Showing posts with label Misc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Misc. Show all posts

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

觀山楂樹之戀有感

前天在開會時,系上提到了要開一門電影與政治,又提到了一部最近國內很夯的電影「山楂樹之戀」,結果我做了我自己都不相信的事,去電影院看國片,更甚者,同時間上映的有Inception這部好片,我是入境隨俗吧,一句話短評,淡淡的哀傷!對,就只是淡淡的!

以下有雷,怕被雷到的,請按Ctrl + W關閉視窗吧!

先說觀眾吧,果不其然,年輕人都去看Inception了,我周圍坐下的都是頭髮雪白的老公公老婆婆們,也許是特地來看他們那個時代的故事吧。

這是一部以文革為時代背景的電影,對於那個年代陌生的我來說,很多場景在我看來都是好笑的,除此之外,這部電影就圍繞在男女主角的互動上,而這一切都那麼平淡,平淡的讓全場觀眾好些時候都彷彿停住呼吸一般靜默!

我最有意見的莫過於它每個章節的過門,都用上字幕來提醒觀眾發生了什麼事,這樣粗糙的過門手法,本不應該發生在這個年代的電影上,但細想,這一整部片不就是傳達著平淡、簡僕,導演粗糙的過門,也許故意的吧。

這部電影有著韓劇式的結局法,但由於前面為觀眾舖陳了一個半小時淡淡的情緒,最後結局即便收得老調,也因為前後情緒的落差,硬是逼得場中啜泣聲此起彼落!

女主角合該得獎吧,導演好多幕特寫她臉上的表情,她也成功地用表現出少女的羞赧,台詞不多,相信看完這部電影的觀眾一定忘不了這位女主角!

中秋節看了部老梗的好片,純純的愛,淡淡的憂傷!

Thursday, July 01, 2010

幫忙?一把塗滿蜜糖的利劍!

這幾天都在想個問題.....「要是我幫忙了他,是不是這件事就不會發生?」(Had I helped him, would this not happen?)  但是這個問題的另一面向,更令人玩味:「是不是當初不幫忙他,這件事就會發生?」(Would this happen had I not helped him?) 這整個問題的關鍵其實不在於幫不幫忙,而是這無可預知已經發生的事What would have happened?

學了好幾年的因果推論,我深深了解到因果推論的無力感,既便任何事的發生有其因果,我們仍然無法確定現在的結果是來自我們覺得的原因。事情的發生無法重來,所以我們沒有法子像實驗室做實驗一樣找出真正的因,What would have happened had I done this?

我們總以為幫助人是有益的,所以伸手幫忙,但是有時候結果並不如預期....

路上看到有人騎車摔倒了,你去扶他一把,他卻說是你撞他的;好心施捨流浪漢一塊麵包,他卻怪你讓他吃了拉肚子;你幫同事寫好報告,他卻跟上司說錯字都是你打的。這樣的事太多了。幫忙別人真的往往是吃力不討好,那是不是不應該幫忙別人呢?可是你明明看到一個人正在溺水,你能不幫忙嗎?

我跟C學長對於這件事也討論了好久,他給了我一個他本身的小故事,意義深長:

他有一次在自家旁邊路上看到一隻受傷的蜜蜂,他怕牠被經過的車子或人踩過去而死掉,於是就將牠移到旁邊的草地上,過一會,他去看那隻蜜蜂,卻發現蜜蜂被數十隻螞蟻分食而掙扎不已....

凡事發生自有輪迴,我們的介入,也許能改變什麼,但是這碰壞輪迴的我們,卻得承擔原來輪迴裡的業障,這個蜜蜂故事中殺生的是誰,竟然是伸手幫忙牠的人,但牠也許受傷本來就不能活了,但是幫忙牠的人卻讓牠死得更為痛苦.....

我似乎懂了些什麼,卻也迷惘了.....我真的不知道該如何是好!

Monday, November 30, 2009

An OpenSSH software for Windows 7 / Vista

Here is an OpenSSH software I personally found useful and working well under Windows 7 / Vista.  It is copSSH.

