Archive for the 'Diary' Category

[Diary] Big Storm in Bay Area

Posted Under: Diary

Two days ago, January 3rd, my colleage talked to me about a drought in California if rain doesn’t come. We need water! Without water, none of us will live and guess what, we got what we asked for. All in one day. This makes me think, “Be careful what you ask for.” Check out this CNN article. The storm has created is so damaging that even my Comcast cable got knocked out, so no TV, no internet last night. Alright, my problem is completely minor compare to what else happened, though it did make me miss a not-so-stellar Warriors game.

Yesterday in the morning, I drove to work because my laptop was in the office. The driving condition is the worst I experience in this area. I’ve driven across country, from Bay Area to Seattle, from Florida to Michigan. The only thing worse I remember is iced and snow-filled roads in the mid-west.

Many of the highways in California are not in their best conditions, so there were a lot of puddles. I was literally hydroplaning left and right, figuratively, and let’s add gusty wind to that. It’s no wonder there were a lot of accidents, most of them due to hydroplane. For that, I will share my advice base on my driving experience.

When you hydroplane, you must steady the driving wheel. Let me repeat, you must steady the driving wheel. Only then, you steadily (slowly) turn the car back on track. Do not jerk the wheel. Again, do not jerk the wheel. Because any sudden movement to the driving wheel to change direction, your car will easily spin out of control. The key here being steady hands, and this implies that you will need to stay loose. By that, I mean relaxing and having less body tension in order to react steadily. Think martial arts, because that’s what boxers and martial artists have to do in fight.

On the other hand, you can always slow down, especially in my area because the slow lanes are safer without as many puddles. I wonder if they built the roads like that intentionally. Either way, it doesn’t hurt to drive at a snail pace once to stay out of accidents, or certain death.

Happy New Year!

It’s a great day today because it’s new year day. And it’s a new beginning. I wish everyone a happy 2008 ahead.

For me, I’ve been battling with a severe cold and sick like a dead pig in the past few days, so I hope everyone out there is staying healthy unlike me :) I’m trying to recover quickly because it’s also time to go back to work.

Now what’s new year without new year resolution. It’s always good to have a resolution, or goal in a new year. Something you want to improve about yourself for your own sake or the people around you. Be it financial, health-related, spiritual, or of some personal habit. It’s good to set one or few goals but don’t set so many of them because you can do anything but you can’t do everything. Focus is important.

Once you set your mind on what the goal is, keep in mind these few things:

For me, I definitely need to get back to my work-out routine because past 2 weeks’ inactivities, albeit some exercise, have lead to quite some muscle loss. That means 3 times weight training in the gym per week plus cardio once or twice on separate days. Besides that, I will continue to be consistent and persistent in my endeavors in my career, personal finance, and then of course, piano and singing. Perhaps you think this is a lot of items? Perhaps it is, but I have been consistently contributing to these things for the past 2-3 years already. It’s just a matter of keeping up now, and we all know that the beginning is always tougher.

With that, I once again wish that everyone a happy and wonderful year ahead. Keep up the effort!

Happy Holidays

Posted Under: Diary

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Being a rare occasion, it’s the perfect time to express our gratitude for family and friends, maybe do something beyond gift giving. Say thank you to them. Give them a suffocating bear hug. Kiss passionately (I suggest save this for your partner). However, don’t forget to show gratitude throughout the year. Be appreciative for all the little things others do - a small hand they lent, a smile that has brightened your day, or simply being there for you. Life is less about drama but all these small things put together.

And I am sure you are all enjoying some festivity and parties with family and friends. Enjoy some good food but take care not to indulge too much or too long. A bit of indulgence is okay, but it’s a heck lot of harder to get rid of some 20,30 lbs than gaining them. Just a word of caution.

With that said, thank you to you all who take the time to stop by my blog over the year. It’s been fun and wish you all a Happy New Year!

[PF] I Slept Through Black Friday And It’s My Choice

I slept through Black Friday, yet again. Call me lazy. But it’s my choice.

I chose not to fight the crowd of spending frenzied consumers.
I will shop for deals online now or later.
I chose not to freeze in this cold weather and also lose sleep.
I enjoy my cozy bed and 8 hours of sleep during holiday.
I chose not to buy medicore quality products, albeit dirt cheap.
I research and know exactly what I want that will last me a long time, which are rarely on these deal lists anyways.
I chose not to have so many things.
I prefer a simple life.
I chose to spend frugally.
I can’t believe people spent $20 billion! Actually I can, but you know what I mean.

Ok, I’m done.

[PF] What You Can Do When Your Credit Card Bill is Overdue and Receive a Late Payment Fee

Posted Under: Diary, Personal Finance

I missed my payment for my Citi Dividend Card last month.
What a stupid mistake, but I’m only human.

I only realized that last Friday, 11/9, and I immediately submitted a payment through bill pay. Yet, I did not make it in time when I noticed a late fee of $39 is assessed in my monthly statement during the weekend because the last statement due date is 10/31.

However, today I was fortunate enough to have a friend who reminded me that I can call Citi about the late payment fee. So I gave Citi a call. Here is the gist of the phone conversation…

Me: Hi, I realized I missed my payment last month after the fact. I was busy with work and was out of town for business trip. [Provide a legitimate reason] Is there anything you can do about the late fee?
Rep: Sure, let me check… Have you submitted a payment yet?
Me: Yes, I immediately submitted one through bill pay from my bank’s checking when I found out last Friday.
Rep: Hmm… I’m sorry I do not have the authority to do anything about the late fee.
Me: Can I talk to someone else? Your supervisor?
Rep: Sure, please hold on.
[Wait couple minutes, listening to the fantastic background music]
Supervisor: Hi, what can I do for you sir?
[I explained everything again]
Supervisor: I’ve reviewed your history… blah blah blah… We will go ahead and waive the late fee. You should see a credit back to your account.
Me: Great, appreciate your help!

So with just a simple phone call, I am able to get my $39 back. It probably helped to speed up the process by staying calm and speaking politely. On an important note, I must say that this is the first time I have missed a payment in years, so I don’t know how frequent credit card companies are willing to waive a late fee on credit cards. It sure doesn’t hurt to try though, right?