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Archive for April, 2004

Las Vegas, Act IV

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Las Vegas has reached an all-time low. He’s chatting with some girl from his Love Access Chat Room. She lives in Phoenix, and is sad because she had a bad birthday. Something about spending it alone, and having a boyfriend who got into a fight with some other guys, which resulted in the two of them missing their planned celebration, which was to take place in … Las Vegas! He sent her three dozen rozes to cheer her up, and told her that he was going to fly out there (“or some shit”) to see her, regardless of whether she wanted him to go or not (they have never met). That’s nice and all, but go do that shit from home! (Now he’s laughing his stupid laugh.). He’s been on the phone with her since about 11am this morning. That’s 4.5 hours so far of long distance billed to the company in just one day. I’ve bitched to my direct higher-ups about him (since I know them personally, outside of the company), and unfortunately wouldn’t be comfortable bitching to anyone else. Besides, my last day is Friday, so I just have to get through two more days of hell with the fucking meathead.

The History: Act III | Act II | Act I

And in case you missed it the last time, I got a photo: (read more »)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 8 comments » | Apr 28, 2004 12:39:04

Vienna Teng, Pat Suh, Jason Heller, Tammy Loh

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tammy loh

Food seems to be the theme of my New York experience. Food, pretty strangers, good friends, and a very healthy lack of sleep. As is obvious from my weekend update post, Vienna Teng is here, hanging out in New York during a rare day off. Yesterday, she played at the Borders in the Time Warner building at Columbus Circle; I wanted to go, but that whole “work” think got in the way. Pat went, with some Microsoft buddies, and in the evening, the three of us ate dinner at a nice Indian restaurant in the West Village, where we had a very nice, spicy okra dish. I really like okra, and eat it whenever I can. Vienna had never been to Magnolia Bakery, so we went there afterward for cupcakes. :)

I’d like to take a moment to point out that with regard to television programming, Vienna is even worse than I am. (read more »)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Apr 27, 2004 22:53:31

Tasks Pro 1.1 Released

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My friend Alex King has released Tasks Pro 1.1:

Tasks Pro™ is the multi-user version of Tasks: a powerful web-based task manager (to-do list manager) that allows you to organize your tasks in a hierarchical structure. Group controls allow projects to be set up only for people who need to see them. The easy browser based interface lets everyone in your groups work together easily and efficiently. The Tasks Pro™ server component is cross-platform compatible and can be installed on any Windows, Mac OS X or Linux computer running PHP and MySQL.

I’ve used it for my own purposes, and highly recommend it.

New York, NY | link | trackb | no comments » | Apr 26, 2004 15:07:09

D&D: 30 Years of Hell

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Slashdot reports that D&D is 30 years old. I was a AD&D sort of kid and played it nearly every day for years, starting when I was around 8 years old. One of the comments in the slashdot article points to a comic strip, which I thought was a joke until I got to the end. Actually, even at the end, I still thought it was a joke, but after looking at the page for awhile longer and following some of the links, I was thinking, “please be a joke. please be a joke.” It is, in fact, not meant to be a joke.

New York, NY | link | trackb | 10 comments » | Apr 26, 2004 10:22:23

Weekend Update

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rachel, with roses

I feel like a zombie. My dirty secret is that I’ve been playing Baldur’s Gate II: Dark Alliance and Champions of Norrath with Tony. Both of us are pretty busy, but we still manage to squeeze in one or two long nights of “work” every week; last week was particularly taxing because we had to finish the game before my leaving New York! Luckily, each of those games takes 15-20 hours to “finish,” which isn’t so bad when spread out over several weeks. :) I spent Friday night and all-day Saturday in Jackson Heights; Saturday was Haeyoung’s birthday, and a bunch of people — mostly CAAAV members — threw a surprise party for her at Tony and Ai-Jen’s place. I found out the day before that the party was being advertised to Haeyoung as my going-away party. A party for me, and I didn’t even know about it! ;) It was the first time I have been in the company of people playing Pictionary with keywords centered around organizing (e.g. “solidarity” and “imperialism”). (read more »)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Apr 26, 2004 08:48:44

Advanced Guestbook 2.2 SQL Injection Vulnerability

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My guestbook (Advanced Guestbook 2.2) was hacked via a SQL injection vulnerability last week. The hackers were kind and only changed the last guestbook entry. Luckily, my guestbook database lives by itself, so there’s only so much damage they could have done.

