Sunday, December 31, 2006

Saddam executed

So Saddam is dead.

I think these quotes epitomize exactly how complicated the situation is.

Quote 1:
Another witness, national security adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie, told the New York Times newspaper one of the guards shouted at Saddam: "You have destroyed us. You have killed us."

"You have made us live in destitution."
Quote 2:
Um Abdullah, a Sunni and teacher in Tikrit, said she would wear black to mourn the city's favourite son.

"Saddam will be a hero in our eyes," she said.

"I have five kids and I will teach them to take revenge on Americans."
This is the end of one of history's chapters, though the specific book volume has yet to be concluded. I don't know what to make of it all. Look at how different the two quotes are, and I think we will begin to appreciate the complexity of Iraq, and why the war continues today. It was a severe miscalculation on the part of the US to not predict potential civil war after Saddam's deposition. But even if they had been able to predict it, I have no idea what the proper course of action could have been. It's just too complicated, too big for my small mind.

A good summary of the man's life.

Monday, December 18, 2006

I couldn't have said it better

The man understands.

Dear Blog

How have you been? It's been a while.

Over here, it's been very strange. We had this crazy storm where windspeed peaked at about 100 km/h. When I woke up in the morning, all the electricity was out, so I had to try to brush my teeth in the dark. It was really awkward. My toothpaste kept missing my toothbrush.

On the way to work, all these branches were all over the streets, all the street lights were out, and the stop lights were all bent out of shape. It was pretty crazy.

When I got to work, I was very thankful for being a guy. A co-worker told me about her horrors of trying to get ready for the day without any light. Apparently, it's hard to do the normal day preparations when you're a girl and it's dark.

Anyway, that was a few days ago. But I was speaking with a friend today, and his place just got electricity back today. Wow.

I was thinking, dear blog, wouldn't it be great if we communicated more often? Perhaps I could set up a voice mailbox for you. Then whenever I needed to tell you something, I could just call your number and leave you a voice mail. If you wanted, you could transcribe everything through your fancy voice recognition algorithms, and you could put everything up as a series of podcasts. I googled it, and apparently there are a few services out there already that can do this type of mobile ad hoc podcasting....

But that would be horrible then, wouldn't it, dear blog? Because then I wouldn't have any need for you anymore. Let's face it, it'd be much more convenient for me to just leave voice mails and have them uploaded into podcasts, rather than typing up reams and reams of virtual text. But you're lucky, dear blog, for I'm awfully attached to you. I know that our relationship has been on-off over the past couple of years, but really, you were my first, and you're my only.

OK, fine, you weren't my first. It was that open source software by Movable Type that first caught my heart. I hosted it off of my personal webspace provided by SFU. But I knew that couldn't last forever, so I moved to you. Movable Type wasn't really anything in the first place, you know that. The upkeep was horrendous, trying to keep up with new versions, backing up the folders, etc. I really much would rather you take care of all that. I really found out about you first anyway, way before I knew about Movable Type. Jamie Cheng introduced me to you when I was in grade 11, do you remember that? So I had to come to you.

It was a tough choice, you know, dear blog. So many out there use Xanga instead. And everytime I wanted to leave a comment on somebody's Xanga, I had to be anonymous because I didn't have a Xanga account. It was really annoying. So I got a Xanga account to leave comments, and only to leave comments. You understand, don't you? Besides, you do the exact same thing, forcing people to leave anonymous comments if they don't have a Blogger account. You shouldn't be the pot calling the kettle black. Or was it the kettle calling the pot black? I could never remember.

Now, dear blog, I know that we do have a difficult time getting our message across to each other. In fact, I feel it's been an awfully one-way street. I don't know how much more I can give without you giving back to me, and I need you to know that I feel this way. This isn't a good relationship, dear blog. It's not healthy. It's one-sided, and relationships aren't supposed to be one-sided. Why do you not speak with me ever? It makes me quite sad.

I am going to leave this all in your hands, dear blog. Because you see, I don't know if I can do this anymore. It will be up to you, dear blog, as to whether or not the relationship will continue. Please respect me enough to give me an answer. Think of all the time I spent with you, all of the energy I poured into you, all of the loyalty I've given you. It was all for you, dear blog. And I still care for you deeply, but there are times when care needs to be reciprocal. That's all.

I bid thee adieu, dear blog. Until we meet again. This dandelion is for you.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

If you have something unique, you have skills

Check it out.

The guy's got like a monopoly on manual dolphin stomach-pumping when no fancy equipment is available.

Wouldn't it be great to have some crazy unique thing about you that would be in demand in only rare specific scenarios? Like the ability to speak Klingon, and then all of a sudden real Klingons attack the planet earth! You (and a bunch of other trekkies around the world) would be instantly in demand as our main diplomats and spies!

I wish I had a talent. And not just any talent. But a unique one. Don't you hate it when people say that you have a unique talent, but you know that it's actually not that unique? Spouting interesting conversation on demand would be nice too. I admire people who can do that. I can only do it in specific scenarios, and can be quite good if I can get going. But I can't do it on demand. It sucks sometimes, huh? You know it does, you've experienced it too. :p

When Vienna Teng came by Vancouver for her concert, she closed off with this song, saying she wanted to end the night on a happy note. I like listening to it. :)

Harbor
By Vienna Teng

We're here where the daylight begins
The fog on the streetlight slowly thins
Water on water's the way
The safety of shoreline fading away

Sail your sea
Meet your storm
All I want is to be your harbor
The light in me
Will guide you home
All I want is to be your harbor

Fear is the brightest of signs
The shape of the boundary you leave behind
So sing all your questions to sleep
The answers are out there in the drowning deep

You've got a journey to make
There's your horizon to chase
So go far beyond where we stand
No matter the distance
I'm holding your hand

Friday, November 24, 2006

It might give you epilepsy

Since it flashes so much. But that's ok. :) This has got to be the best Naruto AMV I've seen so far. I first saw it last week, and I can't stop! Oh, when will the fillers stop??

Saturday, November 18, 2006

I feel like I'm in Zhaojue :)

Wow. Water mains shut down in North Vancouver. Power out all over the Lower Mainland the day before yesterday (or was it yesterday?). Floods causing evacuation of homes. Ferries stop running and a building collapses. And now a boil water advisory for the Lower Mainland, warning against drinking tap water, brushing teeth, and washing fruits and vegetables. Have to boil everything for at least one minute.

This rainfall is crazy! I feel like I'm in Zhaojue again! :D Hahahaha! :) Oh, I miss Zhaojue, this brings back memories. :)

So glad I don't live in a leaky condo....

Monday, November 06, 2006

I hate labels

I made the movie because I wanted people to talk about sex in the open. I grew up in a conservative Catholic family, and I am aware that people who grow up in sexually oppressive environments are the people who ask questions later in life. It is a natural progression. I am working things out, and some of our actors also came from conservative backgrounds and were trying to work their way out of that. I think that the people who are most afraid of this film are probably the ones who should see it the most, because I have been told that by the end of the movie the sex was the last thing a lot of people were thinking about. I always saw it as being a pretty softhearted, old-fashioned film that had sex, and I think sex is the funniest thing in the world.

John Cameron Mitchell, director of the movie Shortbus
I especially hate the labels that people place on me after only a first glance or listening to a single comment. I try to avoid labelling people, even when all evidence points to a single label, until I get to know the person. And I hope that people would do the same with me. But sometimes people label prematurely, and that upsets me.

I read an article in the Westender a while back about the movie Shortbus, which was being shown at the Vancouver International Film Festival. Sook Yin Lee, one of the main actors in the movie, talked about how they were trying to bring sex mainstream, push the boundaries of sex in film, and get rid of the taboos that exist. I wondered what was coming to our world. Pushign the boundaries? Why did the boundaries need to be pushed? They were going too far with the premise of the movie, but then again, the world was already like that.

So what do you think so far? Have you labeled me yet?

So I got to talking with a friend about sex. He talked about how he talked about it all the time, especially with girls. I avoided the topic altogether. He asked why I treated sex as such a taboo thing.

