What to do with Power Adapters

Saturday, November 22, 2008
I decided to clean out my closet today. There is a lot of junk there. Most of it, I have lugged around from place to place with me across the country.

One thing I noticed I had quite a lot of were various power adapters. You know, the thing that comes with every electronic device and has the big ugly wall wart on it? They come in all shapes and sizes, and they differ in the plugs they use at the end of them.

The thing is, I'm sure for some of these plugs, I no longer have the device it was meant for. I just keep the plugs around because I'm not sure. I keep these around for the one time I have a device with no plug, and I need one. I just go through all of them until I find the right one, and I'm good to go.

But really, shouldn't I just throw out these plugs? I don't often go back and use devices I haven't used in a while. It is just that one time I really need it, and therefore I really need the plug.

Is this just me, or do other people have lots of plugs which they don't know what they are used for or if they even still have the device.

Pro Sports Are Not Fixed

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Tampa Bay Ray defeated the Boston Redsox last night sending the Rays to the World Series. There they will join the Philadelphia Phillies in what looks to be the worse matchup in recent memory.

There is at least one thing we learned from this Baseball Playoffs. Pro Sports are definitely not fixed. When the playoffs started, there were plenty of intriguing matchups. We could have seen an all Chicago or all Los Angeles World Series with both the teams from those cities making the playoffs.

It would have been a very interesting series if the Dodgers would have met the Red Sox with all the drama that would have happened with Manny Ramirez returning to the city who gave him up. But instead, we have the worse possible matchup for Major League Baseball. Who outside of Tampa Bay and Philadelphia is going to watch the series? With all the great possible matchups, how the heck did we end up with this? Only one explanation, the two teams definitely earned their spots.

Women's Store and Chairs

Wednesday, October 15, 2008
How is it that not all Women's Clothing stores have chairs for people to sit on. I recently went shopping at an outlet mall and had to go into several stores with my girlfriend. Yet very few of the stores had any chairs. How is that possible?

Think about it, many of these women go shopping with their husbands or boyfriends. Most of them are bored out of their mind as their wife or girlfriend shops. These men could probably bear it if there was at least a chair to sit on. I know when stores do have chairs, all the men inevitably migrate toward them.

There have been many a time I hurry my girlfriend from the store simply because I can't bear to just stand there anymore. She probably could have shopped twice as long in the store if there was just a place for me to sit.

Now I'm not asking for a luxurious chair. A piece of wood on top of two cinder blocks would work just fine for me. All a store has to do is buy a few inexpensive chairs and this would probably increase the time their clientele spends in the store and in turn increase the amount of money they spend.

Smart Phones - Not So Smart

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I am a big fan of my smart phone. I use it a lot and I'm quite happy with it. But today I found one big problem with my phone. The Blackjack 2 has a QWERTY keyboard. This is fantastic when I have to compose an e-mail or a text message. However, it isn't so great when I have to call a phone number which is given to me in letters.

Imagine you have to call 1-800-1NUMBER on one of these phones. How the heck are you supposed to know which key corresponds to the letter 'n'. You can't unless you just happen to know it. I had to do this today, and I had to borrow my girlfriend's phone just so I could look at the number pad. Now what if I didn't have another phone to look at. How the heck would I have known what numbers to push?

OJ Simpson Found Guilty

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The number 13 is not a very lucky for OJ Simpson as it took the Jury 13 hours to find him guilty of robbery and kidnapping 13 years after he was found not guilty of double homicide.

Really? I mean how stupid do you have to be if you are OJ Simpson to go and rob someone at gunpoint to go get some lousy sports memorabilia? He got away with murder. After you do that, you should really try and stay low don't you think? I mean do you really want to tempt fate twice? Don't you think that if you get in front of another jury, they are going to be predisposed to try and balance the scales of justice no matter what they are instructed to do? People are human. There is almost zero chance that they are going to be able to separate what they know about you from the facts.

So seriously, if you get away with murder, try not to think you are superman here. You don't have some superpower where you can do whatever you want and get away with it. If you do get in front of a jury again, you better believe that you are going to be found guilty.

Dodgers Lose - And Celebrate with Champagne

Thursday, September 25, 2008
The Dodgers lost their game against the Padres tonight 6-4, and celebrated it by popping bottles of champagne.

Of course they won their division tonight and thus are heading to the post season thanks to a loss earlier in the day by the Arizona Diamondbacks. So the Dodgers did have reason to celebrate. Still, it seems odd to see a team in such a happy mood after a loss. Maybe its just me, but I always hate losing, it just puts me in a bad mood. I would find it difficult to celebrate after a loss, even if the loss didn't mean anything in the grand scheme of things.

No Chinese Noodles in the Chinese Market

Friday, September 19, 2008
I wanted to buy some fried chow mein noodles recently. I only really like them on my salads; they add a nice salty crunch that I really like. Unfortunately, the variety that they sell in the normal market really suck. I remember the noodles I like from the days when my father owned his restaurant, and that was the variety I wanted to get.

So I went to the Asian market in search of these noodles, and I came up totally empty handed. How the heck can I not find Chinese noodles in a Chinese market. I get that these noodles may be a little bit "americanized" but even then, I would have expected to find them there.

Now where do I look ...

Disadvantage of Designer Jeans

Sunday, September 14, 2008
Those who follow my blog know I love my designer jeans. However, there is one huge drawback in buying them. When you buy jeans from Seven, you can only buy them in one length. They make the jean the longest that any normal person would ever want. I'm sure they do this in order to make their inventory simpler to maintain and to keep their cost low since they do not have less variety to control for.

However, this tends to be a pain in my ass because I'm lazy. I have to go find a tailor to alter my jeans and hem the cuff. Since I'm lazy, this can take me several weeks to do. So I go and spend $200 on a pair of jeans, and I don't get any use of them for several weeks after that.

Still think it is worth it, but I really wish I didn't have to go through the additional hassle of getting them hemmed. Luckily, if you buy them from Nordstrom, they usually have a tailor on site who will do it for free. But when I don't buy them from Nordstrom, I have to wait to enjoy my purchase.

Gymastics and Diving are not Sports

Wednesday, August 20, 2008
After watching the Olympics the last few days, I can say without hesitation that neither Gymnastics or Diving are sports. They are great and entertaining competitions, but neither of them are sports. How can I say this.

I define a sport to be the following
  • There must a a physical activity involved which requires strength, speed, or endurance and which would quickly lead to exhaustion
  • There must be a competition between two or more individuals or teams
  • There must be a clear and OBJECTIVE winner
The last part is what dooms Gymastics and Diving as not a sport. It just is not objective enough. I tried to give it the benefit of the doubt this Olympics. I tried to believe that the judges used objective measures in order to deduct points from each of these events, but it simply is not true.

I watched as China's Fei Cheng landed on her knees and yet somehow ends up with a bronze medal. I don't know a lot about Gymnastics, but I know you shouldn't be able to land on your knees and still be considered one of the three best in the world.

I watched diving and saw one dive which recieved a 4.5 from one judge and a 8.0 from another. How objective can an event be when two people, supposedly looking at the exact same thing, come up with such radically different results?

To be fair, other sports have their subjective elements. Baseball has an umpire call balls and strikes, and basketball has refs who blow calls all the time (whether for money or just being plain blind). But this is not the main focus of the game. You winning or losing is not, in general, dependent on someone else's subjective call.

So sorry fans of Gymastics and Diving. I know you love your competition. I agree, it can be fun to watch. But it just isn't a sport.

Phelps Phan

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The story of the Olympics thus far has to be Michael Phelps. The guy just won eight gold medals and in the process set seven world records. It's a feat I'm sure won't be surpassed in at least a generation if not longer.

