Archive for the ‘General’ Category

I like Mixed Martial Arts

Sunday, February 25th, 2007

Later today I am going to post a review of a mixed martial arts fighting event that took place last night. I thought that may be a bit weird since I have never spoken about MMA on this blog before. The truth is that it has become my main sports interest, after Cal Football of course, in the past couple of years.

Mixed martial arts fighting is exactly that: a combat sport where the fighters are allowed to use the techniques from a wide variety of fighting styles and schools. Available techniques run the full gamut; punching, kicking, wrestling, submissions, grappling, etc. This is why MMA fights are so interesting to me versus, say, a boxing match. There is such a wide variety of techniques a fighter can use to inflict damage on their opponent or to end the fight that there is always a surprise waiting.

This also puts extremely high demands on the fighters; anyone fighting at the top level in their weight class needs to be extremely well-rounded in all areas of fighting. Otherwise, the star kick-boxer is bound to eventually end up on the ground with a ground whiz and get submitted in a choke hold or armbar.

Many of you have heard of or seen a UFC event; they have become extremely popular in the US after the debut of their Ultimate Fighter reality show on Spike TV. The UFC is one of what most people consider the two top mixed martial arts promotions in the world. The other one is PRIDE FC, based out of Japan. While these two don’t have a monopoly on the MMA talent in the world, between the two of them they have signed the lion’s share of top talent out there.

Anyway, PRIDE 33: The Second Coming happened in Las Vegas last night. It was only the second event put on in the USA by PRIDE. It was full of exciting fights and you’ll hear more about it very soon.

Introducing ThankYou Travel Rewards by Expedia

Tuesday, November 7th, 2006

Expedia + ThankYou Network

This is it, it is finally here… today is the big day. Expedia.com introduces their travel rewards program in conjunction with Citi’s ThankYou Network. This program was over a year in the making and a result of the hard work of many people in both groups (myself included).

Here is what you want to know about this program and the ThankYou Network in general:

  • Starting today, you can earn ThankYou Points for booking hotels, vacation packages, cruises, and activities on Expedia.com. Depending on what you book you get 1-2 points per dollar spent. You earn these points no matter how you pay for the travel!
  • You still earn the loyalty points you normally would from the airline, hotel, or car suppliers.
  • If you make the booking using an eligible Citi credit card, you earn another 1 point per dollar spent plus a point for every mile you fly.

So for example you book a flight+hotel trip for two from New York to Las Vegas that costs you $1400 on a Citi PremierPass credit card. You could earn upwards of 6,500 ThankYou Points for just that one booking!

Then you can redeem your ThankYou Points for all kinds of things including gift cards, gifts, and most importantly, more travel. There are no blackout dates for the travel redemptions and no tricky rules. The Travel Rewards portion of the ThankYou Network site is powered by Expedia and is what I have spent most of my first 15 months at Expedia working on.

You need to be a ThankYou member to sign in to the site and see what I’ve built but it is free and easy to join so, what are you waiting for? Go sign up for your free ThankYou Network account now!

I’ll include the press release after the jump and also post my personal thoughts about working on the program later…

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Overvalued Housing Markets

Tuesday, May 30th, 2006

CNNMoney has an interesting article analyzing the housing markets in the United States and ranking them from the most overvalued to most undervalued. They cover almost 300 markets so odds are the one you are interested in is on there.

Interestingly enough it seems I have been moving to less overvalued markets as the years have gone by; today they claim Los Angeles is 54% overvalued, Oakland area 47%, and Seattle only 24%. Granted, these numbers are not representative of the valuations when I moved to these places but still, I think it is interesting. At this rate I guess I might be headed for Detroit or Boston shortly.

Anyway, here is a funny video of a skit from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno of newscasts at the gas pump -Pumpcasting. I also find the talking photo booth skits on that show very funny for some reason.

Comments Working Again (For Now?)

Friday, January 20th, 2006

Alina was kind enough to bring to my attention that you couldn’t post comments on posts that still had comments allowed. Well I think I’ve fixed it and you should be able to now. Although, I sort of had to mangle the template code to make the fields show up that should have shown up without any mangling.

And if you wonder why I disable comments on old posts or require you type in a name, its because I get about 50 spam comments a day. Mostly about online poker. Damn you people and your crazy poker phenomenon. Thanks for bearing with us in these technologically difficult times.

