Either U.S. doctors are waaaaay too optimistic when it comes to trusting men in their 20s to stay healthy or I look too healthy for my own good... So while I was in Beijing, my dad and I had this conversation about staying healthy during my 20s to ensure pain-free life during the later years (Not that I know for sure that I want to live for a long long time, but I digress...) So when I got back from my break I scheduled a physical check up with a doctor thinking that I'll get a.... you know... a physical checkup in the traditional sense... like the one where you get your blood tested, urine sample tested, etc... Well, all I got was my blood pressure measured, my body weighed, and the doctor did a couple more checks where she listened to my lungs and looked inside my mouth... then, *voila*... I was done... -.-;; I mean, when I was making the appointment the nurse even asked me if it would be ok for me to see a female doctor. My god, I sure felt violated after revealing my private blood pressure to that female doctor... -.-;; Frustated and curious I asked her if she was goona ask me to come back for more tests, but she told me that there were no reasons for any further testing to be done given my age. She even insisted that I do not worry since I look like I'm staying healthy and my family doesn't have a serious medical history. This really bothered me... I mean, seriously... Even to the point where I later called back and complained to the doctor demanding at least a blood test. How can you assume I'm healthy cuz I'm in my 20s and I appear to be ok???? What if I'm not eating right and I should really adjust my diet??? It just doesn't make sense to me... After 20 minutes on the phone the doctor gave in and told me to come back for a blood test.

So today I returned for that friggin blood test I so badly wanted only to find out that my insurance will not pay for it given my age and my immediate family's medical history... So basically all it boils down to is whether I'm willing to pay for the check up... I get it now... I might as well wait untill I visit Corea to get a real physical check up if I'm gonna pay for it.... Sheesh... This thing called health insurance sure doesn't seem to be insuring my health... Man, I'm gonna sue the hospital if I find out anything's wrong with me then. Watch out!!! Grrr....

Well not that it really adds to the subject of staying healthy, but I did cook myself a new dish today. Curious to find out what it was? ^^ Heh heh... Well, so I went to pick up my prescription at the Giant Eagle pharmacy and when I got there this vivid image of rice topped with a tuna omlet popped into my head. I know... Pretty random, right? At any rate, that inspired me to quickly get my hands on a dozen eggs and a couple cans of tuna in spring water. ^^

Ok, now you have to realize something... This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it is to me... Since I'm really clueless when it comes to cooking I try to stick with just a limited number of dishes on my menu... I do cook, but I don't really have a long list of dishes that I can cook cuz adding one more dish to the list takes a lot of effort. Yeah, you better recognize!!! :P Heh heh... At any rate, with the assistance of cubbie over MSN messenger I was able to make myself something similar to what I was hoping to cook... ^^;; I guess I would have to call the dish "Instant curry rice topped with an overly salty and involuntarily scrambled tuna omlet". ^0^ Hey, I know it doesn't look great, but it tasted... uhm... better than it looks... Ok, ok... It was a bit too salty, which is a mistake I won't make the next time I make this. It was nice to throw in a curve ball into the menu, and that's what matters. ;)

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Attended the Mazda rev it up! event over the weekend. It was simply awesome! The best part was that I got to just abuse the damn car cuz it wasn't mine... The second best part was that I was able to drive hard without worrying about cops or hitting other cars (they provide a pretty safe environment). There were about 2000 attendees for the day, and I can't even begin to imagine how much effort had gone into organizing this huge event... It was definitely a huge success, and they're telling me that they'll be back next year for sure (Also hinted at the fact that they'll probably be using the next generation protege), and you know who's gonna be there again. ;) They say that even this year some people were scheduled to attend all 4 east coast cities... Dang, those are some hard core groupies indeed...

So I got there at 1PM and started out by just perusing around and checking out the beautiful RX-8... *SIGH* I want that car so bad... Such a nice interior and a sleek exterior... Shredding sound of the rotary at 8000 RPM and an extremely roomy rear seat (You have to sit in it to believe it. You'll be amazed at the spaciousness.). Just an all around great car... Anyway, the "chalk talk" was not very informative, but the clinics were very good. As short as they were and as long as the wait-in-line times were they were all very worth it. If I were to do it again next year, I'd sign up for the earliest possible time slot and enjoy the rest of the day just going back to the clinics to practice, practice and practice (It's a shame they don't allow you to attend the race clinic more than twice, tho...). Oh, for those of you attending the one in NYC, the water bottles were $3 each, so you might want to bring your own. ;) Also, definitely use the auto stick thing.. It shaved off 2 seconds for me.

