Main > Joel's November 2005 News


Tuesday, November 29th 2005

I hate when it's both rainy and windy. It doesn't matter if you're using the largest umbrella, have a hood on, or are wearing a waterproof jacket -- when the wind is blowing rain at you sideways, you're still gonna get soaked. It's raining today in NY/NJ, so I'll let you play detective, and guess how my commute was this evening.

I find it astounding that my luck is amazingly.... bad. I can't even count the number of times this has happened. Okay, it's happened twice. It's cold, I buy a coat, and it gets unseasonably warm. Happened when I was in Pasadena in '99, and now this month. It's rather brisk for weeks while I'm waiting for my new parka to get here. Then I can't find my gloves. I finally get the parka, and find my gloves, and what happens? The weather hits 60 degrees this week. I'm walking to work, my gloves are lonely, and I'm starting to sweat at 9am. It's irritating me so much that I'm actually looking forward to the colder weather this weekend, which I'll be complaining about that too soon enough.

I got a quote for some guys to come in and prime and paint our living room wall. I'm hoping to get another quote tomorrow from someone else. Depending on who's the better deal, we'll have the living room wall (just one, but it's huge) painted either Fri or Sat. Then my wife can sleep at night. Why are women so bothered by garish colors? Can't you ignore it? Then again, my wife made an analogy about my computer being set up in a certain way (a very bad way) and it got me all uncomfortable. So, to each their own. I guess it's all a matter of your point-of-view.

So the mighty city of Bangalore is experiencing some growing pains. Which reminds me, the big question is when we're going back to India to visit, show off the kid, etc. I wouldn't mind, but I don't have that kind of money. Travelling internationally is no cheap trip, you know. We just went last year, and technically, Joshy was there too, even if he was the size of a pencil rubber eraser.

I happened upon the WFTV tv channel news website today (out in Orlando, Florida), and they had a lot of nutty/horrifying/odd stories out there in Orlando today. Here they are:

  • A 13-year old girl was roughed up on a school bus by a police officer who mistakenly thought she had tossed a golf ball out the bus window, which nearly caused a traffic accident. [I find it an odd story when golf balls require police intervention.]
  • An argument over beer and spaghetti between two roommates results in a shootout with an AK-47. [Uh, today's word of the day is "unstable". That word again is, "unstable".]
  • A guy decided to punish his dog by burying it alive. [I'd love an opportunity to use this scum as a punching bag.]
  • An East Orange doctor is accused of groping his patients. [Sadly, this isn't unusual, but I find it strangely comical that the doctor asked one female patient, "Who's your daddy?" People still say that?]
  • Some enterprising fellows set up a mobile home as a sort of strip club on wheels for football fans before kickoff, outside the Tampa Bay Buccaneers stadium. [An excellent idea, if you ask me. Sorry, but it's rather creative.]
  • A couple is on the run from an arrest warrant, in the death of their 3-month old infant daughter. To keep her quiet, they fed her a mixture of water, sugar, and vodka in a bottle. [That's just sad.] Her blood alcohol level was 0.47, and legal limit for FL drivers is 0.08 percent. The M.E. stated, "that for a baby to ingest that much alcohol would be the equivalent of a 160-pound adult drinking 18 beers."

Today, we got our the floor plan and seating chart for our new office in NJ. It's.... okay, but what do I really care, right? I don't have a window, but I don't have one now either. I will state that I'm not a fan of the bosses having offices facing the elevator lobby. That means they'll know when we're sneaking in late, or sneaking out to go home. That's no good.

Uh, did I say "sneaking out"? Nah, I'd never do that.

Going out for dinner & drinks tomorrow night with some of the guys. I'm looking forward to it. You know what else I'm looking forward to?

Pay day.

Saturday, November 26th 2005

Hey there, hi there, ho there.

Here's a list of links to stuff:

  • Old Twilight Zone fans? A Cinescape editorial lists their 10 best TZ episodes. Some I agree with, some I can't believe I haven't seen yet. Will have to put that down on my to-do list.
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    Powerball winner Jack Whittaker
    Remind me never to win the lottery. Every so often, you read about someone who won some big lottery jackpot, and you grumble a little yourself, right? Well, then you later read about them in the news, because they seem to get into trouble, all on account of their new-found riches. That Jack Whittaker fellow in West Virginia for starters. Well, here's the latest tale of woe for a Powerball winner from Kentucky. Yeesh, I'll stick with my poverty.
  • Before you make a donation to a charity that calls you up some evening, read these tips from the FTC before you get suckered.

