Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another Round Of Selling RIMM Calls

The Research In Motion (RIMM) December $75 calls expired worthless a couple weeks ago. I held off on selling more calls thinking that maybe the stock might move up more following its strong earnings report. That didn't happen, and so here I am selling calls on the last day of the year.

Sold RFY January 2010 $70 calls for $1.08 covering the entire position.

Effective cost basis for RIMM shares now sits just under $63.50.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Absolutely Fantastic 5-Year Old Movie

How is it that I made it to the end of 2009 without ever having seen Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind? On a whim, I decided to watch a movie from my sister's DVD collection, and this is the one I chose having vaguely recalling that it was good.

Needless to say, I thought it was more than good. I thought this movie was simply fantastic. It's really a bit abstract, but wow, it's just very well put together and I felt that it was generally moving. I liked everything about it, and I was surprised at Jim Carrey's performance, which I thought was quite strong. It's definitely a romantic movie, but it's not the mushy kind that most guys shun.

So, if you haven't seen it yet (though, it seems that everyone I've talked to has), you want to watch this. You don't want to make the mistake that I almost made... that is, letting this one pass you by forever. I really can't believe that it took me 5 years to watch it.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Chromatic Trickery

Hope everyone is enjoying the holidays. A friend posted this up on their site, and I thought it was pretty cool. And, in case you don't believe the illusion is real, I did extract the individual frames of the animation and found that there's nothing phony about this at all. It is definitely a real perception phenomenon that is taking place.

Go here: Perception Image.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Duke Nukem For Never

If any of you were gaming in the good ol' days of 3-D shooters, you'll definitely have remembered and played Duke Nukem 3-D. It was just a really fun game with cool weapons, fun maps, and just all around good multi-player gameplay. And, I'm sure those of you who played the game (and loved it) were at one point eagerly awaiting their sequel, Duke Nukem Forever.

We all know that it never did make it out to market and it was just an epic failure. But, what really happened? Just recently, Wired came out with an article that seeks to answer this very question.

Enjoy: Wired's Story -- Learn to Let Go: How Success Killed Duke Nukem

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Unintentional Traffic Humor

So, I was sitting in some minor traffic yesterday on my way to work when I glanced at my rear view mirror. I had to do a double take when I saw a female driving the car behind me that had a vulgar word for a part of the female anatomy pasted across its windshield. I turned around quickly to learn that she was apparently a Looney Tunes fan.

The full message was: I TAWT I TAW A PUDDY TAT!

Due to the symmetry of the individual letters, TAWT sure does look funny in a mirror. I wonder if this ever crossed her mind before she put the stickers on her windshield... my guess is not.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Edgar Allen Poker Poe-try

This is just too good not to share. Before you can fully appreciate the awesomeness contained in this poem and its reading, you need to know a bit about the history of Bing Blan Blaow. Some time earlier this year, some online poker player named ch3ckraise created a song that he would copy-and-paste into the chat box whenever he took his opponent's money in a head-up match.

It went like this, and somehow it got popular (a Google search gets over 400,000 hits on the exact search phrase). Just a silly, silly thing to say.

ch3ckraise: BING BLANG BLAOW
ch3ckraise: I JUST WON $50.00 FROM YOU
ch3ckraise: BUT YOU CANT NOW
ch3ckraise: CUZ IMMA CASH IT OUT
ch3ckraise: AND RUB IT ON MY TITT1ES

The original song can be found on YouTube here: Bing Blang Blaow.

But, this poetic interpretation is pure genius.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick Update

Today, I sold the Wet Seal (WTSLA) shares that I picked up on December 1st. Had an all-or-none order filled at $3.42 (+17.5%). If for some reason shares go back down to the $3 mark, I will gladly repurchase them. I'm still holding onto my core position, which is still significant; it remains my largest single stock position.

I have also sold my small Citigroup (C) position at 3.91. I'm just not willing to hold onto it with the uncertainty of the dilution shares will face with respect to the TARP money repayment. Couple that with the government's eventual sale of its shares, and it's just too much risk for me. Gladly taking profits on that one, though I could have had a lot more if I had dumped it in the $5's not long ago.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

RIMM Calls Sold

Research In Motion (RIMM) has been on a bit of a tear since their Blackberry distribution deal in China was announced. With shares now trading near $66, I sold the December $75 Calls (RFYLT) for 0.55. This brings the effective cost basis of my RIMM position to about $64.50.

My belief is that even if their earnings report is better than anticipated, I don't see too much upside risk above $75 given that expiration is the very next day. And, I suppose that if I did get called away due to a serious explosion in the stock price, I can't really complain about the exit. In the case that I do part with my shares, I will be looking to re-enter, as I am still bullish on the company.

Sunday, December 06, 2009

The Road, A Great Feel Bad Movie

We went to see The Road tonight. It's a film based on the novel with the same name. The story is about a young boy and his father on an uncertain journey set in a bleak post-apocalyptic world. It was a really good movie, but at the same time it's probably the most 'feel bad' movie that I can remember watching.

Anyway, the movie is definitely worth checking out. Just don't go in expecting sunshine and roses.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Trans-Siberian Orchestra

I've never seen them, and I had never even heard of them until I saw a commercial recently selling tickets to one of their events. It just so turns out that my sister and her boyfriend went to one of their shows, and I just happened to find their very negative reviews somewhat amusing.

For that reason, I will share.

My sister's review of TSO
Her boyfriend's review of TSO

Added to RIMM

I just added to Research In Motion (RIMM) at 58.82, more than doubling my position. I'm done with this one, as I what I have now is sizable. Average cost basis for all shares is now just above $65. They release their earnings soon (December 17). I guess time will tell if this turns out to be a disastrous move.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Rebought Some Wet Seal

During yesterday's trading session, I bought back some of the Wet Seal (WTSLA) shares I sold. Got filled at 2.92, which is a large discount from the original ~$4 selling point. I will consider buying more shares back if the stock stays at these prices, and that I have free funds (damn you, property tax).

Monday, November 30, 2009


There's this game called Acquire that I had heard a lot about before, so last Christmas I bought it for my sister. It was not until this past weekend that we got a chance to play it. I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed the game, and I think there is a ton of strategy to it.

I was surprised to learn that the game had been around since the 1960's having been originally developed by 3M. Although I have played this game exactly one time, I think that it's a lot more fun and more thought provoking than Monopoly, and an entire game can be played out in a lot less time.

