Tuesday, October 31, 2006


I took my 350Z into Carmax this morning for a quote. I've been wanting to sell it for awhile but never got around to it. It's also the car we bought for Shirley to drive so I don't really want to keep it. The whole process took about 45 minutes and they came back with a number that was ~$4000 below Kelley Blue Book. Other than a brand new fender, the car is in excellent condition. The appraiser tried to show me a KBB quote for a "fair" condition car and that was still $1500 above what they were offering. The entire time I was waiting, the "salesperson" was trying to get me to buy a car from them as well.

A co-worker suggested I try Craigslist. She bought everything there, including her car.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Warning Label

This was on the plastic bag that my Dell notebook was packaged in. There is no associated text so I'm assuming it's a chocking hazard warning, although you would have to figure out that white box = plastic bag. Maybe they wanted to scare kids away too.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Jazz Fab Tour

Our group (operations finance, cost accounting, and purchasing) went on a tour of Jazz Semiconductor this afternoon. Jazz used to be part of Rockwell, then part of Conexant, spun off by Conexant, and last month merged with Acquicor in a $260M deal. Interestingly, officers of Acquicor include Steve Wozniak (founder of Apple) and Gilbert Amelio (Apple CEO from 1994 to 1997).

Jazz building on Jamboree Road. I think a semiconductor fabrication plant is the last thing you would expect to find in Newport Beach.

The tour was pretty quick. The director of process engineering showed us a display of their 200mm 0.25um process then took us on a window tour (looking through windows) of their production line. Since the fab is older, they still had class 10 clean rooms which means we could not go in without a clean suit. Newer fabs, like the Chartered fab we visited last year in Singapore, had machines that maintained its own clean environment internally so the rest of the fab did not need to be as clean which is much cheaper to operate. The fab runs 24 hours with two 12 hour shifts and they work 7 days every two weeks. I'm not sure how they make money operating out of Newport Beach and even though they're a separate entity, a lot of Jazz's business still comes from Conexant/Mindspeed/Skyworks.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Golf Tournament

I played my first round of golf on a real 18-hole golf course today. The Operations group holds golf tournaments quite often and we decided to field a finance team this time. This was part of the reason I took the golf class at IVC this summer. The tournament was held at Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita and it was 4-person scramble with each team member contributing $100 and at least 3 tee shots. There were 20 teams of 4; our team was made up of Bret (my manager), Mike (my analyst), Steve (cost accounting manager), and me. Mike and Steve are pretty good golfers and Bret plays occasionally while I've never taken a tee shot on a golf course before. I had to borrow a set of golf clubs as well since I only have three clubs (3W, 7W, PW) from Leon.

Bret on the driving range. He couldn't get his clubs out of his garage so he had to borrow Mike's extra set.

Steve's tee shot off the 2nd hole.

The all important beer lady.

The 14th hole where you have to hit the ball across a ravine on to the green 150 yard away.

Mike hitting on the 14th hole. The rest of us shot into the ravine.

Our golf cart (full of empty beer cans). This was definitely a golf cart required course.

Houses along the golf course. Bret hit several houses and lost many golf balls.

Putting after a particularly tough hole where we had to use my chip shot. Anytime we had to use my non-tee shot means we're in trouble.

Our team ended up with a 73 which was 1 shot over par. I ended up contributing 4 tee shots even though one of them was not very good; we didn't want to wait until the end when we had to use my tee shots. I was pretty much useless on the fairway and I sank two putts. The low score of the tournament was 64 (-8) and the high was 91 (+19). Our score put us in the top-third which was pretty good considering there were only two decent golfer on the team.

The next golf opportunity is a finance event in December, also a 4-person scramble. I'll be visiting the driving range to practice hitting with irons as soon as my forearms stop hurting...

Monday, October 23, 2006

USC MBA High-Tech Association

A co-worker and I went to another USC MBA event tonight on-campus. It was a round-table event sponsored by the High-Tech Association; the current president (student) worked for me as an intern this past summer.

