larvitar community day recap #pokemongo

pokelarvitarcd2018

Pokemongo community day for June is larvitar. It’s one of the most highly anticipated CDs. I haven’t played in every CD but I had time to do this one. I only have one tyranitar and I’ve been walking larvitar for candies the past few weeks.

Bus arrival determined where I would go–Central Piers, where I went for dratini day. Got there early, in time for a kyogre raid nearby but didn’t get it.

Promptly at 11am a larvitar appeared and I caught it, yay! Then it all went pear-shaped. Can’t login. Spinning wheel. Blank map when I was able to login. It wasn’t just me, there were around 30-40 people in the area and every single one was looking at their phones with frustration. I checked reddit and it was happening elsewhere too.

For dratini day the login problem went on for around half an hour. Mareep day there was a 10-min delay. For larvitar day, the problem persisted for THREE HOURS. I did screenshots at the top of the hour, 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm. The one at 1pm at least showed stops–see how they’re all lured up?

The game was pretty much unplayable. There were may be 10- or 20min windows when I could get in. And when it was working, it was okay. Larvitar everywhere. The stretch of piers is around 500m, so walking up and down was also great for hatching eggs. I’d say when I could get in, 50% of the time it was working fine but 50% of the time the game froze when I caught larvitar, I did a screen recording. See how many times I had to click to get to the catch screen. Sometimes i can see it in my storage when I finally got back in, sometimes it wasn’t there.

I cracked 2 lucky eggs at first, but totally wasted so I didn’t dare crack any more.

They announced that the event will be extended for 2hrs. Not enough but ah well. I feel bad for people who made time and had to leave at 2pm. And for the kids who must surely be disappointed. I was able during the 5hrs that I was attempting to play to get a lot of larvitars. I also got 3 shinies, which means I have now one each of shiny larvitar, pupitar and tyranitar. It was a hot day, luckily there was shade and a nice breeze. A sports drink company set up a free tasting booth and I got hydrated that way, I must have sampled 10 cups of their drink.

I see people online complain that it’s not fair that we get an extension when they don’t. That they should also get extra time too. An Australian trainer on twitter replied he’s absolutely for the idea of other regions getting extensions on the condition that they also have to have 3hrs of network errors, error 25, error 26, GPS issues, blank maps, lost pokemons, lost items etc. That’s only fair, right.

Edit: I read after the event that Europe had problems too but didn’t get an extension. That’s not fair.

brutalist cuckoo clocks

brutalistcuckooclock

These cuckoo clocks make me uncomfortable, I don’t know why. They’re designed by German artist Guido Zimmermann and replaces the traditional alpine chalet that sits on top of the clock with modern (or post-modern?) brutalist concrete residential buildings. He describes the clocks:

the classic cuckoo clock stands for the prosperity of the middle class and counts as a kind of luxury for the staid home, the updated version as a panel construction shows today’s urban and social life in apartment blocks.

The blocks are based on actual buildings, an example being Glenkerry House in the East End of London. There are details like different curtains in different windows, satellite dishes, and even the dark mark left by rainwater on the concrete.

via colossal

explorer’s guide for the world’s most adventurous kid

atlasobscurabook

I wish I were a kid again, then I can ask for this book coming out in September, as recommended by kottke, called the atlas obscura explorer’s guide for the world’s most adventurous kid.

The book covers 100 of the world’s

most mesmerizing and mysterious wonders

in 47 countries and all 7 continents. Places like the Devil’s swimming pool in Zambia, Skeleton Lake in India, Blood Falls in Antarctica.

A bit expensive, US$17.95 for hardback only. I bet it’s beautifully illustrated.

lunch home

Met with sis’ and mm’s ex-colleague L and her husband W for lunch. W does all our conveyancing so he’s a lawyer too. Yum cha at a restaurant called Yum Cha that is quite modern and fusion-like.

Then have to go look at renovation progress. Long wait for the bus and I ended up getting the train instead. It’s getting towards the final stretch so there are builders everywhere and the place is like a warzone. Tiles for kitchen and bathrooms are done so it’s installing kitchen and bathroom, plastering, painting, changing doors.

raining sis lunch

Was going to go to yacht club lunch with sis and mum but it started raining very heavily, T3 was raised, so we thought we should postpone. I was already out with sis at the bank. We had a quick lunch buffet at dicken’s bar instead. How does quick buffet work, isn’t that an oxymoron? We didn’t have too many portions. The salad was nice, especially the grilled vegetables, beetroot and pumpkin. The roast beef was not very good, the server didn’t understand when I asked for a not too well done piece, he attempted to give me the end piece (I was the first customer), luckily the chef was next to him and told him what to do.

Main dishes were curry–beef, vegetable, chicken. They are good with their curries, so reliable. Dessert wasn’t impressive at all, fruit was the best. Sis ordered macaroni cheese to take home for my niece, the side portion was as big as a normal portion. Seemed to be lacking in cheese so I took a ramekin of cheese from the desser and we added it. Strictly speaking shouldn’t have done that, but hey.

Sis took a taxi home, she had a lot of stuff. I walked through the park a little bit for pokémon to get the minibus. Rain stopped a little, but there will be sporadic bursts for the next few days.

no fun weird holiday today

june2018holiday

So according to timeanddate.com’s fun holidays there are no fun and weird holiday today. It’s the only day in June with nothing, that’s pretty sad. They have Leave the Office Early on both the 2nd and 4th, so why not add the 5th too.

What other weird holidays can we look forward to in June:

  • 07-jun is vcr day–this list needs to be updated, i doubt anyone has a vcr anymore, I threw away the last of our videos when we moved, we still have the baby tape that we really really need to convert to digital
  • 10-jun is iced tea day–i’ve been making a whole jug of iced tea from the long teabags I get from the local daiso, really nice
  • 14-jun is bourbon day–may be I’ll remember, I’m not sure, my bourbons are all packed up in boxes though
  • 17-jun is eat your vegetables day–great!
  • 22-jun is onion rings day–I won’t be participating
  • 26-jun is chocolate pudding day–it’s the day I fly to chicago, i’ll only celebrate if they serve chocolate pudding on the plane

match 2 book covers

bookcovergame

This is really a really fun match-2 game: there are 12 book covers which consist of 2 editions of 6 different books. No titles or author names. The game is to match the books by the covers alone.