I could go on and on about how awesome he is as an athlete, but others could do a better job than I. This is especially true given the fact that I can barely swim as is. I blame my Asian genes for not being able to swim, I didn't see that many Asian people in the water. It is most likely due to just how my body is. I try to explain to people how my feet just sink in the water. I tell people this and they try to give me tips on how to float. I tell them, "I just sink, you don't understand", but people who can float just don't understand how someone who doesn't float can't.

Interesting enough, following Michael Phelps throughout the game, they had a piece on why Michael Phelps was born to swim. They described how he had short legs but a long torso. I probably have the exact opposite problem. My legs are long for my body and my torso is short. As almost everybody's legs naturally sink, and you use your torso as a buoy to float the rest of your body, this very much explains why I have more trouble swimming than the average person. Guess I won't be winning any gold medals in swimming any time soon.

But how awesome would it be to have "Greatest Olympic Athlete" on your resume? I mean, what employer isn't going to want to talk about that? What employer isn't going to at least grant you an interview? The hardest part of getting any job is just getting in the door to get an interview but having something like this would just be crazy. it probably would be of bigger benefit outside the swimming world than in it.

2008 Opening Ceremonies - The Chinese Rock!

Saturday, August 09, 2008


That about sums up what I thought of the 2008 Opening Ceremonies at the Beijing Olympics. The amount of creativity, artistry, and imagination was off the charts. This seriously might have been some of the best blending of art and technology that the world has ever seen. The ceremony itself was just beautiful. The costumes, the performances, and the props were all outstanding. The highlight, for me, was most definitely the movable type performance where they simulated blocks of Chinese characters making up a movable type system. I thought it was amazing before I saw the ending, and then when it was shown that it was all human driven, it drove the whole thing off the charts.

But in reality, I'm not at all surprised that this was easily the best Opening Ceremonies of all time and probably will be for quite some time. Being Asian, and Chinese specifically, I learned one indelible truth growing up, face is everything.

"Face" in Asian culture is quite difficult to understand unless you grew up in it. While Western civilization also takes how others perceive you to be important, the Asian culture takes it to a whole other level. It is often why certain stereotypes exist for Asian people. You have your children do well in school because it is a reflection of what a good parent you are. It is why being a hospitable host is so crucial to the culture.

So the Chinese, with the rest of the world watching, went over the top. They made sure that others would look at these games, and remember it as the best ever. They spent $300 million on the opening ceremonies alone. They practiced it for years and every detail was thought of. They wanted to be sure that everyone else in the world knew what an amazing country China was, is, and will someday become. Boy did they deliver.

Staying Out of the Friend Zone

Thursday, July 31, 2008

I've actually had this conversation twice in the last few days, so I thought it would be a good idea to most my thoughts on the subject.

Growing up, I was very "popular" with the ladies. My problem was that this popularity did not translate into dates, it translated into me having lots of female friends. For some reason, I get getting stuck in the "Friend Zone". Much like the Phantom Zone, once in the Friend Zone it pretty much is impossible to get out. I actually was able to do it twice, no small feat, but admittedly I was never great friends with the two girls to begin with.

However, the trick should be never to get into the Friend Zone. It should be avoided at all cost. You know what I'm talking about. You meet a great girl. You go out a few times. You think things are great. But when the subject comes up of you in a romantic relationship, she looks at you incredulously and says, "Oh, I don't think of you that way. I thought we were just friends"

It took me a while to finally get the hang of this, but now I can tell you for sure how to never ever be put in the Friend Zone unless you want to be there. Here is what you need to do.

  • Go into the relationship with the full intention of NOT being friends with this girl. Accept the fact that if you aren't going to be dating the girl, you will have no relationship whatsoever. You have enough friends already. It's OK if you don't make a new one. There is no need to be the "nice guy".
  • Not sure how interested she is in you? Simple test during your first date. Plan your first date earlier in the day. Make sure it is short. Make sure you have a plan which can extend the date but do not tell your date about it. Say you go out to play mini-golf on your first date. After you play, suggest going out for drinks or a bite to eat. If she agrees, you are good to go. Girls will end the date if they are not interested. They will find a way to extend the date if they are interested.
  • Make sure during the course of conversation, you bring up the fact that you are on a date. Call it what it is. Just talk about how you are having a good time on the DATE. Maybe share a horror story of another first DATE that you had. Mention what you think would make a great second DATE.
  • Get the kiss. Nothing says you are not friends like kissing her. Seriously, get the kiss on the first night. If she pulls away from the kiss, you pretty much have your answer. No need to attack her with your tongue hanging out, but make sure you get a kiss on the lips from her. This will ensure you are not put in the friend zone.
Simple as that. Follow these simple rules, and you will stay out of the Friend Zone, and hopefully find yourself a new girlfriend. Do you have any tips for people on how they can avoid falling into this dreaded trap?

The Problem with Hyped Movies

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I went to see the Dark Knight today. Don't worry, I'm not about to give any spoilers away, it is not at all what this post is about. Despite my recent comments about the local second run movie theater, I went to see the movie at the local multi-plex. I did so because I wanted to see the movie sooner than later for a couple of reasons.

  • Everyone was saying how great it was
  • Everyone was talking about it, and I wanted to stop people from ruining the movie for me
So I walked down to the cinema to watch it. The conclusion? It was OK. Not bad, not great. I think I seriously would have enjoyed it more if I just had heard nothing about it. So many people were saying how great the movie was that my expectations were quite high. I even tried to temper my expectations to avoid this exact problem, but alas I think I failed.

Not much I could have done about this one though. There was almost no way to avoid the constant talking by everyone about this movie.

Noah's Bagels - No Tip Please

Saturday, July 26, 2008
I went to Noah's Bagels today in Pasadena. Much to my surprise they had a sign next to the register informing customers that they no longer took tips. They stressed that they were there to make sure that you had the best experience possible there and that they were happy to provide you with great service at no charge.

Sounds kind of like my idea which I had several years ago where I would start up a restaurant and refuse to take tips. Seriously, I love this idea. People just doing a great job because they should. Those who do the best, should get paid for it, so I only hope that Noah's bagels is finding some other way to properly compensate their employees for providing great service. Otherwise, it would just be the same crappy service (if not worse), just patrons aren't paying as much for it.

Which Way Should the Fan Blow?

Thursday, July 24, 2008
On a cool summer night, when you have a hot room, which direction should you point the fan? Should you point the fan so that the cool outside air is coming into the room or should you point the fan so that the hot air is leaving the room?

Up until last night, I would have said you should point the fan so that the cool air is going into the room, but now, I'm not so sure. It just made more sense to me that you would want to force the cold air in. Maybe this is because I'm thinking of something that works more like an air-conditioner which forces cool air into an area.

Last night, I couldn't actually point the fan into the room, the cord wouldn't reach, so I pointed the fan pointing outward. Much to my surprise, the room became quite cool. Cooler than I would ahve expected. Just right now, I had the fan pointing into the room, right at me. This was cooling me off great, but when I got up and walked around the room, I felt it was still stuffy. I turned the fan around, and then walked around the room again, the room felt much cooler.

I can't find any definitive answer on the subject, but right now, I have to say I believe it is better to push the hot air out. What are your thoughts? What has your experience told you is the better way to point a fan?

Second Run Movie Theaters

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I went to my local second run movie theater this afternoon. I hadn't been to one in quite a while, and I have to say I rather enjoyed it. I have been meaning to go see The Incredible Hulk for quite a while, but had not been able to as of yet. When I noticed it was at the local second run movie theater down the street, it piqued my curiosity.

What was even more enticing was the fact that a ticket inside was only $2 per person. So for $4, my girlfriend and I could go to the movies for the exact same price as renting a DVD. I went in expecting the movie theater to be rather small and uncomfortable but much to my surprise, the theater was a decent size, as least as big as some of the smaller theaters that the large complexes have, and it was equipped with stadium seating.

To me, the trade-off of watching the movie slightly later than everybody else is really no big deal. I almost never go to a movie opening weekend as I hate crowds and I hate waiting in line. I avoided "The Dark Knight" this weekend for that exact reason. So the difference to me is essentially watching the movie three weeks earlier or paying 500% more for the same product.
It's going to have to be one hell of a movie for me to want to spend 5x the amount of money.

