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We are what we think & my blog entries reflect how I think. Have a sip of the poison of my mind.. It's not always lethal.

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Mac Pro in 1 Minute And 11 Seconds

Apple? No.

Not every video carries a great punch at the very end. Yes, you should dump your cigarette butts into ash trays. You shouldn't feel bad about using shells that house crippled and limiting tech which ties up your hands as ash trays - especially when they DO resemble ash trays.

And when it comes to technology, one shouldn't give one's money away to feed lawyers in the service of those who are all too happy to impede tech's progress because they are now playing catch up and who think they invented and own everything under the sun. That would defeat the purpose and eventually, boomerang right back atcha - walled gardens can end up as prisons and ecosystems can be quicksand in disguise.

We've all heard of people who can't break away from the Apple ecosystem because of money invested. To make themselves feel better about it, some shut their eyes and minds to alternatives and convince themselves on a level no different from self-hypnosis that the prison they are trapped in is the best of all prisons. There are others who stay willingly because they genuinely like it and that's cool. It's the former group that is pitiful.

Apple? No. That is all.

-De Lion Speaks

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Something Amazing This Way Swings

Fuck Yeah \o/ That's like only just a week away and to think that my friend Lim had the cheek to tell me it's already screening in the cinemas. I wonder if he has switched to smoking bleach.

Anyway, considering that they ought to be screening the preview a few days earlier, that would make it less than a week. We'll see. And I very much prefer The Amazing Spiderman as compared to the Spiderman movie series acted by Tobey Maguire.

Why? Because Tobey's hairstyle is far from Peter Parker's original hairstyle from that of the comic's and the back-combed flat pancake hairstyle is so old and stale ever since.. ever since.. maybe 上海滩. Gosh, that's old as spoilt bread and an utter waste of hair cream. Hell, even Brylcream-esque hair cream has gone the way of the Dodo.

With all due respect to guys sporting this hairstyle, you need to get with the times. Anyway, if you see and hear a guy standing on his cinema chair and cheering whenever Peter Parker changes into Spiderman, it ought to be me. I need my kicks and cheap thrills.

Spiderman is my favourite super hero because he is just a struggling average Joe when he's out of his costume whom we can all identify with and he talks witty, as opposed to other super heroes who don't talk much and think that just flexing muscles tickles the mind of their audiences. Perhaps this is why I've always thought that Rambo was a himbo. Hey, that rhymes. Not sure if Rambo's considered a super hero but whatever.

Muscles are cool but the tongue is still mightier than hardened meat, just like how the pen is mightier than the sword. It's best to have both though. But if you can choose only one, don't choose himbo (muscles missing wit and conversational skills, that is).

Counting down the days till the web ball hits. I pity the cinema seat I'll be booking already.

-De Lion Speaks

Friday, April 11, 2014

To Clementi Arcade: A Little Discovery Trip

Most of the jobs I've done, including my current one, take me places and that is one thing I really love - provided the weather doesn't throw tantrums. The sense of freedom that comes with the travellings is strong but so is the sense of responsibility and the need for self-discipline and time management; considering I'm the only guy who can ensure I get my job done by the end of the day, since I travel solo to my customers' outlets and my timing is in my own hands.

And it's really nice being able to determine your own lunch hour as and when you like. My usual practice is to have my chow outside of official lunch hours (either before 12 noon or after 2pm). You know, avoiding the lunch mob so that I can always get a table easily and eat in peace and quiet with enough elbow space to work the cutlery. I skip lunch if I'm not hungry, since there's no point in putting extra pounds on myself when I don't need to.

I've always liked my past and present jobs this way, since I'm not the type of person that likes being confined to a chair for the entire day and live a regimented office lifestyle and my travellings keep me in good shape.

Um, that's with all due respect to those of you working indoors in offices. Look at it this way: Whenever the haze season hits or when you look outside your office window and see that it's pouring out there, or when you can see summer's heat waves frying everything outside, you can throw a smug grin my way. I can live with that.

Today, my job takes me to Clementi Arcade, a place I've never visited before. Clementi Arcade is situated in the Sunset Way vicinity; a little place in the western part of the city state.

Towards Clementi Arcade
Alighting at the bus stop as directed by my street directory app and getting myself orientated towards the correct direction, I begin my leisurely walk towards Clementi Arcade where I'm supposed to service one of my customer's outlets situated there.

Judging by the map opened up on my phone, it's going to be quite a little walk that takes a while, so I'm telling myself to soak in the environment with a spirit of discovery since this is one area I'm not familiar with. Despite the rather irritating slight drizzle of evening sky pee, it is still nice having a little discovery trip even if it should turn out to be one that awakens buried memories, since there is a faint hint of familiarity about the place I'm at. I probably came here before when I was a kid or something.

The canal comes into view after a short walk and I halt in my tracks to marvel at it, which soon got upgraded to a stare before I realized it. It's just a canal but I don't know, there's something beautiful about it in conjunction with the big and long white bridge spanning across it where I'm now on.

Walking along the pretty bridge to get to the other side of the canal where these blocks of residential buildings stand (which I have to pass through to get to Clementi Arcade), I stop to take a moment about halfway across the bridge to snap a photo of the canal from one side of the bridge.

By now, the slight drizzle has started coming down just a tad bit harder. How irritating. Why can't a man be left alone to take his camera shots while admiring the scenery around him and remain dry in the process? I guess I shouldn't linger on for too long. Nope, I don't have a brolly on me and I don't think I sport a good wet look.

Off in the distance further along the length of the long canal, I spot another bridge which, from the rusted look of it, ought to be a really old weather-beaten bridge. For some reason, the longer I study it visually, the more World War 2 comes to mind. I can't help but wonder just how many years that old bridge has been there, a silent structural relic and witness to the development of the whole vicinity through the years. If old bridges could talk, each of them would probably be screaming for a ship container's worth of WD-40.

For all I know, that bridge could probably even be much much older than me. It sure seems that way judging by its weary appearance. I wonder if it creaks loudly when one traverses across it. Nah, I guess I won't be finding that out just yet, since I just remembered I'm not here as a tourist and I actually have a job to complete before the day is over. Bummer.

Having just passed through the blocks of residential flats and asking this friendly Chinese dude with an American accent (an authentic sounding one, as opposed to the forced and fake sounding ones you sometimes hear here by some wannabe folks who think that just by rolling their 'R's and slurring quickly automagically give them the American tongue) in order to check with him if I'm heading towards the correct direction, he tells me: "Oh, Clementi Arcade is just on the other side of the tunnel ahead of us. You are almost there."

Thanking him, I begin to walk towards that short tunnel and I'm thinking to myself that it ought to be the shortest tunnel I've ever seen. In fact, it seems to be so short that if it was any shorter, it probably wouldn't qualify itself as a tunnel.

By now, the irritating slight drizzle is starting to grow to the midpoint between a drizzle and qualified rain (drizzain?). It seems like I'll make it to my destination just in the nick of time, for now that I've made it to the other side of the midget tunnel, I can see my customer's outlet just metres ahead on the left-hand side of the road.


The current weather condition is cooling and coupled with the strong air-conditioning inside my customer's big store, every pore on my body is tingling with delight since I like it cold. What's making me even more delighted though, is my Lioness' reaction to the photo I just sent her of the canal I took earlier. I'm making a mental note to bring her here with me someday, since the ambience of the place seems nice enough for some relaxing and peaceful chilling out with a loved one.

Don't be expecting a wide area for exploration though, Clementi Arcade is more along the lines of 'a nice quiet little place to sit down to wine and dine and chit chat.' There are not even many shops here to begin with. Clementi Arcade itself has a Cold Storage supermarket, a small restaurant pub, a nursery and a handful of shops. That's about it for this small building but there's a calming and relaxing vibe about the whole place that I really like.

As to what's around Clementi Arcade, the vicinity consists of landed property houses and I can see Caucasians and Japanese going about the area. I'm drawing the conclusion here that this place is mostly inhabited by foreigners. Well, at least it does seem to be that way from the looks of things.

There is a staircase leading up to a second floor of the Clementi Arcade building but I'm not exactly sure what's up there, since considering that it's now already past 6pm, I better finish my work here quickly at my customer's place on the ground floor instead of going on a little exploration trip up those flight of stairs. Time to hustle, I don't earn overtime pay in my line of work since I'm supposed to oversee my own time-management out on the road and in the field.

After-Work Chillout

The workday has finally come to a close and it's a Friday evening.. If you are thinking what I'm thinking, yeah, it's a good time for some beer now, yeah?

So the quiet little restaurant pub here at Clementi Arcade is called 'Bather's Bistro'. I'm now sitting at their outside table (and there's only one single table out here) with a pint of good old Heineken before me. Always have been a Heineken man when it comes to my choice of liquid gold. Carlsberg would be my second choice and I never liked Tiger, since it leaves the most bitter after-taste in my mouth.

A few minutes earlier when I went inside Bathers to order my beer, I asked one of the staffs in there as courteously as I could whether I could snap a photo of the bar and the good man consented after giving me a brief momentary WTF look, complete with raised eyebrows and agaped month.

The things I have to go through sometimes just to obtain photos for my blog posts. An innocent and cheery "Oh, I would just like to recommend my friends to come check out your turf here" from me got me the green light to play photographer - and that wasn't a lie because I am recommending Bather's Bistro here in this blog post; if you are looking for a relaxing and peaceful little restaurant pub that's quiet enough to hear yourself think.

Conversation With The Voice In My Head

Speaking of hearing yourself think, I'm now thinking about the state of my current job as I take swigs of my beer. These is no such thing as a perfect job but to me, the close to perfect job is a job which I can be, say, 70% percent happy for the most part. That's not too much to ask for, is it? We all need to go through life with a yardstick anyway and my own home-brewed work happiness index is an important thing to me, especially when it comes to long-term commitments like one's career.

Yup, 'Long-Term' is something that we cannot afford to underestimate. If we do, then it's at our own peril. When it comes to career, that is something which occupies most of the waking moments of our lives. Heck, it can even eat into the moments when we shouldn't be awake. So it stands to reason that if you are miserable for the most part in your career, you are going to lead a miserable life for the most part, yes? It's a directly proportional relationship situation.

For me, if I find myself miserable for the most part, I'm not gonna switch myself to masochistic mode, take the punches lying down and do nothing about it and live the rest of my life just sucking it up as a corporate vacuum cleaner. The prospect of that horrifies me.

Unfortunately, looking really hard at it and being honest as well as transparent with myself, I have to rate my current work happiness index as wayyy below 70%. That's a definite fail in my non-fiction book and the result is that I can only view what I'm doing now as a job, as opposed to it being a career. The former makes you drag your feet to work while the latter gives you something worthwhile to strive towards. Really major difference here between drudgery and motivation.

If I could change and improve my situation, my less than desirable work happiness index wouldn't have bothered me as much, since I could have done something about the temporal situation. But if the associated misery is actually the nature of the beast when it comes to the industry you are in, then you can either try to constantly swim against the tide and risk drowning or, take the self-initiative to go look for a tributary with a boat that gets pushed along with the current and heading in the direction you wish to go.

Of course, there are good aspects of my current job amidst all the shitty mess; just as with everything else in life; so saith Yin and Yang, but when the bad far outweighs the good till the balance of things becomes seriously lopsided and mega fucked up to the point where I will lose more than I will gain if I stick to it and tough it out, that would be like investing in a business going downhill with a broken brake pedal. Why should I invest in long-term losses? It's a world of opportunities out there and I don't see why I should trap myself in a well, Kermit.

So the conclusion I'm drawing here is: I'm gonna hold out as best as I can manage to while starting my hunt for better options. I'm the one and only person owing that to myself. No one else.

Going Home

Now that I've finished 2 pints, paid the bill and am done having a conversation with myself between my ears, I begin to proceed to the waiting point for the shuttle bus that will take me to the Clementi train station. The waiting point is just across the road directly opposite Clementi Arcade, thanks to the lady staff at Baestro who told me about that earlier.

The waiting point is made up of just a pole with a small sign attached to it, so it isn't very obvious from a distance. So if you should come here for the first time and thinking of taking the shuttle bus to Clementi central from here, then yeah, Iook for a pole by the side of the road just opposite the Clementi Arcade building.

After waiting here for some time, I can now see the red shuttle bus approaching and it's actually looking like a tram. I like that, how European-esque.

Hopping aboard and choosing a seat for myself near the back, this uniformed man approaches me and tells me matter-o-factly that I need to purchase a ticket for the ride. So he's the bus conductor and for a second, I was taken aback. You see, I didn't know the ride isn't free and the last time when a bus conductor in this city state asked me to manually purchase a bus ticket from him, it was when I was a kid. The shuttle bus suddenly seems like a time machine on wheels.

Ok, so I dig out my wallet from my bag to give him the $1.30 for the ride and he passes me a ticket. I feel Iike I've gone back to my kiddy past in a nice nostalgic way. Sniff. The young bus conductor explains to me that the shuttle service is privately-owned and thus, they have to charge for the service. No problem with that, since I've just demonstrated to him what a cooperative and law-abiding citizen I am in the form of a dollar and thirty cents now jingling away in his conductor bag.

That's ok, really, considering no state-owned public buses come through this area anyway. If you would like to take the cheaper public buses out of here instead, you have to walk like 5 minutes or so to the main road - just go back through that little tunnel mentioned earlier and continue going straight ahead, following the road past the nearby residential blocks with a row of shops under them until you hit the T-junction where the bus stops are, one on each side of the junction. Cross over to the bus stop on the opposite side if you are heading towards the direction of Clementi.

It looks like the drizzle is back. Just like the shuttle bus I'm in is taking me away from Clementi Arcade, I've decided to take myself away from the job I'm currently in in due time and move on to something better. I can't tell when that's gonna happen just yet but I sure as heck do not wish to do what I'm currently doing for the rest of life.

If you don't do something about misery, then you have to live with it for as long as you allow yourself to live with it. So I'll take the former option, since my job is not the one and only job that exists in the world and the world is a really big place. A broad perspective can do wonders. I guess I'll just have to time things right and make sure that my pursuit of happiness doesn't end up as another misery.

As for my virgin trip to Clementi Arcade today, it made me feel like a tourist going on a little discovery trip but in the end, I discovered more about not just myself and my aspirations but it also reminds me just how important it is to be transparent and honest with oneself.

Quiet times with yourself are your mirrors, make good use of them.