Saturday, February 07, 2009


Watch the video in the link below.

This might be a positive reason to outsource customer service to overseas. Oh my...

Verizon Math Fail.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Epiphany Number 63

I have had some serious epiphanies this weekend. And an epiphany is more than just a simple realization or revelation. It's a sudden enlightenment. There was once a commercial that described the difference. I believe the commercial was for Allstate Auto Insurance, one of the first TV ads they made. I don't recall the details of the commercial, but the way the actor (Dennis Haysbert) describes the meaning of the word has always stuck in my head. I wish I could find the ad on YouTube, but alas, I cannot.

Regardless, the epiphanies are related, and the first occurred at church on Sunday morning. The passage of discussion in the sermon was Matthew 6:19-24. I've read this passage in the past; but it has much more relevance to me now that I'm independently monetarily wealthy; or in the very least attempted to reach that status.

But I realized, and it seems so obvious now, that I'm laying up treasure. I'm making plans on what treasure I'm going to buy next (dishwasher, hot tub, etc). My thought process had been before: After I have this thing, or after I pay off this loan, then I will give. Was I crazy?! Yes. Epiphany.

Although I honestly believe that I can live without so many material things like my TV, etc, I still worry about people breaking into my house and taking things. Hence the reason for the paranoia-induced number of locks I have in my house (not to say being secure is bad). Boom! Verse 19! "where thieves break through and steal"

My car is no better than it was a year ago, indeed, it is probably in much worse shape. It has some patches of rust. I daydream about a new car, but how long til that is rusting and decaying and being eaten by moths? Boom! Verse 19 again! "where moth and rust doth corrupt"

Rabbit trail: It was interesting to note that both the words rust and moth refer to something being consumed; the material, the goods, that people store up is actually being eaten. It not only decays, but is consumed! That was a smaller sort of unrelated epiphany as well. But I digress.

Most times when I have heard this passage being read, and preached upon, the pastor or whomever normally focuses on those first two verses, nineteen and twenty. But this time, the majority of the time was spent on verse 24. There were some revelations here too. The pastor delved into the precise meanings of every word in this verse. Hate vs. love. Holding onto vs. despise. The prior is the emotional while the latter is the practical. Not only will attempting to serve two masters lead to emotional conflict within oneself (that could potentially be hidden from view), it leads to practical conflict (that is much harder to hide from view).

And it's not just a day by day thing, meaning that one cannot serve mammon Monday through Saturday, and serve God on Sunday. This was already apparent to me, but was put very much in perspective.

On to Monday's revelation. I normally read a book during my travels. Since I worked this morning at the facility, and while waiting at the airport for my flight, I read on the plane. My plan was to finish half the book. I finished all of it.

The book is John Piper's Don't Waste Your Life. Essentially, he describes what in his opinion is a purposeful life. While the introduction to me was very overdone, the second half of the book was very enlightening. The intro can be summed up into: In order to not waste your life, define your purpose and fulfill that purpose. The question then all comes down to what is the purpose of one's life.


I will not quote John Piper. I find it unvaluable to quote large portions of text, but find it more beneficial to write my thoughts on said text, in order to expound and even improve on the points made by John Piper. I would recommend the book, though I will admit John Piper's writing style is far from even flowing (he likes his short, to the point paragraphs and then moves on to the next point). And so my thoughts, spurred by what I read; my epiphanies of Monday, February 2nd, 2009:

What does American society say is the goal of life? How does this relate to what should be a Christian's goal? Are they congruent? Are they extremely polar from one another?

(Please note that by no means do I mean that people should have nice things, comfortable things. One way you can fulfill your purpose is to enjoy the things that have been provided. But know to whom they belong. And be happy without them.)

Society says work as hard as you can as early as you can, so you can stop working. The Bible says (paraphrase) if one does not work, one shall not eat. This is not to say that one should not retire (or is it?). And I understand that this is one line from an entire chapter, book, text, and that it should not be taken out of context. And that context is that people had become lazy in one of the cities that Paul visited. Regardless, the end goal that society is that you should work and work and work, and then not work. But I'm now of the opinion that that's not precisely correct.

Society says make a "bucket list," a list of things you want to accomplish, things you want to experience, things you want to own, before you die. My list consists of one thing: owning a Porsche. Society says make this list, and then do everything you can to accomplish this list. If you fail at completing this list, you fail at life. But not so; even if people accomplish this list, their life may still be wasted, in fact there is more likelihood that it is wasted as they were spending all their strength in order to gather to themselves accomplishments, experiences, and possessions.

