Post Exam Elation cum Depression

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Once again it's that time after the exams when you face a certain dilemma. Sure, it's great to have it over and done with, but you kind of lose direction after that. I wonder why when you're busy, you're REALLY busy, but when you're not, you can't seem to find ANYTHING to occupy yourself... or at least that's how I feel now...

And I just finished my papers this morning.

In any case, post exams may be a happy moment for most people, and I must admit I feel very much the same way... for a short while. I believe we all need something to look forward to, something to strive for, to aim for, to be excited about, and when you find it, and have the time to pursue it, that's when life seems really fun.

One of the things I always try to do, is list down EVERYTHING I want to do after the exams, so that I can tick them off one by one during the holidays. This time around, I didn't, not because I didn't want to, but because I really didn't have much to put in. It's not like I have a whole lot anyway, and HYP has to start right about now... so I guess I'm not really all that keen on doing too many things.

To be perfectly honest, this period isn't the most rosy. It's great not having much to do, but I'm not having the time of my life either. God knows I need inspiration of some kind. Sadly, i'm not involved in POS or anything like that either. Not to mention the lack of company when people start working. Yes, this will be a sad holiday, and if it weren't for my HYP, I'd have fled back home already. I DO know that there are things God has planned for me even during this period, and as much as I look forward to it, there's also another part of me that's simply very aware about how things might turn out...

Ore wa Sabishi da ne...

Well, that aside, I guess I'll just try to make the best of it. It's always been that way after all. I really thank God that no matter what happens, I can always face what's coming with an assured peace, because everything is really in His command, and I guess we all have to live with that...

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Posted by Gerald at 4/28/2007 03:29:00 AM

Feisty Fawn First Looks

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Yes, Ubuntu Feisty Fawn has been released, and I got it up and running in no time flat. I tried using the built in upgrade, but that didn't work largely because it took forever to download everything. The servers must've been hammered like crazy. Still, I managed to SOMEHOW get the ISOs from newly opened mirrors (Taiwan servers only opened a day after the release) and I got it at 200+ Kb/s. Not bad for NUS Network.

Anyway, I rebooted, popped the CD in, and let the LIVE version run. The first thing that struck me was that the loading screen was a whole lot nicer than what it used to be. The loading bar itself looks cool, and although I preferred the Windows loading screen to Ubuntu Edgy's, I've reversed that in Feisty. Gnome started without a hitch, and I clicked install, choosing to import all my settings from Windows. I reformatted the drive, and installed everything to it. THIS TIME, I rebooted with no problems getting into Gnome. The display drivers were working properly. However, the detection only gave me a lousy 1024 x 768, so I just fired up the NVIDIA driver installation built in. After another reboot, I STILL had to reconfigure my xserver, but since I've done it before, it was a snap.

I installed Beryl (Although it's said to be in the repository, I only had beryl-manager, which wasn't enough) from their website and managed to set it up nicely. A quick CTRL + ALT + BACKSPACE later and everything was looking really great. I also used Automatix2 and installed a handful of software. That done, I configured Evolution to work with NUS Mail although it was already automatically setup for me (From importing Windows settings). I didn't like the idea of it using IMAP, so I reconfigured it to use the Exchange Server directly. No problems there.

I went through the whole process pretty quickly, and studying in between was easy since most of it was just click and wait. My first impressions of Feisty are really good, and things are looking even cooler than Edgy. Feisty handles read/write to NTFS drives just like Windows, so I can now convert all my partitions to NTFS and save me the trouble of having FAT32, which is slow and constantly needs defragmenting. That's a huge plus, and makes the Linux experience all the sweeter.

I didn't have time to do anything else, since I AM having my exams, but suffice to say, this distribution seems to be a very healthy start to the 'alternative desktop'. People have been taking an interest in my new OS, and they're willing to try it out largely because it can 'do the same things as Windows' without having to pay for copyrighted stuff. There's also relatively less maintenance to do and they still can't believe there's NO REGISTRY. Still, being the gamer that I am, I think I'll hold on to my dual-boot, at least until I can get Wine to work with some of my games; Warcraft 3 didn't turn out so well, and I'm apprehensive to try loading C&C 3 on it just now. PLUS, Wine seems to dislike 64bit architectures for now. Windows will do just fine until I can overcome these issues.

