Thursday, March 31, 2011

Oral Contraceptives

Lol.. Just had dispensing class and I am too lazy to grab a paper and jot down some learning points today.. I decided to just type it here o_0

As usual, I am not suited for this profession and I did quite badly again. The drug I got was progestrone only OC so I never prepared at all about the estrogen. And tadaa.. patient told me that she was initially on combined OC so what the switch was for? I was like "Ow crap!". The actual answer was that estrogen reduced breast milk (and this patient was lactating). I would never ever thought of that because based on the info I found out, progesterone caused breast milk reduction too!! I was thinking about some severe adverse effects but could not think of any so I just said I didn't know. Bleah..

I also don't know that when someone is breastfeeding, there will be no menses.. Neither I know that full-time and part-time breastfeeding also differ. Gosh.. I told the patient to start taking on first day of the next period and I was stunned when she said "I have no period". I thought she was pregnant again!! Bleah.. Then she asked me "then why are you giving me OC? are you sure this is the correct drug for me??". Alamaks.. completely gone case..

Oh well.. at least I learnt a few new things:
- breastfeeding causes menses to stop.. and lactation amenorrhea is some sort of "natural contraceptive" a.k.a you won't get pregnant (no need OC) if full-time lactating
- estrogen causes less breast milk.. so if need OC while breastfeeding, use progesterone only
- if have DVT/embolism/etc, estrogen is a big no no... still can choose some progesterone carefully
- progesterone alone is quite lousy as it only provides 40% protection

Sunday, March 27, 2011

P2 is over!

Phew.. FINALLY!!! I am only left with poster now.. And before I forget, I would like to say everything about the P2. I was very nervous and very scared during the preparations. I definitely did not meet the 20 minutes criterion but I *think* it was not timed so I guess it was alright. I was nervous since waking up and I was really surprised with my heart muscles because it could stay palpitating for like 5 hours lol.

Anyway I felt it was much better than P1. I was more or less prepared for the Q&A and I could defend myself well, although there were some unexpected parts which I never even thought of before. Firstly, it was about efficiency of the process. I was only interested in comparing release rate of the drug and thus only in drug content in my formulation. However, from drug formulation experts, they would also be interested with the efficiency of the process i.e how much drug was used initially and how much was incorporated into the formulation. I could not recall the figure and had to follow-up. Another thing I never thought of before was another control group on the cell assay. Yeah, it made sense to have another control group which contains the nanotubes and the drug so as to compare that with the nanotubes which contain the drug. But oh well =x They were also not convinced with TEM images alone but unfortunately, they just had to believe that. Could have done another tests, but simply time was not enough, there were not enough materials, it would cost a bomb to use a different equipment, and I did not want to be subjected to another equipment training. Lol.

I am actually not sure whether my E1 actually read my report or not!! Haha.. He asked a few questions which I already addressed in the report!! Omg.. But he was so alert with things like different scales in my TEM images although I actually explained it in the report but due to time constraint during presentation, I skipped the explanation part. He also asked me (about my most feared question!) on the synthesis of the nanotubes. OUCH! I did read and prepare for that. But he did not look convinced! Lol.. Anyway the paper that I had only have the description of the method but not the mechanism/process on how the thing worked. So they explained it as if it was "magic" and that was my explanation too. Lol.. But he is damn smart! He actually brought up the cell assay part which really made my jaw dropped.

Evil! Lol.. I was "shot" for some words which I chose. Sigh.. She even said she disagree with a part of my conclusion and asked me how I would change that. Gosh! Anyway I did not change. Lol.. I told her why I worded it that way and we came to an agreement that I made a bit of speculation on that (since more work would be required). However, she actually read the report and put "post-it" at the pages where she would be asking questions. Considering the number of students she had, I find it pretty WOW! She even sort of "defended" me about the first part of my TEM images since that was explained in my report. However, the second part of TEM was just hopeless because I could not explain and she also thought TEM alone was not sufficient for that second part. She brought up the formulation issue which, again I never thought of before, I thought kinda true.

