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Thursday, June 30, 2005

Say hello to Onomatopoeia

Wow, the company got a brand spankin' new PowerMac G5!

Not that I should be envious. I've had my brand spankin' new iMac G5 for about a month already. Sure, the processor is slower, the internals are not top-notch, but it does what it does, and my recent use has shown it to be a suitable workhorse.

iMac G5, Onomatopoeia
After unpacking it, the first thing I did was transfer all of my documents from the good ol' PowerBook G4 (which is still in good working condition) to my new Mac. Then I did some simple stuff, like connecting to the Internet, loading websites, downloading stuff, things like that. Everything was more or less smooth sailing.

There were some things that bugged me. The keyboard and mouse, for one. I'm too used to my PowerBook's trackpad and missed the wrist rest that the laptop offers. As a result, my wrists were strained after the first few days of use with the iMac. Consciously changing my hands' positions helped to relieve the pain, but I think I should consider investing in a good wrist support.

And maybe more "real estate" (table space) for the mouse (see picture).

Another thing that bugged me -- and this was huge -- was that the performance just didn't seem to be there. Yes, things happened faster compared to the PowerBook, but not as fast as I thought it would be, considering that the iMac uses a more powerful processor.

First thing to understand is that the iMac's fan doesn't spin up unless the CPU is used intensively. And when it does spin, it sounds like a softer version of a jet engine.

So things like running Limewire (a Java program) would cause the fan to spin. So would Dreamweaver (I knew it used a lot of processing power (for what seems like a low-requirement program), but this was crazy!). That meant the computer would gradually become more and more deafening, while performance seemed to be just better than on the PowerBook.

Thus, I felt let-down. I paid good money for this crap??? But then, things turned around when I did some video editing over the last couple of days. Whoa, things were flying now, like rendering, exporting, etc. These processes which used to take hours on the PowerBook took minutes on the iMac. Whee! Yes, the fan spun up, but now I knew that the CPU was really being used for something more worthwhile and where I could appreciate a noticeable difference.

In short, the iMac seems to be a mixed bag of goodies and disappointments. But overall, it's been a positive experience, if I don't use some programs as much. I'm currently looking for a more efficient web-editing program. Maybe I should look at Adobe's offerings, or something free and new, like Nvu.

Oh, and I named it "Onomatopoeia". Why? After all, according to, it means:
The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.
Nothing really related to a computer. But I first saw the word used as the name of a comic book villain and thought that it sounded cool. So that's what I've called it.

Recap of my devices' names:
  • iMac G5 -- Onomatopoeia
  • PowerBook G4 -- Tiraneus
  • iPod -- Pod!
  • palmOne Tungsten|T -- Elysian Fields
  • Sony Ericsson Z600 -- SEZ

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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Singapore from space

This is what Singapore looks like from space, taken from Google Earth.

click image for large picture (1024x742, 218KB)

Err, "Mayang"? What's that? "Blanga Bay West"? Is that "Telok Blangah" in English? "Symphony Lake"? Where did Google get these names???

Yellow line - international border
Dark blue lines - roads (some seem to be expressways, others seem to be... something else)
Light blue lines - water (catchment areas, i.e. reservoirs)
Bright purple line - railroad (KTM)
White puffy blobs - clouds


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Monday, June 27, 2005

What's on TV?

With new shows coming and old shows going, I figured it's time to update this.

Sundays: "Everwood"
Mondays: "Desperate Housewives" (3rd last episode tonight!), "Arrested Development"
Tuesdays: "What I Like About You" (sometimes)
Wednesdays: "Nip/Tuck"
Thursdays: "Lost", "The O.C.", "One Tree Hill"
Fridays: "Smallville"
Saturdays: "The Batman"


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Never be afraid to say what you feel

Never be afraid to say what you feel
taken from here

Alrighty then!


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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

So you wanna be a filmmaker in Singapore

A little heads-up for wannabe filmmakers/producers/professional videographers in Singapore: take note of the Films Act (Chapter 107). (Thanks to Singapore Critic for bringing this subject up.) I'm not going to argue about whether it's arcane or unnecessary or whatever, it's the law and we (law-abiding) citizens jolly well have to follow it. (Aargh, must... resist... writing... about.... conspiracies...)

