Thursday, July 30, 2009

How to "Save As ..." in Excel 2007.

For the first time ever, I use Excel 2007. And I don't know how to "save as", that is, to save a file in a different format than the default Excel format.

So I google it, and find this page from Digg.

I'm amazed that many people think it's a stupid question. Many people don't answer the question, just saying the guy who asked this question is retarded. They say, "To publicize how stupid this question is, let's keep posting!" How mean they are. As a result, I have to scroll down quite a bit to find the solution:

RIGHT CLICK on quick access toolbar
SELECT Customize quick access toolbar
SELECT Show All Commands from "Choose commands from:" drop down
The guy who asked this question (and I myself) is not retarded. It's Microsoft Excel developers who are retarded. How can you design the updated version of software so un-intuitively to the users of the previous version? (They completely reshuffle which command belongs to which menu bar.)

And the most annoying feature of Excel, namely, a pop-up window always shows up when I want to close a file that is already saved in the non-Excel format, still remains in this new version of Excel. It is Microsoft Excel developers who are retarded.

And when I enter "mar2003" (as the survey identifier for the one conducted in Morocco in 2003; "MAR" is the ISO code for Morocco), Excel 2007 recognizes it as 3/1/2003 (as the previous version of Excel does). Who would enter "mar2003" for 1st March 2003? It is Microsoft Excel developers who are retarded.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I'll Be Your Love

Composed by Yoshiki
Performed by Nicole Scherzinger (vocal), Yoshiki (piano), Ikuro Fujiwara (conductor), and Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra in Tokyo on December 2002.

For most of you, this video is a rare footage of Nicole Scherzinger before she broke through as the lead singer of Pussycat Dolls. For me, Yoshiki's killer melody is the most important although I do think Nicole's beautiful voice really fits this song.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Done with the revision of the last chapter in my PhD thesis

My PhD thesis, completed two years ago, has four chapters. One chapter was already published in a non-peer reviewed journal. Another chapter was published as a book chapter. The third chapter was submitted to and then rejected by a journal and then re-submitted to another journal last April.

Today I finished revising the last chapter (finally) and submitted it to a journal.

Now I can fully move on to new research projects (until journal editors either ask me to revise the submitted papers or tell me that they decide to reject them).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Tokyo Subway Map for your iPod

I just discovered Gizmobies. It's a stylish protector skin for iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, and Nintendo DS. This is what I wanted for my iPod Classic. And my hesitation to buy an iPhone due to its rather ugly design will go away with Gizmobies.

It originates from America, and its Japanese store has the "Japan-only" patterns. I hope Scandinavian designers will soon join the bandwagon. They should do a better job.

And what's surprising to me is that one of the patterns available in US is the Tokyo Subway Map (see above). This is a cultural shock to me.

London's tube map is a design icon.

On the other hand, I always thought Tokyo's counterpart was ugly.

But for Americans, Tokyo is cool, and so its subway map is also cool, as it seems.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

分島花音 (Kanon Wakeshima)

Ayumi Hamasaki + visual-kei + breakbeat + classical music? Kanon Wakeshima is at least different.

still doll

砂のお城 (Sand Castle)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The Daily Telegraph on drum and bass

An Economics Editor of the Daily Telegraph, UK's conservative broadsheet newspaper, has a blog post on drum and bass (or DnB for short). Since DnB is my favorite music, I can say something about the post. The article is so not up-to-date to the current scene of DnB, but the following paragraph is right on about this genre of dance music:

There are few other genres of dance music - or sub-genres rather - that can cover such an expanse as DnB - from the bone shaking dance hits that ravish clubs to the slow, meditative intensely jazzy DnB that flourished in the late 1990s. DnB is about plenty of things - about playing with form, about confronting expectations, but the more you drill into it the less it is really about either the drums or the bass.
The article is outdated because it recommends Goldie, Roni Size, and LTJ Bukem to the uninitiated. They are great legends of DnB, but this music has evolved a lot since those mid-1990s stars. I would recommend Pendulum (if you like rock music), Chase & Status (if you like electro music in general), and High Contrast (if you like movie soundtracks or classical music). And to keep up with the latest scene, check out BBC Radio 1 programme Fabio & Grooverider (you can listen to the latest show online on demand).

