Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

Today is a special day for many couples as they celebrate their love and affection for each other. I know it's been way too commercialized in the recent years and most everyone lose sight of what today really means. To me, it's not just a celebration of love of your significant other but it's a day to cherish the people you love in your life... friends, family members alike. So, even if you're "hitched" or "attached" to a significant other, please take some time out today to cherish the people around you who loves you, and how much you love them. No need for fancy gifts, extravagant dinner plans, or exorbitant bouquet of flowers. You don't need that to show your love for each other.

And for those who got engaged today, a big CONGRATULATIONS to you all. Please remember to keep me in mind when selecting a wedding photographer. :-)

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Happy Chinese New Year! The Year of the Rat!

Happy Chinese (Lunar) New Year! Gung Hay Fat Choi, Lay See Dow Loyr. :-)
I called my parents early this morning to wish them good health, wealth and happiness. It's always better to do that early in the morning vs. later in the day. They were happy to receive my call. :-)

This year is the year of the Rat (rather than mouse??). It's also the beginning of a new Chinese Zodiac Cycle and the year of the Pig ends it. There's an old fable that explains the "pecking" order of the zodiac signs. Unlike the western zodiac cycle, our zodiac lasts a whole year rather than a mere 30 days. By the way, this year is a good year to get married, so contact me when searching for a photographer for your wedding this year. :-)

Chinese New Year lasts 10 days and is considered a major holiday for us and our neighboring countries... except for Japan which celebrates the Western New Year on the first of January. Although the traditional Chinese calendar did not use continuously numbered years, its years are now often numbered and 2008 to be 4706.

I remember growing up in Hong Kong, Chinese New Year was a lot of fun and I looked forward to it every year. My Mom used to make a big fuss by cooking special sweet dumplings, turnip cakes, which she only bakes once a year. It's one of my favorite foods but I only get to eat it once a year. It's a long laboring process, but my Mom always seem to handle it all by herself. She also make a big fuss by buying new shoes for me. It's the only time of the year I get to buy new shoes. YES, once a year! Unlike the US culture, children get new shoes at the beginning of the school year in September. There were years where I would get new clothes too. I remember not able to sleep the night before and waking up early and get all "snazzy up" in my brand new clothes and shoes and ready to visit my relatives who we only visit once a year... yes, Chinese New Year. It's equivalent to Christmas morning for me. I must confess, it's not that I was looking forward to meet my distant aunts (who pinched my cheeks) and uncles, and cousins... it was because I get "Red Envelopes" filled with money. :-) Yes, married adults give out "Lay See" or Red Envelopes to gain good fortunes for their love ones as well as for themselves. We did however, had to rehearse a song so that we can perform in front of our relatives over and over again from one house to the next. Every year is a different song, and I was so young, I didn't even know what I was singing in English. :-) Also, since the New Year lasts 10 days, we didn't have to go to school for a whole week! Now do you see why I used to get so excited about Chinese New Year.

I was however perplexed that every year is a different day. I asked my Mom "why is it not the same day as last year, it's so hard to keep track of?" I was inquisitive because I wanted to know how many days to the New Year. I was told that our culture follows the moon phase to determine months, and therefore years. Whereas, the western civilization follows the traditional long and short months, and every 4 years an extra day in February to adjust for the misalignment to the moon. Whose system is better, who's to say? For me, just tell me when is it, and I will be ready to receive my "Red Envelope", Lay See, Hung Bao.

On a side note: the Space Shuttle Columbia crashed on the morning of Chinese New Year on Feb 1, 2003. It was a sad day for me even though it was Chinese New Year. I remember watching the first Columbia Launch in 1980 as a young lad dreaming of being on the Space Shuttle some day.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

My iPhone Ran Out of Space

Crap! My 8GB iPhone ran out of space today. I was trying to sync up my latest podcast download of Photoshop User TV, when I discovered none of my videos were able to sync nor download due to storage capacity exceeded. I couldn't believe it because my capacity had always been near but never exceeded maximum capacity. It must have been a recent email I received with a large attachment which pushed it over the limit.

