Monday, December 29, 2008

External HDD

I bought another external hard drive from Costco in Portland. I've been backing up video files on my PC to DVD since my current 250 GB external drive is getting full. The new drive is a Western Digital 1 TB (1,000 GB) drive and it was only $140 (no sales tax in Oregon). With this drive, I probably won't need to burn another DVD for three years! They're still defining the capacity in MB, so even though the drive is technically 1,000,000 MB, it shows up as a 931GB drive on my computer. I thought there was a class action lawsuit about this.

The one problem so far is that the drive is pre-formatted using FAT32, probably so it is compatible with PC's running old Windows (98/NT). Since I want to store large video files (the 720p Beijing Olympics opening ceremony AVI is ~5GB), I needed to reformat the drive using NTFS since FAT32 only allows files <4GB. I started formatting the drive about 30 minutes ago using Vista Disk Management and it's only on 3%. At this rate, it's going to take another 16 hours to format the drive. :(


Oops, my bad. I didn't check the Quick Format box so the computer is checking all 1 TB of space as it formats. I went back and created two 500 GB partitions and both formatted quickly.

My 250 GB external drive cost me about $150 a few years ago. That means the cost per GB has dropped 4x.

Portland Airport (again)

I hate Portland weather; I drove to the airport this morning and it was raining pretty hard. With the rain and warmer weather though, most of the snow on the roads melted so at least the driving was easier. I like rain once in awhile but it seems to be perpetually wet here. The airport was crazy busy this morning. I checked in online but the security line was really long. They're really strict with checking ID here so I couldn't sneak into the first class line since I am flying Alaska Airlines instead of American.

I think this flight is pretty full as well. At least the plane is already at the gate. It's the same plane I took to fly up here on Thursday.


Since it's already Dec 29th, I think I'm done with flying this year. Including all the different trips for work and vacation, I've been on 35 flights this year:

American = 13
Cathay Pacific = 6
Dragonair = 6
Alaska = 4
American Eagle = 2
Sichuan Airlines = 2
Air China = 1
Southwest = 1

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Portland Winter Weather

It seems to be snowing everywhere I go (except home in SoCal)...

Driveway at my sister's house. The road outside is much worse. They didn't salt or plow the street and there's about a foot of frozen snow. It was pretty exciting trying to drive out, even with a new Acura MDX.

Living room window

My sister's new car. Even with all-wheel drive, she still needed to put chains on the front tires to get out of the driveway.

A lot of the roads in Portland still have a thick layer of ice. When you drive over them, the car would sometimes slide sideways. Also, since the use sand instead of salt, the snow/ice doesn't melt and ends up blocking the storm drains and cause flooding.

Who's Drinking My Beer

I'm spending a lot of time in Portland watching TV since we're semi-snowed-in. Right now, the National Geographic Channel is showing Factory Floor. The program shows how things are manufactured; this episode is about fluorescent light bulbs, beer, escalators, and fire extinguishers.

Anyway, during the beer segment, the narrator said that Americans drink 20% of the world's beer, or 320 beers per adult per year. That seems like a lot of drinking. Since I drink about 6 per year, someone out there is drinking 600+ beers per year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Environmentalism Run Amok

I grew up in Toronto where it snow a lot in the winter. Before and during every storm, the city would salt the roads so when the snow falls, it would melt as it mixes with the salt crystals. It's not too good for the cars and roadside greenery but it is very effective and reduces the risk of driving in/after a snowstorm.

Seattle and Portland does not get that much snow. However, the morons that run the cities decided to not salt the roads due to "environmental" concerns. The chief of Seattle's DOT (chief Wiggins, really) said, "We decided not to utilize salt because it's not a healthy addition to Puget Sound." Is he serious? Isn't Puget Sound part of the Pacific Ocean where there's a lot of salt in the water?

So instead of using salt to melt the snow on the roads, they try to create a hard-packed surface with the snow. The result, predictably, is not that great. Only 4WD cars with chains on the front tires can function on the roads; if you have a RWD car, you probably should stay home.

Sections of Denny Way, seen looking east toward Capitol Hill, remain closed from several snowstorms in the Seattle area since last week.

The scene is similar in Portland. My sister just bought a new Acura MDX which has Super Handling AWD. Even with chains on the front wheels, she was having difficulty getting traction on the unsalted roads of Portland. I understand the need to protect the environment. But when a rare major snowstorm blows through town, you need to put people's safety first. Salting the roads once or twice a year won't have much impact on the salinity of Puget Sound. Meanwhile, the roads are safe and the city can keep functioning.

