Friday, November 19, 2010

Deathlist & Hatebook

Surfing the web has always been a pleasure to me, particularly running into some hidden gems every now and then. Being a busy person these days, I don’t have the luxury of simply putting dummy words in Google and see what come up and exploring the web that way. Instead, most of my current exploration in the web is the result to either through linkages on websites that I visit for certain purpose, or through Google search results of some particular things I was looking for.

While I was trying to get some ideas of what good books to read today, beside checking out the Amazon top selling lists, I input ‘Celebrities reading list’ in Google to see what came up. I made such search because of an interview transcript of Bill Clinton that I read few months back. In which he mentioned what books that he read and I found his reading list to be very interesting. As such, I was thinking if other celebrities (well the intellectual type, not Paris Hilton type for sure) have similar reading list for my reference. I found some, but they are not that good. However, I saw a search result in Google that just kinda out of place. I wonder putting such item on a normal search result list may be a good way to catch people’s eyes and got some hits. Of course, out of curiosity, I hit the link got to this site.

Well, it would say that it is just a trivia site. I can read the perimeter of this site and see what criteria they put up for the names to be qualified on their lists. Still, I don’t know what exactly the purpose of keeping such site up. Anyway, I think that may be one of the beauties of many sites like this in the English spoken world. People would just do something that doesn’t mean much to most but only for few people who are interested in, regardless how weird or even sick the interest may be. I think this site is clean, definitely not sick from my point of view. Cuz, I’m not one of those traditional old fads who are close-minded about death. The site is just kinda silly, but still a bit informative. If they input some odds and dollar figures in their lists, it wouldn’t be that much different from some betting sites that let people bet on the craziest things that people can come up with, like betting when will be the end of the world or something like that.

Another site that I think it is quite interesting is this. I totally forgot how I get to know this site. I think the idea of this idea is really good. Everybody talk about love. Yes, love is good and positive, but it is all of our human emotion. The opposite of love – hate exists, something that can’t be denied. We were taught to love but not hate. Turn our cheek to be slapped again if we are slapped, etc. I’m not gonna drill down too much about my feeling about ‘love’ vs ‘hate’ here. However, hate should not be suppressed. It is like flood water, when it comes… it comes! The best way is to ‘channel’ the flood water to some drainage. If we can put some power generator there would be even better, if not, at least the least amount of damage would be resulted. I think this site is good way for people to pour their gut out, to scold anyone or anything that they hate. I think that’s actually quite positive. To be honest, I’ve never written anything in that site, however, I can imagine it would be a good way to relieve anger or hatred in people’s heads. At least they are calm enough to put their anger and hatred in words, which takes more effort and thinking than just yelling out or beating someone. I can imagine that the contributors in that site should feel better afterwards, just like people would feel better after they cry their sadness out.

Well, though I would not call these 2 sites as some hidden gems in the web, at least they are fun to spend few minutes on. That’s it for now, till next time!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Due Date

I went to see the movie ‘Due Date’ with my wife the other day while spending a lazy afternoon in a shopping district. It was the first choice considering that there aren’t a lot of good movies out recently. Yes, if I’ve the choice, I would prefer going to see ‘RED’ or ‘ Unstoppable’. However, my wife is not much an action movie fan. She doesn’t hate it, but she would prefer drama or comedy. There was a good tear-jerker out by Zhang Zimou, but I decide not to spend a relaxing afternoon sobbing in the dark. So, just forgot that for the moment.

Well, I think the movie is decent, definitely not great. It is basically a road movie of comedy. Not as dark or ironic as ‘U-turn’ which was a wicked fun movie staring Sean Penn many years ago. This one ‘Due Date’ is starring Robert Downey Jr. and Zach Galifianakis. Well, I think for a great actor like Robert Downey Jr., the acting required in this movie should be quite elementary. Basically, he is the star attraction of this movie. His sidekick Zach Galifianakis is unknown to me, but he played a decent second fiddle in this movie. However, plot is quite simple and the ending is predictable. It is not boring, has some punchline here and there. Just a movie that is easy-going-in and easy-going-out. It is totally forgettable, not a waste of time or money if you just like us happen to have limited choices and time to kill. Otherwise, wait till you see this on TV won’t be a bad choice. I give a 7 out of 10 for this one.

Monday, November 15, 2010


My blogging activity has been lagging recently. Just can't organize my mind to put in words properly. However, I do have few brief thoughts that I wanna share.

Bringing up a child is not easy. I got frustrated recently because of my son's discipline problem. I think he is old enough to understand what I want from him, he just doesn't comply with my instructions. Physical punishment is not my preference, but I did some anyway without getting the results that I want. I tried to reason with him, but I did lose my patience sometimes. I just think that I need to keep on trying.

I do believe that my son is good person. He is just a bit rebellion and got spoiled by few adults. I wholeheartedly feel that he will turn better if I can find the right way. I believe that I don't have unfair or unrealistic expectation on him like many parents do. I just want him to be a healthy, polite, and happy kid. I don't think that's too much to ask for.

