take a walk around town with...

Thursday, September 30, 2004

it's incredible that only 3 years of having left national service, i have come across several chaps who are pretty close to being nutcases. what is the world coming to? are they genuine? will they be able to survive when they finish national service, and actually start working?

i watched i not stupid on my computer in the wee hours of this morning, and i have a thing not so much against, but pity those rich kids who aren't able to do much, be it in work, or sports, or anything in general. is it really like terry in the show (not my fellow photog, ok?) who obediently listens to his mom, not knowing how to spread butter on bread, not knowing how to prepare instant coffee even? if this is the general trend that rich families are going... good luck for them when it comes when the parents pass on, then the then-fendless grown-up kids will suffer and probably perish in the society they are totally unaccustomed to. good parents will naturally want to have the best for their children, but don't cross into overprotection. once without the parents, the children will suffer, because they don't know anything at all. that's why i still get irked by my mom when she asks me where i'm cycling to, whom i'm going out for dinner with and so on. for goodness' sakes, i'm going 25 in a week's time, and i'm working as a teacher and taking care of others' children!

last night i went for the g1 branch cohesion outing, it was good to see the faces that made my life in national service such a joy (and a pain, occasionally). pity that most of the chaps including me at our table, found that dinner was a little... short of filling. but better than nothing, i must say. had a good time chatting with mdm padma and kannan walking to the interchange, and on the bus back home.

speaking of resources and so on, some people really have an attitude problem. i don't know if i heard this wrongly or not, but i do believe i once heard a young lad telling me that there's no need to conserve energy for the army because either he doesn't need to pay for it, or that his family pays tax. what kind of absurd trash is that? so what even if you have the money to pay for it? energy wasted means energy consumed, energy consumed means some other fossil fuel just got burnt up, stupid! i remember those days in school where estimates of natural crude oil sources will run dry in 50 years, though i question if that estimate is actually possible or not. but nevertheless, save the power in the army camps, whether you're paying for it or not... my parents pay tax (so do i), and i don't fancy wasting my tax money via actions of these morons!

finished ripping those cds at home into mp3, save for those discs without cddb information on gracenote. at least that means some background music while i'm in office, otherwise i'd be listening to the sounds of dripping water from the fish tank... ?!?!

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

one of the best pieces of software i have ever used, is apple's itunes (currently at version clean interface, no spyware, rips cds to aac or mp3s easily. the main draw for me about it, is that it can be used to organize songs from my old cds easily via mp3id tags.

my personal two thumbs up for this piece of software. free to download and use, whether or not you have an ipod or not, perhaps this free usage of the software is to encourage sales of the ipod. personally, i told jeanette that i'm eager to get one for myself early next year too...

Sunday, September 26, 2004

survived the run today. was able to "cruise" along happily probably 4:10/k for the first 8k or so, then it hit me hard - i'm sorely in lack of training. probably plodded home at 4:30/k in the later stretch back... overall timing, 1:36 something. i'm not the same old me, with plenty of free time to do training as i did back in polytechnic. but at least this was the run where i felt the most camaderie with my fellow runners ever. surprisingly (maybe not), i was able to take my mind off the feeling of fatigue by calculating the remaining distance left when i passed by checkpoints i passed on thursday and friday night. hmm. running helps with your mathmatics, tell your parents that!

Saturday, September 25, 2004

i only do this once in a while, but kudos to rhcp for this simplistic yet deep song.

sometimes i feel like i don’t have a partner
sometimes i feel like my only friend
is this city i live in, this city of angels
lonely as i am, together we cry

i drive on her streets ‘cause she’s my companion
i walk through her hills ‘cause she knows who i am
she sees my good deeds and she kisses me windy
i never worry, now that is a lie

i don’t ever want to feel like i did that day
take me to the place i love
take me all the way

it’s hard to believe that there’s nobody out there
it’s hard to believe that i’m all alone
at least i have her love
the city, she loves me
lonely as i am, together we cry

under the bridge downtown is where i drew some blood
under the bridge downtown i could not get enough
under the bridge downtown forgot about my love
under the bridge downtown i gave my life away

cycling on the roads, gives the sense of liberty that nothing else can match. i'm a nobody out there, which relieves me from having to live up to some social expectation of me. though all these cycling is done alone, the knowing that the city is a part of me, and i'm a part of it - it's a sense of belonging. though in lack of human company, i know the city will take care of me, as much as i would take care of it. it's similar to the feeling when i was away diving in tioman. i'm in control of my destiny, my life, whether i choose so to dive, or i want to kick back and relax. that feeling, i can't get, only when i am away from home, then i'll feel it.

i should be better off for this year's half marathon than the previous years - since most of the route is actually road, with majority of the east coast park jogging track route, taken out.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

the folks at talkingcock are really good at what they do... look at mm lee in his latest get-up!

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

yet again on the topic of exotic cures for shingles, aunt june gave me a call to tell me about some remedy that involves chinese white wine, mixed together with python's gall, meant to be applied on the blisters (where else, right?), and seemingly this is effective.

i told her i was dubious whether this whole thing works or not, regardless if it worked for her mom back in china seventy years ago, not to forget, medication was not available for shingles then.

she got pissed because i told her i wasn't sure python's gall was actually allowable under the cites convention.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

parents can be such a pain in the ass. let me explain why.

i'm having the best intense pain/itch trip i've ever, ever had in a long, long time. they keep on insisting on some old school chinese medical procedure for me, which i have no damned idea what it is, nor what it does. that's still ok. the thing is that they keep talking like the whole sky will collapse, and i will die when this breakout of blisters reaches my heart, or encircles my waist. how hard is it to exercise their brains to know that information on the internet is compiled over countless individuals, rather than some procedure that started some foggy time back, either in the qing dynasty (or longer ago), or when medical treatment was scarce and probably prohibitive by cost in the kampung days?

and what's with restricting diet to exclude chicken, prawns, and eggs? i know why i should stay off eggs, in light of the bird flu price hikes due to undersupply. but the rest? i'd rather die, than to face those days, twelve years ago, when i had chickenpox, and all i ate for the entire confinement period, was only plain porridge with salt. not even soy sauce was allowed!

all i know is, these blisters will eventually dry and flake off, and i'm glad it isn't melanoma, which is a sign of skin cancer.

the shingles i've got are probably the worst thing for me to get before a race of any form. it's freaking itchy! thankfully, only my right shoulder is affected. it's painful, but i believe that should be because of the pressure buildup within the blisters themselves, since that will lead to a hydraulic pressure increase within the blister, acting against the nerves that ironically, the varicella zoster virii re-emerged from. the worst pack of them all, is this small section of them right behind my right neck... they hurt each time i turn and tilt my head.

closeup of shingles blisters on right shoulder

the new pair of asics duellist i got last week...

and this was how i shot the photo...

Monday, September 20, 2004

friday was a no-games day too. by then... my itching shoulder had small fluid filled blisters developed, but thankfully the fever is gone.

just found out this morning that i'm having shingles. argh. grabbed a whole list of sites to read up about the disease too...


saw three old ladies, one of whom was accompanied by a maid, walking past me while waiting for my turn at the clinic. i wouldn't want to be aged 70, and having nothing to do. i mean, right now, i'm (or safely, most of us) have obligations to fulfil daily. like right now for me, national service - gotta wake up before six each morning, cycle to camp, do up with work (sometimes we're lull, i know) and go back home at the end of the day. if not, i'd be waking at the same time to go to school, and i will have to reach school even earlier! the teaching day would probably end around four to five each day, staying back to clear up the pe stores, marking the books... but back to the three dames, i detest the idea of being old, having nothing to do, and no money in hand to do so. current insurance policies can promise you so much, but those numbers are all but just forecasts.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

during the pre-exercise cohesion meeting for the brigade nsmen, i was introduced this book called man's search for meaning by viktor frankl. don't know too much about it, other than the book was written by the author documenting his envisioning of how he would one day be free of the concentration camp that many others died in during world war two.

also, at the same time, i was shown this video of an author who thought he saw a chap dancing along the beach, only to find out the young man was throwing starfish into the sea. when told he wouldn't make a difference, since there are so many starfish on the beach, the young man carried on with one more, and replied, "well, i made a difference for that one." pretty simple, but insightful story.

hope i recover from my light bout of fever soon... very soon. got tons of stuff to do still...

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

yesterday i met na vee along the underpass between taka and wisma, while i was on my way to grab a light bite of takopachi. one of the reasons why i was getting it, was because i hadn't had one in a long, long time, and also the fact that i had a somewhat cold and clammy feeling the whole day - if i didn't get any food soon, i wouldn't know if i'd last through the night.

met up with charmane, and we had dinner together at this tezza- or terra- something in front of wisma. the pizza was fine, but the crust could have been marginally thicker so that it wouldn't snap when lifting a slice off the serving plate, as well as being more filling as well. the pizza was decent... save for the fact that the toppings was a little... skimpy. the feel of the pizza was... wet. uh.

met marianne at borders while we were flipping through quite a few magazines, but somehow i managed to call her "marilyn" probably three times over... must have been the sickly-tired feeling wreaking havoc...

today, back in camp wasn't too fantastic. the morning run got chopped after 2k, because cat 1 paid us a visit via rainfall. but the worst thing is that, right now i'm feeling a little sickly... something like yesterday. damned.

and a school bus for st nick's almost ran me down, as it was exiting cte going onto ang mo kio avenue 1. i gave the driver "the bird" for being a real blind man. thankfully i was practically staring at him as i was clearing that sliproad. phew.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

this must have been the most expensive call i've ever made. the call in question - president's star charity. don't claim to know him, but vincent's a pretty nice lad. so it's partially to give him support.

life expectancy is increasing generally, but what are we going to do with our extended lives? saw in the video and images of the seniorly folk, some crippled by disease, but barely alive. in such an environment, how is one going to survive being surrounded by people in a pretty sad state? the rehab exercises they seem to show on television, aren't too helpful, other than just to keep the body somewhat moving. am i in a sorry state that i'm still single? i guess not. i'm lucky enough to have all four limbs pretty much functioning well, i suppose.

the 6k race in nee soon south was fine.. except the weather. must have fatigued myself out too much yesterday, carrying a 5? 6kg load around at climb on! did 24:10 for the run, elangovan did a cool 21:15 if i heard correctly.

Saturday, September 11, 2004

happened to meet jj thursday evening at climb adventure when i popped by to take a look at the premises; he asked me if i wanted to volunteer for climb on! this weekend. i had just finished my route recce for the army half marathon just before being dropped off around the area. earlier in the morning, i aborted probably 7+k into a run, because my left knee felt odd. rather undertrain, than to overtrain and end up in a long term layoff, i suppose. total of only 49 minutes running today.

yesterday i happened to meet ser luck while cycling along yishun avenue 1. pretty nice time chatting, but surprisingly, i'm used to seeing cervelo p3's now... but i have to admit, his 404's really are very loud indeed. earlier this morning, i went for an easy ~6k run that became a fartlek session because i was trying to correct my toe-off for my left leg - heartrate jumped from 150-ish to 165++ just for that effort, not to forget that the gradient i was going up, was probably... 5 to 10 degrees. i would say, the easy run became a mock upslope attack practice session for my cadence as well. nothing much, only 28+k cycling done, and a 6k run today. and did some total immersion drills, courtesy of the dvd that jeanette lent to me.

actually, i find it pretty surprising. when we first acquainted, no, wait... got to train with each other years ago, we didn't talk at all. i guess then i was too shy and didn't want to admit i had a crush on her. but hey, now, we're on talking terms... and she's pretty much a humble lass, from the way she was bashful about her swimming at that ti drill session she helped me with. guess time does change things!

i'm pretty amused about some numbers when i run. now, i know my current maximum heartrate is probably 200 bpm, just to make math easy for myself. why am i talking about this suddenly? because, i find it pretty interesting that i'm typically exercising at 160 bpm for running, and feeling pretty good and easy about it - and that's about 80% of my maximum heartrate! but when i crank up to 175, i start to work really hard, and feel a little flustered - that's roughly 82.5% mhr. but when i go at 180 to 183, i know it's hard, but it's my actual race heartrate.. and that's 91.5% of my mhr! i mean, i'm easily training at 80% mhr... what percentage of your mhr are you usually caught exercising at? care to share, anyone?

Wednesday, September 08, 2004

monday was the first day of my new posting (or attachment?) to a fellow sub-unit of my division. so far, it seems that my life would be revolving, once again, publication. task at hand: helping to do a newsletter (though a bit on the skimpy side) for the nsmen of the brigade. would be a harder task this time, because it's just lye and me doing it.

met up with stacy peh's dad, mom, and brother alvin over dinner with my cycling chum calvin on tuesday evening. it was pretty... silly to have that fly zipping around our faces as we were talking...

today i had the most amount of workout i've had in a long, long time. started off with cycling to camp... then back home, "downloaded", then cycled to smu to do hill/slope repeats. surprisingly... i managed to turn in pretty fast timings (ranging from 7:50++ to 8:25? for a 2k slopish loop) for four times before my calves were far too tight. but it feels good, alright. cycled back home thereafter. total of about 43k bike, 8+k run. estimated 1863 kcal expended. don't you just love polar heartrate monitors?

Sunday, September 05, 2004

most of this post, is meant for the roadie who thinks he knows too much too well.

first of all, i don't have a photography career, nor do i intend to start one. please don't make an ass-(of)-u-(n)-me [assume].

at no point of time, i did not say that consumer grade lenses can't do well. in fact, most can do pretty well, when stopped down. think i didn't know that? what i said in my post was, whatever concept that you-know-who is doing, isn't something new. so what's the claim about being first in singapore, let alone asia?

if you are so glad your trusty pentax has served you shots that you think are good to you, why don't you ever post them up online to share? scared of critics? or being plain ol' selfish, keeping everything to yourself? have you ever thought of doing volunteerism via photography? how many other sports have you tried to shoot? how many people have you acquainted through shooting sports? photography is subjective, i don't mind if people like, or don't like my photos, or are just plain... numb to it. we respond differently, to the same stimulus. didn't you know that? when i see some of Cartier Bresson's works, i'm also left scratching my head, because i don't understand his idea of "the moment". but does it mean that his shots are of no use to others? of course not!

i won't say i know too much, because i still am looking for a style to call my own. but you might do better, than to tell me to read up about lens designs etc. are you currently doing a course or degree in optics somewhere? i sure won't fancy doing so myself, but tried-and-tested things about equipment will always be there; they're physical - subject to the laws of physics. you mentioned to me, that i know little about lens design. yes, i don't know much. i just need to find out what kinds of exposures work for me, and to my ability, capture "a moment" that would suffice until i can learn to capture "the moment". do you mean to say, that should you be driving, you need to understand the specific design of your car engine? how the power steering system works? how your brakes are bled, and actuated? does it mean that if you're using a computer, you have to know machine code programming? get real. as long it works, it works. but i will not say i fully understand my own computer system, nor brag it's the first in some funny arbitary quantification just to boost my ego from having it. do you mean to say, you know the design of your lens so well, that you know all the refraction indice, specific density of the materials and glass used? i wouldn't be bothered with the lens design that much, so long as it gets the job done. now i know you're so much more... of a camera hardware geek instead of a photographer. i won't fancy to be like you, sorry to disappoint you.

and i didn't have any stumbling blocks so far, and i don't intend to get in anyone's path either. i have my own contact group for shooting sports... that i initiated. do i have to report this kind of stuff to you? now that you know, does it pacify you? it doesn't matter whether people have a positive or negative impression of me. but it is indeed brave of you to show through your own writing, to show why you're making noise about my post, when i clearly did not imply anything at all.

and one last thing about camera equipment. i did not flinch when i see others with all those 1ds, 1d mark II bodies, 300mm or 400mm gear at ndp. do i need to say more?

ah, ok. end of message for him.

the army open house was a long long tiring day. nothing in particular to write about, but jodie and i left safti at probably 7pm, headed for a light dinner, while we made our own way back to home for her, and nie for me. reached nie only to find out that demo 2 and 3 weren't available for usage, so i had to walk over with my gear all over to src. helped out a little for the setup for the nie biathlon - though i'm not part of the committee (the degree year 3s are the ones running the event), i gave feedback on that final recce ride to decide where to deploy route marshals, on grounds of safety etc. met wendy + rand, as well as beatrix at the chin-up challenge grounds too.

the biathlon went well, but my timings weren't fantastic. 42:53, a far cry from the first position, at 34+ minutes! vicky did better than me too... 37+. not too sure about sumiko's timings though. i was pretty surprised when she told me that xiao chun isn't running anymore - which i think, is indeed a pity, somewhat.

Saturday, September 04, 2004

teachers' day was spent... at home. was so lethargic, that i took the day off. went for my own track session, doing 3 times of 800 meters - slow times and all, but the feeling of back doing trackwork feels good - the sensation of speed. surprisingly, my calves didn't seem to indicate any muscular trauma at the end of the night when i cycled back home...

on thursday i started to sieve through all the ndp photos in office, to see all that i've missed otherwise, before i shift to yet another camp. calves started to feel a little off in the night by the time i was about to go back home.

friday, being my last effective day in the division hq... it was time to clear out everything that i had, boots and all. it was a very much... "physical" day, since i cycled over to my former camp to report for a morning run, then cycled back to my own current camp, then cycling back home with all my stuff in my backpack. roughly... 8k ran, 40k cycled... and sunday's the nie biathlon. and my calves were hurting for the whole day, and i effectively walked around like ronald mcdonald...

will be meeting up with jodie to shoot at the army open house later this morning. and jonnansical just gave me a buzz this morning too...