Friday, November 28, 2008

Recession? What's That?

28th November 2008, Friday

I've sinned my dear Lord (sorry for the lame Christianity reference...hope I don't offend our Christian friends out there...

Since the battery in my old 5th generation 60GB iPod had been pushing through a slow death and repairing would mean a replacement of a refurbished (i.e. 2nd hand) unit; I had contemplated with some serious thinking to get a new iPod which was a useful companion for music (at times video) during the grueling time on the road.
After much pondering on the option at hand including getting a refurbished one from Apple themselves, I came with the idea of trading in the incumbent for a newer version.
Thus on Monday during the visit to the Epicentre in Wheelock Place, it took me just 15 minutes to get the above 120GB iPod Classic while retiring the old one for $50 trade in price.
I also recieved $50 voucher for iPod accessories which mean a leather casing and the quiessential screen protector came in almost free dure to Citibank credit card promotion; so overall it's a pretty good deal.
This tilt my spending on IT product for this year (PC, PS3, HDD etc) to perhaps a 2K mark...surely too extravagant a lifestyle...

The visit to town on Monday also seen me spending a bit for dinner for me and the missus as well as getting some new clothing from one of my favorite brand, Springfield.
I wouldn't say it was an utter wastage of hard earnt cash but it now put me to merely $190 from now till 19 days later when the next pay cheque arrives.
With a wedding dinner and perhaps a karaoke session at Diamond Dust as TW had beckoned, I wonder could I survive by then...luckily I would be homebound for quite a few days for the next 2 weeks.

I'm not really peniless in the bank account...just that I am enforcing an embargo on over-withdrawing much due to the pending trip to Japan in middle February next year.

We went to pay Chiaki a visit at the JTB salon to discuss about the possibility to make reservation for any of the onsen resort at Nyuto Onsen in Hachimantai, Akita Prefecture.
Famed for being the best onsen in the whole of Japan, we fancied the idea of dipping in the hot spring while surrounded in a snow-covered scenery in the late winter season.
It is not going to be cheap to lodge in any of the resort especially Taenoyu which we had our hearts on because it is the only one which provide private onsen.
However JTB has only connection with another resort by the name of Ganiba and room availability is pretty limited, so we had to out our name down first.
A few days later we got Chiaki to make a buzz to Tasnoyu to check availability anyway...

This trip is gonna be pretty tough on the pocket...
Firstly the yen rate as compared to our currency is at a 5 years high or something...spending power very much decimated with the increasing yen price as compared to a year ago.
Secondly the fuel/airport tax is alarmingly high for the likes of JAL and ANA (perhaps as much as the ticket itself).

We are still looking at packages which would really fit our budget... the dates are equally important as flights back to Singapore aren't readily available especially on weekends (luckily we are not going to Bangkok..cos the chance of being stranded by be really high in such tumultuous time).
Availability of hotel rooms is also important, fortunately we are not heading there during peak period.

With the weight of a high yen rate acting upon us, it's not desirable to change too much money...let alone spend much.
Things like Sunrise tour (to Nikko which we are interested in), entrance ticket to Disney Sea or the JR pass will all add up dearly due to the hefty yen rate.

This is why we are holding our horses to perhaps the new year, as Chiaki mentioned the fuel tax may be cut while the yen might drop to a comfortable zone...

We surely need a break to the country we love so much especially the missus who hadn't gone to an overseas vacation with substance for a year now.
I did promised to sponsor her abit for the trip knowing how thin her own savings was... but this add further pressure to my own budget...which leads to why I need to go frugal again, so as to save enough for both of us.

The December wage package would come as a form of salvation but very much after savings and some money for the old folks, I have rather little left for a good X'mas but I should be able to make it through without anymore unnecessary spending...and as long as the yen rate be able to drop below the 1.5 mark...which seems rather bleak for now....

Japanese word of the day: 混乱(Turmoil)As if the financial turmoil isn't bad enough, India and Thailand are now making the world pretty gloomy

Labels: , , ,

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Anime Festival Asia 2008

25th November 2008, Tuesday

2 words to describe the recently concluded Anime Festival Asia...Resounding Success.

Although it was scoffed by a Kotobukiya representative housed at the booth of their official distributor here as "inadequate at best" but seriously it would be utterly folly to think of an anime & related hobby event to be held in our pucchi island of Singapore can remotely stand shoulder to shoulder to the most shabbily-organized one in Japan.
We are no Wonder Festival and we knew it...but if the Japanese companies could see the potential of this market (perhaps they had already realized) and we had the appetite for more in this region, AFA could be a benchmark event for otakus for the near future.

The event started for me and the clique perhaps one or 2 days prior when on Thursday I heeded the call of EK to the store for some packing in the evening. But with the sheer amount of goods accumulated over the past 4 years from the 2 store incarnations, the 2 hours I was there didn't really helped much.
The following day, the likes of Tay-chan and Vincent meticulously shipped the army of carton boxes down to Suntec convention hall and with the likes of Bryan and Karen going to to set things up which was an ordeal task within that 12m by 12m exhibition booth.

The event will be initiated by 10 am but there was a snake-like queue stretching the entire width of the halls on the level 4 as anxious fans tried to get their hand on some exclusives (which didn't work out to be an exclusive...just pre-launch products that's all).
As we did some last minute setting up including some of us had to cosplay as Shinsengumi members which I had a kick out of till it was a bit less breezy in the convention hall as well as Vincent briefing us on our roles.

La Tendo Booth

For the first day I was positioned as a marshaller of the perimeter as the crowd gushed in like flood or ants to sugar as the crew was badly swamped for almost the entire day, i.e. really good business.
But then with such obscene prices offer, this kind of turn out was expected no less.
It's hard to discipline myself to fixate my focus on the interchanging flow of customers and standing around for like 3-4 hours straight is no mean task.

I tried to wander around the exhibition hall but simply you could had comb the area within 10 minutes or so...
Many other blogs would give you the low down of who's on show from the despised (ODEX) to the scalpers (Vincent's Toys) to market spoilers (Passion) to my gaming haunt (Gamescore) to Foo's current employers to the studio that gave us our worst 20 minutes of our lives "Limit Cycle" to anime merchandise extraordinaire KKnM to TW's former employers...seriously it's who's who in the local otaku scene...think some tokusatsu fans might miss Mr Ng...

Didn't expect to spend in this event and turned out I really didn't fork out a single cent here though I was nearly succumbing to buying that Pullip doll the missus had her eyes on and was selling as good price from local distributor Magma Heritage. But space was a luxury which eluded us and I had always find Pullip dolls kind of creepy, so it's a hundred bucks or so saved.

Our immediate neighbour was Encore Films who were responsible to bring in some cool Japanese movie flicks which Japanophiles like myself would applaud to.
They had promised to bring in Studio Ghibli's "Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea" on New Year's Day but it was the Detroit Metal City live action movie that recieved a lot of buzz for those who are into that dark comedy.

