Friday, August 30

Top 4 Most Anticipated Games of 2013

Despite the impending release of the PS4 and Xbox One, there are still a slew of great games to be released on current consoles and PC this year. Here’s a list of my top 4 most anticipated games:

Total War: Rome II
Total War is a long running series distinguished by its mix of RTS and turned based strategy. The latest incarnation is set in the Mediterranean when Rome was at its peaks.  Despite the games title there are diverse factions like the Spartans and Egyptians to play. The Total War series features spectacular battles which you can view from the sky, or get right into the action at an individual level. The period and geographic setting in Rome II has me extremely excited, Creative Assembly have an eye for authenticity which will only add to the atmosphere. I can’t wait to see Roman Legionnaires face off against war elephants.

Thursday, August 29

Modelling: Bitchiness And Me

During my short, and shallow, incursion into the modelling world one thing struck me: how vain, bitchy and superficial some of the people were. Shock! Horror! Who would have thought an industry centred on beauty could be like that! Here are the highlights I encountered while at Shine:
  • You’re fat: On of the first day I arrived at Shine, my recruiter Chad, told me that maybe I should go running. At the end of one my classes the instructor Roland said “Either its that shirt or you've gotten fatter this week”. When another model was measuring my waist, he exclaimed “Wow, quite big.”.Towards the end of my lessons one female model directly told me to lose 1-2kg. 
  • lol@u: Aforementioned female model started laughing at me and gossiping to Chad in Chinese as I stood nearby. They were about a foot away. When I looked at them and asked “What?” they just ignored me and she continue to giggle and glance at me. 
  • Your face is all wrong: Director Jude and teacher Roland would often be quite direct in their criticisms of you. Things like “You have a nice face but when you open your mouth, I go, EH! Who is that? Not nice voice!”. One guy was told his default smile was bad; his eyes were too slanty and he had to open them more. 
  • Full femme: After not turning up to class one week, I was scolded by a model through SMS. I returned the following week and said hi to him. He glanced and me and ‘harrumphed’. The rest of the lesson he would ‘absent mindedly’ touch and caress me, while avoiding eye contact. 
  • White is so not in right now: When the haze in June was at its highest I was talking to Chad about the respirator masks people were wearing. He pulled out a black, leather mask. I asked him whether or not it was actually effective. He laughed and said no, and that he wouldn't wear the medical ones because they were too ugly. 
I don’t bear any ill will or dislike for these people, some of them were quite nice and friendly. However every so often I would be reminded about what industry/lifestyle these guys were in.

Wednesday, August 28

Journey Into Modelling - Part 3

The time had come to repeat TvC but I was really dreading the moment. Additionally I’d finally found a job as a business analyst intern. Part of my initial motivation with modelling was “finally, something I can try to excel at and focus on!”. This evaporated after I got a position at a respectable company. I was terrified of doing another TvC and had lost most of my initial motivation, so I started to think I’d just drop the modelling lessons permanently. On Friday night I was still undecided whether I should skip class. After getting drunk with a friend I decided “Fuck it” and slept in. I was very close to not turning up to any more classes after that. Finally, after feeling very ambivalent, I decide to stick with the lessons. For one thing I had paid money for them, thus I should remain so I got what I paid for. Additionally if I wanted to get modelling auditions I would need to show Shine my dedication. Another reason was I had made a commitment of sorts to see the modelling through, and my word is gold. Though I technically never said I would attend all lessons, I felt I had implied it enough to keep going. Finally even if I didn't enjoy it any more, it was a way for me to grow and gain experience. So I continued to attend lessons. Perhaps my perseverance paid of because I got an interesting opportunity.

Tuesday, August 27

Journey Into Modelling - Part 2

I'll never live this down

Soon I was to attend my photo shoot. I was told to bring all my clothes, so I did. Our teacher created four outfits from what clothes I'd brought. The photographers guided me through each segment. We went through several poses with each outfit, more than a dozen poses with many photos taken. The session lasted over an hour. I felt pretty absurd in some of them (picture related) but I feel I got my money worth. When the photos were printed the Shine models were gushing over how good I looked.

Over the following weeks we learned a variety of modelling skills. One week we learnt how to introduce ourselves to casting agents, another on what to do once you get a job; everything from what to bring to what not to say. Both the most interesting and hardest lesson for me was television commercials (TvC). We were told to present a reading from a short script which was as follows (it is still burned into my memory): “Are you ready to shop to your heart’s desire? Eight weeks of fabulous offers await you at thousands of stores all over Singapore! This is the Singapore Great Sale 2012. The sale worth waiting for.”. For my initial reading I wasn't very nervous. However after performing I was told I read it like a news anchor. So we were tasked with creating a scenario or situation in which to present it. For instance as a character like a football player, a Thai tourist or a guy watching TV. I was racking my brains trying to think of something interesting.

Sunday, August 25

Movie Review: Elysium

I’m a fan of sci fi so when I saw the poster of Elysium and the words “Matt Damon”, “Jodie Foster” and “Director of Disctrict 9” I knew I had to watch it. Especially with the last phrase! District 9 is one of my favourite films of the last few years. The film had a brilliant dirty, and grounded, feel to it and featured a compellingly flawed protagonist. Jodie Foster and Matt Damon were also draws. Damon was great in the Bourne trilogy and I’ve always admired Jodie Foster for films like Silence of the Lambs and Taxi Driver. She also speaks French fluently, which is awesome.
I always try and mediate my expectations, but it was hard for me to feel anything but excited for Elysium. Unfortunately expectations didn’t match reality and I left the theatre with ambivalence.

