Friday, April 30, 2010

This Ain't A Gameshow!

Post #1300

I've been helping interview candidates for another group within finance; they're hiring a financial analyst to replace someone that transferred to another position. This candidate has a MBA in finance and >10 years of work experience. One of the interviewers told me that she asked the candidate a pretty standard question, "What is your weakness?" I hate that question since everyone is trained to say something that can be turned into a perceived strength. However, this candidate answered, "Uh, that's a difficult question... pass."

Sorry, this is a job interview. I guess she was being honest... but you have to answer the question best you can.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dead Computer

Crap! Crap! Crap!

It looks like my Sony Vaio is stuck in an infinite reboot loop, complete with a STOP: C0000218 BSOD (Blue Screen of Death). Since I didn't get a Vista CD with the computer, I'm not sure how I can repair this. The best I can do is some built-in Sony recovery software. I may have to copy off my personal files and restore the entire system.



I just started backing up ~40GB of stuff from my Sony to an external HDD. The remaining time estimate keeps flipping around but it looks like 30 minutes. Then it will probably take me hours and hours to restore, update Vista, and reinstall all my software.



Well, I copied off all my files and restored the computer to when I bought it. There is a hidden 9GB partition that has Windows Vista and other pre-installed software. The only difference is that I split the remaining 224GB into two 112GB partitions so if this happens again, I only need to wipe the C: partition and leave all my personal files alone.


[4/30/10 - 3:26 PM]

Evidently part of the Windows Vista install is to have the computer sit there on the same screen, without any status updates, for >30 minutes. Since my computer screwed up, I was unsure if a full restore was going to work. After aborting the process a few times, I let it do a full restore overnight. I guess I was interrupting it too soon since Vista installer finished when I woke this morning; however, I'm back to only one 224GB partition. Oh well...

I then spent an hour removing bloatware from the computer. I needed to uninstall trial versions of Norton 360, Microsoft Works, academic version of Office, and a whole bunch of things. When I left the house this morning, the computer was in the middle of installing 80+ updates.

What Not To Wear

Saw this on Reuters (photo taken in 2007):

Tourists photograph each other near a temple at Nanshan Cultural Centre in south China’s Hainan Island province

This is the perfect vacation photo: matching outfit, black socks/no socks, and the ubiquitous V-sign. A first I thought they were graduate students...

iTunes Store FAIL

First, I think it's cool that e.via and other K-pop artists can be found on iTunes Store. Here is the e.via a.k.a. happy e.vil album. The song title for track 15 is "39823" on iTunes Sstore but everywhere else it is "1/10". Since I use Excel a lot at work, the 5 digit number reminds me of how Excel stores dates. On a hunch, I typed in "1/10/09" (since the album was released in 2009) and converted the cell format to general... 39823! I guess somebody typed in the track list in Excel which converted "1/10" into a date code and that got uploaded as the song title. No big deal but you'd think there should be better quality control at Apple.

K-pop Rapper e.via

Hey! - e.via

I came across this video on YouTube. When you mention Korean rappers, I think of Miryo (BEG) or Epik High. From the first 45 seconds of the MV, I thought it was Japanese bubblegum pop or something but it turns out e.via is an underground rapper who just released an album last year. The album was promptly banned due to sexually suggestive lyrics. Wouldn't have expected that by her appearance.

I read somewhere that she has been compared to Eminem. I don't know... his lyrics are nasty and she's a lot cuter. I guess I can't really comment on her lyrics since I don't understand Korean.

This MV is from her new mini-album that was just released a few days ago. OK, that was a bit too skanky for a family-oriented blog. You can go find it on YouTube yourself if you want to see it.


Hmm... track 12 of her 1st album is called: 오빠! 나 해도돼? (XXX Version). I listened to it; it doesn't do anything for me. :)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Compassion International

Hwangbo (Korean celebrity) just tweeted something about Compassion in Korea.
아이티 어린이 결연 재개됩니다! 에서도 가능하시고 전화 02)3668-3400으로도 가능합니다~ 여러분의 도움으로 결연이 재개될 수 있었습니다. 감사합니다! ^^

No idea what she said but it's cool to see that she supports Compassion. I posted before that she came to LA to speak at a church but I was too chicken to go.

Yupa Tepthong - 12/25/1991

This was the original photo I received when I started sponsoring Yupa in Thailand.

This is the most recent photo. I think the sponsorship ends when they turn 19 which is this Christmas. I've sponsored her since 1996.


Gavin Newsom is an ass. I really wanted to go to the Brown Eyed Girls concert but now I think I'm going to boycott San Francisco... I wasn't going to spend that much money there anyway. I'll wait until BEG comes to LA to perform (2011 KMF?!).

SF Gate
City workers banned from official travel to Arizona

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced today a moratorium on official city travel to Arizona after the state enacted a controversial new immigration law that directs local police to arrest those suspected of being in the country illegally.

The ban on city employee travel to Arizona takes effect immediately, although there are some exceptions, including for law enforcement officials investigating a crime, officials said. It's unclear how many planned trips by city workers will be curtailed.