Some are a little more obvious than others. Some are guessable and some are like “what!?” They reveal the answer after clicking one book, so it’s possible to examine the rest to figure out the best match. A more challenging game will be titles are revealed after 2 covers are clicked.

bbmm pokémon at a new park

It was a nice day, if a bit hot. We went out walking around, to take advantage of the 25% egg walking distance as well as adventure week of 2100xp when spinning a new pokéstop. Went to an area we hadn’t been before, with a park next to a residential area. Lunch was at a SE Asian diner, the old fashioned place that has laksa and curry. Efficient service and they didn’t make us share tables or hinted at us to leave when we finished.

lckparkpebble

The park was surprisingly nice. Lots of paths, about half shaded. Children’s play areas, quiet garden areas, and generally enough space to walk around. We caught many pokémons and spun many new stops. There was a pebble walk, a circular path of massage pebbles to negotiate without shoes. Harder than we thought! Initially for the first 10, 20 steps it was fine, and then it started hurting and we had to take frequent breaks. I found that walking sideways like a crab was better, because that’s the direction of the pebbles. Quite fun.

Next community day is in 2 weeks, gotta go catch larvitars. I’m walking one so I can get as many candies as possible. The 25% distance really helped.

GoT on labo

Whenever mum is out I try to catch up with game of thrones. I’m at season 2 now and hopefully by the time season 8 comes out next year I would be completely caught up.

Anyway, here’s Ramin Djawadi playing the theme on a nintendo labo. What is the labo? It’s a physical extension for the switch made out of cardboard and simple materials, intended to teach users programming, engineering, robotics etc. Looks so fun, just a few pieces of cardboard makes a keyboard, a console, a fishing reel (for a fishing game), a steering wheel, a VR unit and all sorts of accessories for switch games and programs. The intro video is pretty amazing. The cardboard seems to hold up pretty well after a few weeks.

And with the announcement of let’s go pikachu and let’s go eevee, to be released in november for the switch, with integration with pokemon go, the temptation to get a switch is very high. I’m not a big collector of console games–the last one I bought is the original PSP–may be I won’t get it in the end. See see.

barkley marathons

A new documentary about the Barkley marathons dropped. This one, at 1:16hrs, follows Canadian Gary Robbins over the course of his attempt to finish the Barkeley in 2016 and 2017, suitably called where dreams come to die. As a reminder, the Barkeley is an annual race held at Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee every April. It is a 5-loop race total 100 miles where runners have to retrieve pages from books that match their bib numbers. In addition to sleep deprivation, extreme exhaustion, weather, altitude changes. It’s one of the most legendary races in the world.

Amazing documentary, well worth sitting down and watching.

lookback 30-may

Been a while since the last lookback post so here’s one for 30-May. Trying not to limit myself to landmarks like one-, three-, five years ago.

2017chocolate truffle ice cream

Ah, that was the day we met our friend L for lunch, went to look for fridges for mm, and had early dinner at hmv.

choctruffleicecream

We also exchanged 2 vouchers I had for chocolate truffle ice cream. Truffle as in the fungus found in forests not the cream-melted-chocolate mixture. Even one year later I can still smell it and there’s memory of an awful ice cream. Seriously, I like truffle, but paired with chocolate ice cream is such a bad idea.

2014new state: alaska

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The cruise arrived at Alaska. I saw glaciers, whales, bald eagles. Lots of snow, ice, pristine scenery. Ate king crab, went gold prospecting in the Yukon, saw a snowplough taller than me.

2013lunch at le fauchon

Hahaha, even more vouchers! This one at the French bistro near central, for a set lunch. After lunch, walked mm back to the office. She was still working then.

2008 — <a href=”http://www.invisiblecompany.com/2008/05/30/” title=”post>i will possess your heart

Wow wow wow, ten years already? DCFC’s I Will Possess Your Heart dropped. I have the short version on my running playlist. I love that the video was filmed in so many favourite and instantly recognisable places–London, Paris, Tokyo.

2006bzzzt

Hahaha, the sound of a lightsabre turning on.

gcse art exhibition

artgcse001fragments

My niece’s GCSE art class held an exhibition today showing their coursework and the piece they submitted for their exam. They’re marked throughout the year as well as on their exam piece. They’re given a theme, this year it’s Fragments and they have to complete their pieces in 8hrs.

I like the simplicity and clean lines of her exam piece. Seems like just cardboard cutouts, but there’s more to it.

artgcse024art

Other students had different pieces. Some are larger, one included burned charcoal. Some of the students included their notebooks in the exhibit, and those really showed their thought process, practice pieces, and how they came up with their ideas.

I’m very blown away at the sophistication of their work, it’s very advanced and more than what I could have done at 16 years old. Well, more than what I could have done at any age.

flickr set: https://www.flickr.com/photos/invisiblecompany/albums/72157667895910337

natgeo planet or plastic

natgeo201806

The June edition of National Geographic magazine launches their Planet or Plastic initivative:

aimed at raising awareness of the global plastic crisis and reducing the amount of single- use plastic that is polluting our world’s oceans.

The amount of waste plastic floating in the earth’s oceans is horrendous, and the effects on wildlife so devastating. The cover image of the magazine was created by Jorge Gamboa and won first place at Bienal del Cartel Bolivia 2017. I think usually NatGeo uses their own photographers and their own photos so the use of what amounts to a stock photo is unusual. As petapixel pointed out

considering the topic, this cover could hardly be executed more effectively.

recursive recipes

A recursive recipe breaks down the ingrediens of a recipe until it’s truly made from scratch. Let’s take apple pie. The simplest recipe, aka method, is to buy a pie. It costs $3.98 and takes no time:

applepierecursive01

Most people who say they make food from scratch will mean they make the apple pie using fresh apples, pie crust and store cupboard staples like sugar and salt:

applepierecursive02

But in the words of Carl Sagan (blurry old video on youtube):

If you wish to make apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe

every ingredient comes from another ingredient. From “scratch” means from nothing, so the pie crust comes from flour, butter, water. The butter comes from milk, the milk from a cow, and a cow from…etc.

Without going to the extreme, the most basic ingredients for making apple pie are: soil, water, seawater, cow, cinnamon.

applepierecursive03

It takes over 7 years to make, which takes into account growing the apples from a tree and making butter from cow’s milk:

applepierecursive04

Snerk. The first step in making cow’s milk is tie the cow in a secure are so she cannot escape.

Quite a fun game. There are other recipes like vanilla ice cream and eggs benedict.

ice cream sculpture

sculptureicecream

It’s really hot already and it’s not even June. Perhap a typhoon is coming but not according to the weather forecast. Sun, sun, sun.

Hot means ice cream. The guardian had an article about artist Jourdan Joly who makes ice cream sculptures. They do look realistic except the cones look fake. Reminds me of Japanese plastic food.

On real ice cream, he mentions miso cherry ice cream from a place in New York, and that his normal favourite is green tea. He actually is reported as calling it “green tea matcha” but that falls into the same trap as American Ninja Warriors calling the final obstacle Mount Midoriyama.

gdpr

gdprwptool

GDPR comes into effect today. Although it directly affects organisations based in the EU, with today’s globalisation it actually impacts everyone that

offer goods or services to, or monitor the behaviour of, EU data subjects.

