Monthly Archives: December 2005

Ear Wax

My ears are full of wax, not having cleared them for some time now. My excuse for having so much wax? “Oh I hear bullshit all the time, especially in office. You know why this ear has more? Coz that is facing outside of my cubicle and more bullshit comes from that direction.”

In Hokkien, ear wax is also known as ear shit, or having shit in your ears.

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BioWillie exhaust smells like french fries

Alternative fuels are slow to take off. While we have a few natural gas buses and I think hybrid hydrogen-electric cars in Singapore, biodiesel is making headway in US. See this article on New York Times.

If BioWillie demonstrates anything, it is that the combination of Middle East wars, global warming and rising prices at the pump has led many people to offer solutions to the world’s energy’s squeeze. Depending on whom you ask, cars will someday run on hydrogen, electricity, natural gas or ethanol. 

But there will always be problems while the technology is not yet mature

Daniel Becker, the Sierra Club’s top global warming expert, said he would prefer to see wider use of a cleaner alternative fuel, like natural gas.

Referring to biodiesel, he said, “In order to grow soybeans, you need multiple passes over the field with diesel tractors, you need a lot of fertilizer that’s energy intensive to produce and, at the end of the day, you have a product that is no boon for the environment.”

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That’s life

I got this in an email.

that_s_life_.gif
This is cute, but I asked the sender if life is worth living, if this is all there is to life. Some would have committed suicide if this is all there is to life. There are other things that keep you wanting to be alive: family, friends, goals, principles, favourite activities, etc.

For work to be all that there is to life, it must be work that you truly enjoy. There are some people who are blessed with jobs that excite and satisfy them. I want to be one of them. Work can be a tyrant with its demands on our time and energy. Work must be managed. Or even better, I need a new job that I truly enjoy, not one that just pays the bills. It will help if I can continue to draw the same pay doing what I enjoy more.

But really, if I don’t make an effort to move out of where I am now, it will get harder and harder to do so as time passes, until I am categoried as those who “beat until die also refuse to leave”.

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Magstar Asia

My very talented friend, Terence, made very special Christmas cards for us. These are “hand-made” cards which he styled after air tickets so that they will be meaningful for us.

The details that he has put in are fantastic, and all of us declared that he is probably fully able to counterfeit dollar notes and pass them off as the real stuff. Not that he would have the inclination to do so. How did he do it? Is the secret in his Epson colour laser printer? Is it his Adobe Illustrator? We doubt so. Give us the same printer and software and we would not be able to do this in a year. These are tools in his hands, but mere toys in ours.

Considering that he created the cards for us during a Christmas season when he is very much busier than usual, and considering how he kept telling us he made the cards for us because it is easier than buying presents for us, it has to be his skills. Easier? The rest of us would find it easier to buy them off the shelf. This is a way to tell those who are talented and skilled apart from the rest of us who are not.

Terence is finally able to make a living teaching designing, which he enjoys. He is someone who is finally able to live off what he love to do, and is really good at the thing he enjoys doing too. It takes guts to step out of a comfortable and stable job to do something different that you really wanted to do. It takes some talent and plenty of hard work (or lots of talent and some hard work) to develop the skill so as to earn a living. But it sure is more meaningful!

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The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe

I will not attempt to write a proper review for a movie like this, knowing there are lots of fans out there who can do the proper research on the actors, screenplay, compare it with similar movies and other such professional stuff. I will just give my comments on having read the book many many winters ago and having just watched the movie.

I was disappointed at how watered-down it was. The book was clearly inspired by the Gospels, using the lion Aslan to tell the story of Jesus who led His people against the evil ruler of the age, how He sacrificed Himself to save the guilty from death, and how He rose again from the death, more powerful than before. Very little was said of the sacrifice and coming back; it was as though Aslan simply knew something that the Witch did not, and it worked to his advantage. Without talking about how Aslan had created Narnia and now reclaims it, freeing his people from the rule of the Witch, the battle is little more than a civil war.

I suppose it was intentionally kept neutral and watered down, leaving churches with the task of explaining the meaning to non-Christians who are invited to Christmas services. Unfortunately, many people simple compared it with Lord Of The Rings and commented on how this Narnia story is more predictable as good will always win. They are missing the whole point of course. At least my church explained that while Harry Potter tells (misleadingly) of magic users who live among us in the real world, Narnia tells of another world that is clearly not in the real world that we live in, and hence is a fairytale where magic can exist. Hence license for a story of magic to be told in church?

Whatever. There is a lot of concern among church-goers over stories of magic, and some parents had been telling their children that “Harry Potter is evil”. I get a little upset over people who dismiss fantasy stories as evil, without having read any of them. The setting just makes the story more fun to read. It is the content of the story that is more important, whether the story is teaching proper values to your children. Children should be taught to tell fantasy from truth anyway. Silly, family-oriented movies that show people doing the wrong things and laughing them off can do more harm to growing children, but parents think that they are fine. Are the stories teaching your children to work hard for what he wants and to stand up for what he believes in, or teaching them to sneak out of difficult situations?

The rest of the story was exciting enough, with discovery, friendship, escape and war. The actors were fantastic, the Witch can be intimidating and comforting as needed, Lucy was innocent and sweet, Peter was kingly when he was knighted. I’m looking forward to how other 6 books will be interpreted for the big screen.

You can read about the movie at imdb.

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tooth extraction

My sunshine got one of her wisdom tooth extracted today. After 2 days of slight pain. On a public holiday, after 2 days of not really knowing where to find a 24hr dentist, and not really bothering to because it was only a slight pain. Well, the important thing is that she got it out, the whole tooth and nothing but the tooth.

This is the first time I am witnessing a dental operation, where the gum is cut open (I think), the tooth broken up and removed, and finally the gum stitched up. The blood coming out of her mouth was a bit unnerving for me. Fortunately, she herself could not see it. I would be less worried if the operation was done on somebody else.

The doctor was a serious chap of few words. It helps a lot to have a dentist you trust, perhaps recommended by someone you trust, or at least the dentist must be someone who could make you feel comfortable. Which explains how a friend of mine could survive in his upmarket clinic in the business district while he is still a fresh grad. He could talk, he could say silly things that put people at ease. And his skill with the anesthetic was pretty good, to the point that I barely felt it on the receiving end.

Lesson learnt: In the service line, it really helps to be able to communicate with and reassure people. Your skills can be secondary, comforting them comes first.

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Porcupine hair

It is stylish these days for guys to comb their hair in a spiky fashion, using lots of gel to make their hair stand up. The resemblance to porcupines can be uncanny at times. There was this teenager in front of me who turned his head suddenly and his “quills” poked into my face.

This style is not actually that new. Punks had been colouring their hair and using tons of gel to make them stand. The current trend is to go for a flamboyant, “big hairdo” kind of look rather than to turn hair into hard needles. Fortunately for me, or I would have been disfigured. It is obvious that I don’t dig this style. This cat likes his fur soft and natural, as fuss-free as possible.

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