Friday, December 30, 2005

House not home

I'm in the process of moving out of a house that I've lived in for over 4.5 years. Although I've lived in that place for longer that I've live most anywhere else, I never viewed it as a home, only as a house where I lived. Even though I moved into that place only 4 years ago, it really does seem like a life time. I'm different now. My group of friends is different. All of this had nufin to do with the house, so maybe that's why I never thought about it before. Wierd.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

News whore Letterman

I'm such a news whore right now. Here's another interesting piece:

Lady gets restraining order against Letterman for sending her secret coded messages over the TV that instructed her to do thangs like move east and marry him. Ummm, that is funny. You can't make this stuff up!

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Unions still have their place

I used to believe that Unions are no longer necessary, but I'm not so sure anymore. As the union power recedes over time, employers are becoming increasing arrogant again. (Enron wouldn't have come close to getting away with their scam with union bosses on their tail.) It's not yet as bad as the 1800's, but we aren't as far off from reliving that nightmare again as some seem to think.
Already, some of the basic protections for workers are being scaled back, being wrongfully labelled as "archaic". We should be pushing world's developing nations to aspirer to meeting the challenge of copying our system of labor. We should not be rolling back our system to compete with them. As someone who is firmly rooted in white collar middle class, I can say the only thang protecting my career is the rarity of my work skills. As the world market becomes more competitive, that rarity will diminish, as with many American jobs. We need to help other countries realize that having a suitable standard of living is just as important as having one or two successful companies in their country. Henry Ford gave us clear examples of how to run companies that benefit the employees and in turn, benefit the company because employee prosperity is spent buying company products. Anyways, we are on a slippery slope that we should back away from.

Breathe of relief

On the AP today: "'We find that the secular purposes claimed by the Board amount to a pretext for the Board's real purpose, which was to promote religion in the public school classroom,' [U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III] wrote in his 139-page opinion."
This was part of the judge's finding in the case where the then Dover Area School Board attempted to cram that ridiculous notion of Intelligent Design into our U.S. classrooms as an alternative to the Theory of Evolution. The judge also had other harsh words for the school board and their actions.
I doubt there will be an appeal to the ruling since the Dover area community kicked all 8 of those guilty school board members out of office earlier this year.
I expect that religious leaders will now push for a repackaged Intelligent Design concept under some different name, and that we will be having this issue come up again within 15 years. What these I.D. proponents don't realize is that the more they try to become scientifically accepted, the more they will eventually have to adopt evolution and natural selection into their own belief systems. This is pretty much the end of the legal road for anyone that wants to dearly hold on to the traditional biblical creation myths and force those myths on everyone else. From this point on, the movement behind I.D. will eventually turn into a scienitific group that will one day turn it's back on it's own origins.
The only other legal battle pursuable by the religious faithful is to pretend that the 1st Amendment of the Constitution doesn't really forbid government tampering in a society's religious beliefs. If they can convince a judge of this nonsense somewhere along the line, they may still be able to openly get religion back into our school system. But then all hell will really break lose because every religious group in existence will claim their right to be present in our schools. I'm guessing that any judge, regardless of their beliefs will want that to be the result of their ruling. Given that, even this battle will be lost once and for all by the religious nuts one day.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Drunks

It's weird how alcohol affects everyone differently. In some bizarre way, I'm almost jealous of people that lose control when they are drunk. Then again, I have no real desire to have no control over my person, and I'm thankful that not even getting mind numbingly drunk takes that away from me. But what it happens to drunks when the are out of control and black out regarding these out of control periods? It's as though the person's Frontal Lobe and short term memory centers shut down. (I'm not going into the particulars as to why I'm wondering about this right now, but it is being triggers by events this weekend.) They lose the ability to properly respond to emotional impulses. This suggests a shut down of the reasoning area of the brain, the Frontal Lobe. They also have a limited ability to retain memories of when this happensm, which suggests a shut down of the short term memory areas. It must be a very strange feeling to wake up and be told of your actions, but having no ability to recall the memory of those actions. I never want to experience that myself, but I am curious how others feel with they experience it.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Hugs and Kisses

Hersey's Kissables

I just tried these Kissables. I assume that Hersey came out with this product to compete directly with M&M's. I tried Kissables. They are good. To me, they taste better than M&M's. I'd recommend at least trying them out. The only thang that I don't like about the candy is the odd shape, but I think that's only because I'm so accustomed to M&M's. Other than that, that are pretty good.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

King Kong

Peter Jackson is a genius. He's not a genius because he's great at story telling or special effects. He is great at those. His true talent lies in having a complete understanding of the material he's working with. He gets it.

I didn't like the King Kong movies. The original is just too archaic to watch. The remake was completely miserable. And what's this about King Kong vs. Godzilla? What's that about? Peter Jackson produced and directed the 2005 King Kong version. He has not only redeemed the King Kong story, he has brought it to the level that the story deserves. King Kong still isn't one of my favorite stories, but it is now one that I now really enjoy and have a new found respect for. I think Peter Jackson understood the story better than its original director, producer and possibly the original writer too.

I highly recommend King Kong!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My life isn't one of those stories where I find my true love and live happily ever after from the start. I've written before about living much of my early life in a haze and only coming out of that haze since I past my quarter century mark. I was alert and sentient, but maybe not as alert and sentient and I shoulda been. This caused me to miss a lot of opportunities that were laid about before me. Opportunities to further my life in career, love, friendships, etc all lost. I was dumb...Intelligent, but dumb. The problem with having intelligence is that it can enable you to fool yourself into thinking you know more than you really do. lol
Not only could I have got laid much earlier, I coulda prolly had a couple of girlfriends by my early 20's. But no. I wasn't ready. The longer one wants to explore these areas, the harder it gets to have the breakout experience that opens your world, such as a first love or even just getting laid. If this blog were to go back to my early 20's, the text would be filled with frustrations that I would prolly now find embarrassing. Maybe it's a good thang my blog beings in 2002. lol I was well on my way to becoming who I am at that point.
In my younger years, I fear I was loved long before I know what love really was. If not love, then at least there was girls who where attracted to me that I just didn't...I just was unable to know it. Insecurities were the main cause. I had nothing to be insecure about, but when one is young, one doesn't know that. I'm no exception, though I guess I hid it pretty well, even from myself. Intelligence allowed me to come up with reasonings that nurtured my insecurities rather than defeat them. It took me a long time to figure out that I wasn't ugly. It took me even longer to figure out that I'm actually fairly attractive. It took me even longer to understand that certain people are more attracted to each other than others types of people and that it doesn't matter what one person likes cuz everyone is different with different tastes. There should be a class that teaches children this in grammar school. lol ...nevermind, there is... ...I was screwed up by my parents like everyone else...hehe. Most of my insecurities do come from my mom and dad, or at least how they raised me. I'm not sure where my early life haze come from, though. I still slip into it once in a while, but I've learned to use it as a tool (hard to explain...saving that topic for another time). It holds no grip over me any more.
Nowadays, I feel as though I'm experiencing life on my own terms. I have great friends and great loves (past and present). Most of all, I look forward to the days ahead of me in this life.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Dec Birthdays

