Thursday, December 30th 2004
Momentous occasion today: I made my last payment for my school loans. They're officially all paid up now. Pretty significant, no?
Julie came over today. We watched Garden State. Long story short? I wasn't really moved or excited by the movie. Have I just invoked Jimboy's ire? I'm a hard man to please.
Wednesday, December 28th 2004
80,000 people dead in Asia, and authorities think the number may reach 100,000. If you can make a donation to the Red Cross or wherever, please do so. Every little bit helps.
Now that I've had time to look back on 2004, it's given me pause for thought. It's definitely odd to see how much life can change over the course of a year. So many of our friends and family that we've grown up with, are now getting engaged, married, having kids of their own, etc. It was certainly not something any of us could imagine happening any time soon, and look at where we all are now.
Being a Dad is a pretty big deal. The weight of it is just there. Being the husband and father, I can put it out of my mind for a while, go on with my life. However, my wife getting bigger each passing day, our baby's kicks and punches..... well, those little things can really bring reality crashing home.
Am I worried about screwing up? A little. I'm more worried about him eating lead paint chips, having some crazy health problem.... I think it's starting to bother me. Worry me. How do people do this? What if I screw up with their education? What if they knock over my speakers? Okay, the last one wasn't the biggest concern, but I have lots of expensive stuff around here.... sharp stuff, eatable stuff. We really need to baby-proof this place.
I'm sure every future parent worries about this stuff. I'm sure we'll do fine, but I gotta tell you something. When you feel your kid moving around in your wife's belly, alive and kicking, you start to worry about that child's well-being.
In other news, I'm using Firefox this week, just to see how it is. Not bad, I say, but I gotta fix my website sidebars.
We went to Num's cousin Malini's place for dinner tonight with my mother-in-law. I love free dinners.
On account that I've gotten some pretty crappy gifts this Christmas, Num bought me a Sony cassette adapter (CPA-9C) for the IPod. Although we've been using the Belkin TuneCast Mobile FM transmitter since our Florida road trip, the slight static really messes up the sound quality. So far, it sounds pretty decent, and a definite improvement over the FM transmitter. On sale for $12.99 @ Circuit City, it's practically a steal.
Today was my last day in the office. I'm taking a vacation day tomorrow, so I can run some errands, take my mother-in-law to the airport, etc. Julie is coming over for dinner and a rented movie viewing tomorrow night. That's my week so far.
And now, without further ado, is my recap of 2004, and thoughts about the coming year. I have nothing really deep and meaningful to "reflect" on, but I thought it'd be nice to look back at the year 2004, according to Joel.
It's been a year of engagements and marriages:
Life & Career
Best movies I saw this year were
Looking Ahead to 2005
That's it. Hoped you got something out of it. See you tomorrow.
Sunday, December 26th 2004
13,400 people dead in South & Eastern Asia, and still rising. An 8.9-level earthquake creating 20-foot tsunami waves that violently hit India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. My God.
In more heart-warming news, our wedding albums look great.
Christmas Eve @ My In-Laws
Sunday Dinner With The Kondorfs
I've cleaned up over 100 MP3s this weekend. I'm very proud of myself. I've been using Lyrics Cafe and VH1's Artists A-Z to track down who exactly sang the song, what album, and what track it was. Trust me, there has been some major mislabeling, but soon all will be right with the world. Bet you couldn't sleep knowing this travesty had taken place.
The rest of the week isn't that exciting. I've heard that most people won't be in the office this week, so it looks to be awfully lonely. On Wednesday, Num & I are going to Blockbuster to rent our videos for our traditional New Year's Eve movie marathon. I don't think we're going to have French Toast again like last year. I'm kinda in the mood for Irish fare.
Wednesday, December 22nd 2004
Hope everyone else had an exciting day at the office, at home, or the circus.... wherever you were today. Today's office experience was, shall we say, less than thrilling. However, in the evening, Num came to the city. We tried to accomplish more Christmas shopping (mission impossible, and we got nothing), saw the tree in Rockefeller Center (very nice), and a quick dinner at some bistro place on Lexington Ave.
