Friday, December 26, 2008

Relooking Christmas: Why is Christmas worth celebrating?

An original entry by ltrulez on December 24, 2008, found here.

Attention has been brought many a times to the downfall of Christmas though commercialism. Surely there is some merit to that when we look around and we see the ‘spirit’ of Christmas being fueled by advertisements that tell us we need things that are really just wants. Every generation rebels against the previous generation and now bitter or disillusioned Christians are starting to look at Christmas and wonder why we celebrate it. Is not Jesus born around September/October (although we don’t know because the bible never said) and December 25 was just an appropriation of pagan religions? The early church have taken this day since AD 354 and used it to celebrate the birth of Christ. Although the beginnings may be controversial, this has been a practice for 1654 years of the Christian tradition. The question still remains then, do we celebrate it? I will attempt to give a few arguments towards why we should and why this is a practice that needs to be and can be redeemed.

In our current culture, something really sad has happened. We have cut ourselves out of history and focused on the individual experience. What happens to me right now is what is important. Let us forget the past and forget the future. That is why this so called ‘tolerance’ is also so rampant. Ancient cultures used to know who they are by knowing their roots. I personally have been subject to this idea. What matters now is now. However it is prideful to think this way, forgetting what is behind and neglecting what is ahead. That is why so many people do not even want children nowadays; they want to live out their lives for their own comfort! What a way to destroy a civilization! Another reason why this is prideful, is to think that we can now think for our own so well that we no longer trust or stand on the shoulders of past giants. The question is posed, “why do we celebrate a day when every day is God’s day?” I understand the merit of this question however I can also see that this stems from individualistic thinking. The reason why a day is set apart is so that the church as a collective can worship and focus on one particular important point of the gospel. Community worship and community experiencing God is the way God has made the faith to be like! Faith was never meant to be experienced by you but by being in a collective you are blessed and you bless. The church calendar has been set by early Christians who have over a millennium agreed to the importance of these traditions. As Christians, many of us find ourselves subject to other calendars but we are called to define our lives on a)The Word of God (Jesus, the Way the Truth and the Life) b) The bible which is our closest witness to Christ and c) the Church whom God has given authority to represent him on earth. As long as the latter is based on the former, then we are so called to follow such traditions. Now Christmas is a season set by the church to remember God’s gift to us (John 1:14) to reveal his glory in His meekness. Certainly celebrating the birth of Christ is not contrary to the bible and therefore my suggestion is that standing on a long tradition of Christianity we should celebrate Christmas with the multitude of believers in reverence to God for what he has done for us.

Having said all this, it is right to question the commercialism of Christmas and right to be excited at the new reflection of the never ending story of God’s gift to us by becoming flesh! This Christmas I have found a few references in the Bible to this miracle and one of them is found in Revelation 12. We are accustomed to singing “Silent Night, Holy Night”. This is a song that points to the fact that Christ has came on earth to bring peace on earth. This is true and respected however Jesus also says in Matthew 10:34,38-39 “Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword… And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Of course Jesus doesn’t mean he wants the nation to rage in war with one another, but what he means is the moment he’s come on earth there has been a raging spiritual war that began the day he was born and will continue until his second coming. Revelation 12 speaks of the story of Jesus’ birth and how there was a great red dragon (Satan) who was waiting to destroy him the moment he is born. “Now war arose in heaven, Michael and his angels fighting against the dragon. And the dragon and his angels fought back, but he was defeated and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. And the great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world- he has thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.” (Revelation 12:7-9) After God has protected Jesus from being devoured by the dragon he “became furious with the woman (mother of the child) and went off to make war on the rest of her offspring, on those who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.” The night Christ was born sure was holy, but it was not silent… heaven was waging a full out war with the devil!

What does this mean to us this Christmas? It was an exciting revelation to know that this Christmas season we are fighting against the deceiver of this world. Yes, Christmas should be celebrated and it needs to be redeemed from its materialism! We have from the text been given a mission to fight along with Christ against the devil who has deceived the mass. People are not free when bound to materialism, when they go take loans for money they do not have to give gifts that do not satisfy. What is our calling then? To point our fingers and shout and condemn? No, Christ has given us new hearts rather to live a different lifestyle, to preach the good news and to show by example what it means to be truly free. The cure to materialism is giving, we should as families start a new revolution and culture of receiving the good news and the gift of Christ and turn that around by being givers to those in need. In our household this year, we have decided that none of us need anything any longer because we have been so abundantly blessed… so instead of buying each other gifts we as a family are giving houses in need a goat, a pair of pigs, and relief funds to persecuted Christian brothers and sisters in Orissa. Now as a family, we will bless them and bless each other by praying in one heart for others and one another. This is gospel, this is salvation not only for others but our own souls. Yes, with Christ a new revolution and a new lifestyle can come! I share this with you all not to boast in our strengths, rather we are by far not a perfect family… but this is to invite you to join in a revolution that Christ set the day he was born to now and to imitate us as we seek to imitate Christ who has given up his heavenly home to become a child in a manger for our sakes (Philippians 2). Praise be to God, Amen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

"Punisher: War Zone" is biblical

Actually, that would be a loose way of describing it... A better way to describe this movie is that it is "biblical." Hmmm, technically then, everything is "biblical" if described like that, but that's not the point.

I saw the latest Punisher movie two weeks ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it, because I believe that the story of Frank Castle is an escape for the part of the self that desires and craves for instant justice. Let me try to describe this part of the self (with my bias).

Bad things happen in this world. It is a given. However, when deplorable, vile events and/or circumstances happen in this world that is a result of intentional human activity against another human being, it infuriates the part of the self that considers these things to be wrong. For example, when I hear about things such as human trafficking, women and children forced into prostitution, thieves robbing a destitute family, people harming vulnerable members of the population (eg. elderly), corrupt government officials (or other people in positions of power), and other harmful things, I get mad. There is a part of me that wants to go off into a rage, bursting out screaming as loud as I can (think Dragonball, when they power up to go beat the bad guy), hunting the criminals down who have victimized the defenseless, and executing swift justice on them, because that is what they deserve.

Again, when I hear about horrible things like rebels/pirates/troublemakers in a troubled, war torn part of the world, stealing aid that is supposed to help starving children, there is a part of me that hurts deeply. There is a part of me that overflows with sympathy, empathy, and sometimes intense sorrow. What if that was me who was being victimized? Or someone I knew? It hurts so much that my anger starts to overflow, crying out for justice, asking why is there so much injustice in that situation and others like it. And I ask, what can be done? Evil in the form of hurtful human actions should not be triumphing this way. This evil needs to be quenched, by removing the human that commits the hurtful action. It needs to be punished.

It is in this sense the Punisher is such a great joy to watch. It is a delight to see him hurting other merciless criminals, blowing away baddies (literally), and killing law-breakers, punishing them for their bad deeds. Vigilante justice like the Punisher’s goes beyond what federal laws enforce, by removing the root and cause of the problem; the person who committed the wrong. A victim’s tears cry out for justice as they experience grief, fear, isolation, and loss. The actions of the Punisher dries those tears with maximum retributive justice and it is sweet.

So how is this all biblical? Um… give me a second… haha, just kidding.