The lesson? If you’re running Advanced Guestbook 2.2, you should upgrade to 2.3.1. :)

Shit. I wrote over my anti-spam modifications. I’m going to have to replicate them.

UPDATE After the update, I couldn’t seem to login to my guestbook admin panel. The initial login works, but then I get kicked out if I try to do anything. The solution: (read more »)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 56 comments » | Apr 26, 2004 08:06:36

Pai Mei

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I loved this scene in Kill Bill, Vol. 2 :)

It’s too bad I can’t laugh on cue like Pai Mei does in Kill Bill, Vol. 2. And it’s too bad I don’t have a long, wispy beard to stroke while layin’ out the insults in Cantonese. This scene was pure genius.

New York, NY | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Apr 25, 2004 22:58:40

Where is Eric?

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Travel plans (I’ll keep moving this up). May be slightly out of date. I keep an updated calendar on Google Calendar. Let me know if you’d like to syndicate my calendar using iCal or XML (ask me). (read more »)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 15 comments » | Apr 24, 2004 11:45:30

Friendship

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I have always been someone who has had a small number of individual friends and a large number of other friends and acquaintances grouped around interests. I remember fondly the happiness I felt when I finally had a stable “group” of friends during my freshman year of college, and although it was a nice change for me, it didn’t seem to be in my nature, and the group eventually cast me out. I had as much to do with it as they did, but it did make me sad. (read more »)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 20 comments » | Apr 21, 2004 13:29:11

Las Vegas, Act III

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“I swear, I felt like I was in like, DEJA VU, I shit you not. I was like, oh-oh-hohhhh. I was still cool, you know whah i’m sayin’? She’s like, well, what do you think, and i says, i says, i says, she goes what do you think, and i go yeah, like i can be like that, and you know, i’ll tell you what, i’ve been doin’ some thinkin’. maybe we should go have lunch and talk about this. and she’s like, uh oh, and so we actually had lunch, and so we’re sittin’ there, and i was talkin’ to her, and i says, i says, i just got to tell you that when i walked in, and like, i says i can’t do this though, i says, i can’t. i says i know that it’s hard. but i says but really honestly, this reminds me of somethin’ years and years and years ago (read more »)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 6 comments » | Apr 19, 2004 06:59:28

Blooms in Central Park

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spring in ny

I’ve just experienced my first winter/spring transition ever, and it was pretty damn cool. (As you know, we don’t really have proper seasons in California). I can’t believe things changed so fast! Just over a week ago, it was cold, miserable, and snowy. But by this weekend, the temperature was in the mid-to-high 70s and flowers were blooming everywhere. I get distracted everywhere I walk, and even at night I’m looking up at the new, lacy whiteness of the trees. I love seeing the arching blooms along the streets flanking Central Park West. On my way back from Queens this morning (stayed over at Tony’s last night), I hopped off of the E train at 5th Avenue so I could walk across the park to my place on the UWS. Everyone was out walking the paths and sunning themselves on the grass (I’m SO OVER tanning these days. The sun is an evil ball of fire). It took me about an hour to saunter slowly across, and I was sort of withdrawn into my own little world, alone despite the throngs of people surrounding me. I remember looking at the ray of sunlight on my white-ass arm and thinking, “wow — this arm has been covered by clothing for months.”

The clash of church clothing and people in summer clothing (women in tank/tube tops!) was interesting.

I had BBQ Saturday evening at Pearson’s BBQ in Jackson Heights, AND tonight at Brother Jimmy’s on the UWS. After avoiding beef for so long, I gorged myself on it this weekend. I’m in a downward (upward?) spiral! I weighed myself yesterday at Tony’s place, and I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been — by eight pounds! See? Everyone scoffs when I bitch about gaining weight. Now I have proof. By the way, walking into Pearson’s BBQ gave me a Twilight Zone sort of feeling. It’s a little enclave of Caucasians surrounded (and I mean surrounded) by South Asians. :) [see some photos]

New York, NY | link | trackb | 9 comments » | Apr 18, 2004 21:03:07

Nash Clan Hits New York

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adam, in a nyc cab

The Nash clan was in New York this weekend for a wedding; being around so many Nashes is always a lot of fun (eight Nashes there were — plus two girlfriends). The “kids” poke at each other non-stop, and I often end up talking with Mom and Dad Nash, the three of us amused at the antics of the Nashlings. It was great to see all of them. Mom Nash thinks that it’s “cute” that I’m here in New York. That’s a very different reaction than I usually get from people when I tell them what I’m doing. :)

