Thursday, May 28, 2009

More Photos from Qianhu Fish Farm and Preparations For Camp

More Photos from Qianhu Fish Farm:

There are the outstanding photos which I promised last week. It's been one hell of a hectic week so it took so long for me to get back to blogging again.

I was like a little kid again - taking as many snapshots of those fishes swimming leisurely in the tanks.

Can't tell the species but they are really friendly (or hungry) - move the camera phone and the whole school will follow suit as well.
Arrowanas - very expensive fish. I like their sleek, long silvery sheen.
The white amongst the sea of orange goldfishes. It must be a prominent fish in that tank.
These are aggressive little things which prefers poking with their poutish mouths.
Admittedly, I have never seen such a fish before. Nature sure has a way to surprise people.
For a brief moment, I thought it was a nicely-decorated rug. Haha. It was sleeping when I took the shot.
It looks like a forest but underwater. The quality of my camera was not good but trust me, it was really beautiful with all those small fishes swimming in and out of those plants.
Angel's fish, I believe. And a very large one.
This is one of my pet fishes - my favourite "Big Brother". It's intelligent enough to be always eye-balling me whenever I go past my home aquarium.
Caught in the act of dancing - believe it, if I clap my hands, it will dance by swaying from side to side. It was the only fish which seemed to receive "instructions" from the Fat Lady goldfish before the latter passed on to fish heaven. Maybe Fat Lady told it to be friendlier to our family?

Preparations For Camp:

I have been training really hard at the gym to prepare for the upcoming camp in which I am one of the camp facilitators to lead groups of students through an interesting camp program at an undisclosed location in Singapore. However, I am encouraged by the organizers not to reveal the details of the camp so the campers can come in and enjoy the surprises prepared for them.

All I can say is - I am looking forward to the camp, training up to keep fit so I don't look too frail amongst the youths running about in the camp and getting my camping equipment ready. It won't be easy because I think I'll have to lug all my gear on me for the first day of the camp and weight and encumbrance considerations will be very important factors in deciding what I can bring and what I must trim down.

Here's the camping items I think I'll be bringing:

1) Identity Card
2) Cash
3) Ezlink Card
4) Sleeping Bag
5) Utility Tool
6) Torchlight
7) Talcum Powder
8) Deodorant Spray
9) Towels
10) Toiletries
11) Writing Materials
12) Cellphone
13) Extra sets of clothing
14) Clean set of clothing for sleeping
15) Light Sticks
16) Backpack
17) Waist Pouch
18) Customized Medical Kit

Phew, that's quite alot of things to carry. Hope the camp will go on smoothly even though the first H1N1 flu case has struck Singapore. If we can hold the perimeters of Singapore well, we should be able to keep the virus at bay so we can carry on our normal activities.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Movie Reviews: X-men Origins: Wolverine and Start Trek

Movie Review: X-men Origins: Wolverine

I caught this movie last week and the movie was quite alright as it featured Wolverine and Sabertooth as brothers who both had beastly and regenerative powers but with slightly different temperaments and morals and the two brothers grew apart as Sabertooth began to grow into a more bloodthirsty mutant while Wolverine wanted a clear conscience. The plot revolved around how Colonle Stryker tried to capture all the mutants and merge their powers into one super-killing machine and Wolverine had to stop Stryker from killing whatever few mutant friends he had left.

Although the movie did show the prowess of some extraordinary mutants, such as one with a diamond skin, one with deadly accuracy with guns and another with unbelievably fast swords, msot of the movie went around with more action between Wolverine and Sabertooth, slashing and stabbing each other with their claws. Compared to the original three X-men movies, this one fell a little short of my expectations but it managed to keep the X-men interest going. Hopefully, they will get even better doing such one-mutant-background-story movie. I would give it a respectable 3.5 out of a possible 5.

Movie Review: Star Trek (2009)
I just caught this movie today and I thought it was a very well-paced story with very interesting mini-adventures, which are a little different from the original Star Trek series but definitely gave a refreshing look to the storyline. The story revolves around how Kirk and Spock started out as very fresh cadets in the space academy and how their personalities clashed around the main plot of a disenchanted and vengeful alien commander who plotted to destroy everything civilized because of a failed attempt to save his homeland.

Kirk was the rule-breaker adventurer who would try any means to accomplish the missions at hand whilst Spock was also the intellectual who wanted things done in the most analytical and emotionally-detached way. However, both of them, alongside with the green crew of USS Enterprise realized that they must learn to cooperate because in order to triumph against the vicious enemy who seemed to travel from the future with an incredibly powerful ship, only courage, wit, intelligence combined can hope to overcome.

With such a memorable star crew and alot more potential to grow, I think a sequel to this movie will not be too much to ask for in a 4/5 rating movie. ^__^

The next movie review would be on Angels and Demons - something historical, away from claw-slashing and phaser-lasers spacefights for a change.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Tim Sum Afternoon Tea at Geylang, Brother's Birthday Celebrations, Attempted Ice-cream Outing at Illuma Mall at Bugis Area, Qian Hu Fish Farm Outing

Tim Sum Afternoon Tea at Geylang:

A group of VIP friends sudddenly called me during work and said "Sean! Let's go eat Dim Sum at Geyland" and they packed themselves into a larger sedan and picked me up at my workplace for a Tim Sum Afternoon Tea last Friday.

The venue of the Tim Sum Afternoon Tea. Rumour has it that it is one of the best places for Tim Sum and it's open 24 hours. Service was brisk but the air-conditioning did not seem very fresh since it was mixed with the preparations of the dim sum.

The usual thing was that drinks were served in those plastic containers that were meant for packed food and thus the servings for drinks were huge. The Changed Man was, however, hooked on the drinks and easily finished two "buckets" of drinks whilst I could barely finished mine. The rest was busy eating and trying to coax all at the table to go for a holiday trip to Taiwan (that was before the swine flu outbreak was considered serious).
We ordered a grand total of twelve types of Dim Sum and they tasted great and were very filling. I particularly enjoyed the fried carrot cake and the shrimp dumplings because they were well-made by the chefs.

Brother's Birthday Celebrations:

This week, my family and I celebrated my brother's birthday and as usual to the red eggs, there was a coffee cake and noodles to go along with some raspberry ripple ice-cream.
Attempted Ice-cream Outing at Illuma Mall at Bugis Area:

I went to the new Illuma Mall to have a look and to meet SC for another ice-cream outing this week and was surprised to see that the mall was quite empty. Maybe the economic recession was worse than I expected. It was still alright for me because I wanted a leisurely afternoon without having to squeeze with the crowds but there wasn't any crowd to begin with there at all. Strange...
See how empty Illuma was then? Except for the cinema theatres at the top floor, most of the shops are empty. They really need to do some more advertising or risk staying this way all the while till closure.
SC and I decided to try out Empire State restaurant because they seemed to have better, cushier seats than the other restaurants that we had browsed through. It was in the afternoon so there was not much of a crowd except for a couple of tables.
This was the menu page for desserts and both of us were unpleasantly greeted with disappointment when the waitress told us that out of ten possible dessert items on the menu, five of them were not available due to some supplier issues. We were in quite a uproar between ourselves because Empire State did not state so at its entrance and the menu was not marked out appropriately to reflect the unavailability of so many items.
Eventually, we decided to forgo dessert at Empire State and go for a Hawaiian pizza to see if the place was worth a second visit. Whilst waiting, I decided to take a shot of the interesting lamp above our seats - it seemed to be made of paper and handcrafted, which was unusual and slightly appeased my disappointment with the dessert fiasco.
The pizza was in a square block and it smelled and tasted much better than the other pizza places I had been to so far. The mozzarella cheese was generous and well-spreaded out and the ham and pineapple was fresh from the kitchen so both of us tucked in. After the early dinner, SC and I moved over to Bugis Junction to have a quick fix of ice-cream at another outlet before she went off to meet her client whilst I had to rush off to another appointment.

Qian Hu Fish Farm Outing:

It's Mother's Day tomorrow and my mother suddenly has the urge to go to the spa fish farm at Qian Hu so I had to drop everything I was doing and accompany her. I also wanted to go and see what the whole spa fish thingy was all about since I never had the chance to go and try it till today.
We took a cab all the way to Qian Hu at Chua Chu Kang near the Home Team Academy and after accompanying my parents to look at all the fishes at the various aquariums, we made our way to the spa fish area where each of us had to pay $10.00 for 1/2 hour of soaking our feet into two huge ponds of those spa fishes.
This was one minute after I had put my feet into the spa fish pond. It was really ticklish - I thought, until two minutes later, I realized it was only the beginning...
The spa fish seemed to like my left foot alot more - and within two minutes, my leg was like covered with them as they ate my dead skin away, nibbling, pulling, tugging away. The sensation was really weird and whenever I tried to look closer, the fish would scatter away so I just let them do their job in peace.
After 30 minutes of tickling, both my feet went numb from all the nibbling but the fishes did a good job, smooth skin was restored after years of walking and running and my legs actually felt better after twenty minutes because they were lighter and cleaner!
The entrance of the fish farm wasn't much but don't judge by it's appearance, walk right inside and see at least 100 different aquariums of all types of fishes. Will post the pictures of some of the fishes up in a separate blog post soon.
We took the special bus shuttle from Qian Hu Fish Farm to Chua Chu Kang MRT station and went past a large swarth of farms and nurseries. Such scenery is so rare in urbanized Singapore. Lunch was settled at Lot 1's Subway because my parents wanted to eat healthy today as it was Vesak's day so that concluded the outing.