Archive for October, 2011

At my condo complex, I am a member of the Board.  I don’t do all that much other than attend meetings and respond to a handful of emails.  However, a few months ago the other members made me the parking police.

We don’t have a lot of rules at our place, but once in a while I have to go around and enforce the rules.  They range as follows:

  • You can’t park in the lot and have a flat tire.  The rationale behind this is that they don’t want people dumping their extra cars in the parking lot.

  • Your registration must be up-to-date.

  • No back-in parking permitted.

I try to be reasonable, but that last one sees the most violators. Indeed, just today, I saw one such person.  This person backed in the parking space right next to the sign that has all the parking rules.  It says plainly, in clear text, that no back in parking is permitted.  Yet he parked right next to the sign that says that!



I did the only thing I could do – I wrote him up a ticket and put it under his windshield wiper. 

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This past week, I took the step of automating the payment on my American Express credit card.  After a year and a half of doing this manually, I have now automated my entire expenses:

  • My utilities to Puget Sound Energy are paid automatically through their website.
  • My car insurance is charged to my credit card automatically.

  • My cell phone bill is charged to my credit card automatically.

  • Netflix bills me automatically.

  • Through Bill Payment at the bank, my Internet is paid automatically each month.

  • Through Bill Payment at the bank, my mortgage is paid automatically each month.

  • Through Bill Payment at the bank, my Homeowner Association dues are paid automatically each month.

  • Like most people, I have auto-deductions to my 401(k) each month taken off my paycheck.

For the longest time, I resisted doing automatic payment on any of my bills.  I paid some of it online and the rest by check, but after a while I figured “Hey, why not automate the payment of all recurring bills?  I’m just going to pay it anyway.”  That, and a couple of times I would forget to pay a bill and get a notice saying “You dope, pay your bills!”

I added everything to do it without my intervention except for my credit card.  I still wanted to do that manually.  But I took the step this week of doing it because I review my spending regularly, either through Mint or through the Amex website.  I give the spending a quick review and then proceed to okay it.

There’s a chance now that I might have a bad payment on my card that I wouldn’t catch now.  But my theory is that if Amex (or any of these services) had bad payment systems, they would show up everywhere and plenty of other people would be complaining.  In other words, a popular service has probably got the important bugs worked out.

When I finally finished this off, I boasted to the wife “Everything’s automated now!”  She wasn’t really all that impressed; then again, she is like how I was before and pays everything online (mostly) but doesn’t want to automate (on the other hand, I can’t even convince her to deposit money in her bank account through an ATM; using a human teller isn’t required).

The best part of doing this automatically is that I don’t have to remember to pay everything, I just need to review my spending periodically.  And I review it all the time these days, so there’s little concern to me that something bad is happening.

The only thing I wish I could do automatically is trade stocks.  I switched back to my lazy portfolio, and I wish there was a way I could deposit money into my account each month and then when the spare cash reaches a certain amount, buy xx shares of one stock, yy shares of another, and so forth.  I can’t do that yet which is unfortunate.

But at least everything else is on autopilot.

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In a few hours, I am heading down to the dentist’s office to get a wisdom tooth removed.

Not wisdom teeth, a wisdom tooth.  Just one.

Why just one, you ask?  Well, in December 1998, I had two wisdom teeth pulled from the left hand side of my mouth.  In December 1999, I had three wisdom teeth pulled from the right hand side of my mouth.  While they were doing the removal of the two on the right, they discovered that I had a third one on the right hand side.  They told me it was a rare case, like one in a thousand people.

Over the years, a third wisdom tooth then popped up on my left side.  It wasn’t originally pulled back in 1998.  I don’t recall when it was, maybe in the mid-2000’s.  It wasn’t bothering me so I left it.  But I knew that I always had to get it done.  That day for getting it done is today.

I looked into this online and extra teeth – in general – are called supernumerary teeth.  The condition itself is rare and most people get them in their front teeth.  To have extra wisdom teeth is the rarest of the rare condition.

Wow, lucky me.

When all is said and done, I’ll have had six wisdom teeth pulled.

Guess that means I’m having ice cream tonight.

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Weird conversation

To give you an idea of the types of weird conversations my wife and I sometimes have, here’s a snippet from a recent one.

