Sunday, December 31, 2006


The weak US dollar makes things a bit unpleasant when traveling abroad. However, I do have some consolation. The fact that I never remember to bring my foreign currency with me when traveling means that I've accumulated quite a bit of excess cash... cash that is now worth more and more.

  • 330 Canadian Dollars
  • 125 Euros
  • 40 British Pounds
  • 9000 Japanese Yen
  • 80 Renminbi
  • 3120 Hong Kong Dollars
I need to stop doing this... or I need to travel more. Guess which one I'll do. (-;

Then again, I am spending New Year's in New Haven, and then off to Costa Rica which doesn't use any of these. Oh well!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

more highways

So after a week in Cleveland, I'm headed off to Toronto for a few days. If you need me, text me. It's cheaper than paying for international roaming.

My stay in Cleveland has been good. Got to meet up with a ton of people, including a bunch of work friends. In fact I'll be meeting some at Skyline today just before heading out to Toronto. Sure, Skyline may not exactly be the best decision for a meal before a road trip, but what the hell. What's the worst thing that could happen?

And Barnaby, I told Aaron that you hated him. I couldn't think of any good reason for it, so I just labeled you a hater. Keep up the drunk dials though, you still haven't caught me while I've been asleep so it really hasn't been an issue. If you want to have a real conversation, I can do that too.

Have a happy new year, everyone.

The Interstate highways that I'll cover over winter break:
  • I-84
  • I-380
  • I-81
  • I-80
  • I-480
  • I-271
  • I-90
  • I-77
  • I-190
  • I-390
  • I-86
  • I-91
  • I-95

Friday, December 22, 2006

as featured in the international herald tribune

My name is now being published across the world, thanks to the syndicated press and the power of the AP. You don't want to mess with these guys.

I like the International Herald Tribune, you here's a link to it:

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

thoughtful gifts for me

You know how there are people that always get stuff for themselves, and how they are really annoying to find good gifts for? I think I may be one of those people. A few hints:
  • Any "luxury" item that the person generally won't buy. This could be a fun gadget, a hobby item, clothes (yes, I said it... but only if the person has no fashion sense or has a clear need... like my dad's shoes or jacket), or tickets to an event. Example, some nice lens filters for my digital camera. I generally use my cheap-ass Sigma 28mm-135mm lens with that takes a 62mm filter. Or oooh... a nice lightweight lens with a wide shutter would be fantastic!
  • A really nice, durable, utilitarian item that would be used daily. Lame example would be a nice pen. Better examples would be something that would make the person's daily life easier and/or more satisfying. I already have my fancy Staedler pencils, as my study group knows well. A good set of non-stick pans would be useful. Although even though I doubt I'd ever buy these for myself, and I could make good use of them, I'm not sure how'd I react to getting cooking utensils as a gift. It's like giving your maid a new mop.
  • Something that shows that you understand what they care about, or even addressing a quirk (or quirky goals). If you don't know what these are, then find out. For me, that could be a map of the world mounted on corkboard so I can push pins into all the places I've been. Could be cheap, and effective!
  • Something that links a common experience. For example, DVDs for Commando, or Death Wish 3 for Darin, TC, and I. Other candidates would be the Resident Evil series, and anything starring Bruce Campbell. Could be cheap and effective!
  • Relics from immortals like Elvis, Tupac, or Jesus are creepy, and thus make poor gifts.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

almost there

5 page paper in 2 hours. I'll proofread tomorrow. Another 5 hours of exams, and I'm off to Cleveland. Wish me luck!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

like a good neighbor

So last night I was coming back from a party in East Rock. It was just a few blocks away from my place so I decided to make an "early" exit and walk home. After getting back to my building, I decided to sit down for a bit in the entryway where the mailboxes are. Why? Because I felt like it, and I haven't sat in that chair for a while. After a few minutes, I decided it was time to go upstairs and head to bed.

I go up the steps, stop at the door and get my keys out to unlock the door. Strangely, the key didn't fit. Usually, it goes it pretty easy and I have no problems with it, but for some reason I just couldn't get it to fit. After a while it didn't even seem like it could even possibly fit, much less unlock the door. After a few minutes, I was ready to give up. In a moment of brilliance, I decided to just try to open the door. Magically, the door opened.

Apparently someone forgot to lock the door. Even though I should have been happy about this, I was a bit annoyed because anyone could have just come into our apartment since everyone in the building has a key for the entryway. Anyway, I opened to door. I was ready to step inside and throw some stuff down on the table by the door when I noticed that the table wasn't there. What the hell? What was stranger was the mirror that was on the wall. Weird. I was like someone rearranged our whole apartment while I was out. What the hell. Where was my stuff??? Then I realized... this wasn't my apartment. It was my neighbor downstairs.

So here I was, in standing in front of my neighbor's apartment, door open, confused, at 4 o'clock in the morning. I was just waiting for the guy to jump out of the bedroom and kick my ass. Thankfully that didn't happen. I'm sure it would have taken quite a bit of explanation if that had happened. Some guys fudges with your locks for 5 minutes... loudly I might add, and then opens the door to your apartment... at 4am. I closed the door, went upstairs, and fell asleep. (not before brushing my teeth, setting the alarm, turning off the lights, etc. etc.)

Friday, December 15, 2006

moving forward

So I'm done with classes, and I'm about to turn in the final paper for the competitor class.

My schedule for the upcoming weeks:
12/18 - 12/21 - Exams
12/21 or 12/22 - Return to Cleveland
12/22 - 12/28 - Hang out with Cleveland peeps, watch Rocky Balboa, what will be best feel-good holiday movie EVER!
12/27 - Hang out with prospective students (and Laura) at Great Lakes Brewery
12/28 - Hang out with prospective students at the Irish Embassy in Toronto (it's a bar)
12/31 - New Year's Eve in NYC (exactly where is TBD)
12/5 - Leave for Costa Rica
12/19 - Return from Costa Rica

Other things to do? Research more jobs. Practice interviews. Send Thank You e-mails. Get a suit. Buy Christmas presents. Send out cards? Plan the Costa Rica trip. Send out a job survey to the class. Do other club related stuff. Read the WSJ. Buy a book and read it.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

it's september

Right now I'm sitting outside in the courtyard at school in the sun, putting in another blog entry. And yes, I'm writing about the weather. It's a beautiful today. About 60F... sunny... Feel like it's September. I already thought it was weird because the last few days have felt like October.

Maybe that's why it doesn't feel like my first semester here is about to come to a close. And maybe that's why I still haven't gotten anxious about the paper that I have to turn in tomorrow as a final exam for my Competitor class. I haven't started writing anything out, but at least I've read over the materials, analyzed it from several perspectives, and know what I'll be writing about. That's the hard part. The writing part should be relatively easy (or so I say now). Regardless of how painful/painless it is, at least I know that I am comfortable with the material. Better to know what you're doing and have trouble condensing it into 3 pages than not having enough to fill the three pages.

Anyway, I should finish up and get to something else, such as getting back in touch with Cleveland people about my return over the holiday week. And I have this funny suspicion that Progressive's mail filters are blocking my e-mails... hrm.......

Saturday, December 09, 2006

admissions rant

I'll keep it brief. Sometimes there are people who ask good questions, like whether it is acceptable to apply with a 3-year degree is a 3-year degree is the norm in your country. Other times, people ask questions that may seem reasonable, but aren't. For example, the "I have a GMAT score of XXX, a GPA of Y.YY, and Z years of work experience. What are my chances of getting in?" Correct response? Apply and see if you get in. If everyone looked at the admission rates and saw that it's 10-20% and turned away, no one would ever go to school.

Of course, there are always the people who go over the top with nonsense. See for yourself (and please, don't post any replies unless it's sane). Next thing you know, we'll be boycotting schools that use SAT scores, followed by boycotting schools that ask you anything at all. Good times!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

what are the odds...

That the person on Progressive's Board of Directors that I presented to when I was in Ohio...

Is the same person as the step-mom of the person who hired my friend as an au pair from New Zealand...

Is the same person that I get to watch a video on, and write a paper on for a class' final exam?

All in the same year. As Patrick would say, what are the odds?

Friday, December 01, 2006


It's been a while. Here's a lengthy update.

