from the ashes

I’ve recently just restarted playing Dragon Age: Inquisition (DA:I), picking up where I last left off. I think it’s because I’ve started working again, and I needed something to destress with, though I don’t think I’m stressed most of the time. But it’s just because I realised I don’t have all the time in the world, and I really ought to clear all the unfinished business.

But replaying DA:I just made me remember why I never finished it in the first place, considering how much time and how many run throughs I did with Dragon Age: Origins (DA:O) and Dragon Age 2 (DA2). Though to be honest, in most of my playthroughs, I made the same major decisions most of the time because there are some things I just cannot budge on. Like, mages over templars all the freaking time. It’s not that I don’t understand the importance of the templars, but they’re terrible guardians. And it’s not like I haven’t been disappointed and betrayed by the mages, but I still sympathise with them 90% of the time.

Anyway, there are 3 main reasons why I couldn’t finish DA:I during my first run.

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Sixteen92; 2016 Winter Collection

it’s been a while since I did one of these, isn’t it? I don’t think I’ve even gotten around to fully testing out the Halloween/Fall collections, which I’ve received quite a while ago. Why? Sheer laziness, I suppose, and a general sort of tiredness regarding indie perfumes. Not that I’ve been blown away with mainstream/designer/crazily priced niche houses either. These days my go-to scent is Maison Martin Margiela’s Flying, which I’ll be posting about next week, when I’ve put my floating thoughts down into words.

Sixteen92 always has impeccable presentation and branding, and perhaps it’s this clean sharp image that keeps me coming back despite the fact that their perfumes don’t always resonate with me. But the website is so nicely designed, the perfume vials/bottles are neatly labelled with clear logos and a good font, plus the card describing the notes looks good pinned on my walls… yeah, I’m a sucker for branding.

The 2016 Winter Collection is inspired by the elements as represented by gemstones/crystals.

Black Tourmaline (earth: purification, grounding, protection from negative energies)
☾ Notes: saffron, oud, blackened woods, tonka, vetiver, copal, suede ☽
To be honest, I gagged a little when I gave the vial a quick whiff. Too much suede and vetiver for my liking. On my skin, it’s definitely an overload of suede, but not as bad since I can smell the oud, and oud is one of my go-to scents. Anyway, definitely earthy, very grounded sort of scent. Overall, it’s one of those warm perfumes with a twist of darkness, like you’re all bundled up indoors but you spy a pair of golden eyes in the distance while looking out of the window, and your heart beats just a little faster.

Carnelian (fire: creativity, courage, passion)
☾ Notes: fiery clove bud, espresso, dry coconut husk, black vanilla pod, blood orange ☽
Oh my god, I thought I was going to hate this because I don’t do clove, but this one may be my favourite out of the lot. Coffee, it smells like a strong dose of authentic java, sweetened slightly with vanilla with the lightest dusting of coconut flakes. There’s a hint of clove, but it’s not overwhelming, instead it floats in the background to give the perfume a kick and amplify the coffee.

Kyanite (storm: channeling, psychic energy, meditation & dream recall)
☾ Notes: smoked resins, hazelnut, caramel, temple incense, white sandalwood ☽
This one is good too, but not as delicious as Carnelian. A little nutty, but sweet overall thanks to the incense and white sandalwood, and I also want to describe it as creamy though I don’t know exactly why I’d say that, but Idk, I can imagine this perfume being spread evenly with a butter knife.

Labradorite (wind: magick & transformation, psychic development, aura protection)
☾ Notes: mandarin, narcissus, licorice, warm amber, labdanum, sandalwood ☽
I wanted to like this, since I find labradorite to be a very pretty stone. Buuuut I’m not sure, maybe it’s the weird mixture of narcissus and amber and labdanum. I find narcissus to be a sort of light watery musky sort of scent which doesn’t exactly jive with amber or labdanum. To me, it doesn’t feel like a scent about wind it’s too green, like a sort of lotus flower.

