Friday, February 29, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - "Pierre, a Hole with a View"

If you loved "Ratatouille", then this is definitely your short film. Honestly, the whole entire inter-species infatuation thing kinda freaked me out at first, but if you put enough effort into suspending belief, it could work out as something cute (which is basically what the movie was aiming for).

According to the description that came with this film, this film is the Grand Jury Prize winner at the South by SouthWest Film Festival's recent online "SXSWclick" event and it's also the winner of an Audience Award for best short at the recent 2007 Seattle International Film Festival.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Book Review: The Lotus and The Cross

What if Jesus ever had a conversation with Buddha? This book answers this. "The Lotus and The Cross" by Ravi Zacharias is an excellent read and I just couldn't put it down. 5 out of 5 stars!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The Life of a Poet

If you write poetry and if you ever wanted to get your poetry published, then get use to rejection. It's really not that hard. In fact, it gets easier with practice (and trust me, I've gotten a lot). So to make life a little easier for all you struggling poets out there, I've made a performance piece just for you!!! Now sit back and enjoy as this performance gets rejected and ridiculed by the Youtube community (hey, consistency's a virtue, right?)!

Monday, February 25, 2008

A Meditation on Coffee

Coffee seems to have adapted a certain image over the years. It’s been used to represent studiousness and a strong work ethic. It’s been used to represent addiction and, ironically, even a healthy lifestyle (especially when someone orders a coffee with a shot of soy and a touch of skim milk). And, at times, its been used as a symbol of status and sophistication, depending on where the coffee is bought (e.g. Starbucks) and how it’s made (“I’ll have a Venti Macchiato with a dash of Madagascar cinnamon and some soy milk gently stirred in.”). If people were approached with this matter, there’s no doubt that some would try to deny this to varying degrees. But, the truth is, everyone’s familiar with this trend and, by now, it’s a basic given that America’s most popular drug has become one of America’s most popular means for people to wordlessly “communicate” with each other.

Who would have known that coffee, out all things, would have become such a measure of comparison or a means of classifying other people?

Every time I visit my local Starbucks, in the afternoon, I always see a group of young high school kids in line to pick up their “Tall Vanilla Lattes” or “Grande Frappucino’s”. With their hip clothing and their cutting edge cell-phones glued to their ears, they carry their cups with a certain non-chalant, yet extremely peacocking, manner. Not only are they way too young for coffee, but something tells me that at least one of the reasons why they’re there is for the style as opposed to basic necessity. Because, as crazy at it may seem, something tells me that they’re not struggling with a 40-60 hour work week and are in a desperate need of a caffeine fix to get them through the rest of the day.

Of course, many other things have been and continue to be used by people as a way classifying and dividing each other (cloths, cars, jewelry, etc.). That would never change. But coffee? Come on!

Feel free to call me a bitter old man or a narrow minded philistine. Heck, don’t even be afraid to call me a hypocrite (because I probably am to a certain degree with this subject--feel free, hipsters, to laugh at the irony of that). But there’s just something repulsive about making such a common thing as coffee into a status symbol. But that’s just me. Now, where did I put my Starbucks™ Grande CafĂ© Mocha?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Too Much Coffee Man Installment - Just For the Heck of It

The picture before the last one really got me! Enjoy! Again, click the comic to enlarge.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

"Terminator 5: Rise of the Elmo" or "Christine 2: WTH?"

I'm not sure what to think about this. Either Skynet's getting desperate or Christine just got trashed and a piece of her got recycled back as an Elmo. You'll see what I mean.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - The Snowman

Based on book written by Raymond Briggs, this classic story is about a boy and his snowman. It's a very old piece and a very touching one and even though it's meant more for the holiday season, I just couldn't wait that long to show it. BTW, if anyone happens to know where I can get this video at a higher resolution online, please let me know!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

China Wants to Become a Leader - Be Careful What You Wish For

Ever since America took the center stage, China has been struggling to achieve the position of the strongest nation in the world. But the truth is, is it really prepared to take that position? Well, before China becomes the center of the world it has to

- Be prepared to be hated and betrayed by many other nations, even if it has helped those nations in the past through economic difficulty or military conflict (like France, for instance, after America saved its butt).

