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


Wednesday, February 21st 2007

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Another million dollar baby

Oooh, aaaaah, updates. January Family photos are published and captioned.

What a doofus I am, but I'll get to that in just a moment.

We both took off on yesterday (Tuesday) to get Joshua's first-ever passport at the Philadelphia pasport agency. While I'm reading Green Eggs and Ham (a popular and venerable edition to our Dr. Suess collection), a little girl (maybe 3 years old) sitting in front of us turns around, and wants to listen. So, I'm sitting and reading Dr. Suess to two children now. Hey, I'm a dad -- I don't mind. The girl's mother never turns around to see, or smile, or anything. Then the girl tries to impatiently flip the pages, tries to take the book from me, etc. You know, kid's stuff. Joshua loses interest, and I let the girl take the book (but I keep my eye on it.)

The little girl wanders all over the passport agency waiting area, showing the book off with other kids, and even gets an older woman to let her sit in her lap, and read Green Eggs and Ham to her. The girl's mother? Chatting on her cell phone, totally uninterested in her child's whereabouts. The vibe I got from her? Just happy to have someone else watch or occupy her kid for a while. Never a thank you to me or anyone else. Not a single glance to see where her kid was. Really pathetic. My wife and I are tired parents too, but hey, we don't let that kid get out of our sight for a second.

So waiting the three hours for the passport to be finished, we drive up to Oxford Valley Mall to waste time. I, of course, agree for us to partake in some survey, and unable to politely say no, we walk over to their market research office. Of course, they aren't interested in me at all, and before I know it, my wife is spending 20 minutes watching bra commercials on a computer, answering long-winded questions. She did make $5, but we ran out of time to do any shopping or window-browsing. We used what little time we had for a diaper change, and use some of Num's new $5 bill to get Joshua a quick lunch before hurrying back to Philadelphia.

That whole story doesn't make me a doofus, but I'm getting to that. Being a vacation day, I only checked my email in the evening, but not my calendar. I get to the office Wed morning (today), and there is no one in the office. Well, one guy, but not under my director. Weird, right? Is everyone in a meeting? I don't see anyone in the conference room.....

I log in, turn on my Outlook, and lo and behold, a meeting reminder pops up. The big quarterly team meeting is today, 9:30am, be in NYC in person. I never thought to check my calendar yesterday.

That's why I am a doofus.

I don't think it'll be horrible. I may get a few laughs, I'll do a sheepish apology to my boss, as he probably wondered where I was. Luckily, I was able to dial in and listen. In addition, there were a number of people off-site on audits, and they had to dial in as well. So, not everyone was physically in NYC.

At least I got my work done. And I didn't wear my shoes in my cubicle most of the day. :)

Fortune magazine just came out with their 50 Best Business Schools for Getting Hired in the United States. Last week, I was chatting with one of my cousins on the drive into work on Friday. He's the one who, after my wife, is the one I turn to for some good career advice. Anyway, we were talking, and I mentioned that I was planning to start graduate school soon. We spoke for a long while, and he suggested that, since I've done pretty well career-wise in the past 5-7 years, I might be better off postponing applying to business schools.

I said, why? He suggested I wait a few more years, build up my contacts, and negotiate with my company to sponsor me in an Executive MBA program. I've heard my director tell us that at the end of the day, an Executive MBA is just as good as the regular MBA. So now my ears are perked. My cousin said that at some schools, they have even waived the GMAT score requirement, just to have a enrolled student with a good career from a good company or pedigree.

It's all food for thought. I'm still studying for my CISSP certification, and once I complete that, I'm going to talk to my boss about the Executive MBA. Maybe I won't apply somewhere next year. Maybe I'll just focus on developing my career, and seeing where in my company I want to go. I work for a great company, and there are plenty of divisions domestically and globally to choose from, if a position were available.

Figuring out your life plan can be complicated. Step #1 would be to not miss any more big meetings. :(


Monday, February 19th 2007

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Million Dollar Baby

Million Dollar Baby came out in 2004, but we only got around to watching it last night. I wish we hadn't waited three years to watch it. Great movie. Just a great movie, and neither of us is into boxing. No wonder it won some of the top awards at the 2005 Academy Awards.

In the United States, today is Presidents Day. Originally, the U.S. celebrated the birthdays of former great Presidents George Washington and Abraham Lincoln who helped to found this country, and saved this country, respectively. Nowadays, it's just a 3-day weekend used for promoting store sales. Pathetic, isn't it?

Now having said that, the Ipes went shopping today. It was a rather productive day, and we scored a lot of great stuff from multiple stores. Why the big shopping bonanza? Simply, we really needed to get some new clothes, and me especially. We had lunch at P.F. Chang's, and are now doing laundry. What an eclectic day. Furthermore, this 3-day weekend has been great. We had to do very little driving around, or errands. Instead, we watched movies, hung out, did some grocery shopping, and generally relaxed. Congratulate us for having a life.

I have the day off tomorrow, so I'm really psyched about having a 3-day work week.


Saturday, February 17th 2007

I do love a 3-day weekend. I love it even more when I don't have to run around here or there. Today, we did some minor shopping, got Joshua a haircut, and visited my in-laws for dinner. Tomorrow? Don't know -- let's see where the day takes us.

What is this crazy news story about Britney Spears shaving her head? Normally, I wouldn't write about this, but I have to say this is latest bizarre story about her in recent months.