She was very nice. She said I was passionate about my project. I was like LMAO!! Who on earth would be passionate about FYP! But one thing I am glad was that she could understand my project (though I think it was partly because my project was quite simple). And at one part of my explanation, I could actually see her expression changing from a confused frown to a nod of understanding, which means my explanation worked! Lol.. Now I understand how my secondary school Physics teacher felt when she told me and my friends that she was glad that in difficult explanations, she found it encouraging to see us nodding lol.

Overall, I feel quite good. Not perfect, but quite good. Sigh.. I feel that it worth at least A- leh :( Please!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

O My Eyes!

I want my life back :( I have 4 deadlines for the next 2 weeks and all require me to do things using microsoft powerpoint! Haiz.. My eyes really cannot take it!! I finally hantam-ed my SDL and submitted it before deadline. Yesterday I managed to chiong through my p2 slides within 1 night (oh yeah! That's the power of procrastination!!) from about 9pm until 430am.. Oh my eyes T_T As a result, I am too tired to do anything productive today. I need to write a script for my presentation and try timing myself :'( I seriously doubt that I can finish 60 slides in 20minutes with my normal "relaxed/calm/cool" presentation pace. Either I need to cut down on slides or I need to speak a bit faster.. Sigh.. For p1, it took me 10 minutes to finish 20 slides.. I will need at least 30 minutes now.. AAARGH...

That leaves me with poster (how am I gonna squeeze my info into one poster T_T) and natural products completely untouched.. I think DFD lab test on Wednesday is another gone case again.. Speaking about lab test, I am still a bit emo for the natural product lab test previously. I thought my titration was okay but apparently I am about 0.2mL off.. Zz.. How can it be! My 2 readings are identical! I forgot on how to do a few calculations so I am not sure whether the 1 liner that I wrote would give me the full 5 marks. The MCQ part is the best. The instruction says there may be more than one correct answer.. Darn!! I did not even read the instruction if one of the TA did not hint me to read the instructions carefully.. Anyway, even after I read, I still don't know how many actually had more than 1 correct answers. Haha..

And I exceeded 60kg already.. which means I am fat again :'( But still too tired and too busy to do any exercise.. Sad.. As much as I wanna lose weight, temptations keep coming. When I went to buy bread for breakfast, I found out that the supermarket had a new brand of chips!! Aaargh!! I always wanna try new things le!! This brand by far is the most expensive with a price of $6.20. But well... it's LENT!! Avoid temptation avoid temptation!!

I am finally done with my CCA cert! Yay.. After being thick-skinned and hunting for various secretaries for the CCA stamps, I finally got it all.. Talking about CCA, I am feeling rather emo.. Haiz.. I actually submitted my CV for consideration of some award.. But apparently, there are people who do better than me.. Aaah.. The person is from hall.. And used to be in NUSPS exco! Bah that's it liao.. No way I can be better... Nothing beats "the one awarded with the whatever medal was active in NUSPS... bla bla bla". Bah.. Lose face already  =x So confident send in but no way can win oso grrr!

But anyway.. what's the point of getting so worked out about pride and some stupid award? Even the chemistry olympiad medal does not seem that valuable now after all haha... Oh well.. Life goes on.. But I still will hate that person!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Lunar Silver Star Harmony

It may not have the best graphics in PSP but considering this is a remake of PS1 (Lunar Silver Star Story Complete) and GBA (Lunar Legends), I consider this fantastic. Unlike Square Enix games whose improvement over the previous games are not that obvious, this game feels like a brand new game, rather than a remake. The graphics for the whole game is completely overhauled, except for the event scenes which retain their "old-school" anime style. The reasons why I call this a complete overhaul is that not only the graphics is upgraded, the towns and dungeons are also remade. It feels like visiting different towns and dungeons. While the in-game graphics is 2.5D, they keep the character icons etc as 2D :) And with the nice bright colours used, it is just nice to see and play.
 Burg in Silver Star Harmony.

Burg Spring (top) and Alex's House (bottom) in Lunar Silver Star Story Complete (left) and Lunar Silver Star Harmony (right). Doesn't it feel like a completely different game?

