Saturday, November 29, 2008

Depressing news around the world..particularly in Asia

I am really depressed after reading the newspaper today. Pages after pages of bad news covering the gory details of the violence and unrest happening in Mumbai, Thailand and Nigeria.

In particular, the tragedy that has unfolded in Mumbai and has resulted with the Indian commandos storming to recover the places that were under attack by the Islamic militants. With a body count of 195 persons (out of which 26 are foreigners) and 295 wounded, this attack has been termed as India's 911. Recent reports has it that the perpertrators had gone through extensive training and planning to exact maximum damage. It's simply unconceivable how people can do this to one another?

I'm truly horrified by the detailed accounts from the survivors and sad tales of the people who had perished in this tragedy. This terrorist attack has claimed the life of a Singaporean - Lo Hwei Yen and although I am not personally acquainted with her, would like to extend my condolences to the grieving family.

In sorrow, I reflect on wise words left behind by Mahatma Gandhi:

"When I despair, I remember that all through history the ways of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall - think of it, ALWAYS"

I'm sure that, like many others, I will not sleep well tonight.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Sanyo Xacti CG 9 ..My very first camcorder

As some of my friends probably know, my Panasonic camera "konked" out on me during my trip to Hokkaido and thus I've recently been on a camera/camcorder hunt.

So on my second day back in Singapore, I headed straight down to Sim Lim Square to get my camera. I had done quite a bit of research on the internet and had ended up totally confused with the barrage of information online and wanted to get some help from the "experts". (It turned out that I knew a lot more about cameras than some of them did!!)

After a little deliberation, I finally settled for the Sanyo Xacti CG9. Its very much an entry-level camcorder (and my very FIRST!) and although there were several alternatives that provided much better pictures, I chose the Sanyo Xacti CG9 for its size, weight, acceptable image quality and affordable price. After a day of fooling around with it, I must say that I am not disappointed with my purchase so far.

My latest toy - Sanyo Xacti CG9
Some specifications for the CG9 (which are particularly informative when choosing a digital camera) as follows:
  1. Effective Pixel Count: Approx. 9.1 megapixels
  2. Image Sensor: CMOS sensor, 1/2.33 inch, 9.12 megapixels (total)
  3. Recording Media SD memory card, SDHC memory card (up to 32 GB), Internal memory (approx. 40 MB)
  4. Recording File Format: Still (JPEG - DCF, DPOF, Exif Ver. 2.2 standard), Movie (MPEG-4 AVC/H.264 (ISO standard), Audio -48 kHz, 16 bit, 2 ch, AAC-compression (stereo)
  5. Lens: f = 6.8 - 34.0 mm (Equivalent to 38 - 190 mm on a 35 mm camera); Optical 5.0x inner zoom lens; F: 3.5 (Wide) - 3.7 (Tele); AF: 8 groups, 11 lenses, built-in ND filter
  6. Photo Range: Standard - 10 cm (Wide)/80 cm (Tele) to infinity; Super Macro - 1 cm to 80 cm (Wide)
  7. Shutter Speed: Still - 1/2 - 1/1500 sec. (Flash: 1/30 - 1/1500 sec,; Lamp mode: Max. 2 sec.) , Sequential - 1/15 - 1/1500 sec. (No flash), Movie - 1/30 - 1/10000 sec.
  8. Digital Zoom: Shooting - Max. 12x; Playback - Max. 62.5x ([12M] mode; varies with resolution)
  9. Focus: Auto (Still: 9-point AF/Spot AF; Movie: Continuous area AF); Manual (16 steps)
I'm still trying to get used to the Xacti. (I set the ISO settings to its maximum and notice that the videos turned out too bright so now I've got to set the ISO settings back) but anyway, here is a picture of my dog taken with my Xacti.

Twinkle at the car porch
(it was actually quite dark outside as it was going to rain)

Here is another picture taken in the garden.
Note: It was very interesting for me to note that the Sanyo Xacti's face recoginition software could immediately identify and zoom in on Obama's picture on the book cover. Nice!!!)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Love Song - 方大同

Okay...cannot resist. Another very nice song by 方大同.

方大同- 爱爱爱

I really like this song by 方大同。Saw him on one of the shows in Taiwan and I must say I'm totally impressed. So talented and extremely cool!!

HBO's favourite movie - The Holiday for me...I'm going home for the weekend.

HBO's favourite movie has got to be "The Holiday". (Note that I spell favourite with the "u" :-) )

I must have watched that movie for the god-zillion time. Okay, a little exaggeration there, but many many times...let's say 7 times. That's ALOT of times considering that my favourite movies are:
1) Fiddler on the Roof - Uncountable (watched it every afternoon for almost a year)
2) The King and I - Uncountable
3) Singing in the Rain - Uncountable
4) Dead Poet's Society - Watched it 15 times
5) V for Vendetta - 5 times
6) Wisdom of Crocodiles - 5 times.

