:: 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
:: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 ::
Scams and Stupidity…
:: Thursday, September 25, 2003 ::
Recently I read an article about a man who claims to have scammed over $2 million from EBay customers over the last few years. He did this in a fairly simple way. He would find EBay accounts with great ratings and reviews, about a 1000 or so, and send them all an email claiming he was from EBay and that their account would be shut down if they didn’t reply with their account information (username/password). He claims he would get about 200 replies. Then using the stolen accounts he would approach other EBay users already in auctions and promise them better deals than the current auction they were bidding on. His favorite auctions to target are those for plasma screen TVs. After he got them to agree to a price, he would lead them to a fake escrow site him and co-scammers had set up. His victims would then send him the money via the fake escrow site. While there are parts of this scam that do require technical expertise, such as the setting up the fake escrow site and being able to route the money away to hidden bank accounts, its foundation relies solely on the naivety, gullibility, and just plain stupidity of people.
I know that may sound harsh but it's true. I’m not sure how many times people have to be told but no company will ever send you and email asking for your personal information. They have all that information already. You had to fill out a registration form when you signed up for the site. The only thing they do not have is your password which is typically encrypted at the time you make it so only you know it. They will never need this from you for any reason. This would be analogous to a bank sending you a letter asking for your account number and PIN. It would not happen. The bank does not require your PIN to access your account. Then there is the matter of the fake escrow sites, and I’ve been told that there have also been fake Paypal sites. Use unknown money handling sites at your own risk. Anyone who doesn’t want to utilize one of the established and respected sites should automatically be suspect. There’s just no legitimate reason why they wouldn’t. I know it’s a cliche but it still holds true: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
My cousin, a big time EBay bidder and auctioneer, just last week got an email claiming to be from EBay stating that his account would be suspended if he didn’t fill out a form. The email contained an official EBay link, but when he clicked on it, it took him instead to some other site which had a poorly done form asking for every bit of personal information a criminal would need to steal his identity from his driver’s license to his social security number. The trick they used was that the link was actually just an image of a link. The page was obviously not related to EBay in anyway but I’m sure that some poor shmuck out there filled out the form and now has 10 new credit cards that don’t belong to him. Oh well, my rant is finished…
:: posted by Z [10:18 AM]
The Little Things in Life...
:: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 ::
After two days of posting short IM convos I decided to actually write something. Today was a pretty big day at work for me. Besides some final testing, the project I have been working on for the last several months is winding down. Everything is proceeding on schedule and working as it should, so I have good reason to be happy. Within two weeks I'll also be getting my annual raise. More cash is always good right? So needless to say I have ample reason to be in high spirits (which is actually the meaning of isamu for those who know my IM screen name). But there are a few more tiny things that make this day pretty damn good in my book.
Firstly, even though it looks like in all likelihood Fran won't be able to dive, I found out Chris is actually SCUBA certified and has his own gear, so I can take the course knowing I will be able to continue on afterwards. Secondly, it's poker night and four hours of card playing is always a good time. Finally, I came home today to check out some anime soundtracks I downloaded from the other Chris last night and had a pleasant surprise.
For those who didn't already know, I'm a pretty big anime junkie, going so far as to even mail people CDs of anime to help spread the addiction. In the course of watching all that anime, I occasionally come across songs that I really like, but they are extremely difficult to find. Even when I find the anime original soundtrack, the version of the song that appears in the series is often no where to be found. Instead I'm given a shorter version that sucks. It's free so I know I shouldn't complain but I can't help it. But today I found one of the songs I've been looking for awhile in its full form. That made my day extra happy. A little thing I know, but sometimes it's about the little things.
:: posted by Z [7:03 PM]
A Small World...
:: Monday, September 22, 2003 ::
MeMeMe143: hey u know how after your party chester n them went to the other robertos?
MeMeMe143: n kris passed out?
MeMeMe143: those guys that were taking pictures of him
MeMeMe143: those were my ex bf n his friends
isamu619: are you serious?
isamu619: how did you find out?
