Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Oct 31, 2012

Sir John Gurdon remembers his school report

Filed under: Teacher — admin @ 12:49 am

Only after Prof Sir John Gurdon won 2012 Nobel prize for his stem cell research did we learn of the comments that his science teacher gave him 64 years ago when Gurdon was 15 years old.

“I believe Gurdon has ideas about becoming a scientist; on his present showing this is quite ridiculous; if he can’t learn simple biological facts he would have no chance of doing the work of a specialist, and it would be a sheer waste of time, both on his part and of those who would have to teach him.” by Mr Gaddum in 1949.  He made this comment after he learned that Gurdon was interested in doing science and thought that he was “too stupid” for science at school.

At age 15, Gurdon was at the bottom among the 250 boys in his Eton year group in biology and nearly in every other science subject.

Upon learning of his award in London early October, he made public his school report which he has kept in a frame above his desk at the Gurdon Institute in Cambridge, the Institute being thus named in his honor.

Normally we show off our honor and reward instead of a negative comment like this. The guy must take it really hard each time he sees it and tries to prove the opposite is true. On the other hand, doesn’t it tell us something about the crucial role of the teacher in students’ lives? The world must be grateful that Gurdon had not listened to Mr Gaddum and gave up his passion.

1, Oct 30, 2012

Tyler Perry on his motivation, his mother and his father, part II

Filed under: Father,Mother — admin @ 12:47 am

Tyler Perry’s father was so abusive that Tyler once went so far as to consider suicide as a way to free himself from his abuse. Because of this experience, he hated his father all his life until he was in his 30s when he “started on the path of letting go.” Because he realized that “If you’re holding on to the anger and the pain of what someone has done to you, you are not hurting them at all, you are hurting yourself.”

“… the anger was the fuel, but what happens – and this is why a lot of people don’t want to let go of the anger… And once I forgave him, I was no longer angry. So I lost the motivation, and I lost the fuel.”

When Terry Gross asked “So, what’s it like for you to take care of him [his father] after he was so cruel to you?”

Tyler Perry said, “… first of all, I believe you honor your father and your mother, period, no matter what, no matter who they were, no matter what they did; …”

The money is an easy partWhat he doesn’t have with me, which I think is worth way more than money, is a relationship – a father-son relationship.”

Indeed, it is one thing that a child fulfills his filial duty to the aging parents; it is another when they have this genuine parent-child relationship — with open communications, loving care and respect for each other. No money can buy this parent-child relationship.

1, Oct 29, 2012

Tyler Perry on his motivation, his mother and his father, part I

Filed under: Father,Mother — admin @ 12:20 am

On 10/15/2012, while driving home, I listened to NPR program — Fresh Air’s Terry Gross interview with Tyler Perry, the screenwriter, director, producer and actor.

There are many excellent parts in the interview. One of them is the following, when Terry Gross asked him “When you started making money, … what were your dreams of what to do with your money? Was it to, you know, just, like, reinvest it into more of your work? Or were there, like, material possessions that you really wanted?”

Perry answered, “I had one dream and it was to – and when I was a kid I told my mother I would take care of her so she wouldn’t have to deal with my [abusive] father. And I didn’t know how much of a driving force that was until she died. That had been the burning fire in the pit of my soul for many, many years. And I never thought any amount was enough.

“I know it sounds really crazy but I was working so hard and didn’t realize it until the day she died when I had no motivation, no – nothing. Didn’t want to do anything. Didn’t want to get out of the bed. Nothing mattered, as far as work and success. So that was my motivational factor, just to be able to support and take care of her and give her the life that I felt that she deserved and should have always had.”
To be continued…

1, Oct 28, 2012

The effort to keep spirits up with the change of the season

Filed under: Life — admin @ 12:50 am

I cannot say I have not noticed that the days get shorter and the nights longer and the year is coming to the end. I noticed it when fall semester started, when I had to take a flash light during my morning walk, when I had to put on an extra layer of clothes.

The change of the season always reminds me of a poem on carousel, with words like round and round, ups and downs. When I was in college, long long ago, I understood that the poem refers to the change of the season, the year goes round and round with spring after winter, summer following spring, next being fall, the winter once again.

But for some reason, the poem always gives me a sad feeling. Perhaps I had sensed that seasons come and go, then back again, but not human life, not the youthful years when we were healthy and strong. Once the springtime of a human life is gone, it will never come back like natural season and we eventually advance to the winter phase of our lives which only leads to the end of all. Perhaps this association has made me sad.

