Friday, 11 November 2011

Tetris Battle










Recently, I've been busy playing Tetris Battle on Facebook when I'm supposed to be focusing on the last deadlines in my life as a student. A friend introduced it to me, and it's madly addictive. It's gotten to the point where I've been going around begging Facebook friends for "energy" to fuel my addiction (each 2-minute game needs 5 'energy', and you only have a limited amount of energy to begin with). When even those extra supplies run out, I use Jaden's account to play. Ironically, my winning record using his account to play is better than my record on my own account. Ah, but whatever works. Odd, since I'm not an avid Facebook user in the first place. In fact, I think the amount of time I spent playing Tetris Battle in the last 3 days has already exceeded the time I spent on my entire Facebook life.

P/S: If you read this, and are my friend on Facebook, please be kind and give me some 'energy'! It's free from the system and at no cost to you! Hur.

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Night Cycling

Gloria Lee

Gloria Lee

Gloria Lee

















































Have you ever been night cycling? Last week, I went on what possibly will be my last night cycling session in hall. We were cycling in the rain half the night (drat the monsoon season), but there was good food, fun company and almost non-stop laughter at each other's antics - partly contributed to by bicycles that needed serious maintenance and cycling skills that needed improvement. After the rest decided to call it a day, some of us continued on to the pier, where we did our stretching and relaxed beside people who were trying to fish. It was all very peaceful and nice, until the rain decided to come down again and it was a furious race back to McDonalds where everyone else was warm and cosy and enjoying their breakfast. Tiring, but memorable.

The only blight of the night - my poor camera got damaged. Everyone wanted to play around with it, but I'm the one stuck with the $250 repair bill and a memory card full of blurry photos that cannot be used. Not fun at all.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Boxing Boys


















Over the weekend, I caught the Boxing Boys theatre performance. The synopsis was promising: "Breathtaking, entertaining and ultimately moving, Boxing Boys! stars real-life kickboxing champions, award-winning street dancers, sportsmen and martial arts experts – culled from nation-wide auditions in Thailand... Boxing Boys! is slated to take the audience on an exhilarating journey and experience the colourful life of a Thai kickboxer boxer. Witness the thrills and spills of a boisterous B-boy training to become a kickboxer so as to impress his feisty love interest. Catch the powerful fights between the kickboxers and their menacing opponents – in and outside the ring. Audience will be drawn into the moving storyline which sees sacrifices made, romance blossoms and friendship develops and watch as two men from completely different worlds learn about honour, love and what really keeps them rooted."

But all in all, it was a rather disappointing performance, especially given it was conceptualized and directed by the same director of 'Chang & Eng - The Musical'. Definitely not a show I would recommend (except if all you want is eye candy).

On an aside, I found it curious that quite a number of theatre-goers brought their children along. After all, there were sexual innuendoes scattered here and there, and plenty of topless guys (a la Chippendales) wearing nothing more than their boxers, who were at each other's throats most of the time. Understanding was not an issue, as the non-verbal performance is in the comedy/romance genre, but I thought the content interpretation was a tad unsuitable for 4-7 year olds.

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Happy Halloween!

Gloria Lee

































Happy Halloween! Despite some of its perceived links to devil worship, the commercial appeal of Halloween is overwhelming. The recent furore over Night Safari's cancellation of this year's themed event notwithstanding, Halloween is getting to be pretty big in Singapore. Understandably so as well - in our landlocked island, who can resist a chance to do something different for a change? But from my point of view, if Halloween allows you a chance to bond and have fun with friends, then that is reason enough to celebrate the event.

In previous years, I had fun on the Halloween Party Bus, where buses were chartered to bring party-goers around different nightspots in Singapore. Everyone was in costume, but still ooh-ing and ahh-ing over everyone else's costumes which ranged from impressive originality to rented regalia. The entire night, everyone was smiling and snapping away with their cameras, requesting photo opportunities with random people. Friendliness was overbrimming and there were no strangers. With alcohol flowing through our veins, armed with cameras and sparklers and beside friends, it made for a night to remember. Nights, if you count the three years I attended.

