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.
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.
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 WBshop.com 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?".
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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 typhoon...it'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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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?
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.