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Showing posts from June, 2017

Movie Review: King Arthur (2017)

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The thriller for the movie looked interesting enough with lots of action so I thought how bad could a story of King Arthur be.
The movie is a complete departure from the legend of King Arthur. Modred was killed by Arthur’s father, Uther Pendragon, at the beginning of the movie. Excalibur is made from Modred’s staff; that was never the case in any of King Arthur’s tale before. In the past, King Arthur is crowned the king immediately after he pulls the sword from the stone but in this movie, he had to learn how to use the sword. Merlin did not appear in the movie, instead you have a mage that is more like the Beastmaster than a mage. Vortigern, Uther’s brother took over the kingdom.
The story was also very confusing. There was a point where he threw away the sword and then later he has the sword again. How does Arthur with a handful of comrades evade the whole army of Camelot and why does the army support Vortigern and try to kill the true heir of the kingdom.
The 2004 version of King Art…

Movie Review: The Mummy (2017)

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I decided to watch The Mummy because I was given a free ticket. I tried going yesterday but the cinema hall was full (except for the first two rows), so I decided to book the ticket online and went today.
The story was straight forward; an ancient princess made a pact with the devil and was sealed alive in a tomb. She is then set free by a person with questionable ethics who in turn was cursed by her. In the end, that person becomes a hero.
As part of the Dark Universe, there is a team specialized in seeking out monsters, study them and destroy them. The leader of the team is Dr Jekyll who has to inject himself with a serum periodically in order not to turn into Mr Hyde.
Tom Cruise plays Nick Morton who uses his position as a U.S. military officer to recover artifacts and sell them in the black market. His friend Vail appears to be there to provide some comic relief.
Overall, the movie was enjoyable but not very memorable.
Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this review.

Movie Review: Despicable Me 3

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My son wanted to watch Cars 3 but will only be released in August so we decided to watch Despicable 3 instead and I am glad we did.
The main villain of the show is Balthazar Bratt, who was a former child actor who portrayed a young super villain which was cancelled when he reached puberty. Gru was fired from the Anti-Villain League by its new leader because of his failure to apprehend Bratt. His minions thought that this would be a good opportunity for them to become villains again. They abandoned him after he flatly refused them. Only two minions remained because they were not present when the rest of the minions made their demands to Gru.
This set the stage for Gru to meet his long-lost twin brother Dru. They were separated when their father and mother divorced - each taking one of the twins. Turns out both parents were disappointed with the child they raised. The father was a super villain but Dru was not good at being one while the mother did not want Gru to be a super villain.
The…

Writing to Improve

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It takes practice to improve so that is why I try to write at least one article a day. However, I wonder whether I can do that without having a coach or without having someone to look over my writing and suggest improvement.

Tools like Libreoffice and Microsoft Office have spelling and grammar checking feature but they are not very effective. It failed to identify a lot of grammar mistakes when I tested the feature. Paperrater.com appears to be the best free tool that I am aware of that will help identify my spelling and grammar mistakes. The tool also rates on usage of bad word phrases, the use of transitional phrases, length of my sentences, usage of passive voice sentences, simple sentence starts, vocabulary and an overall grading.

Majority of my articles receive C grading and interesting enough so do many of the articles I have read online. It would be nice to improve get a B or A grade my articles but I have not figured out how. According to the FAQ, the rating is based on many …

PDF to Kindle

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Files in Portable Document Format (or better known as PDF format) are great. The format is universally recognized and what you see in terms of layout is the same no matter which device is used to open the file. This become a problem when you try to read these documents on a small form factor device like your smart phone. The display is either too tiny or if you enlarge the fonts, you will be faced with the problem having to scroll just to read a line of text.
Luckily, there is a solution. Amazon provides us a way to convert these PDF files into kindle format. In that format, the text will automatically wrap around within the screen improving the reading experience. In order to do that, just send the file as an attachment with the word “convert” in the subject line to your kindle device email address. Each device with the kindle app installed will have a unique email address available under the settings tab within “Manage Your Content and Devices” section. There is an option to edit and…

