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Sunday, 2. July 2006 12:44

Ordered yesterday:

Now the long wait for delivery.

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Commencement means beginning.

Saturday, 17. June 2006 12:37

Yesterday was Lauren’s commencement; she graduated from UCLA with both College and Latin honors (a feat that even I was unable to accomplish, alas!). It was quite a day, and seemed to go on for quite some time.

My first ‘half’ of the day consisted of 4 hours at work; when I got into the office, I saw a rush assignment sitting on my chair – a council office wanted a Resolution on strengthening Kaitlyn’s Law (a law against leaving children in hot cars). I put that together in about 45 minutes or so, then went to send it off, but it turned out that another analyst had just done the same assignment; a bit of office miscommunication there. C’est la vie. In any case, I left at 12:00, to rush home and shave (I had forgotten to shave!), then to rush to Trader Joe’s to pick up flowers for Lauren’s graduation, and a bottle of champagne to celebrate. After that, it was off to Lauren’s apartment to meet up with her and her family, and to then let the commencing begin!

I got to her apartment to greet her and her family around 1:00, with her first ceremony (the ceremony for Honors students) beginning at 3:00. Since there was a bit of time before we had to leave, Lauren’s dad and I went to Ralphs to get some sandwhiches. I figured this would be a quick jaunt, taking maybe 20 minutes tops. I was wrong. Lauren often warns me against “grocery shopping when hungry,” as I am more likely then to fill the cart with all sorts of wonderous, but not really needed, foods. Suffice it to say, Lauren’s dad was grocery shopping while hungry. We ended up leaving with 4 giant sandwhiches (each sandwhich enough to feed 2), one giant salad, one large thing of crab salad dip, and crackers. We got back about 45 minutes after we left.

After that, it was a rather busy time of eating, and going to ceremonies. Lauren and I saw our old professor G Jennifer Wilson, who heads up the Honors Department at UCLA, our friends Kevin and Katja (Kevin was graduating), and several others. Many pictures were taken. Good times were had.

On the way back from the commencement ceremony, Lauren’s dad remarked that he heard it said in the speeches that ‘commencement’ means ‘beginning.’ Lauren and I agreed that it does, and we kept on driving.

Anyways… pictures! As usual, rolling over the images with your mouse should pop up a caption for them. Enjoy!

I also managed to get a small video of the part where the Chancellor does the official conferring of graduate status onto all the graduates. You can watch it here.

And that’s about it! I think that I’ll bump Lauren up to ‘poster’ status so that she can give her own side of the story, and make accurate those things that I messed up. So, that’s something to look forward to. Cheers!

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10 minutes to the 405

Thursday, 8. June 2006 23:34

then how come nobody’s moving?

 6:45 am – Music comes on. Gradually wake up

7:00 am – Alarm goes off. Get up to turn it off.

7:05 am – I’ll just lie down on the bed for five minutes, then get up, dressed, and ready for work.

7:55 am – What? Oh Crap! It’s 7:55! I was asleep! Quick, get ironed, get dressed, get clean, get ready! You’re late!

8:12 am – Too late to walk and get to work on time. Take the car, drive nearby, and park.

8:24 am – Found lot less than two blocks from work. Payed $6.00. Parked

8:28 am – At work, two minutes ahead of schedule!

11:20 am – Time for an early lunch. Want to try out the new Sbarro’s, but yesterday the line was really long, so I’ll leave early to beat the line!

11:24 am – Oh crap. The line is really long; out the door.

11:28 am – Wow… that line moved pretty quickly.

11:36 am – This pizza’s not so bad! Time to finish my breadsticks and head back to work.

11:46 am – Back at the desk. More report writing.

4:30 pm – Hmm… I’m going to Lauren’s tonight… I should leave ~10 minutes early to be at the front edge of rush hour traffic, so I’m not stuck sitting behind a billion cars.

4:50 pm – I’m off!

4:55 pm – What the hell? All the gates to the parking lot I parked in are locked shut. I can’t get into my car.

