Monday, June 30, 2008

Spain Triumphs Germany in Euro 2008 ! Detailed account on how they won!

Germany 0 - 1 Spain

FERNANDO Torres was the hero for Spain last night, firing the nation to Euro 2008 glory against Germany in Vienna and ending 44 years of underachievement.

Torres struck in the 33rd minute in Vienna and despite the efforts of Germany skipper Michael Ballack, they held on to their lead to spark wild celebrations in Austria's capital.

Heavyweights in European football who produce a constant stream of individual talents, Spain had not won a major tournament since 1964 but finally shook off their tag of being chokers, not able to cope with the pressure of the highest stage.

They have also been perceived as a nation divided by their regions – the lyrics to their national anthem are not used – but full-back Sergio Ramos had kept mentioning the word "united" in the run up to the final, and when Torres secured the Henri Delaunay trophy for them they were just that.

Just shy of his 70th birthday, Luis Aragones will now leave his post as coach, probably for Fenerbahce, as a champion. Vicente del Bosque has been tipped to take over and he will inherit a young squad who have their sights on the World Cup.

While Portugal appeared destabilised by Chelsea announcing Luiz Felipe Scolari as their new coach during these finals, there were no signs of the same happening to Spain following Fenerbahce's statement revealing Aragones as their new manager on the eve of their semi-final.

They finish as the tournament's top goalscorers, helped by Torres who took the English Premier League by storm with 33 rookie goals for Liverpool. He was not on the top of his game for the whole of the tournament, but the 24-year-old stepped into the shoes of David Villa when Spain needed him.

"Viva Espana" sang their fans before the sangria started flowing.

This was billed as a clash of Germany's efficiency and power versus Spain's fluidity and creativity, which were on display as Russia were swept aside in the semi-finals.

Germany's drive came from Ballack, with the Chelsea midfielder passed fit despite carrying a calf injury on the eve of the final. "Against the odds we will win the trophy", read one headline from a German newspaper on the day of the game, and Ballack was seen as the key to their chances.

They had been inconsistent in the group stages, then stuttered past Turkey after outmuscling Portugal. Only Ballack's level of performance had been high throughout all of it but he ends the tournament a "nearly man" again. Six years ago he missed the World Cup final through suspension just after Bayer Leverkusen missed a trio of chances for silverware. This season Manchester United pipped him to the Premier League and Champions League titles, and he finds himself the bridesmaid once more.

Facing Ballack was a Barcelona-bred wall of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas in midfield, with Arsenal's youngster getting his chance following Villa's injury. But before they were allowed to impose themselves on the game, Germany had already wasted two early chances.

Ramos lost his bearings and gifted a pass straight to Miroslav Klose, whose poor touch let him down as he sped past Carles Puyol, and the opportunity had gone. Then Thomas Hitzlsperger was teed up on the edge of the area by Klose but could not get purchase on his shot.

Spain started to move through the gears after their reprieve, never looking back after they were let off the hook. Their opening chance came after a Xavi pass had split the German defence to find Iniesta on the left. When the cross came over, Christoph Metzelder sliced towards his own goal and Jens Lehmann, at 38 the oldest player to feature in a European Championship final, athletically tipped around the post.

The post came to Lehmann's rescue when Torres climbed above Per Mertesacker to meet Ramos' centre, but the Liverpool man was not made to wait long for his goal. It came 12 minutes before the break when Xavi played the ball beyond Philipp Lahm. The full-back was favourite to clear but Torres used pace and muscle to get around him and chip over the diving Lehmann's legs before celebrating his goal by sucking his thumb.

It could have got worse for Germany had David Silva not volleyed over wildly when found at the far post by Iniesta.

German fans feared the worst when Ballack was forced off the field with a cut eye, but he returned after getting the bloodied injury treated twice. He was also booked along with opposing captain Iker Casillas for talking back at the referee.

Spain had chances to make it comfortable after the break, with Lehmann saving from Ramos' header and Iniesta seeing a drive cleared off the line. However, their own indiscipline almost cost them when Silva butted his head towards Lukas Podolski, but no card was shown.

Torres was taken off in the 78th minute, with his job done in waking the sleeping giants of European football.

How the final unfolded in ecstasy for the Spanish

Eight minutes: Germany's Thomas Hitzlsperger has the first shot of the night from the left edge of the penalty area but Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas gathers comfortably.

13: Christoph Metzelder almost puts through his own net when he swings a leg at Andres Iniesta's low cross but the defender's blushes are spared by Jens Lehmann's superb reaction save.

