Monday, September 29, 2008

Racing and Ranting

29th September 2008, Monday

So the F1 euphoria and hype can now be officially over!
The buzz that had been going on for weeks ended up in a dramatic high last evening when Renault's Fernando Alonso beats the odds to come from 15th position to grab the checkered flag.
Joining him on the podium was William's Nico "Sexy Boy" Rosberg and hot favorite Linda..I mean Lewis Hamilton from McClarens.
Felipe Massa ended in pole position on Saturday's time trial but a miscommunication from his pit stop team cost him dearly and it was the very moment I switched on the TV to catch a glimpse of the race.

Overall the combination of the inaugural night race as well as it being a street race, most drivers got hard to acclimatise to the condition; maybe our humid weather plays a factor as well.
The familiar landscape of the Esplande, Parliament Building, Suntec City, Singapore Flyer etc surely look distant when a race track is running around them, but they surely compliment the race and we duly deserves the accolades from all over the world for a job well done.
I would be tempted to watch it ive next year but somehow it's still better to catch in on the tube especially all the little crucial events and overtaking as well as commentary.

While the nation was marveled by the racing extraordinares over the weekend, there were some other important sporting event elsewhere on the island if anyone gives a damn.
After Super Reds could only drew with the African Utd..I mean Gombak Utd meaning their precarious lead on top of the S League standings is increased by one point.
At 2 points adrift, SAFFC had the chance to get to the summit once again if they had won at arch nemesis Tampines Rovers.
The game had so much significance to it when Daniel Bennett squares against the guy that totally mutilated him in the Singapore Cup final last yeat, Noh Alam Shah.
Foo and I made a pretty last minute decision to catch this epic at the cauldron known as Tampines Stadium and decided to sit under the open skies at the make-shift stands across the pitch for once.

The tense first half saw neither side wanting to commit too much in attack... With Duric well shackled and Murakami having an off day, SAF lacks potency up front while the Tampines attacking trivumate of Noh Alam, Khairul and Qiu Li find the Warriors' defense in their usual sturdy form.
We were more fascinated by the vociferous yet vulgar jeering of the Tampines fans towards the referee and the opposition, and moan at little schoolboy mistakes made by their own players.
We then drew reference with our passive fans in Hougang which is world's apart.

2nd half truly spell the most entertaining half of all the live S League games we had experience so far this season.
After sustained pressure from Tampines in front of SAF's goal mouth, Shadan Sulaiman finally put the home side one up by popping an unlikely goal from 20 yards out to wild jubliation of the home crowd.
SAF responded by taking out poor Murakami with winger Mustaquim and pretty soon they level things up with a nice pass from Duric and Ahmad Latiff thumped it past Hassan Sunny in the Stags goal.
The former bad boy of local football had a great shot earlier in the game which narrowly miss the target but made no mistake when Duric gave it this chance, all wrapped up in a platter.
Tampines worked hard to carve out chances and had at least 3 likely goals cleared off the line and their 2nd and supposedly winner came from an in-swinging corner from Santi and Mustafic headed pass hapless Sharil Jantan but seems to be cleared off the line but the linesman had a better view and awarded the goal, much to the incense of the Warriors.
SAF's gaffer, Richard Bok tried put in some attacking option in the form of striker Ashrin Shariff but to no avail and Tampines wrapped up the game with a sublime finish from Qiu Li with a solo effort and a goal even I had to stand up and applaud.
There had been enough runt on the poor recently-nationalized Chinese lad but he surely possess a great right foot with accurate stinging shots...just that he can't perform consistent enough.

For the past week, I had been coining a chill-up session with TW who seems to reflect the same enthusiasim.
While a dinner was planned for Sunday, a last minute date with his lass' family means it had to push back to perhaps just a drinking (we are talking abt milk shake or root beer float here) session.
He did arrived at 10 in the evening but the bad timing didn't stopped us for having a hearty chat including he proudly showcase his rewards from the recent San Diego Comic Con where he met his idol, Jim Lee.
We then graced through the collection of "Men on Films" videos from "In Living Color" on the youtube, a real nostalgic remnants of our youth but also gave an insight to the missus why our parents were suspicious about our sexual orientation back in the days.
We then shifted the chatting to the living room so that she could retire for the night but at 12 plus it was still too young for us. (We actually finished by 2 plus which is pretty ludicrous with a full work week staring at our faces in mere hours)
We had some rollin' good times about our days of bewilderment, surely much like good wine, to be relish upon as we aged.
We also talked about the present predicament in life and our outlook of it as well as people we met at this juncture.
Finally about the future especially his which seems to tilt towards an overseas working stint which I had likely once his bond to the government concluded.
There are factors tying him down to Singapore presently but it sure is written in the wind if he would go globe-trotting again soon.
It would be quite depressing to not see him on regular basis as of years back but even when we are living in the same country these days, we hardly meet up as well... But the strong friendship and great memories that bind us will brave the tidal waves of time.

