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Valar Qringaomis

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Friday, February 24, 2006

This bald black guy kept staring at me on a bus I was taking in the evening. Partially this was due to his facing me from a few seats away, making it possible for him to stare without being too obvious and/or creepy. Yet, he was definitely looking at me most of the time. Maybe he was jealous of my hair, having none himself.

Albert Heijn (a supermarket chain) is evil. They give out a free bonus card which you can use to get discounted prices on items marked "Albert Heijn Bonus". Since the card is given away free (I got 3 when I asked), they could always just offer the items at the lower price without requiring a discount card. My money's on their employing the same tactic used by companies offering mail-in rebates - just as not everyone will remember or bother to send in the card for their rebate, not everyone will remember to bring and/or use their Bonus cards. Or in some cases (notably me on Monday and probably some prior occasions as well), the poor customer does not know that a bonus card is required to get the discount, and gets fleeced.

I used what must be the most retarded locker system in the world in the Law Library - the locker keys don't tell you which locker they open, so if you forget your locker's location you get to slowly ram your key into each slot in turn.

One fun game you get to play when living with people is "Guess who didn't wash their dishes". We haven't been playing this recently, but we got to play one round of "Who left a Coke can in the freezer?", but to no avail (luckily it didn't explode).


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Pork cubes pasta
I bought a jar of tomato pasta sauce - it's slightly cheaper to buy tomato puree, but you don't get the herbs (and salt, sugar and stabiliser) inside and all, and poured it over onions, yellow pepper and mushrooms fried in garlic. Once again I set the stove to too high a setting so I got the jumping garlic problem. Next time I must set it to =<7/11 or even =<6.

I realise I cubed about 2/3 of the pork and chicken chops I bought. I should buy cheap cuts next time, but the chops taste nicer, being of better quality. But I get more culinary flexibility when buying chops, and anyway it doesn't cost that much more.

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Pork chop topped with Mango 'Salsa'
Original recipe I was given: "salt and pepper the pork chop. if u like u can also marinate it lightly in a bit of soya sauce, garlic powder, lemon juice, sesame oil. make mango salsa to top the pork chop. mango cubes, cucumber cubes, chopped
onion, tomato cubes, lemon juice, a bit of sugar, a bit of pepper. Fresh coriander would be nice if you have it. If not, spring onion or mint or parsley. Grill pork chop. Top with mango salsa." Unfortunately I didn't have half the ingredients, so I just salted and peppered it, marinated it with everything but lemon juice and made the salsa by tossing tomato pasta sauce, mango cubes and chopped onions.

I seem to have a dilemma. If I set the stove to a high heat setting, the garlic will jump around and hit my arm. If I set it too low, I won't get any saucepan-hei and most specifically my vegetables won't cook and sizzle properly the way they should when I throw in my rice wine. I must remember to dry my saucepan with a paper towel next time (even if I usually use a dry one rather than one from the drying rack, but then someone points out that if there's water the oil will splatter even without garlic). Someone claims I should put cold oil and cold garlic in a cold pan (cold as in not heated up), then heating them up. This sounds quite strange, but maybe it'll work. Or maybe Lee Kum Kee cheated me and bottled the garlic with water instead of soybean oil like it says on the label.
"God runs electromagnetics by wave theory on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the Devil runs them by quantum theory on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday." - Sir William Bragg

***

"I am afraid that due to copyright considerations - both The Economist and third parties - not all the cartoons are not available at Economist.com.

I am sorry for any disappointment caused."

Damn, disadvantages of reading it online...

***

Elia Diodati on skipping lessons to visit places: excellent
knowledge is transient
but tourism leaves lasting impressions

i bet you won't remember all those utility functions in a year's time but will still remember your hypothetical trip to the red light district open house, for example

***

"MARS-VENUS RELATIONSHIP WORKSHOP

SDU (Social Development Unit), in a join-collaboration with Mars-Venus International has invited 2 acclaimed speakers who have worked with Dr. John Gray (Author of the Best Selling Book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”). They will be speaking in at workshop held at The Grassroots Club on the 25th Feb. Publicity matters are handled by NUSSU PRU... This will be an excellent networking opportunity for participants, as this workshop is aimed at inter-varsity level, meaning SMU as well as NTU students will be attending the workshop as well."

Talk about social engineering!

***

Within 2 minutes, I got spammed a similar message from IPs 211.90.167.10, 72.36.227.50 and 68.87.64.105. Wth. This was repeated a short time later (from different IP ranges).

Yahoo has failed me yet again - my mail account got deactivated and all my mail deleted despite my logging in only a few days before that happened and my not requesting them to close my account. This is on top of the database error a few months ago that temporarily locked me out of my account for a few days, claiming that it'd been deleted for violating their policies. The best part is that after an initial cut-and-paste reply to me, they stopped responding even when I explained that I had recently used the account, giving them no reason to deactivate it. I'm so happy Yahoo is not my primary mail provider.

***

Escapa! - "Click and hold the red square. Now, move it so that you neither touch the walls nor get hit by any of the blue blocks. If you make it to 18 seconds, you are doing brilliantly!"

To: Professor@University.edu Subject: Why It's All About Me - "One student skipped class and then sent the professor an e-mail message asking for copies of her teaching notes. Another did not like her grade, and wrote a petulant message to the professor. Another explained that she was late for a Monday class because she was recovering from drinking too much at a wild weekend party."

