Reasons why Hong Kong is Amazing

(and why you may not have known it).

Maybe you’ve never really thought about it. Maybe your life has been deplete of proper enlightenment of the world. Maybe whatever. For whatever reason, you’re just not in the know of how cool of a place Hong Kong is. Hong Kong is one of the most wonderful places in the world. This is not me spouting frivolous thoughts like bullets into the air hoping that they will hit any of you, dear readers;.. This is statistical fact. And now you’re saying, “Yeah, sure, where did you get this because this is clearly your own subjective –“

Ah, ah – <waves finger in your face>. Let me stop you there. It’s not at all my own subjective viewpoint, because others in the world feel the same way – the very same, in fact. And (double “in fact”), I’ll go ahead and list those people below:

  1. The people living in Hong Kong
  2. Me, my family, and all of my friends (**yes, all of my friends. If they don’t like Hong Kong or they give you some BS line that they’ve never really been there so they can’t make any of that sort of assessment, then they’re giving you a line of BS. That’s horseshit, actually, and we’re no longer friends,.
  3. People in the air flying to Hong Kong right now. If they didn’t like Hong Kong, how could they make the conscious choice to fly there.


Those are, of course, just a few examples, but I don’t want to just sit her and list examples of people who know HK is cool. I want to list the reasons why Hong Kong is categorically one of the coolest places on the planet. Here we go:

Language:  The folks here speak Cantonese – a beautiful dialect of Chinese. It has more tones to it than Mandarin does and many more tacit rules to it that have ever been written in any book. To some it sounds like people are yelling at each other, but they’re really just asking about the weather or talking about going for a dip in the harbor, or noodles, or cds, whatever. As a subcategory, I should really list kids – kids speaking Cantonese. You listen to Cantonese and you may think, “How in the hell do you learn this language?” And then you see kids all over the city spitting this stuff out like it’s the only thing they knew and you find that it’s some of the most mind-blowing stuff ever.

Grit: It’s gritty. Do you know what I mean by that? It’s full of the workers with their shirts off, sitting on the side of the street, smoking, wiping the sweat off their faces with stained rags. It’s full of construction and busses, tractors, industrial trucks running back and forth, beeping, parking on the sides of the street, rushing down the road – not waiting for the pedestrians down the way to pass. It’s subways running day and night, and side streets with small pockets of eateries awaiting the next customer. That kind of stuff. It’s amazing.

Transportation – wondrous transportation. Busses, MTR (subway), taxis, etc. You don’t have to drive. You can, of course, but you don’t have to.

Food – delicious food. A bit tougher to find what Americans call “vegetarian,” but the food’s great.

Boats – lots of them, and they look great out there on the water. Just adds a bit of scenery.

Proximity to other Objectively Cool Places – Macau, Southeast Asia, Mainland China, the Koreas, Japan, Taiwan. Yes, location is good.

Jackie Chan, Bruce Lee, Beyond, Donnie Yan, Siman Yam, Andy Lau: Watch some HK movies.

Sleeping Dogs – HK is the setting for one of the finest video games ever – Sleeping Dogs. I wish they made a second one, but I haven’t given up hope yet.


It’s one of my favorite places and there’s only one way to experience it. That’s all I got for the moment. We’re off to get some more HK in our veins.




What I think about at 1:11

I sometimes start off with something like, “Hey, I should go to bed right now.” But, that seems a bit too easy. Oh well, I also think about heading over to Glossika to get another jump on some language practice. If you haven’t checked it out, I would highly encourage it. It’s a pretty good set of listening practice materials for you, and we could al use a bit more listening.

I think about how I just checked my feed on Twitter and what a colossal waste of time that was. I think about how amazing today was, and how much writing I was able to get in.

I think about how it’s summer and it’s amazing that I have some time off to spend with family and friends. I think about how I’m reading a Crown of Swords and how I just dropped my most recent post.

But seriously, I need to get to bed. It’s 1:15.

Back to letting out those dogs…

I’m curious if anyone ever answered the question. I mean, as the song questions over and over, there are some lost dogs and no one knows who let them out.

Do we know if there are any updates here? Just curious if we’ve come any closer to answering the question.

Any help here would be appreciated. Thanks.



