Archive for March, 2008

OST: They Kiss Again

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

It has been over two years since the first episode of “It Started With A Kiss” and the long awaited arrival of “They Kiss Again”. Not only has there been high anticipation for the drama but also for the OST. I am what some consider a drama addict. I watch the drama, listen to the music and immediately want to run out (or hop onto YesAsia) and buy the music. The long wait has not been in vain as the OST not only met, but also exceeded my expectations. The OST contains seven songs performed by various artists (including members of the cast), three instrumentals and a bonus strings version of Ariel Lin’s “Ni” (You). The album comes in two versions, Zhi Shu Version and Xiang Qin Version, each with a bonus DVD.

“Xin Fu He Zhuo She”, performed by Mavis Fan is the opening theme song. I have to admit that I initially did not like the song, but it does grow on you. The song has a very relaxing, lounge-type of feel. It makes you want to throw on your dancing shoes and just glide across the dance floor.

“Ni” (You) by Ariel Lin is the second song and also the closing theme song. Although I sometimes feared that Ariel would not be able to hit the high notes, she has improved greatly since “Gu Dan Bei Ban Qiu”(Lonely Northern Hemisphere). The songs feels as if Xiang Qin’s is singing to Zhi Shu, but at the same time the listener can also easily relate to the feeling of cherishing someone you care about.

Joe’s “Zhong Yu Yuan Wei”(Loyal To The Original Taste) is amazingly adorable. I can’t help but listen and smile at the innocence and sweet sentiments. Joe’s english makes the song all the more adorable.

“Ni Chen Jing Rang Wo Xin Dong” (You Once Made My Heart Beat) by A-Chord is easily my favorite song on the album. Maybe it’s A-Chord’s sexy voice, the guitar or the melt-any-girls-heart lyrics but I just love this song.

Overall, I would have to rate this as one of my favorite OSTs in that I enjoy listening to every track. No need to skip. As a fan of the show, I like the fact that the songs often remind me of happy/sad/funny moments in the show. As a music fan, the music is just as great because it is more than just sappy love music. It has a refreshing air that, even for just a moment, lets you escape the worries and stress of daily life.

Rating: 9/10

Track Listing:
1. Xing Fu He Zuo She (Blessed Cooperation) by Mavis Fan
2. Ni (You) by Ariel Lin
3. Zhong Yu Yuan Wei (Loyal To The Original Taste) by Joe Cheng
4. Be Your Superman by Chun Biao Yan
5. Cang Zai Wei Xiao Li De Mi Mi (The Secret Hidden In The Smile) by Cyndi Chaw
6. Ni Ceng Jing Ran Wo Xin Dong (You Have Once Made My Heart Beat) by A-Chord
7. Heaven- by Cai Han Cen and Cai Yi Zhen
8. Xing Fu He Zuo She (Blessed Cooperation) Instrumental
9. Ni (You) Instrumental
10. Cang Zai Wei Xiao Li De Mi Mi (The Secret Hidden In The Smile) Instrumental
11. Ni (You) Strings Version by Ariel Lin

Your Home Need A Facelift? Try These Home Improvement Ideas!

Thursday, March 13th, 2008

Are home improvement projects something that you are interested in doing to spruce up your home to make your home look and feel fresh? You have found the right place! Keep reading to find the easiest steps you can make in home even better.

It can be very large expenditure to purchase new furniture. You can spice up your rooms with nice furniture by using previously owned pieces that you have found at a garage sales. You can find some true gems among things that someone else didn’t want. Some may require a bit of work, but with time well spent, they can transform the look and feel of your home.

Dust all of your home accessories at least one time every week. Dust can easily accumulate in your home.

When you are considering home projects, be creative and decide what you want to accomplish before you start. Inspiration can come from anywhere: home improvement shows on TV, magazines, blogs or home improvement websites.

Be sure to lay down a tarp to protect your flooring when you paint.This helps keep any excess paint off of your flooring. Layering newspapers is an inexpensive method to protect it. Other alternatives include a drop cloth or large plastic sheeting and paint cloths.

You can make your own window screen if you are not able to find one in the right size. Frame kits can be cut to any window size, and the screen can be attached using an inexpensive too and cording. Some windows require a special type of screen, but an external screen can be added to nearly any window with the use of adapters.

Be careful about the kinds of products you choose to help clean a nasty clog.Some of them are very harsh and dangerous. Don’t used drain cleaners since they may stick to pipes and cause damage. Be sure to select drain cleaners that work well with the septic tank you have.

If you are looking at renovating your home by yourself compile a list of everything you need to complete the project, list the steps for finishing the project and have an experienced builder or contractor look at it.You can be very disappointed with the results if you skip a step and then find out that this is going to be an expensive mistake to fix.

Soundproofing some of your interior walls is a good investment. It would be quite luxurious to soundproof your entire home; however, but it’s not really feasible or financially savvy. The most vital areas to soundproof are equipment rooms, bedrooms and equipment rooms. The kitchen is another place that could also use some soundproofing if it’s fairly enclosed.

Replacing the flooring in any room can turn into a very expensive project. One way to do it that is affordable is to get rid of the flooring that’s in place and stain the concrete instead. This will give your home a modern and industrial aesthetic that can accommodate any style.

