Yes, Nathan, admit it, you’re sick.

And I don’t mean it in a manical way or I’m a psychopath. You know, I mean as being sick with flu-like symptoms or common cold. It all started last Friday morning when I woke up and felt an itch or like having a tiny sandpaper in my throat, making it a bit uncomfortable for me to shallow. I can’t lie but admit that I do have a male ego (it’s a good thing that I admit it, right?) so I refused to believe that I was getting a sore throat. It’s probably cuz I was slombering, not keeping my mouth shut while sleeping (how male that was). I figured that a cup of Listerine will clear up everything in my throat and have a little Coke in my throat to fizzle them away. I got ready to go to work and when I got into my cube, the “sandpaper” in my throat just won’t go away and I decided to get myself a glass of water in a second attempt to free up the sandpaper’s coarseness in my throat. However, the sandpaper wouldn’t just get smoothed up and continued to become rough. Now, I was beginning to realize that maybe I do have a sore throat and in the defense of that, I popped a Hall lorengze into my throat and hoped that it’ll melt everything away.

All of the sudden, I don’t feel so good and started to feel a little hot despite I was wearing only a short-sleeved shirt. I had this imagination that my body was collapsing like an old building that was destructed into pieces by a set of intelligent bombs around the concrete columns except it wasn’t that rapid. If you still don’t get it, well, imagine it like the two WTCs crashing down on 9/11 but in a slow-motion and you get the idea what I mean. As I reached for the kleenex right before I sneeze, I suddenly thought—I’m having a dreadful cold and coming down with flu-like symptoms. And my thought said to me, “Yes, Nathan, you’re sick.” So much for my male ego.

While I was going through all that, I was reminded by this short story I read a while ago during in the college. The story is called “The Death of Ivan IIych.” by Leo Tolstoy and you can read all about it at this. It talks about a guy who refused to believe that he was sick till it was all too late and he learns how to deal with inevitable dying. Then he discovered something worse than dying, if that’s even possible, was the frustration that people can’t understand or fathom the pain he was going through. This struck me particularly because the little things you do could have an impact on your life. Here’s what I mean…

The Slip

He was so interested in it all that he often did things himself, rearranging the furniture, or rehanging the curtains. Once when mounting a step-ladder to show the pholsterer, who did not understand, how he wanted the hangings draped, he made a false step and slipped, but being a strong and agile man he clung on and only knocked his side against the knob of the window frame. The bruised place was painful but the pain soon passed, and he felt particularly bright and well just then. He wrote: “I feel fifteen years younger.” He thought he would have everything ready by September, but it dragged on till mid-October. But the result was charming not only in his eyes but to everyone who saw it.

What did he say about his slip

“It’s a good thing I’m a bit of an athlete. Another man might have been killed, but I merely knocked myself, just here; it hurts when it’s touched, but it’s passing off already — it’s only a bruise.”

They were all in good health. It could not be called ill health if Ivan Ilych sometimes said that he had a queer taste in his mouth and felt some discomfort in his left side. But this discomfort increased and, though not exactly painful, grew into a sense of pressure in his side accompanied by ill humour.

The pain prevails

She [his wife] said he had always had a dreadful temper, and that it had needed all her good nature to put up with it for twenty years. It was true that now the quarrels were started by him. His bursts of temper always came just before dinner, often just as he began to eat his soup. Sometimes he noticed that a plate or dish was chipped, or the food was not right, or his son put his elbow on the table, or his daughter’s hair was not done as he liked it, and for all this he blamed Praskovya Fedorovna.

At first she retorted and said disagreeable things to him, but once or twice he fell into such a rage at the beginning of dinner that she realized it was due to some physical derangement brought on by taking food, and so she restrained herself and did not answer, but only hurried to get the dinner over.

The realization of his condition

After one scene in which Ivan Ilych had been particularly unfair and after which he had said in explanation that he certainly was irritable but that it was due to his not being well, she said that he was ill it should be attended to, and insisted on his going to see a celebrated doctor. He went. Everything took place as he had expected and as it always does.