This year I kept telling myself I should feel good if I can make each day a productive one, if I have not wasted each of the days in my life. That’s how I ward off the sad feelings associated with seasons.

1, Oct 27, 2012

Parent’s worst nightmare again and again

Filed under: Crime — admin @ 12:35 am

Not long ago we learned 10-year-old Jessica Ridgeway who disappeared on way to school in Westminster, Colorado was killed by 17-year-old Austin Reed Sigg.

Yesterday we learned another mother who was beyond herself when she found the murder of her two children, 2-year-old Leo Krim and 6-year-old Lucia.

The children were in the care of their nanny Yoselyn Ortega, 50, who was lying unconscious in the bathroom floor and is believed to have attempted suicide.

At this moment, we don’t know the detail and what really happened. But the loss of two young children is tragic enough to break the parents, Marina and Kevin Krim.

Now we have to think more than twice when we trust our children, our life to a nanny or someone we don’t really know well.

1, Oct 26, 2012

Dark Blood premiered 19 years after the death of the actor

Filed under: Human nature — admin @ 12:31 am

River Phoenix died when he was only 23 years old. He died in 1993 of drug overdose. His final film was thus finished with his sudden death.

I read this piece on 10/7/2012. From wikipedia “Phoenix died of an overdose of cocaine and heroin. During the early-morning hours of October 31, 1993, Phoenix collapsed outside and convulsed for over five minutes. When his brother Joaquin called 9-1-1, he was unable to determine whether Phoenix was breathing. Sister Rain Phoenix proceeded to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, to no avail.”

He was working on what history will record as his last film, Dark Blood. The movie finally premiered on 9/27/2012.

He was said to be a good person, having been involved in many humanitarian drives either for animal rights or for environmental protection. It is a tragedy that he left so young, leaving us a heavy lesson on drug abuse.

1, Oct 25, 2012

You know it’s a bad economy when…

Filed under: Economy — admin @ 1:02 am

Early this month I started reading Aftershock by David Wiedemer, his brother and Cindy Spitzer. Here are something interesting from the book.

“You know it’s a bad economy when…
1) Your bank returns your check marked as “insufficient funds” and you have to call them and ask if they meant you or them.

2) The most highly paid job is now jury service

3) People in Beverly Hills fire their nannies and are learning their children’s  names.

4) McDonalds is selling the quarter-ouncer.

5) Obama met with small business-GE, Chrysler, Citigroup, and GM–to discuss the stimulus package.

6) Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars are now trading at higher prices than GM’s stock.

7) You got a pre-declined credit card in the mail.

8) Your “reality check” bounced.

9) The stock market indexes have been renamed: the Dow is now the “Down-Jones” and  the S&P is the “Substandard & Very Poor.”

10) Webster’s is keeping its dictionary length constant by adding words that are commonly used, used as Twitter, tweet, and Facebook, and dropping those no longer needed, such as retirement, pensions, and Social Security.

1, Oct 24, 2012

Enjoy your life, keep it simple, get over the cliff…

Filed under: Life — admin @ 12:50 am

This is from a friend of mine, 10/10/2012. Love it. I know you would say “It’s easy to say, but difficult to act upon.” True, it all depends on your personality. No matter what happens to you, don’t get to the point when you want to jump from that height like this girl. Get it over.

1, Oct 23, 2012

College admission process, part II

Filed under: College — admin @ 1:11 am

It is so easy to become cynical about community service and other extracurricular activities. In that, people see the volunteer work as not really being voluntary, as doing it only for the purpose of getting into, going through the motions without real interests, of course no passion involved.

I have to say it takes certain level of maturity to adopt a positive attitude toward what you are doing. The bottom line is to be able to answer the question: what you want to do with your life and what kind of person you want to become.

First, a mature and responsible person would try to squeeze more value out of the time he/she throws in for the large schema that she has for her life. Whatever she gets involved in, gets 200 percent involved  instead of marginally involved.

Second, do what you are interested in and do it creatively. If say, you like to eat certain foods, try to create your own version of that food or think of a way to benefit others who might share your like.

Third, other than hitting books, you absolutely need to do something to enhance your ability, to explore and expand. These activities increase not only your  marketability but also your chance of being admitted. If you don’t start doing this in high school, you will have to make it up in  college. I have learned a couple of cases where students fail to make a living  upon graduation from top schools.

