Thursday, February 3, 2011

Couver Town: Day 5

Had a pretty chill day today, since I slept at 3 in the morning! I forget to add this, but we went go-karting, bowling and late-night Pho-binge last night.

Today, we went to Coquitlam with the fam and had the best beef dip sandwich in this random eatery near my cousin's workplace. It was absolutely delicious! The beef portions were generous and the dip oh so savory.

Finally got my Dre Beats headset. Went with the red in the end as it matched my shoes and goes to a good cause =P

After that we had an early hotpot dinner at home for Chinese New Year's eve before heading out for DODGEBALL!!! My cousin just joined a league and he was cool enough to invite me to tag along and play. It was only an exhibition game, so it was all good. Dodgeball was a lot harder than I expected, what with the small field of play and the balls were travelling a lot faster than I thought they would.

All in all, it was a great day and I am beginning to really enjoy Vancouver. Still 50-50 on the film school though. Perhaps I'll just come here to work for a few years?

(P.S. Our team name was "I Hate Blueballs"... Childish but catchy!)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Couver Town: Day 4

So today was the fateful day, and to be honest, it was a really mixed bag of nuts. I arrive at the school at 8:50ish and thought I was 5 minutes late. But instead, the advisor wasn't even in the office yet! She didn't arrive until like 5 past 9. Apparently she FORGOT about our meeting today, which was quite off-putting. Apologetic and all, I was sneaked into class as if I was the one who was late, so I had to appear apologetic too.

Since I wasn't given a formal introduction, I didn't even know who the teacher was. Apparently one of the students was giving a presentation and I totally thought he was it! Again, off-putting until I realized what was going on. The class wasn't the best one for me to take, as it was a very introductory course and we spent most of the class watching "Speed" and going through the hero and villain introductions. It was a small, intimate class and it was easy to spot those who were serious, and those who were just there for whatever reason.

After class, I met with the advisor again, who was part apologetic and all enthusiastic. She took the writing course 5 years ago, and she was probably one of the more dedicated students. My guess is that's what got her a job at the school. Being the wife to an instructor didn't hurt either. Her experience sounded awesome, getting internships, doing collaborative work outside of school work and basically being a really studious student.

Ultimately, what I took away from today's meeting are:

1) VFS is what you make of it, hands-down. You control how awesome or awful your experience there will be.
2) There are a lot more foreign students than I expected.
3) VFS is very, very well packaged. The receptionist was beautiful and the advisor knew what to say.
4) The instructors there are absolutely solid. They appear to really value their students work and appreciate hardworking students.
5) VFS has a strong emphasis on professionalism, but I wasn't shown much at all, what with the advisor forgetting our meeting, and NOT sending me a link she said she would after our meeting.
6) Contacts are king! You either get along with your instructors, or you don't. They pretty much hold the key to cracking the industry. At least that's how I feel!

All in all, I am confident that VFS can teach me the technical skills and craft of commercial writing. It's purely a matter of how ready I am to commit to it, and the odds of me making it after graduating. Talking to mom did not exactly solidify my resolve, but only reiterated some of the tougher questions that I must answer such as:

1) Am I good enough?
2) How much do I know about the Western culture?
3) Screenwriting is a tough enough industry to crack. Combined with English not being my first language and the lack of shared experiences with North American audiences, it's made even tougher i.e. Odds of success appear low
4) Is the opportunity cost worth it? Giving up a good-paying full-time job and nosedive into a non-paying "adventure" for 24-36 months.

Right now, I'm still very much undecided...

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Couver Town: Day 3

Chaos in Canada!!! I found a pair of Joker-colored Kobe V todays at the most unexpected place. It was this all-purpose sports store called Sport Chek in the mall across my hotel. Not only did they have my size, it was on sale! But because of tax and how strong the Canadian dollar is right now, it still cost more than retail in Hong Kong dollars. Yet, it's still considerably under the resale price. What's most important, it was such a surprise to find them sitting on the shelves and on freaking discount! That was the only color-way of the V's which were on sale by the way. The Miles Davis, away and Charlotte colors were all original priced. Soooo wicked!

Ok, so my class audit is tomorrow. Failed to get in touch with the local advisor today, but I'm hoping it'll all work out. I surveyed the area and managed to find the campus, a modest little building at the corner of the street. I wonder what it's going to be like!!

