Friday, December 31, 2010

2, 102, 400 Minutes

Oh look. We've dropped to less than a hundred posts in total for this year! And we think of it as a good year overall.

To start, we took a break from the choir this year, after two years of joining and missing out on other activities like birthday parties and cybercafe sessions. And speaking of birthday parties, we celebrated ours by having all our friends meet up at Mage Cafe (and also had us hiding under the table out of sheer shyness). Birthday parties with others also saw us all dressing up as if it was Halloween or heading out of town to Fraser's Hill to celebrate, staying in a bungalow as if we were the Bennets in Meryton. And this year we took a break from trying to organize surprise parties for the Chief (otherwise where will the surprise be?), although we managed to surprise the Chief with a belated birthday dinner at what was thought to be Al-Rahji Bank.

As for trips, we've visited Sibu and Bali for the first time, revisited Bangkok (oh the thought of Bangkok makes us melancholy, how we miss the food!), Phuket (oh the thought of Phuket makes us melancholy, how we miss the carefreeness of it all!), and Sporeland, not once, but twice (oh the thought of Sporeland makes us melancholy, how we miss the spending power!).

Only in 2010 did we finally get to actively convert videos for the iPhone! Three years after getting our iPod Touch and five years after getting our iPod Video 30GB! Now we watch don't have to wait for our turn to use the telly, we can watch our movies or telly serials anytime, anywhere! And with the Chief having an iPhone too, we can easily share videos between us (although we must admit, as The Chief's taste runs more towards Chinese serials like Born Rich while ours stay English, although The Chief has started Dexter too!).

Other stuff this year includes only a single treasure hunt trip that took us to Kenyir, our first time waxing, and our return to our dentist (after years of absence) first to fix up our pearlies, then to remove one of them.

And it was this year that we became an Unker (and our sis has already been calling us and all her friends Uncle too)!

We'll say it was a good year. Time sort of flew by without us noticing, like how the TTDIans had a knockout drink session sometime in March, but we thought it to be sometime in the middle of the year!

Anyways, hello 2011!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Rowan Atkinson, Live

Another Christmas and this time we're reminded of something we've not been able to watch for a long time, since VHS went obsolete.

Some of our favourite videos, which we have on videotape, but over the years they have fallen victim to either fungus, insect eggs, damage from wear and tear, and finally, when all our VHS players finally stopped working.

Some we've managed to get on DVD, much to our delight. This plus the fact that we have converters and the likes mean we also have digital backups asides the physical copy (although we don't cherish the thought of converting all 200 episodes of Sailormoon into a digital copy, what more we have to decide if we're going to just convert them in a resolution just enough for the iPhone, or for the iPad, or use the default settings at the cost of hard disk space). Not all our favourite videos manage to make the leap to VCD/DVD, though.

This is why we love YouTube.

For a few good souls have managed to scavange some of our favourites, and although it's been a good seven years or more since we've watched them, we find ourself still able to quote lines without fail! Let's start with one of them.

All the time we remember how it is to dance as if there's something up the bottom (and otherwise) but muscle memory kicked in when it came to dancing too little when our hands did the job what our brain didn't recall, ha ha!

And there's also the fact that we were old enough to understand all the jokes at the time, although there were only a few scenes that were of the M15+ rating.

We've always found his skits far more entertaining without growing old. But we're sure we'll one day decide to do a Mr Bean marathon! Now, if we do find the DVD of Rowan Atkinson Live we'll be sure to snap it up in a jiffy!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Blessed Christmas 2010!

Right. As far as we remember, last year we stayed up late wrapping up the last few presents, all the way till (as we refer back to last year's post) past 3.30am before going for something to eat.

And we vowed, this year we shall make sure to begin shopping before December. And we did, then we stopped, because we sort of ran out of ideas for what to buy. Our attention was then distracted from presents to decorating as we were put in charge of getting the office tree and decor, much to our delight, as we've not really had a proper (albeit fake) Christmas tree for Christmas ever since mum decided against putting up the 4-foot tree as it was a hassle to put up and take down, or because it was coming to pieces.

Come to think of it we can't even remember how the tree decor looked like except for the lights, which were colourful and spiky. And we think there was a colourful tinsel that went around the tree. But asides from that we cannot remember what ornaments there were.

