Haha I'm just posting this on a whim. Just thought of the blog when I was reminded for the umpteenth time by Twitter to "Take two minutes and get back on Twitter".
Somehow, I still prefer writing on a blog. I know, I haven't posted on this thing in nearly two years, and I've hardly posted at all these past few years, but it's not like I post on my Twitter account much anyway - something like 3-5 times this past year? Not counting conversations of course. It's somehow nice to know that what you write is NOT likely to be read, although it may be discovered by someone one day.
It's weird how I used to prefer it the other way around back in my teenage days.
Re dreams (again)
Today, I had a dream. I was at some place with err I think Coco and some law school friends. Probably a school. They had this event where there was some kind of obstacle course thingee set up. Lots of slides, and a swimming pool obstacle set up on their parade square using freakin' balloons as a barricade to keep the water in place. There was some kind of scoring system based on how long you take on each obstacle and prizes to be won - I guess it's something like Ninja Warrior?
So all of us go and sign up...except i realise that i forget my ticket. I call my mother (probably a reflection that i do this too often in real life 0.o) while the rest go ahead and give the course a try, and she tells me she'll pass the ticket to me. I wait a while, then someone tells me that the course is closing in ten minutes' time. I call her again, and i realise that she's on the way to Simei. Either she has a prior commitment or she thought the event was in Simei when it was actually in...Bedok? Or something.
So i dump my bag with my friends (who've somehow finished the course in that time) and buy another ticket to join in the fun. First obstacle involves dashing along some wide beam. There are quite a few beams laid side by side, so quite a few people attempt the beams together. I'm waiting behind someone, but when i attempt the obstacle that person suddenly disappears. It turns out that i finished the obstacle in record time. The organisers are impressed. The next obstacle requires me to do a roll back along the same beam. I do that, once again in record time, and then...nothing.
I go up to the counter to ask what's going on, and they tell me that i got disqualified because the sensors at the end of the beam recorded me twice before i attempted the roll - probably because i shuffled my butt a bit before starting. I tell them that i want to buy another ticket, but they refuse, telling me that they're going to close the course soon, anyway, so why don't i go join the awards ceremony instead?
I can't exactly remember what happens after that - except that i was trying to go somewhere - not the awards ceremony - and i proceeded to get lost in some other area. Maybe i was trying to attempt the course in secret? Then i suddenly wake up in the middle of the night, feeling very indignant over the bad end to the dream. I wanted to go blog about it immediately, before i forget the details of the dream (which tends to happen pretty often), but then i remembered that i had to go to work later on, so i just recited the details quickly to myself and went back to sleep.
Anyway, i'm just so pissed off at how my dreams are always like that. It always ends on a disappointing note. There will always be this temptation, whether it is completing the course in record time or reaching a location to meet people. Or there may be a pretty girl/woman who wants to sleep with me or something lol. I will try to reach the temptation but I will always fail either because of small obstacles in my way or because of constant interruptions.
I was thinking that i have some kind of character issue that prevents me from truly having fun or something like that, which causes me to constantly have these sorts of dreams. But it could also be a limitation of the mind or something like that. It's like, for this dream, my imagination probably couldn't build the next section of the obstacle course on time, and so my dream stops the fun right there and gives me a lame reason why i can't continue. Or it could be related to my mild inattentive ADHD syndromes; i can't ever get satisfaction because the stories in my head take time to develop (enough that the ending matters to me). And by the time they do develop, my mind has moved onto something else, another location and another story. This probably explains why there usually isn't a tragic ending in my dreams - just my satisfaction unable to be fulfilled because i keep thinking of new ideas on the side, and i either add them to my dreams as obstacles or i suddenly just shift the story to a new location, with a new plot. Either way, it's just frustrating and really doesn't help me look forward to sleeping at night.
9GAG is a magical place. I don't go to 9GAG very often - i see like maybe 1 photo a day - but anyway I haven't seen a single fight/flame war pop up on 9GAG before. And it's probably because most people understand that it's all about humour - so even the insults launched in an Apple/Google debate are oddly muted and never gets out of hand; it's as if the insults are interpreted as good-natured ones. And if a flame war is threatening to break out, there'll always be people chipping in with witty lines or jokes to diffuse the situation. Even the lame "grabs popcorn" line helps to remind people not to fight.
And i suppose Blogger still has its functions - no one posts stuff like this on Facebook, and what i just typed is too long for Twitter. Well, just saying. Okay, back to Part B homework...Oh, who am i kidding...
