Monday, September 30, 2002

the end is near - tomorrow is my last day at wells fargo. i'm happy to be leaving that lunatic asylum, but i'm a bit sad about leaving behind some very good friends there. i've noticed that most of my friends at wells fargo have paddled at one time or another for my dragon boat team.

i've also been to more farewell lunches than i can count, that's about killed any chance to lose weight this year. for example, both today and tomorrow, i'll be going to two lunches in a single day. and each morning, i have others asking me to sit and have some coffee with them. needless to say, i haven't gotten much done in the past week.

Sunday, September 29, 2002

the big race - it's the end of another september, and that means another dragon boat season has been wrapped up. my involvement with this year's bay area dragon boat championships is the lowest since i moved here in 1997. i did a little coaching, formed only three teams for the races and only managed the scoreboard during this weekend's championships (check it out at

still, i managed to actually race in one heat for the wells fargo team and more significantly, jenny and russell came out for the races. although he is only 3 months old, i've started to have dreams of russell paddling for the lowell or lincoln high school dragon boat teams. i still experience a thrill with my participation in dragon boating, and i hope that my passion for the sport never dies.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Bad Science – The editors of Washington Post show their basic ignorance of science by allowing environmentalist gadfly Jeremy Rifkin to expound religiously on the virtues of hydrogen fuel cell technology. With the unveiling of GM’s new hydrogen-powered Hy-wire, Rifkin promotes the fiberglass-framed car as “the beginning of the end of the internal combustion engine and the shift from an oil-based civilization to a hydrogen age”.

Rifkin declares: “The sun is setting on the great fossil-fuel culture that began with the harnessing of coal and steam power more than 200 years ago.”

It doesn’t take a Nobel Prize winner to poke holes in Rifkin’s proclamation, just a first-year course in chemistry and some common sense. Today, there are two primary methods for producing the hydrogen necessary to fuel the Hy-wire: electrolysis and catalytic reforming.

Electrolysis requires passing a strong electric current through water, which then breaks down into hydrogen and oxygen. However, the energy required for commercial-scale electrolysis is only available through the inefficient burning of fossil fuels or hydroelectric and nuclear power. Catalytic reforming works through a series of chemical reactions and is more energy efficient, but requires a hydrogen source other than water. The source of hydrogen, you ask? Fossil fuels.

Rifkin also doesn’t seem to realize that petrochemicals are an essential ingredient in manufacturing fiberglass, a composite of plastics derived from hydrocarbons and silicon. If anything, wide-scale adaptation of hydrogen fuel technology would further promote the use of fossil fuels, both as a source of energy and raw materials.

Al Gore would be proud. After all, he invented hydrogen fuel cell technology.

Monday, September 23, 2002

look who's talking - russell has been testing out his vocal cords lately. just this weekend, he seems to have discovered shouting. he's not just crying loudly, but screaming for attention from his parents. he usually shouts when he's left alone or when he wants to play. he saves crying for when he's tired or hungry. i think he'll be forming words soon. naturally, i've been trying to get him to say 'da da' or 'ba ba'--the latter is chinese for 'father'.

about ten days ago, russell turned three months old. he's changed quite a bit from his more youthful days. time has passed so quickly. you can check out his latest pictures here.

Sunday, September 22, 2002

i am the donut king, i can do anything - william rosenberg, the founder of the dunkin' donuts chain and food franchising pioneer, has died at age 86. i love reading or hearing stories involving ordinary people who start their own businesses and end up succeeding big time. the actions of entrepreneurs like rosenberg stand in contrast to the turds that today run most of america's corporations. i've run across these risk-adverse, back-stabbing, money-grubbing weasels at salomon brothers, at&t and now wells fargo, and i can't take it any more.

here are william rosenberg's keys to success...
1. You seek out the best people.
2. You compensate them the best.
3. You share your profits and equity with them.
4. You treat them with respect.
5. You share your goals and strategies with them. Create a family atmosphere, a sense of belonging, and give recognition for accomplishments.
6. You make certain your credibility is unquestionable.
7. You set the highest possible standards.
8. You enthusiastically instill in them your passion to achieve excellence in all your combined endeavors.
9. You give the responsibility and authority to achieve.
10.You periodically check and follow through that your standards and philosophies are adhered to.

it sounds amazingly simple, doesn't it? well, my managers at wells fargo failed with numbers 4 through 10.

