Thursday, February 28, 2008


I treat myself on this Ranma 1/2 keychain.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Life Choices


Two paths diverged in the woods. And I, I took the one less travelled by, and that has made all the difference. --Robert Frost

There was a time that I thought I wouldn't make past 40 years old. So I made life choices accordingly. That changed when I was about 26 or 28 years old. I began to see the path behind the hill, so to speak. That's when I decided to aim for longer life. I still don't want to live forever, but let's not cut it shorter unnecessarily.

..And miles to go before I sleep -- Robert Frost

If there's something that is guaranteed to make life shorter, that is couch potato life. After having a hard day, the last thing you want is some more hardship. So you plop down on the sofa, drink beer, and relax. But this isn't too good.

If there's something that makes life longer, that is adversity. I don't mean hardship like starving yourself as to lower your metabolic rate significantly, but enough to challenge the body.

You see, the body adapts to its environment. The harder the life, the finer the person. Or "a day without working, is a day without eating."

Weightlifting has been shown to increase bone density. But there are other indications that some kind of stimulation, such as vibration is also good. Fat that otherwise form in bone marrow is turned into bone, increasing the density. So maybe 15 minutes exercise before you sleep would be a good thing.

So back to the couch potato thing. The first thing you do when you hit the couch in front of the TV is relax. But maybe before you're completely relaxed, you should push it a little bit. Do some warm ups exercises, followed by some moderate ones. Therefore, you're telling the body to shape up, adversity is coming. Be stronger!

I'm sure that each day you do this, you'll get better. If instead of pushing it, you merely just relax, then you're telling your body that once you hit the couch, all is well, and you never improve.

God made our bodies the way they are, and we should take advantage of it, and maximize its potential, even at the cost of working out even when we don't want to. Don't over do it, of course. If you really feel down, then just do some light ones. But otherwise, push it a little and have a more fulfilling life than being a zombie couch potato.

Only God can make a tree. Poems are made by fools like me. --Robert Frost

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Big brain score

Not much improvement this week. Partly because I don't practice much due to distraction, but also because I think I've maximized my potential. Any improvements will now come in little doses.

Maybe I should start logging my average test scores. The technique of memorizing does work, as well as touch typing. I keep finding uses for the skills practiced here, so it is definitely worth it to practice these games!

Ace 2083g an investor

Category Activity Easy Norm Hard
Coin parison 471 472 513
Add Agency 373 391 421
Written Math 358 410 448
Shadow Shift 430 452 504
Get in Shape 573 675 700
Match Maker 393 452 483
Heavy Weight 512 543 480
Path Finder 461 473 566
Boneyard *403 459 473
Sound Bites 348 411 455
Flash Memory 392 413 401
Memo Random 464 *486 *498
Missing Link 390 456 549
Cube Game *593 588 547
Animal Lines 381 492 508

45 Platinum. 4 improvements.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ufo catcher

$3 in. Kind of expensive considering it is $1 per try. This is from UFO Catcher by SEGA. Winona, MS.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Going Postal

I picked up another newspaper today. Yet another school shooting. One of the report mentioned that this was the fourth one in less than a year. Tragic.

However, I think that this is a clear sign of a bigger problem. Everybody knows that schools are in trouble. Budget cuts are everywhere. Unfortunately, counseling budgets are being cuts also. There have been cases where counseling have been shared among several schools. Even that is lacking money. We know that classes teach science, but not life skills. The curriculum doesn't cover that. So where do people get it?

It used to be that parents teach their children. With economy feeling hardship, both parents are working, and precious little time is spent is educating the children. Even then most children would see bleak future, which is that of overworked, stressed out parents.

Stressed and overworked? Do you think that going around and shooting people is limited to just deliquent kids? The term "Going Postal" was coined when somebody goes berserk and shot a few postal workers. That was adult. Then there is Ohio bombing. Looking around business practices, the only constant I see is managers abusing their workers.

Think about it: despite the rule of 40 hours work week, those who do only that gets punished. It used to be that those who do more get rewarded. The worst case I've seen to date is when the boss refused to hire more workers, forbid people to work overtime (due to overtime pay), and forces the workers to somehow double their output without any incentives whatsoever. Stressed out. Of course. What do you expect?

