Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The Interview Man

People keep asking me to help them prep for interviews. I don't know why. They just do. It's fun, but it takes up a lot of time. And it can get tiring sometimes.

I figured why not just make some adsense off of it. So I started a new blog: www.adviceforinterviews.com. It's nothing special, and it's not even designed properly yet. I just have a wordpress blog up with the basic wordpress theme right now. Not even any posts. But hopefully it'll be done by the end of the week, and I'll have started posting.

The format will be simple. People e-mail me interview questions, I write my thoughts on how to answer them. Every now and then, I'll throw in an interview with an HR manager somewhere. And people can e-mail me their interview horror stories, and we can do a post-mortem analysis on the blog. I think it'll be fun. If it gets really widely read (highly unlikely), I can go around to corporations and sell them ad space for their hiring campaigns.

If I ever get around to customizing the theme and setting up adsense. Maybe I should just use a generic template. But why would I? :)

Saturday, October 06, 2007

If I Fall from the Ceiling

Be there waiting
To catch me
Or see me off
In life or death

Of course everyone's shocked
And nobody asks
Why was he on the ceiling
In the first place?

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Costly Transactions

I joined a facebook group: Anime and/or Manga Gave Me Unrealistic Expectations For Significant Others. Too true.

Costly Transactions
By Robert Park
January 12, 2007, 4:00 AM

Your eyes glanced at me in the library that day
You were reading the day's newspaper
Seated comfortably on one of those cheap maroon sofas
In the reading area
Were you learning about our troubles in Afghanistan
Or checking out the latest fashions
Perhaps a movie review or two
And maybe stories about last night's game.

But you weren't really reading, were you?
Eyes glancing up
Wandering all over the place
As if suddenly the library scene took on new artistic life
And resting on me now and then
As I searched for a research paper
Describing the implications of the Coase Theorem.
The effort it took
To simply glance at each other while the other wasn't looking
And make it seem like we weren't staring
Until our eyes locked by chance
Due to the miscalculations of our visual sweeps.

Awkward, no?
The eyes uncertain
Not sure what should happen
Or who should look away first
Which you did
Shyly sliding lower into the couch
Raising your newspaper and flipping the page
As if you didn't ever see me
And was simply flipping through that day's paper
Because it would have cost too much
To start a simple conversation.

The distance between us
The difference between our reading topics
The lack of knowledge and high risks
That made a simple conversation
Unprofitable and infeasible
So that we never ventured forward
To try to gain that profit that could have been had
Because we could not afford the transaction.

Sometimes you wish you had good credit
To get a good loan
And cover all the costs up front
Because it would make things so easier
Instead of doing what I did
Sitting by the window on the far side
And opening up the thesis
Which is how I finally found out
That Coase was a genius.

You Are Not Alone

What do you say to someone you want to be happy, but you cannot see yourself being the one to make that person happy?

You Are Not Alone
By Robert Park
November 18, 2005, 11:44 PM

A single snowflake falls
The air crisp and thin
Serenading the wind
It dances a hypnotic waltz
Fitting for the weather
That never wanted anything more flashy
And you catch it with your tongue
Running this way and that
To make sure that you don't miss
And proudly display your taste buds
With the snowflake already melted
Dissolved in the heat of your breath

The poor snowflake
A short life it lived
Careless and carefree
Delighted to meet you and the warmth of your smile
Until it was consumed by the same
And disappeared

More snowflakes fall
And you prance happily in the light heaven
Seeing the beauty of the iced water droplets
Envelop the landscape in a blanket
Keeping it warm
With a touch so cold
That cannot melt
Without the warmth of a human's touch

And so
The snow falls to you
Keeping you busy
Making you happy
You are not alone
That is why I am
This snowflake has melted
And can offer you nothing more

Eating Staples

In the road to graduation, you work, work, work, and then you graduate to do more work. Choose your work carefully, or it's a vicious cycle.

Eating Staples
By Robert Park
March 25, 2005, 10:20 AM

Rice is a staple
Polar to potatoes
When all I eat is wheat
But I just want some meat

The required nutrition
Sometimes so bland
Eaten in large quantities
No room for delicacies

Thirsting for life
Hungering for emotions
Tasting the same old
Devouring what I'm told

Supply and demand
Undesired disequilibrium
Looking for efficiency
Finding discrepancy

Plodding forward to what end
Breaking the ribbon
Finding the prize
Discovering it to be rice

At least it's not wheat...

Yearning for Courage

This poem was written in light of my thoughts in the last four years. How strange is it that even the thought still seems out of my league?

Yearning for Courage
By Robert Park
November 22, 2004, 3:00 AM

It is not the absence of fear
That manifests your bravery
But one would hope that the greater the fear
The more your bravery
Lest the fear overtake you
And bind you
Trap you
In a spiralling descent
Ever farther from the touch of heaven
That you seek
Giving you a new sense of meek
That has not humility
But tepid folly
Revealing your lack of courage
And showing the pathetic worm
That you seek to not be

If perfect love casts out fear
Then wherefore the fear
This is the paradox
That resides inside of me
Because the love is not perfect
And maybe never can be

Out, damn spot, out!
Why stain my hand
For no blood have I shed
But tears have bled
Because of the imperfection
You chain to me

And in this situation
May an ounce of courage take shape
In the form of a sword
That cuts to the bone
Resounding in my mind
Ringing true, to direct my way?