Besides it is free and open source, it is still actively maintained.  It works well with the UAC (user account control setting) of Windows 7 / Vista.  And it does not clash with Rtools.exe.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Our office becomes a Service Counter?

This semester, I moved down to the office in the 9th floor. I shared the office with Matt. We like to open the office door so that the air circulation is better. But our office seems to be the only one on the 9th floor that remains open most of the time. If you wonder why others don't open the door, here is the reason: people walk in and ask you questions unrelated to your expertise. Here are some questions that have been asked frequently:

1. Where is the restroom? (Come on! Our office is right next to the restroom.)
2. Can I borrow your staple? (Well, we haven't seen our staple for a long time, and yet, they found one in our office)
3. Where is the room for the Stats Seminar? (Hum, if you see me sitting in my office, the chance that I know where the seminar is is very low. But ok, I guess it is always room 903).
4. Can I submit the homework here? (Okay, I guess you did not know who your TA is)

Today, there is a new one which I think can be ranked the most hilarious one.

"Do you know where can I get some free A4 papers?"

I am very nice. So I always respond to those who walk in with questions. So I redirect the student who needed A4 paper to the library.

Friday, July 10, 2009

@ Agrocampus Ouest, Rennes, France

This is the last day of the useR conference. In the coffee break time, I am surfing on the web to plan my trip to Paris.

It was 12 years ago since my last visit in France. The feeling is weird. And the keyboard of the computer lab in the Agrocampus Ouest University is also weird. The position of the keys is quite different than those of the US standard one.

So far, this is the best conference I have ever attended. One word for the trip so far? "Comfortable".

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What I heard from a radio program...

Sometimes, it is so weird how a voice from a radio program can suddenly catch your attention.

After a regular weekly Friday Flushing dinner, Charlie and I went to a Korean supermarket to shop for grocery. I had nothing particular to buy. So I just wonder around the market. All of a sudden, I heard a sentense from a radio brocasting:


"Don't make others your priorities, if you are just an option to them!"


I don't know why I would bother to notice what a radio program was brocasting. But the sentense was loud and clear. Yes, I heard it sound and clear.

Charlie was not around by. So when I met him 5 minutes later, I asked him if he heard the same words. Well, we both did.

These past two years have been violatile years for me. I have to reexamine what should be the right way to live my life. Or more precisely, what should be the right way to treat people, to help people. Well, this sentense could be a good motto for me.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

終於結束了(The Finale)

2009年4月30日下午4:15分,我開始辦理我的論文存放手續,5:00整,我走出學校的大樓,整整45分鐘,我在一連串奔跑中,正式完成我的博士求學生涯,接下來的就是畢業典禮了。

回想我求學的過程,是順利吧,也充滿坎坷,順利地從幼稚園一路到博士畢業,中間從無間斷地,就這樣完成了所有學業,如果把近年來很流行的博士後研究算在內,老天真是不給我一個喘息的機會,讓我求學生涯中,硬是外加了這一段。

去年12月,我就完成了那180頁的論文的口試,然而就因為這段博士後的插曲,為了工作簽證的關係,我硬是將那論文擺在家裡四個多月,而延遲了畢業,就這樣,我一點都沒有要畢業喜悅,而前天交上論文那一刻該爆發的喜悅,也因為四個月的「習慣」,而淡了。

結束了,就像樂曲的finale...

Sunday, March 22, 2009

深夜遇襲!

這不是一則訴說紐約治安有多恐怖的網誌,而是奉勸人晚上了,能不要出門做事就不要!

