Breaking Bad: a new start

I will not be lingering on this post to explain what happened in the past three months. A lot of things happened, and I felt I am a changed man due to the lessons and harsh realities life throws at me. No, I will not write about what happened.

Today I will start by writing a TV show I just started watching: Breaking Bad. Although I just finished the first episode of season one, I am already so intrigued and decide to follow through.

On my frequent bus rides and daily sauntering home, I think of this show and a few scenes in it. It dawned on me that to make a show interesting, the script writer must be really talented and know how to make the whole story both real and gripping. I noticed some of the tricks and prototypes in Breaking Bad and fiddled the idea that I should write down my understanding of how the Breaking Bad is crafted in each episode and  how the story gradually evolves.

This will keep my head and fingers busy and provide a seclusive corner in my stagnant mind.


Happiness: new understanding

Now I have a new perspective of what happiness is: it is more dependent on what you don’t have than what you have and plan to have.

In many situations, the state of self-contentment and peace of mind is the best thing one can get in this world. Simple things such as eating and sleeping can become so scarce and valueable for people who are in a difficult situation. Always be grateful for the simple happiness in our daily life, and value it.

It seems the motto below just fits this post:

Empty what is full, and fill what is empty


Count the blessings

Let me count the blessings I have in my life at this moment:

  1. Good health
  2. A family
  3. A job
  4. 33 of age

I can experiement with my life and have new adventures, but remember, do not ruin any of the blessings I have just because I am not sure who I am.

I should have been more appreciative of all the blessings bestowed on me. Just be less selfish and try to give more. And remember, giving is taking.

Merry Christmas and (I hope!) Happy New Year!


A few things to do every day

Once I got back to the supposedly easy life in China as a somewhat changed person, I found it was so easy to fall back into the old routine life and idle away. So in this morning of a new semester, I am thinking of doing the following things daily in order to make progress little by little:

  1. Try to wrap all the activities of a day before 10 pm and go to bed no later than 11 pm.
  2. Brush my teeth twice. Right now I am only doing it in the morning, but to be a ‘super-clean’ person, I figure I need to enforce extra hygienic implementations.
  3. Physical nourishment: eat a good breakfast and have a mood to exercise. Sports-wise, I am thinking of swimming.
  4. Spiritual nourishment: read and write commentaries on the readings.
  5. GTD: have a paper notebook ready at hand and jot down the things to do every day and do them.
  6. Write a blog entry no matter how short it is. Don’t be afraid to bore your readers, they understand you are practicing English writing.
Life Misc

Insistence on Email and phone communications

Has it ever happened to you that your phone calls and email messages to someone go unanswered. What would you do? Thinking that person chose to ignore you and drop the initiation of communication, or trying to reach that person again? My recent experience taught me to always opt for the second option.

If you try to call someone and the phone is not answered, try other means to contact that person, be it sending email or paying a personal visit. A phone can go wrong in numerous ways and sometimes its owner is not even aware that their phone is not working. Or perhaps the person is traveling and forget to carry the phone. There are many possibilities for unanswered phone calls, and the last thing you want to do is holding a grudge believing that you are deliberated ignored.

The same applies to email communications. There are numerous reasons for not receiving replies for your email inquiries, and in most cases, it is not because of the receive choose to ignore you. As reliable as an email system is, glitches do occur and some electronic particles still go astray and fail to reach the destination.

Especially when you are requesting some information or favor through electronic communications, you may be inclined to believe your unrequited communication is an indication that its receiving end does not want to be bothered, and you give up. The right thing to do is writing or calling again just to confirm if your request has been received or not, and politely show your understanding if the person really can’t attend to your request.


Beer and durian, a dangerous combination?

OK, I confess. I had a piece of durian and a sip of Tsingdao Beer tonight.

I like eating durian, even though it is expensive. Its smell is tempting and its flesh is more delicious than a delicate cake. In contrast, I am never a fan of alcohol and I even think I am allergic to it. It’s so hot today, and I decided to break my beer-fast and had some.

I drank a couple of sips of beer, and I had a piece of fair-sized durian. Thinking of how to finish the overwhelming remainder of the beer, naturally as a Chinese, I also became curious to learn if the durian and beer conflict in their food nature.

Real threat or toxiphobia

After searching the net, I did saw a few reports about the danger of eating durian with alcohol. For example, this durianvorous guy says:

I have been told by a number of people that beer can be fatal, if drunk within a few hours of eating durian. This is apparently on account of some fermentation process, which causes your bowels to explode. However, based on my own experiments, this rumor appears to be totally untrue.

So why do some people say the combination is fatal?

Because durian and alcohol are both believed to be very ‘hot’ in nature, and eating the two together will produce too much heat in the body:

Don’t have durian with alcohol. Both are hot and dry in their food nature, and if you eat them together, your blood vessel will be blocked and even explode. A stroke may also occur.

I also found some testimonials, as the one already quoted above, which say that it is absolutely ridiculous to believe that durian and beer can kill. Nothing happened, says the brave ones, after they took the two together.

How to enjoy the King of Fruit

Many durian lovers shared their experience about how to bring the best of durian.

