Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Recent thoughts on readings and more

I went to a local bookstore last week and bought a couple of books as they was a sale of 15% off. I love reading and I like books. I like to own books and have books on bookshelves at home. In reality, as I don’t have much space at home, on top of my busy daily routine, I just can’t read that much and that have suppressed my book-buying mood for a long time. I guess since reading is such one of my passions that I enjoy very much, I know for a fact that, soon or later, I would just go to grab a bunch of books regardless, as an outburst to relieve my suppressed desire.

I’m not gonna list out the names of all the books that I bought, cos I’ve a way of thinking that for books that I’ve read, simply owning them doesn’t make me smarter or knowledgeable. So telling others what I own doesn’t mean much. Sometimes, when we visit someone’s home, and see what kind of books they have on the bookshelf, that always got me thinking. Maybe, the owner didn’t read all of those books, but just the topic of the book collection sometimes would give you an idea what the owner is or at least what kind of interest he/she has.

I would say that in last 1 or 2 years, the kind of books that really interested me are some non-fiction titles that can get me thinking. Usually, they are about analyzing something looks very normal, but their interpretation of the causes and phenomenon behind are usually fascinating and unconventional. Freakanomics is a good example, and I like that book very much. The book that I would like to mention here is one of the new books that I bought last week that I’m currently reading it. It is ‘Tipping Point’ by Malcolm Gladwell. I know it is not a new book, and the author has other books as well. Since, I’m reading it; I can tell you that I like what I’ve read so far. It is not a difficult book to read. It is talking about, as the title is, the tipping point of incident or phenomenon. This book is enjoyable because I do learn something new from reading it. It helps my thinking and analyzing process as it dissects events in some organized way that I think I can leverage in future. I don’t know when, just like many miscellaneous things that I learnt before. Sometimes, you just never know when they will be brought out to see the light, that’s why as I’m getting older and my memory is weaken, many of those knowledge might have already disappeared in the dark end of my mind. That’s why refreshing knowledge is such a good thing. The way to do that is reading.

Though it is still very difficult to squeeze time to read, picking up books again recently is in fact joyful for me. Looking back my CD collection and the booming of MP3, I did a bit regret of spending so much on CDs back then. Of course, I would have never known CD would fade away like LD did, and would be replaced by MP3, what a wonderful format in terms of cost, and storage size as well. Just grazing the CD shelves at home and the space needs that I’ve, I sometimes do feel sad about that. On top of that, I don’t really have time to enjoy my CD collection for various reasons. The positive side is that I did rip many of them as MP3 and upload them on my iTunes (well before I became a dad or even before I got married when I’d more personal time to do such). Now, when I look at the popping up of e-readers, and the upcoming iTablet, I know that soon or later, I will get one for reading plus other functions as well. In other words, I can see the doom of physical books as the way CD goes. Unlike CD, I know that physical books will have a place to stay for many more years or even decades to come. Still, book in the current physical format will pass as it has done its cause in human history with technology development. When it is time to go, it will. However, for me, holding a book in the hand is just different that flipping a screen with multi-touch function. Yes, books did take a lot of space. That has been my thinking all along. Nevertheless, sometimes I just think ‘the hell with it’ when I’m doing something that out of impulse. So far, I’ve not regret for buying new books. Cos, at the end of the day, reading when I’ve time does give me instant gratification than contemplating what future technology would change our life in future while it may replace certain existing medium.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Deception and the Truth

When we were kids, adults always taught us to tell the truths. Don’t lie. This teaching can perhaps be traced back for thousands of years. Come to think of it, it is the 8th Commandments in the Ten Commandments, for God sake: Thou shall not lie! The reason why it has been taught for thousands of year, I think it is because lying is deep in our gene; it is part of our nature. Since lying is kind of a ‘double-edged’ sword, it demands skills and the results of lying could be detrimental, so we simply teach our kids that lying is not good and don’t do it, in order to avoid the trouble of dealing with the consequences of telling lies. Of course, it has never worked.

I think lying or deception is a tool that mostly for serving our self-interest. It could be for getting something that we don’t have or avoid losing something that we cherish, or protect ourselves from being hurt physically or psychologically. Recently, I’ve discovered a very interesting site and read some articles there. Certainly, as a well…relatively educated adult, I know that the web is wild wild west; anyone can put up a site and say whatever they want. Many sites have their predominant views on issues (that reminded me of Fox vs. CNN). Anyway, I don’t 100% buy everything that I read is truth, but it is nice to see how different people‘s views and voiced out their opinions on issues, particularly something that I’m interested.