Would you be happy if you didn't complete your bucket list? If no, then I would say you are definitely wasting your life. If yes, good, there is joy in God and that is the primary source of remaining in high spirits when you don't complete the bucket list. Before this day would I have been happy if I never owned a Porsche? No. Boom! Epiphany!

Society could even be said to view people without material possessions as failures. Are they? In society's eyes? Yes. In God's eyes?

Friday, December 26, 2008


My late night photo editing project can be seen here.

Friday, December 19, 2008

"Christmas Letter" Blog Entry

As was so aptly pointed out to me, most Christmas letters begin with "I can't believe another year has gone by already!" or something to that effect. But mine shall not.

This has been the longest year ever. For the universe is slowing down, extending time that is measured; and, in addition, it was a leap year, 366 days. A lot has happened in those 366 days. The biggest events were my graduation from college with my degree in Industrial Engineering and minor in Business Administration; being hired by the world’s largest technology distributor and a leading technology sales, marketing and logistics company as an Industrial Engineer; and the purchase of my first home.

The whole concept of a Christmas Letter seems strange to me. I suppose that historically they were written to update a large group of people on a yearly basis with the past events of said year. This letter would be sent to close friends and family, but was primarily directed towards those that one might only communicate with once a year, via the Christmas Letter. And so it seems strange to me to communicate with people only once a year, as this is the computer age. Activities are updated on a daily basis via Facebook, Myspace, Blogger, LinkedIn, or any other variety of online forums. And so, close friends, close family, distant friends, distant family, complete strangers can have insight to every one of my actions that I share with the world.

Regardless, as in general Christmas Letter format, I shall expound on the large events of my life. I graduated on May 17th, 2008. The ceremony was held outside on the dell, and it was significantly warm in the traditional black robes. I did the "walk across the stage," the announcer said my name correctly (they go through everyone's name prior to the real ceremony), and received my college diploma.

About a month and a half earlier I had interviewed with Ingram Micro. The interview went well and I was impressed with their operation. I received a job offer a little while before graduation and I accepted their offer. The company does warehousing, shipping, internal logistics, and third-party logistics work for their own inventory as well as for some major corporations. My job title is Industrial Engineer and I work on a number of projects to improve layout and product flow efficiency. One of the major projects I am working on is the implementation of a labor management system, used to improve employees productivity.

I completed the home buying process on June 30th. The entire process went fairly quickly I'm told, though I thought a month was a long time. But I suppose buying a house isn't quite like buying a hamburger at McDonald's, at least not yet. My house is just over 1300 square feet; 1.5 baths, 3 bedrooms, 2 car garage, shed, a small yard. I use one of the bedrooms as an office where I have my computer and all my books. I sleep in the master bedroom and maintain one of the other bedrooms as the guest room.

So I have obtained my Engineering degree, an Engineering job that I am very happy with, and a very nice home in a nice area with nice neighbors. I have my Ford Taurus that is still running well.

I have good friends in many different places. However, no new romantic developments. Which, for the most part, may be a good thing as I will be traveling approximately 32 weeks out of the 52 next year. But that's for next year's Christmas Letter.


Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Tree x2

I now have two Christmas trees in my house. Both have lights. Ornament decoration is scheduled for Saturday.

Pictures here.

Also, all the gifts for my immediate family have been delivered. Now I just need to wrap them.

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Crazy global warming.

Pictures here.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

1 of 3 = me

One of three equals me.

More explanation via Blogger = never.

Monday, November 10, 2008


On how to descend a hill on a bike. Video.

Last night my Xbox 360 experienced the Three Red Lights of Death (aka, 3RLOD). So today I attempted to fix it using the X-clamp removal and repair method. Pictures here. I completed all the steps in about three hours.

I plugged everything in, overheated the Xbox to re-solder the GPU/CPU to the motherboard, cooled it off, and attempted to turn it on. The 3RLOD were gone!

However, my Xbox 360 then experienced what I would call the One Red Light of Death. The lower right quadrant was flashing. I queried this error, and it is apparently due to a bad ANA chip, or something related to the video output of the Xbox 360. So apparently, every component in my Xbox 360 decided to fail at once.

So all in all, I got to see the innards of the Xbox 360, bought a cool new screwdriver set (complete with Torx T6 through T25 hex heads), and corrected the 3RLOD. But alas, it still is broken. Tomorrow I will be buying a new Xbox 360 and the newly released Call of Duty 5: World at War. At least I can buy a cheap Xbox Arcade and upgrade the harddrive. As long as my old harddrive isn't broken too.