The so-called male ego

The pain did not grow less, but Ivan Ilych made efforts to force himself to think that he was better. And he could do this so long as nothing agitated him. But as soon as he had any unpleasantness with his wife, any lack of success in his official work, or held bad cards at bridge, he was at once acutely sensible of his disease.

The coming of the pain

The pain in his side oppressed him and seemed to grow worse and more incessant, while the taste in his mouth grew stranger and stranger. It seemed to him that his breath had a disgusting smell, and he was conscious of a loss of appetite and strength.

The inevitability of the pain

There was no deceiving himself: something terrible, new, and more important than anything before in his life, was taking place within him of which he alone was aware. Those about him did not understand or would not understand it, but thought everything in the world was going on as usual. That tormented Ivan Ilych more than anything.

Well, read the ending of the story to find out what happened to him!

This is something what I would call a “Butterfly Chaos Theory” that the flutterings of a butterfly in the East (China) can acculumate to a hurricane in the West (Florida). As he had a small slip that led to his dying. So, what is exactly my point? My point is that I realize I’m sick and I’m gonna do about something. Any suggestions?

Self-Education

One month and seven days since I turned 24 years old, I’ve arrived at a point where I feel I’m in middle of nowhere. It’s hard to describe how I feel but the best I can explain is that I feel like a fifty years old man who’s having a middle-age crisis. So, likewise, I’m having a mid-twenties crisis. It’s not like I need a Viagra to help boost my life or spend my retirement money on some miatas. It’s more like arriving at a dead end and which way should I go? I’ve graduated from college last May and have settled into a government job with steady paychecks. I didn’t go to a graduate school like most of my friends do. My friend told me that I should consider myself lucky ‘cuz I have a job while those who don’t—don’t have anywhere else to go but a graduate school. Yet my other friend said they want to go to graduate school cuz they want to advance in their major or that their undergraduate majors require them to go further in their fields. Like even being an elementary teacher requires you to have masters degree in deaf education, child development, or the likes. Or they just want to add Phd. degree to their names. I suppose I didn’t go to graduate school cuz I was tired of pulling all-nighters to cram on homework or projects and that I want to see some $$$ and spend it while I’m in my twenties.

Now, my job isn’t exactly the greatest job in the world and it’s catching up on me—was it worth the decision? Well, I’m an optimist and I didn’t write this post to whine about my standpoint in this life. I’m gonna do something about it. As you can see the subject above, I’m gonna self-educate myself. After all those years I’ve attended schools and colleges, I’m going to take learning into my own hands. What am I gonna teach myself, you wonder? Somewhere in my blog archives, I’ve said that I’m a descendant of Korean lineage. And I’ve been meaning to learn Korean or Hangul language since I found my real family 3 years ago. You might wonder.. why now? why not 3 years ago when I discovered my family? Well, my excuse was that I couldn’t find anyone who can teach me. Lame excuse, huh? That was my excuse and rather being stuck at the dead end, I’m gonna teach myself to learn Hangul.

It’s interesting. For the last 3 years, I have been expecting my family to learn English so we could communicate in English and my brother has been learning tediously. Now I realize…why should I expect them to learn English? Who says everyone must learn English? Even English isn’t the most used language in the world; that’s Mandarian, which is spoken more than 1 billion Chinese people. I have a brain, I have a degree in IT, so what am I doing here, waiting for my family to learn English? It’s never too late to learn a new language—I’ll be like an infant–absorbing every new word and form sentences in Hangul. That’s my goal and I’ve made the first step toward that goal. I’ve ordered an introductory textbook from Amazon.com. You can find this below:

My possible regret about this is that I could have done this 3 years ago and by now, I probably would have been fluent enough to write a letter and happily keeping in touch with my family–with my biological mother laughing at my little errors in writing like an infant falling down while trying to walk. And I’d have a several pen pals from Korea, learning all about the culture and reading news in Korean effortlessly. Neverthelessly, I’m gonna start now and I’ll be posting my progress here and maybe along the way, I’ll bump into someone who can help guide me.

