only would it be naive to think it would continue, but the mere fact that it doubled already makes it a fair chunk of my portfolio. So no, I'm not. At least not until I have *a lot* more money.

Friday, September 09, 2005


Despite what you hear from the mass media, it looks like there's a whole 'nother ugly side to the nightmare by the Gulf that we don't even hear about.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

excerpts from the bible

With our given biblical names, these are the conversations that result....
Paul: he has speakers

he wants bigger ones.... he doesn't need them
unless you get a hammer to hook up to it that would just pound the floor
....or his crotch.

Joseph: lol

Paul: feel the bass!

Friday, September 02, 2005

biz school websites

This is what I would call a rant... but here goes.

I've been looking at web sites of various biz schools to try to get a better feel of what they offer, etc. etc. Some are good, some are bad. Yes, they're full of surprises.

So far I've looked at Kellogg, Fuqua, U Chicago, Tuck, and Yale. So which one's outstanding?

U Chicago - Great school with a great reputation. Yes, everyone knows you, but you could really put some effort into your site's content. It tells me the most obvious things. Yes... great faculty, looking for diversity, great education. Of course! I challenge you to find a biz school that *doesn't* say any of those things. Would it be so hard for you to do a little bit more and work off the Chicago brand and try to differentiate yourself from all the other top schools?

Tuck - Awesome site. Provides a lot of information that really tries to give the essense of the Tuck experience. None of it was really new to me, but it certainly helped reinforce my image of what life at Tuck would be. The comraderie, the random sports, and the quality of the alumni network. Chicago GSB, you could learn from these guys. Anyone applying to either Chicago or Tuck is clearly looking for a quality program with great academics, diversity, etc. What us prospective students want to evaluate is fit, and other stuff that sets schools apart from each other. Tuck does an excellent job with this. Chicago fails.

Yale - Amateurish site. Not to talk smack, but I really expect a top notch school to have a site that's somewhat up to date. The Yale site has second class graphic design, poor organization, and poor communication design. The pages are a chore to read. The content is dry. It reads like a course catalog. How about something that would lead me to believe that this is a school that real people actually go to? The rational mindset brought me to your door. Now please try to use the emotional aspect to make me feel that it's OK to even consider stepping across the threshold... or at the very least, don't make me feel like turning away!

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

religious fanatacism, school, birthdays and work

This is another weird dream post. Aside from random work thoughts interspersed here and there (which is disturbing), the other strange thing is that I found myself living in this dorm room with my old roommate Vikas. It was a large, albeit crappy, room -- CWRU style.

I then found myself in this seminar-like classroom listening to some preacher present slide shows with answers to all sorts of questions that non-religious types might use to challenge their faith. I think I spent more time wondering what I was doing there than I did paying attention. They also called on people to ask questions by rolling a roll of masking tape down the room and seeing where it lands. They spilled my drink dammit.

After that whole weird fiasco, I was returning to my room when someone that I didn't know informed me that it was my birthday and that there would be some crazy celebration. Odd, I wondered, since I didn't think it was my birthday. The guy also told me I was from Sweden. I found that hard to believe, but the sign on our room indicated to Vikas and I both were from Sweden (even though he's an Indian from HK).

Awesome, eh?

Saturday, August 27, 2005


Within the last hour:
Read a chapter in [Romance of the] Three Kingdoms
Read a review of MIT Sloan
followed by some Nine Inch Nails

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

insurance enthusiast

Me being the insurance enthusiast, I just did a ton of quotes for auto insurance. Here are the sites I tried:
  • Progressive Direct
  • Drive Insurance, from Progressive
  • Allstate
  • State Farm
  • Liberty Mutual
  • esurance
  • 21st Century
Best rate? Drive Insurance, by far! Progressive Direct, esurance, and 21st Century did OK too. Allstate, State Farm, and Liberty Mutual had some ridiculous rates. I also got rates from American Family and some other company from Progressive.

Best site? Progressive Direct, by far! Not just because I work there and I do a ton of test quotes. It really was better! Worst? Allstate, by far! I was doing quotes at work while I was sitting in on a usability session. Average Joe was going through a test app for Progressive, I was doing the quick quote at Allstate. Average Joe kicked my ass, by far! He did the whole thing and did the followup survey in the time it took me to get an Allstate quote. Of all the other sites, I think the only ones that had a *full* quote longer than Allstate's "Quick Quote" were State Farm and Liberty Mutual. What's up with that?

Monday, August 22, 2005

link of the day?

Thank you Greg.

I'm not sure how you find this stuff, and I don't really want to know. I do hear that amazon does have a good recommendations for products based on prior purchases.

weird dream of the day

I'm at some place taking a class. Not sure what for. The important thing is that we're about to get off on our lunch break!

