Friday, May 28, 2010

gay or not gay...?

Ever since I read Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman, I've been on a lookout for Murakami's works. Back in 2009, it was still difficult to find his books but nowadays it's way better. I should learn how to be content but sometimes it's quite a challenge when you're too fussy or too adamant. Just a few days ago I downloaded all his e-books. I do support e-books but simply because I adore his works so much, once again I went out to hunt for the physical genuine ones today (the last Murakami book I bought was about 3 weeks ago-- speak of being broke).

Saddened by the fact that most bookshops do not have a brand new copy of Kafka on the Shore, I picked up Sputnik Sweetheart. Bloody thin but I think After Dark is thinner. Despite its so called lack of content, I still bought it because the synopsis was convincing enough and it was also out of ire that they do not have a clean copy of Kafka. Yes, I'm about to get to the core of my post.

If you're easily offended by homosexuality, do not continue reading. I won't be responsible if you feel like throwing up or killing me with a gigantic crucifix after you finish reading the post (I highly doubt you'll feel like doing so, there's nothing graphic about homosexuals down there). 

"..Surprised that she might after all be a lesbian, Sumire spends hours on the phone talking to her best friend K about big questions in life..."

the word 'lesbian'. The L word to be exact (no pun intended) reminded me to update my blog.  Ponder this for a moment. Do you refer to your lesbian friends as LESBIANS? Or do you actually label them gay?
Now I've been observing people for quite some time. I can't help but notice how straight people like to label their lesbian friends as lesbians instead of gay friends. I'm not sure of other countries but in Malaysia, it is extremely rare for straight beings to say things such as "*inserts a girl's name* is gay". Prevalently, you'll hear things from straight people such as "*inserts girl's name* is a lesbian". It's like a rule that most straight beings adhere to, use the G word for males, the L word for females.

The funny thing here is (perhaps you won't find it funny but seriously, I find this REALLY funny), most lesbians like to label themselves gay or simply put, they use the word 'gay' in lieu of 'lesbian' in day to day conversations and whatnot. Of course, this is only applicable to english speaking people. I've a friend who said that she preferred being labeled 'gay' instead of a 'lesbian'. Hah.

In the LGBT community, statements like, "You're sooo gay" and "She's soooo gay" are really common but if things like that come out from your mouth when you're talking to a someone who hasn't been exposed much to LGBT related content or perhaps they themselves do not have lesbian or bisexual friends, they might give you odd looks. Now they're not to be blamed. 

With that said, I can't help suspecting that a girl/lady/woman is gay/bisexual when she uses the word 'gay' (as in to refer to all homosexuals including lesbians) because like I said, it's only common for gay girls to use that word. 

This post of mine might seem to contain stains of sophistry here and there but hey, do think about it. I have close to ZERO straight friends who use the word 'gay' when they speak of their lesbian friends. Close to zero means I do have a few straight friends who use the word 'gay' on girls. Thing is, her close friends belong to the LGBT community so she must have been exposed to terms like these. This is even more noticeable among adults. My parents/relatives/cousins who are way older than me have NEVER EVER used the word 'gay' to label female homosexuals.

Are you starting to think that my post is absurd? Believe me, this is not a joke post. I'm not babbling trash here. Your thoughts will be highly appreciated. :)

Monday, May 10, 2010

awkward moments in the living room

Certain games are only meant for playing when you're alone or when nobody's in the same room with you because video games these days are not as innocent / bubbly as they were decades ago. Sex and nudity are no longer unorthodox elements in a game.

Last night I was getting through the final hours of Heavy Rain, which include an interactive sex scene and performing striptease. When I say interactive, it means you're required to input a sequence of commands as prompted for the game to progress. Okay I was exaggerating, it wasn't entirely a interactive sex scene, more of an interactive make out scene which eventually led to sex. Unfortunately players no longer have control over the character during the sex scene.

Oh boy, it was really awkward, thanks to the presence of my mom in the living room. I like having the volume really high when I enjoy my games; thus, the characters were moaning. Thanks to her headphones, she was too busy listening to her pop tunes and hardly paid attention to what I was doing. Perfect timing because my dad went out to buy his cigarettes so no one was watching but still, there was tension in the air. 

If you think that's not much or it doesn't qualify as nudity, check this one out folks. Too bad for you if you're sensitive to boobs. Oh anyways, it's just pixels. ;) It's the shower scene where players get a close view of Madison's boobs. This scene took place last week and fortunately my dad was in his computer room.

My point is, it's just uncomfortable when you're enjoying a game but at the same time you're wishing that others do not pay any attention to you just for the sake of reducing awkwardness. I might sound stupid here because I'm already 18, it's perfectly fine for me to be playing games with sexual content but it just feels weird doing so in the living room with my parents there.

I'm gonna do a few more playthroughs to get the all the trophies. In other words, these awkward moments are inevitable.

A simple conclusion can be drawn from this, getting my own lcd/plasma is essential for full gaming comfort and enjoyment. 

Lest you have no idea what the hell is Heavy Rain, please don't make ridiculous judgments, no it's not a stupid sex hentai game. I don't dig those stuff. Those games are catered to horny people who love looking at japanese/anime looking chicks with huge breasts cry in pain when the male character inserts his very-- I think I better not go in detail. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

blood donors wanted

First week of sem break was okay. Grandpa's still in hospital now. Have been visiting him these few days. His leg was swollen but the doctor said it would be okay soon. Hopefully he'll be able to walk after 6 months, physiotherapy included. Bad news, we owe the hospital blood so we're looking for blood donors. Anyone interested? Lol. So far there's only one person from my family who's able to pay back. Others all have impure blood (thyroid problems, blood pressure, insufficient blood) What a pity. 

Had the opportunity to attend Great Eastern's Annual Dinner or some Wings Associate Annual Dinner thing. I don't really know the exact name for the dinner. I just attended it because my godmom/aunt is an insurance agent and she had extra tickets so we went there to support her. Was quite an eye opener. Didn't know insurance firms have these type of events. Selling insurance can be fun. You'd think so if you were there. The amount of trips they go per year! Korea? Taiwan? 

Anyways, here I bring you the highlight of the evening! A parody of Wondergirls' Nobody. The chick in the middle is hot, the one with curly hair. No, I'm serious. Check out his-errrr I mean her dance moves. :)

And since we're here, a shameless promo for my latest cover of Snow's Theme from Final Fantasy XIII's soundtrack.

