Friday, December 31, 2010

Top Ten of 2010

Hey hey hey, Year's Top Ten is back in business with another installment of the years... top ten. Here's to an awesome future!

1. The Suicide Survival Kit (Written: 27th Dec 2010)
Okay so I forgot about this until now. Chronologically, this should come first I guess. It's a couple of days before the IB results come out for our year, and of course everybody's freaked out of their minds, but I had been watching too much ImprovEverywhere and decided to get a couple of people to do something awesome to commemorate the occasion and, possibly, lighten the mood a bit. Thus the Suicide Survival Kit was born. It offered a cheap, affordable, easy way to kill youself if and when you find out you didn't meet your expectations for your IB results (and hell, in this country, nobody meets their own expectations). We distributed it discreetly to people we knew, and maybe it didn't have the kind of impact I was envisioning, but it sure was fun to make.

2. Love Hina manga series (Link) (Written: 10th Feb 2010)
This is one of the first few mangas I read; I remember borrowing it from a friend when I was in Sec 1 or 2. I never finished it though, and yesterday I finished the ending. Then I had this feeling; Juzzie said it was just the aftereffects of the emotional ride which stories often give you. I just found it so touching... I mean, Harry Potter gave the sense of awesomeness and Dark Materials had love in it too but I only felt it was awesome... this is the first story that made me love the characters, and not just the awesomeness of the plot.

3. Odyssey of the Mind 2010 (Written: 10th April 2010)
Naturally, one of the highlights of the year. All the girls this year were very friendly, and they all made me really happy. They made me consider teaching as a profession. And of course, I'm really proud of them and their achievements, even if they didn't get a real award. I met a whole bunch of wonderful people and I am happy to know that I made so many new friends.

4. Dog Licked (Written: 15th August 2010)
I have never been around dogs much, since my parents tend to keep their distance from them, but my friend Hui Jun has two, who are misnamed according to their colour (Guiness is the white one). So we were at his house for his birthday party, and I was sitting on the floor, and suddenly one of them just comes up to me and starts licking my hand. It was a mix of ticklishness and revulsion. In other words, it felt DAMN WEIRD but I couldn't stop laughing. Of course, I went to wash my hands afterwards.

5. Fried Rice Paradise: The Musical (Written: 22nd August, 2010)
I watched this musical today and it was a blast. It showed me that Singapore productions don't have to be bad, and it inspired with the idea of Audience: The Musical. And I met Dick Lee! Wow.

6. Getting my iPad nano (Written: 1st January, 2011)
So I've constantly advertised myself as a self-sustaining music player with no need for external inputs. That all changed when I bought myself my very own iPad nano at Comex. I am quite pleased with it, and now I can listen to music on the go! I'm still in the process of organising all the music on it though, which is a tough job considering the amount of songs I have rattling up there in my head. (For those who still don't get it, the iPad nano is the iPod Touch.)

7. Completing Final Fantasy VIII (Written: 1st January, 2011)
Okay this is one of those bittersweet things which is fulfilling, yet sad at the same time. I'm quite happy I finally completed the game (and found out what happened at the end of the story) but it's quite sad to actually finish the game which has been with you for about a third of your life and has influenced you in so many different ways. For the record, I love Selphie best. Squall's limit break is cool, but Selphie's is AWESOME.

8. Left 4 Dead 2 (Written: 1st January, 2011)
Sometime this year a group of us started playing Left 4 Dead 2 at a LAN shop somewhere in Upper Bukit Timah. I found out that I'm more a cooperative player than a competitive one (possibly because I don't like losing), and so Left 4 Dead 2 was just one of the best experiences this year. It's so much more interesting and engaging to be working with other people to stay alive in this endless swarm of zombies, instead of killing each other like in CounterStrike or other competitive games. We're still dedicated to beating the game proper, so we're probably going to be doing it again very soon.

9. Singapore's ComiCon: Toys, Games, and Comics Convention (Written: 1st January, 2011)
It definitely was one of the highlights of the year, even though it didn't live up to my expectations. But yeah, it's the first comic-ish convention I've been to, and I did get to see some awesome regional artists and their art, buy a lot of comic books for fractions of the retail price, and got an adorable kitty coin box. Who could ask for more?

10. Meeting with People (Written: 1st January, 2011)
It's one of the small things, but yeah, it's also one of the best things. It's nice to know that we haven't drifted apart so much, but we're still held together, just by a broader net this time instead of the small room-sized ones we used to have. Who knows what will happen when we drift into the world? (At five centimetres per second, no less.) But it was nice meeting up with the people I practically grew up with, seeing them again, laughing, making the same old jokes... I hope some things never change.

