Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Janvier Soldat And The Glutted GMail

And so not too long back we notice a yellow box on the top of our GMail page. Thought it was something to do with sucky internet connectivity that meant our GChat didn't load or something along those lines, till we read it.

'You are almost out of space on your GMail account. You can view our tips on reducing your email storage or purchase additional storage.'

Scrolled all the way down to the bottom of the page and saw 'You are currently using 7005MB (95%) of your 7374MB'.

Good grief.

Of course the emails have been piling up over the years, GMail did offer a handy amount of space when compared to Hotmail and Yahoo back then. And we've not deleted many emails from our GMail account!

And it's been steadily going on the rise! As of today we are at 99% full!

We'd started deleting stuff like songs we get through the GMail that we don't listen to, and it went well when we got down from 97% back to 95%...then half and hour later we receive a stack of emails with pictures from Project Blue Party (which we're grateful, because as OC we hadn't been able to take photos)! Now it's 99%!

Decided to start with our oldest email to filter out...and came across the welcome email from the GMail Team dated September 2004, and then a forwarded email from otousan on behalf of Puddy for celebrating her birthday dated January 2005. Goodness. It's been so long already.

And being us, with such a scatterbrain memory, we won't just simply delete all our old messages, in case we lose something we're still nostalgic about.

So...filter out old unwanted stuff from our iNbox and our Sent iTems...it's gonna take a while whatwith 3205 email threads (currently) in our iNbox!

Wonder what happens if and when we do strike 100%?

Now to start going through the (currently) 3205 different email threads for stuff to delete!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Papercraft - Chief's Birthday Cards 2009

Now with all our preparations, rehearsals and such going on, we didn't have much time left to make the Chief's birthday cards for the Basil party! Come the night before the party we finally got our stuff out and got cracking. It was admittedly slightly difficult as it's been quite a while since we've done our scrapbooking.

Last year we found out that we didn't leave much space for everyone to sign on the card. So this time we decided that we should prepare two cards for the party with the bloggers, especially since there were quite a number of people!

So we got everything set up downstairs on the coffee table. It was a bit of a small space indeed, and there was the fear of getting glue on the table or nicking it with the blade or scissors, but we had indeed initially wanted to watch Poirot while crafting the card.

As we have not managed to choose the cards, we didn't get extra cards or coloured paper to use as backing for the letter stickers or for people to sign on. Thankfully a bit of rummaging about our shelves and we manage to find alternatives.

The thing we find about scrapbooking is that there's never much waste! Even as we cut up a piece of paper, we never did throw small bits away as it could be reused later for some other projects. In this case we've brought back leftovers from what we used to make sis' present.

Then we decided to test our hand at calligraphy writing. After all we'd already gotten some easy calligraphy marker pens from Zig during our Sporeland trip early this year. Tried different styles and in different shades on a rough paper, and then it hit us...

...We could design our own fancy paper! One of the pens was in a shade of blue that blended quite well with the blue page divider, and it would serve very well as a space for people to sign the card.

With the calligraphy's purpose decided on, we went back to using whatever we had for the rest of the card. Starting with the main 'Happy Birthday' wellwishing, we found some stickers we've yet to use.

With the basics all prepared, we just had to finalize the layout, and then glue everything on. We've gotten some all-purpose craft glue, which was rather good as and smudges or smears could be rubbed off without staining or leaving a mark. Only, we thought not to follow their instructions of 'apply over entire surface' when it came to paper, or we'd have finished the entire bottle (not cheap!) making a couple of cards!

With the background layout all set, all that was needed was to stick on letter stickers of the Chief's name on the blue bar after the 'Happy Birthday', a portrait photo of the Chief on the left box, and for everyone to sign the card.

Now scrapbooking isn't a cheap hobby. Seriously that's one reason why we save every little bit of paper we use from previous projects (asides from the variety it provides). So, when we find stuff on offer we pick them up, but we think we'll have to rethink bargain stickers like this. Luckily the card would be in a plastic sleeve most of the time, so the letters shouldn't drop off.

For the second card, we decided on a simpler layout, with a bigger area for people to sign on and a space for a landscape group photo.

