Kitchen Drawer

July 16th, 2012 by tungsai

Got tired of this….

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..So I built this.

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kid alarm clock

June 24th, 2009 by tungsai

who needs alarm clocks when you got kids? I swear. of course, who would set their alarm for 1:45, 5:30, and 6:30? Mia, that’s who.

Microsoft to discontinue making Microsoft Money

June 10th, 2009 by tungsai

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10261742-56.html

 

You know, I have mixed feelings. I use Money 2002, because the newest versions were way, too bloated with bells & whistles. (Plus I already had a license and I didn’t wanna pay any more, especially after trying the trial period of 2007.) I religiously put my data into Money, but it has only been able to actually accurately do a couple things: Make pie charts of our spending categories, and provide a history of transactions better than the bank. After a year, it *sort of* predicts future cash flow & net worth, but applies it to the wrong accounts.

Completely useless were the areas where I was supposed to “Build my portfolio”, as all my various TIAA/CREF, Fidelity, American Funds, etc., are broken down into at least 15 if not more different actual “Funds” that have a stock symbol. I never took the time to meticulously add them in, except for once I tried it, and Money got the numbers all wrong. Yeah, yeah; garbage in, garbage out; but should it BE so complicated that I can’t “Just Do It”? So… Scrap the investment tracking.

The newest version of Money even went so far as to offer to automatically connect to ALL my accounts and download daily updates. It reminded me of the robust, vast array of drivers available in NT 4.0 Server: Though a huge list of providers appeared to be available, none of them were used by me, so that feature was useless.

Yeah, its sole purpose has pretty much been to see “Gee, how much did we spend on diapers THIS month?” but even such granularity could not be obtained, since diapers are always mixed in with other purchases that got labeled “Household” or “Groceries”.

I don’t know if 2007 or whatever the latest version has this problem, too, but money is also very bad at guessing what category a transaction should be if it has any type of unique number in it whatsoever, which 90% of them do. Very annoying.

So, in conclusion, I guess the only major thing I’d going to lose is the ability to see where spending has been in the past.

Distemper Rocked!

March 15th, 2009 by tungsai

This weekend we not only had an awesome practice with our new bassist Matt Riehle, but we got a limo ride into town and a free dinner (Well, on Mark & Autumn!!) at the Lafayette Brewing Company!

Unfortunately we all got sorta wasted, and practice went kinda downhill as time went on! Aargh! But we had a lot of fun! Our #1 fan, Billy, suggested a microphone get put in front of me. I liked the idea immensely, but drumming & singing simultaneously does take a bit more skill.

I have not uploaded new mp3’s yet, but you can always hear them at www.distempermusic.com/mp3s/. I personally would love it if we could get enough practice so that by October or so, we could actually be tight enough for others to enjoy.

The following morning, we headed to the Attica Country Club for breakfast… MAN! SO MUCH BACON!! I have never seen so much bacon- and it was actually GOOD. I had to limit myself cause I know bacon’s not the best thing for ya. 🙂

Life Update

May 24th, 2008 by tungsai

Time to update the blog.

I got a phone interview from a job I applied for in UIUC. A windows admin position. Keep your fingers crossed. Yes, it keeps me in academia, but I just don’t seem to have the momentum to springboard my house, my baby, AND my job all at the same time. Plus, I must admit, I am sort of procrastinating the job search because I fear change and I’m comfortable. I try to shake off the chains of comfort, but they are very alluring.

But the other aspects of the move aren’t waiting for little ol’ me to find a job! We just finalized a sale agreement on the house, so SALE PENDING!!! All said and done, I’m not making any money on this house. The reasons are:

  1. I re-financed twice, and although the 2nd re-fi was funded by GMAC, the lender, the first initial purchase and the second re-fi had closing costs ranging from $1,000 to $1,200. It kills me when I hear that ppl paid closing costs of upwards close to $2,000 and I wonder why there is such a large disparity.

    I really don’t understand what a title company does. Near as I can tell, they provide financial & risk stability during the transaction of selling a house. I don’t really understand why it should cost so much money to sell your house to somebody.

  2. Second, are Realtor Fees. Yes, that 6% really bites into the profit. In fact, it’s the reason I don’t “Make a profit”. However, we simply did not have the time to do all the things that our Realtor did, and she also helped us stage the house, and gave me advice on the decor which I believe helped speed up the closing date. To wit: New light fixtures and plumbing fixtures. I never would have done that, but I MUST admit, that with the new fixtures, it really looks a LOT nicer. It goes with the new paint job very well.
  3. Oh, and that’s another reason that I won’t be making a profit on the house: the costs it took to prepare the house for sale! Storage for the tons of extra junk we have, hiring a painter, which was worth every penny of the $900 or so I paid her, she painted EVERY room. Plus the cost of the plumbing & light fixtures. Note: DO NOT BUY YOUR PLUMBING FIXTURES AT MENARD’S / LOWE’S / HOME DEPOT / WHATEVER. Buy them ONLINE. I found nearly the exact same style of plumbing fixtures on Amazon.com, and even after shipping, I paid $20 less than I would’ve. Now that just goes for the entry-level fixtures: Never mind the “Name Brand” (some name I’ve never heard of) $350 plumbing fixtures. they can shove that BS right up where it came from. Absolutely ridiculous that people would pay that much money for plumbing fixtures. I don’t see why that particular gap isn’t being closed in by some healthy competition.

