Esperanza Spalding performs Tell Him for the White House. I love watching her play:
All prices in USD.
- Airfare: 1,554.00 USD
- U.S. Customs User Fee: 11.00
- International Surcharge: 532.00
- U.S. Immigration User Fee: 14.00
- U.S. APHIS User Fee: 10.00
- September 11th Security Fee: 5.00
- Singapore Passenger Service Charge: 11.40
- Singapore Passenger Security Service Charge: 6.50
- Singapore Aviation Levy: 5.00
- Dom. Republic Airport Authority Fee: 30.00
- Dom. Republic Airport Infrastructure Fee: 32.60
- Dominican Republic Departure Tax: 20.00
- U.S. Passenger Facility Charge: 9.00
- Per Person Total: 2,240.50
Look at the charges!
APHIS charges are user fees to recover the costs of providing the following goods and services:
- Agricultural Quarantine and Inspection (AQI) services
- Export certification of plants and plant products
- Veterinary services for imports and exports of live animals and products
- Veterinary diagnostic goods and services
So many miscellaneous charges.
Did you know that in America, when the plane lands successfully, there are almost claps all the time? (On side note, if the plane fails to land, no one will be able to clap. Hurhur, humor gets dark.)
Anyway, I ask the passenger next to me to get an explanation. They just felt thankful that it’s landed safely or smoothly. “Wow! We don’t really do that in my country,” I added. And he asked, “no claps? then what’s there?”
“I don’t know. Everyone just turns on their phone, or something. Or grab their baggage. Or try to be the first out of the plane.”
Really it’s about expressing appreciation. I think there’s not enough people doing it here in Singapore. The clapping of hands in the plane is probably not even heard by the pilots in the cockpit. I’m certain the passengers weren’t simply clapping to congratulate the pilot for his or her smooth landing. The Americans — at least some are — are just genuinely pleased that they’ve had a safe flight and are showing their unreserved appreciation to the crew in general.
Even if the pilot doesn’t hear it, the crew members might just praise the pilot, adding that there were claps. This form of encouragement goes a long way and it’s ascertains what you are doing is right. Do that more to please others when they deserved it, compliments are free.
I’ll be away for about a week. I’m really excited about it although this would be largely a work trip. Will be in Dominican Republic and New Jersey for a while. I’ll try to upload a photo if I have an internet connection. My hopes aren’t high though!
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 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:
- Voice Memos
Google Maps team definitely deserve a good vacation.
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.
Apple CEO Tim Cook has said that the company will invest $100 million to bring production of its Mac computers back to the US, by way of partnerships with local suppliers, he revealed in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek.
This is reminiscent to The Atlantic’s article on an insourcing boom.
Recall back then Steve Jobs answered Obama’s question on how to make jobs go back to US? Jobs answered, “job’s aren’t coming back to U.S.” (Source).
It is likely that Apple starts to realize the hidden costs to sending production overseas. Apple probably met with challenges in feedback loop too, issues on the production line take longer to get back to the designers. It is probably a good move overall.
From my favorite indie band:
Bust Your Knee Caps – Pomplamoose
Pomplamoose is an American indie music duo consisting of multi-instrumentalists Jack Conte and Nataly Dawn.
Okay, what’s so special? You see what you hear! Well mostly.
From 30 rock, making fun of Chinese knockoffs:
The book for you
Man no good
By Lesbian Yellow-sour-fruit
Liz Lemon can translated into Lesbian Yellow-sour-fruit.
I can only frown.
Strong by Rick Perry
I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian, but you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.
As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion. And I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage.
Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again.
I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.
If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.