Signing off to watch X Japan Live in Hong Kong.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

VGL in Malaysia - 17th Apr 2010

Note : Wrote this yesterday because I was afraid that I'll forget, lol and posted this after 24 hours? Haha.

Before my I start sleeping  and all, (because I'm kinda bleary after the whole day), let me blog about my first ever VGL experience which was held in KL Convention's Centre, Plenary Hall today. My mom and I attended the afternoon session which started at 2.30 but  we went there early just to be safe and I wanted to check out the booths (don't want to miss the merchandise!). And I have no idea why the smallest shirt looks like it's catered for oversized people.

Entered the hall at 2 because it was already opened by then and we were told that the cosplayers would enter the hall before the show starts. So here's the hall before the crowd came in, stage isn't that big, so is the hall itself. It was comfortable though, not too cold. 

Cosplayers came in about 10-15 minutes before the concert commenced. Sadly, not many cosplayers turned up. My seat was far away so this is the closest picture that I can get. Surprise, 2 Final Fantasy characters! What's more surprising, if you look closely, you can see a girl who cosplayed as Hope from FFXIII! I'm gonna give her the credits for doing so, it's not a very wise choice, in fact, it's risky. First of all, FFXIII has been hated ever since its release and next, Hope isn't a very likeable character but nevertheless, I think she did well (a bold move indeed!) What's even sadder, the crowd looked confused when she introduced her character's name, only a handful few clapped, including yours truly. The guy on the far left emerged as the winner, it's obvious which game character he was cosplaying as; thus, the victory.

Parodies of video games and a bit of anime were shown to excite the crowd. They started off with a tribute to classical games. Throughout the whole song, there was a video montage of those good old games including 8-bit ones! The crowd was overwhelmed with nostalgia! Imagine those who grew up playing those games. Listening to the music being played live will surely evoke memories, be it good or bad. 

Tommy Tollarico introduced himself and his group of performers, including our  very own local National Symphony Orchestra and the conductor, Jack Wall if I'm not mistaken. Tommy talked a lot throughout the afternoon, gave many interesting or funny remarks. Many interactions took place. He talked about how many people out there think that video games are only for kids, video games music is nothing but just beeps here and there and how video games are blamed for violence and bad influence. When he was listing down these points, we boo-ed and there was one guy who said, "Kill them!", followed by laughter and agreement from the crowd. The irony.

After a pretty long tribute to classical games, the next song was Metal Gear Solid's main theme. A short clip of Hideo Kojima was shown before the orchestra team started playing the song. Bloody hell, I was so happy. Here's a video that I've recorded. Video quality ain't that good but audio-wise, it's tolerable. Check out the box, you'll appreciate that part if you've played MGS games. 

I can't really remember the exact tracklist but if I'm not wrong, God of War's theme was played next. The female vocalist, Laura Intravia did a fantastic job! The audience was in awe, my mom kept praising her. Little did we know she was also a flutist, this was eventually revealed when she performed music from Zelda, heck, she even dressed like one. Tommy invited one of the audiences to go up to the stage to play Space Invaders while the musicians play the theme song. A 43 year old guy volunteered and he did a pretty good job, we were all cheering for him. His movements were tracked so he had to move from right to left while using some kind of controller to attack the fiends. It was amusing. He didn't win the main prize though but he got a goodie bag.

Not sure what exactly was the next song but it should be music from Legend of Zelda  or Super Mario, followed by Shadow of Colossus and Megaman. It's quite difficult to remember the order of songs because I was utterly entranced. To be fair, I'd say the volume wasn't loud enough, there wasn't much "surround" effect that you'd expect to experience when you listen to this kind of music in a hall. It lacked the "oomph" so my mom and I were complaining throughout the first half of the concert. It was a waste because they played really well and the video footages complement the music.

What's great about this concert, it's actually educative! Tommy explained to us the origins of video games, the genius behind the whole concept, Ralph H. Baer! We were shown a black and white video of Ralph introducing the first ever Pong video game and after that, he was connected to us via Skype. I'm actually skeptical about that being live since videos like that could be timed but still it was pretty cool how we clapped and he told us to enjoy and waved at us. 

We had a 20 minutes intermission for toilet breaks and my mom actually went to speak with one of the performers. She complained about the volume but the violinist said he couldn't do much about it because his task was only to play the violin, not controlling the overall sound so too bad but it's weird because the volume during the second half was increased and it had more "oomph" as compared to the first half. My mom was being smug about this, I'm not sure myself whether it was a coincidence or what. Nonetheless, it was more heart pumping during the second half, maybe it was also because Tommy joined in together with his electric guitar so the distortion or gain gave the extra kick.
When Jack asked whether there was any Disney fans, we immediately knew that the next song would be a piece from Kingdom Hearts! They played Hikari, I was literally fangirling throughout the whole song for several reasons. Yes, KH was an enjoyable game but Hikari has a very special place in my heart (for the record, the original song is performed and also composed by my one and only J-Goddess, Utada Hikaru). This rendition sounds really beautiful when performed live, I was close to tears.

Tommy also invited the winner of Guitar Hero competition that was held earlier on before the concert to play with him on stage. Van Halen's song was played. That little boy has leet skills on that fake guitar thing! I swear it's harder to play on that toy than a real guitar, (even Slash said so himself!) At first he was only required to play on Hard mode but he insisted on Expert to show off his skills, quite a cocky boy ey? But really, he was quite amazing except for the solo part, he screwed up a bit. 

Other tracks include music from Sonic the Hedgehog, Warcraft/World of Warcraft, Halo. As if one MGS song wasn't enough to satiate the fans, we have Norihiko Hibino who specially flew in. He's the man behind Snake Eater which was used for Metal Gear Solid 3. One of my all time favourite video game songs, not to mention MGS3 was the first MGS game that made me a MGS fan that I am today. I kept replaying Snake Eater during my final terms break back in Form 1/2. Mr. Hibino performed Snake Eater on his saxaphone and oh boy, that rendition was really sexy and even more melodic than the original one. It reminded me so much of my secondary school years.