This year, I wanted to attend the Halloween event at the Universal Studios Singapore, but the few I asked either thought the tickets were too expensive, or they didn't want to "pay to scare themselves". Pity, since there have been rave reviews, like the one I read here. Plus, the recent intermittent heavy rain had me reluctant to be more persuasive. Maybe next year! Hope you enjoyed your Halloween!

P/S: Btw, that's me above, trying on a latex mask when I wandered into Carrefour with Fysh the other day. It looks freakily real - rather like a zombified Marilyn Monroe don't you think?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Burglary gone wrong

motifake.com




















In a nutshell, "A man's girlfriend unexpectedly came home just before another woman was due to visit, so he called police to report his new acquaintance as a burglar."

When I read the news article, I couldn't stop laughing.

I wonder how he justified it to the girl later..perhaps something along the tune of the cheesy pickup line "you must be a thief 'cos you stole my heart"? Epic, really.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

How to write a 10,000 word essay in university

google.com









As I was in the middle of churning out a 10,000 word essay, a friend had this piece of advice to give:

You must stretch the point. 
I teach you, write like this: This is a cat. A cat is not a dog. 
It has 4 legs. Not 2 legs, 6 legs or 8 legs.
Or e.g. Studies have shown that 49% dun like the new blah blah.That means to say 51% are responsive to blah blah.

When I disbelievingly questioned whether he did that during his time in university, his reply was:

"Yah. comments came back that i had critical analytical skills lor."

Erm, right.

Monday, 24 October 2011

All My Days

mediazilla.net























I finally watched the movie Real Steel over the weekend. Great movie, but it was the opening song (which I later found out to be All My Days by Alexi Murdoch) that caught my attention right at the start. The beautiful accompanying videography in the movie helped.

This goes straight to the top of the list of songs I want to learn how to play if I pick up the guitar again.




Thursday, 20 October 2011

Siri-ously?

cartoonstock.com


Ever since the news broke that the iPhone 4S would be released instead of the iPhone 5, I was devastated. Ok fine, not really. More like annoyed and a little disappointed. But ever since I saw these video of one of the new key features of the iPhone 4S - the digital personal assistant Siri, I've been mightily impressed, and I've been raving about it to anyone who'll listen.



In this other video, the following exchanges tickled me no end:

Guy: I need to hide a body.
Siri: What kind of place are you looking for? *Shows list: swamps/dumps/mines/metal foundries/reservoirs.

Guy: Will you marry me?
Siri: My End User Licensing Agreement does not cover marriage. My apologies.

Guy: Do you like it when I push your Home button?
Siri: I'd rather not say.


Impressed much? I was too, until a friend showed me this one about how a hapless Japanese user could not get Siri to understand him at all. His patience in answering Siri is commendable - others would probably have been hurling expletives from the third repeat.



It looks like there are some security issues as well. Apparently, Siri doesn't work all the time too.

Meanwhile, here's another video. This one's a parody of Siri by Mr. Brown. It's side-splittingly hilarious at some parts! A phone with a personality. What more could you ask for? That is - until you get one, then you'll wish for a phone that will just shut up when you talk to yourself through it.



And if you think about it, talking to a 'digital personal assistant' is rather like talking to yourself in the mirror. The conversation in the cartoon at the top seems a perfectly feasible one for Siri and an iPhone 4S owner, don't you think so?

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Sharks' Fins & Weddings

cartoonstock.com


Yesterday, I attended a friend's wedding dinner. Instead of starting to wax lyrical over how touching the wedding was, or how perfect the couple was, I want to mention the fact that they didn't serve shark's fin at their wedding. No biggie, since activism a la "Say No to Sharks' Fin" is no longer a rare sight in Singapore, right?

What I found really interesting was that the couple even went as far as to include a blatant disclaimer in the invitation card: "No sharks' fin soup will be served at this wedding". Save the sharks, you know. Curiously enough, neither the bride nor the groom were strong supporters of the sharks. The groom's sister insisted, so they indulged her. Some of their elders initially had concerns that the invited guests would scrimp on the angbao when they saw the disclaimer! After all, sharks' fin was once a mainstay of the traditional Chinese wedding - an expensive and delicious delicacy that no respectable menu would even think of leaving out.