Hongmei’s mom heads back to China next Thursday, and poor little Mia is going to miss her, I’ll bet. But I bet that Mia doesn’t miss her half as much as I will!! It has been truly priceless to have her here to help take care of the baby while we work, and play. Yeah, play-time is going to diminish even more.

I randomly decided to start trying to play the lullaby song on the keyboard. I’ve almost got it. when I can play it close to perfect, I may record it. My sister was really impressed by my 70% accurate version. She says she’s jealous of my talent. I suppose I should focus on using it more, but Starcraft is like a drug. I still to this day have no problem wiling away 2-3 hours in front of that old-ass game from 1995. But when the NEW Starcraft II comes out… I will disappear off the face of the earth. I cannot believe how awesome that game looks! The Protoss get a freaking BLACK HOLE as a weapon, for God’s sake….

Many people asked whether Hongmei’s family, or anybody she knows, was affected by the earthquake in China. Nobody immediately, but she does have a couple friends who live there and felt the whole thing. One thing that is not mentioned in the news is that daily aftershocks are still occurring up till today (May 24), and probably will beyond. We hesitate to donate any money, because there is some talk of people taking the money for themselves (Big Surprise!) and even some video evidence of some PR campaign where schoolchildren are videotaped donating money, then the jar is emptied into the pockets of the teacher… Sad. Really sad.

Did you know that in China there are no mortgages? You cannot borrow money for a house. You have to save up the $$ and borrow it from your relatives. In my opinion that really makes for a lot more friction between families than I care to deal with. There is also very little health insurance. Or regular insurance, for that matter.

For the first month, we tried to make a monthly budget. What a disaster. I had no idea of the categories we needed, and spending in the “Entertainment” and “Eating Out” categories are still way out of control. Yes, my fault, too. I just can’t cook like Burger King. haha! Sad.

For my birthday, I went out with some friends last weekend for a dinner, and a few drinks. It was pretty uneventful except that the waiter dropped a tray of food as he was bringing it out. Of course, it was MY food he dropped. We had to wait an hour and a half. Sorry, won’t be going back there again. (We’re moving anyway).

In Champaign, we’ve rented a Condo from a nice Korean lady who owns the Am-Ko Asian Grocery there. She owns the condo, but they allow her to rent it out. The rent is pretty pricey, but anything less than that was unacceptable to my picky desires. Yes, I’m spoiled… But honestly, it wasn’t possible to find anyplace for less than $750 a month to accomodate three adults and a baby, plus be not in a trashy neighborhood, and not smell. (Yeah, a couple of places that we went to, were quite smelly). It’s got 1400 square feet, and a one car garage, it’s less than five minutes WALK to Mia’s future day care. Can’t beat that!

You may wonder why we didn’t just buy a house there. Well, people, I have learned in my 38 years that you must own a house for a LONG TIME before you can make any profit off of it. And any profit you make, is really just cheap rent in a way. The only way you’re going to REALLY “Make Money on your house” is if you buy a foreclosure fixer-upper, and invest $5-15 K in it and resell it. I still dream of doing that, in spite of having a baby. However such real estates are not readily apparent in the Champaign area; not nearly as much as in the Lafayette area. there are MANY foreclosures, including TWO on my very street. In fact, I had to go across the street and mow the grass of the house opposite mine, so that my neighborhood didn’t look ghetto for potential buyers! Ha ha, when I very first mentioned that the grass was growing tall across the street from me, a couple friends remarked “The city should mow it”. That is a perfect example of “If you want something done right, (or right now), you gotta do it yourself. Less trouble for me to just walk over, mow it myself, than file some BS complaint downtown that will never get taken care of– you know it!

I have also been waiting for somebody to pull this one on me.

Me: “I plan to have a million dollars when I retire.”.
Someone Else: “But by then, a million dollars won’t be worth as much!”

That response simply blows my mind. How do you respond?

A: “Oh. well, in that case, forget it. I guess I’ll just retire with nothing, then.”
B: “Yes it will! There is no such thing as inflation!”
C: “Um… all the more reason to retire with a million dollars.”
D: “Well in that case, I’d better make it ten million.”

Condo Pics

April 28th, 2008 by tungsai

Well, we signed a lease on a condo in Urbana / Champaign. May 20 is the magic start day of the lease; though her job doesn’t start till June 16. I suppose we may have jumped the gun, but honestly every other place we were looking at was just not nearly as good as this one. We didn’t look at a whole lot; maybe 5 or 6.

The landlord is a nice Korean lady I met with, who actually owns the condo. She also is co-owner of “Am-Ko” grocery, a Korean grocery store there in Champaign. We went to her store to make copies of the lease & stuff, and she gave us a free snack & pear juice. and some chopsticks we need for home and were gonna buy. =)

It’s 1400 square feet, and has a one car garage. the whole thing is up on the 2nd floor(Except for the garage & entryway, of course), but since UIUC is paying our moving costs, doesn’t matter!