I don't have the time to go over all the rules, but I will say that the game is all about making money by growing hotel chains via M&A. So, it all comes down to making strategic business decisions. Lots of fun. If you haven't played it before, and you like strategy-based board games, then I highly recommend this one.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Punk Bands and Homemade Sushi

I went and saw a friend's punk band, Culo a Boca, perform over at the Retox this weekend. Ya, ya, I know what you Spanish-speaking people are thinking... and ya, I agree that it's a fairly vulgar name for a band. I mean, would you want it any other way? To add to your horror, one of their songs is titled Two Girls, One Cup. Ha ha.

Anyway, it was a good show, and it was definitely a fun night out especially given that beers were cheap there ($2 PBR, $3 for other domestics). Though their band was headlining that night, we got there a little early to check out a couple of other bands that played... the Formaldebrides and hmm, I can't remember what the name of the other one was.

Saturday rolled around, and we attempted to make some of our own sushi. Neither of us had any experience, but JC had the required tools already, so that was nice. All I can say is that I now know that making good looking sushi is harder than you'd think. After a few failures, we managed to make an Unagi cut roll that didn't look like a kindergarten art project. And, we also made some Uni pieces, because it just tastes awesome.

Here are a couple of pictures showcasing the results of our effort.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Smell, I Mean, Spell My Finger

I am digging this fast-paced action word game called Spell My Finger on My current best is 23,660, which was good enough to make the top 100 scores.

If you like word games, you might enjoy this one. So, check it out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Bought Gamestop

Picked up a small number Gamestop (GME) shares at 24.13.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Wildcat Spotting

I've seen a lot of different wild animals around my place... coyotes, wild hogs, deer, etc. But, today is a first. We spotted a wildcat from our bedroom window. It's very well camouflaged, but we managed to get a few shots of it.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Math Joke for Today

I saw this math joke on someone's Facebook, and I thought it was pretty good. Here it is. Enjoy!

A bunch of functions are hanging out at a bar. There are trigonometric functions, logarithmic functions, polynomials, all different kinds of functions just hanging out and drinking. Suddenly the door flies open and a differential walks in. The functions are all terrified. Some dive behind the bar, some jump out of the windows, and others hide under their tables. Everybody is generally trying to get the hell away from this differential.

However, there's this one function that just sits calmly at the bar sipping his drink. The differential walks up to him and says "What is this? You should fear me like everyone else. Why aren't you running away?" The function shoots the differential a nasty look and replies, "I am e^x, bitch! You can't touch me." The differential just looks at him and says, "Who said I differentiate with respect to x?"

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Halloween Weekend

We had a blast out in Vegas. It was pretty wild and crazy, but it makes me wonder just how much crazier things get when Vegas is actually doing well. In any case, we stayed out there a day longer than usual, so at least we got in some relaxing on our final day there.

We met up with two different groups of friends that were out there the same weekend by coincidence -- we only found out about them in the couple weeks leading up it. Friday night was fun, as we went out drinking and dancing at the side bar of the Wasted Space nightclub. There were lots of wild people ready to party dressed scantily and slut-worthily just as you would expect from Vegas.

The next night a high school friend of mine, JC, I all found ourselves at a super low-limit poker table at the Mandalay Bay. It's a lot of fun when you play well below your usual limits. I got to splash around a lot while doing my pre-party drinking. Basically, I get to enjoy myself rather than be forced to play seriously.

Finally for Halloween night, we started off at a bar at the MGM and eventually made our way over to Studio 54 once it got less crazy. Apparently, one of the "Girls Next Door" stars (Holly Madison) was the host for the night, and when she left things got less hectic. It was a good thing to wait, since I don't think I was really up for fighting crowds to enjoy the night.

Both JC and I dressed up as vampires, and surprisingly, it was not as popular a costume as we were initially fearing. The costumes worked well, and I had my fair share of randoms that wanted me to bite them, etc. But, those stories will have to stay in Vegas... it's the rule after all.

On Sunday night, JC and I went to watch the Cirque du Soleil show, Zumanity. I had seen Mystere and O before, and I would say that Zumanity would rank third of the three. But, it was still highly entertaining -- definitely not something you should go see if you're conservative and opposed to adult conversations and themes. While many of the acts were impressive, I was not as big a fan of the music as I have been of the other shows.

Later on, we ate at an overpriced Japanese restaurant at Planet Hollywood called Koi. The quality was perfectly fine. I felt the salmon was par at best, but most everything else I had was decent quality, but not worth the prices they were charging. After our meal though, as we were about to take off, a nearby table blurted out that they saw a rat. Turns out that JC also spotted it. We did not try to get any refund or anything... seems like poor form when we were very much done with our meal. Still pretty gross though. In short, I wouldn't recommend Koi to anyone.

Since I'm too lazy to put up pictures of the food at Koi, I'll share a picture I took of some non-alcoholic Berry Fizz drink that JC at some cafe in one of the hotels.

Then, on Monday we went over to the downtown area and grabbed a lot of souvenir chips for JC's collection. Also, we did some gambling, but overall it was a more relaxing day of recovery. I also have a silly story about getting tricked to tell.

So, we are walking out of the El Cortez and we walk towards the intersection, and we decide to turn around since there were no more hotels in the direction that we were walking. A cop then tells us to halt and tells us that we had been tagged for jaywalking by a police car. We are in disbelief, because we hadn't even set foot on the street let alone jaywalked. The officer then talks on his radio saying that he has secured the suspects, and as we verbalized (loudly) our incredulity, he started laughing and said, "I got you guys." He sure did.

The End.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Halloween in Vegas, Badugi, and Sports Betting Update

The bad news is that I've been incredibly busy at work recently. The good news is that I get to party it up a bit this coming Halloween weekend as JC and I are meeting up with a few friends in Vegas. We'll be dressed up, but there aren't any hard plans regarding where we'll be going. On Sunday, we're going to see Zumanity, the adult-themed Cirque du Soleil show. It's been a long time since I've seen a show in Vegas, and JC has never been to one... so hope it's a good one.

Now, it's time to talk briefly about this poker game called Badugi. PokerStars has it available online for as low as 25 cent/50 cent stakes. I've mostly been playing 0.25/0.50 through $1/2. Anyway, it's a lowball triple draw game where you try to make a badugi, which is a 4 card hand with 4 different suits and 4 different ranks. A 4-Card Badugi will beat any 3-card hand will beat any 2-card hand, etc.

