Sunday, October 31, 2004

Costumes for Halloween

Always wanted to do this. Too bad I'll be at Mauro's for MIMC. Bleh, one day.

Saturday, October 30, 2004

Now the shit is going to hit the fan...

Oh crap.

I find this really ironic, considering that I just had an international politics midterm exam with a question that focused exactly on this topic.

Please give the rationale for the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the Twin Towers using all three of the normative traditions (realist, rationalist, revolutionist).

I think we can now safely conclude that the rationale was realist. And the American response will probably be realist as well, while the European response would probably be rationalist. What will Canada do? Canada supported the War on Terror, though not the War on Iraq. Will Canada continue to side with the US on the War on Terror, given the contents of this video tape?

Canada has several facts that it has to face:

1. The United States accounts for the vast majority of our trade. Over 87% of our exports go to the US. The fact of the matter is that we need the US to survive. Certainly, we can diversify our trade to a more global activity, and that is happening right now anyway, but we need the US for at least the short-term; trade can't diversify on a global scale overnight. Whatever affects the American economy can affect the Canadian economy, and if Canada ticks off the US, the US can do mean things to Canada (like irrationally ban our beef in American markets, despite our cattle tracking system being vastly superior to the US cattle tracking system).

2. The US wants Canada involved in all security and defense initiatives because Canada shares the world's longest undefended border with the US. The accusation that Canada is a haven for terrorists and that terrorists can cross easily into the US is still ringing. Consequently, the US will probably include Canada in its security and defense plans, whether Canada likes it or not.

3. Despite all political and cultural differences, the US and Canada are at least allies, if not friends.

4. Even if al-Qaida keeps to bin Laden's words (i.e. there will be no terrorist attacks on the US if the US "stops threatening Muslim nations"), there are other terrorist groups that are not bound by bin Laden's words. And I believe that those terrorist groups will continue their attacks, whether it's Hamas in the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Chechnyan terrorists in Russia, or stuff in Spain that still hasn't been figured out. If I presume correctly, then the US will not be able to ignore Islamic extremists, given US interests in these various regions; besides having their own interests, the US is an ally (or a friend) to all those nations as well. If the US really does consider breaking off all relationships with those areas and turtling instead, expect the rallying cry to be made again: "The terrorists will have won!" Except this time it would be starkingly true.

And I'm sure there are more things to consider. But I'm tired. But given these factors, what should and what will Canada do? We live in amazing times. I always wondered what it would be like to live during the Renaissance, Industrial Revolution, Great Depression, World Wars, the 70s, etc. And then I realized that there is no time like now. The world is always doing incredible things, moving directions at astounding speeds, and we're so blind to it. The increase of terrorism's exposure, the research and advent of nanotechnology, the proliferation of the Internet, we live in extraordinary times.

And what's the scariest implication of this terrorism? I can only imagine Big Brother's powers exploding, with the help of the infrastructure and direct marketing efforts of corporations. As well, I really see the consolidation of efforts to stop terrorism into a joint task force, ala Rainbow Six. Of course, I'm just pulling predictions out of my behind, but the first prediction seems especially plausible, given the US domestic response to 9/11. The REALLY freaky thing is that the terrorists WANT the US to respond with force. It rallies and unites all the extremists together. So the US is caught in a catch 22. Damned if they do and damned if they don't.

Given my own analysis is extremely superficial, I can't wait for class to see what Professor Moens has to say about all this. The guy rocks. Would rank #2 on my all-time list.

But crap. And chee, what a time to do it. The guy sure knows how to maximize his exposure, huh?

Reconnecting again and again

These blogs are useful. So I found out through Zana that Tim has a blog! I first met him at a CCC retreat in the spring semester of 2001. Some of the impressions I had of Tim that retreat, especially after he was part of my discussion group:
Humble
Focused
Leads by example
Thoughtful

And Tim posted this article. Quite an interesting read. Here's an excerpt:
One friend who hopes to become a Catholic priest said, “Each night, I have to face the fact that not only do I not have a woman in bed with me now, but I will never, ever have a woman in bed with me.”
“But married people are lonely, too, aren’t they Jenny?” he asked me.
As people I meet seem to regularly be going through divorces or potential divorce proceedings (met two so far this year), this seems very true. As amcal will note, never settle. :) Short-term gain = long-term pain.

Live life to the fullest and don't shortchange yourself.

