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Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A New Game

... wow, woW, wOW, WOW!



To be released next March/Spring ... Hope it lives up to Dissida ~ Final Fantasy ...

Monday, December 27, 2010

An Anniversary

So it's been a year since I started blogging and the experience's been both interesting and tedious. Interesting because there were times when I really wanted to record an event or a thought then I'd just drop in here and write it down. What's more, I find the idea of sharing my thoughts/ideas etc with other people - friends and strangers -from around the globe pretty novel. Tedious because I didn't/don't really have that much to say (seriously!) I guess that's because, unlike many bloggers, I am not a particularly opinionated person: I don't have an opinion in everything or in anything in particular (I think). So (very) often in the past year I'd found myself unable to find anything (interesting) to write about/discuss while still having this need to keep the blog fresh and updated.



Anyway, here we are! 2010 has flown past so quickly it feels like only yesterday I watched the last Doctor Who Christmas Special. (This year's - titled "A Christmas Carol" - is a one-parter and it's pretty cool, with that new guy Matt Smith as the Time Lord.)

So what've been the highlights of the past 12 months?

1) I've continued to practise yoga and I think I'm more in tune with my body than ever before;
2) I've bought at least 10 phones - Google Nexus, Sidekick LX Midnight Blue, LG GD580 Lollipop x 2, Nokia 7300, Nokia 7280, N86 8MP, LG KF350 Ice Cream and Nokia N97 x 2 - and still have the last three
3) iPad is the Best Buy of the Year;
4) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part1);
4) I've proved myself to myself (I know, this one is weird but it's true);
5) I lost one pet dog and gained two;
6) There has been both love and disappointment.

So, all in all, not a year wasted. A theme, I think, also emerged from last year's blogging and it's about learning to let go and about letting go itself. It's hard but I shall continue to work on that in the coming year as I will be working on loosening those hips of mine!!



To all my readers: an early Happy New Year! 
 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

An Exclusive, Insider's Look into the Workings of the Media


A friend (in the media) sent me this ... very funny (partly because of the dead pan voice overs and partly those WTF pauses)!!

Part One:



Part Two:

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Leap Forward

Looking to improve? Now is as good as any other time. Last week, I decided to take my yoga practice to another level by signing up for a 30-hour teacher training on Yoga Anatomy, a topic that I've been quite interested in. Knowing what lies under the skin makes it easier for me to visualise what's going on on the inside. Then, I signed up for a four-day retreat in Bali today (on my yoga teacher's recommendation). It's about peeling off the koshas (like an onion) ... hope it is nothing  too spiritual ... Anyway, I'm hoping these events will deepen my understanding of yoga at both the physical and metaphysical level. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kiki & Jiji

Here is one cool cat @ 1:26 and 2:44 from Kiki's Delivery Service ~ a Hayao Miyazaki animation ...

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Supernatural?

Have you ever come across something that you just canNOT explain? My mom showed me that "something" the other night. "Come, come," she enthused, pointing at the parquet floor, "take a look at this!" At first, I was just staring at, well, the wooden floor, thinking my dear old mother was finally losing her marbles. "Can you see it?" she asked. Then there it was, this very faint but definite dog paw print. Where did that come from? Stranger still, when we dried to rub it clean, we couldn't remove it. The print stayed. We checked those paws of Batman and Bolt but, dirty as they might be, our inspection gave no further clue as to where that paw print came from, it didn't belong to either Batman or Bolt. Later, my mom discovered there were MORE paw prints (same size) leading from the balcony all the way to our first discovery, which is very close to the "bedroom" (a large open cage) where Ding Ding and Dong Dong (both in doggie heaven) used to sleep in. 

Could it be possible that these prints are theirs? Actually, we are not spooked out at all ... because we still miss the pair very much.

Maybe it is me who is losing the marbles because, quite recently, I also noted things were flying off my bookshelf in my bedroom (seriously!) At first I just thought I'd been careless in placing items on the shelf so they, well, fell off ~ in the middle of the night. But when that happened again and again (CDs last time) ... I just said out loud: Stop throwing things around ... because it's really annoying! One night, I told my mom about this and she simply said: "Yeah, last night the TV turned itself on ..." Now, I never knew Ding Ding and Dong Dong liked watching telly ...  

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Hip Hip ... Hooray!

Just returned from a "yin" yoga session (for definition, see earlier post, do a "frisk" search below). It's strange. These sessions are really quite painful -- lots of long/deep hip/shoulder/hamstring opening/ stretching poses -- but I keep going back to them again and again. Perhaps I'm addicted to the sensation that comes After the pain. It's hard to explain what that actually feels like but, take my word for it, it feels GOOD. Tonight there were also many twisting poses, which helped exercise/massage the intestines. I'll spare you the details but just say it was a rather liberating experience.

Talk about being liberated. Earlier today, I squeezed in a quick one-hour class during the lunch hour and it was then I realised yoga has really made me a much calmer person. Fifteen minutes before the class was due to start I was still stuck in the underground. I started to feel very agitated and began cursing under my breath. Then I thought: if running late is going to make me lose my yogic calm, I'd rather miss the class. So I thought, if by the time I get overground and there are no taxis, then I'd just let go. I immediately felt a lot more calm, and when I got to the taxi stand, there was no queue. I hopped onto a cab and ~ vroom-vroom ~ I was at the studio just in time for the class.


SCREAM!!! I am SO late !!!

Funnily enough, we were then asked to write down on a piece of paper things that get the fire within us burning ... well things that make us angry and I put down: running late, wasting time, running late, running late ... at the end of the class we were supposed to set the piece of paper on fire and throw it out of the window ~ which, I thought, wasn't such a great idea especially there were construction workers standing directly below the windows and they looked like triads.
     

Saturday, December 4, 2010

WikiWhat?

Now, here is an interesting one. When The Guardian first started reporting on these "WikiLeaks", I thought it had something to do with the Wikipeadia (Doh, my ignorance really knows no bounds) ... but when these "leaks" continued to dominate (and stayed in) the news for more than a week, I started to take note. 

Apparently a huge amount of what are supposed to be confidential "cables" (diplomatic exchanges) from the US Embassy (worldwide) had been leaked to this site called WikiLeaks who, in turn, leaked the leaks to various newspapers (inc. The Guardian and The New York Times) -- yeah we are talking about Leaking of a Titanic proportion here ...