Moonstone (water: intuition, spiritual guidance, introspection)
☾ Notes: white iris, amaryllis, tuberose, winter violets, chilled honey, ozone, vanilla ☽
The perfect winter floral scent – it’s cold but earthy, because of the iris and tuberose, but not too green since the honey note helps to sweeten the overall scent. But you feel a chill, almost metallic, from the ozone. It’s good, in the way it reminds me of Serge Lutens’ Silver Iris Mist – it’s the same sort of coldness that speaks to me.

baby it’s not cold outside

I’m perpetually stuck in the wrong season – it’s humid and sunny here in Singapore and it’s only cold when you’re in the office or malls, but I’m constantly drawn to the outerwear section whenever it comes to clothes shopping.

I got two more coats during a Black Friday sale, and to be honest, I kind of regretted my impulse buys because dude, I won’t be wearing them here unless we suddenly experience a drop of at least 15 degrees. Which, who knows, maybe climate change will trigger some sort of nuclear winter apocalypse, though it probably will be the opposite, plus flooding will occur or something. Both of which are not coat-wearing occasions ):

Of course, as usual, my mother looked at my purchases and wonders where she got such a frivolous kid when she’s the practical type. Like, oops, sorry, I just happen to like covering myself from head to toe in black, and have a hood obscuring my face from light. Bonus points if my clothes are decorated with safety pins and zippers and metal chains. (So emokid it hurts, basically).

Lol. Wait till she sees my oversized Omocat shirts.

quick thoughts on work

it’s sad, but I’m only halfway through my second week and I’ve fallen ill. it’s like my body is adjusting to all the work shit all over again since I had such a long hiatus.

01 casual dress code is the best thing ever. seriously. but it also makes me want to go shopping for more shit to wear to work.

02 still goddamn awkward around people despite getting over the whole ‘shy/introverted’ thing. I mean, fake it till you make it, sure, but if you’re not very comfortable with people in general, it shows up, no matter how much I laugh along with their in-jokes and pretend to be outgoing.

03 music is a lifesaver. okay, like this is applicable in all scenarios, but basically music is the main thing that is keeping me awake at work when all I want to be is a zombie. like, I was so relieved to see people using earphones on the third day that I threw all caution to the winds and hit up my Spotify playlists.

04 heeeelllo, procrastination, my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again. yes, a terrible bad habit but so far, I’ve managed to complete my tasks as quickly as possible (though not without pesky minor errors that could have been caught with some checking) so that I can you know, surf the net, check out reddit, read fic…

05 the cynic in me lives on – I still can’t stand all those inspirational motivational shit that leaders like to sprout. yeah, tell me what to do, give me deadlines and give me the money, but don’t try and inspire me with your words because I’m like the running creek, everything gonna flow right by and I’m too jaded for your ra-ra feel good maxims. it’s all just marketing lingo and neuro-linguistic programming to me.

caffeine in an iv drip | a mixtape about coffee

because sleep deprivation is a thing that never ends. Even when I wasn’t working, I was still not getting enough sleep, and now that I am back to joining all the mindless zombies and their daily grind, the sleep deprivation is much worse.

01. J. S. Bach – Coffee Cantata, BWV 211, iv Aria: Ei! Wie schmeckt der Kaffee süße

02. Garbage – Cup of Coffee
(it took a cup of coffee to prove that you don’t love me)

03. Blur – Coffee and TV
(so give me coffee and TV)

04. Black Flag – Black Coffee
(anger and coffee, feeding me)

05. Bob Dylan – One More Cup of Coffee
(one more cup of coffee ‘fore I go / to the valley below)

06. Ella Mae Morse – Forty Cups of Coffee
(I’m drinking forty cups of coffee, forty cups of coffee)

07. The Ramones – I Wanna be Sedated
(hurry hurry hurry before I go insane)

here’s my ten cents, my two cents is free

Guess who’s back, back again? *sheepish wave*

It has been a while since I retreated to this corner of the internet, hasn’t it, like around half a year? Idk, I suppose I didn’t really feel like posting despite having things to talk about. But hey, I thought it was high time to come back before I stop being able to put thoughts and feelings into actual sentences, because we all know that the thoughts that flow through one’s mind move really quickly and are normally only half-formed. (Or at least that’s my experience? I tend to think in half-sentences because my mind knows what I’m trying to say without having to craft everything into proper thoughts as though I’m trying to explain something to another person outside of my mind.)

