Monday, March 31, 2008


Coal Creek productions placed a very respectable THIRD today in Celtic Bayou Trivia with 57 points. This is a night worthy of remembrance and celebration! We were only 4 measly points away from First place! The night actually started on a low note as we weren't able to answer which Navy Captian signed the treaty with Japan in the 1800s (It was Perry). But then we were able to ride to victory, answering almost every single question on the list. Even Charlton Heston movie quotes category cannot stump us. Heck, one of us even knew lines from the movie "Soylent Green". Now that is surely a sign for our impending win! We answered every question in the assassination category except George Elser who apparently made an attempt on Hitler, but since he failed nobody remembered him haha. The bonus round was again #1 hits from today over the years. He always has this bonus round and we never remember to study for it but this time, our combined knowledge knew every single song! Did you know Before Sean Paul, there was Snow? a Canadian Raggae chart topper? crazy stuff you learn from Trivia hehe.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

some thoughts of media and Chinese government

This morning I was listening to our public radio station doing a piece on the current Tibet situation. Now I don't really want to get into the whole thing about Tibet since it is way too complex than I can understand but I did notice one thing. In the segment, the host interviewed the Spokesperson for the San Francisco Chinese Consulate on his opinion about the current riot and crackdown situation. and I was completely shocked about how bad his English is. You would think being a "SPOKESPERSON" he should at least be fluent in English. He also spent a large part of the interview basically regurgitate parts of some press release that he obviously memorized for this interview. You can tell because suddenly he would stop mumbling and stuttering and speak fluent perfect English for 10 sentences and then go back to sounding like an idiot. I was totally appalled at the unprofessionalism. How can he not sound like a mindless puppet if he acts this way during an real interview where he has the opportunity to get his view across?

Now that has got me thinking about something. The Chinese government and press has been yelling, nay, screaming for the whole week that the Western media is biased in its reporting about the Tibet incident. This is however, completely their own fault for not allowing journalists to be in Tibet and to be open about what is happening (good and bad). What do they expect? When you stop the flow of information, what can western media do but listen to whoever will talk to appease their readership? Now today when finally given a small chance on radio for the Chinese official position to be heard, the spokesperson completely waste it by sounding like an idiot.

Now I am not so naive as to think that American free press is unbiased and objective in their reporting (see Manufacturing Consent, the book read by all journalists graduating in U.S.) But one thing that the American government and corporation has learned to do over the years is how to "control the message". They have perfected the art of manipulating the press for their agenda. I mean the current presidential candidates each have a team of people whose sole purpose is to figure out ways to utilize the 24 hour news cycle to get their message out and block the opponents message. It is a fact of life over here that public relations is of utmost importance. One rule is that you NEVER EVER send someone out to talk to the media who can't get the message across cleanly and persuasively. But, in China, they are way way behind in this concept. Perhaps it is due to the lack of free press that they never have to deal with this issue and therefore are completely unprepared for the modern world of the Internet and 24 hour news channels. But they have completely antiquated concept of message control and PR. They still think that public opinion can be controlled by selectively broadcasting news. But in the Internet age, they are not fooling anyone, not even their own citizens. It just makes them appear guilty and unreasonable.

For example, if the Chinese government were a little more competent and savvy, they could have given exclusive but free and open access to Tibet during the aftermath of the riot to certain newspapers that are carefully selected, no bribery or intimidation needed. If the newspaper knew that they have exclusive access, they will automatically paint a more pro-government picture because they know if they don't, their exclusivity (and readership) can be easily given to a rival newspaper. This is a super simple way of getting the media to report something you want them to report (since the Chinese government is so paranoid about it) and appear reasonable and open in the world's eye. Now that opportunity is lost, and what is the point of organizing journalist tours as if they are touring Disneyland?

