Sunday, March 17, 2013

Move to Use Simple English

At least in legal community, there has been thought to simplify written documents so that it's easy to understand.  It also appears, though, that media and other publications are similarly moving to simplify written English so it's not so hard to understand.

I don't have a problem with that.  But I wonder by moving to simplify, we are dropping usage of certain vocabulary permanently.  After all, lack of use will lead to death of words or even language altogether.  And while every year, there is news about what new words make it into our lexicon (such as new words of 2012 by Merriam-Webster dictionary), I wonder what words died because of our movement to simplify our writing.

Just the other day, I learned a new word that I didn't know existed but could see how it could be used in our everyday conversation -- "overmorrow" which means the day after tomorrow.  And yet, even though there is this one perfect word that could conceivably be used quite frequently, I have never heard anyone actually use it.  I have read the phrase "day after tomorrow" quite often though.

So here's my thought.  It's great to simplify writings to be understandable to public.  But the move to simplify, perhaps, should not include not using what may be considered difficult vocabulary altogether. After all, those words probably can fit just perfectly in certain context.  And who is to say it's not better for readers to go look up a word or two in the dictionary and start using them?  I, for one, will start by using the word "overmorrow" and hope that it catches on.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Backdoor Roth IRA

I learned an interesting loophole to save more money into retirement account recently.

To get either the tax deduction for a traditional IRA or to be able to contribute to a Roth IRA, the modified adjusted gross income needs to be at a certain level or less.  You can see all the different limits at this IRS website.  If you like contributing into a Roth IRA, then according to the IRS site, it would appear you are out of luck if you make over certain income.

It turns out that Congress created a loophole in 2010 that would allow you to fund a traditional IRA and then convert it into Roth IRA, no matter what your income is!  As this Forbes site explains (and jests that Bill Gates could also do this), there is no income limit to funding a traditional Roth IRA -- you just can't deduct the funding of traditional Roth IRA if you are over the certain income level set by IRS.  Currently, however, there is no income limit to converting traditional  IRA's into Roth IRA's.  That means you can fund a traditional IRA and then immediately convert it into Roth IRA -- Bogleheads blog explains this as funding the Backdoor Roth IRA.

It's a pretty interesting loophole and rather amusing that Congress created it, probably unintentionally.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

2013 New Year Resolution

So it's already another new year!  I can't believe it.  I read somewhere that making new year resolutions is better than not making it because people who do, end up making some attempt at fulfilling and achieving.  So, one of the resolutions I decided to make was to finally read Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.  Actually, this is part of the past new year resolutions that went unfulfilled... because I wanted to read all the books I own but haven't yet read.  Don Quixote is one of them.  Why?  It's 1,000 pages long!  Well, 940 pages but that's pretty much 1,000 pages. When I was a kid, I read 1,000 page book such as Les Miserables (twice, not just once) without much effort.  Somehow, as a working adult, juggling a couple of board duties for non-profit organizations outside of work itself, reading a long book just doesn't seem to go very fast.

In any case, instead of making the resolution to read ALL un-read but owned books (which I failed miserably), I decide to tackle Don Quixote.  I am now on page 109.  At least the chapters are short -- it makes me feel like I accomplished quite a bit (on Chapter XVI).  I have 900 pages to go and 11 months left.  

My other resolution?  Win lotto, buy an island, declare my own country, and be free from never-ending Congressional bickering about budget.  I came kinda close -- I won $3.  I figure I have another 11 months to fulfill this one too.  ;)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

I have neglected posting for a while.  As the year closes, though, I wanted to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  Below is a little holiday video card (my first attempt!).  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Time or Money?

Time is money, right?  Rather it seems time can be used instead of money when the price is right.  Or money can be used when time is more precious.   

I traveled to Washington DC last week for a conference.  It's not the first time I have been to Washington DC, and one of the things I really like about the city is its Metro system.  It's a subway system based on San Francisco's BART station.  It goes to pretty much most places you need to get to so it's pretty convenient.  Although Metro is pretty efficient, it's still public transportation so taking Metro takes longer than driving.  

It turns out, even though I love Metro system, that I would rather pay a more to arrive at my hotel (especially at night), faster than I would by taking the Metro.  After a long flight, the time spent waiting to take the Metro is worth less than the money spent on taxi.  And it's money I don't regret spending.  

So time is money, and all you need to do is figure out what is more valuable to you -- time or money?  

