Human Made Blue Rose "Applause"

This is a surprise to me because I always thought that blue roses were nature's work of art. Well turns out that they're the product of a genetically modified work from humans. This is because no blue pigment naturally exists in roses. Japanese scientists, actually they're "molecular geneticists", have successfully produced the world's first blue roses with almost 100% blue pigments in the petals. The next step for the geneticists is to attempt to make the blue roses bluer. In the near future, we will possibly have an array of blue shades roses to pick from spanning from the palest blue to Mediterranean blue, or even navy blue. Right now, the blue roses look more on the purple shade to me. I'm sure in no time, the process will be perfected and we will get true blue roses.

Here's an interesting fact, since 1840, Britain and Belgium's horticultural societies offered a prize of 500,000 francs to the first person to produce a blue rose. I guess the Japanese geneticists will be taking home the prize. The research began in 1990 so this is a 20 years effort that finally paid off. As of now, the blue roses will be available in Japan beginning November 3 which is next week. I think the rest of us will get to buy it next year.

Ok, so now, what does a blue rose mean? Every rose color has a meaning. Looks like the significance of a blue rose is "dream fulfilled" and "encouragement to those working diligently toward a goal, in a variety of situations". Not bad, I like the meaning of it already.

15-Year Old Ganged Raped While Others Watched

I just can't believe what I was reading this morning and it angers me to no end. A 15-year old was gang raped for about 2 hours by at least 4 guys while as many as a dozen people watched and cheered. This happened at Richmond High School's homecoming dance in Richmond City, which is 45 minutes from where I live. Based on evidence the police collected, the 15 year old attended the homecoming dance and left at 9:30pm. While she was waiting for her dad to pick her up, she met a schoolmate who asked her to hangout with a group of friends at one end of the school. She drank with the guys and got drunk. Soon afterward, the assault began. The victim was also beaten and had her jewelries stolen. Two guys have been arrested in connection to the rape. Police say there were videos and pictures taken and they are now scouring several social media sites to look for them.

The assault lasted over 2 hours on a school site and with people filtering in to watch the assault and few even joined in the assault, and yet, it didn't catch the eyes and ears of the school administrators or the four police officers on duty that night? It's disgusting that such violence was committed and more disgusting others just watched and was entertained by it. At this point, it is assumed that no one tried to help the girl. Can there be such cruelty in the hearts of all the people in attendance that none was compelled to do something? This is going to be traumatic for both the victim and suspects' parents.

As a parent, it's rage and disheartening both ways to find out that your child had been a victim of a crime or a suspect of a crime. I always remind my kids, whatever they do is a reflection of me and not just them. If they do something bad, it's shame cast on their parents too so they need to be mindful of their actions and speech. This incident will be a talking point to my kids after school today. I will remind them about safety at school, drugs and alcohol, peer pressure, and more importantly, about behaviors. My kids hate it when I give them these lectures, I think they can recite it back to me, but, it's important for all parents to have these important conversations with their children.

Halloween is Coming!

Halloween is just around the corner and my two girls are so excited! This year, both girls want to be Harry Potter Hermione Granger. I've never watched Harry Potter so when they asked if I can buy them Hermione's costumes, I told them I'll think about it because I didn't want to promise them something and then wouldn't be able to honor it. I wanted to make sure that our local Halloween stores have Hermione's costumes. In the meantime, I asked my girls to think of another costume. Both were adamant they wanted to be Hermione this year. I checked online and found several websites selling Harry Potter's costumes.

At first, I planned on buying just the black robes and thought they will suffice my daughters' request. I mean, they're only 8 and 4 years old. Boy was I dead wrong! They were detailed from hair to shoes. My 4 year old doesn't know much but once she hears her sister's list of Hermione's complete outfit, she wants it like so too. The complete outfit is the black robe, tie, white shirt, wand, tights, shoes, and wavy red hair.

I ordered the two robes and wands from which arrived a week ago. Everyday, and yes, everday, I get reminders from both girls about their white shirts and shoes. The complete Harmione look is like this:

My brother suggested that we have a family pumpkin carving contest. That, of course, got my girls excited too. So I get the "when are we going to carve our pumpkins" question on top of "when are we going to get our shirts and shoes" question. I know as soon as Halloween is over, the next question will be "what are you going to get me for Christmas?".