Thanksgiving holiday was good. Got to hang out with the fam, hang out with friends, and take a closer look at the two llamas that live next door to my brother. (I'm not kidding. I have photos to prove it). I also used the opportunity to import 36 bottles of Great Lakes beer. I'll be bringing a six-pack of Christmas Ale to Sumana's tomorrow night. It'll be enough for 12. The stuff is about 10% alcohol and is usually served in a sniffer glass, a fact that the bartender at Johnny Malloy's apparently didn't know. He gave me a full pint!

So that's the good side of the trip home. The bad part? I'm getting a bit annoyed at how I always get some crazy car trouble the day that I come back to New Haven. It wasn't as bad as the last time when I first moved here, but still... Saturday night, my muffler falls half off as I'm driving down Monticello and starts dragging on the asphalt, throwing off sparks and prompting my friend Greg to call me to let me know. Thankfully, I had a pretty good idea how to take off the muffler so I chucked it in the trunk before going to Tommy's where I enjoyed a spinach pie and a banana milkshake (and then out-ate Laz). The Sunday morning, right before leaving for New Haven, my exhaust breaks by the catalytic converter, which also started dragging on the ground. WTF!? With no muffler, and another hole closer to the engine, my car was so loud that it was very uncomfortable to be in the car for more than a few minutes. Somehow I had to drive it back to New Haven since I didn't want to leave it with my parents. Insurance issues, etc. etc. (official reason?). Thankfully, I was able to secure the catalytic converter with some wire so I wouldn't drag the thing 500 miles to CT. That would have destroyed the part, which would have costed me an extra thousand dollars or so (would not be cool). I also had some nice in-ear headphones that actually made the noise level tolerable. Eight and a half hours later, I was back in New Haven, and somewhat behind in work.

Work and procrastination:
I got all my work done this week, but not without a but of maneuvering. What I mean is that during the week I was going to bed at 3am-ish each night and getting up at 6:30-is each morning. The worst part is that all this was completely unnecessary. If I didn't watch a random DVD Sunday night, I could have gotten to bed 2 hours earlier. On Monday and Tuesday I think I procrastinated for about 4 hours straight each day (from 8pm to midnight). Nice. I watched a David Chappelle special, so it was nice in a way. Then Wednesday I watched a movie (which I don't regret either). Finally on Thursday, after doing school stuff from 7:30am till 10:00pm, I went out and didn't come back till the bars closed. That night I went to bed at 1:15am. The most sleep I've had all week, even though I had to come in for a 9am meeting with my faculty mentor.

Random applause:
A strange thing happened in class yesterday. It was in our customer class, and I was tired as hell. Thanks to double-fisting Mountain Dews, I was still awake. In the last class I ran out of caffeine 25 minutes in, and spent the remaining 85 minutes struggling to stay awake. I remember at one point I was writing on my paper "I need caffeine!" completely aware that the professor was watching me, and also sensing myself doze off as I was writing and thinking "Neat! I can write neatly while half asleep!" Did I mention that I was out of it?

So back to the customer class. Professor K. Sudhir was going over Conjoint Analysis and was asking the class we couldn't use a single variable for an attribute and need to use separate dummy variables for all the values of the property. I knew the answer so I raised my hand (I try to participate when I'm in the mood, because I know that otherwise I'll just stay silent all semester like I did in undergrad). K. Sudhir called on a few people, who had an idea of why, but couldn't quite find the right words to verbalize it. After calling on three people or so, he finally called on me. I think I said something like "Because it assumes that the marginal utility is linear." For some reason, either because I used a shitload or jargon, or because of the look on Sudhir's face, or some other reason,
the whole class fell silent. Then they all started clapping. It was surreal. And no, this does not happen every day.

An update on my football season so far. In both Ivan's fantasy league and the work pool from Progressive, I started off terrible. Started 0-6 in the fantasy league, and finished 150th out of 150 in the work pool for the first half of the season. Since my 0-6 start, I've improved to 4-8, meaning I've been 4-2 in the last 6 weeks - one of those losses by a single point. For the football pool, so far I'm 5th out of 150 for the second half. I also managed to finished 4th for last week, winning me $20. In other words, I've only lost $30 on that pool this year. (-; With some luck, I'll try to win some more back. Wish me luck.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

mobile phone usage

I got my Cingular bill today, and I saw that I had about $16 in usage charges from going over my minutes. Ugh. Being on a shared plan, it's either my fault, or my mom's fault. Knowing my usage habits, I was pretty sure it was not me. After looking through the minutes used on the statement, I confirmed by suspicion.

But for the sake of fairness, and practicing Pivot Tables and Excel, I decided to dig a little deeper. Here's a summary of what I found. My mom seems to pay attention to when calls are being made. A lot of her calls are made after 9pm. On the other hand, it seems that the few calls made during the day tend to consume a lot of minutes. The other surprise is that I seem to make a ton of short calls around 6pm or so.

Total Calls by Hour (including weekends)

Looking at the number of calls, it's pretty clear that my mom is more conscious about when calls are made, as seen by the spike in the number of calls after 9pm.

Total Calls by Hour (daytime, weekday only)

Looking at the number of calls being made during "peak" hours, it looks like I'm the culprit. I'm in the dark red, making over 30 calls in the 7:00 hour. Eek! My mom, on the other hand, doesn't make a ton of calls during the day.

Total Minutes by Hour

This is a very different picture. Clearly, the issue is the number of minutes being used for each call. While I use aroung 180 minutes between the hours of 6pm - 7pm, my mom used about 400 minutes.

Friday, November 10, 2006

what am i doing here!?

It's 2am on a Saturday morning, and I am here chillin' in Room A-68 at SOM listening to 80's rock.

I'm going home now. But at least I got a bunch of stuff for next week done. I just need to write up a case for Tuesday, and do a crapload of reading for Monday. But aside from that, all is good. In other words, I still think I'm managing to "balance" everything.

The crazy things a two-day student government retreat will do to your Friday...


Got 10 minutes?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

site of the day

best movie ever

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

more election excitement

Voting here would be much more exciting if we were to vote on the same issues back home.

And yes, that's our ballot. Viewable online! Woohoo!

voting in connecticut

So strange... no lines at all. I was in and out in 5 minutes, and that was mostly because I was so puzzled at how smoothly things went.

"Most people have to work during the day" mentioned the lady next to me. Yes, same in Cleveland, but somehow we manage to make people wait for hours in line to cast their vote. Granted, this was not a presidential election, but it was the race between Lieberman and Lamont.

The voting machines were also a bit strange. You walk in and pull this huge lever (huge like the lever for a 2.5 ton hydraulic jack... yeah... that means nothing to most of you). The lever closes the curtain and strikes this bell *ding!*. Not sure if it does anything else. Then, instead of punch cards, we push down these little tabs for each person that we want to vote for. Each position has a column and each political party has a row, the opposite of what I expected. Makes it real easy to vote all Republican (or Democrat... or Green).

Anyway, it's done. And yes, I'm still appalled by the lack of information about candidates. And neither Lieberman nor Lamont filled out the NPAT, a survey of issues that would have been real nice to have so I can compare the candidates side by sides. It's tough trying to compare people on two sets of issues that don't match up. The NPAT lists all (well, most) of the issues so you can see where the candidates stand everywhere.

Oh... and this who I'm NOT voting for:
Joe Vollano
Official Campaign Site
Vote-Smart Page
Basically it seems like his stance on issues are similar to someone who's playing some dictator in a video game. Police-state, heavy military spending, etc. etc. Fantastic. Obviously, the best way to protect our civil liberties is to take them away.

Monday, November 06, 2006

stupid democracy

So tomorrow is election day and nowhere can I find ANY information about the issues that will be on the ballot, the candidates who are running, or what their positions are. Isn't this info kind of important?

I remember when I was in Cleveland I could go to the County Web site and look up our ballots beforehand, and I think the paper also had information that would let you see who all is running for your area and see what their stances are on certain issues. WTF? What do you think this is, Iraq?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

good ol cmu

Yeah... bunch of idiots...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

useful link of the day

How to unlock a Nokia phone

I will now be able to travel abroad and buy a SIM card and use it in my phone. Thanks, AT&T, for making this another hack that I have to do.


Random link of the day

Saturday, October 28, 2006

still up after two years

Don't know why I was looking at my old blog entries, but what's up with this?

Friday, October 27, 2006

finals are done! (-:

It's over. All three, done. And like Sharon loved to say, "Two out of three ain't bad."

