Saturday, February 28, 2009

Random Weird Events

Weird? You decide:

*One night I worked out at the gym. There was a guy reading a pocket size novel on a weight machine.

*I visit and post at two forums regularly. One forum I received a private message asking for verification on something. The verification didn’t matter because I posted publicly to the person I made a mistake and I apologized. Minutes later, the person sent me another private message stated he saw my apology and still for some reason wanted the verification he requested.

The second forum I posted since 2004. The overall intelligence has decreased. Too many spam and too many people posting as if they have no lives. Many absurd posts and useless responses.

*I needed gas. I was about to move to an open spot. Then a BMW car cut me off. She actually moved forward to another open spot. OK, thank you. She got out of the car. Seconds later, she got back in the car and drove to another spot on my opposite other side. What happened was she parked her car on the wrong side of the gas tank. Maybe she was thinking about something else—maybe sexual?!?!? I had to say that.

*On my way home, I needed to change lanes to make a left turn at the next turn signal. I saw a car slowing down and signaling left. There was a turn off into a retail strip mall. Perfect for me to take her spot on the far left lane. I speeded up. It was safe for the left lane change. I changed lanes. The car kept going, turn signal signaling left, and slowing down. It turned out she wanted to make a left at the next turn signal like me. She was talking on the cell phone. It’s illegal in California to drive holding a cell phone.

*I got a 40% off Borders reward coupon. I used the coupon to purchase Dreamweaver CS4 book. I entered the Borders store and I saw two people wearing costumes from the anime series Naruto exiting the store.

*For the first time, I saw anime billboard signs for the anime series Afro Samurai. It’s actually the video game. Samuel L. Jackson is the voice actor.

Anyways, weird? Most are yes. It’s just me growing up and no more spinning the weirdness to something positive. There’s a saying if it talks like a duck, thinks like a duck, moves like a duck, smells like a duck, and presents itself like a duck, it’s probably a duck. Likewise for weird . . . if it talks like someone or something weird, thinks like, moves like, smells like, and presents itself like someone or something weird, it’s probably weird. I must see positive action, positive something to say something positive about the person, place, or thing.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

My First Rookie Baseball Card I Purchased

You don’t need to be a baseball player to understand the article on Cal Ripken, Jr. Ripken, Jr. is a hall of fame baseball player, MVP, and played 2,632 consecutive baseball games. Forget the numbers, he’s a baseball player who works hard and never plays the game “kicking and screaming.”

Read the article here.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Where Was I When Dow Closed Above 7,000 For The First Time?

On Mon Feb 23, 2009, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 closed to levels reached in 1997. The Dow closed at 7,115, the lowest since May 7, 1997. The S&P 500 closed at 752.44, the lowest since April 14, 1997.

I was a student at San Jose State when the Dow closed above 7,000 for the first time on Feb 13, 1997. I remember reading articles in magazines such as Time and Newsweek and business magazines making a big deal in the library between classes. There were interviews with business leaders and even the common people asking where were you on the day the Dow reached 7,000. I was taking Principles of Investments class for my Economics major, and I didn’t understand the significance. The class was my first time I learned stocks and investments.

Spring Semester 1997 was a roller-coaster semester. There were times I did great in exams and homework and there were times I did poor in exams and homework. Fortunately, I ended the semester on a high note. Timing is everything :D I worked part-time at Blockbuster. Tiger Woods was the youngest gofer to win a Masters. There was the Paula Jones sex scandal.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Accutane Day 17

I have a pimple on top of my head. I realized when I washed my hair after the gym on Tues. Today, the pimple is shrinking. Also on Tues I experienced a common side effect that was dry lips. I applied lip balm. I continue to drink plenty of water.

I looked at the pics and I see no difference. I must figure out a way to post consistent pics.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Where’s The 2008 Year In Review?

My readers (and they’re a few out there—thank you for reading ^^^) may be asking, “Where’s the 2008 year in review?” The answer is there is no 2008 review.

As I’m growing up, I believe it’s a waste of time to say good year or bad year. Think about it. Every year is a good year no matter what happens. One year can be “good” such as getting a promotion, finding a new job, graduating school, finding new friends, making the sports team, or finishing a project. Or one year can be “bad” such as getting in a car accident, laid-off, dropping in revenues, breaking an arm, losing a loved one to death, or can’t attend a yearly event. The “good” is good—can you make the good great? The “bad” is bad—can you make the bad good?

