Week One

Haven’t been updating much these few days, the first week of school has been.. enriching I guess? Really dreading modules that I’m reading this semester, especially the higher-level modules – CS4243 Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition and CS5237 Computation Geometry and Applications. The concepts taught in these modules are really chim (slang for ‘hard to understand’) and I foresee myself having a tough time coping with these subjects. 😦 And I haven’t even begun to list the other Mathematics modules..

I didn’t dance for a week (as I went back home last week) and I could already feel myself losing some control over my body – my movements feel less sharp and controlled. I guess dance (or probably any physical activity in general) is really routine-based, in that you have to regularly practice and get used to your body to maintain your ability. It’s tough in the midst of busy school work and my part time job, but I guess it’s worth it because it’s so much fun.

Also, I decided to attempt the O School Recital audition. I know it’s gonna be a crazy commitment if I do get in, but hey, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger right? (Hi Prof Ben) It’s really one of the few chances that I don’t want to miss right now, especially since this year the recital dates are a week after examinations, which means I can fully focus on my exams first. 🙂

I’m really trying my best not to live in my memories.

Digimon Tamers

Again thanks to my good friend Wilfred, I rewatched Digimon Tamers. It was a series that I largely missed during my childhood; I remember that the show was aired on TV at 9am on Sunday mornings, and I had tuition at the same exact time, thus I only got to catch it when the tuition classes are cancelled.

The rewatch really gave me a different impression of this series. The Digimon Wiki says that this series has a much darker tone than the other ones, and I really agree – it really isn’t your daily Digimon digest with the main character being super brave and fighting the battles. Instead, I was treated to really awesome character development (if you’ve been reading my blog, you know that I love character development) of the 3 main characters, as well as a few Digimon in general. The series also attempts to explore the possibility of a world that intertwines with the internet (in their case, the Digital World), even going as far to use quantum mechanics to explain the concept of Digimon appearing in the real world.

That’s why I really love this series after watching it – it’s very real, in my opinion. You really see the main characters and their Digimon partners grow in personality throughout the show, and there are very appreciable concepts to be learned and understood.

The things I liked in particular –

  1. Impmon.
    Probably my favourite Digimon in the whole show – Impmon himself had a storyline, about how he hated humans due to his bizarre experiences when young, and how the innocence and forgiving nature of Juri Katou changed him from a demon into a righteous fighter. It was really a tough time for Impmon throughout the show as he goes through a series of events that made his will falter and made him doubt himself, but made him awesome in the end.
    And did I mention how awesome Beelzebumon’s design is? I think I just did.
  2. Ruki.
    I thought Ruki was a character that exemplifies children that keep to themselves and have difficulty displaying their emotions. Along with her problematic relationship with her mother, some children might be able to relate to her. But maybe they’re too young to do the relation.. Anyway, Renamon is too cool.

  3. Digimon Sovereigns.
    Really cool concept about how Digimons, beings created by humans, chose to take on the shapes of gods from the Chinese/Japanese mythical legends as they evolve into higher beings. They along with the ‘Deva’, which follows the concept of the 12 Chinese Zodiacs, are one of the main antagonists in the show. Of particular note is Zhuqiaomon, who had different ideals about Digimon evolution but stopped fighting the Digimon Tamers, to face the ‘true enemy’ together with them.
  4. Special mention to Guilmon, where the game designers actually managed to make him really cute despite his dinosaur appearance. 😀

I thought what’s bad about Digimon Tamers, ironically, is the fighting itself – most of the time when one Digimon attacks, the attacked Digimon just.. stand there and get hit. I know it’s only 2001 at the time of production but I’m sure the animations could be made better! The only fight that was actually worth watching was Dukemon and Beelzebumon’s battle. And that’s just 1 episode out of.. 51? Oh man.

If you’re looking for a relaxed series to watch, I would definitely recommend this – 20 minutes per episode, enough for a quick break from your work. 🙂

Rag

In my fourth year, I guess it’s a series of unfortunate events that ultimately led me to missing the grand performance tomorrow.

Rag. A dance performance combined with a float built by sweat and blood (ok not so serious) over the short term of 3 months, showcasing the beauty of a parade vehicle constructed mostly of recycled materials. It was really, an experience like no other.

I remember wanting to join rag dance in Year 1, but interestingly there was no shortage of dancers (an occurence in the future years) and so I decided to help out as a.. helper (facepalm word choice), carrying the dance mat as a decoration and also as a marking mat for the dancers. We were not allowed to watch the performance as we were tasked to stabilize the dance mat and look down all the time; but I could still feel the energy coming from the dancers, whether they had dance experience or not, and their whole heart dedicated to performing for the whole university.

In Year 2, I joined as a dancer. I was under fantastic guidance from two very experienced and dedicated choreographers, Wei Jie and Jie Lin. I respected them the most, for their unfazed determination to make the performance a great one, to guide us dancers and non-dancers alike into delivering a great performance, despite them being professional dancers who could’ve ventured elsewhere. It was extremely intensive training for two months, and during that time I got to know a bunch of friends whom I’ve always thought to be unfriendly – friends from the sports-culture divide that really made me appreciate Eusoff in a different light.

We swept Rag that year, winning 5 rag-related awards and only losing the Overall Champion trophy. I remember shouting so hard, cheering with my fellow dancers. That feeling of.. awesomeness cannot be described.

