Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nike Veloci Mercurial FG review

Well, I just bought new football boots. The previous ones finally bit the dust. I had one big chunk of dirt stuck between the plate and the bottom of the boot. More disgustingly, the mud soaked through the sole.

So I went to Komtar today, and bought the works: New shin guards, proper football socks, and more importantly new boots. They have a really good selection. But the prices are most likely average when I look online. But in Penang, they are probably as good a deal as you will get anywhere.

If anyone would like to know, the ones I bought are sort of a dumbed down version of the super expensive nike mercurials IV vapor. They cost about double to triple. They don't have the carbon fibre plating at the bottom, its plastic. They also don't have the single line stitching. The leather upper isn't as good as the more expensive type. Mercurials are worn by Cristiano Ronaldo and Didier Drogba. Apparently, the last 6 top scorers in the Premier League wore Mercurials.

Nike Veloci Mercurial FG

If the shoe costs around 200, they are the dumbed down versions of the expensive ones. All the lines have them, mercurials, t90s, predator. That is all they sell here because Penang people can't usually afford to blow RM600 plus on the super expensive versions.

But, having said that, the shoe feels great. The synthetic leather they use, I believe is better for wet and humid type weather. The way the shoe is built really looks like a track shoe; which is great because I do a lot of running, dribbling, and shooting. I hope it will last a lot longer than my previous shoes. The leather on top was getting chaffed from all the kicking.

Check out my leg, full football gear! lol. Pro.

Look wise, yeah it looks pretty more flashy than anything. But these were the least flashy I could find, believe it or not. I'm more used to buying the typical shoes, but I liked the way these were built. Great for dribbling and sprinting. The front spikes are smaller, which is a major plus because it helps you get off the line quicker. Hopefully my passing and shooting will be ok when I try them out this weekend.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Clubbing isn't so bad....

This is from Clubbing isn't so bad ;)

I've noticed less-social people have a general tendency to dislike bars and clubs. The attitude sometimes comes across as fairly intense and bitter as well, almost like they hold a grudge against the idea of clubbing. I don't hit the bars every weekend, but it's something I find fun when the chance comes up. I don't think going to them is as bad as some people make it out to be. I'll go into this idea below. I'll try to take a balanced approach of acknowledging clubbing isn't perfect, but also sticking up for it and pointing out where I think the appeal is. Like with some of my other articles, my general goal isn't really to convince you you must take part in a particular activity to do better socially, but rather to hopefully soften your view on it if it's overly negative.
True, all u clubbing haters are less sociable people :P

Clubbing definitely has its flaws

I'd be crazy to say there was nothing annoying about going to clubs. There are at least a dozen reasons to get put off by them. It's not hard to see how some people could decide it's not their thing.

  • They can be overcrowded.
  • They can be way too loud, often to the point where you can barely talk to anyone.
  • They can be cheesy.
  • They can be pretentious.
  • They can be overpriced (cover charge/drinks/coat check/VIP section, etc.).
  • The staff can be rude and arrogant.
  • They can be stiflingly hot.
  • They can be smelly and dirty.
  • They may have annoying dress codes.
  • They can sketchy and dangerous.
  • The music can be awful.
  • The atmosphere can be very superficial.
  • You may have to wait forever to get a drink.
  • The lights can be overly intense, annoying, and blinding.
  • They can be full of drunk idiots.
  • People may be stuck up, rude, obnoxious, or catty towards you.
  • If you're a guy, some jerk may try to pick a fight with you.
  • You may not directly get into a confrontation, but be near one when it happens and have your night ruined by the bad vibes it causes.
  • If you're a girl you'll probably get groped, harassed, and hit on by idiots.
  • If you go out a lot, and see the same people week after week, they can sometimes be a very vapid, unhealthy group of friends.
  • You may have to wait in line for a long time (even worse if it was all a trick, and the place is dead once you get inside).

Even among people who like clubbing, these things sometimes get on their nerves. Sometimes their night will be ruined because of something that goes wrong.

Yep, name me a perfect event for socializing? Probably doesn't exist.

People who don't mind clubbing don't have as bad a reaction to the annoying parts

I've noticed people who like clubbing acknowledge its flaws, but don't get as bent out of shape about them as some of us do.

