Saturday, January 30, 2010

KBS World

I found out that we get two Korean TV stations through Cox: KBS World and K1MBC. The good thing about getting the official KBS World channel is that a lot of the shows are subtitled. It also turns out that most of the shows I download are shown on KBS anyway. I went online and downloaded the TV schedule and found the following shows: Invincible Youth, Family Outing, Happy Together, 2 days 1 night, Music Bank, Star Golden Bell, and YHY Sketchbook. The signal is not HD but it's free with Cox cable service.

I watched Invincible Youth yesterday and they showed episode 11 which originally aired on 1/1/2010. The translators at already translated and subtitled the episode a few weeks ago. My mom watched some of it and I had to explain what was going on to her.


Happy Sunday is on in 5 minutes. They don't say what show is going to air but hopefully it's Family Outing.


Oops, Family Outing is on SBS so obviously it wasn't on. 1D2N just started but I haven't watched that show in awhile.


I don't think any commentary is necessary, except for the dead air near the end. Nice going, MBC.


Friday, January 29, 2010

Public Option - California Style

I swear, the Democrats in the California state legislature must be retarded. The state is broke and issuing IOUs but they go ahead and push for a state-run single payer health plan that will cost an additional $200 billion. The bill will abolish private health insurance in California and replace it with a public plan funded by a 16%(!) tax on businesses and employees. Our fringe rate at work is ~17% and that includes payroll taxes (7.65%) plus 401(k) expenses. This plan doubles the healthcare costs for workers. I can't figure out how the math works... 1/2 the population in California are currently "uninsured"? Why does my healthcare costs have to double for Democrat social engineering and wealth transfer?

The proposal, which is estimated to cost $200 billion, would eliminate private health insurance in California and replace it with a state-run system, which would be provided to every California resident. That system would be overseen by a new state agency that also would ultimately decide what services the coverage would entail.

The price tag would be paid by pooling all state and federal money currently spent on health services, which would require federal approval, along with a payroll tax that would be paid by both employees and workers. In a previous incarnation of the bill, that tax was set at 16 percent. The financing is not part of the latest version. Backers also think the single-payer system will greatly reduce administrative costs, which also would help pay for the system.

In what universe do you double the "tax" to pay for something while claiming that you're reducing administrative costs? Liars.



LA Times
Reporting from Sacramento - State lawmakers are taking aim at what some of them see as a menace to California's environment: free parking.

There is too much of it, the legislators say, and it encourages people to drive instead of taking the bus, walking or riding a bike. All that motoring is contributing to traffic jams and pollution, according to state Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), and on Thursday he won Senate approval of a proposal he hopes will prompt cities and businesses to reduce the availability of free parking.

"Free parking has significant social, economic and environmental costs," Lowenthal said. "It increases congestion and greenhouse gas emissions."

I checked OCTA's website. It would take me ~2 hours to go to work by bus. Who voted for these idiots?!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

White Men Can't Jump

Augusta Chronicle
Basketball league for white Americans targets Augusta

A new professional basketball league boasting rosters made up exclusively of white Americans has its eyes set on Augusta, but the team isn't receiving a warm welcome.

The All-American Basketball Alliance announced in a news release Sunday evening that it intends to start its inaugural season in June and hopes Augusta will be one of 12 cities with a team.

"Only players that are natural born United States citizens with both parents of Caucasian race are eligible to play in the league," the statement said.

Wait, it gets better...
Don "Moose" Lewis, the commissioner of the AABA, said the reasoning behind the league's roster restrictions is not racism.

"There's nothing hatred about what we're doing," he said. "I don't hate anyone of color. But people of white, American-born citizens are in the minority now. Here's a league for white players to play fundamental basketball, which they like."

Lewis said he wants to emphasize fundamental basketball instead of "street-ball" played by "people of color." He pointed out recent incidents in the NBA, including Gilbert Arenas' indefinite suspension after bringing guns into the Washington Wizards locker room, as examples of fans' dissatisfaction with the way current professional sports are run.

"Would you want to go to the game and worry about a player flipping you off or attacking you in the stands or grabbing their crotch?" he said. "That's the culture today, and in a free country we should have the right to move ourselves in a better direction."

Hmm, how exciting will that be? If "Moose" is worried about "minorities" in the NBA, he should include Asians in his league.

