Sunday, November 30, 2008
Friday, November 28, 2008
~ John Walter Wayland ~
Class to me represents a level of dignity. As I have observed, dignity is a scarce commodity nowadays. I mean you find yourself either in the company of street punks, corporate wolves or political asses. Neither is a paradigm fitting of class.
Now there is a reason why women love bad boys. Bad boys are rushes of adrenaline, bursts of spontaneity and surprises or just plainly they make you feel alive. Gentlemen bestow upon others respect and courtesy, but leave you feeling nothing more than a little flattered. Yet after runs and runs of bad boys, after the adrenaline runs dry and all that is left is your broken heart, you will begin to yearn for that little respect that all humans deserve. By this time, you find that good men are few and usually taken. You cry a river and curse their death, but it is all too little too late.
Good men finish last. This is no longer just a saying, this is a fact. As men realize that they are losing out to be kind, sweet and loving, many deflect to the dark side. The few that are remaining either do not have what it takes to be bad to the bone or still possess inherent self-worth and pride. This means that it is either a since of weakness or seeking a person bearing similar values.
Forgive me if I am singing a little self praise. I will admit I have done my share of regrettable mistakes in my limited relationships which I constantly wish I can do over. Many a times, I still let my desires take the better of me only to recover in the nick of time. If I am a gentleman, I am by no means a typical one; I have forgone on many of the superficial manners which would otherwise make me hypocritical. In other words, I try to show respect not necessarily in traditional ways. Some may disapprove of my standards but who ever said respect is one thing and not another? Regardless, I am content to carry myself with a certain self respect and confidence which I hope I can transcend upon others. If all else fails, my conscience is still there to keep me in line. Maybe, that is enough to consider myself as a gentleman.
- Ladies are not ‘air heads’. They are ‘reality impaired’.
- Ladies are not ‘bad cooks’. They are ‘microwave compatible’.
- Ladies are not ‘bleached blondes’. They are ‘peroxide dependent’.
- Ladies are not ‘cold or frigid’. They are ‘thermally inaccessible’.
- Ladies are not ‘conceited’. They are ‘intimately aware of her best qualities’.
- Ladies are not ‘dumb’. They are a ‘detour off the information superhighway’.
- Ladies are not ‘too skinny’. They are ‘skeletally prominent’.
- Ladies do not ‘gain weight’. They are ‘metabolic underachievers’.
- Ladies do not ‘go shopping’. They are ‘mall fluent’.
- Ladies do not ‘hate televised sports’. They are ‘athletically ignorant’.
- Ladies do not ‘have a mustache’. They are ‘in touch with their masculine side’.
- Ladies do not ‘nag you’. They become ‘verbally repetitive’.
- Ladies do not ‘tease or flirt’. They engage in ‘artificial stimulation’.
- Ladies do not ‘wear too much makeup’. They have reached ‘cosmetic saturation’.
- Ladies do not ‘wear too much perfume’. They commit ‘fragrance abuse’.
- Ladies do not get ‘drunk or tipsy’. They get ‘chemically inconvenienced’.
- Ladies do not get ‘fat or chubby’. They achieve ‘maximum density’.
- Ladies do not want to be ‘married’. They want to lock you in ‘domestic incarceration’.
- Ladies do not wear ‘too much jewelry’. They are ‘metallically overburdened’.
- Ladies have not ‘been around’. They are ‘previously enjoyed companions’.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
The city is bright as always, but surprisingly quiet. Sometimes cars roar by, blinding me with hazes of lights. A second later, all is quiet. Again.
The night likes hide and seek. More hiding than seeking. I like the night as it offers solace for the real me.
The night is cold, leaving loneliness bare and awake. And it is brave to look solitude in the eye and appreciate what it brings. Sometimes it will feel scarily unreal, but the real you thrives in the night. I learn the most about the real me at the darkest hours of the night.