The move comes amid a cascade of criticism of Arizona's law, which has been denounced by civil rights groups, some police officials and President Obama, who said it threatens to "undermine basic notions of fairness that we cherish as Americans." Legal challenges are being weighed to overturn it.

San Francisco's move comes as the Board of Supervisors introduced non-binding resolutions calling for comprehensive immigration reform and a boycott of Arizona because of the new law, which requires police to try to determine the immigration status of anyone they reasonably suspect of being in the country illegally. There are also online boycott campaigns calling for everything from a boycott of the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team to the Grand Canyon.

Bad Soup

I went to the work cafe to get a bowl of soup for lunch. Out of the three choices, I got the "Hearty Beef Vegetable" and it has to be the worst soup I've ever tasted. It was extremely oily, had no flavor, and the beef chunks were really tough/hard to chew. It looks like they bought the lowest grade of meat or just didn't cook it long enough. I tried biting into two pieces of beef, took a few sips of the soup, and basically tossed the entire bowl (Styrofoam) into the trash.

As the saying goes... I think I could have made better soup with one arm tied behind my back.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Hugo Chavez to join Twitter

Well, that's one person I won't follow on Twitter.

Telegraph UK
Mr Chavez speaks to the nation for hours every Sunday on his radio and television program but on Twitter he will be limited to much shorter messages of just 140 characters each time.

His use of Twitter also marks a new tactic in his approach to the internet and social networking.

In January Mr Chavez said that using Twitter, the internet and text messaging to criticise his regime was "terrorism."

He has now decided to use the social networking tool for his own purposes.

"Comandante Chavez is going to open his Twitter account soon to wage the battle online," Diosdado Cabello, director of Venezuela's state-run telecommunications agency, said on Venezuelan television, according to Bloomberg News.

"I'm sure he'll break records for numbers of followers."

Mr Chavez is the latest leader to start using Twitter. US President Barack Obama has nearly 3.8 million followers on the social networking tool.

Sigh, what a narcissistic little dictator. Is he going to force all Venezuelans to "follow" him on Twitter? How many people have computers and an Internet connection there anyway? I'm surprised Twitter is not blocked in Venezuela like it is in China; dictators don't like free communications.

I bet that the Sora Aoi (ex-Japanese AV star) will have more followers than Chavez. She's better looking too.


TwitterCounter has Obama at #4 with 3.78 million followers (I'm not following him either); he's behind Ashton Kutcher, Britney Spears, and Ellen DeGeneres. Obama is #1 though in the number of people (~730k) he's following... I wonder how much that team of people at the White House is costing me in taxes. :(


Woohoo! I'm ranked #649,761!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Griffith Observatory

I went and visited Griffith Observatory yesterday afternoon. I've been there several times before and always managed to park in the immediate parking lot. Yesterday however, there was a lot of people and I ended up parking halfway down the hill and had to climb a bit. The weather was really nice but there was a haze hanging over LA as usual.

Statue in front of the observatory. Facing front is Isaac Newton flanked by Herschel and Kepler.

Downtown Los Angeles

Looking towards Orange County to the southeast. You can just barely see the moon.

For a wannabe astronomer, I've only been to two observatories: Griffith and Mount Palomar. The last time I was here I got to look through the telescope at Jupiter. I imagined seeing the Great Red Spot and weather bands but only saw a bright dot surrounded by 4 faint dots.

Edited Out

KARA is on episode 280 of Star Golden Bell. This originally aired in Korea on March 27th, 2010.

The interesting thing is that they completely (almost) edited out Kim Taehyun from the episode. He got into a fight and beat up some guy (I'm assuming that he didn't hit a girl). Since this happened after the show was originally aired, they would have taped the show normally while usually mean quite a few lines from Taehyun.

Star Golden Bell typically runs a few minutes longer than an hour but I noticed that this episode was a bit shorter. In the "Back to Basics" segment, the highlight would be Taehyun competing against the 6 year old girl. This time, the entire exchange was cut out. He was only visible for a few seconds because they moved him to the front row during another segment.

KBS World is translated and shown outside of Korea. I don't know if a lot of people knows about he fighting story that KBS had to cut him out of this episode. I'm going to try and find the original Korean broadcast to see how much was edited out.


Oops, I was wrong. The news was from March 24th and he was already edited out of the Korean broadcast. I guess they taped the episode earlier. I'll bet he won't be in future episodes.


I checked the main KBS website in Korea and it appears Kim Taehyun is not on the cast list for the next 2 episodes. Too bad...

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Lee Hyori Comeback

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Lee Hyori

Hyori is probably one of the most famous K-pop stars in Korea. She was a member of FinKL and the only one still releasing albums. She's also in quite a few variety shows (Family Outing) and does a lot of CFs (commercials). I think she turned 30 this year... pretty amazing.

Random Photos...

I was looking through old (analog) photos and decided to scan a few into the computer.

Kindergarten graduation photo. No idea who the other 16 students are. I wonder if they're all still in Taiwan or if some of them emigrated to the US/Canada as well.

My car during freshman year at UCLA. It didn't like going faster than 60 mph.