Some of which make interesting, even gossipy, reading (The British Royal Family, anyone?) but most are US observations on other countries that had thus far caused huge embarrassment to not only the US Government but the nations cited in these cables. So they include (according to the BBC): US concerns over China's shipment of ballistic missile components from North Korea to Iran (2007); discussions between various countries on whether they would take prisoners released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility; Beijing's growing frustration with North Korea's behaviour (!); references to Russia as a "virtual mafia state" and - you have to laugh at this one - in 2008, the Moscow embassy described Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as playing Robin to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's Batman.

Well, no one exactly knows what sort of damages these leaked cables are causing - a few red faces perhaps - but I hope no one will die as the result (I think this is also a concern among the international community) ... and there is still the debate going on whether these exchanges should be leaked at all. Oh well, they are. But analysts/academics are already saying there really is nothing surprising about these revelations ... they only look "more real" in black and white when printed in the newspapers. 

I'm not sure whether technology comes into all these but I am sure it does, somehow ... now, think of all those email or IM exchanges you have with your work colleagues (bitching) about other colleagues and the bosses ... what if the IT Dept actually keeps them all (chances are they probably do!) Once a colleague IMed another colleague about me ("that self righteous prig" she said) and, yes, she sent it TO me. I thought that was quite funny - I'd done exactly the same thing before - and it's interesting to know what people really think about me ... but a self righteous prig?!?!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Positivity

At the end of one recent yoga class, I was telling my instructor that I couldn't do this pose and that pose, blah blah then he said (calmly): But think of all the poses that you can now do that you couldn't a year ago. He was right. The other day, as I stepped my foot forward between my hands from down dog, I thought: Oh, I couldn't do that when I first started practising. I used o have to use my hand to lift my foot forward before placing it near the top of the mat. In fact, I can now complete a "power" class without feeling completely exhausted; I can keep my spine (especially my lower back) relatively straight when sitting down with my legs crossed or in dandasana (legs straight); I can do quite a deep forward fold/bend; I can do headstand ... the list goes on.

Eww, the beer colour...
We often focus too much on the can'ts
we foget about the cans,
we are obsessed with the haven'ts than the haves ...
time to take a look at that half full/empty glass of beer
again and, err, well, just drink and enjoy it!!

PS I had an awesome class with the Perfect Human Specimen today; we had to go upside down and worked our Core from that position ... it was tiring but most satisfying !!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A 99% Recovery

Hurrah!!! Hooray!!! And no, I'm not cheering about the (still flagging) American or European economy (which, of course, isn't showing ANY sign of a recovery) ... no, it's my left hamstring! After, like, a couple of months, it is Finally not hurting. Now I must remind self, whenever I'm doing a stretch in a forward fold/bend - I must Engage, Engage and Engage those thigh muscles - it's the only way to protect those hamstrings from being over-stressed/stretched. The fortnight-long rest also helped.

Oh, and here is something that had never happened to me before:  there I was, doing whatever when my mobile phone went off. "Dun-dun-dun," it rang. "Dun-dun-dun-dun" ... and it just kept ringing. "Okay, this is getting REALLY annoying," I thought ... "Dun-dun-dun" ... *scream* "Where is the battery? Where is the battery?" I lift away the phone battery cover and quickly yanked the battery out the phone... Phew! ... "Dun-dun-dun-dunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn" ... OMG!!! What is WRONG WITH THIS BLOODY PHONE and WHY IS IT STILL RINGING!!!???

Then I woke up ~ and my alarm was still going off.



Honestly, is it age? Or is it these dark winter mornings? I've NEVER slept through an Wake-up Call alarm before!

PS Number of my pageviews has DOUBLED since September!! So if you like what you are reading ... come back and visit again!!!  

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Me and Others

But First, the (Super Duper) iPad. Which I upgraded (to iOS 4.2.1) the other night. Well, morning. What happened was when I clicked on the upgrade button at around 11pm, I thought I'd just lie down  and wait for the computer to do whatever it needed to do ... but faster than I could say "sync", I was, like, unconscious until 6am the next morning. I got up and looked at the iPad, expecting it to be upgraded and completely drained of battery power. Well, it was neither. I was pleasantly surprised to find it still had, like, 70 per cent battery strength but it was waiting for me to sync various files. Anyway, having fiddled a bit more and - viola - the upgraded version! With the new interface, it looks exactly like the iPhone 4. In fact, it now functions like an iPhone 4, having the ability to multi-task, organise things into nice little neat files and locate things... oh wow, my iPad has, in fact, been upgraded into a Woman!

Studies have found women can multi-task better than blokes (even on a yoga mat)

Back to today's entry: Me. And Others. Have you ever found yourself doing things not for yourself, or for your own good, but for other people (family, friends and colleagues) that are not necessarily in  your best interest?? Perhaps it has something to do with the way some of us were brought up, or it's just our nature, but many of us (me included) have this tendency of doing things that please others. Perhaps we just care too much about what other people think of us: according to social psychologists, we apparently build our self identity/image upon how/what other people percieve us. Okay, I can see this happening when we were teenagers (remember how we all desperately want to be popular at college?) but as we grow older, we should have a better and stronger sense of the Self than to need others' approval of who we are.

So, I've decided to be more "selfish" in the future. Life is too short, right? And if We don't do things the way We want, when and where we see fit, then why live at all? Why should We live our lives just to please the Others? Of course, we should be considerate (to the Others) but I think for those of us who have forgotten who We are because We have been spending too much time thinking about how the Others think, it's time to be considerate to Ourselves. 

It's okay to be who I am. It's okay to put Me first. It's okay to look after my own self interest before that of Others. It's okay to stand up for Myself  and tell Others to piss off. It's okay to be ... Me.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Flock of Flamingos


Isn't this the weirdest? (From The Guardian Web site)


(Flamingos gather in the shape of a flamingo in Yucatan, Mexico. Photograph: Robert Haas/National Geographic/Caters News Agency)


"Flamingos have many extraordinary qualities, but until now they have never been considered to be performance artists. Now, thanks to this amazing aerial photograph of a flock of Caribbean flamingos in the Mexican province of Yucatán, we may have to think again. Some believe that the birds' ability to arrange themselves into the shape of a flamingo (albeit a rather inelegant one) is evidence of divine intervention. But like all flocking behaviour, it is simply the best way to avoid predators and to find the best place to feed. Still, a once-in-a-lifetime moment for photographer Bobby Haas, who managed to grab just one image before the birds dispersed." The Guardian's Stephen Moss

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

A Big Deep Long Stretch

HURRAH!! Finally found a video that EXPLAINS why wide-angle forward bend is so difficult especially for us guys:

(This video comes from Yoga Garden, which I have just subscribed on YouTube)

Sounds like if I keep practising this stretching pose, everyday, for maybe a couple of years, then I may gradually move from "X" to "O" !! (BTW this Yoga Garden Chanel is pretty cool ~ it features ordinary people who are NOT flexible doing the demos as well as tips on how they/us can improve our poses.)  


Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Phone Talk

Being a total mobile phone geek, my family, friends and colleagues often come to me for advice. The most common question I get asked is (other than "Is that another new phone you have there?"), which phone model they should or shouldn't get. In this city, iPhone is seriously all the rage - most of the people I know are using either the 3GS or the latest 4G - but perhaps that is one reason why you should choose something different? Here are my recommendations:

iPhone

I know, I know ... despite comment above re: it being totally common, I must say it is probably the coolest-looking phone on the market right now. (NB I am NOT an Apple fan). Its user interface is one of the easiest I have used (I owned a 2G for about a month when it first came out) and its screen resolution is just stunning. Its operation system (OS) is extremely stable, it has zillions of free apps, and all in all a hassle-free phone. With a data-plan contract, the iPhone is also affordable so, if you don't mind using its (in my opinion) extremely annoying virtual keyboard and/or having a so-so camera, then the iPhone is for you.

Nokia

Still the brand that has the biggest share in the global mobile phone market, most probably because it has an extremely wide range of models: from really cheap (US$25) to outrageously expensive (US$1,000). I personally am obsessed with some of their more geeky models (i.e. N Series) ... I dunno what it is ... Nokia just builds phones that look a bit different, its form factor is sometimes so out-there some models don't even look like phones but are fun nonetheless (see previous posting "Not Much to Say But ...") The first geeky Nokia model I REALLY liked was the 7710 ... I think it was one of its first touch screen phones and, at the time, we are talking about five or six years ago, had one of the largest/hi-res screens on the market. The only thing was, like MANY of these Nokia phones that run on the Symbian OS, it hanged like a wet corpse (Eww indeed!). Even to this date, now I am using one of the brand's most-hated models, the N97, the Symbian system is TOTALLY unstable but what can a geek boy like me do, but to put up with it?!? The N97, for instance, is an extremely versatile comunication device (when everything works) and the N Series on the whole is affordable. For most people though, I'd advise them to get a cheap Nokia ... they are, well, cheap and extremely durable. Once I dropped my Nokia, which bounced off the floor several times, but I just picked it up and continued with my conversation...

Blackberry

Its original Bold is the most enduring phone I've used in recent years. Extremely ugly but functional. Serves almost your every business needs but, hell, it IS ugly and boring. Ironically mine was given to me free by the service provider a couple of years ago so I could test it out. Today, I'm still using it! 

LG

Cheap and Cheerful Korean brand but, boy, do they give their competitor Samsung a run for their money ~ if not better. There were days when Samsung was fun and trendy but now they are just boring. LG has been very progressive, though their OS is not always stable. Like Nokia, it has an extremely diverse product line that aims at both the youth and more sophisticated end of the market ... and despite having very naff TVCs, I find their phones usable.

(I actually know someone who looks like the K actress Kim Tae-hee)

HTC

No, no, not its Window 7 phones ~ Yikes, horrible user interface ~ but ones that run on the Android OS including the Google Nexus One. It's basically a dull looking version of the iPhone so despite the media hoo-ha about this new OS, I would go for the iPhone. 

J Phones

Boy, are they cute or what BUT why fork out $$$ for phones that cannot function fully in this town? Might as well get a LG ...

And if you are thinking about getting a Sony Ericsson or Motorola ... well, don't! 

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two Challenging Yoga Classes

After a mini (one-week) break off the mat, I returned to it today feeling energised, then drained. Unfortunately, the pain in my left hamstring is still lingering (even after an acupuncture session), meaning I needed to continue to adjust my practice around that. My first class with Lawrence was challenging in that while my head was telling my body to do one thing, my body had other ideas, like, "sorry, not working today!" So it needed some pushing from both my instructor (and boy, did he push!) and myself to move the shoulder blades closer (heart more open), to lift the chest higher and to hold several poses longer. We did work around my left hamstring, by keeping my left knee bent, but what was interesting was that when I was doing my half moon pose on my left leg:



Not only was my left leg shaking, the entire left side of my body was powerless (would that be just psychological? But this left-right imbalance has kinda always been there: left hip, knee and foot have always been weaker). First I felt pain in my left hamstring then, my, err, left upper buttock began to contract and hurt, making it impossible to hold up my left leg. It took me several attempts to get into the pose, which usually isn't an issue.

Anyway, by the time I was resting, it was time to dash over to another class ~ hot flow with instructor Eswar. It was my first time taking his class and I think I would have enjoyed it more had I had more enegery. The sequences were, in fact, similar to what I practised earlier but only in a hot room. The flow was good, challenging at times (especially I was pretty tired by then) and I was completely in awe of the instructor's flexibility. Luckily he didn't push any of us - he kept telling us it is important that we smile - to do a back bend drop like he did, in nano seconds. By the end of the class I was SO exhausted it took me about an hour to catch my breath back.

But now, having some food in my stomach, I am feeling great. Not only did I rise to the various challenges but I am now prepared to get back on the mat in the coming week ~ something cool to look forward to.

An after thought re: difficult poses that are still beyond my reach .. my teacher said to me earlier today when I commented that the flat we practised in has no view: "but the sunlight still gets in". What a poetic way to say "it's okay"!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Self Practice

Trust me, practising yoga on your own requires a lot of discipline and determination. A fortnight ago I'd asked my yoga teacher Lawrence to give me a class plan so I could keep up with my practice while he was away. He's now back and I've only just tried it out ... that's partly because my lingering hamstring problem (after more than a month) and partly because I found it hard to bring yourself onto the mat at home ... there really isn't a reason for that, it just IS! On a practical level, it's also hard to keep having to go back to the piece of paper for the next instruction...  now I realise how much I rely on verbal instructions in my practice.

Okay, the first instruction is: Sit yourself in a comfortale position in a quiet, self created sacred space. Simple enough, right? Not really. Finding a scared space inside my flat has actually been more tricky than I'd anticipated, especially I have two curious dogs who are constantly checking on my whereabout. I settle for my bedroom, which isn't ideal cos of its size but at least it's private and dogs-proof. Yesterday, I also had to look for a scented candle - and believe me, it does make a difference - and I bought one that mixes lavender, tea tree and geranium, which is very relaxing.

