Main > Joel's July 2004 News

Friday, July 30th 2004

You know, I hate filling out timesheets. I couldn't wait to graduate college, start my new job, and say goodbye to all the weekly timesheets I had to fill out. Lo and behold, my first job out of college, Big 5 (now Big 4), 155,000 employees, and I'm back to doing timesheets. Couple of years later, I go corporate. Goodbye, consulting world! Hello, 9-5 job! Imagine my surprise to find out I have to do timesheets here too.

So there I am today, trying to remember what the hell I did this past month, and how I was going to allocate the time. I haven't done one timesheet this month, and I now I don't know what to charge it to. I hate timesheets.

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Nafisa Joseph commits suicide

Took the 1:39pm train home so I could be ready for the NYL nurse coming over to administer our urine tests (because we just bought life insurance). Being a moron, I rush to the bathroom, and start to do #1. In mid-#1, I exclaim, "Dammit! I have a urine test in 30 minutes!" Don't worry -- I drank a lot of water in 30 minutes, and the nurse left here with my urine. I bet you're glad it all worked out, right?

After watching some tv, Num and I headed out for some shopping. Returned some duplicate gifts from our Fortunoff wedding registry (yes, 10 months later), exchanging them for a baker's rack, some new luggage, and some "china keepers" to protect our wonderful china dinnerware. Hey, don't look at me. All I know is that it cost me $20 bucks, and our soupbowls are still not protected.

We picked up some books from the nearby Borders Books & Music store, a large cheese pizza, watched some SVU when we got home, then I watched The Last Samurai while my wife yelled from the bedroom to keep it down.

Joel, do you mind!?!?!?!?!

Wedding tomorrow in the morning, and I hope I don't oversleep.

Finally, my dad sent me this: former Miss India 1997 Nafisa Joseph committed suicide last week. From what I've read, she was supposed to get married August 28th. I feel bad for her. Did she really have to give up on life so soon?

Thursday, July 29th 2004

176.2 lbs. I couldn't believe my [highly classified] bionic eyes. It's been 1 1/2 weeks, and I figured I'd gained weight. Lo and behold, I'm 1.4 lbs thinner. Please excuse while I play James Brown's "I Feel Good!"

Wednesday, July 28th 2004

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I see Amish people

So I'm watching Amish in the City tonight, sans commercials, and it's not bad. I like the Amish folks better than the "normal" kids, because at least the Amish ones are open to everything. There's a new Pet Peeve for you -- I'll make that #9: People Afraid of Something New, just because it's different. The Amish folk are trying to experience what's new: new clothes, swimming, grocery shopping, etc. I like that quality in people. Anyway, the series sounds like exploitation, but it's actually interesting. I really respect them for their values and outlooks.

BTW, Miriam is extremely hot. :)

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Hooray for the Blue Whales!

Hey, researchers recently sighted blue whales up near Alaska. What's so special? The last confirmed sighting for a blue whale was 30-some years ago, and researchers are hoping that means the blue whale population may be getting healthier and expanding back to traditional territories.

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The new Bat suit

The first look at the new Batman suit is out. I think it's okay. I'd rather see the Bat emblem a nice yellow. Speaking of the new movie, the trailer just came out online. It's short, but you get to see the parents' wake, older Bruce travelling the world, etc.

Last night, we met with a NY Life agent, and got life insurance. Okay, it took 2+ hours, but he got us to sign up. I wanted to anyway, but just not the same night. Guess there's no reason to wait. I'm glad we have it (in case I get run over by Missy), but I didn't realize how expensive life insurance is.

Tuesday, July 27th 2004

Woke up at 7:57am, and my coworker was not going to find her laptop for another 5 minutes. Trouble. I called and got her on the phone after she had told two people in a panic. When I got to the office, I told her I owe her a soda or lunch or something.

Monday, July 26th 2004

So..... I got to work at 8am today, all because I went to bed by midnight-ish. I really should try that again, but lo and behold, it's 12:15. Wait, 12:16am. Better keep moving.

I need to get to the office tomorrow, because I stole a laptop. Okay, not stole, but a recent new hire was distracted this evening, and I walked by and grabbed her laptop as a prank. I walked around, came back after 10 minutes, but she was already gone. I asked where she went, but apparently she was so excited to see someone, she thought she had put her laptop away, and left the office. And there I am, with her laptop. So, I need to get to the office by 8am, because I want to see her face when she opens her desk drawer, and doesn't see her laptop. That will be priceless!

