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Tuesday, May 30th 2006

Why is iTunes annoying when I don't need it to be? Everything was working fine, copacetic if you will, until today. I hooked up my iPod (nonchalantly), and iTunes informs me that my iPod music is associated with a different iTunes library. Would I like to reassociate it with the current library. I go, "Huh? Okay." Yeah, then it cuts out over 100 songs, and tells me that I'm not authorized to play them.

Excuse me, but didn't I have this same problem in Nov 2004? I happened to have found the missing 170 mp3s in my Recycle Bin almost 4 months later in Feb 2005. I know I need to authorize each computer to play music, but:

1. This is the SAME PC, isn't it?
2. The music it's asking about is stuff I ripped directly from CD. Not purchased.

"Dear Steve Jobs. Dude, iTunes sucks. Signed, Mr. Ipe."

I did a reauthorizing, so let's see what's the result after the copy-to-iPod synchronization is over. Either I'll grunt, or swear profusely.

Yesterday, we went to a Memorial Day BBQ in South Jersey to meet Robbie (sister's boyfriend) and his family. South Jersey is far, as it took us an hour to get there. Good time, good food. I'll publish what few pictures we have later, because I'm tired right now.

My office building was steaming hot all day -- some problem with the environmental controls. The only respite was lunch time and when I left home, because there's air conditioning in the car! Who wants to sit in an office sweating? Blech.

[Grunt.] iPod update is done, and all 2,151 songs are now there. And you know what? They damn well better be.

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Pat Robertson is diesel?

You folks are familiar with Pat Robertson, right? Well, the newest claim is that he leg-pressed 2 tons in 2003. Needless to say, as he was 73 at the time, I find it hard to believe. According to the CBN website, it's thanks to Pat's age-defying protein shake. That's right -- the Christian Broadcasting Network is not only saving sinners, but they're promoting a "delicious, refreshing shake, filled with energy-producing nutrients."

This evening after I got home, the family and I went shopping. Joshua's recent freedom to walk is due to my wife finding comfortable shoes for him. Well, they broke yesterday, and you should have seen the horror on our three faces. We found some nice sandals today at Babies R' Us, and Joshua promptly chased various women within the store. Seriously, he chased them down.

We also hit Best Buy. You see, I went to install Quicken this weekend, and found out I don't have a copy. The one copy I had was a free copy Intuit sent us (via download) for being such good customers. The original file was lost on my old hard drive. Thankfully, using what remaining birthday gift card funds I had left, I bought a new copy of Quicken Deluxe 2006 for $10.88.

We were watching Last Comic Standing tonight, and thank goodness for Tivo, because we almost missed him -- our friend Paul Varghese was on stage, but didn't make it to the next round in Austin. I really wish they had shown his set, but I guess that's TV for you. We were bummed anyway. Ah well. Paul, we still think you're fabu.

You know I have a bad case of Arachnophobia, right? It doesn't mean I'm against spiders. I used to read up on them when I was a kid. Here's a site about the varied arachnid fauna in Vietnam. Truly different, and good-qualty-yet-still-creepy photos.

Goofy Indian spoof of 50's "Candy Shop" song, and it's called Indian Candy Shop. Goofy indeed, but maybe it's your thing. Warning, the hosting website is NSFW, so watch it at home, stupid.

The bloggers are dropping off the map. Jimboy, fare thee well, my son. You were a daily read. I hope there will still be photo updates.

I've witnessed a large bunch drop off since 2002, and many I never suspected. First there are updates, then people get busy, or lose interest, or something else. Oh well. You shouldn't do stuff if you no longer have interest in it. Duh, right?

Don't worry, folks. The staff here at have no intention of leaving. For better or worse, this family is a busy hive of activity, so there's always something to talk about. Joshua getting smarter, the cat more evil, myself more handsome than ever, and my wife keeping it all together.

