29 March 2006

Game of Tag

My ex-colleague nurse2be played a game of tag and invited others to join her. The goal is to list 4 things for each categories. I cannot help think of those web sites back in the early days of the web on which people make two lists - things they hate and thing they love. Here's my list:

Four Jobs I've Had in My Life:
  1. At a bagel shop in Jackson Heights, Queens, NYC. I was a cashier, I made bagels, delivered food to nearby bars. At $2 an hour, after a 7-hour day, I thought $14 was too much and refused to take it, but the manager on duty at the time, Sam, somewhat of a family friend, made me take it. I think that was my very first job.
  2. Busboy at a Thai restaurant in New York Chinatown. I think it was a summer job.
  3. Sales Rep for a "yellow page" company, New York, NY. I was supposed to sell advertisement slots in a directory of multimedia products - back in the late '90s, anything computer-related that emits sounds or plays video was considered multimedia and supposedly hot. I don't recall making any commission, so the company owner put me to help the secretary/data entry person with, well, data entry. I turned out to be a greater asset in the area and fell in love with the Macintosh computer and the database program FileMaker Pro (not the secretary...)
  4. Computer, 16 years and counting. Programmed in Clipper, dBASE, etc. network administration involving babysitting servers, and now network account administration.

Four Movies I Love
  1. The Princess Bride (Simple love story filled with heroic deeds.)
  2. Kung Fu Hustle (I only sat down to see this movie on DVD because my son liked the lollipop on the cover. I thought it was just another movie idolizing gamblers and gangsters. It turned out to be somewhat of an action movie, a love story, and some humorous elements thrown in.)
  3. Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind (It was interesting to see Jim Carrey not as a clown that he usually portrays)
  4. The Matrix (I didn't know what the movie was about, so it was a pleasant surprise. Nice fighting sequence, especially the training session.)
Four Places I Have Lived
  1. Saigon, Vietnam
  2. Indonesia, various tiny islands serving as refugee camps for boat people
  3. Singapore, fresh from the backwaters of Indonesia, waiting for a flight to the U.S., we lived in an outdoor garage that only has a roof
  4. New York City
Four TV Shows I Love to Watch
  1. Whose Line Is It Anyway?
  2. NY1 Local News (Sadly, since switching to DirectTV, I no longer have NY1)
  3. Futurama
  4. Three's Company
Between keeping my son company, my wife hogging the TV with her Chinese shows/discs, spending time on the computer, and long commute to/from work, I have very little time left for TV. I only know about TV shows or movies when I need to incorporate them into my cartoons. That's when I have an idea to spoof them so I would do some Googling about the shows to see if they fit into the cartoon as I envisioned it.

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation
  1. San Francisco (nice weather, walkable and has decent public transportation, sorta like NYC)
  2. London
  3. Paris
  4. Hong Kong (kinda like NYC, just with everything cut down in half, otherwise they wouldn't fit on the tiny island)
Four Websites I Visit Regularly
  1. MacMinute
  2. CNet News (to see how the Windoze crowd deals with the latest viruses, security leaks, headaches, etc)
  3. Blogger (to hunt for splogs and report them to SplogReporter.com)
  4. PBSKids.org (my son loves to play games on the computer, might as well at least make him learn something useful in the process)
Four of My Favorite Foods
  1. Vietnamese
  2. Chinese
  3. American (burger, hotdogs, ice cream - yes, I am a junk food junkie)
  4. Italian (Pizza is considered Italian, right? Spaghetti with meatballs must be Italian, I'm pretty sure)

Four Places I Would Rather Be Right Now
  1. Grand Canyon
  2. At some public park with my son. We both need the exercise.
  3. Wandering in Manhattan, stopping here and there at bookstores, electronic outlets, etc.
  4. Running in the NYC Marathon.
Four Most Wonderful Places I've Ever Been
  1. My late maternal grandmother's fruit garden, Ca'i Ta\u Ha., Vietnam. I spent a few summers there in my younger years, playing with my cousins and pampered by grandma. Aaaah, those were the simpler days.
  2. San Francisco. I was on vacation there with my second older sister. We just went about visting museums, gardens, tourist traps, etc. No time was wasted at some outlet malls or gigantic shopping malls, I think that's what made the San Fran trip so special.
  3. New York City. For all its warts and such, it's still a great city to live in, as long as you have a job.
  4. Burhala Island, Indonesia. Not sure of the spelling. It was the third island that we stayed at during our refugee stint in Indonesia. It had beaches, palm trees, mountain that was not hard for climbing, a path that we could use to walk back to the bigger island nearby during certain time of the day. Of course we didn't have much money to spend and there was not much to spend on anyway.
Four Books I Have Read
  1. Star Wars: Rebel Dream
  2. The Rainmaker by John Grisham
  3. The New Origami by Steve and Megumi Biddle (it was in this book that I first learned how to make the cube that has become the base for many of my origami exploration)
  4. The Joy of Tech by Nitrozac and Snaggy (tech cartoons at their best, many with Mac slant)
Four Songs I Listen to Over and Over Again
  1. Wrapped Around Your Finger by The Police
  2. Pressure by Billy Joel (probably work-related)
  3. Brotherhood of the Sword by Lam (better known as Theme Song from Once Upon A Time In China II, a movie about legendary martial arts master Wong Fei Hong)
  4. Beautiful Boy by John Lennon
Four Reasons Why I Blog
  1. To keep track of my life
  2. To publicize my cartoons
  3. To gain fame
  4. To hone my writing skill
Four people I tag to do this
  1. Anyone who has the time to do so
  2. Anyone who knows those in #1
  3. Any Mac users
  4. Any one who draw cartoons

26 March 2006

Moving Into The Danger Zone

We are in for another move. Many people will be affected. A move is usually known as a restack, but for this particular move it's more like a swirl, because the moves involve people going to new desks on the same floor.