Damn can i just graduate already... X(
I've taken so much of this shit already...So why do I have to get hit with the biggest and smelliest pile of poop when i'm less than a month away from graduating from this nonsense??? Argh and what's worse is that i could have avoided this shitty schedule and shitting difficult take-home exams and research papers by just choosing another module.
And to think that i chose these modules only partially out of interest and also partially because i thought there'd be easier competition and also LESS WORK like wtf how dumb is that. I wish i'd taken one of those supposedly more USEFUL substantive mods with just some sit-down exam consisting of a hypothetical where i wouldn't even need to know every case in depth. Instead of one exam and maybe one take-home essay, i ended up with a class presentation, 2 semi-research papers, 1 full research paper, and 1 closed-book exam. ALL FOR THE SAME BLOODY NUMBER OF CREDITS.
*Gaah* this is hell; my paper is due at the same bloody time that my Korean oral exam starts like WTF am i gonna get any sleep that night or what. I'm so gonna drink that Ramune if i manage to survive on Tuesday. Someone please remind me in case i forget.
Some thoughts on religion
I was thinking about stuff just about 5 minutes ago while in the shower. We're seeing an increasing number of Christians and Catholics in Singapore these days (at least i kinda think so), and in my sleepy daze (i still haven't slept yet) i was thinking about how so many Christians i know feel so strongly about their religion and constantly discuss the Bible with fellow Christians and non-Christians too.
(This post might sound inflammatory, but i make no statement preferring one religion over another. I am proudly Chinese...and agnostic haha)
That got me thinking about my own religious background. I've been brought up (as most ethnic Chinese people are) in a Taoist religion. Or perhaps it is a mix of Buddhist and Taoist beliefs, i'm not entirely sure (personally i think it's Taoist with heavy Buddhist influence...or maybe just "Chinese". Let's just call it Taoist-Buddhist for now). Our family has Taoist-Buddhist funerals, we celebrate Chinese New Year the normal way (buying new clothes, visiting the Geomancer, among many other things), and we have our mooncakes in Mid-Autumn and stuff like that. But if i was asked what my religion is, i'd say that i am Agnostic. If they don't know what that means, i'd say i'm a Freethinker. I wouldn't call myself a Taoist or a Buddhist or a Taoist-Buddhist.
Why is that? Part of it is of course our English-speaking upbringing, perhaps leading to some language barrier between the "followers" and the priests. But i think it is more than that.
To my (very very limited) knowledge, the gist of the practice of my family's Chinese/Taoist/Buddhist religion appears to be the performing of rituals (e.g. offering food, burning hell money, certain other practices) for (mostly unnamed) gods and spirits and ancestors. These rituals are usually for their own rather selfish endeavours, and in return we can ask them to grant us luck - whether with career or the lottery - and good health. When someone in the family passes away, we perform rituals to ensure his/her safe and smooth transition to the afterlife, and at the same time slyly but respectfully ask him/her for lottery numbers. (Oh yah, and i don't even know how or from whom we derive our "luck" to get our wishes granted whenever we have lo hei during CNY.)
So to my mind, one of the big differences between the Taoist-Buddhist belief and Christianity is that Taoism-Buddhism prescribes certain rituals and tasks without really prescribing a holistic moral view. It seems apparent in the BAC reports i am being forced to read. While the Christian and Muslim religions - and even organisations of doctors that are (supposed to be) religiously neutral - argue strongly against things like abortion and the "killing" of embryos for stem cell research, or at least express a strong view on such matters, the Taoist, Buddhist, and Chinese communities don't seem to care either way and usually just support current practice or express utilitarian views and small concerns. They don't seem to be concerned with issues like "when does life start" - which then decides whether embryonic stem cell research "kills" lives, or even whether it is wrong to "kill" for such purposes, although i am sure that they'd never justify the killing of another human being except in very limited circumstances like in self-defence.
Taking this thought further: perhaps, to be more exact, it is not that Taoism-Buddhism does not prescribe holistic moral views, but that mere followers (like my parents) are not taught these views. We don't study any texts, nor do we go for regular "service" and listen to priests/pastors. We don't discuss why we HAVE to do what we do; our parents just tell us what to do, and briefly the purpose of doing such things, but we don't sit down together and debate the correctness of doing such things. And then we do the same thing to our kids. The focus seems to be always on the rituals and practices. Our parents, their parents, the Taoist-Buddhist priests and the Taoist-Buddhist organisations, seem satisfied as long as the rituals and practices are followed correctly and mechanically; we don't have to understand so much. Neither do we need to acquire broad principles from these rituals and apply them to everything that we do in life. At least that is how the religion has applied to me so far.
