Saturday, June 28, 2008

Walle 2 Months Late in Singapore

You got to be kidding me! Again!

Ratatouille was just like that also.

Meanwhile, you can check out the book review I've on The Art of Walle, pictures included.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

(Mario) Garcia Media

(Mario) Garcia Media
Didn't realise that Mario Garcia actually has a blog!

It's an essential read for basically everyone in the newspaper or magazine industry, especially so for those doing design work.

New Intuos 3 Driver is Out for Mac OS Leopard

Wacom has finally updated the Intuos 3 driver for Mac OS Leopard.

And it has been a long time since I touch my tablet also.

New books: Evangelion #11 and Miyazaki stuff

Evangelion #11, Miyazaki's Magical World, Art of Tales from Earthsea
Evangelion #11, which is probably the slowest ever published Japanese Manga around. Averages 1 per year.

Two artbooks from Hayao Miyazaki's movies. One's the compilation of his movies. The other's a compilation on Tales from Earthsea.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Jobless man blows $390,000 TOTO win in six months

YOU'VE hit the jackpot. Your life has changed. But is it for the better?

The answer is not always 'Of course!'.

For Mr L Chew, 50, life was better - but only for a few months.

He went from jobless to a winner to a weeper - in six months.

He was down when he was retrenched, soared when he won almost $390,000 in the Toto lottery, and is now down again with less than $200 left in his bank account.

Full story

Easy come, easy go.

I'm a firm believer in the process of equivalent trade. In order to gain something, you must sacrifice something of equal value.

The reason the guy was able to spend money so carelessly is because the money wasn't hard earned. I seriously doubt anyone who made their wealth through sheer hard work would spend money like that. Just look around at all the wealthy, and hardworking people for confirmation.

So for the jobless guy in the story who has given nothing in return, he would in the end, receive nothing in return.

Here's another interesting story told to me by Hup:

In a rush to catch a flight at Singapore Changi Airport's Budget Terminal, 61-year-old retiree Ang Heng Soon, left his house with the wrong passport.

Instead, he took his 39-year-old son's passport, The Straits Times reported today.

Both passports were left on the dining table as his son was also flying out the same day on a business trip.

The honest mistake was only discovered later in the day, when Mr Ang had already cleared security checks at Changi Airport and flew to Vietnam.

Full story

It would seemed that no one has learned anything from Mas Selamat's escape.

My reply is this,"No one will learn anything until someone is dead."

For every action, there's a reaction. If there's no reaction, it just means that the time isn't rip yet.

There wasn't any reaction or any that I think was appropriate when Mas Selamat escape. I don't think there's going to be any in this case either, other than firing people from their jobs.

So, yes, no one will learn anything until someone's dead.

On a side note, SAF suspended 3 days of physical training because 2 guys died during training within a week. They lost 2 guys, but learned a lesson in return. It should be the other way round but of course it didn't play out this way.


The principle of equivalent trade actually has its origin from an anime I watched called Fullmetal Alchemist. To me, it's more a natural law of equilibrium, that can be applied countless ways in life.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk

This was a smashing movie, even if the plot was a pretty weak.

For me, the movie had a fundamental problem. Edward Norton's character, Eric Banner, didn't seem like one that gets angry easily. If you don't tell me Eric Banner has an anger management problem, I probably won't notice until he turns into the hulk. There's no transition. Edward Norton in American History X was angry. Edward Norton in this movie just has a stress problem.

During the bedroom scene, Eric Banner had to stop because his heart beat was racing. So am I right to say that having sex makes Eric Banner angry and will turn him into the hulk?

The movie's pretty packed with action that after a while, you'll forgive the movie for its weak plot.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Adding Notes Automatically to

I use the notes section to describe what the website I'm bookmarking is all about. If the website tells you straight on its page what it does, you can now add it almost automatically to

Simply select the block of text, then proceed to bookmark the page. I used Firefox, which gives me a pop up window. As you can see in the pop up, the notes section is filled up with the relevant highlighted block. See the picture above.

I cannot imagine I only just found out about this.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Book Review: The Art of WALL-E

This book carried a much darker tone due to the environment — Earth with tons of trash. The colour palette from the movie was limited to very dark tones. This book isn't as colourful compared to other Pixar art books as a result. But that is not a bad thing.

There are a few pages right up front on visual storytelling. It provides a nice introduction into the conceptualizing of the movie, and into producing a movie where the main characters have with no dialogue.

In the first chapter "Cinematic Dictation", it talks about how storyboards helps make the movie. Included in this chapter are lots of storyboards in different styles by different artists.