You know the biggest problem I have with people? They often make shortsighted conclusions because they think it seems so obvious. They don't take the time to look underneath the layers of the mind. In my mind, I got pretty upset with him. I explained to him that what he just said was wrong.

Sex is not a taboo thing for me. I do have accountability partners to keep me from things like porn, I do want to avoid premarital sex, and I don't believe in having sex with different partners, from one relationship to the next. Now, exactly HOW does that equate to me treating sex as a taboo? If you conclude that as well, I'm sorry, you're also an idiot. A short-sighted, naive, shallow idiot.

I avoid all of these things because I want to reserve my sex for a future life partner with whom I have exchanged vows for a lifetime of love, care, and dedication. My friend commented that people just treated sex as another everyday thing anyway, nothing special. There's no reason to put that much weight into it.

But THAT IS WHY I want to dedicate sex to a single person who I will love and cherish forever. BECAUSE it's not so special anymore. BECAUSE people treat it as just an everyday thing that you can share with anyone. People treat sex that way because today's mentality is that sex is not worth keeping sacred. And movies like Shortbus just make sex less sacred. Less special. More of a hobby thing than a love thing.

I WANT sex to be sacred. I WANT it to be special. I DON'T want to share it with just ANYBODY who may come or go in my life. That in turn DOES NOT mean that I think of sex as a taboo. What it DOES MEAN is that I view sex as extremely special and I DO NOT want to throw it around lightly. I DON'T want to come to see it as simply something fun to do when I get horny.

So then people ask me, well, if you save it for just marriage, how will you know whether or not it's good?

You know what, out of all the people I talk with, quality of sex is an indicator of your relationship. If you graph it out, the quality of your relationship would be your independent variable, while quality of sex would be your dependent variable. I have yet for someone to tell me something different on that count. As well, everything I've seen the so-called experts say (both Christian and non-Christian) also corroborates this theory. So if this theory is true, you know what then? If your sex life suffers, it's probably because you suck at having a good relationship with your mate.

I've learned several times over that talking about sex in the way the world does usually doesn't do anything to improve my vision of what I want it to be. So I'm going to stop and not talk about it anymore with people, unless they want to know why I'm treating it like a taboo. Then I'll rip into them for coming to that conclusion.

Please, people. Let's not label me as old-fashioned, prude, or shy just because I don't like talking about sex. Sex is not a taboo for me. Rather, it's sacred. The thought of it is so special to me that I will not anymore indulge in the pornographic conversations that people seem to enjoy so much. I will owe any future mate at least that much going forward, and I hope that she will have the same perspective for me. If you don't get it, there is nothing I can do for you.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Uganda Situation

My friend would like to make this message as public as possible. The following is an excerpt from a newsletter she received:

Kibaale continues to need your help….

First of all let me say thank you for all of your prayers and financial support during the famine in the Kibaale area. The Kibaale Community Centre has had a significant impact on the community in which it exists. People have been fed and been treated medically for many illnesses related to the famine crisis. Our hope had been that the December crops would be ready to reap and the crisis would wane, unfortunately this is not the case. Although some rain has come it has not been enough to produce a crop to harvest.

Things are not getting better… in fact desperation is now setting in. Over the weekend I was in touch with Kibaale following an email from Jackie (KCC Community Coordinator) stating how bad the situation is in the area around Kibaale, let me quote from her email: "The famine and drought continue to worsen. Yes, we have been getting a bit of rain, but a shower once a week is far from adequate. We should be getting 2 or 3 hours of rain every other day for two months straight in order to bring everything back to life. People are actually beginning to die of hunger. Everyday we are having hungry and needy people coming for help. I can’t really describe the difficulty of the situation. On Monday, about 20 people came to the community development office pleading for help. Justine (a KCC worker) came and told me about the most heart-wrenching case of the day: a 10 year old girl came asking for food for herself and for her siblings aged 8, 6, and 4 whom she was looking after. Their parents had died and they were living with a grandmother who was currently in the hospital. They hadn’t eaten in 3 or 4 days. Justine said the girl was just shaking. We also had a grandfather who was caring for a baby grandchild. He had no milk to give the baby – we gave him 6,000 schillings (about $4) to buy milk for one month. The needs are endless and people are now saying the crisis far surpasses that of ’92."

Karl (KCC Director) echoed the concern: "there have now been deaths confirmed because of the lack of food in this area. The need seems to be getting desperate for many families. Our Kibaale staff are reporting that some of their crops are being stolen during the night, people are taking food from others in order to survive. It looks like the situation may be getting worse than it was in Apr-June."

I realize that we have asked previously for donations during this crisis and the response was very good. I feel obligated, however, to let you know of the desperation which now surrounds the Kibaale Community Centre.

Please Pray:
1. For rain to fall
2. For crops to grow
3. For wisdom for the staff in Kibaale as they are dealing with heartbreaking situations daily.
4. That KCC will continue to be a light in a very dark time for those living in the community.

Financial Situation:
The last of the money donated earlier in the year will be used up within the next ten days, however the need continues to grow. We have set a target of $75,000 to be used over the next three months to assist the desperately needy. Any donations will be greatly appreciated Please contact Heather at the PAOS office, 604-634-3159 or email
info@kibaale.com if you have any questions or would like to give.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

No public washroom

Story of the day:

So yesterday night, I was coming home and had to go really bad. I get off the Skytrain at Broadway, and went to the A&W, knowing that they only allow customers to use the bathroom. With this in mind, I buy an apple pie (well, hot apple turnover, according to their menu). I'm told that it will take 5 minutes to prepare (what kind of fast food dessert snack takes 5 minutes???). Then I'm told that the washroom is out of order.

Great.

So I wait my 5 minutes (I paid $1.05 for that thing!) and give the pie to someone looking for money outside. Then I rush over to the McDonald's down the street (why does the red light have to come on just as I arrive at the crosswalk...) and buy an apple pie there. Then I ask to be buzzed into the bathroom. Just as I get to the bathroom, someone else enters it first! Argh! I wait for 10 minutes, and the guy doesn't come out?? Time flies when you gotta go, I didn't even notice how much time had passed. I could only think of how badly I needed to go.

Finally, I rush back to the counter, and the girl's all smiley, handing me my apple pie. No, no, I explain, I need to get into the handicap washroom, the guy still hasn't come out of the male one. I rush into the handicap washroom and experience relief.

Altogether, I had to hold for over half an hour. It was horrible.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Oh yeah, I posted a video

Hehe... :D

Thinking about personal integrity again

Well, the first post is here.

Last week at church, someone stood up to read 1 Peter 2:12. I'll quote the entire passage regarding the subject at hand.
2 Peter 2:9-12

But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.
It hit me hard. A couple of people would know how I fail in terms of my personal integrity. Some areas of failure, some more people know, while other areas, less people know. I speak with jechan, tepid hobbes, and others.

I look at this world and see so many negatives all the time in so many people that outweigh the positives, I cannot help but feel helpless. And what people would always say to me in the past, "Bobby, you are an encourager!"; well, is that still true? It certainly doesn't read like it, does it? :)

This is God's grace and mercy. In that while we fail Him, HE is still faithful. While we have no reason to receive love, after people have stopped loving us because we are so problematic, difficult, and selfish, HE still loves us. I have yet to understand it.

I remember listening to an actress speak at the BC Student Forum. She turns down potential "big break" movie roles because she cannot accept certain scenes in the movie, nor the subject matter of the movie. And it tears her heart because every actress is always looking for her big break to fame. But she wants to stand true to herself, and God, and have integrity in her faith. And she broke down crying as she said, "And when I'm with God in heaven, I just want to hear Him say, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.'"

I am sorry for the people I have hurt, and I wish that I could meet with every single one of them to apologize and make amends. I fear I will never get that chance with most, if not all of them. And while I am only able to live with myself through accepting the grace of God, I pray that my actions and image will not bias their image of Christians and thereby God. God gives me grace to live with my faults as I work to improve them. But what do we do in the meantime while they are still faulty?

We are weak. We see it every day. We have amazing accomplishments, but in the end, all we have are petty trophies and riches while the important parts of our lives fall apart.
What If I Stumble?
DC Talk

[the greatest single cause of atheism in the world today
Is christians who acknowledge jesus with their lips
Then walk out the door and deny him by their lifestyle.
That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.]


