Main > Joel's June 2003 News

"So Joel, yet I can't turn away."
--George Koshy

Tuesday, July 1st 2003

In the interests of time, here's a quickie update:

- Engagement party captions are all done, read them on the Family gallery.

- Engagement party (the sequel) photos and captions are locked and loaded, check 'em out on the Friends gallery.

Enjoy yourselves until I can post pictures from Harish and Cynthia's wedding, and also from tonight's dinner in honor of Pradeesh and his quickie wedding in India. No, no one is pregnant....yet.

Monday, June 30th 2003

7:11am, Just got home

All you losers who bet that I wouldn't make it out of bed this morning better pay up. I got up at 5:30am, brushed the fangs, put some contacts in, dressed up, stretched, prepped, and I hit the road at 6am sharp.

Now, let's see what happens tomorrow.....

way too late to tell you

The first batch of photos, sans captions, are up in the Family gallery. A little out of order, but deal with it. The 2nd half has the pictures at the house, doing a little prayer before the engagement, and the pictures in the beginning are all at the restaurant. You smart people must have figured that out already, I'm sure.

Sunday, June 29th 2003

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A reverse Oreo: Gary, me, Doug
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Kenar and Chirag
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Samira, Bijal, Julie, Roxanne (sorry, 2nd take, and her eyes were still closed!)

It's 11:57pm, and I've got a few minutes to talk about the weekend. I'd stay up longer, but I'm just so freakin' tired right now, and I need to get some sleep. Also, Lucinda from work is mocking me for thinking I would go cycling at 5:30am before work. She goes riding too, but in Central Park and definitely not in the early morning. To wit, she had a good laugh about my trying to wake up so early each morning. To spite her, I'm going to bed before 12:30am so I can get some sleep and do it finally. Bets, anyone?

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As the Indians say, we're "yen-gaged!"
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Harish & Cynthia's wedding (since when am I freakishly tall?)
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All dressed up for riding, including a dumb smile!

Here's the quick recap, and I'll start putting up pictures this week. Not tonight, and tomorrow night is iffy, because I'm driving up to the house to work on the wedding guest list with my dad tomorrow night. Maybe Tuesday? I'll try my best.

Saturday's engagement ceremony (a lunch time affair) was more painless than we thought. Restaurant kinda screwed up stuff with the serving (I don't think they were skilled enough to handle a large function) but oh well, it went well enough. My cousin Shibu took lots of photos for us, so I hope to pick up them (on CD) tomorrow or later this week. I will say that I'm very used to taking OTHER people's pictures, but it felt very weird to be on the other side of it, and being the object of attention. Just standing there, having everyone wanting to take your picture and such. Mucho weird and disconcerting. As you'll see, we were sitting on stage, and so many people are just watching you.

Num and I picked up two "going out" shirts for me from Express Men (formerly Structure) @ Garden State Plaza on the way back to Jersey, and then we got dinner and ready for the 2nd engagement party. On the way there, around 8:15pm (trying to be there between 8:30 and 9pm), we hear on the radio that there every Hudson river crossing had major delays - GWB 1 hour, Holland Tunnel 60 minutes, Lincoln 90 minutes, and we were hosting the party! We snuck locally to the bridge via Route 46 (lots of lights, but not a major thoroughfare.) We snuck up to practically to the tollbooths, and parked the car by 9:15. Not bad.

As you'll see in the pictures, it was rather empty at 9:30, but was packed by 11pm. It was a lot of fun, and almost everyone showed up. We took up almost the entire floor of the main room, and we think everyone had a good time. I got home around 3:30am.

In the morning, I picked up Num, and we took her cousin Kenny to Newark Airport so he could catch his flight to Milwaukee, we had breakfast, I crashed when I got home on the bed, and then met up with the Davids (Num and her mother, later Anju and Sunny) for Harish and Cynthia's wedding. I just got back a while back, but that was about it. Good time, even though the stupid wedding photographer knocked over their wedding cake! Luckily, they had another cake present (for a relative's kid's birthday) and they used that.

Also, I went to Sports Authority today in Clifton to pick up a cycling jersey, since the one from L.L. Bean isn't getting here anytime soon. I went with yellow, since it's bright and shiny. Also, the only decent looking one they had. What's up with that? I also got some cycling gloves (with gel padding) to reduce numbness in the hands on long rides. Anyway, how macho do I look in nylon/spandex clothing? Hmm, don't answer that.

Enough out of me. I'm tired!

Friday, June 27th 2003

Friday has come and gone. It's like 3:22am Fri nite, or Saturday morning, depending on how you want to see it. I'll kill the suspense for you right now: I woke up late again, and didn't go riding this morning. Shut up, I really want to do this.

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Dinner at Bangkok Garden in Hackensack

After another day of meetings after meetings interviewing clients, I took the train to Rutherford from Hoboken, and got picked up by Achen, Shanta auntie, and their nephew Kenny, who just came from India on the way to an assignment in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We drove up to Rockland to continue decorating the restaurant. We completed the finishing touches, and then drove down to Hackensack to eat dinner at Bangkok Garden. It's a Thai place that Achen and auntie are always eating at. Num believes that her family is the sole reason that restaurant keeps going year after year.

After dinner, we went to their house to complete putting together the programs for tomorrow's ceremony that takes place before lunch. As I'm rather sober at the moment, you can guess that I didn't make it to Vib's party. I feel bad, but by the time we finished, it was already 11pm. Ah well, and I was looking forward to a night out with Vib too.

Uh, what else? Oh, I finally uploaded, edited, and published the long-awaited pictures from Jerry's wedding. They're on the Friends page, so take a gander. Saji took pictures, and I stole some to help fill out the collection. Thank you, Senor! I'll buy you a sheep to keep you company on lonely nights or something.

