More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

I Eat Therefore I Am

I'm very happy to announce my newest blogging project, a joint collaborative food blog with other bloggers around the globe. The new blog is called


In future, I will be posting my eating out forays and all my food related opinions on that blog instead of this one. This blog will now be More Thanh Words but minus his words about food. Don't worry, there'll still be lots of material to read as I am more than what I eat hahahaha. I will still have lots of things to complain about, lots of things that I find interesting, lots of observations on everything and as always lots to opinions to pass on.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Boogie To The Music

Lately, I've been listening to a lot of old music, old being stuff no older than 30 years. I listen to music a lot, while I'm driving, when I'm at work for the most part, when I'm home on the computer or on my ipod. Therefore, I exhaust my music collection quite quickly. I tend to be one of those people who keeps listening to a new album non-stop for the first week. If I'm still listening to an album after one week, then that album is generally quite good in my opinion. A lot of pop albums tend to be so generic that they get boring after a day. The worse are some of the R&B albums where every song sounds so similar.

Having listened to virtually every album in the charts at the moment, I've started to listen to old music from the 70s, 80s and 90s. The 70s was the era of disco music, with lots of very fun tunes that you can't help but tap your feet along to. The music is not monotonous and is generally light and fun. I love the bouncy beats the most.

Music from the 80s was definitely the start of the power ballads and the rise of the great bands. A lot of those bands are still around now and extremely popular. I can't remember when I first heard many of the 80s tunes since I was still young then, but I must have heard them here and there because a lot of songs are very familiar and I even know the words to them. Usually I can sing the song but don't even know the name and artist.

Music from the 90s is definitely from my era when I was growing up. The 90s is when R&B started to really take off. I know many of the songs and have associated some of them with events that have occurred in my life. I clearly remember a lot of the songs that I danced to during my high school years.

People always comment that music is sort of like bookmarks in your life. A song can mark a certain time in your life, and hearing it years later may trigger memories of that time and usually happy events that relate to it. Music also has such a way of lifting you up when you're feeling a bit down. When I feel bored or a bit unhappy, usually hearing a nice happy tune will help make me a bit happier.

"Let this groove, get you to move,
Its alright, alright
Let this groove, set in your shoes,
Stand up, alright"

Monday, July 24, 2006

The Language Of Words

Sometimes I think communication between humans is such a complicated process that we shouldn't use words, just sounds like other animals. This may simplify things a lot. The fact that we all know similar words doesn't necessarily mean the process of communicating is any easier. The structure of sentences and how it is expressed is so vital, but sometimes that gets misintepreted. Women may be better at verbalising their points of views due to generally having a better ability to learn language. Also, the fact that women communicate more with words also helps them learn to decipher what people are saying. Men may suggest things with their body language and grunts but that is very ambiguous sometimes and hard to translate into what their meanings are.

Having grown up in Australia and gone to school here, my main language is English. This means that I think in my head in English. Ideas come in English and are processed that way. My Chinese is adequate to carry conversations but by no means fluent enough to discuss world politics in. The Chinese language is the exact opposite in terms of how words are phrased, pretty much back to front of English. So for someone who has grown up learning Chinese for instance, even when they learn English to a very good level, how does their thought process work? Do sentences still get mis-interpreted due to the natural way that they will think in Chinese?

I bring all this up because of some recent communication issues I have had with some people. I think part of the blame is on me too, as I'm not communicating in a clear enough way taking into account that English is not their first language. I had once said to someone "You're such an idiot" after they made a very funny comment. I have said this comment to many friends and have heard it said about me many times, and since we all know that its meant in a fun joking way, no one takes offence to it. However, this person got upset and asked why I was calling them an idiot. This person just didn't get the nature and context in which the comment was made. They tended to break down every single sentence I said and it always sounds bad when you do that, taking things out of context and not using the tone, facial and body expression in which the comment was said. They didn't grasp that this term was used in a very funny manner because English wasn't their first language, and they took the meaning very literally.