Please, I pray
Out, damn spot, out
For the fear you implant
Has no place in this heart
When this heart yearns for courage
To be loyal to a promise

One I wish to keep

Wasteland

This was written as a conclusion (possibly) to the first poem, Dandelions. Have I posted that? Damn. Perhaps I should post that as well. Heck, let's post the whole story. Erm, I'll post in reverse chronological order... Cynicism is in high gear today, it seems.
Wasteland
By Robert Park
May 15, 2004, 11:50 PM
Parched with the desert sun
No rain for days
You wonder how anything could grow
In this place
Where is the green grass
Or the flowers of beauty past
Did flora truly grow
In this wasteland
As I seek for water
Thirsting for a drop
To quench this torture
My eyes glaze over
And there is a vision
Of the garden past
In which I grew flowers
Tulips that would last
But above all else
There was a single pretty red rose
That choked and could not grow
And died pitifully
Because of the stupid dandelions
That I eventually wiped out
With every herbicide known to man
My garden has cracks
In the dry, hard, brown dirt
A depressing sight in its starkness
Clouds of dust are created by wind
Void of all beauty
And when the air clears
I see a single solitary dandelion
And I wonder why
Those things never seem to die.

Searching

I learned something sometime a little before the writing of this poem that shattered a lot of childish ideals. You know why appeal to emotion can create fallacies in your mind? It's because they can totally block out your ability to use your logic and enforce your logic. That can really suck sometimes.
Searching
By Robert Park
November 18, 2003, 12:47 AM
Did you see my heart?
I'm looking for it right now
I gave it away
So now I don't know where it is
Can you find my heart?
It's somewhere in the mud
Someone dropped it
So now I can't find it
Did you see my mind?
I'm looking for it right now
It followed my heart
And now for some reason it's lost
Can you find my mind?
It's wandering the world
Somewhere in Atlantis
Where you can't find what used to be
Did you see me?
I'm looking for me right now
Who I used to be
When did I disappear?
Can you find me?
I'll offer a reward if need be
Just want myself back
Forget everything and move on
Where is it all?
The man who used to be
And became broken
A child on his knees?
Confidence, calmness, and courage
It all disappeared
You can only hope the phoenix
Rises from the ashes
Where is that phoenix?
The mystical bird that can live
And soar like never before
I'm searching.

In the Secret Place

I always wonder why people try to appear to be so strong when they're not. Why are people afraid of showing who they are inside and that they are vulnerable and need help at times? It makes no sense, even if you are able to explain all the psychology behind it.
In the Secret Place
By Robert Park
September 21, 2003, 1:42 AM
Why do you try
With your small, delicate hands
To carry all your burdens
Alone?
Why don't you cry
When your shoulders are tired
And you're weighed down by the trials
Breaking?
Why can't you sleep
When you feel like melting
Because the pressure is too strong
Burning?
I wish you wouldn't do this
Let me carry you for a while
And let your troubles fall down
Rest...
Your path is bound
It seems to not waver
How do you survive
In this cold?

Tornado

This poem was written while I endured some heavy-duty depression due to various emotions. I couldn't do anything, my marks dropped drastically, which wasn't actually so bad, compared to some of the other stuff I went through. I wanted it to end and have my feet back on the ground so badly...
Tornado
By Robert Park
October 27, 2003, 11:43 AM
A terrible turmoil, twisting temperamentally
Tossing me hither and thither like a rag doll
I wonder if I can ever regain control of this existence
When my sense of direction is so lost.
Rule number one, dammit, couldn't you remember?
Always keep your shields up, keep your distance
Don't let the thing grab you, don't let it come near
Or else the violence will show you no mercy.
It takes a toll on me, this tossing about
And I pray for it to stop, unceasingly
Since when was I a toy that one could torment so carelessly
And when will I forget everything that swept me so easily?
Of course I'm getting tired
But oddly, what drew me to this tornado
Keeps me here...
Maybe I can get used to it
And sleep...

Uncrossed Bridges

This poem was written while I was searching for something but was to afraid to reach out and grab it because of the possible consequences. Whether or not I did the right thing in the end will possibly be forever up to debate, until time comes to an end, and all answers are revealed.
Uncrossed Bridges
By Robert Park
September 3, 2003, 2:00 AM
A long time ago
A bridge was constructed
So that people could cross a chasm, you see
Lasting for all eternity
It was a bond for peoples from different locales
It was strong
Durable
Unbreakable
But uncrossable.
Does that make any sense?
Why would one make a bridge
That one would not be able to cross?
You wonder
What was on the other side
That made the need to build so attractive
Tantalizing
Fascinating
Desirable.
Still when I look at this bridge
I wonder what's on the other side
What future lies there
What conclusion would be made there
Who knows the future
It's something unknown
Confusing
Unpredictable
Risky.
I want to cross the bridge and see
But it hurts to walk
It hurts just to look at it
The pain from the bright lights
And the darkness combined
Creates an illusion that penetrates
Disorients
Confuses
Saddens.
How do I find my way across
When there are barriers blocking the way
And an omen stands at the end of the journey
Telling me not to come
When it is that future and that side's treasure
That warns me not to go near
Close
Intimate
There.

Dandelions

Do I really need to explain any background for this poem?
Dandelions
By Robert Park
Unknown Date
Confusion reigns
Whenever you don't understand what's going on
It's a natural thing
Like weeds growing on your lawn
Stupid dandelions
Always flitting everywhere
Conceiving new life
That you never wanted
They populate your lawn
And take over
Until eventually
You can't even see your grass anymore
And you wonder
Did you get transported to another world?
Or are you really someone else
Living in another home
Different from the one you thought was yours
Maybe you were never that person in the first place
And it's all because
Of the unnecessary dandelion seeds
That get blown all throughout your place
Growing anywhere they please
Planting themselves
Stealing the water
Stealing the life source
Killing what should be there
But you know what,
Those dandelions can be pretty
Really pretty
After all, you wonder
Are they really weeds?
Or are they flowers
They do bloom
And you could pick those petals all day long
Saying the words
She loves me
She loves me not
I want my own lawn back
These dandelions need to go
So that a real rose can grow
But first,
Where's my home?
And should she get the rose?