My laptop will be getting the upgrade too, and if I get a wireless card / USB to go with it, I'd have a pretty cool portable system up and running again.

Ubuntu Feisty Fawn is worth taking a look at. Ask me if you want to try it out on your PC. The CD's free anyhow.

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Posted by Gerald at 4/22/2007 02:21:00 AM


Thursday, April 19, 2007

How much have YOU changed in the last 10 years ?

April 1 1997

1) How old were you?


2) Where did you go to school?

SMK SS17, Subang Jaya

3) Where did you work?

Huh? What's work?

4) Where did you live?

New place, Subang Jaya... Although I stayed in USJ

5) Where did you hang out?

SS15 ring a bell?

6) Did you wear glasses?

Still don't

7) Who was your best friend?

New place, new friends, none considered 'best' at that point...

8) How many tattoos did you have?

Huh? What?

9) How many piercings did you have?

Ouch. No thanks.

10) What car did you drive?

Geez, I wasn't even a teenager

11) Had you been to a real party?

Define 'real'... Seriously... no...

12) Had your heart broken?

I thought I had, but then I grew up and realised what it REALLY MEANT to have a broken heart...

April 1 2002

1) How old were you?


2) Where did you go to school?

AJC, Singapore

3) Where did you work?

Same place I studied

4) Where did you live?

Boarding school... urgh...

5) Where did you hang out?

When we had time, Suntec City / Orchard Road

[hey, question #6 is missing!]

7) Who was your best friend?

Again, new environment, no 'best' friend yet

8) Who was your regular-person crush?

New place, new faces, nothing is regular...

9) How many tattoos did you have?

Still ouch...

10) How many piercing did you have?

Uhm... none?

11) What car did you drive?

Bus 11 aka my two legs

12) Had you had your heart broken?

Same answer as before...

April 1 2007

1) How old are you?


2) Where do you work?

I don't

3) Where do you live?

Raffles Hall

4) Do you wear glasses?

Still don't

5) Where do you hang out?

Hall, because it's comfortable and there are lots of cool people around, plus it's fun!

6) Who is your best friend?

No particular one, but plenty of 'nakama'...

[and now, question #7 is missing!]

8) Do you talk to your old friends?

When I can get the chance to... sure!

9) How many piercing do you have?

Still none... I like my body without any extra holes thank you.

10) How many tattoos?

Untainted is the way to go, instead of being 60, wrinkled and wishing you hadn't gotten that skull which looks like a crying sealion now...

11) What kind of car do you drive?

IF / WHEN I get a car, I'll let you know.

12) Has your heart been broken?

Yeap. This time I could say it was for real, but you get over it... eventually...

tagging time (rubs hands with glee and delight, with echoing crazy laughter <-- some people would know this after endless rounds of the mafia game)

a) shimmersilver aka MeiKit

b) Nihara

c) Sim

d) Whoever else reads my blog

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Posted by Gerald at 4/19/2007 06:02:00 PM

Upcoming Movies

Friday, April 13, 2007

I've discovered the joys of having a nice 19" HD compatible monitor. I started reading a lot about HD, but I never realised that my own monitor was capable of displaying it as well (with the help of my graphics card of course). With my newfound knowledge, I headed over to Apple Movie Trailers to see my HD capabilities in full swing. I downloaded the 1080p versions out of curiousity. What I saw left me breathless as not only were the graphics crisp and clear, the movies were interesting too. So let me go through some of the upcoming movies that I'm really looking forward to watch.