EDIT: I've also linked Soonmin. She was an exchange student at SFU from Korea, joined the Toronto Project of 2001, and is now a Ph.D candidate at MIT. Nuna, naega nuna reul mannasuhnigan, nomu kippuda. :)

Friday, October 29, 2004

The astounding arts

With the tenderness that only steady hands can provide, I slowly spread apart the two halves of the bagel and sliced through it with a sharp-edged knife. As I eased the two parts into the toaster slots, I made sure that the baked goods did not bend, compress, or tear, for they were too precious to handle roughly. Setting the timer, the toaster's switch was plunged down to toast the bagel to an epiphany of ecstasy. When the bagel sprang up in all of its crisp toasted goodness, the cream cheese was quickly applied, lest the bagel lose what little moisture it had left and become a stale slab of hardtack. With the cream cheese lathered over the surface of the toasted bagel's inner core, smooth and soft, yet firm, I could smell the sweet aroma of the spread rising to my longing nostrils. My jaws aching for fulfillment, I slipped the bagel into my mouth and bit into the feathery cream cheese, contrasted with the tender and rough texture of the bagel. And I knew contentment.

I just had the first bagel with cream cheese I've had in a long time. And it was good. Food is a fine art. But there are other arts as well. Like the martial arts.

I was waiting for the bus today with Mark and was reminded that I still have not found out the pizza details for Guys Night. Yay. However, also waiting there was Jean! This was really lucky because I wasn't able to attend the polisci lecture. This was for the sake of a 50 page report that was due at 12:30. We handed it in 20 minutes before class ended. Yeah. But Jean gave me her notes to photocopy, so I didn't miss out on everything. :) And then her phone rang. "Oh, I left my U-Pass there?? I'll come right now and get it!" And so she was gone. And my bus came. And I got on the bus.

When lo and behold, at the bottom of the mountain, someone gets off the bus and who says hi to me? Jean! I was completely caught by surprise and have now realized that I need to improve my genjutsu skills. I can only come up with three possible explanations for what happened and the implications are all very scary.

1. Jean is a mutant and she has the power of teleportation ala Nightcrawler. Jean having the power of teleportation is not really scary. What is scary is that this is living proof that mutants exist! As X-Men scenarios play themselves through my head, I cannot help but fear the coming war. Far be it from me to be mutantphobic. However, I am fearful of the war that will inevitably erupt between those who ARE mutantphobic and those that are not mutants, mainly because I would be caught in the middle. In such a war, you have to choose a side; you can't stay in the middle forever. Us or them. Who would I choose? The thought is too scary to even contemplate.

2. Jean is a ninja and knows kage bushin no jutsu. My biggest question is: why have the ninja seen the need to infiltrate our academic institutions? And what on earth are they doing there? Are we about to see an epic battle between ninja clans? It would kinda suck if SFU were destroyed by a giant toad or other thing summoned for some crazy ninja battle royale. And besides that, if Jean is a ninja, how many people has she assassinated? Is she really more dangerous than she appears? Under that calm perky demeanour could lie the ruthless calculations of the wiliest of ninjas. I must be cautious.

3. Jean is one of them. An agent. No human can run that fast. I know they've been getting closer and closing their net, and now I know that I can't trust her either. They can try, but they won't get me. No matter what, I'll escape the net. I have to. The very survival of mankind depends on it. If I don't succeed, my only hope is to get to the Academic Quadrangle dropbox and send the package on its way to Zion. Once in the network, no firewall will be able to stop the message from getting through. They're coming for me, but I'll be ready. I only wish Neo were still here. That treaty didn't last nearly as long as we'd hoped that it would. There is a legend that he still lives. I'm still looking for solid clues though. But maybe this message I'm carrying holds that solid clue; am I missing something? I can't let Jean know that I know. Or the jig will be up.

What a scary world we live in. Never end a sentence with a preposition too, it's bad for you.

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Wise man, Vermont

Dang.

Verm has even more wisdom than he knows.

And the lunar eclipse was amazing, especially when the moon was partially eclipsed.

So I cried

For Those Tears I Died
by Marsha Stevens

You said You'd come and share all my sorrows
You said You'd be there for all my tomorrows
I came so close to sending You away,
But just like You promised, You came here to stay
I just had to pray.

Chorus:
And Jesus said, "Come to the water,
Stand by My side.
I know you are thirsty;
you won't be denied.
I felt every tear drop,
when in darkness you cried,
and I strove to remind you,
it's for those tears I died.

Your goodness so great, I can't understand it
And dear Lord I know that all this was planned
I know You're here now and always will be
Your love loosened my chains, and in You I'm free.
But Jesus why me?

Jesus I give You my heart and my soul!
I know now without God, I'll never be whole
Saviour You opened all the right doors
And I thank You and praise You from earth's humble shores
Take me I'm Yours!

Got to meet with Justin again today. You are and always will be an encouragement to me, man. :) It is so easy for us to get caught up with ourselves in our own little worlds and be selfish about everything in our lives. Goals, personal belongings, relationships with the people around us, they're all subject to our self-centredness. And it is so refreshing to see people like you who want to follow your calling to a higher purpose in life. Integrity, humility, and steadfastness will come naturally in the light where we can understand the forgiveness and foundation that is provided when the light exposes all hidden things. 1 John 1:7. :D Fellowship is a beautiful thing. And worthy of tears (or as Estey would put it: weeping, that is, manly crying. Hehe).

