lovecraftian nightmare

mythosmonsters

This is one of the funniest reddit comments I’ve ever read. Really needed the smiles because of all the stress and nonsense in my life right now. It’s someone’s answer to an askreddit question: what really happened in real life that if you saw it in a movie you would say “that’s totally unrealistic.” I’ll quote the comment from u/bookmark32345 in its entirety below. It’s so incredible it needs to be incorporated into a tv program or a film or a cartoon or something.

The image is the cover of Mythos Monsters: A Creature Codex of Lovecraftian Horrors by Jacob Walker, to go with the Lovecraftian nightmare description below.


When my grandfather was young he owned a roadside motel, and my mother used to do work around the motel for the family. The building was old and they had bad pipes, so visits from the plumber were a fairly regular occurrence over there.

At one point they had a clogged toilet after a guest checked out, so they called the plumber to come and clean it out. The plumber came in with his bag of gear and set to work, but the clog was stubborn. After a few tries, he decided he needed to get the snake.

I don’t know if you’ve ever seen a serious plumbing snake, but the big ones are a sight to behold. This isn’t a little crank auger, it’s a full-on electrical powered snake with a big motor on the back and a little grabby claw on the end.

So he fires up the snake and sends the metal coil down into the pipes with the claw closed, figuring whatever’s down there he’ll just bump it a bit, push it down the pipes until it clears – but this doesn’t happen either. Finally, in frustration, he twists the control to open the mechanical claw at the end of the coil, closes it on something, throws the motor in reverse and starts to pull it back up.

By now a couple of members of the staff have gathered in the room to try and figure out what the hell got flushed down the toilet that this giant machine couldn’t remove. The motor is really straining – you know that sound an electric motor makes when it’s working really hard? The whole machine is struggling to pull whatever this is back up through the pipes and into the room.

Finally, after an extended wait, the object is slowly dragged, sopping wet, out of the toilet bowl – and it’s a shower curtain.

The staff is dumbfounded. They’re trying to figure out how this could have happened. It would be weird enough if the guest had ripped the shower curtain down and flushed it down the toilet, but the shower curtain in the room is still there. It would be even weirder if the guest had brought their own shower curtain to the motel and tried to flush it down the toilet, but it’s clearly one of their shower curtains. Did they try and steal the shower curtain, leave with it, then feel guilty and come back only to find that the shower curtain had already been replaced, and then flush the shower curtain down the toilet to hide the evidence?

While they’re discussing this, the room phone rings. The person on the other end is screaming, hysterical, so it takes a few minutes for them to figure out that it’s the housekeeper who was cleaning the rooms. After a few moments, they manage to get the story out of her:

The snake had missed the clog entirely. Rather than spiraling down into the plumbing where it was intended to go, it had wound its way into the central line, and then back up the pipes in the room next door. It spiraled its way up, out the toilet bowl, and then started flailing wildly around the next-door bathroom like a Lovecraftian nightmare made of steel, knocking things off of shelves and clattering furiously around the room. Then, while the hapless housekeeper watched in horror, a metal claw opened on the end of it and snagged the shower curtain, ripped it off the bar ring-by-ring, spun it around the room until it was coiled tightly around the cable, and dragged it back down into the toilet bowl.

The actual clog was never found.


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.

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.

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

glcr067margeriecalf

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.

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.

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.

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.

mareep community day

mareepcd

It’s mareep community day!! After playing for a long time, I finally hatched 3 mareeps a few weeks ago, and had enough candy to evolve to flaafy. I’m looking forward to evolving ampharos.

For us the event ran from 11am to 2pm. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t cooperating, heavy rain and wind. We went to a nearby diner for late breakfast first. It took about 10-15mins before mareeps started appearing. At first we were toughing it out with the rain, then it got lighter and the sky brightened up again. We just stuck to mm’s local area that has a seafront and two parks. That was enough to catch lots of mareeps.

We allowed time to go home and evolve to ampharos to get the special moveset. I managed to get 3 shinies too, so I have one each shiny.

Good event. Rumour is next month is charmander. It’ll be great to get a charizard with special moveset. Oh, and shinies too.

the other oxbridge race

What am I missing out on this weekend? The Race.

Not the Boat Race.

The other race between Oxford and Cambridge.

goatrace

It’s none other than the Goat Race. The Standard explains:

The light-hearted event, sees two pygmy goats, one for Oxford and one for Cambridge, lock horns and race around the farm. They’re not kid-ding around.

 

This take place at Spitalfields city farm and the festival also features live music, a fair, street food, and arts & craft stalls. They also have an Apple Day in October. Pretty cool.

my lego

mylego

Yet another thing to add to my list of things I can buy for my niece. And as usual, something I want to get for myself.

For £19.99, I can order my own lego keychain with a lego figure that looks like me. They need a picture of me as well as some personal details like hobbies, favourite colour, usual clothing and such like. They say they have millions of combinations of head and body parts. An example of personalisation:

Molly normally wears blue jeans and a pink t-shirt. She has red hair and thick rimmed glasses.

There’s also a framed figure for £29.99 but I think the keychain is more practical. UK company so UK delivery but they also deliver to a few other countries. Firebox sells all sorts of weird and wonderful gadgets, although I think I should be able to get them much, much cheaper on taobao.

pokemongo dratini day

dratini

It’s pokémongo community day #2 and it’s dratini this month. Good motivation:

  • increased dratini spawn
  • dragonite evolved during the window will get draco meteor moveset
  • 3x stardust for all catches
  • 3hr lures

I have over 500 ultraballs and around 60 pinaps in my bag (just because, not on purpose), so I was in good shape. I thought the event started at 12pm but when I went out at around 11.30am I saw a bunch of dratinis already. Of course it being niantic, there were problems galore: network error, error 2, error 22, error 26, no gps, and couldn’t login sometimes when I tried to restart the game. There were times after loading when no stops or pokémons could be seen. That went on for a good 1-2hrs, which was alright because I was at lunch.

Sometime around 2pm everything seemed to have gotten fixed. I went to central piers where there is a good 700-800m stretch facing the harbour where commuter ferries dock. Normally it’s already a great spot for dratinis and water-types and today it was a veritable bounty. I ended up using a couple of lucky eggs and basically walked up and down between pier 2 and pier 9 catching everything. Tons of stops, all lured and sometimes in one spot there’d be 6-7 dratini spawning one after another.

