Monday, January 30, 2006

links for 2006-01-31

Social Investing

This article is highly critical of the Yucaipa Corporate Initiatives Fund, noting that the fund invested in Sean John and in Al Gore's Current Television:
"Meanwhile, the workers whose pensions have been invested in Yucaipa are getting a terrible deal. According to CALSTARS, California teachers have already committed $61.9 million of the $150 million that they promised Yucaipa. As of last March 31, three years after the venture started, they'd seen a grand total of $837 come back to them. Overall, the rate of return since the funds launched have been a loss of 12.1 percent.

CALPERS has not done much better. After pouring more than $116 million into various Yucaipa ventures since 2002, it's seen a return of $55,963.

At the same time, Yucaipa is also collecting hefty fees for managing the pension funds' investments — more than $3 million a year from CALPERS, and $3.5 million a year from the New York Common Retirement Fund. How much of this ends up in Bill Clinton's pocket is anybody's guess. He's not disclosing his fees. And why is Sen. Hillary Clinton, who appears to be so concerned about the state of our pension systems, silent about this?"

But, I think this article is sort of WRONG. Returns for private equity firms often take 5-6 years to realize. And this is just an example to me of how people are uncomfortable of multiple motivations in an organization or even the concept of for-profit social investing. It's like you can't do both, you can't make a profit (e.g. make a return on investment) and do something good. People feel uncomfortable with that, it has to be one or the other. I think that's so unfortunate though. Why does it have to be so divided?

Friday, January 27, 2006

links for 2006-01-28

Thursday, January 26, 2006

links for 2006-01-27

24-aholics

We've been having 24 marathons at my apartment.


Since all of us haven't kept up or watched any episodes of 24, about 2 weeks ago, I rented the first disc of 24, season 1. Little did I know our 24-watching would devolve into hours upon hours of 24-zombification.

We finished the first disc 1 day. Since Kane couldn't wait for Blockbuster to ship out the next disc, he went to Hollywood Video and picked up disc 2. We finished that right away, then, we scarfed up disc 3 and 4, and while halfway through 4, Kane picked up 5 and 6 also from Hollywood Video.

There is something to be said for instant gratification. Video store demise? I don't know...

Meanwhile, slow old Blockbuster finally shipped out disc 3, which I immediately returned and now I have disc 5 from Blockbuster, which isn't too useful...

It's kind of *crazy*!

When I went to return disc 4 at Hollywood, the video guy was like, "So it's you who's had this disc. Everyone is looking for it! So now you want dic 5 right?"

"I already have both 5 and 6," I sheepishly admitted. How embarassing! I guess they will be hunting me down for those discs, although at the rate we're going, we'll be done by tonight at 2 am.

So last night, we persuaded Angela to put aside her work for some couch potato fun. We were only going to watch one more episode, but.... ack, we watched all four of disc 5 in one sitting!!

BTW, I didn't realize how cool Keifer Sutherland was until I watched this show. Last summer, when I went out with Angela, Trevor and Dave, we went to Underbar and guess who was outside? Keifer! He was pretty friendly, considering he had lame people gawking at him at 2 in the morning. Unfortunately, none of us had watched 24, and I think someone thought he was Kevin Bacon. We're lame!

Here's a fun interview with a writer on the show about the challenges of writing a story with everything happening in real-time. Unfortunately, I haven't read it because I don't want anything given away! I guess it will be at least several months before I'll get to read it...

What's going to happen next in Season 1? (Don't click if you haven't watched any 24..) Currently, they are

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

links for 2006-01-26

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

My Spoiled Kitty

I just ordered my cat a couple presents:
  • A Drinkwell fresh flow fountain
  • Soft Claws

Drinkwell Fresh Flow Fountain


The Drinkwell fountain is a fresh flowing water fountain for cats. Supposedly, cats drink a lot more water if the water flows fresh. I would agree with that. My cat has an *obssession* with sinks and faucets. She is always climbing around all over the kitchen trying to get more water. She'll even drink out of the bath tub!

Anyway, I hope this gadget will cause her to drink more water and keep her off the counter. Naughty kitty!!

I chose the Drinkwell over the competing Petmate Fresh Flow fountain because the water is actually running down in a stream, like the faucet. I think she'll enjoy that more, even though the Petmate model is supposedly quieter and is definitely cheaper.

Soft Claws

Photo of kitty with pink soft claw manicure

My second purchase, Soft Claws are my last ditch attempt to get her to stop destroying my furniture! She has already clawed up my white couch, and stuffing is coming out of the side. There are claw marks on my leather bag, claw holes in my office chair... and I have to keep her away from my suitcase!

