A busy last day of the year.
I'm all caught up on uploading pictures (but not video.) As the pen (or keyboard) is mightier than the sword, I've gone back to retroactively fix some blog entries, adding photos, adding some additional detail: Nov 25 2007, Dec 26 2007, Dec 28 2007. I've added photos from November 2007 and December 2007 to the Family photo gallery. Hold your breath on waiting for me to upload video from our camcorder.
We also downloaded 30 new songs, as we both now have iPods, and we're still benefitting from a 50-song iTunes gift card Num got from work as a reward. If you see Christian or Country music, it was my better half. If it was something weird, or Pearl Jam, you can point the finger at the worse half. If it's cheesy, we're both listening to it. :)
Dang, given some free leisure time, I have written a lot this month. I hope this makes up for November 2007, which was pathetically brief.
My wife feels bad for the sad state of my wardrobe. I can't argue, as even I agree that it is a rather sorry state of affairs, so we went shopping at few stores to get me some new casual clothes and some for the office. We didn't have much time for dress pants/shirts shopping, but I got some nice stuff for the weekends. We had lunch at Ruby Tuesday. The menu appears much shorter than it used to be, and they're trying to be healthier. Me too, as I decided to forgo appetizers and a burger/fries, and went for the grilled chicken, mashed potatoes, and steamed broccoli. No dessert.
We visited our local library, which I've been to before, but I still don't have a library card. Guess what? Now I do. We borrowed a lot of books, and one Disney movie (Lady and the Tramp) for Josh. And for us adults, as we haven't seen it yet either.
We later went grocery shopping. At least we're all stocked up on food. We picked up some strip steaks from the wholesale club, and I cooked them in the (gasp!) George Foreman grill, on my wife's advisement. It didn't work out bad at all, and they tasted pretty good. Did that with baked potatoes, a vegetable medley, and some sexy Martinelli sparkling cider.
A very nice last day of the year. Happy new year everyone, and wishing you all the best in 2008.
Not ten. Eleven movies down, we have set an Ipe record. For a change of pace, we rented an Indian movie, Lagaan. It was a popular Indian movie, but we haven't seen any Bollywood movies in a while. I thought it was okay, but I was not previously aware that it was all about cricket. We know nothing about cricket. I might understand a little bit more now, but you won't catch me hanging around Edison for a good cricket match any time soon.
I finished watching Superbad. It was okay. Funny at times. We also picked up a neat little indie flick called Once, which is a musical that takes place in Dublin, Ireland. I really liked it. We should watch (and download) more indie (and less mainstream) films and music.
We've been cleaning up the basement this weekend, throwing out what we don't need anymore, making hard decisions.
Without much further ado, my reflections on 2007, and what I'm looking forward to next year.
Looking Ahead to 2008
Thursday, December 27th 2007
The cavalcade of movies continues. After some shopping at Pier 1, Barnes & Noble, we went to see I Am Legend. Good movie, and I definitely recommend it. I'm gleefully aware that I got my wife to willingly agree to see a sci-fi movie.
Small victories, I tell you. Anyway, I'm up to eight movies this month. Two more to go to break the Joel Ipe record. I have no idea why I'm so excited to beat my own record. Am I supposed to go taunt and threaten to kick my own butt?
We started watching Superbad, but it's rather crude, and it turned my wife off. I'll have to watch it on my own. Everyone has different tastes obviously, but uh, sometimes when I hang out with the guys, we can be crude like that, especially if we're all drinking. It's probably a good thing she isn't around for all that guy talk. Ignorance is bliss.
Two new pictures from Hulk 2 starring Ed Norton.
I stayed up until 7am this morning -- playing my new KOTOR Star Wars game, and then fixing my music library where I found some incorrect album names, missing album cover art, and such. I was so tired around 6pm, that I conked out on the couch while Josh sat on me watching tv.
Welcome to the vacation. I'm on Day 5 of my vacation, and I've only logged to check my email once so far. What's also good is that I'm on vacation during the first week of January, so ha! Let the good times roll. In all seriousness, this is a great time to recharge before the hectic work schedule and stress starts all over again, and before the next Ipe arrives in 3 months.