What makes me think of this? Out of three exams, two went well, one went very poorly. Here are the fun (boring) details.

Exam #1: Economics
From my earlier post:

So in the interests of keeping my brain fresh and ready for finals this week, I decided to go on another bike excursion. This time, solo, to Sleeping Giant State Park.

So did it hurt me at all? I made an argument about the marginal utility of additional studying, arguing that it made no sense to do it, seeing that there is a very good chance that we'll get the same grade either way. In other words, lots of effort, no additional benefit. So I went on a bike ride the day before the exam. It was fun. I enjoyed it. Plus, I still managed to do well on the final. Bonus.

Exam 2: Accounting
This one was a bit crazy. We were initially told that we would be able to use all of our notes and also our laptops for the exam. We were also given the impression that we would be able to submit portions of the exam electronically. I thought this was great since I used Excel to do almost all the homeworks anyway. Easy, right?

Wrong. The morning of the exam we got an e-mail telling us that although we would be able to use our laptops, we wouldn't be able to use the printer or submit answers electronically. We would have to copy everything over by hand. Annoying, but OK, I figured.

Going through the exam, I had completed most of the content within the first hour and a half. I felt pretty good. I would have all day to complete the last part (indirect cash flow statement). At this point, I started copying my answers over. I took my time. After all, how long could it possibly take?

About an hour. This left the indirect cash flow. Not only that, but I also realized at this point that I would need to do it using the weird spreadsheet that Garstka likes to use, but that I never use. Hrm... For whatever reason, I decided to try it using the spreadsheet. Long story short, things didn't really work out. Oh well. As long as I pass the course...

Exam 3: Data and Decision Analysis
After my rant in my previous post about studying too much, I went ahead and worked through a whole stack of practice problems. Probably 20 or so in total. No bike ride. No solace for the brain.

I also decided the night before that since I've been having some problems sleeping recently that I'd just go to bed later. After all, I probably wasn't falling asleep till 2 or 3 in the morning anyway. So I start playing with my bike at around midnight, and stop at around 1:45 or so. I try falling asleep, and fail. I probably didn't sleep that night till 3:30 or so. End result - I slept through my alarm clock, but had enough sense to get up on time. Good thing I know myself well enough to try to wake up a full two hours before the exam starts.

The exam went well. Nothing too crazy, aside from insane rounding errors. With any luck, I'll do as well as I did on the econ exam (which we got back today). If not, then fine. I'll get a "proficient" and be on my way to our next set of classes. I think we already have several hundred pages of reading for the first week. Fun!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

first exam done

Yep. First one done. And no, I don't regret going on the bike ride yesterday. If anything, it helped? The only extra prep that would have helped would have been to do some endurance training for my right hand. I haven't written that much with a pencil in years.

To be honest, I'm not really down with the whole super crazy studying thing that's going on here. I'm not saying that people shouldn't be studying, but the amount of studying that's going on just seems a bit excessive. Or maybe it's the review sessions. People attending two accounting review sessions in the same day? Plus doing practice exams? At some point people are going to burn out. My strategy is to review the material, but otherwise take it easy so I don't fizzle out before the exams begin. Seems to be working so far.

I know it may seem odd, but this week has been one of the easiest so far for me. No corporate presentations, no club activities, no assignments to turn in, and no class. That frees up a good bit of time for study. Compared to last week, I save 10 hours of club stuff, 3 hours of job stuff, 15 hours of class, 5 hours of misc SOM stuff (student gov't, admissions), and probably 10-20+ hours of homework. It feels like there's nothing to do. Maybe I'll finally get around to working on my Canada 2006 photos. Sweet. (-:

Monday, October 23, 2006

study study study

So in the interests of keeping my brain fresh and ready for finals this week, I decided to go on another bike excursion. This time, solo, to Sleeping Giant State Park.

Photos are being uploaded as I type:

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

what am i thinking???

Time management can do wonders, but... three leadership roles?

1. Marketing Club First-Year Leader - because I'm really interested in it and "I'd be doing that sort of thing anything even if I didn't have the title."

2. Student Government Rep - because I love the people at the school (well, with a few commonly recognized exceptions) and I like doing things to help people. Basically,
"I'd be doing that sort of thing anything even if I didn't have the title."

3. Technology Club First-Year Leader - because I've already been spending a good bit of my time trying to find people who are interested in technology so that we can try to get more tech companies on campus. A true case where
"I'd be doing that sort of thing anything even if I didn't have the title."

This doesn't even go into the stuff I do with Admissions, Yearbook, and potentially (hopefully) Global Social Enterprise and SOM IN-reach. Speaking of... when do I need to send in my info for that?

Oh... and did I mention that prior to coming here I've never had much in terms of formal leadership roles? The secret is out!

Monday, October 16, 2006

what is going on!?!?

No, I'm not freaking out. At least not yet. But what's up with this?

My schedule for Tuesday:
Before class / Read a chapter of accounting
10:00 - 11:20 / Data class
12:00 / Lunch with Nick to talk about working at Tech companies
1:00 - 2:20 / Accounting class
2:40 - 4:00 / Problem Framing class
4:15 - 5:00 / Club meeting
5:30 - 6:50 / Student Government meeting with the Dean (yes, I'm an elected rep!)
7:00 - 9:00 / Dinner with my mentor group at our faculty mentor's house
9:00-ish / Write the remaining 4 pages of my final paper for my Careers course

And to top it all off, I think I melted the rear brakes on my bike. Good work, Paul.

Time to get my 7 hours of sleep.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

new ipod battery

New iPod mini battery installed in less than time than it takes to play the song "Freebird" or fill a bathtub with water.

At around $12, cheap!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

go blue!

We all know that the Blue Cohort is the best. Yep. Apparently there's photos of us on the internet. I'll tell you where:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I write from my "secret lair" up here where I have a view of virtually the entire School of Management from above. Would be great if I were a sniper.

So a few things have gone on since last time... Let's see...

First, Marcia and I had "the talk." We're still talking, and we're getting together sometime this weekend, but I think we've found that this whole situation sucks from a relationship standpoint. I've got a ton of stuff going on here, and she's only here on weekends. There's a ton more to do, but I'm not going to go into it here. If you want to know, ask. This means in person or on the phone.

School is still going fine. I'm managing to keep up with my work despite being involved. I've been selected as a first-year leader of the Marketing Club here, which is great. I also applied for a post on the Honor Committee and I'll also be running for a seat in the Student Government here. What else... I'm also participating in a case competition this week and I'll be helping with the Innovation in Marketing Conference that will be held here later this month. There are some good speakers so if you're interested in marketing, or innovation, you should sign up! Cheap too!

My leg is still recovering. It feels OK. Doesn't hurt. However, it still definitely feels "funny" but I'm not laughing. I think I'll try jogging in a week or two to see how it feels. At least it's showing continued improvement and I can walk. Definitely a plus.

Oh. Almost forgot. Another thing that I may do is write in another blog for the Admissions Office here. Yes, I already have this one, and sometimes I don't write in it. BUT, I sure beat Greg in this. He gave up after about a year. I'm still going strong! If I do end up doing that, I'll still write here, although I may do some cross-posting. Probably depends on the topic.

I'm also taking part in a Club that Amitabh set up for community service. I have to admit I haven't been able to do as much as I would have liked. I did look into a few things, and (thankfully) came to the conclusion that these things weren't needed or were impractical. The first was to have a Web site created to share random acts of kindness. Such a site already exists, so there is no point. I also thought of using post-it notes to replace the cards for passing along random acts of kindness, but came to the conclusion that although Post-its would be better for the initial act (better portability, can stick to stuff), they are not durable enought to encourage the recipients to pass it on.

Anyway, that's all for now. Time to head down to the basement, hang out with my study group, do some accounting, and then over to Admissions to talk to some prospective students (and bring them to class). Fun. Follow that up with case competition stuff, and a night out at Richter's having half-yards (of beer) with my learning team. Mmm.... learning....

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

ip 88

This isn't me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

my leg is still dead

For those who have been wondering, I did go to health services to get my leg looked at. It was a disappointing experience. I went expected to have a clear diagnosis and prognosis.

