Monthly Archives: June 2014

How To Train Your Dragon 2

I caught How To Train Your Dragon 2 last Sunday with two of my best friends Song and Jia Kiat.

Yes, it was a stag party.

No, it’s not gay.

It’s totally manly to watch an animated cartoon that has tonnes of cuteness awesomeness. So there. Besides, I managed to get a 1-for-1 deal with my Safra card, as well as a $2 discount for the third ticket at Shaw. Averaged out to be about $6.50-$7 per person! That’s even better than watching on a weekday at non peak hours. Anyway, back to the movie.

Warning: SPOILER ALERT!!

I’m already a huge fan of the first How To Train Your Dragon so I was really excited to see the sequel. And boy did it deliver. I absolutely love Hiccup’s new armour and new innovative gadgets. I was especially impressed with his fire sword and how skillfully he weilded it.

Every story has one plot: Who Am I? I think I heard this from one of the Spiderman shows, and this was no different. It was about how Hiccup was still finding himself, the love between friends and family and always looking to end conflicts with non violent solutions.

Okay it was a kids show, so I felt that there wasn’t very deep character development other than for Hiccup. I was half hoping for more relationship development (especially with Astrid) or a coming of age show, but they took it in a whole new direction. Not that that’s bad! They focused more on the dragons; emphasising their feline qualities, making new dragons and showing off new secrets. Obviously the selling point of the show is the cuteness of the dragons.

One thing that hit me hard was the death of Hiccup’s father. I teared up then, but didn’t fully cry. I guess they could have emphasised the moment, but the story moved on quickly. I felt that some of the touching moments were ruined with comedy. Like when Hiccup’s parents reunited and Hiccup’s father serenaded his wife with an old song. They were constantly interrupted with Hiccup’s mentor’s bad singing.

Yes I forgot the characters names, okay? I suck.

So yeah the story moved quite fast and, while I like the dragons, I would have liked the relationships and characters to have had more development. Felt like there was a lot of overview, not enough details. I think I prefer the first movie though.

-Jace

Advertisements

QuizUp

I was introduced to this mobile app game called QuizUp a few months back and I must say I’m very addicted to it.

The essence of the game is a quiz of seven questions and you’re pitted against one person from anywhere in the world. You have to pick a topic and you have ten seconds to answer each question. You can get a maximum of 20 points per question except the last one, which gives double points, making the maximum score 160 points per quiz. Of course, that means there’s a possibility of drawing with your opponent. You can also login with Facebook and challenge your friends in any topic available.

There are SO MANY TOPICS!! Not just topics you’d expect like General Knowledge, but also categories and specific topics. For example, there’s actually topic for Avatar: The Last Airbender!! (the TV series, not the botched movie)

QuizUp regularly updates the questions in the topics and adds new topics as well. In fact, a topic for the TV series Arrow was just released last week. Each new topic has a label that says “New” to indicate that the topic is, well, new. I’m actually waiting for Arrow to finish so that I can watch it all at once because I’m a self dubbed “completist“. But that’s a topic for another post.

Anyway, I love this app because it actually teaches me as I play. As you answer each question, it tells you if you got it right or wrong then shows you the correct answer. I’m getting a lot of “did-you-know” tidbits from this app!

Each topic has a one line summary, so that the user has a better idea of what the topic is about. Most of them are quite witty and punny and I get a laugh out of reading them. For example, Spelling has “Are you a gud spellar?” and Word Definitions has “By definition, this topic is about definitions.”

I’m tempted to call them… subtitles. 😀

I just started on Myths and Folklore and it’s really teaching me a lot on Greek, Roman, Celtic, Norse, Aztec, Egyptian and modern myths. It’s LEGEND… wait for it… DARY!

My best topic so far is Riddles because it really makes me practice thinking “sideways”, which is awesome because I sometimes get new puns too! They came up with a new topic called Jokes, which I’m dutifully playing for the same reason.

I get to practice my English too, with topics like Spelling, Grammar and Phobias. How does Phobias help me? Well, first, I’m expanding my vocabulary (apiphobia means fear of bees and sciophobia, or sciaphobia, is the fear of shadows), but I’m also putting my etymology and linguistics skills to the test. Etymology is the study of words and their origins. The phobias really teach me root words of stuff; I know “phobia” means “fear of”, so whatever prefix the word has must be a variation of the thing a person fears. I.e. “api-” means “bees” and “scia-” means shadows.

QuizUp is a really awesome game. Not only is it fun, it’s educational and loads you up with random tidbits if information you can start a conversation with. Go get it! It’s free and available on both Android and iOS.

