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2nd-May-2011 07:30 pm - Who are you?
me at 5 and a half years old
You are welcome to read my new posts, but they are friends-only. Please set up a LiveJournal account and request to be added as my friend. I may not always add you back. Thank you.

I may post several times a day.
1st-May-2011 01:33 pm - Guestbook and Index of Posts
me 4 years old
Sign my guestbook. To chat, see if I'm on Yahoo Messenger now.

Polls and News | Obama's Plans | Obama's Greatest Hits | Get HTML for this page

What I Believe: principles of secular humanism.

All my posts on exercise travel health MCAT.

All my philosophy posts on ebooks:
1. Epictetus (The Enchiridion [Elizabeth Carter translation] and The Discourses)
2. Marcus Aurelius (The Meditations). Listen to it read aloud.
3. Baltasar Gracián (The Art of Worldly Wisdom: Read Christopher Maurer version or Shambhala version.)
4. Napoleon Hill (Think and Grow Rich).
Intelligent Leader Arts & Letters NYT blogs: Freakonomics Health Evolutionary Bio Climate Change

Politics and news. I was a moderator of obama_2008, the biggest Obama LiveJournal community.

My Barack Obama page YouTube Hulu Charlie Rose

538 Electoral-Vote RCP | Jed Carpetbagger Kos Field TPM Politico HuffPo NYT Google News

Medical Blogs
Grand Rounds Surgeonsblog Kevin, M.D. Science-Based Medicine Vitum Medicinus

ScienceBlogs: Medicine Respectful Insolence Denialism Aetiology Neurotopia Angry Toxicologist Effect Measure Pure Pedantry Neurophilosophy Zooillogix Thus Spake Zuska

Exercise, sports, or triathlon. Running Swimming Biking Weightlifting Dancing Kickboxing P90X

Relationships Friends Psychology
Leadership Productivity and organization. Business Finance
Health, medicine, or science. Obesity "Sicko" and universal health care.
Atheism, humanism, or religion.
Film/TV/music. Funny posts.
"Be the change you want to see in the world." - Gandhi
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me vivian
I just wrote and posted this:

How to strip DRM protection from your Amazon Kindle and Mobipocket ebooks

The biggest frustration Amazon Kindle and Mobipocket customers have is either:
1) Their purchased Mobipocket ebooks won't work on the Kindle.
2) Mobipocket Reader won't read their purchased Kindle books.
This is only true for DRM-protected ebooks. Non-DRM books work fine.

Here's how to solve this problem and happily get Mobipocket and Kindle to talk to each other. Since both Amazon and Mobipocket refuse to do anything about this major issue, I am posting these instructions for Windows PC users.

I am able to strip DRM protections from books I bought from both Kindle AND Mobipocket, so they may be modified however you wish. They may be used on a Kindle, a PC, or any mobile device you want!

I did NOT need or use a Kindle PID for this. I do not own a Kindle, nor do I need one to do any of this. I use a tiny netbook PC (Toshiba NB205) for all my ebook reading.
me at 5 and a half years old
Hi friends,
If you like philosophy, ethics, and asking questions about what is the best way to live our lives, you will like this!

In the last few months, I've been reading the famous book "The Meditations," by the Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius. He was one of the main followers of Stoic philosophy, a practical way of living that was the most popular philosophy of the ancient Greek and Roman world, centuries before Christianity.

Not only was Marcus one of the most powerful people in the world at the time (about AD 200), he was also known for his integrity and incorruptibility. Few emperors have been like Marcus, close to Socrates' ideal of the "philosopher-king."

"The Meditations" is a wonderful and thoughtful book of Stoic "spiritual exercises" that Emperor Marcus wrote only for himself, to improve his self-discipline. The Stoics were big on strong emotional and mental self-control.

If you or anyone you know is dealing with disaster or misfortune, feels trapped, is depressed, has anger management problems, or who gets easily upset---"The Meditations" has very wise advice that may really help! It teaches you how to resist pain and stay calm throughout any kind of disasters. Maybe now we would call it "cognitive behavioral therapy."

