finally jumped on the skype bandwagon

ramblings 1 Comment »

Here in the DLee household, we’ve been without a landline for almost two years now. yup, that’s right, we’re relying solely on cell service. It can get a bit inconvenient at times but for the most part we’ve been pretty happy with the decision. I’m not sure of the statistics but my guess is that more and more folks are doing the same. The only major snag we’ve hit so far is going over our allotted wireless minutes every now and again. and I want to do what I can to prevent that from happening especially after seeing the inflated rates the cell phone provider charges when going over. So this past weekend, I finally decided to install skype on our computer in order to reduce the amount of minutes we’re using on our cell plan. Like most folks, I’ve heard tons of things about skype over the years but never looked into the service since we really didn’t have a need for it. But after trying it out over the last couple days, I’m kicking myself for not signing up for it sooner. Initially I was worried about sound quality but after purchasing a new headset/mic combo, it seems to work great. I’m currently signed up for “skype-out” for 2.95 a month so that we can make unlimited calls to other landlines and mobile phones within the U.S. I haven’t sign up for a “skype phone number” yet, so it’s currently set up to display our cell phone number whenever I call out. For the next month or so, I’m going to watch and see if this helps our family keep within our monthly cell phone minutes. For those of you that use skype, feel free to let me know your thoughts on the service and any tips/tricks/pros/cons that you’ve personally encountered.

up late doing homework..

ramblings, Family Talk 5 Comments »

We stayed up late last night helping our sixth grader finish up a project that’s due today. I warned my son earlier in the week not to wait until the last minute but apparently he has inherited my ability to procrastinate like the dickens. I guess I can’t blame the kid since I’m the king of all procrastinators but it would be nice if he could nip this habit in the bud before it’s too late. As with most parents, we want to see our children succeed in school so we couldn’t just allow him to do a half-assed job on the project. So last night, we sat around the kitchen table and helped him complete his project until a little past midnight. This is not a good way to start off his school year. I’m all for helping kids with their school work but I’m NOT going to spend the whole night DOING the work for them!!

time to get fit!

miscellaneous 1 Comment »

As I have already mentioned in my previous post, I recently had another birthday and what I’ve realized is that it’s no longer a festive, celebratory occasion but more of a bleak reminder that our youthful, carefree days are long gone. One thing that has become more and more apparent is that I need to be more mindful of what I do and what I put in my body. As we age, our bodies aren’t as resilient or forgiving as they once were back when we were younger. So essentially, I have to be more conscious of what I eat and also make the effort to put in the time to keep my body fit. Every time I eat pizza or cheeseburgers and fries with the kids, I always end up feeling bloated, sluggish and tired. My waistline seems to want to expand to coincide with my numeric age which is most definitely not something I’d like to see. Over the years, I’ve tried a variety of exercise programs to try to keep myself fit but I always seem to lose interest. I can’t seem to get beyond the monotony and the discipline required to keep up with an exercise regimen. But I recently came across a new workout program called XFLOWSION that may keep my interest this time around. It uniquely combines movements from power yoga, dance and martial arts to keep things fun and fresh. The nice thing about XFLOWSION™ is that you can follow the routines in the privacy of your own home. The DVDs feature celebrity trainer Eric Paskel who has crafted a workout that challenges you as well as keeps you entertained with its variety of constantly shifting moves that are designed for maximum fat burning and muscle toning potential. It’s probably the best looking and best sounding exercise DVD I’ve seen featuring great music performed by a live band and tasteful visual direction all filmed in high definition.
Yes, I recognize the fact that I’m middle-aged but that doesn’t mean that I have to look it. I’m not going down without a fight. I’m getting fit with XFLOWSION™!!
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just another humdrum birthday

it's all about me!!, Family Talk 1 Comment »

