What's in a Name?

I was watching a film with Chevy Chase in it, and happened to look up his bio on IMDb when I came across his real name: Cornelius Crane Chase. Yeah. No wonder he changed it.

And that discovery got me to wondering ...

What first names could you name your kids that would set them up for a childhood (in North America) of taunting and misery, just because of it?

I suppose a few examples could be:
Billy Bob (m)
Bertha (f)
Amadeus (m)
Gretchen (f)

Now you contribute.

...And Thanks for All the Fish

Okay. Does anyone not enjoy watching National Geographic or Discovery programs about dolphins?

Search, Research, and Research Again

I guess I'm a research buff. Particularly in the preparation and selection of an upcoming purchase, I invariably feel compelled to examine every last design detail, and anal-retentively nitpick at the features or flaws that I believe will irritate me in the future. (Sometimes it's just even knowing that there's a flaw in it -- even if I'd never notice it as a user -- that would eat at me.)

Example 1: before getting my GTI back in 2001, I visited 4 different VW dealerships in two countries (where I happened to be anyhow), and scoured the VWvortex forums daily for six months before I signed at the dealership.

Example 2: I studied the workings of several "perpetual motion" watch technologies and browsed watches online for weeks on end, before finally setting my sights on the Seiko that I got.

Example 3: After double-digit visits to different consumer electronics stores, taking some 50+ photos with two different cameras, and even borrowing a model for 1700+ photos over 3 weeks, I'm still in the middle of deciding which digital camera to get.

And so far, for each of these purchases I've made in this method, I've been overly happy with the decision I've taken. I can only hope that in the future, such a lengthy process continues to reward me!

That said, I did buy my Powerbook G4 17" on a whim.
And my SonyEricsson W800i was quick too.
But my hurried purchase of the Panasonic FX07 was a big $300 mistake.

Huh. Interesting.

Guys Night Out

It's been a while since I've actually had any guys'-night-outs -- most of these have been in North America with my buddies from college or from the Canadian crew in the Bay Area, and most of those have been related mainly to clubbing scenes. So the new incarnation of GNO for me has come in the form of the darts bar.

Interesting to me is that I didn't realize how much I missed just hanging out with a bunch of guy friends and shootin' the sh!t. I mean, I don't consider myself -- and a lot of my friends probably would chime in here with more enthusiasm than I would publicly appreciate -- your average macho man's man brimming with testosterone and having to exert my masculinity just to prove I have it.

I do too have it!

But hanging with the guys is good, maybe-not-so-wholesome fun. It's an opportunity to strip away the normal apprehensions of courtesy, to do away with today's strict societal etiquette rules, to connect on a communicate level of grunts, whoops, and primeval gut-trembling laughter. Or, if you prefer the girls' descriptions of a GNO event, it's the chance where guys get to act stupid.

And I'm not arguing against that ... because that's exactly what it is.

All we do is rib each other, make silly high-school-esque comments, intentionally blurt out sexual innuendo and emasculating comments of our peers, trying to outdo each other with how gross we can get. Of course, we don't give each other stupid nicknames that will outlive even the faintest memory of how those names ever came about.

Okay, that's not really true: I'm Uncle Benny.

Because somehow it's always seems there's an Uncle Benny who is the kingpin in the local Chinatown gang, and uses the lavish hidden upstairs of a tackily-decorated Chinese restaurant as his office. And he's old.

And no, no headlocks and nuggies. Though T-Man seems to have a thing about tweaking man-nipples when he's had more than enough alcohol in his veins.

Pop a Vein

Is it true that you can pop a vein if you strain too hard while making a doodie? There are times when I worry about that and wonder why I didn't eat more fibre that day.

Music and Lyrics

Over the weekend, I watched Music and Lyrics in the theatres. I thoroughly enjoyed it; I like romantic comedies. And I like Hugh Grant's roles in those kinds of unrealistic romantic comedies.

