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September 3, 2003

IT LIIIIVVVESSSS!!!!!!

Ok, so most of you are probably wondering, "What the hell is Ben doing with a freakin' blog site? Weren't his spews enough to turn us off on his writing forever???" And you'd be quite justified in your disbelief and annoyance. But this is how I rationalized it to myself....

Continue reading "IT LIIIIVVVESSSS!!!!!!" »

September 4, 2003

Am I Gullible?

Yes I am. So recently I decided to poke around on the Dr. Scholl's site to take a look at their Massaging Gel Insoles since I keep seeing their damn commercials for it on TV. Normally I don't pay much attention to commercials but the ones for this product stuck for some reason...

Continue reading "Am I Gullible?" »

Fact or fiction?

Hmm.... I wonder if this increase in productivity is actually for real. I mean how many people do you know that are actually working LESS hours than before? Besides those laid off or forced to take "mandatory vacations." I think people are actually working more hours to compensate for all their laid off peers but the companies don't need to report it cause they're not actually paying for those hours. Or maybe it's in manufacturing. Cause services hours sure aren't going down.

September 5, 2003

Say what???

Two words, RIAA. BLOW ME.

September 6, 2003

Serene...

Pictures of the Times

September 12, 2003

Lessons learned...


During my unemployed period earlier this year, I spent alot of time watching tv like any good unemployed person would do. And one of the perks I got out of that was being able to get tickets to the Conan O'Brien 10th Anniversary show taping.

Continue reading "Lessons learned..." »

September 16, 2003

Well it was about time

Apple finally released their aluminum 15" Powerbook G4. Sure it's no G5 but it's still pretty darn cool. Now the question is, do I upgrade my first edition G4 to this baby or to one of them IBM T40s? Or is there a way to get both? Hmmm...........

Back in the olden days...

Spurred on by Frank Miller's quite impressive, but short, comic collection 300 about the Spartan defense at Thermopylae, I also picked up Steven Pressfield's novel, Gates of Fire based on the same event. Excellent, excellent reads. Sure they're both dramatizations and the details are somewhat fictional but they provide a fascinating view of what Spartan life and hoplite warfare might have been like way back when. And provides a good example of a strong and respected leader figure who leads by example that unfortunately, is sorely lacking in this day and age.

September 17, 2003

It's all in the perspective...

Everything seems to be affordable when you break it down into days. $3000 over 2 years? That's only $4 a day! Surely I can afford that. So I don't eat breakfast for 2 years, not a problem. Ai yai yai.....

September 19, 2003

The other side...

Was just wondering... why don't we ever see any news articles on the good things that the Americans might be doing in Iraq? I don't know what good things we could possibly be doing which is why I'd like to read about them. I mean there's gotta be something right? All you see in the news these days about Iraq is mostly more troops being wounded or killed, some old guard Iraqi surrendering or being captured, or some minor bullshit about a new Iraqi government being voted on or formed in like 500 years. Iraq is a relatively large country. Is it possible that EVERYONE there hates us? Or am I just not looking hard enough? Probably have to go troll some Republican sites or something.

September 22, 2003

Drool by the bucketful

Wow.

September 25, 2003

As the world turns...

It's a sorry state of affairs we live in when things like this are allowed to happen. I mean c'mon, this is even lamer than the "Well he MADE me do it" excuse that we're supposed to outgrow. People need to start learning what accountability means.

It's too bad I don't live in Cali. Well, ok... maybe not. But if I did live in Cali, I'd probably vote for Georgy.

She blinded me with science...

Just another scientific study that I guess really doesn't tell us what we couldn't already figure out just by observing our school life. Y'know, the whole jocks vs. geeks thing. But it brought back memories of eviscerating the poor fruit flies back at the U of C just to find their gonads.

Then apparently there was a minor fuss a few months back when James Watson of Watson & Crick fame commented that stupidity was a disease which scientists should cure. Although I guess that would be insulting to those already stupid, I don't really see the ethical dilemma behind curing stupidity. It's never going to be possible but I wouldn't have a problem with it if it was.

September 29, 2003

Oh the pain...

Received an email from Apple today saying that my Powerbook was delayed for a week. Punks. At least they've sent out the iPod already so there'll be something for me to play with while I wait. Received the Airport Extreme base station today and just set it up so now I have 2 wireless networks emanating from our apartment.

October 3, 2003

Let this be a lesson...

Ouch. Talk about a double loser.

Mass delusion...

The current Republican administration is either insidiously evil, diabolical geniuses, or the luckiest bastards in the world. Or all of the above. They were basically able to blatantly lie about their causes for war, leaving just enough of a loophole to squirm out of when none of what they were saying turned out to be true, and then retract them without the American public making a fuss. That's fuckin' ingenious. One thing's for sure, the Fox News Network has got to be taken off the air. Just replace 'em with a 24-hour The Simpsons channel and everybody'll be happy.

October 6, 2003

Never a good day...

when you have to reinstall your Windows OS. Installed a new 200GB drive on my PC desktop this morning and figured I'd take the time to merge 2 partitions on my old drive since I no longer needed them to be separate. Bad idea...

Continue reading "Never a good day..." »

Blurbs...

Congrats to the Cubs for winning their first playoff series in uh.... 95 years??? Yowza. Here's hoping the Bosox loses tonight . =)

You would think they would've changed their town names by now.

Apparently my new Powerbook is "out for delivery." I knew I should've taken today off for Yom Kippur. ;-p

Wrote up an epinions review on my iPod. Check it out!

Yay! It's here! Some quick pics of my new Powerbook. Partytime! ;-)

October 9, 2003

Things are not as they appear...

Caught Geraldo Rivera on the Jay Leno show two nights ago and was surprised at how ... "normal" he seemed. Nothing like the rabid egotistical schmuck I was led to believe he was throughout the years. Seemed to have some pretty normal moderate views that was rather sensible. Worth another look I suppose.

If anyone's in the market for a Palm Tungsten T, lemme know. ;-)

October 10, 2003

A little backwards are we...

You would think that evidence for these types of accusations would be pretty easy to see.

October 14, 2003

No sheep am I...

Apparently while everyone was watching Kill Bill: Volume 1 this weekend I remained oblivious and instead started my weekend intensive program in kyudo at the Toko Kyudojo in the city. Kyudo, the Way of the Bow, aka Zen archery, is a form of moving meditation where marksmanship is secondary. Prospective beginners need to take the First Shot Program which teaches you the seven coordinations, the basic form of aligning the body and properly drawing and releasing the arrow. One of those things that is relatively easy to pick up but mucho difficult to master.

Anyway, it's quite interesting and I went to the first class this evening. Figure it's worth pursuing since it's not everyday you get to attempt to look graceful with a 7 foot long bamboo bow.

October 17, 2003

Holy cow...

Daaaaaaaa..... YANKEES WIN!!!!!!! Da Yankees WIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Good god that was an insane game.

October 20, 2003

Killing Bill...

Well, finally went to catch a matinee showing of Kill Bill - Volume 1 early Sunday afternoon and I dunno, I thought it was just an ok movie. For some reason I felt a need to nitpick which was kinda weird since I don't normally look for this kinda stuff when I watch a movie. But if you haven't seen this movie yet, then you probably don't want to read on...

Continue reading "Killing Bill..." »

Self promotion...

Check out my new reviews on the Palm Tungsten T3 and Powerbook G4!

And just in case you Windows users out there haven't heard yet, Apple has released iTunes for PC and it works exactly the same as the Mac version, including access to the Apple Music Store and the ability to easily share your library with other computers running iTunes on the same network. A couple of us have it installed here at work and it works super. And it's FREE.

October 24, 2003

Technical difficulties...

The primary HD on my PC desktop is on the verge of dying hence the downtime for this site the day before and yesterday. Good thing I bought that 200GB drive last week and even better thing that this dying drive is still under warranty so I should be getting a replacement in a few weeks.

I also just noticed that this site doesn't look quite right under IE for PC. And that's the only browser that displays it improperly (right column is below the left), works fine on Firebird for PC, IE for Mac, Camino for Mac so if you're viewing this on IE for PC, get a REAL browser!

MacOS X 10.3 Panther is released today!

DAMN this is one tough dude.

October 27, 2003

Wide world of sports...

Next thing you know they'll want to become an Olympic sport.

Although it does remind me of Roshambo Rampage!!!!

October 29, 2003

When it rains...

I never seem to have an umbrella handy. And vice versa. But anyways, this last month has been rough on my hardware. This morning my home SMC router bit the big one and I had to spend over an hour with tech support running through their various ways of rebooting the router until they finally decided that I could get a replacement. At least I won't have to pay for a new router. Then again the replacement they need to send me is backordered. Guess I should call them again tomorrow to see if they can send me a newer version of the router. =p But that's why this site was down once again today. Hope things'll smooth themselves out in a few weeks. Eesh.

November 5, 2003

Sick & demented...

Been engrossed in Court TV's Crime Library site lately. Ruminating through the serial killers category. Some stunningly sick stuff there.

November 6, 2003

The final frontier...

Very, very cool. Although I wonder how long it takes for communications to travel back and forth between it and the Earth.

November 10, 2003

Change of occupation...

That's it I'm packing up and moving to Cali.

November 11, 2003

Finally...

My replacement HD has finally arrived and I spent most of this evening setting it up so at least my development stuff and this site was back up and running. Still got a ton of stuff to reinstall though so pardon me if the server goes up and down for the next few days during the evenings. Anyway, after this latest stint the server should hopefully be pretty stable going forward.

November 14, 2003

Back on the air...

Interesting note in the recent issue of Maximum PC this month where apparently Sanyo is developing a biodegradable CD made of corn. Takes 85 kernels to make one 12cm CD which will break down into water and CO2 in 50 to 100 years. Not exactly sure why it takes that long but at least it does break down. And I guess you wouldn't want it breaking down too quickly since people use 'em for data backup and such. But I wonder if they'll be as sturdy as the current CDs or will regular use on those 52x drives make them shatter like corn chips.

Juvenile...

God I hate the Republicans. They're pretty good at self-righteousness when they're also the biggest hypocrites around. I find it highly amusing that they're trying to convince the Dems to not vote vindictively when they damn well know that they'll be doing the same thing the next time a Dem prez hits the White House. And that email about getting good face time on Fox? Like that's a surprise.

November 17, 2003

The time draws near...

Phone number portability is coming soon. The cell phone companies finally gave up on trying to delay it. Good article on how it'll work.

November 19, 2003

How a company should be run...

Bought a Traveler's Coolpad many years ago when they first came out and liked it so much that I bought one of the Podium Coolpad's as well when they were introduced later. Despite being sold almost everywhere these days, they seem to have remained a relatively small operation (not surprising since these things are basically just pieces of rubber and plastic after all). Last week I had emailed them to ask if it was possible to get replacement rubber feet since a few of 'em had fell off my Traveler. To my surprise they just said to email them my address and to top it off, they'd just mail me a completely new pad. So I received the new pad today and to my surprise (again), they had also included a sheet of the rubber feet. Now that's service. I haven't been this impressed since the fine folks at Barebones Software emailed me months after an initial query to inform me that the new version of BBEdit now supported Chinese and other 2-byte characters. So if any of you have a laptop, I'd seriously recommend picking up one of these Coolpads. I was sold by the swivel functionality alone.

November 20, 2003

Choices...

Hmm.... Tivo or ReplayTV?

November 23, 2003

Rebirth...

The Port Authority completed the World Trade Center PATH station ahead of schedule and it opened today so we decided to go scout around since it makes our daily commute easier than before. For Erin she can now walk 5 or 6 short blocks to school from the station and I can walk a block over to hop onto the 4/5/6 uptown. What I wasn't expecting...

WTC Station Sign

Continue reading "Rebirth..." »

November 24, 2003

Brilliance...

Darwin Awards anyone? Actually I've always wondered about this cause I know there are still some societies out there where people will fire weapons into the air during weddings and such. Those bullets don't just keep going into space.

December 1, 2003

Movie junkie...

Decided to catch up on some movie watching over the extended weekend. First off was Ran. Superb film although the liberal use of red paint during the battle scenes at times was a bit laughable. And Lady Kaede earns the "Psycho Bitch from Hell" award for the year. But great stuff overall.

Next, there was Frailty which turned out to be quite good. Wasn't really a scary movie, just a creepy suspense movie. It kinda follows along the lines of The Others and The Sixth Sense where you have a big twist near the end but it's a pretty good twist and is a pretty good movie in general. Surprised I hadn't heard much about it when it was first released.

And finally there's Ping Pong, a relatively recent Japanese flick that I thought was super, especially considering it was about ping pong for cryin' out loud. Didn't recognize any of the actors in it 'cept for the one who played the coach since he played the hilarious samba/mambo guy in Shall We Dance. It had some pretty corny and odd moments in it but had a pretty good soundtrack and was quite entertaining overall.

December 3, 2003

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDY!

Go drink yerself silly. ;-p

December 6, 2003

Snow snow everywhere...

Picked a bad weekend to have to go in for a little overtime. Commute wasn't too bad actually, the worst of it was the 10 minute trek to the PATH station from my apt where I had to brave strong winds either blowing across vast open parking lots or funneling into stronger winds between office buildings. Urgh.

Dog on Snow

Cleaning Up

December 8, 2003

Internet pranks...

Was brought to my attention recently that if you do a search on Google for "miserable failure", the first site that's listed is the official biography page of Dubya on whitehouse.gov. Wonder how that happened... ;-p

December 15, 2003

Another Wasted Weekend...

Decided to finally finish tinkering with the graphic options for Star Wars Knights of the Old Republic so that it would run the best graphics possible without slowing down gameplay too much. Bad move. These RPG games by Bioware are just addictive as all hell. And it doesn't help that they did such a great job with this game. Melee battles with lightsabers are a sight to behold and listen to. You get the whole laser deflecting and saber humming and all that fun stuff. And the flirty lines you get to use with the main female NPC can be pretty amusing. Reminds me a lot of Bioware's older game, Neverwinter Nights though cause some of the story and missions seem to be a bit rehashed from that. But it's still a lotta fun.

Just a little note...

for posterity's sake. Saddam was captured on Sunday, Dec. 14. Yay.

Andy would like this...

Good to see I'm not the only one who hates Hummers.

December 17, 2003

The aftermath...

Took the day off from work yesterday to attend the Lord of the Rings uber-fest. Watched the first 2 extended DVD versions on the big screen followed by the last installment, The Return of the King. Fe put up some random pics. Quite an experience. Was basically at the theater from 9:30am to 1:30am. There was about an one and a half hour intermission between each movie with the first one clocking in at over 3 hours, the second one at 4 hours and the third one holding its own at 3 hours, 20 minutes. And that's not even an extended version. Definitely an epic series befitting of the books.

Foxtrot comic

Continue reading "The aftermath..." »

December 18, 2003

Grrr....

Well that was quick. Less than a month after I purchased my 200GB Maxtor HD, it's already dying. At least getting replacements while you're still under warranty is relatively easy. But still, this is getting ridiculous. Hopefully things'll stop breaking on me when I move everything to the larger (full tower) case that I just ordered.

December 21, 2003

Hectic weekend...

Not really hectic in that much was accomplished. More that it took us forever to get anywhere that we wanted to since everybody was out and about doing last minute Christmas shopping and the like. Did wind up getting up at 8 today to be able to get to the Short Hills Mall at 9:30 so that we'd be able to a decent parking spot. =p Even though the mall officially opened at 10, some of the department stores were already open. Anyway, the crowd throughout wasn't overly bad. Besides the half an hour wait at Tiffany's, everything else went rather smoothly. Warmed the heart to see long lines at the Apple Store even though I didn't buy anything. ;-p

fountainsnow.jpg

December 22, 2003

Ouch...

New twist to a recent trend. What state of mind do you have to be in to actually willingly inflict this on yourself?

December 23, 2003

Happy Birthday Christine!

And I thought having my birthday so close to Thanksgiving was bad. ;-) Have fun in SC!

December 28, 2003

Happy holidays!

Hope everyone had a great Christmas and have a Happy New Year! Got some good loot that should keep me occupied for awhile. Got a bunch of work left to be done but at least I have this coming week off as vacation. =)

December 31, 2003

Stability is a good thing...

Transferred the guts of my home desktop into its new case earlier this week and so far so good. Also had received the replacement drive for my 1 month old 200GB drive and popped that in as well. Was pleased to see that they had sent me a 250GB drive instead. And so far everything seems to be working quite well. Much easier to install hardware into this new case and it came with 6 fans (3 of which are glowing green neon) as opposed to the 2 that I had in the old case. But surprisingly even though the fans aren't temperature regulated, the overall noise level isn't much more noticeable than before. Anyway, hopefully this'll be the last time in awhile that I have to delve into the bowels of this machine because something broke.

X-Alien Case

Top Fan

The power women hold...

First, as I had reported below about the man who castrated himself after an argument with his wife. Now, another man apparently decided that death was preferable than having to deal with his wife.

January 2, 2004

Happy New Year!!!!

'k, so I'm a day late. =p Anyone make any juicy or actually viable New Year's resolutions? ;-)

January 5, 2004

Risque...

Dreary ass day today so what better way to liven up the day than to visit the local Museum of Sex. Nifty website by the way. But anyway, 'twas an interesting and educational trip although I think the admission fee was a bit high ($14.50 + tax) for just 2 floors of stuff.

Museum of Sex

On the N/R

January 8, 2004

What the?

An HP-branded iPod??? Daaaaaaaamn..... HP must REALLY be getting desperate competing with Dell. I have a hard time imagining an iPod with an HP logo. It's just so... out of place. Guess we'll see when the thing actually comes out.

January 10, 2004

New gadget...

erinv300.jpg

Putzing around with Erin's new Motorola V300. Damn thing's hard as hell to find these days since apparently Motorola isn't making enough of them to take care of demand so had to sign up for a new line with T-Mobile for it. Unfortunately, they're not offering it as an upgrade yet for existing customers. At least the phone was free (with rebate of course). Good thing both my existing accounts with them are out of contract so I could just cancel one of 'em. But anyway, it's actually a pretty cool phone. Just lacking Bluetooth and it is a bit hefty when compared to what I'm used to. But the screen's YUMMY.

January 14, 2004

Space cadet...

While I'm all for more space exploration, I can't help but feel that this is pretty contrived for political purposes only. But what else is new eh? Not sure if he's trying to deflect everyone's attention away from the persisting economic/job market problems or if he actually believes the party line that the economy is SOOOO so getting better and that they can actually afford this. For the government idiots with apparently short-term memory loss, we do have a projected $500 BILLION deficit to deal with here.

January 15, 2004

Must resist...

I think I'm going to have to pick up a new toy soon cause my coworker just bought an iPaq and I almost convinced myself that it was cool. An iPaq! The horror!!

January 16, 2004

Anime Junkie...

Watched the first 2 discs of Full Metal Panic last night. 'tis a pretty entertaining show although has some problems with story flow at times. But contains some pretty humorous situations concerning the main character who's a too serious for his age teenage mercenary ordered to guard a high school girl. Worth throwing into your queue on Netflix if you use 'em.

January 20, 2004

Mooo...

Pretty good humor involving two cows.

And another happy T-Mobile customer.

Politics schmolitics...

First off, who the heck came up with the idea of caucuses and why are they being held in such odd places like Iowa? The following quote by David Yepsen, a Des Moines columnist is rather illuminating:

"Iowa Democrats decided Howard Dean was simply too angry, too liberal and too gaffe-prone to be trusted with his party's presidential nomination...."

Continue reading "Politics schmolitics..." »

Misc grumblings...

Hope everyone's been having good weekends. Those of us in the Northeast have been stuck with some severely butt-numbing weather. But at least it's getting better. Wind chill temperatures are no longer below 0! Yay!

Anyway, new photo album up.

And I discovered that I had put a small, shallow dent in my Powerbook cover although I don't remember how. Goshdarnit.

I'm a little perplexed by traditional Islamic cleric's constant condemnations of non-veiled women. Are they saying that Islamic men lack any modicum of self-control when it comes to women? What the hell is that saying about their men? Have they spent too much time under the sun? Maybe if they didn't have this rule the men wouldn't be so hard up when a woman does expose an ankle or something.

La dee dum dum...

Ok, first off, I think they should bar invites to anyone from the State of the Union Address that isn't a politician. There's simply no reason for any of those non-politicos to be there except to be used to play on the sympathies of people.

Wonder where money for all these new proposals are going to come from?

Hm, so now not only should we worry about finding our own jobs, we should worry about finding jobs for ex-cons. Whoo hoo!