In keeping with a long standing tradition, I took the day off on my birthday this past friday. I mean, who in their right mind would want to work on their own birthday, right? Well, instead of relaxing the day away, I unfortunately spent the bulk of it getting frustrated over setting up a new wireless-N router I received as a birthday present. I don’t know about you but whenever I’m in a situation where it’s not going quite my way, I get all worked up and become overly consumed in finding a way to make it right. For some reason, my old wireless-G adapter on my laptop wouldn’t connect securely with the new router. It’d work when the router is unrestricted but under WEP or WPA, it was a no-go. I was pulling my hair out, going through all the various settings trying to pin point where the problem was. If it wasn’t for my wife, I probably would have sat in front of the router and laptop for the WHOLE day until I got the darn thing working. Thankfully the wife pulled me away to get me to enjoy a nice meal at our favorite local korean restaurant. we then took our little one to the bookstore to stock up on some new books to read. As usual, the little one can’t help but stop at the train table to have a play with Thomas the Tank Engine.
the little one at the bookstore
And the day ended with me taking our middle child to soccer practice. while I was out with our future soccer star, our oldest went to his first school dance. No, he didn’t have a “date” or anything but went with some friends of his. Afterward, he told us that he had a blast. when asked what they did, he basically said that they ate candy, drank some soft drinks and just hung out. I guess, there wasn’t much dancing at the sixth grade dance. at least he had fun, right?
hanging out at the soccer field
As for the wireless router- I finally got everything working today (saturday). I never got my G adapter to work (in WPA mode) with the N router so I ended up purchasing a new wireless N adapter card for my laptop which pretty much solved everything.

guitar hero update

Family Talk, kidbits 4 Comments »

In my previous post about our middle schooler taking up the cello, our New York buddy Michael asked about our son’s progress on guitar. Well honestly, the progress has been pretty slow. I’m being careful not to force him to play the instrument. I’d rather he take the initiative in learning the guitar rather than me force-feeding him. I thought for sure seeing guitar legends Neal Schon and Rick Nielsen would jump start his interest in being a guitar hero but he’s still seems rather be playing video games and watching pokemon. so yeah, we’re taking it s-l-o-w.

But we have attempted a couple of simple songs. you know, songs with four chords (at the most). Now that he knows chords A, E, D - he can play R.O.C.K. in the USA by John Mellencamp. OK, there’s an occasional B chord in there which is pretty difficult to finger but most of the song is pretty simple stuff.

Other songs we’re working on are:

Words of Love by The Beatles. OK, it’s actually a Buddy Holly song but the kid doesn’t know who Buddy Holly is. But he knows who the Beatles are. It’s another song that only requires A, E and D chords.

There’s also the Juno song called Anyone Else But You. Now that song is only made up of two chords - G and C. It’s actually pretty boring to play and my son hasn’t shown any interest in that song. Maybe he needs to watch the movie to kinda get the song?

Windows Vista on my loaner

miscellaneous 4 Comments »

For the last couple weeks, I’ve been taking our company’s laptop home with me so that I could work on an upcoming presentation. The loaner laptop that I’ve been working on happens to have the new Windows Vista Business edition installed on it. I normally work with XP machines both at work and at home but I guess our IT department has chosen to test the new operating system on a few of our loaners. So far, I’ve been pretty impressed with the performance of Vista especially after hearing so much grumbling about the new microsoft product this past year on the net as well as in the media. My guess is that if a computer system is underpowered there might be issues but as long as you have a well configured machine with plenty of memory, things should run smoothly. I have to say that the new Aero interface is pretty slick with the translucent glass effects and the neat little gadgets that can be placed anywhere on the desktop. The new integrated search feature is also a nice addition to the desktop. Oh and remember those awful blue screens of death that would often torture us on old windows 98 and NT systems? I remember freaking out whenever I’d lose important data with those old systems. Well, Vista has virtually eliminated those types of hard crashes and I, for one, am thankful for that especially when crunching massive amounts of analytical data every day. But with that being said, you know with any type of high tech system, problems can still occur. and that’s what Microsoft’s Windows Vista customer service team is there for, ready to offer up solutions to any issues that one may encounter with just a click of a mouse. So, I’m not sure what all the fuss was about. There’s a lot to like about the new operating system. and I’m looking forward to my very own Vista system when I upgrade my own home PC later in the year.
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Virgin Mobile Shuttle

links and stuff, internet buzz 3 Comments »

