Sunday, July 29th 2007
Three consecutive updates? Call it a backlog of links, news, photos, etc, and I'm just catching up. See all the updates on latest Friends page: Vib's surprise birthday party, Sandhya's surprise graduation party, and some concert photos from the Wachovia Center.
If you're looking for me this week, call me on the cell phone. I'll be in NYC all this week and next. If you're wondering where I am, I'm either cooped up in a conference room, or on a bus trapped in a random traffic jam.
Saturday, July 28th 2007
Today, the whole family (yes, the three of us) went to see Ratatouille. Josh's first movie in a movie theater. Laden with a big old bag of popcorn and two large sodas ($14.50? It cost more than our two movie tickets), we sat and thoroughly enjoyed Ratatouille. Great movie, and I'm looking forward to adding it to my movie library. Great story, great acting, and amazing animation. Best movie I've seen all year.
There's an Iron Man movie website out, but there's nothing there yet. Bummer. Don't make me wait until 2008. In other movie news, a new picture has been released for the Batman Begins sequel, The Dark Knight. Ooh, another picture of the Joker. Looks dark.
Some overdue links to share:
Friday, July 27th 2007
Oh, busy week. At this rate, I'll be a weekly blogger. Actually, I hate the term "blogger." I just write updates for my friends and family, and post pictures online. Hmm, I've been very erratic on posting news updates, and haven't posted new pictures since last month. Alrighty then.
Nothing extremely exciting happened this week -- just work work work. I'm trying to schedule a business trip to Toronto in September for a couple of days. Hmmm, more loonies and twoonies.
For the first time ever, I worked out during my lunch hour. I hadn't worked out on Tuesday, and working out Friday evening wasn't looking promising. Instead, I worked out during lunch, took a quick shower, and went back to my office to eat leftovers for lunch. I used to be against it, primarily because I didn't like the whole shower room thing. However, I started showering at the gym this year, and it's not terrible, and you smell (and feel) a whole lot better. Working out during the day wasn't too bad, but my body did radiate an extreme amount of heat the rest of the afternoon. I suppose now there's nothing stopping me from working out during the day.
Next week, I'll be in NYC all 5 days. Next Wednesday, one of my former coworkers is retiring, and my old department (previous life) is throwing her a little party. How could I miss it?
Tonight, Num's father came over for dinner. Num made pork chops. Delicioso!
Tomorrow, the whole family (yes, the three of us) are going to the movies to see Ratatouille. Josh's first movie in a movie theater. Of course, the first movie I saw in a movie theater was Batman Returns in 1992, but hey, kids these days. We figure he'll like the movie. For those of you who might be concerned that he won't enjoy books, yes, he enjoys to read. Actually, his new favorite book is Disney's The Jungle Book. I have a feeling that we'll have to get him the movie on DVD. Of course, not the old version. I have to get the new Two-Disc 40th Anniversary Platinum Edition. Nothing but the best for the Ipes!
Saturday, July 21st 2007
A week later, we finally sat down Friday night and watched The Break-Up. Jimboy, you were right, it wasn't a very good movie. All Vaughn and Aniston did was fight during this movie. Blech.
Interesting developments this week. For various work-related reasons that I won't be going into, I'm now leading one of our upcoming high-risk, slightly political, high on management's radar, audits starting in one month. I have a UNIX audit to participate in, and travelling to NYC on a daily basis, but I need to find time to do prep work on the biggest, most complex, audit of my life. And I have a week to do it. I want to stretch myself, but geez Louise, I can't screw this one up. These days, you're only as good as the last audit you worked. Whether I do well or not, it'll be fresh in management's mind come year-end evaluations.
We had a painter come in on Friday to get us an estimate on painting the interior of our house. We never did paint the dining room when we said we would a few months ago. We'll probably do that in 2-3 months ourselves. Other rooms like the living room, stairs, etc, have high ceilings, and not worth our effort at all. The painting estimate wasn't as bad as I anticipated, so it looks doable.
After painting those rooms, then we get back to decorating. And I'm one step closer to getting my flatscreen tv. Mwahahaha.
Sunday, July 15th 2007
Alright, alright, I have a good reason to be MIA these past 2 weeks -- I've been super busy at the office, and I got taken offline. That's right, offline. Last Tuesday morning, we completely lost our cable tv and internet. I called our cable company, but they couldn't get someone to come out and take a look until the weekend. Four days without tv or the internet. I can live with one or the either, but both? You might as well cut the electricity on me while you're at it.
I considered blaming a large government conspiracy to silence me, but it turned out to be an accident. The community association had guys installed sprinklers outside, and accidently cut our cable line. I'm glad someone mentioned something after it happened. Our cable company has us currently sharing the neighbor's cable line for the next week or so until they can lay new cable to our home. It's just a little annoying to be forced to watch all their Indian television programming. :)
As for work.... it's been absymal. Between writing my audit finding, getting my mid-year performance evaluation done, wrapping up audit documentation, etc, etc, it's just been ridiculous. I usually am responsible for picking up Joshua from daycare in the evenings, but my wife has been forced to drop off and pick him up the entire week. I dropped him off once this whole week, and constantly had to call my wife to ask her to catch the slack. Even Friday evening, it was almost 7pm, and most of the office staff were still there working away.
