Sunday, December 28, 2008
When we walked into the theatre, we got no 3D glasses, no 3D movie.
Now I'm paying money for Bolt only because I was under the impression that I was going to watch it in 3D. I don't want to pay to watch the normal version. I'm not too happy to discover I blew 10 bucks like that. Look at this.
This is what you see when you go through the Movies page on Cathay. So SWEET we were happy with the 3D sign, and totally didn't see the fucking fine print Exclusively at The Cathay Cineplex. So we clicked on Book Tickets Online to move forward...
And this is what the link brings you too. Tell me, 1) after seeing that 3D sign on the previous page, and 2) being a customer who doesn't know/realize that screenings in special formats, ie. Digital and 3D, would be indicated, would you not assume that all three locations were playing in 3D? But in fact...
Bolt 3D is hidden inside the movie dropbox.
How misleading is that?
And on a sidenote, you know that 3D is the attraction of this movie, why are you not promoting it actively? Why are you not bringing prospective customers to the 3D page first, and provide a link out to a normal screening if they don't want 3D? Isn't that Marketing 10fucking1?
I'm swearing alot nowadays right? Yeah. Sorry la. Boy boy's growing up.
Now this on the other hand, is GV's Now Showing page. And you can see that instead of one synopsis pointing you to two different types of screenings, it's two types of screenings on two pages with the same synopsis. See, if it is indicated like this, customers have far less excuse of saying "WTF? You didn't tell me this wasn't 3D??" Simply because this is the FIRST thing you see, when wondering what movie to catch, or when you want to confirm timings for a certain film or screening type.
Can you say we were at fault for not noticing the small print on the 3D sign? Yes. It was carelessly overlooked, I'll grant. But to that I also say "Fuck you we're not trying to discern counterfeit money we are trying to watch a movie here". And all the manager at Causeway Point could say, bless his soul he also dunno what to say I think, was to keep insisting that special screening formats are only played at The Cathay, and that we must know that these formats are separately indicated. I think you better teach your managers to say something else before they get slaughtered by popcorn and straws one day. And if your business method is to make it the customer's responsibility to scrutinize every damned pixel or ink blot to figure out for himself where you're screening what, then I couldn't care less if you're the only company who manages to import award-winning films from Tuzilihastokhan, I'm not going to put myself at risk of wasting money by patronizing you. I'm travelling across the island to GV Tampines for my 3D show.
I've always loved The Cathay for its extra comfy seats, and digital film options. It's what a cinema should be (that's only one cinema venue of theirs but still). And this incident is very disappointing and smears stinking dirt on the wonderful image that I have of them.
I hope this message gets passed along. Something needs to be done about this. Do not let your, I'd say prestigious image fall so easily because of such a flaw. Leave no room for error and keep your customers' loyalty.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Sunday, November 9, 2008
As a techie who relies extensively on his 3.5G Nokia E51 to spare himself from the occasional boredom of his neverending sentence, it is in my minute but nevertheless present interests to have an optimal surfing experience on the go (or on the no-go). One part of that is fast-loading mobile versions of websites, especially frequently accessed social sites like Twitter and Plurk. The other part is an intuitive mail application.
Before I go into my comparisons, I'll start off by saying that to me, desktop or mobile, Gmail's simplicity wins. No complaints about the web version. Now the mobile version has just been updated recently, so I'm gonna talk about what I like and what I don't like between the two.
Previous Gmail App
For some reason it takes a long time to load on my phone when I activate it, so much that my phone usually autolocks before I even start using Gmail. It hangs when I zip through the motions too quickly.
I'm none too happy that they took out the automatic access. Now I have to select refresh each time I want to check whether I've got new mail, when the previous version just did it automatically. Perhaps people are not even meant to close it or disconnect from their 3G connection, but surely there are more people who disconnect when they aren't looking. Also, I preferred the old method of entering contacts to mail to. Now when I click on the To field I have to type out the address I want, when previously I was brought straight to my Frequently Used Contacts list where I could immediately scroll and check the people I want to send it to. And another thing is that now mails seem to take longer to send/receive, so much so that I have to wait for the program now to finish communicating instructions before I can close it. And for some reason I cannot seem to use the shortcut buttons as effectively. After I hit 9 two times, which is the shortcut for archival, I'm brought back to the inbox, where it is still sitting. Only after another two clicks will the archival be registered. Again, I have to wait for the information to be communicated to the other side to do so, before closing the application.
I do like however, multiple account support, although in all probability I won't even use it, since I like to re-direct all mail to my personal account. Like also that they've made outgoing links in mails easier to access. Neutral to the smooth scrolling feature though. It's cosmetically nice but... ok lor, that's about it.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Sunday, October 5, 2008
Willy Foo and his crew is amazing.
Look at this.
The expressions captured in the photos taken through out the event are magical. It's as if all of them have this shutter-sense when this or that is gonna smile, or laugh, or raise his eyebrows.
I wanna do photography next time. It will probably burn a smokin' hole in my pocket.
This time a panel discussion was held on Corporate Adoption of Social Media, an issue that has been festing on the minds of just about anyone involved in an concern in any capacity about Singapore's social media scene. We all know that companies are reluctant to jump into social media, when here we are dancing in it as if we were swimming in liquid gold, and this discussion gave us a chance to, as I said, bring the thorny issues to the table and hammer it all out. Personally it was a very absorbing discussion, and given the unusual silence and rapt attention the audience in general was giving, they felt the same. You can read the record of major points raised in the live blogging post, found in the link at the top of this article, or you can head over to Tech65 to hear the not-perfect-but-we-did-our-best audio recordings.