They are environmentally friendly and will not have harmful chemicals into the air you breathe. They work just as well as regular paints and are priced only slightly higher.

Use flowers to freshen up the kitchen. This method is very cheap fix that can instantly brighten a kitchen.

You can increase your home’s value by refinishing hardwood floors. You can find the proper equipment and maybe even take classes at a hardware store. This improvement can save you so much money because you’re not purchasing a lot of money.

Inspiration is always a great deal of help when you’re starting to plan out your next home improvement projects can be found by looking at other sources. Be sure to bring home samples of color and carpet with you. Take your time to decide which project you are ready to take on, so when you start the work you already know what you want.

Use the steps given in this article to improve your home more than you had imagined. We feel confident that you received some great home improvement ideas from this article.

Intelligent Design – Basic Design Guidelines

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

When talking about intelligent design, we are not talking about the creation of man. Nope, this is more important! The creation of your media and site products.

There are some very basic things about design that one can learn that can vastly improve one’s ability to make appealing and intelligent creations. Some of those things are:

1. Lining Things Up

2. Using Variation

3. Giving Breathing Room

4. Using the Grid

5. The Golden Section

6. Lining Things Up

Things that line up look nice. Things that are all over the place don’t look nice. Of course, one must know rules to know which ones to break, so these rules are only guidelines. In general though, straight or smooth lines are appealing. Jagged and inconsistent lines are less likely to be appealing. A design with many elements lining up and a few elements that don’t can create nice contrast, yet starting with things that line up is a nice easy rule for beginners.

To support these statements, lets look at examples of man-made objects. Roads, desks, walls, buildings, orange juice containers. The forms of all these objects are straight or consistent and any deviation from this norm is considered mildly repulsive. On roads, the matter is quite important to health. There is a merge under construction from the 60 East (that’s how we identify freeways here in California) to the 215 South, where the turn starts at one size circumstance then abruptly veers a few degrees tighter to another sized circumstance. This slight change in curvature results in a driver having to adjust for this change with a slight, and apparently unexpected, turn of the wheel. I say apparently because road barriers prevent a driver from seeing the whole turn going into it and
there are a bunch of tire marks etched up the construction barrier right at the point of the change in curvature.

Lets look at desks. Obviously straight and even desks are good for writing, fit against straight walls well and look nice, at least to me. Buildings, like desks are convenient shapes for space efficiency, map drawing, road creation, furniture and room modularity. Sure, curved buildings are beautiful too, yet the curves are often very even, and more often than not, the curve is accompanied by a straight line in another dimension.

OK, orange juice – very nice to ship little square boxes. Long rectangles make a nice canvas for marketing. If the straight lines are not straight, but crumpled or dented, chances are you won’t buy that carton.

All of these are man-made objects that benefit in usability from straight or evenly curved lines. Lets take a look at nature. Trees are basically straight lines. The trunks of a redwood forest all go in one direction with remarkable consistency. (That direction is up, by the way, unless you are on the opposite side of the Earth, in which case it would be down.) Again, this is usability for the tree – a competition in height to get to the sun. Leaves – straight veins out to the tips – same idea, get some (light). Curvature of the earth – smoother than the curvature of an 8 ball. Something to do with gravity which, for existence as we know it, is quite useful.

For your designs, line up your stuff in straight lines. Line up images so that image edges are lined up with image edges and lines, text with text, and other elements inline with other elements. This is a fundamental design principle yet, some websites are all over the place with every image and section of text every which way.

Using Variation

Things that line up and have no variation are boring. For example, straight long roads with no turns are quite boring. The 58 zigzags across the arid Southern California desert, between mountains, with every few miles a turn. The 5 goes in one straight line for mile after mile after hour after hours. Which would you rather drive?

Likewise, with web sites, if everything lines up on the same line, the page is likely to look very boring. You can change it up with:

1. Bold Titles

2. Lists of items

3. Indented text

All these things break up the monotony of straight lines and can add rhythm to a design. Yet if there is too much breaking up of the lines, the design can become junky looking noise That is hard to read. Hey, no doubt – some people are into that.

Giving Design elements Room to Breathe

Even things that line up do not generally look good if they can’t breathe. Putting text right against the edge of another element has a claustrophobic feel. Some sites pack in so much information on one page that there are no margins or breathing space between elements. The result is in uncomfortableness and unreadability. Give your images and text margins, frames or room to breathe.

Use the Grid, Luke

To help you line things up, use graph paper, the Adobe Photoshop grid or draw a measured grid yourself. In the final design this grid is usually removed, but used in layout to ensure things line up nicely. Experienced designers often intuitively use a grid without physically having a grid in the design.

The Golden Section

There is a thing called the golden section, the golden ratio or the divine proportion. If you’re really into math, you can do a search to learn more. For those of us not so into math, the Golden Section is a little more than a third. If you take a picture, it just happens to look real nice if you show a little more than two thirds sky. The same applies to many forms of composition. This golden section has some relation to basic geometry that seems to resonate with a human’s sense of beauty.

Conclusion

When designing things, remember: Line things up, but don’t get boring. Use grids to line things up. The golden section looks nice.