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.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Oscars 2007

Well, after all the hype as usual, the Oscars have come and gone for another year. I find the Oscars more and more boring each year. Films that are blockbuster hits rarely get a mention. Instead all these crtically acclaimed films that I have never heard of, would never want to watch, or aren't even in Australia after showing for 6 months in America, are nominated.

The Oscars are suppose to be the culmination of a year of cinema, being the pick of the bunch of all the awards. However, it lacks the fun needed for an awards show. Music award shows are great because there are heaps of musical performances. The artists are usually very individual and do crazy things and wear crazy clothes. Even at the Golden Globes, since television shows are included, you actually get to see awards for things you have seen and can say "Yeah I agree with that decision" or "That's a total rip off". But the Oscars is so safe and boring. All the guests turn up immaculately dressed. "So who are you wearing today Bjork." "A dead swan". Now there was an individual. No Armani, Versace or Dior for Bjork. Only dead feathers could show her individuality.

This year, I turned off watching at about the half way mark. I tried to keep watching but was just so bored. Ellen Dengeneres wasn't that good as a host. She wasn't very funny, and I was really trying to see the funny side to things she said. I couldn't really care who won the big awards. Knowing who wins already didn't help, but it was just that the show overall was so slow and boring.

If the Oscars are to become interesting, they need to jazz it up somehow and maybe drop some of the awards from the telecast to speed it up. Give some of the other awards out a day before like the scientific achievement awards. I know the little guys should get recognition too, but its so boring to listen to a hundred acceptance speeches. Most speeches are so bad anyway. Only some people are genuinely touching and you give a damm about.

Another way to make the Oscars even more important and interesting is to drop most of the other awards leading up to it. By the time we get round to the Oscars, we have already seen so many other similar awards with the same actors answering the same questions and the same people winning. You can already guess who will win. If it was more of a surprise and there were no lead up awards, then everyone will really not know what's coming.

So my summation of the Oscars 2007, who won what? I hadn't seen any of the nominated films for best movie and don't plan on seeing them either. I'll just switch on in future to see how much surgery the actors have had.

Monday, February 26, 2007

How To Find Your Way Out Of A Maze

This post will be about a useless piece of knowledge that may save your life one day. Ok, so here's the scenario. Imagine you are lost in a huge maze, and if you don't get out in a few minutes, an evil monster will enter the maze and eat you alive. So what's the best way to get out of a maze I hear you ask. Well, Adrian, Justin and I put that to the test on Sunday. We went on a wine tour around Red Hill, which you can read about here. One of our stops along the way was Ashcombe Maze. It contains a few hedge maze, which are quite large.

Here is Adrian and Justin in the maze.

On the first maze, we took the scientific approach. If you start the maze with your hand on the OUTER wall of the maze, you just keep walking through the maze never taking your hand off the wall. This means that when you hit a dead end, you merely circle around it and keep going. The theory is that since the maze is endless, no matter how many dead ends you hit, as long as you keep your hand on the wall and keep going around the dead ends, you will eventually find the exit. And unlike Justin's flawed logic, you will never get stuck on an "island" where you keep going round and round the same square area. Since you start on the outer wall, you will never get onto the inner walls where the islands are. If you start the maze in the middle and use this technique, you may find yourself going around an island. If this occurs, just switch to the other wall and you know that you are now on the outer wall. Using this trick, we were able to progress through the first maze in about 3 minutes.

The was the fountain that greeted us upon finishing the first maze and about to enter the second maze.

In our second attempt at the second maze, we had to see how the scientific approach at going through a maze compared to the usual "use your instincts" approach as Adrian called it. Given that the mazes were different, we knew this was not the most scientifically controlled experiment, but hey, we were there to have some fun too.

So this time, we set out into the maze using our instincts to guide us out. At each turn, we just took the one that we thought would be lead us out. We soon found out that our instincts are not very good at solving mazes. We went round and round many times, passing the same area numerous times. There were lots of "Did we go past here before" and "I think this looks familiar". We even resorted to marking the grounds so that we knew where we had passed earlier. This did not help either. Eventually, after 10-15 minutes and getting hot and bothered, we said, lets do the hand thing again. Within about two minutes, we found our way out of the maze.

