Tales From The Ipe!

I sit by and watch the river flow. I sit by and watch the traffic go.

I passed my CRISC exam!

It’s been a long 10 weeks since I took the CRISC exam on June 4. I don’t understand it. The exam was a Scantron exam with all the bubbles, so it was certainly a machine-scored exam. ISACA says it takes up to 5 weeks to score the exam using a 200-800 point scale, blah blah. See below:

ISACA uses a 200-800 point scale with 450 as the passing mark for the exams. A scaled score is a conversion of the raw score on an exam to a common scale. It is important to note that the exam score is not based on an arithmetic or percent average. For example, the scaled score of 800 represents a perfect score with all questions answered correctly; a scaled score of 200 is the lowest score possible and signifies that only a small number of questions were answered correctly.

A candidate must receive a scaled score of 450 or higher to pass the exam. A score of 450 represents a minimum consistent standard of knowledge as established for the exam by the respective ISACA Certification Working Group. The passing score of 450 represents the minimum number of questions that must be answered correctly by the candidate in order to demonstrate practical application of the job task and knowledge statements. A candidate receiving a passing score may then apply for certification if all other requirements are met.


Every week since the exam, I’ve been dreading the results. Kicking myself for not studying more, or taking more practice questions. Fool. Hundreds of dollars to register for that exam, you know, and all potentially all wasted.

With all that complicated scoring, it took them 10 weeks to send me my ‘Notice of Exam Results’.  When I  received the letter on August 15, I opened it with dread. Color me shocked when I read the results below.

Not only did I pass, I did really well. Heck, I was in the top 5% of everyone who tested that day. I was speechless.

So it feels good. Some vindication that my mind hasn’t fossilized or atrophied that much yet. The next steps are to complete the application for certification, get verification from old colleagues/managers, and submit the paperwork to ISACA.

Wow, I am still stunned.

Josh went away to Boy Scout Summer Camp for a week, and we all survived

This year, Josh attended a week of Boy Scout Camp  along with his Boy Scout troop plus other troops from around the Northeast. This was the first time that he would be away from home for an entire week, out in Forestburg Scout Reservation. in Orange county, New York. Josh’s troop went up in a caravan of cars and a trailer on Sunday, and we wished them all good luck before they left on an early Sunday morning. We had a quiet week around here while Josh was away. When someone posted photos online on Facebook, that was our only way to find out how Josh was doing. During the week, he would be fishing, swimming, and working merit badges.


Stranded on the side of the road

Our plan was to drive up on the Friday at the end of his week, see him at the closing ceremony, stay overnight at an area hotel, and pick him up the following day (Saturday.) Namita and I took the day off, and it was a beautiful day. We left Friday morning, ran some errands along the way, had some lunch, and got on the road again before it all went downhill. Along Route 15, the Toyota began to smoke. We pulled over to the side of the road, and found oil leaking in the engine compartment. Not wanting to risk a car fire, we called AAA and a taxi. We had the car towed via flat bed to a garage in Newton NJ, and took the taxi to the nearest Enterprise Rent-a-Car. We didn’t have a choice — we were running out of time to make the 90 minute drive to Forestburg before the closing ceremony.

20160723-20160723_100241We drove as fast as we could, reaching Port Jervis and eventually Forestburg, around the beginning of the ceremony. We didn’t stay for dinner, said goodbye to Josh, went to look for dinner and our hotel room.

The next morning, the car wasn’t ready (of course), and we drove our rental car back to the Forestburg to pick up Josh. We made our way home, relieved to eventually get home, and to be together again.

I sure am having a lot of bad luck driving into Newark

wp-image-760095873jpg.jpgJuly 18th. Driving out of Newark again after a long day in the office.  I hit a  huge bump in the road, and lights go off in the dashboard with beeping. See below. I mean, it’s been a little over a week since my last flat tire in Newark. I couldn’t have multiple flat tires, could I?

I still don’t know what happened exactly, but something bad happened. Luckily, I didn’t have to change a tire that evening on a Newark side street. I was able to limp home at a slow speed down the NJ Turnpike, and yes, had to have the rear right tire replaced. Total cost of replacement tires this month, because of Newark NJ? $500.

And that, my friends, is why I’m not driving into Newark anymore. I’m done.

Joel’s Review of Me Before You (2016)

wp-image-730166959jpg.jpgIt’s been a while since we’ve gone out to see a film, but we had chance on July 17. The kids were away, and we had date night. Namita had recently finished reading Me Before You, and the Hollywood film version of it would soon be out of theaters. We decided to go watch the film at the  dinky little (and really run down) Digiplex Cranford 5, a Carmike Cinemas theater in Cranford NJ, Seriously, the theater was a bit of a dump. Small in size, but lots of broken seats and not very clean. You get what you pay for.

In any case, the film was decent. Starring Emilia Clarke and Sam Clafin, it’s about a rich man who becomes a quadriplegic during a freak accident. Emilia Clarke’s character is a young woman who becomes his caretaker. He’s a jerk, she’s got the quirky heart of gold. He’s a jerk to her, and she works hard to break through his defensive shell. Look at the movie poster — you know there’s romance a comin’. I’m not spoiling anything here.