Some friends from across the hallway during freshman year. This was the living room of the apartment I shared with Haley and Eric. From L to R: Ha, Marie(?), and Craig. I'm looking for Craig if anyone's seen him.

I took this when I visited a friend's dorm room (really, it's not my desk). I wonder if he still has those calendars.

USC MBA orientation departure. We were boarding buses for Lake Arrowhead. Can't believe it's been 17 years. Recently a coworker decided to quit finance and go to grad school for interior design after working for 4 years. I was only 25 when I started the MBA program.

Life Is Short

Sigh... people usually say this when someone passes away. I just found out that someone I knew from a long time ago just died earlier today from cancer. His name was Hideo Sugano and I think we're about the same age.

I met Hideo around 1990 when I worked for one summer at Alphagraphics in Torrance as their computer artist. This was after I graduated from UCLA and was about to start grad school (MSEE) at USC. I think because I had to quit after the summer, Hideo took my place. Anyway, for a few months, I hung out with him as he introduced me to a bit of the club DJ culture. What I remembered most was that his garage was full of vinyl records (he lived in a house on Torrance Blvd by himself; his parents were in Atlanta for some reason). He also took me around a few times to pick up new records in Hollywood. It was pretty interesting since it was a sub-culture that I've never experienced before, or since.

A few years ago, I found him on Facebook and sent him a message. I think we traded a few emails and he put me on his DJ mailing list; I got some pretty cool party invites in the mail. More recently, I found out that he was diagnosed with cancer and was undergoing chemotherapy. Just last month, I tried sending a check to help cover food expenses but the mailing address on his website was bad... I probably should have followed up more diligently.

Rest in peace.

DJ Hideo website

JeepSpeed Front Suspension Build

So Randy and I are beginning to think that we should have bought a truck instead of trying to build our own. Not only is the truck fighting us, we had lots of problems with the after-market parts as well.

Anyway, we were supposed to do a lot of stuff today but as usual, we only got part of one thing done after 9 hours of work... at least Josh showed up this time so it wasn't just the two of us. Long story short, we installed the trac-bar mount and also the control arm mounts from Full Traction. It was supposed to be a bolt-on kit but we ended up drilling and cutting all sorts of holes in the frame; The pre-drilled mounting holes did not match the stock bolts/holes exactly. I think we need to work on the truck every weekend if we want to race by September.


Replacement control arm mount. These mount further back on the truck to give the front wheels more travel. Full Traction (manufacturer) put their stickers upside down.

Wheels. Randy bought eight of them for our truck. Now we just need tires (and a lot of other stuff).

"How does this fit together?" The instructions are pretty sparse. There are about 10 pages of instructions; we only ended up completing one page today.

Woohoo! First after-market part installed!

Since we want to weld on the new control arm mounts later, we needed to clean off the frame around the mounts. I'm not too good with high-speed rotating tools; this is ~20 minutes of work. I ended up covered with powdered road grime, rust, paint, and primer.

Drilling holes into the frame to further secure the control arm mounts. It was more difficult than I thought and definitely more involved than the one line instructions: drill hole and insert bolt.

Both pieces of the mount installed. I wasn't very much help... even sprained my neck at one point, so I just took pictures.

Even though the bolts were supposed to be self-tapping, Randy decided to tap the holes manually to make sure the bolts fastened correctly and didn't strip the threads.

New trac-bar mount. Josh installed this piece in the morning. Since it used existing mounting holes and bolts, it was quite uneventful, not like the rest of the day.

The existing canopy was ripped during a rainstorm a few months ago. Since it was quite sunny today, Randy's dad put up a temporary tarp to give us some shade. I think I got sunburned in the face nevertheless.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Rush Concert

Speaking of concerts, Rush is on tour again... I wasn't sure if they were still alive. I used to like Rush a lot, being from Toronto and all. The first rock concert I went to was to see Rush at Maple Leaf Gardens; I think it was for their Grace Under Pressure album.

They're playing at Irvine Meadows on my birthday this year. I don't think tickets are on sale yet; the only option I see is a VIP package for $350. Maybe Sunny will go with me to that concert since she's not interested in Korean music.

10 Years

I got a new badge at work yesterday. This one has a 10 year graphic in the top right corner. I actually started work in January of 2000 but they only hand them out once per quarter. We started using picture IDs a few months after I started so the badge photo is from 10 years ago. I looked much younger, had more hair, and I still have the same shirt that I wore in the photo.

I'm also supposed to get a plaque or something during a department meeting in May... more worthless memorabilia I guess. What am I supposed to do with all this stuff when I quit or get fired? They are going to have a lunch for me and my manager asked me to choose who I want to invite. I ended up with only people that worked for me or worked in the same group at the same time. It was like coming up with the guest list for a wedding reception. I wanted to invite my manager for 7 out of the 10 years but he's now the CFO at a competitor so I guess that wouldn't go over too well... though I think everyone else I invited would be happy to see him.


I really didn't want the new badge since I'm the only one hired 10 years ago with a MBA that has not been promoted to a director title. It's just another reminder that I'm stuck.