This focus on only rituals and practices seems to be the reason why Taoist-Buddhist practices have stayed alive even when so many people are jumping to another religion. It allows them to straddle two different religions. I know many Chinese Christians who still celebrate Chinese New Year the usual way. They follow the traditional practices when Chinese New Year or other festivals come rolling by, but ignore them on other days. They do it for fun (or just-in-case), but why bother shaping their lives around it if they don't know/believe how or why it is supposed to work? The obvious issue is then whether merely giving lip service by following rituals and practices is really sufficient to be considered a believer or a follower, and for how long a religious or cultural practice can sustain itself when the underlying rationales for it have been lost to history or lost in translation.
Interestingly, this kinda reminds me a bit of the political climate in Singapore today. It could be that we're all getting better and better educated, so an authoritarian government no longer works. We're demanding more explanations, more transparency, more accountability, just like how we're less satisfied with the Buddhist-Taoist teachings that seemingly don't tell us more than what we need to do. We want a fuller view of politics, and of the afterlife. Both need to move on, and to adapt, or risk becoming irrelevant to those who are not as privileged in receiving information or further teachings.
Well, just some thoughts.
I was accused by someone recently of being a chauvinist pig because i didn't want to watch The Hunger Games and claimed that it was because i hated stories and movies where a female is the lead and she beats guys up or is the number one computer whiz who beats guys up (and who usually happens to be good looking and bloody smart as well). I'm talking about stories like Salt, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Charlie's Angels, Blood+, etc. That got me to thinking.
I still don't think i'm a true MCP. Part of why i don't like such stories is because i find them incredibly unrealistic. An argument was made that my fantasy novels, anime, and video games are also incredibly unrealistic, but i think the key difference is that my stories are FANTASY ones. I have no qualms with fantasy worlds where females have a measure of dominance over men - for example the Aes Sedai in the Wheel of Time series where women have dominance (at least in the early stages) over men because only they could use magic. Oh, and Powerpuff Girls too.
(Oh, and i must mention that i like to cook and that i make my own sandwiches, thank you very much)
But those OTHER stories that i don't like tend to be set in the real world, bound by real world rules. There's no chakra or soul energy to back you up. So there is NO WAY you can look all pretty and slim and curvy (i.e. some fats there) and devoid of scars and muscles and still bash all the guys up in such dominant fashion using just martial arts (and these guys, being bodyguards, should have learnt some martial arts too). And this dislike for non-realism is addressed to male-dominated stories as well. For example, i've never really liked Rurouni Kenshin (the character not the anime) because he's so skinny and there's no way he can parry sword strikes full on with such a small frame. I'm not saying that women must forever be typecast into damsel roles - but if you want a girl to physically beat up macho guys, she's going to have to be uber-macho as well. Which usually also means physically unappealing.
So anyway, i'm not going to watch The Hunger Games either. To be honest, i think i overreacted a bit. The Hunger Games doesn't actually take guy bashing as far as the other stories mentioned above. In fact the story does seem to have a decent amount of realism in it. It was rather childish on my part. But i also think i overreacted because, whether or not it was intentional here, stories like The Hunger Games tend to be popular because of the same people - people who like the stories i mentioned in my first paragraph because of the trashy female-fan-service. In the case of The Hunger Games, i rather suspect that the author, being female, was probably "fan-servicing" herself.
And there is this particular person who likes trashy female-fan-service that kinda creates this interesting context for me. Let me describe this person: This person is MALE. He loves all the stories i mentioned in my first paragraph, seemingly more than those starring males. I interact with him quite a lot. I think part of the reason why he likes such stories is because he thinks that it is fashionable and "new age"/modern, therefore practically moral to not be an MCP - although he takes this to the point of becoming rather masochistically feminist. I also suspect that he was brought up in an environment where women WERE really treated like damsels in distress and unable to fight. Hence, to him, women are not really capable of doing much harm; so when a woman is a selfish aggressive bitch, she is just "strong-willed" and "fearless", and when she verbally abuses men using her "wits" she is "intelligence" and "wise". (This begs the question of whether this means he is actually the MCP...hmm.)
