Wednesday, August 29, 2007

in the news

Reading the news. Besides the defecating coal (obviously), I think the most interesting aspect of this story would be the nutritional value of coal. The article says "survived by eating coal," but was eating the coal required for their survival? I guess I'm the only one who's really interested if the article's title is factually correct, but I think someone should have interviewed a doctor. Heck, even a chinese doctor would have been something. I guess drinking urine will let you survive longer without water, I'll keep that in mind for the next time I go down a mine shaft.

Haha, this version of the story gives more details.

I like this quote: "But then I thought, I have two children and my wife is ugly, so it'd be hard for her to remarry." What a nice thing to say about your wife in your international interview. 66 feet in 6 days, that's a lot of digging. Though they're digging up, but still... on behalf of my somewhat-asian ancestory, I'm going to take partial credit for this feat. Go team!

Also, just saw this article about the creator of the tv show 24. It's a badly-written, macho, bs tv show where the ends always justify the means, and apparently the creator thinks it's patriotic. His photograph with the article makes him appear only slightly more mature than if he were pictured showing off tattoos or flexing his biceps. I guess true patriotism is torturing someone for your country. Maybe next season they'll have an episode where Jack Bauer gets to torture like a dozen people at once. "I'm cutting a finger off each of you until someone tells me where the bomb is." And women, and maybe a kid! That sounds like some good drama. Is he justified in cutting fingers off a terrorist's child to coerce the father into talking? Even Jack Bauer might have to think twice about that. But of course he'd do it. It's his duty. (Provided it works and the father spills the beans about the atomic bomb that's about to go off, but he'll talk, don't worry.) We're in the business of saving lives here.

"I'm sorry, I don't listen to country music." -Joey DeMaio, when asked what he thinks of Metallica.

Monday, August 27, 2007

an ill weekend

I was going to write about illegal immigration here. But after 3 paragraphs I was still too scattered to make a coherent point and gave up. I'll write about that later. This weekend I've been sick. It hasn't been a really horrible sickness, the worst of the symptoms hit me between friday evening and sunday morning, so it only lasted for about a day and a half. Sadly, I missed Leslie's going away party. I kinda wanted to talk to her some before she left too, oh well. Now I just have a lingering slight cough, but I have to work 50 hours this week so I'm getting back to it tomorrow. It'll be a busy week. It's probably for the better that Kate's return is delayed.

Oh, I had dinner with Puja on Sunday. I'm feeling a little special about it too because we were going to get drinks friday night but I wasn't feeling well and cancelled, so we rescheduled for Sunday. Meanwhile, she also called up Rachel to hang out Friday but Rachel couldn't make it either, and Rachel didn't get rescheduled! Actually, I'm making a big thing out of nothing. It's only because Sunjeev was doing the coordinating and didn't feel comfortable calling Rachel. It was a pretty fun dinner. We got sushi and chinese food, talked a little about their upcoming wedding, life on the west coast, everyone's new jobs, and this and that. And we got sort of harassed by an incomprehensible homeless guy who was asking for change (I think). He seemed pretty drunk and he babbled on and on about who-knows-what when we didn't give him any money. I walked about a block from Chinatown towards my house before deciding it probably wasn't smart in my state of fragile health.

With my sick time I finally finished the Arrested Development series and started the new Harry Potter book. Arrested Development is a great show, but it's impossible to read or do any work while you watch it. The dialogue is just too quick, you miss everything unless you're paying attention. And the Harry Potter book is meh so far (I'm like 80 pages in).

Oh, check out this blurb I found on craigslist from an incredibly optimistic date rejectee.

(This was a while ago and a longer conversation than I usually like to quote, but I think it's pretty funny. Whitney doesn't catch my sarcasm at the end.)

