Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Christmas has come and gone. What did I learn this year? That maybe Christmas has become too commercialized? I used to love Christmas -- maybe because I was younger. It was never about the gifts that we exchange but about the gathering of friends and loved ones. What's different now? I really can't tell. Last night's gathering was fun but no different than any other gatherings scattered throughout the year. Maybe the magical Christmas in Puerto Vallarta has ruined it all for me? Maybe it is my personal frame of mind? I really don't know. However, it is not really bugging me enough that I would spend hours contemplating the significance. We'll see what next year brings.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

I love this clip . . .

This is a compilation of scenes from the television series Torchwood that has aired on BBC America. I don't know the full extend of the story but this scene is particularly tender and touching. Watching it always makes me a little weepy and makes me yearn for the one thing that is blatantly absent in my own life. This clip affirms that love can exist between two people of the same sex and it is not always about a sordid love affair! The name of the song is Ostacoli Del Cuore (Obstacles of the Heart) and is in Italian. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Winter Blues

It is usually too early for winter blues but this is perhaps one of the worse winter in recent history. It has snowed about six or more inches since December 1st. We typically don't see snow until around Christmas and sometimes not even until the new year here in Chicago. It has been COLD, COLD, COLD!!! The last few days, it has not been cold enough to snow but it's been doing that wintry mix of sleet and freezing rain. Today, we're suppose to get what hit Oklahoma and Missouri. I firmly believe that this change in climate has something to do with global warming. Some people are very literal about the term "Global Warming" -- they think that the globe is going to be warmer. I am from the school where they predict that the climate is going to be more erratic and that we are going to get more extremes in the weather -- i.e. look at all the tornado, typhoon, earthquake, etc. that is going on around the work. How long can this keep going on? I believe in balance. Will planet earth seek to balance itself out? What is the aftermath of that? Will less of the earth be habitable? Think "The Day After Tomorrow". By the way, a great movie with a younger Jake Gyllenhaal.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Blah . . .

Nothing is really happening these days. I guess it is the winter blues. The sun rises so late but sets so early -- if you can even said that; for about two weeks, I've only maybe seen the sun once. It's dreary, gray and wet. Sigh. One of the perils of living in Chicago, I guess. Can't say much for about the rest of the midwest as I've only lived in Indiana for a few years. I was in school then and we don't generally get to see the sun when we're in class and as the saying goes, "You don't miss what you don't have!"

Snowed for the first time the day before Thanksgiving this year. Snow persisted into Thanksgiving Day but nothing stuck -- I guess the ground is still too warm. I've got volleyball to sustain me for now, hopefully it will be enough to last me through the cold winter months.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Media Streaming using WiFi -- the sequel

So, thanks to the word of encouragement/comment from fico, I finally decided to upgrade my router to the NetGear WPN824. The router itself doesn't look too bad -- just a plain white box with blinking blue lights. There are no antennaes on the outside but according to the specifications, there are six internal antennaes. Since I was going to set up the new router, I took the opportunity to clean up my bedroom too and move everything (cable modem, router, wires, etc) to the office. Took a while to get the WPN824 up and running -- a little over 90 minutes. The installation software was a tremendous help. Thought I would be able to "plug and play" but I am not sure if it was the firewall or whatever but, using the Wizard, the router simply would not connect to the internet. I finally got it to work by turning off the firewall and using the installation disc. Don't see any marked improvements with the 802.11g laptop or the older 802.11b laptop but when I tried to connect the PS3 to the media server -- man! WHAT AN IMPROVEMENT. Songs and movies played continuously with no problems -- no buffering, no outages, etc. What a dream. So, for anyone who is having problems with streaming media, maybe you want to check into your router and see if it is rated for media streaming. The WPN824 works like a charm.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Why me!!!

Ok! This is definitely a RANT!!!! It seems to be that there are a lot of places that are near impossible to get to in the middle of Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia. While I understand the importance of providing necessary health care to the general population, why does it seems that I always get the god-forsaken places in the middle of nowhere. Ok -- come on -- Beckley, West Virginia and now, Pikeville Kentucky? It seems like there are so many sparsely populated areas in these New England states. I have to learn to shut my big mouth when accepting projects! Check Google Map first before you say you'll accept a project.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Where have all the flowers gone?

So, the deck has been cleared and cleaned -- well, cleaned of what I can but the darn wind keeps blowing more debris onto the deck -- I guess that's what Spring cleaning is for. Anyway, all the plants are inside and what a jungle it is. I think next year, I am going to be making some adjustments. Fewer small plants and more substantial planting. Less to have to carry in and out and water during the winter. I am already planning what I want to plant next year. I think Cannas would be a good choice but I don't know if I will have enough light on my deck. I would also like to consider some sort of a water garden/feature. I bought a large black tub for like ten bucks and would love to at leat have one water lily plant. Until next year! In the meantime, we'll have to wait and see what survived the winter.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Media Streaming using WiFi -- Why Fight?!?!?