19: Half-chance for Fernando Torres from a right-wing free-kick but the Liverpool forward's header sails wide of the target.

22: Torres comes even closer moments later, with the striker rising above Per Mertesacker to connect with Sergio Ramos' lofted cross but the upright comes to Germany's rescue with Lehmann beaten. Germany clear only as far as Joan Capdevila, who fires wide.

29: The Germans claim a penalty as Spain full-back Joan Capdevila mis-controlls the ball and it bounces up to hit his hand, but referee Roberto Rosetti waves away the appeals.

30: Andres Iniesta finds Cesc Fabregas in space 25 yards from goal but the Arsenal playmaker's low drive is gathered without fuss by Lehmann.

33: GERMANY 0 SPAIN 1: Torres outpaces Philipp Lahm to be first to Xavi's defence-splitting pass and fires Spain in front as he lofts the ball over the advancing Lehmann.

35: Germany captain Michael Ballack is forced from the field after a clash of heads with Marcos Senna and requires lengthy treatment to a cut above his right eye.

53: A deep corner kick finds its way through David Silva, who drills the ball low towards the left corner of the Germany goal only for Ramos' flick to take the ball just the wrong side of the post.

59: Midfielder Ballack takes aim from 25 yards but the ball flies narrowly wide of Casillas' right-hand upright to the relief of Spanish supporters.

66: Ramos almost makes it 2-0 when he meets Xavi's free-kick with a bullet header but Lehmann pats the ball away for a corner.

68: Iniesta receives the ball in space inside the German penalty area but his toe-poked effort is cleared off the line by Torsten Frings.

81: Santi Cazorla's right-wing cross is nodded back across the face of goal by fellow substitute Daniel Guiza but the advancing Senna just fails to get a telling touch on the ball with the net yawning.

90+3: Italian referee Rosetti blows the full-time whistle to confirm Spain's first major tournament trophy for 44 years.


Thanks to : http://thescotsman.scotsman.com/


Germany didn't win but Michael Ballack is still hot!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Perfect Lover Does Exist!


Imagine having a boyfriend who's well, perfect. He's got every trait you've ever dreamed of. He does no wrong and is always there when you need him. He doesn't flirt with other females and even knows how to cook your favourite dishes! Sounds too good to be true?

The perfect lover exists, but, there's a catch - he's a robot! Meet Night Tenjo, a robot made solely to be the "perfect boyfriend". Izawa Riko is a temporary worker at a company dealing with pastries. She can't seem to find a guy of her liking or guys that she fancies, don't like her in return.

The answer? Why not have a robot lover? Just as Night Tenjo enters her life, she finds herself falling for a distinguished colleague. Now, she is trapped in a love triangle. Who will she be with in the end? Who's more appealing? The perfect boyfriend or the human one who is bound to make mistakes?

I would say, that this drama "Zettai Kareshi" aka "Absolute Boyfriend" is comedic and interesting as it explores very real issues in today's society. Hey, the Japanese are very well on their way into creating a real robot "boyfriend". Imagine the unimaginable!

If you're interested in watching it and can't find any links online, you can e-mail me at tainted dot love1987 at gmail dot com.

My overall rating for this drama is 5/5. Very original! Simply sugoii!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Durian Fest


The neighbours were having a durian fest at the void deck next to my block. I should've signed up for it, damnit. It smelled good.

It would be nice if the GRC organised a seafood fest. I think its great to be able to interact with your neighbours through food. Afterall, eating is a common Singaporean pastime. They should organise more of these activities. What more, with our busy lifestyle, we barely know our neighbours, let alone chat with them.

So, as I was on my way back home last week, I saw a group of RC people and a MP at the lift lobby. When they saw me, they asked if I lived here and said "Welcome home!" in quite a loud tone LOL which totally surprised me. They were there to conduct a residents' survey. The MP was friendly and chatty. Its nice to know another side of our leaders.

Back to the durian topic, I also love durian cream puffs and cakes. Non South-East-Asians might equate durians as something bizarre. After all, the king of fruits was also once featured in "Fear Factor" hahaha! But its the same as blue cheese is to us - simply bizarre!

Friday, June 27, 2008

How to fall in love?

Its easy, really...
  • Find a complete stranger.

  • Reveal to each other intimate details about your lives for half an hour.

  • Then, stare deeply into each other’s eyes without talking for four minutes.


