Monday, April 30, 2007

Hair-Cut or Double Salvo

Athletic Bilbao 1 - 4 Real Madrid!!!!

Which means now-third-place Real Madrid has a shot to keep up with Barcelona for their first title in four years.

I'm not really a Real Madrid fan. Though I used to love Beckham, umm... which was about in the last centry, but anyway, the only reason why I keep an eye on Real Madrid is Ruud van Nistelrooy. And it's worth mentioning (or not) that Beckham's luck seems to be turning with yet a new hair-cut: he helped Juan Ramos the first goal at about 15 minutes with his trademark free-kick from the right wing. Then my favorite van Nistelrooy scored a brace with almost exactly the same tactics, just beautiful! Cheers, mate!

Also worth mentioning is Cicinho, who is, I feel the second hero of the game (after van Nistelrooy, of course). It's just hard to believe Real Madrid can win a game this brilliantly under Capello. (Oh man, I hate this guy!)

By the way, Inter Milan, thanks to Julio Ricardo Cruz, Alvaro Recoba and Dejan Stankovic, just won Empoli 3 - 1 on Sunday!

7 Reasons for Hating My University

1. Construction
They started the construction of the new stadium over a year ago, digging here and there, slaughtering trees, creating waste, dust, and noise. Hate it, hate it, HATE it.

2. GPA system, or rather the lack of it
Can't you even believe that, a top university without a standardized GPA system? Every time I apply to something that needed a transcript and GPA, I have to calculate it and draw the graphic sheet myself.

3. Selective courses, or rather the monotony of them
Go head, select 2 courses among 14, which, I might add, are largely the same. No chemistry, no physics, no art, no musical, purely economical or political or history of one civilization or the other.

4. Bureaucracy
You can never get anything done without four or five signatures: tutor, head tutor, head of the department, head of another department that is slightly related to what you want to achieve, head of the student office, etc, etc. And yeah, even if you have been preparing for the "Spring" Concert for one year, if the president of the university is out on business, you have to wait until he comes back to put on the show, even if it means at least a hundred students' schedule would have to be changed and that the time clashes with their final exams or abroad programs or whatever.

5. Conservatism
If you come back dorm after curfew, which is 11:30 PM, you are dead. If you come back with a guy and as it happens a teacher witnessed he taking off his coat putting it on you because of the chilliness, you are extra-dead. It is not only "highly inappropriate", but also (if you are unfortunate enough to be the president of student union) means you are "setting up a bad example for the fellow students". And if you are not well-tempered enough to keep your head low while hearing these ridiculous comments but instead asked to resign, DOOM, "Self-examine yourself! Write a letter of contemplation of at least 10,000 words!"

6. Freedom, a vacuumed space of
Essay mentioning the 1989 massacre, censored.

7. Flexibility, Zero
You think you are so great that you are accept in all the most competitive programs you applied and are invited to some of the most important competitions in the world and you can just go and leaving the tedious, suffocating, retarded schoolwork to when you come back? NO WAY! You gotta stay where you are, correcting your teacher when she mispronounce "maneuver" or claim Woodrow Wilson is the twenty-sixth president of the US. Even you get 100 in the exam, you've got to stick around and (most importantly) stay awake when your teacher spent 4 hours to explain it.

Classical Music on Youtube (Part 2)

Mstislav Rostropovich plays Dvorak Cello Concerto

In memory of the great cellist-conductor, who passed away last week.

(6 parts, this may take a while to load, but I promise it's totally worth it.)

















Alex (Amsterdam) recommended these: (Thanks!)

Yann Tiersen plays Le Moulin



Yann Tiersen plays Comptine d'un autre été L'après midi

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The End of Heroism?

Writing Assignment - Argumentative Essay - Topic: Heroes and Icons

So it is said, we are living in a world without heroism. They say the world today has no need for heroes and no place for them either. Or, does it? On April 16, a tragedy witnessed a hero: Professor Liviu Librescu, a 76-year-old Holocaust survivor, threw himself in front of the murderer and saved the lives of his students. His act of bravery brings the matter of heroism to light again.

To begin the argument about the need for heroism, one must first define what heroism is. If it is the magnificent being of an absolute superior such as Alexandra the Great or Napoleon Bonaparte, then it is true that the time for heroism has long passed, but individuals such as Liviu Librescu redefined the heroism of our time. Rather than being something we hold in awe, heroism has become an inspiration.

