Bright Light Hell

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

In preparation for getting Lasik I had my comprehensive exam yesterday. It is an exam where they do all sorts of things to you to make sure that your eyes are healthy enough to undergo the procedure.

One of the things they do to you is check the health of your retina. They do this by dilating your eyes and shining a VERY bright light into them. Yesterday when they did this to me I decided it would be an excellent way to torture someone. I can't tell you how painful this was for me yesterday. Just thinking about it now brings tears to my eyes.

No I know what most people are thinking. I have had this done to me before and it wasn't that bad. Well I have too but I don't remember it being this painful. Maybe the light they used was extra bright. Maybe the doctor just took a lot longer than most to ensure the health of my eyes. Whatever it was it hurt like hell. And I only had to endure it for about a minute and a half in each eye. If you did that for a long period of time to someone I can't imagine them not passing out from the pain.

Americans are Sheep

Sunday, December 14, 2003
OK, that may sound a little harsh but I really do believe it is true to some degree. Today Saddam Hussein was captured and America rejoiced. Consequently Bush's approval rating will go through the roof as American's jump on the bandwagon and applaud his great leadership.

Most American's will forget that the war is a farce. A part of me is relieved that he is finally captured but truth be told what does it really matter? Does that mean the troops can come home now? No. Do I feel America is safer now? Not really.

We all must remember what really happnened here. We overthrew a foreign government. Granted he was oppressing his people but the fact remain that we took it upon ourselves to say what was good for the Iraqi people and ousted their leader. Its a little self-righteous if you ask me.

Oh I forgot, the war wasn't about getting rid of Saddam. It was about finding the Weapons of Mass Destruction. We found those right?

Wait I'm sorry again. This war was about stopping terrorism. I mean after the 9/11 attacks we had to stop Al Queda. Wait, wasn't that Osama Bin Laden? Oh, I guess it doesn't matter. All Muslims are the same anyway right?

Nice Guys Do Finish Last

Thursday, December 11, 2003
Haven't blogged in a while because work has been really busy.

There was this show on NBC called Average Joe. It is another one of those reality shows but this time all the men from which to choose are just "Average" and some were way below average. Now I only watched half of one show but the show recently ended and I thought it was interesting.

Toward the end of the series they introduced a few good looking guys. The twist being that would this beautiful girl choose the nice average guy or the studly hunk. The show came down to two guys, "average" Adam and "hunky" Jason. To keep a long story short she chose Jason.

Now here is my take. Like I said, I didn't really watch the series too much but here is what I do know. Adam seemed like a genuinely nice guy. He wasn't ugly but he wasn't good looking. He is a very successful stock trader in NYC and at age 27 has amassed a small fortune. Jason on the other hand is a 26 year old student in Irvine and lives at home with his parents. He seemed nice enough, not terribly arrogant, but didn't have the "sweet" quality that Jason had. Now, not that money is everything but I think what you do in life and how you live say a lot about who you are.

Before I say anything else I have a disclaimer, I know what I am about to say DOES NOT apply to all women so don't barrage me with comments how all women aren't like this.

It did not surprise me to see her pick the live-at-home hunk. Most women, actually every women I have ever talked to, say that they prefer personality to looks and blah blah blah..... I have always contended that when it comes down to it though, women are as bad as men and will often overlook every other quality in a guy if he is good looking. Not that this show proved my point but it just reinforces my belief.

Its funny because last night I was talking to two women who were berating their love life and how all guys they have dated were either losers or liars. Well Duh. I think the problem that a lot of women have who continunally get in bad relationships is that they tell themselves that they really care about personality but when push comes to shove they choose the looker. They wonder why the hunk they chose isn't nice to them or is a bum or cheats on them when they probably looked passed a hundred decent guys because they were in love with their boyfriend's pecs. Let me let all you women in on a secret. Now while this doesn't apply to all men (I don't think it applies to me) a man's likelihood of cheating is DIRECTLY proportional to his opportunity to do so. Since a man's opportunity to do so is directly proportional to his relative attractiveness you can see why a lot of good looking guys cheat on their girlfriends.

I think we would all be better off if most women just admitted that they are like most men, looks come first and carries much more weight than most women are willing to admit.

Wal-Mart and the Middle Class

Tuesday, November 25, 2003
I don't normally like to touch on similar topics relatively close together but I read several articles about Wal-Mart in the past week and it made me do some thinking. The first article, by Fast Company, is a nice, albeit long, article about Wal-Mart's tactics in the Market Place. The Los Angeles Times did a three part story where it too addressed Wal-Mart's tactics but also touched on its Global influence as well as it's Global Image.

Here is the topic of the day. Why do people who should know better shop at Wal-Mart and what should be a middle-class job?

Wal-Mart is a behemoth. It is the largest company in the world. Notice I didn't say "largest retailer", it is the largest company period. Bigger than Microsoft, bigger than GM, even bigger than GE. It's revenue tops $245 Billion a year.

The only way it does this is through pure volume. That means a lot of people are shopping at Wal-Mart. Even though I have given up shopping at Wal-Mart I don't hold it against anybody if they do because you can't argue that they don't have lower prices. My problem is that I don't think people realize what they are doing. Or maybe they do but they just don't care. I don't shop at Wal-Mart, partly out of deference for Sergio, but partly because I have problems with some of their practices. The economist in me thinks its great, they eliminate waste at every turn, but I realize that there is a human cost to that.

American's are funny. We want high-quality products. We want them to be environmentally friendly. We want them to be humanely produced. We want a good lifestyle. However when push comes to shove we will forgo some of these things for a great bargain. I don't think people realize that cheap prices have a cost. Something has to give and with Wal-Mart they push so hard for quality that it almost inevitably comes from someone's lifestyle, the worker who produced the good. They not only use cheap labor in their stores but they basically force their suppliers to have cheap labors in their plants. Its a double-edged sword. Wal-Mart has such low prices that people will shop there to stretch out their dollar more. This in effect makes them "wealthier" because they have money for other things. However, everything is interconnected so eventually to sustain these low prices cost must be reduced at the supplier level which eventually leads to lower wages. Of course this makes shopping at Wal-Mart even more of a necessity and the cycle continues.

Not everyone has the luxury I do in that I can choose to pay slightly more for products by not shopping at Wal-Mart. I'm sure some people think that there small little purchases won't make a difference. Well let me tell you something, it does. That's how Wal-Mart gets you, Billions and Billions of small little purchases.

Like I have said, I don't really have a problem with Wal-Mart, at least not like some people do. I kind of agree with them that if you can do it for less than you should. If someone is willing to do the same job for less money why shouldn't an employer hire the other person? Don't argue that the quality of the work won't be the same because if that were the case the consumer wouldn't buy the product, the consumer has the loudest voice of all, their money.

One of their VPs, Robert S. McAdam, said "If we have an advantage,it's that we are offering what people want." I couldn't agree with him more. In the end it is the consumer which decides what will and will not work. The basic point of this rather long blog is this. What is a middle class job? Is packing groceries deserving of a middle-class income? How about a check out clerk? If Americans believe that these are then they would need to make that decision and be willing to pay more for their groceries and other sundry items. However, I think America is speaking loud and clear, they want what is best for themselves RIGHT NOW, and that means the low low Wal-Mart prices. I think the middle-class is about to get a lot smaller.

Union Clarification

Thursday, November 20, 2003
I light of my stand on the current California labor strikes I have been labeled by some to be "anti-union". I want to clarify my position a little.