"The Meditations" is not perfect, and I strongly disagree with some parts of it. Yet leaders from politics, business, and the military have read it for centuries with great inspiration. Bill Clinton says he rereads it every year. I feel that Barack Obama, who always seems calm and cool through any disasters or stress, lives in a Stoic way. Whether you are religious or not, you may profit from its wisdom. It's a very practical book.

I've actually read not one, but TWO top translations of "The Meditations" (Hicks and Hays)! My favorite one is by Hicks. It's the clearest.

Since we all are short on time, I've cut and paraphrased the best parts of both translations into one document. It took a few months. I've cut 185 pages to 35.

Here is my condensed version of "The Meditations" by Marcus Aurelius! You may read it in 3 ways: (HTML) (Word document) (Kindle/Mobipocket ebook)

Enjoy. Let me know what you think.
me vivian
Turn your LiveJournal blog into a PDF ebook:

Turn your Blogger and WordPress blogs into PDF ebooks:
me vivian
Here's a follow up to my last post on ebooks:

First, I explained how to change your ebooks to MP3 sound files with TextAloud:

However, TextAloud only reads plain text, HTML, PDF, and RTF files. Not normal ebook files like .prc or .mobi (Kindle) or .pdb (Barnes & Noble).

Now I know how to change ebooks to the basic text formats above!

Use a fantastic free program called Calibre, which converts documents between many formats! It also can view your ebooks.

I just successfully used Calibre to convert a Kindle/Mobipocket (.prc) book and a PDF book to plain text and loaded both entire books into TextAloud. Calibre also did an error-free job of converting the PDF book. In contrast, loading a PDF book directly into TextAloud produced many mistakes.

I just converted ebooks from both Amazon and Barnes & Noble into plain text. Plus I converted Kindle books into Barnes & Noble (.pdb) books, then Barnes & Noble books into Kindle books.

Calibre is amazing! The main catch: you may only use Calibre and TextAloud with files that do NOT have DRM protection.

Here are all the file formats between which Calibre converts:

Thus to convert ebooks to MP3 files:

1. Use Calibre to convert them to plain text first, or load them directly into TextAloud if you can.
2. Edit resulting files as you wish.
3. Use TextAloud's File Splitter utility to break the big text file up into smaller chunks. Then turn those into MP3s sound files.

Using the TextAloud File Splitter:

You're done!

Remember, all this stuff is NOT just for ebooks. You may use these tricks to change ANY text documents you have into sound files, which you may listen to in your bed/car/gym/train.

Students who need to review lecture notes,
writers who want to proofread essays,
busy people who want to listen to their emails,
people with poor eyesight who would rather listen than read,
or people who are trying to learn a foreign language can all use TextAloud to read any documents to them.

Let me know what you think.
6th-Dec-2009 09:58 am - The amazing ebook world (Part 2)
me at 5 and a half years old
This is Part 2 of yesterday's post.

Any books published before the 1920s are free and public domain. Also, see this guy's fantastic free download library of over 2100 20th century books!

I've saved thousands of dollars and never bought an e-reader like the Kindle. Now I own THOUSANDS of classic and bestselling modern books all on my tiny computer, which I've also uploaded to a storage site called Dropbox that I may access from anywhere to download any one I wish!

I use a tiny netbook computer, the Toshiba NB205, and free software called Mobipocket Reader. Many ebooks out there online are in PDF, HTML, Word Doc, or plain text form, which you may use Mobipocket Creator to convert to Mobipocket/Kindle format. I use it to make my own ebooks.

My netbook is very light, has gotten many compliments for looking cute, and has 9 hours battery life and a protector that stops its hard drive when the computer is shaken. I am typing this comment with my computer sitting on my chest while I lie in bed now.