A big shoutout to the fans in Bangalore, Hong Kong, San Francisco, Dallas, Houston, Sugar Land, Fort Myers, Gainsville, Detroit, soon-to-be Chicago, soon-to-be Dayton, Richmond, Leesburg, Chatham, Roselle Park, Old Bridge, NJ, NYC, Rockland, Westchester, Yonkers, Duchess, Tuxedo, and "Longisle Land."



Saturday, May 27th 2006

It's good to have my PC back. Let me clarify. It's so good to have my PC back. I feel whole again.

I've been a busy photo-publishing machine since last night. I finally finished re-captioning the Family page 7 gallery, which I had lost through a bad "Save As" command. Again, a backup copy would have come in handy right about then. You can check out all new March, April, and May photos in both the Friends and Family galleries. We personally took no photos during my birthday party, but through everyone's contributions, I posted 38 photos (Thanks Reeba, Barb, Saji & Jiji, and Vib), and I have video sitting around here somewhere (Thanks, Chirag)

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The audit is over, and I am grateful. It was arduous, tiring, and not at all enjoyable. Okay, I confess that audits are never "enjoyable", but I found nothing interesting about it, enjoyed any of it, and I'm just glad it's over. Some of you know that I stayed in the office until 10pm last Thursday night. Was I the last one out of the office that night? No. Never really a fun experience. I hope my audit, which I start leading in one week, is a better experience than the last one.

I went to Target to get an eye exam. My last pair of contacts are so old, they hurt all day on Tuesday. I've got a trial pair right now, and that should last me a month.

Due to my increasing senility, I forgot to mention that my friend Ranjith is apparently alive and well in Germany, as I "recently" (last month) received an email from him. Even better, he's started a blog (with photos). Ah, something to do while I pretend to work. Good to know you're doing well in Germany, but I thought Indian Intelligence agents were supposed to stay undercover?


Tuesday, May 23rd 2006

You want to know where I'm blogging from right now? My home office. On what? My Dell. You want to know what I'm listening to right now? My music.

Giggity giggity.

We're almost back, folks. I installed a whole bunch of apps, recovered my music from the iPod, reinstalled the webcam, scanner, storage card reader, and life ain't too bad. I still have to install more apps, but it won't be long now. Yes, we still lost data, such as a few weeks of Quicken updates, but oh well. That's what bank statements are for. I still don't have Office 2003 installed. Will have to (ahem) acquire that.

In the meantime, I've posted updates to Recent Purchases. I haven't a clue what to do with the Interesting Facts section, but I haven't given up the fight against the fat. Photos shall be returning this week for your viewing enjoyment.

I'm still pricing out external storage devices. I'd really a device with dual drives and RAID 1 mirroring, but any device like that is gonna cost me upwards of $800 or more. My wife would take it, and beat me over the head if I spent that kind of money. If anything, a simple enclosure, one hard drive, and the capability to expand with additional drives would be just the ticket. I haven't found that yet. For now, I think I'll get just a single drive, and upgrade myself to something more robust later. If anyone out there has any recommendations or thoughts on this, please do comment or write me directly.

Memorial Day weekend is almost here. 3 day weekend? Don't mind if I do.


Monday, May 22nd 2006

It's alive! My PC is alive! Well, we're getting there. It was a very busy weekend for me. First off, my original Maxtor drive is just-about dead, as per the Maxtor Diagnostic utility. I picked up a new Seagate 300 Gb SATA drive from CompUSA on Saturday. On Sunday, at the party ("Party"? More like "get-together"), I was downstairs at our friends' house installing the new drive, installing Windows XP, and copying whatever data could be recovered.

At the moment, it's 3:20am Tues morning, and I'm installing my applications, one by one. I'm going to take a break, and get some sleep. Before I do, I'm going to format my future data partition. Yup, we have two partitions now -- one for OS and apps, and one for data. I'm also planning to get an external hard drive for backups. Never again do I want to suffer another hard disk crash with my pants down.

