Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Project 365: Day 85 =VGI= Profiles

With the coming of BF: BC2, the days of =VGI= online domination may again be at hand. In celebration of this momentous occasion, I present the first in a series profiling each =VGI= member. Because I have no cucumbers, lemons, grapes, tomatoes, dragonfruits, catnip, or DataSixes at this moment, =VGI= jOrange is the first subject. =VGI= jOrange is probably the newest member and while initially a n00b, jOrange quickly developed into every Medic's dream: tirelessly running into enemy fire to "take one for the team" while keeping them on their toes by providing valuable experience using the defibrillator. If you see =VGI= jOrange on the field, do not even attempt to engage as the army of Medics behind ensure his invincibility in battle.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Project 365: Day 84

I recently took some advanced PL/SQL training from Oracle University which turned out to be the biggest hassle I have ever experienced. Originally, the course was scheduled for October 2009, then it was canceled and moved to November 24, 2009. Hmm, does that date look familiar? Why yes, yes it is during the Thanksgiving holidays. I opted to not take the training then and called Oracle to change my time. Oracle said okay, but only if I paid half of the $1200 course fee first, then the other half upon completion. I agreed to this and they rescheduled it to January 2010.

Well, they canceled that one again and scheduled me for one in February. February comes along and I finally get a phone call from our Oracle rep saying the one in February was canceled, but that there was online training I can take. By this point, I was pretty pissed since I was not going to pay $1200 for some stupid online material which I can probably get for free through Google. After telling my rep I wanted my money back, she finally "found" a course in March that she guaranteed would run. I agreed to this, but then she tried to charge me the whole $1200 for the course even though the previous agent had already charged me $600. At this point, I just flat out asked for my money back, but then the agent "checked" some records and determined that I should only be charged the remaining $600.

Course finally runs and the first day of class, the instructor hands out these free notebooks that were probably printed in 1995 or something. One of them even had writing from a previous course.

To be fair, the instructor was very knowledgeable and taught the class very well. I learned a lot of tips on how to write better code and ways to improve efficiency during coding. Even though the class was ultimately useful, I would highly not recommend training from Oracle because of the horrible enrollment process.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Project 365: Day 83

It has been a while since I have used the ole Nintendo DS. The last game I tried was Phantasy Star and that was quite good. Finally decided to pick up Infinite Space after reading some good reviews. So far, it's been very confusing as the UI isn't exactly intuitive and the plot is a little thin. On the plus side, at least I will have something to do again on those bus rides to and from work.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Project 365: Day 82

The reality of the CFA exam is finally dawning on PP. While she's not quite yet in full panic mode (I suspect it will start after VO:VI), she certainly is starting to feel the pressure. The reading notes were delivered to her in a pretty hefty sized box and is probably at least 10,000 pages long. So far, progress is steady, but stacks and stacks of papers yet remain...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Project 365: Day 81

Duke versus Purdue turned out to be a much better game. The game was a defensive struggle throughout most of the game with both teams shooting sub 25%. The score was ridiculously low and 15 minutes into the first period, it was 15-12, a score that happens when we play pick-up basketball. Eventually, the Purdue defense started to tire and Duke pulled away with about 5 minutes remaining. Phat lootz for the night included a free official NCAA hat and a free cup. Hopefully we will be signing more contracts in the future...I want to watch a football game from one of these boxes.

Project 365: Day 80

Continuing the March Madness theme.. The first game I watched was Baylor versus St. Mary's College. This game was pretty boring as Baylor pretty much crushed St. Mary's with an early run that took all the drama out of the game. St. Mary's never trailed by less than 20 points. The coworkers I was with weren't exactly big basketball fans as they were mostly going for the free food and booze so they were practically falling asleep. The food was a pretty good assortment of arena food consisting of hot dogs, chicken fingers, stuffed jalapenos, pizza, etc so at least that part was enjoyable.

Project 365: Day 79

Out of the blue, a coworker came by and asked me if I wanted to go to the NCAA regional semifinals at Reliant Stadium. Apparently, they had just signed a deal with a vendor and the vendor was providing these luxury box seats as a "signing bonus." I had never been in a luxury box before so I jumped at the opportunity. I got there kinda late because I had to borrow M's car since mine was having maintenance performed but I was quite pleasantly surprised when I got there. Free food, free drinks, and a pretty awesome view of the court. I only wish I had better lenses so I could better capture the action.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Project 365: Day 78

With the coming of spring, PP and I have decided to re-establish the habit of going to the gym after slacking off way too much during the winter. The plan is gym twice a week and running outside during the weekends. To that end, we each purchased a new pair of running shoes.