So this is probably the reason why i have such a drastically different mindset. I was brought up in an environment where women were never disadvantaged over men and never seemed like damsels in distress. I came into contact with these women-bashing-men stories at least as early as during my teens. And i also got quite a bit of verbal abuse here and there. So, to my mind, women are certainly capable of doing harm. Therefore, while I acknowledge that the two sexes are equal, i do get pretty cautious in granting affirmative protection to women that go beyond what is traditional and necessary, and i think that men who like women-bashing-men stories are just blind. Blind because women-bashing-men stories are treated as novel and interesting as compared to men-bashing-men stories - but after getting bashed all the time in the past, i just don't understand the novelty in it.
It all adds up. There are these women-bashing-men stories (whether mentally or physically) that seem highly unrealistic, yet are hugely popular because of the trashy female-fanservice they provide that would normally only appeal to females, yet appeals to certain men partly because of a mistaken conception of novelty and morality. Hence the overreaction. Anyway i'm off to study. Bleah.
I'm so stressed out right now. I've got a Korean test, a Biomedical Law submission, and a Public Administration meeting all on Thursday. And i'm performing in a musical on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. We're currently having one rehearsal a day among the other miscellaneous duties i have, like photo and video shoots (since i'm one of the main cast) and manning the ticket booth. So the musical takes up a few hours of my time each day. My latest rehearsal ended about an hour ago, after 1am. I have to wake up in 5 hours to go for a class with 30% class participation and I haven't read any of the issued readings. I'm going to have to do the same thing again on Friday. Even if i didn't need regular sleep to perform properly for my musical, and even if i didn't bother so much with Biomedical Law, i still won't have enough time to prepare for my Korean test.
On top of that, i'm playing a character that i detest in a story that i quite dislike, i have to solve my girlfriend's anger issues and i wasn't given season parking this semester, even though i'm surely among the people who really need it more. I have to spend a bonus 30 minutes a day walking up and down Botanic Gardens to my car that's parked quite far away, because there is no way i'm going to call a cab or pay $10-20 in parking fees when my rehearsals/lessons end. Earlier on, all the lights in the Botanic Gardens were switched off and i had to maneuver in pitch darkness after seeing that horror reel that Bing showed me.
These are all small-medium problems, but they really do build up in the worst ways. And of course as a typical "good" Singaporean youth i can't just release all this pressure by abandoning all my responsibilities. I'm mentally exhausted right now and i really should be sleeping. If i'm very irritable for the next few days, you can probably guess why. Unlike Mr Nathan Pok, i know how long i can keep this up, and unfortunately it's only going to be for a few more days.
Autumn update (Singapore has no seasons but who cares)
You know, i just delayed my sleep time by two hours because i wanted to (1) read another Biotechnology article before sleeping and (2) floss my teeth, but both activities were just too daunting and i'm just feeling so SIAN. So i just wander around online and didn't do much that was productive. 0.o This procrastination is really moronic. I'm such an imbecile.
Anyway, i can't believe that my last blog post was before the start of this school semester. Whoops. How did that happen. Well, a lot has gone on since school started. I had fun in Korea, i've got a job (or a training contract to be more exact) at a smaller-medium firm with a decent pay and a very nice atmosphere despite missing the train that the other NUS law students got on (by being overseas when everyone else was going for interviews...), i now know some basic Korean, and i've been doing IP-related modules to the point that i'm living and breathing IP...although that didn't stop me from getting a bad grade for my IP Law mid-semester test. Goddamn trademarks!
At least my Entertainment Law is faring better. I'm quite screwed for Biotech though...i read and read and i don't think i'm going anywhere. I think i'm never going to take another research paper again. Then again there's only one semester of law school left after this.
Can't wait for this semester to be over so i can start playing SKYRIM!!! And of course preparing for Law IV and being able to go out (with Coco, family, friends, etc) and have fun again (as much as i can fit a social life around Skyrim HAHA) and sleeping more than the 5hrs a day i'm averaging now (WEEKENDS INCLUDED). I can also continue watching Initial D (great anime) and take a look at Giant Killing (one of the few decent sports anime left for me to watch).
Maybe i'll get back into the mood to do some exercise too. It's amazing that i can still see my six pack in the mirror (under very favourable lighting conditions of course). Gaah stressed. Life will be so much better with the Biotech research paper out of the way.
Graphic card companies should seriously sponsor game companies like Bethesda for giving them business. I wouldn't even think twice about upgrading my desktop computer if Skyrim wasn't just a little too much to handle for my laptop.
The Witcher 2 is fantastic.