For example, a Jh 5d 3c Ah is a 3-card hand: Ah 3c and 5d play. The Jh won't play since it copies the heart. This would beat someone who held 7d 6c 2s Ac, as they would play Ac 2s 7d for a 7-high 3-card hand. Any badugi, say Kh Qc 8d 7s, would beat both of these 3-card hands.

Well, to make a long story short, I've been semi-hooked on this seemingly simple game. The players at the lowest limits are horrible... at least that's what it seems so far. I don't think I'm simply getting lucky though it's certainly possible given that I haven't put in a ton of hands yet. I am up roughly 120 bets so far... we'll see if this trend continues.

And, a quick update on the sports betting. Basically, I'm very close to break-even after 81 bets. I'm up a whopping $25.20 with an average wager of $17. So, it's not good, but I guess it's not horrible either. Hehe.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Mudd #1 at Victoria's Secret Site

Well, the West Dormers at Harvey Mudd College have pulled off a prank on Victoria's Secret's Nominate Your School page. The Mudd ranked #1 with all the fake votes, and the next 6 schools conveniently spell out WIBSTR. Awesome.

Here's a link to a story about it: Harvey Mudd 1, Victoria's Secret 0.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Done Buying For Now

Just finished this round of buying... picked up shared of Charles Schwab (SCHW) at 18.02. I won't be buying anything more until I raise more cash.

Given that Wet Seal (WTSLA) is down roughly 9% from the sell point, it seems that the recent purchases were a good thing. For a more general comparison, the S&P is up roughly two and a half percent from the partial sale of the Wet Seal on 9/21/09.

The following is based on intra-day prices.

WTSLA: 4.00, 3.65, -8.75%
APEI: 34.93, 35.88, +2.7%
ARNA: 4.90, 4.40, -10.2%
CVX: 69.00, 76.43, +10.8%
PM: 47.57, 50.39, +5.9%
RIMM: 74.82, 68.32, -8.7%
SCHW: 18.02, 18.02, 0%

Monday, October 12, 2009

100 Most Common English Words

I just took this online quiz thing that gives you five minutes to try and guess at the 100 most common words in the English language. I really suck. I got 46 out of 100, and after seeing the list of the ones I missed, I think I should have done much better.

Give it a try.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Baltimore and Sports Betting

I was in Baltimore recently for business, and the trip started off horribly. First, I lost my phone at the airport (it was my fault, I set it down on my roller bag and it fell off when I walked off). Then, I hopped onto a hotel shuttle only to learn that there were 3 hotels in the Baltimore Area with the same name.

I lucked out on both points -- the hotel offered to shuttle me over to my hotel for a fixed rate that was well below what a cab would have cost and someone working at one of the airport restaurants found my phone, which I then received the next day (I threw him a twenty in case anyone was curious.

Both training and the meetings I had while I was out there were really productive, so that was good. But, after all the day's activities, you can't just stay cooped up in a hotel. You've got to go out and have a little bit of fun too.

I went to several places during the week. On my final night there, I went out with a college buddy of mine (good ol' T-Bag). Anyway, I highly recommend two of the bars that I checked out: Brewer's Art (featuring their very strong, but delicious beers) and Pub Dog (super cheap $2 beers if you buy them 2 at a time). Also, went to Nick's Fish House for their Happy Hour on one of the nights too -- that place was alright, but I much preferred the other two spots.

Here is a pic of the harbor and also one of a water taxi that I took to work on one of the days. It's definitely not practical, as it took us about 45 minutes longer than a cab ride, since it wasn't a direct route. We had to get off and walk a fair distance to another pickup spot to catch another water taxi that would ultimately take us to our destination.

And, now, a quick blurb about my recent restart of sports betting with a similar experimental meta-system as I had tried in the past. For those who aren't aware, I was sports betting using a meta-system that started off great and then hit a bad streak that caused me to pull the plug at my break-even point.

Anyway, the amount I'm betting is pretty small (average bet has been $17.53). After 21 bets, the record stands at 12-9 for +$44.24. We'll see if this experiment is more successful than the last. Either way, it's a fun experience and (hopefully) should not cost too much if it ends badly.

I might as well put up the current bets that have already been locked in.

Date Sport Game Bet Price Wager
10/8/2009 NCAA FB Nebraska - Missouri Nebraska -3.0 -110 $16.50
10/8/2009 MLB Boston - LA Angels Boston Win ML
-110 $11.00
10/9/2009 NCAA FB LA Tech - Nevada LA Tech +10.5 -110 $22.00
10/10/2009 NCAA FB Alabama - Mississippi Mississippi +5.0 -110 $22.00
10/10/2009 NCAA FB Auburn - Arkansas Arkansas +2.5 -110 $11.00

Win or lose, I'll try my best to update progress every now and then.

That's all for now.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

McDonald's Angus Burgers

I have to say that I'm impressed with the McDonald's Third-Pound Angus Mushroom and Swiss burger. I'm usually not a fan of McDonald's food, and I typically prefer Carl's. But, the Mushroom and Swiss burger has me coming back for more lately.

It's clearly not a great burger, but it's surely a great burger for its price and for what it's meant to be (a fast food burger). I prefer In 'N Out (who doesn't), but when you're craving a mushroom burger, I'd say it hits to spot. Give it a try.

I'm planning on trying out the other two varieties in the near future. In any case, I hope McDonald's keeps the Mushroom and Swiss Angus burger on its menu.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Chevron Purchased

Looks like my order to buy shares of Chevron (CVX) executed today at $69. Out here on the East Coast for business, and I find it a bit weird with the market being open 3 hours later than I'm used to. Not sure if I prefer it or not, but it was nice when I could get a look at things before I went in to the office.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Bought Phillip Morris International

Picked up shares of Phillip Morris International (PM) at 47.57. Looks like I jumped the gun with the afterhours Research In Motion (RIMM) purchase, as that's down another $5. Oh well.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

RIMM Purchased

Research In Motion (RIMM) came out with estimate beating earnings, but their revenue forecast for the next quarter was shy of estimates ($3.6B-3.85B vs. $3.9B). Nevertheless, I am sticking with my original buy target as I used more conservative numbers to begin with.

