Tuesday, November 17, 2009


The cats were in good form to greet me when I came home today! :)
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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Travel notes from the road/plane - Should have been tweets but I have no mobile internet at present

Wi-fi is not proving to be very ubiquitious (yet), so I haven't posted much of the thoughts collected on the trip thus far.

So I'm doing a dump of everything now:

1. The experience on Korean Air puts my flights on Northwest/Delta last week to shame. Lots of wine, friendly service - makes me feel like I'm really on vacation!

2. The Korean air commercials of a lone male model visiting various spots in the US and posing, having amazing adventures is quite a bit cheessy...and it's the same commerical before EVERY movie that you pick.

3. On the other hand, it's very good that you can actually choose exactly what movie you'd like to watch, whenever you want to start watching it, and can pause on demand. I guess I usually fly crappy US airlines that don't normally offer this, so it seems like a treat.

3. Terminator Salvation - Not bad, though I found myself checking my watch several times during the course of the movie.

4. X-Men - Wolverine - Glad that the comic book story translated so well to the big screen. But, hard to believe that Van Wilder is a a bad-ass super soldier killing machine of death.

5. Angels and Demons - hilarious that a "Symbolgist" (does that line of work really even exist) talks like a hard ass and the choose your own adventure/encyclopedia brown storyline is treated with immense gravitas.

6. I think in 160-character tweets now.

7. Jerusalema - South African crimelord/gangster rise/fall movie. Great! Had not heard of it before, but really cool - the South African setting was a nice twist on the usual "hungry crimelord moves his way up, wins it all, then loses it" gangster movie story.

8. Safely landed. On the bus now to Marsha's neighborhood. There's a TV on the bus, and it's showing some program with monkeys dressed up in various professional outfits (policeman, fireman, student, soccer player, soldier) and they're either doing tricks or smacking their trainer around. This is possibly the greatest thing ever.

9. Dumplings from Marsha's mom. There's vermicelli, pork, and kim chi inside. Delicious.

info about Korea day 1

Korea seems pretty nice so far.

Haven't really done all that much though; we arrived at Marsha's house around 8 pm, and so we had a little food with everyone, then went for a walk around the area near their apartment. The little park near their house has been upgraded, so we had to see everything (and disturb the various young couples looking for some moments of seclusion/privacy).

Slept okay but were up (for good) at ~6:45 am.

Had some fish/kim chi/ soup for breakfast. Marsha's mom scheduled a facial for her, and then she's going to get her hair done. I will run around with Marsha's mom to take care of a few things.

There's mosquitos here! Totally forgtten.

Also, a little warmer and humid than Seattle weather led me to believe. Didn't bring many shorts...but I think we'll survive.

Monday, September 14, 2009

giving the show "lost' one more try....

So - I've never gotten into the show "Lost", but at the repeated praise of many other people, I'm trying to give it a shot, again.

But man, season 1 is slow.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Time for a post - reviews from this weekend

Haven't been in a blog-posting mood for a while, unfortunately.

However, I guess something feels different now and I again am in the mood to post some thoughts; certainly more extensive than what I've updated on twitter recently.

The 1st day back at work after the long weekend was mostly positive, nothing new of mention there.

The weekend, despite grand plans, did not amount to much; but was ultimately relaxing.

There was a lot of rain on Saturday & Sunday, which ultimately did not put us in the mood to go to Bumbershoot - 2 tickets at $50 each + parking to sit out in the cold rain?

We did, however make good use of netflix.

Some thoughts:

1. Aliens vs Predator: Requiem - In other terms, this is Aliens vs Predator, the second.

We've been on a kick of seeing everything in the Aliens series, and after seeing this, we're pretty much caught up. Man, the Aliens never get to be the good guys, do they?

I guess it's best summed up as a "b"-movie, and left at that.

(We liked the original "Alien" the best, with "Aliens" coming in second)

There's a scene involving a helicopter rescue that seemed just like a moment in the game Left 4 Dead...perhaps a designer at Valve borrowed liberally? (Or perhaps most rooftop helicopter rescue scenes look the same)

2. Say Anything - I had never seen this before. But then I did. Not bad. Seems to have held up well over time; and generally seems smarter than other coming of age love stories.

3. I'm Through with White Girls - Low-budget indie flick; perhaps it could be considered "post-racial". The protagonist is a black guy, but his issues are really more related to a fear of commitment rather than anything in specific about women (of any color). Done smartly and with some good humor.

4. The IT crowd (season 1) - UK comedy series about some socially inept IT workers in the basement of a large company in London. Goes for fairly standard office sitcom plot setups, but then veers into the wonderfully absurd. Apparently the next seasons are better; I'm looking forward to them

5. Mirror's Edge (PC game)) -tried this out and really enjoyed it; the graphics are spectacular and the gameplay basically involves you jumping from rooftop to rooftop in a futuristic city that reminds me a lot of Shanghai. The game is priced pretty competitively now, so worth a try if you were on the fence before; the demo is still free.

6. "The system of the world" (book by Neal Stephenson) - had been working on this tome for several months now, and had started the trilogy (or series, really) back when I still lived in China. Nearly 3000 pages later, I have finally finished it. I was satisfied by the ending (not always one of Stephenson's strengths). The epic scope of the book was well-done too.