I am not anti-union. In fact I believe Unions are a good thing under certain circumstances. If the employer has a monopoly on employment then I believe the workers should have a monopoly on the labor. This is the case in pro sports and in small towns where one factory is the life-blood of a community. I believe that unions have created a strong middle class in America and are responsible for many of the gains that workers now enjoy.

However, my belief is that people need to be somewhat realistic. In this day and age unions make less sense. With people having the ability to find work at a variety of places I believe that if you are unhappy with your employer you should find a new one.

That is not my point. I actually have no problem with Union grocery workers on strike. In fact, I really hope they win because what they are fighting for is health care, and everyone should have health care.

But this is my point. They have to realize that there union drives up prices at their stores. Don't believe it? Go to a Wall-Mart superstore where they don't have unions. The prices there are significantly less.

Now I believe most people if given the choice will shop where there are lower prices. A few people, myself included, refuse to shop at Wal-Mart because of what they stand for. But not everyone has that luxury. I can easily see a scenario where the Grocery Union wins (which by the way I don't think will happen because the grocery chains seem adamant) but they really lose because the Grocery stores will be unable to compete against non-union labor and be forced to close. That will leave everyone unemployed and probably working at Wal-Mart anyway. Worse, it will reduce competition in the market making things worse off for the average consumer.

Basketball Double Standard

Tuesday, November 18, 2003
I really don't understand why when it comes to sports there is a double standard in regards to the age in which people can start playing professionally.

Every time the NBA draft comes around and the latest High-school phenom gets drafted people are up in arms about how he should go to college and he is missing out on so much by not attending a university.

Today a 14 year old soccer phenom, Freddy Adu, signed a 6 year contract with MLS today. The kid is 14 years old but nobody is saying anything. This happens all the time in sports like Tennis and Golf but nobody says anything then either. In Baseball, kids go straight out of high school into the farm systems of Major League clubs and guess what .... nobody says a word.

So how come when some kid comes out to play some hoops all of a sudden it's the end of the world?

Local Number Portability

Thursday, November 13, 2003
Local Number Portability is about to take effect at the end of the month. For those of you who don't know what this is it basically gives you the right as a consumer to take your cell phone number with you to a new carrier. It used to be that if you switched from say Sprint to T-Mobile you would lose the number associated with your cell phone.

Well all that is going to change. And my comment is, big deal. I think people over-estimate the importance of their phone number. I recently switched my cell phone number and you know how many people called me on my old phone looking for me? 0. I kept the old phone for a month and I didn't receive a single call as soon as I sent out an email telling everyone that my number had changed.

All the important people in your life will just update their own cell phone or organizer with your new number and not even think twice about it. The only concern are those few people who you might talk to once a year or something but how important is it that they be able to call you anyway. If they are that important I'm sure you would have emailed them to the change in your number. If they really want to get a hold of you I'm sure they could if they tried.

I Knew Microsoft Was Evil But This ....

Friday, November 07, 2003
I actually have a whole list of topics I could talk about but I don't really feel like any of them today. So I'm going to write about something interesting that Sergio sent me.

Here is a page that describes what software all the different presidential candidates are running on their websites. Now I kind of doubt that they have any say, or even really care, what software their ISP is running but I think it is kind of funny that W is running Microsoft and IIS while most of the Democratic candidates are running some flavor of Unix and Apache. Gephardt isn't but isn't he really a Republican anyway?

Now most of you know how I feel about Microsoft and how I feel about Republicans. I just think that this is pretty funny. My favorite fact though is how the RNC is also running Microsoft and it measures its uptime in days where as the Democrats run Linux and have an uptime measuring in Months.

Kobe Or Shaq?

Monday, October 27, 2003

This topic is getting kind of old huh? Once again Shaq and Kobe are at it in the media taking jabs at each other. Is it me or is this straight out of Kindergarten? These two need to realize one thing, they don't win three championships without each other. That's why the Lakers didn't win it last year (no Shaq) and that's why Shaq never won anything until Kobe became the player he is today.

That being said, what should the Lakers do? If you had to choose one what would you do? Let me say one thing is for certain, without Shaq the Lakers aren't doing anything right now. The way they are built, they need Shaq. He is truly unstoppable when he wants to be and he is in shape. Nobody in the league has anybody else who can match up. That being said I take Kobe. Huh?

OK, first off Kobe is younger. You're going to get 7 more years out of Kobe than you are with Shaq if not more. Shaq is on his way down the hill, Kobe is still looking up. Kobe, albeit not this year, stays in much better shape than Shaq. He improves on his game year in and year out. The NBA is a guards league. Guards dominate the game because they have the ball in their hands. Its a fast paced game where things have to happen quickly and throwing it in the paint is not wise unless you have a Shaq or a Tim Duncan. Now the last few championships have been won by teams with either Shaq or Tim Duncan which would seem to suggest that having the big man is more important. Well I would argue, yeah if he is Tim Duncan. Tim Duncan, as much as I hate to admit it, is better than Shaq is. Why would I say such a thing? Because Shaq is inconsistent. You know what Duncan is giving you, he gives it to you every night. Shaq has 1 MVP, Duncan 2 and Duncan is younger. The reason, Shaq gets hurt. He misses too many games.

But given all the above I was still leaning toward Shaq until I thought, would I rather have the Bulls teams of the 90's or the Lakers of now. The answer was the Bulls. How come? They had Jordan and he dominated the game from the two guard with almost no big man to speak of (unless you count Luc Longley?) In fact, he routinely beat Shaq and the Magic.

So for the long term I take Kobe. You're simply going to get more out of him, unless he goes to jail.

I'm Back!

Thursday, October 16, 2003
Hi everyone! Sorry for the hiatus but I really didn't have internet access for a few days. For those who know me well know that I had withdrawal but now I'm back and feel much better.

Trip to NYC was fun. I got to see everyone I really wanted to. Didn't do anything really crazy or fun but that's because I lived there and didn't really feel like doing any of the touristy type things. Also didn't do the whole stay out until 4:00 a.m. NYC thing since I've been there and done that. Really just met up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while and had lunch or dinner. I miss my New York friends.

However, going back to the city convinced me of one thing, I was absolutely right to move back. Here is a partial list of why I never liked living in NYC.
  • It's way too crowded. People bump into you and don't say "I'm sorry".
  • Drivers are way too impatient. You can be stuck with 20 cars in front of you but the driver behind you insist on honking at you anyway.
  • There always seems to be a police or ambulance siren.
  • I pay 1/2 in rent what my other friends pay and have 3x the apartment.
  • You have to sit next to people you don't know in restaurants.
  • I had to wait 45 minutes to get a table for brunch in a small little cafe.
  • The subways are great but being a native California I felt I had to walk way too much.
I'm sure I could think of other things but those just came off of my head. Don't get me wrong. There are plenty of advantages, but being who I am I just don't think they are worth it. Sure, some people love to stay out until 4:00 a.m. and then hit a diner afterwards. Those people just aren't me.

Friends My Ass!

Thursday, October 02, 2003
OK, what is going on with Friends? I've written about this before but with this latest episode of Friends I have to write about it again. Ross and Rachael belong together. He is her Lobster. Joey isn't even Rachael's Tuna much less her lobster.

I mean, he has wanted her since High School. He dumped the nice Asian girl (Friends definately doesn't have enough Asian people though. Have you seen NYC. Lots of Asian people) for her. He dumped the hot bald girl for her. They have a baby togehter. He said her name at his second wedding. They were married. The list goes on and on and on .......

I shouldn't talk (All my High school friends stay quiet) but isn't this show called Friends? Not, hook up with whoever is next to you?

Renting vs. Buying

Thursday, September 25, 2003
I had all these things I wanted to talk about before but forgot all of them. Oh well.

