Thursday, July 31, 2008

Ethics in Journalism

I don't know if any of you you heard the news about the man that got decapitated on the greyhound last night but it's all over the internet, described with very gruesome details. I'm not going to provide the source for the article, but quoting Adam:
Why the hell do i wanna hear how this dude got stabbed and gutted out 50-60 times, how he was on top of the victim, taunting him with his head

Now, my question is, is it necessary for people for know the details of this incident? Should it be published in the papers? I believe no matter how gossip thirsty people can be, i don't think this needs to be published. It's enough to know that a man was decapitated by a psycho on the greyhound.

But i guess the other side of the coin is that the gruesome details would induce some reaction by the public to urge security measures? I don't know. I feel pretty freaked out reading about it.

I've always been on the fence about capital punishment, but things like this makes me scared of being in the world and want capital punishment. Yet fear is such a funny issue. A lot of crazy, illogical things happen in the world because of fear (case-in-point the Salem Witch trials, post-9/11 frenzy). I was telling Adam about how the Greyhound business is going to take a hit if they don't take immediate drastic measures such as weapons check, but I remember all the complaints I made with the crazy security checks for the airplane. I guess the greyhound incident hit closer to home because there still lacks a motive of the killer--whereas we knew who and what was going on for the terrorist events and the event is less gruesome. Honestly, I don't want to get on another bus unless there are security checks, who knows if there's going to be another psycho who decides to play copy cat?

I guess I should end off with a lighter note that i read somewhere

Manitoba needs to change its provincial motto to "Home of the senseless tragedy." First the 17 year old who died after being Tasered, then the 15 year old who was buried alive in hot asphalt in a construction site accident, and now this.

So a preventative measure for these things: Stay away from Manitoba, and all other polygonal states.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Stuff you dont care to know

So I totally slept through my alarm this morning. I was supposed to have gotten up at 8:30am for my 9am class; instead, i woke up at 10pmam. I literally jumped when i saw the clock and ran to class. I was really lucky because today was my turn to comment on a presentation and the presentation i was commenting on was the one that came up right after I arrived. Thinking about now still makes my heart race.

I am going to blame my fatigue on going to the beach on Sunday. After three months of hibernation in waterloo, i finally let myself out of the house to see some sun. We went down to Ashbridges and tossed around the volleyball for 2.5hrs before Adrian had to go to his ball game. I didn't exactly get a sunstroke or anything, but if you have not seen the sun for a few wks and you run around directly under it for 2.5 hrs straight, it does a lot more to you than you think! Oh, and you know you're out of shape when less than three hours of not even not really playing volleyball makes you sore all over.

Happy bunny
I went on a mission today to search for happy bunny products. I know it sounds a bit crazy but I really love happy bunny and when I saw this laser cut keychain a classmate of mine has, it made me really want one. I heard from various sources that they were available in certain stores, so I went to Conestoga to look. The thing with the sales ppl in the stores is that they are so friendly and they try to be helpful but they just end up pointing me to all the wrong places and after going through the entire mall plus Cdn Tire and Chapters down the street, my mission failed. If I don't find them in Toronto when I go back next weekend, I'll be ordering them online.

While i was on the highway the other day, I saw a shiny black GS37s that made me decide that I want that car. Even though I've seen it at the autoshow and saw a couple on the road before, seeing it next to be during turtle speed traffic gave it a new light. As per usual, I like my cars red :D

Saturday, July 26, 2008


我們都熟悉自己的城市 而每一個城市都有它的定律和固執,拒絕改變 ;
當我們得要為了這些定律長時間活在其中,就連想像式的逃脫都做不到時,我們就如同在大型監牢的囚犯,一切亦只好在渾濁不清中消耗殆盡。- Tony

My (weak) translation:

The reason people why are unhappy is because they shut themselves in a place they can't break free from. We are all familiar with our towns and cities and every city has its own set structure and routine that we don't have the power to change. When we must live within this routine longterm, without even the ability to imagine an escape, we are like the prisoners in a high-security penitentiary, wasting away in an incapacitated daze.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


I never made an official entry for my trip to Boston at the end of April/beginning of May. I'm going try to summarize this as best as I can.