Everything between the sunset and sunrise lulls me to a serene clarity of mind. It awakens hidden senses, amplifies intuition and induces thinking. Most of all, it leaves plenty of room for reminiscence. It is when the old me and new me lives in harmony. It is when the roads I have walked and yet to walk converge. It is when my mistakes know that they were wrong and move on. It is when I find courage while drowned in fear.
The night never sleeps. Neither do I.
- Circuit City (filed Chapter 11)
- Ann Taylor- 117 stores nationwide closing
- Lane Bryant, Fashion Bug ,and Catherine's to close 150 stores
- Eddie Bauer to close stores 27 stores and more after January
- Cache will close all stores
- Talbots closing down specialty stores
- J. Jill closing all stores (owned by Talbots)
- Pacific Sunwear (also owned by Talbots)
- GAP closing 85 stores
- Footlocker closing 140 stores more to close after January
- Wickes Furniture closing down
- Levitz closing down remaining stores
- Bombay closing remaining stores
- Zales closing down 82 stores and 105 after January
- Whitehall closing all stores
- Piercing Pagoda closing all stores
- Disney closing 98 stores and will close more after January.
- Home Depot closing 15 stores 1 in NJ ( New Brunswick)
- Macys to close 9 stores after January
- Linens and Things closing all stores
- Movie Galley Closing all stores
- Pep Boys Closing 33 stores
- Sprint/Nextel closing 133 stores
- JC Penney closing a number of stores after January
- Et han Allen closing down 12 stores.
- Wilson Leather closing down all stores
- Sharper Image closing down all stores
- K B Toys closing 356 stores
- Loews to close down some stores
- Dillard's to close some stores
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
What can we do about all these RE inventories? They definitely are not conducive to a healthy real estate market. First we have to acknowledge that inventory is always a lagging indicator which means that it does not react immediately to the crunch of demand. By the time inventories start to become a problem, demand is almost completely dried up. Now, without a balance in demand and supply, there is simply no sensible way to stabilize the RE market let alone move towards recovery.
When talking about balancing demand and supply, the key lies in pricing. By pricing, I am referring to the value in which they can realistically sell for. Take British Columbia for example. 8% completed sales of the listed is hardly indicative of what is the price that balances demand and supply. As discussed above, demand is basically dead leaving the increasing supply undigested. If you think things are bad now, just ponder over the following
B.C. (or more specifically Vancouver) is heavily tilted to small companies and branch offices. Smaller companies also operate with tighter margins so when the going gets tough they cut jobs faster than big companies. Also, when big companies cut, it usually target their branches and secondary employees first. Certainly bad news for Vancouver, even if there aren't as many high profile layoffs as Ontario.
With increasing joblessness, there will be even less demand. Also, there will be an increase numbers of loan delinquencies both commercial and personal, which means that there will be an increase in foreclosures. No matter how the Canadian government chooses not to acknowledge this fact, this result becomes more inevitable with each day.
Somehow I find what's happening to Vancouver now a good thing. Money should go to R&D and other industries beside real estate. Vancouver for the past 3-4 years felt like Hong Kong before the 97 financial crisis: so much money, so many expensive cars on the road, city filled with a false notion of easy money and a severe lack of investments in infrastructure for the economy's future growth. This downturn is a bubble popped, for the collective good of the economy, the people and serious idea/innovation driven economy.
So at the end of the day, what can we take away from this experience? I know I have learned to be thankful that I am residing in Canada. I have also gained a new found respect for the conservative approach my dad has always preached.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
In the short term, the latest effort(a multi-million dollar backstop) to steady Citigroup has removed the risk that a sudden failure of the giant bank would send losses cascading through the financial industry.
But longer term, the new bailout could haunt regulators and taxpayers. The move ultimately may encourage banks to take more risks in the belief that the government will step in if they run into trouble.
To: Customers of Citibank Singapore Limited
In light of the recent and unprecedented volatility in the world's financial markets, I am writing to update you on Citi's continuing financial strength and our commitment to serve all of your financial needs.
