Main > Joel's November 2006 News
.:Picture of the Day:.


Thursday, November 30th 2006

Yea, it's almost December.

We dropped off the car to the mechanic tonight. I'm so not looking forward to the inevitable phone call, telling me x-y-z is going blow any second, and it's gonna cost me $10,000. Isn't that always the case?

Added a few new pictures for the Nov 6th and Nov 9th entries. Don't get too excited.

On Tuesday, we all went to get measured for tuxedos for my friend Paul's wedding in January. That's right, the Ipe boys are in his wedding. I'm a groomsman, and Joshua is the ringbearer. That amount of Ipe automatically u../PGrades any wedding to the wedding of the year. Of course, they've invited over 1,000 people. So maybe how popular Paul and his fiancee Biji are may also be a factor.


Wednesday, November 29th 2006

I'm working on a lot of pictures, so bear with me. Much to be posted this weekend. Of course, my sister-in-law's baby shower is this weekend, so I'll naturally be behind again. Such is the life of this Ipe. The ironic part is that I probably won't receive anything. Aren't I the prospective uncle? Shouldn't I traditionally receive something at a baby shower, like a gravy boat, or an iPod? Isn't that what they used to do back in the old days?

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The Kids in the Hall

I was watching Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, and Mark McKinney was a guest this week. I miss The Kids in the Hall. They were pure genius.

We're taking the Honda for maintenence on Friday. Here are 10 Tips for winterizing your car. I like the tip about having an emergency kit that includes extra clothes.

If we're lucky, I'd like to get GPS for the car, but so does everyone else. Whenever I need it, I really, really need it. I'm not sure if that statement actually makes sense. We don't get lost often, but when we do, we're really lost. GPS would help. Of course, if we got lost in a tunnel, GPS wouldn't help. Of course, if that happened, only medication would help.

Earlier this month, I mentioned that I was to receive a special recognition award for volunteering at the NY Chapter of the IIA. It was all very nice, I got a nice thoughtful gift, and a free lunch. The NY chapter's November newsletter came out this week (I know, because I posted it online, and wrote the email out notifying members.) Check out page 1, paragraph 1. Also check out page 3. Now I really wish I had worn a tie.

In the words of Queen Elizabeth II, "Hee hee hee."


Monday, November 27th 2006

For Thanksgiving, the Ipe family drove down to visit the relatives in Virginia. It was a fairly uneventful, yet enjoyable, road trip. Neither of us could get Wednesday off, so we packed after we got back from work, picked up Mr. Joshua from day care at 6:45pm, and hit the road. Surprisingly, little-to-no traffic all the way to Virginia.

Coming from Richmond on Saturday afternoon was certainly a different story. We had so much traffic, we ended up stopping off at a McDonald's opposite Quantico, and hanging out there for a while. Since we got back Saturday night, we had the rest of the Sunday to relax and unwind. It was nice. I'll work on pictures when time allows.

My last audit for the year ends on Friday, so I'm looking forward to that.


Wednesday, November 22nd 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

If you live in a country that doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving, get back to work.


Monday, November 20th 2006

I truly love a 3-day work week. Follow it up with a 4-day weekend, a banquet, and there's something glorious about the whole darn thing.

I finally saw a clip of the Michael Richards stand-up routine, where he used racial epithets against some hecklers. When you read the quotes, it sounds bad. When you watch the entire clip, my first thought is that he's off his rocker. Not just one raised eyebrow. Two raised eyebrows.

A f riend of mine is interested in getting a Zune, and I'm trying to talk him out of it. The one thing that bothers the hell out of me is how Microsoft sold this grand Plays For Sure DRM strategy to everyone, and then changed their mind. Now they're extolling Zune, and all that music you purchased beforehand isn't compatible. The players aren't compatible either. What are you supposed to do with your investment now? Why should a consumer trust Microsoft? I'm not endorsing Apple's FairPlay model, but at least you can burn your purchased tracks as many times as you want. Microsoft only allows you 7 burns to a CD. Whatever.

