Monday, March 21, 2005


I went to visit Darin and Terence down in DC over the weekend. I had an awesome time. We did a whole lot of nothing, which was refreshing seeing the stressful week I had (notice no posts).

One thing that did happen though was that while I was there I noticed that my car was making some noises whenever I accelerated from a slow speed while turning. I wasn't sure what the issue was, but I do know that one time I almost didn't make it back because the ignition control module went bad (basically the car would randomly stall... not fun on the highway... or anywhere). I was just hoping that I would make it back OK.

I remember on the way back trying to see if my steering would keep working. Heck, losing steering while going 80 down the freeway could be cause death. At first I thought it was really going too. Every once in a while the car would just shift/lurch while driving. Eventually I attributed that to the wind though. After a while, I even figured that regardless of what the issue was, it wouldn't cause me to die, unless I spun the wheel really fast, which would cause an accident anyway.

After some more research I think I may know what the problem is. I still need to jack up the car and inspect it, but I'm suspecting that the CV boots cracked through and one of the driveshaft joints got damaged. I know that the outer boot was already cracked, but my dad told me that I should just replace the whole thing when the time came. I took his word for it.

Today I took a look at what it would take to fix the issue, and it really doesn't seem that bad. Sure, it's a pain in the ass, but it could be a lot worse. I'm just hoping that it's the cheap part that broke and not the part that costs an extra $200 to fix. That would suck. Heh. Something else for me to do this weekend. Hopefully it'll be warm so I can do this in comfort.

So... anyone want to buy me a new driveshaft or two? I could also use some shocks and a spare ICM (just in case).

Monday, March 14, 2005

fuck fuck fuck

I need to go back five years or so and try to change some stuff around (I'll even settle for a few months). I'm serious...

However, unlike these fellows, I don't seriously think it's possible. Can I try before I buy?

Sunday, March 13, 2005

compare and contrast

okay... maybe just compare. *try* to contrast.

Product A:

Product B:

Saturday, March 12, 2005

shopping list

Registration for the UPA Conference
Hotel reservations for the UPA conference
Rental car for Seattle
Train ticket from Osaka to Hiroshima
GMAT Registration
Tickets for the Indians home opener
Macpherson struts for my car
Backup ignition control module for my car
Canon Digital Rebel XT
Sigma 18-125mm lens
2GB CompactFlash card
Crumpler Budgie Smuggler camera bag
Romaine lettuce
Dijon Mustard
One loaf of rye bread
More yogurt
Skim milk
Assorted fruit
Light bulbs
1 lb rotini

Friday, March 11, 2005

almost famous

I just discovered today that I inadvertently plastered my car's VIN number up for tons of people to see.

Let me explain...

I was working on a project to improve the way help is delivered in Progressive's insurance quoting web site. To go with it, I came up with some content. One piece of content I created was information on where to find a VIN and what it is. To do this, I provided an example - mine. The question is whether or not some goofball out there is trying to get a quote with my car just because my VIN is there for people to copy.

If you want to see it in action, do an quote in Virginia. There's a 50% chance that you'll see it on the second page (it's a test, so we only show it to half the people).

Thursday, March 10, 2005

my toy's are outdated :(

The first one that I found out about was the new Canon Digital Rebel XT, the successor to my Canon Digital Rebel that I bought at the end of last year. Smaller, lighter, faster, more features. Same price. Damn... I may have to get one since the smaller and lighter bit are pretty important to me. The faster bit is also *very* nice. I could care less about the 8MP though. 6MP is plenty enough for me. Not to say I wouldn't use the extra 2MP... after all, I *must* shoot in RAW format (for some stuff at least).

Then while reading up on the new camera, I found out that there's a new iPod mini. 50% more storage and 50% more battery life. Same price (see a theme here). I'm ok with this one though. I'm still happy with my mini. 4GB is enough and it hasn't gotten any smaller. I have to admit the extra battery life would be nice, but I only use that when I fly to Hong Kong... and I only do that once every two years or so, and I'm not even going this year. I'll be fine... really, I will.

On the bright side, my 1993 Honda Accord SE is still old, still runs great, and apparently *still* has a market value of ~$6,000. Considering that I bought at a dealer for about $5,400 four years ago, I guess I'm doing pretty well. Just excuse the dent my mom left when she backed into my car last December. Still almost no rust! I can't believe I'm in Cleveland!

My Nokia 6200 has probably been discountinued, but they're still selling almost the exact same phone (it now has a camera, which I clearly don't need on my phone... see above). I'm happy with that. My year and a half old phone is still plenty small, and I have reception. (Damn you, Sprint!)

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

so i don't pay my dental bills...

I really would pay my dentist on time, but they certainly don't make it easy. They have three addresses (at least), 2+ phone numbers, and no automated billing system.

The first time I got my bill, I wanted to pay it. I really did! This was about 4 months ago? Well, I never did it. You know why? First, I wanted an envelope -- preaddressed. No envelope. Actually, not even an address. How am I supposed to send you payment if I don't know where to send it? I don't know. Maybe call them and find out their address? Oh wait... no phone number. Besides, even if I did have a phone number I know they don't have anyone to answer the phone usually. Oh well... I'll pay it the next time I have an appointment.