Lord of Chaos – blast review

Lord of Chaos (Wheel of Time, #6)Lord of Chaos by Robert Jordan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Wow – it only took us five months to finish this one.
The densest book in the Wheel, and I think that’s an objective statement. Lots of events to keep track of, but not really more than normal. The pace is much slower than the other books that precede it in the series, but I don’t find it any less well-written than its predecessors. Perrin, Mat, and Rand are still playing their personalities. Mat is still one of the funniest people in the series, and Perrin is still no-nonsense. I still cannot figure out what to make of Rand in terms of character. He is the most directionally stable, but without a real identity of his own.

Strong book; I’ll say that. Not the absolute best in my opinion, but still a very strong book and addition to the story.

View all my reviews

Summer Plans – the Perfect Storm

This is the last night I will have a couch of my own to sit on. It’s 11:05 p.m.; not much time left. But, I am enjoying this seat now.

We’re moving, which you may have surmised from the opening of this post. We’re moving, and with that move comes other responsibilities. I had to finish up some paperwork for my job today, but my wife was able to allow for that time to happen, so that’s a huge thank you to her. The rest of my house looks like it’s more of a warehouse than it is. We leave on Friday (out of the house), Saturday we fly back home, and July we are planning on taking a trip East – like Way East…The Orient, east (though those details are still working themselves out).

That’s where the storm is coming in.

Summer – it’s one of the major reasons I got into teaching in the first place. Among teachers there is a saying; the three best reasons to become a teacher are June, July, and August. This I agree with to some extent. In high school I thought I knew it all (my wife has a theory that suggests that at all stages of life we always think we have life figured out – hard to disagree with that one). I wouldn’t say that I knew for certain that I wanted to be a teacher, but I did think that the whole teaching gig was pretty good, just because of the vacations – and after becoming a teacher, I was right.

Now, I wasn’t totally aware of all the stuff that a teacher does in the job (it’s certainly not just hang out in a classroom with students – thought that is the best part of my job, I would say….aside from the vacation, of course).  But, then again, who can know that aside from people who are teachers.

The year went well. I had great students; learned a ton from others; and was able to explore the area a bit.

As far as all things geekery, I have not been able to get a good table-top game in for a long time, and I finished Fallout 4 and some other games. I did hear about the new Fallout 76 coming out, which I’m looking forward to, and I’m also looking forward to hearing about what comes out for E3 in a few days.

Jer and I just finished our podcast on Lord of Chaos, Book VI in the Wheel of Time series. You can catch it on our site at Across the Wheel, or on Youtube here. We finished one and started on the next one – A Crown of Swords.

Writing – yes. That’s always going to be my answer. Yes. There may be times when I don’t get any words in or only get a scant smattering of what I’d like to get in, but the fact remains, yes. It’s coming.

I did write a short story called “Puzzle” if any of you would like to take a look at it. I’d be happy to send it your way if you can pass me some of your thoughts on it. It’s under 2K, so pretty short. All is well in the world, folks.

Catch you Kool Kats later.


Thoughts on Writing

Brandon Sanderson is an author I respect. Not because I like his writing. On the contrary, I don’t find his writing necessarily to my taste, but more because of what he has done with the craft. and how he ultimately offers advice to those who are also climbing the mountain he has summited over and again. I am in the middle of reading of some of his stuff on his page and he has offered this one particular gem that I have decided to pull out and disseminate.

Becoming a successful author is about practice, and I believe that the most important thing to learn while practicing is to understand yourself as a writer. – Sanderson

Very true. Just a couple of sentences before this he offered another piece of advice which is to learn how your own process works as a writer and do that. He even references George R. R. Martin’s analogy of the difference between the “gardeners” and the “architects” out there – those who write and let the story tell itself and those who design the story. Either way, all authors tend to agree that there’s no one way to the end of the maze. The point is that you keep walking and find out how to get there yourself.

