[ Sunday, November 30, 2008 ]

Walt Disney Concert Hall

Walt Disney Concert Hall
Yesterday I actually had some free time with Matthew out of town with his cousins and grandparents for the long weekend, so I spent some time sightseeing around downtown LA. The first stop was the Walt Disney Concert Hall. They give free tours (with limited hours), either self-guided or privately guided tours. We opted for the self-guided tour, which includes an electronic "wand" that has pre-recorded information narrated by John Lithgow. It was a very fascinating building all around and you get to see everything except inside the actual concert hall (which you have to pay for an event to see). I took a ton of photos of this place, and have more of our quick Downtown LA tour coming up soon.

Here's the wiki on the WDCH!

Woo-Hoo! I made it through the entire month of Day 30!

yam [8:22 PM 4 comments ]

[ Saturday, November 29, 2008 ]

Kitchen TV
Are you ready for the digital transition?

Digital Transition
Are you ready for the transition from analog TV to digital TV? My big widescreen TV with the HDTV cable box is all ready to go, but I'm not so sure about the TV in the dining area or the little TV in the kitchen. I'm actually thinking about replacing the old tube TV in the dining room with a digital one for a reasonable price. But the kitchen is a different story.

I watch that little portable TV every morning as I'm making breakfast and Matthew's lunch, to catch up on the daily news, weather, and traffic. Almost all of the little portable TVs are analog. But as of now, there is virtually nothing available in small TVs with a digital tuner (although, you can get a coupon for $40 off a plug-in digital-to-analog converter HERE). If you look at any of the online electronics sites, it's a huge hole in the market that the electronics industry has fallen behind. And, they also do not have any plans to make a portable, battery-powered analog-to-digital converter box. So, until they come up with something, that little TV is gonna just be useless E-waste. Day 29

yam [9:00 AM 4 comments ]

[ Friday, November 28, 2008 ]

Fancy Faucet

Friday Foto
This was a photo inside the Men's room at Alan Wong's Restaurant in Honolulu. I really liked the look of this rustic faucet and the very unusual sink (the drain "hole" is just a slit along the corner of the sink). Day 28

yam [4:13 PM 1 comments ]

[ Thursday, November 27, 2008 ]

Thanksgiving Thoughts
Happy Thanksgiving to you all! For the second year in a row, I'm retired from making the entire Thanksgiving Day feast. While I truly love to make the ginormous feast, with all of the planning, preparations, tastings, and happy smiles from my guests, not having to do it all is kinda nice. Let me take a quick walk through history to how I got here.

While I was growing up and through the high school years, we had Thanksgiving dinner prepared by either my mom or my aunt (my Dad's brother's wife) and we would take turns having it at either one of our houses. My cousins were all quite a few years older than me so I never really got along with them all that much (plus I was a shy nerdy kid). So, when my cousins started getting married and such, we didn't spend the holidays with them any more and it was just at home with my parents and whatever relatives on my mom's side that were visiting from out of town.

Then when I got married to G, since my mom was getting up in years, and G's family didn't really celebrate the holiday the traditional way (they're all foreign-born) we prepared the Thanksgiving meal for our two families. I worked on probably half of the meal and everyone else shared in the preparation. And then as we started having kids, it grew more and more. But when G died and it was harder to pick up and go places when M was little, I just invited everyone over to our house and I cooked the entire meal. It was actually a good excuse for me to be creative and try new things every year. And since the in-laws were Chinese and not that familiar with all of the traditional fixings, I would try to stick in one Chinese "style" dish into the menu.

Now, I'm in a new chapter of my life, with a new future wife, and my mom passed on a couple years ago, Thanksgivings are being spent with our "new" family, which is WAY larger. So, now I'm just making a couple of dishes to bring amongst dozens of other dishes that will be shared on this holiday. Of course, we're still getting with the other part of our family (M's mom's side) tomorrow as they will always be part of our family too.

So I have to say, that on this Thanksgiving day, even though some very dear ones are no longer with us, that I'm very thankful to have so many family members to share the holidays! Oh, and thank you too for stopping by to read my blog!

Happy Thanksgiving and I hope yours day is a good one.

