30 May 2013


So I start my journey in Ni No Kuni, so far it's fantastic! Swooning over Ghibli's character and scenery *u* but especially the cutscenes!!

That and all the adorable monsters. In the beginning, Oliver has no spells and have to whack everything with his wand. I actually felt bad hitting all the creatures e_e" They're just there being adorable and I come and start killing them... Can't until I can serenade them into serving me muahaha :D

Images cropped from the wizard's companion, which thanks to the internet, I now have a copy of :D Spent the afternoon reading through it, it's packed with all kinds of information, including fairy tales XD I would love to purchase a hardcopy, if only it didn't cost $100+ Regretting not getting the collector's edition now.

Also the English translation is really well done and quite humorous. Example: a monster called girlfiend evolves into ex-girlfiend xD

And of course there's Hisaishi's music:

Gonna try to platinum this, others have done it in within 150hours pshhh.

29 May 2013


Ni no Kuni came in the mail!!

image via pixiv

Grandpa watches tv all day so can't marathon it ;_; oh wells, the abundance of fanart (and my huge pile of borrowed books) will fill up the rest of the time.


Recently started to use Quora, it's so awesome. Makes procrastinating seem like not a waste of time (y). You should all read this: What are some potentially life-changing books?

Just finished reading Catch-22 and it definitely made the list for me. In short, I feel very glad to be alive.
The title refers to the paradoxical situation that:
There was only one catch and that was Catch-22, which specified that a concern for one's safety in the face of dangers that were real and immediate was the process of a rational mind. Orr was crazy and could be grounded. All he had to do was ask; and as soon as he did, he would no longer be crazy and would have to fly more missions. Orr would be crazy to fly more missions and sane if he didn't, but if he were sane he had to fly them. If he flew them he was crazy and didn't have to; but if he didn't want to he was sane and had to. Yossarian was moved very deeply by the absolute simplicity of this clause of Catch-22 and let out a respectful whistle.
Some people in the Quora thread mentioned that this book taught them what humor is. I think I agree? To paraphrase Kenn's words, the majority of the book slowly builds up the world by telling the humorous backstory of the many characters, then bam, the last 100 pages or so just tears the world apart and it all comes crashing down. And just as abruptly hope is restored and it ends.

Took me a while to get into the book, but it is good once you do. My favourite sections would be Milo and how he grew M&M Enterprise. Likewise a second reading would be needed to truly appreciate the subtleties in the novel.

Also similar to One Hundred Years of Solitude, I had a hard time following the world building sections. Many events of the book are told from multiple perspectives in a non-chronological order, and there's multiple events happening simultaneously. Or I'm just rusty from not reading books for too long.

27 May 2013


Benefits of having Chinese cable is the abundance of singing competitions.

摇晃的红酒杯 嘴唇像染着鲜血
那不寻常的美 难赦免的罪
谁忠心的跟随 充其量当个侍卫
脚下踩着玫瑰 回敬一个吻当安慰


像蠢动的音乐 教人们怎么成眠
不知名的香水 窒息的鬼魅
锋利的高跟鞋 让多少心肠破碎
弯刀一般的眉 捍卫你的秘密花园

夜太美 尽管再危险
爱太美 尽管再危险
痛太美 尽管再卑微
你太美 尽管再无言
我的王妃 我要霸占你的美

那催情的音乐 听起来多么愚昧
你武装的防备 伤你的是谁
靠近我一点点 是不一样的世界
安睡在我的肩 我用生命为你加冕

夜太美 尽管再危险
爱太美 尽管再危险
痛太美 尽管再卑微
你太美 尽管再无言
我的王妃 我要霸占你的美

夜太美 尽管再危险
爱太美 尽管再危险
痛太美 尽管再卑微
你太美 尽管再无言
我的王妃 我要霸占你的美

26 May 2013


"maybe cities can be developed by citizens"

One of the better solution-oriented TED talks I've came across in a while.

Two ESP principles I can relate to this video, still in the process of overcoming the frustration caused by the course and fully appreciating it's usefulness xD
  • Design for assembly principles in the design of the wikihouse (ie. symmetrical parts)
  • Avoid the client's implied solution of extending the schoolhouse and instead deconstructing the problem (overcrowding of halls)
Quite excited to see how the paradigm would have changed by the time I graduate, and how I can further improve it. 