-Jace

Soylent

I don’t remember where I found out about Soylent, but ever since I learned about the concept, I loved it. Here’s the official site.

Here’s a summary of what I understand about Soylent. It’s an efficient food substitute. Soylent has everything a human body needs to survive and theoretically a person could survive on nothing else but Soylent. It comes in a powder form that you just add water to and drink. I really liked the convenience of this.

It’s targeted at people who are always on the move, people who don’t like to cook and clean up and people who need food in hard to reach places (like astronauts, or when you go camping). I think it could also have military purposes.

Soylent was created by Robert Rhinehart and I followed his blog as he was testing it on himself. He spent a whole month living off nothing but self-made Soylent. For the whole month, he reported clarity of though, feeling more energetic, slimmed down and pooped less. I was quite tickled with the “pooping less” part because it made sense and I hadn’t thought of that. Since your body uses up almost all the ingredients in Soylent, there’s very little waste material leftover and thus you poop less.

I remember he said that it actually tasted quite nice when all the ingredients were just right and that if there was too much or too little of an ingredient, the drink would taste off. He could actually TASTE the “wrongness” of the drink! There were other individuals all over the world who started making their own version of Soylent with varying amounts of success. The good thing about making your own Soylent was that you could customize it to your own needs and lifestyle. For example, if you’re a body builder, you might add more protein, and if you want an energy boost you might add more caffeine.

The name comes from the novel Make Room! Make Room!, which was the basis of the show Soylent Green. Soylent does have a negative feel to it because of it’s connection to the show, which had cannibalism. It seems to me that people are on the extreme ends of opinions about Soylent. They either love it, like me, or hate it. I mean the concept, not the product itself. But I don’t understand why.

First there’s the name, but I think that’s just bad marketing. Sure, Robert Rhinehart could have chosen a different name, I think he wanted to capture the concept. Why come up with a new name that people are just going to say “oh it’s like Soylent Green then”? Besides, the name come from the book, which was about overpopulation and didn’t have cannibalism.

Some people hate Soylent because they think it will totally replace food and the joy of cooking. To these people I say you’re all idiots. Soylent is NOT COMPULSORY. It’s a choice. If you want to keep eating and cooking food, then fine, go ahead. There’s no need to hate on Soylent, the people who make it and the people who love it. Why hate someone for choosing to be efficient? There’s a lot more to enjoy about life than just eating.

Some people don’t like Soylent because they say humans aren’t meant to live on one thing forever; we need varying tastes. Again, Soylent is a choice. If I want to drink Soylent instead of eating, then I and I alone will “suffer” the consequence of blandness. I think I can live with that. It’s a small price to pay, if any, for efficiency, very little cleaning and stability.

My best friend, Song, and I are planning a six-month trip to explore Europe after our NS, so I thought Soylent might be useful here. I foresee that sometimes we’ll need to keep moving, or food will hard to get or unsafe to eat. I have a lot of allergies, so I really have to watch what I eat. Soylent will give me that peace of mind, knowing that I have something safe and nutritious to eat. It’s my safety net.

Right now it can only be shipped within USA, but I’ve asked my aunt who lives there to let me order Soylent using her address and then getting her to ship it over to me. At the time of this writing, I’ve just asked her and I’m waiting for her reply, so we’ll see.

Update on 22 June
Aunt says okay! I’ve got their address, so I’m going to order it the next time I have access to my laptop.

-Jace

How to make awesome names

This post was first published on my Tumblr on May 17, 2012, and is now updated with my experiences since then.

Ever had the problem of coming up with a name? Like, team names, names of your creations, titles for things etc.

Well, I think I’ve found a really useful method.

1. Make a list of awesome words that sound cheesy or unoriginal (eg. “Ace”, “Talking Robot Cat”)

2. Go to Google Translate and play around with the languages! You’ll get many different words in different languages so just choose one that feels awesome. If you do this correctly, the foreign name will now sound awesome without the cheesiness. Note that this probably only works for words or phrases. Sentences may not work because of the syntax.

Here’s an example I recently used for my school project.

Our job was to create and imaginary bank, so one of our tasks was to come up with a bank name. Before I found this method of translation, I was playing around with my group member’s surnames and initials, wanting to come up with a nice acronym for our bank name.

Needless to say, all my results were deemed unsatisfactory by our teacher, so it was back to the drawing board. Then I had this brilliant idea.

I started picking out words that made the bank sound awesome. Words like “safe”, “trustworthy”, “reliable” and “stable” were all options for me.

Going to Google Translate, I played around with the different languages, words and permutations until I finally found a suitable name: Betrodd.

