Found 43 blog posts for the year: 2009

Last Post of the Year

It's New Year's Eve and I probably won't be making two blog posts today, so here it is, the last post of 2009.

In the two hours I have been awake, I have written up a 2009 Summary for your reading pleasures.

With that, have a Happy New Year and I'll see you in 2010!


Site Work

Thanks to a speedy recovery from the food poisoning and all the other FML items, I was pretty much 100% yesterday - good enough to have a very good appetite and also play 3 hours of badminton.

Anyway I've been doing a bit of site work (zomg!) so that it's easier for people to contact me. I only just realised that the contacts page doesn't work so that needs to be fixed first and foremost. I also merged the Websites and Programs sections into my Portfolio to save room on the menu.

Edit: And the Contact Me page is now up and running again.


FML

I have food poisoning and as a result I have to skip the all-important tom yum tonight (Although I'm sure there will be an opportunity later on in the trip).

I got woken up and bitten by mosquitos last night in what was possibly the worst sleep I've had this trip.

I was moody at yesterday's dinner because everyone was talking in Cantonese and I couldn't understand, and then dad said something which set me off and now they aren't happy with me either.

FML.


Merry Christmas!

So I'm jumping the gun a little bit, who really cares?

We're just about to head to my auntie's house for a gigantic Christmas Eve feast. I'm expecting to see five of dad's six siblings at the dinner, and all their children (and for one, their children's children) - that's approximately 30 people. Truly a celebration in typical Malaysian style!

Anyway, here's wishing you all a blessed and joyful Christmas with friends and family, wherever in the world you are. To those of you who are hard pressed during this time, I really feel for you and hope things improve in the year to come.


Eat Frequently or Eat Lots. Pick One.

My relatives don't seem to understand such a concept. Yesterday I had four meals and understandably didn't eat that much at each meal because I knew they would try and stuff me full of food anyway.

But hey, that's what I'm here for!

It's a pretty relaxed day today, and there's a nice tropical breeze blowing through to keep us cool. I'm supposed to be playing badminton this afternoon with my cousin, and then going to my uncle's country club for a swim.

Country clubs are strange things. They aren't as accessible in New Zealand, and they're more perceived as some kind of exclusive place out in the remote wilderness where the membership fee is a bajillion dollars and you play golf and drink pink champagne from a dainty little wine glass. Well no, they're not like that in Malaysia. They're more like oversized gyms or big recreation centres. It's common for a country club to have a swimming pool, a tennis court, probably some badminton or squash courts. Some of the classier ones will have libraries, restaurants, bowling alleys, and so on. So generally they're a place to go to for a bit of sport or to relax after a long day's work - which, by the way, happens a lot in Malaysia.

In any case, I need to go there to make sure I don't become morbidly obese at the end of this trip.


Safe and Sound, but Melting

Arrived safely last night at just before 8pm local time into the humid awesomeness of Kuala Lumpur International Airport. The flight was quick, only 10 hours, and felt shorter by the fact so many good movies were on! I watched 101 Dalmations (nostalgia), G Force (adorably cute), Up (entertaining and heart warming) and half of Bolt (got cut short by the end of the flight). There were so many kids on the plane though, it was really annoying. This kid in front of me kept looking back and throwing his toys on the ground so I had to pick them and I just wish I could have backhanded him, or something. Sigh.

Anyway, the work Christmas party was on Wednesday at Park Road Post out in Miramar, and while I couldn't stay for very long, it was cool just chilling out and having some delectable snacks (eg, grilled prawns) and a bit of wine to accompany. I had to leave before the movie, but I was told it was 500 Days of Summer.

And yes I have Internet access, yay! So I'll probably be online in the mornings while I'm waiting for things to get in motion for the day.


Sun Stupid

It was Sunni and Ashton's birthday thing at the Kilbirnie Bowls club yesterday. Gloriously hot summer's day (rare for Wellington) but not without the strong gusts of wind that still persisted today. In any case, the sun was so enjoyable that I forgot about sunscreen and now I'm sporting some rather red arms and a pink forehead. Sigh.

Last week on Friday, we had the end-of-year homegroup get-together at Strawberry Fare (third time in November for me) and on Saturday, we had a Wine and Cheese night at the Treehouse, which was far less civilised than what it sounded like. I guess it doesn't matter what you call it, you know it's a recipe for mayhem when you have several 20-somethings and alcohol. Nevertheless, I had fun playing six-player 500. I was hopeful for Mafia but it didn't eventuate, unfortunately.

The Youth Band played last Sunday and it went pretty well. Still a bit more fine tuning in various places but always good to hear a different sound in church. Following that, Beth, Maxine and I went up to Kapiti Coast for a walk about since it was such a fine day. We had lunch at this Driftwood place, then a stroll along the beach, ice cream at Pukerua Bay and a quick tour of the sea shore fauna. We found these weird purple blob things that look exactly like poison orbs.



Edit: After an enquiry with the Department of Conservation, I've discovered that these are the sea anemone Actinia tenebrosa, or red sea anemone, which retract their tentacles when the tide is low. Fascinating stuff!


Sidhe's Latest iPhone Games!