Now, I've always liked sharks' fin soup. Served piping hot with extreme doses of vinegar and pepper results in the ultimate comfort food. Every time I had the good fortune to eat it, I relished every mouthful. Or so I thought. Until the day when I was served a lone chunk of sharks' fin. Then I went "Erm, okay you mean I thought I liked this?" Turns out I like the starchy soup way more than the bits of Sharks Fin inside. Well, at this particular wedding, they replaced the 'sharks fin' in the 'sharks fin soup' with abalone. But in my humble opinion, the abalone spoilt an otherwise yummy dish. Yes, I've been told I have weird food preferences for a Chinese. I find abalone and bird nest tasteless and gross respectively, and to this day I still don't understand why people are willing to pay top dollar, much less eat them.

Ah well, but that's a story for another day.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

In memory of Steve Jobs

pitchfork.com



I learnt about the passing of Steve Jobs while scanning headline news on my iPhone barely five minutes after waking up that morning. I was literally still rubbing the sleep out of my eyes when what I read stunned me awake. Curiously, I felt a pang of keen loss - like it was someone I actually knew and held dear, instead of merely someone who helmed the company who invented the device through which (ironically but fittingly) allowed me to find out about his death. For a moment then, I even thought I was going to tear up. Perhaps it was the legacy he left behind, which is well-demonstrated in his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, which I also briefly mentioned here some time ago. "Stay hungry, stay foolish," he said. It was genuine and unpretentious.

In taking such a long time to blog about the passing of Steve Jobs, I've surprised even myself. I suppose I was trying to make sense of why I felt the way I did. Yes, I have an iMac, an iPhone, an iPod Touch and an iPod. In fact, I've been a user of Apple products for such a long time that my iPod doesn't even have colour. But so? I have had several laptops and desktops that run the Windows operating system as well. Honestly, I don't think I would feel anything if I were one day to read of Bill Gate's passing in the papers, for instance.

Then I went online and realized that I was one of legions of people who felt this way. This article in particular was an insightful read. Jobs will always be fondly remembered, at least by those in this generation.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Why only guys have to serve National Service

cartoonstock.com

Sorry for the radio silence. Between 'Buaya Week' (which has just ended - I'll write about it when I have more time to breathe), being sick and a horrible deadline rush period, I was stretched right out.

Meanwhile, here's something for all you guys out there who have at one point or other complained of the unfairness of the system that calls only for Singaporean males to serve National Service. An excerpt from the discussion in a class I attended today which had the whole class laughing:-

Tutor: "Why do you think girls don't serve National Service?"

Classmate: "The birth rate in Singapore is already so low. If girls have to serve National Service, they will "waste" 2 years, which means 2 years of baby-making chances gone. Plus after they're done with army, they come back into society (pause) less feminine. (pause) Then who will want them?"


Thursday, 6 October 2011

Boys and their toys

Gloria Lee


Some time last week, Jaden's computer crashed after many years of abuse (given the way he uses his com, I was surprised it even managed to last so long). After tinkering with it over the weekend, he found that the problem was a faulty graphic card so things were back to normal. But he figured it was as good a time as any to get a new one. So he did. He bought all the parts and managed to fix everything up by 2a.m. on Tuesday. But for one thing - the new computer did not have a CD drive. J had originally wanted to salvage the CD drive from his old computer, but realized only at the last minute that said CD drive was much too old to be compatible with any computer model.

He then proceeded to do the most (il)logical thing anyone in his position could have done. At 3.30 in the morning, he went hunting for a new CD drive all the way to the Challenger store at Funan IT Mall (which is open 24 hours, god only knows why since the store was cold and empty when we got there). I don't know why he couldn't have waited a few more hours like any sane person would have.

That's J above holding his old computer while looking ridiculously happy. Sigh, boys and their toys.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

We all had our doubts

Edwin Ong

Edwin and Gwen popped by for a visit today. While they were in my room, his brother uploaded a Facebook photo of him in his kindergarten days. Unfortunately, the photo captured him during one of those class performances where all children (including boys) have to wear make up. The amazing photo caption read, "We all had our doubts about Edwin" - hilarious and apt one-liner about a guy whose mother once asked whether he was gay.