MeMeMe143: he was telling me that h e saw my friend (vu)
MeMeMe143: at robertos
MeMeMe143: and vu's friend passed out
isamu619: imma post this conversation
MeMeMe143: n i said were u guys taking pics
MeMeMe143: he said yeah
isamu619: event staff will be in two posts in a row hehe
Poor Event, it just hasn't been his month. Luckily he still provides plenty of entertaining moments for the rest of us, and even for strangers. What a generous guy he is! Haha!
:: posted by Z [2:37 PM]
:: Thursday, September 18, 2003 ::
Kris2fur: and i gotta get laid too
Kris2fur: its on my to do list
isamu619: can i post that?
Kris2fur: sure... why not
Never underestimate the power of "to do" lists hahaha.
:: posted by Z [2:14 PM]
A Matter of Health...
:: Tuesday, September 16, 2003 ::
Before they let you anywhere near the SCUBA gear, it seems that a physical of some type and a medical release form signed by a physician are required. So today, I took an hour break in the morning, left work, and drove down to downtown La Jolla to visit my family doc and to see if I have any crazy unknown aliment that would prevent me from taking the dive. A short half hour later, I'm happy to report that I'm fit as a fiddle. Although the results of the bloodwork will take a week or two to get back to me, it doesn't seem like there's anything to worry about.
Phew! I haven't had a physical since high school so I guess anything could have gone unnoticed for years. Luckily that didn't happen. My doc even said I had good blood pressure. When I asked what it was, he replied "90 over 70." Unfortunately I was totally ignorant of what those numbers meant. I looked up with a blank expression and said "so... 130 percent?" Haha. Ok, well I didn't do that. I know the first number is my systolic pressure and the second is my diastolic pressure, but I had no idea what the range of either should be. So I just smiled and said thanks.
That's the good news. The bad news is it looks like my dive partner, Fran, is not so fortunate and might have something that makes diving a big no no. So it would appear that might be forced to take the dive classes by my lonesome. How unfortunate. Oh well, that's life and these are the breaks.
:: posted by Z [1:49 PM]
A Quirk in Our Brains...
:: Monday, September 15, 2003 ::
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer inwaht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is tahtthe frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm.Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, butthe wrod as a wlohe.Fcuknig amzanig huh?
courtesy of jillyb333n
:: posted by Z [1:45 PM]
Weekend Aftermath Report…
:: Friday, September 12, 2003 ::
I don’t mean to toot my own horn, but my party was off da hook. Anyone who was there can testify to the fact and back up my assertion with collaborating evidence. Even though people got their hella late, around 7 instead of the official 3 o’clock start time, everything worked out anyway. The food at the BBQ was bomb. Thanks go out to Thuy for providing that extra spicy chicken, Jorge for his famous salsa, Ed for the sausages, Alberto and Ellen for the hamburgers, Janice and Polo for the ribs and of course mi madre for the savory New York steaks.
After Vu finally woke up and dragged his ass over, he and Floormat set up the sound and lighting and we were ready to kick the party into gear. Thanks to all the guys who help me assemble that dance floor. It seemed everyone was in attendance that night, most coming all the way down from LA just to help me celebrate my 25th: the k-town crew, the scoobies, my old raving and game room buddies, Steamin and Event, my homeboy Gordon, Tim’s apartment, of course the default clubbing crew guestlist, and even Ted broke his self imposed hermithood to show us all the moves he learned during his stint in Japan. Event Staff tried to battle him, and Steamin joined in until he fell through the canyon in the dance floor and busted his knee. My mom scared everyone out of the kitchen when she woke up and started cleaning the house right in the middle of the party. Three people ended up in the pool. Ted had his reunion with Desiree. Chester and Steamin took pictures in every possible scoobie configuration. Vu was running around looking for anything alcoholic. Everyone broke the no drinks on the dance floor rule. Thuy lost her shoes but I eventually found them on Sunday. Gracie spooned everyone ice cream cake straight from the freezer. I thought I was pretty sober through the whole affair, but in retrospect it seems I had a mini blackout myself. Oh well. After the party, we all decided to go to Robertos for some late night grub, but Ted, Thuy and I ended up at the wrong Roberts by our lonesome. But we didn’t let a little fact like that deter us in the least. We had our own mini after party. Meanwhile, at the other Robertos, Event Staff passes out and everyone leaves him there for a couple of random guys to start messing with him as he sleeps while they stand outside taking pictures. How sad, but funny too.