The economy is boiling hot, the QE2 by the U.S. is just killing everyone in the world. It makes me worry for both short and long term. The devaluation of USD is just not good. I'm not comfortable with any other alternatives. The stock market is too hot. Gold and real estates are going crazy. RMB? EUR? JPY? don't trust any of them. Also, potential expense on my home front in coming years are just not very predictable. Need to stay a bit liquid. Though the whole situation doesn't make me lose sleep over, cuz I still thank God for having a job to go to, I do feel sad watching my capitals dwindle as time goes by.

The society is being wrapped by a growing negative sentiment. People don't have hope for a better future. The gap between the riches and the poor iswidening. The upward mobility of the poor and the middle class has been slowed down. With such unhealthy social atmosphere, I can see that the poor will stay poor for their generations to come while the middle class is struggling hard to stay where they are. Life is by no mean easy. The riches just ragging their fortune largely without moral as a result of their natural human greed instinct as well as the slack given by the government. Those civil servants just look the other sides. They are too comfortable in their cocoons and just do what they are told. The officials don't have the support from the people, and they just look after their personal interests after they left office. For those who are in higher office and those who are looking to be there down the road are all selfish SOBs. They know where the source of power is and simply do what they think they can to appeal to the power source. What the society in the long run needs become after thoughts. To be honest, I'm not optimistic of the future of our society. I'm not a radical person. I doubt I will take much action in person, but who know? When there is a justified cause that worth supporting, there are many forms of support that can be given. That's all I gonna say for now.
However, I've not lost my hope for human beings overall. There are still plenty of good people living all over the world and some of them are closely around us. We just need to pay attention, open our eyes and ears to realize their existence. Just read the news and talk to people, and we will see their good deeds.

On my peronal front, I just hope to get my house in proper order and be good. Life ain't no easy, but it is cherishable to live. I thank God everyday before I go to sleep, and only pray for my family and people that I know to stay healthy physically/psychologically, and safe. I never pray for wealth or fortune, that's what my parents taught me and I think they are right about that.

Well, enough blabbering for now. Peace!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Unclogging toilet and Window 7 recovery

Recently, I’ve been quite busy at home for few issues in my household and I like to record some lessons that I learnt in 2 of them.

Unclogging toilet
Last weekend, for some unknown reason, my toilet at home was clogged and it took me almost 2 hrs in the afternoon to fix it. To tell you the truth, the experience was disgusting but valuable. Originally, my wife called a repair man who is responsible for the building of some sort, once he mentioned the ‘fortune’ that he was gonna charge us simply for a visit. I said to her that ‘forget it for a moment’, I would try to do it myself. Yes, we could afford it, but it wasn’t worthy for that shit load of money that he was gonna charge us. Fixing a clogged toilet is not rocket science! I’m no plumber, but I gotta give a try. So, I first use the typical toilet plunger to suck and pull. Certainly, it didn’t work. I went to a household supply store near my home and bought a bottle of dark blue liquid drain cleaner and poured that in the bowl. Some chemical reaction occurred with a bad smell. However, it didn’t work after a 10 minutes wait. Then, I went to another store and was introduced a more advanced toilet plunger with a pump. That sucker was recommended by our watchman downstairs as well. However, it didn’t work. I guess the sucking and pulling weren’t powerful enough. Then, I visited the same store again and was recommended with another larger bottle of more powerful liquid drainer cleaner of yellow in color. The translation of its name is ‘bone corrosive dragon’. It was supposed to be powerful to dissolve all organic tissues, etc. I took extra precaution to pour that sucker in the bowl while white fume with bad smell came up. However, after 10 minutes or so, problem remained. I gave a last try to go to the first store that I visited and asked for a tool that I was introduced originally but was put off in my first visit. It was a metal wire of over 3 meters in length with a twirling handle at the top. I was deliberated by the design of that. The shopkeeper was trying hard to tell me how to use it but I was still too dumb to understand how that handle was supposed to twirl. Anyway, as my last resort at the time, I bought that wire and try to use that to unclog that sucker. I push and twist that wire down the toilet bowl back and forth whenever I got blocked from pushing any further. Then, just a wild guess to stop with about 5 feet remain, I pulled that wire out and flush the toilet again. Damned, it finally worked! I thanked God for that and that saved me a fortune.

Window 7 system recovery
My HP desktop of only few months old had a problem last week in booting. It hit Window screen but went black with message saying ‘Checking file system on C:, the type of the file system is NTFS. Volume label is HP. One of your disks needs to be checked for consistency. You may cancel the disk check, but it is strongly recommended that you continue. To skip disk checking, press any key within 8 seconds.’ I was struggling to stop that checking running every time I turned my PC on, cuz it didn’t simply work by pressing any key as it suggested. At first, I thought it was because the Bluetooth connection to detect my wireless keyboard had problem. Actually, I had to press Esc, enter, spacebar, F1, F4, etc a combination or some sort that finally stop the clock before 1 sec and let the PC jumped to the logon screen. Before going there, the dark screen came back with message of ‘Autochk cannot run due to an error caused by a recently installed software package. Use the system restore feature from the control panel to restore the system to a point prior to the recent software package installation. An unspecified error occurred…’ I tried to click F9 before the Window 7 screen came up and tried to use the system restore function. After repeated attempt with different restored dates of few months back, problem remained. I spoke to the IT guy at work as well as calling HP helpdesk, they tried to help but just wasn’t encouraging. I had no choice at the end except taking the ultimate solution of system recovery.

