Yea for American Express Insurance

July 24th, 2005

Of the different credit cards I use, I like using my Amex… mainly for points/miles and such, but also for a little extra insurance that I never thought I would use. My camera that I bought a couple months ago recently broke and I didn’t know what to do. It was past the store’s warrenty period and the manufacturer only covers things that are their fault, not mine. Luckily, I used my Amex to purchase the camera. Amex has a 90-day purchase protection, that if I break or lose my purchase, they will replace the item. Pretty cool, huh. The best part, is I don’t have to lie about why it broke. They don’t care if I stepped on it, or dipped it in honey…. all I have to do is tell them it doesn’t work and they take care of everything. What a relief, since I didn’t want to shell out another $400 to replace my camera.

Even though I used to work for a competitor credit card company for a couple years, I would recommend Amex over any other issuer everyday of the week and twice on Sundays. Other cards don’t try to help their customers, they just try to screw you through service charges and fees. When I was working there, there used to be an option customers were given: Either a service fee of $6 per month or $60 per year. Now, we can all do simple math in our heads and can see that the yearly $60 is cheaper than 12 x $6 = $72. But the low-end customers that they would attract wouldn’t realize this and would choose the monthly $6 fee. Do I blame the customers for making stupid decisions? or do I blame the credit card company for even offering such a insane choice? You make the call. Needless to say, I have developed a clearer conscience after leaving that company, since I don’t feel apart of a company that screws the people that have little left to be screwed out of.

Happy Birthday Lee & Sachi

July 21st, 2005

We don’t really celebrate birthdays too much in my family. Usually a card or a phone call is more than enough. Presents are only given if there is something the person really needs. Seeing that I won’t receive a paycheck for probably another month, there’s no presents being bought for any upcoming birthdays. My sister’s birthday is the 26th, while my bro-in-law’s b-day was on the 17th. The reason i’m celebrating today is that it’s the mid-point between the two dates. No one else is wishing them a happy b-day today, so in a way, this doesn’t get lost in all their other birthday wishes on their actual birthday. This way, I can hit two birds with one stone…. or make two announcements with one blog entry. Happy days to you both and here’s to another year of happiness.

Countdown to starting work: 4 days left

No more softball….

July 17th, 2005

This weekend, I played in a Seattle city league softball playoff tournament. It started with 20 teams on Saturday morning and through double-elimination, each team is shown the door that closes their summer season. To say our team was duct-taped together would be an understatement. Everyone that plays must be listed on the pre-season roster (submitted back in April). However, only about 5 guys were able to play from the original team, so a bunch of us were substitutes, filling in this weekend since we had nothing else to do. Each sub was given a name from the original roster…. my name this weekend was Mike Busse. So you can now call me “bus” and I’ll likely respond. I’m hoping that’s not a nickname that sticks…..

On Saturday, we won 3 games and lost 1. Four different 90 minute games can tire you out, even being only softball. After a late night out, our Sunday game was briskly at 9am. WAY too early in the morning for a Sunday. We won that game but lost the 2nd game today… so we’re out. On a good note, of the 20 teams, we finished 4th, so we got a team trophy. I’m through with softball for awhile; I’ll stick to golf, since I love to drive around those little carts.

Countdown to starting work: 8 days left

Back in Seattle

July 13th, 2005

My Hawaii trip is over. It was a fun time of work and relaxation at home with my parents for 12 days. I ended up seeing a few relatives while I was there, but mostly it was visiting my folks. For those of you wondering… no, I didn’t go surfing at the beach, nor did I see any waterfalls or drink any Mai Tais. I basically hung out at home, just like in anytown, USA. Now that I’m back in Seattle, I can return to my pseudo-vacation of golfing and happy hours. Life between school and work is not only void of responsibility, but it’s chalk full of free time with others that also have nothing to do before they start their jobs.

One nice surprise was returning to find that the unpacking fairy had come to clear the clutter from my room. Before I left, I basically had a room full of boxes leftover from the move from my apt. My sister Sachi went about unpacking, putting things away and even cleaned my room, so when i came home last night, it looked awesome! Kudos to my sis. I’ll try to keep my room just this clean as long as I can. Maybe packing fairies don’t exist, but unpacking ones do.