Anyways. We went about checking out the fake trees available in BSC and other places, and just as we've decided on a couple, we were told to go get a real tree instead.

To be honest we weren't keen on a real tree, despite the novelty of having a real tree for Christmas instead of a fake. Firstly because there were only two places we knew of offhand that sold real trees: iKea and BSC. iKea's trees costs RM99 for their 5ft to 6ft tree (member's price) while in BSC their 4ft to 5ft tree sold for RM799 (of course, the price dropped by half that as we progressed later in December).

This meant that we would most likely be getting the iKea tree, and based on what we saw in iKea, all we can say is that they never did bother to decorate it much nor upkeep it enough to make it appealing. And with all the trees wrapped up in netting, there was no way we could know if the tree we picked would be a great tree or one where all the leaves have dropped off and the top of the tree left bare.

And the amount of leaves shed! We wouldn't mind the shedding in the office as we would leave the cleaning duties to others, but Aidan really needed a wash and vacuum...

After we'd bought the tree, we went crazy shopping at BSC for ornaments and the likes (we never did see if Tangs at Pavilion had ornaments and decorations for sale, like Tangs in Sporeland's Orchard Road) as it was cheaper and better looking compared to iKea's ornaments.

Getting the tree into the stand wasn't so easy as we needed to make sure it was centered and steady so that the tree wouldn't topple while we were halfway decorating it.

And the first thing that went on? The lights. By far the easiest job. And to be honest, even with just the lights alone, the tree looked good. We suppose that was why iKea and BSC only decorated their real trees with lights. However, it wasn't enough for us.

Ornaments gave us a bit of a problem as we needed to put them on with a delicate hand to reduce the amount of leaves shedding! And some ornaments actually came with no string! Thank goodness we had ribbons with us, and we'd to spend some time cutting and tying loops of ribbons onto the ornaments before we could hang them up.

Still in the end we manage to get the baubles up all around just right, followed by the longer ornaments to help cover the gaps, then there was the problem of the stringed beads that would have made the tree looked horrifyingly gaudy if we just looped it around the tree like a giant rosary (solved by cutting it up and hanging it about like little candy cane ornaments)....

The wire ribbons we bought? Perhaps we didn't get enough. Our initial attempts looked as if we toilet-papered the tree. Only after much deliberation and readjusting and putting on the last of the decorations did the ribbons look passable. We still don't really get how others manage very pretty ribbonwork on their trees, unless the main reason why ribbons work so well with their trees is that it works well for fake trees.

End result? We like. We really like. Choice of red and silver for this year's theme was due to our Christmas gifts being wrapped in red this year with white ribbons. Ball lights were a last addition that required a readjustment of some baubles (we didn't have the energy to remove all the decorations and redo the entire thing), but it was a major improvement.

Throw in the presents we've wrapped in red and white for the family, we've got a nice set-up to put our neighbouring offices to shame. Of course, at one point our boss did ask our colleague if the presents were just empty boxes for decorative purposes...

Perhaps for next year we can spend a wee bit for a different colour. Maybe blue and silver.

Anyways, here's wishing all a very blessed Christmas! Enjoy the holidays!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Sporeland Shopping Slump

The X-Mini generation 1 speakers for less than SGD30, Gamecube controllers for SGD15, and the Wii Classic Controller Pro for SGD38 at Funan DigitaLife Mall.

Branded (and not the fake kinds too, but unfortunately we couldn't remember what brand) iPhone 3GS casings for SGD10 at Harvey Norman Suntec City Mall.

Calligraphy pens and nibs around SGD18 onwards from Art Friend, Takashimaya.

iPhone 3GS casings of Battlestar Galactica, Jurassic Park and Revenge Of The Mummy going for SGD13.90, two for the price of one, at Universal Studios Singapore.

Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in a large mug for SGD35 at the Hershey's Store, Universal Studios Singapore.

The X-Mini generation 2 speakers for under SGD50 at Urban Write, Orchard Central.

Various Super Mario Bros soft toys to bring to make the nostalgic gamer in us go crazy, from Boos to 1-Up Mushrooms and the Starman, not to mention Civilization V for PC for about SGD48, at Funz Centre at Orchard Central.