Bought shares of RIMM in the afterhours market at 74.82.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

APEI Purchased

Picked up some shares in American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) at 34.93.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Adding Few More Buy Candidates

Adding a few more names to the short list of buy candidates.

American Public Education Inc. (APEI) - ($35-36)
Charles Schwab (SCHW) - ($17-18)
Coinstar (CSTR) - ($30-31)
Devry (DV) - (sub-$53)
Edwards Lifesciences - (sub-$65)
Fortune Brands - ($40-42)
Lorillard (LO) - ($70-73)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Partial Sale of the Seal

Sold a block of Wet Seal (WTSLA) at the close at 4.00 even. Still plan on selling some more, but at the moment, there's no need as I haven't done anything aside from the small Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) speculative purchase. So, this should be good for the time being.

Again, I want to make it clear that I have no current intent to sell my core position in WTSLA.

Speculative Purchase

Following up with my previous post... picked up a small position in Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) at 4.90. It's a speculative position, so its size will likely be small in comparison with other purchases. Don't have much time right now to talk about that and others on my (soon to be growing) short list, but hopefully, I'll get around to it.

Haven't yet sold any of the Wet Seal (WTSLA) yet, but looking to sell at least a small piece today.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

New Cash For Deployment

I recently added substantially to my largest position, Wet Seal (WTSLA), in the 3.20-3.35 range (ya, ya, I know... after-the-fact reporting, but whatever, everyone knows how large of a position it has been and continues to be).

As most of you know, over the last couple of years, I've held a large core position and have only traded in and out of a smaller trading position (hell, I started the Wet Seal Fan Club on Facebook a while back -- its administration has since been transferred to Wet Seal, and it has flourished with over 25K fans now). It looks like it's time for me to sell off the trading position and diversify my portfolio some. Well, the run up in its share price to over $4 makes it pretty obviously imprudent for me not to sell off a part of the position. However, it will remain my largest holding.

I know I haven't talked too much about stocks... I've still been very active, but I just blogged less about it since people seemed to be less and less interested. But, based on what a few friends have talked to me about, looks like interest is starting to pick back up. So, maybe I'll have some time to blog about stocks and the markets again.

I've updated the my portfolio holdings on the Yahoo ticker widget. It's a shame I sold off that Kongzhong (KONG) so cheaply way back when. Heh.

Anyway, here's a short list with a rough target buy-in price that I'm still working on... I will probably choose mostly from this list when it comes time to deploy the WTSLA cash.

Amylin Pharmaceuticals (AMLN) - Speculative - (sub-$13)
Arena Pharmaceuticals (ARNA) - Speculative - (sub-$5)
Gulf Offshore (GLF) - ($31)
Linear Technology (LLTC) - ($25-26)
CVS Caremark (CVS) - (sub-$34)
Gamestop (GME) - (sub-$25)
Phillip Morris International (PM) - ($47-48)
Chevron (CVX) - ($68-70)
Research In Motion (RIMM) - ($76-78)

I'll update if and when I do sell some of the Wet Seal, and when I do put some of that cash to work.

Any thoughts appreciated, public or private.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Careful with Floating Point Sums

Floating point computations are imperfect in the computing world. Often times we overlook this fact, so it's good to refresh our memories every now and then.

A simple summation loop such as this one can produce results with large errors.

int i;
float fSumFloat = 0.0f;
double fSumDouble = 0.0;
const float fIncrementFloat = 0.0001f;
const double fIncrementDouble = 0.0001;
const int nIterations = 25000000;

for( i = 0; i < nIterations; i++ )
   fSumFloat += fIncrementFloat;
   fSumDouble += fIncrementDouble;

You would expect that summing 25 million 0.0001's would result in 2500, but depending on your machine the results will vary. Here are results of running the above on my PC (with all optimizations turned off). You'll see that there is some error even when using double precision floating point.

Sum (float) = 2048.0000000000
Sum (double) = 2500.0000004718
Expected Sum = 2500.0000000000

Now that I have your attention, there are ways to combat the roundoff errors that ultimately kill us. One popular method is the Kahan Summation method. Another method is known as pairwise summation, where you continually sum pairs of terms until all you have left is the final sum. For example, start with 1 + 2 + 3 + 4. The first pass yields you (1+2) = 3 and (3+4) = 7. The second pass gives you your desired sum of (3+7) = 10.

Both of these summation methods are slower than naive summation, but they are available if needed.

One thing that I found a bit interesting is that the results of these two methods were different on my PC as compared to a Linux box. I'm pretty sure that it has nothing to do with the OS, instead it's probably due to CPU and compiler differences.

On my computer at home:
Sum (float) = 2048.0000000000
Sum (double) = 2500.0000004718
Actual Kahan Sum (float) = 2048.0000000000
Pairwise Sum (float) = 2499.9998779297
Expected Sum = 2500.0000000000

On a Linux box:
Actual Sum (float) = 2048.0000000000
Actual Sum (double) = 2500.0000004718
Actual Kahan Sum (float) = 2500.0000000000
Pairwise Sum (float) = 2500.0000000000

I also noticed that when I had compiler optimizations turned on, the results coming from my PC were definitely better.

Actual Sum (float) = 2499.9999368447 [Compiler Optimizations Turned On]

Anyway, the bottom line is if you're going to be dealing with floating point calculations (and, summations in particular), be careful and run lots of experiments. Even when the code you've written is highly portable, you will want to make sure that results will be as you expect on your target environments.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

San Francisco, Executions, and Creola

On a whim, we headed out to San Francisco for the day. We started off at Sophie's Crepes in Japantown. When we arrived at around 11:30, it had not yet opened. This was strange, so we poked around Kunokuniya, the Japanese bookstore nearby, for a bit. Eventually, the crepe place opened its doors about half an hour later, and we munched on some of their goods.

I then had a craving for some seafood cocktails, so off we went to Fisherman's Wharf. After having some crab and shrimp cocktail from one of the many seafood stands, we checked out Musée Mécanique, which was this odd museum of old school coin-op machines. It was here that I ran into an old high school friend who just happened to be visiting the area... crazy randomness, really.

Anyway, the museum was pretty strange. One thing I noticed in particular was that there were three different coin-op machines that showed off executions; two were British, and one was French. I was curious enough to pay a quarter to watch the French Execution. Let's just say that it was not worth it at all. Here's a picture of the three execution machines, and a video of the French execution. I mean, seriously, couldn't they have extended the show a bit?