After hearing that whole load of stuff, and then talking to Brian Koh and Melvin Yuan, I realised that as someone who deeply aspires to be in the PR industry, as well as loves tech, I should really be reading up alot more than I am now (in other words, next to never) about the whole marketing, PR and social media scene in Singapore, and just for knowledge in SEA and US. So I'm going start that now, and you may expect to see more PR/SMSG related stuff coming from this blog. You may. I leave you to decide.
Saturday, October 4, 2008
While twitting, a word came to me and I put it down - netemptation. So I thought hey, it'd be nice if I were to explain what I felt were the parameters that warranted this new word that I thought of. People who are more involved in the tubes might easily guess what it means, especially since I used it in the most direct context possible.
Netemptation is to me the collective pressure you feel from your sphere of influence online to try, do or get something. If you like to read your friends' blogs, then your netemptations are basically peer pressure online, perhaps 2 start typing lyk dis lols i dun reely knw cos i h8 c-ing dis ughs. If you read indie musicians' blogs, they are your netemptation to perhaps join the music social network that they're on and that they claim is loads better than MySpace because it has ABCXYZ. And especially, if you are a socially connected person, and you have your keyboard in every major social network or 2.0 site out there, everyone you are friends with - your dotcomrades, people you add because you're in the same community, people you look up to or are a fan of - as well as the people they are friends with, and possibly even the people that those friends are friends with, and allllll of these people's influences hobbies and specializations, is your netemptation. If anyone of those people read Engadget, that's part of your netemptation. If anyone of them is a NDS or Xbox360 fan, that's part of your netemptation if you're thinking getting one to actually do so. And finally, of course, the closer they are to you, or the more people in the circle do something, the larger the influence, as with the standard theories of interhuman influence. Given the connections that Web 2.0 and the innovation and expansion of the internet provides, I daresay we are far more likely than not to have a bone-crushing weight on our shoulders. And this is such an arbitrary thesis of it. There are I'm sure a million other factors not yet thought of or discussed.
Now in my case, quite a number of people have been talking about Chrome, trying out Chrome, and in Daniel's case, swearing by Chrome. Everyone's been at the very least discussing it, if not pimping and advocating it, and everytime I meet Daniel, who is in my innermost circle of tech fiends (not a spelling error :) ), and his trusty tablet PC, I will see Chrome, if not already in operation then sitting there waiting to be fired up. Now I'm not just going for Chrome because everyone else is doing it and I'm afraid of being left out or behind... that plain peer pressure. This is not to say that that isn't a factor. Again as with all influence-related theories, that almost certainly has to be a factor, in whatever capacity it exists in. In the case of netemptation, I think that is a minor but nevertheless noteworthy factor. The difference between netemptation and peer pressure is that as you experience netemptation, you ask yourself increasingly deep questions about the topic. Starting in this case with "Is Chrome really that good? Are people talking about it just because it came out of Google? Is it worth my time?" to more searching questions like "What is IT about Chrome that other browsers don't have that would make me ditch my deep roots of customization in my present browser and jump over? It's lightweight on the CPU, but could Chrome have sacrificed some of the functions I have come to expect of a present-day browser to be so?" And of course we know (and if you don't I'm telling you now), as we ponder more and more about and sit on thoughts, it grows on us and envelops us - that's how both convictions and depression occur. For convictions, we finally make the jump and execute what we believe in. For depression, our mind snaps and we do regrettable or irreversably stupid things. For netemptation, we finally make the jump and do stupid things. Ok no we don't, not all the time anyway.
And there's where I think therein lies the power of social media and social web tools. The word why, when it occurs in netemptation, is a start of a lengthy self-conversation delving into the use of further exploring the topic in question. "Who is this William Hung?" turns to "I wonder why he's so popular when he sings like a car horn?" "Should I get a Nintendo DS?" turns to "What is it I like in the DS that the PSP is lacking?" And these questions are answered whether we like it or not by the abovementioned circle we have built around us. And this to-and-fro process carries on until we come to a decision on what to do.
Thus giving into our netemptation.
I'm just spitting stuff out. I don't know if I'm factually right about past theories or not. I don't know if my arguments make logical sense or are randomly ricocheting off each other. So here's what I'm going to do.
I'm going to go ahead and publish this vomit, and you guys are going to come on in, examine it, praise it criticize it talk about it bash it. When you have had your fill, I will rewrite this article to reflect the opinions and changes suggested.
You may start... now.
ED: After having Kevin Lim run through this and tell me how I can improve it, I've decided to rewrite it. But that will be in due time. Meanwhile, I'll leave this published as an open initial draft for comments and critique to continue flowing in.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
I've turned it into a display shelf to show off my latest collectibles, which indeed they are - only two items you'll see are practically useful, and one of them is temporary. Let's have a look.
That is, of course, only because I haven't bought my metal katana. Yet.
So just a post to say hi and tell you that I'm still alive. If you read this blog, I can't imagine why you would come back often unless you're a relatively close friend, sorry that I haven't been posting much. I'm already so busy (lazy) without the army, and now that I have it I hardly find incentive anymore to blog.
Ok goodnight. Rachmaninov plays Rachmaninov best.
Just thought you might have wanted to know.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
And yes, you are wondering what's that blue glow in the pictures.
So there's my brother's lantern, which he got in school when he celebrated MAF a week ago in school, dunno why. And that's the mooncake with the knife, which we saved in the end for another time to savor. That is the durian flavor; the tiramisu flavor used to sit in the empty box. Then there's my phone, just in case, and oh look, what's that? X-Minimax portable speakers. Click the link if you don't already know about them, they're a fantastic local brand producing awesome quality and innovative products.
