A place to put random occurrences in my life...

Thursday, April 30, 2009

My first grown up desk...

I don't know what it is, but ever since I figured out that I would soon be working from home, I've been fixated on getting a big, beautiful desk for my home office. When Thien and I went out shopping for furniture, I went to the office section first, bypassing the couches, beds and everything in between. I have to say that I was even more excited about getting my desk than I was about getting a brand new, ultra cool, super thin LED TV - for that I just went off of Alex's recommendation without a second thought.

In any case, after much searching, I finally found a desk I could call my own. I sat down behind it, looked around and felt right at home. It was different than the other desks I've owned in my life - it was big, bold and somehow just 'adult'. It probably helped that I was sitting in a store other than Ikea.

So the time came for me to pickup my desk. And anyone that knows how heavy one of these 'adult' desks is, would know that that was my first mistake. In any case, I grabbed Alex, the moving truck that I had used to cart all of my belongings from LA to San Diego and we went to the warehouse. After waiting for close to an hour, my desk was finally brought out. We helped the guys load the first part of the desk into the truck - and found out that it weighed in at a cool two hundred and fifty pounds. As soon as we were done with the struggle of getting the desk into the truck, the guys then brought out the return - except it wasn't in a box, was missing a leg stopper (whatever they call the things on the legs to avoid scratching the floor) and it was scuffed up. Another 20 minutes later, the truck was unloaded, the money was refunded, and I was disappointed...

The next night, Thien and I went back to the same store and found an even better desk. We made sure it was in stock and that it could be delivered the following day, and then we told them that there was no way we were going to be paying for delivery given our previous experience. Fast forward one day later, and I'm sitting behind my first grown up desk, and I'm loving it:

Now it's time to go and do some work and make good use of the desk!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Green at last...

ALTADENA, CA - JULY 25:  A foreclosed home is ...

Just read about "Green Grass at Last" in Fortune. I think its a brilliant idea, perfect for the current economic climate full of foreclosures, people less willing to spend on non-essentials and even the water shortage throughout California.

Green Grass at Last is a company that basically dyes grass, turning it from a faded brown to a glowing green. The dye is pretty much the same stuff that the pros that take care of baseball fields use and the company charges $250 for a 500 sq. ft. lawn.

When you drive by homes in foreclosure, listed as short sales, etc. in California, Arizona, Nevada and other desert regions, and all you see is seemingly dead, brown grass, you can begin to appreciate what a good idea this is. Putting lipstick on a pig, and making a buck along the way...

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Tax day comes... and goes...

IRS building on Constitution Avenue in Washing...Image via Wikipedia

I've been dreading April 15th for at least a few months, and subconsciously probably even longer than that. Since I owed quite a bit of money, I elected for the government to come and grab it from my account, no sooner than April 15th. That said, I certainly expected that the money would be gone by the time I checked my account first thing in the morning.

As I started my day, I saw Sashi's message: "the day the IRS robs my bank"

I quickly checked my account and saw that my money was safe and sound. I checked multiple times throughout the morning and early afternoon, and the money was still there. I was getting nervous, thinking that the government would want my money as soon as it could get it, and so I reached out to my accountant. She looked into my filing and verified that everything was as it should have been.

A couple of hours later, with my funds still intact, I asked my friends about their status and all that I asked confirmed that their banks had not yet been robbed. It is now just 90 minutes shy of midnight, and my money is still in the bank.

I guess I'm confused as to how the money could still be in my account given the harsh economic climate that our state and federal governments are dealing with. How much money was left sitting in private accounts today? I won't claim to know how the government deals with their money, but I assume they somehow earn interest on it? How much did the government lose in possible revenue from interest by leaving it in our personal accounts?

In any case, today came and went, just like any other day - and I'm not complaining...

Update: Well, I guess I posted to early... when I checked this morning, I had been "robbed" at some point last night... either way, seems like the money should have been taken first thing in the morning rather than just before midnight.

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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

No more hiking!

Temescal Canyon BridgeImage by kevincollins123

Thien and I came to a resolution last night... no more hiking!

Seems like a pretty odd resolution for a couple of active people to make, right? I suppose the resolution is actually no more hiking in Temescal Canyon. We've been hiking in Temescal Canyon fairly regularly for the past year, ever since we moved up to Santa Monica and for the most part have been happy with our experience. The one thing that always irked us a bit was the lack of parking on the street, coupled with the $5 parking within the actual park.

Although we typically park on the street, every once in a while when we've either wanted to avoid the hassle or couldn't find a close enough spot, I've been ambivilant about the $5. After all, it's not a huge expense and I felt like it was going to the improvement of a public space that I was actually using.

A couple of weeks ago, during one of the worst recessions we've ever seen, we pulled into the parking lot and were shocked to see that parking had gone up from $5 to $7. Now again, i can't say that I would have missed an extra $2, but a line of principle has to be drawn somewhere, and for us it was squarely across the $5 line. After making a quick decision, we drove to the other side of the lot, and pulled back out onto the street where we easily found alternate parking.

I thought that was the end of it, until yesterday. It seems that as I pulled out of the parking lot, I rolled through a stop sign which was in the actual parking lot. Does anyone stop for stop signs in a parking lot? I don't think I'm in the minority here. To my dismay, I received a citation from the "Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority Stop Sign Photo Enforcement Program" in the amount of $100.

To add insult to injury, I was told that I could go to a slick site to watch of video of my violation in action. This site (http://www.photonotice.com/) gave me some sort of backend ASPX error when I tried to login yesterday and when I tried to login today, the video never displayed. I was able to get the sweet black and white photo, which obviously proves absolutely nothing.

In short, I'm boycotting Temescal for two reasons. First, I'm moving and will no longer have the opportunity to go hiking here... ;) And second, I think it's pretty backhanded to try to sucker money out of people that you're trying to provide a service like this to. I can understand paying for parking - at least with a reasonable amount. I can understand paying to access the trails, wether on a daily or annual basis. But it's tough for me to swallow trying to "trap" the very customers you're trying to attract. Hopefully they'll figure out a better revenue model for themselves in the near future.

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Monday, April 6, 2009

Celebrity sighting - Robert LaSardo

Robert LaSardo

Thien and I were just pulling into the parking lot at our local Vons, and just as Thien turned off the engine, we both stared into the distance at someone walking by our car. The guy was wearing a hoodie, baggie pants and holding a bag of groceries and he wouldn't be particularly interesting, except he had tattoos running along the site of his neck. Although that was likely what caught our initial attention, we continued to stare because we both recognized him.

The guy in the hoodie was an actor named Robert LaSardo - and I wouldn't have known that if I hadn't just looked it up. Thien and I "knew" Robert from his stint as Escobar Gallardo on Nip/Tuck. And yes, that means that I'm "outting" myself yet again, as someone that enjoys the show. Robert saw us staring from the car, turned and kept walking - it seems like he probably lives within blocks of the store.

In any case, as much as you had to hate his Nip/Tuck character, the guy definitely made an impression on the show and it was pretty cool to see him in such a normal setting.

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