Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Someone's car alarm is going off on the street below and it won't stop and it is really annoying!  And it is really loud even though I am 21 floors off the ground!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Santa's Village

Some random thoughts:
1.  When I am at work, especially at lunchtime when the piano player is around, it feels like I am at Santa's Village at the mall or something.  I keep expecting a train full of children to start riding around.  I suppose this is because our first floor lobby has one giant menorah, a few sleds and about eleven twinkling Christmas trees with presents under them.  Oh, and a snowman.
2.  Thinking about snowmen reminds me of the snowman dishes at Target which are oh-so-cute.
3.  Yesterday the Nascar pit stop people were down the street.  Tomorrow it is going to be packed around here because of the Rockefeller Center tree lighting.
4.  Circuit City is still not impressing me.  They refuse to account for their own mistakes, namely that their manager identified certain merchandise as on sale and rebate-eligible, when it is not rebate-eligible and now you're stuck with no product because the timeframe to purchase rebate-eligible merchandise has ended.
5.  I like onion rings in all forms.
6.  I wish the Atlanta panda cam still had 24/7 access.  I usually don't look at it between 10 and 5 on the weekdays, which leaves me out of the loop.  I want to see the cub's first steps!
7.  Can the "warm wave" last until Sunday? Please?
8.  Should I make a book full of photos of sushi?
9.  Too much paper on my desk!
10.  The radio keeps skipping today.  Booooooo.
And finally - any ideas for someplace I can go to buy lunch with a credit card where the overall purchase amount is around $5?
Argh, I almost signed this post with "thanks" and "best regards."  Sigh.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Feeling Clean

It's amazing how good a clean and fresh start can feel.

Now that we're back from Thanksgiving weekend, there is a full freezer, a refrigerator with fresh produce and fully stocked shelves in the pantry. (Well, they were relatively fully stocked before we left, but now they are even more filled with goodies). Clean sheets, tons of clean laundry, new shower curtains and towels, new soap dishes, cleaned the whole bathroom and rearranged everything in the shower. It just feels so good. And I actually worked out 2 days in a row for the first day in a really long time!

[I am in no way implying that none of these things were clean before and that this is why it feels so good. I realize now, rereading the paragraph above, that it could be taken this way. But it's just rare for me to have all of this done on the same day because of the limited time for cleaning with work, so it feels... different.]

It's almost like the wonderful feeling you get when you finish up a tube of toothpaste or a whole bottle of cream or a bar of soap or something. Or am I the only one who gets really excited about something like that?

Time to go clean up some more! Or... sleep? It is 1 am... And then perhaps in the morning, I will start keeping those old new years resolutions...

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Mirage

Photo from my April trip to Vegas. No particular reason why I put this one up... I just felt like posting a picture and this was the one my screen saver chose. Well, it wasn't the first one my screen saver chose; that was a slightly out of focus photo of a postcard from Hong Kong. But this was the second one it picked out. We didn't stay at the Mirage, but a lot of what I love about Vegas is being able to do so much walking for fun and visiting all the hotels. And looking at this picture, all I can think of is the sound of a waterfall and how relaxing that is.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Credit Cards

Why would you start a credit card solicitation with:

"Dear [Name]:

You don't need another credit card..."

My response? "No.  No, I don't."


Black Friday 2006

What did you do for Black Friday?

I have written about Black Friday before. I have been doing the crazy "get up in the early morning and line up for bargains" thing for quite a few years now, but this year wasn't nearly as successful as some past years. I blame it all on Circuit City. With the way they were working this year, there was no way that I could make it to 7 stores by 8:30 am like I did in 2004. Then again, perhaps it's not all Circuit City's fault. I think the crowds have been getting worse annually. It wasn't nearly this bad in the good old days! (Last year's huge nightmare was Staples, but I don't think I wrote about that). I also haven't been showing up over 30 minutes before opening, but even so, it shouldn't be as bad as it was today.

