Thursday, March 30, 2006

"We do not promise our people to turn Gaza into Hong Kong or Taiwan"

According to a Reuters article about Hamas

"We do not promise our people to turn Gaza into Hong Kong or Taiwan but we promise them a dignified and proud life behind the resistance in defense of their honor, their land and their pride," Meshaal said on Al Jazeera Television from Beirut.
Do we have a dignified and proud life? Can we defend our honor and land and pride?
I never knew Hong Kong is that good.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Favourite song of the day, Aimee Mann, gender studies(!)

My favourite song of the day is "One".

As I have previously mentioned, I have vastly enjoyed the Fox TV series House when it was showing on AXN. When I knew TVB Pearl bought the show's local broadcasting rights, I followed closely and made sure I will not miss what I previously missed. Last Tuesday, season 1 episode 3 "Occam's Razor" was aired. What was Occam's Razor? According to Wikipedia:

... in explaining a phenomenon, one should make as few assumptions as possible, trimming away all unnecessary ones. ... Furthermore, if multiple theories or subtheories have equal predictive power, the simplest one — the one with the fewest unnecessary assumptions — should be chosen.
The liberal interpretation of the term "One" in the episode was probably as interesting as the show itself. It was being applied to medical explanations, with the simplest being the best. It was also somehow related to Dr House, who was always seen alone and disassociated. At the end of the show, we could see him, by himself again, searching through the drug cabinet for the one colchicine tablet that resembled the shape of Brandon's round yellow cough medicine. When we were seeing House's victorious smile, the background music was a song by Three Dog Night. While I certainly have not heard of this band before, I have listened to this song once. 7 years ago. In the cinema. I even have the soundtrack. The movie was Magnolia. Written by Harry Nilsson in 1968, renewed and sung by one of my favourite singers of all time, Aimee Mann, the name of the song was "One".

While most pop songs talk about the same problems in life, Aimee's songs has a slightly different attitude. By listening to her soothing voice, it makes me feel relieved of whatever problems I previously had. One can fall asleep and have good dreams even in the most depressing moments. It is magical in the sense that she looks more like a New Age healer than a singer.

But there are always things that I missed. Forrest Gump said "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." The Schödinger's cat experiment told us that the cat is neither living nor dead until you open the box. (this is my interpretation as a non-phyicist) I would never have known what I was going to find until I clicked the Google search button either. On the net I found an article discussing Aimee Mann Lyrics And Gendered Language Patterns:
Tannen believes that men and women often go about asking for things in different ways. While men speak directly in order to obtain a desired goal, women may tend to indirectly refer to what they want in hopes that the listener will then ask her about what she wants.
Gossip is a fear mainly among women, who like to share details of their life with close friends but are very hurt when they realize that these details have been shared with others.
Is it possible that one talks about different matters using a different language? Looking back I might be using a masculine language on professional matters related to jobs, studies and gaming, and a different feminine tongue otherwise. Sometimes I would be blunt and direct, and sometimes I would be so subtle that I confuse myself. I am a Gemini afterall.

Finally, lyrics to the song One, which was what this post was originally about:
One is the loneliest number
That you'll ever do
Two can be as bad as one, it's the loneliest number since the number one
"No" is the saddest experience you'll ever know
Yes, it's the saddest experience you'll ever know
Because one is the loneliest number
That you'll ever do
One is the loneliest number that you'll ever know

Thursday, March 23, 2006

"We're now two generations into a lack of culinary knowledge being passed down from our parents"

It was written in an article in Washington Post:

At a conference last December, Stephen W. Sanger, chairman and chief executive of General Mills Inc., noted the sad state of culinary affairs and described the kind of e-mails and calls the company gets asking for cooking advice: the person who didn't have any eggs for baking and asked if a peach would do instead, for example; and the man who railed about the fire that resulted when he thought he was following instructions to grease the bottom of the pan -- the outside of the pan.

Source: Althouse

Monday, March 20, 2006

Vampires and Underworld: Evolution

I watched 2 movies last Sunday: V for Vendetta and then Underworld: Evolution.

The sequel to Underworld was a disappointment even though I went without much expectation, but to explain that you have to know a little bit about the story and my limited, game influenced knowledge of vampires. I am no expert (nor do I want to be) in the study of vampires, so please allow for omissions and incorrect information. Suggestions are welcomed: please post a comment if you have corrections to make.