The Gift of Prayer and Listening

Having good people in your life is such a blessing...people that you can talk to when you have problems. Last night, Yahoo news featured a story about a robbery at an Advance America check cashing store that ended with the robber kneeling on one knee and saying a prayer for 10 minutes with the store clerk, Angela Montez. Angela was later interviewed about her ordeal and she said at first, she was so frightened when the robber pointed the gun that she couldn't stop shaking and crying. She thought she was going to die so she started to say her prayer asking God to forgive her sins and to take care of her children. Angela said in her Good Morning America interview that she began praying and telling the robber not to do this and that he was young to waste his life (the robber is 23 years old). The robber told her that he had to do and that times was bad, he was going to be homeless and that he has a two year old son. She told him there's nothing can be that bad that he'd be willing to take someone's life or give up his own life to go to prison. The robber broke down as the two continued to talk. The robber told Angela that he had no one to talk to and told her talk to him. Through talking to the robber, Angela was able to help a desperate man put a gun down and prevented a robbery that could of have ended tragically.

Having someone to turn to in times of need is crucial to the healing of a troubled heart and a confused mind. I'm blessed to have good people in my life whom I can turn to with my problems. I talk out my problems because I learned that sometimes what I think may be wrong and therefore I am wasting my time being mad at someone for the wrong reasons. When I was hired as a department team leader in 2000, there was a lady that really caught my attention. She drew attention to herself by disengaging herself to the rest of the staff. She took breaks by herself, ate lunch by herself and did not comingle with others. At first I thought it was a language barrier because she does not have a good command of the English language but later, I discovered that she was just bitter about life in general. I made efforts to talk to her and over time she was comfortable talking to me. When I got to know her better, I realized that she was the type of person that bottled all her emotions inside and formed her opinion on people based on her brief interactions with people. I managed to convince her to talk about things rather than holding them inside. She used to view everything and everyone in such a negative light. For instance, if the manager spoke to her about her tardiness, she assumed that someone had snitched on her.

I believe that the root cause of the why's and what's that led to my coworker's bitterness towards the world stemmed from not having someone to talk to and to guide her in the right direction. When we became close friends, she opened up a lot. Her outlook of things eventually changed when she started to see things more positively. She stopped thinking everyone was against her. She was more active in the department, she ate lunch with other coworkers, she laughed and smiled more, and she talked out her problems. I would offer my opinion, point of view, advice, or sometimes straight out told her she was dead wrong. I made the point of listening to her when she needed to talk to me about whatever that was bothering. The only big obstacle that I encountered was our spirituality differences. She is an atheist and I'm a very spiritual person. I think I succeeded in making her believe that whatever you throw out there in the universe, good or bad, will come back to you. I'm not a philosopher or a psychiatrist, sometimes I find myself lost at words when someone talks to me, but I listen. Sometimes the smallest thing you do has such a big impact on people. Listening is one of them.

Elementary Homework Isn't So Elementary After All

Another mental block moment...Yesterday I was helping my daughter with her math homework and I found myself feeling dumb again. This week, she is learning how to measure the circumference and diameter of a circle, area of a rectangle and metric conversion. If my recollection is correct, I believe I learned how to measure the circumference of a circle using the formula 3.14 in middle school. My daughter is in third grade and she's learning this now. I'm horrible in math so I don't think I would be able to help her much when she enters middle school. By then, maybe she'll be learning algebra in sixth grade.

As I was staring at my daughter's homework, I realized my power to recollect math formula is failing. I only remember = 3.14 and nothing else. After googling "circumference formula" online, I attempted to explain to my daughter what "circumference = π × diameter" means . She gave me this weird confused look and said, "My teacher didn't use that". I asked my daughter how did the teacher calculate the circumference and she said "the teacher said to take the diameter and times 3". I read the assignment quarter paragraph introduction and to my surprise, rather than using = 3.14, a new concept of "power of three" is now used to find the circumference. My daughter's homework was to find five objects, measure the diameter, and calculate the circumference of each object. To do so, she multiplied the diameter by 3 to get the circumference.

I think math concepts are slowly evolving. I know for sure I'm going to have a hard time helping my daughter with her math homework down the road. Who would have thought elementary math can be so challenging!

