Main > Joel's June 2007 News
.:Picture of the Day:.


Wednesday, June 27th 2007

What a disgustingly hot and humid day it was today in the NY/NJ region. As soon as you walked outside, it was like walking through pea soup. Thick, hot, and nasty. I've been working in a conference room this entire week, and the AC is not working. I've called Facilities twice, but it's not cool at all. In the afternoon, I gave up and went back to my cubicle. The Lead Reviewer may want us to all work in the same room, but let me tell you something -- once my legs begin sweating inside my pant legs, I call it quits.

I'm finding it very ironic that every time I water the plants and shrubs in the backyard, it rains. I didn't notice any rain in the weather forecast today, and the soild was downright parched. I watered it after dinner tonight. A few hours later, around 11pm, I hear a thunderous roar. And another. And another. I can hear the rain pouring down. I looked outside, and the torrential downpour was so heavy, it looked like the monsoons in India.

We were hoping to go away sometime next week for July 4th, but with my work schedule being busy, it ain't going to happen. Ah well.

Did I mention that Josh pooped in the toilet last week? No? Are you sure I didn't mention it during your dinner? We were eating, and all of a sudden, he starts grunting. My wife asks him if he's pooping, and he says, "Yeah." I didn't quite register it, but my wife was yelling, "He's going to poop! Take him to the potty!" We grabbed him, and ran to the upstairs bathroom to his potty seat. I checked his diaper for poop, saw nothing, and stripped him of pants and diaper. I put him on the potty seat, and we waited. I started reading to him his Dora learns to use the potty book, hoping he wasn't kidding. All of sudden, he starts grunting, and then PLOP! Maybe it's not like winning the marathon, but he finally used the potty. Don't get too excited -- it hasn't happened since, and he's continuing to crap in his diaper.

Last weekend, I watched an interesting documentary on VH1 about the Monterey Pop Festival back in June 16-18 1967. 40 years ago this month. I found it really interesting, as it was just as much about the 60's Free Love culture as it was about the concert performers.

The bill of acts that played that weekend at the Monterey Fairgrounds reads like a musical hall of fame: Jimi Hendrix, the Who, the Mamas and the Papas, the Jefferson Airplane, Simon & Garfunkel, Otis Redding, Big Brother & the Holding Company (headed of course by the wailing Janis Joplin), Country Joe and the Fish, and Eric Burdon and the Animals. Joplin and Hendrix were still relative unknowns who used the festival as their own personal coming-out party.

A literal Who's Who for 60's Rock, eh? Being in the mood for music appreciation, and as I still don't have a new iPod, I went and purchased additional songs in iTunes, using some of my remaining credits. I selected 12 new songs. Here they are -- don't judge.






1 Money For Nothing Dire Straits Brothers in Arms Rock
2 Walk of Life Dire Straits Brothers in Arms Rock
3 Sultans of Swing Dire Straits Dire Straits Rock
4 Touch of Grey Grateful Dead In the Dark Rock
5 I Fought the Law Bobby Fuller Four I Fought the Law - The Best of Bobby Fuller Four Rock
6 The Kids Are Alright The Who My Generation Rock
7 Baba O'Riley The Who Who's Next Rock
8 We Don't Need Another Hero (Thunderdome) Tina Turner Tina Turner: The Collected Recordings R&B/Soul
9 Centerfield John Fogerty Centerfield Rock
10 Into the Great Wide Open Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits Rock
11 Learning to Fly Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Greatest Hits Rock
12 Big Yellow Taxi Counting Crows & Vanessa Carlton Hard Candy Rock



Monday, June 25th 2007

Anyone on LinkedIn? I started last month or so, but I wasn't so serious. But I've started getting requests from colleagues, and now the bug has hit me. I feel like my Friendster episode from 2-3 years ago. "Who wants to be my friend?" :) I think the Friendster bug bit me, because while I was surfing around my contacts, some have 50-100 contacts. I'm currently at 9, so I scoured my addressbook, and sent out 30 invitations.

I'm mad, I tell you. Mad! I've been bitten by the bug.


Sunday, June 24th 2007

Congratulations to my friend David, who just had another son. Well, his wife Lauren did, but you know what I mean. Hmmm, you know, I forgot to ask him the kid's name. Drat. I'll have to check with him tomorrow.