Introducing FlickKick Rugby and FlickKick Aussie Rules, the latest in Sidhe's iPhone lineup under the brand PikPok!

Yes you will find my name there under the credits. I made a small contribution in programming the camera (i.e., the field of view, the ball tracking, etc) as well as other miscellaneous bug fixes. Download it from AppStore for NZ$2.59 or US$1.99


FlickKick Rugby

FlickKick Aussie Rules


Site Woes

Since the other website I secretly work on is down, I thought I should come crawling back to this thing and post some stuff. I have a lot of photos on my phone I need to upload as well...

Anyway, something is definitely up with IGN's webservers because it's been down for the past two days. We found some malicious scripts in two of the PHP files which I managed to remove, but who knows what else has been compromised. Sigh. In any case, I can still work on it I guess, it's just that there's nothing to show for it.

Let's see, in the past three weeks:

There was an awesome fireworks display over Wellington Harbour on Guy Fawkes' Day. It was damn cold and really windy, but we were sitting by the back end of Te Papa so it slightly sheltered. We got to lean back against the concrete wall and watch the spectacular pyrotechnics in the sky.

There was the All Whites Victory Celebration and the Santa Parade. It was boring. There were three things that interested me: Snoopy, Pikachu and the adorable corgis. Oh, and I'm really happy for the All Whites, but I don't care much for soccer sport in general, so meh.

Sidhe celebrated two shipped projects (Madagascar Kartz and Hot Wheels: Battle Force 5) and two submitted projects (Rugby League 3...and one I can't say but it's for iPhone and I worked on it) with yet another ethanol-filled night at Red Square. Lasers were included, as well as a generous bar tab, thanks to securing more work for us. Yay employment!

Got invited out for a wonderful lunch at this couple's house in Titahi Bay last Sunday. I totally miss home cooked food. The wife is a magnificent baker - the Tiffany cake is for royalty. Besides that, it was cool to listen to their stories. They've certainly had some fantastic experiences, including a three week voyage over the Pacific Ocean from Auckland to Miami (back in the days when air travel was super expensive). A few years ago, they even got a photo with the then junior senator of Illinois... Barack Obama!

After a big lunch, we went for a walk on the beach. The sand was so perfect and untouched, I felt the urge to write in it.



Of course, this led to discussion about parabolas, trignometry, differentiation...all part of a normal day's work.


Halloween

iPhone development has been going well. We just finished another game under the PikPok brand, so expect to see it in the online store sometime. You'll hear it from me as well :3

I acquired a new ornament for my desk.



Spent Friday night playing Hearts and 500 with three others from work. Way better than going out and drinking >_> Nevertheless, the drinking continued with my workmates the following night at a Halloween party. I went as a white guy dressed as an Asian guy. I know, it was an ingenious costume. There was a Bloctopus (from Shatter), lots of devils, a Zorro, a Rambo, a Nacho Libre, a Cowboy, some Vampires and lots of other weird and pretty hard-out costumes. Oh well. Maybe next year.

I also had dinner at the new flat (name pending) by the Botanical Gardens where Matt, Jono, John and Mel are going to stay. It's a nice place, but looks a bit dark because of its position. I look forward to spending lots of time drinking and being merry there.

Yum char today with Laura and Peter. Good to catch up with them, but it felt the quality of the food had declined a bit. We got to see Peter's new place, and then it was quickly home for an afternoon nap. Awesome.


Labour Weekend

Phew!

I love long weekends. Not only do you get more time to goof off and do non-work related activities, it also means the next weekend comes closer. Four day week yay!

Anyway, I got given some camera work to do on Sidhe's latest iPhone game - just making sure the camera clearly displays all the necessary game objects. Interesting stuff! Stay tuned for the big reveal.

Mat was down for Labour Weekend, mostly for the Formula 1 exhibit at Te Papa, but of course to visit me and catch up. Apart from Te Papa, we also went up the Cable Car and walked around the Botanical Gardens, as well as went to Strawberry Fare on both nights he was down, and visited Wellington Zoo. Pictures in the gallery!


Fail of the Week



Couldn't resist posting this.


The End of the Reign of Chaos

Yay so I finally beat all four campaigns of Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos, properly too without cheating, although I had some initial problems when I had accidentally set the difficulty to "Hard" instead of "Normal". Next: The Frozen Throne!

Last Sunday we met up with John who was in Wellington en route back to his medical placement, and had a few drinks at St. John's by Te Papa. Following that, we split for a few hours while the Street Kids went to their church, then met up again at the TSB Bank Arena for the Diwali Festival celebrations there. I planned on getting dinner there but little did I know, it was all vegetarian! >_> Anyway, it was edible and we didn't stay for too long, but we did enjoy the fireworks over the harbour. The sound they make just echoes over the whole city, it's truly amazing.


It's Still Winter

We've been having a bout of rather inclement weather, with heavy rain and chilling winds still present in mid-October. Nevertheless, I've still had time to go out and socialise with various people along the way, so all is good.