- Be prepared to be targeted/threatened by several hostile nations, including terrorist organizations.

- Be prepared to be ridiculed and mocked by other nations behind their back, if not in front of their face, just for being what it is.

- Be prepared to get involved in nearly every major conflict or crisis that happens in the world even if it doesn't necessarily involve China. And if China doesn’t get involved, it has to be prepared to be heavily criticized for that.

- Be prepared to be constantly accused and knit-picked by other nations and outside groups, even for the smallest things (like for not being “cultured” enough or junk like that).

- Be prepared to have its national history held up, knit-picked, criticized, and mocked on the world stage from time to time.

- Be prepared to handle more internal conflicts as its own people become more exposed to the outside world and outside ideas (once you’re #1 in the world, there’s very little you could do to keep the outside world out).

From everything that I've heard from most of the Chinese nationalists that I’ve known and run into, they always seem to carry the assumption that once China becomes the leader of the world, then it would be smooth sailing for that nation from there on in. As a proud American and as a person who lived in America all his life, trust me—being considered the leading nation of the world isn’t as thrilling as some native Chinese would think. In fact, if China wants so badly to have that position, then it can go ahead and take it. Chances are, America needs a short break (heck, I need a break from all this crap being thrown at my country) and China will probably end up regretting it. But that’s just me. What say you?

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

"To the Thawing Wind" by Robert Frost

To the Thawing Wind

COME with rain, O loud Southwester!
Bring the singer, bring the nester;
Give the buried flower a dream;
Make the settled snow-bank steam;
Find the brown beneath the white;
But whate’er you do to-night,
Bathe my window, make it flow,
Melt it as the ices go;
Melt the glass and leave the sticks
Like a hermit’s crucifix;
Burst into my narrow stall;
Swing the picture on the wall;
Run the rattling pages o’er;
Scatter poems on the floor;
Turn the poet out of door.

Robert Frost (1874–1963)
A Boy’s Will. 1915

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

An Interesting Truth About Writing

Got this little piece from the "101 Reasons to Stop Writing" blog.

Though this is a little offbeat and sarcastic, but this picture does bring up a very true point--more people are in love with the image of being a writer, rather than the actual discipline of writing itself.

Everyone, including some writers, have a stereotype of what a writer "should" look like to some degree or another (and most of the time, it's overly romantic). But very few people actually have a set/realistic definition of what it actually means to be a writer.

That's the reason why I ended up writing this article, here.

For all you viewers out there, including fellow writers, what say you?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Artists Showcase - Dante Alighieri, William Blake, and Loreena McKennitt

Today, on The Mad Hermit, I have special treat for all you viewers out there. Thanks to the help and technological artistry of an acquaintance that I met over the Youtube community (megansspark), a short montage has been put together, based on Dante Alighieri's Divine Comedy, a classic literary work.

Using the art work of William Blake, who made illustrations for the Divine Comedy, and the contemporary music of the Canadian singer, Loreena McKennitt, whose song, "Dante's Prayer", (played in the video) was inspired by the Divine Comedy, Megan has incorporated all the elements of art, music, and literature into one captivating piece. Feel free to sit back and enjoy!

For all of you who want to know more about Dante's Divine Comedy, check out:

For all of you who want to know more about the life of William Blake, check out:

For additional information on the music and life of Loreena McKennitt, check out her official site at:

And finally, for those of you who wish to explore the works of megansspark, check out her Youtube channel at:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Too Much Coffee Man Installment - Democracy

(Click to enlarge)

Bottom Line: Democracy can only be as good as the people who participate in it...'nuf said.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

My Two Cents on the Illinois Shooting and Gun Control

Ever since the recent shooting in Illinois, involving the young graduate student, the issue of gun control has cropped up all the more and questions have been raised about whether increased gun control could possibly prevent further school shootings in the future.