Epiphany of Waste

This poem was written a long time ago. It asks why people waste their talents. Well, sort of.
Epiphany of Waste
By Robert Park
Date Unknown
I'm wasting time
Writing poetry
When I could be working
Accomplishing a life story.
How do you create a story
When your direction is wary?
When your vision is nary?
When your desires are folly?
When things must be done
Because you have things to do
Why do you waste time
With stuff you should not do?
When time is lacking
And you're just slacking
Why do you avoid that
Which is most important?
It's a mystery
But a paradox underneath
When your true desires are revealed
And you care not for a legacy.

A Hopeless Future

This poem was written after conversations with a variety of friends on the pettiness of our futures. Why are we so unwilling to risk it all and go for the gusto? Fulfill our dreams? Exit our comfort zones? We know that we won't be satisfied otherwise. And yet...
A Hopeless Future
By Robert Park
4:05 AM, March 7, 2004
Getting into the ratrace
Is not what you would expect
The number of rats that exist
Running hither and thither
Create a pungent stench
Such that you're permeated
And don't notice it.
Then when you stumble into the park
Smell the flowers
Feel the spongy, dew-tipped grass
You realize how much you stink
Reeking of the worldly filth
That seemed so appealing
As it would to only a rat.
And you look at yourself
Your reflection shining in the pond
Sordid in the grime
Smelling of the leftovers
That you scrounged from society
And contrasted with the crystal
That sparkled as the water's surface.
Then all of a sudden
You're chasing aspirations you never had
Wanting to catch a dream that was never yours
Seeking that which has meaning
All to have a reason for living
And failing, you crawl wounded
Back to the comfortable filth of the ratrace.
A leopard cannot change its spots
And an animal should not leave its habitat
For a rat cannot thrive, let alone create
In the environment in which it cannot live
And instead chooses to live the easy life
Leeching off of the cesspool
Of society's leftovers.

Falling

This poem was written I believe in grade 11 or 12. I'm not sure what I was going through to write these words at the time, the poem itself is a vague memory of mine. But I did enter it into the contest at poetry.com, that thing was huge back then. :) I remember web banner ads all over the Internet for it. It's a Petrarchan (Italian) sonnet.
Falling
By Robert Park
Unknown Date
I saw a bird flying high in the clouds.
It wheeled, dipped, and soared majestically.
A wild eagle it was, born free, so free.
To the earth it verily would not bow.
Pride it had, screeching defiance out loud,
Claiming its space, its rightful territory.
King of the skies it was, gliding with ease.
Would it come down when rain came from those clouds?
I was once an eagle, flying so high.
Then the weather changed and I was brought low.
How could this happen to one who could fly?
The heavens did fall and not in light snow.
Must I fall down to the ground and just die?
Must have some shelter, survive, have some hope.

Lost Dreams

This was written in grade 12 or early university, as I thought about the transition from the past to the future. Entering university was supposed to be a big step, but I wondered at the time how it would actually make me grow as a person. In all honesty, it seemed like some of my most creative years were behind me. One thinks of John Keats' poem, When I Have Fears that I May Cease to Be or John Milton's On Having Reached My Twenty-Third Birthday.
Lost Dreams
By Robert Park
Unknown Date
Do you remember
a little boy, he wanted to be a cowboy
and then a ninja
because ninjas were cool
(they still are)
but when cowboys and ninjas are of no use
in today's world anyway
what does he do?
I think you remember
a little girl, barely four years old
she played with dolls
because dolls were cute
(they still are)
but why do little girls take care of dolls
even when they still cannot take care
of themselves?
How do you remember
the instincts of bygone past
the internal drive
of imagination and creativity
(when you had dreams)
when you become encased in systems
and become jaded
too much to care?
Until we get there
(wherever there might be)
we can keep our vision straight
(unless it's uncertain)
but the journey has its own rewards
(so they say)
a thought for those who don't make it
(maybe me)
because we lost our childish visions
(and hit reality)
Say it isn't so
(don't make that history)

Honey

This poem was written in grade 12. Now abide these things, faith, hope, and charity. But the greatest of these is charity. In today's English, it's better translated as love. But the original word charity exemplifies exactly what kind of love we are talking about here.

Honey
By Robert Park
Unknown Date

A myriad of colours before me
Life can be so bland
How long has it been
How long
Since I last saw one
One flower
Many flowers
Filling the air with their fragrance
Tangy
Sweet
A hint of spice

This beauty
Hidden from me
Not hidden but forgotten
In despair
And the trials of schedule
The world is too much with us
He did say
And the little things
We have forgotten
How easy it is
To forget the hard work
Of a busybee

This bee worked
Its forelegs rubbing together
Doing something or other
Drawing nectar
All part of the magical process
To make that special substance
The little things
That we often forget
And I wonder
For the life of me
How one can survive
Without acts of love and care
In humanity.

Bright Moon

Have you ever seen the brilliance of a full moon? It's totally something else and far brighter than when the moon is partially in shadow. You can see a halo around it as well, giving the moon a very noticeable shining effect, such that it contrasts totally with the darkness of the night.
Bright Moon
By Robert Park
Date Unknown
It was full
It was bright
It sparkled through the night
Why waste time with silly rhymes
That confine the visage
To something
Short of sublime?
Bright circle
Enveloped by a halo
Its rays streaked
Radiantly it shone
Is it any wonder
That this desolate rock
Reflected the sun?
And yet, taking up the sky
Being so dominant
I lifted my eyes
And realized
The moon may shine
But the stars define
The skies that we lie under.
What a sky, what a vision
What lies beyond
A question never answered
By the limited minds
Of our finite people
And yet I believe God was right
When he said, "It is good."