Project 365: Day 77

Took this picture yesterday, but got back too late to post it. We had a potluck at some of PP's friends' place. The hosts cooked this wonderful Russian salad consisting of potatoes/sausage/peas/corn while another guest brought another Romanian salad consisting of potatoes/chicken/peas/carrots. It was an epic battle of the salads but in the end, it was too close to tell as my stomach was too full from tasting both. The hosts also made this incredibly simple, yet delicious dish consisting of chicken drumsticks and potatoes. They basically basted the chicken and potatoes with mayonnaise and salt then baked them together in the oven. PP and I brought some turtle and New York style cheesecake for dessert.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Project 365: Day 76

Today, we have a guest photographer. This certain person complained that I couldn't capture the essence of the cuteness that is a fluffy white seal and so took matters into her own hands.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Project 365: Day 75

Went to Buca di Beppo today with two of PP's friends. We had gone to the one in Austin before and the one here in Houston was much the same. Huge family portions of pastas in giant bowls to share amongst everyone. We ordered 3 small bocas but in reality, 2 would have been the perfect size. This picture is of the appetizer we ordered called Mozzarella Caprese. It consists of slices of tomato and mozzarella cheese. It is actually surprisingly refreshing and does not taste very heavy at all.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Project 365: Day 74

Why is it still cold here in Texas? It's spring time but today it was so cold in the house that I had to turn the heat on. It was basically rainy and cold all day long. On the up side though, Cornell is in the round of 32. Go Big Red!

Project 365: Day 73

It's spring which means time for some spring cleaning! The old vacuum cleaner broke because when it came time to replace the belt, M replaced it with a belt 1 size too large. As a result, it destroyed the brush heads. This new vacuum sucks....very well! It even has this automatic cord re-tractor which really prevents the cord from getting in the way while vacuuming.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Project 365: Day 72

I caved....yes Catnipped, you totally called it.

Project 365: Day 71

A while ago, I mentioned that I had somehow managed to destroy my feet while jogging. After seeing the doctor and getting some advice about getting a nice arch-supporting in-sole, I headed off to the local Walmart to try out the Dr. Scholl's machine. It seemed somewhat sketchy as you only stand on the thing for a split second before it recommended a number for the soles you need so I really didn't know what to expect. The soles were really thick and were not comfortable at first, but after breaking them in, I could totally feel the difference. Perhaps now I will actually be able to use those cleats I picked up.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Project 365: Day 70

The Jawbone is pretty awesome but one thing that sucked about it was the battery life. I started it up in the morning and by the time I got off from work, the thing was dead. Perhaps it's a bad battery or a bad batch so I will give it another go tomorrow. On a better note, we had a wonderful dinner at a place called Fins with some of PP's friends. The conversation was good and the food was fantastic.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Project 365: Assassin's Creed

I used to have one of these, albeit a much crappier model and liked the fact that I wouldn't have to fumble for my phone when it rang. It probably didn't hurt that my old phone had non-working speakers so 75% of the time that I did answer, I couldn't hear anything. As a bonus, the hands-free aspect of it was really awesome for those long drives from here to College Station. Unfortunately, I lost my last one and didn't feel like replacing it since my new phone actually has working speakers. Today, PP surprised me with a brand new and much higher quality one. I can't wait to go assassinating some noise and make people think I am talking to myself on the bus again!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Project 365: Day 68

M treated us to a meal at Tokyo One today. Giant buffet type restaurants are pretty popular down here but what set this one apart was the seafood. They had wonderfully cooked crab and many different kinds of sushi. They also have this deliciously tender BBQ lamb chop. Because of a special occasion happening tomorrow, we were presented with this as a parting gift.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Project 365: Day 67

The weather of late has been brilliant with highs in the 80s, clear skies, and low humidity. Perfect time to spend in the great outdoors. We went to Memorial park today to walk the trails and take pictures. There were several great shots of PP as well as several ridiculous pictures of me. Alas, since I won't post personal pictures on the blog, I decided to post a picture of the honorary "child" in the family. Kathy totally treats "him" like a baby, often times using baby talk when referring to it.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Project 365: Day 66