Finally, be a real good person, kind and unselfish. I bet that’s what you really are now. Don’t be afraid to show how good you are because that’s what everybody likes.


1, Oct 22, 2012

College admission process, part I

Filed under: College — admin @ 1:07 am

On 10/10/2012, I heard from NPR morning edition “Justices Return To Affirmative  Action In Higher Ed” by Nina Totenberg. There are some information on college admission process. The university normally combines two scores when considering admission.

The first is the Academic Index, based on grades and board scores. The second is the Personal Achievement Index, based on two independently graded essays plus six other factors: leadership potential, honors and awards, work experience, community service, extracurricular activities and special circumstances.

Only this last category, special circumstances, can include consideration of race or ethnicity, or, for that matter, economic circumstances, or whether the applicant comes from a home where English is not spoken.

The overall Personal Achievement Index score, a maximum of 6, is combined with the  Academic Index score, and then plotted on a graph. Based on the available number of seats, everyone above a certain combined score on the graph is admitted, and everyone below is rejected.

1, Oct 21, 2012

Graduation present to my friend, good old Confucius’ teaching

Filed under: Friend — admin @ 1:42 am

This is my attempt at translating Confucius teaching posted yesterday.

Confucius says “Isn’t it a great joy when you study and review what you study? Isn’t it a great joy when friends from afar come to see you? Am I not a gentleman when I don’t feel offended when others don’t understand me?”

Students should fulfill filial duty at home, exercise fraternal love outside home, be sincere and trustworthy, exercise benevolent love to all. Keep doing so and keep learning.

Zeng Zi said, “I do self-reflections three times a day: am I honest in dealing (or doing business) with people? Am I trustworthy among friends? Have I reviewed the teachings passed to me by my master?

Zi Gong asked Confucius, “When in poverty, I don’t behave servilely. When I am rich, I don’t behave arrogantly. How about this?” Confucius said, “That is good, but it is not as good as remaining cheerful in poverty and noble in wealth.”

1, Oct 20, 2012

A friend with two children and a full time job graduated from university

Filed under: Friend — admin @ 1:35 am

On 10/13, a friend of mine went out of town for her bachelor graduation ceremony. She graduated summa cum laude from the university. I am so proud and delighted for her as I think she has met a huge challenge in her life.

It is a challenge for her when she works full-time, being a single mom with two children. I sent her present, an imitation of ancient Chinese book, with the words of Confucius written on bamboo strips tied together with strings.

Of course, she loved it and asked me to translate it. Below is the original. I will post translation tomorrow.

1, Oct 19, 2012

Full of remorse and regret, A friend’s memory of his mother

Filed under: Mother — admin @ 12:14 am

On 10/12/2012, a friend of mine sent me a blog that he wrote to mark third anniversary of his mother’s departure. Below is what I sent to this friend of mine. Guilin is his wife.

I shared his writing with my children. “I got the message, mom.” I was thus told. I also sent the link to my sister’s son in Houston, Texas.

After reading this, I was struck not only by the sad remorse the writer expressed but also by the greatness of a motherly love his mother had shown to her son all the time. That love had remained unchanged, no matter how immature the son was. This is the same message that I mentioned here on 10/10 posting on Liang Jizhang’s letter to his son.

Many people fail to understand and appreciate this unselfish, unremitting and unconditional love that their parents have shone on them until late in their life or until it is too late. By the way, I feel a huge comfort when both of my children have understood now.

I like the response from another friend,

1, Oct 18, 2012

Character and personality assessment, part IV

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:10 am

Continued from yesterday’s assessment. They reveal so much of a person if he can answer truthfully. Don’t you find it interesting!