In other news, I may have found a possibility for what I refer to as "THE DESK." Visiting our local Staples store, I found this big black desk from their "Apothecary" collection. Staples.com is only offering this in mahogany, but the store had it in black. I wouldn't get the keyboard tray, hutch, or the drawers on either side. I just want the actual desk. The Ipes will be thinking and pondering. Stay tuned.
Friends and family were very good to us/me this holiday season. I'm enjoying more than a few of my favorite gifts this week: Blockbuster movie giftcard, a 6-month Netflix paid subscription, the original Knights of the Old Republic game (yea!), and a 16 Gb iPod Touch (courtesy of my stupendous wife.) After more than a year, I can listen to music in the office again. Joygasm.
Our movie bonanza continues, as we watched Away From Her tonight. I thought it was a good movie. It's about elder care, the ravages of Alzheimer's, and loving someone who is forgetting you. You could argue that "Eh, it's about older people. I can't relate." Yes, maybe the target audience skews a little older than me. However, so what? Yes, the characters are older, but everyone gets older in life, right? The issues are real, and it was both well written contained good acting.
At seven movies this month, it is a tie with November 2002, January 2003, July 2004, and June 2005. After researching, I learned that my current record is nine movies in October 2004. With two more queued up to finish before Dec 31st, I should hit magic number 9, and tie my record for the most movies I've watched in 30 days. Dang, how awesome would it be to hit ten movies in one month, and break my record? Dang, when I say "Dang", I sound like Britney Spears, don't I? Dang.
I forgot to mention that the job of dining room is all done. Compare the old orange to the new yellow, which is the new orange in 2007. I think I read that in Men's Vogue. BTW, I didn't even know there was a Men's Vogue, but my mechanic shop has copies of it in their lobby.
Friday's entry is the long-awaited reflections of 2007. Long-awaited? Not really, but I like to think the annual recap is long-awaited. Please go about your daily business.
Friday, December 21st 2007
I am officially on vacation. Okay, I will log in a few times next week to catch up on some work, but I'm basically on vacation. I am sleeping in tomorrow. And more than I usually do on a weekday.
Tonight, we ordered some Domino's pizza and buffalo chicken kickers, and rented two movies: Blades of Glory and Away From Her. We also watched Gattaca last night. Blades of Glory and Gattaca were good movies. We'll get to Away From Her later this weekend.
I fixed the rest of the 2004 bloggings from August 2004 - December 2004. I think that should be it, for fixing up, but I'll have to peruse 2003 and 2005, and make sure everying is kosher in the news archives.
You know, I go through the blogs of friends and peers, and no one seems to be maintaining their personal websites anymore. Maybe everyone has moved on the social networks like Facebook, etc. Ah well, I guess I'll just stick to browsing websites devoting to raising your very own pet.... iguana.
Wednesday, December 19th 2007
Two more days, and I'm on vacation.
Speaking of cars, my Honda is hitting 176,000 miles this week. The big discussion with the voices in my mind (????) is whether I should trade it in now for a new car while it still has value. Or just run it into the ground, and only buy a car after that. I'm not keen to be making more monthly car payments at this stage, and the Honda is doing well, considering its age. The decision so far is to drive it until I can't find enough mules to pull it.
As of tonight, I've fixed up ALL of the photo gallery pages, correcting any missing photos, and deleting (with a broken heart) any photo references where the photos were irrevocably lost. I've also gone through August 2002 through July 2004, fixing missing photos, and even correcting old formatting issues.
Sunday, December 16th 2007
In case you haven't seen it, the official Dark Knight trailer is out. Yeah, baby. I just need a time/date next year, so I can get the babysitting arranged.
Congrats to Ms. Janet for bringing a little Julia into the world in October (hey, I just found out.) I expect some baby photos sent to the Ipes immediately for their viewing pleasure.
I couldn't sleep Saturday night, so I stayed up until about 6am fixing photos all over this site. As a result of my hard drive crashing last April 2006, I lost a number of photos -- both originals and web-optimized versions for this site. What web-optimized originals I had with the old web hosting provider, I inadvertently lost when I switched to the new web hosting provider this year. I didn't mind losing the photos of meals and stupid photos. I did mind losing precious photos like Josh reaching his toes for the first time, and other family stuff. It makes me so mad at myself for not keeping better backups.