This weekend, Allie and I helped celebrate 3 birthdays. I know several other people that have their birthdays in Dec as well. It seems that there are a high number of birthdays in Dec, or maybe I'm just noticing them more cuz I keep thinking it sucks for all these people to have their birthday so close to Xmas. Anyways, the weekend was fun. We first stopped over for my little cuzin's birthday and to drop off the remaining Xmas gifts for the family at my aunt's house. We then headed from there to a friend's birthday dinner in Sacramento. After trying to hit up a few bars that foolishly charged cover (can we say, "um, no!"), we ended up at a 24hr bowling place around midnight and played a few hours. I was tired by 3am, so Allie and I headed to our nice comfy hotel room.
When we finally woke up, we checked out and headed over to this nice mall and did a little shopping before heading off to San Francisco...for more shopping. We finally joined her family for a birthday dinner for her brother at an authentic Chinese restaurant in Pacifica. After that, we headed to my place and prolly fell asleep around midnight last night.
On Friday night before dinner, I found out that I'm going to be a neighbor to Dave's ex-brother at the apt complex I'm moving to. Dave, Miriam, myself, Sven and his g/f all met up for dinner. I got home late that night too. ::yawn:: Am I supposed to be getting more sleep than this?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

X-Men Movies...

I've enjoyed the two X-Men movies so far. They aren't perfect by any means, but they are very enjoyable, each one a good movie on its own. The one thang with the X-Men series that has been nearly perfect is their casting. The newest example is this: The Beast. The Beast will be played by Kelsey Grammer! I couldn't imagine a better fit! This is right up there with Hugh Jackmen (Wolverine) and Patrick Stewart (Prof. Xaiver)! Wow!

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Changes in store

It seems with me, a lot of major changes all happen around the same time. First, my parents move far far away. I still am a little amused and annoyed by the fact they up and went to Wyoming. I took off for a great trip to Hong Kong, only to return to find out that my best friend Dave just got a major job and is moving to Seattle this month. Just before my trip, my roommate told me he's going to be remodeling and then selling his house, so that means I gots to move too. Both of us are moving this month, only I'm not moving so far. lol I'll be a lot closer to work, and in fact only about a mile from his current address. He expressed some annoyance at the fact that only now do I move so close to him, now, now that he is moving away completing. I agree. Oh, and I'm looking for a ring like object with a stone attached to fit over my g/f's finger. hehe It's no surprise, so I'm not spoiling anything by mentioning that here. :)

Monday, November 28, 2005

World of Hypocrites

Hypocrisy is part of the human condition, but it is not part of what it means to be human. We just have a bunch of people in our world that feel they have a right to tell others what to think or how to act while exempting themselves from those same rules (at least in their own minds). This is the classic scenario for over 2000 years since the rise of monotheism. It seems that the belief in only one god inherently creates a breeding ground for hypocrites and liars. The world is full of popular people that tell their believers one thang, then turn around and do the opposite themselves. They are also capable of saying one thang here, but say the opposite somewhere else to appease whatever audience they are talking to. Open lying is terribly obvious these days when one does it on TV for an audience of millions, yet the likes of Pat Roberts still do so freely in full view of everyone, and they are never held accountable. Many professed Christians are now getting caught up in crimes of their hypocrisy such as bribery, insider trading, stealing, false testimony, treason, violating National Security, etc. These are the same people that just a couple years ago called upon fellow Christians to vote for them because they held the same religious beliefs. Now that all these people are being held accountable for their misdeeds, their proponents are standing by their sides saying, “They are being attacked because of their faith.” Is corruption really apart of the Christianity?

I get the sense that these people are the same that claim that Christians are being persecuted by this world. ::cough:: This world is under the power of Christianity and has been so for a 1000 years. Who in this world is persecuting Christians on a large scale? Other Christians, perhaps? Ridiculous. It’s as though the word persecution really means that a Christian’s crimes aren’t being ignored and other people aren’t helping that Christian to commit their crimes. What else could it possibly mean in the context of today’s world?

These issues aren’t limited to Christianity. Islam and Jewish faiths also carry this burden, but the Christians are in control, and it is they who must take the lead to stamp out the hypocrisy. Of course, for the time being, they will not, at least in the U.S.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Hong Kong Photos

Da Big BuddhaThis is the big Buddha statue at the Po Lim Monastery. Each visitor walks up the many steps to the statue and is allowed to walk around it and within it. Guests may only enter into the inner hall if they have a meal ticket (I guess to show they have just ate a vegetarian meal?). Although the statue is impressive to look up at, the site you seen when looking back down from the statue is a little less inspiring, with construction continuing on commercial projects just outside the Po Lim Monastery. They are going to build a gondola to the peak soon, and they are under way on making an underground mass transit point at the site. All of this kinda detracts from what I would've guessed to be the idea about building a giant Buddha statue in the middle of nowhere on the top of a mountain. Oh well.

Daytime Hong KongI took this black and white photo from the top of a double decker bus. Buses are hella cheap in Hong Kong. It costs no more than US$1.25 to travel anywhere in Hong Kong. The old trolleys are even cheaper. They cost about 11 cents (US) to travel from one area to another, though they don't cover all of Hong Kong like the buses and mass transit rail do. The roads are mostly full with traffic from buses, taxis and commercial trucks. There are relatively few private cars in the main parts of the cities.