After the very short execution, we hit up a bar called Ireland's 32, and it was nice. Since it was mid-afternoon, the place was a bit empty, but the bartender was good and it seemed like it would be a pretty happening place during prime time.

Of course, we could not miss out on some O'Keeffe's, which I posted about in the past. That was a good time, just like the last time. We shot some pool, played Liar's Dice with the bartender, and had a few drinks. Definitely a place to check out if you're ever in the area. Too bad we live nowhere near.

We then tried to get some Korean food over at the well-known and respected Brothers restaurant, but when we got there the wait was too much for us to handle. So, we opted to go to a place I had been in the past out in San Carlos called CreoLa. The food was as good as I had remembered. I felt that my dish could have used a few additional garnishes to make it more pleasing to the eye, but as far as taste goes, there was no complaint. One thing though was that the kitchen was a bit slow, but at least the service was good.

I'll stop here, but before I close this out, here are some pictures from dinner.

Fried Green Tomatoes with Gulf Shrimp

Crab Cake

Blackened Redfish with Dijon Mustard

Pork Tenderloin

Peanut Butter Mousse and Lite Chocolate Mousse on a Vanilla Wafer Crust

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Filipino Food

I went out for Filipino food a while back, and I never got around to putting up any quick post about it. Anyway, we went to Pinoy Lechon BBQ & Grill in Morgan Hill after reading good Yelp reviews. I personally like Filipino food, and I liked the two pork dishes we ordered, Lechon Kawali and Pork Sisig. The food's not the healthiest, but it was all very tasty and satisfied my desire to have something a bit greasy that afternoon.

If you ever have any craving for Filipino pork dishes and you're near Morgan Hill, I'd say give them a try. I'll definitely go back and try some of their other dishes. Also, the prices were very reasonable, so that's a plus.

Here are a couple pics.

Pork Sisig

Lechon Kawali

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Dancing Blenny

Here's a short video I took of a Starry Blenny (Salarius ramosus) in JC's aquarium. It is also known as a Snowflake Blenny. It's a cool looking fish that blends in really well with the craggy looking rocks. You might not even notice him in the beginning. The video also shows what he's so good at... munching on algae and keeping it trimmed.

He even dances a bit to the music. Well, not really, it took me a while to get the music to match his initial movements the best I could, haha.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Eternal Footman

Carnegie Mellon researchers put up a new site the other day called Death Risk Rankings. What they've got is an interesting, albeit morbid, tool that allows you to view the statistics of dying within a year from various causes. The tool gives you some customization flexibility so that you can view the data in various ways to get a better view of the death landscape.

You'll want to go over a few of the tutorial's quickly to get a better understanding of what the output tables are saying. And, for you math/logic types, they even have a tutorial written about Simpson's Paradox.

Anyway, for Californian males (non-White, non-Black) in my age group (30-39), the data shows 777 per million deaths within a year -- the top three causes are suicide (97), transportation-related accidents (82) and heart attacks (53). Move up two age groups to the 50-59 crowd and death stats show a quintupling with 4026 per million deaths.

As I said, it's all a bit morbid, but at least now we've got a tool to give us a better guess as to when our time will come (and how).

I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker,
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker,
And in short, I was afraid.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Celebrity Look-Alikes

I have recently begun watching the True Blood series (it's free on my HBO OnDemand). Anyway, in Season 2, they introduced this Daphne girl that I vaguely remembered from some episode of Law and Order. It was eating away at me a bit, so I dug around some on the internet.

Well, guess what? I found the person I was thinking of from that Law and Order episode, and I was shocked to see that it wasn't her. They are real look-alikes in my opinion. Neither is anyone actually famous, but the faces are probably recognizable.

The one on the left is Ashley Jones and the one on the right is Olivia d'Abo. Others might not agree, but to me, their resemblance to one another is uncanny.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Weekend Getaway: Napa Valley

The market's been rocking lately, and some of my larger positions jumped a good amount on Friday. So, the timing seemed right for a quick spur-of-the-moment trip. We decided on spending a couple days doing some wine tasting in Napa. It's a good choice since it's not too far away, and it's something that JC's never done before.

We booked a one bedroom suite at the Westin Verasa. Due to the last minute booking, there was only a $25 price difference between a normal room and the suite (there was some kind of 40% off special going on for suites). So, it seemed like a no-brainer to get the suite. Anyway, the hotel was really quite nice and there was even kitchenette with an infrared halogen stove. But, since we were only there for one night, we didn't get to try it out.

The trip consisted of two things really... food (what else is new) and wine tasting. I guess I'll start with the wine tasting.

We did our wine tasting at a handful of wineries starting with Folie à Deux. There we shared two different tasting flights and learned a bit about all the aromas and how to properly sniff the wines. It was here that we also first learned about the Vinturi Aerator, which is used to accelerate the process of 'breathing' wine -- there was a huge difference in taste between wine that was aerated compared to simple swishing. Quite a few of the wineries used the device, so it's probably pretty good at what it does.

Anyway, all the wines we tried tasted okay... some tasted better to us than others, but that's pretty much expected since it's really quite subjective, especially given that neither of us is a sophisticated wine drinker. We planned on buying a bottle from each place we visited, and so we got the first bottle for our collection.

We also did a tasting at the large Mondavi winery. I'd been there in the past, and just as before, I really liked their Fume Blanc. Their dessert wine was also quite nice.

The other wines that we tasted on our first day were from Peju Province, Louis M. Martini, and also Hill Family Estate.

One thing that we were able to taste while at the Peju winery was the differences in taste of wines that were aged for different lengths of time. They brought out a 'fresh' wine that had been aged only two or so years along with a nearly identical wine that had been aged a couple years longer, and there was a night and day difference in the taste. The wine that had been aged an additional two years was clearly the better tasting one. We picked up a bottle of the aged one, because I'm not patient enough to wait two years to experience the better tasting wine.

We ended up not buying anything from the Martini place only because those wines were more expensive, and we weren't sure we could justify the cost given our ability to appreciate them. At some point we did hear that the Ghost Block wine that was carried at the Martini location was excellent. We even saw that it was sometimes served at formal dinners at the White House. Maybe I'll drop by BevMo some time to see if they carry it so that I can see what's so awesome about it.