I’ve been writing fiction since 2008. I’ve been able to have a few pieces of poetry published (though, there’s one I’ve looked for and it’s gone – the publication went under), as well as a short story. But that seemed a while back. I still write and I’m working on the next project. But the hard part isn’t the book, or the short story, or the essay, or the poem, or whatever. It’s not the words. It’s in the strength/the pull of the tale. It’s in the motivation. I think it is an alluring endeavor – to be an author. To be called an author, a writer. There’s a sense of sophistication, even panache about one’s whose work is to wield words as a profession. But, it has to be for you. Some people just won’t want to do it. Let’s face it – when it comes down to it, there’s on one else who is going to write the piece that you are going to write. No one who is going to tell the tale that you are going tot tell. No one else. There is you, and that is all. So, the question then becomes, what do you do with this time? There is a lot that goes on in one’s life, and at a certain point, you reach a place where much of your time in the day is stolen away. But you do have blocks. And these blocks of time you have, in some fashion or another, carved out for yourself. Time is made, after all; not had. Now, you have this block of time. What do you do with it?

You just write and see what happens then.

But, as I’ve alluded to Sanderson, writing to the end is summiting a mountain. It’s only about desire, really, like anything. You want to ride a bike, solve a Rubix cube, learn to juggle, write code, do landscaping, et cetera, it is always all about desire.

Once you have that, once you’ve found the wall you would like to break down, you then find your tool and start hitting. You practice. You fall down, you get injured, you grow tired, hungry, weary, weak. You begin to question why you are doing this. You know some chips of cement are falling from the wall, but you’re not sure how thick the wall is. Are you sure this is what you want?

Most stop here. It’s not right; it’s not wrong; it just is. Most stop.

Those who continue, continue because it’s what they want to do. They’re not concerned about the result. They are concerned with simply doing. Some have planned it all out, others simply keep the work going, and at a certain point, it is finished. The final chips of concrete fall, the wall is broken, and the project is complete.

This is where I am. There is a lot of concrete on the floor. I’m not sure how much more of the wall there is left, and there are times in which I stop hammering because I need a break. I am not sure if I’m hammering the right place. Is it the right wall? Am I using the right tools? I exhale deeply, closing my eyes.

Then, when I’ve rested and I’m ready, I open my eyes again. The wall is still there, as am I. I pick up my hammer and return to the work.

On Podcasts

There is one particular aspect of the podcast that, after noticing, seems to grate on me, and that is, like radio, the casters have to just keep talking. 

My brother and I have a podcast. The cool part about it is that there’s no really big schedule or time-table that we follow in which we produce new episodes, but we still manage to get the work done. We’ve produced six episodes as of this writing and will certainly write a whole heck of a ton more. 

The reason for me adding this particular entry to the page comes from me listening to bits and pieces of a podcast that my wife has come to really enjoy. The cast is entitled “Guys We F*cked.” The podcast is, as the hosts claim, a podcast related to discussions on sexuality (at least that’s what I have heard in recent listenings). If they haven’t defined it in other terms in the past, I would also like to add that it sounds hugely related to female experiences in sexuality. The hosts base the show out of New York, and discuss all kinds of topics related to women and sex. Expletives are used quite frequently and the girls are very opinionated. And this is not to say that’s a bad thing. Let’s be honest; it’s a podcast. It may be accurate to say that the great majority of podcasts are run by hosts who, on one topic or another, have an opinion. They kind of have to be; don’t they? Anyway, like most casters, they have a goal – to educate or allow people to understand more about a particular subject. They are currently talking about the movie “Kids.” Yeah, I never had a desire to see that movie. I don’t have any experience being a woman, nor to I have a claim to speak about the female experience, sexual or otherwise. It does seem that they are quite strong in their opinions though. But, whatever. That’s fine.

Jer also recommended me to watch the Joe Rogan Experience. That is an interesting podcast; it’s just not my sort of thing. The Joe Rogan Experience is just Joe Rogan talking to these people in the world of Hollywood or the entertainment industry. They are either pretty popular now or they were popular at a certain point, but now they’re out of the spotlight. Joe Rogan was the host of Fear Factor for a stint, and was also one of the announcers with the MMA scene. Then, for a while there I just didn’t see him. And before I know it,  he’s doing this podcast. He has some interesting people on the show – a guy who only eats meat, for example. Another guy who used to be Mr. Olympia several times in a row. He has had Jordan Peterson on the podcast a couple of times. Peterson has been quite the personage who has stirred all kinds of controversy in the world. The American stage, one might say, has really enjoyed having him. There was a point at which Perterson was on a talk show and the hostess of the show (in London – you can tell by the accent) was really gunning for him to give in to her. She tries and tries and tries, but he just remains his own self, which is what the world loves about him.