The site mostly focuses on some large ‘macro’ or ‘global’ issues. Those that I’m particularly interested are so-called disclosing the real truth or initiatives behind many power institutions or countries on many issues which are actually affecting millions to billions of people’s lives. For example, the Afghan war, the global financial bailout of banks, globalization, etc. Of course, those issues are not as ‘sexy’ as ‘balloon boy’ or some sensational celebrities’ scandals, that’s why most of the public will not pay too much attention to them. Anyway, I find those issues are actually more interesting and thought-provoking.

As more and more stories that I’ve read, use my limited IQ, I would say that my view is more of a minority than the mass. I wouldn’t say that I’m a believer of all conspiracies. However, I’m quite skeptical of many things’ hidden agenda than simply taking the face value of the words that the government or the powerful elites have said. I would not say most of what they said are lies, but I think what they are practicing is the more advanced skills of “not telling the whole truth”.

You can find many books about how to conduct public communication/presentation in order to serve your self-interests. You can lie which has legal or social repercussion. You can present your message by wrapping them into something else, so people has to read between the lines to find out what you want to say. Or, you can tell the truth especially those that the audiences want to hear, but not telling the whole truth which is something very commonly used by many public figures when they are being questioned by the media. Usually, what is more important is not what they said, but what they didn’t say.

For example, the President would say that we do this and that for democracy and freedom of the people. That sounds really good, it is political correct, and that’s many his followers would like to hear and his opponents have nothing to pick on. However, the real truth is that outside the surface of freedom and democracy, the core is actually like an onion. The next layer is all about national interests. It is less sexy but it is still understandable, that’s actually what the President or elected government suppose to do. Then, the next layer could be the definition of those so-called ‘national interests’. Are they really the interests of the nation or certain part of the nation, or interests of certain groups/individual? That’s actually the core of whole thing, cos it is really complicated with the web of interconnected interests among different forces behind the public figures. That’s neither what the public want to hear nor the ‘Godfathers’ behind the scene want the public to know. In fact, the real truth is most likely very ugly!

I’ve no time or capability to investigate or discover the real truth behind many things. Nonetheless, reading what others’ have found out or their speculations is just enough fun for me. As I said, I neither believe 100% on words from the public figures nor the conspiracy-activists. However, since I believe that lying is part of our gene, and many national policies or decisions can cause such tremendous gains and losses to some groups and the mass, I would more incline to believe that there are many hidden agendas and stories behind the headlines. Cos, if everybody is telling the truth, our world won’t be this messy.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pixars luxo jr

Funny clip!

‘Dream’ gadget

I had a weird dream last night. That’s nothing unusual about that. However, the funny thing is that it is about a product that hasn’t come out yet. Don’t laugh at me, I dream about the soon to be released Apple tablet! Usually, people or other bloggers would talk about what they envision or wish what the tablet should look like, what functions and capability it should have, and all that…..when the bloggers are AWAKE! My case is similar except it is about really what I saw in my DREAM! Ok, once this premise has been laid out, here were I saw in my dream…

First of all, my dream was in color, it looks like as if I was watching a youtube video. There was not 3rd person talking describing what is in the video. Just visual images. What I saw was a pair of hands holding the ‘machine’, playing with it, I can’t see who the person is, but it looks like it is a ‘he’ sitting on a green lawn outdoor with trees in the background, somewhere like a college campus. The focus of the whole thing was about the machine of course.

The ‘machine’ has double screens. There wasn’t any buttons along the edges of the whole screen. The size of each screen is about the full size of 3 iphones lining up side by side. The 2 screens are side by side, when you hold the whole thing; it looks like you are holding 2 giant iphones stuck together without the earphone at the top and the key button at the bottom. The 2 screens are linked physically together, somewhat like the NDS, but you operate them sideway instead. Namely, it really looks and be held like a ‘book’. The thickness of the tablet is exactly the same as an iPhone. Of course, when you fold the screen, the machine will have the thickness of 2 iphones. I can’t see the details of what buttons are on the side edges of the machine.