Sonnet 12

This was written in grade 12. Do I really need to say anything?
Sonnet 12
By Robert Park
Unknown Date
The sky does rain, the sun does shine, at night.
A conflict I can’t really understand
Because it could be thoughts’ or love’s demands
Causing failure to contemplate the slight.
I can’t forget that laugh, the sound that makes
Me so entranced as if a flute did sing.
Those eyes that sparkle, shine and swiftly bring
A light, a cloud, so that my heart’s opaque.
That smile, capricious, radiant, and bright
Distills emotions from within, afar.
Simple life was till I met this fair star.
Why is it now complex since she came nigh?
And then a thought enters into my mind.
Does she even think of me, am I blind?

Poetry will be imported into the normal blog now

OK, I've decided that I will import all poetry into the normal blog, and get rid of the poetry blog, now that I can do tags in Blogger.

Really, I should just be moving to Wordpress, shouldn't I... too lazy. :)

Monday, July 16, 2007

When the music fades

And all is stripped away.

Our team blog is at http://putawaythebasket.blogspot.com. Check it out.

Back in Zhaojue. Two years ago, I was here, now I'm here again. Wow. It was odd, but as we drove into town, I was looking around and thinking, "This feels like home." Isn't that odd? I thought it was. But I really felt like that.

I'm learning a lot about myself, as I had hoped. Lessons that I need to learn that I didn't yet realize that I needed to learn. Attributes that are still there that I dislike. Attributes that are not yet there that I wish to have. But mostly, where's home? We had a guy talk about that ironically enough, and it was great. Check out the Hall, chapter 11, 8-16.

One of our TAs knows Korean better than I do. I hang my head in shame. :) It was shocking to meet a Chinese girl who understands Korean so well. Apparently, she lived with some Korean people while going to university. Apparently, there are a lot of Korean people in that city where she studied.

Eat up while you can. Maybe you still deserve to be on milk.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The God Delusion

I was with amcal in Chapters, and noticed copies of The God Delusion on a bunch of shelves. Given that this seems to be the most popular atheist book at the moment, I opened it up to have a glance. The author, Richard Dawkin, analyzes and attacks a number of arguments that either try to prove God or attack atheism; in other words, he acts as the atheist's apologist. A good summary of the book can be found at, of course, Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_God_Delusion

I read the first few pages of the preface, and have to say that I was immediately turned off. Dawkins immediately made some fallacies, the most prominent of which was the statement that religion was the cause of war, and if there was no religion, there could potentially be no war. I find it difficult to believe that anyone who is capable of critical thought is able to come to this conclusion after deeply studying the issue of war, and many of the past wars that have happened in this earth's history. And this argument was included in the spotlight of the book's opening arguments. So I decided that the book was not worth reading.

Amcal challenged me on this. Are we really able to draw conclusions about something so easily without analyzing the entire thing? He conceded that in our rush-rush world, it's very difficult to give something our valuable time, if there are indications that the time would be wasted. But it was a point nevertheless. You shouldn't judge a book by its cover, and perhaps not by its preface as well.

Later in the day, I happened to be in another bookstore, and I walked by another book. This one was called The Dawkins Delusion, and responded to each of the arguments in the book that Richard Dawkins wrote. Hmm, interesting. I thought about what amcal had said, and thought about how many Christians would probably be absolutely willing to read a book like The Dawkins Delusion without even giving The God Delusion a second thought.

OK then, amcal. I will take you up on your challenge. When I return from China, I will buy and read The God Delusion. I will analyze it and blog my thoughts about each chapter. I will then read The Dawkins Delusion and see whether or not my thoughts match up with the thoughts of the second book's author. And perhaps I will be able to find an atheist who finally looks like he knows what he's talking about. Unfortunately, judging from the review quotes on the Wikipedia page, this looks like it might not be likely. Here are some examples:
The physicist Lawrence M. Krauss, writing in Nature, says that although a "fan" of Dawkins's science writing, he wishes that Dawkins "had continued to play to his strengths". Krauss suggests that an unrelenting attack upon people's beliefs might be less productive than "positively demonstrating how the wonders of nature can suggest a world without God that is nevertheless both complete and wonderful." Krauss is disappointed by the first part of the book, but quite positive about the latter part starting from Dawkins's discussion of morality. He remarks, "Perhaps there can be no higher praise than to say that I am certain I will remember and borrow many examples from this book in my own future discussions." In particular, he praises the treatment of religion and childhood, although refraining from using the term "child abuse" himself.

Marxist literary critic Terry Eagleton in the London Review of Books argues that Dawkins has insufficient understanding of the religious concepts he is attacking to engage with them effectively. He comments, "Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology." He questions whether Dawkins has read or heard of Christian thinkers like Eriugena, Rahner or Moltmann. He denies that all faith is blind faith, suggests that "while faith, rather like love, must involve factual knowledge, it is not reducible to it". He claims that "Critics of the most enduring form of popular culture in human history have a moral obligation to confront that case at its most persuasive". He adds, however, that Dawkins is effective in attacking "that particular strain of psychopathology known as fundamentalism, whether Texan or Taliban".
If he commits any of the fallacies I list here, I will be severely disappointed.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Joined a Bible Study

One thing that was missing from my life ever since I graduated from SFU was that intimate time where I could get together on a weekly basis with a close group of friends and dive into the Bible with them. I was part of a club called Campus for Christ (back then, Campus Crusade for Christ). It was great. We'd discuss Biblical teaching, everyday applications, and hardcore theology. And then I graduated.