I do not condone unnecessary violence. I do not condone killing. I do not condone vigilante justice (although, it is seriously tempting). These are all of course serious problems related to the Punisher’s lifestyle. The Bible explains in Romans 12: 19-21 (NKJV):
Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This must be extremely difficult for a victim to hear, because all they must think about is how they have been wronged. They want justice and revenge, but Jesus says to repay evil with good?! How will that help their situation?! A victim under many circumstances wants to hit their predator back twice as hard, as punishment. But here’s the beautiful thing; God has claimed vengeance because He is the ultimate Judge. Some day, Jesus will act out God’s will and pay out to evildoers what they deserve, just as the Punisher does (but, ahem, not in the same manner I presume). As Frank Castle cleans house (or maybe that should read, cleans a crackhouse), so too Jesus will pour out His justice on our enemies because that is what they deserve.

As much as the Punisher considers what he is doing is right, and likewise, as much as I want to maim my fellow unruly, ignorant, disrespectful and foul-mouthed public transit riders for their annoying and disruptive behaviour on the bus, there is a problem with that kind of thinking. I think during the movie, after a traumatic incident, the Punisher is asked by someone indirectly hurt by his actions, “Who made you judge, jury, and executioner?” I need to ask myself the same question, what gives me the right to judge others? Am I not the same flesh and blood, made in God’s own image like the next person, and who also sins and does evil against other people? Of course I am and of course I do. I am just as horrible, maybe even more. I and the Punisher, are on the exact same “level” as the people we thought we were better than and less deserving of mercy, but more deserving of justice. We deserve pure retribution and punishment as well.

And to conclude, since it is Christmas, this is where the beauty of grace fits; the gift of God that no one deserves so that no one can make claim of anything else and boast that they are better than anyone (Eph. 2:8-9). Despite a grim society and moral depravity, God makes the justice that He is going to pour out on those who deserve it (ie. everyone) escapable. He loves you and me (and if he was real, Frank Castle) so much that He sent Jesus to earth, born humbly in a smelly animal stable, and later to die the death of a lawless criminal, the death that I deserved for my own wrongdoings.

As a lame gift, here’s a new Spider-Man pose; he went and saw Punisher: War Zone too. In this picture, he’s watching the end credits (yes, when everyone else left).

Spider-Man goes to the movies

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow is fun and so is sarcasm

I am so physically tired. Thanks to the snow, there were many delayed buses, fewer buses on the roads, and completely full buses that kept passing me as I waited at the bus stop. Because of all that, I estimate that I walked around 6km today (in the snow), although it feels like a lot more than that, maybe because some portions of that were uphill... and it was all in the snow. Maybe I should multiply 6km by 1.5, because I speculate that I was moving 1.5 times slower than normal, and I believe I exerted 1.5 times more energy to move. So wow, I walked almost 10km today. Phew.

Thank you Jesus for giving me two feet, a healthy body with sufficient energy, and rubber boots. There's so much whomping snow. I wish I was young enough to enjoy it, but for now I will just continue to stare at the vast whiteness, reflect on the beauty, and grumble at the inconvenience. In my mind, I'm debating if the weather we've had for the past week is worse more than a 40°C heatwave... So far the heatwave is winning. Snow is fun.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pointless Post #17

It snowed last Friday. It's been cold since then. I had my last (and first) final exam yesterday. It was a cold morning commute to school. I ate candy while I wrote my test. On my way home, I did a jig on the sidewalk. It's snowing right now. Negative temperatures are predicted all through next week so that should mean Vancouver can expect a white Christmas. I can't remember the last time there was a white Christmas in the Lower Mainland. I plan to crank out two meaningful posts soon.

I saw gas for 76.9¢/litre one week ago and I've seen it between the high 70s and low 80s since.

What are Pointless Posts?

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Kraft's Delissio Rising Crust pizza is salty

Very very very salty!

I ate the 3 Meat variety. All of it. According to the box, it was 865g, but is that before or after it's cooked? Mmmmm.... 1.9lbs of pizza goodness.

It was a tad salty though. I finished it about two hours ago, and I'm feeling better now than how I felt about one hour ago. One hour ago, I felt STUUUUFFFED. Now I just feel stuffed.

According to the box, 1/6th of the pizza has 960mg of sodium, or 40% of the daily recommended(?) value. So since I at 6/6ths, I had 5760mg of sodium in this one meal, or 140% more than what I was supposed to have today.

These pretzels, I mean, this pizza is making me thirsty...

I think a lot of the saltiness was in the "zesty tomato sauce," because that was pretty salty (hehe, cogency...). Would I eat this stuff again? Probably yes, because the rising crust was actually quite nice. Would I eat this stuff again tomorrow? That's a tough question.

In summary, I guess this post could have been labeled as Pointless Post #17, but I think it's too long to be considered an official Pointless Post. Don't you have better things to do?

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Spider-Man takes public transit

It's been more than two years since there were updates to the Spider-Man poses department. My apologies to the two of you who actually read this (yes, Driscoll, haha!).

Spider-Man rode the bus and skytrain last night. He also has beefs with TransLink, but politely posed for the camera. He is a good and considerate public transit rider.

Spider-Man rides the bus

Spider-Man on the skytrain

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Pointless Post #16

I have never used a bidet before in my life.
But God willing, some day I will.

What are Pointless Posts?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Pointless Post #15

What would Jack Baeur do if he woke up one day with a stiff neck?

Would he be able to just power through it, and then go on with his 24 hour, non-stop, no-sleep, weapon-slinging, torture-interrogating, bad-guy-killing, cell-phone-talking, imperative-yelling day?

I woke up with a stiff neck today. It hurts.

Saw gas for 87.9¢/litre today; hasn't been that cheap since 2006 according to my records...

What are Pointless Posts?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Pointless Post #14

It's the end of week 12 for the Fall 2008 semester, and I've noticed this past week that as I get mental blocks and stare at a blank Word document on my computer screen, I've been screaming, "SERENITY NOW!" a lot (actually, just miming... if I actually screamed it out loud, then people would think that the insanity would be present, and not later).

It sort of helps.

Also saw gas for 91.7¢/litre yesterday.
What are Pointless Posts?

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I missed Ping Pong Playa (twice) and Obama is in

I was planning to go to this year's Vancouver Asian Film Festival (VAFF) when I received an email about it, but I missed it, thanks again in part to school. Actually, pretty much all of the parts are due to school, so it's all school's fault. So many group projects and assigments... so time consuming. That's life as a student though. Isn't it? Yeah that sounds about right.

I went to VAFF two years ago for my ASC 300 class. I enjoyed it. We watched The Grace Lee Project (a documentary). It wouldn't have been my first film pick to watch at VAFF, but it was mandatory since it was related to our syllabus. But that's not the point of this post... the point of this post is that Ping Pong Playa was playing on VAFF's opening night last Thursday, which I missed, and then there was an encore screening of it on Saturday night ($5 cheaper than VAFF's opening night, hehe) and I missed that too. So here it sits on my mental "To Watch" list.

It looks funny. And not just sell-out funny (eg. Kung Pow! Enter the Fist and Balls of Fury <-- please keep in mind, I have not seen either of these movies and I hope I do not because they look stupid and a waste of my time) but hilarious realistic, comedic smart-funny. That kind of funny is a good funny. In other news, in case you were hiding under a rock last week (which if you were, that's a pretty lousy, dirty, hiding spot...unless it was the Batcave, but if it was the Batcave, then you should have known about this because Batman has nice technology down there), Barack Obama will be the next president of the US. The news coverage was crazy. And people's reactions, not only in the US, but here in Canada and around the world were even crazier. And this was a bad kind of crazy. Almost a foolish kind of crazy. One part of me hopes that Obama will be the good leader he is thought to be. The other part of me hopes he fails miserably when he comes into term so that it will humble those who chose him (although, that would deeply hurt and probably cause more turmoil in the world, which is very, very bad...and very, very painful). I say this because it appears people idolize him and see him as a functional saviour.

