Monday, November 29, 2004

Target: December 6


So I got a new ski bag on Saturday. Posted by Hello


It's the perfect size for my skis (175 cm bag for 170 skis) and can fit anything else I'd want to put in, like my poles! Posted by Hello


And I can sling it over my shoulder like a backpack! This is what I look like after a night of MIMC. Posted by Hello

So I used my Westside Sport and Ski coupon from the Warren Miller movie to purchase a brand new ski bag. This makes it so much easier to transport my stuff to and from the mountain. And while on the slopes, I can just roll up the bag and put it in my backpack. :D

Will be busing up to Whistler on Monday, December 6! Anyone wish to join me? This is my biggest motivation for getting through this final crazy week. :) Yes, I really should get around to writing that economic analysis on movie and video game child protection ratings....

Still need to get socks though. Those new gloves were darn expensive; I didn't want to waste the coupon on cheap socks! But the gloves are oh so comfy. :D Now for some oh so comfy socks.

And for those of you who are headed to Saskatoon, I have registered and will see you there!

Saturday, November 27, 2004

Have you ever really loved a woman?

Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman
Bryan Adams

To really love a woman
To understand her - you gotta know her deep inside
Hear every thought - see every dream
N' give her wings - when she wants to fly
Then when you find yourself lyin' helpless in her arms
Ya know ya really love a woman

When you love a woman you tell her
That she's really wanted
When you love a woman you tell her that she's the one
Cuz she needs somebody to tell her
That it's gonna last forever
So tell me have you ever really
- really really ever loved a woman?

To really love a woman
Let her hold you -
Til ya know how she needs to be touched
You've gotta breathe her - really taste her
Til you can feel her in your blood
N' when you can see your unborn children in her eyes
Ya know ya really love a woman

When you love a woman
You tell her that she's really wanted
When you love a woman you tell her that she's the one
Cuz she needs somebody to tell her
That you'll always be together
So tell me have you ever really -
Really really ever loved a woman?

You got to give her some faith - hold her tight
A little tenderness - gotta treat her right
She will be there for you, takin' good care of you
Ya really gotta love your woman...

Then when you find yourself lyin' helpless in her arms
Ya know ya really love a woman
When you love a woman you tell her
That she's really wanted
When you love a woman you tell her that she's the one
Cuz she needs somebody to tell her
That it's gonna last forever
So tell me have you ever really
- really really ever loved a woman?

Just tell me have you ever really,
Really, really, ever loved a woman?
Just tell me have you ever really,
Really, really, ever loved a woman?

Second post. Andrew got me thinking about a time where I was at a funeral. Strange how morbid thoughts could spout out of such wonderful sentiments, but it really was actually a beautiful moment in retrospect; hear me out. The husband and wife had only just got married, it seemed. And all of a sudden, the wife was stricken with cancer. They did everything to keep the wife alive, but in the end, she came to be with God. The husband had much difficulty dealing with this, especially since he (to my knowledge) had no understanding of Christ's love for him. I went up to him after the casket was buried and talked with him a bit. Out of courtesy, I mentioned how great a woman she had been, even though I had barely known her myself. I'll never forget the tears he tried to fight back as he stuttered, "Yes, and I LOVED her."

That was the only time in my life where I felt I truly understood how much a man loved his wife. I have no doubt that married people I know truly do love their spouses. But at this funeral, I didn't just believe it, I felt it straight to my bones. And I wonder today how many people in this world would actually be able to answer Bryan Adams truthfully. Certainly not me. Childish fantasies and petty thoughts would never be able to compare to the lifelong commitment that two people make to each other.

Now then, since English is such a limited language, let's go back to the original Greek. From Wikipedia, we can see that the ancient Greeks outlined love as:
Agape
Agape is love that God has for mankind. Only God can express this kind of love.

Eros
Eros is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing.

Philia
Philia, a dispassionate virtuous love, was developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality and familiarity. Philia is motivated by practical reasons; one or both of the parties benefit from the relationship.

Storge
Storge is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.

Xenia
In ancient Greece, the concept of xenia was extremely important. It was an almost ritualized friendship formed between a host and their guest, who could previously be strangers. The host fed and provided quarters for the guest, who was only expected to repay with gratitude. The importance of this can be seen throughout myth, in particular Homer's Odyssey.

Given that the word love can be understood in so many different ways, it's easy to see how different people can use the same word and mean totally different things; they're just not on the same page. I wonder how many unworkable relationships are due to this dichotomy. And why is it that rationality goes out the window when people are locked in the throes of love?

A question that's been asked for millennia and we still don't have a satisfactory answer. Though with all the literature I've seen, I think we're coming close. Please read this. It's good for you. It puts rationality back into the works. But don't borrow it from me. I lent my copy to Amcal.
Of course, this could explain it all.
And if women who can understand this type of guy really exist in this world, I'll... run screaming into the streets, or something.

The Lure of Open Source

I haven't really discussed open source often. Well, actually, hardly ever. But the movement is extremely fascinating. I have two posts to make, thanks to Andrew, but let's make them one at a time. That guy is getting annoying, always stirring my mind. Perhaps I better stop reading. On to the first post.

What is it I find so alluring about open source? Here's a quote taken from Breaking Windows: How Bill Gates Fumbled the Future of Microsoft. Great book, I used it for my 374 paper and it changed my life. OK, not really, but it did shift my thought paradigm regarding organizational crisis management. And actually, Bank really took the quote from an internal report written by some Microsoft employees. Yes, I totally recommend this book to anyone that is interested in what makes companies rise and fall; it's like The Innovator's Dilemma in action. But on to the quote. :) Erm, me quoting Bank quoting the Microsoft guy, rather.
A Microsoft engineer named Vinod Valloppillil was commissioned study the threat and found that “the open-source process was in many ways better adapted to the new dynamics of the software market than Microsoft’s own centralized structure. Open-source projects easily draw talent from anywhere in the world, he said, scale up as needed, and demobilize just as effortlessly.” (Bank, 2001, p. 169)
I have Breaking Windows if anyone wants to borrow it. I seem to have a lot of books.... While the debate between open and closed source probably will never die, open source definitely has some advantages.

1. Firstly, you've got a zillion more minds working on the code to make it space and time-efficient, bug-free, and functional. Couple this with the fact that their motivation is purely altruistic, philanthropic, anti-corporate, whatever. The point is that they are not motivated by money and if one of them for any reason becomes disgruntled, he is easily replaced; they're all grains of sand on a beach (except Eric S. Raymond or someone like that, but even the Eric S. Raymonds and Linus Torvalds entities of this world have successors lurking in the shadows). Compare that to thousands of expensive coders being worked to the bone to meet deadlines (which can ironically lead to more bugs) and who are difficult to replace.

