Main > Joel's February 2003 News

"So Joel, yet I can't turn away."
--George Koshy

Thursday, February 27th 2003

Thanks for everything, Mr. Rogers.

Wednesday, February 26th 2003

I didn't finish playing with the cat, and she urinated on the bathroom floor. Looks like we have confirmation: she acts up when she wants attention. God damn cat. At least I have the great mystery regarding her bad behavior all these years finally figured out.

I've competely redone the Resume page. Get comfortable, because it's mad long, but in-depth.

Monday, February 24th, 2003

"Whaddaya mean I'm out of undershirts?"

Laundry day. I think they were done in the dryer a while ago, but I've been tweaking the Youth page on the CSI HV site.

Nia Vardalos"But I thought it was perfect", you ask. Well, I thought I'd add a few minor (but nice) additions to the Youth page, like a calendar of events and a list of fundraising events. Fixed up the Auxillary page a tad, and even did some minor tweaking to the main page (MINOR!) I guess anything is better than folding your clothes.

Speaking of tweaking J.Lo's nipples (?), I looked over some of the pages on THIS site, like the Resume page and one of my Easter Egg pages. They're kinda bland, so I'll have to fix them up this week. I hate blandness. I used to have my resume on the Resume page, but I took it off, on the advice of my cousin Shibu. One stalker crazy psycho chick once in your life is enough for anyone. I don't need more. If you want my resume, email me. I think I'll just explain about my career. As for the remaining boring Easter Egg page, more Flash animation!

Speaking of not-so-good sitcoms (?), CBS has cashed in on the Big Fat Greek Wedding movie with My Big Fat Greek Life. Yes, an entire show derived from a one-joke movie. Now, I liked the movie, and I like to give most ideas a shot (except that Baby Bob fiasco....also on CBS), so I did watch the show. Uh, not really funny. I think I chuckled once. Maybe it'll improve. The husband character really wasn't interesting at all. Nia is obviously the star of the show, but she completely eclipses her co-star. He's just there watching all the shenanigans occur around him. Not a good recipe, I think.

You know, I meant to mention it last week, but I got super-preoccupied. The new X-Men movie is coming out May 2nd 2003, and the final trailer is out now. Check out the X2 site, click on "Quicklinks" and then "Trailer." If you've got broadband, it'll look best.

Speaking of sitcoms about mutants (?), my friend Leena and her husband Sanjay finally succumbed to 21st century and they got broadband, courtesy of Comcast cable. Her verdict? She absolutely loves it. Hey, I've been talking about it for 2 years now, and been making fun of those broadband-deprived for about the same time.

Are you listening citizens of the world?

BTW, my policy on this site is to NOT mention clothing purchases, but I did in my Sunday post. The reason is that purchasing clothes for work is always expensive, so I thought it would be worth a mention. I really needed to start replacing some of my old dress shirts.

Anyway, time to get the laundry.

Sunday, February 23rd 2003

Is it me, or are all of my weekend updates not showing up until late Sunday, and only as consolidated entries? This is a testament that my weekends are too busy for my own good. Joel, chill out, before you get us killed!

At this point, I don't remember where I was, or what I was doing, on Friday night. Like, no clue. Either it was a really fun time, or my Alzheimer's is setting in early.

Saturday was the day of "zooming."

I was at a function at my parents', left in the middle to pick up some friends from Newark Airport, dropped them home in Westchester, drove BACK to Rockland, and resumed my attendance at my parents' place, but still missing all of lunch. Hey, you gotta help your friends, you know? Anyhow, I was able to attend, because I zoomed from Rockland-Newark-Westchester-Rockland in about 3 hours. I would have done better, but got stuck in accident-related traffic on the Tappan Zee Bridge connecting Rockland and Westchester counties.

Zoomed over to the Palisades Mall (still Rockland) to drop off a burned CD with some good software to my buddy Feby, who works at the Brooks Brothers store there. He also helped me pick up 3 new dress shirts and 2 ties. Damage? Over $200. Sigh, there goes my Quicken budget for February.

Zoomed back to New Jersey to drop off my dry cleaning, got home, shaved, picked up Num, and drove to her "semi-surprise party" @ Teena's place. I say semi-surprise, because she found out a week ago that we were doing this. ARGH! Anyway, you should have seen Teena's decorating job. Very "You're Invited."