What if i stumble?
What if i fall?

Is this one for the people?
Is this one for the lord?
Or do i simply serenade for things i must afford?
You can jumble them together, my conflict still remains
Holiness is calling, in the midst of courting fame

Cause i see the trust in their eyes
Though the sky is falling
They need your love in their lives
Compromise is calling

(chorus)
What if i stumble, what if i fall?
What if i lose my step and i make fools of us all?
Will the love continue when my walk becomes a crawl?
What if i stumble, and what if i fall?

What if i stumble, what if i fall?
You never turn in the heat of it all
What if i stumble, what if i fall?

Father please forgive me for i can not compose
The fear that lives within me
Or the rate at which it grows
If struggle has a purpose
On the narrow road you've carved
Why do i dread my trespasses will leave a deadly scar

Do they see the fear in my eyes?
Are they so revealing?
This time i cannot disguise
All the doubt i'm feeling

(repeat chorus)

What if i stumble?
Everyone's got to crawl when you know that
You're up against a wall, it's about to fall
Everyone's got to crawl when you know that (2x)

I hear you whispering my name [you say]
"my love for you will never change" [never change]

(repeat chorus 2x)

What if i stumble, what if i fall?
You never turn in the heat of it all
What if i stumble, what if i fall?
You are my comfort, and my god

Is this one for the people, is this one for the lord?
Thank you Lord for your grace, mercy, forgiveness, and strength. Turn me into a man of integrity.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dammon recognized it, heh

What can I do to rack up post count other than post YouTube videos? Post lyrics! :) Dammon recognized what I was referring to.

Place In This World
Michael W. Smith

The wind is moving
But I am standing still
A life of pages
Waiting to be filled
A heart that's hopeful
A head that's full of dreams
But this becoming
Is harder than it seems
Feels like I'm...

Chorus:
Looking for a reason
Roaming through the night to find
My place in this world
My place in this world
Not a lot to lean on
I need your light to help me find
My place in this world
My place in this world

If there are millions
Down on their knees
Among the many
Can you still hear me
Hear me asking
Where do I belong
Is there a vision
That I can call my own
Show me I'm...

Chorus

I think we have a winner

Out of all of the entries I've seen so far for Stephen Colbert's Green Screen Challenge, I think this one is the best.

Best one I've seen so far. I think the competition's over. :)

I know I haven't been blogging. My readership has dropped to 1/3 of what it used to be. I should really blog again....

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Who wants to be an announcer at the dragonboat races with me?

All we have to do is announce the teams, make some interesting commentary, and ask for applause for each team. Let me know if you're interested. It will be the afternoon of September 2, 2006.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Finally!

I finally got one of those Nigerian scam e-mails asking for money. I'd like to play along without giving anything. Does anybody have any idea of how I should do it? I think it'll be interesting. :)

Thursday, July 27, 2006

So Gone

Going camping with a couple of friends. Will do my best to not die. Enjoy life. :)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The Memory World Is a Strange Place

It'll never end.

I don't think my conclusions about patents have really changed at all, looking back. But price-fixing, jail terms, patent infringements, appeals, you name it. The memory world really is a topsy turvy banana republic, isn't it?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

This book is AWESOME

When Hudson Taylor originally sought Maria Dyer's hand in marriage, there was a big uproar from their Western contemporaries. He had no education, no credentials, lived a questionable lifestyle, and made a fool of himself wearing Chinese clothing. This particular passage describes some conversations that occurred after Hudson Taylor received a particularly cruel letter from the woman who believed she had to "protect" Maria. Please note that John Burdon was to marry Maria's older sister, Burella.
One remark of Russell's explained much of the opposition though scarcely condoning the cruelty: 'If you go home to England and take a medical degree, or be ordained, we should all take you by the hand'. John Burdon, as her future brother-in-law and Taylor's friend, told Maria that a few months before in Shanghai Taylor 'was most exercised on the point whether it was not his duty to go home and remove his anomalous position either by taking his diploma as a medical man or receiving ordination... He felt keenly then that as he said he was nothing and I strongly advised him, as well as others who highly valued him as a missionary brother, to go home for a short time. Now, I think his affection for you is another call to him to pursue this course and if he is unwilling for your sake to do it, I would think him unworthy of your heart and hand. Both of you are young yet, and neither would be losers but, believe me, a great gainer by this deferring of the matter for two or three years... I do not say give him up. I do not dwell on the little peculiarities or faults that I may have noticed in him.'

Maria's answer showed the spirit of the girl: 'I would wait if he went home in order to increase his usefulness. But is he to leave his work in order to gain a name for the sake of marrying me? If he loves me more than Jesus he is not worthy of me - if he were to leave the Lord's work for the world's honour, I would have nothing further to do with him.' 'She is a noble girl,' was Hudson's comment.
Their story is crazy good. :) So now I love two women. Maria Dyer and Elizabeth Bennet.

I practiced my Mandarin today at T&T because the woman behind the counter couldn't speak much English. Ouch, it was painful, but I managed. Wo yao ershisi ge baozi. Keyi ma? It was my turn to get snacks for the team at work.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Oh yeah, I'm a superhero now

I thought I'd try to explain why someone would try to assassinate me using a can of Diet Coke.

You see, I've been learning how to become a superhero because amcal got me this. The only thing I can say that it's tough to do all your crimefighting at night and still be awake during the day. I wonder how the true professionals really do it.... @@

I guess I should explain where I got the quote. I am currently reading Hudson Taylor and Maria: A Match Made in Heaven, by John Pollock. It's an amazing tale about Hudson Taylor's call to serve in China and work among a people alien to him because he felt that's where God placed his heart. The quote was taken from one of his letters home. There was uncanny discouragement for him, but in the end, he realized that patience is indeed a virtue. Don't people warm and break your heart at the same time when they demonstrate their patience to you? That happened to me today.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

One-Hit Wonders

They had one hit single, and they couldn't sing all that well either. But whoever directed the music video did a crazy good job, no?

Will one-hit wonders never cease?

Quote of the Day

At home you can never know what it is to be alone - absolutely alone, amidst thousands, as you can in a Chinese city, without one friend, one companion, everyone looking on you with curiosity, with contempt, with suspicion or with dislike. Thus to learn what it is to be despised and rejected of men - of those you wish to benefit, your motives not understood but suspected - thus to learn what it is to have nowhere to lay your head, and then to have the love of Jesus applied to your heart by the Holy Spirit - His holy, self-denying love, which led Him to suffer this and more than this - for me; this is precious, this is worth coming for.

Hudson Taylor
Ore ha hitori deha nai. Mattaku, ore ha hontou ni ijirashikatta ne. Shourai ha mada wakaranaindesu kara, motto Kami-sama no chikara o shinjite kudasai. Omae baka.

It's real

http://www.transformersmovie.com

The trailer was the real thing.

I'll put Daniel's criticisms aside and not discuss the NASA equipment. I'm no expert on them. :) But I will note that the trailer on the official website says that the thing is the "Beagle 2 Mars Rover". I'm not sure what it said in the first copy of the trailer I posted.

You know, thinking about it again, it's hard to imagine Steven Spielberg and Michael Bay attaching their names to a poorly made movie. This gives me some reason to hope that it will look better than the Power Rangers TV series. But I'm still not holding my breath. :(

Friday, June 30, 2006

Can it ever be even acceptable?

When I first heard that they were making a live-action movie of Transformers, the first thing that came to my mind was Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers. "Oh man, it's gonna be horrible!" I thought. "They're going to ruin millions of child imaginations and memories!" I guess we'll find out.



P.S. Authenticity of this trailer has been unverified.

edit: Daniel has explained that the mars vehicle in the trailer is actually the Mars Rover, not the Beagle, leading him to believe that the teaser is fake.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Bang, bang!

I was sitting in the kitchen working on my laptop to prepare an app for a demo tomorrow. Suddenly, I heard explosions from the direction of the fridge!

Oh no! They're on to me! They've planted plastic explosives to take me out! They'll never take me alive!!!