31. If somebody is really disagreeing with me in a discussion: (1) that is okay, because people will not respect you if you readily give in (2) in between  (3) I will sometimes give in just to avoid the unpleasantness that goes with confrontation

32. When something is very important and others don’t understand the significance of it, I: (1) get a little irritated  (2) in between (3) am not bothered

33. In discussions with friends about controversial issues, I try to: (1) keep the discussions calm and orderly (2) in between (3) let people know for certain where I stand

34. For the most part I am not happy with my level of performance at anything I do and am striving to perfect myself in all areas.  Agree/In between/Disagree

35. When someone asks me a direct question on an uncomfortable subject: (1) I tend to be vague and indirect (2) uncertain (3) I give a direct answer

36. I tend to lose my temper from time to time but I get over it easily. (1) I don’t flare up  (2) in between (3) agree

37. In regard to arguments: (1) there is nothing better than a good, forceful discussion (2) in between (3) I don’t like them and even when not involved I may try to change the subject

38. When people try to make me do something I disagree with, I:  (1) tend to get a little upset  (2) in between  (3) know that everyone has to do some things they disagree with and it does not bother me

39. It is better to stay out of battles you know you can’t win than to pitch in and lose even for a good cause.  A/I/D

40. If a task I am working on becomes especially difficult or time-consuming, I tend to become frustrated after a while. A/I/D

41. If I am in a theater or movie and some people sitting near me are talking and spoiling my enjoyment, I would typically: (1) get up and move to another place (2) say nothing but glare at them (3) tell them to be quiet

42. Some people talk and think so slowly that I find myself suggesting words for them or finishing their sentences. A/I/D

43. The idea of going into a cave, like Carlsbad Caverns or Mammoth Cave, I find: (1) nothing to worry about (2) uncertain (3) makes me a little uneasy

44. It is true to say of me: (1) the ability to take occasional diversions and breaks is important in order to plunge back into work with renewed vigor (2) in between (3)  the ability to say no to myself is an important part of any long-term success

45. When I get a bill in the mail that I know has been paid, I: (1) call or write and set it straight (2) uncertain (3) let it go, knowing that they will catch their error


1, Oct 17, 2012

Character and personality assessment, part III

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:07 am

Continued from yesterday’s assessment.

21. In regard to showing my affection to my family and relatives, I: (1) enjoy hugging and am demonstrative  (2) in between (3) am quite reserved

22. If given the chance to compete in a contest against my close friends, I would: (1)  relish the opportunity (2) uncertain (3) prefer to enjoy the company of my friends in a more relaxed atmosphere

23. On occasion, I need to unleash built-up energy. Agree/In between/Disagree

24. One of the problems of our time is that people do not pay enough attention to the tried and established rules and values of our society. A/I/D

25. I prefer to have a few intimate friends to many friends whom I could get to know less well.  A/I/D

26. When those close to me forget anniversaries, birthdays, and other special dates, I: (1) find that it does not bother me (2) in between (3) find that it annoys me a little bit

27. There are occasions when I have to insist that those about me be quiet so that I can get some work done. A/I/D

28. When faced with a bureaucratic organization, I tend to: (1) try to see what rules can be gotten around  (2) in between  (3) follow rules as closely as possible

29. When I am in a social group and feel that I am being ignored, I will do something to call attention to myself. A/I/D

30. When somebody criticizes me: (1) it makes me uncomfortable (2) in between  (3) it has little or no effect

1, Oct 16, 2012

Character and personality assessment, part II

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:04 am

Continued from yesterday’s assessment.

11. I enjoy joining organizations and activities where I get to know new and different people and have done so.  Agree/In between/Disagree

12. It would be fair to say that I am: (1) a fairly excitable person (2) in between (3) pretty calm and relaxed

13. One must always keep to a bargain even when it works out very badly for you.  A/I/D

14. Considering my social position, I: (1) entertain and visit with people more often than most others at the same level (2) in between (3) get together with others socially less often than most others at my level

15. When you have people working for you it is: (1) best to maintain a distance to keep from getting too involved  (2) in between (3) important to make them feel friendly toward you

16. Compared to people I work with, I find that I need to move about more. A/I/D

17. In regard to deadlines I have to meet: (1) I meet them as required and don’t like myself very much if I do not  (2) in between  (3) people don`t expect all deadlines to be met and it is okay if some things are a little late

18. When I am going somewhere on a bus or plane, I prefer to: (1) sit and talk with someone (2) in between (3) sit alone

19. It is fair to say that I: (1) sometimes enjoy an emergency or task where I must work against time  (2) in between  (3) need occasional diversions to relieve the stress of my work

20. I admire a guy who can gain the advantage, even if it means deviating from the rules. A/I/D

1, Oct 15, 2012

Character and personality assessment, part I

Filed under: Career — admin @ 1:00 am

On 10/6/2012, Saturday morning when my daughter went to take another SAT subject test at SME, a friend of mine came over asking us to help him fill an application for a HyVee job. After online submission, we were led to an assessment page. As I went through these questions, I realized they were to assess the personality and character of the applicants. It is very interesting. I am going to post them here today, tomorrow, and day after that.  You are supposed to choose one out of three possible answers.