Japanese word of the day: モータースポーツ (Motor Sports) LTA will surely grumble at the way the high speed cars had discolor the directional arrows on the tar roads.

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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Might be The Most Unpopular Guy in Office

24th September 2008, Wednesday

The attachment girl with us for a while SL dropped by this morning, looking all feminine and all ornated with stilettos, dress and make-up, assuming the role of a sales representative of some high end diagnostic drugs.
It had been around 7 months since she quit her previous job of measly pay and dim prospect and surely this suits her more...

Over the time she had left there was a massive exodus of no less than half of who we had around including BY and our French supervisor...
Of course departures means new arrivals...
Though these newcomers shown much more positive vibes than some of the predecessors, I felt I had slowly drifted away from the people at work...maybe a bit alienated from the rest
Sad as it sounds but that's what I had predicted once some of the usual chums left for greener pastures...

Routine as my work life can be, I had always portrayed myself to be aloof to group activities unlike the earlier days when we all ganged up to scoffed at His Beautiness' promiscuous choice of lifestyle.
I seldom make small talks with people I don't really know well from other groups and even my group.. I felt I could be quite tactless and would say the wrong things at the wrong time and offend the others.Then again I rather surf the internet or do other private things than indulge in activities that would make Shiity Green thinking factions are forming in the office.
In addition when I am not smiling (which is the norm), I don't seem to be the bright character a stranger want to speak freely with.
There were also many instances when I just retracted any friendly nuances when I could surely gather more acquaintances as of now.
Perhaps it's with age that make me less acceptable of any Tom, Dick or Harry.. therefore you won't see me win any popularity contest soon.

As mentioned before Mr Shittty Green had suspected factions within the group and it was pretty evident as the "Tea Time Clique" had gone into metamorphosis mode.
2 of the prominent ladies had left for overseas stint; however the group grew in strength recruiting the new boys who replace BY as well as CM thus breaking that holy triumvirate of the Goddess, JO and CM.
There was also an androgynous student from Changmai, Thailand.
But at least they took less tea breaks which infuriate BY to the point of resigning...

I have no illusion to join the clique 'cos most probably I can't get on their frequency in the conversation...

It's appraisal time of the year and this time we have to do with the Big Green...surely would be an experience and we'll see more sucking up from His Beautiness yet the lab manager role is still elusive for him...
Maybe I should offer him some White Rabbit Milk Candy, Dutch Lady Strawberry Milk and Yili Yogurt bar to him to win some favor...maybe not

Japanese word of the day: 不評(unpopular) I doubt I am even popular with the office janitor


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Irritatus Maximus

23rd September 2008, Tuesday

Ever attended a wedding banquet where you know no one else except either the bride or the groom who invited you?
Seated in a table of strangers, you just try to see time pass and the dishes come faster then quietly and stealthily slithered away?
Usually if I have a choice I would politely just reject the invitation unless it's a really close acquaintance; which by this juncture should see we have more common friends...

On Sunday, I had to accompanied the missus to the wedding banquet of a close buddy from her Secondary school days, someone I had seen fore maybe 3 times though a nice lad in my books.
In chronic lack of quality sleep (woke up early for work on Saturday and then badminton on Sunday) and with the prospect of a long week staring in my face, you couldn't fault me for not being the most chirpy bird on the tree to attend a wedding dinner of someone I remotely know in the bowel end of town.
However I was still very willing for the occasion for the sake of the missus who thought she would be alone when another of her Secondary School pal bailed out on them.

Held at Swissotel Merchant Court, my mentality was set to at least savor some good food, paid my congratulatory message to the newly weds and get home soon enough for whatever of the weekend remaining.

