August 28, 2005

Poem Reading #1 by Bruce Lin

I was surprised to listen to Kuo Chu, Chih Wei, Hui Ming, and Hui Ling reading the poem. Their poem readings were way beyond my expectation. They had practiced reading the poem and presented us with nice productions. I know little about poems, and I added poem reading onto the pronunciation course because…well…why not? It seemed fun.

I wanted to use the course to make people interested in English, and funny that these four people’s poem reading made me interested in studying poetry even more.

The following are my suggestions on their readings of the first poem, Morning XXVII:

Kuo Chu

Kuo Chu was the first one in the class to step on stage. He did not hurry to finish the reading (people normally tend to read very fast because of stage fright), and he did carefully inject emotion into the reading. Every word was flowing out clearly. Voice soothing. He can graduate now.

Mispronounced words: round, lines, night, rosy, withdraw, tunnel, clothing

Chih Wei

Chih Wei marched to the front and read the poem like a soldier. Every word was hammered out. His reading was more like a slogan reading than a poem reading. He needed to add some romantic tinge to his voice to interpret the sexy poem, which should not be difficult. Chih Wei’s English was the clearest of all. Good composure on stage.

Mispronounced words: small, round, chores, dressed

Hui Ming

The first thing Hui Ming should do is turn up the volume of her voice, because reading aloud is about getting the audience to feel the emotion. It’s okay to mispronounce words. Her reading is somewhat like a little bird chirping. She also needed to have intonation in her reading. That said, the poem was smoothly rendered and her practice had showed some results.

Mispronounced words: naked, simple, wheat, vines, spacious, nails, curved, rosy, born, world, tunnel, dressed

Hui Ling

Hui Ling’s voice was bright, natural, and unforced. She read the poem with tender confidence and it was rendered beautifully. Not many things to be picked about. All she needs to do is continue to read more because she already has good basics. Hope her restless boy can learn from her.

Mispronounced words: naked, round, nails, rosy, born, withdraw, underground, world, tunnel, dressed.

Remember two things when you read: (1) read every word well (then there is a possibility to read the whole sentence well); (2) read the whole thing with emotion, life, and soul. (In other words, don’t sound like a robot)


August 26, 2005

PC vs. Mac

You might have run into the same situation like me before; that is, using Windows 3.0, 3.1, or 95--the system always crashed in the middle of night when you were working on an important file. Thus you got to start everything over which made you go panic but couldn't anything about it. At the same time, you often heard people saying how good the Apple computer was, with its fancy look and stable working environment. With the innovation of the new Windows operation system, I think now it is hard to say which guy is better than another.

In the old days, a single crashed file could cause the whole windows to halt till users reboot the computer, yet the Macintosh seemed to handle the problem much better-- it smartly shut down one program in question, so the users wouldn't have to worry about losing all the data. Now Windows XP has more or less overcome the problem. Take me for example, I have barely rebooted my computer for any serious sysem crashes since I installed the new version of Windows in my computer.

Another concern that people in Taiwan would rather choose PC than Mac is due to its high price. Frankly speaking, people can go to NOVA to pick up the parts they want for assembling a dreamboat PC on their own with only half of the price of buying a MAC. Mac is pricey anyway.

Both PC and MAC are gaining ground in the technological world, so it is almost impossible for Mac to put nail in the coffin of Windows or vice versa. Users just get either one of their choice, in any case. They do compare now.

run into 碰到
crash 電腦當機
go panic 發狂
halt 停止
reboot the computer 重新開機
shut down 關掉
pricey 昂貴的
gain ground 進步
(to) put nail in the coffin of sb/ st 致某人/某物 失敗
vice versa 反過來說
They do compare. 兩者可以比較

August 24, 2005

A quick notice for contributors

Since not so many of you would like to contribute your works to this blog, I decided to erase the names on the list but only remained those who had ever posted articles right here before. If you are willing to share your writing, please inform me through email. I will formally invite you to be one of the contributors of this blog.

August 23, 2005

Wedding preparations

Preparing for a wedding varies in different cultures. Since my brother tied the knot in Taiwan and I did it in the U.S., it's kind of fun to contrast our wedding preparations at this point.

To prepare for a wedding is not only a big deal but an enough trouble for the young couples. One thing for sure, we both didn't get married through arranged marriage which used to happen a lot in the past. However, having an arranged marriage has been a rare case to date.