While it was so good to see the happy couple, I was embarrassed to have forgotten that today was his birthday - until after they left. So, happy birthday Edwin! Stay the same, young and innocent Edwin like you were in this video (watch from 4:04-5:47). Sorry, I couldn't resist. :D

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Google Gravity

guardian.co.uk

If anyone here is down with the midweek blues, I have the perfect solution: Google Gravity - where as the name suggests, the elements of the Google home page are prone to gravity! You can drag them around with your mouse and let them free fall. The best part is, you can still use the search engine function, and hey, check out what happens to the search results! I even tried it on my iPhone - I was shaking my phone so crazily but it still worked. Hmm, come to think of it, dragging the elements around with my finger tips and randomly throwing them to hit the sides of the screens felt like a game of Angry Birds. Haha. And after reading this article, I've picked up a few more tricks.

Go ahead, try it out! It'll make you happy. I should know - my laptop recently crashed on me (again!), I just spent good money buying a wrong cable which I now have no use for, I have ugly bruises from cycling over the weekend, I've been bogged with freelance work, and I'm now also faced with a 10,000 word essay draft deadline (among others) at the end of this week. Trust me, you'll be hard pressed to find a better stress-reliever than throwing things around on a virtual screen. (:

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

iPhone 5

www.devicemag.com


Seems like the iPhone 5 will be launched on Oct. 4. Which is next week. Analysts say it will probably be available for sale in the US by Friday the same week, and that it probably will have a larger screen and a better camera. What more can I say? I'm sold. I just wonder when it will hit stores in Singapore.

My iPhone 3Gs is on the verge of dying on me, there's still about 2 months for my handset contract to run out before I can even think of that upgrade. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my phone will survive the duration before I make the switch.  I'm also thinking about changing service providers because I've had really bad experiences with the current one (M1) I'm using.

Oh well, good things are worth waiting for, aren't they?

Monday, 26 September 2011

F1 anyone?

Ye Yiqin

Over the weekend, the F1 fever was at its height. Eevn my mom was watching it on the telly. Me, I'm sorry to say I was never really into it. Watching a car lap circuits gets kind of boring after like 2 minutes, no? Wait, make that 1 instead. Yeah, I guess you could argue it's no worse than watching 11 grown men chase one ball around a grass field for 90 minutes. But soccer is just different, you know? Ok, moving on. 

Anyway, a friend of mine is a diehard F1 fan. Since F1 put the Singapore leg on the race calendar, he has been faithfully attending every year. We were whatsapp-ing, so I asked whether he took any good photos. I a reply along the lines of "Of course, a ton of photos!" - because hey, he's a fan right? But his answer: he was too seasoned to get any kick out of taking photos. He was at the premier grandstand for all 3 days of the races and he only took one photo - of the safety car, which you see above.

But it does make sense too. I guess there's an opportunity cost between fully enjoying the race day atmosphere and snapping some shots for posterity. Which way would you go?

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Dream Machine



J is a very deep sleeper, and it's almost impossible to wake him up once he falls asleep. There was once he took a nap on the bed while I was on the computer. The air-conditioning was at full blast, so I trotted over to make sure he had enough blanket. He suddenly said "Pong! I think it's your turn now."I froze for a moment, then started giggling uncontrollably. If you couldn't tell, he was playing mahjong in his dreams. I couldn't resist continuing the conversation - who wouldn't? It resulted in a very hilarious ten minute "dialogue", all captured on video.

In a random turn of conversation last night, J remembered that a Japanese firm had created a machine that would allow you to create your own dream. I googled and found a 2004 article on it. Read here. If you had the opportunity, would you pass up the chance to create your own dream? Think of all the possibilities!

Friday, 23 September 2011

"Photo essay": Mid-Autumn Festival 2011









It always takes me ages to upload my photos, because I always end up chomping at the bit waiting for the upload/download process to complete. But there you go - a rather belated and mini 'photo essay' (for want of a better term) of my Mid-Autumn Festival this year. Hope you had a good one with yummy mooncakes and good company as well.

P/S: This post made me realize that the layout of my blog makes my photos in landscape orientation look so tiny! When I have the time and/or when I'm feeling diligent, I really should do something about it. Meh.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

2 Things

pinterest.com


I thought this was very meaningful, and should be something we all aspire to. But notice the sign is entirely in black and white, which complete ignores all the grey. For example, what if it doesn't make you happy, but doing it will make someone else happy? What then?