Night time on Jordon StreetMany parts of Hong Kong have a special type of beauty when the sun goes down. Here's a scene of Jordan Street near my hotel. Even though it's pretty late, these businesses are all still open and making their bids to attract attention. This is a heavily touristy area, so many of the businesses are notorious for being rip-offs. I have not first hand experience with this since Allie prevented me to doing any shopping in this area. lol There were a lot of inexpensive goods to be bought just a block away on one of the side streets in various Lady's Markets and shops.

View from a JunkThis is a shot of Hong Kong from the deck of a nearly authentic junk which cruises around the Hong Kong harbor on Thursdays and Saturdays. Apparently it's pretty hard to get the free tickets for this hour long cruise. Allie and I lucked out and got the last two tickets for this cruise earlier in the week. Many people try for weeks to get the cruise tickets of their choice. I recommend trying this tourist attraction, if not for anything else than the fact it is free.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Hong Kong Vacation: The Return 11/18/05

The number 11 came up several times on this trip. I arrived on Nov 11th (11/11/05). I was in the eleventh room on the eleventh floor of my hotel. We visited Allie's uncle several times at his condo, which is on the eleventh floor of his building. One of Allie's cuzins told me this joke that we will be taking the 11 bus. 11 bus? Yeah, your legs form the number 11 (ya'no, like walking everywhere). Anyways.

11/18/05 is offically the longest day of my life, not because it dragged on, but because it was long by the number of hours. Our flight took off at around 5:30pm and arrived in San Francisco at around 2:40pm. It almost feels like time travel to see a sun set only to have it raise on the same day 14 hours later. Four inflight movies. The new Bad News Bears with Billy Bob Thorton (so-so), an immitation of Bad News Bears with Martin Lawerance but I forget its title (horrible), Batman Returns (great) and one other film I can't even remember right now but I had to watch to keep me awake in my effort to get back on California time ASAP. I was relieved to be back in California after such a long flight. Even with my nerves and sensibility, a flight as long as this does weigh on my spirit.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Hong Kong Vacation: On the Harbor and XL 11/17/05

Ya'no, I really don't enjoy eating Dim Sum. There's some items in Dim Sum that are ok, but for the most part, going for "Tea", as it's also called, is just not an enjoyable experience. The point of Dim Sum is supposed to be tea drinking, but it's really about all kinds of little round food items, like fried noodles, wrapped pork dumpling things, etc. Well, it's those little food items I don't like much, and the tea itself gives me indigestion. That said, Allie and I had Dim Sum with her family yet again today. Cantonese dinners I like, but the breakfasts leave me a little underwelmed. Oh well. The chance to be with Allie's family makes the endeavor enjoyable even if the setting is something less than desirable. My joke to deflect requests for Dim Sum by Allie is when she asks if I want to go for Dim Sum, I reply with the question, "And 'dem some what?" lol

Allie and I have had a long week. We capped it off with an hour trip on a cruise around the Hong Kong harbor in a converted authentic junk. A junk is a traditional Asian ship with three sails that are supported with several ribs on their masts. I learned this in school, but apparently Allie did not. She thought I was joking about the name of that type of ship the whole week before we took the ride. Ironic that she is from Hong Kong. :) Anyways, the cruise was very relaxing. We both almost fell asleep. It was a nice day for time out on the water trolling along around the harbor.

That evening, Allie and I had dinner with her mom and other relatives on her mom's side of the family. It was more traditional Cantonese food, and it was very good. Her cuzin Conan was very interesting, and only one of two males near our age group that I've meet from her family the whole time I've been in Hong Kong. It almost seems as though most of her cousins are women. Anyways, it's was a lovely dinner.

Afterwards, we did a little shopping, but didn't buy anything. We tried to find a nice formal jacket for me, but it seems that the jackets in Hong Kong are made for people with slender shoulders. It felt good be too big for clothes cuz of my broad shoulders and all, but hey, they didn't have sizes bigger than XL.

We tried to get back in time to get enough sleep for the next day's flight back.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Hong Kong Vacation: I'm a Repulsive Giant with Bird Flu 11/16/05

Yesterday represented the first truly sunny day for my visit to Hong Kong. Allie and I visited Repulse Bay. It is kind of a secluded little town in a little bay with tall mountains on three sides. It's funny that I call it a little town because several of the buildings were condo highrises, but that's just how Hong Kong is. It was the perfect day for strolling along the beach. We happened upon a Buddhist temple at one end where a group of tourists where rubbing this one little statue. I took a short video the interesting ceremony. Also, the water was warm and made me wish I had appropriately dressed for swimming in the ocean.

One a side note, I should mention that I feel like a giant in my hotel room. It's very small, especially the restroom. I have to sit at an angle to fit on the toilet next to the counter. I have to stand with my feet together when I take a shower because the tub is so narrow. With all these big buildings, one would think they'd provide more room for people to live within.

Oh, and the Bird Flu is closing in on Hong Kong, or so it would seem from the South China Morning Post with headlines like "Mainland's first bird flu death confirmed" and "HK to resume border temperature checks as authorities report three cases" I haven't seen more than a few tiny birds in the city areas of Hong Kong. I don't know if the birds naturally stay away or if all birds where killed off. Maybe I'm wrong on both counts, but it is very weird not to see any birds. Regardless, the Bird Flu still cannot spread from person to person yet, so I don't see what the fuss is about just yet. Plus, my company Cepheid already has a Bird Flu detention method that can give results in under 45 minutes. That means soon anyone that is suspected can get tested and know for sure hella quick so the appropriate action can be taken.

Well, I'm off for morning tea with Allie's family.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Hong Kong Vacation: The Experience 11/15/05

Man, I am really starting to get tired of taking Mass Transit everywhere. I told Allie that next time we visit Hong Kong I'll be renting a car. I mean, it's nice that everything is accessable from public transportation, but taking it everywhere all the time just starts wearing on me. Even she was complaining about it a little, even though she still claimed that she would disown me if I ever rented a car in Hong Kong. Humph.
Hong Kong isn't as crowded at I thought it'd be. I mean, there is people everywhere, but it's not so bad. San Francisco is about as crowded. Maybe I haven't see it at its worse yet, but given the fact that we've been everywhere, I'm not thinking I've missed much.

