Saturday, March 31, 2012

More Random Food Photos

Bento dinner - Tampopo (Garden Grove)

AYCE Korean BBQ - Gen (Tustin)

Fried Yellow Corvina banchan - BCD Tofu (Torrance)

Pho - Pho Hoa (Hawthorne)

Potstickers - Peking Restaurant (Westminster)

Xiaolongbao - Ding Tai Fung (Seattle)

Chicken pot pie - Daily Grill (Seattle)

Taro pastry w/scallops - Sun Sui Wah (Vancouver)

Appetizers and beer - Earls (Whistler)

Shoyu ramen - Kairakutei (Tustin)

Friday, March 30, 2012

AS514 - Frameographer

Since I was crammed into a window seat, I may as well make a movie.

Not sure where this was but probably started somewhere over Oregon and stopped somewhere over California. Sometimes there would be a strange wavy effect on the iPhone screen but everything looked normal with the naked eye.

Total frames = 2030
Capture @1fps
Playback @15fps

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Leon called me this morning from his flight that he saw Tyra Banks in first class. He'd better be right... I came home from work to get my camera even though my work is only minutes from LAX. I'm banking on the fact that she will get out first because she is in first class and will let the little people (entourage) handle her luggage. Yet, she not VIP enough to warrant a separate exit so she will need to come out of the LAX Bradley tunnel/ramp/exit. I'm betting $3 in parking that I'm right.

Flight lands in ~an hour so I'd better get going.


So I get to LAX at ~8:30pm, parked, and took some photos of planes from outside the Bradley terminal.

British Airways 747 between TBIT and Terminal 3

More planes on the other side of TBIT, including planes from both Taiwan carriers (China Airlines and EVA Air) = lots of Chinese people waiting in the arrival area

CX880 from Hong Kong is about an hour early and lands at ~8:50pm. The arrival area is about half-full and I find a spot along the long ramp. Meanwhile Leon is texting me (illegally) status updates. I think he wanted to try and exit next to her so I can get a photo of them "together". :)

Random people walking up the long exit ramp

I decided to go to the other side of the exit area and use the zoom lens

Finally, I see Leon walk out... by himself. He is signalling to me that Tyra was exiting behind me through the little used transit exit. Sure enough, we see Tyra exiting after about 2 minutes.

Hiding behind huge sunglasses

She stopped to wave at the CX VIP handlers and gave one woman a hug

Sigh... those are the only non-really-blurry photos. I was actually outside the sliding glass doors since I didn't want to get in trouble. Likewise I didn't use a flash... should have brought a faster lens. Hmm, I guess I'd better keep my day job.

Parking ended up costing me $5 since I was there for over an hour. There was a Ferrari parked next to me... I thought rich people sent other people to pick up at airports.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


To save a vacation day, my sister dropped me off at Sea-Tac Airport instead of driving all the way back to Portland and flying back tomorrow. It was a full flight and the flight was full of kids. It's Spring Break season and lots of families are going to Disneyland. The flight was also very bumpy; we were flying from one pocket of turbulence to another for almost the entire trip.

Flight path for the last part of the flight (from FlightAware). I thought he made the last turn earlier than usual.

View as we flew over the coastline near Ventura

It's hard to tell because of the clouds but we were probably somewhere over the channel that separates Catalina Island from the mainland

Somewhere near Huntington Beach

Final turn before landing... I think I can see my house (not really)

Acura GPS Fail

We were driving my sister's Acura MDX to Whistler when the on-board GPS navigation system stopped working. Evidently we've driven off the end of the earth.

Driving along the Sea to Sky Highway

We noticed that the map cuts off shortly after Squamish

Message from nav display right before it shut itself off

I realize the car is a few years old but Whistler has been around for many years. I'm surprised that it was not included in the US/Canada database. Maybe if you buy the MDX in Canada, it would have the full Canadian street database but probably missing a few US roads.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Frameographer - Work to Home

I know it's kinda boring but I love this kind of stuff. I think my dream job would be sitting behind a huge CCTV wall (Closed Circuit, not China Central) as a security guard watching everyone, although those guys usually gets killed first when baddies take over the building.