DMC next year?

Adjacent to us is a DLE Inc. who seems to be responsible for the infectious flash animation gatheirng storm in Japan, "
秘密結社 鷹の爪(The Eagle's Talon)".
Basically the booth just have 2 LCD Tvs buzzing their productions with some related merchandises which were not for sale...
We felt it might just take them 5 minutes to clear the booth when the event ends.

As La Tendo found some long lost customers of the past (who unanimously felt Kallang was now humanly accessible) and attracted new ones, the few of us found familiar faces in the crowd.
Cheryl was here with her Gundam Plamo enthusiast hubby, Raymond was first spotted.
Then Foo came with Michelle and the former was quite delighted to reacquinted with DD who had came with some members of the Kagoshima club to help Vincent out.
Finally TW who coerced his wife-to-be to the event, acting all fanboyish when he was able to get the signature of Morimoto Koji, Animation Director of Studio 4 C who gave us Genius Party.
He was also the same sucker who was swindled $84 on a petty T shirt just to earn his right for an autograph.

The main attraction for me on Saturday was the performance of vintage anison, Mizuki Ichirou or we affectionately known as "Aniki (Big Brother)".
Aniki was very dedicated to the event appearing on both days, even kick starting with the opening theme of Mazinger Z to initiate the event; on Sunday assuming the role of the judge of the Cosplay competition.
However it was her repertoire of classic anime and tokusatsu themes that got me buzzing...
I haven't watch all those old anime series he had sang but I sure had heard them well enough through the games I played.
Theme sof Mazinger Z and Combattler V just cause an emotional explosion inside of me.
I would say those who spent $78 for the VIP seating made a good choice and the crowd was a good spirits to honour Aniki's top-brass performance.
With the encore interlude, think he sang a total of 13 songs and made effort to complete the signature session for those who spent for the concert, with a touch of customisation.
Some were requesting him to bring along JAM Project which he was the initiator and he meekly agreed...let's keep our fingers crossed.
For me, AFA was so enthralling because Aniki at his grand old age made his appearance!


On Sunday morning there was much less crowd as expected but business still seemed pretty brisk.
I decided to man behind the attraction table which was hogged by Chan and Karen the day before; and sure beat becoming a perimeter marshaller.
However the endless standing to entertain the enquiries and making sales was still tiring and lactate building to our limbs can be excruciating.
La Tendo ensured we were constantly fed and meal IC, Bryan was up to his task to deliver the food from Suntec City itself.
A string of unexpected patrons to this event which one required to pay for entrance include some elderly, a patient on drip and even monks and nuns who bought Buddha statute trading figures from us. The passion for this hobby surely span people of all walks of life.

Another demographic group who made their presence felt were the cosplayers.
From the usual Shounen Jump clans (Naruto, Bleach, D.Gray-man, Prince of Tennis) to some recent favorites (such as Code Geass and Katei Kyoshi Hitman Reborn) to some of the most quirky (a stocky fellow in perhaps Pucchi Eva Rei plugsuit getup as well as a really amatuer Kamen Rider) to some well dedicated one like the Gundam Exia from "00" and the 一撃殺虫!! Hoi Hoi San; there were also an increasing number of Gothic Lolitas (virtually very young girls) in this event...and seriously such clothing ain't cheap wonder where they gather their funds from.

Caught the cosplay competition with my buddy TW in the afternoon and was hoping to spectacle on the crème de la crème of the cosplayers on show.
In the end most were simply below par and were performing skits which don't really make sense or plain gibberish. The final entrant of a Tifa from FFVII Advent Children also single-handedly drove much of the crowd away.
We were more into the Ultraman Zoffy group who made effort to make small buildings as if you are actually watching the tokusatsu show.
The kaiju dersevingly won the individual award while that poor Knightmare Frame mecha from Code Geass were falling apart since the beginning drew the sympathy of Aniki who award him his special award.

Zoffy versus the White Ape kaiju

The main attraction for many was surely May'n's concert in the evening.
After a rather decent performance by a local J rock cover band who did numbers from Nightmare, Asian Kungfu Generation, L'Arc and Luna Sea, the rabid fanboys' prayers were answered when the petit singer made her appearance.
By this junction the entire floor before the stage were filled to the brim, at least twice as much who came to catch Aniki the night before.
We caught a glimpse from our booth and noticed many didn't heed the warning of the organizers for don't take photographs or videos of the performance.
While the likes of Chan, Ferris and Bryan who had been big Macross Frontier fans were largely captivated to see the singer behind Sheryl Nome in action live, I was unfazed by this Horipro singer who became an overnight sensation with decent Oricon chart showing.
She did tried her best with decent dance moves & crowd interaction (including some simple English she might have memorized for days) but her singing left alot to be desired especially the high pitch vocals which amplified to an intolerable state.
She left the stage briskly after just 6 songs with no encore whatsoever, and promptly proceeded to the signing ceremony which many complained about been replica on white cardboards...
It surely world's apart from Aniki...well things don't always equate as it does.

With seconds ticking till the end of the event, we made a final surge to reduce the amount of goods needed to bring back to Kallang.
Despite some shelves are emptying and hot commodities are sold off easily with replendishment over the course of the 2 days, we were still hoping to move some of those items which were stuck since ages back.
Vincent started to draw attention of the departing crowd by slashing the price of some figurines to level unheard of...
While La Tendo had gathered a reputation of being overprice or profit-hungry (which is not is subjective from time to time), many just couldn't resist the amazing price on offer.
It paid dividends as the ending minutes saw another surge in sales but still some items are destined to be left in the cold.

As the patrons were ushered out of the convention hall, we started packing (while DLE were long gone with their 2 seconds of squaring up).
Transport of items were limited to Vincent's measly van and I joined a few who left behind to bring everything back to the shop.
All in all, it was a great experience for all of us and something perhaps to look forward to in 2009...

The tired crew

Japanese word of the day: 痛むこと (Aching) That's what my thighs are telling me at the end of the 2 days event

Labels: , ,

Friday, November 21, 2008

More Electronic Woes & Youthful Hazing

21st November 2008, Friday

The wretched chain of my gadgets committing premature suicide continued for this week...

On Wednesday, Mom returned home to realize the apartment in an electrical shutdown...She bemoaned that the authority hadn't sent us a letter to notify the shutdown.
Not taking much into account, I went to my room and started hearing this persistent ticking sound which sounds like an analog watch.
I traced it to my SCV set-up box which did not have the power indicator despite connected to the electrical point.

I deduced that the blackout in the afternoon could be caused by the set-up box, not after piquing once again, regrettably subjecting my folks to my tantrum...
The whole accumulation of the long series of faulty gadgets were driving me insane...

Fortunately Starhub got someone down to replace the setup box the next day...Kudos to them, my cable TV-less day is only one day long...