Yay for technology.

And my phone wasn't working today either. I had to call IT so they could fix the Enterprise Activation so I could send and receive network email.


Saturday, November 08, 2008

Saturday Bike Ride Adventure

Today I drove myself and my bike to the Colebrook trail head of the Lebanon Valley Rail Trail (LVRT). On the way, with my window down, I was thinking that I perhaps should have brought along a sweatshirt, but when I arrived and saw hunters en masse I was glad I had not, and was only wearing my bright yellow T-shirt.

My trip can be viewed here. Pictures are here.

I began by heading west on the LVRT. I passed by what looked to be a hiking trail, and decided to turn around and take a closer look. The trail was labeled as the Horse Shoe Trail, which is a part of the Mt. Gretna network of trails. I had read about this trail online; it was rated as a beginner level trail, but the many comments said that it was more of an advanced trail and the rating was completely wrong. Regardless, I decided to take the Horse Shoe instead of the flat, packed-gravel LVRT trail.

The trail definitely wasn't beginner; there were loose rocks the size of baseballs and steep hills. The first section shown on the map (the little part that goes directly south) was probably the hardest part as it was the steepest hill on the trip (turn on the terrain feature on Google Maps). After that, there were some ups and downs, but it was relatively easy except for one small steep section right before reaching the road.

After crossing the road, I rode through a field like area. Once completing that section, there was a steady incline to the point that I decided to turn around at a trail split (this is also where I saw around 10 orange vests walking around with high powered bows). Total one-way ride distance = 3.15 miles.

The trip back was more intense since it was almost all downhill. It was extremely bumpy due to all the rocks, and I almost flipped my bike once when I hit a large loose rock hidden in the leaves (in retrospect, having only one close call was pretty good). Going back down the steep hill I encountered during the start of my trip was pretty fun. I nearly had my chest on my seat on the way down to maintain some balance.

Once reaching the bottom, I returned to my car, had a drink of water, and continued east on the LVRT a little bit. Overall, it was a good trip. Though I really ought to exercise more.

Next trip, Governor Dick Hill?

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


There are certain points in one's life when one checks on the status of said life. It makes me wish that Pure had been built with checkpoint functionality. But nay, it is track oriented, and whenever you went off the "track" the game made you crash and would reset your ATV. I would have much preferred the game if it had built similarly to Smuggler's Run for Game Cube and PS2. In Smuggler's Run, the entire environment was navigable, and the races were accomplished via checkpoints. I must say, Pure pwnt when it came to a track list.

1. There is no plan.

Check. This I wholeheartedly agree with and am living as such. While I do have a loose plan, I realize that it is all subject to change. Now that I will soon be living in a Blue nation, who knows what will happen (the same could be said for a McCain nation as well though).

My job is comparatively secure, but even if it's not I feel confident that with my experience and skill set finding a job would not be entirely difficult. I have all my options laid out in front of me, and will progress, all while at least preserving the status quo.

2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.

Check. This is something I've somehow developed into doing my entire life. I like what I'm good at, I do what I like, I'm good at what I like to do. And repeat. My entire career has actually meshed very well with my strengths and likes. Though one could argue my career choices were based on my strengths and likes. So which came first? It actually doesn't really matter which came first, only that I know #2 and preserve the check in this box.

3. It's not about you.

Check, sort of. Sometimes I forget this. Though honestly I think other people forget it more often. Everyone seems so concerned about preserving their own life, their own job, that they will do everything in their power to preserve said things: lie, cheat, make excuses. But I've come to realize that for the most part if first attention is given to the collective, the company, the team, others, that this is respected far greater than the best excuse in the world.

I try to live my life now following rule sub 3: Never make excuses, even when at fault. There is normally no reason that it would ever benefit someone to make an excuse. Most times excuses are readily recognized as an excuse. If one makes a mistake, admit it, fix it, and move on.

4. Persistence trumps talent.

Check. While I may be talented, there is nothing more important than persistence. Even the hardest of problems can be solved when consistently persisted at. Plus, anything is possible with Excel, unless you have more than 65,536 lines of data.

5. Make excellent mistakes.

Check. Though I really try to avoid making mistakes altogether. It's not so much about making mistakes, or even making excellent ones. It's about learning from them; what went wrong, how can that be avoided next time.

6. Leave an imprint.

Working on it. So far so good.

Checkpoint complete.