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I was on a three-hour flight last week. It would have been the perfect time to start an ebook I recently acquired and was dying to read. But I was clumsy. The ebook was not uploaded to my reader. The plane was already in cruising altitude when I found out, so I could not just connect to the cloud and download it in one clean sweep of a finger. I mean, we were IN the clouds physically, but... no, I just couldn't. If you get my meaning.

Anyway... Instead of allowing myself to sink into a post-traumatic stress disorder, I picked my iPad-Mini up (I tell you, if I was sitting near the emergency exit windows, I might have opened it, flung my iPad out and shouted, "Take that, cloud!") and gingerly browsed thru my available ebooks. I have hundreds. More than half I have yet to read. It just pains me that among the choices, the one that I drool for was not in there. Sickening. I even have the KJVB, that is King James Version Bible, for the uninitiated (I'll get back to that later) sitting prettily side by side with the Communist Manifesto. Just saying.

Then I stumbled upon this relatively new ebook I had with a fancy title: “Slicing Pizzas, Racing Turtles And Further Adventures In Advanced Mathematics.” Quite a mouthful, I must say. But the fancy title caught my fancy and I decided to stick with it for the rest of the ride. More so when I found one chapter about the famous number 'pi' (π). It talked about its history and the various persons, groups and sources who tried to compute its value. And here comes an interesting part: among those sources was the Holy Bible, which it said gave the value of 'pi'. It even quoted which part of the bible: the book of Kings, chapter 7, verse 23.

I don't know, but somehow, this got me really excited. I frantically opened my KJVB ebook and with hands shaking browsed to the said book, chapter and verse. It was not a direct, in-your-face, spoon-fed statement of the value of pi. But by describing a 'round' object, it explicitly expressed what 'pi' is. There it was, a sound mathematical principle in the Bible! Wow, this rare find felt like a toe-curling orgasm. I knew exactly what the great physicist Richard Feynman meant when he said he studied physics for 'the pleasure of finding things out.'

But wait a minute, something's a bit quirky. Something's off. The value of pi that is explicitly stated in the Book Of Kings is not the same as the acceptedly correct value which mathematicians and engineers depend upon in doing their jobs, from building intricate domes and bridges to sending man to the moon. If that value in the KJVB is correct, our bridges would have collapsed and instead of landing on the moon, our astronauts could have ended up on the sun, or could not have lifted off and escaped Earth's gravity in the first place. But they reached the moon. So our current assumed value is correct. Which means that the Bible is, is... (I could not say it)... is WRONG? Aaargh! PTSD all over again.

At least it kept me engrossed during the next 3hours 8min 29.724sec, from Changi to NAIA. Or 3.14159 hours (yup, same numerical value as PI).

Coincidence?
No.
I just made it up.
(Actual travel time is 3.25 hours).

Slicing Pizzas, Racing Turtles, and Further Adventures in Applied Mathematics

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Fandroids On The Attack!


It's that time of the year again when, in my solitary daydreaming state in front of my blank laptop screen, an alien being from just around the office block suddenly appeared in front of me and blurted, "so, my friend, when are you getting the new iphone...?"

Then continued, "My two year old samsung still got bigger screens than that, you know." From this point onwards, he almost made me believe that the new iphone is the worst phone ever. After his litany, it seemed to appear that it was just a piece of brick painted with gold, silver and black, err, space grey. And with its cost, you could buy an island of your own.

In between his monologue he praised his android phone once in a while. Jeez...!

In case there are more fandroids out there who are in similar train of thoughts, here's my response:

So fandroids, riddle me this: where were you and the rest of the competition when the first iphone came out? Or when the first ipad came out?

I thought so.

Now, don't fault me if I happen to like these products that happen to fit the way I do things. And I don't mind paying a premium to those who truly innovate and create new products. Research costs, you know that?

Maybe you don't. Because research to most of you is to reverse engineer those new products and imitate what's inside. Oh, even the outside, too.

So shut up and just enjoy your own phone (if you can). And stop bothering me as I book my reservation for the iphone 5s, gaddamit.

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I Have A Livejournal Account!


I know I have it but it has temporarily left my mind. And now it has come back to me. Welcome!

Let me take this opportunity, then, to post... something.

I was watching the Formula One Practice Session this morning on tv and I kept on rubbing my eyes. I was also constantly cleaning my glasses. Could it be that the haze has now penetrated our TV? It was a bit blurry. And the image was not quite right. It was a bit odd. Just a bit, but odd still.

Then a little red dot appeared on the upper right corner of the screen: "Press for HD Channel". What the... I was on standard definition! And what was on the HD channel that they have to put F1 in standard definition? Wimbledon. Replay.

Oh, come on. I enjoy watching Wimbledon tennis, I am following it. I watch it every night. Hopefully, as the seeded players are slowly weeded out for some reason or another, Andy Murray wins. And Agnieszka Radwanska takes the Ladies' title, however unlikely. I like watching her in the court. She's like a graceful, feisty little gazelle, hopping and trotting all across the lawn. But.