But if you want to keep things simple, it's truly a good rule of thumb to follow.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Bongcheon-Dong Ghost

comicbookresources.com

Found the English version of the "Bongcheon-Dong Ghost" webcomic to while away those midweek blues. Remember to watch with your speakers on, preferably in the middle of the night. Hur.

Read it here.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Porn-No in Australia

cnngo.com


For one of my group projects, we decided to do a comparative study of Singapore and Japan - with regard to state policies that regulate pornography. In the midst of a week of deadlines, just thought I'd take some time out to share some trivia we came across in our research: Australian customs officers can search travellers' electronics devices for porn upon entry to the country!

Boys, watch out!


Monday, 12 September 2011

A new type of war

september11news.com


Anyone who watched news reports from the 9/11 attacks on US soil will have those horrific images seared into their minds for life: hijacked planes crashing into buildings, said skyscrapers imploding, and people jumping out of skyscrapers in a desperate but useless bid to survive. Sounds like a movie packed with special effects, but watched like a horror movie because it was real life, not reel life. It is hard to forget devastation on such a scale. 'The 9/11 attacks' has become a household term in virtually every developed nation in the world. How could it not, after security measures that have since been normalized in the name of 'national security' have infringed on so many aspects of our lives? Just saying.

But despite the huge explosion of international media attention, so many facts about that day remained unclear. Until last week, on the verge of the anniversary of the event a decade later, when the Rutgers Law Review published information that had previously never been revealed to the public, in the format of the report "A New Type of War". An extract from the preface explains it is "an “audio monograph” of critical communications from the morning of 9/11, linked by narrative and graphics placing each audio clip in context. We believed that such a rendering would be the best way to enable the public to understand what happened on 9/11 – how the day was lived by those responding to the attacks."

Definitely worth a read if you're looking to understand more. And while we're on the topic, I have no idea what former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad wants to prove by once again insisting that the 9/11 attacks were staged by the US. This converges with his actions last year, where he (in)famously said in a press conference that "if they can make Avatar [the sci-fi movie], they can make anything". Seriously??

 

Friday, 9 September 2011

How employees use social media to hire or fire

pcmag.com

We've all heard horror stories about how companies screen potential employees through Facebook or Twitter. I have a friend who thought he didn't get a job because the HR manager interviewing him started quizzing him about his clubbing activities (his Facebook profile was flooded with photos from his clubbing forays). Heck, even student organizations do it too. Seriously. And there you were thinking Facebook and Twitter were just tools to 'talk cock, sing song'.

So when I came across this cool infographic showing actual statistics of this phenomenon, I thought it'd be useful to share. Very interesting. 


Thursday, 8 September 2011

Of life and the living

forums.hardwarezone.com.sg

I just attended the funeral wake of a friend's mom, who passed away from cancer. Although he tried to maintain a stoic front, it was obvious he was shaken. Another friend whose mom had passed away not too long ago broke down as well. They all had so many regrets, 'if onlys' that it was painful to see. Whether they knew it or not, we shared their pain.

It is hard to know what to say to comfort them, because it is far too personal. The many words of condolences, however cliched, are sincere. But for a moment, get into their shoes. Imagine them, in a time of grief, having to hear the same awkwardly-uttered words over and over and over again. It becomes meaningless to them. Just mere noise in a time when they are trying to come to terms with what has happened. They have to put on a brave front, solicitously entertain visitors, make small talk, deal with the funeral arrangements etc. That is on top of trying to cope with such intense personal loss.

Case in point: before we left, our friend came by to remind us to take a red string with us. Trivia: That bundle of red string in the photo above is placed on all tables at traditional Chinese funeral wakes. Visitors take a string when they leave, and must lose it on their way home. For the superstitious, it's to prevent "wandering spirits" from following you home, and to ward off bad luck. Even though many of us do not believe in it, we still do it anyway.

I am truly sorry I haven't been able to do more for all my friends who have been in this position. I can only let them know that I will always be here if they should need anything from me, even if it is just company or a listening ear.