Mini speakers coupled with my ZEN playing... what else? Traditional Chinese music. I told my mother shamelessly, "Isn't it great? That you have a son so knowledgeable in both music and technology? How many families do you see having crisp Chinese music floating through the air while gazing at the pure white moon and eating tiramisu mooncake?"
Oh, and that pile of things that look like used tissue, that's just pomelo skin.
If you ahem want the album, the title is Meditations on China. Look it up yourself.
Happy Mid-Autumn Fest.
While waiting for the Macbook refreshes, my dad's kindly offered to pay for a reasonably priced LCD screen. In the future this will be my secondary screen... probably my SMS (Social Monitor Screen).
As you can see, it's taking me abit of time to get used to relative expanse of space that inevitably comes with widescreen. But as a result of the flatscreen, as many have discovered to their joy as well, my table is suddenly much spacier and neater now.
Ok well not much, but it still is a great improvement.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Everytime I happily announce that I wanna get a new Mac, specifically my Macbook Pro, people tell me to wait.
First I was shifting house. Then BMT approached and I thought well it's gonna collect dust anyway, why not hang on abit?
But my desktop is giving me increasing problems that are irritating the bloody hell out of me. First the processor can't seem to handle more than 5 tasks without slowing to a crawl, and then now the monitor's fuzzing out on me. So I decided you know what, screw it, let's just get it done and over with, I'll get my Mac now.
But my dotcomrades said wait. There's an Apple event in September, hang on for that before you miss out on great stuff.
Turned out to be an iPod event. (Sleek shit btw the new Touch)
So well never mind, better than taking a risk.
Now my best dotcomrades are saying wait. Announcements due in October. Possibly November. Could be MacWorld '09.
OMFG HOW LONG MORE DO I HAVE TO WAIT???
At this rate I'll be getting my MBP after my ORD man!
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Gosh one does have to be OMG careful when writing about the army.
I can hardly remember 4 months in my life that had passed as fast as these 4 months in BMT have. It seemed like just yesterday that we were morosely anticipating our first book out, and now I have just returned from my second last book out.
In this time, I have accomplished, as many have before me, things I never would have even thought about doing. It has given me a rewarding sense of self-confidence and esteem, which I guess is one of the outcomes hoped for of our training here.
I was just telling my bunkmate the other day, after our final route march, that BMTC should consider changing its motto to “Step by Step”. To me, those three words form just about the entire essence of our training program. Whether the Jacob’s Ladder, grenade throwing, or more practically the route marches, step-by-step training has helped deeply in understanding the necessary techniques. More importantly, step-by-step perseverance has made the impossible possible. Hundreds of thousands have done it before us, but that doesn’t stop us from being immensely proud of ourselves, and of each other.
-Okay, I had to remove this paragraph because it says relatively not-nicer things about the SAF. Anyway it's not about me, so you aren't missing out. :)-
It has been an unforgettable experience in BMT, and I am truly indebted to all my commanders for it. Now we only need hot water showers to make it perfectly unforgettable.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
My bestie Ben wanted to get a Speck MBP hardshell case for his girlfriend (they dote on each other like that. Envious isn't it?) and I guessed, correctly as it turned out, that Funan would be his best bet. At the same time, I decided to go ahead and splash on a Razer, as well as an X-Minimax. I'm usually a Creative fan (still am actually), but the Minimax's size won my favor. As for the Razer, I looked the various models up and decided on the slightly higher ended Copperhead. I have to confess now - I bought it mainly because it has a glowing logo on it's back. I'm a sucker for glowers.
I chose Anarchy Red simply because it was the best looking color among red green and blue. Ben and I both have this thing for red-black combos. Or maybe I picked it up from him, I dunno. If what they say about the color red is true, then yes, I love a sense of danger and power.
More of power la actually. What danger is there in the face of power?
As for the Minimax, Ben uncharacteristically suggested I chose black over my initial guess of red.
"Red looks like......"
"... ... black."
I came back and did an unboxing video of both items. I'll see when I can get it uploaded, starting with the Copperhead vid. The bill hurt my pocket quite abit (do the math yourself), but the moment I plugged it in, I knew every cent was worth it. Same for the X-minimax. Seriously powerful shit for its size. Imagine Guns 'n' Roses' Paradise City at full volume so loud it actually hurts, and no distortion at all.
Now all I have to do is let my Minimax finish its initial charge, restart my com, set my Copperhead profile settings, and transfer my pics and videos out from my memory card. Then it's back to camp for me.
POP in sight! Here's to me staying positive!
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Ever since I was extremely blessed to win the XBOX360, I had the gamer life that I often wanted. Even as a young adult with a little bit more cash to spend and swim around in, I hardly ever thought of buying a console. The financial weight of the console itself plus a few games to kick off would cripple me by one grand. Now at least I have more cash for my games. My dad just bought me 3 games. I think that's too much now haha, but well they are good games. Ace Combat is relatively old but the gameplay is absolutely absorbing. I'm excited to have Assassin's Creed but since it's the same genre as Ninja Gaiden, I don't wanna start another story without finishing one first. Granted, NG2 is getting pretty hard for my gaming-uninclined mind, so it might be a long time before I break the seal on the AC box, but we'll see... Still got Star Wars: Force Unleashed, Mirror's Edge, and Guitar Hero World Tour coming up. $$$ :'(
The end of BMT is in sight. You might want to call it indecisiveness, but till today, when someone asks me if I would like to become an officer, I still cannot provide a definitive answer. I wanted so much to get a perfect score for live range (shooting), but I was sorely disappointed at my own performance. No matter how much I knew I was wrong, I could not stop my nervousness from overtaking and making me pull the trigger a hair of a split-second too soon. 25/32. Some of you are cursing me right now because that's a dream score. And that's why I tried to stop myself from lamenting too much about it. My mates might not think too well of me. Is that self-censorship? Some say yes, most Chinese beg to point out that it's humility. Perhaps it's the culture of absolute obedience to the ancient emperors that Chinese like to insist that "they're right, I'm the one who is wrong".