We need this inspiration because we are “weak”. We are losing ourselves in a world where materialism and individualism prevail; we have become more and more self-centric. A common street scene would be a circle of spectators gathering around a hit-and-run victim but none of them would have the incentive to send the victim to the hospital. When asked why not do so, they are most likely to answer: “The others didn't do it, why me?” or “What if the hospital demands me to pay the medical bill?” as if such answers justify what is really indifference and low-morality. Human relationship has become a reciprocal one. It is increasingly difficult for people to trust others and to be trusted. In such times, heroism is most critical for it wakes “the indifferent” and imbues people with faith and confidence in their peers.

We need this inspiration because we are, after all, hopeful. Despite the fact that 560 people have been dying in Iraq every day, equivalent to one death every three minutes , despite the 200,000 deaths caused by the conflicts in the western region of Sudan , people are still hopeful to the future. In fact, the more hostile the world seems, the more in need people are of heroes. Moreover, in situations like this, some people become what they've never thought they could be. They stand up to the challenge and respond with great courage and dignity. Think about the man who dived three times into the water to save two strangers; think about the firemen on Ground Zero on that fateful day; think about the construction workers on the highest railroad in the world. If the world is a cruel one, we can only respond to it with a hopeful heart.

Spiderman is not going to save us. Liviu Librescu may. So long as the earth spins, we still need heroes.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Why Jon Stewart Should be President

Senator John McCain was on Comedy Central's The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Tuesday. Here is where you clearly see why Jon Stewart should be president.

Here is the video, from Comedy Central's MotherLoad:




Here's some highlights from the interview, from LincMad.blogspot.com.

Stewart: Can we describe this as won or lost? Even the President has said this isn't the kind of war you win and people surrender on a battleship. Shouldn't we get away from the language of "win or lose" in Iraq and get more to (Success.) a descriptive kind of success, with metrics — deadlines, if you will, timetables?

Stewart: But that assumes we're fighting one enemy; they're fighting each other. It's not. We're there keeping them from killing each other. Surrender is not — we're not "surrendering" to an enemy that has "defeated" us, we're saying, "How do you quell a civil war when it's not your country?"

Stewart: Here's my next bugaboo: supporting the troops. They say that asking for a timetable or criticizing the President is not supporting the troops. Explain to me why that is supporting the troops less than extending their tours of duty from 12 months to 15 months, putting them in stop loss, and not having Walter Reed be up to snuff. How can the President justify that? How can he have the balls to justify that?

Stewart: All I'm saying is, you cannot look a soldier in the eye and say, "Questioning the President is less supportive to you than extending your tour 3 months, when you should be coming home to your family." And that's not fair to put on people that criticize. (Jon —) And you know I love you, and I respect your service, and would never question any of that, and this is not about questioning the troops and their ability to fight and their ability to be supported, and that is what the administration does, and that is almost criminal.

Amazing Wall Paintings















20 things you never knew about Sgt. Pepper

From: Guardian Unlimited
Sunday April 22, 2007
Observer Music Monthly


1. How 'Lucy in the Sky' got its name

Both Lennon and McCartney insisted that 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' - which just happens to spell L-S-D - accompanied a drawing by John's son, Julian. The story, as told by Beatle sidekick Mal Evans, first appeared in the June 1967 Beatles Monthly. 'Julian brought home a painting he'd done at school and his father asked him what it was supposed to be. "It's Lucy in the sky with diamonds," explained Julian.' McCartney in his autobiography (Many Years From Now) suggests that John actually 'showed me a drawing on school paper ... of a little girl with lots of stars, and right across the top there was written "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds".'

However, Julian was barely three-and-a-half years old when he supposedly began entitling his early visual work. When what appeared to be the very drawing was reproduced in Steve Turner's Hard Day's Write (1994), there was no such handwriting, neat or otherwise. But then, the illustration in question had already been rejected by Christie's, to whom it was offered for auction, because their Beatles expert simply didn't believe it was genuine. But if the drawing proved elusive, Lucy did not. Lucy O'Donnell lived in Weybridge, and attended the same school as Julian. Her name always featured in the song, if we can believe a first-hand account of a session at Abbey Road on 28 February from Life reporter Thomas Thompson. 'It is now almost midnight in the recording studio and after four hours of assault, "Lucy in the Sky ..." still sounds quite terrible. [But by] the bone-weary hour of 2am, "Lucy with the Diamond Eyes" is beginning to take shape.' By the time Thompson's article appeared, in the June 16 edition of Life, everyone knew the song as 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds', but his 'slip of the pen' appeared in the weekly unamended. However, that song title would have spelt LDE!


