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


Tuesday, October 31st 2006

Happy Halloween!

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Bob Barker

I never made it to work this morning. The car was making a this horrible grinding noise, so I took it to the shop. Rear brakes were shot. A few hours, and ooddles of money later, and I really need catch up on my work at the office tomorrow.

Bob Barker is retiring after 50 years on TV. I mention this, because I watched an unhealthy amount of The Price is Right as a child. Ask my Mom.

A Continental flight accidently landed on a taxiway, not a runway, at Newark airport Saturday night. Luckily, there were no airplanes, vehicles, or people on the taxiway at the time. This evening, a Lufthansa 747 clipped the wings of a Continental 757, which also took place at Newark. Freaky accidents at Newark in a short span of time. One time landing at Newark, our plane suddenly sped up, and aborted the landing, as another plane was still on the runway. These two situations were much worse.

I've finished the first batch of photos from Houston, but I'm not done yet. I will be magnanimous, and pull the curtain back briefly, so that you can be titillated by the draft Houston 2006 trip page. I still have to edit and publish the Sunday photos, but you can wait.


Monday, October 30th 2006

It's good to be home. It was good to go away, but travelling with children adds a lot more complexity to any trip. I'm glad we went, and Joshua was fairly well-behaved, but the travel problems were ridiculous. Delays, missing our return flight, flying to LaGuardia instead of Newark, surcharges, etc. It was too much. I'm not looking forward to flying for a long while. I didn't think I'd ever say that in my life.

Of course, we'll be travelling to Virginia next month. At least we're not flying.

I'm working on Houston photos. Think happy thoughts.


Wednesday, October 25th 2006

Links and link and links. If you've read it already, keep moving.

  • Officials at an elementary school south of Boston have banned kids from playing tag, touch football and any other unsupervised chase game during recess for fear they'll get hurt and hold the school liable. Why don't you remove the spoons, and cover all the edges in the school with felt?
  • After a disabled woman's cat started a house fire, her specially trained dog came to the rescue, then died trying unsuccessfully to rescue the cat. Wow.
  • 50 interesting science facts. Well, they're interesting to me.
  • Ever wonder why does orange juice taste so bad after brushing your teeth? Blame the sodium laurel sulfate in your Aquafresh.
  • A slew of How it's Made videos -- everything from billiard tables to bubblegum to chicken processing. Word of advice: don't watch the chicken processing one. Eww.
  • This couple was featured in news stories after Katrina hit. A year later, they're both dead: the boyfriend dismembers his girlfriend, and then jumps off a roof. Bizarre how he just snapped.
  • A touchscreen iPod in December? Every time I want to buy one with my imaginary money, I hear some rumor of a new iPod about to come out, and I put my imaginary money back in my dang empty wallet.
  • Remember the story of Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle's plane crashing into that residential building in NYC a few weeks ago? Remember the Manhattan woman who was critically injured when the Cat in the Hat balloon knocked part of a lamppost onto her head during the 1997 Thanksgiving Day Parade? Would you believe that she lived in that building, and her apartment was destroyed? And if she had been home, she could have been killed? Talk about lightning striking twice. Here's the next weird part. I mention this story, because a friend of mine (and a previous coworker) Mike actually worked with Kathleen Caronna at the time she got injured, and went into a coma for 24 days. It's like she's a character from that Final Destination movie.
  • Beginning this month, New Jersey residents purchasing music and videos from services like Apple's iTunes and rival digital downloads e-tailers now have to pay sales tax. Argh.
  • I recently learned that Damon Wayans was once an actor on SNL back in 1986. To confirm this, I went to check his profile on It's true, he was on SNL briefly. That was a little shocking. What's more shocking? They're making a Homey the Clown movie for 2007. Why, why, why?

Some random cameraphone pictures from the end of September, and early October. I'd add them to my Flickr MOBLOG account, but I've already hit the 200 picture limit for free accounts. My wife won't let me waste money on a full-fledged account, so I may have to start a fundraising campaign.