Walking with integrity really is a strange proposition, isn't it? Mainly because integrity is lacking in way or another. Difficult to get it back when it's lost, you know? But there are areas where integrity (or the lack thereof) is not really the primary issue; it's more like the natural consequent.
But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
~James 2:18
Walk the walk? Theologically and practically, what is the purpose of the church? Perspectives emphasized that it's really our job to speak of the love of God, and DO the love of God. People are so WRAPPED UP in themselves and what they think is service to God, that they fail to understand that God gave them the mandate to love the people in this world.
But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.

Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.'

Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?'

The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

Then He will also say to those on His left, 'Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.'

Then they themselves also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?'

Then He will answer them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'
~Matthew 21:31-45
Did I mention how great Zana is? :) If the spirit is there, the fruits of the spirit grow naturally. Otherwise, one is still obviously under control of the flesh and not of the spirit (Romans 8). Agreed? I love this song. Perhaps I'll go buy the CD. Much thanks to Zana.
If We are the Body
Casting Crowns

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

Jesus paid much too high a price
For us to pick and choose who should come
And we are the body of Christ

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

Jesus is the way
So I cried. Out of grief and repentance for myself and a prayer for the church. But Justin made me cry again today, except it was because of the hope people like him give me for this world and the people living in it. And the effect that hope has on an introspective analysis of myself. 1 John 1:7

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The lack of strategic spam

I just got this.
procedure XP PR0 $5O; 0FFICE XP $100. NORT0N 2004 $15; 0FFICE 2003 $8O;
AD0BE
PH0TOSH0P $8O, SH1P ALL COUNTRIES tomorrow church

skiing early commit american began hurried? pride conversation
completely tomorrow, whether bear foot something, miss imagine spirit another
suggest still creature lot busy" me discuss ever mere shining! explain direction
money arms tongue leave right" here repetition account awful difficult die"
listened sugar would ask instead horse horses nervous learned" succeed delicious
house dare cover fine there strange meant. sincerely work wanted since chance.
deal drop field duty. share soon identify i grandfather studied" know built
perhaps suggest which fine answer believe,

What kind of crazy algorithm was used to make this thing?? Man... I mean, there are many good algorithms on the web, so was this one made in 30 seconds flat or something? That e-mail is totally incomprehensive. I don't like spam, but let's look at this from the spammer's perspective. What kind of an illiterate person would even consider replying to the above e-mail? Are people stupider than I think? If spammers want people to respond to spam, then the spam needs to make sense; good spam generators would be in order. An example of a good letter generator would be Scott Pakin's beauty, which was first introduced to us at HCW a few years ago. Here's an automatically generated complaint about Minna, to test whether she still reads my blog. :D Um yeah, please note that the following prose is only in jest. :)

