Completely Random Things – Olympic Edition

It’s been a few days since I’ve posted as it has appeared that I have caught the “Olympic Fever”. I’m not really much of a sports watching guy. I’m more of a get out there and do it type of person. However, every four years, for some reason, I find any sport that one of my fellow Canadians are competing in, interesting…even badminton. Here are a few completely random things that I’ve got on my mind…

Why Do My People Have to Pull This Shizzle?

If you haven’t already seen it, the Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Beijing were probably some of the most spectacular ever. They better be for a cool hundred million or so. I thought it was a solid 4.6 out of 5.0 though it did drag for me in some section.

If you haven’t heard already, it appears the event wasn’t totally authentic. For example, the 29 foot steps that paved the way to the birds nest: Fake. CGI was introduced into the first 55 seconds of the opening ceremonies to give the effect of footsteps walking into the city of Beijing. Chinese officials say that it was too dangerous to have a helicopter pilot follow real fireworks foot steps so they faked it.

That wasn’t really such a big deal, but the biggest fakery: Lip Syncing Nine Year Olds. The little girl that sang the song that opened the cereomonies wasn’t cute enough to be in front of the camera so they replaced her with a lip syncing double. The original girl was singing live in the background. We like your voice, but your face is fugly. Wow.

I can’t say I’m really suprised. I mean, fake things have been coming from China for years, from Gocci, Prado to Rolax. I just didn’t expect them to perpetuate the stereotype. Oh, my peoples…

Peanut Butter Scooter Time!

After picking up my scooter in June, I’ve been amazed at how useful it has been. I ride it almost every day and its saved me a whole ton of money on gas. For example, a fill up on my Subaru Impreza which costs around $70 to fill up on 89 octane, gets me about 400KM’s. My scooter sucks in about $6.00 bucks of 94 octane for a tank. How many Kilometers you ask?

Well, I hadn’t filled up since Dot Com Scooter Gang so today I decided to fill’er up and put in only $5.61 of 94 octane with the needle at a millimeter or two from the red mark, at 697KM’s. It’s actually my first full 94 octane fill up as I did a half tank before Dot Com Scooter, after finally cluing in that they use a separate hose only for 94 octane while the other grades share the same hose. Though this is not a big deal for a car, the scooter takes far less fuel so I probably got 87 octane when I paid for a 92 octane fill up at 322KM’s.

After Dot Com Scooter Gang, Carl filled up at just over $6.00 for half a tank after riding 5 hours on the Honda Metropolitan that CycleBC rented out. Kwanye was a hair above $4.00 because he never cracked the throttle wide open. I can’t count Gary’s total because John ripped the nozzle from out of his hand and proceeded to fill his own scooter.

I rode out from Port Moody to Vancouver for Dot Com Scooter Gang and back and hadn’t filled up for eight days till today. It’s already over 60 KM’s from Vancouver and back, plus five hours of non-stop scooter terrorism with the Dot Com Crew and I always ride nearly wide open throttle. I think this is a new mileage record but I forget how many KM’s I filled up at last time. I guesstimate that this is just over 200 KM’s on a tank. Let’s see how many KM’s till the next fill up on this tank so we can find out for sure.

Time To Work On My Dolphin Kick

I’ve never really been a fan of swimming. I mean, I hate water and back in University, I sort of had a near drowning episode trying to flip back over in a Kayak. To add insult to injury, this was in a swimming pool. I’m sort of like the Michael Kwan of Swimming I guess. However, I was inspired by Kwan’s lack of coordination and his drive to conquer it, even though it sort of conquered him not once, but twice. OK, maybe not so inspirational. How about we use Michael Phelps instead?

After watching Michael Phelps’ domination of the field and his cool dolphin kick technique, I’ve decided to take up swimming. I figure that even though I suck now, I can always get better and learning how to swim properly could get me out of trouble one of these days. I’ll never be an aquaman like that mutant Michael Phelps, but if I can get that dolphin kick thing down, I’d be a happy camper. It just looks so cool. No, I will not be wearing a Speedo like a Euro tourist.

Thinking About Back To School…

Even though I’m old, it doesn’t mean that I should stop going back to school and learning. This Fall, I will continue taking Mandarin lessons and probably continue with another photography class.

Each year of COMPUTEX in Taipei gets easier and easier to negotiate with only English, however, to get to the cool places, you really do need to know a little bit of Mandarin, or you’ll be spending most of your time within blocks of your Hotel. You can’t just hand the phone over to your friend that speaks Mandarin to talk to the cab driver all the time.

I remember an episode this past COMPUTEX where I was trying to get the cabbie to drive us to the street where they sold computers. My pronunciation was so butchered that English actually worked better than my sad attempt at speaking the local lingo. It’s rather embarrassing when you’re Chinese and you can’t speak Mandarin (with the exception of Hong Kong where I do just dandy with my Cantonese), so I plan to be more prepared for next year. I also find that when visiting companies in Taiwan, people’s faces light up when I at least give it a try, even though the rest of the visit is in English.

I’m really looking forward to going back and learning more about Photography as well. Although I knew a few basic things, I had no clue how to really get the best out of my Nikon DSLRs. Not to mention, I always feared putting it into manual mode (mainly crutching on Aperture Priority and Shutter Priority) and screwing up my pictures. After my beginners class last year, I found myself way more confident in keeping the camera in manual nearly all the time because I knew exactly what the camera was trying to do in different situations. It was also interesting to see how people literally grew out of their entry level DSLRs at the end of the course.

When these people went in, they were shooting in program modes. When they left, they were in full manual and finding they needed the dual dials and the extra buttons that were so daunting to them just nine sessions earlier. All of us found joy in using fixed focal length lenses, at least those of us that had cameras that could use them. I know that more than one person upgraded their entry level Nikon D40 for bodies with AF motors and dual command dials so that they could have fun with those 50mm f/1.4/1.8 and 35mm f/2.0 lenses in full manual.

Well, that’s it for this edition. Also, please remember that Dot Com Pho is cancelled this Saturday so that we can give Michael Kwan a Dot Com Rock Band Send Off as he heads off to Alberta to blog about his new niche of “Oiled Cowboys”. This will be Michael’s redemption as he does a killer “Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld” rendition vs his Dot Com Scooter and Dot Com Segway FAILS. There will be a video so stay tuned 😉