bchi @ 3/31/2006 09:57:00 AM | 1 comments

When Tim Hortons started their roll-up-the-rim-to-win contest this year, I started a nasty habit of drinking a medium coffee w/ milk every morning. It's irresistable, I pass by Tim Hortons every morning on my way to work, and I think "Today, I'll roll up the rim... and win!"

Well, life has a funny way of binding you to things you've really got no business in. True, I've been pretty fortunate to have won a free donut and two free coffees at the start of the contest. I mean, there are over 27,000,000 food prizes and I've won 3 of them already! That's against all odds already, at least in my books.

I wouldn't consider myself a lucky person, but I'd consider myself a person surrounded by lucky people. For example, the guy who sits behind me at work won a Broil-King the first time he bought coffee - there are only 10,000 Broil King prizes. As another example, my friends won $10 from playing Crosswords lottery cards.. when I played it for them (being the good guy that I am, I gave them back the $10).

But don't get me wrong here, I'm not as gullible as I look. I admit that certain people have more luck than others, but I also believe everything happens because we are all victims of our own circumstances. It's important to understand and accept the fact that external factors are as equally important as our own internal drive. People only appear lucky because our conscience naturally filters out all things considered unlucky.

Speaking of which, I've noticed a growing number of young people obsessed with get-rich-quick schemes. Buy real estate, invest in enticing stocks, start up companies, rent everything out, go cheap on everything else. I don't have anything against these people, nor am I endorsing any conclusions as to whether these schemes work or not. But I've come to realize two things in life:
  • Everything has an equal and opposite reaction; All things come in pairs
  • Happiness comes to those who have wisdom to know the difference
Every time I go to Chapters, the bestseller titles almost always certainly begin "retire early" or "millionaire" or "get rich." I get a laugh out of thinking "man, life would be so meaningless if everyone's financial problems could be solved in a 200-page book." I mean, how ironic is life if a $15.00 investment in a 200-page book rewards us with a lifelong return?

The key is wisdom. Everything has an equal and opposite reaction. I could just as easily write a 200+ page book and call it "Automatic Bankruptcy: Your Ultimate Guide on How to Lose All Your Money." Returning to my earlier point about luck, I'd say very few people in this world have luck, and even fewer people have wisdom.

But you can control wisdom - wisdom comes from courage to accept the things you've been given in life. After all, we are all victims of our own circumstances.
bchi @ 3/30/2006 07:36:00 PM | 0 comments

I've been extremely busy the past few days, and I haven't got around to posting anything new on my blog. Anyway, I've spotted some very interesting things this week that's worth noting:
  1. About 1 in 10 cars in downtown Toronto are Porsches. I was at an intersection where the first three cars were Porsches.
  2. On GO buses that have three pairs of wheels (one front / two rear), the last pair of wheels turn with the bus!!!
  3. Deers love golf courses
  4. People keep putting feet up on GO train seats despite the warning signs and announcements
  5. People run to their cars in GO parking lots in hopes of beating the lineup at the intersection
  6. GO train locomotives are extreme noisy. I like trains!
  7. People submerge themselves in cigarette smoke daily walking between Union and Union GO
  8. Commercial airplanes make U-turns above Centennial GO prior to landing at YYZ
bchi @ 3/23/2006 07:48:00 PM | 0 comments

I invented the blog post labelling system myself, on a cold cold Sunday night with nothing else to do. I also implemented it myself. I know I can't hide source code. Nobody can. But if anyone wishes to rip code or anything off my page, please notify me first and include the disclaimer. Thanks.
bchi @ 3/22/2006 10:26:00 PM | 3 comments

An excerpt from The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell, quoting psychologist W. Mischel on human behaviour and perception:

When we observe a woman who seems hostile and fiercely independent some of the time but passive, dependent and feminine on other occasions, our reducting valve usually makes us choose between the two syndromes. We decide that one pattern is in the service of the other, or that both are in the service of a third motive. She must be a really castrating lady with a facade of passivity - or perhaps she is a warm, passive-dependent woman with a surface defense of aggressiveness. But perhaps nature is bigger than our concepts and it is possible for the lady to be a hostile, fiercely independent, passive, dependent, feminine, aggressive, warm, castrating person all-in-one. Of course which of these she is at any particular moment would not be random or capricious - it would depend on who she is with, when, how, and much, much more. But each of these aspects of her self may be a quite genuine and real aspect of her total being.

I love this passage.