Diving to one side, I took cover behind a counter and prepared my mouse for a counterattack, Jet Li style. While the explosions continued, I thanked my employer for not giving me a wireless mouse. Bang! Bang! Bang!!! Bide your time, be patient, young grasshopper. Your time will come.

The explosions stopped and I lept from my hiding place to challenge my aggressors! But there was nothing....

The explosions came from a can of Diet Coke that had somehow frozen and exploded from the pressure. The inside of the fridge was a mess. And I couldn't find my digital camera. /sob

Lesson learned: Assassination attempts using cans of Diet Coke in refrigerators have a low probability of success. But still, don't try this at home, kids.

PakG1 lives another day.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Eastern Me-ism culture

This is part of an e-mail sent to me from a friend who is visiting her relatives in Hong Kong and China. I thought this portion was particularly interesting. I received her permission to publish this.
It is sometimes frightening to consider the me-ism here in North America, always what I think, what I want to do, what I like, how I feel -- really "it's all about me". People in Asia comment on how individual we people are in North America, that we do not focus enough on community. Yet it is equally striking to pick out the me-ism characteristics in this comtemporary asian culture.

Here, I have noticed that the world is my garbage pit ( I can throw garbage anywhere because someone is bound to sweep it up); it is my spitbowl ( I can spit anywhere as I please irrespective of the sanitary conditions); it is my washroom (more so for the men and the kids). I have seen how unrelational this so-called community based society is. You put on a nice face when you see each other and then later speak ill behind their backs (because this is my mouth). If you have a little more money than others, you think you are deemed more "cultured" and can do whatever you please irrespective of consideration for others.

I cannot but help think that even though the western culture is very individualistic, we still have a sense of our responsibilty as a citizen, whether as a global citizen or local. We think for ourselves, but do we not also ask ourselves that how can we as an individual contribute to the betterment of our society, our environment, our country, our world, etc?

One incident really hit it home for me. My grandma and I went to this theme/ family/ nature park with my aunt (in China) and her two kids (4 years old boy and 6 years old girl). We found a bench to sit down and rest. My aunt offered me a bottle of drink and some crackers. I finished the drink and the crackers and as a "good citizen", I thought I will keep hold of my garbage until I see a garbage can. So I stuffed the wrappers and my tissue into the bottle so consolidate my garbage. The 4 year old cousin looks at me and says "How dare you!", grabs the bottle from me (because you can return it for money), takes the garbage out and throws the plastic wrapper and the used tissue in the bushes right infront of him. First instinct inside wanted to say "How dare you!" back to him for littering. But what is a 4 year old to know about not littering when his parents do that all the time?
That's something I really haven't thought of before.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

In case you didn't know already...

The Scobleizer has left Microsoft. He is joining a podcast startup. It's funny, he's like one of those characters that have achieved superstar status to be larger than their employer. This feels like when Linus Torvalds went to work for Transmeta.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

What I don't like about Web 2.0

Web 2.0 makes so much sense. I really like the concept, and its implications on how it can affect organizations. However, the term has hit controversies for stupid reasons, and I am not entirely sure that I ever liked the momentum that the term gained in the first place.

But what was it that made us identify one application or approach as "Web 1.0" and another as "Web 2.0"? (The question is particularly urgent because the Web 2.0 meme has become so widespread that companies are now pasting it on as a marketing buzzword, with no real understanding of just what it means. The question is particularly difficult because many of those buzzword-addicted startups are definitely not Web 2.0, while some of the applications we identified as Web 2.0, like Napster and BitTorrent, are not even properly web applications!) We began trying to tease out the principles that are demonstrated in one way or another by the success stories of web 1.0 and by the most interesting of the new applications.
The bolded section is the problem. So you may conclude that my problem is not with Web 2.0 itself, but actually, how people misuse the term. However, no. Look deeper. Tim O'Reilly's excellent definition article on Web 2.0 is a great explanation of what Web 2.0 is. However, I would argue that unless you care to look deeply, Web 2.0 is too vague a term to actually differentiate itself. In fact, at first glance, it looks to me like it was created by a bunch of air-headed sociologists who wanted to try to sound intelligent about the implications of technology without understanding the underlying concepts. That happens too often, as it is.

I love how O'Reilly clarifies his stance on the genericization arguments, especially how he notes that current widespread use of the Web 2.0 term is outside the scope of the trademark (which in turn implies that the trademark still holds within its own scope). Using a classic Web 2.0 medium, we can see that his point holds true. Ironically, I wonder if actually Google, the poster boy company of Web 2.0, is in danger of being genericized:
For example, one risk factor which may lead to genericide is the use of a trademark as a verb, noun, plural or possessive, unless the mark itself is possessive or plural (eg. "Friendly's" restaurants).
Hehe, you know Google did make the dictionary as a verb, right? ;)

OK, so O'Reilly explains himself and his stance on Web 2.0. He explains the situation they are facing, how that situation arose, and what they are doing to resolve the situation. Yes, a lot of the world seems to be irrationally lashing out without understanding the entire situation.

But my question is...

Why does any of it matter? Seriously. Most of the people I've heard talk about Web 2.0 don't really understand it. And a lot of the people I know who actually work in this industry have never heard of it. Which is why the term is so stupid to me. It was taken by a mass of people who didn't know what they were talking about and showcased as the revolution that would fulfill the web's potential and overcome the pitfalls of the first dotcom era. And none of these brainless masses would have any idea how any of it actually worked; they think that Web 2.0 is some magic box that will transform cultures automatically. In the end, they just want to sound smart.

Stupid Conversation:
Web 2.0 Sociologist: Web 2.0 lets you communicate with everyone intimately in real conversations that let you build teamwork, find the special gems hidden in the long tail, and ensure transparency!
Guy on the Street: Whoah! How can I take advantage of that at my company??
Web 2.0 Sociologist: Well, just set up some blogs and a 6-degrees network, and you'll be set to go!
Guy on the Street: Cool! It's that easy?? So what do I have to do to set it up??
Web 2.0 Sociologist: Uh... I'm not sure. But don't worry, as soon as you have it set up, it'll work great. Just talk with a technical guy. I'm just a visionary, man. Don't let the idea man do the dirty work, the idea man has more important stuff to do!
Guy on the Street: No doubt! Wow, thanks!

Good Conversation:
Web 2.0 Developer: Well, I can make you a wiki that will let you easily maintain and transfer knowledge from project team to project team. This will improve your ability to solve problems as they arise because the project's information will be organized, well-documented, and easily searchable.
Guy on the Street: Wow, that sounds really good. My teams at work all have a really hard time trying to keep track of project information, especially for large projects! Is this one of those Web 2.0 things??
Web 2.0 Developer: Uh, what's Web 2.0?
Guy on the Street: Oh, never mind... well, I guess just set it up for us, and I'm sure our project success rates will go through the roof!
Web 2.0 Developer: Uh, well, you need to make sure that your people actually use it properly. Wikis do have their advantages, but any new technology can't solve problems on its own.
Guy on the Street: Dang, this really isn't Web 2.0 then. This really smart guy told me that Web 2.0 was really revolutionary and would have a huge impact.

I meet too many sociologists.

Quote of the Day

Notice that girls on fire in their faith make them that much more hotter? Just an observation...
~John Kim

I am The One

It's funny because I have a black trenchcoat and sunglasses.
You scored as Neo, the "One". Neo is the computer hacker-turned-Messiah of the Matrix. He leads a small group of human rebels against the technology that controls them. Neo doubts his ability to lead but doesn't want to disappoint his friends. His goal is for a world where all men know the Truth and are free from the bonds of the Matrix.

Neo, the "One"

83%
Batman, the Dark Knight

79%
The Amazing Spider-Man

71%
Lara Croft

71%
Indiana Jones

71%
Captain Jack Sparrow

63%
El Zorro

58%
James Bond, Agent 007

58%
Maximus

58%
William Wallace

50%
The Terminator

42%

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Hell has a few more ice cubes now

Well, it's finally happened. Dell will offer AMD processors. It was only a matter of time. I recall reading a quote from an AMD executive that Dell will eventually offer AMD processors because Dell always follows the market, and the market wants AMD. Bold statement, but it certainly had traction.