(warning: lengthy with spoilers to Underworld)

Vampires, old and new

The image of vampires often depends on the literature. In the older days, folklore vampires were enemies to humanity. They were hideous, monstrous entities which fly into villages at night, killing livestock and villagers. In the recent years, vampires have been highly romanticized, thanks to movie makers and fiction writers. Gratified by an eternal life yet cursed with an insatiable hunger, intelligent yet tempered with dementia, swift and strong but turn to dust the moment they see sunlight, vampires have become a symbol of a conflicted personality, an excellent tool to inject tormented love and hate into a story.

Doomed to live forever in solitude, a "romanticized" vampire may be tempted to create a family of his own. The exact procedure differs from story to story, but it usually requires the victim to drink some of the vampire's blood, completing a bond between the two individuals.

The bond of blood

Blood is the essence of life. It is often the symbol of strength and knowledge. By consuming blood from a vampire one inherits the immortality and vampiric strength from the master. This means that vampiric abilities may dilute along the bloodline. In some settings, the chain of blood also guarantees obedience to the creator. The creator may require his creations drink his blood regularly to maintain dominance. The transfer of blood may have been an euphemism for sexual activities. Afterall, both are about the transfer of bodily fluids.... but this is suppsed to be a movie review so I would just leave it.

Underworld, the world beneath our own

As bloodlines grow into networks, vampires must feed carefully without exposing their tracks. The entire society must stay underground and remain hidden from the commons or an inquisition will begin to claim their heads. This is the core story of "Vampire: the Masquerade", a story-telling game of gothic horror by the game company White Wolf. Believe it or not, I first knew of the movie through a press release they issued. I doubt any of you would care, so I would just continue to the story of Underworld.

Underworld was first promoted as a Romeo and Juliet story in a gothic world. The Capulets are played by the "Death Dealers", a highly organized society of vampires and the Montagues by the "Lycans", a raging group of werewolves. For reasons not initially known, they have been fighting each other for centuries. Now the whole Underworld have their eyes set on a young human named Michael Corvin. When the story unfolds, it is known that Michael is a descendent of Alexander Corvinus, the father to all vampires and werewolves. Michael has been bitten by a werewolf and will be killed by any vampire. Selene, herself a vampire, need to fight against both sides to save his boyfriend.

While I am not very fond of the excessive CG scenes, I found the movie entertaining enough. The two main plots: a vampire in love with an enemy, and an experiment to create a stronger specie were merged nicely. The integration of vampire and werewolf myths and the futuristic society could have been better, but is not too bad. The photography was very nice.

Impressions on Underworld: 6/10

The Evolution that evolved into nothingness

The story of Underworld: Evolution starts right after the previous story ends. Michael is now a stronger (or so they claim) vampire-werewolf hybrid but the elder vampire Marcus has awakened. He is after Selene for Lucian's necklace.

Why do I not like it? I just need to ask one question: do you like it if a love story turns into a DOOM like shooting game? Apparently all the Death Dealers and Lycans have been wiped out in the last movie. Now it is all about Selene, Michael, some humans and Marcus the huge, mean monster with no personality. A dumb fight-or-die survival thriller.

In Underworld they made some effort sticking to the general vampire and lycanthrope rules while making a visually appealing Hollywood movie. All the impressions and contrasts have been lost in the sequel. Nor did they keep the contract of blood which made vampire stories so fascinating. In the Underworld, blood represents memory but apparently not strength. If this is true, how could the wise but fragile Corvinus have helped by letting Selene drink his blood?

In a Hollywood movie the amount of female body displayed is often inversely proportional to movie quality. Seeing Kate Beckinsales' pelvis does not help improve the rating; instead it reminds me how bad this movie is.

Impressions on Underworld: Evolution: 4/10

Sunday, March 19, 2006


時間:三月二十日至四月十五日 ,早上九時至晚上八時



Thursday, March 16, 2006

The 3 principles and 8 virtues of ...