When Tommy said that the next song will be from a game by Square, it instantly hit us that it'll be a Final Fantasy song. Everyone was stoked and he kept asking us which Final Fantasy will it be. Everyone shouted their favourite FF and guess what, some shouted FFI, FFVI, (Terra's theme would be so epic), FFIX (this one has the most, I mean in quantity, great music out of all FF games) and most shouted FFVII (as expected-duh! fanboys never die). Guess which one they selected? As predicted, it was FFVII and before he could finish saying the composer's name, we shouted Nobuo Uematsu! Damn, that guy is REALLY an icon in the video games music industry. Hail Uematsu! (lol) and so my dream came true after waiting for ages, I was able to witness the profoundness of One Winged Angel live! Holy shit, I had goosebumps. Definitely an overrated song but it's just so sinfully addictive to listen to, especially the parts with choir.

When Tommy and others made their disappearance, we all kept cheering  or an encore. Soon enough, they came out and was ready to deliver more yummy songs.  Castlevania's song was played and it had that rock or a bit of metal edge to it, I really love it even though I haven't played this game throughout 19 years of my life. (yeah, yeah, I know how much I'm missing out) He also had us sing Mario's Overworld theme together, it was ridiculously stupid and cute.

Before the evening came to an end, music from Chrono Trigger and Chrono Cross was played and apparently, this was due to so much demand from fans all over the world. I'm glad they actually considered what the fans want because Chrono Cross has such beautiful music though I haven't finished the game, put it on hold when I received FFXIII, lol. It started out soft and tranquil withJack and Tommy on the acoustics, and suddenly the tempo took a turn. The ever-talented flutist and Norihiko joined in and so did the rest of the musicians. One word to describe it-- EPIC. Oh my God, it was easily one of the best piece delivered. All the instruments blended together so perfectly. Even my mom kept complimenting this piece after the concert was over.

The concert lasted about 2 hours 30 minutes long, I was beaming as I was walking out of the hall, in other words, I was ecstatic. Like I said earlier this month, it was like a dream come true for me, the opportunity to listen to video game soundtracks played live. Paying RM 153 was definitely worth it,  you get such a different experience that you won't be able to get from attending usual concerts.  Imagine all gamers who truly appreciates video games and the music gathered together in a hall, all with the same purpose, to just have fun and enjoy the music like how we've enjoyed the games. But I might be wrong because I saw people in their 40s - 50s as well, perhaps it'd be more precise to say that the same purpose is to have fun and enjoy the music! :D

Oh yes, video games music is just like any other good music. In fact, they're better than some shit that they play on radios these days. You can actually feel it when you listen to video game soundtracks. This applies to certain animes/dramas/movies soundtracks as well. Video games music has evolved to the point where players criticize or refuse to play certain games just because of the music composer. Fanboys and fangirls can be so faithful (lol). If you haven't listened to video games music before, I'd suggest you do so because you're really missing out a lot, I'm dead-serious.

The only drawback was the audio system, they could've done better. Do realize I'm not referring to the skills of the musicians, they played well and the co-ordination was great, the choir members especially. If only they raised the volume. I do not have much knowledge about acoustics and all, perhaps it's the material of the walls or the positioning of the speakers. Either way, if this was improved, it would've been flawless.

And if they were to drop by in the future, I'd relinquish RM 200++to get front seats and hopefully by then they will play music from not so popular games such as Persona and Max Payne. Someone actually shouted Persona when Tommy asked what song to play next. Besides that, I was actually hoping to see Martin Leung but too bad he wasn't there because I really dig his rendition of Tetris's theme. Oh well. :)

Sunday, April 4, 2010

final fantasy XIII post-game thoughts

Aww, I just finished Final Fantasy XIII and I'm feeling really emotional. Like every single damn thing on the face of Earth, there will always be haters. I do not fathom the reason behind people's hatred and if they hate it then why do they still play it? 

Finished the game's main part at 57 hours ++ without touching most side quests unless required and without grinding. I have to admit I've enjoyed every single second spent in game, from the first time I inserted the disc until now. What a fantastic experience it has been. 

My Hands by Leona Lewis is really suitable.  Gotta admit I was skeptical when I first heard that her song will be used but now I've totally changed my mind. It fits the game alright and dear fans should stop being so adamant. Not all western things are bad, stop saying that the song sucks just because it's western and not japanese shit. It's okay that you think it's suck because you don't like the song but you think it sucks just because it's WESTERN? Sounds so silly, no? Yes, I listened to the japanese theme song as well, pretty good. I'd say both are good so please, stop the hate, it's sad. I feel bad for Leona Lewis because of the amount of fans bashing her.

So these are my thoughts after spending 2 weeks, trying to balance out my gaming and study time. Just gonna list down anything that comes to my mind. :

1. This game is totally worth it. Finish the game --complete sidequests for obtaining trophies and so on. High replay value. I'm considering playing it from the start again since it will be easier after learning various strategies and whatnot.

2. Battle system is fun fun fun! Flaws only make battles more challenging, the inflexibility of changing paradigms contribute to the difficulty factor as well. Easily the hardest FF I've ever played.

3. Great character design. From the kick ass ones to those annoying little brats, I love them. Despite how annoying Hope and Vanille were in the beginning of the game, they get better. In fact, annoying traits are the ones that make the characters memorable. Light of course is my favorite among all, followed by Fang. Best female protagonist I've ever come across. From her VA to her costume design, how she fights in battles, she's close to perfect. I like how females are so damn strong in this game.

Best 2 female characters in the game.

4. Grinding is pointless. Even if you max out skills and stats, dying is still easy if you don't strategize. Timing and strategizing have not been this important! 
5. The game has TOWNZ. Stop saying the game has no towns. The bloody towns are everywhere and we're in TOWNZ most of the time. Just because you get attacked in towns, that does not tantamount to no TOWNZ because Nautilus is really a town. So called having no TOWNZ is relevant to the plot because players are considered as the baddies; thus being chased around in townz and no resting, please use common sense.

6. Eidolons are not entirely useless. True potential is revealed when used at the perfect moment in battles and I totally love how tough eidolons battles are because it wouldn't make any sense if we were to obtain them so easily. God, those battles make my blood rush! And the summon scenes are dead gorgeous, never skipped them. There's no reason to skip.

