Monday, November 12, 2007

[PREMIUM ENCORE STAGE] We Ride! We Roll! Physics GoKarting Leisure

Whoop dee dooo, my first P.E.S. entry. This tag means that it's either an ungraded post or can be substituted as a normal blog entry. In this case, It's a substitute for the blog entry I didn't make 2 weeks ago. ;p Anyways, here's the topic of the day:

I was pretty convinced. Rather, enticed. This applies to the inevitable love I now have to Lady Physics. Actually, I was forced to love the subject because if I don't, I fail. As simple as that. But no matter, I have an adequate interest in the subject itself, which suffices satisfactorily. In fact, Mr. John E. put a quote from Michael Faraday on last year's yearbook, "Physics is the queen of all physics, the rest is just stamp collecting." Well, personally, this statement is further justified by the fact that last Thursday my Physics class, SLs and HLs (SL and HL are as though normal words to say by IB-depraved students, it seems), went on a happy little excursion to the GoKarting site just outside Karawaci, near the toll road entrance. Now, I would probably say something along the lines of "Stick THAT up yours, lame Biology and Chemistry half-wits!" but then it would be derogatory and ill-mannered, so I'd humbly skip that phase and continue on.

I was at Ibu Virna's class, killing time away at lunchtime, munching at my lunch which I forgot what it was anymore, and then Moo (fellow blogger at Longing Silence) came up to me and showed me some pretty interesting videos, something about Hamlet and The Godfather in one minute, and I believe those who made it didn't really covered it up completely in exactly one minute. Anyways, it was 12:40, and I had to rendezvous with my class 10 minutes after that because we have to depart straight away.

When we had arrived there, and settled ourselves, we had to do some calculations first (of course, it was still class time) including measuring the whole length of the track, and then working out the distance of a curve of the track that we are going to investigate on (since we are dealing with circular motion), and finally, the mass of the gokart vehicle and ourselves, which were also relevant. And finally, it was time to choose who races in which race. I was in the first race, and my partner only need to record the time required for me to pass through that curve I recently measured.

With no further ado, it was racing time. Sadly, I was behind all the other contestants for that race, mostly because the engine failed to keep consistently running, but then I zoomed off after the crew took care of it. I was only once familiar to go-karting, therefore I was a little bit disoriented at the first lap, but then my intuitive aptitude made me enjoy the rest of my laps. It's a good adrenalin rush exercise, and the thrill was what made me motivated to beat the others even though my hands were feeling a bit funny because of the steering wheel. Holding it was a bit regretful, either I applied too much force, or controlling it takes a lot of force. Either way, my hands got a bit shaky in the end; I wasn't able to write properly, and the was a sudden rush of cold blood here and there. Nevertheless, the race was done, I felt really good, and the data was collected.

I watched my other classmates race against each other. The funniest among them was Steven; he was a little ambitious, shall we say, to outrace the others, and so whenever he turned at a corner, he was always as if he was about to slip, pushing it a little, but then he almost always regained his control and gassed away without any hesitance. Not only the students tested their driving and racing skills, the teachers also showed off their competence despite the age barrier. If I were to say who was the overall best between Mr John and Mr Graham, I would rather lean to voting Mr. John because he has more power compared to Mr Graham, although he himself is very skilled at manipulating curves to his advantage. In total, we had 6 races, the last one was with a bit of hurry, because we were running out of schedule and at that rate, we were never going to make it back to school on time. And sadly, that was true because on the way to school, there was a slight traffic congestion and it was austerely annoying. Arriving safely, however, is more important than that. At the end, there were some questions to do, which until today I still have a hard time figuring it out. Pray tell, other lazy Physics students like me will also face the same problem. But there's strength in numbers, also knowledge. We might learn more when we cooperate. Heck, we might even make our own syndicate of Physics knowledge.

Ah, there goes my incessant, unreliable and worthless rambling for the things I had to make up since two weeks ago. The end.


Regards from the schizophrenically psychotic retard,
Yoga P. A.K.A. Dr VoltsPerSecond

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Undang- Undang Militer Indonesia (Indonesian Military Enforcement)- Is the Indonesian Government out of their minds?!?

A couple of days ago, news was circulating about a new law that was taken into consideration. The Indonesian government intended to put a law that enforced military enrollment from the age of 18-45. What appeared strange was that the law didn’t state that all must participate in the new law. On the other hand it did write about only some parties that the government choose must enroll in. Basically, the people from the age 18-45 men/female must enroll in the military if the government chooses him/her. To take into consideration, Indonesia is well- known for its corruption. Moreover if this law comes into place, the government may generate more revenue from the corrupted money several people are keen to pay at the cost of not registering for the military. In my opinion, if Indonesia started to distribute this law the government’s main aim is for the Chinese-Indonesian population living in Indonesia. Generically Chinese-Indonesian is wealthier than the national population, which the government may take into consideration. If this outbreak actually did happen, you can bet that the remaining population of around 10% Chinese-Indonesian living in Indonesia would decline immensely. Our best hope, being Chinese-Indonesian is for the government to reconsider distributing the law or to create the law to be more practical for everyone.