Adam, Carolyn and I had brunch at Public with Paola, one of Adam’s friends from Harvard Business School. Paola is a lot of fun to chat with; she’s always laughing, and has sparkly eyes. “See? I have cool friends, despite my barbarian ways,” Adam quipped. After the meal, Joechang and Rachel came down from the Upper West Side to meet up with me and the Nash Horde at Ground Zero. It’s still a Big Hole in the Ground, but now you can walk all the way around the south side in a covered walkway. [see some photos]

New York, NY | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Apr 18, 2004 20:45:45

Dell Inspiron 8600 “IRQ_NOT_LESS_THAN_EQUAL” BSOD

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This is mostly for me, to track my progress dealing with this problem, and for others to find, if they have the same problem. (Progress in trying to fix my recent BSOD problem with my Dell 8600). (read more »)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 17 comments » | Apr 18, 2004 12:29:00

Niche markets suck

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How is it that my personal website gets more visitors than does Wetpixel.com, a site considered one of the premiere sites in its (very narrow) industry? It’s upsetting. Perhaps I should invest some of the (very little) income I’m getting from Wetpixel back into its own marketing. Thus far, we have grown — through word of mouth — into a site that gets nearly 30,000 unique visits per month. But my site here is getting around 35,000 uniques a month.

I recognize that our readership at Wetpixel is valuable because it is extremely targeted. Most people who visit the site are loyal, returning day after day. But collecting a tiny sliver of a huge “market” seems to work better than getting a larger share of a tiny market. I really wonder how many digital underwater photographers there are out there in the world. Probably not many. Oh well; at last I have fun running the site — most of the time. :)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 9 comments » | Apr 16, 2004 09:34:12

Why I need to get out.

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I just heard someone in the room refer to time passing in the real world as “clock ticks” and events in the real world occuring “with some probability on each tick.” I’m a fan of using geek language outside of its world when appropriate (e.g. “pinging” someone, which describes something specific that isn’t as easily described otherwise) or when humorous, but using it for no reason makes me cringe. There’s chic geek, and there’s dorky geek; sometimes the line between the two is just very clear.

The Middle of the Geek Universe | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Apr 15, 2004 06:41:08

Uncompressed Digital Library

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I just realized the other day that one 250GB disk is enough to hold my entire 400 CD music collection — uncompressed. The next time I am home for a long time (hah!), I’m going to build a music server and rip all my CDs in both WAV and MP3 formats. I’ll stick ‘em in a cheap $400 DELL box with IDE RAID and two mirrored 250GB drives (or whatever the largest size o’ the moment is), and stream them to cheapy client boxes with digital audio outs. With my nice DAC, it should sound heavenly (enough), and will be available all over the house. :)

New York, NY | link | trackb | 17 comments » | Apr 14, 2004 13:12:24

Rice Pudding

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I dreamt convincingly last night that I cleared my left ear of earwax by sticking something all the way into my right ear. Surely, that is not a good sign.


nyc subway

I had dinner at Ghennet and rice pudding at Rice to Riches with Peter, Karine, and Christine the other night. It’s fun to hang out with sisters; I like noticing their similarities. [see some photos]

We turned on the TV last night at Tony and Ai-jen‘s place, and Dubya was on the screen giving a “speech.” English-like sounds came out of his mouth, but we had no luck deciphering it, so we changed the channel. Dubya, again. Changed the channel again. Dubya. And again. AND AGAIN. Channels 1-6 or so were soiled by the mug of our wonderful president, and not until we hit Univision did his face disappear. “This is like my worst nightmare!” [someone] exclaimed, and we all had a little laugh (but one tainted with disgust). Even evil-cat Cocoa looked annoyed, but that might have been because I discovered a new way to torment her.

I am torn. I feel like I’m ready to leave New York, but I am quite enjoying the stability of daily routine. In fact, when I look ahead at my travel schedule, a bit of dread creeps up on me, mixed in with the anticipation.

Unrelated: AP has a story today about a Taiwanese cat using the toilet. I’d like to point out that certain Taiwanese people have a history of training cats to use the toilet. ;) I’d also like to point out that roughly 50 people a month hit my site by doing a web search for the word, “pooping.” You sick bastards.