I expected to hear something that I didn't know. Instead, I found myself trying to convince the doctor that I didn't get kicked on the back of my leg. He termed my injury "unusual" because there usually isn't any bruising by the skin if it is a hamstring pull/strain. OK. Great. (He actually tried to talk me into thinking that someone hit me "in the heat of the moment." Then I recalled that I wasn't running, I was jumping... more on that later)

So what does all this mean for me? Nothing. All I was told is that it's a bruise, it should go away in a bit, and don't do anything with the leg for a couple of weeks. Um... great. I asked him whether I should be concerned that I can't really walk right... whether I should be concerned with the pain that I get when I stand up after sitting or lying down for a while. For each inquiry I got the evasive "it's a bruise... it will go away" response. Eventually I got him to dish out the "if it's still bothering you in two weeks, come back." I am awed by their wisdom. Thanks. At least it was free.

I'm still at a loss to explain how this all happenned. I don't really need something to pin this on, but it would be nice. Here's my latest theory: I recall this happened when I jumped, and the doc mentioned that another possible cause why hyperextension. Sure, he also said that I would have destroyed my knee in that situation, but I was jumping. Jumping! Those medium-height ultimate frisbee players who have been unlucky enough to jump against me for a disc know that I have hops. (Tall people are just tall... they can push me aside while I'm in mid-air... or I might collide with their elbows) I'm 5'6" and I can touch the rim of a 10' basketball hoop. My goal was to dunk, but I guess if my jumps are too powerful for my hamstring, I should give it a rest.

And apartment F3 is working out just fine. How's the project going?

Friday, September 22, 2006


A few updates... so last night I was over at the Yale farm just down the street from where I live picking tomatoes for some freshly made pizza.

What else? I'm going to Costa Rica in January. Yes, it's part of school. Paid for by student loans!

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pulled hamstring

To prove that I wasn't making up the story as an excuse to not go to the gym.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

hammy, hijinx

I've been busy. I've been trying to balance school, social, athletics, etc. Tough? It just got easier. On Sunday I pulled up lame while playing ultimate frisbee.

Hopes and fears? Hey, as long as I'm healthy enough to ski this winter, I'm happy. I missed out last year due to the whole hernia fiasco and I wouldn't want to waste what could be a perfectly good winter because of some freak injury. (Yes, freak injury. I've been doing conditioning and strength training... it's supposed to shield me from this kind of stuff, right? If it could only be that perfect). In the meantime, it means that I'll have another few hours a week to do other stuff since I won't be playing ultimate on Sunday and I also won't be going to the gym. No, I'm not going ot the gym. There's no point in going unless it's to do a leg workout to save my knees. But since my leg is screwed up, I can't do that. I'm not going.

OK... so hijinx. I like I've saved a ton of money getting books there, and I wanted to do the same thing this year. However, this time around I ended up dealing with this jackass who advertised a book as "Like New." Here's the quote: "Like New
*great book." I ordered the book On August 15th, plenty of time for it to get here by the end of August when classes start.

Long story shorter, I finally got the book today. I e-mailed the guy on the 8th and he said that he'd send it later that week or early this week. I guess I was happy he even responded because in the listed he said "FAST SHIP SAME DAY." He mentioned that he was out of the country for a week and a half. Fine. I finally received the book today, almost a full month after I initially ordered it and paid for it. Now for the next part of the saga....

The book is in shitty condition. That's my opinion though. Let me me know what you think. The cover looks worn. It has had several stickers placed on the cover that have been fully or partially removed. There is writing on the inside of the cover. There is highlighting (pink and yellow) in chapters 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7. The corners of the cover are worn to the point where you can see the cardboard. Is this "Like New?"

One of the concepts we've talked about in the Economics course that I bought the book for was the concept of a substitutable good. I was looking for a New or Like New book. This book was being sold as a substitute for a book of that condition and it wasn't. Not a substitutable good. I want me $8.70 back. I'll even send the book back, but I want them to pay for the shipping. Jerk.

In the meantime, I've decided to buy a 6th edition book (in full color). Should be here in a few days.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I haven't bought any gas since August 13th, 2006. And that was in Pennsylvania when I was moving to New Haven.

What would really be crazy is if I didn't get any gas until Thanksgiving. We all know that isn't happening. I'll find some excuse to go to Montreal or something...

Monday, September 04, 2006

titan magazines

Wow... Check them out:

Not only do they have a magazine for the show "24", but they also have a magazine for Bratz. Why doesn't anyone tell me about these things? If I had only known sooner...

Sunday, September 03, 2006

price rite

So after moving to New Haven, I've been on a quest to find the best place to shop. I go to Trader Joe's, but that's a bit far away and they don't carry everything that I need. But, I think I've found a solution...

The first place I went to was Shaw's. Big bright store, complete with obscenely high prices. Not for me. Then I went to Super Stop N Shop. Big bright store, complete with crappy prices. Then yesterday, I went to Price Rite, which is on Dixwell Ave by the Wilbur Cross Highway. Crowded, no shelving, pay for your own bags. BUT, they're dirt cheap, and they also a pretty good selection of foods for people with a more ethnic palate. (Let's just say that a third of their products are from Goya, and they sell at least four types of bananas) I love it.

And for those who are in Cleveland, yes, it's even cheaper than Marc's. A quick rundown....

  • 1 gallon of skim milk - $1.99
  • 96 oz of orange juice (Florida Natural or Tropicana) - $3.49
  • Ramen - $0.13
  • Pita - $.0.50
  • Twin pack of Country Crock margarine - $1.19
  • 2 liter of Coke - $0.69

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Wow. A number of things have happened since the last time I posted. I'll try to cover most of it, but I'll probably leave out half too... (for the sake of brevity)

So last Thursday we went on an excursion to NYC where we visited the Yale Club as well as the New York Stock Exchange. The Yale Club was very nice, and I'm considering becoming a member at least for this year just in case I'm ever in NYC. This goes with my current strategy of outdoing everything for now, just to see what it's like. I did a similar thing with the gym with the platinum locker and the towel service. We'll see how that works out.

But back to the NYSE. We rented out the trading floor for drinks that evening. It was a bit unreal being on the floor of the NYSE drinking Coors Light of all things. Yes, I could have gotten a glass of wine, or at least a Heineken, but I wanted to keep it real so I had a Coors Light. Rocky Mountain cold!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

weird dreams

Two actually... the first was that I came back to my blog and there were two comments for one of my posts. One was a scathing comment from a new classmate of mine over my incredibly stupid post. I don't remember what it was that I wrote in the dream, but I do recall that it dealt with repeating some nonsense over and over and over again (occassionally in ALL CAPS). I guess it was supposed to be funny? And the other comment was a quick post that said that I rock.

Second weird dream - I was in a study group with Kate. Why weird? I'm dreaming about styudy groups and class hasn't even started yet!

By the way, great party last night!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

day one

So today was my first day back as a student. Got my student ID, yada yada yada.

Some of the more unique highlights of the day:
  • The entire class singing Happy Birthday to the youngest member of our class (who was celebrating her 22nd birthday)
  • Riding a school bus to Lighthouse Point Park, and riding in the seat all the way in the back (best seat on the bus!)
  • Playing a random pickup game of ultimate on the beach (although briefly)

Monday, August 21, 2006

Apt F3

For those of you who are wondering (especially all y'all over in Cleveland), I'm happy to say that I've been able to make it over here to New Haven in one piece. Granted, it's not as easy as it sounds. I had a nice potential near-death experience on the way here. I'll get to that later. Orientation starts tomorrow, so I'm about to head over to the "last night of freedom" party a few streets over. And thanks, Sumana, for the text message. (-; (Sadly, I wasn't able to locate any eggplant chutney at Trader Joe's)

More importantantly, the general update. I've moved in, and I'm settling in quite nicely. Busy though, so I haven't been able to upload any pictures. Hey, I haven't even had a chance to upload my Memorial Day weekend pics, much less my Canadian Rockies pics, or even my er... really really old pics from random trips years ago. I'll get around to it... eventually...

Oh... and Marcia wanted me to let you all know how many times I've been to Target in the last week. I think it's been five. Awesome. Sam's Club thrice. Trader Joe's twice. Wal-Mart once (and I still really hate the place.... the one here is just as chaotic... and I didn't notice it being any cheaper than Target either). So yes, lots of shopping. But at least I'm learning my way around.