  • They plain don't care about some things that other people find annoying (e.g., crowded conditions, how everyone is acting, cover charge, etc.)
  • They see some of the annoyances more as minor nuisances than deal breakers. Like I remember going to clubs and getting very irritated at things like people jostling me, or the music being too loud. The friends I was with didn't seem as affected by it.
  • They go in knowing what they can and can't do at clubs. They don't get ticked off because they can't have an in-depth conversation, because they never went in with the expectation that they could do that. I think one of the reasons I got annoyed at clubs in the past was that I almost believed there was the potential for me to, say, easily chat to someone, but I was being unfairly prevented from doing so. I lightened up and started to enjoy myself more when I realized that it just wasn't something you could do in that situation.
  • They see the annoyances as coming with the territory. They realize some of the flaws of clubbing are a natural side-effect of the things that can make them fun.
Yeah, tell me about it. I think the disadvantages are really blown out of proportion unless a person has a serious health problem, or these things really cause them mental instability. Maybe clubbing haters are manic

Reasons people go out to bars and clubs

So I covered the down sides. In my experience bars and clubs offer people plenty of reasons to go to them as well. I find people who dislike them tend to be dismissive of these reasons though. I'll get more into that afterwards. Here are the usual reasons people go clubbing.

  • To dance.
  • To hear music they like, through a good, loud sound system.
  • To see a certain band or DJ play.
  • To drink.
  • To get out of the house and go somewhere.
  • To go out and hang out with a few friends.
  • To go out in a big group.
  • To go out and see the other regulars and staff you know will be there.
  • To go out and meet new people.
  • For a chance to hook up with someone.
  • To shoot some pool.
  • To watch a game.
  • Just to be in an interesting, stimulating environment (i.e., music, lights, decor, etc.)
  • To blow off steam after a rough week of working or classes.
  • To be out in a big group of people.
  • To do drugs.
  • To check a new place out and see what it's like.
  • To be out in your 'scene' with like-minded people.
  • To dress up and do something more glitzy than day-to-day life.
  • To be somewhere that's cool and happening.
Yeah, lots of reasons that I like :)

"The things people do in clubs are shallow"

When you read the list above, did you catch yourself turning up your nose at any of the points? "Ugh, dancing is so mindless. Why do people like it?" That's the first way people who dislike clubbing tend to dismiss it. They see everything that draws people to clubs as shallow and below them. My main response to that is you don't have to like everything, but things like dancing and listening to good music are fun for their own sake. What's wrong with that? You probably do fun, pointless things other people don't see the big deal about too.

The other thing to watch out for is saying you don't like something for reasons that don't really have to do with the activity itself. I've covered this ego-cushioning thinking before, but here it is again:

  • Thinking you don't like something because it makes you feel incompetent. e.g., "I suck at dancing, which makes me feel embarrassed. Whatever, dancing sucks."
  • Thinking you don't like something because it makes you feel uncomfortable. e.g., "This place is too crowded, and everyone's so well dressed it intimidates me. I feel kind of uneasy. Screw it, this place is crap."
  • Thinking you don't like something because you have a chip on your shoulder about the types of people who are typically seen to do it. e.g., "I hate those frat boys who think guys like me are losers. They like going to bars. Bars suck."
  • Thinking you don't like something because you resent the pressure to do it. e.g., "Everyone always wants to go clubbing, but I'm not that into it... Well now I really don't like."
  • Thinking you don't like something because it offers rewards, but you're bitter and frustrated because you haven't been able to get those rewards for yourself. e.g., "People supposedly go to clubs to meet people, but no one's ever been interested in meeting me. Who cares, anyone who goes to clubs probably sucks anyways."

Of course compared to reading philosophy, things like dancing and doing shots actually are shallow. But there's no law that says you have to be doing deep, thoughtful things 100% of the time. Everyone has things they do just for the fun of it.

Lol...yeah. Granted you will meet all types of people in clubs. Most people who think these things probably met others in clubs just like them. I've met fun people as well. Thank goodness.

"The only reason people really go to clubs is to..."

This is the second way people write off clubbing. Their reasoning is that while people supposedly go clubbing to dance or whatever, they really have a less flattering ulterior motive. The implication is that no one could really like what clubbing has to offer for its own sake, the only reason they're in it is for something else. The one's I've heard are:

  • People only really go clubbing to try and get laid.
  • Girls really only go clubbing for the attention they get from men.
  • Guys only really go to bars because they want to act macho and get into fights.
  • Girls really only go clubbing to get free drinks and to feed their egos.
  • People only really go clubbing to get wasted.
  • People only really go clubbing to feel superior and to judge other people.

Don't get me wrong, tons of people go clubbing with the sole purpose of trying to hook up. Many more people don't go out completely for one of the reasons above, but it does factor into their thinking. Also, certain bars are known for being places where you only go if you're looking for a one-night stand, or to do ecstasy, or whatever.