I'm still irritated that my Velvet Revolver CD is protected from letting me even rip it to MP3s. You either listen to the CD in the car, or have to install software before you can listen to it on your PC. Do you know what I do? I threw it in the back of the CD collection. I'm not carrying the whole CD around, and a portable CD player, in case I'm in the mood for that album. This whole DRM model stinks to high even. And I'm not the only one to believe it. Read these articles from Newsweek and C|Net.

Entertainment Weekly recently found a "Star Wars virgin" -- someone who had never seen any of the Star Wars movies. They recently had him watch all six movies sequentially during a Cinemax marathon, and tell them of his experience.

Read this article. It's a good argument about religion.

I'm travelling to Canada next month for a one day meeting. I fly in, I fly out. Crazy, no? I've never done that before. I'm just bringing my laptop.


Thursday, November 16th 2006

All of this rambling about my latest PC game has me waxing nostalgic for the video games I grew up on. In no particular order.....

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Zelda II: The Adventures of Link
Final Fantasy
Super Mario Brothers
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King's Quest IV: The Perils of Rosella
Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter
Castlevania II: Simon's Quest
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Warcraft 2
Under a Killing Moon
Warcraft 3
Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords
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Dark Forces
Battlefield 1942
Battlefield: Vietnam

Now for some linky love:

  • Any Cold Stone Creamery fans? There's a free shake or smoothie promotion until 1/31/07. Get your coupon!
  • A former trash collector was convicted in the rape and murder of a fashion writer who was found lying in a pool of blood in her Cape Cod home with her 2-year-old daughter clinging to her body. What came to my mind was that even if you move away from the major cities, you can't escape the realities of the world. She moved away from the glitzy urban world, to a small community 100 miles from Boston, and she couldn't escape it.
  • Ever heard of proxemics? It's the study of personal space, and people's perception of it. Interesting!
  • As I love KFC, did you know they updated their logo? No, you don't care, and neither do I. However, to promote the new logo, they did spend a lot of money to have it seen from space.
  • New Jersey residents, get ready for the inevitable. The Star-Ledger of Newark reports the Corzine administration is hiring consultants to study adding tolls to routes that are currently free. They include Interstates 78, 80 and 95, the Pulaski Skyway, and Route 440 between the New Jersey Turnpike and Garden State Parkway.

It's the weekend. And next week is a short work-week, then comes Turkey Day.


Tuesday, November 14th 2006

Thanks to everyone who posted song selections in "The Great Ipe iTunes Contest." iTunes offers some of your selections, but not some others. I'll start reviewing each of them, and post the final winners. In a little slice of irony, I was in the NYC office, and wanted to listen to some music. I plugged in my headphones, turned on the iPod, hit Play, and heard this loud POP!. The iPod headphone jack blew out. No more working mp3 player, and a 25 song credit on iTunes.

The irony.

Num said I could get a new iPod..... if I'm good...... for Christmas. It's gonna be a long 45 days. Speaking of which, can you believe that Thanksgiving is next week? Egads, people. Turkey Day is coming.

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Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords

Last weekend was a slumming weekend at Casa de Ipe. We had some plans for Saturday night that fell through, unfortunately, so we had the entire weekend to ourselves. No rushing to somewhere, no big banquet to prepare. Nothing. Want to know what I did? I've been playing my Knights of the Old Republic II game, which I bought back on April 29th 2005. This is the "I want it so bad!" game, which

1. I barely played the next 12 months
2. I got into it briefly until.....
3. My hard drive crashed in late April 2006 (hmmm, almost 1 year to the day.)
4. No data backups meant my saved character ("Ki Joshy Mundi") was lost forever.

I had started a new character ("Aragorn" -- in honor of our friend Lesh) in the summer, but still didn't play much. Let me tell you, these past few weeks, I have really enjoyed it. Since Saturday, I have been on fire with it. This weekend, I started becoming a Jedi, I put together my first lightsaber. Tonight, I convinced one of my party members to learn the Force, and become a Jedi too. I have a padawan! Cool bean. The story is great.

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That's me and Vogga the Hutt.
Who has a double-bladed lightsaber? Me.

Needless to say, my wife doesn't get it. I tried to explain it to her that it's as if you are the protagonist in a play, but she just smiles and rolls her eyes at me. Ah well, I do sound like a 30-turning-15 years old kid. I've spent a lot of hours at night playing, but when you're in the middle of a mystery, how can you stop?

