Saturday, 4 October 2014

The 6th Sense

It was the first time I had ever purchased anything blindly, so to speak, only having seen scant pictures and articles online, which themselves were quite elusive.  I think Apple did that on purpose.  Curiosity breeds desire.  The less you know, the more you want it.  Genius!   And I did genuinely want this. Only 'cos my Camera Roll kept denying me any new photos, as I had apparently run out of space! Serves me right for getting the entry level 16GB, thinking "Who needs all that memory?!"  I DO! And, mind you, this was the 4S, so I thought it was high time for an upgrade.  Not that my 4S was faulty in any way, except for the battery, which has served its purpose for a heavy user like me. And I'm admittedly an App Hoarder.  In the attempt to create space just so I could install iOS8, I had to go through the whole bargaining  process of deleting photos, apps. Oh the apps. Some of which I probably only ever used once upon a time. If ever! My excuse is always, "But, didn't I buy that?!"

But no, my 4S still wasn't giving me enough free space for iOS8.  Seriously, who actually has 4GB of free space lying around?!  About a week after the launch of the 6 & 6 Plus, my BFF offered me a 128GB for £699.  Hmmmmm, not knowing what sort of prices we'd be seeing here, I didn't exactly jump at the offer.  In hindsight, I wished I had.  Well, I could have saved a good BND 100, at least.  But I really wanted it in gold.  He had it in silver.  It got snapped up in no time. 

I was surprised at how easily I managed to get my gold 6. Yes, just the 4.7" for me, thank you, 'cos I think the Plus would be a tad too big for me.  Still not having seen or felt the device physically, and just basing everything on online reviews, I pre-booked it at one of the more reputable mobile phone stores.  Reputable here meaning: I bought my 4S from them 2 years ago. Initially I had only planned on getting the 64GB, but seeing as another BND100 would get me the 128GB, I thought, I might as well go for it. The store had sold out its first shipment, so these things were selling fast. Despite the "bendgate" and all the other smartass jabs coming from the Android camp.  You've got to hand it to Apple for taking a quietly dignified stance (and smirk) in all this publicity, be it positive or negative.  Any publicity is good publicity.  

Mentally preparing myself for some delay in shipment, I was pleasantly surprised to receive this beauty the very next day.  

Slim and smooth, it kept slipping from my grip.   I needed to get a case ASAP!  As much as I hated to cover up it's sleek nakedness, just the thought of dropping it or (yes) bending it, gave me palpitations!  It's safely covered now.  Not my first choice for covers, though, but it gives me peace of mind, at least. It's too bad the ubiquitous mobile accessory stores haven't stocked up on novelty covers yet.  They're probably gauging the actual phone sales.  I'd say bring them in right away, 'cos those babies are flying off the shelves!

My review so far?  I'm loving it!   The size is just perfect for me, without feeling too awkward in my hands.  I can still pretty much do everything single-handedly.  That's what the "Reachability" feature is there for, where the screen pulls up only halfway so everything is still within your thumb's reach.  I can't get over how much slimmer it is.  Of course, the difference is a lot more obvious, upping from a 4S. The first thing I couldn't wait to try out was the camera.  So it only packs 8 megapixels, still an improvement from its predecessors.  But it was love at 1st shot.    My main peeve with most phone cameras was that you could never get the true colours that you want captured. 


Quite a non-descript sunset, but this was what I actually saw, and it was beautifully captured.  The image is crisp and detailed.  

I really wished I had more exciting pictures to take that evening.


As expected, the foreground appears dark, but that sky.....I need to start sunset-chasing again!

Based on the camera alone, I'm sold! I have yet to explore the other apps and features.  In the meantime, I'm just savouring the feel and look of it.  No bending required. 

Friday, 4 July 2014

Time Out

After suffering months of writer's block, I've finally found some time to get back to this.  Truth be told, I've had a lot to say, but I've had to refrain from the inevitable "foot-in-mouth" reflex. Certain opinions are best kept to myself (and my tight circle of the same wavelength, of course!)

Some things might have changed over the past couple of months, but not quite in the way people had imagined. As with anything new, we've had to adapt and roll with the punches, so to speak.  Other than that, it's pretty much business as usual.  Bruneians are, and will always be, a happy bunch.

There are certain things I miss, though, like my usual hang-outs, letting my hair down.  It's taken a lot out of me to go through this change, I won't lie.  I'd like to think of it as a natural progression rather than a drastic 180° flip.  But as hard as it may be to transform yourself on the outside, it's even harder to change from the inside.  And if the change doesn't come from the inside out, it could also come from the outside in.  We're all human, after all.  And change takes time.