  • A durian is as much nutritious as three chickens.
  • Cook durian with rice and some coconut milk.
  • Mix durian with sugar, milk and cream to make durian ice cream.
  • Stew durian with chicken to make some chicken soup. (I guess the soup should be called ‘Six-Chicken Soup’)

  • Put durian in the freezing compartment of the fridge. It tastes greatest when chilled. (This one is my favorite)
  • Eating durian with the Queen of Fruit — Mangosteen — to neutralize the heat of the King.

So how to pick a good durian

A good durian should look yellowish, bulging and spiky. It should also emit with a strong sweet scent. The following account seems more professional:

My parents like to smell the bottom of the stem. If it emits a strong smell, then it’s ready to consume. Some people prefer the tapping method. Hitting the fruit with a stick and hearing the appropriate slightly-hollow “thunk” sound. Of course, this is something you’d have to learn from a durian jedi.

My decision

I decide to stay on the safe side and stop drinking the rest of the beer. I don’t like drinking beer anyway. I’ll try some chilled-tea next time.

How people describe durian

It is of such an excellent taste that it surpasses in flavour all the other fruits of the world.

Durian’s taste divine! It’s soft and mushy and has a very unique taste that you can’t really describe. Kinda apple custard, kinda longan, kinda something else. It tastes very different when cold, defrosted or preserved.

The fruit is fucking horrible and the only thing that will kill you is the stench of public toilets that it produces…


Maybe St. Lucia one day

As I am planning heavily to study hospitality management and trying to make a career change in this area, news about hotels and tourist industry have been getting my attention recently. Reading a few posts on the Internet, I feel St. Lucia seems to be a nice place to go, maybe I can try to find a job there after I graduate.

Update: It turned out that St. Lucia was just another fancy of mine, and now it seems so remotely unattractive.

China Life

How I execute mosquitoes

How I execute mosquitoes? Electrocute them. I kill mosquitoes with such cruelty that will make Buddhists cringe. Frankly, I only launch wars against roaches, mosquitoes and flies, to list in an order of descending intensity of hatred.

The thing is, when I try to have some quiet time at night in front of the computer, armies of mosquitoes take advantage of the occasion and attack viciously to harvest my blood. They hide under the table or in the corners, and mostly target my legs and feet.

Turning on air-conditioning will usually quench their blood-thirst for a while, but didn’t do the trick this time. I also can’t bear the smell of the poisonous heaters with repellent tablets, so I decided to get a new weapon to defend myself.


This advanced weapon, or WMD, to borrow Mr. Bush’s catchphrase, looks just like a badminton racket, only heavier and bulkier. Once mosquitoes are caught on the net, the metal wires will spark and make a loud cracking noise, announcing the demise of a tiny insect vampire. But the drawback is I have to constantly distract myself from what I do to hunt them down.


Quotable Quotes from Movies

Well, it is June 4th and I have to write something on the Internet.

For about two weeks, I have been watching Avatar: the Last Airbender to ease the burden of my major work — revising my doctoral dissertation. I enjoyed season one and two of this animation abundantly, but season three just ruined the intense flow of the storyline. I especially hated episodes 305 about Ember Island, because the terrific adventures of Avatar is turned into stupid beach dates stories. Episode 317 is also a boring roundup of past story lines, leaving me the impression that the producers are trying hard to
invent something to fill an empty show slot.

Of all the characters in the Avatar story, I really like the Uncle of Zuko.
He delivers many thought-provoking lines for the troubled soul of Zuko, and I
have this intention of collecting all his life advice. This one enlightens me
in particular:

Follow your passion, Zuko, and life will reward you.

I then realized why I am dragging myself painfully alone the process of
finishing my Ph.D because it is not my passion.

So what is my passion? I think I am getting very close to pursue it — doing
some IT related jobs. To make this contemplation more Zen-like, I will add
that my passion lies where I experience a strong sense of self-fulfilment. I
may have been finding escapes in the controlled boxes of computers, and I
know I enjoy studying political philosophy as well. But as least I have a
chance to start afresh, just like what Uncle of Zuko says:

I believe people can change their lives if they want to. I believe in
second chances.

I did get a second chance.

To conclude this lone rambling post, I want to quote a few line from another
film I just watched today — Felon, which is a terrific prison film:

…So don’t run from who you’ve become, felon. Embrace it. Grow from
it. And you’ll never lose sight of what truly matters

This is what the Indian guru tells Avatar when teaching him ways to connect
to the cosmos power — let go of fear, recognize yourself and come to peace with your past.


A belated resolution for the year 2009

I know this is a bit late to make resolutions at this moment, but I still have time, don’t I? These are the things I really want to do and achieving any of them will make me look back this year with contentment. The aims are somewhat tuned down in case I fail shamelessly.

  • reduce some weight, say, ten pounds. I am fat and I know it. I’ll start with swimming and improve my breast stroke.
  • learn to configure Linux servers on Debian environment. I have to break the mysteries wrapping around the server configurations.
  • finish my Ph.D. I know it is not easy, but I have to finish what I have started.
  • drive the traffic to this blog over 200 unique visitors per day.
  • make some extra money. This has never been my goal up till a year or two ago. I realize I can’t keep cynical.
  • Sleep early (12!) and brush my teeth twice. Morning brushing is not enough.
  • buy a mobile phone if I don’t go to the U.S.A this year.
  • read a few good books, especially those about political philosophy.
  • set up a social-networking website and see what I can do about it.
  • be a little adventurous. Take a little risk at a time. I am paranoid and overly cautious sometimes.
  • expect less from others and expect more from myself