From another article at
Sunday was full of car crashes, even after several pleas from State Patrol and local police to stay off the roads.

The State Patrol responded to 157 collisions Sunday in King County. Troopers also responded to another 312 disabled vehicles.

Between noon and midnight on Saturday, the State Patrol responded to 246 collisions and disabled vehicles in King County. Of those, 179 occurred between 5 p.m. and midnight.


A Sound Transit bus stuck in the snow on 9th Ave., East of Westlake Ave. in Seattle. (December 22, 2008)

Monday, December 22, 2008

Friday, December 19, 2008

Canada Trip #3 - Home

The return trip yesterday was pretty uneventful. The only delay was in Dallas; I think the crew for the DFT to SNA flight was delayed on an incoming flight so we had to wait for them. For this trip, all four flights I was on were completely full. Not sure if AA is scheduling less flights to save money or if just a lot of people are traveling. The upgrade wait list was 18 people long at DFW and there are only 12 business class seats on a 737.

Another thing I've noticed was that every flight was full of carry-on luggage. I read on AA's website that since July, the 1st checked bag is $15 and the 2nd check bag is $25. I haven't noticed this since travelers with AAdvantage elite status are exempt. In fact, each of the four flight on this trip were delayed due to too much cabin luggage. The worst flight was from Toronto to Dallas-Fort Worth. About 15 people had to gate-check their luggage. Since almost everyone had a rolling bag, it was total chaos.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Deng Xiaoping Speech

2nd paragraph from the end:
China is a socialist country, and a developing country as well. China belongs to the Third World. Consistently following Chairman Mao’s teachings, the Chinese Government and people firmly support all oppressed peoples and oppressed nations in their struggle to win or defend national independence, develop the national economy and oppose colonialism, imperialism and hegemonism. This is our bounden internationalist duty. China is not a superpower, nor will she ever seek to be one. What is a superpower? A superpower is an imperialist country which everywhere subjects other countries to its aggression, interference, control, subversion or plunder and strives for world hegemony. If capitalism is restored in a big socialist country, it will inevitably become a superpower. The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, which has been carried out in China in recent years, and the campaign of criticizing Lin Piao and Confucius now under way throughout China, are both aimed at preventing capitalist restoration and ensuring that socialist China will never change her colour and will always stand by the oppressed peoples and oppressed nations. If one day China should change her colour and turn into a superpower, if she too should play the tyrant in the world, and everywhere subject others to her bullying, aggression and exploitation, the people of the world should identify her as social-imperialism, expose it, oppose it and work together with the Chinese people to overthrow it.

- Speech By Chairman of the Delegation of the People’s Republic of China, Deng Xiaoping, At the Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly

Spoken: April, 10, 1974

Well, except for politics, China is pretty much a capitalist country. As for bullying, aggression and exploitation, just ask people in Tibet or Taiwan.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Canada Trip #3 - Wednesday

Nothing exciting... just more snow.

I'm staying at Residence Inn. It's right next to a Courtyard/Marriott. I think Residence Inn is owned by Marriott as well.

It was pretty windy last night. This is a long exposure shot of a Canadian flag blowing in the wind.

My rental car this morning. I'm really against the auto bailout. If they can't build good cars, they shouldn't be in business. The last three cars I rented in Toronto were all American: Pontiac G5, Ford Escape, and the latest is a Chevy Impala. They were all new cars yet I'd rather drive my old 1999 Toyota 4Runner. I doubt I'll ever buy an American car, not counting the Jeep Cherokee we bought for off-road racing.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Canada Trip #3 - Tuesday

The past two days have been uneventful (boring) at work. I'm still mostly doing my regular FP&A job from Markham which means I'm only 50% productive since the network connection is so slow. During lunch yesterday, I went to First Markham Place with two engineers. It's another Chinese mall, nicer than Pacific Mall, and it has a bigger food court.

Place where I got lunch on Monday. There was a pretty long line and most were white people which should have tipped me off. Even worse, I got a lunch special on the English only menu (sign on right) so it didn't taste that good. Should have ordered from the Chinese menu.