Dave, who used to autocross his RX7 FC, tells me that if I enjoyed the event I should think about joining either the Pittsburgh SCCA or the North Hills Sports Car Club and do this more often... I'm gonna have to save up for a stiffer suspension and a dedicated tire/wheel for autocrossing first. Looks like I've found myself a long-term summer sports. ;)

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I'm not exactly sure when this started happening, but now whenever I feel this unbelievable feeling of emptiness I can also feel it physically... Does that make sense? I'm not saying that the emptiness is really what's causing this undescribable physical pain, but given that they occur at the same time I'm thinking there is a high probability that there is some correlation... The pain is kinda like getting the chills, but getting it inside your chest. A chill that's significant enough to make you feel as if it has given upir ribs and lungs a good shake... For god's sake, it sux enough to be emotionally hurt, and now as icing on the cake I'm also greeted with a physical echo of the condition... Great~~~

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Back to the burgh, the city with the 2nd most beautiful view in the U.S.~ Still have the rest of the week off since I'm technically on vacation until the 28th. Will be unpacking and just relaxing for the rest of the week and slowly get back to my personal projects in the meantime. The picture on the right is of our family. We went to 长城饭店 (Great Wall Sheraton Hotel) on Sunday for a reeeeally early B-day dinner and spent some quality time talking about our past, present and the future. (That lobster and 铁盘牛肉 was soooo good!! ^^;;) We went to a quiet bar afterwards for a few glasses of cocktail to extend our chat session. Man, I'll miss them both so very much. I hope my mom's health gets better after this crazy monsoon... Pray for them my dear friends if you're into that stuff. Stay healthy mom and dad! Drink that protein shake and take those vitamins I got you guys!!! ^^ I love you!

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Every now and then, a part of the Asian American community (especially college students) living in the states react to the cultural stereotypes that are abound in the mass media. As much as I can understand their distaste for racial stereotyping, I can't help but wonder if all of them are reacting in a logical fashion that would ultimately achieve the effect they desire. Some do have a clear understanding of how streotypes are invented and what effect it really has in the society, others are reacting out of emotional rage and simply refuse to accept any stereotypical portrayal of the Asian race. Since I'm not an Asian American, I may not truly understand how an Asian American person who has done sufficient study in this subject matter feel, but I thought I'd do my best at protraying my own opinion. Please do not take my opinon as coming from an Asian American person, cuz that'd be misrepresentation.

First and foremost, I believe that stereotypes do have the potential to harm. When an ingnorant person is fed a bunch of stereotypes that person may end up digesting the newfound knowledge as an end-all to to that subject matter. For example, if a 6 year old child went to Africa and visited just one tribe and that tribe told the kid that they were the good tribe and the rest were evil, he/she may take that as a fact. However, if I were to be in the same situation I'd be smart (I hope) enough not to buy into the one-sided good/evil argument that easily. I will merely consider that as one viewpoint, but will investigate further in order to get the big picture. So my question is whether this whole movement against stereotypes is not just an effort to prevent the provision of overly generalized viewpoints to the rather naive population base that never gets to really learn what it is really like (or at least learn why the stereotype has come about). The emphasis here is on the fact that sweeping generalizations may be fed to the unsuspecting, or the one who lack the knowledge or intelligence to think for themselves in a logical and object manner.