The next two weeks will be better, but after that, it'll be a marathon until we reach December 15th. It's hard to imagine that my schedule is booked solid until December, but it's true. I heard everyone is taking vacation after Dec 15th, and I think I'll join them in switching off. I think it was Thursday morning, when I woke up at 4am to do work that I asked groggily asked myself, "Is any of this really worth it?" Even though the pay is great, and I'm achieving a lot career-wise, my job can be so stressful and time-consuming sometimes.
What's the old adage? On your deathbed, nobody ever wishes they had worked harder. They always wish they had spent more time with their family, or less time out of the office. There's a lot of truth to that adage. Still, if you want to keep up with the Joneses (or the Patels), we all do what we have to do. Heck, my wife works in the evenings and weekends too, and I've heard the irritable people calling her up. We all make sacrifices.
Okay, enough of the kevetching. This weekend has been pretty exciting. Saturday morning, I drove to meet a fellow I know named Santhosh. He's been group riding with some cyclists from, I think, the Atlantic Cycling Club, and had invited me too. I finally committed to this Saturday, and met up with him and these other guys. Turns out we were the youngest guys in the group ride, as the other 4 guys were in their 60's and 70's. Group riding is more demanding, and I wasn't wrong. These guys have been riding for between 30-50 years, and it shows.
We rode about 28 miles through New Jersey farmland, and I did my best to keep up with these guys. They were riding at between 17-19 MPH straight, and I was suffering severe exhaustion. I can ride 25 or 50 miles, and I can ride 20-25 MPH, but not both for 2 hours straight. And just one break for my benefit. It wasn't that my legs hurt so much, but my heart was racing for 2 hours. I did my best to keep up, but they eventually had to slow down to 15 MPH to keep me in the group.
Funny thing is, Saturday is their easy ride of 30 miles. They get up the next day on Sunday at 8am, and do 60 miles at a brisk pace. Nuts, they are. They were nice about the whole thing, and gave me some tips. Still, I like the committment of meeting regularly, so I'm going to meet up with these guys on Saturdays as often as I can. If I know I'm supposed to be there, then I'll be there.
This week, my wife picked up pool passes for us, so after I got back, we hit the nearby pool. We have 3 or 4 heated pools in the community, so it was nice. Josh liked it, but Num just wanted to enjoy the sun and read her book. In the evening, we met up with my in-laws to celebrate my mother-in-law's birthday. We went to this Thai-Indochin asian fusion restaurant. Good food and decor. They also had frosted glass tables that made me almost want to steal one to be my desk at home. Luckily for them, I don't own a pickup truck.
I rented two movies this weekend: Casino Royale and The Break-Up. I watched Casino Royale by myself, and it was decent. I'm not a big poker player, so with all the poker games going on, I inevitably just waited until they told him who won at the end. Good action and character development. Nums and I will watch The Breakup either tonight or later this weekend.
Today, we attended church services, and while shopping afterwards, bought some nice artwork for the living room. Later this week, we have to go find a place to get it framed. We're both pretty excited to finally find some decent artwork for the living room, and making it homey.
The next two weeks shouldn't be too hectic. Call it the calm before the storm, as I run the marathon until December. I will say that my mid-year eval was decent, and I told my boss that I'm starting to crystallize my tentative career direction. I don't expect to be an auditor for the rest of my life, and I want to start laying the groundwork for my eventual move out of IT audit. Audit isn't a bad place, but I don't want to be pigeon-holed as an auditor for the rest of my life. There's a lot of different directions for me to grow, and I'm taking the time to build up my foundation, and research where I want to evolve to next.
Stay tuned for the next exciting chapter of the Life of Ipe.
Wednesday, July 4th 2007
Happy July 4th! A wonderful little break in the middle of the week before we have to finish the rest of the work week.
I've been fixing on my music collection on the side since the weekend. Have you seen Cover Flow in iTunes. Neat little feature that brings back the visual appeal/nostalgia of album covers. Num remarked that the feature is reminiscent of the a jukebox. Pretty close, I would say. I've been adding album artwork through Wikipedia, Amazon, and Google ImageSearch. Through my hunting, I have also found instances where the album/year/track # are wrong. Even worse, some oldies and such where I had the wrong artist. I tell ya, I couldn't even sleep. :)
Now, if you know me, I'm a big Transformers fan, but I've been accusing the Michael Bay version of a rip-off. You know, using some of the names and concepts, but totally rewriting what I grew up on. I did tell Doug last week that I'm not against a movie about robots fighting robots, but not this stupid version of Transformers. So Doug called me up on Tuesday, and asked me if I wanted to see a movie about robots fighting robots. I sighed, and said okay. Tuesday night, I met up with my friend Doug and his brother in New Brunswick to see the 11:20pm showing of Transformers. It was okay, but I still found it typical Michael Bay / Hollywood spectacle. Lots of special effects, but stupid writing. The audience loved the movie, so "Meh" what do I know?
Before I left for the movie, around 9:30pm, we started hearing fireworks. Loud fireworks. We figured it was some morons just lighting up some general fireworks, but it was loud. Was it going to wake up Josh? I look out the window on our side of the house, and see the opposite houses being illuminated by various colors in the sky. Uh, what? I look out the front door, and there are official, no-joke, fireworks going off right outside Josh's window. A day early? Needless to say, he eventually started crying, but we calmed him down, and watched the rest of the fireworks show from his window. He liked it.
We were supposed to go picnicking and watch the fireworks tonight, but it started raining in the evenings. We instead picnicked in our living room, and watch The Incredibles. It was a very nice time -- homemade guacamole, gourmet burgers, etc. What I love about my wife is that when we hang out, we can have fun anywhere.