Phone, Email, Mail Scams and Fraud

When I read about a warning issued to the residents of Marin (in California) of a phone fraud scam in which a man calling residents asking them to wire him money for bail, I wonder how many people have already sent him money. These scammers are becoming so creative and clever in their methods. I'm sure many of us have received spam emails from these guys congratulating us of winning an international lottery. I once replied back and told them I will have law enforcements verify the validity of this claim. The email stopped but not for long. It's a good thing my email filters spams and directs them to my spam email. I just hit "delete" without even bothering to open the folder nowadays.

I once worked with a lady in her late 50's. She had worked for the company, a major bank in the U.S., for over 25 years. She was a team leader in the returned checks department and was responsible for researching bank errors. For someone with her work experience and knowledge of bank policies and regulations, you would think she would immediately know better when her son asked her if he could deposit a $10,000 check that was mailed to him from a company claiming that he had won the lottery. From her account of the story, the letter looked authentic even though her son admitted he never bought anything from the company or entered any drawings. She said she examined the check and concluded it was not a counterfeit check because of the watermark in the back and the check had a valid bank routing number. She told her son the check was real and he could deposit it. BIG MISTAKE! The bank placed a 5 days hold on his account and on the 6th day, the son withdrew $10,000 and spent it. Well...a few days later, the bank debited $10,000 from his account because the check was counterfeit. His account was overdrawn by $10,000. He had spent all of the money and couldn't come up with the money to put back into his account. The last I heard was the police got involved because the bank notified the police since the check was counterfeit.

I don't know what happened to my coworker's son. All I saw was how distraught and stressed out my coworker was for months. I didn't pry into her business because it was too personal so I don't know if she managed to get a loan from somewhere or someone to pay the bank back. I do know that she reached out to the company's human resource for advice and assistance. Our company has a number for employees to call in for advice and counsel.

Consumer Fraud Reporting is a resourceful site to visit to learn more about the various types of consumer scams and it lists steps you can take to report scams and fraud.

Moral of the story: The rule of thumb is that if it's too good to be true then it's probably a scam. You can't win a lottery you didn't enter.

Struggling With Third Grade Homework

I was helping my 8-year old daughter with her math homework this week and I found myself unable to help her. Embarrassed? Oh yea. The assignment was on regrouping and subtracting tens and ones. Regrouping? What in the world is regrouping? I quietly thought to myself, "I don't remember doing this in elementary school". There was no example on her worksheet so I had to googled "regrouping in math". I found my answer at the Math Forum. Regrouping is a new approach to math called New Math today. The problem on my daughter's homework was something like 535 minus 278. A simple subtraction problem but because of the new terminology "regrouping", it threw me off. Regrouping is simply crossing out the number 5 and changing it to 15 because you can not subtract 5 from 8. That process is called "regrouping" today. So the thinking process goes something like this: regroup, you add ten ones to the 5 and get 15. Rather than teaching the kids to "cross out and borrow", they're taught to "regroup" today.

It's not just my daughter's her math homework that is challenging my rusted brain. I found myself stuck helping her with her science homework sometimes too. One time, she had trouble putting the precipitation process in chronological order and asked me for help. When I looked over the worksheet, I knew I was in trouble. I didn't know most of the terminologies on the worksheet. It was not just evaporation, condensation and then rain. There were like 20 other words in between evaporation and rain. I remember "runoff". I had no idea what that meant. I googled it and learned that runoff is the movement of water to the ocean.

It's great that today's school academic standards are higher than say one or two decades ago. I like the direction that our school district is taking even though I know it would be much more difficult for me to help my daughter with her school assignments. I have to admit, at times, I do feel dumb and embarrassed not being able to help her. She knows that too because she sees me re-reading her assignments or logging onto the computer and doing some online research before I could explain to her how to do them. All in all, I like the stringent curriculums imposed by schools today which I think broaden the children's social, literacy, and numeracy skills.