My church is small, and there aren't that many people my age there. So it's hard to have a small group environment similar to what I experienced at SFU. Well, some friends from MSI have been bugging me to join BSF for a while now, and I finally relented to attend a session.

I was very much not interested in attending BSF, because it seemed very much like a Christian singles bar kind of thing. Co-ed classes, and you had to be single. If you're not single, then there are separate men's and women's classes. But it sounded like it would be full of people who were more interested in finding a mate than those who actually wanted to know God better. That thought really turned me off. If people are going to a Bible study, conference, whatever, the primary purpose shouldn't be the meat market. The primary purpose should be growth in your relationship with Jesus Christ. That's why I don't think I'd ever attend a Bible college, given how many people seem to go to find a marriage partner, hence the moniker bridal college. If I ever really did want some sort of "official" education, some sort of seminary would probably be better.

I was very impressed by BSF, mainly because of what they expect from people. There's daily homework for individual Bible study. If you're late for your discussion group (which happens before mass lecture), they ask that you do not go into your group, lest you disrupt their discussion; instead, you are to wait in the general chamber for the week's lecture. As well, if you are absent for three weeks in a row, they will assume that you've quit, and will remove you from the class. If you want to be reinstated, you have to go through an application process. Same if you are habitually tardy or show some other sign of little commitment.

I like that. So the people who will be involved in the study truly will want to be there. In theory. Some guys told me later that there is some grace, and they aren't really that strict for some things. The men's group is supposed to be much stricter. However, it's still very interesting that the mindset is there. I signed up for September, which is when the next session starts. Each session is eight months long, and this coming one will focus on Matthew.

Yay. It will be good to be in a small group setting again, among people my own age. :)

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Why does my blog exist?

Microsoft announced Silverlight, and their demos caused a lot of buzz on the web. I just wanted to throw up a quick thought about this, so what did I do? I posted a link on Facebook.

What?? If I'm going to throw up commentary about something, should I not be blogging? Instead, I posted my comments on Facebook.

Odd.

So why did I do it? Well, what's the purpose of this blog for? Basically, it's a personal blog where I just write about things now and then that are on my mind, and let people see what goes on in there. It's mostly for friends to read, whichever of them may be interested.

But if it's just a personal blog for friends to read, then what's the point of having it? Most of my friends are now on Facebook anyway, and Facebook does a fantastic job of alerting my friends whenever I post new content.

I think I just realized today that Facebook is more useful to me than my blog for this kind of stuff. Should I even bother keeping this blog? I guess I will, it's still nicer to import the Atom feed (or was Blogger RSS, I can't remember) into Facebook anyway, rather than restrict notes to just Facebook. But things like sharing videos, comments about things I find on the web, etc... I don't think those will be appearing on this blog anymore.

Here's what I wrote in Facebook, sharing this link about Silverlight:
Silverlight seems to have generated a ton of discussion on the web, and it does seem amazing. If it's anywhere as fast and clean as the reports make out, it would be an amazing weapon in Microsoft's arsenal in the fight for the web. For rich web apps, we now have what options... Flash, Ajax. In the near future, Adobe Apollo is supposed to take it to the next level. Microsoft Silverlight is supposed to surpass all of them?

I dunno, Silverlight sounds a little too utopiaish. It'd be great if it were all true. The downside would be that if Silverlight takes off and dominates, Microsoft could own the web. But I really can't see Silverlight being that successful, when there are so many other compelling options out there. Is it really that compelling?
I really wish I was an investor in Facebook.... :(

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Go Canucks Go!

OK, Henrik Sedin scores on a pass from Daniel Sedin in quadruple overtime! I can finally get to work now....

Lovely.

OK, I deserved it, but I still want to nail this guy

So I found a Mac Book Pro on craigslist that was too good to be true. The original post was here on craigslist. A red Mac Book Pro, 2 GHz, 2 GB of RAM, MS Office and Final Cut Pro, and a 3 year warranty, with over two years left on it. All for $1700. Too good to be true. But the guy was in the UK, advertising in the Vancouver ad. I smelled a rat, but it was just too tantalizing to pass up. Inquired at a few, but kept coming back to this one because it was just too good. Finally, I fell for the bait.

Seller claimed to be using SafeFunds. I had never used SafeFunds before, but just followed his instructions, because it was too good to be true. By this time, I was blind and ignoring all warning signals. The supposed SafeFunds e-mail came from safefund-support@insurer.com. As well, what kind of a website service does all their transactions through e-mail, as I had to do? I was a complete idiot. I was blind to all the signs. It's now clear that I have a weakness of becoming weak if I see something that I really want.

So I deserved it, but I still want to nail this guy. I want my money back as well if possible, obviously.

The $1700 was wired via Western Union to the following:



Richard Daniells
London, UK
Probably a fake name, and fake ID was probably used to pick up the money. The person that posted the craigslist ad was a "Matthew Collins" at mattcollns@yahoo.com. Not sure what kind of leads can be found there. I do have the money transfer control number (MTCN) if that helps at all.

