Monday, June 30, 2008

The Week Condensed

My past week has been pretty packed, looking back at these past events now that today's Sunday. How time flies! As some (or rather, most) of you should know by now, no thanks to my incessant bragging, I bought myself a PS3 last Sunday on impulse when I was just browsing through Funz Centre at AMK Hub. I spotted the MGS4 Edition 80GB PS3 on top of a shelf in the store and I couldn't take my eyes off it. Next thing I knew, I was walking out of the store with exactly just that!

Having said that, I've been (naturally) clocking in some serious MGS4 gameplay hours over the last week, and I must say it has been a thoroughly rewarding experience! I bought the PS3 for the sole reason of playing PS3 exclusive games only, as I would still much prefer my Xbox 360 for multi-platform games. Anyhow, I think Hideo Kojima and his team have really outdone themselves again with the excellent gameplay, graphics and most importantly, storyline.

Those who have had the fortunate opportunity of getting some hands-on experience with the game will agree that MGS4 is more than simply just an apotheosis of the entire series, but rather a perfectly-blended game that appeals to hardcore MGS4 fans and more casual players like myself. To be honest, I've never completed MGS1 or MGS2 before (I started but never finished), but MGS3 totally blew me away and got be hooked onto the franchise.

Thus, MGS4 was a good reason enough for me to finally get my PS3! This splendid game features, once again, my favourite modern day composer Harry Gregson-Williams, who has also previously wrote music for this game series. The climactic battle towards the end of the game is nothing short of dazzling and emotional, and is sure to tug many gamers' heartstrings.

Interestingly, game magazine Edge describes the game score "to be superior to that of many Hollywood offerings". Which is excellent news, as this marks another step in progressing and emphasizing the importance and necessity of good music in games. And of course, more credit for Harry Gregson-Williams himself!

In other happenings, Dennis came over last Tuesday from KL and stayed over at my place for one night before his Lunchbox gig at the Esplanade with Kewei. I made a "return" trip back with Rey last Friday, where we headed up to KL to catch Dennis and Kewei's gig at Bangkok Jazz. I've uploaded photos up on Facebook, so do check it out here.

It was quite a misadventure for a trip, as Rey left his passport behind on the coach and there's was quite a fair bit of panicking going on. Also, because there were some changes to our accommodation plans, we had to check into a hotel room at Sunway Pyramid at 4 in the morning, after supper! Speaking of supper, I had the spiciest ayam laksa in my life. It was rather daunting!

Check out those killer lashes!

Otherwise, it was a good albeit extremely short break for me; heading to KL for the gig was enjoyable enough! A took a break on Friday at Indochine, something which I was rather unwilling to do at first but actually quite enjoyed it in the end! The remainder of the weekend just flew by with the usual mix of gigs and teaching, no surprise there. Well, here's to another week! I'm bracing myself already.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Blue Tent

Here's a little something random that I thought I'd share. Last night, after a regular session at Loof with the usual gang, Roland sent Judy and myself back. As I had a wedding gig before that at Holiday Inn Parkview, I had to leave my keyboard there before heading down to Loof, and so we were on our way there to pick it back up.

As we drove down Cavenagh Road, we passed by Orchard Plaza, where the lup sup canto club 97 is. Af first, I spotted a few police cars from afar parked along the street, so I didn't give it much thought as I thought it was the usual police presence. But then, when were stopped at the traffic junction, Judy suddenly piped up from behind, "Oh my god, did somebody die? Why is there a tent there?"

And yes, apparently someone got killed last night, probably due to a very dumb reason which triggered off a very dumb fight. And that resulted in a blue police tent by the side of the pavement. How tragic, really. Well, as Judy put it, "Yes. we have one less ah beng in the world tonight."

Life is indeed inconceivably fragile.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pad Thai & Umbrellas

Woke up with a pretty wham-bam hangover this morning -- no thanks in part to Saturday's activities at Loof, celebrating Nadine's birthday and ingesting copious amounts of Asahi. Unfortunately, there's never rest for the wicked. I had to get up at 9 in the morning on Sunday for an ALD wedding lunch at Orchard Hotel.

After the wedding, Zheng Quan and myself stopped by at the Royal Thai Embassy at Orchard to have a look-see at the Thai Festival 2008. Boy, was it crowded! But the fun-filled atmosphere really made the entire place feel like Little Bangkok. They even had an entire area dedicated to Thai street food -- you could buy pad thai served on one half of a styrofoam box, just like how they do it in Bangkok!

