Comic: 封神记, an interesting twist

I have been a fanboy of comics since early days, from Japanese manga to Taiwanese and Hong Kong comics. Ahh, what would we do without such entertainment?

封神记 is a creative twist to the good old 封神榜, traditionally a tale of the corrupt Shang Dynasty being overthrown by an army of righteous humans and demigods, which has been retold in the 天子传奇 series.

In this comic, the Shang king is fighting against Heaven and the cruel gods in a bid to cast off the yoke of slavery. He succumbs to the overwhelming power of Heaven, but his son -incidentally the protagonist- learns the harshness of reality while surviving the days after, and eventually continues the fight. And of course, what would we be without divine powers? Always the funnest part about these comics.

Give it a read if you are free, well worth a look.

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Movies: 风云 2 (Storm Warriors)

So yes, despite all the negative feedback I caught this last night at Crown. Andddd here we go, the beginning of a stream of criticism:

  • 步惊云’s 三霸剑之剑流云: 5 star effort, excellent! His other moves were crap.
  • 步惊云’s 悲痛莫名 looked like a huge ball of water, rather than the sea of slashes that represented the sorrow of the swordsman’s emotions.
  • 无名’s 悲痛莫名 was learnt by 步惊云 at a very young age; what the hell was that about learning it instantly in the movie?
  • Why is 无名 wearing armor? 万剑归宗 felt like a stupid hail of swords z; declasse.
  • 聂风入魔 = Twilight-mode eyes? No blood red devil mode x-ray vision eye? And more importantly: why did he have both eyes in this movie, he was supposed to have only ONE!
  • There was an attempt to follow the canon plot, which told of 聂风 turning into the 麒麟魔, as evidenced by the scales on his body. Not very well explained though, and I doubt the average audience would have realised it.
  • 聂风的风神腿在哪了! He was using fists almost 90% of the time, sigh. Given that fight choreography with kicks on a non-martial artist is extremely tough, but I was sort of looking forward to this bit. 聂风 was so good, he could wield his 雪饮刀 with his feet, as illustrated in the comic with the move 踏雪寻梅. In the movie, we have him brawling like a street fighter.
  • 第一邪王 is no longer the 阴阳 dude who is a half black/white fellow with a male and female arm.
  • 第一邪王 magically knows 绝无神’s weak spot, wow. Magic!
  • 第二梦 has a barely visible deformity on her face, and turns into a pretty chick. Come ON.
  • 第三猪王’s 创刀 is never mentioned in this movie, and neither is his teaching to 聂风. Instead, he becomes this dude who wields a staff. A STAFF wth.
  • 楚楚 knows 武功! Amazing.
  • 绝无神 takes time off the gym, and slims down in this movie. No longer the hulking conqueror.

Anyway, it is tough work adapting a comic to the big screen and I never had any expectations of this being an awesome piece of work, so it’s a watch-and-forget kind of thing for me.

Easter!

And before I know it, I’ve missed the one-week-per-post mark yet again. Too caught up with everyday mundane stuff to have anything worth writing about. Or stuff that I can actually talk about; quite abit of things are off-limits here.

And of course, the lack of properly interesting pictures have contributed to the lack of posts as well. You’ll notice that the blog posts tend to increase whenever I take pictures and go to new places.

So here’s some random updates:

  • It’s Easter today, and back in Singapore we call it Good Friday. Same thing basically, but people here like to give Easter eggs (chocolate bunnies too) and the public holiday’s a little longer, stretching from Friday to Monday. So it’s a good long break for people who’re looking to have a short getaway.
  • I’ve been spending my time doing research on our upcoming ski trip to Falls Creek, hopefully back to Halleys Lodge again. It’s a little pricey, as we’re heading there in mid-July but hell, it’s once a year. There’ll be quite a few of us too, so it should be fun! : ) It’s a pity I can’t go with Monash this year though; will miss the discounts and the people.
  • And Cookie’s about three months old now, and she’s learnt to climb over the walls with ease. So I had to “upgrade” the walls, and it looks like she’s sitting in a maximum security prison right now heh heh. Will post photos in a later post. I’ve been training her to jump from the sofa to the floor, first with cushions and now without them. She was whining and totally petrified initially, but she learns fast. One successful jump = no fear thereafter.
  • Some of my photographs on the Moomba fireworks got linked on a NowPublic article titled Crowds flock to Melbourne’s Moomba parade by Rachel Nixon; thanks Rachel!
  • I might be returning in mid-April, hmm.

