Monday, September 27, 2010

Quick Trade

Bought some Oct $50 Research In Motion (RIMM) calls for 1.20 in anticipation of any positive announcements to come out of their developer conference (specifically the so-called 'Black Pad'). Didn't buy a large amount or anything, so it's fairly small risk. But, if shares move, then it could pay off nicely.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Tipping Checksum

Recently, I have become aware that some restaurant employees pad their tips by adjusting upward the value on the tip line and total (even at some nice places!). For the most part, the increases are for $1 or $2. I don't go back and match every single credit card receipt to the credit card statement line items, so it would be nearly impossible for me to notice this.

Starting today, I am going to try something new. And, depending on whether or not it inconveniences me or not, I may make it a permanent practice.

I will tip in such a way that the sum of the digits in the final total will be 9 (mod 10) -- basically the last digit of the sum will be a 9.

Quick examples...

Example 1

Pre-Tip Total = $49.74
Round Tipping (my current practice) = $8.00
Total = $57.74, which has a sum of 5+7+7+4 = 23. [3 (mod 10)]

So, I will want to subtract 4 cents.

New Tipping = $7.96
New Total = $57.70, which has my desired sum that is 9 (mod 10)

Example 2

Pre-Tip Total = $79.16
Round Tipping (my current practice) = $12.00
Total = $91.16, which has a sum of 9+1+1+6 = 17. [7 (mod 10)]

So, I will want to add 2 cents.

New Tipping = $12.02
New Total = $91.18, which has my desired sum that is 9 (mod 10)

Of course, roughly 10% of the time I will not need to adjust my round tip. And, that's completely fine, as any future adjustment to the value will likely break my checksum constraint.

Once I begin this practice, it should be relatively easy to look at credit card line items for restaurant charges (excluding fast food). Also, since I normally tip on take-out orders, I won't need to differentiate between dine-in and take-out line items.

In any case, I guess I'll have to wait and see if this is going to be annoying to keep up or not.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010


A few weeks back, I went down to SoCal for a belated birthday dinner for my Dad (and, also to hang out with some friends, hit the beach, etc). The first night I was down there, I went to Tokyo Shabu Shabu in Rowland Heights with Duke and my sister. I personally thought the place sucked... not that I'm a shabu expert or anything. Good thing we had some GroupOn coupon or I'd be a bit peeved.

For the birthday meal, Duke and the rest of my family went to Providence in Los Angeles. I had heard a lot of good things about the restaurant, and I was pretty excited to dine there. Since I'm lazy, I won't say much more and just let the pictures do the talking. We opted for the five course tasting menu with a two additional dishes spliced in (the truffles and the salt-roasted prawns).

Anyway, here are the pics.

Partial View of Our Table

Butter and Salt

Amuse Bouche - Three Alcoholic Teasers

Kanpachi from Kagoshima, Japan

Block Island Scallop

Waiter Preparing the Salt-Roasted Santa Barbara Prawns

Salt-Roasted Santa Barbara Prawns

Truffles and Risotto

Wild Pacific Halibut

Marcho Farms Veal Tenderloin

Yuzu Curd Meringue

End of Meal Sweets