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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Review: "Coraline" in 3D

Just a little plug for my new entry at Yuhui's Movie Blogger: my review of "Coraline", which I watched in 3D. Read it, then leave a comment there, ya?

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Rat roadkill

WARNING: This is definitely not for the squeamish! If you don't like looking at dead animals, then leave this page NOW!

While walking outside my house, I noticed a squashed carcass on the road. On closer inspection, and from the look of its tail, this looked like a rat. So being morbid me, I snapped a picture of it. I continued taking pictures of it about every 12 hours. Eventually, someone must've cleaned up the roadkill, because it wasn't there on the third day.

"Enjoy" these pictures!

Rat roadkill - soon after death
Judging by the state of the body, including the redness of that organ that's sticking out, I think this was soon after it got struck by a vehicle.

Rat roadkill - 12 hours later
About 12 hours later. Still mostly intact, but much flatter.

Rat roadkill - 24 hours later
About 24 hours later. And I think that dark stain on the road surface is from the body.

Rat roadkill - 36 hours later
About 36 hours later. Flies were buzzing around, but I still stooped down to get the picture.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Lunchtime train of thought

"Comex was this weekend. I wonder if my lunch buddy went for it. I didn't go because I had nothing to buy. But I'd really like a Blu-ray player. Need to check it out. Also need to learn more about Nike Free and Adizero. What are those shoes about? If I buy one of them, then I'd need to start exercising again. Hmm, exercise. I remember when I trained hard for my Sec 4 physical fitness test. Class actually cheered when I did a pull-up! Trained with repetitive stretches and push-ups. Reminds me of repetitive squats done by Mr Ying. Ah, Mr Ying, that strict discipline teacher. He and Mr Wee. Everyone feared Mr Wee, but we all loved him at the end."

"Wait, how did I end up thinking about Mr Wee?"

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Monday, August 24, 2009

I passed the Google Analytics Individual Qualification test!

Google Analytics Individual Qualification

Big day for me today! After procrastinating for one year, I've finally obtained my Google Analytics Individual Qualification! Yay! What this means is that I've shown that not only do I know my stuff about Google Analytics, but Google also thinks I'm good enough.

The test consisted of 70 multiple-choice questions, which had to be answered with two hours. It costs US$50 per try, but if you are fairly familiar with Google Analytics and have watched their free, online training videos, then one try should be all that you need.

For me, the hardest part actually wasn't in answering the questions, but hoping throughout that no one would bug me and cause my two-hour limit to expire!

This qualification now gives me more confident to take on other certifications, like the one for Omniture SiteCatalyst. That's another one that I've been procrastinating over.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

My first time at Heineken Green Room

My wrist tag and card
So there I was, about to have dinner, when a friend called me up to say, "Do you want to go to this Heineken party?" And I thought, well, why not? He said that it was at a warehouse along Keppel Road, opposite the Keppel train station. I thought he meant that it would be at St James Power Station (a refurbished building), which is next to HarbourFront MRT station.

No, he really meant a warehouse at Tanjong Pagar Distripark! I thought that that was a weird place to hold a party. But when I approached the venue at around 10pm, I saw the big "Heineken" banner and could hear music from the main road. And as we approached the warehouse itself, we saw people milling about outside.

There was a momentary slip-up when we were shuffled from the VIP queue to the "regular" queue, all because the Heineken people had not briefed the security people properly. But soon, we got our wrist bands and were stepping into a cargo lift.

On the third floor, we were greeted with... a near empty warehouse. I guess 10pm is too early to start a party. Anyway, we decided to get some drinks. Now this being a Heineken Green Room event, we thought that we would get free drinks, or at the least, one free drink. Hey, that's a great way to promote your drinks right? But nope, we had to pay for our own booze. $10 for a bottle, $45 for a bucket of five. There were also other drinks, but we stuck to the green bottles.

The crowd
The lone DJ, Cherry, spun her music to an empty dance floor. With only a handful of people, almost everyone was just hanging around, drinking and talking. My friend and I did the same, while people-watching at the same time.

Then, to spice things up, he told one of the Heineken models that it was my birthday, so as to get me to take a picture with her. Yay.

After a while, we made it to the front of the dance area and just enjoyed Cherry's music. I thought that the party was in danger of becoming a snoozefest. But at 12am, there was a change of DJs. The trio from Germany, Moderat, took to the stage and suddenly, everyone was screaming and cheering. As for me, I didn't know what to expect. This isn't my scene after all. And all dance music sounds the same to me.

German DJ band "Moderat"
But as the hour went on, I realised that Moderat had its own unique tune. It was jumpy and catchy and made you dance. Except for the moments when they slowed the beat, like an interval. Maybe it was to get the crowd to cool down before pumping the beat later. For me, I thought that it broke the rhythm unnecessarily. However, as I've come to learn at other parties, such fast-slow-fast-slow tempos are apparently a pre-requisite for succesful DJing.

Anyway, yeah, the music was fun to dance to, when the beat was right for dancing. The visuals were also well synchronised with the beat. There was only one part that I didn't enjoy, when the white lights were flashing. Bad enough that I was going deaf in this place, I didn't want to become blind too.

And another visual I wasn't too pleased about: when they flashed the statement, "Hell is Love". Nope, that's just wrong!

10 bottles of Heineken and three-and-a-half hours later, we decided to call it a night at 1:30am, which also turned out to be the time for the next set of DJs. But we didn't stay to catch that. It was a fun night and though I didn't get to score with any hot babe (I did get a funny face from one girl, however), I can at least now say that I've been to a Heineken Green Room party...

And would prefer the quietness of a lounge any night.

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Discovering gems in old mail

I've just spent the last hour clearing three months' worth of mail that had been piling up on my desk. While I didn't find any long-lost love letters, I found that most of my mail consists of:
  • bank statements
  • credit card bills
  • insurance policy notices and receipts
  • investment statements
Yes, very boring stuff. But I did also uncover the following gems:
  • a one-month-old cheque for an insurance policy - which I need to find out why I received anyway
  • a three-month-old cheque from Google Adsense - and my first ever cheque from them! How could I miss this???
  • a reminder for my dental appointment next week - whew! Luckily I found this now.
  • (while strictly not being postal mail, but it was buried at the bottom of the pile) my long-lost Kinokuniya book vouchers... that expired three months ago!
I guess it would serve me well to go through my postal mail more regularly from now on...

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Michael Jackson and me

Michael Jackson
My first memory of Michael Jackson was when he had won his Grammy for the "Thriller" album. My family had then bought the Grammy Awards cassette tape, a collection of 20 (I think) of the winning songs from the year. Two of those songs were "Beat It" and "Billie Jean". And they were so good that my sister and I added them to our own mixtapes. (And yes, I'm that old!)

Then, for a moment, I stopped listening to his songs because I learned that he was a Jehovah's Witness and his albums supposedly made use of "backward masking". But as I grew older and more discerning, I came to enjoy his songs for what they were: fun, little ditties that got me dancing (though I don't dance).

It was also around this time that I became a big fan of his song, "Heal the World", for its strong message of hope. Through some reason, this song came out at the time that Superman died in the landmark Superman #75 comic. As a result, when I hear the song or read the comic, I'm reminded of the other.

I don't remember when, but I remember being amazed at his music video, no, short film for his "Bad" album, in particular, the segment for "Smooth Criminal". The part when he and his dancers leaned forward at an impossible angle harkened back to his other slick dance move, the legendary Moonwalk, which I never failed to perfect.

A few years back, I finally decided to put down some good money for his "HIStory" album. It was a collection of his hit songs, and listening to it was like taking a trip down memory lane.

And this is what I'll remember the King of Pop for. Not his bizarre antics or his ever-changing appearance or his criminal trials. Like many fans, I'll remember him for his music. My parents' generation had Elvis Presley, we'll have Michael Jackson.

RIP Michael Jackson.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Facebook is everywhere in APAC, right? Well, almost.

Over at the company's blog, I wrote an article, "Facebook is everywhere in APAC, right? Well almost." The topic came about while doing some research about the usage of social network services in the region for a project.

I think we'd all like to think that Facebook is the only social network service that we should care about due to its immense reach. But the thing I like to remind myself about Singapore is that we're a very Western influenced country, unlike the rest of the region. As a result, though we follow the U.S. and European trends, our neighbours may not.

Read on to discover what I learned about Facebook and other social networks in APAC!

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

MTV show, "College Life" + alma mater = nostalgia!

I've just discovered this show by MTV, "College Life". A few freshman are given cameras to record their new lives in college. And which college would be a better setting than the University of Wisconsin-Madison!

I watched the first episode and it was fantastic! It brought back all of my memories from 10 years ago! (Wow, it's been that long!) Views of State Street, the tiny college dorm rooms, the parties, the people...

There was even a short scene in the Underground Textbook Exchange! I remember that! That was the second book store to buy and sell textbooks, and everyone was so glad for the Underground because it broke the University Book Store's monopoly. Yeah, that was an awesome trip to see the store, even for a minute.

The best part is: I can actually watch the episodes online -- legally! Which is good because it hasn't started showing in this part of the world and I have no idea what MTV Asia's programming schedule is (I rarely watch it). So far, I haven't encountered any geographic restriction for the shows, which means that I can savour more nostalgia through the streaming episodes there. Yay!

I didn't have a chance to go to Madison the last time I was in the United States, so this is the next best thing for me. It's always enjoyable to see the ol' town. Unfortunately, MTV seems to focus too many scenes on State Street and the Capitol and not enough on the rest of the city or campus. I hope more of these show up in later episodes. There's more to UW and Madison than just State Street!

On Wisconsin!

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Saturday, April 11, 2009

The new chapter

Okay, so I haven't quit blogging. APRIL FOOL'S! That last entry was written on April 1, which I'm sure was a dead giveaway to my 10-or-so readers.

Still, it was quite a pain to stay away from blogging for a week (to give more credibility to the farce). I realised that there are indeed things that are better left blogged than micro-blogged. I'll still be twittering and plurking and all that, but I'm not giving up on my blogs anytime soon.

Like Eminem and his new album, I'm back into the blogging groove!

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

The final chapter

It's been almost eight years since I started blogging. But over the last few months, I realised that I'm more comfortable updating my life with 140 characters or less. Yup, I've been hanging out at Twitter and Plurk way more often than Blogger. With this realisation, I've decided to make the fateful decision and quit blogging.

My change in behaviour shouldn't come as a surprise anyway. It just takes less time and effort to update my status or post a random message than to sit down and think long and hard to compose a readable blog entry.

And anyway, looking at my blogs' stats, my 10 readers or so won't be missing much if I quit blogging. As it is, they've had to put up with my intermittent blog updates. And just to prove how low key my blogs have become, even Google Alert no longer lets me know that there's new content in my blogs.

So I'm quitting blogging. Instead, I'll be devoting my energies to nurturing my ever-growing Twitter and Plurk readership. I'm sure the 20 followers there would appreciate my new-found devotion and help me grow my readership further.

April 1 - the day Yuhui's Blogger Network died. Long live Yuhui's Microblogging Network!

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Thursday, March 12, 2009

Google's interest-based advertising is a turn-off

Google has long claimed that its motto is "Don't be evil". But with its latest development, I can't help feeling that it's sliding quickly down a very slippery slope. That's because Google now allows advertisers to target their ads according to visitors' web histories, or what it calls "interest-based advertising".

For example, if I view a lot of Nokia-related sites, then I could be presented with more Nokia ads. Or if a friend visits sites about diving, then he may see ads about diving trips.

The first question anyone should ask is: "How does Google collect all of my previous website visits?" I've attempted to answer how Google may be able to know which websites I've visited. Of course, it's all speculation at this point.

But that shouldn't stop privacy advocates and conspiracy theorists from complaining hell and high water about this new advertising development.

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Friday, March 06, 2009

REACH sent me another packet of tissue!

REACH logo
Oh my goodness! I wonder what's going on at REACH, the Singapore Government's agency of choice for online engagement and feedback.

Yesterday, as a token of appreciation for completing a survey, I received a packet of tissue paper in the mail. Today, as a token of appreciation for updating my particulars, I received another packet of tissue paper.

Actually, when I saw the familiar envelope with the familiar padded feeling, I had a funny feeling that I'd find a familiar "thank you" gift. And true enough, I retrieved a packet of tissue paper.

Is REACH overflowing with tissue paper? I hope someone can shed some light on this phenomenon!

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Thursday, March 05, 2009

I answered a REACH survey and all I got was a packet of tissue paper!

REACH logo
Some time back, I responded to a survey conducted by REACH. Frankly, I don't even remember what the survey was about. I just remember that it was done in a Word document, which I emailed back.

Then I received a call from a REACH representative, basically saying thank you for participating and we want to send you a token of appreciation. Hey, government wants to give me free stuff, that's fine by me -- assuming that there are no strings attached!

I received that token today. And inside was... a packet of tissue paper. My first thought was, "SERIOUSLY???" I kind of half expected something more than that. How much is a tissue packet? 10 cents? Okay, I'll up it to 30 cents. But seriously, man, isn't that being, well, cheap? I wonder what I would have received if I had not responded to the survey as promptly.

Or am I expecting too much? Armed with this packet of tissue, I can now chope ("reserve", for the non-Singlish speakers) one more table (not that I chope tables with tissue paper packets).

So this is what the new age of e-consultation will be like by the government. Perform a task and be rewarded with tissue paper. It could be worse, I suppose. Anyway, like I said before, if government gives free stuff, TAKE IT!

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Chinese New Year parody song part 5

It's the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, so technically, I'm still not late with a new addition to the never-ending Chinese New Year parody song. Yet, it seems like nothing has changed in the past two years! Can this really be all there is in Singapore?

Here's the entire song, with the new verse 6.
I was sleeping on my bed,
Everyone thought I was dead.
Doctor brought a coffin in,
I jumped out and he jumped in.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.

It was such a peaceful night,
Vampire gave me a bite.
Sunrise made me feel so blue,
Now I want to bite you too.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.

Gave a diamond to my girl.
She said she would rock my world.
Speeding towards a night of fun.
Didn't see the tree in front.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.

GST went up again,
Gahmen welcome foreign t'lent.
Locals squeezed upside-and-down,
Turn my smile into a frown.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.

Prices up by more than half
Ang pow also not enough.
Gahmen say will give money
First they take some more from me.

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.

Start the year with recession
Lagi jialat depression
Wallet empty, job no more
Must use life insurance lor!

Gong xi, gong xi, gong xi ni.
Previous entries: verse 2 in 2005, verse 3 in 2006, verse 4 in 2007, verse 5 in 2008.
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