Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Toll Road

When I arrived from Hong Kong, PMI sent their car/driver to pick me up. He took the toll road back to the office and there was no traffic at all; this was about 2:00pm on Tuesday. This is likely because the the fee for our 20 minute trip was 40-50 RMB which is more expensive than the 73/133/241 toll road back home. Traffic is usually pretty bad in Chengdu so the toll road probably saved 20 minutes of travel time.

When you get on the road, the toll worker in the booth handed you a plastic card. I think this has information on when/where you entered the toll road. When you exit, you hand the card back and they calculate the toll based on distance. It's a pretty clever process and eliminates the need for toll booths on the highway itself.

This was the only traffic I saw on the toll road

More Meat

There are a lot of bicycles in China and people transport the strangest things. We saw some old guy carrying long rebars with one end on his bike and the other end on a two-wheeled cart; it looked very difficult to maneuver through the heavy Chengdu traffic.

More meat being carried on a bicycle. There must have been 3-4 slaughtered pigs on the back. The photo isn't too clear but you get the idea.

The office manager was sick yesterday so no lunch was ordered. Four of us ended up going to a hole-in-the-wall dumpling place that only had 8 tables. They had about 14 types of dumplings listed on their menu and prices were 2-3 RMB for 8 dumplings. In the US, 8 dumplings would probably cost you $5 or ~37 RMB. They were a bit on the small side but pretty good.

The "kitchen" at the back of the restaurant. There was one guy making dumpling and a girl (daughter?) waiting on tables.

Menu with English description. The English was actually pretty decent except for the "cow meat" and "pig meat" and item #6: Unwearied effort however cow meat stuffing... absolutely no idea what that means.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Expiration Date

I am stuck behind the Great Firewall once again. Good thing I can still use my work VPN connection.

On the Dragonair flight in from Hong Kong to Chengdu, they served us a prepackaged OJ as part of lunch. This time, I checked the date on the container first:

EXP: 11.12.07 08:52

Wow, expiration hour and minute. I debated (with myself) on whether that meant Nov 12 or Dec 11 but ended up drinking it anyway. The chicken w/noodles was exactly the same as last time back in August. Don't airlines change their menu once in awhile?

Last night, I bought a bottle of iced tea from what looked like a convenience store. I pulled it out of a small fridge but as usual, it wasn't cold. Maybe they're trying to conserve electricity. The expiration date on the cap was 20071009.

Monday, November 26, 2007

iTunes Sharing

While logged in to Hong Kong International Airport's WiFi network, I pulled up iTunes and there was someone sharing 50GBs of music. There were lots of Chinese and Japanese Pop but surprisingly, some Hillsong stuff as well. Too bad OurTunes is not working anymore... :(

Crazy Flight

I just flew in to Hong Kong from Los Angeles, and boy are my arms tired. :)

This time, the flight took a bit over 15 hours. The pilot said they were trying to avoid turbulence over the Pacific so we flew almost the entire way over land. The flight path went up the coast of Canada, across Alaska and Siberia, then down through China to Hong Kong. I think we flew right over Wuhan.

Since I had to rearrange my flight at the last minute, I lost my aisle seat and sat in 45E this time. I 45D was a Vietnamese girl that lived 11 years in the U.S. but didn't speak much English. She tried talking to me in Vietnamese and Cantonese but we ended up using Mandarin. In 45F was a Filipino guy from San Antonio. He seemed okay at first but turned out to be a freak. I usually can't sleep in planes... I even tried Tylenol PM again. During the 1/2 half of the flight, I was watching movies. After six or seven hours, I started to nod off, then the guy pulls out his 17" Gateway laptop. He was already overfilling his seat and hogging both armrests but with the large computer, he couldn't type very well. He even asked the person in front to not recline their seat so he can type; it was a young girl in a carseat. Since the cabin was tight, he ended up banging me with his elbow quite often. I tried to move to the left side of my seat to give him room but that didn't work. For about 30 minutes, he even had his elbow firmly planted in my armpit. Finally, after 2 hours of trying to sleep but being constantly awakened, I asked him to either move a bit to the right, or try to move his elbow in since I haven't been able to rest. The response I got was pretty much, "I'm not touching you! You're the one touching me! Why are you freaking out!" What, did he think I was lying? Then he started cussing at me and dropping f-bombs and God-d***. Huh? He also said, "What, you want me to lose 10 pounds right now?!" I think there is a DSM IV diagnosis in there somewhere.

Anywho, he was working on some PowerPoint slides (butt ugly ones with ALL CAPS for some seminar about email lists). I think this is it here: The tone of the website reminds me of late night TV infomercials, especially this line:
Fact #4. With large and responsive opt-in email contact list you don't have to worry about creating your own products (if you don't want to). Amateurs lose sleep over the product… Products are a dime a dozen. Savvy marketers focus on becoming masters at building massive high quality opt-in email lists FAST.

Products don't matter... riiggghhhhttttt. Like I'm going to buy the next piece of crap from some spam email.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Memorial Service at Rose Hills

Memorial Chapel

Reflecting Pool

Lots of flowers

Gravesite Service

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Job Fair in China

I wonder if Broadcom has a booth somewhere in there...


Friday, November 16, 2007

Memorial Service

Funeral Service for Mrs. Chiang Hsiang Chi 齊張薔卿 will be held on Saturday, November 24th, 2007 at 3:00pm.

Memorial Chapel
Rose Hills Memorial Park (map)
3888 Workman Mill Road
Whittier, CA 90601


I bought a $50 scanner so I can digitize some old analog photos.

Here is a really old photo of me with my grandparents, parents, uncles, and sister.