Jordan Peterson has his own podcast online as well. He is known for his collection of his Youtube videos that he posted up. He has some interesting viewpoints, and a large following. There are those who are just looking to get a rouse out of him. They just want to make their own videos trying to take him down. Funny. Many of them are these so-called “social justice warriors (eyes roll).” He shuts them down rather swiftly. I’ll post the link below to one of his Youtube videos as well as some of his podcasts.

What else is there? Oh yeah, Lore.

Lore is something done by Aaron Manke (not sure if I have the spelling on this correct, but that’s just where I’m going to leave it for the moment. If you want to look up this dude’s name, you can go ahead and do that). When I started out with Lore, I was really into it. My wife got me hooked on it. It’s basically a cast about all kinds of different stories regarding monsters or horror stories all based in the United States. The best one is the one about the doll. I don’t even remember which one that is, but it’s pretty good.

There are several good ones. The cast was even turned into an Amazon Prime show on television. Crazy.

But, in the end I just sort of lost interest. Some people really like it, and I am not attempting to dissuade you from your opinion of the show, but I would say that it would be good to go out there on the Internet and look for others. Oh, there is this one called Spooked, which is much better in my opinion than Lore. Lore is just that; it talks about the story of something in history. Spooked is much shorter and interviews the people who have had interesting mystical or paranormal experiences in their lives. It’s run by one host and just starts off interviewing people. It just goes over two to three stories in an episode, and that’s that. There are several stories about the paranormal, ghosts and interesting creepy experiences. There are stories about aliens, but basically it’s ghosts and wired paranormal stuff. An overall good podcast. Again, I like it because each episode is short.

Another podcast you may want to try out is Serial.

         I’m sure you’ve heard of Serial. It was really popular when the first season came out. It discussed a man in prison, and the whole first season was so popular across the country, that the man in prison was given another look at his case. I don’t think it turned out well, but it did turn out. Season 2 was not something I was in to, but some people were. It should be mentioned that after the second season, the cast sort of went downhill. It just didn’t turn out well. That’s because the season turned out to be not as good as the first one. It was talking about Beau Bergdahl (*SP). Ahh, yeah, I wasn’t very impressed. But that’s my interest, it didn’t suit me, but others were okay with it.

After Serial busted we got into another podcast called S-Town (or Sh*ttown) if you’re not into the whole abbreviation thing. That was a cool one. It was about this town in the south of Alabama and there was this guy who was quite intelligent. Anyway, it’s sort of about his life and how he goes around and how he has dealt with things in life. Very interesting. I highly recommend it. Well, I recommend it it if you’re up for something new and are not going to simply judge people and how they believe.

That’s sort of where I see the whole podcast thing. I ‘m not sure about how to go about it in the future. Well, I’ll say this. I think I used to be more heavily into podcasts.I thought it would be cool to be known for your voice. Maybe it is. But, I don’t ever want to really do something just because I’ll be famous.

What does being famous get you? Nothing. There is nothing that I could say that would make being famous amazing. Yes, you get a lot of attention, but why? What’s the point? That’s just not what I’m into anymore. The more I listen to this podcast, the less I want to do a podcast as a major part of my life. Well, let me back up. The difference is that with the podcast that Jer and I do it’s something that we talk about and something that we enjoy (**aren’t they all?). We can go at our own pace because we’re not hired to talk and talk and talk. Actually, we’re not hired. There is something that we just love about the things which we talk about.

Jer and I talk about fantasy and sci-fi stuff. We talk about nerd stuff, about books (we love books). We talk about movies occasionally. We talk about video games – both gamers, though the frequency of our gaming has dropped considerably since we’ve grown up and gotten jobs. That’s just the way things are when the world develops as human being. WE grow and we observe our own growing in the way that we provide our own observations. So, we like to talk about the things that interest us.