Put the gaddamn live event on HD and the replays on SD! Jeezz, it's not just another TV show, it's Formula One racing. We need to see every tiny bit of details; the liveries, the helmet designs, tire marbling and degradation, suspension movements, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

Even with all the royal origins of tennis, I would still prefer to watch F1. Not many people may share this opinion, but... well, to each his own.

Know Your Enemy


I am making Saturday mornings my easy-fun-run-time. Just taking it slow and short, just enough to break some sweat and ease up the nerves tensed from the week before. This morning was one of those times. But something happened.

I was halfway into my run when this particular guy passed me by. I mean, I was not fast. I am not fast in any way. And I am used to be passed over by runners. But by this guy, I could not accept it. He was in cotton t-shirts and basketball shorts, sporting a pair of what looked like a decent running shoes. By the looks of it, he doesn't appear to have the rights to run. This is bordering on judging a book by its cover, but I felt insulted when this punk overtook me, galloping as if he owned the road.

So, I broke out of my easy pace and set on a chase. I was well on my 3rd kilometer then so I was pretty warmed up, while this swaggering looser who had the impudence of passing me hadn't broken a sweat yet. He might have sensed that I, whom he had just ran over, was still on his back, so he galloped even more. I upped my pace, too, to match his. I was not closing down the distance between us, but it was not increasing.

Ten minutes into the chase, I could see beads of sweat running down his nape. His pace had significantly slowed. The distance between us narrowed and narrowed until I was literally breathing down his neck. Then I saw that glance of panic. He further slowed down to allow me to pass. But no, I did not pass him, I kept on breathing down his neck, urging him to continue running, challenging him to increase his speed. I put him under immense pressure. I was all over him and we continued like this for a few more minutes. Then I knew it, this sucker's a goner.

And a goner, he was. Not a second more, he stopped, pale and panting, hands on knees. I did not stop. I did my own gallop and increased my pace further, to show him that I was just teasing him off.

He shouldn't have passed me. Well, he could, but he should have done it humbly, without the gallop and the road-owning swagger. Specially if he was on cotton t-shirts and basketball shorts.

But I forgive him. He did not know that I was just putting one of Sun Tzu's principles into practice: Know your enemy and know your self and you'll win a hundred battles.

Samsung Fanboy


Recently, a friend who has been an Apple fanboy for quite some time has started singing a different tune. He got curious why he sees more and more people using Samsung bricks phones. One day his shining new iPhone 5 got some trouble connecting to the internet. He used this as an excuse to try Samsung Galaxy Note. The following day, he was singing allelujah while trotting and cantering and showering rose petals on his pathway.

He now plans to sell his iMac, Macbook and iPad so he can replace it with Samsung computers and tablets. He also started learning Korean, is now following Koreanovelas and eating kimchi for lunch. He mentioned that he replaced his morning exercise routine with Gangnam Style dance steps, trims your abs better, he confesses. His least favorite fruit is now apple, and needless to say, dislikes apple pie, apple cider and just about everything with an image or representation of an apple in it.

Every time he has a chance, he convinces me to sell my iPhone 4S and switch to Samsung instead. Of course, he knows someone who has a brother who knows a man who's wife buys used iPhone 4S with a good price. Sell it, friend, he urges me after a littany of praises for his new Samsung phone.

Well, our refrigerator is Samsung, I quipped back.

And how do you feel about it? he eagerly asked while fluttering his eyelashes.

I said it was ok, which made him jump out of his seat and scream, SEE?! You'll looove Sumsong!

Wow. I never thought Samsung has its own die-hards. Oh, well, everyone now has fanboys; Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, I see some Google fans once in a while. But I don't know what to make of this ex-Apple-fanboy-turned-Samsung-fanboy guy. I'm thinking of getting him into a slapping game: slap me with an iPhone and I'll slap you with a Galaxy Note 2 and let's see who gets the bigger blackeye.

You've got to win. You must. Some people are happy enough to come in second place. But no, second place never makes a true champion, it only makes one the first loser. Or the best among the losers, but loser nonetheless.

They say that it matters not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game. Oh, come on. The only ones who believe this shit are those losers themselves, those who do not have the will and perseverance to win. Those who surrender and contend themselves to the background and the platform where other greater hearts trample on and stand upon proudly.

Before I loose my head in these musings, let me say that as the 2012 F1 season winds down to the ultimate race in Sao Paolo, Brazil this Sunday, one man will become a three-time World Champion as the chequered flag waves at the end.

The two remaining contenders - Fernando Alonso and Sebastian Vettel - have already won two World Driver's Championships each. But that doesn't make them rest in their laurels. They continue to fight and win more. Nobody wants to come in second, who cares about being just next to somebody. This attitude makes formula one racing one of the most exciting sports there is, and why they are delivering the best races in the last 3-4 years. (Ok, some races could be processional and boring, but even storms, when its eye passes overhead, has its dull moments).

So bring on the last race of this explosive season. Hoping against all and what seems to be an insurmountable odds, I am putting all my chips on Fernando Alonso to win it.

...and chop the pinky off his finger wagging rival, him Vettel.

Vamos Fernando!

LIFE IS SWEET


Last night was a good night. I literally slept with a smile on my lips. It was a fabulous night of premiere league football. My two teams posted very convincing wins.

First off, the Arsenal-Tottenham match produced a United Nations of goals: two from Englishmen, two from Germans, one each from a Togolese, a Frenchman and a Spaniard. Five of those went to Arsenal for the win. For me it was Santi Cazorla for the man of the match.

Then Manchester City made a thrashing of Aston Villa, five to nil. Yes, two of those were from controversial penalties, but still, they scored three more without conceding any. The champions now looks like themselves. That Aguero-Teves partnership in front is materialising quite beautifully. Throw in Dzeko and we have a triumvirate of power.

This morning, after a 10km run, I found out that the league leader Manchester United lost to Norwich. And so did Chelsea, unable to contain West Brom. This also means one thing: Manchester City is now on top of the table with a 3 goal difference advantage over United. Life is sweet, indeed.

LIFE IS CRUEL


... and full of shitty bits.

As we head towards the penultimate race of the extraordinary 2012 F1 season, we have come to the bitter acceptance that our once mighty and fornidable team is out of the running for both the Constructor's and Driver's Championships. AGAIN! McLaren started the season with a win and full of promises. But as the season progressed, they did not.

Was it over confidence? The other teams made them believe that they were the quickest, the strongest and the team to beat. They were psyched, I think. They loosened up, dropped their guards and bummed out until the entire competition swallowed them whole and left them wriggling in the dust.

Totally unacceptable. I gave them all the support I cared to give for the promise they showed, hoping that a silverware is within grasps after more than 10 years of drought. And then, by the end of the season, this? What's worst, that finger-wagging Sebastian Vettel is poised to win his 3rd championship! Ugh. Life is cruel, too cruel.

Oh, I hope Fernando Alonso steal the thunder from him. Better him than that finger wagger.

One more thing, I want Martin Whitmarsh's head. Will dip it in tar and put on a spike in front of the McLaren Technical Center. A reminder to the team that winning is everything!

Posted via LiveJournal app for iPad.

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Bond Being Sentimental


I thought Skyfall would be something about hellish, doomsdayish or some horrible attack on human civilization that James Bond alone could abort. Think about skies falling! But instead it was a celebration of Bond looking back to his roots.

At the finale of the opening sequence, the first thing that came to mind was You Only Live Twice. The vintage car was from Goldfinger, I think. Then Moneypenny was reinstated. And finally M returned to being a man.

The end confirmed it all. Inside the barrel of the gun, it said: 50 years. Wow. Has it been that long.

I think Javier Bardem was brilliant as Silva. Oh, and speaking of villains, I hope to see Ernst Stavro Blofeld and his cat again, or Francisco Scaramanga just because I like the sound of his name, heck, even Jaws and his... jaws and iron teeth.

And what about Pussy Galore? Now, who wouldn't love that!

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And The Spaghetti Kicked-In


A little more than a fortnight ago, I ran in the Adidas King Of The Road 16.8 KM Race. Yes, you get to run for 16,800 meters, or for those stuck in the complexities of the empirical system, that's 10 miles plus a few more steps. I can run 10km on any given Sunday, of course with a bit of struggle and small discomfort. More than that, I need to have some sort of preparation: I eat.

On the morning of the race I had a bar of Cloud 9 for breakfast. And a can of Mirinda soft drink to wash it down. (It had to be Mirinda, nothing else). That should have been enough to get me going and running for two hours.

But it was freaking hot. At the 5 kilometer mark, it seemed that I had burned out all the sugars and calories of my 'breakfast' just by perspiring. At every drinking station, I did not drink anymore. I took a bath. Ok, I sipped a cup or two; then three more cups to pour down over my head, nape and shoulders. Water was sizzling as it drips down my bod.

The breakfast was out, so it was left to the dinner to sustain me for the rest of the run: spaghetti it was. But even that was not enough. As I sighted the finish line, all semblance of strength and composure left me, I was limping as ambulances and stretchers dashed in and out of my sight to salvage those downed by the heat. I was fantasising of just rolling into the finish line when a most unexpected thing happened.

I farted a wallop. With Newton's 2nd Law of Motion, it was enough to send me blitzing into the finish. I also 'lost' some mass in the process, so less mass, less force needed to accelerate. I supposed it was caused by too much spaghetti the night before, and I'm thankful that it kicked-in!