The problem with using our instincts was that we made flawed assumptions. For example, we thought that the exit would be in the far diagonal corner, hence kept choosing routes that went in that general direction. However, the exit to the second maze turned out to be on the side and close to the entrance. Also, even if we were going in the general direction of the exit, those routes might be wrong anyway. Only the right route would keep going in that direction. The rest would eventually go other directions, meaning that we had to try and track back to the start and go another direction. However, the hedges all looked alike and it was very hard to get a bearing.

So in conclusion to this thesis, I conclude that should you ever get stuck in a maze, just put your hand on the outer wall and keep going, never lifting your hand off the wall. Eventually, you will find your way out, much faster than using your instincts.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Obedience to Authority or Just Conformity

I've recently started to read Psyblog, a blog by Jeremy Dean, who is currently studying psychology. I've always had an interest into how people's minds work, and hence have found his blog extremely interesting. His posts of various research into how human thinks always provides me with things to think about myself.

His latest post is about Stanley Milgram's experiment on whether people are obedient to authority or just conformers. Milgram's experiment aimed to find out how far humans will go when an authority figure orders them to hurt another human being.

But Milgram didn't investigate the extreme situation of war, he wanted to see how people would react under relatively 'ordinary' conditions in the lab. How would people behave when told to give an electrical shock to another person? To what extent would people obey the dictates of the situation and ignore their own misgivings about what they were doing?

This type of experiment would never be allowed nowadays, so this data would be very hard to replicate. However, from his experiments, he found that 63% of the participants continued right until the end - they administered all the shocks even with the learner screaming in agony, begging to stop and eventually falling silent. The shocks were fake and an actor was screaming. But did the particpants know this and hence played along or are people really obedient.

To find the answers would be very insightful into how humans operate, but unless the experiments were more real, it is always hard to gauge how people will act in any situation. You can theorise all you like what you might do in a plane crash for example, but unless you really are in a crash, you won't know how you will feel. In general though, people tend to underestimate bad parts of their personality and overestimate good parts. If this is true, then I think most people, if pushed, would administer shocks to other people.

What does this experiment tell us about ourselves? I'm still trying to reach a conclusion. Does it mean that most people will become savages if pushed enough. I don't know if that is true, but it does show humans have a more evil side as well. I think the common movie scenario of chaos when laws are removed is not too far from the truth. To an extent, what is keeping us civilised is an obedience to authority. Without those rules, I would think that society would go through a period of turmoil until naturally new rules would develop. Regardless of what those new rules are, people will again obide to those rules to try and survive.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chinese New Year

Saturday was official Chinese New Year. This year is the year of the pig, in fact the Golden pig. I think this year is suppose to come around every 600 years or 60 years depending on which website you read. Either way, a baby born in this year is supposedly going to be well off for the rest of their life.

On saturday, after having dinner with my friend, we went for a stroll along the banks of the Yarra river along the Crown Entertainment Complex. There were many stalls selling everything from freshly cooked food to gifts to everyday snack items. Each year, Chinese New Year festivals get larger and larger as more people flock to these events. As usual, it was nice to have a poke around at what was on offer. Usually I buy lots of little snacks but since I was so full this time, I only managed to eat on box of takoyaki. It wasn't very good, but maybe that was due to being so full.

The beautiful lanterns made for a very oriental feel.

There was lots of stalls selling jewellery, some claiming to give you good health to riches, whilst others were just for wearing decoratively.

The satay sticks smelt so good, but I was so so full that I really couldn't eat one more thing.

The takoyaki that I had. I didn't really like it because it had a really strong ginger smell, and I don't really like ginger that much.

Technically, Chinese New Year runs for 15 days all up, so hopefully you can do something to celebrate it still. I wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year and may all your wishes come true.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A-League Champions - Melbourne Victory

Victory by name, victory by nature. That is how the second season of the rebranded NSL competition, the Hyunday A-League has ended tonight, with Melbourne Victory emphactically crowned champions.