Wednesday, August 21

Journey Into Modelling - Part 1

C'est moi.

During my first month in Singapore I was at Orchard, trying to meet a girl for a date. After some miscommunication, and rushing to the wrong MRT station, I ended up waiting at the Mandarin Gallery. It was here that two well-dressed guys approached me and asked if I was lost. They introduced themselves as Chad and Earnest (the whitest names I ever heard). So ensued an awkward conversation, where they engaged me in small talk and I tried to work out what they were trying to sell me. It turns out they wanted to recruit me as a model for Shine Models and bring me to their office to discuss it more in detail. I was hesitant in case it was a scam but there was no talk of exchanging money.

So that weekend I turned up at their offices. I was already very cynical and was alert for signs of falsity. As I walked into their office space my first impression was one of modesty. It was one medium sized room with a few tables and chairs squeezed in. Chad sat me down and asked me some questions before instructing me to perform a video introduction, as well as displaying a few facial expressions. He left for a short while, returning saying the director had looked at my photos and said I had good expressions. My bullshit detector was tingling but I continued to listen. Chad told me that I would be joining some modelling classes for $180 SGD and he wanted me to get a photo shoot to build a portfolio. The modelling class would be once a Saturday for 3 hours. He explained that I could get a photo-shoot done by myself or I could use their preferred partner for $350 SGD. Not wanting to throw my money away, I left and decided to research the legitimacy of Shine Models and whether I was being scammed.

Sunday, August 18

Primer On Video Game Reviews

Although I haven’t posted many reviews so far, I feel that it’s necessary to clarify how I rate games. As opposed to rating a game on its quality, or production values, at the end of the day I rate a game on how much I enjoyed playing it. Thus there are certain genres and games that I’ll struggle to enjoy or justify spending money on, even when millions of people love them, or they are critically acclaimed. Take for instance the Street Fighter series. I played some of Street Fighter 2 on the SNES and I certainly enjoyed it. At the time Street Fighter was a cult classic, spawned a film and cultural references as well as having droves of passionate fans. But it was never a game I played very often, or for very long, I far preferred games like Super Mario Bros. 3, A Link to the Past or Super Metroid. The fighting game genre just isn’t one I enjoy very much.

Thursday, August 8

Singapore: Memories Versus Reality

Photo stolen from kindly Yee Lee Wong
In an earlier post I mentioned I had an idolised view of Singapore. This fantasy was generated from visits to Singapore, which I experienced as a child. While I can’t say I idolise Singapore any more, I still retain the memories and experiences of why I felt that way in the first place.

One such memory I have is when I was around 8 years old. It’s a hot and humid day, the sky is clear, I had just left a play park. The scenery is green, filled with luscious plants, contrasting the grey roads and pavements. I am walking parallel to a drainage ditch, babbling with flowing water. The air is still and quiet. I'm feeling euphoric and free, I'm wondering at the simple and organic beauty. In a way I feel at home, this is were I belong. In another memory I remember very little. I'm in my grand parents house watching Biker Mice From Mars on a tiny television. I feel safe and secure.

I remember very little from when I was younger, but none the less, the feeling still remained; Singapore was a wondrous place. So when I got off the plane in June 2013, after being away for years, part of me still expected and hoped Singapore would be like that.

Shadowrun Returns Review Aborted!

So after 5 mostly enjoyable hours of the newly published, Kickstarted backed, game Shadowrun Returns I came back to find my save files deleted.
No idea why it happened, tried various solutions offered online but nada. I don't feel like restarting the game only to have my saves deleted again, so I think I'm going to wait a month or two longer, for further patches before I dare open the game again.

In the meantime I've just installed Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory, so I may do a review on why its the best stealth game ever. I also plan on getting Duck Tales: Remastered and Don't Starve at some point. Hopefully I'll have some alone time soon to get some serious gaming done.

Friday, August 2

How The Hell Did I End Up Here? Scotland To Singapore.

Recently I made the decision to leave Scotland, where I've lived my entire life, to move to Singapore. “What a daring and bold decision!” you must be telling yourself. You’d be sort of right. Singapore isn't completely foreign to me.

Welcome to Singapore

Time To Be Less of A Blogging Slob

So I haven’t posted any updates on this blog for months now, how awful of me. I have some 'free time' now and I have things I want to write about. I’ve also just moved to Singapore and my core audience size has increased by two (you know who you are). So I’ll start by posting at least one blog entry every week. I’ve just downloaded Shadowrun Returns, so once I complete it I’ll post a review. Sadly I only have time to game on the weekends so it may take me a while to review subsequent games, assuming I even get the time to play them in the first place. Additionally I’ll be posting my experiences of life in Singapore, as well as short movie reviews; like Pacific Rim (BEST MOVIE EVER).

This increase in blogging activity is totally not about getting attention and driving traffic so I make some money off Google Ads. I think I only need to hit like 100k views a day to live off the blog anyway…