Sunday, December 27, 2009

An unforgettable Christmas present

This year I got a Christmas present that I'll remember for the rest of my life...

My car got stolen at the night of the Boxing Day.

I was pretty calm when I discovered it and proceeded to file a report at the local police station. The officer told me that whether they can find my car it's purely a matter of luck. Since I don't usually have good luck, I've pretty much thrown in the towel.

What really hurts me though isn't the resale value of my car. It's been with me for more than 10 years and has gone through many important moments in my life.

One time, I nearly got killed on the freeway because one of its tires exploded. My car turned 90 degrees and was blocking the forthcoming traffic. Very luckily, I was calm enough to put the car in reverse gear and backed off to the side of the freeway. If I've done that just three seconds late, I'm pretty sure I'd have been killed by a lethal side collision: the upcoming traffic averaged a speed of 80 mph.

And now, my car is gone, probably forever. Along with my favorite CDs that have been with me during my ups and downs all these years.

What makes losing something regrettable isn't the fact that you lose it. Instead, it's because it happens so quickly that you don't even have the chance to say goodbye.

It felt as if someone has robbed me of an important part of my memory. It felt as if a little part of my soul is eliminated forever.

I know the chance of that car thief reading this post is nearly zero. If God can hear this, please let the car thief stole whatever parts he wants and leave my car in a spot that can easily be discovered by the police. Even it's an "empty" car, I'd want to take a photo with it and say farewell...

Car thief car thief, do you realize what you've done to someone in Christmas time? And just in the last post I talked about having more trust in strangers.

What kind of world am I in?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Warning: "Be Wary of Strangers"

Today, after I bought a newspaper and went aboard my car, an old woman suddenly showed up outside the window and asked me if I was interested in buying some little bags hand-made by her.

"It's just $5 per bag." She said.

I told her that I wasn't interested because the little bags wouldn't be useful to me. Most importantly, however, I don't trust people asking for donation on the streets.

"If you're not interested in buying the bags, maybe you want to make a donation..." she said in a pitiful tone. "I'm doing this for my grandchildren. I'm not lying..."

Despite this, I didn't believe her and started my car and left.

On my way back home, I was glad that I avoided yet another scam. When I thought about it more, however, I started to think that, maybe...

Maybe she wasn't lying.

How bad a person one has to be for her to defraud others using her grandchildren as an excuse? And, after all, this excuse is pretty much a dumb one if it's fake. It's just like you won't lie to your boss that your mother was sent to hospital to get a day off.

I should have at least looked into her eyes to decide whether she was lying.

If it was indeed true that she was trying to earn some extra money for her grandchildren, I'd give her $5, no, $10, in a heart beat.

This is sad, really sad. The news that we read everyday, I bet you $100 that there's at least one piece of them about fraud. Enron. Mortgage meltdown. Bernard Madoff. Whatever. We get the idea that this world has many dishonest people who try to cheat whenever there's a chance.

There's a Chinese mot that says


which translates into

"One shall not try to hurt people. In spite of this, one shall be wary of others."

This is to say that, whenever a stranger approaches you, your "correct" behavior is to assume that s/he is a bad person so as to protect yourself. This was what I was taught when I was a kid and, until today, I still believe that it's healthy to maintain a certain degree of doubt on everything, including people.

But, maybe I'm wrong. This makes me think of how the fathers and teachers in my high school had unconditional trust in us, even though they might not know us well and that we made mistakes all the times.

I feel quite bad about this and hope that the old woman succeeds in selling her little bags to some kindhearted people (sigh, not like me) in that parking lot... I probably should try to hold a neutral standpoint on strangers from now on. They may be scammers but don't judge without giving them the tiniest chance.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Time To Say Goodbye - Andrea Bocelli and Sarah Brightman

Of course Sarah Brightman is extraordinary. I'm also delighted to learn that a blind person like Andrea Bocelli has such a grandeur and beautiful voice. Don't let your limitations limit yourself :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009


One thing I noticed about Europe
is that many countries use negative
integers to denote underground floors,
such as "-1" in the above picture. Normal
people won't understand why "-1" is a
lot sexier than "U1" to nerds like me :P

As many of you know, Europeans take
summer vacation to enjoy their lives. This
shop was closed from August 7 to 31. Can
we have something like this in the U.S.?

Street view outside the Milan Cathedral

Milan Cathedral

Tourists have the choice to pay more to
take an elevator to get to the top of the
cathedral but we decided to take the
stairs as we thought that it'd be "fun"

I love the arches

A view of the square from above

It turned out that it wasn't
that "fun" to climb 100+ stair
steps. But the view there was
worth it :)

Italians aren't that good at English in
general. They got us the wrong pizza
even though we pointed at the picture
of the one we wanted. Well, it was still a
Milan pizza and pretty yummy :)

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Venice is really beautiful. The only bad thing was that there were just too many tourists there. I guess this is a curse of any beautiful place: if it's beautiful, people will rush there and it's not as beautiful anymore...

Venice is so beautiful that even
photos taken by amateurs like
me are pretty :P

Another view of the buildings
taken when we were heading
to San Marco Square

I really love the long and
slender alleys in Venice

Another alley. There're
hundreds of alleys like that

This cup of espresso and the tart were
super yummy! We had them at a pastry
shop called Rizzo. That little piece of
chocolate was an ingenious compliment
to the espresso! They're so good that
I'll go back to Venice just to try
them again :)

Love the composition of this

Saturday, October 17, 2009

So it has been three years

Today marks the third birthday of this blog. As you should have noticed, I post much less frequently now. Someday I'll devote my time to this blog (when will that someday come?)...

Yes, I still love blogging!

