Saturday, May 29, 2004
I'm not going to bring my computer, but I'm definitely going to bring a camera. I'm still not sure whether to take the digital camera or just buy a bunch of disposable cameras. My cell phone plan doesn't allow me to make international calls, so I could buy a cell phone in China, which I hear are cheap. Uploading the photos on the internet for display on this website probably won't happen, but I'll keep that possibility in mind.
The tap water in China is not clean enough to drink or brush your teeth with. This was something I dealt with in Mexico, but the water in the hotel was filtered. Water in the best hotels in China is not safe to drink either. Instead boiled water is provided in bottles in the hotel rooms. I'll be buying a lot of bottled water; I wouldn't be surprised if they don't recycle though.
I also learned that there are restrooms without toilet paper! It can be bought in stores, but why not just provide it in the restrooms? A side effect of being a third world country or Leninist/Stalinist/Maoist thought? Does Das Kapital even cover toilet paper?
There's still more planning to do, but as June 4 nears I'll be more prepared. Actually going there will prepare me better for future trips.
Thursday, May 27, 2004
Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Carmina O'Connor realized this and came up with a simple idea. She decided to invent a mashed potato maker. What a great idea! Executing it was more difficult, but she made a prototype(non-working) and a firm offered to sponsor her idea and make a working prototype. I can't wait till this machine hits the market, but I guess with the Atkins craze mashed potatoes are a no-no.
Monday, May 24, 2004
On top of virtual tasks there's several real life things to complete. I've got to get ready for my trip to China and then immediately start summer school. It doesn't feel like I'm going on vacation, but in the next few days I'll probably be really busy preparing. I hope I have time to post...
Wednesday, May 19, 2004
When we finally got to the visa office there was 15 minutes before it closed for 1 hour. Posted all over the walls of the small room were the instructions for filing for a visa. The problem was that much of this information was not posted on their website, so we had to wait until the office opened at 1pm. In addition to what we brought with us we needed a prepaid envelope so we could get our visas and passports mailed back to us. That costs another 5 bucks in addition to the $50 for each visa, money orders only. That meant a trip to the post office for my dad (one of the notices had directions to the post office).
We stood in line for an hour for the visa "officials" to come back. We moved to the front because many other people had left. Then, as the hour wound down more people started to show up... with numbers. Numbers!? These people had come early in the morning and weren't able to get visa, so they got numbers to use when they came back in the afternoon. There were about 18 numbers given out, so we were 19th in line. Processing a visa is a quick operation, so we weren't too discouraged. However, a new policy surfaced, one that was not outlined on the website. You could have a travel agent deliver your passport and application to the office for you.
The first guy in line had 2 applications, so we were sure we'd be out of there quickly. But the second guy had at least 50! Some of them weren't filled out right, and the lady processing the applications was new. How long would this go on? 18 people ahead of us, with at least 300 applications. And the office closed in 1 and a half hours. Luckily, my dad got a travel agent to take our applications, he was number 15 and had a whole bag of apps. He was nice enough to take ours first so we got out before it closed. That's one experience I don't want to go through again. Next time I'll use a travel agent.
Saturday, May 15, 2004
Can you hear me now? Jason Perala's message got through loud and clear to employees at a Fargo Verizon Wireless store Wednesday.
The Fargo construction worker said he planned only to scream at the employees at the store in West Acres mall.
"Then I just lost it," he said in a phone interview a few hours later, from inside the Cass County Jail.
"I just started grabbing computers and phones and throwing them," he said. "I just destroyed the place."
Unreliable phones and poor service were eating away at Perala for months, he said.
I was thinking about becoming an Amazon affiliate to generate a little commission for this site so I could pay for a hosting service. Rebecca Blood and Fuyuko Takegawa have that on their websites; Fuyuko even has paypal donation system also. I don't think it would work if I tried it, but who knows? All kinds of people are on the internet and if they see something they like they'll pay. A lot of professional bloggers talk about how blogging is a service to the community (or something like that), and see nothing wrong with making money to support that service or just for themselves.
It's just something I'm pondering now since I realize I may have to pay money to do more with my site. Who knows, maybe I won't have to work if people are willing to give me the kind of cash they gave Karyn.
Thursday, May 13, 2004
When I ran out of body wash a few days ago I asked my dad if he had any in his closet. He asked me what happened to the soap he gave me the other day. I told him that that soap was hand soap. He said that's the kind of soap he used in the shower. What?!?! You can't use hand soap in the shower... It just doesn't work. That night I scraped out what was left of my body wash (Dove) out of it's container and thought some more about soaps. Are big corporate companies just telling us we need to use a certain kind of soap for our whole bodies just so they can make money? The next night I tried using the hand soap in the shower. It didn't lather up real well and it had a somewhat medicinal smell. But I did get clean.
Now I know what soap to use when I'm strapped for cash. But I live with my dad and he grew up in a poor household so any soap will do for him. When my mom came to visit I told her that I ran out of shower gel, so she got me five bottles of the stuff from Bed, Bath, & Beyond. I don't think I'm that picky, but soap is not the same.
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
Tuesday, May 11, 2004
Then we decided to try something else. We bought an AT&T Go Phone, the cheapest plan, a basic phone. The same guy said that if we wanted to use a different phone, we could just take out the SIM card and put it in another phone. Is that not what we were trying to do a few hours ago? Maybe he just didn't understand fully or maybe he did, since we ended up buying a phone from AT&T even though I already had one. Once again, the phone companies are trying to control people.
I'm glad that my new phone works. After going to so much trouble to get it it's good to see that my efforts and others' were not futile. However, now my family got brand new phones...
Monday, May 10, 2004
I'm thinking about using one of the new templates, but that would mess up all the settings I already have (I think) and they all feature "recent posts" sections, which I hate. It's time to start reading up on Dreamweaver MX 2004.
Friday, May 07, 2004
Thursday, May 06, 2004
Dan Koster was unpacking some of his more than 2,000 CDs after a move when he noticed something strange. Some of the discs, which he always took good care of, wouldn't play properly.
"We were all told that CDs were well-nigh indestructible when they were introduced in the mid '80s," Koster says. "Companies used that in part to justify the higher price of CDs as well."
Part of the problem is that most people believe that it's the clear underside of the CD that is fragile, when in fact it's the side with the label. Scratches on the underside have to be fairly deep to cause skipping, while scratches on the top can easily penetrate to the aluminum layer. Even the pressure of a pen on the label side can dent the aluminum, rendering the CD unreadable.
I have an vinyl record player that I got a few Christmases ago. My mom's old vinyls from 40+ years ago still play on that record player, even though the quality isn't as high as CDs. I was told that if you played a vinyl record too much it would wear out and you'd have to buy another one. I'm pretty confident that my CDs will last a long time because I keep them in their jewel cases and rarely play them. The batteries for the CD player run out so quickly, that I'd rather just convert my songs into mp3s and put them on the iPod.
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Official Taiwanese documents can no longer be written from right to left or from top to bottom in a new law passed by the country's parliament.
All texts must now go from left to right, like western languages, although arts and literature are not affected.
A spokesman said it was necessary as the old method, in texts using numbers and English, "looked confusing".