Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Planning for Winter Country Trip

Dates (pending): Thursday, December 27th, 2007 to Tuesday, January 1st, 2008.
Location: Winter country resort, i.e. Blue Mountain

- Blue Mountain Brochures Homepage
- BM Resort Map
- BM Shopping and Dining Guide
To receive further information on any of these events, please call Blue Mountain at 705-445-0231

BM Lodging Brochure
Main Village accomodations:
2 Bedroom + kitchen = $2881.45
1 Bedroom + kitchen = $2202.15

Other buildings including the Chateau Ridge and Rivergrass condos are the same price at the moment.

- Main activities page for Blue Mountain
This link will give you very detailed infomation on skiing and snowboarding
- Cross Country Skiing
- Snowshoeing and Caving
We can visit the caves by snow-shoeing. This is a very strenuous exercise for people who have never snow-shoed before.
- Snow-free Caving
If we have a terrible winter without snow, we can still go and visit the scenic caves.
- Spa
We will have to call and check for availability and specials as the date nears. For now, you can view what services they offer, and decide for yourself which style of spa you would like. The Scandinavian Spa is very suitable for men as well as women.
- My Touch, Your Spa
Google Map
- Utopia Spa Salon
Google Map
- Kalola Boutique and Spa
Google Map
- Shopping in the Village
We can just walk around and do some shopping as we recuperate from all this strenuous activity.
- Nightlife and Dining
A list of places

Pricing for Skiing and Snowboarding:
- Beginner lesson and equipment = $54 daytime - Includes 90 min group lesson and lift rides
- For $59, you could have a private lesson for 4 friends. You get more attention from the instructor and will learn better as a result.
- Tubing = $4/ride, $22/8 rides - for when we're too tired to ski or snowboard

Special New Year's Eve Activities:
New Year's at Blue Mountain
a) Special Dinner Gala
b) Adult Party Package - $ are not yet available for A and B.
c) Dec. 30 - Othere is a Torch light parade in the village. We should find some reviews of it to see if it's worthwhile.

Neighboring Businesses

Supermarket at Collingwood Plaza
A&P Supermarket - This one is closest to the resort,+Collingwood&daddr=Hwy+26+%26+High+St.,+Collingwood,&sll=44.501831,-80.254869&sspn=0.029017,0.079651&ie=UTF8&ll=44.498954,-80.270491&spn=0.029018,0.079651&z=14&om=1


Monday, August 13, 2007

Hacken's Lee's New Hit: Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

作詞: 林若寧 作曲: Eric Kwok 編曲: Eric Kwok

花瓣吹散 誰在乎誰著眼

牠一張臉 已給你記憶風化

鮮花死了 至感慨愛得不夠


鮮花死了 至感慨愛得不夠

儘管擁有 怕一切變得罕有
即使擁吻 怕空氣已不足夠

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Going Green

In recent years, a lot of awareness has been raised for eco-friendly lifestyle choices. This ranges from buying organic produce to buying hybrid cars. Let's face it, though. Both of those items are very expensive, much more expensive than the regular environmentally and bodily harmful versions. I live in an area that doesn't have those supermarkets that sell organic produce. As for the car, well, I'll have to get myself a full driver's license before I'll buy a car. Hopefully by that time, I'll be able to afford it!

For now, what I can do is to start by using eco-friendly cleaning solvents around the home. My mom and I have decided that once we finish using up these store-brand cleaners, we'll stop buying them and instead, we'll mix our own cleaning solvents. To do this, I started some research on the internet to find recipes for mixing these eco-friendly cleaning solvents. Here are some websites:

The Grassroots Store
I've been to the location on the Danforth, and I know that there is another location on Bloor St. They have a wide range of pre-mixed powders that you can use to create your own cleaning solvents. You should bring your own containers in which to hold the powders. They also have eco=friendly soaps and shampoos for showering and bathing.

Green Technology: the Environmentally Friendly Solution
This article, written by Lana Christian, is very informative as it explains in ordinary English what is wrong with the store-brand products we use in our homes and offices, and then it gives you alternative suggestions to making or buying products that are more eco-friendly. I love the way she ended her article:
"Everything we do impacts the environment. What matters is how big a footprint we leave on it. We need to look through "green lenses" to minimize that footprint. It starts with you."

Call me weird, but I would rather clean a bathroom than to do laundry. I don't know why. I love clean clothes; I just don't like doing the work to make them clean. I should be shot for saying this because in our modern age, we are so lucky to have these high-tech washers and dryers that make doing laundry so much easier than it was back in our grandparents' days. For those of you who love doing laundry and would like to help reduce the harm inflicted on the environment, here is an article that gives you some basic tips. It talks about how to choose eco-friendly products in the stores. Unfortunately, if you want to read more of the article, you'll have to sign up.

CBC's Article
It's by the CBC. Enough said, just read it.

