Gabriel's shared items

Friday, July 29, 2005

A lousy end to an otherwise fulfilling week

This week started pleasantly, having celebrated my birthday with some of the people I enjoyed being with, and having my excitement of uni life fueled by meeting the other people going to study in cam.

I also thought I had quite good returns on my time throughout the week. I did relief teaching on Monday and Tuesday, settled my medical stuff in the afternoon, had tuition in the evening, had a good driving session on Wednesday morning, and helped the maths society in the afternoon, relief on Thursday followed by a session of helping my teacher organize a math competition in the afternoon. I had a very packed week indeed.

However, I screwed today up, argh! Turned up one hour late for a one hour driving lesson, because I mixed up the time. It was a circuit lesson somemore! Essencially a wasted trip and a wasted day! My driving instructor was kind enough to make me pay $17.50 for the cost of the circuit, but still, argh... I wasted his time, and mine, and I turned down a relief teaching opportunity for a driving lesson that didn't happen, argh!

The total cost of this screw-up:
+$65.00(relief teaching pay)
= $86.50!!!

Now I'm determined to organize my life. Take it as a lesson, so that I wont make the same mistake in future when the stakes are higher, i.e. in pounds.

Inevitably I felt very heart-ache and quite sad after this incident. Then I recalled the time when I was in NS, dreaming to do everything I'm doing now, and I realized I'm in a much better situation than I was before, and I would be very happy to be in my shoes today than to live like I did in NS. So I did not feel so bad.

Then I wondered: what determines one's mood? Why should my mood be affected by one unfortunate isolated incident? Maybe I should learn to base my mood on something more permanent yet no less real... God's unchanging love and his infallible plan.

But still, after the costly mistake, I felt like I've been spending a lot recently... On Driving, Uni Application Fees, Immigration, Medical fees, birthday celebration, etc. I shall make a list of how much I've spent thus far...

Practical lessons: $23*25hrs = $530
Tests + Registration: $20(Reg fee for AMKDC) + $6(Basic) +$6(Advance) + $6(Reg fee for SSDC) + $20(TP) = $72
Estimated extra cost: $50*8lessons = $400.
Hopefully I'll get my license with around 1k.

Costed me $300 in application fees alone!!!

Consultation: $59.35
X-ray: $29.40
Meningitist Jab: $36.60

Just listing my expenditures down to see where all the money is going...

Another abruptly ended, long incoherent post...

Thursday, July 28, 2005


Just came across the above named application today, introduced by Hanes.

It is an application that allows you to connect directly to your friend's network, so that your PC behaves like one of the computers on their lan!!! How cool is that?!

Here's the link to download hamachi.

With all these new application, the lan shops may soon be meeting their demise.

Happy Lanning!

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Rekindled Interest in Programming

I often feel that my progress in certain areas follow cycles of boom and bust, just like the economy, and pretty much everything in life.

Well, not too long ago, I my life saw a "Computer Revolution", with my acquisition of programs like a Visual Basic compiler, Apache, and PHP. But after I've learnt much of what is known, my interest for it died down. Ever so often, my interest is rekindled by a sudden source of infomation, and a means to further my understanding in the area.

Recently, I found a website, Warindustries which I've visited before, but did not gain much from it, just because I was not prepared back then, and I did not have the relevent background knowledge to understand what was written. Now, haveing experience in setting up servers, and a vague understanding of how networks function, I am able to comprehend some of the notes they host on the website.

I learnt from an article that i can see all the connections a computer has established by typing "netstat" in the dos command prompt. I think this revelation would initiate another explosion in my understanding of the internet, and how networks work...

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Bobbins Comics.

Found a link The New Adventures of Bobbin! on shian's blog.

It's apparently a locally produced comic, definitely lots of local issues reflected. I like this particular strip:

If anything it reminds me of the complaints of some of my friend's who give tuition.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

turning twenty-one.

The past weekend was an eventful one, not least because I turned 21... As always, though this is an event I've wanted to blog about, I can't seem to find the words to describe it, and I don't know where to begin relating the story. Nevertheless, I shall try, and hope it turns out well...

Jul 23 2005 was anticipated for more than my 21st birthday. It was the date of the pre-departure briefing organised by the british council. An event which gathered all those travelling to the UK to study, and the organizations related with studying in the UK, student organisations like CUMSA. I've been looking forward to meet those singaporeans studying in, and going to Cam.

At the briefing, I met the some of the present students at Cam, as well as those students matriculating with me. I also found someone travelling there on 28 Sep. A potential travelling companion. Since the briefing, his mother and my mother have become good friends, they went to book the air tickets for us yesterday.

Meeting the people at the briefing invoked many feelings. While it was comforting to know people in the same boat, people who are faced with the the same problems as me, visa, medical, air tickets, etc; meeting them also invoked a strange feeling - the thought that these strangers i see now, would in the next 3 years, become the familiar faces I see around in my life. A life which I would be for running myself, without the security and presence of my family, or for that matter anyone I presently know. A life where my friends would become infinitely more important than the friends I've had in any previous phase of my life.

So much for the pre-departure briefing. I have many other thoughts and feelings, but I find it difficult to articulate them.

After the briefing, we went shopping around suntec city. We looked at lugguage bags, suits, and pants. My parents got me two Ashworth pants costing $42 each, fitted very nicely. Ok, here are the sizes for future references...
Pants - waist size: 32"/80cm.
Suit, i don't know what the size refers to but it is 50.

Then we adjourned to Top of the M, for dinner with Pastor John Tan, to celebrate my birthday. It was a great dinner, with the NDP rehersal happening at the padang, we had a great view of the aeroplanes and fireworks. There was also a group of musicians going round the tables and you could request for any song you fancied. They were really good, and I enjoyed the music.

And today I had a meal at Seoul Gardens with my good friends, had a wonderful time of reminiscing our secondary school days with my sec school mates. Glad that those who made it came, their company was the best present I could ask for. Yu Chou and Jian Qing, drivers from 46 SAR came too, my regret was that I wasn't able to catch up much with them as the conversation was dominated by topics from my secondary school. They left early and went for a movie. I hope that they at least enjoyed the meal.

Alright, I'll leave the un-publish-worthy account of my birthday at that. Wish to somehow capture this occasion, so here it is...

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Exchange Rates

The graph of the price of British Pound vs Singapore Dollar over a 3 month period.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Beware of Messanger Plus...

It installs malware on the computer, puts this annoying search2web toolbar on your IE, and places lots of shortcuts to the tune of "my antivirus update", "tune up my pc", find a date, and a casino icon on your desktop.

Got so irritated i decided to google these links, and followed the directions in a few forums i read. I ran Hijackthis and deleted a few suspicious programs, I also cant remember which programs i deleted might be the contribute to solving the problem, but the icons and search bar still did not go away. In the end, I read somewhere that messanger plus was the root problem, so i uninstalled it.

After that, I realised the the icons and the toolbar were gone. So the moral of the story is: Messanger Plus is evil. Unless you dont mind living with annoying popups and toolbars, dont download it. For those already affected, try googleing for the solution, when all else fails, you could try uninstalling Messanger Plus.

That's not the end of my malware woes though, still have the "MyWebSearch" program listed in the programs list, though it seems dormant. And I cant remove it! The good thing about Messanegr Plus is that it graciously allows you to uninstall it, unlike some other viruses. Hope to find out how to totally get rid of such viruses.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Things I Blog About

I realised that there are some topics I am able to write about more spontaneously than others. There were many times I thought "this is a significant time of my life and I'd like to blog about it so that I'll be able to look back on it someday", but when I'm infront of the blogger dashboard, I just cant seem to find the right words to describe the occassion, or I simply dont know where to begin or what exactly to write about.

But there are other things that I just blog about spontaneously, these are usually pressing issues that are on my mind. I find that jotting these things down can help to relief the stress and the feeling of uneasiness that you may forget something important.

I think I can explain it in this manner: I find it easier to state facts, and list an analysis of a situation, than to describe a feeling. But I want to remember both as much.