It's even harder to interpret what people mean through emails, as you get even less of a sense of the tone, facial expression and body language in which the words would normally be used in. Hence you project your own interpretations on the words. Sincere words and thoughts usually get read by me as sarcastic funny comments since that is my personality. Therefore sometimes when people write something that is sincere, I say to them to stop giving me bullshit and playing with me. Here's an example from recently from an email I wrote to someon. I had written "Have a good weekend anyway, don't study too hard, have some fun too". I thought this was just a light hearted comment reminding the person not to work too hard and to enjoy their weekend a bit. When I talked to this person, they had asked what I meant by my sentence. Was I suggesting that they had no fun in their life and were boring and that studying wasn't a worthy activity. I was shocked to hear this. An off handed playful comment was turned into something that was seen as insulting. Either I had not chosen my words carefully enough, or it was misinterpreted.

I'm totally at a lost as to how to effectively communicate what I want to say without being mis-interpreted. Do I repeat things many times in different ways to make it perfectly clear? Do I use easier language so no confusion can arise? Have I unfairly projected my own fairly good English skills onto others and assume that they will understand the sentence the same way I do?

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Last Piece Of Food Syndrome

Scenario: You've gone out to dinner with a group of friends, good friends but also one or two you don't know too well. You order a lot of dishes of food to share. One or two of the dishes are the best ones and most expensive. All the dishes come out and you all start to eat, all going for the best most expensive dish first. You all take your fair share of food and continue to eat through all the food on the table

Outcome: At the end of the night, there a little bit of food left on the table. You continue to sit and talk with your friends over drinks. People start to pick at little pieces of food here and there still left on the table. All the food ends up being finished, EXCEPT for the one or two pieces of food left on the best and most expensive dish.

Psychology: So what is happening here? Clearly the food that is left is the best dish and everyone dived for it at the beginning. However, the modesty in all of us means that no one wants to grab that last piece as you will be seen as a greedy guts. Since there are people present that you don't know too well, you don't want to give a bad impression. If you are amongst close friends, you'll probably end up fighting for the food. Instead, you pass the piece around and everyone will say "I've already had my share, you should eat it." At the end of the night, everyone could really be full and can't eat it. If you can still eat it, you don't take it now because it looks even worse on you, since it means that you were eyeing it the whole time and were just trying to be polite. I don't know if this is an Asian thing or if it applies to all cultures?

Consequences: The consequences of the last piece of food syndrome is that some perfectly good, generally expensive, food items gets cleared away from the table, when in reality everyone knows that they wanted to eat it. This has happened so many times when I go out. A few examples from recently of good food that got cleared away is: Mud crab (such a waste of two good pieces), Lamb Curry and Beef Vindaloo. Don't get infected by the Last Piece of Food Syndrome, just grab that food if you want to eat it and forget about trying to be polite.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Anonymity When Blogging

I had recently read Spinsterella's blog about her anonymity on her blog. Only one of Spinsterella's real life friends knew about her blog. This is because she didn't want any of her real friends knowing too much about her personal life or what she might write about them.

I sometimes also wished I had an anonymous blog. That way, you could truly write what you wanted about anyone or anything. But in this day and age, its very hard to remain truly anonymous on the Internet. Someone somewhere will recognise your blog stories and piece together who you are. People who try to remain totally anonymous and blog about everything, including their work and work mates have been known to get fired after the employer found out. I don't write about anything specific on work at all. If I mention things about work, its usually about events that occur with friends from work and what we do or say to each other.

When I first started my blog, I wrote a lot more honestly and didn't think twice about the types of things I would write. Now as I know who is reading my blog, I do tend to re-think whether I should write something. I guess it was all my own fault. In all the excitment of starting a blog, I actually wanted friends and work mates to read it so kept telling people the web address. Now, its too late to turn it all back and say "Oh don't read it, because I might write about you in a not so nice way".