I don't remember when I first started liking these but ever since that first taste, I have been addicted to Nestle Flipz. They used to be available all the time, but nowadays, I can hardly ever find them. Ironically, it was during the process of buying the Sonicare toothbrush that I found these hanging from the shelves of the local Bed Bath and Beyond. I felt kinda sheepish checking out with a super toothbrush on one hand, and cavity causing delectable treats on the other.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Project 365: Day 65

A long time ago, I had gotten one of these as a gift (I want to say from Catnipped) and remembered how fast it could spin and how much fun it was. It also provided quite a workout for my lower arm muscles and strengthened my grip significantly. It's amazing how much energy this little sucker could store as you could easily get it spinning at over 13,000 rpm. Unfortunately, Sour Milk broke it one day when it slipped out of his hand and smashed onto the floor with all that energy. Lately, PP had been complaining about her wrists and I remembered this little gadget. PP quickly learned how to keep it spinning and likes it so much she wants to buy some for her friends back home.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Project 365: Day 64

Some coworkers had been raving about the awesomeness of their Sonicare Toothbrushes. They were saying how it was a new kind of clean and that you get that fresh out of the dentist feeling after every use. I was skeptical but curious at the same time so I decided to test one of these things out after finding out there was a 28 day money back guarantee. Well, they were totally right. This thing is awesome and cleans much better than regular brushing in half the time. As an added bonus, the cool ultraviolet cleaner for the brush heads looks like something out of Mass Effect.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Project 365: Day 63

It's that time of year again: Crawfish season! Last time round, we dined at Pappadeaux and it was a very enjoyable experience. So good in fact that we went back again this year. It was slightly more expensive but still a very good deal. Last year we ate 6 LB total. This year, we managed to consume 8 lbs of the delicious crustaceans.

Project 365: Day 62

While looking at exotic medicines in Chinatown, we also stopped by a Gelato shop to try some more normal food. This was a mix of Cookies and Cream and regular vanilla.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

Project 365: Day 61

Because of the many famines, the Chinese know how to utilize just about any animal as foodstuffs. I took this picture at a local Chinese herbal medicine store. Whereas this product is supposed to be one of the leading health products, the English translation may prevent this product from ever achieving the same level of popularity here in the US.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Project 365: Day 60

Ever since the visit to San Diego, we have been going on a seafood binge here in Houston. The latest victims in our quest were Rock lobster and Maine lobster tails from Red Lobster. The crab and shrimp were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. There were no survivors...

Friday, March 05, 2010

Project 365: Day 59

I have decided to use PP's vast purse/wallet collection as a subject for Project 365 pictures. Today we feature a gift that I gave to her for her birthday and as a gift for her finding a job. Traditionally a wallet represents the arrival of wealth and according to a mutual friend, a brownish/yellowish color is the best.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Project 365: Day 58

PP has a nice and growing collection of purses and wallets. The latest one was acquired last Saturday at the Premium Outlet. She hadn't noticed the Kate Spade store before and when she walked in the store, these were the first things that caught her eye. She just had to have them....she ended up buying 3.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Project 365: Day 57

Everyone knows Houston is hot and humid so why would anyone need a humidifier??? Well, this winter has been particularly cold so the AC was on warm most of the time. This actually makes the air quite dry which irritates the skin. It will probably at most see 3 months of use every year, but it was FSA approved!

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Project 365: Day 56

Just my luck to become semi-crippled before I got to try these on. The company was going to have some inter-department softball and since I used to play baseball, I figured I should get some cleats just to be hardcore. The first and only other pair I saw at the Nike outlet were these blood red/black monstrosities that looked like something out of a Spiderman comic but luckily, I spotted these in the bargain bin at the last minute.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Project 365: Day 55

Not sure how I did it, but I managed to injure both my feet while jogging. The outside areas of both feet hurt like crazy and I cannot put any pressure on them for any sustained amount of time. This makes walking pretty difficult and painful. This charm originally hung from PP's Nissan Altima. After selling the car, we found out the rear view mirror of the mini was too thick for this to loop around. It has found a home hanging from the computer room door.