If you make the bad good, if you learn from your mistakes, then a bad year is a good year. What you take out of the “bad” year makes or breaks a bad year to a good year and determines who you are as a person. For example, the naïve Raymond Mar said 2008 was a bad year; however, the growing up Raymond Mar says 2008 was a good year because I’m learning my mistakes and correcting them since Oct 2008.

No more year in reviews. I think back to past reviews and there was never a point to review past years. It was a waste of time thinking, “Oh, 2008 was a good year . . . or was it a bad year.” The present counts. The past is past. I can’t control the past. The yearly reviews must be done daily. If you accomplish a success or make a mistake, don’t wait to the end of the year to review and learn. Review and learn immediately. If you live your life one day at a time, we experience a share of good days and bad days. Take the good to great and the bad to good daily to avoid waiting at the end of the year to start those next year.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Monday, February 16, 2009

Gas Analysis 2008

I looked at how much I spent on gas for 2008. The chart above shows the average price per gallon of gas I paid per month. The average price per gallon of gas is $3.59 for 2008. The highest average was June at $4.54 and the lowest was Dec at $1.81. The highest price per gallon was $4.58 on June 20 and June 25. The lowest price per gallon was $1.74 on Dec 16. I filled up my car 46 times.

The total cost I spent on gas was $1,568. That is not a big number because my workplace is in San Jose and I didn’t take any vacations requiring long distance travel. I filled up gas outside the Bay Area once that was in Sacramento in Jan for Sac Anime Winter anime convention.

As of the date of the blog, California legislators with their heads in their asses can’t pass a budget propose a $.12 gas tax per gallon increase. However, we are fortunate we still pay much less than Europeans. We are spoiled *__*

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Accutane Day 12

I popped the pimple on my nose. Popping pimples are a no-no. I didn’t pop the pimple on the left side of my nose.

I have been drinking more water the last two days. I’m not thirsty. It’s a good idea to stay hydrated because dry skin and dry nose are two of the many common side effects. I should be drinking water anyways, LOL. I have not experienced any side effects.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Accutane Day 10

My eyes are playing tricks on me. Sometimes I look at my face and I see some improvement on my blackheads. Sometimes I look at my face and I see no improvement on my blackheads.

I stopped taking the Tazorac 0.1% and Duac Benzoyl Peroxide topical creams. I have two pimples. One is on the left side of my nose that is disappearing and the second is on the left above the forehead and left ear that appeared on Thur. And my blackheads on my nose are getting worse. I feel the blackheads when I wash my face. When I applied the creams, the blackheads were never felt. God, I hate blackheads on my nose. Looks awful. Nobody wants to Eskimo kiss a person with acne on the nose :X

There is a pimple on the left side of the nose that has been there for a month. The pimple reappeared and obviously it hurts when touched.

No side effects to share. I read the information sheets from the pharmacy. It said accutane takes 1-2 months to see results. Be patient :D

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My Gaming PC

In October 2007 I made the choice for a new PC. The old PC, the Family PC, was built in 2002, and it was good for basic needs such as Microsoft Office and browsing the web only; however, the Family PC was used for scanning, printing, backing up the family’s laptops, and playing old video games.

In October 2008, I choose to make the new PC happen. I named my new PC the “Gaming PC.” I wanted the best hardware I could afford. I took advantage of the recession and the Christmas shopping season confident I find great deals. I purchased hardware on sale and/or after shopping around comparing prices. Four hardware parts included rebates. Three hardware parts were on sale.

I installed Windows XP of course XD I purchased Crysis to test the graphics. I need to install Team Fortress 2 and the Half Life series from the Orange Box. Here are the specifications in order of purchase:

*Oct 27, 2008: Silverstone 850W power supply at 850W ATX 12V 2.2 80 Plus Certified.

*Nov 1: ATI Radeon HD 4850 video card at Micro Center. 512MB GDDR3.

*Dec 1: ASUS P5Q Deluxe motherboard at Intel P45 DDR2 1200, FSB 1600.