Thanksgiving was nice at my cousin's house on Thursday. We brought over homemade mashed potatoes and store-purchased turkey gravy. I'm very proud of not overeating at all. There was a veritable horde of children running around, all running around and screaming. I guess the family is getting bigger. We left around 3 or 4, and stopped by my wife's parents to visit. We finally got home around 6:30pm.

On Friday, I was working from home, which was a first for me. A lot of people took vacation that day, but I have a lot of work to do. So, I just worked in my dining room in my pyjamas. Friday night, I finally got arount to watching Alien vs. Predator from Blockbuster, which is an abysmally stupid movie. So much of it didn't make sense, but the writers did it anyway, because they wanted to. Penguins in Antarctica? Sure, why not? Alien gestation in humans sped up to minutes? Heck, why not? The Aztecs creating a lock that follows the Julian calendar (October 10 2004), not an Aztec one? Makes sense to me. Standing around in a t-shirt in the middle of the night on Antarctica, in the snow, with no discomfort, let alone freezing to death? The list goes on and on.

Today was just taking care of Joshua. We also ordered a new phone that's part of the same Motorola MD600 series that we already own. It'll be here sometime next week. Our barstools should also be here sometime next week, unless they get delayed again.

Tomorrow, I've got more audit work to do, just to catch up. Next week, I'm looking to go out for drinks and whatnot with some buddies Wed night. It looks like we're having dinner with Doug and his fiancee Kathy next Saturday night. Speaking of Doug & Kathy, their wedding is only a few weeks away, and I really should get around to working on that Best Man speech/toast.

Monday, November 21st 2005

Nothing like trying to keep your head above water.

I was in midtown today, working in a corner office with great views of Lexington Ave and downtown, and sharing wth 5 other people. Not exactly the "Executive lifestyle", even though I do own the chair at home. Ah well, at least I was able to zone out and stare out the window when needed.

We put up baby gate #1 tonight. I was putting it together completely wrong, cried for help, and my wife and I put our two brains together to figure it out. It's now set up to keep Joshy from crawling from the living room into the dirty hallway, and where there are stairs. We're still in need of another gate to put at the top of the stairs, but also will allow the evil cat to pass freely.

In other purchasing news, my parka should be here tomorrow or Wednesday, just in time for Spring. Our new barstools are backordered until Dec (Damn you, JC Penney!), and I ordered my new chairmat from Staples. With a $25 certificate, and the $20+ in savings by ordering it from vs. the brick-and-mortar store, I got a $65 chairmat for only $21.99, and free shipping. Of course, the chairmat probably cost Rubbermaid $5 to make, but that's life.

After two months of holding onto the DVD rentals, we sat in the guestroom/home office, ate dinner, and watched Shall We Dance? last Friday night on my computer. One word for that movie: vapid. I'm sick of Richard Gere playing the exact same character all the time, Jennifer Lopez can't act, and there was no purpose for Susan Sarandon to even be in the movie. Didn't she used to be a leading actress? Now she's "the wife". What a waste of talent, and why, because she's over a certain age? That's just wrong.

Tuesday, November 15th 2005

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Look at it. It's sheer beauty. It even looks comfortable in the picture, doesn't it? Jealous?

Stupid Staples.

Shouldn't the brick-and-mortar stores and their online store work together? I took another vacation day today to run more errands, including looking for a decent replacement chair for my home office. I did find an excellent chair, which my buttocks are enjoying immensely right now. I also picked up $65 Rubbermaid chairmat, as we have a plush carpet that the chair has to roll around on. Looking online a few hours later at, the same chairmat is only $46. I called up the store, and they said that the online prices are different, and maybe I should return it, and buy it online.

So I will return it tomorrow. How about just giving me a refund of the $20 difference? Wouldn't that be easier? Stupid Staples.

I do love the chair. It's absolutely divine. The Lane Leather Executive Chair. Sounds like me, doesn't it? Let me shimmy in my leather executive chair right now.

[Oh yeah.]

Anju is still here, and she'll probably never leave. I'm just kidding. It's great that she's here, as she loves playing with the baby, and we love giving him to her, so that we can relax for a while. Too bad she's leaving on Friday. :(

I do love the 4-day work week. Next week is another 4-day week, as it's Thanksgiving already. I do have to work on the Friday after Thanksgiving, but I'm going to try to request to work from home. Wouldn't that be nice?

To support my fellow Malus, here's Anna.

