Monday, July 23, 2007

Grey skies

On my way home... Look at the dark skies. Hoping to rush home before it pours.

Looks kinda ominous. Maybe Voldemort's coming? lolz..

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

This weekend was dedicated to Harry Potter's new book, all 607 pages of it. I am quite impressed with myself that I managed to finish the whole book by 12.30am on Monday morning (basically Sunday night, 30mins past midnight lar).

So how was the last book? I've given my comments below but have whitened them out coz they are full of spoilers and I dun like to ruin the book for any of you who are still reading it. So simply use your mouse to highlight the paragraphs below to read my comments...


Who dies?
The biggest question on everyone's minds is who dies? I think JK Rowling (JKR) noes everyone is guessing like mad so she was kinda notti coz she makes sure there is more than one death. So as I read the book, I kept wondering, is this THE death everyone is talking about. It starts of with Mad-eye dying... I was like.. hmm.. ok... so he dies. Then a surprised for me was when Dobby the house elf appeared in the story to save Harry and his friends from the Malfoys and ends up getting killed. Having read the two deaths, I thought.. ok lor, Harry won't be dying liaoz. Then more deaths occur... Fred Weasley, Remus Lupin and his new wife Tonks. Then came Severus Snape. That caught me offguard a little. And finally, JKR decides to kill Harry too!! For a few pages anyway. He comes back to life and kills Voldemort (of course). Quite alot of deaths I must say. For me, the most stirring death was a fight between Dobby's and Harry's. But since Harry doesn't realli die, I must say I really like how Dobby's death and burial was handled.

Is Harry a Horcrux?
Yeah... this was pretty much guessed by everyone. It wasn't difficult to guess that Voldemort has a piece of his soul in Harry since Harry survived his attack as a baby. So, I kinda also knew that Harry would somehow had to get rid of that piece of Voldy's soul at the end. The onli question was would Harry have to die.

Will Dumbledore come back?
I was betting that Dumbledore will pull a phoenix and resurrect somewhere in this last book. Well, I lost that bet. He does appear to chit chat with Harry at the end but he doesn't come back. Guess that might have been just a little too cliched if he did.

Is Snape evil?
Up till the very last few chapters, Snape is still seen to be evil. So, although I was guessing he was actually good, I had given up on it 3/4 way through the book. But, that was all resolved when Harry picked up Snape's memories when he died and looked thru them in the Pensieve in Dumbledore's office. A nice back story I think. Kinda sad to learn about the relationship between Snape and Lily (Harry's mom).

Best section?
I realli liked the battle at Hogwarts. The whole battle lasted around 100 pages out of the 600page book. I thought it was done very well, very epic. It had everyone coming back to help, it had good vs evil, it had giants and gigantic spiders... very exciting stuff. I can't wait to see how they handle this in the movie. It will really be a fitting end to the whole movie series if they did this on the scale of LOTR battles.
Coming in a close second is the whole Gringotts affair... how they break in to how they escape. I can just imagine the dragon guarding the vault (awesome image) and how they had to hunt for the Horcrux among all the treasures. Good stuff.

YAWN parts?
Some parts were a little slow but it doesn't realli spoil the pacing too much. The sense of time through the whole book seemed just a little off to me coz they sometimes spent weeks just thinking of where to go to look for the next Horcrux. Sounded like an awful waste of time. I also didn't really get the last section '19 years later'. So we find out who marries who and wat they name their kids. But.. so what? It's a little hard to try to imagine Harry, Ron, Hermione and Ginny 19 years later and the short section doesn't do much to give them much character. I thought I could do without that part.

So is it any good?
The simple answer is yes. I enjoyed the book and it was a decent ending to the entire series. I think JKR has mentioned that she won't be writing anymore Harry Potter stories, but I think it might be interesting for her to tell other stories like maybe Dumbledore's adventures? Well, books may have ended but still have two movies to go. And I'll probably have to reread Half-blood prince and Deathly Hallows one more time to try to understand the stories better.


Yep, I'm also caught up in the whole pottermania. I know... not small kid liaoz... but hey, I'm not gonna miss out on the last book after reading the first 6... more than a few times each! lolz.