My audit is almost wrapped up. Nothing really exciting planning for next week, except for dum dum DUM! business monitoring work. Then.... off to Toronto I go!


Thursday, May 18th 2006

Ouch. I stubbed my right pinky toe this morning. It still hurts many hours later.

This week went awfully fast. This is my 2nd week of fieldwork, and I've been putting in some good hours with testing, testing, and more testing. I'm hoping to wrap up everything by next Wednesday. It won't happen, but I can hope.

Speaking of Thai, I've had some good eats this week. My wife has made thai food for dinner twice this week, and I had Thai for lunch Wednesday with my audit team. Today, we had a team lunch at the nearby Afghan restaurant (Dear Kanishk, "Ha ha."), which was all covered by my manager. Throw in some Quiznos, and it's been tasty week. Of course, I weigh 300 lbs, and my wife has to butter the front door so that I can squeeze out of the house tomorrow morning, but who cares?

My friend is still working on my PC. Last time I checked with him, lots of corrupt files, and some issues copying files over, which is weird. The operating system is definitely hosed, but I'm hoping he's able to find a way to copy my data. He says he's continually receiving "unable to copy" messages. Downright weird. I hope to pick up the PC on Sunday. In the meantime, I continue to borrow my wife's laptop.

Our friends Teena & RoseAnn came over for dinner last night. They made this huge Thai dinner. I had heard it was a Thai cooking lesson for them, but I don't know if I'm supposed to mention that. I hope I don't get blasted. In any case, it was all pretty excellent -- Tom Yum (hot & sour) soup, peanut-breaded chicken, pumpkin curry, and one of those variety packs of cheesecake to top it all off. Nice.

My business trip to Maryland may get postponed next month. No worries, as I'm prepared to swap in some vacation time instead. I'm thinking I might take a whole week off. See some Richmond, some Baltimore, steal from my sister-in-law.

Call me crazy, but I just found out that there will be Sentinels in the next X-Men movie. My friend Paul found this clip on YouTube. There's audience clapping in the background, so I think the clip was pirated. Still, check it out if you're interested.

Nothing huge planned for this weekend. Maybe some gardening tomorrow, and we might go check out a portable crib someone is selling on Craig's List. Sunday, we're hanging out with some friends. I'm bringing the new camera, and I hope to shoot many an inappropriate photo.

Random thought: Why does that stupid cat have to yowl all the time? The middle of the night, she'll just yowl. Cat, it's almost 4am, and I'm not going to play with you. Get over it. Read a book.


Monday, May 15th 2006

Yes, I'm still alive. Just been busy. My current audit is in full swing, and I've had a few late nights now. So much to do everywhere. Coleading my current audit. Completing fieldwork testing on my sections. Validating corrective action plan evidence. Completing my April Time sheet (yeah, I"m behind.) Submitting my April expense report (I'm behind on that too.) Oye.

There's the preparation for the audit I'm leading next month. Writing the opening letter. Developing the audit scope. Reading up on the previous audit findings and corrective action plan progress. Finding a hotel for the team. Making reservations. Trying to figure out all the admin stuff that I need to complete so the audit goes according to schedule. Double oye.

It's not like there isn't enough to do at home too. Spring cleaning, gardening, getting my PC fixed (no progress yet), visiting people all over the place. Triple oye.

That's life, I guess. At least we have some vacation time coming up next month. I feel like I could already use it.


Tuesday, May 9th 2006

It's past 1am Tuesday night (or Wednesday), so I'll be brief. I got my schedule locked in for my upcoming Canada audit. It starts in June, takes a break in July, and resumes (and wraps up) in August. Yup, I'm going to be a lead reviewer. I have the team. I have the dates. Now I'm scared.

Scared? Well, not "scared." Just nervous. I'm coleading on the current audit I'm on, and I'm a little tired. You know, I'm not just working on my sections, but I'm helping almost everybody else with their sections. Now I'm tired. If this is what simply coleading is like, how much worse can it be to be a Lead? Writing up the opening memo and the opening presentation for management, assigning resources, picking out the hotel, reviewing people's workpaper documentation, requesting deliverables.