Some time at the end of the school term, Nick drove me, Francis, and Adam down to Plainville, Boston where his cousin Wesley from NYC was working. He just got his own place and car and was excited for some visitors (What do you expect when you live in a place called Plainville though, right?).

We did as much touristy things as we possibly could in the few short days we were there, which included visiting Harvard, Cape Cod, Boston Market, and watched a baseball game at Fenway. We had lots of clam chowda, shopped lots in their ultra cheap outlet malls, and took lots and lots of pics.

Most of the pics I really liked were from Cape Cod because we went just 2 days before the tourist season officially kicked off and nothing was opened and no one was on the island. We had the whole place to ourselves, which was pretty crazy.

Thus it allowed us to do things like the video you see below.

That's the pic that resulted after the video.

Group shot of us climbing this tunnel in some trail on Cape Cod. The camera was off angle since one of us had to rush up after we hit the timer!

Each one of us took pictures in the tunnel against the light which turned out really cool. Can you tell who's who?

And here are some beach pics of me and adam..haha. I was the only one out of everyone to actually go in the water.

Here's a video of me and francis on the subway on our way to downtown Boston.

Another group shot by the pier!

I have the rest of the pics and videos up on facebook and my website (there were some really awesome ones thanks to francis). But I think i'll end the story here :D

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Not the end of the Empire

I admit that when Starbucks first opened up, I was suckered into their verbally sumptuous drinks like "Cinnamon Dolce Latte" or "Caramel Macchiato" without actually knowing what it was. I've always been a coffee lover (snuck my first coffee when I was 15); I just loved the aroma of it. And I loved the taste..I really did, with a lot of sugar and cream. People say that real coffee drinkers don't add sugar and cream, but I disagree. I only add a bit of sugar and cream now, and even though the sugar and the cream weakens certain flavours of whatever bean that's brewed, I prefer those flavours to be subtlized so I can enjoy the coffee-ness of the coffee, as opposed to the "earthiness" or the "hint of citrus" of the bean. I find that the cream accentuates the aroma and tones down the acidity. It is not that I can't tell the difference between certain beans (I do have my preferences when I buy the beans) but it's about what I like (fyi, strongly flavoured medium roasts are awesome with just a bit of sugar and cream).

Nevertheless, during those years that I was beguiled by the so-called "coffee culture", I had a hard time choosing between Second Cup and Starbucks. With that much dairy and sugar in the coffee (like the caramel corretto from SC), it's hard to tell what's really good. I tried to support Second Cup as best as I could because it was Canadian and Starbucks looked like it was about to take over the world. However, as I learned to drink and appreciate coffee, I began to veer towards Starbucks.

Personally, I prefer Starbucks over the rest of the other coffee shops/conglomerates because their coffee really tastes GOOD and the quality is almost always assured.The fact that I will always be guaranteed good coffee is the key. I don't drink lattes because all i can taste is the milk and they are the same everywhere (unless they have really bad beans or really bad milk). It's the non-diluted stuff that makes it good.
  1. It's hard to find good tasting coffee, even among the same retail brands. I can go to one Tim Horton's and have really good coffee and the other tastes awful. But I never have to say, "well I want starbucks, but I dont want the one down the street cuz they don't know how to make it properly".
  2. The coffee is always made to my liking. It's always hot and always fresh. Second Cup is horrible at this. The container they use for their brewed coffee doesn't keep the coffee hot enough. They dont make iced coffee but they add ice to the coffee and dilutes the flavour, and their "European coffee" is just too sweet.
I find that a lot of people don't appreciate the quality of the coffee at SB because they don't understand coffee. I read in a forum once that a woman was complaining about SB being overpriced because she ordered the doubleshot on ice and the cup was full of ice. Well she's paying for two shots of espresso on ice for $3. If she is expecting an entire cup of coffee, she can order iced coffee for $2. A 350mL cup of espresso might kill her. What a moron.