Last week, I was up in Wadestown wat Katrina and Carmel's for their combined birthdays. I love going to their house, with their awesome selection of teas (I had feijoa tea!) and fantastic home-made goods like Doom Cookie (contains chocolate chips, grated chocolate, rolled oats and delicious), pesto and freshly-baked bread. The weather wasn't fantastic so the fireplace was on. So magical.

Charlotte was also down that weekend, and being the cute fuzzy animal lover that she is, we went to visit the pet store in Thorndon where she proceeded to baby-talk the adorable puppies there. Mmmyeah.

We had a farewell party for one of my workmates, Chris, who's leaving to be with his wife girlfriend in Australia, last night, at Matt, Pete and Owen's. Pete and Owen were doing a 24 hour video game marathon to raise funds for kids with cancer, so they were the centrepiece in the lounge. After watching them fail miserably in Devil May Cry, Megaman and Ninja Gaiden, we busted out Super Smash Bros Melee for the next five hours. At 5am, it was time for Chris to say his final farewells, so we left and dropped him at the airport, before dropping three others in town. I was peckish...well, I was starving, so I picked up some breakfast at McDonalds before heading home and passing out.


October

It's finally October and the year has gone by so quickly. Winter is technically over, but today's blustery conditions tells me otherwise (Thanks Wellington). Even typing this now, I can hear the wind howling outside, bringing a chilly southerly to sweep the streets of the city.

Anyway, Hot Wheels™ Battle Force 5™ has supposedly been sent out the door, which means we're just sitting tight and waiting for feedback. We're still playtesting this - it's really good and I like the story mode, but it's easily clockable in a few hours. The theme music is cool though! Rugby League 3 on the other hand is still there, just waiting for publisher dramas to resolve. Meanwhile, most of the programmers have been pulled onto research and development projects.

On the Pokemon front, HGSS was released a few weeks ago and I've been busy hacking away. Apart from the standard Pokemon stats, attack information, level-up attacks, breeding moves, trainer information, etc, I've also managed to learn from Eevee at veekun how to parse sprite data, which is something completely new for me, and provided a good challenge over the weekend. There's still things I don't know but I'm learning!


Feel It (Feels Like Woah, NRL Version)


---------------
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah!

Long as I remember, it was me and you
Always out to prove what we can do
We were playing to win, trying to get a ride
It was just for a while, but it felt like...
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah!

Even back then we knew we'd never give up
We were only kids, dreaming of
Hearing the noise of the crowd and the bright lights
When you bring it home, you know it feels like...
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah!

Stand up, hold on, let go, shout out
Don't barf, free fall, begin right now
Get lost, get loud, wake up, break out
Don't stop 'till it feels like...
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah!

---- :: ----

Ever since he was young, he thought he'd go far
He put his foot on the gas, and he became a star
All he wanted to do was see his team rise
When they lit up the sky, you know it felt like...
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah!

Stand up, hold on, let go, shout out
Don't barf, free fall, begin right now
Get lost, get loud, wake up, break out
Don't stop 'till it feels like...
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh! (Yeah!)
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah! (Don't stop till it feels like!)
Woah oh oh oh oh oh oh oh!
Woah oh oh oh oh oh woah! (Yeah!)

Stand up, hold on, let go, shout out
Don't barf, free fall, begin right now
Get lost, get loud, wake up, break out
Don't stop 'till it feels like!
---------------


Quiet

So yeah it's been pretty quiet at work, with us just waiting on issues from the publisher to be resolved. I haven't been doing many things, just fixing French translation bugs as they come through, random asset drops, whatever. So finally today, I got told I'd be moving to a new project! Finally, something to do.

Last Saturday there was a rave party at Matt, Pete and Owen's. With lasers and glowsticks. And there was a smoke machine too, but unfortunately that was not working. Party was good until about 11.30pm when it got a bit awkward, but I had music practice the next morning so I didn't stay too long after that.

Raymond and Nancy are down for a visit, so I'm meeting them for lunch tomorrow with Peter and Laura. Maybe we can organise Strawberry Fare as well! Yay!! I'll be home alone this weekend so it'll be a good time to cook some good food. Today, I made tom yum with loads of prawns and mussels!

And finally, the other big news is that Pokemon HeartGold/SoulSilver are out this weekend, but I'm lurking at /v/ to see if there are ROM leaks. For research. Really.


Over Overtime

It appears that overtime is slowly phasing out, so tentantive rejoicing. The game hasn't shipped yet because we're still waiting for some issues to be resolved on the publisher's side, so in the meantime, most of us are just sitting at work, testing and playing the game and fixing bugs as they come through.

Boooorrrrrrring.

Derek's last day at work was last Thursday, so we farewelled him with lunch at Viva Mexico, and then Friday Starcraft, Friday drinks (2 for 1 at Blend lol) and Karaoke at New Kor. While it was all really fun, I prefer my karaoke to be a bit more "structured" per say - I can sing, but I can't yell and it pretty much turned into an alcohol-fuelled yelling match. Which was not optimal, but hey, we had some good group singalongs with Eye of the Tiger, Bohemian Rhapsody and A Whole New World.

I was involved with the Youth Band at church last Sunday, where we led the service. They sound really good and just need some polish for perfection. I switched music teams, so this coming Sunday I'm on the piano again (for the third Sunday in a row). Not that I mind, I just lose that extra hour of sleep on Sunday mornings!

