Bloody Home Remedy

After coming back from our camping trip at Tahoe, I had a stomach ache which got worse over time. My hands and feet got colder and my face was turning white (whiter that is), bad signs. When all the usual over-the-counter medicine didn't work, I asked my wife to bleed my thumbs.

Bleeding the thumb is a traditional korean home remedy for upset stomach with symtoms I described above. The practice is common enough in Korea that you can buy a specially designed needle at korean drug stores. Outwardly, it looks like a pen but when you press the button at the back, a needle darts out quickly to punch a tiny hole. In absense of such a device, you can just use a needle or anything sharp and pointy.

Before bleeding the thumb, you have to push bad blood toward the thumb you are tapping. This is difficult to explain but it is done by sweeping one's hand across the body toward the thumb. While one hand is doing that, the other hand holds the thumb at the bottom to keep the bad blood from flow away. A few sweep is enough. Once this is done, the thumb should look really red. Now bend the thumb toward the palm and punch a hole just above the thumbnail. If it was effective, you should see really dark blood coming out. If it is done well, your stomatch should feel as if someone pushed the flush button.

I ended up bleeding both of my thumbs. My wife is not that good at it so there was no flushing. Still, my hands and feet got warmer and my face returned to normal color. Pain subsided as well so I was able to watch Kung Fu Hustle with my wife.

Anyhow, I don't know how it works but I do know that it does help if it is not abused. You should not be bleeding your thumbs repeatedly. If it didn't work the first time, it won't work the second time.

Another effective yet less bloody korean home remedy is putting a grain of rice or a small piece of rock under a bandaid to ease throbbing pain. My guess is that it creates noise in the nerve system that interferes with the throbbing pain.

Camping Again

I'll be leaving for the last camping trip of the summer today. Its somewhere on the coast of Lake Tahoe, not sure exactly where because I am just the pack mule. My wife does all the camping trip planning you see. In fact, I forgot about this trip until she reminded me yesterday. Like I said, I am an ass but, thankfully, I was smart enough to find a wife who forgives easily. Hee haw.

Ubuntu on Dell Inspiron 8000

I am downloading Ubuntu 5.04 now to install on my old Dell Inspiron 8000 which is I no longer use because XP performance suddenly plummetted to an unusuable state a few months ago. I'll update this post as the Unbuntu experience unfolds. It'll be a while because I am writing code today and can spare only compilation breaks.

After downloading and burning the install CD ISO image, I had moment of doubt so I tried the 'live' version which runs Ubuntu without installing. After listening to the CD drive grind away for ten minutes, I landed on the Ubuntu gnomish desktop. Hmm. Not bad at all.

So now I am in midst of actually installing Ubuntu. The hard drive was wiped a few minutes ago so all I can do is cross my fingers and half-smile nervously.

3 hours after installation

Install took a long time, very long time, long enough for me to watch House of Flying Daggers. This surprised me and made me suspect that XP might not have been the culprit behind the sudden slow problem. My suspicion was confirmed when I ran some programs after the movie/installation. Dog slow. I mean dead dog slow.

When I first ran into the sudden slow down problem, I ran every damn diagnostic program I could find and every one of them said the laptop hardware was just fine. And that made sense because the laptop worked perfectly, as perfectly as paint drying on LCD screen. So I figured it was the butler that did it but I may have resurfaced over an innocent butler.

By googlish luck, I ran across this item in Bay Wolf's Inspiron BIOS FAQ when I went hunting for some clues.

Q: When performing any task that uses a lot of processor power, the fan kicks on. Then the entire system slows to a crawl. Restarting doesn't help. When I turn off the computer, wait a minute and then turn it back on, the system is back to normal. What is causing this?