On a hot summer's night, the A-League grand final was held between minor premiers Melbourne Victory and last season's minor premiers Adelaide United. The sporting mad crowd of Melbourne turned out in their masses, 55,436 to be exact, to witness the match. This crowd was a record for a domestic football game. Myself and a couple of friends had managed to get tickets, seated in level 3 row X, the last row in the stadium. That didn't matter, the view from up there is great in Telstra Dome, and we were there to cheer on our team, the Victory.

The game started with a bang from the start. Melbourne looked sharp, whereas Adelaide looked lethargic. An early, slightly contentious, goal from Archie Thompson set things rolling for what was to become a memorable night. Adelaide didn't help their own cause when trailing by getting a man sent off for a very cheap second yellow card.

Victory capitalised on a one man advantage and played some fabolous football. They attacked endlessly, with passes that kept finding Thompson, who worked a lot of magic. By half time, Victory were 3-0 up, and the crowd were in ruptures when Archie got a hat trick of goals. They were all nicely set up plays where he had shots right in front and just pushed them past the keeper.

I was talking to my friend Justin, who said we shouldn't celebrate just yet since there were many previous NSL finals where the trailing 0-3 team went on to level the match and win in penalties. However, when Archie scored his fourth goal, the crowd were all bowing to the new master. After the 4th goal, when the crowd knew the match was pretty much over, the unbanned Mexican wave got going around the stadium. It was a great sight, with the top level and bottom level waves out of sync and spiralling 3 times around the stadium. Why is there a need to ban the wave when it is done properly and nothing untowards is thrown. It's just another case of too much administration when they tried to ban the wave at the MCG.

Anyway, just as I thought that would be all the goals for the night, the Archie Thompson show was not yet ready to pack up. Despite having cramps, Archie threw in one last effort and scored his 5th goal. Totally unbelievable. This got the crowd going again. Thompson was then substituted off. His replacement, Kristian Sarkies, decided to get in on the act as well, and put through one last goal to put an exclamation mark on the victory.

What a fabolous night it was for Australia football and Melbourne Victory. The emphatic win was totally deserved, with Victory clearly the best team all season. Hopefully football will go from strength to strength in this country on the back of the A-leauge and international achievements by the Socceroos. There's enough room in this country for all codes of football. There's no need to choose one over the other, they can be enjoyed simultaneously.

Go Victory, Premiers for 2006-2007.

Pre match singing of the National Anthem.

The action during the middle stages.

Post match celebrations by the victorious Melbourne Victory.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Destruction Is Easy

I was reading this great blog post about The Art Of Self Disclosure, which discusses about forming stronger relationships, platonic or romantic, with other people through disclosing information about yourself. It is a skill to know when to disclose information and how to do it in order to get closer to people. We all know how hard it is to gain someone else's trust and that it takes time to achieve it. However, the opposite is true too. To lose trust in others is very quick and that relationship can break down at an extremely fast rate.

I can think of one particular friendship of mine that for a while was extremely solid. It felt like I could tell this person most things. However, a few arguments resulted from differences in opinion, and some harsh words were said from both of us about each others flaws. From that moment, despite us both agreeing that nothing would change, that wasn't the case. When you can no longer trust one of your previously best friends, inevitably, the relationship will start to change.

Nowadays, its quite strange when we see each other. I can definitely sense that things have changed and we're now just ultra polite to each other. I find that I have nothing to say to this person anymore. The only thing I could think of is the weather. And whenever you can only think of the weather to talk about with someone, you know they are just a general acquaintance. The discussion of weather with friends will be part of a broader conversation which will keep going, but with people you don't know, it is the sole topic. "Can you believe how hot it is today", replied with "Yeah I know", and then silence. That's how it is now. I wouldn't say that I avoid this person particularly, but I wouldn't make it a point of mine to talk with them since I have nothing more to say.

