Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Hello Mr. Phone


Found this on Petro in Oak Grove, MO. Kind of hard to believe that people would stand in front of this device and talk to the wall. Did you notice anything missing? No dials! Imagine that. Voice dialing works here.

Going thru Colorado mountain


Going to Steamboat Springs thru Kremmling. Kremmling? Rather unusual name!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Holiday shopping


Holiday shopping does take its toll. I was going to buy a few items. They're all sold out! Huge sale does have something with it. But people are buying goods. I wonder how the after New Year sale traditionally held will be like.

DS Colors!


I just got a homebrew kit for my Nintendo DS and installed Colors. I like it very much! I think I doodle too much now. Colors is a painting program, and unfortunately, it is obvious that I can't paint! Well, at least I can draw and it works well, too!

Check out and search for 'ramstrong' to see how I did it!



I read about this some time ago. I didn't realize it at the time, but as I was wondering about it, I realized then that Japanese has a way to achieve greatness.

There are 3 guiding ideologies that defines Japanese work ethic, that if followed will result in greatness.

1. Perfection: This means making no mistake. Refusal to accept inferior effort. If you know something isn't perfect, then strive to do better next time. This has been abused by the idea of "best". There is no best thing. Only pros and cons. There is no silver bullet. There is no ultimate magic wand that you can wave and achieve the ultimate. But you can certainly note your mistakes and resolve to fix them and not repeat them in the future.

2. Constant improvement: Always learning. Always adding new skills to the toolbox. Just as there is no single best thing, having a wide assortment of skills allows you to pick and choose the best tool for the job. Some people would go for the minimum. Others, stop when they reach maximum. Within the minimum and the maximum range, lies the acceptable performance level. However, greatness comes from achieving, then exceeding the maximum level.

3. I don't remember what the third one is, but I believe it is Discipline. Discipline can be construed as hard work, and certainly many people take it as such. However, I choose to take it as good habit forming. "You are what you frequently do. Therefore, greatness isn't a matter of ideals, but of habits" said Aristotles.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Steak 'n Shake


So, I stopped by Steak and Shake on Lincoln, IL. The place looks nice enough. Good crowd. But service is lousy. I end up just leaving. No tip is given. I don't know why. Usually service is nice, you know?

As far as the food, it's somewhat okay. The bun looks terrible. The meat was overcooked on the outside. The bacon felt like rubber, signifying undercooked. The tomato was sliced too thin. Notice that there is no french fries! For the price, I expected Hardee's or Arby's quality. This is even worse than McDonald, yet more expensive!

Overpriced food. Uncaring servers and cooks. It makes me wonder why people come to this place as Godfather's Pizza is just across the street, which is where I'll be next time. Anywhere but here.

This could be an anomaly Steak 'n Shake. But as this is my first impression of this chain, I'm forced to conclude that all Steak 'n Shake restaurants are like this.

I finished the food and I'm still hungry. At least in a real restaurant, I won't be leaving hungry. The food is just so overpriced, you know? Not enough value.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Shan Chinese Buffet


I stopped by Shan's Chinese Buffet in Monteagle, TN. I24 exit 135. The food was good. I also noticed that they have sushi served. Unfortunately, I had a bad experience with bad tasting sushi. Not this restaurant, but another one. I was undecided whether I would eat one. I noticed that no one else touched them, so I decided to skip them.

"Once, a cat sat on a hot stove. Never again it sat on a hot stove. Then again, it didn't sat on cold ones, either."

I gave them a big tip, and they gave me this chinese calendar. I guess they saw me admiring the chinese zodiac pattern on the mat.

Friday, December 12, 2008



Yves Rossy, jet-man or fusion-man, answered my question of how small can a wing be to fly a man. Incredible that he doesn't have any control surface on the wing. He flies all natural, like Superman! check it out on YouTube.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Nintendo news


Apparently, the new Nintendo DS will have 2 built-in cameras! And not only that, opera web browser is built-in! Does that mean Wifi video conference is planned anytime soon?

Looking at other news, it seems so. Wii speak will include all new Wii Speak Channel. This merit a follow up later. It's good for people to connect with each other. I shudder at the expected bandwidth requirements, though. Hopefully, spam won't be an issue.

A new Prince of Persia game for NDS is out. There should be a downloadable demo on DS download station. It's made by Ubisoft, though. Great titles, but execution is somewhat flawed. I kept finding minor bugs with their titles.

There's a gardening game? Gardening Mama of Cooking Mama fame. I wonder how that would work. Growth rate of plant is not exactly speedy.

Phantasy Star 0 seems nice. Not for US release, though. But just in case, I'll mark it for watching. Looks like a fun game for DS.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Cheap HDTV


In case you're wondering, now is the time to pick up cheap HDTV. If you missed Thanksgiving sale, I'm sure they'll do it again on New Year.



