Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sandy Lam in Concert

After attending the Jacky Cheung concert last year and enjoying it more than I thought I would, I want to go to this concert too. Unfortunately, I'll be in Portland so probably won't be able to make it to Vegas on Christmas Eve. Hotel prices are going to be crazy expensive too.

Friday, October 28, 2011

More LAX at Night

To pass the time while I waited for Leon to clear immigration, I sat and watched planes again. Even though it was too dark to take photos, I tried.

Long line of planes arriving at LAX. It's much easier to see them at night.

A Quantas A-380 parked at gate 101. Did LAX retrofit this gate to handle double-decker planes?

30 second wide-angle shot of LAX. One plane took-off while another one landed during the exposure time.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

A Gaggle of A-380s

There are three Airbus A-380s in the photo. The big blue one is flight KE18 (Korean Airlines) taking-off for Incheon/Seoul. Right behind it, flight SQ12 (Singapore Airlines) just arrived from Narita/Tokyo and is pulling into gate 123, the only double-decker gate at LAX. If you look carefully, right behind the SQ A-380, you can see a red tail fin. That should be flight QF11 (Quantas Airways) that arrived from Sydney at 9:45am this morning.

According to Wikipedia, there are only 7 operators currently using the A-380. In addition to the three above (Singapore, Korean, Quantas), the list includes Air France, Emirates, Lufthansa, and China Southern. Hmm... my friends from Guangzhou all hate taking China Southern (only direct flight to/from LAX). Does this just mean more unhappy and/or rude Chinese people on each flight?

SQ12 mentioned above landing at LAX


I also saw a few Boeing 747s today. There are a lot more of them in service than the A-380s but they're still pretty impressive close up.

Evergreen flight 802 from Anchorage... probably a freight flight even though there are lots of windows on the main deck.

Polar Air flight 214, also from Anchorage. This is definitely a freighter since there are no windows other than on the top deck.

Lufthansa flight 456 from Frankfurt

Thursday, October 20, 2011

LAX at Night

Warning: may be boring

The tripod I ordered from Amazon arrived last night so I went to Imperial Hill after work today to try out night shots. The sky was overcast so there was lots of refracted(?) light. Since the runway was not lit up, you could hardly see the planes anyway. I was really trying out the P/A/S/M setting on the camera to see if I could take decent pictures at night.

250mm 10 second exposure at f/13

90mm 5 second exposure at f/8
The long white streak was a plane taking off through my FOV during the 5s exposure

China Daily Chutzpah

China Daily
Isn't that a serious concern for journalists, whose primary responsibility is to speak for the voiceless in their society?

It is a shame that most so-called mainstream media outlets have miserably failed to inform the public over the past two weeks.

Wow. Chinese "journalist" criticizes US media. It says he's based in New York but the story he writes appears to come straight from the propaganda department in Beijing.

Here's an experiment for Mr. Chen. It's been a month since OWS protests started. Go ask random New Yorkers and see how many has heard about it from "mainstream" media outlets. Now go back to China and ask random Beijingers if they know who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year. It's been a year... has Xinhua or CCTV "informed the public" in China?

This is the problem with the CCP and modern China. There is no sense of morality... instead, whatever gets you more money or power is right. That's why Mr. Chen can write nonsense like this day after day because it gets him a cushy posting in New York. This is also partially why 18 people walked by a bleeding and dying toddler in Foshan because helping her won't gain them anything.

I think I would go crazy if I had to live in China.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Running Man Episode 61

For this episode of 런닝맨 (Running Man), they are in China. I just started watching the parts on YouTube. I'm surprised they got permission to film in Beijing with all the running around they have to do.

Part 1

Part 2

The first stop is the Great Wall at Mutianyu; I thought they would go to Badaling but it's probably too crowded for their games. Too bad they weren't there when my family and I visited. I could have met Kang Jiyoung of KARA!

Mutianyu Great Wall with almost no tourists in Sept 2009

Luckily they didn't try to film the episode during China's National Day holiday. Can't run when 1.3 billion people are crammed in one place. [Ministry of Tofu]

Monday, October 17, 2011

Air China 983

Air China Boeing 747 (flight 983) from Beijing landing at LAX on Sunday. About 8 months ago I picked up Sindy from this flight. It was her third and probably final trip to LA.

