Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top Ten of 2009

Hey! 2009's almost over, and instead of griping over the past and wishing for a better future, I'm going to start this annual thing which recaps my best moments of each year, with the hope that they will be just as scintillating in the years to come! It's written in bits and pieces over the year, starting in June, but next year I'll start from the very beginning (Do, re, mi!).

1. Odyssey of the Mind Coaching: 2009 (Written: 16 Jun 09)
Ahahaha... no surprises that this would be on the list! Possibly one of the best experiences of this life or any other lives I had, have, or will ever have. I really had fun meeting all these new friends, and acting is a real blast, no matter what anybody says or calls me. I think possibly the best is the actual day of the national competition, and especially the prize ceremony, because I was on tenterhooks (wow, I actually used an obscure word) the whole time and it is AWESOME to jump up on your seat while cheering your voice out when one of the teams wins. Sad that World Finals was cancelled though. Meh. AH WELL STILL A HAPPY MEMORY!

2. The "Brack Obama" Joke (Written: 21 June 2009)
Oh yeah this one was a classic. Well, I was sitting on that joke for days, but with no opportunity to use it (is this how all comedians feel?). So there I was, sitting in an English class about Hedda Gabler, and wouldn't you know it, Ms Rachel Cheung asks me to read the stage directions about the first appearance of Brack. Talk about timing! Without skipping a beat, I instantly said, "Who, Obama?" and while it didn't get hilarious laughs, it triggered the standard eye-rolling response, so I guess it was good. And hey, I didn't get to waste a good joke.

3. Biking for the Second Time (Written: 21 June 2009)
Last week I went biking for the second time in my life. As I mentioned in that post, I think it was great that remembered how to do it the second time. Nothing like biking on speed! Now all I need to do is train more then we (most probably just I) will be able to rocket all the way up to Russia and back! Woohoo!

4. Finishing v3.0 of Don't Forget the Lyrics! Powerpoint version (Written: 21st June 2009)
This was thrilling enough, considering I finished everything happily at 3am in the morning. The high was absolutely fantastic, and I couldn't sleep for an hour after that. It's really satisfying once everything falls into place, and all the code that you spent hours searching for FINALLY WORKS. Then I made the Interactive Tutorial, which was quite fun as well, and right now I think the whole thing is just brilliant!

5. Animusic! (Written: 31st December 2009)
Oh man, if you still don't know what Animusic is, man you are missing out. Search it on Youtube. It's an awesome visual and aural treat that will leave you breathless. When I first found out about it, I couldn't stop spreading it around, because it was so awesome. Acoustic Curves and the Pipe Dreams are my favourites, and Future Retro is nice too.

6. The Giant Porcupine Sighting (Written: 31st December 2009)
OH MAN THIS IS A GREAT STORY. So I was on the bus with Hui Jun going home after school when the 74 stops at the Sunset Way bus stop. We were sitting on the upper deck and so the roof of the bus shelter blocks most of the view of the pavement. Anyway behind the roof someone was carrying one of those spiky brooms over his shoulder, so only the brush was visible. So Hui Jun gets distracted in the middle of our conversation, stares out the window and goes, "Oh my god it's a giant porcupine." So obviously, I crack up. And after I've composed myself, and able to breathe again, I ask him, "Why did you think that was a giant porcupine?" And he goes, "I dunno! I mean, at first I thought 'lion' but I knew lions don't live in Singapore!" And then I just crack up again.

7. GEP Chalet (Written: 31st December 2009)
Ahh, chalet. I missed last year's for WoW, so I came back this year with a vengeance. (Well, no, not really.) Between barbecuing with David and watching Fatal Frame for the first time in my life (FREAKING SCARY AND DISTURBING), it was loads of fun. I also got to try a bit of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, which was quite interesting.

8. Movies: Avatar and Up (Written: 31st December 2009)
Avatar was my movie event of the year. Transformers was action-packed and had interesting graphics, but this one had a whole WORLD. I really love the imagination and detail the creators put into it. It was a spellbinding totally-worth-it of 161 minutes. And Up was nice too, a nice little family movie which was heartwarming and generally awesome Pixar. Kevin's a girl?