Hong Kong Vacation: Mountain Tops 11/14/05

Allie and I took a ferry and bus to the mountain top Po Lim Monastery to see the big Buddha statue. It rests at the top of a peak over looking the Po Lim Monastery. The only way to the statue is a long set of stairs, which we walked. The Buddha statue is big and bold. Temple staff hawked Buddha idols at various locations in the statue and at the base of the peak, in the tradition of most temple based religions as far back as time records, although modern mass production has changed the experience a little bit with mass produced idols and such. After exploring the big statue about as much as we could, we headed back down the stairs and explored the monastery itself. It was beautiful. Many large idols of different gods are placed around for offerings of prayer, incense and food. I think there must be an understanding that even though the idols are just statues, their power comes from the act of worship and not from the idols themselves.

We arrived back in Hong Kong/Kowloon city area in the evening. We took a night ride on the Peak Tram to the top of The Peak, a mountain top overlooking Hong Kong. The ride was fun. At times the tram rose at about a 45 degree angle up the mountain side. I couldn't find any name for the top of the mountain other than just The Peak. The view of Hong Kong from the The Peak was both beautiful and impressive. Even at this height, we didn't stand much higher than the top of Hong Kong's tallest buildings. There was sumfin romantic about the view.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Hong Kong Vacation: The Next Day 11/12/05

Allie and I woke up kinda late, but I was now on Hong Kong time. I was glad that I didn't need more than a single night's sleep to get adjusted.
We headed down to Tsim Sha Tsui and hit up the buffet restaurant in the International Hotel for breakfast, but Allie insisted we wait and do the lunch buffet there instead because they had a really good lunch buffet. I got a little grouchy about this cuz. I was hungry and we took the Mass Transit and also walked quite a distance to get there. All was right when we finally got to set down and eat though.
Right outside that hotel was the Avenue of the Stars which honors the stars of Hong Kong's budding film industry. We explored the area and got some information about various Hong Kong attractions. It's funny that even though Allie is from Hong Kong, we still ended up at the Tourist Information Center like we were a couple of normal tourist. Allie's Cantonese does help speed thangs along though, no matter where we find ourselves.
We then toured the nearby Space Museum. The exhibit areas where fairly basic with no significant exhibits, but it was nice to get out of the heat and stroll around. Allie enjoyed some of it and I enjoyed adding extra info to better explain some of stuff behind the information presented.
We then visited Causeway Bay to shop at the inexpensive places and in a Lady's Market.
After heading back to the hotel and resting, we ended up in Kwai Lan Fong for a night out. This is a block of streets that are shut down in the night for one big party around a bunch of European style pubs, bars and clubs. A lot of the local Europeans end up here for drinking, dancing and socializing with other White people.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Hong Kong Vacation: Shopping and the Traffic Jam 11/13/05

Allie and I got up late, ate breakfast in the hotel room. We headed to the central Exchange at central and took a bus to Stanley Village on the other side of the Hong Kong island. There we visited a street market and got some pretty good deals on stuff. We then visited the Buddist temple as well, and had a lovely lunch on Stanley Street.
On the way back to the hotel, the main route back to the main part of Hong Kong was blocked with a major accident. The delay was reported to be at least two hours, so we got out of the bus and walked for 3/4 hr, mostly downhill, back to the main bus terminal to catch a bus that was heading back to Hong Kong thru the only other route out of the area. Fortunately, Allie had discovered the only bus route that would take us back, though still through thick traffic on narrow mountainous roads and bridges. Traffic everywhere in that area was a mess as people where trying to get out. We where lucky to beat the rush of people to the bus headed out of there. Everyone else was still waiting for the main buses and didn't realized the way was blocked until everyone was started lining up for the only bus heading the other way. Felt a little like survival of the fittest and we got a jump on everyone else. :)
After getting back to the hotel, we had dinner and then visited a nearby Lady's Market. According to Allie, a Lady's Market is any alley or street filled tightly with vendors selling their goods. The walk thru a Lady's Market is usually very cramp and crowed. She added that they are also great places to get a pocket picked. At this Lady's Market I found a great deal on knock-off Polo luggage that was pretty good quality.
Both of us where beat, so we headed back to the hotel and knocked off to sleep quick.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Hong Kong Vacation: The Flight and Arrival 11/10/05 11/11/05

The flight was long. Fortunately, me and one other person had a row of 4 seats to ourselves. Other than the two empty seats next to us, the plane was pretty full. This made for a fairly comfortable time, though I did share my extra seat with another couple with a kid from time to time. The first leg of the flight was 13 hours. I was only able to force about 3 hours of sleep, though I pretty much tried to sleep the whole time. The flight arrived in Taipei 15 minutes early...but the flight to Hong Kong on the second leg was about an hour late.
I had only brought one carry-on bag. When I arrived in Hong Kong, all I had to do was wait in line for visitors and get my passport stamped. Because I didn't have any luggage, I just walked thru the luggage claim area to the Arrival area, called Arrival Area A or sumfin like that. Well, Alice was waiting for me at Arrival Area B. I had noticed that my Treo phone worked in Taipei when I was waiting around bored at that airport, so I tried my Treo at the Hong Kong airport, and it worked. I called her and we found each other pretty quickly. She was prepared with a mass transit card for me and we hit the Express Train to Kowloon, where my hotel is.
I was annoyed that my shades broke somewhere on my trip, so the first thang we did in Kowloon is stop off at one of the many malls while walking to my hotel. My first purchase in Hong Kong was a rather decent pair of Guess shades.
We checked in to the hotel and then headed to Northpoint to visit her uncle and meet up with her mom. Alice, her mom and I later meet up with her mom's friend and had a late lunch.
Later, some cousins, her uncle, mom and us meet up for a late dinner at a good Chinese style restaurant. Of course, here it's not called "Chinese" lol Anyways, I was so lagged that I almost passed out at dinner, so Alice and I headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.
I woke up the next morning on Hong Kong time. :)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