They were also offering authentic Thai massages (on the spot!) at the fair, and Zheng Quan and me decided to give it a go! We opted for the back and shoulder massage, but our masseurs did the whole shazam -- back, shoulder, neck and scalp! I thought it was really money very well spent indeed. $15 for 20 minutes for a Thai massage right in the middle of a fair! Shopping wise, I managed to restrain myself from switching to Bangkok shopping mode, no thanks to the Singapore prices. I did, however, buy back some awesome tasting packs of Thai banana chips.

When we strolled back to the main stage, there was a interaction segment going on, where people were prancing around to Rihanna's song Umbrella whilst holding a, uh, umbrella. Here's a video of it.

Gosh, I wonder if those two participants ever read my blog. I think they would die from embarrassment upon finding out that some random stranger just took a video of them doing one of the stupidest things they'll ever do in their life and put them online! Well, my weekend's almost over now; time to embrace the weekdays so I can start yearning for weekends which make me hope weekdays come soon. Ok, my life's a messy cycle.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Wrecked Nights

Can't believe I stayed up all night and stuck myself at playing Forza Motorsport 2 for 7 hours straight. Talk about wasting your time away on a 2007 game. Oddly enough, for someone who doesn't really fancy racing games at all, I found FM2 to be rather addictive. Definitely better than the last racing game I tried to have a go at -- NFS ProStreet.

It's Indochine tonight, and only that. Thank God. No harrowing driving lessons, no teaching, no nothing. Just three sets for the night. Sometimes I really treasure my free time so much I end up gaming or watching videos more than I intend to, just so that I can tell myself that I'm maximizing my free time. How warped is that!

Ok, time for bed. For those of you who aren't sleepy, you can follow what I did. Go read up the Casimir effect on Wikipedia and learn something new today!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Ten Billion Trillion Trillion

Yes, that's a mind-boggling number, isn't it? Well, actually, that happens to be how many carats the largest diamond found in the universe has. I was randomly reading Wikipedia earlier today when I stumbled upon the page for diamond. Under the Extraterrestrial diamonds, it says:

Some White dwarf stars are believed to have a carbon core. The largest diamond found in the universe, so far, is located 50 light years away in the constellation Centaurus. The Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics believes the 2,500 mile-wide diamond was once the heart of a star. It is estimated to be ten billion trillion trillion carats, more or less. It was named Lucy, in honor of the Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds".

By god, just imagine! A 2,500 mile-wide diamond, enough to satisfy every single girl on Earth so many times over. It just makes one think how small and insignificant we are in the whole grand scheme of things (i.e. the universe). I know this sounds strange but I've ever mentioned to a few friends before that I regret not being born in the generation where space travel is established.

In other more shocking news, something very dramatic happened to me last Tuesday. I signed for a practical driving practice slot at the very last-minute, and as such I was assigned a different instructor from the one I'm usually under. Which is not much of a surprise, I must add. Before the lesson began, I bumped into my regular instructor and chatted him up a little, and added that I was under a different instructor today.

So the lesson commenced, and everything went smoothly. My new instructor was very friendly and chatty, and he seemed really easygoing so I thought it was going to be just fine. On that particular lesson I was actually supposed to remain within the circuit as I was learning parking, but he suggested that we take the car out for a 'spin' as the circuit is usually clogged up during the first 15 minutes of every session.

Well, that made sense, so I just went along with the routine. However, 15 minutes into the lesson, when I was driving along Bukit Batok East Ave 5, he suddenly suffered from a stroke in the car. You had no idea how petrified and shocked I was! At first, he kept yanking at my steering wheel, so I thought he was trying to swerve me out of the way of some vehicle, even though there was nobody else around.

Only moments later did I realize (when I glanced at him) that he was definitely not feeling too good. I pulled over, stopped the car and just kept shouting at him, asking him if he was alright, until the convulsions stopped. I know that couldn't be good, so I scrambled out of the car and called for the ambulance in my very panicked state.

What are the chances, huh! I also called the school, and they sent a supervisor down along with a senior instructor. We waited until the ambulance arrived, whereupon they took my instructor to NUH. The best bit was, my regular instructor actually drove past the whole entourage of cars and ambulance and saw me standing by the road side looking very frazzled. His face was one of utter amazement mixed with shock!