The guest speaker was Arun Sarin, CEO of Vodafone, the world's largest mobile phone company. He talked about the mobile market and how it was going to change from a subscriber based model today to an advertising based model like Google. Great, I was just thinking the other day that I need more advertising in my life...

High quality picture of Mr. Sarin from my mobile device (Treo)

The round-table session went okay even though our table didn't attract as many people as Yahoo. Must be the hype around the $1.6B Google/YouTube acquisition. Once again, all the foreign students from China found me and gave me their USC business cards. I never understood why they hand them to me... am I supposed to call them? For what?

Sunday, October 22, 2006

NewSong NOC Worship

Me: Hello?
Phone: Aren't you playing bass today?
Me: Huh? What time is it?
Phone: It's almost 8am.
Me: Aaahhh!

My first time playing on the worship team and I overslept; call-time was 7:30am. I even set my alarm early (6am) for this morning so I can go help setup. There are 8 separate alarms on my Treo and I didn't enable the particular one I set for this morning. I jumped in and out of the shower, grabbed my bass, and drove real fast to Wilshire Auditorium. I think I made the 20 mile drive in ~15 minutes. It turned out that they had sound setup problems and didn't start sound check and run-through until I got there.

Overall, I think the worship went really well despite me playing bass. I got lost several times trying to look at my music, my fingers, the worship leader, and smile at the congregation simultaneously. I also had some technical issues with my in-ear monitors so I couldn't hear the rest of the band a couple of times. It was a totally different experience from Wind Symphony where I was one of six trumpets in a group of over 60 people on stage.

My parents came to the 2nd service and took some blurry pictures; I told them not to use the flash.

This is the clearest picture and I wasn't even playing :)

New Computer: Picture

Even though it's supposed to be a notebook computer, I think I pretty much bought a desktop. The smaller notebook PC is my work computer (Dell D-410).

I installed a few games and they run fast! A few (Half-Life, Halo, Homeworld 2) even run on full 1440x900 widescreen mode.

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Just got back from clubbing and karaoke with some co-workers. Let's just say that I'm glad I'm not their manager, even though I was partially responsible for hiring some of them. At least that was my takeaway from our Sexual Harassment class.

What I should have been doing is practice my bass part for this Sunday... :)

Trumpet player with jazz band downstairs in the club. I didn't get a picture of the girls I was dancing with.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Computer

I bought another computer and it arrived earlier today. My dad's hand-me-down computer in Canada is messed up so I decided to give him my current WinTel notebook (Compaq Presario 1722US: P3 1.1GHz) and purchase a replacement. I ordered a Dell Inspiron E1705 and upgraded the processor to a Core 2 Duo so it should run pretty quickly. The computer is HUGE. I guess I didn't pay too much attention to the dimensions and it didn't look too big on Dell's website; it's 16.5" x 11.3" and weighs ~8 pounds so I probably won't be carrying it around anywhere.

For the Compaq, I bought another 256MB of RAM to bring the total to 512MB so it will run a bit faster. I used the system restore CDs that came with the computer to wipe the HDD and start over. I think we bought it for Shirley in 2001 so the restore CDs installed a bunch of old software... like AOL 6.0 and MS Money 2001. Right now it's installing Windows XP Service Pack 2 and it's taking forever. My mom's computer is also messed up even though I keep telling her not to open/download every piece of junk mail. I'll probably spend my entire week in Canada next month fixing computers, sigh...

Trees from a park (or cemetary) in Oakville near my parent's house [Oct 2004]

IVC Wind Symphony

The IVC Wind Symphony and Orchestra shared a concert Tuesday at the Barclay Theater (UCI). I play trumpet in the Wind Symphony.

Orchestra call time. The group has only been around for three semesters and they sound pretty good. It's interesting that when IVC announced the new orchestra group, a lot of Chinese and Koreans showed up with their violin. There are not too many Asians in the Wind Symphony.