Like we said. Nothing's wasted. Even the tab on the page divider could be made into a title bar.

And the calligraphy paper, into a photo outlining frame.

And finally, both cards in a plastic sleeve, to be left at Basil earlier in the day for the guests to sign while we led the Chief around Bangsar Village till everyone arrives. We'd put in a pen for everyone to use (which as since gone missing), and will need to develop photos taken during the party to add to the card to finally complete it!

Then of course on Sunday itself we had to rush to get another birthday card done. In fact lad was confident that we would be making one, haha.

So we'd bought a cardstock from Papier that had some thematic tie to the animal theme...

...and also after much hunting about the shop, some stickers of animal safety pins...

...and decided to use the black ink calligraphy pen to make the header instead of stickers...

...using another batch of letter stickers that had better adhesiveness (and the colour blended better with the card too) for a much more fun layout...

...stick a bit of mosaic pattern paper, and we were done!

Soon enough we'll need to get the Chief a scrapbook album to store all the cards we've already made...

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chief Celebrations 2009: Project El Cerdo

And with two days of birthday celebrations, Sunday was supposed to be a laid back shopping day where all we wanted to do was just get card sleeves from Comics Corner DJ to protect our Bang! cards.

In fact, we'd to rush slightly more as the last two nights of parties meant we had no time to prepare the Chief's birthday card for the Sunday party! Upon waking up we had to rush over the Curve to lunch, to Papier to get more craft stock, and work out a while since we were already there. Tapau'ed dinner for mum, then rushed off to otousan's to pass him the receipt to collect the birthday cake (Mango Cheesecake from Cake Sense!) then home to start working on the Chief's birthday card.

Didn't have time to pass the card to lad or anyone else, so we had to hide the card in the boot and stash the 'best theme costume' present in the backseat, and head off to fetch the Chief on a pretense of shopping (only, unlike the past two days, we did end up buying something, even if it's only card sleeves).

For the past few days we told the Chief that we had specific food cravings (before making our way to the venue). Friday at Basil we told the Chief we wanted mango sticky rice dessert (which we didn't order in the end too!). On Saturday, it was for Western food in a restaurant, not the fast food variety. On Sunday we told the Chief we had cravings for pork, or rather, zhu yok and char siew. And lied that our boss spoke of some place in Jalan Alor having good pork.

Valet parking seemed full at El Cerdo so we had to drive to a car park not too far, and as we entered El Cerdo we wondered just how much the Chief suspected yet another party. Three parties in a row may be a possibility seeing how last year we did two in a row. The Chief was thrown slightly off-guard when we waited at the entrance to be served rather than walk straight in - but this was because we couldn't see our table, heh. El Cerdo was nice enough to give us our own private room...actually it's a large room with few tables, separated by curtains. But still.

Everyone was sporting about the theme! Being the one to fetch the Chief about, we couldn't really dress up to the theme without raising further suspicion, but also because the only piece of clothing we have that has any animal printed on it is a tank top with a picture of a pig.

We had tigers...

Snakes, Egyptian snakes to be more specific...

Reindeer. We mean monkey. Reindeer. Monkey. Reindeer and monkey.

Orangutan!

And a large-ass alligator!

The lighting wasn't good enough for our iXus to take great shots, so we left the job to esteban and lad with DSLRs.

The night went along merrily with assorted sausages, pork steaks, Mango Ribs (yummy!), a paella and an eisbein, and jugs of Tiger beer and sangrias...Not to mention the suckling piglet with the traditional plate-chopping and smashing, and the Happy Birthday (Oink! Oink!) song.

After the present awarding ceremony, the card presenting and the unwrapping, it was time for a stressed Chief to award the Best Costume Award - and the Reindeer gets a pack of animal-shaped cookies from Marks & Spencers!

We think next year we're gonna be in trouble if we keep upping the bar for celebrations...

Friday, September 25, 2009

Chief Celebrations 2009: Project Hard Rock Cafe

The following day it was pretty much an easy day for the two of us. Given the surprise Blue Party just the day before the Chief tried getting us to spill if there was another party in store on Saturday. We honestly told the Chief that there was no such party planned, but neglected to mention that it was because we were taking the Chief for a dinner at Hard Rock Cafe, somewhere the Chief always wanted to try.