I should stop whining and go to work.

40 Stitches

Wow, 40 stitches is a lot.

According to the report, Kim Tae Hyun engaged in a mild quarrel with an acquaintance, but the disagreement got much more serious and eventually involved violence. The victim of the assault has been treated with more than forty stitches, whereas Kim Tae Hyun himself did not receive any.

Kim Taehyun is one of the regular cast members on Star Golden Bell. I think he is a comedian... he's pretty funny on variety shows.

A cut has to be pretty large to require 40 stitches. Maybe it was a knife fight or otherwise the other guy seriously got his ass kicked. Those Koreans need to stop drinking so much.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Just Shut Up and Make Movies...

Cameron then went on to praise Communist China for its research in and production of renewable energy and questioned why the United States is not following China’s lead.

“You know, and I think that the point that the Chinese are the world leaders in renewable energy technology,” said Cameron. “Right now, 60 percent of the solar cells are made in China . They’re employing, you know, hundreds of thousands of people in the renewable energy sector and they don’t need to – they’re a dictatorship, essentially.

“You know, they don’t need to answer to their public. They are doing it for very pragmatic, Machiavellian reasons. You know, why aren’t we doing it?” he added.

Sigh... does he know that almost none of the solar cells made in China are actually sold and installed in China? At least he recognizes that China is a dictatorship. Avatar was a good looking movie but the plot sucked... you could easily tell that Cameron is a flaming liberal.
“And the people that are propagating this denial of climate change and that are ranting on in this, kind of, you know, fear mongering, you know, they’re the people that have to answer to my children for the world that they’re propagating and the world that they’re essentially creating, which is going to be a very bleak world,” he added.

Last Thursday, Cameron participated in a panel discussion about environmental policy on Capitol Hill, sponsored by Rep. Diane E. Watson (D-Calif.).

Other panelists included MSNBC host and former Congressman Joe Scarborough, New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, and actress Sigourney Weaver, who played the leading role in Cameron’s 1986 film, “Aliens.”

Is he serious? Fear-mongering? I think Al Gore and the IPCC are the guilty party.

One more rant. Who votes for people like Diane Watson? Unbelievable.

Yet Another Lame Phishing Email

As far as scam emails go, this one is pretty short and poorly written.
Good day
government of this country are fight for every foreign person to received his money, because government said that you have made a lot of expenses that is why government submitted it in our bank, now what you will do is to sent you full name and address you will tell us how you will like to received you money
Contact Bank Email:( )

The funniest part though is the sender info. The name used (Alex Johnson) is pretty nondescript but the email address is: Forget the lame email itself, what "bank" would have an email address like that?! Amateurs.

Monday, April 19, 2010

More Embedding Tests

I guess I spoke too soon on the Blogcastone + Cox Media Store. I wasn't able to play any of the files on my PC and only a few worked on my Mac. I think the problem is with Cox since I was unable to download the files either.

A long time ago I signed up for Microsoft Skydrive while allows you to store stuff online. I think it allows direct URL access to files so maybe that will work.

Tell Me (rap version) - Wonder Girls


Oh well, looks like that won't work either.


One last try. Blogcastone suggested some obscure file sharing website called FileDen. You get 1GB of storage for free but each time you sign in, it bombards you will multiple "offers" for crap. Oh well, you get what you paid for.

Umbrella - KARA

Embedded Video Test

I downloaded this from YouTube a year ago. I think someone created the remix (with original rap?) and someone else edited in the music video to match the remixed lyrics. Pretty cool. The uploaded file is a 14.5MB MP4 file that I uploaded to my Cox account.


Hey, it works! You have to manually adjust the width x height settings to get the right aspect ratio but it plays pretty well. I'll probably need to re-encode anything I want to post at a lower bitrate to save space and bandwidth though... at least stuff won't get "harmonized" by YouTube. :)


Arg, Cox Media Store changes the path each time you login to the site so you can't use it to stream videos or MP3s. Suck.

KMF Song Selection

The KMF (Korean Music Festival) is a long concert. I think the 2009 one was close to 4 hours since they have lots of artists performing but each only get 3-4 songs. Here's my prediction for the few groups that I know:


- Lupin (current single)

- Honey

- Mister (butt dance!)


- Tired of Waiting (current single)

- Heartbeat

- Again & Again

Wonder Girls

- Nobody (English maybe?)

- So Hot
- Tell Me

The rest I'm not sure...


Update... links to songs added!


Hmm... embedding MP3s in Blogger is a pain in the ass since they don't provide a tool or button. I was using 4shared to upload and share but their player converts the MP3 into Flash files and most are cut off. I then tried embedding the Google Reader code and pointing to 4shared but it only worked with Firefox on my Mac; using Safari or IE/Firefox on Windows would crash the browser. Finally, I activated my free Cox web storage (5GB) and found a small player called Blogcastone which works well. Even at 10MB per MP3 file, I can store ~500 songs online which is plenty for blog sharing (unless I want to upload music videos).


