Blogging from the VIP lounge

I am blogging from the business class lounge of the CKS Airport. Man, I am bored already.

This place is actually bigger than the first-class lounge, but nothing else seems different. Food is the same, decor the same, toilet looks the same… guests look the same.


On my way to the US, again

I am on my way to the US again. I don’t want to go.

I would sigh just thinking of the boredom to come.

Employing vs Outsourcing

Recently I have been seriously thinking about getting a real programmer to complete the coding for Yabbyland. This is harder than it seems. There are relatively few PHP programmers in Taiwan, and those that do are not very experienced. Outsourcing my programming to someone in Taiwan seems quite difficult.

I had contemplated outsourcing to someone on the net, maybe on RentACoder or eLance. However, I hope to have a long term relationship with this programmer, and long distance relationship is difficult.

An alternative is to hire an internal employer, a programming staff. Here is an article on this issue.

The Kite Runner

After three people having recommended “The Kite Runner” to me, I finally caved in and bought it last weekend. Originally, I had intended to read this on my flight to the US this weekend, but I ended up finishing it in two days. I also lost considerable sleep last night, because of reading it.

Indeed, it was not only a good book, it was a great book. I loved the way the author, Khaled Hosseini, wrote. It was soft, flowed easily, and had an touch of approachable easiness. He described emotions and imageries with equal vividness and honesty. It was hard not to become sympathetic to the characters in the novel.

The story grippingly described a boy’s betrayal of his best friend, the scars the betrayal caused, and his eventual redemption. The story is as much about love, friendship, kinship, as about recent history of Afghanistan. Many elements in the novel were crafted with artful symmetry and contrast, through the actions and environments of people who are connected through friendship or through blood.

The novel had actually changed my view of the US invasion. I am against all wars by principle. However, if the descriptions in the novel was anything close to the truth, the US’s liberation of Afghanistan from years of Taliban or Russian rule, was probably a good turn for the country. A war to end the other wars. Perhaps the end justifies the means.

In conclusion, I highly recommend this impressive book.  “For you, a thousand times over.”

Who knew gargling chilly water could cure a sore throat?

Here you go. The recipe is simple. I suspect it’s about fooling your neural pathways.

1 standard drinking glass of hot to warm water
1 teaspoon of cayenne powder
a couple pinches of salt for good measure (most people say its not necessary but it won’t hurt)

Interesting huh.

Watchmen is being made!

After the sucess of 300, the director, Snyder, is now making another Alan Moore comic book movie, the Watchmen. The Watchmen is about these vigilante ex-superheroes (think super-power-less, like Batman, not Superman) being targeted by a killer. Good to see, and… finally!

Here is a little bit about Watchmen.

Crystal Caves

Check this out. Crystal caves, like the one shown in Superman!

Crystal Caves





在大陸好像叫南方公園。嗯,是South Park很寫實的翻譯。[/lang_zh]

This is a realistic version of The South Park brats:

Sout Park!

From here.

Ron Mueck’s life-like models

I want to learn to do this.

Mueck’s gigantic baby

This is from this page.

Here is a very good documentary on how he made the models.

The following video was filmed during Ron Mueck’s residency at The National Gallery, London. The exhibition Ron Mueck is on view at the Brooklyn Museum, November 3, 2006–February 4, 2007. Video courtesy of The National Gallery, London.

The following excerpt contains some representational nudity. Adult discretion is advised.

Ron Mueck
November 3, 2006 – Feburary 4, 2007
Brooklyn Museum

“Our business now is north”

The following is an inspirational speech by colonel Tim Collins, of the British SAS. It was given to his troops before their entry into Iraq in 2003.

The speech shows two things. Firstly, men who lead the SAS are educated and eloquent. Secondly, real leadership shows clarity and transparency. I hate those polished politically-correct impartial chit-chats. I wish everyone would just say it like it is. Truth hurts, accept it.

We go to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.
Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there. You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis. You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing. Don’t treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day. Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves.
It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive but there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign. We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back. There will be no time for sorrow.
The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction. There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam. He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity.
It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly. I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them. If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.
The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.
If you harm the regiment or its history by over-enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer. You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest for your deeds will follow you down through history. We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.
[Regarding the use by Saddam of chemical or biological weapons] It is not a question of if, it’s a question of when. We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself. If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack.
As for ourselves, let’s bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.
Our business now is north.