I’m still hunting around for a suitable cover title image, so this post will be delayed. I linked a picture from Captain, which had all rights reserved on it (but I didn’t really notice that) so he left a comment saying it would be good if I could ask before using the image. And there’s a ton of people who have all rights reserved on Flickr, so heh. All about manners I suppose.

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nerdgeek‘s first ever comic strip! funny stuff, so keep checking back at his blog for more updates : )

Building passive income, stage 2

[muney] – andydarock14 on Flickr, 28 Oct ’07.

Here’s what I’ve been up to for the past few days.

Recommended reads:

Current things to improve on for the blog:
Content
To be more focused on every post, so as to provide content that is easily digested (and less random).

Aesthetics
Think about ways to improve readability. There are quite a few aspects to this.

  • Font: size seems fine, type is legible enough as well.
  • Colors: a black/white contrast usually offers the best contrast. I’m still thinking if a white/black scheme would be better though.
  • Layout: this is the neverending discussion. I’m tempted to display the full posts in the main page to allow easier reading, but this kills off the space needed for my ads, and the navigation sidebar as well. It’s not a life-threatening issue anyway, I’ve seen worse layouts before. Need to add image verification to my comments form to lessen the damn spam as well.

Suggestions? (Other than getting rid of Hemingway.)

Status updates:

  • bux.to hits $5.38 today.
  • Google Adsense has gone way beyond bux.to at this point.
  • Added Nuffnang to the sidebar for individual posts. The banner’s not displaying anything yet, and does not seem to be aligned properly. Odd.
  • Google Sitemap plugin – via Quick Online Tips’ suggestion. This is useful, as submitting the sitemap allows Google to properly index your site, and provides Googlers to have a chance to come across your site on searches.
  • Added the Related articles plugin, but it doesn’t seem to work properly, bah. This provides readers with opportunities to view similar articles in their area of interest, which of course improves pageviews as well. Think of it as a win-win situation for both the reader and yourself.
  • There is this other thing that I’ll like to try out, but I’ll keep it under wraps for now as it requires money. The money from bux.to and Adsense will go towards funding the capital for this, and we’ll see how this works out before I announce it.

Related link:

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The cover, featuring Glaedr.

*Alagaesia has announced the title of the third Inheritance novel to be Brisingr! Estimated release date: 20th Sep 2008.

“BRISINGR is one of the first words I thought of for this title, and it’s always felt right to me,” said Christopher Paolini. “As the first ancient-language word that Eragon learns, it has held particular significance for his legacy as a Dragon Rider. In this new book, it will be revealed to be even more meaningful than even Eragon could have known.” – quoted from press release on Alagaesia, dated 16 Jan 2008.

A long long road (and the return of Hemingway!)

[THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD] – Edward Dullard. on Flickr, 13 Oct ’07.

(V‘s leaving for Melbourne tonight, and she got a bump up to business class!)

I like to call this serendipity. On yet another night of endless clicking around for new articles to feed on, I came across lawrencecheok.com aka A Long Long Road. Recognising it as the name of an SAF officer from my NS unit, I took a closer look and what do you know, it was him.

I’ve since added him on Facebook as well, and took a couple of hours out reading his articles. His blog’s really impressive, I must say.

  • A simplistic blog layout, coupled with a writing style that’s easily understood,
  • and diagrams to further illustrate the case in point. And it looks like self-drawn diagrams at that.
  • Focused issues on every post (unlike mine which ramble on and on randomly) i.e. self-improvement, financial management and relationship-building tips that I feel are really helpful to the average guy out there.

