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


Thursday, May 31st 2007

I don't know what I was thinking -- how could I like commuting to the city? I've been in NYC for various meetings during the past 3 weeks, and there's always one day each week where the traffic in/out of the city has been truly horrendous. Let me clarify what constitutes as horrendous.... when it takes between 3.5 and 4 hours just to get from point A to point B, which would normally take ONE HOUR, that's horrendous in my book. I no longer miss working in the city, and now I'm starting to find it a hassle. Unfortunately, I often have work in the city, and many of my friends work in the city. What a conundrum.

As if I was not consterned enough by my commute, enter more consternation. The front-right speaker output port on my PC's subwoofer appears to be dead, so I've basically lost the use of the right-front speaker. Due to mental illness, this kind of thing bothers the hell out of me when I'm listening to music, such as now. Do I have to replace the entire speaker + subwoofer package again? I got these back in Feb 2004 when my previous Logitech speakers died. Here's the rundown on the history of speakers that I buy, courtesy of my Toys page.

First, my $50 Yamaha 2.1 computer speakers/subwoofer set dies after 2 years. 9 months later, the amplifier for my Logitech Z-560 burned out. It must be a curse. Anyway, called Logitech, and as the speakers were still under warranty, they sent me a replacement set of speakers. They don't offer the Z-560's anymore (I miss you, 400 watts of power), but they send me the Z-5300's. How nice of them. 280 watts, THX-rated. Good enough for me.

And now it's failing on me, 3 years later. I don't know if I want to buy a whole new set of speakers already. I'm going to try to find a electronics repair shop, and see if I can get the one damn output port repaired, before I go down the route of tossing the whole thing away.


Tuesday, May 29th 2007

On Saturday morning, I was cleaning the house in time for my sister's big bridal shower, and I was websurfing to check the weather, etc. I was on the NY Daily News site, where I saw a newslink for Co-workers warned after $500G school scam. As an auditor, this kind of article is bound to catch my eye, so I clicked on it. Turns out, the suspect in this criminal case is the wife of a friend / acquaintance / former coworker. Yeah, you heard me. My jaw dropped. She embezzled $508,000 from her employer, and she was arrested, and sent to Riker's Island.

I've been in contact with a few of my former coworkers who all worked with the husband, and we're all in shock. Some newspapers are insinuating that the husband (my former coworker) had to be in on it. I find that very distressing, but very possible. I'm just shocked. They even came to my wedding! How does he not know that half a million dollars is flowing into their bank accounts, and furnishing a lavish lifestyle? My wife and I know if we have an extra $100 in the bank account. He had to have known. It's just shocking and depressing.

In other news, I'm told the bridal shower went well. Joshua and I obviously didn't attend, but we drove up for a private BBQ at my friend Doug's house. Later, we went to visit my Dad. Sunday was mainly cleaning up around here. On Memorial Day, we did some shopping, went to the Monmouth Battlefield park for some running around, and I cycled 20 miles in the evening. My body is rather sore!


Sunday, May 20th 2007

I'm actually not blogging on purpose, because I've been trapped under a large pile of used hamburger wrappers for 8 days now.

Nah, nothing terrible exciting this week. First week of planning for my 2nd audit of the year, but I was in NYC for part of last week. The most exciting part was the bad weather we had on Wed afternoon/evening. I stood out in the rain getting drenched at the bus stop, waiting for my bus to eventually arrive, and you know there is no Good Samaritan standing next to you to offer to share an umbrella. Noooooooooooooo. If I had an umbrella at the time, and she was getting drenched like I had been, I would have offered to share. Instead, I got drenched. And traffic through the Holland tunnel was all backed up, and it took me 4+ hours to get home. And I got sick as a result. Luckily, I'm feeling better now.

I'm in NYC all this week, and I am definitely checking the weather forecast. :) Who wants to get lunch this week with the Ipester?


Saturday, May 12th 2007

Thank goodness for the weekend. Talk about a long week. Up by 5:30am, on the bus to NYC by 6am. Unfortunately, my busy season (if you can call it that) officially starts Monday -- I'll be booked up day after day until December. I do intend to take a day off after for my sister's wedding next month. Other than that, I'm running and don't stop until December.

I'm glad I finally got some training through my company -- 2 years is a long time! The CISSP bootcamp I took was decent, but fast-paced. The exam is comprised of 250 questions over 6 hours, and 10 areas related to Information Security to cover and be well-versed in:

  • Access Control
  • Application Security
  • Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning
  • Cryptography
  • Information Security and Risk Management
  • Legal, Regulations, Compliance and Investigations
  • Operations Security
  • Physical (Environmental) Security
  • Security Architecture and Design
  • Telecommunications and Network Security

We took a 100-question practice exam, and 80 questions right was somewhat equivalent to a passing grade of 70 on the real 250-question exam. I got a 75 on the practice exam, so I think with two more months to go to the real exam, I think I'll be okay. I'm still nervous though. My two worst sections were Cryptography and Telecommunications. I passed the CISA exam back in 2002, which also required a lot of studying. However, for the most part, I was unemployed, and had lots of free time back then. I also think I was smarter back then.

