Archive for January, 2010

US Economy Update

National Unemployment Rate by county
Receiving this from work email I thought it was a cool app. Away from the techie side a bit, somehow the black squares when showing up they really do look haunting. This is the report from Department of Labor, however. The report by the local Workforce Board would be more reliable.
It’s a bit depressing just to think about how this has all ended up this far, and how much longer the national workforce is suffering. Labor industry is hurt the most. Former auto, utility, and chemical plant employees are tired of being let go. They go back to school for advanced education; others choose to work for fast food or restaurant chains, others wait for better days/chances and extend their UI benefits; some become independent business owners. When one industry suffers the loss, there is always another that gains, or better phrased as “carries the burden”. The universe seems to work that way. America already sees the increasing demand and therefore import of nurses and contracted labor (what we hear from the debate is a reformed policy on visa-ed laborers and immigrants from South America). On the other hand, many ex high-profile professionals become depressed, go into mental breakdowns. Mental health-care professionals are needed now more than ever. Obama has now issued new rules on insurance coverage to include mental healthcare to people insured through their jobs.
To say “TX has added more jobs in the year or the last 2 quarters of 2008” was a ballooning. Yes, there was some addition stimulated by the ARRA fund, and from what I saw it was the temporary addition for summer youth program. Sources from the Texas Enterprise Fund and TX Watchdog group prove that, while the companies or banks who receive stimulus funds have a commitment to not reduce jobs, they don’t always keep their promises. Where they added those people in, we just have to look at teh figures again and find out.
Dislocated workers need not only assistance for just tuition but also for transportation going to school, for their kids in daycare, for housing, and so on. Companies get funded to deliver and retain jobs. Eventually stimulus fund for workforce will run out. Borrowing more from the taxpayers is not a resolution. I hope as stated and suggested to the governor that TX will have leveraged out the funds from other departments which have pending or non-approved or non-necessary projects. As a learning lesson from CA and other states, all state local workforce boards are required to be equipped with strong financial management and service delivery practices. Those states collecting the E/UI tax payments from businesses can manage themselves will manage to deliver workforce service with responsibilities.

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Until two weeks ago I thought “bear with me” was just a normal saying at any time during a normal conversation. Just because I was asked to “bear with” him. Then, this week in the meeting I used that again “bear with me” … My mind happens to have been occupied with “to bear” and “to forbear”. We use these words in our daily life but never realize how powerful those words are. And now… deep thoughts…
So, what does it mean to “bear with” one another? “To bear” as in “bear fruits” or “bear a child” carries a “longsuffering” meaning. To endure, to carry, to produce, to sustain, to carry in thought as in “bear that in mind”. When I ask someone to “bear with me for a few sec”, I must be asking for that person’s patience, understanding, and tolerance.
In Ephesians 4:2, it is to bear with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love. Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God. “Bearing with” someone is when you exercise self-restraint or tolerance with someone else.
To “bear with” another person is to make some allowances for a person who is facing a particular difficulty. It is not, however, simply to “put up with” another person, as some suppose. Nor does it mean to look another way when one has sinned, or to overlook the faults in a person’s life, or to even let yourself taken for granted.
Therefore, a successful relationship is one in which both parties are bearing with each other, toward the mutually beneficial goal of unity. And our unity as Christians actually benefits more than just those specifically in the relationship.
We must be able to put ourselves in the other person’s place, to really hurt with the person who is “hurt” in some terrible incident. We may need to commit our self to this person for a long period of time. One who is longsuffering will “be there” when needed. “Bearing with” someone may be thought of as a prerequisite to helping one bear a burden. These two things are not the same, but they belong together, and the work of forbearing one another is essential if we are to be successful in helping others bear their burdens.
“Forbearing one another in love” is another take on “bearing with” (by Paul in the Bible), helping each other carry burdens of life.
Finally, “love” is essential if we are to be successful in the good work of “bearing with” another. This person must believe in us, and such confidence must begin by his seeing that we believe in him. Love “bears all things” and it “believes all things”.

