Main > Joel's January 2008 News
.:Picture of the Day:.


Monday, January 28th 2008

Yes, you nay-sayers. I worked out today. Today is Monday, so I worked out. I did the stairmaster for the first time in my life. Dang, man. That sh%t is tough on the heart rate.

I think it's shocking how small the world can be. You think you should burn a bridge, because you'll never see them again, then that someone shows up in your life for no apparent reason. Or how you can troll on Friendster, LinkedIn, or other social networking site, and see how people you think have nothing to do with each other on side of your life, seemingly know other people in your life. It's mind-boggling.

Case in point: I used to go to school at University at Albany, where I knew Glenda from the various Asian organization activities throughout my time there. From the Philipines, to the East Coast, now living in San Francisco. And dating a fellow named Matt. Matt Mullenweg, the founding developer of WordPress. Small world? Yes. Does it really ever do me any good? Nah. But it's interesting.

Funny story: a little while ago, Josh and I were having a conversation about the difference between "somebody" and "nobody." Yes, fascinating, right? However, it's the job of the parent. :) Anyway, I tell him that nobody is no one, and a somebody is someone, like him. And he tells me that "[he] is not a somebody. [He] is a nobody."

I know he was confused, but I got in a huff for a different reason. I had this strong desire to tell him (which I did), "No son of mine is a nobody. You're a somebody." Why, the idea! My son, an Ipe, being a Nobody. It's unconscionable! Josh still doesn't get it, but I'll continue to instill in him that he is indeed a Somebody.

Official announcement: It is with a sad heart, but I'm going to slowly-but-surely remove any photos that could be construed as scandalous or even mildly titillating. Why? One day, I may have people reporting to me, or be a big-wig who meets regularly with other actual big-wigs. The last thing I would want is to finally become a Somebody, and then some no-good-nik starts floating around pictures of me doing bodyshots with girls in bikinis (when did that happen again?) If you found racy pictures of your boss, wouldn't it weird you out? I might even be too embarassed to have my underlings get my Diet Coke & Snickers breakfast for me. Of course, by "get me", I mean delegate. :)

It's going to take me some time, but get your looky-loos now. Such a heavy heart about this, but you know what? Small price to pay to be a Somebody one day.


Sunday, January 27th 2008

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Reign Over Me starring Don Cheadle & Adam Sandler

My new workout routine is Mon-Wed-Fri at the gym, no ifs, ands, or buts. I went Friday night after work, and it felt good, but tiring. In the past, working out 3x a week always showed me results. 2x a week only helped me maintain the current weight. Not good enough -- I have to lose it. I can not describe to you the frustration I feel, knowing that I was in my best shape four years ago, and 30 lbs. fatter. Eats me up inside.

We celebrated my niece Sophia's 1st birthday party at her paternal grandparents' house on Saturday. Nums was working Sat night, so it was an Ipe boys' night. Today, we went to a birthday party for one of Josh's classmates. Josh had a good time running around. I'll try to post some video when I have some free time.

Tonight, we finally watched Reign Over Me, starring Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler. Not bad. It was an okay movie.

Oh yeah, expect to see a shredder on next month's "Recent Purchases" section. We use the shredder often, and I appear to have broken it. With extreme prejudice. On occasion, I have jammed it up so severely that I have been forced to take it apart to clean it out, put it back together, and start it up (with crossed fingers.) Tonight, not even the crossed fingers helped. :(


Thursday, January 24th 2008

Hey, looks like the tax stimulus package is going to pass, and some of us will be seeing some tax rebate checks in the mail. Confused on who gets how much? Me too, but this article on helps. W-2 statements will be mailed out in a few weeks, and I'm already looking forward to starting our tax prep. After using my Dad's accountant, my cousin, the free tax preparation at a local library (for senior citizens and poor college students like I was), and H&R Block, I started prepping my own taxes a few years ago. Turns out it isn't so bad with Turbotax, and I never looked back.

I've been cutting out all crap out of my diet this week. No junk food at all, and more water. I got more motivated when I went to Haru for for lunch Wednesday, and I couldn't fit in the booth. I mean, I was literally wedged in between the table and the booth bench. Can you imagine that? Maybe NYC people are just smaller? I felt like I was on Candid Camera, and this was some bizarre joke on me.

Back to the gym, folks. Back to the gym.


Wednesday, January 23rd 2008

Stupid NY traffic. 2.5 hours to get to the office downtown. Two and a half hours, all because of an accident on the NJ Turnpike. Ah well, another reason why I enjoy driving to the office in NJ, instead of commuting to NYC every day. Wait, enjoy driving to the office in NJ? Yeesh. Driving an 1:15 is now the better option. How the perspectives have changed.