9. Prom Night (Written: 31st December 2009)
Technically, prom itself wasn't that fun. It's for famous people to rub elbows with other famous people and not much for an inconspicuous guy like myself to do. I liked my costume though. It's the first (full) costume I ever had, if you discount those I had in OM which didn't really look like the real thing. No, the real fun was before and after prom, where we crashed in a sweet suite Ernest('s mom) booked at Raffles Town Club. I rarely get to play platform games, so it was lots of fun.

10. Youtube (Written: 31st December 2009)
It's not Youtube exactly, but all the awesome things that are there. Instrumentals for karaoke, for example, and also the Onion News Network, which is freaking hilarious. Other memorable Youtube moments this year include Improv Everywhere's many musicals, which are always awesome whenever they appear, and The Spectacular Spiderman which is the best Spiderman TV series ever made so far.

It's gonna be a happy new year!
The Edna Man

Wednesday, December 30, 2009


Can you feel it? Can you feel the judgment?

They should be done by now. All over the world, they should be done by now. There's only one week left. It's all over. You have been judged. Can you feel your whole life, the rest of your future, hinging on a simple, single, two-digit number?

This is as close to Fate as it gets. From now till then, there's no changing anything. The score is fixed, the die is cast. One might say that it has already been since you wrote that final answer. But people are fickle and unpredictable, and only when the ticks and crosses are all tallied, then your fate is cast in stone.

Can you imagine knowing it now? Seven days before the day of reckoning. All you need to do is find those that belong to you, and add them up yourself. You don't need a ceremony to reveal the verdict. You have already been judged. It all exists. You just don't know it yet.

It's all there. One way or the other, you've already been acquitted or condemned. Right now, your life has swung into one of the two paths, one of the two categories, one of the two compartmentalized boxes. Right here, right now. It has already been decided. There is no turning back.

Can you feel it? Can you feel the weight of the future crushing your soul and rending your consciousness, strangling your hopes and dreams and ambitions by festering in your anticipation and feeding on your worries before it threatens to burst out and consume your every nightmare...

And then you wonder, why?
The Edna Man

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Avatar Runemarks

It's past 1 a.m. and I just got home and my parents aren't killing me. I feel old.

I just got home watching Avatar and it was awesome. I love the world, and I loved how the visual effects really brought out the world of Pandora. Missed the opening minutes though, so I'm not sure if Pandora is on another planet or an alternate dimension or what. I'm guessing planet. I thought the helicopter-lizards were quite cool. Oh, and I don't really understand the biological or evolutionary advantages of moss luminescing with applied pressure. Wouldn't that just attract predators (or herbivores)? But the effects were awesome, really loved the glowing mushrooms and the Tree of Souls. Interesting ecosystem there, interesting world. I wouldn't mind watching it again. Oh and since the movie ended past midnight, it was a race against time to the MRT station to see if we could catch the last train, and another race to the bus stops to catch the last bus, frantically scanning the large maps along the way. I felt rather Bourne-ish as I was doing that. Quite an exciting little adventure.

A couple days ago I finished reading Runemarks by Joanne Harris, and before that, Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve. Awesome books, awesome storytelling. A peculiar connection between these two books is that they are (possibly) meta-commentaries about stories in general. Actually, Reeve's book probably had more of it. Here Lies Arthur is a tale about King Arthur, Lord of the Britons. Except this wasn't the honourable Arthur from legends; he was nothing more than a gang boss, offering protection from the Saxons to the settlements scattered across Britain and demanding protection money in return. And the stories of Arthur's good name was spread by his trickster and bard, Myrrdin (sound familiar?). I knew enough about the legend of King Arthur to know that this was an excellent story. You have a well-known tale and you subvert it using easily-recognizable characters in a whole new setting (much like Marvel: 1602).
There was an undercurrent of tricksters in Runemarks as well, with Loki. Another book with the same vein, and another brilliant world with excellent storytelling. The only thing I found annoying was that the author didn't really focus on the "main" character throughout the whole thing, but it was possibly due to the type of story the author intended to write. Still good though.