I saw the machine while it was on. It looks like 2 giant iphones with icons lining up exactly the same. But the two screens would look like one screen that is split into 2. Or, like one is the extension of the other. Cos, when the hand swiped the pages of icons from the right screen, the icon would move to the left screen and then go to next page. The 2 screens can be operated separately. What I saw was that, when a ‘book’ or ‘PDF’. Like article was uploaded on the right screen. The left screen can remain with icons. Then, the hand can swipe the right screens from right to left with a finger. The ‘book’ will turn pages while the left side remain. I also saw the machine has Multilanguage consideration. Cos, the left and right screen display can be swap. When a book in Chinese or Japanese (I couldn’t remember clearly) was shown on the left screen. The hands swipe the left screen instead, and the pages turn from right to left. Just like actual Chinese/Japanese books which are traditionally bind that way.

I saw video clip to be display on the left screen while the right screen was showing text, and the right hand can use the multi-touch to move the video up or down on the page, and writing notes on the edge of the text page. Somewhat like postnotes.

As the machine has 2 screen that designed like a book. So, it can be read or use while the screens are not 180 degree from each other. It can stand on the ground on its edges.

Well, that’s all I saw in my dream. Let’s see what it will really look like next year.

Monday, October 19, 2009


I spanked my son yesterday. I don't like spanking, but I don't opt out using it when I feel that's necessary. Looking back, my parents spanked me 'good'. I've explained my spanking rules to my wife and she kinda understands it. How much she endorses it will depend on situation by situation. My rules are simple:

1. Only hit limbs and butt.
2. Not hitting excessive that leave scar, cause bleeding, or marks that last overnight. Thus, try not to use any spanking tools.
3. Must give warning and offer chance for compliance before spanking takes place.
4. Always give reasons before and/or after spanking.
5. Use it only if necessary, always other forms of punishment.

Kids these days are smart, I think my son is way smarter than we are when we were his age. However, intelligence is one thing, temper/attitude is another thing. I don't need my kid to be 100% obedient to me. It is neither practical nor reasonable. However, for things that matter. I must make my point heard and accepted. I just think spanking should be like a cop's pistol. You don't need to use it every time crime occurs. You may flesh it just for warning for compliance. But you shouldn't rule out of using it or simply not carrying it with you just because you are a good man and believe in peace and justice. Certainly, in some cases, a pistol should only be used when the cop's or others' safety is in danger, that doesn't apply to spanking. However, for other aspects of spanking, I think this analogy can be used to get points across.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Recently, I came across a site called ‘Survivalblog’. I’ve long been fascinated of the idea of total self-reliance to survive against the harsh side of nature. I guess my interest was originally triggered by watching Sly Stallone’s movie - ‘First Blood’ when I was still a kid. Just like many others, I like the actions, guns and all that in that movie (or other similar movies as well). However, one thing that really stuck out in that movie is how Rambo can rely on his military knife to survive in the woods up in the mountain. I later came across an article about that knife, I can’t find the source of the article. But it basically was an anatomy of the knife inside out. Illustrating every part of the knife with what function it can perform. It was so interesting to me.

When I was in college, I pickup few books that are related to similar survival subject, like the first aid guide from St. John First Aid Group, the ‘Worst Scenarios’ series, and the ‘U.S. Army Survival Guide’. Of course, each of them has different focus, but the overall theme is all about Survival. Also, I then learnt the name of Dan Brown, not the author who wrote Da Vinci Code, but a famous survivalist who not only write books but also offer training course to teach people about survival in wilderness. I can’t recall whether he or one of his disciple was able to survive in the wild somewhere in Colorado or mid-West for 1 year with simply a knife with him. Not sure if that’s true or not, but it is certainly fascinating to me.

Maybe because of my immaturity and/or insecurity about the world, I always have a thought that despite all the materials procession and enjoyment that come with them, there is always possible some kind of crisis may hit us any time that we will be stripped from all modern social convenience that we are taking for grant now. So, it would be good to prepare ourselves to leave our house on short notice. Even for more practical reason, like if we are facing a fire or home invasion of some sorts, I can just pick up the most essential belongings and just go. That’s why every now and then, I would have a thought to pack a backpack of those essential stuffs and put that need the exit of my living place that is ready to be picked up and go.