At the break, I go over to the dining room. I never see anyone I know there, but I end up going anyway. As I get close to the door I notice that it looks like the room is completely empty. Seems odd, but I don't really care because that means more space for me, right? When I pass through the door though I kind of see why. The place was pretty nasty to begin with - it's more like a restaurant's kitchen than a dining area, but there was a bunch of bacon laid out over all the tables (which weren't wiped down by the way). I also saw that at the far side of the room Darin and TC were huddled down around a giant pile of bacon of their own. Did I mention that each strip of bacon was about twice as long and twice as wide as what we typically see at the store? I walked over to say hello but they just looked up at me and didn't say anything. Meh. They're busy. I go over to the fridge (a walk-in fridge) to get my lunch.

There wasn't much in the fridge, but I couldn't find my lunch. I remembered it was in a brown paper bag, but all the brown paper bags looked like they've been there for a while. I checked one just to make sure. Not mine. Crap. I guess I gotta go buy my lunch.

I go back outside of the that room to where they sell food. They only had one stand and it sold crap like instant noodles and the like. Not for me. I kept wandering around thinking that maybe I would find something else. Sure, it's silly in real life because there was only one store, but in a dream it works! After walking in circles a few times my mind installed a couple of new stores!

This new store sold bread and stuff. Seemed OK. They had a huge sign with pieces of bread attached to it that served as a menu. I ordered a pound of lamb bread (like pepperoni bread... but with lamb?). I got it and had to pay some ridiculous sum like 8.23 or something. I tried to give exact change because I thought that I had some pennies and a couple of $1 coins (clearly I've been traveling to other countries too much... 1 euro, 1 $CAD, or 100 Yen maybe, but one US dollar???). I give the person a $5 and then I dig though my pockets for the coins. Crap. I have three pennies but they're all from different countries. Whoops? I also discover that instead of having $1 coins, I had a nickel instead. Sigh... I give the lady a $10 bill instead.

At this point the cashier starts being retarded. I should have known this when she combined my order with the next person in line for apparently no reason (which was resolved). She took the money, then gave me the change for the $10 without ever giving me back the $5. As I'm about to say something, she starts to question whether I was charged the right amount. The lady really wants to keep that $5 bill I guess. After spending a good number of minutes scampering around, she finally goes and consults the giant price chart. I'm looking at it and see that I was indeed charged the correct price, although I also saw I was supposed to order by length, not weight. After staring stupidly at the sign for a few minutes, she points to the wrong one and says that that one's mine. I tell her that it's not, but it's the other sign to the left. She looks confused and eventually agrees with me.

She finally goes back and tries to make change. She can't count too good. It feels like it's taking forever. I look at the watch. Must be 3:30 in the afternoon or something. Missing class. Not sure what the implications were. Oh well... what's done is done.

Interpretations anyone?

Friday, August 19, 2005


OK. I admit that perhaps I was being a bit rash with the whole promotion rant the other day.

At the same time I can't argue with the results. Say what? I got promoted today!

Thanks, Carol. You rule! You knew that already, but I say it again! You rule! Or how about "You rock!"

Thursday, August 18, 2005


No, but today I did get to hang out with Progressive's entire Board of Directors. Basically spent half an hour in a room with just them and the CIO going through a usability session and explaining what was going on, what we look for, and what we get out of it.

It's funny that I wasn't really nervous at all. I checked myself a few times thinking that I really should be nervous, but I just wasn't. Despite the fact that I didn't get a chance to think about my 5 minute intro speech until half an hour before, and that I didn't have access to my notes (they were on the other side of the room), and that I didn't have my laptop to take notes, everything went really really really smooth. I even knew detailed answered for all the questions that were asked. Not because I studied, but because I've been in my position forever. 3.5 years. Long enough for most people to think that I've been promoted during that time. <hint>

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

deja vu?

Fun with GMAT practice tests...

8/14: I can do math, but I can't read!
Verbal: 36
Math: 49
Total: 690

8/17: I can read, but I can't do math!
Verbal: 45
Math: 40
Total: 690

Reminds me of when I took the SATs. One test with a great verbal score, ok math score. Another test with a perfect math score and a ok verbal score. And what did that get me? CMU, baby.

Good news is that it shows that if I don't take the test after a full day of work, I should be able to do good math and read? Maybe? Yeah?

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

hot or not.... or not...

Another fun hot or not knockoff. I have to admit that this one is pretty amusing...

Sunday, August 14, 2005

another sweet site, more crap from fox

Don't ask me how I come across this stuff...
FOX's Man vs. Beast - what's with the little people???

Friday, August 12, 2005


Check out these sweet links. Beware, adult content (er... kinda... technically?)

Why is there even an WHY!?!?!?!?!

Thursday, August 11, 2005


We are winners. Who's we?


Sunday, August 07, 2005

thanks, best buy

Free response feedback on their survey after buying my bro a gift certificate:

The cashier pressured me to give her positive feedback in the survey. I think her words were "Tell them that you were completely satisfied and you can get a $500 gift card." So does that mean that since I wasn't satisfied I can't win.

After seeing your unhelpful staff again, I now remember why I haven't been in your store for such a long time. I hate shopping there. But your gift cards are cool (same reason I went the last time).

Also, why do I get 22" of receipt for buying a single item. That thing is giant, unwieldy, and wasteful. It's almost as big as that gift card I purchased.