25 May 2013

Psycho Pass

I'm glad that I haven't lost the skill to marathon an entire series in a day (y)

Summary via ANN
The series takes place in the near future, when it is possible to instantaneously measure and quantify a person's state of mind and personality. This information is recorded and processed, and the term "Psycho-Pass" in the anime's title refers to a standard used to measure an individual's being. The story centers around the "enforcement officer" Shinya Kōgami, who is tasked with managing crime in such a world.
image via danbooru

Kougami is how I imagine Spike (from Cowboy Bebop) would be if he was younger. The two characters remind me a lot of each other. If Kougami just grew out his hair a bit more, smoked more frequently, and changed a suit, he'd totally be Spike.
Later edit: and omg, Makishima could totally be Vicious!

The plot is quite good, as it's the same writer as Madoka Magica. The relationship between characters are interesting, though I wish they spent more time developing some of the characters. I'd like to know more backstory of the antagonists especially. It also supports my theory that how good an anime is is directly proportional to the extend which the main character is allowed to get beat up until.

Speaking of similar characters, if Kyoya from Ouran grew his hair out more, he could totally be Ginoza.
this is too adorable ;__;

23 May 2013

The Two Cultures

In the spirit of moving along my reading list, finished The Two Cultures by C.P. Snow today.

Also discovered this book through Brain Pickings, which i really ought to spend more time on instead of beauty blogs. The content of the book is Snow's Rede lecturein 1959, which he summarizes:
We have lost even the pretence of a common culture. Persons educated with the greatest intensity we know can no longer communicate with each other on the plane of their major intellectual concern. This is serious for our creative, intellectual and above all, our normal life. It is leading us to interpret the past wrongly, to misjudge the present, and to deny our hopes of the future. It is making it difficult or impossible for us to take good action. [...] That neither the scientific system of mental development, nor the traditional, is adequate for our potentialities, for the work we have in front of us, for the world in which we ought to begin to live.
It made me recall a conversation that I had with David back when we just started university. I was telling him how the engineers and artscis are jokingly hostile to each other during f!rosh week, in which he replied that the two groups should work together to invent better things (or something along the lines of working together).

The divide between the science and literary is illustrated in the examples below:
I should admit was further down the scientific ladder than the people I've been talking about-who, when asked what books he read, replied firmly and confidently: "Books? I prefer to use my books as tools." It was very had not to let my mind wander - what sort of tool would a book make? Perhaps a hammer? A primitive digging instrument?"

As with the tone-deaf, they don't know what they miss.They give a pitying chuckle at the news of scientists who have never read a major work of English literature. They dismiss them as ignorant specialists. [...] Once or twice I have been provoked and have asked the company how many of them could describe the Second Law of Thermodynamics. The response was cold: it was also negative. Yet I was asking something which is about the scientific equivalent of " Have you read a work of Shakespeare's?
later he expands that there's exists divisions within the science (and literature too I'm assuming). In this case the difference exemplified is between the pure and applied sciences:
We prided ourselves that the science we were doing could not, in any conceivable circumstances, have any practical use.  The more firmly one could make that claim, the more superior one felt. 
I find it amazing that this book, written ~50 years ago, is incredibly relevant today. The biggest issues that we face today, such as alleviating poverty and mitigating the effects of global warming, all require multidisciplinary approach. I rather regret taking all science courses in my upper years of highschool and "cheating" my hss electives by filling them with environmental minor courses.


On the topic of education, an immensely popular TED talk by Sir Ken Robinson now in RSA animated:

22 May 2013

One Hundred Years of Solitude

So many book covers to choose from, designing these must be challenging.

I'm in such a daze from reading this haha. For the majority of the book I've been confused by the irregular order of transpiring events and the repetition of names for different characters. It's only until the last few pages did I realize the greatness of the storytelling. Well played, well played.

The genre of the book is magic realism, so a major theme is obviously the contrast, or in this case lack of contrast, between fantasy and reality. There's also the intermixing of past/present/future through either loss or over-vivid memories.
Melquíades had not put events in the order of a man's conventional time, but had concentrated a century of daily episodes in such a way that they coexisted in one instant.
What did you expect?’ he [José Arcadio Segundo] murmured. ‘Time passes.’ ‘That’s how it goes,’ Úrsula said, ‘but not so much.’ When she said it she realized that she was giving the same reply that Colonel Aureliano Buendía had given in his death cell, and once again she shuddered with the evidence that time was not passing, as she had just admitted, but that it was turning in a circle. 
Will do a second reading of this book someday to fully appreciate it's intricacies. But gots to move onto other titles on the summer reading list.