Wow. The Witcher 2: Assassin of Kings
has been an excellent game so far. The type where you start shifting from butt-cheek to butt-cheek or shake your legs violently because you've really needed to go to the toilet for a piss since about an hour ago but you're too engrossed and excited to leave your seat. And did i mention that, short cut-scenes apart, you can pause the game anytime you like?
Now THIS is immersion. Best thing is, Geralt of Rivia is clearly not ME - he's a white haired (rather) old dude with a gruff voice and ugly scars all over his face and body. And yet i feel like i'm in the world he's in and doing the things he's doing!
Hah! Take that Bioware and (especially) EA! That's how you do proper story-based computer RPG with immersion and with a sense of exploration DESPITE also being a closed-world game (err as opposed to open-world sandboxes like the Elder Scrolls, Gothic, and Risen). Stop being lazy/rushed and create bigger, more detailed environments so that we wouldn't feel so hemmed in by the game's boundaries...and don't dumb down the inventory system like what you just did with Dragon Age 2! Do away with those friendship meters and conversation hints (symbols for peaceful/aggressive statements, etc)...actually, just copy The Witcher series shamelessly. Well, except for their inventory organisation and menu system. It's giving me a headache with its messiness and cumbersomeness!
Oh, and to make this clear: no, i'm not playing the game for the famed sex scenes...well at least not completely...i mean, hardly at all! Case in point: i'm enjoying this game greatly but i haven't even seen a sex scene yet! That bit in the opening scenes doesn't count...
Anyway, it's time to go back to the game. Or was it time to shower and sleep. Hmm...i can't remember...
Small updates about me.
I haven't posted in a long time. Hmm.
Anyway my grades this semester have been...average. Much better than for my first 3 semesters, but really not good enough to get that 2nd upper. So ohwell. Of course i'll still try my best for the remaining two semesters, but i'll be honest and say that 2nd upper is beyond me. I'd need all As i think - easier said than done, and trust me, it is NOT easy to say it. I've given up. My focus is just to add some gloss to my relatively dull resume.
Putting that aside...other updates!
Holiday has started. Yay. But nearly one and a half months of it have already gone by before i realised it. Boo hoo.
Our family bought 3 bicycles over the past 2 weeks. So we've been going to ECP to cycle around a bit, and now i can cycle to nearby places, like the Siglap area and to Bedok South market for my Hill Street char kway teow. Swell. Well...except my mother forbids anyone in the family from cycling on the roads without a helmet, and i'd also be the first to admit that i'm not a very stable cyclist - i can't seem to keep the bike going perfectly straight on a regular basis, and i'm very unstable at low speeds, so i'm kinda scared that my bike would bump the kerb and then swing out onto the car lanes and something nasty happens...but of course that only applies when there IS traffic. After midnight is another matter entirely. One thing's for sure...no more going to bike rental shops along East Coast Park!
Last weekend, we also had a new addition to our kitchen...a gas-operated grill! So now we can make flame-grilled steaks, lamb chops, burgers and chicken (we may need a separate cast-iron for our chicken though...). Yummy. We've already used it to make steaks twice. Tastes great...credit and thanks goes to my cousin-in-law Joon Woon for his recommendation to get a gas grill in the first place, helping us to buy the grill and fly it from the USA to Singapore, and for his simple salt+pepper+olive oil recipe.
If any of my readers are err still around and wish to have a steak party at my house, go ahead and contact me for arrangements to use the grill! Of course, jio me to the party as well lah (that's the whole point, right...) and help me to buy the steak and maybe bring some olive oil, horseradish, and french fries/sweet potatoes/salad. I can handle the salt+pepper and the setting up (and cooking). FYI, for S$11-12 per steak, you can get steak that'll cost you anywhere from S$30-60 at a restaurant. And seriously, mine can taste just as good (just look at how Black Angus overcooks its steaks every single time...gosh...) If you can get steaks that are at least an inch thick, that'll be the best.
Next up, there has been a "wild" animal roaming our driveway this past week. It is...a Tokay Gecko! A pretty huge lizard (this one is longer than my shoulder width) that used to be common and native to Singapore, but is now a very rare sight (go check it up on wiki or something). I think it might have been brought to Singapore by our Malaysian neighbours and set loose here. It's got orange/brown spots all over...and it's supposed to be very expensive!