And now for something completely different - your funny story of the day:

Today, I had a 10am mtg with someone in one of the departments, but I've never met them, and don't know where they sat exactly. You know, one of those floors with a cubicle farm. I did bring my laptop, so we could work on some spreadsheets together.

I wandered confused looking for the office, but it's a sea of indistinguished cubicles, and no name cards anywhere, and no people either. One guy sees me wandering, and asks me if I'm looking for so-and-so's office. I was, but I was surprised that he knew who I was looking for. He says he'll take me there. I'm grateful for the help, but still skeptical that he knew who I (a stranger) was meeting. Maybe he heard so-and-so had a meeting with the auditor? Call it the auditor in me -- skeptical. Hey, remember the auditor motto: "Trust but verify." Yeah, we have a motto.

As he leads me there, I ask if he knew I (Joel the auditor) was coming. He says yes, because he knew that so-and-so was waiting for a new laptop. I smirk, as I realize that I've been mistaken for some sort of Level 2 PC repair technican! Nice. I didn't bother to correct him, and let him guide me to the office. Keep in mind that I'm still smirking.

Here comes the icing on the cake:

So-and-so later takes me to her boss' office so I could say hello. Her boss is having a team meeting of sorts. Guess who is also in the office? My tour guide. I got introduced to everyone as Joel Ipe from ARR, including my tour guide. As I got to my tour guide. I shook his hand and said "Nice to meet you again."

Yes, I took a bit of perverse pleasure in that.


Tuesday, January 22nd 2008

Being in the office wasn't so bad today. Meetings in NYC tomorrow, which means I'll be on the long bus ride, starting at 6:10am. Yee haw. I think I'll get a pastrami sandwich for lunch tomorrow. I can never get a good pastrami sandwich outside of NYC.

Last Dec 31st, I picked up some books from our local library for the first time. Weeks later, I started reading one of the books I picked from the library tonight. Finally, an actual book, and not magazines, or e-zines, or bloggings, or watchng tv, or.... you get the gist. Isaac Asimov's Prelude to Foundation. I liked his Foundation and Robot series, so this should be a nice change of pace to be reading again.

Interesting read from -- Most Americans are in cell phone jail. I felt like that. I was so annoyed with Verizon Wireless and their lack of good smartphones, but was tied to my contract. Then my Motorola E815 phone died, and I would have been forced to re-upp ANOTHER contract if I wanted a phone to use, just when I had been resigning myself to hanging on another year to get out of the original contract. Instead, I felt that paying the $175 to break the contract, and switch to AT&T was the way to a better life.

Haven't you heard this sob story already? It's all chronicled in the Sept 2007 archives. Maybe I'm just repeating myself. So far, so good, and I don't regret it for an instant. I'm sure AT&T is a bunch of crooks too, but hey, now they're my crooks.

I think I'm going to have to buy a Indian/Malayalee-themed T-shirt from Jimmy Varghese. They are just too funny, even though I am considered a coconut (uh, brown on the outside, white on the inside. Gosh, was that so hard to figure out?)

My wife reminded me that my main page was in dire need of an update. Four years of existing on the Interweb? August 2008 makes six years (!) online. Good grief. Will I be doing this 10 years from now? No clue, but I like what Isaac Asimov wrote in his Author's Note for Prelude to Foundation, whether he would continue writing volume after volume about galactic empires and robots:

Naturally, there's got to be some limit, for I don't expect to live forever, but I do intend to hang on as long as possible.

Monday, January 21st 2008

I came back from Charleston, South Carolina on Friday mid-afternoon, with only a minor delay getting out of CHS. It was my first time in Charleston -- a fairly quiet town in the winters, though I heard it's much livelier in the summer. Lots of seafood on the menus.... and I don't like seafood. I gave it a go a few times, lunches and dinners, but to no avail. I'm a landlubber, tried and true. Give me food with non-briny legs any day.

We picked up Reign Over Me with the last of our Blockbuster gift card, but we haven't had time to watch it. Maybe Tuesday night.

I'm back at the office again this week. Sigh. I feel a bit blah about that. Yes, the year has already started, but it's been quiet so far. As the year starts to ramp up, the late nights, the stressful days are going to begin again for another 12 months. Well, it's already Jan 21st, so maybe another 11 months. Actually, December is pretty quiet, so it's really 10 months.

I can survive 10 months.

We were visiting some family friends in Passaic county, NJ, and had an impromptu dinner at one of our favorite restaurants in our old stomping grounds of Essex county: Toros Turkish & Mediterranean. Joshy loved the babaganush, and my chicken kebab was delicious. I'm still thinking about it.