1. I prefer work that allows me some mobility to that which requires that I remain in one place most of the day. Agree/In between/Disagree

2. It is more important to follow the laws and values of our society than it is to satisfy personal wants and needs.  A/I/D

3. It is fair to say that I am:  (1) quiet and reserved (2) in between (3) friendly and outgoing

4. When under stress at work, I (1) react to pressure only when it is intense (2) in between (3) tend to get irritated once in a while

5. Promises are made to be kept and nothing should interfere with making certain that they are carried out. A/I/D

6. When I apply myself to tasks, I (1) achieve by creative spontaneous bursts (2) in between (3) have self discipline and control

7. When working on a task, I find that I: (1) need to take periodic breaks to maintain ny concentration (2) in between (3) can fully apply myself for extended periods without interruption

8. In waiting rooms, such as the airport or doctor’s office, I find myself striking up a conversation with strangers. (1) almost never (2) sometimes (3) quite frequently

9. Any project worth doing is worth doing exactly right. A/I/D

10. My work habits are such that: (1) creative thought and action do not require order or planning (2) in between (3) my work space must be kept neat and tidy

1, Oct 14, 2012

Some basic good design concepts, part III

Filed under: Learning — admin @ 1:19 am

Here are some details on the four basic principles that I previously mentioned.

(1) contrast — mark out something as different from the rest by using larger font size, or a different color (black/white), or central location to create visual attraction.

(2) Repetition — repeat visual elements of the design, repeat color, shape, texture, spatial relationships. This helps develop the organization and strengthen unity within a group of similar data.

(3) Nothing should be placed on the page arbitrarily. Every element should have some visual connection with another element on the page. This creates a clean, sophisticated, organized look.

(4) Proximity — group related items together. Items relating to each other should be grouped close together. When several items are in close proximity to each other, they become one visual unit rather than several separate units. This helps organize information and reduced clutter.

1, Oct 13, 2012

Some basic good design concepts, part II

Filed under: Learning — admin @ 12:47 am

Here’s an example of a good contrast design on a business card, which allows the important information to stand out, attracting reader’s attention at the first glance. The important information basically answers the existential question: what is this?

This design presents the contrast of big versus small, center versus periphery. You can also use color contrast. Notice there is only one large size. The information in small size serves to further clarify the central information. You won’t have the same result if you have two large size.

Here’s the reason why I post this here. It shares some similarities to writing, especially short essay writing. You want to have only one central theme and everything serves this theme. Readers will be confused, not knowing what you are talking about if you play with several themes at once.

1, Oct 12, 2012

Some basic good design concepts, part I

Filed under: Learning — admin @ 12:35 am

On 10/2, after I had my annual physical check in the afternoon, I took up a book which I borrowed when I volunteered to be the editor for an oncology nurse newsletter.

It turned out I was not qualified because I was not a member of their chapter and would not have the insider news. But I cannot become a member because I am not a nurse. Well, forget it.

But I did grab a book on design — The non-designer’s design book. It beats the dummy book in its simple dumbness, fit perfectly people like me.

Here’s what I have learned from this book: the four basic principles of design: contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity. Told you it’s nice and simple.
More later…

1, Oct 11, 2012

The South Korean rapper Psy’s “Gangnam style”

Filed under: Human nature — admin @ 12:12 am

The South Korean rapper Psy repeatedly sings the words — “Gangnam Style.” His totally meaningless catchy tune even makes it to the top of the UK singles chart. Can you believe this! His famous horse-riding dance makes a global video phenomenon. I hear this Gangnam style tune in my house everyday, of course played by my daughter, much as I am against her following the crowd.

When this rapper is determined to make a total buffoon of himself in front of the whole world, I see equally ridiculous and seemingly unexplained thing happen. That is, his simplistic catchy tune can gather global momentum and even attract some celebrities to jump in the horse dance and even have the guts to show their vulgar taste on TV.

I have no doubt psychologists and sociologists will have a lot to say when they try to explain this gigantic simple stupidity spreading across the globe. For now, I think there must be something very primitive in human minds, when unguarded, that tends to follow any brainless catchy thing, even if there is zero meaning attached. Sometime, it is easier to gather forces when there is no meaning than there is. Maybe that’s how demagogue works. What can you say about this? Beat me.

