I'm home again. Tired. Will blog tomorrow about recent thoughts.

To people who read my blog and know M in person: M doesn't know about my blog. But I should explain. There are reasons.

1. If she read my blog, I would run out of things to say and share with her.

2. There are issues I open for discussion with everyone, and some of them involve her, or are issues I don't want her to get involved with.

That's why. Thanks for understanding.


My CEO just got a hummer. He's just glowing, and gloating about it too.

Oh, I mean a Hummer H2.

I have a prescription-happy doctor. The conversations generally went like this:

"I have experiencing [this] lately, and wondered if there's something I can do about it?"
"Sure, I can get you some [that] for it."
[scribble scribble, and a new prescription is born]

I went in for a physical exam, and a checkup on my cold. I left with four prescriptions, and a referral to an allergist and pulmonary specialist. (I only used one prescription; I don't really need the others.)

I dreamt about hEr again last night. This time, we had spent an enjoyable day together and it seemed as if things past had been forgotten and forgiven. sHe extended an invitation that I could "be with hEr for a while", and it made me happy that perhaps there was still some hope.

But I woke up more confused than ever, in perhaps more of a predicament than I had thought I was in. It could have spawned from Friday night, where I went with M to a place that I heard sHe frequents. I spent that evening trying to enjoy my time there, while always keeping an eye out to see if she was around.

Maybe this is a more nagging issue in my head than I had given credit for, growing more and more into an internal struggle. I'm messed up. I may have to take action soon.

WLNP (wireless local number portability) happened today in select metro areas -- it basically lets you switch cellphone carriers (and from landline to cellphone) and still keep your same number.

It's been a big fight until now (carriers not wanting this added support cost which can only increase subscriber churn in an already fiercely competitive business), but it's going to happen anyway. T-Mobile is the only carrier so far to have agreements with the others (AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Sprint, Verizon Wireless) to port numbers easily, showing that they are well prepared for today.

How do we get on that? The CTIA has created www.EasyPorting.com with Verizon Wireless, to educate consumers on how to port. There's also a site called WireFly started only recently (in response to the pending WLNP movement), which will compare plans from multiple carriers based on your usage. (CellMania did this two or three years ago, but doesn't seem to have it anymore.)

But what to do with your old cellphone? (Phones for one carrier will generally not work for another, even if they're both GSM technology.) RMS Communications lets consumers sell their phones at CellForCash, while Reliable Communication has options for selling or recycling or donating, at keepyourphonenumber.com.

Here are some articles for more info. Wireless Wars: Who Wins?, Wireless carriers answer call for number swaps.

I will probably wait a few weeks for them to sort out the number transfer process (and bugs) and then make a pointed call to AT&T Wireless to have them make me an offer I can't refuse. Yay!

Stoned at the Bar

I don't know why, but I sometimes enjoy watching the progress bar move when my computer is busy doing something -- installing software, stitching my images together, exporting an album, downloading mail. Sometimes I sit there and watch it go, even if process is 5 minutes, and I know I could be doing a lot better things with those minutes.

I just like watching it move along, getting subtasks done in its predetermined order, and reporting to be immediately when things are complete. Or maybe it's that I want to read each step as it goes, so I can understand what it's doing to get what I want done done. Not that it matters -- it only matters that it's done.

Reason being what it may, that little partially-coloured digital bar, changing ever-so-slowly, still mesmerizes me. It takes away minutes that I can never get back, and yet, I still sit there watching it.

For those of you with a morbid fascination. I'm going to change all my life insurance policies to end coverage after September 21, 2059.

This (Friday) morning, I had an irate customer to deal with on the phone.

Backgrounder. In this project, one of the portions is subcontracted to company U, which we (C) oversee for our customer (P). We've done several of these projects for P before, and this time, U told us they couldn't work on the new project because P had some other outstanding bills with them. (P also works directly with U in some other projects that we don't handle for them.) So I contacted P about this and asked them to sort it out quickly. In the meantime, I had our accounting people pre-pay a cheque to U for the new project in order not to delay it any more. I even hand-delivered the cheque to the right U personnel!

At that time, P looked into it and found that it was actually OUR bill (previous work done by U for P's project with us), but incorrectly invoiced to P. We should have gotten that bill, not P, but we never did, so we never paid it; P didn't recognize the charges as theirs, so they never paid it either. Mistake on U's part, confusion all around. In any case, I paid the cheque and had our accounting issue another one to pay the wrongly billed one. All done last week.

The Call. P (M and his manager A) call me up, all pissy about how their project was being held up because of our accounting mistake. My first question was, "No, this was cleared up last week. When did you hear this?" M told me he just talked to U staff yesterday. I briefly explained what I did to fix the problem. A was still very angry and demanded to know what was going on. They actually got our U contact on the phone -- she confirmed everything I said, and actually denied M's claim that he talked to her yesterday (which he changed to "this week".)

"M, I didn't speak with you this week at all. I spoke with you last week when I told you that." Then a little awkward silence on the P end of the line. Haha, I wish I could hear what A was thinking about M at that point.