At any rate, of course, I can't say that all "SB junkies" like SB for the quality. Some might just be suckered into the marketing and that's a big no-no in the new pop-culture mentality of resisting the mass media, which is why you see people make fun of those who are petitioning the closing down of SBs in the States.

...ever since Starbucks announced this month that it would close 600 stores by early next year, as its business struggles, the rallying cause has switched to saving these endangered locations.

Now, I am not advocating that there's a need for 3 SBs at each intersection, but I think a lot of people failed to realize why it's devastating for some neighbourhoods to be losing these stores.
  • A lot of the locations that are closing down are not making money because they are in a neighbourhood with most likely not enough traffic to cover the cost. If i lived in a neighbourhood with just one SB that's closing down and there are only 20 of us in the hood that regularly visits the store, the 20 of us would be devastated!
  • The marketing strategy of SB has been successful and laudable. They have created a market for these premium drinks. Regardless of whether the consumers are critical of this "need", that need is there and there are businesses that are relying on that need. If a real estate's selling point is a 1 min walk to Starbucks, then the closing down of it will plummet the sales.
  • <-- enough said
I do think it's ridiculous that people think the SB two min away as opposed to one is devastating, but it's human nature to be lazy. If i can walk downstairs to buy a coffee, i'd be much happier than having to walk 5 minutes.

Unfortunately, time/effort = money and money = life in our world.
Is it worth my time to walk 15 min/worth the gas to drive 5 min to buy a cup of coffee that I like? No.

So what does it take for me to get a cup of coffee I will enjoy when I wake up in the morning?

SB and Tim Horton's solution is to have one every 2 min walk. Even if brewing our own coffee wont take too much time, it takes too much energy that can be spent on doing something that will help us advance in our career.

You can fault the corporation for exploiting human vice, but sometimes we gotta look within ourselves. If we weren't so strapped all the time, not so busy trying to succeed in life and make more money, if we were relaxed most of the time, then we won't be needing any coffee shops 30 min within the radius of any location.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Celebrity lookalike (each other)

This is Clive Owen. I love him.

This is Jeffrey Dean Morgan.
Do you notice the resemblance?

This is Gerard Butler.
Do you see what I see? Creepy, huh?
But Clive Owen is still the one....except...

No one beats him =D

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Me and my boxsets

Denial: It's not just a river of Egypt. It's a freaking ocean. So, how do you keep from drowning in it?" - Meridith Grey (Grey's Anatomy) (adapted from Mark Twain)
I ran into Praneetha today outside of Conestoga Mall, a girl I knew since grade 7. We used to live close to each other and sometimes we'd walk home together. I haven't seen her for years, I think since I graduated six years ago. She was with her boyfriend and I stood around talking to her giving her all the information i know about ppl we know together. It wasn't like the stuff I was telling her I cared about, nor did I really want to "gossip" (and i'm sure they weren't things she cared for either), but it was probably the only thing we could talk about outside of Conestoga with her boyfriend whom I dont know standing waiting for us. It was really nice to see her and learn about what's going on with her life (although i did most of the talking) but the stuff that i was telling her made me realize how utterly depressed i am in waterloo.

In the middle of July, out here in the boonies known as Waterloo, it's just me. Between school and work, all I can feel is guilt and stress, always thinking that I'm not doing enough or that I could have done better. The only way I dont feel as stressed is if I hide out in waterloo doing my work. But when I'm out here, there's no one. At least when I was in undergrad, I had roommates to talk to and ppl to call and go out when I needed a break. Now, it's just my computer--and DVD boxsets of tv shows i've already seen. Although I've always said I'd never set foot in waterloo again after i graduated from my Bachelors, this time i mean it when i say i hope i will never have to set foot here again after i graduate from Masters..if i graduate.

Anyway, enough depressive talk. Back to work.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What the future holds

"If life had a gas pedal, I'd like to step on it sometimes. I'd like to get things moving, to speed through quagmires, to arrive at the next town, to see the next chapter unfold. I'm not an impatient man, I don't think. That being the case, there are instances when I wish I could see what the future holds." - Felix H.