I saw on twitter that they knew there’s a problem and the event will be extended. In the end I was there for around 2hrs. I forgot to track my starting stats, rough numbers:

  • dratini caught: around 120
  • of which shiny: 5
  • evolved to dragonair: 1 shiny
  • evolved to dragonite: 1 shiny, 3 regular
  • stardust: no idea, but 120x100x3=36,000 and I caught others too
  • xp: no idea, I was at 3xx,xxx and now I’m at 448,000

Didn’t manage a 100% IV dragonite, the best is 98% IV which I’m really happy about. Threw away a lot of low IV dratinis, and the worst one I didn’t throw away is a shiny at 19% IV. I was using pokeassistant initially and got 18% but pokemeter and pokegenie both gave me 19%. It’s the absolute worst ever pokémon in my collection. Since it’s a shiny, and since it’s so terrible, I simply must keep it.

I also like the comments from pokemeter. “Your Dratini has an awful IV, but it’s happy!” Snerk.

hello, human person

robotmindmeld01

This is a fun way of wasting a few minutes. An online word association game called Robot Mind Meld. Both human player and robot attempt to come up with the same word that associates with words each had already came up wth. The idea behind the Numberbatch AI is that it thinks quantitiatively about how words relate to each other by

analyzing millions of documents for patterns, these “numberbatches” now play a role in most programs that process language, from speech recognition to machine translation.

robotmindmeld02

At first, I couldn’t get anywhere and got stuck after more than 10 rounds. But then bingo! We did it in 3 rounds.

I’m not that great with word associations because I either use very literal relationships or go off in a weird tangent. Some of the answers from the mefi users were odd and funny too. Some only took 2 rounds, someone took 79. I LOLed at this:

1 gun boat
2 gunboat gunboat

wilson wolfe game

wilsonwolfe

The correspondent at engadget talked about how hard it was to resist this kickstarter exclusive board game. Kickstarter exclusives are like small batch whiskies, they are available for a short period of time on kickstarter only, then will likely not be available forever. Most times, the reasons are that the products can’t be scaled up in the manufacturing process, they’re aimed at too niche an audience, or that the companies that make the products are too small to handle mass production. An example is a product that have a lot of hand-made, small components.

This board game the Wilson Wolfe Affair looks tremendous. It’s more than a board game, it’s a detective story-treasure hunt-puzzle game. The contents of the game is a big box of documents, newspaper clippings, other stuff, and a diary:

Each diary entry roughly corresponds to one main object in the package – and through reading the entry and examining the relevant objects you’ll see that there is a puzzle that needs to be solved. Upon finding the solution (perhaps a name, a date, an address, a lead), a little bit more of the story will be revealed to you. In this way, the game can be broken down into small stand-alone puzzles which can be tackled alone or by a group. And each puzzle solved will help you unravel the story, and solve the large overarching meta-puzzle; finding out exactly what happened.

The puzzles may be the object in the package, something to hunt for online, or…they’re not giving everything away. Sounds like a game to be played either alone or in a group, both ways sound like a lot of fun.

I think, yes, there’s a sense of FOMO with kickstarter exclusives, but the premise of the game is so refreshing, so intriguing that it’s worth getting without the exclusivity status.

The game starts at £59 for a 20-puzzle package and goes to £219 for a 50-puzzle package. And thanks to the engadget correspondent, I’m going to be £59 (+£20p&p) poorer. Ships in the summer. I think/hope it’s worth it.

sushi train, escape room

Met sis, gis, my cousin and his kids for lunch at a sushi restaurant sis suggested. It used to be a conveyor belt restaurant, but now it’s a sushi train. We order via a tablet, the food is prepared in the kitchen and sent to us on a miniature train. We take the plate and push a button to send the empty train back. It’s very, very cool. Much better than conveyor belt because the food is fresher and we can actually pick what we want instead of sitting around hoping for something good to arrive. The kids loved it.

2017xmas042lost 2017xmas043lost

After lunch, sis had booked us all to go to an escape room game at a place called Lost. The coolness of the day continued. We played a game called Alcatraz, where we were split into 3 teams and locked in 3 cells: Red, Green & Blue. We had to work together, solve puzzles and escape from the cells. The puzzles, in retrospect, were pretty straightforward, but in the moment when everything was unknown and we were all trying to scream at each other, it felt more stressed. Plus there’s always the time limit–45mins. We all managed to escape our cells but ran out of time to solve the last puzzle to escape from the room itself. A huge amount of fun and something I’d do again in a heartbeat. The kids say it’s one of the best they’ve played.

Everyone had separate plans so I ended up sitting in a Mcdonalds for 2hrs drinking one small coke zero and reading on my ipad. This branch is pretty good, not very crowded. I was waiting for mm to finish to meet her to help her with shopping. Her family is having a gathering this weekend and doing a New Year’s version of Christmas Secret Santa. The budget is local$200, but the difficulty is the gift has to be suitable for her parents (in their 70s) as well as her nieces and nephew (teen and pre-teen). I gave her a magnetic noughts-and-crosses game I’d originally bought for my nieces and she got a box of nice biscuits and a bottle of sparkling grape juice. Under budget too.

We weren’t that hungry so dinner was just noodles. Went to HMV to have a beer and chat for a bit until time to go home.

#fourfoods of the apocalypse

There was a game a few years ago that asked, what food will you choose to eat after the apocalypse. The rules:

the world has ended…somehow you have a magic refrigerator. This brilliant genius of an appliance holds a constant supply of salt, pepper, oil, flour and sugar — and four other foods.

PICK FOUR FOODS.

Assume there are cooking and storage facilities; and no need to worry about pesky things like nutrition and vitamins. The food has to be core ingredients, so no meatlover’s pizza or chicken curry with rice or beef wellington. And these are all the food you will eat for the rest of your existence.

The authors of the article asked their colleagues and on twitter and came up with a good selection, some are quite specific like sharp white cheddar:

  • whole chicken, spinach, bacon, vanilla ice cream
  • dark chocolate, avocados, eggs, tomatoes
  • eggs, apples, butternut squash, hot sauce
  • heirloom tomatoes, sharp white cheddar, pork belly, eggs
  • steak, black beans, avocado, bourbon
  • coconut, papaya, eggs, rum

They even asked professional chefs:

  • Curtis Stone: asparagus, avocado, eggs, goat cheese
  • Jessica Koslow of Sqirl: feta, brown rice, meyer lemons, kale
  • Carmen Quagliata of Union Square Café: tomatoes, garlic, eggs, pecorino cheese
  • Thomas Kelly of Mexicue Kitchen + Bar: chilies, eggs, rice, lemons
  • Zak Walters of Salt’s Cure: whole chicken, avocados, collard greens, Beaujolais wine

fourfoodsapocalypse

Sis says: rice, eggs, tomato, chocolate; my niece says: rice, eggs, cheese, chocolate; can’t quite remember what mm says but it’s something like: fish, eggs, beetroot, and one other, probably chocolate.