I use a wonderful program called TextAloud that lets my computer read aloud any text on my computer. It can turn my ebooks into MP3 audiobooks that I can carry on my SanDisk Sansa Fuze 4 GB Video MP3 player I just bought for $35. It plays video and audio, is smaller than a credit card and thin as a pencil, has FM radio with 40 preset stations, 24 hrs rechargeable battery life, microphone to record lectures, memory microSD expansion slot, 4 GB (1000 songs/12 hrs video/2000 photos), includes earphones, and can DISPLAY EBOOKS! (This program "eBook to Images" will convert Text, HTML, PDF, and LIT ebooks to pictures that I may view on this video MP3 player!) I'll wear it on my arm while I jog.

On my Facebook, I've also posted tons of links to sites where you may download FREE novels and other books (fiction and nonfiction). If you've never tried ebooks, you're missing a huge treasure trove out there.

The ebook universe is confusing, and there are a ton of ebook formats out there, which people call the "tower of eBabel." But you can find lots of software that converts between formats. The big problem and controversy in ebook land is DRM (digital rights management) protection, which publishers and Amazon have put on ebooks to prevent piracy. The problem is DRM also blocks legitimate book buyers from transferring their purchased ebooks to other devices and keeps them locked into one e-reader, one format, etc.

The best blog on the ebook business is Teleread (, which I check regularly and which covers lots of this stuff.

Here's my post on Teleread about converting your ebooks to MP3 audiobooks:

Hope this has been useful. Please let me know what you think and if you have tried ebooks yourself. What has your experience been so far?

If you've never tried ebooks, please reconsider. You are missing a huge world out there.
5th-Dec-2009 09:40 pm - The amazing ebook world (Part 1)
me vivian
My ebook library is now 3.6 GB, the biggest personal text library of anyone I know! I now almost own the COMPLETE WORKS of Ray Bradbury, Agatha Christie, Albert Camus, Carl Sagan, James Clavell, Dale Carnegie, Douglas Adams, Ernest Hemingway, Frederick Forsyth, George Orwell, Robert Greene, Ian Fleming, Isaac Asimov, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, John Grisham, Michael Crichton, Philip Pullman, Richard Dawkins, Richard Feynman, Roald Dahl, Robert Ludlum, Robin Cook, Sidney Sheldon, Stephen King, Tom Clancy, and Will Durant.

I also own the major 20th century writers like Hemingway, Kafka, Steinbeck, Salinger, Sinclair Lewis, Bertrand Russell, and hundreds of classic authors like Shakespeare, Homer, Plato, Milton, Dickens, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, Dumas, Twain, Emerson, Sun Tzu, Chekhov, Gogol, Plutarch, Machiavelli, Cervantes, Casanova, the King James Bible, Darwin, etc. plus major Chinese classics like "Journey to the West" and "The Romance of the Three Kingdoms"! All I downloaded from the Internet.

We are unbelievably lucky in this age to have unprecedented access to millions of books at such low cost. My mom, who grew up in poverty, would struggle to borrow her beloved books. In her country, books would often be stolen from the city library. She could not afford to buy them and would beg one of her richer neighbors for a book from his personal library, which he kept locked up. Books were so precious then.

Nowadays, so many of us barely spend ANY time reading books. We barely can write grammatically correct sentences any more. At the same time, we now have access to the knowledge of gods, but we so often take it for granted and never spend the mental effort to acquire and digest this knowledge.
27th-Sep-2009 02:36 am - Should I keep blogging here?
me vivian
I've gotten no comments or reaction from you guys here for a long time. In the meantime, I have too many things happening which I report on Facebook, not LiveJournal.

I'm not posting here any more. It's too much trouble to copy all my Facebook posts here.

Please go to my Facebook and friend me. You'll see all the exciting adventures I am having and people I am meeting.

If you want my Facebook page, please send me a private message or email.

me vivian
Virginia Tech just released these missing mental health records of Seung-Hui Cho, the crazy student who killed 32 people there in April 2007. He had been to these 3 counseling sessions in 2005. Read for yourself!,2933,54...0724,00.html

Mental health records of the killer:
2nd-Aug-2009 11:38 pm - Do you read my blog?
me vivian
I haven't heard from any of my readers for a while. Do you still read my blog?