Implications for personal websites like mine is minimal, especially since I don’t have any other users, nor do I offer goods and services via e-commerce. I don’t allow comments, so I’m not collecting or processing data from anyone. I have no mailing lists or other means of outreach or communication. The only potential area is third-party cookies from plug-ins and embedded posts but I think I’m okay there.

Someone wrote a detailed WordPress GDPR guide. Everyone who runs a personal or business wp site should read it. Some typical ways a standard wp installation will collect data:

  • user registration
  • comments
  • contact forms
  • analytics
  • logging or security plugins

Again, I think I’m okay there. WP has automatically updated with a tool for exporting and erasing personal data. I probably need to include some wording on the collection and processing of data at some point. I’m sure there will be standard wording available as templates.

Even though people know gdpr is coming for years, lots of corporate sites are caught unprepared. A bunch of US newspapers, including LA Times, Chicago Tribune, has shut down or stripped their websites for EU visitors. Instapaper users in the EU are suffering the same fate. So instead of complying with the regulation, they’re choosing to keep their heads in the sand. These aren’t small personal sites, but big high traffic sites.

Makes me think they are collecting and using people’s personal data for purposes that users haven’t consented to. Advertising is the culprit here, what else. From Jason Straight from a company that sets up gdpr compliance programs for businesses:

For many years it’s been, ‘How much data can we trick people into giving us?’

I think gdpr is wonderful. Its aim is to protect users from the rampant disregard for personal data that has flooded the internet in recent years. Time to fight back.

cirque du soleil kooza

kooza015all

Sis won a prize draw of ten tickets for kooza, cirque du soleil’s touring production. She gave tickets to me, mum and mm as well as rob’s secretary, her mum and her sister (or cousin, I’m not sure). So nice of her.

It’s what we expect from a cirque du soleil show. The tagline for Kooza is that it’s back to basics, it:

rekindles the memories and emotions associated with circuses of old, and brings together two century-old circus traditions

But there’s nothing basic about the spectacle. The production was sleek, the music jazzy with a haunting feel, the skills of the performers topnotch. There were clowns, kings, ghosts, and other colourful characters. All the acts were wonderful, including a lady with multiple hula hoops, scary contortionists, high wire gang cycling across two wires, a unicycle pair, tumbling teeterboard troupe, a gymnast balancing on a column of chairs. Never a boring moment, even the fillers with the clowns were amusing. There was a running theme about the Innocent kiteflyer who gets trapped in this magical world by the jester King, a thief being chased by policemen, and the maintenance worker who popped up here and there.

The most exciting and dangerous act was the wheel of death, where two human hamsters ran and jumped and kept up with two giant rotating wheels. Just watch:

earth-moon fireman’s pole | juno images from jupiter

earthmoonpole

A five-year old asked on xkcd: If there were a kind of a fireman’s pole from the Moon down to the Earth, how long would it take to slide all the way from the Moon to the Earth?

First things first, it’s impossible to place a pole between the moon and the earth because of the two bodies’ constant movement. There is no stability whatsoever between the two end points of the pole. Then there are the scientific impossibilities–can’t slide because there’s no gravity between the two points, the relative rotation of the earth and the moon, the moon’s equivalent ground speed. Then there is the effect of sonic waves and the atmosphere. Plus the adventurer will gather so much speed coming towards earth that a huge giant mattress is needed to cushion the sudden stop.

Basically, too many variables.

But what if we froze the earth and the moon, and all of time except for our adventurer. It should be an easy calculation:

timedistancespeed

Assume we use the average lunar distance of 384,400km. The issue is, what do we use as speed? The earth’s gravitational acceleration is 9.8m/s, but that isn’t very helpful.

Anyway the answer.

Spoiler below.
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There is no answer.

Hmm. Too many unknowns.

So I don’t end a post with such an anticlimax, here’s a link to pictures of Jupiter that the spacecraft Juno has sent back. (All images below ©NASA.)

The familiar red spot, taken when Juno flew just 5,600 miles above it in July 2017:

junojupiter01

Then there’s this of Jupiter’s south pole, which is not visible from earth. It’s like the inside of a crystal:

junojupiter02

Cloud systems in the northern hemisphere:

junojupiter03

More at vox. Vox also reports that the mission is approved until July 2018 and if it doesn’t get extended, Juno will be abandoned and left to fall and get burnt up by Jupiter’s atmosphere.

eating

teawoodlunch2018

Too much eating out recently. On the one hand I’m relieved I don’t need to cook, on the other hand I’m not 100% enjoying eating out. Thankfully it’s mostly quick meals, with the exception of mm and I going for hotpot at the place at the wet market. Zero stars for location, ambience and decoration. The previous time we went, the seafood was really good but this time was a disappointment. We probably won’t be going back till winter.

Aside from discovering a new korean place, the taiwanese noodle place has good lunch sets. Mum had the signature beef noodles and I had the set with braised meat and a small bowl of beef noodles. Came with a drink too. I can add a small amount and upgrade to bubble tea, and I tried the mint bubble tea that gis likes so much.

When I do cook, I’m trying to finish up the food we brought over so we’re having lots of pasta with canned soup and noodles. For a change, we only have four pieces of salmon in the freezer. I can walk to the nearby market, it’s around 15-20mins walk back and all uphill so I can’t buy too much. The first stall I went to was a mistake, the vegetables were good but too expensive. I think I’ve found a more value for money stall. Keeping to frozen meat right now, will go back to fresh when we move back and I can go back to the regular butchers and fishmongers.

reading

The last time I opened my ipad to read was sometime in April. It’s been so crazy and I’ve been so distracted that I don’t have to time or motivation to read. I’ve been watching youtube videos of game streams before bed instead of reading.

This is not good.

dragonwing

The book I’m in the middle of reading, and I’ll definitely need to start from the beginning, is Dragon Wing by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I’m around 1/3 of the way through, and haven’t gotten the hang of the location or characters yet. May be the slow start is one of the reasons I’m not getting into the book. There’s an assassin who was raised by monks who seems to be the MC, a prince he is protecting/keeping prisoner, and then there’s this dwarf, or in that universe, a geg, who is way too curious for his own good. I guessing the two parties will meet at some point and more will happen.

Like I said, I will need to re-read from the beginning. It won’t be a big deal; it’s a 7-book series, so there’s a long, long way to go in terms of the overall story. I just wish I can pick it up again. ‘It’ being not only this particular book, but the whole reading thing.

sleeping

eyemask

When I put in blinds for the study, I picked one that was pale white. It didn’t have any blackout function at all, because I didn’t need it in the study. If anything, I wanted it to be light enough even when I had it closed.

I never anticipated that I’ll need to sleep in the study, but that’s what I’m having to do now. (I never anticipated I needed to share my flat with anyone, tbh.) The sofa bed arrived a few days ago and the first morning afterwards I was woken up by the bright morning light. Ah yes, in addition to pale blinds, the study window also faces east.

