Sunday, November 26, 2017

C3 AFA Singapore 2017

Anime Festival Asia (AFA) is now called C3 AFA due to some changes in the organisers. Other than that, it is essentially the same anime event like the previous years. A few weeks ago I was tempted to watch the Anisong concert on Friday because there are several familiar names such as FLOW and Tomohisa Sako. I tried to listen to other songs (other than the few I know) and I decided perhaps I don't like enough songs from them to make me want to watch the Anisong concert. Lol. After the somewhat disappointing AFA 2016, I was lazy to go this year. However, after the emo-ness since Wednesday, I decided to go in the hope that things can't be worse than the previous week.

I queued for 20 minutes last year just for the ticket and this morning I reached later at 12+. I was pleasantly surprised that there was no queue!! Wow.. The wristband was back to the old stick on type unlike the cooler one for last year.

I find that this AFA is the most enjoyable one so far: more experience zones, more displays, less shops and shopping, and most importantly less crowd. A huge Gundam Exia awaits at the entrance. It is quite a sight as it is about 2x the size of the Gundam Unicorn in previous AFA. It is quite unfortunate that the lighting around the area is pretty dim.. and my phone camera sucks.
Gunpla models and Star Wars models are displayed in open without case so it is easier to take photos. The Tamashi Nation side is still displaying with cases and the glass is so reflective! In the photos, the reflection on the glass is even more visible than the things that I want to take photos. Similar to last year, there is no Saint Seiya or Sailor Moon items. One Piece is still dominating and Dragon Ball seems to be back into limelight.
I am too lazy to take photos of non-Gundam Wing series so I just took one photo.
More hangars will be good for display cabinets
This is quite an interesting new line. Waiting for Gundam Wing of course
Last year this was inside a display case. This year it shines more gloriously.
Green Banshee is a nice contrast next to the gold Phenex
New line for Digimon: cool concept but not Agumon and Wargreymon are not proportionate in size
Next to Bandai is a booth specially for Black Butler. I was tempted to get the $10 soft serve but since the cup was plastic (not glass), I decided not to give into temptation. Most of the booth area is for displays instead of selling items which is again a good thing.
 Standees this year are from Black Butler.
Thematic display from Black Butler booth
Last year the crowd prohibited me from even passing through the Creators Hub but it was a breeze this year. I noticed that there are fewer shops and each shop is also bringing lesser items. I usually skip the shops selling random merchandises (e.g folders, towels, cups, etc) but the queues for these shops were noticeably missing this year. I entered 1 shop because somehow Ryu Studio has a display. It is really a huge regret that I missed the Naruto preorder this year and it is sold out now. Sigh.. The statue really looks gorgeous and the details were amazing. My photos do not do them justice and I took the photos simply to make my blog less boring. I don't know why Ryu Studio display is smacked in a hidden corner of a shop. These statues really deserve better exposure.
3 Narutos in a statue. How cool that is.
Only 10 for pre-order for this AFA? What a joke! Well Gaara is sold out too actually.
I was lucky to pass Canon area when Pikachu made an appearance so I took a free photo. Canon is amazing with a few photo areas, free photos and free prints. I only took another photo at the Mario World set. I don't know how much Canon is forking out money but they should invest in better photographer. My Pikachu photo is off center and my Mario photo is a close up that people will not be able to tell I am taking it for a Mario theme. The quality of the photo print is mediocre too so I don't know how it will make people want to buy their photo printer. But hey cannot complain for free stuff.

NHK has a photo booth with Domo but I did not get a chance as Domo appeared for a short time. It is not a normal photo booth as well since people are supposed to move/shake on the camera and the end product will a gif or a video? I don't know.. but it is another unique experience zone. There is also Namco booth is for free gaming which obviously cannot be enjoyed by a loner like me. Sigh..

The other booth worth mentioning is Manga de Japan which have several activities. My luck is pathetic and I did not get the correct balls to be drawn into a manga character :( I was roped in to join one of the mangaka's session to draw and the mangaka would choose 1 winner. This was quite poorly organised as the orientation of what the mangaka's drawing was a mirror image from what shown in the camera. My drawing was not that bad actually lol. Can't believe that the winner is a girl who drew a girl on top of the aeroplane. The sketch of the girl was nice but the plane was bad. I thought this was to partner ANA and the plane should be the focus and another guy (not me) drew a much better plane. Well whatever..

Behind it is the area to promote a manga called Karin's Mound. I was approached if I wanted to try VR game to bat for a baseball game. There were 2 people queueing so initially I was lazy to queue and I decided to go to the front where I was roped in to do the manga drawing. By the time I was back, the queue was already long. Haiz.. wasted :( It would be a good experience to play with virtual reality stuff.