So I would say that The Holiday (2006) is an unlikely favourite but yup...thanks to HBO, its up there on the list. (Not that I blame them, I find that I don't change the channel when its screening even though I've watched it so many times!)

Its such a feel good show! The part that really makes me tear each time has got to be the friendship between Kate Winslet and Eli Wallach's character (Eli plays Arthur Abbot - a 90 year old legendary script writer). I really love the dialogue and mix between the English and American accent too! Nice....

Okay, I'm also in a good mood. I'm really excited that I will be going home for the weekend. Its en route to my next destination: Jakarta but it sure is nice to be able to pop by home for the weekend. Hopefully, I get to buy the camera that I've been wanting for quite some time.
(My Panasonic's screen just died on me).

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Travis - Sing

Nice song....Sing Sing Sing

P/s: If you ever watch the MTV for this song - picture Travis having dinner at this classy aristocratic place which eventually ends up as a food fight party!! - well, even though I think its total rubbish (because I simply could not figure out what they were trying to say in that video). But....they sure seemed to have alot of fun! And I guess you don't need to have any reasons to have lotsa fun :D

It Never Rains in California - Albert Hammond 1973

Classic......This song grows on ya....

Out of work, I'm out of my head
Out of self respect I'm out of bread
I'm under loved I'm under fed
I wanna go home ................

Friday, November 07, 2008

Too Pink? Blog List Widget is Cool

I'm starting to like my new blog user interface.

I know its a little too black and a little too pink. :D But the matt effect of the buildings are starting to grow on me. FUNKY!! (For another version of funky, check out my brother's mohawk hair, poor mum....having a fit) :D

In particular, I think the Blog List Widget is EXTREMELY cool. Now, I don't need to click on each blog link to check for any new entries, the blog list updates automatically.


Obama....Obama....And I'm not talking about the Japan city called Obama

Never have I seen the world so hyped up during the election of another country. (myself included). But I was really overjoyed when I heard that Obama had been elected over John McCain. In fact, there was a party held at the Brass Monkey pub (Taipei) which I was so attempted to go to - any excuse to PARRTTTYYY. Haha.

In my mind, it was extremely symbolic and as indicated in several of my earlier posts, I definitely feel that Obama possessed greater qualities and traits that would be expected of a president of one of the most powerful countries of the world. In this case, I would say that the better tag-team won! (I know quite a few people who voted AGAINST hockey mum). Obama also brings about the promise for a more stable world due to his aptitude of being much more culturally sensitive. Needless to say, like many others, I find the ethnocentric view (and starting to suspect war loving characteristics) of certain Americans really annoying. "If you are NOT with us, you are against us"

The American election this time round has also created alot of debate outside of America. People are starting to question the politics of their own country. I found it oddly interesting and slightly depressing when I realized that the excitement I feel for my own country's election paled in comparison. Why? I guess I'm tired of the bully tactics.

I found that I'm not alone....

Very cool article.

I respect John McCain alot more after I heard his speech. Almost brought a tear to my eye. Such class.....

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

America Votes 2008 and my blog gets a new look

Watching "America Votes 2008" on CNN while chatting with a couple of friends online.

So exciting!

Anyway, while glued to the TV, I decided to give my blog a new face. I've been wanting to "customize" it for the longest time, trying to make it more "ME" but just never got around to doing it. So I finally decided to switch one free blog template for another.....Cheating....Hehe.

I really hope Obama wins. Love his attitude and focus. Hope and Change.

P/s: He kinda reminds me of the president of USA on 24. (I know it doesn't count but he does.) Haha.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Happy Mood...Flight of the Conchords

The last 2 weeks have been C.R.A.Z.Y!!! Work plus studying..... I thought I would lose my mind (and I almost did)!! For those part time study part time work people out there....I really don't know how you do it. *salute*.

Anyway, one more to go.

The truth is that I only managed to loan the textbooks from the company 2-3 weeks ago and with back to back conference calls in the evenings (Mon-Fri) that meant that I only had a couple of weekends to pore through the 3 textbooks. Pwah....can kill me...I don't know how many brain cells died in the process.

My colleague at work confessed to me that she was 99.99% confident that I was going to cancel/postpone the paper at the very last minute, but never-say-die attitude got me through again. (Though, I admit I was close to FREAKING out last night) Today, I'm overwhelmed but definitely elated. Yup, I finished the paper feeling really good about it.

Well, there is another paper next Friday and though I haven't exactly finished studying as well, I thought ...what the heck....I deserve one night of rest. And so, after dinner, I played Xbox360 all evening...SHIOK!!!!

I'm in such a good mood. *Beam Beam Beam*

Okay, enough about my boring "mundane" life.....some good stuff to share......

If you haven't watched Flight of the Conchords....go watch it. Its BRILLIANT!
I watched a couple of episodes on HBO (Hehe...okay so I wasn't studying that hard over the weekends) and I'm sold.....Definitely going to buy the entire series because those New Zealanders are hilarious)