Wrapping up the year

With only 2 weeks of work left for the year 2009, I am trying to make sense of what has happened this year. Professionally, it has been a stand still year but personally, I have had the pleasure of watching Sarah develop into a person. Her interaction with her surroundings and watching her experience life of a 2 year old where everything is new and amazing has given me a fresh perspective.

But alas, professionally, this year has been a stand still with very little development. Probably the slowest year in terms of career development.

my Other Inbox

OtherInboxAn alternate webmail service I have known about for a while that I just started using is OtherInbox. Still in beta and it doesn’t have the same kind of large capacity as Gmail (only 2GB) but those time where you end up creating a new mailbox for potential spam (e.g. signup for a newsletter) that you do not want to pollute your main email box.

What I’ve been using it for is an automated way of assigning context to my incoming emails where possible. One less post processing needed to be done to my inbox is buying me some time with all these online shopping I’ve been doing.

Be sure to check it out!

New York Subway and Summer

Being a newbie to the city, I’m still trying to get used to everyday life here in New York city.  One of the major changes is that for the first time in my professional career, I am required to wear a suit and tie for the majority of the week.  While I do enjoy dressing up and making myself presentable, I always chose not to wear a suit in hot summer day even when I was driving to work in my comfy airconditioned car.

Now, enter the 90+ degree weather with Full suit (undershirt, long sleeve dress shirt, and suit jacket) plus no car.  If that’s not bad enough, my main form of transportation happens to be the New York Subway system.

It is a pretty well organized system, I must admin, but one thing that is left out and I wish someone is thinking about making the situation better is that all the stations (there might be a few that are exceptions but I have not been to them) are without air conditioning.

One bright way of looking at it would be that people wearing suit are no longer worse off than those in flip-flops and shorts because the humidity is so high underground where everyone patiently await for the next train.

Then I remember, Korean subway stations had A/C running full blast in summer.


I always would like to believe that I’m an easy person to get along with but there are certain personalities I find that I either find it down right irritating or very hard to empathize with.

In professional relationships, I always try to remember that I naturally antagonize these “difficult” personality types and even go out of my way to make sure I do not follow my natural instinct. In my current project assignment, I am facing the ultimate clash with one particular individual. He does almost everything the wrong way and rubs me in a particular bad way, I am finding it increasingly difficult to not antagonize him.

Do you ever have to deal with this type? What do you do to stay sane and not blow everything out of proportion?

What do you do for a living again exactly?

Having a job title that is relatively new and traditionally linked with a different trade adds to the confusion but I have for years faced people not quite understanding what it is that I actually do for living. My current title of Technology Architect never fails to get the questions:

  • So you are an architect. Which big building have you worked on?
  • You write a program? Does it have anything to do with buildings?
  • You do something with websites? Can you make me a banner?
  • You don’t write a program.. What do you do again?

But then again.. I never really successfully explained what I do to my own wife, I guess I shouldn’t expect much more..

New Eyes, Modified Eyes, or just plain old eyeball burning fun..

Over the past weekend, I finally took the plunge. After days (well, mostly nights) of researching and coming up with various scenarios of horrible things that can happen as a complication, I finally accepted the risk(thank goodness I never was all that good at stats).

In an attempt to get rid myself of eye glasses, I played laser tag with my eyes. Good news is that the surgeon who was controlling the laser, keeping up with my unsteady eye, was 20,000+ surgery veteran (come to think of it, that should be about 40,000 eyeballs he has zapped with his laser gun) and result came out to be just fine. 5 days after the surgery, I am completely corrective eye wear free and enjoy the freedom.

I ended up tirelessly researching, “interviewing” different offices/doctors in the Toronto area (Bochner and TLC Toronto) and settled to go with Lasik procedure and TLC Toronto.

I chose TLC over Bochner because of two reasons.

First of this was the based on way the initial consultation was carried out.

At Bochner, I was the first appointment for the centre. After a customary and expected form fill out exercise that any kind of doctor’s office always runs you through and measurements using two devices, I ended up sitting and waiting 20 minutes for the Consultation specialist whom as far as I can tell just did not show up yet to the appointment she personally arranged with me. This Consultation specialist was the main contact point rather than the doctor (optometrist) throughout this visit and I sat there patiently waiting without any of the staff just casually chatting away with each other failing to inform me why I’m waiting for so long. Once the specialist finally showed up, she walked me into a her very nice office and showed me a computer generated illustration of the Lasik procedure itself and handed me an information package and casually pointed out to a price sheet saying, “Our price is $2700/eye”. When the question of when the last time I wore my contacts came up, the consultation specialist handling my case informed me minimum 3 days prior to the surgery is enough although they would like it if I was out of them for 6 days (which is much shorter than any of my own research of minimum 14 days requirement). After a brief evaluation by a surgeon (who was wearing a pair of glasses as I noticed), I was told I am an ideal candidate and they can schedule me in for a surgery in the next two days.

Umm, are you guys trying to pull a fast one on me? Well, that was that.

Next, TLC. I called their 1-800 number and got connected to a central call centre that handles all of the inquiry in North America. Not only did they give me the price over the phone, they also promptly booked the consultation for me without having to play an email tag I had to play with the other place.

The actual consultation itself was full 1 hour of examination both by a dedicated technician testing using machines used at Bochner plus a few more. Optometrist took over and discussed all the potential complications and side affects as well as suggesting I come back for a second evaluation session to make sure I am truly an ideal candidate since it has been less than 14 days since I wore contact lenses last. Second consultation actually lasted longer than the first because Dr. Kim (the optometrist) actually gave me a full eye examination (including dilating my pupils) that I have been custom to when seeing an optometrist. Now, I felt more like a patient who’s well being is considered first and the revenue of the centre second.

Ok.. I said two reasons. Second, my relocation. As my family will not be in Toronto for year to be able to go through the whole duration of required (and hence included in the price) follow up care, I asked both centres what I should do. Bochner suggested I fly back to Toronto and didn’t hint any form of price adjustment where as TLC suggested to visit their New York Manhattan location for the half of follow up (3 months, 6 month and 1 year after the surgery) and have voluntarily took off the cost associated with those three visits. Again, I felt that my well being was considered first before this particular centre’s revenue.

So.. with my choice made on TLC, I never even bothered to check out the third centre Herzig Eye Institute. Sorry Dr. Herzig, TLC was the lucky one this time.

Now, after the surgery, I can say that the surgery was an interesting experience.
Was it worth it? For me it was as my gamble paid off. Still have ways to go for a complete recovery but all in all, still not much I can complain about the process nor the result thus far.

Next up for the laser tag is Diane as she braves all the risks I had contemplated and calculated before the past weekend.