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somewhere I belong

(sorry for the tacky Linkin Park title – it’s just that I’ve been assigned a Linkin Park song for drum class a while back and it has somehow restarted my little emofest with the band. also late night ramblings up here, probably incoherent crap.)

If someone were to ask me if I like living in Singapore, I would very logically be able to make several points in the pro column:

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For Your Entertainment

Because I haven’t been watching anime for ages, and of course once I go back, I dive in deeeeep. But really, fansub groups are the best – they sub shows even though they have no real incentive to do so, in fact, some might even be threatened to stop because intellectual property and all that legal stuff, and people don’t always appreciate their efforts (this goes to those scanalating teams for manga as well.)

Anyway, here are some anime that I watched in July, some of them I’ve completed, some of them I’m watching as they air in Japan, others are old shows that I’m slowly catching up with. Shows are listed alphabetically because I’m anal like that.

– Ace Attorney (caught up)
 (sorry! no credits because I can’t find the tumblr link!)

I have finally caught up with the latest episode of Ace Attorney, which I’m enjoying quite a fair bit. They have retained much of the original game, but made their own marks by adding details as well as simplifying and changing a little of the games. But the general atmosphere remains and it’s a really fun watch. The characters are appropriately quirky and the voices are really fitting too.

To be honest, I’ve only finished the first Phoenix Wright game, I’m still at the last trial for Justice for All, half way through the first case for Trials and Tribulations. Can’t remember where I was in Apollo Justice, but I remember I’ve only cleared one case for Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth. Come to think of it… I’ve only finished 5 DS games, and I have a library of 30+ games. Gosh, I have so much backlog.

– Aoharu x Machinegun (completed)
This one isn’t really a new anime, but I didn’t know it existed until I started reading the manga series! Anyway, the main character (the short blond kid) is a girl, who just so happens to look more like a dude, and somehow long story short, she’s drafted into playing survival games with the taller blond dude and the gloomy black haired guy. It’s like paintball, except with BB guns.

Pretty interesting storyline, but really, they need to give us a second season because the manga is still on-going! The comedic parts are great, not really so fond of the angsty bits though. I mean, sure, from the manga covers (and title), I had assumed it was going to be a serious manga, but now that I have discovered it to be on the funny side, I just want it to be hilarious all the time.

– Barakamon (2 episodes in)
Calligrapher Handa-sensei punched a critic for criticising his work, and got sent to an isolated village by his father as a result. He’s kind of grumpy and stubborn, but this is definitely one of those feel-good anime where you learn about life and being a decent person, because of the tight knit community in the rural village. And yeah, with comedic elements even as you feel like tearing up because ‘so cute and so much feels’. I mean, I’m only 2 episodes in, and I can already tell because it’s definitely going to be full of the tropes. But damn, I don’t like kids, but the little girl, Naru? She’s adorable and totally a scrapper, you can tell from her looks.

– Fudanshi Koukou Seikatsu (caught up)
I’ve actually read the manga for this a while back before discovering that hey, they made an anime too. Basically a comedic slice-of-life sort of short (4-koma style) episodes about a guy who likes BL and his general… problems? Funny and each episode being only like 3 minutes, I don’t mind keeping up.

– Fukigen na Mononokean (caught up)

THIS is my favourite anime of the season :DDDD It has all the things I like: cool protagonists, lovely art style and the colour scheme!, and especially yokai and Japanese folklore. (Which is why I enjoy Natsume Yuujinchou, Tactics, Momochi-san Chi no Ayakashi Ouji & Of the Red, the Light and the Ayakashi). I think Fukigen na Mononokean has the same feel as Natsume Yuujinchou and xxxHolic…

Ashiya is your normal high schooler, except somehow he can see yokai, and because of this ability, he gets wrapped up with his classmate, Abeno, who is the current master of the Monokean, where yokai with requests end up. He becomes a part-time employee there and probably will end up helping Abeno learn how to bridge the gap between yokai and humans.

