Sunday, August 27, 2006

an old man buddha?

an old man buddha?
Originally uploaded by speattle.
this is one of two fav. exhibit at asian art museum from my visit today.

at different angle i kinda got different impression.

that's what is special about art, isn't it? the artistic interpretation value and literal value of what one sees or touches or hears, ...

i first saw this sculpture as a wise crack old man. then as someone sitting very comfortable. then as someone wise.

i forgot what i heard from audio tour, but i like how the photo did turn out to be.

one that makes you ponder and think, and one that makes you nostolgic. this sure makes me think of the tour de museum today.


thinker buddha, in jade(one of my two fav. exhibit at sf asian art museum)

thinker buddha, in jade
Originally uploaded by speattle.
this is one of two my fav. exhibit from today's visit to asian art museum.

the light was well done, and it is rare occassion where both bare eye and camera caught nice visual effect.

and, sentimental one too.

according to the audio tour desc., it's one of few rare jade sculpture of buddha and that the period would be when buddha was in transition before enlightment when he was fasting a lot and thinking a lot subjecting his body to pain to understand deeper thoughts.
heh, if i subject myself to hunger, my hunger gets deeper and not my thoughts.

this is one of few photos i think i can stare at forever.

seeneng's photo of sun reflected on beach from his bakers beach visit also is like that. glazing sun on ocean at sun set.

the lighting on this buddha piece makes it like special affect in movie.

wonder what he was thinking, i mean meditating...


ear ache

could be the stress, could be the frequent flights.

my ear, both of them, aches.

with frequent trips to mountains and some flights, that's more or less standard altitude ear aches.

very unpleasant, and worse if i don't sleep well for a few nights before.

with gums, some water, chewing stuffs, and lots of talking to people sitting next to me or looking out the destination outside the window, i do try to manage. sometimes pop a few pain killer as well.

what does bother me is this weird pinch on outter ear lobe on right ear that's been bothering me for like 3 days in row.

doctors usually examine ears and might send me to either internal medicine or skin doctor who'll just dismiss.

if i go to chinese herb medicine doctor, they might try to show how my ear lobe's nerve is linked to some organ in stomache area or respiration area to tell me i'm sick elsewhere. last time i got treated by one, i had bruised my left foot and the guy stuck needle on my right hand between fingers and some more needle in my neck.

it's not constant, but it hurts pretty bad like someone stuck needle or some thing got pinched/folded sharp.


not enough time to solicit docotrs.

sob, sob, sob...


trial for jury, not trial by jury

my selfishness and busy life prevented me from enjoying the full drama of jury duty friday.

i've been summoned a few times, but this was absolute first time i had to show my face at the court for jury duty. even my school field trip to the court house was in oakland, thus make it my first time ever at san francisco district court house.

first off, it was super entertaining event.
second, it's super time-consuming event.
third, it's somewhat ...hmm... how do i say it politically correct?... hmm... i guess i just blurt it out, that's it's somewhat inefficient.

i'm getting on flight next friday, so that was supposed to be my ticket to get off the hook easy and fast. so i thought i might as well enjoy the show until i get dismissed, until my anxiety and fidgity almost killed all my nerve around 3pm when I start fiddle with my hands and keep bouncing my feet around making small noises.

so to tell the story, let's start at the top of the hour.

about 2 weeks ago i got the jury duty summon paper in mailbox, for monday 8/21 and that i had to call friday before after 4:30pm to know whether to come, to be dismissed or be put on-hold. i assumed i'd be just dismissed, like last half dozen times, so i just mentioned it to my colleagues and manager without much concern.
friday afternoon says checkback on monday, monday 4:30pm it says checkback on tuesday, on tuesday to checkback on wednesday, ..., so on thursday when i saw on that says 'show up 8:45am' i didn't really believe my eyes and i wasn't quiet prepared.

