Homeless man sentenced to house arrest?

I was confused by “Vancouver panhandler gets house arrest for attack” on National Post, which describes a drug-addicted panhandler attacking an old man who always gives him money in front of the man’s church, and getting a sentence of house arrest.

Er, am I missing something here? What house arrest? Are we arresting that man in his garbage can? His favorite corner behind the mailbox? Or maybe the judge is gonna let the robber sleep in his guest room?

The judge commented on the Vancouver’s homeless problems as if he was new to this city and was surprised to see homeless people walking around peeing in dark alleys and injecting drugs.

To quote from the article, the judge said:

“Two generations ago there were almost no street people in Vancouver. If a person slept or begged on the street the police would intervene. Somehow society coped without creating the chaos on the streets that we now have.

“Today in Vancouver there are perhaps thousands living on the streets and in the parks. They sleep everywhere — even in the doorways of the courthouse and police station. Public areas are their bathrooms and garbage disposal facilities.

“Society created this situation. Law-abiding citizens condone it and it has become the expectation of those like Darcy Jones. In fact, it is more than an expectation it is viewed as an entitlement — the public are expected to respond favourably to silly justifications for demanding money such as ‘squeegee’ car windshield [washes] or doing push-ups on the street.

“It is not surprising that some street people have taken the next step of physically enforcing their right to this support.”

After prolonged exposure to social issues, social equity, drug problems, I’ve always viewed the panhandlers/homeless/”street people” as victims of their time. So I was utterly surprised to find someone to openly express their hatred towards the homeless.

Like I don’t think there’s a solution to the global issues such as AIDS pandemic, environmental degradation, and climate change, I don’t think there’s a solution to the problems of drug addiction and homelessness in Vancouver.

But I think someone should put that robber in detox and put that judge in Carnegie Hall for a good while.


The Anomalies 01

Dexter sat in front of his computer, with no intention to work. Under the dim light of his room, the molding mugs, the used tissues, and the half-eaten food spread around a mess of tangled cables like dead insects trapped by a bush of poison ivy.

This used to be a perfect place for Dexter to work, or at least perfectly acceptable. But after his conversation with the mysterious woman in the large, bulky cape, and the abrupt ending of it, Dexter’s world was turned upside down.

What’s the purpose of working? What’s the purpose of living?

What’s the purpose of anything?


The woman told Dexter that the world around him was imaginary. Simulated. Artificial. Computer-generated. A place, or a state of being, known as the Matrix.

“We have no time. The agents are coming,” Dexter could hear an urgent whispering in the mysterious woman’s ear bud, as he was being told that the world he lives in was essentially a gigantic computer game.

She must be on cracks, Dexter thought. Or she must be crazy. But the calmness in her manner and the confidence in her voice!

Maybe he was the one who was going crazy?

The woman stopped talking and frowned. “How much time?”

The ear bud answered: “less than 30 seconds. I don’t know how they found us… but they are only a few floors away!”

She turned to Dexter. “Take this pill and come with us! To the real world!”

Dexter could not answer. A few moments of hesitation, and the woman swore: “Dammit!”

What happened next was so fast that Dexter didn’t know how stunned he was until he was on the floor: the woman withdrew the pill, ran to the window, and shouted “we will be back for you” before she jumped. At that precise moment, the door was busted open, three suited men ran in, one of them pinned Dexter to the floor, the other two leapt out the window after the woman.


The woman did not come back. Three weeks after that strange encounter, some horrific investigation by the suited men, and waking up in his room realizing he might have had a strangely vivid nightmare, Dexter convinced himself that everything was his imagination.

But this must be the first time in the history of mankind for a man to lose all motivation in life, because of a single nightmare.

A box appeared on his monitor. It was his old classmate and business partner Chen.

“Hey buddy, how’s going?” a line of text appeared. “Almost got the prototype over here, how’s the software coming along?”

Dexter sighed. What’s the point? If this whole thing was imaginary…

“Dude, are you still thinking about your nightmare?” Dexter could almost picture Chen’s incredulous, annoyed look. “So what if this world is some kind of a game? You’re in it, I’m in it, and we get hungry if we don’t eat for 5 hours. You better get your acts together man, or our project would just die, and us with it.”

Right, the project.

After Dexter met Chen in college, where they took up computer science and engineering, they soon decided to drop school and focus on their project full time. They learned more from the internet than from any balding professors combined, anyway.


Suddenly an idea clicked in Dexter. “Hey, how about we take a break from the project and figure out whether we are really surrounded by a computer simulation?”

No replies from Chen. His little head must be calculating the risks and possibilities… or simply swearing.

“Maybe the dream was a sign, a sign for us to look at the big picture. If we discover the controlling mechanism of the world, or merely the pattern of it, we would be rich, rich, rich!” Dexter added, hoping that would do the trick.

Still no word from Chen. Maybe he was sympathetic now. Or maybe he was worried for his future with this wacko partner. Or maybe their private direct line was malfunctioning.