Still not convinced that the economy is improving. People may be finding a bit more jobs but I think most of that is just people getting tired of not finding jobs that they actually want and grabbing anything they can get. We'll see how it goes later in the year.

January 21, 2004

Procrastinating...

For those of you might want to tee off on some penguins, check this out. My best is 319.8. The trick is to hit 'em so they come down at the right angle and skip instead of plowing headfirst into the ground.

Enough irony for my lifetime...

From last night's State of the Union:

"For diplomacy to be effective, words must be credible, and no one can now doubt the word of America."

Ok so it's already been beaten to death by countless sites, pundits, and people in general that this would be a pretty good statement had it not been shown in recent months that the administration-provided reasons for the Iraq War was a total sham. Would've been quite a bit more believable for the rest of the world at least if he had said:

"For gunboat diplomacy to be effective, threats must be credible, and no one can now doubt the threat of America."

Amen.

January 26, 2004

Children are our future...

So there's this semi-big hoopla recently about the MoveOn ad that CBS declined to show during the Super Bowl this coming weekend because it was too "controversial." I had heard that they had refused it because they don't allow political ads during the biggest American sporting event of the year. Whether this is true or not I'll just have to wait and see since I don't really have the time to go hunt down the Super Bowl ad lineup for this year.

But anyway, to say that the commercial itself is "controversial" doesn't really make much sense to me. I just watched it. It was rather bland. And I don't think it'd be all that effective even if they did show it. For one thing, the kids aren't messed up enough. They're not grimey or depressed-looking enough to pull it off. It evokes images of children playing at being grownups that grownups always "aaawwwwww...... ain't that cute/sweet" about.

Furthermore, so what? Are our children not supposed to work when they grow up? It's not like we're going to make them work at this age. And by the time they do become worker drones we'll already have half or three-quarters of a foot into our graves. So what do we care? ;-p We're already coddling them enough as it is. And they can't even work enough to keep our social security in the black. So what's a few hundred billion more? =p

Anyway, I just don't think what the big deal is. Unless a pro-Bush ad suddenly popped up during the Super Bowl, THEN I'd be pissed.

January 28, 2004

My goodness...

Holy cow, Mia Kirshner from The L Word is just SMOKIN'!

Not that I've seen it. But she was lookin' really darn cute on Leno.

Schmuck of the month goes to this guy who ruined a perfectly kickin' dual proc G5.

Fun fun...

Blogging from my Palm through free GPRS provided by T-Mobile.

Ouch!

January 30, 2004

Another stereotype in the making...

What's up with Asian people and competitive eating? First there was Takeru Kobayashi rippin' up the Coney Island hot dog eating competitions and now there's Sonya Thomas (don't let that last name fool ya) who apparently holds the record with chicken wings, hardboiled eggs, fruitcake, hamburgers, pulled pork sandwiches, tacos and turducken. Soon, Americans will wanna be Asian cause we can eat like mad and still maintain a trim figure. =p

January 31, 2004

Brits and their sense of humor...

Why didn't I think of this? AND he got a positive rating out of it too. =p

February 2, 2004

K.I.S.S. in affect...

Sometimes simple things really are better. Watched The Road Home over the weekend and it was simply superb. Completely simple story based on devotion, love, and loyalty. It's not a wordy movie and it's definitely NOT an action movie but just a great, wonderfully-acted film. I never really thought Zhang Ziyi was incredibly beautiful but when she smiles, she just lights up the entire scene. Quite illuminating. Catch it on Netflix if you can but I think it's buy-worthy.

Fun soft...

Testing out a new OSX blogging client by Adriaan Tijsseling called ecto. Supposed to work with a variety of blog servers out there including Movable Type. Seems to work pretty well although it only does posts. Doesn't seem to handle comments and other site management features.

Also found a nifty little app called OSXPlanet that displays a map of the Earth (along with cloud coverage if desired) in realtime as your desktop picture. Looks awesome and lots of neat little things you can do to it. You can see what my current desktop looks like with it running here. Best thing of all is, it's free!

February 6, 2004

The American Way...

I just don't understand how something like this could possibly work. How can one person file a lawsuit in the name of EVERYONE in the USA. Lawsuits piss me off. Not saying that there aren't any legitimate suits out there but people just abuse the system way the hell too much. Can I file a lawsuit against this woman for causing traumatic disbelief and making me want to vomit?

February 9, 2004

Faulty mechanics...

Highly amusing movie explaining why the first Mars rover went kaput for while. Simple concept, great execution.

February 11, 2004

Uplifting...

Interesting article in Salon today about American Apparel, a "sweatshop free" clothing company based entirely in LA. They basically stay competitive by not worrying overly much about changing fashions every few months and just churning out the basic styles that never go out of style. Prices seem to be comparative to other brands as well although I guess I wouldn't really know since I haven't bought a piece of clothing in years. They do have two retail stores in NYC though so might check it out with Erin sometime.

Whuh oh...

New report that PalmSource is no longer going to work on sync software for the Mac with its new Palm OS Cobalt (aka OS6). Instead, Mac-heads will have to rely on third-party software from mark/space to do syncing. NOT cool. Means that Mac users will have to pay an additional $40 to get their sync on if they purchase upcoming Palm units. I sense an increased clamor for an iPDA.

For future reference...

Every now and then I'll visit Ernie's House of Whoopass which is just another blog, though nowhere near being work-safe. Historically, Ernie has a bit of a conservative bent to his views which in this case is fine by me cause for the most part he's an entertaining read. So I was a bit surprised to read the following op-ed on gay marriage that he posted earlier this month. Decided to copy the entire thing over since it'll probably disappear from his main page soon. But I agree fully with this piece.

Continue reading "For future reference..." »

February 13, 2004

Owari!!!

After over 46 hours spread out over months, I finally finished Xenosaga! That was one really damn long movie/RPG. And it's supposed to be the first of a 6-part game! Yikes! Hope they don't run out of money (and players' interest) before then. Seems like I have a tendency of wasting too much time killing the random encounter critters to beef up my characters cause the big bad super boss at the end winds up being rather simple to beat. Same thing happened to me with Final Fantasy X. Ah well, on to Final Fantasy X-2!

February 16, 2004

You gotta be kidding...

Jeter AND A-Rod???? Although Pedro & Schilling's no joke either. It sucks fantasy baseball-wise though; there's already a dearth of good shortstops to draft out there. Anyhooo, this baseball season's gonna be quite interesting... About time to take my first trip up to Yankee Stadium.

February 18, 2004

Anime update...

Been watching GTO: Great Teacher Onizuka lately and it's quite an entertaining series. About a reformed infamous gang leader becoming a junior high school teacher. Character drawings leave a lot to be desired at times but still a decent story with some hysterically funny moments. First time I've seen Macs (PowerMac G4/400 & older Powerbook) mentioned in an anime though. Even if it is what the creepy snobby pervy stalker freak uses. ;-p

Oh is that how it is...

Very interesting read about the science of love. Basically it's just an addiction, albeit one that's a lot easier to get over than the other arguably more debilitating addictions.

So the brains of people deeply in love do not look like those of people experiencing strong emotions, but instead like those of people snorting coke.

Well I guess I won't have to try coke anymore.

February 21, 2004

Uhh... ok...

On the way home from McDonald's this morning with breakfast, saw a H2 with license plates that read "Oedipus". Hmmm.......

A sure thing...

As everyone should know by now, there's a relatively low-tech method of ensuring that you win a free song with Pepsi's Win a Free Song on iTunes sweepstakes. It's actually not that easy at first, especially since there's usually condensation involved. Plus if you're in a not as ideally-lit bodega in the city, it could be pretty challenging. But that's where a handy Micro Photon light comes in handy. Thanks for the light, Fe! ;-) But anyway, I bought a bottle home to practice on and luckily I won with this bottle. So this'll be my very first purchase off of the iTunes Music Store. Well, not really a purchase but whatever. =)

So what was the song I redeemed my code for? Bittersweet Symphony by The Verve.

February 22, 2004

About time...

Amazon has finally added "priority" functionality to their wishlists. Not exactly the ranking (ala Queue on Netflix) that I was looking for but good enough for now. So now when viewing my wishlist it is advised that you sort by priority. ;-)

February 23, 2004

That's one way to do it...

Interesting blog entry by Eric Cheng detailing how he purchased a $199 Creative Labs Muvo 4GB MP3 player and ripped it up just so he can use the Hitachi 4GB Microdrive in his digital SLR. Apparently it's starting to catch on as there seems to be a bunch of pro photogs out there dismembering the new breed of MP3 players just for the microdrives. Wonder who'll be the first to do it to an iPod Mini.

February 25, 2004

Sucker for packaging...

Lately I've been drinking a bit of Pom Wonderful, which is pretty much pomegrante juice mixed with other fruit juices. The first time I saw this was in a bodega in NYC after the Halloween parade. Tastes a lot like cranberry juice really which I'm not especially fond of since I think it's a bit too tart for my liking. But for some reason I feel strangely compelled to buy these damn things even though it's $4 a pop. I think it has to do with the bottle...

It's the end...

of the world as we know it, and I feel fine... NOT.

Bit of a frightening article (main points here) concerning a Pentagon report on the near future effects of climate changes in the world. Oddly enough, nothing about it in US news even though this was reported on the 22nd. No global warming my ass.

On a side note I guess I better make my visits to the UK and Scandinavia pretty darn soon.

February 26, 2004

La la la la laaa...

Just noticed that Vienna Teng will be in town on March 16 to promote her new album, Warm Strangers. Shall check it out. Should definitely catch her if she passes by your locale.

Whoo...

Off to Philly. Have a great weekend y'all.

March 1, 2004

Back to the grind...

Took this past Friday & weekend off to take Erin around Philly. Lots to write about but feeling too tired at the moment. I think I need to take a day off to recover from the trip. ;-p

Happy March 1st!

March 2, 2004

Brain... feels... heavy...

Oh boy, more taxes. Nineteen states (including NY, NJ & CA) are adding a field in this year's income tax form that asks you to pay sales tax for everything you've bought online this year. I shit you not.

If you don't have the receipts handy, they'll just take a likely amount based on your income.

March 5, 2004

In the news...

The "Oddly Enough News from Reuters" always has some interesting tidbits here and there:

This guy has some huuuuuuuggeee cojones.

March 8, 2004

Good lord...

On the one hand, it's an Asian in the national spotlight. On the other hand, talk about perpetuating a stereotype. This is bad. Reaaaal bad.

On a very tangentially-related note, my 2nd Pepsi/iTunes giveaway song (I'm 2 for 2!): Locomotive (Complicity) - Guns N' Roses.

March 9, 2004

Someone hide my wallet...

SonyEricsson just unveiled their 2004 lineup. I want them all.

March 10, 2004

Gadget overload...

I never thought I'd ever say this but I need a break from reading about all these gadgets. With the launch of Engadget.com, which is by one of the founders of Gizmodo.com, there's just waaaaay too much gadget news to keep up with. Granted most of the entries on both sites are duplicates but still, too... much... information... And do we really NEED 2 gadget blogs? They seem to be competing or something cause after engadget was launched both just started spewing out postings like crazy. Ugh.

March 13, 2004

Random thought...

Why is it that it always feels better when someone washes your hair than when you do it yourself? Is it kinda along the lines of not being able to tickle yourself?

March 15, 2004

Shutterbug...

Almost caught up posting my pics from the last 3 months. Still got a big chunk from our Philly trip left to sort through though. Ugh.

March 16, 2004

Let it snow...

Seems like snowstorms in March is pretty much obligatory on the East Coast these days. Just when the temperature had reached the 50s for a few days, now it's dumping about 2-4" in the city. And Erin had already put away our winter clothes. Good thing I finally picked up our scarves from the dry cleaners last night.

Finally brought my Powerbook in to Tekserve for repairs this morning. One sure way to not have to wait for hours for service there is to go right when they open (at 9 am) on a weekday. I guess that works better if you have a job with a flexible manager and/or work schedule.

Continue reading "Let it snow..." »

Not the Academy Awards...

Apparently I'm passing through my Chinese film section of my Netflix queue cause I received the following in order: Beijing Bicycle, The King of Masks, and Shower on successive days.

Beijing Bicycle was a rather long, drawn out, peculiar affair that was supposedly a look into the Chinese mindset. Definitely a bit of a foreign mindset if this movie is any indication. Apparently determination (or stubbornness, depending on how you want to look at it) and hard work doesn't bring you fame and fortune (as would be the case in Hollywood films), but half-assed compromises, a lot of running, a slew of severe ass-kickings, and an abused bike. Supposedly traditional Chinese thinking bases your chance of success in life on the social class that you were born into. At least according to the director of this film. Bit more of a fatalistic view of the world. I'm not entirely certain I would recommend this flick. The second main lead's love interest is rather attractive however. Might be worth a look if you're interested in social commentary I suppose.

Continue reading "Not the Academy Awards..." »

Information superhighway...

Education is good for you kiddies, let there be no doubt.

I'm having a...

slow day at work today, can't you tell? ;-)

These things are actually kinda geeky cute.

And for those who are morning shower-ers and don't have time to suck down a steaming cup of joe, I present to you, Shower Shock Caffeinated Soap. Don't spend too much time in the shower now. Unless you really want to become a twitchy prune.

March 17, 2004

Heh

Funny.

*blink* *blink* What just happened?

I've been putting off closing my Visa card account with BankOne cause I've always found it to be a bit of a hassle to deal with credit card companies and they'll usually try to get you to not cancel the card. Decided to bite the bullet this morning and do the deed. Entire phone call took like 2 minutes, no questions asked. What in the world? I think I'm going to go lay down now...

March 20, 2004

Mind is melting...

Can anyone tell me what the site is that tracks the current most popular blogging topics? I remember seeing it before but can't remember the name. Argghhh!

Politics sucks...

Well the last 2 days has certainly been interesting in Taiwan. For starters, the day before the presidential elections were to take place, the incumbent president, Chen Shui-Bian and vice-president, Annette Lu were shot at during a campaign trip. Chen suffered a relatively minor stomach wound while Lu had a grazed kneecap. The ever so gracious presidential candidate of the opposing KMT (aka Republican) party Lien Chan, had this to say then:

"The target of the bullets were not specific persons, but democracy, but I believe the Taiwan people won't let the incident, whose real cause has yet to be found out, influence the election."

Of course, now that he's lost the election by about 30000 votes, he's been singing a different tune:

"Such a thin margin is the result of the uncertainties left by yesterday's gunshots the truth of which has yet to be clarified."

Adding:

"It was an unfair election. Therefore, we will file a lawsuit against the election result. We demand the CEC seal all ballot boxes nationwide immediately and wait for the authorities to recount the ballots."

Gracious loser he is not. So I guess Mr. Chan was pretty much just talking outta his ass and didn't really believe that the Taiwanese people were smart enough to not let the shooting influence the vote. And I guess in order to make it a fair election, the government should have gotten someone to shoot Mr. Chan and his running mate as well. Leaving a bigger wound preferably so that they could get more sympathy votes.

Continue reading "Politics sucks..." »

March 21, 2004

Taxes suck even more...

Just spent the entire afternoon doing my freakin' taxes. My eyes are bleary and I feel sleepy, and that's even after I had a nice 9 hour sleep last night. Would be in a better mood if I didn't owe MORE taxes (hey, where the hell's my tax break Bush?!). But that's Qwest's fault. Damn lump sum they gave out as severance pushed me into the next income bracket and needs to be taxed to boot. At least they're supposed to repay me for it. They better since it's not exactly chump change.

And now I can't file my federal file electronically cause it's asking for my gross income from LAST year's return which I don't have a physical copy of since I believe I actually have it in PDF form in my Powerbook, which is still in the shop for another week, and on my external hard drive for my Powerbook, which can't be read by my PC desktop because MS SUCKS! At least I'm not doing this at the last minute.

I need a cold compress for my eyes.

March 24, 2004

Let there be light...

Very interesting article on a newly invented, more eco-friendly magnetic/electric motor that can produce the same amount of horsepower and torque as conventional motors but consume only 20% or less power. There are doubts as to whether this thing actually works as advertised. Guess we'll see when it hits those Japanese convenience stores.

Damn, I wish we had this water taxi plying the waters between Jersey City and Manhattan. I'd be on it every freakin' day.

Say goodbye to assassinations and robberies in underground parking lots.

March 25, 2004

Just another day...

Kinda drab and dreary out today which rather sucks since it's relatively warm. At least it stopped raining. Sent out my "pay me back you punks" package to Qwest just before. Finally found out what the hell certified mail was (recipient needs to sign for it).

Thank goodness payday comes 3 times in April. Unfortunately that won't happen again until September.

It's nice to be able to listen to 80's tunes all day at work. It's been ages since I've heard "Carrie" by Europe. Occassionally popping over to the anime station.

Altoids has a new sour flavor: Apple, that comes in a red tin. I think I still prefer tangerine best though.

Had an interesting discussion at work the other day where my boss said that the US should take a page from China's book and just learn to butt out of foreign affairs for awhile. You rarely hear about China in the news when it comes to foreign issues right? And I don't think it's because their media is state-owned. Sure there's the ongoing Taiwan thing but in the realm of international issues, that's like a teeny weeny blip when compared to anything in the Middle East. Heck the only times you ever hear a peep out of China is when the US gets involved. And I don't quite buy the idea that because we're currently the primo superpower in the world that we need to police the world and/or actively look out for our own self-interests abroad. Especially since it seems like the US has a pretty bad track record when it comes to meddling with affairs abroad. Someone convince me why isolationism would be a bad thing for the US at this point in time. Clean house first fer cryin' out loud.

March 26, 2004

Spoke too soon...

China, shut the fuck up.

March 28, 2004

Pitfalls of being tech dependent...

Friday afternoon turned out to be a heck of an emotional rollercoaster ride for me. Mostly my own doing really. First off I was looking forward to getting my Powerbook back from Tekserve after it had been gone for 2 weeks.

Come 2pm, no call yet from them to let me know whether or not I could pick it up so I decided to give them a call to check up. Was forwarded to the service dept where no one picked up so I left a voicemail. A bit after 4, they finally called back to say that the bottom case had been replaced but they were still waiting for the screen replacement. I said no problem, I'll just pick it up and leave a deposit for the screen. Girl on the phone said ok, lemme go check with your tech if you can pick it up. After a couple of minutes she comes back and says she'll have to call me back cause she can't find my tech.

5:30, still no call and I was ready to go home so I decided to just drop by since it was on the way and you usually have to wait for awhile to pickup anyway. Finally received a call at 6 while I was already in the store that it was ok for me to pick up. Whew, I would've been pretty darn annoyed if I couldn't. For one thing, how does it take 2 weeks to just replace a bottom case? Prior to this I had usually had 2-3 day turnarounds with these guys so this 10 day wait was a bit of an anomaly and I was getting pretty antsy without my primary machine. I never know how much I depend on this thing until I lose it for awhile. Even with my PC desktop at home, pretty much all of my data is stored on my laptop so I'm pretty damned lost without it.

So anyway, the whole laptop situation turned out fine after a few hours of anxiety. Hopefully they won't make me wait this long again when the screen actually comes in and I have to take this thing back to have it swapped.

But that's not the end of this story...

Continue reading "Pitfalls of being tech dependent..." »

Am I too old...

to be blogging? Been poking around Ricebowljournals for a while during the week and it seems like the majority of bloggers are in school. Granted, I usually feel and act 10 years younger than I actually am but still, should I not be spending so much time on this?

Anyhoo, I finally figured out a problem that's been plaguing my Palm T3 for a while now. Well, not really fixed it, just discovered what was actually going on. Every now and then the T3 would not turn on and it'd only come back to life after I plugged it into an outlet and charged it for a little while which led me to believe that it wasn't turning off properly. Adding to that was the fact that all my data and apps would be gone and I had to reinstall from my backups. But I have it set to shut off automatically after 2 minutes of inactivity so even if I had forgotten to turn it off it should do so anyway. So I figured it was a bad battery but the battery seemed fine most of the time. Got back home the other evening and discovered that the Palm was on and had crashed. So obviously once the darn thing crashes it's not going to be turning off automatically after 2 minutes. Which accounts for the battery drain and the hard reset that happens which wipes out the data. Gotta continue to keep an eye on this.

Oooh yeaaaahh.....

Clarke rules. I love how he's giving the Republican attack machine the big fat finger.

March 29, 2004

Interesting sites...

by a woman who likes to ride her bike (no, not the pedal kind) in and around Chernobyl. Site could be down occassionally due to high traffic but it's worth a look. Her commentary can be a bit funny at times.

And the concept behind this site is actually pretty neat. Use GPS to navigate your way to a point where a latitude and longitude intersects and snap a picture or two.