Today's topic is renting vs buying. The age old question that doesn't seem to have an answer. Are you one of those people who believe that renting an apartment is like throwing you money out the window? I use to be one of those people but I'm recently converted. Let me explain why.

Renting has MANY advantages. Chief among those

1. It's less expensive
2. You don't have to do your own repairs
3. You have freedom to move

You really can't underestimate the last two. I would eventually like to own my own home. I'm the type of guy that would be very much into fixing up my own home and being able to decorate the way I want to. However, when I thought about it I realized that I'm definitely not in the position to buy a house. It's not that I can't afford it, I probably could if I tried, but it really doesn't make any sense for me to. Here's why.

I have no idea what I'm going to be doing or where I will be in the next 5 years. At this age, I think it is really important to keep you options open. Buying a house locks you down for at least the next 5 years. It is pointless to buy a house only to sell it within 3 years because for the first 3 years you are paying mostly the interest and very little of the principle. If you do need to move you basically burned even more money by just handing it over to the bank, the real estate agents (Don't forget closing cost which can run Thousands of dollars), and insurance agents.

What if I get a great job offer in Seattle? The nice thing about my situation right now is that I could take it without much though. Not only do I not have a family but I don't have a house I have to sell. Freedom has its price, and for now, it is well worth it.

Ahead of my time

Thursday, September 18, 2003
If you follow my blog you know that the two most popular searches are for "Should College Athletes get Paid" and for "Hard Drive Wrong Size"

Well today it was announced that there is going to be a lawsuit against Hard Drive manufacturers for the misleading practice of overstating the capacity of their hard drives. I of course complained about this months ago when I got my new hard drive and I found there to be significantly less capacity than I expected.

State of Women's Sports

Tuesday, September 16, 2003
The WUSA (Women's Soccer League) announced today that it will be closing up shop. They made the announcement because support of the league has dropped significantly sine its inception in 1999.

On several different radio shows today I have heard commentary how this is just terrible for sports, how it sets women back, how corporate America should sponsor these leagues, blah blah blah. I personally don't care if the WUSA, WNBA, and every other Women's pro sports team goes under. For that matter, I don't really care if the MLS (Men's Soccer League) closes either. I just don't particularly care about these particular leagues.

The fair-minded side of me wants to come out and say how bad it is that the Women's leagues don't really get a fair shake. How, if people would just give it a chance, we might really see something. That it is good for little girls everywhere to see women playing sports. But the rational, free-market side of me thinks that these leagues should not be alive if they can't sustain enough revenue.

I think that the reason it bothers me so much that people complain that we need these leagues is that people aren't putting their money where their mouths are. If it doesn't bother women that these leagues aren't surviving should it really bother anyone. Last time I checked, Women make up 50% of the population. For the most part, women have the same earning potential as men. Women obviously don't prioritize sports the way men do, or at the very least don't really care to pay to see other women play sports. If women really cared about seeing the advancement of women's sports than they would start attending games and buy merchandise. That isn't happening so if women don't care about other women how do they expect men to?

I heard an argument today that the reason corporate America doesn't sponsor women's sports like they do men's is because there are 50 year old men sitting in the CEO's office. What a load of S#!T. Do you think there is a CEO on this planet who, if he believed sponsoring a women's leagues would make him millions of dollars , wouldn't jump on that chance? Of course not. CEO's have jobs to make money, not neglect something because they are in the 'Old Boys Club' . This is a ludicrous as the WNBA threatening to go on strike. That's another story for another day.

Learning to Drive a Stick

Wednesday, August 27, 2003
Jenny was nice enough to take me to Forest Lawn to practice on a stick shift. I want to learn stick because I think its a practical thing to know how and everyone thinks I do anyway. For whatever reason whenever I say I don't know how to drive a stick someone always comments, "Really? I thought YOU would know how to drive a stick." I don't know why people assume that.

Thanks to the great teaching I was finally able to smoothly get the car into first gear. I can even get the car moving when I'm stopped on a hill. I still roll back a little but I was getting better toward the end and I wasn't stalling very much.

The lowlight of the experience is when I decided I was going to tackle my first major hill. I had been practicing on lots of little hills but decided I was going to go after one of the steeper ones. I went down the hill and turned it around to begin going up. I was stil on a relatively flat part of the hill on my first attempt but the car stalled. The first stall I had in the previous 5 or so minutes. Undaunted I tried again .... and again, and again. For whatever reason I couldn't get it moving. Jenny commented, "Don't be intimitaded". I knew it must be in my head because I had done this before. Well after about 7 stalls or so and me about to give up Jenny asked, "Are you in third?" Sure enough we put the car in first and I had no problem. Boy did I feel stupid.

In the end I had a huge headache, my driving wasn't too smooth at the beginning. However I definitely feel like I got the hang of it. I just need a little more practice.

The $180 Haircut

Tuesday, August 26, 2003
On my way into work this morning I was listening to Mike and Mike in the Morning on ESPN radio. One of the host, Mike, is well known for being a feminine man. That is, he moisturizes regularly, gets pedicures and manicures, and otherwise cares way too much about his appearance (Not that I don't).

However he went a step to far this morning. The other host, Mike, noticed that Mike had gotten a haircut. Mike often espouses the virtues of Hair Stylist over barbers. I personally agree with him which is whiy I go to 18/8. However today he related a story about how he went to a new stylist on the recommendation of a friend. At the end of the haircut he went to the front and got a bill for $180. No that is not a typo, $180.

Now I'm all for paying more than the $10 you will at a barber, I pay $25, but $180, are you serious? Even Mike was a little flabbergasted, he normally pays $60. This DID NOT include a manicure, pedicure, massage, highlights or anything like that. It didn't even include a tip. Just a haircut. How can any guy in his right mind pay that much for a haircut. Even if I had millions of dollars I wouldn't pay that much JUST for a haircut. Maybe if I got the full treatment but there is no way that there is a $155 difference between what I get and what I could get at a much fancier place. Since a guy has to get his haircut once a month how the heck can anyone afford $180?

Were #1

Friday, August 22, 2003
I was going to do the Friday Five today but it was really stupid this week and right before I found some great news. Once again Princeton is ranked #1 in the US News and World Report. It is the fourth year in a row, the first being in 2000, my last year there. This year we were tied with Harvard(sucks!).

It's funny. Even though I make a big deal of this in my blog in truth I really don't care. The people who take this ranking the most seriously are the incoming students and parents which is a real shame. These rankings have very little to do with how good a school really is. I guarantee that you can get the same level of education at any of the top 20 schools. I would go to certain school for certain things. I would never go to Princeton if I was going to be an actor (However we can claim Brooke Shields, David Duchovany, and Dean Cain) but I would go to USC. If I wanted to study Engineering I would go to MIT but maybe not Yale. . If I wanted an exciting Social Life or to meet lots of girls I would avoid Cal Tech altogether.

Something for Nothing

Monday, August 18, 2003
How unfair is this? The New York Jets are going to start charging their fans $50 to be on the waiting list for tickets. Not to actually get tickets, TO BE ON THE WAITING LIST.

How idiotic is this? Could you imagine being charged money while you wait in line to pay for groceries or a movie ticket. "Umm, excuse me. I know you haven't made up your mind yet on which movie to see but since you have the privilege of waiting in this very long line to buy your tickets we need to charge you a small fee." Yeah, that would go over well. The excuse, they want to "keep the fans in the family." What a load of S#!T. I don't know what type of family they have but I certainly don't charge my family money for nothing.

First 9/11, than the blackouts, now this. Is there ANY question now why I left this godforsaken city?

