Archive for April, 2010

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Coping mechanisms for Grammarphiles

April 28, 2010

If you get annoyed by blatant disregard grammar and punctuation rules like I do, the Internet is a bad place for your blood pressure.

Here are some excellent coping mechanisms from a like-minded soul : http://hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com/2010/04/alot-is-better-than-you-at-everything.html

This is a good one:

When someone types out “u” instead of “you,” instead of getting mad, I imagine them having only one finger on each hand and then their actions seem reasonable.  If I only had one finger on each hand, I’d leave out unnecessary letters too!

hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

Thanks, Allie. I’ll keep this in mind for next time.

And I love the ALOT too!

The Alot is an imaginary creature that I made up to help me deal with my compulsive need to correct other people’s grammar.  It kind of looks like a cross between a bear, a yak and a pug, and it has provided hours of entertainment for me in a situation where I’d normally be left feeling angry and disillusioned with the world.

hyperboleandahalf.blogspot.com

P/S: I know there’s a whole other camp who absolutely detests it when people make words – like “Grammarphiles” – up. Or, I’m thinking, it could be a subset of the same camp of obsessive compulsive folks. Well, too bad for them.

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Photoshoot : Tiong Bahru in Wide Angle

April 28, 2010

Originally uploaded by pigonwings

This exercise was inspired by @hanshoots: Tiong Bahru in Wide Angle (or not exactly)

I recently invested in a 10-22mm ultra-wide angle lens, which is apparently supposed to be quite spectacular, as far as entry-level lenses go at least.

Unfortunately, it has been doing little more than sit in my bag ever since. Every once in awhile, I shake off the dust and take a customary shot or two in deference to the cash I forked out for it, but it really isn’t my glass of choice.

Ironically, it is my 50mm f/1.8 Prime – costing barely a tenth of the price – that ends up getting the most air time. For “noobs” like myself, it is probably the most bang-for-your-buck piece of gear to start with.

As a result, however, I have been quite limited in terms of shot variety.

I realized this when I had to submit my last photo project. My interpretation of a fishery port is all gills, scales and guts, but I was hard-pressed when asked for an “establishing” shot of the area. (Thus the crappy poem to cover up this inadequacy.)

This was @hanshoots’ advice in light of this:

Try this, go out on a shoot one day, choose one lens only, and stick to that lens for the next week or so. You’ll find that you’ll see things very differently.

It makes perfect sense. So when the Little Sister called for a Sunday morning shootout at Tiong Bahru, it was an excellent opportunity for me to test it out.

I wish I could say that it opened up a whole new world of possibilities for me, but quite frankly, IT. WAS. PAINFUL.

It took a lot of discipline to resist reaching into my bag and fishing out a lens I knew would give me the shots I wanted.

As it turns out, I did not get a single shot I am particularly pleased with and I don’t think this selection showcases the potential of the lens at all. Hopefully with more practice it will get better, but I am so dreading the next time.

On the bright side, I brought the Think Tank Rotation 360 Beltpack out for a spin (I realized I don’t have enough gear to warrant using the rest of the backpack as yet), and it was perfect!

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Think it, then do it?

April 22, 2010

If there’s one thing to be said about me: When I want something, I go out and get it.

And I don’t mean that in the good sense.


My interest was piqued during Jino’s class last weekend when he mentioned Think Tank’s camera bags. (By the way, Jino gave plenty of great tips which I completely appreciated; unfortunately many of them, as with many things in life photography, require some “investment”.)

I did some research (I was quite depressed that they had it on Amazon but wouldn’t ship to Singapore) and, having some time to spare today, dropped by Shaw Towers and became the proud owner of the Rotation 360 in ten minutes flat.

I also figured the Aquapac would be absolutely essential. You know, since we’d be going onto zodiacs for landings, and we might get wet, and all that jazz. It’s being shipped as we speak.

Now I am having a wee bit of a guilt attack.

I’m so efficient when it comes to shopping that it scares me.

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Poor imitation of a Talkshow

April 13, 2010

I haven’t caught local TV for awhile. The boyfriend and I decided to give it a chance on Sunday night, as it looked from the trailers that there are some new and interesting programmes coming round the block, but the standard is absolutely appalling! I was so irked at wasting half an hour of my life that I had the impetus to write in to MediaCorp (well, they asked for feedback):

I watched the premier telecast of ‘Singapore Talking’ on Sunday.

While the topic was promising (and being in the same boat as the concerned individuals who are currently priced out of the property market, very close to my heart), it was an extremely poorly executed imitation of a talk show.

From the programme’s start, the host Ashraf Safdar looked like he was in a rush to be somewhere else. He was constantly interrupting the guests speakers just as they started making some headway into the discussion. There were many instances where he posed a question to either one of the speakers and they are barely a few words into the sentence when he has anticipated (or assumes he has anticipated) what they are going to say and cuts them off.

He obviously had certain discussion points to put across, ensure he incorporates pseudo-interactive elements like call ins and e-mails and keep to the timing for commercial breaks, which resulted in abrupt changes to the topic or suddenly entertaining (literally in mid-sentence) calls and e-mails that touched on completely separate tangents.

Watch the recording again, and it will be glaringly clear that Ashraf’s head was hardly even in the discussion; he was probably more concerned about what point he is going to cover next.

Perhaps giving pointers to the presenter are a necessity in case the discussion tapers off, but the producers need to realize that in such talk shows, the insights oftentimes come from the participants themselves. The host merely plays a role of facilitating the interaction, probing and incisive questioning for greater depth.

Unfortunately, in this case, the host was obstructing the discussion rather than facilitating. I feel sorry for the guests (two “industry experts” and a “man on the street”); they may have had some interesting perspectives, but were hardly ever allowed to speak.

Maybe, in a typically Singaporean manner, the producers were much too afraid (read : kiasi) to allow interaction and debate to flow naturally, an essential pre-requisite for such a format. Otherwise, why bother having studio guests come in in the first place? If one wanted full control, you might just as well have featured the host in a 20-minute soliloquy on the topic.

The show promised interesting debate and provoke thought, but hardly even scratched the surface of such a passionate issue for many Singaporeans. Reading someone’s random blog post might have been more enlightening, and you probably could get more “discussion” from the comment thread.

In the end, ‘Singapore Talking’ falls prey to the same trap of the issues it wishes to address – too dictated and controlled allow room for creativity.

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Oddball

April 10, 2010

Someone called me “oddly interesting” today. Or rather, apparently my blog is.

I thought it was such a unique compliment. Made my day! 😀

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50% there!

April 9, 2010
From my 43 things: Visit 100 great cities (and towns) before 40.

Although, I can’t believe the milestone 50th destination on the list is Batam, Indonesia, a mere 40 minute ferry ride away. As one of my friends puts it, “Going to Batam isn’t a vacation, it’s like going to the zoo”.

50. Batam, Indonesia
49. Mevagissey, United Kingdom
48. St Austell, United Kingdom
47. Ventimiglia, Italy
46. Monaco
45. Nice, France
44. Paris, France
43. Cambridge, United Kingdom
42. London, United Kingdom
41. Freiberg, Germany
40. Osaka, Japan
39. Hong Kong
38. Chiang Rai, Thailand
37. Margaret River, Australia
36. Kalbarri, Australia
35. Geraldton, Australia
34. Cervantes, Australia
33. Perth, Australia
32. Salzburg, Austria
31. Burghausen, Germany
30. Garmisch Partenkirchen, Germany
29. Fussen, Germany
28. Nuremberg, Germany
27. Munich, Germany
26. Hualian, Taiwan
25. Taipei, Taiwan
24. Toronto, Canada
23. Orlando, USA
22. Miami, USA
21. Pennsylvania, USA
20. Syracuse, USA
19. Ithaca, USA
18. New York, USA
17. Melbourne, Australia
16. Sydney, Australia
15. Brisbane, Australia
14. Beijing, China
13. Nanjing, China
12. Suzhou, China
11. Wuxi, China
10. Shanghai, China
9. Redang Island, Malaysia
8. Fraser’s Hill, Malaysia
7. Genting Highlands, Malaysia
6. Johor Bahru, Malaysia
5. Malacca, Malaysia
4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
3. Los Angeles, USA
2. San Diego, USA
1. San Francisco, USA

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No place like home

April 9, 2010

Today, the boyfriend and I explored a new area that we decided we wouldn’t mind living in – well, at least we don’t have very many options given the budget constraints we have.

In many ways, it is ideal – spacious for the cost, breezy , with potential routes for walking Murray* and no cumbersome HDB rulings that excludes us from the running. Plus, people say the location is pretty “central” (it ain’t too far from the recent (read: ridiculous) record-breaking flat, so I guess it can’t be that bad).

For the same price, we could either live comfortably there or cram in a 500 square feet studio apartment in Katong.

But as I was driving back home, I got struck by a sudden fear – it’s so far away from home!

I know this sounds ridiculous in the Singaporean context, when everything is but a 20 minute drive away, but it’s like we’d be uprooting ourselves from everything we are familiar with – post-dinner shopping at Parkway Parade, popping over the Geylang for tau hway or shopping for Nachos and Dip at Siglap Centre.

Isn’t there any way that we could possibly remain in the East?

Don’t get me started the absurdity of the property market these days.

The new developments nearby have basically sunk to new lows (and I don’t mean in terms of price).

Case in point: They just launched a new development at Tanjong Katong, advertising as “starting from $4xx k”. Knowing they quote the prices for the tiniest unit on the lowest floor, I rationalized – and these were my words to the boyfriend exactly – even if it is a studio, it cannot be any less than 500 square feet. This would have meant it was going for less than $1000 per square foot (which already is a very high price, by the way), and a two- or three-bedroom unit might be possible.

Now I find out that the one-bedroom apartment starts from 334 square feet! That is 33 square metres, or even smaller than the deluxe room at Amara Sanctuary in Sentosa where we stayed. Honestly, is that even livable?!

This is clearly exploitation.

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Right now, Pig is crossing her fingers that The Domain @ Siglap might just be her dream home.

* Name of the yet-to-be-adopted Golden Retriever

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