Toronto trip, new job, new videos

Haven’t updated in a month, so here it is. I traveled back to Toronto and Orillia (my hometown) for the first time since Dec 2011. I finally got to visit my friends and family again, which was really nice as I haven’t met my friends especially for a long time. Here are some pictures, including some of the childhood pictures that I drew back then. I’m shocked at how much time I had back then. I’ll never forget my roots, that I came from a poor family in a small rural town in Canada.

My elementary school, Couchiching Heights, Orillia
My elementary school, Couchiching Heights, Orillia
My high school, ODCVI, Orilia
My high school, ODCVI, Orilia
At my alma mater, the University of Toronto
At my alma mater, the University of Toronto
My adorable cat, who is 10 years old now...
My adorable cat, who is 10 years old now…
I drew all the Gundam mobile suits...
I drew all the Gundam mobile suits…
As well as all the DBZ characters...
As well as all the DBZ characters…
As well as all the weapons from every DOS game...
As well as all the weapons from every DOS game…
As well as all the Gundam Wing pilots...
As well as all the Gundam Wing pilots…
As well as all the D&D Dark Sun monsters...
As well as all the D&D Dark Sun monsters…
As well as various superheroes..
As well as various superheroes..
As well as 10 versions of Mew...
As well as 10 versions of Mew…
As well as all the characters from Metal Warriors and One Must Fall 2097
As well as all the characters from Metal Warriors and One Must Fall 2097
As well as all the Digimon..
As well as all the Digimon..
As well as various other monsters..
As well as various other monsters..
As well as all 150 Pokemon...
As well as all 150 Pokemon…
As well as all the DBZ characters AND their transformations
As well as all the DBZ characters AND their transformations

…Yeah I had a lot of time back then as a child. I even created games back then based on this obscure DOS game called Sir Bombalot but basically I would create “pieces” for the game that had different abilities like mimic moves, freeze other pieces, mind control other pieces, move in different patterns, magnetize pieces, explode, etc. It was cool, unfortunately I couldn’t find those pieces that I made as a kid, but I remember doing that.

Future plans

“Only after we lose everything are we free to do anything” – Fight Club

Going to Korea really opened my eyes and changed my life. So much so that I realized that the so called “American Dream” is built all on a life of consumerism. Having a big house, a fancy car, the best gadgets and making a lot of money, that is what is advertised to people. I realized that this is all nonsense. Life is all about experiences, not about making money and consuming. To that end, I’ve been trying hard not to spend any more money on what is not necessary, be a true conservative and rein in my spending. Get rid of all the things that I don’t need. Stay tuned… but my future plans involve renting out my place and moving somewhere else to start over. I need to get away from here. It’s ironic saying this as my dream for many years was to come to California, but now my life has turned a different direction. The next step in my life. It’s better I realize this sooner rather than later.

In other news…
I got a job at Walmart. Yes, the Walmart e-commerce division which manages the website. Having this job means I can finally say that I’ve worked at every level of industry (as my former PEY director once said): Government, Startup, Small company, and Corporation. Getting into a big corporation finally is ironic because I’ve been wanting to find success at this level since my PEY days when my friends all got into IBM and I got rejected. Take that! 5 years later and I’m finally there working for the Fortune #1 company. Can’t get bigger than that. Plus, I get to work remotely, which is awesome for my future plans [hint, hint].

I’ve also got a Korean tutor now. That’s not to say going to Sejong Institute was a bad thing, it is a good place for Korean beginners, but I’m at the point where I really need to work on my conversation skills, listening and speaking, and a personal tutor is the best for that. I feel like it really makes a difference as now I can understand what words Koreans are speaking at a fast pace now, just need to work on the vocabulary part so I can translate it in my head.

I’ve been playing some pretty good Japanese fighting games recently. No not Dead or Alive or Tekken, but ones that focus more on story than fighting. Both BlazBlue Chrono Phantasma and Persona 4 Ultimax are pretty amazing games, both capable fighters but with pretty good stories underneath. They are 2 of the few games that I actually beat. They might be my favorite storyline games since Yakuza 4‘s amazingly twisted storyline and Catherine‘s morally twisted storyline.
I also played Xblaze Code Embryo, my first graphic novel, and it was pretty fun but frustrating when you don’t know why you got a bad ending.

Xblaze Code Embryo, A visual novel
Xblaze Code Embryo, A visual novel

…and I’ve finally switched to Android!! I’ve only used Apple iPhones for 2 reasons: 1) because they are small and compact and 2) because it has a good camera, and now that Apple has switched to larger phones just like Android devices and the cameras for Android devices have gotten better, I’ve finally made the switch.