Last evening while the missus is having a late shower after we had returned from helping La Tendo packing up for the major event tomorrow; the water heating unit went dead.
Bewildered by how come a usually-sound electrical appliance would go dead (the missus was saying it could be blown fuse), I went to try the switch and managed to get it to work again.
The switch had been flimsy since day one and I wasn't surprise it will lead to the failure of the water heater eventually.
I feared for life that the heavily cluster of appliances in my room would be killing that few points available...let's hope not.

There was a furore for the past week with regards to a student in a renowned Junior College who was thoroughly humiliated during her birthday celebration in the school compound, and the authorities didn't do much to halt her classmates for the distasteful act.
It then drew a debate on whether hazing (the term coined for students engaging in mass taunting or humiliating act on a specific individual with or without the victim's consent) should be allowed in schools.
Of coursse the victim's safety was at upmost concern but the psychological aspect was also taken into account.
I had my own accounts of "hazing" in my youth and surely it was for fun with your friends...a certain ritual of cohesion and acknowledgement by your peers which was so crucial when we were young.

It was by no means bullying here but with the availability of mobile phone with video camera function and live streaming site, such incidents which had happened since the stone age days were blown out of proportion...

During National service, a sort of initiation in my obese (and yes heavyweight troopers here) company was to be at the end of a group piling activity or now termed as "taupok".
It was truly dangerous especially you have 6-7 recruits weighing an average of 180 pounds doing a Janga blocks on you...even those in the middle would be at the brunt of breathlessness
Fortunately no one got hurt through the male bonding...

Such bonding carried on to my naval days when a closely-knitted bunch of seamen on board a ship would always vent their everyday mental stress by doing all sorts of cruelty act on each other...some are so provocative, I couldn't even say it here...You just gotta join the navy to experience it...then again better not.

I didn't actually loathed such hazing as long as everyone had their fair share of being the victim...then again I tend to not struggle much as shown when I got into University and the guys from the club decided to come out with the "birthday sabotage" activities.
It began with Bernard who was nicknamed "The Birthday Bear" on a night we all stayed over and decided to strip him down to his undies in the middle of a lecture hall foyer...luckily we were the only one there...
Since then on everyone became a prospect of hazing, most of the time with stripping which I thought got the girls more excited than us guys back then.
During a leadership camp we finally caught a slimy fish in our vice president Kenneth who was a commando and always manage to break off our grasps but that day we had like 15 guys after his blood.
On the other side of the spectrum, there was me who willingly take off my pants to let them do whatever they desire with the shaving cream they had on hand, because I grew weary of struggling and somehow by reverse psychology, killed the mood for everyone.

Such hazing was surely a benchmark of our youth and as long as we do not jeapordize our safety and lives, I felt there shouldn't be much hoo-haa about the whole shenanigans.

The missus is spending another weekend at Kuala Lumpur but I would be very much preoccupied with the Anime Festival Asia, with everyone starting to get hype of the inaugural edition of this event which we hope would be a resounding success and a long tradition in the local otaku scene. More on that soon...

Japanese word of the day: 青年 ~se-i~ne-n~(Youth) With our brittle bones now, it's hard to do those things we did in the past...we used words to haze each other now...which is much more painful

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 17, 2008

Like Husband, Like Wife...and a new PC

17th November 2008, Monday

After 2 days of drowning in extreme misery (don't try to empathize with me 'cos you'll just find me utterly silly), my life had a new sparkle...a blue luminous one as followed:

This baby tilted my expenditure on IT products to around 2.5K since the start of the year but it could be the most life-defying of them all....

The weekend began early when I beckoned TW who was fresh from his wretched ICT for a rendezvous at our old comic hide-out in Serene Center.
It merely took me less than 20 minutes to reach there from my workplace as traffic was smooth from Clementi to Bukit Timah Road.
My No. 4 uniform-wearing, short cropped buddy was already there browsing through Comic Mart for some reading material.
As the Mac which was the original plan was congested, I suggested to walk down to Adam Road Hawker Center for dinner.
We started whining and moaning about our misfortunes over the past weeks or so and I got a low down of what happened during the Russell Peter show.
Then it's only to get nostalgic on a breezy Friday evening as we cruised along the express way listening to endearing English pop songs from the 1990s as I suggested to hit a internet cafe to just to surf youtube for perhaps classic anime openings.

The only place I could think about these days would be at City Hall area..in the end we found this lan-gaming joint within Funan and did what we had intended for an hour or so, when CS who I had looked for in vain called to set an appointment with me to get the PC issue out of the way... which would really be the best remedy to make my mood back to the upswing.
He also disclosed a little recent update on our mutual friend BH which perked TW enough to meet us at Sim Lim the next day.
As I waited for the missus who was at a wedding banquet just down the road at Swissotel Westin Stamford and TW himself waiting to pick his lass from dinner at Liang Court down by Clarke Quay, we continued frollickin in our good old days including 1990s music, soccer and comic artists...sure were good times...

Saturday began with a frenzy...I had intended to start the day early by getting the purchase at Sim Lim less hassle and hesitation as possible.
The lads and I had arranged to meet by 10.30am but by 10 I was still at home as the missus insisted to tag along before heading off to her own affair.
So without much choice we hailed a cab down and got that slightly off the protracted time, then again the traffic congestion at CTE in AMK area was the main culprit of it.
We found CS taking his breakfast at Burger King in Burlington Square...after satisfying his caffeine urge, he gave us a low down on how BH finally got a girlfriend but the story wasn't as in depth as we had anticipated.
We wasted no time to head back to Sim Lim and more precisely Bell Systems Electronics to assemble my new PC.
Not wanting to really diagnose what's the real reason behind the failing of my original PC as CS stated as I am in dire need to get myself hook up online at home; we went ahead to do an overhaul retaining just the DVD Rom and salvaging the hard disk which hold some important data I wanted.

CS suggested to enquire with this guy by the name of Dave (whom he mistaken as Jave...er no one would call themselves Jave) who he mentioned is like the wise sage up on top on the computing mount and would impart us some knowledge on what parts would be most suitable for my computing needs.
After understanding that I'm not really into gaming but most for internet and multimedia entertainment, he suggested taking an AMD chip-mounted board with built in graphic card...
CS had his doubts on AMD being not as stable as Intel chips but Dave managed to win us over by his updated knowledge... Or he could be blowing his own horn..
However considering AMD is such cheaper alternative to Intel, it would really doesn't make sense why he wouldn't want to earn more money for his store (unless he just wanted to clear the AMD chip stock...yikes).
Without the need to purchase additional graphic card and the much lower price of the motherboard and the chip, my original budget of $1K seems to be much surplus when he included the power supply unit, 4GB RAM, 500GB Hard disk & of course a new tower with more coolant fans and those psychedelic blue lighting.
With building up a new PC, we need an operating system to run on...and we had both insisted of getting Windows XP but wise sage Dave snubbed our request, saying I should go for Vista (which at that point I still wasn't convinced was a more superior OS by Microsoft than XP and reluctant to use it day in day out).
He hit the point on why we wanted to held on to old technology which would be obsolete in half a year's time....
Grand Ol' Sage hit the notion and I duly obliged with getting the Premium Home Edition of Windows Vista with the total bill much under $700...seriously home computing had really become so much cheaper than maybe 5 years ago.