Anyway, this will be a quick week, and then it's off to Madison, WI...and a week after that, headed to Seoul. So, should have a few more things to post about in the not too distant future.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Treading water?

It's a slow-ass day at work for me; probably due to the often uneven
nature of project timing.

Get the feeling that so many people are sitting through their day just
to get the check and hope that a better opportunity will present
itself later.

Truly, one tends to need economic income to survive, and if one is not
born into wealth, then it's necessary to earn something.

Still, I want to be really doing something, not just treading water.

Life is short, and sitting around waiting for more orders or projects
isn't helping me learn much.

WTF are they thinking?

I am pretty sure that the point of this ad was not to use Transvestite-looking women to sell free online war gaming to young males. Or was it?

(Not that there's anything wrong with that)

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Not a bad day, all things considered

Mostly busy and productive at work, despite some nagging technical

Back home, the wife made taco lettuce wrap things that were tasty and
perhaps not too unhealthy.

Took care of some mail and personal eval stuff, ran to store and came
home with a week's supply of yogurt.

Watched an episode of the Tudors, shared a bottle of wine, now time to
do some reading.

Can't complain that much.

Still have songs from "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" in my head, and am
still thinking about my China days.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

some movie redemption

Let the Right One In

Had heard about this one a while ago but never got the chance to see it. But glad I did - quite good.

Kind of a sweet love story. But certainly kept my attention. I liked the Swedish setting.

Apparently Hollywood will attempt a remake. I do not see why they feel the need to do this; aside for money. I doubt the remake would be as good.

punishment of self in movie form

After a very long, exhausting week, and some misadventures in an attempt at camping on Saturday, we ended up back home at 11pm, tired, dirty, smoky, and in need of a drink & a laugh.

So, decided to try out our netflix on-demand & see some comedies.

I should have known better with these titles, but part of me was holding out that these were un-noticed gems. I was wrong.

1. Almost heroes

Chris Farley & Matthew Perry star. Christopher (Spinal Tap & Best in Show) Guest directs. Sounds like it should be awesome on paper. Something seems to have gone awry. Each scene seemed to be a setup for some little gag, and sure enough, some super cliched and obvious joke comes in. And that's it, onto next scene. I gave it a full 10 minutes and then decided to move on.

2. Bob the Butler

Tom Green. Post 90's Tom Green. Again, I was hoping for something brilliant/inspired to happen...but after 20 minutes, I just saw Tom Green being awkward, Brooke Shields being a corporate bigwig that was really busy for some reason, and then some kids that were brats around other babysitters but yet got along with the misunderstood non-conformist laid-back Tom Green. Again, waited for something inspired (Freddie got Fingered style) to happen, but instead a lot of tired sight "gags".

We weren't laughing, so we went to bed.

Maybe will have better luck with something else.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

hiking today


Went up to the first lookout point on Rattlesnake Ridge outside of Seattle. It was good. Went up with a group of people and had good converstaions all the way up and down. Dim Sum for lunch.

Going to see "The Hangover" later. Solid weekend so far.
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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

random note - geeky again

Started watching "Death Note" on Hulu. The series seems okay, aside for that it (hulu) is a little taxing on the Atom-powered box that I have hooked up to my TV. I should really try getting my older motherboard & graphics card hooked up in a working case again...just have been bad at justifying a reason to go to spend money on new equipment that I don't really need and don't really have room for.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Should do an update - so here goes...

Haven't updated blog in a while. So feel like I should. Now I'm getting re-acquainted with it, like a friend you haven't seen in a while.

I've been a little better about doing a Twitter post every day or so, but lately have been slacking on that too.

The thought process behind doing a 160 character tweet vs a potentially unlimited blog post is certainly different, and I guess I feel like it's time to balance out the super-brief posts I had been doing with something that offers, well...at least 300 characters. :)

Some thoughts:

1. Getting sick - not sure how this happens, but it's crazy how one day you can be feeling pretty good and the next day suddenly run down. I think the wife was stealthily contagious.

2. Apple Keynote today - I admit, I was quite interested with news concerning the latest iPhone (and potential significant firmware upgrade for people with the 3g). Contrasting it with the flurry of attention around the Palm Pre has made for some interesting podcasts to listen to. My take: Palm Pre may have the more compelling OS & software but it needs to quickly gain a lot of adoption by customers and developers in order to remain viable. I really hope it works out for them, but I'm currently only 4 months into a new 2-year contract; I'm not about to go anywhere from that. Apple has shown that they've been really good at pushing new functionality onto their iphone platform and keeping upgrades steady. I figure that they're a safer bet. The iphone will also be getting a version of PlecoDict at some point, which is still my personal "must have" app. Hopefully I'll be in a position sometime in the next year or so where I will need to use Chinese more often during work or travel.

(Also, after living in China and dealing with the convenience and freedom of using GSM phones, the prospect of becoming really locked down to a CDMA provider with gimped phones like Sprint & Verizon offer seems very unappealing...yeah, I know that the iPhone is locked down too but it's still trivial to unlock should you wish to travel with it and not be tied to "the man").