Afterwards, we grabbed dinner at Ambeli, a Greek restaurant in town, which we were lucky about, as most places were closing for the night. We ate outside, and the food was really good. The management was extremely nice — one side we ordered wasn’t very good, and they ended up comping us the side, and gave us two free desserts. Extremely nice restaurant staff.

Me Before You (2016)

Me Before You (2016)

We had a backyard camp-out on July 10th

You know, a lot of people talk about braving the wilderness, but we Ipes actually do it. We’re not afraid of braving the wild outdoors and camping out in our backyard. No, sir.

The kids (mostly Lily) had expressed this huge wish to go camping in the backyard. We had the tent and the free time this June, so how could I say now. Namita was gone on a business trip, so we set up the tent on a Sunday afternoon with little muss or fuss (it’s actually quite easy), went to the neighbors house for a BBQ and to hang out in their pool, then we went back home to camp out. We didn’t get to do all the cool stuff like eating ribs by a fire, but maybe next time.

Visiting the Silverball Museum in Asbury Park

I love playing pinball and old video games.  Always have.  Last month for Father’s Day, we went to Asbury Park to hang out and enjoy the day out. We had initially planned to also visit the Silverball Museum, but ran out of time. Since we had to go back to pick up our glass items from Hot Sands (made last time), we decided to check out the museum too.

It’s a cool little place. Located right on the boardwalk, you can play any game you want, for about $10 / hour. You could pay $25 for an all day pass, but an hour is more than enough time. Plenty of old mid-20th century pinball games, up through the early 2000s. They also have a number of old video games also, like Donkey Kong, etc.  I don’t think I would particularly go out there just to play there again, but I’d go back if I’m already there.

July 6 flat tire

Stupid Newark, NJ.

Every so often, when I’ve had early morning meetings this month, I’ve been driving into Newark to park, then take the PATH train into the city. I started doing this a few months ago when I had 1st-2nd-3rd-round interviews in Manhattan, and I got into the habit of the convenience and comfort factor.

Driving to the parking lot, I rolled down my window to hear a very audible and ominous hissing sound. Yeah, it’s gotta be me. With no time to spare (I had an early morning meeting), I left my car with a flat tire in the lot and jetted for Newark Penn Station.

In the evening, I had to call AAA to help me change out the tire. I was in a suit, and it was way too hot in July for me to sweat it out like that. I should have taken a picture, but there were seven nails in the tired. Seven. Unbelievable. It ended up costing me about $250 for a new replacement tire.



In the spirit of getting things done, we had the exterior of our house painted

Guess what, kids? We decided to get the house exterior painted. That’s right. We decided that we did not want to wait 10 more years to freshen up the house. We used to have these faded red shutters, and off-white / yellow trim all along the house. It felt dated. It looked a little worn. We didn’t want to be those people, so we got some quotes, and then supported one of our local businesses to come paint the house. We decided to paint all of the shutters and front door black, paint the trim bright white, and repaint the garage doors and bay window white as well. We think it looks snazzy.

How the Ipes spent Father’s Day this year in Asbury Park

20160619-20160619_092333Happy Father’s Day.

The Ipes spent a fun-filled Father’s Day together today, and I could not have been much happier.  Our plans were to  open presents, and then make for Asbury Park. For many years, I’ve expressed an interest in spending a day in Asbury Park. I’ve biked a few times through Asbury, and it seemed so interesting that it warranted a deeper look. We planned to hit up a food truck for lunch, hit a spray park, blow some glass, maybe visit the Silverball Museum, and have dinner somewhere in town.

20160619-20160619_142300The kids (and Namita) were nice enough to get me a very cool present — a brand new Sony PlayStation 4 (the Uncharted 4 edition). Although I would have loved to stay home to play Nathan Drake’s latest adventure, we were off to Asbury Park. We found the boardwalk, and ate MOGO Korean Fusion tacos from their food truck. We then took the kids to this Asbury Park Splash Park. It’s not large by any means, but the kids had been dying to get wet. After they ran around for a while, we got them ice cream on cones to sit and enjoy.

After all the ice cream, the kids changed in the car, and we drove over to Hot Sand a few blocks away. Basically, you can either take a class, or “walk in”. As walk-ins, you pick what you want to create, pick the colors, etc. We spent a small fortune to experience blowing our own glass under heavy supervision. Nums and I made glassware, Josh made a glass apple, and Lily made a hand print. All cool, but wow, expensive.

We wouldn’t be able to pick up our stuff for another week, so we paid for everything, then took a walk around the neighborhood. We walked around and make our way to an early dinner at Moonstruck. It’s a 3 or 4 floor restaurant right along the river. Let me tell you, if you have a chance, go eat at Moonstruck. Amazing food, great drinks at the bar, and the service is damn attentive.

And that was our day in Asbury Park. Nice little town that’s up and coming, and experiencing a revival.

Attending a Trenton Thunder game with the church folks on June 18 2016

I helped organize a church outing this year (2nd year in a row?) to Arm & Hammer Park to see the Trenton Thunder play. It was a beautiful Saturday evening game, and we got to experience the fireworks afterwards. The only hiccup was the ridiculous traffic getting out of the parking garage, but sometimes you have to simply grin and bear it. Glad lots of folks were able to come out and spend time with each other.

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