Archive for July, 2005

Comics This Week

July 28, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

“Space Ghost” (Joe Kelly, Ariel Olivetti)
I don’t know what I expected from a comicbook promising “the true origin of the animated star!”, but I stupidly went ahead and plonked down $20 for it anyway. Well. Umm. The painted covers by Alex Ross are kinda nice. Ariel Olivetti’s art is stiff but… umm… colourful? And the story… the story, umm. The story has giant insects? And… uh… the closing line is, charmingly enough, “a very big rock”? This comic really doesn’t have that many redeeming values — it’s meaningless, predictable, soulless, repetitive and just takes itself way too seriously. Guhh. What a waste of money.

“Y: The Last Man Vol. 5: Ring of Truth” (Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra)
The big reveal on why all the men died and Yorick didn’t! Solid instalment in this critically-acclaimed series. I liked it, just like I did the last four volumes.

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Squirm! Squirm!

July 27, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

This is way too much fun not to read/watch over and over again: Scott McClellan, White House Press Secretary, gets grilled over Karl Rove’s Leakgate.

QUESTION: Scott, this is ridiculous. The notion that you’re going to stand before us, after having commented with that level of detail, and tell people watching this that somehow you’ve decided not to talk. You’ve got a public record out there. Do you stand by your remarks from that podium or not?

MCCLELLAN: I’m well aware, like you, of what was previously said. And I will be glad to talk about it at the appropriate time. The appropriate time is when the investigation…

QUESTION: (inaudible) when it’s appropriate and when it’s inappropriate?

MCCLELLAN: If you’ll let me finish.

QUESTION: No, you’re not finishing. You’re not saying anything. You stood at that podium and said that Karl Rove was not involved. And now we find out that he spoke about Joseph Wilson’s wife. So don’t you owe the American public a fuller explanation. Was he involved or was he not? Because contrary to what you told the American people, he did indeed talk about his wife, didn’t he?

MCCLELLAN: *whimper*

Ok, that last bit was my addition. Anyway, video here, transcript here (via the popular video RSS feed).


July 26, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

I think something went a little bit wrong while testing out a posting hack — the database crashed, and now I suddenly have 200 entries to delete (and anyone’s feed reader left on at that point might’ve downloaded, uh, quite a few duplicate entries). Oops. Heheh. Sorry. Don’t click to go to the second page for now.

Edit, 20 minutes later: Thank goodness for phpMyAdmin, or I would’ve had to click on “delete” 200 times in the WordPress admin page. And now I’m late for NIE “team-building activities”… I hope this won’t be too silly.

The bond counter: Peanut version

July 25, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Inspired by the whole NKF saga and mrbrown’s very amusing last entry in SNE108, I’ve rewritten the bond countdown timer to give the amount payable in peanuts (locally defined currency, where one peanut == S$600,000).

<script type=""text/javascript">

function formatAsPeanuts(mnt) { mnt -= 0; mnt = (Math.round(mnt*1000000))/1000000; return mnt; } // modified from



Simple script that writes out a line of text with how many days of bond left to go, and how much it's worth right now if paid up. E.g. "1870 days and 0.82241 peanuts left to go". Extremely depressing.

Variables to change:

enddate: The end date of the bond, assuming a full (4/6/8-year) bond.

enddate_discount: The end date of the bond assuming it's completed. Applies only to those who serve full-time NS and have half of that counted towards the bond (usually 10 months).

startdate: First day of work.

bond: Bond value with interest and LD. Assumes a linear depreciation of an already-compounded bond value with liquidated damages. The amount signed on the contract can be used as a rough estimate.

OPTIONAL -- nowdate: Change to a date in the future e.g. nowdate = new Date("June 20, 2009"); to see how much to pay at that point of time.


var enddate = new Date("June 20, 2011"); var enddate_discount = new Date("August 20, 2010"); // Uncomment this following line if end date is fixed: // enddate_discount = enddate; var startdate = new Date("June 20, 2005"); var bond = 500000; bond = bond / 600000; // convert to peanuts

var nowdate = new Date(); ms1 = enddate_discount - nowdate; days = Math.floor(ms1 / 86400000); // converts from milliseconds to days

document.write(days); document.write(" days and ");

total = enddate - startdate; ms2 = enddate - nowdate; rem = formatAsPeanuts(ms2 / total * bond);

document.write(rem); document.write(" peanuts left to go");


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In between overloading on TV

