Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas Is Here!

Decorating the X'mas Tree...

getting started... progress...

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year!

Sebastian's Big Day

My pal, Sebastian got hitched to his girlfriend, Stephanie @ the Registrar of Marriage on 22nd Dec '09.
Congratulations Sebastian and Stephanie!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Happy Aquarium: I Can Now Keep Fish Online

Do electric fish dream of electric dreams?

Facebook is kind enough to introduce Happy Aquarium, an aquarium simulation game, for busy people like me who likes keeping fishes but simply has no time to care for the real fishes.

One of my hobbies is keeping fishes. I dream of owning my marine fish aquarium someday. At the moment, I'll settled for Happy Aquarium. It's an easy to use simulation with a gentle learning curve. Just buy baby fish from the store and keep them. Feed, train them and they will mature into adulthood. Thereafter, you may mate them for extra fish. Sell your extra fishes for a profit so that you can buy more expensive fishes to add to your collect. They also generates a higher profit when sold.

Your fish can fall sick if you don't feed them and clean their tank. Sick fishes will die after three days which means no ROI, so you have to check back on your tank regularly. I usually check on my tank once a day.

To me, success in this game is to keep a complete marine aquarium with a full complement of healthy and colorful marine fishes. Nothing beats looking at happy fishes swimming around beautiful coral like in a reef.

It's a simple application that only requires little time and effort. Cleaning the tank and feeding fishes requires just a few clicks. No need to change water, check filter and test for nitrate level.

The only problem is that freshwater fish like goldfish and betta splendens can be kept with marine fish which spoilt the realism a little. Anyway, it's just for good fun.

At the moment, I have 2 clown fish, 2 Angel fish and 2 Butterfly fish in my tank. I'm hoping to earn enough money so that I can acquire my first clown trigger eventually. =)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Storm Riders 2

Courtesy of OMY paper, I got free tickets to watch The Storm Riders 2 movie recently.

The prequel, The Storm Riders, screened 11 years ago, was a commercial success and an instant cult classic. I remember watching the movie 3 times. Both movies were based on the immensely popular, Wind & Cloud, '风云' comics series.

The Wind & Cloud comic series is like an Asian spin on Marvel superheroes comics series. It describes the fantastic world of Chinese pugilism where the heroes, Wind and Cloud faces incredible opponents and mythical beasts (infrequently) with spectacular martial arts. (If you refer to the movie posters above, Cloud is the main guy on the left). The Storm Rider movie series were live action adaptations.

The Storm Riders 2 adapts its plot from the Japanese invasion arc of the original comics series. A group of highly skilled invaders is threatening the pugilistic world and the destiny of China. Wind, Cloud and their allies must level-up their martial arts to eradicate the invaders. The process of leveling up their skills is fraught with life-threatening risks to themselves and their loved ones. Meanwhile, the invaders' leader, Godless, was sending powerful assassins to kill them before they can succeed. Will Wind & Cloud be able to repel their invaders? I'm not going to give away the ending. Instead I will give my take on the movie here.

I think the movie producers were intentionally paying tribute to the movie 300 by drawing some inspirations from that movie. After all, 300 itself was also based on a graphic novel. In the scene when Godless visits royal mausoleum with his entourage is a parallel of the Persian king entourage scene in 300. Both scenes used elaborate casts and special effects to depict the depth of pompous arrogance and power hunger in the antagonists. In SR2, the scene fell short in the execution part. Kudos to Simon Yam, who performed the part of arrogant Godless well but the special effects failed to create an atmosphere that evokes a similar effect. In this aspect, I felt that SR2 merely achieved a standard below the benchmark set by Hollywood.

One of my movie companion remarked that SR2 had no dialogue and no character development whatsoever. True and true again. Then again, what could the production team do given the source material?

The original comic series which is still running today is intended for a male working class audience featuring a cast of thousands and each character has his own uniquely convoluted fighting styles that need to be presented graphically. So the back story had to be kept simple with only snippets of conversations in between the spectacular fighting scenes to move the plot along. The only character development afforded was development in martial sense.

When I was reading the original comics series it was more than 10 years ago. I wasn't quite a big fan of the series and borrowed the series from a friend, who had a considerable collection spanning several story arcs. To me, it became a chore that I had to flip through several issues (about 30, 40 plus pages per issue) to discover that a particular fight scene was not resolved yet. A fight scene could last several issues before the next plot point could be picked up.

I was however a fan of the live action movie precisely because it is fast paced and contain the action in condensed form. I'll definitely want a DVD of the movie.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Photo 231109: Genting Highlands

Genting Highlands
Make: Canon EOS 40D
Shutter Speed:1/3 sec.
Aperture: F/4
Focal Length: 18 mm
ISO: 800
Metering Mode: Pattern
Exposure Program: Aperture Priority
Date Taken: 20 Nov 2009

This photograph was taken from First World Hotel in Genting Highlands Malaysia. I was staying on the 24th Storey in a World Club Room. The weather was misty and foggy on the first night so the room offered no view. The fog cleared up temporarily on the second night for me to realize that I was able to see the almost the entire Genting Highlands from my room. I'm somewhat pleased with how the picture turned out.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Photo 161109

Make: Canon EOS 40D
Shutter Speed:1/3 sec.
Aperture: F/5
Focal Length: 39 mm
ISO: 400
Metering Mode: Pattern
Exposure Program: Aperture Priority
Date Taken: 14 Oct 2009

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cities I've Visited

I've pinned 75 cities in 19 countries