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Zzzzz. I feel bad waking him.
The GPS in my Hertz rental car.
9:54 pm, and I had PC problems, which could only be fixed by logging onto the network directly. Grrr.
Saw this in Williston Park after Sherina's wedding. Are they picking up transmissions from Venus? Upgrade already!
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A close up of the Ipe pride and joy.
At the Bridgewater Commons mall -- a Lego store!
You gotta give Hallmark credit. They'll keep making up new holidays to sell more cards.

I forgot to mention what happened at my court appearance regarding my traffic ticket. How remiss of me. If you remember, I had accidently made a turn on red at a "No Turn on Red" back in July, right in front of two cops. I never get tickets for really ballsy stuff. Always for stupid crap. Anyway, after two postponements, it was scheduled for October 12th. I debated hiring an attorney, because I didn't want to be penalized for all these points on my license, which will drive up our auto insurance. Also, we had just changed to a new insurance company.

"Hi, new insurance company. Fooled you! I'm a bad driver. Mwahahahaha, sucker!"

"What? You're dropping me as a customer? Why did you call me a sucker? That's very unprofessional. Hello?"

I sat for over an hour as the judge went over various cases. I found him to be very fair for the ridiculous cases/situations, and even more ridiculous excuses. Driving without a license, blaming the wife, etc. He tried to give them all 2nd chances. I was surprised. One guy came up on the docket with thousands in fines for drug possession, etc. The judge didn't like him too much, got mad, and had him arrested (right there in court!), and thrown in jail for 30 days. Dang.

I ended up speaking to the prosecutor, and explained it was my first ticket....... (on that street. Ssssssh!) He agreed to plead me out to "Blocking traffic", which has no points associated. Just a fine. Woohoo, I said. I eventually saw the judge, the prosectur explained he was dropping the charges to the lower offense, I said what he told me to say, paid my fine, and ran the hell out of there. I'll take the one-time fine over the higher insurance bill (for 3 years) anytime.

We've been invited to no less than five different engagements/programs/events this weekend. Five. When did we get popular? We're leaving for Houston in a few days. Jimboy, send me an email with your cell phone number. We're visiting Josh/Janet/Jim's parents at their house Saturday night. We gotta see you!


Tuesday, October 24th 2006

Thanks to everyone who gave their well-wishes via comment, phone calls, and in person. We greatly appreciate your condolences, especially me. It's been a rough year, so I hope it's all birthing pains for the happiness of next year.

To blow off some steam, I've played about 14 hours of my game Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic 2 this past weekend. I'm happy to say that I'm now a Level 10 Jedi Sentinel who is getting proficient in two-sword combat. Even though I prefer the Light side, I sure do love those Dark side powers. :)

I'll write more tomorrow night, but in the meantime, I added a few new photos to the Family gallery. We had gone pumpkin-picking two weeks ago.


Friday, October 20th 2006

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Thursday, October 19th 2006


In September 1987, I was 11, and my family went grocery shopping one Friday night. There was this family standing in front of the Havestraw ShopRite desperately giving away kittens. My sister and I begged my parents to let us adopt one. They relented, and we took him home. We only had him for four weeks, when I let him go play in the yard after school, and I went to watch a He-Man cartoon. A little while later, the kids from across the street rang the doorbell, and told us that some dog had attacked him. I ran out, and my 11-week-old kitten was bleeding and mewing in pain on the front lawn. He died on the front lawn with me.

In August 1993, I went to see some movie at the Cine 6 in New City with my friend Matt. Afterwards, we stopped by the pet shop next door (just because I used to like to do that every once in a while.) Next to the cash register counter, there was a big cardboard box with a little black kitten. The guy at the front explained to me that his friend's cat had kittens, and he had been helping to find them homes. This last black kitten was the last one. I called my Dad to pick me up, and told him that I was bringing home a kitten from the pet store. He was still hurt from the last kitten (he used to have cats growing up in India), so he said no.

He picked me up, and I was carrying the kitten in a box. He said no. In the car ride home with this kitten, he said no. At home setting up the litter box and everything, he said no. He was leaving for India in week or two, so he forbade us from allowing the kitten upstairs. He came back from India a few weeks later, and the kitten had free reign of the house.

