Found 52 blog posts for the year: 2010

Farewell 2010

I just got back from Hsin-Yao's house, where we played Super Smash Bros Brawl. I've played it before, but I don't remember it being so retarded. Well, when I say retarded, I mean it's different to how Melee plays and since I'm used to Melee, I find SSBB difficult to adjust to.

In any case, it is indeed New Year's Eve today and as the year comes to a close, I've written up yet another summary of the year's events.

Enjoy your New Year celebrations.


Dominionated

Wanted to play badminton after church on Sunday but I guess because it's a public holiday, the courts were locked up so we ended up going to Matt's house nearby and playing Rock Band, Raiden 3, and even Boggle.

I went over to Richard's house on Monday to try out his new board game - Agricola. The silly game took us four hours to complete, but it was kinda fun nevertheless. Maybe we'll be faster when we get better. I also snuck in some table tennis with Hsin Yao and of course the family pool and also the piano were well used that day. I led everyone in a rousing chorus of "The Tide is High"...

The next day, the rain came.

Despite the wet conditions, I met up with my workmates at Sun World in Newmarket for a delicious yum char. The place was absolutely packed and for good reason too; the food was tasty and the variety was fantastic, and all for a very reasonable $19. Jono and Charlotte went their separate ways but the Sidhe crew met up again at Bryce's house where we played Dominion and Cranium! Fun times.


Merry Christmas!

Wishing all of you who read my blog (I estimate around 3 of you) a Merry Christmas.

The past few days have been quite delicious, with visits to Tony's Steak House on Lorne Street, Tonino's Pizzeria in Mission Bay and Dragon's Gourmet in Epsom. Great catching up with various people!

More eating today... just finished a heavy brunch and just killing time until tonight, where we're going to have a heavy dinner. Ah, it's truly Christmas.


Shopping

I hate shopping. Even for myself. I went shopping yesterday with my sister at St Lukes to get presents, and I ended up spending more on myself than any other person. Farmers were having a 50%-off sale so I purchased two bath mats and a face towel for myself; Number 1 Shoe Warehouse had a buy-two-get-one-free offer AND the shoes I happened to select were also under a 25% discount, so I bought three pairs of shoes for $60.

\(_o)/

Anyway, I met up with the CSC group at Elliot Stables for dinner, and then to Giapo for dessert. I always thought Kaffee Eis was the supreme gelato destination but I was wrong; this place is amazing. They had so many scrumptious sounding flavours there, like a "sexotic banana with Macadamia nuts and finished with nutella streams", and of course other traditional flavours like maple walnut and pistachio. For $7, I got two flavours in a cone and struggled to finish the immense amount of ice cream. A much welcome treat to a hot day!


Day 1: Bored

Yesterday's drive up from Wellington was wet, particularly around the Desert Road area, and required full concentration on the wheel. We stopped at Bulls for lunch, then Waiuku for a stretch, Turangi to fill up, Taupo for a snooze and Cambridge for a light dinner. We left Wellington around 10.30am and arrived in Auckland around 7.30pm, so not too bad given we were slowed by both the weather and a traffic jam caused by an accident just south of Cambridge.

Anyway, been trying to organise things but it seems quite a few people are still working. The crappy weather doesn't really help either. And I'm bored. My goodness, I am so bored. There's not much to do. I really should have brought my computer up . Then at least I can do some work on Psypoke instead of lazing around wondering what to do on this silly laptop. It doesn't even have any worthwhile games :(


End of Line

The Sidhe Christmas function this year was a two part extravaganza, the first part being Tron: Legacy and the second part being at the Ballroom, a pool lounge.

I went into Tron expecting "terrible" and I got "average". I was anticipating lying in my seat, writhing in agony but it wasn't actually the case. It was a mildly entertaining film with pretty graphics (bar Jeff Bridges in CGI) and an enjoyable soundtrack. Final verdict: not the worst two hours of my life. I have to say, though, movies aren't very social events. You're all focused on the screen and can't talk with anyone, so if we could avoid yet another movie for next year's Christmas do, that would be great. (Last year, they had 500 Days of Summer, but I was unable to attend that due to my flight to Malaysia ":(")

Following the movie, we had about an hour to kill and Surya really wanted to go to Strawberry Fare, so we gathered a small group and went. I was astounded at the number of new desserts I hadn't tried... there was a strawberries and cream one, a gooseberry dessert of some sort, the key lime pie was back, and there was a cranberry and white chocolate cheesecake, which I ordered. Absolutely fantastic.

The rest of the night was good. I played two games of pool with Jordan against Damon and Rob C, in which we were owned, twice. The remainder of my time there was catching up with various people, drinking, scoffing some pizza, just chilling and relaxing really. Being a Thursday night, there was some self-control to be exercised so most people started drifting away around 10pm so we could at least turn up to work the next day...

The last day of work was pretty uneventful, and I was just cleaning up my scripts and committing my code to the repository. We submitted the Zen Puzzle Garden update to Apple, so hopefully it'll go through review soon. We said goodbye to four of our artists by having dinner at Harem, and we learned of some surprising resignations for next year. Gasp.

The past week has been pretty hectic in terms of finding a flat to live in. After turning down the Mt Victoria property that I mentioned in my last post, we were kinda desperate to really wrap up the flat hunting situation before the end of the week. It so happened that we found another place at the bottom of Brooklyn Hill that Charlotte and I loved, and it also turned out that the landlord really wanted to get the tenancy sorted before the end of the week as well. So all in all, things aligned perfectly and now we have a really nice flat about 20 minutes walk from work and we are paying the same amount of money for it as the Mt Vic property.

Thank God for that.


Depressed

I can't remember the last time I was actually depressed over something relatively serious and non-trivial, but I guess life has its ups and downs and this in particular is a downer.

I got an email from Beth this morning. It was a lengthy but cleverly written poem about indecisiveness. As I sit here pondering about my housing options for next year, I can't help but think about the what-ifs. If I sign this tenancy agreement, I might miss out on a nicer place for a cheaper price. If I don't sign it, then I might have to settle for a dump at a high price (a bit like what happened with my current place). There's a lot of properties out there - some are damn expensive - but all the ones I've seen have been inadequate or were taken by someone else.