(Whitney thinks leaving your phone with a girl is a good way to get a date)
Whitney: unless! you like the girl- then you can "accidentally" leave it in her bag- and then have to call her later!
me: sneaky, but how would i call her?
Whitney: ohh, you could go by her house!!!
Whitney: great plan!
Whitney: ohh, what a great plan!
me: ok, so i see a girl who i want to date, i somehow manage to steal her bag and put my cellphone in it without her knowing, how am i gonna find out where she lives?
Whitney: see, i know a lot more than you think!
me: sounds like a terrible plan
Whitney: NO, you have to talk to her first and ASK her to hold your phone.
Whitney: ask generic questions like, so, what area do you live in...blah blah blah...
Whitney: THEN..."forget" your phone.
me: hmmm, right
Whitney: see. see....
me: i don't ususally ask random girls to hold my phone, only friends. it'd be kinda weird asking some girl i've just met
Whitney: "hey, im sorry to bother you, but i left my phone in your bag- is there a time i could come get it or meet you somewhere?"
Whitney: ya, maybe a girl you know you like
me: sneak my way into a first date. that's a great way to start a relationship
Whitney: ya!
Whitney: a great way!
Whitney: guys are sneaky.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Craigslist selling Rule #1

I'm listening to the Fiddler on the Roof soundtrack while I do stuff. I forgot to mention in the last post that my oldest sister's new fiance, John, had the gall to show up to the Jewish wedding without having seen Fiddler on the Roof! Such blatent disrespect for these traditions! Practically an anti-semetic statement! I was aghast, luckily nobody else was around at the time to hear him say it.

Hmm. I had something else to write about. What was it... Oh, just sold some videogames on craigslist. From now on I'm not doing any deliveries for items being sold. You have to come pick it up, I'm not leaving my couch. I sold 2 games for $15, and then the guy wanted me to walk out to Dupont to meet him at the metro there! We had so much back and forth over the games that I felt sort of compelled to agree to meet him half way. It went from being a free $15 (I was never going to play those games again, they were boring) to being like 45 minutes of my evening wasted walking around dc! "Never again!" "Fool me once, shame on you-" You get the idea. It's interesting, I've noticed that people who sell/buy on craigslist are much more likely to be on facebook than random people. Maybe it's because craigslist is a college kids thing. The kid I sold the videogames to is a former gwu student (class of '07), and the girl I'm buying a mirror from tomorrow in Adams Morgan went to PSU on a gymnastics scholarship. So much stalker potential, if I only cared more. Stalking really is a matter of being passionate, something that I am not.

(talking about the movie Weird Science)
jschelllll: the brother being a jackass
jschelllll: kinda sounds like how you described your brother
Dan: my bro was a dick, hey paul can you buy us beer, next day, dan and his friends wanted me to buy them beer.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

tiring weekends

The summary of a weekend in California:

The night after arriving, I went with high school friend Dan to the Russian River Brewery in downtown Santa Rosa. It's a pretty new place and was supposed to be good. We had a hard time finding it because neither of us had been there and Dan's phone kept telling us to walk 0.0 miles up the street while none of the places in sight were what we wanted. I finally asked some lady who looked like she was about to pull mace out of her purse if I stepped too close. But her directions were good. Some really old guy sat next to Dan at the bar and would occasionally spew out incoherent words at us. I think the only thing I understood that he said was "Never accept responsibility." The poor guy was probably drinking his sorrows away. The bartender was refusing to serve him any more alcohol, and when he'd finished his drink the bartender came over and said "That's 27 dollars." Dan and I were expecting the old guy to just wander off without paying (which would have been entertaining, and I was planning on shouting at Dan "Yo, your grandfather is walking off!" just to see if the bartender would try to shake Dan down for the cash). But after bumbling around and muttering more incoherencies, the old guy pulled a $50 bill out of his wallet. It was a little disappointing. I was hoping for some excitment.

Justin's wedding dinner was fun, in a family sort of way. It was a buffet dinner and dance. I somewhat-awkwardly talked to a bunch of relatives. I answered "When did you get in?" (thursday) and "When do you leave?" (monday) probably 5 or 6 times each. But that's alright, that's how relational conversation works when everyone is sober. I was well on my way toward being drunk (there was an open bar, with some local light beer that was okay) when my sister asked me to be our driver at the end of the night. Her husband had drunk too much and she wasn't feeling well. So I stopped drinking beer. Still, it was a pretty fun time. Justin got the DJ to play his favorite band at the end of the night and he did a lot of energetic jumping around which was fun to see. Marget (Justin's new wife) seemed much more friendly than she did in New York last Thanksgiving. Maybe it was the zombie show she was forced to see there, or that she was meeting too many people for the first time. Anyway, I like her now, and she works for the same company as Rachel up by Dulles so I may be seeing her more often.