This week, I finished watching Legend of Earthsea, a Sci-Fi Channel 2-part miniseries based on Ursula K. Le Guin's books from over 30 years ago. I tried, but seriously, not very good. The characters weren't interesting, it was such a typical "fantasy" storyline, and there was nothing to distinguish it from regular fantasy material that I've read before. Even David Michael Wharton of Cinescape couldn't stand it, so that validates my opinion. Nothing like validation to make a person feel good. Or in this case, Le Guin feeling bad.
Speaking of books, Hollywood is apparently working on a film adaptation of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials series of books that I've started, but haven't finished. A film adaptation? Already? Geez, I should try to get some good reading time done this weekend, and make some headway before the movie comes out in 2005.
So the phone is working, but no one is really calling us, except for telemarketers. How typical.
Finally, you want to know what we came home to find this evening? A trail of poop on the carpet outside the bathroom. Again, Missy has no understanding of the concept of toilet paper, and thought it would be completely appropriate to wipe clean her dirty little feline butt on our carpet.
I blame my wife.
Woohoo! Our wedding album is finally done, so we're picking that up tomorrow evening too. Much relief all around, as my Dad has been convinced that we got ripped off, that the photographer ran off with our money, and was drinking Mai Tai's on a beach somewhere. I hope this album came out good, or I'll be hearing about it forever from them.
Finally, remember I mentioned that I was helping my in-laws buy a new car? Well, the dealer's finance department was trying very hard to sell them a 5-year extended warranty. He was all nice, folksy, chummy, and so cordial to them. I told them ahead of time to forget it. I had a 5-year extended warranty from Honda, and I barely used it on my car. Totally unnecessary, I now say. Furthermore, Honda changed the warranty agreement 3 years into it, and I was required to start paying a deductible on all repairs. Extended warranties are not rock-solid, they don't really cover everything, and it's just a cash-cow for the dealer.
I bring this up, because I did the math today, and the payments for the extended warranty would eventually add up, over 5 years, in the tens of thousands of dollars, and would end up costing more than the car itself. How can car dealers swindle people like this? As soon as my in-laws said "No" to the extended warranty, the fellow was no longer folksy, chummy, or cordial. Now he just wanted to get us out of there.
Tuesday, December 21st 2004
Went car shopping with my in-laws tonight, just to help with the negotiations and such.
Num and I have found the absolutely cheesiest website. It's not cheesy because of cliches or anything, but because of the person it centers on, his music, and the increasing feeling that you're getting a toothache every minute you're on the website. The background music, the graphics, the songs he's sung.
The one, the only, Peter Cetera.
Monday, December 20th 2004
Damn, it was cold outside today. Everyone who was in the office today was talking about the holiday party last Friday night. Num & I went Christmas shopping at the Willowbrook Mall tonight after I got back from work. I got gloves!
Nothing special is going on tonight in the Ipe Household. I cleaned a bit more, found an unpaid Montclair parking ticket (doh!), we watched tv, and I'm working on cleaning up the music collection titles, album names and all. I hate mislabeled songs and such. Oooh, makes me so mad.
The new phone arrived today, as did my Fatboy Slim CD. The CD has already been ripped to the growing library collection, and the phone is charging.
Sunday, December 19th 2004
My department holiday pics are up. If your picture isn't up, I probably don't like you. If you didn't want your picture up for the world to see, please let me know, and I'll remove it.
Today is still going. Church, minor grocery shopping, visiting my parents all accomplished. Now we just have to eat dinner, clean up, do the laundry, etc. Sunday is really such a "catch-up" day.
Downloaded/Bought Green Day's new album American Idiot. It's great! I still want to get U2's new How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb album. I've also downloaded those missing Pat Benatar, Laura Branigan, Jeffrey Osborne mp3s that I've been missing.
FYI, my annual tradition of reflecting on the past year will take place privately.... next week, online, on this page, for the entire world to see. After much reflection in a monastery (okay, I started daydreaming during training last week), I've got most of it written down now. Look for it in the next few days.
Seriously, not one movie this whole month? Egads. Num and I may go see The Incredibles on Christmas Eve (in the day), as we're both off on Friday. Maybe we'll dress up Missy in a Santa Claus outfit and bring her along. I hope we don't have to pay full price.