There are currently 6 books out in Japan, but the 3rd translated book just hit the book stores, I can’t wait for them to hurry up with the translations!

– Hatsukoi Monster (1 episode in)

To be honest, this anime is so awkward. A 16 year old girl who falls in love at first sight with a 5th grader (10/11 years old) because he saved her from a traffic accident. Like, isn’t the premise just so weird… and yeah, so the guy is freakishly tall and looks older than his age, he’s still a kid at heart, along with his friends who are just as tall but share the same maturity level. So yeah, poop jokes and such… at least Sugita is voicing one of the characters…?

– Himouto! Umaru-chan (completed)

This anime is adorable~ and i think I love it a tad too much.

Umaru is the main character, who appears to be the perfect girl outside – she excels academically, is popular in school, good at sports, and is really helpful to those in need. But once she steps home, she transforms into a chibi version, who only cares about junk food, video games and anime, and generally lazing around as much as possible. She lives with her older brother who puts up with her whimsical tendencies, and the focus is generally on how Umaru slowly gains more friends and perhaps reconcile the two contrast aspects of her personalities.

– Sakamoto Desu Ga (5 episodes in)

Yet another anime heavy on the comedy, Sakamoto Desu Ga is loosely translated to Haven’t You Heard, I’m Sakamoto. It revolves around the titular character who does everything coolly – be it his classroom duties, having lunch or standing outside the classroom holding buckets as a punishment.

Sort of a slice-of-life school anime, it seems to be about how Sakamoto deals with his haters, and maybe fans as well.

– Servamp (caught up)

Servamp = servant + vampire

Anyway, a normal high schooler picks up a stray cat, perfectly simple right? Nope, not when that cat turns into a lazy vampire who would rather play video games and eat junk food than suck blood and attack humans. But because this has shounen elements, there is a big bad villain who wants to kill the 7 Servamps and their human companions, so our main character and this cat-vampire has to find allies in the other Servamps to defeat this big evil.

Cliched but fun, I’m enjoying this, though I really don’t like the opening and ending themes. Also, weirdly, it’s not translated to Chinese?? I can’t seem to find it in bookstores, but there are up to 10 volumes in Japan, I think.

Things I Love Thursday

Sometimes the world is just a terrible shithole, and you don’t know what you have to feel good about so you end up procrastinating, but really you do need to see the good in the world before you end up just wondering what everything is for. Here are some of the things I’ve enjoyed in July despite all the rubbish going on.

So I’ve been following Random Encounters’ Five Nights at Freddy musical for a while, and they have finally updated with two new videos. It features Markiplier, MatPat and Natewantstobattle~ so yay there. And even though I don’t really follow the whole FNAF lore, I like the spin the Random Encounters team gave to the story – there’s some plot beyond just creepy animatronics and what nots, and the tunes are pretty catchy.

Yeeeah, so the steam summer sale went by quite a while back, but in my defense, this post was reaaaaally sitting in my drafts for quite a while, so yeah, I screencapped that image back then and finally got around to writing up this post. I am so productive like that.

I bought the whole Civilisation V (all the DLCs and everything) for only 12 bucks and it ate my life, in a way. It’s the whole ‘just one more turn’ trope and I can’t believe how much time I’ve spent on it. It reminded me back when Rome was popular, or at least my brother got me into the game, and I think I enjoyed it a little too much, with the whole building of temples and fire stations, and aqueducts. It was way more hands on than Civilisation V, which is fun in another manner.

There will be a new Neil Gaiman book, and it will be on Norse mythology, guess who grinned to herself and said ‘it’s about frigging time, Gaiman’, because frankly it is. We all know Gaiman likes mythology, and the Norse pantheon, because hello, American Gods had Odin, Loki and Thor, at least, plus his children’s book, Odd and the Frost Giants, is also related to the Norse myths.

