Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I spent weeks to actually begin to comprehend a project I'm about to embark upon. It's a project involving genetic algorithm based on Darwin's natural selection theory, and I'm about to digitalize evolution. That's right. I'm going to code computer programs which can simulate the process of evolution, and apply that algorithm in fluid mechanics. I'm thinking of creating a program to optimize the wings of a jet subjected to constrains imposed by the user.

Hope the above paragraph made sense to you. I promised myself never to talk about school on my blog mainly because my school stuff bores people, especially those who aren't interested in engineering. Besides, I'm at school everyday and people there only talk about school stuff, so this blog is a vent for everything else which is not related to my studies.

But this time I'm making an exception because it's been bugging me a lot. It took me weeks to really get a good grasp of this project. And now my German teacher wants me to explain genetic algorithm to the whole class. In German. She was like, "Don't worry about complicated engineering terms. Do away with them. Keep it simple. The important thing is your German should be correct and fluent."

How can you do away with complicated engineering terms when it's a 100% engineering project? It's like asking me to describe a computer without mentioning the monitor, the mouse, the keyboard, the operating system, the hard disk, the CPU and the Internet. It's just not possible.

I have a hard time explaining my project to friends in French, a language I'm at ease with. I can't imagine doing the same damn thing in German, a language so hard it made Hitler go mad and kill a million people.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Another Pointless Jab At Our American Friends

One big problem with Americans is they don't use the metric system. Out of 204 countries of the world, the United States are one of the THREE countries that don't use the metric system.

Three out of 204 doesn't sound like a big deal, because it shouldn't be a big deal. But it's America we're talking about, and they're ALWAYS a big deal.

I'm constantly finding myself doing mental acrobatics to understand the Americans. During my travels, the Americans I met would always stick out like a sore thumb because they're always saying sentences that don't make sense to anyone else like, "Wow it's, like, 110 degrees out. Luckily I drank, like, 2 gallons of water this morning so I won't get, like, dehydrated walking to the Prado museum which is, like, 20 blocks from here. Like, like, like."

110 degrees? In any other country, that temperature would turn you into a braised human, ready for consumption. 2 gallons of water? I have no idea how much that is but it sounds like a lot. 20 blocks? If you're talking about my Lego blocks, then the Prado should be merely one step away.

I have my own ballpark method to convert Fahrenheit into Celcius. I just take the Fahrenheit number, subtract 32, and divide by 2. It's not accurate, but it's close enough estimation for weather purposes. It's a simple calculation, but every time I'm faced with this kind of conversion problem, I ask myself the same damn question: How can a powerful nation of 300 million people still stick to this grossly inaccurate system of measurement?

I remember one discussion I had with some American dude about Shutter, a Thai scary movie. In the movie, an invisible ghost sits on a guy's shoulders so when he weighs himself, he clocks in at 120 (kilograms) although he's a lean man who would weigh 65kg tops. But this American dude was like, "So why did he lose weight at the end of the movie? Did the ghost suck the life out of him? Did he sell his soul to his pictures? Is there any symbolism behind this weight loss?"

He didn't lose weight, dumbass. In fact, he gained some, because the ghost sat on him. 120 kilograms is equivalent to 264.5 pounds, and that's heavy for one single guy.

The American dude was like, "How are you so sure of that? Did you see "kg" written on the scale?"

I replied, "No, but it's a Thai movie. Why on Earth would Thai people count their weight in American avoirdupois pounds?"

He didn't reply, but I bet he was still puzzled. It must be eye-opening to know that other countries besides The United States do exist.

The Winter Soliloquy

"Damn. My room is an oven. A very, very cold oven."

"If it's cold, then it wouldn't be an oven."

"But it's just as unbearable. Imagine living in an oven, but an extremely cold one."

"You're stupid. Just say your room is a freezer. Fits better."

"Yeah, but saying you live in an oven is more terrifying than saying you live in a freezer."

"On what basis are you saying that?"

"On the basis that God created Hell because he knew people are more afraid of being burnt than being frozen. Which is exactly why the oven is more terrifying than the freezer."


The Consumerist Soliloquy

"I need some new gym shirts. And underwear. And socks. I always run out of those. I need to go buy some."

"Or.... you can try doing your fucking laundry."

Oh. Right.

Monday, November 07, 2011

Phones in Horror Movies

I just watched The Ruins, an American horror film. Yes, I do have classes. And I do go to them. I just know how to squeeze a movie in between things I have to do.

It's about of a group of friends going somewhere remote and deserted (somewhere in Mexico) only to end up being killed one after another by something or someone mysterious. Wait.. did I just sum up every horror movie ever existed?


