Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Complete High Definition Xbox Experience

Many of my recent sighs have been due to this issue, and now that I've found the solution to it, I just thought that I should share it with everyone. I didn't discover it mind you, but I doubt enough people know about it.

Otherwise I would have. Hee.

Presently, the deal is this. If you want HD video and surround sound output from your Xbox, ie. the full home theatre gaming experience, you either use component cables to wire the video out to your HDTV, and the optical output to wire to your home theatre system, or you wire a HDMI cable into your home theatre, and HDMI out from your home theatre console to input video into the TV. The problem is, component cables do anything but give you HD quality video, the available cables only give stereo, and HDMI in/out home theatre amps/consoles are not cheap. At least 2k.

One thing about my father is that even though he is very thrifty, when he wants to get something that would contribute to either bringing the family together (the home theatre for example will sit everyone down for a good movie together), he can splurge amounts of money even I find amazing. So cost would probably not have been an issue. The issue with him was that he was adamant about not having cables run across our hall, an inevitability for the rear speakers if a complete wired system is used. Understandable, because it poses a very very great danger for wires or even conduits to be lying smack across the hall, which we freely cross to get to the balcony, or my parents' favorite ironing spot. But it nevertheless grates on my audiophile ears. Wireless, knn! All the amps I've seen supporting HDMI in/out are wired systems, and none of the wireless systems I've seen support HDMI in/out. Oh de pain.

Here's the thing, companies will be set fire to if they release a HDTV without HDMI inputs, and most home theatre systems north of $800 (USD600) will have an audio optical input.

As if by fate, searching up on Xbox optical cable led me to this Youtube video.

All this genius does is pry off the plastic casing surrounding the component/composite/audio/optical port (and also just quite incidentally blocking the HDMI port) and suddenly there is space to fit both in together. So now I have my HDMI video output and my 5.1 optical audio output. Not the neatest solution, but it's a hack, and I don't believe in keeping things neat when one hacks. My dad just purchased the Sony DAV-FZ900 sound system after I ran a torturing test on it at the Wisma Atria Sony store and grilled the assistant, who thankfully knew his stuff.

Can't wait!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Cup Size

There. Got your attention.

On Wednesday evening my mates and I found ourselves at West Mall's Coffee Bean, making excellent use of my friend's expiring-today vouchers, when two ladies walked in. I didn't notice them immediately, because 1) it's not my nature to, and 2) my back was turned to the entrance. Only when my friend piped in Chinese "Hey, the one in pink's not bad." did I realize their presence. I said "I prefer the lady in pants." but I think the rest were too preoccupied checking Pinkerbell out to pick up on my comment.

"Hey, guess her cup size."
"Her what!"
"Guess her cup size."
"That's not a B that's a small C."

"Hey," my friend said to another, "ten bucks if you ask her about her cup size."

And my friend actually started considering the proposition. I wasn't even going to entertain crazy thoughts without mention of a 3-figure offer, but my friend (yet another) said he would do it for 50 provided there was a girl in the group, so we'd at least not look like a bunch of dirty old men in horny 20 year old bodies, and I thought well that's reasonable. It's a blue note we're talking about after all. How many reds do you break on an average day?

We digressed for abit after that, talking about crazy things we've done (the dared friend got major horned at by a beng on his first on-the-road driving lesson, while making a right turn at a T-junction, and in mid-turn he let the car stall, asked the instructor to hang on, stepped out of the car, and went to tell the beng off for horning at a bloody big L-plate.) until just to make him do it, my friends chipped in to make the offer 60 bucks. He was seriously scratching his head now and wondering how to go about it. Honestly I have no problem throwing another twenty on the table. Plus I'm most probably paying to see my friend get whacked or screamed at or something equally mortifyingly entertaining. But something just held me back from supporting what my morals considered an utterly ungentlemanly act.

Or I'm scared of consequences. Whatever peels your potato.

My dear friend was still earnestly considering his speech, exit strategies, attack dodging techniques, preemptive measures, etc, and since one of the set conditions ws that the conversation should last, ie. no "What's your cup size?" "Fuck off." "Sure thing miss.", he asked for my advice on what to say because apparently "your ang moh very power one." I suggested stalling her comprehension with harder words.

"Pardon me there miss, but I was wondering, may I enquire as to the volumetric measurement of your bosoms?"

Even I would have taken a split second more to process such confounding language.

In the end, we decided that it would be best to boost his notoriety level another, since he was wearing an Army T-shirt, and I for one don't consider Detention Barracks a couple of months before ORD a particularly appealing situation to get into.

In trying to egg him into doing it, the guy who started the dare said, "Aiyah, just get her to tell you la. Say you won't remember it beyond tonight anyway."

"You know, I can't decide which is more insulting," I spluttered, "asking about her cup size or telling her you won't remember it past tonight."

Ah. Insane youth and beautiful naivety.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Problem with Homo Sapiens

I was shocked and disappointed when I heard about the civil war running behind the curtains, in my company. It's not my first time experiencing nasty politics, and I know there is therefore little reason why I should be so surprised at such revelations. For once too, I wasn't the lone idiot who turns out to be the last to know - my LCP colleagues were also stunned at the huge mess revealed.

It takes great control, for me at least, not to immediately go "Gosh what a fuck up." The cold cruel truth is that even though I trust my friend deeply (deeply enough), even if all he's said really happened, he is a single person, and a recount such as this of emotionally-stirring events can lead to potentially severe coloring (translation just in case: he may get biased).

The hard fact to swallow, but one nevertheless worth questioning, is whether it's all a big ass misunderstanding, or whether the people I have invested trust in and worked hard to understand and bond and click with are really whom I have perceived them to be. Or are they mere masks worn to hide a more sinister face? It may look deeply perceptive of me to ask these questions, but I assure you, it's all of no use when I'm an utter failure at satisfying these questions.

To the point of sacrificing a good bit of street-wisdom, I've tried to remain as believing of the prevailing goodness of the human race. As millions before you and me have miserably encountered, I am losing grip of that belief and slowly but surely starting to think that the human race has turned out to be the shittiest thing ever created. Such a pity - the beauty and love of God (whichever one you believe in) manifested in our creation, and we turn out to be intelligent arseholes. Sad despair gnaws at me now, threatening to consume part of my heart away. At a time like this I understand why the composer wrote "Where seldom is heard, a discouraging word; and the skies are not cloudy all day." What seemingly irrevocable disappointment you feel, as the full weight of those words dawn upon you.

I wish we don't have to dump hope like that to become adults. What am I supposed to do? Live on, heehee haha, and pretend not to notice the shit being flung all around me as long as it doesn't hit me? Oh wait, even better if when it hits you you clear your throat, wipe your face, and say "Aiyah is like that one la suck it up."

I wish humans would somehow understand each other. But apparently the world doesn't care to give a caterpillar's dick about wish.


Sunday, May 3, 2009

Friends and Family

I had planned a day out with my campmates at Sentosa tomorrow. A Sunday. I had forgotten about my father prebooking me half a week before to go fetch my aunt from the airport, and subsequently have dinner at some must-be-quite-expensive Jap restaurant at Central. I dropped Sentosa. For some reason this has dragged me down into the pits of depression. Almost back to the days when I felt that I had so little to live for, so little to look forward to, that I gorged myself with food, any food, anything remotely tasty (so no, I did not stuff my face with celery), so that I could at least enjoy the material tastes, if I couldn't indulge in ethereal pleasures. (Thing is when I was happy I also ate, so... not now though. I have a whole set of other things to occupy me now when I'm happy.)

It's just funny why I feel so bummed out over it. It's not like I made a hard choice. My father, who's learnt his lesson with our ways of worming out of these things, booked me early. Way before the first mention of a Sentosa day out. So by virtue of order, my father's booking wins hands-down. I'm at fault for double-booking myself with my friends.

And friends... maybe campmates is still a better word after all. I love my camp. Even with all the crap we're getting, I love my camp, my unit, my company, my bunk, and my colleagues. I laugh and quarrel with them, I gang up on others and get ganged up on, I share things with them and learn things from them. But there's hardly any connection I feel. Or rather, one minute we're running well together and the next minute a heavy oppressive aura separates us. Am I severely blind to something, some fault of mine that I'm not aware of? Something that makes me repulsive in an instant? I've been told by friends who understand me abit better that others feel that I give off an air of arrogance, as if I look down on others (I am a graduate in a sea of diplomas after all), as if I know everything under the damn sun. Well that is a fault of mine, I have this absolutely foolish habit of nodding and going "Ahhh yes yes." if I have so much as heard the name of the topic in question, and worry later about what exactly it is I know about it and what I don't (must be all the PRing I've done haha noooo that's so not true).

But yeah. Friends.

I'm tempted to say that I'd left my friends in university. But that is unfair because I've had three years with them. I'm only slowly crawling towards my first year of conscription, and I've hardly known my mates for more than 6 months. I know I should give them more time because something about me makes people take a much longer time to warm up to me.

Or maybe it's something about me that makes me naturally appeal to people as an all-purpose punching bag.

Why? If you know, I want you to tell me why. If for nothing else take it as a rant, a public rant, take it as getting back at me publicly (as public as this invisible footprint on the web gets) for whatever I've done to you to hurt you. Tell me if I'm meant to get along with one crowd and forced by life to mix with another. Tell me if my university has trained me to act like an idiot. Tell me if I just want attention. If at the end of the day all I'm looking for is recognition, a pat on the back, an inclusion.

Sometimes I feel that that's all I live for. I just want someone, whoever it is, to always be there, saying "good job", "nice one", "awesome", "so smart", "how did you do that?", "you're amazing", "why didn't I think of that?", "thank you Renhao". Really? After having existed for 20 years, read so much, seen so much, heard so much, known so much, is that all I want? Just someone to say oh wow you know everything? Or else company in which we can all live in our own little elite world slapping each other's backs?

Or is it just that I'm naturally resistant to the ways of the world? Am I a traditional soul at heart, in this physically young body?

My parents are a real unique breed, caught dead center between tradition and modernization. The same person who would fuck you upside down for sticking chopsticks vertically into a bowl of rice can at the next moment be telling you how open he is to more than one religion under the same roof, provided proper respect is shown to the other's beliefs. You might have noticed, my dad is downright anal about family togetherness. As I grew up and as he saw it fit to tell me more, I slowly understood that his family, my mother's, and some of his friends' were ruthlessly torn apart by politics, lust, money, and alcohol. It was a situation he cautioned my brother and I from allowing to happen on pain of him coming back from the grave to haunt us (and I totally believe that if it was at all possible, he would do one that would beat Hollywood, Jollywood, Kollywood and Tollywood flat out).

It's something I'm confident I've taken to heart. Something that I will stay with me, and something that I will pass on to my children, if I have any.

I just needed to rant I guess. I originally wanted to write about me and the world, but I've complained so much about me that I probably can cut alot of that out and talk about the world in the other post.

I've had enough.