My sister and I

Grandma with my dad and uncle. This was probably taken in Chongqing around 1945. Grandma would have been about 28 in the photo.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Grandma passed away this morning. She was brought into the ER this past Saturday and we (Nancy, Rebecca, Addison, and I) got a chance to see her Saturday night in the hospital.


I went to two weddings this past Saturday. My cousin Diana got married in the morning and a friend from church got married in the afternoon. My sister came down from Portland with Rebecca and Addison for Diana's wedding; they stayed in my apartment so I was on the couch again.

Where am I? This is not my bed.

Diana & Gary

Diana's bridesmaids (two of them are my cousins)

Sandra & Randy

In the course of taking these photos, I realized that the 3x zoom on my Sony W-5 is pretty lame. I've been thinking of getting a new camera anyway so I ordered a Panasonic TZ3 today. It's still a compact camera but has a 10x optical zoom and 7.2 megapixels. It also has image stabilization so no more blurry pictures!

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


OK, back to music videos. I have stuff in English too, although it's mostly from the '80s.

I thought this video was so cool when it came out in 1985 (I was still living in Canada back then). Kinda reminds me of Weird Science -- make/draw your own girlfriend. :)

Did they have any other hits other than this one?

Monday, November 5, 2007

Anaheim Ducks vs. Dallas Stars

Well, I guess I'm glad that I got the tickets for free, since I'd be mad paying $20 to watch this game. Since Henry owns the Ducks, they frequently give out free tickets, usually single seats, right before the game. I managed to snag the last two tickets for tonight's game; I was trying to get more for Leon's kids but only the two of us went this time.

To summarize, there were a lot of fights and lots of scoring by the Stars. We left during the middle of the 3rd period and the score was 5-0. The Ducks did not look like defending Stanley Cup champions at all. A co-worker went to the game as well; it's her first time watching hockey, live or on TV.

We sat right next to the championship banners in section 405


Death Threats?!

Who says finance is not dangerous?
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The analyst whose downgrade of Citigroup Inc sparked a broad stock market sell-off on Thursday said she has received several death threats stemming from her research, the Times of London said.

Meredith Whitney of CIBC World Markets Inc late Wednesday downgraded Citigroup to "sector underperformer," saying the largest U.S. bank by assets might need to raise more than $30 billion of capital and cut its dividend.

Her downgrade triggered a 6.9 percent drop in Citigroup's shares on Thursday, leading to declines of 362 points in the Dow Jones industrial average and 2.6 percent in the Standard & Poor's 500, the biggest drop since August.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

SWI'T Live

Somebody commented favorable about the SWI'T music video so here's a live performance from 2002. They sound a bit different outside the studio. :)

The kid rapping looks like he's 12 years old

Car Wash

I had the 4Runner washed today. I'm not sure when it was washed last; I've been hosing it off every couple of weeks to rinse off dust and dirt. It was especially dirty today since it was parked uncovered during the SoCal fires the past two weeks. My sister is coming Friday for cousin Diana's wedding and borrowing the 4Runner (can't fit 3 in the Z) so I thought I'd get it cleaned up a bit.

Same place I took the Z to get washed the day before the SoCal fires

Since I didn't have a coupon (everyone else seemed to have one), they charged me $12.99 to wash the 4Runner. It was $1 extra for a SUV. The guy that dried my car looked like he was 60+ years old so I gave him a $2 tip.

Anyhow, the car looks a lot prettier after the wash. I remember when we bought the car in 1999 (it was a wedding gift from the in-laws), Shirley wanted the blueish-purple color. We went to 4 or 5 Toyota dealers before we found one; everyone had either white, silver, or black. I think the paint color is officially called Autumn Sunset instead of simply blue or purple. However, nothing beats the 1980 Datsun 810 station wagon I drove during college. The Nissan brochure listed the color as Creamy Apricot but I thought it was closer to peach. What an ugly color for a car. :)

Inside the IVC PAC

I took some pictures inside the Performing Arts Center during rehearsal last week with the Treo.

From near the back of the stage. There was a lot of lighting which made it kinda hot on-stage.

View from the balcony. There was only one row of seats on the balcony for some reason. The yellow walls on-stage is actually a movable acoustic shell (Wenger Diva) that cost >$100k.

Here is part of a performance from May 2, 2007 at the Barclay Theater. I didn't know where to upload audio for Blogger so I used iMovie to add some titles and exported it as a QuickTime movie. I was playing the 1st Trumpet part; you can hear some of it during the first movement.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Everybody Get Down (Part 2)

Here's a group that probably no one's heard of: SWI'T (Song Will Tell). I posted something about them back in February 2006 but all the links are now broken. There are actually several good songs on their one (and only) album. My favorite track on the CD is 너와난 하난거야... no idea what that means or what any of the lyrics say. Of course, how can you not love a Hotel California remake by three Korean girls?! :)

Unofficial MySpace site where you can hear some of their songs.

What's with Asians and blond hair?

就要我滋味 - 劉亦菲

Wikipedia Biography
Born at Tongji hospital in Wuhan, China on August 25, 1987, Liu's birthname was An Feng. Her father was a university professor while her mother was a dancer and a stage performer. They divorced when she was 7 years old. After her parents' divorce, Liu lived with her mother, Liu Xiao Li and her name was changed to Liu Xi Mei Zi. She began modelling at the age of 8 and was trained in singing, dancing and the piano. Moving to the United States in 1998 with her mother, Liu lived there for four years. She returned to China in June 2002 to pursue an acting career and adopted her stage name Liu Yi Fei. In September 2002, she was accepted into the Performance Institute of Beijing Film Academy at the age of 15, She graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in July 2006.