Monthly Archives: December 2009

Ponderings

As MMIX slowly grinds to a halt, I return to this recurring stocktake of mine, taking the time to think back on the year’s happenings and reflect upon them.

It’s been another (rather) eventful year, with the second half of NIE rolling by – I didn’t do that well overall, probably should have put in more effort into it, but it was often really difficult getting motivated considering the nature of the course. Still, I managed to survive, and the second half of the year heralded the beginning of my teaching job proper. I’ve been studying for so long (with a 2.5-year period of army stagnation thrown in somewhere), starting work has actually been a breath of fresh air for me. I might not be making as much money as some of my peers, but it’s enough (for now), and I do enjoy my work, which is apparently relatively rare among working folk.

I’ve tried to try more new things this year – one example being my brief foray into DSLR photography. Although I gave it up in the end (thankfully with practically no monetary loss incurred), I did end up with a functional knowledge of how SLR cameras work, and the current GF1 is hardly a pushover in terms of optical capability, either.

Then there’s the engagement, of course, along with the purchase of the flat and the beginning of wedding preparations – but that’s an ongoing story, after all.

All in all, it seems to have been a pretty good year, perhaps the most fulfilling one I’ve had in quite some time. There are more challenges yet to come in the year ahead, but with God’s grace I’m pretty sure I’ll get by. It seems almost unfashionable to feel contented on this island nation of ours, but I think I really am!

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Your handwriting as a font

Just had some fun with fontcapture.com, creating a font from my handwriting. I’d stumbled upon the site quite some time ago, but was lazy to do the printing/scanning thing. I’ve recently been issued a new tablet PC for work, though, so that simplified the whole process quite a bit – I managed to come up with this within 5 minutes, I think.

I could probably spend some time adjusting the alignment of my written characters, but for a font I’m not planning to use too frequently, I can’t really be bothered. Still, fun stuff!

Project 365 once more

I was just looking at the daily photos I’d taken back in 2007, and I think it might be time for another go in 2010. Sure, I often cheated when the day wasn’t particularly eventful, but the photo album still manages to evoke a wave of nostalgia in me (especially having left the UK for more than a year now). So what if some of the pictures were not strictly taken on a daily basis – isn’t it the spirit of the project that’s more important?

Besides, with the new camera and whatever meagre photography skills I’ve managed to acquire these few months, I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to generate better filler than before!

Virtual garage sale

I just sold an old camera for S$25. It’s not much, but the camera was just lying around anyway (my mum had bought it a few years ago, but it’s since been replaced by a better camera that I’d stopped using), so I really think of it as shelf space saved and money gained.

I really do enjoy selling my old stuff – aside from the obvious monetary benefits gained from stuff you were willing to dump anyway, it feels good to be part of the ‘reuse’ process, and contribute more to the environment than the Copenhagen talks are apparently doing.

I’m also trying to sell some old books and my laptop, which should (hopefully) net me more dough than the camera did, but I’m strangely psyched over this one little sale.

South Park shout-out on The Simpsons

The Simpsons has been rather… lacklustre of late, but they do have some pretty amusing (random?) gags within the episodes – the most recent episode has a short bit where four of the kids are dressed up like South Park characters, paralleling the typical South Park bus stop scene. Hilarious!

Unboxing

I really shouldn’t be spending money when I’ve got big expenses looming on the horizon, but I figured that since my old machine‘s selling on the second hand market for nearly the same price as a new (entry-level) iMac anyway, I might as well upgrade (downgrade?) now while  I have the time to spare to mess with it (and sell my old stuff).

I lose the mobility, but I figure I can use my school-issued Windows laptop if need be. For a 40% increase in screen space, this is pretty sweet! Processing/graphics power has actually taken a hit, but with the recent Xbox purchase I don’t really need a powerful computer for gaming, anyway.

Gallivanting around town

I’d got a free eat@Meritus card through the OCBC credit card promotion and am thus currently enjoying 50% off meals at the Chatterbox (when dining as a pair). I actually quite enjoy the chicken rice there, although since that was the only thing I’d tried I thought I should experiment a little. I got myself a Nasi Goreng Istimewa, and Ailin ordered the Lobster Laksa, but they were rather… lacklustre. Certainly not worth the high prices, even after the discount. I’m sticking to chicken rice in the future!

(We also had fun with the Marché cow at 313@somerset. It’s nice to see Marché making a return in Singapore, although I don’t think I’ll be eating there anytime soon.)

Toast Box is currently giving out free drink vouchers to bribe you into voting for them for ‘Best Brands’ or something, so all you need to do is to approach people in the shop who are giving out surveys and send a SMS text message in front of them (after filling in a very short survey) to receive a free voucher. The text message costs 20¢, so it’s not entirely free, but that’s a pretty good deal nonetheless!

Ippudo Singapore soft launch

Ippudo’s finally arrived in Singapore, and after a failed attempt to get in yesterday (the queue was too long so we didn’t bother waiting), we plotted to get there when it opened today at 1130 and voila! We procured our ramen fix.

The ramen was pretty pricey at $15++ (add extra meat to your meal and you’ll probably end up paying in excess of $20), but wow, was it tasty! The broth isn’t as sinfully (porkily) thick and delicious as Daruma Taishi in Japan, but it was well mixed with garlic oil and miso to create a beautiful blend of flavours. This might now be my favourite ramen place in Singapore, topping even Yoshimaru.

They even included a comic (in English, Japanese and Chinese) in the restaurant explaining the intricacies of ordering ramen, presumably for (Kyushu-style) ramen newbies. I’d found it pretty confusing initially, until I realised that the panels are arranged in a right-to-left manner, the way Japanese manga is. Amusing stuff.

Google Street View in Singapore

ZOMG IT’S HERE!

My home, as photographed by Google

So Street View has finally arrived in Singapore. To play with it, go to Google Maps and zoom in on a location (or drag the yellow man icon onto the map).

It’s relatively fun (and probably creepy) checking out your friends’ houses, if you know their addresses, but you can do the same for miscellaneous famous (or not) spots, too.

Mandai Zoo area – View Larger Map

Rear view of Merlion – View Larger Map

The creepiness that is Haw Par Villa – View Larger Map

I wonder how this makes money for Google? Are businesses able to pay to list their details on Street View, perhaps?