Monday, May 31, 2010

MS-DOS Commands

I hate Windows Vista.

For some reason, Vista would not allow me to rename or delete a video file (.avi) that I ripped from a DVD. Each time I try to modify the file, Windows explorer would hang then say "(Not Responding)". In the past (this happens quite often), I would reboot the computer and that would fix the problem for awhile. Today however, I still could not rename/delete the file after 3 restarts. Finally, I rebooted the system one more time, pulled up a DOS window (Start > Run... > CMD), and typed "cd Videos" followed by "del *.avi".

Arg! DOS commands... :( You have to be pretty old to remember this stuff.

DVD-R/W Lifespan

One of my DVD-R/W discs went bad yesterday; it gave me several record errors when I tried to edit a track and finalize the disc on my DVD recorder. I thought they were able to withstand ~1,000 format/write cycles but this one didn't last that long. At most, it was probably used 2-3 times per week (format/record) for the past 4 months... that's not even 5% of the rated life.

Lame. I wish they had a video tuner/recorder that writes to a USB memory stick or some other solid state memory.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Do you miss me sometimes?

I had a dream this morning.

I was talking to someone I used to know and the question came up. It was really weird; it felt really real but somehow I knew it was a dream. I remember telling myself not to ask the question but it came out anyway.

YouTube Badge

Woohoo! I got a little badge thingy on my YouTube account. Evidently, I'm the #75 most subscribed channel this week. Since I got strike #1 on my 2nd upload account, I posted a short video telling everyone to go to my 3rd upload account. Unfortunately, I got strike #1 on this account within 4 days and got 3 videos blocked. I'm trying to upload the same videos again and YouTube immediately flagged one of my videos (part 2 of Star Golden Bell episode 282). I'm not sure how it got flagged so fast... it must be an automated process. That means there is probably a song or a distinct/unique audio signature that's somehow matched. Sigh... I'm going to leave it but it probably means I'll get strike #2 or #3 soon.

Solar Cells

I got a Brunton Solaris 12 from Leon today. It's a flexible solar array made with CIGS cells that puts out 12W (15.4V @800mA). Coincidentally, I was checking out the 26W version on Amazon today.

I bought an DC/AC inverter from Costco a few years ago. If I can locate it, I'm going to try out the panel to see how much power it puts out. 12W should be enough to charge cell phones and iPods. I checked my netbook's AC adapter and it outputs 12V @3.0A so the 12W cells probably won't be able to power the computer but it should charge the batteries at 1/3 the rate. Brunton also makes a large 56W solar array that can power regular notebooks but it's pretty expensive.


Leon mentioned this to me before... the Brunton solar arrays are actually made by Global Solar. Here's the 12W solar charger.

Friday, May 28, 2010



The PR guy in the clip, Marc Slavin, is a SF city employee. His salary in 2009 was ~$132k. You'd think he would be a bit more professional.


Looking at the SF salary database further, it looks like a lot of people make >$100k. Especially interesting is the overtime pay. There are a lot of police/fire captains on the list. Why do they get overtime? Aren't management exempt from OT laws? Is this something negotiated by the unions? Also, a lot of people's OT salary is greater than their regular salary. That doesn't make sense. Assuming that overtime is 1.5x, then hiring another person would get you 100% more productivity. If this was a private company, this would have been fixed a long time ago.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Helvetica, The Movie

I found a documentary about fonts that came out in 2007! The title is called Helvetica, named after one of the most widely used fonts. I remember the original Apple PostScript fonts were Courier, Helvetica, Times New Roman, and something else (Zapf Chancery?). With Windows and TrueType, Helvetica has been replaced by Arial... not sure if it is licensed or a shanzai version.

Helvetica movie trailer

Old Blog Posts

I got up too late for church this morning. Instead, I ended up browsing through old blog posts. There's about 5 years of entries on this blog account; this appears to be post #1333.

Sometimes I just repost stuff I found interesting on the web. This one from Feb-06 was about a new apartment building in Tokyo that was renting for ~$10,000 (USD) per month. The link on the post is no longer active but it redirected me to the main leasing company website. I looked up the same apartment and there is only one unit for rent: a 667 ft^2 one-bedroom apartment for ~$6,000 per month. That's about ~$72,000 per year just for rent... do Japanese people eat? Or do they all make >$100k per year and don't pay taxes?

It looks like prices have dropped in the last 4 years but it's still crazy expensive for a little apartment. With the expansion of Google Maps and Street View, I can actually check out the surroundings online.