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New desk arrangement

Since I was home, I continued the redecorating by rearranging my home office. During one of my interviews today, I daydreamed about how I'd rather have my speakers exactly on the left and right of me, not just on weird angles (because of my big monitor and how's it's placed to the left.) I'm going to hold off on the new desk until I pay off some recently accrued expenses, so I have to make due with the desk that I have. Anyway, I started doodling and thought that I could tilt my desk catty-corner and have room for the monitor in front of me. I wouldn't have worried, but I have a 19" flat screen monitor, and it has a pretty deep back. Turns out, it does work, and although I have the monitor a little off the desk, it should still be steady. I like not having to turn my head to the left all the time to view my screen.

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Flopping like an NBA player
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A cat who wants MORE attention

BTW, the cat has a new trick. She realized that every time she flops down in a rather pathetic display, I cannot resist coming over and petting her like a wuss. Now, whenever she wants to play or simple attention, she comes right up next to me, wherever I am, and just flops to the ground like an NBA player. True to form, I kneel down to pet her, and she runs off, ready to play. What a chump I am. Well, better to have flopping than urinating on my stuff. It's not like I don't play with her, but she really likes to play.

Oh, you probably figured out now that I found the camera, since I uploaded pictures. Well, I did. Num had hidden it. Naughty girl!

Last two pictures for you are from dinner on Tuesday. As you can see, Ranjith is ugly, and there's no reason why Priya should be so enamored of him.

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As you can also see, I love this gal o' mine. Awwww. I'm getting married 3 months from today! Damn! I can't wait.

Thursday, June 26th 2003

I'm back, baby! It's Thursday, and the week is almost over. The engagement is only 2 days away, we're in full swing to be ready. Actually, we're in full swing for the wedding, which is exactly 3 months from Friday. Pretty crazy, right? In 3 months, I'm going to be married.


Let's recap the week. We had dinner with Ranjith and Priya on Tuesday, and it was a grand old time in Hoboken. We went to Karma Cafe, an eclectic Indian restaurant. While looking for parking, I found out that they've built a nice area along the shore, reminiscent of Manhattan's East and West side drives. You know, for people to jog and stuff. I may want to take some time one weekend and head on over there.

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At Jerry's wedding
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The ladies always appreciate a man and his umbrella
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Jerry & Mini
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Saji and Betsy

Uh, I'd show you more than a picture or two from Tuesday's dinner, but I can't find the digital camera. I've been scouring the place, but no can do. It still has the photos from Jerry's wedding, so I really hope to find it. In the meantime, here are photos that my friend Saji took to whet your appetite, and also some that George Koshy took. For his pictures, see "pics", then "csi and other gatherings", and you should see a link to Jerry's wedding.

Before I get ahead of myself, back to Tuesday. On Tuesday, my speakers arrived. They're all set up now around my lowly corner of a home office, and they're pretty nice. I wasn't quite getting the rear two speakers to work exactly right, even though my sound card could handle them. I had to push the M3D button on the speaker control station (a console thing now sitting on my desk that came with the speakers) to simulate surround sound if my sound card was pathetically cheap. However, I didn't think that was right, and I went online today at work (naughty Joel) to research.

Turns out, my card COULD use them, but something was amiss. On the Creative Labs Soundblaster site, I saw that I could configure any speakers using their included software. Wait, did I install that software on the new hard drive I built? I got home, and I saw that I didn't. I installed the SB software (diagnostic tools, jukebox thing, etc.) and still didn't hear anything out of the rear speakers. On a hunch, I turned off the M3D surround sound simulator thingy, and voila! I heard the words "Left rear speaker.....right rear speaker...." and so on during the diagnostic test. They work!

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No longer! This living room is now CLEAN!

Uh, enough of that boring stuff. My new plan is to get up early in the mornings, like 5am, and go cycling, since it's so difficult to go after I get back from work. So far, it hasn't happened all week. I'm going to try again tomorrow morning. Last night, I wanted to sleep early, but I also really had to pay the bills. I ended up going to sleep around 3:30am, but you'll be happy to know that I finished doing my bills, they all went out in the mail this morning, and I even cleaned up around here. If I had a camera, I'd show you, but I threw out all these old cardboard boxes, and all these stupid piles of paper. The living room no longer looks like I'm growing paper out of the carpet.

This evening after I got back from work, Teena and Num met up at my place (Teena in the parking lot, since she's allergic to cats, and can't be in my apartment comfortably), and we drove up to Rockland to start decorating the restaurant where we're having the engagement party Part 1. I put together a park bench for Num and I to sit on while on the stage, and the womenfolk nicely decorated the room. I think they have a good sense of style. I, on the other hand, am pretty good at assembling cheap outdoor patio furniture in a short period. We also ate masala dosa in the middle of decorating.

Again, a missing camera takes all the fun out of it.

Ah well. We're doing more decorating tomorrow night, so I don't know if I can make it to Vib's party at Guernica at 10:30pm down on Avenue B. We have to get up pretty early Saturday to drive up to Rockland, and then stay up pretty late tomorrow night for our engagement party Part 2. We shall see. We're at over 60 people now for the afterparty at K Lounge, so it should be a rockin' good time. It was all Num's idea, and I'm glad she thought of it. It'll make up for spending an uncomfortable 4 hours at the morning festivities.

BTW, today was seriously nasty, in terms of weather. Over 90, I think, and darn muggy. We went from heavy rain every day to burning hot weather. What happened to all that nice temperate weather? Argh.

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Wow, a trash can. Big deal. We got the biggest one, 30 liters.