How many great loves

How many great loves does one have in a life time. Some say you are lucky to have it once. Maybe each of use are supposed to have that great love and only some of us are unlucky to have missed it. Or maybe it goes unappreciated, of course I guess that's the same as missing it. I don't know how many great loves I'm going to have. I know that each experience is different. Does the uniqueness itself stand as the defining quality? Naw. Does the strength of feeling and level of emotion investment qualify? Again, maybe. I know I've had one relationship that would qualify on that merit. Maybe it's also when you really really get a chance to know a person deeply and understand them and not fault is found regardless of the imperfections that are laid bare. But the only way to know if you have such a relationship is to experience a test that pushes the limits. Is this a defining quality? Perhaps. But many loves fail that test. But does the failure mean the relationship is a failure? I think that it doesn't matter. Losing love helps define it as great in some cases. Sometimes it develops over time. It becomes what it is meant to over time. The test is not a great moment, but the fact that it does last. If all of this is so, then I've been doubly blessed in this life.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

So, like what?

I have to move out. I don't know if I wanna get a small-ass 1 bedroom apartment, or share a house or large condo with someone. I've got awhile to make my decision, but I have some time. I have until like the end of Jan, but I do wanna get sumfin in the works before then. hmm.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Weekend

This last weekend have been pretty busy. I guess it's fitting. My cuzin and I hung out and saw Jarhead on Friday night. It's ok. There's a moral lesson in the movie somewhere, but it was lost to me. It feels like a docudrama with some funny bits. There's good acting and the story was interesting to a degree. However, it seemed to be missing something. Maybe it was made just for U.S. vets. Maybe they see sumfin in it that I'm not.
Anyways, we hung out on Saturday too. We ended up in SF with some friends of hers. There was couple of interesting places we hit up that I might return to. I can't remember the names of either, but I could find them again. :)
Today, I hung out for awhile with Jenn. We had a late lunch, hit up a play for go-cart racing and have a fun time hanging out. Right now, I'm catching up on chores I need to get done before my big Hong Kong trip in a few days. I'm excited.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

What a Trip

My g/f is leaving town for Hong Kong tomorrow morning. I'm going to meet her there sometime the following week for another week or so. I'll be meeting some more of her family there, and taking in the culture from a local perspective instead of from a superficial tourist point of view.
Although I haven't travelled outside the U.S. in any significant fashion, I'd hafta say this is how I prefer to visit other regions. Many years ago, I visited Mexico with a friend and his family who lived there. It makes the experience more enjoyable and serves as a good way to see thangs as they really are. Mexico is a depressing place, but you can't know how depressing until you travel to a city's outskirts and see poor families living in tin huts made from junk (same as little as 4' high) for as far as you dare to look. It helped me realize that some countries are afraid to take the steps necessary to allow their citizens opportunities. Maybe afraid is the wrong word. Maybe it is intentional, to hold down the masses and keep them under control. I don't know, but either way, it would not take a lot of effort to charge up the Mexican economy if its government would loosen economic controls. The Mexicans that can get ahead are the ones that are able to find work in the U.S., at least along the boarder.
I wonder what I'm going to discover about Hong Kong?

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Recent quote from AP

From the AP: "Danforth, a Missouri Republican and an Episcopal priest, commented recently
'I think that the Republican Party fairly recently has been taken over by the Christian conservatives, by the Christian right,' he said in an interview. 'I don't think that this is a permanent condition, but I think this has happened, and that it's divisive for the country.'
He also said the evangelical Christian influence would be bad for the party in the long run."

Ya'think!? This is obvious. It happened when Bush Sr. weakend the Republican Party from 88-92. They lost their way. In the void, the extreme religious right stepped in and started consolidating their power within the Republican Party in the same manner that the Nazi Party took over the Germany government. Then they used their momentum to take over the U.S. Government, and now we have a mess to clean up that will be an embarassment to American generations to come.

Acura troubles again

The trouble with my Acura TL is it now has had THREE Transmissions in under 62,000 miles. THREE! Acura extended all the warranties of all TL owners to seven years, for 2002 and 2003 awhile back. Well, I'm getting full use out of that warranty extension, except...well, I purchased the standard extended warranty when I bought my car back in 2002. Well, with all the little and moderate thangs that have gone wrong with my car, I'm glad I did get the extended warranty. Anyone that doesn't buy the extended warranty for their car are facing higher costs than they may realize. Even on the luxury cars, issues come up. All of my issues are covered, as long as I keep up with the maintenance schedule. Without the extended warranty, I would've had to spend an addition $1500 or so by now. I think I paid that for the warranty, but I don't remember exactly. I know I'm breaking even. It's not to be able to take a car in for repairs and not hafta pay out hundreds of dollars, except for schedule maintenance.
Anyways, three transmissions. I'm told that even my previous transmission was known to have problems, so the dealership expected to hafta replace it again. Supposedly, this new transmission will not have the same issue and last longer than 30,0000 miles.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Columbus/America Myths 1 and 2

Christopher Columbus/America Myth 1: Christopher Columbus discovered America. This is actually false in many ways. America has been visited, had trade routes with and even colonized by both Asian and European powers long before Columbus. Ancient Celtic writing found in a cave in the southern Atlantic Seaboard region shows that European visitors had some contact with North America perhaps centuries before Columbus’ voyage. Before even that, Vikings had colonized the region from Newfoundland to New England over 1000 years ago. Some evidence even suggests that there may have been Mediterranean contact in Roman Republic times. From Asia, Chinese records describe contact with the American West Coast decades before Columbus sailed his first voyages. Of course, the ancestors of the Native American peoples arrived thousands of years before everyone else. All of this leads to the conclusion that there is no true discovery date for the Americas.