I feel that it is my duty to subject Ms. Minna Van's protests to the rigorous scrutiny they warrant. There are a number of reasons Minna isn't telling us as to why she wants to erode constitutional principles that have shaped our society and remain at the core of our freedom and liberty. In this letter, I will expose those reasons one-by-one, on the principle that contrary to my personal preferences, I'm thinking about what's best for all of us. My conclusion is that what's best for all of us is for me to give the needy a helping hand, as opposed to an elbow in the face. Lest I seem like a hypocrite, I should tell you that if you read between the lines of her epigrams, you'll indubitably find that when she was first found trying to use psychological tools to trick us into doing whatever irritating ingrates require of us, I was scared. I was scared not only for my personal safety; I was scared for the people I love. And now that Minna is planning to do the entire country a grave disservice, I'm decidedly downright terrified. She likes to cite poll results that "prove" that she could do a gentler and fairer job of running the world than anyone else. Really? Have you ever been contacted by one of her pollsters? Chances are good that you never have been contacted and never will be. Otherwise, the polls would show that we should restore the world back to its original balance. (Goodness knows, our elected officials aren't going to.)
Some will say I exaggerate, but, actually, I'm being quite lenient. I didn't mention, for example, that absolutism doesn't work. So why does Minna cling to it? The complete answer to that question is a long, sad story. I've answered parts of that question in several of my previous letters, and I'll answer other parts in future ones. For now, I'll just say that Minna's memoranda are destructive. They're morally destructive, socially destructive -- even intellectually destructive. And, as if that weren't enough, as long as the beer keeps flowing and the paychecks keep coming, Minna's cohorts don't really care that a great many decent people are just as distressed as I am about her nostrums. There's nothing controversial about that view. It's a fact, pure and simple. It was a fact long before anyone realized that Minna's eccentricity is surpassed only by her vanity. And her vanity is surpassed only by her empty theorizing. (Remember her theory that she can absorb mana by devouring her nemeses' brains?)
Minna never stops boasting about her generous contributions to charitable causes. As far as I can tell, however, her claimed magnanimousness is entirely chimerical and, furthermore, Minna wants to infiltrate and then dominate and control the mass media. Who does she think she is? I mean, I once had a nightmare in which she was free to keep essential documents hidden from the public until they become politically moot. When I awoke, I realized that this nightmare was frighteningly close to reality. For instance, those of us who are still sane, those of us who still have a firm grip on reality, those of us who still think that Minna's smear tactics amount to what a proverbial metaphor in Sanskrit describes as trying to extinguish a fire by feeding it enough wood to glut its appetite, have an obligation to do more than just observe what Minna is doing from a safe distance. We have an obligation to discuss the relationship between three converging and ever-growing factions -- drugged-out brutes, slatternly sewer rats, and gormless knee-biters. We have an obligation to take steps against the whole stinking brotherhood of money-grubbing dorks. And we have an obligation to debate the efficacy of her mudslinging, insolent half-measures. Minna refers to a variety of things using the word "hematospectrophotometer". Translating this bit of jargon into English isn't easy. Basically, she's saying that she should create problems that our grandchildren will have to live with because "it's the right thing to do". At any rate, if her tirades get any more unbridled, I expect they'll grow legs and attack me in my sleep.
Her values represent a backward step of hundreds of years, a backward step into a chasm with no bottom save the endless darkness of death. If I am doomed to question my existence, then Minna will obviously equip hypersensitive vigilantes with flame throwers, hand grenades, and heat-seeking missiles when you least expect it. Worst of all, our children's children would never forgive us for letting her pilfer the national treasure. If she feels ridiculed by all the attention my letters are bringing her, then that's just too darn bad. Minna's arrogance has brought this upon herself. Minna finds reality too difficult to swallow. Or maybe it just gets lost between the sports and entertainment pages. In either case, Minna fervently believes that society is supposed to be lenient towards baleful hedonists (especially the irrational type). This shows that she is not merely mistaken about one little fact among millions of facts but that if you look soberly and carefully at the evidence all around you, you will unquestionably find that ancient Greek dramatists discerned a peculiar virtue in being tragic. Minna would do well to realize that they never discerned any virtue in being feral.
Minna frequently avers her support of democracy and her love of freedom. But one need only look at what Minna is doing -- as opposed to what she is saying -- to understand her true aims. We must let her know, in no uncertain terms, that it is incumbent upon all of us to confront her biases head-on. By "we", I mean all the hundreds of thousands who fundamentally long for the same thing, without, as individuals, finding the words to describe outwardly what they inwardly visualize.
She claims that granting her complete control over our lives is as important as breathing air. Predictably, she cites no hard data for that claim. This is because no such data exist. For all of the foregoing reasons, I can confidently claim that Minna and her apple-polishers are, by nature, rash big-labor bosses. Not only can that nature not be changed by window-dressing or persiflage, but Minna says that a totalitarian dictatorship is the best form of government we could possibly have. This is at best wrong. At worst, it is a lie. She presents one face to the public, a face that tells people what they want to hear. Then, in private, Minna devises new schemes to fragment the nation into politically disharmonious units.
I wouldn't even mention that the simple ability to hold her responsible for the hatred she so furtively expresses is a pons asinorum that Minna may never cross if it weren't indeed true. She likes thinking thoughts that aren't burdensome and that feel good. That's why I want to make some changes here. I want to do this not because I need to tack another line onto my résumé, but because Minna has been deluding people into believing that she has a "special" perspective on nepotism which carries with it a "special" right to undermine serious institutional and economic analyses and replace them with a diverting soap opera of neo-foul-mouthed, obstinate conspiracies. Don't let her delude you, too. The central paradox of Minna's "compromises", the twist that makes Minna's commentaries so irresistible to harebrained, condescending authoritarians, is that these people truly believe that all it takes to solve our social woes are shotgun marriages, heavy-handed divorce laws, and a return to some mythical 1950s Shangri-la.
It is immature and stupid of Minna to violate strongly held principles regarding deferral of current satisfaction for long-term gains. It would be mature and intelligent, however, to bring strength to our families, power to our nation, and health to our cities, and that's why I say that there is a format she should follow for her next literary endeavor. It involves a topic sentence and supporting facts. My argument is that she uses her influence to work hand-in-glove with jaded self-proclaimed arbiters of taste and standards. Ridiculous? Not so. It would be wrong to imply that Minna is involved in some kind of conspiracy to pour a few drops of wormwood into our general enthusiasm. It would be wrong because her demands are far beyond the conspiracy stage. Not only that, but the point at which you discover that her crusades are unhealthy and lacking in purpose is not only a moment of disenchantment. It is a moment of resolve, a determination that her wretched scare tactics can be quite educational. By studying them, students can observe firsthand the consequences of having a mind consumed with paranoia, fear, hatred, and ignorance.
A study of disgraceful moochers indicates broad political and ideological agreement on the use of force combined with a set of simple tactics to achieve their immediate goal: to remove society's moral barriers and allow perversion to prosper. Please remember that if Minna truly believes that she knows 100% of everything 100% of the time, then maybe she should enroll in Introduction to Reality 101. If nothing else, her claims are based on a technique I'm sure you've heard of. It's called "lying". I find that I am embarrassed. Embarrassed that some people just don't realize that even Minna's fans are afraid that Minna will promote the sort of behavior that would have made the folks in Sodom and Gomorrah blush sooner or later. I, not being one of the many abusive, dictatorial brigands of this world, have seen their fear manifested over and over again, and it is further evidence that not only does Minna use terms of opprobrium such as "semi-intelligible bohemians" and "acrimonious, xenophobic charlatans" to castigate whomever she opposes, but she then commands her assistants, "Go, and do thou likewise." One argument Minna makes is that communism is a noble goal. That's just sheer arrant nonsense. The truth is that the costs of her hijinks outweigh their benefits. Of that I am certain, because you should not ask, "What provoked her to slow scientific progress?", but rather, "Why aren't our children being warned about her in school?". The latter question is the better one to ask, because it has been said that her emotionally biased and expletive-filled ebullitions push home the point that Minna's recent attempt to depressurize the frail vessel of human hopes may prove to be a watershed event for those of us who want to give you some background information about her. I believe that to be true. I also believe that I shall not argue that Minna's newsgroup postings are an authentic map of her plan to respond to this letter with hyperbolic and uncorroborated accusations and assaults on free speech. Read them and see for yourself.
Incidentally, Minna has never satisfactorily proved her assertion that her politics are Right with a capital R. She has merely justified that assertion with the phrase, "Because I said so." By now, the reader has discerned that her helots argue, against a steady accretion of facts of already mountainous proportions, that we'd all be better off if they'd just scar little children's self-image. So let me just add that she is firmly convinced that racism is the key to world peace. Her belief is controverted, however, by the weight of the evidence indicating that Minna's attempts to spread hatred, animosity, and divisiveness are much worse than mere expansionism. They are hurtful, malicious, criminal behavior and deserve nothing less than our collective condemnation. I almost forgot: I can't possibly believe Minna's claim that profits come before people. If someone can convince me otherwise, I'll eat my hat. Heck, I'll eat a whole closetful of hats. That's a pretty safe bet, because as that last sentence suggests, no matter how bad you think Minna's belief systems are, I assure you that they are far, far worse than you think. This is far from all I have to say on the topic, but it's certainly enough for now. Just remember one thing: There are no easy solutions for dealing with the most mad backstabbers you'll ever see ('easy" being defined as a solution that will not create anomie).
Hehe. See, at least this one's understandable.