So we were seated in the sea of strangers at this table at the very fringe of the hall which was cool to sneak out if possible.
The missus felt she would not have known anyone perhaps a few familiar faces from the demise of her teenage years and that was exactly what happened.
On our table there was like 4 ladies from their alumni and ultimately a rather lanky bigot of a guy...let's call him Crouch like that lanky striker from Portsmouth.

Little did I realized that Crouch would become the bane of my otherwise eventless night which I want it to stay that way.

When Crouch supposedly a swinging bachelor working as some executive (i.e. telemarketer) from a renowned courier company settle down our table, he was prompt to pick up conversation with the skinny girl who was well acquainted with the missus all night.
He didn't really initiate anything with my wife perhaps he felt she was too matured looking for him or perhaps the husband on her left was posting a grouchy or at best a disinterested face all night.
Then his night just got off with the 4th of July firework celebration when 3 more of his former female schoolmates sat beside him, more avenues to allow him to pick up small cheeky conversations with.
The girls seems to enjoy his company as well...then again I am not in the same alumni, age group or wavelength but can't they tell he was an obnoxious fellow who keep initiating small talks with them.
Ok there was a pair of girls who contemplate about getting into a lesbian relationship because they felt at their age and unattached makes them stale or something which also ticks me off a bit.

So over the course of dinner he would pick up some flirty squabbles with one of the girl, talking about how well he could hold his alcohol while interchanging beer with red wine, showcasing how well was his culinary skills or how he envisioned his other half would be; bemoaning the number of times he was being asked to be a "brother" for a wedding though abit affected by the fact that the groom of the night didn't ask him to be one.
All of this to supplement his constant enthics to impress his former classmates like serving them food or unshelling the prawns.
The most torrid part was that the girls seemingly love his presence; even the missus who had a good 10 minutes talk about Electronic Road Pricing with him.

By the middle of the dinner with 5 dishes gone as well as the usual shenanigans like the yum seng ceremony and the groom speech, I was quite irritated to the point it was evident on my face.
Yet I knew my wife loves the classic dessert, the yam paste at the very end, so as bitter and nonchalant as I was, I was set to endure it for her sake till the end.
The only moment of salvation was when he actually left the table for like 10 minutes or so...

Fortunately the missus sense my irritation (of course I did told her I was slightly ticked off but the reason not told on the table) and we made our departure just before the dessert.
She made that sacrifice for that little man in me and I was eternally grateful.
However she couldn't quite accept the fact that I found the usual stance of distaste in most of her friends or acquiantance while she readily accepted mine.
Partially it's true but I had always been positive around her closest confidantes who I always get along.
But a ghost from the past like this who wasn't even in her class back in the days shouldn't be entertained not when he was such a parasite I couldn't stand to have in my system for even one second.

I guess I would attend more of such wedding for diplomatic purpose in the future and I surely pray I wouldn't see my life been wasted away with anymore of the presence of such characters...
It'll spoil the best tasting cuisine served on the platter for sure.

Japanese word of the day: 苛立っていること (Irritating) Think I myself can be quite a irritating character to others...I'm sure of that


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Public Act of Intimacy

19th September 2008, Thursday

Some said marriage kills the romance but then I am never really a romantic guy..Neither am I a touchy partner well at least not within the watchful eyes of other people around.
Sometime I even felt uncomfortable just hugging the missus in front of family or close friend (then again it would look pretty awkward considering the size of us both).

However with the government still adamant to instill abit of romance into our stoic nation, many people actually heeded the notion to a point they readily show their acts of affection to one another in public places.
We are not talking about the "naked wrestling" BY once witness in the open space opposite Woodlands MRT station or the usual fanfare by the peeping toms in places like Labrador Park or maybe Bishan Park or the usual void deck actions some claimed to see.
Places like public transports i.e. MRT, restaurants, library, cinemas (which is quite a norm cos it's dark and if you refrain from a noisy foreplay no one would notice except the guy beside you or behind you) are common areas to see young love birds snuggling it out which ain't a big issue to me.
There had been many complaint letters sent into to local papers with regards to some nubile beings who had over stepped the border of intimacy; but usually such letters were sent by spinster who wretchedly yearn for some touch by men.
I am truly risking violating the act of sedition when I would say a certain racial group of our kaleidoscopic nation would be the main culprits but then again the other races are starting to join the act even a few lesbian couples I had noticed before.