Christopher Columbus/America Myth 2: America is named for Amerigo Vespucci. The falsehood about the discovery of America is even evident in the name “America” itself. Since America wasn’t discovered by Columbus, it wasn’t named after him. Nor was it named for a Saint or Monarch. This is very telling. So, the myth says that the name America is derived from Mr. Vespucci’s first name. However, this makes no sense in two ways. First, he is a minor historical footnote, which means it was very unlikely he would have received such an honor before the Queen or the Church. Second, despite perceived similarities in spelling, the names are completely different. If Mr. Vespucci’s name was used, it should have been his full first name or his full first name with some variation last syllable, something like Amerigosa. This would have lead to America’s name having different translations in different languages. Yet in Spanish and English, America is spelled the same even though both languages use much different naming conventions. So, it is much more likely that the name America is derived from another name or term that was already in use (though perhaps not common use) by the time Columbus set sail. The main source that qualifies for this criterion is the “Merica”, which was in use by some prior to Columbus’ first voyage to represent a promised land across the Atlantic Ocean. However, even this supposed origin is suspect. Personally, I think that the name America has its source in some mythology, whether it be from the tales about Merica or some other forgotten myth. The origin of the name America has yet to be discovered verifiably, but serves as its own massive clue that the New World wasn’t named for any of its European explorers.

More mythbusting to come.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Lunchtime

Well, ever since my company put in the food vending machines, my cost of living has dropped a bit. With the exception of Tuesday (when I meet up with Miriam for a mid-day movie - saw 40 Year Old Virgin for the second time), I’ve spend less than 10 dollars for lunch this week. It’s packaged food, so it’s not the best in the world, but it’s not overly fattening or anything. The reason I stopped going to McDonalds years ago is cuz of the fat and sodium in their food. These items are not nearly as bad and even a lot cheaper. Plus, I'm saving money cuz I'm not out driving around to the local places. Ok, now’s time for lunch.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Leave my jamas alone, you llamas!

So, I’ve learned a tiny tiny bit of Spanish many many years ago. I know enough to at least be able to recognize the sounds that each letter makes, and a few phrases. So today, a Spanish speaking co-worker of mine was asked how to pronounce her name. Her name has the Spanish double-L (LL) in it. But the sound she made for the LL was very confusing to me. She was using a sound similar to an English J. Now, as any student of Spanish as a second language is taught, the LL makes a Y sound, as in the word YOU. Of course, it’s not as simple as that, but generally, it is an equivalent to an English Y sound with some variation in stress, depending on the region.

So, I wasn’t able to let this go. I've been around Spanish speaking individuals my whole life, and never heard the LL pronounced so strongly as J.  I jumped in and asked her to repeat it to make sure I was hearing her right. Again, she pronounced the LL in her name as a J. So, now I’m even more confused. Normally a person knows how to pronounce their own name. After several attempts to get her to say it, I started up with, “Doesn’t the LL make a Y sound?” She agreed, but then said it as a J again, this time only the letter itself. Ok, so now I’m even more confused than before. I asked her to say the common Spanish question “COMO SE LLAMAS?” and it came out of her mouth as “Como say jamas”. I said, “Como say yamas”, and she corrected me, “Como se jamas.”

Needless to say, my main confusion now is how a native Spanish speaker doesn’t know how to say letters in her own language. So, we started into a rather flavorful and light argument about this. It lasted long enough to entertain a few nearby co-workers. She was all, “How are you going to teach a native Spanish speaker my own language. Let me teach you English.” So, I printed a pronunciation chart of Spanish letters with their English equivalents. She was still not convinced. She even mentioned that she spoke Castilian version of Spanish. I wasn’t buying that.

The funny thing is, I know she speaks Spanish as a first language all the time. We live in California, where one can find peoples representative of many Spanish speaking regions. I know she has had to have talked to other Spanish speakers before. But she’s convinced that everyone says the LL as a J. I’m kinda starting to think there are a lot of Latin American’s that say the LL as a J without realizing it, as an accent. I’m not sure that she (or many Latin American people) can even hear the difference between the Y (you) and J (jam) sounds. Very strange. Either way, she still insists on pronouncing as a J. After all, that’s how she’s been saying it all her life. If this is how a lot of people are talking, Latin American television must be impossible for Spaniards to understand.

Ok, so later in the evening, I met up with my friend Dave, who was raised in Spain and has a significant European background. I told him and his Latina girlfriend this story and gave the example of the J sound. He immediate laughed. But his girlfriend said, "Yes, you said it right!" I looked at her oddly. (My co-worker and Dave's girlfriend are from two completely different regions.) Dave looked at his girlfriend funny too and pointed out her error. She wasn't even aware that she was saying the J sound herself. We were both pretty amazed.

Monday, October 03, 2005

President knows how to pick 'em

The President refuses to learn the lesson of error of choosing the wrong people for the job. With his latest Supreme Court nomination, he has shown the same lack of skill for finding the right people to fill posts in government as he did in choosing Rumsfeld and Brown (head of FEMA). He's a very poor just of skill and character. I'm pretty sure he's also very poor understanding the responsibilities of the positions for which he hires or nominates people. His cronyism has hurt and weakened America in so many diverse ways that it is past the point of being a humiliation. He is an embarrassment. Those who blindly follow him are an embarrassment. How can someone continue to blunter so openly and still have an ounce of respect from anyone? Now, it's beyond outright foolishness.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Last Night's Party

sample picture

Last night's birthday party for Kate was fairly tame as house parties go, but it was a lot of fun. This picture shows Jaime's first ever Keg Stand! Just turn your head 90 degrees to see her Keg Stand properly vertical . :) There was also a permanent batting cage in the backyard. The ball hurling machine wasn't working (or at least their drunk asses couldn't get it to work), so some of the guys switched between batting and pitching. Not smart. I watched as one line drive drove right into the ribs of the pitcher. Funny thang, and funnier that he keep pitching afterwards! lol My buddy Nate randomly meet a girl (Keg Stand Jaime, actually!) who he's only talked to through Myspace and emails before. Must be fate. lol Even with all of this going on, Miriam and I still took off by midnight. I was the double-d, though I don't think either of us had any possibility of getting too drunk.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Teaching Bible in Public School

As a matter of literature and religious studies, elective courses on the bible (covering Jewish, Christian, and secular perspectives) should be available to High School students. Learning about the bible allows people to understand the origin of much of Western Civilization's art and history. The only danger to teaching about the bible is when it is taken as undeniable fact. As long as this isn't happening, education about the bible is beneficial.
I mention this cuz I just read a news article about this topic. The only contrarian point I can bring up is the fact the most High School kids never remember what they learn in High School besides basic skills they end up using in real life. Knowledge about history, art and pretty much any other pursuit is usually forgotten soon after the final exam (if even committed to memory in the first place). This is a different issue though.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Green Day in SF

I kick ass because I was at the Green Day concert in San Francisco. It was awesome. The show was very well produced. SBC Park was totally packed. Green Day had four massive screens that allowed everyone to see the action. Allie and I had a great time! Music was great from both Jimmy Eat World and Green. Green Day put up a great proformance overall too. This is prolly one of the best concerts I've been to.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Another quicky today...

