Today I had a taco salad for lunch in the cafeteria. The taco salad is freshly made in front of me. I saw the chef put a spoon of some kind of paste on the plate before putting on the taco shell. I wonder what he is doing, so I asked him. He explained to me it is just some bean paste used to glue the taco shell on the plate. He even demostrate the power of the bean paste by turning the plate upside down, the taco shell is not falling! It stops the taco shell from sliding off the plate on our way to have a seat. I am quite impress by this small invention. Innovation can happen anywhere. Even the chef in the cafeteria can come up with something new and useful. As an trained engineer, I should have come up with lots of creative ideas. Can’t lose to a chef.
Don’t want to sound like I am whinning, but in short it is a pretty rough day for me. I have told my story quite a few times already, in short here is the summary. Woke up early in the morning, went throught 3 hours of stressful P.Eng exam. Back home to pick up my car, found someone tried to break into my car. The lock at the driver’s door is broken, have to get into the car from the passenager seat. Went to work, file insurance claims, work till 10p.m. to make up the hours I took off in the morning. On my way home, got a call from Pat and I walked Charlie with her. I feel like I had just spoken all thing things in one long breath of air.
I suppose to feel free since the P.Eng exam is now done, although I still have to wait 8 weeks for the result. I may pass, I may fail, but that’s outside of my control. Just like the time when I finish my thesis defense and my ski instructor license, I suppose to feel free and relax, but I found myself already engaged into the next goal. Life seems to be so busy, but if I take a step back and look, it seems I havn’t done much really. In buddism wisdom, a man is trouble free when he wants nothing. My troubles is that there are too many things I want. Not just material things, which in some sense is not a real problem. Since it can be simplified into one single problem, money. The non-material things I search for is much harder to satisfy. In fact, I think it can’t be fully satisfy in theory. Should I just be a mindless hippy, so I don’t have to strive to be a great person? Maybe I can find a way to repackage sloppiness with buddist mind and become a hippy monk.
It is the first time I heard about this website. I read it from the newspaper today. This site started last year and it is the fastest growing social connection site. It number of users has surpassed friendster and xanaga, only behind myspace. The most interesting story about this website is that it is started by two brother and sister still studying in highschool. I wonder how can two highschool students create a website support traffic of several million users. I read the press articles on the website trying to trace the flow of money. It turn out two highschooler indeed came up with the idea but they are merely the marketing face of the company. The company is actually run by their elder brother who is a dot-com millionare. The most scary thing about this website is that it is created by an army of cheap Indian programmers. This is the new dot-com era. Anyone with a brillant idea, some working capital can still create an internet megahit. They don’t even have to be tech-savy, the dirty work can outsource to Indian.
Today, PMC has the annual summer picnic in Confederation Park, games for the kids, free lunch and icecream. I met the family of many of my colleagues there. Those little kids are so cute and I pinched so many little faces today. I only stayed for an hour or so because I have to study for my exam. I found the picnic is quite enjoyable, relaxing and chat with friends while having over cooked burger. Plus no time is wasted since I spent the afternoon studying in the library right next to the park. Going to the pinic is way better than the alternative, go to Pat’s friend’s wedding. The company just gave me the perfect excuse to skip yet another boring wedding of someone I have no interest. Most of my friends in the Cantonese speaking lunch group are not interested in the pinic, except those children. On the other hand, most of my friends in the CBC group shown up today. Those who don’t come to the pinic think that it is a waste of time. I think not going to the annual company event with this excuse is just anti-social. How can enjoy a few hours under the sun with friends be a waste of time. Moreover, it is one of rare occasions you got to know the families of your colleagues.
Last night when I heard Israeli striked Lebanon in the news, I thought it was just yet another endless conflict in middle east and promptly forget about it. Today when I came to work, I found out one of my team members is having his vacation in Beirut at the moment. This incident suddenly seems more personal and arose my interest. The manager have received a short email from him today. He told us he is safe, but he can’t come back to work since the airport is bombed by Israel. He said he is living in the safer part in the city and trying to get on a boat to Greece. The team wonder whether he can seek refugee in the Canadian Embassy in Lebanon. We have came up with creative ways to escape the war zone and have some really good laughts. I guess it sounds funny because the whole thing is just so surreal to us. I am sure my colleague won’t find it funny since his life is on the line. I am expecting to hear many exciting stories when my colleague make his way back home.
