Main > Joel's April 2007 News
.:Picture of the Day:.


Friday, April 27th 2007

I'm still sick. Last night was so bad, I had trouble swallowing. I tried calling the doctor today.... you know, the one I keep paying coverage for through my HMO, yet I haven't seen once in 2 years. Yeah, that one. They were all booked up today. I'm taking Dayquil/Nyquil for now.

I didn't even realize that I had a vacation day today. Last night, Num was telling me I could sleep in today, and I'm asking her, "Why?" She asks me, "Aren't you off on Friday?" I realize, "Oh yeah!" Stupid. Blame the medical cocktail.

This week, one of my coworkers burned me Led Zeppelin compilation CDs. I ripped them, but they weren't in order. I was able to find a nice Led Zeppelin website with all their lyrics, which I used to search for lyrics, and identify the song title and album name. 27 new Led Zeppelin songs added to my collection this week. Awesome.

Funny spoof on the Segway, courtesy of those folks at The Onion. It is amazing how the Segway has dramatically changed our lives in just 6 short years. :)

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I added a bunch of new MOBLOG photos this week. Enjoy the brief waste of time.

Friday night rolled around, which means it was Movie Night in the Ipe house. We finally watched Crash. After all the hub-bub about this movie, and all the awards, including winning Best Picture at the 2006 Academy Awards, I figured I should enjoy this movie on racism. Honestly, by the time the end credits rolled, I sat there wondering what the big deal was. Big, talented ensemble cast? Sure. Was there a message about racism? Sure. I still didn't like the movie all that much.

A big "Meh."


Tuesday, April 24th 2007

Here's the rundown. I'm sick. Got sick starting last Friday with a sore throat, coughing, and an on-and-off-again headache. I want you all to know that Liquid Tylenol doesn't have alcohol, and it's not doing a thing for me. I'm going back to vodka.

I'm also 31 this year. Do I really care? No, not really. I do care that I'm fat as can be. I've decided to start bringing fruit to work as snacks. Time to cut down on chips and things.

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Stranger Than Fiction

We rented both Stranger Than Fiction and Crash last week, but only got around to watching Stranger Than Fiction starring Will Ferrell and Maggie Gyllenhaal. For a movie that makes you really want to know how it ends, I didn't think the ending was all that good. I suppose that's why Star Trek two-parters always start off well, but the endings usually stink. Here in this movie, I found the ending underwhelming. Especially when the zombies attack.

We held onto Crash, and we''ll have to try watching it Friday night.

Speaking of movies, here's the Geeks of Doom lowdown on the summer 2007 movies.

I'm going to the NY IIA chapter's Feast of Italy dinner on June 8th, where I'm accepting the 2007 President's Award. I don't think I'm the only recipient, but I get a plaque! I'm running out of room for all my plaques. I think I'll start hanging them in my wife's office, so that she's always reminded of my self-professed greatness. :)


Wednesday, April 17th 2007

Layoffs hit my department today. I have survived to fight another day.

I'm posting the photos from last weekend's journey to the NY Auto Show. Of course, no trip through my town would be complete without getting a speeding ticket on the way to Mike's house. Grr, and it was just 8 minutes from my home. Stupid. I was just in court on Monday dealing with a different type of traffic-related offense, and now I'm going back on May 2nd. What a wonderful life I have.

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Taking the ferry from Port Imperial in Weehawken
Ooooh, travelling in style
Doug's older brother Mike, and his friend Tim
Jacob Javitz Convention Center
The Auto Show!
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The new Nissan Pathfinder. I still think it's too tiny in the backseat.
Custom car that reminded me of my old Matchbox cars
Also coool
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Fun and games at the auto show
Love the big displays
The Lexus LF A concept
This car is like a hot blonde in a bar
I can not even tell you how much I like this car
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Interior on the Infiniti M
Check out the M's speakers on the seat!
Pontiac Grand Am
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Loved those rims
Pontiac Solstice
Chrysler Nassau
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Another big display
Dodge car
BMW pavilion was pretty classy
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Another car I can't afford
They wouldn't even let you touch it
The new Camaro concept. I liked it.

