I just finished my second essay for my metaphysics class. It is about the unreality of time. I criticize an article from a famous philosopher who tried to convince people time is unreal. The first response of most people, including myself, is to ask what the heck, isn’t it obvious that time is real? I am surprised that since his paper is published, he is able to convince a lot of fellow philosophers. The unreality of time has even became a trend in metaphsyics for a while in the last century. His argument is not very hard to follow and seems to make much sense on the first glaze. No wonder many people falls into his trap of thoughts. My weapon to reject his claim is modern science. I use counter examples from relativity theory and quantum physics to nullify his arguments. We’ll see how well my anit-thesis do when my professor marked my paper. Maybe I am just too naive and hopeless misinterpreted problem. With some solid reasoning, even a nonsense claim like time is unreal can attract many fellowers. Just think about applying philosophy to politics, couldn’t that be the a super vote magic?
Finally after procastinated for 2 months, I can no longer stand the dust accumlated in my place. This morning I took the time to completely clean my place, dust the place, vacuum the carpet, swiper the floor and brush the tiolet. I think no one would prefer messy to tidy, dirty to clean. It is just that we are all lazy to do house work. I alwasys keep my place tidy, that doesn’t require much work. However, cleaning is a different story. You don’t want to do house work when the temperature is sweating hot or when you are busy. Now I feeling so good that now my place is really clean. I think it can last for at least a month before I can’t tolerate the layers of dust. If I am an interior designer, I would design a house minimize the effort required to do the cleaning. There is no open shelves, everything is nicely put behind glass doors or inside cabinates. The furnitures has to be desinged in a way that the vacuum cleaner can easily all the floor surface. Nay, what the heck, maybe we should just invent robot house maid to do all the cleaning works.
Today I went to a wedding in CMCC and to my surpise, I found the homily of Fr. Chiu, the priest of CMCC, is not too bad afterall. In all the weddings in CMCC I went, Fr. Chiu always give the same boring canned homily about marriage and love. Today’s wedding couple is very active in CMCC and Fr. Chiu knows them very well in person. Therefore the homily adds a lot of personal touch and stories directly related to the couples and us, the guests. Too bad that Fr. Chiu falls back to his pre-packaged message on the second half of the speech, but overall the homily is well delivered. That reminds me what I had learnt in Toastmaster. A homily is essentially a speech try to get a message across the audience, either informative or inspiration. Therefore a good homily has to meet the critia of a good speech, relating to the audience is one of the key elements. I think Fr. Chiu should join Toastmasters as his homily doesn’t improve much over the years. Someone once said, practice doesn’t make perfect, only make it permanent. Fr. Chiu is a very good example.
This morning, I helped Pat threw away some years old garbage sitting in her garage, like old wood fence, door removed from renovation, broken excerise machine. The garbage is so big that we have to deliver it to the city garbage dump ourself. This trip to the garbage dump is an eye opening experience. The dump yield charges desposible fee by weight. There are drive thru scales weight your car before you get in and weight it again when you get out. I can only use horrific to describe scenery inside the garbage dump. There is literally a garbage mountain as big as a hockey rink and several stores high. The smell is obviously bad, but it is the amount of garbage shocks me. There are excavators, bulldozers working hard to pile up the garbage to free up rooms to receive more garbage. Dump trucks unload truckfull of garbage directly to the mountain. There are people dump small amount of residential garbage at the edge of the garbage mountain. This dramatic view pounder me to think about our environmental problem. Try to imagine how can we deal with all those garbages. The first response I have is that men have to create less garbage. Recycling is a really good idea. After I have calmed down a bit, the rational side of me came back. Proceduring less garbage is not very practical without significately lower our living standard. We really should focus on how to get rid of the garbage. The only solution I can think of is garbage fussion, covert all the mass of the garbage into pure energy. Garbage is really a serious problem and only technology can find a solution for the survival of mankind.
There is a new vietnamese resturant opened close to work. It is a branch of another famous vietnamese resturant in richmond. The quality of food there is really good. Its menu has some special dishes not found in other vietnamese places. It has became one of our most favourate place to have lunch. There is another old vietnamese resturant close to work. The food there is so-and-so. Since we had no other choice, we used to go there from time to time. After trying the new resturant, I am very sure we won’t go back to the old resturant ever. I wonder long the old resturant can last before it has to close its doors. In the food business, cuisine price and food quality are the key differtial factor. If price is the same but quality difference, the result would be is a winner takes all effect. Even the better resturant has no seats, we still won’t go to the lesser resturant. We will simpily pick another cuisine. If the resturant is targetting repeat customers, having the quality to price ratio is very important.