Egads. I don't know how these guys do it. It's a lot of work. And you have the auditee and your own management breathing down your neck. Well, this is what I wanted, right? I've the bigger and better since college, but maybe I should have just lived in my small pond, without so many cares in the world.

Still, I wouldn't be me if I didn't accept new challenges. Each challenge, no matter how intimidating, makes you better. It'll be good for me. How could it not? If I want the big bucks, the upward mobility, the pride in myself, then I gotta do this. I gotta lead.

Holy moley, I have to lead an audit next month.

In other news, I hope you're checking the MOBLOG. Your life won't have meaning unless you've seen the latest pictures of my feet. :)


Monday, May 8th 2006

You know what irritates me? If you don't want to hear about another bicycle-related story, then skip the next two paragraphs. I won't mind. Anyway, so I have a cyclocomputer that measures distance, speed, etc. I bought it in March 2004. The battery was dead now, so I had to replace it. Unfortunately, a dead battery will wipe the memory, and it needs to be recalibrated. I asked the bike shop guy for a new battery, and he said they had a battery, but they couldn't recalibrate the computer without the instructions.

I go, "Huh." I go home, and easily find, download, and (here's the key) read the pdf file. I inputted the time, date, and wheel size. Done. It took me maybe 10 minutes max. With a little effort, couldn't the bike shop guy have gotten off his butt, and do a little research? Doesn't this guy install this stuff regularly? Anyway, I just read that I purchased those tires the same month as the cyclocomputer. It lasted two cycling seasons? That's good value for the money.

Now to non-bicycle news. No luck with my PC. I borrowed an EIDE hard drive from my buddy Plexy, but my PC motherboard doesn't accomodate EIDE drives. Just the newer SATA drives. I didn't know I was dealing with apples and oranges. I will say one benefit of not having my PC to play around with -- I've had a lot more time to do stuff around the house. Cleaning up, cooking, etc. I don't want to live without my PC, but it's not horrible to live without it either. Of course, we don't know who to write our next bill payment to, but other than that, not so bad. :)

My wife was at her parents' house late last night, and I was supposed to start cooking dinner after she called to say she'll be on her way. Around 10:30pm, I took my contacts out, then layed down on the bed for a few minutes -- I was feeling very tired. Next thing I know the lights are on, it's 11:21pm, and my wife is staring at me. It was too late for a home-cooked meal at that point, so we had dinner a la 7-Eleven. I haven't frequented a 7-Eleven this often since the summer of '97, when I was taking summer classes at Pace.

Since I bought a fancy dinner last night (hot dogs and a P'EatZZa), I was a little low on cash today. I went to get two slices of pizza and a soda, and it came out to $6. I had $4, and a $1+ in change. I belatedly realized that I didn't have enough, and the cashier felt bad for me, and gave me a free fountain soda. My first pity soda. I'm a cheap Indian, so I'm torn between being embarassed, and "Yo, I got a free soda. Pretty cool." I should probably lean towards being embarassed. Somewhat.


Sunday, May 7th 2006

I can't believe it's Sunday already. It's a nice day, not too busy, but it's disappointing. I have to go to work tomorrow.

I went riding this morning. Rode 10 miles to Freehold, but on the return trip, I got a flat tire. A big old rip in the tire. I hit some large rock, and I heard an ominous hissing sound. I was still 2 miles away from home, and Num (and baby) came to pick me up. I could have changed the flat with my spare, but it's rather involved, and I was so close to home, I decided to walk the rest of the way. My wife wasn't too keen on that idea, so she just picked me up anyway.

I showered and changed my clothes, then we dropped off the bike at a different bike shop this time to replace the tube and tire. We all then went to Boston Market for lunch, then grocery shopping at BJ's and SuperFresh. Now we're just waiting for Mr. Joshua to take his nap. Any day now, kid. Any day now would be nice.


