Myth Buster: That Plasticy Smell

So, recently I got a new water bottle to replace my rusting "stainless steel" [they didn't say anything about rust though] water bottle in the office.


Just like me, my new water bottle was strong, sleek, clear and simplistic.





However, we did have our differences. And the biggest difference was that its insides had a very plasticy smell. Every time I opened it up to take a sip of sky juice, I was reminded of my mother's old tupperware collection.

Yucks~!


So I did a little research online, and found about 6,712,531 solutions on how to get rid of plastic smells in containers. But 1 method in particular caught my interest. And the thing is that this particular method of clearing plastic smells seem to be appearing on many different forums and discussions.


Either this one person is a die hard fan and promoter of this method, or somehow, it really works. Want to know what was the secret method?


They say if you stuff newspaper into your container and leave it for 24 hours or more, the smell would magically disappear!


It seemed so cool that I had to try it myself!


So the next day, for the first time in many years, I picked u a copy of Today newspaper while on the way to work.

Nope. This is not for my reading pleasure, but rather for my smelling pleasure.


And just before I leaving office for the day, I took the first 2 sheets from the paper, crushed them into 2 newspaper balls and stuffed them into my water bottle.


Lets let it sit for a day and see what happens...



Hmmm... The news paper suddenly became a little more tempting to read


So the next morning when I arrived in the office, I immediately took out my crushed balls and took a whiff inside my bottle. and guess what?


It smelt...


...


...


...


...


...


...


...


...


...

...

...Like Newspaper!


Well of course it did. I don't know what else you was expecting. [Duh~]


But here's the amazing part. After I took it for a good rinse, the plasticy smell was almost non-existent! Well, if you too a long, deep breath from inside the bottle and focused very hard on your sense of smell, you might get a tiny pinch of plastic smell. But hey, that good enough for me!

No more smells!


Now let's get scientific. Why does it work?


Well, newspaper is made from recycled paper and carbon right? And if you didn't know, carbon [or as the simple-minded folks call: charcoal] is once material that is very good at absorbing impurities such as dust, water and even smells. There are even air freshers and odor eliminators made from charcoal!


So there you have it. Here's the lesson for today kids: If you have anything that has a plastic smell you want to get rid off, one cheap alternative is to just crunch up a few pages of newspaper and stuff it them there for about a day or two. Oh, and remember to keep it covered.


Myth: Newspaper can get rid of of plastic smells in containers.
Verdict: Confirmed!


Cheers to non-plastic smelling sky juice!

N.E.Mation 8 Kicks Off with a Blast! Show some love for the Finalists!

Image taken from nemation.sg


Spare a couple of minutes to check out these cool animated videos from N.E.Mation 7:






Can you believe that they were created from scratch by students as young as 14 years old? Not to mention they had to complete the videos within the short span of 3 weeks! I really take my hat off to these kids. When I was 14, I was still playing with my ninja turtle and power rangers action figures. [Yes, I have a verrrryy long childhood]


What is N.E.Mation you ask?


N.E.mation! is a digital animation competition organised by Nexus for youths to express their thoughts on Total Defence. With more than 9,900 students participating since its inception in 2007, N.E.Mation is now into its 8th year. With some guidance from teachers and instructors, students with no prior experience in animation have been able to produce clips of broadcast quality to screen on free-to-air television. Some of these clips were even selected for international animation festivals and won several awards!


Image courtesy of nemation.sg


This year, 100 shortlisted teams of students had the opportunity to attend a 1 day training workshop and pitch their story ideas to a panel of judges. 40 of these teams where then selected to undergo a story clinic to improve on their storyboard and pitch their improved ideas to the judges.

The selected teams are then cut down by half to 20 teams, and these teams got to attend an animation and story-boarding workshop. And finally, after another round of pitching, the top 10 finalist teams get to produce their very own animation clips with training and mentorship by Animagine.


So without further ado, let me introduce our top 10 finalists for this year's N.E.Mation 8! Congratulations to all 10 teams for making it this far!


Image courtesy of N.E.Mation! facebook page


This year, students were asked to use their creativity to produce storylines centred on the theme of “Because You Played A Part”. The animation clips produced by the top 10 finalist teams will be judged by a panel comprising industry professionals such as Melvin Tan (Senior Animator, Blue Sky Studios). In addition, the public can vote for their three favourite clips come January 2014 at www.nemation.sg, Facebook or via SMS. And guess what? The winning team will win a coveted trip to visit a renowned animation studio in the USA!