Monday, July 13, 2009


Views from Stockholm's highest point. To get this view, aim for Gamla Lundagatan in Södermalm and walk until the end of the street even if you feel the street is a dead end private road.

Skogskyrkogården (and Pizzeria Pergola)

The Woodland Cemetery in the south of Stockholm. These photos do not do justice to this UNESCO World Heritage site. It seems like I forgot taking photo when I was really struck by the beauty of the cemetery. The cemetery was designed by Swedish architects in the early 20th century. Here grave stones are all small and modest (see the third picture above), placing the surroundings at the center stage. A stark contrast to Milan's Cimitero Monumentale.

Across the street from the exit of the nearest T-bana station (Skogskyrkogården) is a pizzeria called Pergola (Address: Gamla Dalarövägen 56). It looks like a place targeting tourists who don't know where to go so it will survive with mediocre foods. Don't let its appearance put you off, however. Their pizza is excellent. It's a great way of learning how pizza is served in Stockholm: it always comes with what Swedes call pizza salad (shredded white cabbages marinated in dressing overnight) and the choice of pizza ranges from standard Italian ones to Mexican salsa pizza, from "pizza del mal" topped with Swedes' favorite crayfish to Turkish kebab pizza. Usually, the taste of pizza in Stockholm is rather straightforward (I mean it's good but not impressive). But Pergola's pizza tastes impressive.

I still cannot believe that I found it the best pizzeria in Stockholm...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Berlin's Turkey Town

Berlin hosts the largest number of Turkish residents outside Turkey. Berlin's Kreuzberg district can be called Turkey Town although, unlike China Towns everywhere in the world where only Cantonese restaurants abound, the area is not just about Turkish kebab restaurants and travel agencies for Turkish residents but also about Berlin's fourth boho area with an amazingly wide range of restaurants on Oranienstrasse and interesting independent small retail shops (and of course graffiti on the walls). Wandering around the area after getting off U-bahn at Kottbusser Tor is a must when you are in Berlin.

As the last dinner venue in Berlin, we choose Hasir at Adalbertstrasse 10, the restaurant launched by Mehmet Aygun, the Turkish immigrant who invented doner kebab. (More specifically, he's the first to put doner kebab on pita bread, something unheard of in Turkey). I always thought doner was a junk food. In this restaurant, that is not the case. Juicy meat makes doner a proper lamb cuisine. Shish kebab is also fantastic. Turkish tea is properly brewed. And the bill is around 10 euro per person. Simply great.

A bridge over the Landwehr Canal

Strolling along the Landwehr Canal in Tiergarten takes us to this pretty bridge near Grand Hotel Esplanade and Bauhaus-Archiv.

Hotel Review: Hotel Q!

I stay in room 408 for three nights from 9 to 12 July, 2009. The single room charge is 105 euro per night (booked well in advance).

The Good:

Breakfast. A wide range of foods is available, from typical continental breakfast (salami, cheese, croissant) to Italian salad, from grilled peppers, courgettes, and mushrooms to miso soup, from pickled salmon and poached trout to fried eggs (cooked to order and served on a green leaf of leek, which is a culinary revelation!), from freshly squeezed orange juice to a wide range of tea bags. There are even tasty cakes and pastries. And all is included in the room charge. What's more, on Saturday and Sunday, the breakfast is served until 1 pm. They understand what Berlin is about.

Bedroom design. Bathroom is also cool with black stone-looking tiles on the walls and the floor.

Friendly and efficient staff.

The location. From the airport, take bus 109 and get off at George-Grosz-Platz. The hotel is one block away from there. A few minute walk takes you to the nearest U-bahn station Uhlandstrasse, the terminal for Line U1. Without changing trains, you'll reach to Kreuzberg where great Turkish foods and stylish bar and nightclub on the riverside await you. Schwarzes Cafe is within a walking distance.

