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Happy New Year to everyone.
(Yay for finally being fully setup in my own apartment. Everyone is invited to visit/stay here - though please warn me ahead of time.)
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Commercial

I just heard the best commercial - there's a mystery "cougher" put out by this company that could be a man or a women (or child). If you see the person coughing and you offer them the cough drop (made by the company) then you may win $10k-$1mil.

I feel that if people believe the commercial, then the company will not only benefit from extra sales and word-of-mouth advertisement as people offer them to strangers, but also improve the good-samaritan behavior. If I didn't forget the name of the company as I was typing this blog, I'd definitely buy their cough drops just to reward them.
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Happy Holidays

Happy Festivus! Merry Christmass! Happy Hanukka!
And to those that none of the above apply - Happy holiday shopping!

It has been a long time since I've posted. In the past 5 months of working I have managed to make a contribution directly to 5 different titles of which 2 already shipped. Unfortunately, because I came in late during the development cycle, neither of the titles that shipped included my name in the credits. But I think the next 3 should definitely include my name somewhere deep within the credits. I definitely feel that I made a good decision and am enjoying my work, even the boring parts.

And I miss all of you guys! Even though the group I'm with is probably one of the youngest areas I could get into, it's still hard to make new friends at work or outside of work. I miss the random movie get-togethers and the Aladdin drinking party. I also miss those really late night Halo matches, as playing random people on Live just isn't the same as cursing out Adam for another head shot.
(The reason all of this came up is that I'm currently on holiday but with nobody around and nothing to do. Anyone wants to fly out here for a break and play some 360? ;)
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Since I just got into a small debate about hybrids - I felt sharing what I found about them recently. If you are thinking of buying a new hybrid and can wait a few months, there's a really nice change in tax laws that is becoming effecting Jan 1, 2006.

The current policy for hybrids allows for a Tax Deduction of $2000 for a purchase of a hybrid. (With retroactive tax adjustment if the purchase was in previous years) That results in about $300-$500 decrease in total taxes paid.

The new law presents anywhere from $250 (Chevy Pickup) to $3150 (Prius) Tax Credit. (Which means your total tax is smaller by that sum) This new law is effective Jan 1, so if you can wait, try to do so. (Analysis of different cars by ACEEE)
There are large number of local incentives. (I saw somewhere a much longer list - but this one seems to be fairly comrehensive. Though supposedly WA waives the tax on hybrids based on another place I can't find right now)
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Well, I guess I should post things before I've been assimilated. :)

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So now I'm living in my brother's house with my computer properly setup. My room looks like an advertisement for Ikea, as 80% of furniture is from there. Though I gotta say, it does make the room look bright and clean. My niece - she's such a cute time sink. You can spend hours with her playing and she's still amazed that the fish will puff up and blow her in the face. Last week I've figured out that I don't really ever want to try to feed small kids. They have to be tricked to eat any food, and will make a huge mess out of all of it. Except for her eating habits - I really enjoy playing with her. I find her trying to walk around all the time to be the most interesting thing. When given a small walker - she runs with it faster than any of us can really keep up with her. (I'll stop here or else this post will turn into recount of "darnest thing kids do")

And now I've started work. The last day and a half was fairly usual boring employee orientation. The most amazing thing for me at the orientation that pretty much ANY benefit that you can extend to your spouse or dependant, you can also extend to your same-sex-partner. So anything from full coverage on your insurance to weight loss program counceling is offered equally to spouse or SSP. (Except for extra tax due to IRS not extending same benefits.)
Also, I am a proud owner of Scion tC that is sitting at the dealership until I present insurance. That is a lovely catch-22, that requires me to have a car before I can obtain insurance coverage on that car, while at the same time I can't drive my car without having an insurance.
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One week remaining until I move. Anyone in N.VA want to do anything? [I'm most likely carless 'till 5 pm on weekdays]

I have so many pictures and so much lazyness to go through them and pick out good ones to upload. (Also few places are good for uploading and then looking at the pictures. Anyone have suggestions of free ones other than webshots)

I've had a lovely trip to/through Maine with parents. I drove 2315 miles the whole way around and saw lots and lots of nature. There have been at least 5 different lighthouses on the way, with some looking really pretty. (Pictures will come... at some point) The nature in Acadia Park is really impressive, with lots of cliffs and ocean. Somehow makes me think of H2G2 and the fnords. On the way there we stopped in a bunch of small towns and each has had some interesting history. (We saw the house of Mark Twain, but the cost of $15/person to go inside in the rain wasn't worth it)

On the way back we drove through Mt. Washington (NH) - the highest point on East coast (or at least New England). It was a very interesting climb of 8 miles to go up 2km. At times the car was definitely not very happy with having to climb a good 12-15% grade non-stop. The view from the mountain though is breath taking. Definitely recommend it for everyone. It took me about 20-25 minutes to climb the mountain, but they claim that the record stands at sub-7 minutes. That means someone drove a mountain at over 60mph. Very scary.