Are Teachers Underpaid?

Thursday, August 14, 2003
A recent study suggest that teachers are paid better than the average american, even better than accountants and many engineers. The study is based on the fact that teachers make an average of $44,000 (I don't know how accurate that is but it is coming from a teacher's union) but work only 9 months in the year. Doing the Math you would see that that would be the equivilant of almost $60,000 a year which is a pretty good salary.

Now teachers will argue that they put in a lot of hours outside of their normal school hours. They have to grade papers and they often participate in after school programs. However, I am going to take a controversial stand (what's new) and agree with the study (I hope my teacher friends like Christina and Michelle forgive me). How can I say this?

Well first let me take the first point, working extra hours. Some teachers argue they work 3000 hours a year. Spread over 40 weeks that means 12 hours a day 6 days a week resting only on Sundays. My point is yeah? When I was a consultant I worked WAY more than that. 72 hour weeks were good weeks. Working 100 hour weeks were not unheard of. My Investment Banking friends AVERAGED 100 hour weeks sometimes "sleeping" (if you can call 2 hours sleep) at the office several days in a row. Even now, I probably work on average 60 hours a week. Its just part of the job. Additionally, teachers receive compensation outside of their actual pay. I know in California there is a box on tax forms that give teachers a tax break on mortgages and other consumer type loans. This could add thousands to a teachers income.

But none of this is my point. My point is that I believe people get paid what they are worth. We live in a free society. People are free to move jobs if they want to. Now do I think I should be paid more? Like every other American of course I do but if it is really the case I should go get a different job (and I probably will if I continue to get underpaid). If I'm worth more I could easily prove it to my company by getting an offer somewhere else. Teachers have the same freedom.

The real problem is Economics. It's simple suppy and demand. There is a strong demand for teachers but an even larger supply of capable teachers. The key word is capable. The reason I say that is because one of the underlying problems is that we have very low standards for teachers. We tend to think that anybody with a a pulse is capable of teaching. We as a society don't really care if they are capable of teaching as long as they stand in front of the students and watch them a few hours a day. The DEMAND is for anybody who is basically willing to babysit the students. Since a lot of people are qualified for this there is the large supply.

Now this creates a problem for teachers who actually teach. Since we as a society don't put a premium on actual teaching skills great teachers are dragged down by their less capable brethren. We as a society therefore refuse to pay more taxes to increase teacher salary because we don't feel that it is a difficult job and that anyone off the street can do it. Do I agree with this? NO. But it is the sad state of affairs. So given our expectations and criteria for teachers I do not beileve teachers are underpaid. I believe the actual problem is that our expectations and criteria for teachers is much too low.

Apparently Everyone in Heaven is Blonde

Monday, August 04, 2003
I'm sitting at home trying to do some work and I have the TV on for background noise. There is a show on the WB called 7th Heaven. I have heard of it before but never watched it. Well first off let me say I'm glad I have never watched it before.

The point of this blog is to ask, how come every girl on the show is blonde? This despite that blondes only make up about 20% of the population. This despite the fact that Blondes are an endangered species. I guess Blondes are considered more attractive but this is a little ridiculous.

National Pastime My Foot

Thursday, July 31, 2003
I am supposed to go to an Angels' game this weekend with my company. In trying to convince me to go, Jenny used the argument, "Well its the national pastime". All I have to say is why the hell do people still call it that?

It actually really bothers me. If baseball is anything it is PAST its TIME. More people in the US watch football. More kids play basketball and it is by far the most popular collegiate sport. So why is baseball still considered the National Past time. I just don't get it. For me the game is much too long, it should be closer to 2 hours than 3. It really bothers me that the players warm up for about 5 minutes before the start of each inning. I mean, do basketball players warm up between quarters or after a time out? Do the players coming of the bench get to shoot a few times at the rim before the game starts up again? In football, do they take a 5 minute break when switching between offense and defense to warm up? No. And these sports are much more grueling from a physical standpoint.

Don't get me wrong. I believe the hardest thing in sports to do is take a wooden bat and get a hit off a 95mph fastball. I would even consider myself a fan of baseball and I follow the game closelsy. But don't tell me that in general baseball players are better athletes than football or basketball players. Don't tell me that its more exciting to watch a baseball game than a football or basketball game. In terms of what people want to watch, it is hands down football. Look at the Superbowl ratings. Look at the ratings week to week. In terms of playing? It's got to be basketball. Anywhere you go there is probably a pick-up game you can get in on. There are a lot more men, at least under the age of 40 and not including softball, that play basketball than baseball.

Praise for Windows XP

Tuesday, July 29, 2003
Yes you read the title correctly. I actually have something nice to say about Windows. For those of you who know me know that I sing the praises of Linux because quite frankly it's better. However, I'm not so biased as to not give credit where credit is due. Windows XP is actually a pretty decent system. Its relatively stable and has the "slick" factor of a pretty good interface.

This weekend I had a good experience with Windows XP. However it was created by a bad experience I had so I guess the two cancel each other out. This past weekend I tried to watch a DVD on my laptop. I've done it before successfully but for some reason it wouldn't work this weekend. I tried several DVDs that I knew worked before but with no success. After much contemplation I figured out that it must have been when I updated the video driver off of Microsoft Windows Update page. Those who have read my rant know how much I hate my Sony Vaio. Well this is the perfect example. I update a driver and something doesn't work. Sony Vaios, and I guess laptops in general, can be very particular about the drivers you use for it. To make a long story short I found this very useful feature in Windows XP that basically allows you to "roll back" your driver in case something went wrong. I use this feature and everything works fine now. Wow, Microsoft did something right.

Pasadena Gold Line

Sunday, July 27, 2003
This weekend I rode the Pasadena Gold Line. It was quite an experience. I liken it to the opening of a big Hollywood movie. We got on the line at the Allen stop, it is the second stop on the line if you are going toward Los Angeles. You would expect to be able to get on the train if you are on the second stop but the train was quite full when we arrived on the platform. We finally did get on, I had to stand the entire way to Union Station. Most people were in a pretty good mood considering how crowded it was but some people were kind of grumpy which I didn't really understand. I guess these people have never been on a subway somewhere else because it gets a lot more crowded on the NYC subway during rush hour.

We took the red line to Pershing Square and caught Shakespeare's "The Merry Wives of Windsor" . It was given by Shakespeare Festival of LA. It was pretty good. Like all Shakespeare, I had to really pay attention to get what was gonig on but I enjoyed it nevertheless.

Should it Be Public

Wednesday, July 23, 2003
OK. I have gotten about a hundred hits today because people are looking for the name of Kobe Bryant's accuser. I just happen to show up in the Google rankings for it. I actually do have the information but have felt conflicted about actually trying to figure it out and further conflicted about posting the info. If you search hard enough on Google you will be able to find it.

Since I am so conflicted I will err on the side of caution and not post the site where you can find the information. However I tend to think that the information should be public. I at first agreed with the mainstream media, her information should be kept private. But after thinking about it I have jumped the fence and am now straddling the other side. Here is my reasoning. For every other crime the victim's name is public record and freely available. It doesn't matter if its a mugging, murder, whatever. Yet with rape they hide the name. The thing is, I think this just further perpetuates the stigma of rape. By hiding the name you are basically saying that the victim needs protection, that it is something they need to hide from.

I just don't see it that way. Rape shouldn't be stigmatized. The victim did nothing wrong yet by hiding her name and "respecting" her privacy you are basically saying she should hide the heinous act that happened to her.

If you are gonig to hide the name of the victim then you really should hide the name of the alleged perpetrator. If the accusations are false, how fair was that to Kobe?

