We just watched Final Destination 2 and all of us -- people who work out regularly, and two of them are pretty buffed -- are freaked out. All of a sudden, I'm very aware of all of my surroundings. Ugh. No more scary movies at night for me.

In case I've never mentioned it before, Milpitas stinks. Particularly in the summer when odours from the surrounding establishments find it easiest to waft my way. Consider a good nose-stirring of the garbage dump just a few miles up from this building. Then stir in the saline stimulants from the salt flats that are some 10 miles north. And finally, add just a dash of the lovely strawberry fields only a mile away ... with the maneur that fertilizes it. Nobody likes the smell of this bran. Even stink would say this stinks.

I did it. I just spent $256+ USD for my hard drive (then I get $120 rebate later on). The shopping spree continues.

If I were in a position to buy a primary vehicle now, what should I get? I am considering the following options:

- a convertible
- sport coupe
- sporty sedan

I have some financing options as well to consider.

- leasing (3-year term)
- purchasing (5-year financing)

So, the good stuff. Here are some cars I'm considering (used or new), in no particular order.

Acura CL-S
Acura TSX
Audi A4 (new generation)
Audi A4 Cabriolet
BMW 3-series (likely used)
Honda Accord Coupe EX-V6 (older generation)
Infiniti G35 Sedan
Saab 9-3 convertible (new 2004)
Volvo C70

Whether I lease or purchase has an effect on what kind of car I'll consider also. For instance, purchasing will mean I need a very reliable car (since it will have to last me) and probably a lot more practical (since I'll be stuck with it for a long time afterwards). Leasing gives me the freedom to have a car for three years and "toss" it, except that my payments really add no value to my own assets. But, in the case that I decide to move back to Canada, leasing means I won't have to deal with the trouble of importing my owned vehicle.

I do have some requirements for features.

- must have navigation in it (which wipes out all VW's except the Touareg)
- if manual trans, must have 6 gears
- if auto trans, some kind of sport shifting is preferred
- leather seats, baby
- sunroof or drop top


There's a flipside to everything. A chain of events, if you will, triggered by one. I had my heart broken (quite badly), and within 16 months, I proceeded to break two others. Do we learn from our mistakes? I sure hope so.

I'm drunk again. Not drunk to the point that I forget all that's happened to me tonight, or that I'm drunk beyong control and have lost a fine tuning muscle control. But I'm drunk enough to use it as an excuse if I do something stupid. And knowing so, I tend to allow myself that courtesy to do things more stupid.

I've consumed enough alcohol to render my judgement of the road and traffic illegal. I know that they would not appreciate smelling my breath when they pull me over and I roll down the winder. Of course, I have a designated driver (as all responsible adults should) and I'm can spend my energy bloggin to you instead of trying to avoid the median on the highway at 80mph.

Good night.

Whoa. A fire hydrant outside our office just burst!

My car was fairly far away, but I had to step in 2" of water to get to my car. One guy was soaked in about 8", and his car probably had some stinky Milpitas water in it already. The fire department is looking for the correct valve to shut off this spring (which is spraying probably some 20' in the air).

Then they told us that an electrical ground fault is involved and we should stay out of it (for fear of electrocution, I imagine). I used a digital camera to catch some images and movies, so let's see how they turn out later!

Okay. I have a very important question for you. I can get a 120GB harddrive (cables extra) for $105, or I can get a 200GB one (cables incl) for $140 (after rebate). The details:

120GB (WD1200JB Special Edition)
200GB (WD2000JBRTL Special Edition Retail Kit)

They are both

- Western Digital
- Internal EIDE Ultra ATA/100
- 7200rpm
- 8MB cache
- 3 year warranty

It works out to $0.875/GB (120GB) or $0.70/GB (200GB). What should I do?

I don't talk to her anymore. It's sad, but it's like she's far in the distant past and now in the present she's completely unrelated to my life. I'm also saddened that I don't even know her at all anymore. I don't know what she's into, what's going on in her life, nothing. And yet, I don't really see any reason I should put much effort into establishing -- no, salvaging -- something again.