The problem with iPhone email is that it's not search-able by size. It's near impossible to find the culprit that rendered my iPhone useless. So, I tried to delete all emails on my iPhone since I have all emails downloaded to my Entourage. But there's no quick way of doing it. I can only delete one email at a time by the tedious procedure outlined in the Apple website. I searched most iPhone user forums and no one seems to know how to do it swiftly and quickly. I even went to the Genius Bar at the Apple Store, they don't have a brief way to delete emails either. I'm really stuck because not only emails in my inbox is taking up space, my sent items are equally just as guilty in killing my iPhone.

So, what I did finally was reset my iPhone to factory settings, and then download my music, videos, and movies again. It cleaned out my trash, sent items, and drafts. I also deleted all instant messages and its conversations. This was a relatively brief procedure (15 minutes) as compare to deleting each email one at a time.

I'm Not a Goldfish!

Anyone of you out there own a goldfish as a pet? I remember when I was young, I was fascinated with them. My uncle lived with us in Hong Kong (actually, everyone lived in one roof in our traditional Chinese culture), and he had a fish tank full of goldfish, angelfish, etc. I remember I kept feeding the little fishees and eventually their belly got bloated and they turned belly up. I did it out of love and affection for the little guys but I didn't know better. I thought I was loving them and doing what's good for them. *Sigh* I was only a little lad without any understanding and knowledge of their limitations. I was thinking from my point of view and didn't pay attention to their feedback and response. This is a prime example of bad communications can result in a bad outcome.

This is the primary reason why I always avail myself and open a 2 way communications with my clients so that I have a better understanding of the needs/wants. This way, I can provide the top notch service that I strive to provide on a daily basis. Most of my clients can attest to that respect.

On a followup story, when I got out of college and decided to move back in with my aging ailing parents. I was the goldfish and my Mom was the little me. She missed having me in the house so much she fed me 5 meals a day. And I was like the goldfish, not wanting to protest and eat blindly until every morsel of on my plate (bowl in my case) was consumed. As a kid, I was told/taught to eat everything in my bowl. The old fable of if I don't eat everything, then the face of my wife will resemble my bowl which is crater-like and scared like the leftovers in my bowl. And also, my Dad kept telling me that the kids in Congo are starving. They would be so lucky to have the kind of foods we had on our table. So very soon, I gained 40 pounds and my heart rate and cholesterol level soar to unhealthy heights.

In retrospect, I should have told myself that I'm not a goldfish and that it's ok to not eat everything on my plate. It's not that I condone wasting food, but when I'm full, I should have the consciousness of saying to myself to STOP EATING!.

Monday, February 04, 2008

I was out picketing with the WGA at Paramount today!

I was out picketing along side with the WGA writers in front of the Paramount Studios this morning. It was a cold windy morning, but I managed to toughen it out. Actually, I had a blast. Yeah, on contrary to most people's belief, picketing was fun. This was an initiative by our new CEO (well, it's been a year, in SAG relative term, it's NEW) Doug Allen, who encouraged all employees to take time out from work and volunteer to be on the picket line for the past 3 months. Today was my turn and I gladly accepted the assignment to break up the monotony of SAG's day to day mundane work.

I met several people including a character actor Victor Kobayashi. Character actors are usually not recognizable until you pay full attention of their background work to support the main character of the story or to enhance the storyline. He told me that the main reason why he participated the WGA strike and picket every morning with them was because he remember back in 2000 when SAG had our Commercial Strike a teamster took time out from lunch and walked the picket with him. He thought to himself that when presented an opportunity in the future, he would pay it forward just like this gentleman did for SAG. So, even though it was cold and windy this morning, he thought it was the right thing to do. What a guy! :-)