Check this out...Engrish as it's best, only the other way around. http://www.flickr.com/photos/andreasee/45737673/

Oh, and yes, I am actually doing my laundry, as I threatened to do in the earlier entry. lol

Time and bedsheets

Trouble with time is that you never have enough to do what you need if you spend it doing what you like. I need to spend a little time pick up around the house, doing laundry, cleaning out the trunk of my car, re-organizing my bedroom, etc. But am I doing any of that right now. No, I'm typing in this blog and chatting online right now. Ok, maybe I can do the laundry, but the problem there is that I always forget that I started and leave thangs in the washer all day, or even leave thangs in the dryer for days on end. Very annoying that I do this. I think I will start a load right now.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Garbage

The Garbage concert last week was great. The opening act was called The Start. They were pretty good. Shirley owned the stage once Garbage come on! Allie and I had a great time. I hope Garbage is able to put on bigger concerts by next year. It would be great to see how big of a show they can produce.

Next week, GREEN DAY! ::que insane cheering::

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Miserable response to disasters

Our government’s miserable response to the recent hurricane disaster is a clear condemnation upon neocon ideologies and cronyism which is currently gripping our country’s leadership. Neocon ideologies depend too heavily on the concept of free market without regard for reality. Our system is based on free market principles, but our system is not an unchecked free market. These neocons try to pretend that it is an unchecked free market (or that uncheck free markets work best). These ideologies have crippled our government from being able to respond to domestic threats outside the realm of security. Neocon ideologies also promote that government take as little of a role in our lives as possible, without regard for the needs of the individual people that make up our nation. The belief is that the free market left unchecked will make any necessary corrections to provide for the populous needs. This, of course, is complete nonsense. The government has a responsibility to provide for its people regardless which economic system is in place.

Unchecked free market leads to instability if centralized forces work to abuse the system for personal gain, as in case of Enron’s manipulation of western U.S. electricity supplies at the turn of the 21st Century. Uncheck free market leads to too many people being hurt in recessions, and not enough people benefiting from booms. This is why America does not have an unchecked free market anymore. We have a Mixed Economy, which is free market based, but utilizes beneficial methods from all forms of economies. We use what works well for the individual, balanced with what is best for the population on the whole. Too much pull by one side or the other in the past has led our nation down roads we should not want to journey again.

Neocons live in a fantasy realm of 100% happy people, perfect conditions always persist, where up-trends never end, and everyone gets at least enough money for participating in the system at any level. They pick and choose events and quotes from American past to justify radical economic experiments. These experiments are ultimately victimizing our modern day populous for the gain of only a few fat cats.

Those fat cats are openly applying cronyism from the White House right now. They put ideological friends in charge of government agencies instead of looking for the best qualified person. This is the other reason for the failure of our government right now. Leadership positions are full of unqualified cronies, putting our country at risk and making dangerous situations much worse.

The current government is arrogant and haughty, bolstered by willful blinders preventing them from seeing their errors and making adjustments to account for imperfections in the system. This has led to a blind faith in an ideology, rather than acceptance of reality. Anything from reality that contradicts their notions is called a fluke, or even blamed on some other factor which they should’ve accounted for but pretend they can’t.

Our inability to take preventive and aftermath action at the federal level in the recent national disaster is a direct result of these flaws in our country’s leadership. This blind belief in disproved ideologies and the cronyism supporting it have led America to repeat the mistakes of our past on a monumentally grander scale. The time to correct these mistakes is soon at hand. I’m not going to say specifically who to vote for in the next elections. I will directly say who not to vote for. Do not vote for neocons or anyone that supports the neocon movement. If you are Republican, take back your party from these lunatics. If you are Democrat, vote for Democrats that have a proven record of taking on these lunatics. If you are an independent like me, vote in a way that stops the neocons from staying in power. Sometimes, this means not voting for the best person, but the best person given the circumstances.

Thank god

Well, thankfully, the number of dead in the Gulf region from Katrina isn't up around the numbers previously suggested. A lot of people may have survived the onslaught. Even still, the behaviour of the State and Federal governments is deplorable. Even though many survived, they lived through something they shouldn't have had to first hand.

Even though the number lost is not as high, the President's lack action early on crossed over the line of what is acceptable for a President to do and not to do. He failed to protect Americans from harm. Yes, the storm is uncontrollable, but how we act if fully in our control. It is dishonorable behavior to not act to protect America. The homeland was under attack, and the very man and agency that the President set up to protect American acted like it wasn't their job to do anything and the President accepted this and tried to defend it. Basically, he failed to carry out his duties as President when it was most important for him to step up. He failed to act when it counted, even though they was creditable warnings up to one year ago about this kind of disaster. Katrina itself posed a threat for days before it hit. Days in which the President needed to ack to make sure everything was in place. Days that he instead spend running around the country trying to collect campaign money. What was he collecting campaign money for anyway? He's not going to be re-elected. In fact, this lack of action to protect American is cause for impeachment.

Ok, enough of that for now.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Garbage

Garbage concert this Sat. I'm excited. Then, the big event at the end of the month, GREEN DAY!!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Average day and week

I've been quite distracted by another project recently. I can't go into details, except, well, it's related to the origin of the name fcsuper. Anyone that knows how to interpret that clue might be able to figure out what I've been up to.

In other news, I have a trip to Hong Kong planned. Stay tuned!