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Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Other than that, a quiet weekend to relax. Church on Sunday, cooking and cleaning on Monday. I've been playing around with playing video on my still-relatively-brand-spankin'-new iPod. I read an interesting article on PC World regarding how to Master Your Media. Although I have no interest in buying movies, tv shows, or music videos, I don't mind transferring them off my Tivo. I've been playing around with trial versions of the VideoReDo and Videora iPod Converter software. Pretty neat, albeit a little slow. After spending non-quality time on an airplane this week, I'm considering the value of watching some shows or movies at 30,000 feet. With VideoReDo, you can even cut out the commercials. I converted Blue Harvest (Family Guy Star Wars spoof), figured out how to get it into the 16:9 widescreen format, and watched it on my iPod. Fun! I made some room (freed up 4 Gb) on my iPod, so I'm curious as to how much video I can transfer over, and how many hours of useful entertainment that will amount to.

Today is a national holiday celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. In honor of this great man, I found a nice excerpt from his Letters from Birmingham Jail. He truly was a leader, a complex man with a vision.

But when you have seen vicious mobs lynch your mothers and fathers at will and drown your sisters and brothers at whim; when you have seen hate-filled policemen curse, kick, brutalize and even kill your black brothers and sisters with impunity; when you see the vast majority of your 20 million Negro brothers smothering in an air-tight cage of poverty in the midst of an affluent society; when you suddenly find your tongue twisted and your speech stammering as you seek to explain to your 6-year-old daughter why she can't go to the public amusement park that has just been advertised on television, and see tears welling up in her eyes when she is told that Funtown is closed to colored children, and see the depressing clouds of inferiority begin to form in her little mental sky, and see her begin to distort her little personality by unconsciously developing a bitterness toward white people; when you have to concoct an answer for a 5-year-old son asking in agonizing pathos, "Daddy, why do white people treat colored people so mean?"; when you take a cross-country drive and find it necessary to sleep night after night in the uncomfortable corners of your automobile because no motel will accept you; when you are humiliated day in and day out by nagging signs reading "white" and "colored"; when your first name becomes "nigger," your middle name becomes "boy" (however old you are) and your last name becomes "John," and your wife and mother are never given the respected title "Mrs."; when you are harried by day and haunted by night by the fact that you are a Negro, living constantly at tiptoe stance, never quite knowing what to expect next, and plagued with inner fears and outer resentments; when you are forever fighting a degenerating sense of "nobodiness"; then you will understand why we find it difficult to wait.

We're still working on baby names. I think it's tough for me, because I'm trying to think of a good name that I won't be tired of yelling at a future teenager as he/she is slamming a door in my face about how I don't understand anything. You really need to select something that just rolls off your tongue as you tell them, "I brought you into this world, and I can take you out of it. Don't you roll your eyes at me!"


Tuesday, January 15th 2008

There was not one snowflake on the ground today. Stupid airlines. Shenanigans!

A quiet day in the office. I did a lot of prepping for my business trip. Nothing else to report, except I think I had the worst food from Taco Bell that I have ever had. Two chalupas, and they tasted old and stale. Not the meat, but the shell. The stale hard taco was no different. I'm kinda sick of fast food. I hope there are better eats in Charleston.

Nums and I gave up on The Producers. Simply no more interest.

My suitcase is all packed up, and I'm leaving for Charleston at 6:30am. I'll moblog from South Carolina, since I can email directly to my Flickr account. I'll try to be creative, witty, and insightful. Too much to ask for. I'll try not to take too many photos of my butt.

Wish me well, see you all Friday night.


Sunday, January 13th 2008

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The cast of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles

Stupid airlines. I'm supposed to be on a flight to Charleston tomorrow morning, but I received an automated call from the airline stating that my flight Monday morning was either delayed or cancelled. I checked online, and it's cancelled. I call up, and yes, it's cancelled, due to weather. Weather? It's raining, with maybe a chance of snow tomorrow afternoon. I'm not flying out until Tuesday morning, so I'm losing a day of work that I need to do down there in South Carolina. Argh. Unless there is 10 feet of snow tomorrow morning, I'm going to call shenanigans on them.

I watched the 1st half of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles tonight. It's not bad. I'll watch it some more, see if it is worth watching.

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New holster for my Curve

Now that I'll be travelling, I'm a little more worried about misplacing my wonderful expensive smartphone in a conference room. It was finally time to bite the bullet and get a holster. So far, it's fine, but why do I find out it's $6 cheaper at the AT& store than at the brick-and-mortar AT&T store? Will the hurting ever stop? Seriously.