Friday, August 05, 2005

model citizen

From an IM conversation:

"right now my peers are people with art and design backgrounds"
"clearly the model [computer science] grad"


Side note: More Japan photos are being uploaded as we speak (er... I type) to my Flickr account.

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

i like veggies

So I came to this realization as I was in the produce section at Marc's last night. I love fresh food. Never really thought about this, but after I raided the produce section, I had already filled up a good chunk of my cart. Maybe it's a sign of a problem.

It's a good thing though. Fresh fruits and veggies keep you regular.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I'm pretty tolerant of heat, so oftentimes I find a/c unnecessary... especially if I pay for it. On the other hand, I can understand if other people find it hot and want to turn it on.

But... when I find myself cold and using blankets and stuff when I sleep, isn't that taking it a little too far???

Friday, July 29, 2005

o canada!

Going to Toronto tomorrow. That will finish my July tour of the three biggest Canadian cities: Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto. Yay me.

mmm.... Chinese food....

Wednesday, July 27, 2005


After so many years of success, the bottom has dropped out on CMU's premier athletic program... RoboSoccer.

Not only did we not win, we didn't even place. Some of you may think that I'm just mocking the event and that my disappointment isn't genuine. I assure you, it is. It's not that I was ever a huge RoboCup fan, or a big CMU fan. I'm not and I probably never will be. It's the fact that I can no longer jokingly cheer on the CMU RoboCup program.

Sigh... at least it was funny while it lasted...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

latest itinerary

This weekend I'll be going to Toronto (to complete the tour of big Canadian cities... did Montreal and Vancouver earlier this month).

October I'll be in NYC/NJ for a weekend. Albert, can we crash?

December - still planning on Bangalore.

Somewhere in there I'll probably hit up DC to visit Darin and the TC.

Monday, July 25, 2005


Thanks, Gizmodo...

Caution: Explicit material... May scare young children?

The Body Bouncer

And don't forget to watch the intro movie!

Sunday, July 24, 2005

travel finances

Thanks to the first week of the trip being covered by Progressive, I was able to pull off the three week excursion within my typical $1,000/week budget (damn airfare was literally half of it).

Airfare - Approx $1,500
Trains - Probably another $500
This makes hotels and rental cars seem really cheap.

On a related note:
Visa charges 1% for ATM transactions - CHEAP! (in Canada at least)
Mastercard charged 3% - EXPENSIVE!
Changing currency at AAA charged 8% - FUCKING RIDICULOUS!

So next time, I'm still going to use the ATM, and avoid using my MasterCard whenever possible.

Saturday, July 23, 2005



That's still half a year away. October somewhere anyone?

more travel

Let's face it. I need another trip before the end of the year.

Anyone interested in any of the following destinations?
South America
Spain, Greece, or someplace in Europe
New Zealand
Grand Canyon

I'm open to suggestion too.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

in progress

Currently in progress:
Uploading of all of the photos taken from the Mt. Fuji hike.

Unfortunately, that maxes out my 2GB upload limit for July. Damn. Thankfully, it's almost August. :-)

See them here on Flickr.

Monday, July 18, 2005


So I finally made it back home. Hopefully I'll have some photos up shortly so that people won't feel somehow cheated by my vacation.

Anyway, about next year's travel plans, the location for the 2006 UPA conference seems awfully lame. I don't play golf, which means that there is almost *nothing* to do. Sucks. Someones deserves a demerit for this.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

i'll be back

Last post for a little bit. I'm leaving for Japan in about 9 hours, and I'll be back on the 18th.

...and no, I'm *not* bringing my laptop with me. That's another 7 pounds that I can easily do without. Heck, I'm even considering throwing out my boots for the return trip so I won't have to carry them. In case you haven't noticed, I love to travel light.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

now with better graphics!

I've uploaded almost all the pics I've taken so far this trip. Check 'em out.

They're a little disorganized now, and they have hardly any descriptions. But a picture is worth a thousand words, right? RIght???

Monday, July 04, 2005

happy july 4th!

So I decided to come back to the US for July 4th this year. This morning we took the ferry from Victoria, capital of British Columbia, back over to Port Angeles, here in the states. Saw a few whales on the way, checked out some subalpine meadows, some temperate rainforest... now I'm chillin in the Quality Inn watching the whole town of Port Angeles try to burn itself down with a large public display of fireworks, offered by individuals across the town. I'd take pictures if I wasn't afraid of getting hit by rockets (seriously, they're shooting them all over... across streets, at buildings, they don't give a shit). Fun!

Thursday, June 30, 2005

one more day

So the week is winding down to a close and tomorrow I'll be heading off to my second destination. Montreal was fun. It's a great city. Good food, and lots of stuff to see.

I finished off the day by running up Mont-Royal. Took about an hour round trip. Oh, and I had my first dry heave while running! Whee!

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

happy birthday!

I was out last night and I got a call from my friend Maia, whose birthday is June 28th, the day before mine. I was about to tell her happy birthday, but she caught me off guard by telling happy birthday to me! But it wasn't my birthday yet. It was her birthday!