Oh, and it’s literally FIVE MINUTE WALK to our future Day Care provider!! That’s gotta be worth something, eh?

1. Not our building exactly, imagine this building but without the landscaping, and we enter the door on the right.

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Another semi-accurate picture; this shows the back of a similar building, and the pool which we have access to; but our building faces a parking lot with another building across from it; and our balcony looks at a four lane road. whooo!

 

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This is the “Half Bedroom”, it has a sloped ceiling, kinda low, but with a skylight. Good for a computer room or office type place!

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The Kitchen. Notice there are NO KNOBS on the cabinets… some new style by which to confound me? I may just install them anyway…. and there’s no pantry either, so I may just go up to Grandpa’s & build a big ol’ pantry with him! It’s only big enough for a little breakfast nook type area.

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The main living room. This is what you see looking out from the kitchen sink. The fireplace is JUST like the fireplace in my current house; wood-burning. As earlier stated the balcony looks down on the nearby road. The space to the left there is sort of an alcove for like a computer desk / tv / whatever.

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Second bedroom. Not much to say here. it’s a room with a closet and a window. woot!

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Guest Bathroom. woot.

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Master bedroom. double-sized closet, big window!

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Master bathroom. Notice the strange alcove in the corner; a deep space next to the sink. Not sure what that’s gonna be for, but Derezz says, “FOR JUNK!” I hope she’s not right… but she probably is! Either that or a giant sized stuffed clown. Or maybe a server rack. all that shower humidity would be great for a computer!

Honestly I’m thinking, some zen-like plant area with natural lighting, a miniature waterfall, some bonsai, etc.

Or junk.

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So, where is this place? Well, I forgot the exact address; but here’s a Google Map of the location:

 


View Larger Map

The Car is PAID OFF!!!

March 3rd, 2008 by tungsai

Friday we got paid, and after making MANY extra payments, the Scion Xb is 100% PAID OFF!!!

The next car we buy will be paid for in CASH. YES SIR!

Baby News & Other unimportant news… 3 weeks old!

February 25th, 2008 by tungsai

Mia’s 3 weeks old today, and is up to 8 lb. 2 oz! That means she’s gaining weight at a healthy pace using only breast milk! Yaay!

about 60 new pics added to the PHOTO ALBUM including the CUTEST ONES YET! If you like babies, you’re gonna LOVE these!! CLICK HERE for the Baby Photo Gallery!

For some reason, voting was working for a while- the highest voted pics were supposed to show up first in the list. But something broke when the seventh person voted… now, the #1 pic shows up way near the MIDDLE! GRR… I grow more dissatisfied with this gallery system all the time. I oughta just start using Google. Anyway I’m going to fix the gallery so that MY favorite pics show up first… but keep voting anyway! it’s just a click.

Finally went back into work today. It was nice to get back into the office. I’d only had about 4 hrs sleep, but hey! I’m used to being sleep deprived at this point so it was no big deal. =)

I’ve been reading “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel“, and I give it * * * * * Five stars!! Even though I’m not done with it yet, I must honestly say it’s a GREAT read, if you’re into the Fantasy / Magic thing. Like Harry Potter but perhaps for a more mature audience.  It’s written in the Olde Englishe style; somewhat Dickens-ish).

I bowled tonight and nearly beat my high game of 167 but not quite… Tonight my high game was 161 with an average around 135.

Baby News – Day 20 (One Mystery solved)

February 20th, 2008 by tungsai

So, we took Mia to the Pediatrician Monday. They weighed her, and as it turns out, she is not gaining weight fast enough to satisfy the doctors. This coincides with how fussy she was at night, because it seems that her feedings at night were not adequate. So, we started to pump extra milk during the day, to feed her from the bottle at night. This has drastically improved her sleeping & rest through the night! In our case, the night-time fussiness was just because she was hungry, no big mystery!

If she does not gain enough weight again by next Monday, then we will begin to suppliment her diet with formula.

I have gotten much better at swaddling.

I have noticed that she prefers to fall asleep in somebody’s arms. If she’s not dead asleep, you can’t put her straight into the bassinet.

I “Installed” speakers into the bassinet, to try and play a recording I made of the shower. It does seem to help calm her some. NO I don’t blast the damn speakers, I use the VOLUME knob!

Yesterday I managed to get out of the house for about 3 hours, out shopping & stuff. I also got a haircut and had a big, fat double whopper with CHEESE!! SOO yummy!

I marinated some chicken in my own marinade recipe, with balsamic vinegar & soy sauce, & some garlic. turned out to be too salty. Next time, less soy, maybe something sweet.

Word of the day: “Chutney.”

I went to the Library and got a ton of non-fiction videos. they are just as entertaining as the fiction, if you are interested in the subject matter. I ended up getting this documentary on America’s first Female Serial Killer (supposedly, I doubt it in fact), Aileen Wuornos. what a messed up life she had.

OK they found me, I must end my blog update here. We’re down to FOUR DIAPERS, and that leaves about a 6-8 hour window.

Sir Real Rides Again!

October 31st, 2007 by tungsai

 

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