PDF map from building website

Floorplan for the only available 1BR apartment

Google Maps satellite view of the neighborhood ("A" marks the building complex)

Google Street View

The apartment's balcony is near the middle of the Street View image and appears to be the lower unit. From the floorplans, there is only one row of apartments. If you pan around the view, it looks like a pretty busy area. At the back of the apartment building, there is an elementary school. I guess it's convenient since it's between two subway stations that are also transfer points to other lines. However, unless the building is well insulated, it's probably very noisy at all hours of the day. $6,000/month will get you a ~$1.2M mortgage here... I need to check out whether 700 ft^2 lofts in downtown LA costs that much.

Brown Eyed Girls at MYX Mash

I found some videos of the concert last night in San Francisco. As far as I could tell, BEG only performed three songs: Abracadabra, LOVE, and a cover of You Raised Me Up. Also, Jea did not show up so only three of the members performed. It appears no one filled in for Jea; they left her part in the audio track. :(

I really wanted to see them in concert but I think $400+ would have been too much for this. They should hold their own concert (Los Angeles please!) since they have enough songs and probably enough fans overseas. That way they will have enough stage time to perform some of their older, and IMHO better, songs. And since I'm demanding stuff, a live band would be great... I don't like these karaoke-style performances.



You Raised Me Up (cover)

This is the first track from their first album in 2006. It's sad that they have to become a dance group as well in order to be successful in the K-pop industry.


Live performance on Love Letter:


Saturday, May 22, 2010

Iron Chef Download

I found a torrent that contains 157 episodes of the original Iron Chef (though dubbed in English), not that Iron Chef America crap. I've been able to download a few episodes before and they're probably included in this big download. The only downside that it's a 35GB+ torrent and will take forever to download.

Dalai Lama is a Marxist (AFP)
'I'm a Marxist' says Dalai Lama, but agrees capitalism has helped China

TIBETAN spiritual leader the Dalai Lama says he's a Marxist, yet credits capitalism for bringing new freedoms to China, the communist country that exiled him.

"Still I am a Marxist," the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader said in New York, where he arrived today with an entourage of robed monks and a heavy security detail to give a series of paid public lectures.

"(Marxism has) moral ethics, whereas capitalism is only how to make profits," the Dalai Lama, 74, said.

However, he credited China's embrace of market economics for breaking communism's grip over the world's most populous country and forcing the ruling Communist Party to "represent all sorts of classes".

"(Capitalism) brought a lot of positive to China. Millions of people's living standards improved," he said.

I don't get it. How can anyone look at the history of Marxist governments and see morality is beyond me. Which would you rather have? A "feel good" ideology or food on the table? Millions of people in China are out of poverty (while millions still are) because of capitalism, not Marxism.

In reality, capitalism is amoral meaning it's neither good nor evil. Pure capitalism is where individuals make decisions for their own benefit, without a central authority. Sure, Marxism may claim equality for everyone but in practice, it is impossible. It becomes a ruthless competition to be the person making these "moral" decisions and it always ends up in totalitarianism and corruption.

I'm disappointed in the Dalai Lama. Does he just want to replace the CCP as the dictator of Tibet?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Third Fake YouTube Account

I got strike #1 on my 2nd YouTube account for KBS America uploads. They flagged a video that I uploaded awhile ago so chances are they will find one of the other 232 videos in copyright violation. Unlike with the first account, I'll stop uploading but keep the current videos. Let see how long this account stays active and if there are additional video views.

Final Current statistics:
Account opened: March 24, 2010
Channel views: 17,400
Total upload views: 37,567
Subscribers: 412

I clicked on China and got the error message: "There is no viewing data for this video." Of course, YouTube is banned in China so you would expect zero views. Any illegal access would show up in the country where the VPN access is hosted. I should open an account on Youku or Tudou in China and upload stuff there. I'll bet a lot of videos get censored (or self-censored) there but since it's China, none of it from copyright infringement.


It's only been 30 minutes and I have 17 subscribers on the new account. Crazy. KBS America should figure out a good way to monetize on that demand instead of just flagging uploaded videos and suspending YouTube accounts.

Proper Punctuation

Looking at the screencap from the embedded YouTube video in the previous post, I noticed something that has always bothered me. Since several of my previous jobs were in publishing, I'm a real stickler for typography rules. In fact, for the longest time my biggest pet peeve was people putting two spaces after a period. It's fine when they're using a typewriter or mono-spaced font (Courier) but you should only use one space for proportional-spaced fonts. Recently that has been overtaken by my disgust for the CCP, but just barely.