Today the co-op student from another project came ask me questions about verificaiton. I guess I am the only guy in the area knowledgable in verification and yet kind enough to answer her questions. Her task is pretty straight forward, testing a minor change in one of the blocks. She came up to me and asked, “What do I have to do?”. I guess she is kinda expecting I will give her instructions in a number of easy to follow steps. Instead of answering her questions directly, which is probably the fastest way to send her away, I start telling her verification methodology. Like the difference between white box and black box testing, what is a stimulus, a checker, etc. Then with background in verification methodology, I asked her to think about how she want to test the device. A few hours later, she came back and ask me how to write the testbench. Again, I pointed her to the testbench frame work training slides. I think it is more important teach someone how to learn and think than simply giving the him the answer. In engineering, as well as in life, it is more important to ask the right question than get the right answer.
In my metaphysics class, the profressor talks about the nature of God and the source of theology. There are two sources of theology, experience and revealed. Theology from experience is easy to understand, namely the natural theology, ideas inheritated from St. Thomas Aquinas. However theology from revealed is different from what I assumed, it is solely based on authority, either the authority of the Bible or the Pope. Contrary to popular beliefs, revelations does not belong to reveal theology, revelation is actually a from of personal experience, so it belongs to natural theology. The problem is where the revealed theology comes from in the first place, some of them are rooted from natural theology, but more are just arbitary thoughts preserved by the authority for different reasons. I think to save christianity, we have to place natural theology above revealed theology. Reveal theology can only served as a mean to an end rather than the end itself. I was discussing orthodox and heresy of christian in anther forum. I proposed inventing a new school of theology that will rendering fundamentalist (and most of evangelist) heresy. I think using the distinction between natural and reveal theology is the right direction of this new theology.
I found driving to and from work without audio books is really boring. I can listen to my old CDs, which are merely background noise. Or I can listen to new mp3 downloads, which mostly are just mediocratie songs. So I search the bittorrent sites and downloaded all the audio books I found interesting. There are over 10 of them. Now, I have another delimma, how can I listen to the audio books? My iPod shuffle is not very user friendly for mp3s in general, worse for audio books. I have to press too many buttons to start playing when I start the car. I want to get a real iPod but the current generation has been out on the market for almost half a year. The next generation should be just around the corner. I don’t want to spent several hundred dollars then see a price drop in a few weeks after my purchase. I have to wait for the next iPod release cycle. Then I can decide whether to buy the new generation at the same price or the old generation at a cheaper price. For the mean time, I will resort to an ancient method, burning audio CDs. Althought it is a bit wasteful burn the audio books to CDs, since mostly likely I will only listen them once. However, just think about how much I would have to pay for if I buy the audio books. The cost of blank CD is nothing. I can also lent the audio book CDs to my friends.
Italy won the world cup final. I was watching the game with Pat at Commerical Drive, the Italian Town in Vancouver. It is really crowded, we couldn’t find any seat in any pub. Luckily we are able to squeeze inside a small pizza resturant with a large TV. There was over a hundred people packed inside the small corner shop. It is not very comfortable, I have to half stand, half lean on a table for the whole game. But it has very good atomsphere, everyone supports Italy. The whole place got worried in the second half of the game when Italy under heavy attack by France. Then we all cheered when Zidane got kicked out with a red card. The penalty shotout is really tense, the whole place was quiet during the 5th goal then bursted into joy when it scored. People flocked to the center of the street to celebrate Italy winning the game. The Police blocked off traffic going into the street and turn it into a outdoor party. There were seas of Italian flags, people were singing and dancing in the intersection. It was a really good experience.
Here is some pictures I took today.
It is time to renew my auto insurance. I have been procastinating the renewal until the last moment. This year I finally got the road star status qualified for 40% discount. I can also get cheaper insurance from private company instead of from ICBC. The ICBC is cheaper for new drivers, where the private section goes after the high margin old drivers market. The tipping point is once you have the road star status. I found the insurance system is discriminate against new drivers by charging them higher rate. It takes a new driver 10 years to aquire the road star status. Before that, he has to pay a higher insurance premium for his potentially higher risk, which I think is unfair. Many new drivers never have an accident and they drive as safe as old drivers. Insurance is an industry working with probability. Maybe the insurance regulation body should consider applying philosophy of probability as guideline to regulate insurance companies. It seems many people think the insurance market is highly unfair to the consumers. Insurance should be just a risk deriviative tool, should not treated as investment nor saving.