Archive for January, 2004

Date: January 31st, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jiang1 – River

江湖 – Jiang1 Hu2 – Rivers and Lakes

武林 – Wu3 Lin2 – Martial Forest

According to my extensive research, 江湖 ⊃ 武林

Date: January 30th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Li3 – Reason, Logic, Arrange

修理Xiu1 Li3 – Repair

The other day my website crashed randomly! I was getting an error message from MySQL: “Can’t open file <SOME_TABLE>.MYD (errno: 145)”. A few minutes of Googling revealed that this sometimes happens, and to fix it all I had to do was say “REPAIR TABLE <SOME_TABLE>”. It worked! But strange.

I checked the logs, but nothing suspicious was going on. It apparently just broke. I wonder if it’s some kind of deadlock? Cause actually two tables were in that same state, and MySQLAdmin reported them both “in use”.

Date: January 29th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zhuo1 – Desk, Table

桌上影音系統 – Zhuo1 Shang4 Ying3 Yin1 Xi4 Tong3 – Desk Top Video Audio System

Date: January 27th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Fei1 – Falling Snow and Rain

This is what I see out my window right now. That is, if I understand what this character means.

Date: January 26th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Yuan2 – Original, Raw, Unprocessed

原子 – Yuan2 Zi3 – Atom, Atomic

I like this expression, but 中文.com thinks it’s only used in Taiwan:

原子筆 – Yuan2 Zi3 Bi3 – Atomic Pen — Ball Point Pen

Date: January 25th, 2004
Cate: Regular
1 msg

Martian Time Zones

A mind bomb in today’s NASA Mars press conference:

Q. Have any of you slept?

Pete: we slept for three years. I got 4 hours.

Arthur: I got about an hour last night.

Steve: landings are special. Once you get into Marstime, it’s fine. I got into the Gusev groove. I was getting 6,7, 8 hours sleep. What’s hard is changing rovers. The jump to Opportunity was a 12 hour time zone change and that’s hard. I’ve been sleeping in little 2 and 3 hours.

I already knew that the crew back on Earth is operating on Mars time, sleeping and waking as the Spirit rover does, with 24.6 hour days. What surprised me is now that Oppurtunity has landed on exactly the other side of the planet, they’ve had to switch their schedules 12 martian time zones to stay in sync. Whoa!

By the way, Asa Dotzler has the best Mars rovers coverage on the Internet.

Date: January 25th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
1 msg

– Cai2 – Money, Wealth

新年快樂 – Xin1 Nian2 Kuai4 Le4 – Happy New Year!

恭喜發財 – Gong1 Xi3 Fa1 Cai2 – May you get rich!

Today we celebrated Chinese New Year with Jenny’s family and played the 紅包 – Hong2 Bao1 – Red Envelope game. In this game, you give red envelopes full of money to unmarried people who are younger than you, and to people of preceeding generations. (My studies on this topic have shown that the red envelope game is like Monopoly: Every family may have different rules.) This game has historically been a net win for Jenny and I. Jenny’s family had relatively few kids, so we only had to give out to her parents and grandmother and a few random tiny children, but got red envelopes from everybody and their uncle (literally). This year the realization that we’re at long last married has finally sunk in to her entire family and we got nothing! And the proliferation of kids meant that we were handing them out left and right. A crushing defeat.

I’m sure ‘red envelope strategy’ is a well studied subject and factors in to many family planning decisions among Chinese people. But I’m just a novice.

Date: January 25th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
2 msgs

– Sao3 – Sweep

I listened to the last half hour of the landing on Mars tonight live. Wow! Cruise stage seperation (avionics team: “thank you for flying with us and hope you had a pleasant journey”)… atmospheric entry… deceleration… Parachute deploy! Radar lock on ground! Retro rockets firing!! WE ARE BOUNCING ON MARS!! We are ROLLING on Mars! …and rolling… and rolling… and rolling… and rolling… and rolling……. and … probably have stopped.

When it was pretty clear that the landing was a success, they handed out brooms in mission control.

Date: January 24th, 2004
Cate: Geekism
9 msgs

Feed on Feeds: Now with Atom!

Feed on Feeds now supports Atom! I was able to do it in about 3 lines of code, using this experimental new version of MagpieRSS.

To upgrade: Download FoF 0.1.2, unpack to a new directory, and then copy over your config.php.

Date: January 24th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Gan1 – Dry

乾杯 – Gan1 Bei1 – Dry Cup — “Cheers!” or “Bottoms Up!”