I recorded my commute home today. I tried to get the navigation app on my Android phone in the shot but I couldn't get the right angle and it covered some of the frame. Nothing exciting happened but the "sunset" (it was behind me) was kinda cool... the sky got dark really fast. The iPhone 4 camera also wasn't very good with high contrast images. When it got dark, the bright screen on my Android phone basically wiped out the rest of the image. Not sure why it didn't go into night mode. Arg, too much technology.


Not very good. It was so much like 300 that I though it was a continuation of Greek history. Turned out the movie was made by a different director. All the actors and actresses were very pretty, except for Mickey Rourke, but there was not much acting... probably made a lot of money though.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Frameographer iPhone App

My 42 mile commute to work compressed down to 2 minutes. I used FramesFrameographer on my iPhone 4 and a suction cup camera holder. The app took a picture every second (or a bit longer) and compiled it into a movie file. I ended up with 1799 frames and set the app to play back at 15 fps for a 2 minute video.

Freeways: 55, 22, 405, 110. I didn't take the 105 at the end but rather exited on El Segundo Blvd. The resulting movie was a 213MB MPEG4 file at 1280x720.

Sony a55 Firmware Update

While browsing through some old photos in Picasa, I saw one of the EXIF properties listed for each file was Software. For my new Sony camera, the text was SLT-A55V v1.10. I searched online for "a55 firmware" and sure enough, there was an update. I dug up the original USB cable and I'm going to try and apply the firmware update to my camera. I hope it doesn't brick on me.


It's updating... I'm nervous. The last firmware upgrade I did was for a Linksys wireless router and it bricked on me.


Looks like it worked... the camera now says Ver. 2.00.

One of the main update features is the addition of Picture Effects. They combined it with the SCN (scene) mode so it's kinda hard to get to. The last effect on the list is Toy Camera:
Creates the look of a Toy Camera photo with shaded corners and pronounced colors.

Sigh... that's what Instagram is for, not a $1200 DSLR.

Random Photos - March 2012

Now that I have a new camera app (Camera+) on my iPhone, I've been taking more random photos. I also just received a tripod mount for the iPhone in the mail so I may try recording time-lapsed movies while I drive around town.

My parents brought me to some hole-in-the-wall Chinese restaurant in Westminster. The front and inside was pretty ghetto but the food was good. They are still using the old school Chinese Zodiac paper placemats.

I don't even know the name of this dish/soup in English. The main ingredient is lumps of dough. I guess white people would call it dumplings but Chinese dumplings have filling inside the dough.

A few friends and I went to a Korean BBQ place Sunday night. The food was good and they served a lot of banchan (Korean side dishes). Usually restaurants bring out 4-5; they brought out about 10 different sides.

I saw this HUGE tire in the dumpster room at my friend's condo in Torrance. Seriously, who has something like that lying around? I doubt the trash company (or the City of Torrance) will pick that up though it may be worth something to a tire recycler.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Customer Service

I hardly see any other Maximas on the road

I brought my car in for the 15k mile intermediate service (I have 22k miles) at Stadium Nissan in Orange. I'm already a bit unhappy with my 2011 Maxima since Nissan decided to use a very expensive motor oil ($90 oil changes) and I had to replace my battery after only one year. Anyway, they said it would take 2-3 hours so I opted for a shuttle ride home. After waiting for 30 minutes, the van returned from its last run, and 4 of us got in. When the driver did a role call of addresses, one of the passengers was out by 91 and Gypsum Canyon. The dealership is near Honda Center so that's ~25 miles round trip; I always thought there was a limit. Aren't there other Nissan dealers in Yorba Linda? The other two people were in Placentia so I thought I would be the last to get dropped off, kind of like riding a SuperShuttle from LAX.

I was about to pull out my iPhone and blog the fact that I'd be stuck in a Nissan minivan for the next hour when the driver asked me to get in another car (Toyota Highlander!). They brought out a used car and had another customer service guy drive me home. That was pretty cool. Since it was a Saturday, I was okay with riding around North OC but it was a nice gesture. Counting the guy's time and gas money, it probably cost them $12 to drive me home.

