Main > Joel's August 2006 News
.:Picture of the Day:.


Tuesday, August 29th 2006

It was super quiet in the office today. Some people may like it, but I like it noisy. If it's too quiet, then most people must not be in the office, which was true today. If the office is empty, then I wonder why I bothered to show up.

Some websites/clips to share.

  • I do enjoy The Daily Show, but I don't know why I only watch it periodically. Gotta love Jon Stewart and the rest of the writers. Here's last month's clip on Net Neutrality, mocking the "entertaining" U.S. Senator Ted Stevens. Also not to miss..... the recent Desperate Soundbites bit. Love it.
  • Do you watch Robot Chicken on the Cartoon Network? I do. I haven't seen new episodes recently, but I look forward to the return of Robot Chicken. Here's Cracked's list of their 10 Best Robot Chicken Sketches of All-Time. I'm personally torn between Voltron Gets Served, Optimus Prime Dies of Prostate Cancer, and Captain Planet!.
  • How great is Christopher Walken? Here's a website you can play or download a huge number of clips. The website is appropriate called
  • Jeremy Piven is awesome -- An fans of the movie PCU? Anyway, here's a clip of Jeremy on the red carpet bitching out that idiot Billy Bush from E! on Sunday. Speaking of Jeremy Piven, I watched an interesting documentary last month on Jeremy Piven visiting India, including the southern state of Kerala (my ancestral homeland, believe it or not.) It was really interesting to watch, and he appeared to genuinely enjoy his sojourn to India. I had new respect for the guy after watching the documentary.
  • Did you miss the Conan O'Brien's opening montage for last Sunday's Primetime Emmy award show? I missed it too, but here it is for your viewing pleasure.

Yesterday, I only had $5 to spend on lunch, and I didn't want to go far out to my bank to get money. I sat there debating where I could get the most bang for my buck. The cheapest combo meal from White Castle? Two slices of cheese and a can of soda from the nearby pizzeria? In the end, my friend Raj shared some info. Burger King is offering free Whoppers or Chicken sandwiches if you have a receipt, and call up a 1-800 number to complete an automated phone survey.

I took his receipt, completed the phone survey, and got a code. I went to my local BK, ordered fries and a soda, and got my Whopper. All for $3.19. Thanks, Raj.

Look Ma, I blogged two days in a row!


Monday, August 28th 2006

And I'm back.

Three weeks in Toronto, leading my first audit. Phew. Well, it ain't over yet. In a last minute bit of wrangling, the auditee is contesting, and we're doing additional analysis. What does that mean? We had to extend the audit fieldwork to Friday, September 1st. You don't want to extend an audit, but it's better to get everything resolved, rather than leave questions unanswered.

Luckily, I can be in NJ to wrap it all up, which I hope to complete by Wednesday. We shall see. I was home on the weekends, but it was basically for 1.5 days. I was always coming home around Friday nights at 9pm, and leaving for the airport by Sunday at 1pm. What a life. It felt good to not spending yesterday afternoon at the airport.

We have some of Num's family from Virginia visiting us this weekend. We're currently getting the place cleaned up for their imminent arrival on Friday. It's not so easy when there's limited time to do it all.

You know what's odd? I was driving back from work today, and I saw a garden center, and they were selling inflatable Holloween-themed balloons. You know, the huge balloons that you put on your lawn to be cool on Holloween. It's not October. It's not even September. It's friggin' August. Isn't it a little early to sell Holloween decorations? August!


Saturday, August 12th 2006

I survived the first week of fieldwork. It was busy -- really busy. However, I survived. It's definitely different leading a team, instead of being responsible for your own personal section. If you are working by yourself on your own work, then you (and only you) are responsible for completing it. When you're leading a team, you have all these people, and any one of them could have problems, and result in something going wrong.

  • Somebody has travel problems.
  • A laptop could die.
  • Someone else may not get the documentation they require in time.
  • Family emergencies.
  • Lazy people.

So many dependencies that can affect your bottom line. Is the work done? Is it on time? Is it underbudget? This team is good, but I'm constantly providing direction, or attending meetings, or worrying about someone not finishing their work. So far, everyone is pulling their weight, working 10 hour days. Next week is crunch time, so I hope I get some sleep. I didn't get much this week.