Dating Math

Thursday, July 17, 2003
I've been reading a lot of books on interview and interview questions to get ready for the person I'm about to hire. One of the techniques is to ask questions that don't really have answers but are meant to see how the person thinks. Questions like, "How many piano tuners are in the world", or "How many cars are in Los Angeles?" So I decided to do one myself. What are the chances that you will meet the perfect person for you? Here is my thought process.

1. There are approximate 300,000,000 people in the U.S. I'm limiting myself to the U.S. because I don't really travel outside the U.S. that often.
2. 1/2 those are women. I don't plan on going the other way anytime soon
3. I find myself physically attracted to about 10% of the population.
4. I think that 1 out of 4 women are really nice and caring.
5. I need a girl who is inteligent. Probably in the top 5% of the population.
6. I need a girl who is athletic or at least keeps in good shape. This probably applies to 1 out of 4 women
7. She has to love my cat. That applies to 100% of all people. (Okay fine. Maybe only 50% since some people refuse to be cat people)
8. She has to be able to watch sports with me and not complain. That's only about 5% of the female population.
9. She has to be trustworthy. I would say that only applies to 1 out of 4 women. (Maybe worse but I'm being generous. Have you seen Cheaters and Jerry Springer?)
10. She has to be happy with herself and emotionally stable. With all these other things going for her she probably is but lets just say that I think only about 15% of women fall in this category.
11. She has be between the ages of 18 ( I know this is young but if she was all of the above who could say no?) and 35 (This is kind of old but the same logic applies). If the average age is 70 than this would apply to approximately 25% of the population.
12. She has to have not been married before and have no kids. Since I already eliminated certain age groups above lets just say that this number stands at 50% for women of ALL ages so that we can make each criteria mutually exclusive.
13. I'm going to throw in a "TILT" factor of 25% for things I've missed like, "Not a muderer, not from outer space, etc" and because I tend to be picky.

Now do the math. Let's assume that all of the above are mutually exclusive properties. This will simplify the math. This leaves me with exactly 1.37 people in the US that are perfect for me. Since I can't date a .37 of a person that leaves just 1 PERSON! What makes this problem much worse is that I will never meet all 300,000,000 People in the U.S. If I only meet lets say 25,000 of those people then my number drops to 0.0001. What's worse is that she has to

A. Like me too
B. Be single at the time

Lets just say that A is a 5% likelihood (probably worse but who knows) and B is only 1% (If she is so great chances are she's attached). I have pretty much a 0% chance of finding the right girl. This is very disturbing to me.

You must be joking

Tuesday, July 15, 2003
I don't understand religious conservatives sometimes. Most religious people I know are kind and compassionate so I guess its just a few of the crazys that get my attention.

Pat Robertson recently requested that his audience pray for the "removal" of three justices from the Court in the wake of its ruling that decriminalized sodomy. The three justices he refers to are of course liberal. He states, "One justice is 83-years-old, another has cancer and another has a heart condition. Would it not be possible for God to put it in the minds of these three judges that the time has come to retire?"

I mean seriously. Whatever your beliefs are and how you feel about the ruling that is no reason to pray for the "removal" of three judges from the Supreme Court. Maybe I'm reading too much into it but he is basically asking God to do something to get rid of three sick people on the court. Do you really think God would do something like that? If that was his plan and God chose to interfere wouldn't he just not let those people on the Court in the first place? Wouldn't that have been easier than just killing them to remove them?

Good news for Gum

Thursday, July 10, 2003
Singapore has finally lifted the ban they had on gum.

I have been to Singapore and have a number of friends who are from there. I always thought this was a pretty silly law. Basically, Singapore is proud that it is one of the safest and cleanest places in the world. And it really is. They have very strcit laws concerning littering, smoking, etc. A fine for littering starts at $1000 and they are very serious about it. Not only do they ban firearms but it is a captital offense to carry or import them. Remember Michael Faye and the caning. That wasn't an isolated incident. It's funny because people from Singapore love to live there. They feel so safe and they appreciate their almost pristine surroundings.

How to Pick a Checkout Line

Thursday, June 26, 2003
Lately I've been noticing that when checking out I definately have a formula on how to pick a checkout line. If anyone else has insight please feel free to comment. Here are my criteria in order of what I think is important.

1. The number of people in line matters more than the number of items. This is why the express line is not always better. The more people in line the more idiots there are that need price checks or something like that.

2. Look at the cashier. Not to be ageist but younger is better. Too young is bad though because they don't know what they are doing. If you can, pick the line with the manager (s/he will be dressed up, most likely wearing a tie) because they tend to be faster and can resolve all problems without having to ask someone else.

3. Look what makes up the line. Often times what looks like a long line is not because there is an entire family waiting together in which case there is really only one customer ahead of you, not 5.

4. Look at the demographics of the people ahead of you. Again, not to be ageist or sexist but younger men are the best. They tend not to ask questions and they almost always seem to pay in cash or credit card. For whatever reason the older and more female =) you get the more likely you are to write a check or need something answered. Men hate writing and hate even more admitting they don't know something.

5. This will contradict one somewhat but all else being equal, the less items the people in front of you have the better. Just don't bet that the "express" lane is any faster because it usually has 3x as many people. You need to find the right balance.

6. Don't get behind a hot girl and a male cashier or any guys and a hot female cashier (unless you want to check out the girl). I swear there is much to much flirting going on in the checkout line. Yesterday I had a male cashier practically walk out with the hot girl to put the groceries in her car.

7. Check out at an alternate location. Places like Target allow you to check out in their Garden or Electronic section even if you aren't buying anything in that department. These lines are usually much shorter.

The Brilliant Bush Tax Cut

Wednesday, June 25, 2003
So I just received the first benefit of Bush's Jobs and Growth Act of 2003. I got a whole $30 more in my paycheck. Big Deal.

Over the course of the year that means I will have saved $720. That is the keyword SAVE. This is why Bush's tax plan makes absolutely no sense to me. Do I really feel richer with my additional $30 twice a month? Not really. Do I really plan on spending this new found money on anything? Not really. The money will go nicely away somewhere in the computers of my bank.

Maybe its because I don't have a family and I have the ability to save a lot every month. I understand that most people my age aren't in the position to save very much money and would welcome the extra cash. Those with families, struggling and in my income bracket probably really do need the relief. But that being said, if those familes are really struggling how about those who earn minimum wage? How about those who struggle to get by and make 1/4 or even 1/5 of what I make. How do you think they feel? Trust me, I know. My mom raised 3 kids on her own and put me through college on 1/3 of what I make today. Why don't you just give her some more money back?

Maybe I'm more magnanimous than most but come on people. Let's forget the human part of my argument for a second. After this, it's basic economic theory. My marginal propensity to consume is MUCH lower than someone like my mother. I MIGHTspend $10 of my new found $60 a month. Someone who is poor? They WILL spend all $60. However, for a cut this small I probably won't spend ANY of that $60. So I, the "rich" (I don't consider myself wealthy but in this context I would have to be), really do just get richer. And or course this doesn't at all help the economy now since I'm not consuming any more. It doesn't help the economy later because we just put ourselves into a bigger deficit in the future.

I'm not promoting communism, quite the contrary. I'm probably the biggest Capitalist and fan of Adam Smith there is. Let's just be honest with ourselves. If you want to help the wealthy fine, but don't cloak it behind the charade of trying to stimulate the economy. Clearly there are better ways to do that than with this bogus tax cut.