Charlotte and I looked at a place today in Mt. Vic, and she seems really keen on it. The practical side of me likes the place and I can see myself living there. But something doesn't quite appeal emotionally. Something isn't quite right. I pride myself on being logical and rational, but there is something I do not like about the place and I cannot for the life of me figure out why. Is my gut instinct telling me there's something wrong?

Usually when I become stressed or depressed, I can just sleep over it and wake up feeling fine. Maybe that's all I need, just some time to relax and chill out, sleep and process the day's events, then come back with an answer tomorrow.


Final Fantasy IV DS

This has to be one of the worst designed games I've ever played, because the difficulty and level ramping of wild monster battles was absolutely atrocious. It's like someone went through the original SNES version and decided to multiply monster stats on everything by two - take the final boss, for example, which has 65,000HP in the SNES version and 150,000HP in the DS version. Despite its unfairness, I liked the story and characters, and would have probably even enjoyed the game on the whole if I had played a non-DS version.

I was tasked with the important duty of ensuring everyone was well fed at Bryce's farewell dinner last night at Majestic Cuisine. With my fellow Asian accomplice, Juliann, we decided on Chilli Blue Cod, Grilled Prawns, Crispy Skin Chicken, Pork and Taro, Black Pepper Beef, Roast Duck, Tofu and Seasonal Vegetables. I was fretting the whole night about whether we had ordered enough food, but it seemed everyone was satisfied and full, so mission accomplished and thank goodness for that. There's nothing worse than leaving hungry from a restaurant...

Anyway, a whole bunch of photos from the past month or so have been uploaded, including pictures from Guy Fawke's, BBQ at Charles', Sidhe farewells, random meals, random weather phenomena and Sunni's birthday.


December

It's December already and it is slowly hitting me that yet another year has almost gone by. Things are already starting to wrap up for Christmas, with farewell parties for people "leaving" work and a few birthday celebrations here and there. I still have photos dating back to Guy Fawke's night, I really should upload them sometime soon... Lately, I've been at Siem Reap (Friday dinner with workmates), Cha (End of year homegroup on Wednesday), Hede (Tyler's farewell), New Kor + Karaoke (Mike's farewell). I feel like going back to sleep but apparently there's some fundraising food at the Indonesian Embassy so I'll be going to that with Surya and Andrew.

Badminton is still going strong with some punishing games today; I've never felt so knackered in my life, and I don't suppose my current state of health helped at all. Even on Thursday, I had chronic hiccups which drove me insane (and probably all the people around me as well). All seems to be on the road to recovery now, so I'll sit tight and take more drugs. Bleh.


Zen Puzzle Garden



PikPok's latest game exclusively for the iPad is Zen Puzzle Garden, a game originally done for PC by Joseph White of Lexaloffle. The idea of the game is to rake the sand in the garden, but there are three rules to adhere to:
  • You will keep raking in a straight line until you hit an obstacle or the other side of the sand
  • You cannot rake over previously-raked areas
  • You must be able to rake all the sand and step off the garden at the end

I've thoroughly enjoyed working on this game, despite the various challenges that the iPad's touch screen poses to developers and game designers (maybe I'll elaborate on this another time). I've learned an immense amount from watching people play-test the game and found it interesting to compare people's natural intuitions when trying to complete the gardens.

Again, the small project team size meant I was able to have my hand in several different game domains; I was responsible for input, UI, level editing and serialisation and game logic. You can even find some hot A Star action in there somewhere. Definitely one of the highlights of my year.


Pike River

The whole country mourns with the people who have lost fathers, husbands, brothers and sons in New Zealand's worst mining disaster in 96 years. The first explosion occurred last week, trapping 29 men in the Pike River mine; all 29 lost their lives when a second explosion occurred this afternoon.

I'm so sorry for your losses.


Blood Driving

So after a wonderful 8 hour drive with Bryce (and Vaughan, for half the trip), I finally have my car in Wellington. The weather was sunny with a bit of cloud as we made our way down State Highway 1. At one stage, a bird flew right in front of the car and it HIT the bonnet and bounced off my windscreen >_> Survival of the fittest, eh?

This week has also been quite busy in my social calendar. James, one of our game designers, left for Canadialand today, but I caught up with him at Monsoon Poon on Monday for all-you-can-eat Firecracker Chicken (YUM!) and the Blood Drive launch party yesterday.

Blood Drive?

Blood Drive is the action-packed zombie killing game with "motorized death steeds of steel" (according to Activision's marketing team). Having been on the iPhone team for the past year, I didn't actually contribute to the game at all, but despite its idiosyncracies and the fact I don't really play driving games, I think the game looks nice and there's no doubt that the team worked incredibly hard on it. Last night was for them to celebrate its completion and to have a good time.

It was an optional-costume party, so it was entertaining to see the many zombie and zombie-hunter costumes around. I myself went as a zombie tourist (a tourist who takes pictures of zombies, not an undead tourist). Pictures in the gallery!

Today, it was Andrew's birthday so he shouted us a lunch at Leuven. Surprisingly, no one ordered mussels, but instead our meals ranged from steak and lamb rump to the fish of the day and some gigantic lamb pie in a bowl that actually looked quite impressive.

This weekend, there's Guy Fawke's on Friday, badminton and a barbeque at Charles' on Saturday, music on Sunday and all-round relaxing!


Labour Weekend

Despite its notoriety for having terrible weather whenever there is a long weekend, Auckland produced some outstanding warmth and sun over Labour Weekend this year, and I thoroughly enjoyed my time up there - especially with my new car!

After work on Friday night, Juliann and I headed to Cha for dinner (apparently it's tradition, or something) and then to the airport for our flights. I was picked up at the other end of the plane ride by Cinta and Alice, and we were joined by Reuben, Matt and Sam at where else, but Momo's for a good old Taro Milkshake with Mango Pudding. Somehow, I got recruited for the Light Party flier drop on Saturday morning, so the next day, it was up and early to KCC for a few hours to run around Kelston and deliver fliers to the letterboxes.

I met my sister and her husband for lunch at Moto on Paramount Drive before chilling out at her place for a little while. They had been spraying some anti-mould stuff on the walls so they had to keep the poor cat locked up inside, so he was rather agitated. We guessed that he was suspecting to be taken to the vet or be given a flea shot (since he was locked inside), so he was understandably more antisocial than normal, but after a while, he settled down. Mrowr!

