Making Light of Things

April 2004 Archives

Travelling by Desktop

For those of you who do not yet know, I live my life vicariously through Faith, a Singaporean student doing her rounds through the National Parks of USA. I can’t even tell her how thankful I am that she posts photos of her trips. I can almost feel the crisp cool air in the grey padded cell of a cubicle I work in.

So I thought I’d take some liberties with one of her photos, employing a hack-and-slash version of an Anselite dodge and burn.

Continue reading Travelling by Desktop »

Not Chocolate

Brownie the Abandoned Dog

This is Brownie. He was recently abandoned at Bishan Park. The dog lovers there still feed and tend to him, but they need someone to adopt him. According to one of them, Brownie has a wonderful personality and would be great with kids.

Any dog lovers needing a dog out there?

Predator or Pray

You guys asked for it. Here’s the photo of the crow eating a toad.

Eating Crow

Still toting around my 10D. I took a picture of a crow eating a toad the other day and comtemplated posting the picture up. Contemplated for all of two seconds, because that was the longest I could bear to look at the photo without wanting to throw up.

Double Standards

Let me get this straight:

You get fired if you take photos of coffins covered with a USA flag, but you become the Newspaper Photographer of the Year if you took photos of uncovered dead Liberians.

Was it bad photo composition?

Kill Bill

I hate IE.

Job Description

There’s a reason why I’m not a network engineer, click yes or one of those hardware “go-go-gadget” click yes fixit types. I absolutely hate troubleshooting click yes computers.

It’s like resurrecting a click yes dead body. Most computers die because click yes people don’t take care of them. It doesn’t help that every click yes idiotic software click yes manufacturer wants their programs installed in a directory named after their own companies. Do we really click yes need the root directory clogged up with folders ranging from Sierra (which holds a click yes now empty Leisure Suit Larry folder) to DJ450 (which contains expanded printer driver files)? Don’t you just hate click yes having to reinstall everything when a click yes computer dies?


Note to self: Non-dairy creamer will stay afloat and sugar will stay sunken in lukewarm tea.

Make a List

Dan Cederholm posts another quiz, this time on nested lists.

I’ve been following his “simple” quizzes since it began, and found it to be exceedingly useful, both in terms of problem solving as well as piquing the thought process on the right way of doing things and the less-right way.

His quiz hit home this time. I’m working on a site (which by the way uses his navigation bar via the Listomatic) and came to a point where hns and unordered lists collide.

In practice, h2 is a subset of h1, which would make it a list item under the h1 right?

The lines begin to blur. We have Tantek to thank for this mess. He and his “everything is a list theory (only using heading elements for typographic hierachy) has me all muddled and tied up in knots.

My situation is this: Opening hours come under stuff about the company. Not only do I want the heading “Opening Hours” hierachically placed under “About the Company”, I want the whole chunk of text that tells you exactly when we’re open to come under it as well. A paragraph tag under a heading element does not inherit its place in the hierachy right?

Someone call Tantek to sort out my life, please.

Baby Beanie Blues

Baby Zeldman’s questions have been answered. We don’t know yet if he’s a she, or whether his or her skin tone is #E7A96C or #EAC28F (or maybe a websafe alternative). It is most likely the kid will be forced to sport a blue beanie for a short duration before Mom thinks it’s a ridiculous idea.

Arrival date: September 2004.

Congrats, Jeffrey and Carrie.

Mourning Into Dancing

I remember almost being made a prefect in primary school. I wasn’t the model student, never ever doing my homework, but somehow landed the nomination of the head prefect. I remember that a prerequisite to being made a prefect was a short “talk” with the vice-principal, a thinly-haired softspoken man who I presumed knew nothing of me.

I remember staying in the classroom when my time came. I was uncharacteristically quiet, and whispered to the head prefect that I didn’t want to go. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be a prefect. God knows that to have the red armband was one of my greatest wishes then. But I couldn’t do it. I guess I thought I didn’t fit the mold of what a prefect should be.

I was afraid to fail. I was afraid that the thinly-haired softspoken vice-principal would find out that I never did any homework.

Continue reading Mourning Into Dancing »


Recalling one of the first few days of BMT.

The PTI appears. Before he is within 100 meters of your platoon he is already doing the standard blowing of his temper. The platoon hits the ground with a gadzillion pushups.

He walks closer. Still in pushup position, I only see his shoes.

“Get the ?! up!”

We stand up, still a little dizzy from the pushups. Exhaustion hasn’t quite hit us yet. I take a quick look at the name sewn on his shirt.

S.A. Tan.

It’s going to be a long three months.

My Wonder Woman

It was a nice long weekend for most of us. Faith and I took the opportunity to head out to Pulau Ubin on Good Friday. I was anxious to give the new camera some visual food to feast on.

The nearby island doesn’t seem as backward as I remember it to be. The last time I went there I saw 12 year olds riding motorcycles with an 8 year old brother sitting behind. No such luck this time. It has become a tourist hangout. Some old houses are now used as cafés for the thirsty sightseers while others rent out bicycles.

We came to ride. The last time we came Faith and I rode a tandem bicycle together. Back then we were the only ones who made it up a very steep hill without getting off and pushing the bike. I just wanted to see if we still maintained that quality within us.

Faith felt confident enough to ride separate bikes this time. While I love her adventurous spirit, I missed having her sitting right behind me.

We came to some very steep uphills. As I was leading the way I stopped to see if she needed help pushing her bike up. Instead of getting off, she zoomed past me, putting her mind into the climb.

I watched in wonder, so very proud of being the husband of such an amazing woman. She took on the challenge and didn’t back down.

So you see, love isn’t always about staying exactly the same as we used to be. It’s about developing together and continually being amazed.


When your ego is broken into a million pieces, the thing to do is to let the Potter work the image of His Son in you. Don’t stay broken, and don’t remake yourself ala Terminator 2.

You were broken for a reason.

Photo Decomposition

He takes a photo of the youngster. He looks at the digital photo on the LCD and grimaces. “You look like your mother.” A pause. “Not nice” he says, still looking intently at the screen. It was almost like he had to clarify the meaning of his comment in case the poor kid didn’t get it.

Got to love family meetings.

Fair and Balanced

At some point in my life I’d like to be a photojournalist. I’ve always loved writing about people - their feelings, thoughts, struggles - much of which I derive from my own experiences. It would be great to bring the story of war-torn countries, impoverished nations to the rest of the world that goes about its business in a sort of fairy-tale trance.

I looked through the winning portfolios of National Press Photographers Association’s Best of Photojournalism 2004. Wonderful stuff.

I’m not totally naive about these things either. I’ve read of photojournalists who have arranged dead bodies in an attempt to improve the photo composition. Looking at these photos, I would like to believe that they captured the moment as it was. I doubt it though.

Inside Joke

You’ve sat in that room for not very long, but just long enough to feel comfortable. Do you remember what it was like standing on the other side of the threshold looking in? Or do people mysteriously forget, like the transition from teenage angst to adult pragmatism?

A Different Light

After having spent the last two days at home with a mild case of bronchitis, going to work this morning seemed same yet different. I went through the motions of ironing my clothes, taking the bus, but sunlight felt different this morning. A nice golden that held me in awe, so much so that I forgot all about the camera I held in my hands.

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