We'd been hearing its mating calls for a few nights - its cries are loud enough that my mother can hear it pretty well despite being separated from it by at least two closed doors and two layers of glass (one of which is supposed to be "sound-proof"). Then we managed to catch sight of it a few days later. My mother once caught it sleeping in one of the cupboards in our driveway, and even took a few photographs of it. I saw the photographs, thought the gecko was quite large, and then went to the cupboard to take an actual look myself...and boy was it big. Much bigger than i had thought. Seeing it in person was really one heck of an experience.
A little scary too; after staring at the gecko for a while, i gingerly closed the cupboard to let it continue sleeping uninterrupted. The same way i might gingerly step away from a swimming pool after discovering a small crocodile swimming in it. I'm not saying that the gecko is very dangerous however. Tokay geckos can be very territorial, and when they bite you, it is hard to get them off (and there can be issues with infection too). But this gecko has been very tame so far; it hasn't caused us any problems and there hasn't been any incidents thus far - all very quiet......so to speak.
I don't think my parents have decided what to do with the gecko. What I
think we should do, is to call the zoo or the AVA or whatever ASAP to take it in, once we make sure that our neighbours have either no claim over it or do not want to claim it. I'm not so sure about the legality of selling such an animal (both the list of animals restricted from being sold as pets and the list of animals allowed to be sold as pets do not mention the tokay gecko, and both lists are not exhaustive either). Also, taking care of tokay geckos can be a huge hassle (just check it up online). But then, for the gecko's sake, i also don't want to just leave it to wander around for too long; i don't think our driveway is a particularly bountiful place, with enough arthropods to feed our "little" reptilian friend over the longer term.
Next, i've started going for singing lessons! The real kind of singing lessons, not the kind that i went for during army which i stopped after 3-4 lessons when i figured out that it was more like karaoke lessons than anything else. After going for these singing lessons, i realised that i SUCKED. Seriously. I've been getting so much praise from my family members (especially) that i thought i had attained some success and was on the right track. But actually, i've been singing with the wrong technique, squeezing too much and singing with a high-larynx mixed voice that may sound quite good, but also prevented further development and would only give me problems later on. My actual mixed voice was not really developing.
So now, i'm basically starting over from scratch and building up my voice the long and hard way. For $150 per hour of singing lessons. OUCH. Although i'm more hung up over the fact that i've wasted so much of my life singing wrongly. I should have gone for these lessons a long time ago. Lesson learnt: do not trust everything you see (and hear) on the internet. And paying so much money for singing lessons can actually be worth it (and millions of people all around the world DO pay thousands for singing lessons), because all the computer singing programs and guidebooks in the world cannot beat one-to-one singing lessons with a proper instructor. Knowing what exercises can be done to improve the voice is not the same as knowing what exercises you need for YOUR voice at any one time, as well as HOW to do the exercises and WHETHER you're even doing the exercises correctly.
If you really want to improve your voice, you really need an expert to listen to your voice and make a custom set of exercises. My instructor, by the way, is a level 3 Speech Level Singing (SLS) certified instructor. He is the highest level SLS-certified vocal instructor in Singapore. He is very, very, very good. But also (to me) very, very, expensive. And he lives in Toa Payoh. Damn.
By the way, speaking of singing...is Law IV still on? Our producers (Michael and Anthony i believe) seem to have gone on vacation or hibernation or whatever and have totally forgotten about Law IV. I hope the script-writers have started to liaise with the prop-makers, or they'll be in for squeaky-bum-time later on. Ohwell.
Finally, on to games...I've FINALLY bought my PS3, and i've finished playing Final Fantasy XIII. An okay game - better that i had expected because of its great graphics, great fighting system, and great (albeit short) story-line with lots of plot twists, but still not that good, partly because the game is too scripted with only one chapter of fun-filled exploration.
Also, some of the conversation was REALLY cheesy. Like they kept having scenes where the main characters would gather for motivational group-talk, and the camera would pan to each one of them just to show them saying cheesy one-liners or just nodding at another person's cheesy one-liners. Most of the other cut-scenes were also way too emo and melodramatic. As one game reviewer said, you wouldn't be able to tolerate the conversation unless you've watched plenty of anime before that. Comparing it to previous Final Fantasy games that i've played (besides Tactics and Dirge of Cerberus which i think are in different genres, and X-2 which i hardly played), i'd rate it above 4, 9, 12, and Crisis Core, but below 6, 7, 8, and 10.
I don't just have FFXIII of course - i've got Super Street Fighter IV, Marvel v Capcom 3, Killzone 3, and Eternal Sonata. I wanted to get Red Dead Redemption, but somehow i just don't feel like playing it anymore.