I just read online that once you become certified, you can also study for specific concentration exams in Architecture, Engineering, or Management. Hmmm, not that I enjoy exams, but a concentration in security architecture or management sounds pretty keen.

On a related note, good luck to Mr. Josh in Sugarland on your CISA exam, buddy. :)

Lazy Saturday, and I kinda like it. Num is off today to NYC for my sister's bachelorette party. I did consider a plan for both Joshy and I to dress up in drag, and try to crash the bachelorette party. However, I figured that cliched 80's sitcomes died out 17 years ago. Joel does love Chachi.

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Joshy appreciates YouTube. That's my boy!

Today, without female interference, Joshy and I had a "Man's Day." I could call it "Father and Son Day", but "Man's Day" sounds more macho. We took a drive to Burger King for lunch, got me a haircut, and then we hit the Brooks Brothers outlets to get me some new dress shirts and ties. I better enjoy them before tomorrow, when my wife returns, sees the total shopping bill, and makes me return them.

Afterwards, Joshua and I watched some Internet video on Youtube (he loves the old Sesame Street videos, and I wax nostalgic), he took a long nap, I gave me a bath, and we did some monkeying around, and cleaning the living room. All of a sudden, I realized it was 11am, and got him ready for bed. I've done a lot of laundry today as well, but I'm too lazy to fold it all.

I think I'll work on some new Family & Friends gallery photos, then get some sleep. Busy day tomorrow!


Thursday, May 10th 2007

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I'm going incognito during my training this week

Training is almost done. Am I smarter for it? Eh, maybe just a little. The CISSP exam still looks really tough, and I have my doubts that I could pass the exam at this time. Actually, if I was taking it this week, I'm sure I wouldn't pass it. I'm aiming to take it in mid-July, and I think I can pass it by then. I think I can, but no guarantees. Travelling to NYC has been draining this week. Up by 5:30am, on the bus by 6am, wading through training materials all day, then back on the bus for the 90-minute ride home. I have found minor ways to keep myself entertained. :)

Has anyone signed up for LinkedIn? I signed up earlier this year, and I have two contacts. It's more for your professional networking, and I have no idea if it's bigger and better than Friendster. I thought I'd sign up anyway. Anyone want to be my professional friend? :)

Read this article from Fox News. I don't care that George Lucas thought Spiderman 3 was silly. Don't care. See the part about Indiana Jones 4. Shia LaBoeuf is playing Indy's son. Ha! I'm going on record, because I so called that. Also, Lucas is working on two live-action Star Wars films, made for tv. Neat.

I don't think I'm waiting for the next generation iPod to come out. Yeah yeah, I know, it'll be widescreen, have a touch-sensitive screen, and be cool. However, the more I think about it, I'm not going to watch video on it. I'm not on the bus or train or plane much anymore to need that. If I'm on the bus, I'd rather do work or read the Wall Street Journal. I just want to listen to music on my iPod. I'm wondering if I'm barking up the wrong tree, and waiting for a future iPod that will have features that I don't need. And will undoubtedly cost me $500. Food for thought.

Speaking of which, here's the music I've added so far, in no particular order, and I'm not even done yet!






1 All Along the Watchtower Jimi Hendrix Experience Hendrix - The Best of Jimi Hendrix Rock
2 If You Leave OMD The OMD Singles Rock
3 Under Pressure David Bowie & Queen Best of Bowie Rock
4 Jump in the Line Harry Belefonte Harry Belafonte: Greatest Hits Vocal
5 Face to Face Danny Elfman & Siouxsie and The Banshees Batman Returns (Soundtrack from the Motion Picture) Soundtrack
6 My Hometown Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. Rock
7 I'm On Fire Bruce Springsteen Born in the U.S.A. Rock
8 Snow (Hey Oh) Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium Rock
9 Dani California Red Hot Chili Peppers Stadium Arcadium Rock
10 I Wanna Be Sedated The Ramones Rhino Hi-Five: Ramones - EP Rock
11 A Whiter Shade of Pale Procol Harum Greatest Hits Rock
12 Carry On Wayward Son Kansas The Best of Kansas Rock
13 It's My Life Talk Talk It's My Life Rock
14 Pon de Replay Rihanna Music of the Sun R&B/Soul
15 A Girl Like Me Rihanna A Girl Like Me R&B/Soul
16 Never Leave You - Uh Ooh, Uh Oooh! Lumidee Almost Famous R&B/Soul
17 Last Night (Featuring Keyshia Cole) Diddy featuring Keyshia Cole Press Play Hip-Hop/Rap
18 Tell Me (Featuring Christina Aguilera) Diddy featuring Christina Aguilera Press Play Hip-Hop/Rap
19 Candyman Christina Aguilera Back to Basics Pop
20 (Don't Fear) The Reaper Blue Öyster Cult Don't Fear the Reaper - The Best of Blue Öyster Cult Rock
21 Burnin' for You Blue Öyster Cult Blue Öyster Cult: Super Hits Rock