They have never learned how to do this in all these years of China bashing by the world so they have no one to blame but themselves if the public opinion is not shaping up the way they hope. In order to change perception of the world about them, they must learn how to integrate with the rest of the world's press. So really, the current Chinese government is not evil, they are just supremely incompetent and too afraid to let people know.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

idol thoughts

So I keep forgetting to watch the actual show, so this review is done through proxy by :) This week's theme is Song From the year they were born. Since there are so many choices available (as opposed to two weeks of Beatles!), decisions on song choices become very important and it can really show which contestants are versatile and know their limit. None of the girls should pick rock songs now since none of them are rockers, and they are just going to butcher it. The guys need to change it up a little, they can only rock out for so many weeks (unless you are Daughtry!!!)

David Cook: Obviously, brilliant song choice, brilliantly sung. He made a wise choice and stuck to what he is good at. He gets extra points for that glory note at the end there. He is so mainstream, so commercial I can't help think he will be another Daughtry. Nothing wrong with that though, Daughtry is pretty successful.

Michael Johns: He is like a more mature, hardcore version of David Cook. He really showed he could rock out tonight and his singing is as always impeccable. Also a great choice of song. It is very exciting, familiar to the audience and shows off his range.

David Archuleta: Bad bad song choice!! He did the best he could with it as his voice still sounded great. But where is the melody? this sucked!! and he is too young to sing lyrics like that.

Jason Castro: I feel like he picked good song choices. He does good with this sort of loungy soft rock song that doesn't require any vocal acrobatics. But I don't know how long he can keep it up without people getting bored. Hopefully he is just coasting a bit and will start to wow people in a couple of weeks.

Syesha Mercado: Very safe song, she sang it well but nothing spectacular.

Carly Smithson: I feel like this song didn't really suit her. She couldn't quite reach the high parts and it didn't have the right feel. I don't think any of the girls left are rockers now.

Brooke White: Really good song choice, she knows what she is good at. Too bad she kinda messed it up in the beginning. I feel kinda bad for her because her mess up is now going to be on youtube and be played til eternity.

Chikezie: Well, he is no Luther Vandross, he is not even Ruben but it is a safe choice. I felt like it was adequate singing but really lacked emotions.


Kristy Lee Cook: OMG, is she still here??? when is America gonna realize she can't sing? she butchered that perfectly nice song. Lets hope she is gone tomorrow

Ramiele Malubay: She made a bold choice but the song didn't really suit her. She is more of a pop song singer and she couldn't quite pull off the song. I think she is nervous too as her voice sounded really shaky. The producers probably thought so too since she had to go on first, always a bad thing.

So my predictions for bottom 3: Kristy, Ramiele and Syesha :D

Friday, March 21, 2008


ok thats all I got hahha , Yay for new CD!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

The Pillows Rock!!

My friend asked me if I liked Japanese rock band the other day. I replied I don't think I know anything about them. She said "me neither, so the Pillows are coming on Wednesday, wanna go??" I said "sure, what is The Pillows??"

So that is how I ended up at a Pillows concert last night. The Pillows, apparently, is this Japanese rock band. They are famous for doing the soundtrack for FLCL (I guess you anime people would know). The whole night started out wrong. First of all, one of my friend got lost to the carpool spot so we were late, and then there was really bad traffic across the lake (god I hate the bridges). Then the place we picked for dinner had really really slow service (and a Vietnamese old dude singing really badly on the keyboard) so we didn't end up at Club Motor until half an hour after the show was suppose to start. But we weren't actually late as they haven't even begin to let people in! so really, all that lateness meant nothing since we still had to wait half an hour just for the concert to start. Club Motor was kind of a dump too, it is just a big warehouse with some lights and stage using black sheets of paper as backdrop.

Then we found out there was 2, TWO!!! opening band. Stereo Future and Noodles. Stereo future is actually an American band, and they played some nice alternative music. I didn't like the singing though, I think they are more of a instrumental band. Noodles is this 3 girl Japanese band, very typical Japanese girl band I think. The songs were not bad but I hated the singing and it was really kind of boring. Their recording sounds much better than them live.

