Times Most Influential People

Hilarious example of computer grading feedback. I should like to see an automated grader one day, especially for CS courses.

In other news, the Time 100 most influential people of the world is out: which of the following people have influenced your life?

(this is my list)

1. Elon Musk – I use paypal all the time. It is a great, secure system although you do have to know some tricks to avoid paying the levies imposed for funds transfer. Because of him we no longer have to transmit our credit card numbers all around the web.
2. Kevin Systrom – Not a user of instagram, but I have enjoyed many instragram photos on facebook due to him. It is a great notion – sharing beautiful moments with other people (ignoring all the cynics/misanthropes who claim that people instagramming their perfect life just lead to more people disliking them.
3. Christina Aguilera – Soundtrack to a childhood in the 90s when you were all of 12 and your favorite station was 98.7FM. I still recall the two leading ladies of that era in English pop was Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. It’s amazing the staying power she has till today.
4. Steven Spielberg – I love his movies, although not so much the action ones but the ones with quirkier themes – Catch me if you can, The Terminal, A.I., etc.
5. Jonathan Ive – lead designer of the iPad Mini (along with the whole range of apple products)
6. Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller – Founders of Coursera which provides Dan Boneh’s famous cryptography course. (Is Daphne Hungarian???)
7. Marissa Mayer – Designer of the Google home page, Yahoo CEO.
8. Justin Timberlake – Leading man of N ‘sync. Also part of the soundtrack of a childhood in the 90s. I actually bought an N sync CD when I was like 12. Was never particularly charmed by him though he had a good voice.

Have heard of many of the rest although they have not really appeared in my life in any way. Most of the influential people influence people in developing countries – which makes their influence only target a smaller demographic but go a longer way (e.g. curing HIV in kids, fighting for democracy in Myanmar, etc.) compared to those who influence a huge pool of people but solve first world problems.



So, it is time to face the inevitable-
The last time meeting Ed
The last time climbing up the tower
The last time admiring the deer on Cayuga Heights Rd
The last time going to church
The last time taking my blood pressure reading at the mall
that sad little mall, with nothing of interest, where freshmen congregate at Target because the 30 runs there from North Campus.
We’ve put it off as long as we could,
we have erased all the periods.

This is how one lives with the terminus in mind:
You grasp at every moment and imprint it on your memory, never letting go.

You linger. There are no more classes to rush to, no cold to escape, everything that you do has a purpose in and of itself. The means become the ends.
You tell yourself it is not the end.

I wouldn’t want to be faster
or greener than now if you were with me O you
were the best of all my days


I will squeeze the breath out of every last second here
There is no room for waste. I will not whitewash over the dread that is settling itself comfortably in my gut.
There is also no room for numbness, for “Good is not good unless/ A thousand it possess,/ But dost waste with greediness.” We develop numbness in the most trying moments of our lives to protect us from bearing the full brunt of trauma. The first stage of grief is always denial.
Not while I am here, I must remember. You, dear reader, have not a clue of the change of seasons in my life that occurred while I was here.

One part of leaving is the people. The greater part of leaving is the place.
The place in which I’ve cried the most, laughed the most, loved the most.
The place which cradled me in my greatest tragedy, my greatest heartbreak.

I simply cannot do this.

So shall we not part at the end of day,
Who have loved and lingered a little while,
Join lips for the last time, go our way,
With a sigh, a smile.


so commences the last week.


1. First homework set (geometry) in 4 months!
2. First time hearing symphony fantastique in concert, performed by concerto budapest. along with totentanz and asylum. boganyi’s glissandi were awesome, but there was one glaring mistake. pardon but I thought concert pianists were supposed to be perfect. also i don’t think we were sitting in the right place to hear the percussive effects of the ades (we were in the second row because the tickets were cheaper there and i don’t like symphony fantastique or ades that much to warrant getting better tickets.)
3. First time having sachertorte flavoured ice cream at a gelateria near my place. yuck. wouldn’t try it again. they also have dark chocolate ice cream called “black jack” that’s pretty good. i shld have guessed considering ami and i had sachertorte at well, hotel sacher in salzburg and we thought it was overrated. i can make a better chocolate cake than that! the chocolate was nice (just a hard shell) but the sponge itself was pretty dry.
4. First time in Bela Bartok National Concert Hall and the acoustics are wonderful. (perhaps not everywhere but that’s only to be expected). it’s also the only place in budapest that has managed to shed its humble backdrop completely. I guess that’s what the director means when he says once you step foot into the palace of the arts you will be transported to a different world.


