ramblings, reviews 3 Comments »

a scene from wall-e
took my two younger boys to see WALL-E over the weekend. apparently so did millions of others. the movie earned over 62 million dollars at the box office. the movie had a very interesting premise where future earth is a toxic wasteland and the surviving population is off on a cruiseliner in space. Pixar’s take on rampant consumerism in our country is very poignant and I applaud them for planting a message in the young minds of today. but as the story ends with the overweight blob-like passengers of the cruiseliner returning to earth, I’m left to wonder if these people would even know how to begin life back on this planet. their whole life was spent on a cruise ship being waited on hand and foot by robots. my guess is that the majority of the passengers would soon realize the magnitude of the work involved in starting fresh on earth and just simply re-board the Axiom and head back out to space. oh, and an interesting thing to note here is the irony in the fact that the movie is being distributed by Disney, a corporation that heavily relies on consumers to spend as much as they can at their theme parks and on their vast array of merchandise. anyway, my lil’ kids give this movie a hearty thumbs-up!

save energy while cleaning

miscellaneous No Comments »

5238dd240x180publicsaturday mornings here in the Lee household are usually reserved for cleaning. and like most families with young kids, the house is always in need of some sort of cleaning no matter how often you vacuum or dust. our little ones are like mini-tornados, scattering toys, books, fingerprints and food crumbs all around as they move from room to room. recently our trusty old vacuum broke down so I’ve been checking out the latest in vacuums. the new Dirt Devil AccuCharge Stick Vac seems to be a great new product. not only is it cordless, it’s lightweight, sleek and is the first cordless vacuum to earn Energy Star approval. that’s right, you can make Al Gore proud by using 70% less energy with this vacuum. and with the AccuCharge system you can rest assure in knowing that you’ll have enough power to get the job done no matter how tough plus charging up the vacuum is now twice as fast compared to other models. this would definitely work in our household especially for the hard to reach spots and with the vacuum being cordless, I can tackle the stairs with no problems. lugging around our old behemoth of a vacuum up those stairs definitely took more of my energy than it was worth, that’s for sure. ugh. for more info, head on over to DirtDevil.com.
Sponsored by Dirt Devil AccuCharge

I Survived a Japanese Game Show on ABC

movies and TV, ramblings 6 Comments »

as an asian american, I’m very disappointed in ABC and the group of producers for creating a show like I Survived a Japanese Game Show. I watched the premiere episode last night and was appalled to see that the producers had resorted to cheap racist humor in the show. the show is essentially perpetuating asian stereotypes.

here’s the setup for those that haven’t seen the show (and you should be thankful for not having seen it) -
the show is basically a “mashup” of a reality show and a japanese game show. they brought over a group of Americans (a la Survivor) to Japan to participate in a “mock-japanese style game show”. the show is formatted like a reality show so the viewer gets to see everything from the participants point of view.

ABC’s offensive japanese game show

what’s offensive is that the whole show revolves around the premise that japanese people are strange..
- you’ve got the loud japanese game show host with a “funny” japanese accent.
- you’ve got the room full of “crazed” japanese audience members making a huge racket by beating on percussion instruments.
- in one segment last night they made contestants pull a rickshaw through town (you know, that oh-so-asian-ish mode of transportation!).
- and the icing on the cake - a round, short, middle-aged lady (who I guess is the house-nanny on the show) is called .. *wait-for-it* .. “mama-san”. ugh.

oh and and the producers made sure to cast japanese actors who all have those stereotypical asian accents. yeah, the show creators are real geniuses aren’t they? um, not. racists are what they are! you know, I expected more from a major television network like ABC. I thought for sure one of those network executives at the Disney “It’s a Small World” - owned company would have some common sense and not let this offensive, racist game show on the air.

defective discs by maxell

ramblings, internet buzz No Comments »

crappy CD-Rs by maxell
I normally get some cheap imation CD-Rs for burning personal CD-mixes for myself but while on a recent trip to walmart I found some neat looking maxell CD-Rs that I thought I’d try. bad mistake. turns out the colorful designs on the top layer of these CDs render these discs unplayable on a CD player. If you place the CDs against a light, you can actually see the top layer design right through the bottom. so, now I’ve got a spindle full of unusable discs. great. that’s just my luck.

anyway, this’ll be my official public service announcement: If you see these Maxell CD-Rs at the store - DO NOT purchase them. The discs are designed NOT to work. don’t waste you money!!

custom built homes

miscellaneous 1 Comment »

Like any homeowner, I’ve learned so much about our house over the last few years. owning a house is an ongoing learning experience that becomes beneficial to you when it’s time to purchase the next home. the wife and I have amassed a long list of things we like and definitely need in our next home as well as things we absolutely don’t want in our next home. hopefully we’ll have an opportunity to custom build our next home with a reputable builder like schumacher homes. they are an award winning custom homebuilder that truly strive to build homes that perfectly fit a family’s needs. from the custom design stage until the day you step into the finished house, they will work with you every step of the way. before, when we were purchasing our current house, we had a vague idea of what we wanted. But now, after years of dealing with various home repair projects, we’ve got specific ideas and features that we plan to incorporate in the design of our next house. hopefully we’ll get to work with Schumacher Homes in the near future.