I'm wondering/doubting I'll be ready for the CISSP exam in August. I've had no good opportunities to study this entire month. Even when I've been on the bus to/from the city, I've either been working or sleeping. I wonder what's available in September? ;)

I haven't forgotten about my MBA aspirations either. 1-2 more years, I think, before I begin applying. And studying for the GMAT. Maybe next year. Speaking which, I just read this on MSN, from the Wall Street Journal, about U.S. and European business schools either setting up campuses or joint-venture executive MBA programs with local universities in Asia. The objective is to help specific students learn more about the business environment and culture in countries like China, India, Singapore, etc. Good schools too -- Kellogg, INSEAD, Univ of Chicago, etc. Interesting. This has caught my interest!

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The Pursuit of Happyness

That weekend went fast. We rented The Pursuit of Happyness. Decent movie, and good acting by Will Smith and his son Jaden. The longer we kept watching, the more despondant we were every time they ran into bad luck. Of course, after reading Wikipedia's entry on Chris Gardner, I realize the movie compressed, rewrote, and dramatized the guy's real life to make their movie. Oh well, the usual story. Still, a good movie nonetheless.

What the heck else did we do this weekend? Oh yeah, Saturday was my friend Vib's surprise birthday party -- lunch at Diwan in the city. Great surprise, great food, and good to see our friends again. Took pics, but you'll have to wait until tomorrow or so.

Sunday was cleaning up, my wife worked a couple of hours at the office, and then we drove up to Teaneck for a concert put together by my father-in-law's church. Good music. The program ended around 9:30pm, and we were starving, so we went in search of food at a diner. We got home a little after midnight.

Which reminds me, time for bed! I've got another busy week ahead of me, but it looks like I'll be in NJ for the rest of it. Next Saturday, we're going to a Tim McGraw & Faith Hill concert. Yeehaw.


Monday, June 18th 2007

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We love our chopsticks

FYI, I fixed one of the photos from the Family gallery -- I had repeated one by accident. The newly revealed photo (gasp!) is to the right -->

YouTube and these other video-sharing sites are great, aren't they? I recently introduced Joshy to YouTube, and together we've watched a number of old Muppet Show and Sesame Street clips. We also stumbled onto very old clips from (what I assume) the late 70's and early 80's -- clips that I used to watch when on Sesame Street when I was a child.

I have found the experience to be astounding, because I'll watch a clip that I haven't seen or thought about in maybe 25 years, and BAM!, I'll watch it now, and be transported back to that kid watching Sesame Street back in the Bronx while my Mom slept (she worked nights.) Truly, it feels like I've stepped into a time machine to watch these clips, and to remember the music that I haven't heard in 25 years or so. I also really enjoy having my son sit on my lap watching me with me, and seeing how much he loves the clips that I loved as a kid too. It's enough to get a father misty-eyed.

Here are some of my childhood favorites below. Thanks to all those people who posted them online, and brought back so many of my childhood memories.

"E" Imagination

That's About the Size

3 striped balls & polka dot ball

Ladybug Picnic


The Alligator King

There are obviously more out there, but these were definitely walks down memory lane.


Sunday, June 17th 2007

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New Tivo temporarily sitting above the old one
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My plaque now sitting on my desk at work

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there. I had a pretty good Father's Day. Slept in, nice breakfast with the family, picked up a new Tivo, did some gardening, briefly saw my wife's relatives, and dinner at Famous Dave's. Nice day.

I still feel a little guilty about not having any decent pictures from my sister's wedding last Sunday, but I honestly had no place to put the camera, nor did I have the energy to run around taking photos. I'm more than happy to outsource the photography to the wedding photographer, and just buy those. Sometimes you have to know what battles to fight, and which ones to walk away from.

I am back on the photography bandwagon, so to speak. I've added 4 pictures (oooh, four whole pictures!) from Julie's wedding. My niece Sophia was baptized on Saturday. Finally, some minor shots from tonight's dinner at Famous Dave's. They're all here in the Family gallery.

I brought my IIA President's award to the office on Friday. During a team meeting, someone blabbed that I got the award, and the secret (?) was out. My director ended up sending out a blurb and a picture of the plaque to the entire IT audit group globally to announce it. How nice yet embarrassing.

Pixar has a new movie coming out June 29th -- Ratatouille. I recently saw 9 minutes of footage via Tivo this week. The animation looks stunning, especially the work the animators have done with the lighting and the shadows. Absolutely stunning. Num didn't care about it when I described the footage, but once she saw it for herself, she was mighty impressed. And she wants all three of us to go see it. I'm not sure Joshy is going to sit through all of it, but Num thinks so. She's usually right about stuff, so who am I to argue?

Okay, time to publish this page, throw the kid's laundry into the dryer, and get some sleep. I gotta catch a 6am bus to NYC tomorrow, and I'm still beat from gardening. CYA later, folks. Make it a good week.