If you look at the screencap, the pink/yellow caption says: Wonder girls舞蹈歌曲表演~Nobody. I know that there are typically no spaces between characters or after punctuation such as a comma (,) or a period (。) in Chinese; here it appears that the font itself adds some space after the punctuation character. This probably explains why I see stuff like "blah blah blah,blah blah,blah blah blah.furthermore,blah blah blah." all the time when Chinese people write in English. In the caption, they know enough to put a space between "Wonder" and "girl" but where's the space before "舞"? Even worse (Leon!), they didn't capitalize "girl" even though it's a proper noun. I sometimes don't capitalize on IM chats since it's supposed to be a conversation but for text people are supposed to read, you should try to follow legibility rules. No capitalization and no space after punctuation makes it really hard to read.

Chinese Nobody

Nobody (Chinese) - Wonder Girls

Arg, it sounds worse than the English version. Interestingly, they didn't translate the hook "I want nobody nobody but you" into Chinese but left it in English. Is the assumption that everyone understands English? Also, they translated Yoobin's rap at the end into English instead of Chinese; the original rap was mostly in Korean. I should compare the English and Chinese version to see if the lyrics are the same.


I still think Sunmi is prettier than the new girl Hae Lim.


Hae Lim

Thursday, May 20, 2010

New Wonder Girls Single

2 Different Tears - Wonder Girls

This is WG's first single in a long long time. I don't like them as much as before but it was cool seeing them in concert at the 2010 KMF. They also have an English version of this song, complete with JYP saying all that stuff at the beginning in English as well.

K-pop Baywatch?

Caribbean Bay MV - SNSD + 2PM

I'm guessing it's a commercial for some kind of water park but that's not important.


Sigh... another victim of disappearing YouTube videos. Here's another one...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Crazy Drivers

I didn't see the beginning so I don't know what started this whole thing.

Driving north on Jamboree Road from Barranca to 5 Fwy.

Fun starts at 0:22 when idiot #1 (Lexus ES) starts slamming on his brakes. Idiot #2 (Toyota Camry) decides to go around me into lane #2 (to my left), and try to cut off idiot #1 at 0:55 but fails. Undaunted, she (yes I checked) tries again and succeeds at 1:12 then proceeds to slam on her brakes (excuse my laugh at 1:20). From my rear view mirror, I see idiot #1 try to pass her on the right shoulder and eventually exit on Walnut Avenue (2:11 in the video). Idiot #2 then accelerates and catches up to me just as the song ends at 2:50.

I got a speeding ticket about 2 months ago on the same stretch or road. Irvine Police should have been there today to throw both these idiots in jail, preferably in the same small, windowless cell.

Background music: Again & Again by 2PM.

Apple Politics

I didn't see this until this morning, after I posted my rant against Steve Jobs. I guess it's not just the CEO but the entire company.

Ari David website
Apple Denies Political Free Speech

A few weeks ago I hired a company to create an I Phone Application for my congressional campaign. My designers told me when we started that Apple would take about two weeks to approve the app after they finished the design and coding. They submitted the app and then we waited and waited and waited. Recently the designers contacted Apple to find out what was taking so long. A couple days ago Apple responded and told us that they were rejecting the submission and told us that they were doing so on the grounds that content in the app is defamatory of my opponent, incumbent Henry Waxman.

I wonder if Apple reject all "political" iPad/iPhone application. This is the result of giving censorship power over media to one person/group/company. Are there any other ways to get iPad/iPhone apps on your device without going through the iTunes Store?

No Photocopies

BBC News
New photocopy rules introduced in Tibet

People in the Tibetan capital of Lhasa will have to register their names if they want to make photocopies.

City shopkeepers say the authorities are particularly concerned about material printed in Tibetan.

This appears to be an attempt to prevent ordinary people from printing political pamphlets and other documents.

It suggests the security forces still have a tight grip on the city, two years after serious riots.

Individuals wanting to photocopy documents will have to show their ID cards and have the information recorded.

Companies will have to register their names and addresses, the number of copies they want and provide the name of the manager in charge of the work.

The police say they will carry out checks and punish any shop that does not abide by the new regulation.

Nope, no ethnic oppression here... move along.


More from WSJ Blog
Also apparently covered by the new rules: typing. Computers haven’t reached most Chinese and many people are not able to type. When they need something typed to send as an email or print out, one option is to go to copyshops, where “typing specialists” assist them.

