Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Great Tool in the Shed

25th August 2010, Wednesday

Over the past weekend which saw me signing off a bill of $3200 with my credit card, there was a purchase that might well worth every penny.

For a long while, I had been resisting the allure of a smart phone, obstinately clamoring over the fact that a mobile phone is afterall just used for making phone calls, anything else is just periphery.

There has been a iPhone fever sweeping our little red dot since 3GS came into the market many moons back and almost any Tom, Dick & Harry around me had been meddling with their 3.5 inch touch pad whenever they felt bored or simply insecured.

Not one to jump on a bandwagon, I was fiddling with the prospect of changing my 4 year old Motorola Razr which was really lasting despite of umpteen drop from mid air.
The speaker had become rather weak but otherwise everything is a go.

One feature of a smartphone would be nifty would be the ability to surf the web anywhere with a reception for the 3G transmission.
I had occasions when a sudden urge to search of some facts on Wikipedia or perhaps an old song on the youtube.

This feature was really what made my latest acquisition of an iPhone 4 seems so sweet as I just began reading Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol", borrowed from Mr Chan.
There were some intricate description of certain monuments and buildings which would be well complimented if there were some visuals from the internet.

Another fabulous feature was the ability to download podcast off the iTunes which I never bother with the iPod.
Managed to get the latest podcasts off ESPN soccernet which was a treat, perhaps can try Ricky Gervais' famous podcasts soon.

While listening to the dry British humor during my run, I had a need to do some counting down of time for a stretching exercise and instantly use the stopwatch utility on the phone for it.

However I don't forsee myself carrying it for workout as there is a high tendency of dropping the precious gadget.

All in all there are still thousands of apps to really spice up or make life convenient but for now the new phone surely is a real cool tool.

Japanese word of the day: 道具 ~dou-ku~ (Tool) Such a tool would be good for someone like myself who was described as not the brightest tool in the shed

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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Hang & Crash

12th August 2010, Thursday

I am at wit's ends with regards to the status of a crucial part of my life and soul: the erratic one known as the personal computer.

There had been signs since months ago that something is stealthily infecting the operating system resulting in habitual crashes, unsolicited restarts and the unknown hanging.

CS had been summoned time and again to fix it and mostly became shortlived remedy as the problem persist.
It was still cope-able for the months of June & July as the glitches appeared less frequent and everything is run pretty smoothly.

However over the National Day weekend, the problem aggravated and now the PC is acting up like a petulant infant, kept throwing a wrench in my wheel of everyday activities when the hanging and crashing came without notice and at such frequency.
Yet I bear with it at the current moment while think of a short-term solution and a longer one.

The former would be reformatting the hard drive and reinstalling Vista to see if it could exorcise any remnants that could be bothering the system.
With my style of getting things online, I am highly susceptible to attack regardless I have the anti virus tool running round the clock.

The latter would be an overhaul of the hardware, barely 2 years since the last upgrade.
I could of course dedicate some hard earn cash for it but I want something that could last but obviously it doesn't work for me unless I religiously maintain and preserve the system and veer clear of all the hap-hazardous phishing sites. which is close to impossible considering how dangerous the world is out there now and I have that undying need of some digital materials.

Well taking a step at a time and hope life will go back to normal soon.
Anyway got an overbearing feeling that my room is cursed for electronic products to last longer as they should.
Last evening the wall fan just lost its power to oscillate. Bummer...

Japanese word of the day: 持続 ~ji-zo-ku~ (Lasting) The only thing lasting about my PC is the keyboard.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Minor Adjustments

28th July 2010, Wednesday

July seems to last forever.
Though it was hardly a whirlwind of a month, there had been some notable events and more importantly minor adjustments looming over the horizon.

First of all, the World Cup ended in a rather pleasant fashion for yours truly especially with the 2 finalists being both my supported teams.
I know Holland was doomed to be forever the bridesmaid but sure was hoping that the Oranje could do it.
Now it is over I just wanna put it behind me, even abstain from the very little transfer dealing trickling now. Hell even do away with the octopus from Germany

In the latter stage of Red Dead Redemption, and now suffering from the usual "laid off the game at the brink of completion syndrome".
It looks likely that "Lost Planet 2" might be the next game in the pipeline for me although there is a certain degree of curiosity looming for "Starcraft 2".
Sadly the good ol' (barely 2 years) PC is still not in the most stable of state.

What had been preoccupying my free time of late began with a galore of movies on the backlog and now in the midst of a "The Office" marathon which I never wanted to end.
As they said laughter is the best medicine and the antics of David Brent or Michael Scott with their respective motley crews definitely kept me in the pink of health of late.