Actually, we were both right. Maia, being in Japan and all, was calling me the morning of June 29th, her time... my birthday. I got the call the evening of June 28th, my time... her birthday. So even though we don't have our birthdays on the same day, we were able to both say happy birthday to each other at the same time on the right day (for the speaker). Neat...

Now we only need to swap places one of these times so we're not both confused when we hear the other person say happy birthday on what we think is the wrong day... :-)

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Day 2 of the conference. I didn't have any tutorials scheduled for today, so I spent a good bit of time walking around the city. I started off at about 8am and walked over to McGill with Todd, which was having his tutorial by there. I then spent some time stalking my dad's old digs at McGill. Found his old place here. Pretty nice street.

I then walked all over the park behind McGill, coming down the other side. On the way down I saw this one interesting looking church that was about a mile away. Since I had all the time in the world, I decided to check it out. In the process I found the street my dad mentioned (St. Laurent) and also this breakfast place that was recommended (Eggspectations). I eventually found the church, which was in a eastern style (as in likely Orthodox). I then swung back towards the St Lawrence river to check out Old Montreal. On the way, I stumbled across Chinatown and also Nortre Dame, two other places I was told I should check out (but wasn't given directions). Eventually I worked my way back to hotel along Victoria Park.

After I got back to the hotel I checked out the map that I had and apparently I traveled about 10 miles on foot during this 6 hour excursion. Not bad. I then took a half hour nap. Needless I was a little tired after being out in the sun for that many hours. I guess that means I'll have a big steak dinner tonight!

Monday, June 27, 2005


So last night at around 11:30pm I remembered that I should be watching [adult swim], so I turned on the TV in search of the Cartoon Network. I didn't see it on the channel listing, but I did see this channel that seemed like it had cartoons....

I changed the channel....

Viola! Futurama! Then I noticed that something wasn't quite right. Bender was talking, but his voice sounded funny. Then I realized that it was in French. It was amusing at first, but then it got kind of annoying because I couldn't really tell what was going on and also because Zoidberg had a normal voice. What's up with that? Non! I say! Non!

montreal - day 1

Got into Montreal safe and sound last night. Staying at the Fairmont Queen Elizabeth. Nothing too eventful so far. We had dinner at Vargas, which is right down the street. Very good place, especially if you're getting reimbursed. :-) I had the gigantic prime rib. Tasty.

I was originally thinking of going for a run this morning, but decided against it after checking out the possible route on Google maps. Ended up that the walking path that looked so nice on the CAA (Canada's AAA) map went straight through this shipping area. Not exactly what I had in mind for the St. Lawrence River. I'll still probably walk over there tomorrow though. I plan on spending most of the day wandering.

Oh yeah... I came here expecting to get free high speed internet access in my room. I am, but not through the hotel. Apparently I still have to pay $CAD 13.95 a day for it. Right now I'm getting a decent connection off of someone's wireless hub. Not sure who, but it doesn't really matter. ;-)

Sunday, June 26, 2005

i'm out

Got my bags packed and ready to go. No, it doesn't feel like I'm coming back, but I'll be back here 7/18.

Saturday, June 25, 2005


I got the new Better than Ezra album, and it's pretty decent. Something for me to listen to on my trip.

I still need to pack and everything, but at least I have all my laundry done. I'll be leaving tomorrow in the early afternoon and I won't be coming back till July 18th. :-D Technically I'll be back for an hour or so on July 1st, but aside from that stopover in Hopkins, I'll be out for a while.

I've got all my gear assembled, and I'll try to have some updates at least during my first week at Montreal. I may even have some updates when I'm in Vancouver or Washington, depending on whether those Choice hotels have free internet access. We'll see.

Monday, June 20, 2005

product idea of the day

For the makers of animal crackers:
  • Animal heads
  • Headless animal crackers

Saturday, June 18, 2005

oh hell...

I've started seeing what I need to bring for my upcoming trip, and I'm disturbed to report that I need to bring 5 pairs of shoes... sigh....
  1. Merrell Jungle Mocs - General shoes for everything - UPA conference, wandering Montreal, light hiking, wandering Japan. Not going to substitute another shoe since I know these rock. I overpaid for these shoes, but I'm still getting my money's worth.
  2. Timberland hiking boots - Crystal Lakes Trail, maybe some other trails in Olympic NP, climbing Mt. Fuji. Can't use the Jungle Mocs for some of these since there'll be severe wet spots. I overpaid for these shoes too, but I may break even if I destroy them on Mt. Fuji.
  3. Rockport casual shoes - Another thing to bring for the one night I'll be at a fancy restaurant in Montreal. What do you mean I can't wear my two year old treadless Jungle Mocs? I like these shoes and they're comfy, but they aren't waterproof like the Jungle Mocs. Not as comfy either. And no, I didn't overpay for these shoes. :-)
  4. Nike sandals - Almost decided against it, but if I'm going to be taking a dip in the Pacific they'll certainly come in handy. Depending on the weather I may wear them in Montreal too, but they aren't going to Japan. And no, I didn't overpay for these shoes.
  5. Running shoes - Some of my best travel experiences involve running... usually along a river (um... usually cities are built along rivers). Did this in London, Paris, and Minneapolis. Something to attempt in Montreal. Probably not worth the weight to take them to Hiroshima, but maybe?
To offset the shoe dilemma, I am happy about my light coldweather and rain gear. Funny part is that aside from my tights (from my superhero days), my best cold weather gear comes from this Hong Kong company, Giordano. That could explain why my grandma got it for me. She loves picking up deals. My guess is that cold weather gear isn't a hot seller in sub-tropical Hong Kong.


