Thursday, August 30, 2007

Linkin Minutes

After listening to the Linkin Park's Minutes to Midnight release, I am a bit disappointed. I agree with reviews that state they've gone from being original and fresh in a genre they pretty much created into trying to cover a style that has been done by hundreds of other bands. I miss the rock-rap combination they were so talented at mixing. I welcome their evolution and change, but that usually means exploring new areas and not covering stuff that's been done over and over. In addition, their effect in the tired 90's still alternative rock isn't a good contribution. They added nothing to the genre, and just copied what others have already done (and not well at that). So, I'm disappointed. I feel the CD is still enjoyable, but it's just not up to the standard fans have come to expect from LP.

By contrast, when Green Day came back, they also changed. They also went with a political message. But the changes they made improved their style and showcased their talents in music writing and playing. Green Day did the transition well. Linkin Park failed. Before this point, I would've put both group on each footing in becoming great bands. If Linkin Park can recover from Minutes to Midnight, them more power to them. At this moment, it doesn't appear they will be a band with longevity.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Lunar Eclipse

I saw the lunar eclipse this morning. I didn't plan on it, but thought it would be cool to see it. By a strange coincidence I woke up this morning pretty much at the peek of the eclipse at 3:40am. Got dressed and went outside. Spooky. I expected to see something like a new moon silhouetted against the night sky. What I saw was pure evi...., well, no it wasn't evil at all. It was cool though. It was like looking at the full moon, but with the lights turned out, as though the man on the moon forget to switch the light bulb on. It was a dark brown color. A new moon is generally very dim and flat in appearance. The eclipsed moon has the full effect of a full moon, just a lot dimmer and dirtier looking. I shared the site with Allie from our bathroom window a few minutes later, since she woke up too. This full moon eclipse was more spectacular than most to astronomers because it was so long. Unfortunately, that means it was all the more boring to watch for the rest of us. I got my glimpse and went back to bed. Can check "See lunar eclipse." off my to-do list.

How's married life treating me...

Same conversation over and over. I don't mind it. I can imagine the same basic conversation playing out over thousands of years, only with my slightly unique twist.

"Congratulations on your marriage!"
"Thank you!"
"How long has it been?" or "When was the wedding?"
"A couple of weeks ago."
"Do you feel any different?"
"No, but we've been practicing for about a year already, so there's not much difference between today and a month ago."


After this, the conversation can branch off into talking about how it is good to life with someone first, or that they are happy for both of us, or other such happiness. But then, the next question pops up eventually.

"Did you go on your honeymoon yet?" or "When's the honeymoon?" or something similar.
"We are going to Atlantis. We've planned our trip after the hurricane season is mostly done in the Caribbean area."
"That's a good idea."

In classic Groundhog day fashion, this conversation replies itself over and over since the big news broke. We didn't tell too many people, but once the wedding was about to happen, the news travelled fast. On reason it caught like wildfire is because we used to work together and a lot of people know us both from my company. (We didn't "meet" through the company per se, but knew each other through it.) So, this is a big positive gossip item. There's still some people that are finding out, so even two weeks later. I am still having this same conversation. However, why does anyone ask me if I feel any different? I don't think this question has ever even come into my mind when talking to a newlywed. This is just an observation of fact; I'm not complaining about this. It's actually kinda fun.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Four days a week

For me, there are only four days in any given work week. Monday through Thursday usually kinda just blur into one long day for me. Then there's Friday and Saturday and Sunday. Each of these is its own significant day.

For example, this past week, I did something each of Monday through Thursdays besides work, but I can't really pick out what I did on each day. For this weekend, I can go into detail. Allie and I went to a game of the local Giants minor league team called San Jose Giants for a few innies with a couple of free tickets handed down to me through my company from the Sunnyvale Chamber of Commerce. The game was alright. The team is in the A level California League. It makes me wish a higher level league team was in the area. I might actually consider get season tickets for AA or AAA league level teams.