As for proposing marriage to our better halves, frankly speaking, I was not that romantic to ask for my wife's hand in marriage, let alone pop the question. I guess thinking back to the moment everything just went fine. My brother just did it in an opposite way, though. He planned a fantastic scene in a luxury restaurant where he asked his girlfriend if she would like to spend the rest of her life with him. The outcome was of course incredible-- a shocked fiancee-to-be with ecstasy on her face couldn't believe what she'd just heard from his boyfriend's mouth. Come on...that's just the old hat. Never in a thousand years would I do that.

The parents of the groom and bride all approved of the fact that the wedding would be taken place with no dowry to give and no extravagant expenses spent in advance of the wedding. Therefore the most costly jobs would be the wedding photos and the banquet. He threw it at the Mall in Taipei, and mine just got hold in Cupertino, California, in a Chinese restaurant.

Though there weren't either bachelor party or bachelorette party hold before the wedding, I think our weddings are still the best memory in our minds.

August 18, 2005

Pimples and Acne

We all have the same nightmarish experience popping the pimples on our face. It is always a bummer when we get a few zits on our face before going out with friends. So, we usually end up watching TV at home because we dread people seeing us as a crater-face or pizza-face. Making matters worse, some girls try covering them up with make-up so that it makes things worse since the oil glands are blocked more seriously.

We should never underestimate the negative sway that pimples or acne can have on us. It may eventually lead to the psychological impact such as being self-conscious, introverted behavior, or a loss of self-confidence.

If you suffer from getting pimples all the time, you should consult a doctor who can give you the best advice on how to prevent pimples from happening again.

pimple 青春痘
acne 粉刺
nightmarish 惡夢的
pop 擠
bummer 掃興的事
dread + Ving 害怕
oil glands 油脂
underestimate 低估
negative sway 負面的影響
lead to 導致
psychological impact 心理衝擊
self-conscious 難為情
introverted behavior 內向行為
a loss of self-confidence 自信心喪失

August 16, 2005

Crazy two, three, four......

As I looked back to the old days living in the US, my manager ever told me that a kid in the age of two was really a handful. Now I would like to make a little revision on that-- Whatever age a kid is in, it is always a handful.

It is a real struggle to rear a child. After a baby was born, parents had to spend countless time taking care of it. Being such a caretaker is not a part-time job; it is a life-time commitment in stead. You always have to worry about your baby, as it may fall down any minute or try eating something it found on the ground. Whatsoever, you always keep an eye on it in order not to see him get hurt.

When it gets older, it is about time to tell him/ her what is right or wrong. In the meanwhile, you have to be a role model for your kid. If you out slip four-letter word when a driver cut you off on highway, you will find a copy cat in your backseat all of a sudden. Monkey see, Monkey do. The best way to instill morality is for a parent to set the right example.

Have you got the picture of it, future parents here?

looked back 回顧
a handful 淘氣難管之人
struggle 麻煩的事
rear 養育
life-time commitment 終生的承諾
role model 模範角色
out slip four-letter word 說出四字髒話
a driver cut one off 駕駛超某人的車
Monkey see, Monkey do. 有樣學樣
instill morality 灌輸道德感
set the right example 以身作則

August 15, 2005

MSN + Yahoo Messenger

I don't even have the foggiest idea that MSN Messenger is different than windows Messenger. What? What am I talking about? I am saying, I've been always thinking that there is a MSN Messenger installed in my computer for long. But, actually it is not-- it is just the Windows Messenger instead of MSN Messenger. They look so alike by their icons, interfaces and so many other similar features. They share the same appearance just because they were all created by Microsoft.

In a way, I think Windows Messenger is just a simplified version of MSN Messenger. Frankly speaking, now that I have found MSN Messenger is so powerful a tool for online chat, that I just made up my mind that I will leave both Yahoo and MSN Messenger on all the time. If you want to join me in talking in English, don't forget to send me an invitation now. My MSN account is

August 12, 2005

Job hunting advice

It goes without saying that we all have a bundle of nerves before going to a job interview. Especially if we are just fresh from school, we will undoubtfully feel wet behind the ears about finding a job. Some experts suggest that the job hunters should take a practice run to the company where the interview will be hold and that will for sure release some stress.