Made a couple of great friends in camp, bonded by passions for various things. Filmmaking. Animation. Japanese culture. Humor (yes, humor). Social welfare. Can't stand a couple of people in camp. Inconsiderate. Troublemakers. Big talkers. I notice that the big talkers always have an aura of low self-esteem around them. You just have to look hard enough. And when you find it, it will shine brightly at you after, calling for help for it's owner, asking for a friend. I'm not made out to be that friend, no matter how kind I like to think I am. Maybe in a few years.
MacDelivery seems to find itself incomplete without screwing up. Ordered two McSpicys and a double cheeseburger meal, and can I have some mayo please, but they didn't have the mayo. 3 minutes later after I'd poked the straw in, laid my hands on the fries, and carressed the burger ready to mutilate it, a manager from the branch calls to say that they sent the wrong order, and he's sending the right one over now. I say the only thing I'm missing is mayo. And he says well ok, just take the mayo when the rider comes then. So he comes, and he wasn't even given clear instructions what to do. He left his cell to charge at the branch. We got a buy-1-get-1-free.
It's a good thing they didn't call back asking to have the package back to send to the right house. My dad was already heartily tucking into the second burger. Yeah right you're not hungry. I would have freaked out on the phone if they did that.
Red Cliff is awesome. I knew I was right not to watch it on my ZEN. The atmosphere is just not there. But I get home to a 19" monitor, a 2.1 sound system enhanced by a USB DAC, and Microsoft's TruBass and SRS WOW settings.
I couldn't peel my eyes away.
It was so good, I immediately went to scout (ahem) for traditional Chinese music. Qin music, like it was played in Hero and Red Cliff. Not the exact type, but good enough for me. It's generally very relaxing and meditative, traditional Chinese music. Also went to dig up some traditional Mongolian music. I've been acquiring alot of all these sleep-well music lately. Good for a Tekong lullaby, you know.
I miss my involvement in the new/social media scene, really. Miss the events, the excitement and anticipation of new products, no matter how reserved the attendees are on the outside. All bloody professional-looking masks. Most of all, miss meeting new people with similar interests. Cooking up ideas of collaborations and then moving on to make it reality. Miss that, really.
Last thing. NDP. I'll reserve the best of my compliments for private conversations, because I don't wanna get dragged into detention barracks by the military police. You know? The one with the big white helment and the bug-eyed shades, twirling the rifles while the SAF Band fluttered cute red fans for no apparent reason.
The parade was a disappointment... Perhaps it was the rain, one can clearly see even on a standard-definition TV that it was raining quite heavily. But that's really no excuse for not even being able to march in proper rank and file. I dunno what happened, but I would personally prefer to think that people have started looking into this first thing this morning. And the broadcast control this year was in shambles. The very year when we happily announce that the NDP will be broadcast live all over the world for Singaporeans overseas, you can have shots of cameras shaking, lens being wiped, and cameras pointing to nowhere. Makes the commentators' job just abit harder you know that? Steve Chia and the lovely lady whom I have no idea who you are so sorry about it did an excellent job of covering the asses of like, i dunno, 25 people?? Sharp improvisation with commentary.
The comedies after that though, Calefare and First Class, look promising. Especially Calefare. First Class is the same old, great-teacher-who-will-change-his-students-lives-forever story. But Calefare shows a different side of talent from both actors and scriptwriters, so it's promising I think. Hope to be able to catch it, although I have this bad feeling I will not.
Woops. NDP wasn't the last thing.
Stay afloat people. If I can, so can you. Trust me, it's not just because I'm fat.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
When I got there I realised that it was only ONE exhibition hall. Gee, I thought it would have at least covered an entire floor. Registration was up there, not downstairs. And for some funny reason, I guess they were sick of it or what, when I walked to the pre-registered queue the lady just gave me my stuff without even checking any of my details at all. So sticking the passband on, I walked in.
Let's just skip the boring parts shall we? I expected more Japanese stuff. More current figurines, more merchandise, instead of 'safe' products like shelves and shelves of Power Rangers and Gundams and FF7 figurines. You really that kiasu or what? And there was alot of emphasis on western and modern toy figurines. I can't exactly term it since I'm not really into that field, but it's a Stikfas type of thing. Loads and loads of it. Which I'm not really interested in.
Still, there were a couple of interesting things to be seen.
And this. This is a movie chair that Animax was exhibiting. You know like those simulator rides where they shake you around for abit? Except this is for the home, I'm guessing. Not very hard shakes (or maybe you can program it). Limited to rumbles, mild crash shocks, lifts falls and horizontal tilts. They were playing FF7:AC (what else right) and I watched the hair-raising motorcycle chase scene, if you remember. I didn't feel very absorbed, but I'll give it to them because it was bloody noisy there and there was no way even the best 7.1 Surround system could completely engulf you into the movie. But I think it is a fantastic experience enhancement. Especially if you have a movie room. Because if you do, you probably have enough money to buy like 16 of these chairs. And just for trying it, they give you a cool Animax gridded sketchpad! Here's the video I took of the next pair who went after me.