Orchestra on stage; Wind Symphony is about the same size

Guest conductor: some VP from Allergan. He basically waved his arm around while we ignored him and played a Bach Minuet. Each year, we let someone from the IVC Foundation guest conduct the same song. I'm sure some money changed hands...

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

NewSong NOC Pics

I took some pictures at last weeks NewSong 12th Anniversary service at NOC:

Brian Kim

Dave Gibbons

I was in the sound booth at the back of the auditorium.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Fantasy Football, Week 6

From 0-3 last week to 3-0 this week.

Ring of Fire (some money): 54.91 vs. 52.26
(I still have one WR left)

BRCM Keeper (more money): 103 vs. 78
(we each have one WR left)

Yahoo Public (no money): 76 vs. 72 (final)

Friday, October 13, 2006

Company Finance & Operations Panel

On Wednesday, I was a panelist at an event sponsored by the USC MBA career placement center. Actually, my manager received the initial invitation but he had a schedule conflict so I went instead. There were four panelists including myself and we shared why we chose finance, how we found our job, and what company finance was like vs. corporate finance. The other panelists were from Intel, Cisco/Linksys, and Amgen.

The event went well and there were many good questions during the Q&A time. One of the students asked what skills we looked for when interviewing MBA graduates with no prior finance experience. The other panelists talked about having good communications skills, being assertive, etc. When it was my turn, I said, "Pivot tables and VLOOKUP."

Afterwards, a 1st year MBA student from China came up to talk to me (I always seem to get the Chinese foreign students). We talked about a couple of things then he asked me how he can improve his communication skills. I told him he should watch more TV or go to a bar and talk to people. Seriously. It worked for me (the TV part)... I learned a lot of my English from watching Sesame Street.


I hate spiders. Actually, I hate all types of insects (I know spiders are not insects). So imagine my horror when I found this in my closet as I was about to go do laundry:

I was too freaked out to focus correctly but you can see the spider was big enough to cast a shadow at the back of the closet several feet away. Ugh! There was also a huge web about three feet across; I'm glad I didn't run into it face first. After taking the picture, I found the nearest magazine and smacked the spider in midair. It landed on a chair, stunned, so I flicked in on the ground and smacked it a couple (ok, eight) more times. Just to be sure, I picked the spider up with a paper towel and flushed it down the toilet.

Shirley used to make fun of me all the time about my fear of spiders and bugs. Each time I saw a spider in the house, I used to make her get rid of it. I think Shirley had a "pet" tarantula as part of an undergrad psychology experiment at UCLA so she has no fear of spiders. However, she had extreme dog phobia. I remember one time we were walking on the beach path in Long Beach when we saw another couple with two small dogs in the distance. When Shirley realized that the dogs were unleashed and running towards us, she screamed and jump on my back. As the dogs got closer, she tried to climb higher and put a death grip around my neck. I recall saying, "If you keep choking me, I'll pass out and fall down and the dogs will get you." Mercifully, the dogs lost interest and wandered off in time for me to remain conscious.

To this day, I avoid the 2nd Indiana Jones movie so I don't have to watch the walking/crawling through insect scenes. That and the little Chinese boy was really irritating. Needless to say, I would suck on Fear Factor.


Can't sleep... I think I'll go do laundry. It's 4am so the laundry room should be free. When I had my house, it would take forever to do laundry since I had to run each load in series. Now, if the washers/dryers are free, I can run all 3-4 loads in parallel and be done in 2 hours. That's probably the one and only advantage of living in an apartment. :(

Yes, 3-4 loads. I usually go through my entire wardrobe before I do laundry.


This weekend I'm running FOH sound at NewSong NOC. It's NewSong's 12th anniversary and the theme is Imagine. There is usually a special song each week and this week it's "Imagine" by John Lennon. I own a couple of Beatles CDs and I like a lot of their songs but I don't think "Imagine" is appropriate for a church service, especially considering the lyrics and John Lennon/Yoko Ono's politics.

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Hmm... sounds like communist-utopian nonsense to me. Well, at least I'm just running sound and not actually playing the music. I hope they're not planning to use this song again next week when I'm playing bass.