Wife: I have a big bug bite on my butt.  Want to see?

Me: No.

Wife: (Tone indicating a combination of surprise that I would say that, and disappointment) Fine.

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… but so far in 2011 I have made $666 in dividends from my stocks that I currently hold.

I am not making that up.

Ha, ha, ha, you know what?  I just thought of something funny.  Wouldn’t it be a hoot if I gave a bunch of donations to a church, and at the end of the year it totaled $666?

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While on the one hand the Occupy Wall Street movement has merit, the other day I came across the blog The Other 53%.  This is a spoof of the Occupy Wall Street movement’s rally phrase “the other 99%” (that are not rich and powerful unlike the ones who benefited from the crisis).

The Other 53% refers to the fact that only 53% of Americans pay income tax.  The rest of the 47% don’t make enough income or get enough tax breaks to not have to pay anything.  This blog contains stories of Americans who had a tough time in life but worked hard and eventually moved their way up.  They are working hard even today and are paying their taxes, being productive members of society. 

The Other 53% sees the Occupy Wall Street movement as a bunch of whiners and complainers.  Yes, times are tough, they say, but so what?  Times were tough for them, too.  And they still are!  But rather than do nothing useful or constructive about it, the Other 53% are out there taking action to better themselves.  While Occupy Wall Street protestors consume resources (the 47%), the taxpayers (53%) are supporting them.  The 53% don’t like how they have to work hard for their money while the protestors are asking for handouts.  Accurate or not, that is the 53%’ers view of the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Both sides have some merit.

There are nuances to each side.  The Occupy Wall Street movement’s claim is that they are getting a raw deal.  It’s not fair a certain class of people get to operate according to a different set of rules stacked in their favor.  Things should be more equal.  The 53%’ers reply that it is not the government’s job to take from taxpayers and give to you survive, it is the government’s job to ensure that you can make a living.  And you can still go out and make a living but at a lower standard of living than you might want… just like the rest of us taxpayers!

For myself, my actions align with the 53%’ers (at least for now).  If the protestors want to object to the power and influence of the financial sector, that’s fine.  But joining in protests is not my thing.  I prefer to live my own life, take control of it and attempt to better myself.  Yes, I got screwed and I am taking a huge hit on my house and it will probably never recover (same with the wife’s condo).  But on the other hand, thank goodness both of us bought less home than we could afford way back in the day.  That saved us both from being foreclosed on. 

And if I had to, we could always scale back our lifestyle and simplify.  Or I could get a second job.  Or something.  I only have so much energy to spend and taking part in protests (a) sucks up my time I would rather spend elsewhere, and (b) I am creative enough to earn a little bit of extra money on the side.  Protesting might cathartic relief, but actually doing stuff gets more stuff done.

After all, one day I’ll be dead.  Then it won’t matter anyhow.

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In case you have been living in a cave or under a rock, the Occupy Wall Street movement has been going on in New York for over a month and has spread to other cities in the country and around the world.  I’ve looked a bit into the movement and there are some things I like about it.

At the core of Occupy Wall Street is a protest against the power and influence that the financial sector has on government.  In the minds of the protestors, wealthy people running financial organizations took on huge amounts of financial risks and destabilized the economy and profited mightily from it.  However, the rest of the population (99% of the population) saw their wealth decline: either through unemployment which ate into their savings, decline in home value, or lack of appreciation in their stock portfolios.

Worse yet, the economic malaise prevents most people from getting ahead in life.  It’s a raw deal; on the other hand, the very people that caused the destabilization got wealthy during the good times and are fairly insulated during the bad times.  They caused problems for the rest of us but didn’t have to suffer the consequences of their actions.

And worse yet, the financial industry exudes huge influence in government.  To prevent government from cracking down, the financial industry makes large campaign contributions to politicians.  As a result, politicians do little to nothing to crack down on the excesses of the financial industry, symbolized by Wall Street and firms like Goldman Sachs, Citibank, AIG, Merrill Lynch, Lehman and others.

Their claims are not without some merit.  The government’s Financial Crisis Commission lay most of the blame at some of these big firms who failed to foresee the risks of their actions (it also blamed many figures in government but to a lesser degree).  And financial firms do make huge campaign contributions to politicians.