The next day, it was off to the airport to drop up Gordon who hung his head out the window of my mom’s SUV and threw up as we drove to the airport. I’m sure that must have been a nice sight to the people driving directly behind us. Haha. Then it was off to, where else but Pho Hoa Cali, THE place for Sunday group recovery. Unfortunately afterwards I had to head back home and continue the clean up process. By the time Ted and I got back home though, my mom had already started cleaning and was adamant about us not helping. After some coercion she finally decided to let us do some minor things. Thanks to Extra Mile Clean Up Crew: Ted, Lan, Alberto and Ellen for helping.
After the house had regained some level of normalcy, the dance floor had been disassembled and loaded into the SUV, and we cleaned up as much as we could, I headed down the street to my cousin’s baby shower where I finally got my first victory with my poker group. I’m still flushed with my huge comeback victory. I am now $60 richer! It was the perfect end to a crazy, fun-filled, jam-packed, just down right awesome weekend. If you weren’t there, you missed out! Thanks to everyone who shared it with me. If you’re going to be in the bay this weekend, come out and help me celebrate again when I fly up Thursday. Tee hee.
:: posted by Z [11:32 AM]
The Cost of Change...
:: Friday, September 05, 2003 ::
So when I decided that I wouldn't go clubbing for a while, I thought I'd be saving a ton of money. But I quickly realized that staying at home and reading all day, writing and watching anime, while enjoyable in their own right, will get down right boring quick. So instead of spending money on gas, cover, a handful of drinks, and a late night food run, I have found whole new sources of income depletion.
The first being the SCUBA lessons I'm taking with Fran at the end of month. We went to a dive shop yesterday to check out snorkels, masks, fins, booties and gloves and so far, the total is far above our original estimates. My poor bank account is already trembling in fear from the checks I'll be writing later on this month, though technically I use online bill pay so I don't write any checks but anyway. I figure it’ll be a good and unique experience and Fran has friends who are already certified, so it’s something we can continue on even after the class and certification are completed.
My other new distraction is poker, specifically no-limit Texas Holdem, which I guess is gaining mass popularity due to the coverage of the World Series of Poker and other similar tournaments. For those who don't know, I have this thing against gambling but that restriction is more towards the organized gambling done in Vegas casinos than in my living room playing with a few friends. I don't think I'll gamble away my life savings at a $10 buy in, once a week. So I guess an exception is made in this case. We just bought a set of 500 clay filled chips on ebay and damn, its way better than playing with those cheap ass plastic ones you get at Sav-On. Our weekly poker night just kicked up a notch.
The final thing, though not exactly new, is something I've decided to do more frequently and that's cooking. Who knew cookware and ingredients cost so damn much? Though I had a vague notion, the actual reality was much bleaker than I had previously imagined. For the time being I've committed myself to cooking a new recipe every two weeks, or at least until my pantry is more adequately stock and I don't have to buy every single ingredient for each new dish I try. Maybe I'll even try to bake something besides cheesecake. Hmm, wait a minute, now I'm just talking craziness.
:: posted by Z [10:52 AM]
:: Tuesday, September 02, 2003 ::
Ok ok, so I lagged getting the pictures up. Sue me! I'm only human. That means I at times suffer from procrastination. It creeps in around the edges and firmly entrenches itself in my psyche and it takes days, sometimes weeks to recover. But I have heard your incessant cries for pictures, and staying home on a Friday night doing nothing (damn how far have I fallen since just a week before), I have finally answered your (quite numerous) requests. So the pictures are up at last up. I didn't label em so please forgive me that one small luxury. I doubt anyone will mind much. Go, look, have a good time! This concludes the announcement.