Want to know what John Fowler, EVP of Sun's Systems Group thinks? It was inevitable. One more of those inevitable things to cross off of your list now. The only things that are left are the Vancouver earthquake, Nintendo exiting the console market, and me watching Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice.

Speaking of inevitable things, I found a really funny video on the Apple switch from... guess where... YouTube! :D

All hail YouTube!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Hahahahahaha!

I'd love to see dodolook and Two Chinese Boys combine and make a music video. :D

Calling the kettle black

From Memoirs of a Geisha:
Since moving to New York I've learned what the word "geisha" really means to most Westerners. From time to time at elegant parties, I've been introduced to some young woman or other in a splendid dress and jewelry. When she learns I was once a geisha in Kyoto, she forms her mouth into a sort of smile, although the corners don't turn up quite as they should. She has no idea what to say! And then the burden of conversation falls to the man or woman who has introduced us - because I've never really learned much English, even after all these years. Of course, by this time there's little point even in trying, because this woman is thinking, "My goodness . . . I'm talking with a prostitute . . . " A moment later she's rescued by her escort, a wealthy man a good thirty or forty years older than she is. Well, I often find myself wondering why she can't sense how much we really have in common. She is a kept woman, you see, and in my day, so was I.

I'm sure there are a great many things I don't know about these young women in their splendid dresses, but I often have the feeling that without their wealthy husbands or boyfriends, many of them would be struggling to get by and might not have the same proud opinions of themselves. And of course, the same is true for a first-class geisha. It is all very well for a geisha to go from party to party and be popular with a great many men; but a geisha who wishes to become a star is completely dependent on having a danna. Even Mameha, who became famous on her own because of an advertising campaign, would have lost her standing and been just another geisha if the Baron hadn't covered the expenses to advance her career.
I once heard an explanation of traditional Shinto wedding ceremonies from a man who had stayed in Japan for quite a few years, and learned it while there. Apparently, the bride wears a crown of thorns on her head, covered by her veil. These thorns symbolize her jealousy, and she is essentially stating, "I know that you will chase after other women and be unfaithful to me, but today is our wedding day, so I will cover my thorns of jealousy." Was it common for the richer men who acted as dannas to have a geisha, even though they themselves were already married? Well, I don't know. But onwards to my point.

With a 50% divorce rate in North America, I wonder how much of it is actually due to unfaithfulness. Are women here essentially saying the same thing when they get married, and hiding their "thorns of jealousy"? Is it common, and should it even be expected that the husband will cheat on the wife? We hear of it happening all the time, but I wonder what the actual statistics are. Because certainly, Nitta Sayuri (the character making these statements in the book) is correct in saying that many of the young women she meets in affluent North American circles are nothing more than trophy wives. Women who are married or are being courted simply because the men got tired of their previous wives.

And given a 50% divorce rate in North America, I seriously wonder about several things:
a) Do these people have any clue what they're getting into when they make their vows? Do they understand the hardships that will come, and that it will not be an easy ride?
b) Do these people really love each other?
c) Do these people actually consider relationships sacred and something to be cherished?
d) Why do these people seem to assume that they know each other after dating for a few years, or after sex?
e) Even worse, those who are clearly in relationships that are completely incompatible, why do they keep at it? And hope that marriage and having kids will solve all the problems?
f) Are these people stupid? (yes, I have to ask... I always have to ask... call me optimistic, but I like to think that there's some hope that this isn't the case...)

The introduction of no-fault divorce certainly has made marriages trivial. People can divorce over "irreconcilable differences", rendering marriage no more of a commitment than a regular dating relationship. The low barrier to exiting the marriage allows anyone to move out of the marriage as soon as they see something better. And they will; the grass is always greener on the other side. Consequently, with easy entry and exit capabilities, there is no need for due diligence and information gathering before the start of a marriage; if it turns out to be bad, just cancel it! This of course then leads to a lack of incentive in due diligence, allowing people to go purely with the heat of the moment and treat marriage like a game of Russian roulette. And that finally leads to a low commitment on either side to the health and longevity of the marriage.

In conclusion? It's not just the geisha back in old-style Japan. It's not just the trophy wives now. Many couples in today's society are treating each other the same way. People's emotions are bought and sold on a free market of emotional commodities. Girlfriend not working out? Dump her and get a new one! Chee, did you even do the analysis properly in the first place? Couldn't you see from the beginning that you have totally different values, life goals, interests, and worldviews? And people wonder why there are so many relationship problems in this world....

What, didn't you already know I was cynical?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Interesting phenomenon of the day

I find it interesting that people to this day continue to ask me about my being engaged. Latest casualties are Moo and Amy. This reminds me of this. I might as well admit the truth: I am engaged to Sylvia Lee. She's a beautiful person that makes my heart warm, and I love her.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Accomplishment of the Day

So today, Victor and I went up to Whistler. The snow was fantastic, and it was still falling. But most importantly, for the first time in my life, I finished singing all of 99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall during the car ride up the mountain. I feel so proud of myself. :)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Check it out

An e-mail I received a couple of days ago. Yay....
#1111112

Dear Robert,

With the 2005.06 NHL regular season scheduled to end on April 18th and the Stanley Cup Playoffs to follow, we would like to take this opportunity to recognize your support of the Vancouver Canucks. While our team continues to battle for position in the tough Western Conference and secure a spot in the playoffs, the last two games on home ice are going to be key and having the NHL's best and most passionate fans cheering on our team will be a great advantage!

As a valued Ticket Priority List Member, we are pleased to provide you with an exclusive playoff priority option for single game tickets. For the 2006 Stanley Cup Playoffs and in advance of the general public on-sale, you have the opportunity to purchase one pair of single game playoff tickets for one home game in Round 1. Please see below for details on how to purchase your playoff tickets.

We hope you enjoy the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs! We will be in touch this summer to discuss your options for the 2006.07 season.

Sincerely,
VANCOUVER CANUCKS

*********************************

DETAILS:

ROUND 1 PLAYOFF HOME GAMES: *Game Dates & Times TBA (the official playoff schedule will be posted at the conclusion of the regular season on canucks.com)
Round 1, Home Game #1
Round 1, Home Game #2
Round 1, Home Game #3

VENUE: GENERAL MOTORS PLACE

PRICES: Starting at $60.00 per ticket, plus applicable Ticketmaster service charges and handling fees

INTERNET ORDER PERIOD: Wednesday, April 12, 2006 @ 12:00 p.m. - Thursday, April 13, 2006 @ 12:00 p.m. (PDT)

*********************************

TO ORDER YOUR TICKETS**:

1. Click on the link below for your desired game (or copy and paste the link to your browser's address bar) then follow the instructions to select your seats. The link will only be active during the INTERNET ORDER PERIOD.

2. When prompted, enter the following unique password in the Canucks TPL Offer section and proceed with your order: "1111112"

3. Select your delivery type and make your payment to complete your purchase.

4. Once your order has been processed, a confirmation number will be provided. Keep this number on file for reference.

ROUND 1, HOME GAME #1: Buy Tickets
ROUND 1, HOME GAME #2: Buy Tickets
ROUND 1, HOME GAME #3: Buy Tickets

YOUR PASSWORD: "1111112"

**Specific seats have been assigned to this exclusive sale during the INTERNET ORDER PERIOD.

**This pre-sale is password protected and exclusively available to Vancouver Canucks Ticket Priority List Members from Wednesday, April 12, 2006 @ 12:00 p.m. - Thursday, April 13, 2006 @ 12:00 p.m. (PDT) only.

**LIMIT OF 2 TICKETS. Once the unique password has been used to purchase a total of two tickets, the password expires.

**Availability of seats is based on a first-come, first-served basis, and is restricted to areas defined by the Vancouver Canucks.

**Ticket prices, service charges, and availability of seats may be subject to change.

**Any tickets purchased for games not played will be credited to you in the form in which you paid.

If you require assistance with your order please call 604.280.4400 and a Ticketmaster service representative will be available to help you.