Shrek the Third
This show is a classic. I fell in love with Shrek and it has been one of my all time favourite movies. When Shrek 2 came out, I indulged myself watching it at least 3 times in the cinema. This series is really comedy at its best, with plenty of references to other movies. I've been blown away by how they manage to slot in modern day nuances to a fantasy medieval show like Shrek, and puns are a dime a dozen. It's witty, hilarious, and ultimately, entertaining beyond what you could ask for. It's not as silly as a Jim Carrey show, and it actually requires you to have your brain with you to fully appreciate the show. Shrek the Third tells the tale of how the king of Far Far Away is dying, and Shrek would have to become king. That doesn't suit him very well (ok, at all), so he sets of to find another king to replace him. Incidentally, the candidate happens to be Arthur. Also, Shrek is about to be, brace for it, a FATHER. The horror doesn't end there. Our favourite villain, Charming, is back, and he's got every wicked and evil character in Far Far Away behind him, and he's after the throne. All this cumulates into what looks to be an extremely exciting show, one in which I do NOT want to miss. Look out for hilarious quirks from the Gingerbread Man, Pinocchio, Puss and who could forget, Donkey. I'm putting this VERY HIGH on my MUST WATCH list.

Pirates of the Caribbean 3: At World's End
I must say I'm looking forward to this show almost as much as Shrek 3. The first movie was absolutely amazing, although the second one left much to be desired. Still, it was not unintentional, since the 2nd movie of any trilogy usually doesn't accomplish much except set the stage for the finale. (Think Matrix and LOTR) That said, after watching the trailer and a teaser about "Captain's Quarrel" I'm very impressed with what I saw. The wit and charm of the characters have not been lost entirely, and it looks to come back with a bang this time around. The story involves an epic sea battle, one that would more than rival any seen on the big screen before. It's filled with witty jokes, one liners and the best part is, we still have Johny Depp pulling them off. I absolutely adore the kind of jokes that are bound to appear, and the wittier it is, the better. This is another of the movies on my MUST WATCH list.

Spiderman 3
The third installment of this web-slinging hero is a must watch for fans of the comic book. It features Spidey's all time rival, Venom, and that alone is reason enough to catch it. There's enough information about this movie on the net, so I'll just concentrate on the trailer. It was provoking and portrayed just how difficult it is to be a superhero. Not to reveal too much of the plot, but suffice to say, having to struggle against three different people after his life is definitely going to make this show very exciting. I certainly hope it lives up to its hype.

Ocean's 13
Carrying on with the '3' trend, we have the third installment of this utterly magnificent show about conmen. It's one of the few shows where a plethora of high profile actors and actresses come together and actually put on a REALLY COOL show, and Ocean's 13 doesn't seem ready to disappoint. It's going to be intrigue after intrigue, con after con, life after lie as they try to pull of yet another heist, although what exactly I'm not entirely sure. We'd have to catch the show to find that out ourselves. Besides, what we *think* they're doing may not actually BE what they're doing. That's what makes this series so great! I'm keen to watch this show, although the trailer doesn't really tell me much.

Harry Potter and the Order of Phoenix
This is the fifth movie of the Boy who Lived, and it's a very dark movie; at least if the book is anything to go by. The actors and actresses have grown up (much to the delight of every Emma Watson fan out there) and they're going to be battling Lord Voldemort in any way they can. The trailer itself portrays the frustration Harry feels throughout the entire book, and I'd think the movie would too. I'd say the hype factor is, like Spidey 3, very high, but like so many over-hyped movies, they have a tendency to flop. The book itself doesn't give a very satisfying ending, and I have a feeling that the movie will do that too. After all, they'd need to leave you wanting more so you'd see the next one.

The best part is, I'm going to have my 3 months break in which I can try to catch these shows. Hopefully, they won't disappoint. By the way, HD trailers are huge! But the quality of the shows are just so amazing, it's perfectly understandable. Try it sometime.

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Posted by Gerald at 4/13/2007 03:19:00 AM

Anime Series Recommendations

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Well, it seems like recently there aren't many good Animes to catch. KIBA ended it's run, as did Sokou no Strain. Code Geass: Lelouch of the Rebellion ended its seasonal run recently and will be some time before we find out what happens next. It appears we are now devoid of our routine Anime fix... Or so we thought.

I checked through some more recent series that might be worth watching, and came across a few that seemed to draw my attention. I should start with Hataraki Man, which tells of a workaholic female editor and the problems she faces as a stressed out, working professional in a society like Japan. While it may not be extremely entertaining IMHO, it does have a lot of insightful views on the working class and even some tips as to how to handle yourself when you work in a stressed out environment. It's very real, and although lacks entertainment, contains a lot of depth. Check it out if you want a less silly, more 'content' type of Anime.