Year 3. My good friend Wilfred had asked me to co-choreograph the next Eusoff-Temasek Rag (the inter-hall collaboration started that year), and I was faced with a daunting decision to make – without any prior experience, would this be a correct choice? Regardless, I decided to try. It was a tough ride, but it was worth it as hell. I learnt a lot about choreographing, blocking, and managing a group of dancers. I learnt that when it comes to putting an awesome show together, people from Eusoff and Temasek can put aside their differences and competitiveness (we are rivals in the sports games). I made a group of really, really awesome friends from Temasek Hall, that I really still treasure. Shoutouts to Joy, who worked with us through crazy Chingay despite her extremely crazy schedule juggling all her dances and productions. 🙂

Year 4. I have to admit that I regret not making the time to go down and watch practices, and missing the rag preview, and missing rag day itself, despite it being such an important part of my life in the past 3 years. I really hope that when I watch the performance video, I will experience the awesomeness of being part of Eusoff Rag again. 🙂

If you’re still reading, thank you. If you’re a ragger/rag dancer, all the best for rag tomorrow (SLEEP!). Rag is, awesome.

Photo credits: EusoffWorks

home sweet home

Haven’t been updating the previous days because I’m currently relaxing in Malaysia, accompanying my parents. I haven’t been home for quite some time so it’s a good break for me!

Went out to do some shopping these few days, and I realised that Malaysia fashion might just have some hope after all 😛 Malaysia’s clothing designs are more ah-beng compared to Singapore, as they tend to be more flashy and contain a lot of graphics in an.. attempt to be cool, I guess, but the fashion is pretty yesteryear to me.

And I couldn’t find the shoes I want – I needed white/black based shoes for my dance performance, and the shoes with designs I want are always out of stock for my size (US 7.5). I guess my foot size is popular around here.. Oh well.

On a side note, if you haven’t, do check out http://about.me. It’s a pretty cool website! 🙂

Windows 7 Customizations

Was trying to get dual-boot working on my VAIO P today (It was tough because I forgot I was supposed to install Windows 7 before OS X), and I realised that I’ve always been repeating the same small tweaks to my new installations of Windows 7 on my computers. Personally I like the tweaks as it removes small annoyances that get in your way sometimes.

1. Login directly into Windows 7 without entering password

A password is always useful as a means of protection (and for my case, I need it for Remote Desktop, which I use a lot), but I personally dislike the idea of always having to type my password at the login screen on every boot, especially since I’m the only user of my computer. This tweak accomplishes that easily, and I find it really useful.

2. Disable black overlay when User Account Control prompts appear

I think it’s not very safe to disable UAC (this is open to debate, I guess) as I think it acts as a layer of protection for you before opening any applications, and is also an extra ‘check’ in case you accidentally open the wrong app (sometimes I do). One thing that I don’t like about it, though, is the black overlay that always appears with it:

Not exactly the correct Windows 7 build but I don’t know how to take screenshots in secure desktop -.-

The overlay actually disables Windows Aero in the process and kinda slows down your computer (especially on my netbook). The instructions in the above link removes the black overlay so as to provide a prompt that is less intrusive, in my opinion.

3. Manage Action Center messages

The Action Center is a little notification tool that tells you when your system settings for updates and antivirus matters are not optimal. Personally I like it when it tells me that my antivirus is out of date, but not when it tells me that Windows Update is not set to automatically download and install updates. I would like update notifications, but I choose when I want to download them. Please.

You can actually customize Action Center messages by following the above link and removing notifications to things you don’t want to be reminded about. Pretty useful IMO.

Any other tips and tricks you can share with me? 🙂

Total Recall

As part of our gay date special, me and buddy Jason decided to catch Total Recall yesterday. Surprisingly there wasn’t a lot of audience even though it’s the 2nd day of showing – we managed to get pretty central seats!

Image

I thought the trailer looked pretty cool, and the concept of the movie is quite smart too – you have your guy with his memory erased, and as he start to remember things he realises that he’s not your typical worker, but some awesome secret agent. Possible spoilers ahead!

The movie was pretty.. meh. I won’t say it’s bad as the action scenes are done pretty well with nice CG, but the plot feels lackluster mostly – some loopholes here and there. At the end of the day there wasn’t a lot of character development and that led to the weak personality shaping of the main cast.

I thought the 3 main actors/actresses (Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel) didn’t really act well (possibly because there wasn’t really any room for them to showcase their acting talents in the first place). Especially – ugh – Kate Beckinsale, her character was really just another agent mindlessly trying to kill the main Doug guy the whole show. But she’s hot, of course. Along with Jessica Biel.

Really, this could’ve be an awesome show, but the development picking off from the end of the movie’s trailer onwards didn’t really do the idea justice. ><

Rating: 5/10

OSx86 on my VAIO P

With the extra time I had towards the end of my internship, I ventured into the world of OSx86 again and attempted another installation of Mac OS X Snow Leopard (10.6) on my little netbook. Even though I’ve tried to Mac-ify my VAIO P in the past, I felt the most satisfied this time as I was installing it with a purpose – I really wanted to use Mac for XCode (iOS programming), and I’m starting to like the Mac interface too.

The results of my hard work last week – my P running SL 10.6.7! All thanks to the awesome folks over at InsanelyMac, especially ryuu123, Thico Alves and soya. There’s lots of things that are not working though – brightness controls, almost any form of animation (the poor graphic card is not accelerated), and Flash and YouTube crashes the web browsers. However, the machine actually runs at acceptable speeds, and best of all, XCode 4.2 runs great! I was able to compile iOS 5.1 projects on it with some hacking.

Brought it out yesterday to do some web programming, and I’m happy that this 2+ years old netbook still allows me to code well. (Did I mention that the keyboard is in a class of its own?)

And I got that Cliptec Bluetooth mouse in the picture for only S$13.90 – awesome promotion from Challenger. 🙂