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Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Outcast: Volume 1 Chapter 1 (2)

Read all chapters by blog label: The Outcast Posts Label.

Volume 1 Eastwood is All Boulders
Chapter 1 Parade at the Bell-Tower Street (2)

"Soap opera is all a commoner need!" Bao-Longtao thought to himself as he strode down Bell-Tower Street in the cold breezes and glanced at the indifferent residents drinking in taverns around the corners of the street.


Bao-Longtao, Deputy Chief of the Riverwest State Second District Police Department, was also one of the Eastwood Boulders. His face was always as stern as a boulder. For the gang members haunting the Bell-Tower Street neighborhood, this face represented immense awe and terror. Whenever he patrolled Bell-Tower Street, those black-market wild-buffalo-meat peddlers would scatter at the speed of a galaxy battleship. With his sharp-looking black police uniform and the seven subordinates following behind him, they always made an extraordinary scene.


Bao-Longtao suddenly remembered that there were also three reporters by his side today. Feeling a jolt in his heart, he tightened his collar button out of habit and then turned around steadily to face the reporter, a young woman holding a microphone in her hand. A forced smile slowly spread across his face as if the exterior of a boulder had suddenly split open.


"Public safety at Bell-Tower Street has always been outstanding …," Bao-Longtao said in a calm voice to the best of his abilities. He didn't want to leave the slightest impression of carelessness. This assignment had come straight from the Riverwest State Governor's Office. Something Deputy Chief Bao dared not to handle hastily.


Sensing the Deputy Chief's uneasiness, several aides from the police station's public relations office quickly took over and carried on the conversation with the reporters. Bao-Longtao secretly heaved a sigh of relief and shook his head gently.


He had served in the Eastwood Grand District for thirteen years, still seven years shy from completing his term stipulated by the Federation Government's Eastwood-Aid Act. However, he knew he wouldn't stand another seven years at a place filled with deathly staleness. Would he eventually resort to watching TV to kill time every day, just like those jobless miners?


The Federation had stringent regulations. Although promotions usually came quicker at the Eastwood Grand District compared to other places, transferring to the Capital Star Circle or the Westwood Grand District was only possible after a lengthy time of service. Bao-Longtao did make acquaintances with a few outer circle members of the Eminent Families. Still, he knew all too well that none of those cautious Families would spare any effort on him, an insignificant Deputy Chief.


A better option for him would be to spend more effort on political achievements for his post. That was also part of his consideration when he decided to show these reporters around Bell-Tower Street personally.





The tiny trace of frustration on Deputy Chief Bao's face didn't last long and quickly turned into astonishment!


Even the curious questions from the female reporter skipped his ears. His murderous gaze shot right over the female reporter's shoulder and landed at the junction where four alleys joined Bell-Tower Street.


It was hard for the reporters to miss the Deputy Chief's unusual reaction. His face was now purple and all tensed up. It looked like a boulder at the bottom of the river covered by decades of moss, ready to transform into a terrifying monster at a moment's call.


Glancing over the direction of Bao-Longtao's gaze, the reporters couldn't help but gasp, and the female reporter even uttered a cry.


Only a moment ago, a cool breeze still swept along the peaceful street. But in the next moment, the sounds of countless footsteps suddenly resonated in the streets. The steps were not in sync, nor were they as intense as drumbeats, but the sounds were so dense that anyone could tell it had to be from a large crowd marching out.


The noisemakers emerged at Bell-Tower Street in no time. Mobs of people stormed out from the four alleys all at once and quickly occupied the majority of the intersection and sidewalks. The entrance was so dramatic that those Eastwood residents occupying themselves with coffee and alcohol looked out of the window in shock. And the faces of the police officers and the reporters all turned pale.


The mob streaming out of the four alleys consisted of only young boys. Even the oldest amongst them were merely 15 or 16 years of age. Some of the younger ones still had blemishes of mud on their faces, making it hard to tell whether they were over ten or not.


The boys wore various clothes but with one particular trait in common, disturbingly. Each one wore something black: black jackets, black sweaters, or black t-shirts. One boy probably failed to find a black piece of clothing from home. Instead, he wore a blue miner's work coat covered by black tar from mining, which probably had not been washed for years.


There were over one hundred boys, all in black, funny-looking yet oppressing. They came out of nowhere, walked to the middle of Bell-Tower Street, right in front of Deputy Chief Bao and the reporters.


Deputy Chief Bao took a step forward and stared furiously at the boy in the very front of the group. He knew that boy.


The female reporter took several steps back instinctively and cautiously peeked at the boys' faces, wondering what these boys in black were here for and whether her safety was at risk.


"What are you doing here? You should all be at school right now!" Deputy Chief Bao roared sternly.


Usually, such a roar would have any gang leader of the Bell-Tower Street scatter in terror. But this time, all the boys only responded with disdain. No one reacted to his demand.


The leader of the boys had maturity exceeding his age. He kept his eyes wide open and stared right back at Bao-Longtao without a cringe.


"We have the right to petition!"


