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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

WHAT?!?!

So, I've progressed as much as I could with Tactics Ogre LUCT, story-wise, and am advised by the strategy guide (yes, I'm a sissy ...) to complete my other side quests before returning to the main story. So, my next destination appears to be the Palace of the Dead with, wait for this, 100 levels. Yes, you've read right, ONE HUNDRED! That's going to take me forever to complete. But it's something that I cannot skip (unlike the Pirate's Graveyard or the Cressida rescue or even Phorampa Wildwood side quests) because I need to go there to recruit my three Hydra dragons in order to get Deneb the Wicce (and I already have all my elemental dragons). That is not to mention I still have attempt the Hanging Gardens and The Ancient Temples quests before actually finishing the entire game (and nevermind about trying the other TWO alternative storylines...)

Seriously, for three hundred Hong Kong bucks, I'm really getting my money's worth!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A Couple of Guinea Pigs


... who happen to be two very good friends of mine. Having talked about it for weeks, if not months, I finally got my act together and held my first (Yin) yoga class, with me as an instructor. Having not done anything like this before, it was a little nerve-wracking. And under such a circumstance, I think the golden rule is to be prepared. So, based on my own experience/studio practice, I came up with my own sequence -- just have to ensure for almost every pose there is a counter pose to keep everything balanced -- and went though that with a friend, who is a trained teacher. I'm glad most of what I came up with was fine, though my friend did made some excellent suggestions regarding the warming-up exercises at the beginning of the class.

I think one of the most challenging aspects of yoga instructing is to remember which side you have just done so to not repeat the same side twice (or else students would end up with imbalanced energy) ... and it is also quite difficult to practise and instruct at the same time, especially during the breathing exercise but I much prefer to practise with the rest of the class because that generates greater energy in the room, I think. Having candles around and soft music in the background also enhances the entire experience.

So, other than a minor cramp in the calf (mental note: maybe more warming up next time!) from one friend, all went well and I was quite exhausted yet satisfied when the class was over. My friends (and maybe more will join) are already planning for our second gathering and I hope we can keep this up on a regular basis.    

Thursday, September 22, 2011

A bit of Crafting

SO ... I'm now edging towards the end of Tactics Ogre: Let Us Cling Together and the past two nights (until way past midnight) I'd made some really cool progress. *Fan Talk begins* The rescue-Catiua- (but why? Why? Why? She has been such a b****!) and-turn-her-into-a-princess mission has been accomplished and so has the Diego/Azelstan (and Sean Connery lookalike character) rescue assignment. Now I just need to get Azelstan to join my team (which, for me, more or less, completes this game). The problem is there are still three more battles to fight before I get there so, apparently, I will now need to upgrade my weapons through a process called Crafting. The enemies are getting really tough. But this truly is a laborious process. In order to get the weapon(s) I want, I need to craft/make with all these ingredients; but the ingredients ALSO need to be crafted. So say, I want a new bow for my chief archer Arycelle, I need to look for a combination of ingredients A + B, but in order to get A or B, I would need ingredients C+D, and to get C or D, I need E+F and so on. How bloody confusing. Also, the crafting process could actually FAIL at the end so after all that faffing around you might just end up with nothing. That's kinda naff. 



Anyway, the game is actually quite fun and requires a lot of strategic thinking. And I have now played the supposedly top three games this year: Tactics Ogre, FF Duodecim and The 3rd Birthday, all created by Square Enix. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Some After Thoughts


Phew! So my talk on yoga went pretty well; it was a shame both my instructors couldn't make it to the event at the end (one is still at large and another one got sick) ~ it would've been great to get their perspectives on yoga teaching/learning. Some of my friends (to my surprise) showed up though and their presence kinda made me feel more relaxed ... I brought Mr Flexible (as featured in this blog) along to the talk to give demonstration and I really should have tested his flexibility at home first; it turned out though he can get into Lotus, he cannot even do a proper forward bend (shock, horror)!!!



Spanking Mr (In)Flexible

Though I've now developed this Ashtanga-phobia after the workshop a couple of weeks ago (am sure that wasn't the intention!) my hamstrings appeared to be less tight and I can now enjoy the stretch in a  Prasarita Padottanasana (below)... 

Something else that I'm enjoying right now is the Tactics Ogre game(!!!) I'm now way into the fourth and final chapter and I'm unlocking a lot of side missions and exclusive characters. The only thing is the strategy guide that I've been using (which I ordered from the US) isn't that great; for instance, it has been dishing out the wrong advice on how to "trigger" the Diego scenarios (instead of going to The Pirate's Graveyard to read the Warren Report (The Dread Pirate), as instructed, just go straight to Port Omish for that Report and trigger the scenario there). It also took me a bit of time to recruit Sherri but it's worth the (zillions of) attempts. 



Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Few Thoughts

The weekend Ashtanga Workshop just finished and my first thought was that I am not quite ready for this style of yoga yet. I am SO incredibly SORE right now (it feels like, as they say, I've been beaten up by a gang), which means 1) I practised hard and 2) the Primary Series is extremely physically demanding. I can totally see how, if you practise this series regularly, Ashtanga yoga can, and will, prepare you for hours of meditation because your body will be SO flexible and strong that you can sit down cross-legged in lotus (see below) for hours on end.

Double Pigeon is totally hip-splitting for me









Lotus






Despite being totally exhausted (trust me, sitting on a chair is a real luxury), I'm glad I joined the workshop, which was led by American yoga instructor Clayton Horton, not least because I learnt more about yoga in general. Here is a no-nonsense kinda guy (I can imagine him being a former hippie -- in fact, he resembled this spaced-out cowboy I met years ago when I was hitch hiking across Utah, but I shall leave that story for another time) that just got on with the teaching and, in two short days (but 12 hours no less) went through the entire Primary Serious and more ... We did the sun salutation (no problem), standing asanas/poses (no problem), backbending (no problem) ...but any asana that requires getting into the lotus or even half lotus or double pigeon I just cannot do. As I learnt from the previous Anatomy Workshop with Paul Grilley, it's the way I am built. Also, any pose that requires core strength (and there are quite a few) I also cannot do. Do I feel frustrated, of course (though I really shouldn't cos this IS yoga after all and I should be feeling calm and at peace with self during practice) ... but I am happy that I am benefiting from some of these asanas. I feel my body has opened up a lot and compared to, say, the "me" three years ago, I am a completely different person(!) 

There was also a philosophical aspect of the workshop and topics of life and death were discussed. I enjoyed that.

So what's next? I'd already booked my next yoga class. Yoga has become something that I don't think I can stop practising ~ for now.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

An Update

Long time no write! Have been quite busy working (went to Beijing for a weekend), gaming (have now reached the final - and the most complicated - chapter in Tactics Ogre - LUCT) and correcting (spinal curvature via chiropractic treatment, yoga and acu-pressure massage). Last night's Yin class was a little unsatisfactory because most of the poses I couldn't really do (any asana that requires spread-out legs and folding is a no-no because of a lack of flexibility), that coupled with a stuffy studio I actually walked out in a bad mood, which wasn't good (and very rare).



But so much forward to look forward to in the coming week: I'm joining a two-day Ashtanga workshop the coming weekend with Clayton Horton and will be giving a talk on my yoga practice at the Fringe Club next week ... hope it will be a blast...