Finally, in case you thought I would be done buying stuff after ordering a cycling jersey and speakers, think again. Last week, my Aurora shredder died. I bought it last year, and it was working pretty well. As part of my cleaning process, I was shredding lots of stuff, and I had some audit documentation at home that no one should really see. I started shredding, but I guess it was too much, and it just turned into a paste in the shredder teeth. I took about an hour cleaning it out, but I think the motor died. So, looks like I'll have to get a new shredder. Maybe next month, because I've....bought plenty of other things this month.

I'm not done yet. Brooks Brothers was having a sale on ties and such at their stores, and in two trips, I purchased 4 ties, two dress pants, and a pair of green boxers. The ties were the major item, since they were "Buy 1, get the 2nd 50% off" or "Buy 1, get the 2nd 30% off" (at the outlets.) Pretty sweet, but I have to exchange one of the pants, because I got flat-front by mistake.

That wasn't that important for you to know. In case you cared, we also bought a new trash can for the kitchen from Crate & Barrel. The old one I bought, a plastic deal from Nat'l Wholesale Liquidators back when Doug and I first moved to Jersey City, smelled really really bad. I couldn't get the smell out, so I tossed it. The new can doesn't smell, and that's a plus. We got the biggest one, a 30 liter can. I'm saying we, because Num bought it, and also because she is making sure everything in our future apartment matches her "vision." Oh boy. Folks, I just live here.

Time for bed, because I've rambled enough. Later this weekend, after all the parties, I'm going to IKEA on to check out desks, helping my parents finalize on the wedding guest list and invitations, and put that bookshelf I ordered together.

Tuesday, June 24th 2003

It's 6:52am Tuesday morning, and I'm waiting for my laundry in the dryer at the moment. No, I didn't stay up all night, but I did fell asleep waiting for the washer.

Sorry for no updates, but it's just been rather busy. I've got two engagement parties (mine) on Saturday, everyone wants to meet up for lunch and dinner (thank you, though!), and work is busy. My evenings this week are rather booked up solid. I still have to finish updating the NYIIA site, edit and upload the pictures from Jerry's wedding (still on the camera, actually), finish some issue sheets at work, publish the department newsletter, and put together a new bookshelf. Not to mention do my bills. I can't forget to pay my rent!

Speaking of putting together new bookshelves, the following arrived yesterday: new bookshelf from Office Depot, my new cycling shorts from L.L. Bean, and sample wedding favors. My speakers should arrive today or tomorrow.

Last night, Namita and I had dinner and drinks with her friend Barb. Sushi, to be exact. Drinks at some Irish pub, and then at this cool place called Fez on 85th and Broadway.

Tonight, dinner with Ranjith and Priya in Hoboken.

When will I get to the bookshelf? Hmm, first I need to get my clothes from the dryer!

Friday, June 20th 2003

Let's all take moment of silence for my Yamaha computer speakers; they died yesterday. All of a sudden, poof, where's the music? No sound, nothing. They didn't die in mid-use, but all of a sudden, I'm wondering why don't I hear an attachment.

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Logitech Z560 400 watt speakers

Being such a productive member of society, and after chatting with Jimboy about my speaker situation, I promptly ordered new Logitech Z-560 4.1 surround sound speakers from Oooh, aaah. 5.1 and 6.1 speakers are better, but really, I don't need all that for my computer. Also, I don't want to spend over 300 bucks on computer speakers. But 400 watts sure is nice for the price ($149.)

I was hoping to use that 20% coupon at the Logitech store, but even with the discount, it was cheaper at and Ah well, maybe next time. What I did find infuriating was that the shipping costs are pretty expensive ($36) at most stores where you HAD to purchase them online. The ones who had them in stock, like Best Buy charged the full $199 retail price. Hmph.

My cat likes to eat rice pudding. I had some tonight, and she was lapping it up like crazy. Who knew?

This evening, my parents hosted a bible study for the church kids at the house. I went, and Namita came too. Yeah, I was suprised that she came too, since she usually avoids them, but she never ceases to amaze me. I left just before the debate (main portion of the event) to pick up the Chinese food that I was covering (to be nice to my parents), and as I'm leaving the restaurant (in Orangeburg), I speak to my Dad, and he tells me they're all done.

Yikes! I rush back to the house in 15 minutes, and some people are leaving already, and there I am with 6 quarts of fried rice, 2 quarts of lo mein, and assorted other entrees like General Tso's Chicken, etc. Well, turns out that most stayed, but there was plenty of food left, so I brought it home. If anyone is in the mood for Chinese food, I've got plenty in my fridge.

Tommorrow, Namita and I are attending Jerry Philip's wedding in Massepequa. He's got 700 guests attending. Let me say that again: 700 guests. We're there for Jerry and Mini, so that's fine. I'm sure I'll survive.

Wednesday, June 18th 2003

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I swapped the computer and one bookshelf. Now there's room for the bike, and maybe a bigger desk?
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Where a stereo and a floorlamp used to be in the corner
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How the room is shaping up, minimizing wasted space that was between stuff
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Only PART of the mess I have to clean up
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Some of the jury-riggin'

Wednesday, June 18th??? Time sure does fly. The engagement is exactly 10 days away. The official engagement, but we've been engaged since March. This is basically for family, friends, and the other 80 people that my parents have invited. It's basically for my parents. To make up for that, Namita had this idea a 2-3 months ago that we should have an engagement party of our own, where we invite OUR friends. As of this week, it's official: after some research, advice from people like my buddy Vib, and some cold-calling, we're having our own party.

It's going to be the June 28th, at night, at K Space (aka K Lounge), in the city. We've invited over 60 people, and it looks like some of them are inviting more of their friends. At this moment, we've got 32 people showing up, 8 maybes, 3 No's, and 30 "Not Yet Replied." We're setting up a guest list, so when our guests arrive (and their names are on the list), they'll be allowed in, supposedly bypassing the line. I've never seen this, but this is what she's telling me. Also, we're being reserved our own area for our party, and guests won't have to pay cover. Pretty sweet, if you ask me. If we were covering drinks, that would be even better, but I'm not a millionaire.