Who's evil?

That's right. I'm evil.

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Lenny "Look at my girly hair" Kravitz

I'm not a fan anyway, but doesn't Lenny Kravitz look kinda girly to you? He looks girly to me. How did he get Nicole Kidman in bed? Share haircare secrets?


I went running today, and around my 5th or 6th lap, I saw two sheriff SUVs racing off with lights/sirens, followed by a "Bomb Disposal" van. What the hell was that about?

Hey, I wasn't aware of this, but Norwegian hotel workers don't appreciate being called to a room, and encountering a horny, naked Norwegian. I don't know about you, but that sounds like a nice evening.

12:25am, sigh. There are a few new websites I want to share on my Links page, but I keep forgetting them when I actually sit here. I remembered until a few minutes ago, and now I've got a brain fart. Damn, I gotta write this stuff down.

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I'm Rick James, bitch!

In Entertainment news:

  • I rented The Last Samurai this weekend, but haven't watched it yet. I've got it for a week though, so we shall see. BTW, we've knocked out most of the stuff on Tivo, but we have a slew of Law & Order: SVU episodes to watch still. BTW, my wife officially doesn't appreciate Chappelle's Show. What's wrong with her? Doesn't she realize that "I'm Rick James, bitch!" is funny? Paul says he doesn't know any girls who like Chappelle's Show, and he has a cute butt, so he would know. Sorry, maybe the Rick James thing is overplayed, but I just saw the sketch last night, and I laughed my ass off. Please let me enjoy it for a little while longer.
  • Lots of info on the LoTR: RotK Extended Edition was revealed at the San Diego Comic Convention this past Saturday. Needless to say, I'm psyched!
  • George Lucas is going to make more changes to the upcoming Star Wars Original Trilogy DVD set. I don't really know if I agree with him anymore. I liked the movies as they were. Uh, okay, I like the Special Editions, but don't make too many changes!
  • Watched the next episode of The Grid. Still enjoying it.
  • Missed this week's episode of The 4400, because I messed up the Tivo priorities list, so I got 2 eps of Chappelle instead. Damn, now I gotta wait until Wednesday night repeats. Argh.

Yikes, 12:40am, and I still haven't brushed my teeth. Poor, stupid, lovely teeth.

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Jennie & Sunder
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Ninja in training
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"Step away from the shoes!"

Sunday, July 25th 2004

The past couple of days have not been fun. Life has been a little rough around here, but I'm hoping this will be a pleasant week.

Teena, thanks for letting me know about "This Land" on Heee-larious (and excellent use of Flash).

So, the Tour de France is over. I know this, because my wife celebrated the thought of no more bicycle racing on Tivo. It's okay to like to party, but I thought the confetti, the balloons, and party hats were a bit much. I did appreciate the appetizers. Anyway, as you've heard, Lance won Number 6, which is the first time anyone has in the Tour's 101-year history. Yeah, baby!

Watched The Grid finally (it's been languishing on Tivo), and it was good enough to Season Pass. Bernard Hill (King Theoden, LoTR movies) plays an MI-5 director on the hunt for new terrorist plot. Also, Dylan McDermott and Juliana Marguiles are in this mini-series, but they're "okay".

On Saturday, went to Jennie Chacko's wedding (she's my sister-in-law's sister-in-law) in Montclair, with reception in West Orange. It was all very nice. The highlights of the day were:

  1. The wedding
  2. Some little girl at our table with an odd fascination with knives. I stayed away from her
  3. Between the wedding and reception (all within 10 mins from our home), we came home to watch tv and relax, and also allow Missy to enjoy Num's shoes

Tuesday, July 20th 2004

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Ooooh, aaaaah

Holy moley! Check out the site. That's my friend Jenny Cu! She started working there recently (months after getting laid off from PwC -- hey join the club), and now she's on the main page! That's neat!

I feel like I need to clarify things about yesterday's rant. No, I wasn't talking about any specific person (not my wife, you knuckleheads), and I'm not being a misogynist. My issue is that shared responsibilities in a relationship should be 50/50. Doing housework or raising a kid is a joint responsibility, and is more than one person can do by themself. If one person (here, my example was the wife) naively agrees to do all the housework and raise the children, and the husband works, then that's the deal between them. I like fairness and justice. Num and I share all the cooking, the cleaning, etc, and we expect each other to work and raise our future spawnlings (well, they aren't children). It's going to be 50/50, and we know it.