Mike and Maria's wedding was interesting and fun. Mike's Jewish, so there was a lot of talking in Hebrew, and they did that thing where the bride and groom got lifted in their chairs while everyone sang and ran around them. (The do it in a scene of the Wedding Crashers.) It was pretty crazy. I saw some people from the family camp we used to go to back in jr high and high school. Some of these girls who were so small 7-8 years ago are now like 20 years old. They're also much more enjoyable to talk to, though that might just be me being more polite and pleasant than I used to be. Fortunately, I'm not-quite creepy enough to try anything weird, which is more than I can say for my aunt's older brother, who works as a movie producer in Los Angeles and I suppose generally gets away with being weird. I finally met my oldest sister's fiance. Irene had been sneaking him around for months upon months as a not-serious relationship and then just randomly announced that they're engaged to be married some time this spring. He seems okay, but I didn't talk to him enough to be sure. He's sporting the soul patch, and I think it looks retarded, but whatever. I talked to my cousin Rachel for a while. She's a new college graduate and wants to be a writer of children's books so I grilled her about Roald Dahl books, Peter Pan, and Winnie the Pooh, on all of which I am an expert. Rachel was a good sport about it, she only threatened to punch me and never actually followed through.

I have some photos. But like all photos, that will have to wait until I have much more time. I'm so far behind in photos, I think I have like 200 to post from various events. Some day.

(we're sitting in the bar and Dan gets a text message)
me: What did Brittany say?
(he had dropped Brittany off at the airport a few hours earlier. Dan turns his phone so I can see the text: "Just got back. Had a great time. Love you and miss you.")
me: She really likes you.
Dan: Yeah. Check this out.
(he replies "Same.")

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Laundromats build character

Walking back from the laundromat this morning when someone driving by tried to ask me directions. I couldn't help him, but I'm surprised he even thought I would be able to. I was 10:30AM on a Wednesday, I'm walking down the street with a bag of laundry, unshaved and wearing an undershirt and shorts. Clearly I'm unemployed, don't own a car, and probably don't speak English.

On the other hand, it was a moderately pleasant experience at the laundromat. I was the only person there so I turned off the unbelievably annoying cartoons they put on the television. Kids' television has to be the most difficult thing to ignore. The characters have squeeky voices, are always asking the kids to jump up and down or shake or somehow participate, and occasionally break into non-rhyming songs! A wise investment for any parent hoping to avoid abusing kids would be a set of headphones for each child.

Today I'm working late. Tomorrow I have two 2-hour presentations, one on multi-threaded processor design and one on error correction in quantum computing. Should be interesting. Then I'm flying out to CA in the afternoon for a long weekend.

Shane: Don't see me yawning and yawn at the same time as me. That's gay.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Noelle's wedding

Noelle's wedding was fun. The weather is much nicer up by Boston, like in the mid-70's. Flying up we had some trouble. Dave, Eric and I all got the same flight, and it was delayed and then cancelled around midnight. Our flights got rescheduled until early the next morning but there were no hotels available in Baltimore (according to the airline rep anyway).

The airline rep wanted us to sleep in the airport but we definitely didn't want to do that.There was talk of calling up Baltimore girls and arranging a couch to sleep on, but Eric and Dave both thought it would be too awkward to call up ex-girlfriends. Then there was talk of going to a baltimore bar and trying to pick up girls to go home with. I don't think that was ever seriously considered. Dave's idea was "We can go to a bar and find some young ladies to take us home." And Eric suggested some beer bar, but Dave pointed out that the hotties probably wouldn't be hanging around a beer-nerd bar. Then Eric said "Yeah. So we can go to the good bar first, and then afterwards we'll go to the popular bar to pick up our skanks." It was funny how our theoretical hookups got reduced from being three hotties (with possibly one ugly girl that someone was going to have to take the fall for) to three skanks in about 30 seconds. We ended up getting a free cab back to Arlington, slept at Dave's place for a few hours, and then got a free cab back to BWI at 7am. We thought at first that they had lost our luggage on the cancelled flight (which would have been pretty funny), but it turned out they had just put it way off to the side.