Please note, in order to purchase tickets, you must have access to the internet and hold a major credit card. All seat locations are subject to availability and are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Ticket limits, prices, and service charges may be subject to change at any time.

For questions regarding this exclusive playoff priority option or to notify us of an e-mail address change, please contact your Account Manager directly or call 604.899.GOAL (4625).

NOTE: This offer is a benefit of being a Vancouver Canucks Ticket Priority List Member. Orca Bay Sports & Entertainment takes your privacy seriously. Please refer to our Privacy Policy (http://canucks.com/subpage.asp?sectionID=181) to understand how we use your personal information. Please contact your Account Manager if you would like to change your current level of consent.

Thank you for your continued support.
Uh... Go Flames Go! ;)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Fighting crime

For my next birthday present, someone can buy me this. Yes, I wanted to be a ninja when I grew up, but Batman Begins makes it clear that Batman was a ninja. I first heard about this book from amcal, and it is just too cool.

After studying this book, I will be ready to don my own mask and make high-tech gadgets to catch bad guys. Oh yeah.

Monday, April 03, 2006

This would be useful

This would be so useful. How many times have I tried to figure out a system issue, but come up empty? Wikis are the perfect solution. I wish I'd thought of it! This thing will be successful, without a question.

I went to a Xanga dinner on Saturday evening before heading off to church. wingyau was there, as was sleeping_dragon. This jeeves777 was on a roadtrip from California, and Fairchild was there filming our whole dinner. They're doing this documentary on jeeves, bloggers, etc. Apparently, the guy's got one of the 50 most-read Xangas.

So April Fools! Highlights:

1) Poor jechan! And then to smulie, and then to kandykane, and then to erika, and then Verm? Ouch! But especially jechan! I must buy that man an ice cream cone or something!

2) Daniel was so shocked that he finally gave me his online contact. I only wish I'd have been able to talk with him in person about it. He actually called the hotel all the way from California! :)

3) D figured it out right away. But then he posted the comment about the powerpuff girl to make it more real. :)

4) I may have won Round 1 against Victor and Caroline, but Violet easily won Round 2. :( Claiming to have bought a trip for two to Vegas as a gift was genius. I was caught totally off-balance. Even though it took me only a few seconds to figure out that it was a reverse practical joke on me, I never fully recovered. I should have gone one step further and actually reserved a room or something. Thought just occurred to me. Blue's an event coordinator. I should have conspired with her to answer phone calls for me through her event coordination company... @@ But that number really is the phone number for the Fairmont, and the Waddington Room really does exist... ;)

OK, if you haven't figured it out by now, Sylvia Lee does not exist. There is no Sylvia Lee. You may stop with the phone calls. :) I wonder what I can do for next year? :D

Saturday, April 01, 2006

You are invited

PakG1 is happy to announce his engagement to the wonderful Sylvia Lee. Please note that there will be a celebration dinner in the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver's Waddington Room. Details are below:

Place:
Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Waddington Room
900 West Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC

Time: 6:00 PM
Date: Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Style: Black Tie
RSVP: Please call 604-684-3131 and register for the Park & Lee Gathering in the Waddington Room on Wednesday, April 12, 2006.

Your presence would be very much welcome and appreciated.

Sylvia, I love you.

Friday, March 31, 2006

Scary Women

I remember when Maria Sharapova was quoted as saying, "I want to gain a bit of weight, but I would prefer it to be muscle."

Looks like she did it. @@ Those arms and shoulders are so huge it's freaky! Am not sure if I'd be comfortable around this girl either. Great that she'd probably be able to defend herself from bad guys though.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Movie Plotholes

So we were doing our family Bible study, and were reading the first five chapters of 1 Samuel. Check out 1 Samuel ch 4, verses 1 to 11.
Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek. Then the Philistines put themselves in battle array against Israel. And when they joined battle, Israel was defeated by the Philistines, who killed about four thousand men of the army in the field. And when the people had come into the camp, the elders of Israel said, "Why has the Lord defeated us today before the Philistines? Let us bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord from Shiloh to us, that when it comes among us it may save us from the hand of our enemies." So the people sent to Shiloh, that they might bring from there the ark of the covenant of the Lord of hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were there with the ark of the covenant of God.

And when the ark of the covenant of the Lord came into the camp, all Israel shouted so loudly that the earth shook. Now when the Philistines heard the noise of the shout, they said, "What does the sound of this great shout in the camp of the Hebrews mean?" Then they understood that the ark of the Lord had come into the camp. So the Philistines were afraid, for they said, "God has come into the camp!" And they said, "Woe to us! For such a thing has never happened before. Woe to us! Who will deliver us from the hand of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong and conduct yourselves like men, you Philistines, that you do not become servants of the Hebrews, as they have been to you. Conduct yourselves like men, and fight!"

So the Philistines fought, and Israel was defeated, and every man fled to his tent. There was a very great slaughter, and there fell of Israel thirty thousand foot soldiers. Also the ark of God was captured; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, died.
When I first saw Raiders of the Lost Ark as a kid, I found the plot a little humourous. Here was Hitler going around looking for the famed Ark of God because he thought that it would aid him in battle. As one museum curator said in the movie, "The one who carries the ark into battle is invincible!" Eh, so not true, as my mind immediately went to the above passage. The Israelites were putting their trust in an artifact of God, rather than God himself, which is why they lost the battle. Truth be told, the entire nation was already in that type of mindset at the time, but the point is, they put their trust in the ark when they shouldn't have. Now here was Hitler repeating the same mistake. It was funny.

When I glanced over this passage tonight, it brought back that memory. But something even funnier struck me. Here was Hitler, claiming that the Jews were scum of the earth and needed to be eradicated, and yet searching for a Jewish artifact to help him win World War II!

Don't think about the childhood memories. The more you do, the higher probability you have of destroying their coolness. I can't believe how stupid the plot looks now....

PakG1's inner child is bawling his brains out.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Fascination with Ninjas

So given that I originally wanted to be a ninja when I grew up, I have to say that I still find them interesting. I remember having a ninja sword when I was a kid, and carrying it everywhere throughout the house. It was great. But it was plastic, and eventually broke in half.

But even now, they are really cool. I came across a hilarious video on real ninjas. Check it out. As for me, I am still perfecting the art of invisibility, and hope to use those skills in a game of Capture the Flag at night.... :D Who wants to play??

YJ and I went to Whistler today. We started off at 7th Heaven on Blackcomb, somehow went off the trail, and I ended up skiing in a forest. It was... interesting. But the snow and weather were both perfect. :D

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Don't Lose Your Inner Child!

So while I was helping out at Habitat for Humanity last week, this guy tried to drive a point home while jumping around on a pile of dirt to firm up the ground in a trench we had just refilled:
Don't let anyone kill your inner child.
It's something I've always kept in mind, but the female species have a tendency to slaughter your desire to be carefree, simple, and full of wonder. More on that later.

On Monday, Victor called me ad hoc and we decided to go to Cypress for some night-skiing. He mentioned how people at work were talking about our childhood TV shows, and how if you watched them today, they would look really stupid. In particular, the A-Team. Apparently, Mr. T isn't actually that cool. I learned my lesson with Transformers. The movie's still great, but I can't watch the series, it'd ruin the childhood memories.

On Tuesday, the guys at work were discussing the exact same thing. This time, it was G.I. Joe.

This morning, I went to a seminar on how to do service well, presented by the Disney Institute. It was pretty revealing. Simple and obvious ideas and concepts, but as they noted, it's the execution that's difficult. They believe it's unacceptable to destroy your childhood memories. They strive to make it always magical when you go to Disneyworld.

One realization I've had over the years? I guess I really don't care about what people think of me in the end. That would kill my inner child. I'll keep him safe, thank you very much. But he'll usually only come out for people who also appreciate inner children as well. And it seems there are less of those in the female species. So I'll just go drink from the fountain of youth and drown in it. :)

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of Andrea Kettle:
People have hypocrisy. Our society protects hypocrisy because the ruling elites uphold certain viewpoints and discriminate against others while claiming non-discrimination against any.
Indeed.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Lest we forget

I just wanna say that I haven't forgotten. Working on an idea right now that could be really cool. Would also like to say that John Andru's done an awesome job with One Day for AIDS. We'll have to do something special to make sure it keeps going after he leaves.