It retains the same gameplay as the older games. Click any of the desired actions, choose the enemy, and depending on the distance, you may or may not reach the enemy. There is another feature which allow players to "save" certain configurations. So rather than selecting attack 5x for 5 different characters, we can preset the characters to all "attack" mode and just select auto for that round.  This can be costumised to any particular magic or any particular skill and not only limited to "attack", "defend", "magic". Unfortunately, if this feature is used, players have to rely on the AI to select the enemies and sometimes the AI is just not as smart as human. So expect that 1 round is wasted because the AI selects the unreachable enemies at the back or selects the wrong enemy in a way that an AOE (area of effect) attacks only hit 1 enemy. And nope this is not the same as selecting "AI". In AI mode, players have no control in what action the characters perform.. They can use physical attack, magic attack, skills, or defend up to the AI decision.

Battle scene from Lunar Silver Star Story Complete (left) and Lunar Silver Star Harmony (right).
Lunar Silver Star Harmony offers additional yellow bar a.k.a special attack gauge bar.

The special attack from Lunar Legends is retained here. As we attack the enemies, the special attack gauge will slowly fill. And upon completion, special attacks can be performed once. After that the gauge is empty and needs to be filled again. It is not particularly useful but it helps to a certain extent.

There is no longer inventory limit and this makes the game much easier. Previously, each character can only carry 7 items so managing inventory can be quite a headache, especially with regards to HP and MP filling items. Now, there is a common/party inventory so each item can be kept up to 99 :) Not that this is very important because somehow the difficulty level is much easier in this PSP version. I hardly need to use or shop for the items.. Simply collecting them from enemy drops and they just continue to pile up. 

Nall is extremely predictable here. He will definitely clear every status ailments and revive KO-ed characters at the end of every battle. That will save lots of items as well. However, in the middle of battle, he does not actually do anything. If I don't remember wrongly, in PS1 version, Nall may revive someone randomly in the middle of ongoing battle. And it is not a guarantee that he will revive and clear bad status from every characters. Again, if I don't remember wrongly LOL.

There is a big issue with the loading time.. It is way too laggy.. Any change of locations (like entering a room), the screen will black out and the music stops for a few second.. This will get very frustrating. Similarly with the load times to initiate a battle. To make things worse, the enemies here are more aggresive and more difficult to avoid. Perhaps it is also because the dungeon are simplified that players have less area to manouver. And to top it up, the battle is frustrating because of the load time everytime characters or enemies perform their special skills or magic. Blah!

Another thing that I despise is the inability to walk on the world map. Instead, players only choose the location and the characters "run" to that place. Although there is no random battle in the world map, I find walking around in world map is an integral part of an RPG so it kinda feels weird with being unable to walk around.

As an old J-RPG, the game focuses mainly on the story. There is no filler plots, useless subquests, or hunting certain items. There is no need to grind for level as well. To me, this is the strength of J-RPG. The story! There are bromides (images) to collect and they are missable! Yes.. but there is no special difficulty to get them but they can only be acquired within short period of time. For example before travelling from town B to town C, there may be a need to go to town A first to get the bromide. If you realise it once reaching town C, then can say bye bye to the bromide and move on hahaha... When playing in PS1 for the first time, this is the reason why I need to replay the game. But based on that experience, now I make sure that I follow the guide and there is no need to replay.

There will be an item called "Rememberiser" which allow us to watch every single anime cutscenes in the game. So again, there is no need to replay to watch these scenes anymore.

One interesting feature is about the conversations with NPCs. Unlike typical RPGs, the conversations with NPCs constantly change according to the storyline. After you proceed to the next town and clear the events there, when you go back to the previous town, the NPCs sort of know what happen in the other town and their conversations change. That makes talking to NPCs interesting.. something which I usually skip in other RPGs lol. Unfortunately, the bad translation makes me cringe sometimes o_0

Nothing much changes in the main plot. Perhaps there are a few differences regarding how players meet Nash etc. Other than that, more or less everything remains intact. There is a bonus storyline about the Four Heroes at the start of the game. I have a rather mixed feelings about this. On one side, it is a good addition to let me know about Dragonmaster Dyne whom Alex admires. And it is nice that this plot (about 15minutes) is presented as bedtime story for Alex. It also serves as tutorial for the battle system.

