231 Erwin Road

My experiences as a Northern transplant down in Chapel Hill, NC, 2005. And now my experiences back up in NYC.

Monday, February 28, 2005

A sneak peak of what's to come

From the PR department of what's on the horizon:

Sunday, February 27, 2005

Pub Crawl

I survived IBM RTP Pub Crawl 2005 and all I got was this lousy tag line.

So what I do know involves the first 3 bars, I don't remember anything after that except for Hector's at the end of the night. I'll try and recap.

Before I start though, please read this story for your amusement - Busting Underage Girls. Written by a roommate who I will leave anonymous in order to save any of my ramblings from costing him a public office some day.

Seven PM
We'll we started the night off at He's Not Here:
Now if that arrow doesn't explain it for you, He's Not Here is an outdoor bar down an alley off of Franklin St. Now I had called this establishment earlier in the week to see if any arrangements would need to be made, they said everything should be fine. We show up there a little after 7pm and the bar is not only empty, but it's closed as well. Standing in the alleyway watching two bums walk out of a convenience store with a brown bag beer set a lightbulb off. Why not grab a few 40's and get this party started? After all, you have to be a rock star to be hired into IBM, right? A few of us grab some 40's of Miller High Life and head back to the empty benches. We all enjoy a good hour of re-living half of my weekends in high school.

Eight PM
From there we headed to Top Of The Hill, which you've heard me rant about before. Not much to say other then downing a 40' put me in a mood capable of enjoying a restaurant full of people enjoying their evening dinner.

Nine PM
On to The Library. Another bar we hit too early in the night, although they did have balloons set up for us, or was it for the wedding party that was there? They did have a foozball table though, but it was a piece of crap to be said eloquently. One of those knock off type tables that you would expect to come as a free gift with the purchase of a pair of slippers. I lost, big time, so shots were in order, a round of Red Snapper's to start the night off with a kick. Ohh wait, didn't I do shots with Martin's gf at the last bar?

Ten PM
The Coffee Shop should have been next, but we made a last minute decision to head to Goodfella's. At this point the rest of the night becomes hearsay. I'm not admitting to anything unless you have pictures to prove it.

Eleven PM
Woody's - no recollection.

Twelve AM
Linda's - The general recollection from the other roommates is that this place had a blue hue. At some point here, I booted. I'm not sure why, maybe I did a shot, or maybe I chugged a beer, I dunno. I just remember standing over a urinal and hearing Chris perform the same action in the stall next to me. As Doug pointed out, I'm like Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School.

One AM
A last minute move places us at Hector's instead of Lucy's. A smart move in my book. Hector's is known for their hamburgers in pita bread. I ordered way too much food. Two rounds of pita burgers and cheese fries, I think I may have shared the cheese fries if anybody was quick enough with their hands.

So that was IBM Triangle Pub Crawl 2005. I had a great time, I think the other participants did as well. The start of the night was like Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath novel where a mini story is the prelude to a longer story, He's Not Here was that mini story for me. I did somehow end up losing an SD card from my phone. I don't know how, I don't know why, but it's gone. If anybody knows where it is, give me a holla. Peace out.

Saturday, February 26, 2005

The Incredible World of Dic.

This is disturbing. I accidentally typed in dictionary.com and some how landed on this page:


Don't worry, it's appropriate for work. It's actually a kids entertainment website, very weird.

Good morning Detroit Rock City!

Damn it feels good to be a gansta. It's Saturday morning (or noon), it's sunny outside, and Ghost Busters 2 is on the tele. I have a big night ahead of me with this upcoming pub crawl that Chris and I arranged.

Had a nice romantic dinner with Patrick last night. I mean to say, Patrick made dinner for Danielle and I and it was mighty tasty Tuna. He pimped out the plate with sauce and oranges. That boy can cook.

Went out drinking with Kai and Rane last night, we went to some cool bars in carrborro. Each time I go out, I'm surprised about the type of bars down here, not your typical college bar scene. Maybe I just didn't know about them in boston, I was too busy being drunk. (BTW, lady liberty is about to make her appearance in the movie, hell yeah.)

So we started at the Lantern last night. It's a cool bar, you have to walk around the back of the restaurant and then head in though a black curtain. Nice little spot with good seating. We headed to a bar with pool tables afterwards.

We made the obligatory stop to Waffle House. I got hashbrowns with EVERYTHING on it, I can't remember what they call it though, it should be called
"exploded hashbrowns."