Date: January 22nd, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Qun2 – Herd, Flock, Group

– Huan2 – Surround, Encircle, Ring

– Ti3 – Body, System, Field

Class tonight: Groups and Rings and Fields, oh my! I feel like I’m going to be back in Real Analysis soon. ∀∀∃∀!

(I know that those three words mean Group, Ring and Field in the mathematical sense from this page. I found it the same way I find lots of specialized words: Search google for “ring field group”, and then restrict results to Chinese only. You can find a lot of very specific definitions that way.)

Date: January 21st, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ku1 – Cry

This character is so cute! Doesn’t it look like a person with huge eyes crying?

Date: January 20th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Lai2 – Come

I told Jenny I couldn’t tell what today’s word of the day is. She said “慢慢來” – Man4 Man4 Lai2 – Slow Slow Come — Take It Easy, Be Paitient. And it worked!

Date: January 20th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Fang2 – House

房間 – Fang2 Jian1 – Room

We helped Yvonne move into her new room today. It’s in a house, near Main Street, Flushing. She’s living the typical student life: a tiny room, with a tiny bed raised up off the floor by plastic crates.

She then took us to some surprisingly good food in Flushing. We went down some stairs to a dingy 99¢ store below street level, full of cheap hangers, mouse traps, and rainbow colored feather dusters. But in the back corner was a restaurant! There were a few ladies chatting with the regular customers, busily making dumplings, with a small counter, some boiling pots, and a grill. We got an especially good 炸醬麵 there. I have no idea what the restaurant is called, or if it even has a name.

Date: January 19th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Ye1 – Coconut

椰子 – Ye1 Zi5 – Coconut

馬卡龍 – Ma3 Ka3 Long2 – Macaroon

Date: January 18th, 2004
Cate: Video Games
3 msgs

Kyou mo genki ni Mario ga hashiru, hashiru

Ever wondered what the lyrics to the Mario song are? Listen! (full lyrics and translation here)

That’s an excerpt from MARIO & ZELDA BIG BAND, the latest video game concert in Japan. If you know about BitTorrent, you can get the whole thing here, from #gamemp3s. And if you search those file sharing networks, you might even be able to find a copy of the DVD. It’s great! You can see Shiggsy HIMSELF playing:

Nice t-shirt he’s got there.

Date: January 17th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Gan1 – Liver

肝臟 – Gan1 Zang4 – Liver Organ — Liver

Yuck. Liver. This is also scary:

心肝 – Xin1 Gan1 – Heart Liver — Darling

Date: January 17th, 2004
Cate: Regular
57 msgs

I hate my cable box!

I have a Motorola cable box, from Comcast. And I hate it. IT SHOWS ME ADS ALL THE TIME! Every time you change a channel, it shows you an ad. It also shows ads whenever you check the program guide. The menus are full of ads. It pretty much shows you ads every time it gets a chance. It is also incredibly slow at changing channels, the slowest one I’ve ever had. I always assume it’s the ad processing that’s slowing it down and get madder and madder the more I use it.

Today it came up with a new trick. There was a little red light on the front panel, that I’ve never seen before. It was next to a label, “NEW MESSAGE”. Being incredibly stupid, I get all excited. I’d seen the “messages” feature before when I did my normal depth-first traversal of the menus when I first got the box. But it was always empty. I quickly turned on the TV, went into the menus and selected “VIEW MESSAGE”.

You probably already know what happened next. It was another ad! “Don’t miss WWE Wreslemania XIXICXIIV! THIS SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY!”

Date: January 17th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
8 msgs

– Jing3 – Well

After taunting us with the latest Jeon Ji-Hyun movie (unwatchable, because of territorial lockout (CURSE TERRITORIAL LOCKOUT!)), Walde gave us another movie to watch:

盲井 – Mang2 Jing3 – Blind Shaft

Date: January 16th, 2004
Cate: Regular
1 msg

But… I’m… the VOICE….. of Priceline!

Who could possibly replace WILLIAM SHATNER as the spokesman of

Date: January 16th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Mi4 – Secret, Dense

密碼學 – Mi4 Ma3 Xue2 – Secret Symbol Study — Crypography

Or maybe 密碼學 is Cryptology? I can never get that straight. If I remember right Crypography (making codes) + Cryptanalysis (breaking codes) = Cryptology.

Date: January 15th, 2004
Cate: Video Games
4 msgs


Why why why why do the Japanese keep all the best games for themselves? Why can’t we get one… just ONE of these super games that they’ve been hoarding? Curse Nintendo and their territorial lockout!

actual gameplay 200x faster
(click for frenetic Japanese commercial)

NINTENDO GAMECUBE DONKEY KONGA! I don’t care that it’s a complete blatant shameless rip off of Taiko no Tetsujin, I still want it. It has screaming monkeys. And you clap!