That night, I turned up (semi-uninvited) to Heong's housewarming where they were understandably surprised at my unannounced arrival. We spent some time getting the silly charcoal barbeque to work but it was worth it once it was going. He's got a nice quiet place overlooking west Auckland, with a bit of land and a deck at the back of the house, and even a self-contained sleepout for an extra tenant! And potentially a slingshot to shoot stuff and/or people at Fahad's old house.

Sunday was church as usual, and then lunch at (disgustingly good) Wendy's. I spent the remainder of the afternoon at Matt's house playing on the PS3 and dozing off, as I usually do on Sunday afternoons, and when the time came around, Matt, Sam, Steven and I bundled into my car and we went back to Paramount Drive for some Vietnamese at Pho Bien. Not fully satisfied, we drove to Parnell for some absolutely delicious Chocolate Boutique where we shared a Share Indulgence and a Chocolate Fondue. The night was still young, so we visited our old haunts, Yifans and Cue City before heading back home... via Momo's.

On Monday, I met up with the remnants of my schoolmates - namely, Mat and Graeme - for brunch in Mt. Eden and ice cream at Ollies, and since Graeme and I hadn't been to Mat's flat on the shore, we followed his SUV over the bridge, maintaining a safe distance to prevent my car being overwhelmed with gas fumes and smoke. We played some table tennis for a while, and even got some awesome rallies going (but they were shortlived because Mat kept stuffing them up) and I would have loved to continue but I had to drop Graeme back home.

I had a simple meal with dad before heading to the airport and arrived back in cold, overcast Wellington.

Sigh.

Oh well, at least it's a short week this week, and also, I'll be up in Auckland this weekend anyway.


Faith and Hope

If there has ever been such a magnificent display of faith in God and hope in being rescued, it would be the story of the 33 miners, trapped for 69 days in the San Jose mine in Chile but miraculously hauled from the dark depths in a rescue capsule aptly named "Phoenix".

I'm so happy for you all. Your fortitude and faith are an example to us.


So Intense.

Went to Harem on Friday with Surya, Andrew and Charles.



Double steak. Omg. Double steak.

All the way, across the plate.

Yeahhhhh.

Double steak. It's starting to look like a triple steak!

Yeah.

Omg.

Double steak. So intense.


Pokemon Black and White

The ROM of the Japanese versions of Pokemon Black and White finally leaked on Saturday morning - I was anticipating it leaking on Thursday but it appears that /vp/ had failed me.

So with that, I have been busy hacking away, trying to understand the various structures and data in the game. With Stephen managing the Psydex code and database side of things, and Mike trawling other sites for much needed contextual information, and of course the miscellaneous help from #psypoke, we've been able to get a lot of information up on the site in the past two days (of course, not everything has gone as smoothly as it should have, but oh well). Kudos to all who have helped!

Last Monday, I suddenly had the urge to eat moon cake, so I looked into various Asian supermarkets to see what was on offer. We happened to do a flat shop at Pak'n'Save Kilbirnie that night, so I checked out the Asian place next door. Unfortunately, they had sold out of the lotus paste with egg, but I decided that I would try a different kind of moon cake - one I had never tried before.



Pandan moon cake! So goooood. I love moon cake.


Alcohol

Alcohol is weird. I've heard it tends to amplify whatever emotions you're feeling, which might be true to some effect and certainly I've noticed this. But what I find weird is that my overall mood depends on the crowd I'm with. Last night, I was feeling pretty snarky (this could also be attributed to the stupid girls at the table next to us who were dressed like Lady Gaga clones and sounded like vuvuzelas at higher, screechier frequencies) and everything seemed to annoy me. If I had gone out for drinks with my workmates, I think I would have been a lot more jovial and social.

Anyway, it's been pretty busy for me. In among the Starcraft II achievement gathering I've been doing, I've also been writing tools for the impending Black and White release sometime next week, as well as working hard on PikPok's latest game for the iPad. It should be done soon, so uh..watch this space! \(_o)/

Last weekend was all about the Japanese. Friday night was the first Friday of the month, so it is customary we hang around with the other iPhone developers of Wellington at Hashigo Zake. Sunday was the Japanese Cultural Festival, which amused me greatly because I recognised so many elements just from watching Anime. There were mandalas, mochi, taiko drumming, tea ceremony demonstrations, lots of food and lots of people. Photos in the gallery whenever I can be bothered.

On Monday, being the first Monday of the month, Monsoon Poon have a deal where they serve unlimited plates of Firecracker Chicken (at least, until they run out. They ran out of 40kg of chicken in under two hours) as well as naan bread, white rice and a beer. Firecracker Chicken is a delicious dish of crispy, juicy chicken smothered with a tantalising spicy sauce. So good!


Wings of Liberty

Starcraft II is now complete (bare minimum) with a plethora of achievements still to go, and I think three branched missions to try just for fun.

I was a little disappointed with the final FMV, I was expecting something a little more than that, but the game on the whole was awesome and I thoroughly enjoyed the campaign. Can't wait for Heart of the Swarm!


Tubes Are Go

INTERNET AT HOME!

YAYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

This means more Starcraft II! Less staying at work! More lolcats! More information! More connectedness to people! More excuses to stay at home and shy away from social gatherings!

Just got back from Inception, movie was great, blahblahblah. I don't really want to talk too much about it yet, but all I'll say is that it is very worthwhile seeing, it's interesting and action-packed and definitely a thumbs-up from me.

Also hot off the weekend was a visit from Cinta, Jo and Alice. I took them to the best food places in Wellington: Chocolate Frog Cafe, Cosa Nostra (Cinta got a free tiramisu!) and Strawberry Fare, of course (two new desserts!). The weather was great on Saturday so we spent a bit of time driving around the bays and enjoying the sun, but on Sunday, the wind really picked up and gave them a good gale of what Wellington wind can truly feel like!


Starcraft II

Sweet toasted zerglings, this game is amazing.

I have to resort to playing at work because we still don't have Internet at home, but hey. A game is a game.


The Jail

The big move from the Villa happened on Saturday, and thankfully the weather held out for a brilliantly sunny day, so all our furniture and belongings stayed dry.

Okay, that's about all the positive things I can say about my weekend.

We rushed like hell to complete the day's activities by 4pm, as that was the time stipulated by the letting agency as the time we needed to hand in our keys to their office in order to be done with the tenancy. After making it to Taranaki Street at 3.50pm and illegally parking, I found out that the bloody office had closed (I knew it was going to happen, somehow :/). After some frantic calls, we got the okay from the property manager to hand in the keys today, which was fine, but it doesn't excuse the fact we had to rush around on Saturday for no reason.

