Fuck Windows

What can be worse than the BSOD in the modern world???? (Blue Screen of Death, duh!)

Try "Windowns cannot repair this computer automatically "

Aaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrgggggggggggggg. Mother fucking fuck fucking A! Pardon me for swearing.

Last night, I went to sleep thinking "Fuck Windows, I'm getting a Mac. Macs won't screw me like this"

Rescue mission underway now. Let's see how well Lenovo "Rescue and Recovery" does.


Chasing foliage... chasing memories

I lived in CT, I lived in Boston, and now I am living temporarily in NYC. Always heard about chasing foliage, always wanted to go, never did. So when the chance came knocking on my door, I jumped at it.

Surprisingly, the chasing led me to Kent School, my high school in CT! I'm skipping all the other pictures and going straight to Kent.

Ivy hanging on the library
The following three are all on the Macedonia River

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The sad part is, at no point while at Kent did I notice the beauty of The Fall. When we drove by Kent, I noticed The Villager, Fife and Drum, Shanghai Chinese, Pizza Garden, Coffee Shop (all eating establishments, obviously)... I recognize some of the shops and B&Bs... all the commercial stuff. And yet I don't notice the simple, innocent, stunning Fall views. For two years, I had the front row seat: right outside the windows of Miller Hall were these exact amazing views.

Anyway, I do notice now! I slowly examined the campus and took tons of pictures. And I look at the aforementioned results of capitalism and skipped them all.

While at the Shanghai Chinese Restaurant, the owner came out to greet me, telling me that I look familiar. Yeah right, sure. It's been 12 years! 10 minutes later, she runs out of her restaurant, and asks whether I had a brother who went to Kent. She does remember.


Gladiator, Revisited

Re-watched Gladiator on TNT the other day. Actually, I only watched my favorite scene where the slaves worked together in their first coliseum fight. As I re-watched this scene, I realized that I couldn't understand anything that was said (all murmurs and shouts)... it was a simple action scene and I liked it. That's it.

How did this silly movie win Oscar awards is beyond me. This is like a MVP race gone wrong: how did Gladiator beat Traffic? Definitely Traffic got the biggest snub... then it's , Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon and Chocolat, apparently two foreign dis-favorites which were both more worthy than Gladiator. And then there's Erin Brocovich... probably the same as Gladiator.

What a debacle.


Cirque du Freak

Saw a free pre-show thanks to our friend S&E and their American Express connections. If it weren't free, I wouldn't have watched it.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant (IMDB) - to be fair, I had no expectations whatsoever. So with the low expectations, I went to the movies and my expectations were fulfilled. The main debate post-show was which was the worse movie: du Freak or Couples Retreat (review)? I think Couples Retreat was worse because in du Freak, I only felt bored for about an hour and I only shook my head five times. Not recommended. While the ending set up for a bunch of potential sequels, fans of the movie (mostly teenagers, I'm guessing?) will be disappointed. No way a sequel will be made. And may all other vampire movies rest in peace.


Flashforward (TV)

They marketed the show as "from the creators of Lost".

They forgot the other tag line "for the dumbest audiences who watched Lost without trying to figure anything out".

Big disappointment with way too many predictable subplots. The premise had so much promise but the execution was piss poor. I haven't totally given up on the show yet, but each episode is slowly wearing me down... and we're only at episode 4.
  • Yup, some FBI regional director is playing basketball with the president
  • Yup, some senator was just made VP because president wanted funding for the FBI regional director
  • Yup, the same senator is going to be president in her (alleged) flashforward
My head hurts. Not recommended at all. Arg. I had hope before.


Naming the Child - from Freakenomics

There's a lot of controversy surrounding their new book Superfreakenomics regarding environment and global warming.

No controversy on Steve's heartfelt piece about losing his child though. I think I want to buy the book.