CompUSA sucks. Have I mentioned that already? I had irritating business dealings with them last year getting parts for my computer last year. In the past, I've been boggled by the incompetent technical advice I've heard them give to customers. I got irritated with them when I found out that a CompUSA gift card is not redeemable on their website for any products. Needless to say, I'm glad they're closing their stores.

Recently, I went to the Princeton store to check out the "blowout" sale, but the prices were higher than prices I've seen at other online retailers. What kind of blowout sale was this? Turns out, I'm not crazy. PC World went to check it out, and they found the prices were marked up -- not just compared to other retailers, but compared to CompUSA stores that were staying open!!! A bunch of conniving thieves, I tell you.

Did you know the U.S. military has elite rescue teams specifically to go into dangerous situations, and rescue downed soldiers? Amazing job these folks do at a moment's notice.

I think I'll always be a fan of teen movie comedies from the 80's. Read EW's Chris Nashawaty's essay on the topic.

I'm a big fan of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Okay, I'm a fan of most fast food, but I do like Chipotle. Read more about them and their efforts to be more organic.

NY Senator Chuck Schumer is questioning why the IRS charges fees for e-filing your taxes, because it's apparently a sweetheart deal for the e-filing companies. Okay, it's probably a political stunt, but it raises good questions. Exactly why are we spending money to save the Internal Revenue Service money?

Say it ain't so. The days are apparently numbered for tax-free Internet sales. I do want to comment that I think Congress argues about the stupidest minutiae. Reach this excerpt from the article. No wonder nothing gets done, when you're spending your time arguing about whose special interests are more important.

A simplification effort is key because of the dizzying complexity of state tax laws. One example is the Streamlined Sales Tax Project's "Proposed Amendment to Definition of 'Candy'"--which is marked "not for publication" and tries to draw the line between when candy is food (and therefore exempt from tax) and when candy is not (and therefore can be taxed).

Flour as an ingredient became a sticky point. In 2003, a representative of Indiana, James Turner, noted that a proposed definition of candy would have taxed the Milky Way Midnight candy bar but not the original Milky Way bar. But further investigation showed that Turner's counter-proposal would have treated "certain flavors of Pop Tarts" and Cookies and Twix Crunchy Cookie Bars as candy--but not Cookies and Snickers Crunchy Cookie Bars. Peanut butter Girl Scout cookies would be candy, but Thin Mints or Caramel deLites would be classified as food.

It's almost my birthday.... on Saturday I turn 31. I went to the gym again today -- that makes 3 times in 2 weeks. I'm on a roll. I'm more or less attempting to eat a teeny-tiny bit healthier. My goal is to lose 20 pounds before the end of the year.


Thursday, April 12th 2007

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Dinner @ Pipa Tapas y Mas
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Kanishk, Raj, and me
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I am definitely getting annoyed with my original-and-still-current website hosting provider. I'm constantly having problems with my site availability. Don't they understand that millions of non-paying website visitors can't visit my humble website? When my contract is up this summer, I'm fairly certain to switch to someone else. These guys suck. Stupid Canadians.

Now that my latest rant is over..... many of you are probably aware that my company is currently laying off tens of thousands of people. If you didn't know, then now you know. For those that have already called me to ask if I'm okay, many thanks. I will most likely be okay, but you never know. I'll know for sure in the next week or so. I'm not really worried for the most part. I figure, hey, I've already been laid off in my life. I got back on my feet the last time, and nothing is going to stop me the next time either.

Last night, a bunch of us who could make it met up in the city for tapas and drinks. I met up with my friend Sunil for drink downtown, and then we met up with everyone else at Pipa Tapas y Mas on 19th St near Union Square. Nice place, good food. A little pricey, me thinks. The evening went fairly well, until I missed my bus. Thankfully, it's nice to have good friends, as two of them drove out of their way to drop me home.

After work today, my department/group/whatever organized a get-together at a nearby brewery. I took some pictures of some of the people who showed up. Take a gander, in case you wanted to know what some IT auditors look like.

