Interesting discoveries #02

It’s been a busy week at work; I never thought I had the time to write this. So here’s what I gathered the past week or so.

1. Read: The Art of Racing in the Rain

A sweet book about a racer from a dog’s perspective. It’s not a book I would have picked up if not for Amazon’s offer and reviews. It’s a good book but I shan’t delve into what Amazon has already decide to be anyway.

The fact that I bought a book on mere offer must have meant something. My spending methods have changed. I use to despise the idea of going to the supermarket and purchasing goods simply because the item is on offer. I now found myself succumbing to that temptation and a half-an-hour introspection was to follow.

Story! Yes, the book is good and this is coming from a reader neither a racing enthusiast nor a dog owner. I do like dogs though.

2. Gun fires in Sandy Hook Elementary School

The most heart-wrenching story of the week is to be the case (CNN) where a gunman killed 26 people at the school, including 20 children, before taking his own life on Friday. I was watching the video reports of this online.

It’s leading to gun control debates, even the National Rifle Association has pretty much shut up in their Twitter account. Moving on from the tragedy, it’s a good opportunity to discuss on the issues with gun ownership and I believe America will reach a rightful conclusion in the months to come. It does irk me a little that the discussion got distracted by people who are calling for more god in schools. Focus on the gun policies first, we’ll talk about morals later.

3. The Walking Dead

Kevin recommended me The Walking Dead and I have been pretty much glued to it. The Walking Dead is an American television drama series developed by Frank Darabont. It is based on the comic book series of the same name by Robert Kirkman, Tony Moore, and Charlie Adlard. The series stars Andrew Lincoln as sheriff’s deputy Rick Grimes, who awakens from a coma to find the world dominated by flesh-eating “walkers”, resembling the zombies of George A. Romero’s horror movies. He sets out to find his family and encounters many other survivors along the way.

I am not why the drama distance themselves from the “zombie” association. I found that hard to accept. Given the whole setting was made to resemble reality — i.e. having places like the CDC, Fort Benning and Atlanta — I feel a little “betrayed” that no one seems to know about “zombies.” Why is that even so? This is not the reality I live in. Of all the efforts that place in creating this familiar environment, I found myself constantly awaken at each mention of the word “zombie.”

The Walking Dead has good story arcs but falls shorts in their lines. I love the visuals too.

4. Apache Maven

I never came across Apache Maven until this week where my new job requires me to. Maven is a build automation tool typically used for Java projects. Maven serves a similar purpose to the Apache Ant tool, but it is based on different concepts and works in a profoundly different manner. It can also be used to build and manage projects written in C#, Ruby, Scala, and other languages.

I don’t have much of comment on this accept that it is one of the most complicated build management tool I have seen. Or maybe I’m just unfamiliar with these things.

5. SimCity, released on March

What got me excited this week most is the upcoming SimCity.

I leave you the video to watch.

6. Upgrading/buying a new computer

I never learnt so much about computers until I have intentions to buy on. My new work place is at Sunshine Plaza and that is a 5 minute walk away from nerd heaven Sim Lim Square. So I was there doing a bit of cost research. I don’t plan to spend a lot on a computer since I’m just going to play SimCity on it when it is released.

If possible I am going to just stick with an integrated graphic card. I saw that the upcoming Intel Haswell micro-architecture has a significant improvement on their Intel HD offerings and I am looking forward to it although I might not have the patience to wait for it. Making a decision when SimCity is out is definitely not too late so, I’ll do that!

For those self-professed hardware idiots, like me, the update is they are now on DDR3 RAM, and the graphic cards are less a necessity more an option. Also the CPU casings are getting more beautiful. And also Intel i5 3330 (Ivy Bridge) seems to suffice. MSI is cheaper than Asus and it’s okay to get cheaper motherboards, they aren’t as bad as the cheaper motherboards of the past. Okay I know nerd language now. Moving on.

7. Sunshine Plaza

How little they did for Christmas decorations:

Sunshine Plaza

Sunshine Plaza has a mall, a residential and office building. It’s across Fortune Center. Good location, I’m happy it’s near all the tiny food places. Will update on that.

8. Google Maps for iOS

Google Maps for iOS is just pure joy to use after the 4 month deprivation of it. Currently the Google Maps application is top in Apple’s App Store and has a 5 out of 5 average rating. Google really deserves this and Apple has help educate the public how hard it is to get mapping right. Google has triumphed this time and Apple is probably a bit thankful for that. It’s time to put Apple Maps in the folder where I place all the crap I can’t uninstall.

I would have but cannot get rid of the following applications:

  • Reminders
  • Notes
  • Weather
  • Compass
  • Voice Memos
  • Stocks
  • Passbook
  • Maps

Google Maps team definitely deserve a good vacation.

End notes

This week has been busy and my sore throats gotten worse. I met my new colleagues that I haven’t been as able to be chatty as I could have been. I spend more time reading this week, mainly on Maven, Backbone.js and Handlebars.js. It’s going to an exciting next week.

The Little Nyonya short clip falls short

Last Sunday there was this The Little Nyonya (小娘惹) short clip. You know the five minute one. My friend informed me about it and I told my mom. She glued herself to the screen fifteen minutes before commencement of the highly anticipated (yet extraordinary) short clip. Yet even the short clip falls short.

