Archive for March, 2007

Silencing

So while watching a recent episode of 24, Jack Bauer uses a gun with a silencer on. This reminded me of all the movies where someone is sneaking into a building or something, and since they don’t want to be discovered, they use a silencer on their gun to take people out without other people hearing.

The question is, how much volume from a gunshot does a silencer actually do? How does a silencer work? And if you shoot someone from one room, can people really not hear it from the next room?

I suppose for spies on tv, you can do whatever, but I wonder what it’s like in real life?

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments (1)

Wedding Dress Discounts

So my friend recently got engaged and has started looking at dresses. She found one in a magazine that suits her theme and style perfectly. She says that the initial price she found was about $600.

After doing 5 minutes of Googling (yeah, I’m verbing a noun… :-p), I found it for $450, then $350, and then after a few more clicks, I saw it on ebay for $299. It’s just amazing how you can find bargains on wedding gowns with a bit of research. Of course, I’m still weary of eBay cuz of the messed up color on the bridesmaid dress that I was buying.

How did people every save money on weddings before the internet, let alone, plan it?

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments

Webtastic

So I recently missed a few episodes of 24 and Prison Break, partly because I usually watch it at my brother’s place since he’s got an hd recorder. The thing is, he went out of town for a few weeks and since the shows got stacked up on his recorder, he had to watch them in a wave and delete.

Well, for me, I had recorded 2 of the 24 episodes, but I had missed the one prior to those 2. My friend suggested that I watch it on the show’s website, and so I looked it up and voila. They usually offer the most recent 3 episodes. Yay.

I don’t usually watch tv/movies on my computer, but since I was desperate, I did. It turns out that it’s not bad at all. In fact, I liked that they cut out all the commercials, AND I got to do a few things at the same time.

Isn’t the web cool?

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments

Office Spaces

What is office politics? Well, for one thing, it stinks. My idea of it is things that people do at work to gain some sort of advantage. I never really understood it much until I could see it happening in front of my face.

I usually tried to avoid such situations if possible, but when people start point fingers and assigning blame (a huge charateristic of office politics), that’s when you have to participate with a good defense. So at one of my previous companies, I found myself constantly collecting “evidence” along the way, just in case people tried to blame my team for anything.

So at my new company, there really isn’t any office politics, mostly due to the fact that there are just 2 of us there (plus contractors, but they are all remote). There’s me and my boss. We usually know whose fault something is, and it’s very clear who has the power.

I was recently reminded of office politics when I visited a client’s site for a project meeting. The guy we spoke with was telling me that we should keep the contents of our meeting confidential because they didn’t want certain “lower” members of the team finding out about it. Not that they were trying to keep secrets, but it was just that “they didn’t need to know” sorta thing.

It was like a cold bucket of water thrown into my face reminding me that while my own office doesn’t have any of the politics, that we work with clients that do.  So we definitely need to be on our toes and once again, try to skirt around the politics. We are just there to do our jobs and move along.

I suppose this is another one of those situations where you don’t hate the player but hate the game. I am definitely not a fan of social politics. I suppose since it’s all around, I’m more of a “social survivalist.” Try to get along with people and don’t rock the boat.

Scarf girl, signing off.

Comments (1)

Face-ful Weddings

One HUGE thing for Chinese people is the issue of “face.” You may have heard the expressions “saving face” or “to lose face.” If you’re not sure what it means, I’d say that it could be compared to your reputation.

Now, for some people, they don’t really care what their reputation is or what others think of them. However, to the more traditional Chinese folk out there, face is extremely important. You never want anything to tarnish your outer appearance, because, while people won’t ever say anything to your face, they will however, talk behind your back.

The issue of face comes up big time when it comes to planning a wedding. For the Chinese families, it’s not that their child is getting married, it’s more like they are marrying off their child. In English, parents would say, “My daughter is getting married.” In Chinese, parents would say, “I’m marrying off my daughter” or “I’m getting a son-in-law.” (it’s something like that).

Because of the family nature of a Chinese wedding, the parents often have a large involvement with their customs and the like. They are the ones who take the fall if the wedding isn’t successful. If the wedding banquet was delicious, they get the credit. If it was horrible, they get the blame. Nevermind that maybe it was the children who picked everything (though chances are, the parents had some say in the major decisions).

One big traditional dished served at many Chinese wedding banquets is the controversial Shark’s Fin Soup. It’s a very pricy dish and often is a way for the parents to “show off” to others that they have money. I’ve also heard that it’s one way to show respect since you’re serving them something so expensive.

One note is that for a wedding banquet, usually the shark’s fin in the soup is a mix of immitation and real fin. Because if it REALLY were the real deal, the banquet menu would cost much much more.

Sidenote: in the more recent years, it’s come into light that the way fisherman acquire the fins is cruel. They catch the shark, cut off its fins and then throw the shark back into the water. Why is this cruel? Well, imagine if someone cut off your arms and your legs and then threw you out into the middle of a freeway, what would happen? You’d pretty much be dead. As the sharks can no longer swim, they kinda sink into the water and get eaten or starve to death.

The reason why I’m writing about this is a friend of mine has been having some issues dealing with her parents regarding the wedding banquet menu. My friend’s fiance is insistent that there be no shark’s fin served at their wedding, however, my friend’s mom is concerned that they (the parents) would lose face in front of their friends and relatives. There’s a continuing battle/discussion/arguement regarding this issue.

