I Must Be Adopted

I am truly hopeful that I am adopted, and thus not as messed up as the rest of my family.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Josh K school of finance

Having recently graduated from the Josh K school of finance, I was pleasantly surprised to receive my check from JP Morgan for the cash out value of my 401K.

The above is an inside joke with my fellow co-workers. Since our former employer is no longer around, the 401K program they sponsored is being done away with. You have several choices, including cashing out, or rolling it over to another 401K or IRA.

Some of my former co-workers announced they were cashing out. The more intelligent among us, spent the next couple of weeks trying like heck to talk them out of it. Josh became the poster boy for poor financial planning (oh, the yarns one could spin on this account), and thus we spent most of our time trying to convince him of his errant thinking. I honestly don't know how successfully we were.

At any rate, I requested the disbursement paper work from JP Morgan, and not wanting to mess up the transaction, had my financial advisor complete the forms, so that the money be transferred without incident into my IRA.

I opened the check from JPM yesterday afternoon, and was mortified to see they had withheld federal taxes... meaning they sent me a cash-out check. I immediately called to correct the situation.

The phone conversation included phrases like:

"I can't see any reason why we would have sent you the check."
"This happens all the time."
"We'll fix this."
"We'll correct our reporting of this to the IRS."

I'm supposed to receive a new check for the roll-over amount. Anybody wanna place bets on the likelihood of me getting audited by the IRS next year, when I don't claim this on my taxes?

Must Get Ice Cream...

So now that it's summer in suburbia, we are once again treated the sounds of the ice cream truck driving thru the neighborhood.

This will be our 3rd summer in the house. The first summer, the ice cream truck came thru every Tuesday like clock work. Most Tuesdays, Traci and I would treat ourselves to some ice cream. Last year, no truck. I couldn't figure it out. The neighborhood should be a gold mine. The place is replete with kids everywhere, and every couple of weeks, more balloons announcing another bundle of joy are tied to mailboxes.

Last Tuesday, the question was answered. The truck broke at the beginning of the season, and apparently, these things are ordered months in advance, so last summer was a wash for these people.

I was told that Tuesdays will be the night they come thru. So last night we ate dinner, and patiently waited for the ice cream truck. Nothing, until 8:45pm. They drove down the street without the music on, since it was so late. Just out of luck I looked out the front window to see the truck drive by.

Traci ran out the front door after it, and thinking I was behind her, jokingly said in an exaggerated voice "Must Get Ice Cream." When she looked to see my reaction, she realized that I wasn't there, but our neighbor was standing in his garage staring at her.

I had decided to walk in the opposite direction to catch the ice cream truck as it rounded the block. I caught the truck. They were experiencing electrical problems with the new truck, and were running late.

As a side note, they had frozen chocolate covered bananas. Being the nice guy I am, I bought one for my other neighbor who last week announced she'd never had one before. They normally don't carry them, but happened to have some last night. You'll be happy to know that Heidi (the woman who drives her kids 100 yards to the bus stop), enjoyed the banana.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day Weekend

Spent my birthday weekend in NYC. Walked around a lot, had dinner with friends (Sean and Allison) at John's Pizza -- 260 W 44th Street, Cathedral Church turned into an Italian Restaurant -- very nice, and did the touristy things.

Below are some photos... (btw, please ignore the upper right corner of all the photos. Apparently the lens cover on my camera had a piece of dirt or something in it, and wasn't opening the whole way, thus the upper right hand corner of some photos are not there.)

Ferris Wheel inside the Toys R'Us in Times Square.

Animatronic Dinosaur inside Toys R'Us in Times Square -- have a video clip too.

They were filming SpiderMan 3 this weekend too. Location shot on the corner of 54th and 5th Ave.

Traci's Ode to Breakfast at Tiffany's -- one of her favorite movies. Eating a donut outside Tiffany's on Sunday morning... Just like in the movie.

She bought something. She's VERY happy!

Brother Update

Jeff got the job with the credit counselling company! Wahoo!

He starts June 5th.

Hopefully all goes well.

Sister Update

Chet's Back!

While my sister denies that it's official, he has spent every night for the past 8 nights at my sister's house.

The only nights he didn't spend there, were the 3 nights they spend together in Philly for Memorial Day weekend.

Oh well. We were soooo close to getting rid of him. What is my sister thinking?!?!?

Monday, May 22, 2006

Final Weekend Update

Busy weekend...

1) Saturday at the local shopping mall, I witnessed the aftermath of an attempted shoplifting. I'm guessing that the suspect (about 14 years old) was tackled by a security guard after trying to run. We came up the escalator to see a crowd of on lookers. In the center was the 14 year-old on the ground and a gentleman kneeling over him.