It's strange how people like to complain about others and let a third party know. I was, as one friend calls it, "whingeing" to him about another friend. This friend then said whenever I start to do that, he just switches off and doesn't listen. I then said, "That's ok, just pretend to listen, I just need to tell someone". This friend then also proceeded, in a much more subtle manner to "whinge" about another person. My response was that I didn't care to listen to his complaints either. Then a few days later, this friend proceeded to either consciously or sub-consciously "whinge" about the same person, again in a very subtle way. I later asked this friend why he did what he did after saying that he didn't like to listen to my "whingeing". Also I posed a common question that he alwyas asks me "What are your intentions behind your actions". I really want to find the answer to this question. "Why do we feel the need to let others know when we dislike something someone else does to us." Do we want empathy, revenge or do we all just like to gossip. I don't really know why I "whinge" about others and would like some insight into why I feel the need to do it so that I can stop it.

My own rules when writing on my blog is that I generally write nice things about people. If I really need to write something not so positive about someone, I will do it in as a vague a fashion as possible, not include names or say its a story I heard. If its personal stories that others share with me and I want to blog it, I will ask them if its ok with them. Generally the answer is yes, with some wanting to remain anonymous while others don't mind.

To round it all up, I think blogging is a good way to share my feelings but it's a double edged sword. I want people to know who I am so that I can communicate with them honestly, but then sometimes I want to write critical pieces on people and thats when I wished I was anonymous and could write anything. In the end, everyone that blogs in a critical way, in my opinion, want something from their readers. If you really were writing for yourself only, you could always write in a book and keep it under your bed and no one would ever see it or know about it even. We're all selfish in the end and want to achieve something personally out of writing a critical piece, what it is, I'm not entirely sure and would love some suggestions.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Chameleons At Work

I read an article today that stated that a staggering 58% of people change their personality when they go to work. I have to admit that when I first started working, back during uni days to even last year, I did change my personality when I went to work. I guess its because you think the employers expect certain things from you, and you try to conform to that view so that you can keep your job. Its also about pleasing the boss so they will look upon you positively.

I had previously written a post that Being Fake Kills You Faster. Well, having to pretend 8 hours a day is hard work. I have since nearly totally given up trying to change myself at work. I'm just my normal self 99% of the time. Of course theere are still occasions when social etiquette or work reasons require me to change my personality slightly. I might hold back slightly from saying something, or agree with something just because its the easier way.

I think that certain people at work are very chameleon like. I see different aspects of their personalities during different moments. I think I'm a fairly observant person and I always try to observe as much about situations around me as possible. It gives me clues as to who I can trust or who I want to associate with.

I'm very lucky that I work in a situation where I actually enjoy the company of my immediate work group, so there doesn't need to be any changing of colours for me. I can freely say things to the group and know that the information will remain there and not be used against me later.

I think I have slowly but surely gravitated to all the genuine people at work. The mix of people I talk to genuinely is quite varied, young and old, different sociological and cultural backgrounds. I think others can also sense when you are being genuine to them and that they can trust you. You can feel that moment when a working relationship turns into real friendship. People will stop by your desk for a chat because they want to, rather than have to. I always love a chat, so if anyone from work is reading this, stop by anytime you want.

You sometimes can't pick immediately who you will get along with. As you learn more about people, you either become attracted to their personality more or you start to find faults. Recently, I've gotten to know Emmanuel (I said I would mention you in my blog Emmanuel) a lot more and I think that he has also started to think of me as a friend. I find him easy and relaxing to talk to. There's interesting exchange of information without constant arguments. I think I sometimes say things with a bit of an edge to the words, but he's a very relaxed person who just lets it all wash over him. Emmanuel, Jessie (of Are Asian Women Bad Drivers fame) and I have lots of long talks after work. At the beginning, for maybe a year, I didn't even know anything about Emmanuel except his name. It was more to do with just the geography of where we worked but I thought he was a really cool customer who didn't talk much. As I've gotten to know him more, I have found that he is the opposite. He's actually very talkative and has lots to say about a lot of things.