March 31, 2004

Hoo Yeah!

And so it begins.

Decent start, remains to be seen if it'll last.

Also put up some more photo galleries.

April 2, 2004

Damn, why didn't I think of this?

A portal for blogs. By that Denton guy (of Gawker and Gizmodo fame).

View mine here.

Apparently, John Kerry is my presidential nominee of choice. Coming in at 88%, followed by Kucinich at 81% and Sharpton at 80%. Bush? 6%. No wonder I complain so much. =)

April 5, 2004

The first week...

So I've been tuning in to Air America for their first week on the air and it's been quite interesting. I wonder about the effectiveness of these radio talk shows though since it seems to me like it's just more preaching to the choir y'know? I mean I already know how blantantly deceptive the Bush administration is, listening to the specifics just makes me even more annoyed and puts me in a bad mood for the day. And I don't need that kind of aggravation.

Continue reading "The first week..." »

April 6, 2004

Hollywood SUCKS!!!!

So I finally discovered why there was never a DVD release of the Japanese flick, Shall We Dance?. Horror of horrors, Hollywood is remaking it for the US market starring Richard Gere (fresh from his Chicago stint), Susan Sarandon as his more pissed off wife, and J-Lo as the slightly less melancholy dance instructor. I think I want to act like a frog and hurl my stomach out of my mouth. Ugh.

Managed to catch 2 movies for free last night starring 2 cute women, Selma Blair and Liv Tyler. Guess the movies. ;-p

And am looking forward to the new Stiller flick, Dodgeball. It just looks sooooo bad. =)

April 7, 2004

Yay!

Just found out we have Friday off. Cool! =) Maybe I'll take tomorrow off as well.

Anyway, a bunch of op-ed pieces that talk about the William Hung phenomenon and voices why I dislike it so much better than I can:

Mercury News
SFGate.com
Village Voice

Great, just what we need, Friendster for your cell phone, aka Dodgeball.social. Go here to see their full vision. I guess it could be nice for really, REALLY social people. I have no life. =p

April 12, 2004

Time flies...

Not exactly sure where the hell my 4-day weekend went but oh well, hope everyone had a nice Good Friday. Have 90+ episodes of Slam Dunk! to sift through thanks to BitTorrent. Netflix has also started in on the Martian Successor Nadesico section of my queue so it'll be nice to finally finish that series.

Been on a spicy food kick lately for some odd reason so visited Grand Sichuan International - Clinton last week. Not bad. Their dandan noodles were pretty darn spicy and their fresh chicken dishes are pretty good. Going to check out Grand Sichuan International Eastern (same chain) tonight and try out some other stuff. Ah wait, now I remember why I got into this in the first place. Cause we went to the Grand Sichuan restaurant down in Chinatown a few weeks back and I've had a hankering for dandan noodles ever since then. If anyone knows of any other good, relatively authentic Sichuan (aka Szechuan) restaurants in the city that isn't called "Grand Sichuan", let me know. ;-)

April 19, 2004

Warm at last!!!

Warm at last! Thank god almighty I'm warm at last!!! Weather this past weekend was pheNOMENAL. Although apparently we might be moving from winter straight into summer cause it hit the mid 80's today. What kinda crap is that??? Anyway, thanks to Andy I ditched movie plans and spent much of Saturday in Central Park with approximately half the population of Manhattan.

Rowing

Great day to be out and about. Had dinner at Café Un Deux Trois off Times Square which was just ok. Wasn't particularly great for the price. La Bonne Soupe I think is much better and slightly cheaper to boot.

And I think I'm becoming Sichuan'ed out for now. A new Chinese restaurant just opened up near my parent's house and they took us there Sunday evening. Wouldn't ya know it, Sichuan cuisine. I forget the name of the restaurant but I do remember it was something "Chalet." And it replaced what used to be a pancake house. Kinda weird. But anyway, the spicy wonton in hot red oil was ok, dandan noodles was pretty good, and their ma pou tofu was AWESOME. But that's the 4th Sichuan restaurant I've had in a one month span so no more Sichuan for me. Unless you want to invite me to one. But it better be another one besides the one's I've been to already. ;-p

Weird, why is there a picture of Andy Lau on the Salon home page (under Arts & Entertainment, next to the I Like to Watch article) when the article has nothing to do with him. Bizarre.

And after 2 months, Tekserve finally received the replacement screen for my Powerbook and replaced it this evening. Got my $1k deposit back, screen looks great, and I'm a happy camper. =) Now I can sell this thing off to get the new model that was just released today! Just kidding! =) Unfortunately. =p

April 23, 2004

Closing shop...

Hard to believe it's been about a year already but my ownership of the iTuneShare.org domain name is coming to a close. Sometime in early May. Decided not to extend it since it's a rarely used site these days anyway. Had originally created it to help pass away a month of my unemployed time and to take advantage of one of iTunes 4.0 special features. But obviously once Apple figured out that the feature might leave them open to being sued by RIAA, they promptly crippled it in the later versions of iTunes. Which is rather unfortunate since I think I did a pretty darn good job with the site. ;-p Oh well.

April 27, 2004

Fun with religion...

The O'Franken Factor blog has a good piece, Christianity is a Liberal Religion, on why the religious resistance to homosexuality and all things homo could be a bit outdated. Although I guess I wouldn't mind legalizing the beating of servants. Cause you know, those servants. Can get pretty uppity. But anyway, GO RELIGIOUS LEFT! I'd like to hear some more from you folks. A coupla more fun with scripture sites:

Kinda reminds me of the hick anti-abortion protester at the March for Women's Lives this past weekend shouting "submit thee back to the kitchen" over the megaphone. Gotta love The Daily Show. Speaking of which, I always thought Stewart does a pretty good job making the show relatively neutral as far as politics are concerned. He welcomes both Dem and Repub guests with equal zeal and mocks actions from both camps that are worthy of mocking. But lately he's been injecting more of his liberal self into his interviews. On being asked what question he would ask Bush/Cheney if he were in the 9/11 Commission, "What the *bleep* is wrong with you people?!" Or maybe that's just cause he was interviewing Bob Kerrey last night.

May 4, 2004

Hisashiburi...

Been feeling extremely lazy these past few weeks for some reason so haven't been keepin' up much with the postin'. I would've thought the advent of spring would give me a nice kick to the rear and get my shit in gear but not so. Ah well, work doesn't get done by itself apparently no matter how hard I try (or don't try in this case ;-).

Last 2 weekends were pretty spectacular. Perfect days for lollin' about at Yankee Stadium. Caught the Saturday afternoon game vs. the archrival Red Sox 2 weekends ago with Andy. Game was close and actually went into extra innings but the Bombers went down in the end. Good thing we left the inning before the show ended so didn't have to deal with having to get out in the mad crush. Then this past weekend I went again with Erin and my parents to see them take on the Royals. They wiped the floor with them and we missed Sierra's grand slam in the bottom of the 8th cause we left in the middle of the 8th. =p But still a pretty good time. Watching baseball's a pretty good way to spend a gorgeous day. Now if only the prices would come down alittle. ;-p

Been nosying around some Republican blogs the past few weeks and have come to the conclusion that I should really stop doing so. Originally I just wanted to keep tabs on what it was they get annoyed about but after awhile it's pretty much the same things ad nauseum. I can never agree with the current conservative mindset anyway.

May 7, 2004

End of a decade...

As most of you probably know (if not, what, you think you're above TV or something?), Friends finally ended last night. And damnit, I watched it and I'm proud of it. I don't wanna hear any of those tired "it's soooo unrealistic" or "what's with all the white people?" complaints. The damn thing was a tv sitcom. You don't watch tv sitcoms for their realistic settings or plots. You just need to be easily entertained. And that's what I am. Although that doesn't explain my aversion to the reality tv fad. I guess I'm just an old-school sitcom kind of guy. Anyhoo, I couldn't help but feel a twinge of loss when watching the final moments of the show. Not cause it was ending but cause of the situation they were in. If everyone you knew were moving away and moving on all at the same time, you'd be feeling emotional too. Ah well, at least there's still Joey. ;-) And Scrubs. If Joey's not a worthy successor, then Scrubs definitely is.

Looking forward to Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. The sideshows have finally become stars! ;-p

Emails...

Amusing email sent out at work today:

We received a Mother's Day wish from a little boy in the general
mailbox. If you have a little boy, he sounds about 7 or 8 years old,
let me know and I can forward you the message.

And a rather disturbing recount about US/Asia trade orgs in DC from a friend who was just there for business:

Most if not ALL Asia-affiliated trade organizations and gov. entities in Washington, D.C. are staffed by CAUSASIANS, making relations with Asia-staffed entities a bit challenging!  Very few Asian or Asian-American professionals.  The entire staff at US-Taiwan, for example, is Caucasian which from my POV puts them at a serious disadvantage as far as really establishing their Taiwan-connections and forwarding their cause.  I was also told that the Asia Foundation and Asia Society are also largely staffed by what they term "Sinofiles", white people obsessed with Asian culture/politics and believe themselves to be "China/Asia Experts"...

It's the strangest phenomenon, but evidently the word is that these groups are formed to service OTHER white groups, and that Asian-Americans who do get in, don't stay for very long as they are often passed up for promotions, etc...

Apparently these "Asia" organizations in D.C. come up with their own conclusions about what is going on in Asia (some have never been, don't speak the language, don't have Asian-studies background, nothing) and then provide that info to other white groups that are equally clueless but have strong political ties and thus have big PULL at the gov. level, so it's an eco-system of its own that effectively fuels itself.

Uhh..... huh....

Peculiar job posting I found on Craigstlist - Honolulu for a software developer. Of note:

While performing the duties of this job, the employee is regularly required to stand; walk; sit; use hands to finger, handle, or feel; reach with hands and arms; climb or balance; stoop, kneel, or crouch; and talk or hear. The employee must regularly lift and/or move up to 10 pounds. Specific vision abilities required by this job include close vision, distance vision, color vision, peripheral vision, depth perception, and ability to adjust focus.

A bit too much disclosure of the obvious there.

May 11, 2004

To counteract...

the absolutely insane and vulgar news coverage coming out of Iraq these days, I figured I might as well link to Operation Iraqi Children. Help out.

And for fun:

May 13, 2004

Ahh.... youth

So I was on my way home a bit early today since the higher-ups let us leave due to having no a/c in our office while it's in the 80's outside. On the 5 express downtown to the WTC, I noticed a young teen couple, dressed sorta punkishly (eyebrow piercings, mostly blond with red streaked hair, mesh stockings, etc.) continuously engaging in PDA. They were seriously sucking face on and off for a good 20 minutes. But anyway, not that I have a problem with PDA. What I found kinda odd was that once we started nearing the Fulton Street station, I glanced over to find the girl hunched over with her head between her knees. Once we got to Fulton, the guy got up to get off the train and the girl straightened up and looked like she was crying. As I left the station, I looked back to see that the guy had basically just taken off first while the girl had gotten off at the same stop but was straggling behind still looking rather upset. So anyway, no point to this story, just wondering what the hell happened. =)

May 14, 2004

Political humor...

REPUBLICAN NATIONAL COMMITTEE
CONVENTION SCHEDULE
New York, NY

06:00 PM Opening Prayer led by the Reverend Jerry Fallwell
06:30 PM Pledge of Allegiance
06:35 PM Burning of Bill of Rights (excluding 2nd amendment)
06:45 PM Salute to the Coalition of the Willing
06:46 PM Seminar #1 "Getting your kid a military deferment"
07:30 PM First Presidential Beer Bong
07:35 PM Serve Freedom Fries
07:40 PM EPA Address #1: Mercury, it's what's for dinner.
08:00 PM Vote on which country to invade next
08:10 PM Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh
08:15 PM John Ashcroft Lecture: The Homos are after your children
08:30 PM Round table discussion on reproductive rights (MEN only)
08:50 PM Seminar #2 Corporations: The government of the future
09:00 PM Condi Rice sings "Can't Help Lovin' Dat Man"
09:05 PM Second Presidential Beer Bong
09:10 PM EPA Address #2 Trees: The real cause of forest fires
09:30 PM Break for secret meetings
10:00 PM Second prayer led by Cal Thomas
10:15 PM Lecture by Carl Rove: Doublespeak made easy
10:30 PM Rumsfeld demonstration of how to squint and talk macho
10:35 PM Bush demonstration of trademark "deer in headlights" stare.
10:40 PM John Ashcroft demonstrates new mandatory kevlar chastity belt
10:45 PM Clarence Thomas reads list of black republicans
10:46 PM Third Presidential Beer Bong
10:50 PM Seminar #3 Education: a drain on our nation's economy.
11:10 PM Hilary Clinton Pi?±ata
11:20 PM Second Lecture by John Ashcroft: "Evolutionists--The dangerous new cult"
11:30 PM Call EMTs to revive Rush Limbaugh again.
11:35 PM Blame Clinton
11:40 PM Laura serves milk and cookies
11:50 PM Closing Prayer led by Jesus Himself
12:00 PM Nomination of George W. Bush as Holy Supreme Planetary Leader

May 17, 2004

Voyeuristic...

Was at my parent's house this past weekend looking through some stuff that my Mom had to move from underneath my old bed since they were putting in a new bed. Mostly some indepth volumes on aircraft but also some grade and high school yearbooks and two photo albums, one with pictures taken during the Loveboat program (if you need to ask, you don't need to know ;-p), and the other of pictures taken during my summer at the Brown University Summer Academy. Looking through those pictures, I was becoming rapidly depressed because I couldn't remember what the hell I did there. Actually, that's not true, I retain a bunch of memories from that summer but the pictures contain more things and people than I remember. It's quite possible that a bunch of the pictures I have were taken by others but I don't even remember enough of that to say for certain. Anyway...

Continue reading "Voyeuristic..." »

Affordable!

Good to see that Six Apart has listened to the deluge of complaints that they inevitably received last week when they released their new Movable Type pricing structure and modified them to be much more realistic. I now only need to pay $70 to run this blog legitimately! ;-p

May 19, 2004

Not everyone can be comedians...

unfortunately. Why couldn't we have gotten these guys for our commencement speech?

Jon Stewart's Commencement Address at William & Mary

Conan O'Brien's Commencement Speech at Harvard

May 20, 2004

Indigestion...

I like my good food as much (and probably more) than the next guy but this is getting ridiculous.

On another food-related note, Marvin & Ariel are in town this week so as usual, Marvin suggested a new and exceptional dining venue. We went to Churrascaria Plataforma yesterday evening and it's a spectacular place to go to gorge yourself on meat, meat.... and even more meat. My advice, skimp as much as possible on the salad/appetizer bar, ignore the chicken and bacon-wrapped whatever cuts, try the lamb and pork cuts but feast on the beef. Sirloin, flank, it's ALLLL good. Definitely not a cheap place to go though and the $40/person doesn't even include dessert! So expect to pay about $70 for a full meal there.

May 25, 2004

"Ninjas. I can't stand them."

"They're everywhere." Anyone? Anyone?

Anyhoo, finally started watching Naruto. Target audience seems to be much younger than I but ah well, has some cool older characters. I'm starting to understand why some of these series are 50+ episodes long. It's cause one fight (well ok, it's a "story arc") freakin' takes like 10 episodes to get through.

May 30, 2004

Another one...

Man, people must really love these things...

June 1, 2004

Dance fever...

Hope everyone had a relaxing Memorial Day holiday. I went home to help my parents rearrange the furniture and beds in all the bedrooms. Would've helped if my Dad didn't choose these gigantically thick mattresses. Sheesh. And decided to finally toss most of the remnants of my fansub anime collection. Such a waste. =\ Finally got them sign up for cable modem though so I'll probably be headed out there again next weekend to set that and wireless up. That also meant we got rid of their ancient Win98SE-running Pentium desktop that my Dad had picked up on one of his scrap runs and replace it with a brand new Sony VAIO A Series. It's a sad day when I have to choose the screen with the lower resolution cause my parents will no way in hell be able to use 1400x1050 screen. Ah well, at least it's a new toy for me to play with for a little while. ;-)

Continue reading "Dance fever..." »

June 2, 2004

Hmm...

Does anyone out there actually use Dodgeball?

June 3, 2004

Odds & Ends...

Not exactly sure why this was in the "Oddly Enough" section of Reuters. These ads are actually pretty nifty and work pretty well, just a larger and lighted version of a flip book. They have 2 areas in the PATH system that I know of that have them. Used to be 1 between I think the 14th and 23rd Street stops in Manhattan and they just put in a new one going from WTC to Exchange Place.

I was astonished to see that The Drew Carey Show was back on ABC with new episodes. I had thought they had killed it. Didn't help that ABC had placed it into possibly the worst time slot ever last fall (Fridays at 9). Now it's on Wednesdays at 9. So I guess it'll be my replacement for That '70s Show for the summer.

Seems like there is a pending draft legislation slowly working its way through Congress. Bad news is that it's a draft. Good news is that it's only for men (and women) between 18 & 26. Bad news is that you can no longer run away to Canada or any institute of higher learning to dodge the draft. Ehh, no other good news about it.

June 4, 2004

Speaking of dancing...

Funny.

June 5, 2004

Yay!

Finally figured out how to fix this site's stylesheet so that the right-hand column shows up correctly when viewed with PC IE. 'sbout time. Thanks to a skin expert at the BlogSkins Forum who gave me a tip as to what to look for. What a relief. IE still sucks! =)

June 8, 2004

Biting the bullet...

It's about time. =)

June 11, 2004

Lube job...

Recently bought an AlGlide kit from RadTech cause the hinge on my Powerbook was creaking something fierce whenever I closed it. Akin to fingernail on blackboard level of aural disturbance. Enclosed instructions were pretty easy to follow and the kit actually works quite well. I only lubed up one side though so will give it awhile to see if the other side is gonna get stiff as well. But a good product, works as advertised.

Seems like people are auctioning off GMail invites on eBay which isn't surprising I guess. Two weeks ago people were actually paying over $100 for one, can you believe that shit? Now the prices have dropped to the $5-20 level since they're everywhere it seems. I tried sending email to ronin and kenshin @ gmail.com to see if they were already taken, thinking that if they weren't their email system would tell me by sending back a "this username does not exist" type of warning message but got nothing. But then I sent another one to kenshin27 and didn't get a reply back either so I'm thinking that way of checking doesn't work. And then I read that their username's had to be 6 characters or more so I couldn't select ronin anyway.

It would be deliciously funny if Google decided to wipe out all existing accounts right before they went live with Gmail. Since they are currently only in beta after all.

June 13, 2004

New toy!! Sorta...

topclosedview.jpg

The Sony A130 for my parents finally came in so I've been playing around with it and setting it up for them this weekend. As far as PC laptops go, I generally like Sony's style better than the other brands. Their machines are also priced relatively well for the most part. However, they do make some odd design choices at times...

Continue reading "New toy!! Sorta..." »

New additions...

newtank.jpg

We had been talking about getting fish for quite awhile now but never really got around to it till this weekend. Dropped by NJ Pets in East Hanover during our routine grocery run and picked up a quick and easy Eclipse System 3 which is an acrylic 3-gallon tank. Quite easy to set up although now that I think about it, is probably a bit too small for the number of fish that Erin wants. Ah well, we can always upgrade once we prove that we're not Death personified when it comes to raising fish.

Continue reading "New additions..." »

June 16, 2004

What the...

This has got to be the oddest bit of news to come down the pipe in a looong time but apparently, last year, the USDA quietly agreed to classify french fries as a fresh vegetable! Somehow batter-coating, deep-frying and then freezing fries is akin to waxing a cucumber and sweetening a strawberry.

June 17, 2004

Ups and downs...

Well so far we've lost five of our original eight fish (all four cardinal tetras and one bronze cory) but have replaced them with four others (three albino pristella tetras and one regular pristella tetra). Possibly pick up another two cories tonight. Chalk it up to poor research when we first started cause cardinal tetras are definitely not the type of fish you'd want to cycle a tank with. And I'm somewhat surprised that we lost the bigger cory. Not too surprised since it had been acting a bit sedate for the past day or so especially when compared to the smaller one that spends a good amount of time zipping around all over the tank. But I think we've got a good batch now that should be able to handle the vigors of a new tank since the new tetras already have an appetite whereas the cardinals would not eat. Just gotta do daily water changes and hope the bacteria start kicking in soon.

Continue reading "Ups and downs..." »

June 23, 2004

Good thing...

I didn't fork over cash for a Gmail invite. Speaking of which, does anyone need one? I have an extra one to send out if needed.

June 24, 2004

Fish update...