Now onto the random links:
  • Proving once again that evolution does exist - there is now evidence showing that elephants are adapting to poachers by evolving to not have tusks. The survival rate of tuskless males is probably much greater than average, resulting in doubling of tuskless population.
  • A completely different "adaptation" in the sex industry is the idea of a hooter shooter. (Yes, it does involve alcohol)
  • And it seems that some advertising company needed to consult a Christian before releasing theiradvertising poster for Passion of the Christ.
  • Talking about christianity, Reverend Wilson would never have made a good presidential candidate:

    After decrying rising prices, he said: "I ain't against women working, but it's become a necessity that they work now. Was a time when a man could get a job in a factory and do all right.

    "we live in a time now brothers have been so put down, can't get a job. Lot of the sisters making more money than brothers, and it's created problems in families. That's one of the reasons our families [are] breaking up and that's one of the reasons many of our women are becoming lesbians," he said.

    lesbianism is about "to take over our community. I'm talking about young girls. My son in high school last year. Tried to go to the prom. He said, 'Dad, I ain't got nobody to take to the prom because all the girls in my class are gay. Ain't but two of 'em straight, and both of them ugly," Wilson recounted.
    (source [WP reg required])
  • Privacy seems to be going the way of the Dodo, now the cell phone records
    -- who you called, how long you talked, etc. -- are the hottest thing
    going among online traders of personal information.
  • And to make sure that the nobody could put any outgoing calls, a robber reportedly used a cell phone jammer to block 911 calls while he jacked a CVS pharmacy in Georgetown, Mass.
  • The Purdue Homeland Security Institute will create a simulated terrorist attack with a supercomputer to test emergency officials. How will they know what/how they'll hit? It's not normal for terrorists to tell beforehand.
  • Birds around the world are starting to immitate cell phone ringtones. The Maricopa Audubon Society reported the phenomenon earlier this month. Now a German orthinologist is reporting it.
  • Case-Mod.com is selling a $200 rear view mirror with a built-in LCD TV screen, so you can watch movies while you're not watching the road. The auto-dimming window costs about the same... should I start modding my car with this?
  • The UK's Orange is offering customers there Etch-A-Sketch on their cell phones.
    In the 1960s-era original, you would erase your drawing by shaking it.
    With the cell phone version, you just press zero, which vibrates the
    phone and wipes out your drawing.
  • A poll conducted by Singapore's Sunday Times found that some 60 percent of Singaporeans use their cell phones while sitting on the toilet.
    Regarding the fact that callers can hear "flushing and other awkward
    noises," one businesswoman named Wileen Chang was quoted by Deutsche
    Presse-Agentur as saying: "What's the big deal? It's not as if the
    other party can smell your stink."
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I'm leaving for a family vacation touring through Maine. So I'll be gone for a week. Hopefully I'll be able to catch up on all the posts.

Now for the links:
  • This is what my computer should have looked like. (Or why predictions never work)
  • I think these figures would make really cool presents. Science and art in one!
  • The eye of Sauron has been found in space. The ring is not far behind. Where's frodo?
  • The dark lord just doesn't look as scary when he just has to go. He can also be supported by the barf bags from Star Wars.
  • And here's how the creationists want us to cure the diseases.
  • Going together with the previous - Showers are dangerous to your health. So that's why eastern europe had so many smart people - they don't shower as often! (Also weeds out the week through disease.. but with the creationist's ideas of curing - the west will also be weeded out). Note: Registration required, use bugmenot to find a working username - I had to go #9)


  • And now we can bowdown to our scifi writers robotic overlords. I want to see one of Asimov!
  • Following the robotic overlords will be zombie dogs and soon to come the zombies themselves. (Somehow I doubt they'd have many volunteers for experiments)
  • The robotic overlords will be controlling the robotic breast exam. (Who can afford one of these and support staff, but not the doctors alone)
  • Those robotic overlords can easily support a harrem of their own with some help from the Sinulator - umm.. umm.. I don't know how to describe this.

  • I really should read (rather than skim/selective read) The Book, just so I can make better arguments for my own disbelief. (And it's amazing how few do read it)
  • We live on the planet of the hats!
  • And the Christians are the opressed minority in this country. Don't you know?

  • It seems that unfortunately we have to waste our brain area for the memories of the "important" celebrities. I can't believe there are special brain cells wasted on Brad Pitt, Brittany, etc.
  • BREAKING NEWS: (not the UK kind) Spam might be beneficial! WHAT? HOW? HUH?


Ohh... and just found:
All your base are belong to us - sung to rhapsody.

Well, I'm off to my vacation. Everyone have a good weekend.