[rant] urgh Gardenscapes why

Gardenscapes header

So I love Gardenscapes. Made by the people at Playrix, it’s essentially a match-3 game that has a lovely story attached to it, filled with characters that come to life through the things you do in-game. I’ve reached puzzle 1324, which is not too bad since I started playing this game almost a year ago.

The person who takes you through Gardenscapes’ main story is your butler Austin. Yes, your butler, though from the way he orders you around I kind of doubt that. He comes across as a somewhat enthusiastic and friendly chap at first glance.

However, as I play the game more, I’m discovering inconsistencies with his character. I’m not sure if it’s lazy writing or a suspension of disbelief, but there are some things he’s done recently that make me wonder if the writers actually thought things through.

About 300-400 puzzles ago (I think it was then), Austin asked his friend to Robbie (who happens to be black) to help fix the bridges in the garden.

Robbie says that he can’t as he has too many orders for the day and that he could do it tomorrow, but Austin forces him to anyway. Robbie quickly comes over and does a quick job and then has to rush off.

The bridge falls apart later, turning Austin indignant, who believes Robbie had endangered Austin’s potential love interest. Austin goes into a fit, says some mean things to Robbie, and then more or less sulks. When the truth comes to light, Austin “apologises” to Robbie by buying an expensive tool he knew Robbie was eyeing.

Now, here’s the thing that pissed me off. From what I can see, Robbie did the best he could with the bridge, given the time constraints that he had. When it fell apart, it had nothing to do with his skills (beavers are to blame). But he gets the blame anyway.

There’s also the fact that nowhere does Austin acknowledge that he emotionally blackmailed Robbie. Nor does Austin, at any point, directly apologise to Robbie for blaming him falsely.

It feels a lot like Austin is taking advantage of his privilege as a white man, even if he isn’t aware of it. He seems to take most others for granted and his interactions with the few people of colour in the game is subtly different compared from the others we see as white. His “apology” took for granted that Robbie would forgive him, would always forgive him.

Which brings me to the current storyline.

[DETAILED SPOILERS AHEAD]

Alex is an intern at a cleaning company. She’s to help Austin clean the garden. During the cleaning process, they uncover gorgeous ballgowns and learn that that part of the garden is suitable for hosting parties.

Austin decides that the ballgowns are no longer needed and should be sent to a museum, since they’re early 1900s (maybe?) pieces, and in really good condition. Alex, who had been hoping to dress up in said gowns, is disappointed, but she can’t really ask Austin to give the dresses to her. Who is she anyway?

During this plotline, we see that Alex is an enthusiastic, well-meaning girl who is a real romantic. She’s so romantic, that when a random person comes up asking Austin for help with his wedding car, she takes it upon herself to decorate the car. Alone.

So, we’ve established she’s a romantic. She’s good with wedding stuff. And she loves music and to dance.

What happens?

Alex sends the ballgowns to the museum on behalf of Austin. That night, the player and Austin are awoken in the middle of the night by a mysterious sound and subsequently a figure that runs through the garden to escape them. This figure tracks mud all over the garden including areas you, the player, have already fixed.

Oddly, while Austin is alarmed, he doesn’t seem as spooked or angry or surprised. This is odd, considering how he panicked earlier in the game to the point he insisted on getting a dog.

The next day, as they are cleaning up, we discover that the intruder was Alex. She had taken one of the gowns for herself and decided to have a little midnight dance.

Her uncle/family decided to punish her (at least from what we see in the game) by making her clean a spooky old basement filled with spiders and other creepy crawlies. What is Austin’s reaction?

“Oh no, we must help her! Let us ask this other guy who is handy with vacuums to give her one as she asked so she can finish her job quicker.”

The thieving model with her sculptor takes a break
More or less. Alex is thus freed to “model” for the sculptor, who is recreating the romantic story that led to the ballgown’s discovery earlier.

Throughout it all, Austin’s reaction to Alex breaking his trust and stealing from the player has been sympathetic and forgiving. In fact, he never brings up the point that she abused his trust and/or she had stolen things but instead helps her to finish her punishment quicker.

It seems Austin is so desperate to win the approval of the eligible females in the game that he doesn’t just overlook their horrendous behaviour, he encourages it. I’m terribly disappointed with Playrix because they had started so well with the game’s earliest chapters.

