Saturday, December 08, 2012


I'm peeved and slightly demoralized at this moment. Nearly all the pix I've uploaded here have been wiped out by the closure of Webshots, my once-faithful host. Only the ones on Google+ are still accessible, though I only started using G+ recently so not many. Who knows what it's gonna take to replace those old shots, or even if I really want to do that? What a pain!

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

(Not quite) Jack of all trades

Jack Neo can make light family drama; social satire and even some verbal comedy, but please do not let him make a war movie. Ever. The opening sequences of "Ah Boys to Men" depicted our beloved home city under attack by enemy forces. Neo went whole hog with the digital explosions and debris-littered ruins of once familiar local landmarks. I suppose our armed forces saw this movie as an opportunity to show off some of the latest military hardware in action. But the on-screen violence was a gratuitous pastiche of bangs, blood and... bad gags. There's too much showing off of the studio's spfx capabilities, but not much focus on what's holding the shots together. Yes, it's a case of trying too hard to wear too many hats that the narrative credibility just falls apart.

Besides, the unidentified OPFOR has no apparent objective. The logistics it brings to bear suggest a conventional invasion, but the tactics and doctrine are that of terrorists on a suicide mission. Taking out civilian targets and civilians themselves on the ground first, while leaving military response bases able to mobilize against the threat practically guarantees a short campaign. Yet, the sequence ends with no clear resolution. The invasion is still in progress, both sides are losing combat-capable troops then, abruptly, a new story begins. Even as propaganda, the pointless introduction fails. While it does set the tone for what turns out to be an emo "Army Daze" remake, the initial emotional impact is dulled by out-of-place humour and a poorly executed montage of people randomly trading shots with each other with various types of ordnance, collateral damage notwithstanding.

Fortunately, the rest of the movie -- which actually involves family drama; social satire and light verbal comedy -- plays to Neo's strengths. Apart from tracing the lead character's journey from Ah Boy to Man through his misadventures in Basic Training, the movie was also a nostalgic comparison of training philosophies past and present. Back then, it was a civilian ARMY; whereas now it is a CIVILIAN army. These sequences I can believe because we've all been there and they're part of our collective consciousness.

Neo again goes for the moralistic approach in the debate that follows: Priority to self, or priority to nation, the answer being pretty obvious. While exploring the humour that goes with various methods employed by malingering conscripts to escape training, ultimately selfish choices lead to nasty consequences that have an impact on wider society. That story of a boy's learning to take responsibility for his actions, though melodramatic, is clear. Though what he does with this new found responsibility is a lot less clear because of the sudden...


Monday, December 03, 2012

Crowning achievement

It's been like a month of playing a chess game where the pawn finally makes it to the other side of the board and gets crowned. The crown isn't what I expected, however. Instead of a ceramic facsimile that blends seamlessly with my other choppers, I got a gun-metal grey armour-plate that's clearly alien to my dental infrastructure. If I didn't look avuncular already, I certainly do now.

I also got some of my other teeth ground down flatter, so where there used to be edges and ridges, now there are plateaus. I know the procedure is supposed to help even out my bite, but I miss the character each tooth used to have. It feels like I've suddenly become herbivorous but that is, of course, just perception. Give me a couple of days to recover and I'll be back hunting for a mammoth steak, served so juicy rare that ketchup is optional.

In the fridge is a 2 litre canister of milk which, I believe, through copious consumption will speed up recovery and get me my edge back.

Next appointment: six months' time. Great! I've had enough of the dentist's chair for a long while.

Sunday, December 02, 2012


Goodness! What is the repair shop doing with my S3? I sent it in a week ago due to charging problems. The battery would drain quickly, but take forever to charge. Intolerably long, anyway. They said three to five working days. At the close of today, it's been seven and counting.

How difficult a job could it be? Test battery and charger. Replace defective component. Return rectified unit to mobile addict. Everybody happy. But, no... still waiting. Grrr.

In the meantime, I've revived my primitive F480 for basic daily use. No Android, no iOSx, no mobile connection to the 'net. No instant photo upload to Google+, so no daily photos to inspire random, pointless blog entries.