Saturday, September 21, 2002

i know what you did last summer - here's just another example of how liberals are sowing the seeds for the destruction of the united states. defense lawyers for the 'buffalo six', the arab-americans believed to be part of an al-qaeda sleeper cell located in upstate ny, are arguing that their attendance at an afghan terrorist training camp sponsored by osama bin laden does not constitute a crime or intent to commit terrorist acts. aided by civil liberties lawyers, the defense may argue that joining the terrorist al-qaeda group is a form of political expression protected by the first amendment. two of the six defendants admit that they were at bin laden's camps, but claim they were duped into attending them.

the fact that none of the defendants reported their 'summer camp' experiences to us government authorities, and appear to have been recently passing coded e-mail messages to contacts in the middle east is disturbing enough. what makes me shudder is that all of the five terrorist suspects in custody were born in the united states and are registered democrats.

is there any doubt that these mohammed atta-wannabees all voted for al gore and hillary clinton?

Thursday, September 19, 2002

a day in the life - russell is now three months old. he is an enormous baby. at his doctor's check-up yesterday, he weighed 17 pounds (7.5 kg) and measured 26 inches long (66 cm). the circumference of his head grew 2.5 cm in only one month. he's in the 95th percentile in height and weight for his age. i think its the mother's milk that's making him grow so quickly.

jenny plans to feed him breast milk until he is 6 months old. since she's returning to work in exactly one month, that means she'll have to pump milk at the office for at least 2 months. i feel badly that she has to work full-time, which she must do since i quit my job at wells fargo. i'd much rather have her work part-time and spend more time with the baby. hopefully, i'll be able to find work quickly, allowing jenny to perform her motherly duties.

until then, we'll be cutting back on expenses by eating out less, staying at home and delaying the upgrades on the house. i'll also be using this iraqi computer until it dies, so don't expect to see me type any capital letters for some time.

Wednesday, September 18, 2002

role model - every now and then, our local paper--the san francisco chronicle--gets it right and publishes a human interest story that is both interesting and inclusive. i was happy to see that the author of the ground-breaking book 'flower drum song' is alive and well, and living in california. 'flower drum song', a story about san francisco's chinese-americans, was eventually turned into a broadway musical and movie by rodgers and hammerstein. it was the first hollywood film that featured an all-asian cast. i'm not even going to complain about the fact that the movie's three stars were japanese (james shigeta), korean (jack soo) and half-chinese/half-english (nancy kwan).

as a child, i remember seeing this movie on television and being amazed that asians were allowed to act like white americans. i also noticed that several of my parents' friends had copies of the film's soundtrack at home. i guess it was our version of 'oklahoma' or 'west side story'. for at least one movie, we had made it into mainstream of american culture and society. sure it was cheesy, but at least we weren't being portrayed as opium addicts, prostitutes or mystical figures.

'flower drum song' is getting an update by playwright david henry hwang, and will be opening once again on broadway. support asian-american actors and actresses. go see 'flower drum song'.

Monday, September 16, 2002

the write stuff - i have decided to concentrate on writing during my break from work. in addition to blogging, i'll be writing longer pieces that i'll try to get published. this may sound surprising to many of my friends and family, but i have always wanted to break the stereotype of the asian computer nerd/engineering major.

for all of my life, i've felt like i've been pigeonholed into certain roles that society has assigned for people like me. take for example my database group at wells fargo, which is 90 percent asian (chinese and indian) but has only been led by white men. never once did they even think of promoting someone from within the group. staying at wells fargo would be nothing but a dead end.

my first project will be chronicling the recent history of the chen family of shaoshing. now that i have my son russell, it's very important for me to know that he's familiar with the background of his parents and grandparents. only yesterday, my cousin zong-feng from beijing e-mailed me a photograph of my grandfather who i had never seen before. there's a story here that needs to be told.

It's Better To Be Safe Than Sorry - In the four years since United Nations weapons inspectors were kicked out of Iraq, the Iraqi nuclear weapons program has reconstituted itself and is now on the verge of producing nuclear weapons within months. To complicate matters further, Saddam's nuclear assembly line is concealed in underground buildings and basements that are virtually impossible to detect using conventional means.

Are these the rantings of the hawkish Bush Administration? No, they're the conclusion of Dr. Khidir Hamza, the director of Iraq's nuclear weapons program before he defected in 1994. Dr. Hamza has already testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee with his information, so the cries of
Where's the evidence?" coming from several key Senate DemonRATS is disconcerting. What will it take for these modern-day Neville Chamberlains to come to their senses? Perhaps a hundred thousand dead Americans.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

time to make the donuts - i saw an article in the wall street journal about investors pulling money out of the stock market and investing in...restaurants and food franchises. betting on america's growing appetite for gluttony seems like a sure thing. as a high-and-mighty engineering student, i used to laugh at my classmates at cornell who were majoring in hotel and restaurant management. but with my career in shambles and unemployment looming, working for or perhaps even owning a food franchise doesn't sound so bad.

could a krispy kreme be in my future?