Next up, we have Hayate no Gotoku! It's the opposite of Hataraki Man, with it's playful, un-serious, crazy antics. It really reminds me of Suzumiya Haruhi, Excel Saga and FLCL, although the level of 'craziness' isn't that extreme. It DOES have a story unlike Excel Saga, and it is extremely entertaining. It's funny with a lot of absurd ideas, but still with enough story to keep things interesting. The narrative style of the series is pretty cool, and although I've only seen two episodes, I'm already loving it so much! Do check it out if you enjoy watching something that doesn't require a lot of brain power.

So what's replacing KIBA? Probably Busou Renkin which is kind of like a mix between FMA and *insert any battle type Anime here*. It's interesting enough the first few episodes I've seen. It tells about a guy who supposedly died, but somehow keeps living with an alchemical artifact as a replacement for his heart. This gives him the ability to use an alchemical weapon which he uses to battle homonculuses. These aren't the same type of homonculus as in FMA, though, but they can get pretty mean. It's entertaining to watch, and although I haven't gotten all that much into the story, it's still a pretty OK fighting Anime. Check it out if you're tired of the same old same old Naruto / Bleach neverending episode runs.

For a darker Anime, I'd recommend Darker than Black, a brand new Anime that features humans (well, at least they look human) who have extraordinary abilities. No, it's not mutation or genetics, and we don't know for sure what it is, although we do know it's somehow related to the stars. I've only seen the first episode, and although it left me hanging (there are a lot of unanswered questions), there's something tantalizing about this series that somehow makes me want to watch more of it. It starts off by throwing you into the middle of a chase and leaves you with more questions than answers. (Reminds me of how the original Men In Black movie started). Still, I'm keeping my eye on this one, and hopefully it'll grow into a very VERY interesting series. Check it out!

The description of Nagasarete Airantou is enough to make me think his series is worth checking out. I haven't even watched it yet, (it's in the pipeline ^^) but it seems to be yet another 'harem' type Anime; it's your typical one male many females type of show. It seems interesting enough so I'm giving it a mention, but since I haven't seen it, don't take my word for it. Still, it doesn't hurt to at least try watching an episode or two.

Well that's the list of ongoing Anime that I think will be interesting. Fortunately, they release only periodically, and not all at once, so I won't be caught in a crazy marathon chasing one episode after another... At least not until after my exams.

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Posted by Gerald at 4/11/2007 09:13:00 PM

Lousy Parenting

Friday, April 06, 2007

I was in the train today, and since it was Good Friday, it was significantly crowded. Public holidays usually cause congestions in a small city like Singapore. Taking the train across town was usually a quiet, lonely affair, one in which I enjoyed simply reflecting on life and how things were doing. It's not like you could do much standing all the way while waiting for your stop. Unfortunately, this moment of deep reflection was shattered today. Halfway through the journey, a piercing scream rang out through the train, and the cause of it all was one little girl, fairly chubby, screaming at the top of her lungs for goodness knows what reason. Now I'm a pretty tolerant guy, but when the screams carry on non-stop for about 10 minutes, and it doesn't seem like the guardians are doing anything about it, it gets REALLY REALLY irritating. Sadly, this reminds me about the very thing which plague just about every family living in a modern society, particularly the affluent ones.

It's called Lousy Parenting.

Children today are spoilt. They do what they want, and largely get away with it. Most parents simply couldn't care less about what their children do. I was appalled when I saw that girl hitting the man carrying her (presumably her father) and trying to hit her mother standing next to him. They kept telling her that "everyone was looking at her", in a vain attempt to get her to stop. When I was younger, I NEVER cried in public. To create a scene by kicking and screaming would warrant disciplinary action from my parents (usually a slap on the face and then daring me to cry again), of which I am now grateful for. My parents were a lot more considerate to others when handling their children in public. I truly believe that the parents I saw on the train utterly FAILED to discipline their child. Now, I'm not advocating abuse, in that you severely beat your child or take your anger out on them, but if you as a parent cannot teach a child from young to be considerate, then you have FAILED as a parent.