Happy Birthday Alex's Weblog :)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

St. Peter's Basilica

I'll be posting some of the better (well, better relative to my photography skills...) photos of my Europe trip in coming posts. Hope that you'll like them :)

So, let's start with St. Peter's Basilica in Rome:

You gotta cover enough
portion of your body to
get in :P

It would be great if the woman
wasn't there? There were just
too many tourists at hot attractions
like St. Peter's Basilica

I really like silhouette shots :)

Friday, October 2, 2009

"It appeared to be a green light to me"

A physicist was pulled over by a police officer. The police officer asked

"Do you know that you just ran a red light?"

"No. It appeared to be a green light to me. Maybe I was driving a bit too fast."

"Alright sir", said the officer with a grin on his face. "I'll have to give you a speeding ticket then since you must have been driving at around, hmmmm, 110,000,000 mph. With an extra penalty of $5 per mph over 60 mph, it's just a fine of 550 million dollars."

"Ehhh... Actually, I think I ran a red light."

P.S. Created based on a question in my college physics textbook :)

Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Secret That Cannot Be Told (不能說的秘密) - Jay Chou





P.S. Kwai Lun-mei (桂綸鎂)'s temperament is really special.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Los Angeles to Tokyo the Kayaking Way

Two years ago, I wrote about how Google Maps instructs you to swim across the Atlantic Ocean when you search for directions between Los Angeles and Paris. Apparently, Google Maps has been improved by the Google engineers since then: I just search for directions between Los Angeles and Tokyo and it tells me to kayak across the Pacific Ocean:

For some reason, Google Maps thinks that I should travel to Seattle first before throwing myself into the kayak. Maybe kayaking is prohibited on the beaches of Los Angeles? (-.-)

Not only is kayaking "less tiring" than swimming but Google Maps is thoughtful enough to advise me to visit Hawaii on the way. I can have a good rest (anyone needs a rest after 2756 miles of kayaking) and some fun there!

And, after another 3879 miles of kayaking, we're finally entering Japan. Do I need to show my passport if I land this way? :)

For some reason, it can't find directions between Los Angeles and Paris now

Maybe the Atlantic Ocean isn't that safe to swim across now? :P

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Paint My Love - Michael Learns To Rock

From my youngest years
Till this moment here
I've never seen
Such a lovely queen

From the skies above
To the deepest love
I've never felt
Crazy like this before

Paint my love
You should paint my love
It's the picture of a thousand sunsets
It's the freedom of a thousand doves
Baby you should paint my love

Been around the world
Then I met you girl
It's like comming home
To a place I've known

Paint my love
You should paint my love
It's the picture of a thousand sunsets
It's the freedom of a thousand doves
Baby you should paint my love

Since you came into my life
The days before all fade to black and white
Since you came into my life
Everything has changed

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Michael Jackson (1958 - 2009)

So our King of Pop died today... (-__- )

Michael Jackson's influence was without border. From inmates at CPDRC in Philipines to waiters at a wedding banquet to Final Fantasy to Indians, few stars had such a big impact to the music industry, no, to the entire world. He was truly a legend...

I went to the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center and took some pictures:

People started gathering in
the afternoon

Lots of people at the
UCLA Medical Plaza

ABC7 Eyewitness News

Of course, NBC

Traffic was so heavy because
of the crowd

People walked toward the Ronald
Reagan Medical Center

Right outside of the main entrance of
the Ronald Reagan Medical Center

Four helicopters reporting the

Some reporters were trying to
get inside via the side door

KCAL9 News

A cute little MJ

Either the woman or the guy
(V sign in the photo) made the word
"Michael" with flowers

Two black men who lead the crowd
for a parade were interviewed by
some reporter

It was 9 pm something and people
still didn't want to leave

This guy has been holding this posture
for at least 5 hours (see the flower "Michael"
photo above)

Fans left candles and flowers for
Michael outside of the hospital

For the one last time, goodbye Michael...

P.S. Two videos that I took at the UCLA Medical Plaza with fans singing Michael's songs:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Obama's speech in Cairo, Egypt

I always believe that violence is never a solution when there're conflicts among people, races, religions or countries. Yet, quite a lot of people in this world resort to violence and it only fosters hatred among people generation after generation (I've been hearing about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict since I was a kid).

Although I believe that many people share my view on this issue, I was moved when I heard that Obama expressed the same opinion.

It's one thing to believe in something. It's another thing when the commander-in-chief also shares the same belief.

As capable as the citizens of a country are, people need a leader to lead the country in the right direction; Obama is doing that now.

In an old post I conservatively claimed that Obama is the right choice because he has a smaller chance of screwing up compared to McCain/Palin. Now, I start to believe that he really is the right choice as the President of the United States, which is a role that has tremendous impact not only in America but the entire world.

President Obama, thank you for being very hard-working. Thank you for making the government a lot more transparent. Thank you for including capable people in your administration regardless of their races, backgrounds and political parties. And, last but not least, thank you for making an effort to lead us to a more peaceful world.

Please stay healthy and don't tire yourself out (play some basketball regularly!) . May God bless you :)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How super-duper tiny we all are

Today I received an email from a friend that features comparisons of the planets in our solar system with the various giant stars in the universe and it elicited my quest to find out what the largest star is known to human as of now.

After some googling, the answer is VY Canis Majoris, which has a radius that's around 2000 times the one of the sun, which in turn has a radius that's around 109 times the one of the earth.

How large is that? Watch the following video and you'll see at the end how large the sun is compared to VY Canis Majoris:

Now, can you imagine how small human being is? In that sense, how big is the problem that's puzzling you today? Not that big really :)

P.S. Just to give you another perspective how ridiculously tiny the earth is in this gigantic universe, look at the following two images :P

Image from

Image source unknown (let me know
if you know)