What can you do to keep your car battery in good shape?

These days there are a lot more things in your average car that requires power.
Daylight running lights, USB ports, GPS, Car Cameras etc etc
Even the start stop function uses up battery and if there's only one battery, that puts a lot of stress on it.

So in order to avoid a dead battery on the road, do consider:
Avoid charging a lot of stuff in the car, especially with the engine turned off.
Do not to use the aircon/radio/usb after turning off the engine
Use a separate battery if you use a Park Mode camera
Do try to drive long distances once in a while to charge the battery
What do you do to keep your car battery in good shape?

Battle of the Masters Singapore

Hmm... how should I start this?
I actually had a different story in my mind, and right up to the last five minutes, I was already thinking of a lovely story of some masters of the game of football, pitting their skills on Singapore turf. There was certainly talent on show, but the end was a little sore and had a bit of a bitter after taste.
It was my first time, in the new stadium, watching an exhibition match, and more importantly, my first time seeing my childhood hero Robbie and his team mates in action live. 

So when my better half scored some tickets, I was over the moon. I packed my telephoto lens, teleconverter, and my DSLR, looked around for my old Liverpool tee shirt from the 90s, and merrily drove down to watch the game. 

The stadium was immerse, and with the indoor roof in place, we would not have to worry about rain or other elements. It's actually quite cool inside, even with the roof up. Air conditioning perhaps?

The pitch was great and I also saw some football greats from Arsenal, as well as the local team. Fans streamed in, wearing jerseys from varies vintages, and some had their kids in tow, perhaps hoping that they will also come to love the teams that their fathers followed. There was certainly a festive atmosphere in the air.

Now some tips:

- try and eat before you come, there is a limited choice of burgers, pizzas and hotdogs, at rather expensive prices
- you can't bring water in, but you can bring your empty water bottle
- the ushers are not too sure where the Kallang Mall is, so use your Google maps instead
- there is plenty of parking, but the Circle Line stops right at the stadium, so it's quite convenient
- it's not too stuffy, but it's best to leave the jacket or thick tee shirt at home and wear a dry fit one
- for those with kids, there are plenty of toilets and a few water coolers, but if your kids is not old enough to sit through two hours of football, think twice about bringing them, or you may spend more time baby-sitting them than watching your football heroes

Onto the game then..

There were three games, play in two halves of 20 minutes, first between Singapore and Arsenal, then Singapore against Liverpool and finally the grand game was Arsenal versus Liverpool. You are allowed as many substitutes as you like and that was fine, given that some of the players were in their forties or even fifties.

It started out well enough, with the foreign players really going for it, and not holding back. Arsenal for example, hit the bar thrice, and they certainly kept the local goalie busy.
In the end, they only managed one goal, despite dominating most of the proceedings. Rezal Hassan was in fine form, and he threw himself at the ball, did many acrobatic saves to deny the Gunners. 

The single goal lead was tenuous, and allowed Aleksandar Duric to take on the Arsenal defence and he showed that he still had the moves, putting one away for Singapore, to allow the game to end as a draw. 

With that, I think the local fans had some hope that the second game will also be competitive, especially when Rezal saved a penalty early on. However Liverpool came out with all cylinders firing, and the game became increasingly one sided as Liverpool dominated the proceedings. Fandi Ahmad did come on in the last ten minutes to loud cheers all round, but he could not make an impressive as the game squarely in favor of the Reds. Even David James got in on the score sheet as he stepped up to take the last penalty with a might kick into the top corner of the net.

I think the foreign players were quite professional, and sought to entertain, giving the fans their money's worth, and despite their age, they played gamely, pressing on to keep scoring and apply pressure on the locals.

In between, you saw players from opposing sides catch up, and even hug one another, as they caught up. There were plenty of smiles, and it seemed that everyone had put the days of intense rivalry behind them.

The third game was the highlight of the evening and fans sat on the edge of their chairs as the two giants played a more cautious game, appreciative of the abilities of their foes. There was more defence as players did not throw caution to the wind and sought to control the mid-field. 
As the evening wore on, fatigue set in, and some of them were barely walking whereas some of them were also indefatigable, running circles around the others, even the local players.

The game was quite evenly matched, and it stayed at one one until the middle of the second half, when David Thompson drove in a fierce pile driver, and it looked like it was going to end as a Liverpool victory.

Then sadly in the last five minutes, things began to unwind..

There was a particularly fierce tackle from Lauren on Robbie Fowler, and he reacted, leading to a shoving session that threatened to turn into a melee..

Thankfully saner minds prevailed but strangely at this point, the referee allowed play to go on, and then on the final minute of the game, Arsenal took advantage of the confusion and sent in a deep punt forward and Robert Pires put in his third goal of the night.

It was all a little shocking, to see how the ambassadors of the great game rather spoilt the evening with the melee, and how the game ended with such a goal.

I think Fowler could have reacted better, and be the gentleman, since he has been the subject of fierce tackles all his life. The way he stuck out was not how someone as famous as he should be remembered.

A great pity indeed and not the best way to end a game.

As for the Man of the Match, it was a hard fight between the great offensive skills and industry of Robert Pires, who scored thrice, ran his heart out during the game, and the local custodian of the goal Rezal Hassan. Without him, the scoreline would have been worse, and he made the score far more respectable than what you see on the scoreboard at the final whistle.

All in all, a nice way to spend an evening, but it's a real pity about the scuffle at the end.

Given the advancing age of the players, I think this could be the last time we see some of the greats who came here to play, perform on the pitch and I wish all of them well as I got to relive some of my childhood memories of watching them play once more.