My new cellphone/pda toy

July 10th, 2005

I recently traded in my Nokia Sidekick II cellphone for a new cellphone/pda phone with more features and things that I may need when I start work in a few weeks. My new phone is the Audiovox 6600 and I’m testing it out to see what it can do. In the past, I usually upgraded to a new phone each year… normally for technology upgrades and feature enhancements, more than for style and “coolness” reasons. This time, I upgraded since my phone has been acting strange recently and I needed a phone that could sync with my Outlook and Calendar.

I’m pretty good at understanding new technology… I can troubleshoot almost any computer problem efficiently… but with this new phone, some of the features aren’t as intuitive as I expected. With that said, I have already fumbled with some of the features. As an example, I had the phone in the holster and I thought in “sleep mode”, but it was still on and it accidently started calling my parents. I guess the touchscreen was pressed through the leather holster…. no biggie, my dad thought it was humorous that I couldn’t even figure out how to turn my phone off. I have about 13 more days to preview this phone before I’m not able to return it, so i’m going to beat this thing to death seeing how it performs and how to integrate it into my daily life. I’ve never had a PDA before, so it’ll be interesting to see if I even use half of these functions at all.

Words of warning… if I call you or “accidently” call you in the next 2 weeks, that’s just me trying to use my new toy. I probably do want to talk with you…. but it’s more likely that I just want to play around with my phone.

My new cellphone-pda

Don’t steal Wi-Fi…. or else!

July 8th, 2005

Whenever my cable modem would crash, I would temporarily use whatever Wi-Fi signal I could find in the meantime while I fixed my modem. Wi-Fi is sometimes protected by passwords and encryption, but many people just have it “open”, since it’s easier to setup and if you forget your password, you can still use it. Beware though… if you use someone else’s Wi-Fi signal without their permission, you may end up getting in trouble.

In Florida today, a man was arrested for stealing someone else’s Wi-Fi signal. They caught him sitting outside the guy’s house in his SUV working on a computer. I know many people that borrow their neighbor’s Wi-Fi signal, so hopefully they don’t similarly get caught. I’ve sat in my car and used my computer before, but I usually was at school using the UW network, not some random person’s Wi-Fi. Lesson of the day: If you’re going to steal Wi-Fi, do it inconspicuously from your own house and not from your car.

Tina… eat the food

July 7th, 2005

The job hunt is one of the toughest aspects of finishing school. I personally view it as a dentist appointment, where you know you need to go, but you still like to put it off till the very last possible date. Coming from the UW MBA Program, job searching is a double-edged sword. One one hand, an MBA graduate qualifies for a bunch of new opportunities that requires this newly acquired degree. On the other hand, entering a new field/industry always has a learning curve and some companies don’t like taking chances on candidates with less experience.

One of my MBA classmates has been in this predictiment for awhile now…. Tina has been on many interviews, getting to final rounds on many of them, but not quite closing the deal. With time closing like a winter’s setting sun, Tina had to find a job in Seattle or head home. She was down to 48 hours left before her flight when the call finally came. Like a coach calling into the bullpen for the 9th inning closer, she has a great opportunity at MSFT to excel (get it… Excel = a MSFT spreadsheet program). Borrowing a quote from the movie Napoleon Dynamite, we used to say to her, “Tina, eat the food”…. so now, appropriately, we say, “Tina, sign the job offer”. If you haven’t seen it, in the movie, Tina is a llama that does not want to eat the ham given to her. Okay, I’m off on a tangent now.

Tina at the ballgame

Just wanted to give a big shout out and congrats to Tina on her new job!!! WOOHOO!

Lift with your legs

July 5th, 2005

All this week, I’m working at my parent’s house, helping to expand their bedroom by pushing out wall and creating new space. I like working at home…. the smell of saw dust, the many different power tools we get to use…. it’s all very cool. It’s frickin’ hot here in Hawaii, but at a certain point, you stop feeling the heat and just start feeling exhaustion. Today’s project included the “raising of the support beam”, which consisted of lifting a 400 pound - 18 foot long, 6″x6″ piece of wood and placing it across the middle of the room. It’s not extremely heavy, ‘cept for being so long…. we only dropped it once, narrowly getting out of the way before it fell near enough to our toes to make us count to ten to make sure nothing was missing.