8:45am show up, so naturally i was fashionably late, getting off bus at the corner of 6th and bryant at 8:46am. I was worried stiff I might be led into jail for contempt of court for a few minutes of tardiness when i saw a long line of people at the entrance of the courthouse. Obviously it's not Macy's and it's not labor day sale yet. It turned out that the court had summoned all the 2 dozen groups of 40 people to the court house on friday, before next week's batch, that's like some couple hundred people trying to sqeeze into the court house metal detector and bag search at once.

The lady who walked around the line with speakerphone blasted that the line was indeed for jury and that once we get through the securty we should get to 3rd floor for jury lounge and check in.
It wasn't until like 9:30 when I finished getting through security and to check in.

It was like human flea market, so many people talking, cutting in lines, eating, laughing, and hustle&bustle.

I kept walking up to the jury lounge clerk asking 'shouldn't i be dismissed?' with my flight reservation stub. And, the clerk amiably told me to ask judge both times; guess clerks there are used to people pestering them with petit annoyances like this?

Anyhow, pocket search for having cell phone in pocket and a lousy cup of machine coffee that wouldn't dispense any cream nor sugar later it was 10 to 10 when I discovered by sheer luck that there were people using internet with laptop. I was supposed to be called in at 10am, but I thought if free wifi was available maybe the court house wasn't so bad. wifi was available, it just wasn't free. wasn't that expensive, $6 for the day, but if i'm sitting around for 10minutes and will be dismissed promptly by judge, was it worth it? It was much much later I found out it would have been worth it whole lotta.

at 10 past 10am we there were some 70-80 of us named to go to 2nd floor. At the door of courtroom i realized i was to attend a criminal court session. wow, how impressive.

i've faithfully been watching court and legal drama and read about every single one of john grisham's books so i thought i knew much and i was eager to see the evil criminal and fast paced and super fancy trial. i could almost feel the rush.

it took another 15min on roll call and stupid this and that and another 5minutes for the small lady in her 40s or 50s show up and sit down as a presiding judge.

as i anxiously sat on 3rd row on right side of the court seating to be dismissed and set free, there was this guy sitting on 1st row of left side seating that stirred up the crowd with his 'excuse me...' as he approached the bench that almost made the cop in court room to get up in reflex, to stop the guy. It turned out that he's got outstanding felony charge and he didn't think he should sit like rest of us and wait for turn to be dismissed.

Well, it took a bit of drama but he did get dismissed when we returned from recess an hour later. I thought why would the guy want to proclaim to every strangers in the room about his felony charge? Well, that's him, I guess.

It was shocking to know a dark colored lady sitting on left side of the table facing judge in black suit was a defendant in criminal court. she doesn't look like a vicious killer nor manipulative con artist, nor deceptive spy. oh well, that shows how naive i can get.

she was charged with some minor dismeanor, that would charge up $400 fine and record, that she's fighting. Oh my... I've seen people buying dress more expensive than $400. If I didn't know that I might have endured next 4hours a little better.
some 80 peoples' whole day sitting around listening all kind of silly things so she might be acquitted of felony charge and $400 fine?

I didn't say what my father usually say on things like this; give them a fair trial and hang'em. It's a joke. And, there's no need to talk about hanging anyways.

It was more like hanging civilians with exceptionally long jury screening.

if a businessman spent this much of screening in running his business or if an engineer spent this much time design and spec-out the product, we might get a perfect world. judge, defense attorney and proscutor had a paper binder with seating charts of 18 prospect jurors slots drawn as a big box with slots and used sticky notes to put juror's notes, profiles, questions, red notepad for concerns and alarms and yellow ones for other notes.

i was pretty intrigue to see that note taking, and also court clerk writing down everything spoken in her shorthand. these are the details court drama always seem to dismiss.

then the full drama began. 18 prospect jurors were selected and seated, and judge ordered the rest of us to have a piece of paper and a pencil to write down answer to what judge ask/address to these 18, to recite when one of the jurors get bumped out and an open seat is to be yours. like it's a blessing. ho, hum... maybe it is so for some.