We did try a few wines at the Hill Family Estate shop in Yountville when we were out walking around waiting for our seats at a nearby restaurant. One of them we both liked, so we picked up a bottle.

Earlier this morning we tasted some of the sparkling wines at Domaine Chandon, and we also visited the Tuscan castle replica at Castello di Amorosa, which is a winery owned by the same guy that owns the famous V. Sattui winery. Although the castle is newly built (opened to the public in 2007), the building materials were mostly authentic to keep things truer to form. We took a tasting tour there that took us into the deeper levels of the castle and showed us their wine making and barrel aging processes. It was interesting and educational, but there was one annoying thing... there was this one lady in our tour group that kept asking the most inane questions and just wouldn't shut up. She was trying so incredibly hard to sound intelligent and sophisticated, but it was a gigantic failure.

Anyway, we had originally planned on having a nice picnic lunch at V. Sattui, but our plans changed and we ended up having a wonderful meal at étoile, a restaurant at the Domaine Chandon winery. So, I guess it's time to share with you food pics.

For lunch, we went with their Garden Heirloom Tomato Tasting Menu. After starting us off with some bread and sea salt sprinkled butter, they gave us an amuse—— oyster on the half shell topped with a tomato—— and some complimentary sparkling wine.

The first course that followed was absolutely fabulous. I really mean it. It was so incredibly good that I don't even know how to describe what my taste buds were feeling when I put the first forkful into my mouth. It was a tuna and hiramasa carpaccio topped with coriander flowers, heart of palm shavings, and tomatoes. They also poured some tomato water over all of it, and I just have to say, "Wow!" I think that I could eat that every day for a month without growing tired of it. The flavors were complex and it was just so creative. Kudos to the chef on this one.

The main course was a roasted beef tenderloin that was cooked to perfection. The dish came with short rib rillettes that tasted pretty good, but not something I'd seek out explicitly. There was also some marrow that was coined, which tasted just fine when it wasn't eaten in isolation. However, eating the marrow by itself wasn't really to my liking, and I generally enjoy the taste of marrow. Still, the dish was very good.

For dessert, they brought out a balsamic vinegar ice cream with caramelized tomatoes. Additionally, there were cocoa nibs and some cinnamon basil. This was very different. It's not like anything I've had before. It was delicious, but at the same time it was just weird (in a good way). You have to wonder how this sort of dessert gets created in the first place. Both the appetizer and the dessert were really creative with seriously different flavors that worked well together. Having eaten the three courses, I really felt like this might be what an 'Iron Chef style' meal would be like if tomatoes were the focus ingredient.

After dessert, they gave us shaved ice with wine as a palate cleanser. Nothing too special, but it was nice and did the trick.

I highly recommend this restaurant if you're ever in the area. The outdoor seating is really nice offers a nice view of the winery's grounds.

Last night, we ate at Ad Hoc, a Thomas Keller restaurant, which originally was a temporary establishment that grew so popular that they made it a permanent one. The one thing that you have to know about this place is that their menu changes daily, and there aren't any choices for you. Every single person gets the exact same prix fixe, except you do get to pick and choose your wines and beverages.

Also, it's probably a good idea to make reservations. We ended up waiting about an hour to be seated at the bar, because we didn't make any -- we really didn't want to force a schedule on ourselves.

Here was our night's menu.

Here's the Bibb Lettuce salad. Apparently, the salad's ingredients were all fresh from the garden, and I must say that you can definitely taste the freshness. It was an excellent and refreshing start to our meal... just look at it.

The porterhouse steak was a shared dish and cooked very much to my liking. I know that JC prefers her meat a little less rare, but it was obvious that she loved it seeing as she ate all of her pieces without any complaint at all. The side of beans was also really fresh tasting having come straight out of their garden as well.

Following the main course, they gave us a plate with Cypress Grove Chevre's Truffle Tremor goat cheese. The plate also came with some mirabelle plums and Palladin bread (named after the late famous chef, Jean-Louis Palladin). We both like cheese a lot, and so it's no surprise that we both loved this cheese plate. I think it's also fair to say that we both felt the subtle sweetness of the plums worked quite well with the cheese. [On a completely different note, I bought this marble cheese slicer recently, and I must say that it's been a wonderful purchase so far.]

The dessert was a fairly simple tart. It was a sweet meringue that had been molded and cut into a bowl shape, which was filled with a layer of pastry cream and topped with fresh mixed berries and sauteed strawberries. It wasn't super special, but it was good.

We were both very pleased with our meal here, and again, I'd recommend it. But, as stated earlier, the menus change daily and you don't have a choice in what you get, so make sure to check the menu ahead of time.

Well, that's all I've got time for, so I'll end this with a pic of the wine we ended up picking up on our trip.

I think this will last us a while... we rarely have wine with our meals. Then again, maybe we should start having wine with our meals more often. I've never been much of a wine drinker, but I do think that wine is slowly growing on me, for better or worse.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kill A Watt and Electricity Usage

Last month, our electricity bill skyrocketed due to greatly increased air conditioning usage. As you all know, the marginal cost of the electricity increases the more you use. Now that I think about it, it seems a bit strange because in almost any other case, it's the other way around; the more you buy the lower the unit cost. Anyway, I digress.

This is how PG&E prices power in our area (for a 32 day billing cycle):

Baseline Usage 387.20000 kWh @ $0.11531
101-130% of Baseline @ $0.13109
131-200% of Baseline @ $0.25974
201-300% of Baseline @ $0.37866
Over 300% of Baseline @ $0.44098

As you can see once you get over 200% of the rather low baseline, you really get hurt with rates that are 3-4x the initial baseline rate.

Well, we ran a few experiments where we didn't use any AC and checked the meters, and we learned that we were still consuming a lot of power. For example, we consumed 10 kWh overnight (11pm to 9am) with no AC running. This figure is roughly the 12.1 kWh designated as daily baseline usage. In other words, we were being pretty dumb about our energy use, and it probably wasn't limited just to stuff running passively.

I went out and picked up Kill A Watt, which was only $15 at Fry's Electronics. This little device is pretty neat. You pretty much plug stuff into it, and it tells you how much electricity is being consumed. It also keeps running track of kWh over time, which is useful for those devices/appliances that have variable power consumption.

Some interesting things that I noticed and don't really understand...

