Thursday, March 31, 2005

No eating for 10 days...

That's what I did my last year of university when I was 22.

I went to a health food store and picked up the Master Cleanser.

[Warning, if you want to do a fast, follow the book exactly or consult a health expert.]

For 10 days I only drank a mixture composed of a few ingredients. The ones I can remember are freshly squeezed lemon juice, cayenne pepper, and real maple syrup. Whenever you feel hungry just drink the mixture. The first day after going more than 16 hours without food I was quite cranky, but as the days passed I got used to not eating and only drinking the master cleanser drink. There were a few things I noticed during my cleanse:

1. every other t.v. commercial was for food,
2. I was losing about a pound/day and could really notice it in my face,
3. I wasn't eating, but I was still going to the washroom (scary stuff, but kind of the whole point of doing the cleanse),
4. I missed the sensation of chewing,
5. I still had lots of energy, and attended classes, did sports as usual.

Besides the master cleanser drink, very quickly drinking 500ml of lukewarm water with sea salt in the morning was an optional activity. One morning after chugging down the lukewarm sea salt water (not easy, and tastes about as good as it sounds) and then half an hour later going to the washroom and seeing the sea salt water again only a different hue, though effective, I decided to pass on further optional activities.

After completing the 10th day I followed the book's instructions and eased off the fast. I began by drinking orange juice, then soup, and then slowly began eating "softer" solid foods. After 10 days my system had adjusted to the fluid-only diet, and if I went straight back to solid foods I would probably make myself very ill.

It's almost been 10 years and I'd really like to do it again, but I have a hard enough time getting Griffon to eat as it is and if he saw I wasn't eating, well...

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Presentation Day

Today I presented in front of a relatively large (for me, 40+) audience. A little nerve-wracking in the beginning, but once things got underway started to feel more comfortable and could have more fun with the material. The guy I was presenting with is probably among the best, if not the best presenter Trend has (unrelated note, they've updated the exec pics on our Web site, I'll have to give him a hard time about his when I see him next). On the one hand it's good because observing him in action you can learn buckets full. On the other hand, anyone who presents after him appears weak in comparison.

Overall definitely a solid learning experience. I handed out feedback forms and after read over the comments and searched for patterns in the data. After a rough analysis and along with comments, I identified things I can work on for the next presentation (which I'm looking forward to, by the way)...

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Struck by scooter

Tonight, while walking home in the rain carrying Anna in one hand and an umbrella in the other, I felt something hit my left arm and saw the flash of a yellow rain jacket go by.

The rider (license: TYI 331) looked back and then kept going. Luckily the impact was light and Anna was fine. Perhaps it was difficult to see me, I was wearing a black jacket and it's raining heavily. But he felt the impact and even turned his head, and saw me. May be he thought it wasn't that serious so he decided to keep going. Disappointing.

It's probably a good thing he didn't return at that moment as I was pretty steamed. Actually since my hands were both occupied, unless he came close enough for me to head butt him (act deaf and keep moving toward him) I'm not sure what I would have done. Probably practice my "interesting" Chinese, and Taiwanese...

Sunday, March 27, 2005

According to Griffon a "T".

P3260031, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

A slice of Kending on Taiwan's north-east coast

P3270102, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

It's always nice to find a place you've never been. It's even better when that place is a beach with only a handful of people.

Sunday on our way to Wanli, Kate suggested we take a different route. On the way she spotted a beach that is somewhat hidden from the highway. We made a quick left and there it was, a small slice of Kending on the north east coast without the tourists and food stalls. Clean water, relatively clean lower-half of the beach, and practically no other people. Griffon had a blast.

As long as the weather cooperates we'll be going to this place many a weekend before the secret's out and it turns into another Jin Gua Shi.

Anna in a good mood

P3260022, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

Here are a few shots of Anna in a good mood. Actually she's in a good mood most of the time.

Click the picture and a new window appears. To see all the pictures, click the Anna Set link in the new window.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Online photo sharing service, consider Flickr

If you're interested in sharing photos and not sure what service to use, consider, a Canadian company. It's also a neat place just to browse and see other pictures people have made public. You can narrow down the browsing by choosing a tag the owner has used to identify the picture.