Wasn't an easy task given that we've been telling the Chief that we wanted to go on a shopping spree that particular weekend, starting with Bangsar on Friday, KL on Saturday and about Damansara on Sunday. The Chief suspected a birthday party to actually happen on Saturday, and when the surprise happened on Friday instead the Chief was a bit off-guard and had to just play along for the following days, heh.

We guess the Chief wouldn't have suspected much if we managed, as planned, to go shopping around 3pm for a few hours before deciding to head elsewhere for dinner - HRC's a bit out of the way at Concorde Hotel and not walkable from Bukit Bintang.

Unfortunately for us we only ended up leaving to shop at Sungei Wang around nearly 6pm. With dinner reservations made for 7.30pm, we only had a hour or so to shop before we had to bugger off to HRC. We ended up walking about Sungei Wang for a bit before heading over to Lot 10 to check out California Fitness at the 8th floor, then heading back to Sungei Wang to leave.

Heading to Bukit Bintang with intent to shop, only to leave after and hour? Definitely suspicious. Whatmore even so when we turned down the Chief's offer to eat at KFC located oh so conviniently at the lower ground floor of Sungei Wang, instead giving the excuse that we had cravings for something Western (oh we told the Chief that we had cravings for mango sticky rice dessert on Friday).

So the Chief suspected something after we'd left Sungei Wang, but decided to go along and see where we'd planned for dinner. We even tried to distract the Chief while on Jalan Sultan Ismail, where as we were about to drive past the Concorde Hotel and Hard Rock Cafe, we pointed to some random spot away from HRC, telling the Chief that there was some Chinese restaurant of note to look out for. We made that bit up about the Chinese restaurant, but it turned out that there actually was a Chinese seafood restaurant, but it looked like it had closed down for a while now.

After we parked at the Concorde Hotel, the Chief casually asks if we could eat at HRC. We told the Chief we'd do so next time, we were eating at the Japanese restaurant U-Zen in Concorde for now.

We then directed the Chief with a slightly disappointed-looking Chief towards Hard Rock Cafe and away from the entrance of U-Zen (which was just next to HRC), and was led to our reserved table.

Good dinner. HRC didn't let us preorder for just two people so instead of ordering what we already had in mind, both of us looked through the menu in case there was something else the Chief was interested in instead. From the initial order of the Grilled Salmon Steak and Hickory Smoked Bar-B-Que Chicken, we ended up with...

The Jumbo Combo. From appetizer to main meal. The Hickory Smoked Chicken Wings was spicy and head us sweating a tad, the Tupelo Chicken Tenders good, the Spring Rolls smelled of Indian spices and the Onion Rings...well, we love our onions raw and so in this case the onions didn't do much for our tastebuds. The 4 sauces (Thousand Island, probably mayo, sour cream and ketchup) weren't used much, instead we obtained a bottle of chilli sauce, heh.

Our salmon fix, the Grilled Salmon Steak. Yummy.

It was still Happy Hour when we arrived so we got 2 Long Island Teas for the price of one!

Am getting the Chief to start collecting Hurricane glasses from different cities instead of the HRC City T-Shirts. After all, we've already started with a Hurricane glass from Barcelona!

Note to self: Remember to choose table seatings!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chief Celebrations 2009: Project Blue Party

Early into the month and we thought, "Great, let's start planning for the Chief's birthday early."

Then we had a look at the calender and went, "Shit, forgot we're going Genting on the birthday weekend! Need to hold it much earlier!"

Thus we hurriedly started sending out the invites, hastily made using the Comic Touch and HiCard Suite apps for the iPod Touch. And came up with something like this:

This is the front cover for all invites (except that instead of a hand-art peacock it was a picture of the Chief)...

This one for the bloggers...

Then there's one more for the guys (TTDIans? Taman Tun-ites?)...