The solution, even though I’m not keen on it, is to sleep with an eyemask. There are no side-effects from using a sleep mask, if anything there seems to be tiny benefits. There are also fancy models costing up to £60–this one is made from:

organic, bamboo, silk fabric subtly infused with the scent of natural lavender.

SMH.

I have a few of them, collected from flights. No need for £60 eyemasks, this simple one did the job. The problem is, I don’t really like using eyemasks. Having a cover for my eyes isn’t the issue, it’s the presence of the straps that makes me feel like I constantly want to yank them off. I just have to suck it up, either get woken up in the morning or get enough sleep.

checked home progress, royal wedding

Went over to check renovation progress, the electrician finished drilling so we’re allowed back. All the places for the wires have been drilled and prepped. Today they’re also replacing all the windows. When we walked into the car park, the old metal windows were there waiting to be collected–our watchman will take them and we’re happy for him to sell and get a little money for it.

globewedding05food

Mum went shopping and I met sis late afternoon in the British pub to watch the royal wedding. All the tables were booked but I managed to grab a couple of stools at the bar (someone conveniently finished and left just as I was about to go elsewhere). The place wasn’t crowded at first but it got really really crowded and loud very soon. Our seats were pretty nice, with a good view of the tv screens on the wall. They even had a special Harry & Meghan menu including Pimm’s! I tried both the regular Pimm’s cup and the Pimm’s spritzer, then switched to diet coke. Had dinner there too, I had scotch egg (as befitting the occasion) and sis had fish & chips.

The wedding was really nice, although we couldn’t hear too much due to the noise at the pub. People tried to shush whenever the Archibishop of Canterbury, Harry, Meghan, or someone else was speaking. Even though later I read about how “everyone” loved the address by Rev Michael Curry, at the time people at the pub thought he went on and on for way too long. His way of preaching also seemed out of place. I think Americans love his sermon because he was lively and passionate and presented it in the typical loud American way. Brits heard his message, but personally I wish he could have been more restrained, to match the location. And made it shorter, because it felt like he was hogging the limelight and stealing attention from the royal couple.

I walked home and caught the bit when they were in the procession back to Windor Castle. Very happy about the wedding, very proud and delighted for the couple. Remember the sad and lost 12-yaer old prince walking with his mother’s casket? Princess Diana would have been so proud of her son; and I can just imagine her sitting with Doria Ragland and crying tears of joy together.

5000 posts

post5000

I didn’t even notice, I passed 5000 posts on the website. Post #5000 was the one about the Japanese oogui eater on 10-May-2018. Granted, 5000 posts on this WP installation is different from the original MT installation, because I reorganised.

Anyway, I can argue with myself about the date of post #1.

The post with the earliest date is 30-Apr-1996 because I was writing up past trips and that was the trip to Guilin. The post itself was probably written in 2006 or later.

The actual first post on the website was 23-Sep-2003 which I have in my mind as my website anniversary. I’m going to call this post #1.

Between post #1 and post #5000:

  • 14 years, 7 months, 17 days
  • 5,343 days
  • 128,232 hours
  • 7,693,920 minutes
  • 461,635,200 seconds

Next 5000 posts, may be in 5000 days.

bbmm meetup, sticky toffee pudding

Met mm for lunch at a new korean place. It’s a branch of the one I went to a couple of times with Mum. It was pretty good so we have another Korean place to go to, yay. I had cold noodles with barbequed pork and mm had her usual seafood tofu pot.

Walked around ikea, we both needed to look at stuff. I continued to look for ideas, a single bed for the helper, shelves and cabinets; mm needed a cabinet or shelf for her bathroom. There were different choices, in order of least expensive to most expensive: a wooden shelf, a pine shelf, an open metal shelf, and a tall cabinet with doors. Each has its own advantage and disadvantage. There’s time to look further.

I was originally going to go home for dinner but decided to stay with her. Her dad is being transferred to another hospital, this one to focus on recovery. She was calling once or twice an hour to check his progress and he finally reached there at 6pm. So we walked over to visit. Her mum came as soon as she knew he arrived, and later we all went to a pasta place for a quick dinner.

stickytoffeepuddingsis

In other news, sis made this delicious sticky toffee pudding and brought half over to us. She followed Mary Berry’s recipe to the tee and it was indeed gooey yet light. The pudding wasn’t too sweet, the sauce is sweet but used with restraint it’s balanced. Can really taste the yummy treacle in the pudding.

a camera lens’ two year journey

leicasafariedition

Imagine going on holiday to the US, visitng a national park, and finding a Leica lens sitting on a rock in the middle of the desert.

That’s what happened to Jorgen Loe Kvalberg from Norway. To his credit, he took the lens home and contacted Leica Norway about the find. Leica Norway contacted Leica HQ in Germany. From the serial number, they traced it to Leica USA and Samy’s Camera store in LA. The store manager checked records and found that the lens had been sold as part of a kit to someone named Arthur Galvao.

It turned out that Galvao had lost the lens in the national park two years earlier. One of the Samy’s Camera store rep was going to Germany for holiday, so he picked it up from Leica Germany and returned the lens to its owner in person.

So when we’re talking about a camera lens and it being sold as part of a kit, it’s not the bog standard 18-55mm that comes with an entry level Canon, we’re talking about a US$3,500 Leica lens that came with a $9,990 Leica M-P with 35mm f/2 Safari Edition camera.

All credit to Kvalberg, all the folks at Leica around the world, and the camera shop in California. What’s amazing is that the lens was still in perfect, if dusty, condition after sitting out in the desert for 2 years. I guess if it’d been sitting in damp conditions, it would have broken down after that time.

I also think it got found and safely returned to its owner because it’s a Leica lens. Not many people will bother checking for the owner of a 18-55mm Canon kit lens. If I found a Leica lens, I’ll know it’s valuable and will try to return it to an official office.

via petapixel

a long wait for age-statement japanese whisky

yama060taste

We all knew this would happen, but it’s still very sad. Suntory just announced that they’ll stop selling Hakushu 12 and Hibiki 17. Whisky takes time to age; there is no way of fast forwarding a 12-, 15-, 18-, 21-, 30-year process. All Japanese whiskies we see nowadays are NAS. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with NAS, we trust the master distillers. The boom in 2014 cleaned out Nikka’s stock, so the image of shelf upon shelf of Yoichi, Miyagikyo, Taketsuru and others won’t return till at least 10 years from now.

yamazaki12

Meanwhile, any single malt especially Yamazaki, Yoichi or Miyagikyo that can be found are selling for higher and higher price. Nikkei chart of prices.

the librarian: a short game

librariangame01

I just spent 20mins on a game of The Librarian, a short game by Octavi Navarro. It really is very short, and uses simple 8-bit graphics. The MC is a librarian, who is woken up in the middle of the night by a creepy gust of wind, followed by the appearance of a mysterious owl with a note that says “There’s something wrong at the library.”

librariangame02

The librarian puts on her uniform and finds her way to the library.

librariangame03

The game consists of exploring and puzzle-solving. Clicking around to move the character; some objects can be picked up to be used later. At one point the former librarian is discovered. Who was the former librarian? How long has the body been there? Who sent the note? What is the end goal of the game?

