Thursday, March 31, 2005

Terri Schiavo...

... is dead.

"MS has requested autopsy, strongly; he believes it will show the public the full and massive extent of damage to her brain through her cardiac arrest in 1990. Dr. John Thogmartin, certified for this purpose will be doing this."
-George Felos, Michael Schiavo's lawyer

WTF? If he wanted to show the "full and massive extent of damage", why not consent to a MRI or PET scan before dehydrating and starving Terri to death? Sure, let's kill her first then see the "proof". Sigh...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Thursday, March 24, 2005

High School Dropouts

Article from today's Los Angeles Times.

Nearly half of the Latino and African American students who should have graduated from California high schools in 2002 failed to complete their education, according to a Harvard University report released Wednesday.

In the Los Angeles Unified School District, the situation was even worse, with just 39% of Latinos and 47% of African Americans graduating, compared with 67% of whites and 77% of Asians.

Forget the white people for now. Why do Asian kids graduate at much higher rates than Latinos and African Americans? You can try and blame racism (as many people do) but I doubt that Asians are getting any special breaks and they routinely outperform even the white students. Check out California Department of Education's Academic Performance Index Reports and you'll see that at "good" high schools, the student population is mostly Asian and white, and usually the Asian students have the highest API (the report lists 100 comparable schools as compared to South Torrance High School).

I think it comes down to culture and the emphasis that a lot of Asians place on education. I grew up knowing that I was going to go to college. Of course, I also heard the ubiqutious stories about Asian parents getting upset when their kids get bad grades like an A-. When we moved to Los Angeles, we asked friends which school districts were good and then looked for an apartment in that school district. That's how I ended up at South High in Torrance; they actually told us to go to either Palos Verdes High or Pennisula High but we couldn't afford the rent up in Palos Verdes. Of course, rent in Torrance ain't cheap but my parents decided that a good education was more important than more disposable income.

Here's a story I heard from a friend while driving to Big Bear on a ski trip. He told us that he just got accepted to UCLA Law School and everyone in the car thought that was great and congratulated him. He told us however that most of his extended family looked down on him. They though he was a wuss for not going out and work for a living; by work I assume they meant blue collar/physical labor type of work. I think every Asian parent would be proud (ok, maybe too proud) that their kid got into UCLA Law School. Of course this is the experience of only one person, but he just happens to be Latino. This does not say that all Latinos or African Americans do not value education, but I think the fight against high school drop-outs need to start much earlier. If we're counting on Affirmative Action in college admissions, it's much too late. I saw this when I was in the engineering program at UCLA. During freshman year, the population was fairly diverse (for an engineering program). However, by the time I graduated, it was mostly Chinese and white guys; everyone else had dropped out of the program.

I thought my car had ABS

On the way to work today, I almost got into an accident. Driving south on I-5 near Culver, I see this black Honda Civic weaving in and out of traffic. I was in the second lane from the right and suddenly he swerves across two lanes and tries to pass to my right; I'm already going 70+ mph. Unfortunately, a car was just pulling on to the freeway ahead of him so instead of slowing down, this maniac cuts right in front of me (by now going slower than me). If I didn't slam on the brakes (risking being rear-ended by a minivan behind me), I definitely would have hit the Civic. When I hit the brakes though, I felt my front wheels lock and the ABS never kicked in. I know it has ABS since it has "worked" before. Anyway, I guess the guy didn't appreciate me honking my horn and flashing my lights since he started blocking me for the next several exits; he would slow down (to 40 mph at one point) then accelerate and cut me off again when I tried to pass him. The crazy thing is that I was driving the 4Runner and the guy was in a Civic. If I would have bumped him by accident, he's toast. Even worse, it just rained a little bit 5 minutes ago so the freeway was still wet... crazy!

I keep forgetting that I have a camera on my Treo... should have took some pictures.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Anime DVD

Went to Costco at lunch today and bought some animation DVDs. I was going to buy them at but the prices were slightly better at Costco, even though I had to pay sales tax. Nothing like instant gratification.

Laputa is my favorite Miyazaki film so far but Porco Rosso is a close second.