Lights!!!
 Now, having set the scene for the practice - I cannot over emphasise the importance of this - I am ready to start. The first part of the practice is mostly Meditation and Visualisation. It is amazing once you sit yourself down, calmly, you become extremely aware of yourself and your surroundings: doors being shut, things being dropped, cars zooming past and, of course, your own deep breathing. I am asked to think of different colours and then to connect with them. Red fires up my breathing and, oddly enough, by the time I get to purple/violet, I actually feel light and happy. At some point I start to think about those flashing LED lights on most Japanese phones and, come to think of it, violet is a colour that I like best, which may explain my sense of giddiness. It's interesting how colours are linked to our emotions. After that I am asked to visualise a descend - walking down a flight staircase - at this point I grab my piece of instructions again ... after the descent, am I supposed to head back up again?!? The instruction doesn't say and I suddenly feel a little claustrophobic ... so I decide not to go down too deep.
It's after getting myself in a state of complete self awareness that I finally begin the asana practice. That includes the standard sequences (in a Hatha yoga class) and the whole session should last around an hour ... but because of my hamstring and  my flow becomes all over the place (keep forgetting which foot I should put forward next, left or right ...) mine ends slightly early.

The "recipe" certainly works - I was sweating by the end of the session - but next time, I think I will have to ask Lawrence to record his instructions.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

A New Nephew

And here is one they made earlier ... He was born today on Nov 11. 11-11. And my mom says he looks like a little buddha with those massive ear lobes (!)

A new life has just begun ...

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Something Called Passion

What is your passion in life?

For this bloke, it must have been writing and the use of words and language.


So it is rather unfortunate that a brain tumour has robbed him of his ability first to recognise words and then to express himself verbally or in writing. It will eventually take his life. This article has put me in a very solemn mood earlier today. It prompted a lot of questions about life - and death. Let's take one step back. So what REALLY matters in our lives? Working? Shopping? Love? Family? The last is actually very important to me as I realise my parents/brother are getting older, it becomes crucial that I spend more quality time with them. Let's face it, when they are gone, they are gone. Like, no more. I often dream and think about my grandparents (my dad's parents) who passed away several years and we still talk about them fondly but we know we will never see them again. The notion of not seeing people once really close to you is, at times, totally incomprehensible because, even though we all KNOW that death is inevitable, our brain is somehow programmed in such a way it feels distant, irrelevant.

Well, take that one step back and start thinking what really matters to you and, at the end of the day, I am sure it's not work or money or anything materialistic (in my case, phones!!)

I then attended this concert in the afternoon called The Butterfly Effect, featuring drummers Budgie, Mabi and Leonard Eto as well as guitarists Sugizo and Knox Chandler. It really was a blast. Their passion in music was pulsating, their enthusiasm SO contagious before I knew it, I was in tears because I could FEEL the pulse of life. Our hearts were beating in that same rhythm ... and when they sped up the beats it felt like we were all running, running, running, racing towards something beautiful, towards life. It really was quite an awesome experience. Well, for me, at least. For most of the audience, they were there to see Sugizo. It was cool to see people enjoying themselves. The thought of death, once again, receded back into the background.

Sugizo ... His hair does look this beautiful in real life!
In yoga, we try to be "present" when we practise, to savour each breath because each breath is Life itself. To realise there is more to life than just work and play. Then I also realise time really slips past quickly like sand in a time glass. I sometimes feel kinda helpless, not knowing exactly what to do with my time : my yoga teacher once asked me to jot down what I still wanted to achieve etc ... I stared at the piece of paper ...

So what IS my passion in life?



Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Three Ouches

Ouch! Ouch! Ouch!

Okay, I think I am doing something wrong here. Yoga, as I understand it, should be about working/nurturing the mind, body and soul in a dilligent manner, usually through controlling and focusing on our breaths, and should Never, Ever, be Painful. So when I looked at my left inner thigh tonight and see this swelling ... I think I have overdone it - again. You see, I pulled my left hamstring about a month, or maybe six weeks, ago. Since then I've been very careful not to further aggravate this "injury" by engaging the muscles around it ... this way, I am both protecting the stretched hamstring while exercising it (gently) at the same time. But I think after takning two quite intensive classes tonight (with deep poses), my p***ed off hamstring decided enough was enough and simply became inflammatory. I think I will listen to my body this time and will take a break next week. But not before my next self practice session.

Lawrence my super duper instructor is away, teaching in North America (you can follow his diary via The Freedom Yoga Project link on the left hand side of this page or just click here http://thefreedomyogaproject.blogspot.com/) but I've asked him to provide me with a class plan that I can follow and test out. It's a bit like trying out a recipe. Follow the instructions but maybe add a bit of my own invention ~ if necessary. Unfortunately, I've been too busy this week to get the mat out at home but will certainly give it a go over the weekend. I shall report my experience here in this blog so Watch This Space! Meanwhile ...



Still mad about my new N97 (mine is Black in colour!) even though this particular model has had such crap reviews. But, hey, at least not every single person on the street is using it, like they do with the iPhone *yawn* I like phones with a bit of an attitude, even that attitude is: I don't feel like working!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Apps and Abs

Thanks to modern technology, I now carry three pieces of gadget on me when I am out and about:

* Blackberry Bold - mainly for work/social communication with email, text and BBM. Oh, yes, and to make calls. It actually has a grossly underrated music player; I use it as my "Walkman" (SO 1980s!). Camera is totally crap;
* Nokia N86 - mainly for texting with a Nokia fanboy pal. Also for voice communication. It has a decent camera and runs on Symbian OS, which, with all its quirks, I am quite fond of. I also use it for tethering (i.e. turning it into a wifi hotspot);
* iPad - mainly for entertainment + personal work. Wonderful piece of technology (see earlier postings) though it is quite heavy to lug around. I cannot imagine using it to make calls, even though I think you CAN Skype on it.

So I'm quite familiar with the various mobile OS systems (though I no longer use Android, having sold my ?Google phone a couple of weeks ago). Have to say Blackberry is by far the less interesting one - but then again it IS a business phone so it can be forgiven for being boring. Its (few) apps are not that useful (to me, anyway) and they are not free. It does have a nice on-line dictionary/translator powered by Google, which is useful.  

With its Ovi shop, Nokia offers some nice location-based apps such as Nokia Maps with navigation capability as well as apps that faciliate instant online blogging. But it's a bit annoying some of these apps come with installation errors so why released them?!? This morning I downloaded the WhatsApp onto my Nokia, hoping that with that I can now "sms" my friends using the iPhone, Nokia and Blackberry ... but that requires Constant data transfer and my phone starts to get warm after 5 minutes.