1, Oct 10, 2012

The truly unselfish love in one’s life

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:10 am

Not long ago, I learned that my sister’s son was going to buy an ipad for his girlfriend using his hard-earned delivery money, his first paid job. I thought of Liang Jizhang’s note to his son, especially those underlined words. I feel unspeakably sad as young people today fail to understand that the only people who truly and unselfishly love them are their parents, who not only give their lives, raised them up, but also have sacrificed so much time and resources for their happiness. It is sad that these young people forget their parents when they get their first paycheck.

The Chinese saying “A man forgets his mother after he gets a wife” should change to “A man forgets his mother after he gets a girlfriend.”

For a long time, I cannot get over the sad feeling over it. I share with my children how I feel about this incident.

1, Oct 9, 2012

In donation, both quantity and persistence count

Filed under: Education,Money — admin @ 12:52 am

Since my son’s first year of college, I made the point of donating to his school every year. I told myself I might not be able to make a chunk of addition, but it would all add up if I can keep on doing it, a few hundred every year.

I didn’t miss a year since then, even if we were financially tight when he was in college, even if we try to save for my daughter’s coming college expenses.

Last week, we had a big credit card bill, that donation being one of the large charges. I told my daughter of this annual donation. “Many of my colleagues spend around $25 a week on lunch expense. Since I bring my own lunch and plus I do away with many other feminine vanity expenses like makeup, nail polish, jewelries, etc, I can very well donate this saving to some worthy cause.”

She applauded my choice. Of course, I hope she will do the same in the future.

1, Oct 8, 2012

Facebook, friends, connection with the strangers

Filed under: Friend — admin @ 12:18 am

Toward the end of September, to celebrate my birthday and to add some fun to my life, I made friends with three of my former and current colleagues via facebook, three of them in all.

When I posted the picture of my article on KCStar on 9/29, my daughter thought it useless, “How many friends do you, mom? Let’s see, two?” She meant her brother and her.

I said, “Actually, I have 8 now.” Lol… I know 8 is not a big number when some people have over 900.  If I reached out more, including readers of my midwest columns, I could make a larger connection.

I didn’t do it. Neither have I let people know my blog here. There seems some irony here when I befriend people via facebook but actually excluded many of my true friends in my facebook circle. When I think of it, it is actually no surprise, considering my introvert tendency. I would like to keep a public face and also a safe distance, meanwhile reserving a spot where I can remain anonymous and be my true self.

1, Oct 7, 2012

Birthday, colleague, keeping good working relationship

Filed under: American Culture — admin @ 12:29 am

This is one of those boring moments for my children. I write it down in order to forget it.

During August 2011, there were three of us in our office, K, F, and me. Someone from another office told K that F’s birthday was on 8/12, meaning we should consider sending her something on that date.

K shared the news with me, asking me if I wanted to pinch in. Of course, I couldn’t say no, ending up throwing in $10. After F got the present from both of us, she asked our birthdays and on our special day, around September for both of us, she gave us something in return. All happy.

I marked their birthdays on my calendar. This year I gave F a birthday card and a gift on 8/10, since her birthday falls on Sunday. K moved to the next door building this year. When she came over a few days later and saw the birthday card that I gave to F, she asked F, “Why don’t you tell me?” as if she cares.

Did she really expect people to tell her their birthday and to make sure that she buys something for them on that day? This is an undisguised hint asking for a gift. We all mark down important dates or anything we care to remember. I remember one lady said it was easy to remember my birthday as it was the same day as her son’s wedding date. Still she forgot it every year while she was my colleague. Interesting.

Of course, both K and F forgot my b-day because they have not done what I have done — mark it on my calendar. Do I regret having remembered their birthdays and given them presents? No. Most likely I will do the same next year, if I am still their colleague. Not because I care about them but because I care a good working relationship.

1, Oct 6, 2012

Dysthymia, low-level depression, and how to deal with it

Filed under: Happiness,Health — admin @ 12:18 am

I love all these profession-sounding forbidden words, especially from Harvard Medical School, another intimidating one.

Dysthymia refers to “a long-term drone of low-grade depression that lasts for at least two years in adults or one year in children and teens.” It is not as dark as the real depression but too far away from bright color of cheerfulness.