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The little girl of the house on her last night

Her name was Missy, and that's how she joined the Ipe family. She was a funny cat. Whenever my sister was crying, Missy would run from wherever she was, to my sister, and started crying too. One time, I asked my sister to fake crying, and keep crying, to find out what Missy would do. She faked crying, Missy showed up, jumped on the bed, walked up to my sister sitting on the bed, and put her paw on Julie's mouth to shut her up. She was always a funny cat -- greeting us in the garage when we all came home, hunting crickets in the garage, hunting us when weren't looking, stampeding around the house.

I went away to college in 1994, and Missy started acting up soon after. Urinating on clothes, furniture, etc. We did what we could to stop her, but nothing really did. Maybe she acted up because we didn't excite her enough, or what, I don't know. It seemed that when she got frustrated for some reason, she eliminated in alternate places. My parents (especially my Dad) put up with it for a long time. I felt bad for him.

In 2002, after I had moved out to my own apartment, and stopped travelling, my Dad gave up on her. They asked me to take her to a shelter. They were sad, but so tired of cleaning couch cushions. I told them I took her to a shelter, but in reality, I took her to my apartment, where I took care of her. I wanted to give her another shot. She seemed okay at first. Playing with her 3 times a day seemed to help. But it seemed that if I only played with her 2 times that day, she'd take it out on the couch, or a bundle of clothes.

I thought she'd be happier in the new house, where she would have more room to romp. However, when Joshy started crawling last year, she didn't appear to take it well. She's been acting up these past few months, and now she's forbidden from being in the living room, and the bedrooms. So she started eliminating on the stairs, which can't be cleaned anymore. She was allowed for a long time in our bed to sleep, but then she urinated in our bed in August. Since then, she's only allowed in the kitchen and dining room.

I've spoken to the vet, but after trying all his suggestions, he wants to run more tests (which have generally cost me an arm and a leg), and maybe try anti-depressants. It's not something we can afford. I tried a pet therapist, but she never called me back. I called all the rescue shelters, but they're full. My parents don't want her. My sister doesn't want her. Thirteen years later, nobody wants her.

In a few minutes, I'm leaving to take her to the Monmouth SPCA, where she's going to be euthanized, and I'll be there to hold her. She's always been the "little girl" of the family. I'm sad for her. I'm sad because I couldn't keep her from making foolish mistakes. I'm sad because nobody wants her anymore.

I'm sad because there has been so much death in our life this year.

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Missy cried in the cat carrier all the way there, but got quiet once we entered the animal shelter. You've never seen a place so crowded with cages filled with homeless animals. I filled out all the paperwork, and they walked us over to the clinic. We were left alone in the examination room for a few minutes, and I pet Missy until a technician showed up, and gave her a sedative.

In a few minutes, she got tired, and laid her head down, staring straight ahead. 5-6 minutes later, two staff members came in, and gave her the final injection in her rear leg. Within a minute, the vet checked her heartbeat, and announced she was gone. I just stared at her glassy eyes, her lifeless body. The vet left me alone with her body. I said my goodbyes, gave her a a final kiss on the head, and walked out.

The house is empty, and there's no one to greet me anymore.


Tuesday, October 17th 2006

What a long day. In the office at 7:30am, and I stayed for a 4pm meeting that went on until 6:45pm. By the time I got home, it was 8pm. Long. Day.

In Bergen county NJ, a 51-year-old Indian nanny was caught on camera abusing the five-month-old baby she was watching. Horrible. I know a few people who hire out these Indian women to be live-in nannies. Just illustrates my point that you can never really trust anybody. More news on it here.

Received these pictures in an email. From the looks of it, it's a well-designed prank. I don't know who did it, but kudos to them. I especially like the cardboard dual monitor setup.

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I'm in NYC tomorrow. I'm looking forward to sitting on the bus for 3 hours roundtrip. Yee-haw. At least I'll get to see the NY folks, and get some real NY pizza.