Apple Apps are pretty cool. I have now downloaded the BBC, New York Times as well as Marvel Comics and Kindle onto my iPad. There is also this cookie-pushing game that people are getting addicted to. I played it and had it uninstalled after a day partly because playing it makes you EXTREMELY hungry (after awhile you are also pushing brownies and doughnuts) and partly because I really didn't see any point to it ... I am looking forward to making greater use of the iPad, especially for my little yoga project that I'm starting up with a couple of yoga enthusiasts ~ so watch this space!



Speaking of yoga, after yesterday's hip-opening session, I'll be taking a Hot Yoga class today ~ quite nice in this cool weather (for readers in the Northern Hemisphere, temperature below 20c in this part of the world is considered cool ... though that's probably Summer weather for you ...), and this Thursday is my Core session with the Perfect Human Specimen. All that military-style exercising is hard work but I do see results. 

Oops ... just bought the Nokia N97 ... Can't believe I am building up on my phone collection ~ Again! All thanks to Nokia Fanboy Pal's incessant asking on which models he should get ... only it is *I* who always end up buying !!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

A Hip Opening Workshop

The Hip Area is a mystery to me. Like, what exactly IS going on down there? Ever stepped on a yoga mat, sat down, crossed your legs and your knees kind of went "Whosh!" and shot up so high you risk hitting your chin with them? Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit here but you know what I mean. Apparently that is the result of us spending hours sitting at our desk, day in day out, and the various bits around the hip area (I am not gonna go technical here ... but look at the diagram below to get a sense of the anatomical complexity within) just either get shortened or tightened.


I actually have spent the past two years trying to open those hips but I have to say the progress has been slow. The strangest thing though is that, in certain positions, my hips are actually not THAT tight i.e. I can squat down easily with little problem. So I suspect there are other reasons why doing, say, the cross-legged Lotus Pose is so difficult for me. Maybe that's because I just have very small hips (??)

Anyway, this morning I attended this three-hour workshop that was both informative and practical. It was taught in the Indian style, that is, holding poses for a long time with limited flow between them (though we did do the sun salutation, like, 20+ times, which really warmed us up). The instructor taught us what Fexion/Extention, External Rotation/Internal Rotation, Adduction and Abduction are and took us through a series of exercises that set out to, well, exercise the various bits in the hips so they'll become less tight and more loosen.

Hopefully, one day I can do this (not so much the karate kick but lifting the leg high!) without falling flat on my face ...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

A Quick Plan

According to the "traffic stats" of this blog, Monday Morning with ... is now reaching a small, but quite steady (and to me, very important!) audience from around the world! Oh, hi there, YOU from Guadeloupe Island! Thank you for checking this blog out and, if it wasn't for you and your page views, I would NEVER have googled "Guadeloupe" and to learn that it is a gorgeous (French?) island in the Caribbean (?) You have to forgive my gross ignorance because I am absolutely crap in Geography ... in fact, it is one of my weakest categories in Trivia Pursuit.



Also Big Hello to Canada, the US, UK/Europe, Russia, Ukraine (!) and all of you here in super duper Hong Kong. I surmise you guys stumbled across this blog because you misspelt something in your search or you are interested in:

1) yoga
2) phones
3) dogs
4) PSP games
5) Revenge of Kitty Galore

It's good to know I am not alone. Well, my quick plan for the future is to write more on these subjects that are so close to my heart (no no no, Kitty Galore really is only a joke ... seriously) before taking over the world. So watch this space! :o)


A Scorpion doing Handstand 

Today, I had two good yoga practice sessions: the first one was really challenging and a continuous exploration into heart opening (though I must confess I am not very big on anusara yoga), while the second one was more therapeutic - just what was needed. I feel lucky to have discovered yoga; I think understanding one's body is so important and practising yoga does help me get in touch/tune with my body, how it is and how it feels. Believe it or not, I think many of us are not aware of our bodies and leaving it in a state of negligence for years! 

Now, for those who enjoyed my two clips on the master Shiva Kumar demonstrating, here is a photo taken by my friend. Amazing, right? 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Letting Go

The station was unusually crowded. As I headed towards the turnstiles, I felt a jolt. I turned around and saw people pushing and shoving. I went home ~ and it was gone. Yes, some b****y b*****d nicked my PSP (with my favourite game inside) from my backpack outer pouch (am too trusting ~ and stupid to put it there in the first place). I was a bit annoyed at first and then I thought, well, the console is pretty old and so is the game. I hope it explodes on the thief's face! Nah ... cannot be bothered. It's just another earthly thing to let go ...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Question Hovering Over My Head (3)

I love Tech. And I love Yoga. But take ME out of this equation, can the two be related or connected in any way?

(EW, did I sound like Carrie in Sex and the City just now?)

I stumbled into some answers today. I was reading this (excellent) quarterly called Namaskar (it's "a voice for the yoga community of Asia) and there is this (excellent) piece titled "The Art of What is Needed" written by this yogi called Paul Dallaghan. He was saying (me summerising here) that sometimes we take/have more than what we need.

How very true. I, for instance, once had, like, six phones. Oh yes, and the last time I checked I only have one pair of ears. That coupled with the fact I don't really have THAT many friends, I have no idea why I ended up with so many phones other than the fact I am totally obsessed with them. I just like pressing buttons I guess. To give you some idea, I think since 1994, I have owned/used more than 100 phones of various models (I am known to my friends and colleagues as Dr Phone). I know there are people out there who don't use mobiles and I have friends who have stuck to the same phone for a long time. But hey, if Imelda Marcos can have Zillions pairs of shoes, what is 100+ phones over, err, 16 years? I am not a freak!

Anyway, this Paul bloke was saying "give away all things you do not use or need anymore, now see how light you feel." Actually, he went on to say "even more effective in healing, but perhaps harder to achieve, is letting go of the ideas, prejudices and past hurts we hold on to." Okay, he is not exactly talking about phones but I can see how the principle behind might work for me. So, today I packed up three of my five phones, sold two and gave one away. Okay, I kinda went into this ohmygodwhathaveidone panic mode for several minutes but gradually, I felt light -- just as the yogi had said. Also, why hang onto to so many worldly or material things? If I were to drop dead tomorrow, would I be able to take any of them with me? No, sir!

So that was the first (profound) connection I discovered between yoga and tech today.



The second connection was discussed during a yoga session with my (excellent) instructor this afternoon: we can all use Tech to promote Yoga. To go back to the (excellent) iPad again ... there are now Apps, but not many, that help people learn about yoga and they, in turn, help us share our knowledge and experience ... it is perhaps an area that I think I should be looking into??



