Sunday, August 31, 2008

August 2008 in Review

Originally posted on xanga.

August really belongs to the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. From August 8 to August 24, the world had its eyes on Beijing. The events and precision of these Olympics drowned out the political conversations. London isn't so shabby either, it has one of the most sophisticated big brother systems in the world to match the man power of China. I also think the its much ado about nothing regarding the Girls Gymnastics and girl singer of the Opening Ceremonies. Makes me scratch my head why some things make more headlines sometimes.

The DNC got underway and it seems quite amazing. The Republicans countered with Palin getting the VP nod.

I do know, the last 8 years has been a blur with W. Do I think W has a done a good job? Right now, I gotta say no.

Would Gore or Kerry have done better? Guess we'll never know. But even McCain is saying we're "Worse off than we were four years ago". A lot of people also say that their grandmothers could have done a better job. I beg to differ as my Grandmother doesn't know any english and would get kicked out the LPGA let only be prez of the US of A.

One of the best things I've done is switch my country on YouTube to Taiwan. Although most of the videos that show up for me are dramas and games shows, that's what I normally look for. With the regular YouTube, I think its more like boobtube.

I am also giving up beef (red meat) for health reasons. It's not too much of a stretch as I mostly eat Fish and Chicken. But when unchecked, I do can eat a absurd amount of Beef.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Golden Triangle of PCs

Originally posted on xanga.

Back in the 90s, a golden triangle of PC shops popped in a place not so far from me.

The three PC shops were:
PC Club
Media Solutions

CompUSA was the big corporate place with the nice stuff, but to get a parallel cable for the printer, it'd cost your $30.

PC Club on the other hand was warehouse style store where you came in and didn't exactly know what was going on because there was stuff everywhere. But the parallel cable only cost $15. It was sorta like a mom and pop shop except they had like over 10 stores throughout the southland.

Media Solutions was a mom and pop as there was only one. It had the parallel cable for $5. The packaging was ghetto and the software they sold was in a plastic film. Even the books they had there was cheaper.

But like much of the rest of the PC industry, as the turn of the century came, the first to fall was Media Solutions. Maybe the huge computer margins of the 90s was so low that it wasn't worth it in the 00s.

CompUSA move to a mall across the way and eventually close as did many other CompUSAs in our area.

PC Club however kept chugging along until this summer. It no longer has any stores open.

Now, if I want a parallel cable, I can't get it for $5 anymore. I have to pay a premium at a Radio Shaq or worst, at a Best Buy. I could drive 20 miles away to a Fry's, but with gas prices, it wouldn't be worth the drive.

Penny pinching just isn't the same in the gas guzzling environment anymore.

Back to the golden triangle. Its all gone now. I can get my PC parts at a WalMart now! What a change. For the worst as a consumer.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Closing Thoughts on the 2008 Summer Olympics

Originally posted on xanga.

I only saw the last hour of the closing ceremony. Looked a lot less assuming than the Opening Ceremony. I also found it interesting that Phelps ditched the Opening and the Closing ceremonies. The face of these Olympics is absent from the beginning and the end.

In any case, the US ended up with the most medals overall and matched its Athen games Gold Medal count. But if you count the actual number (teams medal(s) only count once in the official count) of medals (each member of team), the US made out with the most by a large margin. It helps that there are 10+ basketball players and a gazillion people in softball, soccer, volleyball.

As for China, 40 golds were the said reach. Well, it got 51 of them. I highly doubt that'll happen in London.

All in all, I thought this was the best Olympics I've seen from the week 1 perspective. Week 2 wasn't as interesting.

In the end, the political issues that abounded before were absent from the last 2 weeks, but it'll be back again.

I also loved the commericals that GE had. Very interesting, including the rural China one. The song "在夏天" from Cao Fang (曹方).

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Olympics Thoughts Days 4-15

Originally posted on xanga.

So, its been a whirlwind 11 days of the Olympics. The two main events I normally watch are diving and gymnastics. This year, China dominated in both areas. Looking at the medal counts for just two events, its staggering what kind of take China had in these events. The medal count chart show China's dominance this year.

I was also glad nbcolympics started putting up the beach volleyball games. I don't have cable so I couldn't catch them on the USA channel.

Table Tennis has been really cool. China swept this department too. Every possible medal that was available in Table Tennis, China got. They were 8 for 8 there.

I am sad that the Taiwan Olympians didn't make more of a dent, but I applaud the team for showing up and giving it their all.

Since visiting Singapore on a business trip last October, I have a much larger appreciation of the city state. Its actually an asian city that I think my wife might be able to settle in and think its the US. Singapore finally got that medal! Congrats!

All in all, from Phelps to the Chinese in Diving and Gymnastics, this may be the best Olympics I've watched. I don't think London 2012 is gonna be able to live up to this. It'll have its stories, but this was truly an epic and historic Olympics.