Life is really fragile, do cherish your loved ones while you still have the chance. Make "no regrets" your mantra going forward. You don't have to have the best. As long as you make the best out of what you have, you won't have regrets.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Of wedding invitations and luck

audrisho.blogspot.com
Over the weekend, I was helping a friend fold invitations for her wedding next month. Her wedding is to be held at Pan Pacific, and the hotel provided stock cards in a choice of red, charcoal and white. For the more superstitious, the colour red is supposed to bring luck, while black is usually taboo.

Black was hands down the nicest and most elegant, but red has always been the preferred colour for Chinese weddings. She knew if she sent out the charcoal coloured invitations to the older generation, she would get flak for it. She told us how one of her now-married friends was forced to re-print her entire batch of wedding invitations because her mother thought the colour inappropriate.

She eventually settled for a combination of red and black - red for the more traditional family members and family friends, and black for her friends. In this day and age, isn't it interesting we still have to accommodate these beliefs in order to make our elders happy? Black wedding invitations - would you go there?

Thursday, 1 September 2011

What your shoes say about you

I bought this pair of green sandals over the Hari Raya weekend. I love the colour and fit so much I've been wearing them to death. I have more shoes than my fingers can count (most girls do, don't judge!) but I usually can't be budged from my boring but comfortable staple of Havaianas flip flops and sandals. I like the idea and look of high heels, but wearing them gives me painful feet so they're rather neglected most of the time. Same goes for covered shoes. They make my feet hot and give me blisters. ):

According to this article which interprets what your shoes say about you, this is my lot:

Thongs and flat sandals: Like to feel the breeze on your toes? You’re a thongs girl, who loves to keep things natural. “The only make-up you need is sunscreen,” says Meghan, although she feels the transition from poolside to all-occasion wear can go too far. Thongs show you have a relaxed “resort” attitude, living at an easy pace but, she warns, “If you wear them to work with a suit, it can give the wrong impression. Flats are the ideal compromise, suggests Kelsey.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Comfort food

Gloria Lee
Went "grocery shopping" today. Inverted commas because my groceries are always comfort food. Now my bar fridge and cupboards are well stocked with happy food! Think instant, yummy stuff (usually low in nutrition oops), fruit juices, snacks like chocolates and biscuits and jellies galore. I'm a live-to-eat, not eat-to-live kind of person, so keeping a well-stocked pantry saves me traveling time and from exorbitant prices to satisfy those cravings!

Once I unpacked, I cooked myself a yummy repast of macaroni and cheese, and egg with portobello mushrooms. Sounds good yeah? Tasted better! The meal took all of 4 minutes to prepare from beginning to end, including pouring out a cup of fresh lime juice. Don't you just love the microwave?

Monday, 29 August 2011

A weekend of Tony Tan

gettyimages.com

This weekend was an eventful one: I voted for the next President of Singapore in the Presidential Elections, was playing mahjong when the news that there would be a recount was announced, was still awake to see Dr. Tony Tan declared President-elect, while watching on live telly as Manchester City, Manchester United and Real Madrid thrashed Tottenham, Arsenal and Real Zaragoza respectively.

A few hours later over dinner at the Singapore Island Country Club, I couldn't help snickering at the nametag of the waiter serving our table. His name: Tony Tan. True story.


Sunday, 28 August 2011

Take a seat


channelone.com

Three weeks into my last semester of school, one lecturer let us in on this website which analyzes your character based on where you sit in class. A few days later, a teacher friend told me he uses this tool as an initial evaluation of his students. Seems like more teachers use this tool than you think, so I just thought I'd share.

I used to like sitting in the last row, but these days I prefer a second or third row seat on the extreme left or right. What about you?

Friday, 26 August 2011

The benefits of retail therapy

kitchendetailsanddesign.com
I went for massive retail therapy today. Happy while shopping, but now glumly contemplating the big hole in my pocket. ):

Trying to console myself with the possibility that shopping can actually help one live longer! Researchers have found that women who shop daily live longer than those who shopped less frequently. And of course, consumer spending helps stimulate the economy.

Yea, that's your cue if you needed an excuse to go shopping.

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Hammacher Schlemmer alarm clocks

hammacher.com
I am a famously heavy sleeper (with the occasional bout of insomnia), and I think this alarm clock by Hammacher Schlemmer sounds just about the perfect wake-up call for anyone.