And I still have half a tank of gas from when I was in PA. (-:

Sunday, August 06, 2006

yet another car payment

So I was about to change my oil today when I decided that I should probably check my brakes. Next thing I know, I need new brake pads, new calipers, and a new caliper bracket. Then again, I suppose I should be happy that I discover this now instead of while I'm in New Haven. Now I can continue to exploit the free ethnic labour that I've been taking advantage of the past few years. Sweet!

Oh wait... I'm the free ethnic labour. Damn.. I'll report the total cost later. My guess is that it'll be about $250 or so when all is said and done. Hopefully less. I wasn't really paying too much attention to the price when I ordered the parts over the phone today. Either way it's cheaper than taking it someplace to get fixed, and it's probably no less convenient either. I get to work around my schedule, not theirs.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

cleveland rocks!

Cleveland Rocks... safely...

Friday, August 04, 2006

weird dream

So last night was my going away bash for Progressive. End result? I got a cool hat, some Superman ballons, and some weird dreams. Thanks to everyone who came out. I had a great time. It's been a great experience working with all of you, and my only regret is that I haven't had a chance to work with some of you more.

So... weird dream?
Basically it managed to combine fruit snacks, Sprite, toilets, and contests. I was totally confused in the dream, so there's no way it'll make sense in reality, but here goes. It was some contest sponsored by the fruit snack people and the Sprite people. To submit your entry you needed to get a can of Sprite (not a bottle), drink it till there's about 1cm of Sprite left on the bottom, chuck three fruit snacks in (I think they were Shark Bites), and then submit them by flushing the can down a toilet.

So how on earth can a can be flushed down a toilet? I gave it several attempts. In one of my earlier, more memorable attempts, I flushed first, then tried to chuck in the can as the water was exiting. Somehow, the can got rejected and got ejected several feet up in the air. Luckily, I was able to catch it. I also tried filling the entire can up with Sprite, which didn't work. Neither did substituting ginger ale for the Sprite... or using a Sunkist can. Obviously some fantastic reasoning skills at work here. Apparently the "real" way of submitting was to push the can down the hole as far as it can easily go, then flush. I never tried this because I didn't think it would work. Yes, fantastic reasoning skills at work. (-:

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

citibank dividend's card

So Citibank sent me a letter telling me that since I've been such a great customer they'd like to offer me some extra incentives. Great! So what do they offer? A lower APR on purchases, having my cash back automatically credited to my statement, or earning points towards more rewards.

After some thought, I decided to take the additional rewards since the other two options don't give me any additional money in return. I pay my balance in full, and I think I'd rather take a few dollars back and deal with the small inconvenience of having to cash a $50 check every once in a while.

So I call them up. When I talked to the rep, she told me that instead of those options I could get a full 5% back on ALL purchases for 3 months. Hrm... sounds like a good deal to me. So I signed up. I have a feeling this would come in handy when I pay rent... and when I buy stuff for my new apartment. (-:

Sunday, July 30, 2006


1 foot of emissions hose replaced: $2

2-3 gallons of gas saved: $6 - $9

Somehow I managed to drive from Cleveland to DC on just 12 gallons of gas, an impressive 32.35 mpg. What's up with that?

ooh... how safe

To Graduate and Professional Students:

I am writing to let you know of an attempted robbery and shooting last night involving four graduate and professional students in the yard of a house located at Mansfield and Tilton Streets. The students were approached by a man wearing a mask with a handgun who demanded money. In the ensuing struggle, the gun was fired and one of the students was injured. He is recuperating in the hospital. Yale and New Haven police have arrested the man, and he is now in the custody of the New Haven police.

While this incident is not part of a pattern of crime, it is most serious, and I urge those of you in New Haven this summer to exercise caution. Call us immediately if you feel unsafe or see anything or anyone that is suspicious, by dialing 911 or 203-432-4400. You may wish to program these numbers in your cell phones.

Chief James Perrotti

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

burn cream, part deux

So, days after I managed to burn myself while cooking some pierogies, my finger seems fine. There's a slight mark, but other than that the burn cream worked like a charm.

How well did it work? Well enough for me to burn myself again! This time instead of a small burn, I decided to splatter some hot cooking oil on my hand. About 20 times bigger than the last one!

Really, it was accidental. I clearly lack the experience of those who work at Long John Silvers, as I burned myself while frying up some talipia fillets. I'll um... be more careful next time.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

driving news

First of all, I made an estimate of the amount of time I drove during my last trip to Canada. Over 8 days, I drove approximately 40 hours. Nice.

Secondly, I got a letter today from the Ohio BMV telling me that I got a ticket from NJ and that it was going onto my record. Too bad I don't have a license in Ohio anymore!

Saturday, July 15, 2006


Most used airports (by me):
40 - CLE
Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (meaning we have seasonal service to London)
14 - HKG - Hong Kong (Lantau Island, awesome airport)
7 - SEA - Seattle/Tacoma
7 - CAK - Akron/Canton (rocks)
6 - ORD - Chicago - O'Hare (kinda sucks)
6 - BOS - Boston
5 - MSP - Minneapolis/St. Paul
4 - NRT - Tokyo, Japan - Narita (sucks)
4 - PIT - Pittsburgh
4 - LAX - Los Angeles
4 - HNL - Honolulu (nice outdoor garden)
4 - LAS - Las Vegas (most expensive food anywhere)
4 - CHC - Christchurch
3 - PHL - Philadelphia
2 - HKG_old - Hong Kong (old airport in Kowloon)
2 - SAN - San Diego
2 - PEK - Beijing, China
2 - LHR - London, UK - Heathrow
2 - KWL - Guilin, China
2 - TXN - Tunxi, China
2 - TPA - Tampa
2 - DTW - Detroit
2 - MCO - Orlanda
2 - KMG - Kunming, China
2 - IAH - Houston - George Bush
2 - EWR - Newark (sucks)
2 - LGW - London, UK - Gatwick
2 - YUL - Montreal, Canada
2 - KIX - Osaka, Japan (nice, but far far away)
2 - ATL - Hotlanta (they have a Popeye's)
2 - RDU - Raleigh/Durham (they have a Popeye's)
2 - AKL - Auckland, New Zealand
2 - SYD - Sydney, Australia
1 - JFK - New York - JFK
1 - ANC - Anchorage
1 - IAD - Washington - Dulles
1 - AMS - Amsterdam, Netherlands (nice)
1 - FCO - Florence, Italy
1 - DLU - Dali, China
1 - LJG - Li Jiang, China
1 - MDW - Chicago - Midway
1 - WLG - Wellington, New Zealand

Friday, July 14, 2006

burn cream

So I finally got to test out this fancy burn cream that I bought in China. Yes, the one where there was the demonstration with the guy who grabbed a red hot chain and then applied the burn cream to demonstrate the effectiveness.

No, I wasn't playing with red hot chains, but I did decide to fry some stuff in a pan without using the proper utensils. Long story short, my pinkie came in contact with the pan. I applied the burn cream and it's not swelling or anything, although it did leave a small mark. I do understand what the employees said about how it still hurts though.

So I've got gimpy hands for the next few days. Yeah, I also jammed my index finger last night playing ultimate. Those of you I work with probably noticed the nice tape job I had on it. Precautionary. Those of you who I play ultimate with probably know about how I practice throws with my left hand just in case. Well, I hurt my left hand, not my right... and I'm OK with that. (-:

Plus I can still type. (-:

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

educational link of the day


Tuesday, July 11, 2006


This is awesome. I'm going to rent some censored DVDs!

And isn't it funny that their most popular rental is "Wedding Crashers"? Especially considering that they take out all nudity, profanity, violence, and sexual content? What's left???

They also have a *great* definition of profanity:
This includes the B-words, H-word when not referring to the place, D-word, S-
word, F-word, etc. It also includes references to deity (G-word and JC-words
etc.), only when these words are used in a non-religious context.

Monday, June 26, 2006

adventures - part 1 (of probably 1)

To set the stage, I'm flying out west tomorrow to go to Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies. The flight is insanely early in the morning (6:45-ish). We want to save as much time as we can, so we're doing the online check-in.

Plus #1: United was kind enough to send me an e-mail to remind me to check-in this morning, so I went to their site to do it.

Issue #1: While the e-mail had a handy link to the check-in pages, the page needed my frequent flyer number, which, like everyone else, I don't have.