I’ve been thinking about this on and off. My choices:

  • eggs — it seems to be very popular with many people, because it’s so versatile and can be used for baking, cooking, frying. I’m going to cheat and say live chicken or duck, so I get meat, bones and eggs. Even at the cost of having to learn how to kill them. I mean, it’s the apocalypse, so I’ll have plenty of time. Personally I’ll go for duck because it’s tastier and I can get lots of duck fat, good with…
  • potatoes including sweet potatoes — this is supposed to be a good choice because if we had to survive on one single food forever, potato is one of the best. The leaves from the sweet potatoes will be my green veg element and takes the place of kale or savoy cabbage, which would have been my first choices for veg. I can use potatoes to make yeast and use it for bread and for fermentation. Imagine potato vodka, beer, and even wine because I’ll have…
  • grapes — not only wine, but I can make vinegar from it, that provides the essential acidic element for cooking. Many people choose lemons, but I think grapes have more potential. In addition to eating whole and making vinegar, they can be dried to get raisins, and frozen grapes are a delicious treat. Even though for some reason grape ice cream isn’t a thing, it is possibe in small batches, provided there is…
  • coconut — to make coconut milk which is supposed to be a great base for non-dairy ice cream. Originally I thought of picking milk for this spot, but most of what milk can do, coconut milk can do. With whole coconuts, there’s delicious coconut water, coconut milk, coconut oil, and the flesh can be used as food or dried for seasoning and crunch. With vinegar made from the grapes, I should be able to make some sort of cheese-like curd or yogurt with the coconut milk

So all in all, I’m fairly happy with my choices. If duck+eggs isn’t allowed, I’ll go for just the duck and sacrifice eggs. If duck+eggs is allowed and I get additional spots, I’ll add prawn, avocado or cheese: proper cheese and not the iffy stuff I’ll get from coconut milk, grape vinegar and whatever else I conjure up.

Some games allow for one luxury item and people may pick steak, chocolate, or some other indulgence. It’s a no-brainer for me: whisky.

r/mildlyinteresting

Lazy weekend with zero plans, aside from going to the market to stock up on veg. Which I did, and came home huffing because I bought almost exclusively roundish, heavy veg–potato, sweet potato, jicama, kohlrabi, celery (okay, not round), pepper (okay, not heavy). The small supermarket is 33% off, so I bought wine and a pack of 6 fizzy water. Everything in my backpack and one shopping bag; my other hand had to carry the water.

So, what better to spend the rest of the day looking through r/mildlyinteresting stuff.

Top post this week: This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for

librarytoughtopics

Once and again, librarians prove they are wonderful people. A librarian chimed in:

The profession has something called the Code of Ethics which we are all supposed to follow. Part of those ethics are: I. We uphold the principles of intellectual freedom and resist all efforts to censor library resources. II. We protect each library user’s right to privacy and confidentiality with respect to information sought or received and resources consulted, borrowed, acquired or transmitted. III. We distinguish between our personal convictions and professional duties and do not allow our personal beliefs to interfere with fair representation of the aims of our institutions or the provision of access to their information resources.

And of course, some “concerned parents” in Albany, NY saw a version of this poster and complained, saying that the library shouldn’t be encouraging kids to look up this type of information. Luckily, according to the library’s assistant director, they had mostly positive feedback. Hope they don’t buck to the pressure and change or take down the poster. Never cater to the lowest common denominator.

Top post this month: This Toothpaste describes what each of its ingredient is and its purpose

toothpastepurpose

Not as interesting as the library poster, which is why the sub is for mildly interesting things. The interesting thing for me is how water is described as aqua and its purpose is as a moistener. And here I’m reminded that moist is the most hated word in english.

The toothpaste in question is kingfisher, and the mildly interesting factor is I’ve never heard of it before.

Top post this year: Without barriers the British still know how to queue!

britishqueue

Someone recognised it as the O2 arena, so people are getting inside for a concert or something like that. In any event, it’s a long queue and it makes me proud to see the organised snake formation even without barriers. On reddit, people make a big deal (and show a lot of admiration) for the British way of queuing. I think the orderliness appeals to many redditors who are basically introverts and like organisation.

Sometimes I see queues that go beyond the barriers and they deteriorate into an utter mess even though people are trying to queue. In some other places or countries the queue will be a single line that extends to past the main doors and to the outside, very ineffective usage of space. One of the most irritating things to see is a queue for an ATM where people stand right on the pavement and block foot traffic, instead of queuing up parallel to the wall.

That said, the intricate snail-like line at the pokemongo fest in Chicago last summer was a work of art, even though there were volunteers there directing traffic. And I can imagine a similar scenario in Japan, the queue will be even more organised.

make your own slime

slime

I remember playing with slime when it oozed into the world. It came in one colour, green, and was icky and fun at the same time.

TIL not only has it endured the years, it’s now possible to buy kits to make your own, and somene reviewed the best slime-making kits. Just in time for Christmas. According to the testers at Wirecutter, slime can be made from everyday ingredients including glue, contact-lens solution or borax, baking soda, and optional mix-ins, such as food coloring or glitter. The kits come in convenient packages that saves parents the trouble of hunting down the ingredients. And look better as a present.

I would have loved to be one of the testers. It took only around 10mins to make each batch, so it was quick fun. The best kit according to the testers is Cra-Z-Art Nickelodeon Slime Super Slimy, the name alone is worth one extra mark. It came first because

it included all the required ingredients packaged as safely as possible, and it offered the biggest variety of mix-ins for making all different kinds of slime

including all the bowls, cups and spoons needed.

The runner-up Mr. E=mc² DIY Slime Kit gave the most and best quality slime but fell down in the areas of packaging and didn’t include bowls and such. It’s also more expensive. Looking further though, it’s from a husband and wife company in Minnesota who develops, tests and assembles the kits with the help of their kids. Compared with the brand name Nickelodeon product, it’s worth the additional price, I think.

Um, not that I’m going to buy a make your own slime kit. Well, may be not.

r/oldpeoplefacebook

oldpeoplefb

Saw this post on fb and in a fit of meanness, posted it on r/oldpeoplefacebook. Most of my reddit posts and comments get buried, but this one, oh boy, made it to the front page of r/all. It now has over 32,000 upvotes and my karma has shot up from 800-ish to almost 8,000.

