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Showing posts from March, 2009

Cleaning with Vinegar

This is my third speech on the ToastMaster club. More information about the topic can be found here.

Cleaning with Vinegar

Some things in life are unavoidable. Tax is one of them. Cleaning is another one. If we neglect to file our tax, the government will come knocking on our door. If we don’t do cleaning, our house will be messy and full of bacteria and viruses.

When it comes to cleaning, a lot of cleaning products are available out there. But believe it or not, the title “The Perfect Household Cleaners” is hold by vinegar. This is the same vinegar that we use for cooking. Households around the country have proven the effectiveness of vinegar.

Vinegar is surprisingly effective, when compared to other cleaners. It is an 'all-in-one cleaner,' so there is no need to buy specific cleaners for different purposes. Vinegar is good for cleaning kitchen surfaces, sink, bathtubs, toilet, ceramic tiles, appliances, painted walls, floors, messy microwave, top of the fridge, and other solid s…

Audio Book Review: Dr. Blair's Japanese in No Time

Thanks to the AudioBook library on BC Online Libraries, I started borrowing audiobooks more often. I found it very handy, especially since my commute takes about 45 minutes one-way every day.

The audiobook I recently listened to was Dr. Blair's Japanese in No Time: The Revolutionary New Language Instruction Method That's Proven to Work!.

As the name implies, this book teaches Japanese for total beginners. The tape runs for 3 hours in 3 CD's. It begins with a story where the listener is a tourist in a Japan amusement park. As it turns out, the park is taken over by a group of Flower Ranger fans, that are angry because their favorite show is canceled. The listener's mission is to find out these fans' plan and prevent it from happening.

The story is quite amusing, and each "to be continued" section stirs the curiosity to know more about the story. The Japanese lessons themselves are arranged to suit English speakers best. With stories to accompany vocabularies,…

The Origin of the Temple of Prambanan

I joined the Toastmaster Club at my work, and here is my speech number 2. The purpose of the speech is to have a good speech organization, with an opening, a body, and a conclusion.

Since it took me a long time to organize this speech, I might as well post it on my blog. Note that this is a trimmed down version of the legend, with some parts edited out to avoid cultural confusion (and to fit the speech into a 5-7 minute window).

The Origin of the Temple of Prambanan
(also known as "The Legend of Bandung Bondowoso")

When you look on any of the wonderful architecture, have you ever wondered who built them, for what purpose they were built, and the stories behind the construction? Indonesia has a lot of lakes, temples, mountains, and beaches, and each of them has its own story. Each of these stories teaches its audiences a lesson in life.

Today, I am going to tell you the story about controlling your temper, and of a temple called Prambanan.

Once upon a time, there was a kingdom call…

Adobe Digital Editions & OverDrive Media Console

I recently found the site for British Columbia Online Library, where members of BC library can borrow the electronic versions of books. These do not include CD or DVD, but includes a sizable selection of ebooks (in DRM'ed PDF format) and audiobooks (in DRM'ed mp3/wma). The DRM is there to ensure that the files "expire" after the checkout duration (21 days for ebooks; 14 days for audiobooks).

Because the e-books and audiobooks are DRM-ladden, special softwares are needed before enjoying them.

The e-books require Adobe Reader version 6 or 7 with Adobe Digital Editions. This is quite troublesome, since my computer has the latest version of Adobe Reader (version 9), and it wouldn't work with version 9. I cannot install previous version without removing version 9.

So I need to take these steps:
1. Uninstall Reader 9
2. Install Reader 7
3. Install Adobe Digital Editions
4. Authorizing my computer to read the DRM books (by registering and logging in with Adobe username/passwo…

Book Review: Enid Blyton's Secret Series

Growing up reading Enid Blyton's books, I am really pleased to find this series again. I set down to read them and was transported back to my childhood times. I knew these books are geared toward young readers, and I was prepared to capture only a portion of the magic I remembered.

To my surprise, I still found them very entertaining. The story is set in England on early 20th century. However, the thrill of these adventures does not lessen, even if I am reading them in the 21st century.

The first book in the series is The Secret Island, which tells of the first adventure the children had. Mike, Nora, and Peggy are treated badly by their aunt and uncle after their parents went missing for 2 years. Their friend, Jack, is not better off, with his parents both passed away. Jack finds a secret island, and the children then plan their escape from the home life they cannot stand.

The second book, The Secret of Spiggy Holes tells of the children's vacation on a coast where smugglers used…