One rumor that's floating about is that the people who will be fired shortly will be re-located to a particular quadrant of the floor. One of these people is a neighbor of mine - this cartoon is for her. She thinks her time will come any time soon. A few days after the cartoon was drawn, she attended the meeting about the move and it turned out she didn't have to move to the danger zone, so the 'toon is kinda lost its target, but there are other people moving there so all is not lost.

Every now and then I play international chess in the office and have wanted to draw something chess-related. Now the chance has finally arrived. I wanted to show the King or Queen say to the poor Pawn, "It is never up to you" but there is no room for it.

24 March 2006

Overtime Overload

It's been a busy week. My colleague D.N. officially announced his resignation. He already told me last week. Deep down I suspect he was serious, but on the surface I had this lingering hope that perhaps come Monday he'll laugh out loud and say it's all just a joke. My group cover many networks but there are a handful of network only D.N. and I can properly handle. Lots of time when other admins try to work on these troublesome networks, something would go wrong and us two would end up fixing the problems. D.N. had to take the rest of the week off to do something so I had been stuck doing his work while juggling my projects, etc. I put in some overtime so only today I'm almost caught up with the overload.

21 March 2006

Qaptain Qwerty on Flickr

I've been maintaining my "gallery" of cartoons via iPhoto and Galerie. I am not happy with iPhoto's default template and want to add a little note but it has become such a pain to add those notes. Next I switched to Galerie but it too involves a painful process of uploading all the photos in one shot. I probably need to sit down and learn more about Galerie - there must be a way to upload only new photos. Until that time comes, for now I'll switch to Flickr - just only because it seems to be a decent place to share "photos". Places like KodakGallery, ShutterFly, or SnapFish appear too eager to offer their printing service. I'm not exactly thrilled with Flickr's default setting of one long column, but it's the best there is right now. I already keep all my photos in iPhoto, so Flickr's various iPhoto plug-in options are great convenience.

I don't have all the cartoons coupled with remarks but I uploaded them anyway. As I add remarks I'll just copy-and-paste them remarks into Flickr.

Because of upload quota, I think I may have spent all my quota this month. April isn't that far away, I'll upload some more when the new month roll into town.

10 March 2006

Scrabble Squabble

"The oe blows the ai into the qat." What the heck is that? An oe is supposedly some kind of whirlwind the Faeroe Islands, wherever those islands are. An ai is a three-toe sloth - sure, you must have seen them on that Animals Planet feature last week. Lastly, a qat (a variation of kat) is an evergreen shrub. Say what? Yup, those are acceptable words in a given Scrabble game. Useful if you want to win points on the Scrabble board, but outside of it there is no value to these "Scrabble" words. Originally I thought since I love words I can learn some more useful ones by playing Scrabble. What a disappointment. The game involves only numbing memorization of words that are useless everywhere else except in the game. I've checked many dictionaries and I still don't see how the word "qua" comes into use. All I think of "qua" is when the teachers or adults in Peanuts cartoons talk. "Qua qua, qua qua", said the teacher. "Yes, m'am, I will tell her not to call me 'sir' anymore", said Peppermint Patty.

06 March 2006

Bookworm Deluxe for Mac 1.0.0

I first played the online version of Bookworm and was easily hooked on it. I tried the Windows offline version but it was under Virtual PC Windows emulation so it was horrible. Not having any decent Windows machines at home (and not ever wanting one), I patiently waited for the Mac version to become available. During the wait, I played the PDA version on my black & white Visor Deluxe. The tiles don't look good at all and it's sometimes hard to see the burning tiles, so gameplay wasn't quite what it should be.

As soon as I knew about the Mac version of Bookworm Deluxe being released, I jumped at the demo. I would register soon anyway but it helped that the demo was only good for an hour. I've wasted so many hours with it since I first played a few days ago. Supposedly there's a way to upload one's high score to the web, but it appears there's no way to do that with the Mac version. Probably a Windows-only feature. So here's my high score so far. Maybe version 2 or later of the Mac version will include the feature...

03 March 2006


I often lecture my friends and family about the importance of backing up one's computer data... but I myself haven't backed up any of my computers for a while. Enough with not preaching what I teach!

Some time ago I backed up a major portion of my iMac using Apple Backup 1.x or 2.x. One big annoyance with backing up while logged in is that certain files cannot be accessed and the backup job pause with the error.

Yesterday, I booted up the iMac in target mode. That means holding down the letter T while booting up. The iMac became just a device on the FireWire link. Hook up the FireWire cable to the PowerBook Aluminum and I could see the iMac as just an external hard drive. Even my LaCie external hard drive was mounted on the PB Al desktop. Launched Apple Backup 3.1 and off went the backup job - 100+ CDs or 12 DVDs to hold all that data. I went the DVD route of course. Each disc took some time to burn and I had to leave the job running over night for disc #10 - it was just that it was already near 1 a.m. This morning I started disc #11 but had to go to work. When I came home, it was time for #12 to get started. How nice of computers, they just sat there and wait without any complaining.

Now I have a set of 12 backup discs. Should anything happen to the iMac, I have the whole computer on backup. There was some errors in Backup log but I suspect it is related to volatile files, such as temporary files in the var directory. I should learn more about Unix file system...

Next thing to do is to backup the PB Al the same way. I am even thinking about making a copy of the whole set for the PB and send it to my sister in St. Louis. Hey, no point of keeping a backup only in the same house.

Some day if I feel rich I may give those double-layered DVDs a shot. Wow, 8 GB of space to spare. But then again, they cost dang too much. Isn't it something like $5 a pop?