So, got a new PS3 and been playing with it for a while. Decide to give the whole "entertainment media" hype a try after about a month of playing Oblivion. In any case, the set up is simple enough -- somethings worked and some don't -- don't ask me why. Documentation on this thing is spotty at best. So far, I've tried streaming music using Windows Media Player 11, TVersity and WinAmp Pro 5.5. While I have success to a varying degree with each of these applications, I wouldn't necessarily say that anyone is the best. Here's a breakdown:

Windows Media Player -- had limited successful with my laptop but could not get it to work with my Media Server (an old Dell 4200 that I wiped and reinstalled the OS). The Media Server doesn't see the PS3 and the PS3 doesn't see the Media Server. I guess the feeling is mutual. The limited success I have with my laptop means that I can stream the music but it doesn't play a single song in its entirety without breaking up or buffering. Also, if I even try to do anything on the laptop while the music is streaming, I immediately loose the network connection. Yes, I upgraded the firmware (version 1.4 from 2004) on my router but my router is first generation of Linksys's WGR614 so I am trying to decide if it is worth the money to invest in a newer router and give this thing a try.

TVersity -- probably one of the easiest software to use. Again, limited success on my laptop and no success on the Media Server. On the PS3, I would start streaming from the laptop for about three seconds and then the PS3 would lose its connection to the router. One the Media Server, the two system again don't "see" each other. Oh well. I guess we're headed to the divorce court.

WinAmp 5.5 -- limited success on both the laptop and the Media Server. Technology wise, this is a completely different solution. Apparently, the music is pushed over the internet. So, you run WinAmp Remote on your media server and share the location where your music files are. You go to the place where you want to listen to the music and use the Web Browser to go to a site, login and start streaming! Sounds simple enough but reality is a different story. Everything was accurate up to the point where you open the browser and start streaming. Well, on the PS3, I could see all 3000 of my audio files but when I tried to play any of them, it would take forever to download/stream the music to the PS3. By forever, I don't mean like 30 seconds -- it's more like 30 minutes and then it was still waiting. In any case, I got tired of waiting and never heard a squeak coming out of WinAmp.

So, after all these trials and errors, I have decided that while the idea behind media streaming is indeed exciting, the reality of it all is very disappointing and definitely not for the masses right now. I guess if I want to listen to music from anywhere in the home, I should just carry around my MP3 player or turn the music up really loud on my stereo (sorry, neighbors!).

Another gripe -- what's with the documentation these days -- have technical writers gotten so expensive that companies can't afford to hire them anymore? Any sort of troubleshooting used to be handled in the opeartion manual but now I had to go from forum pages to forum pages just to cull an ounce of useful information. There are a lot of people with the same questions I have but not many answers. I guess there is really no reason for people who have gotten it to work to visit a forum page after all, right?

Monday, October 8, 2007

Saturday Cards

So, went to a friend's home to play cards on Saturday. The name of the game -- Texas Hold'em Poker. It is an interesting enough game but it doesn't keep my attention for long. Once you are dealt your two cards, and the other three cards go on the table, your game is pretty much set. People with good hands are going to bet big money and do you stay in the game in the hopes that the last two cards will be in your favor or do you fold and cut your losses? Tough decisions to be made and could mean a landslide victory or a "clean your house" loss. Good thing we are not playing with real money. My game is MahJong -- the ever changing world of MahJong. Where every card that you draw or discard and the cards discarded by your opponents constantly changes the game and how you play it. Do you want to take that card that has just been discarded and could potentially mean minimizing your possible permutation or do you keep your options open and potentially never see the winning card? Again, tough decisions to be made and the decision is not entirely up to you -- you have three other people at the table that will help determine your fate. PLAY ON!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Anciet Chinese Poem Sings of Today's Feelings

So, in my quest for a relationship, these words struck me deeply. The lament of a forgotten love?


明月幾時有 把酒問青天
不知天上宮闕 今夕是何年
我欲乘風歸去 唯恐瓊樓玉宇 高處不勝寒
起舞弄清影 何似在人間

轉朱閣 低綺戶 照無眠
不應有恨 何事長向別時圓
人有悲歡離合 月有陰晴圓缺
此事古難全 但願人長久 千里共嬋娟

There are many translations for what the poet originally intended -- even in the Chinese version. To translate to English is a whole different story -- many subtleties are lost in translation. The title of the poem according to my translation means may we (or may our relationship) lasts forever. What I really like about this poem is the analogy that is drawn between the moon and human relationships -- the moon wax and wane as do people come and go -- nothing last forever. Also, the poet asks the speaks of how the Moon can be so full and round when love ones are far apart. Such irony.