*Dec 6: Intel Quad Q9300 CPU at Micro Center. 2.5 GHz, 6MB L2 Cache, 1333 MHz FSB, 45nm. Also Arctic Silver Polysynthetic Silver thermal compound at Fry’s.

*Dec 25: Logitech G15 keyboard, a gift from gmontem and Appu.

*Dec 29: Samsung T260 25.5 inch LCD monitor (20000:1 contrast ratio, 5ms response), HP 1070i optical drive SATA (DVD+/-RW up to 20X, CD+/-RW up to 48X SATA with Lightscribe), Crucial Ballistix RAM (DDR2 2X2GB PC6400 800 MHz CL 4-4-4-12), Cooler Master CM 690 mid-tower case, and Western Digital 6400CSRTL hard drive (640GB 7200 RPM 16MB buffer) at Fry’s.

*Dec 29: PC installed and active.

*Dec 30: Cooler Master 120mm blue LED two fans at Fry’s and Crysis video game at Circuit City.

*Feb 3, 2009: Corsair Twinx RAM (DDR2 2X2GB PC6400 800 MHz CL-5-5-5-18) at Fry’s.

I installed the programs between Dec 30 and Feb 11. I already have the gaming laser mouse that is the Trooper from Wolf King and gaming headphones that is 4H from SteelSound. I have the Logitech QuickCam Fusion webcam. And the HP LaserJet 5 printer is still good.

The one problem was my Gaming PC froze or crashed when I played Crysis. I started to play Crysis the last week of January. I didn’t have time to play video games most of January because I was sick T__T My friends suggested I replace the RAM. I did. On Feb 3, I purchased Corsair RAM at Fry’s. I played Crysis the same evening and my PC froze again. On Feb 5, I exchanged the Corsair RAM for another Corsair RAM. I played Crysis for two hours problem free. I’m currently trying to get a Return Authorization number from Crucial to get a replacement RAM.

I want to thank my Dad for helping me install the PC and Appu and gmontem for their advice and information. My Gaming PC is available for my family. My friends and I gathered at my house one Friday night to look at my Gaming PC and to hang out. And I have not played Team Fortress 2 since late Dec ‘08.

Gaming PC summary specs: Intel Q9300 2.5 GHz CPU, ATI Radeon HD 4850 512MB GDDR3, Corsair Twinx 2X2GB DDR2 PC 6400 800 MHz, Western Digital 640GB SATA 7200 RPM 16MB buffer, ASUS P5Q Deluxe DDR2 1200 FSB 1600, Samsung T260 25.5 inch LCD.

More pics below ^^

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My New Mattress

On Fri Dec 26, 2008, I purchased a new mattress. My new mattress is a Sealy Posturepedic Reserve “Glen Marie” plush. I slept on my old mattress since junior high school =P The old mattress, a Sealy firm, is still good. It’s time for new mattress that is comfortable, soft, and no tossing and turning.

I went to Macy’s on Tue Dec 23 with Appu to check out their mattresses. I found one mattress on sale. Invoking the 48hr must wait to purchase anything over $100 urge to splurge rule, I asked the salesperson the next day he worked so I could buy from him to earn a commission. He said Fri Dec 26. I said I come back on Fri.

On Christmas Day, I said to myself I must shop around. I planned to check out Mattress Discounters, Sleep Train, and Mancini’s Sleepworld.

I went shopping for a new mattress Fri morning. The first store was Mattress Discounters. I entered the store and I was greeted immediately by a salesperson. I told him I was browsing. He said no problem. I browsed the store for about 15 minutes. The prices were cheap $-) I told the salesperson I went to Macy’s earlier today (which was a lie—I went on Tue) and I was interested in a mattress and I couldn’t find the same mattress in your store. The salesperson said mattress manufacturing companies name their mattresses differently for each mattress retail company. The salesperson must look at the computer to compare mattresses. I told him the manufacturer name and mattress model name. Minutes later, he directed me to their mattress that was the closest mattress to the mattress at Macy’s. I said thank you and I continued to browse.

I found another mattress that felt the same and $300 cheaper. I asked him why the difference? Both mattresses felt the same. He said I was correct. The salesperson said the cheaper mattress has less coils springs and the expensive mattress has a foam on top and more coil springs. I told him I think about it. The salesperson said if I find a better deal like at Sleep Train, then come back and I try to give you a better deal. I thought in the back of my mind, “Why did he mention Sleep Train?”