Why put your faith in man, who is the same flesh and blood as you, and who makes the same mistakes as you? Just as Obama has the capability to succeed, he has the exact same chance and capability to fail. I like the NIV version's warning in Psalm 146: 3-4: "Do not put your trust in princes, in mortal men, who cannot save. When their spirit departs, they return to the ground; on that very day their plans come to nothing." When Obama is no longer president, the world will still have troubles, along with new ones. And you and I will still be wrecked and doomed with our own mistakes and our own sin. There is no salvation in man. Sometimes it takes a great humbling, before God's children turns back to Him. Maybe?

Saw the cheapest gas in a looong time last Friday for 95.7¢/litre. Now it hovers around the $1.00 range.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thanks to Daylight Saving Time, this can happen

I seem to be posting mainly humourous and/or mostly pointless posts lately.... I find that humour doesn't take a lot of effort and is a lot quicker for me to post about. Serious issues, although thought-provoking, take lots of time to think through, and I seriously (haha) don't have that time currently to write the buttloads of things that are floating, whizzing, and sitting on my mind.

So... here is a humourous conversation that I had through an instant messaging program. This took place on Sunday "night" (technically its Monday morning). The night before was Saturday night, the time that we push our clocks back one hour because of Daylight Saving Time. I've changed the name of the person I spoke to as well as edited some of the conversation so that it makes sense. I think its funny.

Calencairion says:
ok anyway i should go to sleep, i wanna get that extra hour from DST

this is what Tim says:
.....that was last night. i don't think you can save it......

Calencairion says:
i woke up this morning not knowing about it, so i woke up at my usual time. technically i can still have it right now

this is what Tim says:

Calencairion says:
if i go to sleep

this is what Tim says:

Calencairion says:
what... yes, of course

this is what Tim says:
time doesn't work like that. time has already passed. right now its 12:36am

Calencairion says:
i thought about that, too...but i think i still have the extra hour.......

this is what Tim says:
...well... tell me tomorrow if it worked ok?

Calencairion says:
even though it's 12:36, for me it currently feels like 1:36am

this is what Tim says:

Calencairion says:
since i woke up at my usual time today...

this is what Tim says:
this is too funny

Calencairion says:
ur confusing me. i was excited about my extra hour until u questioned it

this is what Tim says:
stop it! my stomach is starting to hurt! [laughing]

Calencairion says:
hmmmmmmmmmm, let me think about it again.....................................
here's my reason, logically:
1) i didn't adjust for DST last night
2) i woke up at my usual time today, realizing that time is 1 hour behind. i set my time properly. time is correct now.
3) i proceed my day as usual
4) i sleep 1 hour earlier than usual now
5) so i gain 2 hours of sleep (1 more than everyone else from DST)

this is what Tim says:
so you normally sleep at 2:30am?

Calencairion says:
at 1 or 1:30

this is what Tim says:
i'm sort of confused by your logic... maybe cause i'm not focusing on it [and because its almost 1am], so i'm going to let you go to sleep, and tomorrow, you tell me if it worked ok?

Calencairion says:
i guess my logic doesn't make sense

this is what Tim says:
i'm kinda tired myself

Calencairion says:
i'm going to wake up tomorrow feeling like i've slept 2 extra hours

this is what Tim says:
hehe ok…

Calencairion says:
oh wait, u might be right....i'm goign to get the same amount of sleep

Calencairion says:
but.........i'm really confused
ok whatever

this is what Tim says:
wait lets just count the hours then. what time do you plan on waking up?

Calencairion says:
hmm, 10am

this is what Tim says:
so just say you fall asleep in 15 minutes, by 1am.... then you'd get 9 hours of sleep

Calencairion says:
yeah, which is 1 more than i would normally get

this is what Tim says:
hmmmm ok

this is what Tim says:
so, yeah i guess that works [shrugs] enjoy!

Calencairion says:
because my body currently operates at the near-2AM state, since i woke up earlier today...

Calencairion says:
bye then

this is what Tim says:


Elven pseudonym courtesy of the Barrow-Downs, just as last time.
And in case you're wondering, Calencairion woke up the next day after having a nice, refreshing sleep the night before. The End.

(Based on a true story)
(May not have happened)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pointless Post #13

Every time the dog does his bathroom duties outside the house (eg. pooing and peeing), he is rewarded with a little treat when he comes back into the house (haha, I typed pooing and peeing and you read it, twice!).

After taking Lance out and giving him a treat, I mused outloud to my Mom, "I wish someone would gives me a cookie whenever I'm finished using the toilet..."

I would definitely use the bathroom more if I got a little treat whenever I was done. Dare I say it, I would even look forward to using the bathroom more!

Also, saw gas yesterday for 105.9 and 110.9¢/litre. Roughly a month and a half ago, gas was in the 130s range here, 140 in Calgary, and 148 in Quebec City. Hurray for "recessions?"

What are Pointless Posts?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Pointless Post #12

I ate dinner tonight (thanks Jesus!). I ate fried rice, then soup, followed by some pumpkin pie, and then milk... all from a pie plate! Boo-ya! I only had to wash my spoon and pie plate after!

And ladies and gentleman, that concludes today's lesson on "efficiency."

What are Pointless Posts?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Eczema is fun

Fun facts about the eczema on Tim's hands as of now:

(for simplicity, in this post, thumbs = fingers)

  • 7/10 fingers are affected with eczema (on 6 of them, eczema covers the entire finger)
  • 3/5 fingers on one hand do not have proper fingerprints (just a smooth, callously feel to it)
  • 5/10 fingers have very painful cuts on them (they burn), and they bleed if I bend my fingers too far
  • 1 hand can not make a full fist. Well, technically, I could if I wanted to, but then it would just cause the existing cuts on my fingers to widen, deepen, and bleed messily
  • on the same hand, I can feel my skin tighten when I try to make a fist because of fat finger folds caused by my past use of cortisone (steroid cream) which I theorize has caused my finger mass to increase (my eczema affected fingers are semi-pudgy looking)
  • sometimes I wake up with skin missing from my hands/fingers because I scratch them in my sleep. I painfully pay for my unconscious behavior when I'm awake (it stings... a lot).
  • the eczema on my hands has never been this worse before
Prior to going to SFU, I'd never met anyone with eczema before. Now, I've met a lot of people who have eczema. It kind of makes me feel better that I'm not the only one who suffers like this. Actually, this isn't really suffering. That is poor misuse of the word. Dede the "tree man" is real suffering (google him at your own risk; it may be too disturbing for some people).

Imma shut up now...

PS- if there's an interest, someday I'll post picture of my eczema hands, they're fascinating! And I endure for God, my only hope!

Pointless Post #11

While walking the dog outside, I noticed that when I looked at bright lights (either from an oncoming car or streetlights) they seemed brighter than normal with a giant hazy/fuzzy ring/glow around the light's source. I haven't had an eye exam for quite awhile now so I was on the verge of semi-freaking out of really freaking out, until I realized my glasses were just really dirty.

What are Pointless Posts?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Jumbled thoughts on a Friday night...

...accumulated from a few days past.

Well, the previous busyness has ended, but now a new kind of busyness is upon us. It is life (and it feels even busier than the previous busy). Not enough hours in day... at least for now.

