I'm Back

Thursday, March 31, 2005
I was going to write about Teri Schiavo but that has been done to death so instead I'll just write about my trip.

Sorry I've been silent for a few days. With travelling, getting back to work, and everything else its been hard to find time to blog.

So the trip was a success. I had a really good time seeing Jenny again. I've seen her now 3 times this year. Crazy. I'm going back in May for my reunions (although Jenny won't be there) so that will be 4 times in the past year I will have gone back to the east coast. I went back once in 3 years after I moved.

Seeing all my friends back in NY made me kind of miss it. I of course love my friends here but it is kind of different having friends you either knew growing up or knew in college. Of course the weather was awful and I don't miss that but otherwise I do miss it which just makes me think that I'm a grass is greener type of guy.

The plane ride back wasn't so good. I guess I just shouldn't fly US Air anymore. I haven't had too many good flying experiences with them. Don't really have too much else to say.


Monday, March 28, 2005
Today I turn 27. Its an odd kind of age for me. I feel much older now than I use to.

For me, 27 seems to me to be where you really are a full adult. You don't really have the excuse that you young anymore. I feel like life really begins now, that I need to be down the path of who I am going to become. Maybe it is just me being overly ambitious but I feel I need to get my life on this path now and waiting much longer will make it too late.

There has been a lot of introspection lately and probably more to come. I can't get everything I'm feeling down right now but I'm sure it will come over time.

For today I'm not worrying too much about it. I'm going to walk around Princeton for a little bit and later head back up to the city to have dinner with my college roommate. Back to California tomorrow.

East Coast Insomniac

Friday, March 25, 2005
I can't sleep. I'm on the east coast right now, actually about 2 feet from Jenny, and I'm up writing my blog because I'm unable to sleep.

The flight over here was pretty bad. I had a headache the entire time, the flight was delayed, and there was a crying baby across the isle. Last night I was able to fall asleep because the headache stayed with me the entire time but I'm finding it difficult to sleep right now.

It's been a pretty mellow weekend so far. Jenny and I did some shopping and saw Robots. Not the best animated movie I have ever seen but then again Fox Animation is usually not so good. Tomorrow I'm off to New York to see some old friends. Hopefully I can stay awake because I know I'm not going to get much sleep tonight.

Worst Movie Ever?

Thursday, March 24, 2005
I may have just watched the absolute worst movie ever. 2001 Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick. I hated it so much I'm certain that it is Jenny's favorite movie.

I had heard good things about this movie but having watched it I'm convinced it is one of those movies that one person told someone else that it was deep and meaningful. Not wanting to look stupid, every person after that decided they too wanted to be deep and smart so they swear that the movie is fantastic.

The movie just doesn't move. There is no plot and it makes no sense. It wasn't all that visually interesting. There were scenes that just dragged on absent of dialog, motion, and anything else even remotely pretending to be a point. I can take movies that nothing happens in but this just takes the cake. I am pretty lienent about movies. Heck, most of my Netflix ratings are 3 stars because I think most movies are OK. I may have like 5 1 star movies out of 700 or something like that. If I could give it a 0 I would.

And don't give me that you have to watch it several times to appreciate it. Any movie that is this bad the first time around is not worth a second run. It might not be the worse movie ever, but it's close.

Why I Am Not in the Real Estate Market

Wednesday, March 23, 2005
As a young, successful, 20 something male, I should probably be looking into getting a house. However I have decided to sit this one out and not invest in real estate at this time. Why? Look at the numbers. They are crazy.

The average household income in california is $49,320. The average home price in Los Angeles is $470,900. Do the Math. Assuming a 30 year mortgage at the national average of 6.25% for $450,000 mortgage (I am assumming very little down as most people these days are doing 0% down) that comes out to a mortgage payment of $2770.73. All this on a monthy income of about $3,288 after taxes. This of course assumes you can come up with a $20,000 down payment which most people can not.

Do these numbers seem right to you? Do you really think a family can live on $500 a month when you haven't paid for utilities, food, clothes, etc.?