Full class review tomorrow...

(P.S. I saw "The Dilemma" yesterday at the cinema and "Fracture" today on Netflix. Guess which was more entertaining?)

Monday, January 31, 2011

Couver Town: Day 2

Vancouver is awesome!! My cousin took me to an establishment where it is rumored that hostesses and waitresses are hired based on 2 scores: Face and the figure. And it really shows! Plus the food is great, which is definitely a bonus.

What's more, the Lakers were playing the Celtics and they had them on in 1 of the 8 television screens. The other 7 were playing the National Curling Championships. That's when you know you're in Canada!

My cousin also took me downtown, which was bustling! A great departure from the calm and serenity of the suburbs. I think I may really grow to love this city! Am looking forward to the "Action Adventure" class I'm going to audit at the Vancouver Film School on Tuesday. Fingers-crossed I get impressed and inspired enough to actually move here for a year!

Tomorrow I'm going to get to spend the day on my own. Where will I go? Stay tuned!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Couver Town: Day 1

The flight to Vancouver was pleasant enough. I watched Despicable Me, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Inception. Oh, and I squeezed in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm for good measure. Despicable Me was very sweet, Scott Pilgrim was uber cool with very innovative film direction and Inception is just a modern masterpiece.

A few things I noticed about Vancouver upon touching down:

1) I noticed more Jellyfish at the airport than white people.
2) I only heard perhaps 2 announcements at the airport that was in English. The rest were in Chinese, Korean, Tagalog and Tamil. Yep, not even a French announcement.
3) Customs officers were strict, yet ultimately friendly and courteous.
4) The air quality in Vancouver is superb, and even though it's cold here, it just doesn't feel as scratchy.
5) There're so many Asians here, there were numerous occasions that the thought "it's like we never left" popped into my head.
6) There are Asian malls everywhere, even one nestled amongst Metrotown, the largest mall complex in Burnaby.
7) With that said, the Asian girls here are generally attractive. Maybe it's the water, maybe it's the cold.
8) On the rare occasion that I spot a non-Asian Canadian, they're also considerably attractive.
9) I like it here so far, although I have yet to step out of my hotel since Dim Sum.
10) And apparently it rains a lot here.

That's all for now, more to come tomorrow.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

iPhone Game Review: Epic War 3

Don't even get me started on this game! I downloaded it for free from Appshopper, an app I check every night for free goodies. I like to set the filters to "price changes" and "free" to make sure I get the best deal. Lo and behold, Epic Wars 3. Never heard of the game, saw that it looked a lot like Tower Defense which I hate but downloaded it anyways cos' it was free, and supposedly had some sort of card-collecting element in it. Kinda reminded me of Magic the Gathering, so I got it.

As it nested unobtrusively on page 5 of my iPhone amongst its colorful icon friends, I decided to give the game a whirl. The load screen was super fast, which was great. The game was easy to pick up, characters were colorful and the unit variety was enough to get you going.

And once you get going, shit gets EPIC! Maybe it's the promise of new units and spells... Maybe it's the ability to level up said units and spells... Maybe it's that epic sounding horn when you think you are owning the enemy's castle only to find a horde of 50+ creatures splurging out from the right side of the screen... Maybe it's the spine tinging cough that I am suffering from... But this game is a lot of fun!

There is some strategy involved, but swamping usually does the trick. Nothing like overpowering archer bitches and magic witches with hammer wielding minotaurs and snow beasts. Oh, and you have a hero too, but he's not all that powerful once you get to the good stuff. I keep my hero alive just to earn that extra 10,000 points. Such a tease, them points.

I'm still working through the game, trying to collect and power-up all the available units and spells before taking on a scary looking "Cave of Trail" which is unlocked in plus-mode after you beat the game once.

So if you don't have an iPhone, you can still play the game for free at Kongregate.

Go EPIC y'all!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sick with Film!

Over the 2 days that I was incapacitated and bedridden, I watched:

1) The Green Hornet
2) Megamind
3) Winning Season
4) A Fish Called Wanda
5) Fanboys

And the first 5 minutes of Lightspeed. The only reason why I was drawn to Lightspeed was because it was created by Stan Lee. Apparently legends make mistakes too, just like Michael Jordan playing for the Wizards, George Lucas with Episodes I-III and Pacino's alcoholism.