Much has happened during the last year as the global financial crisis has unfolded. At Citi, we took decisive and early action to prepare ourselves to weather these tough times through significantly strengthening our capital and liquidity positions. Governments around the world have also responded to the financial crisis by providing explicit support to the banking systems. So you should rest assured that your deposits are safe with us.
- Deposit Guarantee: In Singapore, the Government has announced that individual and corporate customers of licensed banks, including Citibank Singapore Limited and Citibank NA, Singapore branch, will enjoy protection of the full amount of their eligible deposits.
- Our Capital: At Citi, while we have taken significant asset write-downs, we have also increased our capital by US$85 billion. Taking this into account, Citi's Tier 1 pro forma capital adequacy ratio is approximately 10.4%, which not only exceeds regulatory requirements but also makes us one of the most well capitalized banks in the world.
- Our Liquidity: Citi has a unique and diversified universal bank model with over 200 million customer accounts in over 100 countries, which gives us strong and stable operating income, US$780 billion in deposits, unparalleled access to funding, and, as a result, extraordinary levels of liquidity. In addition, like other banks in the United States, we have access to lines of liquidity through the U.S. Federal Reserve.
- Our Balance Sheet and Ratings: Citi's balance sheet is in excess of US$2 trillion, and our credit rating is among the highest in the world for a financial institution or otherwise.
Citi has an almost 200 year history of leadership throughout the world, and we have been serving customers in Asia for over 100 years. We look forward to serving you in the years to come.
Driving your success is what drives us. That's why Citi never sleeps.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
TOS2 is out barely a week and has been getting thumbsup all over the place. This is what I would consider a successful sequel.
There is a new monster system in place which will certainly keep players occupied trying to get their favourite pets to evolve to their most powerful forms. The pet monster system is very popular in recent games, so I find.
There are also very hilarious and interesting dialogues along the journey which help explain a lot of the histories and relationships with a few jokes here and there.
Adding the "Free Roaming" concept from Vesperia and Abyss nicely augments the already enjoyable, mash-happy combat system, and simplifying the multicharacter Unison Attacks will surely appeal to Chrono Trigger fans. However, I find it difficult at times because the target lock basically controls your character's movement directions.
TOS2 is not difficult but definitely offers many hours of fun. After completion of the game, there is the grade shop which will allow you to buy special upgrades with the grade points you accumulated through the game for your repeat. Trust me, you will want to repeat the game.
Since Wii is not particularly known for their RPGs, TOS2 is actually a Godsend probably only topped by Zelda. The hefty price tag however may be a damper for some. But I do not believe there have been any complaints that it is not worth every cent.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
I never liked wearing a watch. Counting the seconds is as excruciating as strolling on fire or dancing on broken glass. Hardly anything is worth that pain. But today, I am wearing a watch.
5:06PM. 9 more minutes to go. My eyes are drawn to the diamond glitter flickering through the haze. I lay on the golden sands, take up a handful and feel them tickle through my fingers. Breathing. The salty air is heavy and refreshing. The cool wind sweeps by and caresses me softly. I close my eyes and let the serenity in.
5:10PM. My eyes open. Sitting up. From my bag, I take out my worn-out diary and flip to the last entry.
November 20th 2008
The minds of men hold dark corners, in which lurk our inner most obsessions, phobias and unutterable desires. These corners of our ego are cloaked from the ones we love lest they unearth facets beyond their conception. Indeed, we fear to probe deep within ourselves, afraid to find what skulks in these devil’s alcoves to be outside even our own reason.
They seep their poison into consciousness and constantly cry for satisfaction. Some find the strength to keep them in abeyance, below the surface, masked from all. Some will choose to be free of this burden by their own means.
Tomorrow I will find my grave. I will go to it not with fear of death itself but of what my mind will glimpse in the last moments of life.
I have witnessed great good but even more of great evil, all by great men. In the end, the evils corrupted my soul, infested and left it rotting. Deep inside, I know my life leaves regrets. Regrets feed on you, eating away till that moment when there is nothing left. This is my ever persisting losing streak. They will not go, the evil and the regrets, till I end this. Tomorrow, that moment will come.