Online Videos by Veoh.com
I think I was so desperate to get something out of there that I didn't think much when I walked past a booth randomly offering Ninja Gaiden II for $74.90. Considering I usually pay $69.90 at Best Denki for most games, it's an alright price, even if it's marked up abit. I'll talk more about it when I've played it for abit more.
Anyway back to my catch. My second one was one that I'd eyed a couple of years ago. Yes it's an old product but I don't care because when you get a 15cm tall Sephiroth figurine with his Masamune sword as tall as him...
You don't care.
Like the pose I made him do? LIKE THE SWORD? OH MY GOD I CAN'T GET ENOUGH OF IT.
Ok. That's it for my catches. Just two. I wanted to get one of the yo-yos since I'm a collector of sorts, but the seller said it would only go on sale today, since "it just came in yesterday and we have to calculate the prices".
Bu he estimated it to be anywhere from $20-50. And this is the good thing about being prevented from buying something you like, you get a chance to think about it.
And I think meh. Forget it.
Conclusion. For it's hype, the convention was disappointing. Too small, and quite a limited range of exhibitors. Were they hoping for too much when they put toys and comics together? Sure they are highly interweaved and interrelated, but they can stand very well on their own, and by putting these two together when you have next to no experience holding such conventions here, perhaps you're trying to mash a bit too many things together for a starter. But nevertheless I still applaud it. I think it's a great effort at least and I hope that the organizers will barrel through with future conventions.
This could be the start of something good.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
This is of course talking about life in the military, barring all the lessons (close combat training, rifle stripping/cleaning, etc.). Those are things you learn to become an operational soldier, and should be distinguished from everyday life and military culture.
And so with an intensive two weeks dipped in army life, one is bound to have lost some of your civilian habits and picked some up from the army. The most obvious ones are biological and physical changes, especially sleeping and waking up early. Also, I seem to be sweating at the slightest instance of heat or stillness in the air. Which doesn't actually bother me, but it seems to disturb everyone around me. I hope it's not the smell, I don't think I sweat that much, but I seem to have perpetual water blobs crowning my head, and I seem to radiate heat like a recently shut-off engine or something.
And then there are also habits that you find are good and hope to take back with you, but you don't. One of mine for example is the water parade. Water parades alone can make up half or more of a day's total intake of water. One would think that it would inculcate an awareness of adequate hydration, with or without physical activities, and make you drink more water, but no leh! I keep forgetting to drink water, and then the next moment I notice the color of my pee and I freak out and gulp down two cups of water.
One habit I hope not to bring back is swearing. I don't think much explanation is needed when I say swearing in the army is more for humor and laughter than for anger. You just keep throwing things out everyday, every minute, and that makes you so apprehensive to open your mouth when you're at home, just in case you slip and go "G'd mornin', fuckface."
A habit I hope not to lose is what you're reading now - decent command and execution of the English language. I probably can count the number of people on one hand that I speak to with my atas English in the Army, the other 96.3% I speak to in Singlish, crude Hokkien crude Malay crude Cantonese Mandarin Yugoslavian Croatian... and so I'll want to keep it because I'll need it more than ever when I ORD and go into the workforce.
Now, what did you learn and/or lose while in NS?
Thursday, June 5, 2008
Having acquired myself a 3.5G Nokia E51 (no camera version, thanks Daniel!), I will try to update whatever I feel is safe to update on my Twitter account. If you aren't already signed up to Twitter, you can just mark the page or subscribe to its RSS feed. If you are, be sure to follow me.
Now all that's left is for you to keep me in your prayers, so that I don't tear anything more than underwear, and my E51 or ZEN doesn't get stolen.
Recruit Wong, out.
Sunday, June 1, 2008
Downtown is Japan's top variety show at present, and so is the comedic duo of the same name. Their various punishment games have made it into the online world for their extreme mirth and torture. It is already funny enough when someone like me watched an unsubtitled episode of it, but when some kind soul does the subbing, the show improves by 5 times.
For your enjoyment are two episodes broken into multiple parts and subbed. You will find the rest of the clips of the episode in the after-play menu.
Warning: If you are going to watch the episodes below, be warned that they air as specials and range from over an hour to over two hours long in total. Bookmark this page or return to my blog another day if you have to - I'm not going to be responsible for your loss of time.
Punishment Game in High School:
Punishment Game at the Hot Spring Inn:
Punishment Game - 24h Tag:
Friday, May 30, 2008
Everyone who has learnt about my imminent conscription has inquired in some form or another whether I think I'm ready for it or not. And to all who have asked I have given the same answer - that I am more worried about how my present commitments will fare without me than what they might possibly do to me in Tekong. And yet in my solitude I wonder, can I really take all their nonsense? I've long since come to terms with myself that I am a highly emotion-controlled person. If I want to laugh, few can stop me; if I want to cry, I can hardly stop myself. I believe I am prepared for it, but it honestly doesn't take much to corner me and make me lash out before I can restrain myself. I'm not an animal. Just an emo kid. Haha.
I was just thinking about how my friend who flew to the States to study at Buffalo for one semester was so blessed to be able to travel back in the comfort of SIA Business Class. It wasn't a lucky upgrade or anything - his dad could afford to pay for it. And I thought to myself, as I have so many times in the past, "I want to be able to provide effortlessly for my kids like that." But how much does it take to even be capable of drawing such money? Nothing that a job under someone else can provide, probably. How long will it take to bring myself above that level? No idea. How far up can I go? No idea. Will I even have kids to care for and nurture for?