As last year we only managed cake and drinks with the bloggers, this year we've decided to have a dinner party. We certainly cannot remember what made us choose Basil Thai Nudle Bar ofr the venue, save that we wanted it to be somewhere out of the city centre due to after-work traffic. Friday night in Bangsar seemed like a probably spot (not to mention that it was near enough for us to set up the party!).

And so, we had three birthday party projects to juggle. Firstly, Project Blue Party.

We actually made a few trips to Bangsar Village to get this ready!

There was the concern about the venue - we've dined at Basil before and remember that they didn't have tables set out for 15 or more people. Which, based on our initial emailing list, was the estimate number of guests should everyone confirm their attendance.

After confirming that they would have the space for 18 confirmed guests, we preordered the food - instead of everyone ordering a la carte dishes, we chose an easy menu to feed everyone, also so that they could prepare it all beforehand, ready to serve once everyone was settled in.

Then we somehow got it into our head that we wanted decorations, and remembering Balloons & Bouquets was nearby, we headed there to enquire regarding their prices for helium balloons. While in the store we sort of wandered a bit and started looking around at party favours such as horns and whistles and clappers and all sorts of noisemakers, save poppers - we didn't want to shock people in a restaurant when a popper goes off.

Anyways, we resisted the urge to turn the dinner party into somewhat like a kiddy garden party, complete with paper hats and such and just stuck to balloons. Instructions was that the helium balloons to be in two shades of blue (initially dark blue and white but then we saw a light blue shade).

We left Basil to manage the table decor, having no time to go get blue paper napkins and confetti for the table.

We'd been to Delicious, Baskin Robbins, Marmalade...couldn't find a satisfactory birthday cake. Bisou's cupcake prices and Haagen Daaz's cakes were out of our budget, unfortunately. So it was rather timely that Adrienz happened to be asking us for feedback regarding the branding for his sis' cupcakes. And so we decided to get cupcakes from Adrienz for the birthday! Small bite-sized cupcakes that wouldn't be too filling after dinner, with directions to have 'em decorated in blue.

Heh. We told Leggie about having the tables and chairs covered in blue cloth, and he aptly says, "Oh my god. Poisoned in Blue."

Come day of the party, we'd sped off after work to head to Bangsar Village, rush to Basil to meet with Adrienz's sis to collect the cupcakes, rush out to Balloons & Bouquets to get the balloons, walked back through Bangsar Village and to Basil to tie a balloon to each chair (we would very much like to have some tied to the chairs and some floating above the table but we have this rather cynical thought that they might find their way into somebody else's hands), then rush off to fetch the Chief, telling him we were late as we were held back by extra work.

After taking the Chief on a slight goose-chase about Bangsar Village with us claiming that we wanted to shop, we slowly made our way to Basil. Arriving at the entrance of Basil the Chief didn't even suspect a thing because our party table was out of sight, and when the Chief saw the table the Chief initially thought that there was another party going on and wanted to avoid it!

Suffice to say that the surprise work! Once again, thank you everyone for making time to come and celebrate the Chief's birthday together! Let's have plenty more to come!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Janvier Soldat And The Big Bullet

Now this has been something that the Klangite guys, once introduced by the Eurogames Evangelist 'Nic, always enjoyed. Admittedly this game is fun to play anywhere, but when we're all up in Camland (well we only remember the Camland trips and not the rest because we've never been able to make the more recent trips, unfortunately) and you've got an apartment full of guys with no city distractions...well, this was something everyone could immediately have fun doing.

And now, it comes in a brand new packaging! We've been asking for it in a few stores already but it's always been out of stock due to its popularity. We actually would have just settled for the starter set but well, the new pack has everything for a good price and looks impressive. Take a look at it compared to our iPod Touch. Impressive, no?

And it's now very aptly called Bang! The Bullet! Very muched shaped like a shiny one too.

And inside it we find all the Bang! expansions for the game! All still currently in their packaging as we consider laminating everything as soon as possible before we start playing. And of course, we've got to start refreshing our memory of the rules of the game.