Friday, February 25, 2005

Foozball pwns my life

Spent at least an hour playing intense foozball on Friday night. 2-on-2 action, my type of style. We actually hit the ball off the table twice, I've never scene that before. IBM treats us well, we have a Tornado table, it rocks. I remember playing foozball with Brent and Doug up in Tanglewood 2 summers ago. The table had wooden players. I hit the ball so hard with one from defense and I actually broke his legs off. It ruled, we just walked out of the bar after that.

So this week started with a productive start on Monday, reading market intelligence. By mid-week I met with somebody working on disruptive technologies, he's putting a team together about social networking - this might turn out to be something. That got me excited, and it was such a nice day out, so I picked up some of the interns and we headed out to Pao Lim. After work we had an exiting "Rational User Group" to head to. The free pizza almost made it worth it.

Friday we had some IBM patent dudes head in and talk to us about the IBM patent process and the benefit of software patents. I didn't quite agree with that and we had a little discussion going back and forth. I'm a little torn on the issue though. I am thoroughly against them, but if I was to patent some process though IBM it would be pretty beneficial to me. One, they financial compensate us, two it gives you 'cred.' It's a really powerful thing to have on your IBM profile. I still have to think about it some more. I could always give the money to the EFF. The whole process has to change. Me abstaining from submitting patents doesn't help anybody. I have to be proactive about actually changing the perception of people and changing the process.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Treo 650 Review

So I purchased a Treo 650 from Sprint PCS. I didn't even know about the phone until I walked into the store. I used to have Sprint a few years back and hated them. Now that's all changed. They have the best plan in my book, basically you buy 'blocks' of minutes so they don't rape you with overage charges. For instance, I have a $50/700min plan, but if I go over, they sell me a 100min block for $5 (5c/min if I use all of them,) this way I don't get raped, and I still end up paying a lot less then my old Verizon plan. (http://vzuscks.com is temporarily down)

So it's been a while since I've used a Palm OS pda. After moving to MS Pocket PC, it's hard to go back. These are my complaints:
  1. Hot Syncing is SLOWWW! (minutes instead of seconds) It takes forever just to sync contacts and such, let alone any media. The hot syncing also locks the Treo during sync. That's really annoying on a slow sync, Pocket PC allows you to use the PDA and the host software while it is still syncing, it's much quicker, and it gives you a detailed breakout of what components are being synced.
  2. The OS sucks. Pocket PC is a full fleged OS. The applications on Pocket PC are so much more robust, the media players, the Word editor, the Web Browser, the Contacts, the Calendar.
  3. There is no scroll button. I would hope that the volume keys could actually be used to scroll a web page, but no dice, I'll have to look into a hack for that one.
  4. It has a sub-mini headphone port. That means you can't plug in normal headphones or components. I think I even have to buy a special adapter, not the typical radio shack adapter. Bluetooth should be installed in car radios so devices could send a signal directly to them. I wonder if there are any bluetooth to FM transmitter device?
  5. On the Pocket PC, I could hold the stylus down on an object and it would pop up a context menu similar to right clicking with a mouse. This was a very useful and efficient way to run common tasks. The Palm OS does not have an option like this.
  6. When Palm tries to guess if text is a phone number, it must be in the form of xxx-xxx-xxxx, it can not handle (xxx) xxx-xxxx. That is so retarded.


  1. Thumpad. Much needed in my life. The Treo doesn't have a grafitti pad, but with a thumb pad, you don't need it. I hear there is software that allows you to write grafitti across the screen.
  2. Wireless - Although it doesn't have 802.11 WiFi, that's not such a bad thing. The internet access is slow, but not killer. The more I think about WiFi, the more I realize it wouldn't be available where I needed it, in stores, out on street, ... If I need internet access, I'm most likely gonna need it where WiFi isn't around.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Making Cookies

So I attempted to make chocolate chip cookies tonight. Something that is incredibly easy to do and something I have done a good number of times in the past. I’ve even made choc. chip cookies from scratch, and they turned out damn good.

Well, for some reason I put them down on wax paper. After not paying attention for 5 min, there was a shit load of smoke in the kitchen. I guess I’ve never thought about it before, but you can’t put wax paper in the oven. Now that I think about it, I believe I have before and the oven has smoked, but I just ignored it.

So I take the half cooked cookies out and try to salvage them from the wax paper. But that turns into a mess because they are half cooked and don’t come off the paper too easy. I end up with really thin cookie parts, and a bunch of goo on the wax paper. I throw the super thins back in the oven and crinkle the goo into small crumb cookies. I put those on some aluminum foil and throw them back into the oven. So 5 min later we have thin crunch choc. chip cookies and cookie bits. They were still editable, but weren’t super tasty. The cookie bits were good and fun to drop into a glass of milk.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

I love the February Teens (Week in Review)

No, not teenage girls!