It's Ramadan again. Alhamdulillah. May this month bring us peace and fulfillment. And most of all, I pray for strength to go through this change.  Slowly, but surely. Amin.

Have a blessed Ramadan!

Monday, 21 April 2014

Shadow of Doubt




"Have they found it yet?" It's something of an inside joke I share with my Mom every lunch-time. I've lost count, but it's been more than 40 days; more than a month.  Nobody thought that from counting the hours to days to weeks, we would now be counting months to just finding a clue.  And what used to be the main news story of every major news network, has now been merely reduced to an update on nothingness. Not much different from Day 1. Satellite images,  ocean trash, ping signals, dozens of high-tech assets, millions of dollars spent - zero wreckage, dashed hopes.  I was following the headlines ad nauseum, so much so that I had learnt them by heart by the end of the day.  "Breaking News" wasn't breaking at all. I must admit, it's been quite amusing seeing these news stations  battling for ratings; not just the foreign media, but the local ones too.  Images, graphics, animations, holograms. If they had them, they rolled them out, no holds barred. Jon Stewart was spot on.

When real updates of the search were becoming scarce, Oscar Pistorious' trial stole the limelight. I was a huge fan in the 2012 Olympics. Fascinated, more like. Up until Valentine's Day 2013. I'm fascinated still, but for different reasons.  Besides, how could anyone tear away from watching Gerrie Nel go straight for the jugular? He was the real star of this courtroom drama. We'll have another couple of weeks until we see how it unfolds.

With that trial taking a break and hardly any news on MH370, it's business as usual on the news front.

The tragic South Korean ferry crash has taken over the headlines over the past week. More lives lost. More sadness.  

Amidst other world news, stories of tragedy are becoming increasingly depressing to watch.  

As much as it helps to move on, it hurts too. In time, hopefully, the friends and families who have lost, will be able to come to terms with what's happened, even if nobody can make any sense of it. 



Sunday, 9 March 2014

Up in the Air

I can't remember the last time I'd been so rapt by the news, both on air and online.  No, actually, I can.  9/11.  Not that I'm drawing any similarities here, but just the profound impact this has on us hits too close to home, and in more ways than one.

Back in 9/11, I was in the afternoon session of Uni in Ireland, when I heard my classmates mentioning something about "some plane crash in America."  I didn't take much notice of it at first.  It wasn't until someone else had said that there was "a second crash into a building," when I realized that something terrible must have happened.  And then I watched the news.  All night, all the next day and probably the rest of the week.  The images just kept replaying, but I, as well as the rest of the world, was still in disbelief.  All that happening, across the Pond.  Everyone surely remembers where they were and what they were doing when they first heard about it.  Whatever way it might have affected us is a different story.  Twitter wasn't even around then.  Imagine if it was, though.  The internet would have crashed. And it probably did. Fortunately, but unfortunately, the internet hadn't quite become one of the basic necessities of life, like food, water & oxygen! Aaahh simpler times.....

And now this.  A Malaysia Airlines flight from KL to Beijing.  We may not have any connections whatsoever with any of the passengers on that flight, and yet we're so fixated on every bit of breaking news or information that comes to light.  We're practically on the edge of our seats waiting for the next press conference from the Malaysian news stations.  As with all PCs, the "official words" are rarely as sensationalized as the social media make them out to be.  After scrolling through  Tweet after Tweet after Retweet and hundreds of Retweets later, eventually you can boil everything down to possibly 5 legitimate facts at any given time.  Another frustration I have is trying to get to the bottom of a link that's been retweeted so many times over that it's virtually impossible to find the original source.  Like this poignant drawing, for instance; whose source I'd really like to know and give credit to.

It's been almost 48 hours (and possibly an hour since I last checked for updates) since the plane went missing.  Hopes are wearing thin, while mystery mounts.  Questions and speculations aplenty.  Nevermind us. All eyes, thoughts and prayers go out to those on board and their families.  They were parents, husbands, wives, sons, daughters, brothers, sisters who would have spent their second day in Beijing today, or onward to other intended destinations.  To put it bluntly, this could have happened to anyone.  And that's why we're watching.

Hopefully there will be a breakthrough in the search.  It might take weeks, months or even years. However long it takes for the families to get closure in whatever outcome.


Sunday, 9 February 2014

Exhale


It's amazing how just as you're about to reach breaking point, when you think all odds are against you, suddenly things start falling back into place. These last couple of weeks have proven to me just that. And I'm forever thankful. 

This is, indeed, turning out to be a great start to the year. 

And after so long.....I can finally breathe.

