Sunday, August 30, 2009

写真を撮るために海岸へ行った!

I really want to keep up my blogging regime and to write and post pictures at least once a week, but my days are getting shorter and it's tough to work things out at work and to balance my own leisure time for hobbies, and also taking care of Rena during the weekends. At such, I'm considering changing the struture of my blog, so instead of a long post every 2 weeks or so, I might do short thoughts on a more frequent basis. This might lead to less constructive posts (not that mine are very constructive in the first place), but it might mean that I'll be motivated to log in more often. Well, we'll see how it goes from here, although I'll possibly be quite busy till the end of the year. My feeling towards this period of time can easily be summed up by this Green Day song going "Here comes the rain again, falling from the stars. Drenched in my pain again, becoming who we are. As my memory rests but never forgets what I lost, wake me up when september ends."
We went for yet another photo shoot this time (our third), but it was the first time that we were doing it outdoors. Sentosa seemed like the logical choice, and we spent a few hours at the beach and took some personal shots as well. We're still waiting to pick up the pictures, but Mabel's restricted me on my uploads because she wanted to keep some as a secret, well till the right time at least. More pics soon so check back later. There were also multiple gatherings taking place in the month of August and September, and most of the pictures have also been uploaded onto my Facebook album. If you're on Facebook, you should have already seen me spamming them. If not, do add me and just let me know who you are. Speaking of Facebook, I had a few surprise friend requests lately, many of whom are either from overseas or are friends which I've not met in years. Gotta love Facebook for it's social capacity.
I'm still into KOF XII and will try to play a few rounds either online or offline whenever I can find time. I was trying to find the official strategy guide but couldn't, so eventually I remembered that I still had some credit with paypal, and so ordered a copy of the guide from playasia.com. The shipping from Hong Kong was free, and pretty fast too. The guide itself wasn't too fantastic, but I did learn a few good tips from it and the art was good, so it'll be a welcome addition to my collection of game guides. On the toy front, I added another item to my Kamen Rider Decade series collection. It's a 25cm tall sofubi figure, and I'm actually tempted to get the rest of the figures in this series. Will be seeking out more online stores and see if I can get the rest shipped in too, since I've got other items lined up as well.
The following series of pictures is my entry for a contest organised by the Japanese National Tourism Organisation. The details are as follows: "Simply plan an extraordinary itinerary for a 7 day and 6 night trip to experience the wonders of Japan in autumn, where the cool breeze and blue skies will free your mind and create the perfect atmosphere to explore the whole of Japan on your own time with the convenience of the Japan Rail Pass (7-day free train pass). 5 winners with the most interesting itineraries will be chosen to experience their very own unique itineraries! Each winner will be given a return air ticket from ANA/JAL/SQ to Tokyo, a 7 Day Japan Rail Pass (Please see Terms & Conditions) and S$1,000 spending money and share the experience with everyone via an online blog."
I've already submitted my entry online, but the thing was that they could only accept files up to 3mb in size. So, in the end I had to compress them heavily in pdf format and to make sure that the file size limitation wasn't breached. The quality was still ok, but definitely not printing material. If you're interested and want to get the hi-res version of the files from me, do drop me a message and leave your email, and I'll sent the files or the links to you. That's it for a short short update this time, so wish me all the best for the contest and I'll update the results once I get'em. Hopefully we'll be in for another trip and this time we'll take even more videos and pictures than the last time! :p
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Sunday, August 16, 2009