(thanks to Waxy (Waxy in the news) for finding this one)

Date: January 14th, 2004
Cate: Regular

More conspiracies: Halliburton developing technology to drill on Mars!

Sudden interest in Mars because of…? Here’s a story at Petroleum News

Briggs said NASA has been working with Halliburton, Shell, Baker-Hughes and the Los Alamos National Laboratory to identify drilling technologies that might work on Mars.


Halliburton and Baker-Hughes are working on some very advanced systems, Briggs said, some so advanced they aren’t willing to talk much about them.

Date: January 14th, 2004
Cate: Regular
1 msg

Halo conspiracy!

Free Press International has picked up on the whole halo thing (more halos). It’s some kind of international conspiracy! I suppose it just could be a running joke / handy way to get your picture published. But conspiracies are more fun.

Date: January 14th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Jing1 – Choice, Fine, Essence

精神 – Jing1 Shen2 – Essence God — Spirit (MER-A)

Current location: Gusev Crater, Mars.

機會 – Ji1 Hui4 – Chance Able — Opportunity (MER-B)

Current location: Space!

ETA on Mars: January 25th. Landing site: Gray Hematite rich area of Terra Meridiani, Mars.

Who cares about Gray Hematite?

赤鐵礦 – Chi4 Tie3 Kuang4 – Red Iron Ore — Hematite

Date: January 13th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Luo2 – Catch, Gauze

I was hoping to find some meaning in the title 羅生門Rashomon. I knew that is gate, so I was expecting something like GATE OF TRUTH, except more subtle and cool. But it’s just the name of a famous ruined gate in Kyoto. Oh well.

(I guess I’m kind of bending the rules by using these names of Japanese movies as Chinese words of the day.)

Date: January 13th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Zhu4 – Help, Assist

幫助 – Bang1 Zhu4 – Assistance, Aid

Somebody wrote in and told me that my Chinese/English dictionary has been very helpful to them in translating some important documents. Alright! Victory dance!

Date: January 11th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day
6 msgs

– You4 – Excellent

In Chinese, only means excellent. But in Japanese it can also mean actor. So 千年女優 – Qian1 Nian2 Nu3 You4 – Thousand Year Woman Excellent doesn’t exactly make sense when interpreted in Chinese. But as Japanese, it means Millennium Actress, which is a great movie. See it!

Date: January 11th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Chuai4 – Kick

is new to me. I already knew – Ti1 – Kick, but learned from this song, x 5.

Jenny says the difference between and is the direction. is kicking up or forwards, and is kicking down, or stomping forwards. You’d down a door, but a soccer ball.

Date: January 10th, 2004
Cate: Regular


part of a continuing series

Date: January 10th, 2004
Cate: Regular


Here’s my TODO list for 2004:

  • Real Life
    • Get Master’s degree.
      • To do this, complete final class and seminar.
        • To do this, stop wasting time working on stupid TODO lists and get back to work.
    • Then: Go on big huge vacation.
  • Online
    • Upgrade to WP1.0
    • Enhance word of the day
      • Add features to make each entry more useful (links for dictionary lookup, cross reference between words, pronunciation guide, more meta data.)
      • Make it easier for me to publish. There should be a word of the day wizard that suggests words I haven’t done yet.
    • Spam filtering
      • Flip the switch that consigns spam comments to oblivion. I think it works!
      • Release spam filter.
    • Feed on Feeds
      • Finish and release 0.2.
      • Then: Do templates, plug-in system, Atom, and a non-PHP API.
Date: January 10th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Shi1 – Lion

南北獅王 – Nan2 Bei3 Shi1 Wang2 – North South Lion King, AKA Lion vs Lion or Roar Of The Lion

南北獅王 was tonight’s movie. It was great! Slightly slow in the middle and towards the end, but the conclusion MORE than made up for it. I’m going to talk about the ending, so if you don’t want it ruined stop reading now.

—–8< —SPOILERS—-8<—–CUT HERE—–8<—-

This movie has a similar plot to lots of other old Chinese movies: A relative nobody gets all mixed up in the battle between the Qings and the loyalists of the old Ming dynasty. There’s always some list of rebels that must be prevented from falling into Qing hands, or a great hero who must be protected. The nobody is usually really really good at Kung Fu for some reason. There’s usually lots of twists and turns, plenty of double- and triple-crossing, bad guys pretending to be good, setbacks, etc. But in the end, the main guy is usually almost successful in what he has to do. Almost.