Got my second notice today. Same issues. Well, this time there was an address on the envelope. That helps, but who's to say that they would actually apply the payment to my account? After all, there are two Ip accounts (one for my parents). Considering it took them a year (literally) to split my account from theirs (pretty important from an insurance standpoint), I can't say I trust them to get this part right.

So here's the plan: Since I have an appointment coming up this month, I'll just pay it in person. Maybe I'll even remember my checkbook.

It's not that I don't like my dentist (I do, I think he does a good job), it's just the billing process needs some work. Please, make it easier for me to pay you. That's all I ask.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

for those who are concerned

It's totally safe!

Sunday, March 06, 2005


So I saw the first great movie of the year. Actually, I think the movie was made in 2003. But anyway, the movie is called Ong-Bak. It's a martial arts film from Thailand that features some guy that no one here has ever heard of. Fantastic choreography. Freshest fighting movie I've seen since Police Story was made circa 1985.

If you want to check it out, it's playing at the Valley View Cinemark here in Cleveland. It makes no sense why it's there. I think we were the only Asians within a 5 mile radius of the place. But hey, it's the only place in Cleveland playing the film. It's worth a look.

car show results

Nothing spectacular to report aside from the fact that traffic to and from the car show is horrible. But back to the subject at hand...

Overall, nothing too spectacular. One trend that I'm noticing that I don't really like is how all the car companies are now covering up parts of the engine with metal and plastic plates. Sure, it looks nice (sometimes), but that's just one extra thing to do if I want to change the spark plugs or switch a sensor. In the long run, that's called annoying.

What's worse is that some companies (like Mazda, for example), do a pretty crappy job at it too. Sure, they cover up virtually *everything*, but just handling the panels, it became immediately clear that these things weren't just annoying, but also a liability. Ok... maybe not a liability, but if the panels aren't constructed well enough, they're just going to vibrate like crazy (loud as hell) every time the car idles. Great! I do like the Mazda 3 though. Good looking car, decent performance, and cheap!

So some of you are probably wondering what cars I'd be interested in, so here you are. In the cheaper category (under $20k), my favs are the Scion TC followed by the Mazda 3. The TC is a nice car. Has the most open engine compartment (which for me is a plus), and it's got decent performance mated with a neat interior. The full glass top is definitely a plus (unless I roll over the car.... then I might die.). Besides, it's clearly endorsed by my friend TC Chau, which trumps all. Another good runner up is the Honda Civic Coupe. I like Civics, and they look a lot better than those new Accords. Hopefully when they redesign it for next year it looks as good or better. The concept Civic Si is also pretty cool. A lot better than the current one.

For the pricier category (~$30k), the Acura TSX takes the top followed by the Infiniti G35. The G35 is a beautiful car that has some incredible features. However, Acura still wins because it too is cool, a bit more practical, and I know the car well. If you haven't noticed the trend here, cars get bonus points if they are easy for me to maintain.

Pricing anomaly of the show: The Dodge Charger. $38k. OK. If I had $38k, would I really buy a Dodge Charger? Survey results:

Dan: BMW 330
Paul: Acura TL or TSX (coming in $10k under the $38k budget... may use that to get a Kia Sedona and Kia Rio just to prove to people that you can buy one get one free)
Ivan: Eh... don't remember what he wanted... but it definitely wasn't the Dodge.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

car show

I'm going to the suto show today. No, this doesn't mean I'm going to be getting a new car. Far from it. In fact, I'm planning on adding another 15,000 miles on it to get it to an even 150k. 25 miles/day to work plus random trips to DC.

Besides, it doesn't make sense to get a new car if I'm going to be in Cleveland. The roads here suck. If I were to get a new car I'd just be getting it to destroy its suspension. No way I'd want to dump several grand in a new car just to bust it up on the crappy roads. Not to mention the large quantities of road salt. Some parts of the country use other de-icers - not Cleveland. The big salt mine under Lake Erie guarantees we'll be making our cars rust for years to come.

Plus, I like having no car payments. Helps justify the massive amounts of traveling I like to do every year :-)

Wednesday, March 02, 2005


So from the last post, you learned that I got a ticket to Japan last night. Today I checked the fares again (since I can cancel, I figure why the hell not?). Nothing cheaper. On the other hand, the price for the exact ticket I got last night literally doubled. This wasn't a cheap ticket either.

Price I got: $1119
Price today: $2347

Naturally, the price went up after they realized that this itinerary had my seal of approval. I'm just that cool.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

i feel special

I'm down $1,100, but for some reason I feel priviledged. I have no idea why, but the plane tickets I got can actually be cancelled without a penalty. Such a luxurious feature! I guess this means I can keep looking for cheaper fares and switch if necessary. Sweet!

Plus, it happens that my flight connects through Honolulu... one of the nicest airports to fly into. Yeah, the airport itself if a piece of crap, but I'll take a change of scenery. The outdoor airport would be a good respite while flying across the Pacific.

The other oddity worth mentioning is that I'll be flying across the Pacific on a pair of McDonnell-Douglas DC-10s.