Under the planned new rules, those who bring documents to be typed by somebody else in these shops will have to provide their real name and ID number and to explain the reason why they are doing this.

An employee of the Yongkang Photocopying and Printing Shop in Lhasa told the Associated Press that he had yet to receive any notice on registering customers, but said the shop already declines to serve some people based on what they are printing.

“If any material is written in characters we don’t know, like Tibetan, then we don’t print them,” said the man who would give only his surname, Luo. “There’s no official notice on that, but we just want to be safe.”

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Steve Jobs Rant #2

I went to Apple's website today. During a moment of insanity, I thought I wanted to get a 3G iPad so I can watch K-pop music videos from anywhere. On the front page, I see this: Thoughts on Flash. I read the first 1/2 then scanned the rest. It's basically a whiny post about how crappy Adobe Flash is and how Apple is saving us naive computer users by excluding it from the iPad and iPhone. Ugh!
Flash was created during the PC era – for PCs and mice. Flash is a successful business for Adobe, and we can understand why they want to push it beyond PCs. But the mobile era is about low power devices, touch interfaces and open web standards – all areas where Flash falls short.

The avalanche of media outlets offering their content for Apple’s mobile devices demonstrates that Flash is no longer necessary to watch video or consume any kind of web content. And the 200,000 apps on Apple’s App Store proves that Flash isn’t necessary for tens of thousands of developers to create graphically rich applications, including games.

New open standards created in the mobile era, such as HTML5, will win on mobile devices (and PCs too). Perhaps Adobe should focus more on creating great HTML5 tools for the future, and less on criticizing Apple for leaving the past behind.

How lame. If Flash is so bad, then no one will run it on their iPad/iPhone. By banning it, Apple is forcing everyone to spend money on iTunes Store apps they can't use anywhere else. Instead, Apple takes freedom/choice away then expects users to thank them... where have I heard this BS before? (Hint: government of country where Apple products are manufactured)

I knew right then that he must be a Democrat. He just can't admit that Apple's ban on Adobe Flash is a business decision to promote HTML5, an "open" standard that Apple can exert control. Nope, instead he has to write this huge document... for what? So people will like him?

From the political contributions link, Steve Jobs donations are ~100% given to Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, Edward Kennedy, and a crapload of money to the DNC. It's a pretty safe bet that he supports ObamaCare as well, which will eventually take away my good employer provided health insurance and replace it with shitty government run health insurance. Yet Jobs doesn't hesitate to fly all over the country (did he buy carbon offsets?!) so he can be first to get a liver transplant. Yeah, it's easy for him to support socialized medicine since he can afford not to use it... what about the rest of us? Soon we won't have the extra cash to pay 2x on computer hardware.

Sigh... I'm typing all this on my Mac. If I knew I was going to rant this much, I should have used my PC notebook.

More HDD Space Please

I bought a 1TB external from Costco last year and set up a 780MB partition for downloaded video files. When you click on My Computer in Vista, it shows you a bar under each drive representing space used/free. Well, the bar under my video storage drive just turned red with ~74GB free. I also have ~10GB of movies I downloaded last weekend still sitting on my Sony Vaio, waiting to be copied to the external HDD. I've backed up some stuff on DVDs but the access times are really lame. I think it's time to splurge on a home media server. Since I'm not going to the BEG concert, I guess I can take the ~$400 I "saved" and put it towards this or this.

It's not just storage... this way I can turn off my Sony Vaio when I'm not using it instead of having it act as the server for my external HDD.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Obama in Heaven?

Comment on a CBSNEWS blog post:
When Obama died, George Washington met him at the Pearly Gates. He slapped him across the face and yelled, "How dare you try to destroy the Nation I helped conceive?"

Patrick Henry approached, punched him in the nose and shouted, "You wanted to end our liberties but you failed."

James Madison followed, kicked him in the groin and said, "This is why I allowed our government to provide for the common defense!"

Thomas Jefferson was next, beat Obama with a long cane and snarled, "It was evil men like you who inspired me to write the Declaration of Independence."

The beatings and thrashings continued as George Mason, James Monroe and 66 other early Americans unleashed their anger on the radical, socialist, leader.

As Obama lay bleeding and in pain, an Angel appeared. Obama wept and said, "This is not what you promised me."

The Angel replied, "I told you there would be 72 VIRGINIANS waiting for you in Heaven. What did you think I said? You really need to listen when someone is trying to tell you something!"

Divorce Statistics

I used to hear the same 50% statistics too.