My car is sent to the body shop to repair the door lock today. I got a courtesy car from a car rental company. Since they run out of compact cars, they gave me a Ford Explorer. It is a hugh monster 4×4 jeep. I feel like driving a boat on the road. To my surprise, despite its size, its handling is quite good. It’s an American car, so I have the usual complains about dumb American interior design. The controls are not very user friendly and various components are arranged without any style. The mileage of this car is really bad, almost 50% worst than my Volvo. I can appriciate someone may need its capacity or offroad ability some time. I don’ t understand why someone would drive it as a commute vechicle. If they need to use such a big car once a while, just rent it when they need it would be more economical, needless to say it is more eco-friendly.
I have completed all my ten CTM speeches and earned the title of compotent toastmaster. It has been a long way since I joined the toastmaster club at work. Most of my friends at work think spending an hour in toastmaster meeting and preparing mock speeches is a waste of time. I found I had learn a lot in process experience. I couldn’t say I am a very good speaker now. But comparing to a year ago, I have made some significant improvements. I think the most valuable thing I earn is confidence in public speaking. English is my second language and my english foundation is quite weak. I have to spend extra effort to get the message across when I am giving a speech. Grammer and prounciation is my still biggest challenage. Other than that, I have pretty much overcame stage fright and had reasonable skill in preparing a speech. I will keep participating in toastmaster, trying to finish the next level in a year. I havn’t decided what advance speaking skill I want to work on yet. I will probably pick the humorous speech manual and one other manual. I received a small pin and a certification for archeiving the CTM level, which I hang it in my cubicle. Becoming a CTM doesn’t give me as much joy as becoming a ski instructor or a P.Eng. However CTM is still a nice and useful decoration on my resume.
I just come back from having a relaxing weekend in Tofino. I am refreshed and re-energized. We went in as two couples. Pat’s friend’s boyfriend is a funny guy. He is one of the few Pat’s friends I find comfortable to hang out with. Going to a trip with the right people is very important. It is the sole determinating factor between a good trip and a bad trip.
On Firday, we woke up really early on the first day to catch the ferry in Tewassan. Since I am driving and can’t sleep on the way, obviously, I catch up some sleep in the ferry. The ferry ride is very calm and only takes 2 hours. On our way to Tofino, we stopped by Qualicom Beach and the Qualicom Falls. We took some pictures but the views are not very specticular compare to Tofino. We had lunch in a tourist attraction called goat on the roof on highway 4. The owner is quite a marketing genius. He lay some turf on the roof of his resturant and put a few goats on the top. People, including Pat and her friend, are flocked to see those stupid goats. After another 2 hours of driving, we arrived in Tofino. It is a small sea side resort town at the end of the Pacific Rim national park. It late evening when we arrived Tofino. We toured the town a bit, found a nice resturant to have dinner and then slept early.
The main event on Saturday is whale watching and hot spring tour. We are wised that we booked the tour with a cabin boat instead of smaller open top speed boat. The sea is quite rough. I feel sorry for those riding the speed boat. They were eating wind and sea water for the whole time. The hot spring is about 1.5 hours sailing from Tonfio on a small island. After we docked the island, we have to walked 30 minutes to reach the hot spring on the other side of the island. I asked why don’t simpliy build the dock next to the hot spring. It is because the spring is facing the Pacific, where the tides are too strong for a dock. The hot spring is very hot, I only soaked my feet in the water. Pat played in the pool at the edge of the hot spring and the sea, where you can feel both hot and cold water at the same time. On our way back, we went to the Pacific coast to watch whales. We spotted a few gray whales, a oarc, and a humpback wahle. Some of them are quite close to the boat, I can see they blowing water and flipping tails. You can’t imagine how big is a whale, it is hugh! We also see a few doplins chased the boat for a while. Pat and the other couple got sea sick because of the rough tides. I don’t mind the waves rocking the boat up and down. In fact I found it kinda quite fun as long as I know the boat is perfectly safe. Although I doubted a bit about our safty when I heard the loud sound from the bottom of the boat hitting the waves. We were pretty exhausted after the whale watching trip. So for the rest of the day, we just went to a nice beach side resturant. It was one of the most pleasent moment in the past few years. I was sitting in a nice couch by the window, having a beer, playing a chess game, watching the ocean and listening to the sound of the ocean surf. I think I can just sit there for the whole day without getting bored. We watched sunset, walked on the beach for a while then went back to the hotel and slept early.
