Friday, March 30, 2007

GV VIP Card - Finally Here!

It's finally here! haha... kinda unbelieveable that it took almost 2 months to come but better late than never. Read the terms and conditions and I was a little disappointed that it isn't really unlimited movies for 6 months. Essentially, I can get a maximum of two tickets for any movie title. So that means, if I want to watch TMNT, i can either watch it once with a friend or watch it twice alone at any two show times. After that, cannot redeem liaoz. So sad... I guess it's a necessary condition to prevent people from simply getting tickets for other people. But since I am the kind who will actually watch a movie multiple times if it's good, this is a little bit of a letdown. The other condition is that I can't buy GV Gold Class tickets and I can't redeem tickets for movies after 5pm on Saturdays (which is fine by me coz I won't watch a movie after 5pm on Saturdays).

Still, it's a really nice prize and I'm really grateful to those of you who voted for me! Plenty of good movies coming up. Maybe start off with SUNSHINE next week!

Sad reality

"Sign up for SPCA Flag Day with us and get CIP hours!"

Just saw this 'personal message' next to someone's MSN name and thought it was kinda sad but reflects the reality of what CIP can be about to students nowadays. It's not about the act of serving the community but the awarding of hours that matters. Sigh.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I was there when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic was launched. Yep, I am that old. Sigh. But anyway, I was never a huge fan of the comics and I thought the movies in the past were mediocre at best. I didn't really hear much about this movie and I only saw the trailer when I downloaded it like two nights ago. This time round, the studios decided to do a fully animated feature rather than the live actions movies in the past.

I think the gamble paid off.

I pretty much enjoyed the whole movie. I thought the animation (though not cutting edge) was adequate, the story was acceptable and the characterization of the the four turtles were pretty well done. As I sat through the credits, I realized much of the work was done in Hong Kong and I think that added to the pretty well choreographed fight scenes in the movie.

The other thing I liked about the movie is that while they had some really funny cartoon moments, the director didn't dumb down the movie so that it would appeal only to kids. There is the 'adult-ish' struggle of Leonardo trying to be a leader and of course the universal story about family. To top it off, they even had some of my popular celebrities doing the voices. April (the human heroine) is voiced by none other than my TV dahling... Sarah Michelle Gellar (of Buffy the Vampire fame)! And the villain in the movie (whose name I can't quite remember) is voiced by the ever respectable Patrick Strewart (of Star Trek fame).

Sadly and surprisingly, Rotten Tomatoes gives this movie an average rating of 13%! I think it deserves much more. Singapore's movie magazine FIRST gives it 4-stars out of 5. I'd agree with that!

Irritations - Cinema Queuers

I've decided to start a little series on things that irritate me. Maybe this will be the one and only entry on this but maybe I might build a whole long list of rants. Please feel free to enter comments on the things that I find irritating. You can add to the list of course!

My first post on this topic: Cinema Queuers.

I hate it when I go and buy tickets and the queue is super long. What makes it worse are some cinema queuers which make the hell even worse than it needs to be.

The first kind are the groups of teenagers. Ok, let me clarify that I am not against all teenagers. It's just that more often than not, you have these groups that join the queue together. Yep, that's like 6 to 20 people queueing in the same line. I mean, I know about solidarity and all that, but can't you like send one person to buy the ticket?? When they get to the counter and purchase their tickets, that's where the next two possible irritations come. (1) no more tickets for the show. The group then holds a pow-wow right in front of the counter and start discussing what shows they want to watch. And this can go on forever while all the other people in the queue wait for them to make up their mind. (2) They buy the tickets for the show then they start taking out their money one by one by one to pay for the tickets!! I mean, can't you like collect the money before hand? Again, I know this isn't true for ALL groups of teenagers, but I have observed many who fall in this irritating category.

The second kind are usually the girlfriend/boyfriend type. These are the ones that queue to the front then start getting each other's consensus before they buy the tickets. You know, the type that ask, 'so how? you want to watch or not?' or 'what do you think about these seats?', etc, etc, ad nauseum. I implore the male or the female or whoever wears the pants, DECIDE already! Buying a ticket is not like applying for a flat. It's just a movie.

The third kind are the family with small children. I have nothing against them but I have everything against parents who (1) don't control them and let them run amok in the queue, screaming and bumping into other people and (2) have to treat buying tickets like an educational lesson for the kid. You know, like asking the kid to pay for the ticket, asking him to check the money, etc etc. Look, if the queue is short and you want to spend time like this, fine. But when you have like a whole long queue of people waiting to buy tickets, I think the civil thing for you to do is to finish the transaction as quickly as you can.