Relationships with others are like building sandcastles. Building a sandcastle takes hours and lots of effort. But when the waves rushes in, their is nothing you can do to stop it and all your hard work is gone in minutes. You can try to avoid this by building the sand castle further away from the ocean, but the tide is hard to predict and the sand castle can still be destroyed when you least expect it. This doesn't mean you shouldn't build the sand castle, because you did derive enjoyment whilst building it, but just have to accept that sometimes it gets destroyed.

And that's my deep and meaningful for today. Now I'm off to relax a bit before reverting back to my usual self and get ready for an indulgant dinner tonight at some high class restaurant. Till the next time that I can think of something intellectual and emotional to talk about, you should all strengthen the foundations of those sandcastles.

Flogging A Dead Horse

Do you find that some people just don't know when to stop. I make this point about conversations, in particular, jokes. When I have conversations with other people, all parties want to get their point across. This is great, otherwise it wouldn't be a conversation, it would be a lecture. And when there are interesting topics to discuss about, these points can be discussed for quite a while. Usually, in between discussions, there are jokes thrown in. Everyone laughs at these jokes but there is a time to stop and get back to the regular discussion.

The problem is that some individuals just don't know when to stop. The conversations has clearly moved on, yet they are still Flogging A Dead Horse. I know of people who never instigate discussion but instead jump on other people's topic. Then they joke about it and keep going. They go into what I call "Used Car Salesmen" mode. This is where they keep going on and on about the same thing, like a used car salesmen who keeps telling you everything about the car even when you have heard enough. These people keep throwing in joke after joke about the same thing, to the point that it's not even funny anymore. I do find the initial jokes funny, but by the tenth one, I'm over it and its just become tedious. I just want to keep going with the discussion and move on. I have told this to certain individuals and said that it becomes boring after a while. They will stop for a while, but then go right back into it. This just makes me not want to talk to them about anything because I can never take them seriously.

Sometimes, when the discussion has moved on to another topic, these people are still thinking of the same old joke they were on and might come up with another one, in which case they interrupt and continue with those jokes. Do people not know when a topic is closed and thats it boring to keep going with it.

Why do people keep doing this? Are they just devoid of original conversation and interesting things to talk about? Or are they just comedians in hiding waiting for their big break? Or are they just selfish and want to keep attention and hence keep telling their jokes? Who knows, all I know is that it just becomes boring and annoying and totally stops any conversation. Don't get me wrong, I love a joke as much as the next person, even rude jokes, but I don't want joking all the time. There must be a serious side to people sometimes. There must be occasions when you can talk about something seriously rather than joking all the time. When you can't take someone seriously, you cannot respect them and without respect, any relationship is standing on shaky ground.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Telemarketing and Door To Door Salesmen

Today at work, a group of us were talking about telemarketers and door to door salesmen. The overall consensus is just how annoying they are. People just don't like things marketed to them in such an upfront manner.

Telemarketers are particularly annoying since they usually ring you at dinner time and try to sell things that you don't need. They are very persistent as well. So even when you say you don't want whatever they are selling, they still keep going. I know they are just doing a job, but it causes a lot of frustration and anger for the recipients as well. I remember one day when I was sick at home, I got 8, yes EIGHT, telemarketing calls in the space of one morning. It just got too much and I had to switch off the phone so I could get some rest.

We were all discussing our techniques for dealing with telemarketers. Some people were way too polite and actually kept listening. I used to be one of those people. I would hang on the line for ages and listen to their whole story before saying I didn't want it. Nowadays though, as soon as I sense its telemarketing, I just say "No thanks" and hang up without giving them a chance to say anything. That was most people's technique for dealing with telemarketers. But one work mate was a lot more blunt. He said "Why should I say thanks, they are ruining my dinner. So when telemarketers call, I just say, 'You better hang up now if you are offended by foul language'. If they don't hang up, I just say f**k you and ask them if they had recorded that, then hang up." That is so hilarious. Another time, he said that he just told the telemarketer to hang on the line for a second while he got something, in which time he went on with his work and left the line just hanging. Thirty minutes later when he came back, the line was dead.