5:00 pm – Lets check at the lot across the street. Nobody here.

5:05 pm - How about the alley behind the lot I parked in? Nothing.

5:08 pm – Oh, there’s somebody. What? Wait here and you’ll open the gate? OK.

5:10 pm – In the car, off towards the 110 South Entrance.

5:15 pm – Hmm… this onramp looks REALLY slow and crowded. I’ll try the one further down.

5:25 pm – What a mistake! The light has cycled 5 times, and I *still* haven’t gotten passed it.

5:45 pm – Merging onto the 10 West from the 110 S. Things are finally moving smoothly!

5:49 pm – So much for moving smoothly. I’m sitting in a parking lot on the freeway, the traffic information sign up ahead mocking me: “10 minutes to the 405.” 10 minutes to the 405? Then howcome nobody is moving?

5:51 pm – Hmm… we’re starting to move.

6:03 pm – Wow… the 405! Well… that was *14* minutes, not 10. I still have a right to be bitter at the damned sign!

6:12 pm – Pulling into parking lot at Ralphs. I should buy Lauren some flowers; I haven’t bought her flowers in a while.

6:14 pm – Hmm… A dozen roses,  or a orange, purple, reddish arrangement?

6:15 pm – Same question! Ah, hell, get both!

 6:23 pm – At Lauren’s door. Holding flowers behind back. Knock on door with forhead.

6:23:30 pm – Lauren opens door. “Hi! Which hand?” “Umm… that one.” “Here!” Hand Lauren orange, purple, reddish bouquet. “Oooo! Thank you!!” Lauren smiles! “Also, you get this hand too, because I couldn’t decide which to get!” Repeat previous part!

6:24 pm – Help Lauren snip stems and put flowers in vases.

6:25 pm – Meet with Lauren’s Shakespeare Study Group. Make somewhat intelligent comments. Be asked ‘You were a poli-sci major? How come you know about Shakespeare?’ Answer, “same reason you’re in this course – to be able to talk about it when it comes up in cocktail parties!”


All in all, a good day.

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Too damned hot!

Monday, 5. June 2006 0:12

So… it’s 12:10, and it’s got to be at least 72o in my apartment. Must try to sleep. But it’s so hot. 😐

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my.ucla forums 10,000th post

Tuesday, 4. April 2006 23:38

Well, it’s done; 10,000 posts on the my.ucla forums! It only took about three years. My [poster-emeritus] status is officially set to on. Which *should* mean more time for! Hooray!

Any my.ucla forumers who want to make any comments, feel free to do so! So, I suppose, should everyone else.


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More Apartment Pictures? Enough already!

Monday, 6. February 2006 23:29

A few more pictures since I added some (two, one big, one small) houseplants to the place. And a few more pictures of my bedroom, now that it is a bit cleaner, and with one of the posters Lauren got me for Christmas up on the wall. AND a little surprise to those who read through this entire post! Enjoy:

So yeah. Pictures of my apartment. I promise no more apartment picture posts at least until I have artwork up on the walls. For now, there should be more than enough up here.

But, just in case there aren’t, or in case pictures can’t quite capture everything, I present to you the ‘little surprise’ portion of this post: a short video of a walkthrough of my apartment, set to inappropriately posh music. Download/watch it here. It’s not the highest quality, but it is a bit more than just pictures. So… click and prepare yourself for shakey-cam (it was taken with the digital camera I got for Christmas; the camera can put out much better quality videos, but I’ve compressed it for the sake of saving people time downloading and watching).


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An Extraordinarily Long Overdue Post!

Monday, 23. January 2006 18:42

Hello all. It’s now been nearly a month since I last updated this poor neglected website with any posts or pictures. This changes tonight! There’s a lot to recap, but we’ll see what I can manage with this (and subsequence posts of increased [hopefully] frequency and regularity).

One note: for the time being, this will be a pictureless post; I’m working on integrating a gallery section into the blog part of this site, so as to minimize the amount of data transferred when people come to this front page. That should be coming later tonight, and, if not tonight, certainly tomorrow.