The property itself is okay. It will take a bit of getting used to. There are two problems I have issues with.

Firstly, I found out that my room doesn't have curtains, so it's all open for the world to see. There was a detached rail and curtain that I tried to hook up to these flimsy clip things by the window, but three people who looked at it couldn't figure out how to attach the rail. While this isn't as annoying as the second issue (see below), it's still very awkward.

I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to unlock the *&^#!~$ door. Apparently you need to shove it in and quickly turn the key, but regardless of what black magic you need to do to get it working, I am not going to stand there for 10 minutes trying my luck at opening my front door. This morning, I woke up early knowing I would have issues with the door, and sure enough, as 8.25am rolled around, I was getting seriously pissed off at the reluctance of the door to unlock.

I had to climb out the *^!@%# window. It was the angriest I have ever been.

I hereby christen my new flat, "the Jail".


End of the Villa

The time has come to write my closing statements sitting from my desk at the Villa. It has been a really good 14 months living here, despite being so far away from everyone and everything. I'll miss the luxuries of a dryer and dishwasher too...ha, I've been spoiled. Anyway, Internet will be gone for [however many days it takes XNet to reconnect me], which means I'll also be missing out on the Starcraft II launch on Tuesday. Sigh.

It's been a tough few weeks for me, there's been so many things to organise in and out of work, so many things to worry about and plan for; however, there is light at the end of the tunnel and lots of events to look forward to in the upcoming weeks.

Work has been going well, I've been very busy with some good old C# and WPF work. Plenty of things to learn and experiment with - totally loving it. Just got back from dinner with some workmates at New Kor as well, so things at Sidhe are pretty sweet at the moment.

Quick list of notable things:
- I took last Monday off on account of sickness. Ironically, there was some news about one day sicknesses.
- Briefly took a gander at the All Whites parade on Wednesday.
- Had yum char last Friday thanks to the continued success of Flick Kick Football at the top of the UK app store. Not so lucky this week though.


So June has gone...

It's time for the half-year status check.

I've been pretty busy with Psypoke, helping to rewrite the news system and the admin panel, both running on code written six years ago by 18 Year Old Noob Jeremy, and also the GPCT code and marketing materials which I am very proud of, for the record. That intro flash is epic <3.

Since my last blog update, we've had Queen's Birthday where Richard and his girlfriend come down to visit, as well as Jono's girlfriend and her sister, and in amongst the typical sightseeing and random Disney singalongs, we went to Strawberry Fare for a night of delectable desserts.

Sidhe celebrated its 13th birthday with a night out at the Lanes on Wakefield, where we gathered in our drunken stupor to somehow make the bowling balls and pins connect. It was a great night with fantastic food - I just could not get enough of the seafood platter of prawns, scallops and mussels. There was also breads, dips, pestos, ribs, chicken drumsticks, mini cheeseburgers, squid rings... so good.

We've also been given the first hard copies of Shatter for PC, as well as the greatest game of all, Rugby League 3 for the Wii!

Our success with Flick Kick Football continues as we hit the #1 paid app in the UK store last week, as well as good rankings in other countries. In celebration, we were taken out to Little India for lunch on Friday, as well as showered with Haribo gummi bears. Tech planning for my dream project also kicked off last week, with lots of things to do to prepare for the core programming, so we'll see how things pan out as time passes.

I've been spending an increased amount of money on food lately. We've had a few visitors from out of town and friends organising dinners and drinks...all adds up. Last week we went to Strawberry Fare on Monday. Friday was Satay Kajang and Motel. Saturday was Foxglove, One Red Dog, Hashigo Zake and the Library. Today...well, today was nice and simple, we bought lunch from the supermarket. But still! Food and friends are great.

I've updated my Gallery with photos dating as far back as May, so check them out.

And finally, I need to find accomodation within the next three weeks. [


Goooooooooooooooooooaaaaaaaalllll

While it's not yet officially done, we have announced the latest and hottest game for iPhone hitting the App Store sometime this month. Pik Pok Games proudly presents a thrilling and exciting game that channels the adrenaline and emotion of the Football World Cup 2010: Flick Kick Football!



Yay. It's what I've been working on for the past eight weeks or so, and while the basic principles of the game remain true to Flick Kick's branding, we've included more features that will distinguish it from the previous three Flick Kicks. A must-have for all the football nuts out there.

Also, I cannot for the life of me appear to be able to win a Starcraft match. Sigh. ._.


May Birthdays

I've been to two birthday dinners this week, and boy am I stuffed. First was at Cinta with Charlotte, second at the Flying Burrito Bros with Ritu, both with lots of people and food and delicious moist cake. Ritu's cake was from Cha, which surprised me because I heard the Cha cakes were traps, but apparently not. The cream does taste rather artificial though, so as long as it's in moderation, it's okay.

I'll be burning off all that food at the badminton court tomorrow anyway.

Last night at 1am, the couple in the apartment above me decided it would be the opportune moment to have a domestic argument, firing F-Bombs every second word for a good 30 minutes or so. Being in the semi-conscious state I was, my first thought was "oh geez I hope I don't have to call the cops" followed by anxiously waiting for gunshot sounds. Sigh.

My horrendously bad Starcraft II streak continues. FML. I'm pretty sure I'm the worst player at work :(!

The weather has taken a turn for the worse, with bitterly cold wind and rain attacking the city for most of the week. Today was the first day I had to wear my polyprops. I have to say, the awesome jacket and gloves I bought from Hong Kong have definitely come in handy! I don't know how I survived last winter without something as snuggly and warm.


Happy Birthday Pacman!

Google's logo has changed to an interactive game of Pacman that triggers when you "Insert Coin". Epic win.


KCC Youth Skit

I just downloaded and watched the youth skit that the Ignite crew put on for the service on May 16th 2010. Great job guys! I felt compelled to share that with you.

I'm tired. I just got home from badminton. Whee~!


Better Late Than Never



Portal is on Steam for free until May 24th, so I took the opportunity to download all 3.8GB of it. I'm still somewhere in the test chambers, but it's a very interesting (yet creepy) game.