Unrelated 2: I just saw this on Slashdot. Clicked over to the site with the images and got really excited! Science is cool.

New York, NY | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Apr 14, 2004 08:15:58

Las Vegas, an update

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Here’s an update on my good friend, Las Vegas:

10:20AM (verbatim): “My friend got that camera you were talkin’ about, you know that Digital Rebel or somethin’. His girlfren got it for him cuz he’s really like, into photography really a lot, and she said that he should get more into like, art and stuff. He said I should get one because you’d never fuckin’ have to buy another camera again, that shit is so dope.”

Yes. That shit is so dope.

Hey, so I’ve been struggling with the apparent inanity of /journal here at echeng.com. I wish I had the talent/energy/time to write essays on thoughtful topics. Instead, I bleat around and post a few photos every once in awhile. Yay.

UPDATE April 14th: While in my cube today, I glanced over briefly and saw that every other line in one of Vegas’ chat windows was “LOL”, “OMG LOL!!!”, or something similar. I took a closer look just now (he’s out of his cube), and the title of the window he has open is “LoveAccess Chat.” There are currently 33 members in the chatroom, and 99% of the messages ARE IN ALL CAPS. What the hell is he doing in the “LoveAccess” chatroom while at work??? I think you should be free to IM at work if you also happen to be getting work done, or… maybe you need to take some time to relax, or maybe you have to plan something with a friend, and IM is the most efficient way to do it. But this is different, because he ain’t doin’ shit. I’m sorely tempted to find the chatroom and get on it while sitting right next to him. ;)

On the other hand, maybe I’m wrong. It’s possible that he’s doing research on a defective network switch, and the support chatroom just happens to be titled, “LoveAccess Chat.” Yeah. Or maybe he’s trying to find pricing on ECC RAM, like his boss told him to not long ago, and he’s “meeting” someone in the chatroom who can get him a good deal.

The other day, his phone rang. “Hello?” (pause. question asked on the other end.) “I’m workin’. (inflection: duh! it’s during working hours!)”

I wanted to scream, “NO, YOU’RE NOT WORKING!” But instead, I chuckled quietly to myself and put my headphones in.

New York, NY | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Apr 12, 2004 16:21:54

St. Lawrence String Quartet w/Menahem Pressler

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eating at pampa

My good friends in the St. Lawrence String Quartet are here in New York for a few days, performing in a couple of different venues. On Saturday night, I took Tony and Ai-jen to see them play an all-Dvorák concert with Menahem Pressler at the Met. (The web page for the event is a little weird, because it shows a photo of Pressler in the Beaux Arts Trio, instead of with members of the SLSQ.) I really like Dvorák’s Piano Quintet Op. 81, so it was a real treat to get to hear it performed live by such great musicians. Pressler is very cute at the piano; he sort of bops around and stares out at the rest of the group. I love seeing musicians play who radiate a strong connection with their fellow music-makers.

After the show, we went out to Pampa for Argentinian steaks. Tony, Ai-jen and I had eaten before the show at Josie’s (because of time, we cruelly deprived Tony of their lemon curd yogurt pie, which is one of the best desserts EVER), but we pigged out again on fries, desserts, and sangria. I was impressed with Daisy (she’s one of the SLSQ’s students from Toronto); she probably weighs no more than 100 pounds, but ate a steak that was literally hanging off the plate at both ends. I wanted to see how there could possibly be room for so much meat, but I thought it might be rude to stare. Speaking of rude, much of the conversation at dinner — at the other end of the table — centered around p o r n, for some reason. I mentioned that the search term that hits my site the most is “pooping” because of a photo I have of my cat pooping on the toilet, and Geoff’s old NY-buddy Sean looked up and said, “oh! I’ve been to your site.” I wonder what search led him to pooping Hiro … ;)

Saw Barry, Lesley, and John (Lad) for dinner tonight, up at Gennaro on the UWS (really great slow-roasted (or braised?) lamb shank), and we bumped into Elise and Ben, whom we all knew from the music department back at Stanford. Almost felt like we were back in California. :) [see some photos]

New York, NY | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Apr 11, 2004 21:33:49

Vienna @ Villa Montalvo

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Tickets are available to the general public as of 3 minutes ago:
http://www.ticketmaster.com/event/1C003876E57C9091

The Carriage House at Villa Montalvo is a fantastic venue. Quiet and intimate…

New York, NY | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Apr 11, 2004 10:04:23
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