U gets off the horn, and then M & A ask me why I didn't dig into the outstanding bill more (I suppose in some attempt to stay mad at me). I said, "It's a bill between U and you; I will not and CANNOT request such information! That's not mine to look into! I didn't do it then, and I won't do it in the future unless you expressly authorize me to see that confidential info." A calmed down, saw the reasoning, and agreed with me, but minion M was still irate, possibly because he was trying to show off in front of A (without any legs to stand on).

Conclusion. It ended okay by me. I had fixed the problem last week, and now it was just up to U to carry through the contracted work. And as far as I was concerned, P could shut the fvck up and wait. We'll see.

Some customers just need to chill. Especially before calling me. Because I won't always be so patient and understanding -- one day, I'll lose it.

It was that time of year again -- auto insurance renewal -- and I was facing yet another hike from StateFarm Insurance. Enough was enough, so I did some shopping around over the past three weeks.

After some recommendations -- thanks to VA, DR, ST, RK -- lots of internet quotes and phone calls, I got the following comparisons:

$949 = Geico
$834 = StateFarm
$786 = AllState
$620 = 21st Century
$593 = AAA
$526 = Mercury Insurance (through AIS broker)

After much deliberation between 21st Century and AAA, I decided to go with the latter. Chalk up the renters (homeowners) insurance on that, and I came to a grand total of $1311 for the year. And it's pretty much full coverage. Here's to me and saving $525+ a year with just a few hours' work!


What's cheating? What is the "universal" definition of cheating? Or is there one?

I mean, is it solely dependent on physical intimacy? So is holding hands cheating? Hugging? Kissing? How about phone sex and online sex, or emails of flirty nature? Nothing physical about it there, but does that mean it's not cheating?

The other extreme is that it's really dependent upon emotions, but that doesn't work perfectly either, because it means one would accept the "Honey, it was just raw animal sex!" excuse as justified. Even more complicated is that two people may be in a relationship together and have rather different views on what does and doesn't count as cheating.

I always figured it this way: if you're doing something that you have to hide, or that you know the other person would not like, that's more or less cheating. But then, there's the chance that you're dating a guy who literally doesn't want you to even talk to other guys. So maybe this is really a definition of cheating in this relationship, and maybe (if it seems to schackled) you need to be out of it.

[shrug] I dunno.

Clean up your room! Fold your clothes! And I don't want to hear any excuses! (Thanks to CY for this.) The only problem is that you have that extra flap underneath, which makes it harder to pick up and move around without messing the folding. Oh well.

Me Against The World

You ever get the feeling that the world just wants to sh!t on you? I just put my laundry in the dryer (at the apartment laundry facility) last night and stepped out to the car. I heard a huge splat behind me and a slight tickle on the back of my head. I turned around, and on the ground were two white splatters. I looked up the tree behind me, and could find no winged culprit.

Therefore, with the evidence presented, I could only conclude that some diety out there is just having a giggle with his/her latest prank on me.

A geek question to help a friend out. My friend C is currently on-site at a client company, and from their computers there, he can't surf outside of "www.clientcompany.com". He'd like to know how he can bypass that (without having to know the IT people). Of course, I'm assuming that he wants to know so that he can visit his blog more often. Help?

The dullest blog is back for another season, after a long hiatus. Find it to the right in my links section.

In just two hours, C will become a kept man. Congratulations to him!

In my book of life, there's no excuse for cheating. None at all. I just don't see how any kind of justification for cheating could be made. I think I've summed it up pretty well here.

- Even if he/she has not been treating you properly, you have a way out: breaking up. Nobody is really forced to stay in a relationship. Even economic reasons do not stand up to this.

- If you meet someone and are suddenly overcome with serious temptation, so much so that you could forget you are in a committed relationship already, then you should have taken that "way out" a long time ago. You should not have delayed it until now that opened the possibility of you cheating.

- If you entered a committed relationship, you should have stopped all other dating at that time. If you hadn't, you shouldn't have started the commitment in the first place.

- At no time during your life should you treat a partner with such disrespect as a human being. And certainly, hiding it does you no good. Karma upon you.

No, this did not happen to me. Something that happened near me had spawned this train of thought.

Ah, steamed milk with almond shot from Starbucks. It's been a while since I've enjoyed a beverage like this on an average sunny afternoon.

Horoscope, My Ass

I personally believe that horoscopes (and other such forms of fortunetelling) are mostly crap. The idea that your personality could be based simply on the planetary alignment or the date and time you were born seems rather silly to me. And the kind of fortunes that seem to show up in horoscopes and cookies and such are so vague that they simply apply to just about everyone! So, with this attitude, I set out to write some of my own. My guess is that you would agree that these more or less apply to you.

"Although you are often times considerate, there are moments when you just care about yourself and what you want."
"Your friends really like you, and for those friends you truly care about, you will go out of your way to help them in a time of need."
"Although people misunderstand you sometimes, you are good-natured and very considerate. But if someone crosses you and wears out your patience, you sometimes ignore them and move on."
"You wish your soulmate to be playful, somewhat outgoing, faithful, and sexy."
"You find yourself occasionally questioning the work of others, while admiring and revering that of others as well."
"An exciting adventure or vacation would be welcome in your life in the near future."
"One plus one makes two."

