Introvert

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I guess this sums up my first week of summer term. Not going to disclose full details of the programme in case google search tracks any related key words to this post, and I dont want anyone in the programme to discover this.

Personally I take very long to warm up to people. My first impressions of schoolmates are based on the exchange of opinions towards an academic topic, therefore I always felt closer to classmates whom I attended seminar-styled lessons with (not always, but most of the time). This time lessons were 3 hours of lecture and information was a one way exchange. To be honest I was really bored. And everyone in class felt foreign to me.

Yesterday the class went for a field trip. After that most of us local students somehow banded together and they started planning crazy things to do in china. It must be the excitement that got them, as when they talked the laughter increased tenfold. I didnt say much and just smiled along. Amidst the laughter, deep down I felt lonely and lost. I just cant bring myself to laugh and say nonsensical stuff in front of people whom I only met for 8 hours. And mind you, most of the time we were in class listening to the prof talk instead of us talking.

Usually in a group of friends I am often the most quiet, passive and giving the “I am trying to accomodate you all even though sometimes I dont really agree with what you all are going to do” attitude. My friendship skills cant function well in a group because I have no idea how to exercise them when I dont know people well enough.

It is only week 1 and I am already having the need to seek social anxiety support. This is how an introvert feels when he is exposed to unfamiliar people/groups and “forced” to be close when he has not even talked to some of them.

Can any other introverts out there relate?

Throwback Thursday: The Doll Palace

Update: It is Friday today but whatever. I wrote this on a Thursday.

Today is Thursday so I decided to do a throwback Thursday post.

I am not sure how many Singapore netizens known about this but it was popular in the late 1990s and early 2000s especially in US. Back then in 2003-4 I was crazy over this website called thedollpalace.com. Here you can make cartoon dolls (often termed as dollz).

Last time one of my internet hobbies was to google my classmates’ name in Images and see what kind of photos will appear. So one day I typed my friend’s name and this digital doll wearing purple with her name. Later I found out that it was a user’s profile photo for a forum, but anyway I started surfing how to create the doll and poof I stumbled across this website. I forgot how since it was 10 years back.

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Dollz are pixelated digital images of people wearing clothes. Their bodies are obtained from a base, then like a puzzle you click and drop the head, clothes and legs over the body. Something similar to assembling and dressing a mannequin. I really love all the colorful clothes and it is amazing how they came up with so many different designs. If only I can find those clothes in daily wear. The doll heads are pretty too. Small eyes, thick upper eyeliner, lovely smile and nice hair.

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After selecting the items, they will appear in this build place page. Last time there used to be a chat box at where the advertisement is, so you can talk to other dollmakers while making your doll. Talk about multi-tasking.

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According to wikipedia (this is not an academic paper so I can cite from them) these dollz were used as avatars for chatrooms such as The Palace Chat Programme as early as 1995. Anyway the dollz were created by Melicia Greenwood, started circulating and replaced the conventional smiley faces. Because I was too young to remember anything in 1995 (I don’t even know what is a computer), click here fore a more elaborate picture about what was happening at that time.

So the idea expanded and a whole range of doll types appeared. Just browsing through the dollmaker is overwhelming enough because there are too many choices. Last time the website was updated almost weekly with new doll themes (the newest one being naruto) but there was no activity during these recent years. Here are just a few:

Prep

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Candy bar dollmaker

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Shaded Unique (Shuni). I just made this yesterday based on the 7 sins. Can you identify which is which?

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The website saves your creations in an online album which has limited space but you can upgrade it with doll points (you can get points by making dollz or participating in dollz contests). Yesterday when I logged in, the oldest dollz I made was in 2006 (shameless creations with no sense of design).

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Back then I didn’t have a computer at home as learning was still based on assessment and textbooks. So my internet access comes from the windows 97 computer at my grandma’s house. Does anyone remember using dial up connection in order to get on the internet? Once I log on to the dollpalace I spent hours there, and whoever tried to ring my grandma’s house can’t get through because the phone line is engaged, which annoyed my aunts.

To be honest at that point of time I was also annoyed because the graphics loaded really slowly and so I clicked around randomly in order to make them load faster, which only made the situation worse because it jammed up the computer. Oh gawd how stupid was that.

Favourite memory from dollpalace? There is this avatar chat where dollmakers over the world congregate. At present the place is like a graveyard because no one goes there anymore. Here you can choose your avatar provided by the website or use the ones you created. I always went for the glitter ones because I didn’t have the member privilege to create animated dollz. The animated feature is for premium members who pay money for it.