In other wedding news, we mailed engagement invitations out Monday, but now have to focus on getting a wedding guest list, and the invitations. Her family is way ahead of mine, so I need to get them on the ball. Invitations should go out early July, but I'll be lucky if it happens by August. My parents take forever to make up their mind and do stuff.

Enough of the wedding stuff. I woke up Monday morning, and my ankle was hurting (from the 1st fall), and so was the left side of my neck (from the 2nd fall), so I called in sick Monday. My boss Jack is pretty nice about all this kind of stuff. I'm glad I work for him. If he wasn't there, man, I'd be waiting to leave for my next job opportunity.

I've been channeling my energy into cleaning and redecorating my apartment. We've decided to stay in this apartment that I have after the wedding, so I might as well make it pretty. Once Num's things are all over here, it'll be crowded, so I need to find a way to make better use of the space. At the moment, I think I have plenty of room, but am wasting it. I spent Monday at home doing diagrams (it's how I do a lot of things) at better ways to use the space. I came up with a winning combination, I think.

The problem was that I had stuff spaced out (like a drug addict) all around the room perimeter, and wasted space between them. Since Monday, I've already moved the tv, my desk, my bookshelf, my stereo, and the CD tower. After I declared war on too much accumulated crap, I've spent 3 evenings now sorting everything I own as "junk" or "let's keep it just in case." I"ve tossed expired warranties, boxes, and lots of plastic bags. Once I complete the living room and bedroom, I'm going to start working on the closets. I know I've spent my time here since October just shoving stuff into the closests. I rarely find stuff in them anymore.

Now that I've moved the tv and my desk, I'm having a small problem with the cable signal. I think I have one too many coaxial splitters in the mix between entry into the apt, and where the tv and cable modem are. The modem is not getting a clear enough signal, and the tv is getting some intermittent static in the picture. I've got it jury-rigged, but a Comcast technician is coming tomorrow between 1pm-3pm to take a look. I've left instructions with her on what the problem is, and hopefully the tech can create a more seamless connection so I only need one splitter. That should solve the problem.

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The Jerker (pronounced like "Yerker")

Speaking of my living room, I'm considering getting a new desk, and I've almost got Namita on board with letting me buy a new one. BTW, is this what married life is going to be like? Anyway, I (or we) need a better way to organize the home office area, and how to place the printer (sitting on my subwoofer at the moment) and the scanner (which I haven't needed to install yet, but will this weekend.) All the printer stands out there really suck, so I was looking at better, bigger desks. And IKEA came to mind. Namita's roommate has something similar to the Jerker desk that I was interested in, but this model has those big tall sides to the high shelf that I just realized will block my big monitor.

Rats. Instead, I noticed that IKEA also has this Effektiv (what's with the names, man?) desk that looks interesting - it's a corner dealie in a short "L-form" that might just do the trick. I figure extra desk space isn't a bad thing, and Num could use the space too, when she finally gets here. There's no direct link to the Effetiv desk, but if you're motivated, I'll show you how to get there. I'm hoping to go to IKEA with the fiance, and take a look in person.

Okay, here ya go. Go to IKEA virtual catalog for office furniture, and click on "WORKSPACES." Page 4 on the left has that Jerker workbench that Joel is having second thoughts about. On page 6 on the left is this Effektiv desk that is intriguing me. It's about $399, but if we both use it, and it's stylish (important to the fiance, since she thinks she thinks she produced every episode of MTV's old House of Style), then maybe we can get it.

And then I need to figure out how to get her to allow me to buy a monogrammed bowling ball!

I've got an all afternoon NYIIA organizational meeting at the MSG Club restaurant to attend, since I'm the new chair for the Advanced Technology committee. Hmm, should I mention that I want us to research anti-gravity boots? I'll make a note.

Last items to wrap up my return to the world of inane web blogging. Had lunch with Tom, Sudeep, Philip, and Reji (church fellows) at Maui Tacos on 5th. We try to get together for lunch every month, and I picked out this month's location. Not bad, but I'm not a fan of burritos with pinto beans.

The next bit of news is that, on Gary's advice, I went to the L.L. Bean website, checked out their well-priced cycling apparel, ordered a yellow jersey and some black shorts. If they fit well, I plan to buy some other cycling stuff in other snazzy colors.

Sunday, June 15th 2003

I'm going to keep this brief, because, uh, seriously, I need some sleep.

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Such a nice boy

Saturday night was the St. Paul's & Resurrection Coffeehouse. I was the MC for the evening, and it went well. I think I did a decent job. I did break out the Hawaiian shirt that I bought during my trip to Hawaii. I'm sorry, but I consider it to be a really funny shirt. Other people didn't quite understand the humor (hint: somone's fiance.) All in good fun, I suppose. I'll have to remember that the next time she complains that I'm too mean.

Anyhow, the coffeehouse event is like a talenshot, and this is their 2nd year doing it. My so-so photos are in the Church photo gallery. I think I need to take more group photos. I'll have to remember that next time I'm photographing an event.

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My new bike wedge

Sunday, I went to Brookdale Cycle in Bloomfield (where I purchased my bike) to ask them a few questions, and to purchase a bike wedge. See "Recent Purchases" below on what the wedge is for (in short, it's a little travel pack to carry important stuff when on the road. It's a wedge, because it's small.

While at the shop, this woman is telling her daughter what's up with my funny shoes and pedals. I mention to them that I've only had the shoes and pedals for three days now, so I'm still getting the hang of it. Oh, here's the important part: I said, "I haven't fallen yet."