Highlights from the Media (in the organisation style of TVTropes)

Anime: The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, 5 Centimetres per Second, Gatekeepers and Gatekeepers 21, Akikan
Haruhi gave me a glimpse into the world of the otaku. 5cm/s was just heartbreaking. Gatekeepers was nice, and it settled one of my childhood curiosities. Akikan was just because Boey asked me to - I liked the soundtrack. There might be more (I think I watched Spirited Away for the second time) but I only just started with the Anime.

Manga: Maximum Ride the manga, The Legend of Koizumi, Love Hina
Maximum Ride Manga was drawn by a Korean guy, but I loved the art and it was awesome to see what the Flock might look like in real-life (hypothetically speaking). I blame Bryan for Koizumi but it's so epic that I can't stop reading it and now I have to wait for the next compilation to come out and be translated. Love Hina was, and is, still the best, and it's the story that will stick with me for a long, long time.

Movies: Inception, Iron Man 2, Finding out about the Avengers (!!!), The Usual Suspects (DVD), How to Tame your Dragon, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnarsus, Ocean's Eleven and Ocean's Twelve
Inception was such an awesome mindscrew that I watched it a second time on the plane back from Australia. Iron Man 2 was just so awesome, I vowed to live to see the day when holographic computing becomes commercially available. And man, the trailers for Thor and Green Lantern look quite pffft, but I'm hoping the AVENGERS MOVIE, the first ever proper superhero team movie, will be awesome. Imaginarium was intriguing, but not really spectacular. Dragon was nice Dreamworks with the tsundere and the Stitch-dragon. Ocean's Eleven and Twelve were so awesome that I'm now desperately trying to find Thirteen. I still need to watch Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows pt. 1 and Tron and Tangled.

Books: The Oathbreaker books, Kaimira: The Sky Village, the Alfred Kropp series, Maximum Ride, The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.
I read a lot of books this year, mainly because I make a trip to the library every few weeks, but these were the blockbusters of the literary year. Oathbreaker was surprising nice and rewarding, a nice starter if you're interested in more fantasy-type stories. Kaimira was epic, so compelling and addictive, I'm now dying for the next book (it's been two years already). The Alfred Kropp series was another surprising set, with its mix of humour and emotion and fantasy adventure that is somehow a very compelling read. Maximum Ride was eponymous for the first three books, but then the author started going all environmental on the fourth, which is an important message to put across, but I felt it deviated from the original tone of the book. Hopefully the next two books are better. Hunger Games series was also another very interesting novel, and I went through the sequel as well, and now I somehow need to get my hands on the last book, Mockingjay.

Music: 8-Bit Dr. Horrible, Tim Minchin, Mike Tompkins, Glee
I listened to a lot of music this year, and hopefully DJ Earworm's 2011 mashup will summarize it for me. My MTV Awards are going to the 8-Bit Dr. Horrible soundtrack and game, which totally blew my mind from an already awesome show. Tim Minchin, with his hilarious lyrics and witty satire, gets honourable mentions here too. Mike Tompkins, the guy who bothered to do Dynamite a capalla, that guy is one awesome dude. Glee, I watched more for the music than the drama, which introduced me to a lot of new songs, one of which is stuck in my head now (Kelly Clarkson's My Life Would Suck Without You).

Games: Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, Command & Conquer 3 and Kane's Wrath, NeoSteam, Dragonica, Torchlight, Alteil, Final Fantasy VIII, Final Fantasy Tactics Advance
Ah, a good year for games, since my computer got upgraded this year. I got to play three-year-old birthday presents (not as in, presents for three-year-olds), Ultimate Alliance and C&C3, which were both quite cool. NeoSteam was the MMO I got into with Ernest and Hui Jun before enlistment, and we dropped it when we got to army. I replaced it with Dragonica, because I thought it was cure and the art was nice and the battle system was quite unique. I eventually dropped that too. Torchlight, the first game I ever bought for myself, wasn't quite as fun as I expected; it has minimal storyline and repetitive gameplay, so yeah. Alteil, free online card game I found a couple years back but only reintroduced myself with it this year. Brilliant art by Japanese manga artists, and the battle system is also quite unique. I'm mostly playing it for the art though. Lovely art.

And that's my Twenty Ten. And hey, would you look at that. Nothing from army! Huh.

To 2011!
The Edna Man

Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Come From the Land Down Under

So I just came back from a holiday in Australia. It was more of a parents' holiday, because it's more of stuff that they love doing (like shopping). It seems quite grating to travel halfway across the world just to go to their casinos, instead of doing awesome stuff that you can only do there.

Like feeding kangaroos, for instance. The tame kangaroos are really quite adorable! I also fed a cow with milk (not mine) and fuzzied a sheepdog (also not mine).