It seems like La Tendo would be out of Kallang Leisure Park even before you can spell out the full name, so another adjustment I might need to make in the near future.
Pretty anticipating of the new store as well.

Lastly my webpage on my hobby of collecting figurines looked destined not to last 2010.
I had ran out of space with the 1GB space limitation and when the system wiped clean my index page, it was the last straw.
However I am thinking of starting a blog as a replacement and even managed to rope in a few others, so it should be a even more spectacular project.

Japanese word of the day: 調節 ~Chou-Setsu~(Adjustment) One definite adjustment I would love to make is a new traveling route to work without the madness of the crowd

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Monday, June 07, 2010

My Past World Cup Experiences

7th June 2010, Monday

4 days to the big football bonanza which comes once every 4 years...the World Cup!
Excitement filled me as I contemplated on how to keep myself awake for some wee hours matches for the next few weeks.
Applying is the top option and I have catered a few days (yah not more than 4-5 days) to be taken strategically

Would be backing a few favorites for this tournament but would love a fairy tale dark horse story much like Turkey-South Korea in 2002 and less like Greece in Euro 2004.
Thank goodness for the time zone from South Africa (which is around an hour off the GMT) means we can at least catch 2 matches comfortably at the 7.30pm and 10.30pm slots.

I still remembered football took a huge chunk of my life since 1993 when I was introduced to Manchester United and the Premier League.
However my World Cup journey began way earlier:

Italia 1990: Remembered a famed local Mandarin DJ cum commentator kept stressing the name "Ba Jiao" which is a direct translation of Roberto Baggio of the Azzurri., otherwise it was Carlos Valderama's mop that really drew alot of entertainment back then.
Struggled to stay up to catch Maradona and his Argentine contingent reclaiming the cup from West Germany but went down to an Andreas Brehme's penalty. Dozed off halfway through despite RTM's attempt to keep people interested with one of the Star Wars films.

USA 1994: Fully exposed to the intensity of the World Cup held by the land of the global big brother who treated "soccer" is a sports for the kids.
Andres Escobar's assassination, Maradona's shameful drug charges, Iordan Letchkov's bald patch and Henrik Larsson's blonde locks were some of the highlights.
The magical strike partnership of Romario and Bebeto took the Selecao into the final but it took missed penalties from Baggio and Franco Baresi gave Brazil their 4th World title.

France 1998: Before the tournament, not many people heard of Youri Djorkaeff and Zinedine Zidane, how that was to change dramatically.
Missed quite a big chunk because of my military commitment but was glad to catch a few swashbuckling games live including Bergkamp & Kluivert s' combination to eliminate Argentina.
Posh David Beckham was expelled for kicking at a playacting Diego Simeone while Croatia backed by a talented squad with the likes of Sukar, Prosinecki and Boban sent them to the semi finals only to be undone by the hosts especially a particular Lilian Thuram.
A mysterious breakdown by Ronaldo saw him making a last minute entree into Mario Zagallo's line-up but by then the damage was done as the hosts, France demolished the South American giant with a 3-0 hiding.

Japan/ South Korea 2002: Perhaps the most exciting World Cup for me personally. Fresh out of college, I had to make meet's ends by plying trade as a car accessory salesman, so could not catch a lot of early games being played at the same East Asian timezone.
I also went on a Genting trip with the missus back then with out university mates and caught a few matches there as well.
A World Cup for the underdogs saw a resilient Guus Hiddink-led South Korean team ousting the likes of Italy and Spain, while beating Portugal in the group stage. Many remembered the games as biased refereeing favoring the co-hosts.
Japan, USA, Senegal and especially Turkey had a great outing while defending champions France dwindled in the absence of Zidane and knocked out without scoring a goal.
Ronaldo helped Brazil blazed into the final (with Rivaldo's Academy Award winning acting skill against Turkey) with his 8 goals inclusive of the brace in the final itself.
I had footballing chums like Foo and a couple of course mates that kept me very much wrapped in the festivity just north of our island.
Had my hand of gambling (legally) but resulted in me shouting my voice coarse in that semi final duel when Germany nicked a 1-0 win over South Korea.
It was a bad experience for me and I swore off betting on football for life.

Germany 2006 : Not the best timing to start a new job while caught in the World Cup fever.
Remembered a lot of cagey games in this tournament and some of the games did not lived up to its billing.
Netherlands self destructed in the round of 16 against Portugal while Argentina could not get past host Germany in the quarterfinals meaning I really had no one to support by the latter stages.
For France to beat hot favorites Brazil in the Qfinals, signaled the 98 champions are returning to form and another 1-0 feat over Portugal saw them meeting Italy in the final.
Zidane who had set his retirement plan after the finals, went out in disgrace by headbutting foul-mouthed Marco Materazzi which was the most vivid scene from that edition of the World Cup

So what would this year in Africa's first World Cup be like?
Would Spain lived up to their billing or would there be a surprise winner?
Plenty of stars were left out or receded due to injuries, so perhaps the platform for a new Schillaci, Hagi, Suker, Diouf or Podolski to shine out.