This year, many of the stores opened at 5 am. (There were some places that opened on Thursday night, other places at midnight, but I don't think any of those places were near me). Even the mall was fully open by 6 am, with some stores choosing to open at 5. (Honestly, this opening earlier year by year thing is going to have to stop eventually or everyone would open at midnight. Judging by my sleep schedule, this might actually be preferable...)

We got to Circuit City by 5 am and the line was snaked around the parking lot and barely moving. Luckily, the temperature was in the high 40s, so it wasn't unbearable. Just boring. Fewer than 10 customers had left the store by the time we got in the doors. What did that mean? That there were hundreds of people in the store. Which is not all that large. And remember how disorganized and poorly run it was in 2004? Not much about Circuit City on Black Friday has changed, other than the fact that there were many, many more people there this year. (Side story: I remember one year way back (ha ha) when Best Buy had opened at 6 and Circuit City had opened at 7, and I was waiting on line in the freezing cold outside Circuit City. This was probably their most efficient year as all the free/good deals were right in the front of the store for a grabbing frenzy).

Let me set the scene describing the layout of the store without all these people. You enter and there is a lot of empty space, taking up a decent part of the store. There is the customer service counter on one end, and diagonally across the empty space, 2 cash registers and a Coke vending machine. The car radio department is on the left side. Once you cross this area (car radio and check out), which takes up about 1/4 of the store, you hit all the other departments: wireless, computers, cameras, movies, music, home theater, TVs, gaming, etc. Can we start off this story by saying "inefficiently designed"? (And it's not like the inefficient design makes it more aesthetically pleasing. It doesn't).

Now let's put the hundreds of people in and explain the register layout. You have those 2 registers in the empty space. Maybe 3 registers at customer service. But haphazard lines leading to the registers. Another register by car radios, another few smack in the middle of the DVD and music areas (yes, among the tight aisles). Registers along some of the borders of the stores, by the TVs, etc. What did they do, try to insert registers wherever there was empty space? That's what it has always felt like. Except, magnified to this level with all these people, the entire store was composed of lines. Everywhere. In every direction. All heading to some unknown place. And the worst part? None of them moving. Barely a few inches every few minutes. Completely chaotic. And people trying to shop having to squeeze inbetween the people on the lines and not very successful at that.

In short, a nightmare.

Plenty of people in all the stores I went to that had big sales were like, "wow, this is so mobbed, this is so crazy." But even if you've never gone Black Friday shopping before, it should be assumed that it would be crazy crowded. They do news stories on this! But Circuit City deserved all the comments, because while other places were crazy, that was just a nightmare.

We had gotten into Circuit City around 5:20-5:30. By 6:15-6:30 or so, I had found about half the things on my list and completely given up on the rest. Since the lines weren't moving at all, my dad dropped me off at Best Buy and then went back to Circuit City. I figured by the time I got out of Best Buy, it would be light out and I could just walk to wherever everyone else was if I got out before them. But I was just heading to the store. What were the chances of that?


When Best Buy is more efficient than Circuit City? Chances were pretty high. I was in and out of Best Buy in about an hour. The line moved efficiently and at a decent pace. I was out of the store before they had even hit the registers at Circuit City. And it's not like there were less people - I don't think there were. It was just efficient.


Like I said in 2004, Best Buy had learned from their difficulties the year before. Layouts make sense. There is one consolidated checkout line (with the exception of certain departments, but from what I could tell, they weren't causing massive chaos, although it might have been a longer wait if you wanted certain products) and the nice guy with the yellow balloons marking the end of the line. The representatives were excellent at crowd control, and not having people uselessly get on extra lines they didn't need to be on. In short, I was pretty satisfied. Especially since I found out about some DVDs my mom wanted while I was already on line, but I found them all in the GPS and vacuum departments while on line, abandoned by others. That was fun.