New Fish

Well, after 2 weeks I still don't see any trace of nitrites in the water so it seems like our ammonia-munching bacteria hasn't really taken hold yet. Getting rather impatient here. =p But at least the fish don't seem to care and we haven't lost another one since the last entry. One of the cories seems to have taken into hanging out inside the house. If he goes and croaks in there we won't know for quite awhile. At least all the fish seem to have their appetites as they go into a frenzy when we feed them. Especially the cories; watching them squirm around is hilarious.

Continue reading "Fish update..." »

Disco bandit is me...

Kingdom of Loathing. Gotta love it. And because you only get a certain number of actions every day, you can't waste too much of your daily time on it. ;-)

June 26, 2004

Cheeeeese!!!

Caught Azumi last night with Erin, Fe, Maria & Sean. Really campy and cheesy Japanese sword flick. Way too long for its genre however (2 hours 22 minutes) but still pretty enjoyable. Ueto Aya is the quintessential video game/anime fighter chick though so that was a great casting decision. She just has the whole look going. The over-the-top psychotic swordsman in white reminded me of Tachibana Ukyo from the Samurai Shodown series. Ukyo wasn't a psycho however and was much cooler. =)

June 27, 2004

It's that time again...

Steve Jobs' having another keynote at the WWDC 2004 in San Fran tomorrow. Will show a preview of the next MacOS X version (Tiger) and there might be some other fun stuff to be revealed. Should be interesting. Some interesting banners at the convention center shown at Erik Gilchrist's blog. Pretty darn bold considering Longhorn's got that spanking new database-based file system and requirements that as of earlier this year read: a dual-core CPU running at 4 to 6GHz; a minimum of 2 gigs of RAM; up to a terabyte of storage; a 1 Gbit, built-in, Ethernet-wired port and an 802.11g wireless link; and a graphics processor that runs three times faster than those on the market today. Ahhh..... progress.

June 30, 2004

We've got bacteria!

FINALLY! After a little over two weeks our tank finally has traces of ammonia-eating bacteria. Our nitrite test finally went from light blue to purple. Now probably another two weeks before the nitrite-eating bacteria kick in. =p

While we're on the subject of normally icky things, Jason Giambi of the NY Yankees has an intestinal parasite. Yuck!

July 1, 2004

Oh boy...

Something's alittle askew when projectionists are toting around night-vision goggles.

July 13, 2004

Ouch!!!

As much as the guy deserves at least a partial Darwin award, I can't help but wince.

Something tells me he's gonna be doing a LOT more drinking in the future.

July 15, 2004

Of toilets, hierarchical charts, and community websites...

Never thought you'd see a title like that eh? ;-p

I find this public toilet strangely exciting. Would you be able to use it? Of course, as someone noted on the BBC site, it won't take long for people to try other things in there besides typical bathroom business. ;-)

Next we have two amusing charts. First off, the big Geek Hierarchy. And following that, the even bigger Japan Hierarchy. Worth a run-through cause they are pretty funny.

And finally, an email made it through Mail's spam filter the other night promoting Metails (Me + details, get it?), a new site that appears to be a hybrid between those social networking sites (Friendster, Orkut, Ryze, etc., are they passé yet?) and product review/opinion sites like Epinions and part of Amazon. As far as I can tell, you write product reviews on this site and get some money if your friends on the site buy the product through whatever link the site takes you to to buy the product online. And uh, you can also share pictures on the site as well. The site itself looks kinda nifty so probably worth playing around with for awhile.

Fins galore!

Eclipse System 12

We've owned a 12-gallon Eclipse System 12 for about 2 weeks now and we are loving it. =) As usual it is overstocked with 27 fish and 3 shrimp but at least for now, it seems to be fine and after a surprisingly few initial losses, the fish seem to be doing quite well.

More pictures after the break...

Continue reading "Fins galore!" »

July 17, 2004

Something to do only ONCE in a lifetime...

Erin

I took this past Friday off to have wedding photos done down in Edison at the Marry Me Wedding Palace. We left our apartment at a little before 9:30 in the morning and didn't leave the studio till 9:30 at night. I think Erin had a tougher time of it than I did. We were extremely lucky weather-wise though as it had rained for most of the week and so the temperature was in the low 80's with minimal humidity. And mostly cloudy so the 3 hours we spent taking outdoor pics at Princeton University didn't kill us. I never realized you were supposed to yell "Congratulations" at strangers taking pictures in full wedding regalia but apparently so.

The whole shoot probably wouldn't have taken as long if Erin's hair and makeup didn't have to be redone for every different outfit she wore (four). And posing for pics is pretty much like yoga except with a lot more clothes on. You position parts of your body in ways you don't normally do and have to hold it for annoyingly long amounts of time. Try doing that for an entire day. Pics will be done in about 3 weeks. Hopefully there'll be some good ones. =p

July 19, 2004

Hysterical...

Caught an advanced screening of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle last night and for a movie of its genre, it's awwwesome. A couple of weird, out-of-left field type of shit every now and then but overall there's definitely much more out-right laughs than "eh heh" parts. Lots of cameos and subtle (or not) references to other movies throughout (a bunch of X-treme sports wannabees steal a parking spot from Harold (John Cho) and yell "Better luck tomorrow!" at him) and it's well worth seeing. Not just cause for once there's an Indian- and a Korean- American lead in a mainstream film, but because it's truly a funny ass movie. And it doesn't hurt that Paula Garcés is looking mighty cute in the film too. ;-)

Kal Penn (Kumar) reminds me a lot of Zach Braff who plays J.D. in the NBC sitcom, Scrubs. Similar hair style and expressive facial ability. Guess it's not surprising that I like the show and the movie so much. =)

July 20, 2004

Hmm... 6 day weeks...

Coworker sent me this site awhile back expounding the virtues of having a 6 day week instead of the typical 7 day weeks that we've had since forever. Interesting reading. Would mean having 28 hour days and more hours in a day going towards sleeping which is always good. But I have a feeling I'd probably waste those hours being awake like I do now anyway. =p

July 21, 2004

Fishy roll call...

Just thought I'd write a bit about our current fish family. We currently have:

4 gold cloud mountain minnows
4 Espe's rasboras
5 bronze cories
6 cherry barbs
2 pristella tetra
2 gold pristella tetra
3 otocinclus
4 gold barbs
4 Japonica shrimp

Details after the break...

Continue reading "Fishy roll call..." »

July 26, 2004

Shove it!

What are we, in the early 1900s??? I don't know what they're complaining about. It's definitely much more civil than telling him to "go fuck yourself".

July 28, 2004

Getting closer...

Picked up our wedding rings from Niwaka last week. Took four weeks and unfortunately the picture below doesn't do the actual rings justice but suffice to say we're really pleased with how they turned out.

biosring.jpg

We also got back the developed shots of our all-day wedding shoot from two weeks ago to pick through. Scanned a bunch in and you can check them out if you're so inclined. Cheeze factor is high obviously.

July 31, 2004

Too... much... sugar...

Just watched the first DVD of Azumanga Daioh from Netflix. Quite possibly WAAAAY too saccharine for most. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING, about it just oozes kawaii-ness. Well, 'cept for the freaky male lit teacher. And there's no real plot. Just following the lives of some high school girls and their English and phys ed teachers in sometimes disjointed clips. Not as absolutely and downright bizarre as FLCL (Fooly Cooly) but definitely not your average run-of-the-mill anime either. Can't wait to catch the next two discs. =)

Also took Erin to see Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and surprisingly she enjoyed it. Thought it was pretty funny even though she missed all the cameos and in jokes. Anyway, just doing my bit (again) to support the AA actors. =)

August 4, 2004

A good laugh...

at someone else's expense. =)

August 5, 2004

Banzaaaiiii!!!!!

I guess reading a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook while on a plane would be an even bigger no no.

Sheesh, like an actual suicide bomber would be WRITING IT DOWN? What, did the fellow passenger think just cause the guy was Japanese that he was getting ready to go kamikaze on their ass?

Just STFU already...

Who says it was a misspeak? ;-p

Just kidding, but it is a bit amusing.

August 6, 2004

Passing of a legend...

"Cocaine's a helluva drug." At least he's been immortalized in a gut-busting The Chappelle Show skit. Not without its repercussions of course.

August 13, 2004

Definitely not American...

Reading an article at Salon on the events in Najaf when this quote by a 26 year-old Iraqi student/fighter caught my eye:

"I am fighting to defend my leader, the Imam Ali and my religion. We will do anything to stop the Americans. They have sex and drinking and other things, and we don't want this."

WTF? They don't want sex and drinking?!? And they call themselves men. ;-p

This is so wrong...

yet so funny. Quicktime required. NOT work safe. Unless your coworkers don't mind profanity and the dreaded "N" word. Lots of it. But it's not everyday you get to see preppy white boys gettin' all offensively ghetto. And I guess you won't find it that amusing if you're a diehard Republican. Or maybe you will, who knows? And it's more for those of us living in or near NYC.

Oh, happy Friday the 13th!!! Good day for AVP!!!!! =)

August 18, 2004

Bloomberg's thinking outside the box...

Regardless of the fact that the whole premise behind this program is a little wacky, it does seem like anyone can take advantage of it. If not, how does one provide credentials on being a peaceful political activist in town for the RNC? So as long as you go pick up a pin from the NYC Visitors Center and print out the "Peaceful Political Activists Savings Card" from the website, you should be ready to go.

August 31, 2004

I'm back!

Well ok so I didn't really go anywhere, just been a bit preoccupied the past week to post anything. Anyway, hopefully should have a few entries lined up for the next few days. In the meanwhile, go and check out the new iMac G5! Not my cup of tea but still pretty neat.

September 1, 2004

New beginnings...

Lordy lordy, it's September already?

Well with a new month comes a new version of MovableType, the blog software that runs this silly lil' thing. Upgraded without a hitch although I'm having a heck of a time trying to get the new MTBlacklist 2.0 to work. It is beta after all. Plus the programmer's incommunicado for another week so no help coming from that end for the time being.

And of course, this entry would be remiss if I didn't mention the biggest event in the past week, my wedding. It turned out much better than I expected. Big "thank you's" to those who were able to join us in the festivities. To those who couldn't make it, we missed y'all and thanks for the well wishes. We'll need to catch up soon. I'm still gathering pics of the day so I'll post links and pics once I have everything organized. I'll write a dedicated entry later as well. Thanks for your patience. =)

September 8, 2004

But first, a quick ending...

Last week was just perusing the web like I generally do and ran into the following article on the rather disjointed downfall of The Drew Carey Show. Answered my questions on what the hell happened to the show this last year. Was rather puzzled by the sudden disappearance of the show last year and just as sudden reappearance (with zero fanfare too) this summer. I have to admit the show hasn't been as good as it used to be. Amazing that it was around for NINE years. Agree that it probably jumped the shark when Kate left (possibly a little bit before that).

Anyhoo, took a tv break earlier tonight and as luck would have it, managed to catch the very last two episodes of the show. Somewhat of a typical 2004 sitcom ending but still had its moments. Ah well, it was good while it lasted. Have a good life in syndication Drew, Lewis and Oswald.

September 13, 2004

Ahhh.... the '80s

Caught the song 1985 by Bowling for Soup on the radio while driving home the other day and thought it was hysterical. Well, maybe not really that funny but I can relate. Full lyrics after the break. What is it with the '80s when it comes to music? I don't recall radio stations having "Flashback '70s" hours or nights back in the 1990's. Anyway, I guess there's a lot of our generation out there cause the song's currently #1 on the iTunes Music Store. Rock on!

Continue reading "Ahhh.... the '80s" »

Deja vu?

While downloading the aforementioned song from Limewire I accidentally downloaded another song of the same name but by SR-71. Seems to be the exact same 'cept with slightly different lyrics. My guess is this was the original.

Continue reading "Deja vu?" »

September 14, 2004

It's the little things...

Normally, receiving a "Your order has shipped" email from an e-commerce site is no big deal, promptly being moved to the appropriate mail folder. But the one from Split Reason was worthy of a thorough read at least:

Continue reading "It's the little things..." »

October 7, 2004

What he said...

Was finally able to catch an episode of "Real Time with Bill Maher" since Comcast, in an attempt to suck even MORE money from my already broke ass decided to give me free HBO for a week. And it did not disappoint. The best quote of the day came at the very end and it's been something that I've always found incredulous when it came to Dubya and the "he's just a regular guy" bullshit that Repub supporters like to bring up constantly like that's something to be proud of.

"What is this longing for a regular guy in the highest office in the world? Presidents should be exceptional. John Kerry, for all his flaws, is an exceptional person. And President Bush? Well, he's a special person."

Emphasis on exceptional is mine. Cause that's what I truly believe the President should be. We're talking about the presidency here people, not some king of the frat house beer party. Although I wouldn't go so far as calling Kerry exceptional, compared to Dubya, he's at least a lot closer.

October 11, 2004

I don't need...

a down payment, college tuition, or retirement money. I just need a $60,000 speaker system. Boo yeah! ;-p

Big, brass...

cohones. As much as I find their actions despicable, I'm also somewhat impressed by the sheer brazenness that Repubs and their supporters have. It's a love/hate kinda thing. ;-p

October 13, 2004

Humor...

is good. God knows we all need it these days. Anyway, pretty funny stuff for those in the NY area.

October 14, 2004

Good grief...

only 19 days till the big day? Geez, when did that happen? Although I guess it can't come soon enough cause I'm sure everyone's already tired of all election nonsense. But I guess we can't complain all that much living in a non-swing state. I rarely see election ads. I'd hate to see what the Ohio-ans are going through.

Out of Touch, Out of Ideas, Out of Time. Catchy, they should've come up with it sooner.

October 15, 2004

I'm just shocked...

SHOCKED I tell ya. =p

Definitely siding with the gays on this one.

October 17, 2004

Mercy rule?

At first, the Yankees/Red Sox game was looking to be a good one as the game was tied at 6-6 in just the 3rd inning. I usually don't care all that much but I started feeling a certain smugness and primal glee after seeing that the Sox was basically getting clubbed like a baby seal (not that I enjoy watching baby seals being clubbed, just the Sox ;-), down 13-6 in the 6th. After returning home and tuning back in for the 8th, that smugness has given way to just plain embarrassment for Boston. 17-8 and then 19-8???? You sure this is a PLAYOFF GAME? Hell, the umps should just call it quits and let everyone go home to get some rest for tomorrow's game. Good lord. Andy's post's title directly below would apply to this entry quite well too.

October 18, 2004

No sympathy for you!

I find it rather amusing that two of the most closely-followed women in entertainment today decided to release songs that alternate between bemoaning their fate and telling everyone to fuck off. First there's everyone's favorite, Britney Spears (or as she wouldn't mind being known as, Britney Federline), with her remake of Bobby Brown's "My Prerogative." At least this one is relatively listenable to as opposed to the debut of everyone else's chesty favorite, Lindsay Lohan, who's "Rumors" song is so bad, I wanted to dive head-first out of my car window, while I was driving it, into the Hudson River, so I could either cleanse my ears or plug it up with silt just to stop the pain. Apparently she just needs to free her mind and "just wanna dance and have a good time." Indeed.

I mean I understand the fact that they deserve to have a smidgen of privacy but for god's sake, you didn't have to RELEASE A SONG ABOUT IT! Fer cryin' out loud.

October 21, 2004

Just in case...

you're still not sure where you really stand politically, here's a little quiz that may help you. Quick & easy, 10 questions.

And a rather uh, bizarre effort to get everybody's favorite squinty-eyed cowboy out of office. Enjoy. ;-p

October 29, 2004

Out of control...

My Netflix queue is currently at 140 and growing. When the hell'm I gonna have time to finish all these movies??? The good news is that Netflix is getting WAY better at getting anime titles these days and I cycle through those much faster than with regular movies. Seems like every new release title is available nowadays. Kudos to them. Plus they just lowered their monthly price from $21 to $17 so that's always good too.

The last episode of Macross Zero is finally out fansubbed too. Super duper, can't wait to watch it tonight. Quite a good series.

The other series I'm currently watching through Netflix is Ai Yori Aoshi, another one of those harem comedy/romance things in the same vein as Love Hina and the venerable Tenchi Muyo. You know, where every female in the story either starts off in love or winds up in love with the main male lead. There's something primitively attractive about the premise even though intellectually, you know it's just so wrong. ;-p

October 31, 2004

FU*K!!!!!!

I just missed out on getting a Canon EOS 20D digital SLR for 50% off from Amazon Marketplace. Goddangit I gotta stop dilly-dallying on stuff like this when I run across 'em.

Blood boiling...

It's utter crap like this that really gets my goat about hick Republican supporters. Talk about narrow-minded, intolerant and ignorant. I wish they DO move out of the US if Kerry wins. If that's the only way to get their asses out of the US to see what the rest of the world is really like, so be it.

Oh, and I found a way to circumvent Salon's ad page that you usually have to go through to get the One Day Pass access. Go to the article you want to read first, then type in the following URL in your browser's location box: http://www.salon.com/news/cookie.html

It'll set up the one day pass cookie in your browser and then automatically redirect you back to the article that you wanted to read.

November 2, 2004

Rock on!

Waited about an hour to vote this morning which was new. My old voting place back in East Hanover was never busy. Anyhoo, it'll be an interesting evening.

November 3, 2004

Depressed...

beyond words. At least my Jersey City mayor selection won.

It absolutely boggles the mind what this says about the priorities of half of the American public, their tolerance of ineptitude in the presence of faith and their intolerance of a certain minority who typically does no harm to anyone except to expose their attackers' own insecurities.

Oh well, life goes on. To tell the truth, I wish I could revert back to my old politically-unaware self in my early twenties. It's too exhausting emotionally otherwise. Bah, no way I'm gonna back down now.

November 4, 2004

No middle ground...

So by now we're probably all tired of hearing how divided the country is and it probably would be nice to be able find a middle ground. But after reading conservative posts throughout the web recently, I'm not entirely sure that's gonna be possible. You can't reason with someone who doesn't believe in it.

I first started reading Andrew Sullivan's site months ago cause I was fascinated by the idea of a gay Republican. I mean seriously, how the hell can you remain gay and a Republican in this day and age? Sure you can be pro-war and anti-tax but how do you stick with a party that has a central core which disavows your very existence? Masochism maybe?

Continue reading "No middle ground..." »

Scammers...

Yum! So I've been poking around online recently for a digital SLR camera, going through the usual suspects, Amazon, Craigslist, eBay, and the like. I was interested in the Canon EOS 20D but felt it was rather cost-prohibitive especially considering that this was my initial foray into manual photography. But I figured if I could find it for a ridiculously cheap price, I might as well go for it since that way, I won't have to upgrade it for a good many years. Of course, being the savvy Internet shopper that I am, I should've known already that when it comes to cameras and camcorders, there's no way in hell you're going to get a ridiculously cheap price on any of it.

Continue reading "Scammers..." »

November 16, 2004

People are mean...

Went to a NJ Nets basketball game last night (against the Houston Rockets) with my cousin cause he wanted to see T-Mac and Yao Ming and during a break between periods, Continental had a promotion where they brought out some poor sap and made him shoot baskets in an attempt to win free airfare for 2 or some crap like that. This guy obviously was no where near being a sports player. First he had to make a basket from the three-point line at about a 45 degree angle. He missed all 10+ shots that they gave him and was boo'ed by the crowd. Then he had to try to make one from the top of the three point circle and he missed that one by a mile. And the crowd REALLY let 'im have it then. I felt so bad for the poor guy.

That's why I dislike standing out in a crowd. Cause the crowd's fuckin' vicious.

December 3, 2004

A new month...

a new blog. Ok well, not really. Finally got tired of MT-Blacklist not working on my home PC so got some help from Fe and finally consolidated this thing with the rest of my site. Hopefully now I can stop manually deleting those damn comment spams. Anyhoo, hope everyone's having a great December. Only 22 days till the big day! ;-)

December 9, 2004

Lap of luxury...

Although I can't help but think that I'm sitting either on the StayPuff Marshmallow Man or the Michelin Man.

December 10, 2004

Good reading...

Regardless of political affiliation, everyone should read this. Ignore all the crap and comments around it, just read the sermon.

December 20, 2004

Hmm... time to jump ship?