My view was a little obstructed, so I couldn't tell if the gentleman was assisting the kid, as in the kid fainted, passed-out, etc., or if the guy was holding the kid down. The kid wasn't struggling, but the size difference between the two, would have made struggling fruitless.

At any rate, couple minutes later, I saw officers leading the kid away in handcuffs.

Traci works in the Public Defender's office defending children accused of crimes. I wonder if she'll have to recuse herself from this case if it comes across her desk.

2) At the Commode (Depeche Mode) concert. I saw a woman being lead away in handcuffs. From the conversation I over heard between the police and security gaurds, and the woman's friends, she was arrested for pot smoking.

Couldn't listen too much, because at the time I was trying to find a quiet spot so that I could give my friend who was driving separately to the concert directions. At the time he was "directionally challenged". Apparently his navigator (girlfriend), is not as good at navigating as he'd like.

P.S. Because this is entitled "Final Weekend Update", I will wait until tomorrow to share with you my latest story about my sister. It's not all that exciting, so it can wait.

Gas Mileage Experiment - UPDATED

The previous BLOG mentioned the Commode (Depeche Mode) concert I went to.

To set this experiment up, let me explain that I thought the concert started at 7pm. As we were walking out the door, Traci mentions it starts at 8pm. Crap! We're leaving an hour earlier than I thought we'd have to leave. But, we're ready. Why put everything down, just to sit around the house for an hour.

So, we leave anyway. Figuring I have an extra hours time, and all we really planned to do before the concert is grab something to eat at Traci's FAVORITE restaurant of all time -- Red Hot & Blue, once we get to Manassas, I decide to conduct a gas mileage experiment.

Everyone who is even close to driving age has heard about and experienced the gas price increases over the last 18+ months. No matter where you turn, someone is writing or talking about it in some way.

I can't remember where or what I was reading (I wasn't actively searching for this topic), but I read recently that gas mileage starts to dramatically decrease for every 5 mph over 50 you travel. I typically drive at 70~75 mph on the highway.

I decided that I would drive at 60 mph in the 55 zones and at 65 mph in the 65 zones. I wanted to see what kind of gas mileage I got.

My car is rated at 28 miles/gallon highway according the manufacturer, and I know that on the highway I usually get about 100 highway miles on the first 1/4 tank of gas.


Driving at 60~65 mph, I got 160 miles on the first 1/4 tank. I may have even gotten more, except that after the concert (it was only 135 miles to the concert), I drove like a bat outta hell on the way home. I was very tired, and wasn't about to putter around doing 60~65. I was going more like 75~80 mph. I wanted to get home and get to bed. (btw, I got home at 12:30am and when I climbed into bed, I was wide awake... Insomnia sucks!)

So the last 25 miles of the 160 miles on the first 1/4 tank of gas wasn't driven at the new reduced speeds, and I haven't topped off yet to actually calculate my mileage, but I'm going to continue this experiment for a week or 2 to see what happens.

I'll keep you posted.

UPDATE: Gas Mileage after fill-up 30.1 miles/gallon. - again this includes half the trip driving like a bat out of hell.

Depeche Mode Concert

Let me first state, that I am not a fan. Traci is. I jokingly refer to Depeche Mode as Commode.

With that little fact clear, Sunday I headed out for my 2nd Depeche Mode concert in 6 months or so. This one was at the Nissan pavilion outside of Manassas, VA - 135 miles from home.

The venue was great! Outdoor concert seating, but a covered roof in case of inclement weather. The weather we had was also great. Little nippy, but we were prepared and brought a sweatshirt for me and a light jacket for Traci. If you were a fan, I'm sure the concert was everything you hoped. Traci enjoyed it, and so did another friend from work who is a Depeche Mode fan.

The BLOGGING moment of this event happened when we parked. After we parked, we gathered up some trash from the car (soda cans, paper, etc..) and headed towards the first trash can we found on the way in. As soon as I threw the stuff away, I realized I hadn't paid notice to where we parked. We hadn't walked very far, so it wasn't a huge deal.

"Shit.", and I turned around to look for some type of marker to indicate what section we were in.
"What?" was Traci's response.
"I forgot to look where we parked."

Now, I consider Traci to be a very intelligent person. She's well read, went to some good schools, and has her law degree. It's just that when she gets excited (and she was excited about the concert), she has "Traci moments", where she doesn't think things through to the end.

Her reply to "I forgot to look where we parked" was... "Just remember it's by the trash can."

I looked at her. "Do you think there's only 1 trash can in the entire parking lot?"
"This is going into work, isn't it?" was her reply.