Plus #2: Knowing that United does let me log in using my e-mail address from the homepage, I went there to log in. E-mail address, password, done.

Issue #3: After clicking the button to submit my e-mail and password, I noticed a dropdown telling me where I wanted to be dropped off after I log in. I knew I wanted to check in, but I left the dropdown at my summary page. Partially because that's generally where I would like to be taken, and partially because I figured I can get to the check-in page from there. Apparently, I didn't have the patience for it. I checked "My Itineraries" to see if I could check in from there, and I couldn't. I was really hoping for something on my summary screen that would let me check in. Eventually, I ended up returning to the homepage to find the check-in feature since I knew that it was there.

Issue #4: Back on the homepage, the site asked me for my frequent flyer number and password again. Remember, I already logged in. Why should I need to do this again?

Plus #3: Thankfully, since I asked the site to remember me, it already had my frequent flyer number pre-filled. Whew!

Issue #5: When choosing seats, it tried to trick me into upgrading seats. I've seen this before and I know their tricks, but it's still damn annoying.

Plus #4: For the seat selection, it told me where the wing was. I like that... a lot.

Issue #5: Printing glitch #1: Checking in for 2 flights for 4 people means 8 boarding passes. I didn't want the boarding passes to be split across pages, so I tried printing one person at a time. So I selected the boarding passes for the first passenger and asked Firefox to print the selection.
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page
...blank page

This clearly wasn't right. I raced over to my printer status to see if it would ever end. When the thing finally opened, I saw that it was trying to print over 5,000 pages... and it kept growing too. I canceled as fast as I could, but not before it killed 25-50 pages.

Issue #6: Printing glitch #2: OK. So printing the selection was no good. Next attempt I just tried to print like a normal person. Print the whole thing and see what happens. Instead of getting my boarding passes, I got a printout with an error message on it. At least it was one page...

Third time's the charm: So I finally decided to click on the United provided print button. After saying I was OK with printing 8 documents, I got my 8 boarding passes. Easy!

Monday, June 19, 2006

what's wrong with this picture?

Patriotic Cow

No cheating (I have a comment at the end of there).

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

random post of the day

Proof that George W Bush wasn't always a total idiot, plus an explanation of why he is today?

Originally I was going to go into something about the unique problems of really tall people, but I'll save that for a later day.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

cents per mile

Looking back over the years (since May of 2001, to be exact), I've spent $18,752.42 on driving. In return, I've got a car worth about $3,000, plus 57167.3 miles on my odometer. What does this mean? It means that my car over time costs 27.6 cents per mile.

I remember the last time I did this calculation I was under 25 cents a mile. Why did it go up? A few reasons:
  1. I calculated it differently this time
    Last time I excluded things like parking, tolls, and traffic tickets. This time I didn't bother with sorting through that. I'm guessing that would add another $500 or 1 cent/mile. Whew! Feel even better now!

  2. Gas costs more
    Last time I calculated this, gas was something like $1.20 a gallon. It's over twice that now. You'd think this would make my costs skyrocket. Thankfully there's things like cheaper insurance and more highway miles that offset this. Imagine if gas was still that cheap!
Bottom line? My car is still reliable enough that I'm not spending too much on repairs. Granted, I can't really see when that would be the case, considering that labor is essentially free. It'll be time to stop when the cost to fix the car exceeds the replacement cost of the car. In other words, when the engine completely dies or something else terrible happens to the car. Eeek!

Now... for all you people who make car payments, here's a rough comparison. Let's get your run of the mill cheap-ass car with a car payment of $199 a month. Assuming that you drive 12,000 miles a year (typical), that would be 1,000 miles per month. Match that with the $199 monthly payment and you already have 20 cents per mile. Working backwards, if you want this car to be as cost efficient as mine, you'd only have 6.7 cents per mile for things like gas, tires, repairs, insurance, and depreciation. Sheesh! Even if it was just gas, good luck on finding a car that costs 6.7 cents per mile for gas. With gas costing $2.87 per gallon as it does today, you'd need a car that gets 43 mpg. Good luck with that one!

Now with the jerk example. Let's say I have a gas guzzling car that gets 15 mpg (think any big truck). With gas at $2.87 a gallon, gasoline alone would cost 19 cents a mile. Sweet!

Friday, June 09, 2006

first post in a while

So um.... I've been busy. Since the last time, I've went to a few baseball games, gone to Toronto, gone to Connecticut, gone to Las Vegas, and now I'm going back to CT. Something to do with my scheme of getting a new driver license to avoid having a ticket show up on my record. (-: Might as well give it a shot, right?

Monday, May 22, 2006

dumb link

What the hell???

Sunday, May 21, 2006

house stuff

Similar to the other list for cars, but this time for house stuff... This is probably not a comprehensive list since I don't keep track of it like I do with stuff I do for my car. Here goes...
  • Telephone wiring and jacks
  • Replacing outlets, light switches, etc.
  • Laying tile (including backer boards)
  • Completely tearing apart a kitchen - cabinets, flooring
  • Putting in kitchen cabinets
  • Snaking drains
  • Installing faucets
  • Installing a tub/shower
  • Removing a cast iron tub
  • Adding another bar in a closet to hang clothes
  • Constructed frames for putting up paneling
  • Putting up drywall
  • Changing light bulbs
  • Sealing driveways
  • Patching holes in driveways
  • Changing the wheels on the garage door
  • Installing thresholds for exterior doors
  • Put up a fence for a compost
  • Carpet removal
  • Building shelves
  • Installing a new sink
  • Changing locks
  • Removal and installation of interior doors
  • Removal and installation of an exterior door
  • Installing a gas range
  • Installing a dishwasher
  • Making a door disappear
  • Painting
  • Putting in trim
  • Planting trees
  • Pruning trees
  • Cutting down trees
  • Running cable
  • Change fuses

Sunday, May 14, 2006

car stuff

So what have I done with cars?

  • Alternator
  • Alternator belt
  • Serpentine belt
  • Front and rear disc brake pads
  • Brake calipers
  • Brake caliper braket
  • Master cylinder
  • McPherson struts
  • Rotors
  • Sway bar
  • Sway bar bushings
  • Front and rear upper suspension arms/ball joint
  • Anti-lock brake sensors
  • Radiator
  • Oxygen sensors
  • Car batteries
  • Assorted lights (headlights, rear lights, turn lights, gear selector light)
  • Fuel filter
  • Air filter
  • Oil and filter
  • Radiator coolant
  • Radiator cap
  • Spark plugs
  • Tie rod ends
  • Drive shafts
  • Wipers
  • Side mirror
  • PCV valve
  • Ignition coil
  • Distributor cap
  • Distributor rotor
  • Ignition module
  • Radiator hoses
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Gasoline... yes, I pump my own gas (screw NJ!)
Repaired, adjusted, or reconditioned:
  • Brake caliper boots and bolts
  • Distributor rotor
  • Idle speed
  • Exhaust
  • Electrical connections
  • Your mom
What I don't do:
  • Timing belt (needs an engine hoist!)
  • Water pump (needs an engine hoist!)

oil oil oil!

We rock. In case you didn't know, our domestic oil production is only 66% of what it was in the early 1990's. Don't believe me? See for yourself.

Another interesting fact. We're the third biggest oil producer in the world, yet we're still largely dependent on foreign oil. Granted, we have a huge population, and we're definitely not as screwed as China from an energy standpoint. Not troubling, until you consider the scenario of major powers fighting (literally) over energy. Good times. (sarcasm).

So who should we attack next? Probably Brazil or Norway. They seem to be increasing production. Oh... and annex Alberta from Canada since oil sands are now profitable.

Lesson learned (or not learned)? Attacking countries and making them politically unstable doesn't help oil production. Iraq is running at only better than 50% capacity compared to the days of Saddam Hussein. Next time do a coup instead of a frontal assault.

Random related links:
Link 1: Oil output forecasts
Link 2: Report and outlook


So I got 20 free songs on iTunes from getting plane tickets on Yay me. So that led to to the iTunes store... to Green Day... to see if I should repurchase Dookie, my third CD ever.