2. Paul hadn't taken LSD when he wrote 'Lucy'

The song as we know it was recorded on 1 March, 1967 at Abbey Road. However, the first time Paul took a trip was on the evening of 21 March, when he and George were obliged to usher John down from the roof of Abbey Road after he 'accidentally' ingested a tab of acid. In solidarity, Paul returned home with John, and shared the experience. Within a couple of months he was telling the People: 'It was truly a religious experience. I had never realised what people were talking about when they said God is within you.'


3. Noddy was in the studio next door ...

Wolverhampton band the 'N Betweens couldn't figure out what the surreal noises from across the hall presaged. The singer, Noddy Holder, right, remembers hearing 'snatches of these weird sounds coming out' and wondering, 'What the hell are they playing at?'

He was not alone in expressing such concerns. When a reporter from Beat Instrumental came to the studio one night, he found that 'George Martin spent half an hour, before the Beatles arrived, dropping spoons, pennies, and any other object he could think of into a large cauldron of water ... [and] the resulting splonks and plops would be recorded.' Holder and co changed their name to Ambrose Slade, before dropping the Ambrose, and becoming the biggest selling singles act since, er, the Beatles.


4. Paul's links with Pink Floyd

McCartney popped in on a number of Floyd sessions across the hall in the four weeks preceding the fabled 'first' meeting between the two bands on 21 March. He had many connections with the Floyd. He had attended the Roundhouse show in October 1966 that had launched the band's career; and had become a regular at their weekly residency at the UFO club that winter. And when the Beatles' old engineer, Norman Smith, started working with Floyd on Piper at the Gates of Dawn in February 1967, he joined IT editor and fellow Floyd fan, Miles, in stopping by to say hi.

Miles remembers 'going to a Beatles recording session, and [seeing] one of the Floyd's roadies, and he said they were recording there. I think the first time any of the Beatles went to see them in the studio was when I took Paul through ... They were standing in the studio, shouting at the control booth window, because they didn't realise you could just talk into a live mike, and Paul was trying to make them feel at home.'

McCartney continued to check out what the Floyd were doing to their songs and the EMI equipment (they apparently blew out four microphones that first night because they insisted on playing at the same deafening volume at which they performed live).


5. George's missing track

George Harrison's 'Only a Northern Song', was intended for inclusion right up to the moment that McCartney decided to reprise the title track. One of Harrison's bitterest Beatle songs, it was a dig at both Northern Songs, the band's pubishing company, and the ostensible concept (an album of 'northern songs') McCartney hoped to impose on the project.


6. What you can hear in the run-out groove

According to the June 1967 Beatles Monthly, this tape-loop was 'just a bit of jabbering conversation by the Beatles mixed up and distorted. Translated, it might well mean something like, 'Thank you for listening. That's all for now ... ' Actually, when some folk decided to play their LP backwards - perhaps after a night on the tiles - they were astonished to find it appeared to say, 'We'll fuck you like Superman.'


7. It wasn't all recorded at Abbey Road

The basic track for 'Fixing a Hole' was recorded at Regent Studio on Denmark Place, a demo studio favoured by the Rolling Stones for its earthy, monochromatic sound. George Martin was not impressed: 'A low-ceilinged, boxy little room with a low-ceilinged boxy little sound.'


8. 'When I'm 64' was originally a b-side

'When I'm 64' was originally intended to be the B-side. Only after Lennon decided that 'Strawberry Fields' needed holding up with strings did McCartney produce 'Penny Lane'. 'When I'm 64' duly became the first track recorded for the album, cut in two takes on 6 December, 1966. The song - which dated from the Beatles days in Hamburg - was supposedly reworked that autumn by Paul because his father was approaching that landmark.


9. The running order wasn't set in stone

The title track was originally going to be split into two parts, opening and closing the album. Only after the 29 March session resulted in the 13th and last song of the sessions ('With a Little Help from My Friends'), did the Beatles agree to re-record a rockier reprise. It was ultimately relegated to the penultimate place. According to George Martin: 'The final chord of "A Day in the Life" was so final that it was obvious nothing else could follow it.'