The company also stocks a Runaway Alarm Clock - according to the webpage, it "rolls away and hides when you hit its snooze button, and it continues to emit a random pattern of beeps and flashes, encouraging drowsy sleepers to seek it out in order to shut it off". Don't you think it sounds like the most irritating clock around? It would make you start your morning grumpy as a bear! I swear if I had one, I would throw it out the window before the initial week ran out.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

President Tan

Gloria Lee
The surname "Tan" has recently been catapulted into local prominence. Inevitable really, given that it is the only thing shared by all four nominees running for the office of the President of Singapore. It is then a foregone conclusion that the incoming incumbent will be President Tan. Which one of course remains to be seen.

The media has had a field day with this nugget of information. I read with some amusement the article headlined "Tan, Tan, Tan, Tan" published in The Straits Times on 21 Aug 2011. I don't know whether the headline was meant to be a pun on the opening flourish of Beethoven's 5th Symphony, but it sure sounds like it. Incidentally, the piece was written by Sumiko Tan. Yes, another Tan. And an article by Malaysian newspaper The Star screams the headline "No Tan-tative winner in sight". Right. The one who created that headline has nothing to be proud of there.

Moving on from the many newspaper articles spamming Tan-ny puns to death, now even advertising campaigns have jumped on the bandwagon. I was at Vivo City this afternoon, when I caught sight of this new BreadTalk poster (photo above). "TAN-tart", really??! For those who are lost, Tan-tart is what Chinese lingo for egg tart. To their credit, it is a rather creative concept. Albeit an unpalatable one that is unbelievably tough to digest.

What do you think?

Chocolate is a sunscreen?

umassmed.edu

I recently read this study which indicated that chocolate can protect against sunburn as well as satiate hunger pangs.

The latter I have been aware of all my life, since it has been more than an occasional indulgence. But the former...hmm... I am one of the most easily sunburnt people I know, even when I am diligent enough to use sunscreen. It will be interesting to see where this goes. But meanwhile, no harm eating more chocolate. You know, just in case it's true. (;

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Quick milk magic straws


tradingcardsguru.com

I've never been a big fan of milk, except to dunk my oreos and cereal in. But these quick milk magic straws I picked up at the grocery store the other day actually made me pour and drink an entire glass of milk. So fun! :D

And there's another brand of these magic milk straws called 'got milk' which I haven't seen in Singapore yet. They come in so many flavours like cookies and cream, chocolate peanut butter, strawberry banana, orange cream, wild berry, chocolate candy cane, vanilla etc. Really handy invention for parents who have kids who don't like milk.!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Stop Coddling the Super-Rich

finerminds.com

Many of you have probably already read the op-ed piece by Warren Buffett in The New York Times. I was drawn in for a read by the headline - after all, it's hard to reconcile one of the richest men in the world with an article calling to increase taxes for the rich.

In a nutshell, Buffett revealed the secret to how the rich get richer and the poor get poorer across all countries. He makes no excuses for his wealth. In fact, he readily admits to being "mega-rich". The concluding statement in his article is a damning one - "My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress. It's time for our government to get serious about shared sacrifice" - and no doubt would have had the U.S. Congress drawing heavy flak.

Altruistic or not, how can one help but be impressed by a man like that?


Friday, 19 August 2011

Summon Auntie iPhone App

summonauntie.com.sg

I couldn't stop smiling when I first saw the 'Summon Auntie' app in the Apple app store. For non-Singaporeans, 'summons' (pronounced saa-marns in Singlish) are the infamous penalties issued for parking offenses in Singapore. This app functions as a warning service to the local driving community. I had fun LOL-ing at the lamentation "Summon auntie y u no pang chance" (see top photo), which translates to "Traffic attendant, why don't you give me a chance?"

The creators of this ingenious app are: "A team of mobile and web developers who also happen to be daily drivers who happen to always kena summon. Instead of just complaining when we kena summon, we decided to do something about it!"

There are four main features of the app as described in the website.

1. Park. Once you have parked your vehicle, please remember to tear and display your coupons correctly. Launch SummonAunt App and tap on "Park". This locks your vehicle location and our robust system will send you a notification once a Summon Auntie have been spotted near your vehicle.