So there you have it, my first post about things that irritate me. Any comments? Who irritates you in the cinema queues?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007


I'm craving for New Orleans food...... dunno where to get in Singapore. GUMBO!!!

What's up doc?

Life's been getting a little more exciting recently.

Some of you have been asking what I'm doing and if I've gotten a job. Well, the simple answer to that is I'm still looking for a full-time job but am keeping myself busy with some part time stuff.

I'm currently working freelance on some projects. Mainly concerned with drafting proposals and planning programmes for overseas trips. I've also got a big event coming up to promote a city in Japan. So that's starting to take up a big chunk of my time as the date approaches. Will post more info about it here nearer the date.

I've also started attending a course on becoming a Trainer. It's something that I've wanted to explore and this was as good a time as any to go on a course. It's really different to be in the student's chair again. Quite scary actually. As a teacher, it's so easy to get into the 'judge's chair' coz I am constantly assessing students. To be back as a student is quite a humbling experience. I have this master trainer who basically takes me through basic skills and then makes me conduct a mock-workshop. He then debriefs me and highlights the areas of concern. It's scary (and sometimes demoralizing) to see the long lists of things to work on. But I realize that over time, I've picked up some pretty bad habits and have also not really developed myself. Hence, I've been kinda stagnant. This course is pretty good in helping me to move on to the next level (hopefully!).

Of course, I'm still caught up with my pursuit of slacking. Lolz. Not many movies recently coz (1) nothing much I really want to watch and (2) I'm still waiting for my movie pass to arrive! WoW has still been taking up some time. It's really more interesting when you get to play with a similar group of people regularly. You learn how to do your job better and you also get better with working with others. Seriously, there are some very interesting lessons you can learn from WoW. It's quite interesting to see how different people lead different groups and you also have people who are encouraging, people who are critical and of course, as with all groups, people who are complete arses. heh.

Oh yah, last Saturday, I went for a Taiko concert at Yio Chu Kang Community Club. Was invited by one of the performers. It was a pretty enjoyable concert. Can't believe they even have a taiko troupe in YCK CC. But the more interesting thing is (1) I realized this was the first time I've stepped into a CC since.... my JC time??? OMG. And (2) I discovered that there are some pretty decent chicken rice stalls opposite YCK CC which serve generous portions of chicken rice...all for $2!!!

The Pursuit of Happyness

Will Smith and his son acting as father and son in a movie. I guess this is an interesting premise. But for me, it really wasn't interesting enough.

My main complain about this movie is that it's just too depressing. You just have this story where everything that can go wrong to a person goes wrong. Some possible spoilers here, so skip this post if you dun like spoilers.

No money? Check.

Wife leaves? Check.

No job offer? Check.

Kick out of house? Check.

Sleep in subway toilet? Check.

Can't go for interview coz ended up in jail? Check.

Kena knock down by car? Check.

Cause son to lose his one and only toy? Check.

And the list goes on and on. It was such that when something good happens in the end (which I'm sure you would expect it to happen) you pretty much heave a HUGE sigh of relief both for Will Smith's character as well as yourself coz you wonder how many more depressing scenes you can take before you drown yourself in your coca cola.

I dunno. For me, I would prefer a little more balance to the bad/good news storyline. Yeah, maybe it's supposed to be an uplifting story about how we need to press on in the face of all difficulties. But I think I like my movies a little more unreal and happy. What's the point of escaping reality to sit in a cinema only to be faced with a ten-fold dose of real life. heh.

Watch this if you like depressing movies. For me, I think I should have given it a miss.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Going with the FLOW

I bought the game FLOW from the US Playstation Network site. Cost US$7.99.

It's a pretty surreal game. Something like an evolved (or devolved...) version of SNAKE.

You start off like some simple cell and then you go round eating other cells/organisms. As you eat them, you start growing longer and more elaborate. This continues until you reach the 'end' of the level and then they give you the option to take on a different cell and start eating all over again.

You control your organism by tilting the SIXAXIS controller. Takes a couple of minutes to get used to the way it works but after that, it's pretty instinctive. There's also this plinky plonky new-agey music in the background.

To some, this would probably be a very boring game. Nothing really very exciting happens. To me, it's actually quite relaxing and mindless. I think long-term play can lead to a trance-like state. heh.

Nice game for US$7.99 (about S$12).

The first pic below is the first 'evolved' organism I played. Kinda like a pretty centipede. The second pic is the next organism which looks like a jellyfish without the tentacles. The third pic shows the organism which I've just started playing. A little bit of a let down coz it just looks like a fish. Wonder what's after that.

