Monday, July 30, 2007

Guess Which Houses of Hogwarts I Got Sorted To?


OK. I guess I am trying to act like a smart a** usually based on this sorting test!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Weekend and Movie - Sunshine

It is the weekend again. Finally, got more phone calls from more companies. It seems that the vacation is over for most of the people so I start to get the phone call for interview. Hope that something good will come up soon.

Saw the movie, "Sunshine". It is a sci-fi movie from the director of "28 Days Later". The main storyline is evolved around the crisis of the dying sun. The earth is almost fading into the ice age again due to the fact that the sun decays its solar power dramatically. The first team of astronauts failed the mission to reach the sun. Seven years later, another team of astronauts is sent to deliver a bomb with the size of Manhattan to revive the sun. During the trip, different things happens and they have to approach the first failure spaceship to acquire some materials. And it leads to the big surprise ending.

The pace of the movie is a little bit slow until the second half of the movie. The visual effect is very good and realistic. You will find out the influence or director's paying respect to "2001: A Space Odyssey " all over the film. There are some problems about explaining some facts about the sun dying effects and the incidence at the last part of the film. I am not sure if that's director's art expression or just the problem of editing the film. Overall, I think it is worth seeing.

I am surprised to know that the box office was not that good when it was shown in Europe earlier this year. It is actually quite entertaining if you are a hard-core sci-fi fan.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Harry Potter! Movie 5 and Book 7!

OK, I will have to call this past weekend "my Harry Potter weekend". In addition to going to the see the "Order of the Phoenix" movie, I also got to join the crowd and read the final book "Deathly Hallows". I definitely had my fix of the year for Harry Potter.

Let's start from the movie, "Order of the Phoenix". I was really surprised that they were able to pack that thick book into a 2-hour so movie. Lots of stuffs were cut out and the movie became a little bit not very fluent. It did explain and introduce most of the important characters and story lines. However, it seemed that the whole movie was consisted of multiple pieces small films. Sometimes, it felt that lots of fillers were put in the movie and awkward between major scenes. For the audience who have not read the book, I would imagine they got to have a hard time to know what was going on by watching this movie. The special effect was good and the acting was alright. It was amazed to see that all 3 leading cast grow up so much and all look adults now. I like the movie but just do not feel completely happy about it.

I knew that the book would be sold out on Saturday so I even did not bother to wait in lint to buy it. But at the same time, I do know some friends who will do whatever it takes to get the book on Friday midnight and finish reading it before the dawn of Saturday morning. So, I made an effort to call and visit them and borrow the book and finish reading myself before Sunday night.

It is a very interesting book. Lots of twists and surprise. And I can tell that Ms. Rowling really want to finish off the series by killing lots of characters and arranging lots of magic duet to the death in this final book. Personally, I don't really like the happy ending but it is a children book series so I will accept the happily ever ending. Now it will be interesting to see how much money the movie studio will spend on adapting this last book into the movie.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My Weight Lifting Story (Part I)

Looks like that lots of people are heading back to the gym and lift weights recently, e.g. Rob and Moby. Compared to those big boys, I am just a small guy. However, I have been doing the weight training for more than 10 years now and I have been known pretty strong in my size . I weigh about 165lb and can flat bench 235lb and squat 350 lb easily for 5 reps. By the way, that's just a teasing pose picture of me.

I was always just average build when I was a kid. I came from a military family and one of my uncles was a police officer(now a sheriff) so there was no lack of physical act ivies/training since I was young. I have been trained in different form of martial arts since I was 5 years old: judo, shoaling boxing, self-defense, ground wrestling, etc. Especially, when I joined army later, there was just endless physical training such as the daily 5-mile run. But as you can imagine, most of those are cardio stuff. I was built more like a Bruce Lee kind of slim tight body. I always wondered how did those guys in American movies and TV series could get those big arms and chest (later I know, it is part of gene, too!)

There was actually no weight lifting facility back then and nobody knew what a "gym" was back home. There were some bodybuilders and weightlifters training in some personal basement or warehouse setup but it was hard to locate those places and most of them were not open to public. So, martial arts and 100 push-ups and 100 sit-ups per day were the main exercise I did back in my teens and army days.