Are Marriage Statistics Divorced from Reality?

Do half of all marriages really end in divorce? It's probably the most often quoted statistic about modern love, and it's a total buzz kill, in line with saying that half of all new shoes will give you hammertoes or that 50% of babies will grow up to be ugly. Now the divorce stat is coming under scrutiny — and not just because of its unromanticity.


But in an upbeat new guide to marriage, For Better, Tara Parker-Pope, a New York Times reporter (and divorcée), devotes a chapter to debunking the 50% stat, at least among the subset of the population that reads books like hers. Since the 1970s, when more women started going to college and delaying marriage, "marital stability appears to be improving each decade," she writes. For example, about 23% of college graduates who married in the '70s split within 10 years. For those who wed in the '90s, the rate dropped to 16%.

According to research at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School, one of the clearest predictors of whether wedding vows will stick is the age of the people saying them. Take the '80s: a full 81% of college graduates who got hitched in that decade at age 26 or older were still married 20 years later. Only 65% of college grads who said I do before their 26th birthday made it that far.

Dang it. I thought that my divorce was something common... now I'm not so sure. We got married in 1999, both were >26 years old, and have 7 college degrees between us. Look like the divorce rate for out demographics was only 16%~19%.

Now I feel sad... :(

Sunday, May 16, 2010

I Love Apple But I Hate Steve Jobs

Somebody at work asked me if I liked Apple. It's probably because I have an Apple sticker on my company-issued Dell notebook. My reply was that I really like their products and software but I hate Steve Jobs and the way they do business. I hate hypocrites... and to me, Steve Jobs, Google, and the CCP are all the same.

I saw this email exchange on the web, and here's Job's last response:

Does Jobs seriously expect everyone to believe that Apple locks down their HW/SW because of morality?! It's all business and the pursuit of profits. The main reason I hate Apple was their greed in making everything proprietary, which is the reason they have an insignificant market share in PCs today. Part of Apple's success/survival is that their users are also evangelists... me included. I try to get people to switch to Macs every chance I get but have a hard time because of high prices and the general lack of software.

Oh wait... am I allowed to criticize Apple? Do I have to be certified as a "creator" by Steve Jobs before I'm allowed to say anything bad about Apple? What an arrogant pompous ass.

Two thoughts about Jobs:
1. I think he should be in jail for backdating options that only benefited himself.
2. He's a slimebag for using his money to jump the queue and "buy" a liver.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Engrish Wonder Girls

OK, I'm exaggerating a bit. The Wonder Girls just released an album with that includes a new single. The interesting bit is that it also includes some of their previous songs with English lyrics: So Hot, Tell Me, and Nobody. They actually sang the English version of Nobody at the 2010 KMF.

After listening to all their songs in Korean, they sound really weird in English. Since I don't understand Korean, I don't know if they created new lyrics to fit the meter of the song or tried to translate the Korean lyrics into English. I think it's the latter and that's why it's weird.


I started listening to J-pop/K-pop a lot when I got divorced. In my weakened mental state, I didn't want to listen to song lyrics since most are about falling in love or breaking up. K-pop was great since I could listen without understanding, and girl groups were cute to look at. I'm not even sure who I was listening to... probably just SES, BoA, and Koda Kumi.

Friday, May 14, 2010


What's the last thing to go through a bug's head when it hits your windshield?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

SNSD Shanghai Concert Ticket Prices

SNSD held a concert in Shanghai on April 17, 2010. I saw this seating and ticket pricing chart online:

Tickets are pretty expensive. The cheapest seats are RMB480 which is ~$70 and the "pit" tickets are ~$180. I guess they have to pay for their million $$$ wardrobe somehow.

Brown Eyed Girls Concert

Arg... concert is next Saturday and I can't decide whether to go or not. There seems to be tickets left for the concert (general admission) and I can still get a round-trip ticket for $119. I also found a hotel practically next to the auditorium for $99. With VIP concert tickets plus taking BART to/from SFO airport, the entire trip will cost ~$400 including food and taxes. The only thing holding me back is that they're one of several performers so they will probably sing ~3 songs. If it was just BEG, I wouldn't hesitate.

Heh, for $150, I can get the VIP package to the Wonder Girls/2PM concert at the Anaheim House of Blues. That includes a meet and greet plus photo opportunity... too bad I just saw them (from far away) at the Hollywood Bowl. I've been to the Anaheim HoB and the venue is really small so you should be able to see them up close.