1) Our mini-fridge (aka the beer fridge) uses 0 when it isn't actively trying to cool down. During its cool-down phase, it draws 75 W. This phase only happened 4 times over a 2 hour period or so. A total of 0.06 kWh were used after 2 hours in the evening. It probably uses more during the day as it's hotter.

2) A cell phone charger without charging anything draws 3 W. Computer charger without a computer plugged in draws around 4-5 W. A sub-woofer that is not in use draws 13 W.

3) Computers (not laptops/notebooks) use a crapload when not in standby. My computer setup with an external hard drive, LCD monitor, cable modem, router, and speakers draws 200-250 during normal use. It is only when the hard drives really start going that the 250 peak is reached.

When in standby mode with the monitor going into energy saving mode, the power draw drops to under 30 W, if I turn off the external hard drive and the speakers.

4) Halogen lamps are evil. I always knew that they used up a lot of power, but I have always used one in the office because of how much light they produced. Not any more. The halogen lamp draws a whopping 300 W. We swapped it out for a different torchiere lamp that uses only 25 W. It's not as bright, but there's no way it makes sense for us to use the halogen, especially since the office is used a lot with JC working from home.

5) Fish tank filter draws 11 W, and the fish tank light uses 17 W. This means that if you keep your light on all day (which I used to do a lot, because I'd forget to shut it off at night), then over 5% of the daily baseline is being consumed by the fish tank. So, now I'm trying to remember to turn off the fish tank light at night, which is probably better for them anyway.

I've got a lot more stuff to test, but at least now I feel that I've gotten a better handle of what devices and appliances are costing us what.

And, in case it's not obvious, I really do recommend the Kill A Watt product. It really does work as advertised. My only complaint is that it's a bit large so sometimes you'll have to unplug other things in order to test something.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Lake Tahoe and a Big Bear

So, I was over in Tahoe over the weekend. It was all pretty standard until I (along with my sister and JC) encountered a ferocious sounding bear. Lucky for us, it wasn't like we were in the middle of the woods or anything. I was basically walking up and down a rather long stretch of stairs that led up to our condo mostly to prove a point about being able to do it. Anyway, I was walking rather slowly to conserve energy. All this time, both JC and my sister were complaining to me about how slow I was moving.

After a few minutes, they got a bit more excited and said I needed to pick up my pace and go up quickly since there was a bear. I assumed it was a joke, and I kept going up at my slow pace. That is until I saw a bear making a really mean sounding growl. The bear was seriously large... I'd guess it was at least 400lbs, but who knows for sure. That scared the crap out of me, and I bolted up the stairs. In doing so, I scared the bear off. I guess it assumed I was charging it since I was moving in its direction just upwards.

Well, I guess that's the most interesting part of the trip. We did rent a couple of Seadoos and rode around in the water some, which was a lot of fun. And, I suppose I did see some giant ants over at the nearby Fallen Leaf Lake. Here's a picture and a video of one of them.

Link to Video

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

XBox360 Back Online

Well, I'll be damned. The operation was successful... the X-Clamp fix worked. I spent about $15-20 or so to get everything I needed, and I have a good amount of random stuff left over. I did spend about 6-8 hours of my own time (mostly reading and going to get parts). Anyway, at this point the unit is completely working, and so now I'll just have to see if the fix sticks or not.

In any case, I'm pretty stoked. I was originally thinking it was maybe 3-to-1 against, but maybe I'm just a bad XBox360 repair handicapper. Anyway, I am going to have a celebratory beer now.


Seeing as how my XBox is still working after over an hour of play, I figure I should put up the link to the repair instructions I followed. I did have to make some minor modifications (i.e. I did not follow the instructions 100%, but it was in areas where I used my best judgment given the parts I was able to find -- for example, I was unable to find 1mm thick nylon washers).

Llama's X-Clamp Fix

Monday, August 03, 2009

XBox 360 Dissection

Well, I learned today that the 3-year "Red Ring of Death" warranty on the XBox360 has expired. So, there wasn't any reason that I shouldn't at least try to fix the problem myself, if it was indeed repairable. I read up a bit on what the typical issues are that cause the problem, and it seems that it is almost always related to the the GPU. Either its overheating or there are some cold solder joints.

In any case, in order to fix the potential issues, you've got to open up the unit and do things to it. The fix that I am trying is the "X-Clamp" fix, where you end up replacing these X-clamp things that hold the heatsinks in place. Part way through the step-by-step repair instructions that I was reading, I realized that I needed some stuff that I didn't have. So, tomorrow I'm going to have to buy some washers, thermal paste, and thermal paste remover.

Here are a few pictures of the current state of my piece of crap XBox 360.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Red Ring of Death Revisited

Just over two years ago my XBox360 died the infamous Red Ring of Death.  Today, on a breezy Saturday night, it has suffered the same fate.  This is so lame.

The first time it happened, my system was conveniently a few months outside of the warranty window.  After paying for repairs, Microsoft extended its warranty due to the prevalence of the problem, and I was able to get a refund.

What's going to happen now?  I have no idea.  I guess I'm going to have to call up their support.  It will suck if I end up getting stuck with the bill.  This is ridiculous.  My old school Nintendo still functions as far as I know.  And, I think that our old Colecovision still works too.

Anyway, I am just ranting.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Last Few Days of Freedom

My extended vacation is coming to an end. Maybe I'll regale you with my recent experiences. This might be long, but hopefully it's not too boring.

A couple weeks ago I mentioned a difficult decision that I had to make. As many of you already know, my former company had gone bust and ceased its operations. So, for the first time in my life I was unemployed and on the dole.

I didn't sweat it much. My cash situation was totally fine, and the primary financial cost to was the opportunity cost of not actually pulling any salary. I figured I'd take some time off and look for a job in a non-aggressive manner, and there was always the strong possibility that whoever bought the defunct company's IP/assets would pick me up. Anyway, I got bored a month into the jobless life (pretty lame, huh?). I thought that I had better step up my job hunt efforts since the economy and the job market wasn't the best for the unemployed.

Pickings were slim for sure. I'd say that for software, it was nowhere as bad as they were in the crash. Fortunately, I got four interviews through my network and from my own career board postings. One thing that I found interesting was that between all these interviews, there was a good amount of variety. I guess I'll write about each one.