Recently they were acquired by Yahoo so now might be a time to pay the money and get a pro membership (like me).

I personally have no stake in flickr other than being impressed so far.

Anna official photo

Anna official photo
Anna official photo, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

Here's an "official" photo of Anna we'll use to apply for certain documents.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Singapore- 2005.03


P3140017, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

120 days old? Here's your cookie necklace

On Wednesday Anna turned 4 months old. And when a baby turns four months old there's a Chinese custom that goes something like this:

1. Make a cookie necklace by taking a piece of string and finding donut-shaped cookies. If such cookies cannot be found, use Digestive cookies and poke holes in them (warning, high defect rate).

2. Place cookie necklace over head of 4-month old baby.

3. Take aforementioned baby to relatives. Relatives will then, a. break off a cookie, b. with cookie halves, gently swipe the baby's cheeks, c. say poetic words or proverbs, d. eat cookie halves.

I read nowadays this custom is rarely practiced in Taiwan. I remember asking Taiwanese friends and co-workers about this custom when Griffon turned 4 months old, but they had no idea what I was talking about.

When asked about the reason behind the custom, was told had something to do with preventing the baby from drooling too much. I guess if one thinks about it, this is the age about when babies start teething so perhap a long, long, long time ago when a baby was drooling buckets, some relative got the idea to soak up the drool with some cookies and... a custom was born.

3 down, 1 to go pic

SY-Engage, originally uploaded by jdgemm.

Monday, March 21, 2005

3 down, 1 to go

Last Sunday I attended Kate's sister's engagement ceremony. She is the youngest sister and since Kate's other sister is already married, Kate's brother remains as the only one without forseeable wedding plans.

In Taiwan engagement ceremonies typically have the groom-to-be (gtb) and his family arriving at the bride-to-be's (btb) home, along with family and friends from the btb's family. The gtb and his family's arrival is announced with large firecrackers (most likely to scare away evil spirits).

Unfortunately I missed out the beginning of the ceremony because Anna was still sleeping and it was my job to bring her over later. However, based on my own experience it probably played out something like this: the gtb and his family are seated and served special tea by an elderly, respected member from the btb's family. In this case it would be the eldest Aunt on her father's side. The btb is dressed in beautiful clothes and seated on a tall stool in front of everyone. Her feet rest on a shorter stool. Back straight, shoulders back, and wide smile.

Jewelry is given to the btb from the gtb and his family. This is followed by the offer of bridewealth to the btb's family and the "6 big gifts". These days most people politely refuse the bridewealth, though some still accept which is well within their rights. In addition, the gtb's family also needs to prepare the engagement cookies.

The event was an emotional moment for everyone, especially Kate's father as he is "losing a daughter". Although the thinking for young, modern Taiwanese has changed, for the older generation the daughter now "belongs" to another family. Among the many concerns for young btbs, a reasonable, easy to get along with mother-in-law ranks very high.

After pictures were taken, everyone went to the wedding hall for lunch.
To be coninuted...

Sunday, March 20, 2005

FORTUNE 75 recommended reading list.

Go here.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

So long Singapore

Typing this from Singapore Airport so need to be brief. For some reason I didn't receive the wake up call, but still arrived with an hour to spare before take off.

Last night visited the Singapore Night Safari. Previously I had surveyed lots of people both locals and visitors about whether it was worth it. Most of the locals basically said it wasn't worth it while the visitors told me to go. An Australian told me in all his travels it was the best thing he had ever seen.

I'm glad I went, but not sure I would rank it among the best things I'd ever seen. The tiger and leopard are touted as the prize attractions, but for me the highlight was the bats. After passing several warning signs that basically say "If you are scared of bats you shouldn't enter!" you come to an enclosed area and can see these huge, beautiful creatures. You can get as close to them as you dare as they are just hanging upside down from trees crawling slowly around. Quite amazing.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Eating in Singapore

Whenever I'm in a new place and choosing somewhere to eat I use a couple of criteria: 1. are there lots of people, and 2. are they locals? If I get a yes to both of those questions, I reason it must be a fairly safe choice. And if they have a sign in the window that says "Est. 1942" all the better. Komala Vilas, a small Indian restaurant had all three. About a stone's throw from the Tekka Market, Komala has delicious, authentic Indian food.