July 25, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

Just a quick entry to sum up the odds and ends I’d been intending to write about but kept getting distracted by a rapid succession of Veronica Mars episodes:

  • I hadn’t noticed until the latest iPhoto update broke something, but Keyword Assistant for iPhoto has been updating pretty regularly. Luckily, the author has a RSS feed (here) for updates — that’s normal enough, the feed goes into my NetNewsWire list with Adium, ecto, Saft, etc. What’s particularly cool, however, is how the Keyword Assistant feed actually uses enclosures (normally used for delivering podcasts) to include the actual software being updated. Hence, any reader checking their feed with a compatible newsfeed program can easily download the updated program like they would a podcast (instead of “our program’s been updated, click here to go to a page to download it”, as is usually the case). Coolness! Blindingly obvious, when you think about it, and an amazing use of RSS technology.
  • Who isn’t salivating over the potential self-destruction of the Bush administration over Karl Rove’s Leakgate? An article, however, points out the sobering reality that he’s already done his damage. America’s Big Malignant Tumor / Libs are salivating that Karl Rove might go down. But hasn’t the worst cancer already spread?
  • The rest of the life: I cleared out my desk at work on Thursday — not something one gets to do often, hopefully, much less in one’s fifth week of work. Granted, it’s because my school attachment had finally ended. At least now the kids I was teaching will resume getting a real education and not my unprepared nonsense.
  • NIE term proper starts next week (after this week’s orientation-ish activities). The timetable is nice and loose, with big gaping four-hour holes between classes perfect for afternoon naps. No free days, though, but only one day starts at 8.30, so I think I can get by without overdosing on too much caffeine. (He says now, unsuspectingly…)
  • I’ll be moving on-campus sometime soon… maybe this weekend, or earlier. Since I’ll be rooming with good ol’ Mal/Kekdil/Block, there’s really no reason not to make your way to the remotest corner of Singapore just to visit. If you have a car, anyway. If not, uhh, you can sleep on our floor and risk getting fined $7 a night, unless you’re also living in the Hall, in which case we’ll all get evicted. It’s a real rule (see 7c).

Back to more TV.

Oh no not again

July 21, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

I guess Darth Tater (mentioned a few months ago) was a runaway success, because…


Now they’re making the Star Wars Spud Trooper. Ah, insane merchandising team-ups… what would we make fun of without you?

Oscilloscope TV

July 20, 2005  |  Tags: ,   |  

A photo, to loosen the rigidity of all these text posts.

Saw this while in Korea — a TV channel seemingly* entirely dedicated to displaying the output of an oscilloscope. Scintillating.

* My sampling frequency was once every 8 hours over a 12-hour time frame, so fine, I might be mistaken.

Piecing it together

July 19, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

So, as previously mentioned, I’d been assigned to the school my dad’s teaching at for my pre-NIE School Experience.

I didn’t make any particular effort to hide this fact from anyone, but my dad hid the family photos on his desk the day before I arrived, triggering some suspicion from a colleague (who happens to be an ex-student of my mom’s, and I do resemble my mom quite a bit). Somewhere along the way, though, most of the staff have figured it out. It’s not very hard when we arrive in the same car every morning, and I sometimes drive my dad’s car home if my mom needs a ride somewhere (although a colleague did ask him, with a bit of concern, “Did you see that trainee teacher take your laptop and drive your car off?!”).

Now, however, some of the students seem to know too — especially this one kid who works at his family’s restaurant nearby (highly recommended, it’s that cze char / seafood restaurant at one end of the block where Casuarina Roti Prata is). He must’ve seen me there with my dad before or something.

Earlier this week, he randomly asked me: “Are you Mr Soon’s son?”

“What other surname do you expect my father to have?”

It’s my third-to-last day at the school, though, and an altogether rather pleasant experience (apart from the late-night lesson planning due to my usual procrastinating habits). At the very least, it’s been quite educational, and maybe NIE classes won’t be so boring if I have real experiences to relate them to.

Failed experiment

July 18, 2005  |  Tags:   |  

No more: the “links for” posts just weren’t entertaining enough, even by my low standards. Also, it hurts my addled brain to have to think of whether I really want this link I’m bookmarking to appear on my blog… Still, though, best bookmarking service ever.

The “School Experience” goes well, in general, but given that it’s my last week here, I’ve given up on really preparing lesson plans or anything and settled on just making shit up in class. Hmm. Another failed experiment, perhaps.

links for 2005-07-16

July 16, 2005  |  Tags:   |