Bearing and nurturing,
Creating but not owning,
Giving without demanding,
Controlling without authority,
This is love.
— Tao Te Ching, Chapter 10

Perhaps the whole art of happiness in the compromised state, might be compressed into these two maxims – “Bear and forbear” – and “let the husband treat his wife, and the wife treat her husband with as much respect and attention, as he would a strange lady, and she a strange gentleman.” And surely this is not an extravagant requisition.
Quite an inspiration! A big “bear” hug would be a sweet treat I am thinking of now.

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The New Year has already started. January will be gone soon before I know it. I am behind on the workout. I am a bum. Given the excuse of being swamped I allow myself to be less active fitness-wise. Besides, the building is having construction that blocks and dusts up the stairway. I have to delay my daily plan of climbing the stairway of 12 floors. It is one of my new year’s resolutions. I can’t wait till they are done with the construction. My body is in the stage of storing glycogen. I give myself 2 more weeks before I can actually get this plan going to burn extra calories and tone up.
The next step is re-building those muscles that I lost during the past three years. Looking back I miss that muscular body of mine 5 years back, when I just moved down to Houston from Minnesota. Those days of biking and being a gym rat and hard-core training, wow I admire myself back then. My body can’t take the protein powder in now. It gives me light-headedness. I will be in trouble.
On the other hand, I am work-demanded; new staff needs training for new process; projects and travels seen as possibly coming. Add to that I am still counting down on a special mission (possible, I believe). Counting down towards an unknown date is quite a time-extending probability. More than ever do I feel the need to have more time for myself and other meaningful purposes of life. It has to be meaningful in all ways and in evreything I do or put effort in doing… Is there such a thing as perfect timing? I believe there is. Let there ‘d be. I trust my instinct. Emotional, let it be emotional. Let’s not be analytical.
Work-wise, I will have to delegate more work from my department to my data analyst, rather than transition. Anyone would want to keep his/her own job right now. But to work smart takes some skills and some manpower.

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Watching the movie “Meet Mr. Joe Black” puts me in the mood of analysis. First time catching the movie on tv, I missed the first part. So I had to watch it twice to understand it. This is the rework of 1934’s “Death Takes a Holiday”. A young man who has not experienced much with love in life, who just met a doctor woman he had feeling for, dies from the accident. A death soul is ready for rebirth or being reincarnated into human, picked up and entered the deceased young man’s body. A businessman has a few heart attacks as he is reaching his 65th birthday. The death soul has wandered around to find a “substantive” soul to make it a complete “human being”. The death soul then comes to the old businessman, finds him (his soul, actually) “eminently usable” and “having first-rate” life. He picked him for his verve, his excellence, and for his ability to instruct. Knowing it’s not time for the old man to go yet, the to-be-reborn soul therefore chooses him as a guide on the new life by extending the old man’s last days on earth, and becomes his house-guest. This soul also continues the other young man’s fate which is to be with the woman he’d fallen in love with, who is the old man’s daughter.
Hear this and we’d see the mission of “to be alive”:

Looking for that ‘ounce
of excitement’, that ‘whisper of a
thrill’ — What there is no sense
living your life without. You know
what I mean, Bill

That is the main theme of the movie. I believe.
I am into the philosophy of the movie, the stories of love, the death becomes life for a life’s mission – that is to feel love and being in love.
The love of a father (played by Anthony Hopkins) to a daughter (played by Claire Forlani) is so deep that sometimes it’s hard to let go, but expressed so well by him. The father who wants the best for her daughter “you have a future in front of you… I want you to levitate. I want you to sing with rapture and dance like a dervish.” He advised her to “Stay open. Who knows? Lightning could strike”. But at the same time, he also has it loosened up a bit

I know it’s a cornball thing but love is passion, obsession, someone you can’t live without. If you don’t start with that, what are you going to end up with? I say fall head over heels. Find someone you can love like crazy and who’ll love you the same way back. And how do you find him? Forget your head and listen to your heart. I’m not hearing any heart.
Run the risk, if you get hurt, you’ll come back. Because, the truth is
there is no sense living your life without this. To make the journey and not fall deeply in love — well, you haven’t lived a life at all. You have to try. Because if you haven’t tried, you haven’t lived…

In agreement with Susan (the daughter), yes, “Lightning could strike. its so right it scares me.”