People say that time heals all. Does it? There HAS been time, and I thought it should be healed, but I don't like the idea that something like this still affects me. As if the past thrust its hand out of the dark clouds to grab at my ankles and pull me back in.

I mean, I can logically accept everything just fine. I'm sure she's a nice person still, and I'm sure she didn't do what she did on purpose just to hurt me. But the (emotional) fact is that she did hurt me, and something in me was terribly destroyed. Literally shattered. I was bitten by her, shot with poison darts. And parts of me are still shy; I may never recover from that. THAT part, I hate. I hate that it's still there, even now. I should be above this. Shouldn't I?

Just wondering, but who uses the little pee hole in the underwear? (Obviously, this is directed towards the guys.) I mean, does anyone really "snake" their snake through that cotton labyrinth in order to pee? And would you want to see someone wiggling their willy with their hands while standing at the urinal? It makes sense if you're wearing boxer briefs, since it can be a "long way up" to get the undies down but with briefs, it's just easier to pull them down than to work your way through it. Yes, even under the pants. In any case, trying to get johnson through those two undie flaps probably requires more handy work (pun shamelessly intended) than one would like to imagine other people doing.

This is disturbing to me, particularly with the startling high proportion of men who seem to go straight from urinal to the door. They pass the sink without a second thought and out the door they go, leaving invisible leftovers on the inside of that door handle for the rest of us to pick up. A word to the wise: always always always open that door with a paper towel. Or wait for someone else to leave first; take an extra 10 seconds at the sink for someone to open that door first, and follow them right through.

You know that saying? "Six of one, half dozen of the other." It generally means that two things are the same (possibly slightly different).

But wait, a baker's dozen is 13 of something, not 12. So then ... one might say, "Six-and-a-half of one, half-a-baker's-dozen of the other." I guess they didn't really think that one through when they started saying that, huh. And anyway, why do baker's get one more in their dozens? What makes them so special?

Can you go into a donut shop and ask for a baker's dozen? Will the people behind the counter give you a knowing nod, as if you told them the secret password that only special insiders know? Like going to that metal door in the back of the grungy bar and telling the guy (who slid open his metal grate peekhole), "Ken sent me." You could walk up to the counter, all suave, and look the lady in the eye. "I'll have a dozen of the original glazed. And make it a Baker's."

I think I'm going to ask that next time at Krispy Kreme. And then I'll ask for one of those hot-off-the-assembly-line-freshly-doused-in-the-icing-waterfall samples. That's 14: seven of one, a Krispy Kreme half-dozen of the other.

New auto designs only sometimes strike me as beautiful and breathtaking; many of them strike me as butt ugly to start with, and I can only hope that the looks grow on me as time goes on. This was true of the 1992-1995 Honda Civic generation, the last Honda Prelude generation, and I hope it's true for the Golf MKV generation as well.

We finally made our escape from LA safely. We didn't get shot, mugged, or otherwise harmed. And we even learned a few things along the way.

- Somewhere on Highway 152 sits a slaughterhouse. I suspect they do not filter the air that comes out of there and into the neighborhood. (Note to self: don't buy property there.)
- The drive down the I-5 can lure one dangerously to sleep if one doesn't carry a stash of RedBull or Hansen's energy drinks.
- You may think you're approaching Los Angeles, even if you see signs saying you are, but you're not: you still have an hour to go. Ditto when leaving the area.
- It's hot and humid there. Expect your car's AC to be on 24 hours a day, or you'll steam your windows up. And don't even bother doing your hair!
- The area has much to offer to tourists, but forgets to mention that it's about an hour drive between any of them. And then finding parking!
- People like to honk at me, even if I think I'm driving just fine.
- Multi-million-dollar homes and properties in the gated and patrolled Bel Air Estates neighborhoods, sporting Ford Taurus and minivan parked in their carports. I don't get it. (Yes, we're pretty sure it's not the gardeners' cars.)
- Any idiot in a purchased Spiderman costume can charge any moron a dollar for a photo with him. I am a moron.
- Angelina Jolie and friends invited us to their premiere of Tomb Raider 2 by Mann's Chinese Theatre, but we had to graciously decline since we had to work the next day.
- Police all over California don't like where I park my car or how long I park there.
- The huge "HOLLYWOOD" sign that appears in every movie? I think they hide it, because I never saw it once in my time there!

