Joel, yet I can't turn away."
Monday, January 27th 2003
Anybody been wondering where I've been? Eh, probably not. You uncaring bastards.
I've been sick. Way sick. Like, flu-sick. I missed the entire Superbowl because I slept. Hot and cold flashes, fever, coughing, sneezing, aching, the whole nine yards. It started Thursday night, I think. I've been drowning myself in NyQuil and DayQuil with mixed results.
Anyway, I'm on the mend, and am doing laundry at the moment. I think one of my favorite aspects about my new apartment (apart from having parking, a nicer kitchen, walking distance to the train, the train, etc.) is the fact there's a laundry room in the building, and it's open 24 hours. Lots of times in the past, I'd have to make time to do laundry before the old spanish lady closed up her place, or locked my clothes. Also, it's nice to use a smart card, and not having to worry about having quarters.
New trailers are out for The Matrix Reloaded and Revolutions, and The Hulk. What's also worth viewing are the Terry Tate commercials for Reebok. Damn, they're hilarious. I think my favorite spot is when he gleefully says "Hi" to Bridgette. You have to log in, but any bogus email address is fine.
I never explained what the Incarnations of Immortality was all about (see Friday's posting.) The premise of the series is that the incarnations (Fate, Death, Time, Earth, War) are actual people who hold the position like a job. Usually, they land in the position in unusual circumstance, and throughout each book, you see them stumble around and get used to their responsibilities. As you can see, there's plenty of room for philosophical debate. In On a Pale Horse, Zane accidently kills Death (black cowl, scythe, etc.) and is forced to take his position. He makes his appointed rounds grabbing lost souls, all the while getting the notion that Satan (the incarnation of Evil) is up to some evil plot. Unfortunately, I've got the feeling that the philosophical questions will end up on the cutting room floor for the movie.
The party at Tom and Mary's was pretty good. I was also at my cousin's place earlier in the evening for this son's birthday. Unfortunately, I could only stay for a little while. That sucked.
Friday, January 24th 2003
What a relaxing Friday. Nowhere to go, and nothing important to do. After such a long time, I popped in Rogue Spear, and was killed instantly. Actually, two of my teams were killed by terrorists. I'm seriously out of practice. I'll have to get back into the groove. Practice makes perfect.
Nell Carter died. That's sad. I used to watch her "Gimme a Break" show when I was young. In other Hollywood news, anyone remember Zach Galligan? He was the star of Gremlins and his other big movie...Gremlins 2. Anyway, he was just arrested for shoplifting a CD.
One of my favorite book series is being turned into a set of movies. Well, the first book anyway. The series is the Incarnations of Immortality, and the first book/movie is On a Pale Horse. I hope they do a good job, because I used to avidly read Piers Anthony books when I was in junior high school and high school. I also used to read his Xanth and Apprentice Adept series.
This computer is getting....slow. My plan is to do a fresh install of Windows and my applications. I just ordered a new 40 Gb hard drive from Dell. When it gets here next week, I'm going to spend a long evening formatting the new drive. Let's hope for the best.
In Superstylin' news, I have finished the Easter Egg Toys page. It looks much better now. Now, I just have to finish one more page, and I'm done with the Easter Eggs. Maybe then I can start to do something about this Family section.
Tom & Mary's party is tomorrow night, and I plan to take a few pictures. Andrew's birthday party is around the same time, so I'll be at Shiku and Renju's house for a little bit before I head to the Kovoor residence.
Wednesday, January 22nd 2003
Now that I've got the bulk of the NYIIA site done, I really should start getting back to my normal life. For one thing, I can start sleeping at a normal hour. What happened to that New Year's resolution of sleeping early and getting to work on time? Another thing is updating sections of this website. I still haven't fixed some Easter Eggs, or even started on the "My Family" section. That's been "Under Construction" since August. Yikes!
I caught some more of the American
Idol show. Guess I'm not the only bad singer in America. What was
MUCH better was Live From Lincoln Center: Perlman at the Penthouse on
PBS Channel 13. It was just amazing. Here's the capsule:
Broadcast from the Kaplan Penthouse at Lincoln Center,
Itzhak Perlman performs with students and alumni of the Perlman Music
Program. The selections include excerpts from Tchaikovsky's Serenade for
Strings and Bartok's Divertimento, Bach's Concerto for Two Violins and
Vivaldi's Concerto for Four Violins.