Looks to be cold tomorrow in the Metro area, according to the weather report. And here I am, no hat or gloves. At least I've got this old earmuff thing to keep the ears in one piece. As for hands.... well, that's why they invented "pockets".
Saturday, December 18th 2004
Holiday party was good. I'm still recovering, but I'm glad to announce that I got to Penn in time for the last train @ 11:54pm. Pictures will be up at some point in time. At our annual grab bag game in the afternoon, I had won a bottle of Bombay Sapphire (okay, stole it from the boss fair and square during the game), but it was then stolen from me. I ended up with $20 worth of scratch-and-win lotto tickets. After lots of scratching (and grumbling), turns out I won $24, so I guess that's not bad.
Tonight, we went to the St. Paul's & Resurrection Lessons & Carols service at my in-laws' church. I'm watching a little bit of Return of the King, then hitting the hay.
I heard about this woman in Missouri who killed a woman, and took the baby out of the victim's womb. I'm sure you did too. It's just bad news.
Last of the Hawaii pictures are up now. Num says no one will ever look at them, but please prove her wrong.
Thursday, December 16th 2004
I was visiting one of our investment house subsidiaries today for a few hours to review some servers. The kitchen areas are stocked with free sodas, water, etc, and they provide free lunch (your choice) to employees every day. Uh, you could smell the money and success of the company as soon as you walked onto the office floor.
Tomorrow is the dept. holiday party. I've gotta bring a change of clothes, as I don't plan to hang out all night in a stupid suit, especially as people undoubtedly go out afterwards for drinks. A suit will be even more conspicuous, even in NYC.
Stupid Apple. They finally got around to putting out an IPod update that locks out other music stores, specifically Real. No worries, as I'm not downloading any new IPod updates. All these digital rights management red tape is a huge annoyance. I have nothing against the using the iTunes store overall, but because of DRM issues, iTunes wouldn't allow me to see/play all of my music collection -- for example, any of my Beatles MP3's, etc. It's my music, dammit. Don't tell me that I can't play it on my own MP3 player!
I just downloaded a few tunes off the Real store, and I'm not too concerned that I'll purchase all this music for nothing if I ever need to switch stores back to iTunes. I'll just turn all my Real-purchased music to CDs, and then re-rip them back to MP3s for iTunes. Screw you, Apple. I'm not going out like a punk.
I'm so getting a Dell next year.
I saw the trailer for White Noise, starring Michael Keaton. It's about this guy whose wife dies, then gets into all this research that in the white noise of electronics (you know, snow on the tv, static on the radio), you can connect with the dead, a portal to the afterlife. He tries it to contact his dead wife, and, yeah, you know, weird stuff starts happening. Looked like the type of movie that'll keep me looking at doorways behind me for ghosts watching me.
You know, I've never mentioned this before to anyone, but this movie makes me think of a freaky experience that happened to me once. Back when I was living at home with my parents, talking to a now-ex-girlfriend, really late at night, smack in the middle of my conversation with her, my cordless phone broke into slight static, and this really creepy voice just said
I mean in a really creepy, definitive, voice. I was stunned for a second, and I asked my now-ex-girlfriend
What the hell was that?
And of course, here's the kicker: she didn't hear a damn thing. I doubt it was interference from a neighbor's cordless phone, because our old house was far enough from other houses, and besides, those were the only two words of "the conversation" that I heard. If it was interference from another phone, wouldn't I have heard more of the conversation? Also, shouldn't she have heard something too?
Freaky, right? Makes you wonder.
Wednesday, December 15th 2004
Show was decent, but when Paul got on stage and went through his material, the audience was dying laughing.
Boy, am I proud of this boy or what? He did such an awesome performance. Some pictures online.
Tuesday, December 14th 2004
Made it with time to spare for today's class. Now I just have to make it to tomorrow's. Normally I like training, but this one hasn't been the most exciting. Ooooh, CobiT. Funny coincidence -- I'm doing registration, and who shows up to the class, but George Koshy (who I know through old CSI church events). How odd. So, we chit-chatted during lunch.