In any case, on with the update:

New Year’s Weekend:

For New Year’s Weekend, Lauren and I went down to visit Mom and Dad in San Diego, and have something of a second Christmas, during which I got several more wonderful presents. Among them was: A nice long black coat that I can wear over my suits (and I’ve worn it a good deal since receiving it!), a cookbook (from which I’ve made one recipe – a cocoa-spice-rubbed pork tenderloin, which was absolutely delicious), a digital camera (Casio EX-Z750, which is possibly the neatest little camera ever, and from which future pictures for this site will come), a GPS unit for my car (it tells me how to get places in a pleasing female British voice; Lauren has taken to calling it ‘the other woman,’ but is gradually coming to appreciate it), and, from my grandparents, a coffee-maker that I can (and have!) programmed to brew a pot of coffee all on its own just before I wake up. Wonderful neat things!

On our first day down there, Lauren and I drove to Rock’n Jenny’s Italian Subs, where we had sandwiches with Mike Kalas, who is currently off in Tennessee doing web-development for the city of Nashville, and Rob Schramm and his new (to me) girlfriend Chelsea Stanton, who is very nice; Rob has done well for himself!. We then headed to my parents, where we opened presents before having Beef Fondue for dinner, which was very good, and we learned to maximize efficiency by eventually sticking several pieces of meat onto one fondue fork before putting it into the oil to be cooked. Fun was had by all, though there were – alas! – no fondue wars that are a requisite of any cheese-based fondue meals. After dinner we headed over to Rob’s house for some late-night DDR sessions that were (rather embarrassingly) caught on video.

The next day we hung out with my family for a bit, after eating delicious affelskivers (not sure if I’m spelling this right; they’re like little spherical pancakes), and then headed off to play miniature golf with Rob, Chelsea, and another couple. Lauren beat all of us quite handily in the first round, was the first to get a hole-in-one, and had a miraculous bank-putt on one of the harder holes.

We headed back up to LA the next day, in a deluge of pouring rain that abated almost entirely when we reached LA. It hasn’t rained here since.

The Next Two Weeks

This was followed up by a relatively uneventful two weeks of work and a weekend to myself, as Lauren was up with her mom for the remainder of her holiday break. Work has finally begun increasing in both pace and magnitude, which is good, I think, after the doldrums of the holidays in which there was very little work to be done in the office. Much better to be working at something than sitting around wanting work.

The Weekend before Last

The weekend before last was rather fun; Lauren and I decided to try one of the recipes in the cookbook I got for Christmas, and made the aforementioned cocoa-spice-rubbed pork tenderloin. It was absolutely delicious, especially the end pieces. The rub was really quite good; I was skeptical at first about a meat dish that had cocoa powder as a main ingredient, but everything tasted delightful and very savory. On the whole it was a relatively easy dish to prepare too. We had it with steamed broccoli and au gratin potatoes.

The next day we decided to try our hands at tennis (this may have been more at my instigation than anything else, but I digress). We headed out to a nearby Sportsmart and bought tennis rackets (I got a Head racket that is made of titanium) and tennis shoes for me (I haven’t had a pair of tennis shoes for years and years and years). Then we headed off to the many courts at UCLA and played at playing tennis. Neither of us is any good, but we didn’t let that stop us. The first ball I hit sailed clear over and out of our court, and was never seen again; I hit them a bit less hard after that, and got some more control over them. I ran all over the court and pretty much exhausted myself, though I had a tremendous time while doing so.

The next day, however, I paid for it. My legs were so sore I could hardly stand up, my sides were sore from bending down to pick up balls (we only used three balls for our first try – oops! A bigger oops even after I knocked one of them far far away early on), and my right arm was dead from swinging the racket. Lots of painful and slow moving about the apartment closed out the weekend.