Lucrative Profit from Playing The Stock Market

I'm not a stock person. I don't know much about stocks. Luck has hit that I'm constantly surrounded by people who play the stock market. At my last job, 10 out of 15 workers had their hands on the stock market. Our topic of the day, everyday, was how the market was doing. Looking back now, it's amazing how hooked my coworkers were. Needless to say, they were not very productive workers because they were busy checking the stats on the market. You would think the manager would cut all this crap but no, she chimed in with the conversations too because her husband is a day trader too. My coworkers were either day or margin traders. One coworker said her husband took out a $100,000 equity line of credit from their house a few years ago to play the stock market. My eyes just popped wide open. $100,000? I asked if she weighed her risks and she said her husband made a nice profit and they paid off the loan in a year. Wow! For some reasons, I just did't believe the amount of money my peers claimed they were make from day trading. I mean, seriously, they could of just retire and make money day trading if that's the case, right? I have another coworker who was on the phone with her husband constantly everyday going over their buy or sell picks. Everyone could hear her phone conversations, "we made that much?! YEH!". She was always cheery and delightful when she got off the phone. She was one of those that didn't put much effort into her work. A lazy worker I would say. I guess she didn't see the need to work hard when she was making good money elsewhere. I think LUCK plays a big role. Some people just have that gambling luck in them. I don't have that kind of luck so I stay far away from gambling and the stock market.

Storm Away

On Monday, we had a fierce storm fueled by the remnants of Typhoon Merla from East Asia. My red dahlia flower pot had just begun to rebloom with two visible buds. Two months ago, I was ready to throw away my dahlia pot because it looked like it was not going to rebloom but when new leaves started to grow, I was optimistic that a second bloom was on the way, and surely enough, a few weeks ago, I saw two flower buds. I was so excited because I'm such a horrible gardner. Instead of having a green thumb, I have the touch of death. My family always joked that if we could hear the plants' thoughts, we would hear them scream "no, please don't pick me!" whenever they see me in the nursery. I've failed so many times as a gardener that the rebloom of my dahlias was such an accomplishment for me. On Saturday, the dahlia bud was in mid-bloom. On Sunday, it was in full bloom. I was so happpy and proud of myself.

I was not aware a storm was coming...

I woke up at 2 a.m. Tuesday to the sound of rain and wind pounding on my window. When I got up at 6 a.m. to make breakfast, it was still dark outside but I could hear the rain and wind whipping around. The electric cable outside were swinging like double dutch. The wind was so strong, it blew a big rig over. When it was bright enough outside, I looked out my bedroom window to check on my garden. The dahlia flower was gone. The storm had killed it. Have I had known that a big storm was coming, I would have brought my dahlia pot inside. The other flowers in my garden bed was fine. So lesson learned for me: always watch the weather forecast!

Typhoons, Earthquakes, and Tsunamis

Guess there's no escaping the effect of unusual destructive storm season in East Asia. We recently had powerful earthquakes and tsunamis that killed 3,000 people on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and 150 in Samoa. We also had typhoons after typhoons battering China, Taiwan, Philippines and Vietnam. The U.S. was not spared either, with tropical storms and hurricanes lashing on some states. In addition, a series of three earthquakes measuring 7.8, 7.7 and 7.3 on the Richter scale struck between Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands.

This morning, San Francisco's first storm arrived with winds up to 70 mph. I know, 70 mph is nothing compared to the winds in East Asia's typhoons but we don't get this kind of strong winds. It's pouring right now as I'm typing up this blog. Around this time of the year, what's normal for us is normal rain not a storm. It has been only a couple of hours into the storm and we already had flash flood warnings and power outages in some areas. Our storm today is fueled by the remnants of Typhoon Melor which slammed into the island of Anatahan and then steered towards Guam, Saipan, Tinian before reaching Japan on October 6. Just days earlier, Typhoon Parma wrecked havoc in the Philippines.

Some experts said that a more deadly super typhoon is very likely to be in the horizon in East Asia. Wow, a super's such a scary thought. The recent typhoons already caused so much devastations, imagine what a super typhoon would do. Up until now, I didn't think typhoons would have any impact in my area until this morning when I learned that our storm was from the remnants of a typhoon. To make matters worse, San Francisco is expected to have a big earthquake within 30 years with some experts saying that we are overdue for the next big one. Anything can happen to us, a tsunami, an earthquake, or tropical storm. Of the three, I fear tsunami the most because for one, I do not know how to swim, and two, there's no place to run or hide when it comes. At least with an earthquake, you can take cover to somewhat protect yourself. I use "somewhat" because I've lived through the 1989 earthquake and saw collasped highways, bridges, and homes. No where is safe in an event of a strong earthquake.