On the other side, the additional plot feels incomplete. There is no further mention of Eiphel and the 5 princes of Black Star. And the personality of young Lemia Ausa is waaay to different from the one we meet in the game. Well, at least there is something different from the previous ones eh.

Scenes from the additional story of the Four Heroes

This is the area in which Lunar games are legendary. The audio tracks are completely remade :) It is still the same music but with the remake, it complements the feeling of the graphics. The magic is still there!

However, the voice acting is terribly horribly sucky! Grr.. They should just keep everything from Lunar Silver Star Story complete. They even change the lyrics of the opening song and Luna's boat song. Jeez.. not to mention that everyone is speaking like bullet trains here.. A big big disappointment. It is so weird to see a guy voicing Nall (supposedly a prepubescent dragon boy) and Luna sounds a bit masculine here (yucks!). Thanks to Luna's voice actress, she no longer has the image of innocent nice girl here. She sounds so bossy, irritating, and aunty-like. Ew..

As a Lunar fan, this is a nostalgia. It is not perfect, but I still love it. Thanks to newer games which usually only have few hours of storyline and many more hours for nonsense, when I play this, I feel like the game is very looong.. Haha.. I feel tired as if Alex's journey is really never ending. It spans more than 20 hours of solid gameplay (no filler, no subquests, a bit of grinding). But perhaps my frustration is also stemmed from the lag times which can completely destroy the whole gaming experience. The voice acting is butchered but thank goodness the awesome music remains.

And as much as I would like to complain, I have to applaud this remake. When I play other remake games, I feel that they are just re-port. I am basically playing the same game just in different console. This is especially typical for square enix games which retain the old graphics and just add few FMVs and label them remakes. For Lunar Silver Star Harmony, I feel that I am playing a completely new game! It is not graphic improvement but it is graphic makeover. Totally fresh. With lower difficulties, I can completely focus on the story.. Add the bonus plot in the opening and that makes me feel that this is a perfect RPG which focuses mainly in the story :D

The new (shitty) opening song

The original (and the best) version

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Just collected my new passport today ^^ I am ready to fly home now hahaha... I was quite surprised that people were quite enthu and there was a queue even before collection hour began. Even though the queue was quite long, I got mine within 10 minutes so it was not bad. After that I proceeded to Orchard. Yeah.. Can't recall the last time I visited Orchard and could enjoy XD

I checked Sony Ericsson store and I guess this is the end of my K800i. The shop does not sell anything to replace the rubbery part of my phone which has degraded and turned yucky to touch. To my delight, the fourth book of the Manga Bible series was already available at Kinokuniya. And it was my lucky day! They had the member-only 20% off from yesterday till the 17th. Hehe.. For dinner, I managed to avoid the usual things that I eat everytime I go Orchard namely: Char Kway Teow at Food Republic, Yoshinoya, or Indo food at Taka basement. I decided to try Gado Gado from Java Kitchen at Food Republic.. And as a result, I am having stomachache for 3x already tonite =x It is not diarrhea.. it is normal shit.. But I really don't know suddenly my gut got over stimulated.

I received a spoiler about my examiners :( I am very very emo.. Bye bye to my first class.. With my lousy engrish, why do I have to get someone who is very anal about language as my examiner T_T Well.. too late to do anything T_T

I shall spend this weekend doing 3 powerpoint slides.. Haiz.. One is for Jathropa curcas, one is for cellulose acetate phthalate, and one is for FYP :(

Just a random thing: today there was an injured bird (or was it a baby bird) outside LT 20. The first time I saw it, it sort of jumped from one step to another step. I nearly screamed because initially I did not know what it was. I just saw a black thing which moved and I thought it was a rat! Upon scrutinising, I thought one of its legs was broken.. but my friends said one of its wings. I am too "soft" and I find it so pitiful. Haiz.. Eventually I told the person in the office about it.. I don't know whether something is done to that bird or not.. Really sad if someone accidentally step on it :( It was hiding in a very dark corner (and it was black in colour) and people who walked down the steps could potentially step on it :( Dear God.. I know You love Your creations... including that bird :(

