July 8th, 2005

Made In USA

It's pretty common these days to find "Made In Taiwan" when shopping in the US these days, if not some other country on the label. Seems like it's pretty hard to find anything still sporting the "Made In USA" label anymore. These week I've noticed that label more often than I expected when buying things here in Taiwan.

The first was when I went to get some lubricant because the lock on the front door was getting stubborn. I went over to the SL store (local hardware and knick-knacks store down the street), and found a bottle of actual WD-40. The label was (mostly) in Chinese but on the back was in big letters, "Made In USA."

The second was when my wife brought home a bag of microwave popcorn from 7-11. Again, "Made In USA."

And lastly, today when we went out to buy a reverse osmosis system, the shop down the street recommended one that was made locally but all the filters and the RO membrane were all "Made In USA."

So looks like there's still some things that are actually made back home.

As mentioned above, we bought a reverse osmosis system today. Over the last two days a team of guys has spent hours cleaning out our building's water tanks, patching things up and putting in some new piping to replace the ancient crap that was there before. With that cleaned up, I wanted to get a better filtration system for the drinking water to avoid any problems at all with bad water. We had previously had a single stage Everpure filter, but for best filtration, nothing beats Reverse Osmosis. The one we got has a 5 micron charcoal filter, two 1 micron mesh filters, the reverse osmosis membrane, and a mineral flavor enhancer. The chances of any nasties getting through all that is slim.

One unusual feature of this model is that it has a built in pump. It's pretty common for water pressure of RO systems to be fairly weak, especially when the reservoir tank is low. So this will probably be a useful feature, especially since water pressure here is already fairly weak to begin with.

One of the nice things about living in Taipei is that if you buy something, you can usually get it delivered and/or installed the same day. For this system we bought it this morning just before 11am and the guy was there to install it the same day before 6pm. And installation was included in the total price, not some big expensive add on service, plus they gave us four replacement filters (one year's worth) as well.

I recently got a few DVD sets in the mail. A couple of weeks ago my dad sent me for my birthday the complete original box set of Battlestar Galactica and the season 14 box set of Law & Order. Then when Deep Discount DVD had a 20% off sale (they already have very low prices, free shipping to the US and reasonable International postage rates), I ordered the new series Battlestar Galactica mini-series set and the Firefly complete box set.

The new Battlestar Galactica is really good. The initial mini-series is out on DVD now, Season 1 recently finished showing, and Season 2 starts up on July 15th on Sci-Fi Channel in the US. Repeats of Season 1 are showing in some areas. I highly recommend it, especially to anyone into science fiction. It's a lot different from the original series which will bother purists, but standing on it's own, it's very good.

I've been watching Firefly the last few days and am pretty impressed by it. It's kind of a "Cowboys in Space" series, but that label probably does it a disservice. Basically it is set in a future of planetary expansion where the 'border planets' are a kind of lawless new frontier similar to the old west. The interesting thing is the way it mixes up cultural influences, which would be expected in such an environment.

One of the oddities is that they mix in Chinese into the English dialogue, just bits and pieces here and there. I didn't notice at first, but I turned on subtitles to figure out what they were saying at one point and the subtitles just put in [Chinese] in those spots. After a while I could figure out what they were saying occasionally, but the pronunciations are pretty screwed up, so it's kind of hard. It's sort of neat though. I sometimes stick Chinese in my LJ posts and akibare often posts in a mix of Japanese and English, but it's odd to see that sort of thing on American network TV.

It's a bit cornball at times, but it's well worth watching for the science fiction fan. There's also a movie 'Serenity' coming out in September that's based on the series. You can watch watch the trailer now.

Justice Is Served in Valerie Plame Leak?

So let me get this straight...

The White House official (allegedly Karl Rove) responsible for the leak continues to feel no political heat or legal repercussions over the illegal identification of a CIA agent.

Robert Novak who first published this illegally leaked information has faced no legal repercussions at all.

A reporter who also was leaked this information and wrote a followup story on the subject after Novak's, and refused to reveal his source got a walk because his employer turned over some of his emails.

But reporter Judith Miller who also was leaked this information but decided not to write an article about it, and refuses to reveal the source is jailed for standing up for press freedom?

Is that justice?

I would have preferred they had jailed people starting from the other end of that list.