2. Alert. This is the holy grail of all our features. When you spot a Summon Auntie doing her rounds, immediately whip out your cool iPhone, launch SummonAunt and tap on "Alert". This sends out an alert notification to all drivers who have “parked” their car within 200 metres (+/-) of your location.

3. Kena. In the unfortunate event that you fall victim to our relentless Summon Aunties, you can still launch our iPhone app and tap on “kena“, select the type of parking offence received and you can share it on Facebook to let your friends know that you have just contributed to the Nation Building Funds! They might be generous enough to treat you a cuppa kopi-o.

4. Alert History. When you drive into a carpark and have just parked your vehicle, and is deciding on the time to display on your coupon, launch SummonAunt app and tab “Alert History”, you will then see the times when Summon Aunties have been spotted in your vicinity, you then have to use your judgement to decide on the time to display on coupon. If Summon Aunties have been spotted like 10 minutes ago, please please please do display a coupon correctly because they will be prowling back like a hungry hyena.

One of the coolest and most functional apps ever!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Barcelona lifts Super Cup

soccernet.com

soccernet.com
The Super Cup finals between Barcelona and Real Madrid has ended. Barcelona won, of course. No surprise there, though I must say Real Madrid is displaying better form than last season.

It was an exciting match, even with things turning rowdy right at the end. Showdowns between these two Spanish giants have a tendency to end in drama. That tempers ran high was no shock since Pepe had been committing fouls throughout the entire match. The catalyst was a lousy and unnecessary tackle on Fabregas by Marcelo in injury time - he deserved the straight red. Then all hell broke loose. For some unknown reason, Ozil became really agitated (it was a fair call by the referee, so it must have been something else). Then Mourinho went to poke an official on the Barcelona side - like what the hell. Everyone was shoving and shouting at everyone else. The referee was flashing red cards left, right and centre - Marcelo, Ozil and Villa got red carded (the latter two had both already been subbed out!), although Villa didn't do anything as far as the camera showed.

9 yellow cards and 3 red cards - exactly two thirds of which were earned by the Real Madrid side. They can be rather sore losers. Whatever happened to sportsmanship? I really hate it when I stay up to watch a Spanish match (they're always at ungodly hours of 4 or 5a.m.), and have to watch such scenes. Other than that, Fabregas played well - a title in his debut match is definitely a golden start. And Messi. I love Messi. Talented player and straight as an arrow. He is hands down my favourite player, and even though the headline "Messi wins Super Cup" is definitely true with his 2 goals and 1 assist, it is after all a team game. "Barcelona wins Super Cup" would have been more appropriate, I think.

Looking forward to another great season ahead for Barcelona!

Wisdom toothless (Part II)

josevilson.com
I just surgically extracted my lower right wisdom tooth. This time, there were two others assisting the doc. I think they were interns, because my entire surgery seemed to be some sort of lesson for them. Through their conversation, I had a blow-by-blow account of exactly what was going on:

"This is an electrode with a *#$#$& tip, so it's easier to slice through the tissue to see the tooth underneath."

"If you can't see anything, it means I can't see anything. And tell me, can you see anything with all that blood everywhere? So spray now, what are you waiting for?!"

"Suction now - and stop blocking my hand! Don't wait for me to tell you to do stuff!"

"Now I'm going to cut the tooth into two. Pay attention."

Not exactly the best kind of commentary to have while you're having a massive headache from all the drilling going on inside your mouth. And this time, I could even feel the doc yanking the tooth out. It hurt bad. After the op, the doc asked me whether I wanted a jab since the swelling the previous time took so long to subside. I said okay, but then the answer was - "Oh, we've run out of the jab."

Definitely not one of the better days of my life.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

First outing with my new lens

Gloria Lee
The lensbaby composer pro is really not an easy lens to use, and will take a lot more time for me to get comfortable enough to do any creative magic with. It is almost impossible to take a self-portrait with this lens too. The photo above took more tries than I could count.

A meetup with the secondary school girlfriends also meant another chance to play around with my new lens, and I like how some of the photos turned out. (:

Gloria Lee
Gloria Lee


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