It'll be on again on Sunday, January 26 at 12 noon. Be sure to set your VCR (or PVR if you're really cool.)
Fred Durst of Limp Bizkit is dating Britney Spears? Good for him. It won't last because of the media hype, but good for him anyway.
On February 25th, it's coming....Deep Space Nine - The Complete First Season. It'll cost me 97 bucks, but DS9 is my favorite Star Trek series. The complex characters, ongoing storylines, sci-fi plots were big draws, though I admit Seasons 1 and 2 weren't the best. However, I need to get the whole collection. The Second Season comes out April 1st.
On a totally unrelated note, I need a haircut.
What the hell is wrong with R. Kelly? I mean, now there's child porn? Dude, that's sick.
I was touring a datacenter most of today (always fun), but I was able to catch up on the news in the evening. The highlights?
You know, my parents still haven't come by to see my new apartment, or visited the cat. I think I have to put my foot down about this.
Okay, I'm going to work on one of the Easter Egg pages, then going to bed. I'm taking some UNIX training at work for the next two days. I can't be late!
I'll say it again, Jon Stewart on The Daily Show is funny as hell.
2:25 AM UPDATE --> As usual, I'm retarded. However, I finally got around to working on that Easter Egg page. It's not done, but do check out the new title for the "Toys" page -- I did it all in Flash. So much for my plans to sleep early!
Monday, January 20th 2003
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. I read a few articles bemoaning that kids these days don't really understand the significance. That's sad. He was a pretty amazing man. The world would definitely have been a better place if he had lived even a short while longer. Who knows what the world would be like now? Same with Gandhi.
After some very important cleaning (and I used the vacuum cleaner for the 1st time), I vacuumed a few tons of dirt. It was so much, I considered photographing it, but I changed my mind in order to save the weak of heart. You wouldn't have believed the picture anyway. Did some serious sorting of my mail pile. Pretty fascinating, eh?
I had plans to see Gangs of New York with Doug in the city this afternoon. I ran to the train but missed the train by a few seconds. I walked home and waited for the next train 1 and a 1/2 hour later. At this point, my friend Teena is gloating because she doesn't like mass transportation for this reason.
Teena, stop gloating.
Finally made it, and I played Solitaire on my PDA. I'm mentioning this because I just recently figured out how to play Solitaire on Friday evening. Sigh, yes, I just figured it out. I couldn't figure out how to move the cards around. Keep in mind that I buy these complicated games with puzzles, weapons, etc, etc, yet I couldn't figure out how to use a 2-dimensional deck of cards. Gangs of New York was interesting, but I don't see the big deal critics are making of the whole darn thing. Daniel Day-Lewis was probably the best part of the whole movie, because his performance made his villain come to life (a real bastard.)
Ok, on a serious note, some of you may have read about my sending flowers to Num at school. There's a slight disclaimer I think I should mention. Last time I went out for Happy Hour on Thursday Jan 9th, I got back really late, and Num had been worried sick at her place wondering what had happened to me. I was an idiot to make her worry, so I made it up with flowers and dinner the next day. I wrote about being "cool" about sending flowers, but I never mentioned why I sent them.
Now you know. I'm not perfect. Ask my mom; she'll be more than happy to tell you.
BTW, if you didn't read anything about flowers, then please disregard the previous two paragraphs, and continue thinking I'm perfect. Feel free to tell others, because I'm working with Bill Gates and AOL Time Warner on a "Joel is wonderful" beta email test. If you tell someone "Joel is cool", Bill Gates will send you a check.
Seriously, my friend tried it, and he got a check for $100 yesterday!
NYIIA is uploaded, and mostly working fine. Just working out the kinks here and there.
I went to a wedding reception Saturday night in Edison NJ with Teena. I was all dressed up (read: suit), but I've never seen so many Indian guys show up in jeans and sneakers. Come on, guys. You gotta dress up once in a while. Afterwards, Teena changed, we both drove to my place, picked up Num, drove to the city, and met up with Doug at Bar None. Extremely crowded. So crowded that there were four hands on my person at all times because you couldn't help it. I guess I can't complain, except for the intense heat.