In fact, I didn’t install any weird stuff before the problem occurred. Only thing that I can recall was installing some Window update packages from MS. Nonetheless, the PC was having problems after problems, such as my iTunes update installation couldn’t be done with errors of missing Quicktime.msi, itunes.msi and Bonjour.msi. I didn’t’ know I had a program installed called Bonjour?! That bit me! Anyway, I had to search the net all over to find those msi files, cuz I need to be able to run iTunes again to run a backup for all my files and setting. Otherwise, it’s gonna be a nightmare to upload all my music files, resetting podcasts, reinstalling apps after my PC was recovered to the factory release mode. Meanwhile, it took me few days to back up my files to my external hard drives and leave the PC on over few nights just to do the stupid copy and paste of tens of thousands of files!

At that time, besides iTunes, my biggest worry was the router-internet connection setting, cuz if that was screwed, I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of program downloads and honestly, I always struggle to get those connection thing setup. Surprisingly, after the system recovery was run. There were actually many files and setup still remained, such as the internet connection, contents in partitioned drives where Window and program folders not resided. So, actually, my music files were untouched. What I did right was backing up all those user related items ahead, e.g. iTunes, my photos, my docs, favorites, etc. Then, after reinstalling most of my stuff, updating window files, etc. Now, my PC is pretty much fine again. However, there are still some problems that I would like to do some researches for solution for the sake of similar problem in future:

1. I can drag my music, app, podcast, video folders from my back up iTunes library to the new library, but the playlists are gone. It was painful to create playlist again. As it seems that iPhone-iTunes sync is more or less one way, i.e. from PC to Phone, not vice versa.

2. Copying/moving files from PC to external 3.5” hard disk is just too slow. I had 3 external hard disks. The 500GB 2.5” flesh drive was the best. It was the newest and file transfer on it was quick. I guess it has something to do with the fact that it uses flesh memory without moving part. After this ordeal, I would say that flesh is the future. Surprisingly, my oldest 320GB 3.5” hard disk wasn’t too bad, which make it surprisingly the other way around for my 1.5TB 3.5 hard disk which was really bad in file transfer. I still don’t’ know why their speeds were so different. Both are using moving part and doing the same action of file transfer, I don’t know why the newer one with greater capacity is so slow! I was using it for my PC backup purpose, I think I may need to rethink my approach and find way to speed up the file transfer process. Otherwise, it’s only gonna get worse in future with increasing number of files.

Honestly, I found that the back up process is still the worse experience overall. One thing that I learn is that I need to organize my files and folders better. Second thing is that I may need to invest in USB 3.0 in near future. Cuz, moving hundreds GB of files is just not a fun task.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Dream on Halloween, 2010

Halloween night, nothing special happened in my household. I had a long family day of the usual, i.e. took my son to music class and to the park, do some household cleaning, shopping for a little bit, then playing with my son again, etc. Another exhausting thing was to fix a booting problem of my Window 7 PC, which required me to reinstall Office 2010 again, etc. Just tiring by the time I went to bed.

Well, I had a vivid dream last night out of the blue. In my dream, I saw my ex-colleagues and a friend of us who passed away early this year. I forgot the place, but it was indoor where we all gathered. ‘He’ showed up, not really like a ‘casper’ if you know what I mean, but slowly walking to us. He was just a bit pale looking, wearing a light blue shirt and dark pant. We were talking. The atmosphere in the dream was a bit eerie. We were kinda surprised of him joining our gathering. We didn’t scream or anything, just have the feeling in the back of our mind saying ‘odd oh’. Then, we talked to him as he was willing to speak. But the strange thing was that he didn’t show too wide a range of emotion like the person we used to know. His response was kinda slow and after a few minutes of conversation, we all kinda got a feeling that he didn’t know he died, he couldn’t recall where he has just been, what he has done, things like that. And, when we talk to him, we were kinda bitting the bushes of trying to find out what has happened to him since his death without saying that directly to him. Anyway, his voice was calm and nothing scary about the whole situation. Then, somehow we left the scene with our backs turn to go somewhere, that dream just end all of a sudden, visually like the end of a youtube clip.

Then, there was a ‘reprise’ of that dream. I have been listening to a net radio station lately when I got time and one of their shows is about paranormal stuff (mainly about ghost). In that dream reprise, it was all audio, visually all black as if I was listening to the radio program with my eyes close. I heard the familiar voice of the host and surprisingly he said that his guest of the show as my ‘deceased’ friend! Then, my friend said ‘Hello’ just like a living normal person. I forgot what happened for the rest of the show, but that’s all I can recall.