The next store was Sleep Train. I entered Sleep Train and their mattress selection was higher end than Mattress Discounters. The store was busy in the morning. I browsed around for about 30 minutes. I found two mattresses I was interested it. The more expensive mattress felt softer. The characteristics were all the same including coil count. I asked the salesperson who came up why is the more expensive mattress softer? She said the more expensive mattress’ foam kept the mattress cool during summer time. Awesome! I was interested in the more expensive mattress.

I told her I went to Macy’s earlier (note it was a lie) and I was interested in a bed at Macy’s and I couldn’t find the name of the bed. The salesperson said all mattresses were the same, it’s just the manufacturers name the mattresses differently for retail companies. Obviously, I played dumb to confirm the different naming mattresses for each mattress retail company. The salesperson looked up the computer to find the comparable mattress from Macy’s. She came back to me and said I sell you the mattress with the form mattress cool for the same price as Macy’s. Holy shit! If I buy the mattress at Macy’s price, I save an additional $200 from Sleep Train’s sale price. I said I think about it. The salesperson was pissed and said “I’m giving you the best price. You can’t get anything better. And remember about the 5% price match.” I said, “I return to the store later in the day if I can’t find a better deal.” I really meant it.

I exited the store and went to Mancini’s Sleepworld. I keep Mancini’s experience short. There were no mattresses at Mancini I wanted. The salesperson offered one bed comparable to the Macy’s mattress for a price cheaper than Sleep Train, and he waved the sales tax. I didn’t like the bed. Felt cheapy. The salesperson told me mattress manufactures name their mattresses differently for each mattress retail company. And I found out Sleep Train owns Mattress Discounters. That explains why the salesperson at Mattress Discounters mentioned Sleep Train. I told the salesperson I think about it.

Later in the day I went back to Sleep Train to buy the mattress with the cool foam. I entered the store and the saleslady was at the computer assisting another customer. She shouted, “Did you find a better deal?” I said, “I’m a man of my word.” I went to the bed I wanted to purchase and lied down patiently waiting for the saleslady to finish the customer. Ten minutes later, she was free and I made the purchase. I saved $800 from Sleep Train’s original price including the $200 Sleep Train price matched Macy’s. The saleslady offered to sell me a waterproof mattress cover that also protected against bed bugs at half price. I initially said no. Then she said I must sign a waver I didn’t buy the waterproof mattress cover. The cover was worth purchasing because if the mattress has a stain, the warranty was voided. I then agreed to purchase the waterproof mattress cover.

The mattress was delivered Sun Dec 28. I have been sleeping soundly and I’m having the best sleeps (-,-)

Notes from my experience:

*Mattress retail stores are very competitive. I realized the competitiveness since people typically buy new mattresses every eight years.

*Mattresses model names are different for each mattress retail company.

*Use the mattress from a department store to compare with a mattress retail store. The salesperson must look at their computer to find the comparable mattress.

*Shop around.

*Salespeople can negotiate prices. They need information from you, the customer, on what you’re looking for and where you have visited. Salespeople want your business. (Sleep Train matched the price at Macy’s and I saved $200 for a better mattress than Macy’s.)

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Monday, February 09, 2009

Suuuupa H2O

The last week of Dec 2008 I tried two Japanese drinks for the first time. The first drink is Super H2O which I thought was water ^*__*^ I purchased the drink, opened the cap, and took a sip. WTH! There was sugar in the drink. It tasted sweet. I looked at the ingredients and there was High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS). There was a sticker with the ingredients translated in English. I’m not a sparkling water, flavored water, and vitamin water person. I prefer just plain water. Oh, well. I’m not buying Super H2O again.

The second drink was Juroku Cha, a green tea drink. I purchased the drink, opened the cap, and took a sip. WTH! The green tea had the taste of brown rice. I looked at the ingredients and there were barley brown rice and oolong tea. There was a sticker with the ingredients translated in English. I expected pure green tea. Oh, well. I’m not buying Juroku Cha again.

In fairness, I didn’t notice the color of the Juroku Cha tea is brown after I took my first sip. I should have recognized the tea was not pure green tea.