Any that you have to add?

Companies love me. It's the month of my birthday, and already Red Lobster, Palomino, Red Robin, and Banana Republic have sent me birthday offers. Obviously, it's because I'm so special!

Say, am I the only kid out there who gets an e-card from his parents?

We go through life dating, getting into (and out of) relationships. The general gist is that search for "the one" (if you indeed believe there is just one, but that's another blog's worth). This is the person who could be your ideal spouse. So then ... what do you consider "spouse material"? To you, what is essential to someone's character so that you would consider them a life-long partner in your (joint) quests and journeys?

Is love by itself enough? Is money by itself enough? Most of us would agree that neither could suffice, so what else needs to be there?

For me, she needs to first and foremost be ready to tough it out with me; I've come to the brutal realization that my life will forever be working class (miracles excepted and accepted), and she better not be the type to up and leave when the going gets rough. The ability to apply elbow grease (without whining) is paramount; it's not all fun and games when I'm around.

There's also the opinion about relationships. For instance, one's views on cheating can tell you a lot about them: their commitment, their views on relationships in general, their vengeance, and perhaps what they think is okay because of their friends and family experiences.

Understanding that this is a very subjective issue, it would be interesting to hear how you would sum it up. Some of you might be saying that you don't have requirements, to which I'll say "bull". Would you marry a crack fiend? A kleptomaniac? A serial killer? So you do have minimums; what are they?

Well, I'm nearing the date of my birthday 2003 ... let's see how I matched up against my goals.

- weight at 154lb
- bench press at 205lb with full reps (215lb on a good day)
- left shoulder still messed up
- abs in a six-pack? nowhere close
- love handles back with reinforcements
- appendix scar healed, but still tender (and very visible)
- resting heart rate at 65bpm-ish

Ugh, not very good.

There was a "fence" -- basically a large metal pipe held by posts -- that bordered my elementary school property, stopping only to allow walkways to the doors. In grade 4 or 5, we were playing outside the school one afternoon. I was out there and found a rock, with which I found great pleasure in tapping on this pipe.

Ping ping ping ... ping ping ping ...

Gosh, it must have been so annoying a sound, but I somehow enjoyed making that ruckus. The music teacher Mrs. Cumberbirch walked by and asked if I was the one doing that. I was sure I was in trouble, but she only walked by towards the doors, commenting how interesting it was that the tapping sound travelled so well through the pipe to the opening on the end.

For years, I thought that was just the sort of thing a music teacher would notice. It wasn't until this memory came back to me just recently that I realized she was trying to instill a curiosity for sound (and by extension, music) into our young children's minds.

My love for music and sound today finds great pleasure in that little comment she made, tapping into our minds.

Apologies that BlogExtra has been down for almost 24 hours now. I'll keep my posts short and less discussion-like until the feedback mechanism returns. In the meantime, enjoy some of my friends' blogs (section on right) -- some of them aren't dependent on BlogExtra.

"I'm going to be a dad in May." When I heard those words, mixed emotions rushed at me from all directions.

A flood of happiness engulfed me, and I celebrated from the heart for a dear friend (of over 20 years). I know this responsibility is well-rested on his shoulders and that he will provide more than enough love, comfort, and warmth for his wife and child-to-be. I can't wait to play with the baby! Babies, babies, babies!

And at the same time, a strange sadness -- or is it fear -- fell over me, further striking the chord that I am somehow behind. Don't get me wrong; I don't want a baby right now. There's no way I could afford to raise him/her the way I would want to; I can barely manage raising me! (And anyway, a spouse needs to come first.) But it all points to the same thing: I'm not where I need (or want) to be at this point in my life.

Cheers to T&M on the new addition! Love you both.

Apparently, CareBears are somehow "cool" again -- this was my second shocking observation from Paramount's Great America amusement park. They're back, just like high-top sneaks, mini-skirts, GI Joe, and myriad fads back in the 80's.

I mean, we're just fast-stepping through past decades. I guess a few years ago, the 70's had come back full force (evident in the Charlie's Angels movie title sequence and Snoop Dogg's music video wardrobe), and now we're moving towards the 80's. I suppose neon colours will make the comeback shortly? And grundge as well?

Sign up for wireless through Landover Baptist Church and receive salvation and a free phone. (Hint: This was from the church, and is intended as satire.)

So it's Halloween and I'm last-minuting my costume this year (yet again). This year's theme is military -- I discarded the terrorist costume idea pretty quickly, for fear of violence against my frail body -- and M is at a military surplus store grabbing stuff right now. Pants for $20, shirt for $8, available to anyone, for cheaper than most clothing out there! And we're talking authentic military issue! (Kind of scary, if you think about how easy it must be to get decked up in war gear.)

What are you gonna be, and what you up to tonight?