Also on the gaming front, I finally gathered enough courage to play my first placement match in Starcraft II. I did a quick build for a banshee, got one out with a few more on the way, and took out all my opponent's SCVs with my lone banshee. When he realised what was happening, he sent some marines over but I had cloaked it and pretty soon after he quit. Victory was mine!

Yesterday I barely spent any time at home. It was an early start with badminton for an hour with Surya, Tyler and Leighton, a quick lunch at home, then the Wellington Food Show at Westpac Stadium with Mel and John. There was a lot of tasty things to sample, including oils, vinaigrettes, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, cheese, pizza, bacon, sausages, smoked chicken, clams, mussels, ice cream, wine, fruit cider, cocktail mixes... We spent around three hours there, tasting and taking pictures, before heading out and going for dinner at this pub on Tinakori Road. Yum!


STARCRAFT FAIL

It has come to my attention that instead of playing "placement" matches, I have been playing "practice" matches.

Epic. Fail.

Sigh. So I have to do all five of my placement matches, which equates to more stress. Aughhh :(

In other news, that damn damage calculator is finally done, with the first iteration going live approximately 1.5 hours ago. The second iteration will include the option to override a Pokemon's type and ability (due to effects from Color Change, Camouflage, Conversion, or Skill Swap, Role Play and Trace), and probably fix whatever bugs people find. It's taken so long, but it looks hot, and the code is pretty damn clean too.


May Happenings

Not many exciting things happening at the moment, but I'll blog anyway for the sake of appearing up-to-date with everything.

Yesterday, at Charlotte's insistence, we went to Animates in Thorndon to admire the adorable animals there. It's weird when she does the baby talk thing to them. They had a few bunny rabbits there, and three kittens. So cute!

On Saturday, I met some workmates for yum char at Majestic Cuisine. I was so thrilled with the food (and uh, the wonderful social aspect, of course) that I forgot to take pictures. But oh well. Seems like everyone enjoyed it, so it might be grounds to organise another one in the future.

I won another Starcraft II game on Saturday night, but I was playing a noob so it wasn't really that satisfying. Playing online is so stressful, especially 1v1. I'm always freaking out over my build orders and what to do and micro-managing everything, I don't know why I keep subjecting myself to such torture everytime I play. Oh well.

Had another round of golf/driving range on Thursday, but I was rather off-form and didn't strike that many good hits this time round. Hopefully this will change for this week.

On the Psypoke front, I'm still trucking away at this damn damage calculator. What used to be three files doing the bulk of the calculation is now just over ten, all in neat classes and database-driven functions. The silhouettes for the three Generation V starters were released today, with the actual pictures suspected to be leaked sometime tomorrow. I'm kind of apathetic to it, but it would be nice to know, I guess.


Starcraft II

So I impulsively pre-ordered Starcraft II on Thursday, under much pressure from my workmates, with the justification to myself as "you're going to get it anyway, you might as well get it now and have a free beta key". And yeah, I have a beta key now, so if you're keen for a game, just find me on MSN and I'll let you know my battle account name. Oh yeah, I won my very first game under my own Battle.net account. Kekekeke ^_^

Anyway, we went to the driving range after work on Thursday for some fun and stress-relief. It was good to get back into the swing of things (HAHAHA) but I woke up the next day with a few sore muscles, so hopefully with more practice, it shouldn't happen too often.

And finally, we went to Strawberry Fare last night after I jokingly suggested it at dinner, and I was surprised to see they'd changed their menu again!! They replaced the Lime Tart with a Plum Pie, so I tried that. It was okay, but I would definitely recommend the Lime Tart instead. Such a pity :(


Shave for a Cure

Dave did some fundraising for Shave for a Cure on behalf of the Leukaemia and Blood Foundation. When we met him for dinner last night, we were disappointed he still had hair! So we conspired and pulled some strings (and more money) and offered an extra $100 to shave off the rest of his hair AND wax his eyebrows.

Good on ya, Dave.



See the gallery for more pictures.


Power Cut

A maintenance fault cut power to most of the CBD today, resulting in mass panic and chaos as we could no longer do our work. As a result, I declared marshall law with my nerf gun and went around shooting people, only to face a posse of rogue bandits armed with their own guns. Nevertheless, their inferior spring-loaded guns proved futile against my pump-action gun.

With nothing else to do, we hunted down a ping pong ball, a two paddles, and set up the table on level 9.


Problems

People have been giving me a lot of problems lately. Luckily I've managed to cope, but goodness knows how many more I can take. Probably a lot more.

Geometry Problem


I have a square of size x. Inside the square sits a blue circle of radius x/2, the largest possible circle that sits inside of the square. At the corners, I have four smaller green circles, the largest possible that will fit in the space there. What is the area not covered by a circle (i.e., the red area)?

Timing Problem
I have two lengths of rope. The ropes burn at non-linear rates, but they will each burn entirely in one hour. Using only these ropes and your choice of a tool to ignite them, how do you measure out 45 minutes?

Hat Problem
There's a competition in which you and two friends decide to enter. The prize is $1 million. The rules are as follows:
- Each of you is randomly given a hat which is either red or blue. There are an infinite number of hats so the chance of getting a red or blue hat is exactly 50%.
- You cannot see the hat you are given, but you can see the hats that your two friends have.
- To win $1 million, the three of you must simultaneously call out the colour of the hat on their own head. No other forms of communication (signalling, blinking, pointing, flailing, etc) are permitted.
- You are allowed to pass, however, if all of you pass, you will forfeit. You will also lose if one of you gets it wrong. To pass, you will say "pass" instead of your hat colour.
Now that you know the rules of the competition, you must formulate a strategy that will maximise the chances of you winning the $1 million. You are allowed to discuss this strategy with your friends beforehand. What is the best strategy, and what are your chances of winning?


Dear Forum Administrators

How to handle grammatical errors on your forum


Easter

Signs of Easter approaching were present approximately two months ago, almost immediately after Valentine's Day, when the supermarkets swapped all the pink hearts for hot cross buns and chocolate rabbits. While chocolate, eggs and rabbits are all great things, I wish some people would remember that it's also about Jesus dying on the cross for the world's sin, and about his miraculous resurrection three days later.

Anyway, my parents decided that it would be the perfect opportunity to visit Wellington while I would be away in Auckland, so I epic-cleaned the flat and even bought some air freshner for my room since they said they'd be staying a night at the flat. I met them for one day last week and we went for a really good dinner (La Metropolitain) and dessert (Haha, GUESS), and the next day I was due to fly back to Auckland already while they planned to spend the day around Martinborough.