The conversation then shifted to door to door salesmen, from peddling encyclopedias to religion. Everyone had their story about persistent salesmen that just wont go away. One work mate said some Jehovah's witnesses had come to his house. They told his wife she would get a free bible. So she said ok, just leave it and go since she didn't want to open the door for security reason. The Jehovah's witnesses wanted to personally hand the bible to her and tell her about themselves. After twenty mintues of arguing, they wouldn't just leave the bible so she shut the door on them.

Another story involving the same wife was when someone rang her house bell for ages. Thinking it was just another salesmen, she didn't open the door. When the ringing persisted, she had a look to find that it was the police. Even for the police, she wouldn't open the security door. When the cop tried to show her his badge, she said she couldn't see it properly through the door but still refused to open it. Finally, the cop got her statement through the security door.

All these types of in your face marketing is so annoying. I refused to open the door to salesmen anymore after being tricked one time. A salemen tricked me into thinking I was going to get free tagging of my electronic goods and records sent to police so that if they ever got stolen, the police would know it was mine. It turned into a two hour session with the guy, who was actually selling house and contents insurance and security alarms. The bloody guy had made me think he was from the police department but was in fact not related. The company was called Police Security or something. Hence, if any door to door people offer you something for free, be alert that they are probably trying to sell you something. So whenever you hear the words "How would you like to make phone calls for free" or "Want to reduce your gas bill by 50%" or "You have won $2000 worth of goods", slam the door or phone in their face and say "Piss Off". Or if you're more polite "Piss off, thanks".

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Are Asian Women Bad Drivers Part 3

In the continual series on whether Asian women are bad drivers, following from posts here and here, Jessie relayed another extremely funny story today.

After work, Emmanuel, Keiran, Jessie and I have our fairly regular chats. Today we were talking about lots of things and the topic got round to driving. Jessie asked how much a tow bar costs. She has just purchased a new car and was thinking of getting a tow bar. I told her that her new tiny car was not going to be able to drag anything. Then she said that the tow bar was not for pulling things but to avoid accidents. At this point, the rest of us were totally stumped.

Jessie told us that this morning, while she was stopped at a red light, another car ran into her car. However, when she finally got out to check the damage, she saw that the tow bar on her car had saved the bumper from any damage. So hence she wanted to get a tow bar for her new car so that if anyone hits her, their car will have a massive hole in it while her's would be fine. This totally cracked us all up. Firstly, that she is thinking that she will be in an accident already, and secondly, that she wanted the tow bar as a form of protection. We all joked that the best way to avoid an accident is to not drive altogether.

We then joked about her atrocious parking, where she parks about 1 metre from the curb. Even when she parked on an empty street so that all she has to do was drive straight forward and stop, it's still pretty bad. Then Keiran said, "What about when you drive on the freeway, you have to go fast there." And Emmanuel replied "Jessie knows of a freeway but has never been on one." This turned out to be very true. The next question from Keiran was "How many roads do you drive on, 10." He said this in a very sarcastic tone but Jessie started to count the roads she drove on. It turned out to be less than 10.

Jessie's situation is not uncommon to many Asian women who have immigrated to Australian. Second generation Asian women tend to all drive ok at least. But first generation Asian women tend to be very scared drivers. As I mentioned in previous posts, there are a lot of other women who carry a license but only drive to the shops or to take their kids to school. They never bother to try other road conditions and in turn actually end up being very dangerous drivers. They don't know the road rules too well and anytime they get slightly stressed driving, they will do something wrong.

I think I will start writing some more posts about driving. It seems to be one of those topics that everyone has an opinion on and is affected by. I'm constantly amazed at how small an incident can be for people to totally lose it while driving. I'm fairly calm when I drive and just listen to my music and sing along. However, that could probably just be due to me having Optimism Bias and totally misjudging my own behaviour.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Too Many Internet Accounts

So I log onto Blogger today ready to temporarily change my template back to the original one when I find that I am being forced to log into the new blogger. That's not a problem in itself, but I have to sign up to a Google account. I don't see why this is necessary since I was already using a log in to get into Blogger already.