Although I can't speak for my father, I can speak for myself (compared to my mom). I think the pain is secondary. It is the loss of memory that is the saddest part. On some random day, I would try very hard to remember what he looked like and what we did together. I remember some signature moments before 1996... like the time our sword fight broke the ceiling lamp and we decided together that we'd admit it at the same time... or the time where we locked our little brother outside a room (sorry, James, we still love you)... or the times where we played the computer games while one of us played look out for my parents... or the few basketball games where we played pick and roll to perfection... the details are murky, but the memories are there somewhat.

From 1996 to 2003, he and I rarely spent extended time together as I went to the US to study; he soon followed, but we were always in different cities. I remember his ever-changing hair - from crew cut to shaved head to long hippie. I remember calling him after a break up. I remember his surprised face when he won the physics award at graduation - he was probably snoozing when they announced his name. I remember visiting him at CMU... and that our pick and roll deteriorated and he blamed himself after the game (truth is I couldn't defend a bigger faster kid). But beyond those, I don't remember much.

The fading memory is double edged.

It hurts when you remember. The one thing I do remember clearly is how the day of July 23 2003 unfolded. Every single detail is still so vivid. My journey from Boston to Hong Kong seems to happen repeatedly in my memory.

It hurts more when you don't. How can I only remember his face when I go to his grave? How can I forget all the things we did together as teenagers? Sometimes I think it's because I'm not that good a brother back then (James once called me Big Bother). Other times I don't think anything... and try to remember.


The Michael Lewis Effect - what's wrong with this picture:

A while ago, I read this great article by Micheal Lewis (of MoneyBall Fame) on the value of Shane Battier. I'm still skeptical of the points, but it's nonetheless a good attempt on trying to define some intangibles in basketball.

Then comes this poster:

Okay, so this is Kobe preparing to dunk, probably a reference to the Lakers' defending their title with their star player. Probably.

So, who are the other characters in the poster trying to chase him? In categories:
  • Good chance: KG (Celtics), Manu Ginobili (Spurs)
  • Distant maybe: Carmelo Anthony (Nuggets), Chris Paul (Hornets), Deron Williams (Jazz)
  • No way in hell: Baron Davis (Clippers)
  • Okay, they are there because they are cute: Bulls, Nuggets, Suns mascots
And then there are the two right in front of the rim:
  • Derrick Rose (Bulls) - okay, I can understand the Rookie of the Year being there...
  • Shane Battier (Rockets)!!!!!!????? That's the best person from the Rockets you can put on the poster? Not Yao? Not T-Mac? Not Luis Scola? Not Trevor Ariza?
Not sure how 2K sports designed their posters. Maybe Kobe called and demanded
  1. "you make sure you put Shane Battier trying to block me... make sure he has no lift whatsoever so it looks like I can dunk on his sorry ass.
  2. Put Denver at my feet - I had a bad experience there a few years back.
  3. Nobody from the Orlando Magic - they weren't worthy
  4. Put KG there, he was worthy - I need motivation to destroy him
  5. And I won't share the stage with LeBron. No, I won't accept it."


Better Luck Tomorrow

I'm blogging from mid-air from LAX to JFK. Awesomeness. I think the best is still on-demand movies from Cathay, followed by JetBlue's live TV... inflight Internet would be the third best "let time fly by" toy tat helps everybody involved. (Including consultants who now will have to work on planes)

Anyway, I saw Better Luck Tomorrow (IMDB) with college buddy WL and his gf yesterday. I vaguely remember this movie from way before when it was a hit for a lot of Asian Americans as it depicted SoCal (TF's old stomping grounds by the way) Asian lives.

Not a bad movie, although I'm not sure how it is specific to Asian Americans vs. other ethnic groups. It seems like Lord of the Flies in SoCal, that's about it. Slightly recommended.

