Paul's Blog

The Well-Grounded Yuppie

Subscribe to RSS feed

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


The US economy is pretty good at adjusting itself out in most cases. Example, if it costs $5 to make something unpatented (after cost of overhead), and you sell it $10, somebody out there will sell it for $9 just to beat you and make a profit, and somebody else will sell it for cheaper and cheaper, until someone sells it for about $5.05, making just a nickel for each sale, but hoping to sell millions of them due to the low price to make a fair profit (Such as Wal-Mart).

One thing I never understood is glasses. I’m not talking about the eye checkup or the prescription, but the actual pair of glasses. The marginal cost of a pair of glasses is very low. The actual cost of a cheap frame and the lenses probably add up to about less than $10. Depending on how many pairs of glasses people sell, the overhead shouldn’t be that much in comparison either. But “professional eye places” sell glasses for $100-$250, and “discount places” such as Wal-Mart vision center sell them for about $70.

Why is that? How is a pair of glasses different from another consumer product? Do businesses think they can increase the price because the economic demand of a pair of glasses is inelastic? People need glasses and will buy them no matter how much they cost? How come nobody locally in every area tried to undercut the prices by selling glasses for $20 and still make a profit?

Well, through globalization and Internet businesses, people CAN do that, and consumers ARE offered more choices. I don’t need a good pair of glasses; I only wear them for about 15 minutes at night watching TV before going to sleep. I found a website that sells glasses for $20 after shipping.

This makes me think globalization is on its way, high tech products will still hold their prices until the “higher tech” products come out and replace them, and the prices of cheaply manufactured products will decrease.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Water Skiing

A friend was visiting his parents, and I drove to see him on Saturday. His parents live close to Fredericksburg VA, which was about an hour from where I live. It was a lakeside community, and the weather was great. I tried waster skiing for the first time, and it just totally didn't work out for me. I tried it 4 times, not used to the sudden momentum of the boat dragging me, and I couldn't stand up each time. I gave up after the 4th try because I know I probably wouldn't do it again in a really long time, and it's not worth me trying 20 times just so I can learn it.

Afterwards, my friend and I kayaked in the lake, which was a lot easier and more relaxing. What a great way to spend a weekend.


Patio Bar

I have a tendency of posting things late, and this is another one of my late posts. I went to a bar with a coworker last Friday after work, about 10 days ago.

The weather was great, the bar had an outside patio, and it was awesome. I had about 3-4 drinks, had a great time. Good thing I was taking the metro back instead of driving.


Thursday, June 22, 2006

Company Party

Two days ago, 6/20/06 was the official birthday of the launch of It was launched 6/20/1996. Wow, it's a big one, 10 whole years. Sometimes I wish I could've bought back in 95 or something and sold it to the Washington Post company for a gigantic amount of money. So we had a party at a place called "Clarenden Ballroom". It was casual dress, mingle event, nothing fancy. They had free food and an open bar, and all the "important people" at were there. Obviously ate all the free food there was, and I had about 5 different 8-oz mixed drinks, which equals to about 3-4 shots, over 2 hrs. So it wasn't bad at all.

While socializing, I shook hands with my boss's boos, the VP of marketing. He actually introduced me to Don Graham, the owner of Washington Post. I did the polite thing, shook his hand, did the whole "it's great to meet you thing". After the VP of marketing told Mr. Graham what I do, he also did the diplomatic thing and said something like "I'm really glad you could join us, needs as much traffic as possible, etc". But wow, I shook Don Graham's hand, I'm thinking that's the most "important" person's hand I've shaken in my whole life.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Foosball Tournament

Last night, I joined my very first foosball tournament. I wanted to do something different, so I went to’s city guide, yeah the “Unsuck your life” city guide as posted before. I found there was a foosball tournament in a bar about 35 min away. It took me almost an hour because I got lost.

I consider myself the “above average foosball player”, but to my surprise, those are all professionals. I didn’t know there was such a thing as a “foosball professional”. They go on major tours, play small tournaments for points, have specific rankings, and travel for major foosball tournaments (also didn’t know there was such a thing). Needless to say, I totally got whipped.

I was randomly assigned a partner. This guy’s from Iran a long time ago, and has been playing for about 20 years. I almost felt bad for him because he got stuck with me. But he was really nice and didn’t seem to mind. Those guys can all pass from 5-3 line with ease, and shoot their favorite “set shots” so quick you don’t even see it, you just hear the ball going in.

Overall, the team I was on won 1 game and lost 2, which got us eliminated from the tournament. I had a lot of fun and I’m glad I got to see what’s possible in Foosball.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Lunching Solo

It's about 1:30PM on Saturday, and I'm looking to go out and grab lunch. I just realized that I don't have anyone to go to lunch with. I have my AIM up, and looking through the list, and wish I was in Charlotte again. I could've randomly IM'ed 2-3 people and someone would've went to lunch with with me, this sucks.

Butterfly Knife Skills

I remember messing around with butterfly knives back in highschool, mastered the simple open and the fancy close, and maybe a simple trick or two. The key to remember is the knife is only bladed on one end, and always hold the handle on the unbladed end. This way if you accidently closed the knife on your finger, you'll be alright.

That girl seems to be cute, but I don't know if I'd want to mess with any girl that can do all that with a knife.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Playing soccer again

Last night around 8PM, I decided to get some exercise and play some basketball. The B-ball court is behind a tennis court and a grass field. While walking to the B-ball court, I was flagged by some people to play some soccer. It was a mixed crowed, from 10 yr old kids to girls my age to guys up to their 40’s.

We had enough for a 4 on 4, they used 2 hockey sized goals on the grass, and played over the field of about the size of 2-3 basketball courts. So, I guess this is mini-soccer, with less people, smaller field, and smaller goal.