For lunch today, I decided to try my luck again at the food court. This time I picked a "Shanghai" place and had their stirred fried rice cake dish. It was a bit better than yesterday but not by much. I think I'm experiencing the same cultural bias as in China, except this time it's in Cantonese. Markham is full of Chinese people but most are Cantonese. At every restaurant/food court vendor, they would talk to me in Cantonese. After seeing my blank stare, most then switch to English, grudgingly. Some are pretty persistent though with the Cantonese which I don't get since they manage to speak English to all the white people. Sigh...

"Chef" making my rice cake lunch. The lady at the counter asked if I was from Taiwan since I ordered in Mandarin. I told her I was American. She replied that a lot of Taiwanese people order the stirred fried rice cake dish. Then she asked me whether I like the US or Canada better, to which I replied that the weather here (Canada) sucked.

I just got back home after visiting my cousin Alice in Markham. Each time I visit, it seems like she has another baby (4 in total now). Her father is staying with her currently; this is the uncle I met during my first trip to Chengdu last year. My cousin (she is a nurse) noticed my cough and gave me some Tylenol w/Codine and it seems to work. She told me to break the pill in half; I was too lazy so I took the entire pill. Not sure how many milligrams that was. On the way home, it started snowing again. It's supposed to accumulate 15cm (6 inches) tonight. Good thing I'm only staying for two more days... how did I manage to grow up here without freezing to death?!

A Fool and His Money

Middle East: Saudi offers $10 mln for shoe thrown at Bush

Dubai, 16 Dec. (AKI) - Wealthy Saudi Hasan Muhammad Makhafa has offered 10 million dollars for one of the shoes thrown by an Iraqi TV journalist at outgoing US President George W. Bush during a press conference in Baghdad on Sunday. Many in the Arab world have hailed the journalist, Montazer al-Zaidi, as a hero and rallies took place in Iraq on Monday calling for his release from custody.

Makhafa told Dubai-based Arabic satellite TV station Al-Arabiya that al-Zaidi's shoes were "a symbol of freedom not just footwear."

"They represent a victory for those who have disgraced the Arabs by occupying their lands and killing innocent people," he said.

I really have two problems with this. One, Al-Zaidi, the guy who threw the shoe, is a showboating coward. He used his press credentials to gain access to the interview knowing that he won't get into much trouble. If he really wanted to make a statement, he should have thrown a shoe at Saddam Hussein and martyred himself. Also, what's the point of insulting Bush? Is that going to make any difference anywhere?

Two, the guy offering $10M for the shoe, is a showboating ass-clown. The Iraqi police is not going to sell him the shoe so he can "offer" any amount of money he wants without having to make good. Also, what kind of "elementary school teacher" has $10M to toss around like that? Isn't there a better use for the money if he's just going to piss it away like that?

Why is this even news?

Incompetent Assassins

Good Day,

How are you and how are your business, and your family I hope all is well with you. My name is Ffiko John Adam; I work as a Secretary at Global Security Company in Accra Ghana . I have been working in this Company for over 25 years now and have discover that there is a Huge Amount of $ 35 Million Eight Hundred and Filthy thousand dollars kept here for over 25 years now.

I here by have a proposal for you. The money was deposited in our company by an adopted child, who mistakenly kill by assassin .I know how to go about necessary document in your name as beneficiary. I will need your cooperation and we shall think of investing in any good business in your country or elsewhere. Do feel free to call me so we can discuss at length .

Await for your respond.

fiko John Adam

Should have hired ninja assassins. They don't make mistakes.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Playstation 3

For some reason, the PS3 is the same price in Canada as it is in the US (~$400). With the recent drop in the exchange rate, it's cheaper to buy the console in Canada, even after adding all the different taxes. I stopped by a Future Shop on the way to my parent's house and bought the 80GB system plus two games: Metal Gear Solid 4 and Fallout 3. The total, with tax, came out to CAD$543 which is about $435 US. The same stuff would have cost me ~$500 on Amazon. Now I just have to carry it back home on two flights this Thursday.


I went to Best Buy in Markham and bought one more game: Resistance 2. It was only CAD$50 so it's cheaper than buying it in the US. All three games are rated "M" so I had to enter my birth date on all the websites. I wonder how many 40 year old gamers there are.


Looking to buy three more games: Little Big Planet, GTA IV, and Gran Turismo 5.