The N.E.Mation 8 Blogger Ambassadors

This year, 5 bloggers were selected to be the online ambassadors of 2 finalist teams each, and apparently I was selected as one of them! The 5 Blogger Ambassadors are: [by alphabetical order] Karen, Mint, Sarah and Yingzi. Remember to check out their blogs for updates on their teams and support your favourite teams too!


On Wednesday evening after work, I went down to Nanyang Polytechnic to check out how my teams were doing. Oh, in case you didn't know, all the 10 teams would be calling Nanyang Polytechnic's NYP Lounge their second home for the coming 3 weeks. Each team has a little tent [okay, not really THAT little] set up in the Lounge where they will be working from 9am to latest 9pm everyday for the coming 3 weeks to get their animations ready for the final voting, which consists of 50% public voting and 50% judges vote.


I arrived at Nanyang Poly's Lounge and right in front of the main doors was a N.E.Mation! 8 backdrop. Well, of course I had to take a photo with the backdrop!




And the first thing that I saw when I walked into the Lounge was this...




Woah! Poor teddy bear looked like he literally lost an arm and a leg during some violent war. [A Tug-Of-War maybe?] Oh, and that's the most expensive tissue I've ever seen in my life. $5.55 for 1 piece of tissue paper! I was kinda broke at that time, so I didn't have enough to buy a tissue from him, but I still gave him a small donation. [hey, it's the thought that counts right?]


On one of the walls at the side of the entrance, I spotted our top 10 teams! Can you guess which 2 teams have the honour [more like tragedy] of bearing with my nonsense as their ambassador?


NEmation8
Here's another shot of all the top 10 finalists


NE8C10: Team Wayne Stark Co

The first team to be introduced to me was team Wayne Stark Co.


From left to right: Tabatha, Jee, Megan and Gillian


This bunch of bubbly girls from Methodist Girls' School seemed shy when I was first introduced to them, but it only took them a short while to warm up to me, and from then on, they were all laughter and giggles.


Tabatha [we shall call her Tab from now] is crazy over anime, and goes ga-ga every time her favourite anime characters appear on the desktop wallpaper of their laptops.

Jee is in love with anime and space. She even has her own space suit! Wow!

Megan [whom everyone pointed to when I ask who was the leader] was the one who was never short of words, and also the one who came up with the team name.

Gillian [Gill] was deemed to be the best at drawing [by the rest of the team]

See girls! I told you I would get your names right by the next time we met!


The thought processes of these girls are so "all over the place" [in a good way], just like little bouncy balls bouncing all over the place! And this results in them always saying the most random and funny stuff! Check out their self-introduction on their blog and you will know what I mean.




Anyway, after they managed to calmed down [a little], they walked me through their storyboard and programs that they were using to create the animation. They even let me disfigure play around with the face of one of their animated characters!


These girls are so talented at drawing cartoon figures! I can't even draw a proper circle on a piece of paper, but these girls can come up with cute little cartoon humans that can move and interact with each other!


They were so good that they even agreed to draw a sketch of me with the group! So pro right! And do you know what the best part was? They completed the sketch in less than 5 minutes! And here is their masterpiece:

Can you guess which one is me?


Okay, so this masterpiece may not have been their best work of art, but I can assure you, the actual animated cartoons in their animation are really good!


Also, they even tried to bribe me offered me a drink from the mini-fridge that had drinks to keep our finalists hydrated and energized! Oh, and this piece of paper was stuck on the door of the fridge:

Notice the fun fact at the bottom!


However, the girls and I were out to prove the fun fact wrong!! Cheers to Wayne Stark Co and Milo!




So remember to give your support to this bunch of bubbly girls by liking their team on the facebook app: https://www.facebook.com/nemation/app_173234789528248

Also, follow their antics on their official twitter acount: @WayneStarkCo_ [With the underscore! They had their first account @WayneStarkCo removed, and did not want to tell me the reason why!]

And remember to share the love with their team hashtags #NE8C10 and #WayneStarkCo on twitter and instagram!