I can see stats for the post’s journey to the front page. It took 3hrs 24mins from when it was first posted to reach r/all, and stayed there for 5hrs 10mins. The highest rank was 4 and there are over 600 comments. Most of it took place when I was asleep because I posted it before bed. I didn’t read all the comments, but most were decent by reddit standards. There are threads discussing memorialising the account of people who have passed away, and others gave examples of how friends and family maintain the account of deceased users. Some said it was sad, not funny, and I agree to an extent. See earlier post on why I think “I’m old, I don’t know computers” is an excuse for not making an effort.

Anyway, I now get to post on select subreddits for users who’ve made it to the front page. It’s supposed to be a big deal. Reddit is, after all, the front page of the internet.

random things I’ve been up to

Last of the catch-up posts, I think. What I’ve been up to during the past 3 weeks.

pumpkinsoup201711

I had a big bag of chestnuts that mm gave me. I wanted to roast them, peel then put in a braised chicken. But disaster happened! The chestnuts wouldn’t peel properly and stubbornly stuck to the shell. All I got was a big container of chestnut breadcrumbs.

Had to change plan, so made pumpkin and chestnut soup instead. The chestnut acted as perfect thickening agent, so the soup ended up quite thick. For liquid I made fresh turkey stock. Really, really nice. Served it with roti prata, which alas was store bought. Sprinkled on grated cheese.


sunset201711

We went for a drive one weekend, no real plans. Ended up at this oyster farm near the shenzhen border that has nice view of sunsets. Sunsets come early now, it starts getting dark at 5pm and full dark at 6pm. We brought picnic–mm brought an old bottle of macallan and some glasses which we sipped as we enjoyed the view. Only a small sip, since she’s driving.

We got chatting with a guy who had 2 tripods set up taking time lapse pictures. One was a Sony alpha 7 and the other was an iphone. He told us he just came back from Japan and he’s also been to a few other places to take timelapses of sunrises and sunsets. He collects the end results on his youtube channel. The timelapse here was at a place near where we were on that sunday.


frites01 frites02

A weekday evening out, met up for happy hour at frites. I started with trusty st bernadus abt 12, and then asked the assistant manager for a recommendation. He said to try the het kapittel watou prior, which is another trappist beer. Lighter that st bernadus, with chocolate tones. Nice alternative.

We weren’t that hungry, so we shared some miniburgers and a portion of frites.


musebar02

Met mm after her saturday appointment. Originally we were supposed to meet at the novotel but when I got there I discovered that happy hour had been pushed back to 6-8pm, and it was quite busy. I walked around the area wanting to find an alternative and came across this place called muse wine bar and art gallery. It was located in the basement of a boutique hotel and pretty quiet. They had a big wine list of bottles and a smaller list of by-the-glass wines. Not only the usual, but 3-4 pages of both red and white wines. The price was higher, but the tradeoff was quality and tranquility.

musebar04

On the walls were some ink art, I didn’t pay too much attention to the artist, but the artwork tied in with the quiet nature of the bar.

Next time we go there, I’ll order a bottle. Three glasses of wine came to around the same price as their cheapest bottle.


drago1

I stopped playing pokemon go. No incentive anymore, even with the last migration of legendary raids. I saw some people gathered around a gym while getting ready to get off the bus and didn’t bother running back like I would have before. The unfairness of raids, the stupid EX-raid invitations, the lack of pokemons other than commons, and I’m still bitter about no tauros, all contribute to my lethargy towards the game.

Some people have made the move to draconius go, which has all the features of pogo with fewer problems. Select a character and walk around to capture monsters. With names like Potty, these mythical creatures are cute as button, there are a total of 125 of them and they show up on a tracker at the bottom right of the screen. There are pillars of abundance (ie stops) where spinning grants random items that are useful in the game. Occasionally the adventuer gets attacked while walking, and has to battle the beast. Fighting can also be done in arenas (ie gyms). There are also many other features, refer to this useful beginner’s guide is on r/draconiusgo.

drago2

For some players, the playing experience is so much better, with more stops and creatures. For me, though, I stopped playing after a few tries. The two screenshots were taken from the same spot just down the road from where I live. The triangular area is the small local park. On the left, pogo with a gym and a bunch of stops. On the right, drago with…nothing. It’s the same picture everywhere else. The other disadvantage is my mobile provider isn’t counting data usage for pogo, they made a big deal when the game first came out and never took it away. So few people play now that it’s not worth them bothering with it. But with drago, I can’t imagine going out for hours and hours and eating into my mobile data allowance.

So, not playing either game. Not playing much else, just reading.

museum wars

Thanks to my friend N (who works at the Smithsonian, how cool!) for linking to this.

The Natural HIstory Museum and the Science Museum had a twitter museum-off the other day. It started when someone asked who would win in a battle between the two. The social media managers at both places had a field day.

museumwars1

First shot fired by NHM, and a quick return by SM. It got worse from there, when random ammo like vampire fish, polaris missile, cockroaches, wellies, dragons, submarines, fleas, balloons were brought out. When NHM fired a tweet with locust, SM fired back with pesticide. All were museum exhibits.

museumwars2

Meanwhile, the V&A were sitting pretty.

Of course, civility returned. We’re British after all. Compliments all around and each took the opportunity to mention more of their interesting exhibits. The entire silliness episode here.

ravenhearst

ravenhearst1

I’ve spent the past few days playing the old Ravenhearst game. I got the original ten years ago, when for a short while I subscribed to monthly games. I still have 4 credits leftover at big fish games so I redeemed a credit for the sequel. And then they had a sale so I got #3 and #4.

I like playing these hidden object games on the mba, not so much on the ipad. Not merely because the screen is bigger so the great graphics can be seen better. There are too many ads and restrictions for the ipad versions–they make you wait for hours or even a day to replenish lives, or give hints, or other in-game features. There are no distractions or in-game cash grab for the mac games. The only problem is the mba heats up like crazy with these flash games. I can ignore it, but I make myself stop and logout after a while.

The first Ravenhearst game is pretty simple: mostly hidden objects with a few puzzles and solving the crime by completing jigsaw puzzles. Straight-forward gameplay and the puzzles are interesting. I didn’t pay that much attention to the diary entries that are supposed to be central to solving the crime; just finding the objects and finishing the crime computer jigsaw puzzles moved the game forward. The only notes I had to make was to remember the location of various keys in the different rooms.

ravenhearst2

Ravenhearst #2, or Return to Ravenhearst, is more sophisticated. Still hidden objects, but the crime and puzzle-solving elements taking more centre stage. Lots of rooms and areas to explore, I almost had to draw a map to remember all the locations; I’d go down to a basement and there is an entire street with shops and, hey, a dark cave. It’s fun to explore, and the puzzles were varied and challenging. One of my favourite games.