Here are links to some Thanksgivings past...
Turkey Day 2006
Turkey Day 2005 and photo
Turkey Day 2004
Day 27

yam [11:08 AM 2 comments ]

[ Wednesday, November 26, 2008 ]

My Shirt
Look at the Shirt I made! (in summer day camp)

Wordless Wednesday Day 26

yam [7:48 PM 1 comments ]

[ Tuesday, November 25, 2008 ]

Okra, Tomatoes and Bacon
Okra, Tomatoes & Bacon

Bacon Follow-up
The Bacon Day Potluck at work today turned out pretty good, even though it was relatively small. Featured items (besides what I brought) were bacon-wrapped shrimp, bacon-wrapped potatoes, bacon-wrapped pralines & dried cranberries, bacon-stuffed serrano chili peppers (Wow, so hot, but so tasty!), bacon broccoli salad, and German potato bacon salad. There was also cornbread and honey-butter, rolls, sour cream apple pie and fruit. Oh, and someone even brought two bags of bacon bits, just in case there wasn't enough bacon! Yup, we had a royal bacon feast, to say the least! Day 25

yam [7:40 PM 0 comments ]

[ Monday, November 24, 2008 ]

Everything's Better With Bacon
For those of you that know me or have followed my blog, you know that food has always been an important part of who I am. I'm an engineer by trade but if I had my druthers, I'd have a career in the food industry. But of course, it's a very competitive field, there's very little guarantee of success, usually requires long hours and usually doesn't pay that well. So, I do all of my cooking for the love of the food. OK, this blog entry has gone off track from my original thought.

The point of tonight's entry is that at work, I've been the main instigator for tomorrow's pot luck which I will call "Thanksgiving - Thankful for Bacon!". Every dish that people bring in will have to include bacon! Yes, not healthy, but just about the tastiest food around. And of course, Everything's better with bacon!

The response at work has been somewhat lukewarm except for my main cohort R, so I'm going to be bringing in three things. An okra and tomato veggie dish, liberally laced with bacon, bacon ranch dip with chips and (drumroll please).... Chocolate covered-bacon! Yeah, you heard me. I've seen it on the Food Network and in a few other places on the web, so I had to give it a try. I'll let you know tomorrow how it all turns out! Day 24

Now this is REALLY a stretch for using bacon....

yam [9:36 PM 1 comments ]

[ Sunday, November 23, 2008 ]

Weekend Update
I don't really have anything all that exciting to write about for this weekend as it was a fairly quiet one. Which, by the way, was a good thing because last week was exhausting, since I had to drive way out to Anaheim on 4 of 5 mornings for training, and then try and squeeze 8 hours worth of work into less than half of each day.

On Saturday morning we skipped Matthew's early morning basketball practice because he's battling a head cold and I didn't think playing out in the cold damp air was all that good of an idea. So we just hung at home in the morning after sleeping in for a change. Went out to lunch for some hot noodle soup and then returned home to take care of some long overdue yard work which took me the remainder of the afternoon, while Matthew did homework and music practice. For dinner we went out for some Peruvian food which was accompanied by some nice Peruvian music, featuring the pan flute. That was pretty much the end of my night as I crashed on the sofa around 8:00 and didn't wake until after 11:00.

Sunday morning we got to sleep in again (what a treat!) and then ran around town doing some shopping for a few upcoming food events (work potluck, thanksgiving, Sunday dinner) and finished off more yard work in the back yard. I really had to get things done since we're expecting some rainstorms this coming week. In the afternoon we went to Matthew's basketball game, where we got beat up pretty bad, 50-25, and Matthew made a whopping 2 points. Oh well. Back home to start up dinner and then it was time to drop off da kid at basketball clinic, followed by dinner of steamed fish, green beans and rice. Yeah, not exactly an exciting weekend, but it certainly seemed to fly by. Day 23

yam [8:29 PM 1 comments ]

[ Saturday, November 22, 2008 ]

Eboshi Ramen Eboshi Tanmen

The Eboshi Noodle Bar is always crowded for dinner whenever we've gone past this place, so we had to try it today for lunch. It was good, but not all that outstanding. The noodles were a bit over-cooked, but not too bad. The soup was tasty but I could detect a bit of MSG in the broth. The shared parking lot is terrible, as there are a few other Japanese restaurants in this tiny corner strip mall, as well as a Karate school and some other businesses.

