All our sons and daughters….

Bill, Manu and I have been working on this CS project a lot recently. It has a lot of good ideas, and is pretty fun to do, but I’m also getting a little tired of spending 14 hours a day in Soda. The project is called Katana, just because it sounds cool…. although Bill just recently realized it’s the perfect acronym, too: Kicking Ass and Taking Names.

Margaret got invited to an Ultimate tournament last weekend, and with her help I managed to weasel my way on the team as well. The tournament started out drearily, but each successive game got better, and we ended up winning the whole thing, which was really cool. The championship game came down to the wire, and we prevailed 15-14.

Right now I’m on a bus driving back up from our annual research retreat in Santa Cruz. I enjoyed this year’s retreat more than last year’s, mostly because there weren’t as many talks, and I got to spend more time throwing disc on the beach :).

Okay, so you’ve got to help me out here. You know about the grossness of hotel bedspreads, right? UV-light and all that. Okay, so at Kristen’s wedding I had a great idea for a new urban legend. (Okay, I confess: almost no one else thought it was great.)…. A women checks into a hotel and gets pregnant from lying on the bed. I think it has just the right mix of plausibility (everyone kind of knows about the bedspread thing) and total ridiculousness. Right, so most of my friends laughed me off, but William, one of my friends in med school, had the perfect response when I told him: “… yeah, and I delivered her baby!” That’s the kind of enthusiasm and blatant, calculated disregard for the truth that we need to spread this around. My goal is to get on You too can help me realize this sick dream; spread the word.

On a related note, Jeff and I noticed how we were exceedingly vulgar whereas all of our married or engaged friends were exceedingly bori- I mean, not vulgar, even though some of them used to be. At first we hypothesized that getting engaged made you less vulgar, but then we quickly realized that the converse was really true: a good reason for why we’re not engaged is that we’re still a bunch of perverted lowlifes. (lives?)


I used to love the Internet, and then for a couple of weeks early this month I hated it, and now I love it again.

This is my story.

I tried buying three things in the span of a week: a present for my sister, a digital camera, and some running shoes (I have a specific running style that requires a particular kind of shoe that is hard to find around here). I pricewatched the present and ordered it from some no-name site. I did the same for the camera, but actually ordered the shoes from a respectable company. Here’s what happened:

  1. The present never arrived. What’s worse, I never got any email confirmation about it, and although my credit card was never billed, I couldn’t remember what company I had bought it from (since I didn’t have an email reminder) so I couldn’t cancel it. Furthermore, Umesh and I had done some research on picking out the best manufacturer and model for this present, but by the time I realized that it wasn’t going to arrive I had forgotten what we had decided, so I couldn’t even pricewatch it again to try to find the store.
  2. I ordered the camera on Friday afternoon, and on Monday morning at 9 am I got a call from someone who worked at the company. He started out by saying, “We need to verify your address” and then quickly transitioned to trying to sell me an endless line of camera accessories, all of which I reject. Two hours later I got an email from the company saying that the camera was heavily backordered and thus there was no projected ship date. So I canceled the order.
  3. The shoe order seemed to go through fine, but when I still hadn’t received the shoes after ten days I gave the company a call. They checked out my order and hmm, looks like the shoes were on some kind of permanent backorder — the rep told me that they expected to never receive them. Thanks for letting me know, guys. So I canceled that order too.

At this point, I was pretty annoyed. Can’t a guy spend some money these days? Luckily, here’s what happened.

  1. When I finally gave up on the present ever arriving, I did some research again and found a model that looked to be the best. Luckily, it turned out to be the same one we had decided on before! So lo and behold, when I searched for the best price, I came across the original vendor. (I eventually found out that my original order was “Canceled”, for whatever reason.)
  2. Spurred on in an attempt to find another good price for the camera I wanted (the Minolta Xg), I ended up poking around some more and finding a camera that better suited my needs for the same price (the Minolta G440). I ordered this from Abe’s of Maine, the same place from which I had ordered my dad’s camera many years ago, and it just shipped early this week. Score!
  3. I re-ordered the shoes from a more expensive company. For some reason they decided to upgrade my shipping, normally 5-7 days, to overnight. So they’re already waiting for me at home.

Faith restored.

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11 Responses to All our sons and daughters….

  1. .

    1. buying cameras online sucks. almost as much as buying cameras *not* online does. i’m almost onto a used-from-craigslist only policy for electronics.

    2. what team did you play with? (incidentally, your presence was missed at pickup; you’re playing tomorrow, right?).

    3. i like the urban legend. more easily discountable then some, but eh… maybe if you note that it was an hourly motel?

    I had something else to say, but the power-point software engineer in me says that I should stick to three points.

    • dianaca4 says:

      Re: .

      i didn’t know you two played pickup together!!! How great sounds like fun!

      and AJ: I think LOTS of people would beleive the urban legend. I probably would have a few years ago, (like in grade 9 which is a lot of years ago but still) there are gullable people everywhere! I like it!

      • aj says:


        I was pretty proud of it myself :)

        Anyway yeah, pickup every Saturday at 1 at Cedar-Rose Park. It’s great!

    • aj says:

      Re: .

      We played with CULTimate, which is mostly a bunch of high school students (it’s Ari’s team). They’re good though (obviously). And yup I’ll be at pickup today. Woohoo!

      Yeah that’s a great idea about the hourly thing. I should ask the focus group about this :)

  2. jtlu says:

    dude i appreciate the fact that you join me in drinking and hedonism at weddings. how amusing that we’re the life of the party. people defintely need to drink more. that’s all i have to say.

  3. simplyjeska says:

    yeah, i think michelle still hasn’t recovered from hearing you guys sing tenacious D in the car this afternoon ;)

  4. ccho says:

    Nice ultimate score, you must have been:
    1) Playing a long time
    2) Sitting in the endzone or throwing towards the endzone a lot
    3) Running back and forth a lot

    I found out from one of my job interviews that there are ultimate games every weekend in Seoul, mostly foreigners play. The location is about 2 hours from my apartment by public transportation so I’m not quite sure it’s worth it… maybe just once or twice.

    Ordering cameras at cheapest price is always risky on the internet. I would never order something for my camera from grey market vendors since slight flaws can ruin the product entirely. Next time check and read through the reviews; there is a pretty good list of popular models and reviews for each of them. J&R, 17th St. Photo, and B&H are pretty reliable vendors.

    My brother has an older Minolta digital camera with the folded optics design, but I really don’t like the quality of the photos. I would have chosen something like a Pentax Optio, Fujifilm Finepix, Casio Exlim, Canon IXUS SD10 (or whatever the newest compact model is), or Kodak Coolpix if convenience (the ones that come with a USB dock) is most important. I guess cameras for me would be like running shoes to you.

    • Beware B & H

      They’ve tried to give me gray-market stuff instead of US models before. Good prices, you just need to be careful with them.

    • aj says:

      Yeah I had read the same things about the folded optics design, and in fact that made me hesitate a lot when deciding about the Minolta Xg. In the end though its size seemed to matter more, as I’m only a very amateur photographer, and the convenience factor is big.

      Anyway though since they canceled that order, I went for the g400, which has a normal design and (supposedly) very good picture quality.

  5. Anonymous says:

    present is being enjoyed as i write this:)