Hmm. This entry has changed from a summary of my Black Friday to "How Circuit City is Chaotic and Inefficient." But it's true! I left Best Buy, walked to the mall, went to about 8 different stores, bought a Christmas present, checked out whether the food court was serving lunch food at 8:30 am (and yes, they were, thankfully) and then rested and people watched outside Bath and Body Works, all before my parents and Alvin got to the mall. I feel terrible that they were stuck at Circuit City in that unpleasant miserable experience.

Bath and Body Works, lunch snack, dropped off bags at home and then went to Target (one of my favorite favorite stores). Then, just as I described to people at work, it was time to go home for a nap! I estimated that I was usually home for a nap around 1 or 2 after all that strenuous shopping. Well, watched Grey's Anatomy and then took a nap. What a heartbreaking episode.

But back to Circuit City. Because we had to go back there after our nap because of all the things they did wrong. In addition to the general layout problems, inefficiency and chaos I mentioned before, here are some other things that went wrong:

- Sale items were ringing up at non-sale prices. For example, I got a TV DVD set that should have been $19 but it was still ringing up $40. Shouldn't this have been taken care of before today? Knowing how busy it would be and that people were specifically going there for sales?

- Rebates weren't printing out for rebate items and this was forcing people to have to find other representatives and to get on additional lines. Not to mention the fact that some receipts weren't even printing complete enough to be able to be copied for rebates.

- They had a promotional camera if you spent a certain amount of money, yet if you hit the threshold, no one mentioned it. How is that a "thank you" for your business? Judging from the number of people price matching at Circuit City, maybe everyone should have gone to price match at Best Buy! The line moves so much better there.

One last note - if anyone from Circuit City is reading this, I realize that this is not the case at every store, because the experience some relatives have had at other stores was more similar to my experience at Best Buy. But judging from the number of customers at this store, it was an absolutely horrible shopping experience to be conducted the way this was. Not to mention the fact that some of these people might have tried to avoid the chaos if they could order online starting Thanksgiving day, as was mentioned in the ad. However, many people said they couldn't even load the page. There has got to be a better way than what was going on today.

And to end this entry happily... Black Friday ended with sushi. Yum. :)


Agh, the host on QVC just said, "Christmas is exactly one month from today."  Is it really so soon?!

Friday, November 24, 2006


I turned on QVC while doing some work and heard the host say the following, "You go out to dinner with your husband and then you take it off..."

Really bad timing to turn on the program.  I think it was for a shawl or something.

Hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 19, 2006


I just need to close Minesweeper so I can get some work done!


My favorite part of Thanksgiving!

You Are The Stuffing

You're complicated and complex, yet all your pieces fit together.
People miss you if you're gone - but they're not sure why.

I don't mind the turkey, but my favorite part of Thanksgiving is all the side dishes - stuffing, mashed potatoes, carrots, veggies, mmmm. Last year I added on a spinach and cheese casserole. Yum.

Some Days

... are just no fun.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

The Game

Woohoo!  That's how the Y-H game should end. :)

First win since my junior year.  Can't believe it was so long ago.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Do you ever have those moments when you just look at the sky and watch the clouds slowly saunter across the sky?
Right now, it's cloudy and there is a huge storm brewing.  The clouds are literally speeding by.  Kind of a whirlwind dizzy feeling if you stare at them too long.
Anyone watch Daybreak last night?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


It was lightly raining today.

Then I walked home and as I passed through Times Square, it started to pour.  Big heavy drops of rain as the tourists stopped in the middle of the only path to take pictures and all the street corners were flooded.  I was so glad to seek refuge under the little garage spots by the NY Times building.

Got home and went out to get take out from across the street.  During the less than five minutes in which I was in the apartment, the rain had gone from pouring to lightly drizzling.

Just my luck!

Monday, November 13, 2006



Just kidding. Not mine. But pretty darn cute!


Remember way back when I was complaining about a NY Times editorial about how carry-on baggage should be banned?
Here's a good example of why a ban would not be practical and why it would be horrible for travelers (and would make me either drive or use luggage forwarding, wherever possible):
Funny that it comes from the same paper.  I wonder if they have changed their minds.