Well that's nice of Austin
Contrast this to the way he treated Robbie. To say that he threw Robbie under the bus without even apologising is a major understatement. Heck, even when Claire couldn’t make it he is nicer to her than he was to Robbie!

Really Playrix, you can and should do better. Gardenscapes is a really fun game and I like the touches you’ve added to the match-3 component. I like the characters. What I don’t like is your lazy writing; glorifying Alex’s criminal transgressions while making light of the hard work like Robbie does.

[Ramblings] Thoughts on Wonder Woman

I have complicated feelings about Wonder Woman. (Also SPOILERS AHEAD).

There are many, many, and I want to stress, many beautiful moments of enjoyment to be found in this movie. Taken separately and savoured, they are delightful pieces, delightful scenes that make you reach for more.

HOWEVER.

When taken as a whole, there’s this feeling of dissonance. Like something doesn’t quite make sense, or doesn’t taste quite as good as you wish it could be. Something something different flavours that are great on their own, but mixed together, tastes really off.

I think this could be due to the way they played out Wonder Woman’s origins. I feel she’s naive, yes, but foolishly so. Is it due to the way her overprotective mother raised her? Is she at odds with the bloodthirstiness of Antiope? Or is it just this very teenage “I will make everything right by doing this ONE THING that only I can do” kind of aura?

Partially, but I think it also comes down to the reason why, she said, at the end of the movie, that she is motivated by “Love.”

I think for me, that was what disappointed me the most. Wonder Woman is this person who is the very epitome of justice. She is fair. She is honest, loyal perhaps to a fault to her ideals. But above all, she is compassionate.

I will admit that a large part of why I feel that dissonance is also because the word “Love” in movies are usually attached to romantic love, and to be honest, I like how Diana’s first romance is not at the forefront. In fact, it’s something that is “Sure, why not” and then “let’s get on with the mission” in the sense, it doesn’t consume her life.

Having her talk about Love instead of Compassion made me feel like it was both a missed opportunity and a devaluing of what Diana stands for, because her compassion was what drove her to run across No Man’s Land. And the setup for that scene, for the way she flew across the battlefield, did not back down and holy f the smackdown that was laid right after that.

She began to move because her heart and compassion was moved and it was glorious.

Using the word “Love” instead of compassion made me cry slightly inside.

I have another confession to make about the movie.

It is womanly.

While I may disagree with the casting of Gadot and how the story played out, I ADORE the unapologetic, badassery that Diana displayed. “I am no man’s props” nor “I am simply a man who happens to be in a female body” are two tropes that this could have easily fallen into, and they did not.

It’s not that kind of female hero movie where she’s seen to be “assisting” men with their “important” tasks. Working in the sidelines and all that. No, this is NOT that kind of movie.

It is not that kind of female superhero movie where her “feminine wiles” are what gets her ahead. No, if anything, Diana is anything but feminine (and I love that scene where they call her out for wearing glasses, as though it would hide her identity squee).

It’s a “kick ass, fuck you, take no names” individualistic kind of feminine strength. A third kind of on-screen feminine badassery. We are so overdue for this kind of non-masculine feminine strength. There are plenty of feminine role models out there in the real world, and I would love to see more of these. Diana, and more importantly, her Amazonian aunts and friends, are great examples.

Talking about this also brings to mind the fantastic masculinity of Newt Scamander. I loved how his character was played, and it wasn’t until I saw this video essay that I realised it resonated because it was a different version of masculinity than I had ever experienced in movies, and it is glorious.

So yes, despite my misgivings, I love Wonder Woman and I would like to see more movies like these please kthxbai.

Maybelline Loaded Bolds are here!

Maybelline Loaded Bolds Shelf

The Maybelline Loaded Bolds Lipsticks have finally landed in Malaysia! I saw the empty shelf while I was in Guardian, which usually means it will arrive in less than a month to stores, depending on which store orders how much. This excited me so much I was squeeing over Instagram.

You see, I’m the kind of girl who prefers strong colours when it comes to my lipsticks. While going pink or natural is nice, I love strong colours, like this gorgeous Trinity shade by Black Moon Cosmetics.

Most Asians don’t go for strong lip colours, so I was really surprised to see the Loaded Bolds on the shelf. However, I didn’t expect them to see them in stores until after Raya (think 20 June onwards) because usually these things are put up two weeks in advance.