I didn't want to pre-order my book coz I wasn't really very attracted by the pre-order gifts. I was quite amused with the article in LIFE on Friday about the different incentives the bookshops were offering to get people to go to their shops at 7.01am in the morning to get the book. Most shops were offering T-shirts, vouchers, free gifts, etc, etc. This one shop (I can't remember the name) was offering..... the chance to open the box and get your picture taken with the first book from the box!!! WOW! ROFL.

Anyway, I decided that Carrefour was giving the best offer... a $20 carrefour voucher, free vcd and a goody bag. My friends and I then decided, what the heck, let's go blow our Saturday morning by waking up at unearthly hours (for a Saturday morning) to queue up for the book.

Woke up at 5.30am on Saturday morning and took a bus and MRT to Plaza Singapura. The usual entrance from the MRT was closed... mildy irritating... so we exited by main MRT exit and entered Plaza Sing to find that the book launch was at basement 2.... kinda stupid, considering the entrance at B2 from the mRT was closed. It was already 6.40am so we were kinda wondering if we would get our voucher coz it was onli for the first 200 customers. When we reached the entrance.. we found to our amusement, that there were onli about 20 customers ahead of us. lolz.

So, we waited patiently in line for abt 20mins, and they promptly opened at 7am with no fanfare and started selling the books. I was mildly disappointed at the lack of any event... I mean.. no music.. no atmosphere... no effort. Quite lame. The goodie bags were piled in a carrefour cart, and the whole place was just quite YAWN. But, nevermind lor, my purpose was to get the voucher and the book. And I achieved both happily! When we left, there were about 50 people in the queue. I thought it was a little sad until I went to Suntec...

My frenz and I decided to go to the Burger King at Suntec for breakfast. We remembered Harris (the upmarket version of Popular) was having their launch at Suntec so we decided to pop by for a look. It was even SADDER than Suntec. They had two people dressed up in what appeared to be Hagrid and Dumbledore, but it was seriously pathetic. They looked like they hadn't eaten in months. And we found out from a salesperson that they had less than 10 people there when the doors opened. lolz.

I guess Harry Potter is popular, but not much that Singaporeans will go head over heels to buy the book. I wonder how good were the first day sales.

Well, it was fun queuing up with my friends and having breakfast at BK. And the book... well.. that will be my next post!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Lovely weather

Out for lunch right now and I must say I love the weather. There's a slight rain (not heavy enough to get you drenched) and a light wind. And it's not humid. So shiok.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Morning musings

It's 8.05am right now and I'm in the 572 bus on the way to work. Feeling a little sleepy as usual, but I thank God that I have a comfortable direct bus to work. Of course, I wish I didn't need to wake up so early but hey, we gotta sacrfice something to make some money so we can enjoy other things in life yah?

I've been a little under the weather lately. have this persistent blocked nose and a somewhat sore-ish throat. Gotta go get my ingrown nail cut again today... Sigh... Pain pain. Work's fine but I do miss my freedom. Wonder which I value more....

Monday, July 09, 2007

Irritations - Taxi Drivers

I've wanted to blog about this for a long time but kinda held back. But over the last few days, I had a few unpleasant experiences which 'motivated' me to blog now.

This week alone, I've encountered 3 types of drivers which really get on my nerve.

1. The know-it-all
I had this driver who was bringing me to Temasek Poly. We weren't sure where the lecture theatre was, so I asked him to ask the guards. This fella just REFUSED to ask anyone. He kpet saying 'Aiya, I know lar, it's around here lar...' and come on... Temasek Poly is a huge poly. Worse still, he started following another taxi coz he said that taxi was going the same place I was going!!! And he didn't even ask the other driver or anything. I was so irritated coz he was so adamant about following the other driver when he didn't noe where the other driver was going. Through it all, he was laughing and joking as the meter jumped and jumped. ARGH. Finally, on my insistence, he asked a guard who showed us which way to turn, which happened to be on the OTHER side of the campus. Sigh.

2. The talker
I'm not an unfrenly guy. But oftentimes, when I am in a cab, I just want to rest/play my psp/read my magazine. I don't mind chatting with the driver some times, but if I don't want to, I wish the driver would get the hint and stop. I think sticking two earphones into my ears is quiet a clear indication. Anyway, yesterday, I had this driver who was so interested in my media player. Here was I trying to watch a programme on my media player and there he was, asking me question after question about the media player... 'what is that', 'what does it do', 'where did you get the programme', 'do you need a computer to make it work', etc, etc ,etc. Of course, there are other drivers who try to engage you in the all kinds of topics. And they pry into all areas... 'what do you do', 'why are you not in office', why are you going here', 'when did you leave NS', 'how old are you', etc, etc, etc. SIGH. These are really irritating.