如果有人說我怕狗,我一定不同意,因為家裡也曾經養狗,所以對狗的熟悉度還是有的,不過我倒是很討厭大狗接近我。

我印象中家裡曾養的二隻狗,一隻是柴犬,一隻是大土狗。那隻大土狗必須用大籠子關住牠,不然牠一出籠,那發足狂奔,口水四飛的樣子,著實令人不悅,我記得我總是透過家裡的玻璃門,看著牠放肆的樣子,也許吧,我對大狗的討厭是從牠而來。

那隻柴犬呢,則是隻聰明的小帥狗,根據牠尾巴的捲度及翹度,我們都認為牠是隻聰明的公狗,不過呢,我在牠身上也學到了「狗是人最忠心的寵物」這句話是不成立的,牠第一次離家,就是為了牠的需求,一去不返,當初為了保有牠的自尊,沒想到...後來雖然奇蹟似的,半年後在嘉義某山區找到了牠,牠卻依然犯了天下狗兒都會犯的錯,再度離家不返,而這次,我們就再也沒見到牠了,陳小春一首「男人與公狗」似乎是不錯的類比。

回到主題,我的公寓地下室,是大樓管理員Ivan養狗的地方,也是大樓洗衣間所在,禮拜六的今天,本來一如往常我都會去洗衣,但是由於晚上參加了場慶生會,我回家開始洗衣的時間已經是深夜十一點了。

話說Ivan養了隻鬥牛犬Bruno,我好幾次在地下室跟牠的遭遇戰,總是被Ivan化解,我那時總聽旁人說,Bruno是隻「好狗」...沒圖沒真相!但是我就是沒牠的照片,只好從網站Tomato Bulldog中找到相似度高的,如下圖:


今天我半夜遇到牠,牠一如往常都會靠近你身邊,然後一樣會呲牙裂嘴的發出「嘿嘿嘿」的喘息聲,配合那滿嘴口水,吐在外頭的肥舌,實在令人退避三分(我承認我有偏見),但是今天沒有Ivan來替我解危了,我與牠五年來未完的遭遇戰,今天一併解決!

我手邊是有洗衣籃的,我本來可以用它把Bruno隔開,但是我有潔癖,所以我選擇把洗衣籃放在安全的位置,讓我徒手對付Bruno,牠呢,果不其然就靠了過來:


Bruno: 嘿..嘿..嘿..嘿...(呲牙裂嘴貌)
我:(被逼到牆角以低八度聲音)Good Dog~~~Good Dog~~



我用手撫摸Bruno的頭,目的不是安撫牠,而是想邊摸邊推開牠,至於那低八度的聲音,全賴憲哥所傳,狗對低八度的聲音有好感,結果,我聲音愈低牠好像愈對我有好感,我愈摸,牠愈用力靠近我,所以請想像一個年過三十歲的男生,最後全身緊貼牆壁,咬緊牙關,眼睛緊閉,心想「一下就過去了」的蠢樣,就當我要被Bruno張口咬,喔不!應該是舔下去時,我聽到Ivan大叫Bruno!

我當時宛如聽到天際梵唱,心裡如釋重負般,最後望著那隻肥頭肥腦,滿嘴口水的大物,離我而去(沒錯,我就是討厭牠!),半夜12:45分,Ivan竟然醒著,也保全了我的清白。

結論?就是第一段說的,沒事半夜不要出門,出門不要半夜!!!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

我的紐約大學同學會

我在紐約的時間,也許在倒數計時了...所以好多的第一次,也可能是最後一次了。

昨天A君又帶團來了紐約,趁這個機會,我幫她約了一年前才聯絡上,在紐約某機關任職的K君,更巧的事,也因此聯絡上了一位,我一直聽說她在紐約但從來沒見過面的T君,於是我的紐約大學同學會就這樣開始了。

這場聚會第一個爆點,就是T君的出現,她一身日系的打扮,一頭金髮,極瘦的身材,讓人覺得像是濱琦步出現在你面前,我定神看了一下,發現她右臂上有機械式的配件,宛如Iron Man的裝備,我那時心想,在大學時最有風格的一位女同學,現在仍是那麼勁爆!結果....那是她手的固定器,原來她一個月前划雪摔倒骨折,不過那付機械臂還真搭他的穿著,至於沒圖沒真相這件事,我就沒法子了,因為我們這群過三十的老同學,似乎沒有人有拍照的習慣。

