:: What's New in the World ::
"I hate you."
In The Off Hours
Books :: None currently...
TV :: Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, The 4400, Entourage
Anime :: Naruto, Bleach, Gundam SEED Destiny, Sousei no Aquarion
Music :: DHT - Listen to Your Heart
• Annoying Event Staff
• No More Work
• Night Pictures
• Winning at Poker
• No income
• Expensive gear
• Integrating flash and DBs
• Driving long distances
:: Wednesday, April 30, 2003 ::
A Boom in the Night...
:: Tuesday, April 29, 2003 ::
I was awakened suddenly last night by a loud boom. I was so exhausted from jet lag I didn't think much of it at the time and immediately went back to sleep. I remembered thinking, before I passed back into the nothingness of sleep that perhaps some crane had dropped something huge and it had exploded as it impacted violently onto the earth. My coworker, who was still up at the time, didn't hear the explosion because he was on the other side of the building facing away from it but he heard the ensuing cacophony of police sirens, ambulances and fire trucks that followed shortly after. Only this the morning did I find out that a jazz cafe about 2 miles away from my hotel had been the scene of a suicide bomber. You know its one thing to hear or read about something happening on the news; it's another thing entirely to have it happen next door. It's nothing short of surreal.
The Israelis I work with said that once, an event like this would have been all people would talk about the next day, but now they've become so commonplace, it hardly warrants mention. He also added they get about two of these bombings a month. I'm not sure which is scarier, the commonality of it or the desensitized attitude which Israelis live in the shadow of such random terror. On my way to our Israeli subcontractors' facility, which is also in part a military installation where they fabricate missiles and other weapons, I pass by a military base filled with people, both men and women, my age wearing uniforms and armed with guns. It's a different world completely over here. I guess despite all the faults I have with our country sometimes, I feel more fortunate after seeing a little more of the big wide world. I'm not sure if this most recent event will affect my plans to tour Jerusalem on Saturday. I guess there's a fine line between being careful and living in fear.
For the full story on the bombing Click Here.
:: posted by Z [11:23 AM]
Live From Tel Aviv...
:: Monday, April 28, 2003 ::
OK, so I lied, I guess I will be updating my site from Israel. That is until I find something more interesting to do in my off time. But for the meanwhile, I guess those of you who actually read my site won’t have to go without, aren’t you lucky? Hehe. Anyway, a quick update I guess is in order.
Because of my inability to do anything on time I only ended up getting about an hour of sleep before I got picked up for my flight out of SD. Once again, despite being extremely exhausted, I was unable to sleep on any of the flights. There must be something seriously wrong with me I think. But it was about 20 hours from leaving SD to landing in Tel Aviv. I timed it. Actually it was 20 hours and 3 minutes and 15 seconds exactly. So besides that one brief hour of sleep, I was basically up for 43 hours straight. *sigh*
The airport at Cincinnati was nothing remarkable, but I ended up getting lost at New York’s JFK airport with this Romanian girl from Bucharest, as we walked around from bus stop to bus stop trying to find the right one to Terminal 4. I guess I was fortunate not to have to suffer alone. Actually she reminded me a lot of my friend Alicia from Spain.
Then once I actually found my airline, El-Al, I was given the 3rd degree by Israeli security. I think they did this to all non-Israelis. It was fairly annoyed but once they were done, one of the security guys gave me an escort straight to the plane, past all the lines. So that made up for all the time I lost. At first I thought the Israelis were stuck up, but after talking to two of the security guys for a bit, I think it’s just the way they come across. It must be a cultural thing.
I’ll say this though, First Class is awesome. I don’t know how I’ll make the transition back to Southwest economy after this flight. Going back to the farm after you’ve seen the city, it’s tough. My company also put me up in this nice hotel called the Dan Panorama which is located literally 30 seconds from the beach and the American Embassy, good in case there's any trouble I suppose. And I have a 10th story room with a small balcony and an awesome view of the Mediterranean.