For me personally, if I had to put on a face for most of the day at work, I think I would be a very stressed out person. Things would not be fun at all and I would probably look to change that situation. Of course its easier said than done sometimes. I guess you sometimes its impossible not to be a chameleon at work. Thats ok too, as long as it doesn't change who you are out of work and how you deal with your friends.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

"You're Fired"

Recently a pharmacist friend of mine told me that he got fired from his job. This is quite rare for us young(ish) people as I don't know anyone else who has gotten fired. People tend to leave their jobs or made redundant due to that position no longer being required. This friend is doing a second degree at uni and it's only one of his two part time jobs, but still, it's pretty bad to get fired.

My friend said that this particular pharmacy that he works at is quite bad in terms of how they treat staff. Out of all the people who started there with him, only one other person is still there. He has been there for two years and the fact that he was willing to work there on weekends even, getting fired made him quite mad.

He works there on Saturday and its extremely busy. Customers get really aggrevated and abuse him and things and tell him to hurry up. Well he didn't want to stand for abuse and general nastiness, so he told them that he'll work as fast as he can and they can just wait. Some customers then proceeded to complain about him, which coupled with some other co-workers complaints, got him fired.

Some of his co-workers had put the boot in when they saw an opportunity. He said that they are a very conniving bunch and I believe him. This friend is one of the most honest, conscientious, gentle and hard working people I know. He thinks that the problem is that the staff cop a lot of abuse from the store owner during weekdays and tend to take it out on him during weekends. Another young pharmacy friend has also said that since she is in charge of the sales girls, some don't take well to being managed by a young person. As this friend was relaying the story, she was getting so upset that she was actually crying so I totally believe her story. I'm going to sound like a sexist (can you actually say anything controversial these days without being called a sexist, racist, ageist etc) but in working environments with lots of women, such as a pharmacy where all the floor staff are women, things can get a bit nasty. I worked at a supermarket for about 2 years during uni and the 95% female to male ratio made for some very nasty gossiping and in-fighting over very trivial things. So many fights and arguments broke out in the cold room just over how to do things a certain way and who was boss. I just did my work and got out of there.

So this friend is now out of a job for just standing up for himself. It seems unfair that he should cop abuse for just doing his job and yet when he stands up for himself, the owners decide to fire him. He's proud of what he did and I also think he did the right things. No use in staying in such a job if the boss isn't going to stand up for you.

The Tax System

It's the end of another financial year and time to lodge my tax return again. I got my group certificate from work and found that the Government had taken about one third of my pay through tax. The tax rates in Australia are some of the highest in the world, and its fair enough that people complain about that. But people tend to forget that the tax they pay also goes towards a lot of things they use.

Obviously, I'm not happy either that the Government is taking so much tax. Who wouldn't want to have more money to spend on things. But when people also start saying that the tax money is going nowhere useful, that's when I disagree.

I think the road conditions, health system, unemployment benefits and aged care in Australia are some of the best in the world. I think that Aussies who are born here have had it so good that they don't even know what bad is.

People are constantly complaining about the health system, how you have to wait forever to get treatment in public hospitals. Well, there are limited resources and they can only go around so far. The fact that you can even get surgery for free is so much better than in most other countries. In Asia, if you don't have money, you either live in pain or have to borrow large amonts of money to pay for your surgery. The Government is trying to get people who can afford it to buy private health cover by offering tax incentives. People who can afford private should get it and leave more resources for those that can't afford it.

The road conditions in Australia are also very good. Its such a large country yet many of the roads are paved and in excellent conditions. The fact that you can drive from Melbourne to Sydney along a freeway for the whole length doesn't come for free.

The thing that does get me maddest is how tax dollars are used to support the unemployed. I'm not against giving unemployed people money to help them live, its only when people abuse that. And a lot of people do abuse the unemployment benefits. There are people who get unemployment while secretly working. The should be stamped out by making the punishment much harsher if they get caught. Others who abuse the system are those long term unemployed. When I finished uni, I couldn't find a job for 4 months so I was on the benefits. After 3 months, they made me go to intensive training to try and find a job. There, I saw how the Government deals with unemployed people. There are basically two groups. People who were short term unemployed and which they forced to do many things. You have to look for a certain number of jobs each week, go to training etc. This is fair enough and definitely helpful to get people to find work. Then if you're still unemployed after 6 months, you have to do part time work for your benefits, which I am also in favour of.