Sunday, October 17, 2010

i-Volution

And I'm not even an Apple fan-si. I had a 2G iPhone long before everyone in this city has one (and I mean everyone) but I was so unimpressed with it (how do you type on that darn thing?) I sold it within a couple of weeks. But now, I'm semi-reformed and my latest obsession comes in the form of what's known as the iPad (which, incidentally, has been hovering at the top of my Flavour of the Week right below Yoga for a couple of weeks... so yeah, that is Major). 

Some of you might remember when the iPad was first announced, people (mostly in North America) were sniggering at its name because, when translated into non-North American lingo, it practical means "iTampon". (Apple is, after all, run by blokes like Steve Jobs). But hey, guess who's having the last laugh now? The tablet computer has already taken a huge bite into the global netbook/notebook market and its share is likely to skyrocket further when the newer version(s) come out in the (near) future. Its reach is expected to be a lot wider than the iPhone (you don't need a service provider with the wifi only version) and let's face it, what is the competition out there? Samsung? Yawn. Toshiba? Comatose. Sony Vaio? It would have been a realistic competitor if only its keyboard is, like, usable. 

But I am digressing a little here. The thing is, the iPad is just The Future. It has a fantastic screen, runs lots of apps and, seriously easy to use. And it is not evevn that heavy. Battery lasts forever and its virtual keyboard is totally usable. I've already downloaded several apps onto it ... mainly reading stuff including Kindle - as opposed to all those coin and cookie pushing games ... I mean, what are these games about? But for me, the HIGHLIGHT of owning an iPad has to be the ability to read Marvel Comics on it (oh yes, I am so excited by that that I am actually blogging about it...)

Who's Side Are You On?

For US$1.99 (only), I am able to download comic books that would have otherwise cost me about 10 times as much in this town. So I immediately downloaded the entire Civil War series and was/still am completely taken by how great the artwork/colour look on the screen. I shall never be bored again during my puke-inducing daily commute to work! (Last Friday, for instance, when trapped in an hour-long traffic jam with three other colleagues, out came the iPad and we played a game of Trivia Pursuit - what a great way to kill time instead of each other in that confined space!)  

The BBC app is also fantastic. Leveraging on its radio and TV services as well as its Internet, the Beeb is able to offer users live radio broadcast, TV clips as well as instant news. How fantastic is that?

I also think that kids in the future will only need to carry an iPad to school because there won't be any need to lug text books to their classes. And all the homework will be done on and stored in the computer. Just how cool is that? It probably will make doing homework actually fun. 

So in my humble opinion, this  gadget is a great leap forward ... an Evolution! A Revolution! An i-Volution! Only I completely made up the last word... 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

An Astonishing Demo (Part 2)

Reaction to this (Amazing) yoga demo video has been pretty mixed. Some thought it was a bit strange while others, like me, were marvelled by the kinda perfection on display. Anyway, here is Part Two (the rest of) the Master Shiva Kumar's demonstration, which still inspires me.


My body feels/is a lot stronger today, with that dull pain in my lower back gone. This morning, I could do the "wheel" pose a couple of times without feeling my back was about to snap into halves; stretching my hamstrings was also less stinging. It's fascinating how our body keeps changing daily/hourly and I am just amazed for 30+ years I had never paid attention to it ...


Saturday, October 2, 2010

An Astonishing Demo

Not for the faint-hearted ... here is the thigh-slapping master yogi Shiva Kumar who teaches at the studio where I practise ... NOW I understand why his classes are so tough and his teaching kinda ... strict: this is SERIOUS yoga and, yes, the result of years of determination, dedication and endurance ...


(This Video was taken by me at a members only event for this blog)

Note (if you can see the details ... this vid is a little low-res) how the master controls his breathing in order to make room for anatomical expansion and lengthening -- his extremely flexible spine is very straight and de-compressed at all time, observe his forward folds and bends. His joints are obviously very loose and strong at the same time :o0 What a totally inspiring performance (to watch, that is ...I am still staying well away from his classes though ...)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Moments to Remember

Autumn. That's when this city is at its best. The humidity is gone, the air is (slightly) more fresh and everything just seems a little bit more clear, a little bit more in focus. So why haven't I been feeling too great lately? The past couple of weeks I've had a couple arthritis attacks :'( , a bout of food poisoning (or just tummy reacting terribly to yummy Indian curry) and humming lower back pain.

Fortunately, I have been able to continue with my yoga practice, which nourishes not only the physical but also the spiritual. My one-on-one classes with instructor Lawrence are getting more and more enjoyable and fascinating because the body and mind is constantly being tested. Each breath and each move is filled with awareness and purpose, and the vocabulary he uses helps to bring so much colour to the practice it often feels like I've been on a journey by the end of a session. I'd practised to the sound of raindrops and noises of the busy city. These are rich, poetic moments that I shall always remember. And today, I "got" (fluked?) one pose that I thought was not possible, which is just a very, very satisfying bonus.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Another Classic


Stevie Wonder's Lately. This is the live version (which is just incredible) ... I came across the original video (on YouTube) several weeks ago but can no longer find it :o( Anyway, this is a super great song. Heart breakingly sad, with a melody that has stayed with me the past three (?) decades ... It is about a bloke (Wonder himself?) who suspects his wife having an affair.

"Well I'm a man of many wishes
  I hope my premonition misses ..."



Thursday, September 16, 2010

My Lovin'

Never Gonna Get It!

Before Destiny's Child and other female R n B groups, there was En Vogue ...



Check out the choreography ... so THIS is what the Koreans have been trying to copy, only not as good...

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Master

When I saw the girl in the right row start doing her Cirque du Soleil routine, I knew something was not quite right. The yoga session I booked  myself into this evening was supposed to be a basic Hatha class, with this female instructor who once put me to sleep during a practice (I had no choice cos the Perfect Human Specimen is away) so when this renowned Indian master walked into the studio I was, frankly, in awe. I heard his classes are tough and I thought/feared I was about to go into another session of thigh slapping (see my earlier post Smack! Smack! Smack!).

Well, the Master's instructions were certainly very different from what I am used to; so half the time I just followed the Cirque du Soleil girl who obviously was more clued-up than me on what was going on, but it wasn't unmanageable. And in that typical Indian style of yoga training (yes, it really felt more like drilling than practising) we had to repeat the same sequence, holding each pose a bit longer. However, the Master turned out to be very humorous and charismatic in his own, stern ways. And at the end of the class, he gave us some really useful tips. And when he dismissed the class, I clapped (not sure we were supposed to do that) but I really felt I'd learnt something new tonight.

