Archive for July, 2009


The 3 musketeers for a refreshing shower.

The 3 musketeers for a refreshing shower.

Many thanks to my cousin who presented us the opportunity to have a go at viewing one of the National Day Parade rehearsals from a 19th-floor room in the prestigious Ritz Carlton hotel! Unfortunately, I did not manage to capture any decent shots of the splendid fireworks that garnered the canvas of the night sky on this very occasion 😦 These unacceptable results were due to:

  • Ad-hoc preparation on how to shoot fireworks, i.e. last minute reading of materials on the train
  • Lack of tripod
  • Pressing of lens barrel to the glass panel that was actually vibrating from the explosions
  • Forgetting that any tiny amount of camera shake will give an inversely huge amount of blur during long exposures
  • Forgetting to use burst mode to ensure continuous capture of every single moment

Nice bathroom

Nice bathroom

This is...NOT how you should snap a firework

This is...NOT how you should snap a firework display

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

Likewise

I tot I had it covered, limiting to small apertures (F8.0 is the smallest my camera can go) to prevent overblown fireworks, limiting ISO to 100 to prevent too much noise from the rest of the dark, black skies, extending exposure to 4 seconds to maximise the amount of effect captured per shot…in the end, also failed! Angryzzz! In fact, a veteran acquaintance told me he pin-holed the aperture of his lens down to F14.0 so as to ensure his fireworks turned out to be sharp, very strongly-defined streaks. & his shots are beautiful. My compact, can’t match his F14.0, of course. It also can’t match up to the noiseless results the freaking huge sensor of his Nikon D700 delivered at ISO200! All these I can accept, but one of my cousin’s colleague managed to 1-up me by using the burst mode on her camera…& all I can say is her PnS delivered. I guess I’m too inexperienced & nervous on that day. I tink the need for a tripod that is compact yet versatile surfaces again, which brings me to my next topic:

The Jamis Trail X2. Which I tot was a good idea.

The Jamis Trail X2. Which I tot was a good idea.

I seem to be fatally prone to wanting to buy any thing & every thing in sight! This impulse has to stop! Almost bought a solar charger the other day & it took me 2 days to overcome its novelty & accept its impracticality. Saw a bike on the Internet discussion forums & tot it was a good idea too! I dunno what’s wrong with me…this habit…this pervasion…must it see the demise of my wallet? Hence I’m deliberating the Gorillapod purchase till perhaps a week later?

The GorillaPod. Which is a good idea

The GorillaPod. Which is a good idea

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I was watching a social documentary (I think it is called “Focus” or something) on Channel 8 and this particular episode showcased a topic that piqued my interest: old folks selling tissue packets illegally along the streets being rounded up by NEA/HDB officers. Now, I do not wish to keep typing “NEA/HDB officers” repetitively throughout this entire post, so let’s just call them scumbags for short. Apparently, those old folks which is sonic-paced nation has pretended to forget, are now reduced to poor vagrants trudging along the streets to sell tissue packets in exchange for a less-than-decent livelihood. And apparently, our government determines that those senior citizens require a license to earn their living this way. So our government sent the scumbags to issue fines to those poor folks.

From a portion of the show, where one poor soul was being interviewed, he reproduced the summon letter which was typed in impeccable English, that declares he being fined $300 for his act. The uncle mentioned that the kind scumbag informed him that he can goto HDB to apply for a license to continue doing this legally. I was thinking, hey, if a one-time paperwork can save the uncle from any further trouble, why not. Until it was revealed in the letter that the license is to be renewed annually for $120!

So, I’m confused. I understand that many activities in Singapore require a license, i.e. owning a TV, using the radio in your automobile (yes, I learnt of this only recently), operating a foodstall, operating a night bazaar stall, etc. However, all these acts are consuming resources from the nation, i.e. electricity, properly-built stalls, broadcasted media, satellites, etc. So I was extremely perplexed, to say the least, why an old folk, moving from place to place, or even sitting along the street, not using any electricity or even any form of permanent shelter, selling items that he has acquired using whatever is left of his own financial resources, has to be taxed by our government in the form of a license??? Even the cardboard that they used to sheltered their parched skins are probably salvaged from a refuse elsewhere!