7. Vanille and Fang are lesbians. I officially declare them lesbians. Good friends don't go hugging each other that way. To be more precise, hug while resting your hand on one's breast. And lifting your friend's skirt to see a scar on the thigh? Really? Ending scene utterly convinced me that they are gay. Just because they didn't say "hey, we're lesbians" does not mean they're not lesbians. People can say whatever they want but this is my final stand. Glad SE is taking this approach. *coughs*

 I told you they're gay.
8. Music is good. Not mind blowing but still good. I'm satisfied. Yes, I know how all FF fans miss Uematsu. That guy is a genius but please, life goes on, not like he's dead but... give chances to other composers alright? Hamauzu's works ain't that bad and he deserves praise. Overall, the game's soundtrack is really pleasant to the ears and there's actually variety in the ost per se. Though most tunes aren't as memorable as Uematsu's works, Hamauzu's music is still brilliant. It fits FFXIII's world. In fact it's wayyyyyy better than X-2's ost excluding Eternity Memory of Lightwavesblablasomething. The music is so pleasant that I'm actually looking around for the ost, I'm talking about the physical copy. Someone let me know if they see the ost in Malaysia? Because I remember seeing XII's ost sold in Rock Corner. Whether it's bootleg or not, that I do not know but hopefully it's fully original. Worst case scenario, I'll need to find someone to order it online for me.

9. Superb voice acting. Worth noting --- Vanille's voice is so irritating that I can still hear it ringing in my ears. It's as if she's having sex during most parts of the game. Fortunately I do not use her much. Light's VA did a great job, I saw the interview and she actually sounds so different. She managed to deliver a few memorable lines, "Worst birthday ever". All the voice artists managed to bring out the personalities of the characters, which is what makes the game so realistic. Luckily no stupid male voice acting this time. All the guys sound perfectly normal. As the game progresses, characters also have new lines during battles.

10. Game is pretty family-oriented. How Light goes all out to save her sister and her caring gestures, how Sazh wants to save his son, how Hope gets more mature and overcome his fears and troubles after his mom's death and opening up to his dad --- I really like the direction of this game. The only cannon pairing is Snow and Serah. No redundant lovey dovey scenes or stupid lines.

The only cannon pairing. I'm happy they didn't pair Light with Snow. Light and Snow already don't sound nice together, verbally.

11. 10/10 for overall eyecandy.

12. Light doesn't get too much spotlight till she overshadows the other characters. All of them get sufficient coverage. It's just that Light gets a bit more attention and more lines, that's about it. Very balanced I'd say.

 For the 992828171231th time, Light does not look like Cloud and she's not a female version of Cloud, looks and personality-wise. 

Okay, I cried a bit but it wasn't as bad (most probably because my mom was having her lunch beside me) as how I cried during Crisis Core's ending. FFXIII ending can be interpreted as both sad and joyful. Not gonna include spoilers but fortunately the fun-filled journey isn't exactly over, I'll still spend my time finishing sidequests and visiting newly unlocked areas and riding chocobos of course!

Monday, March 29, 2010

say bye

Think you have pretty good eye-sight? Think again.
Spot me if you're able to. Free hugs for those who are able to. Rephrase, free hugs over my dead body.

Never knew my exasperated face actually looks like this.

Approximately 3 weeks left till foundation ends. Can't  be any happier. Would you say I'm a pessimistic person or more of an optimistic person, judging from that statement itself? I'm not sure myself. 

Thursday, March 25, 2010

VGL happening for the first time in Malaysia!

Presentations and assignments are finally all done for this final semester so for the time being, zest is in the air! 

One of the reasons why I'm so happy and driven now is because VGL will be happening for the first time in Malaysia! (and all the while I thought of how I'll just die without witnessing the greatness of video games' music live because after all, this is Malaysia) It's certainly shocking that they've decided to include Malaysia in their tour. About time! I know there are many enthusiasts out there, those radical ones especially!

If you're still scratching your head and don't even have a single inkling about VGL, you're really uncool. Scratch that, I know how "many" gamers actually visit my blog or gamer friends. Was just kidding. Just because you do not play video games, it doesn't mean you should miss out this opportunity to attend this amazing concert! 

Who the hell's performing? It's difficult to answer, there are many involved, from the choir to the electronic percussionists, solo performers, etc. Picture the ambience when you witness an orchestra live, then combine it with something electronic, jazzy or rock-ish once in a while. A perfect blend of various genres, making the music come alive right before your eyes. The synchronization coupled together with beautiful visuals such as the lights and video games clips are utterly engaging, to gamers or non-gamers. Anyone who enjoys symphonic tracks or put simply, soundtracks or instrumental stuff will definitely find this a worthwhile + enjoyable experience. If these reasons are still not convincing enough, I'm hoping the price of the tickets will--- from RM 83 to RM 253! That's way fucking cheaper than your Super Junior concert which I think is totally crap. Sorry, my fingers tend to  move on their own sometimes.

I know people will still be hesitant (that is if my dear readers are actually bothered to read all these in the first place). Here are several videos that I got from YT, to exemplify the magnificence of VGL! Bear in mind all these are user-recorded; thus, the quality but they still rock.

One Winged Angel performed in Paris.

FF Medley on Piano performed in Taipei - the word beautiful explains it all.

How often do you get such cool people touring Malaysia anyway? This is totally incredulous. Someone slap me please, HARD. All these envisioning is making me more excited by each second. This is almost like a dream come true for me. Music that will be performed obviously includes those from well-known titles or classical ones. Good examples are Final Fantasy, Chrono Cross, Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, Mega Man, Warcraft, Super Mario, Kingdom Hearts, Zelda, Dongkey Kong, Castlevania, just to name a few that I know of. 

If anyone's interested in joining, here are some important details of the concert.

Date : 17th April 2010
Time : First session at 2.30 PM , Second session at 8.30 PM
Venue : KL Convention Centre, Plenary Hall

For more information, here's the official website -- Video Games Live. Ticket pricing is available there, as well as ordering of course. 

Thursday, March 18, 2010

saving Lightning

After about 1 week of waiting plus the everyday mailbox checking, the long awaited gem has finally arrived!


Is it me or the cover appears to be 'glossy'? This boxart is definitely better than the one with only the game title written on it. Yes I know they have some pretty artwork behind FF but Lightning's trademark pose is unbeatable!

