Monday, December 27, 2010


I met this awesome guy at Banff, Alberta.  He used to work as companion of the blind.  But because he's super friendly,  he's been promoted as the Director of Pet Relations.  And so,  Marcus has his own post at the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise...

If he can make a difference, so can we

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I jumpstart a car with my hands!

A week ago, I was invited by a friend to watch a christmas singing tree show at  a local church.  Before that night, we went shopping in the morning. It was just me, my girlfriend and her little boy.  We used the old car that they just purchased.  It was a 19-something model ford mercury.  Since she's a novice driver, and her husband was at work that morning,  I was tasked to drive the car. 

First, I was hesistant because they told me that the car broke down one time while on the road and that they had to call BCAA (British Columbia Autmobile Association) to jumpstart their car.  Then later, they found out that the car's battery was old and weak.

That's the very reason why I was having second thoughts driving the car.  But since my friend assured me that she's a BCAA member as well, I finally gave-in and trust my technical ability to deal with it -  If and when it broke down on me.

So before leaving, I warmed-up the car for a few minutes. On start, I didn't have problem with the ignition.  The engine started at once. But when we were all settled down, buckled up and ready to go, the engine wouldn't start.  I tried, and tried four times, and still wouldn't start. We looked at each other. Then before I almost gave up, I instinctively jumped off the car and opened the hood.  I  was positive, it was the battery.

I clamped my fingers on the posts of the two terminals and tried winding it.  It looked tight and secure.  So I tried slightly tipping the battery off and clinching back to place (just imagining how my dad would do it in the same situation) After pretending that I knew what I was doing,  I went back the driver's seat, and re-started the engine.  Wah-lah!  It worked!  I was completely stunned. My friend was also amazed and said, she didn't have a clue whatever I did that make it work.  And for the whole morning we went shopping, the car was smooth running till we got to the show.

But later that night after the two-hour show, in the frigid parking spot, the car weaselled out on us again. Being successful with my first endeavor in the morning,  I did exactly the same thing, and once again, it worked.

I really don't know if it's just coincidence or real science.  But I'm puzzled myself.

So here's what I gathered:

"...When we scuff our shoes upon a rug on a dry winter day, our bodies typically charge up to a potential of several thousand volts with respect to the ground. In physics this is a well-known fact, and is easily verified by meter measurements. Touch a grounded object, and a spark will leap between the object and your fingertip. This kind of electric spark can only exist when a high voltage is present. The tiniest spark requires about 500 volts. Big, nasty, painful sparks require lots more voltage, up to several thousand volts. But even when no sparks are jumping, there is still a high voltage between your charged body and the ground, and your charged body is surrounded with an invisible electric field..." - http://amasci.com/emotor/voltmeas.html

An Amazing Fact

According to the scientists, in 15 per cent fat in a human body, it is possible to generate 11,000 watts of electricity per hour. In fact, different yielded energy levels are 81 watts from a sleeping person, 128 watts from a soldier standing at ease, 163 watts from a walking person, 407 watts from a briskly walking person, 1,048 watts from a long-distance runner, and 1,630 watts from a sprinter.  http://hubpages.com/hub/Generating-Electricity-From-Body-Heat

So next time your car battery dies down on you, try using your hands to jumpstart...But scuff your shoes first on a rug.  Who knows?

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas cards: E or P

I know December is the busiest season of the year for everyone. Apparently for me, it's the most engulfing moments at work. Because besides my usual tons of to-do things, I have this big project to complete for the holidays --- the christmas cards and annual calendars. I'm not talking about just 50 christmas cards to send out here, but normally 250-300 pieces of cards and 100-200 calendars. And all these have to go out before the third week of December.

I've been doing this for the past 4 years, so working on this project should just be a walk in the
park for me. But for some reasons, I find this particular task always exasperating when the the holiday season steps in. So I'm glad that the management have decided to make changes in the christmas-card giving this year...From the traditional christmas cards, we're now switching to E-cards. I'm so relieved.

Looking for the right media wasn't difficult to do. It took me only about 3 weeks, including the waiting time, to find one and had it approved by our president. And I did it all online without the hustle of tucking in envelopes...So when I showed the finish product for everyone to see, their reaction was, "E-card??"...I don't know what that means. But it seems to me, they are surprise.

And why not E-card? Technologies change overnight. Just the 10" HP netbook model I've purchased a couple of months ago is now off the shelf, and for sure, that model will find its way to archives by next year. So the decision to switch to e-card shouldn't be a surprise to everyone, but rather, it's an expected transformation in line to this quick-changing time. Besides, I'm glad we've saved 75% cost of the traditional christmas cards, which I'm hoping will go to our bonuses this year instead. And most important benefit to me is that my work load has been reduced to almost half for the holiday season. Leaving me stress-free and pleasant-looking for the coming holidays.

So just as I'm excited to send the e-card next week with the click of the mouse, I've learned from my co-worker that my bosses are reluctant to send e-cards to our overseas Koreans and Japanese contacts. The reason for this, as relayed to me, is they won't be appreciated.

How ironic. Why wouldn't the e-cards be appreciated? It is a known fact across the globe that the Japanese and Koreans are the pioneer in advanced technologies we have today. They are the brain to the newest sony 3D television; the dynamic HD canon cameras; the most technologically advanced car--the Lexus? (according to answers.com); and other many modern gadgets and machines that I'm probably not aware of, or that we thought doesn't exist but are actually being used in their own backyards already. So why wouldn't they appreciate an e-card? Isn't this a by-product of their brilliant inventions?

Is the world torn between traditional and New technology? That sometimes people are getting confuse of who they are and what their choices would be, because there is a dilemma between the present and the past. And if they choose the one from the other, their life, work, belief and culture will be affected.

I wonder how many more people still consider themselves traditional. I know my parents are. But my dad (at age 66), if money is not an issue, will definitely grab the newest and most versatile vehicle out in the market. Me too, as much as I'm not very techy, is also indulging and drooling over the modern gadgets. And eventhough I have all the advanced gadgets I need, I'm still not contented. However, when it comes to other aspect of my life, I'm still strongly a traditionalist. I can't live without pen and paper.

The only people I know for sure who's still stuck in traditional ways are those living in the remote area of Asia and Africa. Those who doesn't have access to television or other media. As a matter of fact, even access to clean water is still a major concern that the modern world has left behind them. And digging water from the well with a bucket is probably their latest and only known technology so far. Their traditional life is merely predestined that they don't have a choice but to live with it. So, do you think they'll care if it's an e-card or paper card for christmas?

After what I heard, I told my co-worker that probably it would be good to go back to the traditional christmas cards next year if they have anxieties. I don't mind at all. But what bothers me is-- Why is it a big deal? E-cards or P-cards, it`s the sincerest gesture of passing-on good cheers for the christmas season that matters. So when they say it won`t be appreciated? I think they're missing the whole point.