Thursday, June 14th 2007

Sorry for the lack of updates, but I have a good reason this time. I've been having this reoccurring problem of not being able to contact my web hosting company. So I couldn't publish updates, nor reach their support page. This happened last month, but they blamed it on some DNS refresh problem. Refreshing (restarting my cable modem) worked previously, but not this week. I'm getting very irritated with these folks. I'm looking into replacement web hosting providers. I've had enough of the ridiculous uptime, or lack thereof.

Ah, the weekend, and none too soon. I've been in NYC for the past three days, which is good from a saving on your commute costs perspective, but it adds way too much to my actual commute time. The unpredictability of traffic to/from NYC is annoying. On Tuesday morning, there was a disabled vehicle in the Lincoln Tunnel entering NYC, so I didn't get into the office until 10am, and missed an important conference call that I was running. Without my leader code, everyone apparently listened to muzak for 10-20 mins before dropping off. I'm still trying to reschedule this meeting.

Let's say it together for effect: ARGH.

This evening, the bus driver decided the best route was to go through Brooklyn and Staten Island. When Staten Island is your best option, you know you're in trouble. Luckily, I was able to get home in time to pick up Josh from daycare. You know, that's my biggest problem really. I don't care so much about being late myself, but when I'm supposed to pick him up by 7pm (at the latest), and I can't make it, either Num has to drastically change her schedule and rush to get him, or we have to pay overtime to the teachers staying late.

Double ARGH.

How's everyone else doing?

I'm in my regular Jersey office tomorrow, and I plan to bring my award plaque (from last Friday's dinner), and leave it for everyone's enjoyment. Enjoyment? Eh, whatever. I may just leave it in the office, as I don't have a good spot to hang up any of my multiple plaques (okay, one other) at home.... for now. I only have allocated wall space for future CISSP certification and a graduate degree diploma. I do have a Bible Quiz plaque from 1994 that I won 1st place for, but I don't know if my management would be all that impressed to see that in the office.

I neglected to mention that my frient Plexy got engaged two weeks ago to an apparently very nice woman in India. I heard the wedding is next January, so congrats! Hell apparently freezes over a lot more than I originally thought it did.

Goodbye stupid Free FM. Welcome back 92.3 K-Rock!

  • Mr. Wizard died. A sad day indeed. I loved watching his shows on Nickelodeon while growing up.
  • Steer clear of these 5 car-rental traps. I'll keep these mind.
  • Mike Tyson says he wants to act in Bollywood movies. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.
  • In honor of Father's Day on Sunday, Tim Russert writes of fathers' advice and love. You know, identity is important, and it's hard for men and women sometimes to figure out how to mesh this parent role into your existing identity. I know I did, and still do have problems sometimes knowing who I am.
  • Two guys wrote a book called Project Everlasting. The two authors shared with the Today show the top seven secrets to a successful marriage. Not bad advice.
  • How the mighty (and annoying) have fallen. Lou Pearlman, Mr. Boy Band of the 90's, has been arrested for various bank and other perpetrated frauds. His assets are also being liquidated to pay his creditors. Hmph.
  • Additional proof that Bangalore is an oasis for me when I visit India, more and more western-style malls are being constructed in Bangalore. Ah, one day my wife and I will go to Bangalore and share a Cinnabun. I have foreseen it.
  • I don't know if I posted this last month (the almight "Find" command isn't turning up any results), but this is an interesting story. Two vacationers from Florida were cruising in Greece, and got swindled when purchasing less-than-they're-worth jewelry. Old story, right? They had used their American Express card for the purchase, so they tried to fight the charge. Here's the part that I didn't know.

    …the Fair Credit Billing Act does not guarantee you a refund if you have a problem with items charged outside the United States.

    Excuse me, but isn't that the big point of cards like American Express? "Don't leave home without it"? I have a friend who just recently travelled to Spain on vacation, and she had considered using her AMEX card. However, before she travelled, she called AMEX to let them know she'll be in Spain, so as not to freak out that she's racking up expenses in Spain. They informed her that AMEX would be charging her daily charges, and a host of ridiculous superfluous charges that I can't remember. It was a lot. My friend ended up not bothering using her AMEX, and just used a plain old VISA associated with a large international bank, and it was cheaper from a bank fee standpoint.

    I'm calling shenanigans on American Express.
  • MSN Autos has an interesting article about the truth about fuel economy ratings. Read the "Current Testing Details" section, and I guarantee you'll be surprised. As a New Yorker, I'm coming to the conclusion that everything is a scam of one sort or another. Just call me a cynical, handsome, Indian man.

Monday, June 11th 2007

What a busy, busy weekend. Yesterday, my one-and-only little sister got married to my new brother-in-law Robbie. Saturday was the wedding rehearsal and rehearsal lunch up in the Parsippany area, and we stayed at a hotel both Saturday and Sunday nights.