In Norwegian, “Betrodd” means “Entrusted”. Also, I felt that the word “Betrodd” sounded solid and firm, both which reflect good qualities of a bank: reliable and stable.

Perfect.

-Jace

King Midas Orgasm Touch

Yes, read the title again. Let it sink in.

WARNING: This is going to be a very weird post. Ready?

As a guy, I think of two things quite often: sex and superpowers.

A few months back, I had this revelation of what happened if King Midas’ touch hadn’t turn things to gold, but rather incited uncontrollable orgasms in living organisms that could experience orgasms.

At first, I thought it’d be awesome to have this power. Not only would I be able to please any woman I met, I’d also be able to use it to embarrass, disarm or kill my enemies. If I wanted to kill, then I would just hold onto them until they died of exhaustion.

Yes, very weird, I know. But what a way to go, huh?

Then my mind started modifying the ability. I decided that I wanted to be able to turn this ability on and off at will, but then I’d have to have a drawback so this ability would be balanced. I felt that turning this ability on and off at will without any drawbacks was a little too overpowered. This is my aesthetics mind at work.

The drawback that made the most sense and balanced the ability was that I wouldn’t be able to experience orgasms myself.

Ever.

Which kinda sucked.

So then I started thinking which version of the ability would be better? Would giving up orgasms for total control be better, or giving up careless touches?

In the end, total control at the expense of personal gratification won out. Imagine if King Midas hadn’t turned his daughter to gold and instead made her climax. Urgh that is a really wrong thought.

Which would you have picked?

P.S. I apologize for my random thoughts. Between the iZombie post last week and this one, it may seem that my posts lack their usual caliber. But honestly these topics have been in draft mode for quite a while and I’ve just been pushing them back.

Brace yourself. More random thoughts will come.

-Jace

A Million Ways To Die In The West

Yesterday, my best friend, Song, and I watched A Million Ways To Die In The West, a comedy by Seth MacFarlane, starring Charlize Theron, Amanda Seyfried, Neil Patrick Harris and Liam Neeson.

Straight up front, I want to say that it’s an R-rated show because of vulgarities and sexual references. And no, there will not be a censored version because if there is then there’s no point watching the show at all.

I usually don’t enjoy slapstick and crude humor, but this show was actually quite appealing to me. I wouldn’t watch it again though. No, this is one of those shows I’d just watch once, laugh about it and say I’ve seen it, but it’s not on my re-watchable list at all. It’s stuff like The Hangover, Borat, The Dictator and Jackass that just annoy me so much and make me squirm in my seat with discomfort.

A Million Ways To Die In The West turned out to be pretty okay. Not fantastic, in my opinion, but not terrible either. The storyline was nice and simple, which is awesome because it helps the audience focus on the comedy instead of predicting plot twists. I was able to relax myself and just laugh. I did cringe at parts where the jokes were a little dry and especially at the part where he had to explain his own joke because the townsfolk were generally too dense to understand.

On a side note, I was very bothered by Anna (Charlize Theron) because she looked so familiar. She took everything in stride and wasn’t surprised by anything. There was a bar fight scene where she just continued doing what she did while the chaos ensued around her. It reminded me very strongly of Scarlett Johansson when she played Black Widow and just took out all the guards without breaking sweat. I knew it wasn’t her, but the familiarity kept bugging me. After the movie I checked her out *snigger* on Google and found that she played Mary in Hancock. THAT’S why she was so familiar and I pictured her as a very strong individual.

Anyway, this is the first crude humor movie I liked, which is something.

-Jace

Fairy Tale Endings

This post was first published on my Tumblr on Aug 25, 2012, and is now updated with my experiences since then.

I’ve heard a lot of people (myself included) saying that they just want a fairy tale or Hollywood ending. Girls want their Price Charmings, (some) guys want to be the hero.

Pornography and Disney movies are responsible for the most frustrated teens in the world today.

Naturally, the attraction of these events is understandable, but do these people realize what they’re wishing for?

“Where’s my Price Charming?”
“Where’s my insatiable whore?”

Think about it for a second. Most, if not all, fairy tales and Hollywood movies that have this desirable ending have very undesirable middles. Adversity and tragedy are probably gonna be within the plot of the story and that’s what makes it interesting.

Now, apply this to real life. Do you really want your significant other to have to go through a real life tragedy? Loss of parent(s) or sibling(s), natural disasters, hostage situations.

I don’t think so.

It does no good to dwell on perfect endings, or about finding the perfect person because lets face it: nothing is perfect.

Instead of futile wishes, go out there and take action to create your own fairy tale ending. Ladies, don’t wait for your Prince Charming. The poor fool may be stuck in a tree or something.

-Jace