Asians::NBA = Africans::NHL

Sunday, January 24, 2010

New House

My parents cleared out their apartment last night and I have only have one SUV-load of stuff left. I've been stopping by the apartment each day after work to move the small miscellaneous stuff in my car, sometimes using the Z which only carries about 3 boxes. You don't realize how much stuff you have until you have to move it. I said I would throw things out last time I moved but I still have boxes that were unopened during the 4 years I lived at the apartment. I probably should have just tossed the entire box. Between my parents and me, there are enough boxes to fill a 3-car garage. One of the spots is too small to fit any of our cars but my goal is to clear up the other two spots my end of March. My sister is coming down with her family in about a week. She's good at throwing stuff away so maybe we'll be done sooner.

Moving day pictures:

Boxes (and more boxes) stacked up waiting for the movers.

Moving truck... I don't think either of the "Two Brothers" showed up.

Steve (if that's his real name) moving my dining room set. I think he's the one that stole our lotion and Korean plum wine.

Following the moving truck on the 55 freeway. They suddenly pulled of at McFadden to get lunch without first telling me. I was behind the truck but missed the exit. Thinking something was wrong, I got off at the next exit and circled back to find them.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Woohoo! Internet!

Just got home and plugged in the wireless router to the cable modem. Speedtest gives me a result of 14 Mb/s download and 2.4 Mb/s upload. Hmm, I believe that's faster than my "fast" Time Warner connection. Cox also offers a 25 Mb/s service too.

Now I can pay bills online... :(

Cheating for Extra Credit

Something is wrong with the educational system if people are cheating just for extra credit.

Chinese marathon athletes run into trouble

More than 30 male competitors at a Chinese marathon were reportedly disqualified after organisers discovered they had cheated during the race.

Organisers of the Xiamen International marathon, held in the south east of the country, found some runners had carried time-recording microchips of more than one competitor, registering two or more results after crossing the finishing line.

Meanwhile, others had hired imposters or used transport to navigate part of the way around the course, according to the Jiefang Daily, a newspaper endorsed by the Shanghai Communist Party.

The vast majority of the disqualified runners had registered times of two hours and 34 minutes or below, the minimum standard for high school students to attain extra credits for China's ultra-competitive college entrance examinations.

What does running a marathon under 2:34 have to do with college success anyhow? My friend in Chengdu told me that in order to graduate from college, she had to get a certain number of "points" in addition to passing all her classes. How to get these points? You can take national proficiency tests for different subjects (for example, CET) or even getting a driver's license will get you points. If you can't pass or drive, you can always pay the school for points... I think it was ~RMB700 per point and you need 4 to graduate.

BTW, I've spoken with people with CET Level 4 and CET Level 6 certificates. I'm not sure about their reading/writing skills but most could not carry on a simple conversation.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cable Install

I gave up on Time Warner. I've made several phone calls to their Customer Service line and no one will call me back to schedule a line install. Since Cox already has a line to our new house, I called them and got a comparable package ordered; the installation will happen tomorrow. For my original Time Warner order, I had to wait 10 days for an installation appointment.

For my parents, I ordered Zhong Tian pay TV channel which is mostly programming from Taiwan. The Cox CS guy was telling me that I get CCTV-4 and CCTV-9 with the basic cable package. I spent a lot of time flipping past those channels in China so I'm not really interested in watching them here in the US. What I really want is KBS or SBS from Korea but Cox doesn't have anything, free or pay. Maybe I'll start watching the Chinese stuff.


Ha ha, Time Warner showed up this morning (Thursday) unannounced to dig up our yard. They were supposed to call me to schedule an appointment but they never did. I ended up with about the same package as Cox but Time Warner would have given me a discount for 24 months instead of 6 with Cox. I thought about letting them dig and canceling but I'm still pissed that I called them three times without getting a response.


The Cox install guy is still at the house. He's been there for over 2 hours and only the phone has been installed. My parents said he was messing around outside at the junction box forever. Maybe they get paid by the hour instead of by job like Time Warner contractors.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Moving and Movers

I hate moving. It means I either have to clean up and pack what I want to move, or dump everything into boxes to sort out later. I've usually done the latter so I have a few boxes of stuff that I don't know what to do with.

