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.