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Haiz.. It is getting tougher to set aside time to maintain this blog. FYP was over last week (at least for the lab  component) but there is one test and one project which is due for each week :( Looking at the bright side, I am glad that I no longer need to spend time in the lab anymore. That certainly frees up a lot of time. FYP kept being a pain in the ass for me. I wasted over $50 for all the printing disasters. Firstly, the default setup for colour printing at school was one sided. I just realised that after I printed 4 sets! Wow! Although the copy for myself and my supervisor did not need to be one sided, I had to reprint for the submission copies. Zz.. After I reprinted double sided, I realised that my paging was akward.. and worse still, I discovered mistakes on 5 pages. I had to reprint and rebundle o_0 I foresaw some mistakes would only be discoverable AFTER I printed and not when I read through the soft copy.. and it occurred. Darn!

More deadlines are waiting for me. Natural products CA was just over today but I need to start thinking about FYP slides, poster, natural products and DFD assignments. Next week will be natural products lab test and the following week (I think) will be DFD lab test. Aargh! Not to include weekly assignments for pharm prac 3. I considered myself lucky again today. The CA could be much worse but thank God it was not that bad! Our pharm prac 3 journal was surprisingly good. To be honest, it was kind of unbeliavable. I think other groups had 2 or 3 days discussion while my group only had 2 or 3 hours discussion. Haha.. Well, our luck was that our article seemed to be excellently written. During the discussion we were wondering how come there was so few things to critique. Was it because we were just too lazy and dumb to detect any? Haha.. Apparently NOT. Lol.. And the fact that the lecturer chose that article for his journal club means that the article was good. Haha...

Haiz.. as much as I am willing to work hard for this last sem, I am just to distracted. I plan to go home during reading week (and I am not joking since I already purchased the air ticket) so I am already in holiday mood. Haha.. Tomorrow I will be done with my passport renewal so I just need to wait for 15 April and swooosh I am home! Lol. The thought of things to follow makes me very emo =( The initial plan to rent a condo unit failed because one person finally decided to do PhD while another one has not guaranteed a job here. So I am left with 1 friend and that will be too expensive to rent a condo unit. Now my choice is either to find a room or to find 1 or 2 people to share a condo unit. I wonder which will be easier =( Renting a room can cost up to $800-900 haiz.. I rather spend $1000 and find another person to share a condo unit! T_T In worst case scenario, I will find a room at a condo because I really need the gym and swimming pool!

Okay now comes the more random parts. I really think my supervisor is a very nice person and lecturer. Just that my FYP experiences tarnished it all. Yesterday I did her experiment in the lab.. and because FYP was (more or less) over, it felt much more relaxed and nicer to interact with her during class.. She called me "Super Xxxx" (erm.. Xxxx refers to my name) but to be honest, I don't know whether she was joking or she was being sarcastic =x But I was glad that she showed some concern and asked whether I had any problem "bureaucratically" with my FYP submission. Haha...

I was approached by a guy after class today. He was promoting a talk which will happen tomorrow. He found my eye contact too intense and he could not stand it! Lol.. After saying 2 sentences, he immediately backed off and asked me why I was looking at him that way. I was like o_0... Maintaining eye contact ma! Haha.. Oh well.. no wonder people find me very scary sometime (most of the time? or always?) haha.. and no wonder I am still single.. I scare girls rather than charm them lol..

Lastly I would like to comment on my HUGE disappointment about Dissidia 012 game! I have been eagerly waiting for the game and it does not meet my expectation. The opening FMV is a sucker as it is just a combination of the opening from the previous games + some from the trailers. The ending is super short and lame shit.. Sigh.. Really really sad... I still remember my excitement for the first game upon watching the opening video alone.. and that was sufficient to make me purchase a PSP. Grr...