後來大家就去了Morton Steak House吃牛排,第二個爆點就來啦,A君、K君跟我都點了24 oz 的Porter House Steak(如下圖),沒錯,是很大的一塊牛肉,雖然我沒去過幾家紐約的牛排館,但這牛排的味道,鮮嫩多汁,是我第一次完全沒有沾任何醬料,而很享受的一塊牛肉,爆點呢?由於太美味,我以秋風掃落葉的方式,迅速的吃了半塊牛肉,但是當我喘口氣轉頭看A君時,她竟然已經快吃完了,而且那刀工,真宛如庖丁解牛一番,剩下的丁骨,真是屑肉不存,她也頗自嘲的說:「羅馬不是一天造成的!」Well!!


第三個爆點就是聊天時間,我一直都記得,三個以上的女人聚在一起會發生什麼事的故事,今天A、K、T君的組合,也讓我見識到了這個威力,途中雖然她們禮貌性的問我到底現在在做什麼工作時,我那無聊的學術話題,頓時讓場面冷了下來,我只好把球做回去讓她們聊她們的,幸好我平常就「訓練有素」,所以聽她們說話一點也不覺得累,我唯一插入話題成功的話題,竟然就是向她們解釋什麼是「好人卡」跟「洗澡卡」,T君是第一次聽到這個名詞(代溝!!),也許不久她就會設計出相關的電子產品,讓美國人了解一下台灣的鄉民文化!!!

最後一個爆點,就是大家回到K君家,回顧大學的往事,嘖嘖,這才是同學會的高峰,我向他們說出了一段,昔日某老師因為狼狗衝出而摔斷腿的事,他們是笑到不行,問題是,我們都是同一班的同學,他們竟然沒有注意到老師摔斷過腿?oh, well.....那堂課60人修,每次只有不到10個人來上課。

聊了一個晚上,我才發現我同她們是二個不同世界的人,不過十年後的同學會,為彼此補齊了回憶的拼圖。

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008年許多我的紐約第一次

紐約在今天下了第一場大雪,就在我踏進老闆十樓的景觀辦公室時,大雪就漂下了!說來好笑,我還是第一次在那麼高的地方看降雪,那種感覺就好像坐飛機,看著窗外漂過的雲,我也第一次看到雪不一定是往下降的,也有向上浮的!


2008年對我來說新鮮有趣,又驚心動魄,當然少不了悲歡離合,總的來說,好多事準備或已經劃下句點,也經歷了好多的第一次。

第一次去MIT,第一次去紅襪隊球場,第一次去Princeton University,第一次去Brooklyn Bridge 下紐約第一名的pizza,第一次去紐約皇后區交界的Roosevelt Island,第一次成功看到Rockefeller Center的聖誕樹點燈,第一次去Bear Mountain,第一次在紐約市裡(老闆家)吃到正宗感恩節火雞大餐,第一次在Riverside跟Morning side慢跑,第一次在聯合國大廈吃Chinese Festival的Buffet,第一次看到芝加哥的湖畔,第一次經過芝加哥的Sear's Tower,第一次去西北大學,第一次去DC看到櫻花,第一次走進紐約華爾道夫大廳,第一次為了Johan Santana去大都會球場看球卻因雨延賽,第一次抽中百老匯秀的籤(In the Height),第一次去Macy's跟人家擠Black Friday Sale,第一次花了百元做了張會議poster(Political Methodology Confernce),第一次坐紐約火車到Scardsdale去拜訪Charlie,第一次成為博士後生,第一次領到國外獎學金,第一次發表在國際期刊...等等等。

有好的回憶,也當然有不好的經歷,更有即將發生的考驗,十二月廿二日,May God Bless me!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The most popular programming languages in 2008

TIOBE has released the newest ranking for the most popular programming language here. Java remains the top popular programming language. C and C++ follow with Java. I dont' see R in this ranking. Maybe it doesn't belong to this group! Maybe I should devote more of my time learning the other lanugages. I have discussed the rationale here.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Top 5 downloads!!

