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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!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Not Much To Say But ...

OMG, the nagivation button on my ailing PSP has fallen off ! :o( I wonder if it is fixable. If not, then I may have to get a new and cheap (Made in China) one, which probably won't last as long (as my Made in Japan machine, which is 10+ years old). I know, being Chinese I should be patriotic and support all things "Made in China" but in doing so, am I also kinda supporting labour exploitation (think Foxxcon suicides, especially before you consider buying the iPhone 4G... think long and hard!) ... but what 4G anyway? It's still a 3G phone, Mr Jobs!!

Anyway, talk about phones, went mad and bought TWO obsolete (but not-so-cheap since they are out of prodcution) phones last weekend, which was obviously a mistake.

Weird looking phones (7600 above, 7280 below)

But what can one do when the urge to buy takes over one's entire brain, leaving no/very little room for logic or rationality. Of course I regreted the moment I bought them ... and with the eBay purchase, that regret is gonna come back to haunt me this weekend when the product arrives. With the Nokia 7600, it didn't even last more than one day before it started to play up. Made in China no doubt. And sold it already. The 7280, I previously owned three (!!), has not arrived but it is likely to be a US/European edition which means it would be Made in Finland (if I am "lucky") but cannot read Chinese.

So, all that dosh wasted ~ it could have gone to paying a couple more extra private yoga classes!! So have decided not to look at a phone website for, well, maybe another fortnight.

In the meantime, here is one of my instructors - the Perfect Human Specimen - I told a fellow classmate, if we were to be invaded by some extraterrestrial beings and that they needed to abduct us as samples, I would scream Take Him, Take Him!!! 

(In real life he actually looks less like a piece of wax work ...)