Anyway, the main part of our move happened yesterday. I called a moving company and they moved all of the furniture and about 95% of my stuff; there are just some leftover crap at my apartment. We got lucky yesterday; it started raining just as the movers brought in the last box. The entire move for loading both apartments, driving to the new house, and unloading everything (mostly into the garage) took ~6 hours. With tip, we spent about $700. The movers were pretty good except I'm 99.9% sure they stole a bottle of Aveeno hand lotion from our new house. Strange. I'm also missing a bottle of Korean wine that I put into an open crate that morning. The two items are small and cheap but now I'm worried what other stuff is missing.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New Appliances

I went to the new house today and saw the new appliances my parents bought. We needed to buy a fridge and washer/dryer. Since the kitchen isn't that large, my mom wanted a counter depth fridge so it wouldn't stick out into the kitchen too much. Originally she wanted a french door design but one that is counter depth and has decent interior size is ~$3000. We also bought a match pair of front loading washer/dryer.

My parents looked around for a long time and settled with Korean brands. The fridge is a side-by-side two door by Samsung and the washer/dryer are made by LG. I think everything was actually made in Korea instead of China. The fridge is very nice and quite large inside. All together, the three items were ~$4000 list. My parents got each piece on sale but it was still >$3000. The appliances are really nice though. The Samsung fridge is quite large inside; I think it was expensive because they had to make the walls thin yet still effective insulators so the counter depth fridge wouldn't be too small on interior volume. The LG washer/dryer each has an on/off button and looks like they're booting up when you turn them on. I usually don't read the manual for electronic stuff like stereos and computers but I found myself reading the Samsung fridge manual. I'm going to read the washer/dryer manual before I wash clothes in it for the first time.

It used to be that the best stuff was made by Sony. I still like the brand and use their rewards credit card but the Koreans are taking over. Along with the new appliances, I have a Samsung cell phone. We have two LCD TV's in the house, one by Vizio and the other by Sharp. If I get another one, it will probably be a Samsung or LG TV. Hey, if I stream live Korean TV, it feels like I'm in Korea... ok, maybe not. :)

Inkigayo Live

I've been packing my apartment all day today since the movers are coming tomorrow morning. During every move, I end up breaking something. As I was trying to take apart my bed, the headboard fell over, hit my nightlight, and broke the glass shade. It's from Ikea but since they change style so quickly, I probably won't be able to find a replacement. It's better than last time I moved though... I hit my Z with the moving truck.

Anyway, I think I'm done for today. A long time ago, I watched Shirley's cat for about two weeks and she hid out under by bed a lot. I think I stirred up cat hair or allergens as I was taking the bed apart. Now my eyes are runny and I'm coughing/sneezing again.

Back to Inkigayo. I tuned into SBS using TvAnts and caught the beginning of Inkigayo; it's on every Sunday at 4:10pm Korea time. The first song was "Jiggy" by some guy I've never heard of. He doesn't look gangsta though...

Friday, January 15, 2010

Cable Construction Crew

Since we're moving to our new house this weekend, I signed up for Internet/phone/TV with Time Warner a few weeks ago. Well, the installer went to the house this morning and after about 30 minutes, discovered that our house is not connected to their network. Interestingly, the existing cable wiring is through Cox Communications and it was installed only 2 months ago. Anyway, now we have to wait for a construction crew to run a cable under our front lawn before we are connected. I checked Cox's service and you get less for more money compared to Time Warner. I really wanted Verizon FIOS but that's not available in our area. :(

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Oliver Stone... Context

I was going to say I've never watched any of his movies but then I realized that he directed Wall Street.

The Live Feed
Oliver Stone's 'Secret History' to put Hitler 'in context'

Director Oliver Stone's upcoming Showtime documentary miniseries "Secret History of America" promises to put mass murderers such as Stalin and Hitler "in context."

"Stalin, Hitler, Mao, McCarthy -- these people have been vilified pretty thoroughly by history," Stone told reporters at the Television Critics Association's semi-annual press tour in Pasadena.

"Stalin has a complete other story," Stone said. "Not to paint him as a hero, but to tell a more factual representation. He fought the German war machine more than any single person. We can't judge people as only 'bad' or 'good.' Hitler is an easy scapegoat throughout history and its been used cheaply. He's the product of a series of actions. It's cause and effect ... People in America don't know the connection between WWI and WWII ... I've been able to walk in Stalin's shoes and Hitler's shoes to understand their point of view. We're going to educate our minds and liberalize them and broaden them. We want to move beyond opinions ... Go into the funding of the Nazi party. How many American corporations were involved, from GM through IBM. Hitler is just a man who could have easily been assassinated."

What possible "point of view" lead to genocide? Some people will do anything for a buck.


Per the OCED, the US already spends the most dollars per student yet only rank average among OCED countries. Now Berkeley is going to drag us down even more.

