Sunday, February 29, 2004

silent battles at barnes and noble

today i went to barnes at 9am and left around 3 because i was too damn hungry. during this time, i had 5 study companions at my table. anyway, i noticed something interesting. most of the strangers that sat at my table were there with a friend, and i was puzzled as to why they sat at my table when there were plenty of sofa chairs available for them to sit next to each other. it didn't take me long to realize that they were waiting for me to leave. actually, all 5 people who sat with me were waiting for me to leave. i came to this realization after the second person left (with an annoyed expression on her face), and from that point on, i was game. i was initially planning to leave around 1, but everytime someone sat at my table, i actually got kind of annoyed, and swore i would stay there forever until kingdom come. every glance in my direction was translated by my brain to be a threat. they could have directly told me, "hey, why don't you leave already," and i would have been just as offended.

finally, i got ready to leave because i couldn't stand the hunger anymore, and the african exchange student from zimbabwe (i could not concentrate on my work and was reenacting her whole life in my head) sitting across from me promptly signaled to her friend sitting on the couch to come get my seat. i was about to sit back down.

sometimes i don't like myself...

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

another restroom adventure

ok, so i had two cups of coffee in the morning and by 9am, i really had to take a leak. i ran into the bathroom and found two people standing there, doing their business. here's an illustration, 1's mean taken, 0's mean empty:

1 | 0 | 0 | 0 | 1 | 0

i glanced at the toilet stalls and noticed that of the two, one was already taken, and the other one was a big one for handicap use. i usually avoid that one. i decided to take the middle position, when i noticed two other guys following me in. the caffeine in my brain allowed me to make a some super quick calculations, and i forsaw the following possibilities in a matter of nano-seconds:

1 | 1 | me | 1 | 1 | 0 (case #1)
1 | 1 | me | 0 | 1 | 1 (case #2)
1 | 0 | me | 1 | 1 | 1 (case #3)

1 | 1 | me | 0 | 1 | 0 and one in the stall, (case #4)
1 | 0 | me | 1 | 1 | 0 and one in the stall, (case #5)
1 | 0 | me | 0 | 1 | 1 and one in the stall. (case #6)

case number 6 would've been the best (and would probably have happened too now that i think about it: let's say you walked in to this:
1 | 0 | me | 0 | 1 | 0
the obvious choice would be all the way at the right end. then the next guy would have been faced with this:
1 | 0 | me | 0 | 1 | 1
and taken the empty stall)

but anyway, at the time i only had a few seconds to decide, so i took the handicap stall to avoid the possibility of case number 1 (which must be avoided at all costs).

now the story can begin.

as i walked into the humongo stall, i heard two flushes and realized that people were leaving. this meant that i wouldn't be bothered unless someone wanted to take a dump. i looked at the toilet seat. there were drops of mysterious yellow liquid splattered all over.

"no way i'm touching that," i thought to myself, and commenced the unleashing of the dam without lifting the seat. then, in my bliss, i sensed a being standing behind me. i cautiously turned my head while whistling "somewhere over the rainbow" to pretend to read all the racial remarks scribbled on the side wall, and saw from the corner of my eye, a chinese-looking dude waiting patiently outside the stall (i dont close the door when i'm peeing, dont ask).

"holy crap," i thought to myself, "he's going to think i pissed all over the toilet seat!"

emotions churned within me. i didn't want this stranger, who i might end up sitting next to in my discrete mathematics class, to think that i made this mess. but i was sure as hell NOT going to clean it. i was quite done, and was in the process of "the shake."

"fuck it," i thought to myself.

i turned around, made direct eye contact with the chinese-looking guy as i passed him on the way out (to let him know i wasn't worried about what he thought), and walked away from the whole chaotic situation.