I did a crossword! A full one, like, in the Australian newspaper. I felt really accomplished after that.

You better take cover,
The Edna Man

Monday, December 13, 2010


Saturday was my first ever convention. In some ways it was a learning experience, in preparation for my participation at future conventions. And I have to say, I do want to go to more conventions.

So I went to the Toys, Games and Comics Convention at Suntec City. I wanted to get there right when the doors opened, and I did, except that I had to wait outside and watch everyone go in first.

I have to admit, I never knew there were so many cosplayers in Singapore. Some of the costumes were really nice and detailed, and they looked quite cool. There was this one group of people working on a pair of silver wings, which had a fan motor attached to the center, and had a wheel of swords (fake, obviously) attached to the motor. I never saw it working later in the day, but I thought it was quite cool. I remember seeing a really pretty Pokemon cosplayer, but none of us could identify what Pokemon she was cosplaying (yellow and green, if you know by any chance). Jc took a picture with a Venosaur, and Lou Ee got one with Megaman. (I got one with V! But that was later in the day.) There were also a couple of of dudes suited up as Halo shock troopers, those were quite cool.

People usually don't have many good things to say about cosplayers, but me being an actor, I know the kind of liberation you feel when you're dressed up as someone else. It reminds me of this picture I saw about Halloween, which said half of the people get into costume because it lets them be someone else, while the other half does it so that they can be themselves.

As for the rest of the convention, I guess I expected it to be... bigger? I assumed that it would be like ComiCon in the US, but since comics aren't big enough here, they diluted it with games and toys as well. The toys weren't really "toys" per se, more like those novelty gifts and figurines and stuff. Games were mostly new MMORPGs, and they had a huge area in the centre where they kept having tournaments and free demos. One of the more awesome things there was the Artists' Alley, where regional artists (and a few international ones) showcased some of their works. Imaginary Friends Studios was arguably one of the best there, though there was so much talent it was hard to decide a clear winner.

It was the comics that interested me most, and there were few there. There was a booth selling mint conditions of old Marvel and DC comics (I mean 1970s, 1980s), which didn't interest me much. I bought four Civil War trade paperbacks (squeee~!) for only $56 (squeeeeee~!) because they were selling them at a 1 SGD to 1 USD rate. The other three all bought issues of V for Vendetta.

We wandered around for a while before lunch. There was this really adorable cat coin box, where the cat popped out of the top and grabbed the coin before disappearing back in (which I bought, incidentally). Oh, I remember that there was this really pretty girl with an oversized teddy bear advertising for some MMO, but she was kept inside this small booth with a glass screen, and people (guys, mostly) kept stopping to take pictures of her. I thought it was quite cruel and depressing to see her stuck in that box.

There was this Marvel panel discussion in the middle of the afternoon, and I guess it was quite interesting to see the people behind all the great contributions to graphical stories. I remember people asking them quite typical questions, and I was going to ask one about how Asian art was influencing Western comics, but they ran out of time and I didn't get to ask it.

All in all I got a whole bunch of freebies and an idea of what to expect if I come for this expo next year. I'm hoping that they will bring in more comics the next time around though.

That night, we went to watch Walking with Dinosaurs. It's a funny story acutally: we went to meet at Junction 8 for dinner, where we ended up eating Manhattan Fish Market, and we only left at 7.30 (the show was at 8pm at the Indoor Stadium). But when we get to the train station, Shaun Ong managed to get in without having an EZLink card. So we waited for him to get a one-shot ticket, and when we get to the platform, we find out that the train was delayed due to some technical fault. So we stood around for a couple minutes, hoping that the train would come, until it hit 7.45pm. We rushed out of the station to catch a cab, and wound up there at around 8.10. Hopefully we didn't miss much of the show.

The show was quite spectacular. It was extremely well choreographed, and I loved how they made the plants with inflatable balloon-like things. The dinosaurs were so real; the animatronics were fantastic. The T-Rex was AWESOME (and the baby one was quite cute). I kept expecting the narrator to suddenly burst out in Crocodile Hunter, though.

So that was my Saturday. Comics and dinosaurs, always an awesome combination.

The Edna Man

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Chance Encounters

I take it back. You do meet random people you know on the street.

Today I was coming back from the library and I walked right past Hern Hern and her boyfriend. She didn't recognise me (or didn't notice me, either one, take your pick).

Then at the bus stop at Newton MRT, who do I see walking past to the MRT but Arun, who is apparently taking French lessons somewhere around there. Don't ask.

On the bus, I sit directly behind Mr Raymond Poon, who seems to recognize my face but not my name (I'm that forgettable). We didn't get to talk much because he got off at the next stop.

So yeah. Maybe I should have bought 4D or something today.

What were the odds?
The Edna Man