Monday, July 28, 2008

Writings: Sun

The sun is shining.

"Move! Move to the other side!"

Like lambs scampering from the wolves, they escape to the safety of the Right Side.

But alas, things are not meant to be. The moment they moved, the angry fireball strike again! The sun crackled and growled, a predator on the prowl for its prey. The rays blinded them, turning the surrounding to hues of red and orange.

"To the left!" One of the men cried out even as sweat pooled down his face.

Nothing, however, was meant to be.

Just as they struggled to the Left Side, like an enemy with a vengeance, the sun struck its ray at them.

It is futile!

The people sighed and groaned as they gave up and endured the numerous turns that the driver made, inducing the sun's wrath on one side of the bus.



Note: AHhahaha. Bet you didn't think that the people were escaping from the sun on a bus. XD I wrote this ages and ages ago about the pains people suffered on a non-aircon bus. Recently found it stuffed inside a blank notepad.

Movie Review: Red Cliff

I finally watched Chi Bi (part 1) today. I missed some parts of it due to a late (but delicious) lunch.

The movie is about the events of the Battle of Red Cliffs from the Records of the Three Kingdoms and not Romance of the Three Kingdoms. (Big difference but still bias toward Liu Bei =/)

It was a bloody film. Lots of blood flying around but not explicitly so. I loved the fighting scenes though I think it can be better considering John Woo is directing this. You see all the warriors from Liu Bei's side pawning all the soldiers and Zhuge Liang pawning Cao Cao big time with all his formations.

I liked the comparison of Cao Cao to a tiger which Sun Quan has to kill to prove his courage, and the scenes between Zhou Yu (Tony Leung) and Zhuge Liang (Takeshi Kaneshiro wtf) having manly musical challenges and manly stares with each other.


People snickered when this guy appears lol

In fact, Zhou Yu's wife, Xiao Qiao (Chiling Lin) feels more like a third wheel between the two of them. No chemistry sparks between Zhou Yu and Xiao Qiao. Chiling Lin's acting skills - if any- fails to make her role more than a flower vase; nice to look at but useless.

The other more important female lead, Sun Shang Xiang (Zhao Wei) was so much better as she hit Liu bei. Muahhaha. Teach those sexist men! And she rules by having her own group of female archers and participating in battle. (even though that did not happen in reality. >.>)

As someone who knows shit about the three kingdom I liked the show though I couldn't help but feel that this movie can be so much better. The action is good but not fantastic. I don't feel the urgency like when I watched Dark Knight. It's like something is missing even though this is an epic battle.

In addition, the scenes such as the one where the horse was giving birth does nothing but to slow down the overall pace of the show. There isn't any point in it. I am also rather annoyed that the director has decided to go down the easy path by making Cao Cao a typical villain who lust over Xiao Qiao. Such details bogged down the movie.

Red Cliff is stated to release outside of asia as a single 2.5 hours film for overseas. WTH? This movie has two parts over 4 hours! The one I saw today is part 1. Part 2 has yet to be released. Movie goers outside Asia are getting the short end of the stick with the super condensed version which is likely to be all battles. That itself might just be a good thing as random shots of pigeons will be removed.

My recommendation is: Watch Red Cliff. As a movie about the three kingdom, it's rather enjoyable although not all the scenes are historical correct.

Rating: 7/10

A comparison of Photo Sharing Services

Flickr revolutionized the photo-sharing sites. It was certainly one of the most innovative web 2.0 sites back in 2005 (when I just joined a few months before yahoo acquired the company). The its API allowed people to share and find photos easily using tags. And this in turn foster a community on the site. Allowing only the most recent 200 pictures to be shown, however, is a very big flaw in what is otherwise a great free service.

Since then, other companies have taken a look at Flickr's capabilities and copied the same format without the 200 photos limit.

Here are the comparison of the possible free Flickr alternatives.

I used Firefox to create accounts for testing.

Zoomr
I was unable to create an account as I was stuck at sign-up page. I believed this has something to do with the website compatibility with firefox which by the way is one of the most popular browser on the net. Since I cannot get an account, zoomr gets zero.

Rating: 0/5


Photorganizr
I'm not exactly sure whether I typed my email address incorrectly, for 12 hours a week later I have yet to receive any email for me to confirm my account. Since I cannot login, I can only give it a zero.

Rating: 0/5


Shutterfly
Of all the sites tested, Shutterfly is the most different. It has gallery where you can share your photobooks (note: photobooks not photos) but there aren't groups like in flickr where people with similar interest can join. To be more precise, it is a printing site. Through the site, you can create and order calenders, photobooks, and small gifts. You can also order prints of your photos for a certain amount of money.

Shutterfly offers unlimited storage for unlimited amount of photos. The interface for uploading the photos is easy and fast. What is interesting is the simple but useful click and drag interface. You can create an album and drag the photos you want to the album you want. You can also repositioned the photos simply by dragging them.

However, you can only share photos with other people if you invite with an email.

Final comments: Fantastic website that works great for organizing stuff. However it is not blogging or sharing friendly. On the other hand, I would say it protects copyrights of the user (unlike flickr =/) Recommended for people who would like an all in one site with printing capability.

Rating: 4/5


PhotoBucket
Photobucket is a good services for posting random images. It isn't until recently when that their system went into an overhaul that it became more friendly to photos. Photobucket does not offer any resizing of its photos. What it does have is a 25gb monthly worth of bandwidth and 1gb worth of photos for you upload. It also allows you to see the monthly hits for your photos.