No lah, if its that simple, everyone of us would be in love already. I've never been in love, so I don't know how to describe it to you all.

There's a scientific explaination about it though :

Stage 1: Lust at first sight (Yes, people, stop kidding yourself, love at first sight? What, are you in some romantic movie?)

This is the first stage and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women.


Stage 2: Attraction (This is when the craziness begins)

This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else. Scientists think that three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage; adrenaline, dopamine and serotonin.

Adrenaline

The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.

Dopamine

Helen Fisher asked newly ‘love struck’ couples to have their brains examined and discovered they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine!

Serotonin

And finally, serotonin. One of love's most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.


Does love change the way you think?

Dr Donatella Marazziti, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa advertised for twenty couples who'd been madly in love for less than six months. She wanted to see if the brain mechanisms that cause you to constantly think about your lover, were related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

By analysing blood samples from the lovers, Dr Marazitti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients.


Love needs to be blind (Love is indeed blind! *gasp*)

Newly smitten lovers often idealise their partner, magnifying their virtues and explaining away their flaws says Ellen Berscheid, a leading researcher on the psychology of love.

New couples also exalt the relationship itself. “It's very common to think they have a relationship that's closer and more special than anyone else's”. Psychologists think we need this rose-tinted view. It makes us want to stay together to enter the next stage of love – attachment.


Stage 3 : Attachment

Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise children. Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment; oxytocin and vasopressin.

Oxytocin - The cuddle hormone

Vasopressin
Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.


On a side note, I've always wondered why do they say "fall" in love, not "jump" or "dive"?
Because it sounds better?

I'm sure being in love feels great and I hope I'd get to experience it one day, no matter how much I tease my friends who are in love :P



Thanks to : http://www.youramazingbrain.org for scientific facts

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Back-up ALL your files before its too late!

Firstly, thank God I still can use my sister's laptop, so I'm not offline entirely. Yes, I think I depend too much on my computer/Internet. I just called the people at HP to troubleshoot my problem, they said that there's something wrong with the CPU. I have NOT backed up all my info into external drives. Only about half. So, when the Best Denki computer repairman comes to my house on Monday, I'm going to have to face the prospect of losing all the data. I guess at least I have saved most of the documents. The rest can be re-downloaded.

So, people, sometimes your precious PC shows NO sign of being sick, but it doesn't mean that it is not susceptible to falling ill; resulting it to break down. I don't know if I was just lucky today, but it certainly didn't take me long to reach to a human voice for help. We all know the frustration that is robot voices. And computer companies are especially good at that.

Why are some still using Christmas songs for the "on-hold" music? Seriously!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Google Inspires Singapore Maths Textbook Authors?


Take a look at the primary school maths textbook that kids use today (the one in the picture is for primary 3). Have you noticed the names of the cartoon characters?

Ooogol, Toogol, Zoogol, Koogol, Googol and Noogol.


Notice the resemblance to the most popular search engine?


I still remember the English Pets textbook animals - I often played imaginary games with them when I got bored in class :D


I have to say that the cartoons are cute though. Maybe they should branch out and do a maths themed educational cartoon LOL

Monday, June 23, 2008

Top 10 Singapore Food Blogs!!!

Being a Singaporean, I must have at least a blog post talking about food, right? Polls have been conducted on things that Singaporeans miss the most when they're overseas, and amongst the top is always our food, after family and friends. Like most Singaporeans, I looove food, infact, more than half of my favourite blogs are food blogs! And my favourite TV channel is Discovery Travel and Living. (I know, kind of predictable, huh?)

"Singaporeans love their food. Try engaging in a casual conversation with a Singaporean, and you’ll soon find the all-consuming topic of breakfast, lunch or dinner being inevitably whisked into the discussion. Not to be mistaken as a cultural tendency towards ‘gluttony of excess’, the passion Singaporeans share towards food is closely knit to the very heart of society – community. Here in Singapore, you’ll find that eating out is more than just a common affair; it’s very much a communal affair as well." S'pore Food Festival 2008


Okay, lets get the ball rolling...(according to ranking)



1. The Travelling Hungryboy

A camera-phone moblog of (mostly) gastronomic adventures and epicurean musings from a United 1k global traveller that thinks that Anthony Bourdain has the coolest job in the world.


2. ieat-ishoot-ipost

Never waste your calories on yucky food.

Do you know that this blogger is a Doctor?


3. Eat and Train

Eating good and eating responsibly.


4. Never Trust a Scrawny Foodie

Where there are good eats, there I will go.