Well my productivity at work this week has been less then exceptional. While I have been able to clean up my Inbox, I'm still confused on what type of "product" we are actually making. It seems the tech mentor and me have different ideas on what this "product" will do and compete against. I'll have to feel out the waters a little more this week, hopefully I'll be in a better situation next weekend.

Thursday was awful productive though. It was the Software Group's (SWG) 2005 Kickoff and they had booths set up for half the day. I cleaned up with all of the prizes. I won a mouse pad, a train whistle, and best of all, an RC car. To win this rad car I had to have the fastest time around a homemade race track down in the cafeteria dining room. The track was pretty complicated, it had bridges, tunnels, and hairpin turns. The track walls were made of used keyboards and old printers, looked like something that would have been on the floor of an MIT dormroom. Totally appropriate for IBM. On my first run I scored third pace. My second run later that day bumped me up to second place. I had to play around 10-15 times to get into first place with 17 sec, blowing the competition away by 2 seconds, it was awesome. We took a checkered flag along with the car and it's hanging in my cube. I just put a bid on a wireless cam on ebay to mount it on the hood.

Brent's brother Ryan told me about his Vegetable Fuel System this week.

Eric and Jenessa made it down this weekend. Saturday night we went to Firebirds Rocky Mountain Grill down at Southpoint, I had an awesome pepper steak. We headed back to Philip's house for some texas hold'em and video games. Spent a late night not getting drunk.

Saturday I headed back to Southpoint with Rane and got a new pair of kicks, a kick ass shirt (Nap. Dyn.), and a candle to make my bedroom all nice and sh'it.

We headed down to the Carolina Brewery on Saturday night. After chowing down on burgers, we were all a little too full to enjoy a night out on the town. We headed to Top O' The Hill where it finally clicked that although the bar is really cool, it's not worth the wait, it takes forever to close out a tab there.

I've managed to completely waste another Sunday down here. The day starts off with me getting up early thinking I will accomplish a lot. I then do things like surf the web, read articles, finding a new phone (Sprint), and blog. Before I know it, it's 9:30; it's late, not early. Time to get an OS CoP newsletter made up, peace.

Monday, February 14, 2005

And the dog sha't on my rug

And the dog sha't on my rug is how the night ended. Tis it was Valentine's Day and all through 231 Erwin people seemed to be miserable, even Gail, the female dog, or as I like to refer to her, Madam Bitch.

Today was grossly productive. I made good use out of my noiseless headphones as I sifted through endless amounts of EB (Extreme Blue) emails. We must not forget the obligatory 1 hour foozball tournament to properly close out a day.

After work I headed over to Taylor's house for some Valentine's Day Enchiladas. They were the best Valentine's Day Enchiladas I have ever had. Taylor made personal Valentine's Day cards for everybody in the lab. They were well thought out, it was nice of her.

Chris joined us for dinner and we sat around watching various bits of entertainment on the talkie box. The night ended with back-to-back slide splitting humor of Bob Saget. First in an early 90's "America's Funniest Home Videos" then on to "Full House" where Michelle mistakenly assumes a pretend marriage with DJ's boyfriend, Steve, to be the real McCoy. I think the idea of Chris, Taylor, and myself sitting in front of the TV watching Full House was thoroughly entertaining.

Came back home and spent the rest of the night watching cartoons and drinking beer. And as much fun as that sounds it was still missing something. I guess I'll know what that 'something' is when I'm older.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

A Visit from Richmond

So Chris came down for the weekend and I had a great time. Friday night had a few twists and turns though.


On Chris's drive down I decided to head into Raleigh for an hour to play pool with the other interns. Instead of typing in Duraleigh Rd, I type in Durham Rd in Raleigh, NC. Little did I know where I would end up. As I'm approaching my destination, the roads seem very desolate, but as this is 1000 miles from nyc, I think that everything is in order.

The lady on my GPS lets me know that "I have arrived" when I'm sitting in front of a lone mail box on the corner of a dirt and gravel road. At this point I give Kei a call to say that I'm going to be late. He informs me of the current address. I then proceed for a few miles down this dirt/gravel road in the middle of nowhere trying to get back to civilization. It was dark, it was scary. There were these white Southern Baptist Churches every hundred feet that were lit up with spot lights to highlight their creepiness. They were one story buildings with those huge massive steeples that stick up into the sky. At this point I locked my car doors because I feared that I was in ass raping country. I don't even lock my doors when I'm driving though the bronx.