Underneath each image are the code that you can paste on to a blog or a forum. This makes it easy to the people who blog.

Photobucket is extremely user-friendly. What you see is what you get.

Rating: 3/5



ipernity
ipernity is like an exact copy of flickr with less restriction on censorship, upload limit and photo limit. You can upload up to 200mb every month and there are no limits to the number of photos you have in the photostream. It also has a variety of ways for you to upload your photos (zip file, java application etc) which are rather innovative.

Apart from that you can also download a basic uploader to aid you in uploading those pesky little photos. What I like best is the plugin to import all the photos from Flickr to ipernity. However, this plugin only works for firefox 2.0.

Rating: 4/5


Picasa
Owned by Google, Picasa is free for all google users. As expected of google, it has 1gb of space for users to upload all the photos they want. If you have blogs, you will find that your picasa account has albums for the blog that you have uploaded photos for. Picasa also has a basic program where you can edit and upload your photos easily.

You can share your photos with other people easily by making your album public. There is also a function where you can fave anyone to monitor what photos they posted etc.

Rating: 3/5

23


For the free account at 23, you can upload 300 photos in the first month. For the subsequent months, however, you can only upload 30 photos per month.

It is also blogging friendly. There are several sizes that you can use, from mini to large, even a size for moblog. It has all functions that Flickr has but for the photo limit.

Rating: 3.5/5

I personally like ipernity and shutterfly a lo. I will be using ipernity from now on.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Manga Review: Black Butler

Set in the 18th Century, 12 years old Ciel Phantomhive is the head of the family and the boss of the famous toy company Funtom. In his household are three adorable but clumsy servants, a strange house steward, and his very effective butler, Sebastian Micheal.

Sebastian Micheal is one hell of a butler. He cooks, cleans, fights and corrects all the mistakes that the other three servants make. He also loves cats. But there is something very strange about him....

I really want to see this animated.

Black Butler / Kuroshitsuji (黒執事) may seem very cheerful in its first chapter, but it is definitely a dark series. Ciel is often embroiled in strange events and it's up to Sebastian (being the only competent person) to help his young master. The cases include psychotic serial murderers and deranged kidnappers out to get Ciel.

The art in Black Butler is very detailed. A lot of attention is paid to the background and the characters's clothes. The lines are crisp and the art is clean. Of course this means the fighting scenes are very well drawn. I really like Sebastian's weapon. XD

However the story line of Black Butler is a tad too messy. Maybe it's because I'm reading it in chinese but I couldn't understand some parts of the story.

Still, I will recommend people to read this. After all, how can anyone not like handsome butlers killing people with fanatical grins on their faces?

Black Butler will debut as an anime for the Autumn Season 2008. (see here for link) I'm really anticipating it as Sebastian looks appropriately suave and creepy in the trailer. Hopefully that the anime will keep not just the comedy but all the violence and blood. There may not be enough material to make the anime as there are only 21 chapters released as of now.

Rating: 3.5/5

Additional note: Does anyone thinks that Sebastian looks like Mukuro from KHR. In fact, I think the mangaka either used to do KHR 69 doujins or she just loves KHR a lot.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Flickr oh Flickr...

I had an account on Flickr since 2005. I have always been a loyal fan of Flickr.

However, as a student I'm a freeloader; I cannot pay for the professional account and use strictly the pro account. And I have completely forgotten about Flickr's wonderful restriction: Only 200 photos will be shown.

It wasn't recently when I was uploading a whole lot of photos that I suddenly wondered why the hell half of my photos disappeared.

Flickr, you have been very good but I need more space for my photos. I out-grew you. T_T

Anyone can recommend me a good photo sharing website? =(

Friday, July 18, 2008

Futae no Kiwami

The following videos may be removed by youtube at any point in time.

Futae no Kiwami, according to Urban Dictionary, is a move that Sanosuke from Kenshin used. Sanosuke tend to scream "Futae no Kiwami AHHH!" when using it.

Futae no Kiwami (フタエノキワミ) is also a meme which Japanese created after listening to the various dubbing (english, spanish, italian), where the people dubbing made several fundamental mistakes in prouncing the japanese terms.

"But above all others, the rather awkward-sounding English dub earned the most love from JP viewers. The most memorable part? Sanosuke's English-ified battle cry of "FUTAE NO KIWAME" followed immediately by a crazed "YEAAAAARGGHHHH!!!!" as he lunges towards Shishio.

In fact, Japanese fans loved the English "FUTAE NO KIWAME" so much that they decided to make it their own. And craziness promptly ensued.
" ---- from Japanator

And yes. There is a game based on it. Omg My eyes. Google 変更内容...1面下方修正らしい if you want to play it. It's a shooting game. Touhou game hack.

The original video which created the entire thing.

This is really the source of everything that appeared.

Warning: The following videos can be offensive and hilarious (even more so if you understand japanese)


Futae no Kiwami X Caramelldansen. Watch at your own risk. Stop talking about Kenshin's manly parts T_T

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Library Book Sale 2008

Library Book Sale 2008

Date: Friday, 18 July - Sunday, 20 July 2008
Time: 9.30am - 8pm

Venue: Singapore Expo Hall 4A
Free Admission


I'm so going on Friday!