Lo chiamavano Jeeg Robot (2015)

aka They Call Me Jeeg Robot (2015)

The Italian language is beautiful. This movie is not.

Blood, death… more blood, more death…

I mean sure, the thief with a heart (and watch) of gold saves the day, inspired by the manic pixie dream girl, but the path drips with gore. I liked the villain almost as much as I liked the protagonist, if not more. The villain’s music video was maybe the best part of the whole movie, even though it involved quite a lot of death. I mean, you gotta hand it to the guy. He had style.

Though I’m not interested in seeing any more movies about this superhero, the ending of this one made it seem like it was the origin story for a series.

Value life

Terrible photo, great advice. In four languages.

Value Life. Act Responsibly.

In context, the message means: do not jump in front of the MRT train.

The sign has no doubt been there a while. It used to be that the above-ground MRT stations had exposed tracks; now they have these gates that only open when the train arrives.

Still, we are reminded that suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

Update (22 Nov 2017): Here’s a more cheerful looking photo:

IKEA opens daily

I’ve posted about errors in signs declaring business hours before. A giant European home furnishings company you may have heard of is among the businesses that have gotten it wrong.

Why should the phrase be “open daily” and not “opens daily”? Because one is idiomatic and one isn’t; or if you prefer, “open daily” has been idiomatic longer, since the sign is, itself, evidence that “opens daily” has become idiomatic in Singlish.

The best I can do for a usage citation is a couple of dictionary entries for “daily”, which give “open daily” as an example, suggesting that this is the most natural and intuitive phrase, as far as dictionary writers are concerned.

Then there’s the fact that the phrase “opens daily” gets Google 253,000 hits whereas “open daily” gets 10,800,000. The images for “opens daily”, in comparison to the images for “open daily”, are telling, too.

(New can of worms: I see that there are signs for “open everyday”, which should be “every day” because “everyday” is an adjective…)

Leaving aside calls to authority and statistics, the syntactic difference is interesting. “Open daily” uses “open” as an adjective, and “opens daily” uses “open” as a verb. We want to know when the business is open. We do not care when the door of the business is opened by some employee with a key. The emphasis is misplaced.

There is a further confusion lurking under the surface, which is that when we do use “open” as a verb for a business, we sometimes mean it in the sense of “to launch” or “to open for the first time”. So the phrase “opens daily” makes it sound like maybe the business is having a grand opening every day, which is ridiculous. Grand openings are not everyday occurrences.

You can use “open” as a verb if you really want, especially in a sentence rather than as a notice on a sign. But I think the verb needs a strong contextual justification.

Example Business
Opens at 9:00 a.m.
Closes at 5:00 p.m. Monday to Thursday
Closes at 3:00 p.m. on Friday


The Ikea sign is particularly bad because of the colon.

Opens Daily: 10am to 11pm

The text suggests that the door is opening (and closing) continuously from ten in the morning to eleven at night! Why? Because there are two adverbs modifying the verb “opens”: the word “[once] daily” and the phrase “[from] 10am to 11pm”. The first can legitimately indicate when the business opens; but the second is meant to say when the business is open.

This is what I think the sign should say:

Open Daily
10 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Is Dark Matter the new Firefly?


Nevertheless, there are some striking similarities I would like to point out.

Since Dark Matter begins with the characters knowing very little about themselves, telling you about them involves giving away a lot of the plot.

If you don’t mind spoilers, keep reading below for plot and character similarities between Dark Matter and Firefly.

If you’re just generally curious about the show, read this post. In fact, you might want to read it first anyway.

Continue reading Is Dark Matter the new Firefly?

Dark Matter (Season 1)

If you squint really hard when you watch Dark Matter, you can pretend you’re watching a crappy remake of Firefly, because there are some similarities.

In a time when humans have colonized many worlds across the galaxy, in which the little people’s concerns are ignored by a heartless government, a crew of misfits attempts to unravel not a few mysteries while struggling just to survive.

That could describe either show. This “formula”, while intriguing—entertaining, even—means comparatively little if you haven’t got Joss Whedon writing the scripts, though.

On the other hand, two seasons have already been made and they’re working on Season 3, so it would seem audiences decided the characters have at least a modicum of enduring appeal. I, too, like the show enough to keep watching. I am curious where the plot’s going.


See below for more thoughts on the show, including SPOILERS.

Continue reading Dark Matter (Season 1)

Toast Box… I like

Dear Starbucks,

We need to talk.

I’ve been buying your expensive but delicious lattes since they were S$6.10. I stayed with you when you increased the price. In the scheme of things, an increase of a dime seemed reasonable.

But last month, on the 14th of October, I walked in and what did I find? You’d started celebrating Christmas. In mid-October. That’s not okay with me.

Then, to add injury to insult, when I paid for my drink, I found you’d increased the price of my latte. It was no longer S$6.20. Nor was the price increase just a dime.

We’ve been together a long time, but S$6.40 seems like too much for me to pay for my coffee.

I enjoyed that last coffee, though it seemed more bittersweet than usual. Then, as you know, I took some time to think. And I’ve decided to start buying my coffee elsewhere.

There are a lot of other coffee shops out there, you know? It’s not like I even have to go out of my way. It’s time for me to try something new. A coffee shop that doesn’t jump the gun on holidays or ask too much from me.

I have no doubt that others will still be lining up to buy your coffee, and I wish you all the best.

The newest fan of Toast Box

Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Ex-Major Jack Reacher gets in plenty of fight scenes in the Halloween-themed sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back, but this movie is as much a family drama as a thrilling whodunit. I liked it less than Jack Reacher (2012) because it was less funny.

Reviewers seem to rate this sequel adequate at best, which means it’s unlikely this book series will continue on film. (Tom Cruise will just have to find another way to make money.)

The premise is that when Reacher arrives in Washington D.C. to meet up with Major Turner, a friendly woman he’s only spoken with on the phone, he finds out that she’s been arrested by the military police. He doesn’t believe for a minute that she’s guilty. Those who framed her are dangerous and determined to keep their secret safe; Reacher has to rescue Turner, protect a girl who might be his daughter, and solve the mystery that cost two of Major Turner’s men their lives.


Keep reading for a detailed plot summary with SPOILERS in the form of a beat sheet in the style described in Blake Snyder’s Save the Cat.

Continue reading Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)

Strengthsfinder 2.0 by Tom Rath

The purpose of the book Strengthsfinder 2.0 is to help launch a new version of the Clifton StrengthsFinder online test that tells you which five of the 34 themes of talent are strongest for you. The book contains a short introduction and then dives into descriptions of the themes plus tips for people who have them or people who work with people who have them.

The tips are new, but the descriptions and examples are the same as in Now, Discover Your Strengths, which talks a lot more about the rationale for the test and is longer, more comprehensive, and in fact more interesting.

The takeaway is that people are different, and should get better at what they’re good at, rather than feel bad about (and waste time and effort trying to “fix”) their weaknesses. That idea is more valuable, if less specific, than finding out or understanding what your specific strengths are.

Or maybe I just think so because I have the “analytical” theme; those who have the “individualization” theme will be interested in their individual results! (Since I bought both books used, and the included codes had already been used, I haven’t actually taken the test…)

When and Why I Read It

I enjoyed Now, Discover Your Strengths. This is another book about the same businessy personality test. Got it cheap in Colorado.

Genre: nonfiction (management / psychology)
Date started / date finished:  01-Nov-16 to 07-Nov-16
Length: 174 pages
ISBN: 9781595620156 (hardcover)
Originally published in: 2007
Amazon link: Strengthsfinder 2.0