Friday, January 30

Left 4 Dead


One particular update in my life is that suddenly, I find myself playing Left 4 Dead very frequently nowadays. Mostly due to the fact that I had found a really decent LAN shop at Siglap that offers it (and TF2) at the highest quality, and that another LAN shop near my school has introduced it to its computers. Initially I was fully immersed into the game; Emotions were poured all over the place, I was shocked, frightened, horrified, excited, exuberant, jumpy and sympathetic all at the same time. I tried to make sure everybody makes it out alive. I yell whenever I catch sight of a special infected. I yell even more whenever I get pounced on, dragged, puked on and incapacitated. I paid attention to every detail of the game, from the realistic effects and sounds, the intuitive voice system (I made sure to turn on captions so I could catch every sound made and every word uttered), all the things Francis hates, all the humorous banter between the characters, to the extent that I sometimes lose myself in the game. I familiarized myself with the commo rose system (Z and X keys), and used it extensively, especially X + Mouse up (laugh). Especially when I play Zoey. Her laughter is cute, sexy and charming all at the same time.

I don't own the game on my PC, but in this month alone (only started playing this year. Come to think of it, only 2 weeks ago) I've played 5 LAN sessions of L4D. The most recent visit was an achievement-hunting session on all 4 campaigns in advanced (the dissatisfaction is that I can only afford to play with Steam for Cafes).

You can tell by now, I'm absolutely adoring the game. Though, I am still fully aware of what others say about how it gets boring after a while, with only 4 linear campaigns, and an eventually developed adaptation to the Director and all his sneaky tricks. I personally feel I haven't fully explored the whole game yet. I figure I'll only get really bored once I obtain all achievements, and complete every campaign on Expert (that's an official achievement too). Once that's done, I'll probably just entertain myself playing as a Special Infected in versus mode. that ought to work.

It got to a point when the game started to influence (only slightly) my perception of the world around me. I now walk the streets at night furtively glancing around me to make sure there aren't any Hunters or Smokers around, wishing I had two pistols with me, and keeping an ear out for witches. One night before Chinese New Year my dad asked me to run down to his car to fetch something for him. I used the car keys wrongly and sounded the car alarm. The first thing that crossed my mind was a visual of some notification text floating before me: Ananda has alerted the horde. Here they come...

Too much, I told myself. I decided to stay away from that game for a while and shake off the influence. The abstinence lasted three days.

By now I was beginning to get quite adept at the game. I made it a habit to close doors behind me to stall any backstabbing zombie advance whenever possible. I stuck close to the team. I constantly used voice commands to coordinate less experienced players. Whenever I hear a witch I would get everybody to press F and hold Shift while moving, while I went to cr0wn her myself. I take point in enclosed spaces and check every room for items or zombies. and more stuff like that.

It is to my slight dismay, though, that I notice an increasing number of primary school kids and DotAfags camping in LAN shops spamming L4D. One reason I like games like L4D and TF2 is that they aren't overplayed, too popular, and overrated.

So yeah. TL;DR I like playing Left 4 Dead. I don't know why I even created this meaningless post in the first place, wasting mine and your time. No flow, no central point, no meaning. Just a plain superfluous commentary. Guess I just felt the urge to dump something remotely interesting onto the blog.

P.S. contact me if you wanna have a L4D LAN gaming session sometime. I'd love to join in.

Sunday, January 11

My Desktop


I decided to just post a screenshot of my desktop today. Booting up Windows and waiting for my account to finish loading, I took look around my recently revamped desktop and wallpaper (I spend a lot of time just staring at Erika mostly), and I realized that there are plenty of features that reflect a lot on my normal human personality. So I thought I'd just share this with you.

As you can see, all my icons are stacked neatly into two complete rows to the left side of the screen. I'm quite the stickler when it comes to organization. I also think it's very nicely balanced that I have my icons to the left and my sidebar to the right.

The folder called Downloads is where all files downloaded from the Internet through all the browsers I use are streamed into. I sort them out into their respective folders within my user account every once a week.

My recycling bin hasn't been emptied for a while though...