Saturday morning, Allie and I worked out for the first time for almost a year. We are going to try to get somewhat into shape before our honeymoon. I’m still sore.

Sunday afternoon, we went to my friends’ going away BBQ bash. They are a couple who are moving to Las Vegas. This is my second/third friends who moved to Vegas. If this keeps up, I’ll may eventually have more friends in Vegas than in the Bay Area.

Sunday evening, Allie and I held a dinner celebrating our marriage which included about 30 members of her family at a Chinese rest’rant up the Peninsula. It was a great time. It was also the first time I met some of her relatives. Afterwards, we visited on relative’s Dry Cleaners store nearby.

Sunday night, Allie and I sat down and picked the photographs from our first celebration dinner that we want that day’s photographer to clean up and print for us.

Now, today is Monday. I’m not going to be fully aware of the differences between Monday through Thursday.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Mildly unusual

In the middle of a recent weekday, I saw a California license plate that read "New Yorker" but spelt in a New Yorker accent, here in Silicon Valley. Here's the weird thing, the plate was one of those fancy plates with the rear fins of a diving whale. It's a very California attitude kinda of plate. So, why would someone brag about being from New York on the very plate that proclaims them to be very Californian? Mildly unusual, but of course, not entirely unlikely.

I then noticed the plate border, which advertised a car dealership in Salinas (aka The Salad Bowl or Lettuce Capital of the World). This is a little unusual by itself since there's somewhat of a cultural barrier between Silicon Valley and Salinas (even though they are only 60 miles apart). It is common to see Silicon Valley and SF types spending a day or two in Monterey Country (usually on the Monterey Peninsula), but it is unusual for the reverse, particularly from Salinas itself. Again, mildly unusual, but of course, not entirely unlikely.

As my mind wondered a bit more, I realized the car itself was a Mitsubishi Eclipse. OK, nothing unusual there. But then I notice the driver was an older gentleman. Now, I hope I don't offend anyone here (particularly that older gentleman, should he ever come across this blog post), but the Eclipse of this model year is more typically driven by younger 20-something girls. Other types of people do buy that car, but there's a bit of a stereotype associated with it. So, that was also mildly unusual, but not completely unlikely.

Each one of these little points by themselves is mildly unusual, but all combined together, it forms a very unlikely little curiosity. What is this New Yorker doing by bragging about the fact he's from New York on his personalized fancy and very California license plate. How did this New Yorker end up in Silicon Valley only after he found himself in Salinas, of all places. Then, why did he buy himself an Eclipse, despite the strong trend of others in his demographic to get other types of cars? Something doesn't add up.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Wedding Plans

The wedding was beautiful at the San Francisco City Hall by the Justice of the Peace. This isn't some ol' courthouse wedding. This is SF City Hall, a beautiful building with a dome that is larger than the Capitol in Washington D.C. Our wedding was on a could of Friday's ago, and yet it seems like longer, like already one of those memories that is held for all time. After the photograph session, we headed down to a small Vietnamese restaurant called Khanh's Garden in San Jose for a pleasant time with our immediate family and best friends for a small reception.

We had our celebration dinner for our wider group of friends and family the next evening at the incredible Nicolino' s Garden Cafe. We reserved their main banquet room. Many people were amazed by our restaurant selection. More than one person asked how we found such a place. For a party of our size, the food was of the highest quality for the most part. Everyone appeared to have a great time.

Funny part is that we still have one more dinner to host for the wider family on my wife's side. Her mom felt that they being Chinese would be more confortable at a simple dinner in such an enviroment. So, we will have one more dinner at a nice Chinese restaurant soon.

It seems the cost of us having a small, simple wedding is balanced by having what amounts to be three receptions. hehe

I'll post a few photos as soon as I have a chance.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

I'm married

Welp, I'm married. It's done. After a hectic week, we said our vows in a simple City Hall ceremony before the justice of the peace in San Francisco. More description later. :)

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Garbage Truck Fire 2005

I updated my truck fire video to showcase a couple of the photos I took in addition to the video.