Never-ending updates... it appears that Cox Media Store auto-generates a link each time you sign in so the URL is not static. That makes it impossible to link to it for streaming media. I guess it's one way to limit bandwidth. I'm uploading to FileDEN now so the KMF songs are available.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Irvine Regional Park

Yesterday afternoon, my parents and I went to check out Irvine Regional Park, which is really close to our house. The park is fairly developed with a small lake, train ride, pony ride for kids, horse rentals, several large group areas, and lots and lots of picnic table/BBQs. The (very small) Orange County Zoo is also inside the park.

Small lake. There were people fishing but I didn't see anything swimming in the water...

... not counting people on paddle bikes.


Train ride. The ride looked really short but there was a line to ride it, even at $4/person.

Pony ride for kids ($4). Adults can also rent horses to ride around many trails inside the park for $40/hour.

Gerel/Munji Wedding

Maybe I had the weird dream because I attended a wedding Friday night.

Gerel, Munji, Maral (their daughter), and Gerel's parents.

We hired Gerel at the same time we hired 4 other undergrads from USC. I specifically remember looking at her resume because it said she spoke Russian, Mongolian, and Korean in addition to English. Anyway, Gerel worked in cost accounting for about a year but had to quit since she did not get a H1B visa during the Great Lottery of 2007. Shortly after, she got married with Munji and had Maral but they never held a wedding ceremony. Now that they've decided to move back to Mongolia (they're both Mongolian), they organized a wedding ceremony/reception before he leaves this Sunday (today).

The wedding was held at Los Verdes Golf Course in Palos Verdes. I think there were ~100 people invited and I carpooled with a few people from work. The ceremony was conducted in English but there was a lot of Mongolian spoken. Since Gerel also speaks Korean, I kept asking Sunny whether they were speaking Korean... for some reason Sunny kept asking me if I understood, as if they were going to speak Mandarin. :)

Gerel, Munji, Solongo (Gerel's sister), and friends (I think they're all Mongolian)

The ceremony was also very simple. There was no wedding party (groomsmen or bridesmaids) and Maral was the flower girl. The reception was standard American fare with salad and choice of fish or chicken. The food was decent but the Koreans (Sunny and Christine) were hoping for a Korean buffet instead. They invited a professional singer that sang a few songs in English and Mongolian... for awhile I though there was going to be karaoke/noraebang but I guess that's only for Vietnamese wedding receptions.

Some more pictures:

First dance


Professional (we think) Mongolian singer. Most of the young female guests were wearing short skirts and really crazy high heels (~6"). Not sure how they walk or dance without falling over.

In addition to red/white wine, there was a bottle of Mongolian vodka at each table. I originally thought it was going to taste like baijiu but it was more like Russian vodka. Not sure if Mongolians are crazy drinkers like Russians or Koreans... probably, since it's freezing cold there.

Cake cutting/frosting smearing

Recursive Dream

I had a weird dream Friday night... this is the only part I remember.

I was walking along the beach with my ex and we were still married. Even in my dream I "knew" I was divorced so I kept asking her, "What's the date?" I felt relieved when she answered December 31, 2009; I was even slapping myself in the face to make sure I wasn't dreaming. Since I was divorced in 2006, in my dream I concluded that the whole divorce thing must have been a bad dream. Then my alarm went off in the "real world" and I woke up confused...

I guess this is reality since I slapped myself again and this time it really hurt.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Brown Eyed Girls in Concert

Dang! San Francisco on May 22nd.

Myx is an Asian American music/lifestyle cable channel; I have it on my Cox cable and it seems to play crappy hip=hop music all the time. They're holding a concert during Asian Pacific Heritage Month and it looks like BEG is going to perform. I think the only other time they performed was in a club last year in NYC.

Ooh, I just checked and plane tickets are only $139 round trip. Add car rental, hotel room, parking... and concert tickets, it will probably cost >$500. :(


BART goes from SFO to Civic Center Station, which is only two blocks from the auditorium, for ~$8 each way. 2-star hotels are only $100/night. Woohoo!


Tickets are $35 and $60 (VIP lounge) for general admission.

Lessons From A Mining Disaster

Sigh... even after a mining disaster, the propaganda never lets up. China has one of the world's worst safety records when it comes to mining accidents. There are safety rules and regulations but like most laws in China, it is selectively enforced. There are also lots of illegal mines that are part owned by corrupt government officials where safety rules are routinely flaunted.

Recently, there was a mining accident at Shanxi’s Wangjialing Mine. This time, they were able to rescue a lot of the trapped miners, which is really good news, though there were also many bodies recovered. However, instead of looking into the causes of the accident or reporting on the heroics of the rescuers, the spin has been about praising the political leaders and socialism. Seriously.

China Media Project
We had a wave of pro-government hurrahs and jubilation in China’s media this week, hearkening back to an earlier era of “red propaganda.”

“Thanks to our great Mother Nation, and to the great CCP!” “Ah, great Mother Nation! Ah, great Party!” “A song of victory for the CCP!”

On the heels of the good tidings from Shanxi, the Political Department of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) issued a news release instructing PLA and armed police divisions nationwide to appropriate the Wangjialing Mine story as an official teaching manual — not for relief and rescue, mind you, but for the pro-party spirit and the superiority of socialism.