After a disappointing year of issuing lower end brand phones, Virgin Mobile has finally decided to give its long suffering customers a decent phone for a change. The new VM Shuttle features a 1.3 megapixel camera with video, music and bluetooth capabilities. Yes, I know that Virgin Mobile’s main focus is to provide a no-frills, no-contract, prepaid wireless service but you have to admit the majority of their phone designs felt old, tired and several generations behind the times. The new VM Shuttle on the other hand seems to be more up-to-date so that now I won’t have to stick out like a sore thumb whenever I’m using my prepaid cellular phone. hell, with the new phone, I might even pass for a verizon or sprint cellular customer! heh. :P
virgin mobile shuttle
look for the new Shuttle at your local Best Buy beginning September 28th.

VM Shuttle Specifications:
Stereo Bluetooth® Wireless Technology
Media Player
1.3MP Camera Phone
Bright Full Color Screen
Text Messaging
Mobile Email
Mobile IM
Mobile Web
Speakerphone
Voice Dialing
Capacitado con menú en Español
TTY/TDD Enabled, HAC Rating: M3
microSD
Talk Time: 234 minutes
Standby Time: 13.3 days
Dimensions: 3.9″ x 1.86″ x 0.67″
Weight: 3.4oz

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the Heart of the matter

miscellaneous No Comments »

A couple weeks ago, a neighbor down the street passed away. He had a severe Heart Attack while out working in his backyard and died on the way to the hospital. The whole neighborhood seemed to go in shock after hearing the news. He was such a pleasant man and was only in his mid-fifties. It’s just so hard to process and I can’t even imagine what their family is going through. It’s just another reminder of how fragile and precious life is. Concerned about our own health as well as the health of our family members, the wife and I have been viewing the informative videos over at the Heart Library. It’s a great resource set up by the physicians and staff from St. Jude Medical to help inform people like you and me about heart disease, the symptoms and the treatments. It’s definitely worth bookmarking for future reference.

cello update

Family Talk, kidbits 1 Comment »

the middle schooler and his celloWell, I signed all the paperwork and gave the music shop employee my money and so we now have a 3/4 sized cello for our middle schooler to practice on. whew. the local music shop was a mad house!! It was about an hour before closing and the store was full of parents and kids, all wanting to rent band/orchestra instruments. I sorta felt bad for the store employees who all seemed to be around retirement age. I guess all the spots for Walmart greeters were taken. *ba-dum-bum*. thank you, thank you, I’m here all week. try the veal.
We ended up choosing the rent to own program since it didn’t require a large sum of money for a down payment (after my credit was verified) and the fact that upgrades to a larger instrument are allowed as our middle schooler gets older and more advanced. Since we know he won’t be the next “David Beckham” (after witnessing the last few soccer seasons), we’re now hoping he could be the next “Yo Yo Ma”!! ya never know!

reverse phone lookup

miscellaneous No Comments »

Ever once in a while I’ll get a phone call on my cell phone from a number I don’t recognize. Like most folks, I won’t answer the call. I figure that if it’s important, they’ll leave a voicemail message for me. I mean, why waste your wireless plan minutes on a wrong number, right? But whenever I’m curious about a phone number, I use an online Reverse Phone Registry to lookup the person or business on the other end. It’s a quick and easy way to satisfy one’s own curiosity. The service is also tied into a detailed database where you can get addresses, records and cross references for an extra fee. I suppose the service would definitely come in handy in investigating prank callers and such.