Gas was in the 120s for awhile, then saw it for 117.9 on Wednesday night, but then saw it today for 115.9¢/litre. Our Canadian dollar was also down to 82¢ (against the US dollar) but ended at 87, or something like that. Watching arbitrary numerical figures rise and fall is still fascinating to me, but still pointless and meaningless (in light of eternity of course).

Why is James 3: 9-10 so difficult to follow and remember?

Canucks won their season opener! Sigh... have to learn all the new guys names and numbers... and they're such a distraction when I have homework to do.

It's pretty cold now. Brrrr. I can see my breath when I exhale outside.

Is Chris Tomlin sort of like the new Michael W. Smith, except newer and improved?


A big thank you to Virgin Mobile Canada in helping me hate the the mobile phone industry in Canada a little bit more, and perhaps them too... We are all big fat suckers. They playin' us like snake on a classic Nokia.

I wonder who would win in a fight, warriors/soldiers/brawlers/fighters now VS warriors/soldiers/brawlers/fighters in ancient times (or maybe not so ancient too). On one hand, we have more science and arguably practical knowledge of the human body now, but then, on the other hand, in years gone past, would those fighters have had more battle experience (assuming people fought more?). I wonder who'd be more brutal/ruthless... I reason in my head that that could be an even tie.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Missed Crossing

Ugh, it's been a hectic (最忙的 <-- probably doesn't make sense...) 1.5 weeks. Or maybe its been 2 weeks. I've been having problems losing track of time ever since my stupid watch strap broke again, ( August... or was it July?). Sigh. But for now, I should get a little bit of rest time before the next work load hits. Mini-hurray.

Unfortunately, during my busy-ness, I missed the screening of Crossing (<-- Korean only trailer) at the Vancouver International Film Festival this past Sunday. I've never been to VIFF before, but I was browsing through what films they were screening this year, and I'd heard about Crossing (through one of LiNK's blogs) a few months ago. It looks great, because it looks like an authentic glimpse of what the real North Korea is like. It also looks really sad, but that is a part of life.

My heart also hurts for the North Koreans. When you have time, learn about North Korea. The Liberty in North Korea website is a good start.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Pointless Post #10

Three things to take note today:

While in a restaurant, saying "I don't have enough cash for a tip," just as the waitress comes by to clear the table is not cool (don't worry, plastic saved the day, or in this case, the dinner).

Running after the bus/skytrain and realizing I forgot to wear a belt this morning is not cool as my pants start to slide below my waist (don't worry, my quick hands saved the day, as I hiked them back up Urkle style).

Descending and miscounting stairs without turning on any lights is not cool (don't worry, gravity saved the day...).

What are Pointless Posts?

Friday, September 19, 2008

Pointless Post #9

My eyes are struggling to stay open...very sleepy...

Gas has been going up and down, in the 140s, and on my way home I saw it to be 130.8¢/litre.

Hole in the Wall is a complete let down. I will stick to watching Choi Hong-man playing this on the Japanese version on YouTube.

What are Pointless Posts?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Pointless Post #8

Last week while walking through Convocation Mall, a guy stopped me to ask (paraphrased), "Hey, do you know what time it is?"

To which I responded, "Tool Time!"

Either he didn't hear me or he didn't get the joke.

[blank faces]

"It's 11:37am."


What are Pointless Posts?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Three years and ongoing with Virgin Mobile Canada

This is going to be a semi-review of the service I’ve received from them. On the whole, I’m pretty satisfied, but I could be a lot happier. I believe that the cell phone industry in Canada is very unfair to consumers, in that we have relatively fewer choices then our neighbours to the south, (or to other countries for that matter) and as a result, Canadians pay higher mobile phone rates. It seems like there is more competition slowly building. But it only seems like it.

Its been a little over three years that I got my first mobile phone, a Nokia 6015i through the wireless provider Virgin Mobile Canada. Unlike most people (perhaps that should read “unlike most normal people”… wahaha...) I don’t care about my phone that much. You can see in the pictures how much I care about it. It’s like a mini brick; I’ve dropped it so many times, it still works, and I’m satisfied (good job Nokia). Sometimes I’ll drop it for fun when I’m making fun of other people and their sensitive, fancy schmancy, delicate phones. I could probably use my phone as a weapon if I ever needed to throw something hard at someone in a hurry.

For me, the mobile phone is non-essential in my life and I use it more as a pager. Part of this is due to the cost of owning a phone because I’m on a pay-as-you-go “plan.” Another part of this is because I hardly use phones (even land lines) in general. For the longest time, phones made me irritable…sometimes they still do. But I’ve come to appreciate my phone, because it has provided me a lot of convenience. In addition to calling capability, I think I use the alarm clock, calculator, and calendar functions the most. However, there’s no camera, no web browsing, lousy games (which I do play from time to time), but it has a pull out antenna! After I throw my phone and knock people down, I can gouge out their eyes.

As far as I know, Virgin still has the lowest pay-as-you-go rates, and I don’t get charged for caller ID, voicemail, incoming text messages, system activation fee, or other stuff, which is why I’m still with them. The moment I hear of a cheaper provider, I’m gone.

When Virgin Mobile Canada first launched in 2005 (and when I first became their customer), their pay-as-you-go rates were 25¢/min and if you spoke over 5 minutes, it dropped to 15¢/min. Text messages rates were 5¢/message to other Virgin Mobile customers and 10¢/message to non-Virgin customers. Top-up pre-paid rates were absolutely fantastic (I speak in retrospect). The minimum top-up rate was $15 and that would expire in 120 days. If I remember correctly any amount expired after 120 days. However, since 2005, I believe Virgin has changed these pre-paid rates (as well as introduced new pricing schemes) approximately 5 times.

I think this is what I’m least satisfied with in regards to Virgin Mobile’s service. I believe most businesses do raise prices they offer over the long run, but for this industry, I’d expect it to be more competitive. I detest Virgin Mobile’s use of penetration pricing scheme when they first entered this industry. Despite prices being higher now then what I used to pay for, as mentioned, they are still the cheapest but I will be gone in an instant if I discover something cheaper.

Currently, I pay 30¢/min (up 5¢/min). If I speak over 5 minutes, I will no longer be charged a cheaper per minute rate, it will still be 30¢. Text messages from Virgin to Virgin customers are still 5¢/message, but they are now 15¢/message (up 5¢/min) for non-Virgin customers. Also, top-up pre-paid rates now vary. Top-up rates now go something like this: $100 - $200 is valid for 365 days, $50 - $99 is valid for 120 days, $25 - $49 is valid for 90 days, and $15 - $24 is only valid for 45 days. Yuck. I used to be able to spend just $15 every 120 days (yup, I talked that much), but now I have to spend $25 every 90 days (it’s the most economical).


In the pictures, the nice phone is my Mom's. She carries it in her purse. I carry mine in my pocket and it gets all scratched up against the other stuff in my pocket.

I'm sorry, this was a boring post.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Pointless Post #7

American history (or any history) is very fascinating, but I am very happy (很高兴) its 2008. My reason for stating this is because I watched Gone With the Wind today. That movie is so long (almost 4 hours!), I felt like I accomplished something when it finished. Phew!

What are Pointless Posts?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Summer of Tim (not)

Today, I first went to the UBC bookstore to see if they'd buy some of my old textbooks. They didn't (because university bookstores and textbook publishers and their manufacturers are EVIL). Then I went to SFU to get textbooks for next semester (next week, sob). Then I came home. All of this took me 5 hours to do. Four out of those five hours was spent on public transit. Makes me want to cry.

After coming home, I checked my email and already waiting in my inbox was an email from my BUS 347 prof welcoming everyone and informing us all that we have a reading to do for the first class and attached was a 14 page syllabus. Makes me want to cry.