I like to keep My Computer and Control Panel at easy access for me because I'm constantly using Flash drives and tweaking my computer interface. Most of the icons you see here are shortcuts to the games I frequently play. As you can see, I'm mostly into RTS games. I play DTXMania to train myself in playing the actual DrumMania at the arcade. Guitar pro 5 is a guitar tab reader that helps me a lot when I'm playing songs on my guitar. Freespace 2 is a very old game (ten years old by now I think) that I used to love as a wee little tyke, and still do to this day. Team Fortress 2 is my latest addiction from Steam. Unfortunately, this computer can't handle most newer-generation games very well...

Looking down, you can see that I've expanded my left taskbar. Firefox and WMP are the two programs I execute first and foremost the moment my account is running. I keep the rest of my installed browsers in this flip-up window as I have a tendency to switch browsers while surfing, to constantly compare their pageload speeds.

I like trying new things, that's why you can see I've downloaded the newest version of Windows Live Messenger, Messenger 2009 Beta. Download link is in previous post.

Taking your attention to the right of the desktop, Bitcomet has been useful in helping me share and receive useful files with and from my 'peers'. No I do nothing illegal with it, you have my word.

The calendar up there helps me count down how many days I have left till school (currently stands at 1), so I know when I should be rushing with holiday assignments.

A friend helped me download this custom clock skin. I loved the Transformers movie, but no more so than the cartoon series.

The currency calculator has proven to be of tremendous help whenever I'm checking Japanese merchandise prices, or just observing the foreign exchange markets. I'm quite worried about the exchange rate currently, although it has dropped very nicely of late.

I keep plenty of notes to remind me of things worth remembering that I can't for the life of it keep in my mind. They are mostly things in my wishlist, things to buy, things to do within the week, etc. A very helpful organizational tool.

Lastly, I like to keep this sliding puzzle in my sidebar. it brings back fond childhood memories, evokes great feelings of retro nostalgia, and most importantly, whenever I'm waiting for videos or other applications to load I find myself hitting Windows+D and fiddling around with this puzzle, trying to beat my latest time (my best still stands at 45 seconds). the perfect short-term time-killer.

So, how does your desktop reflect on your personality?

Saturday, January 10

Meanwhile... Rant Ahoy!


Today I had to miss an important 501st Legion trooping event (so I heard, Fiona Xie was there too. Not that it matters). Not only that, I had to miss an exciting time watching the Volvo In-port race off the East Coast today too (I'm a sailor). Why?, you might ask. What could possibly happen on a carefree Saturday afternoon, so important to me that I had to forgo two seemingly once-in-a-lifetime events so as to attend to it?

Being a school team sailor for Meridian Junior College means having to train three times a week. Not gym training, sea training. That means having to go out to sea three times a week. Take an MRT Train to Tanah Merah three times a week. Ride the shuttle bus to SAF Yacht Club three times a week. If you missed the bus, take a cab to SAFYC three times a week. Pay an average of $10 to the guy three times a week. Haul up your heavy sail ttaw. Fix up the complexity of ropes and knots to your boat ttaw. Ride your heavy boat on its useless trolley down the ramp into the water ttaw. Bob up and down the waves ttaw. Struggle against the strong winds ttaw. If not, space out in your boat with nothing else to do during light winds or when there's no wind at all, ttaw. Capsize your boat ttaw. Shout at your less-experienced teammates for not doing it right ttaw. Strain your fingers pulling the ropes ttaw. Bruise your legs and feet against the boat while jostling for position ttaw. Hit your head with the sail as it swings across your boat ttaw. Lug your heavy boat on its useless trolley up the ramp out of the waters ttaw. Wash every part of your boat ttaw. De-rig whatever you fixed onto your boat ttaw. Change out of your wet clothes ttaw. Find out later on that the plastic bag carrying your wet clothes had leaked and that your bag is dripping with water ttaw. Go home feeling very tired, and as though you've wasted your whole day, ttaw.

I skipped today's events for sailing training.

A three-times-a-week occurrence. A part of everyday life. A part of school. Something I have come to dread very much.

Why then, did I still attend today's training session? Better still, why don't I just quit sailing altogether since i hate it so much? Why am I so stupid? Why can't I just get a girlfriend? Why am I still making rant posts on this blog? When's my birthday?

These must be the questions flooding your mind I presume. Firstly, I like being single and ogling at pretty girls, and secondly, I'll be starting another anime blog soon. In the meantime, this blog is back to its original general-purpose state. Thirdly, it's two days from now.