Also, in even other news, please note the link to Backblog Awards in my left bar menu. Please check it out. The first winner of the Backblog Awards should be announced this week, for Aug 2005's best post.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Credit Card charge requirements $5 $10

CORRECTION: This post originally stated a falsehood which I thought was fact at the time. California law does not regulate credit card charges, nor can it. This is solely in the realm of the Federal Government. The truth is that the Card Card companies themselves have restrictions on when a fee can be charged. No fee is allowed for amounts greater than $1. If you come across a store that is charging a fee for any amount greater than $1, report that place of business to your credit card companies.

Original Post:

California has a law that makes it illegal for any place that accepts
credit or charge cards to either have a minimum charge or to charge a fee for
credit card use. Some stores or restaurants owners a dumb enough to actually
post this policy (which is also separately illegal, in of itself). But more
savvy owners will simply notify you of their fee when you try to use your
credit/charge card for an amount below their supposed minimum. Either way, it's
still illegal for them to do so.
If these places are encountered, simply
refuse to pay the fee or refuse to accept their minimum. Remind then that they
are breaking the law. Remind them that you are not in their place of business as
a slave, but there as the customer. You don't need their produce, but they need
your money. They don't need the trouble you can stir up by contacting the Better
Business Bureau or class action lawsuits can come up from this sort of thing.
Ask them if all that is really worth the 25, 50 or 75 cent fee. Don't be afraid
to make a big scene out of it.
Some of these store owners are under the
strange impression that they deserve your money simply because you come into
their store. They just need to be reminded that they have to earn the right to
get your money.

Marine World

Last weekend, my closest friends and I set up for Marine World. I made sure I got on all the rides I wanted this time. Roar, Medusa, and Verticle Velocity for sure. Did tons of walking too. It's pretty much the same as last year though, so yeah.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Tipping in American

Something really strange happened a few years ago in the realm of tipping. Over the counter food preparers and cashiers started putting out tip collection jars, baskets, cups, etc. What’s that about? Has it ever been tradition to tip the cook? Not at all. The reason servers (waiters/waitresses) get tips is because they provide a service as the focal point between the customer and restaurant and its staff. When you tip a server, typically a portion is re-tipped to the host/hostess and the busboy separately. If there is no host/hostess, the server usually doubles as the host/hostess. If there is not busboy, the server has to double as a busboy. In these cases, the server keeps the portion that would normally be given to another person fulfilling those roles. In any case, these are the only three positions in a restaurant that can expect tips. Cashier is not tipped. The cook is not tipped. The owner or manager is not tipped. Basically, if there is no server, there is no one to tip.
So, why tip over the counter food preparers? You’re not supposed to. This is even an IRS relevant matter. If a tip is expected, the person receiving the tips must pay tax on 8% of the sales that person handles, whether they receive the tip or not. Comparatively few people tip over the counter, so this means those cashiers and food prepares are required to pay tax on money which they have not hope of receiving. The responsible restaurant owner should not allow tipping jar placed on their counter, and should even have a no tipping policy. This saves the staff from paying extra taxes, and saves the restaurant from the headache of having the paperwork and labor to track tipping for the IRS.
I tip generously. This is because I live in Silicon Valley, were the expected tip is 15 to 20%. Where service is reduced (you take your own bill up to the cashier, or you seat yourself), the tip may be reduced in kind. In those cases, 10% is acceptable. Where there is no service, there is no tip.

A's Game

Tonight's A's game against the Angels was a lot of fun. Dave and I headed up pretty early to make sure we got tickets and I'm glad we did cuz the game sold out! We had a seats in a good spot that allowed us a look down over right field. We tried our best to harass the Angels players, but I'm not really sure they heard anything cuz we where kinda high up, but once in awhile, it kinda seemed to have an impact (ok, sure, over statement). A's did give the crowd something to cheer, and in return, we cheered even more, and the A's scored even more! An Angels batter throw his helm down in disgust after ending their inning with his strike out. That just made all of us fan cheer even more. In the next inning, another Angels player got pissed when he was struck out to end that inning. He throw his bat down in the direction of the ump and got thrown out of the game while all the fans where cheering. Of course, that made all of us go even more crazy. It was a pitch perfect moment. It was a very entertaining game to watch. Oh, and the A's won!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Original MS Write program

This may be a rarified issue, but I've come across the fact that Windows no longer supports the old Write (.wri) file type at all. Wordpad pretends to open the .wri files, but it doesn't understand Write formatting. Unfortunately, I've also come across the need to open old Write files properly. There's a fake WRITE.EXE file included with Windows, but that program open Wordpad, not Write. Luckily, I was able to find a copy of the old Write program file (write.exe). For anyone that wants it, here it is: Write.
Advice: To open Write files embedded as an icon within another Write document, you will need to associate .wri files with MS Word (default setting is Wordpad). Then, open the other Write document with Write. When you double click on the embedded icons, Word will open the embedded document. If you don't associate .wri with Word, Windows will try to use Wordpad even though you have Write open. If you try to associate .wri files with Write, the embedded iconed Write files will not open at all.

Strange review of Wedding Crashers movie

I've come across this strange review for the Wedding Crashers movie. It may appear that the review's author doesn't understand that their political views have nothing to do with their diminutive funny bone. The review is loaded with a presuppositional subtext suggesting that anyone who is a conservative should have the same sense of humor as the author and that there would be something wrong with conservative who finds this movie very funny. It appears to either be another brainwashed neocon lackey, or one of the brainwashining neocon proponents. Given the limited details in the review, it's likely that the reviewer didn't even see the movie. In fact, that reviewer prolly shouldn't have watched the movie, since it was obvious what it was about from the promo's and title of the movie. Political reviews over non-political movies? I just gotta shake my head.

Anyways, I didn’t go into Wedding Crashers with high expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie’s humor. It’s not in the league of Meet the Parents or Old School, but it is pretty damn funny. When the movie had to move the plot along, it did so without getting overly wishy-washy or at the expense of the overall humor. In other words, although it has the elements of a romantic comedy, it didn’t become a romantic comedy. It’s nice not to be tricked into watching a chick flick. However, I’m on the fence as to whether this one makes it into my DVD collection or not.