Monday, June 30, 2008

What's going to happen exciting today?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Michael B. Lasko, Pokerstar

I've been playing a fair amount of (legal) online poker at [Nico might say more than a fair amount]. For those of you unfamiliar with the bait and switch, is a free poker exists to get you hooked on poker so that you will move over to (a real money poker site). For those (like me) who do not part with their (real) money easily, one can occasionally win real money (and spots in real money tournaments) at, for the purpose of getting you hooked on poker so that you will spend (real) money at

This week I won a spot in a one million dollar tournament (by playing a free tournament at I finished in 1,965 place (out of 11,000 entrants)...good enough for a $150 prize. I would have finished a little higher, but I was already a half hour late for work, and started pressing. Figuring I would gamble the $150 away if I left it in my account, I cashed out my winnings.

Note to IRS: Although I have not spent any money on, I have spent more than $150 in Vegas honing my poker playing skills...let's call it a wash.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

All this and non-smoking bars...

Upon arrival in Indianapolis (several years ago), I remember complaining that there was absolutely nothing to do in Indianapolis. I only knew pharmacists at the time, and their suggestions always involved going to some Hoosier bar. Nico and I had not yet developed a taste for the finer things in life, and could not have afforded them at the time, anyway. Morale of the story: If you are ever thinking about moving to Indianapolis, I would strongly recommend spending two weeks there first.

Yesterday, I got an email from an old (old, old, old) friend. [That's probably two many olds, as I believe I am a couple of months older than said friend.]

"Maybe I'll try to escape the Pasadena heat and take the family to Newport for a day in Paradise. I haven't been there for ~20 years, so you might have some suggestions for activities out your way."

Off the top of my head, all my Newport picks (besides sailing) involve Newport bars (which though much better than Hoosier bars, probably do not fit the bill for minor children). With a little effort, I came up with the following list:

[I was trying to avoid:
1) the obvious: "Go to the beach"
2) the overly touristy: "Have a Balboa Bar or Frozen Banana"

3) the difficult: "Get pre-approved to test drive a Ferrari"]

Sorry for the sidetrack, here's my list:
1) Get here early and buy some (still breathing) fish.

2) Rent a Quadricycle (room for friends and family).

3) Ride the Ferry a bunch of times.

4) Visit the tide pools (low tide only).

5) Find a good picnic spot.

6) Catch a free movie (parking extra).

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

I can run 26 miles, but one cup of Nespresso cappuccino, and I'm about ready to have a heart attack.

Thank you for your question about our Nespresso Grand Crus Blends. The caffeine content per brewed capsule will vary between approximately 55 and 65 mg. The Lungo Blends contain 20% more coffee per capsule; therefore they do have slightly higher caffeine content, about 77-89mg. The coffee in our Nespresso capsules has a caffeine content that ranges from 1.2 to 1.5% caffeine; this difference depends mainly on the green coffee (Arabica Vs. Robusta as well as to a lesser extent the coffee origin) and the degree of roasting. There is no correlation between the assigned "strengths" and caffeine content. In the Espresso range the Capriccio and Roma contain the most caffeine.

For any further questions or concerns, simply contact the Nespresso Club at our toll free number 800.562.1465. Our Coffee Specialists are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Emerald City Blues

Why is Virgin America 1/2 the cost of Alaska Air on a routine flight from Los Angeles to Seattle? Does it have anything to do with the people at Alaska knowing I have $500 in vouchers that are about to expire? Note to people at Alaska: SEA is your hub; you should be paying me to fly there.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Also at work today (best read bottom to top): [I usually remove the names of my coworkers, but evidently Ami Vu does not mind that everyone knows she is going to see New Kids on the Block.]
From: Lasko, Michael B
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:38 PM
To: Vu, Ami M; xxxxxxx, xxxxx x; xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx x; xxxxxx, xxxxxxxx
Subject: RE:

To remove me from this thread, delete my name from the "To" field before sending your reply.
From: xxxxxxx, xxxxx x
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:41 PM
To: Vu, Ami M; xxxxxx, xxxxxxxx; Lasko, Michael B; xxxxxxx, xxxxxxx x
Subject: RE:

Please remove the following names from this thread: Mike Lasko, xxxx xxxxxxxx, xxxxx xxxxxxx

Please add the following names to the thread: xxxxx xxx, xxxxx xx, and xxxxx.

xxxxx xxxxxxx, Pharm.D.
From: Vu, Ami M
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:39 PM
To: xxxxxx, xxxxxxxx; xxxxxxx, xxxxx x; Lasko, Michael B; xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx x
Subject: RE:

Yes, it’s a reunion!!!!!! They’ve got old songs and NEW songs too. I told Lasko that I would buy him a t-shirt of NKOTB!!!!!!!!