Lo and behold, Watsons has them! And surprisingly, for a new Maybelline there were testers all ready for you to swatch (usually these don’t come out until after a month or so, which makes me very annoyed). The price was also cheaper than expected; it’s at RM26.91 for now instead of the recommended RM29.

I swatched the more unusual colours because let’s face it – if you want a really strong red colour payoff, there are plenty of lipsticks, lip gloss, lip tints, what have you on the market. Purples? Also getting more common. But black, white, blue and the rare brown? How could I say no?

Maybelline Loaded Bolds swatches

Initial impressions of these colours? Damn they go on so easy! The white was the only one I had issues with; as you can tell from all the others, a single swipe is all you need for that gorgeous matte lipstick look. They didn’t feel as drying as I thought they might be, considering the payoff, but they transfer really easily. I discovered this while I was walking about in Sephora and ran my hands against each other. Sigh.

Still, the colours are bold enough (as their namesake), and it is really nice to have lip options that aren’t liquid lipsticks. It is a creamy finish, and this is a nice alternative to the current matte lipstick trend we’ve been seeing for the past few years.

So, should you get the Loaded Bolds? Not right now, I’ll say. I think it’s a Watsons exclusive for now, so give it a month or so before it hits Guardian. In case you’re wondering, this is the reason why I’m discouraging people from getting anything at Watsons.

Quickie life update

Thanks to the awesome people at Exabytes Malaysia, Ink to Screen (this website) and my realname blog is now SSL-certified. It broke a few things in the process though, so if you see it, let me know.

I wrote this entry mainly as a small update to remind myself that I exist and this time exists. The days are passing by quicker and I don’t seem to take too much note of them. I don’t want to reflect and see that I didn’t write or take note of the things happening at this time.

I don’t want gaps in my memory, basically. That’s the main reason why I’m writing this. Besides, my journal is already full of my emotional ups and downs (and even that’s kind of drying up), so this should be more about my day-to-day.

So here’s a short list of note:

  • While I can take some spicy food (Nyonya Colours’ weak Chicken Curry being one of them), apparently Indomie Mi Goreng Original is too spicy for me.
  • Summerfield Chocolate Milk is delicious. However, it also triggers my lactose intolerance (current record is 20 minutes on an empty stomach)
  • So does Farm Fresh. As both are about the same price (Summerfield tends to go on discount more often though) I will usually buy based on what’s available.
    • Chocolate milk is a lovely <3 indulgence.
  • Work is both interesting and terrifying. On some days it is great, on others I wonder why in the world did I think I can go from consumer-facing to pure corporate. It’s a learning curve and I’m impatient to be done with it.
  • I sometimes feel like I am reverting to a immature brat, because I would rather hide my head in the sand and pretend certain interpersonal issues do not exist.
    • Other times I vaguebook or subtweet to lash out at people and hope they will pick a fight with me. Juvenile, I know.

On a slightly longer note, I am also slowly moving to a biphasic sleep cycle. Or a somewhat similar cycle. It’s a very straightforward change and takes advantage of the hours I wouldn’t be able to spend socialising cause people are not around.

My current working hours are 6am to 3pm. I get home by 4pm, go to bed, and take a 2 hour nap or so. By 630pm I am ready to meet people or have dinner or, as you can see from the video above, start playing some computer games. This means I sleep a bit later at 1030pm. Doing so lets me spend more time with the people I care about, including sitting in front of the TV watching China dramas with mom.

The reason for the switch is because I am going to have a medical check-up this Friday. I need to fast for 8 hours before doing my blood test, and since I set my appointment for 11am this means I needed to stop eating around 2am. Problem? I am usually asleep by 9pm or have my dinner at 6pm, and I know enough that if I don’t have a bite by 8am I would be starving.

Waiting till 11am? I think I might faint.

So… what’s up with you?

[Movie] Henry Cavill in Mission Impossible 6???

This being a quick post about what was said in that exchange, but apparently Henry Cavill (he of Superman) has agreed to make an appearance in Mission Impossible 6! Screenshots of the comments (before it disappears in a deluge below):

Gauntlet
The initial tag.

Specs
Followed by the specs of what’s required.

Fly
Ahem. xD

Practical
Wait is this actually happening???

Yessss
OMG YES IT IS.

Boom
BOOM!

And there you have it. Now we wait for the studios to announce!