Archive for December, 2007

Influential people together

Image of some of the most influential people throughout history, all together in a painting.

http://www.ukimagehost.com/uploads/131c083cc4.jpg

Happy new year!

Goodbye 2007 – it was an eventful year.

I don’t know why I focus on destinations and travel so much, but the first thing I think about when looking back on the year is the places I have been.

I remember landing, bleary-eyed and fatigued in San Francisco and going straight to meetings for Circos. In Seattle I had my usual burger and beer at Six Arms and pancakes at Zeena. I burned myself alive in the hot springs near Fukuoka and slept on a tatami mat in Hoshino. I bought a tuxedo when I arrived in Boston for a best friend’s wedding the next day (and wore that tux in “An Excuse to Party”) and drove my dad’s car back home in Florida. I met a girl in the catacombs of Paris, stayed in the Latin Quarter, and ate steak tartar on a daily basis. Egg tarts were my food of choice in Macau and Big / Small was where I won (and subsequently lost) my money at the gambling tables. Kuala Lumpur I flipped out at the taxi drivers and refused to get ripped off – and ended up walking to my destination (which turned out to be only 3 blocks away). I drank coffee at a café in Dili and spent my birthday under Portuguese architecture in East Timor. I used the internet and downed Pina coladas by the ocean in Bali and ate massive lobster sashimi recently in Bangkok.

Ha, it looks like lots of my memories are what I was eating and drinking in those places.

Anyway, 2008 is going to get off to an exciting start. More travel! More plans, more opportunities… for Microsoft I am scoping out initial plans that will take me to China, Korea, Taiwan, and India in the next couple of months and for sure there is a trip back to the US in April. Perhaps 2008 is the year I will finally make it to Cambodia (for some reason I have always had the idea that Battambang must be a lovely river-side town)… and I think I want to go back to Disneyworld when I am home in Florida. I miss Disney.

Time for New Year’s Resolutions! At work we try to make goals that are “SMART” (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Results-based, Time-specific). But, since new year’s resolutions aren’t about work, I’m throwing SMART out the window and just giving some broad-flighty-probablyunachievable resolutions.

  • Learn Chinese (this one repeats itself every year)
  • Do well at work (yes, it’s broad, but so what)
  • Buy a present for my sister (since she always does for me)
  • Clean up the apartment
  • Cook more
  • Write more

I shall update that list as time passes.

Happy new year!

An Excuse to Party

I’ve just spent 20 minutes washing molasses out of my hair.  Molasses that has been in my hair for the past 5 hours.  Have you ever had dried molasses (and flour) in your hair?  It doesn’t feel good – though it does give me some type of crusty sheen.

Why did I have molasses in my hair?  Because it’s one of the ingredients of fake blood – which I spatter all over myself in the play An Excuse to Party.  (Though if you came on opening night, I didn’t use any blood… let’s just say the play is constantly evolving even after opening night).

We have had two performances so far, and they have been wildly different from each other.  It’s definitely interesting (to me) to experience first-hand how a story can change due to subtleties and the interactions between the cast members on that specific day of performance.  Same script, same lines, but new tone or action lead to a very different dynamic between the cast which makes the story take on a different feel.

We’ve had a few glitches and dropped lines that caused us to also improvise a bit onstage.  That has been amusing and is one of the more interesting situations to be in.

There are two more performances left – Sunday afternoon (December 30) matinee at 3 pm and Sunday night at 8 pm.  So if you’re interested in seeing a story about 3 different couples arguing, bonding, and learning on their New Year’s Eve, come check it out.  You can buy tickets here.  (Click on ticketing info).  It is a little pricy, at 38 sgd, but don’t blame me… it’s the production side deciding on that price!

Go on a date.  See the play.  Feel cultured.  Walk over to TImbre afterwards.  Have a pizza.  Have a drink.

At the least you’ll get to see molasses and blood dripping down my face.

Money… is what I want

That is, if you want to be lead an unfulfilling life.  I came across this article on MSNBC that talks about how young people in university list “money” as one of their top aspirations.  In this article they get feedback from older folks about what motivated them when they were younger.

Read the article

I agree with the advice the others give.  It basically boils down to do what you love and happiness will come.

2007’s Happiest Stories

Was browsing MSNBC.com and found their summary of the happiest stories of 2007.  Yes, they’re very American-centric, but it’s still nice to read about positive happenings.

It’s funny, during that first episode of Blogtv.sg, where we focused on the topic, “The World Sucks… Whatever,” I had immersed myself reading about negativity.  So yay for the holiday season to shake off the doldrums!

How I spent my Christmas

Was I surrounded by sugarplums and elves, wintergreen and mistletoe?  Did Santa come sliding down the chimney to fill my stocking with holiday cheer?

Were there candles burning bright on a table… with roasted turkey and cranberries and egg nog a-plenty?

No.

I was dealing with the “Squeal of Death” and “Display Driver Stopped Responding” (nvlddmkm) issues on the computer.

After installing a Creative Labs X-Fi soundcard and new 5.1 speaker system into my main desktop, it occasionally locked up with this high-pitched squeal of death.  Highly annoying.  And ear-drum damaging.  Searching the internet it seems like many people have this issue with nForce motherboards and either the Soundblaster Audigy or X-Fi soundcard.  Even after installing the latest Vista driver for the soundcard, it still produced this squeal.  However, I went into the BIOS settings, enabled “using Plug & Play OS” for the PCI slot and disabled the serial port so that no IRQ gets assigned to it.  Since then… no squeal of death has brought my PC to its knees.

On my Windows Media Center, I installed additional memory and “upgraded” it to Windows Vista.  Now I have no sound in Live TV and the screen blanks out and resets every 20 seconds due to the display driver issue.  I have yet to find a solution – this morning I wiped the machine and started over with Vista again.  Let’s see how it goes…

All these computer problems make me think Santa is not happy with me.

Mass messages

If there is one way to make someone feel less special, it’s by including them on a mass SMS greeting.

Computer weekend

This weekend I have been trying to upgrade my main desktop computer.  I bought 2 additional gigabytes of memory and stripped my old desktop of its Creative Labs X-Fi sound card.

Popped it all into the main desktop.  This brings it to 4 gigabytes of total main memory, however due to the 32 bit OS (Windows Vista), it’s only able to utilize a little over 3 gigabytes of it.  This article explains why.  Still, that additional 1+ gigabyte is making a noticeable performance increase.

Sadly, the soundcard… while working, has just highlighted that my computer speakers are all messed up.  Only sound in the 2 front speakers and nothing else from the subwoofer and rear speakers.  I think the cable is messed up; I’ve been crawling around the floor trying different cable combinations and eliminating what might be broken.  Bah.  It’s time for upgraded speakers anyway.  I wish they had wireless systems so I didn’t have cables covering the floor.

Yes, this is how I’m spending the weekend before Christmas.  Aside from heading out to play rehearsal.  What happened to some fun??

So it’s almost Christmas

So it’s almost Christmas, and I haven’t been around.

Since getting back from East Timor, life has been a whirlwind of activity. I find that amusing, as I consider myself someone who likes to do… nothing. Laying on the sofa, staring at the ceiling, listening to music as time whiles away…

But there is another part of me that is always curious towards new experiences – it must be the part that makes me constantly shrug and say, “Yeah, sure, why not? Let’s see how it goes.”

I think that shrug has served me very well over the years.

I can’t believe that 2007 is almost over.

Let’s see, since I last wrote, there are a few new activities going on.

I’m in a play! It’s called “An Excuse to Party” and it will be held at The Arts House from December 27 – 30. If you are in Singapore during the holiday period, come on down and see me take to the stage in my acting debut. Whether or not I’m any good remains to be seen. The play is about three couples on New Year’s Eve… examining how some relationships start and some fall apart.

For those of you who are less theater-inclined (I imagine almost everyone would raise their hand to acknowledge this), I’m co-hosting Blogtv.sg on Channel News Asia for a few episodes. It’s season 2 of Blogtv.sg, and we are focusing on topics geared towards young adults. It’s a talk show / discussion format and you can join in on live chat when the show airs as well as catch up on past episodes (there have been 2 already) via the website. It’s also co-hosted by Phin Wong, who is incredibly witty and funny; it’s fun to watch him work his magic with the guests.

On the career side, I have a new position with Microsoft. I’m in that interesting period where one is eager about getting a new role but also stressed about ramping up and learning a new area. This may mean more travel for me next year – focusing on the Asia region. Perhaps a sign that I should seriously consider improving (or learning) my Chinese.

Lastly, I’m moving… blogs, that is. I’ve been testing out a few blog engines, and these days I tend to do more “quick hit” postings. Putting up links to articles or stories I find interesting. I’ve found that the Writer software combined with WordPress works well for this.  So goodbye Moblog.

Have a read, leave a comment, see what’s new. 3 cheers for 2007 going out with a bang, and lots of hope for 2008 to be a stunning year.

Hardcore

This man is hardcore.

I’ve been tempted to do the same at the airport security checks.  Except for me it’s usually bottled water or toiletries, and I don’t think it’d be a good idea to chug moisturizer.