The Summer of George Tim just started 2 weeks ago!!! And it's already ending!?!?

I hate all the commercials on TV that talk about back-to-school sales... makes me want to cry.

I'm going to go sit in a corner and cry now.

Seacrest out!
(haha, gets me every time!)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pointless Post #6

I had a horrible dream last night.

I dreamt that I still had one final exam to write, that I didn't study for it, and that I was late. Ironically, my last final was just last week. Ugh. I was fine once I woke up, but just the thought of it... ugh...

In other news, the problem with neapolitan ice cream, is that chocolate always overpowers vanilla and strawberry. It's somewhat prejudicial.

What are Pointless Posts?

Friday, August 15, 2008

Links added to Gigantism Links page for August

In no particular order, a bunch of pages/sites I've encountered over the past few months on the information superhighway: i wish i'd found this blog sooner. hack life! very very informative/educational Nick Vujicic + John 9 + a lot of Jesus = wow make a slimmed down version of your windows OS disk - search about it in lifehacker step-by-step derivatives, used this a lot in math 157.... but i can't remember what a derivative is... "face of the future" face transformer! upload a pic of yourself and see what you'd look like... freaky but cool the news is now public - may be helpful for when you're looking for info in an alternative media useful site for when you want to download FLV files for youtube (search for Super by erightsoft) looking up old canadian court cases, useful but maybe ignorance is bliss in some cases bike repair video tutorials, neato have your own pdf "printer" on your computer! convert docs, images, media, etc! very useful technically, its not really a game. the test says i can take on 27, but that number should be higher... this is on the same level of fun as skistuntsimulator, which is pretty fun haha! fly a plane over googlemaps and then drive a car over googlemaps! this is really good practice for when i get a real car neverball! you are a ball, you control it. now go! an online store where you can buy the best of the best of the best, sir! (congrats if you got that MIB reference)
its'a picture of an old article of a prediction about the future lyrics from the songs on the simpsons! a blog about stuff white people like... teeheehee... actually i like some of those things... stuff korean moms like. can also apply to many chinese moms too. hehehe... Om nom nom nom... RAR! (you can urbandictionary this term if you don't understand, hehe) "25 Skills Every Man Should Know"- perhaps not practical for all mean on all continents have a clothing stain? here's how to remove it (may not work, can't trust the internet, or can we.... make your own multitouch table for your pc cool stuff made out of lego! yeah yeaaah Danish blocks! nintendo mods.... pretty pretty wii consoles... article on The Evolution of Tech Companies’ Logos " Billboard Charts for gadgets" and its educational too it's The ORIGINAL Illustrated Catalog Of ACME Products! as see with wile e. coyote and roadrunner a pc case made out of duct tape simpsonised fan art, fascinating this is almost sad, but then what does Ephesians 2:1-3 say? the simpsons house, in real life this is a cool thing, and would be especially helpful when paired with a gun fold paper into cubes, to make desk companions. cute! and crafty! papercraft is so cool. play any game you want on your computer, with a webcam, using your body (think wii-like, but not quite) "Darik's Boot and Nuke" a self contained boot disk to securely erase hard drives a fantastic video/audio converting application - converts almost anything clean crap of your computer (thats what the other c stands for) - under All Shows, search for "the vice guide to north korea" fascinating Matt's 2008 dancing video - he's dancing at the DMZ! BRILLIANT! 360 x 360 degree cameras, that you can pan so its like being there! crazy!

Canada's first Olympic medal + Praying in secret by David Gutnick

Hurray, Canada's Carol Huynh will be in a gold medal match for wrestling in approximately 5 hours from now!

EDIT/UPDATE: 1:35 AM PST, Dave Calder and Scott Frandsen just won Canada's first medal, a silver in rowing, right before Carol's match. Hurray Canada!
1:57 AM PST, Carol just won gold! blogging... I'm a geek. No one is even reading this now... Anyways off to bed!

And now, a super cool post by CBC reporter David Gutnick, originally from here, but who knows if it will be removed after the Olympics which is why I'm re-posting it here. He writes good, insightful stuff.
"Praying in secret" - Posted by David Gutnick Aug 15, 08 03:34 PM

It is 7:30 in the evening and I am participating in an illegal activity here in China. I am sitting in a living room with nine people praying.

In this apartment, the Bibles and hymn books are kept under lock and key. These Christians have been under police surveillance since the Olympics began. They risk being thrown in jail every time they gather.

I found this House Church by asking someone who knew someone who knew someone else. The Chinese fellow who was helping out used my cellphone so that he could not be traced. At first the pastor did not want to meet me.

House churches are an extremely sensitive subject in China these days. Last week, President Bush took the Chinese government to task over the lack of religious freedom here. The government told him to mind his own business and accused him of trying to politicize the Olympics.

Hymn books are illegal

That answer upset the Pastor; he changed his mind and decided to let me attend the House Church service that he runs on Wednesday evenings.

We meet on the sidewalk in front of a 40-storey apartment block. Four men and four women - all in their 30s and 40s - are waiting. Because of the risks they face if identified, I agreed not to mention any names. The Bibles and hymn books are taken out of the locked cabinet. Even the hymn books are illegal because they are not government authorized.

A smiling intense woman told me that she had become a Christian eight years ago after her American English teacher gave her a Bible. “I read it for six months and I found Christ,” she says. “And then I began inviting my neighbours over to talk. More and more people began coming over and within a year 40 people were meeting in my two-room home.”

She says that the police began hassling her landlord, telling him that he could be fined because allowing Christians to meet outside of official government-sponsored churches is illegal. She was kicked out. She and her husband have had to move six times.How they live as Christians
In between singing hymns, and praying and a sermon from the pastor, the eight other house church members tell how they live their lives as Christians. There is laughter when a woman says that she feels guilty because she has been watching gymnastics on TV rather than studying the Bible.

Here in Beijing, the Olympics have been an overwhelming presence for years. And the heightened security for the Games that the government proudly talks about doesn't just mean the dozens of thousands soldiers and police you see in the streets.

It is much more insidious.

The Christians who invited me to share in their service have seen it at work. It's been tough. A couple of members of this group have spent time in jail. They are regularly followed. They all have stories that make me cringe. But somehow they all tell me they remain optimistic: They say that it is easier to be an underground Christian now than it was a few years ago.
The pastor has prepared a Bible reading that he thought would be relevant given that the police have been clamping down on house churches recently. A couple of members stayed away from this service because authorities warned them not to come.

The Bible is alive for us

Clearly the government did not want to show this part of Chinese society to the world. The reading was from the Book of Acts, and it was about persecution. The discussion that follows is both energetic, political and sad.

“The Bible is alive for us,” says one of the members, a writer who once met President Bush in the Oval Office. He pleaded with the president to pressure China to allow Christians the right to pray together. The president would not make any promises.

It’s 10. We are tired and, full of tea. We leave the building a few at a time, pretending that we didn't know each other. We didn't wave goodbye. A woman and her writer husband show me the way. I ask if they are worried about the police picking them up on the way home.

No, they say. We don’t worry. We know they are waiting. They even offered to drive us here this evening. We call it our free Olympic taxi.

They go left.

And I head off to my bed behind the wire fence in Northstar Olympic Media Village.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Eight thoughts after watching the Olympics thus far

We're 5 days in, Beijing local time:

1. The Olympics and final exams, or rather, studying for final exams don’t mix. I like watching the Olympics a lot. I hate studying. Thanks for ruining my life SFU 8^p.

