Monday, April 30, 2007


Someone just went number 2 in the bathroom at work and left without washing his hands! I'm in the building with all the executives and there are only 12 males on this floor. All I know is that he was wearing black shoes...

Tax Freedom Day

According to The Tax Foundation, today is Tax Freedom Day. Until today, the average American has been working to pay taxes (32.7%); after today, we get to keep what we earned. Of course, in the liberal paradise of California, we get to work an extra 7 days for the government.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Nomadic Church

This weekend NewSong NOC was back at Wilshire Auditorium in Fullerton. We've been in Wilshire for over a year but we had to go back to Servite High School for the past three weeks. It looks like we may need to find another place after May so we've packed all the sound equipment into our rolling containers to be more mobile. Setup today was actually not too bad since Wilshire sound staff helped connect all the stage input lines and we were using their sound board/main speakers. We still brought a lot of stuff including both equipment racks and subwoofers. It was so easy at Irvine where all we had to do was connect a few XLRs and change batteries.

I heard we may be going to a junior high school gym. That would suck for sound... all those hard reflective surfaces. :(

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Taxes (again!)

I finally got around to changing my W-4 exemptions from 3 to 0. The impact is about $400 per pay period or ~$10k for the year! Maybe that's why I had to pay so much in taxes for 2006... :(


I just booked my airline tickets to China for next month. My friend Leon goes over to Chengdu for week-long business trips every 6-8 weeks so I'm tagging along this time. I was hoping the company would send me to Singapore but it looks like my new job doesn't require much travel so I'm paying the $1200 myself.

The last time I was in China was in 1998 when I gave several finance seminars at Yenching University in Beijing. Since then, I've been to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Thailand, but never made it back to China. This time, we're flying Cathay Pacific and I have a 24 hour layover in Hong Kong. I haven't decided if I'm going to take a ferry to Macau or take the MTR to Hong Kong Island while Leon visits some relatives.

In Chengdu, we're staying at the Prime Hotel. I hope their service is better than their Engrish.
Prime Hotel is located in the most numerous trade circle of Chunxi Road in Chengdu City, which is an international trade and tourist hotel. Since the foundation of it in Dec. 1998, relying on the trade chances of Chunxi Road and many surrounding modern departments, advantageous port, flexible operative mode and creative and perfect service, Prime Hotel has created the lodging rate of 80%, which has been the leader of the hotels in this city for two times. Prime Hotel has been a bark horse in Chengdu.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

I almost got scammed on eBay

I was looking for a case to buy for church in order to store all the microphones we use for worship service on Sunday. Right now, we have 15+ microphone scattered in plastic bins and some of them are pretty expensive (Shure SM81 = $350/ea). Anyway, I placed a bid on eBay for $80 and ended up not winning the auction.

Then I get this email from a Kelly Williams:
Hello, You have a bid on my auction from eBay. Are you still interested? I need to sell it and the winning bidder said that he is not interested anymore. So i am willing to sell it to you for your last bid price. Let me know if you want to purchase it. Respectfully yours

IMPORTANT: When you e-mail us please include this message.

Thank you!

The email looked official with eBay logos and everything. Being the cheap Chinese guy I am, I replied, "I'll take it!" I then asked about PayPal and giving the "seller" the church office address for shipping. The next day I get this in my inbox from "eBay":

Good news! The following eBay item on which you placed a bid, is now available for purchase! Per your request, we have verified all the details of this transaction. We concluded that they are accurate. Please follow our instructions to complete the transaction safely.

Payment must be sent by Western Union Money Transfer to:
Seller verified name: Gheorghe Dumitru
Seller verified payment address:
Caras Severin nr.308
Moldova Noua

At first I thought eBay must be crazy to make a statement like that with words like: verified, accurate, and safely. If something goes bad with the transaction, it's lawsuit time. Then I saw the Western Union money transfer to Romania... Romania?! And who's Gheorghe? What happened to Kelly?! :)

At this point, I should have just stopped. Not wanting to pass up a bargain however, I email back and said that I can pay with PayPal. I was too lazy to go and find a Western Union to transfer money. Next email came quick (don't they sleep in Romania?):


I send the item for you, Please make the payment.I can't use Pay Pal because my account was corrupted and I can't use it for another 2 or 3 weeks. Someone made payments with my account and now I must wait until Pay Pal will restore it to me. For the moment I can't make or receive payments. I waiting reply.

Best regards.

OK, that's pretty poor English for Ms. Kelly Williams. Now (finally) I'm thinking this may be a scam so I sent a message to the original seller through eBay and got this reply:

I didn't send that email. If you want to report this person to ebay or paypal buy all means. Thanks for the heads up.

Wow... and I thought that they were going to ship something that weighs 10 pounds to me from Romania for $7.50. Well, it looks like I'm not going to get the microphone case for $80 so I went ahead and ordered one from Jim's Music (ask for Tom) in Irvine for $123. :(

Oh well, it doesn't matter. I'm helping a Nigerian government official transfer $80M out of the country for a 10% commission.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Back to civilization...

Time Warner cut my cable modem connection Thursday afternoon. I'm still not sure what happened but there was some accounting mix up and my service was disconnected. I think my account got mixed up with the prior tenant even though my name and address was correct. I was actually worried that they cut off my service for downloading too many Korean movies or something. :)

For the past two days, I've been without an Internet connection. I spent about an hour on the phone with two different Time Warner customer service rep Friday night and they got a technician to come out today to hook me back up. To keep me happy, they upgraded my connection from the old Comcast 4Mb to a 10Mb connection at the same price. I checked with and it showed 9.3Mb on the speed meter.

It was kinda weird to be without an Internet connection for 48 hours. I would think of something, go to the computer to look it up, and realize that I have no connection. I was able to check email with my Treo but at ~50kb only. Still, that's much faster than my 1st 1200bps modem.

Thursday, April 5, 2007


Crazy! Evidently there is a blog post on in China ( about my blog post on Jane Zhang's concert. I haven't read any of it (since it's in simplified Chinese), but someone copied my post and translated it into Chinese (message #24).

At first I thought, "Hey, this is cool!"

My next thought was, "Hey, I'm Chinese... I could have written my own post in Chinese!"

OK, maybe not.

Last Concert Video

To Be Loved

This was the first video I took with my camera. The last one is >100MB so I either need to re-encode it at a lower bitrate or find somewhere other than YouTube to upload. Since I'm lazy, I'll probably do nothing...

Some closer-up pictures Fred took with Leon's camera:

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

There's always an encore!

This the closing song at Jane Zhang's concert.

After the concert was "over", Jane walked off the stage. It was kinda weird since she ended on a slow song... usually you want to finish big. At this point, the audience is supposed to applaud and cheer in order to bring the artist back on stage to perform some more. At this concert however, most of the audience just sat there and some people even got up to leave. Anyway, after about a minute of awkward (relative) silence, Jane came back on stage to sing two more songs. At least we were cheering and Fred was holding up his lighted Jane sign (which he had to return at the end of the concert).

Sunday, April 1, 2007

More Baby Pics

OK, just two more photos of Addison from my camera. Sometimes she has this contemplative old man look that's really cute!


She's only two weeks old and has her own Blog... ;)