Tintin Movie

Yay! I love Tintin. I have all the Tintin comics and even a couple in French that I bought in a Paris bookstore. Let's hope the movie doesn't suck.

Most of the books are in the small, three-per-volume format. I did read most of them in the large format while working at the Mississauga Library.

French... for some reason, when I bought these I thought I could read French. Nope.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wasn't I just here last week?!

Sitting around waiting for the next airplane to take-off or land is kind of exciting. You never know what will show up on the runway, even though the flight schedule is all over the Internet. There were a lot of plane spotters on Imperial Hill today. I think the goal is to write down the tail number of each plane though I don't know what they do with the info. Is there a website where everyone keys what planes they saw?

Earlier this afternoon, I tried to find other locations to take photos of LAX, especially on the north side of the runways. I drove west on Imperial Highway, north on Pershing Drive, then east on Westchester Parkway; there were No Stopping signs posted on all streets. On the map, it appears there are a bunch of side streets just north of Westchester Parkway but looking closer on Google Maps, all of them are blocked off by fences. Is this because of 9/11? I ended up driving around the Century/Sepulveda area a couple times before parking outside of the In-n-Out on Sepulveda and Westchester. The place was packed but fortunately, there is a tiny park next door and there were lots of people hanging out. It was just like any neighborhood park but every few minutes, a jet would roar by and land on runway 24R.

B-18717 Boeing 747-409F (China Airlines 5108 TPE-LAX)
When I first got to the park, I heard people yell, "A big one is coming!" I then realized they were referring to an incoming plane, I quickly got out my camera (with the 18-250mm lens) and snapped of a few photos.

Not sure if this park has a name... I think everyone just calls it the In-n-Out Park. That guy lying down seems to have been there for a long time.

Three American Eagle Embraer jets landed one after another. Since Terminal 4 is on the "other" side of LAX, I think all these plane have to taxi around the west end of the airport to get to their gates.

N209UA Boeing 777-222ER (United Airlines 878 PVG-LAX)

With the sun low in the southwest, it's hard to get anything once the plane passes the park, and definitely no take-off photos from here.

N524VA Airbus A-319-112 (Virgin America 932 SFO-LAX)
Virgin must have registered "Virgin America" in the US since the tail number starts with "N" (USA) instead of "G" (UK).

Southwest! Since SWA is in Terminal 1, I have not seen any planes up close from Imperial Hill. The photo is a bit blurry so I can't make out the tail number but this appears to be flight 1982 from Austin. The plane is a Boeing 737-300... I think SWA only flies 737s.

HB-JMD Airbus A-340-313X (Swissair 40 ZRH-LAX)

HL7420 Boeing 747-48E (Asiana Airlines 966 ICN-LAX)

This is the Asiana 747 freighter (no passenger windows) again. I like this shot... it reminds me of a scene from Ghost in the Shell.

Instead of going home, I figured that since I was here, I may as well go to Imperial Hill and take some more shots... since every other flight seems to be an American/Delta/United 757, I'll ignore those for now.

By the time I drove under the runway on Sepulveda and arrived at Imperial Hill, the Asiana 747 had taxied around to the south side of LAX to get to it's "home" near Terminal 8.

N120AK Bombardier Global Express (GC Air LAX-SJC)

N908SW Bombardier CRJ2 (Skywest 6288 LAX-MRY)
MRY = Monterey. I was wondering how much the fare was... the same flight next Sunday would cost $239 one way on United Express (same plane).

HL7498 Boeing 747-4B5 (Korean Airlines)
They were moving the plane from TBIT to the remote gate area so I'm not sure which flight it was. Korean Air bought A-380s from Airbus; hopefully they will operate them on the Incheon-LA route.

4T94101... wait, that's not a plane.

F-OSUN Airbus A-340-313X (Air Tahiti Nui 7 LAX-FAA)
FAA = Faa'a International Airport in Papeete, French Polynesia

N262DG Cessna T303
This small twin propeller plane was flying over LAX. It looked really far away... I was surprised that I can read the "tail" number in the photo.

HL7756 Boeing 777-28EER (Asiana Airlines)
This was also being towed to the remote gate area, probably to open up a gate at TBIT for another incoming flight.