The group who get extremely preferential treatment in my view are the long term unemployed. They only need to attend training once every fortnight rather than daily. They don't even need to look for work weekly and fill out the booklet. They don't need to go and work for their benefits. Bascially, these are the people the Government have given up on and just can't be bothered pushing anymore. Well there's a very easy solution to that, just cut their benefits. I cannot believe that anyone can possibly be looking for work for over a year and not find anything. A lot of these long term unemployed are the ones who are secretly working or just doing things that they enjoy, such as the stereotypical "surfer dude" who's on long term unemployment. For example, in the training course, when the trainer said that there was such and such job available, all the short term unemployed people were like "I'll apply for that". Then the trainer said there were a perfect jobs for some of the long term unemployed. She was basically handing the job on a silver platter to these people. They had the job as long as they went for the interview. The work was what these people had said they wanted. One of them said "Yes, this is the type of work I wanted, but I don't want to travel 20 minutes to go to this job everyday". How can you be so picky when you're bloody unemployed. And 20 minutes, c'mon, many people travel much longer than that to go to work. The second person said "Oh this job is not really want I want", even though he had been unemployed for 10 years. What the hell type of work do you want? How can you search for 10 years and not find anything. I hear McDonalds are hiring down the road. Oohh, just recounting the events is making me angry. How and why these long term unemployed are getting away with such things is unbelievable. In most countries, your benefits would stop after about 6 months, which in most cases is adequate time if you really look for work. So much money is going towards these long term unemployed, some of which I personally know take holidays, drive new cars and "own" houses registered under their relatives or kids names.

There's my rant for this week. Tax time is always when you hear everyone complaing about the tax system, myself included. Hopefully, I will be able to get some of my hard earned money back from the tax office. That money is always the sweetest money to get, even though it was my money in the first place, but yet I fell greatful to the Government when they give it back to me.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

All Hacks Indoor Soccer Team Vol 813 & 814 & 815

All Hacks,

This newsletter is a little late due to World Cup Delayed Sleep Deprivation Recovery Syndrome so instead of a double header as usual, it will be a triple header.

Firstly, congratulations to Adrian for winning the tipping comp after he tipped Italy to win (*&#$^#$ #$&^*#$) while yours truly tipped France and ended up losing the tipping by 1 point. There's a prize for second right Justin? And for all you people out there who are terrorists with sisters and mothers in the satisfaction industry, don't head butt anyone should an Italian player comment on your life.

To the games at hand, our first game was against one of the teams above us on the ladder, C.C. In a game that is best forgotten, which Justin has probably done after taking one smack on the face, we lost quite badly. We were unable to put the ball past their rather robust keeper while our own goal was getting peppered consistently. We only managed two goals in that game and lost 7-2.

It got better in the second match, which was against another team above us on the ladder, F.C Bobby. The game was extremely close all match and we only lost it right at the end pressing for a win. It what started off like a seemingly easy match, we ran out to a 2-0 lead. It wasn't to last long before Bobby's came back at us. It went goal for goal for most of the match. We went for the win and in doing so, conceded a few late goals to end up losing 8-5. In what is a good sign, Ara made an appearance and scored 4 goals. Coupled that with Khar's recent goal form and other players, myself included, chipping in a few goals here and there, we have quite a lot of scoring options for the upcoming finals.

The final match was against fellow Asian contenders Shaolin Soccer. In what was a very clean match, it was a lot of fast movements and crisp passes. Unfortunately the passes didn't result in goals. It was instead some great solo plays from Khar and Maal that got goals. So what's the moral of the story, dont pass the ball, just take it yourself. :-) Well pass it sometimes but if you do have a scoring chance, just take it on the first chance and don't try to be cute or dribble it a bit more to get closer, that usually just results in a turnover. We managed to win the game though after receiving two penalties. Now I know how the Italians feel, bloody damn good when the call goes your way.