Nowadays, to do anything on the internet, you have to sign up for yet another account and log in. I have totally lost count of how many Internet accounts I have and what sites they are for even. Sometimes I just need to get some information off a site for a one time, but yet still have to sign up for an account. An account that I can still remember for example is the Apple account. When I first bought my ipod, I had problems with it so needed advice from other users. To be able to post questions in the Apple forum, I had to sign up. Hence I posted my one and only question, got some helpful replies and have never used the account since.

Flickr is also currently going through the transition of forcing its users to log in via their yahoo accounts. A lot of people are also unhappy about this. You can read about it here.

The problem with signing up to yet another account is that there are more logins and passwords to remember. You inevitably get signed up to a million other things from that new account and get spam emails. They might also sell off your details, meaning that you might get even more spam or your details may be used in less than clean ways.

A work mate of mine says that the internet is supposed to have freed up information, but it seems to have gone the other way. Many times at work, in our research jobs, we come across articles that look useful for us, but you always have to log in to access it. Or worse still, you need to pay to read an article that you don't even know will definitely be useful for your work. Everyone it trying to make a buck from the internet, which in turns drives everything to be restricted access. Information is getting lost because people just don't have access to it.

Thats my rant for today. I wonder what other "invitations" I will be receiving from my Google account or whoever they decide to sell my information to. More opportunities to make millions on shares or possibly enhance my body parts via various pills and pumps. The opportunities are endless (sarcastic tone)!

Friday, February 09, 2007

Don't Worry, Be Happy

As Bobby McFerrin famously sang, "Don't Worry, Be Happy".

We all know we should not worry and be happy, but sometimes that not so easy to do. Lately I have been quite stressed and tend to overworry. This causes me to not sleep so well. I'm one of those people who can worry a bit too much sometimes. Worrying doesn't help solve anything but yet I can't help but do it. Its not constant, most days I'm fine, but when a particular problem crops up, I do worry a bit when it's not going as planned. Lately, quite a few problems have been placed in my path due to a certain other person not being competent at anything they. When I'm faced with problems of my own, I face them and try to find a solution. I'm very calm about this and tackle the problem systematically. However, when I'm reliant on someone else to do their part and it doesn't get done, or done incorrectly, well that makes me worry. Especially when my own personal money is involved. Let's just say that my money is not in safe hands with this person.

Yesterday night however, I think I had a break through. I got to the point where I was just so over the constant worrying that I just snapped and thought, "I won't worry or care if I can't do anything about it". Somehow my own mind must have resolved this issue, or could push it aside at least. I had the best night's sleep in months. Today is the same. Everytime I begin to worry about a situation I can't control, I just remind myself to think back to yesterday night and what I felt then. Hence I am going to enjoy this weekend and not worry at all.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Obnoxious People

I bet we all know of at least one person that we find some obnoxious that being in their merely being in their company makes you feel unwell. It's not that you choose to be in their company, they may be friends of friends and hence there are occasions where you must be in their company.

I know that I told myself last year that if I was around people I don't like, I won't bother putting in effort to be fake. It doesn't mean I will be rude, but I won't pretend to be interested in what they are saying.

I can say that I did that on the weekends. There was a particularly obnoxious person who's words were quite biting. Nearly every sentence he made had an edge to it, and he was the first to laugh the loudest at his own supposed "jokes" and comments. I didn't laugh most of the time and only when the words were directed at me did I bother answering. Otherwise I hardly spoke to him and I think he knew that I didn't much care to talk to him either. He mostly stayed away and joked around with other people, mainly at their expense.

I don't know whether these obnoxious people know, or for that matter, care how their words are affecting other. I know that whenever this person is around, I never enjoy myself as much. I guess there a few types of obnoxious people, but its the ones that make biting remarks and are generally arrogant that I dislike. With that personality too, they tend to dominate all conversations and steer everything to what they are talking about. I don't mind other people being the centre of conversation when they are interesting and genuinely funny without insulting others, but this person is neither interesting or "smart" funny as I call it. Anyway can take pot shots at others for the sake of jokes, but when its constant, it just become so boring and childish.

