Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Misa turns 1 this week. Time just flew by, and its been a year since we brought her back from the pet shop. She's grown quite a fair bit, and rather plump these days because I've been giving her and Kiki up to 3 different types of vegetables on a daily basis. Too bad I can't recall when we got Kiki, as I didn't manage to log it down in my journal (I write a sentence per day on an excel spreadsheet, since 2002). I also took some videos and uploaded them, so you can check it out here.

On Mabel, she's not been feeling too good lately, and tends to throw up. She started off being picky about her appetite, but later on it turned out that she'd rather not eat, for fear of throwing up. Being a good husband, of course I reported this to my in-laws who were in a much better position to deal with her. Haha. Hopefully, she'll get better and I don't mind travelling around just to get what she fancies.
I was introduced to the Nike+ by a colleague at work. I wasn't too interested at first, but then I realised that I needed some motivation to start my half marathon training, and to get in shape for IPPT too. Thus, I went online and got the Ipod arm band, as well as the Ipod Nike+ package from the official Apple website. The price of the arm band was absurd, but I got it because I was afraid that the non-official ones would spoil the Nano. Speaking of the Nano, I only have a 4th Gen Ipod, so I had to get another Ipod as the gadget only works on the Nano. Thankfully, a ebay seller did not respond on time and so I managed to buy a second hand 2nd Gen Nano from by brother in law.

The concept was simple. Secure a sensor onto your shoes, equip your Ipod Nano with the latest firmware, and off you go. The people at Apple really made things easy. I was puzzled when I couldn't find any installation discs in the package, and was pleasantly surprised to learn that everything was automated. The instant I plugged the sensor into the Nano, the new menu popped up and almost everything was already configured. There were some problems though. I did not have the new Nike shoes with the sensor pouch, so I had to improvise. It took me some runs to finally realise the best position to place the sensor, and although some runs were not accurate at first, I had it calibrated and everything seems well and fine now.
The best thing about the Nike+ is that it not only provides real time feed back to me via the ear phones, it tracks everything: time, distance, pace, calories lost. Everything is logged and uploaded to your Itunes. It also creates an account for you on the Nike+ site, where you can compete with others around the world, set goals, challenges, make friends, etc. Really cool, and it has motivated me to go for daily runs up to 4km (chart doesn't show cause I was calibrating on some of the days where results were inaccurate). Hopefully I'll get a good timing for this year's half marathon.Most of you guys should know by now that Fox has accquired the movie rights to the Dragonball movie, which is based on the hit manga of the same name by Akira Toriyama. Most fans see that the film is doomed to fail, given the high standards set by the anime/manga, and that it is virtually impossible to recreate the same level of characters and plot within the 2 hour movie screen time. I admit that I too, believe that the movie will most likely fail. But I've been wrong before (think Transformers), so hopefully Stephen Chow, who is producing the movie, can pull it off. The film follows Goku, played by Justin Chatwin, and his quest to obtain the mystical Dragonballs before the evil Piccolo, played by James Marsters, does. The film began development in 2002, and is directed by James Wong (of Final Destination fame).
Some of the other characters which are going to be the movie are Master Roshi (Chow Yun Fatt), Chi Chi (Jamie Chung), Bulma (Emmy Rossum), Yamcha (Joon Park), and Mai (Eriko Tamura). Mostly old school characters, since the movie is going to be based on the Piccolo story arc. As much as I'm glad to see some familiar asian faces such as Chow Yun Fatt, I'm not too convinced that he will be a good Master Roshi. I'm sure we can get a dozen decent Master Roshis with 10% of his pay cheque. But his presence will probably boost ticket sales in China and other parts of Asia. Still waiting for more pics and hopefully a teaser soon, and I'll definately follow up with more news here.
On the Super Setai front, nothing much but a recent episode of Engine Sentai Go-Onger made me like the series even more. Still, there's no comparision to last season's Gekiranger yet, but they're making good progress. In this particular episode, Red Go-Onger Sousuke got a cold virus, and some how he switched bodys with one of the monsters. Comedy ensues, when they each try to trick the other side in an attempt to gain credit. The fake Sousuke even tries to perform his techniques but fails miserably. One of the few times in Sentai where I ended up laughing out loud. Even Mabel was curious at what got me laughing and joined me halfway. Here's part of the show, where Sousuke in his monster form performs the traditional roll call with the rest of the Go-ongers.