2383 Lomita Blvd Ste 116, Lomita, CA 90717

In Other News
In other news, Matthew brought home his first report from his new school (he moved up to middle school this year!) and for the first time ever, he made the honor role, with 5 A's and 2 B's! Wow, what a shocker! The thing is, he doesn't really try all that hard and I just know that he could get straight A's if he tried just a little bit harder. Anyways, I promised him that when he brought home good grades, that I would get him something nice, so we did a bit of shopping (but didn't buy anything) and then came home and ordered him a new basketball on-line (much cheaper than in the stores). Good job! Day 22

yam [2:05 PM 0 comments ]

[ Friday, November 21, 2008 ]

Mo Elmo
Is Elmo back on the radar again?

Friday Foto
In order to make it easier to blog every day this month, I'm now introducing Friday Foto, to post some interesting (to me) shots I have taken over many months, that I never got around to posting. Day 21

yam [7:57 PM 0 comments ]

[ Thursday, November 20, 2008 ]

Three Things Thursday
OK, so for this week's Three Things Thursday, I'm going to randomly list three songs that make me happy whenever I hear them. There are definitely a lot more than these, but I just pulled these out of my head in no particular order.

1. Time To Say Goodbye - Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman
Both of them have the most incredible voices; so smooth and strong, have such feeling and seem to sing so effortlessly.

2. September - Earth, Wind & Fire - "Do you remember, the twenty-first night, of September? Love was changing the minds of pretenders, while chasing the clouds away!"

3. Love My Way - The Psychedelic Furs - Yeah, this one is a kinda weird choice. But whenever I hear it on an oldies station, I sing along with it and it's the kind of song that makes you think that anyone can sing. Day 20

yam [10:01 PM 0 comments ]

[ Wednesday, November 19, 2008 ]

Fry Daddy
I have to admit that one of my favorite evil pleasures (there are more than I want to admit) are french fries. Yup, I have to try really hard to resist their temptation, knowing that they really aren't very healthy for me. Well, anyways I could go on and on about their golden yumminess, but I'll spare you the gory details. I was having lunch yesterday at my favorite french fry place and came up with the idea to rank my favorite fried potato places.

1. Charley's Grilled Subs - I love how crispy and flavorful their "gourmet" fries are, and still tender and fluffy on the inside. Also they've managed to make their fries crispy without being greasy. Even when they cool off, they're still crispy without being hard. Great with or without ketchup.

2. Chik-Fil-A - Their waffle fries have that unique shape that really allow you to taste the golden brown crust. They have a really nice light crispiness and tender insides. Good with or without ketchup.

3. In 'N Out Burger - These "Cholesterol Free" fries are so light and fresh tasting, that the really complement their great burgers. The only problem is that once their fries cool off, the flavor really escapes and they get soggy. Nothing worse than floppy, starchy fries.

4. Arby's - Their seasoned curly fries have one of the best blend of spices. I've had several different kinds of curly fries, but theirs has the best balance of savory and sweet. The only downside is that when they cool off, they get pretty hard.

5. McDonald's - I had to give old Mickey D's some props since those are the old favorite, even though they aren't spectacular. Like most french fries, they are best when hot out of the fryer, but quickly lose their flavor when cooled off and need lots of ketchup to hide the greasy taste.

6. El Pollo Loco - Surprisingly, this grilled chicken place has some very good fries, that have good flavor from the skins left on and are fried just right.

There are probably many others that have good fries, as these are just the ones that come to my mind first. What are your favorite french fries? Day 19

yam [9:34 PM 2 comments ]

[ Tuesday, November 18, 2008 ]

Lego Mindstorm Night

Tonight Matthew was lucky to be able to participate in a session of robotics where the kids got to learn about how robots work and how to build and program them. He had fun! Day 18

yam [9:00 PM 0 comments ]

[ Monday, November 17, 2008 ]

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread

Cranberry Pumpkin Bread
Even though it doesn't really feel like fall here yet (we still have temps in the 80's!), I have been thinking about autumn treats, so tonight I made this recipe that definitely made me think of fall!


