Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Olympic 2012 Opening Ceremony

The Olympic 2012 was officiated on the 27th of July in London, United Kingdom but 3am on the 28th here. When there was a sports event like that, most of us would want to watch the games that we adored or athletes we had known. But nonetheless, there are still some highlights on such an international event, which is the opening ceremony. This is usually the event that will mark a lot of the host country’s reputation and just give us some excuse to stay up late and watch the show. This time, it was in the same year that the Queen (of England, of course) is having Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee. So, this could be said to be an important year for Great Britain. In fact, with these two big events, the attention of the world could be said to be fall upon one of the oldest monarch in the world. Great Britain will at the same time have their share of opportunity for thousands and thousands of tourists will be pouring into the country from all over the world.

Now, back to the opening ceremony, we shall. There were talks about comparing this ceremony to the opening ceremony during Beijing 2008. I would say, there was nothing to be compared because the two opening ceremony are showing two different things. Beijing 2008 was showcasing their talent and national identity, through an exhibition style of ceremony, while London did a great job in telling tale – which in itself, showcasing their history of making really good plays. It was actually directed by the well known Danny Boyle. I would say, as a storytelling type of person, I find London 2012 opening ceremony for appealing. However, that does not mean the whole ceremony was good – that would be over-summarizing. The ceremony started from an older timeline, with nice happy lives, relaxing with games and wild. The sets showed the people farming for their lives and then industrial came kicking in. The moment they showed the ‘stage’, it was circular. The industrial revolution that brought all those factories into Britain was shown, for example Manchester. It did sound a bit chaotic at first, as the scene was compared to the previous serenity. But it was quite true. That was the time when the people were introduced to new ideas and new things and wonders. Not that all these popped up suddenly at the same time, but the frequency was tremendous. Later, we could see middle class started to strive as they overlook their industries prosper and working class people were working on the Olympics ring. When the ring combined, it was spectacular. And of course, there was this small hill/bump with a tree on top, which reminded me much about the Shire in Lord of the Rings – which was good!

Later, it was the two Great War time. They were sensible enough not to have some bloody showdown for the war – or that will create panic and uneasiness among the spectators. Instead, they gave it a brief intro and commemorating the fallen, which was quite meaningful.

The show continued till the modern days when there are showcasing of modern culture of Great Britain, which of course included the Beatles. There was a short period of TARDIS materializing sound and many more. I would want to summarize it by saying British Invasion but it was more than that. I basically get to spot some familiar elements, such as J. K. Rowling reading from Shakespeare, with a gigantic Voldemort balloon. There were Child Catcher, creation of Roald Dahl and also Marry Poppins! And of course, how could be forget about Science and Technology when it was the greater effect of the industrial revolution in one way and another? Yes, we had several of Science side, especially the introduction of Tim Berners-Lee, the British founder of the World Wide Web. He was waving to the audience with his desk of really big computer, the computer when you have a CPU, a monitor and a keyboard!

Another thing that would have caught my friends/ housemates’ attention would be that conversation by the host right before they started with the usual English commenting with the programmes, which included some background explanation or introduction. Of course, if you are someone who had heard about this language before or bothered to even look that up, it won’t take you long to realize it was actually French! Yes, people, they speak French before English in the Olympic. Why? That was the second question I always get right after they ask ‘What language was that?’ and I would smirk and say ‘French, it’s français!’ then they would get rather puzzled of why was that language even appear on an international; event like the Olympics. Obviously, of someone started to ask about this, this should tell you around two things about this person. First, that person has no slightest idea about the language French; the second point was, this person might not have a slightest idea about the history or the culture of the Olympics. Okay, enough of the ranting or discriminating people who did not know about this and wanted to learn now, because I always welcome people to learn, no matter how late you are in your age or the stage in life about all kind of things. It is never too late to learn, as I always said. So, yes, French is one of the Olympic languages. In fact, French was sort of the internationally recognized language before English took on the place till today, till the world you and I are familiar now. I used to think ‘wow!’ but after learning more and more in the course of history, I realize it was all about time passes by and history taking on, because before French, we have Italian and Latin which was widely used too. There were so many wonderful legacy and civilization that was once admired and inspired so many amazing things that has and will happen to us! It would be silly to call others Others when in actual, all of us were actually intertwined in terms of our history, culture and everything, good or bad, happy or sad – and I would say these had already make a good excuse to celebrate our existence, for real!