So we took my mom out to Flushing this past weekend cause her cellular contract was up and she wanted a new-fangled phone. And everyone knows that the best place to get deals on cell phones is in an Asian-infested area. ;-) So we wandered into the "Busy Mall" on Main Street closest to Northern Boulevard which has 4 cellular service stores located right within the entrance. Makes it a little unnerving cause people from the 2 stores lucky enough to be right next to the door greet you when you walk in so you feel sorta bad when you choose one and not the other. Also makes it a little tough to comparison shop since the next store is like 4 feet away. But anyway, I just went where my mom went and at least she picked the store with the cute girl. =)

Continue reading "Hmm... time to jump ship?" »

December 22, 2004

And so it begins...

again. Took those damn fools 19 days to find the new location of this blog and the comment spams are starting to trickle in again. Thankfully, MT-Blacklist is around this time to make my life much easier. Has already blocked 209 and accurately moderated 142. Rock on!

December 25, 2004

Happy holidays!

Merry Christmas one and all! Hope everyone got some good loot! ;-)

christmasbear.jpg

December 27, 2004

Big bro, little bro

So I got a bunch of accessories for my Canon Digital Rebel this Christmas and was a bit astounded by the final "look" of it after I added all the new goodies to it. Especially compared to our relatively newer Canon Powershot SD300. So I took a few pics...

Continue reading "Big bro, little bro" »

December 28, 2004

What the, they call this news?

As most of you may not know, since hockey fans are few and far between here, the 2004-2005 National Hockey League season has been pretty much cancelled due to disagreements between the player's association and the league. But for some bizarre reason, The Canadian Press has been running a simulation of a full hockey season and REPORTING ON IT since what would have been the beginning of this season. Good lord, I know hockey's a big thing in Canada but c'mon, reporting on simulated games by Electronic Arts, using the 2002-2003 schedule no less? What happened to last year's schedule? Couldn't you have found something else for your hockey reporter to do? I can't help but picture the reporter sitting at work with a PS2 and a copy of NHL 2003 playing a full season. Actually that's not a bad way to spend time at work but I digress. Anyway, it's just weird man.

The camera that started it all...

So my current camera fixation began when I discovered a big ol' camera bag stowed away in my parent's den. Rooting around, I found a barely used Canon F1 and an unopened Canon EOS 630 along with various lenses and a flash unit. So I asked my Dad, "what the hell is a brand-new, unopened SLR camera doing in the closet???" "Oh yeah, we got that as your college graduation present when you were going to Hawaii but you didn't want it." DOH!!!

Continue reading "The camera that started it all..." »

Ahhh, the backlash begins...

From Metafilter, the backlash against those increasingly ubiquitous magnetic ribbons begins. My Mom actually put one on her car and one on my Dad's but her's apparently got washed off in the car wash. And she got it from the $1 store in Chinatown. I refused to put such a cheesy symbol on my car and I at least got her to get the smallest ones possible instead of some of those gigantic monster ones that some people have in droves out there. Anyhoo, just another passing fad who's time is about up.

December 31, 2004

Phooey!

Well that was an inauspicious start to our vacation/honeymoon. Continental cancelled our flight due to "mechanical failure" and rebooked us on a flight departing tomorrow cause there was nothing available whatsoever today. NOT a happy camper. Was really looking forward to seeing what the New Year's celebration would be like at Waikiki. Grrrr.... Oh well, at least it's only a delay of one day and nothing more than that. Although instead of a direct flight we need to transfer in San Fran to a Delta flight. Pain in the butt. And the only thing customer service was able to offer us was a $125 travel voucher per person. Not too bad I suppose considering the one-day cost for our hotel/car rental was $130. Guess we will be visiting Chicago sometime this new year then. ;-p

UPDATE: At slightly before 11pm this evening, it suddenly occurred to me, "Hey, wait a sec, don't they have the same non-stop flight to Honolulu tomorrow?" Went to check on the website and lo and behold, there it was, flight 15. "Shit! Why the hell didn't they just book us on this flight then?!?" A 20 minute call to them later, we were back on our original flight. Just one day later. I'm assuming they were operating on the assumption that cancelled flight people would want to leave on the next available flight. But even though the Newark to San Fran flight they booked us on left at noon (as opposed to 2:15 pm for the direct flight), we would actually arrive in Honolulu an hour later. They did offer us a 5 am flight leaving from LaGuardia and arriving in Honolulu at 2pm but I didn't think my mom would appreciate having to take us there. Especially since she has no idea how to get there. =p So let's hope it works out this time. They couldn't possibly cancel the exact same flight on consecutive days could they? :-/

January 1, 2005

Happy New Year!!!!

May this year be the best one yet. =)

January 15, 2005

Tadaima...

Been a great 2 weeks, although 2 weeks was definitely not enough. More later. =)

January 20, 2005

Neither here nor there...

Salon finally posted a review on Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. I had found it odd why they hadn't reviewed it when it first came out (and I still do) but at least when they finally did get around to it, it was a favorable one. In case you forgot how to get past their daily pass quickly, read here first.

Wandered onto the Landover Baptist Church site again recently. Had originally discovered the site awhile ago while tracking down an article and for some odd reason, I actually took it seriously back then. After a closer look this time around, I have no idea what the hell I was thinking. Obviously a satire site. With articles like this about the recent tsunami, what else could it be?

Somewhat along the same vein (tsunamis & religion), there's this wonderful article depicting elements of religion that always gets my blood boiling. And a fun commentary on a slightly-related topic that has crossed my mind as well. Nobody cares about Africa. I wonder why....

While we were on vaca, Erin received one of them mass emailings asking why Taiwanese people (and Chinese in general) should bother helping out the hardest hit country (Indonesia) after the black stain of the 1998 riots that brought down then-president Suharto and provided fertile ground for a bunch of atrocities along the way. Numerous photos were included which I'll refrain from posting. Especially since further investigation proved them to be mostly false. Not that that should let them off the hook. Guess bad blood dies hard. Hmm....

January 21, 2005

For the chocolate lovers out there...

This is pretty sweet! =)

And this is just plain kooky! ;-)

January 26, 2005

'tis the season...

I guess the staff at our local tavern (Lighthorse Tavern on Washington Street) have a lot of free time during the afternoons as they erected this gigantic snow couple the day after the "Blizzard of 2005". They've done this before but I think these were the biggest ones yet.

Snow Couple

Unfortunately someone, or some people, killed the female snowperson overnight as only the bottom half was remaining this morning.

Maybe the couple will have some snow kids next time.

Wax on, wax off...

Ah.... The Onion. Not as funny as it once was but still capable of producing some gems every now and then.

January 27, 2005

Snow family... continued

Looks like I wasn't the only person who noticed the missing snow woman:

Poor Snow Man

Closeup

Pretty funny. The sign says you can get a free dinner if you know what happened to Mrs. Frosty.

Houston, we have a problem...

Pulled out my Powerbook at work today, started typing, and then the unthinkable happened: it froze dead in its tracks. No spinning beach ball, no kernel panic notice, just one frozen machine. Oookkk, force shut down, turn it back on. Oh wonderful, it won't boot. You hear the regular Mac startup chime but after that, nothing. Greeeaaattt.... spent the rest of the day trying to coax it to boot inbetween work. Zapped the PRAM, reset the NRAM, tried to boot with the original RAM chip, then the other RAM chip, in Firewire disk mode, you name it, we tried it. It would tease us by actually booting up once or twice every 3 or 4 hours but then after a few seconds of use again, froze like a deer in the headlights.

At least I'm 80% sure that it's not a hard drive problem which is a good thing cause I would've been POBAR'ed if it was. That would've meant losing our Hawaii pictures which I hadn't gotten around to backing up yet. Grrrr.....

Anyhoo, hustled it down to Tekserve after work and was told it'd probably take about 7-8 days to get it fixed. *sigh* Shoganai neh?

January 31, 2005

Phooey...

Figures they'd come out with a new Powerbook upgrade right when mine goes into the shop. =p Hmm... hopefully only 2 more upgrades to go before I get a new model. =)

It'd be cool if they discovered that my Powerbook was royally hosed and that it'd be cheaper to just send me a new one. ^0^ Hey I can dream right? ;-p

Nice...

I guess since Apple isn't about to make iPhoto for the PC, Google will just have to do it for them. It's pretty darn sweet, I likey.

February 1, 2005

Makes me all tingly inside...

well ok, it doesn't. But I finally called up Comcast to see if DVR was available in my area cause I got conflicting info from their website. And lo and behold, it was. For an additional price of $9.95/month. Having it installed on Friday. I will now join the Tivo revolution! 'cept just not with Tivo. Now all I need to do is get an HDTV and I'll be full of tv goodness. Or not. Eh.

February 3, 2005

The countdown begins...

Starting pinching pennies.

Actually at $250 for the value pack and probably $199 for just the unit, it's not too bad.

February 7, 2005

Chinatown Flower Festival...

Went home over the weekend when my mom mentioned that she'd like to check out the flower festival taking place in Chinatown. So we mosied on down there Saturday around noon and I brought my Digital Rebel along with the 50mm f/1.4 which turned out to be a good idea cause the majority of the festival stands was inside a big tent so it was rather dim. So it was a good test of the 50mm's low-light capabilities.

Anyway, while we were there, they announced that Mayor Bloomberg was arriving momentarily but I figured we'd miss him since we were on the way out. But while we were milling about outside the tent, along came the mayor and I managed to get a shot of him:

Mayor Bloomberg
f/1.4, 1/1600, ISO100

My mom's reaction to seeing the mayor in person? Predictably, "Wow, he's kinda short." I thought I'd include this picture too since I didn't notice till afterwards that you could see Erin behind the mayor:

Erin Behind Mayor
f/1.4, 1/1250, ISO100

More pics after the break...

Continue reading "Chinatown Flower Festival..." »

Anime pick o' the month...

Just watched the first DVD of Boogiepop Phantom this past weekend thanks to Netflix and I gotta say, I'm hooked. It's a rather dark and macabre story but the way it unfolds is very puzzling and suspenseful. Worth a look.

February 8, 2005

Ups and downs...

First, the downer. My Powerbook still hasn't been fixed yet over at Tekserve. Wasted about an hour over there last night waiting to get a status report (that took all of 2 minutes at most) on the repair because their phone service for this kinda thing sucks. Anyway, they're still waiting for a new logic board from Apple so at least I know what the problem is. This is I think the 2nd time in my Apple-using existence that a logic board has konked out on me. I think the same thing happened to my previous G4 Powerbook too.

Continue reading "Ups and downs..." »

February 9, 2005

By the numbers...

I missed most of the Super Bowl this past weekend and will refrain from making too many comments about the brewhaha over GoDaddy's ad campaign. But let's look at some numbers shall we?

Total number of ads in Superbowl: 35

Number of traffic fatalities in 2003: 42643
Number of car ads in Superbowl: 6

Number of alcohol related traffic fatalities in 2003: 17013
Number of beer ads in Superbowl: 8

Percentage of alcohol and car ads in Superbowl: 40%
Percentage of alcohol-related traffic fatalities in 2003: 40%

Number of people killed over a domain name: 0
Number of fake people killed over a domain name: 1
Number of people killed by buxom brunettes: a bunch probably but I don't think the US penal institution keeps track of female prisoners and their crimes by cup size
Number of domain name provider ads in Superbowl: 1

Number of wuss COOs in the NFL front office: 1

Happy happy joy joy...

My Powerbook was finally repaired after only a 2 day delay. Yaaayyy!!!!! Was feeling really antsy after awhile. First thing I did was backup all my photos. =p Strange thing was they not only fixed my dead logic board, they replaced my screen too. Anyhoo, if only the lens I took in to PhotoTech for an estimate was cheaper to repair, it'd be one heck of a nice day. But oh well, still a great day nevertheless. ^o^

February 11, 2005

Happy happy joy joy redux...

Well... turns out that while I've gotten my Powerbook back, it came back with another problem, although rather minor. It no longer goes to sleep when I close the lid nor does it awake from sleep when I open the lid. Gotta manually put it to sleep. So, perfectionist that I am =p, I left home early this morning to see if they could fix the problem quickly. Still had to wait an hour before I actually talked to someone even though I arrived 15 minutes after they opened. =p

Anyway, turns out that no, it can't be fixed while I wait but they can order the necessary part first and then call me when it comes in. Only caveat being I had to bring my laptop in 24 hours after they called at the latest otherwise they'd have to charge me for the part. No problem by me. Funny thing is, the part they need to order is the screen. Which, if you remember (and you should cause I wrote about it just 2 days ago =p), they just replaced along with the logic board. And apparently, if they replace the screen again and the sleep problem still occurs, the next part they'll have to look at is the logic board. Oi vay.

As long as my new screen doesn't have any dead pixels I could care less how many times they swap the damn thing.

In better news, I woke up to a new email from PalmOne notifying me that my Treo 650 was on its way! Unfortunately, the screen protectors that I just purchased for it probably won't arrive for another week or 2. My Bluetooth headset arrived yesterday and even though I bought it to use with the Treo, it currently works great with my K700 although I have to get used to having it hang on the ear. And hopefully my skin case and sync/charge cable will arrive on Monday. Can't wait! ^o^

I don't feel secure...

do you feel secure? Just in case anyone wants to finally find out what Bush's new social security plan is, here's a decent writeup about it on CNN. Personally I think the whole thing's a bunch of hooey. I think the main point through all this is that they need/want to lower the amount for each Social Security check but people might not take that very well so they're wrapping all this extraneous crap around it to divert attention from that central fact. Anyhoo, this administration seems to have a pretty good track record of pushing massive debt onto successive generations so this shouldn't really come as a surprise to anyone.

February 14, 2005

Must... buy... Pepsi...

While I'm not denying her obvious hotness (gotta love hapas), this is a bit overboard, even for me.

Although that reminds me, I still haven't found out who the Listerine girl was.

February 15, 2005

Ya-taah!!!!!!!

My Treo is here, my Treo is here, MY TREO IS HERE!!!!

Treo Box

Treo Box Contents

SE K700, Treo 650, Tungsten T3

February 17, 2005

Hoshii....

New gadget alert!

And these too. Curse this addiction!

[UPDATE]: A good writeup/reference on the differences between the upcoming Canon Digital Rebel XT and the 20D. Either way, can't go wrong.

February 27, 2005

Blogging from the Treo...

Just testing to see if blogging from the Treo using mo:Blog really works. =)

February 28, 2005

Silly toys...

While visiting Mitsuwa a week or so ago I discovered they had more Gundam Ultimate Operation figurines. So I picked up 2 of the 3 Gundams they had in this new set (Set 7). Didn't pick up the third one cause I didn't like the brown desert pattern that much. And I ignore all the Zeon mecha to begin with. But when I went back the next day to get the brown desert pattern one (I figured I might as well try to collect as much as I can), it was already gone. Ah well. Anyway, just a quick pic of my current set:

Gundam Ultimate Operation

These things are pretty fun. All the appendages and weapons are interchangeable apparently but I haven't messed around with that yet. Should be pretty cool though.

March 1, 2005

What kind of New Yorker...

would I be if I didn't take any pictures of The Gates at Central Park. So just click on the pic below. =) Yeah yeah so I'm not REALLY a New Yorker but I figure I live close enough to pretend. ;-p

The Gates

Also, in case you haven't noticed (and you probably haven't since I never publicly mentioned it), I've been running an aquarium journal since the end of January. Mostly documenting my trials & tribulations with my tanks. Decided to keep it separate since probably no one else besides me would find it interesting. But I do try to post pics when I can so feel free to check it out every now and then.

March 7, 2005

Umm... oooookkk.....

I thought this was sufficiently odd to warrant a post. Apparently when you place an ad on Craigslist, you now have the option to give permission to have your ad be amongst the many that will be beamed into space. Just click on the link above.

March 8, 2005

Well that kinda sucks...

Talk about coming to an ignoble end. Not only do you get dug up and poked and prodded for about 80 years, they lose your penis for about 40 years and finally declare that it's been next to you hidden in the sand all this time.

March 15, 2005

And We're Back!

Unexpected downtime the last few days as Fe & guys upgraded Linux on this web server. Anyhoo, the following caught my eye while at Walgreens the other day:

Butt Paste


March 16, 2005

Job interview it wasn't...

So Erin and I finally had our immigration interview for her green card today. Went off mostly without a hitch. Our interview actually started pretty much on time considering this is the federal government we're talking about here and the interviewer looked like some fresh-out-of-college dude. Interview itself was relatively quick. We first had to show him our IDs (passport for Erin, driver's license for me) and marriage license. He just asked Erin a few questions about me: how we met, where I went to school, where I worked, and where I used to work. And then asked me even fewer questions: which school Erin originally received her I-20 for and whether or not she was working. He would specifically address the questions to either Erin or I and the other person couldn't help answer the question. Fortunately, that wasn't much of an issue.

He then asked if we had any documents to show that we were living together and such which I didn't have since we really don't have any. I guess I could have brought a copy of our apartment lease but I was too lazy to try to dig that up from my big and unorganized documents bin the night before. =p Then he asked if we had any pictures of us that we could show him. Big geek that I am I whipped out my Powerbook and offered to show him a ton of stuff in iPhoto. He just laughed and said that was alright, he didn't have time for me to set it up. Even though it wouldn't really have taken all that long.

So contrary to what the interview request form said, I didn't really need to bring my tax returns and birth certificates and whatnot. Joint documents and photos they definitely are interested in seeing however. Although not that strict about it; but that may differ between interviewers.

Anyway, after all was said and done, he removed the I-94 entry form in Erin's passport and stamped it with an I-551 which allows her to travel and work until we receive her temporary green card (3-6 months). However, the whole ordeal isn't quite over with yet. 90 days before the expiration of the temporary green card, we have to apply for her permanent green card. And they won't even remind us to do so so I'll have to make sure that I mark the date down in my Treo so we don't forget it. Anyhoo, at least this much is done with... Next step, getting her a social security number. That shouldn't be too difficult. =)

March 17, 2005

Free tunes...

Picked up a new Pepsi bottle today from the corner store to get a free tune. The same ol' trick still works from the first time around. ;-)

March 18, 2005

The horror...

Being a fan of South Park since the very beginning, I thought I had seen it all... until I watched the first episode of their 9th season, "Mr. Garrison's Fancy New Vagina". My eyes still burn.

March 24, 2005

Sony PSP Craze!

Well, not really. Anyway I'll explain later. Some quick pics:

Big Picture

More after the break...

Continue reading "Sony PSP Craze!" »

March 26, 2005

Another Sony product...

but not mine. Unfortunately. ;-p Absolutely gorgeous screen though.

The box:


Box

Side view of the box:


Side of box

Out of the box after the break...

Continue reading "Another Sony product..." »

April 4, 2005

Gadgeted out...

After this, I can't, in good conscience, get anymore gadgets for the rest of the year (In other words, Erin will definitely kill me if I do). Hell even I pondered long and hard about this one. But the price was too good to pass up. Damn you Best Buy and your $350 in-store rebates!

S360 Box

Side View of Box


Continue reading "Gadgeted out..." »

April 6, 2005

More Best Buy adventures...

So for the first time as a Best Buy customer, I let the sales guy talk me into getting their extended warranty for $300. Well, not that he really talked me into it; actually it was more like it was late Sunday afternoon and I just wanted to get home so I didn't want to waste more time arguing with the guy about not buying the damn thing. But I didn't really want the accursed warranty.

So on the way home I kept looking through the warranty brochure for a return policy and lo and behold, you can cancel the warranty within 30 days and get a full refund (as long as you haven't used the warranty within that time to repair the item already). So I figured ok, maybe the people working the Returns & Exchanges counter at the store will care less about warranties than the sales people and not hassle me about it. You would think, right? WRONG!

Continue reading "More Best Buy adventures..." »

April 26, 2005

Early, early adopter...

Tiger Desktop

Problem with being such an early adopter is you have to wait around for all the third-party apps that you're used to to be updated. WeatherPop earns the distinction (if you can call it that) as the first lil' app that I use that released a 10.4-compatible version.

But so far, Tiger itself is pretty sweet. Spotlight is pretty much Apple's souped-up take on LaunchBar so it'll be interesting to see what happens to it after a few months.

Dashboard, while very snazzy, has one major flaw/difference when compared to Konfabulator. It runs a bit more like a traditional app. So you have to hit F12 to activate Dashboard, and then all your Dashboard widgets appear on screen. With Konfabulator however, their widgets actually float on top of your desktop so they feel like they're more constantly available. I like the Konfab way of handling the widgets but the Dashboard widgets are pretty well done.

Oh, and in case anyone does the same as me, the instructions for enabling Postfix (so you can run smtp off your machine) for 10.3 still works.

About This Mac

May 6, 2005

End of another era...

Slightly ominous events occurring at work these days hence the lack of posts. Been preoccupied. Also working on getting my Hawaii pictures up finally. Anyway, hope things'll clear up soon. Almost afraid to take that 2 weeks vacation to Taiwan that I have scheduled at the end of this month. Argh.