2. Open source software is released in stages, which vastly increases the product quality. Product quality is easier to ensure when you have a zillion eyes analyzing the code and a centillion users testing the binaries as they move from alpha stage to release candidates. The most fantastic thing is that many of these users test the software in real-life situations; that is, they use the software as if it had already gone gold. It is extremely difficult for me to believe that a traditional development shop would be as capable at catching bugs that arise mostly in real-life situations; more likely, they find the bugs after the software has gone gold. One might argue that it's unfair to put the burden of unfound bugs on individuals or organizations that use the beta versions of the software. I argue that this is not unfair. Those people should (and most likely do) understand that they are using beta software. Consequently, only the people who take the risks are actually taking the risks. Everyone else patiently waits for the final release candidate and the software still gets tested in real-life situations. It's a win-win scenario.

3. The security. Security holes will always be discovered and even exploited whether you use open source or closed source, mainly because of the ingenuity of hackers and crackers. Given this reality, what matters is who is more capable of responding to the discovery of security holes. Of course, the closed source camp would argue that this reality does not exist; we'll never know the truth until open source operating systems like Linux have enough market share to warrant attack from crackers. However, if the ability of crackers is the driving factor, it really seems to me like open source has the advantage. The open source camp has way more resources to allocate towards bug patches because 1) they have more coders, and 2) they aren't constrained by budgets and the need to balance resources for product launches.

4. The collective innovation. With open source, you have the collective creativity of minds from all over the world working together to make a great product. Knowledge is free and is used to drive further leaps and bounds of innovation. So open source is like a high-tech throwback to the old days of academia, where knowledge was discovered and use for the betterment of mankind, rather than profit. I'm not denying that knowledge creation can be driven quite well by profit. However, there comes a point when sharing knowledge makes much more sense: patents case in point. This is part of the reason why we have industry standards, I suppose. But think of how many cooler add-ons we could have for Microsoft Office if only the darn thing were more open.

Open source has more advantages, no doubt. The funny part is how the phrase "open source" can be applied to almost any type of knowledge creation now. For example, Wikipedia, the world's best (and possibly only) free encyclopedia is completely open source. The content is so diverse and accurate precisely because there are so many people constantly editing the encyclopedia for veracity and adding information. Furthermore, because it's open source and online, the content is up-to-date and covers topics that have only come into existence even within the past few months. It makes for extremely enlightening conversations with Jeff on Japanese toilets.

So Andrew has brought to my attention the existence of Open Source Theology. While concepts like this have already long been in existence (any public forum would suffice), such a site title is still pretty cool, IMHO. And the site itself looks pretty cool. My only worry is this. The integrity of an open source product depends on the quality of its contributors and testers. The quality of open source coders cannot be denied, as many of them code for a profession and contribute to open source on the side. As for Wikipedia, the number of people surfing the site is bound to have a few who are actually subject matter experts and thus willing to state the truth of the matter. With Open Source Theology, you have people dealing with subjects wherein the truth is not yet finalized. For example, the age-old Calvinist-Armenian debate; did I spell that right? I'm never sure. But when you have such differing worldviews, you end up with much differing interpretations of scripture. Consequently a concept of "open source theology" may output content that could constantly be in conflict with itself.

Then again, that doesn't make it any different from choosing books off the shelf of a Christian bookstore, does it? :) I suppose it's the same as the collection of knowledge that we have offline, so I really shouldn't have any worry at all. But there is the one aspect that it's easier for poorly-read theologian wannabes to post an article online than it is for them to get published offline. But I'll probably give Open Source Theology a read now and then; no doubt, there are a few (probably many, actually) good contributors on there.

Friday, November 26, 2004

Some of the research our psychology department does

Just got this in the e-mail:

>WIN ONE OF THREE $300 PRIZES
>
>Participate in an ONLINE Study of Daily Events in Romantic Relationships
>
>Participants must be in an ongoing romantic relationship of at least 3
>months or longer, have regular in-person contact with their partner,
>have daily internet access, and be willing to complete short
>questionnaires daily for 11 days.
>
>-----------------------------------------
>Beverley Davino, Departmental Assistant
>Psychology, SFU

I'd post the contact e-mail, but I wouldn't want them receiving spam because of me... :)

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

Snow Falling on Cedars

I went up to the park on Burnaby Mountain tonight to sort out some thoughts. Walking along the path, it seemed like there was a magical or mystical atmosphere. Looking over the cliff at the river, fog enshrouded the islands and completely covered the waterway. One could hear the foghorns as boats traversed down the river. Trees stretched above me beyond one's imagination, reaching for the clouded skies. Majestic in their silent splendour, they stood guard over the entire mountain. Looking on the other side, the city was viewable in its entirety, with a heavy mist that seemed summoned eons past. The panoramic scene as one turned around had no beginning and no end, because the mountain ranges in the distance had no distinction, nor radiance. They simply waited ominously in the shadows, challenging wayfarers to pass through to the other side. For what? What treasures or adventures lay there in the lands beyond the horizon? What peoples lived there? What legends were created and feared there? And one realized that this phantasm had a meaning far beyond purpose of life. For one's life was too small to have purpose in this astounding environment. A small piece, a link in the great chain of time, a cog in the unbelievable clockwork of reality, one would be unable to fathom the ramifications of his tiny contributions because his contributions lacked formidability. And so purpose exists in life. And the fog would never lift, lest that purpose be made clear and the awe of it all be lost to the cravings of a searching mind. For the journey is just as gratifying as the destination.

I wrote a poem last night. Writing again finally.

LOL! Amcal needs a date for a networking dinner! If you wish to date this very eligible bachelor, please contact me ASAP. :) He is desperate, as everyone else going to this dinner already has a date. Please note that most of the people attending the dinner will most likely be older than the two of you. It is a Christmas dinner to which his employer has been invited.

Sunday, November 21, 2004

RIP amcal

amcal is no longer with us. Rest in peace. Here is a memoir, our last meaningful conversation.

Amcal ^o) lol says: thanks man.. well, you know how to contact me :0

PakG1 - Add oil says: by snail mail?

Amcal ^o) lol says: or cell phone

PakG1 - Add oil says: or telegram

Amcal ^o) lol says: or telepathy.. (oh wait.. wrong alternate reality.. I thought this was the one with the cool mutant powers)

PakG1 - Add oil says: what, u mean u can't?

Amcal ^o) lol says: not this one.. this is dimenson b12, B13 is the one where I have the mind powers.. C12 is the one where I'm just learning my psionics..

PakG1 - Add oil says: oic

PakG1 - Add oil says: wow, I haven't been able to connect with myself in alternate realities yet

PakG1 - Add oil says: we're not yet aware of each other

PakG1 - Add oil says: been trying during my dreams tho

Amcal ^o) lol says: oh.. neither was I.. it was T16 I think, who crossed the subconscious barrier treshold.. or something like that.. him and WX are thinking of giving me a field trip..

PakG1 - Add oil says: dang, I wish mine would do that

PakG1 - Add oil says: I'm going for the tridimensional lunar displacement method

Amcal ^o) lol says: but.. we'll see.. apparently W and T actually were aware of each since 6 years old or something...

hahah don't worry, I'll ask one of the two if they know your alternate... though, I think they're not in canada right now though.. ^o)

Amcal ^o) lol says: sweet.. lunar displacement?