21 May 2013


Finished first playthrough of Bastion! Soo much fun, and frustration at certain weapon challenges, and button mashing evade in memories, and drooling over the artwork.

The squire is the most adorable thing ever. Heck most of the monsters were cute that I felt bad slaughtering all of them e_e
So happy that the humble bundle came with artwork and ost.

Overall I loved the game!
  • Plot: story was good, but the delivery of the content through narration is unique and engaging. I smash pretty much everything on the map for addition fragments, so I hear a lot of "The Kid is going on rampage" haha.
  • Art: it's gorgeous amirite? the colourful palette is a contrast to the rather stark plot of the game.
  • Music: awesome as well. The BGM for field and memory maps are useful for telling when monsters are spawning, which makes sniping them much easier.
  • Gameplay: not entirely button mashing, as evade and defend is quite useful. In fact during late game I can kill things by just countering with shield. Certain monsters the only way to defeat them is to constantly evade. 
    • Weapons: there's quite a variety but some are definitely more useful than others. Together with the different spirits (passive bonus) and upgrades (unique to each weapon), the game accommodates for a lot of play styles. For a while I played double ranged and that was quite OP, especially with knockback haha.
    • Proving Grounds (weapon specific challenges): so frustrating at times, but I found it worthwhile to get first place in all of them. After tens of tries, you get reeeeally good at using the weapon haha. 
    • Who Knows Where (defeat waves of enemies): where you practice sniping, evading and defending. Also good for farming fragments (money) and feeling OP.
Last bit of eye candy (click for full view):

20 May 2013


After seeing this image, I immediately pulled out my chambray shirt attempting to recreate the look. Needless to say I looked a little awkward with my hair all pulled back in a bun (haven't pulled back my bangs for such a long time now), but omg so in love with the outfit. 

It would be perfect with the following shoes, which I will purchase as soon as I have the funds to.
 Dieppa Restrepo Cali in camel (shipping is outrageous fml)

Sam Edelman Trina in beige multi (this is so close to the perfect pair of sandals).

19 May 2013

minced green onion

More adventures in actually learning how to cook: scallion pancakes aka 葱油饼. The english translation is a bit misleading since it's more like a crepe than a pancake.

Dead simple to make, just quite time consuming frying each piece. It's delicious with congee *u*

18 May 2013

city on a hill

The humming part at the beginning is great *u*

17 May 2013


I have finally found the rooftop garden at exists on SF! So excited to start volunteering there.

Went on a brief tour of the place today with Kevin, the view is gorgeous on the roof:

It'd be amazing seeing this throughout the summer. Hopefully I'll have time throughout the school year to continue volunteering as well. Bonus for the fact that there's a small chance that this will turn into paid employment (y).

Had nice chat with Kevin afterwards, it's good to catch up with highschool friends. It's great seeing the progress that everyone made in first year.

More pretty flowers seen on the way home:

16 May 2013

Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits

Should not be playing Bastion all day, so here's some reading that I got done:

Found this book through Brain Picking, click through to read the much better review since what follows will be a collection of quotations.
I should preface this with the declaration that I'm a giant sucker for brands. I buy Apple products...because well they're Apple (which translates into amazing design and wonderful user experience to me). I spend a ton of time on Etsy's "featured shops" and Carryology because they tell stories of the products. And (last example I promise) I reeeeaaally wanted a Goruck backpack just from reading their news stories.