(There's actually a PC version of the game which you can play here. Honestly though, I think the PS3 version's more interesting and fun.)

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Playstation 3

I dunno what possessed me.

I wasn't really gonna buy the PS3 so soon.

But somehow, the temptation was just too great. Going into the store and seeing the pile of PS3s just pushed all the right buttons. On top of that, I had just read the latest news about the new Playstation HOME which is like a virtual world where you can interact with others and play games, somewhat like Second Life. I thought it was an excellent implementation, more interesting then xbox live.

So, here I am, with my brand new PS3.

The funny thing is, for the first time, I bought a new console without buying any games! haha.. it's kinda sad, but looking at all the current PS3 games, I just couldn't find anything which stirred my interest. So why did I decide to buy it? Well, I could connect easily to the Internet and download games and demos online! It really was pretty easy. I logged in, created my accounts (one for Singapore and one for the US) and started downloading free demos (like Gran Turismo HD) and games (like FLOW which cost US$7.99, quite reasonable, imho).

Web-surfing is not too difficult coz I could easily connect my USB keyboard to type in the addresses. And the display is pretty good on my 32 inch LCD TV.

I don't think I'm gonna get any games soon. Maybe i'll order some Blu-ray movies from Amazon coz they are having a 50% sale!

Well, I dunno why I bought it... but I'm pretty glad I did. :)

Here's my PS3 straight out of the box.

This is how it looks right on top of my old hifi (which I've not connected to the PS3 yet, dun have the optical cable).

And this is how my newly arranged entertainment centre in my room looks!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Lego - Jabba's Sail Barge

Lego Bricks World was having a 20% storewide sale over the weekend. It's really rare to get Lego discounts like this coz the supplier kinda control the prices islandwide. At best, you can usually get a 10% discount if you spend and become members at some of these shops.

I decided to get the Jabba's Barge. It's not something I really really want, but since there was a 20% discount, I thought it was pretty reasonable. The barge is not really very challenging but has some nice displayable portions. For example, both sides can open up to reveal the inside and the front portion of the ceiling can also be removed. It also has this Desert Skiff (the small ship in front) which has a little plank that can swivel out for Luke to walk to his death!

But best of all... it has the cool Jabba figure and.... Princess Leia in chains! (droooooool....)

Music & Lyrics

Before I write my review on this movie, I confess that I am a huge Drew Barrymore fan. I think she is excellent in these kind of romantic comedies and find her very... uh... hot. heh. Yeah, I noe she's not 'hot' in the typical sex-bomb kinda way, but somehow I like her in all her movies like The Wedding Singer, 50 First dates and of course the Charlie Angels movies.

Ok, so M&L is really your typical love story. This means there's usually 4 parts:
(1) Beat around the bush, dance around the trees, I don't like you but I actually do, etc, etc.
(2) Fall in love (expectedly in supposedly unexpected ways)
(3) Conflict (usually coz the guy's a jerk)
(4) Romantic kiss & make up.

But of course, just becoz u follow the formula doesn't mean the movie will be enjoyable. This movie works coz:

(1) Hugh Grant is pretty good as the wash-out pop idol from the 80s.
(2) The digs at boy bands of the 80s (complete with sappy songs and thrusting hips) and the dumb blonde singers of the the new millenium.
(3) The script that doesn't try to be anything more than what it's supposed to be.
(4) THE WONDERFUL ACTING OF DREW BARRYMORE. (How can anyone tahan her act-cute scenes and her heart wrenching sob scenes.)

So, of course, this movie gets a MUST WATCH from me. But you might want to downgrade that by a notch or two to be a little more realistic lar. (To most common folks, this would be a CAN WATCH.)

Sunday, March 04, 2007

I Suck at WoW

I'm beginning to discover that I quite suck at WoW.

Quite frustating.

I've joined a guild which does more dungeons/instances together and I'm just finding that I'm quite lousy at tanking at these high level instances.

(Ok.. for the non-WoW people, dungeons/instances are special sections where you form a group of usually 5 people to complete it. These places have tougher enemies and bosses which you have to come up with strategies to kill them. Tanking is where I am the one who is in the front line to absorb the attacks of the enemies while the rest of my team attack them further back.)

Anyway, I've been tanking for a while and thought I was doing an ok job. But since I started on these high level instances, I can't seem to do things right. And I find that I'm actually doing things too slowly. Sigh. So now, I'm like this ultra-noob level 70 tank. That's quite demoralizing. :(

Now have to try to improve, otherwise I'll give up on WoW and play the new C&C which is coming out later this month. heh.

Saturday, March 03, 2007


Wow, I really enjoyed this movie.