We got it up in about 30 minutes, balancing the braces and adjusting the beam to make sure it fit properly. I know it’s not like building the Leaning Tower of Piza, but then again, my beam is straight, and theirs isn’t. In writing about raising a support beam, I’m curious to see if my site will be listed on search results when people are inquiring about raising support beams. My bro-in-law Lee had a crown-molding installation post on his site a year or so ago and he was one of the top sites on Google’s search for Crown Molding Installation. He has no experience with crown molding, just his experience trying to put it up (installing it upside down apparently)…. and people kept leaving questions on his site asking for advice on crown molding….. weird.

7 more days here in the Islands and then i return to the lazy days of my Seattle summer vacation. I’m having a blast now and time is flying….. if only it wasn’t 90+ degrees everyday. DAMN!

this is a big beam
Here’s a picture of the beam that my dad and I put up. It’s a biggy.

NASA likes to destroy things

July 4th, 2005

The Deep Impact spacecraft hit the comet tonight (10:52pm PDT on 7/3/05) with a huge explosion. I was watching NASA-TV on my computer like the huge geek I am, listening to some guy at mission control talk real-time on the pictures coming back immediately after the impact. If you haven’t heard, NASA crashed a remote spacecraft into a comet in order to learn more about the surface of a comet and to figure out how to completely obliterate a very expensive piece of spacecraft machinery.

Here is a picture of the comet prior to impact

Here’s a look at the point of impact explosion.

Pretty cool stuff, huh. If you aren’t into all this, you may say, “great, more tax dollars spent on random science experiments”…. but when you think of the genius minds that went into slamming a small craft into a moving comet, it’s almost like throwing a dart and trying to hit a moving bullet. That’s really hard to do.

Why am I interested in this stuff? Here’s a little insight into what makes me click…. I’m always intrigued by anything to do with Aircraft carriers, submarines, Secret Service, NASA, and a whole bunch of other “wow, that’s cool stuff” dealing with technology, big machinery and expensive crap. I guess that’s my previous engineering background stepping in. Now where did I leave my pocket-protector….???

It’s tough to be a sports fan in Hawaii

July 2nd, 2005

Today is my first full day back home in Hawaii and I’m already starting to reminisce about growing up here. Part of growing up in Hawaii is understanding what it’s like to be a sports fan 5 or 6 hours away from the East Coast. I say 5 OR 6, since Hawaii doesn’t follow daylight savings time. Why? Maybe because we have 80 degrees and sun all year long, OR because people from Hawaii are too lazy to change their clocks twice a year. It’s probably a little of both….

When major sporting games occur, Hawaii likes to tape-delay these games to allow more people to watch it. Take today for example… Wimbledon had the women’s final. Now, I couldn’t care less who won or who was really in it, but on one channel the match was just starting, and on CNN, they were showing the winner receiving her trophy. They do this for Monday Night Football as well; where they start showing the game at 6:30pm Hawaii time, when the game is already in the 4th quarter in reality. There’s a constant “don’t turn on CNN or ESPN until I finish watching this” or else the entire game will be spoiled. It’s like someone blowing out your birthday candles before anyone gets to sing. It’s nice to know who won, but most of the fun is experiencing the game as it happens. Some things are shown live, such as Sunday NFL football. Granted, it starts at 7am, but I love it! It was so difficult going to school in Philly, waking up on Sundays and having to wait till 1pm for football.

The age of the Internet and information availability should displace the need for Hawaii TV stations to delay the showing of live sports. I’m watching Nascar right now…. yes, Nascar; (no redneck jokes please) and luckily it’s live. I’m in two different Nascar fantasy pools and I’m hoping Kevin Harvick (car #29) wins tonight, but…. uh oh, S@#T! He just crashed.

For those of you new to the “most popular sport in the U.S.”, here is the driver I wanted to win tonight.
Kevin Harvick