Oh yes, I'm also looking to go back to Malaysia over Christmas/New Year's because my grandparents are celebrating their 90th and 80th birthdays in January. It's going to be great, I haven't been back to Malaysia since the beginning of 2003, and I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to taste all the delicious food back home.

Speaking of food, thanks to no overtime, I've been able to cook for the first time in what seems like a month. On Saturday night I had steamed tofu, stir fried bak choy and carrots, and apricot chicken! And because I could, I bought some bacon and had that for lunch on Sunday. By bacon, I mean the deliciously crunchy kind, not the soggy types you get on burgers or whatever. Soooo good.


Ten Days

Today was my tenth consecutive day at work. I'm just so pissed off at everything going on, but the rational person inside of me is saying it's because I'm tired and overworked, etc. So many issues to resolve...

I heard (from the grapevine) that two of my good friends split today, which really worsened my mood because the timing and circumstances were not ideal and I just feel really sorry for them. I don't really know what else to say. It damn bloody sucks and I wish I could do something to help.

I was looking forward to having a weekend off, but now I'm not so sure.


And The Game I've Been Working On....



For the Nintendo Wii, due out sometime within the next few months! Look at my beautiful Team Options menu. *tear*


Citizenship and Snow

Well exactly a week ago, I took my citizenship ceremony with Dave and swore allegiance to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of New Zealand, and her heirs and successors by law, blahblahblah. The ceremony was kinda boring, but at least I didn't have to work...for a while.

The previous Saturday we celebrated by going to a Malaysian restaurant for dinner (Satay Kajang on Dixon Street) and then a New Zealand dessert at the estate consisting of pavlova, hokey pokey ice cream and pineapple lumps. Oh, and we got Lindauer and L&P too. Good stuff.

Last week was the lead up to Pre-LotCheck Submission, so we basically have to cover all the guidelines that Nintendo mandate as part of their submission process. Some of the things they outline are so retarded. Anyway, we were still at work at midnight on Thursday night, trying to solve all the problems and whatnot, and then all of Friday I was writing documentation for submission. Apparently there were some build problems, but at 5.30pm sharp, I ditched the office and made my way to New World Thordon where I met with Sunni, Jono, Christina and Matt for our 4-hour long journey to Mt Ruapehu!

The weather was fantastic the whole weekend, it was so sunny and hot - I couldn't believe I was surrounded by all this snow and frost and it was STILL warmer than bloody Wellington. Anyway, we had a very early start on Saturday morning, and we hit the slopes around 9am. It was my first time in actual snow so I was quite excited. I spent the weekend learning to snowboard and admiring the fantastic views from the mountain - I had an absolutely magnificent time up there and even though I don't think it's really for me, I wouldn't mind another trip up... possibly next year.

Check out the photos in the gallery!


Shatter released!

Shatter is now available on the PlayStation Network for download. Be sure to check out the cool soundtrack too!

<a href="http://sidhe.bandcamp.com/album/shatter-official-videogame-soundtrack">Kinetic Harvest by Sidhe</a>

And also, thanks to Matt:



TEEHEE :D


Soap Bubble Burst in Slow Motion

Mind = Blown


Latest Gaming

In anticipation of Starcraft II's release at the end of the year, I decided I should take up Starcraft again, so I began from the very first mission on the original Starcraft and have begun working my way through each chapter in the Terran campaign. I'm currently up to the one where you have to destroy the Ion Cannon, if those Starcrafters can remember how far along in the story that is.

I've also become increasingly addicted to iSketch, an online Pictionary game where you're given a word from a themed word bank, and your friends guess what you draw. I've been playing with my friends at Psypoke, so we've gone for the Pokemon theme, naturally, where we have proceeded to draw the most horrifying and mangled 4-bit coloured Pokemon you could ever see. Observe my Koffing doing a Smog attack:



Yeah.

On Friday, while waiting for our Beta build to finish, I played my game for the first time. And even though it's not really my kind of game, I had fun (gasp). I have to say, I prefer the GameCube button combinations more than the Wiimote movement, simply because the tactile feedback is immediate and you know exactly when you've executed a particular move. Because we support GameCube controllers, up to eight people can play at once, so I do recommend it..but yeah, I still can't tell you what it is.

We had some people over on Friday night just to hang about and play some games. Sunni brought her PS2 over so I got to play a RETAIL COPY of Rugby League 2, World Cup Edition for the first time. I watched the credits (yay) and did the magic unlock all cheat to view the photos we took during production. Overall the game wasn't too bad, of course there were lots of improvements that could have been made (especially that customisation bug, Peter) but Dave and Chris seemed to enjoy it anyway.

Andrew and Mel had their combined farewell dinner at Mac's Brewery on Saturday night, but for some reason I was feeling rather antisocial and didn't really want to talk to anyone. I mean, the atmosphere was good and the food was pretty good too, but I just didn't feel like opening my mouth to converse. I was lucky Chris gave me a ride home, otherwise I would have had to bus through the dark, wet, cold Wellington night to go home early and sleep.