PakG1 - Add oil says: ya, I figure if I'm able to displace the moon's orbit, I'll be able to create a rip in the fabric of space-time and go through it to one of the other dimensions

Amcal ^o) lol says: um.. dude.. I don't think you can displace the moon's orbit.. not in this one though... C talked about some idiot who tried blowing up the moon with his "laser"

PakG1 - Add oil says: but it would be only a temporary displacement, I'd hope that the tides on earth wouldn't be affected that much

Amcal ^o) lol says: hmm.. that depends though.. especially if you have to consider if the laws of physics and gravity are taken into account..

PakG1 - Add oil says: timing the nuclear launch with the movement of the next close-range comet should be sufficient

Amcal ^o) lol says: hmm interesting.. though, make sure you've compensated for any other possible space objects..

Amcal ^o) lol says: even a small meteor could knock things of whack

PakG1 - Add oil says: dang this stupid chaos theory. I hope there's no butterflies around when the time comes

Amcal ^o) lol says: oh shoot.. I forgot that.. imagine.. a butterfly's wings may cause a cyclone on the other side of the planet.. hmm.. why not use chaos theory in your favor?

PakG1 - Add oil says: as in calculate for all the nonlinear factors to decide the optimal conditions?

PakG1 - Add oil says: the compilation of data alone would not be finished within my lifetime for such calculations

PakG1 - Add oil says: although I suppose it's possible there are no comets coming by the moon in the near future either?

Amcal ^o) lol says: hmm true.. but.. perhaps, launching a small warhead into deep space may bring about a string of event to create a comet or similar body to pass by..

PakG1 - Add oil says: oic

PakG1 - Add oil says: calculate the conditions necessary to cause a comet to come close and then initiate the sequence of nonlinear events

Amcal ^o) lol says: exactly.. alright man.. this is it.. wish me luck

Amcal ^o) lol says: nite take it easy


I guess he didn't make it.... :(

It's not the trinket that matters

Azumanga Daioh is one of the funnier animes I've ever seen. In Azumanga Daioh, there's a nice scene at the end. The girls are all graduating and Kagura is in her classroom for the last time. She's touching a desk, wondering what the future will hold. Yukari-sensei walks in and asks what's up. The conversation goes something like this (though my memory isn't perfect):

Kagura: Yukari-sensei, I don't suppose it'd be ok if I took a desk or chair with me, would it?
Yukari: Kagura, why on earth would you want to do that?
Kagura: Well, it's really silly, but I guess I'd just like to take something from this classroom with me.
Yukari: But you are! Your memories!
Kagura: (Whimpers, then bawls) Yukari-sensei! Thank you!
Yukari (in her typically clueless fashion): Huh?

Through an unexpected and unfortunate circumstance, I have lost the globe's base. But I don't need to the globe's base to keep the memories. ABA is still one of the coolest things to ever happen to me, and the ABA execs are still some of the coolest people around.

Besides, I still have the globe. Too bad it has nothing on which to spin anymore.

But it was the globe's base that had the logo.

Dang.

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Warm fuzzy feelings

Who the heck threw that cup? Seriously!

Let's get to warm fuzzy feelings.
Your Love Is a Drug
Puffy AmiYumi
Translation: None needed, it's in English this time!

When trouble ever gets me down
Your touch is all I need to turn me round
You lift me up
Your love is a drug

When life is just a misery
Your kisses are the only remedy
Can't get enough
Your love is a drug

Knock me off my feet
Make my worries obsolete
It's so groovy
Just like a movie

Flyin' through the sky
As I'm jonesin' for those eyes
It's amazing how you can make a sober girl so high

I used to see the world as dark
Now everyday the sun shines in my heart
You lift me up
Your love is a drug

It's something more than chemistry
I'm trippin' everytime you're next to me
I can't get enough
Your love is a drug

The buzz is oh so strong
Tune me in and turn me on
You're a rainbow
You make my love grow

Take me for a ride
You're my tie dye butterfly
It's amazing
How you can make a sober girl so high

I know I'll never shake the stuff
I'll always be a junkie for your love
I can't get enough
Your love is a drug
It's more than a puff
Your love is a drug
You lift me up
Like your love is a drug

I wonder, is this what actually happens to a woman's mind? What do you say when someone says to you, "When I'm with you, I feel so carefree"? It's a nice nice ubernice feeling to hear something like that. I know. So it's interesting that I really dislike it when a female directs a statement even remotely close to that at me. I wonder how much women in general think like Hikki here. Probably one of my favourite ballads of all time anyway. And the one that got me into Jpop. :) But I doubt feelings like this last long. The imagery of tabacco breath is apparently very meaningful in Japan. It apparently signifies the end of love. This is heard through the grapevine and unconfirmed. Perhaps I'll ask Mauro about it.
First Love
Utada Hikaru
Translation found: Here

Your last kiss had the flavor of tabacco
A bitter and sad scent
Where will you be tomorrow at this time?
Who are you thinking of?

You are always gonna be my love
Even if I fall in love with someone else once again
I'll remember to love, you taught me how
You are always gonna be the one
Now it's still a sad love song
Until I'm able to sing a new song

Time stood still, but it's trying to move once more
Full of things I don't want to forget
I'll surely be crying tomorrow at this time
I'll be thinking of you
Yeah, yeah, yeah

You will always be inside my heart
There's always a place just for you
I hope that I have a place in your heart too
Now and forever you are still the one
Now it's still a sad love song
Until I'm able to sing a new song
Oh oh

You are always gonna be my love
Even if I fall in love with someone else once again
I'll remember to love, you taught me how
You are always gonna be the one
Now it's still a sad love song
Now and forever
Do you know how friggin hard it is to find a good translation of First Love?? It took me an entire hour! Thank goodness for my rudimentary Japanese.

Looking at Cassiopeia again. Please direct attention towards the trees instead. Much thanks.

I seriously thought Cassiopeia wasn't distracting anymore. Cycle, amcal, cycle.

Friday, November 19, 2004

The Fallacy of Economics?

"And this is why I think the foundation of economics is totally wrong!"

Try understanding that when it's said by an economics professor. Well, it was something close to that, I'm sure; I can't remember the exact wording. It was many many weeks ago.

This one is for 9race, regarding a discussion from a while back. While Andrew applies his little quote specifically to the Christian movement, rather than general ideological movements as the author does, I have some comments regarding the author's economic analysis. Mind you, I totally agree with Andrew that the quote epitomizes the state of many churches and "Christians" today; churches in general have devolved from their original status as faith institutions created for a specific purpose to become social institutions where people can simply be part of a community. There's nothing wrong with such a social institution existing. However, those are called community centres. The church was originally supposed to be much more. One can trace a similar devolution in the YMCA, which was once an amazing parachurch organization, on the frontier of the Christian movement in the United States. I mean, excuse me, it's called Young Men's Christian Association.... Now it's... a place where you can go to work out. And in both the YMCA and many churches, the understanding of what being a Christian means is lost. Even the understanding of how to become a Christian is lost. One is not a car because he/she sleeps in a garage. One is not a Christian because he/she attends church.