Booking online at its website is straightforward.

The Neutral:
The theme color of this hotel is red, red, and red. From the front desk to lighting in the corridor and even in toilets. If you love red, this is fantastic. If you don't like red, you may feel too much.

The Bad:
There is no kettle or even coffee maker in the bedroom.

There is no alarm clock in the bedroom.

The shower head is fixed to the wall of the bathroom.

Towels provided are rather worn out.

The Ugly:
The miso soup in the breakfast. The soup stock is completely wrong, at least for Japanese people's taste.

Unless you hate the color of red, this is your place to stay in Berlin.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Spindler & Klatt

Walking to Spindler & Klatt, a riverfront bar-restaurant in Kruezberg featured in Wallpaper* City Guide, requires a bit of courage. During the evening, the area is quite dark with very few shops, bars, and restaurants. You may wonder whether you are walking on the wrong street. Enter the abandoned warehouse premises to reach the bar, and you'll be greeted with the great view of the river Spree, Buddha statues, and Japanese futon-ish white sofa complete with pillows/cushions. People here take off their shoes to lie on these futon sofa to have a chat over dishes and drinks, which must be inspired by Japanese izakaya bars (though in Japan it's not futon but tatami mattress on which people sit down to have drinks).

Oberbaum Bridge

The picturesque bridge through which U-bahn line 1 trains run between Warschauer Strasse and Schlesisches Tor stations, the section abandoned during the Cold War because the bridge connects East and West Berlins.

Southern half of Friedrichshain

After enjoying the Stalinist architecture on Karl-Max-Alle, I head down to the south to walk on Simon-Dach-Strasse, a street famous for its endless series of restaurants, none of them, however, look very attractive.

Following Wallpaper* City Guide's recommendation, I turn the corner into Simplonstrasse and have dinner at Schneeweiss (Simplonstrasse 16). White is the theme color of this restaurant, serving reasonably priced dishes. As the menu is all in German, I follow the recommendation of a skillful, working-hard bartende. His mojito royal is marvelous, by the way. Wiener Schnitzel is pleasantly tasty, and my bill is 21 euro.

At the south end of Simon-Dach-Strasse runs Revaler Strasse, which turns out to be Berlin's third boho area. The brick-walled premises on the south side of the street host an open-air bar surrounded by thriving weed and the abandoned brick warehouses decorated with graffiti.

Stalinist apartment blocks on Karl-Marx-Allee

Along Karl-Marx-Alle, formerly known as Stalin-Allee, stand a series of socialist apartment blocks built in the early 1950s by the East Germany government as an after-war reconstruction effort. Modernist straight lines decorated with classical details, the style known as Stalinist architecture, appear luxurious to me. Get off at Strausberger Platz U-bahn station (on Line U5) and walk to the east, to enjoy the idealism of early-day communist Germany.

The Berlin Wall Memorial

On Bernauer Strasse in the north of Berlin remains a stretch of the Berlin Wall.

This is where the Wall brutally cut the community into half, by running just in front of the local church so residents on the western side of the Wall could not walk into it.

Residential buildings in the eastern side of the Wall were demolished so that East Germany's officials on a watchtower could keep watch on the wall to shoot anyone who tried to escape from the communist part of the city.

The East Germany government destroyed the defunct church in 1985.

When the Wall was brought down, people here decided to erect a modest-looking chapel in the same place as where the church used to stand.

Initially I didn't know what this oval-shaped building is meant for. After I learned about the history of the church, I noticed the cross in front of the chapel, which almost made me cry.

The stretch of the land along Bernauer Strasse where the demolished residential buildings on the Eastern side of the Wall used to stand is mostly empty, suggesting the land title for the area hasn't been solved yet. You need to come down here to feel what the Berlin Wall was like. (The official website of the Berlin Wall Memorial on Bernauer Strasse is here.)