So, what I thought was a mistake turned out to be a valuable lesson.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Aches All Over

Now, here is an interesting article that I found after I googled "Weather and Human Body":


Cosmic Power, Power Cosmic ...
Whatever ...
So I didn't dream it up. It's true, my body is left to the mercy of our weather. This week has been particularly stormy and, therefore, bad. For the entire week I've been feeling tired and having pains in the joints: left knee and both shoulders. And having not practised yoga for a few days, I couldn't even lift myself into a headstand in a class on Thursday. Instead, I almost fell down as I tried to push my body up (which never happened before). Then last night, I woke up with a nagging pain in my left knee - it was raining heavily outside. A dull pain in the lower neck and both shoulders also droned in the background throughout the entire day today. It feels like my body is totally exposed to the temperature, humidity, air pressure -- and it is -- and that the skin is unable to block out these "external" elements. It is as if I have become, like, transparent ... invisible. Does that make us humans totally vulnerable and fragile? I'm also wondering if I'm also affected by, like, the Cosmic Power ...

Speaking of which, haven't consulted Cassandra astrologer Sue Millar for awhile so I just checked out her website and here is this month's prediction ... in, well, three words: Money, Sex, and Power.

Bring it on, man ...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Theory of Evolution

Ever noticed how quickly kids are growing up these days? And I don't mean just physically (they are getting bigger thanks to modern day diet ... McDonald's and Burger King ...) but intellectually too. The way they speak, what they talk about, sounds far more advanced and mature than, say, when I was at their age (like, six). And when they get their hands on that computer mouse ... The thing is, each generation of kids is actually getting smarter than the last so it's as if the human race is evolving so fast - okay, perhaps not quite in the X-Men fashion - but fast enough that, within the few decades, children will stop being children at around six.



What a scary thought!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Very Heavy Heart

Twenty-one Hong Kong tourists were held hostage in Manila on Monday (Aug 23) while on their way home. Six were released by the Filippino gunman, an ex-policeman alleged to have been wronged by the authorities, earlier on in the day but the incident ended in bloodshed, leaving eight Hong Kongers dead. This is a total shock to a city where this kind of violence and horror exists only in movies. The public has yet to come to terms with what'd happened. Why was the rescue operation so badly planned/executed? Why the police there so badly trained? Did the Filippino tour bus driver escape or was he a culprit? Were those tourists who died shot by the gunman or by the police? There are still so many questions left hanging in the air ... in the meantime, several families have been completely destroyed by this tragedy: A woman who lost her husband and two daughters while her son is still critical in the ICU, a child who lost his parents and the tour guide, who alerted his company about the hold up, is also dead ...

Life is so unpredictable ... our thoughts go out to all the families and friends of these victims and I hope some of the questions above will be answered by an independent inquiry.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

The Revenge of Kitty Galore


Okay, the only reason why I'm writing this entry is because of this (super cute) photo. Well, I must confess I did actually GO and see this kids movie -- wait for this, with my parents (they are like my kids these days, a complete role reversal whereby I have to ensure they behave etc) -- and it was really a lot of fun. My mom said after the show that I laughed the loudest in the cinema -- and probably scarred the living daylight out of all those kids sitting around me. The movie is a kinda James Bond meets Silence of the Lambs only Kitty Galore is kinda harder to follow... half way through the movie I had NO idea what was going on and I don't think the kids knew either ... but I guess that is hardly the point (what IS the point?) Have to say the canine leads (ha-ha) aren't as cute as I'd hoped but the feline heroine (a grey Siamese? Couldn't really tell not being a cat person myself) is a rather lovely cat... anyway, one revelation of this movie (which only garnered one out of five stars in reviews ...) is ... like, hey, is that Chris O'Donnell of Robin (sidekick to Batman) fame?!? What ever has happened to him? Well, I guess The Revenge of Kitty Galore kinda answers that ... 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

A Question Hovering Over My Head (2)

Whatever has happened to Kate Bush? As I'm typing this, I am listening to her earlier albums (tapes!!!) The Kick Inside and Never for Ever, which are EXCELLENT. Controversial too. Apparently the title track The Kick Inside is about a young woman leaving her brother a note before she commits suicide (she is ~ gasp ~ bearing his child). I mean, when she penned the song, it was the 1970s and the world then wasn't as open as it is today. To sing about incest?!? A very sad song. Babooshka is another one I like. It's Russian for grandmother but, in this case, it is a headscarf this woman uses to disguise herself in order to seduce her own husband incognito. Interesting: would he fall for her? Would she even want to find out? (check out the choreography for this stunning videio! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ot3cVY1JESQ) Army Dreamers is anti-war while Breathing is on abortion. They just don't write this kind of songs anymore. I also find her music quite Chinese/Japanese (Oh To Be In Love) so I guess she was also influenced by the East (check out the cover of her debut album)..

My dad used to play her music when I was a kid - her voice esp. in Them Heavy People - simply stuck in my head FOR YEARS. Much latter, I was "reintroduced" to her music when I was at university. The guy who lived opposite me used to play her music, loud, all the time. Anyway, every now and then I will play her music to remind me what a genius Ms Bush is. Currently I just LOVE the track L'Amour Looks Something Like You. Very beautiful.

Onto other subjects ~ just bought a new Nokia (after I traded in some of my older phones ...) last night and it's fantastic! Just hope I don't get bored with it too soon. Also last night I went out drinking with some colleagues and after a number of vodka and martinis (?) one of us was force-feeding poor Ponyo with beer ... the poor thing ...

Gulp, gulp, gulp ...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

One Sore Thumb

... but a great deal of satisfaction! I have now created my Second Character in the Dissidia game!!! Having max-ed Terra's abilities (see earlier post) - she is almost invincible now - I thought it was time to try out another character with different sets of, well, characteristics. So I have decided to build Gabranth, Judge cum Executioner, a real badass (apparently).


He was "unlocked" after I completed both the Distant Glory stories and is, therefore, a special character. His fight style is a bit crap initially though as all he does is swing his big chopper around and that's IT! However, after he goes into the "ex mode" (like, in a complete freak-out OMGWTF state), he is INCREDIBLE. Absolutely nothing stands in his way. However, the drawback: trying to keep him alive (Squall can really smash him into pieces) while getting him into the ex mode is a pain in the butt.

Anyway, building a character this time round is so much more easy because I use Terra to "farm" various items that are needed to create Gabranth's weapons. So now, at Level 60+ my Gabranth already has a crystal set + 10 accessories slots, which really give his abilities an extra boost.

By this weekend he will have reached Level 100 and it will be interesting to see how he fares with the more difficult battles. But seriously, this game is so addictive (there is always more equipping and accessorising) that I have sneaked into the loo at work just to up his level !!!