Monday, October 25, 2004

Rise of the Blog

Why do people like holding onto ticking timebombs? Well, first of all, it's a metaphor, people. No sane person would hold onto a real ticking timebomb. :p

It's time for an IT post. Feels like it's been a while. So here I am blogging, when I should be waking up in 3.5 hours (never mind I haven't slept the whole night) a day after going 36 hours without sleep. Spent the night working on an MIMC spreadsheet, went to the Fraser Institute's student seminar, went to church, and went to an MIMC meeting before ending the 36 hour marathon. Then had to tutor, went to church, had a nap, and back to MIMC. So now it's past 6 am and I've decided to put MIMC to rest for a bit. The Fraser Institute seminar was great, except I couldn't stay awake during the presentations, which was unfortunate. However, the discussions were great! Mind you, there was one guy in my discussion group who said, "I like listening to myself than to other people." Later on, "I'm only in grade 10." Yes, that explains everything. The world really revolves around yourself when you're younger. I mean, I applaud the guy for wanting to participate in a think tank's seminar and all, but he was obviously out of his league during discussion. When you're out of your league, don't think that the world revolves around you. You end up looking very stupid.

So there was a presentation on Canadian satisfaction with the media, presented by the head of the journalism department at UBC (boo, hiss). I'm sure it was extremely interesting. Note to self, never go to a seminar after a night of no sleep. But the discussion afterwards made me think about this article, which I had read some time before. Obviously, some people are are for various reasons wanting to report the news themselves, instead of get spoonfed by the news agencies. Are people in general actually getting fed up with the media enough to turn to indie news sources and analyses? Met a marketing exec of CTV at SMA's Marketers Night and he said he thought that blogs represented the medium of the future. Certainly there's a growing trend in people writing blogs, but is there a likewise equal trend in reading blogs? Or is the writing oversupplied, as my personal conjecture would state right now (not that there's anything wrong with that). But hey, whatever floats your boat. I mean, blogs are certainly applicable in more ways than one would immediately think.

I'm really tired, so I think I'll go grab a three hour nap. Dang. I didn't even get to making my IT post. I was going to talk about the maturity of the semiconductor industry and the sane insanity of this year's dotcom bubble. Bleh, next time.

But relevant stats for this blog?