3. Conan O'Brian making fun of Twitter - I'm a fan of (but not obsessed with) Twitter. I found the recurring jokes last week at the expense of Twitter to be very funny. A good contrast to its treatment in mainstream media otherwise, which tends to be fluffy, fawning, or dismissive by people who don't quite get it.

4. Hiking - when the weather is nice in Seattle, there's really no acceptable excuse to be inside. There are so many trails & hikes to do around here (for very cheap), it's a shame to not see them. So Marsha and I are finally getting started with that.

5. Long days - one benefit of living in a very northern location is that the summer days last a long time. Still having twilight at 10pm is just fine by me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

geeky note - star trek & other things

Haven't posted about something fairly geeky for a while, so here goes:

1. Star Trek (the new movie) - saw it, liked it. Pretty well done, respectful to the original yet making it fun & approachable for people new to the series. No big complaints about it at all...good start for a summer movie season (and it seems like there's a few more movies worth seeing later on...Terminator & "Year One" are looking potentially quite sweet).

I like the fact that in the film, Iowa is a center of interstellar ship construction. Why not?

2. What is up with people applauding in a movie theater when they see scenes that they like? (Get off my lawn, you damn kids!)

I just don't get this.

Not to say I begrudge these other people the right to enjoy their film - just wondering what effect applause is intended to have when in a theater at a 3:30 matinee showing and no bigwigs or actors are there and only a smattering of die-hard fans are in attendance.

It's not the Rocky Horror picture show; it's not an interactive experience. It's not like when there's a comedy & something funny happens and people laugh.

It's like they have to let people know they are happy someone famous is on screen? It escapes me.

I'm glad that they're happy Leonard Nimoy makes an appearance, but if their applause is drowning out dialogue...lame - their behavior is encroaching on my enjoyment of the movie.

So yeah, again - get off my lawn, you damn kids*!

(*ignoring the fact that many of the fanboys attending ranged in age from 18 - Fiftysomething)

3. Wii games

Just saying, it's somehow much more fun playing a video soccer game when your whole team is made up of big-head versions of your friends and random characters/celebrities.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

saw the 2008 movie Appaloosa

Interesting movie.

At first felt as if it was a cliched western; but it took a turn off in another direction altogether.

Pretty good. Feels pretty timeless; it's not a re-invention of the western; just a well-done story - clearly with love for the genre.

I appreciate the attention to historical detail; didn't seem like they glossed over too much.

Felt like it was almost going to be epic, but felt almost more like a character study.

Not a bad film; Ed Harris, Vigo Mortensen (sp?), Jeremy Irons, and Renee Zweliger (sp?) are all pretty solid too.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

getting adjusted

So, have been back in the US for just over a week now; after a 10-day trip to China.

I guess the re-adjustment period coming back this time was not too difficult; culturally or in terms of jet-lag.

Starting a new job probably added some extra complication & motivation.

I'm not used to getting up at 6:15 am every day (not to whine, just sayin').

But that + jet lag + all day training sessions where I'm doing a lot of listening & not so much talking/doing is a little strange.

Culturally, the new company is a little different than where I worked before (not a surprise or anything). While there still are people in the office who enjoy video games, just seems like that's not as common a topic for discussion as before. Also, I get to wear "real" work clothes. Real business casual. Not so much of the sandals+shorts+t-shirts that were quite tolerated before. Will take a little getting used to but not that big of a deal.

The "novelty" of ironing my pants & shirts has worn off though.

New office is pretty close to the place we're renting. Depending on how favorable the crosswalks are, I can walk there in 15-20 minutes.

Being in China was really good...good to see & feel the energy there and meet & talk with so many ambitious people. Heartening to see that things are being done.

Back home, it seems like people are tired (fatigued, even) & constantly running in damage control mode. I suppose that's necessary, given the hemorrhaging of the US financial system & the nasty complications that have ensued. I hope that, despite everything, people over here do not lose sight of their ambitions, goals, and plans to grow and thrive.

To put it bluntly, although the situation is kind of a kick to the _____ (nuts, face, stomach, pick one), we as a nation need to dust off, pick our selves up, and keep moving onward & upward. If we choose to sit idly and whine on by, then we will fade - there's lots of people out in the world who are keeping up with the keeping on, and it is not our time to rest yet.


BTW - this swine flu coverage is annoying. If you're sick, stay home. If you're fine; go out & live. Wash your hands often. End of story.

Friday, April 24, 2009

reflecting on trip

In Seoul-Incheon airport at present, where my laptop is running on fumes (but at least I am taking advantage of the free wi-fi while it lasts.

Visiting China was real good - really good to be back and see all my friends there (who all seem to be thriving; and that was very inspiring to see). Practicing Chinese was good too.

If I find a power outlet somewhere maybe I'll upload some pictures...but I'm not counting.

Need to get mentally prepared to just sleep & sleep during next leg of travel so that I'm not a total zombie after I land stateside.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

a few days into it

Beijing is different than I remember it. No surprises in that, really,
as it changes a lot.

I had lived there for a year in 2000-2001, and then again from
2002-2003, and visited once in 2005 and again in 2006.