Practicing questions for the interview is also a must-do. Job applicants can refer to some books about the dos and don'ts of job interviews and research the possible questions that may be raised during the talk with the interviewers. Memorize or rehearse them for several times but don't make ourselves like a robot.

It can be a plus if we dress for success. The interviewer wouldn't like to see us seated in front of him/ her dressing like a tourist or the one who is being rewarded by Nobel Prize. Between being overdressed and underdressed, there is a cut-off point we should know about.

During the interview, we should play up our strength but not build up ourselves too much. If we brag ourselves too much, we may be thought an unrealistic worker so that we will have less chance of being employed. Tell the interviewers about our aspirations for our job, and how we will see ourselves three years from now. The interviewer wishes to hire a spring chicken who is good at setting his/ her sights.

Besides, things like eye contact, speaking tone, body language and posture are also important for a job hunter. We should always remember the old saying that goes, "It's always better to err on the side of conservatism."

It goes without saying 不用說
have a bundle of nerves 緊張
feel wet behind the ears 生疏
take a practice run 先預習去一趟
must-do 必須做的
dos and don'ts 該與不該
dress for success 穿著得體
overdressed 穿的太隨便
underdressed 穿的太正式
cut-off point 分寸
play up 強調
build up 吹捧
aspirations 抱負
spring chicken 年輕人
setting his/ her sights 設定目標
It's always better to err on the side of conservatism. 保守一點犯錯

August 10, 2005

A new way to contact me.

Most of you always complain that it is hard to find me at my "Chat room" online. Sure you can't, because I don't go there often now. In order to help you find me on internet, I suggest you now try putting my account name in your Yahoo Messenger contact list. I guarantee you that from now on, as long as I surf the internet, I will leave the messenger on at all times. I recently found the new Yahoo Kimo Messenger has a lot of new features that really come in handy for me. Since it is such a good guy to play with, why not taking the full advantage of it. My Yahoo account is See you there soon.

August 08, 2005

Night markets in Taiwan

One of the images most foreigners have of Taiwan must be the bustling night markets. Visitors can find them located left and right throughout the island. So many local delicacies can be found in any night market here-- Rou Geng (肉羹), Stinky Tofu, Lu Rou Fan (滷肉飯), Oh Ah Jian (蚵仔煎), Chua Bing/ Shaved ice (刨冰), and just to name a few. For those who would like to satisfy their oral craving, the night markets are the place they can't miss.

In a night market, visitors can not only shop for food but also the variety of merchandises such as clothes, accessories, shoes, bags, and even the pirated goods if you are "in luck". You will see sometimes the things for sale are not priced, or there may be a price tag on it. But, that is only a asking price. You still can work thing out with the vendors if you really want to get it. You can haggle the price down to ten to twenty percent off the original price. In general, rounding it down to the nearest hundred is accepted by both sides. Just be warned if you are an outsider--you might be burned if some vendors want you to shell more bucks out.

So, when you pay a visit to the night market next time, don't forget to shop around before buying it, and always bargain with them. Have a good time.

bustling 喧鬧的
left and right 到處
local delicacies 本地美食
to satisfy their oral craving 解饞
pirated 盜版的
haggle the price down 殺價
in luck 走運
price tag 標價
asking price 原價
rounding it down to the nearest hundred 百位數後的零頭去掉
outsider 外來者
be burned 被騙
shell more bucks out 多花錢
shop around 貨比三家
bargain with 討價還價

August 04, 2005

Stay tuned, in one's mind, and on one's mind

One of my students in class asked me the following questions:

  1. Can " Stay Tuned" be used for watching TV as well?
  2. What are the differences between "in my mind" and "on my mind"?

Thanks to the Longman Web dictionary that helped me with the answer to the questions that tasks my brain a bit.

  1. "Stay tuned" can be used for watching or listening to the same television channel or radio station. Or, when you work on some project that is pending for more suggestions, you stay tuned with it.
    * The news anchor always says, "Stayed tuned. We will be right back after this (commercial break).
  2. "in my mind " means you have some idea or thoughts saved "in" your brain.
    * I think I have a better picture in my mind.
  3. on my mind
    a) Something on my mind means that I have been bothered by something happened to me or something makes me worry about.

    *He looked as if he
    had something on his mind.
    b) if something is on my mind, that is what I am thinking about:
    *There is a song by the name of "You are always on my mind." meaning "You are just the one I want" or "You are just what the doctor ordered." It never refers to that you bother me so much.