Now, that sentence is absolutely KEY to the following story. I bet you can see where this is going, and why I'm limping all over the place now. As I ride back, maybe a block away from the store, I'm wondering if my bike seat is too high (I just had it raised, and I'm second-guessing myself, as usual.) I pull off to a sidestreet to get off, and take a look to see how I would lower the seat myself if I wanted to.

As I slow down to stop, it takes me a half-second too long to get my left foot out, and I tip over to the right. I hit the ground, my right foot is still locked to the pedal, and my head hits the curb. Hard. Thankful that I have a helmet (Are you reading this, Gary?), I unlock my right foot, and hobble around the street. I scrapped up my leg, just below my right knee (yes, blood for you queasy folks), and twisted my right ankle since my foot was locked to the pedal. Also, I've got a nice big bruise on my right thigh (must have slammed it against the bike.)

Ironic, yes? Oh, I'm not done yet.

Since I'm bleeding, my right foot hurts like a motherf*cker, and all of a sudden I really have to take a pee, I bike back home. When I finally make it to the front, I decide to bike to the entrance closest to my apartment (with a plan to lock the bike to the railing, and go biking later after doing some triage.) As I pull up on the sidewalk and steps to my building, I slow down.

Too slow, it seems, because I tip off to the left, and I don't get my left foot out of the pedal fast enough. Right into the mud, and my feet stuck to the bike. So, I lightly scrapped up my left leg, my head hits the ground again (Gary, gettin' the picture here? You never know.), and my back is covered in mud. If you examine the bike wedge picture, my seat is a mysterious black and brown. I'm having some trouble getting the mud out of the seat cushion material.

In a rather bad mood, I get up, lock up my bike on the stoop railing, limp upstairs, bandage myself up, change my clothes, get some water, and plop down on the couch to watch some Muppet Treasure Island on Channel 9. When I was in a better mood, I cleaned my bike up.

That was my day.

The next few weeks look to be busy, and I'm limping right now, but I still plan to go riding again on Tuesday. Sorry, but I have to take advantage of the good weather. Namita has started moving her books and odds-and-ends here (that was today too), and we're going to start redecorating. I've drawn up the new living room arrangements, and she's ordering a new bookcase. All pretty exciting, if you ask me. I'm also looking for a new desk for my computer, so if you see anything really funky and cool (I'm going to IKEA sometime this week or next for office furniture), please let me know.

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Mr. Defender of the Universe

Friday, June 13th 2003

I really have to start carrying my camera around more. I keep going out for stuff, and I WANT a picture of it, but I keep forgetting to bring it. Today, I went out to lunch with Gary, Regina, and Ciara to Dos Caminos on Park Ave.

And the 80's nostalgia continues: Voltron has returned in comic book form, to be published by Image Comics.


Thursday, June 12th 2003

So here I am, minding my own business, and it starts raining again tonight. Argh.

Warcraft 3
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Wed night, I met up with Doug and a few of his coworkers. Gary and his coworker Ciara showed up too. I couldn't get anyone from NYL to show up, unfortunately. In any case, we still had a good time at Jimmy's Corner, this dive bar on 44th, between Broadway and 6th. Doug and friends were meeting up there anyway, and I needed to pick up my Warcraft 3 game from him, which I lent to him late last year. Yeah, that was a long time ago, but I've just been too busy to have time to play a game. In any case, I needed to get my game, and blow off some steam, so meeting up with funny people sounded like a good idea.

Today, I went out to lunch with Amy, Susan, and Wayne. We walked over to Koreatown, which encompasses the mid-30's between 7th and Broadway, I think. We ate at the Mandoo Bar, and picked up some Korean desserts on the way home. Well, I didn't pick up any dessert, because I'm watching my figure. What a girl I am. Lunch was decent - we shared dumplings, and this noodle dish with bits of fish, vegetables, and rice cakes. Interesting.

I've been desiring a new computer, or at least the upgrade parts for my current Dell computer. I've also had my eye on a Tivo DVR. It's all expensive, really. I thought about though, and I'm going to hold off. Namita and I have a lot of upcoming expenses, and I need to use my cash for what's important. Now, I really want to do more cycling. So, I made the decision to do some upgrades to my Fuji bike, and took it over to Diamond Cycle in Montclair. Why spend the money on the bike, instead of on the computer or other electronics?

The way I see it, either I can spend my paycheck on stuff that will just require me to sit on my butt all day, or I can spend it so I can get some exercise and get more fit. Makes more sense to spend it on my bike, right?

Maybe some of you would say that I just don't spend that hard-earned cash at all. I say shut the hell up, it's not your money.

Enough beating around the bush, I bought new clipless pedals to upgrade from the toe clips and straps that I have on my original pedals. Toe clips work, but my big sneakers never quite fit in them properly, my feet would turn sideways sometimes, and I never felt I had the best leverage when pumping away. This FAQ has some good answers to explain what the big deal is between toe clips and clipless pedals.

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Original toeclip and strap pedal
New clipless pedal
My new bike shoes
Underneath, where the cleat locks into the pedal

Here are pictures of the original toe clip and strap pedal that came standard with my bike, and what a clipless pedal looks like. As you can see, it's much smaller, but there's a little device thing built into the pedal. The clipless pedals are useless without cleated bike shoes. The cleat is installed into the bottom of the bike shoe (which are smaller, snug, and allow better air circulation), and that is locked into the bike pedal. The basic idea, if you read the FAQ, is to lock your feet into the proper position on the pedals, and to use both the downward AND upward leg movement to keep the bike moving. You're supposed to better use your energy this way.

The tricky part is locking your feet into the pedals while moving, and then unlocking your feet when you need to stop right away. You're supposed to pivot your feet to the side, and that's supposed to release the shoe. I'm just wondering what happens if I brake suddenly, and I can't get my feet out. Oh, you can imagine me just tipping over.