The Starbucks List

Saturday, July 19, 2008
Starbucks announced a few weeks ago that it was going to close 600 of its stores due to under-performance. They published the list of closing stores today. It doesn't come as a surprise to most given the struggling economy and the need for people to cut back a little.

But here is the thing. If a Starbucks closes, but there is one across the street, does anyone notice? The proliferation of Starbucks is amazing. The density of the stores borders on ludicrous in some areas. When I lived in Redmond, there were literally eight Starbucks within a 15 minute walk of me. Where I am in Pasadena, there is also about half a dozen in the same radius.

But what is even more crazy, is that there probably needs to be this many. America just loves their coffee that much. Everyday when I go to work, I marvel at the line that is forming outside of Starbucks. I figure most of the people who work downtown probably have some form of coffee available to them at work, yet all these people are willing to stand in line and wait to PAY for a cup. All of this despite the fact that there is another Starbucks just around the corner. And that one has a line as well!

An Epic Tennis Battle

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I don't normally watch Tennis, I'm definitely not a fan of it, but I love watching compelling sports events. I was flipping through the channels today and stumbled upon the Wimbledon final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. I don't know much about tennis but I do know that Roger Federer is unbeatable at Wimbledon. The guy might seriously be the most dominant athlete of his generation, yes even more so than Tiger Woods.

But when I got there, he was down two sets to one and looking like he might lose the fourth. So I watched just to see what would happen next. Sure enough, Federer rebounded and forced a fifth set. He eventually succumbed to Nadal who just looked stronger the entire match. Even though I was rooting for Federer (something about Nadal just bugs me. I think he just looks arrogant) I was happy for Nadal. It clearly was a very emotional win for him and he just deserved it today.

This is one of the things I love about sports. It's so exciting even to people who aren't really fans. Events like this are great. You don't have to know anything about the sport, but you just know two people (or teams) are facing off. In the end, there will be a winner, and it will be the culmination of one of the two combantants whole life. It's a fantastic action and drama movie rolled up in a 2 hour (in this case 4.5 hour) event. But it's even better because its real life!

Cat With the Hat

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Don't have anything really clever or intelligent to say. My girlfriend just happened to take this picture of my cat which I thought was particularly cute. If you just look at it quickly, it looks like we made him a flower hat. It's one of her many advantages. She works at home. While there are many reasons I wouldn't want to work at home, I'm pretty jealous of the fact that she gets to hang out with the cat all day and gets to take pictures like this.

Gay Marriage Legalized

Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Today was the first day in California where gay couples could legally wed. Among the first of them was Former Star Treker George Takei, who will marry his partner of 20+ years.

I for one am glad this finally happened, it's been a long time coming. I've said for a long time, I'm not sure what the big deal about gay marriage is. If people want to get married, we should let them, I don't see any reason why government should make this distinction.

But I do wonder about one thing. I wonder how many gay relationships will actually be hurt by this. Here is the thing. I know for me, deciding to get married is a big deal. It has been a sticking point in my relationship as well as many others. For a lot of people, it is a very difficult conversation to have if you should get married at all.

For most gay couples, it hasn't been an issue, because it technically couldn't happen anyway. Even if they were living as if married, there is nothing quite like making it official and I could see it being the case that a lot of couples, now faced with the choice, find it difficult one to make.

What are you thoughts? Do you think this might have a negative effect of a few relationships?

The Dominance of Tiger Woods

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Yesterday, Tiger Woods was "struggling" in the third round of the US Open. I put quotations around the word "struggling", because in reality he really wasn't. This morning ESPN wrote an article about Tiger Woods fantastic performance to close the round. An ending which saw Tiger sink two eagles and a birdie.

Yet the article ESPN wrote on Tiger's fantastic ending made it seem like Tiger was out of contention before the fantastic run started. In the article, the author writes:

Tiger just didn't have it. After 48 jaw-clenching holes of this 108th U.S. Open, that was the dispiriting realization sinking into the raucous Torrey Pines gallery, as well as the nation at large. The world's greatest competitor was trying like hell to stay in contention, but his aching left knee wouldn't permit Tiger to be Tiger.

Tiger is a victim of his own success. He is so good, he is expected to dominate each and every time. Golf is a hard sport. Most pro golfers are lucky to win a tournament once in their life. You need to be good for four straight days to have a chance to win, and for most, it's too hard to do consistently. Here is the kicker. Tiger was in third place before he made his run. THIRD!

It wasn't like he was in the middle of the pack or a dozen shots behind. The man was in third place. For any other golfer, being in third place at the US Open is a pretty good day. Yet people speak as if Tiger's tournament was a complete failure up until that point. That's how good I want to be. I want to be so good that anything less than perfection would be considered failure. I also wouldn't mind earning what Tiger earns.

Strange Watching Behavior

Tuesday, June 03, 2008
This past week, I watched two things I don't normally watch.

This past weekend, I watched the main event of a Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight featuring Kimbo Slice. I stopped while channel flipping not because of the internet sensation known as Kimbo Slice but because I couldn't believe that there was a man on TV with an alien growing out of his head. Seriously, take a close look at the other fighter's ear. I'm warning you, it may make you ill.

The other thing I watched last night was Hockey. It was an elimination game five between Detroit and Pittsburgh. I'm not a hockey fan whatsoever but I saw that it was triple overtime. Like Jenny, I love a good overtime match. Triple overtime is 3x better so I stayed to watch. The good thing about Hockey overtime is that it is sudden death. I find it even better than Football because things can change so fast. In football, it is only likely that the team on offense is going to score. But in Hockey, it can change from defense to offense so quickly that it is immensely more entertaining.

Sport Superstitions and Jinxes

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Despite this blog being about rational thought, I will admit there are times I'm deeply irrational. Most of those instances has to do with sports.

I love sports and I'm a hugely devoted fan. I actually get very upset when the team I'm rooting for starts to play badly. I'm also very prone to believing in superstitions and jinxes. For example, today I was watching the Lakers and Spurs in their playoff game. The game was back and forth throughout much of the game.

The Lakers were doing well at the beginning but at one point in the game, my host, walks into the room. Now mind you, I'm at my friends place and he is being kind enough to let me watch the game because I don't currently have cable TV. Sure enough, as soon as he walks in, the game starts going south for the Lakers. My friend, who is also a devout sports fan, kindly says, "I'm a jinx, I'm leaving." Later in the game, I realize that every time my girlfriend rubs my shoulders, the Lakers start doing better. Seriously. She stops rubbing my shoulders, and BAM, the Spurs go on a run. I point it out to her and ask her to start rubbing again, and the Lakers go back up by seven points.

Deep down, I know I'm being completely illogical. I know all these things are merely coincidence and there is no way any of these actions are related to the outcome of a sporting event. But when I'm watching sports, the rational side of me goes right out the window. If I have to stand on my head while wearing only one sock to ensure victory, I probably will.

Why do you think we are this way? Why do sports fans think that their inane actions has any bearing on a game that quite frankly doesn't mean all that much?

Athletes and Drugs

Monday, May 26, 2008
The other day, Joakim Noah of the Chicago Bulls was charged with possession of marijuana. Yet another story of an athlete doing something absolutely stupid. I could devote an entire blog on this subject. Whenever I read stories like this I have to think, "Really?"