But if I decided that I'll be Mr. Mom and she'll work, but later I bitch and complain, and now she's doing her job and some of my work too, that isn't really fair, right? That's not 50/50 -- that's my point. What also irks me is that women friends who "want to quit their jobs and just pop out babies, run the house, etc" are all unmarried and have no kids, so they really have no idea what they're talking about. Argh. Now I'll stop.

BTW, Num finally watched The 4400, and she thought it was pretty good, and wants to watch the next episode. See? It's not just me.

Yes, we've all heard that Micheal Jackson is now having quadruplets with another surrogate mother. I will not comment, because we already know that he's a freak. I mean, 3 kids already (son Prince Michael, daughter Paris Michael, son Prince Michael II -- what an ego), and he's going to have four more? Is he going to start a band? Michael is denying it, but oh brother.

Tomorrow looks to be boring, but Thursday is our big department meeting, then our annual department outing. This year, we're playing pool again, but down near at University Place. Friday afternoon, a number of us from work are going to play softball (weather-permitting) in Central Park. Woohoo!

Monday, July 19th 2004

Feeling very proud today -- I had Taco Bell for lunch, didn't get a damn thing on me. Seriously, this is a big accomplishment for me.

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The 4400

Thank goodness for Tivo, because there are a lot of shows that I normally don't bother to try to catch at odd hours, but now I just let Tivo grab them for me. For example, I watched the premiere of The 4400, which I normally would have missed by accident, but now it's waiting for me for my consumption. BTW, I found The 4400 to be enthralling -- it had an X-Files/paranormal/mystery feel to it. I have hope for it, because writers Ira Steven Behr, Rene Echevarria, and Robert Hewitt Wolfe are involved. They've all been involved with the Star Trek franchise, most notably writing and producing episodes of The Next Generation and Deep Space 9 (my all-time favorite).

Anyway, MSNBC published an article last week about it. I'm definitely going to tune in next week....on Tivo. Gosh, I hate commercials!

Some random news/thoughts:

  • Vlade Divac is going back to the Lakers. Oh, for the lover of the almighty dollar.
  • Singer Linda Ronstadt was thrown out of the Aladdin casino in Las Vegas for dedicating a song to Michael Moore. According to CNN, about a quarter of the 4,500 people in the audience got up and left before the performance had finished. The real problem is people actually paying money in 2004 to listen to Linda Ronstadt. Maybe they're old people?
  • Today is a rest day for the Tour. Num was very happy to be race-free today.
  • My friend Paul went to see I, Robot tonight. I hope to get the thumbs-up-or-down tomorrow.
  • I stayed up all-night last night doing laundry, dishes, etc, but I did nap from 6:10am to 7:55am before work. Yes, I was a fully-functioning member of the department.
  • If I have to hear one more woman declare that she doesn't want to work anymore, and if all she had to do in life was raise her family's children, she would be extremely happy, I will wear a glazed donut on each nipple at a fat farm to stop the madness.

Excuse me, but I must put my foot down. Every woman who states upfront that if she didn't have to work, and only do the housework and raise the kids, and would be the happiest woman in the world, is an out-and-out liar. Why? Because I believe that 2 months into this arrangement, the wife will start complaining, wondering why her husband can't lift one finger to help out around the house, or get up to feed the baby once, or babysit while she goes to do some errands, etc.

Oh, stop being indignant. You know I'm right. I'll get off my soapbox now.


Num called me today. She called to let me know that Missy used the bathroom to do her business (#2, apparently), but as she doesn't understand the uses of toilet paper. Why? Because as my dainty wife watched....

  • the cat walked onto the carpet outside the bathroom
  • placed her butt directly onto the carpet
  • used only her front legs to drag herself across the carpet
  • and wiped her soiled rear end clean on our carpet

I swear to you that this is a true story of what happened this morning, with no exaggeration or embellishment whatsoever. That cat sure does have a lot of nerve, wouldn't you say?

And finally, so that I can fulfill my wish to freak out my sister on a monthly basis...... here is a story from jolly old Worcester, England.

Dear Julie This is Roberto. Roberto is a rabbit. Roberto is the size of an average 3-year-old child. The continental giant rabbit is 3.5 feet long and weighs 27 pounds.