2. The Opening Ceremony? Wow. My mouth hung open a lot. However, even though Zhang Yimou was an artistic director, I couldn’t help feeling a little critical of perhaps how the +20000 performers may have been treated… Probably a lot better than the performers in the Mass Games at the Arirang Festival though.

Speaking of the Opening Ceremony, not that it matters (or that anyone will believe me), but when I initially saw the little girl singing “Ode to the Motherland,” I thought there was just a delay in audio, not that she was actually lip-synching! As for the footprints, I always thought they were sort of CGI’ed. And now we know!

3. CBC’s live streaming of events on their website is fantastic. Not so fantastic when you study nearby a computer that is connected to the Internet (see number 1).

4. I’m honestly getting very sick of all the coverage of Michael Phelps when CBC covers the swim meets. Sure, Phelps is a good swimmer, but if I want to hear commentators praising him all the time, I can switch to NBC. I want to know more about the Canadian swimmers/athletes, especially when I live in Canada, watching the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Am I the only one who sees this irony?

5. In some of the events I’ve seen North Korean athletes participate in, I can’t help but notice how solemn and serious they are, especially when they lose. I sincerely hope they’re not tossed in concentration camps when they return home (oops, I mean “home”).

6. Canada hasn’t won any medals… yet. Somehow, I’m not very surprised. I blame lack of funding, particularly from corporate sponsors. I’m sure, for example, the big oil and gasoline companies could stand to throw in a few more sponsorhip dollars. Either way, 加拿大队加油!加油! (Go Team Canada!)

7. China is really winning buttloads of gold medals. It’s scary in one sense, that they resolved to do win the most gold (on homesoil too) and they’re on track to doing it. In another sense, I’m sort of proud, being ethnically Chinese (华裔) and all ([blushing] see number 6). Serious question: But at what cost are these gold medals to their citizens? How much pain has there been and will be? How many people have died?

8. I am 40% looking forard to 2010 in Vancouver, 60% dreading it.

Stupid final exams. One left.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

"Beijing Olympics - China" - Journeyman Pictures via YouTube

Copied from the video notes:

July 2001 - Many former critics supported Beijing in its frantic attempt to win the bid, lured by potential contracts. We explore shocking statistics showing that China has executed 1200 people since April [2001] and assess the role of human rights in the face of politics and big business in Olympic bidding.

This video is 7 years old. There are some sections during interviews where only Mandarin is spoken, with no dubbing/subtitles. Also, as a WARNING, there is some disturbing, uncensored footage around the 9:28 of public executions.

Food for thought. Twenty-nine hours left.
Watch it here: "Beijing Olympics - China" - Journeyman Pictures via YouTube

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Beijing Olympics, China’s Injustices, and Something More

In approximately 3 days (2 if you’re already in the area) the world will look to China. The Olympics will begin, then only God knows what will happen next. I am happy and excited (woohoo Olympic competition), but I am extremely saddened and deeply angry at the same time. China was once dubbed the “sick man of Asia.” Now they will be the world’s next super-power.

The slogan of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games is 同一个世界同一个梦想 or “One World, One Dream.” What dream is that? Who’s dream is that? Does this dream include the millions of people displaced from their home because of development and illegal land seizure? Does it include the millions of migrant workers who are forced to go to bigger cities to find work so they can meagerly support their family? Does the dream include the millions of farmers who have had their water source/farmland polluted until it has become useless?

Here’s a hypothetical situation: You live in a major city China, on the outskirts of it’s downtown core. One day, you’re told that your home (along with your neighbour’s surrounding homes) are all being demolished so that some developer can make some high rise condos that you’ll never be able to afford living in. Then without having any place to go, without having time to pack up, without even consenting to all of this happening, it happens. Your house is demolished in front of you. You only have time to grab the possessions you are able to carry. You now have no more home and what you did have was destroyed. You aren’t even given decent compensation (or in some cases, none at all). It is despicable and heartbreaking. For example, this wasn’t done by a tornado, that is beyond anyone’s control. Your home was forcibly taken away by other people who chose to do it.

[EDIT-April 8,2009: Check out this video called "Demolition Dissidents" by Journeyman Pictures. This is almost the exact news story by CBC correspondent Patrick Brown which I saw around this time when I first wrote this post (therefore, the date on the YouTube link says March 2009, but that is very incorrect (its pre-Olympics) as the CCTV building is unfinished)]

What now? If not for your close family and perhaps some friends, you would starve. But they can’t feed and house you forever. Maybe if you appealed to a government official or if you went to court to fight for at the very least, fair compensation so that you can try to find a new home. But the officials don’t want to talk to you. The police ignore you or and silence you by beating you if you try to protest in public about the injustice done against you. The judge won’t bother to hear your case, because it turns out, he’s the owner of the demolition company that wiped out your neighbourhood.

What is left? You have been taught your whole life to trust the government. Trust the Communist Party, but now they won’t even help you. No one else will help you either because your cries of help are drowned out by the ringing cash registers and the construction boom.

What’s sad about this situation is that it is real (you probably already knew, the "hypothetical" was me trying to be polite - [EDIT August 17,2008: In the mini-doc "Car Craze" by Journeyman Pictures, fast forward to the 11:08 mark onwards to get a glimpse of a similar situation]). In some cases, even worse things have happened. What’s even sadder about this situation is that people who have been given power who may have influence to help these victims, will refuse to help and deny that there are any problems. They will deny and say no one has complaints about the government and no one has been wronged. Regular citizens will do the same because they don’t know anything.

Ai Weiwei (艾未未) helps describe it well:
China, on one hand you have a dictatorship, you have a totalitarian
society. We still don't have the rights to elect our own government and they make stupid decisions you see everyday [...] On the other hand you have a big crowd of nationalism, young kids who know nothing because [of] limited information and because [of] the misleading of the [state-controlled] media. So these two combinations make the situation even worse.
(This is from the mini-doc “China's Foul Play” by Journeyman Pictures, 19:53 into the video)

What breaks my heart about situations like this is that it is the result of ignorant, selfish choices. One may ask, “Isn’t is the fault of the Communist Party?” Isn’t it the fault of those red, evil commie [insert noun]? As much as I want to say yes, they are not the true problem. However, I personally believe they will be held responsible and accountable for their suppression of the truth from their own citizens because in doing so, they have caused their own people to sin (Mark 9:42).

The problem is best stated: “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.” (1 Timothy 6:10 NKJV)

It’s because of greed that’s causing people to seek after power and wealth for their own benefit. It’s because of the god of this age who has blinded millions (billions worldwide) from what is true and what is perfect (2 Cor. 4:4; Phil. 4:8). It’s because of their sin that is separating them from knowing God and it burdens my heart so much that people in China don’t have the same free access as I currently have, to know the Truth. If not a few different choices by my ancestors, it might be me, still in China and blinded.

Because the Olympics are so close and so prominent, news reports every single day, from every single type of media, barrage my mind and I come to know all these things. So much grief, suffering, and loss. I want to do something, anything, but I am limited in my circumstances. Until God give me greater responsibility, I can only give what little of myself, and what little from myself. And despite the pictures of cruelty and cries of hurt (or what little there is after it’s been censored) I can take joy in God’s eternal Word that, “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal” (2 Cor. 4:18).

Dear China, open your eyes quickly. Open your hearts. Don’t be distracted. Look up to the heavens and see the glory of God.

Sigh. I’ll stop here for now. But there’s still so much to say. It’s not just a matter of human rights, but of human hearts.