Let's face it, children cry when they don't get what they want. It's a natural impulse. This however, does not mean we give in to their cries, or that we merely tolerate it. It's a nuisance, especially when done in public. Hearing a child scream and yell in public is painful for everyone else to hear, and they will no less realise just how much of an utter failure you are as a parent. Teach your child not to scream when they don't get what they want. If they want to cry, fine, but make sure they do it quietly and do not disturb the peace of others.

"But we can't control our children from screaming..." This is an excuse, an excuse for parents with poor parenting skills, and who do not even want to work hard at bringing their children up right. There are a lot of children who are trained not to cause a racket whenever they are in public, and they get there not by 'natural talent', but by proper disciplinary actions taken at the appropriate age. "But disciplining a child is cruel... I don't have the heart to beat him/her... " Let me say this, if you can't raise your hand to discipline your child, you don't love him/her enough. If you choose not to discipline your child, you're taking the easy way out, and chances are, you're going to have a very rebellious teenager in the future. Choosing NOT to discipline a child isn't a sign of love and patience, it's a sign of negligence and fear. If you're scared to do it, then you're not fit to be a parent.

As I thought about these things, I also came to realise that the problem might run a little deeper. At the risk of blatantly generalising, I'd wager that MOST cosmopolitan families have a problem when it comes to disciplining children. I've seen or read cases where parent blame everyone and everything but themselves for a child's bad behaviour. Sometimes, it is the school which gets the blame, when the truth is that the attitude of the child was NOT formed from the school, but from the homes in which they were brought up. Many children are no longer raised by their parents, but by nannies and maids at home, who seldom scold them for any wrong, if at all. Parents ought to take a lot more interest in their children's life, and not just comply to their requests as compensation for time not spent with them.

A fine balance has to be maintain when it comes to discipline. It is NOT to release your anger, but to train a child to understand the wrongs that he/she has done. I won't delve into how you should parent your child, since I'm not a parent yet anyway. However, I can share my own experience growing up, and my views on what poor parenting and good parenting is.

When I was younger, I got scolded, and caned a lot. They were done with the sole purpose of teaching me the difference between right and wrong, to have me learn about life and how to live it right. I was also shown the right amount of love, in which my parents would tell me frequently how much they love me, and spend time with me, especially after a disciplining session. I grew up trusting them a lot. As I grew up, they gave me more and more freedom, although always availing themselves if I needed them. I remember particularly that in my High School years, my friends and I used to head out to LAN shops to play games in the afternoons. I ALWAYS told my mother that I was going to play games, and NOT to study or any other lie, just to get her to let me go. She even sent me there (public transport where I grew up was very VERY pathetic). In return, I promised to be home on time, and I kept my word. This freedom was given to me only when they felt I was mature enough to use it responsibly, and I'm proud to say I didn't let them down. My results in High School was not perfect, but it was near the top and I always tried to do them proud. Unfortunately, this isn't the case nowadays. I see children given the same freedom when they were hardly 10, and abused it in the long run. As they grew older, it had become second nature to them, and their parents don't even know it.

I am a very strong advocate of the cane. I grew up in a time where caning was normal even in schools, and I turned out just fine. I also understand that some parents refuse to use the cane, but choose instead to talk to their children. While this may work when they are older, it would be too late as some attitudes would have already been formed in the earlier years. Furthermore, the lack of discipline in the earlier years would cause children to be less respectful of their parents. If your child does not respect you (not FEAR you), "talking" will get you nowhere.

Choosing to discipline your child does not show that you do not love him/her. Instead, it shows just how much you DO love him/her, although he/she may not understand at that point. I am very glad my parents did what had to be done, even though it probably hurt them too each time they hit me. In the end, it was all worth it. To go back to the incident, the girl finally stopped crying and the parents continued to console her. While peace was finally returned to the train, I sincerely worry for the child, because if her parents don't start being more firm, she'll end up walking all over them, causing a huge commotion every time she doesn't get what she wants. It would be fine if it were to stop there, but it might also be an indication that the child would eventually lose all respect for her parents, and we'd have yet another rebellious youth in the making.

As if we didn't have enough already...

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Posted by Gerald at 4/06/2007 11:16:00 PM