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Thursday, July 9

AKXD is Moving!

Remember how I mentioned some posts back that I was planning to make the shift to wordpress? Under normal circumstances, I never would've gotten round to doing it anytime soon. Truth is, I was pretty apprehensive about the tediousness of everything, all the settings I have to re-tweak, all the links and widgets I have to reconfigure, and especially, the new 'about myself' paragraph I have to come up with to put under the 'About' page.

I was speaking to a particular acquaintance over Facebook PMs regarding my stormtrooper costume. He said to me,

Thanks for sharing your plans with me. I salute you for walking the talk as over here in , I've heard my fair share of youngsters older than you talk, talk, talk they want to be a Stormtrooper but at the end of the day did NOTHING.

It made me realize that the kind of people he was referring to reflected my usual character when it comes to blogging (and most other things for that matter, studying being a major example). I've kept making promises in my blog that I never fulfilled, like 'I'm gonna post about such and such next week', etc., yet that post never comes because I'd later say, "ah, too lazy. Ah, not worth it. Ah, busy lah."

Please don't say you are lazy, once sang a certain girl most of you should know. And I should learn to obey that, because that girl is worth obeying.

No, I'm kidding. I'm not that obsessed.

And so, there you have it. Instead of studying for my physics exam tomorrow, like how I intended to days ago, I spent a good part of the evening setting up my blog using an old Wordpress account which I created in a failed attempt to set up an animeblogger.net blog two years ago. I've tweaked most of the settings, put up a few pages, added all the widgets I needed, imported my old posts, and redid the blogroll. I just need to touch up on my sidebar profile, find good use for my arbitrary sidebar text box, get a new header image (and a nice blog logo while I'm at it), and secure me a domain name without the .wordpress part (will take a while). All in all, things seem to be going very nicely. The Gears program which works in conjunction with WP is a real Godsend, and also the fact that my WP account is also tied in with my Google account (which in turn is linked to my Feedburner and Blogger account), making importing old posts a cinch, and feed aggregation-altering as simple as changing a single URL.

Once the move is finalized, all homepage links on all consumer accounts I have (Facebook, Feedburner, last.fm, assorted forums) will link to akxd.com, and I will deactivate this blog. So please remember to update you blogrolls, kthx.

Consider this akxd.blogspot.com's second-last post. For more posts, stay tuned to the new site. AK signing off.

Monday, July 6

TK8315 in Active Deployment!

Credit: Keith E Moss

The no-post drought over the past weeks was due to my mid-year exams, which lasted a good part of last week, and will end this Thursday. I sit here typing this as I think to myself "I really ought to be studying for chemistry tomorrow".

Me and the respectable man I worked for over the June holidays, Reno Tan. Credit: Jason

My job commitment over the June holidays had prevented me from performing the bulk of my revi- No, it only took up my weekends. I was simply too lazy to study much in the weekda- No, I just didn't want to study. I tried to stay away from studying by doing housework, as though I do housework for a living. I simply dread revising, especially for physics, chemistry and mathematics, when I am forced to attempt questions which I have no idea to answer, or have the misconceptions to answer incorrectly. This needs to change, and fast.

Needless to say, my grades are gonna suffer. I don't need to see my results to know it. My parents are gonna be so pissed...

I'm not actually a lefty, but... Credit: Keith E Moss

Me and my badass sound system. :D Makes me sound just like a Stormie Credit: Rid Rahman

But that's besides the point. what I really want to talk about is my developments regarding the 501st Legion. After a month's worth of hard work (I shouldn't even consider it as 'hard work' since I enjoyed every session of it), I finally managed to raise a substantial amount to get done on my very first armour kit for entry into the 501st Legion, the standard and ever-popular Stormtrooper.

Over three seperate days, my fellow Legion members and I worked hand-in-hand to trim, Dremel, file, velcro, screw and paste bits of vacuum-formed ABS plastic together to get the armour into a wearable state.

After an armour-building session, it's nice to chill out and relax in a jacuzzi pool. Credit: Picture, Pool: keith E Moss

TK8316 is happy at my joining him in the legion. Credit: Rid Rahman

The photos were sent in, the application was approved, and I went home from the armour party at 12 midnight that day as the Legion's newest member, TK8315, with the Stormtrooper ID that comes just before TK8316.