*signing off*

50 people see…

http://www.flickr.com/photos/brevity/6625994/in/set-146801/

Wow, this is really cool and new idea in photography art. What you see in this pic is a blend of 50 different pictures using same tags: shadow and self. You can click on the link above to see how this was done. It certainly takes an abstract form and looks like 19th century’s impressionism.

50 people their shadows

My running route

In the past two weeks, I’ve been running and I thought it’d be cool to sketch out my running route and show to you what my route looks like. The route involves some downhills and uphills, which actually makes it more fun and challenging too. There’s a heavy traffic at the intersection of Florida Avenue and New York Ave and I would often have to stop and wait till there is a clear path to get across the intersection. My average time seems to be approx. 35 mins and is almost 4.5 miles long. Well, you can imagine me running along by that red line on the map. :-)

my running route

Two buffets in two days

See the subject above? I’ve stuffed my stomach with buffet foods (courtesy of Korean foods) in the two days span. One on Friday night and last Sunday. There’s something so American about buffets. If you wanna know why more and more Americans are becoming obese, look no further than buffet places.

We love the idea that we can EAT for all we want and with that psychological effect, we CRAM as much as we can into our stomachs so the money we paid for the buffet would be better spent. We love the word—unlimited—so we have unlimited data plans for our pagers, and remember when AOL starts offering unlimited hours plan? We all jumped on this bandwagon and remain logged till computer monitors get burned.

So, buffets also means unlimited foods and we pretend we have bottomless stomachs and fill them in. As soon as we realize our stomachs are no longer bottomless, we start spitting out comments like “I’m gonna throw up!”, “My stomach is gonna burst open!”, “Oh, I gotta make a dump! Where’s the bathroom!?”. Isn’t that sound sad, doesn’t it?

One pro thing about the buffet, actually two things, is you can try a small portion of the dish and see if you like it or not instead of blind-order the dish and pray that you’ll like the dish. Second thing is that you don’t have to wait for your order to arrive and you can quickly look at all the foods and decide which one you’ll eat first. My dad would often fall victim to a bad dish or wrong order—maybe it wasn’t large enough or it simply tastes awful—and you’re basically stuck with your order unless you’re bold enough and demand another order.

So, what’s my point? While buffets may be a convenient way to “preview” choices of dishes, it lies at the root why Americans are becoming heavier everyday.

Tonight, I gotta hit the gym and burn those buffet calories to avoid becoming into yet another obese American.

Website Redesign

As you can see, I’ve redesigned my website after working on it for a few days. Now, it’s ready for showing. I’m a big believer in simplicity so I feel that this design suits my style well. I’ve added another page to the website–about me. I’m currently working on a contact form but I’m not sure if I should add that page because we have emails and comments as a means to contact each other. I guess when I happen to be in the mood, I’ll add the contact form to the navigation menu, :-) I think I’m going to give it (the redesign fiddle) a rest and focus on blogging more often so you guys will have something more to read.

WordPress is really starting to take off (it has been already downloaded one hundred thousand times) and more users are contributing to the development of WordPress. One is a theme switcher and there’s a theme contest. Some of the themes are quite good but I think I’m going to stick to my own design, at least for now. I’m becoming addicted to plug-ins that give more features or help enhance your website, like I used Crossianga to automatically post in Xanga for those who are members. Now, I’m gonna have to wipe off the dust on my practically brand-new Sony camera and start populate my website with images and snapshots of who I am.

When is the DVD gonna come out?

http://www.davenetics.com/2005/03/stay-in-theater.html

Wanna know what is the average time before major motion picture finally hit on the DVD shelves from the big screen? Four months and half.