The are no answers, only more exploration and using collected objects, this gameplay is not unfamiliar to anyone who has played a game. Nothing much goes on, but that makes it more interesting.

All of a sudden, I couldn’t click anymore and the game has finished. That really was very short. The Verge says:

the experience feels less like an adventure game, and more like the video game equivalent of a poem


One of the best known games of this genre of story-exploration-without-too-much-purpose is Gone Home, which tackles a somewhat controversial topic and yet winning Polygon’s 2013 game of the year. Both of these games are more like a visual version of a short novel rather than a computer game, and that may not be everyone’s cup of tea. I thought The Libarian was pretty good, although to be fair I got it for the low, low price of free. Gone Home is US$14.99 and I don’t think that’s a right price point for me.

mother’s day

Mum went to mass and I met her at the Tesco’s nearby. I don’t know if it’s because of Mother’s Day, but mass ran very, very late. I was inside the tiny Tesco’s for a good 45mins. Silver lining is I got to look at every shelf on every aisle and found some stuff I want to buy next time.

friedchickennoodles taiwanesedessert

Met sis at a Taiwanese noodle place for…Taiwanese noodles. Mum had their signature beef noodles which proved to be the best choice. I opted for the fried chicken noodles, with the fried chicken served on the side. Whilst very crispy, it was way, way too salty. We shared one of their signature desserts. Mango, sago, chewy bits, and about 10 other ingredients. Very nice, refreshing. I’d have that again.

Went to ikea to finally order a bed for me. Or rather, it’s a sofa bed that rolls out into a single bed. When we move back, it can go in Papa’s room as a chair for relaxing. If we have visitors, which is rare, it can be used as a guest bed. Delivery on wednesday. Can’t wait. The sofa is fine to sleep on, except it’s getting hotter and the fabric doesn’t dissipate heat and gets itchy too.

Dinner with mm’s family. Both her parents are quite seriously ill at the moment, so it’s good to get together for a meal.

AI ice cream flavours

aiicecream

Spotted via fastcompany, a group of school children from Texas used a neural network to generate ice cream flavour names.

The programmer of the neural network is Janelle Shane and she has a text-generating AI called textgenrnn which takes inputted datapoints and generate related text based on those. Shane had previously used 200 ice cream flavours and the results were less than satisfactory, including silence cherry, strawberry cream disease, sock caramel.

The schoolkids used a total of 1600 flavours, and together with the AI’s learning ability, generated more appetising flavours such as honey vanilla happy, team cherry, oh and cinnamon. That said, other flavour names generated include washing chocolate, mango cat, gravey cashew. There was also one flavour known simply as bug.

Still, pretty impressive.

mum’s birthday

It’s mum’s birthday!

fritesmussels

We went to frites for lunch, where they have a nice semi-buffet. The salad bar has plenty of salad, and only 1 or 2 have meat so Robert also had lots of choice. I had mussels too, but should have just stuck with the salad bar, there was too much food.

Afterwards, mum and I went to look at bathroom stuff. We’ve looked for a long time, and finally decided on American Standard. Got all the model numbers and prices from one shop. TMI about buying toilets, it’s absolutely necessary to sit on all of them to find the one that is most comfortable.

mukbang oogui eating

Yuka Kinoshita is an oogui (“big eater”) and competitve eater who uploads videos of her eating an enormous amount of food. Here’s one of her eating beef-don at yoshinoya with 2 pro wrestlers. The two wresters finished 8 bowls together, and Yuka was still going strong at 10. TEN. I think if I’m very hungry I can just about manage two.

Here she finished five 1kg tomahawk steak.

This type of mukbang is both riveting and scary. She isn’t overly dramatic in her eating, just chomping away at giant portions like she would a normal-sized porton. There is a certain skillset to competitive eating, like how Takeru Kobayashi trains and inhales hotdogs.

[Edit: didn’t even notice, this was post #5000 on the website.]

nyc parks 1978

nycparks1978

Six months ago, a park official in NYC cleaning out an office found 2 cardboard boxes that had been sitting around for decades. The boxes contained almost 3000 slides of NYC parks taken in 1978 by NYT staff photographers.

The pictures will be shown at an exhibition at the NYC Parks Arsenal Gallery in May/June. A lot of nostalgia. Kids playing, people enjoying the parks, the 70s fashion. Not a smartphone in sight.

There are comments in the mefi thread from someone hoping for a similar discovery in Chicago. Can I add my wish for London? That was the year we moved to London. It’s 40 years ago, that’s scary.

home renovation: electricals

edeint101electrical

The contractor had an electrician over to check our fuse box and he told us that we need to rewire as the wires are frayed, old and dangerous. It’s not a con, or contractors adding on work, because I knew it was the most important thing that needed to be done but mum didn’t want to at first. I’m glad we’re finally doing it.

I drew a plan of the flat and where I think the plugs should go. I got the idea from mm who had me draw a plan with measurements when the project first started.

edeint106wires

Seemed to work, we went through with the electrician and he drew out where he will install plugs and wires. We want a lot of the plugs about 60-70cm above floor level which surprised him. Why do plugs need to be at floor level? If it’s behind the tv with all accessories like cable, dvd player why isn’t it raised to be easier to reach? I’m also getting 2 doubles next to my desk for all the computer stuff.

pilot boards ship whilst it’s still moving

Thanks to The Secret Language of Ships, I can tell that there is a bulbous bow under this ship (visible in red just peeking out from the ice), and that the pilot will board the ship in a vertical opening in the hull.

I learned something new too. Even through ice, ships move quickly. And pilots are superhumans. Watch this pilot in Finland casually step onto a fast-moving freight ship from a narrow platform while the ship is still moving. Over ice. Amazing, and so casually done.

ugly not-ugly buildings

Architectural Digest is what people use to describe a beautifully designed home, as in the home is AD worthy. So the magazine has a certain authority when it comes to architecture.

Then they published an articled called 30 ugliest skyscrapers in the world and I started having doubts on their previously untenable position. First of all, the title and content are more Buzzfeed than Home & Garden. Some of those 30 supposed eyesores aren’t even skyscrapers–there are tv towers and low rise buildings.

belaruslibrary

The Belarus National Library for instance, is not a skyscraper.

basketbuilding

Nor is the Longaberger Basket building in Ohio.