In my honest opinion, increasing gun control, at best, would only be a temporary fix to the problem and, at worst, be a solution that may not have any effect at all. The reason why I say this is because the people who would tend to perpetrate such crimes are individuals who are often willing to be patient and resourceful enough to find ways of acquiring what they need to commit their crimes. All in all, they are desperate people, who see that they have nothing to lose and everything to gain by doing what they devoted themselves to do. Making it more difficult to access firearms, may retard their efforts to carry out their agenda, but if a person's desperate enough they will acquire a firearm whether legally or illegally (such as stealing one from a parent, relative, or even stranger). Having an enforced gun law would do little against them.

Many people these days, make the mistake of assuming that it is the access to guns or the presence of violence in our culture that are the ultimate root of the school shooting problem. Though violence in the media can play a role and though convenient access to firearms can make it easier to carry out a shooting, the ultimate root of these incidents lie in the choice of the individuals involved and whatever factors made them to be the way they are. Overall, the politics of gun control in America hasn't changed that drastically over the past decade or so. However, the frequency of actual school shootings and potential school shootings has increased significantly in the recent years—very few would argue that.

These shootings, by and large, are a result of a greater disease and increasing gun control will only mask the symptoms of this disease for the short term rather than cure it.

To treat this spiritual disease, people and children need to be taught to respect and care for one another at an early age. Bullying needs to be curbed and prevented in every school and environment and pro-active programs devoted to better parenting skills need to be implemented on a much larger scale. Schools must be involved, parents must be fully committed and, yes, churches everywhere must make every effort. And this doesn’t just mean paying lip-service here and there; this means actually doing something and taking action. Because the two main histories that nearly every perpetrator of nearly every school shooting share is a history of bullying and a history of having a distant family.

This is my two cents.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - Black Button

This short movie, which was released roughly a year ago from Australia, was the winner of the Fitzroy Short Film Festival (Melb, Aus)and also the winner of the DearCinemaFest Short Film Festival (Int.). According to the Youtube description:

"Mr Roberts finds himself awoken inexplicably in a white room. A man sits before him at a desk and in between them stands a black button. If Mr Roberts pushes it, he will receive a briefcase filled with millions of dollars. Or he can take the key to the door and leave penniless. The catch? Pushing the button will result in the death of a human being. What would you do?"

Brace yourselves, because this film is quite a film to watch!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

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Caption This Ewok Cake!!!

Funny Pictures

(Picture taken from

"Okay, Mr. Lewis, just stand here really still..."

"Gary Coleman's illegitimate love child has been recently spotted roaming the streets of L.A. No word, yet, on who the other parent might be. Robin Williams refuses to comment."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

"The Great Divorce" by C.S. Lewis

Below is a reading of an excerpt from C.S. Lewis' "The Great Divorce". The excerpt being read is specifically on the subject of lust and the enslavement of it. For those of you who want to know what happens next or before the reading or for those of you who can't stand my reading and want to read the work on your own, go out and buy the book (which is available at all major bookstores). It's a wonderful read!

Below is a poem that I found, recently, on Youtube that was written and recited by Samuel Godfrey George. It is a poem that's also about the subject of lust and it's not only wonderfully written, but also magnificently read. And it's also very appropriate for the subject matter of the C.S. Lewis reading for today. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Minorities Becoming the Majority in America by 2050

Just tonight, I saw a news report saying that by 2050, the minorities will become the new majority in America.

(For the online version of the story, see

I found this to be a very interesting scenario and wondered whether or not that would drastically change the American culture if that were the case. This also made me start to wonder about whether there would someday be an Asian president of the United States.

With Hillary Clinton possibly becoming the first woman president or Barack Obama possibly the first black one--what would happen if America elected an Asian president? Or, more importantly, how would the Asian nations, like China, react to an American Chinese president?

Part of me thinks that the Chinese would simply see him as just as another American, given that most native Chinese tend to view all ABCs (American Born Chinese) as non-Asian (i.e. "gwei-lo") or, more bluntly, white. But, at the same time, I've seen many Chinese use certain American-Chinese achievements (Michelle Kwon) as bragging rights for they're own culture, even when that subject in particular is as American as any person can get.

Herein lies the problem.

From all the times I've seen it, if you're an Asian American and you haven't done anything special, most native Asians would view you as just another spoiled, naive "American". But, somehow, if you do something "special" or if you're known for something special then they would instantly credit your achievement as something achieved simply because your Asian.