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How to calculate your car’s horsepower

You’ve probably heard this word, horsepower, many times before to describe the acceleration power of a car but have you ever wondered how that is figured? I’ve always wondered about that till I saw this mathemathical formula to calculate your car’s horsepower. Here it is:

Power = 2piN * T*1, 34*10-3/ 60

where P = Power, or horsepower
N = Rotational shaft speed or RPM
T = Torque, NM

I need to test this formula myself since I own a Honda Civic Si 2004 and its horspower is 160.

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“Open Water” DVD review

Abiding by this tip to make your blog a worthy time to read, here’s my movie review for Open Water DVD.

For about the first time in my life, my parents actually watched a movie before I did. I often would be the first one to say “Did you see that movie?” to my parents or vice versa and I would always reply “Yes, I’ve already watched that.” Sometimes my parents would get frustrated that I’d already watch the movie and lose some family quality time. Anyways, my parents suggested me to watch this movie and they said very good movie. So, I decided to take their suggestion after all. I thought it was going to be some kind of “Jaws” movie, from the look of the cover. But it never was one, far from that and wasn’t even done professionally. What do you call that movie with high-quality film? Panavision? Open Water movie was shot with a DV camera with only four people mostly. Two characters (husband and wife), director and his assistant, apparently. That’s what I learned from reading one of the reviews on the www. It was like a documentary movie but wasn’t shot this way, like you would see in the 9/11 Fahrenheit movie.

I guess I’m a little lazy to tell you the whole story as you can find all about it on other sites but I do want to make this point so that you can appreciate the movie somewhat a little more. At the end of the movie, I wasn’t even happy with the movie and thought I wasted a good five bucks that I rented at the blockbuster. (Yes, I haven’t jumped on the bandwagon to subscribe monthly yet). Before I reacted too harshly, I decided to read some members’ reviews around in the www to get a better understanding of the movie somewhat. That’s how I learned that this movie actually took two years and was shot with only four people. Two in front of camera and the other two in the back. What sets this movie apart from the Jaws movie was they interacted with REAL living flesh sharks. They weren’t fake or made up with CGI or have any kind of special effects. I suppose that’s what made this movie a bit special, if you will. Also, I think Americans aren’t used to this kind of movie that is too realistic and doesn’t have a happy ending. So, when you watch this movie, please keep in mind that it’s a documentary movie (meaning no awesome special effects like Jaws or CGI effects like the Perfect storm), was shot with real live sharks, and the constant up-and-down shots (like the Blair Witch project) to make you feel like you are in the sea with the actors. All in all, it’s no Oscars-award winning movie but it does teach you a lesson. Be SURE that you’re known to your tour guide and that they know you’re here so they won’t forget if you get missing. :-)

The new vacuum Dyson DC15 �The Ball�

I’m a big-time tech freak so I surf tech webs regularly and saw this new vacuum from Dyson. This vacuum was awesome because it could also be used as a car vacuum cleaner. I’d already promise myself that I would buy a Dyson vacuum as soon as I buy a house but that’s like 5 years away from now. Now, this guy Dyson just released a new vacuum called DC15 with the ball movement. It’ll allow you to vacuum more efficiently and getting the work done more quickly. Seeing the pic has made me hardly wait to buy my first Dyson vaccum!

How to blog by tony pierce

http://www.tonypierce.com/blog/2004/06/how-to-blog-by-tony-pierce-110-1.htm

This link just won the best essay about the blog or web log. Highly recommeded for anyone who regularly blogs or want to make their website better.

Here’s some of the excerpts and my comments to that:

1. write every day.

2. if you think you’re a good writer, write twice a day.

True, this will keep your weblog interesting and someone will know that you’re gonna have a new entry into your blog and that keeps drawing your visitors. It also means you’re constantly thinking and contributing your thoughts.

4. cuss like a sailor.

Hmm, can see why as it keeps your weblog humorus and not to be taken too seriously and reveal your true emotions too.