:: posted by Z [8:51 PM]
The Labor Day Extravaganza Adventure…
Well, I survived, though there were times, specifically Sunday afternoon where I seriously questioned if I would or not. But alas, here I am, back in SD safe and sound, at work and once again a fully productive cog in the corporate world. Well, maybe not quite. I actually got in at 11:15. Tee hee. This will be probably only a half day for me. That’s what sick leave is for right? And to top things off, this is only a 3 day work week for me. Man sometimes I just love my life. But anyway, time is already slipping away as I ramble on and on and I have as yet to even begin what will be a very lengthy post. So without further ado…
- Friday (Bally’s, Ice) -
It goes without saying that we were late. I won’t mention any names specifically but if you look carefully, you’ll see some clues that point to the identity of the primary perpetrator hehe. So even with only 6 people, those being 6 being Vu, Casey, David, Jorge, Tiffany and of course moi, in two cars driving up from SD, we didn’t manage to get going until around 11:45. Luckily we were able to miss most of the traffic and got to Vegas a short 4 ½ hours later. I drove my mom’s brand spanking new (it only had 188 miles on it) 2003 Jeep Grand Cherokee and dayam, what a sweet ride it was. I still can’t believe she let me take it but I did get it back all in one piece so I guess her faith wasn’t entirely misplaced. On the way up, Jorge tried desperately to resist, but his willpower just wasn’t up to the task. So after a while, we stopped by a little AMPM, picked up some mixer, cracked the vodka, and Jorge and Tiff started the pre-party. Of course, I as the driver could not partake, much to my infinite sadness and envy as I saw Jorge and Tiff pass into that “happy place” while I wallowed in my sobriety. But the moment we got to Bally’s, the very first place we hit up was a bar. After I had a nice little buzz going, we met up with the other car and checked into our suite.
After a quick dinner and meeting up with Event Staff, though not before sending him to the wrong tower haha, it was time for the pre-party to begin. And here are the keys to an awesome Vegas pre-party for any future reference you may have: a tub full of ice and alcoholic goodies, a mini-bong with a generous amount of nugs of chronic enlightenment, a laptop boombox severely lacking in the bass department, and of course some crazy Vegas companions. Luckily we had all the proper ingredients in their correct proportions; the end result being one of the best pre-parties ever. So now that we were all faded and lit, we headed off to Ice. I wish I could tell you what happened after that but unfortunately this is where time stopped for me. I have no idea what happened after that only that I got stuck outside and ended up calling everyone on my phone list like 8234234029 times. Sorry if I woke anyone who wasn’t in Vegas up but I was so lonely outside. Time started again when I somehow managed to find my way back to the hotel where I ran into Tiffany sleeping in the hall cause she didn’t have a key to the room. It seems I didn’t hold a monopoly on blackouts that night. It’s nice to know I’m not alone haha. Everyone else eventually ended up back at the hotel room. So concluded our very first night in Sin City and as it turned out, it was only a precursor foreshadowing the craziness that was to come.
- Saturday (Club Rubber: Pimp ‘n Ho, Seven) -
I was jolted from my deep slumber by a terrible and violent eruption, Vu’s fart. He continued to pass gas quite regularly until we all got up around 1pm on Saturday afternoon but honestly I can’t be sure because in keeping with the Vegas theme, we unplugged the clock to our room leaving us no real way to tell time except our cell phones. With our blinds closed, it could have been any time during the day and we would never have known the difference. Eventually our instincts for sustenance drove us to finally wake up, shower and trek down into the casinos in search of food. A relatively simple task turned out to be an extremely grueling ordeal all because of a bad choice in eating establishments. We literally waited for 30-40 minutes before our food was served. The bread was stale, the food was relatively tasteless, and the service was terrible. Luckily, this bad beginning to our day did not continue onto the night. We headed back to our rooms for a power nap before we began that night’s festivities.
After we reluctantly woke up from our naps, the next order of business was to go out and pick up the Rubber tickets from Vu’s friend, get some real dinner and to drop Tiff off to meet up with Annie. The first two went off without a hitch. Dinner at Del Taco was so key, fast, cheap and good, compared to the crap we endure earlier that day. After that, we were suppose to take Tiff to the Harley Davidson Café, but after an illegal u-turn, ended up dropping her off over two blocks away, and Vegas blocks are hella long. Haha. Sorry girl but I was only the following directions given to me. Haha.
