Archive for March, 2008

March 21, 2008

The Worst Best Poem I’ve Ever Read

Auden is my new favourite poet.

I don’t know if I should be laughing my ass off, offended by the crude language, or crying in shame for reading the whole thing. Twice. (Just to make sure that every stanza rhymes, mind you)

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March 19, 2008

RIP Arthur C Clarke

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
— Clarke’s 3rd law of prediction

Writer Arthur C Clarke dies at 90

March 11, 2008

SAI Updates to Version 1.01

The benefit of having a short Trial time-limit to a developing software is that people will have to go hunting for a newer version often. Which brings to today’s good news:

Easy Paint Tool SAI has gone above version 1, people :D
It’s now sporting a curious version number of 1.01

As usual, those who don’t want to guess your way through Japanese menu, an unofficial English version, translated by the great user-community, can be found at this site.

The setup files are still kept at an attractive size of 2.2MB

My first marriage-proposal to SAI rambling of its awesomeness .

March 7, 2008

[Meme] The Disney Classics Generation

Every now and then, I complain to friends about Disney animated films, be it the blatant twist of the orginal stories’ plots[1], or the extreme polarity of the Good-Guys and the Bad-Guys[2].

Nevertheless, I can’t deny that I grew up with these Disney films, enamoured with them. A few of the films’ video tapes (remember the black, heavy rectagular plastic chunks, each the size of a lunch box?) couldn’t even endure 100+ playback-ing and rewinding, and finally gave up by spewing their electromagnetic guts.

For all the bitching and moaning and a wide berth I give to recent films, I would still recommend some of the classics to 21st-century kids. If they will deign to watch non-3D, non-cutting-edge-special-effects films, that is.

“Oh, Disney, I love Thee.”
A: 17.5
B: 5.5
C: 4
D: 3
E: 4
F: 4
G: 13

Disney Meme
Try to be as accurate as possible.
I know some of the films could be in the pre-‘Ever since I could remember’ era. :D

A: watched many times
B: watched once
C: watched but never finished
D: hmm … I think I have watched it, but not sure.
E: never watch, but plan to
F: never watch, don’t plan to
G: never heard of it before

Extra notes: e.g. favourite/most-hated/most-impressive scenes.

Ctrl+A, Ctrl+C, and Ctrl+V away!

1 – A
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs February 4, 1938
Love the sountracks, still hum Heigh-Ho sometimes when about to go to work. (It was actually sung when they were going back home, but who cares :D)

2 – A
Pinocchio February 9, 1940
The jolly, high-spirit ride to the amusement park, with the chills of something-will-go-wrong settling in my stomach.
I shouted and cheered during the desparate paddling and swimming of Papa and Pinocchio  to escape from the whale’s tummy (didn’t everyone? oh, well).
Oh! And the poor goldfish in the bowl!

3 – B
Fantasia  January 8, 1942
I remember Mickey the Apprentice doing some tricks to mob the flooded floor (or was it the three fairies in Sleeping Beauty?), but not much else.

4 – C
Dumbo October 23, 1941
Definitely have seen Dumbo taking flight, but could be in a commercial or a documentary of some kind.

5 – B
Bambi August 21, 1942
The only scene I remember: Bambi trying to stand/walk in a forest clearing.

6- G
Saludos Amigos February 6, 1943

7 – G
The Three Caballeros February 3, 1945

8 – G
Make Mine Music August 15, 1946

9 – G
Fun and Fancy Free September 27, 1947

10 – G
Melody Time May 27, 1948

11 – G
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad October 5, 1949

12 – A
Cinderella February 15, 1950
The pumpkin carriage and the mice. Led me to think about the mechanics and how to transform a watermelon into a buggy car for days.

13 – A
Alice in Wonderland July 28, 1951
Remember in bits and pieces. Couldn’t tell the timeline of the story to save my life, except that it began with Alice jumping down a hole after a dressed-up, spectacled rabbit.
Favourite/most-annoying character: the Cheschire Cat

14 – A
Peter Pan February 5, 1953
Watching each kid trying to fly for the first time was hilarious. Was the poor dog left at home? He was floating at some point.

15 – A
Lady and the Tramp June 22, 1955
In those days, the spaghetti kissing scene was the most romantic scene I have watched in any films/cartoons/programmes (never mind that the lovers were Canis not Homo). Ah … those innocent days were long gone. I still call Cocker Spaniel ‘bridal dogs’ nowadays.

16 – A
Sleeping Beauty  January 29, 1959
Convinced some friends to watch it with me last September for old time’s sake. Still love and laugh at the three fairies’ antics.
Aurora is the epitome of a Barbie doll.

17 – A
One Hundred and One Dalmatians January 25, 1961
Watched several times during the years that I still liked dogs (now I can tolerate only puppies; grown ones make me want to scale up the nearest tree and then shoo it away)
The most ingenious villainious name ever created: Cruella De Vil.

18 – B
The Sword in the Stone December 25, 1963
Doesn’t matter how many Arthurian films I have watched afterwards (sorry, Clive Owen), King Arthur will always bring up the image of a gangly little sprog.

19 – A
The Jungle Book October 18, 1967
Had cassete tapes of the original soundtracks, to which I listened evey night until …. hmm… either the tapes gave up or the player broke.

20 – D
The Aristocats December 24, 1970

21 – D
Robin Hood November 8, 1973

22 – A
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh March 11, 1977
Used to be my favourite film when I was, like, 4-year old, from what Mum told me. Strangely enough, I called it ‘the Kangaroo film’ and just realized many, many years later (in Sophomore’s TU110 to be precise) that the protagonist was in fact the famous Pooh-bear.