It should be a fun day but for a negative person like myself, I left feeling more emo. Sigh.. Imagine that I came with 0 level of happiness. I was actually quite happy to take photos with Pikachu and at the Mario set so these should be +2. However the failure to play the VR game, to be drawn in a manga style, and to play PS4 Gundam game at Namco booth made me miserable as I could only achieve 2 instead of 5 things to make me happy.

From the less crowd, I thought AFA started to lose popularity this year. That was not the case apparently as when I left, the queue for the entrance ticket purchase was crazy. Lol.. I suppose I should consider myself lucky that it was not like that when I came.

Saturday, November 25, 2017

Epic fail

The final review for my project was completed on Wednesday and it ended with an epic fail. It certainly helped to be prepared to fail in the first place but I am not going to lie that I feel sad, angry, and disappointed. It is a shame to be a failure and thinking how much time and effort I spent in the past 6 months of this programme to just end with an epic fail, it hurts. I could have done something more fruitful.

What is worse than the failure itself is the fact that I sort of rocked the boat too much. I don't know if it is my (bad) luck to have the group quality chief as one of the assessors and the problem I want to address is deemed too serious and what I have done is simply not enough. Getting more support/help from relevant parties means causing other people now to take up this problem as theirs too. You can imagine how scare or serious things are if the quality director had to call me at the end of the day as there was a meeting on the following day to discuss about this bla bla bla.

I should be banned from leading a project as every time I lead, I always do something that upsets a lot of people. A few years ago I started a project about checking against hospital records and then another project to drive near misses reporting. After a few years, everyone had to follow suit and in that sense I was not wrong and I am doing the right thing. But it is always hard at the initial stage to fight bombs from all sides: "Why do you need to do this?", "Why do you need to make life difficult for everyone?", etc. Now that it is recurring again and it affects a bigger stakeholder, it is very scary.

Things got a bit emotional during Q & A because Q & A session is always like an attack and a defense. But after the Q & A, I actually spoke to all the assessors. After all, passing or failing this programme has no importance since it is not for masters or PhD. Lol. At the end of the day, I realise that I enjoy the ground problem solving and improvement work. I just hate the paper work part to meet certain criteria or methodology bla bla bla.

I presented the same sets of data during the mid-point review 3 months ago and there was no hoohah. I am more upset with the fact that only now suddenly there was a big hoohah that I needed more help from correct people bla bla bla. Why was this not done since 3 months ago?

I don't know how things will turn out next but at least for now I feel liberated. I have completed the promised 6 months commitment and I can't be bothered about what's next.

While I am not traumatised, I am upset enough and only today I feel that I have calmed down somewhat to write this blog. And it impacts me bad enough to make me considering changing job again. I may have an offer waiting and if really there will be an opening for that job, I will seriously considering. It is not easy to find another job at different field but without pay cut. The idealistic me prefers to change job with pay increase but with current happenings at work, even same pay is good enough to make me quit.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Justice League

DC Comics movies suck until Wonder Woman which is the first DC movie that I watched. I am usually more hyped to watch a group of superheroes and I am pretty excited about Justice League. I hate the Aquaman design and the missing Superman from the promo posters but I got pretty hyped up again to see the designs of the promo posters. I think it is genius to incorporate the heroes' logos to the movie's tagline. 1 day after its release, I was shocked to see the pathetic reviews dominated by 1 and 2 stars but in the end I decided to still watch it or else my free movie ticket would be wasted.

I don't know if it is intended but the approach is quite similar to the Avengers with the heroes facing a threat to the world and the enemies they have to fight are just CGI monsters. I think that is very lazy. They should from X-men movies with conflicts between a team of superheroes vs a team of super villains. That kind of fight is more interesting to watch. The action scenes are lacklustre and they just waste the various super powers that these superheroes have. Most of the fights end up being physical slugfest without the uniqueness of each superhero.

The conflict is a repeat of a similar one that happened ages ago. The flashback shows how great the conflict was that it took the human race, the Olympians, the Amazons, the Atlanteans, and the Green Lantern corps to beat Steppenwolf. Fast forward now and the conflict is only about Steppenwolf vs 6 superheroes. How unexciting that is in comparison? -_- Thor: Ragnarok that I watched 2 weeks ago also has something similar so I don't know why suddenly movies like to use this kind of disappointing approach.