Last Week’s Work

Work continued to increase, which I continue to think is a good thing; I ended up finishing 4 assignments or so, all of which had been assigned to me within the last week or two. As a bit of comparison, I had maybe 3 or 4 assignments in the entire month of December due to things being slow. It’s much much better to be busy than it is to be bored.

On Thursday I thought that I was finally over all vestiges of weekend-tennis-induced soreness, and decided to walk to work. Halfway there, I was regretting my decision with every step I took. My shins were on fire, and I felt like I would fracture each of my legs every time I took a step. Ouch. By Friday I was better, though.

This Last Weekend

This last weekend was also a fun one! Lauren and I got in a bit of tennis on Saturday morning before driving up to Santa Barbara for her Grandfather’s 90th birthday party. There were probably 40 or 50 people there all-told – I suppose when you get up to that age, you have a lot of people to invite. I met more members of her family that I didn’t meet at Christmas, and Lauren and I had a few successful games of Wahoo, which is her family’s all-time-favorite-board-game, with which any and all manner of disputes are settled. Lauren and I make a pretty formidable team when playing.

We stayed the night at her mom’s house in Buelton (of Sideways fame), and then went to see her horse Misty early Sunday afternoon with her two younger step-sisters, Tory and Hannah. Hannah had a great time riding Misty around; Tory had a bit of trouble, however; when being hoisted up onto Misty (Lauren’s horse), she didn’t swing her leg over, but grabbed onto the saddle-like-thing-that-isn’t-a-saddle-but-has-a-name-I-can’t-remember, and ended up pulling it halfway down Misty’s side, which startled Misty, causing her to move forward and rare up before Tory finally let go (I was holding her to help her up, so when she let go I had her and she was fine). She and Misty were rather freaked out by it all, though I think that the horse ended up recovering quicker.

We then drove back down to LA, I headed off to my apartment, slept, worked, then came home, and wrote this post.

And, for now, that’s all. I’m going to go and figure out something to do for dinner before I tackle the issue of getting some pictures of the following several weeks up to this website. Hope you all enjoyed this extraordinarily long overdue update!

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The Loot So Far… (and, a very Merry Christmas to everyone)

Sunday, 25. December 2005 14:22

Christmas with Lauren and her Mom has turned out to be a good deal! I got a great number of very neat presents. To recap, I will list what they are!

One V-Neck Sweater that is VERY soft
2 couch-sized pillows to replace the ones on my couch that are leaking down.
A Flashlight
A Chargers Ornament (rather bad timing, unfortunately, but hey, what can you do?)
Plastic Army Men (Yes, I’m still a little kid)
An electric hand mixer (no more sore arms after making cookies!)
A Picture of Lauren (need to decide whether it’s going to go in my apartment or on my desk at work)
Two posters (one the ‘libraries – for those who love… books’ one; the other one of a neat old map, which I’m going to frame and put on my walls (yay! Finally artwork on my walls!)
A book (I don’t remember the title!!)
A fondue pot (we had Swiss Fondue last night after all, keeping the family tradition of Swiss Fondue on Christmas eve alive and well!)


A small 24 bottle wine cellar (it’s going to be fun getting it up to my apartment!)

So, so far, I’ve made out quite well.

So far I’ve gotten Lauren a copy of The Sims 2 (since she loves playing it on my computer), a cheese board and knife set, a panini maker, and a necklace of akoya pearls. I may be finding a few more things for her this week, before my ‘second christmas’ back home with my parents next week. We shall see. All in all, though, a good haul, and a good christmas regardless.

Merry Christmas to everyone out there: hope your holidays are going well and are full of good cheer and happiness.

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Merry Day of Christmas Eve!

Saturday, 24. December 2005 13:43

Hello all! It’s been a rather bleh week; Lauren took off for her mom’s on Monday, and I promptly caught a rather bad cold. I was fine monday, then mediocre Tuesday day, and then just wiped out on Tuesday evening; I ended up taking Wednesday off (had a 101.8 degree temperature in the morning). So I moped about all of Wednesday, and returned to work Thursday. As I haven’t yet accrued any sick days, I’ll be working off the time I missed (I worked 10 hours Thursday and 6 hours Friday, 2 more than normal hours would have been on both, so I’m half-way there). And then I went home and crashed until this morning, when I woke up and drove up to Lauren and her mom’s house to spend Christmas. There are a lot of presents under the tree!