Then, I decided to come to US to attend the college. That's how I started to get into the weight lifting. Lunch time! To be continued....

Monday, July 16, 2007

Cakes For Twin Girls!

The weather was really nice on this past weekend for my friends' 5-year-old twin girls birthday. I made 2 lemon cakes with vanllina frosting (tea pot cake) and the chocaloate cream chees frosting. Everybody seems to like both cakes. not surprisingly, the kids were more interested in the candies and the frostings than the cake itself.

We then let the girsl go outside to ride on their birthday gifts - new bikes. They had a good time and we all got some sun tan by sitting under the sun.
Got a phone call from a close friend last night and she offered to send out some e-mails for some possible contract jobs. Hope that something will come up soon. It just seems that lots of people are on vacation during this time of the year so it really take a long time to hear back from all the companies.

By the way, happy birthday to Bigg! I would make a cake for him if he lived closer and requested it!

Thursday, July 12, 2007


After waiting for a week to escape the July 4th crowd in the movie theater, I finally got a chance to see the "Transformers" yesterday. Wow, what a great movie! I will give it 5 stars out of 5!

It really surpassed my expectation. The CGI effects were just amazing. The robots' metal surface just looked so real that it was hard to believe that it was computer generated. Of course, the transforming process was so fast and complicated that I could barely have time to catch 40% of it. Michael Bay's usual fast-paced explosion filming style proves to work for this kind of the movie again. The acting and script both worked very well. It really did not have any slow point in the movie that the 2 hour 30 minute movie time just passed fast!

It did bring back a lot of my childhood memory. I used to watch the cartoon series and memorized all the characters and got several robot toys. I was always fascinated by the way that the cars/planes transforming into robots. I think that's what make me become a engineering geek. :)

The movies does make some changes compared to the original cartoon/comic series. For examples, the Megatron now transforms into a fighter jet. It used to transform into a gun. The explanation is that the Hasbro has concerns of making a toy gun based on Megatron since it's illegal to make gun shape toys in many countries. Of course, now all the cars are GM manufactured. Bet GM paid big bucks for that. So, Bumblebee is a Camaro now (1974 then 2009). The robots do not have the human faces anymore, which made them look even more realistic. I absolutely love it! It will be very interesting to find out how they came up with the concepts of transforming. I heard that they were using a math equation to calculate the transforming process. Maybe I should apply for a job at Lucas' Light&Magic.

I still regret sometime about my mistake many years ago to reject a job offer from a then small starting animation company to make movies about a story of some toys actually were alive and a clown fish searching its lost son Ne_ _. I was asked to help come up some computer algorithms to simulate the movements of fish/creatures under water and the water flowing effects. I was just too chicken to jump in a start-up, instead, I chose the big "G" in medical diagnostic equipment company. Man, sometimes I do wonder where I will be and what kind of life I will have now if I took the risk to accept that job in Pi_ _ _. Just like Tony's post, life is just tricky, isn't it?

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Job Hunting and Summer Lilies

Got another phone interview this morning from a local company. It was more like an initial information collection with a human resource person. I still have to wait to see if the hiring manager will call back to have further interview. I guess this is just a slow time of the year for hiring since the kids are out of school and lots of people are on vacation or attending different events.

There are just not many hi-tech companies in this area. Most of the time, I feel that I am over-qualified for lots of the local jobs. Who knows that a doctorate degree will cause such a scenario? But I still do not want to apply for a faculty job in college/university. I had enough of the academy ugly fighting under the table, between professors and researchers. It was worse for those really famous faculty members in the really famous schools. Just don't want to go back to those days again. So, I will continue to search something locally. However, I might get an interview with Google! But it is in California so I don't think it will go anywhere anyway.

Besides the job hunting, I got some time to enjoy the garden flowers more. All the Orienpet Lilies and Daylilies in the garden start to bloom. They are very showy and have some fragrant, which take my mind off the job hunting temporarily.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Dino Cake!

