Friday, January 29, 2010

Are good kids really good kids?

Growing up, everyone around me that study hard, listen to your parents, listen to your teachers, listen to so and so.  Obedience seems to equate good.  I disagree in some level.  It is good to have a balance.  If you promote your kid to be 100% obedience and not let them even express their thoughts, you may very well be breeding a kid who in the future cannot make any decision by themselves, who their peers might call them ma ma's boy/gal.  An individual needs to be capable of making their own decision, have their own opinion and have confident to make choices for themselves.  What's good if your kid, even after they are all grown up, all they know when presented with a choice is to ask their mama or papa.  

"Hon, I really want to spend alone time with you.  I think it is a good time to have our own place," said A's girlfriend.

"Oh, hon, I don't know.  I'll have to ask my mom about that.  I don't think she will like that idea," replied A.

A is a grown up man with 35 years behind him living with his parents.

When things go wrong, you do your best to make amends!

Everyone make mistakes in life.  It was shocking to find out my parents aren't perfect saints when I was a kid.  Growing up, everyone tells me to be a good kid, study hard and listen to your parents.  There's always guidelines and rules to follow when I was a kid and even part of my teenage period.  Slowly growing up, the guideline became blurry.  More "it depends" creeps up.  There's no more set rules what's right and wrong.  You kind of have to trial and error to find out sometimes.  I made mistakes more often.  

I always thought growing up that if you make a boo boo, the boo boo stays forever.  In the past 5 years, I realize that's not true.  It doesn't matter that you have made mistake (well...may be not like murder that kind of mistake.  I mean the regular day-to-day mess up).  What's matter is when things go wrong, you do your best to make amends and learn your lesson not to do it again.  There's no point to hold grudge and to torture yourself with guilt.  What's important is learn the lesson and learn not make the same boo boo again.  Life is a series of experience.  Mistakes make our life more rich.  Usually people learn more from wrongs than rights.

Youtube - Lots of Traffic But No One Wants to Pay For It

Thursday, January 28, 2010

What's An Economical Way to Bond with New Co-workers?

Have you feel the pain from the accumulated here and there small bill from the day-to-day lunch and coffee each month? Even I don't drink specialty coffee, $2 in the morning, $2 in the afternoon and then $7-10 or more lunch here and there really adds up.

 I like to bring my own lunch and even coffee.  It is more healthy and economical.  I have been doing this the past 3 years that I've been working.  Recently I changed jobs then my perspective changed a bit.  It is so important to build a good relationship with your new team - get to know them.  My company has branches all over different cities across Canada.  Everyone's on the phone all the time in conference call.  The only arrangable opportunity to get to know the team is lunch time and coffee time.  It feels so anti-social not to tag along but lunch in downtown really hurts if you go out often.  And I tend to eat more eating out and then spending the rest of the afternoon sitting at my cubicle really promote the growth of my mid-session.  It hurts!

Is there an alternative to bond with co-workers but not hurt your wallet?

Pic - adopted from

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

New Gig - iPad!

 The new Mac gig launched today - iPad!  The price of iPad is actually not bad.  Despite the name, it is a pretty good toy for someone who has a work laptop and want something personal that is mobile with a more eye-friendly display than an iPhone for reading articles, documents or books on the go.  Seriously, I hate carrying 2 laptops when I travel for work!  I want something for personal use but really didn't like carrying 2 laptops.  It is such a hazel especially nowadays US limit the carry on allowance.

Price is pretty decent considering I probably won't buy an iPhone if I have this as I already have a BlackBerry Storm.  

However, I do want to truly have a one device for my personal use.  I wish it has a camera as well...

I have to comment about their naming.  You know what is the first thing that come to my mind?  

Whoever named it, sorry...I can't resist.  I didn't like the naming AT ALL.  Did you do user research with women in the group?  Who would name it iPad?  It is just my opinion.  lol.

I think iPad is good for someone who:
  • has  work laptop
  • wants to use their personal laptop for browsing, email, dowloading, streaming etc.
  • already has a Blackberry from work or a personal mobile phone but want something personal that is mobile
  • perhaps travels for work a lot and doesn't want to carry 2 laptop for personal and work usage

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sync Shared Calendar

"Why didn't you tell me you aren't coming home for dinner?", A said.

" I told you last week and reminded you yesterday.", B replied.

"But you didn't remind me today!!!", A said.

"...........sorry......", B said

Does this situation sound familiar?  I've heard some of my friends living with folks who are in their 50s or older encountering similar situation frequently.  

Most people in their 50s start to show more signs of aging.  One of the more noticeable sign is forgetfulness.  Nothing major but just becoming more frequent that they forgot something they've been notified or told and not remembering to bring things.  They are all more short term thing that are being increasingly hard to remember.

Sometime they need to be remained multiple times.  Otherwise, it will create a lot of misunderstanding and create conflict within the family.   However, for the younger folks in the family, requiring to remain them constantly and being asked multiple times can be frustrating and if you showed it to them, it will create conflict among family members.  What can you do?