I’m not sure how it will go down in the end, but her mom suggested one possibility to serve it to some tables and not others (which means that the fiance’s wishes aren’t respected). Another idea was to serve a big plate of abalone (not the slices), which is also an expensive dish, and can be more expensive than shark’s fin, I think.

They make lists and guides, software even, to help you plan your wedding on-time and within your means. Someone needs to make a guide that gives you advice on how to plan a “Chinese American Wedding,” being born from immigrant parents who brought their traditions with them, that makes you happy and that doesn’t make your parents lose face.

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments (1)

Another UC Fee Hike

I was just browsing on SFGate and there was an article stating the the UC system is proposing to raising tuition. Let’s see, for 2007-2008 it will be about $6,636 (registration & tuition fees only) for one school year.

I decided to look up the historical data for UCB (go bears!), but couldn’t easily find a chart showing the increase of tuition over the years. I googled “UC Berkeley tuition historical data” as well as “UC Berkeley tuition increase data” and other variations, hoping that someone made a chart. Eventually I landed on the UCB Registrar page and it lists the data by year. I’m listing only “University Registration” and “Educational” fees only.

1994-1995: $3,799
1995-1996: $3,799
1996-1997: $3,799
1997-1998: $3,799
1998-1999: $3,609 (-$190) (Gray Davis becomes govna of CA)
1999-2000: $3,429 (-$180)
2000-2001: $3,429
2001-2002: $3,429
2002-2003: $3,564 (+$135) (the Governator takes office in the Fall of ‘03)
2003-2004: $4,984 (+$1,420)
2004-2005: $5,684 (+$700)
2005-2006: $6,141 (+$457)
2006-2007: $6,141
2007-2008: $6,636 (+$495)
Oh.. after further digging, I found myself on the university of california website where I perused the UC Budget document (http://budget.ucop.edu/rbudget/200708/200708-budgetforcurrentoperations.pdf) and found a chart on page 247 (pdf pages) which lists tuition from 1971-2007.

Then for the 2007-2008 fees, I looked up the California Budget on the CA website (yet another long document). I skipped to the Higher Education section and found my information there.

What have I learned from all this? Well, from 10 years ago, the tuition has gone up by 75% ($3,799 to $6,636)! Where on earth did all of the lottery money go?

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments (1)

Tea Snobbiness

I’ve been a tea drinker all my life. Each time my family went to a restaurant, it was a Chinese restaurant, and what did they serve as the beverage? Right, it was tea. Of course, their teapots often was often recycled (most likely), and who knows how many times water has been dumped into it.

So that was my standard for tea growing up. Recycled tea leaves at Chinese restaurants. Then there’s be Lipton tea, which tasted fine to me for many years.

Fast forward to the years after college when I started trying “premium tea” or “monkey picked tea” from restaurants. Their flavors were very crisp and fragrant. I suppose it was a gradual change with me drinking better quality tea over time.

Fast forward to last week, when I went on my cruise. After dinner, they offered coffee or tea, so I decided to order some tea. They brought me a teacup, a personal-sized pot of water, and a selection of Lipton teabags to choose from.

My favorite is green tea, so that’s what I chose. I waited a few minutes for it to brew and *gasp*, it wasn’t very good to me. Somehow I didn’t taste the “green tea-ness” that I usually get out of other tea bags or when I brew my own with leaves at home.

So does this make me a snob? Nah, I’d rather prefer to consider myself as someone who knows what she likes. And Lipton isn’t one of them. Even Bigelow (the stuff often found free at the company’s watercooler), tastes better than Lipton. I might have to make myself a cup of tea soon…
Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments

Feeling Refreshed

So I’ve just returned earlier this evening from my week long jaunt in the Caribbean. Whee! I cruised aboard the Rhapsody of the Seas by Royal Caribbean. I definitely must say that going with a sizeable group of fun friends is the way to go.

We visited 3 ports: Ocho Rios (Jamaica), Georgeown (Cayman Islands), and Cozumel (Mexico). The nicest island is definitely the Cayman Islands, but it’s developing rapidly and in 10 years, that place will be resorty and way overpriced.

I have tons of pics to sort through now… 4gb worth…about 500 photos. Time to get crackin!

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments

Chances at Millions

So recently the Mega Millions jackpot has reached astronomical proportions…namely, over $200 meeelllion dollars. Of course, who can pass up the chance to be a multi-millionaire? Not I, said the fly.

Anyways, upon noticing that the jackpot is so high, J decided to buy a few tickets. First he went to a gas station, but they didn’t sell them. Next, he spotted a 7-Eleven, but alas, they also did not sell them.

I can’t remember going to 7-Eleven in the city that DIDN’T sell Lotto tickets. What’s the deal with that? Where does one go to buy Lotto tickets in the suburbs? While I don’t know the answer, I suspect that the grocery store-anchored shopping centers will have them. I don’t know why, but they seem like they’d most likely have them. Wish me luck!

Of course, if I actually won $200 million dollars, I don’t think I’d spread it around, though I wonder how I’d contain myself… Well, after taxes, it becomes more like $100 million. Not like that’s chump change or anything!

Scarf Girl, signing off.

Comments (3)