I absolutely hate vinegar. The only types of vinegar I'll have is the red ones you use in Chinese restaurants when you eat seafood, and some brands of salt and vinegar chips. The thing is, I'm going to have to learn to accept--not love--vinegar. Vinegar is like the magic ingredient--not as magical as baking soda, of course--to making an effective and environmentally harmless cleaning solvent. Becareful, though, because it's not always bodily harmless. So, read your recipes very carefully and don't experiment with mixing different ingredients unless you've done your research before hand. This page has a gazillion recipe ideas, but don't get carried away.

An Abstract for Annie B. Bond's book
Read the article, and if you like what you see, buy the book.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Vietnam War: Prior to the War

Interesting facts I didn't know before:
- American "operatives" working for the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) had been stationed all over Vietnam during WWII. Their job was to monitor the movement of Japanese troops, helping the Japanese resistance groups and rescuing pilots who had been shot down in the Vietnam.
- American operatives and the Vietnamese worked closely with one another
- Franklin D. Roosevelt had wanted to "liberate" the Indochinese nations from colonial rule after WWII. To him, France and other countries like Britain, had been exploiting the people and the resources of that region for far too long. It was time to put an end to the suffering and exploitation endured by the Indochinese under the French colonialists.
- Indochina refers to: Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. During the period prior to the Vietnam War, Indochina was a region colonially controlled by France. Currently, it is known as South-east Asia.
- Winston Churchill, PM of England, disapproved of FDR's plans to dismantle the French colonial empire in Indochina for fear that FDR will want to dismantle Britain's colonnial empire as well.


Based on the stories told to me by my parents, the French presence in Vietnam was not all that negative. The French introduced new foods, and they helped to build more modern infrastructure, as well as religious institutions. For example, the French introduced the baguette, a French bread roll. It became so popular in Vietnam that even today, Vietnamese people still eat the French baguette with their own style of Vietnamese deli meats. The French also built modern hospitals, with foreign-trained doctors, using French medicine. For a lot of the infectious diseases that appeared at that time, having modernly equipped hospitals and French medicines helped a great deal. Lastly, the French presence introduced Roman Catholicism into Vietnam. It is important to note that the French colonialists did not force the Catholic faith onto the Vietnamese, and instead they were actually allowed to continue practicing their own religions, such as Buddhism. From there, they went on to build schools that were run by nuns and priests. My aunt, L.M., attended school in one of the Convents in North Vietnam early on in her education. Therefore, in my family, the previous generation had only positive things to say about the French colonialists.

What I would like to know more about:
- Where did each side of the families of both parents grow up? Did their experience with the French colonialists change as they migrated to other parts of Vietnam?
- How much did the French control the education system? How much was left to the Vietnamese to administer on their own?
- Historically, what is known about the French "invasion" and later, their occupation of Vietnam?

Indochina @ Wikipedia
The Vietnam War for Dummies

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lady Jane Grey, 1537-1554

"Many Englishmen also expressed concern that Mary favoured for herself a Spanish marriage which might bring in Spanish nobles to rule England in place of Northumberland and his colleagues. Northumberland arranged for his son Lord Guilford Dudley to marry the Protestant (and anti-Catholic) Jane, hoping through him to gain control over his new daughter-in-law and the reins of England."

"At the time of Edward's death, without Edward's will (which had dubious legal standing, since it ran contrary to the Third Succession Act), the crown would have passed, under the terms of the Third Succession Act and of Henry VIII's will, to Mary and her male (not female) heirs [...]Jane thus did not feature in the line of succession prior to the last draft of Edward's will of June 1553. Only in the last draft did Edward finally include Jane Grey as his heir presumptive, knowing the line of succession included no Protestant-born male children."

"There is little recorded of the doings of Jane as Queen from the 11th through the 13th, most likely a result of illness. Jane herself thought she was being poisoned by the Duchess of Northumberland (her husband's mother), but there was no evidence this really occurred."

"On the 14th, Dudley led a troop of 600 with him, carrying an odd assortment of weapons that had been acquired at the day before. Crowds pressed to watch the men leave, but none bid them God Speed."

"The people started to revolt, crying for Mary to be made Queen. Jane ordered the gates to the tower locked and the keys brought to her."

"Gratefully Jane rose and stepped down, embracing her father as she wept. After a time she finally asked, "Can I go home?" This poor innocent girl actually thought it might be that simple. But alas it was not to be."

"Within only nine days, the people of England had overwhelmingly declared their support for Mary, [...] Mary had Jane and her husband imprisoned in the Gentleman Gaoler's apartments at the Tower of London for high treason, although their lives were initially spared."

"The Protestant rebellion of Sir Thomas Wyatt in late January 1554, [plus] Jane's father (the Duke of Suffolk) and other nobles joined the rebellion, calling for Jane's restoration as Queen." This lead to the pressure that Mary should execute Jane in order to stamp out any other revolters' dreams of restoring a Protestant ruler.

"Jane was then taken out to Tower Green, inside the Tower of London, for a private execution. With few exceptions, private executions applied to royalty alone; Jane's private execution occurred on the orders of Queen Mary, as a gesture of respect for her cousin."

At her death, she read the psalm "Miserere mei deus," pardoned the executioner, and tied the handkerchief around her eyes. Unable to see where the block was, she reached out for it and felt nothing, then started to panic, saying "What shall I do? Where is it?" Someone close by guided her hands to the block, and when she lay herself upon it, she said her last words: "Lord, into thy hands I commend my spirit!" Then she was executed.