FINALLY got my metaphorically grubby hands on Zero Time Dilemma, which I preordered ages ago, but it got delayed so MDA could label it as a M18 game, like c’mon, as if small kids want to play ZTD since there’s soooooo much reading and waiting and brain-using. It’s not some beat-them-up or button mashing with little plot, plus they have to have played 999, and VLR, to be interested in ZTD. I doubt kids want to bother with all the hassle.

I have high expectations, and I hope they won’t let me down, and can I just fangirl that Sugita is voicing Carlos (who I assume is the main character), and we got Daisuke Ono too! :DDDD These are two of the most recognisable seiyuus to me, especially Sugita. Not sure if it’s because I’ve heard over 300+ episodes of him in Gintama, plus all the other random anime that he pops up in or what.

Other 3DS games I got recently but haven’t really played yet: 7th Dragon III Code: VFD and Yokai Watch, yes, so slow, I know, but I finally caved, okay.

Watching Cry play Inside after a loooong time of not watching any LPs. I’m no good at platformers and it’s fun to hear Cry’s commentary as usual. Some other LPers that I follow are also doing this playthrough, but I think I’m gonna stick with Cry because I’m so biased.

Last year, I went to the Artscience Museum on my birthday to check out The Deep exhibition, which showcased deep sea creatures. This year, I headed down to the Singapore Art Museum to check out yet another nautical related exhibition. This one was less scientific and instead the featured works showed how the artists related to the sea.

I also managed to check out Imaginarium, which was mostly aimed at kids, but hey, on a weekday afternoon, there were hardly any kids around to annoy me. I liked the short films that they had selected, especially The Little Cousteau and Mon Ami Le Robot.

I think I love the sense of isolation and wistfulness displayed in both short films, and I thought the music they used fitted the scenes really well.

I’ve also finally watched the new Ghostbusters flick, and it was good! I reaaaaaally don’t understand the hate for it. Like c’mon, it’s not gamechanging or anything but it was a fun summer romp, just like all those brainless Transformers or superheroes movies. I thought the movie was a bit thin in terms of plot, but the characters were fun, and though some of the jokes were pretty cheesy, the writing was still snappy and tight.

Speaking of summer romps – Star Trek Beyond! :D Chris Pine soothes all pain, because I think he’s super hot. Which might not be everyone’s opinion. There were cliches galore – Kirk acting all morose and kind of jaded after all his escapades, in which he seems to spend most of the time running for his life (it’s got to be a trope already). And there’s the whole Spock and Bones – snarky comrades-in-arms – working together and throwing all sort of banter, plus Spock and his awkwardness in his dealings with Uhura, the possibility that the Spock-Kirk combo may be ruined, Chekov and Sulu and Scotty throwing about sciencey jargon, especially Scotty with his ‘magic’ mojo at modifying spaceships, monstrous looking villains with unnatural skin colours, and unexpected allies, and of course, the Enterprise crew getting to act like big damn heroes – unless you’re a nameless red shirt, then you die.

Now to just wait for Suicide Squad :DDDD Jared Leto~ sorry, showing bias again.

In real life, I had a lovely family dinner at a Japanese hotpot restaurant, as well as a meet up with the clique where we had ramen! and dessert! And they got me booze as a present, which made my mother laugh in a not-so-pleased manner because my friends think I’m an alcoholic.

Another friend got me Neko Atsume related stuff, since he knows that I’ve finally gotten all the cats and all their mementos and now I’m just playing to collect currency. Because eh, why not.

so far from the shore

This is me continuing my spiral into self-induced depression, I suppose. But I recently got around to listening to the so popular Stressed Out by Twenty One Pilots and the cynic in me just wanted to sit down and laugh a little at how innocent the lyrics are. Of course, personal opinions and my own jaded thoughts probably warped the song from its original purpose.