He articulated life in such a poignant and succinct manner. It drives me crazy that he's not doing graduate school but still trying to experience what suffering is like.

Sometimes I look at those who are moving on to the next chapter in their lives and my life feels so stagnant. When am I going to move on from my life as it is? Constantly on the move between Waterloo (a city I detest) and Toronto, I feel trapped and useless. April 2009 seems so faraway right now.

At the same time, I feel grateful and blessed that at least I'm sharing my stagnant life with someone who makes me feel complete.

Monday, July 14, 2008

My favourite food

Like Joey from Friends, my favourite food is sandwiches! But not just any sandwich, I'm very particular about what I like in mine.

  • Whole wheat/cheese bread
  • Turkey/chicken/ham/roast beef
  • Lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, onion
  • Mayonnaise, italian/any non-creamy dressing, ample amount of black pepper
I can eat it everyday without getting sick!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Doubleshot on ice vs. Iced Americano

The concept of Doubleshot from Starbucks isn't new, as they have came out with this a couple of years ago:
doubleshot However, it wasn't available in Canada and I even wrote a note about it on facebook two years ago in search for them. When they did come out in Canada early Spring this year, the novelty had worn off for me and I never bothered getting it.

doubleshot on iceThis summer Starbucks came out with a new drink called Doubleshot on ice. When I dropped off Adam at the airport on Wednesday, I decided that I was going to get suckered into their marketing schemes and get one to try it. The result was amazing. Even Adam, an ignoramus coffee drinker, loved it (which gave me doubts as to whether or not my taste buds have been failing me).

However, I knew from my previous search on doubleshot that it was simply two shots of espresso. In the case of doubleshot on ice, it was added with milk and syrup, so I can't seem to grasp the difference between that and my my signature drink at SB, Iced Grande Vanilla Americano with room for cream. So after a brief Q&A at SB, here's the diff.:

americanoBoth a tall "iced sweetened Americano" and "Doubleshot on ice" has two shots of espresso with two pumps of syrup. However, the Americano is generally made by pouring the espresso in a cup of ice and syrup, then adding water. The Doubleshot is made by pouring the espresso in a shaker of ice and syrup, then shakened before poured into the cup and milk is added.

So really, the doubleshot is exactly the same as how I order my Americano, except that the doubleshot on ice is:
  • milky rather than creamy
  • less diluted
  • foamy.

Now the question is, what's the diff in price?

The tall sweetened iced Americano is:
$2.30(americano) + $0.35 (shot of syrup)+ $0.13 (5% GST) = $2.78 (then you add milk, which is free)

The tall doubleshot on ice is:
$2.65+0.13(5%GST) = $2.78

So it works out to be the same thing, except that you get it shakened with the doubleshot, which is probably worth it.

However, if you have a Registered Duetto/Starbucks Card, syrup is free, so that will bring your cost of the Americano to $2.41 after tax, which would bring to surface the dilemma of whether having it shaken and less diluted is worth the extra 35 cents.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Marriage is the triumph of imagination over intelligence

The title of this post is a quote from Oscar Wilde. Man I love him! Though of course that's not really the point of my post. The point, of course, is Wai and Yein's wedding.

Adam came back last last Friday so he can attend his favourite cousin's wedding on the next day (28th). Wai and Yein have been going out since they were in high school (8 years ago!) and they have been planning their wedding for like the last two years.

Given that it was the week after Rowena's wedding, there were definitely a lot of comparative comments in my head. However, since they were the only two weddings I've really ever been to, i don't really know what the norm is.

Row's wedding ceremony was held at a church in Markham early in the morning. It lasted 15 minutes and no vows. Her reception was at New Century Palace across from my house. YW's ceremony was held in Shangri-La, the same place as their reception, early in the morning as well, but it was like 2-3 hours long. Adam's sister was playing the piano for them and Adam's brother and his bro's friends played strings. Everything was white with blue accent to match their beach theme (whereas row's was white with gold accent. the decoration was eerily similar, so was the food).

The wedding party is on the left. Note Luke Perry on the very left. The right is the band getting ready for the ceremony.