Finally, I guess it congratulations to Italy for winning the World Cup. They didn't play the most beautiful game, but they did manage to win. That's all that people will remember in the end. Can't wait for 4 years when the Socceroos will have a real crack at the World Cup.

Till then, here's some lasting images of the this World Cup.
World Cup Babes 2006
Go Sweden!


Monday, July 10, 2006

Fourth Time Lucky For Italy and Federer

A month full of football has finally come to an end. And at the end, the eventual victor was Italy, quite a surprise for everyone I think. Congratulations to Italy for winning, they did what was required. They did not play the best football in terms of playing a beautiful attacking game, but I guess in the end, winning is the most important. Most people won't remember how you won, just the fact that you did.

Italy's win continued the tradition of only seven countries ever winning the World Cup. This win was Italy's fourth and put them only behind the mighty Brazilians who have five wins.

The final game itself was fairly controversial. The game started off with a goal very early to France when Materazzi brought down Malouda in the goal square resulting in a penalty. Once again, the awarding of the penalty was controversial because it wasn't a clear foul. Zidane calmly scored the penalty to put France in front 1-0. I really thought France would be able to hold on to the one goal lead and win. How ironic would it be if France had won off an Italian penalty, like how Italy had beaten Australia in the same way.

However, credit does go to the Italian who managed to get on level terms when a perfect cross from Pirlo was nicely met by Materazzi. He had redeemed himself for his inital penalty. Materazzi's night of controversy wasn't going to end there. The best was yet to come. With the game ending in a draw and going into overtime, Zidane was expected to do something to change the whole game. He came close with a fabulous header which was equally brilliantly saved by Buffon. However, Zidane did something that will be talked about for years to come. For reasons unknown to everyone (he was probably provoked by possible racist comments but that happens all the time on the football field), Zidane suddenly head butted Materazzi's chest and sent him to the ground. He was given a red card and sent off the field in his last ever international game. What a shame a great career had to end this way.

The game finally went into penalties and Italy, who are famous for losing games in penalty shootouts, held their nerves this time and slotted all five goals. France's one miss from Trezeguet was to be the deciding difference.

Early that night, or day in England, the FedEx express train known was Roger Federer had also arrived at its destination. Reaching his fourth Wimbledon final in four years (he had won the other three), Federer was on the verge of also doing a four peat of wins and joining greats such as Sampras and Bjorg.

In Federer's way however, was his current arch rival, Rafael Nadal. Nadal has beaten Federer in all four matches they have contested this year, albeit on clay, Nadal's best surface. Federer was still favoured to win but there is always lingering doubts when someone has the edge over you, it must affect you mentally no matter how much you tell yourself that it doesn't matter.

Federer got off to a great start and won the first set easily, much like at the French Open and also at Rome. In both those matches, he later crumbled and Nadal won. However, Federer fought out a tough second set to win the tie breaker. I could sense the relief after he won the second set. But when Nadal won the third set tie breaker, it was again anxious times.

The difference this time from the other matches is that the grass helped Federer on serve. Also, knowing that he has won three times at Wimbledon must also be a confidence booster. Federer raced to a 5-1 lead in the fourth set. When he tried to serve it out though, he choked slightly. Even champions such as him showed how fragile the mind can be sometimes. His nerves caused him to shank quite a few shots and let Nadal break one game back. Nadal held serve and it was Federer to serve it out again at 5-3. This time, there was to be no mistake and he held serve to win his fourth successive Wimbledon title.

At only 24 years of age, Federer is already one of the greats of tennis. His 8 grand slams already rank him up there with Agassi and Lendl and is fast approaching the 14 from Sampras. I just love the way Federer plays. His calm play is something I like. I hate over the top players like Nadal and Hewitt. I also love the variety in Federer's game. He is able to produce so many unbelievable shots that constantly amaze me. It's never boring to watch him play, even when he is thrashing someone, because he still plays so many different shots. Hopefully Federer can win a fifth Wimbledon next year and be one of the all time greats, and I will have had the priviledge to have watched him play in his prime.