And on the Dookie page, there were the customer reviews. One of which asked Green Day fans if they could name any songs that are not on American Idiot. Good question, eh? I can do it easily (Basketcase, Longview, Minority), but that's because I was in high school when Dookie came out. Am I really that old? (no, because I still hang out with college kids at times)

But this got me thinking back to the Green Day concert that I went to. We were some of the oldest people there. Most of the audience was probably in high school or college (more likely high school). So if they're 16-18 now, that means that they were 5-7 years old when Dookie was released. A good chunk of them probably never heard Dookie. And if they did, they listened to it the same way I would listen to an early Aerosmith album -- a piece of the past. Strange when you think about it that way.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

find the skank!

It's like "Where's Waldo?," but very very different...


Wednesday, May 10, 2006

a touch of class

Those of you who know me know that I'm a classy guy. (-; Here's a rundown of places I'll be staying for my next two trips.
Yes, clearly the international traveler. But hey, I've never been to Alberta before. It's my chance to hit all the provinces? Probably a silly goal since I'll never go to the Northwest Territories, but not a bad start for a Yankee.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006


er... I've been up for 20 hours straight. Maybe I should be feeling more tired. Maybe I'm excited about my upcoming trips!

Yep, I'm doing another Canadian whirlwind tour. Kind of like last year when I hit Montreal, Toronto, and Vancouver, but nothing like it!

For this year:
Toronto, Montreal?, Vancouver, Mt. Revelstoke NP, Glacier NP (the one in Canada, NOT the one in the U.S.), Yoho NP ("Yo, ho!"), Banff NP and Jasper NP? Yeah! Good thing I have plenty of memory cards for my camera!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

random link of the day

Churchgoers longer, studies say.

It also says that it's not as cost effective, or as effective overall, as regular exercise. It also makes it pretty clear that this is a correlation and no causality has been established.

This brings me to a more important point. Causality is ignored so often it's amazing. This is a good topic to get me on a rant about work. Not as good as abstraction though. We really need more abstract thinkers who can apply learnings less directly.

Monday, May 01, 2006

random site of the day

And yes, I should be sleeping...

Sunday, April 30, 2006

people who drive fast

OK. I drive faster than most other people. However, I've noticed something about people who drive really really fast (the ones that happen to fly by me on the freeway) -- they don't know where they're going.

Two cases (which clearly makes this scientific):

Case 1: The person in the black Nissan Altima driving down I-271
I noticed this car one morning when I was driving over to my parents' place. I was in the local lanes going my typical 70-75mph. I noticed somewhere around the Mayfield exit that the black Nissan Altima in the express lane that was flying down the road. I also noticed the nice dent on the right side of the car - much like the dent I have.

Another 3 or 4 miles down the road I get off at Chagrin Blvd. As I stop at the light at Richmond, I notice a black Nissan Altima with a dent on the passenger side. Exact same car. Apparently the jackass got off at the wrong exit and came back north an exit. Good work, jackass.

Case 2: Annoyed girl in a Honda CR-V in the OH turnpike
This girl clearly was unhappy with my speed on the turnpike as she tailgated me. I think I was going 75mph, and she wasn't really going too much faster than I was, but she was annoyed, impatient, pissed off. Anyway, I was happy when she turned off at the I-680 exit by Youngstown. I thought that was the end of it. Apparently not.

Half an hour later (about 30 miles down the road), I see this girl again. She didn't look any happier. Clearly she was even more pissed off because she really meant to get off at I-480 (Cleveland) instead of I-680 (Youngstown). Brilliant.

Saturday, April 29, 2006

the imperial palace

This June I'll be going to Las Vegas to join Seth at his bachelor party. However, the one thing that I didn't know when I signed up for the fun was where we'd be staying.

I really didn't give it much thought at first. After all, we're probably not going to be spending much time in our rooms anyway. However, when I was informed that we would be staying at the Imperial Palace, I was left speechless.

Was this a good thing? Was it a bad thing?

Last time I went to Vegas, I had the fine luck of passing through the Imperial Palace. It's tucked neatly away behind another casino, and I remember that I struck my attention because of it's fantastic logo spells out my last name. I also remember from stepping into the casino that it was overwhelmingly Asian. In other words, FOBish.

So you can understand how I was torn about this. Sure, it's funny as hell that I'll be at the Asian FOBish casino that's also known as the IP, but then I realize that I'll actually be staying at the Asian FOBish casino called the IP. We'll see. Worst case is that it results in more humor.

Monday, April 24, 2006


If I have lots to write about, I have no time to post. If I have time to post, I don't have much to write. Various topics to harrass me about:
  • Yale welcome weekend - awesome
  • The drive back - lots of rain, flooding, Hudson River
  • People who drive fast - don't know where they're going (I-680, Harvard exit)
  • Vegas
  • I'm sure I'm missing something. Just ask!

Monday, April 17, 2006

art supplies

Yeah, I just made my first purchase from an art supply store. Why? Because I needed to.

The one thing that did really bother me though was how crappy those web sites are. Poor product descriptions, poor layouts, and a most buggy purchase flow I've seen in years. Really, it got so bad that in Firefox it thought that the continue button was the same as the button that toggled between US address entry and International address entry. For whatever reason I actually switched to IE, redid my shopping cart, and then checked out. Bleh...

And no, I'm not going to art school. Going to business school.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

which brings me to my next point

If people are so pissed off about the price of oil (which is a commodity that is priced the same regardless of which station you buy from), think about this outrage:

Today, millions of consumers are buying food at artificially high prices. How high? About 70% more than they should be paying. You would think that people would be outraged at this anal rapage of sorts. But no, they're actually wearing broad smiles when they are being ripped a new one. Chances are, you're one of them.

So where's your Bonus Card when your grocery store charges over $3 for a gallon of skim milk when it's sold at Sam's Club every day for $1.75? And what's the advantage of the Giant Eagle Advantage card when you have to buy apples at $1.69 a pound when they're sold at the discount store at the other side of the strip mall for $0.99 a pound? If these stores can "save" you $30 each time you make a grocery run, imagine how much you'd save if you were buying your chicken breast at $2.59 a pound instead of a ridiculous $4.59 a pound?

Yes, you should be outraged. But unlike the stupid gasoline thing, there really is a solution. With the gas thing, you buy gas at some other station for the same price. You save nothing. Here, you can buy your groceries elsewhere and save money each time, while simultaneously pressure grocers into more consumer-friendly pricing schemes. Sure, it may not work, but you can at least know that you're not the one paying the extra 70% for your groceries.

Did I ever mention that I hate Giant Eagle? Yes, I do. But at the same time I'm not exactly impressed with any of the other grocery stores around here either.

do you seriously believe this will work

If it wasn't for the last pathetic attempt (not buying gas for a day), this would the dumbest thing I've ever heard of. It is kind of funny to see how desperately creative people can be. Definitely more interesting that the "don't buy gas for a day... that'll show them!" thing that was attempted previously, but flawed nonetheless. It's like saying that we don't like how cars are expensive so we'll stop buying Toyotas because they sell the most vehicles. Toyota may lower prices, but the other companies can artificially inflate prices to take advantage of this new "market force" of blatant retardation.

Ultimately it comes to this. As consumers, if we find it expensive, we'll find ways of using less of it so that we can save money. From a corporate standpoint, why not keep jacking up the price if people are dumb enough to keep buying? Right now, gas is still cheap enough for most people to tolerate, which is why people keep buying fuel inefficient cars and keep buying gas.

Besides, we're not the only consumers of gasoline (trucks, fleets, etc.), and gasoline is not the only product that's dependent on oil.

This might be worth a try and it certainly won't hurt to test out this
GAS WAR - an idea that WILL work

This was originally sent by a retired Coca Cola
executive It came from one of his engineer buddies
who retired from Halliburton. It's worth your

Join the resistance!!!! I hear we are going to hit
close to $ 4.00 a gallon by next summer and it might
go higher!! Want gasoline prices to come down? We
need to take some intelligent, united action.

Phillip Hollsworth offered this good idea. This makes
MUCH MORE SENSE than the "don't buy gas on a certain
day" campaign that was going around last April or May!
The oil companies just laughed at that because they
knew we wouldn't continue to "hurt" ourselves by
refusing to buy gas. It was more of an inconvenience
to us than it was a problem for them. BUT, whoever
thought of this idea, has come up with a plan that can
really work. Please read on and join with us!