A billboard standing at the site of the Berlin Wall Memorial

Fernsehturm, Berlin's icon

Berlin's answer to the Effel Tower in Paris is Fernsehturm (TV Tower). When I saw it in a photo before arriving in Berlin, I didn't really understand why it has become Berlin's icon.

Once I'm walking around the city, I understand why. Its view is simply ubiquitous. Almost anywhere in Berlin you will notice its presence.

Even Berlin's other landmarks such as Brandenburger Tor and Berliner Dom are haunted by the TV Tower.

The more I see the tower's futuristic design, the more I feel affinity to it.

Although it was erected by the atheist communist government in 1969, the cross appears on the ball when it's sunny (known as Pope's Revenge).

West Berlin failed to produce such a landmark. Although the West won the Cold War, the East scored in this respect.

Watergate nightclub

Ranked 8th in this year's world nightclub ranking by DJmag, Watergate is actually more like a great bar than a nightclub though the gate is open at midnight, the DJ listing is serious, and the best DJ starts playing after 4:30 am. Facing on the river Spree, both of its two dancefloors feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows through which you enjoy the view of Oberbaum Bridge, the neon sign of Universal Music Group, the river water surface glittering. What's more, there is an open-air terrace on the river that can be accessed from the club where you can chill out after an intense dance session with minimal techno rhythm. The only problem is people smoke inside, making your clothes stink, something that I thought was a thing of the past after even UK bans smoking inside the buildings.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Schwarzes Cafe

A dinner place for the first night in Berlin was a tourist trap on Ku'damm, the boulevard in West Berlin (though my friend was happy about the dish). The one for the second night is a place we just hopped in on Kantstrasse, a street running in parallel one block north of Ku'damn, which turns out to be a famous place called Schwarzes Cafe. The ground floor looks like just a tiny cafe that you can find anywhere in the West, but walk upstairs and there's a classical/underground atmosphere with the red carpet floor, the red-painted walls, and the golden ceiling with rusty classical European decorations. The food menu is stateless: Salad with creamy balsamic sauce, baked sweet potatoes in Asian style, a hint of coriander, and shredded Argentine beef steak is one of the best salad I've ever had. My roast pork with ginger apricot sauce is good as well, so is my friend's "fried noodle in German style" (which tastes somewhere between Korean pancake (jeon) and Japanese udon noodle). Even the restroom is fancy with its futuristic/industrial design (see the photo below). I would become a regular customer if I lived in Berlin.

Garden of Exile in Jewish Museum Berlin

Jewish Museum Berlin
has another corridor called the Axis of Exile. A brief description that German Jews had to emigrate outside Europe (from the Americas to Shanghai) as European countries were reluctant to accept them is followed by a square garden outside the museum building where a grid of tall rectangular concrete pillars stand upright against the ground. On top of these pillars thrive olive leaves which are beyond your reach. The pebbled ground is difficult to walk on, but you'll soon realize that it is difficult to keep your balance as you walk around (although what you see is all orderly).

It turns out that the ground surface of the garden is actually a slope. The right angle formed by the pillars and the ground deceives you into a wrong sense of gravity. And it is not that difficult for someone like me who needs to live abroad (though the reason for it is much, much less tragic in my case) to understand what this garden all means.

A view of the Garden of Exile from above.

Holocaust Tower in Jewish Museum Berlin

On a corridor called the Axis of Holocaust in Jewish Museum Berlin, visitors encounter a series of items left by those Jew victims of Holocaust. There is a door at the end of the corridor. Open it to enter the next room, and you'll be surrounded by darkness with a slit of sunlight high above. You barely hear the sound outside. Concrete walls shape the long triangle space. Sit down on the cold floor and look up at the bright slit, and you'll feel the same as those Jews without the means of fleeing Nazi Germany who hid themselves only to wait for Nazi to take them away to extermination camps.


The second alternative area of Berlin is the Scheunenviertel, the northern half of Mitte district. Auguststrasse, the street where the whole contemporary art scene in Berlin initiated, is full of galleries though few are really impressive. Time Out, who says "many of the cutting-edge galleries have moved on", seems correct. Still, wandering on this street is fun.