I mean seriously, if you are a professional athlete why would you ever smoke pot? Is it really worth it? As an athlete, you have the ability to get paid several million dollars over the course of your lifetime. Are a few puffs of Mary Jane really worth that? Here are my big problems.
  • Just don't do It - If I offered you a million dollars or some weed, which would you choose? Most rational people are going to take the million dollars. Some would argue that athletes don't deserve to be paid that much in the first place. Do you really need to give them another reason to be right?
  • At least do the right drugs - If you have to do an illegal substance, at least do something that will help your career. I mean, at least if you do steroids, you will be improving your chances as an athlete. But a drug like pot? What possible reason would you do this? I could maybe even understand a drug like heroin, which would give you an intense high and is highly addictive. But Marijuana?
  • Be smart about it - Noah was an idiot on several other levels as well. If you are going to do pot, at least do it in private. I mean really. You are going to get caught with it in your pocket while you are in public? He was caught because he was drinking a beer in public, another no no. How about when you have something on you that could end your NBA career, you don't do another illegal thing? Finally, is it really necessary for YOU to be holding it while in public? How about if you find it absolutely necessary to transport the pot from a private place you ask one of your friends to carry it. Offer him $1,000 to do it. Hell, offer him $10,000 to do it. It's much better than you being caught with it and your friend gets $10,000. It's a win win.
As much as I believe athletes get paid what they deserve, its times like this I think they deserve anything they get.

American Airlines Baggage Fee

Thursday, May 22, 2008
There seems to be a lot of uproar about American Airlines starting to charge its passengers $15 for their first checked bags. They aren't the first airlines to charge for baggage, but they are the first to charge for the first checked bags. Others who have implemented similar policies normally only charge for the second bag.

This is in response to several factors, most notably of which is the rising cost of fuel. Just today, oil sped past $135 a barrel before coming back down to around $130. This is causing American Airlines, and others as well, to try and find new sources of revenue.

The thing is, I'm not sure why people are so upset. A few things make me understanding. First of all, I understand that companies can't run at a loss forever. Consumers seem to forget that companies are in business to make money. American Airlines is hemorrhaging cash. If they need to raise their prices to meet cost then that's what they have to do. This brings me to my second point. Consumers have a choice on whether or not to fly American Airlines. There are a dozen other carriers that don't charge this fee which you are free to take if you so choose. That's the beauty of capitalism. So long as consumers have choices, then it doesn't really matter what any one company does. If one company tries to charge higher prices than their competitors for the same product, consumers will eventually migrate to the other suppliers.

So let them charge whatever they want. Don't like it, buy a ticket somewhere else.

How to Fix the NBA draft ...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

as well as the regular season. The problem with the NBA regular season is that by the midway point, half the teams have given up because they know they have no chance to make the playoffs, and the worse they do, the better chance they have to get a high draft pick.

Last night, despite long odds, the Chicago Bulls ended up with the first pick. Despite having one of the better records, the ping pong balls bounced their way. Most people might not like the fact that a decent team now looks to get that much better. I don't. Here is why.

There is a real easy way to fix the first problem and it is related to what happened to Chicago. Don't make the chances of getting the top picks increase by rewarding teams with the worse record. They should take the three teams that almost made the playoffs and give them the top three picks. The team who just barely missed the playoffs gets the first pick, the team right behind them gets the second pick, etc. Starting on the fourth pick, just put them in reverse order of finish so that the worse team gets the 4th overall pick.

Life is all about incentives, and this one creates the right incentives. The current system rewards those teams that lose at the end. Now, there is no guarantee that you will end up with the best pick if you continue to lose, as proven by Chicago, but the odds of it are greatly increased. Rather than incent teams to just lose, they should incent teams to win. If teams like the Bulls, through dumb luck, are going to end up with the high picks anyway, you might as well take chance out of the equation and actually make it worth a team's time to fight till the end. While the rich get richer, in this particular instance, I think its the right thing.

The Americana At Brand

Sunday, May 18, 2008
I went to the new Americana mall in Glendale. It's a new outdoor mall with apartments that sit above the shops. Much like the Paseo Colorado in Pasadena. Overall, it was pretty nice. There weren't many shops open yet nor were there lots of places to grab a quick bite to eat, but I can see how this place will be successful for years to come.

Probably not such great news for the adjacent Glendale Galleria. I'm not much for the Glendale Galleria, something about the atmosphere just isn't right there so I prefer a place more like the Americana. A couple of things to note about it though

  • It's a very open mall. This is good and bad. On hot days like today, there are very few places you can get away from the sun.
  • If you don't like American Capitalism, don't come here. It is way over the top and excessive.
  • Most of the stores are the higher-end boutique shops, so I'm not so sure they have a lot ot offer your regular joe consumers.
  • The water fountain seems to have an hourly shoe set to music. Reminded me of some of the shows I've seen in Vegas. See second point.
  • Paying for parking just sucks. You can get validated and not have to pay but it still is a pain in the ass.
  • The number of workers there was unbelievable. There were people to help you everywhere. Valet, people guiding traffic, people helping at the pay stations. There was even this huge hotel lobby looking desk for what seemed like the residents of the mall.
Not so sure I will go back too often. Wasn't a lot for me there. But not a bad place to go see once.

Electric Drill - A Must Have

Sunday, May 11, 2008
The older I get, the more I just want things to be easy for me to do. I find that I will now pay for things that are convenient or easy rather than just do the work myself. I think it has to do with the fact that the older I get, the less time I have and the more money I have.

Case in point, the electric drill. I bought an electric drill a few months ago to put together a dresser I bought. At the time I bought it because I didn't have a drill. I didn't realize that the best part of the drill would be the electric screwdriver attachment.

Today, I was putting together some furniture and was dreading how long it was going to take. I suddenly realized I had the electric screw driver and quickly went to grab it. What a lifesaver. I mean seriously, do you realize how much time and effort you can save with one of these things? Putting together furniture becomes a lot easier when you have an electric screwdriver. It's one of those things I can't believe I went so long without. Even though I don't use it a lot, the few times I do it becomes well worth it. So seriously, stop abusing your arms and go get one. You'll thank me later.

Getting Older

Monday, May 05, 2008
I know I'm getting old. I know this for two reasons.
  • I played in a softball game yesterday. It was literally the first time I played in a game in over 18 years. The fact that I can say I did it 18 years ago is bad enough but not why I'm old. I'm old because today my legs are quite sore from running the bases twice and fielding a few balls. Just sad.
  • I keep hearing the song "No Handlebars" and I just don't get it. You know you are old when you can say, "I just don't understand today's music."

It also doesn't help that I am starting to be one of the "older" guys at work. I'm actually probably right in the middle at this point, and I work in a pretty youthful company. But still, when the heck did that happen?

Cats and Smelly Clothes

Monday, April 28, 2008
I'm not sure why, but my cat loves my smelly clothes. The smellier the better. Whenever I come home from playing basketball, I'll take off my sweaty clothes and socks and throw them on the floor somewhere. Inevitably my cat will find it and decide that he wants to make love to my sweaty smelly clothes. He will start rubbing around in them, especially his cheeks which cats typically use to mark things they consider to be theirs.

It is similar to how he acts around Cat Nip. Now I don't know if it is me specifically, or all smelly clothes, but I find it to be very interesting. Do my sweaty clothes have the same affect on my cat as catnip?

MVP Race 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

This is a tough year in the NBA. It saw the most hotly contested Western Playoff race in history, with the #8 seed winning 50 games. But an even tighter race is shaping up over who is MVP.

Let me go on the record as saying I think the MVP is a stupid award. It is an award without any clear criteria and whose meaning has changed over time. But a winner must be chosen, and this year it seems to come down to two players. Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul.

Now, like I said, I don't really care about this award. But since they give it out, I wish they would just be consistent with the criteria. I have had no problem with Kobe Bryant not winning the award before. I often agreed with the reasoning. In the past it has been one of three things. Kobe wasn't the best player on his own team (when he had Shaq), he didn't make his teammates better, or he just wasn't on winning teams.

Few people would argue that Kobe Bryant isn't the best player in the league. But ever since the Colorado incident, Kobe has become someone people love to hate. They will come up with any reason to degrade Kobe's accomplishments.