Friday, February 20, 2004

my rhythm is messed up

No, I'm not talking about Eugene's collection of dance moves (an oxymoron). Yesterday I went to sleep at around 4am and woke up at 5:30am. Exhausted, I went to sleep at around 5pm and woke up around 10pm. I haven't had a regular sleeping schedule since spring semester of 2002 during which I was taking a total of 18 units. Back then, I would go to sleep around 11pm, wake up at 5am, and be at school from 6:30am till 9pm. This semester will assuredly be harder on me schoolwork-wise, but I keep staying up late and waking up early. Whatever happened to my resolve? I just ate a whole bag of doritos along with a bottle of beer, so I can't really speak for my diet either. I've only worked out about twice during the last 3 months, and I'm getting a gut. I feel really disgusting right now...

Thursday, February 12, 2004

all done, thanks much

Took my final exam today, did ok, professor gave me an A when I handed in my scantron. I love this guy. The floppy wasn't at the computer lab so I was trying to recreate my program before class started. It wasn't going to happen, so I went to his office and sheepishly explained what happened. "I uh, left my floppy at the computer lab last night and uh, it wasn't there this morning..." If I were in his shoes I'd start cracking up and send the student off while wondering what kind of a lame excuse that was. But he told me that he trusted me and that I would get full credit for them! Dude.

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

where art thou?

Today I spent a total of 10 hours working on a java program that's due 11 hours from now. Then, frustrated because the logic wasn't coming to me, I decided to think about it while driving in the car on the way home. Guess what? I left my floppy at school. Now I have to be at the computer lab at 7:15 am sharp to rummage through a cardboard box with approximately 500 floppies strewn around in it. Luckily (?), mine is a translucent, hot pink floppy disk! Yeah!

real fake diamonds

According to this ARTICLE, man-made diamonds are almost here. There are currently two different ways of making them. The first method is through brute force, squeezing the carbon with so much pressure that it forms a diamond. This method produces diamonds that are supposedly detectable using a lab full of expensive equipment. The machine leaves slight traces of metal inside the diamond (virtually undetectable) because of the mechanical process. The second method actually involves depressurization, coupled with plasma and gases and all that other nonsense. This method actually creates pure, flawless diamonds. It also only costs $5 a carat to manufacture. Disappointingly, these diamonds can also be detected. "It's too perfect to be natural. Things in nature, they have flaws. The growth structure of this diamond is flawless."

De Beers is hard at work to figure out a marketing strategy for its natural diamonds: "If people really love each other, then they give each other the real stone," says an official representative of the diamond industry (read: De Beers), during an interview at council headquarters on the Hoveniersstraat in Antwerp. "It is not a symbol of eternal love if it is something that was created last week."

I cannot believe the crap coming out of this guys mouth. The scary thing is, I can actually see people swallowing this stuff following their multi-gajillion dollar ad campaigns. For example, De Beers came up with the whole "three months salary" rule-of-thumb.

Spring semester starts next Tuesday. I'm dead.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Factoids about credit cards:

1. If you cancel a credit card, your credit score WILL go down. This is because the average age of all your accounts combined plays a major role in determining your credit score. Another side effect: Your debt to credit ratio will increase. This will also lower your credit rating. Cancel them if you have to, but know that it will cause a drop in your credit score. As an alternative, if you the card you want to cancel is issued by the same bank as another card you already have, some companies let you consolidate your credit ($5000 on card A, $6000 on card B. Consolidate to $11000 on card A and cancel card B). As for me, I just cut up a card if I don't want to use it and spend 5 seconds a month glancing over statements to make sure that the card hasn't been used. Contrary to popular belief, having "too much credit" is not a bad thing. Some credit cards close an account if you don't use it that much, so I like to cycle my credit cards around.