Ok, at this point, you must be thinking. gosh, you whine soo much! And you would be right, I was soo bored and my feet started to hurt. That is when The Pillows came out, and gave one of the most amazing concert I have ever been to. They were incredible! The lead singer was able to get the crowd of 500 going just by a look. With all their energy, they might as well be playing for a crowd of 10,000! we had some like 5 crowdsurfer going at the same time, which is not easy consider how small the crowd is. Everybody is jumping so much I was afraid the floor is gonna gave. (this is all from sober people too!, no alcohol allowed). They actually had to tell people to back up because the people in the front are moving the stage with their jumping lol. The lead singer was an awesome singer and a very good guitar player. They had such wonderful stage presence, as contrast to Noodles, to hear and see them live was 100 times better than can be conveyed on their recording. They just exuded energy and passion. They must played for an hour but I couldn't tell because it was over way too fast and totally worth the 3 hours I spent waiting on them lol . Now this is not usually the music I am into and I think the recordings on youtube are just ok. But live and in person, they are absolutely incredibly! I think I am a fan now :)

Here is some pictures taken by random people (found on Flickr)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

IPO woes

So, I decided I will try to buy some Visa Stock since it is going through IPO this week. I have an etrade account from ESPP but I really have no experience actually buying and selling stocks, and really I know nothing about them. So really my decision is not made based on any sort of research haha. So it was quite an learning experience this morning buying Visa stock on Etrade. I made a lot of mistakes I think but it is all part of the learning curve I guess. Here are some lessons I learned

1. It takes a really really long time for money to transfer to your Etrade account, like more than a week! good thing I started early

2. Never believe them when they say the secondary market will open on the 20th, because they will so open on the 19th just to spite you. It was a good thing I checked before I went to bed last night otherwise I would have missed the opening.

3. Never believe them when they say you can buy as soon as stock market opens at 9:30 EST because it really depends on when the CEO finishes his interview and the traders actually finish pricing. I got up at 6:30 am for nothing since I couldn't actually buy til 7:30 am

4. It really helps if you are not looking at 20 minute delayed information since you won't know what is the current price for buying. Thank god for message boards

5. This "pullback" thing is for real! As soon as the secondary market openend, all the actually IPO buyers dumped their stock for a quick profit so the price actually dropped $5 in the first hour before rising again. if only I was more experienced and had real time quotes I could have gotten in at a lower price.

Anyway, I wasn't trying to get in for a quick profit so I guess I just have to sit on it and wait now :) It was kind of depressing though this morning to watch the price drop. and also since I got to work at 10 am just to find they cancelled our meeing :(

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

worth watching

The media was in a frenzy the last two days over Barack Obama's church minister that said some pretty controversial things in one of his sermons that talked about black anger. So today, Barack Obama delivered one of the best speech on race that an American politican has ever given in my opinion. It was brilliant and moving and I think it is worth reading if not watching (its kinda long)

Complete text of speech

Monday, March 17, 2008

I am in Print!

Ok, so not quite but it was still pretty cool. While I was doing my masters, I had a temp job working as research assistant to this Urologist professor who is retired and wanted to write a book on God and its influence on people. SO I transcribed his recorded notes and did research for him and read some books too. It was just a semester and I thought nothing too much of it except it paid my rent. Last night, somehow I got around to read my old resume and I remembered about Dr. Saul Boyarsky. I wondered how he was doing and whether he ever finished the book. And guess what? he did!! Realizing God for the Future . I am very happy for him! And to my surprise, while I was browsing through it, I saw my name in the acknowledgement!! Now that is pretty cool hehe.