I actually think if Kobe deserved MVP, it should have happened in one of the previous two seasons. Two season's ago, he was unbelievable. He had his 81 point game, averaged 40 for a month, and put together a string of 50+ point games. Last year, he carried a team consisting of Kwame Brown and Smush Parker into the playoffs. Kwame Brown and Smush Parker. Seriously folks, these are people who shouldn't even be in the NBA.

But Kobe's team was never one of the elite teams. I don't agree with that as a criteria, you can't always help who you play with, but if that was the criteria, I have no problem with it. This year however, Kobe had the best team in the aforementioned brutal Western Conference. So what reason can people possibly come up with now?

  • Chris Paul led a Hornets team to the 2nd best record when nobody thought they would do anything. What did Kobe do? Show me one person, just one, who had the Lakers finishing any better than 8th in the conference. I dare you to do it. Most had them finishing at the very bottom.
  • Chris Paul has less help. Really? Peja, Chandler, and West are all-star players. None of them were hurt this year. How many all-stars does Kobe play with? One, Pau, and he wasn't there for half the season. Key players like Ariza, Bynum, Gasol, Mihm, all hurt this year. Most of the players that are doing great this year were on the Laker's teams in year's past. When they sucked, it was Kobe's fault. Now that they are doing great, Kobe doesn't get any credit for that. it's a joke.
  • But just look at all those assist. Chris Paul makes his teammates better - If this is the criteria, you might as well give it to a point guard every year, because it won't be a fair contest. Point Guards have the ball in their hands more than anybody else. They are, by design, going to get the most assist and make their teammates "better" than anyone else.
If they give it to Chris Paul, I won't be mad. He is fantastic and probably deserves it in any other year. If Lebron gets close though, then I have a problem. If Kobe couldn't win it the previous two years, no way in hell Lebron deserves it.

Small Town = Better Food

Sunday, April 20, 2008
I'm not much of a small town type of guy. I like living in urban settings and so small towns don't do it for me. Recently though, on a trip, I went through several small towns. The thing that was most consistent in all these different small towns was that the quality of the food was very very good.

I'm not sure if this is true for all small towns, but it got me thinking about it. I wonder if the food is just better in small towns. As I started giving it some thought, it actually made sense to me that the food would be of higher quality. First off, most of these small towns did not have very many fast food places or national chains. When I travel, I tend to frequent national chains only because you know what you are going to get when you go there.

Now, since I didn't have this option, I was forced to go to these smaller places. This makes it more likely these types of places can stay open (although I would never condone not allowing a national chain to set up shop). Given such a small town, there can only be so many restaurants that can be supported. That means you better be pretty good because you are going to have to depend on repeat customers to stay in business.

Further, the pace of life is just slower, so I wouldn't be surprised if these small town restaurants just took more time and care in preparing their food. I mean, seriously, the food was fantastic. We had a great variety of food from pizza, burgers, fish, clam chowder (which is excellent all along the Oregon coast), and cookies. All of it was very good.

So how about you? Have you noticed a different quality of food in small town America?

Jordan River Moving - Think twice before using

Sunday, April 13, 2008
I don't normally like to call out individual companies and the bad service they give, but I had to do it with Jordan River moving who recently handled my move from Seattle to Los Angeles. For anyone even considering using Jordan River moving, I hope this helps you.

I had several companies give me estimates for my move to California. Although my new job was paying for it, I wanted to save my company money if possible. Jordan River's estimate came in the lowest, and so I went with them. Big mistake. I should have just paid more money to get movers that would have done a better job. I wasn't too worried because I really don't have too much stuff, and the stuff I have isn't too expensive, but the extra cost would have been worth it to avoid the headaches.

The estimate I got was a "not to exceed" estimate. Basically I had a cap on the total cost that I would be expected to pay. I was told they usually estimate conservatively and I would likely not have to pay that much, but that I definitely would not have to pay more than this. I made sure to clarify this several times.

Jordan River showed up in time. That was about the only good thing that happened. I paid for a full move. That means they come in and pack everything up as well as move my stuff down to California. They rushed through my packing. I and my girlfriend sat there while they packed my stuff and I never felt like they were really trying to pack my stuff to ensure it stayed safe for the move. Even this didn't bother me too much because, like I said, I don't have really delicate or expensive stuff. But it got worse.

It really started with trying to get my stuff down to California. I didn't have a place picked out yet, so my stuff went into storage first. After I got my place, I called to arrange to get my stuff delivered. From the time I called, it took two weeks to get my stuff out of storage. It seems I just missed the truck that went down one week, and my stuff was behind some other people's stuff the next week. I'm a patient guy, so this didn't bother me too much. I had to sleep on the floor for a while, but I dealt with it.

However, when trying to arrange my stuff, they attempted to charge me more money because my stuff weighed more than their estimate. I told them they gave me a "not to exceed" estimate and that I wouldn't be paying them any more money. They said they would look into it. They came back again and said I would have to pay the money. I told them I had the contract in hand, and it clearly said on it that I had a not to exceed estimate. They finally relented and agreed. Later, when the stuff was finally on its way, a different person told me that I owed them money. I couldn't believe I had to go through this again. They figured it out eventually, but it upset me that I had to even talk about it again.

The day my stuff arrived, I got the call that the mover would be late. I said fine, I just want my stuff so show up l ate if you have to, but just get my stuff to me. The driver shows up with one other guy to move all my stuff into my place. The other guy was somebody they had picked up from a temp labor agency down there. That kind of miffed me that they would just hire some random person to move my stuff but I let it pass. What happened next though was pretty much unforgivable.

The driver realizes he underestimated the amount of help he needs. I have more stuff then he thought and without help, he won't finish till well after midnight. So he ask the temp guy if he knows anybody who would want to help. The guy says no. Then, he decides to ask some random guy walking down the street if he wants to help out for a few bucks. The guy declined. Hiring a temp guy from a labor agency is one thing, trying to hire someone off the street is quite another.

I was fully aware that these guys would not leave until very very late if I didn't help, so I decided to just start moving boxes for them. That's right, I hired movers to move me, and I ended up doing the work. Now to be fair, they didn't ask me to, but without my help, they would have been at my place past midnight. As it was they were there till 11:00 p.m. I also didn't feel comfortable having my stuff sit outside the moving van late at night on a relatively busy street, so it was in my best interest to make sure the stuff got moved quickly.

It gets better though. My stuff was strewn all over the van. It was clear they didn't transport my stuff with care. It was completely disorganized, and the driver spent all his time trying to find my stuff and sort it out with another person's items. Luckily, I had the full shipment list and was able to match everything, but I'm certain if I hadn't done this I would have either ended up with someone else's stuff or without some of my own. To exacerbate things, I noticed that several of my packages had water damage at the bottom. Probably because the movers in Seattle had let the box sit in some water before they moved it to the van. (it was raining the day of the move). As if adding insult to injury, as they moved my mattress, they dropped the mattress onto a freshly watered lawn. Luckily it was covered in plastic, so the damage to it was minimal, but still, it was clear to me that they didn't care much about my stuff.

So in short, don't use Jordan River moving. Perhaps my experience was isolated, but with all your options, why take the chance?

Lasik Update - Got Glasses

Wednesday, April 09, 2008
For a while, it has been somewhat difficult for me to drive at night. I had chalked it up to my vision getting progressively worse after lasik. To that end, I went to the eye doctor recently to get an updated prescription and some glasses.

The doctor told me that I indeed no longer have 20/20 vision. However, my prescription was quite low, so low he really couldn't give me any less of a prescription. Knowing how my vision is at night, I decided I still wanted to get glasses so I can hopefully be a little safer when I drive.

I got my glasses today, and they do help somewhat, but not greatly. Turns out I don't actually need the glasses. The actual problem is the much dreaded "Halo Effect" that people often get after Lasik. I noticed it a little bit after I got it, but it wasn't too severe. It has definitely gotten worse for me over time. It isn't to the point where it is a great problem when I drive, it is just annoying.