4 days and counting then

Japanese word of the day: 選手 ~sen-shu~ (Player) Wonder if Messi would really take this year by storm

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Monday, May 31, 2010

Gun-jostling time!

31st May 2010, Monday

Don't May seems a wee bit too long for my liking?

A long weekend just vamoosed by without significantly leaving a mark though the tiramisu at Pontini was highly delectable and made every penny of the 16 bucks well worth it.

It was basically riding the stallion in the virtual wild west while learning to lasso the horse, guide the herd and hunt down bounties before hooking up with the posse to squash some bandits' den for most of the weekend.
Kind of neglected the missus by the end of it, though herself was pretty absorbed in all the gun-trotting action when she watched me play.

On Vesak Friday, the BBQ birthday celebration for 77 year old grandma was not the most ideal when none of the filial grandchildren had not bother to check with the meteorological station for the most accurate weather forecast.
The whole brood was made to dodge for shelter at least 2 times before finally managed to grilled the remaining food till the very end of the night.

The Sunday game session with TW and CS came off at the very last minute despite it being way truncated than expected.
Nevertheless the whole session succeeded in us impressed (albeit me slightly) with "Lost Planet 2" and TW likewise with "Red Dead Redemption".
Nevertheless can expect the trio of us hooking up online very soon.

Japanese word of the day: 射撃(Shooting) It is always much more fun to do it virtually...

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Sleeping with a Broad Smile

10th May 2010, Monday

The promotion that seems unlikely brightened up a Monday which had been geared into planning for a great 3 months of gaming, watching World Cup and planning for a probable Seoul/Japan trip.

Over the weekend with the folks whetting their gambling appetite in Genting, I had a nice time just hanging around with the missus who had nothing in plan and delicate for me as well as catching up some of the domestic matters.
However I ought to devote less time on the Playstation as Valkyria Chronicles borrowed from Bryan definitely really got me addicted.
Had an excruciating time creating a D.I.Y display stand which had some remote success but barely.
MK II should be better but doubt I have the energy and dedication to do so in the coming weeks.

Managed to get the early bird package for the World Cup telecast on Starhub.
Everyone on the island seemingly was appalled by the hike in price ($66 compared to like $50 odd 4 years ago) and did not mince their complains on the media.
For me, the threshold lies at $80, so the price looks pretty ok.
Now time to plan my precious amount of leave for this.

CS came on Sun with the purpose of rectifying my PC which in the end saw us discussing about the upcoming games on PS3.
The anticipated Capcom futuristic alien hunting game by the name of "Lost Planet 2" seemed to take a hiding from critics and reviewers and really blew it for us.
In compensation, Rock Star, the people who gave us Grand Theft Auto, will churn out a spaghetti Western by the name of "Red Dead Redemption".
The multi-player mode really got us captivated and time to join the posse as they said.

The highly anticipated letter came off the hands of the boss on Monday afternoon and I had to conceal the blissfulness blossoming within upon seeing my promotion.
The monetary boost came at the perfect time as I had list of items to dwell upon while building the savings account for the future.
All in all it made serving in the same institution shy of a decade looked highly rewarding, so back to doing what I do best as usual.

The only mood-spoiling issue over the weekend is the niggling pain along the molar and pre-molars of the left side of my top jaw.
Need to overcome that phobia of stepping onto a dentist chair soon and come clean that I had not bother with visit a dentist on regular basis since ORD many moons back.
Gives me the creep at the slight top of the sound of the drill...*GULP*

Japanese word of the day: 微笑み~ho-ho-e-mi~(Smile) Even can twitch a smile with a toothache

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Monday, April 19, 2010

It comes back in a full Circle

19th April 2010, Monday

17th April 2010 proved to be a real eventful day for the sleepy town of Singapore...
The preceding evening was well soaked in the torrential showers that spitefully arrived every single day during knock off time.
I did made it to Salon de Uno earlier than my stipulated appointment, and managed to get my highly active follicles well groomed by 7.30pm when the missus came to find me straight off work with no appointment planned.
She was to accompany to CS' place after dinner as a rather last minute gaming session was coined with PL's dinner appointment gave her husband some lee time to hang around with his gaming buddies on a Friday evening.

Thought it might be a great session to banter about unraveling the mystery behind "Heavy Rain" but TW's intention was to indulge in PES as usual which we did.
It was well fine but just become slightly too repetitive while a sudden phone-in interview for the host definitely hindered the progress.
At least the missus found her own form of entertainment but I felt bad putting her, who was still recovering from her chronic cough, through this despite it was her choice.

