Friday, October 31, 2008

Restaurant Gift Certificates - Halloween Special

I saw this deal on Get Rich Slowly. Basically, you can get $25 gift certificates from for only $2. There are restrictions that require you to order some amount, but it's still a great discount. Check it out here (use Discount Code: TREATS). Offer is only valid TODAY, so don't miss out!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Mélisse Dinner

JC, Tiff, and I had a really nice meal over at Mélisse in Santa Monica. I probably won't have such a nice meal for a while given the economy and all, but it sure was a great experience. The food was excellent, and the service was exceptional. There wasn't anything to complain about really.

After looking at the menu for a little while, we each decided to do the tasting menu. The one thing that was really nice about this restaurant was that we actually had a lot of flexibility when it came to the tasting menu. At most other places, everyone at the table is more or less served the same thing. But, here, we got to pick and choose a few things much like how you'd order from a standard prix fixe menu.

Two different amuse bouches came out shortly after we had ordered. I'm not sure if one was something else, but both more or less served as an amuse. The first was a serving of grapes encrusted with goat cheese and pistachios, and the second one was a tomato gazpacho over a cucumber purée with salmon tartare. Both tasted so good. They definitely served their purpose of whetting my appetite.

As a first course, I had the Lobster Bolognese, Fresh Capellini with Black Truffles. This was some seriously good stuff. It was simple, but it tasted so damn good. I could easily have an entire meal consisting of just this, and I'd be perfectly happy. JC and Tiff had the Seared Foie Gras, but I didn't take any pictures of it.

For a second course, I had the John Dory dish. I like this fish usually, and this time was no different. It was served in a scallion mousseline sauce and also a shellfish sauce. The texture of the fish was just right and all the flavors worked really well for this one. It's hard for me to describe how nice it all worked out, but I was in fish heaven. I think the other two missed out, but I'm not sure.

JC, who isn't a fan of most seafood, had a corn ravioli dish. Tiff went for an abalone dish, but again, I didn't get a picture. I guess you'll have to check out her blog when she puts up her own pics.

Both JC and I had the rabbit for the main course. It was quite good, and the meat was not gamey at all. I often fear that rabbit meat will be a bit strong, but the meat was done really well and everything was so tasty. The dish was full of spices and you could taste a whole array of different flavors, as each part of the dish seemed to have been prepared and spiced differently. The rabbit also came with a boudin blanc, which is some sort of cajun sausage. That was one fancy tasting sausage, I must say.

Tiff had the lamb, which offered three different cuts of meat. After having a taste of her lamb, I think I prefer it. But, that's not to say I had any complaints about my own choice.

Finally, it was dessert time. JC and I chose the same thing again. We had a chocolate-themed finale. Four different chocolate desserts were served. There was chocolate ice cream with a white chocolate outside, a soufflé with a fresh injection of chocolate goodness, a chocolate parfait, and a chocolate cake.

Then, after this rather filling meal, we got some slices of fruit, cookies, and petit fours.

And, there you have it. I hope you enjoyed the pictures. The meal was wonderful, and it was really nice that Tiff could join us as JC bid farewell to Los Angeles.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Big Move

Well, this is it. I'm heading down to LA for relationship purposes one final time. Tonight, there is a going away dinner at a nice restaurant. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures. And, tomorrow is the big moving day. We'll pack everything up into the truck, and then head on up to Triple-S J... that is, South Side San Jose. Ha ha. I learned that from some random grocery store cashier a few weeks back.

Have a nice weekend!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Journey of a Dead Skin Ball

Some will find this video clip gross, some others will relate to it, and others yet will find it inspirational. Enjoy.

Monday, October 20, 2008

BSOD at a Gas Station

Not too long ago I found a gas station pump with the Blue Screen of Death. Luckily, I had my camera handy.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Eyeballing Game

Tiff posted this Eyeballing game up on her blog, and I thought it was pretty fun, so I'm sharing it here. The game is self-explanatory, you just try to eyeball the correct geometries that are asked of you. Anyway, the first time I played the game, my mouse slipped and I had a single large outlier that caused my average error to be really high (~8.0), but the second time I played it, I did OK.

My score on the second try was a 3.65.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Togo's Flashback

I wasn't in the know until today about Togo's Flashback Wednesdays deal. They've got a select 6" sandwich each week that is priced at $1.99. After yet another market crash today, I know where I'm heading for dinner tonight.

Icelandic Plunge

The markets have been bad for us, but it's nothing compared to what is happening over in Iceland. Pretty crazy if you ask me.