Sunday was the big day, and it was busy. Both Num & I were in the wedding party, so we were off getting dressed, keeping Joshy occupied, and trying to get to the church ontime. In the end, the wedding went well, and the reception was a huge party that went until about 10:30pm. A number of us from both sides of the family went back to the hotel to change, and hit a local bar called The Exchange for the "after party." We got my in-laws to take Joshy home Sunday night during the reception, so Num & I spent the rest of the evening like fun-loving adults.

Monday morning was all about getting packed up, checking out of the hotel, picking up Joshy, and heading out to southern NJ for lunch with lots of new relatives at Robbie's family's house. Now we're home, doing laundry, and returning back to the mundane life. And my sister is leaving for her honeymoon.

My little sister got married. Wow. I'm so happy for her.

I took maybe 1-2 pictures the entire weekend, but there was no good way to take pictures easily as a groomsmen AND carry/entertain a toddler AND his diaper bag, books, crayons, etc, etc.. It wasn't working. The photographer took lots of photos, so I think I'm just going to buy those directly. These days, I'm all about outsourcing. :)

Now that I covered the big important event, I should go back and recap Friday night -- the IIA NY Chapter's Annual Awards dinner down in Little Italy. I didn't want to go alone, as Num was attending Joshy's first concert. That's right his first concert at his daycare. I didn't want to miss it, but it was rescheduled to June 8th, I'd already committed to attending the dinner. Also, I was getting the President's Award. I couldn't miss that, could I?

I invited my friend Doug to come along as my "man-date", and he once again proved to be good company. I received a wonderfully huge plaque, but I have no idea where to hang it. I'm thinking I'll just hang it on a large gaudy gold chain around my neck. Although I'm in NYC tomorrow, I intend to nonchalantly display it in my cubicle on Tuesday for all my coworkers. :)

I have some good and bad electronics-related news to share.

1. Did I mention that my computer speaker is working again? I haven't figured it out, as I tried everything to get it working originally. A few days later last weekend, I was playing a computer game, and noticed the malfunctioning speaker was working again. Been working ever since. Go figure.

2. Our 3-year old Tivo unit seems to be on its last legs. We've been resetting it almost once per day now, because it's either freezing, or simply displaying a black screen. Overall, it's just been unresponsive now. Although I'd like to get a Series3 Tivo, we don't have HDTV yet, and we can't afford to plunk down between $600-800 right now for it. The dual-tuner 80-hour unit is just $100, so that's an option for now. We'll probably pull the trigger on that purchase in the next day or so.


Sunday, June 3rd 2007

Dang, I was terrible with blogging last month. Attribute it to...., well, last month wasn't the most exciting month. I didn't carry my digital camera around much, I was too tired after working all day, blah blah blah.

I had a decent weekend. On Saturday afternoon, we went to my wife's company picnic at Thompson Park in Monroe, NJ. They were smart about handling the cooking arrangements -- they had a restaurant come and cater it. Compared to previous church picnics and such where you have one or two schlubs spend all day grilling, they outsourced it to caterers. When we arrived, buffet lines were already set up, and then they started grilling food for everyone all afternoon. Loved it.

Afterwards, we got Joshy a haircut, and my wife and I watched I, Robot from my DVD collection. She agreed that it wasn't that bad, considering that it's sci-fi and all.

On Sunday, we had hoped to hit the beach, but it turned out to be a little cool for that. We considered visiting my in-laws' community pool, but that wasn't possible until after 3pm. We ended up hitting the Garden State Discovery Museum in Cherry Hill, NJ. It was a nice children's museum where kids of various ages can learn about.... New Jersey, but also other touch-and-feel-type activities like making big bubbles, etc. Joshua had a fun time. Afterwards, we went to meet up with my sister and her fiancee at their new apartment not far away. We chatted, ate lots of popcorn, and that was cool. We should hang out with them more often.

It was also raining pretty hard, so I'm glad we ended up skipping the beach and the pool. And cycling on my part! Afterwards, we hit BJ's wholesale for an unbelievable amount of bulk shopping. I didn't complain, because we were dangerously low on groceries and supplies (like diapers!)