Saturday began not so bright nor early but one could sense the entire neighborhood roasting up for the grand reopening of the Hindu temple across the road which spelt road closures around our place.
It was crucial to start with a hearty breakfast and that was what we had at Starbucks as we were both bought by the strong aroma of freshly brewed Java.

The long awaited 3rd phase of the Circle Line was in operation on that fateful day.
Of course it should cut the traveling time to La Tendo, 19 minutes to be exact as indicated at the route inidcation board before Chan and I took our maiden ride from Bishan Station.
In the end with umpteen prolonged halts (notably at Paya Lebar), it added up to around 25 min which is around the same time we usually waited for that godforsaken Bus 16 in town on Saturday anyway.

Love the Noah's Ark style architecture for the Stadium station though with the ganrty at only one end does not make much sense.
The cement on the footpath to Kalleng Leisure Park was barely dried when we got there, highlighting what a hush hush job it had been.

The opening of the train station surely saw a stark improvement in the human traffic as the store was swarmed almost 80% of the time we were there.
Of course they held a 20% storewide sales helped matters too but the 2 concerts from Taiwanese acts certainly played their part to bring in the crowd.
Like my merchandise-crazed wife who spent close to 300 bucks on the increasingly stale 5 men Taiwanese band, it was easy to spot the hordes of concert-goers with their sparkling new official T shirts on.
The downpour in the afternoon nearly jeopardized the open air concert.

Closing to the final hour of operation, Karen made her appearance after going very quiet on the net and in appearance lately.
She would be getting her working visa in a few days time and the flight to Seoul is imminent.
The crew had intended to catch "Kick Ass!" which Chan had been raving about though my utmost intention was to catch the Manchester derby live with TW.

My buddy who was in the midst of a nice dinner with his missus had thought the match would be at around 9-ish when in actual fact the kickoff was around 7.45pm.
He did say it was likely to catch the Chelsea-Spurs game which kicked off after midnight.
Therefore the plan altered as the movie kind of fell with sprawling interest.
Left for AMK for dinner with yet another meal at Popeye's fried chicken, certainly look to abstain from it for at least a few months.
Bryan was gloomy for most of the day. Made to slave on a Saturday, drenched from the shower and then perturbed by the price of the Macross F Ichibankuji that he felt was not justifiable despite a strong desire to own the figurines.
I wonder if the deep fried chicken could do much to help 'cos the score at City of Manchester Stadium certainly couldn't as his beloved Poo's archrivals looked on course for a possible 19th league title after a Paul Scholes' injury time header deflated the host in laser blue.

As TW mentioned during our journey to his place after dropping PL at her Dad's in Bishan,
"When I heard GOOOALLLL! I knew there would only be one team who had scored as Man City has no fan in Singapore."
Great words indeed.

There was a filler known as "Blacburn vs Everton" to keep us preoccupied before the big one at White Hart's Lane.
Seemingly a scrappy game at first but Blackburn scored a couple of screamer including one from TW's fave player now at least because of the sheer flair of his name, Steven Nzonzi, yet end up losing to lucky Toffees.

Prior to keepoff of the big match, the missus arrived with a seemingly sore throat and high from the adrenaline rush of the live concert.
It was really nice of her to chaperon me for the 2nd night in succession when she would be bore to tears with the proceedings, plus the match would likely ending by 2.30 in the morning.

So the game ensued as we built up with our undying loathe for the likes of Terry and Cashley Cole.
It was befitting that Spurs was the team on form and the star man was defender turn winger Gareth Bale.
The Welshman had transformed his form of late since the days of Spurs-will-lose-when Bale-starts.
After Jermain Defoe hit a powerful spotkick off public enemy's No.1 John Terry's handball, we were celebrating like teenage morons.
Spurs were dominating play the entire first half and deservedly go 2-0 up before half time, from our fave Spurs player now Bale.

Second half was even more exhilarating for us with Drogba cramping his groin muscles before kick off then by my mouth of voodooism, John Terry actually got sent off for 2 yellow cards.
Chelsea was in the doldrums and we were basking in their plight till a late rally which saw Lampard reducing the arrears when we had our hearts in our throats.

Definitely a great night if you are Man United fans (esp when fellow title chaser Arsenal also lost on Sun) but Spurs under Redknapp is definitely dazzling and truly hope they make it into the Champions League.

So a wonderful Saturday ended on a great note as we sort of rekindled the interest in the EPL as the season runs in... Everything like karma will comes back in one full circle, John Terry oughta know..heehee

Japanese word of the day: 円(Circle) Life though cannot keep spinning in circles

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