I’ve just started #3, Escape from Ravenhearst. It’s very different and I’m not 100% liking it. The hidden object element is now morphing objects: there’s no list of objects to find, we have to identify random objects that change form. After a couple of scenes, I have the hang of it and find that they are on par with traditional hidden objects. What I have trouble with, is the story and gameplay. As in #2, there are lots of different locations, some hidden, and it’s part of the puzzle to open up a new area. The problem with #3 is, I’ve found myself finishing a puzzle and then I don’t know where to go or do next. No new areas, no new clues.

The second complaint is the puzzles, they are not obvious. With the previous games, I could sense what I need to do to solve the puzzle. With #3, I’d open up a scene and have no idea what I’m supposed to be doing. Give an example, in #2 there was a puzzle where I had to switch numbers on a dial so they were in the right order; there was also a whack-a-mole game and I figured out hitting red moles took away points. In #3, I zoomed into a dial that had 3 push levers and there’s nothing to tell me what I should be aiming to do. I’m also having to constantly write down notes of random numbers and letters I’m seeing, they aren’t stored in the casebook and there are no clues about where they may be used. Way, way too obscure. I don’t want to read through the walkthrough constantly, but that’s what I have been doing.

I’m only around halfway done with #3 and reading the reviews make me go ‘hmm’ because the storyline is dark. The locations include a creepy hospital, a horrible house and a mental institution. Not sunshine and flowers this one. There’s always been a supernatural element to the series but in addition to the macabre twist the ghosts who appear in #3 are not helpful, all they say are “don’t come here, you’re in danger!” Duh, yes. That’s why I’m playing the game, do they want me to hit the quit button? I’ll work on finishing it slowly.

pokemon go fest refund

gofestrefund

This arrived via email. So they will refund the cost of the ticket (and fees), give everyone $100 worth of pokécoins, and add a legendary lugia. In order to get the $20-plus refund, we have to fill in a form and wait till 1 September. The coins and lugia will be added to the account of everyone who checked in by scanning (or trying a thousand times to scan) the QR code. Let’s see how long it takes, they say 7 business days.

I’m so tired I can’t get the energy to go out to find an articuno raid. I have no idea if people are raiding and I don’t want to show up at a raid and see no one. I can only see what’s around me and I know there are very few people around. I know I’m missing out. After the disaster that was the go fest experience I’m becoming salty about the whole game.

pokémon go fest

pokefest015stage

I was quite looking forward to the pokémon go fest event in chicago, having been lucky enough to get a ticket. Niantic was advertising all sorts of fun events: raids, global catch challenges, legendaries and special pokémons. The trainers at go fest were supposed to lead the world in catch events that were to take place in 30-minute windows.

So I got on the 9.12am train, stopped by 7-eleven to get water, and made my way towards grant park.

And that began a day that can only be described as a complete fail.

The event was supposed to start at 10am. I got to the entrance around 10.15am to see a long queue stretching down columbus. Walked to the end of the line to see an enormous mass of people snaking around buckingham fountain. Snaking like an intricate maze. I joined the queue and it took more than 2 hours to get to the entrance. They had one entry point for 20,000 people. There was nothing to do, the app took forever to open or crashed when I was trying to do anything. Someone mentioned we walked 7km just queuing up, she either was able to keep the app open or had a fitbit.

pokefest021stop

Actually getting in was fast. Go through bag search then scan the wristband. Once inside, we were given an envelope that had a badge and a QR code. The idea was to spin at one of the official physical pokéstops and scan the QR code to get the event badge. Sounds easy enough? Ha! There was NO SIGNAL. If we could get in, the app crashed after a minute. It took mutiple tries to get the app open and 4 tries to get the QR code to scan and the badge to show up. It wasn’t just me, it was everyone at the park. It was supposed to be an event where 20,000 people worked together to catch or raid pokémons but it ended up being 20,000 people with their heads down staring at their phones trying to get connected to the network or load the app.

I was there for a bit over 2 hours. In total I spun 2 stops and caught 2 pokémons: onyx and magikarp. A grand total of 200m was registered. Hatched an egg (rhyhorn) but couldn’t start to incubate or spin at a stop to get a new one. At least I got the event badge.

Left around 2.30pm and went to get something to eat. I hadn’t eaten anything and only drank a bottle of water up to then. The people at the next table were also from go fest and everyone expressed disappointment. The worst was when I was walking out and I heard a dad said to his son,

I’m sorry this was such a bomb.

I tried the app while I was eating and saw to my amazement, a porygon and then a chansey. The app crashed when I was catching the porygon but I got the chansey, phew I needed the chansey more. I started walking slowly to the station because I had around an hour before the train. Saw a bunch of people outside an alley and it turned out to be unown.

Niantic CEO and CMO got booed when they went on stage in the park to greet the crown. Turned out, they hadn’t informed the cellular providers they were having an event where 20,000 people would try to get on the internet. They had “forgotten” to install wifi towers. The servers couldn’t take the strain (nothing new there, par for the course for Niantic).

pokefestreward

So they extended the catch radius to two miles outside grant park. Those of us who were finally able to get a signal saw the promised rare pokémons. In addition to the porygon and chansey I also got unown and heracross. My recents don’t look so bad.

As I was taking the train back to the house, I was reading about possible compensation. The official Niantic apology to registered attendees:

  • refund of the $20 ticket
  • $100 worth of pokécoins
  • radius of special pokémons and eggs extend 2 miles for 24hrs (only visible to registered attendees)
  • legendary pokémon lugia to be automatically added to the account

I haven’t received any notifications yet; the compensation seems to be just about enough to shut people up. Doesn’t take away the fact that they ruined many people’s day. People came in from all over the US or around the world to play and they couldn’t. Especially sorry for all the families who were there, the kids must have been gutted. Trainers around the world who had organised their day to coincide with the event were also left confused and with no information. A good rundown of the how the day went is at heavy.

Apparently within the 2 mile radius after the event it’s super fun. Lures and legendary raids everywhere. But most attendees have probably gone home or away from the area.

Anyway, I’m leaving on Monday and I still haven’t seen a single tauros shadow. That’s another complaint for another day.

ten years | random

Ten years. I’ve added at least one post a day since July 2007. Sometimes I backpost a week’s worth of posts, yes. And other times the post of the day is pure filler. But still, thousands of posts.

Just for fun, I generated a few random dates and went back to see what I posted on that day.