There are 2 way out of this. The first is going to union, and ask union control and wages. This is what you do just before you quit. You have no future when this happens.

The second way to do it is by killing everybody. This is what you do after you get unjustly fired, and the company somehow manages to cover all legal defense. If the company maliciously falsified your records, painting you to be a bad worker even though you're not, just so a bad manager can keep his job, then you may not have another job. With bills mounting and lawsuit settlement months away, you won't survive. So, what do you have to lose when you have nothing? Nothing. You have nothing to lose. So you go on rampage and at worst, died. Or get life in prison, free food and board for life. That's a great temptation.

Unfortunately, bad managers don't realize this. They think just because it's illegal, people won't do it. The law doesn't really protect you from crime, just ensure proper retribution when and if a crime does occur. Small consolence when viewed from heavens above. Especially if you don't screw up, but one bad manager from another department. You're just collateral damage.

In truth, there is no winner. Just losers. You have to treat people with respect. You have to help people gaining a sense of worth. Otherwise, you have nothing and nothing to lose. Everytime I see somebody going postal, I see failure as a school system, business system, society sytem. Failure to help a person to be a whole human being.

I avoid working in such companies. Avoid learning in such schools. Life isn't worth what these kind of institutions offer you, because they're not offering life. Really, what they're offering is a slow poisonous death, disguised as the American Dream.

Monday, February 18, 2008



I saw an accident in Chicago today. It was on construction zone, next to a police car! The policeman acted immediately and took everybody's license. He even took out a blanket for the person in the middle, the one with busted window and windshield. I got first seat view since it was right in front of me.

The interesting about it is that a truck got hit by another truck who got hit by a van. First of all, it was a bumper to bumper traffic, so the speed isn't that high. What could cause the first accident? Secondly, the van in the second chain, didn't hit the brakes until it almost hit the truck! In fact, the pause between the first hit and the second hit is longer than the braking.

When you consider that the most common excuse when a car hit a motorcycle is "I didn't see it," it makes me want to ask "So, why don't you look at where you're going?" Really. In fact, so much so that motorcyclists resorting to wearing loud obnoxius colors just to be seen. In this case, though, it was a truck! How can you miss that? How can you hit it in a bumper to bumper traffic? Some people just shouldn't drive. I mean, if they're going to be that reckless next to a police car, who knows how reckless they are otherwise?

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mensa and other stuff


Well, having a big brain does mean some exciting possibilities. I was looking at Mensa site, and I thought Mensa is looking for top 5 percent, but some figures are quoted at 98 percent. I think you need to have an IQ of 130 or something.

Actually, they accept most anything, including SAT. I know my SAT math was 99%+, so I should be in. Too bad my verbal was total zero due to my misunderstanding the problem. English is my second language, OK?

That becomes better at College level, though. I wonder if such records still exist. I may just be a member without taking a test!


Do you know that a farm running a profit of about $300 per acre is considered doing very well? So if you want to make $100,000 per year, you need 330 acres? That's assuming good harvest, so I guess the average farm size has got to be around 500 acres or so.


You know all these military robots they've been talking about? I find it weird that they want to build autonomous car that navigate city street when designing an autonomous warship is a much easier problem. No road, after all, and if something goes wrong, it can just float there while the human sailor takes care of things. However, traditional problems such as complexity, size, and weight that makes things very difficult to achieve in a car is largely absent on a big ship. I know that some of the more sophisticated autopilot has relieved much of a sailor's burden during solo voyages. It wouldn't take much more to make it an "intelligent mobile mine."


I think it's telling that I'm much more excited in learning that Sherwin-Williams Resilience is waterproof (Great paint for a cartop cardboard boat) than a self portrait camera that takes pictures when your face is centered (No rule of thirds?).


Of all the talks about alternative energy, I wonder why corn is considered a good candidate for biodiesel. I've always thought that sugar canes would be more effective.


I don't want a car that runs 80 mpg. I want a car that runs on solar, or wind, or whatever free stuff God gives us. Does anybody know a good way to harness energy from rain? I imagine one good lighting strike can power quite a few houses. How about that? Figure out a good way to charge batteries from lightning, or static electricity, such as scrubbing plactic shoes across carpet.