Having said all this, I had a great time. I certainly like the San Francisco Bay Area better, but I'll return for more punishment when I'm ready again.

I am returned. The blogs shall commence again. Stay tuned.


Hey! I just found the delete all feature in my voicemail system! Whoohoo!

Two minutes ago: 28 messages.
One minute ago: no messages.

I love technology.

You know, this information superhighway thing is quite neat. I love it! My savings for the upcoming roadtrip so far has totalled $220 because of purchases over the net! You can even eBay for Disneyland and Universal Studios tickets! People will buy (and sell anything) over the internet, haha, those net addicts.

Just finished the bulk of my packing. It's time like this that I realize how high maintenance my normal life has become. Nothing in particular, necessarily; just the sum of all those little things. And I pack like a girl.

Having 1GB of storage for my digital camera is an awesome feeling.

Great Things

I realized today that great things await me. I have a brand new 1GB CompactFlash card that has been delivered by courier and hand-placed into my apartment, eagerly awaiting me to place it in its new home in my S400! I have $50/night hotel reservation for my long weekend that will welcome me each night after the day's roadtrips/adventures. I have a brand new Thermos Grill2Go portable gas grill with all the goodies in it that will be gingerly delivered to my residence by courier (only for me to coldly resell it as I've decided on a different one). And when I have returned from a long (and probably not restful) weekend roadtrip, I will have the excitement of finding new gainful employment!

Somehow, I never feel rested after the weekend. It's almost like my weekdays are crammed with routines -- work, workout, gas, sleep, bills. This then leaves the weekends for the fun stuff in life -- trials, national parks, festivities. But wait, is that right? Should it be this way? That I only spend 30% enjoying life , and over 70% is just maintenance time? Something needs to change here. And bad.

You know, too much or anything is never a good thing. (Otherwise, it wouldn't be "too much".)

Just watched T1 last night on DVD -- we wanted to review the first two before going to watch Terminator 3 on the big screen.

This film was made in 1984, and one of the audio track options was "original English mono". What, are you kidding?? Even the 5.1 version sounded horrible. And the dialog had pauses where they had probably expected dramatic gasps and digestion from the audience, only to slow the pace of this film down. The cyborg at the end was stop animation and made us laugh. We've sure come a long way since 1984 in terms of movie-making!

We'll be screening T2 shortly, and I remember that film (1991) to be substantially better than this one was. I hope so, or it's going to set very low expectations for the third installment!

Such recent talk of weddings -- we're at that dreadful age ("no pressure, no pressure") -- and I think I have made a quick tally of typically incurred expenses.

Brides get
(1) engagement ring
(2) bridal dress
(3) other dresses for multiple changes
(4) choice of flower arrangements
(5) venue selection.

Grooms get
(1) rented tuxedos for him and his groomsmen
(2) rented limo to pick her up in
(3) the bill.

And that's just the first day of your lives together!

The general rule is that a gentleman's socks shall match the colour of pants he's wearing. It's fine to have patterning on it, or somewhat different material, but the colour should match (or close). My problem now is that I have socks that are close, but for some pants, the colours are off and I have nothing to match. So I think I will try to buy socks at the same time as my pants.

One exception (self-declared) to this is my jeans. I just wear colours that match the rest of my clothes (ie. shirt / shoes) or that seem to extend the general style of outfit that I have that particular day. With my bowling (-styled) shoes, I tend to wear different colours to bring out the colourful shirts / other clothes I'm wearing. Like Ben in Technicolor.

Belts should match the shoes, regardless. If my shoe has a little buckle, I also try to make sure the belt does also. It basically leads to belt-shoe sets that I swap between, runners/sneakers excepted.