THESE ARE A LIST OF THINGS WE DID NOT GET WHEN SHOPPING IN SPORELAND. Because we were not in the proper frame of mind when shopping ie was trying to prioritize getting Christmas presents for family instead of shopping for own self when all we wanted to do was shop for ourself, and had absolutely no idea what to get for family in the first place, hence, aimless wandering in stores.

In the end we only got a couple of Zig Calligraphy pens for ourself, and at least had a night of excited shopping going through the Christmas decorations at Tangs in preparation for Christmas parties over the weekend when we were in Sporeland.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Chronically Acute

That is how we shall describe our situation since two Sundays ago. For that was when our first ulcer made itself known to us, somewhere far back in the deep recesses on the left side of our mouth. From being something normally bearable, after three to four days instead of improving our condition worsen to the point where we could only eat on the right side of our mouth and there were frequent sharp spikes of pain shooting through the left side of our jaw.

Two Tuesdays back, after a long karaoke session celebrating Sinner's birthday (where we stoned out after a few hours, when a slew of
Chinese songs dominated the playlist), it reached a point where we had to resort to anti-inflammatories to lessen the pain (the past few days before that had us applying Oral Aid every hour, if not more often!), not trusting paracetamol to suffice. At this point the ulcer was so large that a large drop of Oral Aid could fill it without even overflowing!

Still the pain continued that we decided to visit the doctor to have him have a look at our situation. The doc was sympathetic with our plight after one look, and diagnosed secondary infection, sending us off with a quick bout of antibiotics while telling us not continue with our painkillers and Oral Aid. In hindsight we realize we should have taken up his offer for more painkillers, extra spare stock is always handy.

By last weekend, brushing teeth was like brushing with fire, the pain had us exhausted, waking up from sleep wasn't any better as our mouth would be dry and the slight movement with a dry mouth sent fresh spikes of pain from all over, and in the aftermath of a getaway in Fraser's Hill we had the same ulcer-turned-flesh wound, an ulcer or pimple (we couldn't tell, but the pain level is the same regardless) on the bite line on the left side of our tongue, and another ulcer was beginning to form at the front of our lower gums.

Generally we're not one who can't withstand some levels of pain but this was like having a cilice continually gouging a hole in the flesh!

In the end last Wednesday, the day just before we left for Sporeland, we crawled to our dentist for his opinion. We thought perhaps he had something better, like lignocaine mouthwash, or better yet, he could just jab us with local anesthesia and offer us some temporary relief. But the first thing he uttered after taking a look?

"The upper molar is biting into your cheek, causing the ulcer and not letting it heal. You better remove it."

A rational part of us was wondering if it was necessary, were there any other options, hey, surely we didn't need to have a perfectly good tooth extracted? Rational bit momentarily thought to accuse our dentist of just wanting to extract the tooth for profit, but we trusted the dentist to be experienced enough to know what he's about, and not out just for the money.

The other parts of us were in pain, just do it and end our misery. The pain of extraction surely cannot be worse than our current situation, bloody molar no wonder we've been hurting so much and the ulcer has not been healing but getting bigger!

Half hour after he'd jabbed us twice with local anesthesia and an x-ray, the tug of war started.

The steady pressure as he clamped down and pulled. The comment that the roots were long. A switch to a different instrument where he screwed (we didn't see, it could be some sort of modified G-clamp for all we know) into the poor molar. A sort of crunch as said clamp took hold. Onwards with the steady pulling. So much for anesthesia, we could still feel the tingle of the nerves. The nurse arrives to hold our head steady. The tug of war intensifies for both parties.

Our dentist wins! A bloody molar with long roots lay beaten in his tray.

Us, relieved and feeling light-headed from the experience walked out of his room, laughing to the nurse as we paid. Partly because we were still under anesthesia (and therefore happy we couldn't feel any pain), partly from the knowledge that the source of pain was no more, and probably partly from shock (even though we knew what to expect, this wasn't our first extraction).

And it certainly did feel better! The ulcer, while still present, ceased to hurt as the tooth wasn't there to aggravate it further! It seems that we no longer need be miserable, what more just before heading to Sporeland!

So here we are in Sporeland and we're now feeling the dull pain in the gums as it's healing from the extraction (as well as from the mild shifting of the remaining teeth), and the other ulcers occasionally remind us that they are still around, but it's nothing we can't handle with a bit of Oral Aid and Nurofen!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Isn't Christmas...