But the economics in Wendell Berry's article. My main issue is that he focuses more on rhetoric to present his argument; I'd argue that his underlying logic has some faulty premises, creating an unsound, if not invalid, argument. I shall pull some quotes of my own from the article:
The global "free market" is free to the corporations precisely because it dissolves the boundaries of the old national colonialisms, and replaces them with a new colonialism without restraints or boundaries. It is pretty much as if all the rabbits have now been forbidden to have holes, thereby "freeing" the hounds.
Berry decries free trade and globalization precisely because of the control that corporations get in manhandling the little guy. But in taking his stance, he makes several assumptions that I believe are not true. Perhaps he makes them inadverdantly. They seem to be as follows:
1. Free trade and globalization in their current forms today truly constitute free trade
2. People are incapable of ownership, enterprise, and learning new tricks
3. Corporations are unwilling to act in a socially responsible manner
If these three points are true, then I think Berry's argument stands. However, I really do not concur that they are true.

Firstly, tariffs, quotas, and subsidies exist aplenty in this world that prevent the economic output of poorer nations from reaching the markets that are willing to buy them. Here's a quote:
The mandate of the NAMA Negotiating Group also includes further efforts to reduce or remove existing non-tariff barriers that act to unduly restrict trade. In this regard, Canada has stated that governments must retain the right to apply measures in support of legitimate objectives while regulating in the public interest in the least trade-restrictive manner possible. It is Canada's view that the NAMA Negotiating Group's mandate covers only those non-tariff barriers that are not covered by existing rules and agreements, and the scope of the Group's eventual work in this area remains to be seen.
I'm not one to say that our farmers need to become poorer. However, their self-interest in wanting to protect themselves through means like the Canadian Wheat Board, tariffs, and subsidies are slaughtering the abilities of poor nations to export agricultural products. Let's face it: the less a nation's economy is developed, the greater percentage agriculture composes for that economy. Hence, poorer nations are able to export mainly agricultural products. Except those exports hit a wall of trade barriers that exist because Canadian farmers are afraid to compete on a fair and level playing field. Free trade is not actually happening today, and what we really are seeing is an attempt by richer nations to protect themselves from becoming poorer. IMHO, this is a fallacy. But people are unwilling to look at the potential long-term benefits of comparative advantage and instead focus on maintaining the status quo because it's "safe and secure."

This leads right into my second point regarding Berry's stance. He assumes that workers are forever members of the proletariat, and are incapable of working for themselves. Free trade benefits people when they actually participate in the trade. The problem with Berry's viewpoint is that he argues that corporations have all the ownership, and therefore all the exploitation; the corporations are consequently the sole beneficiaries of free trade. No, not true. Free trade by its very nature necessitates ownership on both sides of the trade. Of course it's impossible for people to have ownership if they are only employed by the corporation; employment is an awfully one-sided trade. I think there have been plenty of cases where citizens of poorer nations have reaped the benefits of free trade precisely because they had private ownership. It means they get to keep the profits, after all. In fact, Berry makes some of these very points in the latter portion of his essay, where he talks about his idea of local economy. It's ironic that he's on the verge of actually supporting free trade; it demonstrates his potential misunderstanding of the status of "free trade" in the world.

But for private enterprise and free trade to operate properly, we need respect for the law, integrity in the system, and peace in the region. It's impossible for one to operate private enterprise if an area is run over with crime, has corruption in the government, and is constantly at civil war. This is precisely why it would be so difficult to have free trade work to improve the economic wealth of specific African nations. The droughts are a large factor as well, I'll admit. We thus have a difficult scenario: can crime decrease when one of the greater causes of crime is poverty? But poverty cannot be improved upon by free trade unless the crime is reduced. However, this issue doesn't nullify the positives of free trade, it only prevents them from working. I may also add in that I believe that such a situation is a clear result and manifestation of humanity's general sin.

As well, education is necessary. It's not free trade that caused those farmers to raze the forests to sell timber; it was short-sightedness. A wiser farmer would have seen that it was in his interest to fulfill long-term demand by responsibly harvesting timber, while at the same time maintaining the agricultural potential of the soil. Once again, this doesn't make free trade a bad thing. It only demonstrates that certain prerequisites are necessary before free trade can be implemented.

However, if these prerequisites are met, then it's perfectly possible for members of the proletariat to become members of the bourgeoisie. It is possible to teach an old dog new tricks. Just as a plumber can do plumbing jobs for himself and receive all the revenue for his services, a farmer can reap his harvest and take all the profits, or even change his vocation. People are more capable of things than they think. The Joy of Freedom - An Economist's Odyssey is filled with some great examples. I have a copy if anyone wants to borrow it. :) There is no need for us to underestimate the ingenuity, innovation, and work ethic of our fellow man (or woman!). Free trade has many general social benefits as well, that extend beyond the individual. For example, my thoughts on the effects of free trade on environmentalism can be found here. And The Joy of Freedom has some excellent commentary on how private ownership can improve the environment.

The final assumption to be rebutted is the thought that corporations are unwilling or incapable of acting in a socially responsible manner. Well, I have to admit I agree with this quote:
The folly at the root of this foolish economy began with the idea that a corporation should be regarded, legally, as "a person". But the limitless destructiveness of this economy comes about precisely because a corporation is not a person. A corporation, essentially, is a pile of money to which a number of persons have sold their moral allegiance. As such, unlike a person, a corporation does not age. It does not arrive, as most persons finally do, at a realization of the shortness and smallness of human lives; it does not come to see the future as the lifetimes of the children and grandchildren of anybody in particular. It can experience no personal hope or remorse, no change of heart. It cannot humble itself. It goes about its business as if it were immortal, with the single purpose of becoming a bigger pile of money. The stockholders essentially are usurers, people who "let their money work for them," expecting high pay in return for causing others to work for low pay. The World Trade Organization enlarges the old idea of the corporation-as-person by giving the global corporate economy the status of a super government with the power to overrule nations.
Well, I haven't seen The Corporation yet, nor have I read the book. But I have heard amazing things about it that seem to relate to Berry's words. I hope to see The Corporation soon, it was first recommended to me by a co-worker at TELUS, and I've been hearing about it ever since. But what Berry says is true. What Berry fails to realize is that the corporation caters to the customer because the customer gives the corporation bread and butter. And I think that the customer is naturally demanding ethical conduct. Nike has vastly improved its standards for labour in overseas nations. Although it still has a bad sweatshop reputation, it's nowhere near what it used to be. On the other hand, you have companies like Mountain Equipment Coop that focus on corporate environmental and social responsibility. Heck, Ben and Jerry are still a couple of hippies at heart. But my point is that if the customer wants it, the corporation will change. And the customer wants it today. So corporations are changing, while others started out that way in the first place.

