Monday, July 30, 2007

And the sun still shines

Yes! I did it! Here's how it went.

10.00am - I left my house for East Cost Park where the race was held, just beside the East Coast Food Centre.

10.05am - On the way to the underpass, I felt the bicycle seat shift about halfway backwards. If there was a speech bubble above my head then, it would have said, "WHAT ON EARTH?!!!!"
I immediately turned around cycled home and grabbed the alan key from my desk to tighten the bolt after adjusting the seat. (Just before I left home earlier, I had this prompting to bring it along but decided that I wouldn't need it. A price I paid, for not listening to the prompting in my heart.)

10.10am - Left home AGAIN for East Coast Park. As I rode past the security guards at the entrance for the 3rd time in 10 min, I was wondering what they might have been thinking.

10.20am - I reached the race transition area and entered along the row of white tents. I kept wondering, "Do I need to register???" There was no sign at all. Only a counter that said INFORMATION. And then something really foul hit my nostrils with a vengeance. I looked up and there it was... A river of thick grey mud that extended all the way from the tents to the bike transition area - a whole 60m of earthworm playground. I swung the bike over my right shoulder and began the endless trudge through wasteland. I could here the "ooze" each time my now half-grey running shoes stepped in.

10.25am - After treading as gingerly as possible, I found my bike rack only to discover that some "champion" had conveniently plonked his bike and stuff at my rack. If you ever read this Mr 2384, that was very rude and inconsiderate of you. You deserved to be spanked! It was too much of an effort to move his stuff so I just took his rack instead. I laid out my stuff and started to run through in my mind the sequence of things I needed to do as I reached the bike transition area after the swim. The weather looked rather promising.

Taken at the beach as we were making out way to the swim start point.

10.35am - Meiqi finally found me and somehow managed to sneak inside the transition area. Halfway down the bike lane, she lost her left slipper in the mud and I went over to help her. (Btw, meiqi has a rather amazing way of sneaking into places. The last time, she found her way into Tekong during my BMT parent's visitation weekend. Without a ticket. It's her gifting I tell you.)

10.40am - We join up with Huimei and walk over to the Swim Start Point.

10.45am - My bro and Eunice joins us.

10.50am - The wind starts to blow really strongly. The Swim Start stand falls over. The air filled inflatable start point arch bends backwards almost 90 degrees. The sea marshals seem to be calling people out of the sea.

Spectators braving the strong wind for some warm pop corn.

Just look at how the inflatable arch is bending backwards!

11.00am - First drops of rain come down. The horizon is a gloomy portrait of dark stormy clouds.

11.10am - Rain gets heavier. We hurry to the food centre to take shelter. The race is stopped for the time being.

11.30am - My actual race start time. It is still pouring. And we are at the hawker centre eating carrot cake and orh luah. A lady comes over to advertise for some swim marathon and we end up 100K-ing her.

Taking shelter at the East Coast Food Centre

11.45am - Rain subsides and there seems to be people gathering at the start point again. I walk over and do some warm up strokes in the sea. I'm somewhat thirsty by now and walk over to the bike transition area to find my water bottle.

12.05am - I meet Yong Howe and he says that the race has been converted to a shortened biathlon. Cycle and run only. I go look for a race official and find Alex. True enough, the organisers have cancelled the swim and halfed the distance of the swim and run as they need to open the roads by 3pm. The amended route is as such - Run from Swim Start point to bike area, cycle 2 loops (20km) followed by run 1 loop (5km).

12.15pm - I decide not to carry on. No point further dirtying the bike and shoes with all the mud and over such a short distance. Still can make it in time for Youth Service. I pack up and cycle home. Yong How's giving me a lift to Expo.

Yes, I did it! I made it all the way to the start point after one and a half months of preparation! Though it was a little of a bummer because due to the bad weather, I was glad I made it all the way. Am I disappointed? Not really, actually. I'm quite confident I would have completed the race. Many people asked about the money, whether got refund, so wasted etc. To me, it is a non-issue. It was all part of the "price" that I paid to prepare for this race. And I think I have already gained more than my money's worth in terms of the experience of training for the race, doing something that I enjoy, and also something that I can enjoy doing together with my brother. For once, I actually experienced a bond that I never did feel before with my bro. THAT is priceless. I learned much about preparing physically for such a race, about the equipment needed, about power gels and accelerate and about tri suits and tops and etc.

I kind of understood what it really meant that the journey mattered more than the end result. It really did. I know my being is different now, than it was 6 weeks ago. I have overcome certain mindsets and understood more about myself and my potential in God.