Not every last person who goes clubbing has these motivations though. It's negative and cynical to paint everyone with the same brush. A lot of times if someone wants to go to a club to dance with their friends they really do just want to dance. I have a girlfriend and going to bars still appeals to me. I didn't lose all interest in them as soon as I got into a relationship.

Clubs are mostly full of good, regular people

A common sentiment about bars and clubs is that they're full of annoying, superficial people. I can't deny some club goers fit this description, but I think most of them are just like anyone else. My logic is that most people are alright, and a good proportion of them go to bars and clubs, so if you go to a place full of people, they can't all be empty-headed and irritating. There's also the argument that you've probably been to clubs before, and you're not a moron, so it's reasonable to assume other people are in the same boat.

The environment tends to make everyone sure seem shallow though:
  • People usually dress up when they go out. That makes everyone look like the stereotypical shallow clubber, even if they're law students by day. Otherwise down-to-earth guys put on their shiny shoes and stripey shirts. Normal, level-headed girls put on their sparkly make-up and revealing tops.
  • People who are clubbing are admittedly there to have some mindless fun. So of course they won't be showing the more thoughtful sides of their personality. Even if they wanted to, the noise level and general craziness going on doesn't make it easy. They're joking around, being silly, letting off steam, etc.
  • Not everyone drinks, but most of the people are either drunk or at least a little buzzed. That tends to obviously make you act stupider.
  • If you're out, and you run into someone who's acting rude or obnoxious, that one person obviously stands out in your mind. But you don't notice that the other two hundred people there that are behaving, and who are probably just as annoyed with the douchebags as you are.
  • Girls who go out can get pretty hassled. As a result they can adopt a more stuck-up persona as a kind of armor against all the losers who bother them.
  • Plenty of people who go clubbing feel shy or out of their element, but they look around and everyone else seems to have it together, so they put on a brave face and look confident as well. Sometimes it's the least likely people who are feeling insecure.

Definitely cynical. I've met good people in clubs that are absolutely friendly and great. It's such a stereotype that even I believed until I started meeting more and more people in the club.

So take that all you clubbing haters. Clubbing is as good an event as any to meet people, not to mention some hotties :P

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Things I love and hate about japan

Hey everyone! I just got back from Japan. It's a love/hate thing with me and foreign countries.

Things I love about japan:

1. Girls wear skirts in sub-zero temperature.

I think girls in skirts look extremely hot for some reason. And guess what, in Japan, they love skirts too! So much, they'll wear it in any weather. I saw more skirts than pants walking around the

2. Go anywhere, and they will have good sushi and japanese food.

The sushi in Japan is top notch and you could go anywhere to get excellent sushi and Japanese food. Almost everywhere I went had excellent Japanese food.

3. Best mountains for skiing in this side of the world.

Japan ski resorts are on par with the best in the world. I've been to some fantastic ski resorts and some un-fantastic ones and the really good ones first have to have the mountain (800m+ of vertical skiable terrain from the top chairlift to the base), the snow (3m+), and then the facilities. Japan ski resorts have all three plus it's relatively close to fly to compared to US or Europe. In the asia and australia, I've only seen Japan live up to the mark of world class ski resorts.

4. Best subway system ever.

In Malaysia, KL, the LRT is only two train cars long and there is only like two or three lines. The monorail is also there, but it has even fewer cars and also only two train cars long. The wait time is ten to fifteen minutes long!

One train car in Tokyo equals two of the lrt cars here, and each train has like ten train cars, about 20x the length of the lrt here! They also stop by very frequently every 5 minutes. Then, they have 9 subway lines which go all around tokyo and cover almost every area around the city center and further out.

5. Super friendly people.

Everywhere shop I went to, people greeted me. And I must say the way they greet me is very non threatening, different from other places. I think the Japanese language sounds quite pleasing to the ear.

Things I don't like about Japan:

1. Not a lot of english speakers.

Yes. I would love it if I could communicate with them but in English =)

2. Food outside of sushi isn't that great.

Call me a bit critical, but food outside of sushi lacks some zest. The Japanese curry isn't as flavorful as other ones (malaysian, indian, thai). The cooked dishes lack some of the flavorful creativity of the southeast asian styles. Mostly everything is soy sauce or miso based. And, they are stingy with servings. People with bigger appetites have to stuff themselves with rice.

3. As polite as they are, most Japanese keep to themselves even if it overrides common sense.

In most countries, people don't mind getting on the chairlift with another person, even though he or she is a complete stranger. Chairlifts are built for more than one person after all and people behind get to wait less for their turn to come. In Japan it's different, people would rather not sit with another even if it means making everyone in behind wait longer for the lift. And even worse, they give you funny looks if you get on with them. -.-