Jaw-Dropping African Safari Photos

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

I’ve been meaning to write a wrap-up on some important cars introduced at the Detroit Auto Show last week and my thoughts on it but that’s gonna have to wait until tomorrow. Until then, you can enjoy these ridiculously awesome photos taken by one of my coworkers about a month ago when he was in Africa. You’ll see monkeys, seals, deer, wildebeast, zebras, elephants, cheetahs, giraffes, and well, you get the idea. Yes, they look like they belong in National Geographic but I know the guy and he sits down the hall from me! We really do like travel. Check them out…

African Mammals
African Birds
African Landscapes
Africa – Miscellaneous

I guess while I’m at it I can provide links to some of the other awesome photos he’s taken as well…

The Blue Angels, Seafair Weekend in Seattle
Peru – Take One
Peru – Take Two

There. That should keep you busy, with eyes wide open.

Ridiculous Rain Rages On

Thursday, January 12th, 2006

Aside from my (very) early morning attempt at alliteration, the story here is that we’re a handful of days away from breaking the record for consecutive days of rain here in the Seattle area. I mean, I am usually pretty unaffected by changes in the climate or environment but this is wearing my paitence out. If that’s not enough, forecasts say that we’ve got at least several more days of this #^@#&* rain! Can’t do outdoor things, kills the nightlife, everything is wet, and good luck keeping your car clean, inside or out.

All I can say is that I’m pretty jealous of folks in LA and the weather they’re having right now. Here’s a CNN article on the record-breaking rain in Seattle if you care to read more.

Rain rain go away…

Hi from Seattle

Sunday, August 21st, 2005

Hey there. Yeah I’m a jerk for not posting for the month or so that I’ve been up in Seattle. What can I tell you, I’ve been busy starting my new job, finding a place to live, then finding things to fill that place with. It’s been hectic but things are finally settling down a bit.

I’d share the stories from the road-trip up but my brother has beaten me to it so I’ll save time and just point you to Ara’s blog for the details. Instead what I’ll do is illustrate his post with the pictures we took along the way and when we finally got here. I’ve got plenty more to share and I should have some more time to do it now so stay tuned…

Seattle Road-Trip Pictures

April Fool’s :-)

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005

I guess I’m not very good at doing April Fool’s jokes; people believed it and told me it was not obvious enough that the last post was a joke. I changed it later to make that more obvious. Rest assured, come next winter I will definitely be working on loving the rain. Or pulling my hair out because I’m sick of it. Either way. My apologies to anybody who got upset over the post, no harm intended.

No Privacy on AIM

Saturday, March 12th, 2005

This ranks really high on the news I didn’t want to hear list. As revealed here, AOL has changed the Terms of Service on their AOL Instant Messenger or AIM service. Here is the worst of it…

…by posting Content on an AIM Product, you grant AOL, its parent, affiliates, subsidiaries, assigns, agents and licensees the irrevocable, perpetual, worldwide right to reproduce, display, perform, distribute, adapt and promote this Content in any medium. You waive any right to privacy. You waive any right to inspect or approve uses of the Content or to be compensated for any such uses.

Well, I am left speechless by this development. Which is probably a good thing since AOL can’t take my words, twist, then republish them if I spoke to you about this on AIM. The really big problem with this is that 98% of the people that I know and communicate with are AIM users only. Not to mention the majority of them will not know about this or will not care enough to bother to switch to a different network. Its not a small change to make either but if there ever was a good reason to leave AIM, this is definitely it.

Please, all of you who would like to maintain private conversations with me, you can IM me on the Yahoo Messenger service at the same name as my AIM screen name.

Three Golden Rules for Your Career

Monday, February 21st, 2005

Last Monday I drove down to Intuit‘s headquarters in Mountain View, CA to meet a few different people and talk to them about their jobs, career paths, etc. This was all thanks to Karin who works there now and was a Cal CS grad of ’84. She was nice enough to host me, and I was chosen for this through some program at the Career Center.

Anyway, I enjoyed my time there and I learned quite a bit as well. One of the things I picked up was Karin’s three rules to follow in your career…

  1. Never work a job that requires you carry a pager or cell phone home with you. Essentially this rule says, don’t take jobs that require you to be on-call when you’re not at the office, are home, out, sleeping, whatever. I agree with this. I don’t think the compensation is usually worth the peace of mind you give up with this change.
  2. Always only work for somebody that you respect. If you don’t respect your supervisor or boss, it’s going to cause a number of problems for the both of you sooner or later. You’re not going to learn anything from that person and doing your job is going to get harder by the day.
  3. Make friends with the administrative assistants. They are the most connected people in the office. They will be the ones to help you get an office with a window, a day off, or even just your office supplies. Be good to them and they will hook you up.

They sound like some pretty solid rules. They’re also based on her twenty years of work experience. I intend to keep them in mind, wherever my career takes me.

Have you got some golden rules you live by? What are they?