Girlfriend? Fiance? Marriage? Wife?
Even if I never reach those levels, will I at least be able to see that my parents' every need is swiftly taken care of? Will they live happily and contently till they pass on?
It is a curious sensation when you realize the weight of the world before you, a sensation my kids will possibly never experience, if the above questions are given a "Yes to All". A wondrous mix of feelings rising up in your chest, bubbling and simmering. The first sensation among it all that you would recognize is fear. Fear for your safety, fear for your survival, fear for your happiness. And if you wait on it, you recognize that overshadowed bit of excitement, of anticipation, of curiosity, even of mild amusement.
And perhaps, for those with a God or Supreme Being to look up to, if you let that all vent itself away, if you patiently search hard enough and wait long enough, perhaps you will find that lightly but distinctly glowing nugget of hope, hope and assurance, that everything is going to be ok, that Someone has His hand over you always, that stones rocks and pillars will be flicked shifted and torn out of your way, just so that you will be able to walk straight through the path you have always wanted to walk and will always want to walk. For your God, it may be the reward for your staunch devotion to Him or Her. For my God, it is only because He loves me so very much, so specially, so uniquely, and that if only I seek first His kingdom, all these things shall be added to me.
The secret to a free and fulfilled life may well reside in this nugget that is ours to use to our advantage. All those other boiling feelings will slowly eat away at it, and when finally not a single shred of hope is left, you end your meaningless life by committing suicide, or sink yourself into superficially entertaining activities to hoodwink yourself into being happy. Or you could let those feelings leave as swiftly as they come, and blow, fan and nurture that little seed of hope and assurance to expand and fill your heart, leaving no room for anxiety or worry to hurt you.
It's all about choice then, isn't it?
PS - If this gets to Ping top 10, all your hooha about deep posts not being sufficiently ponged has just been utterly mooted. Hahaha, ich bin fucker.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
At first the cabbie went into usual Singaporean spiel... 'What the hell is he doing, suddenly stop like that, middle lane somemore... nanananananana~'. I offered suggestions probably the passenger gave last-minute directions leading the cab driver to a slight panic, or that another vehicle turned out of... turn and cut across its path, both of which my cabbie denied. Finally he offered that the cabbie mistook the green light for a red.
I was rather incredulous and expressed my sentiments, saying 'I should think the green and red is distinguishable enough'. And the cab driver said, 'No, he mistook the red man for a red stop light. Nowadays the man very big, very bright.'
Valid point. Which naturally leads to the question, are the new LED lights that are meant to make traffic lights clearer for drivers and pedestrians to see confusing them instead? Cabbie do drive long shifts and the mental and visual fatigue is more than understandable. It's a good thing that the Celica and my cabbie was paying attention to the road. The mistake, if it was even so, would just as easily have ended up in a horrific pile-up.
As a driver, have you ever been confused by the pedestrian lights? Do you think what the cabbie says holds truth? And what can the LTA do to improve the situation?
Sunday, May 18, 2008
Speed Racer puts you in a futuristic world, where a loudly colored panther-sleek car sits in front of just about any house. Think of it as Telladega Nights set in the future, where race tracks can make even the biggest rollercoaster buffs blanch and the greatest park ride engineers gape. And then think of that combined with Step Up 2, where our hero takes to underground racing, complete with dirty tricks and crazy car mods, to curb the profit making plans of an underhanded businessman. The combination provides for teeth gritting action and nerve wracking stunts.
I heard that many people detest Speed Racer and advise other people not to watch it. The only reason I can think of for that is the same reason why I love it to bits - the movie is quite basically a green screen orgy. I'd say 85-90% of the film was shot in front of a green screen, and I guess people interpret that as convenient film making. Just film, remove, paste fancy background. To me, and you can call me biased because I'm a helpless sucker for crazy ass effects, I think Speed Racer can get away with that, given its sci-fi/fantasy/cartoon-y nature. If you were to shoot like Money No Enough in front of a green screen, that would be a wtf. But Speed Racer probably won't be Speed Racer without CGI on crack. And sometimes it even seems that they deliberately leave it a little untouched, so that its an obvious green screen scene, to remind you of its fantastical nature.
Alot of the movie's excellence was explained when I finally realised during the credits that the Wachowski brothers directed it. It explains the sequencing style of the film (flashback galore), its beautiful pacing, and pin sharp cinematography. I also think that the burning bright colors of Speed Racer are the Wachowski brothers' way of making it up to themselves and their fans because they just couldn't be as brilliant in the darker worlds of The Matrix and V for Vendetta.
You should be warned though not to expect too much out of the plot. The plot in Speed Racer is kind of a secondary thing, just there to lend support to the film, and prevent it from being a total testosterone/geek flick. So go watch it to be dazzled by the kickass races, ingenious stunts, and countless "How the mother did they do that?!" moments, not for a touching story of love romance and sacrifice.
The last time I shifted house was a good 13 and a half years ago, at the end of 1994, settling down just in time to start my primary school life in Tampines. The only memory I have of shifting was when we arrived at our then shiny-new apartment in Tampines, still huge by HDB standards (executive flat... in other words 5.5 room flat.) There were few things to be shifted over - the most obvious moved item was the ancient fridge. Most of the Tampines apartment's furnishing had been bought, not brought. And since we were kids barely discerning of our surroundings, our parents let us play with our construction toy track set in the extended hall area. You remember those - the one where it was a large track, with stations all round, and this little cart would take on different top bodies at different locations of the track to assume a variety of roles - crane, delivery truck, tractor, etc. We'd just set it up, flick the cart's switch on, set it on the track, and gaze at it for an hour or two.