May 9, 2005

Huh...

So I'm probably the only person you know of that actively grooms my Amazon.com Recommendations list by rating stuff. It's a relatively easy and brainless thing to do while watching tv and surfing the web concurrently. ;-p Anyway, I was a bit bemused when this book somehow found its way on my list of recommendations. Clicking on the "Why was I recommended this?" link revealed the following...

Continue reading "Huh..." »

May 11, 2005

Decisions decisions...

Picked up a Sigma 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 lens the other day as a daily walk-around and vacation lens so need to run it through its paces to see if it's worth keeping. Not _entirely_ sure yet if this particular copy is worth it or not... Seems to be a bit fuzzier than I like but need to test some more.

Tower
28mm, f/4.3, ISO100

Few more test pics after the break...

Continue reading "Decisions decisions..." »

May 16, 2005

Laa dee da daa...

So Erin's back in Taiwan for the next two weeks and I'll be joining her during the Memorial Day weekend for another two weeks. Until then, I'm revisiting my good ol' bachelor days. ;-p Not that there's that much of a difference between my bachelor days and my married days. =p But it's somewhat liberating to be alone again, even for a little while. Note I said "alone" and not "single." I find I use my time much more efficiently when she's not around. =)

Few more shots...

from the Sigma 18-200 lens. I think I'll keep it. It does seem to work pretty well although may be a bit soft when wide open during wide angle.

Building Outside Exchange Place PATH
18mm, f/3.5, 1/1600s, ISO 100

Exchange Place
18mm, f/3.5, 1/1500s, ISO 100

Top of Tower
88mm, f/5.6, 1/360s, ISO 100

Actual pictures came out rather overcast for some reason even though it was sunny in places. I guess it was cloudy right over where I was so messed things up a bit. Anyway, good thing I shoot in RAW. Easier to tweak the results.

May 17, 2005

Gluttony...

one of the seven deadly sins right? Exactly how much meat do you really have to eat in one sitting? A lot less than this...

is my guess.

May 18, 2005

U-teh!

Forgot to mention earlier that Last Exile is one heck of an anime series. Wasn't expecting too much from it at first but that was before I started watching it. Quite engaging and very well animated. And the whole concept of airships fighting using old-style naval warfare tactics is pretty sweet if not almost absurd at times. Catch it if you get the chance.

May 20, 2005

Ow that's gotta hurt...

Caught Star Wars - Revenge of the Sith yesterday and I pretty much agree with Hsin's take on it. The romantic scenes were really bleeping corny. But it was nice to see the emergence of Darth Vader. Critical lesson from the movie: no matter how powerful you think you are, you're always gonna lose if you don't have the high ground. ;-p

May 24, 2005

Backpackin'...

So ever since we decided to head out to Taiwan later this month I'd been thinking of getting a new bag that I could use to carry my laptop and camera equipment on the plane. Decided against another messenger-type bag since I already have 2 (well 3 if you count the small one too) and since I'm usually carrying a TON of stuff on flights, a messenger-type bag would just kill my shoulder. I needed something that would distribute the weight more evenly around. So backpack it was. Unfortunately there's a dearth of laptop/camera backpacks out there and the ones that do exist for the most part are laid out the same way. After looking at bags from Lowepro, Crumpler, and even Boblbee, I decided on getting a Crumpler.

Unfortunately, around the time of that decision, Crumpler was just about to release a new line of bags so I decided to wait to see what the new stuff was like. Took them about 2 weeks and they finally came in last Friday. Stopped by the store after work that day to find them in the midst of cataloguing, pricing, and organizing the new arrivals. Good thing I came in when I did cause after I started asking questions, a trio tried to come in but the young lady helping me told them to come back tomorrow cause they were too busy organizing the new stuff and were closed. Anyhoo, I wound up picking up one of the new Sinking Barges. It came down to either this one or The Whickey and Cox. The W&C has much more space for camera stuff but I wound up not getting it cause I didn't like the two front pockets that it had; much too slim. For awhile I really wanted the Schrinkle because it had the W&C's larger camera space and layout but the front pocket layout of the Sinking Barge. Unfortunately, the Schrinkle was an older style that no longer was available and upon further reflection, I decided that I didn't have THAT much camera equipment anyway and the camera pocket location of the Sinking Barge was more ideal for easy access.

Crumpler Sinking Barge - Front

Continue reading "Backpackin'..." »

May 27, 2005

Vacation pics...

Finally have the photo galleries for the first 8 days of our Hawaii trip up here. Hope to have our Big Island pics up when we get back from Taiwan.

Killin' time...

So here I am with about an hour to kill before boarding & I somehow managed to resist the impulse to fork over $7 to use the wireless network here in the Newark Airport concourse. This slow as snails not-quite-GPRS T-Mobile connection on my Treo will have to do. Better than nothing I guess. =) Hm... there's not an insignificant amount of people here waiting for this flight which does not bode well for my personal comfort later on the plane. I've come ill-prepared for a long flight: I've got my Powerbook + extra battery, the PSP, 2 mags (1 which I've already read), and a science fiction compilation book that I just picked up at the crappy airport store. That should maybe last me barely half of this flight. In-flight entertainment better be damn good. Hmm, ok maybe I'm not THAT ill-prepared but something still feels... lacking.

Anyhoo hope everyone has (had) a great Memorial Day weekend!

May 28, 2005

Beat...

Only about 5 hours have passed and I'm currently sitting at Seattle-Tacoma at 3 in the morning. Hour layover and then a packed flight over the Pacific. Next time I think I'll pay the extra $300 for the Evergreen Deluxe class. Economy is just so draining. Or maybe I'll just request an exit row. Did manage to nap a bit at least but gotta try to stay awake until it's bedtime in Taiwan. Argh...

Well this is irritating...

Fell asleep after I reboarded the plane. Woke up an hour and a half later and we're still on the freakin' ground! "Mechanical problem" is the reason given. Bleepin' hell I guess I'm not making my connecting flight to Kaohsiung. I just ain't having any luck with airplanes this year.

[UPDATE]: Apparently one of the 17 fuel pumps on the plane had a problem which they fixed in 25 minutes. BUT, it took them another hour and a half to file the necessary paperwork and get permission to take off again. @#@#$!%!@#$!@#$ bureaucracy!

May 29, 2005

First meeting...

Well that was quick. Not even half a day after I touched down in Kaohsiung we went to visit Erin's mom & dad at her dad's place. The very first meeting ever between the parents went pretty well I thought. Her dad's got the entire roof of the building they're in covered with flowers. Quite impressive.

Both Families

Then we had dinner at a seafood place (Under Ocean Skies) which was pretty good.

Flaming Conch

May 30, 2005

Dragon Boats...

My folk's apartment here in Kaohsiung has a great view of the "Love River" across the street and every morning they have dragon boat practice. Even 32 floors up we can hear the uniform tweets of the whistle as the boats cruise by.

Down the River

Every day, in this hot & humid weather. That's dedication.

Dragon Boat

May 31, 2005

Is that the best you can do?

Pity the poor fool who pays the listed price for anything in Taiwan. A bargaining mentality is a must to have a successful shopping experience here, something those of us from the States have practically no experience with. Pretty much the only thing you don't bargain for here is food; everything else is fair game, even in department stores. If you're not getting a significant discount AND free sample items, then you've been ripped off apparently. For bargain hunters, this may be a paradise but it makes me wonder really how much of a "bargain" one is really getting? I mean if everyone knows that you need to bargain to complete a purchase, wouldn't sellers mark up their prices to account for that? And isn't it just an unnecessary hassle to have to do so much haggling? Although it does make for more attentive, helpful, and hands-on salespeople which can be pretty nice but also somewhat disconcerting for those of us used to browsing in relative peace.

To illustrate, Erin took me shopping for a new pair of glasses yesterday. After going through like two dozen frames, she finally picked out a Cartier frame for me. Apparently I have no fashion sense and she has expensive tastes. =p And after much haggling (which I find quite amusing) that included her labeling all salespeople as liars (it pays to have a sense of humor when you're a salesperson or store manager here), she got us a 30% discount along with 2 free sets of contact lenses and clip-on sunglasses. Afterwards she still thought she hadn't gotten a great deal on it but I thought it was a pretty decent chunk o' change.

I guess compounding the problem I have with haggling is that I'm not quite used to thinking in NT dollars yet. (US$1 = ~NT$31) So a savings of say NT$400 seems like a big deal to me even though it's really only a US$13 difference. And then I also feel bad when the salesperson caves when we're about to leave the store cause they wouldn't give us the item for the amount Erin was asking for. (This happens at the night market places, not department stores.) I know it's probably the furthest from the truth but I keep feeling like we're taking advantage of these poor folk who're just trying to make a decent living and have to deal with hordes of cheapskates every day.

Ah well, I guess it's good that I have Erin to do all the dirty work for me. ;-)

June 1, 2005

Back to our roots...

So my dad took all of us back to his childhood home yesterday down in Ping-Tung to pay our respects. It's a more rustic area where things move much more slowly and practically nothing changes. I haven't been back there for quite awhile (last time was when my grandmother passed away over 6 years ago) and still, nothing's really changed.

Group Photo
Back Row (from left): Me, Dad, First Uncle, Third Uncle
Front Row (from left): Erin, Mom, First Uncle's Wife, Little Aunt

Continue reading "Back to our roots..." »

June 3, 2005

Catchy in its own way...

but poor old Ghenghis should be rolling in his grave by now.

[UPDATE]: ARGH!! I can't stop watching this damn clip! More info on the song here.

[UPDATE 2]: English version here.

June 4, 2005

Some more food...

Erin's childhood friend drove us out to Chijin last night for a seafood dinner which was quite fresh, good, and affordable. Many dishes which I was too busy polishing off to take pictures of but we did wind up ordering two of these "mushroom heads" which were pretty good. They're basically lobsters 'cept they look like someone went to town on their heads and flattened 'em with a mallet.

Mushroom Heads

Afterwards we drove all the way back to the other side of the bay/harbor to Shi Je Wan cause our resident bottomless gullet wanted to try out the big bowl 'o ice. This was the 3-person portion. It goes all the way up to 8.

Big Bowl o' Ice

In case you're wondering what all that crap is on it, that's a huge pile of hard and soft peanuts, tapioca, red beans, fruit jelly, condensed milk, and 3 whole caramel puddings.

Apparently this place has gigantic milk tea with tapioca as well but we didn't have enough bladder left to want to find out.

June 9, 2005

Just some photos...

from the last few days.

Dolled Up
Erin, before her family's lunch reception

Gazing Upwards
Me, Erin and Yu Wen after the lunch reception

Night Practice
They were having dragonboat practice at night so we went down by the river to visit the ongoing festival. Tried to do some long shutter speed shots but it's tough to get good results without a tripod.

More photos after the break...

Continue reading "Just some photos..." »

June 10, 2005

Sore feet...

Damn, has it already been 2 weeks? Can't believe I'll be leaving back to the States tomorrow. Definitely not enough time here. Since most of it was spent on mandatory family functions this didn't seem to be much of a vacation. More like a giant 2 week long feast.

Anyway, today I had some free time since Erin ditched me to go kroakin' with her cousin and high school friend. And since I've recently become infatuated with these things (even though I know I really shouldn't), I decided to hit 5 of the 6 major department stores in Kaohsiung to check out if any of their toy departments might have the ones I was looking for. On foot. And also pick up some reading material for the trip home, look for a pet fish store and pick up my contact lenses while I was at it. I started off at around 2 and had four and a half hours to kill before having to meet up with all my relatives for one final dinner near my last department store destination.

Continue reading "Sore feet..." »

June 11, 2005

Back on US soil...

and passed customs with nary a word. Not that we were carrying any contraband or anything. Another 5 hours or so to go.

June 20, 2005

Scammers...

aren't restricted to the Internet apparently. Ran into one in person last night when we went to JFK to pick up my mom. Had just pulled into a parking spot when this earnest/stressed-looking black guy comes over and starts babbling on a mile a minute about how he had locked his keys in his car (waving to a car parked in front and to the left of me) and that after talking to one of the parking attendants he needed $36 to get himself out of his predicament but he only had $20 something and this was legit and he worked for Fleet Bank (waving what seemed to be some sort of ID card at me) and I could take down all his info and he just wanted to get out of there and could I help him out. I just looked apologetic and said, "Sorry, but I need to get cash from the ATM in the airport myself." Which got him off my case. He then proceeded to walk to and stop in front of his "car", yanked out a cell phone and chatted on it for a little while before running off somewhere. A pretty good performance I gotta say on his part but really dude, Fleet got bought by Bank of America a little over a year ago. =p

Around the web...

Grrr, I accidentally deleted the first (and only) two trackbacks I've ever had on this site. =(

Anyhoo, having fun reading these editorials written by a JET Program participant. Some very funny stories.

Next, these have got to be some of the most creative wedding invitations I've ever seen.

And lastly, today's entry at angry asian man brings to attention a new trend (?) amongst Asian women (in Cali at least) in regards to their never-ending battle against that burning disc in the sky. I'd like to take a look at those visor/mask things these guys are talking about cause it sounds hilarious. However, I think the women they're talking about are possibly FOB Asian-Asian women as opposed to Asian-American women cause the majority of Asian-American women that I know aren't as massively paranoid about Ra as the women in Asia. I remember the first time Erin asked me where she could get whitening cream at the mall. Apparently it took me 25 years to realize that apparently there was some sort of lotion (no, not makeup) that people could apply to their skin in an attempt to make them more white. I'd wager that the only other guy in the United States who knew of such a thing was Michael Jackson. ;-p

Giant robots good...

While I never really followed the anime religiously, I've always been a big fan of the Gundam mecha. So I was pretty psyched when I saw these pre-built Gundam Fix Figuration figures since I was never that good at piecing together plastic models. I've picked up 4 of these so far (0009, 0013, 0020, 0025) but haven't put them all together yet except for 0009 which was my all-time fav Gundam. Some pics of this, the FA-93HWS Nu Gundam + Heavy Weapon System. This bad boy packs 2 60mm Vulcans, a beam saber, 1 new Hyper bazooka, 1 Hyper Mega rifle, 6 fin funnels, 2 anti-ship rocket launchers, and 8 multi-dispensers.

So I'm still a geek. =)

NuGundam - Front View
Front

NuGundam - Left View
Left

NuGundam - Back View
Back

NuGundam - Right View
Right

NuGundam - Closeup
Closeup

June 22, 2005

Only took me 5 months...

but our pics and notes of our honeymoon in Hawaii is finally complete.

Now on to our Taiwan pics. Not too many there though...

June 23, 2005

Ahh... Hollywood...

Before I forget, in Mr. & Mrs. Smith, which I found to be an entertaining movie, Mrs. Smith's office happens to be at 570 Lexington Avenue, which is my office building. Obviously they didn't come here to film cause the actual lobby looks nothing like what Mr. Smith walks into but at least they did get the flyby view correct. ;-p

Gundam Fix Figuration 0020

Opened up another kit last night and pieced it together to form the RX-78-6 MADROCK armed with a 300mm cannon, head-mounted 60mm Vulcan gun, grenade launcher, beam saber, beam rifle, Hyper bazooka and Hyper hammer.

Madrock - Front View

Madrock - Left View

Madrock - Back View

Madrock - Right View

Madrock - Closeup View

June 27, 2005

Short photo time...

Picked up a Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro lens over the weekend and took some shots at work.

Security Cam

Light Window Buildings

June 29, 2005

You gotta be kidding me...

Those of you with a relatively recent computer (PC only for now) and broadband connection should immediately download and install Google Earth. This is some amazing stuff they've pulled together here. Simply amazing.

July 2, 2005

Couch Potato...

Morgan Spurlock's new show, 30 Days, is quite compelling. Worth catching (or Tivo'ing in my case).

July 5, 2005

New (well old really) photos...

Finally getting around to putting up the pics we took while in Taiwan. Just two new albums to start off:

More hopefully later tonight.

July 6, 2005

A few more pics...

July 7, 2005

Even more pics...

I'm really churning these suckers out now... ;-)

July 8, 2005

Good lord...

I have a ton of pictures to go through. Man, post-processing pics takes such a long time. When are they gonna invent the camera that takes the perfect picture every single time? Grrr.... anyway, 2 more galleries:

Luckily these are the last two galleries of wedding-related pics. *whew*

July 10, 2005

Don't hurt the sheep!

Apparently they do a good enough job by themselves.

July 11, 2005

Slowly but surely...

whittling down my pics cue.

July 12, 2005

Oo oo oooo!!!!!!

So I'm browsing my Amazon recommendations when this catches my eye. Jou dan de ba! A little more digging brings me to a picture here. Browsing through the site reveals more replicas of other famous swords amongst other things. ;-)

July 13, 2005

Eyes glazing over...

I don't remember taking THIS many pictures when we were in Taiwan. And I'm not even putting up all of them. Urgh.

July 14, 2005

Backpackin' Revisited

Just thought I'd give a few more thoughts on the Crumpler Sinking Barge backpack now that I've actually went on a trip with it. But first, as requested, two pics of the backpack being worn:

Back View

Side View

More notes after the break...

Continue reading "Backpackin' Revisited" »

July 19, 2005

Longevity...

Was perusing CNN and ran into this article on the ol' comic strip, Blondie, celebrating its 75th year. 75 YEARS!!!!! Holy cow, how do you write that many strips for so many years without things getting stale? Granted the current writer took over from his father back in 1973 but that's still 32 years of material. Damn. That's really impressive.

Anyway, the article brought back some memories for me. Years back my mom used to take me to Taiwan every summer. At the time it was nowhere near as Westernized and entertaining (for a US kid at least) as it is now. However, my aunt had a set of like 10 Blondie comic books which were Chinese-English and I would read through them all (sometimes multiple times) every... single... time... I was in Taiwan. I think those were the only reading material that I could understand besides my mom's even older Reader's Digest magazines (Chinese edition) which would have one English story at the very end of each issue. I must've read those things a couple of hundred times. They were quite entertaining to me back then and taking a look at the recent ones now, even though the family's life has been modernized, the type of humor remains. Great job by Mr. Young. Here's hoping the strip goes on for another 75 more years. =)

July 20, 2005

Secrets...

On our way back from Taiwan last month I picked up two books to read and finally got through the second one last night. Both dealt with the Holy Grail, the Templar Knights and numerous other secret societies and rumors related to both. But besides that, they were on completely different levels.

The one that I finished last night was the famed/notorious The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. I don't know what the whole ruckus was about. Why in the world did other authors feel the need to write entire books refuting things written IN A FICTION NOVEL!!!!!! Hello???? Does "FICTION" not mean anything to anyone anymore? If Dan Brown meant it to be taken seriously he would've released it as a non-fiction or something. The hell is wrong with people? Apparently the little blurb at the very beginning on the Fact page that reads, "All descriptions of artwork, architecture, documents, and secret rituals in this novel are accurate.", confuses people. Just because he uses and describes real items, places and groups in the book doesn't mean his interpretations and discussions of them should be accepted as truth too. Hell, he even says the exact same thing in this interview. Either some people out there just want to jump on the Da Vinci Code bandwagon or they're being a bit too sensitive about their beliefs.

It's not like the book was all that great to begin with, not really all that well written. It's typical mass fiction: extremely easy to read, everything is explained clearly, very fast-paced, pretty trite and cliched dialogue, liberal use of flashbacks during current events (relative to the book) that don't make sense. It wasn't as clever as his earlier work, Angels & Demons, which had much more interesting clues and the villain in this one was much easier to discern. It's strong point is Brown's idea of what the Holy Grail is and how he links together the existing people, items and places to develop that idea. But in the end it's just a story, nothing to be taken so seriously. It does make me want to visit all the places that he mentions in the book though.

On the other side of the spectrum there's Umberto Eco's Foucault's Pendulum which apparently was written for an entirely different crowd. It's like comparing an elementary school book to a PhD dissertation. Reading through this thing was like walking in knee-deep mud. While both books are thrillers, it's extremely evident that Eco writes for a much, MUCH more scholarly audience than I. Either that or he just doesn't give a shit if his readers are puzzled by his writing. He explains things as little as possible, just barely enough to keep the reader moving forward, and often throws in (well known I'm assuming) phrases in foreign languages with no translation. His interpretation of the Holy Grail though isn't as interesting as Brown's but I think Eco was much more focused on secret societies, the people that believe in them, and what makes them tick. It took me what, 5 weeks to get around to finishing this book. The Da Vinci Code took me 4 days (probably 2 if I had read it straight through).