(update: My girlfriend pointed out that this is true for guys as well, except maybe the castrating part... I know of no equivalent action against women...)
bchi @ 3/22/2006 09:52:00 AM | 3 comments

I think too much, but I wouldn't label myself as a procrastinator.
I work hard, too hard, but I'm always working hard for others but myself.
I'm said to be very helpful, but I usually help myself last.
Such is my predicament.
bchi @ 3/22/2006 07:35:00 AM | 0 comments

I haven't exactly finished the new look and feel of the blog yet; I really hate the blog's original CSS styles.

I've:
- added borders surrounding each post
- added gray post headers
- dumped everything inside a div container.
- generalized the fonts

I'm thinking of:
- changing the label menu to be in its own container on the right sidebar
- move sidebar into its own post-like container with heading
- replace rid of the "bchi's blog" banner at the top

I'm not quite sure what to do with that red dot if I scrap the top banner.
bchi @ 3/21/2006 12:12:00 AM | 1 comments

16 hours of continuous work. All work and no play makes Brian feel very sleepy... but at least I had a really good time recollecting memories of junior school with a friend who's on the other side of the globe at the moment. It's a pity that I'm usually asleep when she's wide awake, and vice versa. Her blog can be found here.

If you ask me what I have done during the past half year or so, I couldn't tell you anything. It's been work work work day-in and day-out. All work and no play makes Brian feel very sleepy. But if you ask me what I did during the grade 6 semester, I could literally write a book on the subject matter.

For reasons unknown to anybody, including myself, I have supermemory remembering childhood events. I could describe to you every event in my life up to grade 8 with uttermost detail and precision. And yet, I do not remember much of my high school years. Worse still, my University years flew by like a breeze.

What's happening to me? Am I losing my memory? Could all those years of sniffing paint and glue be finally taking a toll on me? Perhaps, but what I know for certain is that some memories are worth keeping, and to preserve them means recording them on something permanent (well, 'permanent' is a relative concept; anything that works better than my memory is considered permanent).
bchi @ 3/19/2006 07:45:00 AM | 2 comments

So, it's Friday night, and every alchoholic across the globe is celebrating St. Patrick's day. I'm no different. Having gone through a pretty busy week myself, I needed a break badly.

Good thing for me a buddy of mine worked a few blocks down the road, so I met up with him for a quick dinner, followed by some serious St. Patrick's day celebratin'. We took his car and headed out to the West side of downtown Toronto - an area I'm not too familiar with - hoping to find a nice place to chill.

Despite all our efforts, we ended up in a McDonald's parking lot. First, there weren't too many places to hang out in downtown west. Second, people were starting to act weird. I guess that's what happens when the sun goes down, all the homeless and nocturnal people come out (sorta reminds me of the classic Tarantino horror flick 'From Dusk Till Dawn' a few years back). Anyway, so while inside the parking lot, we decided to check out a bar across the street, where a homeless white guy was shouting obscenities at nobody. Inside the bar, we were greeted by a bunch of 50-yr olds - time to get out.

Back in the car, looking for another place to eat, we ended up going to the east end for some Vietnamese food at Pho88. When we parked the car, a homeless Chinese guy walked up to me, wide-eyed and holding out a dirty cap. I kinda felt sorry for this guy, and also I didn't want him to harass us or damage the car or something, so I gave him a few bucks and shoo-ed him away. Funny thing was, after dinner, he came up to me again, with that same wide-eyed stare and started asking for money, at which time I had no change left. I couldn't help but crack up - man, this guy has some seriously bad memory. But I gotta give him credit though, asking the same person for money twice.

Finally, time for some serious drinkin'. We ended up going to some pub/bar on Front St. near Loose Moose (I'll try to find the bar's name) where we join a larger table and started chatting with four out-of-town folks. The place was literally packed, and there was much pushing and shoving and beer-spilling and unavaoidable body-rubbing. But alas, I was able to order my drink, a cold, tall glass of dark Guinness :)

So we all started chatting and later we were joined by two more Waterloo friends (one of whom was a former classmate). Then there was the ordeal with the pitcher of beer. See, what happened was, everybody disappeared half-way through, but they left their coats in the bar, so I took a brief walk outside to check things out. And then came the third homeless guy for the night, some crazed black guy who was quite discontent with white folks. Oh well, let him be. If you're familiar with that area, you must've seen him before - he wears a green coat and a yellow cap, hanging outside Loose Moose everyday, chatting with everyone who walks by.

By the time everyone got back inside, the pitcher of beer was gone. We argued with the waitressses and spoke to the manager, but all was cool, and we got another pitcher. When the beer was gone, everybody's kinda tired and we all called it a night.