5. Small Potatoes Makes The Steak Looks Bigger


6. Gastronomic Ruminations

"There is no sincere love than the love of food" George Bernard Shaw


7. Good Food. Good Mood.

A photo blog and review of food in Singapore.


8. The Hungry Cow

It's one hell of an amazing grace.


9. The Skinny Epicurean

Life is too short for bad food.


10. Timeless Facade

Everything is a fa├žade, only good food is a reality.



BONUS!!!

My fav Malaysian food blog : Masak- Masak

Which literally means in English, "Cook - Cook"



Disclaimer: I might not have visited ALL the food blogs in Singapore, but if you think I have missed out a few outstanding ones, leave a comment and I will check them out. It has been hard deciding on a top ten list.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Woman sues Victoria's Secret claiming thong injury

A woman who says she was hurt by her thong panties when a metal clip flew off and hit her in the eye has sued Victoria's Secret, saying in a TV interview on Thursday that the injury caused her "excruciating pain."

Macrida Patterson, a 52-year-old Los Angeles traffic officer, told NBC's "Today" show that she suffered cuts to her cornea from the small piece of metal that had been used to secure a rhinestone heart onto the blue thong.

"I was putting on my underwear from Victoria's Secret and the metal popped in my eye. It happened really quickly. I was in excruciating pain. I screamed. That's what happened," Patterson told NBC.

Patterson's lawyer Jason Buccat, who also appeared on the "Today" show, said the metal staple causes "severe damage" to her cornea that required a topical steroid.

The product liability lawsuit, which was filed on June 9 in Los Angeles Superior Court and first reported on the Smoking Gun Web site, seeks unspecified damages.

A spokeswoman for Victoria's Secret, which is operated by Limited Brands Inc, could not immediately be reached for comment.

~ Reuters


LOL!!!, thongs aren't comfy anyways.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Reality Check


I see myself as a very realistic person. Hence, at times my predictions and opinions about things are more in the "taking this into account and that into perspective", "I think....".

Some people may think that I'm a pessimist, but I am not - there is a big difference between being pessimistic and being realistic.

I see overly optimistic people as trying to fool themselves that things are really much better than they really are. (HELLO?! Are you in lala land?) Some optimists can be delusional to the point that they get annoying. I picture them as people who are always smiling or laughing as if everything in their life is perfect. And oh, wearing a t-shirt that says "Don't worry, be happy" - plus a smiley face :)

Pessimistic people are the people who usually go "Yeah, its not going to work out, see, I TOLD YOU!" They're probably the kind of people who think everything sucks and the worst outcome in any given situation.

But, being realistic, on the other hand, is the best. It is the in between of being an optimist and a pessimist. You get the best of both worlds. You're seeing both the best and worst outcome in a particular situation and settling on a moderate answer. Its in the middle of the spectrum.

Did you know that Walt Disney paid testament to the importance of having an internal critic as well as an internal optimistic during the creation of some of his most spectacular work? By combining the two mindsets, Disney was able to produce balanced work that was well grounded and equally ambitious.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I so want to be happy :(

When a dream comes true, you don't always get the happiness that comes with it;
Happiness is not something you can feel every moment of the day;
Happiness comes in small doses, so just be grateful for that;
It's pointless to wish for a Big Happiness because it won't happen;
Perhaps happiness is overrated.

Like most people, everything I do, everything I hope for and everything I regret, hinges on the pursuit of personal happiness.

The problem with happiness is this - it doesn't last, and it is subjected to the law of diminishing returns. To attain something you wish for does make you happy, but only up to a point. Beyond that, more and more of that thing adds less and less to your happiness.

*I'm going to use a cheesecakes as an example.

I LOVE cheesecakes. Everything about cheesecakes hits the spot for me.

The problem is, while finishing the first one is so satisfying, finishing the second will make me want to puke.

Its a scenario that plays out in so many aspects in my life. Happiness is so hard to come by, yet when I do find it, it either doesn't last long or it loses its magic after a while.

Still, one could argue that happiness would be meaningless if you felt happy all the time. How can you understand happiness unless you have lived through unhappiness and can compare the two?

The trick perhaps is to learn to live for the moment and appreciate what you have.

It is hard to be happy when you are stuck in the past or the future.

It is hard to be happy when you chase after happiness, forgetting that, hey, it could well be right there, staring at you.




~ extracted from Sumiko Tan's articles. I always find a little bit of myself in her. We seem to share similar views on a wide range of issues.