And finally today, Andrew and Sunni got baptised in our apartment pool. I'm really glad for them, but it just seemed weird for Jono and Matt to officiate it and have it in our pool. I guess I'm used to seeing it done in a church pool..haha. Nevertheless, a baptism is a baptism and I support them in their decision to declare Jesus as their Saviour, so congratulations to you both, if you ever get off Facebook and read this.


Monthly Blog

I should probably stop apologising for the lack of updates. But to be perfectly honest, it's been pretty much the same old things happening week in, week out. I've been doing a bit of overtime lately as we lead up to our beta submission next Friday.

Last Saturday we had a farewell lunch for Jane, who's leaving to study journalism overseas. There was also a large booze up at Matt, Pete and Owen's where I proceeded to get totally plastered off my face, which was very red and then very pale as I started feeling sick. Never again. Anyway, in accordance with the bet I have going, I made it to six standard drinks so Owen had to ramp it up to a "Hot" Tom Yum Laksa from Cinta last Thursday. I think I suffered more than he did :(

Ness and Sabrina are in Wellington for a few days, so I met up with them for drinks at Momo's on Tuesday night after work, then again today for STRAWBERRY FARE where we proceeded to stuff ourselves silly with high-sugar desserts. I'll spend more time with them tomorrow (hopefully not too much shopping) before they head back to Auckland.

We got free tickets to go and see Transformers 2 on Wednesday night, courtesy of the social club at work. It was so cringe-worthy. I mean, it had lots of good action and destruction and so on, but the novelty of the first movie had worn off and the second one just had so much cheese and corn, it was really difficult in some places to watch the screen. Rob, who was sitting next to me, can tell you how many times I facepalmed throughout the movie, because it was just that bad. Average at best, but don't expect too much. Best Transformers: Devastator and Bumblebee. Worst Transformers: Starscream, the Twins.

Today's news was just swamped firstly with Farrah Fawcett's death, then with Michael Jackson's heart attack. It was pretty shocking, I heard it through the chats first, then watched as news sites across the world began updating with reports of his hospitalisation, then finally his death. Some of the radio stations here just played several of his songs over and over again. What a day :s


Moving On Up

We've moved up in the world and upgraded from the Fortress... to the Villa.

Yes that's right, we are now residing in what we have nicknamed the Villa, which is an apartment block 50 metres down the road from the fortress. We pay $30 more each week but in return we get a nice modern apartment, definitely feeling the warmth, and it comes with a dishwasher, fridge, dryer, carpark, and free access to a heated indoor lap pool and a gym. So awesome. We spent all of yesterday shifting our belongings in the cold, wet, windy Wellington weather, but with much help from Jono's family friend who had a Hilux, we were able to spare ourselves total freezing by piling all the big stuff into the boot and carting it over.

All's well that ends well.

And certainly it ended well with a night at Strawberry Fare! I met up with my home group at 8pm, I was totally starving after not eating since lunchtime, and I greedily ordered a garlic bread for myself while the waitress took our dessert order. Turns out she didn't give our order to the kitchen until about 30 minutes later, and she was so apologetic about it and felt really bad, so she gave us a round of FREE HOT CHOCOLATE, YAY!! And on TOP of that, we had an entertainment card worth 25% discount, so a garlic bread, hot chocolate and a lemon chocolate cheesecake came out to $11.75 for that night.

On Friday night we celebrated Sidhe's 12th birthday with an open bar tab at Red Square. And I got totally hammered, I had something pretty bad and got a headache around 10pm, incapacitating me for the rest of the night. So damn embarrassing. When the bar tab ran out, we relocated to the Terrace for yet more drinking. That's two weeks in a row! >_>

This week coming up is our last week before Alpha, so it's going to be pretty full on. At the end of it, I can enjoy a nice three day weekend in Auckland over Queen's Birthday.


Shatter

Announcing... a revolutionary title for the Playstation3: Sidhe Interactive proudly brings you the next generation in Breakout - Shatter!



A polished, well-presented and addictive game that I've contributed to in a very small capacity. I still get my name on the credits! So you have to download it, it's definitely something you'll want to play.


Winter's Arrival

Winter has pretty much arrived in Wellington, with some epic hail and thunderstorms to start off the season. On Wednesday morning around 6am, the four of us in the flat were woken by a heavy hailstorm, followed by some brilliant thunderclaps that were lagging behind the lightning by only about half a second, so the storm was pretty much overhead. We opened the door to find the following sights:





And when I left the house at 8am to go to work, this is what was left:



Upon arriving home after a long day on Wednesday, I was mortified to find my computer refused to boot. Later diagnosis by my awesome workmates revealed that the BIOS had screwed up somehow and a simple reset by taking out the internal battery fixed it all and now it's working fine again, just in time for the latest Psypoke project...

Psypoke Idol 2



Flash and code done by me! Go and vote for your favourite Pokemon!

In other news, I spent Saturday afternoon lazing in the sun at a friend's place in Wadestown instead of going to Karori Sanctuary, had dinner at Siem Reap again, overtime is scheduled for the coming week and it's also Mother's Day today. So I'm waiting for our cordless phone to charge so I can make a call.