TrendCall - This has an interesting gimmick - it will credit your account if people call you. Too bad it there's a minimum 1 year contract though.

MeatSpin.com where you get the spin on meat! - StumbleUpon review: "Damn, why do I always click random links on people's pages? I've been suckered into goatse, tubgirl and lemonparty, and now I can add meatspin to the list."
lemonparty was a new one for me.

Ultimate Utopia XXIII - "Enter the world of Ultimate Utopia XXIII where real life and video game collide! A mock on RPGs, particularly Final Fantasy."
Cute proof of concept, but too Jap-centric for my liking.
I asked the Finnish guy in my ESN group if he'd heard of Gunther and he was very amused.

I was going home past midnight and as I was crossing the road to my apartment block I saw a very surreal sight - the word "Koupmans" floating disembodied in the air; it was a sign on a construction crane, the body of which was invisible due to the heavy fog.

Andrew told me his brother went vegetarian in UK to save money; when you include meat in cooked food here the price goes way up. For uncooked food the price premium is still okay.

With my monthly bus pass, I can travel 2 zones with my card. I'm thinking there might be a loophole where you can travel 2 zones, get off at a zone boundary, walk across it to the next bus stop, travel 2 more zones and repeat until you get to your destination.

I don't know how people can wear scarfs and more indoors. These people have mastered the Art of Zen - they can all wear tudungs in Singapore already.

One more reason I don't go clubbing - I don't like shouting and being shouted at to be heard above the noise.

Cigarette vending machines here need an Age Coin inserted before you make your purchase, to ensure you're older than 16. Of course, this defeats the point of having a vending machine, since you need to get the Coin from the counter.

Some students are very slack. One is skipping school for a week in Week 4 (next week) to go skiing in France. Meanwhile attendance is taken during lectures in Oregon, which now one-ups NUS in this respect.

I saw a woman riding a bicyce, and behind her her son seemed to be riding one too. However, on a second glance I noticed that he was peddling curiously in sync with her, and was following a bit too close. I then noticed that he was on a cute bicycle add-on - a seat and wheel attached to the back of his mother's bike.

A housemate who went to Amsterdam and toured the red light district complained that the girls were all very old - some were even his mother's age.


There was mold growing on some slices of bread and I ate one slice with the stamppot mentioned in a previous post (this was almost a week ago so I doubt it did any harm to my system - thank you Malaysia!) I was quite upset because I bought it only a week before buying it.

Someone: "u start to realise bread in sg has unnaturally long life
bread nvr lasts a wk in europe
in fact normally it last for 3-5 days max"

Someone else: "mold in general is not poisonous i don't think
it's just like cheese, right."


I can't find normal cheese here. I tried looking for Mozzarella, Parmesan, Cheddar etc. but to no avail. The only familiar cheeses I saw were Feta and Camembert. In the end I bought "Jong" cheese - the cheapest and mildest sounding. My French housemate uses Belgian Jong to garnish his Bolognese so I suppose it's okay.

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Chicken ketjap manis stew
I fried onion and garlic on olive oil, cooked chicken cubes with a splash of ketjap manis (sweet Indonesia soy sauce) until they were about 60% done and then transferred the thing to a pot, adding more ketjap manis. I then added some cubed potatoes and sprinkled some salt. While paring the potatoes for this I cut my thumb - I wonder how many body parts I have left to injure. In the end, the potatoes were a bit hard (I need to let them cook a bit longer next time - agaration is not perfect); watching Yan Can Cook doesn't teach you everything!

I saw a girl wearing a turtleneck sweater with lots of holes, with the largest ones around her shoulders and collarbone being so large I estimate a thumb and one other digit could go in. I wonder what the point was (well...).

During my 5:15-7 lecture, I noticed a decline in post-break attendance, despite it being cold and students likely not having any classes located close by spatially and/or temporally. Economics students understand the concept of sunk costs! Either that or their time is so precious that gaining even 45 minutes gives them much utility.

My croissants keep getting burnt in the oven. First I tried heating them at 230, or thereabouts. The next day I did 210, and they still got burnt. Then yesterday I tried 120, and even though I checked on them after only 2 minutes at most, they were still burnt. The directions say 250, so maybe I'm using the wrong oven mode or something.


Quotes:

[Lecturer: ***, can you do better?... Otherwise you can take the floor.] *sotto voce* I could try.

[It] Has 2 characteristics, which are? I understand a lot of you passed the retake exam... Is this the group which didn't pass the retake exam?

I realise now that that's the thing with Institutional Economics. Lots of stories, no maths, no econometrics, no graphical analysis... That's what you students do. Tell stories.

He was not an Economist, not at all. Many of the theories in Economics don't come from Economists. That's how it works in the real world.

Dad wade cost (deadweight)

Monopoly money has no value right? Then you're wrong. This was an exam question. 5 credits to him [who said it did], 0 credits to the rest of you. (marks)

Basically Economics is quite simple... It's made difficult by you students, by Professors.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Search Referrals:

"full time bondage" - Don't they have day jobs?

"cold spray" culinary - I hope the person dies.

claims regarding microwaved water - It tastes different in tea, hurr hurr.

comparing management to gestapo

nus hostel peeping tom

The Holy Island of Lindisfarne Guestbook 2006 - Even monks must move with the times.