Today’s webhits

1. York named best and most beautiful British city, aka most Brits would want to live up North. I wintered there for about a month and have visited countless other British cities, I suppose it was pretty (but only really the town centre) within the wall. The York suburbs look like any other suburbs. Shopping can be a real bitch if you don’t have a car.
2. Ten worst food trends: Detailing the 10 worst habits restaurateurs commit in their industry. I didn’t know truffle oil doesn’t come from truffles but is completely synthetic. or tt people could soft boil an egg with the yolk outside and the white inside. but like the writer, i certainly don’t think tt much of sous vide or molecular gastronomy. molecular food just seems so unnecessary.
3. Google Ads Preferences for your computer: See what Google associates with you based on your cookie. Unsurprisingly, I got:

Although I’m not exactly sure where the childcare came from. I hate kids.
4. Bridget Jones’ accent. You could have fooled me. I didn’t know she was born in Texas. She had a voice coach for her British accent (which is the most believable American British accent I have ever heard, given the Americans’ penchant for labeling my accent as British) and worked undercover in a British publishing company for three weeks to get a feel of the lingo and the role. Apparently she was also underweight for the role, and quickly chubbed up 20 pounds to get it. And a 3rd movie is slated to be out!! I love Bridget.

Clean slate

I can’t believe tomorrow is completely wide open!
I haven’t had many days like this.
At first liangze and i were intending to go to Chek Jawa. but this was vetoed for two reasons:
1. we had a late (and fun) night playing 80 points with dy and the micromouse yiwen and would most definitely not be able to get up before the tide rises tomorrow.
2. If we went to P. Ubin we would definitely cycle and I am not particularly keen on repeating today’s spate of cramps (we cycled to sembawang beach and sun plaza) tomorrow.

So we don’t know what we are going to do with our Chek Jawa time.
Something indoorsey and airconditioned.
Baking an orange chiffon cake?
Looking through the junk in my house? (Stamps. Shells. I’ve got lots of wonderful shells. Embarrassing childhood photos of me picking my nose or stuffing my face with KFC.)
(We just went through a whole load of junk in my room on saturday to find him a nice new-ish trinket from my adolescence to regift to this teenage girl he owes a birthday present)
Going to Bras Basah and looking for more used books for our collection?
Making ham and cheese crepes for breakfast?
Reading all my Dilbert comics?
Watching all the movies I downloaded in Ithaca, an option closed to me now because of the snail-like connection?
Sending postcards to our bible study leaders in Ithaca? Maybe printing out some snaps?
Making ginger snaps? :D
Playing pool/bowling like pimply poseurs who fail at academia and need a pseudo-athletic skill to boost their ego?
Playing Mario Forever like the four BBT geeks on a vintage video game night?

So many possibilities!
Although those who know me best will probably predict (quite accurately too) that we’ll probably wind up bumming on the couch all day in an infinite loop of movies.

I just relish the thought of how much trouble I can create tomorrow with my idle mind and idle hands.


One of my friends just posted an article about how George Yeo will continue with the upgrading plans in Aljunied even if he doesn’t get voted in, calling him a ‘gentleman’. I don’t see how this makes him a gentleman.
Halting all upgrading works just because your people 看你不顺眼 is really petty and douchebaggy. So to not commit such a petulant childish snipe just makes him Not-A-Douchebag, not a gentleman. He’s just not doing something bad, which doesn’t imply that he is doing something good.

Which reminds me of the double standards conversation I had with another good friend yesterday. By double standards, i don’t mean actions are in conflict with what a person preaches. I just mean the different standards some people have from what I’d perceived to be the norm. To illustrate,
here is the long list of things that I absolutely hate about some of the people I live with, which does not follow that I hate them for they are nice to hang out with and things. Just that their myriad and heinous offences make me really glad I will not be staying with them EVER AGAIN. Not for a million dollars. Well, maybe for a million dollars. The village-dump standard of living they are amenable to is drastically different to what I am comfortable with as a typical anal-retentive singaporean.

