I've been trying to diagnose the problem, and it seems that other Singnet users in my block are suffering from the occasional connection problem, but have no problems what so ever with US sites. I'm going to have to give a call to the helpdesk and to demand something from them soon. Else I'm going to switch over to StarHub if they can't give me a satisfactory answer. *Update! Just got my connection sorted out today! Seems there was a setting I needed to tweak in my ADSL modem.... I'm just glad I can post any time I want to now! Woo hoo!
As I mentioned, I'm currently in a very busy state. But.... I can safely say that it's one of the better times in my career. Compared to previous appointments, my current job gives me a chance to show the rest of the community what I can do and accomplish, and is is this challenge which in turns spurs me on and it is the sense of accomplishment that comes after which makes me feel glad to be appreciated. I've been running a few concurrent tasks lately which ended last week, and more than a couple of people have came up to me to shake my hand and to congratulate me on a job well done. To be honest, the reason why I was unhappy a few years ago while being a civil servant was due to the lack of exposure and the opportunity to have your work recognised. Now, I'm having some of my work being produced and distributed. It really warms my heart to see my designed posters and videos being requested, even to the extend of me paying from my own pocket to see that they are getting what they want on print or digital formats. Well, as busy as I am going to be in the future, I'm still pretty much contented with the direction my career is heading, for now.
This year's birthday marks the first time that I'm celebrating at our very own place. Although we kept it simple, the meaning behind it is significant and will definately be one of the highlights for this year. Until Mabel finally learns how to prepare rice, I guess it's noodles and chicken wings for now. :)
We've met up with neighbours Nicholas and Jojo, who are friends of Nicole, who happened to visit our place on of the nights to watch a Japanese horror movie with some other friends. We decided to pop over to the place, and it turns out that I've talked to Jojo before in the SengKang forum. Another one of my friend also coincidentally happened to know Nicholas back in the army days, so there were a lot of links being discovered that day.
And Jojo's the girl when it comes to food. Check out her blog here and be amazed. She's got a knack for baking too, and Mabel have been getting more than a few tips from her lately. She's been learning how to bake banana and nutella cakes from Jojo lately, and I will definately have more cakes coming my way. How to diet sia!? IPPT coming some more....
The Ultraman Lah gang also visited my place to celebrate my birthday this month. Although it was supposed to be a celebration for 3 birthday boys, Chris (Pinky), Alex, and myself, I was the only one present as they couldn't make it. We had a blast of a time there, with the screening of the Ultraman Mebius and Ultraman Brothers DVD which I had received just a few days before the event. Sadly my English subs were not completed by then and we had to watch it raw. The food brought over was magnificent. There was chicken rice from Tony's father's stall, home made tarts from Chris, otah from Ryan, bee hoon from Dennis, apple pie from Adrian, salad from Sze Huat and Melissa and also Beard Papa from Jason. The ice cream cake from Ian made such a good impression on Mabel that she's asking me to get it for her..... I loved the presents, and have proudly displayed them in my shelf. Thanks again guys.
Now to talk cock a bit on what's happening in the toku/anime/Jpop world and what I have wrapping myself with lately.
1) Naruto Shippuden finally arrives! Gone are over 1 year's worth of useless fillers! I've endured them for such a long time, I was almost estatic when the new series started. We're finally back on track with the manga, and the story brings us back to Naruto coming back from his 2 and a half year training with Jiraiya. I've been downloading the manga every week the past year, and I know the upcoming episodes will be nothing short of fantastic. The Bleach filler have also ended recently, but I've yet to get back on track although I have all the downloads.
2) Death Note. I've brought the first 5 volumes of the manga in English. Costs $15 per copy so it ain't cheap. I've got it covered up to where the anime is showing, and have been refraining myself to read further as I don't want to uncover and spoilers while reading. I'll only read after I watch the anime after a particular chapter to see if there is anything mentioned in the manga and not in the anime. I noticed that the VCD of the 1st movie is already in stores, but I'll most probably wait for the DVD package along with the second movie.
3) Kamen Rider Den-O. With the final chapters of Kamen Rider Kabuto and Boukenger broadcasted last month, a new Kamen Rider series and a new sentai series have surfaced. As usual I'm more interested in Den-O and have no patience with the sentai series, although this year's series looks promising with the focus on Chinese Kung fu, beast style to be exact. For Den-O, I am still trying to accept his design. Just when I finally thought that he default form is acceptable, his new forms looked horribly wrong to me. Well, I'll give it more time. Kabuto looked like crap to me last year, but I've grown to love it as the series progressed. I must say that Tendou (the main character) made the difference, and I'm not sure if this year's Ryotaro can do the same. We'll just have to wait and see.
4) Ultraman Mebius. I've been downloading all the episodes, but don't really watch the show except for the fighting scenes. Ultraman Jack just made his apprearance this week, and we will be expecting Ultra 7's appearance this weekend. It's the cameos from the past Ultramen which really makes this show shine. Since my release of the English translations last week, I've received several requests to sub the other previous movies too. Well, we'll see about that. If there is enough demand I just might do it. It's much easier to translate from Chinese to English anyway, as I don't have the original Japanese subtitles.
5) Heroes. I've been having a Heroes marathon lately. Watched over 8 episodes in a day and caught up with where the US are watching in a week. Just watched episode 16 yesterday, much faster than the people who are waiting for the one on SCV to begin. So far I'm liking the series, perhaps because I've always been facinated by super heroes and deep down inside my heart I wish to be one too. But Heroes focus on people who are struggling with their own identities, and their powers bring to them more harm then anything else. My fave characters have to be Hiro and Ando, the 2 Japanese guys who find themselves in Las Vegas and then Manhatten to stop a man from blowing up the whole city. Hiro has the power to bend the time space continuum, and the way he projects a hero image is throughly entertaining. Can't wait for the next episode, especially with all the sub plots happening at the same time along with the twists and turns.
6) Morning Musume's new single: Egao YES Nude. I know the song title doesn't make sense, but that's a norm for these ladies. On my first time listening to this single (it was a live performance on Music Station), I thought the dance was nice, but the song sounded boring and repetitive. I thought that MM music was slowing losing their magic.... but no.... after a few more rounds I was completely hooked! That's always the case with Morning Musume. the music never fails to get inside your head and it'll take a top brain surgeon to extract it out. Now it's on the top of my playlist on my Ipod and I'll never fail to listen to it while on the move. It's the first single for newcomer Mitsui Aika, and she's doing a good job with her individual lines. Last I read this single made it to the charts, and MM has won a award for being consecutively being in the charts with every single in the past decade. Yes, I've been listening to them since I was 17 so even now I don't think I am too old for them..... (erm.... yeah.)
7) GAM's released their 3rd single: Lu Lu Lu (yeah it's the same thing with those weird song names). GAM's proving to be a huge success, and they're a huge hit with the H!P fans. This single, like the previous 2 singles "Thanks" and "Melodies", sound great as well. I got hooked the first time I've listen to it, from a downloaded promotional PV. Anxiously waiting for the official single to be released....
I've recently went for a 2 day workshop, and one of the stories told to me by the facilitor invoked a paradigm shift within me. The story he told was a simple one, and it went along the lines of this: Have you ever seen elephants which are being kept in captive by a rope tied to a single stick, no stronger than a young tree? When the elephant tries to move away from the stick, they feel the rope tugging their necks and stop dead in their tracks, unable to break free from their masters. Why does this happen? Why doesn't the elephant, being so strong and powerful, break from the rope and the stick in the ground?
The reason:Back when the elephants were young and not as strong, the same stick and rope tactic was used on them. No matter how hard they tried, they couldn't break the rope nor the stick back then. So, when they grew up, the same mentality stuck with them, and that once they feel the rope tighten, they would stop and not try to escape. Even though they can actually break free anytime.
This story really opened up my mind and made me think. Are we bound by such limits we impose on ourself? Are we really sure our limits are being reached or exploitated enough? Many times, we can actually go further than we ever imagined, if only we break free from our mental models and to give it a shot. To act rather than think, and to make the first step towards our goals and dreams. Take a minute to think about what I've said, and I wish that you would experience the same feeling back when I first heard the story.
Till the next post, which should be fairly soon since I've just sorted out my connection problems. More pictures and stories to come, and that's a promise!~