Apart from watching movies, I was asleep for a combined 30+ hours out of a possible 48 and yet I still felt horrible and YET my mom had to question me on those dark circles beneath my eyes. "Well Ma, apparently this new strain of deadly sore throat virus resides in the bags beneath the eyes to give the false impression of lack of sleep when in fact, the unfortunate host is invariably sleepy as f**k!" Obviously I didn't say that, because although my voice sounds all sexy from the sore throat, I can't finish a sentence over 6-words long without having to cough.

So anyways, here are 10 random thoughts on the 5 movies I watched:

1) I'm glad I didn't have to pay to see the Green Hornet: Seth Rogen is a better writer when he can be totally original without the need to adapt characters which are not his own.
2) I couldn't understand Jay Chou: I caught myself glancing at the Chinese subtitles whenever he spoke. Cameron Diaz is STILL hot.
3) Megamind is a great twist on the stereotypical super-villain and it works because it is an animated feature. Will Ferrell is such a talented comedian that he managed to make the dialogue funnier than it really is.
4) You never get to see more than a hint of cleavage on Roxanne Ritchie.
5) Sports movies always make me emotional.
6) Movies don't have to be expensive to make to be enjoyable.
7) Jamie Lee Curtis was HOT! She wasn't stingy like that 3D broad. And you didn't need special effect glasses to make them babies pop off the screen!
8) In terms of story-telling, character, acting and dialogue, they really don't make them like they used to.
9) Making something niche have mass appeal is not easy, and Fanboys have yet to succeed in this.
10) Did you name your right hand Leia?

And to end this post, here are some random stats, not facts:

Oldest to newest movie:
Wanda > Fanboys > Winning Season > Megamind > Green Hornet

Hottest to least hot chick:
Jamie Lee Curtis > Cameron Diaz > Kristen Bell > Roxanne Ritchie > Anyone on Winning Season

Favorite Character: Otto, the Nietzsche quoting ruffian who cannot bear to be called stupid when he is undoubtedly an imbecile.

Least Fav. Character: Linus, cos' he was the boring kid with cancer I suppose.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Being a Geek is Not Easy

I really regret not knowing what I wanted to do in College.

I half-assed my way to a Bachelor's degree at Berkeley which sounds impressive, but it's not. I had to beg my way to get a C+ on my Complex Analysis class, traded 8am Microeconomics at the farthest building from my apartment for 9am basketball practice at the gym and got a B- for a Business Administration class which everyone told me was an easy A.

Yes, that was enough to get me a degree in Applied Mathematics with emphasis in Economics, but I honestly do not remember a single thing I learned in class. Real sets, complex numbers, sequences, matrix operations, real integrals, complex integrals, derivatives, Marxism, the square root of -1 formally known as i... To me, all these terms are like men's skincare: They mean absolutely nothing to me. I have a naturally radiant complexion, rarely get pimples and even more rarely need to figure out the surface area of irregularly shaped ponds.

Clearly, Applied Mathematics was NOT what I wanted to do in College. Which brings me to this question: If I were given the opportunity for a do-over, what would I have picked, and would I become a geek in that subject?

Well, I can't really speak for my 18-year-old self now, but my best guess is his answer would be, "I don't know, and probably not." On the other hand, as the authority on my 27-year-old self, my answer would be, "Writing, and I really hope I can."

It's always exciting to discover a new shiny object that grabs your attention, but this attraction can be fatal as you get older. Writing is my most recent shiny object, and it is one of the most dangerous of professions because of its volatile commercial nature. You either make it, or you generally don't. There really isn't much in-between in terms of success or failure for the type of writing that I want to be involved in i.e. Hollywood, movies and television. Anything else just would not cut it for me. Setting the bar high is a good practice, except I have a pretty horrendous record of hard work, self-discipline and seeing anything through to the end. Can wanting something bad enough change this? Have I ever even wanted anything bad enough?

To me, becoming a geek is a testament to my resolve. Being a geek means a relentless obsession and profound love for what you do. When one can exhibit such geeky qualities towards a subject, a person or goal, I am confident that one can win and achieve the object of their affection.

Case in point, "The Social Network". Mark Zuckerburg is the definition of geek. Obsessed with algorithms, code and making a name for himself, he founded Facebook. Regardless of his methods or your opinions, you cannot argue that he has become an enormous success. That drive, that obsession, that resolve is what being a geek means to me.