Friday, May 5th 2006

I'm glad the weekend is here. I could use a break. I feel a little moody these past few days. Work is keeping me busy, no luck with my PC, the stuff I mentioned earlier this week..... eh.

I went searching for my backups tonight, and the latest I can find is from June 2005, which blows my mind. There is no way in hell that I haven't backed up my Pc since June of last year. I am absolutely positive that I back up my drive only a month or two ago. Yet I can't find the DVD. The plot thickens, and the risk of losing everything grows larger.

I was in the city today. I had some business monitoring work to do. I also wanted to attend the NYIIA Awards Luncheon. There's no other surefire way to get me into the city than giving me an award and a free lunch. Of course, I missed two buses this morning trying to get into the city, but for once, I don't feel like making a big story out of it. Suffice it to say, it's a typical "This can't be happening to me" anecdote.

Tomorrow I'm going to pick up my bike from the local bike shop. I'm aiming to go riding Sunday morning. I haven't checked the weather yet, but here's to hopeful dreams.

It's past 2am. I want to sleep, but I can't. Too much on my mind.


Wednesday, May 3rd 2006

In 1983, my family moved from the Bronx to Rockland County. 7 years old, and transferring to a new elementary school. I still remember my first day in February 1983 when I went on a small tour of my new school, and then the principal took my Mom and me to Mrs. Zaolino's class. I was scared, and crying. However, as soon as I saw another brown boy, we caught eye contact with each other, and I was thinking to myself, "Hey, there's another boy like me here."

That boy was Johnny, and we became fast friends. Best friends, really. I still remember his side of the story, when he heard there would be another boy joining the class, and he was shocked that it was me, another Indian. I think we were the only Indians at the school way back then. Anyway, that friendship lasted throughout the rest of elementary school. Various birthday parties, playing at each other's houses after school.

Starting in 7th grade, my friend Johnny went off to some private school while I went with everyone else to junior high school. Johnny came back sometime to my high school somewhere around my sophomore year, I think. I can't remember exactly, but we'd lost touch. By then, each of us had made new bonds with other kids, and I don't think we were as close as we used to be. You know, out of sight, out of mind. Funny, you know? We still chit-chatted in the halls every once in a while.

After graduation, we both went our separate ways. I didn't even remember now where Johnny was going to college. We did touch base briefly over email once or twice during our freshman years, but that was it.

Fast forward to 1996, when I was selling Cutco knives in the summer, and his parents bought a spatula from me for $27. I'm pretty sure it was out of pity for one of their kid's childhood friends. At least they faked being interested in my presentation when I cut rope with a knife.

I got a call today from my Mom that Johnny's dad died this past Sunday. The last viewing was tonight, so I went after work up to Rockland county. The funeral home was filled, and I saw my Dad there. He was chit-chatting with some of our relatives. It's always amazing how so many people that you think DON'T know each other, well, know each other after all. I saw a lot of people there that I knew, who also happened to know the family of my childhood friend. Funny, and weird. I said hello to a lot of people that I hadn't seen in a long while.

I saw my friend Johnny too, up in the front, in front of his father's casket. I wasn't even sure how I would introduce myself. "Hi, it's me. Joel. We used to be friends." But, as soon as I went up there, he recognized me immediately. I hugged him.

We talked briefly while at the funeral home, but I think too much time had passed between us. He was surprised that I was married now, and had a son too.

You know what's weird? When I was up there, I was looking at the family photos they had placed in the front, next to the casket. I was staring particularly at the family photo from the late 70's, and my friend's father, who looked a lot younger than I remembered him. I didn't just see his younger face. I saw a young man, with his young family. I saw it from this man's eyes. I saw myself in that picture. 30 years later, he's laying in his casket, an older man.

I don't know how I feel at this point. I feel pretty emotional, but I can't really articulate what those feelings are, and why I feel the way I do. I just feel weird, and I haven't sorted it out.