This leads nicely into a quotation from the introduction of the book by Walt Whitman:
Whatever satisfies the soul is truth
The book is a series of interviews with prominent individuals in branding. A lot of the discussion involve the human need to belong, designing, and brands embodying archetypes. Such as, by Brian Collins:
Stories are how we give meanings to what happens to us. When we call upon them, they activate "archetypes" [...] they remind us of eternal truths, and they help us navigate through our lives. 
He also says, which I found quite amusing:
If you were a greek warrior, you went to the temple and make a sacrifice to Nike before you went into battle. You asked her for victory. She was a mean motherfucker! You did not mess with her. She was about winning and achievement.
I don't feel that branding is such a "noble pursuit" as described by many of the interviewees, but definitely can't deny their influence in our lives. Cheryl Swanson says:
The brands are totems. They tell us stories about our place in culture-about where we are and where we've been. They also help us figure out where we're going. Brands have become time capsules, and in many ways, they're now navigation and identity devices. They've transcended their transactional economic function and now reflect our culture and who we are in a way that no other object can.
Dori Tunstall comments on creativity and connection:
What defines being human is our ability to transform things from one energy state to another [...] our ability to adapt to so much change and to also be the force of change-both good and bad-is extraordinary
One hypothesis is that creativity comes from our need to make things special. [...] our ability to make abstractions concrete. In many ways, this is the genesis of creativity. The notion of making things special and the identification of something as special or unique - and the relationship to that thing as special and unique - are the heart of creativity itself. 
Nowdays, we have a tremendous emphasis on dress and makeup and in our rituals of buying. [...] but our rituals of consumption are no longer as satisfactory to us. Because they are empty of human relationships. 
 And lastly Phil Duncan on leadership:
Its the responsibility of the leader to have a sense of vision. But its also important to build that vision with your colleagues. [...] but in order to inspire them to greatness, i must be able to instill a sense of possibility in them and enable them to see hose possibilities.

15 May 2013

proving grounds

Started playing Bastion today, the graphics are so beautiful ;_; Trine is like...glowy pretty, whereas Bastion's art more stylistic. So happy I got the bonus artbook with the humble bundle deal :D

I don't have the best gameplay screenshots, so head over to the official site to ogle them. But the still scenes:

The plushie is so adorable, makes me want one in real life too *u*

Otherwise, still trying to map out a good control system. Was really happy when I could use my ps3 controller (moving with joystick is soooo much more accurate and responsive than wasd), but it makes the screen glitchy and somehow I couldn't heal. Gonna try to make it more mmo like with mouse for moving and keypad for attacks. Though that could mess up aiming with ranged weapons...

Speaking of weapons, I like how there's a variety of them to play with. Currently using the war machete/breaker's bow. Also the power up & upgrade system is nice too.

Overall quite liking it (y) the narrating voice ftw.


Also went to see Ironman 3 yesterday with friends. T'was good, actions scenes were really over the top haha. Chatting with them at McD's afterwards is always nice. I should really catch up with them more xD

13 May 2013


Since I doubt I will find a job this summer, efforts are currently concentrated in scholarship applications. Gone are the easy days of admission scholarships T_T"

Anyways, I've sat for a long while staring at a blank Word document. Even when I had a few sentences down to the ever generic question of "Please lt us know what transferable skills or areas of development you feel you gained through any of your involvement" but still feeling "rawwr why are ideas not translating into words properly", I realized that these applications are a good exercise in reflection.
Not much of a revelation I know xD

(this is a bit of a sidetrack before coming back to the main topic)
At the beginning of the year, Angus complained to me saying how he felt that extracurriculars are becoming something you must do. Much like how one must go to university if they want a chance at a good job. While I do have intrinsic interest in the extracurrics that I joined, an equally powerful motivator is that it will look good on a resume.
My point is that extracurrics are something that "must" be done, so I rarely look back and analyze the experiences. What went well, how something went wrong, things that can be applied to future positions, etc.

And also having good paragraph structure, that has to count for something right?


I would very much like a source of income.


I finally have a mouse! aka time to start playing all my backlog of steam games, which is really just Trine 2 and Bastion. Ought to buy Ni no Kuni soon too.

Anyways! Trine 2 is so beautiful, even not at max graphics settings:
Though I must admit I'm rather bad at platformers. 's why it's much more fun playing with the twins and knocking their carefully stacked boxes together xD

10 May 2013


Met up with Janice, Grace and Mimi after way too long at bubble tea yesterday. I totally miss having female friends "orz Time just flew by while we chatted and played screwed each other over in Monopoly deal. It's good to be back haha.

While on the topic of food, UofT held a TedxHartHouse conference last year with the focus on food. Can't believe I didn't know about that! Nor did I know about this year's conference, which is happening in days. Such a shame to miss the opportunity to attend.

So the next best thing is to watch the various TedTalk about food:

His storytelling is hilarious.

Jamie Oliver's very passionate talk about reforming eating habits in America. He has really effective visuals in the presentation, but walks around way too much to the point it's very distracting.