This movie was no exception. There are really two main guys, one who is honest and good at Kung Fu, and another guy who is more tricky. At first, the tricky guy is using the honest guy for personal gain. But later, they form a friendship. The good guy is somehow entrusted with this list of rebels that the Qings must not get. He hides it, and fights a million battles. In fact, they guy who he is supposed to deliver the list to turns out to be a Qing himself! But, the two guys figure this out, and preserve the list. While fighting the main bad guy, the one guy who is really good at Kung Fu dies. But the other guy escapes. As the good guy is dying, he tells the tricky guy where the list is hidden and who to give it to. The tricky guy makes this big long speech about how he never meant to hurt people with his tricks, he just needed money, but now he’s seen the light, he’s going to be honest and help his country by delivering the list.

The final scene of the movie takes no more than 10 seconds: He goes and gets the list, and is on his way to deliver it, when out of nowhere, the Qing army shows up! The general yells “NOBODY ESCAPES THE QINGS! FIRE ARROWS!” All the soldiers fire flaming arrows into this guy, and the last shot of the movie is him flying backwards, full of arrows, and on fire. Then it says “THE END”. Before he even hits the ground! I LOVE IT!

Date: January 8th, 2004
Cate: Regular
1 msg

Another false alarm?

Or is it finally for real this time? I watched the entire last stupid State of the Union speech because it was rumored he was going to mention space. Instead I got:

All told, more than 3,000 suspected terrorists have been arrested in many countries. Many others have met a different fate. Let’s put it this way — they are no longer a problem to the United States and our friends and allies. (Applause.)

It does sound pretty real, though. And here’s 8 million more stories.

The rough plan, which sounds quite ambitious: Finish the space station. Then junk the shuttles and work on this new CEV: “Crew Exploration Vehicle”. It starts testing in 2007. Back slowly away from the space station, and focus on returning to the Moon, starting in 2013. Establish a permanent Moon base, and then start thinking about sending people to Mars.

I hope this is all going to be backed up with some well thought out rationale when it’s actually announced. But who wouldn’t get excited over a Moon base?!?!?

Date: January 8th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Bu4 – Department, Section

部落格 – Bu4 Luo4 Ge2 – Blog

台灣部落格 – Tai2 Wan1 Bu4 Luo4 Ge2 – Taiwan Blog

In fact, 台灣部落格 is the top result for 部落格 right now. But you can find a lot more Chinese language blogs by searching for that, like this one, who I just noticed linking to me today.

Date: January 8th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– You2 – Travel, Roam

遊戲 – You2 Xi4 – Game

Nate won.

There’s also 遠遊 – Yuan3 You2 – Far Travel — Trip. But that’s still in the planning stages.

Date: January 6th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Shang4 – Above, Upper, Get Up

上海 – Shang4 Hai3 – Above Sea — Shanghai

from Greg Wade’s Shanghai Pictures

Shanghai always looks very strange and futuristic to me. Maybe we’ll go there this year… I wonder if it will be a problem that they have their own language, Shanghainese.

Date: January 6th, 2004
Cate: Geekism


Looks like the Minitrue got to the famous Apple “1984″ ad.

superbowl 1.6.84 commercial ipod nonreference doubleplusungood rectify

Date: January 5th, 2004
Cate: Chinese Word of the Day

– Qian1 – Move, Migrate

A movie mentioned that somehow Mencius’s mother (known as 孟母 – Meng4 Mu3 – Meng Mother) is considered like the paragon of motherhood. I asked Jenny about it and she mumbled 孟母三遷 – Meng4 Mu3 San1 Qian1 – Meng Mother’s Three Moves. I did a bit of googling and managed to find the story. About Mencius’s mother, and the famous three moves:

   Legend says that the name of Mencius’ mother was Chang-shih and that she changed her residence three times on account of her concern for Mencius.
   At first they lived near a cemetery, and the young Mencius amused himself with acting the various scenes which he witnessed at the tombs. “This”, said his mother, “ is no place for my son ;”—and she moved to a house in the market­place. But the change was no improvement. The boy took to playing the part of a salesman, boasting about his wares, and exchanging light chaff and banter with customers.
   His mother sought a new house, and found one at last close by a public school. There her child’s attention was caught by the various exercises in correct manners by which the scholars were taught, and he endeavored to imitate them. The mother was satisfied. “This,” she said, “is the proper place for my son.”

In my searching I found that this 孟母 is no joke when it comes to being a good mother: She’s in this list of the top 10 best mothers of ALL TIME, and is even a candidate to have a theme park built in her honor!

Based on hillside, river valley and lake, a number of entertainment activities suitable to females, mothers and children will be prepared, such as wit game, handicraft and water activities.