Sunday, September 09, 2012

YouTube Amusement

So I don't know how people suddenly find something amusing on YouTube that then goes "viral."  However late I may actually get to hear about it, it is actually amusing to see some of the videos.

I just heard about a new South Korean rapper's video that has gone viral.  The piece is called "Gangnam Style" 강남스타일.  Which is kinda funny... because I'm pretty sure that was the region I lived in Korea before our family immigrated to America in the 80's.  Anyway, here's the actual video.

Then I noticed THIS video... where a Korean mom dances to it!  And I have to say, I like this Korean mom's dance better.  ;)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Washington DC 2012 -- Vacation or Information Overload?

This post comes really late... mainly because Blogger wouldn't post, and I gave up for a while.  Not to mention I ended up taking another trip (unexpected) after this one.  But better late than never!

After my trip to Fiji, I went back to work for a week... and then took off for another vacation!  I went to Washington DC, and it was a vacation all about walking, sight-seeing, and getting tons and tons of information.  Fortunately, the weather in DC was not as humid or hot as it could have been.  I was there from Saturday (flew red eye Friday night to arrive Saturday morning) through Thursday... and that was just fine.  Any more than that, I think my brain would have exploded with information.  So below are some pictures of this trip.

 Capitol at night!!

WWII Memorial at night was quite gorgeous.

Another picture at night.  This was during my first night at DC.

At WWII Memorial.

Abe and me!  The memorials were open at night and quite pretty.  It was balmy enough to be out and about at night.

George Washington Memorial at night.

Too many museums to see... but I was glad to see one of the new Smithsonian Museum -- American Indian Museum.  It was also a smaller museum so it felt like I actually got to see everything.  I still can't believe all these great museums in Washington DC is available for free.

One of the objects on display at the American Indian Museum was calendar...

Maya calendar!

Then my friend and I went next door to Botanic Garden.

It was quite lush inside.

And looked it from outside too.

There was another garden across from Botanic Garden, which we checked out.

The Capitol... in the daylight! 

We took a tour of the Capitol.

Saw the ceiling of the dome (I think).

There was a hall where pictures like these just hung about... made me feel very patriotic.

There were so many tourists at the Capitol.

We toured the original hall where the legislature held meetings, and this was one of the floor.

We weren't allowed to take cameras but we were able to tour the Senate and House Galleries!

The Capitol was connected by a tunnel to the Library of Congress.  There were a few exhibits inside, including maps of the old world, Jefferson's library... and

Political and satirical comic strip exhibit.  This one was about debt ceiling.. and 1960's!

Supreme Court!  There was construction when we were there.  We didn't go in but saw it from outside.

Capitol and me.

We walked to see the White House but could not get a tour of the inside.

We saw snipers on top of the White House!

The next day was filled with museums.. actually just 2 but they were so big!  We first checked out the Museum of Natural History.  We started off with rocks.

Which included gems.

Including Hope Diamond... an incredibly huge diamond.

There was also an exhibit of insects... including spiders like this.

And this!  Good thing they were behind glass.

Funny enough, Natural History Museum also had an exhibit about Korea!

Which had traditional, wedding clothes, among other objects.

Isn't this huge?  Apparently,  it disappeared.

Yes, we also saw huge skeletal masses... 

We then went to check out the Gallery of Art.  

I don't remember all the paintings and sculptures, suffice to say we saw many that were famous and many that we didn't recognize. 

On Wednesday, we had breakfast with Senator Diane Feinstein! 

Proof that I was there... ;) 

We saw many, many memorials.  Jefferson memorial. 

FDR memorial, which was surrounded by greenery and water... and seemed much more peaceful. 

Waterfall at the FDR Memorial.  

I thought I would sit between FDR and his dog.  

We checked out the newest memorial, MLK JR. Memorial. 

His statue was quite grand.  

We checked out the Korean War Veteran Memorial too. 

So true... 

We went to the Arlington Cemetery and saw the change of guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.  

Saw this for the change of guards. 

Kennedy grave. 

We went to the National Archives and saw the original Constitution, Declaration of Independent, and the Bill of Rights.  We couldn't take pictures but it was pretty cool.  

We went to the American History Museum... and was sad to see that Walkman was an object in the museum! 

And a computer! 

We also checked out the Sculpture Garden.  

Decided that chairs as sculptures was just made for sitting... 

George Washington Memorial from the Constitution Garden.  The garden actually seemed generally devoid of tourists.