Quick note on John Cho, who plays the victim in Better Luck Tomorrow. He will forever be Harold. No other movie or show will convince me otherwise. I was watching him play an FBI agent in Flashforward, but I can't help but laugh when he tries to be serious. Funny how Kumar can be Van Wilder, doctor (on House), and terrorist (on one or two episodes of 24) but Harold gets molded.


SF answers me

Yesterday I mentioned that SF transit sucks.

Today, SF answers with its finest.


Public Transit in SFO

For a city that is well known for it's progressive liberalism, San Francisco sure has a lot of explaining to do when it comes to its public transportation - probably better described as "you're better off driving a crappy car with poor emission". Protecting the environment be damned.

The BART is basically the subway system that connects the different parts of the Bay Area. They charge an arm and a leg to use (NY subway rides are $2.50, and normal rides in SF cost around $5).

The Cal train is the commuter rail. They seem to be affordable for the most part but the number of trains are scarce. Today, for example, I found out at 10pm that the last Cal train left at 915pm.

And neither really gets you to your intended destination other than your office in downtown SF. Prepare another $2 for the bus ride over to your true destination.

All of this which roughly translates into "I need a car" or else it's going to cost both my money and my time. Shame on the Bay Area transit system!


You lose some, you win some

Apparently, the HUGE disappointment of not winning the Olympics has not affected the every day life of Chicagoians despite columnists Jay Marrioti's claims. Move on with life, Chicago.

Obama seemed to have taken a beating for not delivering the Olympics to Chicago... and he's taking another beating for being rewarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The man can't win.

By the way, isn't the Nobel Peace Prize a direct result of Bush fucking it up in his previous term? I think so.

Funny movies...

Another 2-fer at a theater near Stanford... this time with 2-fer rookies WL and JK. They acted calmly and follow my instructions, narrowly escaping from a suspecting custodial worker... just kidding, nobody even checked our tickets in the front.

Zombieland (IMDB) - I wasn't sure what to expect from this movie, but it turned out to be a really funny movie. I couldn't stop laughing when grandma's face was knocked to the tarmac because she didn't wear her seat belt, when a dude was being mauled while doing a #2, when Bill Murray was being Bill Murray (you'll see, don't want to spoil the fun for you), or when Woody Harrelson was shooting on the roller coaster (classic, by the way). Um, yes, it was gory and disgusting when it came to the zombies, but still recommended if you don't mind the red. By the way, since when did zombies run instead of limp towards their victims? I couldn't figure that out.

Couples Retreat (IMDB) - much like the Surrogates (Verdict: Willis is done. Not recommended), this one is also not recommended. Vince Vaughn is still funny - he was a writer for the movie as well - but he needs something fresh to get his career going again. And there was an odd Jean Reno sighting - ah the days of Leon and Ronin. He might be done too... Anyway, not recommended.


DeeCee FreeBee

The one thing I love about DC is that everything is free. If you can get a place to stay, the city can be explored for days without sweating too much cash. And find a place to stay I did.

I've been to DC twice... several things I'd recommend:
  • Jefferson Memorial at night... it's more quiet than Lincoln Memorial, and the Tidal Basin is quite pretty
  • Lincoln Memorial in the early morning where you can beat the crowd; ditto with any location on the Mall! All the memorials were nice and quiet in the morning.
  • The Mall at night
  • FDR Memorial is nicely tucked inside some woods and on the side of the Tidal Basin
  • I liked the National Gallery and Portrait and I don't think anyone should miss the gallery for presidents; the other museums are really up to your own preference
  • Apparently many miss the National Archives where you can see Constitution and the Declaration of Independence (and Bill of Rights too...)
One note: the food in The Mall is awful. You need to head a bit North to get decent food choices. Like Chipotle and Pot Belly. Yeah, it was that bad.

  • Washington Monument... the outside is fine... you don't really need to go up and see DC through think and dirty glasses. Want proof?
  • The Library at The Capitol... yes, it's pretty, but you can only see if from afar, and no photography allowed (who still uses a library for research anyway??)