Soft Claws are vinyl nail caps that you can glue on your cat's claws. It covers up the claw so that the cat can't damage things when she scratches.

I'm not sure if I'm going to be able to glue them on her. She *hates* it whenever I touch her paws, and if you've ever met my cat, you know she's quite feisty.. I'm just going to have to attempt this like early in the morning or after a nap.. I'll keep you posted on how it goes!

Hopefully this will save my furniture and my luggage!!

Monday, January 23, 2006

links for 2006-01-24

Thursday, January 19, 2006

links for 2006-01-20

Target on a Roof



A giant Target painted on the top of a roof.. interesting way of advertising?

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

links for 2006-01-19

Friday, January 13, 2006

links for 2006-01-14

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

links for 2006-01-12

Locked Out of Gmail

I received a notification that I'd been locked out of my gmail account for 24 hours this afternoon.

What the hell?!

The notice said that they suspected "abnormal usage" and asked if I was using any third-party applications.

What?

The only thing I use my gmail account for is email. That's it! And I don't use any third-party applications. I don't understand why they're doing this. It's sort of shocking, and I feel quite powerless.

I wrote them an angry email, and asked for a personal response.
I got a form letter in response.

I then tried to log on again, using a different browser (normally I use Maxthon) and I was able to log in. Regardless of that, I don't consider gmail as a reliable email account anymore. I've just set up my gmail account to forward all emails addressed to gmail to my Yahoo! account for back-up purposes. I think it's pretty ridiculous that I have to do that, especially since I've undertaken no unusual activity with my email. Yuck!

Monday, January 9, 2006

links for 2006-01-10

Friday, January 6, 2006

links for 2006-01-07

Thursday, January 5, 2006

links for 2006-01-06

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

links for 2006-01-05

Tuesday, January 3, 2006

links for 2006-01-04

Happy Birthday, Kane!

It's Arun-old and Kane-mar!


A sketch:


Courtesy of a few of Homer's friends from Blue Sky.

Updated: Oops, I meant Kane-old and Arun-mar!

e-Books A Reality Soon?


Some links to e-reader / e-paper display makers:

How exciting!

Monday, January 2, 2006

links for 2006-01-03

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Thrifty Car Rental Sucks

I feel pretty angry at Thrifty Rent-a-Car, particularly the one located just off the airport in Honolulu. We rented a car from Thrifty on our trip, and when we got our car, the agent asked if we wanted the "pre-pay" gas option. She said that we would charged gas at $2.55 a gallon, versus the current rates of $2.65 a gallon.

Well it seemed like a deal to me, so I thought we should take the deal, which we did.

When we returned the car, it turned out the we had pre-paid for a FULL TANK of gas! So we were charged for a full tank, even though we had only used up half a tank. And the agent at the counter had not explained that to us!! Although she seemed nice, she really wasn't! Isn't that sneaky? I wonder if she was paid on commission.

Anyway, I did some investigating on the Internet, and it turns out I'm not the only one who's been scammed. This guy here had the same pre-pay gas scam pulled on him!

Looking back, I was stressed and in a rush to get to the airport. I think we should've argued the gas charge with the attendant, instead of just feeling bad and tricked at the car rental lot. Is it too late now? Or just too much hassle?

Sleazy companies suck! And unfortunately, since the mandate of a corporation is to make profit, sometimes sleazy tactics are used to make more profits, at the expense of consumers and frankly, society.

Boo Thrifty! I am sure that other car rental companies engage in these types of tactics, too. Has this ever happened to you?!

My Favorite Places to Eat in Oahu

In no particular order:
  • Yummy's- Korean fast food, Yummy's is located in the Ala Moana shopping center food court. Very tasty and affordable Korean food. Would've been great to take to the beach for a picnic, but we never ended up doing that

  • Waiola- delicious shave ice. It's shave ice, not shaved, at least in Hawaii, anyway! Try the Azuki Bowl, lots of red beans, tasty mochi balls and condensed milk. Lots of calories, but you could go jogging there from your hotel and treat yourself. Or you could just drive yourself over, which is what my lazy self did

  • Zippy's- a Hawaiian diner. They seem to have Zippy's all over the place in Honolulu; we went to the one on Kapahulu Rd and another one that has a seated serving section. Try the chili with rice, the saimen and the Teriyaki burger. Yum! Open 24 hours, I think, so great for late-night revelry. Can someone please open one on the mainland?
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