Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy All Hallow's Eve

Halloween is a tradition celebrated on the night of October 31, most notably by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets, fruit, and other treats. It is celebrated in parts of the Western world, most commonly in the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, Puerto Rico, and with increasing popularity in Australia, New Zealand, as well as the Philippines. Halloween originated as a Pagan festival among the Celts of Ireland and Great Britain with Irish, Scots, Welsh and other immigrants transporting versions of the tradition to North America in the 19th century. Most other Western countries have embraced Halloween as a part of American pop culture in the late 20th century.

The term Halloween, and its older spelling Hallowe'en, is shortened from All-hallow-even, as it is the evening before "All Hallows' Day"[1] (also known as "All Saints' Day"). In Ireland, the name was All Hallows' Eve (often shortened to Hallow Eve), and though seldom used today, it is still a well-accepted label. The festival is also known as Samhain or OĆ­che Shamhna to the Irish, Calan Gaeaf to the Welsh, Allantide to the Cornish & Hop-tu-Naa to the Manx.
In the United States, Halloween has become the sixth most profitable holiday (after Christmas, Mother's Day, Valentines Day, Easter, and Father's Day) for retailers.
Ahhh wikipedia! The newest wonder of the world, how did we ever survive without it. Happy All Hallow's Eve Folks. This year, I've decided to forgo turning on my porch lights and giving candy out to kids. After 4 straight years of candy giving I've finally decided against it. Rushing to get home, buying loads of candy only to have a handful of kids come knocking on my door? Bah humbug. Besides that its Freezing Cold in Minneapolis, literally.

Here are some festive Jack-O'-Lanterns.
...in American holiday custom, a hollowed-out- pumpkin lantern that is displayed on Halloween. The surface of the pumpkin is carved to resemble a face. Light from a candle inserted inside can be seen flickering through the jack-o'-lantern's cutout eyes, nose, and usually grotesquely grinning mouth. The custom originated in the British Isles, with a large turnip or other vegetable rather than a pumpkin.

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Curry may keep elderly minds sharp

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - A diet containing curry may help protect the aging brain, according a study of elderly Asians in which increased curry consumption was associated with better cognitive performance on standard tests.

Curcumin, found in the curry spice turmeric, possesses potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

It's known that long-term users of anti-inflammatory drugs have a reduced risk of developing
Alzheimer's disease, although these agents can have harmful effects in the stomach, liver and kidney, limiting their use in the elderly.

Antioxidants, such as vitamin E, have been shown to protect neurons in lab experiments but have had limited success in alleviating cognitive decline in patients with mild-to-moderate dementia.

In their study, Dr. Tze-Pin Ng from National University of Singapore and colleagues compared scores on the Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) for three categories of regular curry consumption in 1,010 nondemented Asians who were between 60 and 93 years old in 2003.

Most of the study subjects consumed curry at least occasionally (once every 6 months), 43 percent ate curry at least often or very often (between monthly and daily) while 16 percent said they never or rarely ate curry.

After taking into account factors that could impact test results, they found that people who consumed curry "occasionally" and "often or very often" had significantly better MMSE scores than did those who "never or rarely" consumed curry.

"Even with the low and moderate levels of curry consumption reported by the respondents, better cognitive performance was observed," Ng and colleagues report.]

These results, they note, provide "the first epidemiologic evidence supporting a link between curry consumption and cognitive performance that has been suggested by a large volume of earlier experimental evidence."

Curry is used widely by people in India and "interestingly," the prevalence of Alzheimer's disease among India's elderly ranks is fourfold less than that seen in the United States.

"In view of its efficacy and remarkably low toxicity," curry shows promise for the prevention of Alzheimer's disease, the researchers conclude.

SOURCE: American Journal of Epidemiology, November 1, 2006.
I just love this article. Singaporeans in general like spicy food and curry for sure. SO the next time someone says curry is fattening or bad for your cholesterol, show them this article. :)

PS. This article does not mention what kind of curry. There's Chinese Curry, Malay Curry, Indian Curry, Thai Curry .... they all have a distinctive taste. But if turmeric is the key then I think all of them use it.