And if anybody can discover how to profitable power a modern cash register with power gained from walking the treadmill, I'm sure a lot of health clubs would be interested.


Looking at the specs for some motorcycle engines, I see that they make more power with less displacement, moving less weight than my econobox car. Somehow, though, their miles per gallon looks rather low for all of their supposed advantages.

Unprofessional Professionals

I was reading this magazine Fortune special issue Investor's Guide 2008: 44 Hot Stocks and Mutual Funds. Unfortunately, I came away not with hot stock pickings, but with a sense of wonderment of how stupid those high ranking management personnel can be. How billions are lost while the losers are claiming that they're busy making money.

Page 11: Letters
Fortune What were they smoking? Chuck Prince lost 8.8 billions. Stan O'Neal lost 7.9 billions.

Ford Bartholow: "Wall Street bankers, their leaders, and hedge fund managers are the most overpaid, overhyped bunch of nattily dressed salesmen on planet earth" ... "Stan O'Neal played it and earned 160 million after losing billions."

Nick Schultz: "Very few truly bring anything unique or of lasting value to the table. And those who do successfully guide their companies in a low-key manner for a long period are generally only moderately rewarded financially."

LESSON 1: Gamble heavily. Claim Luck is Skill. Ask for exit strategy worth millions, just in case luck doesn't last long."

Lesson 2: What were the HR people who chose these loser thinking?

Page 140: Jim Rogers: "What I said was, If they cut interest rates it's going to be a signal to the rest of the world that we don't care about the dollar, that we want the dollar to go down. That is what has happened." ... "I will tell you that I was terrified recently when I saw Bernanke testifying before Congress, and he said that if an American buys only American products in American cureency he is not affected by the decline in the U.S. Dollar. I couldn't believe the man said that! I was looking at him to see--Is he lying? Is he just using government propaganda? Or does the man just not know? He's supposed to be an economist, and he doesn't know how the economy works!"

LESSON 3: This is a classic case of weakening the dollar against crushing loan. Germany did it in World War 2. So do several other countries over the years. None has panned out as far as I know. What happens when you weakens the dollar is that you certainly dilute your obligations now, but you will also lower your credit rating and make future borrowing a much, much more expensive proposition. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that low credit ratings are things to avoid, associated with poor economic people, such as our neighbor the Mexican, instead of high credit rating people such as our trading partner the Japanese. And another thing: so long as we're importing something, such as oil, sugar cane, and other commodities, then it is madness to devalue our currency. Price wars is not the way to get rich, I thought all economist knows that, but obviously they do not. The lower the price, the harder we must work. Remind me again which countries limit their work week to 40 hour
and which ones has no limit?

LESSON 4: Work Hard to low income is preferable to working smart.

Page 147-160: It is shocking, at least to me what common sense is lacking in some of these people. On the other hand, there are some seemingly weird behaviour that cannot be helped.

10: "... A hacker uses a picture of a key from the company website to make a real key that can open the company's machines." Uh, that would be classified as inside job security breach.

13: Apparently, despite billions spent in dieting, it doesn't seem to work. I wonder when, if ever, people will realize that dieting WILL NOT WORK unless it is a daily habit, not just a one-off thing.

15: An Australian Toy of the Year is made, among other things, an illegal date-rape drug. And, no, the toy isn't supposed to be chewed or swallowed.

30: Will all CEOs who spent his workdays playing golf, bridge, and other past times, please stand up? Thank you. You are all fired.

33: Of all the product misuse possible, I thought this one is rather obvious. I hope P&G didn't spend too much time researching this one.

45: I suppose that's one way to sell jewelry. I can't fault them for coming up with the idea, but I can certainly blame them for the execution.

50: Makes you wonder why they didn't catch this sooner. Just how much does it cost to ship two cents washers anyway?

51: Yep, that's the problem with intellectual Property law. Same thing happens with Disney prohibiting a kindergarden from using images of Mickey Mouse on school property. Can't be helped. Of course, since we're talking about some nine years old, I hope they write a special letter.