As usual, 2 movies will be released in the summer time in Japan this year. They are of course based on the 2 Toku shows this season. Engine Sentai Go-onger: BOOM BOOM! BANG BANG! GekijōBANG!! (炎神戦隊ゴーオンジャー BUNBUN! BANBAN! 劇場BANG!!) is set to play in theaters on August 9, 2008, as a double bill with the Kamen Rider Kiva movie, The King of Hell Castle. As much as I would like to spend National day in Japan, it's impossible to go overseas this year and I'll just have to wait for the DVD releases. Check out the trailer here.

Namidairo is the first single of 2008 by Japanese pop singer-songwriter Yui. The single was released on February 27, 2008. The title song is a tie-up for the TV drama "4 Shimai Tantei Dan". Namidairo has been certified gold by RIAJ for shipment of 100,000 copies in Japan . I've been listening to this song a lot, even when jogging. So much so that I've looked up the lyrics on the net, and even learned a few new words. Youtube doesn't have any of her videos up, due to copyright issues and an overly protective record company. Anyway, I'll post the Japanese lyrics here since they're not really that easy to find. Meanwhile, enjoy the song!

嫌われているような 気がしてた 帰り道
ケンカになればすぐ謝る よわくて アナタハ ズルイヒト
なみだいろ 声が 聞こえない夜は困らせてしまうほど
わがままになりたい だいじょうぶ そう言ってみたけど

Kirawarete iro you na ki ga shite ta kaerimichi
Miageta heya no akari ima donna kimochi de iro no darou?
Kenka ni nareba sugu ayamaru yowakute anata wa zurui hito
Namidairo koe ga kikoenai yoru wakomarasete shimau hodo
Wagamama ni naritai daijoubu sou itte mita kedo
Sonna hazu nai deshou...

水たまりに映る 哀しい顔 見慣れている
ムリ 言わないつもり わかってるから 苦しくなるの
優しくされると泣けてくる やっぱり アナタハ ズルイヒト
なみだいろ 声が 聞こえない夜は 困らせてしまうほど
わがままになり たいだいしょうぶ そう言ってみたけど

Mizutamari ni utsuru kanashii kao minarete iru
Muri iwanai tsumori wakatteru kara kurushiku naru no
Yasashiku sareru to nakete kuru yappari anata wa zurui hito
Namidairo koe ga kikoenai yoru wakomarasete shimau hodo
Wagamama ni naritai daijoubu sou itte mita kedo
Sonna hazu nai desho...

あなたの前じゃ 嘘つきよ気づいてほしいと 思っているの
そんなに強いわけじゃないからね アタシ
涙こぼさない 決めていたのに 困らせてしまうよね?
なんてまた訊くけど そんなはずないでしょ・・・

Anata no mae ja usotsuki o kizuite hoshii to omotteru no
Sonna ni tsuyoi wake janai kara ne atashi
Namida kobosanai kimete ita nonikomarasete shimau yo ne?
Wagamama ni narenaidaijoubu?
Nante mata kiku kedosonna hazu nai desho…
My first encounter with the animated picture of the dancer on the right was on facebook. According to the article, you can tell whether you are left or right brained by seeing which direction the dancer is rotating. I gave it a try, realised that it was definately spinng in one direction (anti-clockwise), and dismissed it as another stupid picture which tricks facebook users to post on their walls. However, I saw this picture again on youtube again, and asked Mabel which direction she was spinning. And surprising, she said clockwise.... This of course, spurred me on to investigate.