As much as I hate to think so, I believe that we must face the fact that stereotypes, whether we like it or not, are made everyday without the help of the mass media. For example, before I came to the U.S. I had no prior knoweldge of Asian Americans. After I met a few Asian American students, the impression I got was "Dang, these guys are dying to be like an African American person. They seem to try soooo hard to conform to the urban culture trend purely in the visual sense. Why is he calling his fellow Asian American friends 'nigger' ? They're not even black for god's sake. I guess all these Asian Americans just want to be black." That's a stereotype. Of course not all Asian Americans are like that, and even for those that do act in such a manner there are explanations for the behavior. However, the point here is that those kinds of stereotypes are made everyday by people all over the world. We are born with no knowledge, but only instincts so I believe it's human nature to generalize and judge others until we know better. We've all done it before and so will our decendents. So here's the what's really bad... If we assume that some do not bother to dig deeper or try to gain more insight through other means, then such generalizations will be accepted in their minds as a conceptual formula that they believe can be applied in all cases. Now that's really dangerous. To add insult to the injury, it may even seem as if the stereotype is somehow genetic! Imagine that... Can you conceive of people thinking "Asian women are submissive cuz all Asian women are born with the 'submission' gene"?? -.-;;

Having said that, I still believe stereotypes can be humorous and they can exist in the same toolbox as cliches for artists, and marketing/advertising gurus alike. I'm not convinced the world will be a happier place if it were to be void of them. Now when I say that I'm not contradicting my previous claim that stereotypes can be harmful. When you walk on the street and see a caucasian dude wearing a t-shirt that says "I'm white trash" you may either think that the person has a sense of humor, or you may find it offensive (other reactions are probably in between). It is my theory that if every single person on the face of the earth is educated enough and have a sense of humor then this whole stereotype isssue is really not an issue. So my question is how much protesting and petitioning helps rememdy the issue of education. I'm not saying that people should not protest or write in petitions. Those are your rights and are essential elements of democracy, so by all means go ahead. I'm not even asserting that those acts have no effect whatsoever. I'm merely pointing out that in order to attack the problem at its roots we need to make sure that people are educated enough to be able to, by themselves, enjoy the stereotypes at their humorous face value and realize that they are what they are: stereotypes. It would be even better if people would look further into the stereotypes to understand the cultural differences that brought them about.

Everytime I encounter an article about Asian American protestors raging against an alledged racial stereotyping case, I stop to see how other Asian American people that I know react. Those that react purely out of emotional rage (quite the majority, since the more logical and objective ones usually choose to take action rather than go on a blogging rampage) basically say stuff like "Damn those ignorant corporate white boys. Who do they think they are?" Well, think about what you just wrote... What effect does that statement have on others who read them? Are you helping out with the situation or are you just causing more tension? Food for thought, perhaps...

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I'm ready to take off. I rescheduled my flight so that I can leave on Monday. This way I can enjoy the rest of my vacation back in the states adjusting to the time zone change, working on music, and just reading more books. I would also get enough rest before I leave for the Mazda Rev it Up event.

Well, to reflect, Beijing hasn't changed a bit... The city is still far from being truly civilized.... The traffic is horrible and everybody drives like a lunatic... people, bikes, cars, all travel on the same road and nobody seem to recognize the value of yielding... automobile drivers drive with the "blinkers are for wussies" mentailty thinking that they're the king cuz they can afford automobiles, and bikers think they're the king since they've been around longer, and of course people who walk think they're king cuz... well... cuz they invented transportation... or something... Anyway... I'm just about ready to go back home to kick back for a week at a place void of this sort of insanity (well, at least less so).

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So... I was a bit pissed yesterday... grrr... Here me out now... I am a member of the graduating class of 1995 at the International School of Beijing... Ok, I wasn't particularly fond of my alma matar... I hated the guts of those kids who thought they were doing the world a favor by debating world politics during lunch time and I also hated those spoiled rich sons and daughters of diplomats (which the school had more than enough of). The fact that I still hate politicians and spoiled rich kids are probably all from those days... Nonetheless I have an affinity for other aspects of the school. After all, it was I.S.B that had opened my eyes to the fundamental ideas that has shaped my current outlook on life. Not only that, but contrary to the popular belief, there were actually lot of people in my class that I thought were great people. Leila, you're one of them, so stop hating!! :P But, I digress...

As I was packing my bags getting ready to leave for Beijing I thought of how cool it would be to pay my alma matar a visit... ya know.. to see how it has changed, maybe talk to somebody there about what has happened since my graduation. Well, so I followed my plan yesterday... Guess what happened? I couldn't even lay one foot inside the gate. I was stopped at the front gate (a huge gate, I might add) by a Chinese guard who refused to let me in (terrorist threat was one of the reasons.... dang... spiky haired terrorist who has been sent to blow up an almost empty school... ) *SIGH* So the guard picks up the phone and gets busy on the digits. After a short dialogue he hands me the phone. On the other end of the line was a Chinese lady who insisted that I can speak English to her, and so I did.