Last night, originally I had planned on eating at the Tekka Market in Little India, but after a couple of trips around the market decided to take a pass. Lucky for me. There were helpful pictures on the wall, so while attempting to say the name, I pointed to the picture on the wall.

In a crowded Indian restaurant, it felt a little funny to be the only non-Indian patron. No one bothered me, but felt a little funny all the same.

Last night had dinner with some classmates. We went to this place called Newport. Basically, sit where you want outside and then go to the different stalls and order. It's funny to hear that the Simpsons is also big in Australia. One of the guys did a spot on impersonation of Krusty the Clown.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Advanced Channel Workshop- Completed!

After two days have completed the Advanced Channel Workshop (and I have the certificate to prove it :)). Learned a lot and still wrapping my head around key things he kept hammering into us. The materials they provide are very solid and will provide as good reference material.

Have to really hand it to Bruce (trainer). He delivered the training with as much enthusiasm and energy on the 16th hour as he did the first hour. Don't know how he does it. Took a picture with him after the workshop ended and also helped the Citrix team take a group photo. This time to change things up, decided to take the MRT back to the hotel. Unlike Taipei, after you reach your destination, you need to return the card to the machine to receive your deposit. Definitely more hassle for user than Taipei MRT.

Last night walked to China town and took in some of the sights. It was interesting to see the old colonial-style buildings. Tonight I'm off to see Little India and eat some delicious Indian food.

Monday, March 14, 2005

First day in Singapore

Arrived last night. Near the arrival doors in the airport there is a big Singapore Tourist center with lots of free information. Very helpful. I exchanged some money thinking the hotel would have a better rate. Wrong. So need to got to money exchanger tonight. Singapore's not cheap.

From the airport took hotel shuttle bus (SG $7). Hotel shuttle is significantly cheaper than usual taxi, but if there's lot of other passengers you could end up taking twice the amount of time a regular taxi would take. However, you also get a "free tour" and meet other people. There was a guy there visiting from Kamploops, B.C. Small world. Ended up getting in well past dark so last night just ended up checking in, and reviewing pre-read materials for the training (receiving, not giving).

Today arrived bright and early for the continental breakfast before the training started (9:00 AM show time). The instructor is another Canadian from Vancouver. Quite cool considering he's a world-class trainer and quite sought after. Our class had approx. 30 students with people from Cisco, Avaya, IBM, Hitachi, and other not-so-famous companies (no other security vendors). Mostly people are from Australia, and other countries from South-East Asia. I'm the only one from Taiwan.

Bruce (trainer) does funny physical things during the training, for instance when he's talking about channel partners being "horizontal" he'll lay on the ground; when he describes product managers launching products he'll cover his eyes and toss things over his back; when he describes pms bringing new offerings to channel partners, like the easter bunny, he'll prance and skip around like the easter bunny.

I was surprised he was using overheads as opposed to a project/ppt combination. Reminds me of being back in university.

Well off to walk around an do the tourist thing...

Friday, March 11, 2005

Yoga: the ultimate masochistic activity

One of the nice benefits at the Trend Micro Taiwan office is yoga lessons. Every day during lunch hours a yoga teacher comes in and we stretch, pull, and push for about an hour and a half. In addition to the teacher, they also renovated a room and added mirrors and bars (for you TW BU trenders it's on the 9th floor, as enter, take a left).

It dawned on me sometime ago that yoga is the ultimate masochistic activity. No matter how good you get, you can always stetch a bit further. No matter how flexible you become, there will still be positions that let you discover your unflexible areas. Being a naturally unflexible person (physically, not personality wise), it's doubly worse for me.

I have been a yoga club member for around a year, attending off and on (the previous few months more off than on). I used to try and convince others to go with the following reasons (but gave up): good for your body (especially considering we hunch over keyboards all day), super convenient (take an elevator and you're there), and free, free, free (as in no money down, no monthly installments). Just show up with sweats and a towel and you're good to stretch.

Lately I've been attending more (new year's resolution kicking in) and this week attended the maximum number of classes for men (Mon, Wed, Fri; Tues and Thurs women only please).