Sony Xperia Z3C
Sony Xperia Z3C

Yup, I’ve decided NOT to support my beloved Korean companies Samsung and LG this time in favor of the Sony Xperia Z3C because: 1) its got the same footprint as my iPhone5S, 2) 20.7MP camera, 3) waterproof and dustproof, 4) HD audio decoding, 5) microSD slot, 6) 2 day battery life, 7) PS4 remote play
I mean need I say more? This is hands down the best compact Android phone out there right now, better than the Galaxy, LG, HTC One, Huawei, Xiaomi, Lenovo, ZTE, Archos, what have you.
Sony needs to advertise this more. 2+ days of battery life!

Videos
As always, I try to be productive all the time to record videos, and I’ve retired my faithful Canon HFM40 that I’ve been using for over 3 years for outdoor recording and music video recording in favor of my iPhone 5S for outdoor recording and the Sony Music Video Recorder for music video recording. Here’s some gadget reviews and music videos I’ve recorded.

Thoughts about introversion, leaving BT, Ladies Code, Tech

Work
Today is my last day at BitTorrent. I enjoyed working there, I had a cool manager, smart co-workers, I learned a lot of technologies like NodeJS, EpoxyJS, more Backbone and especially payments systems like Paypal and StripeJS, but in the end I guess I was still tired of the monotony. I needed something new and invigorating, I needed to move someplace new. It’s been 4 months already since I was in Korea, and I’m dying to go back already. 2 weeks a year of vacation simply wasn’t enough. It was like being in jail for 50 weeks and having freedom the other 2 weeks.

Tragedy
The tragedy that happened to Korean pop group Ladies Code deeply disturbed me. Two members died in a car accident, the other 3 have to undergo surgery. Still, the fact that they were so young, just beginning their careers and with so much hope to the future, and their sudden death made me realize how fragile life is, that anyone can die at anytime, and I hope we can learn to cherish our loved ones knowing this in the future. Yes, people die all the time, even young people, but the fact is these were celebrities and they were Korean, which hit me hard. Parents should never have to bury their children.

Smartwatches and Smartphones
The Apple Watch finally came out, and as always my opinion on smart watches are, if they have a long lasting battery (> 2 weeks) and is waterproof then I’ll buy it. If not, then they aren’t better than my current watch (a Seiko Kinetic), which charges automatically and is 100m waterproof. Also, I prefer round to square faces. My opinion is that smart watches should only do basic functionality, like show notifications and basic PIM-like functions. Anything more than PDA-like functionality is too much. We use smartphones to do complicated tasks, we’re not using to interacting with a watch other than just looking at it, so anything more than a glance is overdoing it. The only area where I think complicated functionality might be good on a watch is a voice assistant (Siri/Google Now/Cortana) but it shouldn’t respond with more than just the basic answer. The Apple Watch is an example of doing too much (viewing photos on a watch is just ridiculous), but the Meta watch gets it right. Looks good, with basic functionality at a glance. Anything more, just pull out your phone from your pocket.

As for smartphones, I wish more manufacturers would make two sizes, a smaller size and a bigger size. I think 4.7″ is a little bit big for me, coming from a 4″ iPhone 5S, but right now there’s no more options for smaller sizes. Every manufacturer now including Apple has moved to making phones at least 4.7″ in size, and that’s too bad. That’s like saying, lets only make laptops with 15″ screens and discontinue smaller screens because most people don’t like smaller screens. Some people do want smaller screens (either for portability or battery life) and we don’t need the bigger screen.

Introversion
I have always been an introverted person. It’s just built into my DNA. From a young age, I had a hard time making friends. In high school, sometimes I would hide in the school bathroom just to avoid talking to people. I am very awkward in social situations. I don’t like to start conversations. I purposely take longer routes sometimes to avoid meeting people. Sometimes I just like to stay at home and not talk to anyone. I am very much a loner, close friendships are hard to make, and long lasting romantic relationships have never existed for me.