The booklet/manual. Let's take a look the first 2 pages because they feature clear shots of Lightning. Yes I have conditional love for those characters but who gives a damn?

That smoking hot BAMF pose again! HAH! Okay okay, I'll try being fair this time and post a shot of the main cast.

Had the chance to play the game for one hour before dinner and damn, the game's such a fine piece of artwork. The graphics will definitely make you go like "holy shit!".

First impressions :

  1. Lightning is hot.
  2. The cast reminds me of FFX's Al-Bheds, is that how you spell that anyway?
  3. Gorgeous setting, looks like there's a lot to be explored.
  4. Once again, it feels very much like FFX, feels like home to be. FFX was the first FF game I played on the PS2 and this is the first FF for the PS3.
  5. Enjoyable battle system. I really dislike the one that FFXII uses, it doesn't feel like FF to me. ATB turn based battles are back with deadlier moves! I can only control one character? I'm hoping it'll let me control the party later on.
  6. Easy to listen to music, the battle theme is kinda stuck in my head already. Hopefully the rest of the soundtrack won't be as annoying or mundane as X-2's or XII.
  7. Incredibly cool interface when the menu is brought up, you can see the characters' picture clearly unlike previous FF games.
See, now I'm even more demotivated to go to Leadership Camp which is happening tomorrow. Tch. Speaking of which, I haven't even packed! Alright alright, it's only 3 days long then I'll be able to spend most of my time playing this. *sighs* after all, FFXIII is my raison d'etre for purchasing the Playstation 3.

Take note that yours faithfully will be blogging more often about FFXIII from today onwards. :)

Till then I'll be so called camping in Gopeng, Perak.
And I'm starting to think that phones which are too smart is quite a challenge to use.

Monday, March 15, 2010

geek post

Last weekend was just gone like that. Felt as if it wasn't that laborious but in actual fact it was quite laborious considering how I already got the 5% participation marks for Stats and how I've already finished doing my part for Business research paper. There's only Psychology left for now, I'm pretty confident that I can finish it by tonight, not so sure about the slides though. Then there's the presentation this Thursday and Quiz 2 for Business as well. As if that's not enough to occupy me, there's so called leadership camp on friday till sunday. Very short indeed but there, have you noticed that another weekend has been taken away from me? Tch, I just can't help thinking how much better it would be if the camp was held during semester breaks. Every student can just go there have fun without worries.

Mom is finally back and someone's starting to act weird again. I wonder why, very much perplexed.

During Psychology class today, Ms. Selena was talking about Sigmund Freud and his theories, the structural theory especially. Images of Evangelion kept popping into my mind. Freud, Evangelion, Freud, Evangelion, yes, that anime Evangelion. Clearly Evangelion was created with a lot of Freudian theories in mind, which makes me wanna rewatch the whole series again just to comprehend more about ego, super-ego and id. See how watching animes can be so beneficial at times? It's a matter of picking the right anime and not some shitty one. Shitty ones are just a waste of time. While I was searching for Eva stuff the other day, I came across a Freudian Eva icon, the artist must have been reading Psychology materials.
 This is actually pretty cool.

Freud. Again.

Eva. Again.
Photo from Retsgip's Anime Blog 

Anyways, my point is, just little things like this can brighten up my day. Little things as in seeing how my interests pertain to serious issues or how they're interrelated. I don't sound like I make sense. Never mind, after all, I can be such a geek at times.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

the evangelion impact

I am utterly ecstatic after watching Evangelion 2.0 at Cathay earlier this evening! Due to transportation problems, I had to go there about 1 hour before the movie starts so you can picture how mundane it was for me. Fortunately the particular hall was opened early. Early by 10 minutes if I'm not wrong. Surprisingly I wasn't the earliest one. A few hardcore EVA fans were already inside, sitting in the dark. There were only stationary ads with annoying radio tunes being played. Soon, the crowd came. Mostly teenage guys. There were very few girls. There were also mid age guys. To my surprise, there was this family with a few kids. Very young kids, most probably around 5. Poor kids, I hope they grasped the movie and were able to tolerate the violence. For the record, I sat between 2 late 20s/early 30s guys. Both came alone and of course I went alone as well. Speak of the Eva spirit!

The vexatious ads and previews were distressing. Impatience was obvious and you can't blame us. It has been how many months since the release of Evangelion 2.0 and it took dog years for it to reach our shores but I'm not gonna complain. Honestly, I feel so blessed that this whole thing is actually taking place. To watch Evangelion 2.0 on such a huge screen with brilliant sound effects! 

It was virtually 2 hours long but it felt like nothing. The battle scenes especially were engaging. There were changes in the storyline as compared to the original series. So far I think it's okay. It was very intriguing to see how they replaced Suzuhara with Asuka during the scene where Shinji was compelled to terminate Unit 03. I prefer the original scene more though because it was more emotional, I can still recall how much I cringed on the night when I watched that episode. Amazing like hell. Ayanami Rei has more emotions. Heck, there's even an obvious love triangle between Asuka, Shinji and Rei which I find to be pretty odd. It seemed as if it's too fast for that considering the facts that Asuka actually loathes Shinji and Rei is too robotic and too in love with Shinji's father instead of Shinji himself. Sick.

Since it's a Rebuild, the CG effects are much better. Even though the art style seems a bit outdated for today's anime, their hairstyle especially, I still think it was beautifully done/retouched. Plentiful additional scenes make it easier for Eva fans to understand the enigma of Evangelion but if someone were to just walk in watch it, there's  ahuge possibility that they'll start getting bored, worse, deride the anime. The soundtrack is truly superb. Love the classic songs and incongruous battle themes. The instrumental version of Thanatos really enhanced the impacts of the fights. Not to exaggerate but I had goosebumps all over during a few scenes, heh, "the evangelion impact".

When the movie ended, most viewers left except for me, 2 guys and another group of teenage boys behind me. I guess we're the hardcore ones. Waited for the credits to finish rolling. I'm not gonna lament about the credits because that is the part where Beautiful World by the goddessUtada Hikaru plays. I love both the original and the acoustic rendition of this song. I have no inkling whether they stayed for the ending song or for the preview of Evangelion 3.0 but I reckon it's the latter. The staff must be exasperated, they switched on the lights and our asses were still glued to the chairs waiting for the preview. Haha!