I am seriously considering enrolling myself into the Vancouver Film School full-time for one year starting in August. If I can become a geek during that year, surround myself with fellow geek-writers, geek-actors, geek-directors, geek-make-up artists, geek-sound-engineers, geek-animators, then surely I must want it bad enough, and we will succeed together. But first, I must save up, quit my job, rent out my apartment, relocate, apply, pay tuition and bid farewell to all of my friends, family and the ridiculously comfy comfort zone I have built in Hong Kong for the past 7 years.

Am I geek enough?

Monday, January 17, 2011


In this edition of FRESH OUTDA BOX or FOB for short, I take a first look at the Zoom KD III Christmas edition.

Pikachu, I choose you!

At 70 bucks a pair, these are the most wallet-friendly signature sneakers you can find in the market, not to mention whose signature these bear although Kevin Durant's actual John Hancock is no where to be found on the shoe.

Entering his 4th season, this is only KD's third signature shoe. I believe Nike and KD has an agreement to keep his shoes at an affordable price, so it's no surprise that the third iteration manage to stay comfortably below the 100-dollar price point. One of the more innovative features of the shoe was this:

Most creative feature of the shoe...

An over-sized, diagonal eyelet coupled with exterior flap which had 2 evenly spaced holes in them. This construction allowed the shoelaces to be configured for 2 levels of lockdown: Regular for the upper hole and maximum for the lower one.

Very nice touch, but boy are these cheap!

I mean, purely out of the box, the KD III's screams mediocre quality. Only after some effort do the standard-issue flat laces squeeze through hastily cut eyelets. If you're used to the buttery entrance and exit of LeBron or Jordan laces, remind yourself that these cost almost half as much. The XBOX controller detail on the heal didn't do it for me either. It felt like a half-assed idea for a heal detail that I am both surprised and disappointed it made it onto the shoe. My pair had uneven soles on the left heal and a slightly caved-in side-panel which gave the sneaker's silhouette a strange deformation. It's not noticeable once you put it on, but still... it's cheap. The sizing is also inconsistent across the series: US9.5's felt tight and the lockdown was great on the II's, but US10's feel a lot wider and loose on the III's. Maybe I overcompensated, o maybe the strap on the II's did more than I thought it did.

And the most uncreative...

If it weren't for the zesty lemon color, I doubt I would have picked these up at all. However, taking into consideration that I had to pay above retail for these, I have the right to be critical. All this might change when I take these Pikachus out for a spin, we'll see.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Da-Da-Da Vinci

When you were a kid, did you ever dream of invincible warships with twenty canons attached to its hull? Fold paper airplanes with extravagant wings and rudders, only to have it fall flat on the ground when flown? Keep secrets by speaking in code? Doodle in the margins of your textbooks and exercise booklets?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you might just have a bit of Da Vinci in you!

At the "Marvelous Inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci" exhibition, you can get a cursory grasp of the genius that is the Renaissance man. Many of Da Vinci's drawings and sketches have been modeled with marked craftsmanship. Some of which are interactive to give you a better sense of what his drawings meant to modern inventions. The automobile, helicopter, drills, gears and pulleys, nautical navigation, ship construction and a wealth of other crucial discoveries.

Alas, Da Vinci is most popularly known for his painting rather than inventions, which were also replicated faithfully at the exhibition. Obviously, they cannot do the real masterpieces justice, but what would a Da Vinci exhibition be without Mona Lisa or The Last Supper?

The exhibition is quite small, but with an adequate number of fixtures and exhibits that can easily keep you interested for 45-60 minutes. You can revel in his work outside of his paintings and feel how much of it has influenced life as we know it today.

One of my favorite pieces was a simple lever system fixed on a castle wall which when activated, would extend a long horizontal rod outwards. This was used to push off ladders cast by would-be invaders. Such a simple, almost child-like idea was recorded in quilt and parchment by the master himself! A very inspirational lesson which suggest that even the simplest ideas are worth noting.

This program will run till 2 Februrary, 2011 at the Hong Kong Science Museum. Tickets are $25, concessions $12.5. It's free on Wednesdays, but I'd reckon it'd be quite crowded. It's also closed on Thursdays, which might suggest at the chaos and aftermath of freebie Wednesdays so be forewarned!