Canada Trip #3 - Sunday

Heh, I decided that I had enough clean clothes so I didn’t do any laundry last night. My flight was at 8:00am so I had a taxi pick me up at 6:30am. I live really close to John Wayne Airport but not close enough to walk. There were a lot of people at the airport this morning but it still took only 20 minutes to check-in and clear security. The SNA to DFW flight was complete full so I didn’t get an upgrade to business class.

At the security check, there were two guys in front of me who held up the entire line. I’m not sure whether they’ve not traveled for the pasts several years or if they were retarded. Both had packed all their toiletries in their carry on and by the quantity, they were either gay or metrosexuals. The TSA lady was pretty nice as she helped them unpack and bag their stuff in zip-lock bags. I would have tossed all their stuff in the trash. The other type of airplane passengers I hate are the ones that have seats at the back of the plane yet they stick their huge carry-on luggage in first class or near the front of the plane. People who get on the plane later are screwed since they have to roam all over the plane looking for luggage space. This also causes a traffic jam after the plane lands as people scramble to deplane.

Anyway, I was a bit worried about this flight connection since it was only 40 minutes between flights. It turned out that one of the passenger seats was busted and we had to wait for maintenance to come and fix it. The flight finally took off at 8:30am so I thought I would miss my connection in Dallas. However, the flight only took 2 hours and 12 minutes and we ended up arriving 5 minutes early. I’m not sure how much slack is in the published flight schedules for us to make up 35 minutes, or the pilot flew really fast.

Right now I’m on the DFW to YYZ flight where I did get upgraded to business class. I thought I had the row (2 seats) to myself but right before take off, a large white male sat down next to me. If I was in economy, he would have definitely encroached into my space.

I always try to take a shower before flights so I feel more comfortable and also as a courtesy to other passengers. This guy however had very bad BO. I have two vents on full pointed at me to keep the smell away. Ugh.

Once again, the food is so so. I still feel the food I get in economy on Asian flights is better. I couldn’t finish the sandwich; there was too much cheese. I did eat the salad though. The guy next to me didn’t touch his salad but ate everything else really fast, while reading his Men’s Health magazine.


I'm checked into the same hotel as last time. It's a different room but the layout is exactly the same.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Canada Trip #3

I'm flying to Toronto again tomorrow morning. This time I'm connecting through DFW and only have 35 minutes. I'm carrying everything with me so as long as the SNA to DFW flight leaves on time, I should be okay. I also got upgraded to business class on the DFW to YYZ flight so maybe they'll wait for me. Right now I'm debating whether to do laundry tonight. I guess I can always bring dirty laundry "home" to my parent's house and wash it tomorrow night. It would be like college all over again. :)

I've been watching Toronto weather and it's been consistently in the -10°C range. Ugh. At least this will be my last trip (not counting the Christmas trip to Portland) and I probably won't travel to Toronto again until next March.

Hyundai Genesis

I saw a new Hyundai Genesis on the freeway this afternoon on the way to Rose Hills. I thought it was a BMW 5-series at first. The 4.6L V8 version has 375hp and will go from 0-60mph in 5.7 seconds. That's pretty fast.

This is I-5 North near Beach Blvd. at 4:00pm on a Saturday. There is always traffic here.


I went to see my grandparents at Rose Hills today. I haven't seen both of them together since my parents brought my grandfather's ashes from Taiwan in March. Since it's almost Christmas, there were a lot of people putting up flowers and other decorations. I bought some flowers at the flower shop and wished them a Merry Christmas.

I don't know my grandparents that well. I moved away from Taiwan when I was 8 years old and never saw my grandfather alive again. I wish I had the chance to hear his story, especially during WW2 with Japan and the Chinese Civil War. My grandmother move to the US after my grandfather passed away but she had dementia by then and I didn't understand her that well.

There was no place to put flowers by my grandfather. Someone had left a little Christmas tree; not sure if it was one of the other cousins or the wind blew it there.


View of the sunset

I wonder where I'll end up buried after I die. Will anyone bring flowers for me?

Friday, December 12, 2008


BBC Article
The cholera outbreak in Zimbabwe which has left hundreds dead was caused by the UK, an ally of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said.

Information Minister Sikhanyiso Ndlovu described the outbreak as a "genocidal onslaught on the people of Zimbabwe by the British".

On Thursday, Mr Mugabe said the spread of cholera had been halted.

But aid workers warned that the situation was worsening and the outbreak could last for months.