The Israelis’ weekend actually begins is on Friday not Saturday, so I only have to work for 2 days before I get a break. I think I’ll try to see Jerusalem if I get the chance. It’ll probably me more interesting than being cooped up in my hotel room watching anime and DVDs on my laptop all weekend. Also the Israeli airport workers are going on strike starting tomorrow, so there’s a slight possibility I might get stuck here. Let’s hope they resolve their issues with the government quickly. Anyway, its 5am and I’ve slept for on and off now for about 11 hours. I guess I should go get ready for work. Signing off…
:: posted by Z [7:13 PM]
Wish Me Swift Journey and Safe Return...
:: Tuesday, April 22, 2003 ::
It's 2am and I'm still awake. This probably isn't the best way to begin my trip I think. In a little under 5 hours I'll be on a plane heading towards Israel but I thought since I won't be updating my site from Tel Aviv, I should probably make a final post. See, that's the dedication I have for you, my loyal web readership out there! Also I did a very very un-Z like thing, I went ahead and posted up the pictures not only from Ellen's and Alberto's birthday, but also from the Century Club last night. There's an especially good one of Vu's post-club activities. Heh. But to balance out my uncharacteristic deed, I did something entirely too vintage. I waited till the last possible moment to pack. Hence I'm still awake even though common sense would seem to dictate that I should be sleeping. But it's going to be a 17 hour flight, I figure I'll be able to get all the sleep I need then.
Anyway, if you were there to witness our return tour to the Century Club, you missed out, cause their was mad craziness up in the house. Well at least mad drunkeness, which typically equates to the same thing when you think about it. I, of course, was a part of the drunken antics and didn't even manage to make it home to SD. Instead I ended up in ktown, which funny enough, is where the evening began, on Jiyon and Julie's couch. So I gotta thank them for putting up with me and an extra thanks to Julie for keeping me awake on the ride from the club. Man someone has to learn how to drive stick! That is why I never want to drive. Anyway, I'm gonna go see if I can catch an hour or two of sleep. I'll try to avoid the cafes, the clubs, the bus stops and the bullets and hopefully I'll see you all in 8 days! Laters.
:: posted by Z [2:28 AM]
T Minus 6 Days…
:: Thursday, April 17, 2003 ::
So the week before my embarkation is a relatively mild one, in terms of work at least. Because everything has to be finalized before we go, I’m in this complete lull, waiting. I do what I can to pass the time, chat online, watch anime or DVDs, and I just spent the last hour and half updating all my records, you know - pay stubs, bank statements, that kind of thing. I use to be so diligent about keeping up to date records and filing everything away in an organized manner, but after a while I grew tired from such efforts and instead resorted to throwing all my records in a single drawer. I thought it had only been a few months since I started doing that but as I start sorted the heap of documents, I noted that some of the dates were from over a year ago. Hehe. I’m happy to say that that pile is now gone. Now let’s see how long I wait before it gets that large again.
I even spent a minute or two helping Mat out with some HTML for his site which got me to thinking I should probably post something for my site. Hmm dang am I bored. I think I might as well go home. I came in before 7:30 for a meeting. ACK! Early morning meetings are the absolute worse! And the Program Manager who called it didn’t even show until 8:30, the bastard! Oh well, Lakers vs. Timberwolves: Game 2 – tonight!
Oh yeah, I almost forgot, my boy Li-Ping Sung, the OG scam master, is back stateside for the weekend so I’ll be heading up to LA to hit up good ol’ Century Club. So if you’re in the neighborhood, get in your club gear and head over. I’ll see you all there!