...till you've bought all your presents!

So last year we were rather late at shopping for presents for everyone, and vowed to begin early this year, preferably starting at the end of November. And we did begin shopping by the end of November!'s now the middle of December, our company Chirstmas meetup is looming close by, and we still have not bought any gifts for the Christmas gift exchange, nor have we bought anything for our colleagues.

Let's not even talk about presents for half our relatives. We're still stuck on what to give our baby niece asides from wee clothes and soft toys.

The best bit is that, after the initial scurry to shop for presents (and wrapping them), inertia has slowed and we've lost that sense of urgency to finish our Christmas shopping. And yet we've only about eight more presents to get! Eight! Why can't we just run down to The Body Shop and pick out their prepacked gifts or to a supermarket for a box of Ferraro Rocher immediately?

We guess it's just that we're not in the mood to shop just yet.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bite The Apple

We must say, we kind of suspect that our iPod Touch (first generation) is sort of a brainwasher. A brainwasher to make one get the iPhone. Not like it was a hard job getting us to want an iPhone, but we'll admit if we never did get the iPod Touch we wouldn't really know what was with the hoo-haa about the iPhone, especially since phone-functions-wise it wasn't really up to par with the hardware of other phones and apps only started appearing on the iPhone much much later.

However, after using the iPod Touch for a while, and once Apple moved on from the core apps to mobile web apps (we gave up using this when we found out you need an internet connection to keep using them) to the App Store and not to mention the software updates that makes the iPod Touch much more useful, it wasn't long before we wanted to get an iPhone instead.

We tried telling ourself that it was because we wanted the camera function. That we could still make do with using wifi spots for surfing and all that.

It was a good thing that the third generation iPod Touch didn't get cameras in time, hence we finally caved in and gotten the 3GS. Such a difference! True, it was only a 3mpx camera when everyone else was on 5mpx, no flash, no front facing camera (hence no video calls, Facetime? What?). But it had speakers! We had a data plan and could surf anywhere! We could record better videos as we

Here was the birth of MEALWHAT(tm).

Of course, as a result of our new purchase, the steadfastedly disciplined Chief, who made good effort to discourage us from buying an iPhone until they came out with 64GB models with hardware comparable to other models and a pricetag of less than RM2000 (without getting an exorbitant phone plan), inherited our iPod Touch.

Then, out of the blue, late last month to early this month, the Chief started hinting about getting the iPhone 4. We thought the Chief was joshing, based on the specifications mentioned above but it turns out that our iPod Touch has convinced the Chief to get an iPhone as well!

If we were sure about it earlier, we might have ended up heading to the roadshow at Midvalley at 5am on Saturday a fortnight back to queue up. But we weren't sure then, and did not want to be berated by a delighted Chief at our wanton spending.

We were sure about it when the Chief started going to the Maxis centres to ask about iPhone 4 availability. The Chief, of course, blamed our iPod Touch for the sudden urge to finally get the urge for an iPhone 4.

Come last Thursday we received a text from the Chief saying that the Sunway Maxis centre has stock, but they only sell 20 units a day and that people start queuing early for it.

Coincidentally we were on leave on Friday (clearing leave), which meant we could actually queue up for it!

Too bad by the time the Chief texted us, we couldn't get a reply as to what time the queue starts in case we needed to head to Sunway Pyramid at 5am with a foldable deckchair, a fully charged Nintendo DS and iPhone, and books.

In the end we slept and woke up at 9.15am on Friday, and saw the Chief's reply saying that the queue starts around 9am. Great! We had time! Sped off to Sunway Pyramid and arrived to see a few people milling about the entrance. Phew, we had a chance at getting the iPhone after all!

When the shutters rolled up a staff got people forming a queue for the iPhone and another for anything else. We ended up first in line for the iPhone queue, but offered our place to a Malay couple who actually arrived earlier (the Malay lady was about to start grumbling about us already, we were sure).

For a while we might have regretted letting the couple go first - when a Maxis staff asked them how many iPhones they wanted we thought they mentioned that they wanted 2 each. But luckily it turns out that they only wanted one each. Which meant we got the third iPhone 4. Still lucky, because it turns out that Sunway Maxis was only giving out FIVE iPhones that day. Good grief. And our trip down was not in vain!