the mayor of simple-ton

Family Talk, kidbits 3 Comments »

that’s a whole lotta parts just to pour some water, son.
had some fun working with the 11 year old putting the finishing touches on his “simple machines” project. It was great trying to come up with the various parts from what we had around the house. most of what my son used were legos, wooden train tracks and random bionicle parts.
here’s what he ended up with :
pulley system - some old shoe string that is wrapped around an old tape spool which is attached to a lego tower. the shoe string is attached to a wedge that is raised to hit a toy car on top of an inclined plane
the wheel and axle component - is a toy car
the inclined plane - “Thomas the tank Engine” railroad tracks set up on an incline which the toy car rolls down to hit an “S” shaped lego blocks that knocks down a straight piece of wooden track
lever - the wooden track hits a see-saw like lever which then hits a water filled bottle (an old target prescription bottle) that pours the water into a wide plastic container.

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piano restoration

general No Comments »

old piano DLeeI recently helped a friend of mine move a piano that he inherited from his grandparents. It’s an old, beat up used Steinway that my friend learned to play on when he was a little kid. the old piano has a lot of memories attached to it so he’s looking to restore it and keep it around for his own children. He’s getting a well known piano restoration company called Lindeblad Piano Restoration to bring his old Steinway back to life. they’ve been restoring pianos since 1920 and my friend swears by them and wouldn’t trust his piano with any other. to find out more about restoring your old piano, head on over to LindebladPiano.com.

father’s day favorites

food, ramblings 6 Comments »


the wife spent most of the day sunday cooking up a storm. we had some of the family over for a father’s day get together. elaine made some of my favorites including salmon, pot stickers, Chongak kimchi, seasoned (korean style) spinach and some seasoned tofu (not sure what they call it). I simply love her cooking. … and my waistline is beginning to show it. uh-oh.


don’t take credit for granted

miscellaneous No Comments »

back in the day, credit cards were pretty difficult to get a hold of. they were mainly for the wealthy and well to-do. boy, talk about change - nowadays, everyone and their grandmother carry around a variety of cards from all the major providers. Visa, mastercard, american express, discover card, you name it - most folks have carry around at least two of those in their wallets. with more and more lenders seeking to expand their reach, even folks with blemished credit history can still get approved for a new card. but with all these open lines of credit around, it’s always prudent to regularly check over all your credit statements as well as the annual credit reports from the three major credit bureaus. even if you’re careful with your account information, shred all your documents before they hit the trash and pay all your bills on time, inadvertent errors by the credit bureaus can affect your credit ratings without you knowing it. So do yourself a favor to set up a regular calendar reminder to review your credit report from one of the credit bureaus every four months. in this day and age, some may take credit for granted but in reality, this is serious business and something that should not be taken lightly.

Press Release:
Usually people use their credit cards for making purchases all over the world. But it can be used at ATM’s for cash advances as well.
A cash advance is when you borrow off of your credit in order to get cash. Normally, people paying with their credit card don’t come in contact with cash at all.
It goes like this - you come into store, choose an item and pay for it using your credit card. Easy.
However, you have an opportunity to use your credit card to access cash just by going to the nearest ATM machine and by punching your PIN number in.
But there are some disadvantages when it comes to cash advance credit cards .
Credit card companies charge for this form of exchanging credit, because they realize that it’s very convenient. The detailes on cash advances deal can be very tricky, so make sure you read all the terms and conditions of the deal carefully.
You have to be wise and prepared for hidden rocks when you decide to apply for any kind of credit card. Credit card can be your best friend if you are responsible and educated user.
Make your credit card work for you. Study, search and compare to get an access to the best deals and benefits you can enjoy.

I smell smoke

ramblings 1 Comment »

ugh. our office smells like smoke right now. and man, you should see the smoky haze outside. apparently shifting winds have pushed into our area dense smoke originating from the ongoing wildfires in the eastern part of our state. the smoke-filled air is giving us a taste of what those folks on the coast are dealing with. smelling all this stuff here inside the office sure doesn’t give me any confidence on our air filtering system.

smoke from the wildfires
Here’s the local news article about the smoke:Smoky air prompts Code Red Warning:

Raleigh, N.C. — Smoke drifting west from a slowly spreading wildfire in eastern North Carolina has led state regulators to upgrade their warning against outdoor activity in the Triangle.
The state Division of Air Quality issued a Code Red warning for the region Thursday afternoon that is expected to remain in effect through Friday.
WRAL meteorologist Chris Thompson said light winds overnight will allow the smoke to sit over the Triangle overnight, so the effects of the smoke will be worse Friday morning. Winds form the southeast could help move the smoke out of the area later in the day, he said.
Regulators initially issued a Code Orange alert for the region Thursday, but the smoky haze has been worse that expected, prompting an upgrade in the air-quality alert, officials said.
Under a Code Red alert, people are urged to avoid outdoor activities. The warning applies especially to children, the elderly and anyone with a respiratory problem, officials said.
WRAL viewers said smoke was creating haze and a smoky smell from Henderson to Chapel Hill to Johnston County.
Lightning sparked a fire June 1 in the Pocosin Lakes National Wildlife Refuge and has since burned more than 40,000 acres – about 63 square miles – in Hyde, Tyrrell and Washington counties.
Prevailing winds had carried smoke from the fire over the Outer Banks for the past week before a low-pressure front moved across the state late Tuesday, shifting winds back to the west and carrying the smoke to the Triangle.

homes in Jacksonville

miscellaneous No Comments »

An old colleague of mine is moving down to florida. like a lot of companies during this economic downturn, his company downsized which left him no other choice but to look elsewhere for a new job. We’re all a bit sad that he has to move away but he’s actually looking forward to the change in location as well as the change in his career. for the last month or so he’s been searching through all the various Homes for sale in Jacksonville Florida. He found he couldn’t do it all on his own so he ended up using Coldwell Banker Walter Williams Realty. they immediately sent him listings of potential homes that met his criteria. He has even met with his realtor down in Jacksonville a couple times now. I believe he has whittled down his choices to two and will probably submit an offer sometime next week. my old friend has been very satisfied by the way Coldwell Banker Walter Williams Realty quickly responded to his requests and followed through with what needed to be done. that definitely helped in his situation since he’s not from the area and needed some guidance from the experts. so, if you’re in the market to buy or sell a home in the greater Jacksonville area, be sure to contact Coldwell Banker Walter Williams Realty. find out more at northfloridahomes.com.

heat of the moment

ramblings 1 Comment »

ugh. local temps broke over 100 this past weekend. and our two central-A/C units cooling our home are just struggling to keep up. we’ve been told by our A/C service techs that both units need to be replaced. it’s really hard to discern if the diagnosis is actually driven by their sales department or if it is indeed true that the units can’t be fixed and really need replacing. we’ve been getting price quotes from various HVAC installation companies the last couple weeks. it appears that replacing both units will run around $10k to $16k. I’m not really keen on spending that kind of money at this particular moment so we’re planning on scheduling another evaluation to see if there’s a way to actually FIX the units instead of outright replacing them.
with the extremely hot temps lately, it seems the HVAC service guys are getting calls left and right. the guy that came by our house friday to give us an estimate told us that he has been all over the state this past week. he looked beat. in fact, after spending time looking over the blower and condenser in our attic, he almost fainted from the heat. poor guy. unfortunately the heat didn’t influence his price quote in our favor.

natural stress reliever

miscellaneous 1 Comment »

sometimes it can get a bit overwhelming. project deadlines, unpaid bills, family squabbles and the neverending to-do list at home can all come crashing down on you all at once. stress filled times like these are essentially out of your hands and all you can do is weather the storm. I recently got through a stressful spell at work with looming deadlines as well as a presentation to prepare for. I used to strive under pressure in my younger days but now that I’m older, I don’t seem to be that well equipped anymore. just ask my wife and kids about how I handle stress. It’s unfortunate but I tend to allow the stress from work affect how I behave at home. I get all short with the kids and you can forget having a decent conversation with me because my mind is preoccupied with work. well, I recently came across a product that’s perfect for me during these times of stress. It’s called AbsoluteCalm and it’s an all natural stress reliever made from magnolia extracts. magnolia extracts contain honokiol which has been shown in studies to alleviate stress and calm nerves without any negative side effects. so the product is perfect for when you need to calm down and relax but still need to be alert, focused and clear minded to continue on working. to find out more about AbsoluteCalm be sure to head on over to their website - getAbsoluteCalm.com.

freebie saturday!!

links and stuff, internet buzz No Comments »

in this edition of DLee’s freebie saturday - free subscriptions!!

LowPriceSubs are offering free subscriptions to either Bassmaster Magazine or Vibe.
click here to see the offer
note: it has been reported that the offer changes every so often depending on demand so you may encounter a different set of magazines than the ones I just mentioned. so as always, your mileage may vary! (YMMV)

RewardsGold is offering a free sub to TV guide.
click here to go to RewardsGold
This offer comes and goes quickly so be sure to sign up as fast as you can because it’s not going to last that long. good luck!

oh, and this just in - free 2 year subscription to ReadyMade:
ReadyMade is a sassy, mod, do-it-yourself magazine for people who like to make stuff, and see the flicker of invention in everyday objects. This bi-monthly publication puts contemporary style on par with affordability. Each issue entertains with its sharp-witted and offbeat tone while offering a practical assortment of homegrown projects for home décor and outdoor living.
click here to go to the valuemags offer


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