Canucks brought in some great players, but I think Edmonton's the team that upgraded the most. Looking forward to April 12! :)

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Microsoft never understood world domination

At least not as well as Google does. If it didn't already, the company is now definitely approaching evil. But who cares? On the other hand, maybe we can finally easily channel lightning? Besides being able to supply city power stations for an entire year, we'll be able to travel through time!

Last year's version of Fallen has to be Boulevard of Broken Dreams, by Green Day. But I think Quiet Drive's Rise from the Ashes has just displaced it, even though thematically it's slightly different. Yay.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

The Post That Never Was

I've been meaning for a long time to comment on Google. The company that can consistently make my jaw drop with its innovations. The company whose share price I thought would never break $200 US (though perhaps I can fell vindicated that the stock dropped a little bit, and is definitely down from its 52-week high of $475.11 on January 11, 2006). Illiad did a short commentary on Google (starting here), and I thought this particular comic was fantastic. With Google's latest strategic stumble being not properly handling criticism over its strategy to enter China (and depending on your perspective, its whole approach to China as well), I thought the time was ripe to write my thoughts on this amazing company. Not that it hasn't been done already by thousands of others already. But then TIME printed a cover story with the emblazoned words "Can We Trust Google With Our Secrets? An exclusive inside look at the $100 billion empire that is dominating the Internet". February 20, 2006. So you can go read that instead.... TIME can do the commentary much better than I ever could.

Daniel has come across an interesting article. The whole world makes more sense to me now. What does it take to find a woman who will not lower her standards out of desperation to find men? Will I get in trouble for writing that? :)

Oh, and I'll link it again. Read it if you want a good online overview of things facing Google.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

What is it about my own ethnicity? Take 2

Seriously! I just don't get it! Sure, you know WHY your society is filled with messed-up people?? These people just don't get it. It's like they're all think they're machines that just need a little oil now and then. But I never thought we would sink to levels that low. What does it take for them to understand that they're trying to heal the symptoms, not solve the problems? I don't think they ever will. Bleh. Cousins shouldn't be sending you this kind of stuff at 1:30 am.... Especially when it's 4:30 am where they are. :p

Friday, February 17, 2006

I want one

Very cool. But not as cool as this. Daniel's posting again. I think this time he just came back from doing covert ops for the CIA in an undisclosed location. It'd make the most sense.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Birds, The Birds!

As I stepped out of work today to go home, I noticed a very strange sound. I wasn't at my usual office, as I had to visit some other folks at another building. And what I heard were crows. Lots and lots of crows. I looked up and was absolutely shocked to see hundreds of crows flying in the air, with more crows perched on every spare inch of the rooftop edges (there were two large buildings facing each other, you see, and I was right in between them), and yet more perched on every spare branch of large nearby trees (you don't get leaves on deciduous trees in the winter). Still more crows were flying in from the south and circling overhead the parking lot where I was standing. It was a very eerie sight, reminiscent of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds (and I hadn't even watched the movie, really). It was as if they were mustering their troops to mount a massive assault on the city. It was awesome, intriguing, powerful, and intimidating all at the same time. I don't know if I've ever seen or heard anything like it.

So... how was your day?

Thursday, February 09, 2006

On Marriage

Sorry I haven't been posting. Work has been crazy. I shall post something on marriage. Because I've recently had interesting discussions on the topic, and have also recently listened to interesting speeches delivered by women about why men need good wives. Once again, I will get into trouble, but why is it that most women I've met are more often not like Elizabeth Bennet than they are? Or even a Jane Bennet. I'd settle for a Jane. ;) But this post will be more like a quote. I shall let the passage speak for itself, and state that I cannot imagine marrying, if I can't meet an Elizabeth. Besides the impossibility of finding someone who's life goals, values, and life motivations align to my own, I care not to live the life of Mr. Bennet.

From Pride and Prejudice:
Had Elizabeth's opinion been all drawn from her own family, she could not have formed a very pleasing picture of conjugal felicity or domestic comfort. Her father captivated by youth and beauty, and that appearance of good humour, which youth and beauty generally give, had married a woman whose weak understanding and illiberal mind, had very early in their marriage put an end to all real affection for her. Respect, esteem, and confidence, had vanished for ever; and all his views of domestic happiness were overthrown. But Mr. Bennet was not of a disposition to seek comfort for the disappointment which his own imprudence had brought on, in any of those pleasures which too often console the unfortunate for their folly or their vice. He was fond of the country and of books; and from these tastes had arisen his principal enjoyments. To his wife he was very little otherwise indebted, than as her ignorance and folly had contributed to his amusement. This is not the sort of happiness which a man would in general wish to owe to his wife; but where other powers of entertainment are wanting, the true philosopher will derive benefit from such as are given.

Elizabeth, however, had never been blind to the impropriety of her father's behaviour as a husband. She had always seen it with pain; but respecting his abilities, and grateful for his affectionate treatment of herself, she endeavoured to forget what she could not overlook, and to banish from her thoughts that continual breach of conjugal obligation and decorum which, in exposing his wife to the contempt of her own children, was so highly reprehensible. But she had never felt so strongly as now, the disadvantages which must attend the children of so unsuitable a marriage, nor ever been so fully aware of the evils arising from so ill-judged a direction of talents; talents which rightly used, might at least have preserved the respectability of his daughters, even if incapable of enlarging the mind of his wife.
Yeah, because I can so see myself thinking like Mr. Bennet in most marriage scenarios. And that's an extremely impudent statement, I know. So sue me. Or find me an Elizabeth. Maybe a Jane. But preferably an Elizabeth. Of course, would the Mr. Bennet still appear in me if there was an Elizabeth? Interesting question.

By the way, did you know that Wired released their 2005 Vaporware Awards? Guess what made #1. I swore the thing was cancelled by now....

And I discovered why I keep getting weird calls at work. It's because my phone number is only one digit off of the phone number for the company switchboard. And not only is it one digit off, it's the last digit that's off. I just got a phone call today about some customer wanting to have their bill changed. But that still doesn't explain why people would call my cell phone....

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

All in the name of service

When I get phone calls on my cell these days from numbers that I don't recognize, I automatically assume that they're work-related calls; even if they come at 1 AM, because I am part of a team that is on-call, after all. Though to receive an on-call phone call at 1 AM is crazy, given the type of work my team does, it is possible (though extremely rare so as to believe that it never happens). So anyway, I automatically answer calls from numbers that I don't recognize, "TELUS, Robert speaking."

//I wake up to Green Day ringtones at 1 AM, which sucks, because I was planning on being up at 6 AM. I was in a deep sleep! Grr....

Me: TELUS, Robert speaking.
Guy: Hi, I lost my phone.
Me: Uh, sorry?
Guy: Is this TELUS?
Me: Yes it is.
Guy: I lost my phone.
Me: Huh?
Guy: Is this TELUS?
Me: Uh, yes.
Guy: I lost my phone and want to switch the phone number to this phone.
Me: Oh, I see. Well, uh, I'm on the other side of the company, actually.... I'm not sure how that would get done. I think you would be better off calling Customer Service, they would know what to do, or where to direct you.

//You have to remember I was quite groggy and in a blissful state of sleep before receiving this call. Finally, I clue in. First question I am dying to ask the guy is, "Why on earth did you call my cell number instead of Customer Service?" But I don't because the guy's not listening to me.

Guy: I lost it on the bus.
Me: Uh, well, like I said, I'm on the other side of the company. But you know what, Translink has a Lost and Found service, and you could check that out tomorrow because...
Guy (cutting me off): I don't want that, I don't want other people using my phone. I want to switch the number to this phone.
Me: Uh, right, ok. But it would still be good to check it out because...
Guy (cutting me off again): I have the same phone. I want it switched over.
Me: Right, but it would still be good to look at Translink's Lost and Found service, it's at Stadium Skytrain...
Guy: I don't want someone else using the phone. Nobody might return it.
Me: Yeah ok, well, those are good points. Uh, I'm really not sure where to direct you, why don't we check out our website? Please just go to telusmobility.com.
Guy: telus.com?
Me: No, telusmobility.com. All one word.

