Dance

Dancing is difficult.

In order to dance well and look together as a group (in preparation for a dance performance), one of the most dreaded word in dance goes by the phrase of “cleaning up”. This means that the choreographer essentially reteaches the steps, but goes through each dance step in excruciating detail such that everyone will look the same. This includes the general height of the step, angles formed by the lines, head position etc.

Now one might ask – why doesn’t the choreographer just go through details the first time the dancers learn the steps? I’m guessing it’s because dancers tend to forget details if taught too much, from both physical and mental tireness (yes, dance is very mentally draining too). And so, the rough choreography is taught first to let the dancers get a general feel of the steps and the song. Even cleaning up needs to be gone through multiple times.

That’s why it’s really difficult. I went through a cleanup session today and I’m really drained now, and I know I’m not up to standard yet. Han Rui came to tell me that I looked really stressed and tense when I dance and I need to relax. True indeed, I think I really was focusing too much on the steps and too little on the feel of the song itself. Gotta work harder! >:)

Went out with my computing friends yesterday, and we spent an hour in HMV just walking around. Haven’t done that in a while and I realised how great it felt – just casually relaxing and listening to nice music played by the shop while I browse through the selection of music and movies. And it reminded me about how long it has been since I last listened to music properly. I need a day off with just my music man.

😉

The Dark Knight Rises

Expectations are bad. I had really, really high expectations for The Dark Knight Rises.

I don’t think there are spoilers ahead.. Heh.

Don’t get me wrong, the movie was good. It’s just that I didn’t think it was very Christopher Nolan-like; the impact of the movie on me wasn’t as strong (or how I like to say mindfuck) as the other notable movies, like Memento. In fact, I thought the Dark Knight (2008) was better in this area.

But of course, I think I shouldn’t be reviewing the movie from this perspective – overall the movie was fantastic in its own way, the epicness of the whole situation and stuff. I guess I’ve been too addicted to movies with heavy thought processes such that I was expecting one from this film, but it didn’t go that way.

Rating: 8/10

Xperia Play

Everytime I take out my phone, my friends would go,

Aww man, why is your phone so thick!

I will go, yeah it’s thick, but because it’s a gaming phone. *slides open the gamepad*
My friends will now stare in awe.

Holy crap! That’s freaking cool! Are those touchpads? Yeah, they are. Can I play some games? Sure.. oh wait..

No, I’m sorry, there are no games on my phone currently.

Are you nuts? You have a Playstation Phone and no games on it?

No, I’m not nuts. I’ve had my Xperia Play for a little over a year (got it early July last year), and I must say my experiences with it have been mixed at best.

Continue reading “Xperia Play”

Brave

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I was very privileged to be able to attend the Singapore premiere for Disney’s newest animation movie, Brave, thanks to my awesomely handsome friend Luke (do check out his handsome blog if you haven’t!). It’s my first time watching a movie premiere so I was excited as hell. Possible spoilers ahead!

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Brave is a movie about a princess, Merida, who doesn’t like being one (having proper royal etiquette, living a ‘prearranged’ life or sorts), and she always can’t get along with her mother because of that. Instead, she loves hunting and adventuring, and in trying to turn her mother to accept her preferences, Merida attempted a spell on her mother which went horribly wrong.

Personally, I thought the movie was a pleasant one, but definitely not as good as other awesome Pixar movies. To me, the storyline feels a little forced, in terms of connecting the whole spell thing with discovering the mysteries that ultimately lead to the undoing of it. (Come on, its a Disney movie, of course it’s gonna be a happy ending..) The more action-packed scenes at the back were quite nice though, and there was adequate character development to display how Merida and her mum came to an understanding of each other. (I wished there were more, though.)

I couldn’t relate to the show as much as I do have a good relationship with my mum (thankfully, I love you mum!), and I thought that girls would relate better. Oh, and the 3 brothers of the princess were really cute! Kinda reminds me of the small girl in Despicable Me. 🙂

My rating: 7/10

Windows 8 Release Preview

So I finally had the chance to settle down and install Windows 8 Release Preview on my VAIO P (VGN-P15G).

Installation was a breeze – I made the installer on a USB Stick and installed it under 30 minutes (fresh install) when I was having afternoon tea @ McDonald’s. Microsoft has really done a good job streamlining the installation process, it’s really no trouble at all going through the installation (remember the days of XP where you have to go through lots of.. shit).