55: Has not MIT ever heard of "Buyers Beware"? This looks like a blatant attempt of denial of resposibilities, which as the experts on page 132 strongly cautioned against.

60: Develop a business plan for sitting for 30 months with food and rent fully paid, after pocketing $750,000 dollars, and having great fun. I'd be sorely tempted, too. :)

69 - 70: Obviously, no good deed goes unpunished. This is clearly a case of an idiot at the helm of a company and acting a plan to be the best by eliminating anybody else who is better. Fortunately, I've stayed away from Circuit City for a while now, but I do feel sorry for those hard-working sales people.

82: U.N. One Laptop Per Child program is an idealistic solution applied to non-idealistic world. Expect to see a LOT of these "mishaps" happening. I won't even imagine cases where these children are recruited to cohesively work together to crack DES algorithm because it pays more than distributing media company's hard disk images. Not that I condone such behaviour, but I wouldn't be giving immature kids unrestricted access to sophisticated computers while restricting adult access to it in the first place.

85: $15,000 double bed for 7 hours. That's an incredible business model. I wouldn't dare even to think of it!

Perusing all the various money-making scheme, cheap travels, and whatnot, a constant thought on my head is: "This sounds too good to be true. I wonder if truth in advertising is in force." about the only exception is Charles Schwab Bank. It looks like a losing proposition, getting only 4% APY when others promises to be more, but that's why I want to check it out. OTOH, although the poster says FDIC-insured, the Disclaimer says "Brokerage Products: Not FDIC Insured". Considering that both statements are on the same page, I wonder who approved this ad? And which is the true statement?

Big Brain Score

There's a lot of improvements this week. I have now achieved the full 45 platinum status. Also my brain now weights at 2083 g. That is a lot of weight. My brain feels really heavy!

Haha, not really. However, I do notice something very interesting as I broke the 2000 g barrier. That is, as I whiz by the Get in Shape activity, I felt that my brain has better speed than usual. It's as if my brain is in the zone, a state where I have greater physical prowess and awareness. Afterwards, I noticed that my GPS ran kind of slow.

Obviously, my GPS does not run slower, which means that my brain now operates at higher efficiency than before. I say this before, and I'll say this again: Nintendo Big Brain Academy DS is a good thing to give to your kids to help them develop their brain and talent. I would give the DS version better mark than Wii version simply because the goal isn't great graphics, but mental faculty. The DS version is portable and therefore you can practice it any time and anywhere.

Only 18 improvements this week, but my potential for King status is solidified. Alas, no improvrment in Compute category. There's a chance I'll improve on Written Math, so I'll concentrate on that. Boneyard also saw some improvements.

Ace 2083 g an investor

Category Activity Easy Norm Hard
Coin Parison 471 472 513
Add Agency 373 391 421
Written Math 358 410 448
Shadow Shift 430 *452 504
Get In Shape *573 *675 *700
Match Maker 393 *452 *483
HeavyWeight 512 *543 480
Pathfinder 461 473 *566
Boneyard *400 *459 *473
Sound Bites 348 *411 *455
Flash Memory 392 413 401
Memorandom 464 419 438
Missing Link *390 *456 *549
Cube Game 566 *588 *547
Animal Lines 381 492 508

Hmmm. I wonder if Nintendo has a Big Brain T shirt with write your brain weight type of deal.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Mexican Rice with Beef

Backpacker's Pantry Mexican Rice with Beef.

Although I prefer Asian food, I sometimes go Mexican. With tremendous hunger, I chose the one with large calorie count: 340 per serving! It is an excellent tasting menu. Unfortunately the seasoning is in fine powder form and they settle to the bottom of the bag. I solve that by shaking the bag upside-down for a while. It works somewhat, but I end up adding an extra sausage link just to taste and extra calorie. 840 calories in one sitting!

Rice, sauce cream, milk, citric acid, salt, flour, tomato paste potato starch, chili pepper, onion, sugar, coriander, cumin, garlic, oregano, black pepper, beef, onions, cheese.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


So I was travelling on I 90/94 and saw these cars being piled up on the side of the road. There's quite a pile up several miles long, recent by the looks of it. It seems that people are unused to drive on snow for some reason. This was in Wisconsin.