So I finally closed my account with Ohio Savings Bank. Pain in the ass. I've been intending to do it for about two months now and finally got the winning combination of remembering about it on a Friday and being able to leave work early.

Funny thing is that closing my account was incredibly easy. Easier than updating my address! Something isn't right there.

Some consolation is that the teller I was dealing with was pretty nice, and we got into an interesting conversation about why I was closing my account. During this chat, I explained how my other bank, First Internet Bank of Indiana, is awesome because I get interest checking and I get reimbursed $6 in ATM fees each month - essentially enabling me to use whichever ATM I wanted anywhere in the country. Pretty nice, eh? She thought so. She wrote down the address for their web site as I was talking to her.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005


So how did it go? It went pretty well. Good thing I had a spare 2-3 hours. I used it all up and finished on time. Yay. So yes, overall it went well, but not without a few challenges...
  • I had gas. You all wanted to know that, I'm sure.
  • Time somehow became an issue...
  • On this one slide I had the phrase "click tracking." Because of the how the slide was scaled, I though it said "dick tracking," so I apologized for the typo. I paused for a moment trying to figure out what the heck I tried to write there, finally realizing that this is what happens when the 'c' and the 'l' are written too close together. Thanks to my sketchy handwriting, I then realized it wasn't a typo, and it just looked like a typo. So I said, "Wait, it's not a typo, but it looks like a typo." People looked confused. Then some people in the back started laughing hysterically. I composed myself and pretended that nothing happened. Still funny though. The highlight for sure. ;-)

Monday, June 13, 2005


So I'm supposed to do this day-long training course for my group, the managers, and their manager. 40 slides is enough, right?

Nah. No worries. I have a ton of examples to go through. So long as I don't lose my voice halfway through.... Wish me luck!

Sunday, June 12, 2005

if there is a hell it will be a party

Friday, June 10, 2005


Excerpts from an IM conversation.... slightly edited for coherence...

>i clearly don't bullshit enough

>if I adopted BS-speak, I'd be able to sound all fancy, and people would think that I'm good because I must be... the things I say would use large words that they aren't familiar with, so I must know something they don't

>"by tilting the schema of communication, I could effecively emote the spirit of my abiliity..."

>"...allowing a fluid progression towards career goals"

>but apparently, I think it's a waste of time to talk like that. i'm too pragmatic

>insert buzzword every 10 syllables

>with occassional dash of poor grammar and making up words

>like "strategery"

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


Playlist: Stone Temple Pilots

*A* list: People I work with named Smith (two of them at least)

Shit list: ac4lt (even though I don't know the person at all), bn, Ohio Savings Bank

Sunday, June 05, 2005

almost queen

So I'm writing this post in my underwear, because I just woke up and it's already warm out Good thing, right?

So on Friday, I went with Greg to see Almost Queen at the House of Blues. If you couldn't guess by the name, they're a Queen cover band. I didn't expect too much. After all, I never really expect anything too great from a cover band, especially when they cover bands that have fanatical followings. But we went, and I have to say that I was impressed.

They put on a good show. I'm not even sure where to begin. Singer Russo not only looked a lot like Freddie Mercury, but was also able to pull off the vocals (including all the highs and lows), the piano playing, and also the... um... the way he carried himself. He didn't just do it all. He did it all well.

That isn't to say that the other members of the band didn't stand out. They were all into it, which is great to see and it adds a lot of energy to the show. The drums were awesome, and so was the guitar and bass. I give it the thumbs up.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005


Cleveland Summer League 2005

Looks like we have ourselves a team. We'll be ready to rock starting next Thursday.

Kelly Green (a shade off from last year's Jade):
Derek Arnold
Samuel Barker
Brianna Blair
Jimmy Dunn*^
Tricia Fairman
Greg Ferreri^
David Feuer*
David Gelehrter^
Michelle Holko
Andrew Hunt
Paul Ip*^
Brandon Jones
Jeff Lazarus^
Jason Parris*
Bill Scanlon^
Sarah Schumacher
Brooke Smith
James Urban

*veterans from last year's team Paul
^Shaker squad

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

draft tomorrow

Summer league draft is tomorrow. Yep, I'm captaining for the second year in a row. Speaking of... it's time for me to flop down with the laptop and get a draft board set up. Good times...

pic of the day

Olympic National Park
Hurricane Ridge Trail

As Arnold would say, "I'll be back." To return July, 2005 for more fun, and pics that don't have screwed up exposure.

Monday, May 30, 2005


I got tired of mappr's incredibly slow uptake system, so I've started aiming for geobloggers instead. Honestly, I like the interfact a lot better anyway. Plus, it can take photos in the UK, which is a definite plus. Adding China, Japan, and Europe would be even better.