9V-SGE Airbus A-340- 541 (Singapore Airlines 38 SIN-LAX)
This is the all-business-class flight from Singapore to Los Angeles... 16.5 hours non-stop and one-way ticket costs ~SGD6000. Not sure how much that is in US dollars but it's expensive.

I tried out the panorama mode on my Sony a55 camera. You press the shutter button and move the camera slowly to the right. The camera is taking lots of photos and stitching it together automatically... pretty cool, but the camera makes an awful racket when it's taking the photo. Final output is 8192 x 1856 pixels (shrunk down here to only 800 pixels wide).

Anonymous readers getting bored? Just fivesix more to go...

N563SW Embraer EMB-120 (Skywest 6338 LAX-SAN)
Wow, airfare for the same flight next Sunday is $460.

N864GA McDonnell Douglas MD-81 (Allegiant 378 LAX-EUG)

N452PA Boeing 747-46NF (Polar Air Cargo 214 - CVG-LAX)
CVG = Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky International Airport. I guess they ran out of room on the Ohio side and put the airport in Kentucky.

JA716A Boeing 777-281ER (All Nippon Airways 1006 HND-LAX)
I was all excited when I saw a big ANA jet, thinking it was the new Boeing 787... but it turned out to be a regular 777-200ER. Coincidentally, this is the same flight I took from Tokyo to LA on my last trip to Beijing.

I couldn't get the tail number but this is a old McDonnell Douglas DC-10. I don't think there are any passenger carrying DC-10s left. FedEx usually flies a MD-11 on this Memphis to LA route so I'm lucky to have seen (part of) the DC-10.

G-CIVF Boeing 747-436 (British Airways 282 LAX-LHR)
For some reason, it took forever for this flight to taxi to the end of the runway and take-off. There were several of us waiting to see this jumbo jet take-off before leaving Imperial Hill.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Samsung TV + PS3

We bought a new TV last weekend from Costco. They had the Samsung 55" LED TV (non-3D) with a Blu-ray DVD player for $1500. The TV is pretty nice though I really wanted the 8000 series TV. Anyway, I tried to hook up my old fat 80GB PS3 to it and found out that the Samsung TV does not support 1280 x 720 mode (720p). Even though I set the PS3 to display 1920 x 1080, some games are not full HD and the box switches the HDMI output resolution down. On my old Vizio 42" TV, it displays everything without drama. Even the cheap ($130) Acer 21" LCD monitor I using for my PS3 works fine but the expensive new big TV just gives me a resolution error. How lame is that. It also doesn't like my dad's old KTV/DVD player. Once again, the composite video output works on all our other TVs but not on the Samsung. Finally, the audio out on the TV (I have it hooked up to an old Yamaha Dolby Pro Logic receiver/amp) only has 2 channel stereo signal so all the encoded surround data is lost.

I'm a bit disappointed that the detailed specs on the TV don't mention any of these missing features. Not being able to play non-1080p games really sucks. I've googled all over looking for a solution but have not found anything yet. Samsung needs to release a firmware update, though I'm not optimistic since the issue has been around for a few years and they have a lousy track record of updating the Android OS on their smartphones. Overall though, the picture quality is awesome, much better than my old Vizio so I guess we'll keep it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

More OWS Thoughts

I heard and interview with some Occupy xxx people in Boston on NPR this morning. First, my political bias is more right than left so I'm not inclined to be sympathetic to their demands... even if they had one. What irked me this morning was their constant socialist, anti-corporate whining. To get their message out about how evil corporations are destroying society, they send out tweets on the Apple notebook computers and shoot videos to post on YouTube. Hello?! Do you think those things were invented/produced by a bunch of hippie on a commune?

Of course, the guy they interviewed was unemployed and probably got all his electronic gadgets from his parents. Did they work for any of these evil corporations? They also talk about their "village" like some kind of utopia where everyone volunteers their time and energy, and decisions are made in a general assembly twice a day. Sounds good on paper but as we learned to ask in business school (does having a MBA make me evil too?), does it scale? Can we have the entire population sit around and do nothing but meet all day?

If all this sounds vaguely familiar, it's because this experiment has been done before... it's called communism. Let's see how this works. Eventually the "village" will discover that some people have to do work or they will all starve. The leaders of the "leaderless village" or "people's republic" will start making rules and giving orders. Mysteriously, the people making the rules will be exempt from doing work and if anyone complains, they will be branded as "running dogs of the capitalist imperialists" and thrown in jail. Finally every villager becomes poorer except for the new leaders and their friends but no one knows because the Internet and mass media has long been restricted and only propaganda and filtered news is allowed. Did I miss anything?