This particular person's attitude to everything is also of greed. On other occasions when there is something to gain, even small things such as a lollipop, he will just grab it, even when its clearly stated that its for someone else. This type of greedy attitude also translates into other activities of a gambling nature. When he is winning, he is rubbing it in and being totally ungracious, but when he is losing, all you ever hear is whineing and constant "jokes" about no one leaving until he starts winning.

I'm glad that this person is someone I don't see too often, since any more interaction with such a character will only make me mad. Initially, I thought he was only occasionally like this and actually spoke to him, but once I found out that that is the only aspect of his personality, I haven't spoken to him of my own accord at all.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Do You Floss Before Or After Brushing?

The million dollar question is not what the meaning of life is, but whether you floss before or after brushing. After my most recent dentist visit, I have enviably been looking after my teeth after the dentist told me how much plaque I have. Usually I brush and floss twice a day for a few weeks after visiting the dentist before I become lazy again and start forgetting to floss and only brush once a day. This time, I hope to keep brushing and flossing twice a day until the next dentist visit next year.

However, one day I was flossing and the philosophical dilemma of whether to floss before or after brushing popped into my mind. When you have questions of this magnitude, where does one turn in these times, the internet of course, and more specifically Google. A quick Google search and it turned up with divided opinions.

Here is an excert from a website

Periodontists are about equally divided on whether you should floss before brushing or brush before flossing. Taking into consideration that flossing may carry bacteria and food particles below the gum line, it is probably better to brush first to reduce the food particles, bacteria, and foreign matter that can be transferred below the gum line by the floss. The argument for flossing before brushing is based on the idea that the fluoride in toothpaste can only strengthen teeth by coming in direct contact with the enamel. Removing the plaque by flossing can expose the enamel to the beneficial effect of the fluoride in toothpaste.

Looking at more and more sites just kept coming with the conclusion that some people floss before brushing while after floss after brushing. For me personally, I have decided to floss before brushing now instead of after like I used to. My reasoning for this is not so the toothpaste can get to that area, it's more so I will floss. When I was flossing after brushing, sometimes I just forgot or got laser and decided not to do it. But if I floss before brushing, I will always brush my teeth so hence it means that I will also have flossed.

So what is your opinion on this weighty issue. Should you floss before or after brushing your teeth. I think as long as you floss, that's better than not flossing. To floss before or after, that is the question.

A Leopard Never Changes Its Spots

Today went so well, everything was going right and I was very happy all day. That was until I got a phone call. That phone call put a downer on the rest of my evening, so much so that I didn't even feel like eating dinner. The resultant problem all revolved around somebody omitting some truths. I had written a post about this previously.

From that post, if you read it, friend A was the one who cause all the problems. After that incident, friend B and I had clearer stated to friend A that they should never omit the truth again as it will cause lots of problems. Last time we gave friend A the benefit of the doubt and thought they wouldn't do it again. But I guess the saying of "A leopard never changes its spots" is not without merit. Generally, a personals behaviour will rarely change dramatically over their lifetime. Minor things can change, but in general, the over-riding aspects of their personality will stay the same.

This time Friend A caused more grief for myself and friend B again by omitting the truth. Once again, if they had told the truth earlier, the problem could have been solved earlier and not become as big as issue. This time, I will not be giving friend A any benefit of doubt after the previous incident. This recent incident will now make me very wary of anything that person says. I will always have to question whether it's the truth or just a partial truth. I don't know whether that person is doing it on purpose or is really that naiive in thinking that problems will go away if you just ignore it by omitting the truth. Problems rarely just go away by themselves, they just multiply into a huge monster.

Now that I have recovered from the shock of looking like a liar to another person due to facts that were omitted to me, I have started to look for solutions. It all should be fixable but will take more time, cutting time from my weekend that I want to relax over. What is the solution to this problem with this friend? How much more clearly can I tell them that this type of behaviour is causing a lot of problems for other people around them who have to mop up the mess.