So I guess I'll have to just deal with it for now. Still think the Lasik was worth it. It's great 99% of the time. Just wished it had stayed where it was when I first got it. Oh well, there aren't any guarantees.

Too Much Bravo

Thursday, April 03, 2008

My girlfriend might be making me turn gay.

Last night I had a very odd dream. I dreamed that I was in a competition. My goal was to make Women's Pajamas using some out of the ordinary items. In case this doesn't sound too familiar to you, it is a common challenge that people have to do on Project Runway. I personally hate the show, but I watch it because it is one of my girlfriend's favorite shows.

But I might have to insist that we don't watch it anymore, or at the very least she watches it when I'm not around. It's one thing to have to watch it, another thing when I start dreaming about it.

Running Red Lights

Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Something funny must be going on in Southern California. On two different occasions today, someone has seen fit to run a red light right in front of me, almost causing an accident. The thing that even makes it more sad is the fact that both these cars were already stopped at the red light. It wasn't as if they were speeding to try and cross the intersection before the light went from yellow to red. The light was already red for them and they decided to just drive right through.

I'm not sure if there is a question on the DMV test that reads

Red means

a) stop
b) go

But there should be and if you miss it, it should be an automatic failure FOR LIFE. Maybe because it is April Fools day people decided to see if I was paying attention.


Saturday, March 29, 2008
As is tradition, I like to write a post on my birthday to kind of reflect on the last year or so.

The past year has seen some big changes for me. A year ago I was still with Microsoft and living in Seattle. I never thought then that I would end up back in California before my next birthday post. At that time, I was still cautiously optimistic that I would be able to make a career of it at Microsoft. Shortly after that birthday, I realized that was never going to happen and so I left the company.

As I wrote I should last year, I did take a big, yet calculated risk. I'm glad I didn't just sit on that one and not do anything about it. I quit my nice cushy Microsoft job for nothing. I didn't have any other prospects and to be honest didn't want to work for a while. Like I wrote, I just didn't feel on track with where I wanted to be. I felt behind when I like to run ahead.

It took me by surprise that I took a job as quickly as I did but it was an opportunity that put me back squarely where I wanted to be in terms of not only my career trajectory but location. Los Angeles is much nicer than Seattle, and I'm glad to be back. Early on, things are OK with the job. It isn't one big party, but I took this job knowing there were going to be some difficulties. I just thought the problems I would tackle would be slightly different. The opportunity is here to make a big quantum leap for me with a host of responsibilities that would have taken me a decade or so to get at a place like Microsoft.

Everything else is good in life. Bandit definitely enjoys being back where the sun is bright and he can lazily lounge by the window. Girlfriend hasn't moved back down with me yet from Seattle, but she is on her way shortly. Things are going great with her and we probably will take that next step before this post next year.

Not sure what 30 is going to bring or what I hope for it. It's a milestone year really. All my friends are married and most are having kids. Not sure I'm destined for the latter one any time soon. As I contemplated this birthday I realized that I'm a dozen years away from when I started college. A dozen years just doesn't seem like it can be that long ago. You know you are old when you start talking about how fast time goes by and how you remember back when ....

My Problem with Michael Clayton

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I saw Michael Clayton a few days ago. It is now the only move I have seen from the 2008 Best Picture Nominees. I thought the movie was OK. The story was somewhat interesting, and it had a few plot twist that kept it entertaining, but overall I wasn't that impressed. It just seemed like any other movie to me. I sometimes think that the academy over thinks things. They want to be sure that whatever movie they nominate for Best Picture is cerebral and thought provoking. You will never see a movie like SuperBad nominated for Best Picture. I guess if the masses like it, it can't be all that great. Kind of snobbish really.


So my problem with Michael Clayton lies with the villain, or more appropriately the people the villain hires to do her dirty work. They commit the near perfect murder when they kill Arthur, making it look like a clean suicide. There was little doubt by anybody that Arthur killed himself and that there was no foul play involved.

Now cut to Michael Clayton. He discovers the dirty secret and they decide to kill him too. So what do they do? Instead of killing him cleanly, they decide to do him in with a car bomb. What is more obvious that a murder took place than a car bomb? Don't you think that this second murder, a very obvious murder, arouse suspicion on the first death? How can criminals go from smart to stupid in the span of a few hours? If you want to kill him in the car fine, cause it to go off the road or something else like that. But a car bomb? Really?

Who Says Athletes are Greedy?

Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tim Buss, strength coach for the Chicago Cubs, had a practical joke played on him. A group of players decided they were going to attack his car with a bunch of bats. They smashed it to bits and then left the bats by the car just so he knew what happened.

Of course Buss was dismayed to find his 1995 Nissan Sentra (the cubs clearly aren't paying this guy enough) in a complete mess. Imagine having a crappy car and then finding that car made even crappier by a bunch of vandals.

Of course, it was his players that had played the joke on him and, after letting him stew for a while, they handed him the keys to a new Nissan Xterra. A car which goes for somewhere in the neighborhood of $25,000. A big improvement over his Sentra that was probably worth $25

I wish I could afford to play jokes like this. Clearly it shows that Athletes are (not) Overpaid. I'm sure for my friends, I could come up with all sorts of crazy things to smash and break. My first thought would be to smash someone like Jenny's computer and then buy here a new Mac, but I think she beat me to it.

NCAA Play in Game

Monday, March 17, 2008
I really don't like the concept of the NCAA play in game.

A few years ago, the NCAA decided that it would let 65 teams into the tournament rather than the 64. The two worse teams play a game before the tournament actually begins. The winner of that game gets a #16 seed and gets to play a #1 seed. This year the honor belongs to Mt. Saint Marys and Coppin State.

They started this a few years ago when one of the conferences split up and created two. Since conference champions get an automatic bid, the NCAA decided to increase the number of teams that make the tournament rather than reduce the number of at large bids.

There is usually controversy every year about a team that doesn't quite make it in, so it might be understandable why the NCAA did what it did. But really, couldn't they just suck it up and make the hard decision. Why this bothers me is that I hate when people can't make hard choices and differentiate people. Telling a team that they aren't going to play in the tournament is hard. Letting them in is easy. If it really is so difficult, just let all 200 or schools in the tournament. It would just increase the number of games by one or two depending on how you structured it.

Getting to the tournament should be special. To make it special, that means there has to be a cutoff point and some teams just aren't going to make it in. 64 is a natural cutoff point and it should remain there. Of course that will never happen because the game has actually become somewhat popular and it allows the NCAA to make a few more bucks.

Flying - Not So Fun Anymore

Sunday, March 16, 2008
I used to be a great airplane traveller. It wouldn't bother me like most people. As a former consultant I would fly all the time to various parts of the country and I was always one of the most relaxed and easy going passengers.

I'm still pretty easy going about the whole thing, I don't let things get to me very easily, but I've gone from tolerating one of the most painful experiences that any ordinary person might regularly do to getting pretty frustrated by the whole thing.

One of the reasons things have gone downhill from just a few years ago is that planes are much more crowded than they used to be. It used to be that I very rarely sat next to somebody on a plane. Not only would the middle seat almost always be empty, very often times the entire row would be. When you don't have to sit next to someone and you have a little more space, things are a lot more tolerable.

But now, airlines are starting to make sure their flights are full. This is partially due to just better planning on their part, but also due to less and less competition in the space. You see, airlines were money losers. They have been for a while. While this was bad for them, it was great for consumers. Competition forced them to offer a great many flights on a great many routes. But this killed off a lot of the regional and even major carriers. With less competition the surviving airlines aren't offering as many flights meaning the ones that still exist are more crowded.

Oh well. I hope one day, when the airlines become profitable again this will encourage more people to enter the space and once again give us the empty seats and frequent flights that marked the high point of travel for the consumers.

Anti-Gravity Treadmill

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Andrew Bynum of the Los Angeles Lakers hurt his knew a few months ago. He is on his way to recovery, and one of the things that they have him doing is running on an anti-gravity treadmill. I didn't know what the heck it was so I looked it up and found the preceding link.