Warning to yourselves -- in this age of electronic media, keep backups of your data. Photos, critical files, etc. If you lose it, it will not be coming back! Anyway, I had to hunt around to find the originals if I still had them, and recreate the web versions. Or with product photos, just finding them again, and recreating those photos for my old blog postings. Basically, just trying to fix all the "broken photos." There are still a number on the Family gallery that I won't be able to restore, and will just have to delete the references. :(
Last night, we watched Sicko, Michael Moore's latest documentary. Shockingly pathetic. Not the documentary, which I thought was good. What I found shockingly pathetic were the horror stories of these HMO machinations to deny coverage of treatment, and people died as a result. Absolutely criminal. Absolutely abhorent.
My goodness, we've watched four movies this month. That's pretty good for us, but as the year winds down, it's been time for us to relax. Good quality time, I say.
Saturday, December 15th 2007
I got sick this week, and ended up calling a sick day on Friday. No dragging myself to work, no working from home. Just declared defeat, went under the covers, and slept most of the day.
Today was a busy day. In the morning, we got one of those family portraits done. It's been a while that we've wanted it, but never got it done. My parents always had this regret that we (my parents, my sister, and I, as a family) never got a family portrait. One of those tasks that never get done. Call today's successful family portrait venture an example of progress for the Ipes. In the evening, we went to a "Lessons and Carols" service at my in-laws' church.
I was supposed to be on vacation next week, but I didn't submit my vacation request in time, and TPTB ("The Powers That Be") booked me for work. Ah well, I'm taking off the first week of Jan instead, so I'll still get two weeks off. I'll be in the office next week, and I like being gainfully employed, so I won't complaint. :)
I'm currently working on my Reflections of 2007, which has been the tradition since starting this site [2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.] I always get a kick out of reading what I was looking forward to, and seeing what I actually accomplished, or what happened. Doing the recap of the year gives me a chance to look back and see what I was doing and thinking during the past 12 months. As I watch other friends stop blogging (i.e. losing interest), I don't worry about it, as I realize that my little website is more than just a place for me to ramble, or post photos, or update friends and family. It's my time capsule to understand where I was, where I am, and where I'm going.
I should be publishing the big list in a few days. It's been a momentous year, and next year is going to be even better. BTW, I hope you have heard, but in case you haven't, we're having another child next year, so times are good. :)
Tuesday, December 11th 2007
At this stage, with the writers' strike resulting in no new shows, and us renting movies every week, we really should get back on the bandwagon with an online DVD rental service again. We rented Gattaca and Sicko this week. Then again, I know we'll get our movie queue all set up, and life gets too busy to watch our rented movies. Shazzbaht.
Browsing through IMDB, I found out that the trailer for The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian is out. Neat. Funny what you can find by accident.
Time to clean out the browser bookmarks. Random links, some NSFW:
Friday, December 7th 2007
We finally watched Inside Man tonight. I thought it was interesting up until the end, then I went "Meh." According to Wikipedia, it was named one of the 10 best films of 2006 by the American Film Institute. Really? I don't see it.
Busy, busy weekend. Wedding reception (not wedding -- that took place in India already) tomorrow, and a baptism on Sunday.
In case you were wondering, I still have not found my passport yet. This could be serious.
Finally, after seeing this news video about how sanitary those glasses in hotels rooms can be, I'm re-evaluating how sanitary everything else in that room is.
Wednesday, December 5th 2007
My first week after the audit is over, and my shoulders are so much higher. I helped out on Monday and Tuesday with another audit that is wrapping up. I also have some other business monitoring work to do in the next two or three weeks, but it's not at all stressful. Unfortunately, I neglected to get my intended "two weeks of December vacation" made official, and they booked me on another audit. Argh, talk about shooting yourself in the foot. Instead, I am now taking the first week of Jan off, so I'll still get my two weeks of contiguous days off. Yipee.
Tuesday, I met up with my Dad after work, and we attended a wake for a family friend, a peer of my parents, over in New Hyde Park (Queens.) This fellow and his family were always such nice people, and I hadn't seen them in many years. Sad. After the wake, Dad and I drove back to my parked car in Fort Lee, and we had a late dinner over at the Red Oak Diner. I've always driven by this diner, and always wanted to try it out. I got a pastrami sandwich, and it wasn't bad. I actually got a chance to sit and chat with my father for a while.