Certainly, there is a separate set of thoughts in my mind on what should be inside that backpack. I’m not talking about the details list of stuff yet. What I’m actually thinking about is whether the backpack should include the most valuable things that would be hard/troublesome to replace? Such as education certificates, various ID documentations/proofs, financial related docs, jewelry and cash, etc. Or it should include a survival kit? Or both which could be quite heavy?

Anyway, after reading some articles in the survival blog, the most important thing that I learnt is that materials possessions are secondary. What really matter are the skill sets that you will need and you need to be able to practice them regularly, so that you can do things when you need. As usual, all I’ve done so far is still limited to reading and thinking. Nothing has really got my butt moving yet, that’s the problem.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Nobel Peace Prize 2009

I’ve not been kept up with news as close as I used to be lately. However, one shocking news that I just learn the other day that I really wanna voice out is the Nobel price committee award the Nobel Peace Prize this year to President Obama.

Well, I’m not alone to be shocked by this choice. I don’t doubt that President Obama has the capability to win this award, but not now?! This guy has not done enough yet. Let alone being nominated only 12 days into his current position is puzzling. It would be interesting to see who did the nomination. Award should go to people who produce the results. I disagree with some bloggers who mocked such award saying that everybody can make promises, the contestants in Miss Universe wishing for peace every year, so they can win the award as well. However, the difference is that President Obama has not only made peace promise, but he does have the power to carry out the promise, but it has not been done yet.

Politicians are known for their flip flops on positions. I don’t see President Obama would be any different. What matter is whether he can deliver. Relatively speaking, I think former President Clinton would deserve the Nobel Peace Prize more than President Obama based on really works that had been done. However, God knows what kind of joke the Nobel committee is making this year. I just hope they will learn the lesson this time and don’t devalue of the Nobel Peace Prize into something like best movie award of the Academy. Also, if I were President Obama, I would return the prize with a message that ‘let me work hard to materialize my peace promise, so the people who can benefit from that as a result of my effort would hand me the prize in person…when that day come, I will be honor to receive it on behalf of my team’…..or something like that. That's how I see it.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Leisure time and gadgets

Just some rambling about the status of ‘leisure’ in the current stage of my life.
With work and family responsibilities, most of my waking hours are allocated between them. I guess this is part of being a responsible family man. So, what’s left for me is very minimal and I thus cherish them very much. At this stage of my life, I’m more a pragmatist than ever. So, anything that deems to be out of reach has already filtered out the logical side of my brain. What I mean out-of-reach could be something very normal to many people. Like pursuing interests in photography, reading long novels, planning for a dream-trip overseas, learning new skills that require many practices, all things that basically are kinda costly or taking much time would not be feasible for me to do, at least for now and foreseeable future. Therefore, for my remaining time, besides taking rest, I only can do things that are enjoyable, easy, affordable and doesn’t take much time. So what are they?

Basically, there are still few things that I can do. E.g. doing light exercise which is something that I must but still lazy to do. Also, thanks God for internet. As I still love reading and music, these two pieces of entertainment can still fit into my short pieces of leisure times. That’s reading short articles on the web (like news stories, analysis, blogs, etc) and listening to music. Thanks for my iPhone, I’m all set for both, though there is always room for improvement, like battery life, storage capacity, etc. I’m not sad about the lack of leisure time, cos I made life-changing decisions and I’ve to stick with it. On the upside, I do enjoy and benefit from my decisions. Also, every stage of life is different. So, trying to enjoy it rather than making complaints is my preferred attitude towards it.

On of the hottest topics on the net in recent weeks is the upcoming wave of releases of tablet computers. There are pros and cons of that all over the place. Of course, Apple’s release is predictably the eye of the storm. For me, I think Apple is very smart in making things that just fit our needs. There are various reasons and demands that are currently catered by a spectrum of gadgets all around. Most likely, Apple is not going to invent anything new, but just create something that tie is for multipurpose and somehow that open the door for a new lifestyle of some sort. iPhone is an example of that. I tied our various needs for music, movie, shopping, communication, tools, entertainment nicely in one package. I wonder if the tablet from Apple will have similar effect and do more. I already have a PC, a rarely used laptop and a netbook. Would I need a tablet? Currently, the answer is no, but who knows what’s gonna happen down the road. For now, I think I’m gonna stay put, just wait, keep myself informed and see.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Nursery time

Requested by my son’s nursery, a parent of every new entrant would need to accompany on the first 2 days of their school. By default, I went with to classes in last 2 days. Time just flies, my son has just started his formal education! Oh, what an experience as a parent…..