The best bit is that we managed to keep it hush-hush from the Chief, who thought we would only go down on Saturday to try! We got to tumpang gembira when we bought the iPhone 4 too, it was as if we were buying it for ourself, haha. When the Chief left work we got the two of us to head to the Maxis Centre at TTDI where we presented the Chief with the iPhone 4 all nicely wrapped in Christmas wrapping and we got the SIM card cut. The weekend was then spent with us copying over all our paid apps to the Chief's laptop, syncing apps and movies, and shopping for a cover and screen protectors.

So soon we'll be getting our iPod Touch back, to be fully utilized for watching movies and tv shows!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Wire Less

It never really occured to us about how old the computers we use (both our home desktop and our laptop) were. Well, that's not entirely true. We know the desktop and the laptop are both 7 years old, just how slow it can be to start it up Windows XP (we'll turn the thing on and then go do something else for about 10-15 minutes), how at times programs will hang up on us for no apparent reason, how we constantly turn on the Windows Task Manager to check on running programs and which ones we can safely terminate, and how it taught us patience.

So, let us rephrase our starting sentence. We have forgotten just how fast computers can be nowadays.

That is, until recently where we've gotten a new laptop. It partly reminded us of when we were getting our desktop 7 years ago, because of one thing: the graphics card. Not keeping in developments for graphics cards meant we have no idea of the difference between the bloody model numbers that they're named. Hence we resort to checking the hardware requirements for games for a rough idea.

Other than that, we know our own minimal requirements for the processor and memory etc, and we got ourself a little beauty that made us feel pretty suaku about technology!

Imagine, Windows 7 has been around for a year and we've only started experiencing it now, going, "Gosh it does this! OMG it does that!" Very undignified, but hey, we're enjoying our new toy and it wasn't even an Apple product. Yes, rather amazing, as normally it's Apple who's able to wow us with it's marketing hype and great aesthetics while with Windows we just go, oh, ok. This time what we feel with Windows 7 is more of like how we feel when the iPod Touch and iPhone gets an iOS update, say from iOS1 to iOS2.

Thankfully we'd Lifehacker to help out with the new features and keyboard shortcuts, as well as some other program suggestions to install other than those that we already use, like iTunes, Handbrake and Dropbox.

We almost digressed into the topics of Nokia vs Apple with regards to things like advertisements, software updates and the likes.


Since our new toy is a laptop, the next step towards making it more useful to us for playing Starcraft 2 is to get ourself a mouse. And quite likely a keyboard too, as we felt the chiclet keyboard took some getting used to (plus not to mention we worry if it can handle the abuse). In our haste we dragged the Chief to Low Yat to see what was currently available. Only, after a couple of hours it was pretty obvious that we were only ever considering Logitech or Microsoft (no, we weren't keen on shelling out for Razer) while the Chief thought any brand would do so long as it met our specifications.

Our specifications? Well, near impossible to meet, probably.

Firstly we hadn't decided if we were going to get a wireless keyboard and mouse, or a USB cabled one. After some mulling we were leaning towards getting a wireless set as that would only use a single USB port rather than two (one for keyboard, one for the mouse). Also, we had some other project in mind that required the wireless keyboard and mouse.

We wanted a keyboard with the numeric keypad intact, after all, what's the point of a bigger keyboard if it's just similar to the current keyboard as on the laptop?

We were also looking for a keyboard that wasn't large and bulky. Yes, well, we were really pushing our luck with that demand. We actually even considered getting a laptop bag just slightly larger than the current one that came with the laptop, just so that it could accommodate such a keyboard.

Somehow that first day shopping we had an image of Nokia's wireless keyboard imprinted in our brain, a model of the sort of keyboard we were looking for. Well, nearly the sort of keyboard we were looking for. All that was missing was the numpad. Otherwise, it was ideal, being foldable for portability.

The Chief did point out some admittedly usable options for whatever we were looking for, by brands we've never heard of before this, but we always found some excuse why we weren't interested.

Yes, admittedly we're a brand whore.