If the poem is to be translated as a whole, it would be that the poet is lamenting the distance separating him from his loved ones; however, the fact that they could both be looking at the same bright moon brings them closer together (kinda like that animated music video for Somewhere Out There). The loved one in this case is his brother but you can adapt it to whoever you're missing at the time. That's just how I feel so don't kill me if other people disagree with you.

There are some really beautiful imagery presented in the poem as well -- In a red pavilion, through a low wooden window with beautiful carvings, the moon shines on a solitary person that is having trouble sleeping.

I raise my cup to toast the moon and ask, "When if the next full moon?"

Beautiful -- and always brings a tear to my eyes.

Friday, September 28, 2007

When the Moon shines brightest

Tuesday was the Moon Cake Festival. Actually, this festival goes by many names -- Autumn Moon Festival, Harvest Moon Festival, Mid Autum Festival or just plain ole Moon Festival. If you are interested in learning more about this festival, you can go to: As with anything that goes by the Chinese Lunar Calendar, it doesn't always fall on the same day on the Gregorian Calendar. The Moon Festival is always on the 15th day of the 8th Lunar Month. Supposedly, it is also the day that the moon is the closest to Earth and would be the biggest and brightest moon that you'll ever see. Alas, that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. I was in Ohio for work this week and caught a glimse of the moon while driving back to the hotel after dinner. I have to say that the moon wasn't really spectacular in any forms or ways. Maybe I am becoming jaded and have lost my wonder for things or maybe it has to do with global warming. Don't really know but do I really care?

In any case, you eat Moon Cakes during the Moon Festival. My friend has alluded to the fact that the Moon Cake is like the Christmas Fruit Cake -- you give it as gifts and it is in circulation but nobody really eat it. I don't know if that is necessarily true. I, for one, like the Moon Cake although I have to say that the varieties available in the US is very limited and pathetic at best. I personally like the less sweet ones and tend to think that the ones available at Chinese bakery in the US tend to be too sweet. There, I said it -- I admit it -- I like Moon Cakes and I actually eat them.

Traditionally, the Moon Festival is also a time for family to come together. A old chinese saying goes; "The Moon is Round, the Family is also Around"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The World Wide Web -- or is it iVillage?

The internet is indeed an amazing "dimension" -- I use dimension because it doesn't really fit within the same space/time continuum that we exist in and on the internet, you can be somebody completely different than the person you are in this space. In any case, it is through the internet that I recently reconnected with two cousins in the United Kingdom and an old college friend. My cousins and I have not seen each other since we were kids – literally, like when we were 7 or 8. As for my college friend; well, it’s been about 10 years since we graduated. ‘Nuff said. I am just amazed. I’ll let you ponder this for a while!


Ok, enough pondering. Amazing as the internet may be, it is like raw power that needs to be harnessed. You really can't do anything on the internet without applications, right? I mean, picture the internet as an empty room. Regardless of how vast the room may be, you will eventually get bored if there's nothing to do or see in the room. Right? So, you need to furnish your room -- with furniture and art and give each space in the room a function and a purpose. That's where websites come in. Without websites and the functions and purposes the websites provide, the internet would be pretty boring. Alright, enough of my rambling. Go have fun on the internet. Blessed be!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Where have all the weekends gone?

Oh my gawd -- it has been another one of those weekends. Started on Friday and didn't finish till late Sunday. This has been going on for a couple of mopnths now. I don't know if I can keep up with this anymore. I mean, it is not so much the fatigue or the lack of sleep but, what the heck, do I really need to re-enact my teenage years in my late 30's? I really don't think so. I've partied a lot in my 20's -- start work at about 5:00PM on Friday and go until about 2:00 or 3:00AM, go to the disco or some other night spots till about 5:00AM, go get some supper, then it is back to work at 6:30 or 7:00AM. Rinse. Repeat.

Ok, I did wuss out on Saturday -- pretty much just stayed home all day -- went out a little to get some groceries and stuff but that was about it. I wasn't tired but I think I needed to just be quiet for a little bit. I like people but I guess I can't be around people all the time. Maybe I am a loner?

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Seasons Change -- I am in denial!

So, the weather here in Chicago suddenly took a dive and got really cold. It's in the 40s at night. Much too soon. I could use a few more weeks of warmth. I am sure my plants feel the same way. I don't know if they are in shock. The weekend was still pretty warm and then all of the suddent, Monday came around and it was COLD!!! All in all, the weather has been crazy this year. We got 70mph winds one time and it just has been pretty windy in general. I can't remember how many pots I have broken and have to replaced. It is plastic for me from now on.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

You Blog, I Blog, Everyone Blog Blog

Seems like everyone has something to say these days about everything under the sun. I thought I would jump on the bandwagon and put my 2 cents out there. I am not very political so it will mostly be mundane things that are important to me. The opinions expressed here are my own and you can choose to agree or disagree but you cannot tell me I am wrong -- these are not facts just my opinions.

Happy Reading!