LoTR: RoTK arrived today. I'm not watching it yet..... Julie already called me today before I got home and opened the box, and now I have to wait until this weekend, when she comes over to watch it with me. I asked her if she wants to borrow it, or watch it here in all its glory. She said "in all its glory."
Correct answer, my young padawan.
I've come up with a list of the artists that I want to download songs for: either I had the mp3s but lost them, or I just want to finally get their classic songs. No, these aren't anyone great artists, but I grew up on some of these songs. Please, you don't have to mock me.
Monday, December 13th 2004
I was in the office early. That answers that question. Now I just have to be in the office before 8am Tuesday & Wednesday too. Which is why it's 10:35pm, and I'm going to bed right now.
Hey, Davey & Goliath are coming back! I grew up on this show, watching every Sunday morning before church. Neat!
The phone hasn't shipped yet, but Return of the King was just at the Jersey City, NJ Post Office facility today, so I think it may be here tomorrow. Woohoo!
BTW, what the hell is going on between Karl Malone, Kobe Bryant, and their wives? It's like a soap opera.
Sunday, December 12th 2004
Don't ask what time it is. You probably don't want to know. Suffice it to say, it's pretty darn late Sunday night-into-Monday morning. Either I'll be really early or really late to the office.
Today, we did some shopping at Stop & Shop, Target, and BJ's. We also did a surprise visit to Num's parents' place to decorate for Christmas. Okay, my wife did a surprise visit, and I got roped into it. There's no way I'd voluntarily go decorate any place. Still, my in-laws are nice folks, so I only did it half-begrudgingly.
After all that, dinner back here, laundry, playing with Missy, figuring out which of our friends & family deserve Christmas cards, ordering gifts, ordering the new Motorola home phone, a Fatboy Slim album, phew, enough, you get the idea.
In the midst of dinner, we opened up our recently-purchased jar of pearl onions and found something, and we don't know what it is. It definitely isn't like finding a prize in a Cracker Jack box, so we're returning the entire jar tomorrow. The bad part? We had a few pearl onions before finding...whatever the hell it was. Talk about gross. I don't think it was a dead bug.....[Joel begins to wretch.....]
For some good news, Num found my Princess Leia action figure while cleaning up. Princess Leia is now back in her rightful place on my geeky desk.
A night here in the Ipe household would not be complete without me spending too much time on my website. The renovations continue. I've doubled the number of online pictures from my Hawaii 2000 trip. I've also redone the format for the rest of the Trip pages that displeased me, so now we should all sleep peacefully, except for myself, since I'm obviously still wide awake.
Prepare to zone out: realizing that my folder hierarchy for Trip pictures was getting too big (too many pictures, hard to find, etc.), I went and spent too much time tonight reordering them all by year, and then do a lot of find-and-replacing throughout lots of old webpages.
I'm sure you don't care, so anyway, trip pages/pictures are easier for me to manage now. Just go to the Hawaii page, and enjoy. I'll have more this week. I know I said that once before back in 2002, but I mean it this time. The piles of photos are sitting behind me on the floor.
Speaking of photos (I'm so sick of photos at this point), but I just found a whole batch of wedding photos that my friend Regina sent me, and have been buried in a folder somewhere for me to get back to one day. However, I lost them for over a year. Later this week, I'll publish them too. Thanks Regina, looks like you did share your pictures! I'm so disorganized sometimes.
Saturday, December 11th 2004
Last night after work, I met up with my coworkers, and we hit Turtle Bay & Katey's, both up on the 50's off of 2nd Ave. I then took the V train the wrong way (to Queens), and then jumped on the next Manhattan-bound train back down to 23rd St to meet Num. We then walked over to Vela (Japanese with Brazillian accents) for dinner with Teena, RoseAnn, and some of her friends. I only took indecent pictures with RoseAnn's camera, but I have a bad feeling that she won't let me post them.
This evening, we went to my cousin Shaun's house for dinner. His mom is a great cook. Hmm, good!
Other than that, today was basically pretty lazy:
Tomorrow, we have church, and then the hunt for Christmas gifts begins online. BTW, word from the wifey is that we're buying the Motorola phone mentioned on Thursday. Wish us luck.