That said, this sort of changed in 2010 when I joined AIESEC. Since then, I’ve been involved in meet ups, couchsurfing, and conversation clubs to meet people. But that’s more or less because I am forced to. In America/Canada, it’s very hard to meet someone unless you actively make an effort. You have to actively join clubs and meet ups and network with people. This is in contrast to Asia, where most people meet from introductions or services.
I am Asian to my core. I dislike having to make an active effort to meet people, and it feels very forced to do that. I’d rather have my friends introduce me to someone, but that culture doesn’t exist here. What’s more, I’m not a very good conversationalist, I don’t know how to keep conversations going. This is something most Americans are good at, and I’m not. I’m very good at following orders, and not very good at leading. I’m very good at listening, but not talking. All this just means, I’m probably a better fit for Asian society (where I was born) than Western society. I just feel like a fish out of water in a society where people constantly reference pop culture, makes jokes, come up with random topics, etc. This has always been the case for me. That’s why most of my friends are Asian or international students.

Pictures
I try to take more pictures these days, because I regret not taking more pictures before. Its sad that I can’t remember anything that happened 4-5 years ago because I have no pictures. Also I have no pictures with my good friends back in Toronto, which is kind of sad. It’s regretful, but better start logging these later rather than never.

Korean women and plastic surgery

korean plastic surgery advertisement

Whenever I meet new people, the topic Korea comes up because I’m studying Korean, and then invariably the topic Korean women come up, then invariably the topic plastic surgery comes up. So let me address some of these questions here so that people know my thinking process and I can just direct them here instead of explaining over and over.

Why do you like Korean women?
I get asked this question because I’m Chinese, and I was born in China, so there must be a reason why I like Korean women. The answer is simply a genetic attraction. No one asks Korean guys why they like Korean women right? China is very big, and being a Manchurian, I have more in common with Koreans than I do with southern Chinese and Taiwanese. I probably even have some Korean blood in me somewhere. So yeah.

Why not Chinese girls?
I can make this statement: the average Korean woman looks better than the average Chinese women. This is true because of a difference in culture, I’m not saying Chinese women are inherently uglier than Korean women, or that there aren’t Chinese women that dress up, but Korean women always wear makeup before they go outside, and they are usually dressed up. I have been to both China and Korea before. There is a big difference in the way they care about their appearance.
Chinese girls tend not to wear makeup, preferring to ‘stay natural’ instead. It’s considered impolite in Korean culture not to wear makeup for women, and you will see very few Korean girls wearing glasses compared to Chinese girls. Also compare the number of women doing plastic surgery in Korea compared to China and tell me, in which country does appearance matter more? Again, this is not criticizing anybody, just go to China and go to Korea and see the difference yourself.

Edit: Besides, this question is not really fair, because what’s wrong with liking someone of a different race? Some people say I’m racist for preferring Korean girls, but they are just as racist for implying that it’s wrong to like someone of a different race. I don’t ask Asian women why they like American guys, so people shouldn’t ask me why I prefer Korean women.

Aren’t you being shallow by saying this?
If I’m shallow, then so must be the millions of Korean guys, and I don’t hear anyone complaining about them. In fact, I hear Korean guys are very popular due to how they act in dramas and movies.

About plastic surgery…

All Korean girls have plastic surgery
No, actually most of my friends did not do plastic surgery. I went to Korea, and I can say that while a lot have done it (mostly for a job or society pressure), a lot didn’t do it either. Let me mention that a lot of Koreans are Christians, about 40% of them, and they are conservative, so they wouldn’t do plastic surgery. Also its very easy to confuse plastic surgery with heavy makeup. Don’t confuse these two – makeup makes a huge difference in the way you look, surgery or not.

Plastic surgery is bad and makes you look fake
The whole point of plastic surgery is to make yourself look better. I don’t know why looking better would be bad? As for being fake, the same can be said about makeup, and people don’t complain about using makeup.

Plastic surgery turns you into a whole different person, just like the advertisements
Yeah, those are advertisements. They show the most extreme cases, as marketing so that people know how good they are at plastic surgery. Doesn’t mean every Korean girl has gone under the knife and come out completely different. Most Korean girls have very minor plastic surgery, usually double eyelid surgery.

Plastic surgery means you will have ugly looking children
Well, I’m not sure if appearance is genetics related, so I’m not sure if being beautiful or ugly will affect your child’s appearance. Also, not every girl who does surgery is ugly. In fact many beautiful girls do surgery to look even more beautiful. And even if genetics matter, and even if you were ugly before, you would still have ugly children, plastic surgery or not. So I don’t get why having plastic surgery would make it any worse. Besides, you could always get plastic surgery for your children.

What if you are older and the side effects of plastic surgery?
When you are older, appearance matters less, and some people have to go back into the clinic to re-do their surgery, but like I said, most Korean girls do very minor plastic surgery.

Tong Zou's Work and Ramblings