Nausica� of the Valley of Wind

Porco Rosso

The Incredibles

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Skiing (not)

I was planning on skiing this Saturday at Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake. However, when I checked the weather for this weekend, it looks like it is going to rain during the day on Saturday. Skiing in the rain is no fun, especially when I don't have snow pants and have to wear my jeans.

I haven't gone skiing for a long long time. I think the last time was right after UCLA when I went to Mountain High with some ex-roommates. It was early April and the snow sucked. I could see exposed rocks and there was a lot of mud. Before that, we skiied mostly at Mammoth Mountain. I didn't start downhill skiing until I moved to Los Angeles. In the 8 winters we spent in Canada, it was mostly cross-country skiing (at golf courses), sledding, and ice-skating. The only ski resort nearby was Blue Mountain which was not really a mountain. It was really flat where we lived (Mississauga) and the only significant elevation change was the Niagara Escarpment. This is the same topological feature that gives us the Niagara Falls... impressive waterfall but nothing compared to a real mountain, even the ones here in Southern California.

It's ironic that both time this winter I wanted to go skiing and our parachuting trip had to be cancelled due to rain. It's not supposed to rain that much here in SoCal.


Actually, I think the last time I went skiing was with some classmates during my MBA program. Not really sure where we went. I want to say Mammoth but I can't remember driving that far. I've also skiied at The Summit at Snoqualmie which is outside of Seattle with my sister and some of her friends.

Speaking of driving to Mammoth, I remember driving Leon's old Camry during our last ski trip at UCLA. We left at about 6:30pm and didn't get to Mammoth until after 6:00am the next day. It was snowing most of the way on Highway 395 so we had to drive with chains past Mojave and couldn't go much faster than 35mph. There are more stories about this ski trip, including some girls and a flat tire, but I'll have to tell it in another post.

Monday, March 14, 2005

NewSong NorthOC

This past Sunday was the 2nd NorthOC NewSong service. This time, the service was held in Plummer Auditorium in Fullerton; the auditorium is part of Fullerton Union High School. I was looking forward to hearing the Steve Fee band and the speakers, but I ended up running sound for the children's ministry. Evidently they needed someone to run their PowerPoint slides and sound effects CD and I got drafted. I just hope that they taped the main service so I can get a copy of the message.

We started the day at 5:30am and didn't get done until 1:30pm. I also helped load equipment on to the truck on Saturday for 3-4 hours. I realize you want to do the best job possible but I'm wondering if all this work is overkill. To look at it another way, is spending all this money for one service the best use of resources? I'm not sure how much NewSong spent but it has to be in the many thousands.

Kids (K-4) dancing to some worship songs.

Saturday, March 12, 2005


Finally, after 11 months, I took a picture of our Z. It's almost 100% stock; the only modification was that I added some heavy gauge grounding wires.

Friday, March 11, 2005


My parent's house in Canada

Icicles in the backyard

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Hmm, I'm craving for some pineapples...

Dole Plantation, Hawaii

Treo 600

It took the helpdesk tech 4 hours but I got a new Treo 600 and so far it seems to work fine. He even transferred all my PalmOS applications to the new phone so I don't have to reinstall everything.

Oh, in case you don't know what is a Treo, it's basically a cell phone plus a PalmOS PDA with a built-in camera. The cool part is that it syncs with my Exchange accout at work so I can receive emails and access my calendar from anywhere. They are, however, quite large...


My Treo 600 that I got from work started acting up a couple of days ago. Ever since I got it late last year, it had a habit of crashing on me, which is really interesting when you're on a phone call since you can't even hang up. Anwyay, the Treo is not answering phone calls consistently. Yesterday, I only received one phone call but I had 5 voicemails and there was nothing in the missed call log.

Helpdesk has my phone now. I was waiting around for the tech to replace the unit but the "new" one failed as he was transferring my info from one phone to the other. Now I'm wondering if I can get them to replace my 600 with a 650. I don't think it's any more reliable but at least it has a built in MP3 player.

Wednesday, March 9, 2005

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

For our next concert (IVC Wind Symphony) on April 13th, we're going to perform Swing Low, Sweet Chariot by Steve Rouse.