The PLA notice read:

After flooding occurred at Shanxi’s Wangjialing Mine, the central party and the State Council gave top priority to rescue work. General Secretary Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao rapidly issued important instructions for action, demanding effective measures be taken and all available resources be mobilized for the rescue of miners trapped underground. Under the scientific decision-making and determined leadership of the central party and Chairman Hu, relevant agencies of the State Council and local party and government organizations carried out the rescue work scientifically.

Rescue workers did their upmost to rescue the trapped miners, who held on bravely, and the leaders of relevant departments advanced to the front lines. As of present, 115 workers have been successfully saved.

I'm not sure what to say to that. A lot of times when I read news from China, it feels like I'm watching really bad theater. I keep wondering if these people really believe in what they're writing/saying or if it's all just a massive ponzi scheme where everyone plays along, hoping to get something (power, money, prestige) before the whole system collapses.

Nicole (KARA) on Happy Together

I recorded this last night (part 1 of 6).

The guest are from Star Golden Bell (2 MCs, 1 regular guest, and Nicole from KARA).

Thursday, April 15, 2010

One More KARA Video

KARA performing Lupin on a radio bora (visible radio) show. They have a lot of these in Korea where you can watch a live video feed (on the Internet I presume) while they're broadcasting the radio show. It's a good chance to see artists in normal street clothes, though they still have way too much makeup on. I'm posting all these KARA videos so Leon will know it's them when they come on stage at the KMF concert in ~two weeks.

I downloaded the entire radio show but there was a lot of talking w/o subtitles so I have no idea what they were talking about... it will be just like that at the concert. :) I used Avidemux to cut out the singing part.

From L to R: Jiyoung, Nicole, Gyuri, Seungyeon, Hara


Ooh, someone uploaded it in HD/720p.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

This video has been removed due to terms of use violation

I'm seeing that a lot more lately on YouTube. I know I mentioned this before but I link to a lot of K-pop MVs and performances and it seems like they've all been flagged. When Google paid a billion dollars for YouTube, I was wondering how they are going to recoup their investment. It was popular because people post a lot of "copyrighted" material. Sure there was also "original" content but how much crappy home video can you watch anyway?

So... my 2nd KBSWorld upload account is still alive. It was created on March 24th, 2010 and so far there are 265 subscribers and 10,039 views. I don't put the show names or tags anymore so I'm not sure how people find the videos. As for the K-pop stuff, I try to download stuff I like from YouTube as soon I see it. I may re-upload some music performances in stealth mode (no title/description/tags) so I can link to them from here.

No Compendre

My ex-coworker just told me that she's not going to the 2010 KMF so I guess it's just me and Leon. It will be like being in Korea for 4 hours. Some more sections have sold out for online tickets so I contacted someone offering tickets on the Khype website forum. I got two $125 terrace tickets for $150 total last year but it looks like I'm getting two $70 at face value this year. There are still Pool Circle tickets being offered but they're $400-$500 each. I'm not paying that much... and hardcore fans in that section are really crazy so it probably won't be that enjoyable anyway.

I'm looking forward to seeing KARA and Kim Jong Kook in person.

Not sure if I linked to this before. The first one to dance (silver pants) is Nicole from KARA. The second one is Ga-In from Brown Eyed Girls. They're actually the group I really want to see in concert.

Run Devil Run

Somebody complained about the K-pop to tax complaint post ratio so here's is the new SNSD single, Run Devil Run.

Music Video

Live performance on Inkigayo this past weekend (4/11/2010)

I don't like this song as much as some of their previous songs and their look is a bit different too. I didn't recognize Yoona when I saw their first live performance. I think it's because she's wearing these fake bangs.

Tax Poll

Gallop did a survey asking whether people think they pay too much, too little, or just the right amount of taxes. For the entire survey group, 48% thinks they pay too much, 45% think it's the right amount, and 3% think they pay too little.

If you look at the breakdown by income, 44% of people making <$20k per year think they pay too much. Now the question specifically asks about federal taxes. People making <$20k don't pay federal taxes; in fact, most probably get a "refund" due to credits and other wealth redistribution gimmicks. Maybe they think they deserve more entitlements while not contributing into the tax base.

On the other side of the scale, there are 3% of people making >$75k that think they pay too little taxes. Maybe they have really good tax accountants... or these could be the super rich liberal Hollywood director/producer types that thinks everyone should pay more so their pet social projects can get public funding.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

River 47

On moving day, a neighbor out for a run stopped by to talk to me and my dad. He said he was a naval officer (just spent 2 years in Iraq) but he was also the pastor of a local church called River 47 in Orange. I haven't found a church since leaving NewSong so I thought I'd check it out this morning.

Coincidentally, River 47 is also an Evangelical Covenant church, like NewSong, but the congregation is very different. I was basically the only Asian in the entire building which is a huge change from all the churches I've attended. NewSong is probably 95% Asian and the name of my first church (Chinese Community Church of South Bay) requires no further explanations. I did see a ~4 year old Asian girl but she was surrounded by white people (parents/grandparents) so I'm guessing she was adopted. There was ~300 people at the beginning; when they let the kids go (<3rd grade), it was down to ~200... lots of kids.