It has even affected me and I have complained about it on this blog.  Since I bought my condo 3 years ago, it has declined in value $60 per day.  The real estate market across the entire country is depressed.  I whine about it with fellow homeowners but they express hope that it will recover in a couple of years.  They are wrong; the housing market will remain in decline for many years, if not at least a decade.  My net worth keeps going down even without taking on any additional debt because the amount of equity I have in my place keeps getting more and more negative.

I think that the protestors are right to protest that.  It isn’t fair that the people who are responsible for the mess we are in continue to exert so much influence that they keep the system tilted in their favor without suffering any of the consequences that the rest of us do.  It’s a legitimate beef.

Where I break from the protestors is where my hippie socialist friends extend the movement into a general fight for social justice because it normally involves extending the power and reach of the government.  You might want to raise taxes on the rich… but it shouldn’t be because of Occupy Wall Street.  The main reason that Wall Street can buy so much influence is because there is so much power to be bought.  If the government wasn’t so powerful, Wall Street wouldn’t be quite so interested in purchasing it.

So, while I like the basic premise behind Occupy Wall Street, I would caution against expanding the scope and power of the government I would also caution against throwing in social justice in general behind it.  The United States is not a liberal country, it is a center-right country.  People who are center-right bristle at left causes and that’s not what Occupy Wall Street needs.  Keep the message focused and don’t expand it.

More in my next post.

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A year ago, I did a health check up at work where they measured my blood and blood pressure and gave me a health evaluation.  Here’s a link back to where I was, but basically I had mixed results (assuming that they were accurate).  My body fat was a bit high, my blood pressure was high and my HDL (good cholesterol) was low.  Not good.  That suggests I was at risk for a heart attack since my stress was high.

It’s now about a year later and I went for another checkup.  The results?  I have improved greatly and everything is under control.  Below are the results with comparisons to the previous year.

Body Fat

My body fat has gotten better this year.  My Body Mass Index is still fine although I weigh perhaps a few pounds more this year than I did last year. However, as you can see from the below, I have dropped a bit of body fat.

Perhaps I adjusted my height (I said 5’8” this year, maybe last year I said 5’7”) and this year they adjusted for the weight I said I was (135 lbs) vs what they measured last year with my clothes and shoes on (forget what it said).  If that’s the case, I could have had a misreading last year.

However, with more accurate data, I am within my recommended range.  That’s okay for me, I have tracked it this year and compared myself visually to some other pictures and it’s fine.


Blood Pressure

This year, my blood pressure readings look good.  I am no longer Prehypertension.  But last year, I was running a bit late to my checkup and I had to run so maybe that threw off my readings (you need to relax for quite some time to accurately measure it).  But this year, everything looks fine.

BTW, if you don’t know what these numbers mean, Systolic means your heart rate when it is beating – how much pressure does your heart have to exert in order to push blood through your arteries?  Diastolic measures your blood pressure at rest – how hard your heart works when it is not beating.  The higher they are, the more plugged your arteries are and the more your heart must work.




Last year, I forgot to fast in the morning and I couldn’t get my full cholesterol readings.  Yet it turned out okay for my total cholesterol but by HDL (good cholesterol) was low.  This year, my total readings are about the same (137 in 2011 vs 141 in 2010) so it seems to me that my readings probably weren’t much different last year.

My LDL levels look great and so do my triglycerides.  Total Cholesterol = roughly the sum of HDL + LDL + Triglycerides / 4.  If my HDL is up 9 points this year, then by simple math it means my LDL and Triglycerides dropped a little bit correspondingly.

My blood pressure readings may not be accurate last year, but my cholesterol readings have marginally improved.



My glucose readings are the strangest one.  Last year, without fasting, it was a 90.  This year, with fasting for 9 hours, it was also a 90 – the exact same reading.  This means one of two things to me:

  1. My reading last year was also fasting, it’s just that my small cereal breakfast hadn’t made its way into my blood stream at the time of the measurement.
  2. My reading this year and last year are correct, I just had way better glucose levels last year (even though they are still within range this year).


At this rate, maybe I will be able to live to 100 after all.

And I can keep eating Ritz crackers.