Thursday came by and I escaped work early with Surya and took the bus to the airport, got to Auckland and picked up the van that Dad had left at long-term parking and met my CompSci friends at Momo's. So awesome catching up with them...and trying to convince them to download my iPhone games . Looks like everyone's in pretty good spirits, except Bob who had been working retardedly long hours and was totally crazy that night.

Was picked up by Reuben on Friday and headed to church to prepare for camp. About an hour later we arrived on site safely, despite having to travel in John's canine-aroma car. The rest of the afternoon was spent in random team building activities, my favourite being the "cross the river" one because I got to boss everyone around. Night time fell and thus began the first few games of Mafia...

Saturday was all about activities. First up for team Lightning Bolt was the confidence course, which was more like an army training run through mud. I'm not phased about getting dirty but I didn't really have enough clothes to change so I was quite hesitant about it, especially the last one which was basically "submerge yourself in a pool of putrid mud". The second activity was climbing a cargo net about 15 meters high, which wasn't too hard, and the third activity for the day was archery.

We had orienteering on Sunday morning and mudsliding on Sunday afternoon, Reuben and I manned the barbeque for dinner and then we had some guy bonding time at night. We built a campfire, debated about Superman and Spiderman, choreographed a tribal dance and had some endurance contests, and when the girls had finished their make-up session, we gathered round the fire and made some smores.

There was much Mafia each night, I must say it's so much more entertaining when there's lots of people, and each session saw at least 20 people playing. I tried out some new rules: a zombie that resurrects after two nights but can be killed again after that, and two lovers (represented by separate cards) who are intertwined in life and death - when one dies, the other does too! Overall, the games were well played with the citizens winning the first few (when there were only 6 mafia) and the mafia winning the final few (when we played with 7 mafia). I have to say though, the last game of Mafia that we played was quite possibly the worst citizens game I've seen - the sniper shot the detective, the angry mob lynched both their doctors and at the end of the game, six of the seven mafia were still alive.

Srs mafia is srs.

Monday was quite rushed, after leaving camp a bit late, we had lunch at church before I caught up with my sister for an hour, then rushed to the airport and made it onto the plane before promptly passing out for 90% of the flight. Safely at home, I made it to 9pm before crashing out for the night.

It's been an awesome Easter weekend. I met some new people and caught up with familiar faces. I bossed people around and held the balance of life and death in my hands as a bloodthirsty overlord. I pushed my endurance to new limits, but probably because I'm more kiasu than anything.

I had a great time, and I'm sad that it was all over so quickly.

On an administrative note, I've included a button to share my blog posts and gallery pictures on That Site Which I Refuse To Join.


The End of the Week

I'm sitting here in front of my computer, making the most of what little time I have left before Friday appears.

Now I'm all for Fridays, Friday is the best day of the working week (apart from Spicy Food Tuesday, but anyway), last Friday we did the weekly Starcraft II Beta Key draw and I won! It means I got a Beta Key to use, for a week, so I could play online with all the gosu Korean people. And while my winning record wasn't too flash, I learned heaps and got a real feel of this Battle.net stuff (It scares me). Friday has just ticked over and it means I have to get up for work in 8 hours.

Anyway, in the past week, there was the Rugby League 3 launch party at the regular Sidhe alcohol establishment, the Red Square, where we had set up three Wii consoles with the greatest game of all on each of them. I'm very proud of it, and I played it a few times...and even taught other people how to play. And yes, I did point out the things I did, and I even got a picture with my RL3 self (I look nothing like me).

Sunday was Surya's birthday dinner, which was a simple meal at Arashi, followed by dessert at Strawberry Fare (sound familiar? deja vu?), where I finally got that Chocolate Bleeding Heart and oh it was so good, the warmth and deliciousness just melted down your oesophagus omnomnomnom.

Busy weekend as well coming up. Crashtopher is visiting from Brisbane, so it'll be good to catch up with him, Pete's alcohol-fuelled birthday extravaganza is on as well, and finally it's only a week before I'm up in Auckland for Easter. Yay!


This Week's Releases

Pokemon HeartGold and Pokemon SoulSilver


Firstly, the fabled remakes of Pokemon Gold and Silver are out in the US today with the Australian and New Zealand release 10 days later. Of course this means it's busy time for me and the Psypoke staff Mike and Stephen. In the past few days, our HeartGold/SoulSilver section has had several guides added to it, including game maps, TM/HM locations, a walkthrough for 16 badges, and touched up a lot of naming changes to various pages around the place. It has been a very productive weekend!

Shatter PC


Shatter, Sidhe's revolutionary brick-breaking game, is out on Steam, with my name making a brief cameo under the Special Thanks to the original Shatter team. Go and get it!

Rugby League 3 Wii


And finally, on Thursday, the long awaited Rugby League 3 is out for the Nintendo Wii. Featuring slick menus, awesome player and team customisation, and of course some classic rugby league action using the totally unembarassing Wii Remote controls, why WOULDN'T you want this game? (sorry Americans, this game is not for you)


So beautiful



Should have sent a poet. T_T

(I'm playing the beta if you haven't figured it out)


ENHANCE.

The Eigenvalue is off!


Ace Attorney Investigations



[COMPLETE]


Chap Goh Mei

Today is the 15th and final day of Chinese New Year, and I thought it would be appropriate to share a soppy love song at church this morning, so two weeks ago I recruited Jono and phonetically taught him some Mandarin and today, with all our friends watching eagerly and the church congregation not knowing what to expect, the two of us sang Tong Hua.

So nervewracking. I actually stuffed up in the middle of the song but thank goodness I managed to hit the right note to keep going.

Anyway, last night we were at Arashi celebrating the "end of Chinese New Year" ¬_¬ and it was just great for everyone to get together and catch up over a nice meal and an awesome dessert.

Strawberry Fare has three new desserts on their menu! I wanted to try the Chocolate Bleeding Heart which was chocolate pudding with Baileys in the centre, but unfortunately they had run out so I tried the Lime Tart which was absolutely delicious. Beth tried the Flourless Cake, which was a gluten free chocolate cake with some berries, much like the Raspberry Drenched Cake.

We were approached by a lady from a nearby Hen's Night table who was seeking a random guy for the bride-to-be to kiss and Dave volunteered, with hilarious results. We continued to analyse Dave's love life using the wine bottles, wine glasses and salt and pepper shakers to illustrate various people.