The JYP/2AM concert is also next weekend in LA. For $300, you can get VIP seats at the Wiltern Theater and meet them at an after-concert party.


As for BEG, I'll probably end up not going. I can spend the $400 on something I really need: a home media server to store more K-pop music videos! :)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

YouTube Sociology

Similar to Google Analytics, there's an Insight page on my YouTube account. Here you can get an analysis of people who visit your account and presumable watch videos you uploaded. On my 2nd KBS World upload account (first one received two strikes), right now it shows 387 subscribers and almost 30k video views.

Digging deeper on demographics, viewers are 88% female and the histogram looks like this:

Great, the majority of my viewers are teenage girls. I guess that's why I get a lot of requests for episodes of "Let's Go! Dream Team" since it's cast is mostly boy band members. I also got a lot of requests for the Happy Together episodes when Taecyeon of 2PM was a guest. Anyway, with those demographics, it was inevitable I get a message like this:
just want to ask

hello :)
Just want to ask why you are not uploading dream team episodes?
Sorry cause i'm just excited XD

What?! Seriously, my managers don't even ask me questions like this during my 15 years of work. I don't really watch that show so it's not high on my priority list of recording, ripping to a MPEG file, splitting into 10 minute segments, and uploading to YouTube. The profile of the sender says she's a 22 year old girl from the Philippines. Who knows if that's real... since it's a throwaway account, my YT account profile says I'm 31 years old.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Calvary Church

A couple of weeks ago Tim invited me to his church. He attends Calvary Church of Santa Ana. I think I went there for a Twila Paris concert a long time ago but have never visited for Sunday service.

Calvary is a large church... kind of reminds me of Saddleback Church. They have many services on Sunday, even one in Mandarin. We went to the contemporary service and I knew most of the songs during worship. Tim did warn me that it was loud. We sat near the back and it really was LOUD. I'm a sound guy so I've received past complaints about mixing too loud; Calvary must have a great sound system to generate that much volume is such a large auditorium.

I enjoyed the service and the sermon was good, but I feel uncomfortable at these mega-churches. Every time I visit Saddleback, it feels like I'm attending a show. Even at NewSong Irvine, I felt like I was at a concert, even more so when I started helping out. It's weird walking around after service, surrounded by thousands of people, and not know anyone.

Like most churches, there were a lot of empty seats at the start of service. I think the pastor even made a comment about it.

Senior pastor and worship pastor(?). There was a special song at the end where they painted all over him.

Lobby after service. Most of the churches I've attended can fit their entire congregation in Calvary's lobby.

Special song and painting. I only caught the last part of the song on video.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

"Old" SNSD Songs

New performances of their "old" songs:

Into The New World - SNSD

Girls' Generation - SNSD

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Vista Can't Copy/Move Files

Sigh... Microsoft Vista is a piece of crap. Starting some time this evening, my Sony Vaio (recently restored and updated) can't copy files anymore. I was trying to move some downloaded Star Golden Bell episodes from the computer to an external hard drive. At first, it wouldn't even let me rename the files. Vista kept saying that the files were open even though I don't have anything running. Now when I drag files from one folder to another, the computer just sits there "discovering" files... whatever that means. Who writes all this useless text for dialog boxes?

Hara's TweetPhoto

For Goo Hara fans... you know who you are!

Roller Coaster Ride

No, not Magic Mountain... it's the DJIA! 1,000 point drop in matter of minutes.

Star Wars Trilogy in 2 Minutes

$100 Bill

I recently received a $100 bill as an reimbursement. The person was visiting from China but I'm not sure where she got the bill. I'm certain the bill is not a counterfeit because there appears to be 8 different stamps on it. Sometimes I see cashiers stamp something on $100 bill to see if it's fake; I guess all those marks just stay on there for the life of the bill.

Back right

Back left


Three of the stamps appear to be in Arabic. Maybe it's some kind of secret code.

I hope it's okay to scan parts of a $100 bill. I don't want the FBI or Treasury Department knocking on my door. I'm probably in enough trouble with the CCP already.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Sea World

This past weekend was rather busy. On Sunday, I went to Sea World with a friend of friend who was visiting from China. I think I went once before, right when we moved to the US so I don't really remember it all that much. Overall, it was much smaller than I thought... definitely much smaller than Disneyland or Universal Studios but they charge almost as much for admissions ($50/person for one-day tickets after AAA discount).