Too Much To Worry About

Monday, June 16, 2003
I decided that I'm never having kids. My cat had emergency surgery on Saturday because he basically couldn't urinate all day. I watched him climb into the litter box every few minutes and sit there for about 10 minutes with only a few drops coming out. He became lethargic, wouldn't you after sitting on the toilet all day while accomplishing nothing, and started trying to go anywhere he could. After he threw up I decided that was enough and rushed him to an emergency vet.

All is ok right now. He is still at the vet and they are watching him but he seems to be ok. He's a little pissed at me (no pun intended) but otherwise doing fine. What this whole thing has taught me is that I don't want kids. It's way too much stress. I guess I'm like Marlin in "Finding Nemo" (which I saw on Sunday and highly recommend) who can't help but worry about Nemo all the time. All day Saturday and Sunday all I could think about was if my cat was going to be ok. I can't imagine how I would have felt if it was my own child.

Monrovia Trolley Schedule

Wednesday, June 04, 2003
I keep getting hits about the schedule for the Monrovia Trolley even though I myself have never posted it. However, the city of Monrovia has failed to do so as well so as a service to those looking to find out here it is. I've also included approximate routes. I am in no way associated with Monrovia and in no way can I guarantee that the below hours of operation are correct or won't change.

Weekdays 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. * every 12 minutes (Goes form the Albertson Shopping center, down Huntington, to Myrtle and Foothill)
Fridays 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. * every 15 minutes (Goes from Fifth and Huntington, down Huntington, and up Myrtle. On Myrtle it turns left on Walnut, goes Up Primrose before heading back to Myrtle on Lemon)
Saturdays 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. * every 15 minutes. (Essentially same as above but without the turn on Walnut.)

Rich People Do Have a Heart

Tuesday, May 20, 2003
I was very impressed by a statment made by Warren Buffet. For those who don't know who he is he is the head of Berkshire Hathaway which is basically one of the most successful investment companies on the planet. He is known to be an absolute genius when it comes to picking stocks and is probably rivaled by only Bill Gates as the richest man in America.

Anyway, Buffet recently commented on the proposed tax break on dividends that recently passed through the senate. Now you would think for someone so deeply invested in the stock market that Buffet would be all over this tax break. Afterall, he stands to gain millions if this bill goes through. But he actually came out against it. I couldn't believe my eyes when I read it. A rich capitalist with a soul. (Actually, who am I to call him a rich capitalist?) Read the article. He actually makes a very cogent argument. Everyone and their brother knows this will only benefit the rich but somehow Bush and the republicans want to make it seem like they care for the poor. How many poor people do you know own stock?

Should College Athletes Be Paid?

Thursday, April 24, 2003
As a public service I am re-posting this which is from my original blog. Toward the end of my other blog this became one of the more popular searches to my site. Most of what you find on the net for this subject are all paid essays. Obviously this is not one of them. Feel free to use my ideas but just make sure you quote me or reference me if you use any of it in a paper. Otherwise you could get caught for plagerism :)

Someone found their way to my site by doing a search for 'Should college atheletes get paid'. Not that I've ever talked about this but in one of my blogs I did talk about athletes getting paid and how my mom put me through college. This subject is interesting to me so I figure I would touch it.

I know its not like me but I really don't have a strong opinion about this subject. I really do see both sides of this argument. I tend to lean toward no, college athletes should not get paid. Here is my reasoning. I actually have to start with the opposite view, Athletes should get paid. Basketball and Football teams bring millions of dollars to the universities. Not only do the directly bring in cash through ticket sales, merchandise, and fees for playoff appearances but they bring in money through higher alumni donations and higher enrollments. They put in grueling hours both practicing, training, and going to school (well some athletes). However NCAA rules stipulate that an athlete can not have a job that pays him/her more than $2000 during the year.

To me this is a little unfair. The reasoning behind this is you could mask paying the athlete by giving him a bogus job where he does nothing but gets paid a huge amount of money. Now I had a summer job that once paid me a lot. I also kept a job during the year where I worked 8-10 hours a week and probably collected several thousand during the year. Now under NCAA rules I wouldn't be eligible to play. I didn't do anything unscrupulous. I definitely didn't get the jobs because I'm an athlete. Why should an athlete be treated differently? Probably less than 1% of college athletes have the ability to go pro and make millions yet all athletes are governed under the same rules.

That being said, college athletes do get a full scholarship. This can be worth upwards of $120,000. A lot of athletes don't care but this is quite a deal. Further there would be terrible inequities in the system. Using my reasoning only Men's Basketball and Football players would get paid. Well how fair is that? You know that would never fly. Further, at least in Basketball, thereare other choices now. There are developmental basketball leagues out there. Athletes have other, albeit less desirable, options than to go to college. I don't buy the argument that they put in so much time training and practicing and get nothing in return. My roommate in college was a world-class rower. He probably put in more hours training than anyone else I knew yet he still found time to study and be a model student. We all have our own unique situations which take large amounts of time.

I don't have all the answers to this question but this was my 2 cents.

If you like this post you may like these other post:

Diesel Jeans: Worth it?

Sunday, April 13, 2003
So I went and did it. Every year for my birthday I buy myself something kind of frivolous. One year I bought some rollerblades, another year I bought some RayBan Sunglasses. This year I topped myself, I bought a pair of Diesel Jeans.

I went to South Coast Plaza because they have a Diesel Store. You can buy Diesel Jeans in stores like Nordstroms but I figured my first trip into the world of designer jeans I would go straight to the source. I must say that I love South Coast Plaza. I know there are a lot of people who have a problem with this bastion of capitalism but people who know me know why I love this place. Its big and it has infinite choices . If you can buy it its probably somewhere in South Coast. People in OC just have too much time and money.

So are the jeans worth it? People who own them swear by them. For me the jury is still out. I like the way they look, and I like the way they feel so right off the bat I will say that they are better jeans. But are they worth 3x-4x the cost of regular jeans. Well supposedly Diesels don't wear out as fast and are really good about keeping their color so I'll have to let you know in a few months.

New idea: An Efficient Line

Friday, March 21, 2003
I hate people who won't join the 21st century. I don't understand why so many people still pay for things with checks. Visa should have me on their commercials about their check card because I can't stand people who insist on slowing down the whole line because they insist on paying with checks. Not only do they have to write down all the information but then the cashier inevitably has to ask for ID and then write down all the information.

Why don't they just get a check card. I have one. It makes my life simpler. It cost me nothing to use and it comes directly from my bank account. In fact, it cost people money to write a check because you have to buy new checks that much sooner. I also get the added benefit that since its a Visa purchase, if I have a dispute Visa will help me out with it.

Can someone please tell me why people still pay with checks?

I think they should have an efficient line. Not an express line, an efficient line. This line would be for people who are

1. Paying by credit card only (no Cash. Cashier has to make change)
2. Have 5 or less items (10 is way too many)
3. Are not going to ask questions
4. Are not going to get a warranty
5. Know exactly what they have is what they want.

In other words the cashier is not allowed to do anything or help anyone who doesn't simply walk up to the cashier, hand over their items and credit cards, sign, and leave. Any deviation from that and that person gets booted from the line.

What is the World Coming to?

Saturday, March 01, 2003
In my trend for completely random topics I am going to talk about something that actually shocks me. I agree with Republicans. I know you are asking, "How can this be?" since I'm probably one of the most liberal people I know but I'm as dumbfounded as anyone else.

Democratic Senators are pushing through the Senate a bill which would have harsher penalties for Hate Crimes. That is, crimes committed against people because they are a specific race, gender, religion, and more controversially, sexual orientation. This bill actually has wide bi-partisan support except for one section, the evil empire known as the Conservative Right.