After a few drinks at her place, we all piled into 2 cars, and drove over to Delta's in New Brunswick for awesome Southern food and live jazz. I am definitely returning there. Around 11PM (3 hours!), we walked over to Club Platinum. I got home at 4AM. Pictures coming Monday and later this week, courtesy of myself and the inestimable Ranjith Cherickel.

After falling asleep with my contacts in, I woke up around 12 noon. After playing with the cat, I met up with Chirag and Sunay at Continental Airlines Arena to see the New Jersey Nets-Orlando Magic game. Sorry, no pictures, because the camera batteries were dead from Sat nite. Anyway, truth be told, this was my first NBA basketball game anywhere. I've never attended, because I felt that you couldn't really see anything unless you paid $$$ to get the close-up seats, as opposed to baseball and football games, which I've gone to. Much to my surprise, you can see plenty from the 2nd tier. Nets lost, I spent $20 on food, but I had a great time. Thanks Shaq!

An impromptu dinner with Num and her family, some more playtime with the cat, and here I am typing away. What a weekend!

My friend Josh (from Houston) has recently alerted me that Jimboy finally fixed up his website. Damn, it's nice. He puts me to shame.

I wonder what I was doing Friday night? Hey, now I remember! I was watching TV and updating the NYIIA site calendar. You know, that wasn't exciting at all.

Forget what you read. I was out drinking with strippers until sunrise. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

Wednesday, February 19th 2003

You would think that my transportation woes would be over now. NOT AT ALL. Took the train at my usual time, but it took me over 2 hours to get into the office this morning because of a disabled train ahead of us. I kept falling asleep and then waking up on the train. Every time I woke up, I asked myself, "Have we even moved? Everything looks the same."

So yes, I strolled into the office at 11:15AM today. What a reputation I must be building there.

Tuesday, February 18th 2003

It's 2:51AM, and it's technically Wednesday, but I don't care at this point. I'm actually starting to get dizzy. Soon, I'll pass out at my computer desk, and the computer will actually take its time to eat me. I think I watched this on the Discovery Channel.

It took me over 2 hours (door-to-door) to get to work today. I left after 8AM, and didn't make it into the office until around 10:40 or so. Only 3 trains in the morning and only 3 trains in the evening, with service to/from Hoboken only. What a hassle. Also, very few people showed up to work today. I should have just used a vacation day.

However, I did promise a coworker that I would show her how to use Powerpoint (for this presentation she has on Thursday.) Anyway, a few more people decided to show up, and I had a mini-training class all of a sudden. It went well, and TPTB ("The Powers That Be") are interested in me teaching a real class later this year.

Later this evening, Num flexed her web design skills, and showed me how to make my sidebars finally look the way I wanted them to....just a simple border around the object. The NYIIA site now looks MUCH nicer, and I even fixed this width problem I didn't even know was I having. Argh, the glitches one can find if they stare long enough.

Monday, February 17th 2003

I loves me some 3 day weekends. On Friday, I attended an IIA workshop on "Auditing for Cyberterrorism" and then got out early enough to catch the 3:50PM train. Home by 4:30 on a Friday? Yes, I was pleased. My cable modem arrived, I got it working after a nice phone conversation with the tech (who was based 2 hours north of Toronto.) So far, so good, and I haven't had to reset it yet. It

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Hmm, girls.

Friday evening, Num and I went to this place she recommended--Toros in Clifton, specializing in Middle Eastern cuisine. Very nice, and I plan to go back. Afterwards, we saw Chicago, and it was pretty good. I wanted to see the Broadway show, but this was almost as good.

Saturday? Lazy, and I don't mind it one bit.

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Men are drawn to food

Sunday was church (Malayalam service? Argh.) I haven't been there in weeks, so they were all pretty surprised to see me. Afterwards, I hung out at my parents, and then I headed home before "The Blizzard of 2003" hit. In the evening, I went over to Ranjith's and Prateesh's with a bunch of others. It was Ranjith's birthday, and well, there was going to be food there.

On the way back, I battled the snows. When I got to my apartment building, the plows had piled up a huge snowbank at the entrance. The snow was piled higher than my headlights. An average person couldn't park get in.

Luckily, I'm not your average driver! Watching for traffic, I reversed my car a little bit, and floored it. I didn't quite make it, but I took out a good portion of the snowbank. I got stuck, but reversed and did it again. I did this three times, but I just couldn't get traction over that hump. The wheels just spun.