We were there for only 5 hours but got to see most of the shows: Shamu, sea lions, and some pets thing (dogs and cats). There were also some aquariums and other exhibits but I wasn't too impressed. It feels like they're trying to do too much to justify their high admissions cost; their core competence seems to be training sea mammals to do tricks. "Real" aquariums (Long Beach, Monterey Bay) do a much better job at presenting sea creatures (I almost typed seafood), while amusement parks have better rides.

Anyway... here are some pictures:

There weren't that many people at the park. We got there at 12:40pm and was able to get decent seats for the 1pm Shamu show.


There were three killer whales in the show. I think they're all called Shamu.

I wonder how long it takes to train them to do these tricks for fish. Since most are born and raised in captivity, they'll probably starve if released back in the ocean.

Sea lion show

At the "arctic" display building, they installed a motion-base ride, kind of like Star Tours at Disneyland. In front of us there as a family with small children and a pregnant woman. I think the ride attendant was a bit nervous but I think the woman insisted that she wanted to go on the ride. In return, the park worker made the kid stand against the wall to measure his height with a clipboard.

Beluga whales. There were several in the tank. I think they cooled the water since it was freezing standing next to the tank.

Penguin feeding time

After a long day Saturday at the Korean concert then driving to San Diego and walking around Sea World for 5 hours, I wanted to nap too. :(

Hmm, I thought that Anheuser-Busch owned Sea World and that was why I only saw Budwiser beer for sale. However, it appears that Blackstone Group purchased Sea World from Busch last year. Maybe they signed exclusive beer rights as part of the deal.

2010 KMF Videos

I shot videos for most of the idol group performances. I used my dad's Panasonic FZ28 digital camera. The HD setting records 1280x720 at an insane bit rate of ~25Mbps so each song was ~600MB. I ended up recording ~10GB of material. To upload to YouTube, I had to re-encoded the videos to ~1Mbps (same resolution) which shrinks the files to ~50MB. I'm a bit disappointed in the sound quality and the continuous auto-focus feature which didn't worked too well in the dark.

These are in the same order as performed at the concert:

Mystery - Beast

Again & Again - 2PM

Heartbeat - 2PM

Without U - 2PM

Lupin - KARA

Honey - KARA

Mister - KARA
Butt dance! 1 2 3 4 5 6 do it! :)

이 사람이다 - Kim Jong-Kook
I don't know the English title but it's probably "love" something.

So Hot - Wonder Girls
I wonder if the white guy in the Wonder Girls t-shirt was cheering extra loud.

Tell Me - Wonder Girls

Nobody - Wonder Girls
I like the Korean version better... it just sounds weird in English. I heard from my mom(!) that they also have a Chinese version.

There... just like being at the concert except for the lousy sound, shaky camera, and being occasionally out-of-focus. I also have a few videos of non-idol groups performing. Maybe I'll re-encode and upload those later.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Korean Music Festival 8

Went to the Korean Music Festival last night with Leon. Lots of pictures and video uploads later.


First let me say that I enjoyed the concert. I got to see/hear quite a few K-pop groups that I normally listen to. I brought Leon along for his birthday so we got some food at Mitsuwa and had a mini-picnic in our seats. However, like last year, the sound quality sucked again. I realize it's difficult to live mix that many singers/groups in one concert but there's no real excuse for not un-muting mics. There was also a lot of feedback; probably the floor monitors are turned up way too loud. Sigh... after running sound at church for a few years, it's hard to ignore stuff like this.

This year I spent $140 for 2 tickets in section F2; last year I spent $150 for 2 tickets but they were better seats (terrace boxes). Since I never plan ahead, I always end up buying tickets from other fans on the Khype forum. The person selling the tickets to me must have really wanted to go in early since she sent me many text messages while I was driving up. "Where are you now? Are you close?" She wrote in an email that she was going early to attend a fan meeting for 2PM so maybe she just wanted to go in and sit since there's nothing to do once you're inside the Hollywood Bowl.

We got there ~4:30pm (concert started at 6:30pm) and the place was already packed. There were lots of Korean businesses handing out free stuff. Some guy gave Leon and I a Japanese energy drink, maybe because we looked old and out of place. :)

They were handing out Korean flags and glow sticks at the entrance. Inside the blue backpack was our dinner; the other backpack had two cameras, one for photos and one for video. That was probably an overkill. Next time I'll probably just get better seats and bring one small camera.

On the way to our seats, I saw this old white guy wearing a Wonder Girls t-shirt; on the back of the shirt it says "I'm a Wonder Girl". Don't know if he's a hardcore K-pop fan or a recent convert since the Wonder Girls have been promoting in the US for the past 18 months. I showed Leon the photo and he said he want a K-pop t-shirt as well... hmm, I know what to get him for his next birthday.