These folks are mostly low-educated. The corporations of this ruthless nation wouldn’t spare a thought, much less a position for them. So why tax them for simply, “existing”? Are they bothering the conscience of this nation’s government? I remembered a famous old man saying, “there are no beggars along the streets of Singapore.” So I presume this is his way of enforcing a no-nonsense outlaw, an unsympathetic eviction of his fellow countrymen (while welcoming more pests from foreign lands to scrummage amongst our homeland)? You may wonder why my disgust is distributed to those scumbags as well, since they are only executing the orders of their masters…well, apparently, we have laws here, that is above the remorse of social morals. What do you do, when the law is “wrong”? I, for one, cannot bring myself to carry out instructions that are obviously flawed in their ethics. When found in such a position that compromises their personal integrity against their ricebowl, I believe these scumbags can choose to negotiate a breathing room in their execution by “closing one eye”? I dunno, I hope I will never land myself in such a position to make such a decision. Perhaps the scumbags who can’t realise the errors of these tyrant laws, are the same scumbags that lacked a certain finesse to realise that the terminally unemployed old folk may not have the comprehension skills to understand the English typed in that dreadful letter?

Beggars & the unwilling unemployed should first be the concerns of their children, and then the issues of the nations’ government. The government refused to render them assistance by claiming that their children are in a “moderate-to-high income bracket”. But it fails to recognise that some children may be heartless enough to let their parents die out in the streets while they roam alongside them in their continentals and fine suits. These unfilial children should be publicly linked to their suffering parents! Use the nation media for these! Give that paper more purpose than lining the bottom of bird cages! And then, if all else fails, I strongly believe that if building a nation is teamwork, it is the responsibility of the government to take care of those who are not given the means to contribute (poorly-educated, handicapped, etc). If a country can’t even do this properly, I believe there is but nowhere else to look when seeking out those that are accountable for this social entropy.

I know now, where those people can’t close one eye…it’s not because they are inflexible; it’s because they need both eyes constantly wide open to look out for the Karma that will collide with them. Sooner or later.

Happy 1st-year!

Posted: July 16, 2009 by ralliart12 in Ring-ding
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Still going strong. No buttons-fade ;-)

Still going strong. No buttons-fade 😉

15-JUL-2009

Posted: July 14, 2009 by ralliart12 in academia, Roadblocks, ScratchPad
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$29.95 before 20% discount from GNC membership card

$29.95 before 20% discount from GNC membership card

I’m sorry I couldn’t think of a more apt title. You know your life sucks when almost daily, your posts can be “filed” under the “Roadblocks” section. Anyway, decided to try some “Triple Cod Liver oil”. Hope it enhances my well-being. Didn’t buy the “Fish Body oils” in the end even though it has a much bigger discount (40%, as compared to 20% on the former due to a GNC discount card from a “friend of a friend”), as it lacks Vitamins A & D. Went to cancel my CapitaCard as the annual waivers had long worn off and I’m not rich enough to support a bank by $25 each year. Ended up with an “enhanced” ATM card nonetheless. I suppose DBS/POSB die die wants loads of cash flow (through their banks). Sooner or later I’m gonna find a way to severe all ties with DBS…now that their interest rates have dropped to an industry-low. Still wanna eat my $2 every month…

The Go card...my next aim, the go-away card

The "Go" card...my next aim, the "go-away" card

Got bad news from NUS that I didn’t managed to secure one of my critical modules from the Module Preference Exercise (MPE). I’m beginning to suspect NUS is incapable of delivering good news to me. I need to clear this module so that I can take Statistcs next semester, which happens to be my last semester, so that I can graduate. I thought this MPE was established to assist graduating students to secure their critical modules?! Or is this some sublime way of NUS warning me that I have no hopes of graduating? NUS, I have 2 words for you: Sugar Gli…darrrrr!!!!!

Watched some movies

Posted: July 10, 2009 by ralliart12 in Filmstrip
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ticket stubs

ticket stubs

Terminator SalvationMr. Bales totally carried over his Dark Knight persona, kinda no effort on his part. Begins to dislike him because learnt from Wikipedia that he is not supposed to play John Connor initially. This sequel severely lacks the humour and “human” feel of previous Terminator movies. Arnold is still the “life” of the series.