It use to be the rule of thumb that you should not spend more than 33% of your gross income on rent. That equates to $1277.43. A mortgage payment of $2770.73 on $49,320 of income equates to almost 72%, PRE-TAX! Now lets just say interest rates rise .75% which they are likely to do (especially because loan rates have not closely matched the fed in recent months). Most people these days have an ARM. That now equates to a payment $29983.86. It starts to get ugly really fast.

There is no conceiveable way that housing prices can stay at this level unless wages rise dramatically. However if wages rise that much it drives the price of doing business in California through the roof. It simply doesn't equate. So I will sit this one out for now and see where we are a year from now.

More Waste for the Federal Government

Monday, March 21, 2005
It is no secret that I'm not a huge fan of the federal government but their actions with the whole Terri Schiavo case brings a whole new meaning to where the federal government should not get involved.

I am not going to argue whether I think this women should live or not. Really it isn't my place nor is it any of my business. But why should the federal government get involved? I can see where the local governments need to decide on the matter but the federal government? Is it really necessary to call a special session of congress over the weekend to discuss the issue? Do people realize it probably cost the government a million dollars or so to try and resolve this matter?

What disturbs me even more is that they made the whole thing very specific to this one case. I'm sorry, but I don't think the federal government should get involved much less make a law that applies to only ONE SPECIFIC instance. If the federal government is going to get involved make it legislation that affects the whole country, not one instance. That is why you have divisions of government. Let the local authorities handle it.

Boxers and Shorts

Friday, March 18, 2005
Memo to the guy at the gym. Please do not wear boxer shorts that are longer than your outer shorts. It just looks ridiculous. There are other options now.

1. Wear these new inventions called briefs
2. Come out of the 80's and buy a pair of longer shorts
3. Wear pants

Thank You

Nothing to say

Thursday, March 17, 2005
So, the last few days I haven't really felt like blogging. Getting over being sick probably has a little bit to do with it. Being busy at work has a little more to do with it.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. It also is the start of the NCAA tournament. I have barely even thought about who will win it all this year. Normally I at least try to pick the Final Four but this year I haven't done it yet. Oh well.

Go Princeton! Oh wait, they aren't in it this year.

Smart People = Bad Athletes

Tuesday, March 15, 2005
No, I'm not saying that all athletes are dumb. Fellow Princeton Alum Bill Bradley comes to mind. But the stereotype for athletes is that they are not always the brightest bulb in the box and I read a book that kind of made me think about the whole reason behind this.

I read a book called Moneyball. It is the story of Billy Beane, the General Manger of the Oakland A's. Oakland has consistently been a good team since Billy took over yet they have one of the two lowest payrolls in MLB. It seems almost contradictory compared to the ginormous payrolls of the Yankees and Redsox but there they are, competing every year.

Before he was a general mananger, Billy Beane was a major league prospect. He had all five tools and was destined to be a perennial all-star. He got drafted in the same year as Darryl Strawberry and easily had just as much promise. However Billy did have one flaw. He thought too much about failure.

Billy relates a story about Lenny Dykstra, a fellow prospect. Billy was a cerebral player, Lenny wasn't exactly. One day they are watching Steve Carlton pitch, one of the greatest pitchers of all time. Lenny asks, "Who is that?" and Billy shockingly replies, "That is Steve Carlton." Lenny didn't really seem to care. He simply said, "I'm going to stick him". He was too dumb to know or care that he was going to go up against one of the most feared pitchers in the game.

Billy on the other hand was terrified of failure. His fear of failure made it almost impossible for him to actually use his physical gifts to become the star everyone imagined. Everytime he failed, that failure would weigh on him. He would analyze it over and over again. At the age of 27, Billy Beane knew he was never going to make it and went to his manager and walked away from the game.

Reading his story made a lot of sense to me. I'm nowhere near the athlete that Billy was but I do suffer from the same problem. If I screw up something on the basketball court, I think about it for a long time. I am not able to isolate the play and move on to the next, I think about it until the end of the day. Maybe the key to being a great athlete is having no short term memory.

Getting Better

Sunday, March 13, 2005
It's been a rough few days. I've been sick since last Wednesday and I've been pretty miserable.