But still - some striking things:

1. The city is filling out. Last time I was there, it did not seem as
there were many high-rise buildings beyond the fourth ring road. Now,
however, there are solid high rises well past the fifth ring road. The
feeling out there (in terms of density & quality of construction) is
similar to what the areas in between the 3rd & 4th ring roads was like
back in my student days. Compared to life in the US, it's mind-blowing
how fast the city can grow and change here.

2. Seems like there's a better English-level among the populace. Could
also be reflective of the company I was keeping and the places I went
to hang out...certainly, at some restaurants I would have been SOL if
I didn't speak Chinese.

3. People are more stylishly dressed than ever. Lots of teenagers
carefully dressed up. Still some country bumpkin looks among people in
the outskirts, but as one heads more centrally into the city it
appears that people are more sophisticated. Again, I guess this should
be expected as Beijing matures & grows as an international hub; on the
other hand it seems like this is one of those things that may not
strike you as you live in the city on a day to day basis.

4. Lots of cool places to hang out. One's options for night life seem
pretty diverse. Unfortunately, my jet lag seems to be kicking in with
a vengance around 23:00 or 23:30 most of the time now, and I'm not
staying out super late. (The first night, however, I was out well
until after 2 am - had a blast)...

5. Have not heard too much Kenny G being played at various stores &
public spaces - though we were passing by an elementary school and his
distinctive sax playing was heard through a loud speaker for the
children as they completed their afternoon exercises...

Anyway, I should get some brunch or something soon. Will be heading
down south to Shenzhen later today.

- Dan

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

good to be back

After a 12 hour flight to Seoul, and a 2 hour flight to Beijing, I
landed, was picked up by friends and immediately went out to eat some
Xinjiang food (Chinese muslim food).

Good to see friends, drink some local beer, and eat lamb on a stick.
In a part of Beijing's eastern sprawl - everything looked new at
night, but reviewing stuff in the morning will be good too.

Will probably visit the area in town around the forbidden city today,
and maybe visit some friends.

Jet lag had me up at ~5:15 local time, which I guess is okay. We'll
see if I can stay up past midnight today.

Thursday, April 09, 2009


So yeah, one evening while the wife was watching Korean TV dramas online (mysoju.com is excellent for this), I was left to my own devices.

With my laptop (on my lap) I decided to play a couple games. I had MAME installed and fired it up. Nothing was holding my attention, but Michael Jackson's Moonwalker totally did.

Apparently the game came out in 1990, and 19 years later (wow, I feel old), it is still a weird game.

The reasons for this be three (plus one):

1. You play as Michael Jackson, and fight against ninja and robot enemies by shooting some kind of magic fire from your hands.

2. You run around levels rescuing tied up little children.

3. Your special "clear all bad guys" attack is the "moonwalk" button, and so you start dancing and all the bad guys start dancing too then blow up.

4. If you find michael's pet monkey, 'bubbles', and touch him, then you turn into a Michael Jackson terminator robot and your arms turn into guns for maximum long-range blastination of your enemies.

I got tired of it around half-way through level 3. I guess some of the intrigue is gone when you just need to hit the "5" key instead of pumping quarters into a machine.

Worth a look if you are some reason:

1. missing 1990
2. missing Michael Jackson
3. missing turning into a robo-killing machine after touching a monkey

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

on software lock-in

I dislike growing to be dependent on something (software-wise).

Splash ID is one program that I have grown to appreciate and keep using, and "need to have it" on whatever PC/Mac/mobile phone that I use.

Scriviner might be the next one. It's OS X only, but I am seriously loving it. It's not really a word processor, but more of a way to organize & compose outlines & notes & drafts. I do not want to go back to using just word or open office or whatever - this works better for me.

(I  had been on the fence about what to replace my aging but still functional iBook G4 with...but this is kind of making me lean "another mac" for now).

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Clearchannel modern rock

So, seriously, apparently 1991 -era pearl jam, nirvana, alice in
chains, Soundgarden, and Bush are still so vital that their music
needs to be in hourly rotation 18 years later?

I appreciate the contributions by those respective bands (whom, except
Bush, were influential to me when I was in junior high), but come
on...they should get migrated over to the classic rock station and the
"modern" rock station should get a refresh.

And yet the suits behind the RIAA can't fathom why people are
rejecting their old, tired business model?

Count it Off!

The Saturday Knights - "Count It Off" from Lincoln Leopard Films on Vimeo.

I was thrilled to see this video from one of my favorite Seattle bands, The Saturday Knights.

Very well done video. I really hope these guys make it big nationwide. Fun music, and they are musically solid. The whole album is good.

Their other big hit was "45". It got a lot of college radio airplay last summer/fall; I'm glad that they are still working it.

New prince record

The cover of "crimson and clover" is pretty sweet.

Nothing else super special. I'm usually pretty forgiving to prince's
90's and later musical efforts. But I want my 11.98 back.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Guilty pleasure

From the circa 1998 chef aid album: "nowhere to run". Featuring DMX,
Ozzy Ozbourne, and Ol Dirty Bastard (while he was in his "Big Baby
Jesus" phase).

This should have been a throw away track, but it is still super
enjoyable & fresh sounding to me.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

the curious case of benjamin button???

Had heard that this movie sucked.