Perhaps Berry's biggest problem with the concept of free trade is an ethical issue.
These assumptions clearly prefigure a condition of total economy. A total economy is one in which everything — "life forms", for instance, or the "right to pollute" — is "private property" and has a price and is for sale.
According to efficiency maxims, it is actually not optimal to eliminate crime. It is not optimal to eliminate sickness. This is because the price is too high. Eliminating crime is perfectly possible. We just need to have secret police patrolling every square inch of the street, creating systems that virtually eliminate the existence of black markets for weapons, invade the privacy of every family's home 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, etc. 1984 is a world that we do not want (though the US heads closer to it every day after 9/11). Likewise for sickness. We could pour the nation's entire economic output into AIDS research, cancer research, heck, even flu research. We could force everyone to walk around in astronaut suits to make sure that germs are never spread from one person to another. Do you see my point? Society actually prefers to endure some crime, some sickness, some social unrest, because it is not willing to pay the cost of eliminating those social bads.
And likewise, many things are consequently for sale. The right to pollute is for sale because it's too costly to absolutely eliminate pollution, and society deems the economic output of the polluter to be worth the pollution. According to this same economics professor I mentioned at the beginning, Ralph Nader once came to SFU and gave a talk. He said, "You know what's not right? If you pee into the Detroit River, you get slapped with a fine, but GM pollutes that river every day and receives no fine!" It was obvious what the fallacy was. GM creates economic output and gives back to the community something that the community deems worth an amount equal or greater than the pollution. However, when you piss into the pollution, you're not contributing anything. So you get fined for causing a net damage.

Let me be blunt. It seems to me that advocates of protectionism would rather piss on society than contribute to the economic welfare of society.

The Folly of Best Buy

Since I first started building my own computers, I've used these specific rules:

1. Look for a small shop owned and run by a Chinese guy.
2. Do not expect excellent service. As long as the service is efficient and quick, it will be sufficient. You should be able to walk in, buy your parts, and walk out all within 15 minutes.
3. Play stores off of each other to get a lower price.
4. Do your research and know what you're getting before you buy.
5. The store should not have a reputation of cheating the customer.
6. At all costs, avoid Future Shop, London Drugs, or any other big retail chain.

Of course, as the years passed, it was more plausible to shop at online stores. Especially since it was the online stores that carried all the hot deals. I'm not a hot deal hunter like Ted or Vlad, but it's still nice to reap the benefits of one now and then. :)

This is not Let's Diss Rom Day. The poor guy was just unfortunate to get a job at Best Buy in the computer section. :)

I extraordinarily disliked my experiences with Future Shop computer salespeople.

PakG1: So, what's so special about this RAM? The store down the street sells RAM for half the price.
Future Shop Whipping Boy: It comes in a box! That store will give it to you in a bag!
PakG1: ... That's cool. But I want to buy the RAM. Not the box.
Future Shop Whipping Boy: If it's in a box, it's more reliable!
PakG1: ... Hmm, thanks. Well, gotta go!

Mind you, there are some excellent diamonds in the rough. Not all Future Shop computer salespeople are ignorant about what they're selling. I have some friends who are quite capable of selling what they have to sell (and they work at big retail chains). My big question is why oh why does that not seem to be the norm?

The 80/20 Rule has been long known in business. It's not anything new (well, it might have been new to the Best Buy execs). 80% of your profits are generated by 20% of your customers. Thus, a huge percentage of your customers actually cause you to have losses. Strategies have long existed to deal with this issue and cull customers that are not profitable. I repeat: what Best Buy is doing is nothing new. But how many companies come out and say, "We're going to actively try to lose some of our customers"? It makes no PR sense whatsoever! Every other company has spun it in a favourable fashion; CRM (customer relationship management) systems perhaps comprise the latest and best method so far. But Best Buy has to come out and put mud on its face. It looks lovely on you, dude.

So you gotta love Dell. Heh.

Yeah, so I haven't bought computer parts at Future Shop for a long while now. Nor at Best Buy, its new parent company.

Did you know that Bill Gates gets 4 million e-mails a day? Now we know why he got the R&D department to invest in anti-spam technology. :D

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Insanity of Sports

Today, I link Erica. I met Erica in Stats AP back at Burnaby North. Now she's working in a bank in Amsterdam for a while. And she throws great parties. Please note that she is a living example of how living in another culture or environment can really broaden our perspectives and understanding of the world.

An LOT event tonight at the Relish. Acceptable quality of food, and fair price as well. Perhaps I would be willing to go there again for special engagements. However, the owner's speech of how he started up the restaurant was a lot shorter than I originally expected. And an anonymous person almost killed me. I am still laughing. Heh.

Met Yvonne (of all people, who woulda thunk??) on the way back on the Skytrain. Haven't seen her for what, 2 years now? She's working at this company. And they need someone to design a database for them. I have offered my services. We shall see what happens. Minna thinks I am crazy.

Chee... my blog is starting to turn into a daily diary. I better make a noteworthy post but fast. I wanted to discuss the stupidity of sports mania going too far. But alas, I am tired. Heck, let's do it anyway.

I remember cramming into a motel with some of the male BASS folks in 2003. It was great. We grabbed these huge cheap (but great quality) pizzas from Granville and Pender, and watched the Canucks pound the Blues in Game 7. And it was great! :D We ran out of the hotel to Robson Street and screamed our lungs out. Total strangers were giving each other high fives, hugging each other, and singing the national anthem. Rick ran into the middle of the street to high five every single driver and passenger that was slowly passing by; the streets were filled with people all celebrating the series victory. The euphoria was amazing.

Contrast that with what happened in 1994, when the Canucks lost Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals to the New York Rangers. Vancouver experienced one of its worst riots ever. I reminisce especially about the incident of the cop shooting a rubber bullet at a specific Canuck fan, and the ensuing controversy, because of the current controversy over the dead Red Sox fan. The investigation probably will come to some conclusion, and from my understanding, the fan wasn't actually part of a "riot". However, why do crowds need to act in such a way that the police feel that it is necessary to show some presence?

Passion obviously can be both exuberant and destructive. Passion in and of itself isn't actually good or bad, just like many of the things in this world. It's how the passion is shown and used that matters. Sports fans on this level can possibly be compared with religious fundamentalists. It's unfortunate that the actions of a few (or many) can tarnish the reputation of all (including the ones with constructive passion).

So the biggest question I have is why this passion drives certain sports fans to hate someone who used to be a hero. If it weren't for Paul McCallum, the Saskatchewan Roughriders would not even have been in the playoffs. I can understand if fans wish to no longer support McCallum. I can understand if they scream for McCallum to be traded. But I can't understand why any fan would egg his family's house, dump manure on his lawn, and scream threats at his family. Let's look up the word fan, shall we? For our context, Merriam-Webster Online defines fan as:
1 : an enthusiastic devotee (as of a sport or a performing art) usually as
a spectator
2 : an ardent admirer or enthusiast (as of a celebrity or a pursuit)

I can't see how vandalizers are enthusiastic devotees or ardent admirers. They're bloodthirsty for the Grey Cup and care nothing for the team that would get them it, so long as it is won. But perhaps the etymology can shed some light. Good old M-W says that fan is probably short for fanatic. Ooh, that's interesting. Is there a mirror image in the actual physical manifestation of a fan? Is a fan's root in fanaticism? Certainly that cannot be said for those of faith. Faith's roots do not lie in fundamentalism. I think if we trace the history of all major religions, that is a safe conclusion.