While we waited for the PC to be hook up and tested by their staff, we roamed Sim Lim and I was very tempted to get the new version of Football Manager by SIGames, released just a day ago.
However the sole mission of my wife's presence was to kill off any idea I had to do that as she had such bad blood with this series of game which will see me transform into a angst-driven bastard...she said she disagreed for the sake of my health...
But what I want I must get (as long as it's within my ability to own it)..and after relentless persuasion and a few sad looks, I got my wish fulfilled though with a price of doing some health check next month...er...we'll see.

Not before long we went to collect my new PC while TW was tempted to upgrade himself but didn't even buy a new scanner as planned as the incumbent is now soaked with rain water after he had forgotten to close the windows on a rainy day.
The missus who had been distracted by the wide selection of laptop and portable PC so far was very much tempted to a model from Taiwan-based brand, ASUS.
More on that undying temptation in a while...

After bidding TW goodbye, we headed back home as CS managed embed the DVD Rom as well as the old hard disk and installed the OS and not before long my looming misery was erased though I had lost alot of bookmarks which we couldn't seemed to isolate.
I need some softwares as well but I had good source as well as generally those I can get online including Copy Trans which was my inaugural online purchase software as I wanted to backup the songs in my iPod with the correct playlist before a fix of the battery issue...the last piece of my IT expenditure puzzle.

With the exception of still not able to listen via headphones via the front jack as well as persistent sound from the rear fan which CS had salvaged from the old PC as well, everything is working great...and Vista ain't such a pain in the neck as I had expected.
I could now even clone the display to my LCD TV after we hook up with a VGA cable from the PC...so now I surely can play my FM while enjoying a show, without the need to sacrifice the monitor as seen below:

I also installed FM 2009 on that night itself and it surely wasn't any easy task with the whole tie up witb Steam which really infuriated many avid fans during activation which couldn't be highlighted enough on the forums. Fortunately in my case, it was just a mistaken "1" for "I" which as well documented as well together with the "0/O" issue.
With the whole patching, it took close to 2 hours to finally launch the bloody game.
Fortunately start up was relatively fast, so is processing, mainly due to the power of my CPU I guess.
The whole new 3D match interface was met with much skepticism (but the previous 2D pitch was also well scorned till it was finally embraced over the years).
I had a try at it as seen below:

The Tv view was quite nauseating at the start...it seem like aerial view by helicopter or something, not conventional viewing of a soccer match.
But after a while I got quite used to it and with some level of glitches as expected, it was actually quite smooth and didn't take long to load the match.
Then again you can switch to normal 2D if you can't get used to it.
Fortunately I could use tactics and training schedule file from previous editions, so no need to mind those areas which I usually don't give a hoot about.
It was pretty hard to score in this edition but perhaps just had to get the gist of it eventually...
All in all, as I always quote..even the worst effort from SIGames, it's still a darn good game to spend hours on it...with this and PES 2009, my life is sort of complete now.

As mentioned the missus had her eyes on a laptop and had strong desire to make it her own on Saturday itself till I came up with "you sure you have the cash for it" rebuff.
After further consideration over the course of the remaining few hours and some early hours on Sunday, she made up her mind to get it....
She also intended to trade her old one for some cash to supplement her purchase...
Such a nature which resembles so close to mine, really scared CS stiff for a while...perhaps despite our widening differences, this similar trait pulled us together somehow.
So in the end, she got what she yearned for and was perhaps a good choice since her 4 years old laptop is dying a slow death anyway with crazy background softwares which make it so slow to work with...

She also helped me get an official copy of Norton AntiVirus 2009 edition which CS advised me to invest on...
An enlightening quote from the horse's mouth on Saturday was "well I got by the fact that we need to pay for softwares now, maybe you should to"...wise words...perhaps...at least because we could afford it now rather than those ailing schooling era.

So plenty of refreshing computing experience for the household for the next week or so....

Japanese word of the day: 私はほしいと思う何が私は得なければならない(what I want I must get) Surely a frightening trait but at least we will fight for it....

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Couldn't Get Any Worse Than This

13th November 2008, Thursday

Thursday the 13th...so much more ominous than the Friday version....

After woken up from a weird dream featuring my buddies, my wife and some of the most popular young actress in the J-dorama scene right now, I had a rude awakening that I am pretty late to prepare for work...
As I struggled to keep my eyelids open, I noticed the "on" green lighting for my PS3 when i could had swore I had switched it off.
Then the most calamitous event (at least to myself) happened when I discovered the PC had been shut down when it should be left operating for the night as usual...
Immediately I questioned the missus who was still in the midst of waking up herself and she replied she hadn't touch anything and I'm sure of that.

However when I try to restart the computer, the clicking of the button just failed to activate the CPU.
I had encountered this previously and by the prehistoric way of unplugging & plugging the power point should do the magic but not this time...
Something was amiss but I can't seem to isolate the problem... Panic turned into a ball of uncontrollable angst as I tried in vain to resuscitate my ailing computer and it was killing me, so early in the morning.
I had no regard of time...I was baling like a baby while turning violent to eveything along my path...But I just couldn't get it to work again....

I hate when things spoiled on me especially my dear IT gadgets...At the pinnacle of that list, my PC holds the dearest spot... Any sign of non-functioning makes or break a grown man like myself because my life is so much bound to the tool which occupies such majority of my leisure time at home...

Suddenly something died within me and I need to get it back urgently... However in reality it was still Thursday and it was close to 8 am, I need to get to work, regardless of how I wanted to just revive my precious one now...
I did and did so in that benevolent mode...hurling things and slamming doors whenever I want like a kid not getting what he wants...
I knew I shouldn't but it was my channel to vent out that frustration inside... The missus who remained silent the whole time I was acting childish, finally snapped back but by then I had left the apartment..and we both started our day with a bad taste in our mouth...

I couldn't get into anything en route to work and the constantly jerking MRT who went into unexplained halts throwing the entire army of disgruntled passengers cramped within the cabins didn't help much.
The silver-haired uncle with his sunglasses on such a gloomy morning like this were recollecting his old days or whatever to a wife who couldn't care less...while their IT guy son was doing some last minute work before a long day at work...

It was drizzling still when I reached Bouna Vista and I thought I had left the brolly at home and braved the rain to work, oblivious to getting quite drenched.

When I log on the MSN Messenger, I noticed an unread email in my mail box and it was from Mindef...something about manning ops which surely any hope of a good day for sure.. Luckily it was just contact tracing for perhaps an ops in next March...

There was shit stain on the bowl when I went to do my daily bowel movement exercise and surely it was some explosive shit for the guy before...not a sight I want to begin the day with as well...