Right, let’s get back to our opening ceremony instead of some philosophical discussion. In the middle of the ceremony, the Queen made his entrance with her video with Daniel Craig. It was quite cool to be introduced to the Buckingham palace with the two dogs. But of course, when the ‘Queen’ hopped off the helicopter, I had my housemates screaming because it was quite a traumatic scene if you do really think she was the Queen. For a moment, I thought I would believe it was Her Majesty, but I had learned somewhere that important royals like Her Majesty were normally tied down with several restrictions, especially dangerous activities – and hopping off a helicopter, to me, was considered to be one of them. Alas, that helicopter hopping was just a video and the pink gowned person who actually parachuted down the stadium was just a dummy. The entrance of Her Majesty was truly majestic and surprising instead of the usual ‘welcome blah blah’ and clapping. Next up was the playing of ‘Chariots of Fire’ by London Symphony Orchestra which was awesome and much more awesome when the camera showed us who had sneaked into the team. Sir Rowan Atkinson had finally found his role in entertaining the crowd with his Mr Bean acts which truly brought much entertainment.

After everything, with the athletes in, the speeches started. The speech was about the usual encourages yet not as boring as usual. But the highlight was ‘When out time came, we did it right’. The ceremony continued with some milder entertainment after this, which made sense of why some comments were about the ‘Part Two problem’. However, I would like to congratulate Britain for putting up a splendid show that did not focus too much on fireworks like what people normally do and I like that!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My First Henna!

Yes, what you saw in the video was the process of me getting my first Henna experience! And to know how I felt about this experience, this is the photo to show it:

It was actually during my stay with Carmen over the students’ vacation. But, Carmen and I were working and we get to chill out after work hours in hostel room, which was already very very nice. She went to some activities in the temple and there were leftovers from the organic Henna ink, so she offered to have a go on it and there we go! First, Carmen drew my right hand, with her signature hand band style and after, with my name in Greek, ΜΑΦΕΡ.

Then, I went on to try myself, hoping I don’t ruin the whole thing. It was rather familiar as it felt like practicing the icing, which happened during my part time job in a bakery. Though, of course, there were limitation, such as I could not draw things that are too small or detailed. So, of all things, my first object drawn on my left hand, was a TARDIS! At the same time, my left hand was left to dry off and we could see the drying form here…

I even added wording around it after that!

At the same time, Carmen did hers since her old ones went off. She wrote what she did best, nice quotes that are encouraging and happy. This is what she wrote and she was definitely happy about it.

While we were trying to wait for the drying, greedy me wanted more! I decided to have a Dalek on my arm instead of Dark Mark – simply because Dark Mark was too complicated for me. I drafted a Dalek on a paper and proceeded to draw the ink on my arm. It ended quite well and the Deathly Hallow symbol was added to show my remain fandom to something that i grew up with. Too bad I was not very fond of having a face drawn on my arm then…

The drying costs us the whole night and we went off for shower and sleep right after that. The result of the Henna will be posted in another since it was not until the next day that I started to admire the beauty of the art, haha!

Photo album here.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grass Allergy

Today is Monday, and it was definitely a good day as the weather was sunny while I get to choose between walking outside at the corridor or staying in office with the conditioned air, which was, fairly speaking, chilling. However, one couldn’t enjoy such a luxurious weather if one has grass allergy happening all over the body. Well, that was an exaggeration.

I had softball on Saturday and it means activities on the field and my allergy had not been serious lately because the games played were rather relaxing and entertaining than risking your life sliding through bases. However, this time I was fielding near third base when there was a fly ball coming my way. I went for it but unfortunately I might not have signaled my  teammate well enough about that’s my catch because the pitcher was enthusiastically covering that ball as well. In the end, we ended up in a collision, sending both of us flying and thumped on the ground. When that happened, the first thought that came to my mind was indeed ‘Gosh, I think I’m gonna get it this time…’ but I did not care less and continued the game. What is done is done afterall… Saturday night I felt slight itchiness and woke up on Sunday with small scale rashes. I went for a short run and that afternoon, I have more serious rashes and the condition became worse during late evening. I went to bed with rather swollen leg and I had my air cooler back in room, hoping it would avoid me scratching through the night. I was ranting that I had just washed my bed sheet and it would be such a coincidence that after I changed a new set then I need to wash again because of bloody sheets. But anyway, last night I survived without any scratching. At least, without any that cause any physical evidence that I could set my eye upon. But the rashes, which was now on my arms and legs were not a good sensation when I need to go to work in trousers and I keep having stinging sensation when I rubbed my arms against my shirt. That’s annoying, to some extent – and very distracting.