Sunday evening ended on a strange note or two. We were eating dinner in the kitchen, when near the end of dinner, I was standing at the sink, and Nums & Josh were still sitting down and eating. Out of nowhere, the glass cover for the kitchen ceiling light fixture came crashing down to the floor right before my eyes, and glass shattered everywhere. From where Nums & Josh were sitting with their backs turned to it, it was still just 4 feet away. I had replaced a light bulb in there maybe 6-8 months ago, but I'm absolutely positive that I had tightened it. I don't mess around with that kind of stuff. Although nothing happened to any of us, it's scary to imagine if Josh (being closer to the floor) had been walking around, and had been hit by the broken glass shards. You know, in his eyes or something. Really scary. We spent a lot of time afterwards sweeping up, vacuuming, and hunting for broken glass.

The other strange note: normally Joshy sleeps in his crib, in his Sleep Sack, watching his little light show on the ceiling before falling asleep. Tonight, he didn't want any of that. He wanted to sleep in his bed (in his room), no Sleep Sack, and clutching a stuff doll. It's the weirdest thing. Sometimes we think we've figured him out, and he just arbitrarily changes the rules.

And now for a zillion web links. Enjoy your week, and don't forget tomorrow is Monday!

  • ../PG/Misc/06032007_001.jpg (34427 bytes)
    You know, those height restrictions on tunnels mean something
    Trucker sheers off roof driving too-tall-rig length of Lincoln Tunnel. Moron. I tell you, there's always a stupid reason why traffic happens sometimes. On Friday morning, the upper deck of the George Washington Bridge was closed for 2+ hours because of a suicidal jumper during morning rush hour. That just sucks.
  • You may not care much about the article Two of a Kind, and I'm happily married, so I don't care too much about opposites attracting vs. like minds in the dating world at this point in my life. However, it's written by an Indian-Amerian writer Sarika Dani, and I think it captures what attracted my wife and I to each other.
  • Sunni revolt against Al-Qaeda spreading? After being in bed with each other since 2003 in Iraq, an al-Qaida-linked suicide bomber struck a safehouse occupied by an insurgent group that has turned against the terror network. I'm just surprised that they're attacking each other now. That's all.
  • I'm not the biggest Hillary Clinton fan, but I do think biographies about people are interesting. In this excerpt from A Woman In Charge by Carl Bernstein, you get some interesting insights into Hillary's family life, and what drives her today. If you don't like Hillary, that's okay. Don't be hater -- she's just another human being.
  • My beloved Battlestar Galactica show on Sci-Fi will be ending after the upcoming 4th season starts in January 2008. What a great show. :(
  • LifeScience article on the surprising origins of famous mythical creatures.
  • Men's Guide to Power Dressing. Eh, I just stick to Brooks Brothers for all my dress-to-impress needs.
  • A Chicago entrepreneur is reinventing the humble airport garage. Smart guy. I like the idea. Dropping off and picking up my car at the airport is invariably a pain for me, especially when I'm in a rush.
  • Although I'm a huge Transformers fan, I'm not looking forward the Michael Bay interpretation for the big screen next month. It looks like crap and dumbed down. Another reason I don't like it -- the new CGI character models look too busy and confusing to look at. Can you even recognize the faces? I miss the original clean and recognizable designs of the originals. Sigh. And you kids get off my lawn!
  • I obviously haven't decided which candidate I want to win the next U.S. Presidential election. I absolutely hate pure politicians. I'm pretty sure I'm ruling out Mitt Romney, as he appears to be a very confused, very political politician who will tell you whatever you want to hear. Don't take it from me -- just read his quotes according to Time Magazine. Both hilarious and depressing.
  • Free speech is a right that we take for granted here in the United States. Free speech is slowly disappearing in parts of Mexico, due to the drug cartels and other criminal organizations silencing Mexican journalists via abduction, torture, murder. Very sad.
  • I'm very worried about identity theft. Read this PC World article on pin card scammers, and how they are bugging store keypads to steal your pin codes.
  • China has a great demand for the body parts of endangered animals for all their salves, lotions, soups, medicines, etc. As the tiger population is diminishing, they've come up with a proposed solution: create tiger farms purely for body parts. Isn't that nice? Organ farms. Sickening.
  • I guess I shouldn't be surprised that some people still don't know how to program their VCRs, or use the Internet. Recently during a court case in the U.K., a judge was stumped by very technical web lingo. You know, like what is a web site?
  • A Forrester Research study finds that there is no future in the video downloads business. That's okay, I'm not into purchasing video online. I'm sure Apple and the others are probably not too happy if the study turns out to be true.
  • This is a little old, but still a good question. What's a prom without booty poppin'? Kids in a high school in Charleston, West Virginia, are forbidden from any booty poppin' or other sexually-charged dancing at this year's prom. And some kids are downright incensed and upset. I love this quote from downtrodden student Crystal Lucas:

    It makes me not look forward to my senior prom.
  • Maybe I'm just old and crabby, but get over it, Crystal. Boo hoo.