Bruce forwarded this good news to us. All the articles of in the symposium he orgainized, which is about Excel 2007, are on the Top 25 downloads. It is my first journal article. This article evaluate the graphics engine of Excel 2007.

The purpose of default settings in a graphic tool is to make it easy to produce good graphics that accord with the principles of statistical graphics, e.g., Tufte, E.R., 1990. Envisioning Information. Graphics Press, Cheshire, Conn, Tufte, E.R., 1997. Visual Explanations: Images and Quantities, Evidence and Narrative, 2nd Edition. Graphics Press, Cheshire, Conn, Cleveland, W.S., 1993. Visualizing Data. Hobart Press, N.J Cleveland, W.S., 1994. The Elements of Graphing Data, rev. edition. AT&T Bell Laboratories, Murray Hill, N.J, Wainer, H., 1997. Visual revelations: Graphical tales of fate and deception from Napoleon to Ross Perot. Copernicus, New York, Spence, R., 2001. Information Visualization. ACM Press & AddisonWesley, New York, and Few, S., 2004. Show Me the Numbers. Analytic Press, Hillsdale, NJ]. If the defaults do not embody these principles, then the only way to produce good graphics is to be sufficiently familiar with the principles of statistical graphics. This paper shows that Excel graphics defaults do not embody the appropriate principles. Users who want to use Excel are advised to know the principles of good graphics well enough so that they can choose the appropriate options to override the defaults. Microsoft® should overhaul the Excel graphics engine so that its defaults embody the principles of statistical graphics and make it easy for non-experts to produce good graphs.


I am really excited to know about this!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

來來去去的朋友,我還在這裡,紐約!

這個禮拜三,M桑終於離開 NYC 去西岸追求他的博士生活了,我少了一個可以無話不談的朋友,少了一個學習R的好夥伴,少了一個C語言嚴師,更少了一個一起吃午餐的lunch mate。

就在上禮拜,我幫M桑推著400磅的書從122街的系館,一路推到112街的郵局,我們二個平時少運動的書生,氣喘噓噓地挑戰這一路緩緩而升的上坡,也就好像我們的友誼一般,一起合作完成A師的交待的任務,然後一起從中成長,當路到了119街的哥大校門口時,一路的下坡,似乎也在宣示著,我跟M桑的合作關係,正加速走向終點的分叉點,不是盡頭,卻是各自人生的開始。

一年半前開始,M桑以特殊身份成為A師的助理,幫我分擔了不少我必須要做的事,更正確地來說,我從一個執行者,成為一個指導者,這讓我有更多的時間去完成我博士班的學業。我們合作的方式,總是從每天中午開始,約著去吃學校內的餐廳,直到半年前開始,那家餐廳關了,我們就成為流浪在哥大附近大大小小餐館的覓食客,然而我們最常關照的,就是法律學院轉角那家Foodstand的Italian Susage。還記得最近二個月,我們只要站在遠方,向Ben比二個手指頭,他就會準備我們特點的Italian Susage,One with Onion, one without。

這個禮拜,M桑就幾乎沒來學校了,我又回到以前一個人吃午餐的日子,只是突然忘了以前怎麼一個人吃午餐的,於是總是坐在家裡好久,想著我要到那吃,就這麼的,我吃了四天的pizza,當然有一天是Ben的Italian Susage(Ben最近說他身體不好,不知還能吃他的三明治多久)。八年了,朋友來來去去,我仍然在這裡,紐約!

(寫到這我突然可以回答W學妹的問題了,為什麼我吃東西那麼慢,因為胃口不好,因為離情傷人!還有,我其實是愛吃薯條的!但是沒了胃口!)