I am looking forward to the Closing Ceremony and will be sad that the Olympics are ending.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

NBC Coverage of 2008 Olympics

Originally posted on xanga.

I am currently watching 2 team matches online from Earlier in the evening, I was able to watch Badminton, Taiwan Baseball and Archery too.

AMAZING! I can't believe it. I am still in shock about what's available. This may be better than being there. Everything is seemly available online.

Even Gymnastics in "rewind" form is awesome.

I have to give it up the guys that designed, its amazing. Although the UI could be improved, there's just too much stuff. Invariably, stuff will get buried.

Now, if they can just get "rewind" mode in for the volleyball and beach volleyball.

I was able to catch both men's and women's gymnastic finals. I have to give it up the teams from China, they were not flawless, but they were extra good. Everyone else was average or worst. By virtue, the teams from China took the gold.

I was impressed by Shawn Johnson on the balance beam. Shawn will be in contention for some individual medals during the next week.

I love the Olympics!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Olympics Thoughts Day 0-3

Originally posted on xanga.

The Olympics started 8/8/08 at 8:08 in Beijing. I was able to catch the opening ceremony on NBC.

Zhang Yimou was the man behind the China portion of the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece closing ceremonies. Zhang Yimou is the man behind the Opening Ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.

I'll be honest, it was a little overwhelming. I didn't exactly know what to expect. I had heard of the sheer number of people being used. The colorful outfits. The secrecy behind it all. After it was done, I was a little awestruck. I wish I could have been there. But I think visually, the best view was from the TV.

The parade of nations was very tiring, but I wanted to see USA athletes and many of the Asian countries. Most notibaly, Taiwan and China.

Day 1-3 have been pretty interesting. China is currently leading the medals count and leads in the Gold metal count, doubling the nearest country. Taiwan is on the boards too! The spirit of the Olympics.

I have been vary impressed with I've been able to watch Badmintion, volleyball, shooting, judo, archery, etc. However, Day 2 and 3 have had very little matches in "rewind" mode. They're suppose to show 2,600 hours of footage. Some of it is just a camera pointed at the field or court or stage. You can hear the ppl around the camera talking it up. The convos are weird and whacky sometimes.

I hope they have more matches up soon. I wanted to watch more volleyball from Day 3, but its all just photos.

As normal, all the Olympics footage were promptly removed from Youtube within hours, if not minutes.

But while there, I came across "Where the hell is Matt?" videos. Crazy stuff. I want his job. My wife and daughter wouldn't.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Will/Wilber Pan - 未來式

Originally posted on xanga.

I recently purchased Will Pan's latest CD 未來式. I was struck by the female vocals on the 不得不愛 song by 弦子. I've had the song on repeat the last few days.

In general, I like 未來式 a lot. The production feel reminds me of a Jay Chou album. However, Will and Jay have very different styles.

If you're looking for a lot of songs (35!), this is the place to look. Looking for english sprinkled with all that chinese, this is the place too! Its a shame that Taiwanese and Chinese artist like to include English in their music. The reverse does not happen. Stop it. Just sing it in Chinese! For the Americanized Mando speakers, its inevitable for us to include English in our daily conversations. Mainly because sometimes, there is no short translation from Chinese. Or our Chinese sux that bad.

Back to the CD, it also includes a DVD. I haven't watched it yet. Maybe it'll have the MVs, so I don't have to watch the itsy bitsy ones ones on YouTube.

Seriously, Olympics in 1.5 days. Its so crazy.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Hype Machine - August 2008 Edition

Originally posted on xanga.

Hype for the month of August for me at least

Olympics!  Just 3 days away!

射雕英雄传 - Legend of the Condor Heroes

Legendary Assassin by Wu Jing

I am working again on my Chinese.  Its so time consuming to review the characters but to use it so little in my daily life.  I need to remedy that, but its a daunting task as my speaking opportunities continue to diminish as well.

Lenka!  Amazing voice!  Music goes great with it too.  Decoder Ring stuff is amazing too.  This is like the same feeling I had when I first heard The Sundays, Ivy, and Brittle Stars.  I searched and searched until I found that voice.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Harold and Kumar: G Bay

Originally posted on xanga.

Did I laugh out loud during the movie? No. Was I supremely disgusted? Yes! Just like the first one. It follows the timid Harold and overt Kumar as they get wrongly accused of being terrorist to clearing their name. NPH makes a repeat appearance. The lovely Maria is back and Kumar's back story is explored.

In my mid 20s, I may have enjoyed this more. But now that I am mid-30s (gasp!), I wasn't getting into as much. My mini-van driving, retirement fund, life insurace, mortgage self just isn't the same anymore.

If you're looking for a repeat, you'll get it.