This week, I got 90 hits and 190 page views. Also, people I don't know have started linking me (like this guy). That's kinda cool. Link titles like "Check out this crazy Asian" and "Blog of the Day." And I keep getting hits from Western Australia (always seem to be clicking over to me from 9race). So perhaps blogs do get read? Because I would certainly include my blog in the oversupply category. After all, it's not here for any specific purpose that contributes to society, it's just my little rant space. Sleep....

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

And the winner is Robert Park...

er. Robert Parker from I2I Communications!

Yesterday, I attended a Vancouver Board of Trade event where the Chairman of HSBC was giving his thoughts on the future of China. He focused on refuting dire predictions that were being circulated in the popular press. The two that really stick out for me are his points on the currency and Hong Kong.

He emphatically stated that China's economic infrastructure is not ready for a freely floating currency (right now it's pegged to the US dollar) and that changing to a freely floating currency right now could create unnecessary negative repercussions. He outlined a few requirements that need to be met before a freely floating currency can help with China's economic growth and emphasized that pegging the currency to the US dollar has actually been very good for China in current times and will continue to be for the interim future.

Also, he noted that many over the last decade have predicted the death of Hong Kong's significance, especially with the rise of Shanghai. He continues to believe that Hong Kong will play an important part in Asia's regional and global economic interactions.

Also, he discussed why HSBC decided to invest in certain banks in China right now. That was interesting, but I can't remember a thing he said. Heh.

And at the end, they had a door prize for two tickets to the opera (Madame Butterfly).

"And the winner is... Robert Parker!"

Gee... I got all excited for nothing. Well, I suppose, in retrospect, who would I have gone with? Only Yi-Jeng and Violet like the opera. At least, I've never heard of anyone else talking about it. And two tickets to the opera... that's just saying date. 2 tickets = date. And sorry, but I'm not interested in dating Yi-Jeng. See, at least Violet's female, and that's my personal orientation... but then again, not interested in women right now. So what would I have done? Given them to someone else? Bleh. Maybe ebay. Are there any girls out there interested in going to the opera with me? Yes, thought not. :)

Had a pinched nerve or something from soccer today. Field was all muddy so they canceled the game, but we decided to scrimmage anyway. I was keeper and ran out and dived at the ball, but the guy couldn't stop and slid into my shoulder (stupid mud). It was my left shoulder and yet it was my right arm that felt like it was on fire. Wow. I've never had that happen to me before, it was very shocking. Why would my arm feel like it was on fire? Been a while since my kinesiology class. But later on the poor guy tried to kick the ball (he was keeper at the time for his side) and somehow hurt a tendon or something in his quadricep. That sucks because he's officially actually on my team when we do real play. He literally heard a pop in his quadricep. That's not good. Here's hoping the poor guy's ok, for his sake, and for our team's sake. The guy couldn't even walk properly. Soccer's such a dangerous sport. Especially on mud. We should all take up skydiving instead. Much safer. How often do you try to kick a ball and then fall on your butt in skydiving? Exactly my point. Never. There were a lot of dirty butts today.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Tabbed browsing

The thing I appreciate the most about Firefox is the tabbed browsing. It's awesome. I love it. I never have a thousand windows on my taskbar anymore. Just a thousand tabs, and it makes for way more efficient web browsing. And I just found out the coolest thing by accident. If you press CTRL + Page Up, you move back one tab. If you press CTRL + Page Down, you move forward a tab. I think this is very cool. It's like... Tabbed Browsing evolves to... Efficient Tabbed Browsing! No, I don't like Digimon. Really, I don't. Honest. Bleh, nobody believes me.

Firefox_approval_rating++;

And Ivan has the coolest pictures from his Tibet trip. Man, I need to go there and eat some sheep head now. Chee, why don't I just move to Shanghai like him and just kinda... live there. :)

2nd edit of this post tonight... I just realized that 9race has a frequently updated blog as well. I've only just met her, but might as well link her? She posts a lot of pictures too, enjoy.

Connecting with a guy across the ocean... sorta

Andrew Demoline has a blog. This is very cool. I first met him on Toronto Project in the summer of 2001 and he was a very cool guy; I enjoyed talking with him very much. And now he's married, in Korea, and planning for seminary. Seems I missed the Korea part. Check him out, this man studies scripture with a heart that few have. :) If Todd Friesen had a blog, I'd link him too; I could talk with both Andrew and Todd for hours on end about scripture and not get tired of it. Learned a lot from those two, as well as everyone else on the project.

So I volunteered at the Snow Show today because Alice said that she would get me cool stuff from WME if I would sell movie tickets. And I got a lot of cool stuff from the Snow Show. Like this way cool balance board recommended by Peter Twist for improving your balance, reflexes, mental sharpness, knee and ankle ligament strength, and spinal cord tendon strength. This is the kinda stuff Trent Klatt did! Hehe. Apparently, not a single world-class athlete has been able to master this balance board. I'm just hoping that it helps with my skiing. And I got my photo taken with Ross Rebagliati! With him holding his gold medal! I'd post the pic, but I have no clue how to transfer pics from my cell phone to my PC. Or even to the net. I'll figure it out somehow. Also got to meet Colin Puskas, who is one of the skiers in this year's WME movie, Impact.

