Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

With the release of the movie, Douglas Adam's book is now #13 on Amazon's top selling book list. I've read almost all his books, some even more than once. I also thought that there were only four books in the Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy but I just found out that there is a fifth book titled "Mostly Harmless." I guess I'll need to go and buy that book.

I'm wondering if the book has always sold well or sales spiked because of the movie. It would be interesting to see how all the other books sell since his style of humor has been compared to Monty Python (I agree) which is not for everyone; just ask Shirley about banging coconuts). Right now the 2nd book is #117 on the best seller list.


Hitchhiker's Guide is the #1 movie this weekend with $21.7M in ticket sales.

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

China warns new pontiff on Taiwan

(from International Herald Tribune)

China wasted little time before warning the new pope, Benedict XVI, on Wednesday that the Vatican and China could establish formal relations only if the Vatican dissolved its diplomatic links with Taiwan and promised not to "interfere in China's internal affairs."

The statement signaled that China was unlikely to make any concessions soon that would open the way for formal ties between China and the Vatican.

"We are willing to improve relations with the Vatican on the basis of two principles," said the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Qin Gang, in a brief statement congratulating Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger on his election as pope. Qin said the Vatican must sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan and "acknowledge that the People's Republic of China is China's sole legitimate government." China regards the self-governed Taiwan as a renegade province.

Qin added that "the Vatican cannot interfere in China's internal affairs, including interference in the name of religious matters."

The Vatican is the last remaining European state to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan.

Taiwan's president, Chen Shui-bian, attended Pope John Paul II's funeral, angering China's government and "patriotic" Catholic Church.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

PowerBook G4

The new Apple PowerBook G4 for Shirley arrived at work today. Both Shirley and I used to have Apple Macintosh computers before we bought our WinTel PCs. The PowerBook has Mac OS 10 (Panther); I think it was still Mac OS 6 when I last used my Mac IIsi back in the early 90's. After messing around with it for the whole day, I have to say that I miss Apple's OS. Even though I've been using WinXP for the past several years, Panther is so much more elegant and intuitive than anything from Microsoft. I'm using the built-in Safari web browser to update the blog right now. I also bought a wireless keyboard and mouse from Apple which means that there are at least 4 Broadcom chips: 3 Bluetooth (computer, keyboard, mouse) and 1 WLAN (AirPort Extreme 802.11g). The only downside is the price... I think Apple PCs are still about 50% more expensive than comparable WinTel machines.

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Concert at Irvine Barclay Theater

2nd concert at the Irvine Barclay Theater on April 13, 2005. This time we played 7 songs; on the last 5 songs we were accompanying a singer (clearly seen in the picture). Most of the songs were by Gershwin and were fast and jazzy, very different from the typical wind ensemble music. The IVC jazz band were on stage after us and played for about an hour.

Friday, April 1, 2005

Asia Trip

I booked my airplane tickets for our upcoming Asia trip. Since I'm going to work in our Singapore office for three days during the trip, my company has graciously paid for my plane tickets... business class no less.

My only worry is that I have to get from Tainan to Taipei to catch a 2:20pm flight. I heard that buses take 4-5 hours so if I leave at 8:00am, that leaves only about an hour to catch my flight. I also have to get from Taipei to Taichung; my flight arrives at 9:30pm and I need to get there for lunch the next day. One option is to rent a car and drive myself but multiple people have told me that driving in Taiwan = suicide. It'll be like I'm in The Amazing Race!

Shirley thinks I'll get beat up if I speak Mandarin with my funny accent and kidnapped if I speak English. I can only say, "Have you eaten?" and "My butt hurts!" in Taiwanese which is probably not too helpful. Maybe I'll pretend I'm from mainland China, visiting Taiwan to look for long lost relatives. I left Taiwan in 1977 and I've never been back; after 28 years, it will probably be like visiting a foreign country.