The Quest for TQM: love it or hate it, it's impossible to ignore - TQM = Total Quality Management. For some reason I'm the second result for this. Uhh.

are gunther and the sunshine girls a joke - Fortunately (or otherwise, as the case might be), no. Is Zlad a joke? o.0

How do you become Emma Watson's date or boyfriend? - Maybe they'll havea Reality TV show about this.

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medicinal value annd uses of fig - The Portugese housemate was telling me about some tea you can make with it.

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how to make cheekbones grow more - Implants are the way to go.

cost of an upright kawaii piano - Maybe they can look into Hello Kitty merchandising.

gunther parody - Some things are so slick, they're beyond parody.

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safe objects to masterbate with - Finally someone looks beyond lust and on to safety!

could women use plastic wrap to masterbate

Will Daniel Radcliffe be in a Nude scene in his next movie December Boys

unemployed engineers 2005 - Enroll in Engineering, they said. Make big bucks, they said. I'd rather study Medieval Theology.

what is the Internal Factor Evaluation Matrix for Krispy Kreme Doughnuts?

advantages and disadvantages of an emperor penguins

ketchup haram

Swear words against girls

2006 comments guestbook of jack straw british foreign secretary in 2005

Violent video games agression poor posture

a little guy with his eyes and his nose with two hands on each side of line is poking up whta his name from world war two?

bastiality torrents

nipples role im making women sexy - How about men?!

"17/23 correlation" - He's not in the conspiracy either. Pity.

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kaboom porn pics superhero - Steven Lim!

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HULL PQ CEMETERIES

jc bought sports bra blogspot

teletubbies stole A&W- Another reason to hate them

Hasty Generalizations in Advertisements

before & after pics of boob jobs - A very interesting page: Bad Boob Jobs! - ""Hi Dr Calabro! I LOVE mangos. I know it sounds weird, but please implant mangos in my chest!" Well, if that was the case, then doctor Sal Calabro did a great job!!"

"sleeping arrangement" polygyny

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"Senior Design Project Ideas" civil

impious voip company in malaysia - Is VOIP haram?

foot fetish haram

flash gunther tralala ecard - I can terrorise people with this!

pics of gals nude in their hostels

videos of nus girls partying

Malaysia, segamat. toxic waste being throw

RGS+test tube+vagina - Wrong lah, it was SCGS!

dong-song civilization

islamic view on vitiligo

wu the lotus blossom nude - No unrealistic sizes for once. I'm impressed.

objections "pictures of mold" legal - I should've taken a picture of the moldy bread I ate that day...

anthony hopkins bodily adornment

The fantasy files: A study of the sexual fantasies of contemporary women (Unknown Binding)

erotic hot fudge sundae ecard

sunflower oil to masturbate

blowing dandelions erotic

the/female/orgasm rapidshare - What do they expect to find?

Wah Viet Waitress Tries Anal For The First Time! - Wah.

penny loafer fetish gallery - I've heard of foot fetishes but this is ridiculous.

handphone for students usage could causes to murder

ron millers bootleg midterm exam

acknowledgement and preface in term paper about fatal diseases that kill most filipinos

nus disease - Maybe it's apathy.

mohammed durex anal cartoons

sexy pics of bangladeshi prime minister

"tiffin girl" blog

"female recruits" "pushups"

CALEB CEMENT W.I.

nude crippled girls - Repeat after me: "Nothing fazes me anymore after 'fetish wheelchair girls stuck in mud'"

skinny weak boys cannot take Singapore National Service training blogspot

girls thigh high socks - Higher and higher they go. Where they stop, no one knows.

"Doggie Kruger" thrust cock

crucible "phallic symbol" "arthur miller" - Must be a result of studying too much literature.

itarian porno

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ariella porn star - No wonder someone changed her nick.

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FBT shorts running split - This is what happens when they're too short.

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Royal holloway secret socities

+2006 email leprosy board of directors 45 hotmail.com"

Nanyang polytechnic probing sex video clip - Probe?

"two words" + "prince of wales" + "kensington palace" - Crossword answers online?!

singapore girl loses handphone sex father finds ntu halls warning porn - So many scandals ah?

why we commemorate total defence day - Because we have to. Hurr hurr.

atheists riot blank sheet paper cartoonist desk

NAPSTER SLUTTY WOMEN

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contact email address of gaddafi

r sacsals

SHE PUT HER SOILED PANTIE IN MY FACE FOR ME TO SNIFF

from the catholic encyclopedia an explanation of dark nights as explained by theresa of avila


Predicted referral: "Is botox haram?" Unfortunately I didn't get it.


Google site search:

pictures of naked NSmen
acjc students hotel room sex
sports bra raffles girls
nus hostel prostitutes - How come I don't know ah.
N A N Y A N G P O L Y P R O B I N G S E X V I D E O C L I P

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Moral Hazard, Adverse Selection, and Tort Liability

"Annual U.S. tort costs account for nearly 2 percent of GDP. As shown in Figure 1, U.S. tort costs (as a percent of GDP) are more than 3 times greater than tort costs in the United Kingdom, and are also significantly higher than tort costs in most other industrialized countries.

Much research has been done concerning the contributing factors behind the expansion of the U.S. tort system. Magee, Brock, and Young (1989) argue that one problem may be that the U.S. has too many lawyers. Their theory is based upon the notion that lawyers do both positive and negative things for the economy. Examples of positive economic contributions include activities such as making property rights clearer, protecting individuals from harm-doers, and facilitating transactions. Examples of negative economic contributions include predatory redistributive conflict, excessive litigation, and the diversion of talent out of productive activity. Thus it seems plausible that there is such a thing as an “optimal” number of lawyers for an economy. Figure 2 provides a conceptual framework for thinking about this problem.

In Figure 2 we are interested in maximizing the economy’s growth prospects. The y axis represents the rate of economic growth, and the x axis represents lawyer density, which is proxied by the ratio of the number of lawyers for every 1,000 white-collar workers. The rising part of the curve represents the effects of the positive economic contributions of the legal system, whereas the declining part of the curve captures the negative effects. The point represented by (g*,L*) shows how economic growth is maximized when there exists an optimal number of lawyers.

Magee, Brock, and Young estimate regression equations from 54 countries over the course of 25 years and find that the optimal value for L* is 23 lawyers for every 1,000 white-collar workers (2.3%). Since the U.S. has more like 38 lawyers for every 1,000 such workers, it would appear that the U.S. has 40% too many lawyers. Furthermore, the economic consequences of having too many lawyers are not “rounding errors.” Magee, Brock, and Young’s equations suggest that these excess lawyers reduce GDP by approximately 10 percent every year. Since 2003 GDP was $11,252.30 trillion, this would imply a 2003 “lawyer tax” on the U.S. economy of $1.125 trillion. On a per-lawyer basis, this comes to $986,842 of forgone GDP.

***

"For the United States, it has been estimated that (in the 1980s) 'each additional lawyer who is churned out by American law schools reduces the level of GDP by $2.5 million, a figure far greater than the present discounted value of that lawyer's earnings, substantial though they may be' (Magee et al., 1989, p. 17)" - Kaspar and Streit, 1998, p. 204
I decided to patronise Manneken Pis, the Vlaamse Frites place that has the logo of the little boy pissing. Although they probably have the most expensive frites of all the frites places, they also have the widest variety of sauces, and their frites are thick, yet both crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Manneken Pis serves Vlaamse Frites (Flemish Fries), which are slightly different from the Patat Frites (Potato Fries) you get at most other places (and you get frites at most places - even Turkish shoarma shops have em), since they include some of the potato skin, lending the fry a slightly more complex taste.

I asked the woman at the counter what Piccadilly Piccalilly was, and was told that it was a quintessentially Dutch pickle sauce with carrots, onions and other stuff. I was given some to try (with a few frites), but as it tasted something like sour vegetables, the expression on my face was such that she could tell it wasn't my thing, so she recommended Joppisaus, a mixture of curry, mayonnaise, onions and some other stuff to me. It agreed much more with my palette, so I bought some.


Some of the bus lanes here are hardcore - instead of being lanes on normal roads, they are separated totally from the normal roads, so buses move on one side and cars on another. In some places, they also have dedicated bicycle lanes, so this makes for really segregated traffic.

One bus I was on had a funky wheelchair space, where there was a cushion to support the back of the wheelchair, a seatbelt to secure it and a button to press to open the door.


One of my project partners suggested I was better off without a bike, because his got stolen the day before. Meanwhile, my local student mentor is buying her 21st bike in 4 years (most had gotten stolen). She'd go bankrupt if she bought all of them from a store.

Given how much it drizzles I wonder why many people are still so fond of cycling.

On a previous occasion, Poor Suffering had recommended the Gin and Tonic to me as the most tolerable alcoholic drink. When I was obliged by social expectations and norms to order a drink (actually it was on someone), that's what I chose and I wasn't disappointed. After that, I declined to get more rounds even though the others were downing beer after beer.

Apparently at one point in time it was cheaper to buy a return ticket to Stockholm (€110) than a 1-way ticket (€200). This world has gone mad.


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Black bean pork
I marinated the pork strips in tao tjo (black bean) sauce, tapioca starch, rice wine and sesame oil and fried it with garlic and yellow bell pepper in sesame oil. It was a cut for schnitzel, but I'd very recently had that weird chicken-cheese-pineapple schnitzel thing, and I didn't feel like pouring enough oil into the sauce pan to shallow fry the thing. The only bad thing was that it came out a bit gooey since I added too much aqueous tapioca starch (couldn't find corn) to thicken the sauce. I ate it (and most other stuff I cook[ed]) with bread, since it's more flexible than rice and I might as well enjoy European bread.

The good thing about stir frying is that you can throw in any crap you want, and as long as it's not too weird it can turn out okay. Furthermore, it's easier to judge cooking times when you cube the meat instead of working with slabs.

I realise another reason why Halal Chinese food sucks (besides no XO sauce and no pork) - no rice wine.

So far I've been using agaration instead of definite recipes. It seems to be working.

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Modified Cordon Bleu
This was not modified so much as simplified, since I didn't want to make a sauce and more importantly did not have everything called for to hand. I rubbed the slab with salt and pepper and put chicken ham on top. I had a problem with the cheese, since I had it in a wedge and didn't think to use a cheese slicer (a housemate suggested that later), so I cut off random bits with a knife, which explains the leperous appearance of the top. I then dipped the thing in egg, and then coated it with breadcrumbs and baked it; I didn't have any store-bought breadcrumbs, so I tried making my own. I microwaved a slice of bread for 2 minutes and then crumbled it. This seemed to work until I tasted my Cordon Bleu - it was a bit burnt. I should try putting the bread into the oven on low heat next time.

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Zuurkool stamppot
I didn't actually make this, but got it at half price from Hema since it was expiring. It's Dutch potato-sauerkraut mush with bits of bacon in it, and tastes better (and less sour) than it looks.
I seem to be talking to my Korean housemate the most. Probably the main reason is because he has the best English among all of them (he lived in the US for a few years), so it's easiest to communicate. Actually the Dutch students all have better English than the European exchange students.

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In University College Utrecht Building U, where I have my tutorials, I entered this funky toilet. For those who don't get it, in the distance a urinal can be seen, while on the right you see a door which marks the female toilet. This means that there's no partition, screen or door at the entrance of the male toilet area, making it unisex in a way. I was wondering if the sinks were shared too, but I peeked into the female toilet and saw sinks in there, so. I asked one of my classmates if other Dutch toilets were as funky, and he said it was only this one, since the compound used to be a military barracks.

One of my modules was sneakily switched from Period 3 (current period) to Period 4 (the next one), and they didn't tell me (it still says 3 in the Prospectus on the website). This means I'll only be able to do 5 modules, not 6. Ah well - I was only going to map 5 anyway.

In Spar, I saw 7-up Light going for €0.45, and the normal variety for €0.55. This world is going mad. Or maybe it's a sly way of promoting healthy living.

Very obviously imitating Walker's (same name, similar flavours), Lay's has a Lay's Sensations range here, and from the looks of the packaging, throughout the western part of the continent.

There are a lot of Shoarma (the Turkish version of Gyros) places here. Must be a lot of Turks.

"Cursus Nederlands voor Buitenlanders (Dutch Language Course for Foreigners)". Wonderful. A document about a Dutch language course for beginners comes in Dutch as well.

I don't understand why people like to talk rubbish during tutorials and irritate others (or at least me). This is especially since there're no participation points given out now - you only have an "effort requirement" to qualify for a retest (and stuff like that).

Instead of sounding an audible noise, in the public buses here when you press the "Stop" button, all that happens is the "Stop" light goes on. So you don't have the problem of annoying kids pressing the button repeatedly and pissing everyone off with the noise.

The varieties of bread I find in one Hema (a supermarket chain - not a speciality bread shop) are amazing. I catalogued, with Babelfish translation (supplemented by helpful readers) where available, wit (plain), landbrood (country bread), tijgerwit (tiger blank - there're like stripes on the crust), mais (corn), bruin (brown), licht meergranen (multi-grain light), zonnerpitten (sunflower seeds), tarwe (wheat [???]), boulemeergranen (round-loafed multi-grain), volkoren (people ears? whole wheat), donker meergranen (dark multigrain), allinson (seems to be some freaky kind of flour), boulemais (round-loafed corn), landbrood pompoen (pumpkin country bread), boule volkoren (round-loafed people's ears [???] whole wheat) and boule naturelwit (round-loafed natural wheat bread). Though at least half look like the sort I'd never eat (being brown/black and bitter) and the rest probably taste similar, it's nice to have a choice, and to have crusty sliced bread (a term which until I thought was an oxymoron until I came here).


On request of Tim The Great, who is interested in my culinary experiments, I will be documenting them here, excluding things like my shallow frying of this weird chicken Schnitzel with a layer of cheese and a pineapple ring on top (it was half-price at Spar since it was expiring). I made some tao tjo (black bean sauce) chicken the other day, and oyster sauce vegetables, but this came before his request, so.

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Oyster sauce chicken - raw. Unfortunately I made an incision in my left thumbnail while cutting the breast into chunks. My flesh was untouched, but a day or two later the cut bit fell off (ie Not into the food).

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Oyster sauce chicken - cooked. Marinated with oyster sauce, soya sauce, sesame oil, onions, garlic powder, pepper and paprika (I think it lent a touch of sweetness to the meat)


Quotes:

[On not letting Consumption dropping to 0] If first, you decide that you don't want to die, you will end up at Steady State.

Monday, February 20, 2006

"The only thing to do with good advice is pass it on. It is never any use to oneself." - Oscar Wilde

***

Starhub survey: "What services and brands does everyone in your household (excluding maids) subscribe to or use?"

Ooh, discrimination.

***

Someone: most of the time i find female exchange students fr sg.. they get more fr their experience...
they don't have baggage from NS, the i've been through shit and back.. and i can criticise everything and anything...
or maybe they are normally younger.. not so set in their ways..

dude.... being chinese has it's advantages... u just need to know how to milk it ;)
the french.. esp those in the south have a fascination with oriental stuff
women included

and latin ppl.. they don't care where you're fr...
they find the orient quite attractive too
not so much for brits... though..
at least not to me hahaha

***

Why the nakedness?

"Call me a littls strange, but I don't have a picture of a naked girl on my profile; let me clarify myself. As I browse last.fm, generaly jumping from profile to profile via the friends/shoutbox, I see alot of youngish guys with pictures of nakef girls/women as their picture. Now, they aren't fooling anyone, they never got with a porn star, and neither do they have said girl as a girlfriend.

Could I have an explination to this interisting state, maybe one of the guys could step forward and speak for their sect?"

***

Reports emerge of Mac OS X Trojan horse or worm - ""Leap-A is not a virus, it is malicious software that requires a user to download the application and execute the resulting file", said Apple"
Yeah, whatever. Like Happy99 didn't require a user to download the application and execute the resulting file.

Refrigerating hot foods - "The issue with allowing food to cool slowly to room temperature is that naughty bacteria are prone to thrive and multiply at temperatures between 40°F and 140°F (5°C and 60°C). And the US Department of Agriculture — concerned for your welfare even though you live in Australia — is deeply upset when foods are allowed to linger in that temperature range. The USDA will allow you to keep foods in that range for as long as two hours if you have to do something foolhardy, such as go on a picnic. But two hours is the limit. And, of course, they would prefer that foods not linger in that range at all."
HAH! I KNEW IT! I KNEW IT!

Project Leo - Singapore's 1st Tokusatsu Hero - "This little page here shall detail all progress relating to Project Leo - A wholly self-funded attempt to create Singapore's 1st ever Tokusatsu Hero."
Uhh...

Why does helium make my voice go sqeaky?

The OED on "alarmed"

alarmed, a.
Fitted or protected with a (burglar, fire, etc.) alarm or alarms. Chiefly predicate.

1969 V. CANNING Queen's Pawn vi. 83 - Windows in the far wall overlooking a small yard and garden, each window alarmed and burglar proof.

1976 Liverpool Daily Post 11 Dec. (Advt.), - Warehouse to let, suitable for wholesale or light industrial use, alarmed.

1982 Amer. Speech LVII. 197 - This door is locked and alarmed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m.

1985 Oxford Times 13 Sept. 4 - They even ripped off the front of the club bar, believing it to be alarmed, to gain access to cash, spirits and cigarettes.
I walked out of one lecture. It wasn't just that it wasn't very enlightening, but it was also getting late, cold and dark. Oh, and my housemate and I needed to go buy stuff.

This place called Charlie Chiu's Restaurant was selling Babi Pangang, yet above some parts of their menu floated the "100% Halal" sign. A quick glance at their kitchen made me doubt that they had separate preparation ideas. Maybe the Halal food was pre-prepared.

I saw a Delifrance in the city. I forgot to check if they bill themselves as being the authentic blah blah, and whether they serve wine. I wonder if they have any branches in France, and if they do, what they bill themselves as there.

Though many places sell frites, the place where I get mine from at the train station offers smaller servings and prices them cheaper than competing outlets, which kills 2 birds with one stone.

I saw half-priced 2L soft drink bottles at Spar, the supermarket near my house. Curious, since I'd never seen soft drinks offered at a discount before, I examined them and found that they'd expired in August 2005. Considering the shelf life of soft drinks, that must've been a really old batch.

I finally gave up on humidifying my room and bought moisturiser and lip balm. The first time I applied the former my face stung for 2 minutes.

I should franchise 7-11 or some other 24 hour chain here. I'll probably make millions (if it's not banned by the labour laws).

One PRC in one of my classes thought I was an ABC, because of the way I spoke (maybe he meant the ease with which). Wth.


I had my first wth moment on viewing this:

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

Now I know what they meant by:

"Note that both courses are "level 3" courses, which are third year bachelor's courses. They might therefore take more effort and studyload to complete the courses succesfully."

Unfortunately, this is not the course they described as such:

"We must tell you that regarding to the course *** (***) you should be aware of the difficulty of the material."

Shit.


Quotes:

[On using his research in teaching] I'm kind of taking you into my own problems.

[On Economists knowing you can change human behavior by chanigng the environment] I was reading an article the other day written by an electrical engineer... he was saying you build windmills in the North Sea, no one will want electricity during the night, so we shouldn't build the windmills... He's an engineer. He didn't consider if you change the price of electricity...

[On a model] I've taken out the beautiful colours, but I'm sure you'll understand.

[On solving an optimisation problem] And then, of course, the mathematician wakes up.

[On a question on the mafia] Do we have someone from Sicily here? No? Then we can take this example.

Give an example of social justice... [Bulgarian student: If you're a foreigner, and you go to a museum, you pay more than if you're a local] Why do you pay more if you're a foreigner? Because you're richer?... I would call that discrimination.

[Student: How about students? We get discounts because we're poor.] Always think you're poor. But of course you're not, because you have a job, you've rich parents...

[On conventions] When you create your own language, no one will understand you. Babies make up their own language. No one understands them. Mothers do. Mothers think they do.

In the exam, you can write 'According to Mr *** during the lecture'. [Student: Must we write 'according to Mr ***'?] Yes, I'm marking it... Then I'll know you're paying attention.

[On internal institutions becoming external ones] In Poland you can't piss in public places, but you could until a few years ago.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Anyone who might be inclined to sign up for Skype Zones BETA is strongly urged not to do so.

On a visit to the Skype website, I happened to read about Skype Zones BETA, which sounded like a specific type of Wireless Internet - instead of getting access from hotspots, it seems that you get Skype access via them.

Seeing that there were two options - Skype Zones Beta Unlimited (Unlimited access for $7.95 a month) and Skype Zones Beta AsYouGo (Access at $2.95 per 2 hour block), I decided to sign up for the latter just for fun, though I never knew if or when I'd use it. After all, I figured I had nothing to lose by signing up for a Pay As You Go plan.

To my horror, I was billed $2.95 by Skype Zones, even though I hadn't yet used their services. I emailed support and was told that:

"When you sign up for a Skype Zones As You Go account, you are billed the first $9.95 (sic) charge and given one credited connection day, which you can use at any of the locations where we have wireless access available. Normally, this account is only billed when you connect with the service, except when you first join Skype Zones Wireless. We Bill you automatically when you join to verify the status of the credit card, and then credit your account for 1 connection."

When I pointed out that this policy was not stated anywhere on their signup page, Customer Agreement or even Knowledgebase, and that this was dishonest, I was told that "Our records have verified that over 99% of users who select this type of service, as opposed to the Unlimited monthly plan, have always used the service right after they have joined, so this type of billing policy, has remained since Boingo, the parent company, has been in existence."

Eventually I got a refund, but it still doesn't sit well with me that this non-disclosure results in less than 1% of users on this plan getting billed for nothing, and I've a suspicion that some of the "over 99%" didn't intend to use the service when they signed up, but were motivated by the charge on their credit card (though I'm not sure how many checked their statements immediately after signing up and this discovered that they'd been billed).

I told them that "until you change your policy (how hard can disclosing that the account will be billed on signup?), I cannot say that I will recommend Skype Zones to anybody I know."


I called DBS up to enquire about a residual $1 charge on my debit card which Skype Zones claimed they didn't bill me, and was pissed off to find out that although I was calling the number to be used when dialing from overseas (not the toll free local number), I was still put through their computer, ie the stupid "For your convenience, we are pleased to offer 4 language options. Press 1 for English..." rubbish.

Luckily it cost me only €0.01 per minute, since I was using VOIPbuster. I bet it's a conspiracy with the IDD companies to let them earn more money; they should cut the crap for calls from abroad and put you straight through to the customer service assistant.
Something sent to me by rae Ume:

Part 2 of this tale of woe and despair has also been published!


I was enlisted on the 2nd of April. I was sent to Taurus Company in BMTC 2. It was a good sunny day. We had our heads shaved. We paid money for it! Paying money for something that we did not intend for sounds weird, but that is just the tip of the iceberg for what gives in this presumptuous State. The experience for me is rather routine for the conscript. Getting harassed and getting pushed around, getting the feel of submission and fear into familiarity. It was not novel for me, I have had such experience before; I coped well too then, because I wanted it and I embraced it. However now it was different for me, I was no longer impressionable and I simply cannot follow anything that someone wants me to. The concept of authority and the individual has developed in me, and when that has happened life's perceptions change a lot. The instrument of fear is highly effective in controlling a person, and how far can one person overcome fear? Especially not someone who has yet to see and experience much of life, and who has not the desired wisdom and resolve to handle fear, or life and death, like me. I did not really cope well with the system. In the beginning, I would question and grudge, but I did not actively pursue my opinions. That was for the first two weeks of BMT. Every night I would steel myself to resolutely and sincerely challenge affronts to my individuality, even though it would seemingly seem impossible to do so. And indeed, it would fail all the time, because I have to submit in the end for every action demanded of me. By the end of the 2nd week, I had decided to end this insincere lifestyle by coming clean with myself. I was not keen, nor brave enough for DB, and life then was exceedingly dishonourable and disappointing for me, so I decided to take the path of suicide.

It was just before going for swimming lesson. I had it all planned out actually almost a week before. I even had my suicide note in my drawer. I planned on jumping down from my block. My emotions then were quite uncontrolled. I was standing there motionless, and tears were streaming down my face, even though I did not want them to. Mostly when that happened I bent down on the ledge and covered my face with my forearms, to salvage my dignity. I suppose I was rather resolved on doing it, because I was thinking about so many things, and especially the people I love whom I was going to abandon. I kept questioning myself to see if there was no better path for me to take, and if this was indeed the best route, and the correct way to do it. Was there something missing? I had to be sure of my actions. When one consciously and soberly comes to the issue of death, one generally does not take it lightly. That so, I was hesitating, and waiting, contemplating of my action again and again, in this hurried circumstance, to betray no alternative that I could have taken. The hesitation was ineluctable, even though it would be better to have none of it. Someone reported to my superiors about this curious sight standing beside the ledge, and soon they were at my elbows. They were sympathetic and amiable, but they fail to see that this is already beyond them. My issue was with the system, not with these individuals, the executors of the system, men who are just like me, men who are victims in their capacity. What am I actually compared to them? They who never had the freedom of thought and the freedom, or courage and understanding, to pursue their beliefs in this period of physical and mental bondage? They have rallied in tough times, and I believe that deserves its own respect. My PC came to me and told me I could get out of this environment if I wanted to. That was the turning point for my impending suicide. I thought I could cheat the system somehow and still live the life that I believe, the life that I will die for. He led me to the counsellor's office and I was interviewed by this exceedingly detached man whom had not the slightest idea of my mentality. When he was asking me if I had trouble with the pull-up bar, I knew that confiding in him would be a very big error. It would be sedition! It seemed highly shallow to me that he was worrying if I could do pull-ups or not. I did not tell him anything in the end. I just told him I wanted to see the MO because I had a backache. Little did I know that the biggest screamer was going to come from the MO! Haha! I waited in the waiting room, staring at the wall in front of me and wondering if I should crack my head against it, as suddenly it seemed that my chances of cheating the system was evaporating. It seemed really real to me, the notion of cracking my head against the wall. I tested the sensation of it, by placing my head against it. It was really hard. But at that point I was not really bothered about pain. It was more about whether I should be doing it or not. The issue of pain scarcely factored for me at all. Mortifyingly, at that point of time the notion of splitting my head seemed delightfully gratifying for me. Anyway, I had already regained mastery of my faculties and I was very calm and like my usual self, which includes lots of cheeriness and sensitivity to my actions and my surroundings. I only found out later that being a master of oneself will penalise one during any medical examinations done for the purpose of the SAF. I was finally called to be interviewed by the MO, and I was nervous as to my demeanour, for I was still planning to examine the system somehow and I also wanted to do things in my usual way, which would involve mastery and professionalism of one's conduct and manner. In the end it was a compromise between the two. I acted depressed, which I was not, for I have been in full conscious knowledge of my person, and thus I did not act out depression so dramatically. I was quite alert and focused on the situation then. Having declared my suicidal tendencies, though not elaborately my reasons for doing so, I was sent outside again to wait. After waiting for about 2hrs, I finally saw my 3SG and he led me to the jetty! I was going to see some relief from this Tranquility Bay!

I was driven to IMH when we reached shore. I was assessed and the doctor gave me a choice: he asked if I wanted to be warded. I thought it would be a good idea, because I do not know what the alternative would be, and I thought it would give credibility to my perceived mental state. It was a bad choice. It was one of the worst experiences I have ever experienced. I felt like a fish, because my fellow crazies were empty in the head, and because I kept lapping the ward in circles, truly like a shark waiting for its repast. There were no books there to keep me company. There were lots of really insane people though, and I would never wish my worst enemy to be sentenced to the same place as I was. I walked barefeet. The floors were sticky and smelt of urine. I could not lie down on the floor if I was tired, though some of them were. The chairs were where I could find rest, but it was noisy, so I could not really rest at all. I saw the father of my friend there too, but that is another story. Anyway he told me he was the reincarnation of some biblical figure, which was mildly interesting, and that he may have Apocalypse all figured out. Probably soon, I do not really remember. We were not led out of the ward at all for the entire day. Our day starts and ends in the ward. It was around the size of 25-30 metres squared. The entrance to the ward was kept locked. The only sane people there were the nurses. I befriended one of them and he was a really nice Filipino. He seemed to realise that I was not mentally disturbed like the rest. All this while, I did not contact my parents. I thought I was not allowed to use the phone, and I also thought the SAF might have done it already. Anyway I borrowed the phone in the late afternoon, and my parents were shocked to find me there. The patients were all made to sleep at around 8pm. I requested to talk to the doctor on duty and want to be let out. He said that I was malingering. I felt like crying. Anyway I learned the nature of the game pretty well already by then. The only way for me to live is to surrender myself and submit entirely and sincerely. It was quite clear I was unwelcome alive if I persisted in my individualism.

I slept little in the night. I was extremely noisy. The nurse on duty was painfully frosty. The fan made it extremely chilly and the blanket and pillow was unconscionably smelly and disgusting. I did not use either of them and I was freezing basically. I did not sleep a wink. One guy kept walking past my bed and kneeling down at the end of the ward. I would have sworn he was possessed. He does not blink at all too. In the middle of the night some guy was led screaming from my ward to another ward, in a restraint bed. I borrowed paper from the nurse and began to write a note for the doctor. I stated that I was "sane and that I was foolish". "I believe in conscription wholeheartedly now. I was selfish and immature to begin with. I am totally reformed now." I completely sold myself out. The asylum does amazing things to the mind. I saw the doctor and he agreed to let me out. He also gave me a weeklong MC. When I went home I decided to use only 2 days of the MC and return to camp early. I wanted to live, and I realised there was only one way to live, and it was their way. When I was on the ferry terminal waiting for the ferry, I saw a SAF poster. I cannot remember now what it wrote, but I remember then that my heart broke and tears flowed from my eye, and I wonder whether I should have died after all on that fateful day.

Part 2 will come right up, but I have to sleep now because I have work tomorrow.

[Addendum:

seekok in the comments box: "THE ward has a lot of abuses due to the doctor there. There was a case where one of the medic molested a patient. The nurse briefed the medics on 'what actually happened' so that they can give a unified version of happenings to the investigators. The medics were told what to say line by line (e.g. the molester medic was at the computer, and the patient was in the room at certain time)

THe head doctor threatened to charge the accuser to make sure he 'spends the rest of NS in DB'.

FUrthermore, drugs are given and patients are not briefed on their right to refuse them or seek a second opinion. Drugs are often given out wrongly too. Someone was so drowsy he could not stay awake the entire morning. THe doctor threatened to punish him for not being able to stay awake which implied that the medicine he took was not suppose to be a sleeping pill. (and who gives sleeping pill in the morning anyway"

Part 2 of this tale of woe and despair has also been published!]
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