Sunday started off with opening the freezer and discovering that the 4 cans of Pepsi that I had placed in there "briefly" on Saturday to chill had in fact exploded. Ah, you try cleaning up "Pepsi slushie" and see how YOU like it. Once I had removed and wiped down each food item with Windex Wipes, I used half a bottle of Fantastik (awesome stuff) to wipe down that freezer. I even had to unscrew the freezer bottom to get the Pepsi that seeped in there. This whole ordeal took about 1/2 an hour. What a moron I am.
I picked up the photos I had developed at CVS. Yes, developed. I had this roll of film that I took pictures at Thanksgiving, when Leena came visiting in October, and some from just around here. I opted for the 4x6 pictures with pictures scanned to floppy disk. The verdict? Horrible! For $15, I got pictures that have artifacts (squiggly lines), and areas of the pictures are discolored (orangey areas, or really red, etc.) And for the final insult, the scanned images on disk are almost useless because of the poor resolution. Here are some of the better ones. As you can see, especially in the Betsy-Sandy photo, it's not a quality scanned image. The actual photo looks certainly better than what's on disk.
Moral of the story: If you want your 35mm or APS pictures in digital format, try the Kodak Picture CD or just scan them in yourself. I won't try CVS again.
In the afternoon, I picked up a Dirt Devil vacuum cleaner from Target, using this nice gift card that I got as a housewarming gift (Thanks Gary and Allegra!) I haven't tried it out yet, but I'm hoping it can pick up cat hair. The cordless battery-powered vacuum that I have just doesn't have the power.
Speaking of the cat, if you look on the left-hand side of the vacuum cleaner, you'll see a blue box. That's this cat scratching thing that cats are supposed to use instead of your actual furniture. It even came with catnip to rub on to attract cats. Turns out, I paid $8 for corrugated cardboard. So far, Missy has rubbed herself against it, but she still isn't scratching her claws on it. Stupid cat.
Tuesday, January 14th 2003
I took a vacation day today to loiter around Glen Ridge. God bless America.
More work on the NYIIA site, and I chatted with a million people on AIM.
I watched this short documentary on the secrets of Grand Central Terminal at 10:30PM on PBS. This guy walked around talking about all the sections and history you never knew about. I thought the interesting highlights were:
There was plenty more. Never knew this stuff, did ya?
Monday, January 13th 2003
"Heaven....I'm in....Heaven...." Yes, I'm singing, but considering that it's currently 3:46AM, sleep deprivation is starting to take its toll. What am I doing up this late?
Uh, I'll give you 3 guesses. Of course, anybody who is anybody probably knows the answer by now that all the guesses start with WWW. It's just a question of which.
For all those playing along, the answer was the NYIIA site. Tonight, I have [drum roll]:
Am I happy? You bet your sweet bippy I am. I'm trying to roll out most of the pages by the end of this week, with the album to be completed this weekend.
For those looking for new furniture, my cousin Shibu just alerted me that Seaman's is doing some promotion where you can buy furniture on their credit card, with 18 months of no payments or interest. Deal ends this month, so hurry!
My eye contacts are completely worn out. I have an appointment at Lenscrafters tomorrow night, so it looks like I won't be rubbing my eyes so often. Ah, it'll be nice to have new contacts again. I think I'm on my 3rd or 4th month with my last disposable pair of contacts. They're only supposed to last 1-2 months.
4AM sharp. Time for bed!
Saturday, Jan 11th 2003
On Thursday night, I went drinking with Gary, Regina, and Doug. I had planned to go for one drink, and then go home. Six hours later, I was fast asleep on my train until the conductor came by and poked me awake, asking what my stop was. I tell him Bay Street, and he tells me I missed it awhile ago. Crap. 12:45AM, in the middle of Upper Montclair, I'm calling 411 over and over again trying to find a cab home. I finally get one, but the ride will cost me $10, and I only have 7 bucks. I ask her to "take me as far as $7 will get me." Luckily, $7 got me not so far from my place, and I walked it.