Nothing else at work or home is that exciting. I just came back from dance lessons, and we're getting better. Quarter turns are still rather tricky, but when done right, make you look like a professional as you float across the dance floor. Saturday, and maybe tomorrow night, I hope to get some bike riding time.

Saturday evening is the St. Paul's & Resurrection Coffeehouse, hosted by their youth group. It'll be fun, and I'm the MC for the event. It'll be a fun event, and I promise to stick my feet into my mouth, and say something stupid at some point in front of everyone.

Sunday, Namita and I plan to have breakfast with some friends of hers who are coming up from Atlanta, and then visiting my parents.

Yes, another star-studded weekend.

Tuesday, June 10th 2003

Alright, I've edited my entry from Monday, so please go back and read it. Apart from the additional pictures of our new wine rack and some waitresses in thongs, Leena was nice enough to send me the link to Chris Kovoor's album.

Such nice weather today, so a bunch of us (Wayne, Olivia, Amy, Abby, and I) went out for lunch at Viang Ping, a Thai restaurant onon 23rd and 3rd Ave. I got my favorite: Pad Kee Moe - flat noodles, chicken, and mighty spicy. It's too bad the weather will be crappy starting tomorrow. I was planning to go riding tonight after work, but I was just so tired. I'm going to bed around 11:30 tonight, so I can get up early around 5-something, and go cycling.

I'm not holding my breath here on actually getting up that early, but at least I had good intentions. It'll be too rainy tomorrow night to even try getting some exercise.

In my quest to upgrade my computer, I really want to buy a new video card, sound card, and some surround sound speakers. You'll see them on my wishlist on the right-hand side. However, I need to save money, not spend it, so I'm going to exercise some restraint here. Maybe I can get one item every 2-3 months. Since I already spent so much on DVDs and computer hardware this month, I'm doing my best to keep my finger off that "Proceed to Checkout" button.

My sister Julie's birthday is coming up next week. Maybe I should get her a video card? Uh, worked for Homer Simpson, you know.

Monday, June 9th 2003

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Grab a peep show at Santiago's Baron Rojo

So I'm watching Wild On on E! Entertainment at the moment. Cindy is visiting Chile on....Wild On Chile. Of interest is this coffeehouse where the coffee is served by waitresses wearing bikinis. In thongs. In high heels.

Latin America seems so interesting.

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Pucker up!

Tragedy struck this morning. As I was shaving, the cat distracted me, and I completely screwed up my beard. I occasionally cut it too close, but it's usually easily repaired. This time, it was a lost cause. The solution? I went back in time about 6 years to the days when I was in high school and half of my college days. Usually, I'm shocked by the sight of my upper lip and chin, but it didn't seem so bad today. What's odd is that only one person (Gary, whom I met for lunch at Maui Tacos on 6th Ave) noticed. Others in the office, whom I've worked with for over a year, didn't say anything, didn't notice, or didn't know what was different about me.

It sure wasn't Viagra, like the commercial.

The NJ Devils won the Stanley Cup. Neat. I also read today that Jeff Van Gundy, who coached the Knicks to the Finals in '99, will be coaching the Houston Rockets now. Hmm, I'm curious to get the collective opinions of Josh and Jimboy (both of Houston.)

Curious to know what tv shows got cancelled? I've got the list right here. I'm glad they cancelled Married by America and My Big Fat Greek Life, and other winners like that. But why Futurama, or Andy Richter? Network execs are mindless.

Oh, here's the recap of Saturday and Sunday. I still didn't have the camera, so use your powerful imagination.

Saturday was the retreat and I slept in before driving to Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. Hey, Joel needs as much beauty sleep that he can get. I spent the day, and it rained most of the day. The sessions weren't all that, but I made due by playing some full-court basketball (until my legs were hurting), and we played a lot of pool and air hockey.

Saturday night was the Talent Nite, and most acts by the Sunday School kids were decent. There was one skit that totally blew my mind away: it starts off with a girl and her "father" not knowing where the Book of Amos (pronouncing it jokingly as "Aaaaah-moss) was. Stupid indian family humor. Then, a neighbor or friend walks into the "house", and it turns into a Sunday School lesson explaining the books of the Bible and how they're all organized. So far, odd and boring. They ended the skit by asking everyone to stand up, and everyone recited the titles for all books of the Bible, from beginning to end.

Is this what we're reduced to? We've run out of creativity for skits, so now we're resorting to heavy-handed Sunday School lessons and rote memorization? Not to mention it being really boring.

The youth hung out that night until about 2am, and then I drove home. A couple of the guys were worried that I'd fall asleep at the wheel, but once I crossed the Delaware River bridge, I had the NYC radio stations, and I drove about 85 mph listening to good old Solid State with DJ Liquid Todd on 92.3 K-Rock. I got home at 3:15am.

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Leena, Alisha, Sanjay

Sunday, Num and I went to a birthday party for Leena & Sanjay's daughter Alisha. Her parents threw the party for them at Sitar restaurant in Huntington on Long Island. Coincidently, we passed by the Crest Hollow Country Club where my other friend Sanjay got married in April. Man, that felt like last month. Anyway, I don't have pictures, but Chris and Sandy Kovoor took some decent ones, so check out his photos.

As you can now see my chin and upper lip in all their glory, that means that I have my camera back. Oh, hello camera. I have missed you. I want to share with the adoring public my little home office. See, I reorganized my office area on Friday, so here you go. Please notice how beautifully spacious my desk seems now, since there are no messy cords. BTW, check out all the buttons on the keyboard and mouse.

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In all its efficient glory
Look at all that desk space!
The other side (notice my Linux box?)
My keyboard and mouse, so pretty

I spend a lot of hours at my desk after I get back from work, so it HAS to be comfortable for me.

Friday, June 7th 2003

Hello, Friday. I have missed you.

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My new super surge protector
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Look at all that booze!