I was pleasantly surprised. Although, perhaps a little slow, I thought it was pretty interesting. Well done.

Juxtaposition of age opposite of one's life experiences provided interesting contrast to exploration of the human condition.

Will probably think about this movie for a while afterward.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Chinese Feast!


So I felt like cooking today...2 hours later, here's my results. From the top of the picture down (for any of you reading this on Facebook, I'm not sure if the picture will syndicate properly), the dishes are: Ma po dofu, Indonesian Fried Noodles, Gan bian si ji dou, and Gong Bao Ji Ding. (Forgive the bastardized names, that's what I know them as and I don't want to look up whatever the prevalent translation is over here).

Lots of left-overs...I can take a break from cooking for a couple days!

The Ma po dofu was a little disappointing in that I accidentally added some Lee Kum Kee branded spicy garlic sauce (the characters on the jar were 鱼香酱 - fish flavor sauce - usually very tasty in China when done properly but this crap was NASTY). The aftertaste is still lingering unpleasantly in my mouth.

The Gong bao ji ding (Kung Pao Chicken) turned out pretty okay. I used the recipe from the book "Land of Plenty". It turned out to be fairly tasty, although not quite the same as I remember the dish to be when prepared in the best kind of dive restaurants in Beijing.

Anyway, the wife was very happy to come home and see most of this stuff ready.
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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

plans aren't firm yet, but....

Probably will do a little bit of international traveling in the relatively near-ish future.

The amount of time I'll spend on it is a little up in the air at this point, but it seems very likely that I'm at least going somewhere.


Good to have something to look forward to.

We'll see how this goes.

While I do appreciate having time to myself, adequate time to go to the gym, myriad chances to cook, and many opportunities to prove to my cats that I'm a worthy host, the prospect of getting away from all that sounds pretty sweet.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

things overheard a little more - suckas...

At a coffee shop again, trying to do some writing on a book that I've been kicking around for a long, long time.

I guess things aren't flowing, creatively speaking, as I'm suddenly hyper-aware of everything going on around me. Even as I type things out and surf the net and listen to music.

Right now, there's a lady to my right (who frequently uses the never-cool phrase "cool beans") who is starting to pitch some guys on some sort of comission-only sales job position.

I can't tell if it's for a position as a real estate agent, mortgage broker, or financial planner.

I want to tell the people getting this spiel, "IT'S A TRAP!!!"

They said they did not finish high school and are exploring their options.

Having been down this road myself (a long, long time ago, and will never be on my resume).

The whole thing is just rubbing me the wrong way...lady is dropping a bunch of TLAs that describe various positions in the scheme, and how one earns points, and how these lucky people who are "empowering" themselves will soon be providing this kind of "training" to others in the very near future and how they can start getting instant promotions if they just make a commitment and stick to the simple plan...

Where's the market for this now??? Who's in a rush to buy insurance and investment plans and home loans and Arbonne stuff?

I guess I better move tables or something.

(I know that this sort of commission-only sales stuff can really work for some people, but I am just not in the mood to hear it)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Nicely done

Took me an extra couple days to finally watch the battlestar galactica
finale. But I am pleased. Very well done ending to what was a very
well done series all-around.

Monday, March 23, 2009

in case you missed this re-tweet

Funny (and sad) since it rings so true:

RT @goldkorn: Employer of Holocaust deniers, homophobe, telling Africans not to use condoms: is the Pope actually evil?


I don't go to church anymore, nor do I really give a shit what the pope says or does.

Yet, given his position, authority & influence over the masses of people who do listen to him, how irresponsible of him is it to be keeping up with these outdated, ass-backwards agendas?

Friday, March 20, 2009

Things overheard

So, much like my life two years ago, I'm at a starbucks in a mall,
surfing the Internet and looking for a job.

Different continents.

But not much is different.

Well, I guess that there is much more English being spoken and far
less Chinese. I overhear the Chinese conversations, understand what
people are saying, but keep holding back at saying anything (unless
someone strikes up conversation). I mean, merely understanding what
others are saying is not an entitlement to chat with them. (it would
not usually be kosher to do that with people who natively speak your
language, right?)

But still, it's interesting hearing chinese people comparing starbucks
here and at home much like I am too. Did not learn anything special,
but I guess if one acquires a taste for lattes, you will feed that
hunger whenever and where ever you can.

Brewed coffee for me. Black, like I like my men. :p

Monday, March 16, 2009

we're already living in a revolution, in a way

Read a very interesting article comparing the spread of internet publishing, its implications for newspapers & traditional media.

It's probably the most similar to when the printing press first emerged in 1500 - and the implications of that were very widespread indeed.

Not to say that people back in the 14th century wouldn't have understood the significance of the printing press, but they may not have been able to see the full extent of its influence...probably very much like people now trying to deal with the impact of the networked/"interneted" society we're creating.

Anyway, the article is long but I found it fascinating.


Thanks to Charles Stross' blog for pointing me towards this article.

(If you like sci-fi books, then you would probably find his work very interesting)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

stupid monkey!

Tried out this site - you can make your own machinima movies for free; and have lines delivered in a Radiohead-esque (or new ipod shuffle-esque) artificial voice.

Just did a test run; it seems to work well.