Ben, Mauro, Joyce, and I had our second MIMC meeting on Thursday night and it lasted until 2:30 AM. Now THIS is what it's all about! I feel like I'm finally getting a chance to apply everything I've ever learned in getting this degree. We have to sift through 80 pages of marketing data, financials, operations management, and whatnot to make our decisions each week for the competition. I get to be in charge of market sizing, forecasting, maybe I'll do some simulations and sensitivity analysis too. Management science is so cool. I wish more people would see the value in it. Or maybe I'm just a geek. But we have a strong team and I think we can do well in Winterpeg. And no more meetings that go past 1 AM. Yes, definitely no more.

Life is on track. And yet it's been a daily struggle, especially recently, to lay down my own goals and follow JC. You know what though, this is a good thing. Before there wasn't even a struggle because I wasn't focused on following him. The fact that I'm struggling right now with it shows me that I'm understanding again the costs, consequences, and rewards of discipleship.
And anyone who does not carry his cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it? For if he lays the foundation and is not able to finish it, everyone who sees it will ridicule him, saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.' Or suppose a king is about to go to war against another king. Will he not first sit down and consider whether he is able with ten thousand men to oppose the one coming against him with twenty thousand? If he is not able, he will send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and will ask for terms of peace. In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. ~Luke 14:27-33
I think Andrew hit it on the head with his thoughts on uncertainty. There's a certain type of healthiness when it comes to uncertainty about faith. This struggle allows me to seriously consider what it is I am committing, why I am committing, and whether it's even correct. I picture this struggle as Jacob's night-long wrestling match with God. It makes you stronger in your relationship with God. But just as blind emotional faith can lead one to have an easily broken faith, emotions can also lead one to easily abandon one's beliefs; any struggle with God truly needs to be with God, rather than with oneself and one's own emotional mind, and the struggle needs to be entered with mature rational thought. Am I wrong? Seems there's a fallacy somewhere in there, especially when we look at what the definition of faith is.

Monday, October 11, 2004

One small step for qubit, one giant leap for quantum computing

This is especially tricky because it requires the atoms to share quantum information, although the researchers believe it should be possible to achieve this by exciting one of the atoms so that it exchanges a photon with the other.
Why do I get a picture of photons mating? Couldn't they have used another word? How about inciting? Provoking? Anything else! Well, not stimulating. That's just as bad. That being said, this is a VERY cool development. We're that much closer to building real logic gates for quantum computing. As I still have nightmares about screwing up the T-flop question for the logic circuits final exam many years ago, I can strangely appreciate the value of logic gates. When quantum computing finally works, imagine the possibilities. Our computational power will have increased exponentially. Imagine all the diseases for which we'd be able to find cures. Imagine modeling the weather. Imagine a heck of a lot of things. The world would change somehow for the better. And worse. So what's the best example for applications that they can brainstorm? At least the only one they thought worth writing about...
One potentially important application for a quantum computer would be factoring the product of two large prime numbers. This would make it instantly possible to crack the cryptographic codes used to secure many computer communications.
Fun. Imagine the chaos and Big Brother.

Poetry moved over as well

OK, I was still getting a heck of a lot of sunny@moonlightshadow.us spam through poetry, so you can now find poetry at http://pakg1poetry.blogspot.com. As well, I didn't exactly write a lot of reviews, so I've moved all reviews over to PakG1's Realm. Yippee. No more spam.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Nyah nyah, you can't catch me!

sunny@moonlightshadow.us can spam my blog no more, for my blog is now fully moved over to Blogger! :D

I've cleaned out pages of spam due to sunny@moonlightshadow.us three times today! No more! I've disabled commenting on the other blog and I'll eventually delete the other blog as well! Champagne, please.

In Management Science, we study a lot of decision analysis. 437 focused on rational decision analysis and had a whole book devoted to how people allow their biased and emotional minds to make irrational decisions. If you have time to read, read Judgment in Managerial Decision Making, by Max Bazerman. This book revolutionized the way I go about making big decisions.

One of the pitfalls that Bazerman talks about is nonrational escalation of commitment. Once someone chooses a course of action, that person stays committed to that course, no matter what happens down the road. This is mostly because the person is to ashamed to say that he was wrong in the first place. Sunk costs can also play a role in that someone may be unwilling to let go of time and money investments that were already put into the endeavour. Inevitably, the person blinds himself to any evidence that may say he is headed towards self-destruction and sticks to the path irrationally (that is, without proper rational analysis or thought), in the hopes that things will eventually turn around and result in... well, a good result.