I'm not sure what's wrong with me this year. Since November, I've been sick a total of three times, all pretty serious. Maybe its all stress related, maybe I'm not living as healthy a lifestyle as I used to. Who knows.

So that's why I haven't been blogging, or much of anything lately. I've been crawled up in bed trying to get better. I'll be better going forward.

When is it cheating?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Busy at work so will keep this brief and maybe argue in the comments.

I think using steroids is cheating but in reading a Wired article the other day they brought up an interesting point. Why is it bad to take steroids to enhance your body but it is OK to get Lasik Surgery to improve your eyesight? The topic was on elective surgery and that there are techniques coming out that will improve a person's strength, flexibility, etc. if they so choose.

If you think about it logically, from a purely sports perspective, it is actually worse to get Lasik than to take steroids. Lasik no doubt helps athletes, I can attest to that fact. But this takes no work on the athletes part, just some time and money. Sports is about working hard to get better. Steroids don't just work magically, you still have to train to get the full benefits of taking them. It no doubts makes things easier and allows you to get further than you would otherwise but you can't sit on the couch and hope to look like Schwarzenegger.

Where is the line?

Kitty's New Scarf

Monday, March 07, 2005
Other than the fact that there was a thunderstorm on my drive there, My trip to Vegas went well. It was nice to see Kathryn. She was nice enough to knit Bandit a scarf which you can see below. I thought for sure Bandit would tear the the thing to shreds but he actually didn't seem to mind it too much. Maybe he just thought it was a collar or something. Oh well, who understands my cat?

New Windshield Wipers

Friday, March 04, 2005
I have had my car for 3 years and only just yesterday replaced my windwhield wipers. Most experts say you should change your wipers every year. In California that has seemed to me to be a little much since they don't get much use.

However, lately I have had plenty of use for it and have noticed my wipers not performing up to par so I replaced them. Makes a huge difference. Sometimes you just don't really notice because the detoriation is gradual but boy do they work a lot better now. What is with all this rain we are having. I really don't mind a little bit of rain but this is bordering on crazy. I moved back to California in part because the weather is better. Not lately it isn't.

Baseball's Hypocrisy Part II

Wednesday, March 02, 2005
I really am starting not to like Major League baseball. Several managers, Tony Larussa and Kevin Towers among them, knew that their players were using steroids. Most people are looking the other way and saying that this is OK that they knew because they themselves were not the ones doing it and all they did was turn a blind eye.

What a load of crap and what a double standard. It makes me think of the Chicago Black Sox, banned for life from baseball because they threw the 1919 World Series. Part of that story is the third baseman for that team, Buck Weaver. By most accounts Buck Weaver never took any money, his statistics bear out that he didn't throw any games, but he is banned from the game because he knew what was going on and didn't tell anybody. Then commissioner Mountain Landis proclaimed.

"Regardless of the verdict of juries, no player who throws a ballgame, no player that undertakes or promises to throw a ballgame, no player that sits in conference with a bunch of crooked players and gamblers where the ways and means of throwing a game are discussed and does not promptly tell his club about it, will ever play professional baseball."

It's the same thing. Granted I think taking steroids is a somewhat lesser offense than throwing a game but the fact remains that knowing about something and not doing anything about it are, in Baseball's eyes, equally offensive.


Tuesday, March 01, 2005
People who know me know that I take my job very seriously. I have a certain love of work and I believe that if you are going to do a job you should do it well and you should do it with all your heart. My employer is paying me to do a job and I, as a man with integrity, feel that I must do my absolute best. It is why I rarely get truly frustrated with work, I understand the business aspects of almost every decision. I approach work for what it is, a business.

But lately work has been frustrating me. I'm doing stuff that I no longer should be doing. I don't have the adequate resources to do my job correctly. When I complain it seems these complaints fall on to deaf ears. Normally I would just get up and quit but most who read this blog know why I have to stay around. It is only through sheer will, determination, and lots of hard work on my part and the people who work for/with me that things haven't completely fallen apart. Like I said, part of being able to deal with work is the fact that I understand it is a business. But what happens when decisions seemingly no longer make business sense?

It is not like me to complain about work so you know how bad things have gotten. I will of course still do my job and do it as well as I can but at this point even that might not be good enough.