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As a consumer, I do have a habit of reading the labels or ingredients though, and even reading into a certain ingredient for my own knowledge. I have wanted to jot down as much as I could from what I learned. But so far I have not spent tremendous amount of time into this yet. So now I am starting out with some self-teaching. Actually I am brought back to college days when I studied chemistry.
On discovering the benefits of fruit/natural acids, I am going through the list of the beauty/natural acids
I read from an online article that cider vinegar can be used as a natural skin cleanser or toner. Cider vinegar is made from fruits containing tartaric or malic acid. I guess it is safe in the sense that I exfoliate my face with a lemon wedge, or wash face with grapefruit juice (avoid the eyes) , and still feel confident that nothing can go wrong.
1. Tartaric acid – from a source, it is found in grapes, apples, pears and tamarinds. But from another source (dermadoctor.com), this is actually a by-product of the fermentation process that takes place while making wine. Tartaric acid holds a unique position within the food industry, but has been showing up in several skin care Neova products line.
2. Malic acid – found in un-ripe apples and green grapes. Yummy, I always love granny apples. While it has no obvious benefits for skin treatments, it has been suggested it may help increase oxygen supply to the muscles for certain diseases such as fibromyalgia.
3. Citric acid – found in citrus fruits, acts as an antioxidant as well as helps stimulate collagen fiber production within the dermis. Lemons, oranges, and other citrus fruits contain high concentrations of citric acid. Its weak acidity helps bleaching unwanted skin discoloration that often accompanies the aging skin process. Exfoliation is not its main function and realistically should not be considered an exfoliator. One note: citric acid sometimes and somewhere is confused with Vitamin C.
4. Fumaric acid – what I found on food/drug labels when I am curious. Fumaric acid is used as a substitute for tartaric acid in beverages and baking powder. Fumaric acid is quite a handy “enhancer”. It is an acidifier, a flavoring agent, a life-extender of candies, gelatin, and beverages, a denture cleaning agent.
Want to double or maximize the volume of your egg-white foam? Add some fumaric acid.
5. Glycolic acid – interestingly, comes from sugar cane and can also be made synthetically. Glycolic acid works in a number of ways, primarily through its exfoliation properties. In addition, glycolic acid helps reduce the surface skin oils and can help remove blackheads and other skin impurities as well as smooth out fine wrinkle lines. Other benefits of glycolic acid include its moisturizing ability; the potential for it to help bleach unwanted skin discoloration; and its ability to help draw other skin treatments more deeply into the skin. Glycolic acid is also thought to help stimulate collagen production within the dermis to some degree. In fact, a recent study suggests that a glycolic/salicylic acid combination product may be more beneficial in acne treatment than 10% benzoyl peroxide. Glycolic acid at high concentration should be administered and used by a well-trained professional only.
Speaking of this, I can harvest some good sugar canes from my mom’s garden and experiment with “sugar cane exfoliator”.
6. Lactic acid – comes from sour milk. An ideal skin softener, lactic acid is frequently used by dermatologists to cut through thick, rough skin. Lactic acid works both as an exfoliator as well as helps hold water within the skin. Dermatologists originally used it as a skin rejuvenation AHA until studies showed that glycolic acid gave superior results for this use. Lactic acid may be combined with other AHAs to help boost product effectiveness.
7. Ascorbic acid – essentially Vitamin C – a sugar acid having antioxidant properties. Found mainly in berry and citrus fruits, and vegetable, plants, animals, and single-cell organisms, so all living animals make it, lack of it, remake it, or die from it. While ascorbic acid is a vital food nutrient for humans (and therefore termed a vitamin), it is a natural liver metabolite in most other animals. The body helps produce collagen which helps to maintain healthy teeth, bones, gums, cartilage, vertebrae discs, joint linings, skin and blood vessels.
AHA (alpha hydroxy acid) is a blanket term for a variety of fruit acids such as Glycolic, Citric, Lactic, Malic and Tartaric.
Whereas, BHA (beta hydroxy acid) is essentially salicylic acid derived from the bark of the willow tree. Why is it a better acne curing acid?
Beta Hydroxy Acids have a larger molecular structure than their cousin, Alpha Hydroxy Acids. The larger molecule size keeps the Beta Hydroxy Acid on the surface of the skin, allowing it to more effectively penetrate and exfoliate within the pore. It works by causing the cells of the epidermis to slough off more rapidly, preventing pores from clogging up, and allowing room for new cell growth.
8. Salicylic acid – also referred to by some sources as aspirin. But there is a lot more than just aspirin. It is a plant hormone. how? Let’s go back to my chemistry days. To make a few Aspirin tablets, we had Salicylic acid ( in powder form) reacted with Acetic Acid. This reaction was called the “hydrolysis”.
There is a strong connection to a number of health risks including death, from the use of processed products containing salicylic acid. Reye’s Syndrome is one that can kill a person or leave them disabled for the rest of their life. If you are aspirin-sentive, do not use these products. Asthma attacks is another risk. Salicylic acid can cause birth defects when given orally in doses about six times higher than the highest dose recommended for topical use in humans.
Again, acids at high concentration should be used by a well-trained professional only.