Now if I had bought the cheapest Infiniti (G25) instead of my Maxima, I would have paid ~$5000 more for my car and gotten a smaller engine. But at least I could get loaners each time my car was brought in for service. :)

Friday, March 16, 2012

Early Ailee Videos on YouTube

Heh, Korean-American born in New Jersey

Video from 4 years ago. Surprising that she can't get recognized in the US and have to go to Korea to debut as a singer.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sistar Live in Paris

K-pop overload! Dang it, I missed them last year at KMF 9. Maybe they'll show up again this year at KMF 10.

So Cool

It was cool to hear Dasom speaking English but they're in Paris. Maybe she should have learned some more French. Something seems to be wrong with the sound again. It sounds like there's an echo effect being over-zealously applied.


Lots of white/French K-pop fans in the videos. Both KMF I went to in LA seemed to be 99% Korean people.


BTW, my favorite K-pop YouTube uploader is back with several channels. I think she got tired of having her videos/channels flagged and deleted a few years ago so she didn't post for a long time. Welcome back monmonsnow!

Dirty - Miryo

Live performance of Dirty by Miryo on Music Core. She will be performing at KMF 10 on April 28th at Hollywood Bowl as part of Brown Eyed Girls. I need to buy tickets soon!

She's the rapper for BEG so she doesn't usually sing but her voice is not too bad. Sigh... the sound engineers on these Korean music shows are terrible. The volume drops for no apparent reason at 2:20 in the video. Likewise, both times I went to KMF the sound has been bad too. I'll run sound for them for this year free if they let me hang out backstage. :)

The Greatest Love of All - Ailee


I just heard about her a a few weeks ago. I think she recently released a debut single called Heaven. I thought it was just ok when I heard it... but evidently the girl can sing. She reminds me a bit of Hwayobi.

Here's a performance of Heaven on SBS.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Since we're building our finance team at work, I got an ex-coworker to come in for several interviews and we make him an offer. However, he ended up turning us down because he wanted almost my salary and many times the number of options I got; I'm a director and this was a senior analyst position. Anyway, this is not about him.

Continuing our search, we got a referral for a CPA who is only two years out of school. He said during the interview that he always wanted to work in finance (instead of accounting) and he had already quit his public accounting/audit job several months ago. He had potential but we were worried because he had zero finance experience. Anyway, we decided over the weekend to take a chance and make him an offer. Since our company is basically an one-man show in terms of management control, the CEO used to interview every candidate in person. As that is no longer feasible due to the size of the company, each candidate now has to answer a few questions in writing for the CEO to review. Me and all the other directors in finance had to do this. For engineering candidates, they even have to prepare a PPT presentation on themselves and present to the entire hiring group.

While preparing the offer yesterday, the HR recruiter received an email from the candidate saying that the written Q&A was a stupid exercise, and he didn't want to work at any company that wasted its time on something like this (I'm paraphrasing). Surprised, the recruiter called him and it turned out the email was meant for someone else, someone personal and unaffiliated with our company. Well, that made our tough offer decision much easier... don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.

Seriously though, always check the recipient list on your emails, especially work related stuff, and don't reply all when the email was sent to!


Completely unrelated post: DLTDHYAOTWO

Friday, March 9, 2012

Big Rock in Carson


After hearing about the LACMA rock for the past few days, I decided to drive by after work and take a look. It turned out it was difficult to "drive by" since city workers were already moving traffic signals around to accommodate the next leg of the trip last night. A lot of intersection became 4-way stops and traffic was terrible. I ended up taking side streets and parking a block away.

For some reason, I thought it was going to be bigger. I kept hearing on the radio that the trailer was "the length of a football field." The trailer didn't look that big either.

There were quite a few people on either side of the street (Avalon Blvd. in Carson) and almost everyone was taking photos with their cellphones. These were taken with the crappy camera in my Samsung Galaxy. I did take one photo with an iPhone and it wasn't much better.

If the US was a communist country, then we would have a few streets that were 12 lanes wide for national day military parades (like Chang'an Road in Beijing). Then we could have moved the rock without this much fuss. Communism 1, Democracy 0. :)


They mentioned again on the radio today that it will cost $10M to get the rock to LACMA from Riverside. The rock "cost" them $70k and the truck gets 15 gallons to the mile, but most of the cost is the 100+ people involved. $10M for 100 people = $100k... not bad for 10 nights of work.