Anyway, if the Holy Grail, Templar Knights, Rosicrusians, and other assorted secret societies are your thing, then these 2 are the books for you. The Da Vinci Code is your summer blockbuster while Foucault's Pendulum is your mentally-stimulating (or crushing) art flick.

Last set from Taiwan...

Just a tiny batch of pics taking during the preliminary dragonboat races.

July 23, 2005

Never resist arrest...

Especially if you're innocent. This is rather disturbing on so many levels. What in the world was the guy doing that required 5 shots point-blank to the head? Either the guy was a beast or the officer was amped up like crazy.

July 24, 2005

Fingers hurt...

from putting this sucker together. This Gundam Fix Figuration 0025 kit was probably the toughest one yet. Especially putting it together as the RX-104FF Penelope configuration. Lots of pieces to exchange and snap off and on. Packing a beam saber, mega particle cannon, vulcan gun, funnel missle rack, beam rifle, shield and Minovsky barrier.

Gundam 0025 - Front View
Front
Gundam 0025 - Left View
Left
Gundam 0025 - Back View
Back
Gundam 0025 - Right View
Right
Gundam 0025 - Closeup View
Closeup

July 27, 2005

It's about time...

Treo 650

Even though I am a little late on this but Palm FINALLY released a software update for the rest of their branded and non-branded Treo 650's. Sprint users had their Treo's updated months ago and it wasn't until the middle of June that Palm made the update available for everyone else.

What's so important about this update you might ask? Mainly it fixes the one giant flaw that's plagued the Treo 650 since it first came out: the crap-ass memory handling and NVFS. Prior to this update, any lil' file that you uploaded would take up 512K of memory, even if it was actually only like 2K. Gargantuan pain in the ass cause the 650 doesn't have that much built-in RAM to begin with. Granted Palm did give out free 128MB SD cards to people in the know but still, much better to actually fix the problem.

So now I have about two and a half times more free space in my internal RAM than before. NICE!!

Unfortunately, the installation process requires a hard reset first which wipes out all your data (which one should have backed up first anyway) but I didn't notice until afterwards that I never had the Memos conduit set up so none of my notes were ever backed up. So I lost a bunch of lil' notes that I used to help remember stuff. Argh!!! But oh well, no use crying over spilt milk.

July 28, 2005

New Yorkers should be relieved to know...

that I'm not a terrorist! Got flagged down at the 53rd & Lex subway station while heading home today to have my bag checked. Actually, it would've surprised me if they DIDN'T check me cause my computer bag was bursting at the seams, about 6 inches deeper than it normally is cause I had crammed my new Canon Digital Rebel XT box (more about this later ;-) into the bag and was in the process of smuggling it home.

So there was basically 3 police officers hanging around a little to the side of the turnstiles. One (the checker) was standing behind a small table while the other 2 (the herders) stood about equidistant on either side, funneling people to the checker. Above them hung a sign saying that they were doing random bag checks. Of course when I came into view, the herder closest to me immediately said, "Check this guy." Was pretty much a quick and painless process. The checker really went out of his way to be friendly. Just asked that I set my bag down on the table and open it. Upon seeing the camera box, asked that I lift it out so he could see what was under it. And that was it. Less than a minute and the guy was quite cordial all the way through.

They were also checking bags down at the World Trade Center PATH station but they didn't bother stopping me then. Probably cause I slipped past on the extreme right side while the checkers were stationed more towards the middle of the rather expansive middle area between the two turnstile rows. Anyhoo, glad to see that the system works. Sorta. ;-p

July 29, 2005

A rather peculiar...

design for the new PATH station at the World Trade Center. I'm not sure what it is. Half an eyeball? Some sort of mollusk? The interior looks nice although is that main slit covered by glass? What happens if it rains?

PATH

August 2, 2005

The end is nigh(er)...

Apparently hell isn't freezing over fast enough so Apple's deciding to hasten it a bit more by releasing their first ever multi-button mouse. Although it still looks like a one-button mouse. They're so deceptive. ;-p Anyhoo, I would've been tempted to get one, but it's not Bluetooth-enabled. Oh well.

mightymouse.jpg

August 11, 2005

Need to find a new cave...

Just started our condo search last week and daaaamn it's a lot of work. So many newspaper and website listings to go through I think I'm going cross-eyed. Got a bunch more places lined up for this weekend but after that I think that's about it. Slim pickings in the areas that I'm concentrating on at our price range unfortunately. May have to expand the search zone.

Discovered that wandering randomly into open houses usually isn't very effective since you have no idea what you're going in to see until you actually enter. We did find an absolutely awesome 1 year old 3BR condo in Union City this way though. Perched on top of the cliff overlooking Hoboken, you had a clear view all the way into Manhattan. Plus it was on a short dead-end street. And the interior was super nice. With 2 parking spaces (outside though) and 400 sq ft of storage in the basement. Unfortunately it was also $770,000. With $14,000 property tax. Krikey.

So move on we must. At least we're not in a huge rush just yet. But man, when's this damn bubble gonna pop eh?

August 12, 2005

Ambling down memory lane...

It's ok every now and then to wallow in memories of the past isn't it? People seem to have a love/hate relationship with the past. You shouldn't live in it, but you should learn from it. Bah, people these days don't have time to dwell on the past anyway. Well, at least not often. Me, I enjoy the past, that's why I've had a website for the past uh, decade or so now. It's a superb way of chronicling one's life, that is, as long as you remember to back up often. ;-)

The first few (could've been one, or maybe three, don't remember) iterations of my online existence has been lost to the void for a good 8 years now but while reminiscing about the classic anime series of yesteryear (Patlabor to be exact), I dug up my previous website and had a good and hearty laugh. Good lord I was such a NERD back then. Now I'm just a geek. ;-) Actually I was kinda shocked that I had actually kept that design for as long as I had. Chalk another one up to laziness I suppose. Anyway, I've decided to retrieve it from the dustbin of my past, give it a much needed cleaning (broken links and images and all that), and eventually repost it in an obscure archives area. Might as well, what's a coupla more megabytes of fluff on the world-wide web?

In the process I discovered my old guestbook and remembered that hey, I have a long-neglected "new" guestbook as well. Obviously I (well, at least my site) was more popular back then than I am now. ;-p Plus the old guestbook links back to an old location that for some reason still exists even though I cancelled that account years ago. Oddly half the pages are gone though. I think this may have been a temporary site while I was moving things around inbetween Chicago, Hawaii and Taiwan.

Ahhh.... good times. I wonder what I'll be thinking 10 years down the road when I come back to look at this current site. Maybe I'll even have the same design, I still rather like it at the moment. Nice and simple and clean. Probably just do a little tweaking here and there.

Anyhow, more on this in the future when I finish remodeling the past. =)

August 13, 2005

Heart in a vise...

Kimi ga Nozomu Eine
Kimi ga Nozomu Eine (The Eternity You Wish For)

It's been a while since I've watched an anime that put me in an emotional headlock and rammed me headfirst through a couple of walls. Obviously it's not a feeling that one usually wants inflicted when watching some sort of entertainment (masochists excepted), but I haven't had this kind of experience since... well, I'm not sure. What made it even more unexpected is that this came from a genre (Japanese PC dating game) that typically isn't known to embody stories with this type of emotional impact and story depth (at least not when converted to anime form).

Intrigued that it was ranked #2 overall at AnimeNfo, I dl'ed it and I gotta say, I haven't felt this satisfied with an anime ending in quite a long time. Lot of the stuff I've seen recently have all had either rather vague endings, or endings that left some things still unresolved, or just simply non-endings, which gets rather annoying after awhile. But with stories like KgNE, a good ending makes or breaks the series and after all the gritted teeth, fist clenching, and scowls, KgNE does not disappoint. Very much like the endings for the ol' favorites, KOR & MI. It's one of those endings that ultimately leaves you with the "all's well with the world", "balance has been achieved", "boneheadedness has been made up for" kind of feeling. MI's ending I feel was much better dialogue-wise but a good ending nonetheless.

Continue reading "Heart in a vise..." »

August 15, 2005

Grounded angels...

Haibane-Renmei
Haibane Renmei (Charcoal Feather Federation)

Speaking of anime that end with unanswered questions, Haibane Renmei is one such title. Although in this particular case, it doesn't really matter. The questions left unanswered have more to do with the world and background that this anime is set in, not so much to the story itself.

The story is a powerful and moving tale of redemption, salvation, and friendship and as such is one that's alternatingly sweet, melancholic, painful, and reflective. It does start off rather slow as the viewer is eased into the new-born Rakka's life as a Haibane so if you're an impatient sort of person, this series won't be for you. There is a mildly religious feel to the series but it's not really coherent. Left up to interpretation you might say.

The series also has quite a good soundtrack that fits the overall tone of the story well. Good for staring out a window and contemplating life on a rainy day. :| Could be mildly depressing if you're already leaning toward that sort of mood.

Brief update...

on a previous entry regarding Asian women and some sorta of newfangled visor that apparently is making its way into Cali. Images of them can be found here.

August 16, 2005

Well that wasn't so bad...

Cleaning up the ol' site took less time than I thought. But man I've got some ugly-ass pages in there. =) Anyhoo, you can get to it from here. I take no responsibility to links to other sites that may or may not still exist. Some notes after the break...

Continue reading "Well that wasn't so bad..." »

That's some crazy sh**!

Granted I'm a big proponent of Apple computers but even I wouldn't go wait in line overnight for $50 4-year-old iBooks. And believe me, I've waited in line for much less than that. ;-) If they were $50 4-year-old Powerbooks on the other hand... =)

But dang, a line half a mile long, 5 to 10 thousand people? I mean it's not that poor of a county is it? Guess people just gotta have their laptops.

August 17, 2005

Nice view...

from our deserted office on the 19th floor of Saint Bartholomew's Church directly behind us. Noticed it while I was up there scrounging around for supplies and thought I'd take a few pics.

Domed Roof

Closeup

August 29, 2005

Tough...

House-hunting's turning out to be much rougher than originally expected. Places we like are too expensive, places that are cheaper are in more suspect neighborhoods. *sigh* Although I guess I shouldn't be getting too discouraged since it's only been about a month. =p

Anyway, just upgraded this site to MovableType 3.2. Looking good so far...

[UPDATE]: Looks like I spoke too soon. Entry form page doesn't work on the new Safari 2.0.1...

September 3, 2005

Subarashii...

Honey & Clover
Hachimitsu to Clover (Honey & Clover)

Downloaded this on a whim via BitTorrent without knowing anything at all about it and it's turned out to be quite a pleasant surprise. Man, fansubbing sure has come a ways since our college days. I remember when fansubs were basically done with LDs (or even VHS tapes) of older anime series but now, fansubbers are releasing current series, sometimes within a week of the Japanese air date.

Anyways, HachiKuro reminds me of the old classic, Koko wa Greenwood, which unfortunately never reached its full potential as an anime series. When I first saw Yamada from HachiKuro I was eerily reminded of the long-haired boy, Shun, from Greenwood. I guess probably cause both titles have their roots in shoujo manga. Even the artwork is similar, with more muted and pastel colors, although HachiKuro has more detailed work throughout. Quite beautiful for a tv series.

As for the story, it's a romantic comedy drama slice of life series starring a group of art students that by far is one of the best, ever. It's clearly evident that the producer and writers are highly devoted to doing a top-notch job on this title. From the OP to the ED and everything in between, everything just... fits. I won't waste time espousing all the virtues of this anime (just google the title if you want more info) but suffice to say, download it and watch it. Each episode is riveting, there's no fluff anywhere and I keep checking AnimeSuki every day in anticipation of the next episode. It's just damn good.

Speaking of slice of life...

Erin & I are walking down Grove Street in downtown Jersey City after work yesterday to visit a newly-built condo in the area when we fell in step behind a young ghetto Latino finishing his explanation to a passing friend why he was no longer working at his previous place of employment:

"Yeah man, they were like trying to work me like a slave. Fuck dat shit, I'm no Mexican."

September 7, 2005

Podunk, NJ

Super fabulous weather this Labor Day weekend...

Sky

so took a really, really long drive down to the Wheaton Village on Sunday to take a look around. Practically deserted that day and literally in the middle of nowhere. But they had some simply gorgeous glass pieces in both the museum and gift shops. Especially with the glass paperweights. Didn't compare to the glass pieces we saw at the Hawaii Volcanoes National Park but was pretty close. ;-) Anyhoo, some pics following...

Red Studs


Continue reading "Podunk, NJ" »

September 10, 2005

Midori Days...

Midori Days
Midori no Hibi (Midori Days)

Just finished this entertaining and heart-warming series (rent from Netflix) and am in a pretty good mood. =) Good to see that some anime studios still know to keep things short and sweet as this series is just 13 episodes long. For once we have a non-wishy-washy male protaganist who knows what he wants so obviously that cut down on the number of episodes significantly. =)

Briefly, the story is a romantic comedy about a misunderstood high school rebel (kind-hearted of course =p) with a secret admirer who suddenly winds up literally as his right hand. Teenage male with his right hand as a girlfriend jokes aside, it's actually a refreshingly funny concept. Anyways, definitely worth a look.

Musings...

Why is it that having your hair washed feels so much better than washing your own hair?

Every now and then I wonder what I look like going about my daily activities. Guess I'll never know unless I hire a photog to clandestinely follow me around and take pics. =) But until then I guess I'll make do with this fantastic thread of photogs in action. Living vicariously or whatnot. =p Also good to check out pics of some of the more obscene camera lenses out there. And I thought the Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS was a behemoth...

September 18, 2005

Technology is my friend?

Not.

This past Friday I wandered over to the Canon Expo 2005 at the Jacob Javits Center to check out what Canon has been up to and sit in on a couple of seminars featuring well-known photogs (I assumed) who shoot with Canon equipment.

Continue reading "Technology is my friend?" »

September 19, 2005

Gas shortage? What gas shortage?

Taste of Lexus

Last Saturday we took my parents out to Belmont Park to check out the Taste of Lexus Performance Edition event where they basically took over one huge parking lot and split it up into four small courses so that people could test drive all their available models (including one not yet in production prototype, the rocket IS350). They also pitched a huge tent on one side where you could view the newer cars (IS350, GS430, RX400h) up close, learn about some of the technologies incorporated in the vehicles, snack on some more upscale finger foods, and even schedule a massage.

Continue reading "Gas shortage? What gas shortage?" »

September 20, 2005

Otaku humor...

for some reason this exchange cracked me the hell up. And reminded me of Comic Party. It almost made you believe that cosplay was the most normal thing to do in the world. ;-) Although in some ways I do respect cosplayers... I'd never have the guts to be out in public dressed like this.

September 26, 2005

I'm not cut out...

for manual labor. Spent this weekend helping my Dad with some landscaping. Specifically, carting wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow full of soil from their front yard to the very rear of their backyard. And then tossing the soil, one shovel-full after another, over the waist-high wall back there. Stupid wall, without the wall I could've just dumped the soil straight from the wheelbarrow to the ground. Then carting back about 80 pounds of concrete slabs back to the front yard. And I thought shoveling snow was tough. Nothing quite like contending with embedded rocks and stubborn roots to really ruin your day. Damn good thing that the weather was nice and cool though. If we had done this a weekend or two earlier I would have passed out in half an hour.

I don't know how my Dad does it though. For someone in his early 60s with a balky back his strength and endurance is simply Herculean. Can't compete despite being half his age. And it's not like he does that much physical work normally either. Golf's the only physical past-time he does on a regular basis these days. But he still managed to single-handedly uproot 9 medium-sized bushes and do all the soil-carting for hours before I even got there on Saturday.

Ah well, I was never good in endurance trials anyway. There is a reason why I was a sprinter and not a long-distance runner in high school. ;-p Actually I'm not feeling that bad today. Just a little sore throughout with the brunt of it in my lower back. Guess it's a sign that I should start working out again. *sigh* Now I know how Spurlock hurt is wrist so quickly in his 30 Days episode where he tried to live on minimum wage and wound up doing gardening work for like $5/hour. Tilling the soil by hand is NOT fun. If anyone knows of any exercises for strengthening the back, let me know. ;-)

As I was lying...

on my back in my parent's family room sofa recuperating Saturday evening, I noticed for the first time, that the small chandelier they have in the room projected a rather interesting pattern on the ceiling. So took a few shots. It finally occurred to me after viewing pics by other photogs that the key (or one of the keys) to good photography is the effective use of light and shadow. Unfortunately I don't have quite the discerning eye for that currently but I'm trying to train it.

Chandelier

Half Shot

Flames

October 2, 2005

New lens...

Picked up an almost new, barely used Sigma APO 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG HSM lens along with a UV and a polarizing filter for it for a pretty good price late last week. It's no Canon EF 70mm-200mm f/2.8L IS USM but it can hold its own quite well. Definitely needs at least a monopod or tripod at 200mm though if you want to get the best results. This particular copy seems to be a bit softer wide open at 70mm but I can live with that.

Walked over to the local park in the late afternoon to take some test shots...

Canadian Goose

Swimming Mallard

Walking Mallard

Feeding Mallard

Female Mallard

October 4, 2005

This is rich...

so apparently the ever-so-popular Christian right is fuming over Dubya's most recent Supreme Court choice, Harriet Miers. She's not conservative enough (at least going by her limited, practically non-existent, track record) according to these bastions of morality. So ABC News was reporting that this may cause problems for the Republicans in the future if Miers doesn't live up to expectations, causing a "mass exodus" of Christian right conversatives from the party.

Ha ha, yeah, whatever. Exactly where are they gonna go? Form a new political party? Yeah, those have worked out great so far. And sorry, there's already a Family Values Party. Maybe we should just rip off more land in the Middle East and give it to the Christian Right so they can set up their own country. Oh wait.....

October 7, 2005

Closet otaku?

Ehh... according to this news article, 25% of all otaku in Japan are closet otaku, "whose wives and children give them little time to openly pursue their beloved pastimes." Dude, if you've managed to break out of your socially inept shell long enough to get married and even have children, you've given up the "otaku" title long, looong ago. =) There's no going back unless you divorce your wife and forsake your kids.

October 9, 2005

Browsin' the Met

Visited the Met yesterday cause Erin needed to sketch some things for her ceramics class. Miserable weather (rainy & humid) so tons of tourists. While Erin sketched, I putzed around with my camera. Had the Canon 50mm f/1.4 USM mounted since I remember the lighting in the museum being very dim so even a f/2.8 lens would be pretty tough to use unless you really cranked up the ISO or use a mono/tripod and flash. I had forgotten how light the 50mm is; the entire camera seemed like a featherweight after carrying around the Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro and the Sigma APO 70-200mm f/2.8 EX DG/HSM.

Main Staircase

This is a partial shot of the main staircase in the Met, taken from the second floor. Oddly angled cause I was using the edge of the wide stone balcony that runs all around the perimeter on the second floor as a straight line. Following the "don't shoot unless your shutter speed is at least 1 over the length of your lens (1/50s in this case) if you want a blur-free shot", I had to shoot mostly wide open at f/1.4 and set the ISO to 800. For this particular picture the shutter speed was still only 1/40s. That's how dim the lighting in the museum is.

Erin Doing Her Thing

Better lighting for this shot so shutter speed was able to reach 1/80s. I like this copy of the 50mm. =)

More after the break...

Continue reading "Browsin' the Met" »

October 13, 2005

Manga madness

We stopped by a Borders over the weekend and I was stunned to see the amount of manga that's now available translated to English. Equally stunning was the price for just one of these things (~$10+). Someone needs to start a Netflix site for manga. I don't think these will be something carried by local libraries.

Ah... brings me back to my youth when I would be back in Taiwan every summer and there was a store just down the street from my grandparents that just rented out manga. Would drag my cousin there and have him translate for me. =)

But anyway, damnit I need to find a way to rent these things! Although I guess I could just spend an afternoon or two making use of Border's nice chairs. =p

October 18, 2005

Erin's masterpiece...

Brass Ring

This is a brass ring with an amethyst cabochon that Erin recently made in her Jewelry Design 2 class. Took about 30 hours of careful work by hand but she's quite happy with it. :)

October 20, 2005

Adrenalized...

Final Fantasy VII Advent Children

So I'm jumping on the bandwagon a little late but earlier this week I got around to downloading the DVD version of Final Fantasy VII - Advent Children. I also downloaded a regular AVI version of it. Don't watch those, they're crap. Go with the DVD quality versions to get the full effect which is needed since the entire thing is CG. I must've watched the first 20 minutes or so of the AVI version before the DVD version finished downloading and wasn't especially impressed. But after I restarted viewing with the DVD version, it was like night and day.