:: posted by Z [2:26 PM]
Just Another Week in the Life…
:: Tuesday, April 15, 2003 ::
I finally got some decent sleep last night and have woken up all refreshed! Quite a lot has happened over the last week and I’ll just take moment or two of your time and mine to recap everything for those who might not be up to date. First off, it is official, and if anyone has noticed my Upcoming Events, my company is sending me to Israel at the end of this month. If anyone has any Kevlar, whether it a vest or a helmet, that they’d be willing loan me, on a temporary basis of course, it would be much appreciated. And while my company has not seem to care about my obvious reluctance to this latest assignment, which proves sadly beyond a doubt that my college carefree life has been sold for one of corporate slavery for a salary, a paid vacation and a 401k, they have seen fit not to stint on the airfare. So my itinerary looks a little something like this: San Diego to Cincinnati (First Class), Cincinnati to New York (Business Class), and finally New York to Tel Aviv (Business Class). On the return trip, sometime in early May, two legs will be flown First Class. Total cost - $4140. One of the things I’ve always wanted to do was fly First Class at least once, so I guess something positive will come out of this whole misguided adventure and if nothing else it will definitely be a unique experience on top of an already crazy year.
Next up, the NBA regular season has finally concluded and what a roller coaster ride it has been! I don’t think when this season started that anyone would have predicted how it would end months later. But I guess that’s often the case in life. The Lakers won and the Blazers lost yesterday, leaving the Lakers in the 5th seed in the West which means they’ll face off against KG and the Timberwolves first round. Here come the playoffs! W00h00!
And to end on a super good note, I got my tax forms back from our family accountant and I must say that my tax return is looking awfully nice. This is the first year that I’ll be doing itemized taxes instead of just filling out the good ol’ 1040EZ and boy was it worth it! I can’t wait to get some government checks. I know that ultimately it’s only my money that I’m getting back but when I pay taxes, correction - when they take taxes I immediately write that money off as gone forever. So every year when I get my tax refunds, it’s like free money. It feels way better than just getting something back doesn’t it? I guess it all depends on your perspective and I choose to stick with this one.
:: posted by Z [10:58 AM]
Bulletproof Vests and Suicide Bombs…
:: Monday, April 14, 2003 ::
Well it looks like yours truly might be sent to one of the most volatile and dangerous regions in the world, Israel. My company wants me to go over there to help finalize hardware integration tests with our Israeli subcontractors, but understandably I don’t wish to make the journey. Israel ranks pretty high up there in my list of places I would never want to visit. And it’s just not the suicide bombers or the stifling desert heat; I just don’t like this country and more specifically our country’s involvement with them which I still have a hard time grasping. But at this moment there isn’t much I can do in the matter. I can’t refuse without injuring my career and there aren’t any other viable alternates who could take my place. Well there is, the other engineer on our project but he has already been to the Netherlands and the United Kingdom within the last six months and he’s already flat out refused to go to Israel. So it falls to me. About the only thing I can hope to do is make them move the tests to the Netherlands because the time difference between the west coast and Israel is going to make coordination between the two offices a nightmare. And I know I’ll definitely need some major assistance. I wouldn't mind spending some time in the Netherlands though. We'll see what happens I guess. Wish me luck I guess, looks like I might need it. I just better not forget to pack my bulletproof vest. After all, I do work for a defense contractor. *sigh*
:: posted by Z [12:45 PM]
:: Friday, April 11, 2003 ::
I think it’s time to resurrect an oldie but goodie, the Monday Aftermath Report, at least for this Monday because for once I have stuff to report. Friday was Alberto’s BDay and we headed up to Irvine to eat at this Moroccan restaurant. I think about 90% of the crew didn’t even know where Morocco was. Haha. And we were suppose to eat with our hands but that didn’t work out too well. Eventually they gave us forks cause we suck. Anyway, the food was umm… different, and fairly pricey. It probably wasn’t worth what we ended up paying but it was a special occasion and the company was definitely top notch. The food was also slow in coming, so we didn’t make guestlist and ended up having to pay to get into Sharks. *sigh*
Once we did get into, it was super crowded. I guess it was some sort of asian porn convention. But what it actually was, was a but her face convention. For more on this, check out Mat’s blog. Then I had a little disagreement with the bar. It turns out they stop serving shots after midnight. WTF is this about? What a stupid rule. On top of that, they’ll still give you a shot with ice. WTF is the difference? Anyway, that combined with the pathetic pace at which they serve drinks really pissed me off. So I just gave up the idea of getting buzzed, probably a good idea considering my track record, and decided to dance. I ran into Penny, Peter, Jenny and Patsy there, old school buddies from way back. So that was cool too. I also got to see Alberto take a shot of Remy and Stace driving her IS, a rare sighting that took be back to that one crazy spring quarter. So overall, the night wasn’t a total bust.