there was this ex-security guy i thought would surely be dismissed, with his silly and pompous talk and acts but he didn't. there was this guy who told judge how biased he is about the subject it took no time for judge and both lawyers to dismiss him. one of those power wheeler & dealer at big company who talk his way out of unprofitable work like this. sigh*
and, there was slight mental case here and there, divulging personal information nobody in that room need to know.

the judge was fairly humourous, detailed and patient. also was pretty sharp to laywers sneaking in the same questions twice or putting words into the mouth of juror. that part was really like in the movies.

the judge recessed for lunch at noon until 1:30pm and that is when she allowed people to approach bench, one at a time, to explain why one should be excused from previlege of serving as jury. haha... one lady from jury got dismissed for economic hardship, and another guy that was sitting next to me for both economic hardship and childcare issue. sucker!

when i went up, i realized my flight reservation may or may not do the trick, so i gave her two reasons. one was the business trip flight and the other that i might have medical case because i have low blood pressure and sitting 8hrs a day for this might make me faint. she didn't buy that. i was already feeling pretty claustrophobic and stuffy with lightheadedness and faint hunger, but i wasn't gonna fight for it. when i gave up on going out for lunch and returning to face security i headed up to the jury lounge, it was already 12:30. with some trouble with laptop's internet connection, and another cup of machine coffee, it was 12:50. why bother with internet for 10min? so I went to wait for the court session to open. wasn't until 1:15 when we were allowed in, way way after both lawyers and defendent got allowed in at 1:05. so much for requiring us the prospective jorors to be prompt.

around 2 is when the judge let laywers to drop jurors from the seats, start refill and interrogate some more and let go some more, until they have 12 jurors and 2 alternates.

doctors got dismissed, people who vocalized being victim of some related crimes recently got dismissed, a chinese lady who's been living in san francisco for 30years got dismissed on basis of her poor english(oh! come on!) and so on. and there wasn't that promised recess every one and half hour at 2:30pm as the court wasn't really in session promptly at 1pm.

when i thought i might get up and dance and jump up and down, then stab myself to death with suffocation and boredom, at 3:10 was when 14 jurors got locked and judge released rest of us and also proclaimed recess.

so many questions, so many that if i was seated in one of those 18 i'd be tossed out at that first round of dismissal. and, to check-out at 3rd floor jury lounge, wait on long line and show the bar-coded stub.

lawyers, defendents get through security without wait, and is allowed in to court room without wait, and it's jury who wait and hurdle through lines and do check-in and check-out with bar codes? for someone's minor misdeameanor that would easily be corrected with a few spanking, some community service and small fine?

it was like what i often hear about early immigration processing line, treated like some luggage. hmm....

i call it trial for jury, not trial by jury.

on practicality level i'd say it's poor and not fair for jury.

on entertainment and education level, it was pretty intriquing. if i was just staying home watching ceiling, i wouldn't mind going through the whole process and watch the case being tried. for a minor case like this, i may not feel so guilty, it's not like that murder trial for famous people somewhere far away. and, who knows i might learn enough to write like john grisham, cheesy crime suspense. ^^


Tuesday, August 22, 2006

space saver microwave finally starts saving space

It's amusing to see someone playing rock, scissor, and paper and one tells the other, "I'm gonna give a rock so you do scissor." This can be analyzed in two way, that either the first person is playing a trick and will switch to paper, or will stick to his word and give a rock. Odds are? It's sad that this kind of tactics are at every corner of modern life. Is this deal a real deal? Any hidden fees? Any fine prints? What's the gimmick?

Having the space saver microwave sitting in living room taking more space instead of saving space for over a month certainly made me skeptical. I carefully shopped and compared 5 different microwave before making the purchase, and carefully followed the instruction to drill the holes just in right place and all.

It was a heavy 60lb piece of metal, which does attribute to the difficulty of the task. Nothing I see at homes with wall mounted microwave hinted the sucker should weigh so much, but the one that arrived certainly did weigh 60lbs.

After me and Dave struggling and cursing for several tries we gave, I finally started scanning craigslist and phone at least two dozens handyman before we got someone to agree to come over last night around 7pm for an easy job.

