Thursday, December 03, 2015

Rust-oleum Reflective Finish

Was thinking of getting some reflective paint for more visibility when riding at night. After searching for the different paints, I decided to try out Rust-oleum.

1) The Spray

To spray on the reflective paint, coat thin layers on your prepainted smooth surface. It leaves behind a translucent surface. The coating sticks well and coated in an even layer.

2) Drying

The spray paint dries well and in 15 seconds, you can apply a second layer.

3) Finish

The finish once dried provides a good layer of protection.

4) Working with the surface

I tried using 2,000 - 3,000 grit sand paper and wet sand the surface. It did not make the surface smoother, but create black blotches. These black blotches are hard to work with and hard to clean off.

This is like one of the Matt surface paints where you need to have a very good painting skill because when you make a mistake, you need sand everything off and redo everything again.

This is what I have done to my front fender

I have sanded down the reflective layer 3 times as I've oversprayed it the first time and I had dust stuck on the second time. It is a lot of work, but overall, it gives an ok Matt look. Does not look much different than the original paint, just a layer of Matt coating on top which looks like a pearl layer.

When you shine light on it in the dark, you can see the pearl in the paint reflect well. It works a lot better on light colored surfaces, but as you can see, it still work on black surface.

If you want a glossy finish, you need to coat a layer of gloss on top of the reflective paint, then wet sand and polish.

Overall, I'd say this is a relatively good product if you know what you are doing.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

The Peanuts Movie Review

If you have watch all the Charlie Brown movies, chances are, you might think you've seen much of this movie before. All the same Charlie Brown jokes can be seen in this movie; Charlie Brown flying a kite, Charlie Brown kicking a football, "The little red hair gird", Charlie Brown pitching and the baseball flys towards him making him naked, Snoopy's fantasies, etc.

Most Charlie Brown movies make you feel for Charlie Brown. Charlie Brown fails at everything he does, and does not give up. Most of the other characters are very supportive of Charlie Brown and anticipate his failure, and when Charlie Brown succeeds, it becomes newsworthy.

I'd like to say that this animation of Peanuts is done pretty well. It still feels very much like a Peanuts comic strip, but with 3-D. It‘s also a neat extension of Schulz’s style, but the 3-D makes Pig-Pen's dust look AWESOME.

I like the way the pace of this movie is going and how the stories, especially Snoopy's fantasy is somewhat linked to the storyline unlike other Peanuts movies. The storytelling is spot on. The Snoopy sequence, though non-verbal tells a lot of the story without saying a word.

This movie is also much less dark. With Schulz, Charlie Brown's BIG failure and bittersweet endings in a boy named Charlie Brown, can be a rather depressing movie to watch, but this Peanuts movie, which feels much like a more upbeat reboot of all the Charlie Brown movie reveals Charlie Brown's virtues and eventually having the Little Red hair girl noticing him.

This movie hasn’t been made exclusively for adult nostalgists, many of the kids liked the movie and it is set to inspire a new generation of Peanuts and Snoopy fans.

Overall, this is a great movie, it is actually quite inspiring and feel good at the end. With the good editing, pacing and storytelling, this movie is enjoyable to watch.

Overall: 8/10

-- Robin Low

Shinagawa Prince Hotel Review

I have been in Tokyo several times and this is a pleasant surprise. Shinagawa Prince hotel is a pretty great hotel for about US$100 a night (on Sunday) The room size is surprisingly big for a Hotel in Tokyo area.

Shinagawa Prince Hotel is located about within a 3 minute walk of the Shinagawa station which has Yamanote line which can bring you to popular destination like Harajuku, Shinjuku and Shibuya. The hotel is also connected to a shopping mall with a foodcourt, cinema and a bowling alley.

The rooms are relatively big, and the toilet is very comfortable. Unlike many other 3 - 4 star hotels, this hotel provide toothbrush, hairbrush and razor as well. The only thing I'd like is bottled water, but there is a vending machine on the same level and you can get free ice.

I am impressed by the tour coaches that arrive and there are even several tour coaches with wheel chair access that come to this hotel. From Haneda or Narita Airport, the Airport Limousine located at all the different terminals come directly to this hotel, making it very convenient to arrive for your first night or leave on hour last.

You have a big choice for breakfast at several restaurants in the mall, including "Top of Shinagawa" a restaurant on the 39th floor, overlooking Shinagawa. The buffet choices in most of the restaurants are pretty good.

Overall, I'd say this hotel is pretty good value for money. My stay at this hotel is pretty descent and I look forward to come back again.