2. Never EVER use your debit card to make purchases. First of all, it's not *really* covered in the case of identity theft. All that the Visa or Mastercard logo signifies is that they can be used at places that accept Visa and Mastercards. If someone steals your identity and uses your credit card, it's not your money they are spending. It's the credit card companys money. If they use your debit card, it's the same thing as if they are withdrawing money out of your account and spending cold hard cash. Banks don't have that extra incentive to set things straight no matter what they advertise, because it's not their money. You're basically on your own to dispute it with the individual merchant. Most credit cards offer insurance and extended warranties on purchases, and some even give you points that can be redeemed for cash or prizes. (I get 5% rebates on gasoline purchases with my Discover Gas Card) If you can pay for it using a debit card, use your credit card. If you can pay for it using a debit card. If you can pay for it using a debit card.

3. If you have good credit, you should be getting 0% BT offers in the mail. Some banks let you deposit the money into your checking account. You can use these funds to invest in short term investments. I know a couple of them where all you need to do is open an account at a bank and leave the money in there for a few months. They give you money to do this. Too bad I need those offers to transfer around debt, otherwise I'd have an extra couple hundred in my pocket.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.

For those in credit card debt:

Credit card debt sucks. No really, it does. While surfing the internet a couple months ago, I stumbled upon the following information for those that are getting raped by the APRs. Thought it might help someone out there, so here it is. The whole idea is also pretty clever, so even if you don't have debt, it's an interesting read. My debt isn't horrible at the present moment, but it's slowly getting there. It's nice to know I have a "plan" to fall back on when I reach that point.

The power of COMPOUND INTEREST is amazing. That's why credit card companies REALLY want your business. They're out there, climbing over each other for your business. I have a couple of friends who have been involved with MAJOR (we're talking approx. 40K) CC debt, and I wish I knew about this strategy earlier so I could have helped them out. This strategy only works if you still have some open credit in the form of cash advances totaling more than one of your lower debt CCs.

1. Before you get started, write down all the credit cards you have along with their respective phone numbers. You need to call each one and BEG them for lower rates. If they offer you a rate that's lower than your current APR, that's great, but it only means that you got your foot in the door. Keep pushing for a lower rate. Remember the power of compound interest. Another 0.5% reduction could lead to hundreds of dollars (okay, I didn't calculate this, but an extra buck is an extra buck) out of their pocket and into yours, depending on how long it takes you to pay off the debt. Once you hang up with the last credit card company, start from the top of the list again and call every card that rejected your plea. All this begging can be a little demoralizing, but try this: Picture the Milky Way in all it's swirling madness. Focus in onto the Solar System, spinning so slowly that you can't even see it moving. It's actually spinning at jillions of miles per hour. Somewhere in that mess is the planet Earth, a cosmic equivalent of a pebble, with the Moon orbiting around it. And on that Earth is you, an insignificant little speck talking to someone getting paid a couple bucks an hour, about a reduction of your APR. Puts everything into perspective doesn't it?

2. Hopefully you have an account with Citibank or MBNA. These are the two CC companies notorious for sending out low-rate balance transfer checks when they see that you no longer have any debt with them. Grimjack said: "These people are crazy. I still have the same job, still make the same money, still have the same inability to pay, but man oh man, like a crack dealer they are willing to feed the addict." Other companies do this too, so don't give up hope. The best bet would be to ask the CSR whether they offer teaser BT (balance transfer) rates. Now here's the jaw-dropping part: Pay the high cash advance fee and borrow money from one of your other CCs (we'll call this one CC#1) at the ass-whipping rate of around 20% and higher and deposit it into your checking account. You will use these funds to pay off one of your debts completely (CC#2). This part is important because if you just transfer a balance, the other CC companies see that all you did was move your debt around and they are unlikely to send you teaser BT rates to get you to borrow more from them. You have to pay off your Citibank or MBNA card (CC#2) from your own checking account. After a minimum of 45 days with a balance of zero, they will start sending you the offers.

3. Grab those offers! Citibank and MBNA will send you BT checks if you request them. Request them. Examine those checks carefully and make sure they state the terms of using them (0% if the offer was 0%, 5.9% if the offer was 5.9%). Deposit them into your checking account. Pay off the balance on CC#1 as much as possible. Whatever's left on that account shouldn't be that significant even though you're paying over 20% APR.