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Julie, if you haven't noticed, it's a bunny rabbit, and it's friggin' ewwwwwge!

Sunday, July 18th 2004

Okay, we had planned on making it all the way to Cape May Saturday, but by the time we woke up (10:30am), and got ready (1pm), well, it was kinda pushing it. Still, we made an effort, hoping it was only 2+ hours to drive to the bottom of the Garden State Parkway (exit 148 to exit 0). After getting stuck in traffic numerous times, 4:30pm, and we were only at exit 67, we decided Cape May wasn't all that. We jumped off the parkway at exit 63, and stopped at Long Beach Island. Not a bad place, and we spent some quality time wasting it on a beach.

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She drove, I relaxed! "Yes!" for equality!
Long Beach Island
Where's the beach?
Nice towel, doofus
Ship Bottom? What a name
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I took this 7 times
Workin' hard!
Hmm, the beach
My attempt to be artistic

Got Italian for dinner, and then we made our way home to an angry cat.

Where were you?
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Kitchens & Baths 2004

Namita is sick of me recording "bicycle racing". She'd be okay with 30 mins or an hour a day of the Tour, but 4 hours/day? There's only so much she can take. Poor thing. It's all over next Sunday -- toughen up, girl!

We're watching Kitchens & Baths 2004 on HGTV. Hmm, I normally wouldn't watch this (no sci-fi, nobody in rubber monster suits or bikinis, and nobody is on a bike), but it's pretty interesting -- showcasing all the neat stuff at this year's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show in Chicago. I don't care about designer door handles, but I do like the really cool appliances.

Friday, July 16th 2004

Newsweek's Eleanor Clift wrote an interesting article, Playing the Culture Card: Why the GOP is falling back on divisive issues. Short read, but interesting in that it briefly analyzes the Republican Party. For those of you who saw Fahrenheit 9/11, and were amazed by the rather interesting connections between gov't folks and large corporations as I was, here's an excerpt from the article:

Where conservatives have made real headway is in the transformation of the economy. The true beneficiaries of Bush’s policies are the corporate interests that underwrite the party. A Republican Senate aide jokes that they should rename Madison Square Garden—site of next month’s GOP convention—as the 'The Pharma Center' in honor of the huge donations the pharmaceutical industry has provided to the Bush-Cheney campaign. One key reason the industry supports Bush and the GOP-controlled Congress is their approval last year of a prescription drug plan for seniors that shortchanges older Americans while guaranteeing windfall profits for the pharmaceutical industry. Pharmaceutical lobbyists were closely involved in drafting the bill that became law.

Isn't that just lovely?

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Adrian, British & Sexy

Thursday, July 15th 2004

You know what's a great word? "Crumpet". Here's a definition Adrian found online on a British-American dictionary --> Crumpet n : woman as sex, ‘bit of crumpet’ = ‘a piece of ass’, “lovely bit of crumpet”.

As per Adrian: "When using the english slang version of 'crumpet' to mean 'babe' or 'sexy woman' there is no plural created by adding an 's'. Crumpet can be used to mean one, ore many...such as the world 'sheep'."


Eer, mate, that bird at the knees up last night, tasty bit a crumpet or what?


Should 'ave been there last night, there was wall to wall crumpet.


The suns out! Check out the crumpet on 5th Ave!!!!

Gotta love the Brits. I think they're too funny.

Wednesday, July 14th 2004

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Plexy's birthday dinner

Had Thai for lunch with Num this afternoon as she was in the city to take care of the visas for our India trip. This evening, I get out of the office to a steady drizzle, and me sans umbrella. My hopes to get to Penn Station before the rain gets heavy were dashed rather quickly when it starts pouring about 5 minutes into my journey, and 15 minutes to go. My only option? Run. Yes, I was basically soaked by the time I got to Penn. The life of a commuter. Where's that damn bacon I was supposed to bring home?

Got cleaned up, and we went out to Toros Restaurant for Plexy's birthday. Pictures are up!

I'm watching Stage 10 of the Tour de France right now, and they're high in the mountains. Watching the riders struggling on this stage (Stage 10 has the highest gradient up the mountains within this year's Tour) makes my legs hurt.

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Stage 10, Tour de France
Sheryl Crow, who's never waiting for me
It's Lance! (guy in back)

In the news, Shaq has officially been traded, Slim-Fast fired Whoopi, and we might be taking a day trip to Atlantic City this weekend. Kind of a spur of the moment thing. Let's see if we can even wake up before 11 that morning.