Tuesday, September 10, 2002

it's a mad, mad, mad, mad world - today, i handed in my resignation from wells fargo to my new manager, john. he is but one in a long line of psychotic bosses for whom I’ve had the displeasure of working over the past fifteen years. with one exception (that’s you, sheridan) they’ve all been white men who seem to be victims of demonic possession. it’s in the eyes—all of them have eyes that look bugged out, like they’re under the control of the evil one.

at a meeting this morning to discuss personnel issues, I surprised him by asking him why I hadn’t been considered for the new data warehousing manager position. caught off guard, he muttered something about not knowing me well enough to feel confident about placing me in such an important position. translation: I’ve already decided to hire someone else before meeting you, fool.

next, I asked him what were the qualifications for the data warehousing position, and what disqualified me from consideration. I elicited more rambling from john, this time about how I might not have the political suaveness to be successful for this job. translation: you’re not white, you stupid coolie.

finally, I asked him if he had spoken to anyone about my performance, including my ex-psycho boss gary (who hates me because I make him look dumb) and my current database clients. he admitted that he had not spoken to gary about my performance, but he had solicited and received lukewarm feedback from several of my clients. translation: of course I spoke to your manager gary, who bad-mouthed you to no end, and i didn't bother speaking with anyone else.

armed with this information and the support of jenny—we had decided last night that I would resign if they didn’t offer me the new position—I turned in my resignation to john on the spot. he asked me if I was giving him an ultimatum to offer me the data warehousing job. I told him ‘no’. translation: fuck you, fat boy.

beginning in october, I’ll be a stay-at-home dad when jenny goes back to work. I’m in no rush to find a job. I’d like to take time out to reassess my future in corporate america, and to watch my little boy russell grow up.

in the meantime, our hero russell seemed pleased by the turn of events, as you can see here.

Monday, September 09, 2002

To the Soldiers of the War on Terrorism - One year ago, three thousand Americans were murdered by terrorists in New York and Washington D.C. If you leave a terrorist alive, the terrorist will hang an American or shoot the innocent. From now on the word terrorist will trigger our rifles. We shall not speak any more. We shall not get excited. We shall kill.

Do not count days; do not count miles. Count only the number of terrorists you have killed. Kill the terrorists--this is your mother's prayer. Kill the terrorists--this is what the victims of September 11th beseech you to do. Kill the terrorists--this is the cry of your fellow Americans. Do not waver. Do not let up. Kill.

Sunday, September 08, 2002

It's Deja Vu All Over Again - In a display of black farce, Amnesty International has recently petitioned to have Taliban and al-Qaida suspects being held at the Guantanamo Bay Naval base in Cuba immediately charged and tried, or released from captivity. In addition, the human rights organization is seeking to have the terrorist suspects given Prisoner of War status as defined by the Geneva Convention.

The London-based group [Amnesty International] said the prisoners, incarcerated at the Guantanamo Bay base for several months since being captured in Afghanistan, are in "legal limbo," a serious breach of their human rights.

History tends to repeat itself, as I am finding out by reading Antony Beevor's excellent book, The Fall of Berlin 1945—it’s the follow-up to his Stalingrad book I reviewed earlier. What I find fascinating about the Soviet conquest of Berlin is that a large number of city's defenders were foreign volunteers in the Waffen-SS, the military arm of Heinrich Himmler’s dreaded SS. In fact, over 300,000 non-Germans were members of the Waffen-SS during the Second World War, including five Americans! . Is this starting to sound familiar? Let me give you a hint: John Walker Lindh, also known as Taliban John.

After the surrender of German forces in May 1945, the Allies took as prisoners over 200,000 foreign volunteers of the Waffen-SS. Most of them were captured by the Soviet Red Army, and were sent to Siberia where they were never heard from again. For the ‘lucky ones’ captured by the Western Allies, they were held until 1948 or 1949 without gaining Prisoner of War status or being charged with specific crimes. American and British authorities took their time to interview every prisoner to screen for war crimes suspects and die-hard Nazis. Eventually, most of the prisoners were sent back to their native countries, where almost all were executed or served long prison terms for treason and war crimes.

My question to Amnesty International and other so-called ‘human rights activists’ (such as the ACLU) is simple: Would you have recommended the release of Waffen-SS prisoners at the conclusion of the Second World War, tried them in civilian courts and given them Prisoner of War status? Uh huh...

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Russell's Athletic - I spent the weekend getting to know my son Russell a bit better. He likes to sit in his bouncy chair and kick my stomach like a punching bag (left-right, left-right, left-right...). He also enjoys being carried around the house. Several times a day, I take him to all the rooms in the house, stopping in front of every mirror so he can see himself. When he sees his image in the mirror, he laughs and then buries his head in my chest. Whenever he cries, I first try to calm him with a pacifier. If that doesn't work, then I sing 'Old MacDonald Had a Farm' to him. That works almost every time.

You can see the latest photos of Russell's smiling face here. I'm running out of disk space on my home computer to store digital images!