This fanatic passion is unfortunately cemented in North American culture. You know it's bad when Hockey Canada releases a campaign like Relax, it's just a game. I've heard enough about hockey dads killing each other, soccer moms screaming at referees, etc. I'm sorry Don Cherry, the culture is really like that. I've talked with people who coach and they can't agree more that a campaign like Relax, it's just a game is necessary. Heck, I played soccer for a few years with Cliff Avenue (bronze and silver levels) back in high school. Even at our lower level of competition, you still sometimes had a screaming parent.

Ultimately, I feel distraught that sports can have such an impact in igniting people's passions into loose cannons. Sports can unite cities (and even nations) like few other things. Go back to 2002 in Salt Lake and Gretzky's "They Want Us to Lose" rant. It's almost impossible to say that all of Canada did not rally behind this team, with pride on the line. What about the Summit Series? Heck, look at South Korea in the 2002 World Cup. You think Calgary had a Sea of Red? You ain't seen nothing if you didn't see South Korea's Sea of Red in the STREETS. Examples abound throughout history, these are just some of the more recent and prominent ones. Let's go back to the time when sports really was a way to unite humanity. Heh, like it ever existed? And the integrity of the Olympics gets worse with each scandal, doesn't it? Or perhaps it was already lost after it was necessary for all the corporations to get involved.

Currently listening to:
Urei
Puffy AmiYumi
Translated by: Sony Music

Such a muddy road: how far does it go?
You not only get dirty
But teacher's directions were different and
The last train gets farther

Rushing around and around and then stuck
It's still dark out, but morning comes

Let's play until it's disgusting
Let's play in a world that has everything
Let's play before you let it go
Come and catch me here: Let's play

The view through a donut hole
Alone, a curse
I don't seem to be trusted
Since I get jerked around

You don't seem to notice that the rails are twisted
I'm not waiting for you; I'll leave now

Let's play the way I like to
Let's play and get sweaty
Let's play while you're alive
Come and catch me quick: Let's play

The translation really doesn't do it justice... too bad.

Monday, November 15, 2004

little miss kool's turn

Lea's had her turn. Please note that little miss kool has also found a gem.

Decent public figures and role models are hard to come by. But you always get the warm fuzzy feeling when you have an act of kindness bestowed upon you like that. Pay it forward.

I still need to watch that movie...

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Die SCO, Die

Evidence that SCO does not own the Unix copyrights.

I wish this thing would blow over soon. I sincerely hope that this is all the judge needs to come to a conclusion. How long has this been going on now? Definitely more than a year.

Uncanny

Paper started at 9:30 AM. Due at 4 PM. Handed in at 4:05 PM, barely getting the timestamp. I really gotta stop doing this. Thanks go to God.

Truth or Dare Jenga can be fun. But painful. Many apologies to Julie. And of all questions, why that one. I shall climb back into my cave and not come out. Courage would be nice.

MIMC model is being updated. Predictions are that a causal relationship will be found between product quality and demand, and that service quality will have almost no relationship.

Wishing I could have seen Steve sing Cause I Got High onstage.

Currently listening to:

Red Swing
Puffy AmiYumi
Translated by: Sony Music

The two of us, on a red swing together, feels like we're growing up as we swing
That mountain remains, the same as ever, it's just that you're not with me

Each morning shines, each day working for a living
I waited too long, for so long, waited too long
Let's turn back time, I want to be with you there again.

My childhood dream just can't continue
We laughed so hard, it's scary to forget

My voice, a word, a promise, my aching heart
Holding hands lightly and looking down at the little town

Each morning shines, I pretend to be busy
So many times, that room's been in my mind
I can still feel your hand, your favourite flower, your favourite white pup
The nights are filled with countless tears,
I want you back, now and forever
A girl called me cool today. I hate it when that happens.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Lest we forget

In Flanders Fields
By John McCrae, doctor and teacher, veteran of the South African War and the First World War

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch, be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields


Information courtesy of Veteran Affairs Canada:
Before he died, John McCrae had the satisfaction of knowing that his poem had been a success. Soon after its publication, it became the most popular poem on the First World War. It was translated into many languages and used on billboards advertising the sale of the first Victory Loan Bonds in Canada in 1917. Designed to raise $150,000,000, the campaign raised $400,000,000.

In part because of the poem's popularity, the poppy was adopted as the Flower of Remembrance for the war dead of Britain, France, the United States, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.

Today, people continue to pay tribute to the poet of "In Flanders Fields" by visiting McCrae House, the limestone cottage in Guelph, Ontario where he was born. The house has been preserved as a museum. Beside it are a memorial cenotaph and a garden of remembrance.

The symbolic poppy and John McCrae's poems are still linked and the voices of those who have died in war continue to be heard each Remembrance Day.
A biography of John McCrae and the context of the poem may also be found at the Veteran Affairs Canada link.

Destination: Paris

Have linked Hanson. The man appreciates logic. Therefore, I appreciate him. Dig? :)

Noteworthy news:

Our man Gabriel Lo will be working for Microsoft for one year in Denmark. You deserve it, man! Looking back, Gabe was part of our AIE team out of high school. We chose good people.

Elissa Tong has gotten a coop with EA. You go, girl! I can't remember if Ghost and I chose her to be part of AIE. If we didn't, we should have. This girl is amazing. Besides being active in WICS, she loves anime.

Looking back, it's funny how both Ghost and Glimpse have ended up in EA. AIE needs to be revived, and Ghost still wants to do it, though Glimpse would rather open up an anime shop. That sells Vietnamese subs. And has a net cafe. Where we can create Project Bravo for AIE. Yeah....

MIMC is looking good. We blasted all the other companies this past quarter in terms of profit numbers.

The registration issue to get into BUEC 485 has been resolved. It better be as good as Steve says. :)

A reunion of sorts tomorrow with all the business faculty grads that managed to graduate before me. Blue says that the dim sum is worth skipping out on writing my polisci paper.

A stack of thick books (let's see... to be specific, 7 thick books, 2 thin books, and half an inch of academic papers) lies on my desk waiting to be read so that I can write my paper due on Friday.
Analysis of the International Response to AIDS, Focusing on American Foreign Policy

AIDS has been recognized by much popular literature as an international epidemic. The vast majority of the epidemic is concentrated in developing and third world nations, although regions of the first world also experience their share of the problem. This paper will analyze the international response to AIDS and which of the three normative traditions (i.e. realism, rationalism, and revolutionism) create the foundation for this international response. In particular, this paper will analyze how and why the US integrates AIDS into its foreign policy, as well as briefly contrast American foreign policy with the foreign policies of other first world nations (in relation to AIDS).
Perhaps I should catch up with the class before I start writing. Rom shall see vintage Bobby in action at 4 am for the next night or so.