Ack. It's 4:20 pm and it's already dark outside.  Sigh.


There is a combination red and white balloon (2 balloons attached to each other) floating in the sky above the office buildings right now.
30 sec later... Actually, looked out the window and not sure where it went.  Did it pop?
30 sec later... Nevermind... just looked again, it's directly across the street.  That was pretty quick for it to blow across the avenue.
30 sec later... Now I think I've really lost it.  Oh well.  I wonder where it floated off to now.
I had lunch but I'm still hungry.  Boo.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Question for all of you readers (all like 3 of you, if even!):

Suppose you were to park a car in a restaurant parking lot.  When you leave the restaurant, there is an attendant in the parking lot who works for the restaurant.  Suppose that such attendant hands you the keys to your car and tells you to move it yourself.  You take the keys and go over to your car, intending to move it.  However, your car is blocked in by another car.  The attendant leaves the area.  You ask him if he can move the car that is blocking you in.  He responds that he will not move the other car until you give him a tip.  Suppose that you didn't give him a tip earlier because you were told to move your own car and the person wasn't going to do anything but give you the keys.

Is it proper for the attendant to require a tip before moving the car blocking you in?  Is it proper for any parking attendant to require a tip from any patron?

I'm not the "you" but I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Friday, November 03, 2006

My Feet Hurt

So exhausted and getting sleepy.  We went to the zoo and walked for more than 6 hours (with the only breaks being lunch and taking the skyride).  So tired.  But we got to see all 3 pandas in action!  Yay!

Shark 1.06

Did anyone else watch tonight's episode of Shark? I usually really enjoy this show, but so many things about tonight's episode had me screaming at the TV. Well, not screaming screaming, since it doesn't really matter that much, but it really took me out of the episode.

First, how does attorney-client privilege cover an email from one person to another person who is not his attorney where the attorney is bcc'ed? I thought I remembered a CLE at work this past year about how you can't get privilege to cover a communication just because you cc'ed your attorney or labeled it as a privileged communication, so how is a bcc covered? Maybe I am remembering the rules wrong, which is totally possible, but it doesn't even seem to make sense under common sense. Especially if the attorney is bcc'ed - then no recipient would ever think it was a communication to an attorney. I didn't think throwing out the emails was such an easy decision, but I know it was necessary to move the plot along. But if it works the way I seem to remember, I don't really like that they had this in there.

Second, considering the case they put forward, how is it possible that the case even went to the jury? Can't the judge decide that the state has not gotten anywhere close to meeting its burden and dismiss it as a matter of law?

And last, at the end, isn't Shark's nemesis facing a conflict of interest? I can't remember if the suit was brought against the individual fashion designer, the company or both, but at the end he's advocating for the company and talking about how the individual would plead guilty. Unless the individual were never part of the suit at all, isn't this a conflict of interest?

Anyway, just wondering.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Hello from San Diego

Hello from San Diego!

It's nice here. Gorgeous weather. Had some good fish tacos. Walked around and just relaxed.

The hotel has a channel where you can just watch fish swim around as if they're in a fish tank. Can I get that in my office when I get back?

JetBlue was great. I was never able to fly it before, because they didn't fly to Chicago until recently. But now I fully appreciate what I was missing, being able to watch TV all the way there, good snacks, a crew that actually cleans the seatback pockets of the plane so that the next person isn't confronted with empty bags of potato chips...

Happy Thursday!


It's raining. Of course it is. It was a gorgeous day outside today, which I couldn't enjoy since I was inside tying up loose ends before vacation, and now it rains. Hmm.

Still trudging away at packing...


I am such a slow packer.  Back in senior year of college when I was traveling often, I used to be able to pack up a suitcase in an hour or less without a packing list.  At least that's what I remember...

Heading west in a few hours.  Maybe I'll say hello from there.  If not, have a good weekend!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


I can't believe it's already November.  Where is the time going?
(And should I write a message like this every single month since the feeling never changes?)

Possible Trans Fats

The hallway smells very strongly of fried chicken.