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This past weekend in Barcelona, on Friday I was talking to various participants at the conference and one guy that I ran into mentioned that he wanted to go sightseeing on Saturday.  He asked if I wanted to come with him.  Having just struck up a conversation with a complete stranger no more than 10 minutes earlier, I agreed and said “M’kay.”

However, come Saturday, I was down in the hotel lobby at the aforementioned time we agreed to (9:30 am) but the dude was no where to be seen.  I waited around for 30 minutes but he didn’t show up.  I proceeded to the conference desk and started to make plans to strike out on my own.

It was there that I ran into two other conference attendees.  They were going out to see the town and asked if I wanted to come along.  Having met them no more than 2 minutes before, I figured it was a good idea and said “M’kay.”  They were going to a different area than me, but I figured what the heck?  I wanted to see Barcelona.

The first place we went was to Park Guell, which is in the northern part of downtown.  It was a neat little place with various shops and architecture that looks old but really isn’t (only built less than two decades ago).  There were pillars of stone that reminded me of the columns in the Mines of Moira from the first Lord of the Rings movie.  Here’s a picture of me at the Park overlooking the rest of it, and also a picture of the stone columns:

IMG_0834 IMG_0826

As we exited the park, we got a bit lost.  The plan was to either go back downtown, or try to head up to a distant palace we saw off in the distance as we got there.  You see, when we first got to the park, he saw way, way up on a hill what looked like a cathedral or something.  Yet it didn’t show up on any of our tourist maps.  That was odd we made note of it to come back to it later.

When we finished exploring the park, we tried to make our way back to the entrance of it where we first came in, which is not the front tourist entrance (we came in through the back).  We left the back entrance and looked up on the hill and saw the cathedral, but there were no taxis around.  The lady I was with took a picture of it and we decided that we wanted to go there.  However, to get to it, we’d have to go back to the taxis.

We made our way back through the park to the main entrance where all the taxis were.  We tried talking to some cab drivers, asking if they knew where the cathedral on the top of the hill was.  As it turned out, none of them spoke English very well except for numbers (“your cab ride is 15 euros”).  We were unable to find a cab driver who we could describe this too, nor find an interpreter.

We started walking away in order to think of a different strategy.  “Wait a minute,” I said.  “Didn’t you take a picture of the place?”

“Yes,” replied the lady.

“Show him a picture of that and tell him that’s where we want to go!”

Success!  That worked!  That’s thinking outside the box!  We got into the cab and headed up a hill to a church cathedral called Tibidabo.  It was a long drive, it took at least 20 minutes to get there.  There were no bus routes up there that we knew of (although later we saw irregular ones).  Going to Tibidabo was well worth it because it is the highest point in the city.  There is also a statue of Jesus on top of the church overlooking the city, kind of like the one in Rio de Janeiro.

IMG_0842 IMG_0853

We had lunch there and I had nearly a whole pizza to myself (argh! think of all of the carbohydrates I consumed in the bread!).  Afterwards, my friends explored the top of the second level on the inside while I explored the outside of it.  In all, it turned out to be a good detour.

image  image

Finally, we left the place and headed back to downtown Barcelona.  We walked around together for a bit and I left them both to go check out an old magic shop in the Gothic District:



I also wandered back and I stumbled across the Barcelona Cathedral and went inside for a bit.

image image

Protestants might not like their theology, but there’s no denying that Catholics have nicer buildings than Protestants (Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral don’t count because they were built before the Catholic Church in England became the Anglican Church of England).

Finally, after picking up a few souvenirs, I headed back to my hotel where I was supposed to take a phone call (and promptly failed to get onto the hotel’s wireless).

All in all, a good day of sight-seeing.

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The Metro system in Barcelona

I spent last week in Barcelona and I enjoyed the city.  Out of all the cities in Europe that I have visited, Barcelona is probably my second favorite (London being #1) for the following reasons:

  • Compared to other European cities, particularly Geneva, it isn’t all that expensive.

  • There are lots of good sights to see (like all of Europe).

  • The weather is nice.

  • The Metro system is so easy to navigate.

The last point is what I will focus on.  I was in Spain for a conference but we were on the edge of the city in the hotel.  If you ever visit a city, you’ll know that all of the happening stuff is downtown.  So, to get to downtown, you had to take the subway, known as the Metro.