I shall live to race another day. And many others. Would anyone like to join me?

That's what walking in mud does to you. And the camera bag. Eeew.

Me and Daniel.

Me and Yong Howe.

Eunice, me, Meiqi and Huimei.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

It's a beauitful day

And so I will be running the Osim OD (Olympic Distance) Triathlon today at 11.30am. After one and a half months of training, this is the day. And I have to be down with a slight flu - throat irritation and blocked nose. Still, I thank God for the great weather. The sun is up and it looks like it should stay for a while.

I woke up at 7am though the alarm was set for 8am. Cooked myself some breakfast and did some preparation. Huimei came over to collect the camera and go for her run. She, my bro and some other friends will be there for the flag off. My Dad came out and before he left the house, said a short prayer for me. Obviously still in the mood for yesterday's TCS Walk, he went...

"Lord, we pray for Joe as he goes for his walkathon..."

(short silence followed by outbursts of laughter from the rest of us.)

Ha ha. Oh well. I'm glad the family is around. Makes it so much easier to put forth your best. I hope to finish in 3h 30min. And then, go see doctor to get medicine. Till then, wait for the good news of my results!


Thursday, July 26, 2007

I want my Joovcuh Lookada Tuv!!!

Yes, this is how our next generation of children are going to start speaking if we are not careful here in Singapore. Imagine in 20 year's time. "Sir, would you like to take the Eeecoupteh or the Cooteher?" (replies) "I don't know! I just want to get to my Hudub!" Don't get it? Watch on.
[Warning: Not suitable for young primary school kids who have yet to learn the basic foundations of the English language.]

Kayvan Novak, who appeared in Syriana as the character Arash has started his own TV series in the UK called Fonejacker, which is what you are watching above. There are more episodes at Youtube. Just don't fall off your seat watching them!


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Where the Wind blows

This advertisement won top honours in the recent 2007 Cannes Lions, which celebrates the best and most creative in the advertising industry. "Evolution" for Dove, by Ogilvy & Mather, Toronto, was a double Grand Prix winner, winning in both the Cyber and Film categories. Personally, I think the idea is not a new one. Search under "photoshop makeover" in Youtube and you would find many other such clips. The beauty, perhaps, is in its execution and the appropriateness of its message at a time like this.

This other ad, I absolutely loved. It was one of the Gold Lion winners, also considered for Best Ad in the Film category. Subtle, yet telling a powerful message too. Go ahead and watch it.

What a breath of fresh air.... or wind. Great storyline, a good dose of drama, beautiful execution and amazing direction. When I was in Secondary School, our English teacher would let us read short stories. One of the things that I remembered of some of the best stories I read was that you never could really tell what was going to happen in the end. And just when your imagination takes over and you have the ending all played out in your mind, the story hits you with a final twister and you think, "Wow! Let me read that again." This ad made me want to watch it all over again. If we could be this creative, how much more our maker.

Credit where it's due: The Wind. Agency: NORDPOL+ HAMBURG Creative Director: Lars Ruehmann Art Director: Bjoern Ruehmann/Joakim Reveman/Matthew Branning Production Company, City: PARANOID PROJECTS, Paris Country: FRANCE 2nd Production Company, City: PARANOID US, Los Angeles Country: USA Director: The Vikings

Thanks to American Copywriter.


Monday, July 23, 2007

Interesting Web Environments

In this increasingly competitive commercial world we live in, it matters how you advertise yourself (your professional skills) or the products you are selling. Marketing matters. And these people do it wonderfully, online. User experience is the key word here. These are examples of people thinking out-of-the-box and presenting themselves or their products in a simple, yet excitingly imaginative way.

Let's start with one of favourite apparel brands, UNIQLO. I first got acquainted with them in Shanghai when I was there for a short trip. I ended up buying 7 T-shirts from the shop at Raffles City (the one in Shanghai, not Singapore) and they have since become my favourite place for interesting T-shirts. Click on "Uniqlo Explorer" and watch your web world turn into a colourful mosaic of their clothing selection. You can even select to view the products by categories and watch as the jumpers/shirts/dresses drift up dreamily.

Stephen Gates is a designer and a 2nd generation Creative Director. He maintains a regular blog on design and advertising related stuff while not slaving away at his next project. The site here is his online resume which is not too flashy, but yet demonstrated to prospective employers his proficiency in his trade.

Aaron Jasinski's portfolio of painting works and original music compositions just made me want to click my mouse button again and again. In fact, I was so intrigued with his music portfolio animation I kept hitting the relod button on my browser so that I could watch the coloured circles unfold again and again. There's just something extremely lyrical about them!

Finally, is this incredibly addictive site by the makers of affordable, practical and handsome looking furniture - IKEA. Everything just unfolds before your eyes. Enough said, go experience it for yourself. (Now is it just me of did I hear the Ikea box whisper, "Transform!")


Procrastination and the internet

Now why does this all seem so familiar? Ok, stop reading right now, get off the internet and go start on that project that is long overdue.

Cartoon by Dave Walker.


Does ironing my own clothes make me an ironman?

Ok, So, who says I am not Ironman material???! Ermm... actually, I don't think I am. I do have a brother who has completed one though, if that counts. So what's this all about? Well, in less than 6 days, I will be taking part in my FIRST Olympic Distance Triathlon! That's right! I signed up for the OSIM OD (Olympic Distance) Triathlon this July 29th 2007 and if I have to drag my body over that finishing line, I will drag my body over that finishing line.

Actually, it's not that I am unprepared for this race. My kind brother came up with a training program for me about one and a half months ago and I have been trying to follow it faithfully as much as I can. Here's what it looks like.

It's been an interesting past few weeks, with a quite a few first time experiences. I ran my first 10km in 5++ years, I cycled my first 50 km on a road bike (not including overnight cycling trips), I swam my first 30 laps in the pool, comfortably in freestyle throughout and I ate my first packet of powergel (yucks!). And you know what? I kind of enjoyed every bit of it!
Strangely, besides the slight strain in my left knee, I am still pretty much the same size, shape and weight. Do I have exercise-resistant blubber or what?

I must say a big thanks to those who have been encouraging me on so far - my brother for getting me interested in the first place, Huimei my training partner for this season, Sook San for your support and kind words, Eunice for keeping me away from Pocky and Ezra for lending me your bike. Here's my report card so far (the parts in blackened out are what I did).

Meanwhile, I am still on my quest to find my six friends - Abby, Abigail, Abbas, Abnilieus, Absent and Abu. I call them the Abs Family. Go figure.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

3d Hong Kong

Overview of the 3D map done by Edoshi.

Being an architecture student, I am always intrigued by the different ways people use to represent their city. This is a project from Hong Kong that I was really impressed by. You can think of it as Sim City Hong Kong if you would like. Now, wouldn't it be great if you could point to the places in there and then a real time picture of the area pops up? Technology has certainly made the world smaller. You don't have to be at a place physically to know and experience it. My guess however, is that if you google earth Hong Kong and point to the same place, I doubt it would look as orderly and pristine as it does in the simulation. Nevertheless, it's worth checking out here. Though it's just a graphical representation, you can navigate the area, zoom in zoom out, find out information about different buildings, bus services in that area, etc. It's not just decorative. It IS a virtual map of the area. Have fun playing around!

Blown away by the level of intricate details rendered.

Check out the reflection at the side of the building! WAH!


Saturday, July 21, 2007

Photo Essay : "Daddy Moo, Is That Yoo?"

What do you think would be a suitable caption for the above picture? Send in your entries today! Winner gets a free lunch from me!

Get creative! Write your entries to the above question here under the comments section!

31 May 07 | 4:20 am

AND THE WINNER IS... "Daddy Moo, Is That Yoo?"
Yes, after much deliberation, I have finally picked the winner to my first photo caption contest! I was looking for something funny, something with a wicked sense of humour, something that got me cracking up the first time I looked at it and made me laugh quietly to myself each time I thought of it. Well, this was the closest to that I could find.

Actually, there was one that DID get me cracking up the moment I saw it. I loved Charmaine's "Family Luncheon in the Park". Only, it should have been "Luncheon on the Grass". You probably didn't know it yet, Charmaine, but you were making reference to a painting by Eduard Manet, a painter who caused much public scandal during his time with his painting of a nude woman lunching casually with two fully dressed men. I thought it hilarious considering the photo as 2 naked cows with a fully clothed man. Ha ha. Nevermind if you don't get my humour. You can find the picture in the post below.

Here's the picture of Manet's "Luncheon on the Grass". See the resemblance? Ha ha. Mooooo.

Read more about the painting here. Mind you, it is 208 × 265.5 cm.
Not small at all.
By the way, who is zapple90??! Shall we have luncheon on the grass? Ha ha. :)


Thursday, July 19, 2007

Animator vs Animation

I thought this was quite clever. And entertaining. And amusing. Something to entertain you while I work towards posting more regularly.