29 june 2009

Another anniversary, the walkman was 30 years old, which means it’ll be 40 years old in 2019. Crikey. I think I still have this Walkman in my desk drawer, and some tapes mm and I recorded for each other in our early days. I don’t have my case of mixed tapes anymore though.

7 may 2013

geir168fjord

We were on our scandanavian cruise and on that day we reached Geiranger. Even now I remember the beauty of the fjords. We docked early in the morning and it was a tender port. Walked a bit to the waterfall, the fjord centre and around the port. Didn’t go on any excursions. The scenery as we sailed out was spectacular.

12 july 2007

Wow, this is freaky! Exactly 10 years ago. Day 15 of my big trip. I’d started with an awful delay experience at JFK (the last time I flew delta and likely the last time ever). I rented a car and drove in the night, by myself, from JFK to Chicago. 19hrs, I think. Then Car and I went on a road trip to Fort Worth and Washington DC, arriving on 4 July to watch the fireworks. Got back to Chicago and on that day we went to an outlet mall. A restful and boring day.

world skipping record


Spotted via bb, the guinness world record for

most skips over a single rope in one minute by a team

was just broken by a team of 14 students from the Fuji Municipal Harada Elementary School. The epitome of teamwork, 12 students run around in a figure of 8 formation and achieved 225 skips in one miinute.

skipping

The real heroes are the the two rope turners, you can see how strenuous it is, to keep rhythm and not slow down.

pokemon go fest chicago

pogofest

Niantic announced that for pokemon go’s first anniversary in july there will be a bunch of new features. There will also be physical events: a large event in chicago, sponsored events at a bunch of shopping centres in europe, and the annual pikachu outbreak in yokohama will be enhanced.

The event in chicago, pokemon go fest will be at grant park on 22 july. They haven’t published a details but looks like there will be challenges, a special medal, an exclusive 2km egg. Plus probably merchandise, food and other festival things. I’m still in chicago then so it was a no brainer to plan to go. Ticket sale started at 11am central time. I stayed up watching the website and as soon as the page changed, I clicked in to get my ticket.

I don’t know whether it’s cheap or expensive. $20 for the ticket but then there’s $6.18 additional fee and $5 shipping. I guess it’s affordable.

Aapparently the tickets sold out after 4 minutes. If it’s because bots and scalpers get them, it’s terrible. It simply never occured to me to get extra tickets.

pogofestheracross

The biggest tease they have on the website is a heracross. Will it migrate north? I’d love to catch one. To be honest I’m very worried about tauros because I’m reading disappointed accounts from people visitng the US and finding that it’s become extremely rare since gen 2.

I will have my Three sim card that gives me 3GB. By the time the 22nd rolls around, i’d be at the end of my trip, hopefully I still have enough data left or they provide wifi at the event. I’ll even pay for a wifi day pass if necessary.

bbmm dinner drinks

nanliangarden2017

The plan was to meet mm late afternoon after her appointment. There’s a pokemongo water event going on and I was looking at appx trying to see if lapras was anywhere. There’s an area between 3 stations that showed promise so I left earlier and headed over there. Turned out to be part of a temple complex, the garden was pretty with lots of traditional plants, a pagoda, bridges and a waterfall. Good tourist spot, good photo ops and there’s a shop and restaurant. Good spawning selection too, got a few new gen 2. Then I saw lapras’ shadow and was so grateful for the footprints showing exactly where the stop was. It was an athletics track at a nearby school and I ran through another garden and jaywalked across the road to get there. Sign that not many people are still playing, there were only around a dozen people there.

Met with mm around 5pm and went to a hotpot restaurant. They have a 10% discount for the 5-7.30pm slot. Instead of going for tea then walking then dinner we thought we’d have dinner first. Great idea, the place gets very crowded at normal dinnertime but so early it was relatively quiet. Food was good, we liked the prawns and vegetables; tried fish soup this time which went well with our favourites.

Time enough to walk around and we ended up at the heritage house bar. No happy hour and fairly expensive but we had the place to ourselves for a good 2 hours before a few people came in for after dinner drinks.

lego tape

legotape

I’m keeping an eye on this campaign for lego tapes, officially called nimuno or toy block tapes. It looks superduper fun, a tape that can stick on anything and then add lego bricks. I particularly like the tape around the bottom of sneakers, because why not. It’s one of those things that have absolutely no use whatsoever except for entertainment value.

They’ve reached almost $1.5mm funding. Right now for US$13 we get 2 rolls and for US$36 one roll each of different 6 colours: green, blue, purple, black, red, grey. The campaign has 20 days to go. I’ll wait till almost to the end because they seem to be constantly adding colours.

hidden not hidden

Car was telling me about hidden figures, an inspirational film about african-american women who worked on the space program in the 1960s. It’s so important, especially now, to show the achievements of women and minorities. As jason kottke said

You watch this movie and think, how much higher could the human race have flown if women and people of color had always had the same opportunities as white men?

Not only in the past, it’s a current problem too.

nasawomen

And right on time, lego announced that they will release a set of 5 female NASA scientists including: scientist Katherine Jenkins; computer scientist Margaret Hamilton; astronaut, physicist and educator Sally Ride; astronomer Nancy Grace Roman; and astronaut and physician Mae Jemison. Lego solicits ideas all the time and some of the ideas are put into production. About the women of NASA idea:

As a science editor and writer, with a strong personal interest for space exploration as well as the history of women in science and engineering, Maia Weinstock’s Women of NASA project was a way for her to celebrate accomplished women in the STEM professions.

cruise trip day 02: singapore to sydney

sgpost004pokemon

The alarm was at 5.15am but I was so tired I didn’t wake up till almost 6am. I went downstairs to check out the breakfast and ate a sausage and some eggs very quickly. We checked out and grabbed a taxi to the airport. Everything was quick. There was a display of pokemons near the departure gate so I stopped to get pics. Haven’t had data in Singapore aside from wifi at the hotel so I’ve only managed to hunt in the room. When the gps drifts I can catch a stop and there were a few commons around. I don’t mind that it’s pidgeys and rattatas, as long as it shows the Singapore location tag.

The plane was almost full, with many familys (with small babies). Watched Ghostbusters and Looper, napped a bit, ate everything they gave me including half of Mum’s pasta. Ghostbusters was funny and there were a couple of places where I must have laughed out loud, something not to do on a quiet plane. Looper was interesting and the sort of film I like too.