Just like how i didn't feel like playing Mass Effect 2 anymore despite getting it for free with Dragon Age 2 and being able to play it NOW just by going to my desktop and double-clicking an icon. Dragon Age 2 by the way was a HUGE disappointment - crappy female romance choices, very little exploration, a dumbed-down item system with not much immersion, repeated environments, badly implemented friendly-fire...the list goes on. I also hated the conversation wheel system (where instead of picking whole lines for your character to say, you pick funny/serious/aggressive/etc options with a rather inaccurate short summary of what you are going to say), and i don't think it necessarily helps for my character to have a voice. Just like in Mass Effect, i didn't feel like the character was ME - Shepard and Hawke were just some random old dudes whom i just didn't care for.
Not that everything was worse than in the first Dragon Age (Origins). The companion system has improved and has been made much more realistic with more immersion - I've always thought that the base camp system that's been around since Neverwinter Nights was a HORRIBLE implementation. They've also kinda done away with the predictable "go to A, B, and C to complete the main quests there and then get ready for the final scene" that was heavily used in Neverwinter Nights and still used in Dragon Age Origins. The best part of Origins for me was from the start up till Lothering, when i felt like an inexperienced lad stumbling into a wide, wide world, and just about to begin a long, exciting adventure with the beautiful and mysterious Morrigan and the funny and dependable Alistair. And then everything went downhill when the main quest locations were just spoon-fed before me like that.
Well, at least there's a lot of gaming to look forward to...There's Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim for the December holidays and Final Fantasy Versus XIII for next year. And i'm gonna start playing The Witcher 2: Assassins of Kings soon! Except it's been delayed in Singapore; i haven't found a vendor that stocked a copy and i don't want to give any website my credit card number so easily. I'm starting to get impatient...
HMMM you know, i actually wanted to make a list of my favourite songs of all time in THIS post. To, you know, have something that i can look back to when i'm old and graying. But seeing as how i've spent so much time on updates alone, i think i'll leave this list for next time. Hopefully by this week or the next!
There's this dull ache at the back of my head and neck, and a loss of appetite coupled with a dull, cold sensation at the pit of my stomach which makes me feel like throwing up.
I guess...this is called stress, huh. Urgh, if only exams were like how they were back in JC or secondary school.
Stop asking me!
Arrgh how many times am i going to be asked about the birthday??? Do these people realise that even though i'm a bit worried about not having enough last-minute time to prepare for the exam, i can't possibly say no because i wanna be a good family member? And of course i'm just going to get stick if i say no - someone's going to get very pissed if i spoil the celebrations and try to argue with me or stab me in the back or whatever. Yes, i know how badly you want it; i still remember you trying to put down any resistance by using your job commitment to belittle my exams...
So whether it is yes or no, NOTHING i say is going to change things; just because i say that i'm okay with it, it doesn't mean that i'm not going to suffer at all as a consequence and that everything's gonna be alright. Somebody seems to think that i'm one of those kinds of people that, if i'm affected negatively by anything, i'd voice it out and try protect myself regardless of the needs and wishes of others. Well, i'm NOT that selfish, and i'm not like you, okay??? So PLEASE stop taking me to one corner and asking me, or interrupting my studies by going into my room and poking me on the shoulder and asking the same damn question. So irritating...
Let's just have a good birthday...in all seriousness, it IS more important than my crappy-ass exams, which i don't really care for anymore despite the fact that i'm tearing my hair out over it.
Okay, so it turns out i woke up after all.
I don't understand how come i woke up 3 hours later and then couldn't go back to sleep even after an hour of trying. It's not like i'm awake or anything; when i try to study, i feel this faint headache and i just can't concentrate.
Argh. After the exams are over, i'm going to have to start exercising again. My six-pack is faintly visible in the mirror when i stand up and flex just a little bit, but they go missing completely when i sit down. Lol. It's no wonder, when all i do is sit at my laptop and sleep...even with my shrinking and irregular diet (i've been losing appetite of late), i don't seem to lose weight; instead, my body is having a blast as it slowly converts all my hard-earned muscles into fat...
Hey, but give me credit for not turning to smoking and binge-drinking yet. I'm sufficiently risk-averse. :)
Unfortunately, going for a run is not an option unless it's at night, because i don't want to lose my fairer complexion. Ahahaha i'm so vain now. 300 reps a day with a skipping rope, and 100 reps of push ups and crunches a day - all in 2 sets in the morning and late afternoon...think that's sufficient?