Some of the monsters I personally find rather charming and nothing approaching ugly, like that basket building. Or the Elephant building in Bangkok. Or the Lloyds building in London, which is one of the most distinguishing in the City.

warsawpalace

There are buildings that reflect national characteristic, like the Belarus library above. Or they are examples of architecture in their respective era, like the MetLife building in NYC, completed in 1963. And what about the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, completed in 1955. I think it looks suitably grand.

russiaembassy

Admittedly there are a few duds. The horrible gold Trump Tower in Las Vegas, the Tour Montparnasse in Paris and the Russian Embassy in Havana all stray into eyesore territory.

fisheriesindia

The National Fisheries Development Board building in Hyderabad isn’t ugly as being too cute for its own good. There’s nothing wrong with it though, except it can never be used for another purpose. It’ll be the laughingstock of the architecture community if a fish-shaped building is used for, say, space research or a hospital.

And to tarnish the clickbait article even further, eagle eyed commenters on the mefi thread even found an error, that the Fernsehturm in Berlin they show is not, in fact, the right building. Ooops.

world cup of transit maps

santiagotransitmap

I was just waxing nostalgic about my 2007 trip to Chile. I don’t remember travelling on their subway system, but I’m sort of pleased to see that Santiago just won the World Cup of Transit Maps. This #wctransitmaps is a:

celebration of transit maps and diagrams from around the world, whether they be real or imaginary, or from the past, future or present.

They started with 32 cities around the world, from NYC and Chicago to Seoul and Stockholm. Voting was by twitter. In the semi-finals, Santiago beat Boston and Moscow beat London (boooooo).

They have maps of all contenders. The Santiago one is clean and simple and show main roads. I’m not sure it’s my favourite, but if that’s what people voted for, then yay!

291 rye

The world whiskies award winners are in. Not a huge surprise, gear patrol has a summary. Best single malt is Hakushu 25, best blended malt is Taketsuru 17, best blended is jw gold.

291

In the bourbon category, best bourbon is 1792 full proof, best rye is from distillery 291 in Colorado. It’s harder to find outside Colorado, so I need to make sure we try to look for it when we drive through the state this summer. The distillery itself is in Colorado Springs, an hour south of Denver, so it means around 2hrs’ detour. May be I’ll just try to find a store. Breckenridge distilley, on the other hand, seems to be along our route.

i am shrewd, inner-directed and guarded

Inspired by kottke, I had my personality analysed by IBM’s AI platform IBM Watson Personality Insights. It allows me to either enter a body of text or it will analyse my twitter feed.

First, twitter. The analysis says:

You are strict and analytical.

You are organized: you feel a strong need for structure in your life. You are mild-tempered: it takes a lot to get you angry. And you are calm under pressure: you handle unexpected events calmly and effectively.

You are motivated to seek out experiences that provide a strong feeling of organization.

You are relatively unconcerned with both independence and helping others. You welcome when others direct your activities for you. And you think people can handle their own business without interference.

I wasn’t sure how accurate it will be, most of my twitter are automatic IFTTT posts when I post on the website, or occasional RTs. But it turns out to be really accurate, especially with regards to being organised and being unconcerned.

It also says I’m likely to like historical movies, read autobiographical books, and read often. 1 out of 3 here. I’m unlikely to be influenced by social media during product purchases, prefer style when buying clothes, or like rap music. 3 out of 3.

Overall, twitter analysis is pretty accurate.

Now let’s try a block of text. How about the current front page. Total 50 posts between 12-mar-2018 and 31-apr-2018. 12000-ish words. This analysis:

You are shrewd, inner-directed and guarded.

You are solemn: you are generally serious and do not joke much. You are philosophical: you are open to and intrigued by new ideas and love to explore them. And you are independent: you have a strong desire to have time to yourself.

You are motivated to seek out experiences that provide a strong feeling of organization.

You are relatively unconcerned with both tradition and achieving success. You care more about making your own path than following what others have done. And you make decisions with little regard for how they show off your talents.

I’m likely to be sensitive to ownership cost when buying automobiles, have experience playing music, and like historical movies. 1.5 out of 3. I’m unlikely to be influenced by social media during product purchases, prefer style when buying clothes, and be influenced by brand name when making product purchases. 3 out of 3.

I think this is probably more accurate although there are similarities with the twitter analysis.

personalityinsight

They present the results in a sunburst visualisation that is really impressive. The science behind the sevice is fascinating. Essentially marketers and psychologists found that how we use language is a reflection of our personality, thinking style, social connections, and emotional states. Based on these studies, IBM developed models that correlate between certain social media behaviour and real life personality. An example from a retail study is people who score high in orderliness, self-discipline, and cautiousness and low in immoderation are 40 percent more likely to respond to coupons than the random population.

The team at IBM claims a correlation in the region of 0.3 with mean average error of 0.12 for English. In terms of research norm in this area, correlations above 0.2 are considered acceptable.

It’s all very interesting, although I find it somewhat creepy. I hate it when the ultimate goal is to target people in terms of what to market to them and predict their buying behaviour.

retroactive posting, and nothing’s changed much in 11 years

This post is dated 02-May-2018 but is written on 07-May-2018. Most posts dated April were written several weeks later, because I went through most of the month not feeling stable enough to post every day. I find lately that posting is cyclical: I go through days without bothering, and then I do a massive catch-up, writing 3-4 retroactive posts a day. All because of a perverse need to continue the one-post-a-day streak that has been going since 25-jun-2007. That’s not a typo, I’ve managed one post a day for almost 11 years.

I don’t think the quality or content of a post deteriorates if it’s written days or weeks afterwards. If anything, I think it filters out the less interesting topics. I instapaper articles, videos, images that I find interesting and find that I delete around half when I come to writing about them, because I no longer find them worth writing about. There’s a recent guardian article about delaying reading the news for a few days. Because of the always-on 24/7 nature of the news cycle, mental exhaustion creeps in, and anxiety level increases.

Of the 45 troubling things you saw on Twitter this morning, two or three may prove to be signs of the rise of fascism/the destruction of the environment/the collapse of Brexit Britain. Yet the rest won’t.

I still read the news everyday, but I take my time. I don’t rely on twitter for breaking news, and I spend no more than 15mins a day on fb. By the time a news item has settled, then I feel like I can read more.

Still, why do I feel like I need to post everyday? I have no idea. Routine, may be. Fear that if I missed a day the momentum is lost. In a way, it’s the same mentality of regret that I felt when I missed nano2007. If only I just wrote rubbish, any rubbish, to get to 50k. It’s a missed event I can never get back.

A few weeks ago, Jason Kottke wrote that blogging is almost certainly not dead and I find myself nodding in agreement. I didn’t get a chance to submit my website, but thousands of others did. One of them, karigee talked about why she’s kept her blog for 15 years:

I also keep it out of spite, because I refuse to let social media take everything. Those shapeless, formless platforms haven’t earned it and don’t deserve it. I’ve blogged about this many times, but I still believe it: When I log into Facebook, I see Facebook. When I visit your blog, I see you.