Foosball Challenge

My friend Kin had recently purchased a nice full-sized foosball table from ebay. I had mentioned this to another friend, John. John then said that he has been playing foosball for years and that he is really good at it. Well I couldn’t let him continue boasting after the last time when he told me he was really good at soccer and the reality wasn’t quite the same. When he came and played indoor soccer with my team, he was, how should I say it, less than good. He blamed his lack of fitness and said he hadn’t played for many years. So this time, I pulled him up on his boast and challenged him to a few foosball games. He said since foosball didn’t require too much physical fitness, he could easily beat me. I said that since I have only started playing for like a week, I needed some time to practice. His reply was that I would need 600 hours in a day to practice and be good enough to beat him. Well, I don’t need 600 hours, just a couple of weeks.

So on Friday night when I had already planned on going to Kin’s house and playing foosball anyway, we decided to learn how to play better. When Kin first bought the table, we just played like crazy people and were jumping around and spinning any rods as hard as we can. That was fun and still is fun. However, Kin put his foot down and said that we should play by the rules. I was like “What rules?” Apparently there are world standard foosball rules, the most primary of which is that the rods can’t spin more than 360 degrees. I said that Kin was being a foosball Nazi and taking all the fun out of it initially. However, having since played by the rules, I have to admit that I was wrong and that it’s a much more tactical and skilful game when you play by the rules. We now do passes between our own players and set plays up and do angled shots etc. It’s still fun, in fact maybe even more fun, especially when you get the satisfaction of doing a really good play and know you meant it. We still jump around and shout like crazy people when we score though.

We played many many games that night and I was getting a lot better. I remained undefeated in solo battles all night against Kin, Jo and Paul. Even when it was 2 on 1, I still managed to win. The only game I lost that night was when Paul and I were teamed up, so hence I’m going to fully blame him hahahaha. :-) Anyway, after one night of practice, I think I have improved substantially. By two weeks time, I think I will be ready for the foosball challenge and hopefully beat John, or at least be competitive.

Above: Kin and I battling it out on the foosball table

Thursday, July 06, 2006

The 10th Dimension

This post is just some random thoughts of mine about things that have captured my interest and linked together by a very thin common thread.

I found this really cool site which has some short flash animations showing that there are 10 dimensions in this world. There's an accompanying book which tells the whole story in more detail. I think I might try to get my hands on that book. The animation is very interesting and provides a thought provoking view. You have to accept some logic and if you can continue to accept that logic, well 10 dimensions is definitely possible.

Basically the outcome is that if there were 10 dimensions, we can achieve any destiny we want. The theory is that all the universes out there would compress into one single point. And you are able to travel to all parts of this point both temporally and spatially. And since there are infinite possiblities, there will definitely be one combination where you are a rich person who has everything.

This site tied in a bit to a book I just finished reading. The book is called The Alchemist. The book also says that if you pursue your destiny, the whole world will conspire to help you. The Soul of the World is linked in to your heart when you are pursuing your destiny and will do everything it can to help you.

Back to the logic part of the 10th dimension. Here's another set of logic for you to think about. My manager Ron told me about this one. In a similar vein to the 10 dimensions, if you accept the logic, then this thing will be true. It goes as such:

"If there are an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters so each monkey has one typewriter, eventually, one monkey will end up typing the whole works of Shakespeare."