Also, apparently I can dominate the service too. Of the last 30 pics, 90% of them are mine... Plus, after a couple of hours I'm already on the top geobloggers list with ~69 photos. Heh... and I've barely scratched the surface of my photo collection. ;-D

Thursday, May 26, 2005

china 2004 done

Finally finished uploading all the pics from our China trip in 2004...

Next up, pics from Seattle, Mt. Rainier NP, and Olympic NP...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005


I'm reading this article about how Ford is buying back some parts plants.

...Ford would take back 24 ailing work sites and pay $550 million in restructuring costs as part of a deal that could eventually save the automaker millions on parts.
Is it just me? Or did it just say that Ford will spend half a *billion* dollars to save a few *million*? Maybe the reporter is just using millions as an expression of "a lot of money" and not literally a few million dollars.

Further down...

Ford said the agreement could save it $600 million to $700 million by the end of the decade. But it expects to incur charges of $450 million to $650 million this year and $300 million to $500 million between 2005 and 2009...
Um... so optimistically, Ford will spend only $750 million. Also optimistically, they will save $700 million. Eh... so in the best case scenario they still lose $50 million? What the hell?

Merrill Lynch analyst John Casesa said in a research note Wednesday that when Ford spun off Visteon it forced the supplier to try to compete with wage levels that were too high. Casesa said the deal is a positive for Visteon but a negative for Ford.
OK. It's beginning to make sense now. Visteon didn't want Ford's baggage, so they're asking Ford to take back all the crap so they can actually be competitive. Nice one.

pic of the day

View from Victoria Peak, Hong Kong

ohio savings

The Ohio Savings saga is about to end (I hope)...

May, 1999
Account opened as my primary checking account for when I was in Cleveland. Meaning... when I made money, it went to them.

Fall, 2000
Account demoted (First Internet Bank won out with the free checking with interest). Account balance reduced to $100.

May, 2002
I moved. I was able to change my address online! That's what I expect from online banking.

Fall, 2002
They "upgrade" their online banking system. Sure, the old system wasn't broken, but the new one featured more weirder workflows, tons of waiting, and less functionality. A step in the wrong direction.

May, 2003
Apparently a piece of functionality they removed from the web site was the ability to change your address. Changed my address over the phone. Sure, I'd rather do it online, but at least I could still call in and do it whenever I want.

May, 2004
I move again. Still can't change my address online. Now I can't do it on the phone either. I must go to the branch and change it.

June, 2004
I leave work early one day to get to the bank that's literally down my street. I like the convenience. They don't have an address change form, but the teller asked me to write down my new address and sign a slip of paper so she has a record of what to change it to. Sure, seems strange, but this is Cleveland Heights. Besides, they never screwed up anything like this before.

August, 2004?
I'm still getting statements sent to my old place. I leave work early and head over to the branch again. I ask to change my address. This time I get a form to fill out. Phew. Finally...

March, 2005
I randomly check my account online and I notice that I got charged a random $10 fee. I call in and the rep explains to me that the check I deposited recently bounced and that was the fee for a bounced check. I explain that the check didn't bounce and that I had already taken out the money. He said he would look into it. I leave him my work number.

April, 2005
After a few weeks of hearing nothing back from them, I check my account online. Looks like I got charged another $10. This time they really did do an overdraft fee (of $35 or so) because for some reason when I withdraw my money their system did it twice! They then gave me two overdraft fees which they removed. Good. Only $20 in fees instead of $90. Makes me feel loved. The rep doesn't have any resolution for the $10 fee, but be did say that he would clear out my old address and update my phone number.

May, 2005
Still nothing. I check online. YET ANOTHER $10 FEE. This is really pissing me off, as if it wasn't before. I call them again. No resolution. However, he does point out that my phone number isn't right. Didn't the last guy update it? Apparently not. This person updates it again. They'll get back to me. Sure....

A week later, still nothing. I call back in. This time the rep tells me that the $10 fee is a returned mail fee that I'm getting because my address is wrong. Why didn't anyone tell me this earlier??? She asks me to have it changed by going to the branch. I explain how I already tried twice and there is no way I'm going to keep trying to test my luck. She then suggests that I go to the branch where I opened my account to do this. She also says that if I tell my story I can get back the $30 that were taken from me. I'd better... On a side note, my phone number is finally up to date.

So on Friday, I'm going to try to head out of work early and get this crap straightened out. After I get my $30 back, I'm closing my account. I don't actually need the account. I more or less let them sit on my $100 out of goodwill. So much for being the only local back that I liked.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

pic of the day

Dali, China
Three pagodas

Looking back at the temple through the gate entrance. One of my favs.

Originally uploaded by paulip88.

Since I'm spending most of my free time uploading photos, this is what you get.

In other news, I've been busy as hell. Combination of work, more work, broken drainage pipes, and after work events. Tomorrow I get a chance to buy groceries. Wee!

Monday, May 23, 2005


Hong Kong - view from Grandma's apartment - looking North
Originally uploaded by paulip88.