Tomorrow, I will bury all my secrets and regrets. The concourse of my actions have left irreparable repercussions, damaged many and destroyed many lives. Nothing I can do can make it right. But tomorrow, I can stop it once and for all.
My final words as I will speak no more tomorrow.
“I am sorry. For everything.”
5:15PM. Book closed. I bury it in the sands. Standing up. I look at the raging waves welcoming me. A smile breaks out as I go and embrace their welcome.
“Today at 6:45PM, a body has been found in the Marina Bay. The body was washed up to shore by the waves and discovered by a passerby. The body has been identified as Peter Walker. Walker has been seeing the headlines lately following police investigations suspecting him of being involved in a number of missing person cases. However, the police lacked sufficient evidence for prosecution.
After a sweep of the area, the police has recovered a diary believed to belong to Walker. When asked about the diary’s contents, the police has refused to comment.
The police has ruled Walker’s death as suicide with no cause for suspicion otherwise and his diary has been entered into evidence.
If you are looking for statistics in RE of Greater Vancouver, REALTYLINK is a good site to check out. I personally was quite intrigued with their listed vs sold graphs of detached, attached and apartments (click here).
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Teases aplenty but fool me not.
The pantomime of signs and glances speaks to this heart.
Bewitched by your smile of sweetness and eyes of spark.
One touch from you, my skin does tingle.
Hand in hand, we wake.
Morning after morning, flamingos and butterflies
dance and sing, low and high,
of a rebirth of hope of a beginning.
Hand in hand, we sleep.
Night after night, my mind can't rest, my heart won't slumber.
They fly to you in hope to keep
you sleeping safe and dreaming tight.
Hand in hand we walk.
In the shadows where the heart knows not
the rhetoric of words or the taste of bliss.
Together. Step by step.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Everyone knows that there is a pileload of foreclosures and building up. Of course, the key is to pick the right property at the right time. And in the end, it still comes back to the US as the place with the highest potential for rebounding following a few criterias.
- Focus on the Metropolitan cities which has high population growth and community development.
- Need to have foreseeable future projects or growth of major local industries.
- GDP must be high indicating high productivity and networking.
Timing is important, some areas in US like Texas has not seen a rise in real estate for over 10 years. Timing is also tricky and very hard to catch. Perhaps if you are the safe type, you would be wise not to be the first in the water but learn to catch the wave as big players move in.
If you are looking for foreclosures in the US, ALL-FORECLOSURES is one of the more comprehensive search and resource site.
The same goes with stocks. You have to learn to play smart. A few stocks that were brought to my attention lately possess new technologies fulfilling our future needs thus they possess the potential to be profitable.
- Emergent BioSolutions (EBS) - They make an anthrax vaccine and have a pipeline of other drugs with potential. Their biggest customer is the government. Stock is hitting 52-week highs even as the market craters. 30% revenue growth y/y.
- Aecom Technology (ACM) - Company provides support for major infrastructure projects. Again, their major customer is the government. Stock price is 25% higher than October lows. 20% revenue growth y/y.
- Insituform Technologies (INSU) - This company has a proprietary trenching system for replacing or upgrading underground pipe systems. Stock is nearly 50% higher than it's Oct low. Constant revenue growth.
- Telecom Sao Paolo (TSP) - Operates land-line telephone, television and internet services in Brazil. Stock is 30% higher than October lows. Constant revenue growth. Pays a 12% dividend.
- IShares MSCI Chile ETF (ECH) - Chile is probably the best performing emerging market over the last few weeks and is still 30% higher than it's October lows. It also fell less from it's highs earlier in the year, demonstrating a stronger economy. If (big if) I were to make a bet on an emerging market recovery, Chile would be the first place I look.
The first rule of picking good stocks are looking at the fundamental networth of the company and its products.
Shrek said, 'I have always thought that I'm the strongest man in the world, but how can I be sure?'
Bill Gates said, 'I'm pretty sure I'm the wealthiest man alive but I've never had it confirmed.'