"Petition?" Hearing that word, the female reporter hiding behind Deputy Chief Bao felt a sudden surge of excitement. Sticking her heavily makeup-covered face out from hiding, she asked in a quivering voice, "What for?"


The leader boy did not answer the reporter's question right away and instead raised his fist high in the air. Seven or eight banners rose high immediately from the group behind him, each painted with big, bright, and striking words.


"Stop Local Protectionism!"


"No More TV Censorship!"


"We Want Federal Channel 23!"


"We Want to Watch Jian-Shui-Er!"


Even that youngest boy hastily wiped his dirty face and shouted with the utmost grief and resentment. But his still high-pitched voice and childish face made him look more amiable yet comical.





The female reporter had thought that she just got her hands on some excellent news material, but when she read the demands on the signs and banners, she found herself dumbfounded. Turning towards Deputy Chief Bao with a lost look, she asked.


"Who…who are these kids?"


Deputy Chief Bao's anger was about to explode. Taking his eyes off those silly banners, he cursed with clenched teeth.


"A bunch of bastard orphans!"




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Picture of the Day:

Lanny against an apple tree. Lanny 1 : Tree 0

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Monday, January 25, 2021

The Outcast: Volume 1 Chapter 1 (1)

Read all chapters by blog label: The Outcast Posts Label.

Volume 1 Eastwood is All Boulders
Chapter 1 Parade at the Bell-Tower Street (1)

When viewed from high up in space, Eastwood was a beautiful planet. Illuminated by sunlight shining through sprinkling space dust, the blue oceans, the large patches of green wildernesses, and the numerous strikingly pale mine craters all radiated with a dim aesthetic splendor. The view looked just like a beautiful painting, only that it had been set aside for many years, covered in the dust of time.


However, for the Eastwood Grand District's many residents and orphans, this was only a planet full of boulders, nothing but boulders. In their once determined but now apathetic eyes, even those patches of green plains were only grass layers that covered up the true wealth and the glorious history of the planet. They had grown accustomed to seeing right through the green grass and looking straight at the mineral veins beneath, something longed for by every Eastwood resident.


According to the federal district zoning, Eastwood was a Level-Two Grand District, with the same prestige as the three dazzling planets in the Capital Star Circle and the Westwood Grand District. However, for many citizens of the Federation, the far-away Eastwood was a forgotten land. Only on rare occasions, such as the 600th anniversary of the Founding of the Federation Government, the name Eastwood might still show up in celebration ceremonies. Most of the time, Eastwood had ceased to exist in the minds of the people who lived in affluent civilizations.


The Eastwood Grand District included only one planet, the Eastwood Planet. It might sound a bit silly, but it signified that Eastwood Grand District's name came from the Eastwood Planet. This lonely planet, which hung along the outermost region of the Triangle Galaxy, once held vital significance for the entire human civilization in the ancient past.


Nevertheless, ever since the various kinds of ores had been completely depleted, the Eastwood Planet gradually turned into a deserted planet. Now it only has boulders, no more ores, just worthless boulders.





Those with means to escape Eastwood had left a long time ago. They successfully acquired their residence transfer approval through either specialized skill sets, wealth accumulated over the years, or sponsorship from relatives living in the Capital Star Circle or the Westwood Grand District. Boarding the departing flights, which became lesser and lesser frequent due to energy shortage, they abandoned this withering planet, never looking back.


After all, only a trivial percentage of the residents were able to obtain the residence transfer approvals. The partly abandoned planet still had to support the lives of many. In a well-developed civilization, food and shelter were no longer problems people need to have a concern. Residents of Eastwood Planet still lived a peaceful life. The many social infrastructures and welfares stayed their vital roles just as before, and monetary currencies remained in steady circulation. This world still had corporations, airports, food processing factories, Mech maintenance stations, supercomputer networks, and even an armory.


What they could have and what they should have, the Eastwood Grand District had them all. Yet, they failed to conceal that dim feel of lifelessness. Staleness kept seeping out from every street corner, every building, and every face of those who had nothing to do other than holding their coffee cups and planting themselves in front of a television.


The thousands of years of ore production provided continued support to the Federation, like how a large river kept nourishing the lands along the riverbanks. But when the river gradually dried out and eventually turned into a small foul-smelling creek, the support coming back from the Federation was distinctly insufficient – because, for humankind, happiness is more than merely staying alive.


The long history taught the Eastwooders to be hardworking, steadfast, and unyielding. Countless mining accidents throughout the past did not make them cringe a bit. The dull present, however, filled them with sorrow and helplessness. There was no more mine to dig. There was nothing to do. Without even the possibility of a mining accident, a boring life was not the kind of life an Eastwooder would desire.


Hardworking and unyielding Eastwooders earned themselves the nickname "Eastwood Boulders" in the Federation. Today's Eastwooders became boulders even quieter and more indifferent, turning themselves into stone statues in armchairs and couches at home, as though they would never move again.