The plane landed at 8pm. We could use the e-passport lane so we were out really quickly. Took a long time for the luggage to come out though. It was around 9.15pm already. Had a little something to eat at the airport then took the train to our hotel. A closed gate and construction meant a longer walk than intended, it was around 10mins instead of 5mins. Our room is quite nice and we got settled. MKR is on, yay!!! I’m also set up electronically and tested the Three simcard I bought.

sydpost001pokesighting

And I’m already seeing kangaskhan on my nearby list. It’s almost midnight so too late to run out, from what I’ve read it’s everywhere so I’m not worried. Hopefully I’ll get it tomorrow.

nothing day

par023tuileries

Today, according to people who compile weird holidays, is Nothing Day. The idea is, well, to do nothing at all.

There is absolutely no purpose or intended structure for this pointless celebration.

I think I achieved it somewhat. I did my usual stuff, made lunch and dinner. Finished packing my suitcase. Watched tv.

Didn’t read, didn’t go out, didn’t even play pokemon.

I like this day. After all, no plan is the best plan.

remote control wand

kymera

Drat, Christmas is over. But my birthday is in 4 months…

Here’s a gadget that will even break through the grumpiest, most curmudgeony anti-gadget luddite. Spotted via bb is the kymera wand, aka the coolest universal remote ever. It enables the user to program 13 gestures for remote control devices. So flick the wand up and down to change volume on the tv, or pull it back to open the dvd player, or swish to change the temperature on the dyson heater, anything that uses infra-red as control.

It’s currently selling for a ridiculous $256 on amazon and out of stock at amazon.co.uk. Possibly due to the boingboing article. There is a similar product, the harry potter remote control wand, for $58.95. Looks like a similar product.

running, christmas pikachu

5.25km 47.25min 9.02min/km

My last recorded run was in June. My last serious training run was in March. It’s been a long time. I’m not sure if I’m ready yet, but an occasional 5k will do me good. Luckily, the charmander nest had gone from the small park, so only regular walkers were there. The gps went a little wonky, I was able to estimate total distance. The usual complaint, slow af.

pokepikachuxmas

Went to morse park after the run. The new nearby screen had a christmas pikachu and I was able to find it easily. The new nearby screen is both good and bad; it enables us to go after pokémons that are spawning near stops but the ones that aren’t near stops are totally invisible and depend on luck to find them. It is what it is.

washing machine, happyhour, pokehunting

No office this week, I finished my project. Still went out early to walk around and explore a supposed seel nest. Only got 2 despite walking around for more than half an hour.

Then it was a long long wait at the flat for the washing machine delivery. First I had to disconnect the old washing machine and pipes because the delivery people only deliver. Took me about 10-15mins, had to figure everything out. After delivery, another 2-3hr wait for the technician to come and install it. He told me I could have arranged for someone to disconnect for a small fee. He was quite chatty, changed the socket and installed a filter between the outlet pipe and outside pipe to get rid of the sewage smell. All done at 4pm. Waste of a day. I hope the tenant appreciates it.

bruschettachianti

Needed something to eat and some wine. Saw an italian restaurant, Al Dente, near the escalator with 2-for-1 happy hour between 3-8. I was the only customer there. Asked for the snack menu and then the waiter said chef isn’t here yet so i said okay, no problem. He was thankful I was understanding. The house chianti was nice. When the chef came back, I ordered the anchovy butter bruschetta. Didn’t realse it’d be 6 pieces! Ordered a second round of wine, which the waiter comped. I gave him a 20% tip on top of the 10% service.

The bruschetta was filling enough to serve as dinner, so I went to a new area by the harbour that saw 4 porygons one day last week. Didn’t get lucky, walked to the end of the path and back. Got some various pokemons, probably should have stayed longer. At that point, I’d walked 10km for the day so I wanted to get home.

i dream of lapras

I never remember my dreams. I never know what they’re about but recent ones have felt busy. As in, mundane stuff and talking and going about daily stuff. Or something like that.

laprasjapan

May be I’m still thinking about pokehunting. I dreamed I caught a lapras. Sigh, if only. I’m close to getting enough candies to evolve charizard, cloyser, dewgong and weezing so I’m not worried about them. The ones I’m missing are the usual: snorlax, lapras, chansey, porygon. Plus regionals, but I have enough travel plans to have them covered.

pokeditto

During US Thanksgiving last week there was a double XP and stardust pokemon go event. I didn’t take advantage of it; aside from remembering to go outside at least once a day to get the daily bonus I hadn’t been playing systematically.

There was also the appearance of ditto, one of the ones in the pokedex that wasn’t previously available in the wild. People reported that they caught commons like rattata, pidgey and zubat and instead of the gotcha message they got an oh? and it transformed to a ditto.

I was planning to go walk around on Thursday after work, to rattata heavy places to see if I can find a ditto. Today, though, I had to go to the market to get onion and celery for the braised pork knuckle I want to make on Friday. Went earlier to see what’s going on at morse park. At the spot where there’s a gym and 4 stops there was a cluster of 2 bellsprouts, 2 slowpokes and a pidgey. Normally I’d go for the slowpoke but somehow I clicked on the pidgey. One red ball carelessly thrown and I wasn’t even looking closely at the screen when I got the oh? message. Yay, my first ditto!

pokeditto

Got a second one at carpenter road park that has an abra nest. After walking one circuit around and catching 3 abras, a geodude, a rhyhorn and other commons I was walking back to the market and there was a zubat. I hadn’t bothered with zubats for a long time. This one was quite stubborn, I was out of red balls and got it from my 4th or 5th great ball. The oh? screen again. Two dittos in an hour, I’m happy. Thursday’s plans now have to be amended. May be I’ll go to signal hill again, or I may try a new area where people have reported chansey, porygon and possibly lapras.

pokehalloween, day of errands, iced chocolate reward

pokemonhalloween

Thursday is office day, but I didn’t need to go in today. But I still left early because I had a lot planned for the day.

There is a pokemon go halloween event. Massive spawnings of gastly family, drowzee family and cubone family literally everywhere. The tracker map is back and if the map is zoomed out there are so many spawnings that they’re all clustered together.

I took over the gym up the road only to realise I had a few hours to go to claim my bonus, hahaha. Someone kicked me out soon after. By then I was on my way to the nearby housing estate for breakfast. I’d only been playing about an hour and my phone already needed charging. Another 30mins or so walking around morse park and more gastlys and drowzees and I caught my first marowak. Bus to signal hill, with a detour at k11 to charge both phone and ext battery. Signal hill gave more than just the halloween spawns, good varieties but nothing too exciting.

klnparkfountain

Lunch of scotch egg from marks and seasonal japanese beer from 7-eleven. Sat at the downtown park, with first very efficient sniping of the gym at one of the fountains. Quite hot but okay to sit outside, tolerable pollution today. They turned the fountain on while I was there, it was peaceful to watch it for a few minutes.