T-Mobile Server Failed - Customers Data Lost

Since summer, my teenage son has been itching for a T-Mobile Sidekick. The phone is his on his wish list. I have managed to effectively use a reward system on him to motivate him to excel in school to get one of his wishlist items and also to let him know, he needs to earn what he wants. I think the reason why my reward system works well is because once my son works hard to get good grades in his classes, he is less likely to screw up once he gets what he wants. Each time he is rewarded for good grades, he's always maintained his grades. The other factor that motivates him to keep up the good work is he feels good he is achieving his goal. He feels good he is doing good in his classes and that pushes him to keep on top of his game.

I had a conversation with my son this past week about his progress in school and I hinted that he may get his Sidekick after all for Christmas. His enthusiasm for this phone waned. He said T-Mobile is having some problems. I researched about it and read on TechCrunch that due to a server failure, the company may have lost all user data on their Microsoft servers. YIKES!! In all my 15 years working for a major U.S. bank, there was one time when our servers failed and we lost all checks that were electronically sent to us resulting in the bank paying out in millions in losses. So yeah, I can totally relate to T-Mobile's headache now.

T-Mobile has paused the sale of new Sidekicks, as all models are now listed as "temporarily out of stock" on the company's site. The company has also posted warnings on their forum advising customers to NOT do the followings: "Please DO NOT remove your battery, reset your Sidekick, or allow it to lose power".

I'm not a techy person but I hope T-Mobile works everything out. As for my son and his Sidekick wish, he's looking at other phone options now.

Bottled Water Impact on the Environment

I haven't bought bottled water since the beginning of this year. First of all, they are expensive. Secondly, I'm trying to do my part to reduce waste and do something to help the environment. Last but not least, it's for my health. The environment factor: I learned that the energy required to manufacture and transport these bottles to market severely drains limited fossil fuels. We are just killing our planet and draining our natural resources. The health factor: I used to reuse my water bottles which I later found out that reusing plastic bottles further compromises the quality of the water, due to the fact that more and more phthalate (synthetic substance that is commonly used to make plastics more flexible) reaches its way into the water as the bottle gets older. I think we're already ingesting too much chemicals from processed food and pesticides, we don't need to put synthetics in our system.

My workplace used to have an Alhambra water cooler. Our water service was cancelled when my company opted to be environmentally conscious. A water filter was installed in our lunchroom's sink. At home, I boil my water to drink which was quite burdensome at first because I always forget to refill my water pitcher but now, it's become second nature for me to remember to boil more water when I see the pitcher half empty.

I was at the bottled water aisle at Safeway the other day and I could not believe all the different brands there are out there now. Companies are becoming more creative in labeling and advertising their waters. Here's what I remember seeing:

* Artesian water

* Evaporated water

* Distilled water

* Spring water

* Mineral water

* Purified water

I was most drawn in by Fiji Natural Artesian water bottle because of it's beautiful tropical label and I got this off their website about their water: "Far from pollution. Far from acid rain. Far from industrial waste. There's no question about it: Fiji is far away. But when it comes to drinking water, "remote" happens to be very, very good. Look at it this way. FIJI Water is drawn from an artesian aquifer, located at the very edge of a primitive rainforest, hundreds of miles away from the nearest continent. That very distance is part of what makes us so much more pure and so much healthier than other bottled waters". I put the bottle back on the shelf as soon as I saw the price...forgot how much it was but I remember it to be much more than the ordinary brand like Arrowhead and Crystal Geyser.

I know bottled water is convenient and for some people, it tastes much better than the tap water but c'mon seriously, water is water. We all need to do our part to reduce wastes. Our landfills have grown into enormouse sizes. Just because we don't see the landfills and I know, out of sight - out of mind kind of thinking, doesn't mean the problem is there. We really need to sacrifice a little bit of our convenience for the sake of our planet.

Typhoon Charities

Powerful and deadliest in recorded history typhoons battered Southeast Asia this year so far. First off is Typhoon Morakot that savaged Taiwan:

The Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia are now recovering from the devastation of two typhoons, Ketsana and Parma that battered the island within days of each other. We also have earthquakes in Indonesia and tsunami in Samoa.