My friend Paul drove out to visit me in Toronto for one night. I got double beds, so that worked out well. We ended up bar-hopping that night until about 2:30am. Fun night.

It's ironic how while I was in Toronto in June for the Planning phase of the audit, Canadian RCMP caught those Islamic fundamentalists plotting to launch an attack in Toronto. In my first week of Fieldwork, and there's another terrorist plot busted, but it happens in the UK. That's just very coincidental.

Speaking of which, travel was not terribly a pain on Friday on our way home, but the Toronto Pearson airport isn't that busy. I'm dreading Newark airport tomorrow afternoon, so I'm getting there an additional hour early. My in-laws went to Detroit for a wedding this weekend. They got to the airport at 3:30am for a 7am flight, and still missed it, due to all the high security. That happened to me once after 9/11 at Newark airport. I refuse to let that happen again. I'm getting to Newark 4 hours in advance.

See you all next week.


Sunday, August 6th 2006

In a few hours, I'm leaving for the airport. Fieldwork officially begins, and it's on my shoulders whether we succeed, or if we fail.

I'm not really too nervous. I know we'll do fine..... because I'll do everything in my power over the next three weeks to ensure that we get the job done. :)

See you all on Friday. Wish me luck!


Friday, August 4th 2006

Time for some of the big news. Back on June 18th 2006, I mentioned that I had two bits of good news not related to my immediate family, but to the general family. I'm allowed to talk about it now.

1. My sister is engaged to be married. again.

2. My sister-in-law Anju and her husband Sunny are expecting their first child next January. Good for you, you two crazy kids.

Make sure you congratulate them all!

After work, I drove to the city to have dinner with a few friends, to celebrate Vib's impending nuptials. Sucker. Anyhow, I fed the meter, and we had dinner at CHOICE Kitchen & Cocktails on the East side (3rd Ave & 27th St.) Decent place. I fed the meter some more, and kept eating. I fed the meter some more, and we walked over to Tonic for more drinks. When I ran out of quarters, I said goodbye, and went home.

Why is parking in NYC always a pain?


Thursday, August 3rd 2006

The bloggers are just dropping like flies. A toast to and Please do something fun with your sites -- otherwise, I'll have to do work at the office.

Captions are up now for the Roadtrip to Richmond gallery.

I was in NYC today for meetings. Egads, I almost forgot how hot it gets in the NYC subways. I remember it getting hot, but it was like an oven. Funny story: I didn't have time to go to midtown to meet with a friend for lunch, so I had lunch with some coworkers downtown near me. We went to this place called Rosario's. It was the same old restaurant where I used to eat five years ago with my old PwC team members when I was doing consulting work at Goldman Sachs. Ah, the memories of sitting in Battery Park, eating my lunch from Rosario's with the guys, enjoying the summer in New York.

I went to the municipal court to fight my traffic ticket today, but I apparently didn't read my ticket correctly. Today was the pay-if-you-plead-guilty date. Now they're going to schedule a court date in 6-8 weeks. It's going to be one of those never-ending stories, since I'm probably going to be in Atlanta by that time.

My backup hard drive arrived Tuesday, but it's pure OEM -- no screws, no cables, no software. After pointless calls to nearby Radio Shack stores (Feh!), a failed trip to Best Buy (overpriced), and two CompUSA stores (ARGH!), I finally got a SATA cable, screws, and downloaded a copy of the Seagate DiscWizard software (from Today, I made my first backups of my PC. It's great to know I'm protected, but it really hasn't changed my life. I don't know what I was expecting.

BTW, I hate CompUSA. Poor inventory, bad customer service, and well, it's just a poor excuse for a "computer superstore." I despise them, and I officially shun them.

So, tomorrow is the last work day before I leave for Toronto. Much to do tomorrow, to be sure. My buddy Paul may be coming to visit me in Toronto next week. I'm bringing the camera, so that I may properly document the high jinks. I hope we go drinking -- I haven't had a real drink since he and I hung out in April. Hmmm, that was Toronto too.