My notion is that the whole Rebuild of Evangelion thing is mostly fanservice but it's okay since Eva geeks are incredibly loyal and fucking enthusiastic so for sure lots of profits will be generated in Japan. As for little countries like Malaysia, it's a blessing that we have the opportunity to watch this. Once again, millions of thank you, hugs and kisses to the fans who petitioned so hard for this to happen. 

I'm so extremely delighted today because of this. :D
And I'm also glad I didn't download the CAM version of this, else it would've spoiled the fun and excitement.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

ramenbox's little self indulgence

Friday has been the happiest day of 2010. 2 amazing events took place and these moments are really going into my "Best Moments of 2010" list. Let's start off with the minor one. Behold, the movie, Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 : You Can (Not) Advance is finally being screened in Malaysia! At last! I remember I came across news on how Facebook Evangelion fans petitioned for this. Great job to those ardent fans out there. Too bad I'm an inactive FB-er, else I could have contributed a bit. I missed the first one which was back in 2008 but I'm definitely missing this! Exclusively shown in Cathay or TGV Sunway. The ads in the newspapers are  mere black and white, pretty pathetic, but who gives a damn? I've already bought my ticket in advance and they actually claimed how you can not advance. The irony. Heh. Can't wait for tomorrow evening to come.

The next big but not so big thing, the time I spent drooling over a PS3 has come to an end because yours truly  has finally purchased one for herself. Once again, I'd like to stress how money makes the world goes round. Surveyed the prices in OneU but in the end decided to buy it from Sony Style, The Curve. I'm gratified with my final decision because it came with freebies, not to mention the free Milo and warm service from one of thoseguys there. It was a bit difficult to ask about the availability of certain games though because the guy isn't a gamer. Perhaps they should start assigning staff to appropriate sales sections. Nevertheless he was being as helpful as possible.

 Days of frequent visits to the Sony shop just to caress the PS3 are over.

Freebies - A not-so-stylish oversized windbreaker. I wanted a black but apparently there's no black. And a Sony multi-reader.

My first ever original video games. Not new releases but hey, quality matters and no one gets bored of Solid Snake.

Personally I feel that it was a good bargain. At least the freebies are both practical things. In fact, the windbreaker is currently with my mom who has just left for Australia. Hopefully a free windbreaker will be enough for the mild weather. Wanted to get GTAIV instead of MGS4 but in the end went ahead and bought MGS4 because it's a PS3-must-get. Elder Scrolls was also reasonable because it includes the expansion pack together with the initial one. How lovely. can things get? It was difficult to choose my first few games but I settled with these both because 1. Dragon Age is still quite expensive for the time being. 2. Final Fantasy XIII Eng Version isn't out yet so these will be more than enough to keep me busy until mid March.

Yes, it's not the hot version with Lightning's super sexy face on it. I guess it's okay but truth be told, I still dream of that limited edition. *sigh* be grateful with what you have, Crystal. :)

For my mom who must be checking in now, wishing her a safe and wonderful journey. Will be missing her for one week. Who wants to cook for me this week?

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

to brush or not to?

Hunting wallpapers can be addictive. This addiction kicks in one month once or so. It can be quite fatal. Certain wallpapers are such eyecandies that they cause me to hyperventilate. especially those widescreen ones. See how deadly pretty looking things can be. As I'm doing this, my stomach's craving for Chilli Pan Mee that I had for dinner last night. They're this good. Photo doesn't show chilli because I haven't put them in yet but the egg really brings out the taste of this simple dish. I swear it's the best pan mee I ever had in my whole life. If any guy is reading this, please tell me how true is this sentece-- guys don't really eat pan mee, it's a female thing. The statement does sound stupid but no, it wasn't me who made that claim. It's from an elderly man. Once again, I'm just being curious.

Will be visiting the mad dentist tomorrow. To be fair, I haven't met her before but I heard she's quite gentle. Hopefully she really is, had a terrible experience with a female dentist during pre-spm week. She was using brute force on my teeth! I don't know the qualification system works. Geez. Another curious question, do you brush your teeth before visiting the dentist? Or perhaps make sure your teeth is clean?

Monday, March 1, 2010

so my felicity

Productive would be the best word to describe last week. Though it was a "mid-terms week", it seemed like I had more time for myself and others because it was a "no classes week" as usual. How I wish they implemented something like that back in Secondary. It actually kind of helps to reduce cramming. At least students get sufficient time SLEEP and EAT.

Went back to Ipoh for 2 days 1 night. Met up with Ken-Ann and Foong Vai for a movie. From Paris With Love is quite a marvelous movie but the story can be a little controversial, no? It was fun but I still wanna watch Book of Eli! Didn't have the chance to meet up with Leong though and it's mainly her fault. Btw, could someone explain to me why sex is brought up whenever we sit down and converse? Not like I'm complaining but I'm just curious!

So I've received the letter of so called invitation to attend the Leadership Camp on the 19th of March. Screw it! How insanely mundane! Why? Because I have no interest in camps, especially LEADERSHIP CAMPS. Heck, a musical camp would be so much better. It never gets better because guess what, it'll be held in Gopeng, Perak. Of all places, they'll be sending me back to Perak. Why not the Malacca one!? In fact, the Malacca one is considered a "luxurious camp" whereas the Perak one is known as the "adventurous camp". Whole load of bull. Yes, I know I'm being negative about a small little issue but this camp will actually take away my precious weekend. Geez. Someone please give me the motivation to attend the bloody camp. I'm tempted to act stupid and just run away on Friday even though it's a compulsory.  Somehow I'm not really convinced that they will snatch my Foundation cert away from me at the end of this semester if I were absent during the camp. It's really mean to force people to attend something that they wouldn't enjoy. Scums...

On a brighter note, the hottest chick in FF's history, Final Fantasy XIII English version will be hitting the stores in approximately 10 days from today. A more exact date, March 9th! I'm so TRULY FUCKING STOKED. I've pre-ordered it and I hope it won't be long for them to send my copy and let's pray that it'll arrive safely. I'm having doubts as it's my first time purchasing a video game online. Let's be frank, I've never purchased anything online before.