Olympic bids...

Well, ESPN just spent ten minutes to describe the "fall-outs" from Chicago's ouster in the first round of voting for the 2016 Olympic games. Here's what an ESPN reporter had to say:
  • "there's a lot of backroom dealings... been some issues between the US Olympic Committee and the International Committee... it's a huge disappointment... it (Obamas) really didn't matter... it's a defeat for The President and he hasn't suffered much defeat in his career..."
And of course we have the great American free press, courtesy of sports columnist Jay Mariotti:
  • "affects the legacy of The President... and Mayor Daley... Chicago is the 2nd city with an inferiority complex... it hurts a lot... I don't think the city is going to get over it for quite some time..."
What a bunch of BULLSHIT! I'll tell you why Rio deserves to host the Olympics:
  1. "Thousands of people stood in bewildered silence in downtown Chicago on Friday after the International Olympic Committee eliminated the city from the race for the 2016 Summer Olympics in the first round of voting.
  2. "Nearly 50,000 people cheered in celebration when Rio was announced as host, jumping and shouting in a Carnival-like party on Copacabana beach."
Look, they had 50,000 people hoping for a nod of approval. 50,000! Do you know what happens if 50,000 filled Michigan Ave? They become a major annoyance to the locals, that's what.

Want more evidence?
  • After IOC President Jacques Rogge announced the winner, Brazilian football legend Pele was reduced to tears.
  • Think Chicago basketball legend Michael Jordan is in tears? I think not.
It's really quite simple. Brazilians, much like the Chinese years ago, wanted the Olympics more. It was a matter of national pride, and that's that. South America has never hosted an Olympic event. Brazil is already committed to hosting the World Cup in 2014.

Instead of bickering over Obama's lack of influence and faults on the voting system, how about a loud applause to Rio de Jeneiro? ESPN, how about that, a little sunlight for Rio? Please?


The Wire with TF

I'm blogging from about 40,000 feet over somewhere in Nevada/Arizona. Pretty cool, I'd say. Internet on flights will be a regular thing soon with extended battery lives.

Anyway, I've been watching Season 4 of The Wire with TF lately. I think she's enjoying it. And I'm definitely enjoying it, especially with her reactions during the show. For example, she always gets tensed up when people are walking in the dark alley.
  • "Oh shit, something is going to happen, right?"
  • "Is he going to be shot?"
  • "I'm scared"
Of the people whom she thinks are going to die all the time: Bodie and Carcetti. Whenever a car drives up to Bodie's corner for a re-up, TF instinctively thinks machine guns are going to come blazing out. I'm not sure why she thinks Carcetti is going to die all the time... but obviously she's been movie trained and regular TV trained.
  • "No, hon, nobody is going to shoot the mayor-to-be when he walks out his home"
  • "They are just kids hanging out... nobody is shooting at them"
  • "I told you this was realistic... there's no drama... and nobody is gong to shoot at the police"

Favorite pictures from Grand Canyon

Well, since Picasa idiotically insists that I can only upload four pictures at a same time, I succumb to the technology and painstakinglypicked out four.

I'm not sure if these four are my favorite, but they are up there for various reasons.

Our first sunset from East Canyon. Loved the light and shadows in this picture. The sun was to the right, so I wanted to go away from it a little bit and capture some of the rays and the changing colors:

Our first sunrise from Yaki Point. It's not a good spot for pictures because the sun doesn't really shine on any nice looking rocks after it rises. I framed the sunrise within a tree for this one:

Grand Canyon pictures have to have the Canyon, right? I'm not sure which one is the best, but I do like this one with changing depth, color, and shadows. There's a bit of distortion, but I can't go through all the pictures and pick - I'll end up picking 10 more or so.

The moon... I've always tried to take a picture of the moon with no success. Finally I realized that I have to do it during day time when the sun gives some light to the moon and it looks kind of faint and not overwhelming.

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