Here's the whois info for the insurer.com domain:
Whois insurer.com

REGISTER.COM, INC.
Domain Name: insurer.com

The results below are provided by REGISTER.COM, INC. (whois.register.com)

The data in Register.com's WHOIS database is provided to you by Register.com for information purposes only, that is, to assist you in obtaining information about or related to a domain name registration record. Register.com makes this information available "as is," and does not guarantee its accuracy. By submitting a WHOIS query, you agree that you will use this data only for lawful purposes and that, under no circumstances will you use this data to: (1) allow, enable, or otherwise support the transmission of mass unsolicited, commercial advertising or solicitations via direct mail, electronic mail, or by telephone; or (2) enable high volume, automated, electronic processes that apply to Register.com (or its systems). The compilation, repackaging, dissemination or other use of this data is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Register.com. Register.com reserves the right to modify these terms at any time. By submitting this query, you agree to abide by these terms. =-=-=-=

Registration Service Provided By: NJDomains, Abuse Contact: abuse@mail.com
Contact: gerald.gorman@att.net

Domain name: insurer.com

Registrant Contact:
NJDomains, Abuse Contact: abuse@mail.com
Gerald Gorman (abuse@mail.com_gerald.gorman@att.net)
9086960929
Fax: none
33 Knightsbridge Rd.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
US

Administrative Contact:
NJDomains, Abuse Contact: abuse@mail.com
Gerald Gorman (abuse@mail.com_gerald.gorman@att.net)
9086960929
Fax: none
33 Knightsbridge Rd.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
US

Technical Contact:
NJDomains, Abuse Contact: abuse@mail.com
Gerald Gorman (abuse@mail.com_gerald.gorman@att.net)
9086960929
Fax: none
33 Knightsbridge Rd.
Piscataway, NJ 08854
US

Status: Locked

Name Servers:
udns1.ultradns.net
udns2.ultradns.net

Creation date: 19 Oct 1996 00:00:00
Expiration date: 18 Oct 2007 00:00:00
Here's the e-mail that Safefunds sent to me.
Mr. Park,
I am sorry to inform you that you have been a victim of the Internet Western Union Money Gram scam. The party you have been dealing with has absolutely nothing to do with the real SAFEFUNDS.COM As you can easily see the email you received came from an address at insurer.com. SAFEFUNDS members NEVER send funds to anyone except their own SAFEFUNDS accounts. All SAFEFUNDS transactions require both parties to be SAFEFUNDS members and to conduct all business on our web site. SAFEFUNDS manages transactions, we do not store or ship goods. On our web site at www.safefunds.com we have a warning about this particular scam. We suggest you report this event to wherever you first saw the ad, Western Union, and the Internet Crime group of the FBI.
SAFEFUNDS SUPPORT
OK, anyone have any ideas? :) Currently filling out an Internet Crime Complaint form, and will call Western Union and the police in the morning. But there must be more that I can do.

Update: Started a thread on this at HCW.

Update: Filed a fraud report with Western Union. The money was picked up at 6:06 AM, Eastern Standard Time, at Potters Bar, UK. The place is a little northwest of London, and is shown here.

Update: Pete Quily found out a bit more about this guy that owns the insurer.com domain. He's kind of shady. :)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How's this for parity?

How much proof do you need to know that the NHL has reached parity among all of its teams?

Check this out.

As of April 3, 2007, only 12 points separated 1st place in the Western Conference from 8th place. In the Eastern Conference, it's a bit more at 19 points for the delta. But also consider the fact that in the Eastern Conference, not one, but two teams that are currently not in the playoff picture still have a chance of making the playoffs. As well, three teams are still battling for the President's Trophy! Usually, the President's Trophy gets wrapped up a bit earlier.

While we can't be entirely sure that this parity is due to the salary cap, all evidence does point in that direction.

Playoffs. :D Go Canucks Go!

Monday, April 02, 2007

I loved her

We went steady for all of what, four hours? She was the perfect girl.

April Fan, I will never forget you. I wish I could run into girls like you more than just one day a year. :(

I wanted to do something more elaborate for April Fools, but didn't have time to prepare. And then all of sudden, it was April 1. So I resorted to a play on last year's trick. I didn't get nearly the same result though. People have wisened up a bit. :(

Anton Lina is going down next year. I swear it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

What does my birthday mean?

Your Birthdate: October 11


Spiritual and thoughtful, you tend to take a step back from the world.
You're very sensitive to what's going on around you, yet you remain calm.
Although you are brilliant, it may take you a while to find your niche.
Your creativity is supreme, but it sometimes makes it hard for you to get things done.

Your strength: Your inner peace

Your weakness: You get stuck in the clouds

Your power color: Emerald

Your power symbol: Leaf

Your power month: November

Yeah, I can live with that.... is that bad?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Atheist Rhetoric Tends to Suck

I was on Youtube and ended up watching some atheist videos. It was very interesting to listen to their arguments and I was debating whether or not I should post responses. In the end, I decided not to because I don't have a good track record of convincing atheists that the premises they start out with in their arguments are baseless. Perhaps I'm wrong, but I have yet for anyone to convince me that my reasoning is unsound either. I'm going to list some standard arguments I see from atheists, my responses to them, and perhaps somebody can explain to me where I'm wrong (if I am wrong).

1. There's no use reading a book that's thousands of years old with outdated statements and morals.

Personally, I don't see what the issue is here. If something has been around for thousands of years, and continues to be around, it would seem to me that's because it has staying power. If it has staying power, how can it be outdated? I always ask atheists that use this argument to explain why time is a disqualifier. I've yet to receive an answer to that request. Usually, they ignore my request for a sound argument on time being a disqualifier. On the rare occasion, they respond to it by saying, "Well, it just is!" Sorry, not good enough for me.