Finally, I pulled out, went down the street enough to turn around, and pointed myself straight on to the driveway (not diagonally again.) At the other side of the street, I stared at my enemy, and floored it. I flew through the rest of that snowbank like the Knight Rider himself. The rest of my journey through the parking lot was uneventful. It was 1' deep, and traction was a problem, but I kept stopping, reversing, and going forward through the parking lot. I'm glad there was a spot left, or I would have been pretty pissed.

Today, I just stayed in and kept warm. I kept working on the new hard drive for my computer, but I couldn't get my Win XP cd to boot up. I may have to get some help!

I have work tomorrow. If I didn't have meetings.....4 day weekend?

Thursday, February 13th 2003

Gary's big lunch and last Happy Hour @ NY Life was today. I just got back around 12:30AM. A little tired, but the cat wants to play. Sigh. It's going to be awfully quiet with Gary not around.

Well, until I see him in a week or two. Come on, he's working 3 blocks up on Madison Ave. What is that, a 5 minute walk?

Sunday, February 10th 2003

"Dear Joel, how is camp? What have you been up to?"

Friday night, I went out for a few drinks with Doug and a few others. It was supposed to be ONE drink, but that never happens. Oh, don't worry. I had like 3 drinks the whole night at The Tripple Inn (54th & Broadway) and Madison's (83rd and York.) I can already feel the disapproving glares!

Saturday was a little dinner party for some friends who couldn't make it to my housewarming party in early January. Num was the big chef, and did an awesome job creating this whole Mexican-themed dinner. We even had homemade flan.

Sunday was reserved for breaking into Windows XP laptop, and yes I was successful! Ah, the fun we geeks have.

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Linksys Etherfast Cable Modem

Quicken 2003 is coming tomorrow. Woohoo! Also in the world of "Joel's Purchases," I just ordered a Linksys cable modem from Amazon. I've been renting a modem from Comcast for 2 years now, and the RCA modems I'm renting is always locking up. Then I'm crouched under my desk pulling and inserting the power plug, hoping it reinitializes. It'll be here early next week (courtesy of Amazon's free shipping.)

Speaking of purchases, I've updated my list of recent acquisitions. Marvel at my audacity!

Thursday, February 6th 2003

So...tired. 1:10AM. I should really go to bed, but just doing some accounting in Quicken. Speaking of which, it's almost tax-filing time again. I'm looking into trying TurboTax this year. Last year, I did H&R Block, but they charged me a lot of money to have some lady ask me questions from her computer screen. The previous years, I've used my parents' accountant, or my cousin Shibu did it for me.

Speaking of Intuit (okay, no one was speaking of them, but let me finish), I use my Quicken a lot--nearly every day for everything. Anyway, the last copy I bought was in '99. I've been putting it off, but I just ordered Quicken 2003 Premier. Premier supposedly provides all this extra investment advice, tax schedules, alerts, a pinwheel, a llama, etc. Turns out, I found it $20 cheaper at this online store, plus Intuit is offering a $30 rebate until Feb. 8th. Quicken 2003 Premier for $21? Sounds like a deal. It gets here on Monday.

I ran out of here this morning, and realized I had left the keys on my desk while the door closed in slow motion. I had to buzz my landlord this evening, hoping he was home to get me in. He was. Needless to say, I was relieved.

Michael Jackson is a freak. I didn't see the 20/20 show, but I read about it. What a freakin' freak.

Last thought of the day: I was riding home on the train tonight, and I just stared out the window, watching the scenery zoom by...the NJ Turnpike, swampland, people stuck in traffic. I realized that about 1 year and 2 weeks ago, I was on my last flight coming home from Detroit. I used to stare out the window all the time to/from work, but I'd be staring at lakes and farms and stuff, from really high up.

In some small ways, I miss travelling and consulting. The "client" still didn't respect me (who would when you're there to tell them you can do a better job), but at least I was travelling the world. At the end of dinner with Doug on Wednesday, I realized how much I missed having a charge card for meals. I mean, I have to care how much meals cost these days!

Tough life, eh? Aw, leave me alone.