BTW, I made it to the office earlier than usual on Friday morning. I think it was because I ate a Blimpie sandwich from the fridge and drank plenty of water and OJ before going to bed.
On Friday, Num and I went out to dinner at this Deja Vu Thai-French restaurant in Montclair. The waitress asks us an odd question, "Are you in a hurry?" We answer, "Uh, no." Big mistake. 1 1/2 hours later, we still haven't gotten our appetizers yet. Escargot and butternut squash soups takes 90 minutes? Our entrees took another 20 minutes, and we got out of there around 9:45pm so we could catch Drumline. The food was good, but the wait was horrible. I don't plan to go back.
Drumline was decent. Actually, it was kinda trite IMHO. I will admit that I have a new appreciation for the rigors of marching band (how odd does that sound, btw?), but the plot got to be a bit predictable, and the face-offs just didn't seem realistic. Case in point: on the busride to the school on the first day, all the guys on the bus happen to be trying out for marching band. Stereotypes and cliches galore, but you can ignore them by focusing on the music.
What I found irritating was the attitude of some people in the theater. Plenty of times in the movie, the main character is the guy marching to the beat of a different drummer, which is really just himself. He's the guy with the raw talent, but a severe attitude problem (i.e. thinks he's all that.) Any rational person can see that the kid means well, but needs to get over himself. However, there were a bunch of guys all mumbling/muttering loudly during the movie. When? Well, whenever the kid got dressed down for being stupid/arrogant/out of line, specific guys in the audience complained that "Damn, just like society to keep a brotha down."
I don't know; it just bothered me that people can't accept responsibility for their actions, but need to blame their problems on others. It just seems like a cop-out.
On Saturday, I went with Num to this charity dinner at DePaul Catholic High School so they could raise more money to pay for their new athletic field. Afterwards, I watched the "Planet of the Apes" DVD that Gary let me borrow. Ok, so I thought the movie was cheesy. I think the word fluff would accurately describe the movie.
Youth elections in church tomorrow. No, I'm not going for anything. I just want to see how it turns out.
Thursday, Jan 9th 2003
It's 2:40AM Wednesday night, and I'm still up. I had made a New Year's Resolution (just one) to go to bed at a reasonable hour. I could get my 8 hours of sleep, and get up nice and early for work. 8 days into the year, and I've completely thrown that out the window for the past 4 days. Argh.
What's my excuse? I've been updating the church site for January, and I've been working on the NY IIA website. Even on the train this evening, I was scribbling furiously on my notepad with various designs. I think I have a good one. You can take a peek at my 1st draft at your own leisure: original flavor vs. new flava. Only the Home, President's Message, and Calendar links work right now. Once the final design is settled, and I work out a few annoying glitches, I can go full-steam and convert everything.
Hmm, I haven't even finished washing the dishes. Sigh.
Monday, Jan 6th 2003
What a long stretch without updates! It's understandable though; I've been going nuts with planning for the party, buying things for the party, getting people to the party, and cleaning up after the party. I think everyone had a good time, and about everyone showed up. I still have so much food left over in the freezer that was never opened, plenty o' beer in the cooler, and hard liquor waiting to be consumed. I think I need a liquor cabinet.
I'm putting up the picture captions tonight.
Last night, Num and I finally watched Sunset Boulevard (that we rented New Year's Eve.) It was interesting, but not the most fascinating. Num says it was more earth-shattering "back in the day." I'm sure I just offended someone with the phrase "back in the day."
In other news, last Friday was J.R.R. Tolkien's "eleventy-first" birthday (111th.) Fans were celebrating all over the world. Neat.
I can't seem to find my Princess Leia action figure. That's right, the one from Return of the Jedi. Come on, it's kitchy cool. I just remembered that I don't see it anywhere. Also, tonight's "Friends" episode was about that. Oh, never mind. Well, I found it in a K-B Toys store, and I had to have it. I proudly display it here on my desk. I wonder where it is?
So I came home tonight after another interesting day at work (not), and where do I find the cat? That's right, in my bed, under the sheets. What a nutty cat she is, but did she have to sleep on my bed? She's supposed to use the other side anyway. Hmm, this is sounding odd. I'll shut up.
