I s O t O n I c

Thursday, March 31, 2005

Magarita's (Mexican Restaurant)

After months of unsatiated craving for the NUS Arts Canteen potato salad, I finally got to taste it on Tuesday. However, I was thoroughly disappointed with its quality and taste. Piled with artificial-tasting bacon beads and a different cream, it was totally different from what I had tasted before. I was tempted to order a bowl of the famous Yong Tau Hu laksa to appease myself, but contemplating the fact that I'll be meeting pc, J and bb for dinner in the evening, and also the fact that I was already bloated with the rich carbohydrates, I decided to save my money for the dinner instead.

The much anticipated dinner was at Magarita's, a Mexican restaurant at Faber Garden (near NUS).It was a recommendation by bb's colleague and sure enough, we ran into his family there. The decoration of the restaurant was colourful and the ambience was nice, and it was a pity that none of us brought a camera. After settling down, the manager patiently explained whatever questions we had about the items on the menu. The food took a while to be prepared, but it was well worth the wait.

When I recounted my lunch at NUS, bb said that she happened to reach the same canteen 20 minutes later than me, ordered a bowl of laksa yong tau hu and contemplated ordering potato salad before deciding against it to save up for the dinner. Speaking of coincidence/telepathy...or is there a more appropriate word for that?

***
On the topic of "ga zua"... (for ac)

On the long bus journey home, J saw my macromedia notes and recounted an incident that I almost would have forgotten cleanly about. During our year one in NUS, we (pc, ac, J and I...forgot whether bb was there) were registering for the macromedia course in CBLC, when the guy who did the registeration for us pronounced ac's name as "an chua". We ended up laughing our way out non-stop along the walkway (according to J)... J said she thought she heard him say "ga zua" (cockroach), while I thought he said "an zua" (asking what do you want to do). Poor ac... ;)

Friday, March 25, 2005

There's a Time to Eat, and a Time to Sleep

There's wisdom in common reminders to eat and sleep on time.

In today's fast-paced workplace and studyplace, there's always the temptation to delay or even forego meals and deny the body its chance to replenish its nutrients , in the hope of getting more tasks completed ahead of time. However, this in turn almost certainly leads to a drop in productivity, as the human body (and brain) requires nutrients and sufficient rest to function optimally.

Hence, the value, or even the amount of work accomplished is probably not proportional to eating or sleeping late.

The ability of individuals who are able to do many things and meet deadlines at the same time probably speaks volume of the invaluable quality they all possess -- good time management.

After years of keeping late nights, it seems like an impossible new year's resolution to sleep early. For the sake of short term efficiency, the usual choice is to continue the momentum of whatever I am doing so as not to waste time picking up the momentum again if I were to postpone it, and it is never easy to go to bed with a brain bustling with ideas.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

What were you doing during the Big Blackout?

Recently, news reports of ConocoPhillips being responsible for last June's mass blackout brought back memories of that eventful night. Well, eventful as blackouts aren't a common occurence in Singapore, let alone say, one that affects a majority part of the island. The following day, everyone seemed to have a story to tell on what had happened.

This was how mine went:
I was taking the lift to the LRT station after alighting from the MRT. Somebody was talking on the phone regarding a power failure, but I didn't pay much attention to it. After the LRT train left the station, I was amazed by the darkness enveloping the town. No lights were seen in the HDB flats and roadside, not even traffic lights. The only visible lights were the headlights from passing cars. It was fortunate that our MRT and LRT systems still had electricity to run on.

After exiting the LRT station, the adventure for the night-vision-challenged yours truly started. I walked slowly and carefully along the pavement, while stealing glances over my shoulders, wondering would anyone make use of the chance to launch attacks on unsuspecting passerbys (a little too crazy though). When I reached the trafficlight-less junction, I knew that I had to cross the overhead bridge as it was too dangerous otherwise. Nevertheless, the cars on the road threaded gingerly across the traffic junction, totally opposite of the scenario in usual circumstances.


Photo of the traffic junction (another crazy idea of mine to take a photo of a blackout)

I had to rely on the my handphone screen for illumination throughout my "journey". Thankfully the screen was big enough and my phone didn't run out of battery. Upon reaching the void deck, I was presented with another daunting task -- to climb over ten storeys in total darkness to go home. How naive I was to try to call home in the hope that someone would bring a torchlight down. The telecommunication network was down too.

An Indian family of a couple and a young boy took charge and led the "expedition" up the stairs, inviting the rest stranded at the bottom to follow suit. Thanks to their accompaniment and good eyesight, I managed to reach my level safely. Soon after I stepped into my house, the lights came on. It was only then when the TV beamed reports of towns islandwide being affected by the power failure, that we realised the scale of the blackout. Nevertheless, we were lucky to be one of the first to have our power supply resumed.

After comparing stories, it seemed that most of my friends were at home at that time as it was relatively late for a weekday. One was driving. What were you doing during the big blackout?

Mail Order

I read somewhere that mail order is a big business currently, with the proliferation of the Internet in households. From books and recipes to other gadgets (pls fill in the blanks), people are generally conditioned to love to receive purchases through mail, as it is akin to receiving gifts (nevermind if it is paid by ourselves), and is free from the prying eyes of curious neighbours and other onlookers (though in the Singaporean context, I guess our neighbours generally don't have time to be that curious).

Earlier this year, I ordered a set of books that are not available in Singapore. After weeks of anticipation, my first mail order gift to myself from amazon.com finally arrived. What surprised me was that the packaging was nowhere near the kind of nicely wrapped box packaging I was expecting -- every part of it screamed, "I came here by mail!" It was a pity that I didn't get to sign for it from the postman as I was on the phone at the time it was delivered, and hence missing out on the exhilaration at receiving my "gift" (as predicted by the "somewhere" in the first line).

Here is a glimpse of my discreetly wrapped present:



Doesn't it look cool? ;)

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Good Luck!!

I was pleasantly surprised to see Good Luck!!'s trailer running on Channel U. Apparently, it is going to be shown quite soon on S'pore TV. Interestingly, the Chinese translation is "Meng Xiang Qi Fei". Thanks to bb, I had the opportunity to watch it earlier. It is comparable to Takuya Kimura's other shows like Hero and Love Generation. The lead actors and actresses (Kimura Takuya, Shibasaki Kou, Tsutsumi Shinichi and Kuroki Hitomi) performed credibly and were extremely likeable in this drama set in the passenger airline service industry. A strong emphasis was put on the lead character's courage to take risks with the odds stacked against him, overcoming the obstacles and eventually achieving his dreams in a fairytale fashion.


Kimura Takuya acting as a pilot

By the way, a few weeks after watching Good Luck!!, it dawned upon me that the female lead (Shibasaki Kou) was the one who acted opposite Yosuke Kubozuka in the movie GO a few years back as I was going through my cd collection. I wonder why I never noticed that when I was watching Good Luck!! Perhaps it was because of the difference in the characters' personalities, or that the focus was on Yosuke when I was watching GO? Anyway wonder how is Yosuke now, after his fall from his apartement...


Shibasaki Kou in Good Luck!! (2003)


Shibasaki Kou in GO (2001)

She seems to be a singer too...


Photos, Synopsis and Spoilers for Good Luck!!

I think the author did a pretty good job, but please don't read it if you haven't watched the drama! ;)



*Quite busy recently, and hence the over one week drought.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

River Hongbao

I guess this is a bit outdated, but just to share some pictures I took at River Hongbao...


this is my year's symbol...in the making!



The popular Cai Shen Ye is a permanent fixture at every year's event. Notice the inverted umbrellas below him. He was sprinkling gold dust and lucky numbers. :p



A closer view of the excitement.

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Email Invites

There seems to be an influx of new providers that build their database by inviting their members' friends to update friends' address book, join sms network and set up birthday reminders following the lead of friendster. I wonder how their systems work, and am under the cynical belief that these websites probably sell their database of the validated members' email accounts to spammers. And hence my apprehension in giving out information and responding to these websites.

Can anyone who is a member of any of these tell me what is it about? Are they really useful? Do they send spam to your mobile (for sms network)?
sms.ac (sms network) - received many invites for that
ringo (update address book)

Sites that I have registered with:
friendster
hi5 (friends network, friendster's clone)
bebo (address book) - regretted after responding