  • I used to like Guns N' Roses, but now I think they suck. Last week, they cancelled a concert in Portland, Maine, because state officials wouldn't let them drink on stage. Boo hoo, Axl.
  • Tivo fans out there? Tivo has a few announcements coming out, including internet video on your TV.
  • If you thought Indian influences in Great Britain were big before (they do like curry), hold onto your..... er..... dosas. The big new trend is Indian movies. You have got to be kidding.

Two years ago, I remember my friend Leena telling me once how she spent an afternoon vacuuming Cheerios cereal out of her old car's backseat. The joys of parenthood, she said. Today, as I vacuumed the house for random Rice Krispies underfoot, I understood what she was talking about.

Stupid Joel Story Alert -- Sunday night, I was in charge of making dinner. On the menu? Pad Thai with Chicken. Relax, it was out of the box. Anyway, everything was going swimmingly well, until I had to drain the rice noodles. I lost my grip on the pot-with-collander-lid, spilled all of the noodles into the sink, and burned my left hand with all the "Hey, wasn't that water boiling a minute ago?" water.

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The lost noodles
It ain't no frozen steak, but frozen butternut squash does the trick

Num braved the rain to drive to CVS to pick me up some gel for burn victims like myself, but in the meantime, I used a big bag of frozen butternut squash. My hand is better today, but it's red, and we did have minor blistering. Ouch.


Thursday, November 9th 2006

Stupid dry cleaners. I haven't been completely happy with our dry cleaners since we moved into our townhouse last September. I've been going there for convenience, as it's within our townhouse complex. This evening, on the way there to picking up the one last good dress shirt I have to wear for tomorrow, I was thinking about finding a better place. I get there, and they lost the shirt. I should give them a week, and see if someone returns it.

I'm in the city tomorrow to attend the NY IIA luncheon, and to receive a award for being a chapter volunteer, and the one dress shirt that fits me properly is missing? Cosmic injustice.

So, I'm getting honored or cited or whatever tomorrow. That's pretty cool. I had to ask my boss if I could work out o the NYC office, so that I could attend the luncheon. I'm going to show up out-of-the-blue tomorrow in NYC wearing a tie and/or suit, and everyone's going to naturally assume that I'm interviewing, which I'm not. But that'll be the rumor. Eh, who cares?

My car is making a weird metal noise in rear when I hit the brakes. I gotta take it to the shop on Saturday. Argh, I hate going to the mechanic, because you never quite know if you're getting ripped off or not. I suppose it's pretty safe to assume that you ARE getting ripped off. recently published an article on 10 Tips Toward an Affordable Brake Job.

Last night, I took Joshua to visit my friend (and former coworker) Cynthia, who lives about 25 minutes away. We attended her wedding back in March. They recently adopted two kittens, and I figured Joshy would get a kick out of seeing kittens. He did, but the kittens were scared of him. He must be like Godzilla or Clifford the Dog to them.

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One of the kittens
Joshy & Cynthia -- he's not up for photos
Best photo I could get

The Spiderman 3 trailer officially debuted tonight at 10pm on Viacom-branded tv channels, and various websites, such as iFilm. If you want to see it even larger, go to the iFilm site.

Did anyone hear about the Papdits, a new sketch comedy featuring Indians? Thanks to Vib for the link.

Speaking of Indians, did you know Padma Lakshmi is one of the hosts for Bravo's Top Chef? She's an Indian model-turned-actress. I saw her once on an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise episode, but she wasn't very good. Looks will get you everywhere in this world. Side note: she's married to Salman Rushdie.

Tomorrow is Friday. TGIF, folks. TGI-friggin'-F.


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The Great Ipe iTunes Contest

Tuesday, November 7th 2006

I recently redeemed some reward points for 25 song credits at the Apple iTunes store. I figure it's better to start using points every once in a while. I'm looking to expand my music library in all genres.

Please click the Comment link below, and send me some suggestions. What music do you like? 60's, 70's disco, great 80's bands, hip-hop, rock, alternative, etc. Name it. I will post the top 25 suggestions, and puchase those songs on Friday. Yes, Jimboy, you can suggest Tool.