In his comments to media in Harare, Mr Ndlovu likened the appearance of cholera in Zimbabwe to a "serious biological chemical weapon" used by the British.

Evil, or insane. There is no other explanation. Mugabe is willing to let thousands die so he can hold on to power. It's amazing how one person can cause so much suffering and destruction. Of course, it's nothing compared to Mao, Stalin, or Pol Pot.

Several months ago, China sold him a shipload of weapons knowing what he would do with it. China is also Zimbabwe's biggest trading partner and they've vetoed every attempt by the UN to impose sanctions and embargoes. No shame.

Food Cleaning

I went to pick up dinner earlier at Mitsuwa, the Japanese market down the street. Most of the vendors in the food court has displays of their dishes/food items that are made of plastic. I guess they get dirty/dusty over time. A guy was cleaning each plate with a paper towel.

There are four food vendors in all: three Japanese and one Chinese. The Chinese food place has "real" display dishes instead of the plastic ones. I wonder how often they have to replace the display so the food doesn't go bad.

Soul Eater

I found a website with lots of Japanese anime with English subtitles. At random, I downloaded the first episode of Soul Eater and it's really weird. Since then, I've downloaded all 28 episodes from the site and watched the 2nd episode. Evidently, there are 51 episodes total and it's still on-air in Japan.


The files are ~170MB each so 28 episodes is nearly 5GB. In addition to the 240GB HD in my Sony Vaio, I also have a 250GB external HD connected to it, and a 500GB external HD connected to my Mac. The 250GB is used mainly for movies and TV shows and I'm down to ~37GB. I still have ~175GB left on the other HD but it's mainly for MP3's and music videos. Costco is selling a 1TB external drive for $120... time for an upgrade, maybe?

Stuff White People Like


#11 Asian Girls
#75 Threatening to Move to Canada

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Christmas Party

Our finance department just held its Christmas party earlier tonight. It was at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. The food was pretty lame but the dessert was really good. There was a raffle for stuff but I didn't win anything. Not sure how much we spent; hopefully we won't have to lay someone off next year because we spent too much.

Staffing Loss

I'm losing my one (and only) staff soon. She is moving back to Thailand to work for her father. We hired her about 18 months ago, right after she graduated from the MBA program at UCLA/Andersen. She was a really good analyst; it's going to be a big loss for me and for the company. I hope she gained some useful experience to bring back to Thailand.

Since there's a hiring freeze, I'm not 100% sure that I will get a backfill. My manager spoke with the VP of Finance and we're allowed to open up a requisition. I think the goal is to hire someone internally to fill the position; I came up with a short list of potential candidates, most of them are ~24 years old. However, there's no guarantee that the other manager will be able to backfill. If not, I'll probably end up making an enemy somewhere in the finance department for stealing their resource.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I just downloaded an application (iSkoot) on my BlackBerry that allows me to make SkypeOut calls on my phone. The application links into Skype and shows me all my contacts. It lets me send Skype text messages and call Skype contacts on their computer with wireless airtime. For SkypeOut calls, it also uses airtime and Skype credits. I tried calling a cell phone in Chengdu and iSkoot connected me through a US number with 617 area code (Boston, MA). The connection was pretty good, similar if I directly dialed China from my cell phone. Not counting airtime, the difference is $3/minute vs. $0.021/minute using SkypeOut. Pretty cool... though I don't know how they make money with this service.

Bicycle Theft

I found out that my friend in Chengdu just had her bicycle stolen yesterday. She rode her bike to school and after class, it was gone. It cost about RMB350 so it wasn't a very nice bike but it's still pretty expensive for a student on a budget.

Everyone I know in China that owned a bicycle has had one stolen. From the large number of stolen bikes, there must be a thriving market for stolen goods. I know there is one for cell phones; there are literally thousands of people selling "used" phones in Chengdu, right next to legit stores.

I think all this begins with RMB5 DVD's. On just about every street and alleyway, there are people selling pirate DVD's. You can find almost every movie, even those still in showing in theaters, and TV show for less than US$1. No one buys legit DVD's and people make fun of you if you do. This create a culture where intellectual property rights are pretty much ignored. This extends into the software market where piracy rates in China is something like >97%. Even businesses pirate Windows and Office software even though they can afford it.

The end result, I think, is a society that is less respectful for the rule of law. You see this with people ignoring traffic rules and no smoking/littering/spitting signs. This is reinforced by the zero-accountability communist government and it's rampant corruption problems. Everyone seems to be out making or stealing a buck, rules be damned.