By: Nicholas Sudharta (Administrator)

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The indonesian busway, are they really neccessary?

At the start of 2005-2006 periods, the government introduced the “busway” system to the Indonesian public with the hope of reducing traffic congestion. The Indonesian government originally contemplates the idea from London’s similar type of busway. Yet in reality, busway has created even more traffic, not to mention the amount of money, and more importantly time lost in the catastrophe. A couple of days ago our economics teacher started to share with us about an article he read in Kompas. What was amazing was that, from a national survey they discovered that from traffic alone, Indonesia has lost 46 trillion rupiah each year! Not to mention the amount of time lost in the process. A typical example can be seen in the average person working in the city. A normal employee working in Jakarta would travel around 0-2 hours a day with the exception of no traffic. Imagine with the new enforcement of the busway opening in different locations in the city. Traffic would not only increase severely, people would waste hours and hours of valuable time in the car. My question is: the government has the power to take in account to reduce traffic by subsidizing for the busway, but at what cost? Has the government thought of the consequence of even higher amounts of traffic congestion happening? Is this form of alternate transportation really effective towards the people? In my opinion, the busway in the long run may be effective. Hence, I strongly believe that the government should abolish the busway system and use the money to increase other forms of alternate transportation.

By: Nicholas Sudharta (Administrator)

Sunday, November 4, 2007

PH Cup and my GRADES!!!

The big disappointment came after the second game that SPH B team had on Friday.
We prepared for long period of time practicing our drills and strategies every afterschool. The result was a big lost of two games which gave us a big sadness of exiting the cup with no wins this season. The first game of PH cup on thursday was fun like the game on the friday, but we had too many mistakes on the shots.

Although we lost two games and quitted the season, I have learned many things and got many advantages during this basketball season. I learned how to play basketball as a team, not as individuals and cooperate things with friends. The biggest of all is that I lost 8 kilograms during the practices I had for basketball season.

After the last game, I couldn't think of anything because of the disappointment I had and couldn't concentrate on the coach's last comments. But all I remember is that he is expecting me to join basketball team next year too.

There were some disadvantages I had during the basketball season too. The time wasn't really enough to rest and do homework after I get back to my home. It's rather you rest or do your homework, you cannon do both in a day. So I had many problems on my report card that made me to think serious about this issue. I had two fails and overall was terrible for the first quarter of this IB school year. My job to do after the basketball season is raising my grades up to 5~6. Otherwise, my dad will ground me for sure, which will really be really annoying to sneak out on the weekends to play with my friends. So my goal is to be more aggressive on the studies and prepare a test at least 3~5 days before.


Before I start writing this blog, I want to make sure that this blog is for October 26th.

This day, my friend told me that there's a festival in his church after two weeks. So he wanted to make band for that festival to play some gosphel songs. I was picked as a bass guitarist for the band and told me that he will be giving the songs on Sunday. When I first heard this news, I was so excited that almost flew up into the sky! but I couldn't show this kind of reaction to my friends, so that my friend would think that I'm an experienced bass guitarist. But actually, I never been playing in a band like a big festival and that's why it got me more excited about.

The first band practice was on Wednesday and I had only one day to practice before this meeting and furthermore, my bass guitar lesson teacher was out to Bali so that I had to get help from my friend's guitar teacher. The practice was terrible that day because nobody have practiced enough to play together, but it was fun little though because I had a chance to go out to Jakarta during the weekdays.

After this experience on Wednesday, I have found out that playing easy song on the band is much harder than playing alone in my room figuring out the hard songs. I have decided to practice much harder to become a good bass player.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

BEMANI milestones, step 2: GuitarFeaks & drummania

Ah, yes, the pinnacle of arcade gaming....a timeless hobby that never got me bored...and the epitome of entertainment....allow me to introduce BEMANI's twin children, the GuitarFreaks and DrumMania series. This is another type of music simulating games BEMANI added to its arsenal not long after beatmania was released in 1997. This time, it's simulating a drum and guitars.
Frankly speaking, GuitarFreaks was born earlier, around spring of 1998, if I'm not mistaken. There is still a copy of the machine left at one of the malls in Jakarta, as far as I could remember. There were only as many as around 10-12 songs at first, completely original from artists that would make BEMANI's exclusive line-up for this series. And shortly after that on the same year, the second mix, GuitarFreaks 2nd Mix, was born, and along came its other twin, the first drummania series. They're relatively cheap, so they can be found in arcades of middle to lower class malls, since those in big malls (like in Karawaci Supermall) upgraded them from 1st to 3rd mix and jumped to 10th mix, so the rest of the machines either got sold or simply transferred somewhere else.
Before I say anything else, let's examine how they are played.