Me: Hi, my name is Seung Chan Lim. I'm an alumni of this school. Class of 1995. I am visiting the country and I thought I'd pay my alma matar a visit.
Her: Excuse me. You're a what? And who did you say you're visiting? Mr. Mother?
Me: Oh, no no... I'm an alumni of the school and I just wanted to visit this school.
Her: I'm sorry, I don't understand... Wait a moment

Oh, here we go... the good ol' "on hold" game in full effect not only in the U.S. but in China... To make matters worse, it was 34' centigrade outside where I was holding this friggin phone... So the ring tone finally came to an end and there was yet another Chinese lady on the other end of the line.

Me: Hi, my name is Seung Chan Lim. I'm an alumni of this school. Class of 1995. I am visiting the country and I thought I'd pay this school a visit.
Her: I'm sorry. What are you, sir?
Me: Oh, I'm an alumni of the school: "Bi Ye Sheng" (Chinese for alumni).
Her: Oh, wait a moment.

o_0 What the... dang... these guys really know how to transfer people... When I get back to the states I'm gonna have to make sure I practice this valuable skill on my phone at work.... -.-;; Ok, so I was finally on the phone with a non-Chinese dude this time.

Me: Hi, my name is Seung Chan Lim. I'm an alumni of this school. Class of 1995. I am visiting the country and I thought I'd pay my alma matar a visit. (My god, that line sounds familiar)
Him: Do you have an appointment?
Me: Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize I needed an appointment to just take a look.
Him: You're going to need a sponsor to enter the school.
Me: A sponsor? Ok... How do I get myself a sponsor?
Him: You need to call the admissions office and see if anybody is willing to be your sponsor.
Me: Oh, ok. Would you be able to help me out? I'm just an alumni who wishes to have a look around.
Him: No, just call the admissions office, but I bet they're busy so you probably won't be able to get a sponsor
Me: (thinking to myself, then what the hell is this guy implying?) I see. What do you suggest that I do?
Him: Just call the admissions office.
Me: Hmm... ok.

Damn... I bet it's a lot easier to get into the North Korean embassy with a U.N. nuclear inspector's badge... *SIGH* I was then transfered to the very first lady I had spoken to.

Me: Hi, so am I going to be able to get in today?
Her: I'm really sorry, sir. But I don't think so. Could you come back in August maybe?
Me: Ha Ha Ha! I don't think I'll be here then. You guys really know how to greet a "Bi Ye Sheng"...
Her: No problem. We're happy to help the graudate students.
Me: -.-;;; Uhm... nevermind... Could you please transfer me to the admissions office?
Her: I'm sorry they're busy. They cannot help you. You cannot come in.
Me: Well, I was told that I need to make an appointment with the admission's office to get into the building. Can you make that appointment on behalf of them?
Her: Wait a moment. I can transfer you to the admission's office
Me: (Man, she's definitely not listening to me) Xie Xie.... -.-;;

Well, so this person at the admission's office finally is at the other end of the line, and to my surprise she's very friendly and helpful unlike all the other people I've talked to. So I am able to make that friggin appointment to get into this tightly secured fort knox of all International Schools... sheesh... So I actually got to meet the last lady I had talked to at the admission's office today when I revisited the school. Her name is Caroline, a Canadian lady who used to work at the Lido Holiday Inn. Apparently it has only been a month since she has started working at I.S.B. She gave me a tour of the fort knox and I must say the school is unbelievable in many areas. First of all, the tution is off the hook... $20,000 + $15,000 in deposit... Hot damn... I think it's like $4000 cheaper for kindargarten... They must be teaching the next generation nanotechnology at this kindargarten... They now have 3 ( another one on the way) indoor gyms with a full size basket ball court, rock climbing facility with bleachers and all... They have two main fields: one for football and another for soft ball. There's another field which is divided into multiple basketball courts. Then of course they have a pretty darn nice theatre and a swimming pool. You can imagine a small university and you'd be right on track. I must say it's pretty damn sweet... But, of course after talking with the lady it has become clear that the school no longer has that small tight familiy-like atmosphere, but rather the typical private international school atmosphere.... Oh well... I supppose that's the price you pay for growing... At any rate, I was hoping to meet some teachers and students, but since everybody was on break that seemed to be out of question. Well, given the type of greeting I got I'm going to have to think twice before donating any money to this friggin school.