You know, we have so many items on Tivo waiting to be watched, I don't even want to rent a movie this week. I'm almost stressing out over how behind I am. That's wrong, right?

Tuesday, July 13th 2004

MSNBC had an editorial today on the state of sci-fi on television today, with most of the good stuff on cable. At least it gives me some shows to look forward to.

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E-Chang and Ipe, like old times

This evening, Num and I met up for dinner with my friend (and old coworker) Evans from Chicago, who's in town on business for two weeks. After getting lost looking for the solitary Thai restaurant in the area, we ended up at the local Lonestar Steakhouse in Bridgewater. On the way to drop him off at his hotel, I crossed Route 22 to try to get an exit directly across the street. Legal? No, but it was better than trying to do a few U-turns. Well, 15 seconds later, I'm pulled over by a cop.

Dammit. After asking a number of times if the exit was straight across, or slightly before the restaurant (which would have been really illegal if you think about), and asking repeatedly if I had been drinking (not one drop!), I was pretty sure I was going to get written up. Thankfully, the Man Upstairs was kind, and the officer came back to inform me that I was going in the wrong direction, gave me correct directions, and wished me a good night.

That is the 2nd time in 5 months that a police officer has let me (a guy!) off without a ticket. It pays to have a clean driving record!

Jessica Simpson as Dazzler in X-Men 3? What?

This bit of news really needs no comment from me: a British man accidently shot himself in the testicles after drinking 15 pints of beer, and now has been sentenced to prison for 5 years for possessing an illegal firearm.

Monday, July 12th 2004

I've been so sluggish today, on account of yesterday's ride.

To the appease the stupidity in you, here's the latest Angry Alien Production... Alien in 30 Seconds (and re-enacted by bunnies). I loves me some funny bunnies!

Also in the world of funny, if you're gonna be in the Dallas or Houston areas, try to check out Paul Varghese doing stand-up. I actually know this guy, and he's a riot. And if you're brown, I expect you to have tickets already for his show.

Is it me, or are nipples just that cool? I think you know what I'm talking about.

Sunday, July 11th 2004

I'm just so tired. This month has just been so hectic.

Went riding today, did 46 miles from Glen Ridge to Wood-Ridge. I'm up to 412 miles for the year. Also had some dinner plans this evening.

Random newsbites:

  • NJ Woman arrested for poisoning her brother-in-law with a deadly cocktail
  • The Union of Concerned Scientists says the Bush administration is still packing scientific advisory panels, and science policy is being swayed by politics. Interesting read, so check it out.
  • Other Bushie news: President Bush has declined an invitation to speak at the NAACP's annual convention. I know, doesn't seem unusual, but here's the interesting fact -- this makes him the first president since Herbert Hoover not to attend an NAACP convention. Makes you go, "Hmmmmm."
  • Now this sounds stupid: a blind Quebec student was denied entry to English classes, because his guide dog only responds to commands in French.

That's life on my end. Take it or leave it.

Saturday, July 10th 2004

Heading over to my parents' for dinner with some relatives who are visiting from Boston. We finished watching JFK and Lost in Translation last night. JFK dragged for me a bit, but I liked Lost in Translation. I don't really know if it deserved an Oscar, but I got the movie. I've been in the "foreign" land thing, and those lonely nights in the hotel.

BTW, August 6th, I'm going skydiving with some coworkers in Long Island. Cool!

Thursday, July 9th 2004

Guess who's lost another pound? Yup, I'm down to 178. I was 186 in May, but I started jogging during the week in May. Exercise is always good. I hope to get down to around 160 later this year.

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Batman: The Animated Series, vol 1

BTW, I went to get my 3rd (and final) Hepatitis A/B vaccination. My arm is mighty sore. Just thought I'd share. Also, after calling me a whole bunch of times reminding me of the vaccination appointment, the nurse today tells me that the 3rd vaccination is no longer necessary. She asks me if I've already paid for it, and I tell her, "Uh, yeah, it's sitting in your fridge at the moment." I didn't pay for it myself (expensed it, naturally), but I'm not going to waste $90 bucks.

Batman: The Animated Series, vol. 1 is now on DVD. Four-disc set collects 28 episodes of this acclaimed series, perhaps the best representation of Batman on film. Includes creator commentrak and featurettes. I want it so bad. That was such a great animated series.