Perfect! Now, if you refer back to the first picture that shows both of the consoles, I'll elaborate on Drummania, which is the left one in the picture and the left picture just on top of this paragraph. Now, there are 6 columns for different pads to drum on. Starting from the leftmost, the hi-hat, snare drum, bass drum (only a foot pedal), a hi and lo tom, and a cymbal. An animation video will play to the right, depending on what song you choose, similar to beatmania. See those tabs, blue for cymbal and pink with foot for bass? all you have to do is to time your drumming so that when you hit it, it will be hit close to the bold yellow line, which marks if you have missed the timing to hit the correct pad or not. The same goes for each of the other columns there. The drumming tablature will scroll vertically, and to pass a song, you have to get the red bar on the very left end full, and once it's gone, it's game over. In other words, you will have to time your drumming in order to get a good song running. There's a beginner course for beginners, obviously, a standard mode to play any 3 songs you like, and an expert mode that lets you play one packet of four songs, usually themed, continuously with little time to rest.
Now the guitarfreaks machine is a bit different, if not almost different.
A close-up look of the home version of the guitar controller (it's basically the same) shows that there are three buttons: red, blue, and green, and some sort of picking thingamajigger at the body of the guitar. If you refer back to the above picture in the right, there's a tablature similar to drummania, theres a bar for the three buttons and another one for a Wailing Bonus column. when either three of the first tabs appear and start scrolling vertically upwards (not downwards unlike Drummania)you have to hold the button corresponding it and then pick the strum when it reaches the yellow bar (better yet, right before it hits the yellow bar.) It's similar to drummania and beatmania, you have to do it in order to get a proper song running and not a musical fiasco which results in a game over.
Both have the same performance grading systems at the end ranging from a godly SS to a lousy E. So far , there have been 14 releases for Drummania and 15 from Guitarfreaks because it came out first, and the latest one is called version V4, the V signifying 5 years of their existence on the arcade market.

One of the unique features of this duo is the ability to to a jam session with 3 players, 2 on guitar and one on drums, via what is called Session Linking, so you can play songs together with friends and either ace together or fail together, which is obviously much more fun doing. there will be a separate combo display for a each machine and also a combined combo for both. Perhaps that band Muse could order those machines specially designed for them, since they're only 3 personnel in the band.....

There are also settings that you can choose from, altering the speed of the scrolling like beatmania, make it partially hidden, set the position of the combo display, or even omit the bass drum, hi-hat or cymbal part and let you focus on other parts of the set. Personally I'd set the scrolling speed to 3.5x faster, set the combo display in the right, overlapping the movie display, and omit the drums (yes, I'm a loser, but thanks to that I can pass the hard songs reasonably)

The music itself is like beatmania, a whole different dimension. the scoring system also varies through the times, from a star rating of 1 to 9 to a rating of 10 to 99. The songs have three difficulties: BASIC, ADVANCED, and EXTREME, with the latter being the hardest. There are exclusive artists who make songs especially for this series, although they have songs for other machines as well, and there are also licensed songs from outside artists, like, say, Earth, Wind and Fire, Sum 41, Deep Purple, KISS, Black Sabbath, and The Dillinger Escape Plan, among the some to name. There's even an artist by the name of ASMAT who offers what I coin the phrase "Indian Rock" genred songs. Pretty darn crazy, those Japanese.

Artist of the day: Hirofumi Sasaki (佐々木博史)

Ah, my hero. He, in my opinion, makes both the hardest and coolest songs I've ever seen in the entire Drummania/Guitarfreaks series. Starting with "The Least 100sec", which has an EXTREME rating of 99, the highest of its kind and still retains its glory even today. It's coined as the hardest song ever in the series because of its merciless drum tabs that keep on rolling and don't give you even one full second to rest and also a ridiculously nauseous drum solo halfway, a common trap for failing the songs. And yes, the song DOES go for exactly 100 seconds. There is also a long version of it, called The Least 33sec, which also goes for exactly 333 seconds, 5 minutes and 33 seconds. Ironically, the song has also been acclaimed to have one of THE lamest video accompanying the song even till today, featuring near monochromatic images of wire-design churches, 3D square grids and random numbers. They've revised it to make it look less pitiful in version V4, and although it still looks lame, I'd have to say it gotta be the trademark of the song.
Other songs from his creation are Children's Sketchbook, which is a rock version of "Jesus, Joy of Man's Desire", which is not quite as hard as The Least 100sec but it features tricky cymbals, annoying snare rolls and crossovers (constantly move your right hand to hit the hi-hat and cymbals while hitting the snares with the left hand, the right hand crosses over the left). There's also Tamayura, with even more annoying snare rolls, crossovers, and incessant hi-tom rolls. After that there's Concertino in Blue, which is more fun to play but still challenging in the hi-hats and cymbals, and Timepiece Phase II, his last song to date in the series, with simple but constant drum rolls and crossovers, an one thing to note is that the music arrangement is such a way that he makes it the grand finale of his songs. Maybe to signal his farewell to his fellow fans, but I'm still convinced that he'll return to make a song for the series once more.

There's still another milestone of BEMANI, coming right after this.

Regards from the schizophrenically psychotic retard,
Yoga Pradana A.K.A. Dr VoltsPerSecond