The service was an hour and 15 minutes with the sermon being only 30 minutes long. The worship was contemporary but a bit slower than NewSong. The team consisted of three vocalists, an acoustic guitar, bass, keys, and drums. There was also a VBS presentation/song at the beginning. I think the theme ocean/cruse based so some of the helpers were dressing in Sailor Moon like costumes/uniforms... very weird. The pastor saw me and came over to greet me before the service. He said I looked familiar but he couldn't remember so I told him about our 3 minute conversation back in January. The sermon was the beginning of a new series on the book of Romans. He is basically going through verse by verse which is very different from NewSong.

I'm not sure yet if I'll go visit again. I left NewSong because they focused way too much on feelings and social justice, plus everyone was so young. River 47 seems to be more family-types but I felt a bit conspicuous being the only Asian in the congregation.


Here is a 14 second video clip from my iPod nano. I wasn't really trying to record anything specific... it was more of a camera test.

Resolution: 640x480
Video: 2.67Mb/sec H.264
Audio: AAC 44.1kHz
FPS: 29.97
Length: 14 sec
Size: ~4.6MB

Saturday, April 10, 2010


A co-worker brought in his new 64GB iPad to work and he let me play with it. It's cool but I'm still not sure what I'd do with it that I can't do with my netbook. Maybe when v2 comes out...

iPad next to my 12.1" Dell D-410 at work

Thursday, April 8, 2010

MaxLinear IPO

Ringing the NYSE bell... pretty cool.

I went to school (UCLA) and church with one of the co-founders.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Just Cause 2

I just bought it for the PS3 today. I downloaded the demo a few days ago and it's really cool. Basically you go around and blow up stuff... sounds boring but I liked it a lot.

The main female character is the leader of a rebel group. It's kind of funny because she's dressed like a Singapore Airlines flight attendant and speaks English with a SE Asian accent, just like people I know in Singapore and all my cousins from Malaysia. :)

I'm going to 2010 KMF

When the artists were first announced for this year, I wasn't sure if I wanted to go. Now that KARA will be there and Leon is interested, we're going. I'm just waiting to see if Sunny (Korean ex-coworker) wants to go as well. She doesn't listen to K-pop but likes Kim Jong Kook when he was in Turbo many years ago.

The forum where I found my tickets last year still has some available but no one is selling at a discount yet. I got $125 tickets for $75 last year. This year, the prices have gone up so terrace boxes are $150 face value. However, Korea Times improved their online purchase website and there are plenty of seats left.

Each year, they invite a lot of different artists. Here are the ones I am interested in seeing:

KARA (hopefully Nicole will speak some English as MC)

Wonder Girls (Sun Mi, the one on the very right, was just replaced with another girl)

2PM (without Jaebeom on the far left)

Kim Jong Kook (just came out with 6th solo album after serving in the army)

BEAST (new group... I haven't listened to any of their songs)

Leessang (never listened to them either)

Park Jung Ah. She's a member of Jewelry but they won't be there. I posted her picture because she's pretty... and for some reason, going out with Gil, the guy on the right in Leessang.

There are a couple of more artists that I've heard of (Haha, Lee Eum-Mi) and a few more that I haven't. I think it will be a good show. This time I'll bring my dad's Panasonic camera with an 18x lens to shoot some better vids.


Speaking of K-pop concerts, JYP (Park Jin Young) is coming to LA with 2AM (not to be confused with 2PM) in late May. I didn't like him at first but after watching him on a few variety shows, he seems pretty cool. For hardcore fans, there's a $300 VIP package that includes front row seats at the Palladium, some trinkets, but most importantly, a private party after the show. I wonder how many people will buy that package.

Jo Kown of 2AM singing with Ga In of Brown Eyed Girls. They're a "couple" in a fake marriage show and this song was part of an episode. I think I would pay $300 to watch/meet the Brown Eyed Girls if they came to LA to perform.

Chopra Blames Own Meditation for Baja Quake

Not funny... at all.

AOL News
(April 5) -- The U.S. Geological Survey is blaming day-to-day seismological changes for Sunday's 7.2 earthquake along the U.S.-Mexico border. But Deepak Chopra, the famed alternative-medicine practitioner and transcendental meditation guru, is pretty sure he knows what really happened.

"Had a powerful meditation just now -- caused an earthquake in Southern California," Chopra wrote to his nearly 179,000 Twitter followers shortly after the quake.

And then, to clarify: "Was meditating on Shiva mantra & earth began to shake," he tweeted. "Sorry about that.


An hour after Chopra's Twitter confession, he vowed to one Twitter user, @WhiteMoon7, "Won't do it again -- promise."

But even the guru himself must not know his own strength. Since the promise, dozens of aftershocks have rattled the U.S.-Mexico border."

I looked at his Twitter account and he's following 4,246 people. WTF? Does he really read all that mindless babble from all those people?!