//One of the negative implications of our branding strategy (one brand) is that everyone thinks that TELUS Mobility and TELUS Communications are the same company. Until the recently announced merger, that was not the case. TELUS Mobility operated very independently of the traditional wireline side of the business, and so most people in wireline (like myself) have no idea what goes on in Mobility. You have to remember that TELUS Mobility used to be Clearnet, and was acquired by TELUS to give TELUS a nationally competitive cell phone division. But Clearnet's operations were never integrated at all with wireline operations until now. But before, when that wasn't the case, people would always be phoning TELUS Communications with their cell phone problems, because they didn't know that Mobility was separate. You might say that the branding was too good. :)

Guy: I'm very upset right now.
Me: Sorry to hear that... how has the rest of your day been, other than this?
Guy: OK.
Me: Well, I'm glad to hear that, at least.
Guy: My friend lost it on the bus.
Me: Hmm, that kind of sucks.
Guy: I'm very angry. I want the phone number changed to be used on this phone now.
Me: Well, hopefully, as soon as you get in touch with Customer Service, we can get that fixed up. So your friend lost it the other day and...
Guy (Kids these days have no manners or something? Always cutting me off!): No, my friend lost it just now. My plan is unlimited evenings, weekends, and incoming.
Me: Mm hmm....

//OK dude, first of all, if you're angry, please don't take it out on the company, and especially not me, as I'm supposed to be enjoying my sleep right now. Your friend losing your cell phone isn't our fault, and certainly not mine. And the longer it takes for you to understand my personal cell phone number is not the number that you should be calling, the more upset I get. At this point, I was wondering if I should say, "Hey pal, you woke me up, you know that? And I have an early morning coming up!" I was also suddenly wondering, "If you want to switch that cell phone number over to be used on the cell phone that you're using right now, what's going to happen to the current cell phone number that you're using?"

Guy: OK, there's data, PCS, and (unintelligible)
Me: Sorry? Could you say that again?
Guy: PCS, data, (unintelligible)

//I should say that for the entire conversation, this guy was mumbling and had a heavy accent to boot. That made the conversation a little more irritable than it really should be on my part. I finally clued in that the website had finished loading.

Me: Ah, ok. Well, we probably want to look at PCS.
Guy: Ok there's (unintelligible), Client Care, (unintelligible)
Me: Sorry, can you say that again?
Guy: (repeats)
Me: Uh, I guess we want Client Care.

//I was surfing totally blind through this guy. I was still in bed, wishing that when I gave him the website, he'd have all the info he needed and would thank me and hang up. But noooo... he needed help surfing the website. OK, I admit that most websites out there are not perfect, and could probably use a little improvement, but when I finally resorted to turning on my own computer to find the information for him, I found it in seconds. TELUS Mobility's website isn't horrible or anything, you know. Be your own judge: http://www.telusmobility.com

Me: OK, the number you want is 604-291-2355.
Guy: What about a 1-800 number?
Me: Well, we have one of those too, but this is the direct Vancouver number for customer care. But I'll give you the 1-800 number too, just in case:
1-866-558-2273.

//Alright, pal, if you thought of calling a 1-800 number in the first place, where'd you get the idea that calling my 604 cell phone number would get you anywhere??? Where'd you get the idea that my personal cell phone number was Customer Care's number in the first place????

Me: I'm not sure whether or not they're open right now, so just be prepared that you might not be able to talk with someone right now.
Guy: Are they closed?
Me: Well, I don't know. But give it a try, and if it doesn't work, you can try again in the morning.
Guy: I don't want anyone using my phone right now.

//OK, first of all, you already said that your plan was unlimited evenings, weekends, and incoming. Even if someone was stupid enough to be awake at this godforsaken hour to use your phone, you would not be billed for it! What are you worried about, that some terrorist would be using it to set up plans for an attack, and that the cell phone records would incriminate you or something?? At the very worst, you'll get charged some money for someone making long distance calls. But even in that case, Customer Care can still fix things up for you. Secondly, this guy showed no understanding at all of how a business operates. It took maybe three minutes to explain that the call centre might not operate 24/7 (confirmed later, as I rooted around the website), and the guy still had no clue that me not being involved in Customer Service meant that I had no clue on how to even direct his call. Do you even have a concept of how big TELUS is, how many employees we have, and how complicated it is to do everything we do?? It might as well be its own city, for all the things that go on, and how many unknown departments handle important things. Anyone who works for a large corporation can testify that it's not easy for one single person to know something about everything in the company. That goes double for me and TELUS Mobility Customer Service. Firstly, I'm in wireline, not Mobility. Secondly, I'm in operations, not Customer Care; I'm as far removed from Customer Care as you can be. Expecting me to know stuff about specific Customer Care procedures is like saying a janitor is an idiot because he doesn't know who a shareholder should contact for questions about a TELUS investment in Quebec.

Me: Well, try giving them a call, but just be prepared that you might not be able to speak with someone tonight. If you can't, then I would suggest calling first thing in the morning.
Guy: OK.
Me: Well, thanks for calling TELUS!
Guy: Bye (click, hang up)

//The guy didn't even thank me. And I can't get back to my blissful state of sleep, so here I am, blogging instead. I swear, tomorrow (today?) better be a good day, because I'm going to be running on pure adrenaline. So why didn't I just tell the guy he just woke me up, and he should never have called me in the first place, and then go back to bed? Because:
1) He never listened to me for the first five minutes. I'm not one to just hang up on people angrily. I want to put things straight first; unfortunately, he wasn't letting me.
2) People complain about TELUS customer service. Well, there are several reasons why TELUS got a bad rap about customer service, but the perception is bigger than reality, and most of those problems have been resolved. We have objective data to back this up. And dang if I was going to let another customer think badly of my employer just because he can't figure out which number to call for customer service, and incorrectly assumes that he's already reached it.
3) I was groggy and had no clue what was happening until it was too late.

Now I'm going to have to wake up in just a few hours all sleepy. It better be a good day....

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

ala Princess

Idea courtesy of Lea.

January: Dear God

February: I went to Blackcomb today. As I was taking the Skytrain to Pacific Central Station to get on the Greyhound bus, I got to see a sunrise for the first time. It totally was not what I imagined a sunrise would be like. The sun was a shiny metallic red. At first, I couldn't tell at all what this thin sliver of shiny red metal was. Then it started rising and became part of a big circle. It was amazing. It was one of those I-need-a-girl-with-me moments.

March: Well, well, well. Was browsing Anandtech, and guess what I see. They're still trying to make Duke Nukem Forever? Why are they even bothering? Better physics than Half-Life 2? Darn well better have better physics. Better graphics and AI too, after all that development time!

April: Referring to this post.

May: So I'm convocating. Yay. It's been five years. A while back, I had put this description of myself in my Friendster profile:

June: I don't think people know how long it takes to write a quality blog post. It's like writing an essay for a final exam, except you don't get a time limit. When was the last time you wrote a quality final exam essay in only 15 minutes? I usually take at least an hour to write a really good blog posting, and that's the bare minimum. This will explain why I haven't posted anything worthwhile for a long time. But come to my BBQ on Saturday. As if I haven't said it enough.

July: A few days ago, I had just about finished typing up a HUGE post, and then the electricity for the whole neighbourhood went out. That was frustrating. Mind you, of course the net cafe's main computer was still on because of a BackUPS (gotta still record how long the customers used the computers and collect the revenue, you know!). So I can't remember what I wrote, really. I'll try to write as much as I can remember.

August: Canada has a love-hate relationship with the US. One of the more recent reasons to dislike the US: softwood lumber. We might finally take some action.

September: Dammon told me to listen to this one. She's amazing. And a former software engineer. I'm in love. :D

October: Dammon and I will go to see her. She's great. :) I'm sorry I haven't been posting. Why not? What happened to the well? Is it running dry?

November: Simply amazing. How come it's Lea that always finds all the cool stuff?

December: What better way for me to wrap up 2005 on my blog than with a tech industry post? I am business geek, fear me. :)