* 4 eggs
* 2 cups pumpkin puree
* 1/2 cup vegetable oil
* 1/2 cup apple sauce
* 4 cups sugar
* 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 4 cups cranberries
* 1/4 brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In bowl combine eggs, pumpkin puree, apple sauce and oil. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Add cranberries and mix well. Divide dough into 2 (8 by 4-inch) loaf pans (I actually split mine into 4 mini pans and one 8x4 loaf pan, so I could give away the little loaves). Sprinkle brown sugar on top. Bake for 50 minutes.

(It's in the oven now, so I'll add photos of it after it's done!). Whoa, those fresh cranberries were really tart! So, I think next time I'll use 2 cups of dried cranberries instead. Day 17

yam [8:25 PM 2 comments ]

[ Sunday, November 16, 2008 ]

Day After The Fires Day After The Fires

The Aftermath
I went to bed last night watching all of the brush fires burning on TV, and woke up this morning finding everything outside covered with soot. Since my car is black, it really showed the aftermath of the fires burning east (about 40 miles) of us in the Orange County foothills. Actually, many of the fires were still burning out of control in the morning and we could see another huge brown cloud of smoke coming our way.

Birthday Feast

Later in the morning we drove out to Santa Monica to attend a birthday party and then drove back into Gardena for Matthew's basketball game. He didn't have much of an impact (scored 0 points on 0-1 shooting), but his team won 49-25. This team we played was 0-10 in the recent fall league and we beat them twice. Day 16

"The Wall Is Falling!"
The Wall Is Falling!

yam [9:15 PM 0 comments ]

[ Saturday, November 15, 2008 ]

Smoky Air Causing Spooky Skies

Apocalypse Now?
It was a rather bizarre looking day today that started out pretty much like any other Saturday. We got up early and went outside to Matthew's basketball team practice at 8:00 AM and it seemed like a fairly normal day, except that by 9:00 it was getting hot and by 10:00 the temps were pushing 90 degrees. In November, no less!

After going home to rest and relax for a bit, we headed out to get some lunch and run some errands. I should have guessed that something was up when I tried to use the drive-thru car wash at the gas station but it was broken. We noticed that next door to the gas station, a local toy store had a sign that it was going out of business so we went though to try and find some bargains, but didn't have much luck. By the time we got out of the store, the sky was getting quite brown and we could start seeing ashes begin to fall. There are several brush fires burning in the SoCal area, although we are a good 40-50 miles away. But the hot dry Santa Ana winds that are fueling these fires, are blowing all of the soot across the entire LA area. So it made the skies dreary and smoky.

Ashes falling everywhere

We were planning on going to the Wings Over Long Beach airplane exhibit over in Long Beach, but because the air quality was so bad and really nasty smelling, I decided that it probably wasn't going to be a good idea to be outdoors too much.

As we continued down the street, there were no less than half a dozen "Going Out Of Business" sign holders, waving their signs to the passing vehicles for Mervyns, Shoe Pavilion and Linens 'N Things. It was very sobering and with the dark, sooty skies it definitely cast a pallor on the day. But we did take advantage of two of the three places. I bought three pairs of shoes for under a hundred dollars at Shoe Pavilion and Matthew got a bunch of socks, underwear and a jacket for about $45.

Also on our list of errands for the day, was to get a new set of special shoe inserts and new basketball shoes for Matthew. He's been having serious issues with his ankles over the last several months. We went to the Podiatrist and found out that he has really flat feet which has caused a lot of strain on his ankles, so he needed the extra support for his shoes, and also has to wear ankle braces while he plays in his games. So, I also went and bought him some expensive Nike basketball shoes since I figured that it wasn't worth it to be cheap on M's feet since he's been having such problems with them. Day 15

Smoky Air Causing Spooky Skies
Yes, it was a very creepy sky out there today, making me think the Apocalypse was upon us.

yam [9:26 PM 3 comments ]

[ Friday, November 14, 2008 ]