So I’ll really recommend giving his blog a go; do check it out : )

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Finally took the time to fix my old Hemingway theme; previously there was a stupid error which prevented the blogroll from being displayed previously, which looked like this:

“WordPress database error: [Unknown column ‘cat_1′ in ‘order clause’]

SELECT * FROM wp_categories WHERE cat_ID > 0 AND link_count > 0 ORDER BY cat_1 ASC

And I did a bit of Googling, and here’s the fix:

Go to hemingway/blocks/blogroll.php

Change the code inside, from:

get_links_list(1, ‘<h2>’, ‘</h2>’);

to:

get_links_list();

Well, it doesn’t sort the blogroll in the order you like, but at least it’s displayed in alphabetical order. Thanks to Andrew’s comment at 4u Style for working this out!

*I still can’t use widgets with Hemingway though, since the dynamic sidebar (or bottom bar in this case) isn’t coded into the .php file yet. We’ll leave that for anther day.

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Here’s a teaser trailer of A Man Once Superman, which stars Jeon Ji-Hyun 😀 Woot! – via Iz Reloaded

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Addendum:
– The Cableyoyo from Bluelounge is an interesting device that winds up your messy (and usually tangled) wires neatly.

A simple solution to an everyday problem.

– This has been around for quite awhile, but the Optimus Prime iPod is way cool. (It’s a pity I don’t have an iPod in the first place.) Soundwave looks good, but loses out to Prime heh. – via autoblog

White is cool : )

– General knowledge article, on why Australia doesn’t have unlimited usage plans for their internet. Pretty enlightening, and makes sense as well. – via MacTalk

– Take a look at The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard. It’s a 20 minute video that talks about the process of consumer goods, from production to disposal. It may be a little long, but offers food for thought on how twisted our lives have become, and the overwhelming obsession to shop, shop and shop that’s dominating our lives. Are we actually helping our environment by our mindless and nonstop purchases?

Do you actually need that new dress, or that pair of sneakers? Or how about that new 80GB MP3 player? I don’t know about you guys, but it’s definitely made me think twice about buying things that I don’t need.

Random writings, random ramblings, random links

[Random*] – imapix on Flickr, 19 Jun ’06.

I’m getting bored too : )

Had a meetup with some HOTL mates today; Adri, Aloy, Andrew and FL. Kenny Roger’s chicken, endless gaming talk (what would you expect from a bunch of gamers? V was intensely bored lol), and a pool session with Andrew which saw a 6:0 trashing. (I was on the receiving end unfortunately, blah.) Still good nonetheless, to have friends that you can talk comfortably with.

Last night saw an attempt to resume my long abandoned writings. I recently reorganised the contents of my hard disk, and created a folder titled Story ideas. Half-baked literary inspirations are kept inside, in the faint hope of seeing the light someday, fully fleshed out with details, plots and all the nitty gritty bits that make a coherent story.

Here’s something I idly wrote last night, and stopped about an hour or so thereafter:

(There’s no working title yet.)

Life was perfect. At least, as perfect as it could be. He had a job that he liked; he wasn’t exactly in love with the boss, but that wasn’t too bad as far as things went. A wife who loved him with every fiber of her being, and took good care of the house.

A capable housewife she was, but Elise was absolutely hopeless when it came to cooking, as Jon realised early on in the marriage. A week’s worth of dinners that were either burnt or raw taught him that. A month of tentative experimentation in the kitchen soon proved that he was the better chef, and that was the way things came to be in their little home. Jon prepared their meals, and Elise ran everything else in the house with a firm hand.

They had no children of their own, and Jon had been talking about adoption. He loved kids, and passionately believed in imparting the proper values to “the next generation who will inherit the earth”, so he always said with a twinkle in his eyes.

And that perfect life came to a screeching halt one day, when Jon did not return in the evening. It was so unlike him to be late without a call, and Elise waited patiently. If he was held up, it had to be something important. She sat waiting, the minutes ticking by as the dinner slowly grew cold on the table.