I saw this really neat advertising about washing machine. It says clean clothes in 10 minutes with very little soap. What was Maytag thinking? Do modern engineering really work backward? Actually, I think it's just overinflated claim, but they were interesting, nonetheless.

It has been a while that I played SilentScope game. You know, where you play a sniper exterminating terrorist in just one shot. I'm glad I still have it. Only a dollar to finish the whole game. And the secret to high score is: Don't miss. The scoring is heavily weighted toward shooting streak. No, I don't like it.

I finally bought a set of Neon Genesis Evangelion. I already started on my Lucky Star collection. Kung fu series is next. If you look at it carefully, then you see 2 episode 3s. missing is episode 6. Weird, eh? I didn't get that one, but strange that it should happen.

Nintendo DS lite for everyone!


I think everybody should get one of these Nintendo DS lite. They cost $129.99 if I remember correctly. They won't get cheaper than that. I'm thinking that I should get two or three of these devices.

Before you think of all the time I'll be wasting on these things, you should see my library. Sure I have Naruto game. And the fact that these play old GBA games means I can play those games as well. But most of the time, I'm doing Big Brain. And it is the one game I recommend everyone should get. They're selling a bundle for it now.

My other cartridges are Japanese coach, chinese coach, and Let's Yoga! There are also Spanish, English, and SAT. In addition, if you go homebrew, there's also Colors, DS Organize, and e-book. My next purchase is going to be DS Korg synthesizer.

Oh, isn't Nintendo all about gaming? Yes, they are, or rather, they were. I always say that Nintendo DS Lite has great form factor. Connectivity, touch screen, portability. I can just imagine the lower touch screen being used as virtual keyboard while the top screen as computer screen. Can we say OLPC cheap computer?

The new DS is coming out. It'll have a camera as well. Can we say Internet Phone? Rumor has it, it'll come with a web browser. Now, if somebody would make a text editor, spreadsheet, database, and maybe BASIC, for it, then I'd really be happy!

Armchair dreamer


Talking to a lot of people, it seems that they don't really work their dream job. Sometimes they're making a lot of money, but usually, when asked whether or not they really want to work as hard as they're working now, their answer come up negative.

I do work hard. Sometimes too hard, ranging 12-14 hours per day. However, I do enjoy it. The money is good, but the feeling of freedom is unmatched. I like to travel and I get paid to do it! Expenses is steep, but the pay is good and I don't spend that much money at home, anyway.

So, when I ask them why they work at a job they don't enjoy, their answer is usually money. I agree that the need to eat does have an influence to the jobs they're taking. However, most of them work normal hours, by which I mean 40 hours per day.

If you think about it, business owners regularly work 12 hours per day seven days a week. That's 84 hours per week! Unless you're doing two jobs, or your boss makes you pull double shift, you have these free time.

So I ask them what their dream job is. A game designer. An artist. A writer. A teacher. A singer/song writer. Lots of idealistic jobs there. I guess not too many people dreams of job being a plumber.

So the next question is: what do these people do? Writers write, of course. Singers sing. Do you write every day? Do you sing everyday?

I was talking to somebody who fancied himself an inventor. He's pretty smart, alright. He always have these ideas in his head. Trouble is, he never took the time to write it down. I even went so far as to give him a note book and a pen. Still he didn't write his ideas down.

"You're not an inventor," I said, "you're just a dreamer CLAIMING to be an inventor. If you're really an inventor, then you'd be inventing things every day, but instead, you sit in front of TV everyday. You talk about inventing everyday, yet you don't do it! Imagine how much work would have been accomplished if instead of talking about it, you actually do it?

"Take a writer, for instance. Do you know how many writers wannabe out there? Yet all they do is talk. If all they write is one page a day, then at the end of the year, they'd have the next great American novel. How long does it take to type a page? 500 words per page. 12 words per minutes. Say 50 words per 5 minutes and you can have a page is less than one hour. Do you watch TV for more than one hour? Four hours, you say? Commercial will take 40 minutes of that. All you have to do is record the TV show. Sit and write one page, and then watch the recorded show, fast forward all the commercials. Edit the pages on weekend.

"Even if you write trash, as long as you do it everyday, no one can claim you're not a writer. You are a writer, just not a very good one. If all you do is sit in front of TV everyday, then you're not a writer, or whatever it is you claim to be. You're just another armchair dreamer, a couch potato getting fat while talking about great things."

You are what you frequently do. Stop talking, and start doing. Do it a little everyday. Do it for as little as 5-10 min at a time if that's all you can spare, but do it everyday! Do it while taking shower if you have to, but just do it. And then, you don't have to become your dreams. You're already living it.