Finally got around to uploading pics to flickr...
Finally got around to stitching some of these pics together...
Finally putting it here for all y'all to see...

Sunday, May 22, 2005


Another day, another day to upload more photos onto flickr, listen to more music, and get some work done. Yes! Work!

Not my usual weekend thing, but hell, I need to get this stuff done. Besides, looking forward to my three week trip definitely makes it a lot more tolerable. And sorry if I can't shut up about my trip. I can't help it. I haven't taken any time off since the week before Chrissmas, and that's entirely too long.

Thursday, May 19, 2005


Yes, I've had a flickr account for several months (actually forgot I had it). Well, I finally uploaded some photos.

Thanks to Carol for randomly reminding me that I should be on the thing a bit more actively. ;-)

back in business

Got my replacement case and motherboard today so I'm back in business. Yeah, $200 wasted, but I can now say that I've had 7 packages shipped to me over the course of a week from 4 different vendors... including an order so big amazon had to use four boxes. Yes... I always strive to achieve.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005


I just ran this 5k that the fitness center at work organized. Despite the fact that I felt like crap for the last mile (something with the allergy meds wearing off and asthma in a blooming park?) I managed to finish 2nd at 20:45. I have no idea how this relates to other times I had, but I did find the time for the first 5k I did back in 2002. I think I finished a good 1:40 faster... then again, that was in Pittsburgh with it's crazy hills and stuff. Heh.

Anyway, I'm happy I did it and I'm happy with my time. I might even do another race before the end of the summer... not till after my trip though. My cash situation is pretty dismal with the broken computer, random purchases for my trip, and then some likely obscene travel expenses after I get there. Fun. Good thing I can cook and fix my own car...

Sunday, May 15, 2005


You be the judge...

I have to say that I'm not totally anti-Rice. I guess the fact that she had a position at Stanford gives her some credibility. As for certain Yale-grads...


Straight from the mean streets of Compton...

Saturday, May 14, 2005


I managed to fry my motherboard today. As a result, don't expect to see me on AIM any time in the immediate future (since I only have my work laptop to use now).

Unfortunately, my warranty for the thing expired two weeks ago. In other words, no "free" slow service to fix it for me. Heck, shipping the thing already costs over $10...

Fortunately, I'm pretty sure that I know what's broken (since this is exactly what happened to it the last time it broke). Yeah, it's a known problem. Only thing is that I need to get a replacement part and I'm having some trouble finding it. If anyone out there could help me out, I'd greatly appreciate it.

Here's what I'm looking for...
I'm looking for a Phase Width Modulator (PWM), RT9202. Not sure if there is any other good drop in replacement. Not sure precisely what it does... all I know is that based on experience and what other people have observed, this is what's broken and needs replacement. Anyone???


The latest... A 4GB MicroDrive for my digital camera.

Just a quick size comparison... Back in 1988, for our first computer, we had a 20MB hard drive that was about the size of a telephone book. Today, I can *affordably* get 4GB (4,048MB) packaged in about the size of a condom (no, I couldn't think of anything else that size).

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

random links

Random link #1

Some background on random link #2... Onterrio Smith was caught in MSP (Minneapolis St. Paul International Airport) with a few vials of what they thought was cocaine. Since Smith is an NFL running back, there's no way he would be travelling with cocaine! After all, he's already violated the drug policy twice and his next offense will land him a one year suspension. No, it wasn't cocaine. It was dehydrated urine. I always try to keep some in my carry on too... just in case?

Monday, May 09, 2005

make up

To make up for going to bed at 5:30am Saturday (er... Sunday), I woke up at 5:30am today. Actually, the real reason is that I need to be at work at 3am tomorrow, so I might as well try to keep things messed up as much as possible. Hey, I get to leave really really really early that day. Heh.

Sunday, May 08, 2005

congrats, laz!

Congratulations, Laz, on completing law school. (This should definitely go into my design portfolio.)

the real reason i'm going to japan

I'll arrive in Osaka July 8th, and I leave July 17th. Coincedence?


Saturday, May 07, 2005

green day

For those who haven't seen Green Day in concert, I highly recommend it. Not only do they rock, but they do everything they can to make sure that the fans are into it. Also definitely worth going if you're into high school girls. I felt like we were the only people there old enough to drink. But overall, two thurnbs up!

Schedule for today:
Finish project - DONE
Compose a gift for Laz - DONE
Consult on making a food booth at an International Festival
Deliver project
Print out and complete gift for Laz
Laz's graduation party

P.S. If you noticed the deliberate spelling error and "got it," awesome. And cultual!

Thursday, May 05, 2005

outdated... i mean... cleveland rocks

I was putzing around Continental Airlines' website, and I found some information about Cleveland.

Particularly interesting is the business section. For those who don't know, TRW has since been acquired and their HQ has been converted into an upscale mall and medical facility (yeah, makes perfect sense doesn't it...). OfficeMax has also been acquired. There goes two of the companied that defined Cleveland business. And no, most Clevelanders are not optimistic about the economy (not anymore at least).