Dexter let his imagination run wild. Sure, a world-wide computer simulation sounded too absurd, but finding out any controlling patterns in politics, religions, weather, or economics would mean a world of opportunities.

Chen finally agreed to take 2 weeks off their ongoing project, in exchange for Dexter’s promise to resume working on the software part of the project if the crazy search of world controlling mechanism failed.

Little did they know, that promise would never have to be fulfilled.


Vancouver explosion, US campus shooting…

After two consecutive Wednesday threats in UBC, this past Wednesday was thankfully quiet. Many students were still feeling the slight unease though, and debate over whether BioSci is safe or not. “What if this time, s/he is giving no threats because it’s for real?” some thought.

But all around, things are looking really messed up. Instead of a threat to UBC, someone blew up a Taco shop and a Starbucks, scattering debris throughout a half-block in Vancouver early this morning. The police, this time, seemed to be better at catching the bad guy (perhaps because he was badly burnt).

And perhaps more shockingly, there was another US school shooting today near Chicago, killing two and injuring many others. A guy called John went into the front of a classroom (ocean science) and opened fire with his shotgun before taking his own life. CNN had a more action-packed description of the incident, but I think no media information is quite reliable this early.

An interviewed student said she didn’t know when she will return to school. I can totally emphasize that… just threats alone shocked students here at UBC deeply. I can’t imagine what it would be like to see bloodshed on a university campus, where the grownups have to remind us: “it may safe enough to wander around at night, kids, but at least grab a few friends along!”

What is up with people? Are we just overall angrier? Are we all losing our ability to be say hi to each other, to smile on the streets?

I would like to post an email I received a few days after the UBC threats last week, from a dear friend, and spread her message to as many people as possible:

Good morning- did you see the sky this morning? It is absolutely gorgeous…

I just wanted to take a minute to let you know that you are a very special person. You are very important to me, and to the UBC community that we are a part of.

Unusual and rather scary things have been happening on campus over the past few days. This is a very stressful time in many people’s lives- we are in the middle of the second term, there are alot of activities going on, exams are coming up, some of us are graduating or moving on in other ways…it can be alot of stress.

I want to encourage you now more than ever to reach out to others in your community. This is a perfect time to help someone or ask someone for help. Even just smiling and making eye contact with your neighbours, classmates, and co-workers can go a long way in building community in a large and sometimes frightening place!

I sent you this email because there is someone on campus that is hurting and afraid, and I only hope that you have not felt lonely or frightened or as though no one cared about you. I want you to know that I care about you, that you make up a very important part of my life, even if I don’t always have the opportunity to say so. So thank you.

I am here to support you in whatever way I can, please know that if you take a moment to reach out to me I will be here to help. And I know that you would do the same for me (or probably already have!), and I thank you for it.

With much love,


二、離鄉背井為何來 (2)










































最近比較煩 (舊)

首先, 先複習一下這首經典好歌:

然後享受我以前讀SAT申請美國大學, 心煩而寫的白爛歌詞:


一直吃 三明治當午餐,
女孩從 名單把我給刪。

新聞台已經有 好久沒人參觀。
心情不好 和朋友發生爭端,
還好他肚大 沒給我難堪。


難得有空,就趁機 耍耍白濫。
如今已忙得 團團轉。





不煩,我不煩,只有一點煩,有人比我煩 (他們才完蛋)
不煩 (不煩),我不煩 (不煩),我說我不煩,你實在很煩 (再問我會變極端)
我不煩 (不煩),你比較煩 (你比較煩),我不煩 (我一點不煩)



GMail officially sucks

Ok, GMail has done many things to piss me off, including delaying my sent messages several days so that the other end didn’t receive my emails until after the deadlines and said “er, better luck next year.”

But today I officially declare that GMail sucks. Here’s the reason: I’ve been writing a huge email regarding logistics for a trip, complete with section headings, lists, budgets, everything.

After 1.5 hours of labor, this is what the draft looks like in the mailbox:


Yes, it says (2) Drafts (2), and who the hell has seen that!?

And when I clicked it open, knowing I faced my doom, I still wept:


COMPLETE BLANK, ladies and gentlemen. This is a JOKE, right, GMail?

Oh, we’re so cool we auto-save your emails.”

“What? This one’s important? Trust us with our auto-save!”

“Boo! Blank auto-save, that is!”

“Hey, don’t complain. At least you can still see 5 words and the subject line.”

How to resize photos fast

If you’ve taken pictures with a high definition, chances are they are too big to do anything (upload to a blog, send to friends, etc).

I found a light-weight, Microsoft add-on tool that lets users quickly resize photos to their liking:

  1. Visit this MS webpage, and decide whether you like this program or not.
  2. Download ImageResizer.exe, or if you don’t trust me, download it from this MS webpage. You can find it by searching “Image Resizer” on the right hand panel.

Hm, there’s not much else for me to say, because MS has done all the explaining here.

Basically, you right click on your photo(s):

and click on “Resize Pictures”

and tada!

You can also click on “Advanced” if you want customize the size of your pictures, among other things.