So when it comes to a Chinese president of the United States, expect to hear this response from most native Chinese in general: "You see! Even America's president is Chinese! That's because we Chinese are so smart!!! He's gonna be the best president in American history!!!"

But if you're a regular ABC, like me, and take a trip to China, you might expect to hear more of this disgruntled whisper behind your back: " American..."

See the difference.

Monday, February 11, 2008

A Great Freelancing Site For All Freelancers

Just a few weeks ago, I stumbled on a blog that's a great resource for anyone who's in the freelance biz, whether for writing or for other fields. It's called the "Freelance Folder". It offers sound advice and it actually gives you the opportunity to write for it, if you, yourself, happen to have any advice on the biz and if you want some extra exposure. Hmmm....maybe someday I'll take them up for that.

Well, anyway, the address to the site is and it'll be included in the Links section of this site from now on.

Also, for all you freelancers who's considering about making a blog, here's a good article to start you off with from the same site:

Happy writing!!!

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Too Much Coffee Man Installment - Nearly Every Movie

If you know movies, you know this. If you know this, then you won't be surprised. If you won't be surprised, then why would you ever watch movies? Beats the way, I heard Iron Man the movie is coming out. Definitely gonna see that.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - Balance

This film (directed and produced by Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein) won the Oscar for Best Animated Short in 1990.

Using only animation and sound, without words, this short film's a telling tale about the nature of greed and selfishness.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Gung Hay Fat Choy - Happy Chinese New Year!!!

Given that I'm Chinese and given that I get money out this holiday, I guess I'm somewhat obligated to wish everyone a Happy Chinese New Year.

For those of you who wanna know more about what Chinese New Year is all about, just visit the wiki about it here (click "here").

This year's the Year of the Rat, so all of you who were born in this Chinese zodiac year, best wishes to you.

As for me, I'm just gonna sit back and enjoy all that fancy red evelope action that I get this year(as you see above) and hopefully spend the money on something sweet (probably paying bills). All in all, it's fair to say that being Chinese definitely comes with its perks.

Gung Hay Fat Choy to everyone and to everyone a Happy Gung Hay Fat Choy (yeah, it's not really proper to say it that way, but's poetic license)!!!!

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

An Excerpt Reading from "Gift from the Sea"

Below is a reading of an excerpt from "Gift from the Sea" by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. It's very wonderful book that's not only well written, but also poetically crafted.

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Tuesday, February 5, 2008

A Super Bowl Super Meditation

Just this weekend I watched the Super Bowl with a couple of the guys over at my cousin's place. Obviously, since we were practically all from NJ, we rooted for the Giants.

Personally, I never followed football. And to be honest, I never really saw the point of it to begin with. But for some reason, this Super Bowl actually had me enthralled. Maybe I'm starting to get it and maybe I'm not, but last Sunday's experience brought up a good point when it comes to living life.

Yes, people have their favorites and some things can be person's cup of tea, while other things can't. There's nothing wrong with that. But the point is, whether you may prefer one thing over the other, the secret to life is finding some degree of joy in everything no matter how "not you" that thing might be. This of course comes with exceptions, like one shouldn't try to find joy in senseless evil and such. And of course, this doesn't mean that you should always pretend that everything in the world is beautiful, while turning a blind eye to the things that are wrong with it.

But taking this ideal in, while being realistic ad practical, is a real healthy practice to learn. Too bad, I'm still a long way from learning it. GO GIANTS!!!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Too Much Coffee Man Installment

Sorry for the delay, but I got a little caught up in a recent writing gig that I took up just the other week. Anyway, today's installment is light on the humor, but deep in the meaning. Says a lot about the world we live in. Again, to enlarge the comic, simply click on it. Enjoy!

Friday, February 1, 2008

Short Movie Filler Day - Tomorrow's Memior

Today's another short movie filler day and the movie that I have for you is a fairly long one (about 27 minutes). But in my personal opinion, it's worth every minute. This movie is about a man who's haunted by the secrets of his past. As he wanders through the city, more light is shed onto his identity and the burden that he carries. Can any of you guess who this man is? For my personal review of this film, follow this link.


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