the middle-schooler and his cello

Family Talk, kidbits 12 Comments »

the cellonow that my oldest is taking orchestra as his elective this year in middle school, we’ve been going around checking various rental programs offered at the local music shops. We didn’t realize the expense involved in renting a student sized cello for a whole year. ugh. The school is providing a cello for him to use at school but the problem is that he’s not allowed to transport a large (and delicate) instrument like the cello on the school bus. So we need one to keep at home for him to practice on. Decent sounding cellos can get very expensive. we’re talking thousands of dollars. and yes, there are very cheap models available on ebay but after speaking to several cellists, it seems that those are not worth the trouble. SO, we’ve been debating whether to purchase or to rent. Since our son is in need of a 3/4 sized cello, we probably don’t want to invest in one since he’ll outgrow the instrument if he continues on in the orchestra at school. and that’s the big “if”. will he stick with the cello after the year is through? ya never know with these kids today.

Seafood Cook Off

miscellaneous No Comments »

Not too long ago, my wife and I enjoyed lunch at our favorite local seafood joint. We don’t go too often since it’s a bit pricey but whenever we do go, we definitely get our fill on some calabash-style seafood. I love getting the scallops, shrimp and flounder combo platter. the lunch combos all come with the restaurant’s special hush puppies that are simply to die for! and those juicy, moist scallops just melt in your mouth. oh, I can’t get enough of them. Well, over the weekend, I got a hankerin’ for something from the sea so I checked for some recipes online to get some ideas for dishes I can prepare at home. While searching, I came across GreatAmericanSeafoodCookOff.com. It’s an annual competition that features the best seafood dishes from around the country. Since I just love shrimp dishes, Chef Mark Holley’s Texas Gulf Shrimp recipe caught my eye. With the combination tomato relish and prickly pear gastrique, it seems to have this unique balance of the sweet and salty. the recipe seems a bit complicated but I might just have to give it a try one of these days. the neat thing about the cook off is that we can all participate by voting for our favorite recipe. and simply by casting a vote, you are automatically entered for a chance to win a free trip to New Orleans. mmm, can you just imagine getting authentic seafood jambalaya down in New Orleans? gosh, it’s making my mouth water just typing about all this here on my blog. I think it’s time to heat up my saute pan and get my shrimp on. yum.
Sponsored by Lousiana Seafood

Wii Music to be released in October

ramblings No Comments »

Since the wife and I love the simple competitive games on the Wii (i.e. Wii Sports), we’re looking forward to the upcoming release titled Wii Music. Yes, it looks to be like a dumbed down version of Rock Band but for parents like me who don’t want to spend the time to figure out all the nuances of the games, this will be perfect. The game offers 60 different instruments to play using the Wii remote and the nunchuk controllers. and if you already have Wii Fit, you can use the Wii Fit balance board (along with the Wii remote/Nunchuk) to control a virtual drum set. Other featured instruments in the game include - banjo, guitar, marimba, piano and even trumpet. There’s also a tone quiz where you can test your musical ear and compete with others for better rankings.
Wii Music screenshot
Wii Music is set for release on October 27, 2008 so be sure to check for it at your local video games store around then. Or you can pre-order the title via Amazon by clicking here.
Wii Music- make some rocking music together with the rest of the family

It’s My Life. My Time.

internet buzz No Comments »

This gave me a bit of a chuckle so I thought I’d share this little tidbit. My wife recently signed up for an account on myLifetime.com, a new social networking site for women that enjoy watching the Lifetime television network. That’s right, another social networking site. But as long as the site owners regularly tend to the site at its members, I think they are definitely on to something. The site already boasts more than 2.5 million members and features a good amount of exclusive content including online videos, games, news, health tips and craft ideas. With a successful network focused directly on women, I guess it was a “no-brainer” for them to expand their reach onto the worldwide web. It’s a great way to interact with fans of “Army Wives” as well as see extra behind the scenes footage and register to win some exclusive sweepstakes and contests. So, if you enjoy the shows on Lifetime, be sure to sign up on connect with other like minded women on myLifetime.com.
myLifetime website


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