What my parents might or might not have realized, not really interested to find out, was that staying at such a huge place for over a decade would mean filling such a huge place to the brim with items - things we loved, things we kept just in case, things we couldn't bear to throw, things we couldn't be bothered to throw. And when it was finally time to move, to an inevitably smaller apartment (it's futureproofing, not a housing upgrade), it created many days of nagging and downright bad moods. When crunch time came, I went into such a mode of remorseless disposal that I never thought I was capable of. Except for a couple of exceptionally sentimental items, like the 2004 Victoria School yearbook (grad year), items more than one year old were thrown without much thought. I had to make around 4 trips to the disposal chute for the waste I dug out of my wall cupboards alone. I was sorely wrong when I thought I could fit everything I wanted nicely into a single box. Turned out to be two boxes of belongings, another box and a bag full of clothes. And I arrived at my new condominium, Varsity Park, smack opposite NUS Arts (as well as Fong Seng hohoho) to find the various bags and boxes of items that my father had brought in earlier.
Now my room was really filled.
All in all it took about 4 hours to unpack everything, including masterfully sashimi-slicing through ten layers of shrink wrap to get to my table, desktop computer, and speaker system.
Oh my God speaking of speaker system. Being the kind of idiot needy for music to keep me company (yes I'm lonely fock off.), my 2.1 Creative speaker system was the first appliance to be powered. After bickering hard with my mother and coming to a compromise, I finally got to put my subwoofer on the floor where it belonged. Well, near the floor - a stool was the compromise. My mother did not want any unsweepable/unmoppable areas. Previously, it sat at the edge of my table. Result? I have to turn the bass to 8 (max level 10) for decent bass, only to walk out of the room and hear the subwoofer thumping my house down. Here on the floor, level 6 bass depending on the music can get uncomfortable. NTT would know how much bass I need to make me uncomfortable. :)
If you want to hear the difference it makes, you're welcome into my room, by appointment only, and I'll play Tchaikovsky's 1812 Overture for you. The one with cannon blasts at the end. I kid you not, the bass shakes my bed.
Having a clean table to start over with also gave me a valuable opportunity to position things from scratch, and this time, I gave optimal priority to placing my speakers far enough apart so that I can have a decent stereo effect to speak of. The moment I set my computer up, I had a bright idea of rewatching Advent Children, what with the newfound effectiveness of my speaker system. So I duly lowered my Roman blinds, finetuned Windows Media Player's TruBass and WOW effects, cranked the volume up, and hit play.
It was so loud it hurt, but Ave Maria it hurt so good.
In a somewhat impulse buy, except without buyers' remorse (unless you count remorse over losing like 16k), my family spent quite a sum on Simmons beds. The bed with the level of firmness I liked best had only Queen size, and I made my parents buy that by some magic of pouting and a huge show of exasperation. But I'm really really thankful and grateful that they bought it. After months of fleeting doubts, I finally see for myself that losing a bedside table in favor of a larger bed was quite the right thing to do. The bed played quite a significant part in loosening my jaw when I walked into my room the morning I moved in.
The only thing left that kept me from unpacking completely was that my father had yet to drill holes in the walls for my bookshelf and shelf. The shelf for obvious reasons - it's suspended, and the bookshelf because it would otherwise be frightfully wobbly, and might just keel over and krush me like a cockroach when I reach up to grab a book.
Quite a few things haven't arrived - the dining table, my dad and brother's computer/study tables, and the sofa set. Again, I made a big fuss when my mother initially wanted to stick to the fengshui master's recommended orientation of my bed facing the window, so that when I slept I could gaze far away into the sky. I quite nearly went into a complete freak out when I saw that she was perfectly ready to get me a new table instead of shift my old one in. Luckily with my dad's coaxing I got my way. Saved them quite some money too.
As for the TV, jeez, Standard Definition looks atrocious on HDTVs exactly as advertised in electronics stores. And I say this with a Samsung HDTV, which apparently has one of the world's leading upscaling firmware.
I however, opened my big spoilt mouth, and my parents bought a HDMI cable for my XBOX 360 (yes I've finally opened it). After having to gaze at Standard Definition all day while tuning the TV channels (parents didn't want cable), I felt my techie heart sigh with ease when I finally saw blessed 1080p resolution. Halo 3? Sweetness.
Oh right! Now that I've shifted, I finally get to pull my silver carousel musical box out that I bought from Hokkaido. It's lovely, I'm looking at it as I type. It was relatively budget though, so it doesn't have that convenient stop lever at the side, and once you wind it it plays through until it runs out of energy. Would have been good if the LED lights went off after awhile too. If I ever fell asleep while watching it I would probably wake up to a melted carousel.
Enamored with my new room. Enamored with my new home. Enamored enamored enamored.
Hokay so the intended Internet network is up now. Thank God for the thoughtful integration of a telephone/data switchbox. In other words, my router sits in my store room, and is technically able to connect via 100mbps Ethernet to every single computer in the three rooms and my Xbox in the living room through the wall socket, without wires crossing the house and threatening to kill you when you trip while holding a... um glass bottle of vinegar. Surprisingly though, when made to do it, the Mio Box-branded 2wire router can send out a pretty strong wireless signal from a simple option on its configuration page. I'm getting a stable 76% strength with my router in the store room with door closed.