On Saturday, we had a little poker night over at Richard’s place where I was the big winner, taking Richard’s, Colin’s and Josh Tran’s money despite having to buy back into the game on two separate occasions. Came up a whole $12.75! Big ballah, shot callah! Haha. On Sunday, didn’t do much besides be a veg as usual. Watched anime. Watched the Lakers lose, FAWK. Went the gym and ran for the first time in two months on my sprained ankle. Now it’s Monday and like always I’m TURRED. I really need to sleep earlier. *sigh* Oh well, I guess some lessons are just harder to learn.
:: posted by Z [9:51 AM]
Pre-Party Preparations and other News…
:: Wednesday, April 09, 2003 ::
Thank goodness it’s FRIDAY! And as I always say, the weekend couldn’t have come a moment later. Long week, long hours, at work or for those unfortunate few still in the scholastic enslavement better known as college, it’s time to forget our troubles, relieve our stress, if only for a brief moment and party while we’re still young enough to enjoy it!
First things first though. The Los Angeles Lakers, in their fourth regular season meeting with the Sacramento Kings, convincingly crushed their archrivals in a 117 to 104 victory last night, proving that they still got what it takes to win. Now if they would only figure out a way to beat San Antonio. But I have faith in them, they will prevail. QUAT-ROW all the way!
Next up, I’d like to give a shout out and happy bday wishes to one of the swolest cats out there, and all around good guy, Alberto. To commensurate this joyous occasion, as well as the birthday of Ms. Shoe, we are packing up and taking the act on the road to Sharks in Irvine. As many out there are well aware, Sharks and I have had a brief but checkered history. For the record, I’ve blacked out twice, gotten banned from the bar, and got kicked out of this club. Now I find myself going back, on a double birthday no less. Perhaps Vu expressed all my worries best when he IM’d earlier today.
intouchcomm619: you ready
intouchcomm619: to get X
Here goes. Round 4. Sharks vs Z. *ding ding ding*
:: posted by Z [1:51 PM]
Up the Rung…
:: Saturday, April 05, 2003 ::
Well it was almost a month late in coming, though that might have much to do with the 3 weeks I took off to go to Japan and Thailand in February, but I finally got my promotion. Unlike my other raises, this one also came coupled with a title change. I guess that means I’ve officially climbed another rung on the corporate ladder. Scary when I think about things like that, but I mean all they did was remove the “Associate” from my previous job title. So now I’m a full fledge Software Engineer. But I guess good news is always balanced out by some not so pleasant news. I received word of my next project and it’s an embedded microprocessor system. *shudder* I, of course, expressed my immediate distaste and my supervisor said she’ll try to switch me to a VHDL project as soon as this one new project is finished. Let’s hope it’s a short one, for my sake.
Oh yeah, also mad props out to Plucker, aka Josh Tran, for not only graduating from UCSD but also for getting accepted into UCSF Dentistry. For someone who spends so much time thinking about how other people look, especially the ladies, that profession seems all too appropriate. LOL. And happy birthday to Smallfry, aka Ellen, though she still looks 16 hehe.