Can't find me. Credit: Jason

But I'm quite easy to spot here. Credit: Brian Benitez

The very next day marked my official maiden trooping event (my unofficial one being the St. Pat's Day Parade), Toy Carnival at the Singapore Art Museum. Having put on costumes numerous times for Movie Mania, and doing minding work for my fellow troopers during previous trooping events, I had modified my armour to be more easily wearable, and dressing up as a Stormtrooper all by myself was like putting on a new set of clothes. I clocked a timing of 5 minutes, exceptional for a raw 501st recruit (I'm cheating D:). The plan for the day was basically traipsing around, 'droid hunting', posing for pictures, posing with civilians for pictures, and posing for funny pictures.

Guess which?

The 'Heaven and Hell' stance from Grenado Espada. Credits: Picture: Brian Benitez, Lightsaber: Olivine Lin

Trooping aside, the Toy Carnival was also where i made a very unexpected purchase. There were only 5 boxes when I first spotted the both while in armour, 3 when I returned during my lunch break to secure mine, and none left 15 minutes later. After all, Figma Yuki was Max Factory's very first Figma product, released around this time last year IIRC, so I should think finding her would be very difficult. The best part was that she was on sale at nearly a 40% discount. A most worthy buy. I chose her over the other models available like Mikuru (waitress ver., cheerleader ver.), Haruhi (ponytail ver., cheerleader ver.) and waitress ver. Tsuruya, since she would complete my mini collection of the humanoid interface characters in the Suzumiya Haruhi series.

The photographer. Credit: Rid Rahman

The photograph. Credit: Camera: Demonick Angel

The girls are very pleased.

Two more points of note that day:

1. One half-inactive member in the Singapore garrison lives in the same apartment block as me, on the same floor, two doors down from me. He has 3 Clone Trooper costumes, and the CT was my very first costuming objective when I joined the 501st community as a volunteer (before I had to settle for the regular TK due to time and monetary constraints). I can hopefully get tips on how I shall get about doing my own Clone Trooper in future, and maybe even hitch rides in his car if we're ever going to trooping events together, as he suggested. Very nice man indeed. It was kind of embarrassing that he recognized me when I didn't. I guess, I haven't been maintaining close relations with neighbours after my under-10 childhood days, and also, because my door is just beside the lift landing, I rarely walk down the common corridor past their gates, so I don't make any acquaintances through passing compliments and casual exchanges, etc.

2. An acquaintance of mine, this very pretty girl who was at that event, commented to a friend that I looked cute in my stormtrooper armour, as he related to me later on (he even ventured as far as to tell her that I was still a virgin @_@). If anything, that was a big morale boost for me, and it made me feel great the whole day, knowing that people have good opinions of my looks. I don't normally receive compliments like that, call me deprived of whatever, but I was still very happy about it all the same. I can't wait for my next opportunity of meeting her, when I can say, "you look very pretty too". Ah, whatever.

Dual-wielding trooper. Credit: Keith E Moss

For now, TK8315 signing off. Next stop, the trip to Batam, then Cosfest 2009. See you then.

Monday, June 22

I read this article on Singagpore's citizen-powered news site STOMP very recently. It prompted me to recall one of my own encounters that occurred a few months back.

"I was on the train to work today (Jun 20) around 11.45am.

"Minutes after I boarded the train, I noticed this group of teenagers near the door as they were sitting down on the floor.

"The only girl in the group was munching her sandwich and the guy in white was sitting next to her.

"Suddenly, this man in black confronted the girl, who was not supposed to eat on the train.

"He pointed at the 'no eating' sign while telling them that they should not consume food in the train, they should be aware of the rules.

"This guy in white was provoked and stood up to argue with the man, he was obviously unhappy that the man told them off, and even adopted a 'fighting pose' to challenge the man to fight with him.

"His friend came forward to stop him, but the guy was still arrogantly challenging the man and came out with vulgarities.

"The man's wife did not want the situation to get out of hand, therefore she pressed the emergency button.

"When the train reached Yew Tee station, the group of teenagers and the man with his wife was told to alight the train but they were still arguing away on the platform."