Friday, August 03, 2007

There is no Santa Claus, Timmy

I feel bad, but not in a bad way. I had to burst some one's bubble yesterday in the soul crushing sort of way that wakes someone up and forces them to change their life plans.

One of the engineering interns at my company mentioned to me that his boss asked him if he was interested in staying on, becoming a regular employee. He didn't specifically ask me how much money he should expect, but the conversation moved in that directly quickly.

It turns out, by listening to braggarts and what not in informal society settings, he was under the impression that an Engineer makes 80 to 90K a year right out of school. Man, the next words out of my mouth really changed his ideas and plans after school. I just made it clear he could expect maybe 40 to 50K a year upon getting his degree.

Seeking confirmation of this soul crushing realization, he asked one of the other Engineers. That Engineer didn't answer right away, but asked "What do you think an Engineer should expect?" After waiting through the awkward pause, I piped up for him, "80 to 90K". To which he laughed through a dry spit take. A couple of the nearby Engineers then quoted their starting salaries, in the 35 to 45K range.

Without getting in to personal details, I'll just say that the intern was a little concerned about his post graduation prospects at that point.

To give him some perspective, I quoted off some general wage levels, such as Senior Managers are in the 80 to 90K and Directors may push into the six digits. Even in Silicon Valley, people aren't making astronomical wages. Besides that, the cost of living is so high here that it negates much of the wage advantage we have in this area.

He then told me what a couple told him at some party. He said they had just graduated with degrees in EE and got picked up at some local company for 90K a year. To which I simply replied, "They lied. People lie about what they make and what they do all the time, especially at society gatherings like parties where they want to make themselves seem more important. It just happens."

Well, I'm sure he will figure out how to adjust based on more realistic expectations, but it just sucked that I had to be the one to tell him there is no Santa Claus.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Organize

Well, as time ticks down for the big day, the work to get everything in order is falling into place. We have most of the details for the wedding already sorted out. Of course, it's a small wedding, but there's still a surprizing number of things that needs to get done. Around the house, I'm working on organizing and a little bit of cleaning to make sure the place to presentable for when guests stop by on our way to the rest'rant on the evening of the wedding. Fun stuff.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Simpsons

Da da da da da da da da da da

Spider Pig
Spider Pig
Does whatever a Spider Pig does
Can he swing from a web
No he can't
He's a pig
Looook Oooouuuuut!
He is a Spider Pig
:)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Dear Lord!

I got this email just now:
There was a blind girl who hated herself
just because she was blind..
She hated everyone, except her loving boyfriend.
He was always there for her.
She said that if she could only see the world,
she w! ould ma rry her boyfriend.

One day, someone donated a pair of eyes to her.
She was then able to see everything,
including her boyfriend.
Her boyfriend asked her,
" Now that you can see the world,
will you marry me?"

The girl was shocked when she saw
that her boyfriend was blind.

She then refused to marry him.
Her boyfriend walked away in tears
and later wrote a letter to her saying:
"Just take care of my eyes dear,
for I loved you so much
that it was I who was the donor of your gift."

This is how the human brain changes
when our status changes.
Only few remember what life was before,
and who's always been
there even in the most painful situations.

"Life Is A Gift"

Today before you say an unkind word -
Think of someone who can't speak.

Before you complain about the taste of your food -
Think of someone who has nothing to eat.

Before you complain about your boyfriend or
girlfriend or husband or wife -
Think of someone who's crying out to GOD
for a companion.

Today before you complain about life -
Think of someone who went too early to heaven.

Before you complain about your children -
Think of someone who desires children
but they're barren.

Before you argue about your dirty house
someone didn't clean or sweep -!
Think of the people who are living in the streets.

Before whining about the distance you drive -
Think of someone who walks the same distance with their feet.