:: posted by Z [9:37 AM]
:: Friday, April 04, 2003 ::
I don't know why, but anyone who writes knows you can sometimes go months without so much as a single solitary word and then overnight you find you can't put the pen down, metaphorically speaking of course. Most of this stuff was composed via a keyboard, but you get my meaning. Anyway, more stuff for those who have nothing better to read.
how does it work, this thing called inspiration
to anyone who's felt it, its quite a strange sensation
a river that stops and flows beyond our conscious control
oh well, that's just how it goes, something we might never know
the only thing we can do I guess, is write the words as they manifest
and the only thing that is certain beyond any doubt
is that something deep inside is always trying to get out
so pen in hand and heart in mind, I scribble onto the page
and here before you are all the words my efforts made
nowhere to go, nowhere to hide
and the truth of it's been eating me up inside
I've opened my eyes, now it's your turn to see
just take a second, to really look at me
look at us, and this facade that we've become
I know you know, deep down I'm not the one
and my eyes keep drifting towards the open door
you can't hold me stationary anymore
it can't be better off this way
living everyday, pretending everything's ok
you are an anchor, holding me back
and I am the chains, keeping you trapped
so let me go, escape, go be free
no alternative, this is how it has to be
nowhere is where we started and where we're headed
stuck in this pattern, continually repetitive
it's been over, I just have to say goodbye
please believe, I never meant to make you cry
you're upset, I feel the hate you radiate
but better for you to hate than never to escape
of course I care, but caring is not enough
the connection's slowly been fading between the two of us
you say you don't understand, I won't try to justify
sometimes the truth hurts more than any lie
this is the time our two paths must seperate
otherwise, nowhere would be our fate
:: posted by Z [10:14 PM]
:: Thursday, April 03, 2003 ::
It's Friday night and oddly enough I'm at home. Well at least I can't say I wasn't productive.
-All There Is- [4.4.03]
stuck in this routine, every single day
i want desperately to leave, but I can't find the way
i look around to see, im not the only one whose lost
and I ask the question to everyone I cross
but no one knows, no one cares
all they give is silence and empty stares
I'm standing dangerously on the edge
and i have nothing left to give
so tell me is it true?
is this all there is?
tell me if you know
don't leave me in the dark
basish all this doubt
that's lurking in my heart
is there more,
if i should live
or is this all there is?
is this all there is?
but I'll go on, searching for the truth
at this point, what have i got to lose
everyday's the same, i cease trying to understand
when did i become this empty shell that i am
is there hope, is there light
at the end of this tunnel i've been walking through all night
i search desperately for the wonder
i felt when i saw the sky as a kid
but maybe this is it
this all there is
please don't let this be
all there is...
:: posted by Z [11:15 PM]
Boredom and insomnia breed interesting things. Sitting at work, trying desperately to stay awake, I found myself listening to the song Welcome to Atlanta. In my sleep-deprived haze I wrote my own version of the song.
-Welcome to Diego- [4.3.03]
Diego in the south, that's my hometown
let me tell you something 'bout how we throw down
in the city of summer we always keepin it real
club nite is life, that's how we feel
saturday night, we mob to L.A.
five car caravan on the freeway
two hundred on da guestlist, that's how we roll
you can ask around cuz they all know
when we hit the dancefloor we're half of the club
give time to the ladies cuz it's all love
party all night til they shut us down
drink continuous til we're on the ground
after the club we're far from done
it's only 2am and the night's just begun
so pass da bacardi cuz we can't stop
they say its last call but for us it's not
so let me introduce you to the rest of the crew
some of these fools you already knew
c-walk, non-stop, hiphop Mat's up in da mix
swoopin on the ladies like it ain't no shit
next case, it's Stace, she don't ever drive
picked up, dropped off, we just chauffeur rides
Chester representing, admiral's on the scene
stepping to the hunnies like he invented the lean
Nela in da house with all of her pharmacy friends
dancing away like the night can't end
oh no, there goes thuy with drinks in her hand
those who've seen this, they understand
Event staff standing, guarding the door
downing shots of vodka yelling out "no more"
shit here comes Steve steaming down from the bay
when he starts leaning step out of the way
DJ Vu on the turntables spinnin da tracks
cuz it'll be 8am before we get back
Albert's sober cuz he don't ever drink
one shot of tequila and he'd be over a sink
oh yeah I almost forgot, what about me?
well everyone who knows, knows I'm Z
always take my camera and give it away
drinking every night like its my birthday
:: posted by Z [11:41 PM]