Yasser Arafat has died. It's difficult to see what will happen now. Will this be the catalyst necessary for the peace process to go forward? Will Hamas and other groups run rampant? Will Israel move in go wild? Astounding times we live in, my friend. And yet, I can only watch from the sidelines as people face the dangers of war in the middle east, Sudan, Chechnya, etc. It is consequently difficult to identify with my fellow humans in war-ravaged areas, though I wish to do so.

And Mauro, Andrew, and I have been accepted to compete in L'Oreal's e-strat. Can we make it all the way to the final round in Paris? Hehe, it's a long shot but one can dream.

Currently listening to Nami Tamaki's Destiny.

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Realize

Realize
Sung by: Tamaki Nami
Lyrics: BOUNCEBACK
Music: y@suo ohtani
Arranged by: Hiroaki Arai
Translated by: Mognet

I don't know the place where I'll end up
But believing I'll get there, I'll make my emotions run

My heart and this city keeps changing shape
But there is a wish that won't disappear
We chased different dreams, looking at the same sky
We made a promise that day, that "we won't give up"
Not being able to hold hands
We kept searching for the reason for our birth

I don't know the place where I'll end up
But believing I'll get there, I'll make my emotions run
When we get over mistakes and sadness
Our wishes hold the light
Awakening the future

Are you feeling, somewhere,
The loneliness in the clouds that flow in the wind?
We walked with our backs to each other
Hurting each other, trying to save our dreams
We'll be able to understand someday
I want to believe that we're feeling the same thing
Without being afraid of being lost, we can fly
My heart beats like a wave
Don't give up on your dreams yet
Going against darkness and loneliness
I'll go and tell you
The happiness in meeting you

I don't know the place where I'll end up
But believing I'll get there, I'll make my emotions run
Even when we get away from mistakes and sadness
Like that day, this sky continues to you
Having been downtown for a Junior Achievement orientation, volunteer opportunity courtesy of LOT, I found it prudent to check out Virgin Megastore for Puffy AmiYumi's Nice album. Lo and behold, there it was. Also selling was Tamaki Nami's new album Greeting. Born in only 1988, Nami is a new rising star in Japan that has the talent and looks to possibly become another BoA. Also in stock (and #3 on Virgin's Top 30) was Utada Hikaru's new album Exodus. I got all three albums.

I remember back in high school when Utada Hikaru first landed on the scene with her First Love album. With hit singles like Automatic, First Love, Time Will Tell, and Give Me a Reason, Utada Hikaru was... great. She actually had vocal talent, wrote her own lyrics and music, and had a good mix of pop, funk, dance, and even some hip hop. First Love was an amazing album, and I still remember the story of my friend speeding almost double the speed limit to buy and then hand-deliver the album to the girl he was courting. And it introduced me to Jpop. With vigour, I searched for mp3s of Amuro Namie, Hamasaki Ayumi, Kuraki Mai, Nanase Aikawa (whose song Crying I still love to listen to), SPEED (bought their Single Collection II), MAX, X-Japan, and many more. Music videos were downloaded fervently as well. So come full circle to buy Utada Hikaru's Exodus (which is an English album made for the US, by the way; she's totally fluent, having been educated in the US). I might start getting back into Jpop again.

Utada Hikaru started young, just like all these other Jpop stars. She was only 16. And she was fantastic. She broke all the records in Japan with First Love. But it's strange how First Love is still my favourite album ever produced by her, so much such that all her other albums don't even come close. But I was still fan. After listening to Exodus, I don't know how much of a fan I remain. Some of these songs are... out there. Like Tippy Toe:
Nobody has to know (Synchronize it)
Stay very close to the floor
Nobody has to know (Synchronize it)
Careful when you close the door
Nobody has to know (Synchronize it)
When we tippy toe, tippy toe (Just imagine)
My body under your body
Here we go everybody 3, 2, 1
Every time I think about you
Heaven knows I fall into a groove
You're like a great interlude
Every time I think about your body my body says ooh ooh
Every time I think about you heaven needs a prayer
Cuz you're married and you've even got a family too
Pray that they don't hear you
I'm sorry, I can't say that I like Utada as much as I used to anymore. Exodus '04 is still a great song on the album. However, with songs like Tippy Toe, I can't see myself listening to the album often. Perhaps I'll just rip the songs I like. Like Exodus '04.

Why is it that pop stars feel the need to act and sing dirty in order to prove that they've "grown up"? It's a value judgment, of course, but Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera look more immature to me the less clothes they wear and the more music they output. Avril Lavigne looked a LOT more mature to me from the outset, despite her originally rebellious and teenage angst sound. The way she conducted herself was always more professional, more mature, more sophisticated, more comprehensively developed. It always scares me when a woman has to reveal more of her body to attract attention; it kinda makes me wonder if she has nothing else. I even imagine Hilary Duff going down this path. This too is a personal value judgment that perhaps I need to stay for the greater good at times. I've heard it many times said by women, "If you have it, flaunt it." Well, in reply, I say, "If that's the best thing you have to flaunt, I really feel sad for you."

So has Utada Hikaru strayed down this path? I don't know. Listening to this album, she still strikes me as someone who walks her own path with an air of professional and mature audacity, rather than immature recklessness. But why the lyrics? Is it necessary to discuss fantasies of breaking up marriages? If an issue exists, I'm not saying that we should censor and ignore. But I don't think that the proper way to create constructive discussion is through a total lack of censorship. But that's a totally different issue altogether.

Tamaki Nami is 16 right now. Just like Hikaru was back then. Well, first question. How come these Japanese girls have such piercing and wide-range vocals? From the first time I heard Hamasaki Ayumi to Tamaki Nami today, the sound of Japanese female singers has always amazed me. It's... rich, eletrically charged, and powerful. And I like it. But the important question. Will Nami start singing songs like Hikaru's Tippy Toe five years down the road? And if so, how would this affect my view of her? Should it affect my view at all? Nami has the potential to perhaps even follow Sung Yuri's (former member of Kpop group FinKL) path from music to a prolific acting career; Nami could also maintain a successful singing career (if only she finds some songwriters who will create some original-sounding songs for her). Of course, I've also heard rumours (which I was never able to confirm) that Vivian Hsu's career was propelled by work in the porn industry. Sex sells, and I really disliked the concept (see above for views of women who feel the need to show their body).

However, in the end, I think I'll just be content to listen to Nami's Believe and Realize, which were title songs for Mobile Suit Gundam SEED; rants about the music industry's preoccupation with sex appeal can wait another day. :) Hehe, it's funny how there's all this Gundam SEED art on and in her album's jewel case; that is very cool. Puffy and Nami will both make for fantastic listening when skiing down Cypress and Whistler.

On the other hand, I recall reading about an interesting court case in the local paper. A bar waitress refused to wear a bikini at work for the bar's Hawaiian-themed night. She was subsequently ostracized, persecuted, and eventually fired by the owner (or she quit, I can't remember). Through some legal process, she received damages and now has her eyes focused on getting a "real career" (has started attending school to become a legal secretary). That woman has my respect. She has it, but doesn't need to flaunt it to achieve her goals. I'm by no means disparaging the model industry, mind you. Reasons for why the model industry requires an analysis different from the music industry can be discussed another day.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

North Carolina spammers guilty!