They said their vows which made everyone cry and then performed a Sand Ceremony, as a representation for their nutial. After that was a small reception and the waiters carried around trays of finger foods. Then lots and lots of pictures and then the Chinese Tea Ceremony. And then more pictures.

The left is the Sand Ceremony and the right is Adam's mom's side of the family. Crazy, eh? He had uncles flying here from France and LA!

Here is a pic of Adam stuffing his face with finger foods. My boyfriend is so attactive. The other one is with Adam's family.

After the ceremony part was over, there was some time in between for both weddings, though a lot less for YW's cuz their ceremony was significantly longer. Adam and I arrived at the reception promptly because we were supposed to help out, but we didn't get to do much. I mainly just did the signing in for a while. The pic below is me and the girls at the front handing out seashells that directed people to their table. Each shell had a person's name and his or her table number. It's adam's cousins on my left and the bride's little sister on my right.

YW's wedding wasn't really big (280 compared to Row's 600), but required really crazy planning. The wedding party entered the reception like a show, the couple performed a dance for us that they practiced for days, Yein played a piano solo for Wai, and she changed like 4 times.

My pics will have to stop here because I haven't gotten all the pics from Wai yet. We took most pictures with his camera because Adam was one of the designated photographers. Which kinda explains the pic below ;)

How did YW's wedding make me feel? I felt like I wanted a wedding so I can wear all the beautiful dresses that Yein got to wear. But when I was looking through their planning folders and watching ppl stress out as things go wrong, and just the sheer number of people and amount of work required to plan a wedding like that, makes me really want to elope. Seriously.

Small wedding in Hawaii or something. Just immediate family. That would be nice.

I smell like stinky tofu

I came home at 1am yesterday and 9pm today from my project. Not fun.
After I got home, my brother was sweet enough to go to the night market with me for a bit to grab some bbtea. Yum.

I wonder if the night market can get any more saturated than it is right now. Although my brother says it's the same every year, I still maintain that it's worse every year.

Pushing my way through one end to the other end just to see if there is anything new or interesting took 30 minutes. In the end, I smell like stinky tofu and i just bought some cheap bbtea that didnt have tea in it. Honestly, it's the same every year, but you just can't grow tired of crowds like this.

On the same note, since I live literally across the street from Metro, my street is filled with cars. If anyone wants to rent my driveway, i'm charging $2/30 min. I'm also charging fees if you want to listen to the bands from my house without having to join the nasty crowd: $5/show and if you want me to sit with you, that'll be an extra $1/second every second you want me around; parking is extra.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

My Whereabouts

In case anyone has been wondering what i have been lately, here it is.

To start, if you are wondering why I have no picked up my cell phone, you are right, it is missing again. I haven't really looked very hard for it though, because I haven't had the time, so I think I will continue to be MIA for a while via cell phone. I will, however, be reachable online, since I have a big project due this Friday and I will be online doing work for it until it is done (Msg me if you want more info on my project :P).

I also have not been replying to my msn msgs and my E-mail lately, so don't feel left out if I have been MIA there. I'm working on finishing the replies by this coming weekend.

Saturday, June 28th = I attended a beautiful wedding at Shangri-La that lasted all day long, which I will eventually blog about.
Sunday, June 29th = I spent all day with Adam's extended family. Because everyone flew to Canada from all over the world, there were many causes for celebration.
Monday June 30th - Tuesday July 1st = Essay writing on Freud.
Wednesday July 2nd = project until late night
Thursday July 3rd = Adam's grandma passed away
Friday July 4th = project until late night.
Saturday July 5th = Spending time with Adam's grandpa
Sunday, July 6th = off to Waterloo! project until late night
Monday, July 7th = class
Tuesday, July 8th = horrible migraine that nearly killed me, spent all day in bed.
Wednesday, July 9th (today!) = funeral all day (still with the migrain!) and then project until now.

The rest of this week is divided between the project and more reading/paper-writing/research!

Grad-school is a never ending day!

