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.