And one thing I want to remember about the past two weeks is how much I enjoyed myself. I went out with my JC friends, went for a night cycling expedition and went out playing lan with them; and with my church friends, playing lan, doing community service, and i enjoyed the time of sharing during the last cell. I also had the opportunity last week to teach, albeit PE lessons, at my old school. Really enjoyed reliveing my secondary school life, and meeting all my old teachers, and working with them.

For the first time in years, I found myself indulging in the most popular game, and enjoying it with a group of good friends. The game helped us increase the number of common experience share, thus making us better friends.

I find that good friends come about when you share common experiences, or common interests, when you are eager to relate with each other. Sometimes friendships turn stale, like when there is nothing new, and when there's nothing much to get excited about. Sometimes when I meet up with old friends, i find that your experience have taken us so far apart that once you've gotten past the catching up part, you have nothing much left to talk about.

On the other hand, i find the my best friends were those people whom I could talk to about things that were deep in heart and mind. Such a situation is often brought about by circumstances. For example, it it is often easier for someone to understand how you feel when you have gone through the same situation together. It also takes time to be able to converse about a topic, and this again is the product of circumstances.

When I entered army, I felt increasingly void of good friends, throughout the two years in there, there only were 2-3 people whom i enjoyed being with. It was just enough to keep me from going insane from pent up troubles, definitely a far cry from my school life.

But during the last two weeks, I was blessed to have enjoyed an abundance of activities with many friends.

Just want to remember the past week, and an analysis of the ingredients to a good friend. I think this entry is very incoherent. It's one attempt at blogging my feelings, something I cant do properly, but feel is neccessary.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Me? Relief PE?!?!

I just recieved a call from SAS asking me if I'd be available for the next 2 days. So far, I did not have anything planned this week, so I told them that I was free, anticipating a post as a maths or science relief teacher. But I was told that I was going to do relief for PE! At first I was shocked, then dissapointed, cos I want to try my hand at proper teaching, not babysit hyperactive teens running around. And I was never ever enthusiastic about PE or anything to do with physical fitness. But I accepted it nevertheless, for a multitude of reasons:
1)I had nothing better to do at home, except surf the increasingly boring net, or play DotA (Yes, DotA!),
2) hopefully it would increase the chances of me doing proper relief teaching,
3) I'd be making better use of my time,
4) It's good money,
5) I like being back in school.

Since I returned from my trip of the UK, I've been trying to get tune my sleep cycles back to this time zone, but due to the absence of a need to wake up early, coupled with a vibrant nocturnal online community, my efforts have largely been futile. I hope that this new appointment would help jolt me back to a healthy routine.

Other things I need to do also are:
1) Getting the visa.
I'd need to ask the college for a letter of unconditional offer to proceed with the application. Also need to prepare the relevent documents. Once it's done, I'd need to pay a visit to the visa application office along Robinson Road.

2) Getting a medical check up for uni.
Need to fill up a form and get a chest x-ray.

3) Prepare for my birthday celebration.
Decide on the place to eat, inform all those i want to invite.

Anyway, I just got WC3 and FT last Saturday, and I've been playing every single night since. I was convicted the minute I bought it because,
1: it was pirated,
2: it has satanic, mythical characters.

But I think I'll continue to play it, as
1, it's been a long time since I last enjoyed playing a popular game,
2, it'll help me to identify with the youth, and
3, I don't have much at stake now (no exams), and
4, there's no chance I'd be addicted to it, as I wont have access to the game over in England, and
5, it's so cheap! Virtually free after the $10 purchase.
6, it puts my broadband subscription to good use.

The last time I was addicted to a popular game was back in 1997, to the original Red Alert. I followed the game very closely, and i knew all the statistics, all the prices, I somehow had an innate understanding of the game. When i played it, I had total awareness of the situation, and I had a plan to counter every tactic. But the it's popularity waned as other games became more popular, and i never really kept up with it cos i was unwilling to spend money on entertainment, and i felt that it was also a waste to spend effort in pursuing such transient things. And there were moments when I regretted not having enjoyed these pleasures, that's why I am allowing myself to indulge in it this time round.

On another topic: A convinient way to monitor the movement of currencies. Will come in handy when deciding when to convert dollars to pounds.