If Friday at Ice was the opening act, then Rubber was definitely the main event. After another awesome pre-party, we took a limo to the Orleans arena. Vu managed to pick up two random girls, who tried to get all slick and hitch onto our group in order to get into for free, but he quickly checked their asses and left them chilling outside the venue. Event Staff and I had to smuggle in our digicams, but other than that, it was smooth sailing from there. Scattered ass was everywhere. But without a doubt, one of the most noticeable outfits the entire night was our own Casey Tran. I’d try to explain it, to explain the entire night, but honestly I lack the literary talent to do any of it justice. Instead I shall let the pictures we took that night speak for themselves. You can draw all your own conclusions from them. They’ll be up sometime tonight or tomorrow depending when I can compile everyone’s pics together.
- Sunday (Lost n Found, Joya) -
Rubber ended too quickly and much to our combined disappointment at 5am. After that we kind of scattered. Some of us went to sleep, some of us went to Drai’s and some of us went to Seven. I was with the last group. After waiting in line for what seemed like eternity all the while needing to take a major leak, then paying $30 cover on top of that, we finally got in. Honestly, I probably should have just gone home but I guess I was just reluctant to let the night, though by now it was well into the morning, end. Around 8am, some of us went back to the hotel room, picked up Vu, who greeted us cheerfully in his boxers, and went over the Tuscaney Suites to lounge by the pool with the other group that came up in the 15 passenger van. By 10am, I was totally feeling the affects of being up and partying all night. I wanted to just crawl into a hole and die but unfortunately we still had another 4 hours of driving and another city to party in. So Vu and I went back to Bally’s woke everyone up, and started our trek to LA, though not before stopping by Tuscaney to say goodbye to the other crew and I took a few hits to normalize myself, much thanks to Tim for that little pick me up. Event Staff took the first leg to LA and Jorge finished it up as we finally got into k-town and the always welcoming Lost n Found.
By 8:30 Julie, Jiyon and all their friends were ready to leave to White Lotus but our crew was just in no mood to leave just quite yet. It was way too early and we were way too tired. We opted to stay a little longer and pre-party. During which, we realized how far we had fallen since Vegas. We had no tub of ice, no ice at all actually, it was hot as hell, it was way too early, we couldn’t find a lighter for the longest time, we had no laptop boombox; man were we sad. We just sat around drinking and moping in our misery until we finally decided to head out around 10. We had 7 people but only wanted to take one car so we all squeezed into the SUV, with Jorge volunteering to ride in the trunk straight Mexican style. We all thank him for his sacrifice. We didn’t get to the club until 10:30, by which of course it was packed to the brink. So Vu made a phone call and we headed off to Joya, where there was no waiting in line and actually no idea check either. After a few shots, things were all good again. I think we got back to Lost n Found at around 2 or 3. Even though Casey and Tiffany stole my Aerobed (damn them!), I still managed to get a decent night’s sleep on Julie and Jiyon’s couch.
- Monday (Chinatown, Rock Paper Scissors Pho Session) -
Monday was the morning that would just not end. We woke up, went back to sleep, and repeated the process over and over again, until before we knew it, it was 1:30. Event Staff’s flight was at 2. Obviously he had to reschedule. But finally we did leave Lost n Found (much thanks to Julie and Jiyon as always, the nicest and most hospitable Korean girls I know) and headed off to Chinatown for a post-party pho session. Pho was so good. We loitered, of course, and discussed the trip and possible future trips. We were all saddened that soon, the seven us, the 7101 par-ty-ani-mals, would soon part company. But luckily we will all be reunited in two weeks at my BDay all day extravaganza! The only thing left to decide was which car got the unwanted prize of driving Event Staff to the Burbank airport. We decided on the only fair method, a Rock Paper Scissors series between my car and David’s car. First up was David vs. Jorge, and as Jorge’s rock crushed David’s measly scissors, Tiff and I cheered. Next up was Vu vs. me and when my paper enveloped Vu’s rock, my car rejoiced! Unfortunately Vu and Co. did not share our happiness. But we took our “honorless” victory and drove back to SD while they headed off to Burbank. We got back to my place around 4:30. It was the end of a very, very long weekend. But it was worth every second of inconvenience. My thanks to each of the 7101 crew for making it one of the most memorable trips ever.
:: posted by Z [2:25 PM]