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Video of the Day:

Isaac playing Chopin's Waltz in A Minor

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Sunday, January 24, 2021

The Outcast -- 27 Glasses of Wine

Read all chapters by blog label: The Outcast Posts Label.

Twenty-Seven Glasses of Wine is a poem that appeared many times in Maoni's book, The Outcast. Here's the translation:

Twenty-Seven Glasses of Wine

With the 1st glass of wine, shining with the sun high in the skies.
Ivy vines outside of the window crept into my eyes.

With the 2nd glass of wine, rippling in the spring breeze.
Gently kissing my brows were the leaves from the trees.

With the 3rd glass of wine, birds chirped Mozart,
Just like love nibbling my heart.

With the 4th glass of wine, shadows climbed the windowpane.
Couldn’t remember who I am I tried in vain.

With the 5th glass of wine, the lad rises up and glides,
Over troves of trees waving like green tides.

With the 6th glass of wine, following a winding path I descend.
Will a girl be waiting at the end?


With the 11th glass of wine, among the green mountains steep,
Resting by a rock the tipsy graybeard fell asleep.

With the 12th glass of wine, I looked over the cliff-brink,
Thousands of years had gone by within a blink.

With the 13th glass of wine, on top of a snail’s feeler,
The world there was as weary as the world here.

With the 14th glass of wine, the world blurred as eyelids grew heavier,
People around the bonfire were getting sleepier.


With the 25th glass of wine, memories of father sprang to mind,
As raindrops rolled down the window and made me blind.

With the 26th glass of wine, when busy flies finally stayed,
Like us hiding under leaves watching the autumn rain fade.

With the 27th glass of wine, let tears stream,
I set down the empty glass together with my dream.

Here's the original poem in Chinese:



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Video of the Day:

Both my daughter and I are in this video about the ping pong club.

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Saturday, January 23, 2021

The Outcast -- Teaser

Read all chapters by blog label: The Outcast Posts Label.

The Outcast is a book written by Maoni, a renowned author in China. Many of his works are well received by readers have been adapted to TV series. Out of all the books he wrote, The Outcast is undoubtedly my favorite one. In fact, I liked it so much that I named my house after one of the characters in the book. 😄

The Outcast was named first place in the 20 Top Internet Novels in the Last 20 Years by the China Writers Association (the most authoritative body of writers in China).

I have never met Maoni in person. We only communicated in writings from time to time. Maybe because we were born in the same era in China (we were referred to as the 70s generation), we share many common backgrounds and interests. That made it easier for me to pick out the many hidden gems (references) in his writing.

Maoni, Author of The Outcast
Maoni has very kindly authorized me to translate his book The Outcast to English and post them on my blog and my website. This is a Dang Long book with TOO many chapters. But it is also a Dang Good story. I dream that one day I can finish and publish this translation, so the story can compete for the Nebula Awards and the Hugo Awards. Maybe the book can even be considered for a film adaptation and one day be put on the big screens to reach even more audiences.

I am getting up at 5:30 am every day to dedicate time to my translation (of this book and also the Smiling Proud Wanderer book). In the distant past, I had translated a few chapters of the book. Now equipped with better tools and stronger dedication, I hope to go much further much longer.

I will be posting the latest translation drafts on this blog first:
Address: or
Label: The Outcast

After further editing, I will also post the finished translation on my website:

Enough said. Now check out the teaser remarks the author wrote for each volume of the book.

The Outcast

Two things fill the mind with ever-increasing wonder and awe, the sacred
moral principles within us, and the starry grandeur above our head. 

  -- Kant

Volume 1 Eastwood is All Boulders

One should have character as unyielding as a boulder, and a heart as broad as the ocean, the unattainable virtue I will always yearn for.

Volume 2 Bell Tolls at Upperwood

For whom the bell tolls? It tolls for those who heed.

Volume 3 Journey to Westwood

Our journey is not toward the ocean of stars, but to Westwood, the place of death and rebirth.

Volume 4 Stars and the Fleeting Years

Aren’t we all characters in a play where life always revolves between joy and sorrow? The world changes day by day, but the stars and memories linger…. The stars, the memories, and the fleeting years.

I hope you enjoy this story as much as I do!

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Better late than never! 

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Friday, January 22, 2021

Daily Battles: How to Change Default App for Different Files Types (PDF) on a Mac in macOS

In Windows, if you want to change the default application to open a certain file type, you just have to right-click on the file and then select Choose another app

For macOS, it is a completely different story. What you have to do is to open Finder first, and then locate the file you want to change default app. Right-click on it and then select Get Info.

Next in the Get Info screen, look in the middle of the window and find Open With. Click on that to open a dropdown menu where you can select the default application you want to use to open this type of files.

Then make sure you click the Change All button (I made the mistake of not clicking this and had to do the entire thing again) to apply to all files of this type, and click Continue to save it.

That's it. Leave a comment if you find my blogs useful. You can also follow me on Twitter for more useful tips and tutorials!

Video of the Day:

Be creative! Make friends of ducttape, paper clip, super glue, and W-40!!

Problem solving is a fun brain exercise. 

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