Barcelona’s metro was great.  Even though my stop was the last one, it took maybe 20-25 minutes to get downtown.  Not only that:

  • The trains ran on time.  You never had to wait longer than four minutes for the next train.

  • The ticket terminals and dispensers were easy to understand.  You didn’t have to fumble with anything.

  • The train stations were clean.  I’ve been in some dumpy ones, this wasn’t one of them.

  • The most important thing is that the train system was easy to navigate.  They had clearly marked signs on the various lines.  They were colored in the direction they were headed.  For example, check out the picture below:


    There is some glare in there, but the train line I was on was the Red Line.  The train moves in the direction from the stop I got on (Catalunya, marked in red in the middle) to the stop Hospital de Bellevitge.  The points in the middle are marked in red, and there is a red arrow, clearly indicating the direction that the train was headed and easy to know which way I was supposed to go.  Figuring this out couldn’t be simpler.

    I contrast this with Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) in San Francisco.  Compared to Barcelona, the BART sucks.  The stops are not announced clearly; they come over an overhead speaker but it is so muffled and fast it is impossible to tell.  There is no sign in the train that shows all of the stops or directions, and the only reliable way to tell what stop you are at is to look outside and see the sign at the stop as it whizzes by (the Barcelona Metro has a LED light up inside the train, indicating where it is).  You’re like “Man, I hope this is my stop…!”

    You really have to wonder how San Francisco built such an inferior system when you consider that they are in the heart of Silicon Valley and could have contracted any number of high tech companies to design it for them (you can be sure Apple didn’t do it).

But definitely, if you ever get a chance to visit Barcelona, you should jump on it.  You won’t regret it.


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Last week, I ordered a new Macbook Pro from Apple (hopefully it still works). This is the first Mac I have ever bought from Apple.  I won my iPad in a contest and bought my previous Macbook secondhand from a friend.

I ended up being cost conscious with several of the features, but did require a couple of things beyond the basics:

  • I went with a 13” screen.  11” is too small and 15” and 17” are too large.  I can’t carry them around.

  • I upgraded from four gigs of RAM to 8 gigs, but didn’t upgrade from 2.3 GHz to a 2.7 GHz processor.

  • I got the 128 SSD gig hard drive because I like quiet hard drives and it boots up way faster from standby.  Unfortunately, going with this option adds $150 to $200 to the overall cost (forget which).  I wanted 256 GB, but that added something like $500 to the cost of the Mac.  That’s ridiculous.  So I scrimped on the hard disk space. I don’t keep too much data on disk, anyhow.

While I did buy the laptop with the intention of using it, ultimately I bought it so that the wife and I can share (I suspect she will use it more than me). I have to admit that I love (and missed) the two-finger scrolling, and I love the three-finger dragging.

However, one thing that was pointed out to me by the wife is that the keys are wide apart, as opposed to a typical PC laptop.  She commented “It’s easy to get food bits stuck in there!”

“There’s a simple solution to that,” I replied.  “Don’t eat food around the laptop!”

She rolled her eyes at that.  I don’t know why.  It’s a perfectly rational solution.

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Well, that’s weird

This past week, I left to go to Spain.  Way back when, when the trip was originally planned as part of work, the wife and I thought that she might join me and then we’d go around Europe or something (Spain + France + England).

However, the timing didn’t work out and so I had to go to Spain by myself for a conference.

The thing is, in the time leading up to the trip, I wasn’t really that looking forward to going.  Indeed, if it turned out that I couldn’t have gone, I probably would not have been that disappointed.  The day before and the day of my departure, I was experiencing some separation anxiety – what, with having just been married the week before.

I was thinking to myself “What the heck?  I used to travel by myself all the time!  Now, I don’t want to go?”

It was like that all the time I was in the airport until after I cleared security.  The feeling then started to go away but even now it hasn’t entirely subsided.  I’m looking forward to returning back to the USA.

I guess relationships change your priorities.

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At our recent wedding, we showed the following video of myself and the wife about our history before and after we met.  If you couldn’t see it before, here it is now.


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In case you have been living under a rock, yesterday Apple founder, Chairman and former CEO Steve Jobs died of cancer.  He was 56 years old.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of Jobs for some reason.  I am not sure why… I just am.