The remaining of the day I just brace myself to do what ever minimal work we had (gosh I couldn't even douse myself in an insane workload to let me forget my sorrow) till knock off time.
I had wanted to take off this very day but we were down to the skeletal crew plus I also dread going home to look at a CPU which wouldn't work...

When I called my PC doctor, CS, it seemed like the feasible answer to my problem was that the power unit failed on me and hopefully a simple replacement would resolve it.
However I was in fear that all information would be wipe off through the break down which I wasn't even there to witness it...
I'm thinking the crazy amount of ligtning last night might had be the root to all these crazy electrical problem we faced but my power unit had always been cranky (always start itself after I had turned off the PC)
I had contemplated into ungrading the entire PC but I wasn't too looking forward to reinstall everything from scratch and I still want some files inside my current unit...
Of course I wonder CS would be at my beck and call...any period of cold turkey from my PC would be excruciating and I would never be the same jolly guy without it...

Perhaps the missus are still fuming over my behaviour and perhaps she would had thought I treated a computer with higher regards than my own wife...perhaps she was right....*sigh*

On a listless and gloomy Thursday which the global stock markets took any tumbling, I just wished everything could return to status quo....

Japanese word of the day: 惨め(Wretched) This couple of weeks surely had to be the worst I had in years

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Brush with the Italian...Ma...Pasta

10th November 2008, Monday

This is perhaps the most unforgettable gift for my birthdays so far:

A rather deep gash (blood clot and coagulation by the following night) on the right eye-lid which resulted in a rather swollen affected area when I come in for work today

How did I got myself to this unfortunate blemish on my beautiful angelic face you might ask...well here goes:
It was a pretty humid night in Palermo, Sicily, Italy.
Me and the missus were happily dining at a rather cozy pasta joint by the name of Michaelangelo's when the notorious Greco mafia (or what they like to know themselves as Cosa Nostra) who were waging a new interfamily war for dominance of the well-established mafia family suddenly dirsupted our beautiflu night of dining.
Unruly scuffled ensued at the restaurant and in the midst of it, a wine bottle was hurled towards our direction...We managed to dodge the glass bottle in full acceleration, but I couldn't escaped unscathed from the impact of the glass shards from the shattering of the same bottle on the cobblestone pavement hit my eye lid, resulting in that gash...
The lucky part of it all was that I hadn't gone blind because of it...

Well sorry to have my imagination runs amok there...

We did went for dinner at a Italian restaurant known as Michaelangelo's but it wasn't at Sicily but Jalan Merah Saga along Holland Drive in Singapore.
For years since I ever patronized Holland Village (not that it's a personal favorite of mine but with the close proximity of NUS and then my current workplace, HV is always a good place to hang out), I had always seen the shop logo of the renowned restaurant but always at the rear.
When the missus offered to take me out for dinner for my birthday and with my undying love for Italian cuisine especially pasta, I was compelled to finally grace this restaurant which TW gave 2 thumbs up for ambiance.

On Saturday, due to me too immersed in my soccer games on PS3 and on PC, we left home pretty late, and the only viable transport method was hailing a cab since we had intended to drink that evening.
We hadn't taken cab as often due to the constant inclusion of more surcharges, but when we do take one usually for late night out without the comfort of our own transport, it's usually those drivers from hell who deep down trying to be the next Lewis Hamilton...wearing out their brakes much faster than wearing off their condoms...
The missus hated those diabolical rides but on Saturday we were glad the Malay cab driver had much control behind the wheel and she even slept the entire journey.

Not knowing the exact location of Michaelangelo's, I just went on intuition when we turn into Taman Warna and hit the jackpot.
We arrived the restaurant with most of the front yard being used for dining leaving a small path for passerby to gaze at the fine dining across the picket fences.
I had made reservation for dining indoors but we immediately realized it was slightly too stuffy inside and we shifted outside before I could admire the mural of the angel inside.
It was much more comfortable outside with a rather still evening though slight breezes cause the flame of the oil lamp to flicker.

The hospitable waitress (think we were been served by 6-7 different staff that evening, some from the neighboring sister restaurant Sistina) handed us the menu for the main course.
There weren't a wide selection to choose from the appertizers. pasta and grill items, but we had to ensure we order the right item to suit our taste, whet our tastebuds and make the money worth.

For appertizer the missus went for something more conventional in crab salad while I chose Bruschetta (it's authentic Italian restaurant item as well as the cheapest of the lot).
For main course, my penchant for pasta made me go for Tagliatelle Agrocosta with succulent lobster meat and asparagus while the missus took on the black cod in coffee sauce by the name of Tip di Meluzzo..
To live up the lavish dining, we asked for the wine list as well but we had totally no idea a specific winery or year we want, so the waiter recommended a bottle of Australian white wine which certainly right up our alley.

With the nice warm November breeze, chic Italian music playing on the background, authenthic Italian cuisine and fine wine as well as Caucasian diners to our left and right, for a moment we felt we wern't even in Singapore.

When I looked at the portion of my pasta, I felt I might not be full by the dinner ended..Boy was I wrong...it could be the thick saue that really filled me up or perhaps I had too much white wine...
That didn't stop us for going for some dessert and coffee.
Surely I had tiramisu and didn't regretted my choice as the missus rue over her brownie though that wasn't too bad as well.
The specialty coffee which seems to include a high level of cafe liqour was surely was something but the concotion of the white wine and then the coffee as well as the liqour in the Tiramisu, I was beginning to feel queasy.

A nausea feeling hits me and I knew I might had lost control of my alcoholic level for the night.... It's not the best time just get drunk with the missus unable to drag me back home.
I staggered my way to the restroom located deep within the interior of the restaurant... I felt the need to take a leak or at worst vomit I wouldn't embarrassed myself outside.
Fortunately the latter didn't occur but within the dimly-litted lavatory, I felt I really lost all voluntary functions of my body but I did try to wash my hands at the sink, except I doubt I even managed to turn the water on.
As I tried to leave the toilet in my groggy state, I hit my head hard on the wooden door but it did sober me up a bit.
I was still finding my balance when I try to return to the seats when a friendly bemoustached Indian waiter came to my aid and gave me the support before I managed to pace myself back to the table.
The missus had no idea what had happen but was alarmed to see the gash on my head.and crimson blood standing out on my pale face.
Mr Nice Waiter then came by to offer me some lime juice to ward off any excessive alcohol level within; by then I was close to fully sober...starting to felt silly for my mishap.

We still had still quite a bit of white wine to go but at this juncture, the wine wasn't as chilled and because of the sweetness of the lime juice, it's kind of repulsive to finish it up.

We left the restaurant very much enjoyed the dining experience and the personal touch of the crew of Michaelangelo's they are so well-known for.
As we left to the Cold Storage supermarket at Holland Road Shopping Center for some groceries, the bleeding from the gash was relentless but not profusely that would freak out the general public...
We left for home by any trip by cab...