Whoa, I have barely 10 minutes left to make a effort at continuing my blogging every day for the month of November! I've been so busy at work every day that I definitely don't have time to blog, although we did take a little break to run over to the window like a bunch of children and watched an old B-52 bomber fly into town for this weekend's airplane exhibit for Air Force week. All over the LA area, there have been fly-overs, and visits to local airports to celebrate the Air Force and their impact on the Southern California area. Tomorrow is the Wings Over Long Beach and we're gonna try and make it over there. Day 14

yam [11:46 PM 0 comments ]

[ Thursday, November 13, 2008 ]

Sick or Not Sick
This crazy weather we've been having for the last 2 months has definitely put a strain on our immune systems. At least every other week the temperature has been venturing into the 90's during the day, and sliding back into the 50's at night. Normal for this time of year in SoCal is usually in the low 70's.

So, on Monday Matthew started sniffling and talking like he's inside of a box, but has been able to do OK thru the days. And last night and into today, I've been feeling less than chipper. My head hurts and even my face has been hurting between and around my eyes. So last night and today I've been taking advil and swabbing my nose with Zicam to hopefully ward off a cold which I really don't need right now (when is it ever good?). Tonight Matthew had a late night basketball practice abut we we both fell asleep after dinner, before heading out to the gym. But we worked pretty hard during practice (OK, Matthew actually worked harder than me, but I played a lot of defense on the Pick-and-roll) and hopefully we'll be OK by the weekend. (Posted from my smartphone again!) Day 13

yam [11:33 PM 0 comments ]

[ Wednesday, November 12, 2008 ]

Linky Dinks
Here is just a random listing of interesting links that I've come across recently:

Best Ramen in LA (2007)

World view of Obama as the new US prez

Another crazy Japanese game show

Awesome Water Fountain in Japan

BMW crashes into deer on the Autobahn (not for the squeamish)

Day 12

yam [9:24 PM 4 comments ]

[ Tuesday, November 11, 2008 ]

OK, I've been so lazy about getting my internet connection at home fixed and now it's catching up with me. My connection is getting worse and seems to be out more often than not. Right now i'm making this entry on my phone just to get in a daily entry. Hopefully I'll get some time to call and get this thing fixed (especially since I'm so crazy busy at work that I don't have time to blog). Go Lakers! Day 11

yam [9:08 PM 1 comments ]

[ Monday, November 10, 2008 ]

Complete Weekend Update
As promised, here is the complete weekend update including all of the nauseating detail that you’ve been dying to read.

We woke up early to take Matthew to his haircut appointment (that I forgot was at the same time as his basketball team practice) and the raced across town to make the last hour of basketball practice. It was actually pretty darn hot on the outdoor courts where practice was held.

Then we went shopping at Target to pick up snacks and drinks (only found snacks for the upcoming piano recital) and a few other sundries for home. Next we trekked over to the 99(.99) Cent Store and got lots of drinks for home and the basketball team (our turn to bring). And finally we stopped at Pavilions for oranges to make Jell-O oranges. We were kinda bad at lunch, since I had a coupon for buy-one, get one free at Carl’s Jr. for their Guacamole Bacon Six Dollar Burger. Yum! We made it home and cleaned up around the house and put together the Jell-O filled orange slices for team snacks on Sunday.

Piano Recital

Then Matthew got dressed up for his piano recital at the music school where he played “The Clock”. Unfortunately, during the middle of his performance someone’s car alarm went off in the parking lot and it threw him off! But overall, he did OK with his short piece.

The recital was pretty late in the day, so we just to the closest place we could find for dinner and tried for the first (and last) time, Shin Yakitori. We had probably one of the worst experiences at a restaurant in ages. They were busy so put us in one of the private back rooms, which had no ventilation and was super hot. I ordered the 7 course Yakitori Sakura meal and Matthew had just a bowl of noodle soup. The food took forever to come, came excruciatingly slow throughout the evening. My chicken wings were still bloody inside and sent those back. I had to keep asking when my next dish would arrive and eventually never got all of my dishes. I thought maybe they messed up because it was crowded when we arrived, but after being there for two hours, came out from the back room and the restaurant was practically empty. They offered to give us free ice cream, but it was too little too late. Oh, and the food was only so-so. Never going back there again!