Angelina Jolie agreed. 'I'm told I'm the most gorgeous of them all, but sometimes I wonder.'
They all decided that the best way to find out if their beliefs were true, was to ask the famed talking "mirror, mirror on the wall" to confirm for them whether Shrek was the strongest, Bill is the wealthiest and Angelina was the most gorgeous.
They agreed to meet again the next day for lunch to discuss their findings.
The next day Shrek walked up with a smile. 'Well, it's true. The mirror told me that I am the strongest man in the world.'
Angelina said for sure she was the most gorgeous.
Bill Gates came in and asked,
"Who the fuck is Chen Sui-Bien?"
Sunday, November 16, 2008
in the overprotective parents’ arms.
He uses every cry, being implacable
until he gets what he wants.
Do not be deceived
by that adorable smile,
behind which hides
an annoying child.
Kicking and screaming,
night and day.
Stealing your sleep
and eating your pay.
After endless feeding and playing,
you think he can rest,
he kindly sends a stinky reminder
to clean up his mess.
It is not easy to be a baby.
Parents, you need to understand.
A thousand worries and hundred aches
are nothing compared when he becomes a man.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Like a garden of wild roses
our silly leaves entwine with unabashedness
revealing in the newness of a provocative mystery.
And like an uncharted country, your crimson petals
journey my long stems, kissing my thorns
until they soften from tender awakenings.
The breath of summer whispers its consent
as with trembling fingers, you leave a cold
invisible handprint drawing the petals
of my heart.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
You know. If you can't a better use for your money, I am sure I can help........
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
- GREATER VANCOUVER (Active - 7970 Sold - 708)
- Vancouver West (Active - 971 Sold -68)
- Vancouver East (Active - 950 Sold -106)
- Richmond (Active - 928 Sold - 70)
- West Vancouver (Active - 546 Sold -30)
- North Vancouver (Active - 444 Sold - 116)
- Burnaby (Active - 661 Sold - 95)
Sunday, November 9, 2008
I just added Origen's Music Widget to the Blog and it works wonderfully. Although I connect with Jazz easily, lately I have found a new appreciation for classical music.
At the moment, I am learning a piano piece "A scene of La Seine" by Yuhki Kuramoto. It was a very special feeling when I first heard the song. I was instantly mesmerized and then slowly lulled into a dream. As I listened in my sweet slumber, I could hear its beautiful story. I almost smiled and almost cried. Words failed me. The music seeped into me and took me to what must be heaven.
Saturday, November 8, 2008
With the convenience of online movie sites lie surfthechannel, it has been several month since I have caught a movie in the cinema. There were a bunch of choices but I don't think I could have done better than "Changeling". If you like, there is one pretty good review I found at Cannes Review.
When I first arrived at the theater, it was filled with elderly couples which indicated more or less the kind of crowd that would better appreciate movies of this drama genre. Compared to all the other meaningless shallow good-for-a-laugh-but-nothing-else junks that flood the screens nowadays, this show is a masterpiece - well written, well directed and even Angelina Jolie haters will have to admit, a great performance.
First off, the movie is long. 141 minutes. But as with any good movies, you would not feel time dragging on instead, the experience draws you in. There is a reason why I do not want to let on too much with a review, instead I want to give the movie the praises it deserves. The bottom line is, I want you to watch it.
At the end, few left without their eyes red from the crying. Well, I was one of the few exceptions since I have a high threshold for touching moments. But, there is almost no words to describe how touched I felt from Angelina's character Christine Collins's unwaivering love for her son.
If there is one movie you watch this year, make it "Changeling".
Chirstine Collins: He's not my son.
Capt. J.J. Jones: Mrs. Collins.
Christine Collins: No, I don't know why he's saying that he is, but he's not Walter and there's been a mistake.
Capt. J.J. Jones: I thought we agreed to give him time to adjust.
Christine Collins: He's three inches shorter; I measured him on the chart.
