Saturday, June 10, 2006

Cashing in on World Cup fever is the Swiss tourism board which is targetting female tourists while their men obsess over the competition. Check out the latest TV commercial here.

The voice-over goes: "Dear girls, why not escape during the summer's World Cup... to a country where men spend less time on football... and more time on you!" Notice what the beefy Swiss dude is doing by the time the voice mentions, "you," and you can see how he wants to spend time with you.

Must be a version of Swiss humour, or the ad agency deserves a good talking-to.

Friday, June 09, 2006

JY's mom finally succumbed to the ravages of the Big 'C' this morning. We knew of her illness for several months now, and JY herself has been very strong about it. Even today she's been going about making sure to get the procedures right for the final send-off on Sunday. She's been busy making arrangements with the relevant authorities and welcoming and entertaining her visitors who've come to pay their last respects.

We haven't been able to actually sit and ask her how she feels about the whole thing, though. She's been treating it very matter-of-fact for the moment, as if she's nothing more than just a part of the entire process. It's a coping strategy that seems to be working for her. Guess she'll also be glad to know she has friends who'll support her through this rough patch.

Meantime, if anyone wants to leave JY a message of sympathy, especially if you know her, just drop a comment and I'll pass it on. Or better yet, if you know how to contact her directly, please do.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

The hard part about being on vacation is that by now, pretty much everyone I know has skipped town already while I'm still waiting for my turn to go. And now that June works till late at night, that means that I'm left to my own devices for most of the day. And I'm beginning to get a taste of what retirement is like, after all.

There's a lot to prepare for, considering that there will come a time when we can't work any more. It's not just the financial part, there's also the sense that there isn't much else we can do that will mean anything more to anyone. Physically, mentally, it all just falls apart on us until 3, 2, 1, time's up.

Financially, we prepare ourselves through our insurance policies, investment plans and our savings; but most of us don't think beyond our day-to-day employment. We give of ourselves to our jobs and our companies thinking that's all the time we have in our daily allotted 24 hours, but we forget that regardless of how faithful and loyal we are to our jobs, our employers are under no obligation to be as faithful to us in return. After all, the Company has a longer life expectancy then we do, so all the faster it will replace us when we can't keep up.

When our jobs are taken away from us, we're seriously lost. After all, that's all we've ever lived for over the past few decades of our lives. Suddenly, we have time on our hands, and though that may seem like a luxury to us busy working people today, it's only because no one has time for us any more. Their lives still go on, and our's just become irrelevant, being no longer in the same context.

It doesn't have to be this way, though. The office is just one place to build social contacts, but it has a time limit. There are other places that we can build other social bridges that don't have time limits: family, for example. We can also nurture and develop other interests besides what's immediately relevant to whatever's keeping us busy, whether it's studies or career. And don't feel guilty that it's a "waste of time" because though a career will grind to a halt one day, our lives shouldn't have to.

I'm especially vulnerable to retirement irrelevance because it suddenly dawned on me that I'll be reaching retirement age at least 10 years earlier than the folks I hang out with. So in case anyone asks why I don't give 110% to my job like everyone else in the working world does, I just have the Bigger Picture in mind.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

What I said about Onimusha 3, I take back. Sometimes, you have to put the manual aside and play the game for yourself. There's a bit of a learning curve, but tutorials are built into the game itself. Playing on a keyboard is quite unwieldy, but you can't go too far wrong on a hack-and-slash RPG lite.

The game has cinematic ambitions, employing Jap heartthrob, Takeshi Kaneshiro and French action movie star, Jean Reno, as the 2 main characters the player controls. The plot is one heck of a mess involving Samurai, demonic time-travel experiments and French special forces. Disregarding all theories of time-paradoxes, the 2 heroes trade places in time and despite the 500-year difference between them, have to cooperate with each other somehow to get time sorted out again, and go home.

O3 is a more arcade style RPG, rewarding fast reflexes over problem solving. There are several in-game puzzles that hold some useful items, but the more fun thing is mastering the "Critical" moves -- 1-hit kills that can chain together in a mass slaughter of enemies, releasing the most number of "souls" that you can use to heal, upgrade weapons and armour, invoke special magical attacks, or become invincible for a short period of time.

So it's beat up on monsters, upgrade, and beat up the next boss all the way till the end. Some bosses are quite tough, so I've learned to close in, block, hit, RUN AWAY, heal (if necessary) repeat until they die. If only I could learn to time my "Criticals" better... my current technique is so inefficient, unglam even.

And as Capcom is wont to do, there are mini-games and new costumes (like Samurai Sam's silly-looking cowboy outfit) to unlock just to encourage replaying the game once you've finished it.

Grand, cinematic scale in-game movies though the script is quite cliched -- cringeworthy sometimes -- but this is one game that keeps throwing surprises at the player, and that keeps the fun factor up.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Not often we staff get to glam up. JY's on MC duty tonight for Chewy's wedding dinner. Posted by Picasa

June and the blushing bride, Chewy. Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 05, 2006

I've been a good boy and not picked up any new traffic offences for a straight 365 days! As of today, my horrendous 13 DIPs have been erased, the slate has been wiped clean and all is forgiven!

Let's not have to live through that ever again! Drive safely, folks!