What's Bang! about? Think Werewolf/Mafia, but with more structure and using cards. The game has the Sheriff and his Deputies against the Outlaws, with a Renegade thrown in in bigger crowds to further confuse everyone! If the Outlaws and the Renegade dies, the good guys win! If the Outlaws kill the Sheriff, they win! And the lone Renegade, if he slyly gets everyone else to kill each other and emerges the sole survivor, he wins!

And from the looks of the cards and the rulebook, the icons have been updated. Still, we wonder if we'll be playing many games with the expansions, especially A Fistful Of Cards. The last time we tried playing with that expansion it became far more difficult.

Ah well. Another game to our collection! Bought this when we happened to be passing by a store in Bangsar Village and just casually asked while looking Magic: The Gathering Planechase cards. Almost ended up buying not only Bang! The Bullet! but was sorely tempted to throw in a couple of Planechase decks too!

Control...breathe...best get a couple of starters to reintroduce the Chief to the game, and with the new Magic 2010 rules.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Janvier Soldat And The Thoughts Of Stomach Pumps

Wee Wog settled herself nicely on Young Master's quilt and leaned on the bolster. The air in Young Master's room is cold, everything on the bed is soft, so she'll just sleep while Young Master goes about doing what he needs to do - after all, he just came back, and now that they've played a while, Young Master will go and B-A-T-H in that room with water before sleep time.

There's the sound of water gushing in the white water bowl. There's that raining sound. Wee Wog shuts her eyes and rests.

Young Master comes out from the other room, and soon will come to bed! He'll open up the quilt so that the quilt can double up as a nice soft mattress and to cover Wee Wog from being too cold at the same time.

Oh, Young Master has gone back into the room again. And there's the sound of water gushing into the white water bowl again. And the raining sound.

Young Master comes out from the room! Sleep time! Young Master gets into bed. Open blanket! Open blanket! Wee Wog peeks out through slits from her eyes without moving, it's very comfortable. Much more comfortable here compared to her box.

Young Master is not opening the blanket...Young Master is getting out of bed and going back into the room again.

Young Master is out from the room. Hmmm he's going in again...oh he didn't close the door this time. Hmmm is Young Master going to drink from the water bowl? Oh, what's that noise Young Master is making?

---

So the whole of Saturday night till Sunday morning was spent purgin' and regurgitatin' dinner and after-dinner vodka. There was some food poisoning or stomach bug from our dinner at Paddington's, which amounted to our stomach having zero solids before hitting the alcohol.

Talk about a bad combination. The alcohol made our situation worse as we ended up heaving just so to get rid of the alcohol from our body faster. Everytime we thought we could crawl into bed and try to sleep we ended up heading back to our toilet...it wasn't a very pretty sight. By 6am we were thinking whether we should get our stomach pumped to make it easier, but decided against it. By 7am we were exhausted and our stomach wasn't any better - but we've pretty much almost empty out everything.

That, and a mild fever with body aches, meant that Sunday was spent in bed after stuffing ourself with Panadols and iModium to keep everything at bay.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Janvier Soldat And The Clouded Word

We were done installing the iPod Touch software 3.1.1 today when we were thinking of a new wallpaper for the iPod Touch. So for something different we recalled something we saw in Magic: The Gathering's Arcana section and decided to give it a shot.

Headed over to Wordle's and plunked in our blog address, and came up with this.

We even printed it out to probably use as a folder cover or summat. But a white background wallpaper on the iPod Touch just would do, so we made another one with black.

Much better.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Janvier Soldat And The Training Regimen

So now our timetable's getting more packed whatwith three YKLS rehearsals a week at KLPac. Our gym schedule has been juggled from it's usual Monday slot onto a more fixed Tuesdays, Thursdays and/or Fridays, and Sundays, although this means that every day's spent out till late without often going home early for dinners or even for a night spent home doing nothing. Unless we needed to head home to pack for the gym, and end up napping a while before heading to the gym and then it ends up too late because we'd slept for over 2 hours...

Not to mention, if so happens if anything pops up, it'll be our gym time that we have to forgo.

Interestingly this year with a different director, a choreographer, and someone to teach us breathing exercises to boot for the upcoming YKLS production, we're bound to have some form of workout every week!