View of the stage from our seats. If you look closely, there is a white car parked on stage (stage left). It was there the entire night. It was probably a Hyundai since they were a sponsor but I couldn't tell which model. They were also showing lots of commercials on the large LCD screen. Occasionally they would show a promo listing the performers and definitely 2PM got the loudest cheers.

The concert started with a drum performance. We saw the drums on stage before the performance and Leon asked if they were Taiko drums. I told him not to mention Japanese things at a Korean concert.

The drummers looked young so maybe it was a local cultural group.

I brought two cameras with me. I borrowed my dad's Panasonic FZ28 since it has an 18x optical zoom and shoots HD video. I even went and bought a 16GB SD card and ended up recording about 10GB of video. I also brought my Sony SLR and a 70-300mm zoom lens. Instead, I should have done what the girls in front of us were doing... use a pair of binoculars as a zoom lens.

Not sure who sang the national anthem but she sang better than KARA or the Wonder Girls. :)

MCs: Nicole from KARA and Haha

The first group to perform was Beast. They're a new idol boy-band. I haven't heard any of their songs before.

Next up was a lady singing old Korean songs. Both Leon and I agree that they sound exactly like old Chinese songs.

Since it was an Asian concert, and the Hollywood Bowl is hard to get to, there were a lot of late arrivals. The concert did sell out which means 18k+ seats.

Not sure if it was the same lady or a different one but she sang a song (that everyone else seems to know) with pictures from what appears to be post-Korean War photos in the background. Neither Leon or I understand Korean but it seems to be about how hard life was after the war. It was kind of depressing.

That was followed by some guy singing old Korean songs.

I think the younger generation was getting bored with the old singers. The girl in front of us started reading comics (Japanese manga of course).

LeeSsang. Leon asked why they kept the girl at the back. I think it was because she was a guest singer and not part of the group.

We were sitting in the 3rd row of section F2. For some unknown reason, the people in row 1 kept standing up. There is a huge gap in front of our section so even if the people in the terrace boxes stand, you can still see clearly. I was going to yell at then to sit down but no one else seemed to mind.

One of the MCs, Haha, performing. He just got out of the Korean army recently.

Another lady singing old Korean songs.

Same lady singing a song with Wonder Girls (Sunye and Ye-Eun) and KARA (Gyuri and Seungyeon). It was good that she chose the main vocalists from both girl groups so the singing wasn't too bad.

Some guy and his band. I thought he looked like Bono; Leon said the guy reminds him of Neil Diamond. They didn't give us programs in the cheap seats so I didn't know the names of non-idol singers/groups.

After the intermission, a lot of the idol groups came out and did a song supporting the Korean soccer team. The World Cup is going to be held in South Africa this year and it looks like South Korea qualified. Actually, almost every group that performed mentioned something about the soccer team and randomly yelled out "Go Korea!" It was a bit irritating for a Team USA supporter, even though they gave me a South Korean flag. It was probably worse for any North Koreans (spies?) in the crowd.

Another old guy singing old Korean songs... sorry, no program guide.

Third old lady. I think she was more of a musical theater performer and was the best singer of the entire concert. She was also pretty funny... yes, she translated herself. She ended her set with a great rendition of Amazing Grace.

2PM... easily the most popular group of the concert. It was funny that after 8 months, people are still cheering for Jaebeom. They sang the three songs I predicted and one additional song I've never heard of.

Lee Eun-mi. I heard she is a pretty good jazz singer but it was hard to hear her sing since the music track was way too loud. Grrr...

KARA! Out of all the groups, I think I wanted to see them the most.

Kim Jong-Kook. He just got out of the Korean army recently and recently released his 5th album. I actually bought his 4th album a few years ago. Mighty Mouth and Haha came onstage to perform with him as well.

Wonder Girls. They performed the three songs I thought they were going to sing: So Hot, Tell Me, and Nobody (in English). They talked a bit between the songs too, in English. They've been promoting in the US for the past 18 months and held a few concerts with JYP (Park Jin Young). Their English is better but probably need to practice speaking more. I used to like them but they replaced Sunmi with some new girl. :(


The concert went from 6:30pm to almost 11pm. It took us only 5 minutes to get back to the car but another 40 minutes before I could get on the 101 freeway. I dropped Leon off at his house around 12:30am and didn't get back home until almost 1:30am. Yawn...