We didn’t have any plan for Sunday. We tried to go to church but missed all the service because we woke up too late. We decided to visit another small town called Ukulele on the other side of the national park. We stopped by the national park. We made a perfect hike between the parking lot and the beach, which has about 15 minutes of boardwalk trail in the forrest. We got a taste of hiking without too much sweat. Ukulele is smaller than Tofino, we had lunch there and headed back. There ain’t much to see in Ukulele, except there is a light house at the tip of the land where you can see whales from the shore. After dinner, we went back to the national park indoor theater to watch a film about nature life on Pacafic Coast. Before sleep, we went back to the beach one more time to glaze the starry nights. The sky was so clear that we can see the milky way and shooting stars occationally. It is the first time Pat sees milky way. I guess it is really amazing to her as I can still recall how I feel when I see it the first time.
Monday is the last day of the trip, we are heading back to Vancouver. We stopped by Port Alberni for lunch at the city harbour. It is like a quiet version of Graville Island. On the way back to Nanimo, we visited the Englishman River Falls. Nothing special, just a tourist attraction we have to visit to check it off from the to-do list. The line up at the ferry terminal is really long. Luckily that we made a reservation ahead of time. You can’t save the $17.5 reservation fee, if you want to go home on time. The ferry between Nanimo and Horseshoe Bay is much bigger than the ferry on our way in. It is always fun to enjoy sea wind on the deck. We also calculated the cost of the trip and split the bills. The 4 days trip costs almost a thousand dollars for a couple. Part of the expense goes to food, since we were having seafood in nice resturant every day, since Tofino is a resort town only has nice resturants. The first thing to do after we arrived in Vancouver is to have dinner in a Chinese resturant. I found that I kinda miss Chinese food after having fishes for 4 days.
Now, I must work hard on my toast mater speech that I have to deliver tomorrow.
I havn’t had any vacation since last summer coming back from Europe. I am long for taking some days off to recharge myself. I am going to Tofino for the weekend. I will take two days off work plus skip one class. I didn’t plan this trip, I just let Pat and her friend work out the schedule. Other than I will be the driver for the 4 hours drive, I can’t see any reason to complain. Tonfino is a small town on the other side of the Vancouver Island, on the share of the Pacific Ocean. It is a quiet resort town, so I can relax myself during the 4 days and 3 nights I am staying there. I know we are going to whale watching and tour the hot spring. I don’t know much other programs they had planned. I guess it will be a pleasent surprise to me. Too bad that I have my toastmaster CTM#10 speech next tuesday. I will have to prepare my speech even I am on vacation. I have printed out and photocopied the materials to bring along with me. It shouldn’t take me too long to prepare my speech, I should able to come up with a few hours spreading over 4 days. I won’t have internet access in Tofino, so updates to my blog will be suspended until I come back.
I had a drink with a friend coming back from Toronto tonight. He moved to Toronto a few years ago when his company closed down the Vancouver office, outsource all the work to China. He told me that his company is going to close the research and developement center in Toronto and move the operation to Poland. He is working in software, which hit badly by the latest oursoucing trend. It is hard to competite with programmers and engineers in the third world countries who only cost 1/3 of your salary. Althought I am relatively safe working as a hardware engineer where the tools cost much more than my salary, I can feel effect of out sourcing to the high tech industry. I am not a protectionist, I don’t think we can resist the force of the invisible hand. The only job security we have is to be more productive to justify our salary, reduce the salary to stay in competition or move up the food chain to a position that can’t be outsourced. The good thing is the total supply of qualified engineers in the world is limited. The pool of engineers in Indian or China will eventually exhuasted and the global job market will reach an equalibium state, where they no longer have the cost advantage. I read an article from the Economist that it will only take 10 years from here to there. The key is not seeing them as your competitors, instead you should put yourself in the position be their superior. You can only move up if the primard grows bigger. If there is a in flow many less qualified engineers, shouldn’t you able to floated up the ladder with the influx putting them underneath yourself?