10. It didn't get universal rave reviews

The week the album appeared, Disc & Music Echo, part-owned by Beatles manager Brian Epstein, canvassed the opinions of some key pop contemporaries. The Kinks' Ray Davies seemed positively dismissive, insisting he'd 'only heard two tracks on the radio ... [But] I'm sure the Beatles don't care if the songs don't appeal to their fans. [They] will say "We did it for ourselves."'

Beatles Monthly was obliged to run a series of letters condemning the album in its July and August issues. Interestingly, it was almost exclusively girl fans who were disappointed, Jean Crosley dismissing Harrison's 'Within You Without You' as 'just a crazy lot of noises with no tune at all'.

George Melly, writing in this very paper, expressed reservations about both the music, with its 'tendency to overdo the curry powder', and the lyrics, where 'the straight psychedelic excursions seem to confuse poetry with woolly nursery surrealism'. He also felt the message of the album was singularly solipsistic. 'Look in, or look back, but don't, if you can avoid it, look out.'


11. Paul's fight for a 90-piece orchestra

According to George Martin, McCartney had been listening to avant-garde music and hoped to create a spiralling ascent of sound' separating the verses from the bridge. Paul wanted to use 90 musicians; EMI would only agree to a 40-piece orchestra. As a result, McCartney and Martin transferred each of the four 'takes' to one of the four tape-tracks then available, so there are in fact '160' musicians playing.


12. The cover art concept was changed

The original idea for the cover was for 'a beach-type painting ... with spaces for photo groupings'. However, as Miles recalls, after McCartney wrote the title track he began to conceive of 'a northern scene - the Lord Mayor presenting Sgt Pepper's brass band with some kind of medals, with the floral clock, and all that northern stuff ...'


13. The premiere missed out one number

When the album was given its world premiere on BBC radio's Where It's At, on 21 May, it was minus its most important song. 'A Day in the Life' had been banned by the Beeb on the grounds that the line, 'I'd love to turn you on', 'could be considered to have drug-taking implications'. However, the line 'I get high with a little help from my friends' was not deemed 'to have drug-taking implications' - even though it directly referred to the first time all four Beatles got high, with Dylan at the Delmonico Hotel in August 1964.


14. The band's preferred track was ...

The most played track at the Beatles' Pepper press bash was Procul Harum's 'A Whiter Shade of Pale', issued the week before Pepper. Lennon played the song non-stop on his Rolls Royce's portable record player all the way to the party.


15. Brian Wilson's reaction to an early version

On 1 April, McCartney flew to the States to see his girlfriend, Jane Asher. There, he played 'A Day in the Life' to the Beach Boys. According to one gossip column, Brian Wilson was 'so knocked out that he has retired to live in a sauna bath'.


16. It's best to hear the album in mono

The stereo mix was a mere afterthought, and none of the Beatles attended the stereo mix sessions. As Martin tellingly observes, 'In 1967, very few people had stereo equipment. Almost everyone listened on mono ... stereo was strictly for hi-fi freaks.'


17. You could buy it before its release date

Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, in its gatefold sleeve, with a complete set of lyrics on the back (another innovation now taken for granted), was rush-released in the UK one week before the official date of 1 June. It was available in some London shops as early as 26 May.


18. It was played live three days after release

On 4 June, topping the bill at the Saville Theatre, and with all four Beatles in attendance, Jimi Hendrix, decided to open the show with 'Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band', as he would throughout the remainder of 1967.


19. It's not in everyone's top 10

NME's critics voted Sgt Pepper the equal best album of all time in 1974, but by 2006 it did not make the paper's 100 best British albums.


20. Come on, get the name right ...

It's Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, not Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

· The Act You've Known For All These Years is published on 1 June (Canongate)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

One Year of Rembrandt van Rijn

400th anniversary year of Rembrandt van Rijn is coming to an end. I think I should blog about this artist whom I worship most.
Last March to June, when I was working as a volunteer-guide at the British Museum Exhibition, I saw an authentic Rembrandt print for the first time. (I've never seen an authentic Rembrandt before, for these kind of artworks were simply never on exhibit in China, no to say a city like Hangzhou) Anyway, it was exciting to see the work of my favorite painter, especially that I could be so close, I could gaze at it for as long as I want and I could share what admiration I have of the piece with the visitors. It was an enjoyment indeed.
Now to wind up this year, a number of museums are hosting a final round of Rembrandt display, so if you are like me, who have little chance to see this great master, grab the opportunity now.