Personal Property Law is going to be the death of me. Argh. The course isn't THAT difficult, but for the first time, i'm dealing with a substantive 8 credit open-book exam module without any muggers...and without Coco's help too. Which means that my lousy note-taking skills are coming back to haunt me.
Since i have no muggers and stuff to help me, i must depend on the Professor to be organised and not jump from point to point. But he jumps about a lot. And he must give me a clear impression on what is important for us to know and what isn't. He doesn't...in fact he goes off on so many flights of fancy and pointless side-points that i wonder if he's in it to teach us or to just show off. His examples help, but there are just too many of them...and i need to internalise the examples and bring only the bare notes into the exam hall but now my notes are voluminous and i really don't know how i'm going to refer to case names and stuff like that when my notes are 25 pages long and not 3 pages long per chapter. I just record everything and i can't help but think that everything is important. Yup, i'm just a perfectionist in a very bad way.
I was planning to organise my notes at the end of each lesson, but then i just got flooded by readings and only gave myself this short period of 4 days to study AND tidy up my notes AND create exam-worthy quick-reference notes. And after two days, i've only done ONE chapter out of seven. Yup, you heard it right...ONE.
And i didn't even tidy up my notes or create those quick-reference notes, all i did was study the material and add in all the things that the Prof missed out on. Actually, now that i think about it, the course IS very difficult - the topic that killed me for two days, on Negotiable Instruments, has so many statutory rules that i can barely remember a third of them. He tells us to just flip through the readings, but THERE IS NO WAY I CAN FLIP THROUGH THE READINGS AND ABSORB ANYTHING. There are only about 75-100 pages per chapter, but i usually have to stare at a sentence for 10 seconds each (and important and complicated sentences take me over a minute) before i process the sentence. Are there people who can rush through readings and still absorb? Well, maybe that's why i just deserve to suck forever as a student and as a lawyer?
And if the professor had his way, i shouldn't even be doing law. He tells us that he "flattens the bell-curve", so that more students get As and even more students get Cs (B-/B is the average). He noted expressly that this is because it'll let us know early on if we're cut out for practice, so that the weaker students can "quit earlier"...after all, "who wants to be a lawyer working in Chinatown, doing small claims, defending petty crime suspects, and having trouble earning money?" All lawyers get jobs after graduating my ass.
I'd actually accept what he says, except that i really don't see how being bad at summarising sentences and organising notes is going to hamper my law career much. When i interned at Wong P and A&G, i did fine at my tasks and got on well with my bosses. I never had to do any summarising and when i had to take notes i was always given time to get them in order. And the notes didn't have to be so damn short because i was working in the corporate department and my notes were FINE. Legible, easy to understand, and most of all THOROUGH.
Even litigators don't use cue cards anyway, when i worked for a Senior Counsel, she read verbatim from a printed page for her submissions...did she need to use summarised notes and get all dramatic? No. I saw myself doing a lot of reasoning and problem solving (mostly practical problems, not legal ones) while interning, however. And using my EQ and being sensitive, polite, and occasionally funny too. And, after all this time at law school, i still like to think that i'm above average at those skills. I DO admit, however, that speed-reading skills are very important.
Closed-book exams are said to be bad because then the exam becomes a memorising exercise. But honestly, open-book is no better. Because in the bell-curve setting, the competition heats up so much that, to do well, you have to summarise and organise like crazy to make your notes easily referable. And to write a high-quality essay in your exam, you have to spot the question and type the whole damn thing out beforehand to have a shot at an A. I'd have trouble doing all that even if i get another week to study.
And although not having note-taking and summarising skills isn't going to hamper my legal career (in my opinion), my GRADES definitely are going to influence where i end up. Oh yeah, and despite impressing a senior partner at A&G enough that she told me via email that i was "good" and "should have no problem getting a pupillage position (at A&G)"...no, i'm not going to get into A&G because i'm not going to graduate with 2nd upper honours. And, unless i have some special connections (which i do not have), i'm not going to get into any of the big firms anyway. My only A so far in law school has been for a mock paper at closed-book Legal Theory (which degraded to a B+ at the actual exam) and i really don't see myself getting the B/B+ average that i need to mount a credible push for 2nd upper honours in this semester or the next.
Well, i'm so dead. Don't ever do this module unless you don't care about how your grades turn out. Or unless you're one of those students whose can spend all day in the library speed-reading and summarising. I'm going to to sleep now; part of me hopes that i don't wake up.