Hmm, the custom trailer was supposed to cost $5M. That's a crazy amount of money just to move a rock. They could have made a plaster copy and no one probably would have noticed.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


No, it's not about China.

I got this message at work today.
This Page Cannot Be Displayed

Based on your corporate access policies, access to this web site ( ) has been blocked because the web category "Online Storage and Backup" is not allowed.

I clicked on the Carbonite link after reading an article about how their stock dropped 12% today after cancelling their advertising on Rush Limbaugh's show... something about Slutgate (I was going to link to something but everything I read was either far-left or far-right, sigh). Anyway, I think our IT department is trying to block employees from backing up stuff externally.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Brown Eyed Girls at KMF 10

Finally... they announced the first confirmed artist at this year's KMF (Korea Music Festival).

Brown Eyed Girls is one of my favorite K-pop groups so I need to go find tickets.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

I Hate iTunes

So after listening to the song below (I Choose To Love You) by Hyorin, I want to buy it. The YouTube video lists two places: iTunes and Melon. Melon is a Korean website and everyone knows about iTunes Store. The only problem with iTunes is that songs are encoded by AAC with DRM, which means I can only play it on Apple devices after authorizing, syncing, and all that other control-freak steps Apple makes you do. Even though iTunes Store is convenient, I've been buying music on Amazon since it comes in MP3 format. Of course, I can always burn a CD with iTunes with protected songs then rip MP3 files... but why bother when I can buy MP3s directly?

Anyway, as a previous owner of a Apple II+ and a Mac Plus, I love Apple products but hate their management.


Song is not available on Amazon so I may have to suck it up and buy it from iTunes. Can't figure out how to buy stuff from the Melon site.

Learning Korean through K-pop

I thought this was a possibility but each time I put in Korean song lyrics into Google Translate, it comes out really weird. But now, I have a new strategy. Even though my English (native fluency) is much better than my Chinese (3rd grade education), the assumption is that Chinese is closer (whatever that means) to Korean than English. It I translate Korean into Chinese using Google Translate, maybe it will make more sense, and I can brush up on Chinese as well. If you can't learn one language, why not try leaning two at the same time?!

Here is a MV for a drama OST by Hyorin (Sistar). The Korean title is 널 사랑하겠어, and the translated title on YouTube is I Choose To Love You. I have no idea whether that is correct... all I know is 사랑 = love. If I put the phrase directly into Google Translate, the English translation is:
You will love

Well, the word love is in there but the two translated phrases are slightly different. If I change the language to Chinese (Traditional of course), the translation becomes:

This is closer to You will love but it's probably because I'm using Google for both translations. To me though, 一定 is more meaningful than will... there is an added level of certainty, more like surely will or something. Also interesting is that the Chinese translation has 喜歡 instead of 愛, though when you translate love in English to Chinese, Google comes up with 愛. For me, I would translate 喜歡 as like, or a lesser degree of love.

Language is cool. I wished I would have lived in Taiwan a few more years and learned more Chinese. :(


OK, I tried it with the first four lines from 다시 만난 세계 (Into The New World) by SNSD and it's not working out... :)

전해주고 싶어 슬픈 시간이 다 흩어진 후에야 들리지만
눈을 감고 느껴봐 움직이는 마음 너를 향한 내 눈빛을
특별한 기적을 기다리지마 눈 앞에선 우리의 거친 길은
알 수 없는 미래와 벽 바꾸지 않아 포기할 수 없어

English (Google Translate):
I want to pass along sad time, but it sounds scattered after
Close your eyes and feel like moving my eyes towards you
Do not wait for miracles in front of our eyes a rough road
Unknown future and can not give up on the wall do not change

Chinese (Google Translate):

English (translation from Soshified):
I want to tell you, even though the sad times have already past
Close your eyes and feel, how you affect my mind, how you attract my gaze.
Don't wait for a miracle, there's a rough road in front of us
with obstacles and future that can't be known, yet I won't change, I can't give up.

Hmm. As expected, the English translation from GT is pretty bad. I've tried translating Chinese text into English and the results are similar. I can't understand the Chinese either but that's probably because my Chinese skills are lacking. Maybe I need to start with single words or phrases.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Fake Adobe Email

Bastards. I got an email from "" that looked fake. Supposedly Adobe came out with a new version of Acrobat and they sent me a personal email to upgrade. Clicking on the link brings you to a website with a big "Download" button. The URL of the website is Once I saw that the website did not end with, I was certain it was fake. Checking with the real Adobe website confirmed that they were still on version 10.