Although as mentioned the younger demographic group tends to be indulging in such public display, one instance just the other day on my way to work deviates from the norm.
Exasperated that I could not grab a seat despite the train trip being a direct one (meaning there's no need for me to transit), I just try to keep balance in a sardine-packed carriage while losing myself in my NDS as usual.
It was until Choa Chu Kang station, that I felt my arm was brushed by the hair of a lady beside me.
Being the anti-social being I am, I tends to try to adjust myself so that I would not be tickled by keratinised filaments of a perfect stranger (even an attractive OL who certainly would regard me as a pervert anyway, so better keep away from unnecesary troubles).
However I then realized that her male partner was actually cuddling her and foddling her back as if he is tending an asthamtic kid or something.
There was even a point when he was helping her to alleviate an itch on her back which was totally uncalled for on a packed train.
While the lady was around 30-ish who can be forgiven as a 20 something in her early blissful relationship, her itch-post looks close to 50 with a head of unkemped grey and dry hair and looks to devour his younger lover there and then!
It was a disturbing sight to start a day with for sure...

There was this rather popular young couple within the vicinity of our workplace who we affectionately label them as "拿(Carry)".
Looking just completed their hatachi (20 years old) ceremony; this loving couple especially the guy surely looks to portray as that caring boyfriend all girls dream to possess...to a point it can be quite overbearing..
I first noticed this couple a year or so ago at the gym...
They were like a usual young couple with the lad gently supporting his lass' back as if she is suffering from some spinal issue all the way to the ladies' changing room.
He then supposedly waited for her to change into her workout rig and chaperone her to the gym as if she would be disorientated when the glass panels of the gym didn't give its location straight away.
He then saw her up the threadmill and both started their concise jogging.
The guy made sure he did it before her, so that he could render her support off the threadmill.
This is when we gave them their nicknames and it carried over several time over the past year.
Even when they were on the street, they were inseperable with the guy's hand always at the ladies' anterior; at times might pet her head like a doting parent would do for their beloved child.
In more recent times during a rainy morning while waiting for the shuttle bus into the myriad of office buildings, I saw the couple with the guy sheltering the girl's precarious forehead from the vicious raindrop pelting down with his bare hand, not it helps much seriously...
So at this juncture, you will presume the lady must be drop dead gorgeous that warrant such undividing care and concern from her beau...er...let's just say she looks slightly better than Ugly Betty...damn I'm bad...
Kudos to the pair...at least they enjoyed each other's presence while resisting the test of time...

For yours truly I reckon the classic hand-to-hand (swinging optional) or an occasional peck on the cheek or lips while bidding good-bye is where my limitations hold...but even so it would draw some unwelcoming cold stares from the same wretched spinsters...

Japanese word of the day: 親密 (Intimacy) I wonder would the guy's hands would sorely miss carrying something in her lass' absence

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Digestive Overload

16th September 2008, Tuesday

It had been a frantic weekend for my esophagus, stomach, colons, ileum, jejunum, duodenum and the rest of the digestive tract as I embarked on a three day dining spree

On Saturday the 13th, the missus celebrated her 27th birthday and what better way was to dine (minus the wine) with our La Tendo buddies.

The celebration however begun a day earlier when we headed to Bar & Billiard Room for the well-recommended international cuisine buffet which the missus had been treated by a colleague some months back and felt I would truly enjoy the gastronomical journey.
The former colonial billiard saloon with a prominent bar in the middle of the hall with nice European style design and ambient lighting to create the mood surely should be more for fine drinking and listening to some classy French music or jazz.
Instead the place was bustled with boisterous chattering and deafening laughter while the entire floor was seen with toddlers scurrying around.
I questioned the idea of bringing the kids who usually don't eat much to such high-end buffet but obviously there are quite a hefty proportion of loaded parents who simply dote their young offsprings.
Working through from the salad bar to the nice selection of cheese and bread and grilled steaks which I find a bit to tough for my liking; I had a penchant for the main meal section with nicely stewed sauteed veal and cream fresh scallops as well as baked cheese macaroni which was much unlike those I had tasted previously which was an overkill to my appetite.
I even went for a 2nd serving...
By then despite only taking small servings of each of the wide selection, I was 80% stuffed to the brim.
The main feature of the buffet surely has to be the dessert corner... With nicely baked pastries, cakes and praline & chocolate delights, the allure for a high glucose and calorie level is simply too hard to resist.
In the end, I did managed to gobble down that few items from the counter I had my eyes on from my first scouting trip and was blissfully satisfied while the missus who skipped lunch and upped her usual consumption only had a bit to nibble on.
We had a good stroll around the City Link area at HMV which was the only store open at 10pm when we were there.