The Entertainment section is entertaining too. The Flats are now dead. For sports, the Cleveland Lumberjacks (minor league hockey) team is gone. That's not too bad. The worst part is that they say that sales tax is still at 7%, instead of 8%. Fantastic.

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

i hate geagle

This isn't a new development, but I hate Giant Eagle. For those who aren't familiar with this, a quick recap:
  1. The company is based in Pittsburgh. I'm from Cleveland, so that makes me anti-Pittsburgh.
  2. Their prices suck
  3. Their produce sucks. On more than one occassion I've thrown out produce in my fridge because it's been there for two weeks and looked like crap, only to find the produce at Geagle looked just like what I trashed.
A lot of people assert that Giant Eagle's prices aren't bad, especially when things are on sale. Today I'd like to disprove that theory.

Yesterday I went to Marc's and Sam's Club on my usual food run. Today I got Geagle junk mail/spam. Let's see...

Marc's regular prices vs. Geagle regular prices

Marc's Geagle
$0.98 $1.69 1 lb red delicious apples (and the Marc's ones are actually fresh!)

Marc's regular prices vs. Geagle sale prices

Marc's Geagle
$2.50 $2.50 1 package NutriGrain bars

Marc's sale prices vs. Geagle sale prices

$0.88 $0.89 2 liter soda
$2.98 $3.99 2 lbs strawberries
$0.25 $0.40 1 ear of corn
$4.98 $5.00 24 can cube o' Pepsi
$1.88 $3.99 1 Dole pineapple
$1.99 $2.00 1 can Reddiwip
$1.33 $1.59 1 package Thomas' English muffins
$1.50 $2.00 6 pack Musselman's apple sauce

Clearly, even a Giant Eagle sale doesn't make it any cheaper than a Marc's sale.

Monday, May 02, 2005

still works!

Two things:
1 - NESticle works on Windows XP, at least version 0.42 does. For some reason I had some of the crappy music from the game "Shadowgate" in my head. That inspired me to go get the NES emulator and get the ROM. Totally legal. I have the game, it's just a backup copy!

2 - My new sound drivers? Clearly, if I can play some high tech Nintendo game on my computer with sound, then my sound drivers must be OK! Right???

To make up for this worthless post, you get a pic of something even more worthless...

Those are some massive tailpipes on this truck! Wait a sec... how come the one on the left isn't attached to anything?

Sunday, May 01, 2005

more randomness

As if wielding a chainsaw and moving several thousand pounds of fallen trees over the weekend wasn't good enough, I've managed to get another random task. This time it's consulting on how to run a booth at a food festival. Yeah... exactly. Food service experience. Heck yeah!

On another note, I'd like to thank Microsoft for installing some new audio drivers that make my computer crash when I try to use WinAmp or iTunes. What a great feature!

still cost effective

So I've spent a good deal of money fixing my car this year. Is it still a good idea to have a 12 year old car when I can clearly afford something that costs 5 to 10 times as much? Let's do a quick cost assessment....

Since the beginning of the year, I've driven a little over 4,700 miles. Total cost -- including gas, toll, insurance, repairs, license, parking: ~$1,200. That's about 25 cents per mile... or $400 dollars a month. I think we're still ok.

Of that, about $480 is maintainance costs. The rest is mostly gas and insurance. A new car would have about the same gas mileage (21/28/23 city/hwy/avg) so gas would be the same. Insurance would probably cost more. That means that my car has an equivalent car payment of $120 / month. Not bad.

But yeah, I do have some maintenance coming up. Need to change the oil in a couple of weeks. That'll cost me about $10. Oh no...

But wait! I should be getting $80 in rebates to offset those maintainance costs (thanks, Monroe!). Awesome! But somehow this *still* doesn't justify me spending tons of money on camera stuff.... or does it???

I found some idiot who would work on my car for free. Oh wait... that's me! [halfway through replacing the driveshafts and front shocks]

2001 - When my car was new... to me at least...

Saturday, April 30, 2005

only in dreams

You know you've been working on a project too much when you have a dream where a tester bitch-slaps another tester and angrily shouts, "All system test issues go through me!" when he finds out that the other tester opened a test issue herself.

In no particular order, other random selections from the crazy dream:
  • Me leaving to go on a three week vacation to Hong Kong with my parents, leaving May 6th, but really leaving May 7th... and me wondering how this snuck up on me without me remembering I was about to leave. After waking up, I realized it's because I don't leave for my three week trip till June 26.
  • I noticed a second band on my Seiko Kinetic watch that had a number on it. The number moved every time I moved the watch. Neat, but that's not how the thing really works.
  • I wanted to go back to "work" to grab my laptop for the trip. Yes, I keep my crazy pictures in mind even in my dreams. Gotta have the laptop in case I run out of space on my memory cards.
  • I opened up my suitcase and it somehow expanded to hold a huge stack of blue jeans. How huge? About three and a half feet tall. They were all exactly the same too. Stylish.
  • "Work" was in this random 2 or 3 story house that was really dark (like the Lava Lounge). Yes, Barnes, the Lava Lounge used to be a house. Hint: it's in a residential area, and it's a house.