Capt. J.J. Jones: Well, maybe your measurements are off. Look, I'm sure there's a reasonable explanation for all of this. Christine Collins: He's circumcised and Walter isn't.
Capt. J.J. Jones: Mrs. Collins, your son was missing for five months, for at least part of that time in the company of an unidentified drifter. Who knows what such a disturbed individual might have done. He could have had him circumcised. He could have...
Christine Collins: ...made him shorter?
Conair NE1152CS Trimmer (~$ 16.95)
This cordless, battery-operated unit features a powerful motorized trimmer that rotates at a high 10,000 RPMs to quickly and safely trim unwanted nose and ear hair with twin surgical-steel rotary blades. There's no grabbing or pulling, and the 5-position pivoting head allows for easy use on hard-to-reach or delicate areas. Soft grip handle with trimmer head that easily rinses clean under water.
Thursday, November 6, 2008
HP Officejet Pro L7590 All-in-One Printer ($146 - $365)
If you always wanted a color laser but didn't think you could justify the cost, now would be a good time to reconsider. Priced at just $200 (street), the Samsung CLP-315 takes color laser printing to a new level of affordability. (The same printer is available with Wi-Fi, as the CLP-315W, for $250.) The CLP-315 offers a lot of printer for the price, with reasonably good output quality in general and great-looking graphics in particular
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Some economists have questioned whether they can meet the original target of 30 million visitors amidst global economic gloom. However, seeing that the Dubai real estate prices have gone up instead of following the global downward trend suggests to me that their economy is strong and is capable of weathering the financial storm.
There has always been the debate whether Debai will be just an oasis in the sand considering that their GDP is much lower than their outstanding debts. Do they run the risk of going bankrupt? I certainly think so. Yet they have always been ahead of the crowd in being the best and the newest attraction putting the focus on their tourism industry. You have to admit that they are so smart, they will probably find a way to survive.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
Monday, November 3, 2008
Anyways, I thought some of you might enjoy the pumpkin craving art below. I won't post the pictures of the pumpkins we did that night 'cause....... they suck!!
That moment ended before it began
in a blink of an eye,
leaving my tears completely dry.
Now, I stand before this piece of art
admiring the mess I’ve made.
My knees are shaking, hands are dead.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Saturday, November 1, 2008
Do you know how frustrating it is to get all these junk mails of advertisements and fraud? Especially the fraud. If you are not careful, you can easily find yourself a victim of the increasingly common identity fraud.
After all, all they need is a name and possibly some basic information such as your date of birth or social insurance number to tap into a wide pool of resources which can potentially reveal even more information about you. They can find out your address from the yellow pages, run credit checks on you and even set up fake accounts using your personal information. In the end, they will leave your credit destroyed and a bunch of debts under your name. Are you afraid yet? You should be.
Unfortunately, one of the reason why these criminal acts are increasing in numbers is because of the slack punishments in place for offenders. Consider this, in Canada, you can walk into a bank with a gun and get a few hundred dollars. If you get caught, you will face 4 to 12 years imprisonment. Impersonate someone at the same bank, steal $100,000 and you will likely get away with it, but if you are apprehended, you will get a severe slap on the wrist. Can you honestly blame these new age criminals for making a mockery out of privacy laws and the justice system?
Now, there are many traps including fake ids, checks, bank drafts and currencies, but what can we do to avoid becoming a victim?
- NEVER give out your Social Insurance/Social Security #.
- NEVER disclose your credit card, check routing information or bank information
- NEVER believe that you have to pay to get winnings or get some benefits.
For websites, you can check where it is created and when at WHOISNET. You should also make it a point to confirm who you are talking to and the information you are given. Even when they have sent you checks or bank drafts, they could be clever imitations of the real and you could be committing a felony just by attempting to cash in.
Finally, though it is difficult to guard against scam artists, sometimes you can make it hard enough for them to back off in search of an easier target. So be careful and smart. Usually it is the ignorant or greedy that end up victims in these schemes.
And remember: "If it seems too good to be true...... it usually is."