Click here for some photos that I took.

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Phew~ been here for like 3 days now... Lemme tell you... All I've done in the past 3 days is literally just sleep and eat... well, I've been watching Corean soaps... lots of them... like seriously... a lot... more so cuz I never watch any when I'm back in the states... Thank god it's not too hard to catch up on the overall plot points even if I had already missed like 100 episodes... ^^;;

I must say I'm not used to just doing nothing... It's kind of good not having to worry about anything (nothing at all), but then I miss being with cubbie and I do miss driving... dang... I think I can survive a few more days without music.... probably a couple more days after that for geeky stuff... but then I bet that'd be the limit... that means this vacation may be a week too long for me... ouch... hmmm... At least I'd have gained some weight when I return... that's for sure, tho. ;)

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Oh my god, "Finding Nemo" is the best movie of the year... I'm not kidding you... You HAVE to go see it if you haven't yet... Ellen Degeneres is so wonderfully funny, it's not even funny... (hmm.. that came out weird) Dang... I can't remember when the last time was that I laughed so hard at a movie theatre... Although I do wonder how much kids will actualyl get out of the movie... Would the kids understand the true moral of the story about parents learning to "trust" their kids (Coincidentally, a topic I love talking about ) or would it just be another "yay! they finally found each other!! happy ending!! yipee!"?

Speaking of parents... So everything is in order. I checked all itmes off of my to-do list and I'm ready to depart tomorrow. I'll be fully packed as soon as I'm done with my laundry. Mom, dad here I come. I miss you two so much! :)

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Man, just talked with my mon on the phone. I had gone out shopping for stuff to take back home to give mom and dad. Stuff they like to eat, drink... like tea, coffee, snacks and such... I wanted to get some vitamins and what not as well. While I was talking on the phone I just realizd that I need to pay much closer attention to their health now that their age is what they are. My mom is 53, and my dad 57 so it seems like as much as I'm sure they care about their own health, I need to make sure that I keep a close eye on them as well. I mean, should I even be brining all these sweets and cookies along with me? They can't really be good for them... I just love it when I see a tv show where the daughter (it's usually the daughter) that says something like "dad, no! no snickers bars! remember doctor stewart said no sweets until your blood sugar level drops", etc... Such loving daughters, I must say... Not sure if sons are like that, too... But, given that I'm an only child I really would like to be a son that can say stuff like that to my parents cuz I sure as hell do not want to even think of them being sick. *SIGH*. Lord please help me become a better son...

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Oops.. it looks like I had forgot to publish my blog for the past 2 weeks... -.-;;; You may have missed a few posts, so scroll down and peep'em if you care. :)

Anyway... It's always crazy right before I go on a long vacation...

  • Finish project deliverable and produce write up for the other teammates to refer to [ check ]
  • Make appointment for Bora's 10,000 mile check up and CEL resolution ( yes, another CEL... *SIGH* ) for the day after I get back [ check ]
  • Submit remix contest entry [ check ]
  • Do dishes, laundry and clean up my place ready for an extended vacancy [ Friday ]
  • Check out the 7/4 festivities down at the point with Cubbie [ Friday ]
  • Help Cubbie move [ Saturday ]
  • Buy health products at GNC to take back to China [ Saturday ]
  • Buy synthetic motor oil for Bora [ Saturday ]
  • Buy gifts for mom and dad [ Sunday ]
  • Buy a pair of jeans [ Sunday ]
  • Meet with Why ask Y? for a update meeting about proejct scratch papr [ Sunday ]
  • Pack mah bags and get ready for departure [ Sunday ]


Oh! Oh! Oh! Here's a quick snapshot of cubbie @ hardrock cafe back on the 30th of June on our one year anniversary! :D It's always awesome when she smiles. ;)

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