After M went to bed, we stayed up to watch Atonement. It was a fantastically beautiful movie, but it was so depressing that the ending made you feel torn between sadness and wanting to kill yourself.

Going For A Lay-up

We drove all the way out to the valley for a noontime basketball game. It was close in the first half with the score 13-17, with our team having some easy missed lay-ups, but we got blown out in the second half, with the final score of 29-53. Matthew made a whopping 3 points. Our team was definitely out-classed by the other team, but at least our boys played their hardest.

Noodle World

Then we made our way east to have lunch in Old Town Pasadena with Moujiboy and LWTSH. I hadn’t been to Pasadena in ages and the weather was beautiful if a bit chilly. We met up at Noodle World on Colorado Blvd. It was fun to catch up with both of them, who were each spouse-less for the day, and it was even better with LWTSH who hadn’t seen in years! Matthew had the seafood fried rice, I had the Chinese egg noodle soup with seafood and both were very tasty. The convo went from work, to washing machines to C-section births to anything else in-between. And of course, I lost out on picking up the check to LWTSH, so big thanks are in order to her! We then went a couple doors down to Squeeze & Scoop for self-serve soft frozen yogurt that you pay by the ounce. It seems to be much cheaper that way and you tend to not eat so much.
We headed home around 4 PM but ran into horrible downtown LA traffic and just barely made it back so that Matthew could participate in a basketball clinic at 5:30, that he’s missed for weeks, due to bad tendinitis in his ankles. Since we had such a big and late lunch, I through together some Mushroom soup Chicken over rice for dinner after Matthew’s second basketball event of the day.

Yes, it was a busy weekend. Day 10

yam [10:10 PM 2 comments ]

[ Sunday, November 09, 2008 ]

Weekend Quickie
OK, I'm going to cheat by just giving a very quick rundown of the weekend, just to get a blog entry in today, but I promise tomorrow to have a more in depth report with photos, since it's getting kinda late tonight.

On Saturday Matthew got a haircut, then went to basketball practice, we did some shopping and cleaning up around the house and then it was time for M's piano recital and a really bad experience at a Japanese restaurant. Finished off the evening with a really good, but very depressing movie. On Sunday we drove way out to the valley for M's basketball game, jetted over to Pasadena to meet up with friends for lunch, fought terrible traffic through downtown LA to just make it back for M's basketball clinic, and then finally home to watch the Lakers beat up on the Rockets.

Just a typical kinda weekend for us. More tomorrow. Day 9

yam [9:52 PM 1 comments ]

[ Saturday, November 08, 2008 ]

Last Of the Hawaii Photos
Okinawan Festival, OahuCorvette Club Of Hawaii

OK, I finally uploaded the last of my Hawaii trip photos from the end of summer. Man, it took me a while to get around to it. They include the Okinawan Festival, a local Corvette show, and other scenes around Honolulu. But at least I got in another blog entry for the month! Day 8

yam [12:10 PM 0 comments ]

[ Friday, November 07, 2008 ]

Back In Time
In the interest of making it through NaBloPoMo, I went back in time to find previous entries that I never finished or published. Here's one that I had worked on back in February of this year. It's very techy-geeky, so just be forewarned...

Technology is Wonderful. NOT! (2/7/08)
Hey, did you miss me? Yeah, I've been pretty much AWOL from blogging for two months now. I've also hardly even looked at any of my previously fave reads, so I have a lot of catching up to do. OK, so what's taken me so long to get back into it? Here's my main problem.

As I mentioned before, I bought this new "super" PC and I was hoping that after a little bit of work, transferring software over from the old PC, I'd be up and running. Wrong. Copying over the data that I wanted to keep from the old computer took a few days, but that was expected. I thought that I would avoid more problems by ordering the new PC with Windows XP, but having be a bit more oompf with the Media Center Edition (MCE), especially since I haven't heard anything good with Vista. Welp, that brought up my first problem. I needed to hotsync my Palm Treo, so I tried to install the program and copy over all of my add-ons and data. But I was getting error messages, hang-ups and worst of all, the "Blue Screen Of Death". After doing more research, I found out that Palm does not support the Treo on Windows MCE. Great. But after doing more research, was able to find a workaround and after about a week, finally got it working.