Sunday, May 6th 2007

Guess who went riding on his bike yesterday? Yeah, I don't believe it either, but I did. It took me an hour, I'm definitely out of shape, but I did a quick 10 miles near my house. Apparently, you don't forget how to ride a bicycle.

Funny story: Saturday evening, we had dinner with my in-laws and some friends of theirs (a friend from India, his daughter & son-in-law and grandson) at Moghul Restaurant in Edison. I'm mostly preoccupied during dinner with ensuring Joshua stays out of trouble (I rarely enjoy going out any more!), but I try to jump in every so often into the various conversations. Near the end of the evening, I start asking the son-in-law what he does, and here is where it becomes a small world.

It turns out he works for my old "Big 5"/"Big 4" company PricewaterhouseCoopers. In the same main group. For the same integration group. For the same partner. Worked on the same DaimlerChrsyler account. In Michigan. Worked the same people. It was all very much a Twilight Zone episode. He started a few months before I left the company, but I never met him. He does remember seeing my name in some document database. On the car ride home, I kinda remember his name from one of those "Welcome so-and-so new hire to the group"-type emails.

Small world, eh?

Joshua is turning into Jackson Pollack, and I am not at all pleased. Late last week, he took his green crayon and drew a long green line on the front door. I scolded him, but it didn't seem to click. Today, we left him upstairs unsupervised for about 5 minutes. When I went up there, he was walking around with a bright orange PwC highlighter that I still have. He was in the master bedrooms, writing on the windowsill. I snatched the highlighter away from him in shock, and scolded him. Then noticed many big circles (too reminiscent of The Ring, if you ask me) on the wall. And on another wall. And many, many circles in the hallway. And complete and utter bright orange scribbling in the guest bedroom. At this point, I yelled at him so bad, he started crying. I used two Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, and most of it is gone, but you can still see the damage in the hallway and guest bedroom.

Looks like we'll be painting this summer.

I redeemed some credit card points for a 50-song iTunes gift certficate. I've built up quite a shopping cart of songs, but have been too afraid of my wife to actually purchase anything. I'm choosing 25 songs, and telling her to select 25 songs of her choice. I figure that's the secret to a harmonious and painfree marraige. I haven't selected my complete list of 25, but I've redeemed 21 so far. I've kept it eclectic. I'll list them tomorrow or so.

The good news is that I'm beginning to feel better. Not 100%, but I think my body is beginning to win the war against the virus in my system these past two weeks. The bad news is that my wife is now terribly sick. Will this ever end?

And now, my blogging will end for the evening. It's 11:40pm, the clothes need to go into the dryer, and it's time for bed. I have to be on the 6am bus to NYC tomorrow! And for the rest of the week!


Friday, May 4th 2007

Happy May.

Not the most exciting week with the Ipes. I was in the office Mon - Wed. Out sick on Thursday. Vacation day today. Eh. At least the good weather is here. This weekend, we plan to do a lot of gardening work in the backyard. Too many dandelions rearing their cute-yet-ugly heads.

All next week, I'm attending a CISSP training class in NYC. I'm hoping to take the July 14th exam in NYC, but I'm only on chapter 4 of the stupid 10,000 page review book. How I'll have time to finish reading, comprehend everything, and finish taking practice exams by then, I have no idea.

  • EW's picks for Sci-Fi's greatest moments from the past 25 years.
  • Sad story. Her husband dies in Iraq last year. Last Thursday, their one and only (1-year old) son dies in a tragic car accident in the Bronx.
  • China is getting rather blatant with all the counterfeiting going on over there, don't you think? They'll even rip off Disneyland. Check out the Shijingshan Amusement Park.
  • When I move to HDTV, and if I can still afford meat on the table, I'd like to get the Tivo Series 3. The price is a little high right now ($800!?!?!), but it seems to be a smart device. The folks at Engadget have figured out how to add an external hard drive, and increase your total storage capacity. Holy cow, that's cool.
  • Among other weirdness, I suffer from arachnophobia. Well, read this story, and now you'll understand why I probably won't be able to sleep tonight. Rice Krispies, indeed.