Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Muppet Star Wars

Hehehe. I love this video. Its perfect for people who love Star Wars and the Muppets.

And who doesn't love "PIGS IN SPACES!!!!"

Monday, February 26, 2007

Costco: The 'anti-Wal-Mart'

You might not know this but I'm a HUGE fan of bulk shopping. I started out with Sam's Club in 1997 and have since progressed to Costco. And I'm a very loyal customer to Costco. This article simply reinforces my loyalty.

Most income from members' fees
Its cooperativelike operation makes the retailer's business model unusual. In its latest fiscal year, Costco generated pretax income of $1.75 billion, about 70% of which came from membership fees. An additional $125 million was kicked in by the interest income on the company's cash. Costco earned just $400 million from its stores, for a retailing operating margin of less than 1%. The low margin is intentional and reflects the company's commitment to low prices.

As a matter of corporate policy, Costco refuses to mark up any product by more than 15% above its cost. When the company signed a new contract in 2005 with a supplier for Brooks Bros.-style men's cotton and button-down shirts, and got a significant price reduction for a massive two-year order, it immediately cut the price of the shirts to $12.99 from $17.99, notes Richard Galanti, Costco's chief financial officer. Other retailers might have phased in the reduction and captured added profit, but that's not the Costco way. The shirts now cost $14.99 because they are made with better-quality cotton.

Let's take for example a whole uncooked chicken. Walk into any normal grocery store and they sell for about $8? That's about the going price. But at costco they sell 2 whole uncooked chickens bundled together for only $7. This is even more so for fresh fish where the local stores really jack up price for.


Saturday, February 24, 2007

Music Time

I've wanted to do this for some time but the effort involved in recording the song into a format for uploading into youtube is prohibitive.

Anyway, I watched the musical AvenueQ last year and they have some really funny songs. Here's a number called "If you were Gay". Enjoy!

Friday, February 23, 2007

5 Great Ways to Leave a tip

On the heals of my previous post about Complex Origami, here's a fun blog post I found about how to leave your next waiter a tip.

#5 Shirt:
Origami Dollar Bill Shirt
Here are the directions to make the shirt. Below is a video showing how to fold the shirt.

#4 Bow Tie
Origami Dollar Bill Bow Tie
Here are the directions to make the Bow Tie and here is a the bow tie being made in a video

#3 Spider
Origami Dollar Bill Spider
You need five $1 bills to make this origami. Here are the directions to make the Spider

#2 Rosette
Origami Dollar Bill Rosette
Here are the directions to make the Rosette

#1 Accordion (pleated) Dollar

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Complex Origami

Origami is the japanese art of paper folding. I think there's a perception in the western countries that Origami is simple and more of a pasttime for children. Well people, prepare to be totally blown away.

Meet Satoshi Kamiya. He's an Origami master. Here are some of his creations. They really are complex and completely made out of a single piece of paper. But they do take time, the red dragon takes about 6 hours to complete.

Check out his website. And see some videos of him doing his thing.

Don't Treat your Employer better than they treat you

Came across this very interesting article on digg. Granted that I think the blogger was very very frustrated when writing this and so her views might be a little skewed, but to be honest, she's got very valid points. I've had my face plastered on the wall as Employee of the week many times and its considered a morale booster. Honestly, I cringe everytime I see my face up there and can't wait for the week to end so that another poor sap can get his mug on the board. I'd rather they gave me a $10 Ice Cream gift Voucher.

Here's the main excerpt of the article:
When you excel at your job, companies have a tendency to reward you with meaningless symbols of merit. Every company I have worked for has had some sort of employee recognition program set up. A job well done might earn you the title ‘Employee of the Month.’ You might get a plaque with your name on it. Or a pre-printed ‘Thank You’ letter from your boss. You might even earn the privilege of wearing a special pin or you may simply get a pat on the back.

You know who else is rewarded like this for good behavior? My 9 year old stepdaughter. After she completes a ballet class, she earns a pat on the head and a sticker for her jacket. This, of course, thrills her.

But it’s pretty fucking degrading if you’re a grown ass adult.

Face it, if your employer really respected you and valued the work that you did, he’d reward you with money. He’d cut you in on the profit. You’d get a slice of the pie.

He wouldn’t draw a little smiley face on a slip of paper and expect you to proudly display it on your refrigerator like you’re a 6 year old child.

They Demand a Two Weeks Notice Before You Quit

Yet, very rarely, do they give you notice before they fire you. Unless you work for a company that offers a severance package after terminating your employment, fuck them and their notice.

A lot of people give notice before they quit a job not out of respect for their employer, but because they fear their employer will give them a bad reference. Most of the time, this is a baseless fear. Large companies fear slander lawsuits too much and will refrain from saying anything bad about a past employee…no matter how much they hated him. Most places even make a policy out of confirming dates of employment and saying nothing else when asked for a reference. This is so common practice now that your new employer won’t even bother to ask your old employer what he thought of you because he knows damned well he’ll hit a brick wall.

If you like your employer and feel that the company treated you well, by all means, give them a bit of notice before you quit. Otherwise, fuck them. They would do the same thing to you, given half the chance.