Friday, or is it Saturday? No, it's Friday 11th 2005

Sorry, very confused today. Today is a holiday, and I've been enjoying my day off. However, I keep referring to today , acting as if, today as Saturday, which is not only confusing me, but people around me. Can you blame me?

On a random note, I've had pizza for lunch for the past 3 days -- innocently for lunch on Wednesday, during a lunch meeting Thursday, and one of those Tombstone pizzas today at home. I could really use a burger from Wendy's right about now.

Busy day, but don't I always say that? Oil change, numerous trips to Home Depot (and I ain't even done yet), Anju arrived, my in-laws (and Marlon) came by to see everyone, and Marlon helped me with getting the mirror for the dressing table and gave some other advice on home repair. With everyone here in the evening, we also gave my son a much-needed haircut. His hippy, tree-hugging, hair was getting on my last nerve. I think we tried to cut his hair back in June, but he was so herky-jerky, we said forget it.

The era of the crib mobile is officially over. Joshua can now sit up and play with it, all of his own free will. This past week, he broke it like King Kong vs. those airplanes on top of the Empire State Building.

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Joshua vs. his mobile. The mobile lost.
Joshua about to get his 1st haircut
Joshua, not enjoying his first haircut

Is it possible that Pat Robertson has lost his mind? Through the magic of democracy, a Pennsylvania town voted some school board members out, as they were proponents of "intelligent design". Pat Robertson is now warning them of disasters and gloom and doom, because they "voted God out." W. T. F. It's called democracy. But, he's been ranting and raving for a long time now, hasn't he? I'm actually wondering if he's just simply lost his mind in his old age?

So, later this month, or next month, we'll be painting the living room and the guestroom. Look at me, I'm like Bob Villa.

Wednesday, November 9th 2005

I've been so bad with my updates. Worse than usual.

Big news. Big, big news. Ready?

News #1:

Joshua is officially crawling! His 8 month birthday was yesterday, and I definitely saw him scooching around yesterday -- using his arms to drag his legs and the rest of the body around, but not real crawling. All it took was some motivation, i.e. my Maxim magazine on the floor, and the chicken wings I ate for dinner. Go figure.

But today was different. Today, he was actually crawling. Unsteady hands, and a bit stilted, but his legs were pretty much moving correctly. It's unbelievable! With practice, he's going to get smoother and better at it. I'm so proud of my son!

News #2:

I'm moving to my new office in New Jersey on Dec 2nd. That means a new work address, new office number, new fax number, and maybe even decent office furniture.

  • Goodbye, impromptu lunches with friends in the city.
  • Goodbye, coworkers who will stay in NYC.
  • Goodbye, taking the 6:10am bus for a 2-hour ride to work.
  • Goodbye, running to a bus.

We ordered 256Mb of additional RAM (it's memory, people) for Num's laptop. She's doing a lot of work on her laptop, and just 256Mb is okay. Now, if we add another 256Mb, and bump the sucker to 512Mb, that's 1/2 a Gb of RAM, and pretty darn cool. Should be here by middle of next week.

Drilling in the ANWR looks to be nearly dead. Good.

Fortune Cookies in Bed -- saw this originally on TV, and hey, someone's got it available online. Check it out.

You heard about the Seabourn Spirit cruise ship being attacked by Somali pirates last week? And how the cruise ship, after taking fire, was able to ward off the attack and escape? Seems like unexpected luck to outrun them, right? Uh, they didn't just outrun them. The cruise ship was equipped with an LRAD (Long Range Acoustic Device) that emits a painful earsplitting noise in a directed beam. LRADs were developed after the USS Cole attack in 2000. I also read that many cruise ships were equipped with LRAD weapons since then. That's just cool. Here's a Newsweek article about them, dated July 2005, with more info on LRADs. Are they ready for use in NYC?

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Super Mario Brothers

Anyone remember the old NES game Contra? I swear, it's the first computer game that I ever beat. I never even beat Super Mario Brothers (Joel Trivia #526). Anyway, I have fond memories of playing Contra with my sister for hours, and we beat the game together. True brother-and-sister bonding. Anyway, I've got a video of this crazy guy who can beat it in 13 minutes. Watch the entire game unfold in real-time, and let the memories flood back. What? You were a Super Mario Brothers fan? Here's Super Mario Bros. 3 beaten in just 11 minutes. Or the original Super Mario Bros. in 5.5 minutes flat? Incredible.