The other medium I have recently discovered is The Onion News Network. It is HILARIOUS. I love the subversion, and I absolutely love the way they do it so professionally and so deadpan. It is brilliant. What it must be to work there.

"That's what we need. Another bloody oracle."
The Edna Man.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dream Sequence #004

Okay, I just woke up, and I need to write down this dream.

I don't remember much now that I'm awake, and there was a whole blockbuster's worth of material in this dream. Basically, there is this land with two races, I think, a more human-ish one and a more elvish one. At least, I assume elvish because they wear more green and leaves than the other race. They use bows and arrows, but the main character (first person point of view) is learning a form of exaggerated martial arts where you have colourful bolts of energy flying around whenever you perform a movement. He learns it from a master, who he develops a powerful relationship with. If I remember correctly, both are elvish, because it makes whatever comes next have a lot of sense. Then something happens, something about an enemy inviding, and I think they have to flee to the shelter of the nearby fort. I remember clearly that the fort had a postern gate, carved out of rock in the side of a mountain.

Once in the fort, the protagonist and his master are able to train in the royal swimming pool, which is supposed to have benefits which I can't remember. (The extra spinning ability, perhaps. There was this bit I remember where the protagonish spun around, crossing his hands in front and behind him as he went, launching energy bolts shaped like small blue or yellow birds at his teacher, while he blocked them with a red ring of energy around himself.) The royalty, the king, has this thundercloud floating over his head, with lightning striking occasionally, and the prince has a smaller cloud, shaped like a leafy sea dragon. Again something happens, which I can't remember, and the humans have little trust for the elves, and one of them in particular is extremely bowstring-happy, willing to shoot anyone whom he thinks has turned traitor (and he thinks most elves have). So anyway the master is showing the protagonist a map of the whereabouts of his family, which he needs to go back and protect, when there is this cinematographic zoom-in of the trigger-happy soldier snapping his face backwards upon hearing the name of the village, and then the protagonist goes up to him and demands to know why hie is eavesdropping on the conversation. They almost fight, but are stopped by the image of an elf leaving by the postern, which if I failed to mention before, is carved into the mountain and is about ten metres tall. So the guy promptly draws his bow, and the protagonist tries to stop him, and he promptly gets shot in the side like, four times. And if you recall, it was all in first-person, so technically I got shot in the side like, four times. And it was helluva painful. I think I stumbled backwards into a pit, and that's when I woke up.

I have a feeling that this dream was inspired by Marvel: 1602, Xi Min and JX's new fantasy world, and The Two Towers soundtrack, all combined. Creepy.

The Edna Man

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Marvel: 1602

So I just came back from the National Library today feeling extremely happy since I discovered that my premium membership only expires in four days which meant that I could borrow an unhealthy number of books home. Sad that they discontinued their double-limit policy though.

Anyhoo, the first of my eight-book spree is Marvel: 1602, written by Neil Gaiman of Sandman and Stardust fame, as well as a number of other titles which I am not familiar with. And I have to agree that Gaiman is a kind of storytelling genius. I now am very willing to read Sandman.

The story is interesting, though after a couple of years reading comics, is somewhat typical of the genre. The way Gaiman crafts it, though, weaving fundamental and recognizable Marvel characters into the historical setting, is pure brilliance. I had great fun identifying the people before the plot revealed their names and identities, and it was fun waiting for Peter Parker to get bitten by a spider (screw you, Gaiman, for drawing that out for so long XD). It was good, good, good, and I enjoyed it so much, so thanks Mr Gaiman, for an hour of entertainment and a lifetime of inspiration.