I update on Facebook every day, if you want to add me there instead. I have been having too many adventures. Go to my Facebook page for daily updates.
15th-Jul-2009 11:13 pm - Dinner in downtown Baltimore (Harbor)
me vivian
This "work" trip still feels like a vacation! Just back from downtown Baltimore! We ate a big crab dinner near the lovely, breezy harbor, with military boats, dragon boats, the Baltimore World Trade Center, the stylish Aquarium, and other architecture. Like San Diego. However, once we drove a few blocks away, we stumbled onto a strip club/porn part of the city, complete with police. This Sat, I may visit Wash., D.C.
15th-Jul-2009 04:28 pm - Tired. Another 7 hour day of training
me vivian
Exhausted. Back from another 7 hr training day. My coworkers are all highly motivated and like to laugh and drink alcohol! About to do a group study for a few hours before we go out for seafood. Today we inflated balloons and drew human faces and electrode positions on them! I made my face look like a cross between Zorro (mustache) and Bruce Willis (bald). We have a daily quiz plus a comprehensive exam Saturdays. Ugh.
15th-Jul-2009 04:10 am - Looking for a room to rent
me at 5 and a half years old
Just wrote this to a Boston real estate agent:

Hi Julie,

Nice to meet you! I just moved to Boston from Silicon Valley (San Jose, CA).

Sure, I'll probably be free after 6 pm today. Please give me a call or tell me when you'll be free. I'm near Baltimore now for company training and will fly back to Boston on Sunday, 7/25.

I want to rent a room (not an entire apartment). The maximum I'd pay is probably $600/month.

I'll mostly be working at Longwood Medical Area hospitals near Harvard Medical School, like the New England Baptist Hospital, Brigham & Women's, or the Children's Hospital Boston. The closer I live to them, the better.

Living close to the T is also crucial. I often need to get to work by 7:30 am or earlier, wheeling a 40 pound machine, and I can NEVER be late. Sometimes I may get home late at night too. Surgery schedules are unpredictable.

I seek a place close to lots of college students, cafes, restaurants, and other student hangout spots. Right now I'm in Back Bay at the Boston Hostel, and I love that area and the tons of people I've been meeting from around the world. Getting access to the student lifestyle is one reason I left California for Boston. I'm tired of isolated suburbs, where everywhere closes by 9 pm and no one meets their neighbors because they drive everywhere and are too busy with their families/kids. I want to be around people in their 20s/30s.

Finally, being close to a park or gym would be nice (though optional). I love to exercise (running, biking, skating, tennis, etc.) and would try to work out several times a week.

Thank you so much for your help! Ronnie is a fantastic person and I'm so glad she tried to introduce us.
me vivian
Exhausted after 7 hrs training today. We must memorize much spinal anatomy, plus the nervous plexuses, for tomorrow. I really enjoy dealing with the chiropractors in my class, who have big advantages in nervous system knowledge. Several are ex-military: Navy and Army. One chiro guy has both a sports medicine and physical therapy background. Also met the company's chief medical officer plus some of our neurologists.
14th-Jul-2009 12:03 am - My unreliable California friends
me ryze
I am fed up with how unreliable most of my California friends are in returning phone calls. :( When they say "I'll call you back," I usually can't trust them.

One of my pet peeves is people who don't return phone calls/emails. How much time does it take to call someone, even to say: "I'm too busy, but let's talk on (a specific date and time)"?
13th-Jul-2009 11:32 pm - First day of training
me vivian
Finished my 1st day of training in Baltimore and love my new coworkers! We take a daily quiz. We get $420 for food for the next 2 weeks. Many of my fellow new employees are awesome ex-chiropractors. I'm the most inexperienced person in my class. We all have a lovely hotel room with kitchen. My Taiwanese coworker was really sweet and friendly tonight and spent much time teaching me her neurophysiology software.

