The CEO of my company just ordered a full shipment of Jack Welch’s latest book, Winning, and distributed it to everyone who bother to read. I am always happy to get a free book, especially the book is on the New York Timers best seller list. The book is Jack’s writing on his management philosophy, I just start reading, so couldn’t comment much on it. It is always a good sign for the company to encourage its employee to learn. From the few sections I had already read, I can sense PMC is anything but what is described in the book. By giving out the book to everyone, the CEO trys to revolutionalize the company to the right way. My only doubt is how well will the executives and middle managers support the ideas praised so high in the book. It may end up like all other efforts we had done before, become some nice but useless decoration on top of the ugly messy underneath.
I signed up for the role of joke master in tomorrow’s toastmaster meeting. So I have to look for a joke today. Since it is the last meeting before christmas, I would like the joke related to christmas. It is hard to find a good christmas joke, especially it has to be clean, non-religious, appeal to people from different cultureal background. When I search on the web, the same few jokes always show up in the search result, and most of them are one-liners, letters to Santa, some sort of top 10 list or funny lyrics for old christmas songs. Those jokes only funny on paper, but the laughter is lost in a speech. I then focus my search on stories about kids and Santa Claus, and christmas shopping. I have came up with a few good ones, and havn’t decide which one to use tomorrow. Here are some funny ones I came across in my search:
There are three stages in a man’s life:
He believes in Santa Claus
He doesn’t believe in Santa Clus
He becomes a Santa Claus.
When people recevied toys for christmas gifts, it usually say that batteries not included on the package. How about giving out battery as christmas gift with a note saying toys not included?
If there were three wise woman instead of three wise man. They would ask for direction and arrived on time, helped to deliver the baby, clean the stable and bought pratical gifts.
Tonight we have hot pot dinner at Jason’s place to celebrate the Santa Clause Festival, the politically correct name for Christmas. As usual, I brough some board games to the party. Some of us played Monoploy and some of us played Risk. Somehow Jackson like to change to official rule of Risk, and claimed it will speed up the game. Instead of getting at most one card per turn, a player can get one cards each territory he conquer. There are two consequences of this house rule, first we run out of card fast, and it really tips the balance of the game. It makes the strong player even stronger when he trade in his cards for armies and start a battle tour. This rule ensure him in a big army in every following turn. It is almost impossible for the weaker players to catch up once someone has cashed in an big army. Poor Doug being the last player to start, he got wiped out early in the game because of this rule. In short, Jason’s rule makes the game less fun.
I did some research on the mathematics of risk after I came home. As I suspected, there is a slight advantage to the attacker. The probability of winning a battle favours the attacker if both side has equal number of units, if it is more than 5 units. The odd expected lost for the 0.9 of the attacker to 1.1 of defender. It is interesting to know that the defender has better odd to have even number of troops in the all his territories. Deploying 2 and 4 troops in two territories has better odd than deploying 3 and 3. In the Risk FAQ, I came across a house rule on rolling the dice. The defender can choose to roll 1 or 2 dice after he saw the roll of the attacker. This rule give an advantage to the defender by minimizing his lost if they attacker got 2 high numbers. The expected lost ratio is closer to 1:1 in this rule. The only drawback is the game takes longer to play.
To speed up the game and make it more fun, we should play the official rule, and use the mission card next time. Instead of have to conquer the world to win, the player first conquer two contintents or number of territories stated in the mission cards wins the game. It will force the players to fight over the same contintent.
Tonight I went with Pat to a christmas gathering of her church friends, and I am the only guy there. If I knew that ahead of time, I will choose not to go. It is not a pleasent experience to be the only guy in a group of girls, because most of time you are not interested in their conversations. I expected some guys I know from that group will show up, but it turn out the host didn’t invite them. There is a girl in the group going to get marry in the summar, too bad that her fiancee can’t come. Other than this girl, the rest are all single, so they have no one to bring along. Sometimes I wonder, how come so many of Pat’s friends are still single. Maybe I should start hooking up the single guys at work with them. The only problem is I can’t think of a way to introduce them to each other without embrassement of match making them intentionally. Probably that is the reason why they are single in the first place, I can’t think of any activities they like or will enjoy, and at the same time also allow them to make new friends of the other sex outside their own social circle. In short, both of them are quite boring.
Tonight Pat sang christmas carolling for her chuch. The different choirs from all masses put together a carolling concert. Each choir sing about 10 minutes, and there were 8 of them in total. St. Mary is really a big church that runs many services every week. The first choir to perform is the children choir from St. Mary elementary school. The kids are so cute, especially when they are dancing up and down. Pat’s choir sang second, she had a solo part in one of the song. I took lots of pictures for her. It’s so funny when everyone’s mouth is opened in big O shape singing the “Oh Gloria”. This two choirs are the only performance interested me, then I slept through almost all the rest. Christmas songs are best to put people to sleep, especially after a long working day. I recongize the audience of the concert are mostly friends and families of the choir members. I think the carolling concert is a good event to build community spirit for the church, have a function that everyone can enjoy.