I spent some time in Minnesota, and there's quite a bit of jokes about the cold. Minne-Snow-ta, says one of the postcard. Drivers are pretty bad here. I wonder just how many people are attending safe driving classes? It's certain to drive up insurance costs, that's for sure.

I guess weather in these parts regularly gets below zero. More than that with wind chill. My hand got frozen just from fueling the truck!

Long Grain and Rice Pilaf


Mountain House Long Grain and Wild Rice Pilaf.
This is a delicious combination of white, brown, and wild rice. The texture is terrific, and since the combination is heavy on rice, good for long term energy sustenance. I did not use the cheese package, but other food staple are in there. Mushroom, Onions, Broccolli, Green Beans, Sweet Red Peppers, and Parmesan Cheese. You may want to add some meat to taste.

Mountain House Long Grain and Rice Pilaf: Very Good.

Mountain House Chicken Teriyaki with Rice: Great.

I do have a preference for Chinese food. Of course Teriyaki sauce is Japanese, but close enough. I got myself one of those pot water boiler to use in car. It work great, although not so much for boiling. It does have an auto shutoff mechanism that turns itself off after 25 minutes. Water's hot but not boiling. Hot enough to prepare food with.

I put in too much water into the bag, so it's more runny porridge style rather than rice dish, but it's still great tasting.

Chicken Teriyaki, soy sauce, brown sugar, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, red peppers, green peas, corn starch, sherry wine, onions, green peppers, garlic, spice, salt. Also some rice.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Big Brain DS weight

It's been a surprise this week due to vast improvement across the board. Last week, I noted 12 improvements. This week, I get 29! That's amazing. Get in Shape and Cube Game is no surprise, since I've been practicing them, but the rest are. If I can consistently get above 400 scores, then there is a good chance that I can be King! It is the last title possible.

I'm glad that I'm keeping score. I wouldn't know how much improvement otherwise. This is great! I also get full Platinum on Compute, Identify, and Think. Memorize and Analyze, almost there. Just one category left. It's all due to finger speed, now.

Category Activity Easy Norm Hard
Compute P
Coin Parison 471 472 513
Add Agency *373 *391 *421
Written Math *358 *410 *448

Identify P
Shadow Shift 430 438 504
Get in Shape *539 *590 *543
Match Maker *393 417 465

Think P
Heavy Weight *512 *511 *480
Path Finder *461 473 *508
Bone Yard *398 *430 446

Sound Bites P348 387 395
Flash Memory P 392 *413 *401
Memo Random P *464 *414 *438

Missing Link *389 439 P*460
Cube Game P *566 *553 *541
Animal Lines P 381 *492 *508

Ace 2023g An Inventor

I found a new technique in Shadow Shift. I memorized the shapes, noted which one is missing, and marked the rest really quick. I will have to practice that technique more.

I wonder if we can say that Ace is top 5 percenter, and King is top 1 percenter.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More Claw Game

2 dollars in. I guess I should stop wasting money like this. I already have 2 bags of dolls I cannot get rid of.

Backpacker's Pantry Kung Pao Chicken


Kung Pao Chicken.
I like this a lot. Of course, I do like Chinese food. There times when I'd order General Tso's chicken or perhaps Moo Goo Gai Pan. Kung Pao chicken is great, too. There is a package of peanuts and chili powder in the bag, but I substituted Cape Cod potato chips instead. Perfect!

Brown Rice, Soy Sauce, corn starch, onions, garlic, sugar, salt, sesame oil, balsamic vinegar, chicken soup base, sherry wine, white pepper, red chillies, peanut, chicken, carrots, celery, parsley, red and green peppers.

Backpacker's Pantry Kung Pao Chicken: Great.

Big Brain Academy DS Weight

Woo Hoo! I broke 2000g barrier. I am now Ace.

What's the secret? Well, luck is a significant factor. If you look at my scores, you see that Compute score is pretty low, except for Coin-parison. That's because I don't really compute the coin, but use instinct, instead. So I would make 40+ guesses, 6-10 would be wrong. So luck is a big factor.

Still, I have a big brain now. It weights 2023g. How much does your brain weight?