BUT if movies like Moulin Rouge and Chicago are not your type of thing then stay far far away coz you'll probably not like this as well. Fortunately for me, I enjoyed Moulin Rouge and this movie is in the same vein.

Basically, it's the story of how these 3 girls went from nothing to becoming superstars. Along the way, you have your evil businessmen-type, you have your internal struggles within the group and of course your obligatory love story. But it all comes together in a very nice package. There are some very memorable songs like the catchy 'I Love You I Do' and the angsty 'One Night Only'.

This movie has been getting plenty of publicity due to Jennifer Hudson winning pretty much every single award as a supporting actress in her role as 'Effie'. After the watching the movie, I think she does deserve every award. If nothing else, I think she sang her songs really well. You can't help but feel her pain in songs like 'And I am Telling You I'm Not Going' where she emotes how she doesn't want to leave the group and her 'boyfriend'. Super poor thing lar.

I was also impressed with Beyonce Knowles who actually plays the role of a less talented singer who gets bumped up to the lead simply coz she has a image that sells better. Lolz, it takes a pretty self-assured singer to be willing to play 2nd fiddle to a lesser known Jennifer Hudson.

Everyone sings in this movie. So much so that my brother was asking me if there were any african americans who don't sing well! I told him he just needed to watch the beginning episodes of American Idol to find the answer to that question.

On a slightly negative note, at times the songs do come a little hard and loud. There were a few moments where I felt that I might have reached the limit of the soulful screamings.

Good movie. Like I said, if you like sing-song type shows, then this movie is a definite must. If you hated Moulin Rouge, then forget it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Back to RI for a visit

I went back to RI for the Prefects' Investiture todae.

The school certainly looks new. For the first time, I went up the Rajaratnam Block coz my ex-form class was on the 7th floor. I must say that the view from the 7th floor corridor is pretty beautiful. Previously, when I was staying in boarding, I've gone up to the roof before and had nice views of the pool. The view from the 7th floor lets me see all the way to what I believe is Bishan St 22. Very pleasant.

It was nice having a quick catch up with the 2M boys. I've always been a little sad that I wasn't able to spend as much time as I would have liked with them last year due to my frequent overseas recruitment trips. Thanks for the quick updates (esp on WJX's scary love life). Too bad the prefects, monitor and asst monitor weren't in class.

After the quick visit, I met some of the teachers for lunch in the canteen. Yes, I am very glad that Kampung Istimewa is back. And their fried rice + fried fish filet + chicken curry is still as yummy as ever! Too bad I wasn't in the mood for their famous fried chicken. And I certainly miss their Briyani too! First impression? The canteen looks really small. It looks smaller than the previous canteen. Quite funny, considering that it's supposed to serve over 1800 students. The popular bookshop is a nice addition. At least there was less need to run all the way to J8 to get last minute mounting boards/colour papers/etc. I even saw the mini-cafe place inside. Happening siah!

After lunch, I went for a chat with the teachers in the teachers' lounge. As expected, there was the usual 'work doesn't get any less' and 'students don't get any better' sentiments. Heh, I think these are complains which are ever present with each generation. It was kinda sad to see so many new faces. I think it's sad for the students too, coz when they come back to visit RI after they leave, they find that their teachers are no longer there.

As I walked in the hall for the investiture, I was greeted by clapping! Wow... thanks so much for the warm welcome. I'm not sure, but I think it was mainly the Sec 2s. Sigh, I do remember our fun times at camp, especially with Rippy the Gator and Carrot Juice is Murder. I heard they didn't do it with the Sec 1s this year. What a waste! The Investiture went fine. Short and sweet (but speeches a little long lar). Again, brought back many happy memories. Especially when there was that slide show with the 'old' pics of events from last year. That was really nostalgic. I was really glad that so many of the J1s came back for the investiture. Even some of the J2s were back. Those were really fun times we've had.

After the Investiture, we had a quick walk around the new CCA block and managed to sneak a peek at the new auditorium. Firstly, the auditorium really looks quite nice. But the brown curtains were really wrong. The CCA Block has a nice view of the field. I'm not a huge fan of fake turfs. Somehow, I think a field ought to be a field. All grass and stuff. The CCA rooms were really small. The mini-grills next to the doors were weird. It almost felt as if it was a prison block. Well, I guess they had to make some trade-offs so that more CCAs can get a room. But the rooms are really small.

On the whole, I enjoyed my visit back. Yeah, I really do miss the times spent working with the prefects and having fun with the students. No, I don't really miss the work-part though. heh. Anyway, to all the prefects, Congratz on your investiture and here's to a fulfilling year ahead!