Location: 8/10
Room: 8/10
Price: 9/10
Breakfast: 8/10
Service: 8/10

This is good value for money.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Opening of Coney Island - Singapore

Coney Island is Open to the public again. I visited Coney Island on Oct 12, 2015.

This is not a very convenient location. From the Punggol MRT station, you still need to take a SBS Bus 84 to Punggol Settlement and walk about 1km to the west entrance.

On Google, it is called Serangoon Island. from the map, it is not too far from Punggol MRT station. The LRT line to Punggol Point is not open yet.

The 7-11 store is also our of any cold drinks, so remember to bring your water perhaps from somewhere else like at the MRT station.

Coney Island is basically an island without any electricity. It is said to be open from 7am - 7pm -- perhaps because there is no power on the island. Not to worry however, you can still get phone signals.

One thing to note: the pathways are very narrow, and with a lot of cyclists, it can be a place where kids can get injured, and this is not a very friendly location for an ambulance to come.

On the Island, you get to see Pulau Ubin and Pasir Gudang... And be careful when answering phone calls because you may get Malaysian Roaming on certain parts of the island.

What to see there?

Errr... Nature? There are monkeys, a disturbed bird of prey? Casuarina trees? Perhaps a lone cow which is rumored to be on the island? Because of the haze and the crowd, I did not see much other animals.

Coney Island was previously owned by the Aw brothers of Haw Par Villa fame. They built a beach villa which fell into disrepair. The building is structurally sound, and open to public visit via guided tours.

Reminder: The island is 2.4km long and the toilets is at one end of the island. So please visit the toilets before going to the island.

My advice: Don't go during the weekends. The huge crowds is a big turn off. The kids who visit are disturbing the animals on the island and despite their parents shouting at them, the kids are still throwing sand on the monkeys at the beach... Lots of cyclists cycling on narrow paths which are not meant for cycling. There are only 4 shelters on the island, so either bring an umbrella or make sure the weather is good.

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Singh Is Bliing Movie Review

Singh Is Bliing is a story about a simple village boy, who loves his mom, respects his father and rescues a superspy hot girl.

Expect absolutely no story, unconnected scenes, politically incorrect humor and lots of fun. After the whole movie, you will ask, who cares about the plot, or is there even a point to this movie, but you will not care and simply have fun.

Again, it is October, and watching this after lots of beer after Oktoberfest is a good idea.

Overall: 6/10

-- Robin Low

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Pixels Movie Review

As kids in the 1980s, Sam Brenner (Adam Sandler), Will Cooper (Kevin James), Ludlow Lamonsoff (Josh Gad), and Eddie “The Fire Blaster” Plant (Peter Dinklage) saved the world thousands of times – at 25 cents a game in the video arcades. Now, they’re going to have to do it for real. In Pixels, when intergalactic aliens discover video feeds of classic arcade games and misinterpret them as a declaration of war, they attack the Earth, using the video games as the models for their assaults -- and now-U.S. President Cooper must call on his old-school arcade friends to save the world from being destroyed by PAC-MAN, Donkey Kong, Galaga, Centipede, and Space Invaders. Joining them is Lt. Col. Violet Van Patten (Michelle Monaghan), a specialist supplying the arcaders with unique weapons to fight the aliens.


Pixels is an interesting movie.

It really feels like any other Adam Sandler movie, and in this movie, he saves the world. This is a very hard movie to review because it is rather forgettable. However, I did have fun watching it.

Adam Sandler plays a blue collar worker who could not get over his loss when he competed in the world arcade championship and lost to Peter Dinklage. The character build up is not very strong however, and you do not really feel for the characters.

I would say this movie may appeal more to kids. It is a disaster movie that does not take itself seriously. Kevin James is an unpopular president and does try hard to create some funny moments. The special effects is pretty solid, but the whole story and comedy is mediocre at best.

The arcaders -- the team assembled to defeat the alien assault -- seems to eventually not require much else to defeat the aliens. There are many plot holes to overlook but it is a pretty fun movie to watch.

I would say wait for the cable release to watch this on TV instead of catching this in the movies. I'm sure there are many better movies to catch.

Overall: 4/10
Catch this on Cable.

-- Robin Low

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

1 Day Pokhara Itinerary (Nepal)

Pokhara is a great place to visit, but as the travel industry is not very matured, sometimes it is very inefficient use of your time to visit Pokhara as it may take you 3 days.