Yes, I'm so fucking bias, Lightning all the way, baby! I don't really give a damn about the other characters. That's just for the time being. The bond shall be formed when I get my hands on this game! And I just noticed how Lightning can be pretty androgynous from certain angles. Nevertheless, that's quite at turn on. Could someone remind me she's made of pixels?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

my ashtray heart

The picture above pretty much sums it all up. Anyone's interested? I doubt so but I'm just doing this because I'm desperate for people to accompany me. I have a feeling it might be filled with many Malay guys, no, I'm not trying to be racist. Drop me a msg if you're interested. Judging from the ticket price, it's pretty reasonable and I'm actually very surprised that they decided to drop by Malaysia. Of all places!? I mean, oh come on, radio doesn't even play their songs. MTV does play their new stuff like Ashtray Heart. I'm not sure whether they've played their older hits before but is it me or the band isn't really famous in Malaysia? There's hardly any promotion except for the small little posters in Rock Corner.

Have not been a fan of them for long but the music that they make are pretty good, the lyrics especially can be quite provocative. Molko's quite an interesting person, same applies to the other band members. If you like androgynous looking guys with lots of eyeliner, this band is highly recommended. And also if you like provocative lyrics, like what I just mentioned, listen to them.  Curiosity is the driving force here, I really want to see how well they perform live. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

a hefty one

I just got home from Ipoh and I must admit that this Chinese New Year break was a very eventful one. It's not fully negative nor positive Negativity is balanced out by the lucrative business that unmarried people like me conduct. Even though some have migrated or passed on, this year's business is better. They're not as thrifty as I thought. Good karma for people like that. Even the hairstylist gave me an ang pao. Not to sound naive or whatsoever, it's merely fair to be surrounded by the bad and the good. Life's only balanced like that. More love, care and gratitude towards ones who are genuinely kind. As for those whose hearts who have been taken away (shit, I sound as if I've been playing too much Kingdom Hearts, forgive me, I'm listening to KH Piano Collections as I type this entry), I have no words for these people because I'm not completely perfect myself but at least not as terrible as some people can be.

Oh yes I was talking about good people. Although the staff from Cafe Breeze or Breeze Cafe, whatever the name is, I can't really recall, big thanks to them for helping out that night. Wouldn't be able to make home without their help. 

Like what I plurked just a few minutes ago, I'd like to emphasize again, certain things just can't be undone and once you've pushed your limit too far, that's it. That's bye bye. I won't hope someone dies but I hope one of this days, karma will still come back and bite you in the ass because seriously, you deserve it. I think she's already anaesthesized, which is a good thing.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

air conditioner does wonders

Someone please remind me that Chinese New Year is already here because I just can't feel it. In spite I'll be getting a 2 days break coupled together with another extra 2 days because of my lovely Statistics lecturer, I'm not excited or happy about it. There's just no Chinese New Year spirit in me or perhaps there is one waiting to be awoken? Either way, I'm lacking enthusiasm. There must be something profoundly amiss with me these days. Is it the weather? Seriously, tell me why is it always incredulously hot when Chinese New Year comes? It's not even funny. There are days when it's so bloody hot that I'm about to strip naked and soak myself in a tub of ice, just like how those people in soap operas. Too bad for me, I do not have a tub and that immense supply of ice. To make things worse, there's mid terms right after Chinese New Year. First paper will be on Saturday and they haven't released the schedule for the exam yet. Well done, very efficient of you people. Now this makes it difficult for students to prioritize their subjects. As I'm typing this, IHMC isn't accessible. Oh wait, it is accessible but they haven't uploaded the schedule.

Just how nice it will be if I can spend Chinese New Year in dormancy. Do I sound a tad negative? Oh sorry, my mood shifts can be quite scary when the weather sucks. It affects the whole me. Let's just hope that my perspectives will change when I get back to Ipoh, receive a lot of money ang paos, and meet my friends. Speaking of ang paos, I think people are getting more parsimonious. Could that be actually the real reason I no longer look forward to Chinese New Year as much as I used to? 

Another thing that I cannot look forward to anymore-- bonding over joysticks. Before my secondary years when my cousins and I weren't that mature yet, we used to play wrestling or fighting games and Tony Hawk's on the PSX. Those were the days where we would go for endless matches of Tony Hawk's just to see who can get the higher score. And also the days where there was only one PC in my room. Each one of us would compromise, play a few rounds of CS with the bots while others wait patiently behind the current player. I still remember, before the existence of smooth graphics, we took turns playing old school games like Lost Vikings, Wolfenstein, Aladin and Prince of Persia. As an introvert, I am not really good at socializing with those who aren't around me for long aka my cousins who are from KL except for one that I've played a lot with since I was toddler. For others, there weren't many topics of interests but we could actually sit down and talk for long if there were gaming sessions. This is how technology or to be more precise, gaming consoles are capable of fostering relationships. 



Presently, these kind of events do not take place anymore. How unfortunate. Never mind that, I'm hoping for a great time when I get back to Ipoh. Although I dread going back to the house, cleaning it and sleeping in a dusty environment, I'm trying to be as optimistic as possible. Happy Chinese New Year people! 

By the time I get back from Ipoh, Utada's In the Flesh tour will be over. How ridiculously depressing for fans who couldn't make it. The venues weren't even beyond reach if I were an working person. London, NYC, Chicago. *inserts sad smiley* I pray that she'll tour again in a few years' time when I have the sufficient funds to travel overseas just too see her in person.

Friday, February 5, 2010

a tribute to the deceased j-rock rotation sites

If anyone were to look at me and guess what kind of music I listen to? The answer that they'll most likely give will be Chinese pop. Blame it on the I-AM-A-CHINESE  glued right on my face. That's beside the point. Today I'll be reminiscing about the existence of J-Music rotation sites or to be more precise, J-Rock rotation sites.

I remember how I stumbled upon these sites during Form 1 (2004). At that time I knew nothing about Visual Kei, X-Japan, or Luna Sea. All these were like aliens to me. If you do not know what the heck is rotation sites, it's a website whereby the webmaster/mistress will upload a couple of mp3 songs together with reviews, fangirling/fanboying comments, whole lot of unnecessary bitching and photos. These sites were sprouting like mushrooms until late 2007 if I'm not wrong, then most of the sites started to die. Why? And an hour ago while I was just googling J-rock rotation sites for fun, all results which came out are dead sites. Not on hiatus, they're literally dead, abandoned. People just do not have the motivation or enthusiasm to maintain such sites anymore. Why? I reckon it's because of how shitty the J-rock industry is getting, that might be wrong. I'd be jubilant if someone could name me some 2009 - 2010 J-rock tracks which really kick ass. And also, what's with most bands trying to sound like Dir en grey? It's so annoying to listen to Kyo wannabes. There's not much variety anymore these days.