There was this beng waiting for the train at the same stop I was. He boarded the train through the same door, and among the other commuters was a middle-aged Indian man. Indian came in first, and he made to take the seat closest to the door. To this, the beng sprang into action. He rushed in, swerved around the guy, and plonked his ass into that seat. The man glared at him; he stared back with that dumb innocent-playing I-dunno-lol look.

I'm so trendy ror.

I can still recall how he looked like. He wore a cap, of the same make, in the same style, as pictured above. Just perching on that tiny skull of his, made compatible with his brain. I'm seeing so many mindless youths strapping that style nowadays. If I didn't have to worry about me not being able to outrun angry pursuers, I wouldn't hesistate plucking the caps right out of people's heads as I pass them by in the streets. Perchy caps were made as a trend trap, to let stupid fad-chasers get laughed at by the general public for looking like dumbass.

Back to my story. That bespectacled beng (who didn't seem over 15 years old) began sipping off a bottle of Yakult. Yeah, Yakult. Cos drinking Yakult makes you look trendy lol. That done, with much graceful and intricate attention, he set the empty bottle down on the train floor, between his feet, and thought nothing of it afterwards. I could tell he wasn't going to dispose of it elsewhere later.

I decided to use this opportunity to mess him up a bit, since he deserves it. Makes him feel a little embarrassed in front of the rest of the commuters in the train. If i couldn't get their active participation in shooting this boy down, I'd get it passively. I approached the train door from my seat when the train rested at my stop, just as the 'door closing' signal rang, so as to prevent his retaliation once I walked out of the doors just before it closed behind me. He obviously was not stopping here, which was good. Walked by him I did, and as I did so, I purposefully and sharply kicked the kid's flip-flop-wearing foot with mine.

"Better throw that away," I growled, pointing to the plastic bottle. As I walked past the closing doors and looked back, I didn't see the kid (I didn't stick around to watch his reaction either), but there were a few satisfactory faces among the people in that train car.

Just thought I'd share how I deal with situations similar to that in the article. As far as I'm concerned I am profoundly aware of the bad habits Singaporeans exhibit in public transport trains. as much as I can I try to do something about it with as little risk of further involvement/ aggravation as possible. I am glad that issues like this have been raised in the local press and online, but just posting pictures of them wouldn't be enough to successfully curb such undesirable and uncouth behaviour. If the rest of the Singaporean community were to be more spontaneous and have less of the none-of-my-business attitude, I'm very sure this problem, along with other similar scenarios, can be resolved favourably. The proactive man reported in the article was clearly fighting all by himself against an adversary difficult to deal with. Had he the support of a few more other like-minded commuters, that beng would have had to submit immediately and unconditionally to the authority of greater numbers.

Saturday, June 20

Video Games Live - The follow-up

Sure, people have already written stuff about it, and this post is about 24 hours late. Ah, whatever.

Very little photographic footage with this one cos I knew cameras wouldn't be allowed into the event. Or so I thought. I sat through staring at the people sitting around me, mostly at the DLSRs and tripods and whatnot that they've brought into the show. It was only much later on when I learnt that the guys at VGL really don't mind your taking videos or pictures of their performances at all. Bummer. At least my buddy brought a JVC camera (which sucks as taking photographs, as you can see throughout this post) to record the event. Videos to be up soon.

I entered the Indoor Stadium feeling slightly disappointed that VGL wasn't about a fixed troupe of orchestra players on world tour, but two really talented men who bring the sheet music with them and let local orchestras and choirs play and sing. Still, NUS Symphony Orchestra and Choir did not (completely) disappoint, and I went home feeling a bit better.

Was also bummed that this event had to take place in the midst of another (personal) financial crisis: I was bone broke then (and still am presently), meaning I had no money to buy any merch, something my friend was hell bent on procuring. All I could do was accompany him at the merchandise booth as he bought his VGL t-shirt, and make passing comments (in my best American accent, in a shameless attempt to throw off the people crowding around us) about the exhorbitant prices, the pretty designs, and the very attractive salesgirl attending the booth.