Carlee is a well known brand of potato chips in HK. It is originated from Japan. I think it is the best tasted chips after I had tried so many different brands. Today I just tried a new ramen flavoured chips from Carlee. Well, it taste like shoyu ramen, to be specific, the shoyu soup. There are so many exotic flavours of Carlee chips, unlike local chips made here in Canada, only have the those old boring flavours. The classic Carlee is bbq and curry flavour. Later it introduced other flavours spicy, seaweed, pizza, okonomiyaki, chicken, ketchup, light salt, etc. It also have time limited edition, like the ramen I just had. Carlee not only taste the best, its texture is very prefect. The chip is not too hard nor too soft, it is fired to have the right cripyness. The only other honourable brand is Pringles, the rest of potato chips bands lacks the charm of Carlee, not even close.
I am going to black list any sellers using UPS to ship their items. I ordered something from eBay, the item itself is not very expensive, but the seller insuranced the item against my instrution and I end up have to pay a small duty fee to the custom, which it’s fair. It’s just 7% GST, and cost me $2 anyways. Then UPS charge the ridicously high handling fee, $17, just for collecting $2 from me. What a rip off. Sometimes I wonder, what did had our government done in the NAFTA treaty. Shouldn’t we had already scrape all the traiff between Canada and US? This makes me start thinking about the WTO meeting happening in HK. In an ideal world and classical economy theory I firmly believed in, all traiff are evil. The WTO suppose to reduce the cost of trade between countries, but it end up hijacked by beneficial groups setting quotas to protect their own interest. I am sure the Canada post is the one most object free cross boarder shipping between Canada and US most. When can we Canadian enjoy the same cheap deals most US consumers enjoy?
Now I have the first draft of my thesis completed, the only thing left to do is wait for my surpervisor to review it, edit it and then cirulate to the examination commitee. I found I am so eager to gradunate that I can’t wait to get the defense done. I have to think what I want to do next. One natural follow up of my thesis is turning into into a paper and get it publish in a conference. Hopefully I can get it done over the X’mas holidays. I also go through the trouble to get the P.Eng title. I think PMC is paying for the application fee, I know enough P.Eng at work to sign my reference and most important it is a title that follow me for life. Although the P.Eng is really nothing more than merely a title you can put on the business card. On the side, I also have to catch up with the movies, TV series, books and animes I had stocked up due to lack of them. There are a few articles I would like to write on top of my usual review on anything I read or watched. I will probably write one about WTO, since it is the hottest topic in HK this week. I also want to complete my article on intellectural properties, it has been two years since I finished the first one third of it. For a longer term goal, I have to think about what course or program I would like to persuade. I am looking into a few part-time or even full-time programs. I don’t have enough information even to start thinking about my decision at this moment, gota do a bit more research on the prospect on those fields.
After a year of struggles, espeically the plainful process of writing out the research work, my thesis is finally completed. It is a 55 pages report that contributes to my master degree. I just sent out the thesis to my supervisor for review. I expect there will be some minor updates in the thesis, but there shouldn’t be any major rework, since I have been meeting with Dr. Hardy to report my progress every week. I will schedule my defense in mid January, and after that I am finally graduated. I have been spent 4 years in studying my master degree, where some of my friends are graduating in merely 2 years. Partly is due to I choose to work on my own research instead of turning a PMC document into a M.Eng report, and partly due to the fact that I am lazy. I don’t know my work is good enough for a M.ASc degree or not, althought it is pretty much the same stuff I have been working on. Anyways, I am happy with a M.Eng degree and getting a paper published would be a bonus nice to have. Now, I have to think about what should I do next for my life.
Tonight after dinner with Pat, I went to Jackson’s place for the annual X’mas party of friend’s at work. The focus of tonight’s party is definitely the XBox 360. The design of the wireless controller is pretty neat, but I am a bit disappointed at the games. I would expect the graphics output to HDTV would be stunning. It is pretty much the same as what I get from computer games. We spent a lot of time playing foosball. The Jackon’s foosball table is very different from the one at work. The ball moves much faster and the player’s position is a bit different. It require finer ball handling. My foosball practice everyday at work does count. Combination of Me and Louis is unbeatable. I also played pool, and by luck I won 2 out of 3 games. The highlight of the night is poker game with chocolate foundue dessert. I did ok tonight, just lost $4 in total. Now, after having so much fun tonight, I am back home to work on my thesis.