Alhamdulillah.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Ready.Set.Pause



I didn't think it would be fair to end the year without a post.  And I didn't think it would be fair to go on and on about shutting down this site, when I know, deep down, I couldn't bring myself to pull the cord (after 7years!)

I had planned on heading out tonight, just for the sake of it; to succumb to the pressure of New Year's Eve. But as nature intended, the heavy rain had better ideas for me.

The roads were surprisingly quiet this evening.  A couple of cafes turned us away as early as 5pm as they had been fully-booked for tonight. Apparently, family barbecues have cleared out the charcoal stocks everywhere.

We're blessed to live in a country that respects all faiths and religions, particularly in terms of public holidays. Although, New Year's Day is not a religious holiday, celebrating it here has been somewhat frowned upon in recent years.  My last memorable New Year's Eve celebration on home soil would be back in 2005. The Empire. Concert. Dinner.  Family. Fireworks.  There was a lot of fanfare back then. And it was the thing to do.  It was as good as you could get without a plane ticket.

It all comes down to our intentions, or "niat/nawaitu".  It's a universal public holiday where everything and everyone should just shut down and spend time with their loved ones, doing things they enjoy.  Oh and it happens to be a New Year!

2014 bears a lot of meaning to us in Brunei, as in a few months, Syari'ah Law will come to effect.  How this will affect us as a nation and society remains to be seen, maybe immediately or in the long run.  Change is hard to accept, but perhaps these 6 months were just what we needed to get us mentally-prepared for what is to come.  Hopefully we'll be enlightened further on the subject, as we tend to be afraid of what we don't know. Insya Allah, as Bruneians, we're all in this together.

Here's hoping the New Year brings new hope for bigger, better, brighter things.  It's the same wish every year.  Why change it now?

Happy New Year, everyone!


Monday, 9 September 2013

Too Cool for Skool

I just spent the best part of my evening simply immersed in my music vault. After years, and I mean, years of procrastinating, as I do, I can proudly say that I've finally ripped & burned my CD tower. Not quite so figuratively, of course!  It's an achievement, to say the least, seeing that I knew squat about how to work iTunes (still hate it with a passion!). As soon as I had somewhat figured it out, it was time to bring out the big guns: the Case Logics! This post from here on end is dedicated to nostalgia and all the good stuff that comes with cracking open the treasure chests & Pandora's boxes of the past that we once thought we'd forget and never revisit. Ever. What used to be bitter and even bittersweet were just a series of no regrets. And, by the way, if you've never heard of a Case Logic, you're probably too young to read this post!

I couldn't help but gawk at the little fortune I used to spend on CDs. Double CDs, special editions, bonus editions, imports (my favourite obscure section at HMV & Tower Records in their good days). How many remixes of Mariah's "Always Be My Baby" did I really need? Apparently I couldn't live with just the one CD single! €22.99 for an album. I couldn't wait for it to get off the charts & finally go on Sale, apparently. This was even before anyone ever heard of Napster & the likes. If you wanted music, you had to buy the whole friggin album. Which is what amused me when I was busy ripping them onto my iPod; 1 double CD: 3 friggin tracks I actually liked! Thank you mp3s! Where were you when I was a skint undergrad living on expensive music and grilled cheese?

But to me, music has always been and will always be as essential as breathing. I call it "The Soundtrack of My Life." How often do you hear even the first few bars of a song and instantly remember exactly where you were, who you were with and what you were doing? Be it good or bad, music is bound to evoke some smidgen of emotion even in the steeliest of hearts.

I always had this habit of signing my name onto the CDs and their cover sleeves, with the date & city I bought them from. Now how are we supposed to remember where we were when we purchased that mp3 for $0.99?

That's where I was this evening. Teleported to the good ol' 90s, which ,some may argue, was not such a stand-out era, particularly in terms of fashion. We can identify iconic fashion from the 60s, 70s and 80s; but the 90s?

My collection did transcend into the millenium where early on music was good too. I'd have to shamelessly admit that I was heavily into R&B, almost excusively, with maybe the odd Radiohead and Nirvana albums for those dreary Irish emo days. Actually my go-to angst album would be Alanis' "Jagged Little Pill". Well, isn't that ironic? ......(I couldn't help it!)

It's sad to think that all the joys of heading out to the record store, to sift through rows and rows of CDs, sampling entire albums, one after another at the listening posts, then forking out your hard-earned 20 bucks, has now been reduced to the magical experience of clicking "buy" at your desk or phone. The thrill only lasts 5 seconds, depending on your connection, of course. 

Sure, we save a lot of space now. Physical space. No CD tower. No dust. Do Case Logics even exist anymore?

But the music is still for keeps. 

....Until you update your iTunes, then anything's a surprise!