On Saturday, we were late for badminton despite it was almost at our doorstep in Yio Chu Kang as I had to snagged the missus out of bed on this nice wet Saturday morning to work off some of the calories we attained over the binging last evening.
She did sweat it out with that few duels with Ferris and Ek but also hurt her brittle bones along the way as well.
After lunch at AMK Hub followed by a stay at La Tendo's alliance shop, Funz Center where I got the strategy guide for Disgaea 3, we parted ways as we went on to catch "Hana Yori Dango F" which was just a vehicle to showcase how much money TBS and its collaborator can dump in for such extravagant film but at least with a cushy-wushy happy ending as the TV series have always done so previously.
With a combionation of late departure as well as traveling to the east of the island to drop off some goods as well as a brief stopby at La Tendo, we were running late for the dinner at Quality Hotel.
To compound misery to our race against time, the missus mistook her route and we landed somewhere in Braddell as we stare down to almost an hour late.
As usual knowing my wretched nature, I blew my top and it really didn't solve the problem but I simply couldn't help it as my insensitive self kicks in, even on her birthday.
Perhaps if I had more sense of direction of Singapore, things would work out fine... damn I'm a loser.
Anyway we got to Quality Hotel eventually and the vegetarian buffet was quite a spread. Even with the lack of meat, onions or garlic, the food tasted great as Vincent (who was made an appearance last minute since returning from his exchange trip) had quite a few servings.
However we should had leave a bit of space for the orange-apricot cake Chan had ordered for the occasion and many of us couldn't finish our cream-ladened slices.
We then chose the teams for the X'mas party as well as the prospective gift target.. Think more on that in the coming months.
With a well-loaded digestive system for the 2nd night in the row, we headed back home after there was a heated discussion on how the woeful Man Utd lost 2-1 at Anfield to home side Liverpoo...

On Sunday which was the Mid Autumn Festival, I went to work in the afternoon as of last week with His Beautiness as my partner.
By 5 plus, the missus came to pick me up for the dinner at Pagoda Street with my family to commemorate Dad's lunar birthday.
It was an authentic Teochew restaurant at an obscure corner at the flip side of Pagoda Street which you would miss if you didn't look carefully.
Being Teochew descent, I had an appetite for nice Teochew cuisine especially when you have a mother who can churn them out on daily basis.
However we were all clamouring how good the dinner was at the end of it especially the Chestnut Stewed Chicken and Fried Oyster Egg (Or Lua) and for the missus Yam Paste (Or Nee) with Pumpkin.

With such a gastronomical marathon, my poor digestive system surely is overwork and what goes in surely has to come out to maintain the balance.. So over the next few days, just hope that my work out routine can burn as much calorie as possible....

Japanese word of the day: 小林尊 ~ko-ba-ya-shi ta-ke-ru~ I am no eating champion like Kobayashi-san

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Monday, September 08, 2008

Virtual Fostering

8th September 2008, Monday

For the past week or so, while keeping myself interested and pretty much within sanity level with my mundane routine job, would be running scenarios of either my uber-long Sengkang/Singapore campaign on my Football Manager or the my latest football RPG fad, "Inazuma Eleven".

Surely this is not an adult who is hitting the big 30 within 2 months should be thinking about at work but c'est la vie for myself.

I love the concept of RPG (role playing game) and the Final Fantasy series had been a hot favorite of mine despite only played 2-3 titles in the franchise.
However the lengthy storyline which warrant at least weeks of playing can be a chore especially if you tediously undergo leveling up for all your characters to ensure you can transit smoothly to the latter stages of the games.
Many people tend to give up a classic RPG after a short while unless you start to grow affections to your brood or seriously interested in the storyline (or hoping to catch a glimpse of the CG ending) or you have the never-say-die spirit to perservere you through it all.