I'm sure my reasoning is quite different than the conservatives who oppose this bill. After all, we all know that the Conservative Right just don't like people who aren't exactly like them, that is to say white, wealthy, protestant, heterosexuals. My thinking is quite different. It make me uncomfortable legislating the way people think. What do I mean by that? Well aren't all violent crimes about hate? When someone kills someone else is there really any rational thought involved? Is it really worse to kill a person because they are Jewish than because he wears the wrong colors? To me, murder is murder. There are no degrees of how right or wrong it is to kill someone. It's all wrong. I believe trying to rationalize the irrational act of murder is both futile and dangerous.

Size Does Matter

Friday, February 28, 2003
As a public service I am re-posting this which is from my original blog. Toward the end of my other blog this became one of the more popular searches to my site. It really upset me how hard drive companies could be so devious so hopefully this will help explain some of what is going on.

Now get your mind out of the gutter and listen to what I have to say. For those who read my blog on a regular basis know, I recently bought a new HD, a Western Digital 120GB . I'm very happy with it in terms of how much more space I have now for all my stuff but it really does bother me that they claim their hard drive is 120 GB because it is not.

Anyone who knows something about programming knows that a mb is not 1,000,000 bytes even though mega means "1,000,000". In computer terms a megabyte is actually 2^20 bytes or 1,048,576 bytes. Equivilently, a gigabyte is not 1,000 megabytes, it is 2^10 megabytes or 1024 megabytes. Doing the math you can see that 120 GB really should be 122,880 megabytes. But that's not how Hard Drive manufacturers do it. They take the traditional approach of Mega meaning 1,000,000 and Giga meaning 1,000,000,000. Therefore when they claim 120 GB they really mean 120,000,000,000 bytes. Doing the conversion you will find that this means there are 114,440 megabytes or 111.8 GB. Quite a difference.

Why do they do this? Well like I said above SIZE MATTERS!. They are technically not lying to the consumers when they tell you that their drive is 120GB because in a traditional sense they are correct. In computer terms they are dead wrong and this is why when you install a hard drive you will always get significantly less room then you think you will. However, a hard drive manufacturer has no incentive to be honest with you because everyone else is not. Therefore if he advertised a Hard Drive as 111.8 GB (the correct number) instead of 120 GB (the wrong number) the casual consumer would think that the 120GB was more than 8 GB bigger even though they are exactly the same.

My Gelson's Experience

Tuesday, February 25, 2003
OK, So I haven't blogged in a week. It's not from being lazy, ok maybe just a little lazy, but I've been swamped at work. One of my coworkers is very ill but he was working on a very time sensitive project. With about a week to go I've been assigned to finish his work. Well for any of you who have ever read The Mythical Man Month can understand, this is an almost impossible situation. For those who haven't one of the basic principles is that you can't just bring in more people at the end of a project and expect them to be effective. There is too much time trying to figure out what is actually going on and then there is the added overhead of coordinating more people.

In other news. My weekly basketball game has gotten really crowded. That's not such a good thing since if you lose you may have to wait around 2 games before you get back on the court. We usually try to control the number of people who show up but its just that everyone is showing up on the same days. My finger still hasn't healed and its throwing off my game. Its been well over 2 months now and its still not better. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I keep playing and re-injuring it.

For those interested in my supermarket trials I think I've found my formula. From now on I think I'm going to do most of my shopping at Gelsons. It's a supermarket in the Paseo Colorado. Up until now I've avoided going there under the assumption that things were more expensive. Well I took my receipts from both Ralphs and Vons and did a price comparison. And low and behold everything I buy either cost the same or is less at Gelsons. I was dumbfounded. One thing I will concede is that while the everyday prices at Gelsons is less, you don't save the money by being a member like you do with Vons and Ralphs Club which can be very significant. Now this is just my shopping list. Maybe other people have had different experiences so don't flame me telling me I'm wrong.

One thing I didn't like at Gelsons was their selection. Its funny because Sandy likes them for their selection but not their prices. Go figure. They didn't have everything I wanted and I didn't like their choice of meats. Now they have a butcher where you can get exactly what you want but for those who know me know I don't like to be bothered with that. If I can't see it in front of me I can't make a decision about it (This is also why its dangerous for me to put food in the refrigerator crisper. I've found month old vegetables before). So I'll probably buy my meat at Vons.

The Sexes and the Importance of Appearance

Wednesday, February 12, 2003
Before I start my blog let me state my position on dating. I think anybody should be able to date anybody for whatever reason. I don't think that dating someone because they are good looking is any shallower than dating someone because they are smart, funny, nice, etc. I tend to think that appearance is part of the whole package and who am I to say what criteria someone should look for in someone he or she dates. I know I have to be attracted to the person I am dating. But this isn't to say that I could date a girl if she was dumb, boring, or mean.

With that being said, I read an article today about how scientist have created a robot that can judge how attractive a woman would be to a man. The article goes to to say that it doesn't work in reverse. Why not? Because women tend to take other, non-physical, characteristics into account more than men. At first I agreed with this statement but when I thought about it I am not convinced.

I know LOTS of nice, smart, successful men who do not have girlfriends or have never had girlfriends. I know plenty of guys who are very attractive, but not nearly as nice, smart, etc. and they can't fight off all the women who come their way. If anything, I think my good looking guy friends do much better than my good looking girl friends. Now granted, most of my good looking guy friends are for the most part nice guys and successful in life. The same can be said for my female friends. Being a successful female can in many instances limit the guys you can go out with so this may be a factor. However, I'm not about to buy the fact that women take into consideration a man's physical appearance any less then men take a woman's appearance.

Admittedly I will say guys can be less discriminatory depending on the situation. For instance, a guy is more likely to want a one-night fling than a girl in which case he doesn't really care about her intelligence, job, etc. But the same can be said for girls looking for a one-time fling. I think in the end, when people are looking to settle down, both sexes take into consideration their potential mates appearance equally.

Women, Just the Way They Are

Thursday, February 06, 2003
Saw something on TV that really rubbed me the wrong way. So I'm a Smallville fan. I guess more accurately, I'm a Kristen Kreuk (Lana Lang) fan.

Well about two weeks ago there was this episode where Lana's old boyfriend ends up being killed. At the very end of the episode she finds Clark. She is crying. Clark tries to comfort her and she ends up telling her how all the important people in her life have left, her parents, her aunt, and now her ex-boyfriend. But Clark, wonderful Clark, has always been there despite the fact that she has accused him of things, she ALWAYS doubts him, and he keeps secrets (namely he's Superman) away from her. She doesn't care if he has secrets and just wants to make sure Clark is always in her life. So to me this should be some turning point where Lana finally stops all that crap and learns to just trust Clark.

Well this week Clark becomes "bad Clark" when exposed to Red Kryptonite. Lana sees Clark kissing her friend Chloe (who also is acting strangely) and Lana just loses it. In the end she finds out her friend had an illness but she knows Clark did not. She is still mad and asks Clark why he kissed Chloe. Clark tries to apologize and says its just one of those things he can't explain. Does Lana remember what she said two weeks ago? Does she just let it go because she realizes Clark always has her best interest at heart? OF COURSE NOT!


So when I pointed this out to Jenny the other day she summed it all very nicely, "So what?" Jenny pointed out to me that this is what girls do. She's right, and it is pointless to try and make any sense of it.

Pets and Moving

Monday, January 27, 2003
So I moved this weekend. It was very tiring. Basically Sergio and I moved all my furniture with Sandy helping out as best she could (she has a bum knee) and Jenny also "helping". Jenny's definition of helping is showing up 2 minutes before we were done, both loading and unloading the truck, and then moving a box or two. But she did a really good job moving those 2 boxes.