My favorite Japanese drink is Calpico. Strawberry is my favorite. The original is too sweet for me. I also like Ramune. I drank the original flavored Ramune only. All anime fans must drink a Calpico and a Ramune =)

Lesson learned. Read the ingredients when purchasing new food or drink for the first time.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Sunday, February 08, 2009

I Got Published, Sort Of ^^

On Sun Nov 9, 2008, I wrote a 50 word paragraph what I recently discovered to the San Jose Mercury News. My discovery was I took everything and everyone in my life for granted. I learned to take nothing in life for granted. Scanned newspaper is below :3

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Accutane Day 3

Thur Feb 5 I went to my dermatologist to get accutane, a pill to eliminate acne. I have been applying topical creams since 2005. The topical creams controlled my pustules acne (pimples that are pink at the bottom and filled with pus at the surface), nodules acne (pimples that are deep in the skin and are large, painful, and solid), and cysts (deep, painful, pus-filled pimples that are often cause scarring). Unfortunately, the creams failed to control my whiteheads (pimples that stay under the skin) and blackheads (pimples that rise to the skin surface).

The blackheads are mostly on my cheeks and nose. I have one whitehead on one of my freckles o.o It’s time to be acne free. I researched online and read almost everyone who took accutane are acne free. The success rate is 60% according to my dermatologist. My research stated 80% success rate. My most concern was being depressed and mood swings. My research found out there is no medical evidence to support accutane caused the person being depressed, experienced mood swings, and suicidal. The possibility is high acne itself caused the person to be depressed, experienced mood swings, and suicidal.

Today is day 3 on accutane. Day 1 was the day I visited the doctor and received my prescription. The picture below is my face on day 3. I take my first accutane pill before I eat dinner. I share my experiences, the side effects, and pics of my face as I progress on accutane.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

300 Revisited

I’m posting the 300th Blog summary that summarizes the wisdom I gained again. The reason is to remind me and those (the few out there XD) who read my blogs regularly. Thank you!

*01. Never take anything and anyone for granted.
*02. Trust my gut feeling.
*03. I updated my daily top five rules for living. [Update 02/04/09: See 02/03/09 Blog for new and updated top five rules.]
*04. Continue to live life finding what you want to do.
*05. Never judge a person by their appearance.
*06. Remember to learn from you failures as well as your successes.
*07. It takes patience to learn who a person is for long-term family, friend, business, and romantic relationships.
*08. Do something else to take your mind off something you hate.
*09. Meet new people and make new friends continuously.
*10. It's OK to be alone.

*11. You must earn what you want in life.
*12. You are responsible for yourself.
*13. Schools have summer vacations; life doesn't have summer vacations.
*14. Age is just a number.
*15. Have courage to say goodbye to anything precious.
*16. First years, first impressions, first go-around, and first successes are equally important as second years, second impressions, second go-around, and second successes.
*17. Everyone has the right to find happiness.
*18. Be patient. Never rush.
*19. Take life one day at a time. Have fun, learn, and enjoy.
*20. If you talk the talk, you must stand by your talk.

*21. Do something to receive something.
*22. Money is a way to help people, create action, and show appreciation.
*23. Fight the pain, the suffering, and the struggles to keep living.
*24. Use your mind to see.
*25. Time is the ultimate judge.
*26. Live the present. Live the moment.
*27. Wait 24 hours for goods or services less than $100 and 48 hours for greater than $100 to avoid the urge to splurge.
*28. Do the little things and they add up in time.
*29. Life is a marathon, not a sprint.
*30. When you in a jam, go back to the basics. Go remind yourself the basics which is what I'm doing :D :D :D

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Another New Daily Top Five

I have a daily top five rules for living. Here are the new top five rules:

1. Don't criticize, condemn, and complain, and don't compare with others.
2. Don't act like a jerk or bitch.
3. Always speak calmly and be calm.
4. Don't daydream when driving.
5. Keep your head up high . . . make eye contact when shaking hands.

To improve making eye contact with the people I talk to, I updated rule number five. Here are the new and updated top five rules:

1. Don't criticize, condemn, and complain, and don't compare with others.
2. Don't act like a jerk or bitch.
3. Always speak calmly and be calm.
4. Don't daydream when driving.
5. Keep your head up high . . . look at the cute face when talking.

I'm growing up Finding Raymond Mar