2. If God created the universe, then who created God?

Why should there be any reason to believe that something created God? If God is truly what he says he is, then his existence stretches from negative infinity to positive infinity in time. Actually, time is simply just another dimension in our existence anyway, and God is not constrained to that dimension. Rather, he's outside of it; if he created it, he created anything. I liken it to a pencil-drawn stick man being constrained to two dimensions. Let's say that stick man is alive, conscious, self-aware, and active. It's able to go all over the place on the x and y planes, but it's not even able to conceive what it would be like to move around on the z plane. Likewise, we're constrained to four dimensions. We can go all over the place on the x, y, and z planes, and only forward in the time plane, but we have no idea how we'd move around in any dimensions beyond that. But just like we're not constrained to just two dimensions, God is not constrained to time. He's outside of time. Why does he need to have a beginning or be created to be explained? That would by definition contradict who God claims to be. Atheists shouldn't be asking who created God, they should be trying to prove that God had a creator (which some try to do in saying that humanity made him up). I fail to see why this is an issue.

3. If God is omniscient, then there is no free will.

Just because God knows what someone will do, how does that imply there is no free will? Free will is being able to make choices of your own regard. Now, first of all, the existence of free will is an age-old philosophical debate where many scientists and philosophers are divided. But for the sake of this atheist argument, let's assume that it exists, and that there's a possibility that God's omniscience contradicts that thought. We should first note that free will is not completely available. For example, I cannot make myself stay alive underwater without an oxygen tank. However, in the context of feasible free will, the fact that God knows what I am going to do tomorrow does not affect my free will to choose to do that thing and actually do it. God's omniscience only interferes with my free will if it impacts my ability to choose and execute those actions. I fail to see why this is also an issue. Especially considering that the secular community themselves are divided on the issue of free will. By the way, the existence of God is compatible with both free will and the nonexistence of free will. The Christian world debates on the existence of free will as well (Calvinism vs Arminianism), but we all agree that either way, it doesn't disprove God.

4. Evolution is real, and evolution disproves God.

Perhaps the most commonly cited one I've run into. First off, I'll note that I don't know enough about evolution to be able to say whether or not I think it's true. However, I do know that it's the most accepted explanation in the scientific community for how life works in our world. So let's say that evolution is real, because I don't have any reasons to doubt it. If we have concluded that we figured out how life works on our planet, how does that show that God does not exist? Yay, you could have figured out how God designed the mechanisms for life. The smarter atheists will immediately point out that our understanding of evolution does not match up with the Biblical story of creation in seven days. Maybe not, when you read the English. But the word "day" in Genesis is simply the safest way of translating the Hebrew word yome. Yome can mean day as in the warm hours, as in the time from sunrise to sunset, time for the sun's cycle, age, end, season, space, process of time, or year. Taken from the Strong's Concordance, which cross-references words in the Bible with their original Hebrew or Greek meanings. The days noted in the creation story could easily have meant a long period of time. It's also interesting to note that the pattern of life in the creation story match up with the order of what types of life appeared on earth according to the scientific community. Unless you can prove that God claims to not have used evolution to create the world's current status quo, it is quite possible that he did use evolution. And that's still assuming that evolution is true (which I will again say is possible, given how much weight the scientific community puts behind it). Mind you, there are many Christians that will adamantly attack evolution. I think this is kind of stupid. Here, I'll quote what I wrote on the HCW forums before:
The reason why this argument has become so big is because people started arguing about things that don't make sense!

The evolution guys fired the first shot when some of them started claiming that since we understand evolution and evolution theoretically proves that it's possible that life was started and developed without the help of a divine being, we should automatically conclude that a divine being doesn't exist. Now given the historical data we have (which has become an entirely different but like-minded debate), this wasn't necessarily a wise conclusion. In fact, there is a large number of scientists who support evolution and firmly believe that it is quite compatible with the existence of a divine being, which I didn't know (but should have guessed) until I ended up listening to this guy. Not that I agreed with everything he said, mind you.

So in the counterattack, the faith people fire back with creationism, which has been slowly come to incorporate more and more scientific knowledge and theory to create what can be now considered a good hypothesis. The problem with this hypothesis would be that it cannot be tested to be false (mind you, the same complaint is easily made against evolution, so we have a tie in this category). But the basic argument was the same throughout history: life very complex, life cannot have started through evolution. The latest creationism stuff takes scientific theory to argue that evolution doesn't make sense. One potential fallacy is that it perhaps commits the same error as the original evolution shot: obviously since we've disproven this thing and rejected it, there can be only one explanation of what really happened! The truly scientific aspect of creationism is not its conclusion, but rather, its attack on evolution.

The existence of a divine being is not dependent on the truth or falsity of evolution, nor creationism. The existence of a divine being is quite compatible with both of the concepts. In creationism's case, because the existence of a divine being is the conclusion; and if creationism were false, it still doesn't necessarily disprove the existence of a divine being because of the leap of logic within creationism itself. In evolution's case, because evolution concludes nothing about who or what created life, only how it was created; to conclude something about the existence of a divine being is once again a leap of logic. The argument is only so acrimonious today because the two sides drew conclusions that they had no right to draw.
5. The Bible contradicts itself!