A good morning’s work. A huge amount of pokemons caught and also candy increase. Double candies means 6 per pokemon caught, I’m now at almost 300 gastly candies.

Dropped off a document at the bank, then walked back to the office. It’s almost november and still it’s 30ºC. Did a little work, surfed around the internet and continued reading my book. I’m not billing today so I’m not actually working, just charging my phone and enjoying the aircon.

pokkachoc02

We left quite late, almost 7pm. Dinner at 8pm at pokka café, mm had udon and I had korean fried chicken and topoki. We joined the restaurant group’s membership and one of the perks is one voucher per month of a free drink with meal. Considering they are a coffee specialist, their coffee is pretty good. But mm didn’t want coffee so we asked if we can order iced chocolate. Wow. I almost never order chocolate drinks because I find them too sweet or too sickly rich. This was different. Rich, but not overly so. Not too sweet. Very smooth. Came in a jug which we can pour over ice ourselves (or ask for a second glass and share). Good enough to be a dessert. This will be our monthly indulgence for the next 11 months.

I bought a few incubators in the morning and by the time I got home after a long day, I hatched two 10km eggs. Eevee and Electabuzz, sigh.

bbmm elements

pokegastly

I wanted to go to morse park and nearby but ended up at elements with mm. The nest there changed from abra to gastly. I got there early and walked around the shopping centre, then met mm and we walked around again. Total caught over the course of a few hours were 17 gastlys, a whole lot of voltorbs and magnemites and others. I’m about 2 gastlys short of being able to evolve.

beefset201610

We stayed at the shopping centre, dinner was at a counter service semi-fast food place at the supermarket. I had beef set and mm had mackerel set. The best thing in the set was the cabbage salad.

sis, sam, bbmm hh pokehunt

breakfastpizzahmvn

Met sis for breakfast at hmv. I had what they called a breakfast pizza: bacon, egg, spinach, tomato and hashbrown. We were the first customers and the food was obviously freshly made, came to the table piping hot. Large enough pizza for lunch.

The purpose of today was to go to the banks to deal with some of Papa’s stuff. Got one bank sorted. Gave documents to another bank and decided to leave the third bank for another day. Sis had to drop off a guitar, then we went to the yacht club for lunch. I had overcooked calves’ liver, a bit disappointing.

Waved sis off in a taxi and walked over to my hairdresser’s. They moved to a new place, much much nicer, more modern and roomier. I was there early enough so he could cut my hair, when mm came we had to wait for a couple of other customers. No big deal. Small (<10%) increase in price, he hadn’t increased our prices for about 10 years so it’s okay.

aburihh

Happy hour at an izakaya. We had beer, vegetable gyoza, grilled sausages, shiso leaf tempura (delicious!), grilled chicken soft bone (yummy). Either a set with beer or 1-for-1 beer. Didn’t hurry, just ordered a couple of skewers at a time like we should at an izakaya. Nice industrial design at the restaurant, using pipes, sockets and bits of wood.

Still early so we went to v-park where I spotted a few vulpixes earlier in the day. Ended the night with 7 of them, from zero. Looks like a new nest there.

1hr pokehunt

Mum had last minute dinner with her friends so I took the opportunity to take the shuttlebus to morse park for about an hour. I saw snorlax there earlier and lamented that I didn’t have a car, or wasn’t obsessed enough to hop into a taxi.

No snorlax while I was there. Kabuto as usual, a farfetch’d, a nidorqueen and just as I was leaving, an onix opposite the bus terminal. I had just about enough time to sprint there, catch it and sprint back to the shuttlebus stop.

dragonite near market

We needed veg so I went to the market, with a detour to supposedly a slowpoke nest. Walked a little around morse park, got the usual kabutos. The slowpoke nest is a canal / sewage channel that’s closed off for…sewage works. Saw one slowpoke, grrrr. Probably too early in the day. Walked to another park, nothing much happening there either. There was a gym that remained empty for 5 mins so I couldn’t help but occupy it.

dragonite

Slowly making my way back to do shopping and about to close the game. Took one last look at go radar and there it was, a dragonite with just over 6 mins to go. I had to look at the map and run down a couple of unfamiliar streets. Got there with 2 mins to spare. Definitely too early in the day, there were only about 10-20 people. Yes, CP only 46 but I got my first dragonite.

Icing on the cake, another slowpoke on the shuttlebus home.

hunting driving

Drove out to an out of the way town that supposedly has nests of several pokemons. Ended up at toastbox and supermarket for 3hrs. By the time we ventured to the park and pier where the nests are, it was getting dark. And add to that, couldn’t find street parking.

Drove to another town, with a detour for petrol. Still no parking.

Ended up at the place near mm’s sis’ flat, where I saw 7 pikachus in just over an hour that time mum was at the clinic. And yes, there were pikachus a few others. We also teamed up to take turns sniping a gym. It’s getting a bit cooler now so it was nice to be at the park with an open view of the harbour.

Didn’t have dinner so was famished. Fast microwaved noodles at 7-eleven.

bbmm tomahawk steak, signal hill

tomahawksteak05

Met mm for dinner. We’d bought a tomahawk steak voucher a while ago at 50% off. It’s a huge 1.2kg steak that the restaurant recommended for 3-4 people. We were like, really? We polished off 1kg steak at Hawksmoor and Bear just the two of us. A 1.2kg steak with bone yields may be 800g of meat, for 4 people that’s a measly 200g.

The steak came charred on the outside and pretty raw inside. They gave us a hot stone so we could cook it to our liking. Had to change the stone a couple of times because we took our time eating. The steak itself was okay. Quite a bit of sinew and inedible bits. Not bad in terms of taste. Came with chips, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and gravy. Everything got cold far too quickly. They charged us 10% of the full price for service, not the discounted voucher price. I guess the hot stone and cutting up the steak for us count as additional service.

Was quite tempted to take the bone home for stock but I mentally went through the pots and pans at home and decided I don’t have a pan big enough. Will need a saw to chop up the bone and it was too much trouble. Shame, because I can imagine how great the stock will be.

moonsignalhil

We had early dinner because we wanted to go to signal hill, a busy pokémon hotspot. Guess who we ran into? Our friend and fellow hunter D. He showed us all the local tricks, as he’s an old hand at signal hill. The top of the hill is reached by some very steep steps but very pretty, can see a long way. The moon was out too. Afterwards he took us to a nearby shopping mall with benches and seats for resting in air-conditioned comfort. Best thing, there were many plug and usb points for recharging our phones.