Transformers: RotFRobots look cool. Favourite scene is when SideSwipe sliced Sideways into two (yes, that R8 is NOT Barricade, & no, SideSwipe is not a Corvette Stingray Concept; he’s a Centennial). However, beyond that, feel that all the fancy animations and US military fanfare is just a cover-up for lack of plot. Luckily, this “cover-up” is solid enough to capture my attention for over 2hrs. Looks like once again, be it aliens or alien robots, only the US citizens need to worry.

Pelham 123Denzel Washington & John Travolta. ‘Nuff said. Denzel got plumber I tink, while Travolta manages to show off his latest Breitling endorsement. As agreed between my fren & I, a single small twist can make the movie an instant hit…too bad.

Ice Age 3: Dawn of the DinosaursExpensive tickets for a cheap 3D experience. Glasses should be wiped/polished after each screening. Felt that the film did not fully exploit the 3D effect but story-wise, a slightly above-average, very “family” plotline. Personally, felt the show could be missed…not as funny as I wanted it to be.

Ghosts of Girlfriend PastIt’s more chick flick than your average chick flick. Extremely cliché. It has cemented my suspicion that Matthew McConaughey is forever typecast. My old favourite, the forever lovely Mrs. Jennifer Garner, was a saving grace.

Alternative to Fishing

Posted: July 8, 2009 by ralliart12 in ScratchPad
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Sorry to Mr. Fish.

Sorry to Mr. Fish.

Found something cheaper than fishing (what with the need to find good ponds, high pond rates as fish are more expensive, rod & reel & lure, boat trips, etc)…& it’s Prawn Fishing. The pond I frequent is the one in Sin Ming Ave, Bishan. Though the location is close to an hour’s ride away, I do have a direct bus there (service no.52). Rates are pretty reasonable, i.e. I always go $30 for 3hr anyway and the catch rate was acceptable. I went twice & all I can say is, unless you dun cast, you will not return home empty-handed. Environment is sheltered and I believe there are more than 4 ponds around, which is more than enough on a weekday. Chairs are aplenty and BBQ pits are available. There is also a very adorable cat and a whimpy dog that resides there. Size of prawns are varied and there are definitely big ones. But the average-sized ones shrunk a lot when cooked.

Ah…nothing beats listening to podcasts, chewing on Subway cookies and tight lines the entire afternoon away…

Computer. Fixer.

Posted: July 8, 2009 by ralliart12 in Roadblocks
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Right after everything is done then BSOD. Tamago.

Right after everything is done then BSOD. Tamago.

So after settling a couple of miscellaneous items for my cousin’s desktop system & securing a new cellphone for S, I decided to keep the momentum going and proceeded to fix up an old desktop system for my parents to use. I got all flustered trying to figure out how to get RAID and AHCI working until I realized my parents dun really give a damn about data redundancy and Native CommandQueueing (NCQ) for SATA drives. Geez…sometimes must really take a step back & not be too “obsessed”. However, despite the sincerest of my intentions, Luck will have it that the system will start throwing BSODs the moment the operating system was up & running with all the hefty updates downloaded & installed.

UPDATE: Finally figured out what was wrong; one of the HDD was failing and causing the system some “hardware distress”. No more BSODs upon removal of said HDD.

Still owe my cousin the following requests:

  • Recover his portable 2.5″ ext. HDD
  • Find a new cellphone for him to upgrade to
  • Find a replacement for his portable  media player
  • Whatever his office computer system needs fixing

Oh yah, my mum wants internet on the new system too. She’s browsing for a webpage & she told me it begins with “www.”

Another day bah.

“Girl with Kite”

Posted: July 8, 2009 by ralliart12 in ScratchPad
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I kinda like this photo

I kinda like this photo

Random dose of Horological sweetness

Posted: July 8, 2009 by ralliart12 in de la Haute Horlogerie
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My current favourite: the IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere Limited Edition

My current favourite: the IWC Portuguese Tourbillon Mystere Limited Edition

For the younger crowd: the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chrono-Automatic Edition TOP GUN

For the younger crowd: the IWC Pilot’s Watch Chrono-Automatic Edition TOP GUN

If I havent bought my other Seiko (PVD exterior), this could very well be an alternative

If I haven't bought my other Seiko (PVD exterior), this could very well be an alternative

Lets get the lume glowing...a Ball watch; cheaper, but still not very affordable for me

Let's get the lume glowing...a Ball watch; cheaper, but still not very affordable for me

Some Bell & Ross

Some Bell & Ross