Wine & Dine at Michaelangelo's : $200+++
Cab rides To & Fro : $35
Got drunk on white wine and cafe liquor and knock myself silly on the toilet door: Priceless

Would love to go back to the Italian restaurant again in the near future I hope...

Japanese word of the day:飲まれる (Drunk) I'm usually conscious on how I can hold my alcohol without being too over the top with the ugly state of lying in my own vomit...luckily I didn't end my prestigious run on Saturday

Labels: ,

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Russell Peters Live

5th November 2008, Wednesday

I first got into contact with the comedy brilliance of Russell Peters about 4 years back when some casual surfing on the net led me to an hour long clip of Russell doing his comedy act at somewhere in North America.
Being an Canadian-born Indian, he gave an insight on how tough it can be growing up in Montreal with the deep North American influence with a rather traditional Indian family especially a father who is not afraid to use his belt to whack young Russell senseless when he overstepped the line.
Somehow when you are not a native Indian speaker, whenever you listen to the accented English, you just can't help giggling and Russell did it to perfection...and Chinese/Cantonese/Hong Kong style English as well...

Over the years my buddy, TW had developed an ecletic taste for stand-up comedy as well, especially during his British Colombia days in Canada... and he of course had been a big Russell fan...
So when he was posted for attachment at Osaka in 2006, we were saddened by we had missed the chance to catch Russell live in Singapore...well I only got news of it after it was over.
Therefore you can expect the excitement when it was announced on the papers a few months back that he would come back to our tiny tropical island for a 2 night only performance (which later he added one more on Sunday due to undying rabid response).
I got hold of the date for online booking of seats and managed to be one of the first few to log on that morning and got us some good seats (great view of the stage and of course Russell yet not visible enough for us to become a comedy topic for the night)... Foo was roped in for the show which I think he glady enjoyed as well.

The venue was Rock Auditorium in Suntec City which I had always thought was an arcade or game center with those cheap synthetic rock cliff at the entrance... only to realize that it is in fact a well-known venue for church sermon (was quite afraid that some evangelists might jump on the chance for their recruitment..fortunately not)
The final show on Tuesday saw a massive crowd as expected and the mass clsuterfuck the teeny weeny entrance which form a bottleneck immediately with the people behind eager to proceed thus some jostling which didn't went down well with the claustrophic yours truly.
Midas Production, the event management team for the show should had done better with crowd management.

When the entire crowd got seated properly, the show was kick off with Russell's gargantuan Greek-Canadian friend, Angelos Tsarouchas.
This man-giant went on ballistic about the reaction he got from Asian countries like India and Singapore..even in England.
His specialty was fat jokes which projected on himself..The most memorable line would be about he went on those commercial 2 weeks diet plan...he mentioned it led him to lose...14 days!
He made quite a few references about his Greek ancestary and some parents joke which were quite Russell's area...
But Angelos is pretty good at his own rights and truly tickle our funny bone enough for the main guy...Russell

Yes live in front of our eyes..the comedy extraordinaire from Montreal.
His main genre was observational comedy and of course improv which led to some of the audience up front became the bane of his comedy act.
First up was this American guy J.R. who had stayed in so many Asian countries throughout his life that he is as Russell mentioned a Asian buffet.
Speaking about American, they were the focus of ridicule because of their shallow yet bigot nature who think they are above us all...and of course with the presidential election today (as of 12 noon Singapore time, Mr Barack Hussein Obama has become the 44th President of United States of America, and the inaugural African American one...), it's hard for him to ignore stiff-arm-McCain and the intellectual prominence of a certain ex Alaskan beauty queen, Sarah Palin...Love the ribbing of the Americans which they themselves love it...
There was a particular Chinese-Indian on the front row which Russell addressed as Buddha because he does look abit of a laughing buddha...He became some sort of ridicule throughout the night but it is highly suspicious that he might be a mole planted by the organizer as well as Harvey the loud shirt Bordeaux wine merchant, to spice up the show.

Russell's popularity was well recieved worldwide and being much traveled, he was able to draw material from the people of various nationalities and races he had came across and his impersonation of the accents, slangs and behaviors is so impeccable, it's hard not to be floored by it.
However something I didn't quite expected was his tirade of vulgarities or sexual annuedos and referances which at this time and age is widely acceptable even by our country's standard (maybe except Malaysia who barred him from performing there).
Well it was by no mean truly offensive, still it was quite a shock for me who had only seen his internet clips which was rather family orientated.
However one of the funniest bit was a joke about his black friends in his youth had hustled him to introduce Indian girls to them which he rejected without a 2nd thought.
While being labeled a racist, he duly rebuked that allegation, citing a fact that sending his kinsman to his naturally better endowed black friends would be like lending your perfect fit sweater to an obese friend...ok you go figure...

While the synopsis of the show stated he would talk about his adventure in India where he found it hard to understand his native kinsman, it took him to the nearly end which was running overtime by 10 plus then to address this topic.
He did end on the high with a really funny joke about dancing being banned in Bangalore yet public urination is common... he then simulate a situation when the latter resulted in the former resulting in an unfortunate arrest...really hilarious...

Well we see encore for concerts but didn't realize it was common for live stand up comedy as well; so after being cheered by the crowd on this final night of performance here in Singapore, Russell obliged for another great 10 minutes which he spoke about his childhood and yes his old man which was a fan favorite over here.
He advised on some of the parents on show to spank their kids when there's a need to thus lay the foundation about his Caucasian childhood friend Ryan who gave him those poor advice that led him to bigger trouble....

By the end of the 2 hours, my facial muscles sore and body temperature was immense which was why the auditorium was friggin cold to begin with...excessive laughing can lead to heat generation my friend...
The whole crowd was going at the jokes and for once I found the arena for me to burst into my uncontrollable fit of laughters and no fellwo audience cautioned me about being overboard...
However there were a few who seemed muted by the relentless chain of jokes...one was straight-face Tony in front, another kept being pointed out by Russell...
The other is TW...

My buddy loves a good laugh but somehow he knew he wasn't going to get amused with the foulest mood I had seen...
Still in the midst of his in-camp training which was taking a toll, he seemed to have a tiff with his lass before arriving...which thoroughly spoiled his mood to a point he nearly want to forgo his tickets.
While she eventually got immersed into the jokes and was spotted laughing uncontrollably like normal people would, he remained muted, at times yawning and figeting as if hoping the show would end soon...He was really serious about not able to enjoy the show
I wonder if it's been obstinate or resolute...if it's me, even with my foulest mood, if you put me in front of a comedy, I would still laugh like nobody's business...then resume to feel cranky afterwards...

It was a great experience for someone who enjoys laughing as myself and surely will be in line together with the entire expatriate community here for the next time Russell hits town...
It might be too much to ask for but perhaps some talented but truly risque black comedians like Chris Rock, Dave Chapelle and even Wayne Brady should dropbyb oour comedy-yearning island soon as well!