While making the screenshot for this post there was only my avatar in the chatroom. Last time it was so crowded in the different rooms until I couldn’t find my avatar. Encountered many weird/comical users from different timezones. It is always difficult to tell them that I have to log off to sleep because it is daytime at the other side of the world .

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Yup that’s it from me for throwback thursday. Glad that dollz and dollmaker websites have not totally disappeared from the internet so that I can still taste a bit of my tech-era childhood when I feel like it, but the soul of dollmakers are no longer there.

 

Contact lens experience

My. Very. First. Box. Of. Contacts! Decided to write this post for those intending to get contacts and how to mentally prepare and brace yourselves. Anyway everything is in my opinion.

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Decided to get contacts made in conjunction with the summer school performance and upcoming dance exams. Last year for CSTD I performed with no spectacles. Pretty scary because my vision was blurry. Luckily I didn’t trip and could still grope about backstage. This time my mum gave the approval.

So I walked into Capitol Optical (literally) asking if I can get contacts in store. Capitol Optical sounds reputable right I mean they have so many branches island-wide. Didn’t go back to the place where I got my latest spectacles (New China at Peninsula Plaza) as they don’t prescribe contact lens.

After going through all the eye-checks the optician got a spare pair of lenses for hands-on. I am the kind of person who will blink when anything gets close to my eye so imagine having to touch my eyeballs with my eye wide open and stuffing this weird invention in! Throughout the process the optician kept saying “Don’t blink!” and I lost count of how many “Don’t blink”s were said.

For a first timer I couldn’t tell if the lens were fitted in until when I let go of my finger only to find the lens still on my finger tip. Be prepared to cry a bit throughout the process. Finally when the lenses were in I was so goddamn happy as I learnt another life skill. Initially it felt weird because there seems to be something stuck in the eye. And then it is even weirder to find your vision become clearer without something weighing on your face.

And then comes the part where I had to take the lenses out. The optician taught me to push them to the side and then pinch it out from there, but I couldn’t feel the lens moving. Managed to pull them out by sheer luck.

Within the 40 minute session (I was there for an hour, minus the eye-test, paying the deposit, going to the toilet to wash my hands) I managed to try out the whole process twice. A rather long time taken but practice makes perfect. Soon I can do it with my eyes closed. Oh wait that is not possible.

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Decided to try out one pair on Sat for classes as I have to get used to dancing in them. Fitted the lens in within 10 minutes, after several failed attempts, but was really surprised at myself with the speed. Had no problem dancing in them, in fact wearing spectacles was a burden.

Taking them out was the problem. Apparently I applied too much force in shifting the lens because again, I couldn’t feel the lens moving in my eye. So they were still located near my pupils instead of the side of the eye while I was trying to pull them out. Ended up with red eyes (not really red, just blood vessels gathering at the whites) because of the force and trauma. Anyway they cleared after an hour or so *cold sweat*.

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Sunday… as usual had no problem fitting in the lens. Taking them out was also much smoother, just place your finger near where the outline is and push it. Having wetter eyes might help in the removal process because it helps to reduce friction. Sometimes my eyes are dry because I didn’t put eye drops and I was in denial that I actually have dry eyes.

So far I have no comment on the brand because I only wore it twice and I have not tried other brands so I am not in a position to compare or complain.

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-For contact lenses they can be flipped about. So while fitting in the lens make sure the sides are rounded and looks bowl shaped, rather than sharp which looks more like a plate. If you are unsure just flip them about to confirm the shape.

-Actually if you look closely in the mirror you can see this faint outline around your pupils, which is the contact lens. If you can see that it means the lens are properly fitted.

-In my opinion place the lens on your finger tip than the finger itself.

-Wipe the contact lens solution off your finger if the lens keeps sticking to your finger. But after many unsuccessful tries it is better to wash the lens in the solution before trying again.

-Most importantly, keep calm.

-For contact lens horror stories, consult google.

P.S The packaging for right and left eye are different because my left eye has a shallower curvature (forgot the reason) and my right eye is astigmatic.

Anticipation

Will be going for RAD summer school for the whole of next week! Can’t wait to pick up some new skill there to help me for the upcoming vocational exams in Sept and in dance as a whole.

Seriously this is the most stressful exam I have ever taken in my life (and it is only intermediate foundation) because it is so technically demanding. But it is also the exam which I enjoyed the preparation process the most despite all the frustrations. WAYYYY better than history.

I dislike nus life now. It seems like the dance studios have turned into my second home. All my weekends and majority of my summer break are burnt there and I dislike getting back to reality.

Still staying in the game and trying to enjoy the rest of my time before I leave. If celebrities can graduate from university, every uni student can do it too. I can’t do anything much now anyway.