See, the lyrics that I find questionable runs as:

Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.
Wish we could turn back time, to the good ol’ days,
When our momma sang us to sleep but now we’re stressed out.

We used to play pretend, give each other different names,
We would build a rocket ship and then we’d fly it far away,
Used to dream of outer space but now they’re laughing at our face,
Saying, “Wake up, you need to make money.”

And I can’t help but feel like shaking the people who identify with these lines. Do you know why you could play pretend and why you didn’t get all stressed out, and why your mom’s singing could put you at ease? Because she gave up on her dreams so that you could grow up healthy and happy.

A journalist wrote of her own turbulent childhood where she had to grow up with a mother who was eccentric and in a way, it left scars on the writer.

She grew up an only child in a penthouse in New York’s Upper East Side. Her mother was a poet, her father a diplomat. He retreated to Thailand when the marriage failed and so, for much of the year, it was just Leve, her mother and her mother’s party guests. There were frequent raucous parties, attended by the likes of Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Norman Mailer, belly dancers, balloon magicians, Andy Warhol and “people she met in the elevator”, Leve says. “It was very eccentric.” Sometimes the guests had to wait hours before her mother would appear, wrapped in a towel and covered with bubbles. If they were beguiled, her daughter wasn’t: “At 11pm I’d hear, ‘Everybody! Stop talking! It’s time for the music!’ And I’d be lying in bed, panicked, because I had to go to school the next day. I didn’t care who these people were. What mattered to me was that they were behaving inappropriately and they were inconsiderate to me. I needed to set my own boundaries, because nobody else was setting them.”


“It came as a big surprise to me that she didn’t love me,” she replies. “I thought it was going to be, ‘Thank you, Mommy, for everything you gave me.’ I tried to make her life as beautiful as possible. I had a very famous salon in New York.” (source)

Is it so strange to tell your kid that ‘Hey, maybe you need to think about making money? I can’t possibly support you financially when I’m close to the retirement age, and don’t you think it’s funny how you can faff around dreaming while I have to put bread on the table? Surely you don’t think that my dream is to look after my kids until the day I drop dead?’

Which might be me putting too much of myself into that reading, because I’m currently being a total NEET (Not in Education, Employment, or Training), and people keep asking me when I’m going to get a job.

Don’t you find it funny how we were bombarded with motivational lines such as ‘follow your dreams’, ‘set high goals’, ‘you can do whatever if you put your mind to it’ etc. But to be honest, if we all followed our dreams and based our careers on our childhood fantasies, where would society be? Surely the number of kids thinking that they wanted to be investment traders or janitors or bus drivers are minute. For those kids who grew up and got sensible jobs, were they selling out? Did they decide that they could never because astronauts, rock stars, or firefighters, and settled for less and because of that, they lost when they put themselves in the rat race?

I suppose a part of me feels guilty – how much do I know about my mother beyond the fact that she is my mother? That she nags too much and annoys the hell out of me and is probably the only person I hate and love at the same time. Which makes me the most ungrateful bastard who doesn’t deserve everything that I have now.

We don’t seem to think about our parental figures as real people. They had to have proper hopes and dreams, did they ever achieve any of them? Or did we get in the way of their goals? Sure, most decent parents probably didn’t see their kids as a burden, but perhaps as another type of dream, different from what they originally thought about when they were younger themselves. But in the case of opportunity cost, maybe the kid was a better choice? Idk I don’t ever want to have children; I’m too selfish to prioritise another human being over my own desires. I don’t think I can see a kid as anything but an obstacle to whatever I want.

Instead of going out with her friends on Sundays or resting after a hectic week of work, my mother chooses to do extra housework, buys a shit ton of groceries and cooks a feast because my brothers and their families would come over. I’m sure we would all be okay if we got take out instead, but in her mind, since they only visit once a week, she has to make sure that they eat properly (she doesn’t think they eat healthy food on their own, I suppose), and that means homecooked food.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, I just had a kneejerk reaction to a song, and I guess I felt too much emotions for a couple of lines because of where I am currently, or who knows, maybe I just have too much time on my hands.