12. link like crazy. link anyone who links you, link your favorites, link your friends. dont be a prude. linking is what seperates bloggers from apes. and especially link if you’re trying to prove a point and someone else said it first. it lends credibility even if youre full of shit.

Makes sense, it encourages making connections, :-)

14. remember: nobody cares which N*Sync member you are, what State you are, which Party of Five kid you are, or which Weezer song you are. the second you put one of those things on your blog you need to delete your blog and try out for the marching band. similarilly, nobody gives a shit what the weather is like in your town, nobody wants you to change their cursor into a butterfly, nobody wants to vote on whether your blog is hot or not, and nobody gives a rat ass what song youre listening to. write something Real for you, about you, every day.

In other words, be yourself and don’t be such a fake-ass.

17. people like pictures. use them. save them to your own server. or use Blogger’s free service. if you dont know how to do it, learn. also get a Buzznet account. several things will happen once you start blogging, one of them is you will learn new things. thats a good thing.

My bad. I gotta put up more pictures here; I even have a brand-new Sony camera. :-(

21. write open letters. make lists. call people out on their bullshit. lead by example. invent and reinvent yourself. start by writing about what happened to you today. for example today i told a hot girl how wonderfully hot she is.

Be honest and don’t hold back.

22. when in doubt review something. theres not enough reviews on blogs. review a movie you just saw, a tv show, a cd, a kiss you just got, a restaurant, a hike you just took, anything.

Ok, will do more reviews from now on then.

29. dont apologize about not blogging. nobody cares. just start blogging again.

30. read tons of blogs and leave nice comments.

I’ve heard of that blog so many times. Will do my best to read blogs as many as I can and leave comments often. :-)

Hope you’ll do the same. Peace out.

Where art thou, Bacterium!

There is no point in trying to hide from your bacteria, for they are on and around you always, in numbers you can’t conceive. If you are in good health and averagely diligent about your hygiene, you will have a herd of about one trillion bacteria grazing on your fleshy plains—about a hundered thousand of them on every square centimeter of skin. They are there to dine off the ten billion or so flakes of skin you shed every day, plus all the tasty oils and fortifying minerals that seep out from every pore and fissure. You are for them the ultimate food court, with the convenience of warmth and constant mobility thrown in. By way of thanks, they give you B.O.” pp. 302, Bill Bryson.

Before you start checking how bad your armpits smell, there are bacteria everything and there’s a reason why. They were here before we ever got here and ultimately, they are THE reason why and how we got here. Bacteria may not build cities or have interesting social lives, but they will be here when the Sun explodes. This is their plant, and we are on it only because they allow us to be. (more…)

“Good-Bye To All That”

For about a week since, I have been reading this really mind-opening book called “A Short History of Nearly Everything.” by Bill Bryson. At first, I thought the author was joking about the title—how could you explain everything about Earth’s history and how we come in form in one book? I’m no scientist or geologist myself so I thought it’d be rather difficult reading this book but it’s surprisingly not. The sentences aren’t laden with all the technical words and the author did his best to give a brief background on each scientist that contributed to the history of Earth and us.

As I read through the book, I realize that this is not just a literary book but also a textbook cuz it has a lot of information with tons of theories, explanations, and names. It’s 100 times better than any science textbooks I’ve ever read in middle school or high school. In fact, the author criticized a lot about textbooks we used in secondary education. They were either already outdated or some theories were misinterpreted as proved by recent scientists. Anyway, back to the topic, I read a cool paragraph that summarized everything about Earth’s history. Imagine, Earth’s history in a single paragraph? Could you write like that? Bill Bryson did. Here’s the vivid paragraph.