I’ll start with the things that are more recent in memory and go down in history (because i remember everything which means it needs to be purged.)
1. They do not know how to pump their toilet when it gets stuck, instead choosing the lazy way out by using my toilet instead. This makes no sense to me at all, four people cannot share a single bathroom and be happy. What if everyone has a 9 o’ clock class? Also, they will have to pump it before we leave, lest incur maintenance fees and not get our security deposit back. Why not earlier than later? Further, their bathroom looks like an extensively shelled warzone and I’m worried that they will bring the same sort of grime to mine. Using my toilet just to avoid pumping their own reeks of the typical american’s “sugar packet” ideology, i.e. if a table is wobbly, just stick a sugar packet under it to “fix” the problem. Note that I am not being racist here, i’m quoting Red Forman on That 70’s show while he lamented the “sugar packet generation”, of which i have two healthy specimens sitting in my house. EDIT: toilet has since been pumped. (Y).
2. They throw their trash into my bathroom’s bin instead of their own. Disgusting personal things like sanitary pads that are not wrapped properly. And expect us to clear it for them. (Well, just her, really.)
3. They do not like washing dishes, probably because they have maids/mothers at home who do it for them. So a years worth of bowls and spoons and cups can accumulate in his room, depleting the kitchen of crockery AND cutlery, some of which belongs to me. And he cannot take a hint, such as “we are running out of spoons”, or “where are all the bowls?” to go search his conscience and his room to retrieve all the missing utensils.
4. I ‘lost’ my Met opera cup about a month ago and it never resurfaced, and I really like that cup because well, it’s a Met opera cup. I asked them TWICE if they had seen it (describing what it looked like in great detail) and both said they hadn’t seen it, and then I checked his room because obviously I didn’t believe him and it was sitting right on his table. Unwashed for what has probably been decades. What kind of people just TAKE other people’s cups and don’t return them and further, DENY that it’s in their possession when it’s sitting right on the table in his room?
5. I put up hooks before winter break in anticipation of all the coats for the winter, also because they were carelessly flinging their coats every which way over the couch. The hooks were in the corridor, maybe five steps away from the door and at no cost to them to hang their coats up. They persisted in flinging their coats all over the couches (thus preventing people from sitting on the couches and watching tv) and all my hooks meant was that i was expected to hang their coats up for them.
6. They NEVER clean the stove after they cook and leave all sorts of artistic stains on the white stove top that looks really disgusting and grimy but somehow they are okay with living in that sort of grime.
7. Their timing is far too flexible for my liking. Yesterday we were instructed that they needed the car at 5.30pm sharp, leaving us about 45 minutes to do our shopping. We hurried and got the car back right on time but they left at 6.10 instead and only started getting ready at 5.30pm. And when we say we need the car at a particular time and they are out before that, you can guarantee that the car won’t be back on time.
8. They rarely take out the trash. I can probably count the number of times they have done it on one hand. Combined. The corridor is littered with their boxes and delivered items that they don’t want AND un-unpacked luggage from winter break. Yes, a whole four months ago. You would think somewhere in the four months someone would find a pocket of time to unpack the suitcase and haul it back into their rooms where it belongs, not out in the living room, but no, such things are what wishful thinking is made of. Their trash (delivery meal containers, cereal boxes, clementine crates, etc.) can sit outside my door for an entire month before liangze/justine/i get fed-up and clear everything. They can take rotting meat from the fridge and spoilt milk and toss it at the door, expecting one of us to throw it away at the dumpster for them because they have far too many important and significant things to do with their life like surfing fb and watching election videos and commenting on other people’s photos or playing computer, how can one ever find the time to clear their own trash? obviously their other housemates were born with the sole purpose of serving them and clearing their trash, because we don’t have work and exams of our own. And when i suggested a trash roster nobody else was up to it because then they’d actually be scheduled to clear the trash regularly, the horror. Not like i’d have expected them to abide by a trash roster even if we had one.
9. They are fond of not washing the rice pot after using it, even after personal cooking. Note that Justine and I don’t use the rice pot for our personal cooking, and ALWAYS wash it after cooking for the house. We do not cook rice if the pot is unwashed, and the general idea they abide by is, if I haven’t washed it after a week, it no longer is my responsibility because no one else can prove that i cooked with it.
10. The living room is always littered with the books and school bags and other detritus that overflows from the detritus that already fills their rooms. they have colonized the living room because they ran out of space to keep all their crap neatly in their own rooms. which means that when i had a project team meet at my house yesterday, the three of us were relegated to my room (which is tons nicer anyway) because a single person was working at the dining table which seats 4 or more.
11. When i bake something and leave it out on the table for all to eat, it usually finishes quickly and if they take the last piece, they will just leave the dirty plate on the table without washing it. Same with anything else that can be used up. If a box of tissues is empty, they will leave it on the table without throwing it away. If a box of cereal/raisins is finished, they will just leave it on the kitchen counter as if it isn’t already congested enough. If a sauce bottle is finished, they will just leave it with the rest of the sauces. If a toilet roll is finished, they will just leave the empty one there.

I find it hard to believe that their school work is more challenging and more time consuming than mine (period) that they cannot be on the ball for so many things. And even if your homework takes a lot of time or brain energy, does that excuse you from anti-social behaviour and from being such offensive, irresponsible pricks?

I use ‘they’ because I’m talking about a unit of people, but not all crimes are committed by both of them, some are just one or the other. But i’m not concerned with being fair here, I’m concerned with describing the collective disincentives to living with them.

I don’t expect you to have read to here because it’s boring listening to other people whine about how sucky their lives are but if you have i’m sure you can tell that i’m FUMING and have been really disillusioned and frustrated for the past year.

The worst part is, they both think they’re wonderful people who are wonderful to live with because I’m guessing nobody has ever told them otherwise.