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I used to pride myself with my close friends. I agree whole-heartedly with their ways of doing things (Bob would understand if I say “I approve”), and there are some that I really look up to.  If you ask me who would I date if I were a guy, I’d pick one of them with no hesitation. I pride myself with my immediate family as well. My parents are great examples for me in life. Unfornately, I cannot say the same about all of my extended family, or however you call your uncles, aunts and cousins. But hey, we don’t have any choices to who our relatives are. You can only suck it up and deal with it.

But we do have a choice who our friends are.

Recently, one of my old friend did something that was really upsetting. He didn’t do anything wrong per se. But something that I totally disapprove. The incident reminds me of other things that happened through out the 6 years we’ve known each other. It was diappointing. It was disappoiting for me to discover that he was like that. It was also disappointing that I have a friend like that. So where do I draw the line? Do I have too high of a standard? Am I not forgiving enough? Or should I just slowly walk away.

This and other incidents have been chipping away my supposedly-happy-because-it’s-the-holidays-mood.

(Bob would understand if I say “I approve”.)(Bob would understand if I say “I approve”.)
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“Success” is something that has been on my mind for a while – largely due to the decisions I’m about to make regarding my life and my career… And so, this article resonated with me.

世界的最後一晚我在一所工業技術學院改制成的大學兼課,教大一英文,近兩三年來固定選用一種叫成功(Success)的原文教科書.今年,破天荒教到一班英文能力分班下的高段班,我決定拿成功系列裡最難的一本來當教材.備課時,課本裡的最後一課吸引了我,因為它的標題叫作世界的最後一晚.

文章作者名叫Ray Bradbury,像這種文章當然是科幻短篇,特別的是,它寫得幻而不科,沒有高科技,不關乎外星人或殞石,筆調文藝得讓學理工的大學生覺得不夠炫,不夠刺激.尤其文章的配圖居然是一幅手繪的居家景象:四口之家晚上共聚一堂,媽咪在喝咖啡,爹地倒咖啡,兩個女兒在客廳地毯上排積木.

數十位廿歲出頭的學生向我抗議:這幅插圖有沒有擺錯?世界的最後一夜只有這樣?做為一個有家有孩子的中年人,我卻深受文章感動.

它假想的情境是:地球上所有的成年人都同時做了一個夢,夢裡大家清楚知道,不久後的某一晚,就是地球的最後一夜了.故事的主題,就是這一家如何度過最後一晚.兩夫婦還是把碗筷洗得乾乾淨淨,還是把孩子送上床道晚安,在此當中,兩人不停地對話,好像要把握機會把話說完.兩人上床時,特別感覺到:能夠睡在乾淨清爽的床單上,其實就是一種幸福.為妻的忽然想到廚房水龍頭沒扭緊,連忙奔下樓關水,再回到床上時,兩人相對失笑:地球都要毀滅了,居然還忙著關水.兩人最後的對話是,互道: Goodnight!

特別令人感動的是丈夫說的一段話:妳知道嗎?除了妳和兩個女兒,其實也沒什麼好留戀的.我從來不曾真正喜歡這座城市,也不喜歡我的工作,或者任何妳們三個以外的事特.如果真要說捨不得,恐怕只有四季的轉換,熱天裡一杯冰得透透涼涼的水.還有,我喜歡熟熟睡著的時候,

我對學生說,這段話點出人生的真正價值所在.享受四季的轉換就是能和大自然和諧相處;愛喝暑天的一杯冰水代表的是健康的身體和簡單的欲求;能沈沈睡去表示心中坦蕩無慮;至於留戀妻女,可不就是對親人的愛嗎?

有些學生問我,世界都快滅亡了,文章裡的主角怎不去做些特別的,值得大書特書的事情?為何所談都是枯燥例行的瑣事?其實真正的幸福,就是每天準時上下班,下班後能跟愛人一起,看書、看電視、聊聊今天、然後一起相擁入眠…

看似例行的瑣事,其實是最幸福的事…而最難的事,是如何將最平凡的事,持續地維持 ;將最幸福的事,永遠的珍惜 !

望著講台下一雙雙年輕的眼睛,想著他們畢業後都是要進電腦熱門的行業,等著領高薪,分股票的,整個世界還等著他們去認識,追求,購買....忽然之間,我明白Success的編者為什麼要把這樣一篇字彙並不特別艱深,句子一點也不難懂的文章 安排作為一套共四冊教材裡的壓軸之卷.

原來,世界的最後一晚,我們所最依依難捨的,就等於是我們所認定,人生的最終價值.所謂成功的最後一課,就在弄清楚人生的最終追求.編書的人其實是對著即將學成,即將出社會去追逐名利的年輕人預言:人生最快樂的,或許莫如家人圍繞,在綠葉轉紅的時刻喝杯好茶,且在每一天終了時,感激上天賜予清爽的床單,又可以睡個好覺了~

Indeed, there’s nothing I can take from life once I go. What good does 名利 bring me if I don’t have family with me or I don’t enjoy my life? Sure.. money can buy a lot of things, but there are more important things that you can’t buy with money. What does successful really mean in life… Does having a good career mean you’re successful? I don’t think it’s too hard to argue that having a good career also depends on luck (Google up the cohorts if you disagree, or read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell). So then, if you don’t have a good career does that mean you suck? I definitely have more respect for someone who is picking up garbage with the most care, than some manager of a big shot company who doesn’t care for his employees. The same argument goes for money.