Michael Pollan on shifting the paradigm of argricultural thinking. The farm he mentions near the end is described in more detail in his book

And and I finally found more information regarding the roof-top greenhouse in UT. Their website is very pretty as well. Gonna try to make time to volunteer their next school year.

08 May 2013

backseat of my mind

I don't know why this song seems summery to me:

Stop the clocks and turn your world around
Let your love lay me down
And when the night is over, there'll be no sound

Lock the box and leave it all behind
On the backseat of my mind
And when the night is over, where will I rise?

What if I'm already dead, how would I know?
What if I'm already dead, how would I know?

Lost inside my head behind a wall
Do they hear me when I call?
And when the night is over, where will I fall?
And when the fight is over, where will I fall?

But if I'm already dead, how would I know?
But if I'm already dead, how would I know?

Stop the clocks and turn your world around
Let your love lay me down
And when the night is over, there'll be no sound
And now the night is over, there'll be no sound
And now my fight is over, there'll be no sound

07 May 2013


Had to attend a presentation back at university so might as well spend a little time downtown. Flowers are blooming everywhere! Such a shame that I didn't have time to visit High Park during sakura season. So envious seeing friends' photos on fb xD

Outside of Koffler.

Met up with mom afterwards for a quick lunch and some shopping. Went to Burrito Bandito, which calls itself "Toronto's best burrito".

Chicken burrito.
It does taste pretty darn good. Portion is generously sized too with no additional charge for toppings, and there's a lot of choice for the main meat filling. However, I found it bit too oily and super messy to eat.

Then, we headed to Winners to walk off the meal. Shopping list of the upcoming month is a chambray shirt, trench coat (to replace by beloved tweed coat that I forgot at Chestnut @_@), and plain black leather loafers. Did end up purchasing the chambray shirt, but found something much, much nicer:

The mirrored heels! Dying...
It's soooo gorgeous and elegant/many other adjectives of praise. Too bad it's way out of budget at $500. Let it be added to the list of luxury purchases for when I get a job xD

06 May 2013


More signs of spring! Flowers are always a good idea xD

Otherwise not up to much. Watching Steins Gate due to strong recommendations from a friend, so far it's weird haha.

04 May 2013


Will never get tired of watching sunsets, nor playing with photos of them in PS.

Layered 3 different shots together with a bunch of adjustment layers.

03 May 2013


Preferred food for the summer: the panini.

So convenient to eat
A multitude of combinations

From la prep at north york center. I was surprised that it was this good. The bread was chewy, overall not too thick, ingredients seems fresh and really flavorful. 

02 May 2013

summer to do

What I miss about chestnut: the awesome, awesome water pressure.
But it seems like a fair trade for good tea, the smell of freshly cut grass, and most importantly sunshine! As much as I like the skyscrapers downtown, they block all the sunlight "orz

A day of summer has past and I've done close to nothing :D which I guess can count as destressing/relaxing. However, I have/had ambitious goals so up tomorrow will be a master list of summer to dos. Will be fun seeing how much of the list will actually be complete by the end of summer.

Master Summer To Do List
  • Update Photoshop to CS6
  • Learn Illustrator
  • Learn more InDesign
  • Make something cool or useful from aforementioned programs
  • Learn more about website making, be able to make a simple website.
  • Convert from Powerpoint to Keynote
  • Draw/sketch more
  • Learn how to properly use my camera & its many functions
  • Take more photos
  • Learn to cook more Chinese food
  • Record recipes from parents
  • Read these books
    • One Hundred Years of Solitude
    • Catch-22
    • Nineteen Eighty Four
    • 1Q84
    • In Defense of Food
    • Brave New World
    • Breakfast of Champions
    • Slaughterhouse-five
  • Learn to drive
  • Get a job/obtain income
  • Edit closet/belongings in general
  • Find a place to live next year
  • Redesign resume and make business cards
  • Watch Stein's Gate
  • Finish watching Space Brothers
  • Play Ni no Kuni

01 May 2013


So I'm back home, back in my spot on the comfy couch overlooking the balcony window. Seems like I haven't actually left, and the 8 month spent at university was a long dream that I didn't happen to forget when I woke up.

Such a weird feeling haha.

Miss having my friends around already though @_@" No more being able to walk to each other's rooms in PJs. Though now I'll actually be able to get a good nights sleep.


A new charm from my 傻豆腐, I'll have to be content with this instead of the real person until school starts again D: