Archive for December, 2004

Less doom and gloom please

December 31, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Amidst all the tragedy and rising death tolls, there’s something to be said about life being too serious to be taken too seriously.

Case 1:

Not right to celebrate as Asian states grieve IN VIEW of the calamity that has befallen so many Asian countries, I was appalled to read the blurb, ‘Party central’ and the related articles (ST, Dec 28) telling readers where to party the night away on New Year’s Eve. Surely, it is not right and in bad taste to celebrate when our Asian neighbours are in such pain. I urge the organisers to cancel these parties or at least cut down on the revelry. More than 80,000 have died and counting. Let’s remember that those who are grieving and suffering are just on our doorstep. Kwa Hwee Keng (Mdm) [reproduced from ST forum post]

Nonsense. Where would one draw the line between “regular” grief and suffering and “grief and suffering that warrants righteous outrage at other people living their lives?” Wouldn’t it be “not right and in bad taste” to cancel a celebration of hope for a better year? Does staying at home for tonight’s countdown make me a better person than anyone out there partying? I hope not.

Case 2:

Medical supplies attacked by squatting zombies [Image and real article from channelnewsasia.com]

Sorry, couldn’t resist after seeing that photo. Apologies especially to the aid worker whose photo was mangled by channelnewsasia.

Something completely different: I’ve just started trying out ecto, a pretty decent blogging tool (even if its spellchecker does decide that its own program and the word “spellchecker” are spelling errors). However, WordPress 1.2 which I’m using hasn’t implemented the newMediaObject function that ecto uses to upload images automatically through. Thankfully a bit of quick googling turned up this link which made everything good again with its little bugfix.

Also, now I can randomly insert the currently playing song into the post — maybe list out the songs that played while I typed this. I know there are many. I get distracted easily.

Read the rest of this entry »

2004 out

December 29, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

That’s about it for 2004, then.

On the to-do list for next year: get started on netiplaction; fix up the Kopitiam website and forum; draw something, anything! — according to my own drawings site I haven’t drawn anything worth uploading all year; get started on that webcomic I’ve been thinking about; consider trying to convince PSC to let me lecture at a polytechnic for the teaching bond (but first, convince NYP to take me, and before that, brush up on what I actually remember about EE & CS); make that trip back to the Bay Area. Oh, and ORD.

Nothing too ambitious, I think.

Happy new year, and if you can, make it a bearable one for those needing all the help they can get.

Singapore Red Cross Society

Donating through DBS Internet Banking or by ATM

Amazon.com 1-click donation

More, but less amusing than usual, quotes

December 27, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

“We are struggling to cope. Bodies are still coming in,” Karapitiya Teaching Hospital administrator Dr HG Jayaratne told Reuters. “Death came from the sea,” Satya Kumari, a construction worker living in Pondicherry, told Reuters. “The waves just kept chasing us. It swept away all our huts. What did we do to deserve this?” One man, Rajali, told the Associated Press news agency he could not find dry ground to bury his wife and two children. “At a very conservative estimate I would say that 3,000 people are dead and as many missing,” the islands’ police chief SB Deol told local TV.

… and all from one news source [bbc.co.uk] that reports over 20,000 dead. Heartbreaking.

Return of the quotes II

December 24, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Christmas special: more nonsense!

(21:48:21) eek: johnny’s ignoring me again (21:49:50) me: me too (21:49:59) eek: poor johnny (21:51:29) me: yeah (21:51:51) eek: you’re just mean to him because you’re jealous of his sexiness (21:55:07) me: aren’t you (21:56:57) eek: i guess (21:57:00) eek: now wat (21:57:25) me: i gotta find me some drivers (21:57:27) me: stupid printer (21:57:54) eek: oh (21:58:00) eek: but your shit is plug and play (21:58:08) me: my shit specifically? (21:58:14) me: it plugs into the toilet bowl and plays (21:58:52) eek: you should market that shit (21:59:01) eek: um, literally, i guess (21:59:32) me: skooby (22:00:01) eek: dooby (22:00:05) me: shit (22:00:16) eek: i guess that more or less does mean doo (22:00:17) me: there you go, marketing (22:00:26) eek: don’t call me marketing (22:00:51) me: fine, mr hoity toity (22:00:57) me: what the hell does that mean (22:01:10) eek: er (22:01:18) eek: my toits are very high i guess

Happy holidays, yes.

Return of the quotes

December 22, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

I rarely amuse myself this much.

(11:30:30) me: oh wow (11:30:32) me: i am honoured (11:30:35) nina: hahahah (11:30:42) nina: (it’s “honored”….you singaporean goat) (11:30:51) me: no it’s nout!

Straits Times hearts NUS

December 21, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Oh no. Not even two months after my rant over how the Times Higher Education Supplement (link) ranked the National University of Singapore (NUS) in the top 20 varsities worldwide (according to them, anyway), and now the Straits Times reports the following:

NUS in world top 10 in IT and engineering [straitstimes.com.sg; free but nonetheless annoying registration required]

Since the article expires in a few days, I’ll just summarise what irks me about this article: the title of the article reads “NUS in world top 10 in IT and engineering,” and the tagline goes “It beats premier varsities like Harvard in global survey of faculty.”

Harvard?! In engineering?! How desperate a comparison do you need? Edit, after seeing the rankings: Granted, Harvard was ranked 14th or thereabouts, but that seems to be more an effect of the “score normalisation” than anything (the rankings are based on a normalisation of the “impact of published papers,” whatever that means). The university, while extremely distinguished, has a combined engineering and applied sciences division with five departments — is that what you want to compare your humongoid “Faculty of Engineering” to?

Yes, I fully understand that, in the local media, being ranked globally in some measure of excellence is invariably newsworthy… but this isn’t reporting, it’s mindless cheerleading. Ra-ra Singapura.

I mean, what next — “NUS beats world-class varsities like MIT in English Literature?”

Comics This Week (13 – 19 December)

December 19, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Oh man, so many comics. Good stuff, though.

Common Grounds Written by Troy Hickman Art by various (Dan Jurgens, George PĂ©rez, Ethan van Sciver, Chris Bachalo, Carlos Pacheco, Sam Kieth, Michael Avon Oeming, Angel Medina) Published by Top Cow Picked this up because I was stupidly at the bookstore earlier in the week and felt I hadn’t bought much in a while (dumb, dumb, dumb). Very entertaining, if a bit cheesy at times.
Astonishing X-Men: Gifted (Vol 1) Written by Joss Whedon Art by John Cassaday Published by Marvel Comics This was surprisingly (astonishingly! Sorry) good. This was despite the return to cheesy superhero costumes and my full knowledge of the plot twist. Whedon writes astonishingly (sorry) good dialogue — clever wit and laugh-out-loud funny — and Cassaday’s art is astonishingly (sorry) beautiful as always. Best X-Men book I’ve read ever since early Grant Morrison New X-Men (back when it was, well, new. Sorrysorry).
Fantastic Four: Disassembled (Vol 5) Written by Mark Waid and Karl Kesel Art by Paco Medina and Mike Wieringo Published by Marvel Comics Two stories — the first was kinda off (i.e. only vaguely entertaining and spotty art), while the second, by Waid and Wieringo, was excellent (Galactus, devourer of worlds!).
Powers: Forever (Vol 7) Written by Brian Michael Bendis Art by Michael Avon Oeming Published by Marvel/ Icon This is the story where Bendis got away with an issue of monkey-people speaking monkey-language. For twenty pages. And claimed it meant something. Brilliant!

Pop Candy’s Top 100 People of 2004

December 16, 2004  |  Tags: ,   |  

Whitney Matheson’s Pop Candy’s Top 100 People of 2004 [USAToday.com]

Entries of note:

  1. Jon Stewart — surprise, surprise.

  2. Johnny Depp — When the hell is Finding Neverland making it to Singapore screens? I’ve already given up on Garden State (especially since the DVD gets released Dec 28), but it’s awfully annoying when one has to put up with crap like Bridget Jones 2, Blade Trinity and Alexander making it to screens on time in Singapore but not movies that might be, well, any good at all.

  3. Zach Braff — I’m done ranting about Garden State and will patiently await the DVD making its way to me across the Pacific Ocean somehow. You who will be visiting California shortly, you know who you are, thankyouverymuch. The article does point out that Braff has a very readable blog (note: the feed doesn’t show up in Firefox’s feed detector, but look on the right menu for the F.O.G.S. feed).

  4. Natalie Portman — more love for Garden State. Maybe Closer will make its way here sooner, with all that star power behind it (Jude Law, Julia Roberts).

  5. Chris Ware! Now I’m finally convinced I need to buy McSweeney’s Issue 13 and that other scary-looking Chris Ware Drawn&Quarterly production I’ve been ignoring.

  6. Marjane Satrapi — still waiting for Persepolis 2 in paperback, though.

  7. Peter Sarsgaard — enough with the Garden State lovefest already.

  8. James Kochalka — Adding American Elf to my to-get list. Between recollecting the new-trade-dress Sandman paperbacks and all these recommendations, I’m afraid to think how much money Kino has gotten out of me with their 20% discount this month.

  9. Art Spiegelman — I’d just noticed In the Shadow of No Towers at Kino, too. Bleeding… money.

Second Chance

December 15, 2004  |  Tags:   |  

Today’s TODAY (umm) has an article about the Public Service Commission giving scholars a “second chance.”

Scholars and that second chance [TODAYonline]

Actually, why would PSC want to give up on any of its scholarship awardees? (Side note: “scholars” is just too loaded a term, but so much easier to type) It’d be admitting they made an error in judgment when they selected this person for the scholarship, and what would they have gained from the process? 10% returns on maybe three years of tuition?

Better to just let the buggers graduate and maybe earn their eternal gratitude, no? Look at those glowing comments “Wendy” and “Charmaine” give, and perhaps contrast it with my upcoming whining-about-being-stuck-in-the-civil-service-for-slightly-over-5-years. Uh oh.

Craigslist

December 15, 2004  |  Tags: ,   |  

So a while back there was some general lamentation among my group of friends that we didn’t have anything quite like Craigslist in Singapore and wouldn’t it be great to kickstart the whole free useful classifieds site concept here but no it would require too much effort and wouldn’t we rather just putz around in our free time outside the army anyway? (e.g. the poor, sad, lonely and rather dead Netiplaction project)

Anyway:

Craigslist: Singapore online community

Excellent!