Some relevant portions
Section 2: Interpretation
  1. "film" means —
    1. any cinematograph film;
    2. any video recording, including a video recording that is designed for use wholly or principally as a game;
    3. any other material record or thing on which is recorded or stored for immediate or future retrieval any information that, by the use of any computer or electronic device, is capable of being reproduced or displayed as wholly or partly visual moving pictures
    and includes any part of a film, and any copy or part of a copy of the whole or any part of a film;
So far, nothing too alarming. It's just a standard definition of what "film" is. Note to game developers: video in games apparently fall under this Act.
Section 6: Licence for carrying on business of importing, making, distributing or exhibiting films
  1. No person —
    1. shall carry on any business, whether or not the business is carried on for profit, of importing, making, distributing or exhibiting films unless he is in possession of a valid licence; or
    2. being the owner or occupier of any place shall allow the place to be used by or let the place or otherwise make the place available to, any person who is not the holder of a valid licence for the purpose of carrying on the business of importing, making, distributing or exhibiting films.
Hmm, a licence, eh? Where/how do I get one? Searching the government's websites turned up nothing.
Section 12: Films made in Singapore to be deposited in approved warehouse
  1. The owner of any film made in Singapore shall, within 7 days after the making of the film, deposit the film in a warehouse approved for this purpose by the Board.
Aye carumba! Does this mean I have to store all of the wedding videos that I've done for money?
Section 14: Submission of films for censorship
  1. Every film in the possession of any person shall be submitted to the Board without any alteration or excision for the purpose of censorship at the owner’s risk and expense and at such time and place as the Board may appoint.
Wow, really. I wonder how many wedding videos the Board of Film Censors (BFC) has to go through...
Section 21: Penalty for possession, exhibition or distribution of uncensored films
  1. Any person who —
    1. has in his possession;
    2. exhibits or distributes; or
    3. reproduces,
    any film without a valid certificate, approving the exhibition of the film, shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction...
Is this a way of saying "Please remember to submit your wedding videos to the BFC for censorship/classification/certification"?
Section 29: Offences involving dealings in obscene films
  1. Any person who makes or reproduces any obscene film (whether or not for the purposes of exhibition or distribution to any other person), knowing or having reasonable cause to believe the film to be obscene shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction...
This goes out to all the horny couples who make personal videos, whether with a video camera or a modern handphone for personal enjoyment (that includes you guys who post such videos on websites, like YOU'RE BREAKING THE LAW!!!

Note the wording of the law: it disregards whether you wanted to keep it for your eyes only. Yes, sex is a marvelous, beautiful act of nature, but as soon as you put it down on celluloid (or bytes, as the case may be) in Singapore, you're just another porn-peddling pervert who should be publicly humiliated and fined or locked up.
Section 40: Exemptions
  1. This Act shall not apply to —
    1. any film sponsored by the Government;
    2. any film, not being an obscene film or a party political film or any feature, commercial, documentary or overseas television serial film, which is made by an individual and is not intended for distribution or public exhibition; and
    3. any film reproduced from local television programmes and is not intended for distribution or public exhibition.
Save my butt time: With immediate effect, all previous and subsequent videos/films, no matter what their subject matters are, fall under the non-profit / I-made-them-for-friends-or-family-on-a-personal-level-and-received-tokens-of-appreciation category, unless explicitly stated in the video/film itself. If the recipient of my video/film distributes it publicly, I hereby state that that act was NOT my intention and I should not be liable under this Act (though, of course, I'd need a lawyer to verify/guarantee that).

Public Service Announcement
  • To members of the public who are in possession of their own wedding/birthday/special occasion videos/films: remember not to distribute them publicly, otherwise you'll be flouting the law.
  • To videographers who record weddings/birthdays/special occasions on a professional (not personal) basis: get a licence and submit your works to the BFC.
  • To horny couples: don't record your sexual acts. Seriously.
Glad I cleared that up before embarking on anything major.


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Thursday, June 16, 2005

"First Take" - my first music recording

"First Take" (1.95MB, 192kbps, MP3) (mirror).
Creative Commons sampling+
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.

Holy cow, Apple's GarageBand is AWESOME!

So there I was, sitting in front of my month-old iMac G5 (I should blog about my experience with it someday), wanting to do some writing but unable to conjure up the inspiration. I dug around in the various programs that came with the computer, and found GarageBand.