Subject in question

Was a little bit empty because I was not eactly a hardcore/veteran gamer who knew his MGS, FF and oldskool games like Tron and Castlevania. They played many songs from many prominent titles which I was unacquianted with (meaning I know the games by name, but I don't play them, and so I don't know their music): Metroid (VGL's no. 2 requested game OST), Chrono Cross/Trigger (VGL's no. 1 requeted game OST), Sonic, Kingdom Hearts, and those mentioned above. I did enjoy myself a bit during the Halo and Super Mario (jeezus, who doesn't know Super Mario) segments, nonetheless. Call me a casual gamer.

I hoped, in vain of course, that they might've played the actual Halo theme MJOLNIR Mix, when all they could muster was a simple rhythm guitar performance with hardly any shredding (with is quite surprising cos Tommy Tallarico was shredding his heart out with his sleek black neckless Flying V during the Castlevania sequence). Additionally, as I expected but hoped not, there was not a bit of Touhou music or Red Alert's Hell March to be heard. ZZZ.

I symphatized for the Tasmania, Australia guy who went up on stage to try his hand (and legs) at body-movement-detection Space Invaders. I honestly thought it was the hardest game on earth. The uncertainty of where your character's gonna place himself when you step a given number to your right would be quite unnerving for me, especially when those alien guys are pelting bullets at you and you have to complete the game in 2 minutes in order to win a prize most people wouldn't even bother trying to win (you don't have a lot of retro game fans out there any more as far as I can see. Few people would want an arcade machine stocked with over 1000 retro games in their houses).

Roses are #FF0000, Violets are #0000FF, ALL YOUR BASE ARE BELONG TO US!

I was absolutely embarrassed at Leetstreet Boy's VGL opening theme song, "Yuri the Only One". It was corny beyond anything I've ever seen as classified as corny. corn-in-a-cup, corn-on-a-cob, popcorn, cream corn, nothing can match up to this. It annoyed me to no end; I was practically staring at my shoes and trying not to show my disgust. :P

By the way, a shoutout to DeidaraGS for his Pyro cosplay I failed to see that night. I did notice your 'Medic!' sign though. ;)

To summarize, I enjoyed myself a lot. In the end, I felt it was really piano-man Martin Leung who got the most limelight, with his Godly blindfolded machinegun playing. Seeing someone of his caliber perform on stage, and at that outperform the orchestra with his one-man shows, is quite a humbling experience. I saw with my own eyes, and breathed within the same airspace, a living piano prodigy, a modern-day Mozart. His piano is more than just an extension of his character, the keys are extensions of his hands, and subsequently the hammers that hit the piano strings. I've never been so captivated my entire (piano performance-watching) life.

if you'll excuse me, I'll be playing some Halo Theme MJOLNIR Mix on my Fender 'Bender', while watching Suzumiya Haruhi episode 16 and K-On! episode 12. Not concurrently of course. Studying is of course out of the question.

BTW, If anybody's seeing the Transformers 2 gala premiere at the Cathay on the 22nd, be sure to say hi to the Bumblebee who'll be appearing there! ^_^ You know who he is.

I don't do the \m/ sign a lot. You can tell.

Wednesday, June 10

Video Games Live

Found this in my mailbox today.

Hi there,

AXN BEYOND/Animax: Video Games Live Viewers' Contest

Congratulations for winning the BEYOND/Animax “Video Games Live” Viewer Contest!

This letter issued by SPE Networks Asia Pte Ltd is to verify you as the winner of the abovementioned contest, for which you have won one pair of tickets worth S$115 each to the Video Games Live concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on 19th June at 8.30pm.

Kindly present a copy of this email and a copy of your NRIC/identification card when collecting your prize from our office during the following collection times:

Collection dates: 11-12 June 2009 / 15-18 June 2009

Collection hours: 10am - 5pm

As you will need to exchange your ID for a security pass to gain access into the building, I would suggest you bring along another ID (e.g. passport or driver's licence) with you.

We are located at:

SPE Networks Asia Pte Ltd

10 Changi Business Park Central 2

#03-01 Hansapoint @ CBP

Singapore 486030

Should you require any assistance or alternative redemption options, kindly contact Mr Marcus Wong, at (65) 6622-4230 / email: marcus_wong@spe.sony.com .

Congratulations once again and thanks for your support!