Emphasis mine, and how I agree.

Let’s look at the 25-jun-2007 post that started the streak. Entitled new old thoughts, it’s my usual jumble of weird thoughts. To my 2007-self’s credit, reading the post brings me back to my situation then. There was an upheaval at work, my last day was that week, and I’d booked myself on a month-long trip to the US and Chile, the first and only time I visited South America. It’s interesting to read about ex-colleagues, some of whom I have kept in touch with but most of them I haven’t.

stg050sunset

The big trip is worth reading about, it started off on day 1 with a flight cancellation at JFK, where I had to sleep on the floor next to a vending machine overnight before rather recklessly deciding to drive to Chicago. Once I got to Chicago, we almost immediately hopped into the car to drive to Dallas, Fort Worth, and eventually to Washington DC to see the 4th of July fireworks and the museums. The Chilean leg of the trip was equally impressive, with skiing, wine train, and beaches. Holy moly, I did all that?

Anyway, going back to the post, this is how it ended:

But right now my brain is in a state of frozen limbo shock. I can’t believe I quit my job. I can’t believe I quit my job with no new job to go do. I can’t believe the things that our new management team is getting away with. I can’t believe I’m going on such a long trip. I can’t believe I basically have no plans beyond this July trip.

None of this is new. Nor is it a surprise.

Frankly, nothing has changed in almost 11 years.

moving day

edeint005bbroom

When the movers arrived at 10am, my room was all ready and so was Papa’s room, most of the living and dining rooms, store room, bridge, helper’s room, bathroom and most of the kitchen. Actually what wasn’t ready was anything to do with mum’s stuff. She was still packing as the movers were packing. I didn’t pack the kitchen except for storing anything we’re not taking in boxes so I asked the movers to pack that. Lots of boxes.

They didn’t have room in the van to take our stuff away so we’ll have to ask the contractors. There was room in the van for both mum and I to ride along.

edeint061rob

What did surprise me was how little we actually took with us to rob, because it took them no time at all to unload, for me to unpack essentials, and for the flat to look neat and tidy. The sofa, tv table and coffee table returned to their original positions, we have 2 fridges, and I managed to squeeze about half the kitchen stuff into the kitchen. The rest are in boxes in my room ready to be taken back to ede.

I’m taking the small room which as aforesaid spare kitchen stuff, my plastic boxes, a box of stuff from my desk, my clothes rail and tools. I packed the most important items–passports, documents, money, chequebooks–into one backpack. I’m still sleeping on the sofa until I get the ikea sofabed.

Everything was done by 3pm. Sis came over and she had nothing to do! We all went to the globe for dinner, which was extremely nice.

the same sandwich every day

rchicken009carve

I’m trying to cook and eat up as much food as we can before moving. We had rack of lamb when sis came over on saturday so for meals today were lamb. I try not to do that, serve the same meal twice in a row. There’s a guardian article about eating the same sandwich for lunch every day. I’m quite horrified by that. A 2017 survey found that 77% of people surveyed had the same lunch every day for 9 months. A 2013 survey found 50% had the same lunch every day for 6 years. Cheese sandwiches and ham sandwiches were the most popular lunch items.

6 years of cheese sandwiches or ham sandwiches.

Some theories on why. Budget, laziness, not wanting to change. I guess there’s apathy too. No one is happy at work, and I can understand not wanting to have to expend energy thinking about what to eat for lunch. I used to bring a lot of chicken and savoy cabbage lunches to work too.

But 6 years of cheese sandwiches or ham sandwiches?

Interestingly, mefi commenters point out that many people have the same breakfast every day, and no one bats an eyelid. Good point.

I sometimes find it tough to have to think of what to cook twice a day. Which is why I have leftovers, but usually never two meals running. I rotate too, only I have a large enough pool to rotate through so it doesn’t get too boring.

On the sandwich front, tomorrow’s lunch will be roast chicken and roasted peppers wrap. Leftovers from roast dinner and easy to assemble and eat whilst the movers are here.

0.5k

0.5k

I’ll stop posting about packing updates because it’s making me depressed and very stressed.

I wish I have the motivation to go out and take a walk or go for a run. Sigh.

Anyway, a town in Texas will hold a 0.5k in May. That’s not a typo, the race is all of half a kilometer. The race starts at a local brewery (free beer), there’s a doughnut & coffee stop at 150m, and the race ends at another local brewery (more free beer). There’s the usual t-shirt and medals.

There’s even a VIP option, where for an extra $25, the VIPs get to go from start to finish in a 1963 VW bus. They still get the free beers too.

Proceeds go to a charity that provides food for underprivileged children. It all seems so much fun. I think they should expand it, who needs Rock’n’Roll races when there are 0.5ks to be organised.

don’t judge

Today is the semi-annual charity collection. One of the collection points is diagonally opposite us, so it’s really convenient. We had been storing up stuff to give to them, there’s a big pile of clothes, books, kitchen and home stuff. Sis came over to help too, and we carted some bags to the collection point. The building janitor expressed interest in some of the stuff, so we gave some to him. I usually give him old electronics that he can use as parts or sell.

The part-time helper came too so we had 4 pairs of hands packing today. Made some progress. I should be pleased that so much got done, but I’m not. We’re running out of time and there’s still so much stuff not sorted. Why is it so difficult? Takes mum 5 minutes to go through one item of clothing. How can one person have so much clothes?

In terms of distraction and entertainment, how about this 9-year old captioning New Yorker cartoons. It started when her aunt posted her work, which then got noticed by the magazine itself.

dontjudge

I have several favourites. This one is most apt to my current circumstances. I’m trying very hard not to judge, honest.

geoguessr

And, more packing. I made a start on Papa’s room, clearing the old desk and his desk. Keeping paperwork with me when we move, just like I packed the files in my filing cabinet to 4 office boxes.

geoguessr01eye

For a bit of light relief, I’m playing geoguessr. It’s been around for a while. It’s a game that drops the player in a random location and the trick is to put a pin on the google map to as close to the actual location as possible. We can focus on a smaller area, like central london. There’s the blazingly obvious, like the London Eye above.

geoguessr02odeon

Or the obvious to Londoners, like the Odeon Shaftesbury Ave, which I’m surprised is still around.

geoguessr03mews

There are really obscure building sites and residential streets. Luckily we can move around the map and sometimes street name signs are vaguely visible. If not the street name, it may be possible to deduce council. This pretty mews can be anywhere, but walking out to the main street and I could see Post Office Tower in the background so I can guess the approximate location.

Pretty fun game to take my mind off things for a few minutes.