Japanese word of the day: ユーモア (humor) Think some people have in born sense of humor some doesn't

Labels: ,

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Limit Cycle without a limit of it's nonsense

4th November 2008, Tuesday

So my 30th birthday went on like any day at work, personally I had not much desire to celebrate on a work day, let alone on a Monday of a 5-days long work week.
But it end with a sour note when I lost my classy hard-back casing for my Shure plug-in earphones.
I had left it on the front compartment of my slingbag which was cramped with whatever gadgets been housed there.
It might had dropped off while I was proceeding to plug my earphones into my iPod while rummaging through the bag for it.
The venue is most likely to be in the MRT station platform and I could had not taken noticed of a hefty hard case dropping off the bag due to the mad rush of commuters at that hour.
When I realized it was lost when I got home it was too late...it surely spoiled the evening and perhaps the next few days for me.
I mean it is just a casing as the missus had stressed but surely it was a part of the package which warrant that high price for the earphones.... it would surely serve to protect the precarious woofer when I am walking about, knowing how badly I tend to handle my properties.
One more good reason to replace a 3 year old Edwin bag I bought from my 2005 Japan trip with valcro tearing off, the inner waterproof lining peeling off and capacity just not enough to keep my everyday tools and seems to be the cause of the spoilage of some of my past gadgets (esp the headphones)

Last Wednesday, me and the guys headed down to the National Art Musuem for this year's edition of the Animation Nation.
After the fun we had last year, we just couldn't give this a miss when the schedule was out early last month.
There were only a handful of features which caught our eyes and with the introduction of a nbew venue of Fusionopolis, the guys weren't too interested in traveling down to such obscure location as Bouna Vista (although I had to be here almost everyday).
The only slot which suited everyone was on Wednesday evening with a double feature beginning with "Piano no Mori (The Piano's Forest)" at 7, followed by Studio 4C's "Genius Party" compilation.

I nearly couldn't reach on time due to bad judgement by taking the bus once again but in the end TW who claimed he would reach at 6.45 was the very last to appear and more importantly is the one getting the tickets from his art scene friend who made the booking.

It was full house once again for this Madhouse Studios 2007 production which adapted from Isshiki Makoto's manga series.
The movie was directed by Kojima Masayuki who was a story artist in several renowed anime series like "Gokusen", "Trinity Blood" and "Gungrave".
We made ourselves comfortable at the bottom right corner of the audience stand which though can be strain on the neck after the show, wasn't too bad a location.
Most importantly we didn't became a nusiance we usually are to too many fellow audiences.
The story entales the encounter of a rather bland goody-too-shoe Tokyo lad by the name Amamiya of who had to stayed in the countryside with his mother (very bland herself who turn out to be a man-hungry auntie as the show develops) to take care ofhis ailing grandma.
Well basically there was a myth that a spiritual entity was responsible to play a piano in the middle of the dense forest.
It turned to be a shoddy classmate of his, Ichinose Kai who had been playing the unplayable piano all along.
Kai-kun (yes I tried to acknowledge when the characters called out that name) was born a natural talented pianist who can play by ear but lack the technique...
Then in come their music teacher, Ajino who was a dashing pianist who had the world on his feet until a traffic accident tore his left arm badly. (more known as "zombie" by his students which we joked as "djombie" like in "The Last Guy PV")
When he found out that Kai was able to play that piano in the forest which turn out to be his custom piano, he was determined to teach him which led to the 2 protagonists meeting in a region final of a national piano competition.

A simple anime without fancy art work, CG or action moves, but the story was tight with mostly likeable characters.
Ueto Aya who was the seiyuu behind Kai did a nice job though still rough on the edges.
Throughout the show TW and myself kept sniggling at how Ajino's unrequittal interest to mentor Kai into his protege with annuedos underlying he might be a pedophilic teacher afterall.
Then how he tried to hook up with Kai's sexy hostess mother...
The appearance of aggressive competitor...the "benjo hime (toilet princess)" Takako (gotta love that name) also spice up the show with the name "Wendy" at the tip of our tongues after that
Last but not least,, we were rooting for contestant No. 46 who precedes Kai, a certain Sasaki Maiko....

After a short interval, we ushered back to the auditorium for the "Genius Party"...This time round we chose the last row in the center block and once again our aura work with no one except for a lone weird Caucasian lady who had the audacity to sit beside Pepsi as the wild ride begins.

"Genius Party" I supposed is Studio 4 C (with their recent take on Detroit Metal City anime series surely hot on my must-watch list)'s clandestine for their artistic people to put up short animated features of what their creative juices can conjure up.
There was a pretty lengthy opening sequence by Fukushima Atsuko highlights how the creative soul of the geniuses are being sucked into this collective feature...or might be an advertisement for X-box with the signature green X-Logo on the cranium of those earthly spherical figures.

Shanghai Dragon by Kawamori Shoji
Kawamori is most famous for the mecha design of those Macross series and it showed with this neo-futuristic show about beings from outer space found their messiah in a mucus-dripping Chinese kid... The 2 space soldiers had to put their lives on the line to protect the kid from being slaughtered by some mechanical minions much like those Geckos in Metal Gear Solid.
In the end with his new magical pen, mucus boy save the day though mediocrely...
A lot of homage paid to his mecha specialty plus some classic tokusatsu shit like Kamen Rider which the boy transformed for a while (which got the weird Caucasian lady beside us in a laughing fit)...My over the top comments about the shocker ans kaijuus his TV hero is fighting got some disgruntled looks from those kids in front of us...love the mock Chinese version of the Rider song!
Also love the way they force Japanese seiyuus to try their best articulate themselves as native Chinese speaking people.

Deathtic 4 by Shimura Kenji
A spoof of Fantastic 4? Not quite
A fully CG feature with a strong European Gothic Macabre style about a land of zombies (djombies) where the stench of death was like Chanel No. 5
The protaganist then found a living frog from a warp zone and sought help from these 3 strange "heroes" from his school... A fat guy with a paper bag on his head and always fart, a human torch like character who tends to fizzle and an aquatic being complete with mask and water tank.
Together this 4 unlikely heroes were on mission to return the frog back to its world while not being captured by the police which are really living papsicans with pacifiers on toddler's tricycle...
It's so madcap, we can't help laughing our ass off...yes the Caucasian lady as well...
And like Shanghai Dragon, the Japanese seiyuus were force to regurgitate liveless French lines from their scripts...

