Monday, February 26, 2018

The Black Panther: Lion King recycled?

Is it just me, or does The Black Panther seem like Disney's The Lion King in reverse?

Spoiler alert:

Mufasa (T'chaka) kills Scar (N'Jobu).

Scar's son (Killmonger) is exiled thereafter and makes friends with the Jackals (Ulysses Klaue and gang).

Meanwhile, Simba (T'chaka) becomes king, supported by his mom (Ramonda) and the spiritual Rafiki (Zuri).

Simba has a love interest in Nala (Nakia), and is friends with playful and inventive Timon (Shuri+Everett K Ross), and stubborn, charge-into-battle Pumbaa (Okoye).

Crisis happens when the exile returns to the tribe and challenges the incumbent for the throne.

In the end, House Mufasa still prevails over House Scar.

Not to take away from a great movie presenting strong nuance and food for thought, but perhaps there really aren't any new stories to tell.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

The replacement

Behold the the new ride! Design-wise, it's still the same basic shape as the previous, so in a way, I feel I'm keeping the same old car, just with a heap of upgraded components.

Only got to drive him home from the dealership today, so there's not enough driving for a strong first impression. Still, there's a sense of more cabin space internally, while externally it feels slightly longer and the tiniest bit wider in bulk than I'm used to. And while the old car gave off a free-wheelin' fun vibe, this new model feels more mature in the upholstery, the safety features, energy efficiency, entertainment system, and the clean, functional dashboard display.

And because it's Chinese New Year, the dealership sent along a box of Goodwood Park pineapple tarts in the shape of ancient Chinese gold taels, each topped with a sliver of gold leaf. They offer a satisfactory bite, not crumbly and not too sweet. Best shared over a steaming pot of tea. Thanks, Mazda!

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

No longer mine

M2 has a new owner now. Handed over with both sets of (working) keys, manual, servicing booklet, and roadworthiness inspection documentation. His new designation: an Uber car.

Selling a car second-hand was an on-the-job learning process for me. Here is the sequence as I experienced it:

List car on online auction site. Drive over and have them photograph the car inside and out, and run tests. The car gets advertised on their website along with their report of your car's condition, according to their tests. Open bidding ensues. After 24-hours, bidding closes and the seller is informed of the highest bid. If acceptable, the auctioneer informs the bidder that the deal is on and... that's where I found myself on my own.

The bidder called me to arrange a viewing and a test drive. At this point, it would have been good for me to have had 1) downloaded a sales agreement, and 2) obtained a Transaction PIN (T PIN) from the One Motoring website, to avoid looking like such a greenhorn selling my car. Note that the T PIN is NOT to be handed over to the prospective buyer until the sales agreement is signed -- meaning that the intention to transfer ownership is confirmed.

Since I hadn't yet obtained a T PIN, I went to the LTA branch at Sin Ming. The experience was nothing like the stereotypical DMV staffed by sloths. Instead, it was over so quickly, my head was still spinning when I left, sealed T PIN in hand. Arriving there a half-hour before closing time might have helped. Maybe.

On transaction day (for me today), I exchanged the T PIN for a cheque, signed the transfer of ownership form, and we're done.

Last thing I need to do is to cancel my auto insurance policy for a pro-rated refund since the car is no longer under my name.

Sigh. Hope to see you on the roads again, old boy!

Sunday, January 21, 2018

To market, to market

I feel like I'm selling a good friend off once again. M2's been a really good boy these 8 and a half years. He's given no trouble at all; and still gives fine, comfortable rides. I get speed when I want it, and confident control while corning. Compact, easy to park, manoeuvres easily around obstacles, he is difficult to give up. If it weren't for the dratted COE that limits car ownership to only 10 years, I'd keep him for years to come.

Here, I'm prepping him with an exterior wash and an interior polish so that he'd look nice and fetch a better price at the auction among 2nd hand car dealers. It feels like a betrayal, treating him so nicely now only for my personal gain. Really hope whoever takes over ownership from me appreciates the quality of this little car which has served me so well.

On a separate but related note, it's time to tell the truth about how M2 lost his original 17" stock rims and had them replaced with his first set of 15" sports rims. It was CNY 2015. On my way to work early in the morning, I made my usual U-turn towards the CTE. Sitting in the shotgun seat was a bottle of the wife's handmade CNY cookies intended for E. As I was making the turn, inertia caused the bottle to fall off its perch. I tried to catch it but in so doing, took my eyes off the road. Instead of straightening out, I kept the steering wheel on the turn. M2 mounted the central divider with a nasty bump, causing me to look up. It was horrific to see the metal railing just centimeters from my front grill. While thinking "this is it...!", I immediately yanked the wheel left. M2 responded instantly, barely avoiding disaster. The folks at the bus stop probably assumed that a stupid driver had fallen asleep at the wheel. Anyway, the initial bump tore my right front tyre, but I was still able to limp to the nearest service station. The rest of the story I'd already posted. Today, if anyone's curious about the car-shaped hole in the bushes of the central divider, yep, my bad.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Another set of wheels

Done it again. M2's getting to be 9 soon. Thought it a good idea to visit the Motor Show last weekend. Got a call today congratulating me on a successful COE bid.

That escalated quickly!

Monday, November 20, 2017

Old timer, meet new timepiece

Just arrived: my new wristpiece. As the box says, it's a Ticwatch with full Android Wear functionality.

Unboxing, the product bears a large display for which I am grateful. It has only one Home button on the left, but who needs more buttons when every other control you need is on the touchscreen?

The display is bright and clearly visible, and a relief as I am so used to squinting at my previous display, these eyes not being what they used to be. This model is the Ticwatch S, which means it comes with a lot of health apps, "S" being for "sports". One more thing to nag at me daily to get my 10K steps in. Other items in the box are a screen protector and a nifty pair of charging cables. I guess the future is here. If you see me talking to my wrist, I'm actually asking Google Assistant to take a note, make an appointment, direct me to a location, or text so-and-so.

Meantime, My old Pebble Time must have known he was soon to be replaced. Still perfectly functional, it really wasn't his time. But since his parent company got sold away, I needed to find a reliable replacement -- I just didn't expect the Ticwatch to be delivered so soon. Anyway, over the weekend, I suffered a careless misstep and fell head first into a parked bicycle. But most of the damage went to the old Pebble Time, with the now severely scratched faceplate. Guess it's his way of saying he will always be mine, now that I can't sell him off or give him away any more. I'll keep him paired with my old Note 5. Relics of yesteryear.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Making the switch to the Pixel 2 XL

Am now a happy user of the new Google Pixel 2 XL.

Straight out of the box, it's almost ready to use. Transitioning from my old phone was a breeze: all needed files, apps, and settings directly copied over via a data cable link between old and new phones. A quick re-login for social media apps on the new phone, and it's like I never left my old environment.

A quick tip for setting up the fingerprint security access: despite what the instructions say, tap your finger on the sensor. Each tap lights up a segment of a blue circle encircling the fingerprint icon. When all segments are fully blue, it's done. Now getting past the lockscreen is quick and accurate -- I haven't had my print misread even once yet.

Have yet to properly play around with the other features such as the new camera with 'portrait mode', though. My surroundings aren't all that inspiring to shoot. The 'blue shift' issue, well, I knew about it before I shelled out for it. The screen does turn perceptibly blue when viewed at an angle, but it's an imperfection I can overlook, literally.

Once again, thanks to my generous Uncle Moe for the annual provision!