Before I forget, a bunch of us are going to see the Gurus of Comedy show at the Imaginasium Theater on Wednesday. My friend Tom told me about it, but I was kinda like "Eh, maybe, let me think about this hard decision, maybe I should stick a thumb up my butt to help me decide", etc. Then, Teena text-messages me today (like we're 14-year olds, right?) to mention that Paul Varghese will be performing as well. Now, as I know him from church stuff way back when, and I've seen some of his material on video back in 2001, well, no brainer. He's been performing at the Addison Improv in Texas for a while now.
I'm psyched! This comedy tour features all South-Asian comedians, so make an attempt to see it in your neck of the woods.
Thursday, December 9th 2004
Our home phone died. It's been charging, but you can't answer it. Her phone died a few months ago, and my Uniden phone was only four years old (bought it for my Jersey City apartment). If you need to call us, get us on one of the cell phones. We're eyeing the Motorola MD681 on Amazon.com as there are rebates galore, although we would really prefer to see it in person. What to do, what to do?
I've got drinks & dinner on the itinerary for tomorrow. Drinks with coworkers, and dinner with friends (coworkers are friends too, but let's not mince words). I hope I remember to bring the camera.
On Saturday, I hope I remember to pick up my shirts at the cleaners, scan & add additional photos to my Hawaii trip page (they're all buried in the bedroom closet somewhere), and we're going to my aunt's house for dinner in Rockland. Nothing much planned for Sunday, as I'll be washing my hair. :)
Speaking of trips, I've also started tweaking my old Trips pages, as they all seem to follow the format of choice when I originally put each one of them together. I've started herding them into a common format. Started, but not yet finished.
For the boys, Foxsports has a slideshow of NFL cheerleaders performing at recent games. Today's word is "pom poms".
I was watching Three Amigos tonight for a while. Gosh, that's a funny movie. I was also watching Saving Private Ryan (my first DVD with DTS -- thanks, Julie!), but I had to turn it off after Num gave me a few dirty looks. She's a bit sensitive right now to very emotional TV shows or movies. I don't see how a movie with blood and guts would bother her. Women...go figure!
Wednesday, December 8th 2004
I did have a training class today -- just in the morning, and I made it. Crisis averted. I have the rest of the Florida pictures up. Enjoy.
I feel so uneducated. Colby Nolan just achieved an executive MBA from Texas-based online college Trinity Southern University. What's funny? He's a cat. Check out what it takes to qualify for an executive MBA:
The information on the student application claimed Colby completed three courses at a community college and worked at two different retailers as a manager. Colby's previous work experience included food prep at a fast-food restaurant, babysitting and a paper route, said the application.
I wonder why Missy is such an underachiever?
Speaking of movies, Doug bought my full-screen DVD of The Italian Job. I am now $13 richer.
Monday, December 6th 2004
And we're back.
Got lots of pictures to edit, and they will be added to the Florida 2004 trip page. Please check back. Suffice it to say, the trip was fun, the IPod worked out great, and I learned a lot more about being a parent. At the moment, I'm editing pictures, and eating dinner. Num made some awesome meatloaf, zuchini, and I helped with the mashed potatoes.
Thanks to Milind & Preethi, & Leena and Sanjay for their wonderful hospitality this weekend. In addition, a special thanks to Leena for being such a good friend!
While we were at the local Walmart, I picked up some DVDs that were on sale. I would have gotten more, but Num gave me the whole "we have financial priorities" talk (the nerve!), so I couldn't get them all. Ronin, Miss Congeniality, The Italian Job (full screen by accident -- anyone want it for $13?), and Three Amigos.
I'm not sure if I'm attending a training class tomorrow or if that's next week. I'm betting next week. However, I'm going to be in the office by 8am tomorrow.... just in case. What else is going on this week? Birthday drinks for coworkers this Friday, and then dinner/drinks with friends right after. Hmm, I'll have to bring my going-out clothes to work on Friday. No other big news, except for the department holiday party next Friday. Before you know it, December will be over, and it'll be 2005.