HP 20th anniversary (US)

Packing continues. I’m working on my next sideboard and the kitchen. There seems to be something to pack everywhere. So.much.stuff.

uspotter20thanniversary

I know I put a ton of books to be given away, but I kept all my David Eddings and all the Potters. News about Potter, its US publisher is releasing new covers to mark the 20th anniversary of book 1’s release in the US. The 7 covers come from one giant image and are designed by Brian Selznick.

Think about that for a moment.

20 years.

Technically 21 years because Philosopher’s Stone was first published in 1997. And honestly, at this point, they should just scrap the stupid Sorcerer’s Stone name.

packing

sleepsofa

Have to start packing in earnest, the movers are coming next Tuesday. They will pack everything that is being moved, but our complication is we’re not moving a substantial amount of stuff, which needs to be boxed and labelled ourselves. Plus so much rubbish to throw away.

Took me more than a day to pack the huge glass cabinets in the living room. An entire set of Hornsea dinner set plus an entire cottage tea set. Wedgewood, decoration, wine glasses. Now I need to sort my room, then I can tackle the rest of the flat. But I soon realised: a) I have a lot of stuff crammed into one room; b) I don’t have any space to manoeuvre. The only solution is to dismantle the bed to clear space. It’s amazing how much footprint a bed takes up.

Winter clothes will be packed away and stored in the wardrobe during renovation. The clothes I’ll need for the next 3 months will go in my suitcases. I’m taking the entire contents of my filing cabinet but not the cabinet itself–4 document boxes. I can leave the files behind but I don’t want confidential and personal stuff around while the builders are in. I put 2 shelves of books to the pile for charity collection, there are some books I never read and will likely never read so may as well give them away. Others, I’ll get the ebooks.

It’s becoming clear that most of our possessions are not needed and we keep them due to some hoarding instinct. Why do I need 100 pens? Three large boxes of shoes when I wear one pair at a time? What’s the point of collecting a whole drawerful of small toiletries?

Anyway, I’ll be sleeping on the sofa for the foreseeable future. We’re taking my bedframe and Mum’s mattress and she will sleep in the larger bedroom. I’ll stay on the sofa until we buy a single bed, which will eventually go into the helper’s room.

pubg

I read about this new game in the app store called PUBG mobile. The reviews are very good, and lots of praises for the quality of a mobile game.

I’m not a prolific gamer. I play candy crush or farmhouse heroes. Sometimes I find a game I like I’ll play it a little more then I tend to lose interest. I’ve never paid any attention to shooting games, and this PUBG is just another shooting game. Or so I thought. It’s something called a battle royale game:

Each match drops 100 players into a vast, open map where they scrounge up gear and wage gun battles in an effort to be the last player or squad standing. A randomly selected “safe” zone pushes players into an ever-shrinking portion of the map, ensuring that matches end in a reasonable amount of time.

I don’t know what drove me to download it but I did. It’s pretty hard to see on the small iphone screen, I try to make do.

So I parachute onto an island:

pubg01

I pick up weapons (the game automatically picks up items when I walk over them) and explore the island on my own in a solo game, or with teammates in a duo or squad game:

pubg02

Other players shoot back and it’s a strategy of whether to go in guns blazing or be more cautious. I find when I play in squads I spend a lot of time figuring out where my teammates are and trying to follow them. Teammates are random people, since I don’t have any friends to play with. No idea who or where these random people are; or if they are real people. I usually go to a quiet place to loot then make my way to the circle. Sometimes I get killed by the playzone, I’ve had top 10s a few times. Not very successful in terms of winning.

pubg05

Winners are given a chicken dinner. Dunno why, it’s kinda funny. This win was in a duo, my teammate and I drove up to the top of a hill in a buggy and there was shooting. Teammate was killed, I killed the killer. Then I retreated to behind the buggy to heal up. Just as I was drinking an energy drink, the chicken dinner screen popped up. The last person got killed by being outside the playzone.

Recently, an update gave more game features, including training, faster vehicles and arcade mode where 28 people play in a small playzone. Much faster pace and good practice. Each arcade game focuses on one type of weapon or there’s an all weapons mode too. I’ve played pistols only, melee which has no guns, sniper rifles etc.

pubg06

The first few games in squad I got chicken dinners. Then it either got harder or I got worse. It’s still quite fun.

PUBG (pronounced pub-g, I didn’t know till I watched some youtube videos) is one of a bunch of similar survival shooting games. The others include Fortnite and Rules of Survival. Fortnite has a huge following, and has the most players. I can’t play the mobile version because it doesn’t support iphone 6, ah well. These games are free, and the in-game purchases are quite limited. Different clothing, or a loot box that gives a chance of different clothing. Considering clothes don’t matter in the game, it’s incredible that the games make millions. Must be something about clothes that I’m not getting.

Fortnite is more cartoon-y and allows players to build defensive forts. This spoof video makes fun of the difference. The effects are pretty cool and tongues are firmly planted in cheeks.

I also came across an article describing a ransomware that locks files unless the user plays PUBG. Huh? I think it’s PC only, and infected computers will show a message telling users to play PUBG for an hour. Security experts discovered that playing for 3mins will unlock the files. It feels like an April Fool’s joke.

Anyway, I play a handful of games occasionally. I’m still really bad at it, not having a lot of shooting game experience. I’m not sure how long my interest will hold.

#pokemongo EX raid

Ten days ago I received this:

pokeexraid

My first EX raid invite! I don’t raid a lot though lately I’ve tried to make sure I get at least one of the legendaries. I had to look at the directions on the invite to see where the gym that I won the qualifying raid is located. Aha, it’s the park next to the market. Makes sense, it’s one of the gyms I’ve raided at most frequently. I think I even remember the exact raid that got me the invite.

So anyway, monday at 1pm isn’t a very user-friendly time. I feel sorry for people who need to go to work or school.

I finished lunch early and walked to the park. On the way there was a latias raid so I participated, but didn’t catch it.

I was at the gym around 12.45pm and I was pretty shocked to see there were like 80 people there already. Wow. I had no idea what to do, luckily I overheard someone talk about team yellow, and I asked if I could join. They kindly said yes. It was only when I looked around that I noticed people were standing in small groups by team colour. My Instinct team had 8 people. Almost all the people there seem to know each other! From snippets of conversation, these people play a lot more than me, and take it much more seriously. They talked about an unspoken rule about what time they should occupy gyms, I’m nowhere near that sophisticated.

pokemew

When the raid started, we got into a private group and began fighting Mewtoo. Took him down really quickly. Now I see why teams are split by colours, we all got 11 balls.

I fed him a golden raspberry and threw an ordinary ball, not even nice. And then I got him. First ball. Everyone in my team seemed to have been successful, although one of the aunties asked the younger guy to throw for her, hahaha. Done, I was on my way to the market and the shuttlebus in 10mins.