Monday, October 16th 2006

I tried to use up most of my remaining vacation days in the next 2.5 months, but "the man" shot me down (a.ka.a management.) Something about coming to the office, and doing work. I got some of my days in, and I suppose I'll roll them over to next year. I was given the option of taking the last two weeks in December off, but I just feel that taking two weeks off at the end is going to bite me in the butt. I'll have to rush around at the last second to finish something, and I'll end up working from home on my vacation.

My wife coerced me into getting the flu vaccination on Saturday. I didn't want to do it, but you know how women can guilt trip you into anything. I suppose I'm better off vaccinated, but I'm going to be stubbon about this, purely on principle.

On an unrelated note, MSNBC has published their latest 5Top: weird fast food. I have to disagree with them, because the Taco Bell Mexican Pizza, and BK's Chicken Fries, are surprisingly good. I'm insulted that they listed the following Joel-approved foods in their quiz (making it seem like they're weird in some way): Chalupa, Chicken McNuggets, Wendy's square burgers, and the BK Croissan'wich. Hmmm, Burger King has a large portion of odd food. Good for them. Points for creativity.

And now, for the SNL skit Taco Town. Why? Because we had Taco Bell for dinner Saturday night, and I had two chalupas. Also, because I am all about "The Pizza Crepe Taco Pancake Chili Bag."

Next Saturday is my sister's engagement. The following weekend is Paul's engagement, and he's asked me to co-emcee the event. After all the times I've emcee'd some sort of event, I may have to add emcee duties to my resume. I'd also like to add balloon-animal-making, but I need to learn that first.

I can't believe my sister is getting married. When did she grow up? I could also ask "When will she grow up?", but I'll keep it nice.


Saturday, October 14th 2006

Earlier this week, I had mentioned a family crisis, but didn't want to go into the details until the official word had reached us. The final, official news has arrived. Two years ago, Num's cousin Rashmi and her fiance Shem got married, and we went to India to attend the wedding. Her husband Shem was a merchant navy officer, and travelled all over the world.

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A few days before the wedding in 2004
The happy couple

Last Thursday/Friday, during a strong storm, his ship the Giant Step experienced a cabin fire, and ran aground off the coast of Japan. The ship later broke apart. 25 sailors were initially missing, as some had been swept off the ship due to the stong waves. With no word on Shem's condition, we've all been sitting and waiting, trying to find some news.

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This past Thursday, they found his body off the coast of Japan. It'll be sent to Bangalore for the funeral in about a week. I can't really describe the sorrow I feel. From my time spent talking to him during the wedding preparation, I realized what a great and respectable guy he was, and I was really happy for him and Rashmi as they got married. It's just not fair that they had such a short time together.

I guess I can't really know how Rashmi and the rest of the family must be feeling now, especially Shem's parents. As a father for the past 19 months, I realize how important your children are to you. You want to give them every opportunity for happiness, keep them safe, and spare them whatever suffering you can. I hope they are proud of the person he became.

I think this has been a very rough year for our immediate and extended family. I'm truly looking forward to next year. I hope 2007 is going to be less painful.


Tuesday, October 10th 2006

I found out that I have 17-18 vacation days left for the year, and now I'm in a mad rush to find time to take vacation, before they go to waste.

Funny Inside Edition video from 1988 about a new craze sweeping the nation: Nintendo. Interestingly enough, a young Bill O'Reilly was the show's host at the time.

Funny video on consenting to the horizontal mambo, but NSFW. Watch it at home.


Monday, October 9th 2006

There's a general family crisis, and we're all watching news reports right now. I'll give you all more of a proper update later when more news comes out.

Hey Christopher Columbus, thanks for the holiday. It's been a decent weekend so far.

  • Friday afternoon, we left the office early for a little department thing at the nearby TGI Fridays in honor of a few people who were leaving the dept in the next week or so for various reasons. FYI, the new appetizers initially sound ridiculous (fried mac & cheese, etc.), but they're all pretty good.
  • Saturday morning, we drove over to the in-laws' to see Anju & Sunny, and for breakfast. In the evening, my parents came over.
  • Sunday evening, we drove to Long Island (BTW, I officially hate the Belt Parkway.) to see Divya and the kids.

Today is Columbus day, which is a holiday. I've spent it relaxing, publishing photos, getting an oil change, and now waiting for Joshua to get up from his afternoon nap. I've posted all sorts of photos:

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Sherina & Isaac
Anniversary dinner
Fooling around
The reunited sisters
Boys being boys
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Striped Bass

Last Sunday night, my wife and I went to celebrate our 3rd wedding anniversary at the Striped Bass restaurant in Philadelphia. It's one of those great looking places where the food is good, pricey, and comes in such small portions that you want to go to Wendy's afterwards for a real meal. Still, it was a nice classy restaurant, and we rarely ever splurge on eating at classy restaurants. Thanks to Julie for the Christmas gift that made it all happen. [Note: the Striped Bass is the same restaurant that Bruce Willis and his wife nearly celebrate their anniversary in The Sixth Sense.]

I felt that the last Family page was getting too large (January 2006 to present), so I split it up. I doubt you care, but I had to go back and repair archived news links, starting at the June 2006 news page.

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Knight Rider: the movie

So.................. there really is going to be a Knight Rider movie. Yeesh. Car doesn't look bad, but not what I was expecting.

For the Trekkers, he's the never-before-seen-in-the U.S. prologue for Star Trek IV, which only aired in the European versions of the film back in 1986. Ooooh, aaaah. Gotta love YouTube.

Speaking of video, I've added plenty o' home movies online to the Family page for March and April, including stunning video footage from Joshua's first birthday party. Remember to scroll down, as the pictures show up first. Please enjoy.

The 3rd season premiere of Battlestar Galactica premiered last Friday night. Thankfully for Tivo, I got around to watching it this morning. My verdict? Frackin' awesome. Here's the synopsis of the two parter ("Occupation" and Precipice".) I have to give the writers credit for making the premiere dramatic, thought-provoking, and just shocking. That's the hallmark of good sci-fi: it's not the technobabble, but the drama and character interplay that make a story great.

Can I summarize what was so thought-provoking and uncomfortable about it? Simply, humans have recently been put under occupation by the Cylons (robots they built), and are now waging an insurgency against their occupiers. Bombs set against targets of opportunity, suicide bombings, etc, against a more technologically superior force. When the Cylons (the occupiers) set up a police force comprised of humans, these police officers are considered collaborators.

Shades of the Iraq war, yet while you're rooting for the humans, you realize you're rooting for "terrorists". Even as you watch the Cylons discuss how to stop the insurgency, grabbing and detaining humans in the middle of the night, I found myself automatically thinking about U.S. and coalition leaders trying to stop the Iraq insurgency. I don't side with the terrorists, but you see how this change in the point-of-view raises interesting, disturbing questions?

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Good stuff. I highly recommend BSG, whether you're a sci-fi fan or not. Sci-Fi has a 1st season primer, a 2nd season primer, and a 3 minute video recap. It stars a great set of actors and actresses ("the actors' actors"), such as Edward James Olmos, Mary McDonnell, Tricia Helfer, Lucy Lawless, Dean Stockwell, etc.


Monday, October 2nd 2006

It's nice to be back in my own home, in my own office. Thank goodness it's October, and the 3rd quarter is over. These past two months especially have been rough for me. I don't think I slept more than 3-4 hours a night during the past two weeks alone. I'm exhausted mentally and physically. The 3rd quarter is over, my Canada review folder closed on Thursday night, business monitoring for the quarter is closed, and I've reviewed 9 corrective action plans this month. I've also been on the road 7 weeks since June, 8 weeks this year.

I'm tired.

This past weekend, we actually made it to one wedding this year -- Sherina and Isaac. Okay, we made the last 10 mins of it, but we attended the reception. Joshua was actually well behaved. Took some pictures, and I'll post 'em...... later.

This is a weird Indian movie scene -- a ripoff of Michael Jackson's Thriller video from 1983.