23 – G
The Rescuers June 22, 1977

24 – D
The Fox and the Hound July 10, 1981

25 – E
The Black Cauldron July 24, 1985
Is this a cousin-branch of the Leaky Cauldron? The film’s poster looks intriguing, wonder if there’s a reproduction of it.

26 – F
The Great Mouse Detective July 2, 1986

27 – G
Oliver & Company November 18, 1988

28 – A
The Little Mermaid November 17, 1989
I have a one-sided love/hate relationship with this film. On the one hand, I don’t care one whit about the plot or the main characters; on the otherhand, Sebastian was one awesome side-kick[3] and the orchestra scene on the ocean bed is unforgettable. I still listen to ‘Under the Sea’ every now and then to lift my spirit.

29 – G
The Rescuers Down Under November 16, 1990

30 – A
Beauty and the Beast November 27, 1991
Again, while the leading pair maudlinly moped and cluelessly wandered, the gang of animated household apparatus were made for win, played match-makers and kept the estate from crumbling due to the sheer Unresolved Tension (not of the Sexual kind, this is, after all, a Disney film)

31 – A or B
Aladdin November 25, 1992
The Monkey and the poor Djinni. See the trend here? No idea why the main characters rarely appealed to me. Who hasn’t heard ‘The Whole New World’?

32 – A
The Lion King June 24, 1994
Must have listened to three different versions of ‘the Circle of Life’. The fun scene of ‘Can’t Wait to be King’.
Promise to self: Lion King the Musical is a must in the next trip to London
(Just knew that ‘[The Lion King] is loosely based on the Shakespeare play Hamlet’. Really?)

33 – C
Pocahontas June 23, 1995

34 – C/E
The Hunchback of Notre Dame June 21, 1996
Planned to watch it as soon as I got back from visiting the cathedral. Still haven’t found a DVD of it (T____T)

35 – B
Hercules June 27, 1997
Hercules was … a bit too burly, looking like a menacing bully when I last watched it. I was more interested in how the other Gods and Goddesses were portrayed, being a self-proclaimed Mythological geek that I was.

36 – A
Mulan June 19, 1998
This was the film that made me realise, that most of the Disney films I liked were because of the soundtracks. Sadly, it could also be that I outgrew Disney films, and would come to like them again when I had my own kid bouncing on my knees[4].
Nevertheless, the determination of Mulan when climbing the column at the training camp was admirable, giving me a burst of pride and power to achieve Great Things — which usually deflated in five minutes.

37 – B
Tarzan June 18, 1999
Me, Jane. You, Tar-zan.
I started to watch Disney films for animation techniques, soundtrack ambience, character foils, and foreshadows in the plots. This is just sad :(
I didn’t know dreadlocks was in-trend deep in the jungle.

38 – A
Fantasia 2000 June 16, 2000
First watched in IMAX. Was blown away, speechless. The first time that I felt like I was really carried for one hell of a ride (or many thrilling rides, as the case may be) Just knew I had to have a copy of it at home, reminiscing the once-a-meal playback of old Disney classics in my childhood. Well, not quite, but I know which film to bring out when a friend requests any non-Japanese animation. Oh, and I’m a sucker for classical music.
Highlights: when the whales broke the ocean’s surface and took flight, when Spring came sweeping through the sleeping forest.

39 – C/E
The Emperor’s New Groove December 15, 2000

40 – A
Atlantis: The Lost Empire June 15, 2001
My tiny bookshelf was once stuffed full of paranormal-related books, and niches devoted specifically to Atlantis and Ancient Egyptian myths. So, of course, I had to watch Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Surprisingly, not disappointed.
The essembling of the team, the weird flying vehicles, the cooperation[5].

41 – F
Lilo & Stitch June 21, 2002
Watched a trailor a few time, and could never finish even one trailor-viewing. The bright colours hurt my eyes. The animation gave me motion-sickness. Really, I did try to watch it; this film has an alien in it, after all.

42 – C
Treasure Planet November 27, 2002
Rented a CD for the daunting task of babysitting (yeah, I’m a bad nanny, can’t you tell?). Fell asleep half way through. Fortunately, the kid was glued to the screen the entire time.

43 – E
Brother Bear November 1, 2003
Despite all the warnings from the bear-expert Stephen Colbert, I might watch this when/if I can get my hands on a DVD.

44 – G
Home on the Range April 2, 2004

45 – F
Chicken Little November 4, 2005

46 – F
Meet the Robinsons March 30, 2007

47 – G
Bolt November 26, 2008

48 – G
The Princess and the Frog December 18, 2009

49 – G
Rapunzel Winter 2010

[1] Usually geared towards happy-ever-after endings, for the sake of wide-eyed young audience. I mean, not everyone can stomach a tear-jerking masterpiece like Grave of the Fireflies.

[2] To which team each character belongs can easily be spotted from the first glance. And if you’re savy enough, from the voice during the first sentence. Do not let it be said that Disney films make children confuse an Angelic Princess’s musical, ringing-bell giggles with an Evil Witch’s sinister, grating MwaHaHa (somehow, the latter always sounds more genuine than the former).

[3] The Horatio-type that every Hamlet needs in order to survive outside his bubble of insanity/ignorance/general-Hero’s-damned-hot-headed-stubborness. Despite all the shouting of warnings, sensible advice, the Truth, clues, and/or the solution to Easy-Way-Out, the Sidekick is often ignored and given an occasion pat on the head for lurking there and making the Hero looks Great. Too bad that the Hero, with an exception of the poor aforementioned fellow, usually slains the evil, rescues the princess, saves the World, and lives happily ever after anyways.

[4] Or a niece, or a nephew, which would move the scenario from the ‘never’ category to the ‘might be’ category.

[5] Quite predictably one of the ‘lessons’ to be learned. In this aspect, a Disney movie is no different from an Aesop’s story, or any other family films.