Back in 2005, Southeast Asia was savaged by a whopping 13 typhoons by October. The region has 9 typhoons this year thus far. Whenever disaster strikes, there will always be charity organizations or individuals claiming to collect money to help the victims. Everyone should exercise caution and only donate to organizations and individuals that you trust.

In 2005, I donated to local Asian charities, the Red Cross, and World Vision to aid the typhoon victims. I remember many people were giving cash to a charity organizer and there was just something about that lady that I didn't trust but I reserved my thoughts about her because I didn't want to discourage people from other people. I asked my mom if she trusted this woman and my mom's answer was what stopped my negative thinking about that lady. My mom said, "When you help others, do it from your heart. Don't worry if there are charity scams out there. Revenge is in God's hands. He will take care of those scammers". I learned a valuable lesson from my mom that day and I find myself recycling my mom's message to other people.

I completely understand why some people hesitant to donate money to charities. It's because of the bad publicity of some shady charity organizations. The logic behind their fear is reasonable: the bigger the charity organization, the higher the administrative costs to operate the organization. I'm sure not everyone working for United Way, for example, works for free. On the other hand, if you donate to say, a friend who will fly to the disaster stricken country to hand the money to the locals, you risk the chance of that person taking off with the money. I hold my mom's words close to heart though. For the past week, with the tsunami in Samoa and typhoons in Southeast Asia, I open my heart and wallet and donate what I can to help them because regardless of what the outcome of where my money went, I know I am doing the right thing.

2012 Movie

By now, you've probably heard about the many prophecies and predictions pointing to the end of the world on 12-21-2012. Some people get just a tad too carried away when talking about this topic. It's being debated on forums and bloggers leaving very opinionated comments about it. My brother says of all the theories out there, he thinks the most plausible one is the "Nibiru" theory. To give you the jist of what this theory is about, it's based on the translations of an ancient Sumerian cuneiform texts (6000 years old) by Zecharia Sitchin. According to the translations, the origin of our human race was a genetically modification of earth's primates by of an alien race known as the Anunnaki, or Nephilim, who came from a planet called Nibiru. The Nephilims were mentioned in many biblical texts such as the Book of Genesis and Book of Numbers. According to the Nibiru theory, the Nephilims will return to earth in 2012.

As for me, I believe we might have a lot of problems and disruptions due to the solar flares from our sun. To put in perspective of our dangerous and powerful these flares are, imagine the release of energy from 100 billion Hiroshima-sized atomic bombs. NASA confirms that around or earlier than 2012, the sun will reach its 11 year peak cycle and will unleash powerful magnetic storms. These storms can damage the satellites orbiting earth, damage our power grids, and communication systems. The National Academy of Sciences released a report outlining worst case scenario in an event of a powerful solar storm. The one thing that stood out the most to me is the possibility of going without power for months if the power grids are damaged.

Well now, we have a movie coming out: 2012. The movie gives you a very good and dramatic visual of what would happened to earth in December 2012. I can't wait to see it because the movie seems so good!

Impact of Home Car Washing on the Environment

Cleaning your car at home will save you money. Cleaning your car at a car wash will save you time. Here's some interesting facts about the benefits of cleaning your car at a car wash versus doing it yourself at home:

Did you know that cleaning your car at home pollutes the environment? When you wash your car at home, the contaminated water runs down into the storm drains, which discharges into local rivers, creeks and oceans. Car wash detergents and runoff residues from the car such as gasoline and grease can coat the gills of fish and tadpole suffocating them.

The dirty water at an automatic car wash or a gas station goes to a local sewage-treatment plant, where it is filtered and cleaned through a wastewater treatment process. Whatever is left from the treatment process is disposed at a landfill. Automatic car washes use less water then home washes, approximately 30 gallons less per car and you can get it done a lot faster.

So the next time when you need to clean your car, consider doing your part to help conserve water and to do what's good for the environment by washing your car at an automatic car wash.

Weird Weather

We've been getting some really weird weather lately. Our summer months, June and July, were cold and wet. It was mostly foggy, wet fogs. Our city is famous for the fogs:

August was somewhat warm but windy on certain days. This week's weather was bizarre! One day was warm and sunny, and the next, was cold and very windy. It was so windy that my backyard pot plants were knocked over. It doesn't help the forecasted weather sometimes is a complete miss. Case in point: last month, every news station forecasted rain and possibly a thunderstorm by mid-week for the coming week. I got the umbrellas ready for my kids. On Monday morning, at 6:00AM, when I opened my living room window, there was no wind at all. It was somewhat warm. I thought the rain might come later in the day so I had my kids warmly dressed and put an umbrella in each of their backpacks. The weather was just absolutely gorgeous that day. My kids weren't happy coming home that afternoon because they were ridiculously overdressed. The next day, Tuesday, was another gorgeous day. It was actually beautiful and sunny the entire week. All my family and friends were asking the same question, "Whatever happened to our thunderstorm?".

There's been a lot of talk about a very cold winter for San Francisco this year. It was very cold last year, I don't remember the weather being that cold before. It was cold to the point where I had to buy Uggs because my feet got so numbed walking outside. Well, this year, everyone's saying it's going to be very cold. With the way the weather is going now, I wouldn't be surprised if it'd be warm in the winter. That would be lovely though...a warm winter.

Tsunami Reality

I don't know if global warming is the cause for the rise in tsunami incidents but these kinds of news put me on edge because I live near the Pacific Ocean. What happened to Thailand's landscape after the great Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004 could easily happen to my city, San Francisco. Just take a look at the before and after pictures:

And this is San Francisco aerial view:

As you can see, if the great Indian Ocean tsunami was to hit my city, we could be facing with the same devastation. San Francisco is a small city (about 232 square miles), but very populous, the 4th most populous city in the United States. The only comfort I have is San Francisco has many hills and Thailand is mainly flat land.

When I first heard about a tsunami hitting Thailand, like most people, I didn't know what it was and didn't comprehend how deadly these ferocious waves were until I heard that other countries such as Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Africa were affected too. The extent of the devastation was just mind boggling. At least 220,000 deaths in 11 countries. I think the world was in disbelief.

When the Samoa tsunami happened on Tuesday, my city was given a tsunami warning. I was on alert the entire time. If I heard rumblings, walls crackling (the city train runs near my house, or any rattlings, I'd pause and listen carefully. Lately, I've been doing research on tsunamis because I wanted to know why we are getting them all of a sudden now. Turns out, we've had tsunamis throughout history but we are having more of them now then in the past.

--> 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunamis Affecting Southern Asia and Eastern Africa

--> 1998 Tsunami Affecting Papua New Guinea

--> 1976 Tsunami Affecting the Philippines

--> 1960 Tsunami Affecting Chile and Pacific Nations

--> 1896 Tsunami Affecting Japan

--> 1883 Tsunami Affecting Indonesia

--> 1755 Tsunami Affecting Portugal and Much of Europe

It just seems like we are having more and more of everything now. More frequent earthquakes, more volcanoes, more diseases, more people, more crimes, and the list goes on and on. Wouldn't it be great if it was less and less of the bad things and more of the good things, like less natural disasters and less diseases?

SF Aerial

Thailand Aerial

Tsunami History

Example of Poor Leadership Skills

Some people are just great at giving inspirational and motivational speeches but lack the leadership to put their words into action. My last manager, he was a very good speaker. When he talked, we all felt empowered and uplifted. For example, if our department made too many processing errors, he'd tell us he didn't expect us to be perfect because he is not perfect and nobody is perfect. He'd tell us that if the error rate continued to climb, he saw it as a process problem, that he needed to get the right people to train us and that he'd look into if the procedures needed to be changed. People loved to hear him talk. As good of a talker he was, he didn't earn the respect of the majority of his staff. Why? Because he didn't keep his promises and he didn't take actions on his promises. When he promised better training for people who were underpeforming on their tasks, that never came into play. Rejuvenating our spirits about making mistakes by promising he would look into the possible factor of why the mistakes were made in the first place? All we got was more meetings on how bad our department dashboard compared to other departments. People started to get verbal and written warnings.

Some people are just gifted and a natural at giving speeches. All that is worthless if you can't deliver what you say you'd do. People will become disenchanted. In some cultures, a verbal promise is as binding as a written agreement. Being able to deliver what you say builds trust. If people have no trust or confidence in you, they won't respect you. If there is no respect, people won't care a thing about you or what you have to say. So it's important to be trustworthy and that has be earned.