And so that's how I spent my St. Patrick's day.

p.s. I also got a green Guinness hat, much to the dismay of my girlfriend ;)
bchi @ 3/16/2006 11:00:00 PM | 0 comments

I was browsing through car magazines at the local Gateway Newstand when I came across a review of the new Lexus IS250. Lately, I have heard so much buzz about the redesigned IS series, which sparked an interest in finding out how it fared against the competition. Well, the review was simple - too simple. It only read "Missing something intangible." I'm not exactly sure what the reviewer had in mind, but it was undeniably catchy.

Today, as I walked across a major intersection in downtown Toronto, a black Lexus IS was stopped at the lights. The driver had absolutely the most expressionless face I've ever seen. I don't think it could not have been because of waiting at the light for too long. Was he not happy with his new toy? Perhaps the car did not live up to his expectations? Then I thought, there was definitely something missing in the picture - something... intangible!
bchi @ 3/14/2006 09:06:00 PM | 3 comments

Now the red dot walks across my blob title banner :)

Maybe I'll get the red dot to do something special each month or season, hmm...
bchi @ 3/14/2006 01:24:00 AM | 0 comments

Added a walking red-dot across the screen using DHTML and JS. Cool eh? I'll make the little guy do some more tricks a bit later.
bchi @ 3/13/2006 10:37:00 PM | 0 comments

I have to admit, the recent surge in car accidents across Toronto related to racing or reckless driving has really made me think twice about my own driving. I like driving fast, and I know how to drive fast - but only when the road is empty, where I can have a little fun without endangering other people's lives. For some strange, unknown reason, I find driving very relaxing.

Having said that, there are idiots who insist on tailgating you, even when you are overspeeding - so close that you can literally count the dead bugs on their windshield. I used to get pissed off and then speed off 20 or so cars ahead of them, but eventually they catch up by tailgating the 19 cars behind me so it's pointless. Now I know better: simply change lanes and let them pass, no point in picking a fight and putting myself in a lose-lose situation.
bchi @ 3/13/2006 09:41:00 PM | 0 comments

I spent most of my Saturday morning running around, picking up miscellaneous stuff, getting ready to drive to Waterloo in the afternoon to meet up with my gf. My gf is in 1st year Optometry, and each year Optometry students attend their annual ball (aptly named EyeBall, clever!) at this time of the year. So there, I had some nice steak, a few drinks, and met 70% of Canada's most talented and brightest future Optometrists :)

My gf 'informed' me last time when I took her to the Engineering GradBall that guys were supposed to get the girl a gift, typically a corsage. So, being the *caring* bf that I am (wink), I got her a really nice corsage with two yellow roses to match my yellow tie (which I bought specifically for the occasion... which I eventually spilled steak gravy on). Funny though, she ended up being the only girl to wear a corsage that night. I feel proud :p
bchi @ 3/08/2006 07:50:00 PM | 1 comments

Suppose you earned an annual gross income of $60,000. Assume deductions and income tax total 25% of the gross amount, so net income works out nicely to $45,000. Furthermore, you pay 15% tax on every dollar you spend.

Now, let's do some math. Since every $1.00 you spend, you must pay 15% tax which means each $1.00 you spend is actually $1.15. Although your net income is $45,000, you don't have $45,000 to spend - each $1.00 you spend is actually $1.15. So you really only have $45,000/$1.15 = $39,130.43 to spend per year, or roughly 65.22% of your annual gross income! In other words, more than a third of your hard-earned money goes to the government!

(p.s. 25% is highly optimistic, 32% is more reasonable)
bchi @ 3/05/2006 11:41:00 PM | 1 comments

I spent the better part of today with my parents at a friend's pot-luck party. Having slept at 5am the previous night, I didn't have much energy despite my usual eat-like-a-mofo appetite. However, the highlight of the night was neither the food nor the people, but their dog.

I believe it was a one-and-a-half year old Shih-Tzu, the same type of dog that my girlfriend has, except this one had to be the fattest, fluffiest dog I have ever seen in my life. I know most Shih-Tzus have a flat face, but this one... a person could easily mistaken it for a toy if it stood still. It was difficult not to smile when you see something as ridiculous as that dog.
bchi @ 3/05/2006 11:39:00 PM | 0 comments

Added counters to keep track of labelled post types, so users will know how many posts are available in each category.

Damn, I'm such a nerd.
bchi @ 3/05/2006 07:37:00 PM | 2 comments

Today I finished my implementation of google-like labels for blog post items. Now I can label my blog posts and allow users to select the label at the top of the page. All of the content on this page is dynamically generated, including the label menu. I'll need to work on the blog visuals a little bit later... I'm dead tired and I'm hungry. Well, I'm always hungry, but anyway...
bchi @ 3/05/2006 11:18:00 AM | 0 comments

I finally created a blog. Do I win a prize for ultimate procrastinator?