Everyone has a mobile phone these days, and phone coverage keeps getting wider and better, and that has become an obstacle for every horror screenwriter because if every character in that movie has a phone, then they can call for help and there's no movie. So the first thing to do in every horror movie is to render the mobile phones useless. In most films (Quarantine, Identity, Saw, House Of Wax, Wrong Turn etc), they use the "no signal" or "flat battery" excuse, because those are the simplest ones and no coverage means no mobile phones for ALL of the characters. Problem solved.

In One Missed Call, the flip phone was broken in two AND thrown into an aquarium. You know, just to make sure it really can't make calls.

In The Ruins though, only 2 characters out of six have phones and NONE of the girls brought theirs (something very unlikely to happen in real life because I don't know any girls who don't have their phones with them 43 hours per day). And one of the phones has no signal (shocking!) but the other one works because "it's on Vodafone" (this screams of blatant product placement).

It's the first time a working phone is allowed to be in a horror movie. Faster than I could say, "I would like to see how this whole phone thing pans out", all of a sudden a group of Mayan people ambushed the group, killed one of them (the Greek guy who doesn't speak English) and confiscated the working phone.

You have to give it to the producers. Using Mayans to get rid of a working phone in a horror movie? That's brilliant. Might be the second most original phone-ridding scene after Hostel, where the guy conveniently holds his phone far from his body so it can be snatched by some gypsy kids running around.

I am eager to see how horror movies of the future are going to keep up with all the different communication devices to make sure they cover the otherwise glaring pothole in the movies.

One important thing I learned from this movie is, if you want to be in American horror movies, make sure you speak English because it's always the guy who doesn't who gets killed first.

Sunday, November 06, 2011

The Unprofessional Businessman

I'm still looking for ways to talk about money with people I like without it being awkward. In my experience, money is the biggest enemy to any kind of relationship, because relationships are built on trust, and somehow the emblem of trust in our world is money. If you can trust someone with your money, you can trust him on anything.

When a family member borrows money from you and you need to know when they can pay you back, it can get very delicate. You don't want to come across as insistent and pesky, but at the same time you need to know that you're going to get that money back. And you don't want this money thing to make things awkward because after all, these are the people you've known for a long time and probably will keep on bumping into for the rest of your life.

It's funny how the very mention of money can turn everything sticky.

I have a friend who asked me to translate his website from English to French for a fee, and he asked me to name my price. I've done translating jobs before, so the translating part is not a problem. But it's the first time I'm doing it for a friend and I have never established any 'friends and family' rates. Of course, I can keep it strictly professional and just name my normal price, but then I'm afraid that the moment money is being factored into a friendship, it's forever ruined.

It is definitely very naive of me to think so, but I owe it to the child inside me who still thinks that a real friend is someone who would help you out unconditionally without expecting anything in return. It's a dog eat dog world out there, and I'm not going to get far with this kind of naivete. But somehow I wish I wouldn't change.

So my question of the day is: How do you negotiate business deals with friends or family?

Ghost Town

Stupid movies are my guilty pleasure. And I just finished watching Ghost Town.

If you aren't familiar with Ricky Gervais, you might not find him that funny. But I've watched The Office (the original British version) and he was hilarious so the hilarity of Ghost Town kinda feeds off of his The Office and Golden Globes host persona.

Ricky Gervais plays a dentist who can see ghosts so there are well-dressed ghosts following him around town asking him to talk to their living relatives. So you can say that's it's not an intelligent film, and it's not the best film ever made. But it's exactly the film you need on a cold Sunday morning when you don't feel like doing anything remotely intellectual.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Goldfish in a Bowl

This is another post about me not liking football.

It pisses me off that people are still talking about United's 6-1 loss against City. I get it. Manchester United losing to City, that's practically football blasphemy. And 6-1? That makes it even more pathetic.

It's football. Sometimes teams win, sometimes teams lose. Sometimes it's a tie, sometimes it's 3-0, sometimes it's 2-1, sometimes it's 4 to nothing, other times it might be 6-1, and it can also be 1-6. And sometimes I just don't give a shit anymore.

The thing is I don't see fans of other sports riling up the way the football fans do. Take rugby for example. You don't see the Kiwi fans rubbing it in on the French fans for a whole week. And they won the Rugby World Cup! That matters much, much, MUCH more than just a stupid EPL derby match, but the rugby people just know how to keep it professional. The winners had their day and the losers promised to do better next time, end of story.

I'm not questioning people's obsession over football. I'm just questioning their childishness when it comes to victory and defeat.

Sometimes they just to fail to just fucking GET OVER IT.