The next problem was trying to get my new 80 Gb iPod (that I got for Christmas) hooked up and working. I had originally uploaded all of my music from my old PC onto my iPod through the old interface, which took me 3 days to install 60 Gb of music. Of course, I didn't know that you can't transfer music from your iPod to another computer, so I had to redo my iPod on the new computer. But I did something wrong in the process, and I was having all sorts of problems getting it set up properly. That iTunes software isn't the easiest thing to set up if you don't follow the "standard" install. I had to do research and find out that I had to reinstall iTunes again in the exact order specified to make it be friendly again, and after a couple of days, I finally go that darn thing working.

After all the playing around to get my two main peripheral attachments working, I discovered that the built-in card reader (for SD, CF, memory sticks, etc.) now didn't work. I thought that since I had messed around with the drivers that made the Treo and iPod work, I must have messed up the drivers that used to work with the card reader. I played with this for a couple of days before giving up and putting it off until I got some of the more important issues fixed first. I eventually found out by opening up that case and taking a look at it and found out that it just got unplugged. Bah!

Right after I received the new PC, I checked it out and found out that apparently it didn't come with the option that I had paid extra for. The "basic" model came with a 500Gb hard drive and I ordered and additional 750Gb drive to store lots of music, photos and videos. But using Windows Explorer only showed 2 500 Gb drives. So, I contacted Dell and complained that they didn't give me what I ordered. After having to explain it to them a few times (the non-native CSR didn't quite understand the issue), they agreed to send out a new 750 Gb drive. So, when I was taking out the supposed "wrong" HD, it turns out that it was the correct one already! Dell hadn't formatted it correctly and only used up 500GB of space. So, more research and I finally figured out how to reformat the drive to the proper size and "Voila!", I finally had the proper amount of storage space on my computer. So, I had to send back the "new" drive to finally end this fiasco.

Fortunately, I haven't had a problem with my computer since and (except for the usual Windows issues) everything is working like it's supposed to! Day 7

yam [4:23 PM 0 comments ]

[ Thursday, November 06, 2008 ]

Three Things Thursday
There are lots of nifty memes out there to help out bloggers when they can't think of a good topic to write about, so today I'm choosing Three Things Thursday: The best Three Things that happened to me today. So, in no particular order:

1. Got my free flu shot today at work. Every year my place of business offers the employees free flu shots and I take them up on it. Ever since I was a little kid, whenever I get infected with the flu virus, I get really, really sick, sometimes out of commission for up to two weeks! But ever since I started getting my annual flu shot, any nasty bugger that I may have gotten has only barely affected me.

2. While standing in line for my flu shot, I ran into an old coworker/friend that I hadn't seen in at least 10 years! I had heard he was battling health problems and personal problems. He stopped by my office and we chatted for a bit and it seems that he's a two time survivor of cancer and he resolved things with his wife so they are back together. I was glad to hear that he is doing OK.

3. Someone who I really care about, told me that she loves me! Hee-Hee, it's not that I didn't already know that, or that she doesn't tell me every day, but the way she told me today, was very reassuring. :-) Day 6

yam [9:29 PM 0 comments ]

[ Wednesday, November 05, 2008 ]

Google Magic
As we all know, Google is one of the most used sites on the web and they've become a standard for so many different aspects of the internet. I use a lot of cool tools from Google, such as the Google tool bar search, Google images, etc. I also use G(oogle)-mail for some of my e-mailing and noticed something really neat the other day, although also somewhat scary.

I was writing an e-mail and explaining how I was going to meet up with a friend for lunch like this, "...I set up a lunch with XXX on Sunday after our game..." and in the right hand margin it says.. "Add to calendar, lunch with XXX after o... Sun Nov 9, 2008". Wow, it was smart enough to pull that info out of my e-mail and ask me if I wanted to include that in my Google Calendar with one click!