Yet, because of its prolonged tormenting effect, it could keep you from feeling good about everything and keep you from being healthy and productive. You tend to go about your daily life without enthusiasm.

You are suffering from dysthymia if you feel your depressed mood having lingered for more than two months at a time, and you have at least two of these symptoms:

–>overeating or loss of appetite
–>insomnia or sleeping too much
–>tiredness or lack of energy
–>low self-esteem
–>trouble concentrating or making decisions
–>feelings of hopelessness

Of course, with America’s super-trust of authority, Harvard Medical School suggests that you “talk with your doctor. He or she may recommend that you see a mental health professional for the most effective approach.”

I would suggest you read comic books or do something that once brings you joy and excitement or mix with some friends or seek some social gatherings of your kind or set a new goal and get yourself busy or do something good for a change like volunteer among children. Do these activities not once in a while but constantly. In fact, fill your life with anything cheerful and positive for at least a month to see the result.

1, Oct 5, 2012

When the child becomes mature and responsible for his own studies

Filed under: Education — admin @ 12:51 am

Last week when I talked to my sister over Skype, she told me of some good news about her son after he started his third year of middle school in China.

“He is getting better at managing his own study now,” she said. In the past, prior to a test or exam, if you asked him “Have you prepared well for the exam?” He would always say yes. But the test result showed his lack of preparation.

This year he would test himself without looking at the answer. If he catches his own mistakes, he would pour more effort on those weak spots. The result of test confirm his effort.

I would say the boy cheated himself in the past. He knew he was not fully prepared, still he did not want to work more, hoping these questions that he wasn’t sure of would not show up in the test.

Now, he is mature enough to know he should be responsible for his study and his future. Ultimately, he will be the only one who gets hurt if he keeps on this self-cheating game. Good for both my sister and her son. I am glad for both of them.

1, Oct 4, 2012

Good news cheer people up

Filed under: Happiness — admin @ 12:37 am

During the week of 9/24, with many cloudy days and uncertainty coming from one hiring manager, I felt rather low-spirited, eager for some good news to cheer me up.

I learned one young relative of ours just changed his job and doubled his salary in China, which is not enough to change my spirit. They talked about how beautiful girls would be chasing him because of his fat paycheck, etc. I feel so selfish when I should have felt happy for him. Not really.

On Wednesday, my daughter told me she had some good news. She had a test that day. She did not know the result yet, but her teacher told her she made it to the team. That is, her grade is good enough for the competition team.

Upon hearing this, I feel a lot better now. In fact, the news did lift me up for the day.

1, Oct 3, 2012

Mitt Romney’s last chance to turn things around tonight

Filed under: Politics,Presidents — admin @ 1:32 am

The first presidential debate is going to take place tonight. This should be the most important moment for Mitt Romney. It must be a bit depressing for him and his supporters to watch the daily polls showing President Obama climbing up while his own slips away.

To be totally fair to him, Mitt Romney himself is a very competent man, kind in his heart, a loving and responsible husband, and a very successful business man. Yet, he has given up so much of his true self in order to win his party’s base support.

He seems a lost soul in his desperate attempt at grabbing their support, swinging from pro-choice, pro-healthcare, pro many good things in people’s life to their opposites.

Too bad he chains himself to a lost cause, a  party that is on its way to history book, and he has to fight a losing battle on their behalf. Republican party will have to change itself in the next two to three decades in order to survive the new world order. I truly feel sorry for Mitt Romney.

1, Oct 2, 2012

Obesity among Hispanics

Filed under: Healthy diet,Weight issue — admin @ 12:20 am

I read this piece of news on Friday, 9/21 “Cancer now No. 1 killer of U.S. Hispanics” by Dr. Otis Brawley, Special to CNN. Toward the end of the article, the author yields some figures on obesity among Hispanics, which come as a bit surprise.

“Hispanics do have higher diagnosis and death rates from cancers of the stomach, liver, cervix and gallbladder.

The triad of poor nutrition, lack of physical activity and obesity is the second leading  cause of cancer in the United States, surpassed only by tobacco use.

This triad is an especially significant problem among Hispanic women. Current data  indicate that among Hispanics, 43% of women and 34% of men are obese. This compares with  33% of all women in the United States and 32% of all men.”

I don’t know why. It could be because of Mexican foods or because they are not physically active or the combination of both. I will read more on this so that I can tell my children not to eat too much of their food if food is the culprit.

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