Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Israel Trip - Holocaust Museum

The Holocaust Museum is a must see for every Jew. People must not forget the past as to not repeat it in the future. In fact we saw many young Israeli in their army training uniform all through out the museum.

Indeed the trip to the museum was emotionally draining to see the photos of the events and people that were killed. To read and hear all those stories made me "forklemped". I was especially moved when I saw the name of Oskar Schindler and the tree he planted.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

You will get caught one of these day.

I am so pissed off every time I see somebody blatantly and intentionally break a traffic rule and get away with it. I have seen vehicles go down against a one way road. I have seen vehicle drive through a red light. (not just trying to beat a red light) I have seen vehicle not even attempting to stop on a Stop sign. All these behaviors annoy me. I wish there were traffic camera all over the road so these offenders will get what they deserve. In fact I am one of those people who are happy to see red light camera all over Chicago. My only consolation about this is one day these habitual offenders will finally get caught. The is a statistical fact.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Israel Trip - Bethlehem

Bethlehem was under the Palestinian Authority. We crossed the "border" and changed bus and tour guide since our Israeli driver and tour guide were not allowed to go to Palestine. The Church of the Nativity itself, where Jesus was born, was divided into the Greek Orthodox side and the Catholic side. We entered this small door called the Door of Humility cause we all have to bow down to enter, unless you are a child or really really short. Then we all form this long group queue to descend a crypt where the altar of the nativity is located. There was a silver star believed to be the very spot where Jesus was born. Most everybody bent over to touch or kiss the star but me. I just took pictures. I do not buy it that Jesus was really born in that very spot. And beside, just think of all the germs you get from the star with all the people touching and kissing it? This whole process of queuing and waiting was very crowded. People pushing and shoving just to get a chance to touch and kiss that star. And the church main hall itself was very old and ill maintained. It looked like the walls were covered with soot and you can see some painted murals uncovered. I was thinking perhaps they should start charging a cover to enter so they will have funds to maintain and restore the church. Or perhaps they did charge our tour organizers cause I only seem to see tour groups going in there with their respective tour guides. The voyage back to Israel itself was somewhat very third world like. The line was very long and the local Palestinians were trying to cut in line. One of the American in our group even almost had a fist fight with those cutting in line. I must say, knowing what I know now, I probably would not return to that place again.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Changing birthday?

I recently decided to celebrate my lunar calendar birthday instead of my Gregorian calendar birthday. This was because my Gregorian calendar birthday falls on the 1st of January. And I was tired of playing second fiddle to the New Year celebration every year. So with my Lunar calendar birthday of 13th day on the 11th lunar month, I get to celebrate it on different date on the Gregorian calendar yearly.

This year it fell on the 18th of December. So I posted it on my facebook page as December 18. I got a lot of greetings from my friends and family on my page. Those who knew my birthday as January 1st were confused with the new date. Almost all were supportive of my decision and simply greeted me. A few made some disapproving comment about it. But the bottom line is it was my decision so to hell with what they think. And for once I got to experience how it is to have a normal birthday. For once I was the center of attention even if it is just in facebook. For once I got to be greeted with a happy birthday without the happy new year attached to it. For once it was just my day and I did not have to share it with new year. And to be honest, it was quite refreshing. I like it.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I also love you Phillip Morris

I was apprehensive watching the movie "I love you Phillip Morris" because it starred Jim Carrey. I have never been a fan of that guy. I think his acting is over the top and I do not find his comedic flare funny or amusing at all. But with all honesty, Jim Carrey did not annoy me in this movie. The eccentricity of the character seems appropriate for Jim Carrey's occasional over the top acting. He portrayed the cunning, slightly crazy, con man Steven Russel quite well. I may have just tolerated Jim but on the other hand, I was captivated by the acting of Ewan McGregor as Phillip Morris. The way he moved and his facial expressions made me believed that he is really a gay man in love. And that blond blue eyes look he sported was just adorable.

This true story borders on the preposterous. Steve Russel conned so many people, businesses and government agencies into believing that he is a lawyer, CFO and even a dying AIDS patient. He escaped out of prison so many times that the movie proclaimed he was an embarrassment to the government of then Texas Governor George W Bush. I got out of the theatre still asking if that really happened but the movie said "This really happened" in the beginning. So it did happen.

The movie was just the perfect mix of comedy and drama. I would give it a 5 star out of 5.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Can you be more inconsiderate when parking?

One thing that most big urban dwellers have to deal with is parking. If one is lucky enough, his/her work will have parking spaces. And for most business to florish in the city, they need to provide parking for their clients. And even with parking available, it is often hard to find a spot. So it vexes me really when I see a car parked outside the parallel lines and end up taking two spaces instead of one. These drivers are major assholes who are selfish and inconsiderate to the needs of others. If I see one, I am often tempted to take a key and run it along the side of their car just to get back at them.

Monday, December 13, 2010

all I want for Christmas is a Largemouth Bass

It has almost been several months now since I was first fascinated by this north American fish. I tried to buy them last spring from a fish farm in central Illinois but was too late. I tried to catch them by fishing on lake Michigan. And this fall, I tried to buy them again but was unasuccessfull. I still want to own one. Perhaps I should be more vigilant in watching for this fish to be available again in the fish farm this spring. Watching these videos just rekindles my desire.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

No more patronizing Touche for me.

In the Gay bar scene, there are 3 ways bars can attract patrons. One is their drink specials. Be it some slushy fruity mix or discounted prices, gay people can go to those establishment for it. Second is via their entertainment. Some bars have music videos, some have lives kareoke, some have live drag shows, some have porn videos, some have go go dancers and some have good dancing music. But whatever their entertainment, they can attract crowds looking for those specific entertainment. And lastly, a busy bar tends to attract more patrons. After all, most gay people tend to go out to meet other gay men. So a crowded gay bar can attract more gay people in.

And the more crowd the bar is, the more percentage of those people will be buying drinks. And the more drinks bought translate to more income for the bar. Bars are there to make money so more patrons are welcomed.

Last night I went out after staying in for several weeks. I went to Jackhammer and then to Touche. I have patronized Touche many many times in the past and have bought many many drinks from that bar before. In fact I use to have a favorite bar tender there. But last night when I went there, I was in between drinks. Meaning I was resting before I have another drink since I just had one from Jackhammer. I was just hanging out in the back looking at some of the things going on when an old bearded leather man asked me if I have visited their bar recently. And I said not yet since I had a drink at the Jackhammer. He promptly and rudely told me to go to Jackhammer if I am not going to buy any drinks from their bar. He did not bother to just request me to buy a drink from their bar as well. So I left and went back to Jackhammer where I end up buying 2 more drinks.

I can see where they are coming from. They can not make money if their patrons just hang out and not buy drinks. But on the other hand, the more patrons inside the bar will automatically translate to more percentage of those patrons buying drinks. And the more crowded their bar is, even more patron will want to go inside. So it is to their best interest to welcome all patrons even if some of them are not buying drinks. If Touche is so hell bent in insisting that all their patrons buy a drink, they should have a cover charge that can be used to buy drinks. That is what Jackhammer does on a busy weekend. That seems like a better business strategy to make money than have a odious man going around rudely telling patrons to buy drinks or get out. Touche does not want to scare away potential patrons by a cover charge and they know that if they did charge cover, their patrons will decrease in number. On the other hand, having a rude man going around telling patrons off is a sure way to decrease their number of patrons. I certainly will have to think very hard before I patronize that bar again. I can easily, without regrets, bring my business somewhere else where they treat their patrons better. Way to go Touche.