Thursday, April 30, 2009

Death by Decepticon

The post-meltdown General Motors looks to divest some of its lines, including Pontiac. The last striking image I saw of the Pontiac was that of Autobot Jazz, a Pontiac Solstice coupe, being ripped apart by Megatron in the final scenes of the Transformers movie.

Before his demise, Jazz was putting up a weak fight against Megatron, firing puny little lasers that barely appeared to even tickle the evil leader. He was screaming "You want a piece of me? You want a piece of me?" [Pew pew pew!] And Megatron booms "No, I want TWO!" and then tears Jazz up accordingly into two flailing hunks of scrap metal.

That sums up the fate of Pontiac. GM was a big partner in the Transformers movie. Almost every automobile was one of their brands. Now that GM has been brought to its knees, the long foreshadowed fate of Pontiac is clear for all to see. If Lamborghini or Ferrari featured a vehicle in the Transformers movie, they would never have let their robot be abused by another. GM was asking for it, haha!

Good bye, Pontiac! Your Aztec model was such an ugly bugger too!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Err 99

After producing many quality images the DSLR is dying! I have been getting this message about shooting not being possible. Went on to Canon forums to check out this Error 99 message. Seems like plenty of users all over have met with such a problem at some point. Lots of people believe this to be a quality control issue at Canon's production facilities.

Been cleaning the camera body and lens contacts. Sometimes the problem goes away, sometimes it doesn't. I'm feeling unhappy because this is the DSLR failing me at a crucial time like this.

But in better times, these are some of the pictures it has been instrumental in producing.

And now, this is getting to be a drag. It can still take pictures, just that this randomly occurs and the only way to resolve it is to reboot the whole camera.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Si, si, si!

Antonio tells me he finds the neighbours noisy. Sometimes I think so too, like when I try to sleep in on days when I don't have class in the morning. I ask him what he hears. He says on some nights, "sex." I ask how he's sure it's sex. He says, a lady goes "si, si, si!"

In Italian, si = yes.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Business Ideas to bring back to Singapore

1) Doner Kebabs (Kebab sandwiches)
2) Aperitivo (Cocktail session; buy a drink and get a free buffet)
3) H & M (Swedish department store)
4) C & A (Another cheap department store)
5) Crap flea markets (So cheap, so perfect for Singaporeans)
6) Museum of Ham (Cheap ham sandwich chain)

Wow if I didn't already know, I'd have guessed Singaporeans are just a cheap lot!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Photo Frenzy

Wading through the gigabytes of photographs now. Man! The price of the perfect shot is paid after all the fun and joy has been had.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I'm alive, I'm alive

Sitting in an internet cafe in downtown Cologne, Germany, where the Friday night/Saturday dawn droves of drunkards make it unsafe for lone Asians to wander the streets. Trips have been marvelous. It has been the most amazing Easter ever. None of that useless one day off Good Friday nonsense we rejoice over in Singapore, that complete perfunctory scrap of soul-less holiday that the Europeans consider blasphemous not to have three weeks of celebration for.

Cologne is a small city, but so gorgeous at that. At ground level beneath the imposing cathedral the city spans out, littered with churches and churches and ramparts of old fortifications. The Rhine River divides Cologne; a huge, yawning, watery divide that is so wide you could stuff all of Cologne within its depths.

Porsches and Merc'es and BMWs and Audis and Volkswagens strut the streets, a loyal and patriotic show of German pride. Bratwursts pop and crackle on grills, and the clinks of beer bottles tell even the blind that this is Germany.

Nice to be back in Deutscheland.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Barcelona Baller

[Title of this post derived from Zhaobin's new word]

Just got home from Barcelona. Gorgeous place. So full of out-of-this-worldness. Take for example this disgustingly huge landmark known as the Sagrada Familia temple. It looks like a monument drizzled with tons of molten wax, and adorned with sculptures enacting tales of the Sacred Family, as well as a dude made out of gold who sits on a beam, lording over all the tourists that gawk skyward at him. The most amazing thing about this temple is neither its scale nor its imposing facade, but the fact that it has been under construction for nearly a century, and yet still looks to be that way for another half a century more. Forever a construction in process account.

There's also Park Guell, which is almost paradise on Earth. In it there's the famous little Gaudi dragon, a mosaic-covered water-spewing reptile that is never left alone because tourists are all over it for photographs. It's cute, but slightly overrated. I thought it would be huge and gaudy, but it's just little and gaudy. Years of intense sunlight have also faded out some of its resplendence.

Another of Gaudi's works is this. The Casa Batllo (in Spanish and Catalonian a double L is read with a Y sound). A marine-inspired apartment building that happens to be shoulder to shoulder with a booby Guess model. Guess was smart then, to place such a conspicuous advertisement next to a building as curious-looking as this. Plenty of people flock to take photographs of this architectural masterpiece. When they review their pictures, they probably go 'Oh the not-so-subliminal messages! I am going out to buy Guess products now!'

Of course apart from the amazing history and architecture of this colourful city, Barcelona is also notorious for its thieving little pickpocket scum population. The deftest and most feather-fingered professionals trawl the streets and public transportation systems looking for easy targets. Apparently they considered Melissa one of them (in fact I did too; just the night before we left for Spain I told her I wasn't going to stand near her because she looked like she was definitely going to get something stolen from her) and made off with her purse within two hours of us landing in Spain. Such a spain in the neck when you have no credit cards or money left.

It was marvellous though, that pickpockets come in all shapes and sizes, much like faeces does. The one that got her wallet was probably some batty old fart (the bus we were on was crowded out with frail folks with curly white hair and bent-over spines). Shame on them. So here's what not to do, if you're going to Spain, or most parts of Europe for that matter, where the artful dodgers live.

1) Put your back against the wall at all times when you're stationary. That way you can see those buggers approaching.
2) Quit yapping so much with your friend, because then you lose focus. Pickpockets love distracted targets.
3) Same thing with taking pictures; just don't be so absorbed. Unless you're intending to photograph your suspect.
4) Hands in your pockets at all times (it makes you look cooler too lol). This also draws attention away from the inside of your jacket, where your wallet really is.
5) Diversify. Applies to investments too. Financial markets are pickpockets too, if you haven't realised how many fortunes have been lost.
6) Conjure up a nasty disposition so thieves keep away. Nothing does a better job than a facial expression that promises a retribution worse than death.
7) Keep 'F*** you' notes in your pockets so thieves get a piece of your mind. That way even if they're successful, you get back at 'em. In a way.
8) Inflate your loss amount so your insurance reimbursement compensates everything, including your inconveniences.

What I really liked about Spain was also the whole concept of a siesta. You can get away with napping every afternoon and not have to worry about being labelled a sloth, because, like all great practices, it's simply explanable as culture.

And, because I just got back from Spain and am still adjusting back to my Italian lifestyle, I am going to have a siesta right now. Good night. Madrid update tomorrow.