You can listen to a performance here. Right now I'm playing 1st Trumpet on this piece but not the trumpet solo.

Morning Commute

My parents are in LA again to get fingerprinted for their U.S. naturalization application; they were just here at the beginning of January. Since I get all their mail, I had to deliver the INS documents to my uncle's house in Arcadia this morning. I left at 7:20am from home and it took me about an hour and 10 minutes to get there (Yahoo! maps said 26 miles and 35 minutes). Then I had to turn around and drive to work which took another hour.

We moved to the U.S. from Canada about 20 years ago. Since my sister also applied for U.S. citizenship, I'm the only one that has not applied. I've actually filled out the application last year but I still need to get some pictures taken and write a check for $390. I guess I'd better do it soon before they raise the price again.

Tuesday, March 8, 2005

Phantom at Work

As mentioned below, a picture of the white Rolls-Royce Phantom parked outside our building at work.

GT4 Photo Shoot

25th Anniversary 350Z from GT4

Pretty amazing graphics.

Monday, March 7, 2005


Shirley and I went to John Wayne Airport to pick up one of her classmates. While we were circling the arrival area, we saw a Mercedes-Benz/AMG SL65. It was silver and had large chrome wheels. The car was really hard to miss since it was really wide in the rear and the wheels were really shiny.

Here are some specs:
2005 SL65 AMG
MSRP: $182,820
Engine: AMG-built twin-turbocharged 6.0L SOHC 36-valve V-12
Net Power: 604 hp @5500 rpm
Net Torque: 738 lb-ft @2,000-4,000 rpm

Of course, two SL65's will buy you one Rolls-Royce Phantom.

A white one is parked outside my building at work right now.

IVC Wind Symphony

We had our first concert last Tuesday night at the Irvine Barclay Theater at UCI. Along with our group, there was a performance by a professional clarinet player and also two guitarists. I think the concert went fairly well; I didn't miss as many notes as I thought I would.

Shirley took a picture with her cell phone:

The trumpet section is sitting behind the French Horns (all the way on the right).

Our next concert is also at the Barclay on Wednesday, April 13th. So far the conductor has picked a bunch of big band/jazz pieces since we're sharing the performance with the IVC Jazz Band and there will probably be a vocalist singing with us.

BTW, IVC = Irvine Valley College

No login required...

Another reason for is that you do not have to register to leave comments whereas comments in Xanga can only be written by people with a Xanga account.

If you do not have an account, click on "Other" if you want to leave your name or "Anonymous" if you're shy.

Friday, March 4, 2005

Michael Chang at NewSong Church

Men's Breakfast with Michael Chang
The Annual Men's Breakfast will be Saturday March 5 at NewSong Irvine, 8:30am�10:30am in the Multipurpose Room. Special guest speaker will be tennis superstar Michael Chang.

NewSong is also having their 2nd North Orange County service next Sunday, March 13. I'm helping out with sound again; hopefully we can set up on Saturday instead of having to meet at 5:30am like last time.


Sigh... there's nothing to eat again downstairs in the cafeteria. We contract out food services to Guckenheimer, which is a company that specializes in managing corporate cafeterias. The last company I worked for also used Guckenheimer to provide food services in all their cafeterias.

Last week, three of us went to the cafeteria, looked around without seeing anything appetizing, and decided to go out for lunch. On the way out, we were stopped by the cafeteria manager/chef. She wanted to know if we did not find anything we wanted to eat for lunch. One person in our group commented that the Asian recipes did not taste Asian at all to which the manager said that they couldn't cook like our moms and that we should send in our favorite recipes.

"Me make special won-ton soup for you..."

New Blog

I signed up with way back in December 2002 but have not posted anything here. I think I will continue my random posting here instead of Xanga from now on. I was going to use MSN Spaces since it allowed you to upload pictures directly but I couldn't figure out how to include web images. Blogspot is like Xanga with pictures, i.e., you have to host them on the web before you can include it in you posts. I guess I'll continue to upload pictures to my Adelphia account.

One cool feature with blogspot is that you can email postings. That will give me something to do the next time I take Metrolink to work.