I still thought it was funny that she was actually propping her head on the pillow. Now I have to clean my bed.
I just got a call from a lady trying to confirm my mailing address. Apparently, the ball has already started rolling for my 10-year high school reunion. Wow, 10 years already? I gotta get in shape.
2:34AM UPDATE --> Just one of those nights, I guess. Just can't sleep. I've been working on the NYIIA redesign, and I'm just trying to make a nice navigation bar.
Anyway, I was uploading 3 NYC Trip pictures that Ajo sent me at least 2 months ago, but I never got around to posting them. Well, I finally did. You know, I am really happy with how the Hudson Valley church site turned out. I was happy with the first design I did two years ago, and this new look makes me pretty proud. I guess I'm not so retarded after all.
I'm still wondering what possessed the cat to sleep like that in my bed this evening. Is she starting to imitate me? Well, if I ever come home and catch her cooking Hamburger Helper in the kitchen, I'll just hope she cooked the beef properly. I know she's a cat, but my health is still very important.
I also thought now would be an opportune time to update my Links page. I added four of my favorite websites. I also just noticed that Mr. George Koshy finally added me to his links page. About time, buddy!
Sunday, Jan 5th 2003
The housewarming party was a success. Eventually around 1AM, the remaining people decided to drive over to Diva Lounge to chill out. Who knew that clubs in New Jersey closed at 2AM? That sucks, but we still had a good time. Pictures in the Friends Photo Gallery.
Thursday, Jan 2nd 2003
Argh. In the evening, my train stopped at the Bloomfield station for 15 minutes, and then the conductor announced that there was no electricity beyond the next train station. Either we got out here, or the train was going to backtrack all the way to Newark, and NJ Transit would arrange other transportation. No thank you, I got off. I called Num to pick me up, since she's the closest person in the area. Otherwise, I would have gotten a taxi.
After all that, I went shopping today with Num to get some stuff for "the party" in two days. What? Me nervous? Nah.
Is it me or is Michael Jackson one of the oddest celebrities of 2002?
Last spring, Jackson became a dad for a third time, to a son he named Prince Michael II. Reportedly, the mother is Jackson's ex-wife Debbie Rowe, but for now, Jackson isn't saying.
In the summer, Jackson went public with his feud against Sony Music boss Tommy Mottola. It got to the point where he called Mottola a devil and a racist. "We must put an end to this racism -- racism is bad. Tommy Mottola made some very racist remarks," Jackson said in early July at a news conference in New York with The Rev. Al Sharpton.
Jackson has been seen with heavy makeup, wearing a mask, on crutches and on the stand.
At the MTV Video Music Awards In August, he said, "If someone were to [tell] me that one day I'd be getting a musician, artist of the millennium award, I wouldn't have believed them." MTV gave him a birthday cake, and he thinks he won an award. The best part was when he started thanking people.
In November, he horrified the world by dangling a baby from a hotel balcony in Germany. He later apologized to everyone except one critic, Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred, whom he told to "go to hell."
What a total freak.
Wednesday, Jan 1st 2003
Ooooh, 2003 hath arrived. I plan to bum around today, do some bills, and most likely clean up. Also, I need to visit my parents. If you haven't seen my reflections for 2002, check out my Dec 31st posting in the Archive. I like bare my soul and stuff.
Last night, Num and I went to dinner at Mexicali Rose, an excellent family-owned Mexican restaurant in Montclair. We were severely crowded between two other couples about 4 inches away on either side. Still, I had the best steak chimichanga money could buy.
We rented four movies, and we got through 3/4. We saw:
In some very cool technology news, Shanghai just unveiled the world's first commercial MAGLEV (magnetic-levitation) train. MAGLEV trains, while extremely expensive to build, are very fast. The reason? The train itself floats above the track through the use of opposing magnets. This train can hit 260 mph.
I know there were planning to build a Berlin-Hamburg line in Germany, but that got scrapped. There were supposed to be two other plans in the US: one in Pennsylvania and another in the Baltimore area. I'm not sure what the status of those projects are, but I think they're looking for additional funding.