Another thing that bothers me (there are lots) is the media coverage of OWS and all lefty protests. I'm not a Tea Party person but I agree with their call for less government spending. I'm not the 1% that the OWS bitches about all the time but I may be in the 10% of people that pay 70% of all the taxes. Anyway, media coverage of Tea Party protests have been mainly negative even though they're mostly peaceful, yet the OWS protests are getting favorable coverage even though there's pervasive references to violence and anarchy.

Don't they know the first people that will be thrown in jail in the "new society" will be journalists?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Quote for the Occupy Wall Street Clowns

Property is the fruit of is a positive good in the world. That some should be rich shows that others may become rich, and hence is just encouragement to industry and enterprise. Let not him who is houseless pull down the house of another; but let him labor diligently and build one for himself, thus by example assuring that his own shall be safe from violence when built.

- Abraham Lincoln, March 21, 1864

Sunday, October 9, 2011

More Airplanes

Uh-oh, I think I'm addicted. I didn't have anything planned after church today so I went back to El Segundo to take more photos. This time I used the Tamron 70-300mm zoom lens that I bought for our older Sony a100 DSLR. At full zoom, the lens has an aperture of f/5.6, which is slightly better than my Sony lens: f/6.3 at 250mm max zoom. Similar to Friday afternoon, there were lots of people hanging out on Imperial Hill. This time it seems like there were more plane-spotters than photographers.

Since Imperial Hill is on the south side of LAX, the planes taking-off and landing are primarily from terminals 4 through 7. That is why most of the photos have planes from American (terminal 4), Delta (terminal 5), and United (terminals 6 and 7). Also, planes using the southern gates at TBIT (international terminal) also use runways 7/25.

Some interesting planes I saw today (not going to post all the 737s and 757s):

Frontier 414 LAX-DEN (Airbus A319-111)
Is that an otter on the tailfin?!

Skywest 6372 LAX-SBA (Embraer EMB-120ER)
This plane was busy today too: Palm Springs - LAX - Palm Springs - LAX - Santa Barbara - LAX - San Luis County - LAX - Palomar

American 137 LHR-LAX (Boeing 777-223ER)

Asiana 204 ICN-LAX (Boeing 777-28EER)

China Airlines 5107 LAX-SFO (Boeing 747-409F)
This is a China Airlines freighter headed for San Francisco and probably to Taipei afterwards.

Skywest 4464 LAS-LAX (Embraer CRJ-900)
It appears that Skywest operates flights for both Delta Connections and United Express... and they paint their planes to match.

Air Tahiti Nui 7 CDG-LAX (Airbus A340-313X)
CDG = Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris

Spirit 411 LAS-LAX (Airbus A319-132)

Lufthansa 457 LAX-FRA (Boeing 747-400)

Bombardier Challenger 604

American 183 LAX-PVG (Boeing 777-223ER)
I thought I stood around so long that that flight AA137 from London was ready to fly to Shanghai already... but it was a different plane (different tail numbers). The older American Airlines 777-200s look different from the Asiana 777-200 I saw earlier and definitely shorter than the Cathay Pacific 777-300s.

Horizon 602 LTO-LAX (de Havilland Dash 8-400)
LTO = Loreto International Airport in Baja California Sur, Mexico

Cathay Pacific 882 HKG-LAX (Boeing 777-367ER)
I'm guessing this is CX882 which should have landed much earlier. I think they're moving it to the remote gate area to free up space at TBIT. This plane should fly back to HKG later tonight.

Gulfstream G-V owned by Lockheed Martin Corporation
The last two companies I worked at did not have corporate jets but all the founders (at both companies) had their own personal jets.

China Airlines 5 LAX-TPE (Boeing 747-409)
I only got a few shots while it was leaving the gate. I tried to take a video of the take-off but I screwed up so I didn't get photos or videos at all.

British Airways 283 LHR-LAX (Boeing 747-400)
It was landing on the northern runways at LAX, probably runway 24R. It's a different plane from the one on Friday; you can see the big oneworld logo painted on the side of this one.