Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quick Trade

Picked up a block of Electronic Arts (ERTS) today at 16.15. Looking at this one as a trade, as I don't intend to hold this one for any lengthy period of time. If the shares dip below the previous low around 14.80, I'll probably just take the loss. We'll see how this works out.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Sharp E05SH and E06SH

I'm still here at work waiting for a few tests to finish. Anyway, KDDI announced two new Sharp phones a week ago. These are the Sharp E05SH and E06SH. They were designed for the highly-rugged, highly-secure business phone market in Japan.

UberGizmo covered the phones briefly in this link.

As always, it's nice to see some of your work translate into something that ends up in a real product.Here are a couple images of the phones that I grabbed from the Japanese press release. The E06SH has a barcode scanner built in... that's what is shown in the bottom picture.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sports Betting Update

Well, I guess it's that time again. Since the previous update, I haven't fared so well. I've put in over 100 more bets, and have actually shown a slight loss since that checkpoint. I could have reported some small gain, except that today my meta-system went a disastrous 3-6 for a loss of 2.6 units.

I don't have much time to put up fancy graphs, etc. But, here's a quick breakdown.

Straight Bets for Sides and Totals have won 52.9%, which isn't all that great, but at least it's not in losing territory.

Sides: 98-96-2
Totals: 22-11-0
Overall: 129-129-3 (includes ML, Combinations, Teasers)

ROI: 3.2%
Net: +8.3 units (where a unit = average bet size)
Change from previous checkpoint: -2.9 units.

ML Net: -0.9 unit
Combinations + Teasers: +0.3 units

Again, the total amount I'm experimenting with is incredibly small. But, even so, I get pretty excited about watching the games and sweating out close ones. I guess it's been fun. Anyway, I haven't reduced my betting sizes yet, but I am thinking about it.

That's all for now.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Perfect Balance

I have just spent more time than I have on this flash game called Perfect Balance. It's pretty neat. The goal is to place all the pieces on the board without anything falling off. On each level, there are some fixed structures from which you build and balance from.

Note that you can rotate pieces... when I first started playing, I didn't read the instructions and didn't realize it. Hehe.

Anyway, there's 40 levels divided up into two stages... Harmony and Inferno. So far, I'm having some difficulty on Level 18, Inferno. I'll give it another go later on. In the meantime, enjoy the game.

Perfect Balance

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Plumed Horse -- They've Got Game

So, last night I celebrated my birthday over at Plumed Horse in nearby Saratoga with JC. I knew very little about the restaurant except that it had been recently renovated and had received a Michelin star for 2009.

When we first arrived at the restaurant, the hostess took us over to their large windowed wine cellar with a see-through glass floor. Looking down, you could tell that there was a ton of wine down there. Deep below, you could see one of those rolling staircase things that libraries often have. After this mini-tour, we were promptly seated.

The restaurant was not too crowded, and had really cool lights that slowly changed colors. The decor was quite modern, and it didn't feel like some stuffy place that only old people could enjoy. They brought out their two wine lists... one for red and one for white. The wine booklets each had a table of contents that listed the wines by varietal and then in each section they were further classified by region.

Now, I'm not a big wine drinker, and I'm the first to admit I don't know jack about wine. JC drinks a lot more of the stuff, but she too readily admits not knowing much about wine beyond 'it tastes good' or 'it tastes bad.' So, we gave a price range and had the sommelier choose a wine that would go well with what we ordered. What he recommended for us was the Domaine Serene "Evenstad Reserve" 2005, which I now know is an award winner. I thought it went very well with the meal, but I'm no expert.

We were served an amuse bouche consisting of little bite-sized snacks of meat, salmon paste, and quail eggs with smoked ham. Additionally, they gave us a couple crunchy cheese puffs on sticks with a dipping sauce. The salmon paste cracker thing was really delicious, as was the quail egg and smoked ham combination. They followed this up with a mushroom soup and creme fraiche.

Here's a not so great picture of the mushroom soup. We didn't use flash on the early pictures, thinking that the lighting was sufficient... we were obviously mistaken.

After tasting all that good stuff, we were ready for more. We shared a lettuce and fennel salad and also a cheese fondue plate with potatoes fried in duck fat and black truffles.

And, here's a not-so-good picture of the cheese fondue.

For our main courses, I had the South Texas Antelope, which was served with a antelope and garlic sausage over lentils. Oh man, this was delicious. The meat was not gamy at all, and so tender, so juicy, and just full of flavor. I need more of that in my life. The sausage was good, but it didn't knock my socks off as did the actual slices of antelope meat.

JC had roast duck breast and foie gras (her favorite). I had a bite, and while it was also really good, it didn't quite have as rich a flavor as my dish. I definitely preferred my dish over hers, but I don't think I would have any complaints if the dishes were swapped.