I was stressed that the contractor would tell me the metal plate to hold the microwave on the wall is not aligned correctly that he'll take it off to drill more holes to the wall and all that. That would certainly take more time than 2hrs the contractor gave as his minimum hour and would worry me in rainy season with bunch of holes in my kitchen.

The guy who came over was pretty cool. He had all his tools, and used his common sense to look up our place without calling me at every corner of the street as I expected. 2 bags full of drill bits, power tools, level, and such. Yeah, I felt maybe we do have a professional (heh if any newbie contractor's starting out, get yourself lots of well-used tools to fool someone like me). To my amazement, he didn't take down the plate, and 3 of us working together we got it up in less than 30min. Oh yeah! Horray~~~ He got himself underneath the microwave, his head above the stove and facing up to the microwave, while I'm helping hold the microwave and its cord, and telling Dave to hold the microwave and tilt it forward to as much as 45 degree angle until he could secure the bottom back of microwave to be sittin on the metal plate's slots. All 4 of them securely went in, then they pushed microwave back to the wall to secure it with screws from top cabinet above.

How neat was that!

we spent at least 10hrs, drilling, lifting the heavy microwave up to the wall and taking it down, and ...
And, it takes easy 30min to get it up. Oh! my...

We gladly paid him for 2hrs, and got his number. Aussie man Rob is the man! Does his work, for a small job, and is well... friendly and helpful too. What can a small time self-remodeler ask for?

I went back to kitchen several time for no reason last night, just to see how it fits well into the top cabinet above the stove. Phew... finally about 1/5 of kitchen remodel is done. About $500 for cabinet pieces we picked up and assembled ourselves and installed ourselves, and $300 for microwave itself, and $100 for Rob to help us put up.

Took the depression out of daunting task of kitchen remodeling. Now living room is larger by 30x20inch the microwave tookup, and kitchen will also be as we throw out the old microwave sitting on the counter next to sink.
Can't wait to start axing bottom cabinet to install the new ones. Baby steps, works!


Monday, August 14, 2006

remotely interested in remote desktop

something somehow forced me to evaluate remote desktop server and remote desktop client on windows.

i have a window desktop with outlook and IE at work, but have sufficiently been operating with mac os and flavours of linux and a few attempt at solaris for years.

i must say remote access on windows is okay. vpn, remote desktop, source control and content control, ...., well as long as one can afford buying all these software, it's not half so bad.

well, i got a laptop fell on me, so that evens my bias toward linux, the one where I spend money on hardware and maybe $2.00 getting installation CD/DVD burnt.

as i'm playing around with remote access from windows client to windows server, and have been using vnc for linux to linux access at random, i'm now ambitious to learn cross platform remote access.

the answer i get is vnc.

will have to try it out.

somewhat tired and sleepy, but maybe one day i can remotely access from my dream too. 'til then, just keep trying.

it's nice to know dot com bomb hasn't really ended much of internet industry. web 2.0 is springing, ipv6 isn't all that far in the future, wifi strength is getting better and now the remote access also would be a piece of cake.



Monday, August 07, 2006

15min sightseeing of the city on monday morning

Most of us barely wakeup on monday morning, with sips of coffee, and cold stream of shower on head...

So I missed 7am bus, and was waiting for 8am bus on Van Ness and Grove, near city hall.

Barely awake I was, with this morning's Examiner in one hand, and shuffling small latte and bearclaws I bought on the other. The divider lane on Van Ness right in front of city hall seem a little overcrowded with officers, with a police car on each side parked in the middle of street with siren light flashing.
I was a little too sleepy to let it deter me away from my coffee and morning paper, but soon noticed fire truck, ambulance and more police on site. And, I could barely see someon laying on the ground, in between polices' leg.
Could some homeless person be knocked out on the street, while asking for money? Could this be an early morning hit&run?
It was a little too quiet for that sort of accident.

Then someone waiting for the bus as well started explaining to others waiting for the bus, who just came approaching the bus stop.

