Monday, June 30, 2008

Workout Sunday

I swam with Nikhil, Divya, Adit and Chhavi. The pool at their apartment complex (behind Ranch 99, Foster City/ San Mateo) is like a resort pool!
We estimated the pool's length to be 25 meters.
I completed 40 laps (a lap being a round-trip instead of just one-way), so swam 2 km.

I was so tired after the long week and the amazing Saturday and Sunday workouts, I fell asleep on the couch by midnight!

Workout Saturday

Amazing workout today; Biceps and triceps, each with 5 exercises of 4 sets.  So a total of 40 sets, and all within 1 hour.

Restaurant Review - Belgian Fritz, San Francisco

I met my cousin Diya and her hubby Kuru this Friday. They're a lot of fun, and like good food.
We had originally planned on eating at Dosa in SF, which I had wanted to try out. However, the wait was long (45 minutes), so we went to the Belgian Fritz place.

My opinion:  I like the place.

Fries:  Quite good. Not at the same level as the fries I had in Belgium, but close enough to not matter.  And I wish you got more varieties of sauces included in the order - for small fries, you get one sauce, for large - 2.  My favorites include the Thai Chilli, Ponzu-based, and Wasabi-cream based sauces.  And I really like their chilli fries.

Beers: they've got an ok selection, not extensive by any means. But for those who like the old standards Chimay and Duvel, that shouldn't matter.

Crepes and sandwiches: Quite good again.  The ham sausage crepe in particular is very, very good.

Ambiance: I like the white/black colors, but in trying to be too modern (post-modern) and hip, they have succeeded in making the chairs not too comfortable. 

Here are some reviews on Zagat, and some photographs -Fritz-3

Fritz-1 Fritz-2

Fritz-4 Fritz-5 Fritz-7

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Video: Great Teacher performing at BrainWash

Here is a video of Mike's band Great Teacher performing at Brain Wash in San Francisco in the past

Musical Roomie

Roommate update: Mike is playing a gig at the Brain Wash in San Francisco (1122 Folsom St) this Saturday, June 28th, starting at 9 pm.

He is debuting some new songs, and had teamed up with some mystery musicians instead of his Great Teacher band for this one.

Mike's site has more details, as well as free music, videos, etc.
He has just started building this site, so it is still a bit sparse. Send him feedback ( on stuff you'd like to see on the site.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Saturday: 600 Miles to Solvang

After a long week light on sleep, Saturday brought the chance to celebrate with friends... and take my car for its first long-distance drive.

Aileen, a good friend from my days at LifeScan, got married to Neil. The wedding was in Solvang, with the ceremony at the old mission, and the party afterwards at the Crossroads Estate across from the Firestone winery.
The wedding was fun, I got to meet a lot of old friends. The temperature made it interesting - it was 116 degrees!!! I met a 95 year old man, who had moved to Solvang after retiring 44 years ago - he mentioned it was the hottest day in his memory.

Since I was running late, I drove on 101 instead of highway 1. The drive was amazing; I did however drive all the way with the top down, so ended up getting nicely sunburned.

Map image

I found out another thing - when the temperature climbs above 100 degrees, any speed below 80 mph in a convertible means you sweat continuously.

I left Solvang around 9:30 pm. Since I didn't want to drive while tired, I again had to take 101. (Highwa 1 takes an extra 1.5 - 2 hours). Having a new car has made me more careful - I even stopped at a strip mall after King City to take a nap. It wasn't the smartest idea; I had planned on napping for 30 minutes, then buying a coke from McD's and driving home. When I went to sleep, the strip mall was full and quite busy. I woke 40 minutes later, parked under the only street lamp that was still lighted, and with the entire area dark and deserted. I have to admit - I was awake and alert very fast.

Finally got home at 2:15 am. A long drive, and a very enjoyable one. I would recommend you all have a lot of friends, and buy a BMW 335i hard-top convertible. Then convince those friends to get married in Solvang. This gives you the setting for a perfect Saturday!

Workout Sunday

Shoulders, 5 exercises with 4 sets each. I'm getting old - still tired from Saturday day-trip to Solvang and little sleep all week, so less intense workout

Monday, June 16, 2008

Restaurant Review - Panda Express

I had been craving the panda for a while, so used my Sunday workout as an excuse to eat there. As usual, Panda was very good - if you like sweet Chinese food (reminds me of Indian Chinese food), clean premises and very fast service.

As usual, one of my items was the Orange chicken. Normally, I end up taking 2 helpings of Orange chicken - its just that good. But this time Panda had a new item on the menu - Sizzling Beef - so I tried that one out. It blew me away! Soft, melt in your mouth beef with a tender yet crispy skin, nice tangy sauce... a new favorite!

Workout Sunday

Major workout! Biceps and triceps, 5 exercises each, most with 4 sets, a couple with 5 sets.
And completed within 75 minutes.

Workout Saturday

Chest; lighter workout, with only 3 exercises, 4 sets each

Workout Friday

Back; lighter workout, with only 3 exercises, 4 sets each

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Game Preview - Battlefield; Bad Company

Saw the new tv ad for Battlefield: Bad Company. The graphics looked good, the setting, guns, vehicles and character models looked cool, and the ad was quite funny.

