Monthly Archives: April 2014

50 First Dates

I managed to watch 50 First Dates last week and it was so beautiful! I think it’s my favourite romantic comedy ever, because I’m old enough to understand all the jokes and innuendos and I can fully appreciate the powerful messages in this lighthearted movie.

*Warning: Spoiler Alert*
If you haven’t watched this movie and you don’t want to know what happens, GET OUT NOW.

LAST CHANCE.

But seriously, this movie has been out for quite some time already.

If you don’t know the story, here’s a summary. Adam Sandler plays Henry Roth, a Hawaiian playboy who works at an aquarium and has commitment issues. One morning, after his boat breaks, he comes into a diner to wait for the towboat and meets Lucy Whitmore (Drew Barrymore) who is building a sculpture out of her pancakes. He goes up to her and they hit it off. She invites him to breakfast at the same diner the next morning and after some hesitation, he agrees. When he comes the next morning he finds that she doesn’t recognize him at all. The owners of the diner drag him away and explain to him that she had a head injury that resulted in her not being able to retain any new memories. She keeps reliving the same day over and over again. Henry takes it up as a challenge and every morning he devises ways and means (some of them brilliant, most of them utterly ridiculous) to hit on her. For a while, they don’t work, but he persists and finally succeeded.

As the story progresses, he makes a video for her to watch every morning so that she doesn’t need to be lied to anymore. Every day they go on dates and each time it’s a first date for her. There’s a short gag where she repeats variations of the phrase “Nothing beats a first kiss” several times. One day she finds out that he had plans to travel around the world in the boat he built, but he gave that up because she needed him more than he needed to travel. She feels guilty and decides to erase him from her life, that is, the videos he made for her, any mention of him in her diary and so on. He leaves but comes back and they get married. The end scene is where she wakes up and watches the video tape, then discovers she’s in a boat. She climbs up to the deck and is greeted by Henry who says to their daughter, “Go say hi to mummy.”

My mum says that she refuses to watch it because it’s so heartbreaking but this is a movie I will watch over and over again in years to come, if only to keep reminding myself of the lessons I’ve learnt.

Everyday is a new day
I think this was my first takeaway from the movie. Not to be afraid to just go out there, take action and make mistakes, because tomorrow will be a new day to start afresh if you need to. It’s really Carpe Diem and YOLO as it should be. Of course, he has a reset button and in real life we don’t, but the lesson still applies. Stop think what happens if it goes wrong.

What happens if it goes right?

Don’t give up the chase
Henry has to make her fall in love with him over and over again every single day. While that may be drastic, my takeaway here is not to take my partner for granted. Just because you’re in a loving relationship doesn’t mean you can give up the romance and dates and the chase. It’s all about the little things done simply because you love your partner and you’re telling him/her so.

Take everything in stride
There were plenty of awkward moments for Henry when his plans didn’t go well, but he always managed to improvise and work his way around it. I really want that ability and that’s partly why I love comedy and puns. They require me to improvise a lot and take every opportunity that comes my way.

The movie left me with a feeling of blissful happiness and a twinge of envy because I haven’t had a girlfriend before.

My goal is to have my future girlfriend’s friends and family say how lucky she is to have me when in fact the lucky one would be me.

The search continues…

-Jace

Geeks vs Nerds

A friend of mine didn’t know the difference between a geek and a nerd. I was appalled and adamant that they were two different types of people so I decided to spill my thoughts here.

Okay first, they’re two completely different types of people, but they’re not mutually exclusive. One could be a nerd AND a geek. The thing to note is that both of them require a field. You can’t just label someone a nerd or a geek and let that be. That person has to be a nerd in something, like math, or a geek in something, like Star Wars. Usually the subject preceeds “geek” or “nerd” (i.e math nerd, Star Wars geek).

They do have stereotypical similarities; both are regarded as social outcasts and are typically not attractive. Perhaps in general social standings both the geek and the nerd have trouble relating to others, but when they’re engaged in their respective fields, they have no trouble connecting at all.

The key difference is that geeks are emotional on their subjects, whereas nerds are not. One eloquent way of putting it is that geeks have a “licence to emote”. They’re comfortable with themselves and with their subject enough to be overtly passionate about talking about it. Geeks are more likely to initiate a conversation on his/her subject first, while a nerds are more likely to talk only if someone talks to them.

Nerds are very intelligent and know a lot about their subject. I mean a LOT. Ask a nerd anything and he’ll probably be able to tell you more than you need or want to know. Nerds tend to appear more in academic subjects like math and science.

Geeks may or may not be able to tell you the answer, but either way they’ll be very happy to talk to you about the subject. Geeks are more well know for their passion in games and comics, going as far as cosplaying their favourite character at Comic-Cons and portraying their character well.

There are some crossovers where someone is a nerd AND a geek in the same subject. Take me for example. I love the trading card game (TCG) Magic: the Gathering (MTG) and I’m officially a Rules Advisor for the game (I took the official rules test 10+ times before I hit the passing grade of 80%). I know a lot about card rulings and can almost always work my way out of a rules mess. My friends almost always turn to me to confirm rulings and to settle disputes. This is my nerd side of MTG. My geeky side is for the Planeswalker Jace. I absolutely revere him. I’m not shy to say so and show my passion for the game as well.

I think nerds are just closet geeks. Geeks have a lot of self confidence and don’t much care what others might think of their passion/obsession. Nerds probably put in just as much work immersing themselves in their subject, but generally lack self confidence.

Every job should aim for a balance between the nerd and the geek; work would be a lot more fun. Match the pursuit of knowledge from the nerd with the shameless passion of a geek and we’ll have a pretty enthusiastic and smart person, always willing to learn and share about his/her subject.

-Jace

Catching

This post was first published on my Tumblr on Dec 1, 2012, and is now updated with my experiences since then.

On Tuesdays and Fridays, my friends and I get together to exercise. As most of us are guys, we need to train for NAPFA, so we focus on stuff like pull ups and the 2.4km run.

On Fridays, if we have enough people (minimum six players), we usually play Catching after our training. This trains our shuttle run, stealth and observation skills.

Yesterday, we did have six people, so we managed to play two rounds. Our house rules were:

Two catchers
If you’re caught, you’re sent to Jail (where we placed our bags)
You’re considered caught only if a catcher’s entire hand touches you (so fingers don’t count)
The boundary was limited to the two levels of the TP Sports Complex and the Field
Time limit of 10mins (only applied to round two)

For the first round, we started with the runners with the fastest and slowest 2.4km run time. I was the fastest, so I became one of the catchers. Nothing interesting happened, so I’ll skip to Round Two.

We’d agreed that the first and last people to be caught in Round One would be the catchers in Round Two and we applied the 10min rule, so that the game would have a definite end (I wasn’t able to catch the last person and Round One dragged on for quite a while).

Anyway, I’d found a strategic spot at the corner of the second level, giving me high ground, good visual distance and several escape routes. I was the last survivor (I guess they hadn’t found me yet) and when I saw the faster chaser coming up the stairs, I quickly vaulted off my ledge and leapt down towards the field. I hadn’t anticipated the new catchers using a trapping strategy, so I was quite surprised when catcher #2 started running towards me. Luckily, I was already halfway down the steps, so just as he stepped on the bottom step, I did a lazy vault over the stair railings, dropping safely onto the sand pit (PARKOUR!). As I hoped, he was too tired to react fast enough.

My next mistake was when I realized I’d trapped myself. There was nowhere else to run but towards the field, and unfortunately a wall of girls (I swear it was a wall; they were running together in a horizontal line) doing their 2.4km run appeared in front of me. Catcher #2 was closing in, but I manged to jink and get away… almost right into the waiting arms of catcher #1.

I guess my adrenaline level was really high and/or the catchers were really tired, but I managed to escape again.

This was the most exciting point in the game (at least for me) and I knew then that this was the way it should be played. With two catchers, the game became more of outsmarting your opponent and less of outrunning. The physical fitness factor does come into play and hopefully by training like this, we can all improve our acceleration and reaction times.

It was excellent training for Running Man as well… XD

-Jace

Intellect, Interest, Ability

It’s so difficult to find someone with the intellect to understand you, the same interests as you and the ability to keep up with you.

Intellect is my highest priority in friendships. I don’t mean intellect as in academically awesome, or a chess champion; I mean same intellect as in similar way of thinking. One example would be the kind of jokes we share. I’m very thankful for the people who understand and appreciate the jokes I make or who make similar types of jokes and I will fight to keep these friends in my life.

I’m choosing my friends very carefully, because I don’t want to waste time on people who ultimately won’t be able to click with me. One of my primary friend filters is humour. When I meet someone new, if they can get my puns and references, they’re on the right track. If they can’t, I usually glance over them and keep them at arms length. Some might argue that this is a little mean of me, but hey, read sentence one of this paragraph again.

Similar interests is the next thing I look for in a friendship, because if two people don’t have the same interests, it’s very difficult to form a friendship outside of work. While intellect is the starting point of my friendships, similar interests are the glue of my friendships. I don’t make friends just simply because we’re thrown together by circumstances, like colleagues or classmates. No, once I filter people out, I actively look for common interests between us and shortlist them again.

The last thing I look for is ability. Some people may have the same interest as I do, but if we’re both of different skill levels, then it kinda sucks. It’s difficult to do something with someone who is really good at it, or really bad at it. Like in computer games or sports, if one overpowers the other, then it doesn’t become fun anymore for either player.

I guess passion is the overlap of interests and ability and this is quite crucial to a lasting friendship. I know different people have different levels of passion and that those levels wax and wane over time. It’s a precarious balance for me, because I don’t want to be overly passionate about a common interest and then overwhelm the other person, but I also don’t want the reverse to happen either.

When I find a girl who matches me well in all three categories, I’ll probably marry her.

-Jace

Can I give you a Kiss?

As part of the new character trait of boldness I’m developing (I wanna be Dauntless!), I recently started a social experiment, which I call The Kiss Experiment. I’ll let the video take it from here. Enjoy!

Okay so my video editing skills aren’t so great. I’m learning by trial and error, my typical style of plunging into it and then learning how to do specific things when I encounter them. For example, I had to learn how to tilt the video 90 degrees to the left or right, but I only went to go find out how after I started putting the clips together.

-Jace

Like Wars

This post was first published on my Tumblr on Mar 30, 2013, and is now updated with my experiences since then.

Last Sunday, I posted this as my Facebook status:

Starting a ‘like’ war with a girl is the perfect way to get her to stalk your profile and also serves as justification for stalking hers.

I am a genius.

After thinking about it, I realized just how awesome and nearly foolproof this plan is. All you have to do is set up the very first Like war.

The way I did it was an accident and a result of pure curiosity. I asked her, “If I like, unlike and re-like a comment, do you receive twice the notifications?” She said yes and we were off to a like war. (Guys, feel free to use this too.)

Simple.

Forget cheesy pickup lines and romantic gestures, if you want to break the ice with a girl, start a like war. You can actually partially control where she stalks too. For example, if you start liking all her profile pics, it gives her the idea to look through your pics as well. Now she sees all your awesome pictures, and also, you now have a valid excuse to comment on her pics and drop hints, rather than appear stalker-ish.

Smooth.

If you don’t succeed in getting the girl, at least you have all her likes on your wall. *forever alone*

 

The worst scenarios is that she doesn’t play with you at all. In which case she probably doesn’t like you enough and you should cut your losses and move on. Sorry.

It’s playful, you both have tons of fun and you can gather information without the pain of being actually friend-zoned.

You’re welcome.

PS. Please do let me know your success (or failure) stories. I’m very curious to find out if this works and/or helps and why.

PPS. GIRLS YOU CAN DO THIS TOO. I want to know if this works for you too. I should think it’d work as well. If a guy likes you, he’ll take every opportunity to have fun with you. Trust me. I know. *wink*

-Jace

Witch Hunt

This post was first published on my Tumblr on May 15, 2013, and is now updated with my experiences since then.

On the second of our recent chalet, only eight people remained and we decided to play Murderer (the Winking one). However, we had some problems with winking, so Lisa suggested a new way: everyone holds hands a people are killed by squeezing. With everyone chipping in ideas, the game slowly developed into what we now call Witch Hunt.

After doing some research, I found this: Squeeze Murder. This was the exact game we had eventually come to play, although we called it Witch Hunt, because I was very dramatic with my narration. I had likened it to the period of time when witch burnings were commonplace quite well, so we ended up with Witch Hunt as the name.

Since I found the exact game, this post will be more reflective of the flavour of the game as well as strategies and lessons we had learnt, rather than a rundown of the game. I’m going to hit the flavour first, because that was one of the key elements that made it fun for me. I loved the way everything fit so nicely.

The story starts with a little town doing everyday things. Suddenly, during the night, one person dies, then another, and it spooks the whole town. During the next day, everyone gathers for a meeting and decides that the murders were done by a witch. Since they don’t know who the witch is, they take a vote. Everyone is too scared to talk to one another, since whoever they talk to could be the witch and nobody wants to be accused of conspiring with a witch. The most they can do is execute the accused person and go to sleep, hoping that the murders will stop. The squeezes that the murderer/witch issues represent daily interactions with the town locals and the locals having nightmares/premonitions of someone dying.

I felt this game required a lot more thought and effort as compared to Wink Murderer, so I really liked it. This helped me practice my logical thinking and deductive reasoning. Between the intense concentration and my spooky narratives, emotions ran high and tension increased with each death.

It was very surprising to me how this game had evolved from a semi-mindless stealth game to a full blown intellectual and political game. I realized that there was some margin of error, especially when someone miscounts the number of squeezes. However, I eventually thought of a strategy to take advantage of this. Let’s say there are eight people. As the murderer, to kill someone on my right, I could squeeze one, nine or 17 times. Let’s say I chose nine times. This means that the squeeze will go around once and everyone will know who is supposed to die. However, as it passes me (the murderer), I could change the number of squeezes by adding one squeeze and pretending to look confused. Now the person next to my target will die instead. Everyone will think that my target was actually the murderer who made a mistake in counting and tried to cover it up by killing the next person.

Obviously, this is a little risky, as everyone will have some information, so I decided it should only be used when I kill for a second time. Remember that the town votes who to accuse as a witch and burn after every two murders.

Once I realized that this was a game of information, I knew that knowledge was power. If someone dies and you didn’t receive any squeezes, you had no idea how to deduce the killer. Also, lack of information made it scarier and more dramatic. My new strategy was to send two squeezes, say, to the right. Then kill the person on my right. This way, nobody alive has any information and voting is totally based on luck.

We had one extra rule that said that if two or more people were tied for votes, another round of voting would ensue. However, if by two rounds a conclusion is not reached, nothing happens. This was representative of available time during the day. There wouldn’t be any time to have a third voting session.

One thing we could have done was to switch off the lights instead of putting our hands under the blankets. It would have totally eliminated being able to see arm muscles flex, as well as set the ambience better. Imagine pitch black darkness and suddenly someone announces, “Okay I’m dead.” How scary would that be?

One aspect of the game which I found awesome was what we had dubbed the Ghost Council. The Ghost Council was made up of people who had died during the round and they could still play the game by figuring out who had killed them. Of course, they can’t say anything to the people who are still alive, but they can communicate within themselves. Usually the narrator is a member of the Ghost Council, since this method allows everyone to play the game. Though they can’t directly affect the game anymore, the Ghost Council can play a side game of taking bets to see if they guessed the murderer correctly. If we turned off the lights, the Ghost Council would not be able to see the squeezes, but they would be privy to the individual results of each voting session, thus their source of information changes.

Overall, I think this game was extremely fun and thrilling. There were politics involved, usage of logical and critical thinking, as well as heart racing moments. It requires little to no setup, just a pack of cards or pieces of paper to indicate the roles, and the game is relatively simple to explain.

Also, getting to hold hands with pretty girls is a definite plus. XD

-Jace

Let’s put a SMILE on that face!

Happy April Fools! Since it’s April Fools Day, I thought it’d be apt to schedule this post for release today.

I’ll never stop being funny. Ever since secondary school, I’ve loved comedy and jokes and humor. My best friend at the time and I were so in sync with each other that we could improvise and come out with joke combos together. At one point, we actually did a stand up cross talk for our school. That didn’t go so well 😛

I’m gonna say that I love to laugh (ha ha ha ha) long and loud and clear (Mary Poppins fans will get this), and I love to make people laugh. The feeling of mirth coupled with the sense of achievement and appreciation I feel when people laugh at my jokes is wonderful and, like a drug, I cannot get enough of it. Most of the times, my jokes miss, but that hasn’t stopped me from throwing them out when the opportunity arises. YOLO Carpe Diem, right?

I give my thanks to internet memes which I started with, but then I branched out into references to pop culture, witty remarks, lame jokes and my specialty: puns, both a gift and curse to my friends. Initially, I was going to do a short paragraph here about the puns I do, but once I opened Wikipedia there was so much information that I decided to explain puns in a separate post.

But you know, I didn’t stop learning about comedy. As I grew up, I picked up more comedy related skills and expanded my repertoire of jokes. The most recent skill I acquired was comedic timing, which I learnt from Ellen DeGeneres. I thoroughly enjoy her monologues and I get a lot of inspiration from her. Coupled with the skill of attention grabbing which I learnt from Scam School, I can now either engineer or exploit any moments to deliver my jokes. One problem I have is that I love to laugh and I laugh pretty easily, unless I’m purposely focusing not to. I like to find humor in many things, including my own jokes. That’s why I admire the Britons when they say their jokes with their deadpan faces. I mean, I CAN do deadpan, but many people don’t get that what I say is a joke if I don’t say it with a cheeky smile.

Even up until now, I’ve learnt that most Singaporeans need cues; that is, they don’t understand my humor and I need to cue them in with facial expressions and animated movements. Once I learnt this, I started using my jokes as a way to evaluate people and filter out those that weren’t on my frequency. Just to clarify, I don’t cut them out of my lives; I use this skill to find people who “get” me and then work to develop stronger bonds with them. I need to be around people who understand my jokes, even if they don’t always laugh at them. In fact, it’s sometimes better if they don’t laugh at just anything I say; when I actually do make them laugh, it means I was actually funny that time and it feels a lot more satisfying.

And never have I passed up any opportunities to be funny, especially when meeting new people. Since I don’t know them, I just throw out anything I have and see what hits. Usually I start with slapstick because everyone understands that. For example, if someone talks with stuff in their mouth, I always do an exaggerated imitation of them. It’s not offensive (okay, mildly humiliating to whoever I’m mocking) and it always gets a laugh from the people around us. Another example would be when I want to ridicule something they said. I re-enact both sides of the conversation and with my animated gestures, I can get my point across and garner some laughs. The last basic joke I use is my horrendous translation of Chinese words. I usually establish that I suck in Mandarin and I constantly reinforce it. So sometimes when my friends slip into conversing in Mandarin, I will listen in and ask questions. For example, I now know that huo ji means turkey, but I used to think it meant “fire chicken”. It still does kinda make sense when you think about it; turkeys do look like flamboyant chickens. I have a whole host of bad translations that I use and I sometimes play dumb and ask stuff like, “What is cao fan? Grass rice?” (cao fan is fried rice, but cao sounds like the word for “grass”.)

I’m gonna be frank; those are all what I call “low level jokes”. Jokes that the majority of people should get. When I get more comfortable with people, I start telling higher level jokes, like puns or memes or references to movies and songs. Okay perhaps the memes and references aren’t technically “higher”, but they require the knowledge of what I’m referencing and the understanding of how I apply it. These are usually the kind of people I filter and hang out with more, because I know they’ll be able to get more of my future jokes. Once I get REALLY comfortable, I start throwing out puns, no matter how bad they are, because now the aim is to make them groan.

I’ve let a lot puns out of my mouth and, when I die, I want people to say that I was the punniest person they knew, that every pun made them think of me, that the party don’t start til I walked in, and that even though most of the time I had bad puns, some of them were actually pretty funny. I do keep friends that don’t get the higher level jokes; girls always don’t get internet memes or movie references, but when they do, I love them. But it’s okay if they don’t, I keep my jokes simple, because all I want is to see them smile.

And you can’t say I’m just a joker. I’ve got other skills I’ve picked up as well, which are more useful and practical to group settings. I’m usually the comic relief and I do my best to keep the mood light at all times. It feels great to diffuse tension and stress as well, although I know in the past I had horrible timing and that just aggravated the situation. Watching out for all these opportunities and quickly recalling the right joke has helped me practice being alert and sharp. Perhaps this is what makes me a good programmer, since I can spot simple mistakes quickly, like a missing semicolon. I’m pretty quick to catch grammatical mistakes and automatically correct them, although recently I have been holding back because I know it’s very annoying, unhelpful and unfunny.

The down side is that there are many times when I just seem to choke and retch for no apparent reason. The truth is, whenever I get a trigger, many thoughts and jokes related to that trigger spring into my head and do their best to force their way out of my mouth. Since all of them can’t come out together, I choke. It’s also why I talk so fast and so furiously. I just have so many thoughts running through my head. At least now, I’ve found blogging and I can spew everything out here at my own pace without having to time my jokes or thoughts.

Things will never be boring when I’m around, I can assure you of that. Just look at every second word in each paragraph of this post 😉

-Jace