After our main course, we were served what they called a 'pre-dessert.' It was a tropical fruit sorbet topped with orange foam. It was nice and refreshing, and got us prepared for our actual dessert. We ordered a chocolate souffle with Yuzu marmalade, which I thought was good, but not too special. If I ever go again, I think I'll try something else.

At the very end, we were served complimentary dessert wine and given macaroons and cookies.

That's pretty much it. The service was really great. The maƮtre d' introduced himself to us and took lots of pictures for us. He also took us on another mini-tour of the restaurant showing us their champagne dining room used for intimate settings, their chef's table room with a large glass window view of the kitchen, as well as their lounge with a large fireplace.

Here's a glimpse of the kitchen as viewed from the chef's table.

I've been to a fair number of nice restaurants, and I'd have to say that this is one of the better ones in my opinion. I'd love to go back some time with friends and try out their tasting menu. If you're ever in the area seeking a fine dining experience, then I highly recommend Plumed Horse. An amazing meal to be sure.

Sunday, January 18, 2009


Ok, so JC and I were chatting about names, specifically old names that aren't really used any more, like Mildred or Caldwell. Anyway, at one point in our discussion, I decide to crack a joke of sorts, and I tell her I just thought of an old name... she asks me what name? And, I respond... Pliny. That's a pretty old name. The question that followed though was how many people would get that joke? Initially, I was leaning towards perhaps 25% of the college-educated. She thought I was totally overestimating. So, to settle it, she has posted up a poll... please follow the link and cast your vote: Rowr's Pliny Question

Friday, January 16, 2009

New Words For My Vocabulary

So, JC's been reading The Ambassadors by Henry James. Let's just say that it's not light reading. James's sheer wordiness and his penchant for incredibly complex sentence structures is mostly to blame. JC is an incredibly fast reader, but upon tackling this book, she has found that her reading rate was roughly halved. She's hopeful that over time, she might be able to adapt to his writing style, and regain the lost speed. In any case, I don't think I have any inclination to read the book after she's done. Ha ha.

However, I started flipping through the book some only to find tough words after reading a few daunting passages. I figured what better way to expand my vocabulary. After some skimming, which resulted in near zero comprehension of the text, here were a few words where neither of us knew the definitions. We both guessed at their meanings using the context, but we were never quite right.

fuliginous - Sooty; dark colored. [Haha, Blogger spellchecker doesn't even know this word.]

physiognomy - Art or science of discovering temperament and character from outward appearance.

efflorescence - The process of flowering; period of blossoming.

interlocutor - Someone who takes part in a dialogue or conversation.

animadvert - To make harsh criticism; censure.

And, here's another word I learned recently from an entirely different book.

profligate - Completely given up to self-indulgence and licentiousness; wildly extravagant.

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Lifelong Misspelling

I'm usually a real spelling and grammar nazi. Well, today I was quite surprised to learn that I've been spelling a common word completely incorrectly for my entire life. You know the word, stationary, right?

Well, I thought I did too... it means not changing/moving, or it means the paper stuff for writing letters. And, that would be the problem. The word defined by the latter is not stationary, but stationery.

I am honestly surprised that this mistake has slipped through the cracks for as long as it has. I guess stationery is another one of those words with the -ery ending, like cemetery. Strange.

Just wanted to share. A friend of mine who is quite good with words apparently was not aware of the subtle spelling difference either. Maybe it's a common mistake.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


After receiving numerous recommendations from friends, I finally got the chance to watch Oldboy this weekend. It's a Korean thriller film that is just twisted... it is absolutely nuts. It is totally worth watching if you like those films that take you on a crazy ride. I don't want to say too much about it because it's really best not to give anything away, so just check it out.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Old Friends

It's pretty nuts when you grab drinks with old friends that you haven't seen in roughly a decade. That's what I did last night. So, my buddy and I met up with two old friends of mine, V and R, at the Eastside West bar in the city. I haven't seen either of them since 1999. We lost contact long ago and we recently reconnected on Facebook (partly a result of my random comments regarding my views on voting).

Anyway, V's a lawyer now doing corporate litigation, and she's working towards doing more international trade stuff. R's now working in the digital advertising space, and she's just as fun as she's always has been. Despite the rather large gap in our histories, everyone was more or less the same personality-wise. Everyone had a good time over beer and cocktails.

I can't say I loved the place or anything, but it was pretty chill and offered an atmosphere where conversations could be held without too much trouble. One of our gripes, however, was that they couldn't pour Guiness worth a crap. No idea why. When we ordered shots of tequila, they were rather large, so that's one positive. Drinks were pricey, but not overly so.

Not sure I'd really recommend the place, as I'd say it was nice, but nothing special. I guess the bar is also a restaurant serving lots of raw seafood, but we didn't order any food, so I have no idea what it's like there.

Anyway, time to enjoy the weekend.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Quick Update

Added to Altria Group (MO) at 15.02. Let's see how the new year turns out... last year was pretty horrible.