From: xxxxxx, xxxxxxxx
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:38 PM
To: xxxxxxx, xxxxx x; Lasko, Michael B; Vu, Ami M; xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx x
Subject: RE:

Is it a reunion? I thought they dissolved a long time ago. Their new band name should be New Adults on the Block now, right? 98 degrees? Did they have reunion too? In honor of Nick getting past Jessica Simpson? Ambrosia, you crack me up.

From: xxxxxxx, xxxxx x
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:26 PM
To: Lasko, Michael B; Vu, Ami M; xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx x; xxxxxx, xxxxxxxx
Subject: RE:

Hold on Lasko, maybe Ami means that they're paying people to go to the New Kids on the Block concert.

xxxxx xxxxxxx, Pharm.D.

From: Lasko, Michael B
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:12 PM
To: xxxxxxx, xxxxx x; Vu, Ami M; xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx x; xxxxx, xxxxxxxx
Subject: RE:

I want off this thread. In fact, I am going to make an appointment at Lacuna (as featured in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), so that I can forget I ever knew anyone who paid to go to a New Kids on the Block Concert.

From: xxxxxxx, xxxxx x
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:10 PM
To: Vu, Ami M; xxxxxxxx, xxxxxxx x; xxxxxx, xxxxxxxx
Cc: Lasko, Michael B
Subject: RE:

I can't go - I'm already going to the 69 degrees concert. : (

xxxxx xxxxxxx, Pharm.D.

From: Vu, Ami M
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 1:09 PM
To: xxxxxxx, xxxxxxx x; xxxxxxx, xxxxx x; xxxxxx, xxxxxxxx
Cc: Lasko, Michael B


The things they do not teach you in pharmacy school (as usual, best read bottom to top):
From: Lasko, Michael B
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 3:08 PM
To: xxx, xxxx x
Subject: RE: as400

is it "bumblebee"?

From: xxx, xxxx x
Sent: Monday, June 16, 2008 3:08 PM
To: Lasko, Michael B
Subject: as400

Hi lasko,

I am so stupid, I changed my as400 pasword and now forgot what it is.
She had to Los Angeles...

If you were to attend a Pink Floyd or Who reunion, you would expect the band members to be...well, old.

As I attempted to capture my lost youth on Saturday, I was surprised at the seemingly premature aging of X. I did not expect the band to look like this:

But seriously, my grandfather should not be playing guitar in a punk band.

Jeez, the "after" shots of Exene Cervenka are just terrifying.

Notes on the performance/venue:

Very good overall; aside from their appearance, the band sounded exactly as I remember (leaving Nicole to remark: "I can't understand a thing they're saying unless I plug my ears")...except the lack of an organ took away from the blusie/Doorsie sound of their albums (Ray Manzarek must have better things to do); per Nicole, I had more hair than anybody else in the room (the punks had shaved heads...everyone else was bald); I am too fragile for a real slam pit (hey, I dominate at Violent Femmes concerts).

Friday, June 13, 2008

My google footprint has recently gotten bigger, resulting in a bit of an uptick in traffic. As far as what people are searching for (and what they end up getting), I do not see much of a pattern...with the possible exception of this picture of Uma Thurman.

In other news: Does anyone still use yahoo? I am the number 3 result for "frozurt".

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A little chemical naming trivia from the Thingnamer was attached to a recent post. The comments got me thinking about IUPAC which got me thinking about chemicals with unusual names.

My favorite is easily: Fucitol (C6H14O5), an alcohol derived from Fucus vesiculosis, a North Atlantic seaweed. Its optical isomers are also called D-fuc-ol and L-fuc-ol.

SEX the official abbreviation of sodium ethyl xanthate reminds me of my favorite piece of Bond dialogue:

Tanaka: This... is an order for naval stores. 500 kilos of butter, 50 containers of lox. What is lox?
James: Oh, it's an American name for smoked salmon. But it's also the technical name for liquid oxygen. Which makes rocket fuel.

Actually that's not my favorite Bond line. My favorite Bond line (from the same movie) is:

James: Now what's the plan for me?
Tanaka: First, you become a Japanese. Second, you train hard and quickly to become a ninja like us. And third, to give you extra-special cover, you take a wife.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Michael B. Lasko, Quadathlete

7 miles running.
10 miles bicycling (okay it was to lunch and back...on Kilroy...wearing flip-flops).
10 lengths swimming (at the condo, not the Olympic pool at UCI).
3.4 (nautical?) miles sailing...this was the only portion of the quadathlon with competition. I finished in 3rd; I am pretty sure I would have won the beach cruiser race if anyone else had shown up.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

It's the interest that kills you...

(Alterative title: "Barack Obama has inpired me too...)

I finally decided to get around to paying off my student loans. Although the rates (and terms) are hard to beat, it seems crazy to continue paying for college after retirement.

I've been paying down pretty aggressively for about a year; today I noticed that the bank does not want another payment until 2011:

Total amount due on 05/20/11 $172.28

PS: That's just one of my loans. I am still very much in debt. If you would like to donate to the "Pay for Michael's College" fund, please click here. Free drug information will be given with each contribution.