They're facing up to 15 years in prison. My vast distaste for spam shall not overtake my emotions in this post. However, I find this extremely annoying:
The trial opened Oct. 25. During the proceedings, prosecutors called the defendants modern-day snake-oil salesmen who used the Internet to hawk dubious mortgages, investments and other schemes, including a "FedEx refund processor" that supposedly allowed people to earn $75 an hour while working from home.

In one month alone, Jaynes received 10,000 credit-card orders for the processor, each for $39.95.
What is WRONG with people??? @@

Saturday, November 06, 2004

A day in my life

Hot water feels so good in a shower, very relaxing. So it's very shocking when the water suddenly becomes freezing cold. Argh. Shut off water. Open up the flow again. But no water comes out! Unless the tap is turned to the cold position. So bear the freezing cold water. After all, it wakes you up. But I was already awake.

/hear knock on door
"Bobby, we're changing the hot water tank!"
"I noticed."
"Do you want us to turn the hot water back on?"
"No, it's ok, I'm done."

Cold showers are good for you. Really. They build character.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Think with your brain, not your body

The logic:
As Paul says, "Each of you should learn to control his own body" (1 Thessalonians 4:4). Why is that important? Basically it is a sign to you that a person is capable of delay of gratification and self-control, which are prerequisites of the ability to love. If someone cannot delay gratification and control himself or herself in this area, what makes you think that they can delay their own gratification in other areas of sacrifice to you? What is going to curb the "I want what I want now" mentality in the rest of life? If someone is able to respect the limit of hearing no for sex, then that is a character sign of someone who can say no to their own desires and hungers in order to serve a higher purpose, or to love another person.
The data:
Janet found this out the hard way. She loved Steve and wanted to be with him. So she gave in to sleeping with him. Even though it was against her values, she liked the fact that he wanted her so desperately. But what she found was that he did not have the ability to connect in other ways. When she would want deep talking, or sharing of feelings, he would withdraw from her. He was unable to be vulnerable on a level of needs or emotions. But when it came to sex, he was all for it.

This is the case with lust. It often occurs in a person who is not developing in other areas of intimacy. Sex during dating often hides a person's lack of relational skills - skills that are going to be needed in marriage. In all the heat and romance of dating and sex, the inabilities in the relational realm are never noticed. Then a person finds himself or herself serious with or marrying a sex addict who is incapable of a real relationship. Instead of expressing love through sex, the luster replaces love with sex.
The conclusion:
If you think with your body, expect benefits for only your body. Quotes from Boundaries in Dating, Chapter 17, by psychologists Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. John Townsend.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Lea is a journalist genius

After all, she finds the news. Or in this case, editorial. Must be all that work with Buzz. Go Lea! The quote is amazingly true.

EDIT: So I have linked more people. I met all these people originally through CCC. And they're still great people. Arnold. Stephanie. Goose.

EDIT2: Justin has created a blog. This is very cool.

Hitting the slopes


My skis Posted by Hello

So I bought my Whistler 4x4 seasons pass, my Cypress One-Niter pass, and I am... excited. Don't my skis look so lonely and unappreciated? It's ok, we'll go to a mountain soon, I'm sure.


Big air... the sunspot is actually my camera's flash Posted by Hello

It'll be especially fun because Whistler opened up 1100 additional acres of terrain this year! And there's an intermediate run, so I'll be able to actually go to the new terrain without thinking about breaking my neck! :D Hehehehe.... And this year, I'll master those moguls!


Eigerman 64 MB MP3 Player Posted by Hello

I got a free copy of The Junkshow Diaries (among other things) from when I worked for Alice at the WME booth at the Vancouver Snow Show. And it had a REALLY cool scene set to the music of Puffy AmiYumi's Urei (from their album Nice). Dammon first introduced me to Puffy AmiYumi a couple of years ago and I can't say that I became a big fan or anything. It's not like they're Grammy-calibre singers, though the music was quite fun to listen to. But watching the Junkshow Diaries has made me become an instant Puffy AmiYumi fan. :) The music is bouncy and crazy, perfect for skiing! This made me want to go out immediately and purchase an iPod Mini, which can be had for $305 from the SFU Microcomputer Store. Then the guys at HCW made me seriously consider a Dell DJ, which seems to have much better value in terms of functionality, storage space, and battery life. But not having the cash for either, I shall have to temporarily settle for the Eigerman 64 MB player for which I traded my Benwin speakers to Dammon. I just now wish I could have seen Puffy AmiYumi back when they came to Vancouver's Virgin store in the summer of 2003. I remember walking to work up Burrard St. and wondering why all these Japanese kids were all crowded in front of Virgin. And not being totally interested in Puffy AmiYumi back then, I shrugged my shoulders and went straight to the office when I found out that Puffy AmiYumi was in town. So I'll just use my Eigerman to go down the slopes and listen to Puffy AmiYumi's Red Swing. :)


My sock drawer Posted by Hello

As you can see, I have a lot of socks.


My socks Posted by Hello

However, I don't have any socks that were specially made for skiing. This is a little annoying, as last season, my socks would be really abrasive while in my ski boots. When I'd come home and take my socks off, there'd be marks and scraped skin all over my ankles from the fabric's texture. These are my soccer socks from grade 9, which I normally used because of their length. First thing on the list is to go buy some socks made with a really fine fabric.


My mirrored shades Posted by Hello

But what about the eyes? On sunny days, do I wear my mirrored shades?


My blue shades Posted by Hello

Or my blue ones? I picked up both of these on a great deal from the Vancouver Snow Show. The guy sold me them cheap because of these tiny cracks that you won't notice unless you're inspecting the sunglasses closely. Or perhaps I should go for a real ski mask?


Waterproof, yet breathable? Posted by Hello

And here's the ultimate question! Last season, my jacket was completely waterproof, but it didn't breathe at all! The sweat would just trap and gather inside my jacket, making for some discomfort. Is my new jacket truly waterproof and breathable at the same time? Only a trip up to the mountains will tell!

Can you tell I want to go already?

Monday, November 01, 2004

Get enough monkeys typing and you'll get Shakespeare

I have linked Jeff today. Jeff is a chemist of sorts. He's worked for really cool places, doing really cool research that will help to change and improve our future. The guy KNOWS his chem. And he sent me this really cool thing.

You ever heard the phrase, "Get enough monkeys typing on typewriters, and eventually, you'll have written the entire works of Shakespeare"? Well, here's a simulator to test out the conjecture. :D Given that this thing is a totally intractable problem (i.e. not solvable in polynomial time), I'm going to leave my computer on all night to see whether the thing will actually ever get past 19 letters. It's been at 19 for a while now for:
1. The First Part of King Henry the Fourth
2. A Midsummer Night's Dream
3. The Second Part of Henry the Sixth
4. The Life of King Henry the Fifth

And then we get a whole slew of things for which we have 18 letters. My only question is whether the simulator properly models the way a monkey would type at a typewriter, but in retrospect, this seems irrelevant, since the problem should be taken in the context of infinite monkeys or infinite time.