G.I.Joe: The Rise of Cobra review

And so I watched G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra this week. I didn't actually plan on watching this, since I wasn't too excited from the trailers, and that I wasn't a big fan of the cartoon series. However, I did watch a fair share of the cartoon as a kid, and still remember a lot of the memorable characters in the series, such as Duke, Snake Eyes, Beach Head, Cobra Commander, etc. G.I. Joe was a integral part of any kid born in the 80s, and stands along side other classics such as Transformers and Mask. I'll give my views on the movie here, but it's full of spoilers so avoid if you want to catch the movie.The show promised to be action packed, with fantastic visuals, ninja fights, huge ass explosions, and high speed chase scenes. I wasn't expecting too much of a plot, since afterall it's based on a cartoon series and an existing toyline. I was right.
The plot was wafer thin, and raises more questions than answers the more you think about it. As an origin movie, it sets up the stage for the movie franchise by attempting to explain how to terror organisation "Cobra" plans to take over the world. No additional information was provided on Cobra, except that they are funded by a mysterious Scottish man who manages to build up entire underwater fortresses under ice caps. And of course, he has this genius evil scientist whom conveniently backstabs and takes over him without any resistance from the rest of the organisation. Throw in a love affair between the main protaganist and the leading lady and you nearly have a family reunion near the end of the movie. Well, as I said the plot isn't really the movie's strong point, but no one expected much in this area in the first place.
I thought Channing Tatum did well as Duke, although his character had some really lame lines. Some were cringe worthy, but he managed to pull it off as a special ops unit officer. On the other hand, I was skeptical about Marlon Wayans as Ripcord. When I see him, I see White Girls. Could have picked some one better, but he did work out for the role and looked good too.
Sienna Miller was hot as The Baroness. Her tiny gun packed a punch and she kicked ass with it. Makes you wonder why people still use swords when tiny guns can do so much damange. Again, her character was plagued with bad lines, and there was too much foreshadowing especially with her brother Rex. Looking hot made the dialogue more bearable, and it was pretty comical watching her climb out of her overturned vehicle and wearing her sunglasses. And yeah, "nice shoes". Rachel Nichols as Scarlett wasn't really as memorable, since she got her ass kicked in most of her screen time. She didn't even have the chance for revenge.
And yes, who can forget the ninjas! I loved ninja movies as a kid, even those horrible American ones. Head shot shurikens for the win! Anyway, Storm Shadow, played by Lee Byung-hun was easily my favourite character in the movie. He had the most personality, and also the best moves and also costume. Snake Eyes, played by Ray Park on the other hand, seemed bland and boring. Perhaps it was due to his mask and his vow of silence. He had a good role in the chase scene, but should have done more rather than hide in the shadows and call for backup. On the topic of the ninjas, I must relate back to the plot once again. I had the feeling that these 2 ninjas were trying to out do one another in a bid to become the number 1 emo ninja in the world. While I absolutely loved the scene where Storm Shadow starred at Snake Eyes in the face and said "Hello Brother" (my fave scene, hands down), it gave me promise and raised my expectations on an epic back story, and sadly the audience was let down horribly. I expected a history of bad blood between these 2 men, one filled with clan feuds, sworn enemies, entwined with bounded fate and destiny. Hell no. Instead we have 2 emo kids fighting, and when one lost he killed his master from the back and the other never spoke again. Damnit this is the biggest let down in the movie. They could have done so much more since these 2 characters would easily be the biggest stars and sell the most toys.

Last 2 characters I wanna talk about are Mc Cullen, AKA Destro. Fans of the cartoon would recognise this prominent character immediately, and we knew that some how he would get that iron mask on his face sooner or later. Still, more background would be good, perhaps to explain how he managed to get his resources. Rex, whom eventually became Cobra Commander, was a surprise since I was kinda expecting a new character to take up the mantle of the Supreme Commander. I have no big issues for him, but I really wanted him to retain his look in the cartoon series. Why not have the classic helmet and faceless mask? I read online that the mask was redesigned from the comics because the producers found it too reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan. KKK? That was ages ago, and I'm sure they were referring to the mask and not the helmet! I loved Cobra Commander's design in the cartoon, and so I kinda hated his new look. Bring back his helmet if there is a sequel!Another rant I have is that, I was waiting for the war cry to happen throughout the movie. You know, the one that goes "Yo Joe!" Well, it finally came, but it was lacklustre at best. Heavy Duty was the one who finally said it, but it was when they were escaping from the enemy underwater base. It's supposed to be a war cry, not a victory cheer! :(

As an ending note, while the conclusion of the movie screams sequel, I like to remind people that many movies leave room for sequels which never arrive. While I'm sure this movie is bound to start a game and toy line, the sequel hasn't been announced, unlike Ironman 2 which was announced even before the movie reached its first week. End of the day, I liked this movie, more so than Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. G.I. Joe promised action, and it delievered. Don't get too focused on the loose plot and obvious mistakes regarding physics, and I'm sure most movie goers will enjoy this movie. I give it a 7.5 out of 10.
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Rena - Omocha Part 2!