I haven’t had as many Apple products as I have PC’s, but I still have extensive experience with them.  When I was growing up in the 1980’s, we had an Apple IIC (pronounced Apple two-see).  This was a a computer that booted off of a floppy drive with a tiny screen whose colors were green and black.  We used to play games on there including Lode Runner, Sammy Lightfoot and Lemonade.

Even back then, Apple was making a name for itself about how user friendly it was.  There was this one training program or game where if you entered invalid input, the computer said “Sorry, you have not entered the right data.  Try this instead…” or something similar (I forget, exactly).  They then said “Here’s what happens on another system” and when you entered it, the response was "INVALID INPUT!” along with a loud beep.  The point was that Apple was easy to use with smart responses while the other system was not.  I figured it out later that Apple was referring to PC’s (this was in the days before Microsoft Windows).

Later on in high school, in grades 9 and 10, the computers we had were older Apple computers.  There were PCs around running Windows 3.0 or 3.1, but we had to use Apples.  I did a lot of coding on those Apple computers.  Even in elementary school, they had Apples and we used to play Transylvania and Carmen San Diego.  I remember my seventh grade teacher showing us a Mac and how to use a mouse.  “Duh?” I remember thinking.  Back then, the Mac was revolutionary (it still is).

In university during the late 1990’s, we were introduced to the 6800 board and later the 68000, which was the Mac computer’s first processor.  I don’t remember understanding it all (or much of it; one of my friends got it better than I did), but even back then we were using Mac products.

I recall in university that a couple of my friends had Mac computers.  At the time, owning a Mac was quirky, not mainstream, nor were they as sleek as they are now (Steve Jobs had not yet turned the company around).  However, one friend had a Mac laptop (that looked like a PC) and it could read floppy disks that had data written by a PC.  I thought that was cool.

During the 21st century, my first re-introduction to Apple was when I first started trading stocks.  I can’t remember what I thought about the iPod, but in 2004 I was at a seminar and I recall the instructor asking for people to call out random companies and he would analyze the stock.  I said “Apple!” and he brought it up.  He was like “Man, can anyone see the massive tear Apple has been on?”  It had doubled or tripled since 2003.  I have made a lot of money playing Apple over the years, and lost money too (but only when I bet against it).  Betting against Apple has never worked well for me.  Even when Steve Jobs resigned and I bet the stock would go down, that backfired.

In 2006, I bought my friend’s old iBook (Mac laptop).  It was a cool little machine, and I loved it instantly.  The one thing I liked about it the most was the fact that you could do two finger scrolling on it (use two fingers to scroll up and down in a window).  Even today, in Windows, this capability is not natively built in.  I had to go and download a third party driver and it doesn’t work as well as the Mac does.  Unfortunately, my Mac started to cough and get sick in early 2010 – the wireless card broke and so whenever I boot it up, the Mac crashes after a minute or two.  I had to disable it.

Not all Apple products are great, though.  In 2007, I bought an Airport Express – a Mac wireless router.  That product was a piece of garbage.  It was super slow and almost impossible to connect my devices too, especially my PC.  I stopped trying to use it a couple of days after I bought it.  Piece of junk.

Then, in 2010, I won an iPad.  When the iPad first came out, I wasn’t all that impressed by it.  I was like “Really?”  But after using it for a couple of days, I was hooked.  It was so simple to use.  And while I could never use an iPad to replace my laptop or my PC, it is still a great device that accomplishes 70-80% of what I need it for (not great for blogging, though; or multitasking).

At this point, I am planning to purchase a Macbook for the wife.  I plan to also use it to edit video (I purchases Final Cut Express which is really good) but also for its simplicity.  I like Apple’s sleek design (they call it design but it is really aesthetics).  But now that Jobs is gone, I have to wonder if the Mac will still work?  I always assumed that Jobs breathed pixie dust into each product in order to make it work.

That’s my history with Apple.  They are (were?) a great company and I’ve enjoyed many of their products (I have enjoyed many of Microsoft’s products, too; I am not an Apple fanboy by any stretch).

An era has passed.  We shall see what happens next with the fruit company.

