Thursday, March 29th 2007
Man, I am exhausted. The fire drill has reared its ugly head -- wrapping up fieldwork on one audit, and completing business monitoring for two audit entities before the end of the quarter (Friday) has resulted in many sleepless nights. So much to do. I'm heading to Manhattan tomorrow morning.
I recently had a one-on-one with my Director this week. It's pretty informal. I've been grappling with figuring out what exactly I need to do this year to be considered exceptional, so that I can get another good review. Yeah baby, I want a repeat.
Anyway, I asked him, because I've heard some vague suggestions on what to do, but none of it really clicked in my head. He gave me a few good suggestions, and now I realize what they're looking for: leadership. Can I do audit work? Yes. Do I get my work done in time, and never get flagged in metrics? Pretty much, but what else? The missing ingredient is that I need to provide leadership to the group. Have a vision for where we need to be as a group, and provide direction to my team. Being just another faceless cog in the machine isn't going to help me stand out as an Audit Manager.
At least now I know, and I have a better understanding of what I need to. I just have to figure out what to do when the opportunities arise.
Sunday, March 25th 2007
Busy weekend. Spent lots o' time cleaning up this past week in anticipation of the hoopla. Dinner at my in-laws' home in honor of my sister-in-law and her recently-expanded family paying a visit to NJ. On Saturday, there was much running around, then dinner with various out-of-state friends at Famous Dave's in New Brunswick, and finally dessert at our place afterwards.
My wife was working all day Sunday, so Josh & I just stayed home bonding. I also finally finished watching Cars. You know, the movie didn't look all that enticing in the theater trailers, but I must now admit that I think it's a pretty good movie.
Now, for somy internet videos!
I feel like this story is straight out of the movie Mousehunt -- "Mouse taunts man, makes off with his dentures." Seriously, I like how the woman says, "'He's taunting him — I swear he's taunting him,' Shirley Exner said."
It's the last week of March, and the last week of the 1st quarter. I have a ton of work to do before March 30th. It's going to be a week of long nights, I think. Enjoy your week, everyone.
Thursday, March 22nd 2007
30 second update:
Jamaica trip captions are up, and the page is officially done. I added two new 300 movie pictures to the March 11th entry. We watched two movie rentals this week. Sister-in-law & family are coming to visit today/tomorrow. Paul & Biji are visiting and staying over Saturday night. I've published Joshua's birthday party pictures. I'm thoroughly inundated at the office with end-of-the-quarter work to finish before March 30th. I'm listening to a lot of 70's Rock in the car these days.
I was putting Joshua to bed tonight, and I had a flashback to a very painful, yet vivid memory from my past. I'm going to mention it, because now I understand the emotions.
Many moons ago, back when I was college -- early 1997. I used to date this college girlfriend, until we broke up, and she more or less ran off, for reasons that I shall not divulge. Broke off contact with her foster parents, shacked up with someone who shall not be named. Details that are not necessary at this point in time.
Her foster parents were distraught, and they came over to our house, and they knew she & I had been involved against the wishes of all parties involved (mainly our parents.) They were so desperate, though, that they were willing to enter hostile territory, to ask me if I knew where she was, and how they could find her.
Here I am standing in my living room, confessing to my parents that I had been seeing this girl, her parents sobbing on the couch. Her mother recited this anecdote of when they had taken care of their "daughter" since she was an infant. And one time while the father was rocking her on his shoulder, the baby urinated all over him. And these two previously scary parents started bawling. At the time, I thought it was just a weird story, but I felt bad for them in their predicament.
Flash forward to today, and here's another night where I'm rocking my son to sleep, and he's saying "Good night, Dora. Good night, Cookie Monster." And I'm thinking about this painful memory, which was in the middle of a couple of months of painful memories in 1997. I get their pain now. I understand why some strange story about a leaky diaper would make them start bawling. You have to realize, that as parents, we put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into raising these children. These two foster parents raised their daughter like their own, watched over her as she grew up, wanting her to go to school, be successful. Now she had run off, and was lost to them. Talk about loss and despair.
The good times are really good, and yes, the bad times are really bad. I do indeed look at my son nowadays, wonder about all his future adventures. And I'm afraid of all the bad people that are out there.
What can you do, right? The same thing humanity has been doing for all these thousands and thousands of years. Do the best that you can for your children, teach them what you can, and watch over them when they fall. And hope and pray for the best.
After enjoying warm near-70 degree weather last week, the week ended on Friday with a freak winter storm. Of course, I blame global warming. Friday evening, I stopped at Blockbuster, and we rented Zoolander and Derailed. I hope we can watch them this week.
All of the Jamaica trip pictures are published, and I've summarized the trip. Captions are unfortunately still missing. If I can find where I misplaced them, I'll put them back online. Maybe they fell off the monitor. :P I just don't know what to do with the video. Some of the video I have is 50 Mb in size, which is way too large for downloading.
Saturday, we went up to Rockland to visit my cousins Shaun and Sony, who recently had a baby girl ("Becky.") We also visited my parents.
