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Y U SO PERSISTENT!

Guess what I got in the email this week? Another 7 days of free World of Warcraft game time!Image

Sigh, seeing the mailer really gave me mixed feelings. On one hand, I’ve accepted two of these buggers before, so there’s that recognition and familiarity. It’s like the strange uncle you always see only at Chinese New Year. Yet, I’ve gotten over the physiological reactions from anything WoW-related. It’s been more than 8 months (?) since I last played and I don’t get excited just seeing new content, nor do I keep ruminating on new items or dungeons to do for my character, because I’ve just been away that long. After a certain point, you kind of lose touch with the game and the community, and because they keep pumping out new content, you become more and more out of touch and obsolete the longer you stay away. So in a good way, it gets easier to quit the more you stick with it. Just like any other destructive addiction, I think.

I guess I won’t be taking the offer this time, Blizzard. I really enjoyed your game but I won’t be going back very soon. Perhaps when you come up with your new expansion, and when life is not so busy 🙂

good design!

Saw this free postcard on those Zo Card towers, and grabbed it! You can press out the perforated cardboard design and fold yourself a double tetrahedron! Interesting concept, SDN! I think their recent marketing and publicity efforts have made great strides! Only problem is that everyone will take these postcards, not just SDN’s target group. I think many kids will be fascinated by the folding.Image

Skyping your cat

Saw this on 9gag and couldn’t resist reposting it here! Skyping his cat, this owner found a hilarious expression on his cat’s face. I also skyped my cat before! But I think my cat’s too dumb to realise it was me. Oh well.What a gormless expression on his face.

Woodlands Blood Bank

Okay, I promised a post on the Woodlands Blood Bank and donation experience, so here it is! I visited the newly opened blood bank (second in Singapore besides the one in Health Sciences Authority at Singapore General Hospital compound, Outram Park) with some friends. It’s much smaller than the HSA branch, but much more welcoming in terms of location and decor. Yes, I’m truly biased on the location as I stay in the North, but more blood banks are always a good thing, right? Anyway, check out some pictures below.The entrance. Was initially a bit difficult to find as it was nestled in a corner surrounded by tuition centres.

The form-filling area cum waiting area. I like the posters as they create a warm presence and reaffirm your decision to give blood. The doctors’ rooms are  along the left wall, so everything is contained within that area, unlike HSA where much more walking is needed. The downside is probably Woodlands BB cannot handle large crowds of blood donators.This is the actual donation area. Its very bright and open, with a large window that overlooks the field area by the MRT. The lights are also warm lights, not bright fluorescent ones.The staff there are extremely friendly. Sister Soh (if I remember her name correctly) helped me take this photo. She also made fun of Joel who was donating blood for the first time. Haha.

All in all, a very pleasant experience. Due to its nearer location and smaller crowd, donation here was much more breezy and pleasant. The Woodlands BB also has free photo-printing! So we actually printed many pictures as souvenirs. And I also received two coin plaques to commemorate, retroactively, my 5th and 10th donations! Sweeeeeet. 

dystopian novels

I saw this nice article in Prologue (the Popular magazine – as in the stationery brand, not the adjective) regarding the rise of dystopian novels – stories dealing with themes of ideal society gone wrong. I googled the definition of dystopia and this is what I got:

dys·to·pi·a/disˈtōpēə/

Noun:
An imagined place or state in which everything is unpleasant or bad, typically a totalitarian or environmentally degraded one.
Or, as Sam J. Lundwall puts it quite aptly:
A dystopia is a utopia forced upon you by a madman.
Or madmen, more often than not.
(The magazine mixed up the order of the quote! They put ‘a utopia is a dystopia forced upon you by a madman, which doesn’t make sense! Anyway…)
Dystopian novels are usually set in a desperate, sometimes apocalyptic environment. It is this desperation and the reactions sparked from characters that draw me in as a reader, as I can’t help but imagine myself in their situation. Anyway, the article gave quite a nice list (though not at all exhaustive) of some key dystopian novels, and I’d like to share them – and also remind myself to read those I haven’t had a chance to.
  1. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – I actually read the first few pages of this; there’s a copy lying somewhere in the house (the picture shows the edition I have – creepy face, eh?). But I just couldn’t continue, somehow. I’ll try again! Interestingly, Singapore is mentioned in the first few pages as an advanced competitor nation (can’t remember in what context; cloning?)
  2. 1984 by George Orwell – I’ve heard so many good things about this novel, but always didn’t make the effort to find this book. I should do so. George Orwell also wrote Animal Farm, a common choice for lower secondary Literature classes.
  3. The Road by Cormac McCarthy – Never heard of this but the premise sounds interesting – A father and son travel a road armed only with a gun with a single bullet, while cannibals and murderers run rampant in an environment ravaged  by some disaster. Pulitzer Prize winner, too! And apparently this is adapted into a movie, as well. Interesting..
  4. The Time Machine by H. G. Wells –  I think Wells wrote War of the Worlds, if I’m not mistaken. That was an interesting movie. I think I read that book too, but I can’t remember.
  5. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding – Another Literature Class choice pick for schools, this novel is about how a group of stranded schoolboys form a primitive society which eventually unravels. Good read, but it made me depressed.
  6. Delirium by Lauren Oliver – Just for the title, I’d read this book. Delirium is also the name of one of the Endless by Neil Gaiman; by far my favourite of them, followed closely by Death. Dream is far too morose. Anyway, this novel is set in a world where love is perceived as a disease to be innoculated from at age 18.
  7. The Giver by Lois Lowry – Again, haven’t heard of this one. It talks about a society where no one can feel emotion except the Giver, tasked with the pursuit of knowledge. A child is chosen to inherit the role of Giver, and he begins to see the cracks in the seemingly ideal society. Sounds interesting! It’s a trilogy, too, so more content to satisfy.
  8. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins – I read this trilogy the most recently, and I absolutely loved the series! The premise is a post-war America divided into districts, each fiercely controlled by the Capitol. The districts provide industrial tributes to the Capitol, and are forced to participate in a yearly Hunger Games, where each district sends a pair of youths to battle to the death. It’s meant as a form of social control to remind the districts of who’s in charge. I first imagined the series as Battle Royale in novel format, but this was so much more than just focused on the arena – it’s more about human relationships and how warped the environment has made them. For instance, how the chosen protagonist is emotionally distant so that she can spare herself the pain of separation. Go read it! I strongly suggest you read the novel before the movies come out. Because invariably, the movie will not do justice to the novel (a novel is just simply able to contain more content than a short movie, so stuff needs to be chopped).
  9. As an aside, I wonder if In Time, the movie, is based on any novel. That would be an interesting novel to read! Oh, also, Minority Report! Were these based on novels, or just solely movies?

I should do a list of apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic novels! Think nuclear fallout or mass pandemics – those novels are gripping as well. And a vampire list! Hahahahhaa ok that might be a bit weird.

project mongolia

As you might know, I recently joined a project team made up of fellow final-year students from NUS Political Science. We’re planning to embark on a house-building project in Mongolia in May! (In partnership with Habitat for Humanity, an international non-governmental organisation or NGO) Why the sudden decision? I also felt it was quite impulsive, but I thought it was a good opportunity to try something new and hopefully do some good. The timing was also right, as it would start right after my internship ends and after graduation. Then after the trip, I can concentrate on the next stage of life! So exciting! I guess this goes under my bucket list as well, to experience a humanitarian trip. But I still have some conflicting feelings about voluntourism (both volunteering while touring a country) as it seems there might be more worthwhile ways to spend time and money. Nevertheless, I’ve committed to this project so I will see it through.

Anyway, I’m designing some stuff for the cause. Here’s a T-shirt design. NICE RIGHT?And here’s the poster we’ll be putting up to advertise for sales of the T-shirt, which will be priced at $12. CHEAP RIGHT?

GREEN POOP

HAHA i just recovered from a bout of stomach flu (vomiting, diarrhoea, fever), but today I discovered my pangsai was green! How freaky! Imagine broccoli soup – it was exactly that colour! Anyway, I googled the condition and found this hilarious article, so just sharing. Here’s an excerpt:

So you have green poop and you don’t know what to do about it. Does green poop warrant a trip to the doctor? Should you be worried about your verdant feces? What’s the scoop on green poop?

Haha wow. “What’s the scoop on green poop” – a truly delicious turn of phrase.