Also, after abit of bickering, I reluctantly agreed to change my table's orientation to face the wall, instead of my bed. Reason being my parents feel that it poses a great hazard when the window is left open, and rain pours in, straight down the back of my desktop monitor. Even I have abit of a hard time reaching in to close the window. They will have a harder time, plus they want to do periodic cleaning too. I was pissed that I can't sit on my bed to watch videos now, and that my sound system is facing a whole 90degrees away from me (audiophile horror), but I guess my room was so small, it didn't turn out to be too bad.
Also, of course, my shelf has since been secured, and I've arranged my display items, mini-one-shelf-favorable-titles-only-library of books, and... miscellaneous stuff over six shelves in total.
Monday, April 21, 2008
I think we're pretty sure it isn't a block by Singnet, because 5% of the time it is accessible - a block wouldn't let that happen. It is clearly some sort of connection problem, something that unfortunately after many many attempted solutions, have not lead to improved connections, and our confidence in the services provided by Singtel has completely failed at this juncture. Particularly because of the lack of support from Singtel themselves, something that has infuriated us very much.
This problem has affected our listenership very negatively, especially in recent episodes, even though many of our listeners subscribe to our show through iTunes and our RSS feeds, everything still has to go through our site, and not being able to connect to Tech65 has impeded our ability to continue providing service as many of our editors are on Singtel.
My dear readers and listeners, please blog about this as well on your respective spaces. Let the blogosphere know in your own way about this bizarre problem, and be sure to let us know if you are encountering the same problem with your site. We hope to resolve this soon and get our shows back on the smooth track.
Thank you for your support!
*Thanks to Jerrick for cleaning up my muddly draft*
Monday, April 7, 2008
It started off for fellow podcaster Jerrick and I by being a bitch to find. It's a great location with a really exclusive feel to it, but abit too tucked away, and under that day's irritatingly wet conditions, it wasn't exactly fun treasure hunting for it. By the time we got to the door we looked like two tortured wet dogs, but dried off in no time.
Once we got there, we realized just how exclusive an event we managed to get into. There were sooo few people there! And for that we have to thank Geek Goddess Estee. Being a small community in such a small country, quite a few fellow guests were familiar faces. Sheylara, Sabrina, Uzyn, Arzhou and Nic A. Khoo were there. DarkMirage, probably Singapore's most famous anime blogger, was also there, to his own surprise apparently. The story was that someone from GameAxis, he even didn't know who, recommended him, and then there he was.
Sigh, it's nice to be famous.
The night warmed up as we got high on both alcohol and games. Seriously, I can hold my own with digital drum kits and singing, but when it comes to follow-the-combo for Guitar Hero and Rock Band guitars, I suck ass to the ends of the earth. Which according to Hans makes me a real guitar player, because we're used to strings and at least 16 frets, not five bloody buttons.
There was the mini games competition, with Bomberman, Guitar Hero 3, and Project Gotham Racing respectively, interspersed by the most awesome game previews ever.
Ninja Gaiden II (just because they sent an insane amount of screenshots)
UEFA Euro '08
I'm still high over the fact that I got to be part of the select crowd that got to see live gameplay previews for Ninja Gaiden II (fuckin bloody, fuckin cool) and Star Wars: Force Unleashed (zomg please just buy it when it comes out it pwnx0rz).
By some error of probability that would have stunned Pythagoras into a heart attack, my team, Ninja, won the games competition, when we finished second in Bomberman I think and third in GH3. Not sure how we did for Gotham. Our prize was an uber sweet exclusive GTA4 t-shirt. Problem was that it was far too small, so they offered to change it, but then the only larger size was crazy huge. See pic lower in the post.
After that was the birthday cake segment, where all of us were given unbearably cute cupcakes with the Xbox logo printed onto a white chocolate cover on top of the cake (see second pic at top of post).
I was surprised how easily we bit into the beautiful logo. But we all learn every day.
The finale was the lucky draw for a brand new Xbox 360, Halo 3 Limited Edition. Alan Chou, who in his words "takes care of Xbox in Asia", drew a number out of a container, and our host for the evening, Oli Pettigrew, referred to the guest list for the corresponding name...
And hesitantly said, "Ren...ho?"
It was then that I did possibly the second most embarrassing thing in my life (the first being my attempt to hold the hand of someone whom I had mistaken as my aunt. I was a little kid ok?? I was short!). Apart of my own volition I let off this crazy Red Indian Woooo0~!! that I have a feeling the girls we're silently impressed with. Good pitch and strength in it, you know? And so much soul.
Photowhoring began, and our goodie bags were distributed as well. The highlight, an ultimate sexay black 360 controller. When I setup my 360 over at the new place, that's gonna be my personal controller. The rest of my normal mortal friends can use the normal white ones.
Also included in the bag were GTA4 coasters and stickers, which I might just give out... And a simply lovely Xbox 360 tennis shirt. The problem was that my goodie bag was apparently the S-size set.
I'm gonna get it changed.
And before I forget, hurray and congrats to me for winning, but fucking hell the 360 was a mamafornicating doggiegirl to drag from Tanjong Pagar home to Tampines.
Whether or not I had won the 360 though, I can safely declare that this was the best night of my life in a long long while. Congrats for Xbox for successfully reaching out to the new media community. As for the 360, now that I've effortlessly won one, my attitude to the gaming platform will probably be biased. But in the spirit of ethical journalism, I promise to endeavor to be objective as possible about it.
As for the games I'm gonna review, don't even bet that I'm gonna sugar coat anything. :)