Friday, March 13, 2009

hindsight is 20/20

I took my PMP exam today. Passed. (yay)

But this story is about prior to taking the exam.

I showed up to the test site about an hour early (was a little jittery and there wasn't much else to do at home).

Nothing in the way of a starbucks or somewhere else to hang out prior to the test in the immediate vicinity, so I went out for a walk and came across a small-ish doughnut & espresso shop.

There was nothing else comparable around so I went in. The proprietor had maybe 3 dozen doughnuts left (he starts business at 4:30 am each day and it was already 1:30 pm when I walked in).

I got a few things and we started talking. It turns out this guy's family was originally from somewhere in Guangdong province, China, somewhere outside of Guangzhou. Of course I was interested as I cannot easily forget my life over there (but I'm really not living in the past either).

When we got to discussing the topic of China & the rapid economic growth & changes there, he mentioned that he had the opportunity to go in on an investment with some of his cousins, who had remained in China and not immigrated to the US. Their business? Selling gravel.

If I were in this man's shoes, in the mid-80's, hearing about an opportunity to invest in a Chinese cousin's gravel company, I would have been suspicious, to say the least. As the guy I was talking with had been back then.

However, it turns out that his family's business turned out to be wildly successful. Sounds as if they have more money now than they know what to do with. They ended up selling gravel on a lot of gov't contracts for train & subway development...and infrastructure spending was certainly going on with reckless abandon in China in the 80's and 90's.

I had to pause and reflect how I'd deal with a missed opportunity of sorts like that if I were in his shoes.

The shop owner seemed to have some pangs of regret, but on the other hand did not seem to be a broken man - far from it; he was jovial and spoke proudly of his sons, who are gainfully employed doing jobs they really like (both involving computers & software) around Seattle. He was also very proud about his business, which had been running strong for 22 years.

I guess that there could always be missed opportunities in one's life, but if you let that eat at you then you would miss out on what you were actually living.

Meh. I guess it is late for me (finally getting used to the time change) and I'm reaching to find something profound in what was just a random conversation.

(but hey, talking with the dude was both interesting and cleared my mind prior to taking the exam).

Sunday, March 08, 2009

flawed logic

Mean people suck.

Everybody is mean (sometimes).


Everybody sucks (sometimes).

I was pleased enough with myself for putting that together (or remembering it) in the midst of cleaning the house earlier. Now...well, whatever - it's a post.

gotta recommend a game - on sale for the rest of this weekend

If you love simple, but beautiful games as well as being thrifty, then this is totally worth a look.

(Assuming you read this blog, and see it on march 8, 2009 within a US-based time zone).


World of Goo is an engrossing game, and $5 is a very good deal for it. I had heard about a lot of critical love for the game, but I had not tried it...at $5, I gave it a whirl & I must say it's excellent...great casual game.

Friday, March 06, 2009


Nightly ritual of drinking wine and providing some to cat.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Science Tattoos


In case you were wondering - do the scientifically-inclined get body art?

Certainly, some do, and the photographic proof is here.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Every day

I make sandwiches like this every day for the wife and myself.

This one has wasabi mayonaise.

Getting ready for the test

I'm studying to take a test to be a certified PMP - Project Management Professional.

Have been reviewing the material nearly every day for the past week and a half; and for the rest of the coming week I plan on taking one practice exam per day.

It's been nice having a clear goal to work towards (and sometimes slack-off from :) ) during my otherwise amorphously-defined free time as I search for a new job.

Not sure what I'll do after I finish the exam (and pass) - I'm hoping this will be one extra thing to help me  land a job.

In the meantime, I like having some time just for me during the day and getting to explore the neighborhood on sunny spring days and spend time with our cats when I'm at home...not an unpleasant existence; it's just that requirement to have continued steady income for survival seems to be at odds with it.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I'm not usually a dog person, but...

Was at a party last night and a friend brought his newly adopted puppy.

Gotta say, indeed very cute!

Very friendly, and even though he peed in places he shouldn't, he was
a big hit. People liked the dog too. Ha ha. :)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I am liking the itunes genius feature

I am kind of lazy about making playlists on my own; I tend to either listen to everything on shuffle or specifically narrow down to an artist or album. So, the "auto-playlist" feature that Genius provides in iTunes is much appreciated. My experiences with it thus far are solid.

Unfortunately, it's not too solid with anything too obscure; sucks if I'm feeling like listening to punk-rock from east Asian countries. Oh well. I can deal with that.

novelty of studying all the time is wearing off

Glad that my cats are around to keep me company at home. Also glad that the exam I'm studying for is now less than two weeks away. Studying all the time at home is growing a little old & isolating.

Maybe it's just that I overdid it yesterday.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Bedtime cat

We always have company in bed. We are not allowed to move much.

study helper

I'm trying to get some studying done, and someone at home is giving me her special brand of "help".

I appreciate the company, but she does make it difficult to read.

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

pictures of DIY home hotpot

Had been working on making hotpot at home last weekend, here's some photographic evidence:

From Valentines Adventures

From Valentines Adventures

From Valentines Adventures

From Valentines Adventures

From Valentines Adventures

From Valentines Adventures

From Valentines Adventures

From Valentines Adventures

really should post something

Have been sort of bad about posting lately; although I've been getting a little more active as far as Twitter goes that's not exactly the same thing.