On our gym days, we'll be mucking about at the resistance machines and the free weights. We're cutting down a lot on our cardio classes (FCI has already complained that we don't go for his classes any more) but interestingly enough we don't seem to be missing much of BodyJam nowadays too...we attribute it to the fact that the choreography isn't as fun as a couple of years back. And it's rather a relief to be able to work out anytime without having to beat the jam just to make it in time for classes too.

And on rehearsal days...we're brutally abused by our choreographer who makes us all do Yoga stretching exercises.

We're definitely past our prime for Yoga. Our hamstrings, they scream like a violin in untrained hands.

So it looks like we'll be looking at a timetable like such:

Mon: Yoga
Tues: Gym
Wed: Yoga
Thurs: Gym
Fri: Optional Gym time
Sat: Yoga
Sun: Gym

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Janvier Soldat And The Skytrex Extreme

Being an OC is not an easy job when it comes to planning for a big group, as lad tried to get everyone to confirm attendance and agree on venue and dates for ethancya's and Lemon's birthday celebrations. Still, he did a great job pulling off not only a yellow-themed porky dinner at Karl's Beisl for the August boys, but the same gang headed for the Skytrex Extreme Challenge in Shah Alam the following morning!

From suggestions of going for a quick trip to Serendah, to caving in Seremban, a quick suggestion at paintballing, finally to Skytrex which was first suggested in April...

Lad: I called Skytrex Lady and she says we have to book online and PAY online at the same time. So we have to confirm who's coming asap. There are 3 courses, Big Thrill would be our target but it seems to be almost fully booked with 6 slots left.
We could probably go for Little Adventure, then rent some bicycles (we can teach esteban and Puddy) to relax the rest of the day with nature. I'll bet all the ex-Scouts will be looking forward to sitting on the grass relaxing under a shady tree with the birds, ants, snails, slugs... :P

Puddy: EXTREME CHALLENGE :)
Janvier: EXTREME CHALLENGE even if we will regret it later.

So yes, we admit it was us who'd got everyone going through a slight gauntlet of pain, but when we thought about it, it was better to have done it now while we're still able to! And yes if Big Thrill had enough slots for our group we would have opted for that for our first Skytrex experience.

Everyone was enthusiastic about Skytrex, even after Puddy had sent us all a link of someone else's experience at the Extreme Challenge to help mentally prepare us for what we were about to face. And as there was a picnic area set up at Skytrex, Puddy started planning for our picnic! She'd prepared sandwiches, and others prepared pasta salad, egg mayo, drinks and ice!

Leaving TTDI early in the morning at 7ish and arriving at Taman Pertanian Malaysia in Shah Alam with nary a problem, well at least no problem for those of us coming via the Federal Highway as there were road signs in addition to the map we'd printed out. Those who came via the NKVE had a bit of navigating to do as Skytrex didn't give directions from the NKVE.

Everyone met up at the car park, and Puddy fed everyone else (who wasn't in the same car as her) breakfast sandwiches, much to everybody's joy. Skytrex on an empty stomach, especially when we've opted to go for the circuit that demanded a lot, is a very daunting task. When it was time to board the bus to head up from the Taman Pertanian Malaysia's entrance to Skytrex, we were the only group who had brought along not one but TWO ice boxes!

At Skytrex, we'd bought our RM3 gloves, shared for two lockers to dump all our valuables, had our harness strapped on, and were ready!

After a quick introduction to the what-to-dos and the our-record-is-still-clean-let's-keep-it-that-way (when enquired if anyone died haha), a demonstration and a practise run, off we went to start the Extreme Challenge.

Which involved us all climbing up a ladder more than halfway up a tree, about 17m high? Looks easy, but we learnt to dislike the ladder being made from half of a PVC pipe - it makes good footholds, but if it wasn't for our gloves we would have found ourself slipping from the ladder with sweaty palms after a while! Halfway up and we felt that gravity has some sort of grudge against us.

Once up on the platform, it was time for our first flying fox! While waiting or climbing up the tree to the platform, we could hear far-off shrieks as people zipped past on said flying fox, adding to the excitement. And once atop on the platform there's the initial jellylegs we slowly got used to being high up.