You really need to check out this video of another crazy Japanese gameshow. It's gotta be for ninjas-in-training or something. That's what I call skills. [Thanks to Kanishk for finding this, or at least getting this in his email, and then forwarding to his 67 friends on Friendster.]

I am getting frustrated with all the wacky weather. The Ipes were hoping to visit Philadelphia this weekend for Sakura Sunday. Basically, it's the Subaru Cherry Blossom Festival of Greater Philadelphia, and the Japan America Society of Greater PA was going to have all these activities this Sunday. I was really looking forward to it. :(

Instead, we can look forward to another nor'easter storm. Sigh.


Monday, April 9th 2007

Happy Easter! Well, I don't know, people have called us saying that on Sunday, but I don't know what that means exactly. A wonderful day? Absolutely, from a spiritual standpoint. But to just say that? I don't know. Of course, if no one says that to us next year, I'll be all pissed. ;)

This weekend, we rented Walk the Line, which I was a bit taken aback to find out it came out in 2005. Two years ago? Then again, we just got around to watching Million Dollar Baby in February, and it came out in 2004. Both were good movies, btw.

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Infiniti M

I was reading the latest issue of Consumer Reports, where they rated all the best and worst cars in a variety of categories. The Lexus ES wasn't so sporty (kind of requirement for me), and the Lexus GS was tight and not all that great. Time to change the wallpaper. The Infiniti M got excellent reviews in all areas. Hmmmm, guess who's going to check out the M at the NY Auto Show next Saturday.

In case I forgot to mention, I'm going to the NY Auto Show on Saturday. Woohoo!


Friday, April 6th 2007

I haven't uploaded any video shot with the camcorder from Jamaica, but for a bite-size treat..... check out the video from our digital camera. Scroll down the page to Tuesday and Friday. I'm going to play around with the camcorder footage this weekend.

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Lexus ES
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Lexus GS

My wife was working today, and Joshua went to daycare for just the morning, and napped in the afternoon here. While he was gone to school, I got an oil change done and got a much-desired haircut. Since Num was working all day, I didn't feel like going to church by myself. I studied in the afternoon. In the evening, Joshua and I went to check out the 2007 Lexus ES at a nearby dealership, just so I could take a peek. I gotta tell you though, I kinda like the Lexus GS styling. Afterwards, we met up with Num after work for some Babies R' Us shopping, and dinner at Chevy's.

I was scrolling down this page, and I saw how large the "News Archive" has become. August 2007 marks 5 whole years of inane pontificating, ranting, and general blabbering. 5 years. Yeesh. One of my favorite past-times (not really) is to go back a year, 2 years, 3 years, and see what I was doing back then, obsessing about, dreaming about. It's like having your own time capsule.

  • In April 2006 - Cancelled our Blockbuster Online membership (that was a year ago?), received Battlefield 2 but I've played it 5 times in a year, experienced a bad day commuting by bus, discovered Wikipedia, got a stupid traffic ticket which I'm still bitter about, travelled to Toronto on business, and my wife threw a huge surprise 30th birthday party. Also, Joshua started walking! Our lives were never the same again.
  • In April 2005 - According to a survey, my happiness level was "Slightly Satisfied", I was getting into being a 1st-time father, and received my first big paycheck from my new-at-the-time job. Also, I turned 29.
  • In April 2004 - Getting ready for Batman Begins, excited like a teenager over Battlefield 1942, recently travelled to Chicago, Missy was sick but recuperating, doing some great cycling and just hit 100 miles that year, and turned 28.
  • In April 2003 - I travelled to Mexico City for the first time, had turned 27, debating between getting a BMW 3-series or an Infiniti G35 (funny, I'm still driving my 167K Honda Accord), was excited about a screenshot of Longhorn (now officially Microsoft Vista), apparently saw a lot of movies that month.