3. The stinker
This is probably the worse kind. There are a select few taxi-drivers who really, seriously have a body odour problem. I dunno if the cab companies give personal grooming courses to these drivers, but sometimes, when I step into a cab, I get totally overwhelmed by the stale scent of the driver's BO. The worst thing is... I can't get out! Because, before I can even react, I would have already closed the door. It doesn't help that Singapore is a warm and humid place and we are undergoing our warmest period of the year right now. Today, I had just such an experience. I was waiting for a cab for almost 20mins and was so glad when I saw an empty cab coming in my direction. I was thinking 'Finally... Some luck!'. But when I slipped into the cab... Oh-My-Goodness.... there was this wave of odour which just invaded my nostrils. So for the next 20mins or so, I had to just pretend that everything was ok and try to take real shallow breaths.

So there you have it... Taxi-drivers which drive me up the wall.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


This is one AWESOME movie.

AWESOME robots kicking serious robot ass.


Nuff said.

PS. If you are interested only in story, this is so NOT the movie for you. Go watch something like... 'Little Women' or 'Lord of the Flies'. This is a summer popcorn movie. And a pretty good one too!

Loooong Day

Wow, it's only my second day on the job and I left my office only at 10pm! Heh, a sign of things to come?

I've been thinking about posting about food... maybe I'll start talking more about places with yummy food.

Monday, July 02, 2007

My New Workplace

Here's where I'm working right now. Smack in the middle of Shenton Way (actually, it's Robinson Road) and just diagonally opposite Lau Pa Sat.

Today was my first day at work. My biggest challenge? Getting out of bed at 7.15am. lolz.... It has been many many MANY months since I'd had to wake up that early and believe me when I say I had to drag myself out of bed. Worse still, I couldn't sleep at an super early, ungodly hour of 1am last nite! I just laid in bed for what seems like 2-3 hours before finally drifting off to sleep. Miraculously, I stayed awake the whole day at work!

It also seems that I'm quite lucky that I have pretty easy transport options to work. I can either hope on the MRT (super crowded this morning) or pay $2.50 for a one-way trip on the school buses which do a run between Serangoon Gardens and Shenton Way via the CTE. Very convenient indeed!

Working hours are kinda long... 9am to 6.30pm... phew, looks like no more weekday afternoon movies. lolz. Sigh, already missing my slacker days.

Now to find good places for lunch!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Sunday Paper Blooper

Saw this in today's New Paper (Yes, I do read that thrashy paper... it's a handy lunchtime reading material). At first, I thought.. wow... must be a real amateur competition to offer $23 for a top prize... but of course, our dear New Paper made a mistake... is was supposed to be $23m (as in $23 million) US dollars. heh.

New Day New Directions

It's the start of a new chapter of my life so I decided a blog template revamp would be a right way to go. Furthermore, spending time setting up the new elements will keep me busy after work (other than wow-ing of course).

Tomorrow, I will be starting a new full-time job. Well, I guess it isn't new as in totally new, but new as in it kinda marks a decision on my part to put my commitment into something for the next couple of years.

It's hard to imagine, but it's been almost 10 months since I left RI. And I've actually not had any full-time job since then. Scary actually. Of course, my income has been severely cut but I've still been living a fairly comfortable lifestyle (Lego, movies, travelling, etc) from the freelance work that I've been doing. As a friend of mine reminded me, being jobless is very addictive. And the longer I stay unemployed, the harder it gets to get back to the grind of a full-time job.

So why did I decide to start working full-time again? Well, I guess to be very practical, I do need to start getting a more stable source of income. Let's face it, no money, no luxuries (like Lego, movies and travelling). So that's one factor. Another factor is the opportunity has presented itself for me to take on something on a slightly more entrepreneurial nature. My new job (while similar to my freelance work) will give me the opportunity to do logistics management, event management, planning of new travel programmes and a host of other stuff. It's hard to pass up the chance to work in an environment where I will be allowed to explore doing whatever I really like.

I'm gonna miss slacking. And for now, I'm also missing teaching. But I'm excited to take on the new challenges and try to make something of this opportunity.