I finally make it to the pool hall just to throw down a beer and drive back to Chapel Hill to meet Chris. I take Kei with me and we head down to Franklin St with Rane as well. She took us to a Chapel Hill hipster bar that did have a slight hipster feel to it (pool table, pbrs, somewhat sloppy hair styles, ...) but was a little too bright. After a few Long Island's we headed to another bar to meet up with Francisco. I was royally drunk by this point as I did not have dinner. We pound back a few more drinks and shots and then I forget most of the rest of the night. From what I hear, we went to Top O' the Hill for 20min before last call. I do remember gaining conscious about 95% through a Waffle House meal.


Woke up late and headed down to the post office to get some V day cards out by Chris and I. There was a cool ny style deli down there that we grabbed lunch at. The food wasn't that great, but the decor was to the T. We were also suckered into buying some Girl Scout Cookies by a persistent saleswoman on top of a car.

Afterwards we headed to Southpoint where we say a half naked man and a girl standing in front of Abercrombie & Fitch trying to attract traffic. It worked for Chris so we headed in. I bought a green zip-up jacket at Banana Republic that I'm quite happy about. It's a ripoff jacket that Brian has, since when did Brian become trendy? NYC will do that to a person.

Later that evening Chris and I headed to my technical mentor's house for food, drinks, and fun. The rest of my team was there and we ate good food, played ping pong, and watched Office Space.

We ducked out early to head back down to Franklin St where we once again met up with Kei and were joined by some EB interns. After chillin at Top O' the Hill for a few drinks we strolled over to 'Players.' Now if you've never been to 'Players' you need to understand the atmosphere. Keep in mind that no description could do it justice and you must visit this place at least once if you live down here. Imagine dirty spring break bar meets forgotten about urban city and you have players - where everybody's drunk and you're not having a goodtime unless your bumping something against somebody. We made a night of this and I don't think I will attempt a return trip with a party of 7 dudes again. You need a few females in a situation like that. One female is not enough because the whole party will accost her all night.

After last call, police officers are kind enough to standby as you exit the 'club.' We headed down to I heart NY Pizza were I seemed to been ripped off with $15 worth of 4 slices. I think a quasi fight might have broke out as there was a lot of testosterone waiting online.

End scene.


After a Cinnamon Raisin at Bagel's on the Hill Chris headed back to VA for a full day of work. I went home and napped. When I woke up I did some laundry, ran a few errands, and returned the projector to Staples. The return when smoother then I could have hoped for, what a success. On an obligatory trip to Walmart I stopped by the neighboring dollar store to pick up a book, "Dear God, Thanks for making me special!"

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Superbowl and then some


So lets run down Superbowl Sunday. I do the I'm half awake thing all morning and decide to grab a bowl of cereal at 1pm. Well, it's a gorgeous day out, 63', so I think it would be fun to eat my bowl on the side porch. MMMM, a nice bowl of grapenuts, how filling. I get up to return back inside to find that I have locked myself out of the house and no roommates are in sight. Gail (Patrick's dog) is happy to see me but wonders herself how to get though the glass door. Repeated attempts of me yelling the command "GAIL, OPEN THE DOOR" yield little to no results. It doesn't help that the dog stands about 2' tall on hind legs.

So I decide to enjoy this lovely day and take a walk in the sun. But wait, I'm barefoot and I don't even have a wallet. I remembered that I threw some sneaks in the back of my car in case I got wicked drunk one night and had to high tail it home from Chapel Hill. Luckily we live in a safe neighborhood and I leave my car unlocked. So now I have some kicks and I'm ready to go. I make a pit stop a few hundred feet from my house to lay on the grass and call some folks, including my dad, it's his birthday on the 6th. After wrapping up the phone calls, I continue on my journey, but where to? Borders and Lowes. After walking another few hundred feet, my ankles are burning. I look back to see one of them bleeding. Those crappy shoes were cutting into the back of my foot with no socks. I was left with 2 choices, continue to rip my ankle skin off in a most uncomfortable manor, or high tail it barefoot. Well, I made the rest of the treck (a whole 1/2 mile) barefoot. It felt kinda good on such a warm day.

After taking a stroll around the parking lot (I didn't feel like putting my shoes back on to go into Borders) Patrick called me laughing (thanks to the note I left) and I returned home. - That was my day out in the sun and my first real treck in Chapel Hill.

I spent the rest of the afternoon getting forgotten goods for the party. I even make a trip to staples to "rent" a multimedia projector. Ohh was that an awesome decision. We set up the projector to project onto the wall, it was amazing. We had a 10' screen, un-freakin-believable. Totally awesome. Superbowl night was great, a good mix of IBMers and Duke'rs. Everybody bought lots of food and lots of beer. There beer should last for a bit. Patrick made wings and an awesome taco dip. Brandon grilled skewers (although he had another name for them.) and they were awesome. It was chicken, onions, and jalapenos - wrapped in bacon, I should say, wrapped in heaven.