I don’t want to predict how many people will sign up for that china module nor anticipate the course based on my previous experience because every time things turn out differently. Just like Survivor where the returning players have to play a whole new game in Heroes vs Villains. It is time to adopt a new strategy of approaching problems before it is too late.

Random thought: Wonder what it takes to be a dance historian. Not sure if there is such a career option available here, but since most history modules offered in nus are bloody shitty politically based I can forget about studying dance history. Studying about the political climate is also important and how it impacts a dance form but in terms of directly relating to the dance genres there is zero modules on it. Well there is art history but it is nowhere close to dance.

Why am I sounding so antagonistic when it comes to talking about academic matters?

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Totally unrelated photo update:

Photo of Lucius taken by yours truly featured in SPCA’s adoption spotlight. Willing SPCA volunteers have access to this shared dropbox folder (if you want to contribute) which consist of photos of the shelter animals taken during the shift. Every animal has their own individual folder by name and the photos will be used for publicity purpose.

I expect Lucius to be gone after I return from summer school but not positive about that.

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One of Singapore’s last remaining water wells at Ann Siang Hill. It was located below the hill track and at the back alleys. Quite easy to miss and sadly not much documentation.

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Addicted to the bean curd tarts from LE Cafe

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Lovely blue sky today

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BooksActually having a moving out sale because the rent in Tiong Bahru is too high. Honestly I can’t bear to see them leave because they are part of the Tiong Bahru community. I mean when people talk about Tiong Bahru, apart from the SIT Flats and all the cafes, BooksActually is also brought up in the conversation. It is part of the Tiong Bahru identity and the area will be weird without BooksActually’s presence. But all good things have to come to an end.

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Watapachi grape popping candy floss

I am not a foodie but I have the urge to review this candy (as you can see the number of food posts in this blog is close to zero). YX introduced it to me during one of our facebook chats and I am hooked to it.

Introducing Watapachi grape popping candy floss!

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It is a delightful combination of candy floss embedded with pop rocks! Personally candy floss are rarity to me because I only see (and definitely eat) them when I pass by night markets, and there are no night markets at where I stay. Pop rocks are the bits that create this sizzling sensation in your mouth. BZZZZZZZ. WZZZZZ. ZZZZZ (Those are sound effects).

So imagine candy floss melting in your mouth, followed by explosion after that, all packed compactly together! And who doesn’t love grape flavoured candy?

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According to YX he got his at Cold Storage, while I got mine at Isetan. I guess it should be available in most supermarkets, in particular Japanese ones. The candy cost $1.20 and is about the size of a cheque book. Pretty reasonable for the amount of enjoyment you will get later!

Okay that concludes an amateurish food review.

Back to Square 1

Every time when I step into the cattery for shelter duty, the staff-in-charge will always ask me how am I. Of course I tell her that I am fine. If not what? Tell her that I am at crossroads whether to stay one more year for honours and how I make all the wrong decisions ever since the start of university life and how I always end up at the bottom of the bell-curve?

Even though I was disappointed with my exam results today but I still shake it off like nobody’s business. The cats can’t save me from my plight anyway. Right, Rowdy?

Rowdy

“Whatever. I don’t know what is this honours and bell-curve thing you are talking about. Just leave me alone and let me nap.”

It is back to square 1, for now. I wasted 2 freaking years trying to carve out a path to maximise my learning experience, especially in an area I am interested in. But hell no how wrong my decision was!

Choosing modules by interest? Bullshit. After 2 years, I learnt that I should select a module where the bell-curve won’t screw me up. I learnt that I should let go of things that weren’t meant to be mine, no matter how I try to force-fit them into my life. Why didn’t I learn about that earlier? Because I was hopeful that my decisions will turn out fine, and I stupidly stuck to them. Talk about persistence and perseverance… They don’t work. They make people look dumb at best. I have been a dumb-ass for 2 years.

I didn’t mean to sound depressing or ruining anyone’s mood in this post. I just have to rant, somewhere. I can’t always put up that emotion-less, strong front in front of others and pretend that everything is alright, when they are apparently not.

Anyway, to those who extended their concern towards my latest depressing facebook status, I really appreciate your thoughts.

To the bell curve and those who attended the same modules as me that I did badly in… fuck you all. **********************************************************************

PS. To this person: I don’t think you know that I keep a blog, but thanks for being there for me listening to my rantings, even though we can’t see each other face to face. When you told me that we will be in the same faculty this coming academic year, you have no idea how excited I was. (Partly- sorry I have to use this word because I also have other ambitions in mind) for the sake of you, I will press on.