Seriously, today was the only good weather we had. It's supposed to rain this weekend. Sigh. Speaking of this weekend, I'm driving down to Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, tomorrow morning. My church is having their annual family retreat at the Pinebrook Bible Conference and Retreat Center this weekend, but I wasn't in the mood to spend the entire weekend there. Instead, I'm driving in tomorrow morning, and leaving after the campfire tomorrow night. Of course, if there's rain, there will be no campfire.

I already have a feeling that the trip is going to be a bust, but I'm really only going because my friend Tom asked me to go. I SHOULD spend more time with these guys, because I'm never in church anymore. I'm sorry, but driving up to White Plains (NJ -> Westchester) every Sunday is a drag, and 3 Sundays a month aren't even in English. I've been attending local Episcopal churches instead.

New hardware alert! Since I bought the new keyboard and mouse (which are really growing on me), I ran out of spots on my surge protector, and I had to unplug my desk lamp and speakers/subwoofer set. Today, I walked over to the Staples on Park and 26th St and purchased a Belkin 9-plug, $48 SurgeMaster surge protector. It's huge, but oh so pretty. I've fit everything every appliance related to my computer on there, with one spot to spare. Don't call me to rent out that one unused plug, because as soon as I pick up an AC power cable for my Red Hat Linux computer (sitting idly next to my desk), I'll be using every spot.

Okay, so I should go to bed soon, because I'm awfully tired. Between yesterday and today, I've cleaned up a lot around my apartment, including some reorganizing. My desk, for example, is completely rearranged. I've set up a very nice full-size wine rack that Namita bought (she's already redecorating). deodorized and vacuumed. I really should start taking more pictures, but the camera is on loan at the moment. I'm going to hope to pick it up tomorrow morning before heading out to the church retreat.

Thursday, June 6th 2003

I went cycling this afternoon. Very far, actually. I got back, and I thought I was tired, but still okay. I realized during my dance lesson tonight that I'm sore. Really sore. I climbed some steep hills today on the way through Verona, Cedar Grove, and almost Wayne. Now, I have achy-breaky thighs.

I have to tell you that I'm absolutely loving my new keyboard and mouse. I'm getting a handle on the 8-button mouse, and the a keyboard. Keyboard buttons are cool, but I could live without them. I'm still glad I have them both.

Oh, speaking of my dance lesson, Namita was feeling ill, and I went on my own. I liked it, because we focused on just my clumsy feet. I learned 3 new steps, and also how to navigate a dance floor. I like this! BTW, spoke to my Dad today, and he has no idea why I would need dance lessons.

"Don't you just go dance? Why do you need lessons?"

I guess this is a foreign concept.

Two interesting articles I read today:

1) Would you pay extra to cut through traffic? They're doing it in lots of cities now.

2) I've been trying to eat healthier these days, even when I'm eating at a fast-food restaurant. For instance, more salads. Well, the Good Morning America food editor did some research, and it turns out that some salads from fast-food establishments aren't so great. In some cases, the burger and fries you would want are actually healthier. Take a read. I was kinda surprised. One thing I learned is that I should eat more romaine lettuce, because iceberg lettuce is nutritionally pointless and empty. Another thing I learned is that, according to the GMA food editor, the Subway salads are really nasty. I'll save myself the grief and just take their word for it.

If you're already checking out GMA, there's an interesting interview/story about a Texan woman who survived being robbed, raped, shot, and left in a field to die.

Looks like I've run out of power outlets in my living room. I've had to unplug my speakers AND my desk lamp to make room for the keyboard/mouse receiver electrical plug. On my ride today, I stopped by Staples to check out surge protectors. They range from $12-$59. I think I'll spend they money to get a big 7 or 8 plug surge protector. I just hope I don't start a fire. If I had a backpack, I would have brought one home with me after my ride.

What happened to my backpack? Oh, it was a recent casualty. My parents used to buy me these pleather, cheap, backpacks, and they'd keep ripping. Junior year of high school, I bought a Jansport backpack. Yes, a bit more expensive than the pleather cheapo backpacks. However, it lasted me the rest of high school, college, a couple of river-rafting trips, and numerous vacations and overnight trips.

Then I left it on my living room floor last week, and the cat urinated on it. Yeah, I was a little irritated. I still love Missy, but damn, I've had that bag a long time. 10-11 years now, I think. I must say that having a bag last that long first taught me that product quality is important. My parents have always gone for the cheapest products possible, but I learned that quality is important.

Wednesday, June 4th 2003

I can't believe it. I got home, and there's this large box from I was in shock. "No, it couldn't be. Already?"

Yup, my wireless keyboard and mouse arrived. I JUST ORDERED IT YESTERDAY AT WORK. I don't get it. I selected the slo-mo "Super Saver Shipping" which is the slowest and cheapest option. I mean, it takes over a week, so I figure it's being transported by turtles or something. Yet here it is. I'll never understand it, but here it is. All plugged in. My reaction so far? It's pretty cool, but there are so many buttons on the mouse. 8 buttons, and I'm so used to having 2 buttons and a scroll wheel. There's the scroll wheel that you can press, a fast scroll up, a fast scroll down, a button to let you switch between open applications or docs, and browser forward and backward buttons. Well, I'm happy, but I have to get used to it. I'll take a picture when I get my digital camera back (it's on loan to someone at the moment.)

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Spike Lee

Gary-san, do I hear you grinding your teeth at the moment? Hmm, yes I do.

Speaking of that incorrigible sonavabitch, Gary told me today that Spike Lee is suing Viacom. Why? TNN is changing its name to Spike TV, and Spike Lee believes that they should have asked his permission first, because the public naturally thinks of Spike Lee when they hear the name "Spike."

What an ego.