Love for Reading

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Ever since I was in primary school, I loved reading books. This continued through secondary school, college and also when I started working. I read all the technical books on programming from cover to cover even though most of my colleagues just read selected chapters.
However, I stopped after I found that reading had caused my eye to get very tired. It became worse after I found that one of my eyes was affected by cataract. After the cataract operation, I was forced to use only one eye when reading since the eye that was operated on could only be used to see far. I could not enjoy the pleasure of reading anymore. I then switched to audio book and later to podcast. It seems like a good substitute to reading (or so I thought).
A few years back, I found that I needed reading glasses; previously, I only needed glasses to see far. It just happened suddenly, my sight was blurred and I could not see close objects clearly. The optometrist confirmed that I needed reading glasses to see objects…

Constructive Dissatisfaction

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I came across the phrase “constructive dissatisfaction” while listening to Knowledge@Wharton podcast. It was on the topic of the four behaviors that define successful leaders where one of the CEOs defined his job is not to please the three groups of stakeholders (shareholders, customers and employees) but instead to keep all of them constructively dissatisfied.
At first I find it strange that he should say that but later decided that it makes sense, only those who are constructively dissatisfied will seek change and find ways to improve. If we are already happy and contented with what we already have then we will stay within our comfort zone. Many organizations like Blockbuster and Kodak have failed because of their failure to adapt and change. They remained within their comfort zone for too long.
We can also create the feeling of constructive dissatisfaction so that we are motivated to make changes in our lives and look for opportunities to improve. Simple dissatisfaction does not work…

Frugality Needs to Be a Family Culture

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Saving money can only be achieved if it is part of the family culture. It all started with my parents, they instilled the sense of frugality to me and also my children. I am lucky that my wife shares similar values as my parents and myself.
Being frugal doesn't mean never ever splurging and rewarding ourselves, it is fine to spend extra occasionally. What is important is the frequency of doing that and what we do the rest of the time.
Developing a culture takes time; in my case a lifetime. I learned a lot from observing my parents:
When possible, repair instead of buying a replacement. Cook at home instead of eating out. When eating out look for places that are less expensive. They often keep leftovers for lunch or breakfast. Eat together during dinner in order to reduce leftovers. Buy only what is needed. Use recycled items whenever possible. My mother used to sew our clothes (not so much anymore since we can get some inexpensive clothes in the market).
When everyone in the family shares …

Movie Review: Wonder Woman (2017)

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When the thriller first came out for Wonder Woman, I thought it would not be very interesting; I expected a dated and dull scene set in the 60s. After watching the movie today, I am glad the movie was totally different. It turns out to be one of the best movie from the DC universe since Man of Steel.
Since this movie tells about the origins of Wonder Woman, it contains some basic elements such as She was formed from clay (so she is not really one of the Amazons). Her first enemy is Ares, God of War. The first man she meets is Steve Trevor. Her primary weapons are the bracelet and the Lasso of Truth. She goes by the name Diana Prince.
I loved the pace of the story, where at a young age, she was already interested in learning to fight against the wishes of her mother. The mother finally relented but asked that her training be tougher than the others on the island so that she will be best and surpass her trainer.
Even though Diana was powerful and knowledgeable, she was very naive about the way…

Stock Option Trading

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The first time I heard of stock option was when I opened an account with a discount broker, however, I kept away from it because of the high risk stated in the disclosure form more than ten years ago.
I decided to learn more about stock options within the last six months, reading articles, watching YouTube videos and also listening to podcast on the subject. I was surprised to see the amount of information and sources on this topic. The trading strategies such as Iron Condor, Iron Butterfly, Butterfly Spread seems too complicated for me.
After reading through all the material, I decided to focus on the following basics: Options can be bought and sold. Options have a strike price, premium and expiration. Selling a call option means we may have an obligation to sell shares at the strike price (even when the market price is higher that the strike price). Buying a call option will allow us to get the shares at the strike price if the price of the underlying share reaches or goes above the stri…

Anime Review: Denpa Kyoushi

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Another title for this anime is “He Is an Ultimate Teacher”. In the beginning, the protagonist, Junichirou Kagami appears to be a slacker giving an excuse that he is ill (with a disease called YD - Yearns to Do) which means he cannot do anything unless it is something that he yearns to do. Instead of looking for work, he would just stay at home to play games and update his blog.
His sister was not willing to see his wasteful lifestyle helped him get a part-time job as a teacher in a local high school. In the school, he was faced with a few situations which piqued his interest allowing us to see his capability. The first was a girl who had a beautiful voice who wanted to be a voice actor. She was being bullied by three her classmates. He decided to help her because of the value he placed on voice actors (or gods and goddess to him). He was later fired from the job after being accused of being a molester, he took the blame because he wanted to protect a student of the school.
After being…