“If you imagine the 4.5 billion odd years of Earth’s history compressed into a normal earthy day, then life begins very early, about 4 a.m. with the rise of the first simple, single-celled organisms, but then advances no further for the next sixteen hours. Not until almost 8:30 in the evening, with the day five-sixths over, has Earth anything to show the universe but a restless skin of microbes. Then, finally, the first sea plants appear, followed twenty minutes later by the first jellyfish, and the engimatic Ediacaran fauna first seen by Reginald Sprigg in Australia. At 9:04 pm, trilobites swim onto the scene, followed more or less immediately by the shapely creatures of the Burgess Shale. Just before 10 pm, plants begin to pop up on the land. Soon after, with less than two hours left in the day, the first land creatures follow.

Thanks to ten minutes or so of balmy weather, by 10:24 pm the Earth is covered in the great carboniferous forests whose residues give us all our coal, and the first winged insects are evident. Dinosaurs plod onto the scence just before 11 pm and hold sway for about three-quarters of an hour. At twenty-one minutes to midnight they vanish and the age of mammals begins. Humans emerge one minute and seventeen seconds before midnight. The whole of our recorded history, on this scale, would be no more than a few seconds, a single human lifetime barely an instant. ” pp. 337

Ok ok, so it’s not one but two paragraphs–close enough but what about this next paragraph?

“Perhaps an even more effective way of grasping our extreme recentness as a part of this 4.5 billion-year old picture is to stretch your arms to their fullest extent and imagine that width as the entire history of the Earth. On this scale, according to John McPhee in Basin and Range, the distance from the fingertips of one hand to the wrist of the other is Precambrian. All of complex life is in one hand, “and in a single stroke with a medium-grained nail file you could eradicate human history.”

There you go, you have the entire Earth’s history right across your extended arms. Isn’t that better than what we were reading in HS science textbooks?

Before you start thinking about becoming 100 years old, our existence in Earth’s history is very SMALL, no more than a few seconds into Earth’s modified 24 hour history and can be easily wiped off with a nail file. Bill Bryson says that one certain thing about life is that it goes extinct. Nobody knows when but we all will become extinct. So, what do you do? Focus not on the length of your life but the width of your life. Try to make your life as wide as you can and you shall die a rich, fulfilling life. :-)

Before I end this post, average species last 4 million years. :-)

Death of DVDs

http://www.vnunet.com/news/1161117

This guy named Iain Thomson predicts that online broadband services will replace DVD as popular medium to watch movies. But it will depend on consumers to have high-speed broadband. Once it reaches a substantial amount of subscribers, DVD sales will start to fall. This actually makes sense because I keep seeing countless wasted DVD copies everywhere that never got sold and companies are scrambling to find ways to get rid of the copies, i.e., Netflix, Wal-Mart, near the cashier’s lines, even a drive-thru at Mcdonalds, you get what I mean.

This leads me to make a prediction on top of that. I predict Microsoft will dominate home environment and they are only getting their feet wet. Users are giving rave reviews to Microsoft’s media center edition (MCE) 2005. Just go to the newegg.com and see what users have to say about that. They even admit they loathe Microsoft but love MCE. Microsoft recently added an extender to connect to MCE, making it more widespread around the house. MCE will really set off once online broadband get into mainstream. You either love to hate or hate to love Microsoft. That seems to be their motto right now.

I better buy stocks before this market sets off. :-)

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Golden Triangle Eye Scan

Saw this webpage about the study of eye movement on search engines such as Google.

A new study has added tangible evidence to the widely held view that top-ranking search results get the most attention from users, and that lower-ranking results are all but invisible to most people.

The joint study conducted by search marketing firms Enquiro and Did-it and eye tracking firm Eyetools examined the eye movements of users viewing Google search result pages.

The study found that most viewers looked at results in an “F” shaped scan pattern, with the eye travelling vertically along the far left side of the results looking for visual cues (relevant words, brands, etc) and then scanning to the right, as if something caught the participant’s attention.

The researchers called this pattern a “golden triangle” at the top of result pages. The triangle extends across the top natural search result, then angles back to the left of the page down to the bottom-most “above the fold” result, typically in the third or fourth position on the page.

This article

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