So I guess it comes down to what you really define success in life to be. It’s easy for me to say that money doesn’t matter. But when presented with the opportunity, it’s a tough tough decision..

每個人一輩子往往不僅結交一個情人,可能是兩位、三位,或許更多;而每個情人若不是最後的情人,大概都要經歷一次分手的場面。然而,有些分手並不是那麼徹底、清楚的,尤其要跟交往很久的情人分手更是不容易,常常想要分手,卻又擔心邂逅不到更好的對象,多所遲疑加上長年在一起的慣性,兩人的狀態便陷入「要死不活」或是等待「自然死」的狀態。這樣或許還是應該徹底大痛一次、斷然分手,否則兩個人都活得不精彩、有氣無力,要是真的結合,更會覺得是束縛了。

當然,如果與對方稍微分開,像是單獨去旅行也好,發現自己難以想像沒有對方的人生,更應該珍惜和對方的安心、信賴關係,而製造屬於兩人新的刺激。因為對方可能是唯一了解自己的人,這樣的人或許在世間真的不可多得,如果只是覺得「好像少了些什麼」,就應該兩人共同去尋求,愛情也不僅是刺激與雀躍而已。

但是,如果和對方在一起,自己只是愈來愈欠缺自信、愈來愈低潮,像是男人慢慢不把自己當女人看;或是因為太熟了,逐漸出現自我本位的要求,言行會不斷傷害自己等,這樣的感情對自己已沒有太大好處。自己即使知道男人需要什麼,也先為自己打算,顯見自己已經不愛他了,只是因為跟他在一起很久、已是公認的一對了,很擔心面子問題和別人的眼光、或是找不到更好的男人,才會繼續委屈求全。

這時其實該反過來想,就是因為跟自己已經無法感受到魅力的男人在一起,才會連自己的魅力、自信都喪失了,如果不徹底分手,是無法邂逅新的愛情的,所以不能繼續欺騙自己,在該分手時,就要劃上休止符,而且不能拖拖拉拉的。

或許,自己還不算討厭對方,但在一起已經像老夫老妻,只有安心感、完全沒有雀躍心跳的感覺;自己完全不會優先考慮對方的事,只是他已經變成生活、習慣的一部分,像是空氣般自然;有時吵架完全不想看見對方的臉,但分手幾次,結果都沒真正成功,兩人又和好、卻總是沒有如初過,分分合合,只是讓情份愈來愈稀薄。

所以,在發現兩人已成為一灘死水,創造不出新的事物而且逐漸腐臭化時,應該要面對事實而徹底分手;否則等到僅有情份都消失了才分手,兩人都已精疲力竭,連輝煌的過去也會黯淡起來。這樣的分手,是為了讓兩個人都好。

因此,有時候不必那麼在意別人的想法,不要太過顧慮對方父母已經將自己當媳婦對待,所有朋友都認為兩人已經是準夫妻,或兩人已經去旅行或同居好一陣子等;如果覺得自己已經無法繼續愛對方,只是因為無法面對別人而在一起,這樣不僅傷害自己、也對不起對方。

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Going through a break-up really takes a toll on one’s life. Even more so when it has been a long term relationship. But going through a muddy break-up is worse. A clean break-up fastens the recovering process because there is nothing else to do beside getting over it. But when there are hope, what do you do? Do you wait around or get over it?

Interestingly enough, my dad mentioned if you want to break-up with someone, the best way is to lead them to breaking up with you…

This is not a surprise to those that read Metro daily. 

A Harvard study by physicist Alex Wissner-Gross concluded that around 20 miligram of carbon dioxide is released for each second when a webpage is being viewed. This amount of carbon dioxide is calculated from the energy use from the client’s end and the server side, including electricity to run the computers, the data centres and servers. 

As I read the article, the first thing that came to my mind is Google. And indeed, the article goes on, stating that a newspaper finger-pointed Google after the study, bashing Google for generating as much carbon dioxide as boiling water with two Google searches. The Metro article even ends with a statement from a CEO, “think twice before entering a ‘frivolous’ search query or streaming a goofy YouTube video”.

But, (if we can believe what Google says is true, and I think we can) Google thought about going green almost a decade ago. This is before everyone watched An Inconvenient Truth. Their data centres have been designed to use less energy – both the servers and the facilities. By estimating from a graph they show, it uses 50% of the “typical data centre”. Now how typical are the typical data centres I don’t know, but the fact that they have something to show is something. Furthermore, these data centres also run on “recycled water”.  They claim that ” in the time it takes to do a Google search, your own personal computer will use more energy than we will use to answer your query”. To add more credit, The Sunday Times agrees with Google’s calculation of carbon dioxide emitted for a single search query. This means a year use of Google for a typical individual user is equivalent to a single load of washing. The article failed though, to state what a typical user is… 

I also googled Microsoft’s green iniative, and was going to compare the two companys’ green programs. Then I realized, I may be a little biased to do that. Just a little. 

Now if I can translate this into some PDEng answers…

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Sites: 

Metro article on web and pollution: 
http://www.metronews.ca/toronto/live/article/168888
Google Going Green: 
http://www.google.com/corporate/green/index.html
Google’s  CO2 emission for a single query: 
http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/01/powering-google-search.html

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