I like how his characters are always written with all the snappiest lines and quickest comedic add-ons, and that girls swoon over the cleverness that is his (on-screen) persona. And yes, I do realize that pretty much they're all the same guy: a well-to-do British person who is slightly helpless on his own, but is quick with his words, blahblahblah. In some ways, I wish I were as witty as him.

But to my dismay, I realized that I have something else in common with him: my body.

In recent months, I've whittled down to a pasty-pale, muscle-missing, love-handle-heavy blob of undescribably strange shapes. When the madness of these few weeks settles out, I promise to myself to make this no longer true.

Period-Space, Period-Space-Space

When you're happily typing away, and you finish a sentence, you end it with a period. But after that, do you put a single space, or two spaces before starting the next sentence?

Hello, world. You are cold and cruel.
Hello, world.  You are cold and cruel.

Me, I've always chosen to go with two spaces between, mainly because that's how it used to be done. But more recently, it seems that a single space is now acceptable as well. Still, I stick with double-space, because it provides more visual space between the sentences, and that's conceptually better to me, more readable. You?


We wander about Cho Ben Thanh, winding through the narrow aisles of this bustling local market. It's hot, and we do our best to avoid the masses of vendors watching us like hawks while hawking their clothes and sinking their talons into our arms to get our attention.

"Sir, you want T-shirt?"
"What you looking for?"
"Sir, come here, come here."

After getting our fill of Dri-FIT fabric "Adidas", "Puma", and "Nike" shirts, I saw some shirts screenprinted with cheap-looking Abercrombie logos. Inquiring, I found they had some decent ones in the brushed/sueded cotton fabric, complete with the luxurious, velvety neckline trim, and Abercrombie appliques. The fit worked for me, and after some heated bargaining, I dropped them from 260,000vnd down to 150,000vnd (that's $9.40USD).

So now I'm the proud owner -- after inspecting them more closely upon my return and comparing to my one real Abercrombie shirt -- of the following shirts:
1 Abercrombie & Fitch, authentic (bought in SF)
1 Abercrombie & Fitch, says it's authentic (but isn't)
1 Abercrombie & Fitch, doesn't even try to say it's authentic
1 Abercrombie & Fish, no explanation necessary

In their defense, the material is just like the real thing, and it might actually say "fich" -- it's actually very hard to tell altogether.

Seeking, Seeking

For the past 5 years, I just feel like I've been moving from place to place, job to job, environment to environment, always in search of that better opportunity and better chance. I feel kind of like a cocaine addict, seeking that fabled first high: apparently, all the subsequent ones never feel as good as the first time.

And that "first high" was of course during the surreal dot-com era, in my beloved hometown of Vancouver.

Well, I was just thinking that my life so far as been rather temporary. I need to settle down; I actually want to settle down. And then I'll be able to start feeling like I belong somewhere. At this point, I think ideally I'd like to live in Vancouver, Bay Area, or Seattle: each have the pluses and minuses, and various strengths or weaknesses around economy, quality of life, cost of living.

Settling down will give me that footing, instead of buying IKEA furniture or just making do with whatever is around so I don't have to waste money on "temp living conditions". After all, I've had IKEA furniture most of my life (living on my own). I don't know if that will change a whole lot even if I settle down, because I actually like IKEA stuff. But I would be less prone to picking the cheaper stuff.

And then definitely my mindset will change, and I can start building towards the rest of my life.

Under Construction

Just a quick note that my blog appearance is undergoing some changes while I get it properly converted to the new templates that Google is forcing on me. It should be done within a week, but I'm warning you that it will definitely get worse before it gets better.

Back from Nam

I'm back in Taipei now, after 12 long days in southern Vietnam for vacation. It's been quite the experience, but now -- some 12 days, $1000US, 1550 photos, and numerous mosquito bites later -- it's back to regular life again. I'll post some sparse thoughts and impressions a little later.