A: Press Fn+Z together. If the cpu speed returns and the fans turn off or cycle, then it is a BIOS cpu temp reading routine failure. First try resetting the BIOS to factory defaults – Press F9 or Alt+F in the BIOS. If that doesn't stop it, then you will need to upgrade your BIOS. This is especially true for the I8000 and I8100 notebooks. If there is not an updated version of the BIOS, then you will need to downgrade your BIOS to a previous one until a version of the BIOS is released that corrects this problem.

If the problem really is a BIOS cpu temp reading routine failure, you can trigger the problem in the offending BIOS by either suspend or hibernate the notebook, then return. The fans will come on and cpu usage goes to 100% – things run VERY slow.

So I pressed Fn+Z. Just like that, the laptop was back to it's old self. I wasn't sure if I should be jumping with joy or rushing outside in search of some Dell engineers to strangle. Oh, well. It's a long mad dash to Texas anyway and, without this CPU temperature reading bug in the BIOS, I wouldn't have had the chance to blow away a hard drive full of expensive software nailed to the machine and wouldn't have tried Ubuntu. Small blessings.

To make the long story shorter and save you the story about the unreadable mountain of diskettes, I installed the latest BIOS and now Ubuntu is ready to inspire more whining and pining in the near future.

Hwae – Korean-style Sashimi

I love to eat raw fish. While I usually have to settle for sashimi, what I really crave is korean-style sashimi called hwae. I just got the craving for some hwae but it's difficult to find a good restaurant that serves it in the Bay Area.

This is what a plate of hwae looks like. While that looks like a lot of fish, a plate that size is usually shared among 3-4 adults. Cost wise, a plate like like what you see above costs around $80-120 these days.

Unlike sashimi, hwae is made with live fish which means you get to pick the fish you want before sitting down. Spicy sauce, garlic, hot pepper also makes hwae quite memorable, if you know what I mean. A plate of that and a few bottles of chungha (fine korean rice wine) is what I want for dinner every night. Yum!

Still Here

I am still here baby, working my ass off, hopping across languages, platforms, and markets. Two weeks ago was all .NET, last week was Java, next few weeks will be all COM/Win32/ATL/C++ for a couple of clients as well as myself. I am hoping to book a Ruby on Rails project after that for some bonus fun.

Zopa

Scott Loftesness points to Zopa. Outstanding. It's like my Market-based Credit Card idea minus the card. If they turned themselves into a credit card issuer with individualized rates, it would be just about same although their marketing speak is from the bank perspective (Richard Duvall's background). While I had the same idea 7 years ago, I didn't have the balls to turn it into reality. Zopa folks did. Wow. One of the balls is named Benchmark Capital. LOL.

Hitman.com

A hitman.com for real in Korea was recently caught doing business. Police investigating a young women's death came across the site while checking the list of sites the prime suspect accessed. Apparently the site was more like a hitman portal with individiual hitmans advertising their service anonymously through the site. Crazy.

Crypto Interop

Most of this week was spent porting some Java code to .NET and debugging interop, crypto interop in particular. Definitely not my favorite type of work and it didn't help that .NET crypto library refuses to encrypt with weak keys. They are doing the Right Thing but it was a surprise for me because I don't think they are doing the Expected Thing which is to just do what I tell it to do regardless of what it thinks of the key.

Anyhow, that forced me to chase down why the keys were weak which uncovered other issues, blah blah. Chasing problems can be like pulling loose strings off a sweater: you might not have a sweater any more in the end. Thankfully, it wasn't so bad this time.

Just when I had all the clues and patches together, remote CVS and database I was working against went AWOL on me. Oh, well. It's now officially weekend so I think I'll go AWOL as well, perhaps do some six-pack induced meditations.

Empty

Ever wake up one day and everything around you looks empty of meaning? It's as if my Meaning of Life (MoL?) fell out of a hole in my soul. This happens to me once every few years. It's an aweful feeling and I have no idea what brings it on or dispells it. Religion could probably sew up that hole nice and tight but I am alergic to it unfortunately. I hope it doesn't last too long this time.