On this past weekend, I went into the birthday party of my friends' 7-year-old son. It was held in a martial art place that he went to practice 3 times a week. It was a very nice setup and the instructors there really knew how to deal with the kids. The party turned out well and there were about 15 kids ranging from 5 to 8 years old. They had a good time.
I made the dino cake for the kid. It was a vanilla cake with the vanilla cream frosting. Also, I made some cupcakes from the leftover of the dino cake. I enjoyed the party even though it was a little bit noisy when you had 15 screaming kids in a room. At least, it was inside an air-conditioned room instead the 105'F outdoor!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Cake Time Again!

It seems that the summer is my busy time to make the cake for everybody's birthday. I made this angle food cake with vanilla frosting for the birthday of my best friend's mom. It is the first time I use the commerical buttercream frosting to make the 2-tone roses for decorating the cake.

Next: A dino cake for my friend's kid, 7-year old boy b-day party!

Friday, July 6, 2007

What Would I Look Like in The Simpson?

Saw this from Bigg and I just have to do it for myself. Here you go: this will be me in Simpson!

p.s. Just enter the Simpson movie website and create your own avatar!

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Happy July 4th!

Happy July 4th! There was a nice big fireworks in the lakefront last night even though it was thundering, lighting and raining (you cannot tell from the picture taken by a local newspaper reporter). Really surprise that they did not delay it to tonight for that bad weather. Happy 4th!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Me And The Summerfest

The first time I came to Milwaukee was back to the summer of 1997. I was offered an intern job in Milwaukee during that summer. As a southern boy in Florida, I have never heard about this city.

The job was very interesting and we had a group of 60-70 interns all lived in UW-Milwaukee's dorm. And as you can imagine, we all went out after the work. And that was the first time I was introduced to the world's biggest and great music festival, Summerfest. It attracts more than one million people during its annual 11-day stop at Milwaukee's Lakefront.

I still remember that a bunch of us wented into the festival ground around noon time to get the free hand stamp so we could get into the Tina Turner's concert for the free grass seat. It was a lot of fun and beer drink for sure. Then, I went back to Florida and finish the school in the following year. I was then offered a job in big "G" so I moved to Wisconsin and saw the snow the first time in my life that year. That is another story I will leave it later.

Since then, I have been to Summerfest almost every year. Part of it is for the great music, part of it is due to my volunteer work for American Red Cross in the festival. I have been voluteered for Red Cross as a first aid provider for years. Red Cross provides trained volunteer staff in the first aid station at the festival ground. Usually, it is a very nice festival and you get to see quite a nice lineup of different performances from 11 different stages. However, "music+beer" in a long hot summer day/night, some people just cannot control their own behaviors. I have been called to assist multiple fight/injury incidences during the festivals. Most of the time, it is always the small thing such as "you spill the beer on me", "you push my girlfriend", or "that's my place on the picnic table!". As you can see from the picture above, it is always crowed and of course the push and shuffle accidents happened. But the alchol just let loose some people's temper and self-control.

I remeber that I was called to scene to take care of the injury from a fight. When I got to there, both guys had been separated by the securities. One guy covered his mouth with his hand and the blood was coming through the fingers. His opponent had the right hand wrapped in a paper towel. I guess you might think that the bleeding guy was the one who got hurt worse. At least, that was what I thought back then. I went to take care the hand over mouth bleeding guy first. Apparently, his opponent landed a punch right on his mouth while he was cursing back. He lost the two front teeth. Strange thing was that none of either teeth was broken. They were ripped off the gum (I will save you some bloody images). Anyway, some ice and gause to take care of him first. Then, I went to check on the paper towl on right hand guy, A.K.A, the one who punched the teeth off his opponent guy. When I removed the paper towel, I saw those two front teeth from the other guy embedded into the back of his right hand just like a pair of piercing rings. They were so deeply cut into the hand that I could see some white tissues. And he had some problem to move his fingers. The nerve evidently got pushed or damaged by the teeth. So the one who seemed to win the fight actually got hurt worse. They both got sent to the hospital immediately.

Not sure why I ended of writing so much about that incidence. It just seems that there are always people having way too much fun and completely forgetting about anything else. Aw, well, I am heading back to the job search and down to the festival ground to volunteer this afternoon. Chao!