Doorbell by Fukuyama Koji
What if there are more than one you... and it is ruining your life...
With the most butt-ugly characters since Initial D, this creepy tale from the crypt talks about how the lead had problem getting rid of replicas of himself from taking away his existence from everyone who knows him...
Pretty non-chalant shit with a creepy wrinkled "ba-ba (grandma)" out from nowhere...but it's still not the worst

Limit Cycle by Futamura Hideki or we affectionately known as Butamura
20 minutes of real quality crap about all his useless thoughts mish-mashed into a torture show meant for the prisoners in Guantanamo Bay.
Done in the arty-farty 80s pop art style which Andy Warhol would get high watching, it just follow this Jame Dean look alike guy talking about anything and everything possible while keep repeating himself and yearning to cliimbgb the Tokyo Tower
For a while I thought TW was well mesmerized by the art style till all 4 of us snapped and I'm sure the rest of the crowd got restless of this piece of crap as we applauded vociferously at the end of the torturous 20 minute...
Really admire the subber who had to endure it all and put up whatever shit the narrator narrates..sometime with an interchange of voices...
Well if you are really that bored, you can catch it here...You had been warned.

Happy Machine by Yuasa Masaaki
We needed salvation after Limit Cycle and with a name like Happy Machine, you would think you'll at least get some...not exactly
It was kind of depressing with this toddler being trapped in a world where he is on his own...making weird creature friends including one that eats flies and move when farted as well as a plant-like creature who survive by drinking our baby friend's urine.
However it did sort of relates the whole back to basic ideology that if we mistreat our earth we would be trapped into a zone without all our safeguards or luxury items...
It stated that it'll be continued but guess none of us care much for that.

Baby Blue by Watanabe Shinichiro
Salvation finally comes in the final clip by the guy who brought us Cowboy Bebop and Samurai Champloo.
A classic "ah jun ge" story we had been craving the whole night relates a guy leaving his home and school in Tokyo, asked his childhood lady friend to go skip school and go on a road trip to Shounan (famous for the beach).
Throughout the road trip, there were flashback of their past like how they managed to snag a grenade from a military base.
Their wayward adventure to Shounan saw them boarding the wrong train to Hakone, having a bicycle race witb a patrol police and encountering a gang of Bosozouku who tried to get fresh with our heroine before the hero blew their vehicles with the grenade.
They finally reach the seaside by sun rise and the romance started to gush in like the waves hitting the shore except the guy had to go and the girl had a boyfriend.
Classic Watanabe stuff with quirky storyline and beautiful background art and up tempo action scene seen in the chase scene.

It was near 11.30pm by the 2nd show ended, and while all smitten by Baby Blue, it was the dreadful Limit Cycle that was the main topic especially when CS nearly lost his cool half way through it all.

Another great time with my buddies in the midst of this Singapore FIlm Society-organized event which we will look forward come 2009.

Japanese word of the day: 限界 ~gen-kai~(Limit) Even for our standard, there should be a limit to crap but obviously Butamura doesn't know that.

Labels: , ,

Monday, November 03, 2008

Turning 30

3rd November 2008, Monday

Yes I had reached the landmark of the big 3-O today... After time and again taunting others of joining the club which didn't reflect well chronologically, it's a path everyone must take...

Age-wise I am surely 30...body-wise I might be mid 40s now, but mentally and psychologically I might still be stranded in somewhere between my teens.

There were tales from far and beyond, from various era that by 30, many men (and women) had accomplished so much (then again everyone died at the age of 40 back in the dark ages).
My biggest accomplishment beside settling down at an age might be considered tender for our generation, would be winning the World Cup with unfancied Singapore on my Football Manager game...pretty pathetic but didn't you notice that "pathetic" is my middle name...

Being so self-contend, yet not a wee bit interested to upgrade myself for employment-worthy (blasphemous by our government and WDA standard), I'm just grateful to be employed with a job which allow don't cramp my style, bestowing me enough liberty to keep myself sane and no obligation to fret over work spilled over after office hours.

Living under one roof with my lovely wife and my beloved family, I am just glad I had no worries of lacking food served during meal time or a clean shirt to wear to work.
We might not be living with luxury but we aren't at all impoverished. Being middle-class in Singapore might not allow you to do much but it is still good enough to get through the days as long as we stayed modest and not being lavish.

I may not be the most popular and sociable animal around but 'm glad to have enough friends to keep me company though I loved to live away from the limelight...get away from the crowd since I have acute claustrophobia and stringently burrowed in my own domain, doing the things I enjoyed like you average "confine-in guy".
Like my peers, we always have minute (even immatured) things to keep us to our toes with anticipation... Perhaps a new movie..an upcoming TV series or a forthcoming great video game... Or we would just relishing with our past as we immersed ourselves in nostalgia which is something I truly held dearly to my heart.

My marriage with the girl who tolerate my nonsense for like 8 years now didn't take away any of what I love...She is gracious enough to embrace it despite at times I felt I had even gone too overboard.
She knew I wasn't in the mold of the doting husband who devote his life to treat her as a princess... love everything she loves, get on with her family and friends, and never raise her voice in the public and conform to her needs...yet she is willing to bear with it all.
Though I do feel remorseful (not that I ill-treat her abit perhaps mentally at times); I knew I just can't change and unwilling to make a change.
And yes...babies...she is now in that biological stage to yearn to be a mother but I can't share the same sentiments... wonder what would propel me into conceding myself into fatherhood

I love to keep things status quo and very resistant to change...I know in the world of survival of the fittest, I would surely be the first to be eliminated but sadly I just lack the will to avoid that fate.

At this juncture, though frustrated at the situation at times, I am glad things were the way it is, and even hope it would stay the same for years to come.
As they said health is the essence of wealth...I tried to keep myself healthy both physically and mentally.
I sweat it out on regularly basis to build on the immune system...I tired to adhere to my missus' advice to take my regular minerals and vitamins especially when my diet is so void of vegetables... Although sleep is quiessential for our bodily function, I felt it seems to waste my precious time away...surely should catch more forty winks when I can.
Of course I felt regular laughing is my zen to life itself...though I wonder if contorting my face in those fit of laughters had aggravated to those awful wrinkles and scars.

I would say I'm frugal but I am willing to spend on things I felt fit to spend on though might live to regret eventually.
I want to keep as much liquidity in my bank but in this times, nothing is certain... I'm not in the zone where I can retire early neither do I have enough to spend if I truly retired by 65...The missus is trying to tweak that; though I am by no mean supportive to her most of the time, I sincerely hope she will succeed in what she does.
I always shun away from talks of big investments like apartments, cars and yes babies...but seems like its all she talks about these days...sigh
For me I rather save that bit of extra savings we had to embark on a yearly tour to wherever we please...get away from the hustle and bustle of our lives...

Drawing conclusion to the end of this lengthy epiphany... 30 is just a numerical figure to warrant me certain privileges as well as the constant interrogation from relatives come get-togethers... otherwise it should be the same to me as of the same 10 years before, in terms on how I want to spend it.
I am by no mean those guys, Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly in "Stepbrothers" which I caught yesterday; but deep inside I kind of relate to this type of people... Scorn and scoff at them as you like, you never had enjoyed life itself as they do..
I enjoy life...I look forward to every single day...and hope by the next epiphany at 40...I will still say the same...

Japanese word of the day: 三十 ~san-jyuu~(30) I wouldn't go to my garage to do karate when I want to...man..I dun even have a garage!