After the fiasco of the original Final Fantasy movie (which I didn't think was as bad as everyone else thought it was), I wasn't expecting too much from this one. And in some ways it is a bit disappointing. The story is not particularly special but I wasn't watching this for that anyway. And it definitely helps if you remember the cast and events from the FFVII game. Non-fans will be left very much non-plussed by the story and plot unfortunately.

Cloud

However, It was awesome to see the FFVII cast realized in non-chibi form as they were in the game. The CG and animation, as expected, was for the most part stunning. As with the original movie, it was noticeable that some scenes and characters received more attention than others but not too bad overall.

But what really wow'd me were the action/fighting sequences. Some critics play down these sequences as too Matrix-y and badly cut. I don't know what the hell they're talking about. It seems like any time any new action movie comes out with slow-mo portions in an action sequence they immediately get labeled as Matrix-wannabes. Sure they had them here but not all that many. Hell I wish they had added MORE in just so I could admire the amount of detail and effort that went into those scenes. The fighting scenes were very fast paced but poorly cut? I don't think so. It does come through better if you watch them a few more times though just so your eye and mind can get used to the speed and then you can pick up what's going on. And when you do, you'll be treated to some of the best sword-fighting sequences and poses ever. They don't call Cloud the dude with the big honkin' Swiss-utility sword for nothing. =)

Tifa

Check your sense of reality at the door though cause the moves they pull off in this movie defy all logic. But that's exactly what makes it so cool. =) It's unfortunate that not everyone in the cast received a decent amount of screen time but unless you want to sit through a trilogy (which I wouldn't mind actually ;-), there's obviously not enough time to do that in just one film.

Oh, there's also a half-hour anime OAV floating around on BitTorrent called Final Fantasy VII - Last Order that sorta explains why Cloud's such a mopey dope throughout most of this movie (although you can figure out the main reason why just from watching this movie) and also provides a little bit of a backstory to a flashback that was shown in this movie and the brief appearance of a character near the end of this movie.

Anyway, I'm suitably impressed with this movie so much that I'll be first in line to get the official DVD when it's finally released in the US later this year. I'm wishing they also release it in a theater in NYC cause it'd be great to see it on a big screen. And it almost makes me want to go and pick up the game again. =)

October 24, 2005

Fun with clay...

This past weekend spent some time at Tribeca Potters with Erin cause her previous Ceramics I prof invited us to their open house.

Pics here.

October 26, 2005

Indescribable...

Apparently when they're not trampling each other as part of some practical joke gone awry, students in China have too much time on their hands.

October 29, 2005

Respect your elders...

Dropped by Best Buy earlier today to pick up a pack of CD-Rs for Erin and Grand Theft Auto - Liberty City Stories for myself. At checkout, wound up with a cashier that was easily at or over retirement age. Picking up the 50-pack CD-R that I had chosen, he asked if I was sure I wanted this one cause they had another brand that was like $6 something. Startled, I said I hadn't seen any that were priced that low (not that I really looked all that hard). So he said, "Alright, well let's go take a look." And with my CD-R pack in hand, walks out from behind his register and heads off towards the optical media section towards the back of the store. At this point I noticed that he had a bad hip or leg or something so while following this rather earnest fella as he's hobbling along, I'm feeling kinda bad for making him do all this walking.

Anyway, we found the pack that he was talking about and he did a swap. Upon arriving back at his register he goes on to tell me that this brand (Dynex) was actually Best Buy's own brand and that they had other similar setups for other types of products in the store. And he pointed out that the CD-Rs could burn at 52x speed which was the fastest available. I was rather impressed, this guy clearly took his job seriously and does his homework. Even at an age where typically he should've been sunning himself on some veranda down in Florida. Maybe he figured he needed to keep up with the predominately much younger crowd that usually makes up the bulk of Best Buy employees. But I liked the guy, he was unfailingly polite and seemed genuinely concerned with helping out the customer. Usually the cashiers could give a rat's ass about what it was you were buying and appeared primarily interested in getting you to buy their extended warranty for this product or other. So his attitude and conduct was an unexpected, yet refreshing change.

So anyway, to Craig at the East Hanover Best Buy store, thanks very much for your help and keep up the great work! =)

November 4, 2005

Rats with wings...

Pigeons in a Row

On our way into the city last weekend, we cut across the little corner park that we usually pass through to get to the PATH station. This time however, there was a row of pigeons sitting in a row on top of the fence. Have never seen them all lined up like that there before. Never seen them during the weekdays. They didn't even move when we walked by, passing like 3 or 4 feet away from them. Plus, the part of the fence they were perched on was directly over the feeding area that some local people had set up for the 4 or 5 stray cats in the area. These were some pretty bold birds I tell ya.

Park shots...

There's a cliff-front park (Hamilton Park) that runs parallel to the Hudson River in Weehawken that we usually drive by on the way to Mitsuwa. Never actually stopped to take a look until today. Thought I'd take the Sigma 70-200 out for a test run. While the view of Manhattan is quite nice and the park itself is pretty nice and clean (no dogs allowed), there weren't too many interesting things to take pics of unfortunately across the river. This telezoom isn't ideal for panaroma shots plus being there at around 2 in the afternoon gave the scene a rather bright, washed out cast.

War Monument

It did have a war monument (Korean & Vietnam) there.

Bell

And a monument for the local fire department.

The park is quite popular with weddings as we often saw brides, grooms and bridesmaids stop off in the area for pictures. One such party showed up while I was there and I was tempted to try to surreptitiously snap some shots but that's rather hard to do when you have such a big honking lens in your hands.

November 6, 2005

Zoo shots...

Finally managed to make it over to the Central Park Zoo this weekend to test out the Sigma 70-200.

Not bad, not bad at all.

Polar Bear

November 12, 2005

Hard at work...

Torching

Visited Erin in her jewelry classroom cause she wanted some company as she was the only one there Friday night. Putzed around with the Sigma 24-70 lens.

Few more pics after the break...

Continue reading "Hard at work..." »

November 17, 2005

Yummy in my tummy...

For the most part I've been unimpressed by the ramen selection available in the NY/NJ area. Although it's not like I go out of my way to hunt down ramen places but nothing I've encountered so far has come close to Gomaichi greatness. Until now...

Mitsuwa in Edgewater has been undergoing alot of renovation lately in the food court area and a lot of new eateries have moved in. One of the places, named "Santoka" has the best ramen I've ever had in the area. Your taste may vary of course as Erin thinks they're too salty. They have 3 soup stocks: salt, shouyu and miso. I only like salt. And their char siu is quite superb, although a bit on the salty side as well. They also have a special char siu which as far as I can tell is a bit fattier and softer than their normal ones. Anyway, it's no Gomaichi char siu tan tan but it's very close. So until I can make my way back out to Hawaii again, Santoka will have to do. =)

Santoka

If anyone has any ramen recommendations in the tri-state area, leave a comment and I'll check it out. =)

November 18, 2005

Thinking with your stomach...

Cheese Rings

Erin came home the other day sporting this trifecta. A few months ago she had created version 1.0 of this ring which was made of silver and consisted of just one wedge. Apparently she thought it'd work better in bronze and created this new set. I'm not entirely sure they'd work well as rings. Possibly better as pendants. But it was amusing to see. And what she had to do to make them was pretty impressive as well. The curves she had to file into shape manually and individually by piece and each of the three were done separately even though the final product seem to fit together quite well.

Anyway, seems like she'll be doing some other food-themed items in the future.

November 22, 2005

XBox Denied

Left the house at 6 this morning in an attempt to pick up an XBox 360. Figured it'd probably be like the PSP launch which wasn't overwhelming. Boy was I wrong. I must've hit 10 different stores between Hudson and Morris counties trying to find a place that wasn't already sold out between 6 and 8 am. Wasn't happening. It's not that there were tons of people (although there probably were but...), there just weren't enough systems. Some places had as few as 5 available. Most were around the 14-15 range. Only 2 places had more than 30. And the store managers were nice enough to let the people waiting know relatively early how many they had so the rest of the people could go search elsewhere or just go home. Hence the short lines.

Apparently a MS spokesperson said yesterday that they weren't intentionally restricting the number of units available for the launch. What a bunch of bull. If this wasn't intentional, then they're the most incompentent bunch of launch planners in the world.

Anyhoo, I don't really need an XBox 360 but figured it'd be fun to see what the launch festivities were like. And if I just happened to manage to lay my hands on one it wouldn't hurt either. But that was not to be. There were some child-doting soccer moms showing up at the Best Buy store right before the 9am opening time who were stunned that they were way too late. But obviously the lucky few who managed to lay their hands on these initial systems were mostly late high school/college students or young professionals.

[UPDATE - 11/23/05]: Maybe I'm not missing out on much after all as reports of wonky behavior are starting to permeate the web. On the other hand I'm having a blast with Nintendogs and Mario Kart DS.

November 23, 2005

I need more hands...

When the Nintendo DS was released in the US, I bought one. When the Sony PSP was released months later, I bought one. And then sold the DS. A few months later, I have a friend's DS in my possession since it was just keeping the dust off his shelf. So I figured I'd write up a quick comparison / review of the two now that they've been out for awhile and have some better games available.

Continue reading "I need more hands..." »

November 25, 2005

Black Friday Madness

While browsing the web after Thanksgiving dinner reading up on Black Friday deals, noticed that CompUSA was opening at 11:59pm so decided to go take a look at the local store since it was only a 5 minute drive from my parent's house. Erin decided to tag along to keep an eye on my spending. =p So we arrived exactly at midnight and they were just letting people in. Parking lot was completely full so we parked in the McDonald's lot next door, taking the last spot there.

Inside, it was a bit of a madhouse. Most people had the sales flyer in hand and were going right for either the items they wanted or the really marked down items like the 200GB HD for $30 after rebates. Big queue in front of the glass HD case for that one. I wasn't looking for anything in particular so wandered around for a bit. By the time that I remembered that they were selling a relatively nice Logitech webcam for notebooks for $20 after rebate and found their webcam section, they were all gone. Erin picked up 3 packs of CD-Rs for $8 and I made my rounds around the aisles a few more times before stumbling into 3 more of the webcams that were displayed in a separate aisle that no one had noticed. Was going to take all 3 but since the price reduction was via rebate we could only do 2.

Then we proceeded to a checkout line where we had to wait for about an hour and a half before we actually got to the front of the line. It was f*ckin' awful. Combination of not enough checkout counters, slow workers, clueless customers, and reams of printouts for rebates. It was excruciating. We didn't make it home till a little before 2am.

Continue reading "Black Friday Madness" »

November 26, 2005

Dumpling Day...

Since we were at my parent's place for the holiday, Erin decided it'd be a good time to restock our supply of hand-made dumplings and wonton. Two sets of hands are much faster than one. And you can't beat home-made dumplings anyway. I snapped some shots with the Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. I love this lens! Shot indoors in the afternoon with only ambient light from outside on a cloudy day and images still came out super clear. It's almost enough to make a man go all L-series prime. ;-p If I could only afford to pay a grand+ a lens. =p

Pan of Dumplings

Some more snaps after the break...

Continue reading "Dumpling Day..." »

November 28, 2005

Yowza...

An article about anime in Fortune magazine? Wow, anime/manga sure has come a long way.

November 29, 2005

Sweepstakes?

I find the recent fascination with the countup to the 1000th executed prisoner since the death penalty was reinstated in 1976 to be a bit... odd. Who cares? It's not like the 1000th person wins a prize or something.

[UPDATE]: Looks like I spoke too soon. The 1000th person did win a prize.

December 5, 2005

Winter blahs...

Butt-freezing weather here recently isn't particular conducive for photography which bites cause I've been wanting to put one of my mostly unused lenses through its paces, the Canon 100mm f/2.8 Macro. Supposedly one of the sharpest lenses ever and not just for macro work.

Ah well, also picked up the Canon BG-E3 grip for my XT and it's quite nice. Adds a bit of weight to the usually light XT body but makes up for it by making the XT taller so people with big hands/long fingers have something more to grab on to plus the lower left corner of it digs (not painfully) right into the lower palm of your left hand so you have a more comfortable and stable platform when using a big lens.

The grip also comes with a battery adapter so you now have the option of using it with regular AA batteries. Not something I'll be using regularly but I can see it coming handy in a pinch.

December 10, 2005

Finally!

My lens collection is finally complete with the arrival of my Tokina AT-X 124 AF PRO DX AF 12-24mm f/4! Well, at least for now. Later on I may decide to upgrade to better versions of the lenses that I have now or even dabble in primes but the first stage has been achieved with 3 zooms covering the 12-200mm range with no gaps. Well, actually 19.2-320mm range on the 1.6x crop XT that I have. Although I may still pick up a Sigma 1.4x teleconverter to get a little more range out of my Sigma 70-200.

Anyway, the Tokina turned out to be a smaller lens than I was expecting although my sense of size may be skewed after handling the behemoth Sigma 24-70 most of the time. But it has a very solid build and feels pretty good in use. The autofocus actually works pretty quickly and the sound is a lot less intrusive than on the Sigma 24-70. However, on the fifth shot I took with it it caused an "Err 99" on my XT. Not sure what the heck happened there but hasn't happened again since. Also has the thickest front lens cap I've ever seen. Guess they really want to protect that slightly more bulbous front lens element.

Unfortunately the weather here has been absolute crap yesterday and today so haven't really been able to put it through its paces. Took a few shots from the cafeteria at work though. The following 3 shots are unedited 'cept for conversion to JPG and shrinking down to the current size.

Cafeteria
ISO 800, 1/60s, f/5.6, 12mm

Here you can see pretty well the distortion that you can expect from a wide angle lens. This warped effect is more noticeable when taking pictures of objects that are relatively close to you.

View North
ISO 800, 1/250s, f/11, 12mm

This is the view northwards from the 16th floor at work. Distortion not as evident in this shot. Sorry about the light reflection off the window that I took the shot through.

Draped Flag
ISO 800, 1/50s, f/5, 12mm

This is a shot of the gigantic flag that covers the entire expanse of windows on the side of the building facing the World Trade Center. Apparently there's a bunch of boarded up glass panes that they haven't gotten around to fixing behind the flag. It also rises above the southern-facing entrance that currently is hidden from view at ground level behind a temporary wall which you can make out at the bottom of the pic. Obviously there's a bit of distortion going on in this shot as well but sometimes, distortion is not necessarily a bad thing. =)

Anyway, hope to get some semblance of a sunny day soon so I can get a better feel as to the image quality of this particular lens. Will post those when I get the chance.

December 11, 2005

Wide...

Just another quick, unedited shot taken with the new lens. As far as I can tell it's living up to its reputation of being quite a sharp lens.

House
ISO 100, 1/200s, f/10, 12mm

December 13, 2005

Imaginary road rage...

So during this time of year on the weekends, the exit off of Route 24 West that leads to the Short Hills Mall is annoyingly congested due to crappy planning (it criss-crosses with a road running parallel to the exit that funnels people out of the mall and onto Route 24). So there's usually a line of cars running back almost to the prior exit waiting to get to the mall which I got myself stuck in this past weekend which really sucked cause I wasn't even going to the mall. I wasn't in a particular rush so I wasn't too pissed but as I sat there I couldn't help thinking that they really should put anti-vehicle weaponry on cars. Just for those rude muthaf*ckas who ignore the line waiting to use the exit, drive right up to the exit itself and expect to just merge in. Are you *bleep*ing kidding me?! If you tried to pull that crap in a normal line you'd be lucky if you got off with just a glare and a sarcastic remark. And you'd still have to go to the back of the line. So what makes people think that they don't have to follow procedure when in a car? Sure you can't drive backwards to get to the back of the line but US highways are pretty convenient. Drive down to the next exit, do 2 U-ys and go to the back of the line. Sure it'll take more time but that's what your punk ass gets for ignoring it in the first place.

So anyway, back to the idea of weaponry. I guess something that would cause bodily harm to the individual in the car would be too extreme so machine guns, rocket launchers and the like are out. Maybe something that would slash tires or scratch the hell out of their paintjob? Or I guess even more benign would just be paintball guns or something that would just cause a minor inconvenience.

Anyhoo, I guess if people actually stopped being so self-absorbed I wouldn't have to talk about this but apparently Christmas shopping is more important.

December 15, 2005

Kawaii...

Was gonna post this before but forgot about it. Anyways, looks like it's time to visit DC again...

Tai Shan

Pottery pieces...

Just a few pottery pieces that Erin came home with this semester...

Flowery Pot

Pudgy Bowl

Swirl Cup

Spotted Cup

Speckled Cup

Warped Bowl

Tall Vase

December 17, 2005

Breakin' out the big iron...

Just the Lenses

Finally got the chance to appropriate a Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens to run some comparison tests with my Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 and to finally check out first-hand the power of IS (Image Stabilization). And man, I wasn't disappointed.

First off, a quick physical comparison. Both lens are definitely not lightweights with the Sigma coming in at 7.2" long and 2.8 lbs and the Canon eclipsing that at 7.8" long and 3.24 lbs, almost half a pound heavier! Doesn't feel too different when you're holding just the lens in your hand but stick that on to your camera body along with a flash unit and you start feeling it after awhile. So using either of these lenses will definitely give you a nice upper body workout.

Ready to Roll

On to the pics...

Continue reading "Breakin' out the big iron..." »

December 22, 2005

Word play...

For lunch today I bought a bottle of Tropicana Pure Premium HomeStyle Lemonade which was pretty good. While looking at the label I noticed that it said "Made with Not From Concentrate". What's the reasoning behind such convoluted grammar? Is "Not From Concentrate" an actual product or brand? Wouldn't it make more sense to label it "Not Made From Concentrate"? I'm guessing there's something inbetween juice from concentrate and real juice that they're using here cause otherwise they'd be advertising that this was made "From Real Juice!" like you'll see on some other drinks. Of course then in fine print it says "only 5% real juice" or so some such nonsense but that's a topic for another day.

Made With Not From Concentrate

Sorry about the crap-ass picture. Cell phone cams are obviously not made for macro work. ;-p

December 24, 2005

Steady as she goes...

This is part 2 (part 1 here) of my tests that I ran with the Canon 70-200 f/2.8 IS lens. For this entry I'll just be looking at the effectiveness of the image stabilization that apparently is worth $600 more according to Canon. But is it really? All shots taken handheld at ISO 800 indoors on a Canon Digital Rebel XT with BG-E3 grip attached and a Sigma EF-500 Super flash w/Sto-fen Omnibounce set at about a 45 degree angle. No post-processing done except for conversion to JPEG and shrinking down to 800x533.

First a few pics of the lens mounted:

Canon 70-200 IS Side View
Yup it's one heck of a setup

Canon 70-200 IS Front View
Long and tall

And just two more similar shots with the Sigma 70-200 mounted just for comparisons sake.

Sigma 70-200 Side View
All black ensemble

Sigma 70-200 Front View
Equally Tall, not as Long

Continue reading "Steady as she goes..." »

December 31, 2005

Last post of the year...

Figured I'd get one last post in before we officially call it a year. Spent the last week and a half driving miles upon miles and hitting the pavement looking for furniture for our new home. No one warned me that furniture shopping was such a huge pain in the ass. Since we're basically leaving almost all our 5-year-old Ikea relics behind, we've got a TON of stuff to look for. And my wallet's taking an even bigger beating (as if the mortgage wasn't bad enough). *sigh* There's certainly a ton of furniture out there to choose from, too bad 70% is crap/not to our tastes and 20% is awesome but way overpriced. So that leaves us with about 10% to work with. It's tough. But we're getting there. Hopefully have a few more pieces squared away before this New Year's sale is over. ;-p

Anyway, HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!!!

January 3, 2006

First post of the year...

just a quick one to get it out of the way. =) Hope everyone had a great holiday season and best of luck in the new year! Big changes for me in this first month of the year so I'll be busy. That's all for now.

January 7, 2006

So spacious...

Spent the morning upgrading the hard drive on my Powerbook to a Seagate Momentus 5400.2 120GB drive. That's 40GB (theoretically) more space than the 80GB that I have already and which I had basically filled up (RAW images and MP3s being the primary culprits). Was surprisingly easy to get up and running again.

Continue reading "So spacious..." »

January 9, 2006

Why Winblows Sucks - Reason #5 Billion

As mentioned in my previous post I've been attempting to clone the 2 partitions in Erin's existing laptop hard drive to the 80GB hard drive I had just swapped out of my Powerbook. I had high hopes for this software that I found, DriveImage XML, because it was a free (bonus!) program that seemed like it could do something similar to CCC on the Mac.

Continue reading "Why Winblows Sucks - Reason #5 Billion" »

January 10, 2006

Vacant...

Exchange Place is just so dead on the weekends.

Exchange Place - Sunday
12mm, f/8, 1/125s