"A universe in which no story can ever truly end; in which there can be only continuances." -- Richard Reed
The Edna Man

Monday, December 07, 2009

Prom Birthday Chalet Musical 3

You can tell how much I've been playing by the huge delay between posts. So anyway there's been much going on. Going in order:

Prom was a blast on the 23rd of November. The Phantom of the Opera Was Here, inside my mind. Pity there wasn't any chandeliers to crash into the middle of the ballroom, sigh. Oh, and it doesn't matter how awesome you are, if you're not famous, screw it. But still, it was nice playing the Phantom and having a cloak to swish around and draw around you dramatically as you leave the room and stuff. But I guess the Phantom must have been left handed or something, because it's damn hard to eat with that mask on. (Or maybe he takes it off. Oh yeah.) Anyway, was one of the only few people with a mask, unless you count girls' eyeshadow, which was WAY FREAKY and looked so gothic and vampish. But well. Never understood them anyway. Ernest had this awesome British costume thing with a pipe and hat and a suit which looked so close to a tuxedo that it was almost as if Mr Bond himself had entered the room. Hui Jun looked like Willy Wonka with his humongous top hat and cane and paedophilic mannerisms. Levin went as a mad scientist, with a Russian accent but he looked more Einstein-ish than Russian.

Prom itself wasn't very exhilarating. There were a couple of performances but the sound system wasn't good enough to carry it across the ballroom. No dancing. Food just came and went. Took some pictures, and went off to Raffles Town Club where Ernest had booked a suite. We had bowling earlier in the afternoon (I am thinking of learning how to do it properly) and played games through it mostly. It's quite fun playing Rise of Apocalypse with more people, but Lord of the Rings was DAMN HARD and DAMN STRESSFUL. But yeah, had much fun anyway.

And so I've been introduced to a new MMORPG. I tried BrightShadow right after exams ended, but I found it to be getting too monotonous after level 20 (I was a mage and had little late game variety). So after prom the guys got me into NeoSteam which I'm still playing now and am quite happy with it. It's great because it can run on my com, end of story.

Oh, midway between this and the next thing was double back-to-back birthdays of Juzzie and XM. Juzzie's was quite fun and I met a couple of new people I'll never see again, and XM's introduced me to Valkriya Chronicles which is an AWESOME Turn-Based Strat with a novel combat system. (As Jonny would agree, the main character is also quite cute.)

Well not long after that it was GEP CHALET which was an awesome blast. I missed the last one because of WoW last year, so this year I came back with a vengeance. I feel a bit guilty because I didn't help out as much, but I guess I helped out where I could. (Better that SOME PEOPLE who didn't help out at all!) But it was mostly a gaming chalet, with Borderlands in the bedrooms and PS3 in the hall and Starcraft matches as after-dinner entertainment. But I think the highlight of the many chalets is Fatal Frame, and this year I forced myself to stay awake to watch it. I can understand why it's such a communal game, as anyone playing it alone in the dead of night must either be insane or blindfolded. The game's creators do make the player freak out most of the times, and SZ was just hilarious to watch playing (Jew film!). But I admit that I wasn't really freaked out by the ghosts, but it was more of when the audience shrieked in terror that made me jump. But still, the plot of the game was quite disturbing, and the ritual was damn freaky. It still freaks me out whenever I think of the Blinding Mask and the Rope Maiden Ritual. Apparently, the next two Fatal Frame titles are even more freakier, because there's something about a twin strangling her sister and a whole village of undead. Yeah.

So that's been most of my activities for the past fortnight or two. Then Saturday I watched High School Musical 3: Senior Year and I LOVED IT. Okay, the plot stinks, quite badly. BUT THE MUSIC IS AWESOME. I can tell they really pulled out all the stops for the feature film, because the cinematography was just brilliant, and some of the sets and scenes were amazing. The Broadway style song, I Want It All, was stupendous, I think my favourite, because of the elaborate set and the costumes and the whole musical-ishness of the piece. Loved it, totally. Oh and then there was the awesome rotating corridor in Scream which I though was quite cool because it made it like a real music video. I think it would be awesome fun to be a cast member on a production like this.

And so that's all for now. I'll see what other awesome stuff I'll be doing these next two months of freedom.

Who says we have to let it go?
The Edna Man