"Christianity will go. It will vanish and shrink. ... I don't know what will go first, rock 'n' roll or Christianity. We're more popular than Jesus now. Jesus was all right but his disciples were thick and ordinary. It's them twisting it that ruins it for me."

- John Lennon, 1966

Yeah, whatever...

Grandma Update

My grandma is doing much better. She came off dialysis and they moved her out of the ICU last week. I went to see her last Saturday and she was awake and alert although she had no idea who I was. While I was there, a nurse put a mask on grandma to administer some inhaled medicine and grandma was yelling that we were trying to suffocate her. I guess if she has the strength to complain, then she's probably recovering well. Two weeks ago, she was given only a 10% chance to live by her doctor.

With my uncle arriving from Shanghai this weekend, my parents are going to spend next week in my apartment. It's back to sleeping on the couch for me again.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tuesday, October 3, 2006


I'm getting bored with work. There's lots of stuff to do and I have a good staff but it seems like each month is the same, just the numbers are different. Same analysis, same slides, sigh...

This is looking more and more interesting. I wonder how much of a paycut I would have to take to be an entry-level chef somewhere.

Monday, October 2, 2006


I downloaded a free episode of Firefly from iTunes Music Store and watched it last week. I heard about the show when it first came out several years ago but didn't watch any of it. It turned out to be quite good so I found and downloaded all the episodes and the movie Serenity, which was based on the series. So far, I've watched three more episodes plus the movie and I'm hooked. The downloads are a bit dark and small so I'm planning on buying the DVD set from Amazon.

Too bad the series was cancelled after only 10+ episodes by FOX. With all the other crap shows they have, I'm not sure why Firefly got cancelled mid-season. One thing I'm ambivalent about is the use of Chinese in the dialog, almost exclusively curse/swear words. The story takes place ~50 years in the future where China and the U.S. have joined to form the Alliance, so there are a lot of Asian elements in the series. Quite often, the characters would say something in Mandarin as part of the dialog and there would be no subtitles. That's pretty cool! Since all the main characters are non-Chinese, the downside is that the pronounciation is so bad that you can't tell what they're saying unless you're paying very close attention. Maybe this is a good thing since there's a lot of swearing. There's no way they would be able to air this on FOX if they did all that swearing in English.

This is some of the Chinese dialog in the pilot show that I downloaded from iTunes. Of course, I didn't get any of it watching the first time. Even knowing what they're supposed to say, it was still hard to understand. They should have hired some Chinese actors to do the swearing.


My grandma got real sick this past week. Because of her Alzheimer's Disease, she's been living in a nursing home for the past several years. This is her 3rd trip to the emergency room since moving into the home. Evidently, a kidney stone block urine into her bloodstream and she was in toxic shock. Add this to a host of other medical conditions, including stomach cancer, they had to do emergency surgery on Wednesday. I went to see her after work on Wednesday and she didn't look too good.

Several days ago, her kidneys failed so they had to hook her up a dialysis machine. I spent the entire day at the hospital yesterday (Saturday) and by the evening, she was able to open her eyes for a couple of seconds which was a relief; we haven't been able to get a response from her since the surgery on Wednesday.

I just heard from my parents that her kidneys are functioning again so she's off dialysis but I think she is still on the ventilator since she can't breathe for herself. My parents are flying in from Toronto later this afternoon and my uncle is flying in from Shanghai in a few days. The other uncle drove down from San Francisco this past Wednesday. I have three other cousins in Los Angeles and all four of us have been to the hospital. I guess this is turning out to be a family reunion of sorts.

Fantasy Football, Week 4

Got distracted this week by other things and I left Larry Johnson on the bench. Arg! Don't think it would have mattered since all my other players in that league sucked this week.

In the other money league, I'm down 114-109 but I still have Donovan McNabb left to play. Let's hope he can get more than 5 points.

As usual, I kicked butt in my other other league since no money is on the line.