The evening shadows lengthened, and turned into nightfall.

Still, Jon did not return.

Something did not feel right, and Elise longed to see him walking up as he usually did, with his rather tuneless whistling and a weary smile from the day’s chores.

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ohmmmmm.

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“Waii.. hello.. this is Henry Chow. I am rapping for you today.. somefing about a hard life. because my life is hard.. very hard.. like a rock.”

Hilarious ;p

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Achmed the Dead Terrorist by Jeff Dunham, seriously funny shit.

SILENCE! I KILL YOU!

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Addendum:

Facebook has an application called Secret Crush, which turns out to be spyware instead of harmless fun. Might be good to get rid of it if you did install the thing : ) – via Network World via PCMech

50 Things Men Wished You Knew. (An upgrade of the article in the previous post, so it seems.) I am a total convert of point number 6, which reads “6. Shopping is a chore, not an activity.” Amen : ) – via Men’s Health

– There’s this new Gundam anime series out which looks to be pretty good; check out the Mobile Suit Gundam 00 wiki. Pretty dumb robots, but awesome plot methinks. Intricate politics combined with pitched mecha battles *and* dysfunctional characters, how cool is that? It’s standing at episode 13 now, so watch ’em while you still can catch up!


Exia of the Seven Swords – via dannychoo.com

Mayday‘s Ashin aka 阿信 (陈信宏) designs tee shirts as well, woot. There’s not too many designs yet, but take a look at Stay Real! – via SH


Here’s one of the tee shirt designs. – via JUMP! with Mayday!

Idling it out

[Emotions in Hands] – hocco on Flickr, 23 Nov ’07.

Here’s something I wrote for a friend the other night, titled Sadness.

Sadness, is like a winter that never seems to end.
The snowflakes fall, slowly but without pause.
And the heart is buried beneath the endless layers of grief.
You seem unaffected, but still the heart weeps every night.

The mask drops upon solitude, and the cloud returns.

The tired mind screams of release.
Of wanting to let go an existence so weary,
a road so meaningless,
a life so purposeless.

How then, does one overcome sorrow?

Face the starkness of reality as it is; stand firm.
Memories are but haunting images of the past, never to return.

Release the emotions; vent them.
Holding them in serves naught, but to overwhelm the mind.

If a friend is truly needed, you know what to do.

Time heals all wounds, but having someone around helps things somewhat : )

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It’s been only 14 (15 to be exact) days since I’m back, but all of it’s been good : ) Regained my tan from hitting the pool every few days, went from a miserable three chinups to eight, and today was a a torturous run around Bedok Reservoir with ZM. The gym weights are still feeling abnormally heavy right now though, heh heh. Slowly does it. I’m really not looking forward to RT.

(Yes, I suck at running.)

And of course, basketball! I was an absolute mess in the first session, couldn’t even catch a pass properly. But the second weekend session wasn’t too bad, and let’s hope that it’s getting better this Sunday : )

And of meeting friends over here : ) I’ve cleared a good half of the outstanding list so far, been fun talking to all the friends I haven’t seen in ages. And to those who’re mistaking my Facebook status: I’m not getting married (yet.) ;p

Caught a few movies lately too; Stardust is great, Beowulf stinks, and Enchanted isn’t too bad. Now that there’s Quickflix in Facebook, I’ve been posting my mini-reviews over there instead.

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MDA rap MV, hilarious.

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How to deal with embarrassmentBasic Instructions, by Scott Meyer. He’s got great ideas that translate to funny illustrations.

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Addendum:
Aaron Hobson‘s images (a style known as cinemascapes), truly render the eye a captive. Check out Dark, Darker and Winter.

20 timeless money rules, compiled by CNNMoney.

– The accompanying images on this article on Internet safety tips by Cracked.com are hilarious ;p “That is not a woman. Real women do not call themselves CumSlurper19, nor do they send naked pictures to people they met five minutes ago.”