The big gun in this space of course is Call of Duty 4, and expectations are high for Army of Two (rated the number one among 50 anticipated games about 1.5 - 2 years ago by EGM - Electronic Gaming Magazine). But if the game approaches how good the ad looked, it will be a solid buy!

Workout Thursday

Shoulders; 6 exercises. 5 with 4 sets each, 1 with only 2 sets

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Workout today

Arms - biceps and triceps, 4 exercises 4 sets each, of each

Monday, June 9, 2008

Windows Live Writer

I finally have Windows Live Writer installed.  Thanks Ankur!

Now I can add the Benny Lava video so folks can view it right here!

Workouts - weights and swimming

Didn't work out as much as I would have liked to, but got some good stuff in;
Friday - Back and Chest, with 4 exercises of 4 sets for each of them. I'm still sore, which is great!
Saturday - swam 50 laps (~2 Km). It wasn't tiring, but got boring after a while. The good thing was, my arm and shoulder movements were improving, so I am improving my swimming technique.

Game Preview - Gears of War 2 (Part 2)

Gears of War 2 is coming out in November, and I am starting to get as amped up as I was for the first version! Check out the viscerally pleasing video, and download wallpapers.

(Seems the locust have chainsaws too.. Nice!)

I was blown away by the visuals. Given the early stage, I'm sure they will get another face lift soon, but as far as I'm concerned they're ready to go. I saw a sneak peak, comparing the graphics between GoW and GoW 2, and the upgrade is impressive. With GoW, Epic Games had strived for a look they called "Destroyed Beauty", which while inducing chuckles, did actually work. GoW 2 amps that up by adding heavier atmospherics, 'dust' particles, and what seems like improved shading.

Oh, and Gears of War 2 is still an XBox exclusive, so I would recommend buying one!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Car buying tip - 1 (BMWs)

Are you looking to buy, or thinking of buying a BMW in a year or so? If so, there's a small secret; join the BMW Car Club of America; members with over a year's standing get a nice discount that can range between $200 - $1,500 per forums, depending on the car you bought, of course.

But definitely try negotiating for a discount yourself first, before pulling out this card.

Car Review - BMW 335i Convertible (1)

Part (1) of my review of the BMW 335i hard-top convertible:

Disclosure - I liked this car so much, that after test-driving over 50 cars from December - March, I bought one myself. I wanted a build that wasn't commonly available, so had to order one from Germany... which gave me the chance to drive a lot more cars before mine arrived.

So this part of the review is the summary. And the summary is.... its AWESOME!! No ifs, ands or buts. This car is the bomb! To misappropriate a quote from Jeremy Clarkson - its like a sharp Armani suit, but one you can put on all day every day.

Want to spend a very pleasant 10 - 20 minutes? Try building your own 335i Convertible!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Pandora, bookmark songs and artists

Pandora is allowing users to bookmark favorite songs and artists.
Check out profile pages
This is incredibly powerful - not only does it add a lot of value to the users (obviously, and very late in coming), but also in the wealth of data that Pandora can mine.

Earlier, all they had were thunbs-up or thumbs-down marks that a user could give when a song played on a station, thereby helping Pandora's algorithms in refining the station. Now there is a second level of preference available - which songs, among those the user already liked, does he/she like enough to bookmark for the future?

And as an aside, there is also the more plebian opportunity to ask users if they want to buy these songs...

Game Review - Wii Fit

Kosmix now has a Wii Fit at the office. It was interesting, but nowhere near as addictive as the original Wii sports.

Will it help people get fit? My 2 cents on this - Wii Fit will not be for those who go to the gym or work out even thrice a week. You could burn a lot more calories much faster at the gym... and cardio machines today do have some distracting stats displays to satisfy that need.
For those who don't work out regularly, or are busy, lazy, or not near a gym, the Wii Fit can be a good motivator to get some exercise while having fun, and charting performance.

Forecast - look for women aged 35 - 50 to be the primary users.

And finally, a funny video courtesy of Dan Hendricks -

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I'm Steve Wiebe

Tom's hot sauce has dethroned me. Fallen down the corporate ping pong ladder.
Time to stop working and practice day and night!

King of Ping Pong

I've been at the top of the Kosmix Ping Pong ladder for about a month now (with one week where Bruce Wright temporarily dethroned me).
The party is over; Tom Luong, one of the top players, challenged me today.

2nd day of serious workouts

Triceps yesterday; 4 exercises of 4 sets each. Followed by 50 laps (25 round-trip laps) in the 24-hour fitness pool, then the spa, the jacuzzi, the sauna.

The 24-hr fitness pool isn't the cleanest in the world. I took a Zyrtec just to be sure when I was done!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Weights today - biceps

A briskly cool Sunday evening, so instead of trying to swim I started with working out my arms (biceps) today. Light weights with fast reps, little rest between sets.
4 exercises of 4 sets each. Its a good beginning, but I had too much energy left when I finished.

Getting fit

I've let myself go over the last few years, so once again, without the stimulus of a New Year's Resolution, I'm going to try to get fit again. Key methods:
- Table tennis every day (ooh, sounds so soul-crushing)
- Weights 5-6 days/week
- Swimming and other cardio workouts as permitted by my knee

GAme Preview - Gears of War 2!!

Gears of War 2 is coming out soon!! Saw an in-game demo, that looked better than the original game. Cliffy B might suck menthol, but looks like he'll deliver again.

I can't wait!