The guy came from city hall direction, toawrd the opera house, try to open the door to get in and failed, and went on to the middle of street and start banging his head, either on the cement street or on the metal rod that were put on the center divide.
The spectator also added that he presume the guy on the street must come from the courthouse, just a block away from city hall.

Who knows. That I'm sure was inconvenient of hundreds of morning commuter on monday morning, and since it only involved the guy laying on the street, that explains low key performance from cops watching him while ambulance arrives.
At 8am on monday morning, tho? That's a bit too much.
Wouldn't court house be barely opening?

I'm sure I'll see more about it on evening news, as no more than 30sec. flash.

As the bus I was in left the hectic site, and moved toward Market, I saw kissing of two gay guys parting at Van Ness Muni stop. Which isn't uncommon on San Francisco standard, but this and what saw earlier the day aren't so much a routine if I drove just half an hour outside the city.

To make the morning amusement heightened, there were more interesting scenes waiting for me as bus crossed Market and was near the Smart&Final store, right before the 101 entrance; a street person with his street cart and a skate board, and his dog dancing to his radio boom music while playing with meatless bone. The guy made a few attempt to pull the cart while holding the dog's leash and skate at the same time. It didn't seem such an easy task. The dog, when he was let go, would dance merrily, then pickup the bone and would be docile next to the homeless guy. Don't think he received much of training but the dog was well tamed and would sit or walk without much command, a small and cuite dog that seem well cleaned for a street dog, also not too fat nor too lean. They seem to be enjoying their early morning, when I saw anoterh street person stop the guy asking for some of his belonging, from the cart where the music box stood for a short a while.

Then the light changed, and bus moved on, to join the rest of traffic on 101 and thigns got just blend again.

8:05 am until 8:20am, that short 15min provided much to look at, much to ponder about. And, did I mention it's only monday morning on some uneventful August morning?

Maybe that's what the city living is. Eventful at every minutes and seconds, on any given day.


Saturday, August 05, 2006

state of kimchi or state of IT book market?

With a few rather nice independent book stores in & nearby SF going out of business, and with me start to look into more technical books inluding linux kernels and ever so popular .NET, I couldn't help but to do a bit of googling(it's officially a word, now, I hear) for 'IT books,computer books, market, sale, analysis'.

Nowadays everybody blogs, and sometimes obsessively, whether on his/her own blog, or as a commentator of some one else's blog.

First, I was pointed to Tim O'Reilly's personal & company blog, way back from 2002 and 2003, with numbers, pie charts, ...

Then, I got to Apress's company blog that gave a few numbers, mainly comparison between Apress, Xrox, Oreilly and few other competitors' sales within last 4-6months.

I have to admit I'm not familiar with Apress as the publisher. That shows I've not been reading new books much, and that shows I've not paid much attention to the books in windows platform, #C or .NET or ASP. I'm pretty impressed with Xrox, at their speed of getting interesting & well written books published timely. O'Reilly is just O'Reilly, it's just been there for as long as I can remember, when I first typed '#!/usr/bin/perl' without knowing I was using perl4 or perl5;and couldn't have cared less.

It's nice to see that people are willing to post marketing analysis and crunch the numbers for public, and it sure is humorous to see Tim O'Reilly himself posting comments on Apress' blog, numerously, too.

As old saying, know thy enemy and know thyself and thy shall conquer 100 out of 100 battles?

The fact that I could fish some of data that would have been expensive, secretive in past makes me wonder. This just reminds me about one of NPR radio broadcast where some book publisher analysts give list of best seller book titles, and how the title of book affects a potential buyer's split second decision of whether to take it off the shelf to take home or not.

Geez, and here I thought book writing was all about writing skills, passion and creativeness.

I see many blogs begin with 'state of onion' or something like that. I ain't no shrek and never did like how spicy it is. Heh, I prefer kimchi!

my state of kimchi: I decree I shall dig up more on this book marketability. I wouldn't be writing best seller 'devil wears prada' or 'da vinci code' any time soon. but, it's a joy to find out how things are done, how the formula works out. hacking hacker books... hmmm... and, nope, i ain't no hacker!!!