North Korea, you’ll get your turn too.

Monday, July 28, 2008

KFC’s Taste of Asia Menu… wait, what?!

Recently KFC has been airing a new commercial in Canada for their new “Taste of Asia” menu. The first time I saw it, I thought the commercial was clever, partly because I’d recently learned the Chinese characters (booya CHIN 101) they were using. In the commercial, a little animated 母 and 父 (mǔ and fù – the mom and dad) calling their kids 女and 男 (nǚ and a weird looking nán – the girl and boy [EDIT: after talking to my cousin, I've learned that the character for the son is actually the traditional character 兒, which would be 儿 (er) in simplified) to their KFC dinner. I forgot what happens in the rest of the commercial… maybe someone will stick it on YouTube.

EDIT: Dec 9, 2011 - I found it!

Anyways, it just hit me today, this isn’t really a “Taste of Asia,” it’d be more accurately described as a “Taste of China” or better yet a “Taste of a Part of China.” No wait, I thought of something better; a “Taste of a Part of [North-]American-Imagined China.”

Let me explain. Firstly, the stars of the commercial are animated Chinese hanzi. Secondly, the “flavours” advertised for the menu are Szechuan (safe to assume, from Sichuan Province) and honey-garlic, which is… wait, isn’t honey garlic more of a western flavour? Fine, let’s be generous and count honey garlic anyways, since you can commonly order honey garlic spareribs at Chinese fast food places, at least in North America. Thirdly, you can get fortune cookies with your meal which again can be obtained at Chinese fast food places, but I’m 99% sure fortune cookies are of American origin, not anywhere in Asia. Anyways, mix all those things together, and the common thread between them is Chinese-ish, not “Asian.” Sort of.

Here comes the semi-rant part. If this were a true “Taste of Asia” menu I should be able to expect a little more variety, perhaps from the entire Asia continent and not just from one country (or a partly-imagined country)? Maybe the brilliant marketers behind this promotion reasoned in their minds, that if you took all the countries in Asia, mixed them altogether in a bowl and dipped your finger in your multi-national “Asian slaw” (see pic, and don’t get me started on that name “Asian slaw” either), you’d taste more Chinese than anything (if we were to be doing this reasoning by the total populations of countries)? But what about India’s taste? No curry? As long as I’m doing semi-stereotypical flavours/dishes, what about kimchee? Teriyaki? Alright, east Asia is covered, now what about the flavours from south-east? North? And the middle-east? Is this “Taste of Asia” menu kosher? It better be, if it’s truly a “Taste of ASIA” (which so far, we have determined it isn’t).

You will notice in the picture (which by the way, is a screenshot from the KFC Canada website which I took today) there’s a chance to win a trip for four! Wow! But not just any trip! Follow the link and you’ll se that it’s an “ASIAN-INSPIRED TRIP” (I capitalized that because it’s capitalized on their promotional site: Wow sounds exotic! Where could the destination(s) be? No doubt, it must be somewhere in Asia right? A reasonable person might guess somewhere in China, because of all the “Chinese references” in the menu. Click on the link to the Contest Overview/Prizing Details and it says:

Grand Prize: Enter your code for a chance to win a 7-day trip for four to New York, Chicago, and San Francisco! Visit some of North America’s premier Chinatowns; experience the beauty of authentic Asian cuisine and culture. This once-in-a-lifetime trip includes flights, accommodations, and spending money!

Good, sweet crap! I didn’t see that coming! A contest originating in Canada, for an “Asian-inspired trip” to three American cities and their Chinatowns?! Why is this trip described as “once-in-a-lifetime,” when it’s on the same continent I would be originating from (ahem, North America) if I won this contest?! To be fair, most Canadian live only a few hours drive from the US border… so, crossing the border to go stare at some Chinese Americans isn’t really once-in-a-lifetime (well, for the majority of Canadians anyways). Besides, I’ve seen Chinese Americans before, they sort of resemble me, a Chinese Canadian. How about me for being “Asian-inspired? “…Oh but your face…[trails off]…”

(Note: The above video is sort of irrelevant, but I thought it’s funny)

Maybe someone in KFC Canada should read Chinatown: An illustrated history of the Chinese Communities of Victoria, Vancouver, Calgary, Winnipeg, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Halifax by Paul Yee. Just a suggestion.

Chances are, I won’t be eating anything from this “Taste of Asia” menu, not because I don’t agree with it, but more along the lines that I hardly go out and there’s not many KFC’s near where I do happen to go out. Ironically, though, I had the KFC Snacker just over a week ago ($1.89). It was a tad salty, but still declious. Mmmm, I do like fried chicken.

I am heavily anticipating KFC’s “Taste of Africa,” “Taste of Europe,” and “Taste of Antarctica” menus, but not as much as I anticipated The Dark Knight.

I was feeling very lethargic yesterday afternoon, so I drank some Red Bull. I thought it might help. It tasted like I was drinking yellow-ish chemical. Very unnatural tasting. I didn’t really like it. And I ended up falling asleep after drinking it. So much for “helps temporarily restore mental alertness or wakefulness when experiencing fatigue or drowsiness.” *Shrugs*

Friday, July 25, 2008

Vancouver Red Bull Soapbox Race on Sep 7, 2008!

Woohoo! On Thursday July 3, 2008, I was watching the noon news on Global when a Red Bull representative did a promo for their soapbox race in September. The rep made some comments that their application deadline was the next day, they were still accepting submissions for potential teams, and that they hadn’t received enough submissions (it almost seemed like a plea, but not quite).

Anyways, later that night, I thought to myself, “Why not?” and quickly filled in a application, made a crappy design sketch in MSPaint (woohoo), and emailed it to Red Bull (Stoyq agreed to be a team member if it were to be accepted).

Fast forward to three weeks later (yesterday), and there’s a knock on our front door. Behold! A courier with a package… for me! From Red Bull! Woohoo!

Here’s what the letter in the package said (click to enlarge):

Dear Applicant,

Thanks so much for applying for the Red Bull Soapbox
Vancouver race! We were absolutely astounded with the number of submissions we received (over 200) and their high quality.

It made choosing our 50 teams very difficult!

Unfortunately your design did not make it in this time around, but we sincerely appreciate your efforts and hope you will join us on Sunday, September 7th, (4th Avenue, Kitsilano, 11am – 4pm) for what will be an extremely fun day!

Best wishes,
Red Bull Soapbox Vancouver

Boohoo. I sort of had a hunch my application would have been rejected after I hadn’t heard from them in after one week passed. Oh yeah, here’s my sketch that I sent to them. I think it’s funny (click to enlarge):

However, after some consideration, I figure the main reasons my idea wasn’t picked was because, well, its Red Bull. And my design, is well… a Wii. Red Bull is known for high energy, extreme, and somewhat crazy stunts (woohoo). The Wii is not only the product of another company (which would have amounted to free publicity for Nintendo) but its just not really Red-Bull-crazy (perhaps a bit more on the nerdy fanboy-ish side… although I’m pretty sure there are some gamers who drink Red Bull…) Also, it’s not really a soapbox. I agree with the people who decided to reject my submission. From a marketing perspective, it was the right thing to do.