Wouldn't it be cool if we can have a auto reminder function in our phones that get sent to the phone of family members who need frequent reminder?  You just need to punch in an event and set up alert frequency. Win-Win situation!

Also, it would be awesome if we can have a shared calendar on the fridge that sync with the calendar of all family members' mobile on shared events.  On the day of, the calendar on the fridge will display everyone's schedule.  All family members just need to read off everyone's schedule.  it helps those who are busy with their life or has becoming a little forgetful to be on the ball of everyone's schedule.  

No more conflicts or misunderstanding!  Wouldn't that be awesome?!  I hope someone is working on it somewhere and it will be come affordable in the next 5 years or so.


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oranges and Chinese

I saw a Chinese man on skytrain yesterday on the way back home from work during rush hour.  I was listening to my iPod then I smelled a strong scent of orange.  I look around and saw this Chinese man in front of me munching on a peeled whole orange with one hand and holding onto the handle to stabilize himself in the mist of a huge crowd cramping like sardines in the train.  He was working on the orange trying to bit ever piece of it.

It is great that he chose a healthy snack but what an awkward choice in that kind of environment.  Beside the strong scent, the juicy orange will squirt everywhere - into the back of the person standing right in front of him, and into the eyes of someone who is sitting next to him.

Then I remember, as a Chinese myself, oranges seems to be our most common fruit that my grandma and mom usually serve after dinner.  I wonder why orange is "the" choice of fruit for Chinese? Or is it?

Chinese is always practical and economical.  Is it because it is easy to preserve and mobile?  Is it because it is full of Vitamin C and it's economically priced? Is it because Chinese like it juicy and plum? Or is it because the strong scent of orange clean the left over smell of their yummy but strong aroma Chinese dinner?

Up - pic adapted from

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Monocle: (One of) My Favourite Magazine!!!

I found Monocle ( ) when I was randomly walking on Queen Street one day.  This is such a fantastic magazine with a bit of politic, economy, culture, & design of not only one country but the globe.  And it is for a value price of about $11 CAD.

Nowadays with way too much information to keep up with from way too many sources that I need to keep updating myself or RSS feed from.  HELP!!!  It is so hard to manage all these information.  And I can't possibly afford buying one magazine for news, another for fashion, another for food and culture, another for finance etc.  Also, I can't buy one of each of these for each of the country I'm interested to get the news from.

I always wanted an all-in-one magazine and I FOUND it!!!!

Monocle is available in Drake's Hotel, Chapters and Coles.  It is weird though.  For a year subscription that they mail to your house, you have to pay 15 pounds for each copy (if I remember correctly.  This is way more expensive this way for some reasons.

Surviving New City Without A Car in Toronto

  • Location, location, location.  Picking a good location will make your life a lot easier.  Depending on whether it is winter or summer, the weather will drive your criteria.
    • Summer 
      • Transportation Consideration: Pick somewhere along the subway line. It makes you more mobile and your experience in Toronto more enjoyable.  There are tones of festivals and events to go to in the summer time.  
      • Grocery Consideration: Pick somewhere close to a supermarket or accessible to a supermarket through public transportation.  I'm Chinese.  I have to pick somewhere where I can buy authentic Chinese groceries.  
      • Zip Car Consideration: Pick somewhere you can access Zip Car within 5-10 min work.  Just for whenever you want to go somewhere further or need to pick up bigger item to have an option to fall back to.
      • Medical Clinic Consideration: Pick somewhere you can find a doc.  If you are alone in a city you don't know, the least thing you want is to figure out where the doc is and travel a long distance to get to the doc (then get your medication somewhere).
      • Bank Consideration: Pick somewhere close to your bank or accessible to a bank
    • Winter - there are a few more things to think about...
      • Best to find a place where it has underground tunnel that can connect you to the subway.  You want to minimize the distance that you will be exposed outdoor.  It can get quiet cold.  I can't bare more than 10 min work uptown during only Dec (Jan and Feb are the coldest month).
      • Fitness Consideration: If  you are active or want to keep active, you may want to find a location that is close to a place that offer sports you like to participate.  Apartment may be a good choice as most apartment has its own gym and swimming pool.  It is quiet convenient.  YMCA is a good place for multiple different sport and the membership includes a variety of fitness classes.  you can't really go outside much in the winter time so it is good to plan this in.
    • Yonge @ Sheppard, Yonge @ Dundas, Yonge @ Wellington have reasonably priced room for rent that fit all the above criteria.  
  • Finding a place to rent can get interesting.  I used craigslist for the 2 places I found.  It takes time to hunt and check-out the places but I always find places at location I want, at the price I want and furnished.  TO does offer some subsidized housing with pretty good rates at some good location.  It is a good alternative.
    • I usually text a friend where I'm going just in case.  There are some freaky people out there sometime.  
    • Check constantly!  Good places get taken quite fast.  But always look at the place before hand and chat with the folks you will be sharing to make sure they are not psycho.  The usual stuff. 
  • Zip Car is such a great option to go for.  You can rent a car by hour in case you want to do a short excursion outside of your subway line boundaries.  It is really easy to use and you can take the car to US too, which is not common with other companies with same kind of service.  An alternative is weekend rental from regular car rental place.  They have weekend deals in the summer time to rent a car for the whole weekend including drop off (depending on location) for only $60 or so.
  • Grocery Shopping gets challenging without a car and on budget.  Convenience usually equate to more expensive bills.  It is good to settle in your new place before winter hit so you can get familiar with what's around you.  I rent a Zip Car every 2 weeks to buy bigger item stuff from supermarket that sell cheaper stuff 


