Category Archives: Reviews and Reflections

Books, Movies and anything else I’d like to share my two cents worth

Entitled Buyer

I recently had (yet another) bad experience with a Carousell user.

He seemed to be a genuine potential buyer at first. Pleasant, friendly and asking the right questions that a real interested party would be asking. But after a while he just left me hanging and when I prompted a reply, the situation blew up.

His Carousell name is williamng95 and he had shown interest in purchasing one of the extra Helix Cuffs I was selling.

Screenshots as evidence will all be posted at the end of this post. I’m not the only one to have a bad experience with him and I’ve highlighted those in screenshots at the end of my post as well.

The following is a transcript of our conversation so that it’s easier to read. You can check my words against the screenshots if you want. His words are in red, mine are in blue and I have added in my thoughts and comments in black.

Jan 28 4.25pm I’m interested!
Jan 28 4.25pm Can I see more photos? Of the black one with black
Jan 28 4.25pm Black with black embe
Jan 28 4.33pm Hello! Thanks for your interest. I’m not sure how extra photos will help though. The ones I’m selling are all wrapped in their cellophane wrap. I’ll send you pictures of the box of the black on black one when I get home tonight
Jan 28 4.36pm Sure
Jan 28 4.36pm I want to see
Jan 28 4.37pm Silver with black cuff emb and black cuff with black emebq
Jan 28 4.37pm Embe*
Jan 28 4.48pm Okie dokie 🙂 Will get those pics to you tonight. Probably around 10/11pm depending on what time I get home
Jan 28 4.49pm Sure no problem
Jan 28 4.52pm Happy new year btw
Jan 28, 4.53pm Hahah happy lunar new year bro

Jan 28, 6.30pm Hey man I just got back home for a short while. Here are the pics of the boxes.
Jan 28, 6.30pm *pic of boxes from the top*
Jan 28, 6.30pm *pic of boxes from the bottom*
Jan 28, 6.31pm As you can tell there really isn’t much to see
Jan 28, 6.31pm *pic of Black Cuff with Black Embellishments from the Ashley Chloe website*
Jan 28, 6.32pm This is what the black on black looks like from their website
Jan 28, 6.32pm *pic of Black Cuff with Silver Embellishments from the Ashley Chloe website*
Jan 28, 6.32pm Here’s the Silver on Black one. You can also see my Silver on Black cuff in this listing’s second picture

Jan 28, 7.15pm Which one nicer
Jan 28, 7.16pm Silver on black or black on. Black
Jan 28, 7.22pm Haha well I’d say the Black on Black. I chose silver on black at first because I liked the shine when it gleams in light. But after wearing it for a while now I think the black on black is nicer cuz it hides scratches and fingerprints. The silver on black requires more maintenance so it really depends if you’re willing to clean it every so often or like me are super lazy XD
Jan 28, 7.48pm Okay
Jan 28, 7.48pm I’ve decided
Jan 28, 7.52pm I get the
Jan 28, 7.54pm Black on black
Jan 28, 7.57pm Offered S$150
Jan 28, 7.57pm Please accept my offer to exchange feedback later 🙂
Jan 28, 8.01pm Excellent choice. When would you prefer to deal? I can deal at Boon Keng MRT anytime before 6pm on weekdays cuz I work near there. I can also meet up in Town area (See the meetup options in the listing) or in the East.
Jan 28, 8.01pm Accepted offer S$150
Jan 28, 8.01pm Can deal after CNY?
Jan 28, 8.02pm And able to check on spot and test ?
Jan 28, 8.02pm Sure. What days are you looking at tentatively? Like, date range, weekdays or weekends, etc?
Jan 28, 8.03pm Weekdays like wed or Thursday
Jan 28, 8.03pm Wonderful I stay near boon Keng so can deal there
Jan 28, 8.04pm This
Jan 28, 8.04pm I can help you set it up and Bluetooth it to your phone, but once it’s opened I can’t refund you cuz I won’t be able to resell it once it’s opened. It’s a new  product and I’m not a reseller. I just got them cheaper in bulk
Jan 28, 8.04pm Yes I know
Jan 28, 8.05pm (:
Jan 28, 8.05pm Yeap Wed or Thurs is fine. Anytime also can. My work I flexible so just give me 15mins to walk over to the station
Jan 28, 8.05pm But it’s working right no spoiled etc or got problem
Jan 28, 8.05pm Kk
Jan 28, 8.05pm My work is* flexible
Jan 28, 8.06pm Kk
Jan 28, 8.06pm Cool I’ll reserve the black on black for you first. See you after CNY 🙂
Jan 28, 8.06pm It’s fully working no problem right ?
Jan 28, 8.07pm Yeap. I took mine out of the box and it worked immediately
Jan 28, 8.07pm Just follow the instructions on the paper
Jan 28, 8.07pm Okay see you (:
Jan 28, 8.07pm I’ll show you how to take out and put back also
Jan 28, 8.07pm Okay
Jan 28, 8.08pm A bit fiddly, but you get used to it. Plus the coolness factor is awesome when you show off to your friends XD
Jan 28, 8.42pm Yep haha can use as fashion accessories

Jan 28, 11.04pm Hello I got one last request
Jan 28, 11.04pm Can u wear the silver on your hand and take pic ? And make it brighter
Jan 28, 11.07pm *pic with my Black Cuff with Silver Embellishments on my wrist*
Jan 28, 11.07pm How’s this?
Jan 28, 11.12pm Can take from a further angler
Jan 28, 11.12pm The whole thing
Jan 28, 11.13pm Oh okay hang on
Jan 28, 11.13pm *pic with my Black Cuff with Silver Embellishments on my wrist but further away*
Jan 28, 11.13pm *same pic but changed my wrist angle a little*
Jan 28, 11.25pm The black one
Jan 28, 11.25pm Also have the silver thing right but it’s in dark colour ?
Jan 28, 11.26pm Yeah. It’s more matt black I think, so it doesn’t reflect or sparkle in light. I haven’t actually seen it in real life.
Jan 29, 12.10am Okay black black for me

Jan 31, 10.00pm Hey man would you like confirm a day and time? You said either Wed or Thurs, so can you confirm which one yet so I can pack it into my bag now? (This was Tuesday night and by the time he replied I was already asleep)
Jan 31, 11.42pm Hey man after Chinese New Year I need to check my timing first
Jan 31, 11.43pm Will most likely be available next week my sed is quite pack tho will confirm on Tuesday or wed. Who the heck uses “sed” to mean “schedule”? But then again, what did I expect from someone who doesn’t put in as much effort as I do into communicating clearly?

Feb 01, 6.55am Oh after CNY as in after the 15days? Lol you didn’t give a date or date range so I interpreted it as after the CNY festivities of reunion dinner and visiting. Okay sure np I’ll ask again next Tues then 🙂 At this point I’m already mildly annoyed so I gave a slight jab at him when I said he didn’t give a date or date range. But still, fair enough, I was willing to wait another week.

Two days later
Feb 03, 6.19pm Yes sorry for late reply
Feb 03, 6.19pm Was really bisy
Feb 03, 6.19pm Busy*
Feb 03, 7.29pm Yeah np man, you have your priorities. Oh just to let you know I won’t be available on Thursday cuz I’ll be taking leave for a whole day thing. I’m still available to meet at Boon Keng Station any other weekday next week, anytime during the day.

Feb 07, 7.59am Hey bro is your schedule fixed yet? Ready to set a time to meet this Wednesday (tomorrow)? I’m not available on Thursday as I have a whole day event to attend.
Feb 07, 8.00am Best time for me would be 5pm cuz then I can leave immediately after I finish showing you the intricacies of the cuff

No reply the whole day. If you scroll up, you’ll see that on 31st Jan he said that he said he’d be available the following week, and that he’d confirm on Tuesday or wed (which is 7th or 8th Feb).
Feb 07, 9.35pm Hey man I need a confirmation by tonight so that I can pack the Helix Cuff into my bag.
Feb 07, 9.36pm I need check my sed tomorrow first

Five days later
Feb 12, 10.13pm Hi william, would you like to fix a date and time to meet this week?

No reply. Now I got really pissed and decided that I didn’t care if the deal went through or not. So on Monday night, nearly 24 hours after I sent the last prompt (which is the standard period of time I allow for a person to reply).
Feb 13, 9.29pm William I need a reply. I have tried multiple times to arrange a meetup with you but you never seem to get back to me. You will have 24hours to reply, starting from now, else I will report you.

Now things get interesting. After I sent a threat, he replied just three minutes later.
Feb 13, 9.32pm Hey sorry I’m. Busy
Feb 13, 9.32pm People busy you want to report ?
Feb 13, 9.32pm If your being this rude I won’t get from you .
Woah woah woah hold up. First of all, I had no issues if he was really busy. What I did have an issue with was his lack of response and that was what I’d threatened him about. Even if he was really busy, how hard can it be to take two minutes to acknowledge a message? Actually, how hard is it to plan out something when you have a schedule? Even if some things are up in the air, he ought to know when the next time would be that he could make a decision, and he could PLAN FOR THAT. Just be like, I can’t make a decision yet, let me confirm some stuff and I’ll get back to you by tomorrow night. Don’t tell me he’s not a planner; he has a bloody “sed” that he keeps talking about.

On top of that, he threatened me back with backing out of the deal, which, by Carousell rules, you cannot do, especially after you’ve made and offer and both parties have agreed to it. Backing out of a deal is a REPORTABLE MISDEMEANOUR.

In addition, it’s not like he wasn’t active on Carousell. He’d completed a deal just two days prior to this and I know because the other party left him positive feedback and I checked the timestamp. So it’s not like he couldn’t reply to me and I said as much.

Also, he said “your” instead of “you’re”.

Feb 13, 9.34pm You complete a deal 2 days ago. The seller left feedback on you. Which means you were active. You didn’t follow up after you said you’d check your schedule. You couldn’t even reply to my message. I have to resort to threatening you with reporting then you reply.
Feb 13, 9.34pm You are threatening me now I can report you too. Hah! Please, go ahead. I have all the evidence I need to back me up.
Feb 13, 9.35pm Rude? After you’ve been so inconsiderate to not reply me and you call me rude? Such hypocrisy.
Feb 13, 9.36pm I said I’m busy can’t you read ?
Feb 13, 9.36pm Now your calling me hypocrisy ? Hypocrisy is a noun, not an adjective. #lern2ingleesh
Feb 13, 9.36pm This is how you treat you buyer ? You serious ? This is how you treat your seller? You serious? Also, you are not my buyer. You are a POTENTIAL buyer.
Feb 13, 9.37pm You’re not too busy to talk now are you? You’re talking to me right now. All I wanted was a response. You could have easily said Hey man I’ll get back to you in a few days time.
Feb 13, 9.54pm I said I will check my sed first means I will get back to you in few days Now this activated my full lawyer/sjw mode.
Feb 13, 10.01pm On 7th Feb you said you’d check your “sed” for tomorrow (8th Feb) but you never got back to me. Not even a message saying you couldn’t make it. I waited 5 days later on the 12th to ask you if you wanted to make plans to meet up, but again you didn’t reply until I threatened you nearly 24 hours later. So far I’ve been the one suggesting actual dates to meet up and you’ve been postponing. That’s alright, but you haven’t suggested any other dates. I’ve put in effort to meet your every request and query. Even when I was not at home I promised I would send you pictures by a stated time, and I followed through on that promise. On 31 Jan, you promised to confirm by the following week’s Tuesday or Wednesday (7th or 8th), and yet you didn’t confirm anything at all.
Feb 13, 10.01pm I said that means I will get back to you
Feb 13, 10.01pm When?
Feb 13, 10.02pm The sed one
Feb 13, 10.02pm Yeah, I’m asking when did you say you’d get back to me by?
Feb 13, 10.08pm There is a very simple fix for this situation. If you are still interested to get this, then state a date and time you’re next available. I will adjust my schedule to fit yours. If not, you can say you’re not interested anymore and we can part ways. Let’s see if we can finally get a firm answer out you.

It’s now Monday, 20th Feb that I’ve completed writing this. Almost a full week since this happened and he has not replied since. I will update this space if he does reply after I share this post when I leave him feedback.

In summary he was:

  • inconsiderate: Doesn’t reply in a timely manner.
  • unreliable: Doesn’t setup meetups. I was actively pushing for a meetup date/time.
  • a liar: Doesn’t keep his promises to get back to me after checking his “sed”, whereas I kept all of mine.
  • entitled: Thinks that just because he’s the buyer, I have to take all his crap lying down.
  • dishonourable: Didn’t end things properly when I gave him a chance to do so.

Update: I left him negative feedback and sent him a message after I posted this. As usual, screenshots are at the end of the post. I’ve updated the conversation section and added a new feedback section. I had to screenshot on my mobile because the text formatting on web was horrible.

Conversation
Feb 20, 1.04pm I have given you almost a week to end things amicably, but you have chosen to choose the coward’s way out. I have left you negative feedback. Yes I know I said “chosen to choose” LOL.
Feb 20, 1.26pm I said i was busy
Feb 20, 1.26pm Which part of English can you not understand.
Feb 20, 1.34pm I understand English perfectly. But I think you don’t. I stated very clearly multiple times in my messages and in my post that I have no issue with your busy schedule. I do have an issue with your unreasonable slow replies. No one is too busy to reply and you have even demonstrated that by replying now, which only proves my point.
Feb 20, 1.36pm I reply doesn’t mean I’m not busy
Feb 20, 1.36pm I Already told you once I found a suitable date I will buy
Feb 20, 1.46pm I am done wasting my time with you. I’ve got what I wanted. Have a nice life.

Feedback
My feedback on him Based on my experience, this guy is an inconsiderate, unreliable, entitled and dishonourable liar. Full story here (with screenshots) https://punslingerofthemildjest.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/entitled-buyer/
His reply to my feedback Tried to threaten me because I was busy never reply , some more call me a hypocrite because I did not reply

His feedback on me Tried to threaten me because I was busy and never reply
My reply to his feedback I didn’t “try” to threaten you. I outright threatened you and I was completely justified in doing so. The full story (complete with screenshots) is here at https://punslingerofthemildjest.wordpress.com/2017/02/20/entitled-buyer/

Screenshot evidence, as promised.

Other reviews:

Feedback:

Conversation:

-Jace

Logitech G231 Prodigy

This post was first published on GameForge Hearthstone’s Facebook Page on Jan 17, 2017. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.
REASONS TO OWN A GAMING HEADSET FOR HEARTHSTONE
  1. It’s an essential tool for gamers and streamers.
  2. It helps to provide quality streaming either casually or professionally on Facebook and Twitch TV.
  3. It enables clear communication via the new in-game chat function for coaching and strategy discussion.
  4. Enriches your overall gaming experience!
REVIEW ON LOGITECH G231 PRODIGY GAMING HEADSET
At only 255g, the G231 Prodigy is not only light, but it’s also covered in a sports mesh cloth at the areas where it makes contact with the wearer’s head, namely the ear cushions and the underside of the headband. While leatherette is more commonly used, the mesh cloth is more durable and doesn’t flake off when it gets old. The softness of the material and the way it allows air to ventilate through the mesh keeps the head and ears cool and overall provides great comfort to the wearer. This is a particularly desirable feature, given Singapore’s warm and humid climate. The ear cushions are designed to go around the ear rather than on the ear, which also adds to the comfort regardless of ear size or shape.
The G231 Prodigy also features ear cups that have a wide swivel range of up to 90 degrees. This is makes the headset stand out amongst other headsets that have fixed ear cups because it’s able to accommodate the wearer’s small movements. When other headphones slip, they tend to let in surrounding noise, but the G231’s ear cups swivel and continuously supply steady sound without needing to be readjusted.
The headset provides stereo sound, which is rich and crisp, and this gives the user a complete immersive experience. There is a bit of static sometimes, but this is one of the more affordable headsets so it’s actually quite acceptable for its price.
The unidirectional microphone doesn’t have noise cancelling, but still enables clear communication. The mic is fold-able, meaning you can push it away when you’re not using it, but it’s not retractable. Because of this, some of us feel it’s a bit large and we can’t adjust it to the desired length. If multiple people happen to use the same headset, then each person might need to adjust the length of the mic so having a retractable microphone would be preferable. Having volume control and a microphone muting switch on the wire is also quite useful. This means the user doesn’t have to adjust the volume on their computer when they switch between using the headset and speakers.
In conclusion, the G231 Prodigy is well-rounded and affordable and we highly recommend it for gamers looking to get started with a gaming headset. It’s durable and serves as a good starting pair that are definitely worth investing in!

Written by Jace

Jace is a casual Hearthstone player. Like most players, he has dreams of hitting Legend, but like most players, he’s too lazy to put in the effort. So he writes articles like this one to learn from the true masters. Check out more of his writing attempts at punslingerofthemildjest.wordpress.com.

-Jace

Money Digest’s Customer Service

I’m back! Yeah okay, I know, I know, I’ve been out from the writing world for about nine months and a lot has happened since then. But this amazing thing happened to me last week and I just had to write about it.

As you can tell from the title, this post is going to be a review of the way Money Digest treated me. I started following MD’s Facebook Page a few months back and set the notifications to let me know whenever they post something new. Money Digest frequently posts about places that have discounts, or value deals, or generic articles on how to stretch your dollar. I mostly look out for discounts and every so often I find a discount that I can actually use, like I did last week.

I saw this article and I just knew that I had to take advantage of it. 18% off all deals, with extra 2% off if you’re on the mobile app and no minimum spending?? Groupon is already known for it’s cheap deals so getting an extra 20% off is super awesome. I immediately started browsing for something I could buy. However, when I finally found something decent, I was unable to apply the 18OFF code. When I entered the code, I would just get pushed back to the Confirm Purchase page, but with the Confirm Purchase button disabled. I entered the code several times each for different items, but each time I tried it I got the same result, leaving me with nothing else to do but go back and restart the purchase flow all over, or exit the Groupon app completely.

I was disappointed, to say the least, and I said as much when I commented on MD’s Facebook post. I figured it was a bug with the app, so I gave step by step instructions on exactly how to recreate the bug. Being a programmer myself, I appreciate feedback like this because it lets me easily trace the whole process, figure out where things go wrong and fix it. I thought it would be helpful for the Groupon software team because everyone else who had experienced the same bug and commented on MD’s Facebook post just kept saying that the code didn’t work. There were no constructive comments save for mine.

Since I didn’t really need to use the code, I gave up using it at all. Later that night, Money Digest sent me a private message, which is exactly what I want to share with the world. Take a look.

01 MD Convo 1

02 MD Convo 2

03 MD Convo 3

04 MD Convo 4

05 MD Convo 5

I LITERALLY GOT A FREE GROUPON!!! I ain’t even kidding. And here’s proof.

06 Groupon Voucher

(I’ve already used the voucher, so don’t even think of using it yourself :P)

IT’S A $10 CASH VOUCHER. FOR ICE CREAM. AWWW YISSS

They were so kind to offer to buy it for me and let me use it before I paid them, but I didn’t think it was worth the trouble for all of us. I felt bad, because it wasn’t their fault and I wanted Groupon to fix the bug, not for Money Digest to offer a workaround. And, like I said, I didn’t really need to use the Groupon anyway.

The initial Groupon was $5.90, so after the 18OFF discount (MD had no trouble using the code and I think they used the web browser, not the mobile app) it actually cost them about $4.84. It’s not much in the grand scheme of things, but it’s $10 of value to me, which is a lot. And Money Digest has now gained a loyal fan (which I hope means a lot to them as well XD). MD really didn’t have to do that for me. They’ve really gone above and beyond what I expect of customer service, so I’m writing this article to express my gratitude, appreciation and amazement.

I used the Groupon last Monday with my girlfriend (yes I have a girlfriend now. Like I said, a lot has happened in the last nine months) and we had a blast. We went to the outlet at Somerset and ordered a Chocolate Ball with a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream, which totalled up to $11.80, meaning that I just paid $1.80! And oh my the vanilla was sooooooo gooood and the chocolate ball was a novel thing. As you can see from the pictures below, it’s a ball of biscuits covered in a layer of dark chocolate. There were other flavours as well, like white chocolate, strawberry chocolate and chocolate with peanuts.

Here’s us with our purchases. They gave us a wooden hammer, because you’re supposed to wrap the ball up in the paper and have a fun time smashing it to bits. The next picture below shows the inside of the chocolate biscuit ball after we smashed it.

09 Chocolate Ball Innards

Oops, it doesn’t look very appetising, does it? I don’t think I took a good picture, but in all honesty, the biscuits inside were quite plain and dry. I’d expected more chocolate, roughly evenly distributed inside so it was a bit disappointing. We ended up dipping the biscuit bits into our vanilla ice cream. Chocolate sauce was provided with the ball, but I preferred the vanilla ice cream as a dip. I personally wouldn’t order the chocolate ball again, but it was a novel experience that I wouldn’t have gotten if it weren’t for Money Digest going the extra mile to make me happy.

Thanks, Money Digest!

-Jace

Ingress – Gardens by the Bay Mission Series

After more than two months since our last mission series, we finally completed another one: Gardens by the Bay by Sharkzy!

01 GBTB Complete Pic

We did this series with two new Ingress friends: husband and wife couple Ann and Jen Hwa. They’re almost our neighbours, we only live a few blocks apart.

Mission Series notes:
– All 24 missions are in Gardens by the Bay area, and waypoints can be completed in any order
– The order to complete the missions is to follow the alphabet of the missions. Start with “Assemble in GBTB”, followed by “Balance in GBTB” and so on, until you hit “Yearn in GBTB”
– The letters “X” and “Z” aren’t used in these missions, so don’t look for them
– I recommend you start from Bayfront MRT and walk in. We parked below and so when we came up, we had to backtrack quite a bit before we completed the first mission.
– The whole series takes about three hours to complete on foot. We took three and a half hours (7.30pm to 11pm) because we stopped halfway for prata
– Most of the missions consists of hacking waypoints and an average one passphrase waypoint per mission. Two exceptions: the “Kiss in GBTB” mission contains TWO passphrases, while the last mission (“Yearn in GBTB”) only has hacking waypoints.
– All the passphrase waypoints are questions related to the layout of the Ingress tabs and in game actions. Very easy to figure out.
– When you reach a passphrase waypoint, DO NOT HACK IT FIRST. Some of the missions overlap portals, so do prep Multi-Hacks and Heat Sinks in case you make mistakes

As we drove in, I managed to snag a picture of the GBTB sign. I thought it wouldn’t come out nicely since we were moving, but it came out well.

02 GBTB Entrance Sign

I came loaded with water and my charger pack and I was so efficient that I managed to complete two Carousell deals at Raffles MRT before we started. Go me. Anyway, we took a group shot before we started.

Most of the missions were uneventful, so I’ll just post the screenshots. Since there was no order to the waypoints, I soon realised that it was futile to take the mission map screenshots. Instead, I took screenshots of the passphrase questions and answers.

SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THIS MISSION SERIES. ALL ANSWERS TO THE PASSPHRASE QUESTIONS WILL BE PROVIDED.

Assemble in GBTB
04 Passphrase A1

05 Passphrase A2

Balance in GBTB
06 Passphrase B1

07 Passphrase B2

Cultivate in GBTB
08 Passphrase C1

09 Passphrase C2

Discover in GBTB
10 Passphrase D1

11 Passphrase D2

Exercise in GBTB
12 Passphrase E1

13 Passphrase E2

Fashion in GBTB
14 Passphrase F1

15 Passphrase F2

First Row Complete
16 GBTB One Row of Six

Glitter in GBTB
17 Passphrase G1

18 Passphrase G2

Hibernate in GBTB
19 Passphrase H1

20 Passphrase H2

Illuminate in GBTB
21 Passphrase I1

22 Passphrase I2

Joy in GBTB
23 Passphrase J1

24 Passphrase J2

Kiss in GBTB
Take note that in this mission, there are TWO (2) passphrases and that the last passphrase portal is the first portal of the next mission so DON’T HACK IT FIRST.

25 Passphrase K (Double passphrase)

26 Passphrase K1

27 Passphrase K2

28 Passphrase K3

29 Passphrase K4

Learn in GBTB
30 Passphrase L1

31 Passphrase L2

Two Rows Complete
32 GBTB Two Rows of Six

Move in GBTB
33 Passphrase M1

34 Passphrase M2

Navigate in GBTB
35 Passphrase N1

36 Passphrase N2

Orchestrate in GBTB
38 Passphrase O2

37 Passphrase O1

Photograph in GBTB
39 Passphrase P1

40 Passphrase P2

Quest in GBTB
42 Passphrase Q2

41 Passphrase Q1

Revitalise in GBTB
43 Passphrase R1

44 Passphrase R2

Third Row Complete
45 GBTB Three Rows of Six

Sleep in GBTB
46 Passphrase S1

47 Passphrase S2

Transform in GBTB
48 Passphrase T1

49 Passphrase T2

After this mission, we decided to have a break. There was a 24 hour hawker centre that reminded me of the one at East Coast Park. We had prata and decided to take a group picture while we ate.

I didn’t take a very good photo…

50 Group Pic (Prata Break)

Unite in GBTB
51 Passphrase U1

52 Passphrase U2

Visualize in GBTB
53 Passphrase V1

54 Passphrase V2

Wanderlust in GBTB
55 Passphrase W1

56 Passphrase W2

Whole GBTB Picture Complete!
57 GBTB Four Rows of Six

After we finished, we took another group picture. Man, were we tired!
58 Group Pic (After)

-Jace

Nothing Gold Can Stay

This rant is with reference to The Mentalist Season 7 Episode 10

You know what? Screw you, Alex Berger, the guy who wrote the story for this episode. You’ve torn a giant hole inside my heart and crushed all my feelings. I’m half pissed at you and yet I’m half in awe of your audacity and brilliance at making points.

Okay, killing off Vega made a very good point for the Jane-Lisbon story arc, but having that happen almost immediately after Wylie finally plucks up the courage to ask her out? That’s just brutal. Poor kid is never going to be the same again. I can understand the “life is short”/”life is unfair” message, but couldn’t you have made Vega seriously injured so that Wylie could completely confess his feelings to her and say goodbye before she died? You didn’t let him get any closure. You didn’t even show him going through the stages of grief. Okay, maybe that could be explained by Wylie being in a state of shock, but there’s not much story left to explore his feelings. It was one of the most dissatisfying episodes ever.

I was very happy with the direction of season six and seven, after Jane got his revenge on Red John. It was all fun and brilliant and charming and I learnt a lot of things. Then I watched this I felt like the rug got pulled out from under the legs of my heart. Good job, you kept me on the edge of my seat, even when Vega was dead in the hospital bed. I just couldn’t believe she’d be killed off.

When I saw she was shot, I was so sure that she’d only just be grievously injured, that the revenge story for Cho could still play out with the same intensity, that the heartbreak for Wylie could still be shown and felt with the same level of sympathy. I was even able to see how it played to the Jane-can’t-lose-Lisbon plot too.

I was wrong. The level of emotional hurt I sustained was way more than I’d anticipated.

So kudos to you for writing this utterly heart-wrenching story and screw you for making a grown man cry.

-Jace

Pitch Perfect 2

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

Stop now if you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect 2 and don’t want to be spoiled.

I watched Pitch Perfect 2 with my friend Song in the cinema on Monday. Why? Because Anna Kendrick is hot. We both loved the first Pitch Perfect, so we made a deal to watch the sequel together when it came out.

I preferred the first one. It was tighter, had more substance and the characters were more relatable. Anna Kendrick is just as hot in the second movie, but her character Becca was just weird. She was so different from the Becca in the first show. The plot of second show was a lot more messy, and there were a lot more cringe-worthy moments, starting with Fat Amy’s “big reveal” barely five minutes into the show.

Even the songs were weird, but that’s a matter of personal taste. I didn’t recognize or like most of the new songs in the show, although the final version of Emily’s Flashlight was quite nice. Not as catchy as Cups, but pleasant enough. Not enough to redeem the whole show though.

Okay, I’m rambling randomly. Let me systematically hit PP2.

Cringe-worthy moments
Like I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of cringe-worthy moments, a lot more than the first movie. Come to think of it, I can’t actually remember a single moment in Pitch Perfect off the top of my head right now (I re-watched the first movie the day before with my parents), whereas I can recall several from the second like:
-the opening performance (wayyy too many props and very unlike the Bellas)
-Fat Amy’s crotch reveal at said performance
-the performance at the old people’s place
-Every scene regarding Fat Amy’s and Bumper’s (very) forced and awkward romance
-Becca’s weird attraction to the DSM’s female leader
-DSM’s not very bright second-in-command
-the weird riff-off that felt like a rip-off of the original riff-off and which the host made me think of Balls of Fury

I could go on. I get that it’s a comedy/musical chick-flick, but the plot and character development could have used a lot of work.

Character Development
Becca – The first movie was about Becca and how she fit into the Barden Bellas and made them better. She kept to herself, but eventually became a natural leader. In the second movie, she spends most of her time interning at a record producing company, getting coffee and burritos for everyone else. It was so different! Even when she spent time at the radio station in the first movie, she kept actively trying to get her music on air. Not in the second movie. She just kept to herself until she spontaneously mashed up Christmas carols with Snoop Dogg and the boss had to ASK her for submissions. Also, Jesse could have been played up a lot more.

Chloe – Another major character shift here. Chloe was the voice of reason and encouragement to Aubrey’s controlling ambitiousness in the first film. Now she’s the one obsessed with winning? Another thing: How old is Chloe? How long has she been in Barden University? I’m assuming she was at least a third-year in an average four-year college course, and since PP2 took place three years later, Chloe has been at Barden Univeristy for SIX years. She also mentions she failed a subject several times just to stay in BU. Like, damn.

Emily – I’m not sure what was going on with Emily. The blossoming romance between her and Benji was sweet, but it could have been developed lot better. I would have liked to see less of Fat Amy-Bumper and more Emily-Benji. I felt like Emily should have been more of the focus of the show, but then again I guess it could be argued that it would have turned out to be like a Becca V2 (i.e. new member pops in, saves the group and makes it more awesome than it was before).

Overall Plot
I felt like there was too much going on with the show, right from the get-go. Their opening performance for the President of the United States was so bad, even I could tell. I mean, what happened? It was more of a circus act than an a capella performance.

The change in music style was very obvious as well. In the first film, there were a lot of memorable and recognizable songs. Sing-along-songs. In PP2, not so much. Maybe I’m not a music nut, but the number of songs I recognized and was able to sing along to is significantly greater than the number of songs I knew in the second movie.

DSM, the new antagonist, was also very… weird. Competitive I can understand, but downright mean and straight up rude was just overdoing it. They didn’t even have any wit. Their song style was also very military, with strong, rigid movements and sounds, but that’s only one angle. They had so much more diversity in the riff-off then in their performances. How could this have been Europe’s top a capella team?

I’m happy that Pentatonix made a cameo near the end, but it would have been fun to have them as an actual team in the show. Heck, they could have been the “villain” instead of DSM. It would’ve been so much more believable.

I must say I’m pretty disappointed with the whole show. It didn’t meet the expectations and the hype, and it lost its connection to its audience via relatable songs. It did have some cool new elements like a brief beatbox battle, an original song and bringing back generations of Bellas at the finals, but the rest… bleah. I hope they don’t make a third movie.

The first show was so much better, it was perfect.

Pitch perfect.

-Jace

The Soylent Experiment

This is a personal recount of my experience with Soylent. After waiting for so long, I finally started consuming it. I was supposed to start a week before, but during that period I was having a stomach bug, so I postponed the start date. Wouldn’t be a fair experiment otherwise. My lifestyle is quite active. I do my best to exercise every week; weekly dance practice on Sundays, short runs and pullups and kicks during work days, and Ingress walks and parkour sessions at least once a week. Since I’ve recovered, my health is at it’s normal level when I started.

I’m using Soylent v1.2, just FYI. They changed the oil so now it doesn’t use fish oil, meaning that I can consume it without worrying about triggering an allergy reaction. The aim is to see if Soylent can replace my meals and actually fill me, and also to determine how much money I’ll save, if any.

1st April
One Meal (Lunch)

This is my first time I’m preparing and consuming Soylent. I had a medical checkup for my asthma at NUH today, just before lunch time, so I thought it would be useful to bring a bottle of chilled Soylent to the hospital. I didn’t know how long the appointment would take.

I prepared one serving in the morning. The instructions said one scoop of Soylent to two scoops of water. I prepared everything I needed on the kitchen counter then proceeded to open up the packet. Protip: Tap the bag to make sure the powder settles at the bottom, because if you don’t, the bag will explode. Okay, not really, but a bit of the powder did fly out over the table and my hands. I decided to see what it tastes like. It was kinda malty and the taste was closer to Horlicks than anything else. It was sweet, but not overly so. Quite pleasant, but not addictive. Mind you, this was just the powder. I hadn’t drunk the real thing yet.

The opening of my bottle wasn’t big enough for the scoop to fit, so I used a funnel. The powder doesn’t flow nicely, so next time I’ll prepare everything in the pitcher given, then pour it out into individual servings. Took me a while to shake all the powder into the bottle. Then I added two scoops of water. The first one didn’t fully wash in all the powder, which I noticed didn’t absorb water very well. The powder that stuck to the funnel just eroded with the force of the water I poured. I poured in the second scoop of water more gently, controlling the flow until all the powder washed in.

01 Powder in the Bottle

Next, I added in one and a half teaspoons of the oil, as per instructions. The oil was nearly odourless unless you intentionally smell it, but it smelt just like normal oil. Then I capped my bottle tightly and started shaking it. Again, I noticed that the powder didn’t absorb the water well and there were still clumps of powder inside. I shook harder until most of the clumps were gone, then I left my bottle to chill in the fridge for about an hour or so. I think I might ask my mum for her blender next time.

02 Before Shaking
Before shaking

03 After shaking
After shaking

Looks a bit like a lighter version of Milo, huh? Didn’t taste like it. Didn’t taste like anything at all. What I licked from my hand was concentrated Soylent and it was mild. Blending it with two parts water made the whole thing tasteless. I can’t say I like this drink much. It’s grainy, tasteless and messy. When I came home, I finished what was left of the drink, then added more water to wash out the rest of the powder clumps that stuck to the sides of the bottle.

Perhaps I need to actually blend it. The particles are quite heavy, so I think it’s supposed to be a suspension, not a mixture. I’m going to add my mum’s chocolate condensed milk tomorrow and see if it tastes better.

Nutrition-wise, it was pretty okay. During and after drinking Soylent, I craved something savoury and I kept thinking of fried chicken, but I wasn’t hungry enough to buy a snack. It filled me well enough, but it was overall unsatisfying. I had expected something slightly sweet. It was also quite thick and when I added more water to get the dregs of the drink, I found it much easier to swallow and didn’t feel the thickness or the graininess as much.

Meh. I hope I feel a lot more benefits from Soylent then I did drinking it.

2nd-3rd April
One Meal per Day (Lunch, then dinner next day)
I had to prep two meals at home, so I used the pitcher that was provided, instead of my bottle, because I thought it would be easier to mix the larger quantity in a larger container. Also, I made a few changes.

First, I added an extra cup of water per scoop of Soylent. I figured that since it was thick, I’ll add more water. I also added Chocolate condensed milk, something my mum bought back from overseas. I forget where. Maybe Malaysia. Or Hong Kong. Anyway, the point is, I can’t get that in Singapore.

04 Chocolate Condensed Milk

So I added in all the ingredients into the pitcher, shook it well and brought it into camp. We have a fridge in the guardroom, so I put it there until lunch. SAF meals are usually pretty horrible, so I wasn’t going to miss anything by having Soylent instead of army crap.

When I took the pitcher out, I shook it some more, then poured it into a cup. It was surprisingly smooth and tasted much better than when I had it plain yesterday. The chocolate taste wasn’t strong, but it was there. The graininess of the drink also went down and it was a lot more palatable.

I’ve noticed that whenever I drink Soylent, I crave something salty, like fried chicken. I didn’t want to eat the fried chicken because I was hungry, I just wanted something savoury in my mouth. Good thing there was seaweed chicken provided in the dinner rations, so I ate those and felt satisfied.

4th April
One Meal (Lunch)
I made the same Soylent as the last two days, but this time I used Hershey’s Chocolate syrup instead of my mum’s chocolate condensed milk. Pretty much the same thing, but this was less thick, for obvious reasons.

05 Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

5th April
Two Meals (Breakfast and Lunch)
Mum gave me permission to use a bit of her vanilla extract, so that’s what I did this morning when I made my Soylent. Or at least, I tried to. The first bottle I found had a red liquid inside. It said “Vanilla Extract” on the bottle, so I thought it must be vanilla extract. Turns out, it wasn’t. It didn’t do anything to the Soylent except turn it pink and stain my fingers red.

I searched a bit more and found a similar bottle that had a brown liquid inside. This time, I opened the bottle and took a whiff, expecting to smell vanilla, but I all I got was a pungent, acidic smell that tickled my nose. No way was I going to risk adding that to my drink. In the end, I went back to chocolate syrup because that was the safest. It didn’t change the colour of Soylent, but it did its job.

I managed to not eat anything since I woke up until about 3pm, when I had three digestive biscuits because I was bored. Seriously, I need to stop eating when I bored. The point is, I only had one “proper” meal the whole day: Roast Chicken dinner, and it was delicious.

Lunch was the first time I actually had to forgo a meal with friends to stick to the Soylent experiment. Ah well, after this whole experiment is over, I’ll use Soylent sparingly, if I have any left.

6th-7th April
Two Meals per Day (Breakfast and Dinner, then Breakfast and Lunch)
My mum showed me the correct bottle for the vanilla extract, but vanilla essence didn’t do anything the the drink. Neither did the French Vanilla powder mum let me use. Okay, I wouldn’t say nothing; they changed the drink very minimally. It was a little sweeter, but I couldn’t taste any vanilla at all, as if I’d only added sugar. This Soylent just tasted how I imagined my first attempt would have tasted if I’d shaken the bottle properly.

I realised that although I love the concept of Soylent, it’s pretty miserable to survive on nothing but that. I still craved savoury stuff after each Soylent meal, especially fried chicken. I don’t know if it’s my body telling me that Soylent is not enough or is lacking in something, or if I just really love fried chicken. Probably the latter.

Anyway, I’ve decided to stop here. I definitely could survive on Soylent, but it’d be a really sad existence. It’s useful and efficient, but not tasty. Satiating, but not satisfying. Now the Soylent team is at version 1.4, two versions ahead of what I bought. Perhaps in future they’ll add different flavourings.

I’ve always said that Soylent was a choice, not a mandatory replacement of food. On Sunday I gave up a meal with my friends to stick to my Soylent and, looking back, it was a choice I’d like to change. Besides, I’ve gotten the data I wanted now.

Let’s see. Each packet of Soylent provided me with six meals and I bought seven packets at USD85 (I think). Anyway, if I include shipping, it’s about SGD236 at today’s exchange rate. $236 divided by 42 meals means its about $5.60 per meal. That’s actually pretty decent, considering I budget my meals to be about $5 per meal. Also, considering the shipping cost doubled the price, Soylent itself is actually really cheap.

Honestly, I don’t feel any change from having Soylent. I still poop regularly, but that could be because of my normal meals. Some people say that they fart a lot more, and I did notice an increase in my farts, but it didn’t bother me. Perhaps no change is good. It means that Soylent successfully replaced my meals and I was still able to maintain my active lifestyle.

I’ve got about five sealed packets left, so I’m going to save them for when I get my wisdom teeth extracted because I hate porridge and I automatically dislike anyone who suggests I eat it, not unlike some people who hate on Soylent.

-Jace