Speaking of DVDs, my friend Regina lent me Clerks, Mallrats, and Chasing Amy. I'm on some sort of Kevin Smith sabbatical.

Wednesday, July 8th 2004

As I'm running dangerously low on pants (the business casual ones, I mean), Num and I went shopping down at Short Hills Mall. Got a pair of black trousers and nice white shirt. Hmm, summer business casual is good. Also, we hit Crate & Barrel to pick up a few things, such as a long-awaited grill pan (for grilling hamburgers, steaks, pork chops, etc.) We also got an electronic meat thermometer (digital is good.)

I fell asleep on the floor watching TV for a few hours, but then woke up to the cat yowling. I woke up wondering, "What the hell is her problem?" I got up, followed her to the bedroom, and she made sure that I was following her. Then she jumped on the bed, waiting for me. I walked forward, then she walked to the other end of the bed. What was she leading me to?

Figuring she's just being weird, I went to pick up my clothes off the bed, and realize I'm holding a bunch of wet clothes. Now I know what she was leading to me to.

It was just like that episode where Lassie brought the Martins to where Timmy was trapped in a well. However, Lassie had pushed Timmy into the well, urinated on Timmy, and then she wanted to show off her evil handiwork.

Tuesday, July 6th 2004

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Dewey defeats Truman?

So Kerry chose Edwards, eh? You know, I liked John Edwards better than all the other Democratic presidential candidates, including Kerry. I don't know if these two guys even particularly like each other (they did go after each other during the primaries), but I guess the old adage is true: politics makes strange bedfellows. Speaking of which, the NY Post (a bit too opinionated, if you ask me) had declared Gephardt Kerry's choice, and actually ran it on the front page. Whoops!

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James Doohan launched it's Women of Home Depot pictorial today. Hmm, I want some respect. I want "Women of". I know plenty of guys who'd pay for that. I'd share profits, ladies. You're all pretty enough. [Did that convince you?]

I heard about this last week on the Star Trek boards -- James Doohan (best known playing Scotty on the original Star Trek) is battling Alzheimer's. Awww, poor guy.

BTW, the Tour's stage 3 was big today. So far, we've had lots of crashes, Iban Mayo (a major contender) is probably not going to win now (due to lost time after his crash today), and a few riders are out of the race with broken collarbones. We're only on Day 3! I will say that the USPS team is looking strong. Alright!

Been reading the "borrowed" copy of Entertainment Weekly from my parents (really, my sister), and they interview Michael Moore. Here's an excerpt that I found interesting.

Were you influenced by the late journalism of the Vietnam War?

[Moore:] Well, I saw that stuff in real time. [Pause] Nine guys died from my high school. That war, of all the political events of my lifetime, had the most profound impact. And I carry it with me to this day. That our government would actually sacrifice the lives of 58,000 of our people for nothing immediately makes you suspect when the government says it's time to go to war again.

I get really irritated at these right-wingers (and left-wingers) who feel the need to villify the opposing camp. Bill O'Reilly says he hates Michael Moore and the left-wingers, and the "liberals" hate Bush, etc. You know, I may not agree with the current Administration (foreign policy blunders, poor environmental policy, etc), but I don't hate them. I just don't think they're doing a good job managing this country. Just because you don't agree with someone doesn't make them a threat to society.

It's too simplistic to do that. "Oh, those guys are evil. We have to stop them, because we're right, and they're wrong." Everyone is always right, and it's the other folks who are wrong.

Monday, July 5th 2004

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Great ad in good old Times Square

Watched Love Actually on DVD (total romantic comedy schmaltz), then Num and I drove to the city to meet with my Dennis and a few others. Dennis and Bijo were visiting from Houston.. Parked on 48th and 8th (hey, free street parking is one of the small victories in life), and met them at Rockefeller Center. We had dinner at Times Square Brewery (I'm not impressed with the food, and the wait service sucked).

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Lesley, Anish, Bijo
Dennis, me

Let me warn you all against the Brownie Delight. It was described as a chocolate brownie, topped with NY Cheesecake, and ice cream. It was nothing like that, frozen, and tasted like crap.