I registered for CMPT 225 because I only need two more courses to finish my computing science certificate. However, let's face it, I'm severely out of practice in my ability to code and wasn't too enthusiastic to get back into coder mode. But I had already taken all these other compsci courses and was SO CLOSE to finishing! Might as well go all the way.

Well, hold on. Given my future plans, what good would a certificate in computing science do me? To be honest, not much. If anything, CMPT 225 would only lower my GPA, which would hinder my ability to get accepted by law school. So the rational thing would be to drop it, yeah? Nah, I still should finish it, so close after all.

Then I couldn't hand in all of my first assignment due to some commitments that week. Well, it was only worth 5%, I could easily make it up later on in the semester. As well, my tuition would no longer be refunded, so what's the point? The money was spent, might as well go through with it.

Then I got the cold and everything shot to hell. I couldn't hand in two BUEC 495 assignments in a row, couldn't keep up with my readings, and the 2nd compsci assignment was due the next week. But if I dropped now, I'd get a WD notation on my transcript! So not worth it! So must stick to the path!

Who was I kidding? I couldn't handle the load and I'm not as passionate about coding as I used to be. And this certificate no longer had any place in my future plans. If I ever need to code, I'm confident in my own skills and ability to learn; I'll be able to do anything that I need to do. But the point is that I most likely would rather outsource it because that's no longer where my passions lie. Plus apps are getting easier and easier to modify or code; the event-based philosophy of Visual Basic started it all. Now we have WYSIWYG website editors, drag, drop, and join database query tools, and more. The focus for me is now on law school. Ensuring the high GPA far outweighs any detriment one little WD could give me. I was being irrational in not dropping the course. The rational part of me knew that I would do no better than a C, simply because of my inability to allocate time and effort to the course, let alone the lack of passion.

I stopped irrationally escalating my commitment to this course and to the compsci certificate. So not worth it. And the best decision I've made this semester thus far. It's like a huge burden's been lifted off my back. And I now have some time for reading some of those books in my reading queue. Thank you Max Bazerman. And Bill Wedley, my prof for 437.

Odd things I've noted this week:
  1. In CMPT 225 lecture on Monday, a girl took out a mirror and started combing her hair. Whoah. Lecture material not stimulating enough for ya? She combs for about 3 minutes, then turns to her boyfriend to ask how she looks. And they commenced flirting in front of everyone that sat behind them. Get a room, please. I wish I knew what the prof was thinking at the time. I bet it was priceless.
  2. Back at the beginning of the summer, a crow was run over on the street. Every day on the way to work and on the way back from work, I'd see this flat crow. It was TOTALLY flat. And it still had its beak and everything attached. But it seemed like some cat or something had sucked all the meat out, as if the car had turned all the meat and bones into some kind of crow smoothy. While the beak disappeared over time, the crow's feathers are still there, attached to the crow's skin. The basic shape is still there. Don't these people care that there's a dead crow's remains in front of their houses? If I lived on that street, I would have totally removed it by now.
  3. Having a cold can do weird things to you. Like cause delirium.
  4. Cleats are really helpful when you're playing soccer in the pissing rain.
  5. Every time I walk into the James Douglas Safe Study Area by Simon C's and the only person I know there is Julie, I'm never allowed to sit, due to her doing PD time. It's a conspiracy.
  6. Korean food really should be only eaten in Korean restaurants. In Chinese restaurants, Japanese restaurants, it's just wrong. Has to be Korean or else it tastes extremely different. And wrong.
Looks like this new blog is in business.

Oh yeah. We came in 2nd for Markstrat. Again. @@

New blog

OK, my old blog was getting spammed a LOT and it was extremely annoying. And SFU's web space won't allow me to install anything other than Movable Type, and the security to block incoming spam isn't as strong as I'd like it to be. So I'm creating one at blogger. Ironic. My very first blog was at blogger, and my account still exists here. Remember educouncil.com? Hehe. Yeah, so I logged in and it still had my e-mail as bobby@educouncil.com... Kinda funny. I'll move all the posts that I valued most from my old blog to this new one soon enough as well. I'm not sure how I can import posts and I'm too lazy to find out. So I'll just copy and paste. The short way can sometimes end up being the long way, I know.

Friday, October 01, 2004

I smiled today

Very strange. I was walking through the convocation mall and it was International Exchange Day or whatever, so all these countries had booths set up so students could get information on places to go for exchange. The sun was shining and there was this bouncy Cantopop song playing through a speaker system. As I climbed the stairs, it just seemed so very cool, just as if I was in the opening credits of an anime. You know how in anime episodes, they always have a really cool song and dramatic shots of the characters in the sunlight, wind, and stuff like that? It felt like that as I climbed the stairs. And I couldn't help but smile. This was the first time in a year that I had such a giddy happy happy joy joy smile for no reason at all. I couldn't wipe it off of my face until I got to class. Wow. Thought I'd share that I'm officially weird again. I probably need another girl to smack me down to earth. :)