Monday, February 4, 2008

Luxuriant Flowing Hair Club for Scientists™

I probably should go here more often.

Playing claw game

3 dollars in, 2 dolls out. Not a bad deal.

How to Haiku

Hey, do you know that Haiku includes seasonal reference? Things like spring, summer, autumn, winter? I certainly didn't know that! What does frog jumping into an old pond has anything to do with season? It turns out that "frog" indicates spring, which connotates newness, while being juxtaposed with old pond, which connotates oldness. That's very clever!

Reading this article by Robert Lee Brewer, Writer Digest Feb 2008 p. 83, it turns out that Haiku comes from Hokku, which is a starting verse of Renga. Then the seasonal reference makes sense. "Once upon a time in a faraway place..." and all that.

What if your Haiku does not include seasonal reference? Then it is Senryu.

Furthermore, what is the structure? Obviously, Japanese Haiku has 5-7-5 syllables, but how about English version? You can stay with the form, but translating Japanese Haikus to English ones means less syllables. So, I guess free-form Haiku is OK.

I shall be content,
brimmed, satisfied, and happy
when Hell freezes over.

Five stages of dying:
Anger, Denial, Bargaining,
Compromise, and Acceptance.

Big Brain Score

It occurs to me that lately, all I've been doing is posting some Big Brain Academy DS scores. I've also started on other things, but I guess I'm kind of addicted to this game for now. I also played some Metroid Prime Hunter DS, but I kind of give up at their timed-jumping puzzle. I did get past it, but the whole thing left some unpleasant taste, that I decided to abandon it until I can get my hands on some guide book.

I also played Naruto: Ninja Council 3. The game play is simplistic, but it does capture Shonen Jump atmosphere perfectly. Unfortunately, they somehow forget to include a "Retry" option, so re-starting a mission is a big pain. I don't play that game that much either. Maybe after some guidebook.

Well, if you can see the pattern, I don't like games that purposely or accidentally throw something that gets in the way of fun. Big Brain Academy games may be simplistic, but it has this ridiculous quality of "one-more-time" addictiveness that makes me happily forgets other things.

Anyway, I'm still miffed that I don't get Platinum medals in some activities although I have higher scores than others. Also, I noticed that improvement is hard to get this time around. Started to get into some kind of ceiling. Still, there are activities that I'd thought I'd maxed out, but broke through, like Heavy Weight, for example.

I am getting very close to 2000g level. I will definitely celebrate when that happens.

Big Brain Score 2/3/08

Activity Easy Norm Hard
P-Coin-Parison 417 472 *513
Add Agency 336 340 *355
Written Math 349 358 362
Shadow Shift 430 438 *504
Get in Shape *494 567 500
Match Maker 376 417 *465
Heavyweight 446 430 420
Pathfinder P431 P*473 454
P-BoneYard 396 407 446
Sound Bite P348 387 395
Flash Memory P392 389 397
MemoRandom P457 392 360
Missing Link *380 *439 P458
Cube Game P*516 P*492 *484
Animal Lines P381 *437 468

A 1888g Leonardo da Vinci
25 Platinum Medals

I can see improvements in Identify and Analyze, Think will have to have some breakthrough techniques, I think. Alas, Compute and Memorize seems to be maxed out. Especially Memorize, although Compute isn't too good either.

I've started to memorize the keypad. That gives me a little edge in putting in the numbers faster. Yes, it has come to the quickness of the data entry.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Alpine Aire Chicken Gumbo

Today I tried Alpine Aire Foods Chicken Gumbo. It was delicious. At first, I thought it was rather bland, but as I dig deeper into the bag, the spices that accumulate in the bottom of the bag started to come out, and it becomes really tasty, indeed. Unfortunately, I have a preference for bland tasting food, preferring to salt my own food to taste so to speak. In the end, I left the spiciest, most rich portion in the bag. However, I think that if you've been conditioned to eat rich foods, then this one will suit you perfectly.

Rice, diced chicken, onions, okra, potato starch, red and green bell peppers, corn, tomato, salt, chicken broth, and other spices.

Alpine Aire Chicken Gumbo: Very Good.