    • Milk and eggs for some reason are very reasonable at Shopper Drug Mart

    • sometime you will find local market offers cheap produce

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Stepping Out of the Comfort Zone - Live Life to the Fullest

Some complaints I hear quite often:
" Life is so routine."
"My job is so boring."
"I wish I'm like you but...."

Some excuses I often hear:
" I can't do this.  I have a car, a house and a job here.  I'm not like you."
"I need to advance in my career.  I don't have a few months to spare to do this."

Common comments I hear from people who stepped out of their 4x4 comfort zone and tried something new:
"I never know I can do that."
"I didn't even know what it is until.....Man, that's awesome!" 
"That amazing time when...."
"I don't think I can live the way I did."

A good friend of mine recently got very sick from a rare form of disease.  His life got flipped upside down.  No warning.  No symptom. It just happened.  So fast and so unexpectedly.

Since this has happened, a goal of mine to live life to the fullest has make more sense than ever.  Life is seriously too short.  There are so many things that can happen to change the state that you are in right now.  You may not have the luxury to wait it off later to do what you always have in your mind to do.  Who knows when life throw a curve ball at you?  It is the beauty of life to have surprises but they don't necessary are nice ones (like my friend's).  

People always give themselves so many excuses not to step out of their comfort zone to do things.  Most of the time it is just in your head how hard something you want to do is.  What's so hard to just try it?  If it doesn't work out, no one will die (well....i guess depends what you have in mind to do.  I mean most of the time).  At least you find out it doesn't work, right?

Stop wasting time.  If you want to do it, you can make things work.  Try it!!  You can make your life more colorful.  Seriously, not that hard.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Was it a dream or am I dreaming right now?

Logistically, moving back went smoothly.  However, psychologically I think it will take a while to adjust.  The first week, perhaps was a combination of my cold, 3 hours time difference, and the resistance to accept the fact that i moved back home and have to leave my friends in Toronto, it felt so surreal.  the feeling is like I was either dreaming right now or it has been a dream.

I thought moving back would be simple and easy as I'm from here and familiar with here.  Opposite to what I have expected, everything seems familiar but is so unfamiliar.  I felt like a human who lived in another planet with Aliens and now come back to Earth.

There's a unique flow of each city.  Now after a year and a half in Toronto, I adapted the flow of Toronto.  Though I'm from Vancouver, I've disconnected from the flow here.  It will take a while to pick it up.  I guess you can't switch from one flow to another just like that.

It took me 1/2 year to pick up the flow in Toronto enduring the torture of feeling not belonged.  Hopefully, it will take shorter time to get through coming back.

Lessons Learned

Over a year has zoomed by.  I've moved back to Vancouver after spending a year and a half living and working in Toronto.  It felt like I woke up from a dream.

It has been an amazing experience.  From my move, I expected to gain only work experience and to move on from my long-dragged on past relationship.  A year and a half later, looking back, I found I've learned much more.   

I have learned

  • what friendship truly is
  • that I cannot do everything myself and it is OK to accept others' help
  • family should not be taken for granted
  • when you open your heart up, you will find you are being loved more than you allow yourself to see
  • what does my mom mean by using my heart to treat others (because I've met so many friends who treated me with their heart)
  • life is too short to not live it to the fullest
  • life is not fair but still beautiful
  • what is support
  • being able to give is a blessing
  • that you can get a lot of things done but not get stressed
  • what I want and what I think is important too
  • the breeze that carry the smell of the sea makes me smile
  • you need to being at the right place, at the right time to meet the people you know and become friends is not an easy thing.  This deserve you to treasure and cherish.
  • there are places where weather determine how human live
To my surprise, I've learned much more life lessons just moving to another city within Canada than travelling to the other side of the world.  I'm so glad I have this opportunity to experience temporarily loosing something I took for granted in Vancouver.  This experience made me realize how fortunate I'm to have so much in my life.  I learned to appreciate and cherish people and things around me.

Happiness is not a thing that you have or you don't.  If you are not happy, perhaps, try to change your perception and attitude.  You may find happiness has always been around you.  It is only you never notice it here.