Wednesday, February 5th 2003

Meetings after meetings, I tell you. By mid-afternoon, I was exhausted. Phone calls every 10 mins about the NYIIA website and problems -- miscellaneous users only see junk code, and they seem to be Netscape users. Turns out, all my .php pages have stopped being rendered by Netscape. What's weird is that I'd done testing before, and it had all worked fine. What's really irritating? I'm having other technical problems, and our hosting provider is sitting back, collecting cash. Meanwhile, they don't respond to email, and their support phone is out of service., you suck!

I had to convert ALL the pages to htm files. For now, that's okay, but the photo galleries I've been working on this week won't work! ARGH! If they don't shape up, I'm going to recommend switching providers. I didn't choose them, but I don't have to stick with them either!

I've been playing around with Adobe Acrobat and making electronic forms. Seems interesting. After work, I met up with Doug for dinner at McGee's Pub & Restaurant over on 55th and Broadway. Hmmm, not bad. I didn't even have one drink today. We just sat around and BS'ed about life, women, and our upcoming trip to Detroit (" Paul, two wild and crazy guys are coming to Detroit!")

Have I mentioned that I've officially started studying for the CIA exam? It's this Certified Internal Auditor certification, but I have to pass all the parts. I'm going to try to pass Parts 1, 2, and 3 in May. If not, I can try again in October.

Monday, February 3rd 2003

I bought some Fancy Feast cat food (you know, small cans but more expensive) at the same time I bought the vacuum cleaner last month. Turns out, she's hooked now, and regular Friskies canned food is not good enough for her palate. You would think a cat wouldn't care, but I guess some animal mush tastes better than others. Now she'll only eat the Fancy Feast. I had to make a special run to the grocery store to get some, before her elitist cat rump starved to death.

Speaking of the cat, she's up to her evil tricks. I didn't get to properly play with her yesterday, so she decided to show her ire: she urinated on the futon sometime today while I was at work.

Sometimes, I hate that cat.

Saturday, February 1st 2003

I woke up to the news, and it was pretty devastating. I'd always followed the missions of the shuttle program, starting with the early launches when I was a kid living in the Bronx. Who wasn't fascinated? I still remember so clearly back in 1986 (4th grade) when our teachers assembled us into the auditorium to tell us about the Challenger disaster. I felt a pit in my stomach then, and it doesn't feel any better now.

L to R: Mission Specialist David Brown, Commander Rick D. Husband, Mission Specialist Laurel Clark, Mission Specialist Kalpana Chawla, Payload Commander Michael P. Anderson, Pilot William C. McCool, Payload Specialist Ilan Ramon

I listened Bush's address to the nation live this afternoon on the ride to a church meeting in Long Island. It was very moving.

My fellow Americans, this day has brought terrible news and great sadness to our country. At 9 o'clock this morning, Mission Control in Houston lost contact with our space shuttle Columbia. A short time later, debris was seen falling from the skies above Texas.

The Columbia's lost. There are no survivors.

Onboard was a crew of seven -- Colonel Rick Husband, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Anderson, Commander Laurel Clark, Captain David Brown, Commander William McCool, Dr. Kalpana Chawla, and Ilan Ramon a colonel in the Israeli air force.

These men and women assumed great risk in this service to all humanity. In an age when space flight has come to seem almost routine, it is easy to overlook the dangers of travel by rocket and the difficulties of navigating the fierce outer atmosphere of the earth.

These astronauts knew the dangers, and they faced them willingly, knowing they had a high and noble purpose in life. Because of their courage and daring and idealism, we will miss them all the more.

All Americans today are thinking, as well, of the families of these men and women who have been given this sudden shock and grief. You're not alone. Our entire nation grieves with you. And those you loved will always have the respect and gratitude of this country.

The cause in which they died will continue. Mankind is led into the darkness beyond our world by the inspiration of discovery and the longing to understand. Our journey into space will go on.

In the skies today, we saw destruction and tragedy. Yet farther than we can see, there is comfort and hope.

In the words of the prophet Isaiah, "Lift your eyes and look to the heavens. Who created all these? He who brings out the starry hosts one by one and calls them each by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing."

The same creator who names the stars also knows the names of the seven souls we mourn today. The crew of the shuttle Columbia did not return safely to Earth, yet we can pray that all are safely home.

May God bless the grieving families, and may God continue to bless America.



Dining Table and chairs
--Christmas gift from Num!

Wine Rack
--Christmas gift from Julie!

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Purchases, purchases, purchases!

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