"Trash Planet" is the name of the second chapter. It also happens to be the same name for the movie for more than ten years before it was changed to WALL-E. Here we have sketches, paintings and colorscripts for the trash filled environment WALL-E was set in. There are also character designs for WALL-E and EVE. It's amazing to look at these paintings and see how they have evolved into actual movie scenes.

The last chapter is called "The Axiom". It contains concept art for the spaceship, robots, interiors. There are also discarded ideas such as using alien blobs instead of humans.

Missing from this book are pastel drawings, the common ingredient found in Pixar art books. Ralph Eggleston, production designer for Finding Nemo, changed to a different style!

This is another marvelous art book for any Pixar fan.

The Art of WALLE

The Art of WALLE

The Art of WALLE

The Art of WALLE

The Art of WALLE

The Art of WALLE

The Art of WALLE

Visit the link beside to read more reviews on Amazon. If you buy from the link, I get a little commission that helps me get more art books for review.

Country-specific Amazon links for this book: | | | |

Check out other books I've reviewed also, with pictures:
Art book list | Design book list

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Buying Books from from Singapore

My latest purchase from
I've been seeing a lot on questions on buying stuff from Here's my guide to help new buyers.

Why would anyone want to buy stuff from Firstly, it they can be found in Singapore, they are very likely to be cheaper on Secondly, the selection of items is unparalleled.

What you'll need is a credit card.

I've got the shipping rates here.

Image Hosting by

There's a per shipment charge of USD4.99. Shipping cost depends on how fast you want it shipped. My option for shipping is always at default, which is the cheapest, and typically ships less than 14 days.

In my case, I ordered 4 books, and the total shipping charge is $4.99 + ($4.99 multiplied by 4 books) for a total of USD24.95.

Are they are really cheaper?

Here are the prices for the books in the photo if I were to buy them from Kinokuniya
The art of war - SGD33.68
Alternative Zits - SGD36.33
The art of Wall.e - SGD63.67
To Infinity and Beyond - SGD150.00.
That's a total for SGD283.68.

Here are what I got them for from
The art of war - USD13.57
Alternative Zits - USD11.53
The art of Wall.e - USD26.00
To Infinity and Beyond - USD47.25
Shipping and handling for the books - USD24.95
That's a total for USD123.30, or SGD172.62 at an exchange rate of 1.4.

Local Kinokuniya or Borders will need to give out a 40% discount if they are to match amazon's price.

You'll typically need to buy at least two books to make it worthwhile.

Certain items are restricted from purchase by international buyers. Electronics, for example, can't be shipped. If you want to buy export-restricted items, you'll have to ship it to vPost. vPost has their own shipping rates and delivery time. For items which you can ship direct from, always ship direct from them as it's cheaper.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Book review: To Infinity and Beyond

This book is stunning. Simply stunning.

This is the latest collection to my Pixar art book. Almost immediately, I wrapped the book up to protect the cover from the elements. The bright green cover is made of cloth-like fabric and attracts dust easily. After picking it from my desk from photographing it, some parts of the cover had already became dirty!

Old school photos, high resolution renders, great writing filled the pages made of high quality paper stock.

It tells the history of Pixar animation studios before there was Pixar animation studios, all the way up to the Disney bought-over. It stops just right before Ratatouille or there would probably be more written on Brad Bird.

You'll find the true meaning of passion, determination. It's very motivating to know that there are people who respect and love their work so much. Just like any good stories — I learned from Brad Bird — there are obstacles and people have to overcome them. This book has a lot of interesting people stories to tell.

If you've owned other Pixar art books, you'll be pleased to note that there are quite a lot of new, never-been-printed photos in the book. It's really great that they included some art from the Toy Story and Bug's Life art books too, for they are out of print.

Here's the chapter list:
  • CHAPTER 1: Ed
  • CHAPTER 2: John
  • CHAPTER 3: Steve
  • CHAPTER 4: Pixar's Early Days
  • Spotlight: Sound
  • Spotlight: The Early Short Films
  • CHAPTER 5: Toy Story
  • Spotlight: Music
  • CHAPTER 6: Building a Studio
  • CHAPTER 7: A Bug's Life
  • Spotlight: "Geri's Game"
  • CHAPTER 8: Toy Story 2
  • Spotlight: Pixar University
  • CHAPTER 9: Pixar at Home
  • Spotlight: Voices
  • CHAPTER 10: Monsters, Inc.
  • Spotlight: "For the Birds"
  • CHAPTER 11: Finding Nemo
  • Spotlight: RenderMan
  • CHAPTER 12: The Incredibles
  • Spotlight: "Boundin"
  • CHAPTER 13: Cars
  • Spotlight: "One Man Band"
  • CHAPTER 14: Pixar Joins with Disney

Here are some photos on selected pages from the book. Enjoy.

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

To Infinity and Beyond

Visit the link beside to read more reviews on Amazon. If you buy from the link, I get a little commission that helps me get more art books for review.

Country-specific Amazon links for this book: | | | |

Check out other books I've reviewed also, with pictures:
Art book list | Design book list

Friday, June 6, 2008

Malaysia Shouldn't Have Subsidised Oil From Day 1

Source: Malaysia raises petrol prices by 40%

Of course, back in day 1, they probably won't know that oil prices would rise to the heights of today. The point of the lesson is, market forces will determine the price. Economics will still stand.

Why was there a need to subsidise oil in the first place? Sure people might have to work harder to pay for things they need. But what they give, they would receive back in other ways. You learn how to find opportunities to create value and wealth.

Why can't service staff take pride in their job?

Source: Why can't service staff take pride in their job?

Front line staff have to feel that it's right to take pride in their job. If not, they won't take pride in their job.

So when did it feel so wrong?

Was it because your co-workers mock you about the difference it can make to you or your customers? Was it because management didn't provide any incentives for people to feel proud of their jobs? Or was it the job that just doesn't match you?

If the management don't really care, chances are you won't really care as much. It's just as simple as that.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Did The Extra 700 SMRT Train Trips Make Any Difference?

Years ago, I wondered what would happen if SMRT were to increase the number of train trips.

My argument back then was, passengers would leave for the train later. Meaning there will be more passengers at the station. As a result, the extra trips will cancel out the extra late passengers.

Today, after looking at the photo above, and the Clubsnap discussion, I realise that passengers are not going to give a damn. There are simply too many passengers for the extra trains to make any difference. Even if there's a difference, it's negligible.

If the extra train trips are for getting people to their destinations faster, there might be some measurable success. If they are to help reduce congestion, it's going to be a bit hard to prove.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Movie Review: Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull

Suspend yourself in disbelief when you're 5 minutes into the movie. As Harrison Ford's old leg muscle scream," We need a rest", you can't help but wonder why he didn't get shot in the opening scene. The bullets were flying all over in the warehouse and somehow magically avoided him.

How about the part where he was flung out into the desert when he tried to hid from the nuclear explosion in a refrigerator?

Apart for these 2 incidents, I found the movie to be pretty good overall. Nice pace and action. Plenty of fire works and monkey action. Cate Blanchett is great.

At the end of the movie however, there were too many people on set. His old flame, the kid were just extras. The movie won't be any less without them.


By the way, good set of movie premiere photos here.

Economics Waking Malaysia's Oil Ban On Foreigners

Source: Malaysia shelves plan to ban foreigners buying subsidized gasoline
"We have to find a new effective date because there are other matters, like for example, can we have separate pumps because the Singaporeans are saying that they don't mind paying the market rate," he said.

Full story here

From the first minute I read the news release when Malaysia said it's going to ban foreigners from buying petrol, I knew this would happen. Now they are going to sell their petrol at market prices.

This is just basic economics. Elementary.

And here's my original post, 5 days ago.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Singapore's Home Electricity Bill Price Calculator

Came across another question on the Internet about the cost of running a computer at home.

So I was thinking, "Hey! If nobody has created a calculator yet, it's going to be me!"

It turned out that there was already an online electricity usage/cost calculator from National Energy Efficiency Committee (NEEC).


Let's see. I've a Mac Pro and Dell 2405 drawing 250W and 60 W respectively. They run an average of 12 hours per day. The hours should be pretty accurate as I get my numbers from world community grid.

Then there's another iMac at home which runs 9 on average hours per day at 180W.

After punching in the numbers, the total computing bill comes up to roughly SGD41.51. Roughly because I couldn't enter the exact power consumption that's actually used.

Here's a break down.

iMac 180W for 9 hours - SGD14.64
Dell 2405 60W for 12 hours - SGD4.89
Mac Pro 250W for 12 hours - SGD20.35
Router & modem 10W for 24 hours - SGD1.63
Grand total - SGD41.51

If I were to replace the Mac Pro with the Macbook Pro running at $9.78 per month on 60W, my grand total will be $30.94. In a year, that's a savings of around $120.

My previous Mac Mini (85W) with a 17" LCD(60W) running at a total of around 150W at 9 hours cost $9.16. That's $5 less than the current iMac.

For a Core 2 Duo Mac mini (110W), I run that together with my Dell LCD at 12 hours, it will be $9.37 + 4.89 = $14.26. Also I'll be saving about $11 per month if I run on a Mac Mini. That's $132 savings in a year.

This is a very useful website.