So before you go and say I'm crazy, I agreed to this logic, in the sense that mathematically it is possible. Since infinity is so large, well infinite in fact, eventually a monkey MUST end up typing the whole works of Shakespeare. The maths say that this will happen. By pure chance, eventually all the factors will fall into place and a monkey will type the whole works. Obviously human thought is always limited and we rarely think outside the square and accept such apparent nonsense. The normal logic in our brains tell us that the monkeys aren't that smart and it will never happen. However, it must happen since there are INFINITE monkeys and typewriters. Measuring this outcome is impossible so the logic in us will always argue that since we can't measure it, then its not possible. However, over time, we've come to accept a lot of things that we cannot categorically measure. For example, a lot of physicists use quantum mechanics without being able to "measure" it. So why can't we accept that eventually one monkey will type the works of Shakespeare.

Finally to finish it all off, here is a simple problem that test your logic and your ability to think outside the square. Once you know the answer, you will say how obvious it is, but otherwise, most people tend to think in the same manner and hence unable to find a solution.

"There are 3 lamps on a table in one room. The room has 4 walls and a door, with no windows so you can't see inside from outside of the room. About 5 metres aways is a similar second room. Inside that room is 3 switches. Each switch turns on 1 of the lamps in the other room. All you have to do is to work out which switch turns on which lamp and be 100% sure about it. You can only go into the LAMP room ONCE but can go into the SWITCH room MANY times. If you are in the switch room, you cannot see into the lamp room."

There is a logical answer and it doesn't involve anything dodgy or tricky. This is not a trick question so don't go thinking of loopholes, such as starting off in the lamp room and not counting that as one look, or turning on one lamp for a year and waiting for the filament to burn out. You will be able to find the answer inside the day.

Karaoke Idol

Due to overwhelming popular demand, well Stan and Trev anyway, (don't live to regret it guys) I have posted one video of me and some friends at karaoke. Most of the video is black and occasionally you see the screen so don't adjust your monitor, nothing is wrong.

See if you can pick where I am singing. Hint: I sing about 3 lines in this medley and no, I'm not the really off pitch one at the start. That friend was only joking anyway, because that note is so high and none of us can hit it anyway. ENJOY, or should that be ENDURE!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Video Blog For May And June

Decided to do a video blog just talking about some things that have occurred in May and June for me.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Brazil vs France

It always looked like it might happen, and now it has. Brazil has been knocked out of the World Cup. They were clearly beaten by France and it was no lucky win.

Brazil had looked shaky right from the first game. But being the great side, historically and on paper, it was assumed that they weren't fully into their stride yet. Brazil were unconvincing in their group stage wins against Croatia, Japan or Australia. Australia was able to hold Brazil for long amounts of time and only a couple of moments of brilliance saw Brazil home in that game. Against Croatia, again another moment of brilliance from Kaka saw Brazil win the game. Even in the game against Japan where they won 4-1, for much of the first half, the Japanese were attacking and got in front with a goal. Brazil were counter attacking and only late in the game did Brazil crack the Japanese.

In the round of 16 matches, again Brazil lacked spark and fluency associated with Brazilian football. The Ghanaians dominated a lot of the passages in play and were acutally unlucky to be trailing at half time. The first goal to Ronaldo was a bit of great play, but the offside goal to Adriano was unbelievably given.

France, in comparision to Brazil, has come good when it counts. France were totally unconvincing as well in their group matches. There was even a possibility that France may have not made it through had Switzerland and Korea played out a high scoring draw. However, France scraped through and hasn't looked back since.

I really thought France would lose to Spain since the Spanish had looked so good and had won all three games of their group with total domination. However, France have shown that they are real contenders and that what happened four years ago at World Cup 2002 was an aberration that they have well and truly put behind them.

In this match, France were totally dominant and didn't seem like they would lose after the goal. France strung together so many passages of brilliant play, lead by Zidane and his utterly sublime skills. He has shown why he is regarded as one of the best midfielders in the world and that age has not affected him. His counter-part, and arguably the world's best player, Ronaldinho, was the exact opposite and lacked any firepower. In fact, you hardly even heard his name mentioned during the broadcast, such was France's dominance of play. Brazil only realistically had a couple of goal scoring shots and the result was more than fair.

With the way that France is currently playing, I think they will make the final and play Germany. That's my prediction, but as always, sport always throw up surprises when you least expect them.