It's amazing to look back and see how the things I was blabbering about 3+ years turned out. Or to realize that some "recent" events happened much longer ago than you realize. Looking back at what I just wrote, I'm pretty sure that when April 2008 rolls around, I still won't have that Lexus. :)


Wednesday, April 4th 2007

Shout out to my sad-to-be-in-Hauppauge friends.

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Scenes from Neil's Surprise Birthday Party

Last Saturday, Num and I drove to the city for my friend Neil's surprise 30th birthday party. What's with this trend of surprising everyone? Anyway, I think Neil was surprised, but he's generally clueless anyway, so it was hard to tell. It was on the 31st floor of the Orion Building, which sounds exciting, but it's just a common room in a NYC condo building. Nice facilities though, and Neil's wife Megha did a lot of work preparing. Good job.

Joshua likes coloring and painting nowadays. Hmmm, that's great, kid. But......... make sure you get a job that pays the bills in 20 years so you can move out. I'm not raising no artistic kid who's into emo and listening to linkin park all day.

Joshua is also getting independent, and slightly more self-sufficient. Two days in a row, when picking him up from daycare, he's been all about getting into the carseat all by himself. He amazed me yesterday evening by just climbing into his seat. Did it again today. Wow, when did this happen? Well, yesterday and today, but I'm just saying I'm surprised.

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Arts and crafts at the Ipe house

Tonight, from some reason, after I put him to bed, he kept crying every 10 minutes. We took turns consoling him about 3 times. The third time, I was picking him up, and I smelled....well, you know, the bad kind of diaper. No wonder he couldn't sleep. I asked him, "Joshy poopy?" He stops crying, takes a deep breath, and goes, "Yeah." He was so visually relieved that we understood what his problem was. He cheered up immediately.

Kids are funny, no?

I do dislike flying sometimes, and pity those who have to suffer because of stupidity. MSNBC writer Peter Greenberg travelled to India, but was 28 hours late. Complete and utter mismanagement by Delta Airlines. Read the stupidity. Fear for your own sanity.

I have a traffic court case on Monday, so I'm taking a vacation day. I was considering working from home on Friday, but my boss oddly encouraged me to take a vacation day on Friday instead. All I really could say was, "O-kay.....?" He didn't tell me to take Friday, next week, and the rest of the month off, so I think I still have a job. Maybe it's some work-life balance thing? Or just to confuse me? Regardless, on Friday, I'm going to get a haircut, an oil change for the car, do some CISSP studying, and then go to church in the evening.

Hey, one more workday this week!


Monday, April 2nd 2007

I really miss having music. I miss having my iPod around during the day to listen to music while doing my work, or listening on the way to work, or at the grocery store. I'd buy one now, but I know the next oh-so-cool model will magically appear about a month or so later. Ever have that feeling? Well, my fears may be justified. The folks at Crave have reported on a website called the MacRumors Buyer's Guide. These MacRumor's folks have figured out the average time frame on when various new generations of Apple products come out. According to their calculations, the 6th generation Apple iPod will probably arrive this quarter or next quarter. I wait with baited breath. :)

I'm posting this, as a certain someone I know won't stop bothering me until I do. :) The Top Eleven Google Products We'll Never See.

This month is off to a good start. Tonight, I didn't bring my laptop home to do work. My goal is to spend my evenings this weekend laptop-free. How did this happen? Well, through the magic of a scheduling snafu. I'm not assigned to some time-critical project this week, so I'm just catching up on some work, and helping out one of my coworkers. This can all be done between the hours of 9am and 5pm. Love. It.

I watched two movies this month so far, and it's only the 2nd. The Chronicles of Narnia and Talladega Nights. Chronicles was decent, and Talladega Nights was hilarious. Some movies to look forward to in 2008 -- Prince Caspian and Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle 2. Seriously? Another Harold & Kumar movie? Is Neil Patrick Harris coming back? Yup!

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A scene from the Chronicles of Narnia 1
Ricky Bobby & Cal
Ricky Bobby pisses excellence

If there's one thing I learned from Talladega Nights, it's this:

America is all about speed. Hot, nasty, badass speed.

That Eleanor Roosevelt was a real gem. :)