May

Time sure flies by when you're doing overtime two or three days a week. There's a lot of work to do at work, and on Monday we'll be officially four weeks to Alpha. Following that, another four weeks to Beta and another four to Gold Master, so there isn't a lot of time at all before the game ships. No I can't tell you what it is yet. But on the brightside, things are settling down, we've got a very clear indication of exactly what needs to be done, it's just that in our time frame, things are going to be quite hard pressed.

Anyway, that doesn't meant I've been at home all the time, I've been out socialising. Tuesday nights have become our drinks night, so we pick a pub and hang out for a couple of hours there. Two Fridays ago, in celebration of Dave and Andy's birthdays we went to the Southern Cross for dinner (although Jono and I went to HK BBQ to supplement our meals) and the next day, to Castle Point for a one night camping trip.

Castle Point's a small community about 2.5 hours northeast of Wellington. It's on the east coast just out from Masterton, and boasts some magnificent scenery, some interesting rock structures and a working lighthouse! The best parts about the camping trip were firstly, the drive up where we just sang along to epic Disney songs, and secondly, the weather was fantastic (as opposed to the cold and the rain south of the Rimutakas). Lots of fun, and of course there are photos on the way.


Celebrity Watch

I was walking home last night when I randomly saw this poster plastered on one of those cylindrical columns on the street:



Luke Thompson's a pretty good musician (refer to my Parachute 2009 post) and the gig was only $10 so I was tempted to go. Unfortunately I couldn't find anyone else to go and we had plans to go to Strawberry Fare anyway (which automatically overrides all other plans) so I decided to can it - I saw him only four months ago anyway.

We had dinner at Satay Kingdom, and finished around 8.30pm, and we were walking up Cuba Street when who should I see but Luke Thompson himself, walking with a group of other people (probably his band, manager, entourage, etc). So I guess I got to see Luke Thompson afterall... although I was really meaning to hear his music.


Easter: PANIC! PANIC! PANIC!

Quite the drama for me this Easter trip, although I didn't lose my glasses like the last time I went away for Easter.

Firstly, I was working overtime on Wednesday night and we got curry from Dawaat, which lead to a rather bad case of indigestion. I was still up at 3am on Thursday morning, lying in the foetal position in bed when I remember my parents had given me this miracle Chinese medicine for general stomach aches. It worked so well I even went to work on Thursday and made it to Auckland safe and sound.

Secondly, on Monday night, I got a text message saying the flight had been delayed by an hour; Juliann and Surya were already at the airport so had to wait out the hour. They decided to check in and asked for my booking reference so we could all sit together, but to no success - they kept getting some errors and couldn't do it. So I decided I'd get to the airport early-ish to get a good seat, so I got to the kiosk and swiped my card; it said it couldn't find my e-ticket so I went to the counter. The lady there took my ID and put in all the details, then looked at me quizzically and said I didn't have a ticket. With fears growing, she took me to the ticketing counter and the lady there put in all my details, looked at me, looked back at the screen, looked back at me and said... "You've booked Wellington to Auckland."

Oh man, I have never been so mortified in my life.

But the end result is that they changed me to Auckland to Wellington, free of charge, and they still fed me apple pie and chocolate ice cream. So huge props to Qantas for doing that for me T_T

Anyway, the weekend was great, I got to catch up with everyone and ate some great food (Photos of the food to come soon). It was hard to do stuff because places were closed on the two public holidays, but I still managed to play some pool, some handball, some Trivial Pursuit and of course some piano. It was really relaxing and a much needed break from all the overtime I had been doing.


Brain = Explode

Achron.

Biggest brain-exploding game since Braid.


I'm Not Dead Yet

I've been incredibly busy with lots and lots of things.

Firstly, my Pokemon website Psypoke got a huge overhaul with a completely new template and a new backend that hopefully futureproofs the site for Generation 5, if that exists. The Great Refactor was an idea I had in November that actually carried through, so the code is nice and tidy, and the template has been sitting there for six years or so, so it was nice to have a fresh new look for Pokemon Platinum's release.

Secondly, I've been doing a bit of overtime at work - two weeks ago, I did four days of overtime with both good and bad meals to compensate. Microwaved food is seriously disgusting. The meal I had was named "Delicious Chicken Breast" and it should have been called "It's A Trap". There's been a huge amount of indecisiveness over the way that the menus and the UI are designed, and the UI coders suffer as a result. We're getting so much work piled on us, we'll be doing three days of overtime next week and three more the week after.

Thirdly, last weekend, I went with some friends to the 'Naki where we stayed at someone's grandparents place, only to get up at 7am the next day and scale the steep heights of Mt Taranaki. And omg, it was one hell of a climb. I was so incredibly unfit, I was struggling each step of the way. What made it really bad was a section of the mountain was just scree (loose rocks) so you'd take a step and slide down. I kept complaining about negative progress and whatnot, but four and a half hours later I was standing on top of the mountain, over 2.5km above sea level. The view was shrouded by clouds but in the gaps there was the splendour of the New Zealand landscape, seeing as far east as Central Plateau itself. My annual exercise for the year can now be checked off and I can mark this as an achievement to be proud of.