I’m gradually getting my health back; in a week or two I should have it all behind me, but for now I’m doing better than I was two days ago.

So, that’s how things are now! Merry Christmas to everyone, and I hope that everyone’s holidays are happy and more healthy than my own!

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Weekend in Review

Monday, 12. December 2005 11:22

Today, we have something of a journal entry, but with 2.5 days condensed into one. Beware: grammar, style, and organized thought may be hard to find here. It’s almost a semi-stream-of-consciousness type of thing, except that it’s more random than it is incomprehensible. Anyways, enjoy!

Friday Night

Went to a theater in Glendale to see Narnia. I thought it was good, but was distracted by very annoying and loud teenagers up in the front (talking and laughing throughout the movie) and another rather chatty church-group behind me (not as bad as the teenagers, but were still chatting at some inopportune times). The visual effects were tremendous, the little girl was perfect, and the others did well also. I’m not sure that I would have cast Liam Neeson as Aslan, partly because his voice isn’t that deep, and mostly because it’s so recognizable but other than that I don’t really have any qualms about it. I wish I could have seen it in a quiet theater, because the loud people talking distracted me from the film and broke the mood and suspension of disbelief, and this isn’t the fault of the film itself. Lauren loved it.

Side Note: Glendale is a VERY NICE and very likable place. I think that I’ll be hitting it up more often in the future.


Putzed around for the first half of the day, then went to go window shopping @ Rodeo Drive with Lauren. Was fun, but the prices on things were incredibly waywayway too much. Like over 4000 dollars for a coat made of cotton with a little bit of fur on it at Ralph Lauren. Many other coats and jackets above 2000 dollars. Also in a window the biggest pearls I’ve ever seen (like over an inch in diameter) – I thought they were fake, because I don’t think that any pearls occur naturally that size, because the oyster would have to be GINORMOUS, but Lauren said they were probably real and very very expensive (though we didn’t see a price). We also went into Louis Vatton (LV for Lauren VanMullem!) and looked at ridiculously overpriced purses. Then we went into Brooks Brothers and looked at reasonably overpriced clothes (ie clothes that were too much, but would be decent prices if they were put on sale – like the sticker price of things in department stores before they mark them down a bunch). We also ate lunch at a
mexican place, and I had ribs that were very good. We had leftovers and were going to use them as food the next day, but while walking Rodeo we ran into a bum who asked if he could have the food – since my refrigerator is usually the place that leftovers go to die (ie I almost always forget about them until they’re no longer safe to eat) I gave them to him.


More putzing around in the morning – watched an episode of the Cosby Show, then a Christmassy episode of MacGuyver! Much fun! Then watched (unfortunately) the Chargers game. Accidentally stubbed my pinky toe on my left foot on the ground while walking, and now it is all bruised. In the evening we went to Costco to get food and christmas gifts, and I found a 1996 vintage bottle of Spanish red wine for $14.00, so I bought a bottle, and will try it tonight to see if it is any good; if it is a return trip may be in order. Anyways, we then went across the street to Target, where I sent Lauren off to browse while I found her the PERFECT christmas gift, and she doesn’t have any idea what it is (she thought she did, but she was wrong)!

We then went to go see Pride and Prejudice at a very small theater with thin walls (I could hear Narnia playing in the theater next to ours occasionally). The film was very good – Kierra played her part well, the dialogue was witty and enjoyable, as one would expect from one of Austen’s works, the mother and father were played perfectly, and the English countryside looked as lovely as ever.

Then we got a bit lost while trying to our way back to the freeway (Lauren doesn’t like using Thomas Guides, so eventually we kinda just winged it). In the end we managed to find our way.

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