I am the vice-captain of my sailing team. That means I ought to have some position over the rest of my sailing peers, and to be able to get them to listen to me. I also ought to have something nice on my testimonial at the end of the schooling term. Additionally, I ought to be able to just leave the brunt of a leader's work to the captain, and only take on whatever she cannot handle. Therefore, being the vice-captain ought to be the best position for an under-achiever like me who still wants to have some sort of authority.

That's not what the teachers think. As a vice-captain, I was supposed to collaborate together with the captain to make things happen. I accept whatever responsibilities from beside the captain and not from behind. I play an active role in supporting the team. And more stuff you're really not interested in reading.

I even had a dressing down from one of the teachers-in-charge the other day. Apparently, I've been missing too many training sessions for unacceptable reasons. I can't deny that; sometimes there are one-a-year anime conventions or other events that I wish to attend. And sometimes, I just want to get away from it all, the mundane and dreadful sailing routines. After all, what's missing one session when there's always gonna be another one two or three days later?

No, said my teacher. As an executive committee member, I'm supposed to be keeping a near-impeccable attendance record. I'm supposed to be there all the time when my subordinates are, to show my presence, to wrestle me some authority and power, to act like a responsible model for them to follow, and just go through whatever they have to go through as well. They made the effort to attend for the day, why can't I?

I can't really accept why they don't really accept (lol) stuff like conventions, related events etc. as viable excuses. It's as though I have no life besides sailing. But no, it's because I am a vice-captain. Looking back at the time I eagerly rallied for a leadership position in my team, and jubilantly securing it, I come to the conclusion that it was that very moment that had enslaved me to my CCA. Yes, 'enslaved' is the best word to describe it. Because this situation is not that easy to get out of either.

Said teacher has given me the choice of relinquishing my position for this year, for what's left of my training stint (5 months) with the school team. Thinking about it, I realized that letting go of your position is not as easy as it sounds. The repercussions are great. Others' perspectives of me would change. My pride would be tarnished. There is a pictureboard outside the general office displaying the various student leaders of the school, and I am among that group. What would happen to my image there were I to drop my role?

That is why I told him that I would stay on as a vice-captain. I will weather the last 5 months of this grueling training, taking on whatever responsibilities I am required to see to. I will continue to go through the routine three times a week until everything is over. I will do it together with the rest of the team, and I will make them admire me for what I've contributed (yes, I'm vain that way). I will fulfill my role as the vice-captain of the school sailing team to the maximum.

That is why I went for sailing training today. I now look forward to Gordon's report on the trooping event, and somewhere hopeful for the results of today's in-port race.

TL;DR ecchi Tamaki for you.

Pic related. She's wearing a seifuku. This is a sailor's rant if you hadn't noticed.

I'll Just Leave This Here...

Just doing my part for MSN. Don't mind me. I recommend you guys using MSN Messenger to try this out.

Download MSN Messenger from FileHippo.com

Thursday, January 1

Ushering a new dawn...

Finally, we come to 2009, the year of the Haruhi (projected year over which the events of The Melancholy took place. No SRSLY, go investigate on that), and the year of my official legality, although it really means nothing since I know I will hardly have any time to get a driver's license, drink beer, smoke or watch M18 movies.

Here's wishing everybody a promising year ahead. I would advise you stop bothering with New Year's Resolutions like I have as we all know just how easily we tend to forget them by the time March or April sets in. By the time we remember that we had forgotten about them, it would be the end of yet another December, and we would have no choice but to snowball them into next year's resolutions. Rinse and repeat a few years, and you get a list of sins you can dedicate to your nearby church. Just for the record, we all still keep a certain kind of resolution throughout the year no matter what, and mine for 2008 has been my Compaq Presario's 1200X800 15-inch screen.

...

I ought to resolve to tone down on the lame jokes.

All that banter aside, it was two days ago at home, when I got so bored that I found myself playing around with my star Wars figurines again. The poor guys had been collecting dust at the far corner of my study desk for a few weeks now. I figured it would be a dear waste of time if I just toyed around with them like that, so I whipped out mum's camera and, before I knew it, I had created a pilot section of a comic series depicting the adventures of a bunch of Clone Trooper figures exploring a messy desktop.

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