The Coqui of Puerto Rico

Nothing else really happened today. In the cafeteria, it was "Puerto Rican Day" and they had all the cooks wearing Puerto Rican (or maybe just Caribbean) button-down shirts, fedoras, and a flower in the shirt pocket. Well, everyone except one really fat guy with a gut who wore a t-shirt with a touristy map of Puerto Rico on the front.

But I digress. As I walked my Puerto Rican sliced steak sandwich (and fries, naturally) to get a Diet Pepsi, I walk by the Dessert station, and I hear a chirping on a recording. I recognize it as the chirp of the Coqui tree frogs in Puerto Rico. I went on a mini-vacation trip to Puerto Rico a while back, and even climbed a mountain in the El Yunque rainforest. Anyway, the Coqui tree frog chirps away all day looking for a mate. They say, "Co-qui" all day. It's neat. Anyway, I'm all a-smilin', and the cafeteria manager says it's Coqui, and I talk to her for a bit about my trip to PR, and where I was, and what I did, etc. It was nice.

That's my story. Otherwise, another dull day working hard for that paycheck. Oh, I also spoke to Leena today on the phone. She's here in NY for a few days or so, since her family is celebrating her daughter Alisha's birthday. We gossiped like two housewives.

Tomorrow night is our next dance lesson. I think I'm sleeping at a normal hour tonight. It's about 12:39am, so maybe 1am? I think so!

Tuesday, June 3rd 2003

I took a half-day today, coming in around 1pm to work. I had a few things to do around here. Weird to walk into the office in the afternoon.

I am a weak man. I went to Best Buy on 23rd St and 6th Ave this evening to purchase the Logitech keyboard and mouse, but they were out of stock. Considering that I had just checked the company's website, and it said they had the item. They didn't. Instead, seeing some good deals, I purchased the DS9 3rd season DVD set, The Animatrix, and an internal USB 2.0 expansion card for my computer.

  • DS9 - Because I like Star Trek, especially Deep Space Nine
  • The Animatrix - I think animation, done well, is just as good a medium to tell a story as live-action. Also, these are all mini stories about the Matrix mythology.
  • Additional USB ports - Because I'm running out of USB ports on my computer, and I can't afford a new computer. So, I might as well upgrade it in reasonable ways.

Speaking of upgrading my computer, what about the new wireless keyboard and mouse that I've been desperately living without since....yesterday? Right, well, I went online at, and they have it for $88, which is really $11 cheaper than normally in stores. Oh, and I don't think I was clear about why the keyboard and mouse package was a good deal. The wireless mouse goes for about $69, and the wireless keyboard retails for about $49. You can buy the "duo" for $99, but I got it now for $88. It'll be here next week.

Gary, I'm frugal, not cheap. Bargains make my heart flutter. Stop griping. Everyone knows I buy too much stuff.

Sammy Sosa used a corked bat? Wow. He doesn't even need it. Why did he do it?

Monday, June 2nd 2003

June? Already? Damn.

I wanted to update, but I've been so busy this weekend that other tasks took precedence. Here's the recap.

Friday night was the NYIIA Carnevale event down in Little Italy. It was pretty okay, but Num and I left around 8:45pm to try to catch Down With Love, but all the remaining shows at 14th St and 34th St would get us out after the last NJ Transit train. No good. After arriving at Penn Station, turns out we missed the train by a minute (I thought we had 20 mins.) So we shared a very romantic apple juice and chatted unti the 10:32pm train.

Saturday was a visit to a luxury apartment complex in Wayne called Mountain View Crossing. To summarize, there was no way we would spend that kind of money for an apartment here. The deal-breaker for me were the ancient washer/dryer unit in the apt. They were big enough to fit maybe two pairs of jeans. I can't imagine doing my laundry over the course of 18 hours.

We might just stay in my apartment, but I'll let you know.

I vegged out Saturday, and most of Sunday. Sunday night, I finally folded my laundry, and I also finally got back to work on my new hard drive. I bought it months ago to replace my original one, got half way through, and let it sit around. I was replacing the original hard drive, because it's just full of crap. Sometimes, you just have to start fresh. I've installed most of my applications, and moved most of my data over, except for the mp3s. I'm actually using it now. I must say, it's definitely faster to use compared to the old drive. The hard drives themselves are the same, but we're comparing a Windows 2000 upgrade to WinXP with 2 years of junk and a fresh install of Windows. Ah, like a fresh breeze it is.

Dell Dimension XPS

BTW, I was longingly looking at a new Dell computer. Specifically, the new Dell Dimension XPS. The way I want it, it'll cost me about $3000, so I'll hold off for now. In the meantime, I still want to use the $50 AMEX gift cheque I got for being such a good member of the NYIIA. Since I can't really afford a new computer, the next best thing is upgrading the current one. First order of business is to purchase a wireless keyboard and mouse.

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Logitech's Cordless Duo MX

Why? Cable clutter - my mouse is always getting caught between my desk junk. A good wireless mouse goes for $69, but I could get a super-nice wireless keyboard for only another $30 with the Logitech Cordless Duo MX. For both, I think it's a good deal. The MX series of mice is supposed to be faster and more responsive, which is a good thing when you're battling evil in a computer game.

Like I said, I don't particularly need the new keyboard, but it has a lot of nice features. Also, since I've rebuilt my Windows XP from scratch, I can't get the Dell 1-Touch keys to work. Part of the purchase is because it's frustrating to get everything just right. Here are all the cool features on the keyboard. I like the volume control, and even the built-in "Back" button on the keyboard.

Anyway, now that the weather is better after this rainy weekend, I went cycling through Bloomfield and Clifton. Felt awfully good, but of course, I was done in 90 minutes. Every time I go really far out, I always end up home in 90 minutes. Go figure.




Dining Table and chairs
--Christmas gift from Num!

Wine Rack
--Christmas gift from Julie!