"Iceland's benchmark stock index plunged 77 percent, the biggest decline on record, as trading resumed after a three-day suspension and the nationalization of the country's largest banks."

Bloomberg Report on the Iceland stock market crash.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Poor Fitness Level

I am out of shape. I really am. I'm not overweight at all, but I lack stamina. This past Sunday, I ran in the Run Forrest Run 5K during the Long Beach Marathon. JC ran the half-marathon.

So, anyway, I ran a whopping 3.1 miles in just over 36 minutes. This is sad. This is not much faster than a 12 minutes per mile pace. Pathetic. In my age group I was basically in the bottom 40%, and this includes those that walked and those that ran it while pushing a baby stroller.

You know you need to step it up when senior citizens are killing you. The fastest 65 year old male did it in under 25 minutes and the fastest 70 year old male was able to do it in about 28 minutes. And, here I am, someone that's just outside the prime years putting up a lousy 36 minutes.

Anyway, I'm going to have to fix this. I'm not looking to be a super star runner, but this is simply unacceptable.

JC, on the other hand, did just fine. She ran her 13.1 miles in under 2 hours and 15 minutes, which put her in the top third of her class. This means that she was able to run her 13.1 miles at a significantly faster pace (around 10 1/4 minutes per mile) than I did for 3.1 miles. How sad is that?

In my defense, I didn't really train or prepare at all. The results of running this cold turkey tells me that if I'm going to try this again, I'm going to have to really put forth some effort. It sucks to suck.

At least at the end of the run they gave us some food that was supplied by the Bubba Gump Shrimp restaurant. Ceviche and shrimp cocktail never tasted so good. There will be a next time, but it won't be any time soon.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Garden Pics

If you recall, I don't have much of a garden. One day I just decided to plant some Sugar Snap Peas and Salad Bowl Lettuce to make use of this empty patch in my back yard. A couple months ago, my plants had just begun growing. Today, the pea plants are probably 4 feet tall, and the lettuce is a pretty large bunch.

I have no idea how to tell when to harvest any of it. I suppose I should read up on that. I was really only half-expecting anything useful to come from this exercise. But, now that it seems pretty clear that the plants are doing fine, I should do some more research and maybe put a little more time into this.

Here are some pics.

Quick Update

Well, the emergency rate cut prevented us from tanking thus far. It hasn't really helped us move up, but at least for now the bleeding has stopped. Pretty scary really... what the heck now?

Same store sales numbers came out this morning for a lot of retailers. Overall the picture's bleak. Fortunately, Wet Seal (WTSLA) came out more or less in line with expectations (-7.5% vs -7.3%) and they re-affirmed their 0.05-0.07 EPS. This is really good all things considered. Had the numbers come out horribly, I'd be crying.

I picked up a position in Kongzhong (KONG) at 2.45. It's a company I used to own/follow, and I know that it's a favorite of gaamblor's. He's been pushing it my way for some time, and today, I finally bit the bullet with a (very) small starter position. From what I can tell, it's now trading substantially below its cash value, and current projections have the company remaining in the black. Anyway, not willing to buy a substantial amount until I get a much better idea of what's going on. Plus, I'm skittish and scared for the most part.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Quick Market and Life Update

I lightened up on a few things earlier today when the market was slightly in the red... too little too late, but I suppose for now I'm better off having done so with the market sinking to a new low. Maybe this is what I look like when I'm capitulating somewhat.

Anyway, sold off between 10-25% of Manitowoc (MTW), Glatfelter (GLT), Phillip Morris International (PM).

When is this pain going to end? I have no f'ing idea... all I know is that I'm hurting pretty badly, and most people I know are in the same boat. Ugh.

In other news, JC is moving up here (and in with me) in a few weeks. Hopefully, it is smooth sailing. From a personal perspective, it should be nice. Sure beats us flying around to see each other. From a financial perspective, it is definitely a win-win. I get help on the mortgage, and her rent decreases a fair bit as compared to what she pays with her current living arrangement.

Also, my sugar snap peas are growing a lot... there are a lot of peas now. Not sure when is the right time to pick them. I'll post up pictures some time soon if I can remember.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Quick Update

Reducing exposure... got rid of the rest of Citigroup (C) at $20. The vote is later on today, and there's more complication regarding the Wachovia (WB) buyout with Wells Fargo (WFC) swooping in.

I might be back in it in the future, but for now I'm done. Essentially took some not-so-huge losses on 3/4 of the initial position, and took a rather large loss on 1/4. Oh well. Could have gotten out of this last 25% yesterday for a good deal more. It's a pity that I'm not clairvoyant, I'd have avoided the past 30-45 days of absolute pain.