回想第一年時,跟V學姊、蒙古公主他們一起唸書的日子,好幾次唸到圖書館關門,第二年時與Yoshi桑常常一起吃Dynasty晚餐,犒賞修完經濟學那肌腸轆轆的五臟廟,後來與感謝有Z陪我吃遍紐約大小餐館。第四年起,我仍然在紐約,知心朋友卻都離開了,我開始每天自己外食吃飯的日子,幸好每個禮拜五仍然有吃素團,一群一起在博士班的同學們,學長姊們,可以讓你熟悉一下與人吃飯的感覺。不過最近吃素團隨著CH學長的老婆車陣亡後,也快要解散了。

我好像太孤癖了,但是卻又好像是我特殊的求學過程使然,雖然我唸遍了紐約三大學校,我卻始終沒離開哥大校區,我NYU、CUNY沒課的時間,幾乎都不會在學校逗留,我總是習慣使用哥大的圖書館,也因為這樣,沒有同班同學,只有我一個人,留在哥大附近!

M桑離開前,我跟他說的最後一句話不是再見,而是「我必須找個新的lunch mate了!」

八年了,朋友來來去去,我還在這裡,紐約。然後,哥大,我還在!而且我回來了!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

知足與挑戰極限

有一些瘋狂的點子,寫下來提醒未來的我!

人之所以會進步,是因為挑戰極限,突破自我,自有一番新局!但人往往有走向毀滅自我幸福的傾向,為什麼?因為不知足!

我最近一直在想,挑戰極限的反義是否是知足!知足常樂,那挑戰極限是否就不快樂了呢?

我曾經以為,知足是 Winner 對 Loser 說的話,一個走在順風路上的人,沒有停下腳步的藉口,相反地,一路蹇澀的人,卻常常面臨是否要繼續前進的決擇,「人要知足,你已經不錯了!」就變成別人安慰你的說辭!

另一方面來看,「會不會在成功之前,遭遇的挑戰就愈大,所以要挑戰自我,勝利是屬於堅持到底的人」,這樣的想法就譬如爬山,愈到後頭,體力愈不繼,就愈有放棄的念頭,但是挑戰體力極限,到了山頂,你所看到的是廣闊的風景!

人究竟要挑戰自己還是要知足?如果人生的終點是可預知的,那麼這問題就沒那麼困難了,如果你知道你最後可以走百步之遙,你就盡力走到就是了,偏偏沒有人可以知道未來!算命之所以吸引,或許就是為了想有份確定感吧!

人性是貪婪的,當你有百萬時,你就會想要千萬,有千萬就想億,成功挑戰自我極限,如果一切都順利,你當然就成為億萬富翁了,但是有了億萬後,是你的極限了嗎?走在在順風路上的人,是看不到盡頭的,當你發現走完一下步是盡頭時,你的一切可能就歸零了。於是你會懊惱,我知足,當個億萬富翁不就好了!那當個千萬富翁不好嗎?貪念偏偏是進步的黑暗推手!

記得The Devil's Advocate這部電影中, Al Pacino說的最後一句話,"Vanity is My Favorite Sin!" 「虛榮是我最愛的原罪!」劇中 Keanu Reeves 的成功,換來的是老婆的崩潰,在他的人生可以再重來一次時,他看著他老婆幸福的臉,他知足了,他選擇放棄不敗訴訟紀錄的光環,但最後偏又禁不起另一向成名的誘惑,虛榮也好,貪念也罷,他的人生再來一次,竟仍然是走回毀滅自我幸福的路。

我的思路到此,也迷惑了!知足的人,似乎隱含著停頓的生活,偏偏人平順的生活過久了,就會想求新,想變化,繼續向前,就是一次挑戰,但怎知這下一步不是引你走向毀滅的誘惑呢?

所以在我看來,挑戰極限並不難,真正困難的是懂得停下享受幸福的人!知足常樂!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Happy Benjamin!

I had a great talk with Benjamin before. Today is my new Italian susage day of the week. As ususal, I stood in front of the footstand and gave Benjamin a sign. He got my order. I noticed that he had new menus stamped on his foodstand. It meant another thing I like to eat has to raise its price. However, I learned that his name is Benjamin as it was printed on his new menu poster.

His business was ``fast" today, so he talked to me again.

We started our conversation with how cold today it was. But I was stunned when I heard that he was actually a musician!