The first one was actually for a longer-term contract position, and this one I flunked. The main reason (in my opinion) was that they were really looking for someone with a specific skill set that I did not have. And, for contract work, you are not really going to have much opportunity learning anything new, since they need someone to produce right away. The interview itself was a bit different than most, as it was me getting bombarded by questions from 4 different interviewers all at once in a conference room. I have interviewed a lot in my life, and I don't think I've ever had this sort of group interview before.

Another interview was for a company in the same space as my former one. They knew a lot about me, and they had recently hired a couple people from my previous company. One of my contacts put me in touch with some of their executives. Though I never actively sought employment with them, I was invited to discuss potential projects and the like. An informal offer was made after we had a good conversation covering my experience and expertise and also what they had planned for their company going forward.

I wasn't too interested mainly because I felt that I needed to branch out and do something new. I've been in the same niche for almost 10 years, and I thought it was time to move on. We've still got our communications channel open, so there might yet be part-time contract work for me if there's mutual interest.

The toughest interview (the one where this question came up) I had was with a smaller office/group of a large parent company that was in a completely different, and much larger, industry. The parent is headquartered out of state, but they have a smaller research/engineering group locally. Anyway, the interview was broken up into two sessions on two different days and lasted a total of roughly 9 hours. It was highly technical and it was difficult by most measures. I came out of each day pretty exhausted and drained. Good thing that it was not for nothing. When I was told that they would be extending an offer, I was seriously excited.

My fourth and final interview came by the way of a friend of mine. We had worked together in the past... maybe some 5 years ago or so. His company was a startup in a similar industry as my former company, but it worked on a different type of product/technology with a completely different target market. Not sure of a good analogy, but maybe something like motorcycles vs. cars or serious periodical vs. teen magazine would be close.

In any case, I had an afternoon of technical interviews in areas where I believe I'm an expert. Everything went very well, and an offer was extended within a few days. Their technology was incredibly cool, and I was quite impressed. I think most people would be as well. One strong selling point was that they had an actual product out there already. So, this wasn't going to be an early-stage startup experience where there was high risk of never getting out of the R&D stage.

Well, it came down to this...

a) Work for a large company, but within a smaller group that was somewhat insulated from the highly corporate environment. The work would be different in every way, and there'd be a reasonably steep learning curve no matter which projects I was put on. Everything would be new to me. Also, commute time would be about half an hour.

b) Work for a medium-sized startup where I know that I could be productive very quickly and possibly shine very early on. My previous experience and my current skill set was a near-perfect match for the position. And, I'd get to work with my friend (who referred me), which would be a nice bonus, not to mention that working on a really cool product that can actually 'wow' you is another benefit. This place was closer, so the commute would be more like 15-20 minutes, so each day I'd save myself about half an hour. Also, there's always the remote chance that you can jackpot if a startup makes it to the big time.

After negotiations, both offer packages were similar and very competitive. So, the decision was not hinged upon which one was better from a financial aspect. I was really torn. It's tough to change... at least for me.

Choice A gives me more breadth and allows me to pick up skills that would likely help me in the future if I wanted to do branch out futher into other industries. As with most new jobs, I would have the initial "Can I really do the work?" fears. And, what if it turns out that I hate this new stuff?

Choice B offers me new things to work on while giving me some additional breadth within my current industry. Additionally, it certainly would provide me with even more depth. It is the obvious safe choice. I would have no fears about being able to do great things and be a real producer. But, having nearly 10 years under my belt in the same industry, if I continued down this path I might be typecasted so to speak, if that hadn't already happened.

In the end, I went with Choice A. It's going to open up a whole world for me; the problems and challenges will all be new to me. Thinking back at what was going through my mind at the time... I figured that this was probably the best opportunity I've gotten outside of my current niche, so I had better take advantage of it. If worse comes to worst, I'd still be in high demand should I ever go back to my old industry. It's certainly not the easier path, but I am hoping that taking it will pay long-term dividends, both financial and erudite.

If you made it this far, I'm impressed. Re-reading what I've written, it sure looks like I rambled a fair bit.

Anyway, I start work on Monday, so my journey begins then. Enjoy the weekend.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Here's a new logic/puzzle game that I just started playing. The rules are pretty simple... you write a program that controls a robot with the goal of picking up all the stars. One neat thing about this game is that there are optimization, recursion, and other coding techniques that are incorporated into many of the puzzles.

Here's a link to the game: Robozzle.

You'll want to play the tutorials and a few of the easy rated puzzles first. I haven't yet attempted any puzzle rated more than 3/5 in difficulty. Here's one that I still can't figure out and it's killing me. Maybe I'll get lucky and someone can figure this one out and give me some help.

I'm clearly missing some fundamental concept/technique. The furthest I can get the robot is past the red square and make the first left turn after it. I just can't figure out how I can get the robot to make the subsequent blue corner turns afterward.

Help Me -- Puzzle 1043: Fermat's Spiral 3

Enjoy the game!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Burritozilla Challenge

In the spirit of continuing with the eating theme, I went over to Iguana's in San Jose and picked up their famed Burritozilla. It's an 18" burrito that weighs in at over 5lbs and will run you $18.75 (tax included).

It came in a large box and when I weighed everything, the scale gave a reading of 5.4lbs.

I gave away two small pieces of the burrito to JC. We estimated that her part was no more than half a pound, but we didn't bother weighing it.

I basically gave myself an hour to eat as much of this beast as I could though I would make sure to stop before I got to the point of being 'sick' full. Here's how it went.

Here's the Burritozilla in all of its glory.

Here's a pic I found on the web that puts into perspective its massiveness.

As expected, the first 15-20 minutes went very smoothly and I was making a good sized dent. Inevitably, my pace slowed considerably, and after half an hour a little more than half the burrito was gone. Here's the clean-cut half that still remained at the half-hour mark.

It was around here that I had to take mini-breaks before resuming this show of gluttony. I chipped away best I could and when the hour was over, here's what was left.

I rewrapped everything and shoved it back into the original box and re-weighed it. The final reading was 1.6lbs. So, I estimate that I put away around 3 1/4 lbs. I could probably keep on eating, but I was getting really close to feeling sick and the hour time limit I had given myself was reached anyhow.

Crazy to think that the professional eaters out there can finish something like this in a very short amount of time.

Here's a video of Joey Chestnut eating the Burritozilla in 3 minutes and 10 seconds. That's just amazing.

Anyway, that's all for now. Enjoy your dinners, everyone.