University Monopoly = Big Money

As we all know, monopoly is bad.

I just looked at the breakdown of my $3300 tuition and student fees for 2008 winter session @ UBC out of curiosity.

Guess what I found?

$3 Sexual Assault Fund (does that mean I get to go sexually assault someone once I pay this fee?)
$88 Upass
$5 Ubyssey Publication Fee (apparently a UBC newsletter)
$12 Student Aid Bursary Fund
among other things

Never knew doing business is that easy – just list all the money you want, and people will have to pay them.

IMHO, Upass included in student fees ($88×2 for two sessions) is ridiculous. What if I won’t be taking the bus? Why am I paying as much as people who take it 10 times a day? I am a big fan of users-pay-ism.

And all those forced “donations” too.

Okay I will quit complaining and pay whatever they say. I don’t get a choice do I?

Dinner & Dance and Dry After Grad

Was going to make this post right after the events, but it was 5:30am when I got home… so yeah (good thing there weren’t many cars on the road when I drove home… would’ve crashed into a few. too sleepy haha) =P

Dinner & dance at Four Seasons hotel was okay. We did get fed with pretty decent food, but flashy lights and ear-crackingly loud “music” (using the term loosely here) is just not my thing :-). Chatted with my friends outside the ballroom till the end of the dance @ midnight. Oh. Did I mention beautiful girls? =P Some were pretty ghostly with all the makeup, but the majority were gorgeous =). The ice sculpture thing was pretty cool, too. Will steal a pic or two from someones facebook if and when they come up =P

30 mins of sleepy bus ride took us back to the school for the Dry after grad party. That, on the other hand, was awesome. The “hired security” =P (couldn’t resist haha… should have started a riot or something, so the money wouldn’t go into waste), the professional looking decorations and lighting (must have taken hundreds of man-hours), and all those fun games. We started with a round of black jack (first time in my life =P), then went on to the smacking game (two people smacking each other with a huge stick), and then DDR machine that we tried to beat (the easy level) with 4 ppl on the 4 directions… didn’t work =P. We got fed there too – pizzas, sushi, watermelon (had a ton =P)… there were other things like caricature and spray tattoos (whatever they are called) that we didn’t try. Looked like fun, though.

We had prize draws of things donated by parents. Someone apparently got a Wii, and I ONLY got a noise-cancelling headphone but hey… that’s a humongous ONLY =P. I guess that’s one nice thing about being in a school with dedicated (and possibly rich =P) parents.

Nice conclusion of our 5 years of highschool :).

Here’s my big fat THANKS for the parents and volunteers. (although my appreciation will probably never get to them…) For a mere $40 (or whatever it costed us), I wasn’t expecting something this huge and crazy (they decorated like half the school).

Sigh. Really wish I took some pictures. I’m usually not a big fan of photos (at least not of humans =P), but it was just too crazy. And I don’t wanna steal photos, too.

btw, have you seen water (melted ice) on milk? it’s pretty =P

Quality games. Anyone?

I have just finished Final Fantasy VII: Crisis Core, on the PSP. It’s a prelude to Final Fantasy VII, a 1997 game.

For those who don’t know, Final Fantasy is a very successful series of role playing games in fantasy settings from Square Enix. The most famous installment, FFVII, still have a fanbase of millions even today, more than 10 years after it’s launch. It’s the 4th best selling video game franchise of all times, after Mario, Pokemon, and The Sims (The Sims surprised me :-)). Beats even Tetris.

I am a die-hard fan of the FF series. This one is the 4th I have finished, after FFVII, VIII, and X.

I am not usually a big fan of video games, but I think FF worths every second of my time spent on it, up till now.

It’s one of a few games not based on bloody violence, has depths to the plots, well developed characters, cinematic full motion videos (FMV), innovative story-telling techniques, and with real music that is actually orchestrated and performed. Sure there are battles here and there, but they don’t distract from the beauty of the game. It is evident that the developers actually spent time on the game, instead of just throwing random bits together and hope to make big bucks, which is the case with many modern games.

The point of this post, though, is that I think they are going downhills.

If you have played Crisis Core, you would know what I mean. What’s with those repetitive “missions”, crappy music, Korean soap opera style plot, and random battles everywhere just to extend playing time? It did not live up to the legend that prior Final Fantasies have established.

Comparing it to, for example, FF7. In FF7, the female protagonist, Aeris Gainsborough, died an epic death halfway through the game, and is removed from the game since that point. If you have played as many role playing games as I have, you would find it strange. By classic conventions, when a main character dies, it’s almost predictable that s/he will be revived somehow somewhere later in the story. Not the case with FF. The character of Aeris is so well-developed that, people were actually shocked and saddened by her death. There was even a petition to the scenario writer, Yoshinori Kitase, to revive Aeris. But he wouldn’t.

In the real world things are very different. You just need to look around you. Nobody wants to die that way. People die of disease and accident. Death comes suddenly and there is no notion of good or bad. It leaves, not a dramatic feeling but great emptiness. When you lose someone you loved very much you feel this big empty space and think, ‘If I had known this was coming I would have done things differently.’ These are the feelings I wanted to arouse in the players with Aerith’s death relatively early in the game. Feelings of reality and not Hollywood.
– Yoshinori Kitase, Edge Magazine, May 2003

when I reflect on Final Fantasy VII, the fact that fans were so offended by her sudden death probably means that we were successful with her character. If fans had simply accepted her death, that would have meant she wasn’t an effective character.
– Yoshinori Kitase

An interview with the scenario writer

Where is this kind of drama in modern games?
Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy making people’s heads explode in Call of Duty 4 with a .50 cal sniper rifle, but what about something with more depth?

Hello world!

This is the legendary first post. The one that I will come back after twenty years and say “wow, time flies”. Hopefully.

WordPress! Seeing someone’s new WordPress (you know who you are) recently, I have decided to start my own that I have been dreaming about since I don’t remember when.

Before you praise me for my originality =P, I am using the theme Blix from (Thanks for the great theme!). I editted the CSS a bit to fine-tune it to my liking. Frankly, it doesn’t look any better than the original, but since I’ve done it already…

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I am a less than half-decent self-proclaimed web designer :). Haha btw, I really feel sorry for whoever is going to maintain our school’s website next year (Programming 12 class?). It’s one of the ugliest codes I have ever written =D.

Anyone wants to join WordPress? =D. I have gotten sick of Facebook lately. I take it as a sign that I am getting old :).

Now back to the Real Life(R). Valedictory was days ago. I actually felt sad. Not sad because I will miss you people. Sad because I know most of you will be erased from my memory in one or two years to come (maybe not even that). When we are all in one school, at least there are the occassional bumping-into-peoples that reminded me of people that I don’t usually talk to or really know. Oh well, life goes on :).

2 more weeks before going back to Taiwan. Last year I pretty much swam all day, played some ping-pong, ate more than enough bananas and not much else. Pretty sad actually. I only remember a few of my friends from my elementary school (finished it in Taiwan). (proof of my forget-after-1-year theorem)

BTW, am I the only one going to UBC Engineering next year??! Everyone else I know is going into Science… gahhh… I just checked out my courses a while ago, and apparently between some classes I have 10 minutes to run across half of UBC… Guess I will either have to start training my leg muscles or invest in alternative transportation (no, Translink doesn’t work =P they only cover a tiny bit of UBC last time I checked). A pair of wings maybe? =D

ps. yes, I intentionally left the title as “Hello world!”.