``I am a musician. When I finish the job here, I play in resturants!"

He is a drum sticker and a singer. And he graduated from a music school.

I was so amazed by how he joyful his life is. He told me sometimes he goes home after his 2nd jobs at around 2 or 3 in the morning. He feels not like to work in the next morning, though; his wife will push him out. So this is why sometimes I saw helpers in the foodstand instead of him. He had to stay in his van to take a nap.

``Sometimes, I am so tired. I sleep in the car before I go home."

This explains another puzzle I wonder for 7 years: why on earth is the foodstand still here at 7pm? Benjamin was taking a nap!!

Throughout the course of our conversation, he always had a big smile. I was so affected by him.
I don't have good mood these days. However, I learned that a guy like Benjamin enjoys his life so well. Tired and yet still happy.

I shall be the audience somedays to see this old friend on stage.

Friday, January 25, 2008

I have reached to the major continents!!


I embedded a widget that can trace the source of the visitors almost a month ago. Just a few days ago, I have visitors from the major continents. I am sure it has a lot to do with my blog being advertised on Andy's blog. But I am still glad with my blog being read by visitors spread all over the world.
Thank you! 謝謝! Gracias! Merci! 谢谢! Vielen Dank! Ringraziarla! Dank u! Спасибо! ありがとう! Takk deg!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The food stand around the SIPA corner

Today is the last of the semester. It happens to be my Italian sausage day. I stopped by the food stand around the SIPA corner. The line was not long because most of the students have gone for the winter break. I am going to stay during the break. So I reached to the guy in the food stand, who I never know his real name.

"Are you going to be here next week?"

"No I'll be back on Jan 2!"

With a little chat about so and so, he asked me,

"How long have you been here?"

7 years I said. The time I answered this, I asked him back,

"How about you? How long have you been here?"

He told me it is going to be his 11th year next October. He started his business on March 11 years ago. Even though I don't understand his calculation and his logic of counting, I asked,

"How did you manage to get this spot? This is a very good spot to do business!"

He began to tell me his history. He started his first food stand in Queens but the business was "slow." One day a friend of his told him there was an old guy who wanted to sell his spot in New York. So he bought the spot.

"He only sell lunch. I sell breakfast and lunch. The business is `up'!"

He was proud of himself. And he continued,

"I now make money. I want to make more. Maybe I will start a store!"





I don't know where I am going to be when he started his store. It would be a interesting thing to find out when I come back to visit to New York some days in the future after I graduate. I am not saying this is going to happen soon. But I really cherish the special synchrony between me and him.

Every Friday, I stop by in front of his food stand around the SIPA corner. I just have to say "hi!" He will know what I want--Italian Sausage, everything, no onion!!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The 15th Gongshow: We won!!!

Don't get me wrong. We actually won! We won the prize for the worst performance. The prize is a Hawaii doll--the Fula girl:





Jeff won the prize for the best performance by dancing the choo choo and cha cha.

What is Gongshow?
Masano and I did not know exactly what was the Gongshow. When Andy gave us the invitation card. The invitation said it clearly that anyone who come must act. That was scary and weird for students likes us from Asian culture. Anyway, the Gongshow is a party that everyone act and compete for the prize. But if the act really sucks, the judge get to gong the gong to expel the performer.

We arrived early and learnt that only the best and the worst get the prize. Well, we think we would have the worst performance and won the prize easily, as long as we are not gonged off. And we did win the prize with total of 9 points from 3 judges. Actually, there was one group that got negative infinity. Our title of the act is: BIG MOUTH FISH!

The winner for the best got iced cold cash. Yes, cash in an iced cold water! But the winner for the worst got an Hawaii doll. I did not expect that. And the worst part is, we get to bring the doll back to the next Gongshow.

We decide that the doll will be in office of Andy's postdocs. Just to remind them, this is now a tradition. As Andy's students, we get to win this prize every year.



Anyway, it was fun and the food was good. We had a good time and the doll is SCARY!!