Anyway, my friend has to go and buy a new bike since she needs it to get to school. I hope she didn't lose the gel seat cover I bought for her. That cost $30, which is almost as much as a new bike, or a really nice "used" bike.

Monday, December 8, 2008

What Financial Crisis?

I went to Costco in Fountain Valley yesterday afternoon to buy some groceries; I had some coupons that were expiring. I guess it's always bad to go to Costco on the weekend but the few weeks before Christmas is especially bad. Every check-out line was open and the lines were probably 8 carts deep. All the carts look pretty full too (I only had 5-6 items). Seems like business as usual.

You Must Be Crazy

Duh, the solution is obvious. Communist China is a worker's paradise. If you complain, then you must be crazy.
The authorities in the eastern Chinese city of Xintai have been abducting citizens who make complaints, according to a state newspaper.

These people are held in mental hospitals until they withdraw their grievances, the Beijing News reports.

An investigation found that at least 18 people had been detained in this way, after trying to take complaints about local officials to higher authorities.

Some of those held were reportedly forced to take powerful drugs.

Sigh, how do you fix a corrupt political system that has no accountability to the people it governs?

Longer article in the New York Times
Sun Fawu, 57, a farmer seeking compensation for land spoiled by a coal mining operation, said he was seized by local authorities on his way to petition the central government in Beijing and taken to the Xintai Mental Health Center in October.

During a 20-day stay, he said, he was lashed to a bed, forced to take pills and given injections that made him numb and woozy. When he told the doctor he was a petitioner, not mentally ill, the doctor reportedly said: “I don’t care if you’re sick or not. As long as you are sent by the township government, I’ll treat you as a mental patient.”

In an interview with the paper, the hospital’s director, Wu Yuzhu, acknowledged that some of the 18 patients brought there by the police in recent years were not deranged, but he said that had no choice but to take them in. “The hospital also had its misgivings,” he said.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

The Show Must Go On

I'm not really a musician but I've been in a lot of instrumental ensembles (trumpet) and I've played guitar/bass for church over the past 15 years. Even though you practice and rehearse, there are going to be mistakes. The important thing is to not draw attention to your screw up and keep going as if nothing happened. I used to mess up while strumming chords on the guitar and wince. People would later tell me that they wouldn't have noticed anything if they hadn't seen my expression.

Anyway, here is a performance by Kara, yet another all-girl K-pop group. At about 3:15 into the video, one of the girls (wearing the pink thing on her head) forgets her dance routine. It wasn't all that noticeable until she lets out a loud "Ah!" into her microphone. Newspaper articles said that after the performance, she ran to the restroom and cried for an hour. I didn't think it was that bad. At least we know they weren't lip-synching.

Kara - Pretty Girl

Yes, the English is atrocious. "If you wanna pretty, every wanna pretty..." Huh?! That's pretty lame considering two of the girls went to high school in the U.S.

China 'faces mass social unrest'

BBC Article
Rising unemployment and the economic slowdown could cause massive social turmoil in China, a leading scholar in the Communist Party has said.

"The redistribution of wealth through theft and robbery could dramatically increase and menaces to social stability will grow," Zhou Tianyong, a researcher at the Central Party School in Beijing, wrote in the China Economic Times.

"This is extremely likely to create a reactive situation of mass-scale social turmoil," he wrote.

Classic. I guess it's all good when the CCP "redistributes" wealth through theft and robbery back in the 1950's. The excuse you keep hearing when talking about the lack of political freedom in China is that democracy will cause chaos. Once again, that didn't seem to be on the communist party's mind when they were turning Chinese society upside-down. It's okay to steal from "rich" landowners before but now they are the ruling elite, the communist leaders are afraid of any changes that threatens their bourgeoisie position. People's Republic of China... what a joke.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Man killed for 'hogging karaoke'

BBC Article
A Malaysian man has been stabbed to death for refusing to stop singing and hand over the microphone at a karaoke bar, police say.

Abdul Sani Doli, 23, reportedly angered some of the customers when he hogged the stage at the bar in Sandakan town on eastern Borneo island.

Witnesses said he was attacked, and the fight spilled out on to the street.

He was punched before being stabbed to death with a knife. His body was found a short distance from the bar.

Sandakan's police chief ACP Rosli Mohd Isa said two men were in police custody, helping them with their inquiries.