Most of the stuff worked right out of the box, except –

On every fresh boot, Windows restarts at login screen.
This was one of the more peculiar problems I’ve encountered (it didn’t happen at Developer Preview or Consumer Preview), but it’s solved by disabling Fast Startup as detailed here. (It doesn’t slow down your boot time, or at least in my case)

Brightness Controls.
I had to go to the Intel website and download the newest version of the GMA 500 driver (for Windows 7), and run it in Compatibility Mode. Doing that will enable changing the brightness over the controls at the Settings bar, but the hotkeys don’t work yet. Also, I’ve noticed that performance (especially animations) is worse compared to the stock drivers.

Hotkeys.
You’ll have to download and install (in order) the Sony drivers as instructed in this website (thank you!), restarting as needed. This enables Fn+F5/Fn+F6 (Brightness) and Fn+F7 (Projector, also through Win+P), I haven’t tested others yet.

Trackpoint.
I have yet to try the Windows 7 drivers The Windows 7 drivers doesn’t work! It makes the middle mouse button lose any functionality, and the Alps configuration tab does not appear in Mouse Settings. The last I tried on the Consumer Preview, it didn’t work too. 😦

The two buttons to the right of the mouse buttons became Mute and Magnifier, respectively.

Overall it’s been quite a pleasant experience so far!

Update – More detailed impressions

I find Windows 8’s Metro interface to be quite pleasing on the VAIO P. The Metro Start menu looks crisp and sharp on the excellent screen of the P. I use it at normal zoom levels though, so I’m not sure what’ll happen if you use larger text fonts.

One feature that I’ve found to be rather nifty is the ability to snap Metro apps at the side alongside the main app you’re using, and that is something that the VAIO P can potentially take advantage of. Potentially, because most apps have a broken interface when you snap them at the side.. The only app currently that does it well is Messaging, which integrates with Facebook messages and looks good when pinned to the side.

Speaking of Messaging, I’ve encountered several force closes on it when I try to launch it through notifications from messages. That’s not a surprise since the Metro apps are previews and not final, but it’s really something Microsoft needs to fix.

Other than that hiccup, the other built-in apps in Windows 8 are pretty awesome. Once I’ve connected my Facebook account, the Photos app was able to immediately display my Facebook photos without any problems, and presented them in super-stylish Metro awesomeness.

The People app was also able to load my Google and Facebook friends, with Facebook updates integrated in to the updates area.

The Mail app was a surprise – while it didn’t sync my Gmail account properly in the Consumer Preview, it’s now able to display all my mail together with my labels. (I archive my mails and apply different labels to them using filters.) Calendar, on the other hand, did not play nice and only synced my main calendar in Google Calendar without all my other colored ones. 😦

Performance-wise, Windows 8 feels.. slow. It might be because I haven’t optimized and removed system services (like I did with Windows 7), but even the Metro apps don’t feel very responsive.. but it’s still acceptable, given that I don’t expect the Atom processor (that throttles itself down on heat buildup) to handle the CPU load. Don’t expect quality animations either – after all, the GMA 500 is quite the laughing stock with poor driver support. I could watch 480p YouTube videos in Google Chrome (non-metro) at acceptable rates though.

And that’s about it for my first-day experiences with Windows 8 Release Preview!

Without Twitter

I think I’m really quite addicted to Twitter, haha. Not in the sense that I will keep wanting to read the Twitter wall, but at some random point in a day a sentence will pop out in my mind waiting for me to tweet it. Things like..

Where the hell is the bus, I’m late!

*insert random song lyric here*

I love the Pokemon game music, it’s so well-composed!

and etc.

Twitter is really a network for all your thoughts throughout the day, I guess. Now that there’s nowhere for me to rant/emo/reflect, it’s all kind of stuck in myself, but I will deal with it for I have made a promise to myself to stop for at least a week. Hohoh.


Too addicted for my own good!

I still find myself typing ‘tw’ in the address box and Google Chrome autocompletes it for me before I know it, but I close the window anyway. I have discipline! 😛

Anyway, here’s a video about a collaboration between an awesome dancer and one of my favourite independent singers. 🙂

Priorities, gone wrong again?

I really hate it when I have schedule clashes.

It’s not even like I’m taking multiple activities and swarming myself with thing to do; you know it’s stupid when you try to arrange your gatherings around your dance practices, and then the dance practice have to have multiple changes in schedule that make you reschedule your gatherings. And in the end, you still can’t go for your gathering because of a clash.

Now who’s the responsible one here? Do I blame the choreographer for changing practice timings? No, I shouldn’t, because I’ve already agreed to commit to practices to prepare for the upcoming concert. But yet by going for the practice, I miss out a chance to meet up with this very specific group of friends, one that treats me really well but I feel guilty for because I’ve always been kind of neglecting them and their attention, due to my busy commitments.

You know how bad that feels?

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Also, I decided to quit Twitter for a while. It’s kind of funny when you suddenly don’t know how people are doing, but I guess it’s a good break for me.