Last weekend I was up in Auckland for Hsin-Yao's wedding, so it was really good catching up with all my school mates at the same time. I figured I would leave the people photos for someone else to handle (I'm looking at you, Mat) so all you will see on my blog are food photos. You'll also notice we went to Sylvia Park to kill time between the church service and the reception, and I stumbled upon EB's shelf of Rugby League 3 games! \o/

On Sunday, I randomly turned up at KCC and attended the young adults bible study, before having Chinese New Year dinner with family and friends, before an 11 hour bus back to Wellington...


Gong Xi Fa Cai!

Happy Chinese New Year to you all, and wishing you wealth and prosperity in the year of the tiger! A bunch of us from Sidhe had yum cha at where else but Majestic Cuisine, where we proceeded to devour plates of dumplings, rice noodles, tarts and buns. Of course, I made everyone have the durian tart, and much to their surprise, it was tolerable! It was unlike anything else they had ever eaten...

It was good that Chinese New Year was yesterday and not today, because today was Epic Fail Monday. Fail #1: car rear ends another car in moderately heavy traffic outside the bus stop. Fail #2: I spent the entire day trying to get a build done to our level designer, only to have the machine have a major spazz and refuse to work. Sigh.

Nevertheless, I did manage to complete a build and deliver it, at approximately 6.45pm. It means I wasted the whole day on this instead of finishing my prototype which needs to be done by Friday... SIGH.


Sevens Weekend

Last weekend was the famous Wellington Rugby Sevens tournament, so of course the city was buzzing with lunatics in crazy costumes and whatnot - fortunately I boarded myself up at home like the antisocial programmer I am, and had a quiet weekend.

Best Sevens costume I saw:



It almost felt like summer on Sunday, so we went up to beach at Waikanae and had a jumping good time.



In other news, Flick Kick Field Goal, which is an American Football-themed version of Flick Kick Rugby and Aussie Rules was put on the free app list to coincide with the Super Bowl in the United States. Downloads skyrocketed, with the game reaching #2 in both the US and New Zealand top free apps! That's the one where I'm listed as the only programmer ^_^


Parachute 2010

Whew.

I showed off my holiday photos at work on Friday, before rushing off to meet Chris at the library to embark on our seven hour journey across the North Island. We only just missed the curfew at Mystery Creek, but we were fortunate to have accomodation in nearby Cambridge for Friday night. We set out for Parachute early on Saturday morning to make it for morning worship.

The weather was fantastic on Saturday, with a light breeze and plenty of cloud cover to shelter us from the blazing sun. It was still very warm but pleasantly so, unlike many Parachute weekends before. Nevertheless, I made the most of the heat and purchased two Danish ice creams that day. Awesome.

Saturday night's big line up included the eccentric Family Force Five and the popular Switchfoot, before the birthday celebrations of the 20th Parachute festival began. There were free drinks and ice creams, fireworks, lots of singing and dancing, and the atmosphere was wild and electrifying. We decided to skip Underoath for Nathan King in the Palladium, a decision I did not regret after hearing some feedback about the type of music Underoath play.

And then on Sunday morning...it began. The rain came and drenched the entire campsite, causing some minor floods. Fortunately, none of the tents took on major water, but the huge inconvenience of having everything soaking wet was a pain. We attended morning worship armed with umbrellas, and retreated hastily to the tents after the sermon.

We only emerged later for Late 80s, and they were fantastic - finally playing some songs I knew (I'm Yours <3333) as well as some classics like Zoot Suit Riot and Living on a Prayer. It was still raining at the end of Late 80s, so we congregated in one tent and played Mafia (YAY) until dinner time, when we equipped ourselves with wet-weather gear once more and headed to the mainstage for the epic Sunday night show.

And epic it was. The rain cleared slightly, allowing us to enjoy such acts as Steve Apirana who was clearly the most unexpected outstanding musician that weekend. As the Parachute Band took stage again, the rain intensified and the crowd began to diminish, but the strong endured until Hillsong United appeared on stage.

I was pretty sulky all this time because I didn't really know many of the songs, and I'm not the biggest fan of Hillsong songs because of the repetition, and it was pouring wet and I was cold. But as Joel Houston began singing... "A thousand times I've failed", I stood to my feet, defying the wind and the rain (and the lightning) and joined the crowd in singing From The Inside Out.

It was epic.

There is something about singing at the top of your voice with a thousand-strong crowd in stormy weather. I can't think of any other word to describe it. It was epic. The adrenaline of standing against the elements of nature coupled with the power of the song and the resonance of the crowd...simply epic.

We were blessed to have a fine day on Monday to pack up our gear. We had lunch at the infamous 4th-form-camp Burger King where I unexpectedly met somewhere whom I have not seen in eight years, before departing for our seven hour journey back to Wellington.

When I look back over the weekend's events, I think of how there are so many people who are ten years younger than me, I think of the crazy messages you hear from speakers, I think about the excessive choruses that worship bands sing and of course the retarded weather.

But despite all of this, I had a really good time. Thanks for a great weekend, Parachute.


Continuity

A Flash Puzzle Platformer that Bob linked me to while I was bored. Pretty cool idea.


Avatar

My thoughts on Avatar.

Warning: spoilers follow. If you wish to proceed, click here.


Malaysia Trip Photos

It's only taken me a whole week, but my gallery now supports subcategories so that I can easily classify the food and non-food photos.

In addition, I've also resized, rotated and cropped several pictures from my Malaysia trip, and 570 of them are available for viewing in the gallery. If you would like the original, let me know via the Contact Form.

Phew!


Wellington, City of Eternal Winter

Arrived safely into New Zealand yesterday afternoon after a shorter-than-normal flight - it was less than 10 hours, and during that time I managed to sleep, watch the remainder of Bolt, see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and Aristocats, enjoy a Nasi Lemak and horde some Ferrero Rocher.

I was surprisingly quick through New Zealand customs despite being questioned by three airport security staff. They all asked the same thing: can I see your passport (I guess...), what's in the box (an LCD monitor), and how much did it cost (dirt cheap). Was picked up by Reuben and we went to Cornwall Park to catch up with the rest of the church, who had conveniently decided to have a picnic that day.