The 3 principles are

  • Truth
  • Love
  • Courage
The 8 virtues are
  • Honesty: scrupulous respect for truth - the willingness never to deceive oneself or another (pure truth)
  • Compassion: nonjudgmental empathy for one's fellow creatures (pure love)
  • Valor: the courage to take actions in support of one's convictions (pure courage)
  • Justice: the devotion to truth, tempered by love (truth and love)
  • Sacrifice: the courage to give of oneself in the name of love (love and courage)
  • Honor: the courage to stand for the truth, against any odds (truth and courage)
  • Spirituality: the concern with one's inner being and how one deals with truth, love, and courage (truth, love and courage)
  • Humility: perceiving one's place in the world, not according to one's own accomplishments, but according to the intrinsic value of all individuals
What is "..."?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Eating alone in restaurants

What do you feel when you see a woman dining alone in a good restaurant? Would you ask her to join you? And how?

Ann Althouse, a law professor, quoted an article in New York Times about that.

The most interesting part is the comments section.

Ms Althouse posted in one comment, "People eat in nice restaurants because they are hungry, they want good food, and they can afford it. They do it alone because they aren't so self-conscious that they avoid doing what they otherwise want to do."

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Idea is gold

In the $39 Experiment, Tom Locke sent random (snail) mails to 100 companies asking for free samples. In the end he received more than $100 worth of gifts and coupons.

"An idea is what that matters." Source: Quick Online Tips

Saturday, March 11, 2006

"Ah. Could I have a pay raise?"

Another interesting read from the world renowned geek comic, User Friendly.

LOST parody from Monty

Have you watched the ABC TV series LOST? Good news for those living in East Asia! Season 2 is now being premiered on AXN (channel 22 if you have Cable TV in Hong Kong)... but that was not the reason I made this post; You have probably already downloaded and watched the first 15 episodes of season 2, if you are interested in the show. The reason for the post is... Monty, my favourite online comic at the moment, is having a (twisted) parody since the first day of March. Jim is even writing his own ending to the story. A personal favourite is posted below:

What is Art and what is not art?

A Dr Andy Warhola has an interesting blog about what is not art. Episode 1 is quite an interesting watch. If nothing, it reminds me of the movie Mona Lisa Smile.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Favourite song of the day

... is "Welcome to My Life" by the Canadian band Simple Plan (quicktime video)

Do you wanna be somebody else?
Are you sick of feeling so left out?
Are you desperate to find something more
Before your life is over?

Are you stuck inside a world you hate?
Are you sick of everyone around?
With their big fake smiles and stupid lies
While deep inside you're bleeding

No you don't know what it's like
When nothing feels alright
You don't know what it's like
To be like me

P.S. I succumbed to another evil power and have become one of the 145000 Feedburner users. It offers lots of funny features. Now aggregators with no Atom 0.3 capabilities can also read the feed. I will also know how (un)popular my blog is....

Please update your feed subscription if you are using the old one! The new location is

(Thanks dino for pointing out the link error)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

What can people build from LEGO bricks?

What do you think people can do with LEGO bricks?

  1. A compass
  2. A computer
  3. A weaving machine
  4. Music
  5. All of the above
The answer is ... "E".
  1. Ian Baber built a south-pointing chariot, a chinese invention thousands of years ago
  2. Andrew Carol built a difference engine, a Charles Babbage invention
  3. Thomas Johnson built a knitting machine
  4. Henry Lim built a harpsichord

Source: Make: technology on your time

Friday, March 03, 2006

If Your Life Was a Movie, What Genre Would It Be?

The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy
Black Comedy
In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh. You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.

Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho

I found this quiz web site from the Argument Clinic. You can take the test here: If Your Life Was a Movie, What Genre Would It Be?

The wierdest thing is that, in the cinema I have watched 2 of the 3 movies suggested, and I enjoyed both.

The challenge: guess which one I did not watch

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Oracle likes cats

Oracle is buying Sleepycat, who is famous for it's open-sourced product, Berkeley DB. It is so famous that it is bundled with any modern GNU/Linux distribution. According to the press release, this would "enhance Oracle's market-leading database product family by offering enterprise-class support to customers who need to embed a fast, reliable database at a lower cost"

However, why does Oracle need to buy a company making free software to enhance her embedded database products? Are they buying the brand, the brains, or the product lines?

Be a dungeon master, literally

Trap doors! Secret stashes! It is no longer a dream. You can build a dungeon right inside your apartment. Hidden Passageway is a web site selling these things. A do-it-yourself kit is available for as low as US$1500.

Source: The Argument Clinic