Just a warning, from one food afficionado to another. :)

Sunday, July 4th 2004

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Tour de France, Stage 1

Happy 4th of July! Been watching OLN's Tour de France coverage. Today's Stage 1 was 125 miles, mildly interesting. FYI, Los Angeles to San Diego is only 120 miles. Gives you some perspective on how hard this race pushes each cyclist. In the spirit of "The Tour" (and exercise), I went cycling up to Paramus and back 36 miles. Oddly, barely on the return trip, I ran out of water. I was extremely suprised, because I was using my 2-liter Camelback MULE. How the hell did I go through all that water already, and I was nowhere near home? Somehow, I made it back, albeit a little thirsty.

In the meantime, Num was cooking up a storm for our picnic that evening. We filled up the cooler (borrowed from her parents), and we drove up (6pm) to Pearl River NY to picnic and watch the fireworks display (10pm). While you peasants ate your hot dogs and potato chips, we had:

  • shrimp cocktail (still can't believe we ate a whole ring of them)
  • grapes, crackers with cheese (some crazy white cheese with dill, which looked like little green hair. She didn't appreciate the observation.)
  • chicken gyros with pita bread. She even made a white cucumber/yogurty sauce to go with it. Yum!
  • tirimasu for dessert

She also brought hummus (for the pita bread) in case we needed it, but we were pretty full. To wash it all down, we polished off a bottle of sparkling apple cider. With an Elvis impersonator and band music to keep us entertained, we had a nice little evening, capped off with some nice fireworks.

Afterwards, we visited my Dad, and I found out he's a big Bush supporter ("What? You saw that Fahrenheit movie? It's a stupid movie. I'm going to write someone about it.")

"But.... you didn't see the movie." It didn't really matter to him, but then again, I never said my parents were very logical. How can you be political, if you don't get involved, or don't even vote? I still love them, and all their quirkiness. Speaking of the Bush Administration, they've recently trimmed back the Endangered Species Act. Not to be political, but here's an interesting observation from the article:

"Federal officials have added an average of 9.5 species a year to the endangered list under Bush, compared with 65 a year under President Bill Clinton and 59 a year under President George H.W. Bush. They have designated as "critical habitat" only half the acreage recommended by federal biologists. And they are transferring key decision-making powers from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to other agencies with different priorities."

BTW, watched Intolerable Cruelty last night over dinner last night. Halfway, we stop the movie to get dinner, and I make a comment that I don't particularly like the movie, and turns out, Num felt the same way. I thought I was going to get smacked down ("What? It's a great farsical movie, with splendid acting and interesting quips!") Instead, she said, "Yeah, me neither."

So.... catch it on cable or something.

Saturday, July 3rd 2004

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Finished watching Signs last night. Excellent movie, and definitely scary. Read my review below right. It's currently Saturday morning, 9:05am, and I'll all showered and dressed, waiting for the wifey. We're going to catch the 10am showing for Spiderman 2 in Clifton, and hoping we'll qualify for the elusive matinee pricing.

BTW, dinner turned out to be Jambalaya, a wonderful mix of shrimp, sausage, rice, onions, and other seasonings, with a light sprinkling of scallions on top for presentation.

Show off. [Sniff.] I once made soup for dinner, straight out of the can.


Spiderman 2 was good. I liked the villain much better, and the action scenes were better than the first movie.

I had planned to go riding this afternoon, but I was so sleepy, I fell asleep for 3 hours. Sigh. I wonder why I'm so tired? I was watching the prologue for the Tour (started today), when I got all drowsy. Please no cheap jokes ("What a surprise, Joel.")

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2004 Le Tour De France

Here are the stats on the 2004 Tour de France --> Running from Saturday July 3rd to Sunday July 25th, the 2004 Tour de France will be made up of one prologue and 20 stages and will cover a total distance of 3,390 kilometres.

These 20 stages have the following profiles:

  • 11 flat stages
  • 6 mountain stages
  • 2 individual time-trial stages
  • 1 team time-trial stage

Distinctive aspects of the race:

  • 3 mountain finishes
  • 2 rest days
  • 75 kilometres of individual time-trials
  • 65 kilometres of team time-trials
  • 21 Category 1, Category 2 and highest level passes will be climbed
  • 7 new stop-over towns: Waterloo, Cambrai, Chartres, Lamballe, Saint-Léonard-de-Noblat, Guéret, Annemasse

The only way to describe the race is "grueling". All the sports commentators are talking about the upcoming Stage 16. Bourg d'Oisans to L'Alpe d'Huez, a 15km time trial, completely uphill to a height of 1850m. It's a time-trial, so every second counts against you. Time trials are tough already, but this one is uphill.