4. After you're done paying off CC#1 completely, wait a minimum of 45 days, or about 2 months. If they don't send you any BT offers, call them up and tell them you are thinking about doing a BT and what they can offer you. Negotiate when you do this. (some people have reported getting their BT fee waived) Visualize the Solar System again if you have to. Transfer balances using your new, lower APR BT offer.

You get the idea. Just keep playing this game and you should be fine. Fine as in, you're not paying 12% on a 10K debt. You still have to pay off your debt, but you're not paying all the interest you would have been paying. Grimjack said: "I did this and at one point calculated that I saved over $3500 during the two years in interest. My cards were all at 19.99% and 21.99% though, so your savings will be less. But $10K in debt at $20% is $2000 a year in interest. If you can lower that to the single digits for the 2-3 years it will take you to pay these off, you will get out at way ahead of time. A $3000 savings would be an extra 6 months you get your head above water and once you pay these things off, you need to celebrate your success a little."

There you go. Pretty neat huh? Of course your situation might be different, so take into account whatever you have to, but the overall idea should be no different. Unless of course you maxed out your cash advance limits. Then my friend, you are fucked. Get some serious help. I'm testing this out right now, but with Discover. My highest APR is around 12% with a balance of only $400, but I have a bigger balance with its 0% BT promo coming to an end soon (July), and I need to prepare for when that happens. Wish me luck guys.

Here's the link to the thread if you're thinking about doing this.
The topic is pretty long, and I've pretty much posted the jist of it, but it never hurts to read up.

Monday, February 09, 2004

tori, the face humper

Tori, the *alleged* face-humper was apprehended this afternoon in the city of Compton. Authorities were reportedly pleased in the dual capture of his owner as a result of the thorough investigation by LAPD. Eugene K., a vicitm of the January 28th incident, expressed his gratitude to all the efforts directed towards the capture of the sex offender during a news conference this afternoon. The conference was cut short when Mr. Kashida burst into tears and could not continue.
Detective Juarez noted that, "the owner of this perverted dog didn't seem to show any remorse whatsoever regarding the heinous nature of this crime. In fact, she seemed pleased at all the publicity that this tragedy was giving her."
Their hearing will be held at the Inglewood Courts this Friday.

Sunday, February 08, 2004

toilet water

My dog was licking my face when I remembered I woke up this morning to the sound of her lapping up the water out of the toilet bowl. I pushed her away. Puzzled, she walked out of my room and lapped up some water from the toilet bowl.

Friday, February 06, 2004

Asshole at work today

Today, I had an asshole customer. Working at a restaurant, you get to meet all kinds of assholes. Tall, short, skinny, fat - assholes of all shapes and sizes. Interaction with assholes in a restaurant you work in is different from everyday life because in everyday life, you have a degree of choice as to how much you want to deal with a particular asshole. If you're a server in a restaurant and an asshole sits at one of your tables, you're pretty much stuck with that asshole for the next hour or so.
I think this guy was trying to impress his date or something because it seemed as though they didn't really know each other too well. Being the understanding person I am, I decided to help the poor guy out. After all, don't we all try to impress our dates the first time out?

I dropped off a silent-but-deadly as I walked past their table.

I bet that was REAL uncomfortable.

The Meaning of Life

Today I will share my thoughts on the meaning of life. "Wow Eugene, that's pretty deep." I know, I know.

Where to start? I guess a good starting point is to define what we mean when we talk about the meaning of life. To me, what is implied in the phrase, "meaning of life" are the goals and dreams that each of us try to accomplish in our lifetime. "Eugene, that's pretty obvious. Tell me something I don't know." Ok, ok. Well, if you notice, I said, "each of us." It seems to me that whenever I discuss the meaning of life with a friend, religion always comes up. The meaning of life in the religious sense implies a universal set of morals that must be followed to lead a successful life. I say, F that. There IS no meaning to life. It is up to each of us to find something worthwhile to live for and fill in that void each of us has. In order to do that, we need an endpoint-a lighthouse in the distance, if you will.