So spent the day dragging around work, not too hungover thankfully. Spent the night cleaning up the apartment. Then for some reason I decided to play with Friendster and I didn't stop until about 12:30am. Now it's 1:30am and I still need to write a letter to Kristine. I should get on that, ight, I'm out.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Comedy Worx

HaHa, what a funny name, not. Today was a bust, woke up around 1. Went out to lunch with Rane and her friends, they were pretty cool, some PhD students at Duke. We got to sit outside, it was sunny.

IBM hosted a "get-together" tonight. We went to a G rated improv comedy show, about as much fun as a G rated porno. Afterwards we hit up the Mellow Mushroom for some pizza.

Us 'guys' broke off and headed to a sports bar in Raleigh. I couldn't drink much because I had to drive. I still don't get this whole living in the suburbs thing. If people are going to complain about the problems of drunk driving then they need to come up with a solution. Designated Drivers are NOT the answer. I want self driving cars or some service that will drive around a town picking up all the drunks (what a car ride that would be.)

The night fizzled out promptly at 9:30pm. Nobody felt like getting wasted, and I couldn't. So I drove home and wasted a Saturday night playing with Friendster. There needs to be a better way to import my friends, such as an import of my IM buddylist (I thought they had that, but I couldn't find it.)

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Second Week

So I'm about to wrap up the 2nd week of Extreme Blue, that's 1/9th of the Program, that's like 1 pizza slice, mmmm. pizza.

So the meetings have faded down a bit, I think I'm slacking a little on the biz side and need to get the ball rolling. I'm becoming the kid to beat at foozball around the office. I think I like that, but soon, they will get to know my moves and they will beat me.

So Josh J. Got engaged last night, he told me over email. Maybe I should propose over email one day.

I'm sitting in my room (Alan's room) typing away, but I want to fall asleep. Yesterday was Patrick's bday and we all went out to Maggiano's at Southpoint, including Patrick's rents. It was an amazing meal, I still feel full from the gross amounts of food that I shoveled down my throat.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

End of Week One

So I'm writing this post a number of days after the wrap up of week one, but that is because I was so busy that week, I didn't have time to write to my dear 'ol journal.

Week One was crazy, it was hectic, it was confusing, it was fun. I spent 8 hours a day in meetings, conference calls, and web casts. I had a 1000 emails to go though by the end of the week. I got to know my group pretty well.

On Tuesday Martin took me to a Red Hat discussion he thought the CEO was talking at, turned out to be a college recruiting pitch. I got free pizza out of it at least. At Red Hat they give out free drinks to their employees and they have special "Red Hat" water bottles that say "Free is in water" - How Clever.

On Wednesday, Lori took us to the Rational Users Group (RUG) about as much fun as the word RUG. From there I headed to a NextStep event, Cosmic Bowling. It was a fun time, I met some other IBMers from the software group.

On Thursday I went to Staples and Walmart and bought a whole bunch of office supplies that I didn't need because there is a cabinet of that shet for us. I did make an awesome purchase of a 1000 piece Lego set. Haven't gotten around to playing with it yet. I also bought a few things from the "elementary school" isle, including static sticking fish and ABC's to put around the top of cubicle walls (or tops of chalkboards in school.)

On Friday I had a good night. Headed down to Franklin street for the first time since moving down. Met up with the other EBers and spent the night at one underground bar because they didn't car and we had a minor. The key point of the night was Waffle House. This was my first visit ever, and boy was it ghetto. IHOP has nothing on this place, except service, food, and size. Top 5 places to go after drinking/smoking all night:
1. White Castle
2. IHOP in Kenmore Sq. (closed down, thank you BU)
3. Carl's Steak House on 3rd Ave. (or 33rd Pizza)
4. Waffle House
5. Dunkin Doughnuts on Main St in Port Washington

Saturday I met up with Josh B and his drunken crowd. We took Rane out with us and celebrated both Josh B's bday and a friend's 21st (who had NEVER dranken before.) We went to Top of the Hill and proceeded to get drunk. I bought a round of Car Bombs for all, they were greatly appreciated and quickly devoured. I think that will be my shot of choice down here in Chapel Hill.

Sunday was spent sitting in front of the TV trying to work on researching Social Networking, but that didn't happen. I pissed most of the day away procrastinating. I did get my bills all in order though.

Then is was back to EB.