East Bay Express
Berkeley High May Cut Out Science Labs
The proposal would trade labs seen as benefiting white students for resources to help struggling students.

Berkeley High School is considering a controversial proposal to eliminate science labs and the five science teachers who teach them to free up more resources to help struggling students.

The proposal to put the science-lab cuts on the table was approved recently by Berkeley High's School Governance Council, a body of teachers, parents, and students who oversee a plan to change the structure of the high school to address Berkeley's dismal racial achievement gap, where white students are doing far better than the state average while black and Latino students are doing worse.

Paul Gibson, an alternate parent representative on the School Governance Council, said that information presented at council meetings suggests that the science labs were largely classes for white students. He said the decision to consider cutting the labs in order to redirect resources to underperforming students was virtually unanimous.

Unanimous?! Are they crazy... I guess you gotta be to live in Berkeley. Last time I checked, public school performance by ethnic group in California is pretty consistent everywhere: Asian > White > Hispanic/Latino > African American. I've had many discussions on why this may be the case but I'll leave that for another post. The data suggests that the racial disparity is a statewide (or even nationwide) problem and throwing more money at it won't help. Surely the solution is not to drag everyone down to the level of the lowest achiever... or is it? This is the People's Republic of Berkeley after all.

I read somewhere that the UC system is short on money as well since a lot of their funds come from the State of California. From personal experience, the engineering programs at all the top UC schools are basically all White or Asian, and also 99% male. Hey, I know... let cut those "racist" programs so we can fund remedial reading and math for all those affirmative action students. Stupid...

Monday, January 11, 2010

Dancing Queen

OK, now for something a little bit less serious than political prisoners and state secrets... Dancing Queen by ABBA!

Here's the original (in HD!):

Brown Eyed Girls:


CSJH The Grace (ooh, I've never seen this one before):

I've sang this song at KTV in China before. Since most of the people there didn't speak English, I think it went okay.

Zhao Ziyang's Memoirs

Out of the blue, Leon asked me if I have Zhao Ziyang's book. I bought the book from awhile ago and I read about two-thirds of it. However, Leon was in China and he wanted the Chinese version which is banned in China, probably because he talks about Tiananmen and other sensitive topics. Luckily, I downloaded a scanned PDF of the Chinese version awhile ago; it was published in Hong Kong. The quality is not too great but it's legible and electronic. The PDF file is too big to email at ~38MB so I put it on Megaupload. Here's the link if anyone is interested.

Just be careful who you give the file to in China. The CCP will probably throw you in jail or deport you for subversion, revealing state secrets, or being a counter-revolutionary!


Hmm, these seems to be different books. The Chinese PDF appears to be "Captive Conversations" published in Hong Kong based on Zhao's conversations with Zong Fengming, a friend and a former party official. The English book, Prisoner of the State, is based on Zhao's audio diary of 30 tapes that were smuggled out of China and translated to English. Not sure if there is a Chinese version of the book.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Real-time YouTube Account Suspension

I blogged about YouTube account suspensions when you get three copyright infringement claims before. This morning, I got to see it live (kind of). I was watching episode 77 of Family Outing and since YouTube only allows 10 minute uploads, the entire show was divided into 10 parts. I got through the first 7 parts and Firefox crashed. When I restarted Firefox, I found the account/channel that I was watching was suspended. :(

I don't quite understand the aggressive response by SBS. Unlike KBS World, they don't provide subtitled versions of their shows. Without subtitles, non-Koreans can't really watch the show since there is so much dialogue. Why cut off fans of the show if you're not going to meet the demand nor generate any revenue streams from it? Now I have to go directly to the subbing team's forum and download the subtitled shows directly.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What do all these people do?

Seeking Alpha
Employment Chart: Goods Producing vs. Government Jobs

I'd planned to put this chart up for some time now, ever since it was noticed that, back in late-2007, the total number of government jobs exceeded the total number of goods producing jobs. After the events of the last two years, the gap is now about four million.

The Goods Producing category currently includes less than a million workers in mining and logging, about 6 million in construction, and 11.7 million in manufacturing.

The Government category includes 2.8 million federal employees and almost 20 million state and local workers, just over half of whom work in education.

I don't know whether to laugh or cry...

Is there any wonder why our taxes are so high?! Also, it's interesting to see that growth in government jobs is fairly constant, regardless of the business cycle. That's why having a Democrat president and House is bad; they spend money like drunken sailors and once a government program is passes, it never goes away.