I'd feel pretty safe making the assumption that all of us enjoy being happy. Happiness itself comes in many forms, ranging from feeling joy at the sight of money to being content just sitting on a beach and sniffing your toes. Grabbing the toe jam from between your toes and rolling them around in your fingers. And then sniffing that. This is another reason why I don't believe in an objective meaning to life. It's all subjective. However, since there is only one state of happiness, I can sum it up in one sentence: Live in a way that will leave you happiest.

One should always keep in mind the consequences to their actions. After all, what does it matter if you live a happy life if in the end, you're unhappy?


Wednesday, February 04, 2004

A quasi-solution to the age old flip flop problem

A little introduction before I announce my new discovery. I wear sandals all the time. Why? Because they're really comfortable, and a super cheap alternative to shoes. Before my 24/7/365 sandal-wearing era, I would buy about 2 pairs of shoes a year. Given that the average pair of shoes costs approximately $60 (the ones I buy anyway), that comes to a total of $120 a year. Now, flip flops range anywhere from $15 - $40, but if you go to an outlet, you can sometimes find them for a little over $10. We'll just say $15 since I'm giving you a quantiative example. I go through an average of two pairs of sandals a year. Gee, I'm starting to bore myself. In conclusion, I'm a cheap bastard. On to my new discovery.

Contrary to popular belief, B.O. is not caused by the body itself. B.O. occurs when the bacteria in your armpits feed on the minerals in your sweat and poop all over the place. It starts smelling really bad when the number of pooping bacteria starts to exponentially increase.
"I can cut your fucking B.O. with a knife" J.P. , 1995.
"I think your B.O. is alive, my car stank for two days" John, 1998.
As I understand it, underarm deoderant either kills the bacteria, or somehow stops the sweat - and hence the food source.

This got me thinking. The stink in my flip flops just might originate in the same way. So one morning, I applied Secret (Powder Fresh Scent) onto my flip flops and the undersides of my feet. Lo and behold, powder fresh feet! I smelled great all day. All day until 3pm. Seems that Secret isn't strong enough for my feet. But I think I'm onto something here....

Monday, February 02, 2004

They're taking over.

Bored as I was, I did a quick search on the Starbucks locations in my area. There appears to be 32 Starbucks locations within a five mile radius of my home! Hotdiggitydamn! I've recently discovered that coffee helps me keep awake throughout the day, and for the past month or so, I've been spending about an average of $2 a day on coffee-a small contribution to their rapidly expanding empire, but a leaky hole in my (skinny) wallet nonetheless. This is why I ordered the "TTG-500 Two Cup Coffee Maker" by Cuisinart. And the best part about it is that it's (practically) free!

I started one of those gratis programs ( on the internet where you sign up for stuff and get points towards merchandise. I was initially saving up for an I-Pod (12000 pts) or a PS2 (7000 pts), but got too lazy. I accumulated 3000 points in a week, and the coffee maker was 800 pts. I guess I'm going to go at it for a little while longer and get this scanner for another 2000 pts.

I invested about $5 (S&H) to get those 3000 points, and I just canceled most of the memberships. The Indian lady at AOL was a tough one. She kept ignoring my request to cancel today, so to have a little fun, I kept ignoring her request for me to try their service at no cost for another month. We went around in a complete circle FOUR times with each cycle taking about 2 minutes. Frustrated, she finally gave me my cancellation number. For those that know me well, they've probably heard my motto, "whoever gets annoyed first, loses." I was victorious today, and that Indian lady on the other side of the planet will go home defeated. At least in my world.

part of the gang!

This picture was taken at Stanford last winter. I was going to apply there but you have to take like 43 tests and submit 22 recommendations. Oh, and the estimated annual student budget is $39,000.

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Lean, Mean, Fighting Machine

I can fit a whiteout up my nose.