Lady Jane Grey @ Wikipedia

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Why Are People So Captivated by the Alchemical Wedding?

The (Al)Chemical Wedding Of Christian Rosenkreuz
- edited and published by Johann Valentin Andreae
- the 3rd Rosicrucian "Manifesto", published in 1459
- Describes a journey over seven days, in which Rosenkreuz is invited to marry a husband and a bride inside a castle of miracles.
- Chemical developed from the ancient science of alchemy, which believed in the "Sacred Marriage."

The Rosicrucian Order

- Formed by a group of German protestants during the early 17th century.
- Philosophy is stated in three manifestos: Fama Fraternitatis Rosae Crucis, Confessio Fraternitatis, and The Chemical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz
- Tells of the journeys of Rosenkreuz, who travelled into the Middle East and learned Islamic philosophy
- Different groups have 3 interpretations of these writings: they are either true stories, parables, or they are writings by Francis Bacon, who used C. Rosenkreuz as a pseudonym.
- Some have even concluded that the Rosicrucian Order was a hoax or prank because its origins are so nebulous and the origins of the so-called "manifestos" so mysterious.
- aims to unify ideas in science, art, philosophy, politics and religion

Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreuz @ Wikipedia
Order of the
Rosicrucianism @ Wikipedia

Friday, August 03, 2007

Researching Background into "Satan's Kingdom" Part 2

Click on the title of this post for part 1.

My fascination with this town continues. I'm particularly interested to know if Satan's Kingdom really existed. Here's the description of the haunted house in Isabella Taves' story.

"The three-storey house was built into a big boulder of black rock, which formed one wall. A Boston architect had built it for his wife, but she had died shortly they had moved in and he wanted no part of the place" (42).

Devil's Hopyard
"Unlike the traditions associated with places named for the Devil, legend and history blend together in the accounts which explain the origin of Satan's Kingdom and Satan's Ridge, both in New Hartford. According to legend, Satan once used the rocky gorge of the Farmington River bearing his name as his exclusive playground."

"The most widely-circulated legend tells of the many times Satan has been seen, sitting on a huge boulder at the top of Chapman's Falls, playing his violin while the evil witches of Haddam stirred a "hell broth for a charm of powerful trouble" in the cauldron-like potholes formed in the rocks below."

New England
""In the eastern part of this town there is a rough and mountainous district, formerly designated Satan's Kingdom; and the few inhabitants who lived there were in a measure shut out from the rest of mankind.[...]"

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Brown Eyes, Blue Eyes: A Class Divided

This film was first aired on Frontline, the television news magazine show. It features two separate experiments conducted by Jane Elliott, a teacher. She tries to teach both children and adults the meaning of discrimination, and what it feels like to be discriminated against.

Catching Up on Movies

Since the school year had ended, I've been catching up on watching dvds. Here are some of my thoughts (not really a review).

The Lake House
What a lovely movie. It's a romance starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. Jack moves into the glass lake house that his father built for his mother when he was a child, and in his red mailbox, he finds a letter written by a woman from the future, Kate. They start writing letters to one another despite the fact that they're on two different space/time continua, sharing their daily ups and downs, ideas on life, relationships and so on. Soon, they realize that they are each other's soulmates, and that's when Jack tries to find Kate and meet her in person.

What I found surprising about this story was how easily I allowed myself to get drawn into the impossibility of it, and how willingly I suspended my disbelief so that I could watch the two characters finally come together in the end. The best part of it is that the ending is not as predictable as one might think. I was hooked. Another surprise in this movie was Reeves' acting. Normally, I find him very boring to watch because he doesn't really use a lot of facial expressions or his voice to convey emotions and make the character that he's playing believable to the audience. I don't hate Reeves like some people do, but I wouldn't deliberately go to a theatre to see his newest movie. In The Lake House, he was actually very good. He actually used a variety of facial expressions, and his voice actually acts as much as he does.

Sandra Bullock was excellent. I think she has really grown since her Speed days to become a well-rounded actress. In this movie, she imparted a strong sense of loneliness, vulnerability and a slight sense of frustration at her predicament. She is also strong and practical, knowing when things have become too fantastical and puts a stop to it. Seriously, how can two people from two different times meet?

After seeing this version, I would like to see the original Korean production on which this Bullock/Reeves version is based: Siworae. I wonder if the original Korean ending is the same as the American one?

The Premonition
This movie, again, stars Sandra Bullock, along with Julian McMahon and Kate Nelligan. This movie turned out to be completely different from what I expected at the beginning. The beginning really does look like a suspense-thriller, and a bit spooky, too. In this story, Linda's husband dies in a car crash, and the next day, she wakes up to find that he's still alive. Soon, she figures out that the days of the week are happening out of order. She has to find out how to prevent her husband's death the next time Wednesday comes around. But, then she finds out some info about her husband and now she's not sure if she wants to prevent his death anymore.

I really liked this movie, surprisingly, since I had only heard rather negative reviews about it.