It’s just Yue Niang and Chen Xi at the train tracks. I don’t have much impression what they were doing already. It’s almost as if there was going to be a sub plot. And then Chen Xi and Yue Niang start speaking their minds which is kinda odd especially when the whole thing start becoming third person.

Chen Xi (Qi Yi Wu) and Yue Niang (Ou Xuan) together

(Chen Xi (Qi Yi Wu) and Yue Niang (Ou Xuan) together.)

And Chen Xi and Yue Niang starts to thank the viewers for watching. What? Oh, no thank you! Seriously have a better closing feature. Don’t rewrite the ending because that’s just lame, I can always imagine fan fiction for alternate endings. Show something that’s not shown.

Oh yeah, and stop the pregnant “The Little Nyonya” wife whose husband lies on the tummy to hear the baby’s excitement advertisement. Nobody gets that advertisement. It was cute the first time, only annoying the subsequent time. It’s been on telly for a week playing that The Little Nyonya tune with absolutely nothing to show. It’s such a shame. It’s time to move on to something else already.

My thoughts after watching The Little Nyonya (小娘惹)

The previous Monday was the last episode of The Little Nyonya (小娘惹). I was watching it with my mom. I watch about 30% of the whole series, I either overslept, too tired, too busy or too pek chek. (“Pek chek” is the feeling of frustration, typically arising from the fact that there isn’t much that can be done to alleviate a problem.)

The Little Nyonya Mediacorp

(The Little Nyonya by Mediacorp.)

The Little Nyonya is the most pek chek series I ever watch. Right next to Lost which is really pek chek ’cause I have to wait months for the next season. I often bring my netbook and sit on the sofa to watch with her when I have the time. And when things get a little too pek chek, I enjoy some juice from my fridge while someone’s crying on television.

The series tells of Peranakan culture which is quite refreshing. A good detour from the typical Mediacorp Singapore dramas that involves a bunch of crazy folks and neighbors, a cute (in a smart-ass way) but helpless kid and some references to national education. What happen to the Mediacorp stock characters? Oh oh, I know the answer to this one – they’re all compacted in the next drama of Reunion Dinner (团圆饭). I yawned twice on the first day. The second day I yawned before the show starts and went to bed.

Just today my mom was saying the finale was terrible. “Thought you say nice?” Mom: “Bad ending.”

Chen Xi (Qi Yi Wu) and Yue Niang (Ou Xuan) together

{[Yue Niang (Ou Xuan) and Chen Xi (Qi Yi Wu) together.] * 1}

Huh? I thought the ending was a good one? Well it wasn’t fantastically beautiful I guess but it was still a good ending, no? My mom wants to see Chen Xi (Qi Yi Wu) and Yue Niang (Ou Xuan) together and at the last few episodes she still wants to see them together. I keep telling her if they get together, I’d fire the scriptwriter.

If you ask me at the middle of the drama, I would say it would be great to see them together but as it reaches to the end and with all the plot unfolding, the chance of Yue Niang becoming the wife of Chen Xi is almost negligible. In fact, it would be rather uncharacteristic of Yue Niang to be with Chen Xi as it would be snatching her sister’s husband (even though they probably divorce or something). Yue Niang’s character has always been consistently self-sacrificial (which is why I say it’s really pek chek) and at the end of the series it would be likely that she would sacrifice again and again. I am so prepared for the additional sacrifice I stock up my fridge with apple juice. Furthermore, putting them together would be like watching a Disney-style ending, it’s like watching Cinderella with Peranakan seasoning.

Disney Cinderella kiss

(Disney Cinderella style ending for The Little Nyonya?)

I looked at the ending as a good one, probably because I did not view The Little Nyonya as a love story. I view it as a story of a person. After all, it’s The Little Nyonya and not The Adorable Nyonya Couple. May I also add that mid-series I actually thought The Pek Chek Show would’ve been a much apt title. I think ultimately, The Little Nyonya delivered. Whether it is the desired ending or not isn’t much of an issue. It’s the story of her, as the scriptwriter portrays. I think he or she did a good job.

However I am disappointed that The Little Nyonya felt a little rush with several unaddressed plot developments such as:

  • What happen during the fire? How did Yue Niang escape?
  • What happen to Liu Yi Dao? (By the way, that’s one of my favorite characters, hahaa…)
  • What happen to Yue Niang’s husband? I know he wasn’t shown because they couldn’t find an old caucasian dude who resembles the younger actor but still…
  • What happen to Yue Niang’s family? I know they moved into the house and then? (Oh by the way, seeing a bunch of old folks looking at the house like it’s heaven is really funny. I laughed, sorry.)
  • What happen to Chen Xi and Libby? Perhaps more coverage would be good after all much of the series focuses on developing Chen Xi’s character.

I don’t think there would be a next season, they practically killed of all characters to begin a new season. A parallel plot is possible but it’s untested in Singapore dramas (correct me if I’m wrong). Perhaps a single hour sub plot would be good to revisit the familiar characters and address some of the questions above. A spring festival special perhaps?

Lost returns early next year

Lost returns end-January next year, I’ve been waiting for this!

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