We didn't have much time on Boston. Just enough for me to take a nap on Ben Ming's couch. Then we drove down to Worcester for the wedding. The wedding was nice. It was really warm in the church and in my suit, and the catholic service had a long, meandering sermon and communion included. The reception was pretty fun. Dave, Eric and I were at the same table as a couple of Noelle's coworkers and Ashley. The coworkers mostly talked to each other about work-stuff, and I think Ashley still doesn't really like me, though she seemed happier with her husband being there, and he was an alright guy. There was an open bar for most of the night, but I ate a bunch of food and ended up not being very drunk. There was an after-party in Bryan Hurley's hotel room. It was a little awkard. On the one hand, he had a whole lot of beer, and I felt like drinking. But on the other hand Rob's parents showed up, and everyone was significantly older than me, and they all knew each other well so I didn't have much to add to their reminiscing. So I drank quietly, kept to myself for the most part, and heard some stories that were much more graphic about Rob and Noelle's sex life than I ever wanted to hear.

The trip back was mostly uneventful. It always surprises me how long it takes to catch the shuttle from BWI to the metro. That thing comes like once an hour. Oh, they lost Dave's bag, which had one of my suits and one of eric's suits in it, but it's not a huge deal so long as they find it eventually. Dave gets a nice per-diem for his job so he can buy a new toothbrush and whatnot.

Next weekend I'm flying to California for another wedding, and to congradulate two cousins who got married last weekend but I couldn't make it to either. And I haven't gotten much done at work. I should quit that.

(at the wedding reception)
Dave: You know, I think I would be a good singer if I just sing low enough.
(Dave loosens his tie and starts singing along to the song in a super low voice. Eric and I both laugh because it sounds rediculous.)
Dave: Eric, you should let me in your band, I want to be in your band.
Eric: You can't be in the band.
Dave: Why not?
Eric: We're rag-tag enough as it is. Sawyko doesn't really have that much... He has enough to get along but...
Dave: Is he a singer?

Thursday, August 9, 2007

I want quarters! Obvi!

Today I bought a sandwich for lunch and the total came to $6.84. I handed over a $20, a dime, and 4 pennies from my pocket. Then the cashier-lady tried to give me back two quarters, two dimes and a nickel! I said "wait a minute, I just gave you 9 cents." Maybe that wasn't the right way to explain it because she said "I know... Here." And she tried to give me the change again. Then I said "Do you not have enough quarters?" She understood and gave me 3 quarters instead. Then she gave an irritated grunt as I collected my stuff and left. I guess I'm a touchy customer, making a lot of trouble over nothing. But I think I was justified. I had just given her a bunch of random change (including the dime she tried to return to me), I don't want even more change back! The whole point of putting some change in with the $20 is to receive less change in return! Unfortunately the counter between us was a little too wide to effectively reach across and smack her.

That's the only eventful thing about today so far. Though at least I'm done looking at stupid fax machine systems. That was a painful few days.

(At the mini-mart downstairs, when the checkout line gets long, they open up a cash register near the back of the line and start helping the last customers in that line. This happened to Amelia, and she got to pay before me despite me standing in line longer)
me: It's so unfair the way they do that! The last person in line suddenly gets to checkout first.
Amelia: Yeah.. It's like a first in last out.
me: Haha, yeah it is. That's a pretty nerdy reference.
Amelia: Well I figured you'd get it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

hello world. New bloggage.

So this is the new blog. I'm not completely thrilled with the title, but whatever.

Among the rejected titles were,

from the top of my head:
        A Government Patsy
        Easily Irritated
        Patience is a Virtue
        Joe's Muselings
        Thinking Rationally
        Tales of a Pseudo-Engineer

from movies/books:
        Injun Joe
        4 Legs Good, 2 Legs Bad
        This Confession Has Meant Nothing (from American Psycho)
        Ho Activities with Joe Tendencies
        Joe Activities with Ho Tendencies
        A Jedi Shall Know Not Love
        Mind what you have learned - Save you it can
        Satisfaction is not Guaranteed (Rule of Acquisition #19)
        When in Doubt, Lie (Rule of Acquisition #266)
        Profit is its own Reward (Rule of Acquisition #41)
        I'm not a little girl- I'm a bionic woman (from Freaks and Geeks)
        Like My Heart is Getting Hard (from Arrested Development)

We'll see how often this gets updated. Usually I like to end with a quote, but tonight I've got nothing.