And when you are tired and complain about your job -
Think of the unemployed, the disabled,
and those who wish they had your job.

But before you think of pointing the finger
or condemning another -
Remember that not one of us are without sin
and we all answer to one MAKER.

And when depressing thoughts
seem to get you down
-
Put a smile on your face
and thank GOD you're alive and still around.

Life is a gift, Live it, Enjoy it, Celebrate it,
And Fulfill it.We Serve an AWESOME GOD !!!!!!


To which, I replied:
Devils advocate is whispering in my ear:
Dude! This kind of technology doesn’t exist.
Even it did, it would be unlikely her boyfriend would be a donor match.
Besides that, why would she hate herself for being blind?
What’s this with hating everyone except her boyfriend?
What does this say about blind people?
Honestly, isn’t it saying that blind people pretty much hate everyone
because they can’t see and everyone else can?
Isn’t this rather a presupposed bigoted statement?
And why didn’t the boyfriend communicate with her better so she’d know what he was doing? And why wouldn’t she immediately know it was his eyes since he wasn’t blind before anyway?
Why would she be so self-centered as to not marry him before she was able to see?
How would she know how to magically read all of a sudden after being blind?
She wasn’t blind to begin with?
And what’s this with the random statement about brains tacked on at the end of the story?
It could’ve been put at the end of a knock-knock joke and still have been similarly appropriate.

Ok, and the rest of this
is rehash of altruisms that are either self-evident to adults, or are
actually bad advice (particularly the part about depression). BTW, since I’m my own God, I do agree that yes, I am awesome, but hey, so are you. :)
Dear Lord!


Sunday, July 15, 2007

Disabled

I do not use the word disabled lightly. It is a word that shows there is a very real difference between some and the rest. I am also for anything that diminishes discrimination, including against those who classified as disabled. However, I cannot find myself in support of the idea that people who require assistance from a mechanism should be able compete on equal footing as those that do so with their natural bodies. The story of Oscar Pistorius is a prime example of someone trying to compete unfairly. He is a double-amputee with mechanical legs. It is ludicrous to allow him to compete in a race with people using their natural legs.

The problem is that mechanisms can be modified by simply changing out materials and improving design. They are no representative equal with that of the human body which is allowed. In fact, efforts to unnaturally improve human body performance is specifically against the rules in most sports. Yet, here is someone trying to replace entire body parts with machines! Where is the equal footing here? There is none. If this is allowed and accepted, what is to prevent someone from volunteering to amputate body parts to replace them with machines that might perform better than their nature body? This is less ridiculous than it soudns. One only has to look at some of the unnatural lengths people go through to try to improve their bodies right now with steroids, blood replacement therapy, etc. There's no difference beteen that behavior and that of using mechanisms in place of human limbs in sports.

Vacuous

My fiance was vacuuming our room the other day. She accidental sucked up a
shoe lace. Normally, string type things get hung up on the belt drive.
Normally. Well, the string made it past the drive and all the way into the
blower. When the motor stalled, it took out both a secondary house breaker
and one of the main breakers in the box outside our house. Needless to
say, it took a while for us to hunt down that issue.

So yesterday, I set about to repair the dang vacuum. Allie watched as I
methodically took the vacuum apart, piece by piece until I had the blower
in two pieces.

At that point I let Allie have the fun of digging the string out from being
wrapped around the axial with scissors. I hate doing that, and she's
pretty good at it.

So then I reassembled the vacuum, with no left over parts. :) I plugged
it in and it ran great again.

Allie hasn't seen my mechanical skills too much, so she wasn't all that
sure if I could take the vacuum apart. Apparently the fact that I'm an
Engineer and I build devices for a living didn't register. Women are
funny like that. Quick to assume a guy can't do sumfin just cuz they
haven't seen it for themselves. I mean, it's fun to impress a woman, but a
little faith in the first place is nice too. This is a lovingly critical
comment about all the women in my life. :)


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