We got a 4-inch thick binder of stuff to learn today. Whew.
12th-Jul-2009 11:56 pm - Baltimore. Met 2 models.
me vivian
In Baltimore now for 2 weeks training. First flew to New York. On flight from NY to Baltimore, I sat next to 2 models going to a German catalog photo shoot. The model next to me said her life was not like that shown on Tyra Banks's show. It also was the smallest, most cramped plane we all had ever taken---maybe 8 rows of seats. "It isn't like on TV," she said, "or else we wouldn't be on this plane." ;p

She was my seatmate, very tall, black, and originally from Detroit. She started modelling right after college, when her friend had invited her to go to an agency. They hired her right away. Her first job was the J.C. Penney catalog.

Also, she and her friend were "plus-size models." They looked totally normal, healthy, and thin to me. I was shocked at what is considered "normal-sized."
11th-Jul-2009 11:05 pm - Harvard. Cool guy from Oxford.
me vivian
Visited Harvard University today w/ people from Poland, Brazil, & England. Very funny tour guides! Dinner w/ guys from Oxford and Germany. Tomorrow, taking tour of MIT and flying to Baltimore for 2 weeks for training. The other night, dinner with girl from Vancouver.
10th-Jul-2009 12:07 am - Vancouver girl. Drug test. Film guy.
me vivian
Took drug test, got tetanus shot, and did health titers. Worked on modules for the hospitals. Will work at New England Baptist Hospital tomorrow morning---famous for orthopedics. Had dinner with an artistic girl from Vancouver who is here to study permaculture. (Nicole, Canadians are sweet!) Met a Manhattan guy who works as a stand-in and occasional actor in TV commercials and film productions. Stand-in: like a body double.
me vivian
Exhausted. Met people from Ireland, Russia, Switzerland, Venezuela, India, France, Germany, Australia, Canada, Korea, England, etc. Had lunch at delightful Faneuil Hall (Quincy Market) with a girl from Spain and another from Tokyo. Saw street performers. Had 3-hour meeting in Brookline with my new boss. She gave me tons of journal articles and neurophysiology stuff to read. Don't have time to be a tourist. :(
7th-Jul-2009 09:50 pm - I'm finally in Boston!
me 4 years old
Finally am in Boston! Spent all night moving. No sleep. High stress. My SF flight was delayed 4 hours. My seatmate: a New Zealand principal who's going to a Harvard education mtg. At the Boston Hostel now. Many cool international students. My roommate: a NYer who just finished a 20-nation trip around the world, in 90 days! I love meeting all the college students. Tomorrow I go to the Children's Hospital Boston, for work.
6th-Jul-2009 12:46 am - Goodbye California!!!!!!!!
me 4 years old
From my Facebook:

I am happily---and FINALLY---leaving California today and starting the next adventure of my life! I'm happy to finally be closer to my dreams!

Dinner with Carly at Pasta Pomodoro. Was very touched by "Up." Went to Shoreline Park with my friend for lunch. Took pix of her, for non-modelling purposes.

Dealt with horrible drama of my friend this morning. Went out with a delightful girl. Took out my parents for a farewell dinner. Saw my last CA fireworks. I'm treating everything I do as the "last time" I may do it in California. *Sniff*

I'll be staying a few days next week at the Boston Hostel, in the Back Bay neighborhood. It's a few blocks from the Charles River and MIT.

I leave California Monday evening, arrive in Boston Tuesday morning, and start work on Wednesday. In mid-July, I'll train near Baltimore for 2-3 weeks.
me vivian
I leave California Monday evening, arrive in Boston Tuesday morning, and start work on Wednesday. In mid-July, I'll train near Baltimore for 2-3 weeks.

Have farewell dinner with one of my students and his mom tonight.

Goodbye California!
New Year
WOW! Check out the pics, videos, and life of Nick Vujicic, a man born with no arms or legs. He definitely makes all of our problems seem trivial.

The astonishing story of the man born without arms or legs... who plays golf, surfs, and swims (Daily Mail).

'He's very modest but he gets marriage proposals from women all the time,' said Nick's friend and publicist Steve Appel....The football fan is now a motivational speaker and has travelled to over 24 countries speaking to groups of up to 110,000 people.

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