From All of Us at AXN BEYOND and Animax


Sunday, May 31

My Part-time Job over the June Holidays!

I needed to find one that was preferably conducted over the weekends, so as to give me time during the weekdays to revise for my mid-years, which are coming after the June hols.

It has to be well-paying too for what it is worth, since the money has to go into my Stormtrooper armour costume, for my admission into the Singapore Garrison of the Internationally-recognized 501st Legion, which will arrive from the US in mid-June (and I must pay for and collect it as soon as possible).

Furthermore, I had hoped that it would be a no-stress affair, something I can do that is fun, enjoyable and would relieve me from my revision stress.

Seems like I hold very high expectations for my part-time job, eh? What are the chances I can find one that fits all three stringent criteria?

Months ago I had considered doing saikang (shit-work, basically you are tasked with an extremely mundane and tedious workload) at a sports complex of which a freind's father of mine was boss. $9 an hour, if I worked 9 to 5 over two five-day work weeks I would hhave just enough to cover all expenses. But that would mean having to sacrifice precious time which could have been used for studying. The situation looked desolate, and I was ready to submit to it.

One fateful night, after a photoshoot outing with the 501st at Merlion Park, the gang and I hung around for a while. And that was when I got acquainted with Movie Mania, through a charming individual with a burning passion for the things he loves. He was a former 501st member, and was the first Darth Vader costumer in Asia.

Now I make temporary minimum wage by putting on costumes and putting smiles one peoples' faces, old and young alike. My appearances are mostly on weekends, the pay is reasonable, and best of all, I have so much fun doing it. :3

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. I remember, it was only 3 years ago when I first encountered the 501st. Back then all I could do was gape in awe at how these fellers could bring a silver-screen element to life, and take pictures with them like any other fan would do.

Last year at STCC, I went with my then-classmate Ron, another Star Wars fan, and met up with the Gordonator, whom then I associated with as an active Singaporean animeblogger. Both of them had intentions of joining the Singapore Garrison. We inquired about it, and I was daunted by the cost and the dedication required to build up these armour kits (just as I was surprised at Ngee Ann Civic Plaza two years ago when I heard the same thing from the guy manning the booth). Nevertheless, I eventually signed up as a volunteer together with the both of them (Ron had actually successfully compelled a very reluctant me into joining).

Fast forward to today, both of them are trooping around in their Stormie outfits, and I serve as an active volunteer, photographer and personal assistant to the two them, as well as the other costumers in the 501st wearing more badass costumes like Boba Fett and Darth Vader. From the 501st I'm getting premiums and collectibles, photo-taking opportunities, developing friendships with like-minded Star Wars fans, and even invites to parties and family gatherings (where I show up at the door and get responses like, "oh, you're with the Star Wars right? Hey [insert name here], your star Wars friend is here!")

Still, what remains was my passion for wearing costumes, pretending to be some character from some TV show or movie which I like, and entertaining crowds with my gimmick. I did not want to limit myself to just Star Wars in the 501st. So God bless the fact (yeah I'm semi-Christian now) that I met Reno that night, and got contracted as a costume 'talent' under Movie Mania.

The first step I took was joining the 501st. Many steps later, I'm doing what I love and getting rewarded for it with Movie Mania (and still with the 501st). Just goes to show how important taking the first step is, eh?

Back to my part-time job. Over the next few weekends (and a few weekdays here and there), I'll be making costume appearances at various locations in an Optimus Prime costume, as the MM gang and I pave the road to the Transformers 2 Gala Premiere at the 22nd of June. If you're in Singapore and wanna meet up some time and take pictures, feel free to contact me.

P.S. Best part of everything? I get to pose beside Movie Mania's very own pretty-faced Optimus Prime (Sexy Female Version)! B)

Sunday, May 17

I don't know how true this is, but it's waaay too awesome to be done by anybody but Valve. A whole new concept, different from what we've seen so far.

Everything about this video can be described as excellent. The funny passcode, scout's butterfly knife-twirling, little action sequences featuring the spy at work (the way he saps the sentry is a bit OP, but it's all in the name of making the spy look cool), the Russell Peters tribute, and the awesome (yet somewhat expected) twist at the end.

Still, Valve has no confirmation that this is the official video.