The weekend was fine - and the weather was fantastic; visited a little historic town outside of Tacoma for the purposes of meetup/flickr enthusiasts event.

Got some interesting pictures up (most of which are  which I do intend to load up on Flickr at some point, but I haven't got around to it yet).

Had intended on doing some cooking; but after getting all the shopping done we decided to take it easy at home the rest of the day. We did a bunch of laundry & tidied up quite a bit, however.

Will do some Lasagna tomorrow and I think it should turn out pretty good.

Monday, February 16, 2009

sick of twitter already

So, I guess for some people twitter is a way of life?

I like the ability to keep up with friends  & learn a little more about them than I'd know otherwise.

On the other hand, I have now met some people who really, really seem to love twitter and use it constantly, and I am not getting the value of it from them.

I do not want what is effectively another RSS reader, feeding me more news than I can handle.

It's almost as if Twitter = the hive mind.

You can achieve an almost constant sense of awareness, at the price that you become so involved in that reality that you cannot really do anything else....if you're constantly writing tweets and are also scouring the net for new stories to post to your twitter feed & digg & other news aggregators, then what the hell kind of life is that?

Well, maybe it works for some people. But it's not my thing. Will try and stick to minor twitters...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

going to try twittering

I'm late to the game here but I guess better late than never....

If you'd like to follow me, please add "daninbusiness" to your list.

Monday, February 09, 2009

the nerve of some people

Just was terribly annoyed (galled?) that someone just tried the following stunt today.

I needed a haircut, and after I got done with my workout at the gym, I called my usual place of haircutting business, confirmed the wait, put my name on the list, and headed over.

As I'm parking my car, another vehicle speeds in at the same time, and a half-bald dude runs out of the car, pushing me out of the way as we enter the hair-cutting establishment.

He looks at the list, moves his finger down it, sees the name (my name) "Dan" is at the top, and tells the reciptionist, "I'm Dan." She seats him, but there's a wait.

I tell the receptionist, "I'm Dan. I called 10 minutes ago, do you want to see my phone and my ID?"

The receptionist pauses, not making a scene, stars the "Dan" at the top of the list, writes "Dan" down at the bottom of the list, and tells me to have a seat.

The next opening that comes up, she passes to me, and "impostor Dan" is still waiting.

I smugly enjoy my haircut; I'm happy that I'm a regular (the receptionist knew me and was certain she had only received one phone call from a Dan).

But seriously (as far as imposter Dan goes), who the fuck tries that kind of crap? Does it work? Is it worth it? Was he in such a rush that this really was going to somehow save time? Has he ever been called out on this before?

I appreciate that the receptionist had to be diplomatic & discrete, but on the other hand, I kind of want this imposter dude to be called out on being a douchebag...he should be punished!

I guess he was, in a way, in that he had to wait longer than he probably intended to get his haircut...but it's not like he's really discouraged from trying this shit again.

Seriously, is the economy so bad that people have to be douche-y to one another? Or would this guy have been a dick no matter what the economic state of the union?

Thursday, February 05, 2009

So Michael Phelps smoked pot...so fucking what?!?!!?

Seriously, is there not something more important for the global media to be focusing on?

Just since he is an athlete he cannot smoke a mostly harmless product? He's not allowed to kick back & relax?

Too bad that pictures got taken, hopefully it will blow over soon (no pun intended) :)


unemployed & dealing with it

Last friday did not seem like a particularly unauspicious or auspicious day.

Things were kind of slow at the office, however. Only after having been in for an hour or so, I was called into the HR office by the new boss and our HR manager, and was simply told that despite my excellent performance on the job they had to let me go as our profits for the past month were lower than expected.

Cleaned out my things and I was home well before noon.

Played some Left 4 Dead and drank a bit...took things easy....was trying to get over the cold that I had come down with the previous wednesday.

Saturday & Sunday were social; we had people over & went to a superbowl party.

During this week, I've been attempting to do some networking & keep my online profiles up to date. Registered for unemployment insurance. Started looking at my resume & at job opportunities out there.

Enjoying the sun outside - for whatever reason, the weather is great this week.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

dan no sleep

Should be sleeping - went to bed early to try and recover from the sore throat & fever that came on with a vengance earlier today.

But not sleeping yet.

All I can think about is the meeting I have scheduled for Friday at work where I finally get to talk 1:1 with my new boss. I get the feeling like it could well be a "justify your existence" type of discussion...could be a great opportunity to try and improve my job or change the direction of things so I can get more satisfaction out of it.

So yeah, it's important.

And I'm glad I've worked out an entire outline of what I could say whilst tossing & turning.

But I really need to go to sleep.

I'm wide awake with the hint of a heavy headache in the back of my head.

bum-rushed by sickness

Had been doing okay today but suddenly developed a sore-throat in the late afternoon. Headache & fever later.

Now I'm sitting in bed at 20:30 pacific time. Not 100% ready for bed but probably will be soon.

Don't really want to take a sick day tomorrow...may try "working from home" but we'll see how that goes - have a new boss and I'm super self-conscious (to the point of being a little paranoid) right now - maybe better just to take the sick day.