I've met several locals and got a good itinerary and here is one

Basically, the ""Tourist Bus" leaves early every morning at around 6 - 7am and it takes 6 - 8 hours to get to Pokhara for US$12 - US$15. Or flying to Pokhara cost around US$70 - US$100 and takes less than 1 hour.

So say you take the bus, and arrive at 2pm, you should look at this itinerary.

After checking into your hotel. Visit these sites.

1) Mahendra Cave (Kaski district)

Mahendra Cave is a cave located near Pokhara, Kaski district, close to the Seti River. It is a rare example of a cave system in Nepal containing stalagmites and stalactites. The cave attracts thousands of tourists every year. A statue of Hindu lord Shiva can be found inside the cave.

2) Bat Cave.

Batman may not be in, but you can surely visit this cave beside Mahendra Cave.

3) Seti River Gorge

This is rather close by and right beside the Gurkha Museum. The gorge is rather deep and there is an interesting canal that powers a Hydroelectric power plant.

4) Gurkha Museum

Full of interesting information on Gurkha, their origins and their deeds.


5) Devi's Falls

This is in a slightly different area, and you can take a taxi there.

Its a rather pathetic waterfall, in terms of size, but you need to visit this to appreciate the Gupteshwor cave more.

6) Gupteshwor cave

Across the road from Devi’s Falls, this venerated cave contains a huge stalagmite worshipped as a Shiva lingam. The ticket allows you to clamber through a tunnel behind the shrine, emerging in a damp cavern adjacent to the thundering waters of Devi’s Falls.

7) International Mountain Museum

Hey, you are in Nepal, the Himalayans is all around and you can mountain out here, learning all you need to know about the tallest peaks in the world.

8) Phewa Lake (Fewa Lake)

Yup, this is very pretty, and you should do this before sunset. Nice place to chill and get dinner after too.

9) World Peace Pagoda (Pokhara Shanti Stupa)

Pokhara Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist pagoda-style monument on a hilltop in Ananda hill of Pumdi Bhumdi Village Development Committee, in the district of Kaski, Nepal. Shanti Stupa in Pokhara was built by Nipponzan-Myōhōji monk Morioka Sonin with local supporters under the guidance of Nichidatsu Fujii, a Buddhist monk and the founder of Nipponzan-Myōhōji. Shanti is a Sanskrit word meaning peace, also widely used in Nepali and Hindi language, and Shanti Stupa means Peace Pagoda. Shanti Stupa is the shrine build as symbol of peace. The spot situated at the height of 1100 meters on the Ananda Hill was chosen by Nichidatsu Fujii and he laid the foundation stone as well with the relics of Buddha on the hilltop on 12 September 1973. Nepal has two of the eighty peace pagodas in the world: Shanti Stupa in Lumbini, the birthplace of Buddha and Shanti Stupa in Pokhara. Shanti Stupa in Pokhara has also become a tourist attraction. It provides a panoramic view of the Annapurna range, Pokhara city and the Fewa Lake.

The view from up there is great, and you need to take a boat across the river. Great place to watch the sunset.

10) Dinner near Phewa Lake

Lots of interesting place for food and to chill.

11) Sarangkot

Sarangkot is a village and famous tourist destination of Nepal located inside Sarangkot Development Committee in Kaski District Gandaki Zone. At the time of the 1991 Nepal census it had a total population of 5,060 with 1,010 individual households.

This is a fantastic place to watch the sunrise and see Annapurna. Just go up, you won't regret. Its a long way up, so make sure you arrive much earlier than the sunrise. I left hotel at 4am and arrived at 5:30am and watch the sky change colors.

12) Bindabasini Temple

Bindabasini temple or Bindhyabasini Mandir is of great religious importance to Hindus living in the Pokhara region. It is a vital hub of religious fervor. The temple itself is dedicated to the Hindu goddess Durga, who is Pokhara's chosen guardian deity. Durga, also known as Shakti or Kali has numerous manifestations and at the Bindabasini temple she is seen as Bhagwati, a blood-thirsty aspect of the goddess. Durga appears in the form of a Saligram. A Saligram, according to Hindu mythology is an propitious stone. It is said that the temple was created after the goddess ordered king Khadag Bum Malla to set up a her statue here. The Bindabasini temple was then founded in BS 1845. Since its establishment, Bhagwati has been an object of worship here on a daily basis. Animal sacrifices are typically presented at the temple on Saturdays and Tuesdays.

There you go, you can visit more than 10 sites in 1 day when you go to Pokhara. Schedule is rather tight, but it can be done.

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-- Robin Low