Thursday, October 26, 2006


Have you seen this show? Its called Heroes and its the new Lost. Let's face it, Lost was an awesome show in its first season but season 2 & 3 were dragging. So in comes some new blood with this show called Heroes.

Its premise? 10 individuals discover that they have super powers. Is it the product of an experiment? are they alliens? Nope. They are the crowning achievement of mother nature, they are what we will eventially evolve to if given the chance.

Oh... did I mention that the end of the world is coming as well and that only they can save us all? Its not as cheesy as it sounds, the cast is excellient, the writing somber and dark and grips you and pulls you in week after week. I'm in love with this show.
This guys is Masi Oka, or more familiar is his character in Heroes (Hiro Nakamura). He's dorky, he bumbling, he's not pretty, but of everyone in the cast, he's the one person you want to watch! He literally steals the screen when he's on. His power in the show is the ability to bend time.

Oh and here's a little titbit, in real life, Masi Oka is a programmer. FOR ILM!!!! Indistrial Light and Magic!!!! The same company that George Lukas founded. Here's a very interesting article by Wired about him. After all, how many nerdy programmers do you know end up on Prime Time Television!



Wednesday, October 25, 2006

10 Man Onyxia Run

This is another World of Warcraft moment. Onyxia (that dead dragon in the background) usually takes 40 people to take down. 10 persons from my guild spent hours of preparation and managed to down her. An amazing achievement!!! Congratz to them!


Sunday, October 22, 2006

what happens when your dad is a graphic designer...

Not my Dad, but someone's who is a graphic designer did a pretty good job. Thanks for the pics Brian.


Friday, October 20, 2006

Fun With Rollercoaster Tycoon 3

Rollercoaster Tycoon 3 is a game where you can build your own Rollercoaster and essentially a theme park. If you've never played it you should try it out, it even lets you ride the Rollercoasters you create.

This guy made a park where all the people fill up in one path and then he sets up half a roller coaster. See what happens!

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Wednesday, October 18, 2006

My Dream Table

I'm not much of a furniture person, to me, sofa's and tables look alike for the most part. But I finally found the perfect table for me, the only problem? The price! These are $600 each! And that's before shipping.

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Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Would you eat these?

Tired of the same old menu at restaurants? Here are some interesting alternatives.

Meat Pie

Sausage Split
Fried Fish Gateau
Meat Jello
Fried Banana Split
For more alternative menu choices click here.

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Monday, October 16, 2006

My 2nd level 60!

People meet Isale, he just achieved level 60 after 2+ years of play! WOOT!!! My second level 60 character on World of Warcraft.

So now I have 2 level 60's. Astir (Priest) and Isale (Mage). Astir is decked out in Tier 2 gear and close to getting Tier 3. Isale is sadly still stuck in his level 40's and 50's gear, although he does have 2 Magister pieces. Still with Burning Crusade coming out that's all gonna change.

And for those of you who didn't understand the paragraphs above, don't bother, just look at the pretty pictures. :)


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Elastic Fun

Isn't this amazing? Just click on the woman and drag her about. The things they can do with programming! Click here for a full screen version of this app.


Saturday, October 14, 2006

What Riles me up

My blog (and life) tends to avoid serious discussion on politics and other more serious issues that face us. But I have to comment on this item I read in the New Paper.

I hail from Singapore and spent my first 21 years there. I identify myself as a Singaporean and for the most part I don't think my life in the US has changed me as a person. But it seems that the last 10 years spent in the US might have changed my thought processes more than I had anticipated.

This article yesterday is about how 10 students were about to sit for a national level examination and were refused entry because their hair was too long. In some cases the students had already started the exam and were pulled out for a quickie haircut before allowing them to continue taking the exam.

Then there's a followup article in today's paper saying that most Singaporeans approve of the School's handling of the matter. Granted, "The New Paper" is considered a gossip column (at least it was 10 years ago) and when they say "Most Singaporeans", they actually mean 13 of the 18 responses they got from emails and letters to this article.

BTW, this was the rule they broke.
Misconduct includes being properly groomed and having sideburns and hair that touches the collar for boys is unacceptable.
According to instructions in a handbook given to all exam candidates months ahead, students can be made to leave the exam hall if they show such misconduct.

My personal opinion? The chief examiner and school are both anal retentive assholes who need to get a life! I mean seriously!!! I can understand the need for rules and on any normal day I would not challenge the school's decision to pull the boys out for a haircut. But this was during a national level examination. For pity's sake, its not like they went totally Goth, dressed in full Black sporting pierecings all over their bodies with a mohawk haircut (not that there's anything wrong with Goth). So they let their hair grow a little longer, who cares?. The People in power need to observe the spirit of the law, in this case it was to provide a homogenious calm environment, allowing students to excel in their studies and hopefully raise themselves to higher levels. Instead the school choose to be laywers following the rules to the letter regardless of its detriment to those involved.

This might also be a case of discrimination. N-Level examinations or Normal level are for the less bright students, and in Singapore if you're from N-Level some groups of people tend to look down on you and expect the worst. So if these students were from Raffles Instution (among the nation's elite schools) this incident might never have occured.

Ah yes, Singapore unspoken class structure. A student from RI is to be revered while a student in the normal stream of a neighbourhood school is reviled. If you're familiar with Singapore's society, you know what I'm talking about and I dare you to deny the exsistence of the class structure. Its not publicly noted but its there in varying degrees.

Perhaps I'm reading too much into this. But for some reason this article just got under my skin. In the past several years I had read about how Singapore is progressing and revamping its school system to develop students with individuality instead of simply being sheep like my generation was programmed to be (that's another story). But the truth of the matter is, social norms are hard to erase and such articles lead me to believe that the Singapore school system today isn't much different from when I was in it over 10 years ago, the syllabus and methods of teaching might have changed but not the actual experience, and for this I feel sad.

/rant off

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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Mimobot Anyone?

Tired of the same old boring USB Flash Drives? The you need Mimobot. They can be purchased here.
The new Vader ones are 1GB $79.95, 2GB $119.95, 4GB $169.95


More WOW Hijinks

My guild downed the 3rd boss in AQ40! And this is the boss I wanted because it drops this robe Robes of the Guardian Saint. Now its just a waiting game. MUHAHAHAHA.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Skeleton Soap

Wash away merrily with these animal soaps and eventually they wear away to reveal their skeletons!

Seems those crazy Brits have a new craze going on. The only site selling these soaps are in the UK. Who knows this might become a fad and get sold around the world!
Site 1
Site 2
Site 3


Fantastic Four 2

Found some great filming shots of Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. For even more pics see here.


Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Junk Food Blog

OMG! I love this blog. Everything about junk foods!!!! Check it out!

And what genius thinks this is a good idea? Sausage wrapped in pancake with chocolate.



This picture was created entirly of chalk. It took Jennifer 13 hours to create this masterpiece which will be washed away at the first rain. Thank goodness she took good pictures of the whole process.



Sunday, October 08, 2006

Ugly Betty

Have you seen this show? Its awesome! Enough about the pretty people. Betty Suarez is just like you and me, she's not pretty or super smart or rich. She's got everyday problems and insecurities like and me but she's got pluck and determination. Its SO good to see the underdog win for a change.

Catch the first episode on abc.com. I'm so hooked on this show.


Friday, October 06, 2006

In case you missed it - South Park - WOW

On Wednesday, they aired the special World of Warcraft episode of South Park. For all you gamers, this episode was SOOOOOOOO GOOD!!! Watch it here before its removed from youtube.
Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

My Fave bits:
- When Butters says he plays Little Kitty Island Adventures
- When Butters shows up dressed exactly like Catman
- When Catman yells "MOM! BATHROOM!"
- The Sword of 1000 Truths!!!


Monday, October 02, 2006

Online Games

Here's a fun game that's a twist from the original Break Out.