National Gallery of Art, Washington: Rembrandt - Titus
- May 11 –September 4, 2007

Nassau Country Museum of Art, Roslyn Harbor, USA: Rembrandt to Rosenquist:
Masters of Printmaking

- End on May 13, 2007


Oglethorpe University Museum of Art, Atlanta, USA: Sordid and Sacred: The Beggars in Rembrandt's Etchings
- End on May 13, 2007

Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, USA: Rembrandt and the Golden Age: masterpieces from the Rijksmuseum
- End on May 6, 2007

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam: Rembrandt - Portrait of Catrina Hooghsaet
- End on 29 April 2007

Noordbrabants Museum, Den Bosch: Meesters en molens: van Rembrandt tot Mondriaan (Artists and windmills: from Rembrandt to Mondriaan)
- End on May 28, 2007

Rembrandthuis (Rembrandt House), Amsterdam: Rembrandt in Berlijn: alle tekeningen uit het Kupferstichkabinett (Rembrandt in Berlin: drawings from the Kupferstichkabinett)
- End on May 28, 2007

Ferens Art Gallery, Hull, England: Rembrandt as printmaker
- End on June 18, 2007

Musée d'Art et d'Histoire du Judaïsme, Paris: Rembrandt et la Nouvelle Jérusalem: Juifs et chrétiens à Amsterdam au Siècle d'Or (Rembrandt and the New Jerusalem: Jews and Christians in Amsterdam in the Golden Age)
- End on July 1,2007

Suermondt-Ludwig-Museum, Aachen, Germany:Berliner Bilder zu Gast & Ein Rembrandt für Aachen (Visiting paintings from Berlin & A Rembrandt for Aachen)
- End on Dec.31, 2007


Online Exhibitions

Rembrandt's Late Religious Portraits


Strokes of Genius: Rembrandt's Prints and Drawings

From Minimalism to Collage-Style

Frank Stella: Painting into Architecture is to be opened in The Metropolitan Museum of Art on May. 1, 2007. Stella's artworks, as seen from below, had an obvious transformation from the 60s to the 80s. Since the early 1990s, Stella has indulged himself in designing architectural structures, most famous of which is Bandshell, in Miami.

1966 Union I


1968 Khurasan Gate Variation III


1970 Kingsbury Run (Aluminum Series)


1974 Moultonboro


1983 Shards III


1989 Guifa e la Beretta Rossa


1999 Michael Kohlhaas, panel #1 collage

For Shakespreare-Lovers

A new site PlayShakespeare was just launched two days ago. Combining news, reviews of Shakespearian plays, full text of all Shakespeare's plays and introductions with a handy user rate-and-comment system, this new site looks promising.

Stunning picture

Contact the Gallery


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Favorite Movie Firstlines

(In alphabetic order)

Annie Hall (1977) Alvy Singer: There's an old joke - um... two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of 'em says, "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know; and such small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life - full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly. The... the other important joke, for me, is one that's usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud's "Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious," and it goes like this - I'm paraphrasing - um, "I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." That's the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.

Braveheart (1995) Narrator: I shall tell you of William Wallace. Historians from England will say I am a liar, but history is written by those who have hanged heroes.

The Departed (2006) Frank Costello: I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Joel: [voice over] random thoughts for Valentine's day, 2004. Today is a holiday invented by greeting card companies to make people feel like crap.

Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le(2001) Narrator: On September 3rd 1973, at 6:28pm and 32 seconds, a bluebottle fly capable of 14,670 wing beats a minute landed on Rue St Vincent, Montmartre. At the same moment, on a restaurant terrace nearby, the wind magically made two glasses dance unseen on a tablecloth. Meanwhile, in a 5th-floor flat, 28 Avenue Trudaine, Paris 9, returning from his best friend's funeral, Eugène Colère erased his name from his address book. At the same moment, a sperm with one X chromosome, belonging to Raphaël Poulain, made a dash for an egg in his wife Amandine. Nine months later, Amélie Poulain was born.

Forrest Gump (1994) Forrest Gump: Hello. My name's Forrest, Forrest Gump. You want a chocolate?

The Godfather (1972) Bonasera: I believe in America. America has made my fortune. And I raised my daughter in the American fashion. I gave her freedom, but I taught her never to dishonor her family. She found a boyfriend; not an Italian. She went to the movies with him; she stayed out late. I didn't protest. Two months ago, he took her for a drive, with another boyfriend. They made her drink whiskey. And then they tried to take advantage of her. She resisted. She kept her honor. So they beat her, like an animal. When I went to the hospital, her nose was a'broken. Her jaw was a'shattered, held together by wire. She couldn't even weep because of the pain. But I wept. Why did I weep? She was the light of my life beautiful girl. Now she will never be beautiful again. I went to the police, like a good American. These two boys were brought to trial. The judge sentenced them to three years in prison - suspended sentence. Suspended sentence! They went free that very day! I stood in the courtroom like a fool. And those two bastards, they smiled at me. Then I said to my wife, for justice, we must go to Don Corleone.