*Edited to suit personal taste.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Weddings? Pffft!

One of my closest cousin is getting married this weekend. It seemed like it was just yesterday when we were playing Monopoly, UNO and CD based computer games. How is it that we grew up so fast and now you're getting married?

Another 2 of my cousins are getting married later this year. Why can't we just be 10 forever and play together and laugh at life?

One of my favourite moments was when you carried me and swayed me around - I felt like I was the Queen of the world. No one else has ever did that to me. How do you even tell someone else to do that? That was the best feeling of happiness that I ever had. I know that when I'm going to look at your wedding pictures I will choke and tear. But I guess, looking on the bright side, I'm going to gain sisters-in-laws...


I'm happy for them but yet, I feel like they're going far away.


While I'm at this topic, I'm going to post the one of the most played song at Indian weddings :


Thursday, June 12, 2008

School Holidays Survey

Its the school holiday month now...

where are my students holidaying at?

2/4 - Malaysia
1/4 - Thailand
1/4 - HongKong, China, India


Some of my students are so adorable and I just can't help but to fall in love their cuteness and antics. They do say the darndest things! I like the conversations that we have - ranging from TV shows to family to school. Kids nowadays are much smarter - their knowledge surprises me sometimes.

Monday, June 9, 2008

7 killed, 10 injured in Akihabara stabbing spree

extracted from Japan Times

Seven people died and 10 others were injured after a man hit pedestrians with a truck and then stabbed people Sunday in broad daylight on a street in Tokyo's busy Akihabara district.

Akihabara is a district of Tokyo known for its electronics shops and as a center of modern culture, including manga and animations, and attracts many visitors from both Japan and abroad.

Police arrested the man, 25-year-old Tomohiro Kato from Susono, Shizuoka Prefecture, and seized a survival knife he was carrying. He admitted to stabbing all the people with the knife from around 12:30 p.m., the police said. The truck was rented in Shizuoka Prefecture.

"I came to Akihabara to kill people," investigative sources quoted Kato as telling the police. "I am tired of the world. Anyone was OK. I came alone."


OMG!!! O_O I have no words!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Stop those scare tactics of "sure fail" exams

extracted from The Straits Times - June 6, 08

Many parents feel stressed when their children sit for high-stakes milestone exams like the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE) or the O and A levels.

Many schools use shock scare tactics that are remarkably out of date. I'm talking about the habit of many schools to set mid-year examination papers of an unduly high difficulty level.

One parent cited her daughter's experience in an all-girls school with a Maths paper set at such a difficult level that half the class flunked. Concerned about the impact of this on students' motivation levels, she wrote: "I appeal to the Ministry of Education to compare the disparity between the simplicity of published primary Maths textbooks and worksheets with the difficulty of exam papers set by the schools.

Many schools set mid-year exam papers at an unrealistically high level of difficulty, deliberately to "jolt" the students and parents into a state of panic to work harder for the PSLE or O level exam. When the preliminary exams roll around later this year, the same pattern will repeat itself.

Thousands of students will be in tears over unwanted failing grades. Thousands of parents' stress levels will rise,fearing their children will do as badly in the PSLE or O levels, as they did for their prelims.

I am not a pedagogist, but it seems sheer bad educational practice to deliberately set an exam paper that seeks to fail most students.

That is not education; that is a psychological manipulation of a rather negative and perverse nature.

Schools justify it by saying that a little bit of failure spurs students to try harder. The practice results in better grades, they may argue. But people who argue forget the impact of repeated failure on a child's motivation and self esteem.

Some principals and teachers who use this "fail-them" exam scare tactic will point out that it has worked for years and raised the school's average scores in PSLE.

My retort to that is simple :

Your school's aggregate average may improve, but how many vulnerable children's self-esteem have you destroyed in the process?

And just as pertinently, how many children's zest for learning have you destroyed? And how many individual students end up doing worse, not better, because of anxiety and stress?


Fantastic article that totally captures the education scene here, a few days ago, someone wrote in the forum page that every kid "sure must have tuition" to catch up with the teacher/peers/education system.

Why are we so rigid on kids? As a tuition teacher myself, I know that both kids and parents are VERY stressed about getting good grades. I can write a whole blog post on this, perhaps another time.

I, myself, went through a lot of stress in my childhood - I always felt that I had to score good grades to be "recognised" to be "liked". I didn't like it. But now I feel like telling my students "Study hard, very hard now, then you can apply for a job at the Education Ministry and make big changes". hahaha