After moving all my crap into the new place I couldn't really rest because I had people over for the Superbowl. So I spent all day Saturday and Sunday cleaning and organizing my new place. By the time the Superbowl started I was wiped out. I fell asleep in the 3rd quarter. I didn't really miss anything, except for maybe a couple of ads. However, much like the game, I thought most of the adds were disappointing.

Bandit did not handle the move all that well. Friday night I took him to the apartment so he could preview the place before the big move. I went out to eat dinner with a few friends of mine from work, only to get a call from Sandy telling me she couldn't find him anywhere in the apartment. So rushing back like the crazed parent that I am, I went hunting for Bandit all over the place. I was especially worried because he doesn't know the area and I'm right next to a major street. Well after about 20 minutes of frantic searching, both outside in the bushes and underneath the house in the cellar, I finally found the little bugger hiding underneath the fridge. Not behind, underneath. I didn't even know there was a hole there. For most of the day Saturday and Sunday, he would just hide under things. He even went so far as hiding in his cage, which he hates. It was perhaps the saddest thing I have ever seen. I think he is still trying get used to the whole idea and moving and I think he thinks eventually we are going back to the old home.

Customer Service

Friday, January 24, 2003
I finally got my new lens from B&H photo. They didn't give me any problem with returning my own lens and I recieved my new one in a somewhat timely manner. I've bought other things from them in the past and been very satisfied with their prices and service before. I would definately reccommend them to anyone looking for photo equipment.

Speaking of customer service I've realized how important this has become to me. When I was younger, I didn't really care about customer service. As long as the store had the best price I would probably just go there. However I'll now pretty much refuse to shop anywhere where I've had a really bad customer service experience. I guess now my time is worth a lot more to me so spending 30 minutes arguing with someone over something just isn't worth my time. I think that's why I bought my car on Cars Direct . I really just hate being bothered. Sales people can just be annoying.

A few weeks ago Jenny and I went into Sears to look at Fridges. I was thinking I was going to have to buy one if I moved to the place that I was considering. All I wanted to do was look at the models and figure out my price range. I was not going to buy that day. Well a salesman came up to me and asked, "Can I help you?". I of course replied, "No, I'm just looking." Now isn't this the universal sign for, "Just leave me alone, I'm not buying"? Well sure enough, the creepy little sales guy continues to follow me around the store like we are going to try and steal something (he was right, I was planning to shove that Maytag Fridge right into my pants). To make matters worse he bothered me again by asking, "So, what price range are you looking for?" I told him I wasn't sure and then just left the store. On the grand scheme of things I know that this is pretty trivial stuff but then again .... so is this blog.

Eliminate the Dollar Bill

Wednesday, January 22, 2003
So It's my feeling that they should get rid of the $1 bill. And while they are at it they should get rid of the penny.

All this started with a conversation I had with Jenny and Sergio over the Sacagawea $1 coin. I think they should eliminate the dollar bill and move to strictly the Sacagawea or its equivalent. Why? According to the Federal Reserve a $1 bill last only 18months. This compared to a coin which can last in excess of over 25 years. Further I'm sick of my dollars not working in vending machines. As far as I know, a coin is never not straight enough to be accepted in a vending machine.

I think the ultimate reason that we should switch though is because Jenny has pledged to leave the country if we switch because her pockets would be so heavily weighed down. Is she serious? I mean, do you see the British with big, full, heavy pockets. Their bills don't even start until you get to 5 pound notes (About $8 U.S.). Canadian currency also does not start until their $5 denomination. You don't see Canadians with lugging around bags of coins hey?

As for the penny? Its a complete waste of materials and money. You can't buy anything anymore for less than a nickel so why should you mint a penny. Over 14 billion pennies are minted every year. This is over 1/2 the coins produced every year. That's over 30,000 metric tons of material. How much does it cost to produce this pile of waste, over $100 million. And for what? So people can collect truckloads of pennies? So we can all throw pennies into a well and make a wish? I've made plenty of wishes in my day, not too many of which have come true. I guess with the rate of inflation, even a wish cost more than a penny these days.

We live in such a static culture sometimes. People hold on to things like their dollar bills, the penny, old High school buildings, and refuse to enter the new world (like the Metric system, but don't even get me started on that).

Aureal Vortex and Linux

Wednesday, January 15, 2003
What I'm about to write is going to reveal me as a big nerd. However since most of you who know me well have seen through my cool exterior and unbelievably good looks I think I'll do it anyway.

As my last blog yesterday stated I have switched almost completely to Linux computers. This was not without much pain on my part though. For about the last week I've been trying to get Linux installed on my home PC correctly. So I installed Redhat 8.0 on that machine and everything was OK except one thing ... there was no friggin sound! I have a piece of crap Aureal Vortex 2. Aureal has gone out of business so there is no driver available from them. Fortunately there was a driver available at SourceForge. However it wouldn't compile. Even though I'm a fair programmer I didn't really feel like going into the source code and trying to figure it all out so I gave up on Redhat 8.0 to see if I would have more luck with Mandrake. This was fortunate anyway because I prefer KDE over Gnome (For all you non-geeks just ignore me).

So Mandrake installed and guess what ... still no sound! However during the install it did tell me exactly where I could download a driver, at SourceForge. So I downloaded it again and tried to compile. Same stupid error messages. Well after some digging I discovered that the source code relies on the fact that you have the kernel source code installed. Of course I didn't read that anywhere in the documentation (not that I ever read documentation). So I finally got sound installed and everything worked! But after all that work I wiped it out because Mandrake still has some bugs in it or something. Every time I set something in the control panel sooner or later it just gets reset without me changing anything. I got so frustrated I decided to go back to redhat. This time, since I made sure to install the Kernel source code everything went smoother ... except Redhat doesn't ship with Xine, which is the best video player ever (kicks the crap out of Windows Media Player). So I had to download that as well. Of course that was a chore in itself and it is still full of bugs... But I won't get into that since i've already lost about half my audience.

I Hate the Post Office

Friday, January 10, 2003
My blogs have turned into my ranting page but please bear with me ....

I hate the post office. Actually I don' t hate the post office as much as I do the customers that go into the post office. I went to the Monrovia post office to mail a package. Now the Monrovia post office isn't as bad as the Princeton one but it runs a close second. Every time I go there it takes me about 10-15 minutes to get out. I just can't stand people who go unprepared. They don't have their item packaged, they haven't written down the address, they need to find the address, they haven't decided in the 10 minutes before they got to the counter if they need $100 or $110 in insurance or if they really need that return receipt. How hard is it to do before you get to the counter? I think the maximum amount of time I've been at the counter is about 1.5 minutes. I ask for postage, I give my package, I'm out of the door. Its very easy.

This is not only a problem I find at the post office, it just seems much more rampant there. Other offenders are people who write check and don't fill in any information before their turn or worse don't have their ID ready to go. People who don't make up their mind at fast food restaurants while in line. People willing to wait 5 minutes on a price check to save $0.10 (I can understand if its a few dollars but $0.10?). People who insist on organizing their wallets & pockets after they paid while still in front of the register even though there are 10 people behind them thus preventing the line from moving. However the prize I think goes to people who insist on having conversations with the register person about things that have absolutely nothing to do with their purchase for at least 3 minutes after they have paid. This happened at the post office today. They were on #20. The last ticket out was probably about #40 so there were 20 people waiting in line. The guy right in front of me had about a 5 minute conversation with the lady about different wines even though all he did was mail a single envelope. So 20 people had to miss their lunches so this guy could expound on the wonders of the '93 Bordeaux or something equally inane.