Global Warming = Nazism = Slavery

So says James Hansen...

The Huffington Post (ugh!)
Obama's Second Chance on the Predominant Moral Issue of This Century

President Obama, finally, took a get-involved get-tough approach to negotiations on health care legislation and the arms control treaty with Russia -- with success. Could this be the turn-around for what might still be a great presidency?

The predominant moral issue of the 21st century, almost surely, will be climate change, comparable to Nazism faced by Churchill in the 20th century and slavery faced by Lincoln in the 19th century. Our fossil fuel addiction, if unabated, threatens our children and grandchildren, and most species on the planet.

Yet the president, addressing climate in the State of the Union, was at his good-guy worst, leading with "I know that there are those who disagree..." with the scientific evidence. This weak entrée, almost legitimizing denialists, was predictably greeted by cheers and hoots from well-oiled coal-fired Congressmen. The president was embarrassed and his supporters cringed.

Next to Al Gore, James Hansen (another government/NASA employee) is probably most guilty of spreading the AGW scam. I don't know if he says crap like this to get attention or if he's really crazy:
CEOs of fossil energy companies know what they are doing and are aware of long-term consequences of continued business as usual. In my opinion, these CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature. (Guardian UK)

I'm not sure how he can compare "human caused" climate warming to the murder of millions of Jews in WW2 or tens of millions of slaves, current or in the past. The climate changes all the time throughout the history of the planet and humans thrive when the temperature is warmer rather than colder.

From this chart, it appears that there is a lot of variability in the global climate, as implied by the amount of ice. The last ice-age ended about 12k years ago where most of North America was covered by mile high glaciers. Seriously, do we want to go back to that?

My real question is what is driving these people to make these outrageous comments and projections? Maybe the global temperature will go up a bit (I'm not convinced about 10°C in 100 years predictions) but there's nothing to suggest the catastrophic flooding and starvation of hundreds of millions of people. I know why Al Gore is doing it... to make money on all his carbon trading businesses, but these advocate/scientists? Like I was telling Leon, I don't have kids and all this won't impact me before I die so deep down, I don't care... just don't tax me anymore!

No More TLAs*...

...on CCTV!
CCTV bans English acronyms

ANCHORS at China Central Television have been banned from saying the English acronyms NBA, CBA, GDP, and the like in their programs.

Presenters must abandon English initials and replace them with their full Chinese name, according to a regulation released by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television.

CCTV sports anchor Sun Zhengping confirmed that he and many colleagues received instructions via short message on April 2. Sun said he was required to not use NBA when referring to the men's professional basketball association in the United States.

"A full Chinese explanation of the English initials must be followed if my tongue slips," Sun said, "It is a little trouble but a necessary one because not every audience member can understand the initials."

Although the authority gave no explanation of the ban, a CCTV staffer whose name was undisclosed said the ban could protect the purity of the Chinese language.

The Chinese name for the NBA consists of 10 characters.

I read this on another blog and one of the comments asked if "CCTV" is also banned... :)

This sounds really idiotic. Certain terms like NBA and IBM are acronyms but have become brand names. I'll bet if you ask people in the US, a lot won't know that National Basketball Association = NBA. It's another ill-conceived anti-American reaction by some stupid bureaucrat in the CCP. Also, does it only apply to English? What about French, German, or other languages? Will they also ban TGV and say 很快的火车?

*TLA = Three Letter Acronyms :)


Good thing PMI has a Chinese name, otherwise CCTV won't be able to say our name on the air.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Magic Mouse Problem

I read online that a lot of people have problems with their Apple Magic Mouse and how it tracks. In some cases, it turned out that the problem was not with the mouse but with the crappy Bluetooth antenna in their Mac. I tried connecting the mouse to my Sony Vaio which also has built-in Bluetooth and it works great, without all the special gestures of course. Crap. That means it's the Bluetooth in my Mac mini. I guess that's why the Apple Keyboard sometimes skips characters as well. I guess the only solution is to buy a plug in USB Bluetooth adapter to see if it improves reception. Should have stuck with the Logitech VX.

Good thing Bluetooth adapters are not that expensive.


The System Profiler says I have a CSR Bluetooth radio in my Mac mini. Maybe that's the problem (i.e., non-Broadcom part). It also has an Atheros 5424 wireless chip and a Marvell Ethernet controller... 0 for 3 on Broadcom content.


Felt an earthquake about an hour ago. It lasted for about 40 seconds and the house was shaking pretty good. It's hard to tell how big an earthquake is unless you know how far you're from the epicenter. I looked up the USGS website and it appears to be a huge 6.9 quake in Baja California near Mexicali.

The quake is the biggest red box on the map. It looks like the quake also triggered a few other quakes since they seem a bit far to be aftershocks. In comparison, the Northridge quake was 6.7 but it was much closer.


Upgraded to a 7.2... and it's triggered a whole bunch of smaller quakes. They're calling it a earthquake swarm.

The colors changed since the USGS is using UTC. The red line in the map is probably the San Andreas fault or where California splits and falls into the Pacific Ocean in all the disaster movies.