Before I forget, here’s what was in the package with the letter:

Four free cans of Red Bull as a thank you for entering! Woohoo! Well, I thank you, Red Bull, for your kind gesture, as well as your supremely awesome public relations and marketing! I’ve never bought or drank Red Bull before (nor have I ever typed Red Bull so many times in my life) but I guess now I can say I can. Unfortunately, I will probably never buy or drink Red Bull again, at least in the near future. I mean, come on, I don’t even drink coffee! Not in my entire university life have I ever drank coffee. Not even at orientation when Renaissance Coffee was giving it away for free! Hmmm, I’m going off topic…

Anyways, I’ll probably in church during the Red Bull soapbox race in September, so congrats to the teams that made it, and I’ll be sure to catch the highlights on the news. Or on YouTube. I think I will root for this team. Not only does their design look super cool (chickens are delicious, and in their sketch, appear to be aerodynamic as well), but they were the only team I could find on the internet.

For the record, I still think my sketch is funny…

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pointless Post #5

Me: [hearing something on TV] Mom, is “yīnwèi” how you say “because” in Mandarin?

Mom: Yeah. And this is how you say it in our dialect [says something in dialect* (I don’t know how to Romanize it)]

Me: Ooookay….hmmm

Mom: [continuing in dialect] …for example**, “Because he was rude to me, I beat him up for all to see.”

Me: [somewhat shocked at the violent example]

Me: …….. waaaaaahahahahaha!

Violence is funny (that is, when done comically). Actually, its not really the violence thats funny, but the pain. Hehe, pain. Rinkworks has an excellent explanation (see Category #1).

Also, been seeing gas for about 138¢/litre. Apparently the national average for gas has gone down 7¢ since last week, and in Ottawa, its about 120.8¢/litre.

*dialect is Penang Hokkien for those that are curious
**the example my Mom said rhymed in Hokkien, so I tried to duplicate it in the translation.

What are Pointless Posts?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Pointless Post #4

In addition to writing my name and phone number with a pen, I was planning to do this to my USB flash drive (which for the record, is not pointless).

In my search for a suitable icon to use, I discovered there are Iron Chef themed icons. These ones made me giggle:

Chairman Kaga

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto

Iron Chef Hiroyuki Sakai

Iron Chef Chen Kenichi

Iron Chef Masahiko Kobe

BUT the ones that made me laugh were these ones:


What are Pointless Posts?

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Ricepaper + A little old and a little new

In recent Tim-news, guess what I got in the mail today? If you guessed the 12.4 issue of Ricepaper, then you're right! Being a quarterly publication, I think 12.4 corresponds 12 equaling the number of years they have been publishing the magazine and 4 being their winter publication of 2007. Shrugs?
For a brief explanation of what Ricepaper is, from the little blurb where it lists the editors and publication information, it says:

Ricepaper is a national literary and arts magazine committed to providing diverse perspectives on contemporary Pacific Asian Canadian identity and culture. Ricepaper's primary emphasis is on the creative work produced by emerging and accomplished Pacific Asian Canadians. The magazine showcases quality work by writers, artists, performers, filmmakers and cultural producers of Hapa, East Asian, and Southeast Asian descent.

Ricepaper is published four times a year by the Asian Canadian Writers' Workshop, 10 Keefer St., Vancouver, BC, V6A 1X4. Direct all mail to: PO Box 74174, Hillcrest PO, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada V5V 5C8. Tel: 604.677.1383. Fax: 604.677.2147. e-mail: website:

A quick search also provides that they also own Strange, how they have three different websites…

I’m not sure why I got this magazine today. I think it’s because last summer in 2007, I was walking through the Alcan Dragon Boat Festival and I remember seeing they had a booth set up which intrigued me. I entered some sort of contest and they gave me a free past issue of Ricepaper as a gift (in case you’re wondering, I chose this issue – woohoo Dragon Boys on CBC).

Maybe they are trying to entice me to subscribe. When I started to flip through it, it actually went through my mind, “Maybe I should read more… maybe I should subscribe to this…” But a few seconds later, the more reasonable side of me told me I wouldn’t bother because I don’t really have a main source of income now. Also, I noticed that there’s a very heavy emphasis on culture/arts/writing. Normally, I’m all for those three things. In fact, I’m very intrigued by those three things… except I think Ricepaper is a little too artsy for me.

I’m more inclined to find a good RSS feed that updates regularly to read about similar things… Sort of related, lately, I’ve been finding that there’s nothing like a good news blog that has posts on wide varieties of topics, that more conventional news outlets probably won’t spend as much time covering.

Hmmm… it’s a pity in a way, because in ASC 300? or was it ASC 301? I remember learning that English language Asian Canadian (and Asian American) magazines are very rare and frequently are not successful, but Ricepaper has managed to stay afloat all these years. So kudos to them!

For the record though, there were a number of interesting articles I did find myself reading with curiosity because they were really that fascinating.

Now if I could only read my textbooks like that….

Hmmmmm…… I didn’t actually intend to write so much about Ricepaper… but oh well. My main intention was to write about an observation I made on the bus today, of a young mother, perhaps late twenties, early thirties, with her little baby/toddler… perhaps 1 to 2 years old? I don’t think the baby could speak yet. Anyways, they were very fascinating to observe (sidenote: “fascinating” is such a great descriptive word! but if you say it too often, you might sound too much like Hank McCoy aka Beast from X-Men TAS…).

I found it fascinating when the mother pulled our her Motorola Razr (or some similar looking phone) and the baby immediately reached for it. I later understood why; he wanted to watch his cartoon (the characters looked like Rosemary Wells characters so I’m guessing it was for the pre-school cartoon Max and Ruby).

Imagine what kind of world that little baby is going to grow up in… Being born in the 2000s with so much technology… I mean, for myself, if you talked to me 4 or 5 years ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself currently being a proud owner of a Creative ZEN Vision: M (which for the record, is superior to the iPoop, sorry I mean iPod in every way). In fact, if you talked to me 10 years, ago, I wouldn’t have imagined myself currently being a proud owner of a gadget that plays not only music but video as well, allowing me to watch stuff like TV shows or movies on my long commutes on the bus(es), in the palm of my hand! And now, technology is allowing for faster, cheaper devices, that do even more? Sort of bewildering the pace at which our tech progresses.

So that was the new stuff.

What about the old?

I observed the baby throw a mini-tantrum, kicking/hitting the side of the bus, making an incredibly loud noise. To stop him, the mother gently slapped him a few times on the arm/leg and scowled (angry scowl) at him to cut it out. The baby didn’t cry (the slaps weren’t hard enough) and he looked at his mother’s face and he stopped.

I wanted to stand up out of my bus seat and applaud that woman. (I’m saying the following in a somewhat sarcastic, yet very serious way) Yes! Thank you! A message for all you parents in the world: If you love your kids, BEAT THEM!. Spanking your child is the way to go. It is biblical and effective. No I don’t condone child abuse (or other people abuse, unless they're absolutely asking for it), but as part of the punishment, please parents, beat your children! I don’t know how many episodes of Supernanny (shutup, I’m not gay) I’ve seen with my Mom where I’ve just wanted to scream at the television, “Smack your kids already!” I know I’m don't have any place to judge (yet) but I don’t think too highly of parents who have kids who misbehave. And I don’t think too highly of the kids who misbehave either. But most of the time, it’s the parents fault. So please, parents, beat your kids.

As a former child who was spanked (ahem, actually my mom tried to swat me with a metal hanger a few months ago because I was being snippy…), I endorse it 1000000%. And so does Russell Peters (warning: foul language, but highly funny).

In the latest Pointless Post, I said I'd make an Instructables of what I'd hacked the USB cable for, but it turns out other brilliant people thought of this before me as there are already a few on there. All I did was cut the USB cable in half attached an old CPU fan and now I have a little desk fan to cool down my laptop. It helps! 我就喜欢!