Looking up the domain on WHOIS returned the following:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Name Server:
Creation Date: 2012.03.03


Registrant ID: 9MUT6ZC-RU
Registrant Name: Thomas Anderson
Registrant Organization: Thomas Anderson
Registrant Street1: 2039 Avenue Street
Registrant City: Sydney
Registrant State: NSW
Registrant Postal Code: 1002
Registrant Country: AU

Administrative, Technical Contact
Contact ID: 9MUT6ZC-RU
Contact Name: Thomas Anderson
Contact Organization: Thomas Anderson
Contact Street1: 2039 Avenue Street
Contact City: Sydney
Contact State: NSW
Contact Postal Code: 1002
Contact Country: AU
Contact Phone: +61 2 39883628
Contact E-mail:

Registrar: Regional Network Information Center, JSC dba RU-CENTER

Last updated on 2012.03.03 23:20:17 MSK/MSD

Hmm, Adobe is not headquartered in Australia... and the address doesn't exist on Google Maps. Fake email, fake domain name, fake address... the slimebag's name is probably not Thomas Anderson either. I feel like I was almost pickpocketed.

Another tip-off was the slightly awkward English used in the email. Haven't they learned anything from the Nigerian scam?
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Our whole team has been working hard to satisfy your product needs.

Start downloading the update right now and let us know what you think about it.

We're working on making Adobe Acrobat Reader better all the time !

Copyright 2012 Adobe Systems Incorporated. All rights reserved.

Friday, March 2, 2012

God is Red

I've been reading a book titled God is Red by Liao YiWu. He had written several books about China; I also bought and read The Corpse Walker several years ago. Here's the book description from Amazon:
When journalist Liao Yiwu first stumbled upon a vibrant Christian community in the officially secular China, he knew little about Christianity. In fact, he’d been taught that religion was evil, and that those who believed in it were deluded, cultists, or imperialist spies. But as a writer whose work has been banned in China and has even landed him in jail, Liao felt a kinship with Chinese Christians in their unwavering commitment to the freedom of expression and to finding meaning in a tumultuous society.

Unwilling to let his nation lose memory of its past or deny its present, Liao set out to document the untold stories of brave believers whose totalitarian government could not break their faith in God, including:

- The over-100-year-old nun who persevered in spite of beatings, famine, and decades of physical labor, and still fights for the rightful return of church land seized by the government

- The surgeon who gave up a lucrative Communist hospital administrator position to treat villagers for free in the remote, mountainous regions of southwestern China

- The Protestant minister, now memorialized in London’s Westminster Abbey, who was executed during the Cultural Revolution as “an incorrigible counterrevolutionary”

This ultimately triumphant tale of a vibrant church thriving against all odds serves as both a powerful conversation about politics and spirituality and a moving tribute to China’s valiant shepherds of faith, who prove that a totalitarian government cannot control what is in people’s hearts.

I'm only 1/3 of the way through the book (Kindle edition) but the stories are both heartwarming and troublesome. For example, chapter 8 tells the story of a doctor who had to give up his career as the deputy dean of a medical school because he was a Christian. After spending time in Thailand working with other foreign volunteer doctors, he decides to travel to poor areas of Yunnan and provide free medical care. Since he was trained as a surgeon, he would even do lifesaving surgeries in the most rural areas, where locals cannot access, much less afford, healthcare. At the end of the chapter, we read that the local officials accused him of "ulterior motives" and halted his medical mission trips. He later visited the US to talk about his mission work and was refused re-entry back to China.

This is the problem with China and the CCP. All government officials are basically in power for themselves. Without accountability, local officials can do whatever they want if it benefits them financially, or if it will help them gain a promotion. Public health should be the responsibility of government officials. However, in this case we see how small minded officials are causing additional pain and suffering to their citizens by denying them their only source of healthcare, and providing nothing in return.

People are basically selfish. If we give government power over our lives, then there needs to be careful checks and balances, something that is sorely lacking in China.

KMF 10

It's less than 2 months before the concert and there is still no information on artists performing.