NE8C04: Team Hashtag

The next team introduced to me was a group of cool boys from the School of Science and Technology, Singapore. [SST]


From left to right: Me, Matthew, Joshua, Ryan, Ben, and Alvin [their quirky instructor]


The boys from SST also took part in the N.E.Mation! 7 competition last year, but only managed to get to the top 20. However, this year they have successfully made it to the final 10! Good job guys!


Just by chatting with the boys over a few minutes, I could already tell that they where a bunch of fun-loving guys. Almost every other sentence was a joke or something funny/lame/lame-funny/funny-lame [are those even real words?] that would result in the whole group of us laughing at the top of our lungs. Don't believe me? Check out their blog entry on Meditation.

Image courtesy of nemation.sg


However, behind all the fun and games, you could also tell that the team worked like a well-oiled machine. Ben and Matthew were like the eyes and ears of the team, while Joshua and Ryan where the arms and legs of the team.


This year, team Hashtag will be one of the two finalist teams that will be incorporating LIVE action sequences into their animations! This means that there is going to be some real humans interacting with animated objects in their final product! And because you need LIVE people to do LIVE recording, there was a cool blue screen set up at 1 section of the production area for them to do their recording!


Image courtesy of N.E.mation! 8 facebook page


Wait, don't they normally use a green screen for this type of recording? Wondering why their screen is blue in colour instead of the normal green screen? Stay tuned for my next post to find out!


Anyway, they kept saying that their team was considered to be one of the teams that had it easier than others because they required less work on animation as compared to the other teams. Well, if you ask me, having to manually step through 1000+ frames of combined live recording and animation and do the minor adjustments is no simple feat at all.



Along with the help and guidance of their instructor, Alvin, I'm sure they will be able to come up with something amazing.


Oh, and did you spot their mascot yet? If not, go back and take a closer look at the photos above! If you look hard enough, [actually, you don't really need to look that hard] you would notice a cute little green dinosaur in most of their photos. And his name is called Substitute! This cute little green dinosaur was named after the pokemon skill of the same name.

Image courtesy of nemation.sg


Don't be fooled by his cutesy persona and tiny size. He has a huge heart of passion and is a fierce competitor when it comes to supporting his team!


Remember to support team HashTag by liking them on the N.E.mation! 8 facebook app!

Also, stalk them on their twitter account @TeamHashTag_NE and especially their instagram account hashtagNE8, as they always have lots of fun and interesting photos and videos uploaded there!

Share the love with team hashtag's team hashtag: #NE8c04 and #HashTag on twitter and instagram!




Stay tuned next week for more updates on these hardworking kids' progress as well as a sneak peak into their production and animations!

The launch of the new World of Sports Membership Card, and the retirement of my Wings



As most of you humans would know, I am quite a fan of rollerblading. [it's actually called inline skating by the way, Rollerblade was a popular brand of inline skates] I even used to frequent East Coast Park on weekends [before the government took back the stretch of shops around the MacDonalds area] to enjoy some quiet me-time while cutting through the air on my black-silver-and-orange wings.


It was a really good way of running a sweat without getting out of breath, as well as a great way to take your mind off things and relax. Plug in to your favourite playlist and it's like you got yourself a perfect little hamster ball that allows you to wonder around, but yet protects you from having any real human interaction with the humans around you.


I bought my K2 rollerblades [which I have affectionately termed as my Wings] around 4 to 5 years back, and have been with me for the longest time. However, due other work and other commitments, they have recently been sitting at the corner of my shoe rack for way too long.


Image taken from World Of Sports


Luckily, World of Sports gave me a chance to strap on my wings again at the launch of their new World of Sports Membership Card event. Yes, if you didn't already know, World of Sports is launching their new and improved membership card!


For just $49.00 a year, members can look forward to huge savings from exclusive in-store promotions and discounts all year round. Not only that, the membership also allows you to enjoy exclusive member discounts and privileges with partners such as Crowne Plaza Hotel Changi Airport, ONLYasthetics and Natural Healings, just to name a few.


But wait, thats not all! Upon signing up, all new members get to immediately take home a HEAD duffle bag, a Columbia toiletries pouch and a HEAD water bottle worth a total of $111.70! That's already more than double the membership fee!