From Wiki: The Spinning Dancer, also known as the silhouette illusion, is a kinetic, bistable optical illusion resembling a pirouetting female dancer. The illusion involves the apparent direction of motion of the figure. Some observers see the figure as spinning clockwise and some counter-clockwise. The illusion has been falsely considered by many to be a scientific personality test that supposedly reveals which hemisphere of the brain is dominant in the observer. Thus, its only an optical illusion, nothing more. With practise, I can now freely switch to both modes, either turning left or right, but it took some frustrating time trying. See if you can do it too.
That's it, another 2 weeks gone. Starting to have some free time these days, thus starting to get into banner design once again, hence the new Go-Onger banners you see here. Until the next update, do tell me if you can get the optical illusion to work both ways and perhaps I can give some tips.... :)Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker

Saturday, May 10, 2008


The month long CTC course finally comes to an end. I had a fantastic time and made lots of great friends there, especially the guys from Syndicate 1. You guys have really made the course much more interesting and fun, and I'm proud to have been part of the syndicate. To the NSFs, Alex, Wen Jun, Mao Mao & Wei Ming, you guys are outstanding and its easy to see why you guys are the top of your cohort. I've really learnt a great deal from you people. Clarence, the syndicate leader, thanks for all the head counts and memorable quotes. Marcus, I really thought you topped the course (haha).... Adrian, sorry for not joining AIOC but I've no regrets converting (hehe). Benjamin, your unselfishness in sharing has inspired me to do the same. Dennis, working with you on the simulation was one of the highlights during the last exercise. Chief, hope you don't kenna more learning related stuff! Foong, congrats on your second child and hopefully you will have a healthy baby boy! Jeffery, don't worry too much and remember confidence is key! Thanks guys and please keep in touch! For the full version of the pic, click here.

Okay, so I've been spending quite a few bucks on figures the past few weeks, but I've also been saving up in the sense that I've not been spending too much on any other thing else for the past 2 months. I've just ordered the latest S.I.C figure, this time a double character set with both Momotaros Imagin and Kamen Rider Den-O (Sword Form). With all S.I.C series, expect them to milk us collectors dry with additional box sets of the other rider forms. The same thing happened back during the release of the Hibiki series and in the end I got them all. Well, the redeeming factor here is that the kit looks really kick ass and that it doesn't really cost too much. Expect the next set to be released within the next 2 months, and the cycle continues.....
Well, not all the stuff I've ordered are Kamen Rider or Super Sentai related. This new set of Bandai figures also caught my attention. These guys are huge! To be honest I really don't have much space for them, but they look too good to be missed, and it only makes sense to get them together as a set. Sadly, they will only be released as a pair every 3 months, and it will really take a year to collect them all. At least there's always something to look forward to.TV-Nihon recently released the subbed version of Kamen Rider: The Next. The film borrows elements from the Kamen Rider V3 television series and is a sequel to the Kamen Rider The First movie (which was a film adaptation of the original Kamen Rider series). It was given a PG-12 rating for its brief nudity and mild violence. I thought the film was draggy at times and tries too hard to be in the J-horror genre. While this could be boring for a tokusatsu show, the film boosts cool costumes and fantastic fights, even on motor bikes although I thought the first movie was still better in this area. The make up for the final boss battle was awesome, and that alone warrants a check on the movie. Check out the trailer here, as well as the PV for the ending theme.

And here's the PV of "Chosen Soldier", performed by ISSA.

The PV for Matsuura Aya's latest single, Kizuna (絆) has just been released. Yet another slow song, but nothing sounds too dissapointing this far. The song has a certain vibe to it which reminds me of her old songs, but maybe it's just been quite a while since we got a fast paced song from her (except for her GAM songs with Fujimoto Miki). Like the song itself, the PV is slow and doesn't really show her doing much. She's been involved in some other Disney related events, just like Morning Musume, so perhaps we'll get to more of her in theme park related events soon. Check out her PV for Kizuna here:

As well as a clip where she sings some familiar Disney tunes:

Due to a small mite related incident with Misa and Kiki, I decided to throw away their entire cage and to replace it with the equivalent of a mansion. Yes, the girls got lucky as I bought a new 3 storey house for them. Kiki was naturally delighted and within a day, she was dashing up and down the stairs like a pro. Misa, on the other hand, was sadly a little dumb. She didn't understand the concept of stairs, and I had to push her up and down them so that she can reach for the veggies which I placed on the upper decks to encourage them to climb up. And guess what she did..... she jumped off the 3rd storey back to the first to get down! She made such a loud splash I had to vacuum the room all over again. Damnit Misa. She's such a timid guinea pig initially and tried to hide under the stairs. Thankfully, after a few days both of them are pretty good with the stairs now, and will automatically run up to level 3 to beg for food whenever I'm near them. :)
Talk about getting jealous. Misa's the type to give Kiki a whack in the head whenever her food gets stolen by her. Poor Kiki just screams until either me or Mabel goes over, where she tends cries in an attempt to trick us into getting more lettuce or cucumber for her. Smart girl, but always kenna bullied.
During the past few weeks where I DID have some time to burn while waiting to fall asleep, I've tried to catch up with the one series which I've wanted to watch but didn't have the time to complete: Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The original movie was one of the inspiration for the Matrix Trilogy, and the series tells the stories of Public Security Section 9, an elite domestic anti-crime unit charged with the task of preventing technology-related acts of terrorism and crime. Their duties include response to serious cyber crimes (i.e. cyberbrain hacking, cyber-terrorism), investigation of unlawful acts of those in public office and of high profile murder cases.

In one of the episodes I watched last night, the Tachikomas (spider type multi leg combat vehicles equipped with artificial intelligence) wanted to steal something from a low level AI cyborg. They posed to her a question, which goes like this... one of the Tachikomas said: "I always tell lies! I never ever tell the truth!" Another Tachikoma then says "What a curious dilema! Because if what he said was true, it means that he wasn't lying! And if what he said was false, that means that he tells the truth! Can you solve this contradiction?" The female cyborg, in her attempt to solve the puzzle, got her circuits messed up and the Tachikomas got their loot. Awesome.

This little trick they pulled off was called a Self referring paradox. I then wiki-ed for more information on paradoxes, and found a whole list of which many were actually pretty interesting. What got my attention was this question, which I was actually asked 2 years ago by a senior officer. It goes like this:

"Suppose you're on a game show, and you're given the choice of three doors: Behind one door is a car; behind the others, goats. You pick a door, say No. 1, and the host, who knows what's behind the doors, opens another door, say No. 3, which has a goat. He then says to you, "Do you want to pick door No. 2?" Is it to your advantage to switch your choice?"

Back then, I answered no, as I thought the odds would still remain as 1/3 as nothing was changed since the start of the question. But amazingly, your odds of getting the car actually would double if you choose to switch your choice to the third door. Sounds unbelievable right? The reason is like this:
As shown in the diagram above, there are three possible situations corresponding to the player's initial choice, each with probability 1/3:

The player originally picked the door hiding the car. The game host has shown one of the two goats.
The player originally picked the door hiding Goat A. The game host has shown the other goat.
The player originally picked the door hiding Goat B. The game host has shown the other goat.

If the player chooses to switch, the car will be won in either of the last two cases. A player choosing to stay with the initial choice wins in only the first case. Since in two out of three equally likely cases switching wins, the probability of winning by switching is 2/3. In other words, players who switch will win the car on average two times out of three. Interesting?

I also came across a few other interesting articles, but I'm leaving that until the next few updates. In the meantime, I'll be taking a very short break from work, and will stay at home to take care of Mabel, while trying to finish the rest of the 2 seasons I have of GITS. Will also need to start my JLPT 2 revisions, having missed some of the lessons due to the course. The new sensei, while looking cute, talks really fast and some how lacks in the experience department. At least she tries hard, so hopefully I'll be able to squeeze pass the examination with her help. Until the next time, the count down continues!
Lilypie Expecting a baby Ticker