There is one stretch where we sit on the floor with our legs spread and our hands splayed in front of us, head up. The teacher comes by and pushes on your back to help you stretch in one of two ways: 1. hops on your back and bounces up and down pushing with her knees (the nice way) or 2. supports herself with her back to the wall and drives down with her feet on your back (the not-so-nice way).

Usually the teacher is good at judging how much force to exert, but today perhaps because I had gone 3 times this week, she used the #2 way to push my back and after a couple good lunges (picture kickstarting an oversized Harley with 2 legs) a loud "POP" sound came from the area of my hip flexor rotator something or other. Ouch...

Now I get up and sit down like I'm in the latter part of my golden years. Where's my Ben Gay?

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Trend Micro and NETGEAR Join Forces to Deliver Integrated Network Security for Homes and Small Business

Read about it here and here.

Watch Oscar -Winning Short Film Ryan on Sundance Channel Q3

Ryan won the 2005 Academy Award for Best Short Film (Animated) and is directed by Canadian Chris Landreth. Full story...

Ryan, directed by Chris Landreth, is based on the life of Canadian animator Ryan Larkin. Thirty years ago, at the National Film Board of Canada, Larkin produced some of the most influential animated films of his time. Today, he lives on welfare and panhandles for spare change in downtown Montreal. Landreth's film explores Larkin's evolution from artistic genius to poverty.

Organizing digital photos on your PC

I've tried lots of free or bundled software for organizing digital pictures and the hands down winner is Picasa which is free from Google.

Simple interface, and does a good job of organizing and displaying the pictures. Also has a nice set of tools to perform simple tweaks of pictures for example, cropping, removing red eye, etc.

Off to Singapore

A few more days and I'm off to Singapore (first time) to do some training. I've always associated the words "clean" and "hot" with Singapore. When my friend told me many moons ago that chewing gum in Singapore was illegal I seem to remember not believing him.

If Singapore is the Lion City and Hong Kong is the Pearl of the Orient, what's Taipei? Think the tourism people need to work on that one.

One way to quickly find out about a place is to read what others are saying. Here's a travel forum called the Thorn Tree provided by Lonely Planet. Besides forums based on location they also include ones such as: on your bike, older travellers, travelling with kids, women travellers, etc.

After a quick browse of Singapore-related posts could find out: where's a good place for storage, where to buy cameras, cheapest flight Singapore > Sydney, etc. Best to be very specific with your search key word. For example, "Singapore" produces 386 results, while "Singapore Night Life" produces 156. After all the training does finish in the afternoon...

Excel tip/tutorial: How to use PivotTables

For Excel users, this is a good tip/tutorial from Microsoft.

With PivotTables, you can quickly turn rows of data, such as sales information or inventory figures, into summary reports. Once you have the summary, you can then change the format to create other reports or summaries.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Proud to be a Canadian?

From Japan Today:

These Canadian-made fake "nipple enhancers" are all the rage right now in Japan, despite basically being a summer item. Retailers can't keep up with demand.

Farewell Phoebe, We'll Miss You

Standard procedure for seeing off a departing Trender at the Taiwan BU is to take them to KTV (karoke). Rather than having to go to a restaurant, a bar, and then a place to sing, everything's taken care of in one convenient location.

Food is not so hot, and the beer is suspiciously light tasting (read: watered down), but hey the music selection is extensive and plenty of microphones to go around.

Over the years I've observed that KTV sessions follow a similar pattern. The stronger singers end up dominating the mics in the beginning. After the beer and other beverages start to flow, other not-so-strong singers get braver and start to sing. By the end, all the closet singers are out bellowing with the best of them (some surprisingly good, others...).

I did a haunting rendition (interpret anyway you like) of Sandy Lam's (林憶蓮) Fly Far Away (遠走高飛). No matter how hard they try, I don't think anyone who was there will easily forget that performance.

I bought our dearly departing co-worker some "special" gifts: deck of cards, mask, and some oil :). Enjoy Europe!

Canadian Film Festival in Taipei 03/25 to 04/03

More information on the Canadian Trade Office Web site.

The link to the Spot Theatre on CTO Web site is incorrect.

Friends in the news

Here's a funny story (Chinese) hinting that Chrissy 劉慧君 (assistant) and Jonathan 李宗盛 are an item.

Pretty ridiculous...