This is the second installment in the Omocha series for Rena! Remember the big project I mentioned previously? Apparently it was too ambitious and I had to scrap it, although I had a storyboard planned out and all. Well, to replace that, this will have to suffice. Tell me what you think! Lilypie 1st Birthday Ticker

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

レナ・Rena・瑞心

The promise to update every other week seems to be going down the drain, so we'll have to settle for fortnightly for the updates instead. Still, if videos count, my update rate is still pretty healthy :p. I have tons of pictures uploaded to my Facebook account on a very frequent basis, so do add me if you haven't already so that we can stay in contact that way. Much easier too, since I'm on FB pretty much every night, even when I'm on my PS3 or watching TV. Since the last video, I've been planning a major effort, but it's time to go for broke, and if I'm not hapy with the results I'll have to give up. No details to be given yet, however all I can say is that I'm working on something else, rather than another picture slide show. Still, I have no idea how it will work out, so perhaps it's still a long way off from ready for showing. I've also decided not to submit my videos to Stomp, since I don't think they will allow me to win another camera, and that the way the butcher the video quality given today's bandwidth is a little bewildering. Rena is now over 8 months all, and she's practically learning new things everyday. She's already sitting up very firmly these days, and have solid food for meals. She has 4 teeth to show off, and likes the attention that she's been enjoying in front of friends and relatives. It's much easier to bring her outside these days, but she has a temper that even I am afraid of. Similar to me, I guess, just that I rarely rarely show any signs of anger. Though, I get mad and frustrated pretty easily. Hopefully she'll be able to control her emotions and save us from all the stress of having to settle a screaming, hungry baby. :p
No major purchases this month, though I got myself KOF XII for the PS3 once it was released in Singapore. I spent hours on it with my DS3 controller, and got a sore thumb with a nice blister on it. I made up my mind to get a joystick, and immediately seeked and got one the following day. There were many high end controllers which were very nice, but I was pretty low in cash and settled for a korean brand named Joytron. It looked good, and the packaging and art were pretty nifty too. The stick felt good, but the buttons seem a little loose and felt like the spring effect won't last too long. Well, I only need it for KOF so hopefully it lasts, like my previous Hori one for the PS1 which still works and I use it for emulation on the PC.
The PS3 version came with a few goodies, but were mostly useless. 2 collector cards, and a screen cleaner. Yeah nothing to shout about but the art was nice. The game itself, has disappointed many with lousy reviews, mostly due to the lack of characters, stages, and modes. The online component has been complained for being laggy too. I agree, but the bottomline is that it is a KOF title, and the gameplay is rock solid. I thought the combat system was flawed at first, till I realise the tremendous amount of depth and combos which were packed in all the characters. I'm hooked, and constantly trying out new characters and combos. Hopefully, SNK will give us fans more download contents such as new characters and stages, to build upon this engine which is already really fun and pleasing to the eye.

Having cleared my Japanese Language Proficiency Test (JLPT) level 2 last December, I can finally join the Standard Charted Singapore Marathon this year. I've been waiting to clock a 42km run for a long time now, but always didn't have the chance, either due to overseas trips or my JLPTs, level 3 and level 4. Now that I've completed most of my Japanese modules and have achieved my aim of level 2, I'm definitely signing up for this year. Hopefully I can survive it, and perhaps go for a few more in the years to come. :)


From Wiki: Kamen Rider Double (仮面ライダーW(ダブル), Kamen Rider W) is the upcoming eleventh series in the Heisei period run of the Kamen Rider Series and the twentieth Rider series overall. It is set to premiere following the finale of Kamen Rider Decade on September 6, 2009, and will air alongside Samurai Sentai Shinkenger in TV Asahi's Super Hero Time programming block. End Quote. So far, I'm liking the Rider's suit design, but I'm HATING the 2 main guys which will henshin into the rider. Yes, 2 guys into 1. As if that doesn't sound gay enough, the 2 teenage guys really look and dress like gays. They disgust me so much I'm not going to put their pics here, save the video. Their gayness even top Shinken Blue, whom I thought was girly since appearing with bunny ears on his blog. I'm not gonna be giving up on the series because of this, but man, I'm so going to be complaining about them. Seriously, they really LOOK gay. I can spend hours bitching about them, but I really just wanna slap them. Decade's been doing well so far, with Black showing up in recent episodes.


Well, that's it again. For us, we have a whole list of activities upcoming in August, such as a photoshoot, a visit to the zoo, the video project, and of course our anniversary celebrations. Expect more pics soon. Till then, ja! Will leave you with a kick ass trailer of the upcoming Decade movie featuring all the riders in an epic rider kick!
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