With Inazuma Eleven, the concept is very much the same where you started with bearly 11 players but you can recruit more players through scouting players you had random encounters with or players from other schools you had beaten whom you asked the wealthy heiress manager to buy them over with money.
However you still need to amass many training sessions or random kick-about to garner enough level to make your team decent.
The wayward design of the 1000 over characters from Level 5 (who gave us Professor Layton which explains the general character design and the animation sequence which became non-existent as we reached further into the game resemble the puzzle mystery game) really makes recruiting the various characters quite enjoyable.
The main feature will be the "Captain Tsubasa"-que out of this world type of shooting, tackling, dribbling and even goal-keeping.
The special moves are shown in polygon style CG while the main gameplay with the characters running about in primitive sprites but the details in each map is pretty notable.
The story which sometime involves playing against aged grocers or facing a team of otaku from Akihabara can be quite unique if only it it is in English.
I would fancy to create a strong team to face some of my NDS chums but I believe no one would be into it than myself.

Football Manager is far from role playing unless you take that of a fictitious gaffer trying to gather a team of superstar footballers as if you are backed by some Arabic tycoon by the name of Sulaiman.
I have been trying emulate the great patriarch himself Sir Alex with my stint at hopeless Sengkang Punggol and transformed it into the Asian powerhouse in that 11 years.
I also cherry picked the talents to assemble a national team which win the Asian Cup twice and got 3rd placing in the World Cup and the Olympics.
I truly enjoy fostering the young players (which absurd mismatch of Mandarin, African, Muslim and Hindu names) to become cornerstones to the future national team.

However being a sore loser who can never look "loss" at his face, I tend to get incredibly incensed with any failure at the big stage; so it's not hard to see me piqued out at the monitor sometime with some violence and vulgarity.
This was showcased at times in front of the missus which truly loathe my childish beahavior to the point she slammed a ban on me playing the game but to no avail which she knows.
She and this line of football management game have had much strained history, and surely she would savor the thought of my life rid of it which is surely impossible.

So it was gaming and football 7 days a week at home, at work (on the weekend shift while on waiting time) and even on transit with the convenience of a Nintendo DS...Life is sweet!

Japanese word of the day: 養育関係(Foster) I can't foster pets though...I presume my poor Beagle, Sousuke had already passed on in Nintendogs

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Full Steam Ahead!

2nd September 2008, Tuesday

Recently the daily newspaper horoscope column stated that curtailing August would be a well-deserved rest for the hectic work schedule for Scorpios, but seems like my life turned out to be the contrary.

The projects picked up since early last week and we now worked on 6 and a half days basis to produce as many samples to be analyze as possible.
I have already came in on Saturday which wasn't too bad though Shitty Green was around the whole time we were here and seemingly Sunday as well, once again highlighting what illustrious life he is living in.

Due to the endless red tape and rigid system the main company is upholding, we weren't be able to be rewarded with a grand amount of overtime pay for the effort on the weekends, so time off is all we could labored for from the bosses.
And it seems like everyone is holding that for the end of the year, think myself likewise.

Well at least during the spare time for the weekend shifts, I could indulge in some NDS fun with the newly released "Inazuma Eleven" which had perked my interest since it incorporates my favorite sports, soccer (in this case high school soccer) with Role Playing Game with a tinge of out of this world Captain-Tsubasa style footballing skills.
I was in the midst of "Final Fantasy 4" before the hot-blooded sports game won me over...
I really am running out of time for plenty of games with "Disgaea 3(English Version)" recently being released and I had to shelf it over the horizons perhaps when I was clearing my off-in-lieu or annual leave to dabble in that.

I have well documented bad luck with styling headphones acquired from Japan since 2004 when I first got my Audio Technica ATH-FC5 from Bic Camera during my summer Wonder Festival escapade.
It actually lasted me a year or so before the amplification just decimated into nothing.
Prior to that I had bought a Victor sports clip back in 2000 which lasted within a month (I was bought over by the design and of course the endorsement by Luna Sea but ultimately the low price).

Then in winter 2007 with the La Tendo people, I bought an Audio Technica ATH SJ-3 as I was seduced by the white chassis and the equally white cable which certainly will match the iPod...that lasted around half a year before one side (think it's the right) started to lose connectivity and nothing could be heard.
I was distraught by the short live span and decided not to buy anymore stylish headphones from Japan electronic store which is low in durability (though it's likely due to my poor handling and maintainence).
And since we bought from Japan, there is no way we can claim for warranty...without flying back or course.

That stance lasted merely few months when this Feburary, another trip down Yodobashi Akihabara and I was succumbed to this JVC HP-S550.
The fact that the cable cord comes out from one side and could easily be retracted for safe-keeping with one hit of the button and there are few ways to fold the headphones make this an ideal headphone and a prize property of mine till a drizzling Wednesday morning last week while listening to Hamazaki Ayumi's 2005 hit "Alternate" and the right side went busted like its predecessor...
I was devastated but was helpless on how to fix the problem..
Unless I am good with dismantling the headset and soldering the wire, I think I just had to discard that 4000yen worth headphone.