Friday, July 4, 2008

On Life and Death

Adam's parents were in NYC for the week and I was at Adam's house on Thursday doing my work when the phone rang. Adam picked up and I heard panic in his voice and he said in Chinese that I'm coming. When he hung up, I asked him if it was his grandfather, knowing that his dad had been visiting his grandma who has been pretty sick lately. He said yeah and asked me what 不醒人事 means and I told him it means unconscious. He said he had to go check on his grandparents and told me I didn't have to come if I didn't want to. Although I wasn't sure how badly the situation was, I wanted to be there to help so we headed down there. On our way over, we were discussing the situation and I asked him if his grandpa called 911. Adam called his grandpa to ask and he said yes. We drove in traffic for a bit and we got worried again because we didn't know how long it would take us to get downtown during rush hour and his grandma might be in the hospital by then. Adam called his grandpa again and this time, he told Adam that his grandma has gone to heaven.

We were pretty shocked and I told Adam to call his dad, but Adam was calm and said we shouldn't let his dad stress until we know for sure. When we got there, his grandma was lying on the couch, there was only one paramedic personnel and one senior care personnel left in the room. The paramedic told us that by the time they got there, she was already rigid. She had been in the washroom when she fell asleep and never woke up again.

We waited in the room for 30 minutes for the police to show up and ask us questions due to an unexpected death in the house. We waited another hour afterwards for the coroner to come and sign the death warrant so that funeral home can come pick up his grandma.

It was a very traumatizing event, especially for his grandfather. The police had asked us how long they have been married for, and his grandfather, who is 84, thought about it for a bit and said a couple of decades. The police, in response, said something along the lines of maybe it's too long to count. We tried to ask him one more time because we figured our Cantonese is pretty broken and he might not have understood us properly, his grandfather said he has been married since he was 18.

Sixty-six years of marriage.

I was impressed with the way his grandfather handled the whole situation. He was strong, clear, and very well-composed throughout the whole ordeal. When we got there, he was shaking a little and told us exactly what happened in chronological order, we didn't even have to ask questions to clarify what he was saying. I can say with confidence that even a lot of mentally fit 25 year-olds cannot retell an event without confusing another person and repeating himself.

While we were waiting for the officials to arrive, his grandfather seemed perfectly calm and serene and called everyone he knew to let them know what happened. After the coroner left, all of his family in Canada arrived. His grandfather didn't cry and after the funeral home people came, he encouraged everyone to go home. Adam's cousin thinks he's still in shock and needed some time alone to grieve. I can't imagine how it must feel to lose someone you spent everyday with for the last 66 years of your life.

It's funny with life. Even up to your middle-age and you are married and have kids, you still do things on your own. You go to work separately, you come home and eat and do chores independently, and on weekends you may spend time alone with your friends. But at some point in your life, you develop a co-dependence with your significant other and you begin to do everything together as though you are one person. It's an inevitable process that when you get old, you stop craving for independence and your comfort is when you are with your other half. And, yet, it is not sad. It is comforting, romantic, and enchanting. If there is one optimistic thing I took out of this experience, it's that being old isn't bad at all, but a part of the better process of human life.

Adam's grandfather seems like a strong person and has shown for the last two days to be coping with all of this very well. I really hope that he'll be able to fill up the void of his late wife with the comfort of his children and his grandchildren. I admire him very very much.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Contemporary Readings on the New Yorker

Reading Joyce's Dubliners is like taking a walk through the city of Dublin: we can see everything in Dublin in 1914 without having been there. Surprisingly, reading Alice Munro's Deep Holes on the New Yorker is like reading a Toronto-based present version of the Dubliners. It even references the Queen Street fire and the old BMO building at Union Statio subway stop.

I don't think I've read many of Munro's works...maybe one from a Cdn Lit class a few years ago but it evidently wasn't memorable enough for me to remember it at this moment. At any rate, seeing a Canadian author's work on the New Yorker got me excited and the story was more than a pleasant surprise on many levels.

Anyway, I'm finding that reading the contemporary short stories on the New Yorker really enjoyable. I love reading references about things that are happening in the real world right now, it makes you feel really connected to the stories.

Here's the link: