Month: March 2015

A Boycott of Two FanFiction Authors – Redux

For those who read the original post, I hope none of you have done anything too drastic. I realised that I was too hasty in putting it up, in anger and disappointment, but there’s no hard proof of any wrongdoing from the latter author that I discussed. It’s unfair for me to accuse him of doing something he may not have done, and I apologise for that.

So please, no vigilantism! And don’t flame the authors or anything. I don’t want this to go bonkers thanks to a stupidly naive post by yours truly. Please don’t jump to conclusions like I did, and take your time to form your own opinions on this.

Malaysian Grand Prix 2015

After the “humdinger” that was the Australian Grand Prix, people thought rather prematurely that this might be a season of crazy dominance by Mercedes.

They thought wrong.

As a viewer, I thought Mercedes had a chance when they dived into the pits with the safety car and ended up a good 10s behind Vettel, who raced away in clear air. But as much as Hamilton and Rosberg huffed and puffed, they just couldn’t keep the tires going for as long as the sleek Ferrari did. If they had stayed out, they may have kept the margins down, but Vettel had pace to match the Mercs all weekend.

As a Hamilton fan, I have to admit to being quite annoyed, especially since Vettel isn’t a driver I particularly like either. But kudos to Ferrari for sticking to their strategy, and for their pace. Pundits say that China might be a different story, but this could really unfold into a thrilling season between a couple of championship contenders.

Behind the podium finishers, Raikkonen ran a pretty crazy race, dealing a puncture that was thankfully equalised due to the safety car. Fourth was about the best Ferrari could expect of him, and he did well to get there from 11th on the grid. Williams trudged to 5th and 6th in Bottas and Massa, the white cars unable to keep up with the massive improvements James Allison has brought to Ferrari.

Well done to Verstappen and Sainz, who took a fantastic 7th and 8th for Toro Rosso. Sainz had trouble in qualifying, and to make 8th is quite the achievement. But Verstappen was amazing in the face of pressure from the sister Red Bulls of Ricciardo and Kvyat, and eventually overtook them all.

The Red Bulls had to come home a pretty dismal 9th and 10th, unable to match even their junior team with brake overheating that threw out black plumes of brake dust at the end of each straight. Grosjean was right behind, apparently with turbo problems that meant he was down on power. Lotus have had better days, but they clearly have a bit of pace if everything came together. Maldonado wouldn’t want that though; a coming together left him with a puncture and had to retire later on.

Nasr came home 12th for Sauber, and Raikkonen might feel a little aggrieved with Sauber given the customer of Ferrari gave him that puncture after getting held up by Ericsson in Q2. Ericsson beached himself in gravel braking too late into Turn 1, which was what prompted the safety car. Behind them were the two Force Indias, still struggling to get anywhere without the aero upgrades from their new wind tunnel. Finally, Merhi completed a race distance for Manor Marussia, which is quite the achievement for a team with zero testing and no running at all in the Australian GP.

And McLaren, well, they’ve had MUCH better days before. Alonso’s car overheated, Button’s had a failure of some sort, and both had to retire. Still, they were much better on pace than in Australia, and things might be looking up for them.

Vettel is now 3 points behind Hamilton after a most thrilling Malaysian GP. This championship could yet turn out to be nail-bitingly good.

Mr. Lee Kuan Yew

I can’t say I was unduly affected by his passing this morning. Then again, I’ve never been too deeply moved by the death of someone. Death is something everyone has to face. It’s the pain I see in others that really strikes at my heart.

But he’s a man that has had a immeasurable impact on life in Singapore and even beyond our tiny shores, and it feels only right that I pen my scattered thoughts on him.

I profess to being ambivalent about his ways. There are many things about the way Singapore is run that I disagree with on a personal level, but he stands by his ways and his thinking. He wanted the results to speak for him, and they did. We have an efficient government, a (relatively) clean city, a top-notch education system, superb healthcare and infrastructure, an economy that grows from strength to strength…I could go on and on.

I suppose he’s right in many ways. That the people are the most important, but not everyone will make the right decisions when voting. The shining example of democracy that is the US is also a paragon of inefficiency, often stuck in political deadlock due to its ridiculously petty bipartisanship. Singapore? We just do things, and citizens fall in line, complaining notwithstanding.

But then there are so many things we feel should change. Education is a rat race for grades. ERP hasn’t truly solved the traffic problem, and neither has the high COE prices. CPF continues to be a heavy point of contention, as is the high civil servant salary (but it has kept us corruption-free). The cost of living is rising, and the influx of foreign talent has everyone voicing their often negative opinions. The one-party rule that he has established has seen growing opposition in recent years.

I don’t agree with large portions of his legacy, yet I know that I can come to such conclusions only because I live in relative comfort, with an excellent education in a low-crime environment that has fostered me into a semi-independent thinker. For creating that safe bubble, he has my gratitude. For having the strength, the will, the brilliance to build Singapore from nothing into something, he has my admiration. For giving his life to Singapore and its people, he has my respect.

He left his mark on Singapore, on Asia, on the world, on us. Goodbye, Mr. Lee Kuan Yew. You’ve played your part. Now it’s time we moved forward like you would want us to.

Liverpool vs. Manchester United 22/03/15

So we lost.

So I could blame many things. Our awful start. Rodgers outwitted by van Gaal. Lallana’s glaring miss. Moreno’s poor positioning. Gerrard’s STUPID stamp.

But in the end, this is a game that stood out as a stark reminder that we’re still recovering. Always recovering. Always falling short. And we should damn well have done better in the first half like we did in the second…of the season. We won’t get 4th because we don’t deserve it, because of our patchy results up until December.

The only bright spot in the match was Sakho, who was imperious and impeccable once more. He made a mockery of Rooney and Falcao (who makes a mockery of himself to be fair…), and if Fellaini had been his opponent, I’m sure he would have dealt with Elbow-man with consummate ease as well. I only hope we can keep him fit, and keep him at Liverpool.

I feel like Rodgers has made progress with the team since he’s stepped in, but it’s a slow, long and arduous journey that I wished and felt could have gone so much better. But we are where we are, and we can only try and move forward as much as possible.

Why Every MacBook Needs A Different Goddamn Charger – CollegeHumor

HAHA!

But seriously, as much as I respect Apple for having the cojones to take away things they think we don’t need and force-feeding us things we don’t yet need, it’s getting to the point where I’m not sure I want my next laptop/desktop computer to be a Mac.

A single USB-C port, really? And I need an adapter that sells for US$79.00 just to get a USB and HDMI port while charging? No doubt there’ll be new MacBooks with more USB-C ports in the future, but what’s it going to cost me?

The big reason why I like my Mac over Windows is the superiority of OSX. But Windows 10 looks really, really good so far. And frankly, I’m not fond of Apple’s walled garden attitude. We’ll see.

Witch Craft Works

I didn’t think I’d be picking up a new manga when I have so many in my backlog, but I did, and I don’t regret it one bit.

Witch Craft Works stands out for me right from the start because the protagonist is practically powerless. And so far, he’s mostly stayed that way, despite the power within him. Instead, he keeps getting saved by his protector, a certain beautiful witch. Any more and I’ll be spoiling the story, but it’s refreshing to see the heroine saving the guy in distress, and keep doing so.

The story seems like a pretty even spread of comedy and shōnen fighting, which can be terrible if the pace of the story is off. Luckily, everything is quite well paced, with the comedy segueing well into the action and vice versa. They don’t detract from each other as well, something I can’t say for Naruto, which had horrid segments of comedy inserted where it had no right to be.

I also like that there’s no harem, with a sweet mutual attraction between the two main characters and a hilarious bro-con sister. An oblivious hero I can do without though; it’s a pretty tired trope to invent more comedic situations. I hope more mangaka and authors alike go down the route of High School DxD; a blatantly perverted hero. Would be nice if he was also intelligent and not a blockhead (another typical shōnen hero trait) though…

But yea, Witch Craft Works is a pretty fun manga to read. For me, it feels predominantly like a comedy, but the action is pretty nice too. A pity it’s not a weekly serialisation.

22 Jump Street

Another day, another sequel.

HOLY SHIT THAT WAS AWESOME!

Yea.

21 Jump Street was hilarious, but 22 Jump Street, amazingly, is even funnier. I love it when comedies are self-aware, and 22 Jump Street is just reference after reference, at the edge of breaking the 4th wall. They make fun of Hollywood, themselves, and even the hair triggers that everyone has regarding racism and any other topic these days.

Of course, given that they are a sequel, the thing they make fun of the most is indeed sequels. So many punchlines are devoted to making fun of the fact that it’s a sequel, with that 23 Jump Street reference and the whole barrage of Jump Street sequels, games and merchandise at the end.

But they haven’t forgotten what made 21 Jump Street awesome, which is the great chemistry Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have. Instead of them forming a new relationship, we have them falling into tumult, getting into the breakup phase and then the coming together again. I swear this is yet another reference to all those Hollywood tropes, which they made fun of so many times in the first film and continued to do so in this.

No one gives a shit about the plot, because this film isn’t about plot. It’s really about the humour. Even the characters are made for laughs, with Schmidt and Jenko’s relationship the prime example. Maya as Dickson’s daughter? Hilarious. Jenko’s fling with Zook? Makes me giggle. I’m kind of bad at watching comedies because I’m a little picky about my jokes, but 22 Jump Street was funny for me all the way.

Oh man, if this is the quality of the sequel, I really can’t wait for the Vietnamese to buy back their church and for the Jump Street guys to move across the street to the 23rd.