Looking back, most J-rockers should really thank these sites for helping them to promote their music. It is because of these sites that their music is able to reach worldwide without any barriers. It is because of these sites that there are so many fugly VK cosplayers or J-rock wannabes hanging out in Sg. Wang. Okay, I didn't mean the last part but it is partly true.

If I were ever given the opportunity to meet the webmasters/mistresses of those J-rock rotation sites that I were faithful to, I'd thank apiece of them from the bottom of my heart because the music that they've shared have totally brought drastic changes to my life and shaped the person I am today.

Dir en grey - all the masochistic, sadistic, angry, melancholic tunes helped me to get through personal problems especially during form 3-4. Machiavellism kicked ass even though Kyo's engrish sounds so incredibly hilarious and stupid. China was where I listened to most of their music because back then MP3 players could only fit 128 mb. Songs like Filth, Mushi, and Zakuro bring back lots of memories. This band reminds me of Audrey, don't ask me why. HAHA.

L'Arc~en~Ciel - One of my all time loved bands.  Jojoushi, the first song I downloaded from the rotation sites helped me to stay awake during my revision for mid term. Not to mention how much this Ken's melodic solos have motivated me to pick up guitar. Was listening to their songs 24/7 during form 2. And I'm also proud to say that my first original CD is their album, SMILE. It's the one and only Japanese release album that I own. Others are all "for sale out of Japan", needless to say, all those suck ass. The booklets are so thin and the quality is prominently inferior to the Japanese release ones. Okay, besides that, why is that the current Hyde's voice sounds like an old man talking garbage? Too much smoking?

Gazette - I've always felt a strong bond or attachment between this band and I. This is most probably due to the fact that I started listening to their music before they reached their current status. They've grown so much and at the same time I've grown too. It feels like we're growing at the same rate, the feeling is inexplicable. They don't make spectacular music but there's just something that about their music which piques my interest, followed by addiction. Ruki's vocals are just normal, not even close to impressive. Aoi's and Uruha's guitar skills are no where to close to real guitar virtuosos. Reita's nose band annoys me and Kai, uh well, Kai's drums is good so no complaints. I can't remember whether Reila or Cockroach were the first songs that I listened to but who cares, both of these are on the same level of greatness. I sold my entire soul to them after listening to Cassis and the rest of the album, Nil.

There are of course other great songs that made me recall how much I enjoy stealing music from those MP3 rotation sites. It's quite a long list but now there's no more sites like these, it's kind of sad. Could someone explain to me why these sites have vanished? If J-rock is dying, perhaps people should start making RUSSIAN ROCK/METAL MP3 ROTATION SITEs. Frankly, I'd love that because I do not have an inkling where to get high quality russian rock songs.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

of fats and pee

Just got home from Genting. That was pretty random, it never occurred to me that Michiko would wanna drive to Genting. It was so damn abrupt but I guess she likes to do stuff like that. She could've at least took the courtesy to tell me that we'll be going there then I wouldn't have wore shorts and flip flops.

Since she took the wrong direction, she had to ask the people at the Tol for a bit of guidance. Asked 3 girls in total and the first girl actually gave wrong directions; thus, it was confusing!  I was like, damn, hitherto we're just gonna end up driving all the way back to Ipoh. The last 2 girls were of better aid but still she had to  pay unnecessarily in order to u-turn, you get the idea. We took the old road, it felt as if it was taking centuries for us to reach there because both of us wanted to pee and we were famished. Lucky for her she has cigarettes. On the other hand, I had nothing except for hunger.

I think I nearly died in the car park, it was freezing cold and I was pale as fuck. I looked creepy in the mirror, I think that was mainly due to my hunger. Crystal eats to live, not lives to eat. Surveyed the area to see which shop will be great for dinner. Fast food outlets were obviously excluded from the list. In the end, dined at some Hainan restaurant. Was too hungry to look at the name. Something sheepish happened while we were waiting to be seated, I cut the queue because hunger took over my conscience, really. Took me awhile to realize that I actually cut the queue when Michiko gave me a whatthefuckareyoudoing look. For real, I didn't notice the sign saying "Wait to be seated".

Took her 5 minutes to handle the pepper. Speak of great skills.

Happily having my Traditional Mutton Stew. Apparently, I ate quite fast.

Took a stroll outside after dinner then came back to PJ. Talked a lot about past issues. In short,
had fun.

Dad asked me where I went and I lied, "One U". He responded with an eww face and said, "Boooorrrrinngggg". Have you seen people who actually enjoys bursting people's bubbles so much? Yup, I love being boring and I'd rather you scoff at me because you would've killed me if I told you the truth. He got pwned without knowing it and in a way, that's kind of hilarious. Hah!

Friday, January 29, 2010

what's the matter with you? blue eyes

Photo from U3MUSIC INC.

Just thought these autographed balls by Utada are pretty cool. No, I'm not fangirling. Please scrutinize the drawings on the balls. Bears voicing Gay rights. Apparently, her bear or otherwise known as Kuma is a gay bear who's only into male bears. Okay fine, maybe I was fangirling a bit after getting to know that one of my idols is so supportive of the LGBT community. Another reason why I love Utada Hikaru.

Time for something serious.


Okay, I know this shot ain't as epic as her singing but truth be told, I have better shots of her singing along to Akon's music. After contemplating, I decided not to post those beautiful shots because I'm a really good friend. Seriously, this girl knows practically each song on Akon's album. Scary and it's even scarier when there's abrupt screaming/cursing in the middle of the song. After yesterday's experience, I realized that most of my friends are pretty aggressive when it comes to driving. Hazardous, very. Ironically, I find them funny.

Monday's a holiday. About time for some repose--which reminds me I haven't started on the Dream Analysis. As much as I'd like to use Freud's theories, they just don't make sense. Oh, Freud, where art thou? There's so much I'd like to ask him in person but that's merely impossible.

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