Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Sprint unveils its first 4G phone - HTC Evo 4G

Lack of 4G network availability notwithstanding, the features on this phone are incredibly cool indeed. 8 Megapixel still camera, 720p video capability, 1 GB Snapdragon processor, 1 GB internal memory, HDMI output, kickstand for possible video calls in the future... the list goes on and on.

With both my original iPhone 2G and the loaner that was so nicely offered to me on the fritz at the moment, the above announcement is tough to ignore.

Can I hang on, limping along with this ancient phone whose sounds don't work at all, and that I can only use with my Bluetooth, until the summer ?

Something tells me it will be worth the wait.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

It's Not Easy Becoming Green

Approximately two months ago, I signed up with a new martial arts dojo near my work. My previous dojo was experiencing some issues, and had shut down business for an indeterminate amount of time. Unwilling to suspend my Krav Maga training indefinitely, I found a great place near my work. Ironically, the new place and old place owners were once teacher-student. Small world it is.

Since that day that I signed the paperwork, this dojo has evolved into a family affair. Taking advantage of a group deal whereby two adult members' kids attend classes for free, Danny and I signed up together. He and Daniel attend Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Daniel attends the cardio kickboxing (and possibly Muay Thai in the future), and even Jacqueline has joined the fun and attended the kids' self-defense classes. We arranged our schedules so that we all go on the same days, to maximize together time both there and at home. It has truly become our family fun spot. Bruises notwithstanding.

When we joined, I was an Orange Belt in Krav Maga. The next step, Green Belt, normally requires 8-10 months of training as a prerequisite for testing. Because the previous dojo had taught me most of the Green Belt techniques, and I had practiced them quite often, the new dojo owner invited me to test for my Green. In total, I only had four months of training (plus a 6-week layoff). But he thought I was ready, so I obliged.

The test can be summed up in one word:


It was 3 hours long, not 7 like the previous dojo; however it was the most intense, and most physically and emotionally demanding 3 hours of my entire life. We ran, we did various punches, kicks and skills, we reviewed lower belt material, and finally tested on the Green Belt material. There was many a time where I felt like either passing out or throwing up, but I swore I would not give up, no matter what the examiners threw at us.

My asthma inhaler was my constant companion, and I could barely command my leg muscles to drive my car home when it was all said and done. It was that intense.

Three days later, I was given the news.


That's right, I successfully passed all the skills and was promoted to Green. I couldn't be more thrilled and honored, especially considering I was the new kid on the block.

As a result of this, it has become painfully obvious that my cardiovascular endurance is terrible. I have pledged to push myself harder at my twice-weekly gym workouts to try to improve this.

From what I hear, the next level (Blue) test is even ten times more intense than this one.

I will be ready. You can count on it.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Aquarium of the Bay

This past weekend, we went to the Aquarium of the Bay in San Francisco. Although I love aquariums and zoos, for some reason, I had never checked out this little treasure at Pier 39 until this day.

It was a fun and interesting experience, especially walking through the tunnels built on the undersides of the tanks. Looking up at a large shark swimming above you is a special and unique experience.

It is a little pricy, and small compared to other aquariums, but well worth the trip.

Thursday, March 04, 2010

This is Something You Don't See Every Day


Cardboard box sitting on the floor in office elevator lobby.

Well-meaning but somewhat clumsy employee walks toward said box, with the intention of picking it up and carrying it to his cube.

Employee trips over his own shoe, and then, inexplicably, lands with his armpit squarely on the corner of the box.

Much pain, and a request for help from our ERT ensues.

In the end, he was fine, and handled the embarrassment of all the attention extremely well. I covered his irritated armpit up with a gauze-wrapped ice pack and sent him off with some encouraging words.

I do not envy him the bruise he undoubtedly has this morning, however.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Winter Fun !

Approximately three years ago, Danny, Daniel and I made the trek to the mountains to take a stab at snowboarding. I had never boarded before -- I did have quite a bit of experience skiing in my teens, but had never tried a snowboard. Daniel was new to it, as well.

We took lessons on that day, with Daniel and Danny progressing to the point that they could take the larger hills with a reasonable amount of confidence. However, I floundered. For whatever reason, I just could not get the hang of it. I fell, over and over again, once landing on my hip so solidly that I needed to visit the first aid station for a painkiller. It was then that I decided that I needed to go back to skiing.

This winter, we decided to make another trip, and brought Jacqueline along with us for her first snowboarding experience.

We left the house at the ungodly hour of 5:30am and drove to the mountains. It is typically a 3-4 hour drive depending on the conditions. We all took lessons - Danny, Daniel and Jacqueline snowboarding, and me on skis. I took a brush-up lesson because it had honestly been about 20 years. Amazing how time flies.

Regardless of the fact that it was Jacqueline's first time on a snowboard, she picked it up very quickly. Even the instructor was saying she did very well for her first time. There were 4 other boys in the class that were the same age as her, and she did better than most of them. :) She still fell, and was wary of the bigger hills, but she did well on the smaller hill nonetheless.

Danny and I took turns on the bunny hill with Jacqueline and on the bigger hills with Daniel.

During my lesson, I remembered all my skills relatively quickly, and was tearing it up after that. I didn't fall once. Not bad for not being on skis for about 2 decades.

We stayed there until the lifts closed at 4pm, then drove down the highway a bit and stopped at a turnout. We had a snowball fight, built a snow dog (instead of snowman) and then headed home. We dragged ourselves into the house at about 10pm.

And the greatest thing about it ?

We have awesome weather all year round in the Bay Area, and yet we can drive to the snow, do all our fun winter activities... then leave it all behind us and drive home. That is truly a thing of beauty.

Here are some pictures:

Putting on snow chains in shorts and slippers !

Us with all our gear. Except my jacket, which I had left upstairs in the lodge.

Snowball fight !!!
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