We had some spare money in our flat account, so we hit the town and went to a classy restaurant on Cuba St called the Matterhorn, where I had an awesome steak and shared some Bordeaux wine with my flatmates. Steak is my hero, it makes me calm.

A few weeks ago, we also had the annual Newtown Fair, where I bought some delicious ginger fudge, that I still haven't touched because I feel bad for eating so much bad food :(

And finally, I am officially a New Zealand citizen. Take that Winston Peters!


Holograms

Our World is a Giant Hologram?

Before you say "lol matrix", a hologram is a two-dimensional image that, when viewed, appears three dimensional.

Let us extend this notion of a hologram to being something from a particular dimension that manifests itself in another dimension. Certain physics forces may in fact do that...read the article for some fascinating stuff.

Also I have to do overtime for 4/5 days next week. -_-


Wow.

Auditorium

Wow.

(Thanks Stephen!)


Nested Templates

We have two IDEs at work: the awesome Visual Studio .NET, and the extremely incompetent "why the hell would anyone use this, oh, wait, we are because it compiles our PlayStation and Wii code" CodeWarrior. CW is a world of pain of its own, and here's a handy little tip for you.

Templates in C++ have the angle brackets as delimiters. That is, std::vector<int> or std::pair<int, int>. In Java and C#, they are refered to as generics, but for the sake of this post, they are essentially the same concept. (Check out the differences here).

Anyway, say I require a map of ints to a vector of ints. I would declare it as so:

std::map<int, std::vector<int>> mapping;

Looks okay? Wrong. Look again:

std::map<int, std::vector<int>> mapping;

That's the bitwise shift right operator. Of course, the fix is easy:

std::map< int, std::vector<int> > mapping;

Thanks Codewarrior.


Worst. Law. Ever

New Zealand's new Copyright Law presumes 'Guilt Upon Accusation' and will Cut Off Internet Connections without a trial. Join the black out protest against it!


In The News

Alright, so I finally finished that piece of crap game called Final Fantasy III for the DS, and let me tell you, the final dungeon would be infuriating if you had died and had to start ALL over again and beat ALL those bosses. It's utterly ridiculous. And it had the lamest ending ever. It wasn't even a proper FMV. It was just them running around dropping all their friends off around the world. Sigh.

Anyway, there's been two things that have really been pissing me off lately.

First is the Australian forest fires, and the fact that they've been started by arsonists. I mean, for crying out loud, do they KNOW what the hell they've done? Do they comprehend the number of deaths they've caused and the number of lives they've ruined? Do they feel any remorse for what they've done? I don't understand what goes through the minds of these retards when they decide to have a bit of "fun" at the expense of a thousand lives. It's tragic, it really is.

Second is the story about a thirteen year old brat who has become a father. I quote from the newspaper article:

Asked what he would do to support the child financially, Alfie asks in a small, high-pitched voice, "What's financially?"

Does this guy even understand the responsibility of bringing up a child? Will these freaking brats stop breeding like horny rabbits and creating evil spawn that are there to steal our oxygen? Why the hell would you even have SEX with someone who has BARELY gone through puberty? Not only is this morally wrong, it's also incredibly disgusting.

NOTW also says that there may be as many as eight possible fathers, including 14-year-old Tyler Barker, who claims to be terrified at the possibility.

If you're so freaking terrified, why don't you STOP HAVING SEX WITH THESE SLUTS SO THAT YOU DON'T GET THEM PREGNANT? And furthermore, EIGHT possible fathers? What the hell is wrong with this sex-starved girl?

And the fact they're getting so much bloody media attention isn't helping. The guy is completely oblivious to the responsibilities he faces in bringing up this kid, but yet there's suddenly this incentive of tens of thousands of dollars from these moronic tabloids offering him money for an 'exclusive' documentary. Isn't that some kind of INCENTIVE for him to breed more? What is wrong with this world?

UGH.


There is such thing as a "Free Lunch". And free dinner too.

Mel organised lunch at Great India today, so Jono, Rosie and myself bundled into the car that Andrew had so kindly left for us and headed to Courtenay Place. As we were walking, we stumbled across something rather peculiar on the ground.

It was a small piece of purplish paper.

It was just sitting there invitingly.

I picked it up quickly. It was a $50 note. That pretty much paid for lunch for the 6 of us at Great India. And a delicious lunch it was too \o/

And then again, at Central this evening, we had a "light meal" to welcome our new pastor.

In other words, I had two very good meals, and didn't pay a cent for them.

That constitutes an awesome day in my books!


Friday Fail

Okay yeah, I've been pretty much working on the BIG SECRET EXCLUSIVE SITE every night of the week, so of course that means blogging gets pushed out.

Anyway, Friday Fail is a term used by our senior programmer, Steve, on Fridays when we meet for our daily meeting at the couch area at work, and browse FailBlog. Steve left us on Tuesday, and now there is a failure of Friday Fail, and as a result, team morale was lower than usual and heaps of things ended up breaking.