On the yoga front, the Perfect Human Specimen is STILL away so I'm stuck with the same teacher 4 to 5 times a week, which can get a little tedious. But at least I am practising. Also tummy has not been well (is it possible to be continuously food poisoned?) so am glad I am also getting some rest off the mat. 

Okay folks, this Geek needs to head back to level upping and MORE item farming!!!   

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Extreme Tightness

Cast our minds back to the class in which fellow yoga students got smacked by this instructor who ran around in his swimming trunk. And I thought THAT was terrifying ... until tonight. I showed up for this "yin yoga" class led by an instructor I'd never tried before. He has tattoos all over, looking more like a triad member than a yogi, but that was NOT the most terrifying part.

Allow me to explain. In a Yin class, we normally hold our poses for a lot longer (up to five minutes or more sometimes) because we work not our muscles (like in Power yoga or Hatha) but the tissues lying beneath them. So the focus is more on stretching (and breathing) that helps us get to those deep parts. The experience can be intensifying physically (and emotionally, like your head is screaming HELP!) and is made the more difficult when you have to keep still. But this deep stretching can really loosen up the body. It was during tonight's class when I realised how tight my whole body is. The first pose was to stretch the hamstrings - ouch - followed by a series of hip-opening poses - ouch x 10 ... THEN we had to do all sorts of (intensive) twisting that pulled bits (under the muscles) which I didn't realise existed - ouch x nth. At one point, one of my legs went completely numb and I wasn't sure that was entirely what should be happening.

Since it was the first time with this teacher, I purposedly hid self at the back of the studio but he somehow had this radar that detected students like me. So, he zeroed in onto me several times and, for one particular pose, he slowly pushed my chest onto the ground (the only thing that got in the way between my chest and the floor was, like, my foot so ...) It was so, not exactly painful but, uncomfortable I was close to tears ...

When the session was over, I was v relieved. The teacher said throughout the class that we had a choice: to think of all the exercising and stretching as suffering OR to think of it as good/fun practising. I frankly didn't know what to think ... just NEVER AGAIN!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Two Fewer Phones


Phew! Finally decided to scale my mobile phone "collection" down to three (including the one for work). The problem with mobiles is if you don't use them often enough, they break down and then they become an environmental issue. Also, this morning I heard on the radio the plight of people living under the poverty line and a huge sense of guilt washed over me: these people don't even have enough money to take a bus ride and here I am, squandering on things I don't even need/use.


So, I sold the Nokia 5800 (quite a decent phone but I don't see myself using it in the near future) and the LG "Lollipop" (which was just a, err, toy). I do still have the Blackberry Bold (for work and I got that from the service provider for free), Nexus One/Googe Phone (see earlier blog entry, a nifty piece of gadget) and the Nokia 7280 (also see earlier entry, so stylish ~ when it works ...) Perhaps one day I will just have one phone, like normal people do.

After selling off the phones, I went to my two yoga classes this afternoon. Lawrence (see my Freedom Yoga link), is the instructor I've had, on and off, for a couple of years. He is very different in that yoga is more than just a practice for him but also a way of expression and I find that idea quite novel (he is also quite particular on how mats should be laid out in the room ... he is definitely a Virgo). Lawrence is also more fun than, say, the Perfect Human Specimen. But he is also leaving the studio the coming week so I thought I'd drop into his last classes ... and had such a great time! The first class was "Yin Yoga", which was a very calming, introspective and meditative practice. Lawrence played this beautiful soundtrack and I felt like I was in a (Korean) film! That was followed by "Hot Flow", a more dynamic class in a heated studio. That was fun too and I walked out of it sweating like a pig -- even after I showered -- and all the way to the underground. But what I great way to spend a (lazy) Sunday afternoon!! The good news is Lawrence is not leaving HK so I can still take classes with him when he goes independent.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Great Game

This week, after having been on my Flavour of the Week chart for months, Dissidia - Final Fantasy (for PSP) has finally climbed to No. 2 (even above pooches Bolt and Batman)!!! When I first got the game (which was sold out in most game stores by the time I got around buying one) it appeared deceptively simple: in the Story Mode, there are Ten characters and each has a journey that needs completing. There are other game modes but I pretty much stuck to the Story Mode and the Quick Battle Mode, the latter purely to boost my character's stats.  



As in other fantasy games, characters are divided into different types: close-range combat fighters (with swords and axes), long-range combat fighters (arrows/missiles) and mages (magic, both long and close range but more the former). I always fancy myself as a magician so I ended up being ... TERRA ... as my Primary Character ... other (male) characters are all heavy combat fighters. Onion Knight (very irriating to play), Squall, Cloud and Warrior of Light can do a bit of magic but are basically only good for close combat ... so I ended up being this sexy Esper who turns into this purple, like, hairy thing (!) when she is pissed off.

Anyway, after I got Terra up to Level 100 and finished playing half the cast, I thought I was done with the game (strangely enough, I played WoL first and that brought me right to The End of the story! So I had to consult the Internet for tips and slowly worked myself through the game the proper order and beat the ultimate boss Chaos -- even though I still had five more journeys to complete). THEN, I realised beating Chaos was NOT the point of the game. The POINT of the game is to get your chosen character, in my case Terra, equipped and accessoried with all sorts of stuff so she can REALLY KICK ASS. Which, of course, meant I HAD to play through ALL characters in order to unlock special equipments and accessories (like the Gold Hourglass). God, some of these characters are MORE irritating to play than Onion Knight. Cecil, for instance is completely USELESS and Tidus is hard to control ... anyway, the past week I managed to complete EVERYTHING and my Terra is now a TERROR. 



But this really is THE best PSP game I have ever played: Better than Crisis Core (Final Fantasy VII), Yu-Gi-Oh (okay, this one is on Gameboy) and the various Marvel Comics titles (the trading card game comes in close second). The Dissidia game system is actually extremely complex and multi-layered. How to win a battle depends on how fast you deplete the opponents' "brave points" (like its state of health, so the higher it is, the stronger they are) and how powerful your own attacks are (by getting oppoents' brave points down, you boost your own attack power). But that is not all, the accessories and equipments serve as boosters as are the Summons. So you get your character really strong you have to take into many, many factors into consideration ... and THAT is the fun part of the game. Then there are also the Arcade Mode and the Duel Colosseum where you can farm many, many goodies (like Megalixirs).

There is, however, a down side to all this ... the game is, quite literally, a REAL pain in the neck ~ all that playing is placing this huge strain on my neck, which is NOT good, especially when I am spending all that $$$ on my yoga practice!