Liverpool emerged as winners of the night, but I wished it could have been less acrimonious. 

Sent from my iPhone
Sorry for brevity of message

Sent from my iPhone
Sorry for brevity of message

Sent from my iPhone
Sorry for brevity of message

Thor Ragnarok – Movie Review

Thor – what do you think of when someone mentions this particular superhero?
Perhaps a good analogy will be what the kind of weather we associated with him?
Brooding, powerful, slightly unpredictable, prone to flashes of anger and quick to act, with more brawn than brain?
The past two installments of Thor as well as his character in the previous Avenger movies have only reinforced this stereotype, and a third outing with the same sort of outlook will probably draw less of the ticket buying public than a re-issue of some old show like Superman from 1979.

So Marvel takes a chance with a new director, who takes a totally new turn, and viola, you basically get a bit of Alice in Wonderland, mixed in with some Guardians of the Galaxy, and a bit of the Brothers and Sisters TV series thrown in too. Mix that up with a mega dose of humor and plenty of slapstick, and not forgetting to add the prerequisite amount of over the top action sequences, and now you have Thor Ragnarok.

That might be an oversimplification, but you get it. It’s a reboot of the character, with the same actor, but with a lighter footing, a massive tickle of the funny bone and an almost insane pace, that even the MTV crowd may have trouble following. It adheres to the YouTube rule..
That no scene should be loiter for longer than five minutes and you are constantly moving from one twist to the next, and in lesser hands, you could drown in the manifold subplots but here, the director does very well, and Chris H does well to swop out the brooding style for a much lighter almost Spiderman like gaiety.

And it works well. Although I cannot stand that a Valkyrie is now not a blonde Scandinavian statuesque Amazon like warrier, the casting is pretty good.

There is good chemistry, although Anthony Hopkins doesn’t really get to do much, Loki aka Tommy does go from bad to good and back in his many turns, and of course Chris gets to do more than just pout. You do miss Jane Foster the love interest, but a warrior lady like Tessa Thomson might be the more appropriate love interest.. Jeff Goldblum is way over the top for me, and he reminds me of Jack Sparrow actually. Cate does Hela in a very diabolical way, but there’s too much of her Lord of the Rings channeling going on here.. 

So great plot, with plenty of potential for a new Thor IV, lovely babe factor, and of course, a whole lot of laughs.

4/5 for me, and I didn’t like the deafening bass, but it should make a good demo disc. Earplugs are advised..

If Your Auto-Calibration Results Are Rather Odd

 Just sharing a little something

If you have some very odd measurements, check 
  • if the mike is held firmly 
  • there are no obstructions to the sound path, eg a headrest in the path of the rear speakers
  • a big reflection table between the mike and the speaker
  • keep really really silent
I recently did some measurements and didn't notice the rain outside, and in another incident, I simply moved the mike up slightly and the measurements were vastly improved. Even moving the grip position of the mike also helped.

Aliens Convenant, The King's Case Notes, Shockwave and other short reviews

Alien : Convenant

This is like "A Series Of Unfortunate Events In Space"...
There's an eagerness to skip the metaphysical, philosophical style established in it's precedent, and instead move back to the shock and scare mode used in Episode I. However the plot suffers as we move from one poorly timed event to the next. It's almost like the director said, "ok, I shall give you 20 minutes or so to go slow-mo, then let's skip the plot and move onto the scare tactics."
For Alien fans, it's worth a rental, likewise for demo and surround fans.

The King's Case Note
This Korean Sherlock sort of show does enough to engage you cerebrally and peppers it with sufficient humor and intrigue to keep you interested for a rental. 

Pirates: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Enough action and just about sufficient humor to keep Pirate Franchise fans happy, and brings it to a conclusion. Rental at best, unless you are a action or demo fan.

A Hong Kong action thriller. Andy Lau is a demolitions bomb squad cop, and he is pitted against a vengeful criminal who not only wants to seek revenge, but also get rich at the same time. Think "Speed" mated with "Daylight" plus some sprinkling of "Blown Away" and "Inside Man".
A bit on the long side, but interesting enough to keep action fans interested. Worth a rental at least. 

Travel some, eat more II

Cars and such in China

Red Flag

A sweet ride, decent NVH and solid interior.
Mostly made from soft touch materials, but lacking the latest safety features.
A commendable effort.
All their mid tier leaders have to use this car now.

Charging station for this Porsche

Your number of choices of petrol in China: one

Buick - a la Astra from GM

Rental bikes galore!

A classic:

A B Class Gen 1 lookalike electric car:

Sometimes it's just fun to walk..

Travel a bit, taste some : eating our way from Beijing to Ningxia

I took a little trip with some friends there, and wow.... 

Amazing food and people..

Lots of rental bikes

First meal, nothing special, just some basic Beijing fare:

Millet porridge

Lanzhou La mian

Yep, sibei delicious..

Big queue at the Forbidden City.. two hours!

Some beef La Mian after the visit

Zha Jiang Mian

Pu'er tea

Vermicilli with prawns


The Great Wall was nice, just avoid Ba Da Ling!

Love this tou fu (tao pok shreds)

Yes... the obligatory duck

Kong pow chicken was way too sweet

My fav soup there:

Slow mo ..

Seaweed with more taopok shreds:

And of course, xiao long bao:


Fish from NingXia

Breakfast at the canteen:

What can you do to keep your car battery in good shape?

These days there are a lot more things in your average car that requires power. Daylight running lights, USB ports, GPS, Car Cameras...