Friday, March 14, 2008

AI Review

Yes, it is that time of the year again. I have managed to avoid the pre auditions this time but I figure I have to check out our final 12. I watched all the videos from Tuesday on and here is my review:

General impression: This year's crop is generally very photogenic, very main stream. We've got some boy pop, some rockers, some lady crooners. There is a serious lack of vocal talents though in general. However, in today's main stream radio, good vocal talents is not as important as beautiful looks or a shady personal life so I guess AI is doing ok there. This season also wins the award for having the most instrument playing contestants, Almost everyone plays guitar or piano or something. And I was talking with Snoopy earlier about this, if you think about it, this year's contestants are mostly teenagers when the show started so they practically grew up with the show and I am sure have been preparing for years for it.

only in my opinion which is biased towards singing skills.

Brooke White: I really liked her, she seemed warm and friendly and unpretentious. It was a good song choice also for her voice. Which is kind of husky and deep.

David Archuleta: yes, he messed up the words big time and this song really was kind of boring, but he gets auto points for being cute. and you know the teenage girls will vote like crazy for him. I think he is pretty young for all the pressure so we will have to see if he can withstand it. If he can, he will be the next super pop idol, if not, he will just be another one of those pretty boys that didn't make it.

Chikezie: Rickey didn't have a video of him so just judging from the vocals, I thought he was brilliant, what a fun song! and extremely well done. I doubt he will win though because he doesn't really have the right looks unfortunately. but go Chikezie!

Jason Castro: He totally doesn't sound like he is from Texas lol. and despite appearing to be high most of the time, I really liked his voice, and his laid back attitude. He sang that song really well and with feeling. I am going to have a soft spot for Jason.

Middle of the Pack:
Carly Smithson: I already don't remember what she sounds like so that is not good. And anyway, she already has a record released, I don't think she need this show.

David Cook: The resident rocker boy. I kinda hates his hairstyle but he did a pretty good job with the song.

Michael Johns: very sweet voice but I feel like he is way too low key, he is not going to get enough attention to beat all the other people with interesting stories. Probably will get eliminated middle of season

Ramiel Malubay: Very very beautiful voice, and very beautiful girl. I don't have a feeling she can win but probalby will stay for most of the season unless she make crazy mistake.

Syesha Mercado: kinda forgettable is pretty much all I can say.


Kristy Lee Cook: Just wasn't very good I have to say. I didn't see her video either

David Hernandez: Kinda of a cute boy but the singing skill is just kinda sucky. I guess there is room for improvement if he gets a big fanbase going.

Amanda Overmeyer: I think she is a really interesting personality, seems like a crazy fun girl, but she really doesn't have a voice, and singing that particular rock style will only get her so far I think. Probably will get eliminated middle of the season

ETA: I wrote this before I saw the elimination result, I guess David don't have a chance for that fanbase now hehe.

Sunday, March 09, 2008


So M has expressed an interest in touring Europe. I am trying to find a Chinese travel agency that does tours like that cause I figure she might be more comfortable with a Chinese tour guide. Do you guys have suggestsions of travel agency you may have heard of as good?

Monday, March 03, 2008

trivia report

So we were again the recipient of the coveted $1 pitcher prize as we were last place with 30 points. Although it was especially sad today because we actually thought we did pretty well considering the categories. There was the always feared "Authors" category. The "Cold War Movie Quotes" category (WTF!!), and the best of all, a Anagram category with no clue!! We completely failed that one :( Here it is for your solving pleasure:


bonus: what is the theme of this group of anagrams.

Although we almost got every single question in the music category. I was happy as 3 songs played were songs Clay has sung haha.

THe most amazing thing of the night however, was that the first place winner, with 47 points after a tie breaker was a ONE MAN team. He won it all, all by himself. My hero!

Saturday, March 01, 2008


I think the writers should strike more often if these are the results.

Some background: Jimmy Kimmel has been publically dating Sarah Silverman for like 5 years. And Sarah made this video for him in January

and here is Jimmy's star-studded angry retaliation

ROFL!!! See if you can spot all the celebrities! And I have to say, objectively, Matt Damon was much much sexier and cute in his video.. ^_^