I haven’t played soccer in about 12-16 yrs; it feels good to be running around on a grass field again.


Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Unsuck Your Life

This is another one of my boring posts about work. In a "marketing brainstorm" to promote's City Guide section, the director of customer service jokingly suggested the slogan "unsuck your life". I personally thought it was kinda catchy, with the logic saying "your life's boring, go to this city guide, go out and do something fun, UNSUCK YOUR LIFE".

I doubt anyone will ever use that slogan, but I just wanted to have it in writing, so it's forever remembered before the joke fades away.


Sunday, June 11, 2006

Different Dance Styles

Found a clip from a friend's blog, saw it a long time ago, but it was so cool that I saw it many times. This guy basically dances to any music there is, from oldies to modern hiphop. I finally decided to post it, so enjoy.

Flamers Express at Landmark Mall

flamer's expressThere's a small mall within 10 minutes of my house, and it's got a optometrist working there. The name of the mall is Landmark Mall and it's in Alexandria Virginia. I needed new contacts, they're open on Sunday's, so I decided to go. Just like any other doctor's visit, there was about an hour wait. I put my name on the "sign up sheet" so I'd be in line, and went to have lunch in the mall.

This is one of my immature moments, but I found a place called "Flamer's Express" in the food court and I couldn't help but giggle. They sell burgers and fries, so I decided to get a bacon cheeseburger from there. It's just average, but having a name like that, who can resist eating there?


Saturday, June 10, 2006

My new GPS

So after my buddy Eddie suggested I should get a GPS system, and me getting lost many many times because I’m new in the DC area, I finally cracked down and made the decision to get a GPS system for my car.

I currently have an old PDA, the Cassiopeia EM-500 (except mine’s blue). I’m not doing anything with it, so why not equip/change/rig it into a GPS system? I bought a GPS receiver and Pharos Ostia software (the only GPS city mapping software that’ll work with a PDA as old as mine) from the Internet, and it cost me about $70 total.

I’m starting to mess around with it. I’ve gotten the mapping, GPS, and directions to work, but I haven’t gotten the “voice prompts” to work yet. I will though. I’m also in the process of buying a car mount, so I don’t hold it in my hand while driving. I’m guessing I’d either buy a windshield suction cup kind or a vent clipper kind, haven’t decided yet. I’m also thinking of ways to “organize” my car so the wires from it doesn’t run everywhere making my whole car look messy.

I’ll probably post pictures of the whole setup upon completion, more to come.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

HTML Knowledge Level

I read an interesting blog about the evaluation of someone's HTML skills. The ranking goes from level 0, which is someone who doesn't even know what HTML is, to level 6, which is someone who's looking to develop new HTML code, set new HTML web standards.

It's somewhat interesting, and I think I'd rank myself a level 2, without the back-end programming experience. I know the simple formatting tags, and I know what's "possible" with HTML.


Isulong Seoph

So I randomly read about this SEO contest, hosted by some guy in the Philippines, located here. The keyword contested is isulong seoph in Google. Since I'm not "officially entering" the contest, I'm not going to worry about their rules or put more effort into it than this post. I just wanted to see how one post in my blog to target Isulong Seoph will result against the SEO professionals out there who're serious about this contest. I think I'd be lucky to rank within #50.

Oh yeah, does anyone know if "Isulong Seoph" means anything in Filipino (Pilipino or Tagalog)?


Monday, June 05, 2006

Random Meetup

So I'm kinda new in DC and don't know anybody. I decided to take the proactive step and answer a "strictly platonic" ad from Craigslist (Thanks for the recommendation, Allison). It's with a happily married girl, 27, and also want to just know more people. We exchanged 2-3 Emails for about a week or so, and decided to meet up for a few games of pool today.

I personally had a great time. We shot pool for about an hour then had dinner at a place that reminded me of QDoba's in Charlotte. Feels good to shoot pool again, and also feels good to have a pool buddy in DC area. We briefly talked about our jobs, our outlook on relationships/marriages, and life in general.

Labels: ,

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Home Sweet Home

I told my boss I'd work from home the past Friday so I can hit Charlotte for the weekend. I drove to Raleigh from DC Thu night, hang out with some friends there, and crashed at a buddy's place. Friday morning, I got up at 8AM and drove to a Starbucks in Greensboro. I worked from the Starbucks on their wireless Internet and a laptop the whole day so I wouldn't be missing work. Had a pretty good time in Greensboro, had lunch with some friends. After work, I hit the arcade in Greensboro that I always did, and saw some friends I used to play video games with. I drove to Charlotte Friday night, had a late dinner with some friends, hang out for a bit.

Now, I'm at my parents' house. It's Saturday around noon and I just woke up. Thinking of all the people I'm seeing today, and all the things I'm going to do. It's good to be home, it's good to see formiliar faces.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Search Engine Marketing Position Open

Hi, I've just been informed that a Search Engine Marketing position is open, if there're any SEM professionals that are looking for a job and is willing to relocate to NYC, please Email me at ppzhao at

The position is for a major TV guide company, requires both SEO and PPC skills and experiences. They need a lot of help redesigning their site for SEO and starting their PPC campaigns. The pay range is about $55-$65k, depending on your negotiation skills. Personally speaking, I would prefer working in-house in a big company over working in SEM agencies, so if anyone's interested, you know what to do. The person this position will be reporting to seems like a great person. For a few weeks, I talked to her on a weekly bases and I think she would be a good boss.

Job description from the company:

We have two needs:
1. immediate consulting to make sure the redesign is done properly
2. longterm ongoing expertise and focus on SEO, paid search & generating inbound linking

Update June 13: I just got the full job description from the company in a .doc MS Word file.