But that got me to thinking. If they can do that, what else can Google do? Can they tell where we are going to go eat? Are they spying on me and figuring out how I voted in this election and forwarding that information to Washington D.C. pundits? Are they going to manipulate my buying habits for Christmas and make me buy things that I didn't really want to buy? Day 5

yam [8:16 PM 0 comments ]

[ Tuesday, November 04, 2008 ]

I Voted!
I voted!

I did my civic duty as an American (like I've been doing for over 20 years) and made my choices in this year's highly anticipated election. I stopped by my local polling place (which happened to be someone's garage a couple of blocks from my house) after work tonight and was in and out of there in under 5 minutes. There were lots of folks coming and going but no waiting. I ended up spending time during the day doing research on what to vote for (especially all of the propositions and the judges) but then ended up leaving my sample ballot at the office! Fortunately I remembered most of my research and quickly reconstructed my choices on-line after I got home before going out to the polls. Hopefully we'll find out tomorrow the results (as I'm not gonna watch TV to find out). Day 4

yam [7:18 PM 1 comments ]

[ Monday, November 03, 2008 ]

Decisions, Decisions
Tomorrow is the big day to make our choices for local and national governmental elections, and am I ready for it? No. When it comes to elected officials I think I've pretty much already made up my mind. But the biggest issue is all of the propositions in California (12 of them).

Tonight I'll be studying my Voter Election guide to try and make up my mind about all of the state propositions that we have to decide on this year. It's very tough to decide who to believe when it comes to all of the proponents and opponents of the various measures. The commercials on both sides of the issues distort the intent of the measures so much that you can't really be sure what it's all about. Which concerns me because I like to think that I'm a fairly intelligent person, and can do my research before I make a decision. But others will be swayed only by the advertisements without actually reading what the propositions are.

Which brings up another concern of mine. There are lots of reports of how many people are interested in this presidential election and how many are coming out to vote. I'm afraid that a lot of people are only voting because the candidates are black and white, and because there is a woman running for VP. I wonder how many of the voters have actually taken the time to read up on the candidates platforms, beliefs, etc. and used that to make their decisions? I guess that's just the American way.

Speaking of the "American Way", not only is Starbucks giving away free coffee to voters, and Krispy Kreme giving out free donuts, but some company called Babeland is also giving away free sex toys! As Yakov Smirnoff used to say "What a Country!" Day 3

yam [12:03 PM 3 comments ]

[ Sunday, November 02, 2008 ]

Mickey Pancakes
Mickey Pancakes

Made us Mickey pancakes for breakfast on this "Return-to-Standard-Time" morning. Man, it sure was nice to have the extra hour of sleep last night, without the guilt of over-sleeping.

Fall has finally gotten here (well, the SoCal version of fall, anyways) with cloudy, spotty rainy days and a little bit cooler temperatures. Not as cold as it should be for fall yet (still in the 70's during the day), but nothing like those 90+ degree days we've had for the past month or so. Day 2

yam [10:50 AM 1 comments ]

[ Saturday, November 01, 2008 ]

NaBloPoMo Again
I haven't been blogging in months, even though I still think about it often. So, I'm going to try my hand again at National Blog Posting Month where I have to post an entry every day for the month of November. It's going to be really hard this time since I've been so out of practice with "real" blogging (not counting the occasional photo post).

Drac-O-LanternDrac-O-Lantern at Night

But I'm going to start out easy with a blog based on photos again. Here is the pumpkin that I carved for Halloween last night (yes, LAST night. I was late getting my pumpkin carved). I was carving it while Matthew and his friend went out Trick-or-Treating around the neighborhood with her mom, and I also manned the candy bowl as the kids came by begging for treats. We had a lot of kids last night, but I'm sure many of them weren't from our neighborhood, getting bussed in from other areas since it was a Friday night this time.


Here is Matthew in his costume that I made, along with his friend L. She has been coming over to our house to go Trick-Or-Treating with him for several years now and it's now an annual tradition. We don't see her much any more since they used to go to preschool together, but since she lives in an area where they don't have Trick-Or-Treating, we invite her to join us. I made Matthew make the call this year. Even though the two of them don't really talk much, I think they enjoy having someone to go with every year! Day 1

yam [5:29 PM 3 comments ]