Not that we're afraid of heights. We're ok with heights, but our body tends to remind us to be a bit respectful when we're rather high up in the air. It's the heights we should be afraid of, our body'll go. It's not so much falling that we also should be afraid of. It's the landing smack into the ground that must not happen.

After zipping through a couple of flying foxes, we got used to the safety routine of locking our carabiner and pulley onto the safety cables. The flying foxes helped take the height off our minds too. Then came the other obstacles that tested our upper body strength.

Our first (non-flying fox) challenge involved suspended logs to walk across, with a cable above to steady ourself. That was easy, and we traipsed easily enough until we reached the middle, where the whole thing started swerving about. Caught off-guard we had to stop to steady ourself before continuing at a slightly more cautious pace, and slowing down a tad at the end as the logs tilted to the right.

This obstacle itself made it clear that there were no extra advantages for being tall or short...if you were short, ladder climbing might be a tad longer and you'll feel the stretch in your arms reaching for certain cables, but someone as tall as ethancya was almost squatting as he went across!

Monkey bars came next, and then a short rope swing, before the (to our opinion) toughest challenge of the entire circuit. We're not sure what it's called but it consisted of horizontal tubes suspended by ropes to look like swings.

This was one effing challenge as we were swinging back and forth trying to get our balance when moving from one tube swing to another. We were shouting profanities throughtout that obstacle that we forgot children might be cycling some 22m below. That bit really needed balance, upper body strength and patience.

We wish we'd brought our iXus along, but with the battery flat from photo-taking the night before during the birthday dinner, and us worrying that we might just drop our iXus while up in the trees, we'll just have to depend on others for photos this time around.

After the tubes, there was the V-ropes, more flying foxes, tightrope walking (with supporting cable heh), more ropes, more cables, more ladders...but all of them comparatively easier than the tubes bit where we cussed nonstop.

We reached a point where there was an instructor idling by on a platform where the circuit split into two again. We casually mentioned, "We're not gonna ask you how many more obstacles are there..." when he replied, "This is the last one. Do you need a demo?"

Consisting of ropes and tube platforms we were suppose to swing our way to freedom. Easy to say but took a bit of figuring out how, as some basically jumped across while holding on to the ropes. That done with, we reach the exit!

Somewhere midway through the Extreme Challenge we'd completely burned off breakfast and was thinking of glucose tablets and a nice icy-cold 100 Plus. Coming down the exit Germ quickly warned us not to slide down as she took photos of everyone. Seems like someone actually slid down the exit and Germ scurried away before she was barrelled into.

After the Extreme Challenge, our picnic was a very welcome sight! Icy cold cans of 100 Plus and mineral water, kept chilled in iceboxes filled with water and four bags of ice from 7-Eleven, sandwiches with tuna and ham and tomatoes and the likes, pasta, fishballs...Everyone was indeed happy campers.

Will we be doing this again? Probably for the Big Thrill! Once more, a big thank-you to our OC for organizing this and to all who contributed to food!

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Janvier Soldat And The Diabolical Box

Now usually all our desktop PC activities take place at night between the hours after dinner and before sleep (or, if we have any DVDs to watch, before we get the telly). That's when we transfer photos from the iXus to the hard disk, rename photos, check the iTunes Store for free stuff, sync the iPods, blog, play games etc.

Granted, time for the PC nowadays is tighter as rehearsals do take a good chunk of our time that when we're back home we've normally only time to shower, rest up a bit, check out online stuff via the iPod Touch, then sleep.

But not since we've open the box.

Last year we were introduced to Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which had most of us solving puzzle after puzzle while in Camland, and recently, the sequel, Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box has finally been released! With yet another 100+ puzzles to solve, this game has definitely been monopolizing our nights, and combined with the fact that we do our online surfing via our iPod Touch, we haven't turned on the PC for a week (hey, new stuff appears weekly on the iTunes Store!)!

Here, ponder on some of the puzzles. Coupled with the 'One Turn (or in this case, Puzzle) More' syndrome, there's really no way we're gonna get anything else done until we've finished the game.