I know a lot of people do not like the Flash here but I think he plays his role well as a good comic relief. I hate his suit though (they should have stuck with leather suit). Unfortunately, Flash often becomes corny because the rest of the characters are the boring types. It is clear that the movie directors are confused whether to make the tone of the movie serious or lighter. My apology but I cannot avoid comparison with Marvel movies which generally has a lighter tone and hence the interactions among the characters can be funny but still natural and believable. In Justice League, it is quite obvious that the Flash is put there to make people laugh.
Oh yeah.. that's the superpower we all want, don't we?

Justice League is supposed to be a team of superheroes but this movie does not convey that message. After resurrecting Superman, Superman beats down the rest. In the final battle, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, and Cyborg (yes 5 of them) cannot beat the villain but once Superman appears, everything is settled. So what's the point of having a Justice League when Superman alone can actually do all the job?

It seems that this movie fails to be a beacon of hope for DC Comics movies. I am not biased but I am glad I enjoy Marvel movies more. Call me kiddy or what but they are more enjoyable and entertaining after all: whether the interactions between the characters or the action scenes.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Fucked up Dell

My last week had been a nightmare because of my laptop which was officially dead. I could not focus at work and I had trouble sleeping. It is sad and pathetic but I suppose that is a proof of how dependent I am to my laptop.

My laptop had been laggy for the past few days so last last Friday I decided to check task manager. Despite nothing running, it showed CPU 100% usage and after googling, one of the possible reasons might be problems with windows update. Yep, there was a windows update that had been failed installation for the past 1+ week. I switched off the laptop find on Friday and on Saturday morning, it was dead! I could not boot into windows after failed windows repair and clean up. I even waited for almost 24 hours for the "repairing disk..." but dead meant dead.

On Sunday I started emailing shops to find out what possibly could be the problem and how much it would cost to fix. It seemed that the hard disk was the problem and had to be replaced. That made me even more emo as everything in this laptop had not been backed up yet. Fuck :( I even tried to find technician at Carousell for alternatives. The one I found told me the same and he could fix it but I had to leave my laptop with him. Of course I had my reservations leaving my laptop to a stranger.

On Monday I asked my office IT technician but he was useless. He offered to take a look so I brought my laptop on Tuesday but he was seriously useless. He could not even give any information or possibility of the issue. In the evening, I went to one of the shops that I contacted and I was informed that it might take 3-7 days to get my laptop diagnosed and fixed. I could not afford to wait that long with my CPIP coming :(

I decided to search Carousell and I found another IT guy who was willing to come to my place to fix. He sounded very sure that he could fix my laptop and saved my data in 2 hours. We made appointment for Wednesday at 630pm but I was very restless and I decided to leave work at 3pm to take a nap.

He came late at 730pm and until 10pm, he could not get my computer revived. Sigh... 2 bad news: my hard disk seemed wiped out (sayonara my data...) and hard disk might not be the problem as he tried changing with another 2 hard disks that he brought but windows still could not be installed. Haiz.. However, I was very lucky because he refused to take any payment because "he did not manage to do anything". He even refused me paying for his taxi fare. What a sincere and pleasant guy. He advised me to go to Dell to get it fixed and then to update him as he was interested to know the problem and why he could not fix.

I could not find any Dell service center address or phone number in Singapore. Haiz. I grew even more desperate and my Thursday was spent on finding data recovery options and shops who might be willing to buy parts of my laptop. Data recovery is out since it would cost me $500++ I only found 1 shop who is doing buy back and I could possibly get $250-300 for this laptop. I bought this laptop in June 2016 for $850 and that means it cost me $600 for using this for 16 months. Haiz.. After work I went to Dell shop at Plaza Singapura and I was told that Dell has no service center in Singapore. They only have phone support. What.. the.. fuck..

I informed the guy from Wednesday about it and he offered to let him try again to revive my laptop as he did further research. However, this time I had to leave my laptop with him so that he could do it in his office. I was running out of option and as I had met this guy, I decided that I could trust him. I told him I would call Dell service center first and then update him.

I wasted my time off to take a day off on Friday. I decided that I did not want to prolong this agony much longer. If Dell was unable to help me, then I would just sell the laptop and bought a new one. Honestly, Dell technical help through the phone was quite helpful although it did not help any much more than the information that I had from the technician that came on Wednesday. So I contacted him again and he promised that he could fix and return to me by Saturday. I decided to take the chance as if it was still okay, I still could sell it and get a new laptop by weekend.

The guy was a saviour! He really managed to revive my laptop. Apparently the hard disk is really dead. So I spent another $200 to get a new hard disk and to pay for his service. It is a market rate and I am happy that he even included Microsoft Office. So after downloading Avast last night, my nightmare happened again as Microsoft triggered another update. It started at 10pm and even until 3am it was still updating. Thankfully in the morning when I woke up everything was back to normal. Fiuh..