It was a good laugh.

My friend, Bryan, had more difficulties than I with events surrounding the concert (Bryan if you're reading this, you should have driven down with me as I offered), but again, he enjoyed the concert itself. I'll let him explain any and all troubles he had to his fellow co-workers/friends.

Women's Professional Football - Updated w/Photos!

Lot's to BLOG about this weekend.

First up, Women's professional Football. This past Saturday night we went to see the Harrisburg Angels v. Maine Freeze.

It was a Professional Football game in the sense that you bought a ticket, sat in the stands, were asked if you wanted to buy merchandise, and there was a halftime show. Oh, and there was an obnoxious fan there too. Other than that, not too professional.

unofficial game stats/interesting facts:

# of pass attempts: 4 (both teams combined)
# of completions: 1 (if you count the interception Maine threw as a completion.)
Longest kick of any type: 26 yard punt. The snap of the ball had the same trajectory as the kick. Neither were good.
Penalties: TOO MANY
Fumbles: More than I have fingers, but must were picked up by the person who fumbled, and the play continued.
# of 3rd and longs: tons
# of 4th and longs: loads
# of punts: 1 maybe 2. -- see longest kick stat above.

I have some photos to publish, but not with me currently. I will edit this entry and post them later today.

But in case you were wondering exactly how bad these teams were, BEFORE this game, they each played 3 games. The combined scores of the 3 games for each team were:

Harrisburg -
Opponents: 159
Angels: 6
Worst Loss: 76 - 0 (lost to the Divas)

Maine -
Opponents: 190
Angels: 0
Worst Loss: 75 - 0 (lost to the Mutinys)

So based on the stats above, wanna guess who won? BTW, we left after the halftime show, so I'm getting the info from the website.


Maine Freeze: 21
Harrisburg Angels: 6

Maine Freeze ready to snap the ball.

Maine gets a HUGE run! -- called back by a penalty

This guy is REALLY into the game. I think he might be a season ticket holder.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Poker Night Results

Legal Disclaimer: It's my BLOG and I'll tell the story the why I want.

The night was a pretty good success.

Participants: Myself, Scott, Chuck, Bryan, Sean, Josh, Todd, Rhett

Big Winner: Sean walked away with $56 -- a profit of $36.
Big Loser: Rhett lost $29
My results: walked away with $45 -- a profit of $25

Biggest slap down of the night:
The game was "Progressive" -- basically 5 card draw, but the pot keeps growing until someone gets "trips" or better (3 of a kind or better). This game typically goes on for several hands, until someone gets trips.

On about the 4th hand, I drew 1 card and had a J high flush. I was happy. The betting went around people were raising, and I was raising too. Finally the call came, and I believe it was down to Sean, Todd, and myself. Can't remember what Sean had, but I beat him... I went to grab the pot, and Todd reveals his quad 3's (four 3's)... CRAP!!!

Biggest Bonehead hand of the night:
The game was "Follow the Bitch" -- 7 cards per player, 3 face down, and 4 face up. For the purposes of this story, consider that just Queen's are wild. The hand comes down to Sean v. Rhett. Sean had 2 Q's and a 10 showing (meaning he had at least 3 10's). Rhett calls the bet, and announces that he has 3 8's. He couldn't even beat what Sean had showing, yet he calls. In disbelief, Sean asks "No really. What do you have?" We couldn't understand Rhett's thinking. If he couldn't even beat what Sean had showing, why call? Turns out Rhett said he forgot that Q's are wild. Despite the fact we were playing "Follow the Bitch".

New Game of the Night: Texas Roadhouse.
Sean forgot the name "Texas Hold'em" -- not surprising for the guy how just the other day said "What's the name of that thing in your house that makes the air cold?" (air conditioner).

Rules, everything is the same as Hold'em, except there is now a 6th Street. Whatever card shows up on 6th street is wild, and any like it. Meaning if a 6 shows up, every six is wild.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Chet Update

Speaking with my brother yesterday, I learned that Chet is back.

While he is not officially back, and my sister will hang on to this version of the story for weeks and weeks yet to come, he has spent every day and night at the house since last Saturday.

He's back, and we're bummed!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

I Voted!

Today, I did the most American of things we can do.

“Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.” - Plato

Monday, May 15, 2006

Update on my brother

My brother is applying for a job at a credit counseling company.

While I hope he gets the job, I find it highly ironic that he maybe the person helping others get a handle on their debt.

Because he's worked in the industry for years, he knows the in's and out's of the credit industry. He knows what to do, and what not to do. Problem is that he chooses to ignore his own knowledge and make bad decision after bad decision.

