Thursday, July 30, 2009

Mac Girl

Although I'm married to a PC geek, I'm turning out to be a Mac Girl. Once I got tired of using Packrat's toss outs and decided to buy myself my own lap top, the one I got was the pretty, aluminium one with a half eaten apple on the top. Even though the learning curve was steep, I decided I liked it. Packrat tolerated the fact that I was using the the Mac even though it couldn't play DivX files on it and whatever other techno gargon rubbish he wanted to run on it. In a way, that was good. It meant he couldn't clutter my lap top the way his own desk top was cluttered. The one thing I did that appeased him was that I insisted on using a Razer mouse rather than a nanny-pussy Mac mouse that couldn't do very much. That gave me some street cred.

And then a few days ago, I receive a package from Amazon. The small little neat package was ubiquitous enough. The size and colour made wonder why Packrat bought me a Nintendo DS for me as a birthday present. Did he seriously think he was going to get away with buying me a DS so that he could play with it? Upon closer inspection, I discovered that he'd bought me an Ipod Touch. Not the Iphone because he knows how much I hate touch typing messages and how badly typo-ed my friends' SMSes to me are. He knows me well enough to know that much as I like the stuff the Ipod can do, I'd fling the Iphone against the nearest wall in a heartbeat if I couldn't get my SMSes out in 30 seconds.

So now I have an Ipod and a MacBook. I haven't had the frame of mind or inclination to load music onto the Ipod. He bought the Ipod so that about 6 months from now when I'm ensconed in hospital without much to do in between nursing a new born, I will have things to do and he's started making sure of that, loading e-books into the phone as well as addictive mindless games that I've spent hours playing. Add to that, the Ipod Touch does have wireless so I won't be that lost, if I could get a signal out.

So even though my husband is a PC geek, he loves me enough to know that I'm a girl, I like pretty and I don't appreciate super powered machines that have no aesthetic value. And he puts up with that and weathers through the tedium that is the Mac interface to load stuff onto the Ipod for me, just because he knows I'd like to have it.

Now, can any girl ask for anything more? I think not. :)

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:51

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Friday, July 24, 2009


Thio Li- Ann Cancels Teaching Stint at NYU

So sayeth the Straits Times.

As with all in her family, she takes the high horse and claims to be "deeply offended" by the NYU faculty which has called her views on homosexuality "intolerant" and "reprehensible".

All I can say is that it is an embarrassment that she's had to travel half way across the world to get metaphorically egged for her views.

Of course, there is also the paradox of free speech to take into consideration. Free speech means having the space to stand for particular views. Unfortunately the extreme liberalists would then claim that any view against free speech or expression should shouted down. But by doing that, free speech and expression is trampled upon and it then begins to resemble Singapore more than the USA. Because of that, I feel a little bit sorry for her.

But that's all I feel. I can't be all that sympathetic because I cannot help but feel that at least someone's managed to force her into a corner and acknowledge that her come-uppance has come a collecting. That when I feel like a child and would like the stand, flapping my arms and yelling "orh-bee-good" (Serves you right!) .

What would however been amusingly ideal would have been if she had the guts enough to tough it out and appear to class on the first day of the semester. And this was just to realise that her poorly subscribed course with only 6 students comprised of 3 gay students and 3 lesbian students all ready to give her hell on earth and chase her out of class. Of course, being out of her depth, she would rely on old tricks to get her through.

Pulling rank: "Don't you know that I'm the Global Visiting Professor from the very famed National University of Singapore?"

Pulling connections:" You have got to listen to me and respect me. I am the daughter Thio Su-Mein, the Feminist Mentor of Singapore"

Pulling evidence: "If you don't believe me, you can take a look at pg 73!

And it would be at this point where the mob of 6 look downright threatening that she loudly orders "Shut Up or Sit down!".

That would be quite a sight.

Ondine tossed this thought in at 09:36

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Why I would stay at the Four Seasons

The Four Seasons is known for its service. We vouch for that. The Sydney Four Seasons was really great to us when we were there on our honeymoon all those years ago. When our friends got married at the Four Seasons here, we had nothing to complain about either. All was good.

But yesterday, while walking past the back of it, I found another reason why I would like to stay at the Four Seasons if I could afford it. There was a big vegetable patch round the back where each department was growing something. Most of it were herbs or vegetables that could be used for cooking. And it reminded me a little bit about our school science gardens. It wasn't glammed up and spruced up by housekeeping or maintainence and that's what I liked about it. There was something real about it, right down to the marker pens they used to colour out the name of the plant they were growing.

I just wish more people did more. Two days ago, the papers talked about how an Australian town banned bottle water followed by how much bottled water Singaporeans consumed and how much oil and plastic that wasted. That was followed by analysts and the public declaring that despite Singapore having drinkable tap water, not many were keen with drastically reducing the consumption of bottled water.

How disappointing it is!

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 14:53

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Tuesday, July 14, 2009

20 year hindsight

I picked up copy of Time magazine today. It was a June summer issue and it was doing the year 1989 and how that one year has shaped how the world has changed. My initial thought was "Seriously?" I lived through 1989 and all I remember about it was being concerned about running track meets and trying to win them despite being injured.

But being a self-absorbed teenager meant things happening to me were more important that what was going on in the world. Of course, I had vague impressions about some of the so called "life-altering" events. I stopped and thought about how my juvenile mind interpreted and coded those events.

1. Tiananmen Square
Then: I remember the picture of the guy standing in front of the tank. I remember calling it Tai-nan-men Square and incurring the wrath of Olie who saw it her place to correct me. I remember my mother telling me that the guys in the tanks were death row murderers and therefore had no qualms running over student protesters.

Now: I wonder where my mother got her facts from but she believed that of the Chinese, the invading Japanese force during the Occupation all those years ago and I suspect the Nazis. I also now know that it was a pro-democracy rally and it had started months earlier, culminating in the June crackdown and it lost China the opportunity to host the Olympics some eight years earlier. Actually I knew that last point about 10 years ago but putting two and two together took some time.

2. The Fall of the Berlin Wall.
Then: I was holidaying in Perth with my parents and my cousin. My boy crazy cousin and I were more interesting in picking up cute bell boys at the hotel than to pay attention to the fact that the Berlin Wall had come tumbling down. I recall a friend of my parents saying it was "a day for the history books" and I was like "yah yah, whatever. Let's go shopping please!"

Later on: Having studied the Cold War as part of my history syllabus in college, the significance of it became very clear to me and it wasn't the beginning but the very end of a long row of political dominoes that began when Gorbachev realised the Soviet Union was too broke to maintain a Soviet empire.

Now: My history tutor then remarked that I had an eye for the ridiculous and absurd and once again he was proved correct. Reading all these accounts of what were world shaping events, what stood out for me about the account of the fall of the Berlin Wall was that the writer got falling grit from the wall into his eye and it knocked out his contact lenses. My immediate thought was whether his cornea was scratched in the process. Not something to be deliberating when reading about the last bastion of communism turning into a pile of rock.

There were others but I would be lying if I said I knew any of the rest in any sort of detail 20 years ago. I think I'd heard about Cambodia and the Khmer Rouge and Vietnam but possibly the latter because my brothers watched Tour of Duty, the television show and I liked the intro credits played to The Rolling Stones. And I think I wondered if Cambodia and Kampuchea (you'd know it if you played RISK) were the same countries.

Today, I know a little bit more about Vietnam, primarily because I'm a fan of pho and summer rolls as well as because one of my best friends is shacking up in Saigon at the moment. Cambodia? I know that I shared a history class with Sihanouk's grand daughter in university, it is home to Ang Kor Watt and Tomb Raider was shot there. And before some starts making seriously disapproving noises, I do know about Pol Pot and the Killing Fields. But all this was recent knowledge acquisition and not something I'd learnt in school from a text book.

So it leads me to question, how did I get from being what Packrat terms a "jockette" whose only focus in life was to break track records to someone who realised putting two and two together isn't that big a challenge when I decide to put all the absurdity out of focus? Someone once said I was smart. Erm, nope. I don't think so. Mix with some of the dudes I hang with and you'll feel dumb as a door post.

Maybe it's just hindsight. That makes things fall into place. They say hindsight's 20/20. Well, 20 years does make some difference.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 23:38

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Thursday, July 02, 2009

More than meets the eye

We went to see Transformers 2 a few days ago. Someone gave us Gold Class tickets a few months back and we needed to use it up. So on the last day of its validity, we decided to use it on the only movie in Gold Class- Transformers 2. Of course, I didn't have high hopes for the movie. On top of that, Packrat didn't have high hopes. At least we got plush arm chairs and relax in for 148 minutes, we consoled ourselves.

But as with situations where there are zero or half star expectations, it shines through. Although it was not as good as the first, according to Packrat, I think I had a lot more fun with it. It probably had to do with 2 different factors. First, it had way more military stuff and growing up with 2 brothers and doing the Soviet-US arms race as part of my college history syllabus has made me a girl full of contradictions. Second, related to the first, is that I didn't have to bother about canon and about the fact that Optimus Prime was ruthless in the movie in a way he never was in the cartoon. When I just shrugged my shoulders at this comment, I received a loud 'tsk' from Packrat as well as a "why were you not paying attention as a child?" What really did me in was when I referred to the Constructicons as Constructobots.

My defence to the dagger stares was that I did not watch Transformers growing up as I was busy with Barbie Dolls and all things girl. Neither did I watch Mask Crusaders and Robotech or whatever else. I know of them and to me, that's enough. When I ask Packrat to name Barbie Dolls from our time, he can't, so I guess I'm still one up on him.

And all that allows me to be not so particular about movies because I have no frame of reference. Does it make me a ditz? Well, maybe. But a ditz who appreciates a movie because of the amount of military hardware is well, better than a ditz who swoons over Shia LeBeouf anytime. Well, in my book anyway.

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Ondine tossed this thought in at 10:19

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" Far in the stillness, a cat languishes loudly"