By now you're probably thinking gasoline priced at
about $1.50 is super cheap. Me too! It is currently
$2.79 for regular unleaded in my town. Now that the
oil companies and the OPEC nations have conditioned us
to think that the cost of a gallon of gas is CHEAP at
$1.50 - $1.75, we need to take aggressive action to
teach them that BUYERS control the marketplace..not
sellers. With the price of gasoline going up more each
day, we consumers need to take action. The only way we
are going to see the price of gas come down is if we
hit someone in the pocketbook by not purchasing their
gas! And, we can do that WITHOUT hurting ourselves.

Since we all rely on our cars, we can't just stop
buying gas. But we CAN have an impact on gas prices if
we all act together to force a price war.

Here's the idea: For the rest of this year, DON'T
purchase ANY gasoline from the two biggest companies
(which now are one), EXXON and MOBIL. If they are not
selling any gas, they will be inclined to reduce their
prices. If they reduce their prices, the other
companies will have to follow suit. But to have an
impact, we need to reach literally millions of Exxon
and Mobil gas buyers. It's really simple to do! Now,
don't wimp out on me at this point...keep reading and
I'll explain how simple it is to reach millions of

I am sending this note to 30 people. If each of us
send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300) ... and
those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 =
3,000)...and so on, by the time the message reaches
the sixth group of people, we will have reached over
THREE MILLION consumers.

If those three million get excited and pass this on to
ten friends each, then 30 million people will have
been contacted! If it goes one level further, you

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people.
That's all!
(If you don't understand how we can reach 300 million
and all you have to do is send this to 10 people....
Well, let's face it, you just aren't a mathematician.
But I am . so trust me on this one.)
How long would all that take? If each of us sends
this e-mail out to ten more people within one day of
receipt, all 300 MILLION people could conceivably be
contacted within the next 8 days!!! I'll bet you
didn't think you and I had that much potential, did
you! Acting together we can make a difference.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

minoriteam is terrible

Need I explain? Not funny, stupid plots (if I can even call them plots), bad voice acting, and it looks like it's a comic book on TV -- as in hardly any animation outside of panning still frames. Please kill this show.

Samurai Champloo, on the other hand, is awesome. Good story, great animation, and great visuals.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

i dreamt i was with someone else

I'm sorry, but I dreamt that I was with someone else... while grocery shopping. Or more precisely, that I was grocery shopping with someone else. It's ok though! I didn't really buy anything! I just got like three things!

Yeah. This is silly, but I guess this is what happens when I go to sleep after grocery shopping and I also talk with certain people about produce and groceries on a surprisingly regular basis.

Anyway, it's not like I made a booty call or something. That's a totally different incident and I politely turned it down.

Unlike this crappy Netgear router, I generally behave myself. Generally...

Sunday, April 02, 2006

boo silverstar

You know those Sylvania Silverstar headlight commercials? Yeah, the one where there are two incredibly stupid bicyclists riding in the middle of the road in complete darkness without any of the standard reflectors? Yep. I'm not sure if "regular" people pay attention to such ads, but my dad and I as DIY auto mechanics certainly remember the product. Well, during the past two weeks, both my dad and I needed new headlamps. Here's our story.

My dad needed headlamps first, and I was lucky enough to get them from the store for him. I was actually there to get something for myself (I think?), but before leaving I forgot to ask exactly which ones he wanted. I called him up from the store and asked him which type he wanted. There were basically three choices, the standard halogens, some extra bright halogens, and the Silverstars. Prices were $8 or so for a standard halogen, $11 for a long life halogen, and $24 for the Silverstars. Knowing that he wanted something the provided more light, I told him the Silverstars would be brighter, but would cost more. As I predicted, he went with the Silverstars. We put them in and he's happy with them.

But here's what we didn't know... My headlamp just burned out. And as a guy who hates bright headlights, I wasn't particularly interested in the Silverstars. However, I did come across a great deal on the Cool Blue headlights (also by Sylvania). Instead of being $15 a bulb, they were a ridiculously cheap $5.50 a bulb - even cheaper than a standard halogen. But should I get this bulb? I didn't want one that was insanely bright. So I decided to do some research. I went to Sylvania's site to check out their products. I remembered seeing such a chart at Murray's (our auto parts store), so I expect to find *something* online, and I did.

Looking at the comparison chart, I saw that the life of most of their higher end bulbs were inferior to that of the standard halogens. But by how much? If the Cool Blue's were half the price of a standard halogen, they's still be worth it if they only had half the life. So I dug further.

On the standard halogen lamp's web page, it proudly stated that the bulbs have a durability rating of 1000 to 1500. Cool. However, that piece of information was missing from the pages for all the other lamps. Fine. After a bit more digging, I was able to find what I wanted. And here's what I found:
  • Standard Halogen - 1000
  • Long Life Halogen - 1500
  • Cool Blue - 200
  • XtraVision - 850
  • Silverstar - 150
Basically, the Cool Blue's last only 20% as long as the standard halogens. No go. What was even more disturbing was that the Silverstars, which Sylvania is so heavily promoting (and which also cost a fortune), last only 10% as long as a long life bulb. What the hell. After taking bulb life into account, here's the cost of each per year (based on the life of my recently deceased standard halogen which lasted 4 years and 3 weeks - yes, I kept track):
  • Standard Halogen - $1.97/year
  • Long Life Halogen - $1.81/year (8.4% cheaper)
  • Cool Blue - $6.76/year (3.4 times as expensive)
  • XtraVision - $3.62/year (1.77 times as expensive)
  • Silverstar - $39.41 (almost exactly 20x as expensive!)
So basically, the Silverstar is a ripoff. If you want a bright headlamp, go with the XtraVision. It has the letter X in it, so it's inherently better, plus it would cost only one tenth as much. Is it really worth that much more? I doubt it.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

alternate identity

I've been hiding it all these years, but I'll now expose my true identity. I am not Paul Ip. I am....

Alan Jones

OK. Seriously. I'm not Alan Jones, but apparently that what they *thought* my name was when I ordered this part at Murray's. I love Murray's, and I'll still shop there again, but this just doesn't make any sense.

So here's the story. I called into Murray's on Monday to check the price they had for a part. They had the lowest price by a few dollars, so I ordered the part by giving my credit card number to the guy. The part usually gets in overnight, but I didn't drop by till tonight (Thursday night).

When I got in the store, I went to the bin to see if the part that I ordered was there. It wasn't. It wouldn't have been there anyway, since that isn't where they put those parts (probably a good thing), but either way, I couldn't find what I was looking for. So I ask the guy working there, RJ.

After helping a couple of people that got there before I did, RJ went to the back of the store to look for it. He couldn't find it. It didn't make sense to either of us. He then checked the logs of parts that have been ordered. He couldn't find me. After asking what the part was, he did find the same part ordered for Alan Jones. It wasn't clear if it was for the same car though. Probably just coincedence.

I then mentioned that perhaps I ordered it at another store by mistake, and RJ went to check to see if there were any parts being held for me at all the Murray's stores in Ohio. Again, nothing. Disappointed, I asked him if he could just order me another part. He advised me against that since if I gave my credit card number, chances are it was charged, and I wouldn't want to be charged twice. I left empty handed.

Getting home, I checked my credit card statement. Sure enough, my card was charged for the part. Not only that, but it was charged to the store that I had just visited. Great. What the heck is going on... I call them up.

I talk to another fellow on the phone. I ask him to double check to see if my part is in. I did explain the prior difficulty, so he goes straight to the logs. "Are you Alan Jones?" he asks. Of course not, I reply. The funny thing is, Alan Jones also has a 1993 Honda Accord, just like mine. I volunteer the last 4 digits of my credit card number. Bingo! That bastard used my credit card!

It would have been simple if that was all. But he wanted to see if the other info matched up. Daytime phone number? I forget what he said it was, but it sure wasn't my phone number. I think the credit card, part, order date, and car were enough to convince him though. He told me that he wrote my name on the order so I should be able to come and pick it up the next time I drop in. At this time I ask if the part will be in the bin at the door, or if it would be behind the desk. He replies by telling me that these parts are always held behind the desk so that they are given to the right person. But what if Alan Jones comes in? "There is no Alan Jones," he replies. I'm not totally convinced. But if Alan Jones comes in and takes my rear left brake caliper bracket, I'm going to be a little pissed.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

site of the day

Ever wonder how the big water treatment plant at the top of Fairhill (er... Stokes Blvd.) was built?

Answer: With horses and steam shovels. Heck yeah!