So, what is this about actually. I had always deduced it was an allergy or bacterial infection due to grass and of course, I did my search. Thanks to the availability of Internet, I managed to find out roughly what might be the problem. It might be something that is called grass allergy or things that could be related to hay fever. Primarily, it was caused by grass pollen. The other possibility was my skin was sensitive to the cuts made by grass blades. However, I do feel confused because I did not have any allergy reaction towards pollens inhalation. At this sense, I meant at least I don’t have sneezing problem on a field. In a lab, I do sneeze, but field – no. So, if it is hay fever or grass pollen allergy, how could I get effects on skin and not inhalation? (Not that I wanted that to happen – I wish it was a less complicated thing so that it could be cured…). Anyway, this is what was on my mind whole day, except those interesting newsfeed that I get to read of course. But yea, how could this not be on my mind when the sensation was sending impulse to my brain each and every second that I was conscious, right?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Shifting

By the end of April, my contract with the CCK rental expired and I have to pack my things and be ready to shift out of the house. The rental for the new house will only start after the first week of May and there will not be any Internet and fridge and everything because everyone else were not in and using some of the facilities will just add on to a bill with no one willing to pay. Luckily, my old housemates were kind enough to let me put my things in the house at the moment as I shift and slept in Carmen’s room in hall. I would say, this period of time, I was blessed with all the love from people around me, especially my old housemates and Carmen.

So, since I were to move out of my room, I decided to reveal my room in this video. Instead of seeing the same whitewashed background, this time, you will get to see my room in a more detail scale!

Anyway, that happened in end of April/early May – so it was quite long ago, haha!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Corpse Bride: When ‘Till Death Do Us Part’ Is a Problem

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It would be a shame for not watching this one after so long it had been out, so I finally took an opportunity to have a look into this animation. The story depicted a story of a short period of time but it managed to capture the society status situation right at the beginning of the story. For example, arranged marriage, middle class vying to getting some status through titles while those with titles were struggling to get connected with the rich middle class to get the wealth they greatly deprived. I wouldn’t say this is a love story per se and ‘love story’ will not be my main focus on the plot analysis, because this story brought the concept of ‘love’ to a different level. It has to maintain the conception of ‘love’ during the time settings of the story, but at the same time to deepen the meaning of it. Nonetheless, the music made the story became lively of course. As a whole, the plot was quite simple as it was predictable – but it does not mean it is not worth a watch. It is sometimes, exactly this kind of simple plot with meaning that we, human, need. We had asked for too much action, packaging, effects that sometimes we forgot the essence of movie, sometimes, lie in its meaning – just a simple one will do.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Short Story: Searching Sam

I was supposed to be working on another short story but got lost of the idea halfway through. Instead, some idea came popping by - another idea. And so I wrote this. This story is about a pair of twins. Enjoy!

Short Story: Searching Sam

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Usport Softball

For the previous two Saturdays, I had been honoured to get the chance to join in the Mud Dogs team for Usport Softball. Frankly, I had never thought I would ever get to touch softball again after my graduation and was so happy when I get to play on Saturdays with Saturday Softball people. And just weeks ago, one of the player asked if we wanted to join in the tournament. Of course, they team was very relaxed and friendly.

I missed the first week of the tournament because I went back home. However, the following two weeks, I went. The first week was in Anchorvale field and the field was pretty much a field or meadow. The second week was in Padang, which is near SRC and SCC. Imagine my happiness when I found out I get to play on such a historical field!

And so it is as the field I played in was just next to the war memorial.

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The other teams ranged from different types of team. There were teams who actually practiced for the game and I would say this tournament was the most relaxing one for me. And perhaps it was that that made me complacent at some point. Give and take, there were pros and cons along the line. In the end, I got goodie bag that actually give out free softball. And I enjoyed the game.

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After the game, we had a drink somewhere and decided to continue for a second round of games in NUS SRC! So, I ended up playing till six pm. It was really an enthralling experience and weekend.

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