My son is certainly better served by his parent than mine. I still remember my first ever school day to kindergarten. I was brought onto a school bus, and my parent just waved hand for goodbye. I was standing up in the van and crying for being abandon, I don’t remember how long I cried, but very soon when I got to my k-school. I was just curious of everything and everything was fine from then on. For my son, at least I spent last 2 days with him in class.

There are about 2 dozen tots in the class with 2 teachers. As my son still in the adaptation period, his school day only lasted 2 hrs rather than 3. Well, still a great lesson to him and me as well. I can really see how he matches up with other kids. Yes, everyone is different and my son started later than his classmates who have more than a month headstart than him. However, I can still see what areas my son need to improve and what school is expecting from tots. So, it is nice to know how my son is measured. Well, I’m not too worry about my son too much on his perceived shortcomings, as I think that he will certainly pick up soon or later. I think my son is not the brightest or most well-performed tot in the class. He is certainly not the worst. So, it is fine with me. The most important thing is that it seems like he enjoys school, with company of others of his age. That’s most matter to me. If he starts hating school and only want to be alone, that would be worrisome.

I’m not too worried about the hardcore knowledge that my son will pick up in school at this age. Cos, I doubt he will learn much English complete sentence or let alone any Mandarin from the sessions there. However, social skills, good behaviors, and proper manners are more important. Also, learning how others can take care of their own on feeding, cleaning, etc would be good enough for me. I just hope he can enjoy school in general. That would be just fine.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Time Traveller's Wife

Well, last Saturday, finally I could go to enjoy a movie night with my wife after few long months of domestic maid conditions. Anyway, I picked the movie because I know my wife won't be excited with my other choices: Surrogate and District-9. However, I do like the premise of a movie related to time travel. Though, I know that it is a love story, hey as long as it is good and entertaining, I'm fine with that.

Let's get back to the movie. I didn't know much about the story before going to see it, cos it is not like a Transformer or Spiderman movie that get me excited months before it got released. Anyway, all I know that the movie is based on a novel (nothing special about this and after watching the movie, I would guess that the novel got to be much better than the movie), and the lead of the movie is Eric Bana. It is about a man with time travel ability that got married. Well, it is from the movie title that you can pretty much guess that.

The Goods of the movie:
Acting - Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams are fine actor and actress. They do match in the outlook. They are good actors, so they do can deliver on what Henry and Claire suppose to present on the screen.

Scenery - the garden/yard where the young Clarie first met Henry was beautiful and remind me of a place that I used to live for many years. Also, the Chicago suburb mansions are very pretty.

Story - I always like movies about time travel, or about time itself. This movie kinda remind me of 'The Lake House' and 'Curious Case of Benjamin Button'. Of course, the story of this one can stand on its own.

The bads of the movie:
Story - well, I think it can be much better. Perhaps, it suffered the same thing that many novel-adapted movies had --- not enough time to present the details which could be boring, but necessary to build up the flow and climax. That's why I think the book must be better. I just think so many things have been left out. I can certainly ask a lot of 'whys'. However, for the sake of enjoying a movie rather than analyzing a movie, I just let my mind go, don't force it, it is an entertainment after all.

So, the bottomline is that I found this movie enjoyable, would think that it is better to see it on screen than on TV. Cos, lately, I think that for 'emotion' driven movies, you got to have a big screen, dark surrounding, and no remote to captivate your attention, to make your mind 'sink' into the movie. Otherwise, you can't really enjoy it. That's kinda contradict my previous idea that only bid action movies or horror pics should be seen on screen. Anyway, that's my two cents!

How "Terminator" Should Have Ended

As a fan of time-travel movies, this one is really funny! Check this out!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Some people participate in celebration because they are prone to the deception of the self-sensored media promotion.

Some people participate in celebration because they have selected memory of the history.

Some people participate in celebration because they don't know the truth.

Some people participate in celebration because they want be closer to a power regardless what it really is.

Some people participate in celebration because they are told to do so.

Some people participate in celebration because they have nothing better to do.

I'm glad that I've a choice to choose what I wanna do.