I have a 8am meeting tomorrow, then a 1pm meeting (which will have free pizza, so you know I'm attending.) I'm off Friday for Veteran's Day. I didn't know we even had off for Veteran's Day, which is a nice surprise. The explanation for the holiday is that as a bank, we follow the Federal Reserve holiday schedule, while our investment side follows the NYSE schedule. All of us on the banking side are off on Friday, but the investment side gotta work on Friday. Which really doesn't make any sense, since we audit the investment side all the time.

Hey, who am I to argue? I've got a grueling 3-day work-week.

Tuesday, November 8th 2005

Busy day. Took a vacation day today to get some stuff done around here. Unpacking and putting them on our bookshelves, going to the cleaners, exchanging my LL Bean parka. BTW, my LL Bean parka arrived late last week, but I got a Large, and apparently "Large" is too large. I filled out the paperwork, and mailed it back. Hopefully a Medium will be just right.

Guess what? Our TV lives! I called Sears, and they do a million and one types of appliance repairs, including televisions. I made an appt for yesterday, and for $105, the guy comes to your home to give an estimate. He found out that it wasn't a broken tube, but a cracked circuit board. For 200 bucks, he soldered it, and our presto! our TV lives.

Wednesday, November 2nd 2005

Oh, today was a long day, and considering that it's 2:08am and technically Thursday, the day ain't over yet. Probably started when I thought I was on time for the bus this morning, only to watch it pull up to the faraway bus stop. Then as I started running, and getting closer, the bus started pulling away, faster and faster. Sigh. Thankfully, the bus driver did eventually see me as he was looping back along the main road a ways off, and stopped where he wasn't supposed. I thought he was stopped at a light, when I noticed the door was open. I booked it across the field, onto the bus, and thanked the driver profusely.

I ended up staying late tonight in the office until 7:15pm. I'm the process of writing up the workpapers for my current audit, even though I'm kinda/sorta working on workpapers for my last two audits. Just when you think it's over, they come back to haunt you. I'm not on any audits for the next 2 weeks, as I'll be doing some business monitoring, and asking around for work to keep busy.

Our bed arrived today. In addition, the backyard fence and shed are being replaced. The fence and gate went up this week. The shed should get done sometime this month, whenever the lazy contractor decides to get off his butt to finish the job.

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Sania Mirza

The Indian avalanche continues. We've got a new tennis star emerging in competition, and she's 18-year-old Sania Mirza. She's doing well on the court, and Indian men are going ga-ga.

Dear RIAA, I'm currently stealing 3.4 Gb of music. Since Jacksonville, you know I've been on this music binge. I've got a 2-hour commute, so listening to my iPod has been the only avenue to keeping my sanity. I've been trading music, and a colleague of mine zipped up some music I requested, and he's transferring it to me via AIM. I didn't realize it would be so large a file -- according to AIM, I've still got 17 hours to go.

Is it wrong to be possessive of your iPod music collection?  Or how anal you are about getting the right song info?  I seem to be very particular about it.  I've looked through other people's song lists on their mp3 players, and have been absolutely horrified by the condition of their song lists. Wrong artist names, missing album names.  It makes me go "Hmph" every time I scroll through a list, and see "Various" substituted for the actual name.  Doesn't that irritate anybody else besides me?

As for the part about being possessive, when we were all sitting in the Montreal airport waiting for our flights, we're all looking through each other's MP3 songlists, and Paul states that he doesn't like anything I have.  I think this statement has actually stuck in mind.  What?  Not one song?  Come on.  I've got over 1800 songs, from Hip Hop to Country to Raggae to Rock to Pop to Electronica to Jazz to Grunge to Classic Rock to European to Latin.  I got nothing?  Of course people don't have to like each other's music tastes, but I really strived to build an excellent selection.  And almost all have the right artist name, song title, album title, year, etc.  I stole most of them fair and square.

See how I might be considered possessive about my playlist?  I just blogged about it.  Damn you, Paul.

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My future TV

Being the way that I am, I've already selected our next TV. A 50" Panasonic TH-50PHD8UK. Now we just have to wait until that money tree starts bearing fruit. I think this HDTV monitor is pretty.

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My cutie-patootie family

Did you know that five Muslim football fans attending the Giants-Saints game @ Giants stadium back in Sept were detained and questioned? They got escorted out and everything. I can empathize with them.

It's 2:44am, and my music transfer is still no where near to completion. Might as well try to get some sleep. BTW, new family pictures await you in the October 2005 family gallery.