Remember that I'm trying to buy more indie music? I've been scouring iTunes, trying out the popular ones in those categories. It's sometimes difficult to find a song you'll like from 30-second snippits. After seeing the movie Once last month, I realized there is a lot of music out there that isn't part of the mainstream that is worth listening to. Now it's just a question of finding it.

We tried watching the movie version of The Producers. Why is everyone always yelling? I know the Broadway show was eternally sold out, but my goodness, this movie is unbelievably annoying. I'm going to try to finish watching it with my wife tomorrow night, but if it's that bad, I'm going to say the heck with it.

Early next month, my wife and I have to tour the hospital's maternity ward, and take some refresher breathing classes. Don't spread this, but I'm getting a bit more excited about the new little Ipe as the big day gets closer. Nervous too, but actually excited. Weird, right? Is it weird? I dunno. Truth be told, I wasn't sure about the whole "Dad" thing the first time around, but I think I'm getting the hang of it, and I feel less anxiety this time around.

Wow, another little Ipe. When are we ever going to sleep? ;)


Saturday, January 12th 2008

What was lost has now been found. I found my passport! It was in a yellow folder under the guest room bed. While we were in Jamaica last March, I realized that I had lost my driver's license. I had to apply for a new one at the DMV, and you need all this evidence of your identity. In the folder was our marriage certificate, my passport, the DMV checklist, and the receipt for my new (now current) driver's license.

Where should I go next? East Timor? French Polynesia? Denver? Doesn't matter -- have passport, will travel.

Last night, we watched Stir of Echoes, as my wife hadn't seen it yet. I've always liked the movie, but I had no recollection that even the DVD menu was spooky.

I'm a little nervous about my business trip next week. I used to travel all the time, week after week consecutively. It's been so long since I've been on the road -- October 2006. Strange feeling. Why the heck am I nervous? I'm sure I'll be back in the swing of things as soon as I sit on the plane again.


Thursday, January 10th 2008

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Knights of the Old Republic

I beat my Star Wars game, Knights of the Old Republic. It's been 3 weeks of on-and-off play, but I finally beat it. It wasn't as difficult to me as the sequel, but it was a much better story. I don't think it was necessarily easy, but I've played the sequel twice, and I know my way around the ropes with a lightsaber and a thermal detonator. I'm going to have to play it again in a few months, and try to finish all the quests. I tried taking screenshots, like I did when playing the sequel, but I was not successful. Ah well. My adventures will have to live on in my mind with all that auditor mumbo-jumbo.

It was a fun diversion to relax during my vacation, before my 2008 work schedule gets crazy again. Out of all of the baddies I fought, I found the Tusken Raiders (those lovable "Sand People") on Tattooine the most annoying/difficult. And always remember this sage advice from Obi-wan Kenobi... important words to live by:

The Sand People are easily startled, but they'll soon be back, and in greater numbers.

I've been working from home three days this week. Tomorrow is Friday, and the weekend is just around the corner. I'm in Charleston, South Carolina next week, and I've never been there. Should be interesting to see. I'll have to give the old camera phone a workout for blogging purposes.

It's funny. I had zero travel last year, and now that the baby is coming in April, I've got 6 business trips between now and April. Talk about cosmic irony.


Monday, January 7th 2008

It was so tough to go back to the office this morning, after two weeks of vacation. I would have written more online this past week, but honestly, I've been sitting in my pyjamas, playing my Star Wars game.

We watched two movies in the past week -- Lady and the Tramp, and The Namesake.

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Lady and the Tramp
The Namesake

Lady and the Tramp is one of those Disney or kid movies that I've never seen, and since Josh obviously hasn't seen it either, we rented it. I thought it was okay -- I don't know what the big deal is. There have been much better Disney movies. We also rented The Namesake, which I felt was an excellent movies. You would initially think the movie is all about Kal Penn's character, but he's only part of it. The real story are the parents, and I felt I could identify with the family's characters.

  • The parents moved here to the US in the early-to-mid 1970's.
  • The son and daughter are around the same age as my sister and me.
  • The family started out in NYC in Queens, while mine started out in the Bronx.
  • The family later moved to Nyack, NY, and my family moved in the early 1980's to Congers, which is 10 mins from Nyack.
  • All those instances where the kids were off doing their own thing, never calling. I grudgingly admit there are some similarities with my sister and me, but you could attribute that to growing up, finding your own identity.

I really thought this was an excellent movie, and highly recommend it.

Putting my website bloggings where my mouth is (I don't know what that means), I uploaded mediocre quality video from our camera from October 2007 and December 2007. See the links. Next mountain to climb is transferring, editing, and uploading video from the camcorder, which has always been a pain.