Our current podcasts focus on the Wheel of Time – a 14-book series by the late Robert Jordan. It’s something that we grew up with, something which provided a huge fantasy jump, a mind-bending change in our formative years. It’s something that neither of us have finished. But, it’s something that we feel that we havfe to finish as it’s been a part of our lives, an important par tof our lives for so long. So, we are currently on Book 6. That’s six books of the main story line including the prequel. Here’s how this works.

Jer and I live in different parts of the nation. Each of us have a copy of the book. We read about 100 pages, and then on our blog, each of us provide our thoughts on those 100 pages. Then, after several bouts of that, we finally finish the book, at which point we get online and talk about what we just read and exchange opinions. Again, we have done six. This book that we are currently on (Book 6), is taking a really long time for us to finish. But there is the fact that we both have full-time jobs and home relationships we have to work with. And that’s that. We’ll finish this at some point, but when that point will be, who knows.

Here’s the link to our cast, Across The Wheel.

One thing I do know is that this podcast that’s on right now, GWF* (*above), is not something I’m into. It may be because I’m not a girl and the girls who listen are the girls who understand. Regardless, Not something I’m into.

Oh, there is another thing that I’d like to bring up here regarding audio entertainment – audio books. If you’ve never shared the love of an audiobook, I would say that you may be missing out. Yes, agreed, they are for some people and not for others, but I still think it’s a convenient way to get some stuff done. It doesn’t have to be a book you listen to, it could be a movie, or other things. Those “other things,” I’ll have you know can be a wide variety, but most of the day we’re using our ears. It’s not that they don’t pick up the audio book, but to really enjoy an audio book you really have to be into the story and into the genre. Oh yeah, and they are there for a long time. Hours.

Another great thing is that there are professional audiobook readers that read the story to you. They do the voices, the accents, and the narration. It’s fantastic.

That’s about it regarding audiobooks and podcasts. If you’re up for it, you can go to over to to start your free account. They let you have one free book, just for signing up. If you don’t like it and don’t want to start after 30 days, you’re all set. No obligations on your part.

But, if you haven’t done it, taken the leap in audio entertainment. Now’s the time. Find something that interests you and look for a podcast or an audiobook.

It Sleeps

by L. P. Stribling

Under a little known bridge somewhere in the hinterlands of the city,

Safe from the cloud of sound created by barges, klaxons, and steel,

Out where farmers are want to let the children roam free in the wild,

It sleeps.


By day it sleeps, slumbering to the rhythm drone of the working day,

It’s hunger on a timed cycle, the acids of its stomach race as the sun dips past noon.

And just as the moon yawns from above a midnight horizon,

It sleeps no more.


There in the gasping dullness of cool 1 a.m. breeze,

It walks, guided by its carnal clock. It hunts.

It sleeps no more.

Cyber shorts

Cyber Shorts

That’s the link. If you’re at all inclined to read a good cyberpunk short story, you’ll find this one pretty on point. It’s a nice piece of flash. I chuckle as I say that – an interesting turn of phrase.
When I first heard of the term Cyberpunk, I’m not sure where I was, but it was a handful of years ago. I wondered how it differed from Steampunk. As I understand it, the differences lie in the characteristics of the worlds that these two genres portray.
Steampunk has to do with a quasi-fantasy world in which there exist airships, weapons, fashionable items which all pay some degree of homage to steam as a driving power. Steam is the main focus for all engines, machines, and technology. You may have done a Google search on a Steampunk watch. All the gears clicking and ticking and switching back and forth. Steam is the main point of all technological working in this world and all of the stories all sort of come back to this.
Cyberpunk, on the other hand, takes place in a world (also fantastical) which is very dystopian in what we may think of as scientifically horrific. The world is dark, and there is a lot of moroseness, seemingly. Oftentimes the world is overpopulated and the god here that we all pay homage to is technology, science, robotics, artificial intelligence.
I bring this up because I was searching for some good cyberpunk short stories, and found this one (above) as my first.
Wow. What a beauty.
When I think of synths, I think of Fallout 4 – one of my favorite games. Synths are robots which are very strong and anthropomorphic, it turns out (always helpful in dealing with creatures that look a bit more like you – makes it easier to relate, I guess).
It’s been a long time since I posted, I know. But that’s what’s been going on with me. Writing’s going well. Reading also going well.
Check out some cyber shorts.