Friday, July 2nd 2004

12:20pm, and I was out the door. Aw yeah.... My 1st half-day Friday wasn't too glamorous -- meeting at my local bank branch (Num and I just switched banking institutions) with our new investment advisor, and I need to figure what investments to move over, and what to just liquidate.

Afterwards, we went grocery shopping for 90 minutes, where we spent half the time in the produce section alone. She's on this mission to do a lot of "quality cooking" this weekend/week (whichever), so we went with all-fresh food. I wasn't sure about all this (especially since I can't believe we're out of food already....I could swear we have more Hamburger Helper and crackers somewhere), but whatever she's making for dinner at the moment smells damn good, so I'm on board with "quality cooking".

Oh, after we got back and filled the fridge and cabinets, we took a trip down to Blockbuster to pick up movies -- 5 to be exact: JFK, Signs, Intolerable Cruelty, Love Actually, and Lost in Translation. All we haven't seen, except she saw JFK on opening night many moons ago. Speaking of movies, remember I mentioned that I'm on a crazy bender to watch movies that I haven't seen? Here's my 2004 list of movies to watch [with a little help from Paul and Chirag], and in no particular order:

  • Signs
  • The Italian Job
  • Scarface
  • About Schmidt
  • The Pianist
  • Road to Perdition
  • The Last Samurai
  • Mystic River
  • 25th Hour
  • Goodfellas
  • Citizen Kane
  • Unforgiven
  • Heat
  • Clerks
  • Mallrats
  • Chasing Amy
  • Out of Sight
  • Platoon
  • Full Metal Jacket
  • Clockwork Orange
  • Tokyo Godfathers
  • Lost in Translation

Now, that doesn't include newly-released movies in 2004. This is just for movies that have been out there a while, and I never got around to watching. To keep that common theme, here's Joel Trivia #8. My parents didn't see the value of seeing movies in the theater when I was growing up. So, the first movie I ever saw in the theaters was Batman Returns in 1992, with some friends after the Global Studies regents exam.

Sad, I know.

Thursday, July 1st 2004

This will shock my friends in Michigan, who prefer to drive down the driveway to get the mail. This evening, Num and I walked 3 miles for dinner at Friendly's in Bloomfield, since we thought we'd go enjoy the nice weather. The round trip of 6 miles, including dinner, took 3 hours. Now, the funny part: we only ordered a shared appetizer (buffalo chicken strips) and sundaes. That's right, we're sick bastards.

For your information, I don't feel guilty about eating ice cream, because we did all that walking. Piss off.

Tomorrow's the 1st half day Friday of the summer, and everyone in the office is looking forward to it. I think we're going grocery-shopping tomorrow, rent some movies for the weekend, and then see Spiderman 2 Saturday morning (Matinee!!!). I plan to go cycling Saturday and Monday, weather-permitting. Yee-haw!

BTW, hope you saw the Dallas photos. If not, check the June 30th 2004 entry.

Here's some tech industry news, since there was a lot today:

  • Archos is coming out with their latest AV400 20GB portable video player. It looks neat, but I'll never buy it. So sad. You might neither, but check it out anyway. In direct competition, Sony is coming out with their 20GB player.
  • Network Associates is changing their name back to McAfee Associates, and will refocus on computer security. Whoa!
  • There's a new remote-access Trojan (RAT) virus out there that will record your keystrokes whenever it detects you going to various financial sites, such as Citibank, Barclays, etc. How do you get it? Through pop-up ads from regular websites you and I would visit. How is that possible? Those sites have been hacked. Anything you type gets sent to the hacker.

Steve Nash is signing to the Phoenix Suns? Wow, why? Duh, money. Also, I just saw that Vince Carter is asking to be traded. Man, this is going to be a big NBA off-season. Players on the Nets, Lakers, Mavericks, Suns, Magic, and Rockets are moving everywhere. BTW, I think Bruce Ratner is an idiot, who's going to destroy the Nets. Why? Because he's a real estate developer, not a basketball fan. The Knicks already suck; do we really have to suffer the doldrums regarding the Nets too?

Finally, some sad news regarding my wife. The Tour de France starts tomorrow, and she'll be heading into a 3-week depression. Please try to cheer her up. :)