After years of my screaming/yelling/pleading with him to improve his decision making, he's improving. But he's still got a hole to dig out of, and his decisions are not always the best.

I'll keep you posted.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Letters in my name

Last Blog of the day...

Today's letter(s): r

Given so far: ! c t h k o

Poker Night Edicate Question

So let me run this by you people.

Several of us at work get together for poker nights from time to time. We've been doing this long before it was fashionable to watch poker on TV, so we're not trying to be trendy. Over the years some faces have changed, but some of the originals are still around.

At any rate, the next poker event is at my place next Friday (5/19).

In the process of inviting people, I speak with Chuck (ex-worker displaced by the ComCast purchase) and he's in. Great!

I also try to contact Josh (same boat as Chuck). I leave 2 messages on his cell, and send an email. I include contact info for me on all 3 messages, PLUS my contact info has changed since we worked with me 2 weeks ago.

Josh finally replies back to another friend of mine that he's coming, but nothing to me.

WTF? What's the proper poker party edicate here? I would assume that you contact the person who tried to contact you on 3 separate occasions with the answer... the person furnishing the drinks and snacks (didn't say food, because we all split that).... The person opening up their domicile to you...

Am I wrong? Do I have my edicate messed up?


For those of you who know me in real-life, I'm going back to school for my Master's. Well, my spring semester wrapped-up this week, and I couldn't be happier -- this semester was rough.

At any rate, this is the time when I normally sit around and eagerly await the grades. I will admit to wanting to get the best grades possible. I work hard for what I get, and I want to succeed.

It normally takes about 1.5 ~ 2 weeks of checking the YCP website to learn my grades and then the report card arrives a day or two after that in the mail.

This semester, for the first time ever, I know the final grades for both classes. Now, I realize that I actually enjoyed the anticipation of waiting for the grades a little.

For those interested:

MBA 525 Managerial Economics - 4.0
MBA 545 Managerial Operations - 3.5

The 3.5 sinks my 4.0 GPA I had up until now, but I'm not all that bothered. Ops was without a doubt my toughest class so far. The fact that Econ was pretty tough too, combine to make this my toughest semester yet. Getting a 4 and a 3.5 is pretty good.

One summer class and I'm done. Can't wait till it's all over.

The adventures of Dogdini

So yesterday morning (I swear I posted this yesterday, but must have not hit "Publish Post"), I'm laying in bed at 6:15. I hear a knock at my front door.

"Who would be knocking at this time of morning?"

Then it hit me, why wasn't my dog going crazy? He LOVES people, and goes nuts when we get company.

As I'm scrambling to get dressed I ask Traci, "You brought the dog in last night, right?"


Then the door bell rings; still nothing from the dog.


I rush down stairs in my boxers and t-shirt, and find a neighbor on the front porch with my dog standing beside her.

"This your dog?"

"Yes! Thanks and sorry!"

So, how you ask did Dogdini escape? Simple. I had grilled out the previous night, but we didn't eat till late, so by the time we were done eating, it was close to that time of night where we retire upstairs to read or futz around on the computer.

Since my grill is a charcoal grill that I keep in the garage, I don't like to put it back in until it has cooled down. Well, I was so excited that I would have a chance to read something for personal enjoyment, rather than some boring crap for school (the semester ended this week), I completely forgot about the grill. I went to bed that night with the garage door open.

Sometime during the night, the wind blew the door between the garage and the house open, and with the garage door already up, the dog just walked out. We have no idea what time of night this was, but based on the fact that he pretty much slept all day yesterday and last evening (unusual for him), we are guessing he was out most of the night.

The neighbor said Bailey spotted her getting into her car, and came running over. Again, he LOVES people, and he LOVES car rides. I'm sure he just wanted to go for a ride.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Stupid Blondes

I love this... I've always wanted to see the husband's reaction.

This is a clip from the "Newlywed Game."

Trohpy Wife

Stupid Americans -- Part II

A Blog post from a friend of mine:


Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Stupid Americans

Bouyed by the article entitled Geographic Illiteracy and the accompaning quiz -- on which I got 9 out of 10 (there is some dissent on the answer to the first question... it depends on whether you count water area as part of a state's area.), we conducted an in-house geography quiz.

Each person was given a blank map of the US, and asked to label the 50 states and two oceans.

The results were encouraging for the most part. Scores ranged from 52 to 31, most people receiving 50+. I received a 50; I mislabeled Kansas as Iowa, and couldn't remember at all Kansas.

The person scoring 31 had two states labeled Oregon (one was correct), and the state of Maine labeled as New England.

How would you do?

Blank Map