Is it really so hard to find a good mechanic? Since we moved here in 2005, I've tried Meineke, and Exxon, and this local mechanic. The local mechanic seemed decent, but recently every little checkup or problem with my Honda is costing me hundreds and hundreds of dollars. I should expect more frequent repairs when your car has 150,000+ miles on it, but jeez. And why is it when you come in for a little repair, that's never the end of the story? The mechanic always comes out with bad news about some other part that desperately needs replacing, and that repair is never $5. It's always hundreds of dollars.

Britney Spears Goes Bald - video powered by Metacafe

I thought the local mechanic was fairly nice, but I've noticed this new trend. Last week on Wednesday morning, the "Check Engine" light came up. Now, it's either a loose fuel cap, or an expensive problem with your emissions system. I did just get gas the night before, so I tightened the fuel cap, and waited -- Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday. Still had the light on. I took it in, 5 hours later, and spending $90 for a emissions diagnostic test, they tell me my catalytic converter is dead. Cost? $500+ dollars. Unfortunately, the one converter they have is dented, so come back Tuesday.

What I found humorous was while I was waiting, the mechanic came by to talk to someone else waiting. I don't know what he was getting done, but now apparently his "tie rods" were totally worn out. I can't remember the price, but it was a lot. I started laughing to myself. Isn't that always the case? There's always some new major repair that magically appears.

As I'm driving out on Monday at lunchtime, I notice the " Check Engine" light is off. Huh? Is the indicator bulb out? I turn the car off and on, and the light shows up briefly, then turns off. Is there a problem with my car or not? After discussing it with a few coworkers and friends, I decide to hold off on the repair, and see if the light comes back on. It's now Saturday, and the warning light is still off. Can you believe that? If I had the repair done last weekend, I'd be a fool.

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Little Miss Sunshine
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The Family Stone

All I want is an honest mechanic, but it looks like they're all crooks. My friend Doug's wife Kathy drives her car 90 minutes away to have her car repaired. She went to school with this mechanic, and he never rips her off. However, if Doug goes there, he gets the worst-case scenarios. He was telling me that one time, he took the car there, and the mechanic started spewing a laundry list of problems, then stopped, remembering that Doug was Kathy's husband. He then said Doug just had to make some minor fix! Are they really all crooks? From now on, I'm taking every repair advice with a big grain of salt. Also, I'm not fixing my car unless it's on fire.

We rented two movies this weekend so far: Little Miss Sunshine and The Family Stone. Little Miss Sunshine was good, but The Family Stone was stupid and cliched. We've got one more to watch -- Million Dollar Baby. Please don't ruin the movie for us. On a related note: after not going to the theater to watch any movies last year, and perusing the aisles at Blockbuster, my wife and I have come to the conclusion that we haven't missed anything.

Here's a clip from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno: Which do you think is a more impressive skill? Solving a Rubik's Cube in 11 seconds, or.... well, you take a look. I will gladly admit that while that I've never solved a Rubik's Cube, I'm pretty good at the other one.

Jon Stewart skewers ridiculous news coverage about Anna Nicole Smith's death. Better hurry -- the video expires in a few weeks on March 12 2007.

Cool video of a tv host driving the Bugatti Veyron on a test track at 407 km/h. A little melodramatic with music, but neat to watch nonetheless.

Bugatti Veyron On Top Gear - video powered by Metacafe

Comedians Joe Rogan and Carlos Mencia have been going at each, with Joe Rogan accusing Mencia of stealing material. Recently, they had an altercation on a comedy club stage in Los Angeles. The video was recently taken off of YouTube (courtesy of Carlos Mencia), but I found it on someone's MySpace page. Check it out before Mencia gets this removed too.


Thursday, February 15th 2007

What an interesting couple of days. As usual, work has me busy, I've started studying for the CISSP exam in July, and I continue to feel guilty when I don't blog at night. However, I've enjoyed watching TV, talking to my wife, sitting down and eating dinner, doing our taxes, etc. Okay, I didn't enjoy filing our taxes, but at least they're done.

It finally snowed this week, and you know what? I can live without it. Pain in the butt to scrap ice off of a car.

I was invited to attend my technology-related audit department's annual management conference in NY. Normally, peons like me wouldn't attend, but I and two other fellows were invited to attend on the last day of the retreat. It was a great honor to get to attend the sessions, rub elbows with management, and get to meet some of the line management who came to present to us. I still have no idea why they invited me.

Life's looking good.

I was fairly tired though. It was going to take 2 hours to get to upstate NY, so I had to wake up around 3am, do some work beforehand, dig my car out of the snow, leave my home at 4:30am, then meet a coworker by 5am for him to drive us there.

On a side note, I realize that I need a new wardrobe. Time to go shopping this weekend.


Wednesday, February 8th 2007

I'm really touched. I received so many emails, phone calls, hand-written letters, and even one telegram via pigeon, all wondering if I was okay. You know, since I haven't written in a while. I want you to all know that I'm doing fine, and that the outpouring of concern was extremely touching.

The truth is, I didn't receive ONE email, comment, phone call, or telegram via pigeon, wondering what happened to me. I despise and loathe you all. Obviously, not one of you cares, but I'm fine. Work and such as taken precedence. Booking vacations, travelling to NYC, doing our taxes, etc, etc, has tired us out. A lot of times, I feel like I should blog, but then I realize that sleep might be more important.

I'll write more tomorrow. I have to be in NYC again tomorrow. I would feel more guilt about not blogging about my stupid life, but then again, I loathe you all. :)