Show me where, please. I study the Bible. You don't. I might know it a tad better than you. There are rare cases where atheists will bring up some fairly compelling examples. But even in these cases, I see them making the same mistakes as more ignorant atheists. Usually, it's one of the following:
  1. They don't know the context. I'll give an simple extreme example to demonstrate what I'm saying here. Did you know that the Bible says "there is no God"? Did you know that the verse (Psalm 53:1) actually says "The fool says in his heart, there is no God"? I see things taken out of context all the time. But this is not the atheist's fault. Sometimes, the context for something in the New Testament is found in the Old Testament. Etcetera. With context so completely far away from the passage being discussed, how is the atheist supposed to know, unless they study the Bible extensively? They're at a severe disadvantage when it comes to discussing Biblical contradictions. Likewise, atheists are usually unable to consider the context of the time's culture, nor the passage's intended audience.
  2. They don't understand the original meaning. The original word can mean something other than what the atheist thinks. For example, it's quite possible that the word "day" in Genesis 1 doesn't mean a 24-hour period.
  3. They actually have a fallacy in their logic. Sometimes it's just a mistake. But other times, they are actually unable to understand how what they're saying is a fallacy. For people who are supposed to be very rational, I find a large number of fallacies in some atheists' arguments when making the case for a Biblical contradiction.
  4. They turn a blind eye. I've heard people acknowledge that they're wrong in their logic when presenting a Biblical contradiction, but still argue that the so-called contradiction is valid anyway. Yes, it's actually happened.
6. The Bible supports slavery, therefore it cannot be believed

I don't think that people understand what slavery meant during that time. The Bible states that it's wrong to steal someone from their family, uproot them to a foreign place, and force them to become your slave. That's what happened with the African slave trade. What the Bible did allow was for people to become lifelong bondservants to pay off their debts to someone, to be provided for and taken care of in return for labour, or after conquering. But the meaning that is given is never that of what happened in the African slave trade. It is much much closer to feudalism as an economic system. And there were clear laws on how to take care of one's servants; they were not to be mistreated. But atheists will respond, "so what, slavery is bad, doesn't matter what it is." People need to be able to get past the lexeme and into the semantics. I find atheists in general are unwilling to do that though. It would certainly resolve some of the other atheist arguments I've already discussed.


And those are the top arguments that I consistently see atheists bring up. Are my responses invalid? Why? Don't just dismiss me lightly, explain yourself. Otherwise, don't dare bring up these arguments in a discussion with me, please.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Talladega Trips: The Ballad of PakG1

So I went skiing today. It was fun.

I took the snowbus up (www.snowbus.ca). I've taken the snowbus twice to Whistler now. That's four trips in total (go there, come back, go there, come back). Each time, the movie shown was a movie that starred Will Ferrell. The last three movies were... wait for it...

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby

Is it really that hard to show a different movie each trip? @@ And why do I have to watch Talladega Nights over and over and over again? Or Will Ferrell over and over and over again? Yeah, Ferrell's a funny guy, but it will soon get to the point where I can memorize every single line of that movie. I watched in the theatre, got my laugh, it was good enough. Argh.

I spent the morning in the Symphony Amphitheatre. It was great. Lots of gladed runs, it was very purty. They made trails in the forest by following the natural contour of the mountain where there were already few trees in the forest. But tree islands were all over the place, so you had that feel of weaving in and out of trees, without the difficulty of riding a forest trail only half a metre wide. People sure seemed to like it, because there was light traffic at many of the chairlifts, but Symphony and Harmony were jam-packed (Symphony's new terrain that they just opened up this year, with a new chairlift).

Didn't bring my ski goggles. Forgot that I had lent them to a co-worker. :) Anyway, they have this cool thing where you can try out the newest high-end skis on the market for an hour for free. I tried out these monster fat skis meant for fresh powder and took them to the top of the Peak chairlift. Now, it was really windy up there so as soon as I stepped off the chairlift, I was blinded because all this snow was being blown into my face. Immediately flipped my sunglasses over my eyes, but it wasn't enough. The sunglasses reduced the stinging of the snow, but my visibility even more because the lenses just got covered. So I was shielding my face with my arms, while wiping my sunglasses every five seconds, while trying to go towards the trail. But the wind was blowing me in another direction, it was that strong. So I try to snowplough to a stop, but instead, my skis start taking a life of their own and angle my legs too widely so that my knees buckle and I fall. That hurt. I still feel it, and it will probably be very sore in the morning.

I'm trying to make my way over to the trail, but can't see where I'm going because of the wind and the snow. I manage to redirect myself just before I discover that I am about to fall off the edge of a drop. After much stepping (let's face it, I was pretty much snowshoeing), I manage to get to a blue run where the face of the mountain can shield me from the wind. And then I got to try out the skis for real.

WOW! I felt like I was floating on air! Going over the powder was so easy, and I didn't get caught at all. It was effortless to go down that slope! I fell in love.

On groomed runs, it felt really awkward. If I had chosen fat skis with more of a cut for turning, I bet it probably would have been ok. But certainly, for groomed runs, my own skis felt more natural.

However, as soon as I stepped back into my own skis and went over some more powder, I was severely disappointed in the feeling. Ignorance truly is bliss.

I hope I don't have to watch Talladega Nights again the next time I go up.... And I'll have to bring my ski goggles so that the wind and snow don't kill me. I swear, I thought my eyeballs were going to get pierced. It felt like a million nanoshuriken or something.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Pretty happy

Naruto Shippuuden is finally airing. I thought that's worth a post. :)

Monday, January 08, 2007

I need a hobby

Could try yoyos. Looks pretty cool, doesn't it? This one's Asia Pacific 2006 Champion for the 2A category, Yokoyama Koji.

OK, maybe two yoyos will be too hard. But I think I could hack one yoyo, like this guy. The Asia Pacific 2006 1A Champ, Suzuki Hiroyuki.

Check it out, you can get a yoyo for only $89. I'll see you at next year's world championships, thanks for cheering me on. This looks like he's the guy to beat. 2006 World 2A Champion, Saito Shinji. Apparently wins every year. Easy, just need a little practice. I'm coming for you Shinji!

Aren't pipe dreams lovely? @@