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A funny story

This post contains more information than you probably want to know.  You may drop out now if you so desire.  If not, keep reading.

After the wedding ceremony, the wife and I headed to a hotel in Bellevue where we stayed on one of the upper floors.  I have no intention of getting too visual or graphic about that evening.  However, I do have one funny story.

Around the edge of the room, there was a ledge.  The windows came down to that ledge, and there was about an 18 inch ledge off the window.  It was easy to walk around, and both of us did so.  “Oh, wheeee!  Look at us walk around the ledge!”

Now, this room also had two sets of curtains – one thick set of curtains that you cannot see through like any normal hotel room, and one thin set of blinds. These are the kind that you would pull down to keep the sun out of your eyes, but you can still see through them.  It makes the outside more hazy but by no means opaque.

Anyhow, at one point during the afternoon, the wife decided to walk around the ledge wearing minimal (but not zero) clothing.  “Doo, dee, doooo!” she exclaimed.  She did this for a while.  The thin blinds were drawn but not the full curtains.

“Uh, wife,” I explained, “you know that those blinds, people can see through them, right?  People can see in just as easily as we can see out?”

She looked at the blinds and then looked out.  At the instant, the realization hit her that indeed, the blinds blocked only partial vision but not all of it.  She was giving anyone who was watching a pretty good show.

“MAAAAAAAH!” she cried out and jumped down, scurrying away.

She didn’t do that again.

And that’s my funny story.  Perhaps this was too much information.

But you still read it.

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Following up from my previous post (man, I am blogging less these days for some reason), I still remember pretty clearly the events of the day of the wedding:

  • After finishing up pictures, we waited around a bit to make sure that everyone else had gotten all of their stuff.  Then, the wife and I got in my car and headed down to Seattle for the reception.

  • We hit some traffic on the way down, which I didn’t expect.  Seriously, traffic getting onto I-5 north on a Saturday?  But then I realized that there is always traffic in Seattle on a Saturday.  Bah.

  • We made our way down to the restaurant/reception and looked for a place to park.  Apparently, there was a reserved spot outside for us but we didn’t see it.  We ended up parking just a bit down anyhow so it didn’t matter.  The one drawback of the reception venue is that parking is tight.  But what else could we do?

  • They were still setting up inside when we got there (the sound system and video projection) and so we waited around for a bit outside the main room.  Finally, they announced us and the wife and I walked in.  Everyone applauded (I think; this part I cannot remember).

  • From here, events start to become a blur.  The food started coming out to us and I was a little nervous about it.  I had eaten at the restaurant twice before during the previous four months and I would only rate the food as a 7 out of 10 in terms of quality.  However, with each course they brought out, it was pretty good!  Way better than before!  BTW, we had white rice instead of fried rice.  I don’t like fried rice and that was one change I insisted on.

  • Frequently at weddings the bride and groom will walk around talking to people, thanking them for coming.  We wanted to do that but didn’t get much of a chance to do so because of (a) the cramped nature of the restaurant, and (b) we were hungry and wanted to eat.  But that all went pretty well.

  • The program, if you can call it that, was short.  My brother “sang” a song, I did a magic effect (which went alright, not a particularly difficult one) and we had a slideshow.  The one thing that I underestimated was how bright it would be in there.  The projector wasn’t anywhere strong enough to project the video on the screen.  And the sound was no where near loud enough.  That was something I didn’t want to happen, but oh, well.

  • We planned to have a dance afterwards, but it was too tight for time and besides which, we were cramped for space.  This is a big disappointment to me, I wanted to have at least 30-60 minutes of dancing.  Oh, well.

  • One thing I didn’t account for – the wife’s father made a speech at the wedding.  I didn’t tell him he was supposed to do that so he did it spur of the moment.  Oops.

  • My parents made a speech, I made a thank-you speech, we did cake and that was it!  Wedding done!

  • We hung around until about 3 pm or so and then left.  We were among the last people to leave.  We said good-bye to all of my relatives, all of the wife’s relatives and friends from work and finally departed the restaurant where we headed to a secret location.

So all in all, while there were some things I wish I would have done differently, it pretty much went according to plan.  Simple, not over the top, and ran on time (maybe even faster than I planned).

And that’s all I have to say about that.

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