All I had known about GarageBand up to that point had been head-knowledge. I knew that it was an easy-to-use program to create music using loops. Loops are short music samples from various instruments. As the name implies, if you extend a loop through the timeline, it just repeats itself.

It is because of this repetition that I thought loops were silly. Then I saw StarHub's latest branding TV commercial and realised that it used loops in the background music! The music was just small music samples that came on at different times and played over and over again. Loops in action!

I had an epiphany!

Now I had the chance to create my own music. I fired up GarageBand enthusiastically, then stared at the window. A timeline, play/pause/rewind/forward buttongs, etc. But the most daunting part was the hundreds of loops! How would I know which ones to use?

Fortunately, Apple had classified its loops into genres, so selecting a particular genre, like "Rock", would only show those loops that are relevant for rock music. Whew!

For my first piece of music, I decided to do something lively and jumpy, so I selected the "Rock" genre. From then, it was a matter of:
  1. previewing a loop
  2. dragging it to the timeline
  3. extending it to how often I want it to repeat
  4. going back to step 1 for other loops
And in about half an hour, I had "composed" my first piece of music, "First Take". And after I heard it in its completion, I was laughing over it because it sounded professional yet was so FREAKIN' EASY TO DO!

Check it out! (Also available at SoundClick.)


Update: Changed link to Internet Archive page.


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Tuesday, June 14, 2005

How NOT to sponsor a movie premiere/preview

Dear Gillette/Duracell,

This evening, I attended a preview of "Batman Begins", which was sponsored by you. This is the sequence of events that led me to the movie:
  1. I bought a pack of Duracell batteries.
  2. I completed your contest form.
  3. I mailed the contest form and battery packaging.
  4. I waited for your reply through the (snail) mail indicating that I had won a pair of free tickets to the preview.
  5. I collected the pair of tickets from your local office.
  6. I arrived at the cinema on the day, time and venue indicated on your tickets and letter of amendment(14 June 2005, 7:30pm, Golden Village Marina Centre).
  7. I watched the movie.
  8. I left the cinema.
You will notice that there is nothing wrong or peculiar about this sequence of events. In fact, it is very ordinary, very plain, very... sterile.

And that was exactly what was wrong with your sponsorship of the preview -- there was nothing special about it!

I and my friend, whom I watched the movie with, have attended sponsored movie screenings in the past and yours paled in comparison to all of them. Here are the usual marketing events that we noticed were conspicuously deficient in your sponsorship:
  1. There was only a small sign at the cinema entrance indicating the special preview. The sign was no different from a cardboard version of a movie poster.
  2. There was an empty table next to the sign, which I assume was used to welcome your guests. But the only people seated at the table were your guests.
  3. There were no visible Gilette or Duracell employees.
  4. There were no free gifts. No movie-related merchandise, no posters. No snacks. Not even a diluted small cup of soda which had gone flat long ago.
  5. There was no special welcome inside or outside the theatre hall. Not even a brief "Thank you for your continued support of Gilette."
I suppose your rebuttal to all of the above is that the plain fact that I had free tickets to a blockbuster movie preview is already a reward in itself. Unfortunately, though I did win the free tickets, I did not feel like a winner. I felt... ordinary. There was nothing that made me think: "Wow, I'm really lucky/special/cool to be among these 100 people to watch a fantastic movie."

Fortunately, the movie made up for the mediocrity, although the audio was cut off for a minute at the very beginning of the show. But I shall attribute that slip-up to Golden Village, not you.

In short, I felt short-changed. Your sponsorship of the movie preview has left a sour taste in my mouth with regards to how you treat your paying customers, especially those whom you want to feel special and cared for by you. In the future, please ensure that your marketing employees actually perform their job in making your customers continue to have a good impression of you.

Thank you.


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"Batman Begins"

Batman Begins
I watched the preview of "Batman Begins" this evening and the movie is AWESOME! Finally, the Bat is back in his element since the first Tim Burton-directed "Batman" movie.

High points:
  • strong characterisation of the main characters -- Bruce "Batman" Wayne, Ra's Al Ghul/Henri Ducard
  • dark, broody, vulnerable Batman... and his raspy voice!
  • Bruce Wayne's training days
  • Alfred as father-figure/mentor
  • Jedi Master Qui-Gon Jinn Liam Neeson as villain
  • finally, a Bat-romance worth rooting for!
  • the Batmobile chase scene -- driving and jumping over roofs!
  • Batman disappearing suddenly
  • the cape!
  • special effects/computer graphics -- not too many, but very effective when used, e.g. the subway system. I wish our MRT system could be designed in that same futuristic way
  • Wayne Manor burns down -- the horrors!
  • a lesson in controlling and mastering your greatest fear as your most powerful weapon
  • excellent actors -- Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Liam Neeson, etc.
  • and finally... last scene of the criminal who leaves a Joker playing card. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!
Low points:
  • not much of Batman-as-detective
  • Rachel Dawes was quite a one-sided character
  • no backstory on Dr Jonathan "Scarecrow" Crane
  • wrong secret entrance -- it's the grandfather's clock, not three-piano-notes!
  • Bruce Wayne's parents' killer was never found nor charged nor killed in the comics
  • Bruce Wayne's parents' murder scene was too fast, no impact
One thing I have wished every Batman movie would have: the classic line from the comics,
"Criminals are a cowardly and superstitious lot, so my disguise must be able to strike terror into their hearts."
Is it so difficult to pen that in somewhere?

Gah, I can't believe I didn't foresee that Henri Ducard is Ra's Al Ghul. Stupid stupid stupid!

So does Lucius Fox know that Bruce Wayne is Batman since Batman uses the gadgets, especially the Batmobile/Tumbler, that Bruce Wayne borrowed from him?

Alas, like when I watched "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith", I was seated near the front, so many of the fight scenes were jarring and a strain to watch. I'll have to choose a better seat somewhere in the middle of the hall if I attend a subsequent viewing.

Oh, and before the movie, the trailer for "Fantastic Four" was shown. "Flame on!" and "It's clobberin' time!"


After watching this movie, I got to thinking: how easy would it be to create a real Batman? Apparently, you need the following:
  1. a wealthy family -- at least a billion in fortunes, businesses in various military/engineering industries
  2. family comprises of father and mother, both of whom are philanthropists and typical salt-of-the-earth, and only son, about 10-years-old
  3. family butler with a history of stage-acting and rudimentary surgical skills
  4. potential location for a secret base of operations
Optional: corrupt city with a few good folks.

Then kill the parents in full view of the boy. And no matter what happens, make sure the killer is never caught.

Now let's see if the boy becomes Batman.

By the way: in no way do I condone the murder of anyone, least of all to test a theory derived from fiction.

Update: Forbes has already done an article about what it would take for an ordinary guy to become Batman. The conclusion: about US$3.4 million.


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Sunday, June 12, 2005

Father's Day dinner

This evening, my dad and I joined my sis and bro-in-law, cousin and cousin-in-law, another cousin and his wife, and my grandfather for a Father's Day dinner at Bumbu Restaurant, a place that serves Peranakan food. (Note to self: located at 44 Kandahar Road.) We had:
  • century egg salad
  • another salad
  • beef rendang
  • orange-flavoured fried chicken
  • two rice dishes
  • fried squid
  • a vegetable dish
  • chicken curry
  • and some other dishes that I don't recall
Over the meal, we caught up with one another's lives, though we (the bloggers) sort of already know what's happening, like my cousin and cousin-in-law's fishing expedition in Bintan. Such is the situation that happens when bloggers talk about their lives. Someone mentions something, and in another's mind, it clicks with what he had read on the former's blog, and there is an instant recognition to the topic at hand.

It's almost like telepathy, haha.


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Saturday, June 11, 2005

"Batman Begins" tickets!

Woo-hoo! I'm really excited! I've collected my pair of free tickets to a preview of "Batman Begins"! The movie actually opens this Thursday, but I and 99 other winners (and probably a couple of other people) will get to watch it two days beforehand.

And to think that I nearly missed out on this.

The saga began when, while shopping for groceries one day, I saw a "Batman Begins" promotion by Gillette (which bought battery company Duracell). There were two drawings for every entry: the first was for 50 pairs of tickets, and if you didn't win in the first drawing, then you'd be entered into the second for some movie-related merchandise. Needless to say, I wanted the tickets. And the deadline for the draw was a week after I found out about the promotion.

So I snapped a pack of batteries, mailed the promotional flyer with the cardboard from the battery pack, and waited eagerly for the reply.

Then I forgot to collect the mail the whole of last week. Usually my mum does it, but she's away on a holiday. I finally checked the nearly overflowing mailbox on Thursday and found a letter from Gillette. I quickly tore it open and -- yes! -- discovered that I had won the pair of tickets!

And I had to collect them by today!

I couldn't collect yesterday because their office closes before I knock off from work. That left today, and I went down as soon as I could. So now I have a pair of specially marked tickets to watch "Batman Begins" at Golden Village Marina this Tuesday, 14 June, at 7:30pm.



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Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Say hello to Intel


The big news that's rocking the technology world is that Apple Computer, Inc. has embraced Intel CPUs for its computers, starting in mid-2006.

While Apple zealots will say that the company has turned to the Dark Side™, my take on it is that Apple needs to do whatever it needs to ensure that its products continue to stay at the forefront of the computer race. And if that means embracing Intel, so be it.

Like I tell everyone, it's not what goes inside a computer, but how you use it that matters.


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Sunday, June 05, 2005

What if I were a Vulcan?

I was feeling kinda depressed late this week. Personal issues were bugging me, which made me feel frustrated. Most of all, I was frustrated because I, as a human being, am an emotional organism.

And then I came up with this:
What if I were a Vulcan
And felt nothing at all?
No love, no hate,
No anger, no sorrow,
No emotion; logic is the answer.
With one pursuit:
To live long and prosper.
(If you want to use this for a poem or song or whatever, go ahead and do so. My only requirement: please follow the specifications of the Creative Commons License that I employ.)

Sometimes, I think life would be so much easier without emotion.


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Saturday, June 04, 2005

Blind date #7

I'm halfway through my "quota" of dates with Lunch Actually. Today was date number seven at Gusto Restaurant at Wisma Atria. It (the restaurant) seems like a new joint, with comfortable soft cushion seats, wooden tables, wooden bar, etc. And it serves Italian food.

I arrived first and was ushered to a table. I noticed a girl walk in a while later and she was ushered to another table, so I thought nothing about it, until the waitress told me that I was at the wrong table. So I walked over to join her. Which was a good thing because the table she had came with the soft cushion-y seat that goes around the table (does that make sense?).

She: open, friendly, sociable, direct, chatty, beautiful, trendy, works as a training coordinator for regional in-house staff, Catholic, likes The Corrs and The Carpenters.

She was very direct from the start about my involvement with Lunch Actually, where I lived and what my age was. Turns out that she's a few years younger than me, though I don't remember listing that as a preference, but hey, it's not like I'm a cradle snatcher. We started off by talking a lot about our jobs, especially for her since she was going on a business trip soon.

Over lunch, I found out that she enjoys hanging out with her friends, especially at karaokes because she likes to sing. We guessed each other's secondary schools. We also talked a bit about our travel experiences and I related a bit about my time in East Timor. She also revealed that she had had a horrible first Lunch Actually date, so she was wary of me at first, but I guess I got into her good books, because we agreed to stay in touch.

We exchanged phone numbers and MSN ID (because *everyone* is on MSN Messenger, sigh, stupid Microsoft dominance...). She joked that she would message me like one of those spammers, but I mentioned that since I hardly ever received such messages, I'd know that she was the one. But I told her that she could introduce herself as an exotic lady from the far east...

She mentioned that she was going to buy a necklace that she had been eyeing for a long time... and then she asked if I wanted to shop with her. Needless to say, I said "Sure!" So we paid for our lunch, then I followed her to Chomel. Unfortunately, they didn't have the necklace that she wanted, or she had seen it wrongly. We went to another jewellery store, where she found a similar necklace. She was looking for one that had a jewel-embedded ring, but the one that she found had a ring that was a size too large, so she passed on it.

As we made our way out of Wisma Atria, we stopped by a clothing store. I browsed the men's section while she headed for the women's. I found a couple of clothes that might be worth a second look sometime soon, especially since this is the season of The Great Singapore Sale. After taking some mental notes, I went over to her. She had found an army green jacket that she liked but wasn't sure about. She asked for my opinion and I told her the truth: she looked great in it.

She looked at her reflection from a few angles, which gave me the chance to look at her from a few angles as well. (Ack, I sound a lecher. I'M NOT!) She's not slim, but she's not round either. Yet she carried herself off really well. I could see why she'd had a few relationships before.

She finally bought it and we proceeded out of the mall. She was leaving on her trip in the evening, so she needed to be at the airport. We said our goodbyes and went our separate ways.

The thing that I need to keep in mind about her is that because she is an open and friendly person by nature, I must ensure that I don't read her signs wrongly, in case I mistake a simple gesture as an invitation to something more. We'll see what happens along the way.


The funny thing about this date is that it was the first one where I had a premonition that it was going to be good. It happened when I read the profile that Lunch Actually had provided me before the date. I don't know if it was because it said she was Eurasian, or that she liked Indian food, or that she enjoyed horror movies. In fact, after reading her profile, I thought that she was the exact opposite of what I had specified in my preferences!

Or maybe it was her name... which I shan't mention in public.

Whatever the case, I should pace myself and not jump the gun. Yes, I am excited about this lady.


Since I was in town, which is a rare thing, I stopped by Border's and picked up two books: Isaac Asimov's "The Gods Themselves" and the comic/graphic novel, "Watchmen", by Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons. And then I returned home.


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Friday, June 03, 2005

Crab dinner at Ang Mo Kio

I've just returned from a dinner with a few colleagues from the northern region of Ang Mo Kio. When anyone in the office mentions going to AMK for dinner, there is only one place that comes to mind: Mellben Restaurant. Apparently, it serves some of the best crab dishes in Singapore.

I don't know about that claim. I never really cared whether food tasted the best or not, as long as it was edible and tasted sufficiently yummy.

After work, the five of us proceeded to join the husband of one of us. Ah, nuts, it's difficult to blog about nameless people, so for the sake of simplicity -- and so that their names show up on Google, Yahoo and other search engines *evil laughter* -- the colleagues are: Fong Sok Ee, Bernard Yun, Rick Koh Hwan Lim, May Wong, and her husband, Captain Ho Pek Zhong (Armour!).

From the western region of Boon Lay/Jurong West, we travelled to Ang Mo Kio in about half an hour (which probably explains the speed that we were going at). As expected, the restaurant was packed, but May had made a reservation, so we got our table promptly. May and Pek Zhong did most of the ordering, with some input from Bernard.

The dishes:
  • fried fish stuffed with tau fu (or is it the other way around?)
  • Thai-style chicken
  • sambal kangkong
  • tau kee with almond
  • black pepper crab, and
  • crab in bee hoon soup.
The total bill? Around $108. Not bad for a group of six, I think.

And then, it was home sweet home. Kinda early, but we hadn't planned to go anywhere else anyway.

If a picture paints a thousand words, then here are 18,000 words.

Self-portrait in the car
Mellben Restaurant
Mellben Restaurant
Pek Zhong and May
Pek Zhong and May

Rick and Sok Ee
Rick and Sok Ee
Appetizers (taken at an angle)
(taken at an angle)

Black pepper crab in centre
Black pepper crab
in centre

Black pepper crab in centre
Black pepper crab
in centre
Sok Ee
Sok Ee
Sok Ee (smiling about something)
Sok Ee
(smiling about something)

Crab in bee hoon soup
Crab in bee hoon soup
Crab in bee hoon soup
Crab in bee hoon soup

Rick and Sok Ee
Rick and Sok Ee
May and Rick
May and Rick


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Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Miss Universe 2005

Yeah, I totally predicted the winner would be Miss Canada, Natalie Glebova, after seeing the 10 finalists. I mean, she looks just like Lynda Carter, a.k.a. TV's "Wonder Woman".
Natalie Glebova - Miss Universe 2005
Miss Canada, Natalie Glebova
Lynda Carter Wonder Woman
Lynda Carter, a.k.a.Wonder Woman

You just can't go wrong by picking Wonder Woman as Miss Universe.

Incidentally, did anyone notice that none of the finalists came from Asia (unless you consider Israel to be part of Asia), Africa or Oceania? Conspiracy! The finalists hailed from Canada, USA (duh), Mexico, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Peru, Venezuela, Switzerland, Latvia, and Israel (for political reasons, I think). The five who made it through were Canada, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Peru and Venezuela.

And I am such a nerd for knowing the finalists by heart.


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