High Fidelity (2000) Rob: What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?

Lola rennt (1998) Narrator: Mankind, probably the most mysterious species on our planet. A mystery of open questions. Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? How do we know what we believe to know? Why do we believe anything at all? Innumerable questions looking for an answer, an answer which will raise the next question and the following answer will raise a following question and so on and so forth. But in the end, isn't it always the same question and always the same answer?

Love Story (1970) Oliver Barrett IV: What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful and brilliant? That she loved Mozart and Bach, the Beatles, and me?

Match Point (2005) Christopher "Chris" Wilton: The man who said "I'd rather be lucky than good" saw deeply into life. People are afraid to face how great a part of life is dependent on luck. It's scary to think so much is out of one's control. There are moments in a match when the ball hits the top of the net, and for a split second, it can either go forward or fall back. With a litte luck, it goes forward, and you win. Or maybe it doesn't, and you lose.

V for Vendetta (2005) Evey Hammond: [Voiceover] Remember, remember, the Fifth of November, the Gunpowder Treason and Plot. I know of no reason why the Gunpowder Treason should ever be forgot... But what of the man? I know his name was Guy Fawkes and I know, in 1605, he attempted to blow up the Houses of Parliament. But who was he really? What was he like? We are told to remember the idea, not the man, because a man can fail. He can be caught, he can be killed and forgotten, but 400 years later, an idea can still change the world. I've witnessed first hand the power of ideas, I've seen people kill in the name of them, and die defending them... but you cannot kiss an idea, cannot touch it, or hold it... ideas do not bleed, they do not feel pain, they do not love... And it is not an idea that I miss, it is a man... A man that made me remember the Fifth of November. A man that I will never forget.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Joost Beta

Joost™ the best of tv and the internet
Thanks to Jamaipanese for the invitation, I am now an official Joost Beta tester. (I guess I just got lucky because he said in his post that he had two invites, but he ended up sending out three, the last one being me:)I gotta say I love it so far, especially the gorgeous interface and the variety of programs. The only problem I have is my internet connection. The school's internet kinda sucks, which means, Joost could only exercise its full potential when late at night or early in the morning... A pity, really. But I'm optimistic about its performance on high speed connections. (All the more reasons to go home in the holidays!!!)
One side note, Mac users, make sure you are running on Intel, otherwise Joost doesn't work for you.
Cheers!

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Asians & Guns

I first heard the murderer of 32 people in Virginia Tech was a Chinese, then later confirmed is a South Korean, which is not very much different to westerners really: Asians. If you browse Youtube top viewed videos a while ago, one titled "Crazy Asians" was on the first page. They are actually, I might add, Japanese.
People hate to be generalized, especially when this generalization relates you to someone "crazy". I wrote an article half a year ago about the "mission-impossible" for ordinary Chinese to be granted a US visa. I still remember at one point I wrote "Chinese are known as peace-loving people", I was wrong, as I have come to realize. Since few westerners can distinguish Chinese with Japanese or Koreans, or any other Asians for that matter, there is hardly a thing could be defined as "Chinese character".
On this devastating incident, two rather different approach could be found: tackling 1) gun control; 2) psychological crisis among students. Elayne Boosler has an interesting article, focusing on the former point, on the Huffington Post, well-worth a reading.

"We are Virginia Tech"

Nikki Giovanni's Convocation address
Delivered April 17, 2007

No more words, she says it best. It takes great courage and humanity to say such words as follows, but "We are Virginia Tech".



We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today, and we will be sad for quite a while. We are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to stand tall tearlessly, we are brave enough to bend to cry, and we are sad enough to know that we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did nothing to deserve it, but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, neither do the invisible children walking the night away to avoid being captured by the rogue army, neither does the baby elephant watching his community being devastated for ivory, neither does the Mexican child looking for fresh water, neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokie Nation embraces our own and reaches out with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong, and brave, and innocent, and unafraid. We are better than we think and not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imaginations and the possibilities. We will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears and through all our sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech.