| February 2004 |

Mozilla Firefox

Barely two months into using Mozilla and it starts to act up. Loading is very slow, and the browser freezes frequently for reasons unknown to me; the last straw came when popup windows are displayed at the wrong size. It’s time for me to move on.


I don’t plan to revert back to IE having escaping Microsoft’s evil clutches and tasted the freedom of open-source software; and fearing that I’ll face the same problems even if I upgrade to Mozilla 1.6, I’ve decided to try out the new Mozilla Firefox after reading rave reviews about it.

The look and feel of Firefox is essentially the same as Mozilla, which is not surprising since they’re both created by the same developers. However, I’m having a small irritating problem with the new browser: the icon for my image files has been changed to Firefox’s icon, and Mozilla’s icon — which used to be the icon for my HTML files — refuses to go away even after I uninstalled Mozilla; I’ve tried tweaking the folder options but to no avail. Looking on the bright side, the logo designed by Jon Hicks is quite eye-pleasing.

Although I still think the real firefox is much cuter.

28 February 2004 · Technology · Comments (5)

New College Ski Trip


The ski trip organised by NCSC every Reading Week has been an annual event for the guys living in Robinson house, and having inside connections ensured that we secure the precious few spots available: Dylan was last year’s organiser and Brent took over the helm from him this year.

There’s an ongoing debate among us about whether skiing or snowboarding is better; although we’ve declared a stalemate and agreed that each has its own merits, snowboarding is definitely gaining more converts.


With the painful experiences I had with snowboarding still fresh on my mind, I decided to stick to skiing; after all, I was here at Blue Mountain for a good time, not break my bones. But more importantly, I realised there was a lot of room for improvement in my skiing techniques after my trip to Whistler last Christmas; and the only way to improve is to practice more. I’ve always been a perfectionist, albeit a lazy one.

It’s never a good idea to bring along a digital camera for skiing because the extreme cold and heavy condensation in the jacket will do great damage to electronics. And when you’re the only person foolish enough to bring yours, everyone suddenly wants to be your best friend; however, the downside of being the designated photographer is that you don’t get to be in the photos very often.


After a few quick warm-up runs down the beginner slope, we went on to tackle the more difficult trails; but soon disaster struck. RJ had accidentally placed his snowboard beside a fireplace last Christmas, and the heat cause quite a bit of damage to it. Portions of the lamination splintered from his snowboard as he was coming down one of the trails, and he was savouring the wonderful taste of fresh snow whenever the board got jammed. Since we only had 4 hours left before the bus arrive, it was not worth the money for him to get a rented snowboard; RJ was thus forced to spend the rest of the day hibernating in the cafeteria while we continued to have fun on the slopes.

Jay and I decided to check on the progress of the rest of the Robinson guys who were practicing on their snowboarding skills on the beginner slope all day, and they were doing amazingly well for beginners who had barely snowboarded. My psychomotor skills are terrible, which explains why I’m bad in all kinds of sports; I guess when you’re such a slow learner everyone else is talented compared to you. I still remember teaching Brent how to ski 2 year ago, and he mastered what I learnt in 2 full days of skiing in just 3 hours. Perhaps I’m just a damn good teacher.


What a better way to end a great day on the ski slopes than with a sumptuous meal after a hot shower, and sumptuous meal equates Japanese food for us; off we went to our usual hangout New Generation. Although my attention was focused on the food most of the time, a drunk Joseph definitely make a much more interesting subject for the camera than my plate of chicken katsu.

I’m already planning for our next ski trip. To Blue Mountain and beyond!

24 February 2004 · Sports · Comments (2)

News Flash

Go grab a copy of Today if you haven’t; Chee Kong has not one, but three articles published in today’s issue! For those who are dying to read the works of a budding journalist but couldn’t get hold of a copy, there’s hope for you yet. Thanks to the internet, his articles can also be found online:

Great work Chee Kong, we’re all proud of you. You’re now one step closer towards a successful career in journalism!

19 February 2004 · Media · Comments (3)

Movie Marathon

Jay and I broke our previous movie marathon record on Thursday; the record now stands at four movies in a row. The show times are so tightly packed that we practically have to run from theatre to theatre, and still miss the first 15 minutes of two movies.

Big Fish

Edward Bloom, the lead character in Big Fish, reminds me of my own father who is a great storyteller himself. But unlike Bloom’s son Will, it doesn’t matter whether my father was telling the whole truth or he spiced the stories up to make them more interesting; my sisters and I were certainly kept entertained by him recounting his adventures when we were young. To me, my father is just like the giant Karl: he is larger than life.

You Got Served

The dance sequences in You Got Served were amazing, especially for the last dance battle between the two rival crews. I’m not sure whether You Got Served will be shown in Singapore, but its trailer is definitely worth a look. The plot is predictable, and the acting is mediocre at best.

The director could’ve deleted all the redundant scenes away and make You Got Served into a brilliant hip-hop dance video, but it wouldn’t make as much money as a feature-length film. At the end of the day, profits still matters most to the movie studios.

The Butterfly Effect

The Butterfly Effect tells a story about a guy who has the ability to change the past; but things usually turn out worse than before whenever he tries to alter an event in the past. Interestingly, the movie borrows its name from a key component of Chaos Theory.

The Butterfly Effect is used to describe the phenomenon discovered by Edward Lorenz, which would come to rock the scientific world: Some systems are so complex, even making the smallest change can lead to practically unpredictable results or chaos. Its poetic name came from the title of Lorenz’s talk at the December 1972 meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Washington, DC: Predictability: Does the Flap of a Butterfly’s Wings in Brazil set off a Tornado in Texas?

Would you like to have the ability to change the past? I wouldn’t advise you to take your chances at correcting a past wrong. Trillions of events had to occur exactly the way it did for you to have been conceived, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. I wouldn’t want to lose a good friend like you.

The Perfect Score

The Perfect Score is your usual teen flick complete with high school stereotypes, but this time it’s a group of high school kids trying to steal the SAT answers. Flimsy plot combine with bad acting make a lethal combination; don’t waste your time and money on this movie if you have better things to do.

15 February 2004 · Media · Comments (1)

Friday Five IX

This week’s Friday Five:

  1. Are you superstitious?

    Yes, but I’m not as superstitious as when I was young; 15 years of secular education can really change your perspective of life.

  2. What extremes have you heard of someone going to in the name of superstition?

    My friend Lim Xiang believes that a person can steal his powers by touching his hair. The only way for him to get his powers back is to wave his fingers towards the power stealer as if he’s casting a spell, but that would only work if the power stealer’s palms are open. We used to tease him by touching his hair and clench our fists, and he would try to pry open our fists until we relent.

    Such an interesting friend deserves a nickname, and Lim Xiang is aptly known to all as Power Lim.

  3. Believer or not, what’s your favourite superstition?

    Never claim that you’ve not fallen sick for a certain period of time; you’ll wake up the next morning with a painful migraine or something worse.

  4. Do you believe in luck? If yes, do you have a lucky number/article of clothing/ritual?

    Luck definitely has a major role in shaping a person’s life; imagine how different your life would be if you were born with a disability.

    I think 7 and 8 are lucky numbers, although using them rarely improves my luck.

  5. Do you believe in astrology? Why or why not?

    Horoscopes are fun to read, but they’re usually so general that the predictions for all zodiac signs are interchangeable.

13 February 2004 · My Life · Comments (1)

Perfecting the Art of Slacking

Reading Week, our equivalent of a spring break, begins next Monday. It might seem weird to have a one-week break during February, the coldest month of the year; however, as spring doesn’t arrive in Toronto until May, it would’ve been even weirder if we were to have a real spring break right before our three-month summer break.

By a stroke of luck, Reading Week starts tomorrow for me. My business law class has been cancelled after we had our midterm yesterday, and my career management course has officially ended with the business etiquette workshop we attended last week.

I’ll be going to Blue Mountain for skiing next Friday; we only need to pay $20 for the trip since NCSC is subsidising us and it’ll be a waste not to go. Besides that, I don’t plan to do much during Reading Week except maybe go for a movie marathon with Jay and learn rock climbing with Howe and Nick. Ray is attempting to perfect the art of slacking over the next 12 days.

No calls please, I’m busy slacking.

11 February 2004 · My Life · Comments (0)

Power of the Dark Chocolate Side

The last session of our Career Management Course was held today at the Faculty Club, where we learnt about business etiquette over a three-course luncheon. The attire was business formal; and as usual, I was the most underdressed person in the dining room even with my best shirt on. I doubt I can get away with sloppy dress code much longer, and it’s especially ill-advised for me to continue with my anti-establishment attitude if I want to land a summer job. Perhaps I should start shopping for a decent suit soon.

This was the second time I attended a business etiquette workshop, and it was definitely a very different learning experience when you’re eating real food with real utensils, instead of trying to visualise the scenario while the presenter flashes her transparencies on the projector.

Even though the presenter said that food should be the last thing on our minds at business functions, I wondered how many people were actually paying attention to the presenter. To eat European style without catapulting my lasagne onto the guy next to me was a challenge by itself; the fact that it was the best lasagne I had distracted me even more.

People at my table tried to engage in small talks to break the ice, but we all gave up attempts to hide our disinterest towards one another when desserts were served. The real issue on hand was not about learning business etiquette, but how to tackle that strawberry-filled chocolate ice cream in front of us.

I mean, who can resist the power of the dark chocolate side?

05 February 2004 · My Life · Comments (2)

Photo Section Online

It took me a while, but the photo section is finally up. I could’ve easily install a photo gallery script and save myself all the trouble customising the templates; however, creating a photo gallery using Movable Type is the only way to maintain a consistent design layout throughout SG Watch.

After fiddling with MT for several months, it wasn’t very difficult for me to create a template for photo galleries. The biggest problem I had was trying to figure out how to manipulate the next and previous entries link tags so that they only work within a photo album. Although one of the disadvantages of using the most popular publishing tool is being susceptible to spammers, MT’s large user base makes it easy to get help and support; in fact, I found a solution to my problem through a simple Google search.

More photos will be added shortly. But for now, enjoy the beautiful fall colours at Algonquin Provincial Park.

01 February 2004 · Site · Comments (1)

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