From this experience, I swear that never I will ever buy Dell anymore. A hard disk breaks just after 1 6 months? What the shit seriously. My Acer survived for 10 years and I used it for longer period of time including many nights of songs. While this Dell laptop usage is much much more minimal. Not to mention that Dell has not physical service center. Jeez..

I learnt from the technician that usually home use laptop, or those cost $1000-ish with 1 year warranty, usually will not last long. Those almost hitting $2000 are the ones for office use are usually more durable and that's why the warranty is also 3 years. No wonder my Acer is quite durable.

With that, this Dell laptop basically cost me $1050 in total. If it cannot last beyond 5 years, it is basically worse than the $2000 Acer which lasted about 9 years (it is still alive in its 10th year now but its wifi is dead lol). I don't know if I should go to Apple or I should give Windows a chance. One thing for sure: the next brand I will buy will be Lenovo. Many offices and companies use Lenovo laptop so I suppose it should not be so shitty as this Dell.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Winter shopping

Uniqlo is having sale for normal Heat Tech articles this weekend and they are selling for $14.90 each. It will be my first time spending winter in Japan this coming December and I really have no idea what to expect. I think as I am getting older and 'more informed', I am getting more easily stressed for not so important things. When I went to Sydney for World Youth Day in 2008, it was also during winter yet I did not remember I was being as worried as now. I just borrowed clothes from my godma, I survived with whatever I had, and I still had an enjoyable time.

Now with Heat Tech, there is normal, extra warm, and ultra warm. Bleah.. even after googling for information, it really does not help to make up my mind. I decided to just buy at least 1 each and then see which one is the 'best' and to buy more in Japan when needed.

I bought 2 long sleeve shirts (black and grey) and 2 leggings. As a guy, I never imagine myself ever have to wear leggings. Haha.. One thing for sure, I will not be able to pee at the urinal because the legging has no 'hole' to slip out dick.

Kando pants is also on sale this week :( So yah, just 1 week difference and I already lose $20 for the 2 pants. Haiz.. Seriously for Uniqlo, just wait for the item you want to be on sale before you buy it. Because of this, I am going to wait because it is just a matter of time before Heat Tech extra warm and ultra warm will be on sale too.

I am feeling very fucked up now. My sister just flew to Germany for work and she was so lucky to be upgraded by Emirates to Business Class! I am so jealous as I have never been to one. Haiz.. I am also jealous that she goes annually overseas fully paid for work. Meanwhile what do I get for my work here? FML.

To make things worse, my new laptop is dead. I don't know if it can be revived so I shall save the post about this when things are back to normal.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thor: Ragnarok

If it is not because of the movie voucher that I pre-paid for, I will not watch this movie, just like how I did not watch the first 2 Thor movies in the cinema. The addition of Hulk makes this a semi-Avenger movie which increases the pull factor. However ultimately the strongest pull factor for me is Hela.

Let's not talk much about the plot as honestly how interesting can superhero movie's plot be? Lol. This is another formulaic the hero gets banished from his native birthland because it has been overtaken by the villain. The hero ends up in another place and gathers a team to fight the villain back.

It is refreshing to see Thor with short hair and without his helmet. It is like a girl with long hair who cuts her hair after a break up, Thor short hair also brings about the level of comedy in the movie to a higher level and that is a good thing. The banter and comedy feels natural and does not feel forced even when they are delivered in straight face to increase the realism.

It is always amazing to see an actress doing physical fights and Hela embodies that. As Goddess of Death, I was expecting her to just raise an army of CGI zombies to do the fighting while she sits at her throne. Yes she raises an army of CGI zombies but she also does not hesitate to get her hands dirty in the fights which fits her backstory before she was banished by Odin. It is also refreshing to see her undefeated by the heroes until the end. Again that fits into her background story as a powerful Goddess. She is dead eventually and that is because of the Ragnarok that burns and destroys the whole Asgard.

The fights that don't involve Hela are boring obviously as who cares about those CGI zombies. There is a flash back of the previous war in which all, except one, valkyries were defeated by Hela and that is awesome. Sadly the repeat fight now is so boring. Hulk vs Fenrir happens mostly off screen and underwater and that should be a better fight to be featured instead of the CGI zombies fight.

The movie ending brings us closer to the Avengers: Infinity War and even Doctor Strange has an unexpected appearance in this movie. I really can't wait for the Infinity War and it is better be good.
I promise not to collect movie collectibles from cinemas as usually they are just a waste of money making use of customers' hype to buy a low quality merchandise. But the cup in the shape of a hammer is just too interesting to resist :p