I'm working from home Wednesday through Friday. I rented two movies to watch: Live Free or Die Hard and Inside Man. Tonight, after both the wife & kid fell asleep, I popped in Live Free or Die Hard into the old PC, and watched it. Man, I do love a good action movie. This was one of the better action movies that I've seen in a while now. I don't quite believe everything that happened to John McClane (that whole F35 vs. the truck scene?), but I guess you gotta suspend some disbelief every once in a while. Note: the F35 is nowhere near Production status. Ah well.
Recently, our wonderful Dyson vacuum cleaner hasn't been so wonderful. It hasn't been picking up anything on the floor, and we only purchased it July 2006. I cleaned out the bottom rotating brush extensively, but still no good. Seemingly, that was a few hundred dollars down the drain. I was debating taking it to a repair shop, but I figured I'd go researching online. Dyson has website and telephone support hours (yeah, yeah, just for vacuum cleaners.) The website support page recommended cleaning out one of the HEPA filters, washing it, and letting it dry for 12 hours. I was supposed to be cleaning it out every 6 months, not every 17 months.
I did all that, replaced it in the vacuum, and turned it on. Just like in the cartoons, I had to hang on for dear life, because I almost got sucked into the vacuum. It was that strong. Good as new. It really pays to think things through. The vacuum works phenomenal again. Phew.
Monday, December 3rd 2007
If you haven't read my previous entry, read it now. It's still very momentous, and fresh in my mind.
Now that I can relax, life is so much better. This past weekend, our friend Lesh came over to visit Saturday night. We went out for Indian food for dinner, and rented Waitress starring Keri Russell. Movie wasn't half-bad, and Keri Russell was pretty good. The movie left me with a better understanding of women and their lives..... and a hankering for apple pie, pumpkin pie, pecan pie, apple pie. That's right, I really like pie. Did I miss the point of the movie?
On Sunday, Josh and I braved the cold and snow/rain to get matching haircuts. I think Josh only went to get a lollipop. See that? A relaxing weekend. I didn't even have any soda Saturday or Sunday. I was tired, but it was good in a way. For months, I've been drinking either Diet Coke or Pepsi, staying caffeinated all hours of the day and night. Last night, I crashed around 10:30pm. I was just tired. Today, I felt refreshed, and it felt great.
It's interesting that as you get older, you start a pretty good list of people you know. It seems to be happening to me. I'm not that special, but I guess if you meet enough people, life gets funny. Let me explain. So, many moons ago, I used to work with a great coworker/buddy Jenny Cu (jennycu.com, Flickr site, Vox page) at my old Big 5 firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. BTW, she's pregnant, and I can't believe it. Everyone is just growing up, but I digress.
Anyway, perusing her Flickr page tonight (and finding out her uterus is full of Tully-Cu offspring), I see some photos and references to this guy "Eran Raven", and a guy she used to work with..... And I used to work with, except his name wasn't "Raven." Come on, Raven? Nobody has "Raven" as a last name, unless you work in a simple village as a blacksmith, fight goblins and trolls all day, and need to find the one blah-blah-blah and destroy it, before evil wizard blah-blah finds and takes over the world.
I digress again. So I remember this guy Eran, and his real name, but I won't publish it here. I do remember him being into magic sleight-of-hand tricks. I also do kinda remember him being a bit pompous, and hearing from someone that he was saying not-so-nice things about me, after attending a training class with him in San Jose. But whatever, that's life in the business world. Anywho, he's Eran Raven now, and he performs magic tricks. Furthermore, he recently competed (and lost -- boo hoo) on that Phenomenon show. He's got a promotional website.
It's also definitely him, even though he now has a goatee. From his personal website:
After graduation, Eran discovered the world of Internet security, the practice and study of hiding information for confidentiality and integrity. Fascinated, he quickly became an expert in public key cryptography, publishing papers and giving speeches all over the world on ways to secure the Internet and protect information while running it through non-secure channels. Following this passion, he built an extremely successful career in information technology security, culminating in his position as the National IT Security Leader for a professional services firm.
Ah well, maybe he's full of himself, maybe he's changed. I guess he's done with IT, and now in the magic industry? He's getting on TV, and meeting Carmen Electra (and probably other celebrities.) Good for him.
What was my point in all this? I don't remember. I didn't bring my laptop home tonight to do work, and that's all I care about. :)