The launch event included a rollerblading masterclass from the good people at Inline X, where a couple of rollerblading instructors would teach us rollerblading tips and tricks tailored to suit our individual current skill levels. How could I miss out on a session like this? I dug out my wings and brought them along to work, so that they could accompany me to the event venue at Novena Square that evening.


When I arrived at the open area outside of Novena Square, the guys from Inline X were getting ready for our rollerblading session. They even brought 2 entire baskets of rollerblades for those who did not have/bring their own personal blades!




The organisers also introduced us to a new brand of socks that will "make you not want to wear any other brand of socks once you have tried it!" [Quoted from Chad, the organiser]


Image taken from thorlo.com


Introducing Thorlos socks! These socks are clinically-tested and proven to provide better protection and comfort than regular socks. The difference is in the varying density of the padding at different areas of your feet.


The socks are designed to be densely padded on the ball and heel of the feet, where the impact forces are usually the highest, while less dense padding is used in the arch area for a more secure fit. Don't believe me? Take a look for yourself!


Branding. Just so that every knows you are wearing Thorlos socks :) 


Flip it inside out and you will immediately see the difference in the thickness of the padding at the ball and heel area as compared to the arch area.






Using their Engineered Padding Technology (TM), the dense padding is made out of tens of thousands loops of their exclusive Thorlon yarn and other proprietary yarn blends. I must admit that it definitely felt much more comfortable than my office socks that I wore to the event. [Yes, I do have a full-time job that helps pay the bills]


As always, safety is the top priority during such sporting events. So the first thing to be done was to armour up!




Elbow pads? Check. Wrist guards? Check. Knee pads? Check. Helmet? I'll rather keep my hairstyle for now, thanks. 头可断,头发不能乱!


Mighty Mouse is all padded up and ready to go!


First up, the instructors divided us into 2 groups:
The "I need a fence as my brake" group [a.k.a. The Beginners], and the "I'm ready to fall down while trying new things" group [a.k.a. The Intermediates].


They then explained some basic rollerblading techniques and tips before breaking us into our groups.


Our dedicated instructors giving us some pointers before the start of our session, while Smith digs his nose and I dig my ear.
[Thanks for the picture, Chad]


The Beginners focused on the basic movements of rollerblading, such as moving, stopping, turning, and even how to fall down correctly so as not to hurt yourself.

The Intermediates went straight into more difficult stuff such as tippy-toe tricks and slides. I was amazed to find out that the guy in white [Sorry! I forgot your name] was previously from a roller-hockey team, but he had to stop because of a leg injury.


So for most of the 1 hour session, we were fooling around with the mini-cones placed all over the basketball court, trying our best to learn a new trick or two. Check out these videos taken during the event!


A demo by the Instructor, AK.



Now it's my turn to try!


Not too bad ehhh?


If you were sharp enough, you would have noticed that the blades I was wearing were not my own. That was because mid-way through the session, my wings got old and cranky and decided to snap on me.While I was trying one of the tricks, the top strap of my left wing snapped and broke into 4 or 5 separate pieces.





Here's a close-up. Using my professional paint skills honed over the years, I have edited the picture to show you where the strap was supposed to be.



My wings were broken and therefore, I had to switch to one of the blades that Inline X brought down for us... :'(


Well, at least we all had fun acting like secondary school kids at East Coast Park on a Sunday evening reliving the joy of being on rollerblades. Kudos to World of Sports and the organisers for putting together such an enjoyable event.


Of course, what would an event be without the obligatory group photo?


Thanks again Chad for the photo!


Although I had lots of fun and learnt a couple of new tricks at the event, I was also quite sad that my wings gave up on me. It must have been pissed off that I haven't brought it out for the longest time.


Yes, I know that I can get a replacement strap for about $15 at most rollerblade shops, but I guess its time to retire this pair of wings as it is obvious by the wear and tear that it has served me well beyond it's good years.


I reluctantly left my broken wings beside the rubbish bin under my block [yes, I carried a broken pair of rollerblades all the way home just to throw them away] and bid them goodbye.



Thank you for companying me through so many years of blood, sweat and tears. Literally. Maybe I should signup for the World of Sports membership card to get discounts for a new pair of wings...



R.I.P. My Wings. You will be missed.