This thing is not cheap. It cost about $75,000. For an organization like the Lakers, it is chump change to protect a player like Andrew Bynum who will eventually be paid by them in excess of $100 million. A couple of things crossed my mind though.

How the heck does Andrew Bynum fit in that thing? The guy is 7' 1" and 280 lbs. They must have to retrofit something on this machine for him because I don't see how something could be designed to fit a man of his size.

Why haven't I heard of this thing before? Supposedly it is fast becoming something that is used by a lot of athletes to not only rehabilitate but to train as you can run for longer periods of time without putting additional strain on ones knees and joints.

Where can I try one? I'm assuming I'm not going to find this thing at my regular 24 hour fitness but I would love to hop on this thing just to give it a whirl.

Noisy Upstairs Neighbors

Monday, March 10, 2008
What to do, what to do. My upstairs neighbors are pretty loud. It hasn't really bothered me very much until recently but I swear they must have taken up wrestling because that's what it sounds like.

I swear this is the last time I live in a downstairs apartment. Actually, I'm pretty sure this is the last apartment/condo I'm going to live in at all. Neighbors suck. It really is that simple. Most people just are not considerate. They either run around all night on hardwood floors or have dogs that bark at all times of the night.

I just don't quite get it I guess. My last apartment was a middle apartment and I can tell you that my girlfriend and I were very aware of the noise we made and when we made it. In the middle of the day, it's understandable, but later in the night, when people are just trying to relax, it is just downright rude.

Speaking of Treating Animals like People

Sunday, March 09, 2008
Last post, I had talked about how we anthropomorphize our pets. I was reading through various news reports and came across a story about how a man took his dog paragliding and ended up getting stuck in a tree.

Seriously, what the heck? Why on earth would anyone take their pet paragliding? Is their some belief that because humans enjoy the activity, the pet will too? Is it the thought that you love your pet, you love paragliding, and the two would go great together? Is this person trying to treat his beloved dog by giving him the thrill of a lifetime?

I actually think the opposite. I think taking your pet on any sort of dangerous activity like this is going to scare the crap out of it. It scares people too but people are able to translate that fear into excitement, the same can not be said for pets. There is no way I can see how a pet would actually enjoy this activity. Does anyone actually think otherwise?

What do Cats Think About All Day

Thursday, March 06, 2008
My cat is pretty lazy. He sits around most of the day and just stares at things. He often is in the window looking out and trying to find a bird or a squirrel, but that's about it. As I type this he is sitting about 3 feet at me just looking at me for no particular reason. He will probably look away in a minute and then just stare at the wall.

I constantly have thoughts going through my mind all the time, but I'm sure that cats don't think like humans. So what goes through my cat's brain all the time. I doubt its blank, it must be thinking of something, I just don't know what. I think we humans tend to anthropomorphize our pets way too much, so I wouldn't even know where to begin in terms of thinking about what my cat thinks about.

Do you have cats? What do you think they think about?

The Clock is Ticking

Sunday, March 02, 2008
Today, about a month before I turn 30, I threw out my back brushing my teeth. I don't know what I did while brushing my teeth, but suddenly I had a very sharp pain in my lower left back which basically incapacitated me and forced me to lay down.

So sad. When did I get this old?

The Arrogance of Roger Clemens

Thursday, February 28, 2008
Congress announced today that they would like the Department of Justice to investigate Roger Clemens for perjury.

I've watched these events unfold with much more interest than I thought I would. I'll be honest and say I really don't care if Roger Clemens or anyone else in baseball took performance enhancing drugs. I'm glad they decided to do something about it now. But for a long time everyone knew Baseball was dirty and they just looked the other way. Why single an individual out?

But that is really not my point. The reason this has kept my interest is that Roger Clemens just keeps digging himself deeper and deeper into a hole. Anyone who thinks Roger Clemens did not take drugs is either a die-hard blind fan or is just plain nuts. He has the classic signs of a liar. First off, nobody is backing his story. It is not one person who is accusing him, it is several, and their stories all match. When you are the one person saying something, you have to wonder if anyone is going to believe you. Second, he is compounding his lies. Every time he is caught in a lie, he tries to use another lie to cover it up. He never heard about the drugs, and then he only talked about it much later, and then his friend "misremembered" talking to him about it. It's sad.

And the thing is, it was probably unnecessary. Most of the people who have come out and admitted to it are done with the story. Andy Petitte is coming off looking like a saint. But Roger thought he was above it all. He was after all the "greatest" pitcher ever. Who could catch him? Who would dare accuse the best player of his generation? Who would ever believe a nobody over someone as great as he? The rest of the world, that's who.

And by the way, Clemens needs to get his money back from his lawyer, Rusty Hardin. Clemens accomplished nothing by doing what he did. Nobody believes him and now he faces federal charges. How on earth is lawyer let him go in front of Congress is beyond me.

I Hate Carl's Jr's Commercials

Monday, February 25, 2008
I really just don't understand Carl Jr's Commercials.

The above is just one example for the Carl Jr's Chili Cheeseburger. They have had several commercials just like this where the person eating the burger is making a terrible mess. Somehow this is supposed to get me to want to eat their burgers. Do people actually find this an effective marketing message? I certainly don't and would love to know why anybody would.

Facebook on the Iphone

Sunday, February 24, 2008
For those who can't get enough of facebook, you can now access facebook on your Iphone wherever you are.

I don't quite get this as a big selling feature. I get why people might want to be able to access the web all the time. I do it on my phone. I check various sites on my phone whenever I get a chance. But to have an advertising campaign to sell a phone based on one website? I must be getting old because I just don't get the allure of knowing every little thing happening to all my friends at my fingertips wherever I am. When you start questioning uses of technology and just not understanding why someone would want some new fangled idea, you know you are getting old.

Sony SXRD HDTV Hard to Find

Wednesday, February 20, 2008
I've been in the HDTV market for a while. In fact, I have a post about it almost two and a half years ago. I finally decided to take the plunge and have the perfect TV for myself picked out, the 60" Sony SXRD. It has pretty much everything I'm looking for in a TV without being too expensive.

However, for the life of me, I can't find a place that has a price I'm willing to pay. I've seen the TV on sale for as low as $1650, but now I can't really find a place that, with shipping and taxes calculated, comes in for less than $1950. I could still afford the $1950, but it bothers me that I know it can be had for less. I just can't believe how hard it is to find. I would love it if Amazon would get it back in stock, but they have been sold out for over a month.

Having just moved into my new place, I really want to buy a new TV. I don't even have cable yet, because I'm waiting to buy this TV. But because I can't find it for the price I want to pay, I wait. Should I just suck it up and buy it, or should I be patient and wait for it?

Update: Sony killed this TV. While sad, I had to move on. I decided to get a Panasonic 50PZ800U. The set is fantastic and I think I might be happier with it than I would have been with the Sony SXRD

New Knight Rider Sucks Ass

Monday, February 18, 2008

Seriously, who the hell is in charge of making these shows? I really tried to give this show the benefit of the doubt. I used to watch the show as a kid and it was one of my favorites. I always loved the idea of a super-intelligent car. I fully understand that nothing is as good as you remember it from your childhood. So with this understanding, I decided to watch this show and keep an open mind about it. But the problems for the show were many.