In the text of the article, it implies ~10 million government jobs are in education. That sounds ridiculously high. Per the 2009 OCED "Education at a Glance" report (472 pages!), the US spends the most $/student on education (Chart B1.1) but we're only ranked 20th* in the world... or about average (Chart A4.1).

The chart is a bit misleading since service sector jobs are not included. Everyone knows that manufacturing jobs have been declining due to globalization. Heck, this is why China has been growing like crazy and probably the only reason why the CCP is still in power.


*The OCED uses science achievement for 15-year olds for their ranking. From the report:
The rapidly growing demand for highly skilled workers has led to a global competition for talent. High-level skills are critical for the creation of new knowledge, technologies and innovation and therefore an important determinant of economic growth and social development.

#1 - Finland
#2 - New Zealand
#3 - Hong Kong-China
#4 - Japan
#5 - Chinese Taipei Taiwan
#6 - Australia
#7 - Canada
#8 - United Kingdom
#9 - Netherlands
#10 - Slovenia
#12 - Germany
#16 - Korea
#20 - United States
The average is between the US and #21 - France.

For me, I started in Taiwan (#3), moved to Canada (#7), and ended up in the US (#20). Good thing I spent most of my primary/secondary education in Canada instead of in the US. China and India are not on the list (OCED countries only)... but it would be interesting to see where they rank.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Chinese Food Videos

The stuff you find on YouTube. This appears to be a TV show that showcases food places in Taipei. It's pretty cool though the host's Taiwanese Mandarin (台灣國語) is a bit irritating.

Last time I went to Taiwan, my parents and I went to the same street (桃源街) where there are a lot of beef noodle (牛肉麵) shops; the street is right next to the Presidential Palace. They said in the video that this shop is hard to find because it doesn't have any signs. I found it on Google Maps and it really doesn't have any signage. I don't think we went to this one but the noodles looked similar. Each bowl is only NT$150 or ~US$5... more expensive than in Chengdu.

永富福州魚丸... fish balls! I love fish balls!

The video title says 墨西哥捲 or Mexican roll which I assume are burritos, though they don't look right. She also says there's tomato sauce/ketchup... maybe they can't get real salsa/picante sauce in Taiwan. The food stall is at the Shilin Night Market in Taipei. Bonus - black dudes speaking Mandarin at ~1:32 in the video.

There's actually not much to see as tourists in Taiwan; There are definitely a lot more cultural and scenic places to see in China. The night market and street food however, is awesome and much better than what I found in China. Furthermore, I can complain about the local government, check Facebook, and blog about stuff while I'm eating in Taiwan... try that in China.

Space Battleship Yamato

Woohoo! Live action Star Blazers!

I remember watching this cartoon growing up, probably in Canada though the original series was out in Japan earlier so I could have seen it in Taiwan. It's a Japanese production... I hope it doesn't suck like some American live action versions of old anime. I've seen the guy in the trailer in some Japanese dramas before.

The official movie website has a countdown clock, currently at 330 days and 20 hours to go! Kinda reminds me of the Hong Kong countdown thing in the middle of Tiananmen Square back in 1997.

The CCP was a bit more obsessive. This one says 902 days (~2.5 years) left to go.

After School

Look, another K-pop girl group. This group, After School, debuted about a year ago. They started with 5 people, added a new member, had one quit, then added two more recently for 7 total. Confused?

Because of You - After School

They recently won the weekly #1 on a couple of Korean music shows with this song. I think they're underrated when compared to some of the other more popular K-pop girl groups. Each of these groups has a "leader", usually the oldest member of the group. After School's group leader, Park Kahi, is 28 years old. That's a few years older than the rest of the group and most of the other girl groups members.

Here's a video of Park Kahi playing piano, singing, and dancing.

A live performance of Diva, a single from six months ago. Park Kahi is the one rapping/singing solo starting 0:47... the one with the abs.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Like a Virgin, Konglish Edition

First post of 2010... more K-pop!

In case you're wondering who's who, from L to R at 0:55:
Uee - After School
Yoona - SNSD/Girls' Generation
Ga In - Brown Eyed Girls

I think they're lip-syncing but to vocals they recorder earlier. That's definitely not Madonna's Korean-accented voice. Each of the big 3 TV stations does a huge year end music show; they're all called Gayo Daejun (가요대준) but I'm not quite sure what it means. It looks like a lot of work and the three shows are back to back to back on 12/29 (SBS), 12/30 (KBS), and 12/31 (MBC).

Happy New Year!