Today, Joshua and I got a little lost trying to get to the Trenton Amtrak train station. Joel is now more certain that we need GPS. In the evening, the Ipes went to dinner at my in-laws' place.
Otherwise, a fairly uneventful weekend.
Minor factoid that I found interesting today. Mary Poppins was originally written in 1934 by P. L. Travers, a female writer. She wrote 6 more sequels, and her last one, Mary Poppins and the House Next Door, was published in 1988. Travers died in London in 1996. She wrote for a long time!
Wednesday, March 14th 2007
I think I've settled on the GPS receiver I want. One of the most important features that I want is built-in traffic information. There are times when I don't know where I'm going, so the benefits of a GPS device are obvious. Other times, I know where I'm going, but I'm not sure which is the best route. A GPS receiver that tells you specific route is all jammed up, and suggests alternate routes would be worth something to me. I also like a big screen (big surprise.) The Garmin Nuvi 660 is not the newest Nuvi, but it looks interesting. If you're in the market for a GPS device, check out GPS Magazine, which I found to have informative reviews. What I found interesting was that there are different traffic services out there, and it's not one-size-fits-all based on the coverage areas.
I picked up two new DVDs this past weekend: Finding Nemo and T2 - the "Extreme Edition." I don't know what's extreme about it. I tried the 1080p transfer that's on Disc 2, but it kept crashing on my PC. The movie on Disc 1 looks like the same quality from my original T2 DVD.
Now for random web links:
Big surprise -- I worry too much. Joshua's birthday party went well. My wife ended up doing all the cooking, as it was more frugal than ordering Indian food. Thanks to everyone for the nice gifts.
In the evening, I went to see 300 with a few friends. It is based on a real story, the Battle of Thermopylae of 480 BC I found the movie was a bit on the cheesy side. The movie was filled with lots of men in loinclothes, red capes, boots, and nothing else. All fighting, pectorals pounding...... I know there was a lot of manly fighting and all, but in the back of my mind I was thinking. "Hey, is it me, or is this movie kind of gay?"
Tuesday, March 6th 2007
I'm back. You'll have to forgive me, but it's been a busy few days.
From where? Oh, you know, Jamaica. Sorry Jimboy, but my somewhat-new policy is to not make it easier for burglars to rob us by telling them when we're going to be out of the house. And that we keep a spare key in the prickly thorn bushes in the backyard. Okay, we don't necessarily have a spare key hidden in the prickly thorn bushes, but if you want to rob my house, then screw you, go hunting in the prickly thorn bushes.
Where was I again? Oh yeah, we just came back from a relaxing 6 day, 5 night, family vacation to Ocho Rios, Jamaica. We went in honor of my wife's recent momentous birthday milestone. She's a woman, so I believe if I mention what age she turned, I could die, so I won't do that. However, it was basically her birthday present, and she was happy, so "Mission Accomplished." However, there's more to it, so let me recap.
On Sat Feb 24th, we went out to the city for.... an evening out without our kid! A few birthdays, including my wife's. Dinner at Libation down in the village, followed by a show at Cafe Wha. We got home around 5am, I think.
Sunday was spent doing laundry, packing, etc. We were driving to JFK at 4am the next day to catch our flight to Jamaica. Of course, as usual, we were running late by the time we packed up the car, and it was already past 5am. And we had to be at JFK no later than 6:45am for our international flight. Somehow, praying to the cabbie gods, I made it to Queens, parked the car with the off-airport parking company (in 1 hour, 10 mins Princeton -> Queens, mind you), and standing on line at the terminal by 6:45am. We made the flight with no running through the airport required, which was certainly a treat.
Our direct flight to Montego Bay was uneventful. We touched down in 3+ hours, and it was 80 degrees, sunny, and grand. After a 90-minute drive to our resort the RIU Ocho Rios, we spent the rest of the week relaxing in the swimming pool(s), relaxing on the beach, sleeping in, watching shows, and eating at many of the restaurants. It was all-inclusive, so we could eat and drink as much as we wanted. I think my favorite feature was the free minibar in the hotel room, with free liquor!
In case you were worried, my liver is still working. I have so many pictures and video, I don't even know where to begin. Okay, I know I'll begin on picture #1, but it's not like this week is a piece of cake. [Keep reading.] Anyway, before I digress, we returned last Saturday, and spent Sunday doing laundry (again.) I spent Sunday night rebuilding my sister's PC. Yesterday (Monday) was a rough back-to-the-mundane-world kind of day.
And for the other big news. Joshua turns the big 2.0 on Thursday, and we have a big birthday party planned for Saturday. We're cooking lunch, decorating, buying a cake, and entertaining 10+ run-amok children. We invited Joshy's classmates, but now we found out that another classmate is having his birthday party the same day, about an hour after ours. And they have nicer invitations.
I normally don't care about this kind of stuff, but the "Dad" in me just snapped. I have visions of those sitcoms or parenthood movies where you're competing to have the better party. Now I want to go all out. We're not having pony rides, but at least we can have lots of balloons. And decorations. And ice cream. And free money. And a Christmas tree.
Grrr. You are not beating me in the festive department. Maybe I can hire a mime. :)