Enjoyed a fantastic dinner at Bella Luna last night with some old Chientan friends. Seems like it's always a semi-annual or annual meeting with them, which is a shame. I think I'm going to put an earnest effort into keeping in touch with them (bad at it as I am), because they're such great people: so forthcoming, honest, fun, and from such different circles of business and society! And meeting them only once every 6 to 12 months

I'm exhausted already, even after a long weekend. Sometimes I need a weekend from my weekend. Or maybe I just need to tone it all down for a while and get some sleep; this can't be good for me.

On another note, I think I want to buy a BBQ to place on my balcony. Maybe just a little habachi set, so that I can carcinogenize my meats whenever I please. My only concern is that the breeze in my place runs from the balcony window through to the bedroom windows and out, which means the smell of BBQ will permeate through all of my apartment. Must figure out a way to fix that first, maybe test with smoke paper or a scented candle somehow.

Why do the homeless (or more politically correct, transients) seem to be always walking so fast? I mean, where are they in such a rush to get to? Are they late for a meeting or a conference call? Unlikely. Do they have appointments to keep? With whom? Or are they running away from someone, and if they are, where would they run to the safety of?

The opposite extreme is that if they aren't walking around hurriedly, they just seem to be sitting around doing nothing. There seems to be no middle ground ... except when they cross the street at improper crossing areas. For a people who don't seem to have schedules to keep, they sure think they should delay those of us who do!

Inspired by the memory of a car ride in downtown Vancouver.

I do not like white hairs, particularly ones that are growing on my head. (I don't mind so much the ones growing on other people's heads.) Studies have shown that, contrary to popular belief, white hair growth is not affected by stress or worrying; it is instead simply a hereditary trait. (So your parents shouldn't blame you for theirs, as mine are so apt to point out.)

I also do not like that I am balding. I don't even really do that much thinking, not enough to justify it! Already, it's hard to find a hairstyle that looks decent on me, and is low-enough maintenance that I don't mind doing it. Imagine the choices with half the hair coverage to play with! Ugh.

I wish I could do more for her! I wish I could cradle her in luxury and treat her the way that I know she deserves, but in many ways, it's neither realistic nor sustainable. I will have to baby her in other ways to give her the security in where we are and can be.

"YEAH! WHOOHOOOOOOO!!" rang around the apartment, arms punching the air in glorious victory, some 1100 miles away. Warm emotional waves washed over me, my chest swelling with patriotic pride as I viewed the images -- they are, of course, painted with clear blues, lush greens, rich reds, and sunny scenes all around. We won the vote, and the 2010 Winter Games will be held in Vancouver, Canada.

Toys only bring peripheral joys for me now. They're fun to have, but I'm not craving them anymore. Material goods are luxuries for physical senses; what I need is joys of the mind, emotional fulfillment.

Almost in direct contradiction, however, I have found myself on a shopping flurry for "necessities": new jeans, new sneaks, new inline skates. Though I haven't yet purchased these, I can already feel that burden on the pocketbook as I look into them more. At least I have personal shopping consultants who can help with these decisions!

Parking in a handicap access area can make you $280 USD lighter in a matter of minutes. Even if your car is the only one around. Early on a Saturday morning. In what you may think is a private lot. In front of your own company building that you know is not even open that weekend. While you are actively loading stuff in the company car and happened to be inside the building to get another cartful.

The citation contesting process requires a written letter to the Office of Parking Violations, clearly stating reasons on why the citation should be considered invalid. They then allow themselves 4 to 6 weeks to decide whether the citation can be dismissed or is still valid. If it is still valid and one requests to appeal, a court date can ensue, but the bail amount (ticket amount) must first be paid anyway.

If you think hourly parking in SF is expensive, try leaving your car in one of those spots and see what happens.

I am completely exhausted. Drove her home last night around 11pm and I was already tired. Had to pull over on the way so she could drive instead (even after half a Hansen's Energy drink). Then I had to nap outside her place for an hour to gain some level of energy to drive home. Took a DoubleShot espresso drink and still had to pull over about 2/3 the way home to sleep on the side of the highway. Got home at 3am. I'm really really tired right now. Really tired from a full and eventful weekend.