I think I'll call it "The Great Ipe iTunes Contest."

I'm looking forward to this.


Monday, November 6th 2006

Happy November 6th!

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Joshua as "The Great Pumpkin"

November is here. Autumn is in full swing, it's getting colder, and I can't find my sneakers. The preceding were all true statements. I have no control over the first two items, but let's hope I can figure out what I did with my sneakers.

Sorry for the lack of postings since, er, October, but the Ipes have been running amok. It's just been one of those typical "Ipes running amok" weeks. Work has been busy, but full of interesting news. Reorgs in my department, and I'm leading two reviews next year. First one starts in January. Get ready to rumble, folks.

New Halloween photos, mostly of Joshua (Sorry, Gary. He's the Pride and Joy of the Ipes) added to the Family gallery. New photos also include some photos from Joshy's cousin Lisa's 2nd birthday party in Bangalore. I couldn't resist, because she's adorable. [cue annoying baby talk]

For the past month or two, I was getting worried about Joshua's development. You know, the usual "Is my kid normal?" parental worrying. Other kids his age or younger are talking, jumping rope, making arts & crafts to sell at the family yard sale. Meanwhile, Joshua just points at stuff he wants, and calls both his parents "Dada."

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Joshy is amazed by Doug firing up the fireplace

In the past 2 weeks, some neuron clicked in his head, and Joshua went into the fast lane. He's using all these words, refers to us and his grandparents by name, can point out which is the owl/mouse/turkey/etc on his spinny-Old-McDonald-let's-learn-barn-animals toy, can point to the correct body parts, can help you with stuff, stacking blocks, and even weaved a basket for me.

Okay, not the last part about basket weaving, but you get the gist. It's almost disconcerting, as he went from baby, to baby who looks like a boy, to "Uh, did he just weave me a basket?" The joys of parenting.

Lots o' links for ya' .....

  • Following the recent trend in India to rename all the major cities to their original Indian / pre-Colonial British name, "The Powers That Be" in Bangalore have officially changed the name of the city to Bengalooru. I find it humorous that "Bangalore was originally named Benda Kaluru, or 'the place of boiled beans' in Kannada. Eh, I like the sound of Bangalore better. I wonder how our Bangalore relatives feel about the matter?
  • Great excerpt from Evan Thomas' book Sea of Thunder about the great WWII naval engagement at Leyte Gulf in the Philippines in 1944. It's really dramatic. What brave men did to save the world. Reminds me of a great quote I read a few weeks ago.

"Women and children sleep safely in their beds at night because brave men stand ready to visit violence in the back alleys of those who would do them harm."

  • Journalist Al Hirsh writes an interesting commentary about our current lack of great leaders. I've always been a guy who leaned Democrat, but in the past few years, I've been fairly fed up with both parties. You gotta wonder, is every politician out there so easily bought and sold? That's the price of democracy. I bet the Roman Republic was no better.
  • In November 2004, police Sgt. Ron Nametko talked a suicidal sheriff's officer into putting down his weapon and surrendering. Now the sergeant, who has since retired with a disability, is suing the man who pointed a loaded gun at him, citing emotional distress from the incident. Geez, can you smell the greed?
  • If current trends of overfishing and pollution continue, by 2050 the populations of just about all seafood face collapse, defined as 90 percent depletion, a team of ecologists and economists warns in a study published in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

Sigh. The last news item brings up something I wanted to mention. Earlier this week, I was bringing Joshua home, and he was pointing up at the sky. He does this Keanu Reeves impression -- "Dad!" You gotta really picture Keanu Reeves [circa Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure] here. He's always pointing to the moon, a twinkling star, or a passing airplane. Anyway, it was this brilliantly clear night, and he's just pointing at the stars.

"Dad!", and points at the moon.

"Dad!", and points at the star.

I swear to you, I just looked at him, and I thought about global warming, the ocean ecosystems collapsing, toxins in seafood, extinct animals. I really wondered what kind of world my kid would be living in by 2050. Me? I'll be old, or dead. But Joshua? He gets what we leave him.

It really made me think.


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