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In recent years, the gps tracking technology has expanded into different industries – from leisure/travel to cellular communication to vehicle/truck fleet tracking, law enforcement, banking/packaging… “Little Buddy Child Tracker” device sold by Best Buy helps parents track their children ‘s whereabouts. Should we have similar device for tracking partner? About a year ago, fascinated by the gps tracking technology, I mentioned the idea of tracking a human with a chip embedded in human body (the arm, especially). The use of these chips is not new – as far as department of intelligence concerned. We see them popular in many spy and scy movies. The agents for sure do not like much about the control issue. But when it comes to relationship, it is the “trust” issue. The controversial’s kick in. I don’t mean all men cheat. But I believe, men and women cheat. There are women who are faithful and take care of home, kids, and husbands in every way still cheat. When you have that suspicion in mind and can’t find time to fit those questions such as “Where were you tonight?”, “Why is there lipstick on your collar?”, “Who is this phone call to?”, “Why are there unfamiliar charges on the credit card statement?”, “Why aren’t we ever intimate any more?”, on and on…, will this technology help catch a partner who cheats, ensure the suspicious men/women of their partners’ integrity, and keep them entrusted in each other? What if he cheats right in his office/house where his wife expects him to be at that time? Cynical I may be. But integrity is a hard-to-find quality nowadays. Leaders are trained to lead with integrity, but they are also humans at the same time. But wait a minute, aren’t we even more evolved humans?
Bernie Madoff or Tiger Woods or John Edwards are a few example of power-abuse. They cheated “just because they thought they could” (per Bill Clinton) without necessarily thinking of the consequence…
Spyware might help provide evidences. But when the trust is broken to the extent that a gps tracking chip needs to be used, the relationship is fragile or already at the probationary stage – like a form of “punishment” or “jail time”. Communication hurts; emotion dies; slight chance of holy rescue if there is.
The keys are respect and responsibility. We adults need to continually learn the word “respect”. In my opinion a “real man” is somebody who treats his wife with total respect, loves her no matter what and is a good dad to the children they have had together. Being committed to your love takes not only respect and self-respect, but also takes constant work. Each partner in the relationship takes charge of preventing the “cheating” from ever happening. You are responsible for your own act(s). If your act was a mistake, apologize and undo your act, then learn to forgive your self and each other. You both will grow out of that mistake, re-nurture each other so that your relationship will grow stronger. Sometimes things don’t always work the way we expect. Frustration from work from business from life is inevitable. But frustration from between the partners should be eliminated. I would discourage the couples from saying “I am frustrated…”. It can put your partner in sunken feeling before you finish your sentence. Instead, ask questions such as “how would you feel if …” and discuss the “why”, the feelings.

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The Snow Test

It’s a cool test result! 😛

Your Snow Test Says You’re Independent
You feel like something good will happen to you in the next few days.You love to work, especially when work is creative. You have the makings of a successful artist.You are an independent, individualistic person. You thrive when you’re doing your own thing.Your biggest worry in life is your family. You stay up at night thinking about them.When it comes time to relax, you have no problem letting go. You are already pretty relaxed as is!


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