Honestly, a lot of big companies could stand to review the Golden Rule and start applying it to how they treat their employees. If they are unwilling to treat the people who make them rich with an ounce of dignity or respect, then they have no right to get upset if we just turn our cars around one morning and go home.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Happy Chinese New Year 2007

Happy Lunar New Year all! Its the year of the pig.

This is something a little new for my home. When I first moved into my house (about 3 years ago) I envisioned having the blown up faces of looney tunes characters hangin g on the walls. After 3 years of procrastinating I finally got off my duff and got the posters I wanted. Here's the results.

And for the New Year, I got the urge to cook. Here are my efforts. Ayam Panggang (BBQ Chicken) and Babi Chin (Stewed Park Belly). The chicken turned out pretty good, but I've had lots of tries to perfect it. The pork dish is kind of a traditional dish my mom makes at New Year. Its turned out pretty ok, but the taste is just a little off, I need to tune it a bit.


Friday, February 16, 2007

Kids Tetris Furniture

Found these children's Tetris blocks of furniture. If I had these when I was a kid I'd look forward to cleaning my room on a daily basis. I'm sure you could make some bitchin forts out of these cushions too. It reminds me of this Simpsons Tetris video:

The furniture itself is from Play+Soft
“PLAY+SOFT comprises furnishings that are simple and linear yet soft to the touch, joining the rectlinear or in any case planar lines of the design of the objects with a soft consistency to create an effect of contrasts, “sweet and sour”, hybrid, which deepens the complexity of the sensory landscape.”


Monday, February 12, 2007

Hamster Addon

Remember the hamsters I got a couple of months ago? Well, they have a nasty habit of kicking the bedding out of the cage and making a mess that I have to clean up every few days. (see the mess in the pic)

So I was reading online and they say that hamsters can and do get bored. And when they are bored, they make a mess and bite the cage (which mine do). So being the responsible owner that I am I went out and got an addon to the cage that expands their home and gives them more room to run about.

This is before:

This is after: With the addon

So how do they like it? Well... I've seen them go up a few times but not a whole lot (perhaps 1-2 times each). So to entice them, I'm going to place some the treats I usually feed them in the new addon. I'll let you know how that turns out.

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Saturday, February 10, 2007

Movie Review: Because I Said So

Last weekend was Superbowl weekend and since I'm not a sports fan, I usually spend Superbowl weekend watching a movie. The best part is there are no crowds or problems getting seats for a show, and they usually release a romantic comedy. This year the movie is "Because I Said So".

Let me start by saying this is a total chick flick. I would imagine most guys will shun this movie. But if you're a Diane Keaton, Mandy Moore or romantic comedy fan this is actually a pretty good show. I liked this show. Its not quite as good as some other romantic comedies but overall it delivers.

The plot is an overbearing mother (Diane Keaton) who has 3 daughters. 2 are married and only one left who constantly attracts the wrong men. So she decides to step in and help by placing an online ad for her daughter, meets all the candidates and finally hits pay dirt in the form of a yuppy architect (Tom Everett Scott). But at the same time a musician also takes interest in her daughter (Gabriel Macht). So daughter number 3 (Mandy Moore) starts dating both of them, the musician whom she's attracted to and the architect who's getting inside info from her mother.

Its not an original story and they there are many mother daughter antics that you've seen in other movies as well. But there is definately a very good chemistry between Mandy Moore and Gabriel Macht which makes the falling in love angle very believable. Also, there is a 2nd romance between Diane Keaton and Stephen Collins (Gabriel's father).

Sadly this show could have done a lot more with its strong secondary cast. Among them Stephen Collins, Colin Ferguson, Lauren Graham, Piper Perabo. Its almost a crime that such a strong secondary cast is regulated to background scenery.

I give this romantic comedy a 7/10. Decent Effort and entertaining but falling short in some areas.


Monday, February 05, 2007

Burning Crusade Update - Level 70

Hooray!!! Astir hit level 70 on Friday night and got her flying mount. Flying is simply awesome. My only complaint is the speed which is also why I will probabaly be getting the Epic Flying mount as soon as I save up 5000 gold. I also took most of the weekend off from playing WOW. 2 weeks of intense playing just burnt me out a little.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Pre-Order for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Its here! Amazon is now accepting pre-orders for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Book 7 of the series and possibly the last in this series. J.K. rowlings has always said that she intended the books to chroncle Harry's school life. One book for each school year. And if you follow the series then you know that in the last book Dimbledore died and Harry and his pals are not going back to school.

The biggest question on everyone's mind is... will Harry survive? Typically I would say of course he survives. What author in her right mind would kill off their main character let alone one that beloved by millions worldwide. But if you've read the book, you'll also notice that they have gotten progressively darker. In fact from the 3rd book onwards, I would actually deem it not kid friendly because it deals with issues of death, anger, betrayl etc.

Anyway, go order yours now. Its $18.89 on amazon and make sure to put on overnight delivery. I almost gurantee that Amazon will ship this book out next day and refund your delivery costs. They do it for all major books and have done just that for the past 2 books. I can't wait!