Karaoke, in which amateurs can sing along to their favourite songs, first emerged from Japan and became hugely popular across Asia during the 1980s, before spreading to other parts of the world.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Degree Check, Part 2

Wow, stuff happens fast around here. Just got an email from our CEO that Vahid is gone.


Form 8-K filed with the SEC.

Wonder Girls Live

The Wonder Girls (K-pop group) is touring the US in March with concerts in New York, Los Angeles, and La Mirada, of all places. Tickets start at $50 and go up to $150. That's pretty steep considering that most of their fans are teenage girls and they don't sing all that well.

Tickets go on sale in ~4 hours. Not sure if I want to go since I would need to spend $150 to get a good view. Maybe I can get Fred and Leon to go with me.

Their latest video for Nobody. The guy singing in the beginning is JYP (Jin Young Park), their producer/manager.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Degree Check

OC Register Article
Vahid Manian, Broadcom’s senior vice president of global manufacturing, said he earned a bachelor of science in electrical engineering and an MBA at UC Irvine, according to his resume on the company’s Web site. But, although he attended the school from September 1979 to August 1983, Manian never earned a degree.

"Manian attended classes for four years, but did not graduate,” UCI spokeswoman Cathy Lawhon said. “Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act prevents (the university) from saying why he did not graduate. We have no record of him studying for or earning an MBA."

Not graduating after 4 years is one thing. Claiming a graduate degree when you didn't even earn your undergrad degree is crazy. Maybe he needed a job really bad.

Ironically, the engineering school at UCI where Vahid claimed he got his EE degree is currently named after Henry Samueli.

The World According to CCP

In the guest room of my parent's house, my dad hung a wall map of China that was printed in Beijing. It's a pretty large map with English and Chinese labels. Of course, Taiwan is shown as just another province; that was expected from a map from China. What was surprising was that Korea was shown as one country with Pyongyang as its capital city. No mention of "North" or "South" nor was the DMZ marked, and Seoul was just another dot on the map. The map was dated 1990 so there's really no excuse for this other than pure communist propaganda. I wonder if newer maps from China still have a "unified" Korea.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Lost (Luggage) and Found

For some reason, my checked luggage did not get on the same flight as me from DFW to SNA. I was getting a bit anxious since a co-worker was circling the airport waiting to pick me up and I couldn't find my luggage. A quick check with the lost luggage desk showed that my bag was coming in on a later flight. I had almost a two hour layover in DFW; surely that's enough time to transfer one piece of luggage. Good thing there are a million flights (ok, four) from DFW to SNA so my bag came on the next flight. I've been home about 90 minutes and they just delivered my bag... pretty good. Last time I lost my bag on the way to China, Cathay Pacific/Dragonair took a week and managed to deliver the wrong bag; it even had a China Airlines tag on it.

It's a good thing AA found and delivered my lost luggage so fast. It saves my 3 readers from additional boring posts about it (I'm talking to you, HH).


The Canadian weather finally got me. I woke up Saturday morning with a terrible headache. We were planning on driving to Kipling station and take the subway downtown to walk around. During lunch though, I felt worse so we only stopped by the Chinese market and went back home. I ended up spending the next two days in bed with a slight fever.

Frozen food section at the Chinese market in Mississauga. There's pork stomach soup, pork lung soup, and silkie chicken soup with conch.

I got up this morning at 4am to finish packing and leave for the airport. My flight is was at 6:50am but we weren't sure if the roads would be covered with snow. I also had to cram 4 bottles of ice wine into my luggage; hopefully they will survive the trip. I managed to get upgraded to business class on my flight from Toronto to Dallas/Fort Worth. It's the first time I flew business class on a domestic flight. It was weird sitting there with everyone staring at you as they walk by.

Cheese omelete breakfast. Not sure if it was the food or the medicine I took this morning but I had to go to the bathroom real bad after eating the omelete. :(

Right now I'm sitting in DFW airport waiting for my flight to John Wayne airport. They have these stations that have electrical plugs, USB charging port, and a free wired internet connection. I'm not sure why US airports don't just offer free wireless internet connection like everywhere else in the world (and Portland). Good thing I had my CAT-5 cable on me. At least it gives me something to do while waiting.

I never get to see the front of the engine.

Coming in for landing at DFW airport (not the airport in the picture).

Skylink trains at DFW airport.