  • Nanotechnology to solve all problems - I think a writer read the word 'Nanotechnology" somewhere and decided that it would be great to use this cutting edge development in the show to solve all ills. It makes KITT bullet proof, allows him to morph into different shapes, allows him to change colors, and it seemingly makes him invulnerable to accidents. Lets just ignore the fact that nanotechnology is a technology in its very early infancy, good thing to know it will be able to cure all the worlds problems going forward
  • Dumb FBI agent - How dumb do you have to be to let the bad guy plant a fake sheriff at the scene of the crime. Wouldn't you wonder where the backup is? Wouldn't you somehow confirm that this guy is who he says he is?
  • David Hasslehoff is my Father! - Seriously, how lame is it that the new Michael's father is the old Michael Knight. That is just horrible storytelling.
  • One Big Ford Advertisement - OK, you are going to make the most high tech car out there and you are going to make it a Ford Mustang? Are you crazy? I've driven a Mustang, highly overrated. I can even get over this fact though. What really bothered me was that it was painfully obvious that the whole show was one big Ford commercial. Every car shown was a Ford. And this show is taking place in California. Have these people been to California? Lots of Hondas and Toyotas, not so many Fords.
  • The Show just wasn't that interesting - Lame plot. A contrived love story. Nothing new or original.
I will give this show one more chance. I MIGHT watch the next episode. Hopefully this was just a bad show as they geared up to a more exciting series.

No Smog Test on Sundays

Wednesday, February 13, 2008
I went to go get a smog test for my car so I can get it registered in the state of California. I found out that you can't get a smog test in California on Sundays. Apparently, for a smog test to work, it has to have a link to a computer in Sacramento. And apparently this link isn't up on Sundays.

So let me get this straight. In this day and age where we have the internet, and we have phones that can keep you connected anywhere you are, they can't keep up a computer and a data link on the weekends? What type of technology is the state of California running on? An abacus?

Online Dating - Should You Call Off the Date?

Monday, February 11, 2008
Here is the scenario. You arrange to meet someone you met online. You are excited about it. He or she is excited about it. Your date sends you a few pictures before the date and you discover that this person just isn't your type. What do you do?

First off, stop feeling bad for being shallow. There is nothing wrong with you. The importance of appearance should not be underestimated. We are human, and it is natural to want to be physically attracted to someone. I've actually never understood how someone can say looks aren't important and that believing otherwise is shallow. Why is it any better to like someone because they are funny, or successful, or a fantastic kisser? You have to like a person for everything they are, and appearance is a big part of that.

Next, just call the person and cancel the date. Don't write an e-mail. Call the person out of respect. It is a lot harder to do over the phone than it is to write an e-mail, but nobody ever said that it would be easy. Getting the news in any way is bad, but getting the same news over e-mail just plain sucks. Just politely tell the person the truth. That doesn't mean to go into every last detail about why you found them unattractive. You should simply say that you have in fact decided the person was not your time and that you don't wish to waste that person's type going on a date when you know nothing will materialize in terms of a relationship.

Under no circumstance should you just go on the date and then ignore the person. That is the absolute worse thing you can do. Nobody wants you to go on a pity date, much less the person on the date. Nobody wants to waste their time going on a date when the other person knows that this will be the only date. So just do the right thing, call and cancel. Be honest, and be respectful.

I'm a Great Driver!

Saturday, February 09, 2008
I went to the California DMV to change my license and to register my car. Despite its bad reputation, I found my experience there to not be too bad. True, the workers there weren't the happiest bunch. I tend to be cheerful when I deal with people, and I wasn't getting the cheerfulness back that's for sure. But nevertheless, I didn't have to wait too long (I didn't have an appointment) and I wasn't subject to anything I thought was unnecessary.

They did make me take a written exam though. About 20 questions or so, but I wasn't prepared for it. Normally, I would have flipped through the DMV handbook or something like that just to freshen up on some of the more obscure rules of the road that they seem to like to throw on the test.

Despite the fact I hadn't prepared and I had to guess on a few, I didn't miss one. Guess the test is mostly just common sense which is the way I tried to answer most questions. Several people actually did fail the test while I was there, so I guess what I've always thought was true. I am the best driver out there.

I take it back - I'm cursed

Saturday, February 02, 2008
A few days ago, I wrote that the Lakers are Cursed. However all of that changed this week. The Lakers have now not only made the worst trade ever they may have made the best trade ever. The Lakers traded for one of the best post players in the game, Pau Gasol, for almost nothing. In fact, it was even less than nothing as I think Kwame Brown is a very strong negative every time he steps on the court.

This summer I was massively disappointed when Kevin Garnett went to the Celtics for what I thought was peanuts. Reportedly, the Lakers offered the core of their team in Andrew Bynum and Lamar Odom. However, the ex-Celtic Kevin McHale decided to do his old team a favor and ship him to Boston. As Boston ran off to one of the best starts in league history, I could only watch wondering what could have been.

Now, I'm SOOOOO glad that trade never went down. Instead of giving a very good player in Lamar Odom and the player who could turn out to be the best Center of his age in Andrew Bynum, the Lakers had to give up nothing. They gave up their worse player and a very promising, albeit unused, rookie point guard. I'm still in shock that this trade went down and keep wondering when I will wake up. Add the fact that the Lakers also got rid of my least favorite player in Brian Cook (at least Kwame could play some defense, Cook was useless) for a very good Trevor Ariza, and Mitch Kupchak just won Executive of the year. Danny Ainge can kiss the award goodbye.

If the Lakers can just keep it together until Bynum and Ariza get back, they are going to be VERY DANGEROUS come playoff time. In fact, they probably just became the odds on favorite to win it all.

Given that I seem to be the one with the curse, everything I seem to write goes the opposite way, than maybe I should not have said that. Oh well. Just in case I really am curse, let me say, I know I will not win $100 million dollars any time soon.

Tempur-Pedic Pillows - Well worth it

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
I have a Tempur-Pedic pillow and I love it. Whenever I don't have it with me, I just don't sleep as well. I bought my first one about four or five years ago. About two years ago I bought the best pillow they had which cost me almost $200. It was money well spent. What is so great about it? Well it just conforms to your head. It is neither too hard nor too soft.

After I bought my second pillow, my girlfriend liked it so much, she started stealing it from me. It forced me to buy yet another pillow from them. I considered buying their stock for a while (I actually should have as it went up like a rocket several months after I looked into it)

Think about it. You sleep on your pillow every night. You spend, hopefully, eight hours on it every day. What else do you use as much (other than the mattress itself). I guess I see it kind of like designer jeans. If you are going to use something a lot, you might as well really enjoy it.

Installing a Second Hard Drive

I installed a 2nd hard drive in my computer today. I didn't really need the space but figured I didn't want to ever worry about it so I just bought a 500 GB hard drive from Fry's (only paid $100 which was a pretty good deal) and went to open my computer to install it.

Installing a second hard drive is actually a pretty easy process which most people can do themselves You simply have to open up the chassis, screw the hard drive into a slot, find the power cord and the data cord and plug them in. If you have an older computer, it can be slightly more difficult, but with SATA drives, which most drives are these days, it is a snap. Boot the computer and your computer should recognize that you installed a second drive.

Of course, I find out that my stupid computer doesn't have a slot for another 3.5 inch drive, which is the standard size for all modern hard drives. So I had to go back to Fry's to go buy a sleeve to install the drive into a 5.25 inch slot. Stupid thing cost me another $20 (they did have some cheaper options but I went with this one). Nothing ever comes easy to me I guess.

Lakers are Cursed

Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Seriously, it's true. And you know who is doing it? Chick Hearn. Ever since Chick Hearn has died, the Lakers have not won an NBA title. Their last title was won in 2002, the exact same year that Chick Hearn died. I'm not sure why this is the case, but it clearly is.

First they lose a championship they should have easily won when they had four future hall of famers.

Then they make one of the worst trades ever by trading Shaq for a bunch of garbage. They make the situation worse by trading the only all-star of the bunch for a guy who has bricks for hands.

There is a ray of light for the team with the development of Andrew Bynum, until he sprains his knee. They might be able to limp through until he gets back, that is until Trevor Ariza breaks his foot in practice. Practice man, we are talking about Practice. Well at least Brian Cook isn't coming back.

The Lakers were sports best franchise while Chick Hearn called the games. Since he has left the franchise hasn't been the same. If you are reading this somewhere Chick, please lift the curse.