Spent the rest of the afternoon with my sister and had dinner at her place before she dropped me at the airport for my flight back to Wellington. Unfortunately for me, Wellington had decided that summer sucks so it shrouded itself in dense fog, preventing the plane from landing and, an hour after we were supposed to land, we had to divert to bloody Palmerston North International Airport (I didn't know it was an international airport...) where Air NZ kindly put us on a very air conditioned bus back to Wellington.

Stupid city.

First day of work for the new year and not too bad really. It was really hard waking up this morning and until about 1pm I was quite groggy and not concentrating well. I think my colleagues appreciated the love letter rolls, the green tea and lemon lollies and the mango chewies. It's Spicy Food Tuesday tomorrow!


Twenty Five Inches of Liquid Crystal Goodness

I am the proud owner of one of these delicious babies, which I bought at a BARGAIN (under $450 NZD), AND it kills two birds with one stone (I needed new speakers...). So the hard part is finding out how to take one of these back to New Zealand...

Summary of the past few days: went for tom yum, met up with Sunni, ate some good old Malaysian kueh, walked pasar malam, had roadside durian, tried cold longan tau foo fah, had mango milk tea, played badminton and bought dinner for my extended family.

I have to go home soon! T_T


China and Hong Kong

Arrived from Hong Kong International Airport to KL's LCC Terminal in Sepang early yesterday morning after a week-long excursion to Guangzhou in China and then Hong Kong. These damn Air Asia flights might be cheap, but you pay for what you get. I got the seat on the aisle right by the toilet and at the back of the plane, so people were walking by often, it was noisy, and I couldn't recline the chair.

After arriving at Baiyun International Airport two Saturdays ago, we met some relatives for lunch and then they took us to the Lai Family "Village" where my grandparents used to live. My #1 auntie remembered playing in a little lane there, and I believe my #2 auntie was born there too. The "village" is more of a suburban block of houses with pedestrian lanes weaving between them. The entire block houses our extended family - all the people there have the same surname:



I think that's remarkable, and it was certainly a surreal experience.

The next day, we were taken to Guangzhou where all we did for the next few days was eat and sleep. However, we did visit Baiyun Mountain for a much needed walk. The pond there is home to thousands of hungry fish who will literally swarm in a blanket of gold, red, orange, white and black to whatever food you throw into the water. I have never seen so many fish in my life...

On Tuesday, we took the bus to Hong Kong. A two hour ride, the bus trip is rather boring and uneventful, save the customs and immigration offices that require everyone to unload their luggage and reload it once clearance has been obtained. We stayed on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong in Yau Ma Tei, but that night, we met one of dad's friends in Central for dinner and a quick sightseeing tour around town. Unfortunately for us, the mist had settled in, so we couldn't really see a lot.

The next day started off with shopping in the morning. I have exceeded my clothes budget for this decade. But seriously, NZ$1 is approximately HK$5 and the clothes there are excellent quality despite being dirty cheap. Two pairs of Giordano jeans cost me NZ$70 - that's a bargain!

After lunch, I visited the Space Museum with my dad - I think he enjoyed it more than I did, despite his silly injury at the harness of the Moon Gravity Simulator. We took a quick tour through the Art Museum too, and walked around the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront before heading back for a late steamboat dinner.

The next day, we wrapped up the shopping and met dad's friend down by the piers to take a ferry to Lamma Island, where there's a pretty exquisite seafood restaurant. The view of the two waterfronts was fantastic, I love the neon brillance of the Hong Kong sky line. The ride itself was exciting, despite the choppy waves, I had my arms stretched wide on the starboard bow, listening to an appropriately themed song about boats - don't you ever forget.

That night, we also visited the Avenue of Stars, which is basically the Hong Kong equivalent of Hollywood's Walk of Fame. We saw the plaques of heaps of awesome Chinese film stars, including Jackie Chan and Jet Li.

Our final day in Hong Kong was Friday, which was mostly spent walking up the steep Old Peak Road after a wrong turn. Nevertheless, we made it to the Peak Tower for some breathtaking views of the city. We were blessed with clear weather that day, so we took lots of photos of the magnificent sights around us. We also took a gawk at the entrance to Madame Tussauds Hong Kong where I posed with Michelle Yeoh and the awesomeness that is Bruce Lee.

I even have something to say about Hong Kong International Airport! As can be expected with budget airlines, we were delayed for just under an hour, so there was plenty of time to walk around and see the shops at the airport. This one shop is full of those prize-draw slot machine things, where you insert a coin, turn the handle, and a little plastic container with a figurine pops out. Admist all the Japanese anime characters and whatever other things there were, there was a Kirby one, so I tried my luck and obtained a Bomb Kirby figurine, complete with Warp Star!

My last impressions of China and Hong Kong are a bit mixed, but mostly positive. There's a huge number of smokers in China and it's miraculous I didn't get lung cancer or something. What's worse is the driving - at one point, our driver was driving on the FOOTPATH on the LEFT side of the road, bearing in mind that people drive on the RIGHT in China. What's strange is that they drive on the left in Hong Kong, so it must have been weird for the bus driver from Guangzhou to Hong Kong.

The architecture in both is fantastic, with massively tall high-rise buildings in stylish and modern designs, not to mention at night time, when the neon lights come out. I was particularly fond of the MTR system in Hong Kong as well, and its very user-friendly navigation system onboard the train carriages.

I would have loved to spend a bit more time in Hong Kong, visiting the giant Buddha and I've also heard good things about Ocean Park. Ah well...next time.

Oh yeah, yesterday, I finally had the chance to go for a Japanese buffet at the Putrajaya Marriott Hotel, where I literally stuffed my stomach full of salmon and tuna sashimi, fresh oysters, tempura, teppanyaki, yakitori and delectable desserts.

Phew.


New Year's

New Year's was pretty blah, we went for a good dinner then relocated to my uncle's house for more food and drinking. They had some really good pandan tofu fah which was served cold - nice and refreshing to counter the Malaysian heat. Midnight flew by pretty quickly with some epic booms heard in the distance, but alas, not many of the pyrotechnics could be seen.

Meanwhile, my cousins (who are 10 years younger than me) and their friends had gathered around the Wii and were playing Wii Sports and Mario Kart all night, and with nothing to do, I sat in with them and played along.

Whee.

I should go and pack - we're leaving for China tomorrow and I won't have Internet access, so see you in a week \(_o)/

Welcome to 2010 by the way.