4000 yean (around $60+) ain't consider cheap but for a good, stylish headphones with quality sound brands like Audio Technica can deliver, it's pretty worth it if it can last a good 2 years that is...

I am truly weary on these headphones going dead on me merely half a year after purchase...
Normal earphones can never satisfy my needs for quality sound and at least masking away 70% of the noise around me when I travel.
Neither were my ear lobes made to accommodate normal earphones (say those included in the iPods) as my frequent need to adjust the earphones while jogging on the threadmill is a testament to that.

Perhaps it's by fate, but there was COMEX, the biggest annual IT event of Singapore (there are 4 in total) for the past weekend and I might find what I need there.

On Sunday after fulfilling my obligation for my missus with a charity walka-thorn cum health check and product launch at the Singapore Expo, we ventured into town especially the Suntec City area which was clustered by Singaporeans trying to haul some good deals on IT products from the event (though there was an IT show merely 2 months back though at a smaller scale).

Encircling the Fountain of Wealth, we were flabberghasted at how we were denied entry to 2 of the car park entrances and had to patiently work through the traffic jam to the final hope for parking slot which by then I was feeling jaded and felt we should just go home but the lady who wears the pants in this household perservered through and finally parked the vehicle.

As anticipated, the entire convention center was swamped with people to and fro from the event which occpied 3 levels of exhibition hall which was a way to maximise the space between each booth for better manuvering but it didn't really worked.
The likes of Audio Technica, Sennheiser and Philips which I had a bluetooth wireless headphone in mind were all located on the 6th level.

I felt since it seems like the cable is always the root of the spoilage of my headphones might as well get a wireless one though the hassle of recharging it or inferior sound quality.
However my search for a wireless one was left in vain except for a seedy model from a seedy brand.

Then we stumbled upon the Ban Leong Technologies Ltd booth which distribute many high end quality products from the likes of Altec Lansing, Razer and most importantly Shure.
The company with a long history of quality microphones and the motto of "legendary performance) is a renowned name in the field of audio accessories and Chan mentioned to me for consideration days before.
There were a range of in-ear earphones on promotion with the introductory product just off the $100 mark and the highest pedigree on SE530 at a whopping $600....

I had my reservation on in-ear earphones thinking it would heard the ear drum or ear lobe though will be more secure in place than normal earphones.
But I was pleasantly surprise that the Shure range has took comfort into consideration.
The sound is really good and has the ability to cut away any noise from the outside while you blast music through the ear pieces, yet the person next to you would not be disturbed by the noise you generate.

The difference between the 3 lower range are not so significant, It was when I tried the top tier SE530 with its Triple TruAcoustic Speakers which really really bring the fullness of the music you are listening to (if you actually rip in high quality format).

I was quite bought into the volume controller and the Push-To-Hear accessories for the SE530 which comes with the set, and with the one-year installment plan which actually gives one month of installment free, the SE530 isn't too daunting a choice (since you don't see yourself splurging that big a sum).
The 2 years warranty also play a part for the value of the earphones which I think should last much longer than the stylish headphones from Japan.

It took me one round to consider before I decided upon that and along the way the demonstration perked the missus' interest and in the end, she bought a pair of the lower end one herself.
The Ban Leong people gave us further discounts off the promotion prices which see me make a saving of a hundred odd dollars off the normal retail price (inclusive of the installment discount).
I didn't realized I was such an extravagant audiophile who went all out to please my sense of hearing while commuting till Sunday.

Upon unwrapping the package for the set, I realized the Push-To-Hear was not included but that was another model altogether.
Made a call to the HQ and the sales manager of the Shure products gave me a rundown of this particular item and it seems like the PTH is merely a microphone so that you can listen to what other people say while still donning the sound-isolation earphones.
The acessory is rather heavy with the battery, which can be quite a turn off.

So for the next 11 months, I will try to refrain from spending a certain amount, do a bit of budgetting and hope this high-end earphones will truly prove its value and surely much more long-lasting

Japanese word of the day: 蒸気 (Steam) Surely having quality (& durable) headphone/earphone is a vital essence of letting of some steam from the hustle bustle of everyday traveling.

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