(It sucks that our sick days & vacation days are combined...I guess this encourages us to really pay attention to our health; but on the other hand I'm super reluctant to take any time off if I am sick)

New definition - Saddlebacking

Per Savage Love:

Saddlebacking - the phenomenon of Christian teens engaging in unprotected anal sex in order to preserve their virginities." After attending the Purity Ball, Heather and Bill saddlebacked all night because she's saving herself for marriage

Monday, January 26, 2009

great NY times rebuttal


Well said, dude, well said.

While I appreciate that the NY times does not blindy repeat official Chinese gov't news pronouncements, on the other hand, the article being rebutted  smacks of parachute journalism.

It's important to call them out on that.

BTW, this video is fantastic:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

survived sunday

Not so bad after all...good, lazy day. Made it to the gym and then picked up food to last the rest of the week.

Fresh spinach in stock; and made use of some coupons. Not bad.

Finished up Season 2 of 30 rock, and another new-ish episode of Battlestar Galactica.

Got my electric bill in the mail for December and January (to date)...it's kind of higher than I'm used to. Several reasons:

1. We only use electric heat
2. No gas heat here
3. Bigger apartment than last year, more space to heat
4. Crappy single-pane windows here, seems like we're definitely losing something in efficiency
5. Snowy and unusually cold winter here - so the heat is on all the time.

I miss the days when ~40 bucks for a heating bill in China was enough to upset me...or even ~100 bucks to have heat for the whole winter (though, on further thought, that was totally a scam in that those bastards in my original building shut the heat off at night when I was at home and had it on during the day when I wasn't home. I'm sure someone was skimming out of that...I digress)

Full night out

Went to a wine-related event in the city today, and it was a good time.

Nice people and lots of wine to go around - little to complain about.

We did not do much in the way of having dinner prior to leaving, however, and the quantity of wine caught up with us...well, more specifically my better half.

While I understand that much was consumed in the name of having a good time tonight (and I understand that), my patience & sympathy for when she's throwing up everywhere is lacking. She could be in for a headache tomorrow. I will do my best to be quiet.

Monday, January 19, 2009

happy to be here

Had some thoughts that were relevant.

Happy to be here. Alive. Now.

Even if there's shit going on. Still good, so good to be alive.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Oh, the ravages of time! But I have a cat now

For comparison's sake...I guess that 4 years of drinking constantly and eating with little care will catch up with you.
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Used to be younger

I guess that's how things go...have been doing a bit of hard drive shuffling and so moved the 20gigs of pictures I've amassed over the past 6 years since going digital with my cameras and this was one of the first images that Picasa scanned. Nice.

Not really lamenting the fact that I am getting older, but happy to have some pictures of me when I was younger and that I can look back & say, hey....not too bad. :)
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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I have found this to be so true

Sorry if you've seen it already...

dan's deep thoughts

Sometimes, the hardest part of adjusting to a major change in life is accepting the notion that a change will happen.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

trying the beatles / led zepplin thing again

Not sure how I butchered the link / html thing when I tried to post it a few days ago. Nonetheless, still awesome.

movie reviews - in 3 or so words

So, have been catching up on some movies:

The Dark Knight - lived up to the hype.

Wanted - Solid blockbuster "Matrix" style flick.

Semi-Pro - Not that funny, but good & weird.

In Bruges - Solid.

Pineapple Express - Random awesome

Zak & Miri make a porno - funny sex jokes

Death Race - solid enough action

You Don't mess with the Zohan - random & funny

Forgetting sarah marshall - best vampire musical

The house bunny - fuuny yet girly

Thursday, January 08, 2009

what the hell just happened to me - facebook

While I have been "on" Facebook for a while now, it seems that I've rarely spent much time on it.

However, something has happened in that today I've spent over an hour on it and the time has flown by.

I don't think I'm aware yet what has transpired internally.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

best beatles tribute led zeppelin ever

One of the better youtube clips I've seen in a while...

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Monday, January 05, 2009

making good on my resolutions...well, we'll see

Posted an ad on craigslist to find musicians to start a band. Have got a few responses, will give some meetups a shot later. The lack of a proper practice space (or accoustic guitar) on my part should result in something interesting happening.

Also will be taking a Korean class again, starting next week. That is, assuming that there is a critical mass of necessary students to go to the course. Not sure if that's really going to work out or not yet. We'll see what happens...there has to be at least 5 people signed up.

Friday, January 02, 2009

back to life as usual

Mixed feelings as the holiday vacation-ish run draws to a close.

On one hand, no more long public holidays for me until Memorial day. I do not think that my current employer chooses to recognize president's day. That's kind of a long stretch.

On the other hand, return to a "normal" routine will be welcome. It's been hard to get really into the flow of work and also the flow of vacation when the schedule keeps flip-flopping from free day to work day as it has been doing the past week or so.

Time off is a good opportunity to reflect on how I'm living and how I'd like to do things differently in the future in order to improve things.

For some reason, patience has been wearing thin. I guess that if something super exciting is to happen in my life, it's up to me to make that happen...have been waiting long enough for something to spontaneously come up; I guess that's kind of played out.