Last week, in recognition of Steve leaving, we booby trapped our game for his last Show and Tell. He demonstrated our progress on the game and spoke about the various changes we made. As he wrapped up, we got him to go back to the main menus and *bam*, we sprung a picture of him in his "underpants costume" from Halloween (this was from his old work place), accompanied by Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On". Needless to say, his mouth gaped open for a good half minute and he scurried off stage. We'll miss you, Steve.

Show and Tell usually happens on a Friday, but as you're all aware, last week was Waitangi Weekend, so immedately after Show and Tell I had to rush to the airport and catch a flight back to Auckland. As tradition stands, I made a beeline to Momo Tea in Mt. Albert, and hung out with my youth group, having some hearty food and some delicious drinks.

Friday morning I had music practice, and following that, Bob's unsurprise barbeque at Ray's place. This pretty much lasted the whole day, with some awesome food and lots of Rock Band. No Stephen, this was the PS3 version so we didn't play Still Alive. We played some outdoor badminton too, until we started getting attacked by the mosquitos. Towards the end of the night, we hung out for more drinks at EasyWay and played last card, until we were pretty much sick of last card and headed our seperate ways.

On Saturday I pretty much lazed around, but in the afternoon I met up with Mat and Will and took a stroll around Albert Park, just observing the lanterns and inhaling the wonderful aromas of the roadside food. It was a gloriously hot day, and I am often reminded about the surprisingly large temperature difference between Auckland and Wellington.

I spent Saturday night with family for our reunion dinner, which I would say was the main purpose of the trip. I dunno, I kinda feel very sentimental about these things, I was a bit disappointed about missing Chinese New Year last year. Family's important to me, and reunion dinner is just one of those symbolic meals that you share with family, a bit like how Christmas is so important to some people.

Sunday was pretty much church and lunch at (where else) Ha Long, before I caught up with my sister, who insisted on showing me various painted windows, her coffee table, her new laptop and her photo board. And before long, it was time to head back to the airport and start the journey back to Wellington. Sigh.


Happy Chinese New Year!

Wishing you Gong Xi Fa Cai in the year of the Ox!

I just got back from Parachute 09, after a mammoth seven hour car ride from Mystery Creek, Hamilton. It was an absolutely fantastic weekend, full of sunshine, friends, fellowship and worship. I saw the likes of Late 80's Mercedes, Luke Thompson, Dave Dobbyn, Nathan King, David Crowder, Kutless and Casting Crowns. Saturday night was full of excitement and adrenaline, and Sunday night was full of praise, worship and fun.

Definitely one of the better Parachute events I've been to - looking forward to the big 20th Birthday Bash next year!

PS: Photos to come.

Edit: Been having some weird server config issues that locked me out of the admin panel. Anyway, photos are up.


January Adventures

I recently got Pokemon Ranger: Shadows of Almia and Kirby Super Star Ultra on my DS; and with the ever-addictive nature of Picross, it means more DS and less blogging. Anyway, here goes.

There's been a few events happening in Wellington. You will have heard in the news of the Gaza protests happening in Civic Square. I was passing by and heard the chants (they're quite catchy, I must say). One was "Israel, you can't hide, we charge you with genocide!". And this happened for at least two days, we could hear it quite well from our office.

We also had a dinner voucher to the Red Tomato in Kelburn, which had featured on that restaurant revamp show on TV. Yeah, the pizza wasn't too bad, my only complaint was that the Mexican was smothered in coriander, which didn't really suit the overall taste at all. Coriander is a garnish and it shouldn't be the dominant taste on pizza.

We hung out on Oriental Bay one evening, having fish and chips on the beach. It was a really calm day; two of the group even went for a swim in the water. By 8.30pm, the water was warmer than the air, so it must've been incredibly difficult to come out.

Last weekend, it was Wellington Anniversary = Long Weekend, so we planned a trip to scale the heights of Mt Taranaki, somewhat reminiscent of the good ol' 4th Form Camp, when we hiked up Mt Ruapehu. Unfortunately, the weather did not permit, so we decided to make our way to Cape Palliser, the southernmost point on the North Island. Not only was it gloriously sunny, the wind was fantastic and hiliariously fun. We climbed 250 steps to the lighthouse and enjoyed the full blast of the winds on the cape. Three of the group even went swimming in the frigid waters, and we shared a picnic lunch on the rocks by the sea. Cape Palliser is also known for the seal colony, and you can check out the gallery for pictures.

This weekend, it's Parachute 09 up in Mystery Creek, and also Chinese New Year on Monday. It's going to be awesome.


Back to Work

So yeah, went back to work today. It was SO boring, I fell asleep in our three hour sprint planning session. What a great start to the New Year!

I've had an awesome holiday up in Auckland, just catching up with everyone. I went to Momo's, the driving range, Rotovegas, Goat Island and the airport five times. I played DotA, table tennis, table tennis extreme, pool, handball, lots of piano, Rock Band, Singstar, Buzz and Photo Hunt. I went on the famous Rotorua luge, the Agrodome's Big Swoop, I saw the Lady Knox Geyser erupt as well as several geothermal park attractions, I hung out with friends and family and I ate and ate and ate and ate. See my gallery for all the pictures. I have some YouTube videos to upload later as well.

Satisfied Jeremy is satisfied.