But a poor brand whore. That puts Apple's wireless keyboard and Magic Mouse, both costing RM229 each, out of the picture. Not to mention the keyboard doesn't even have numpad. We could get a rather good wireless keyboard and mouse set from the others for less than that price. We haven't really a budget but we get rather hesitant when the price tag reads over RM100. That rules out keyboards akin to the Nokia one as those won't come cheap too.

Oh there were a few more bits and pieces to pick on when it came to deciding on the keyboard and mouse, and in the end we didn't get any and the Chief loaned us an old Logitech wireless mouse (not the birthday gift from the TTDI gang, though!), which so far serves us well.

We probably will skimp and save for the Logitech Unifying series when we can.

The project? We kinda fancy plugging up the laptop to the telly with a HDMI cable, followed by some serious sofa slouching with keyboard on lap and mouse beside us as we play Starcraft 2 enjoy the big screen!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Team Layton And The Dam Trip

You know, it being our first time going to the east coast and our first time to Lake Kenyir Resort And Spa, we admit to being a wee bit excited as to what the place held in store for us. Factor in a treasure hunt that would start around 7am in the morning (which meant everyone had to be up by late 5am to early 6am, meet for breakfast and then head down to the venue in Shah Alam) and take around 7 hours, followed by another 250km before we reached the hotel, well...

We knew that there would be the chance that we wouldn't be able to do much once we arrived at the hotel as it would be quite likely we all would take a nap before dinner. We remembered the Rasa-Rasa treasure hunt, where after the hunt around Klang Valley finished by 3pm, we went back and slept till near 7pm before heading down to 3K Inn at USJ for the dinner.

We never expected that we would only reach the resort at Lake Kenyir only at 8pm.


The treasure hunt itself was rather adventurous, taking us all over the place out of Klang Valley, and while solving cryptic crosswords helped speed up our ability to solve certain puzzles, we were still lacking a bit in certain areas. Like in spotting rather small logos/signs that were the answers for some of the questions. Some of the times where we spent too long looking for answers were due to trying to spot that small sign which were still visible from the car. However, there were still some questions that stumped the lot of us, that can't be helped except to keep doing more puzzles we suppose.

Once we were done with the treasure hunt, it was onwards to Lake Kenyir Resort And Spa! As esteban was familiar with Kuantan, we all stopped at Hai Peng for a tea break (time management during the treasure hunt meant we never did had time for a lunch break!). The stopover at Kuantan turned out to be both a good and bad thing, good because it meant we got a quick rest, food and coffee before making our way onwards to the resort, but bad because we only reached the hotel at 8pm, just in time for the start of dinner.

You don't really want to be travelling on the roads to Lake Kenyir when it gets dark. There aren't many street lights and as we were reaching Lake Kenyir, we were greeted by a particularly treacherous road filled with lots of potholes.

If the travel time didn't already discourage us from going to Lake Kenyir again, the roads did. We kept worrying about the car suspension when we accidentally hit the potholes in the dark, and it only got easier when we caught up with a lorry, and used it to navigate the road. Another three cars caught up with us, and didn't try overtaking us too. We learned later that they decided it was much easier to tail us to the resort, thinking we knew our way as we had lad's Nokia N97's Garmin leading the way. They continued tailing us even after we made a wrong turn and led the entire party to a jetty instead of the resort at first.

Honestly, we don't think we'll ever make the trip to Lake Kenyir by car or coach from KL. If it's a flight to Kuala Terengganu first, then a transfer pickup from the resort, then maybe.

Reaching the resort at night meant we couldn't see any scenery, but not that it mattered much anyways because we were rather hungry by that point. Parked at the parking lot, got our room keys, and were ferried by buggy (buggied?) to our respective chalets to drop our stuff before we were taken to the dinner venue.

Had our fill and then it was time for the prize-giving. Prizes were given for the top 31 places (the odd number due to tied scores we surmise), and calculating based the score the 31st team scored, we suspected we were somewhere in the top 35 (so we would like to believe).

Anyways, when people ask if we won anything we would nicely say we won a one night stay at Lake Kenyir, complete with dinner and breakfast, and a nice goodie bag. Which we did, after all.

We didn't plan to do much the next day too, for judging from the time we took to reach the resort, we thought it best to check out early for the 7-hour journey back home. So all we did was have breakfast with a view...

Then headed down to the jetty within the resort grounds to take a closer look at the lake. No, we didn't decide to rent a boat to go rowing. We hate how we tend to compare lakes here with those in Glasgow or the Lake District or in Austria, where their lakes were like mirrors.

After 5 minutes at the jetty, we headed back into our air-conditioned chalets for a quick game of Kill Dr Lucky and some rest before we packed up.

Then it was time to check out and leave!

Stopped by Kuantan again, this time at Kemaman Kopitiam (because all other places were closed when we arrived around 3pm). Three of us had the Nasi Lemak Special while esteban had the Nasi Dagang, we all had coffee and such, and then lad went to pay. When the cashier rang up a total of RM72.80, lad thought the cashier was joking. Turns out the cashier wasn't, and then we discovered that the Nasi Lemak Special we had, with the chicken chop sized lemongrass chicken, was about RM12. Our drinks were RM5.50 each. Only esteban's Nasi Dagang was the cheapest, being RM3.50. Good thing the food was good, otherwise we'd all be griping all the way home.

It was somewhere around 7pm when we arrived home, even though we left at 11am!

It was a shame that we didn't extend our stay at the resort, since the difficulty in getting there itself means we aren't going back there any time soon. So we can't say if Lake Kenyir would be a great place for a vacation. But it certainly is a large place to explore, and if you're the adventurous, nature-loving type then there would probably be enough things to keep you occupied what with the many waterfalls to visit. Otherwise, lazing a couple of days in the resort chalet would be a great way to destress (provided you don't mind your chalet running the risk of being invaded by insects that may find their way in).

Another unfair comparison we have to make here. After Nusa Dua, Lake Kenyir can't really compare. And dammit we never did get to explore the spa facilities!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Team Layton And The Top Gear Treasure

And the weekend is finally here! Team Layton, once again, into the foray of treasure hunting! This time Team Layton will be taking on Top Gear's treasure hunt, which starts from Shah Alam and goes all the way to Lake Kenyir!

Well there was a treasure hunt organized by GSC, but the entry fee was a bomb while this one costed only RM600 and included a one night stay at the Lake Kenyir Resort & Spa with meals included, and each member got a generous goodie bag! Definitely quite worth it, even if we don't do as well as we could. In fact, lad has already mentioned that if we cannot answer half the questions that will come out we'll just head straight to the hotel instead.

Now if only we knew just what to expect of Lake Kenyir! Will we swim? Visit the waterfalls? Laze at the resort playing Jenga and other boardgames? Will the shutterbugs with their fancy DSLRs (and us with our iXus and iPhone) go trigger happy?

Or will we all be knocked out in bed from an exhausting morning (because treasure hunts do start at unimaginable hours of 6am!) and miss out on all Lake Kenyir has to offer? What more we should only be reaching the resort after the treasure hunt late afternoon to early evening, and on Sunday we'll be heading back home!

Here's to us snagging top prizes!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Use It, Use It Some More

Hi everyone. Our name is Janvier.

So why are we here, now? We guess it's from taking the initiative after watching Heroes Season 4 (it just gets more and more painful every season) where Matt decides that he doesn't want to use his ability and attends a support group and talks about how he has not 'used' for so long (the way he says it sounds so fake).

Then after Heroes we got to start on Dexter Season 2! Dexter attends Narcotics Anonymous, and starts sharing about his need to kill (without directly referring to what it is that he's addicted to, of course). Which sort of led us to admit that, we, too, have a...


A... something we use.

We've never been aware that it's a problem. Honestly. All the time we've always figured that it was something natural, something everyone does when the thought to do it arises.

Only after watching those episodes and being aware that, if we don't get it at least once a day we get restless, we knew we had something. We could try putting names to it, but it doesn't stop it from being something that we must have.



One more turn.

iPhone videos.

Creep Itch.

Oh, there be lots more.

Dammit, we need our entertainment.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Chief Celebrations 2010: Belated Dinners

Admittedly this year celebrations for the Chief's birthday wasn't as well-planned out as before. Firstly the (sort of) last minute plannings to celebrate with friends, and we had not taken the Chief out to celebrate alone yet.

Our bad was in always wanting to make stuff like the Chief's birthday celebrations a surprise and all that, and although this year we'd thought not to make the celebrations with other known, we'd sort of neglected to inform the Chief about plans for birthday celebrations with just the two of us.

It goes to show, if one is to plan a surprise dinner for two to celebrate an important occasion like the other half's birthday, one really should not leave it for far too long. Like, three weeks too long.

The topic did arise at one point, and we admitted that we meant for a surprise dinner for when after the Chief's allergies got better (no, we didn't forget!). And the Chief mentioned that there was no need for the dinner already since it's already so long after the actual birth date.

If we were dense we would have nicely just left it at that an incur future wrath, we suppose. But we were actually thinking of where we could bring the Chief, someplace the Chief's not been before and serves pork (for now, that's one of the safe dishes which wouldn't knowingly aggravate the Chief's condition as we know it).

And then we had it.

And so before October ended we casually mention to the Chief that we haven't been to Sri Hartamas in a while, and wanted to eat someplace there, and no, it wasn't Souled Out. The Chief could have suspected that this was the long-overdued birthday dinner, or not, but it got the Chief thinking as to what is there to eat in Sri Hartamas.

A shot in the dark: "I don't like Korean food ah."
A non-committal reply: "No, it's not Korean."

And given the restaurant's location, the Chief never knew where we were going. Initially the Chief thought we really were going for Korean after all, although the only thing Korean at the block of shops we were on was a Korean supermarket, and what stumped the Chief most was when we reached Al-Rajhi Bank.

Riblees, nicely situated upstairs from the bank is quite a good place to surprise someone for dinner, provided that someone doesn't know about the place. A change from Checkers, also full of porky dishes, and a darker, cosier setting.

We sort of refrained from asking the establishment to prepare our table with candles and flowers and all that. Helium balloons and confetti included.

It was just too bad that, considering that we've not been there for the last couple of years, we couldn't recall what was recommended. We think the Classic American Babyback Ribs and the Roast Wild Boar Ribs were among those we thumbs up years ago, and after asking the waitress to give us a recommendation we ordered the Classic American Babyback Ribs and their special of the month, the Jamaican Jerk Style Roast Pork.

Both were good but we think we've been spoiled by Checker's Pork Chop. The barbeque sauce for the babyback ribs reminded us of Tony Roma's, but better.

And just to make sure the Chief knew it was a belated birthday dinner rather than just some random inclination to eat out, we had the waiter bring out a slice of their Oreos Ice Cream Cake with a candle. The cake, now, that was splendid. And a generous slice to boot!

We certainly saved our own hide in the end, but next year we've got to buck up! Candlelight dinner!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chief Celebrations 2010: Party With The Gangs

Last year, we told ourself that we would plan this a month in advance, meaning by August we would be planning what we wanted to do for the Chief's birthday celebrations for this year much earlier compared to last year where we got slightly worried that we were late in preparations.

However, come August we were caught up in relocation works and the lack of connectivity, we sort of didn't realize how late we were in planning until SK sent out emails in preparation for William's birthday. By then we got internet up and running, and the Chief had already clued us in regarding the selection of food when it came to venue selection (we thought to take a rest from surprise parties, doing it every year would mean it wouldn't be much of a surprise already, no?).

So much more rushed this year compared to last year, that, on the Chief's actual birthday, we were running around looking for stuff to get in preparation for the parties rather than spending it together (and worse yet, we'd made it sound as if we were only going about our usual routine of going to the gym, getting a haircut, which we did in addition so that we didn't lie)!

We admit, the reason why we harried ourself over preparations were due to last year's Project Blue party where we had helium balloons and all that. It's quite possible that if we never planned for decorations last year we would have just booked a venue, gotten a cake, end of story. Or perhaps not. There's something about planning a party with all the little extras (to the point where it may almost resemble a kid's lawn party) that we like.

Due to a flare-up of allergy attacks, the Chief thought it prudent to avoid certain foods so that it didn't worsen the condition. This meant our choices leaned heavily towards porky places, hence celebration with the bloggers was at Checkers!

Bookings were made in a single phone call for a Saturday, attendance was confirmed, and on Friday we called up to ask if we could bring over the cake a day earlier. A waiter (whose first language wasn't English) answered our call and we sort of gathered that he misunderstood our request, we repeated our request and got a, "Yes, yes, no problem, ok," kind of response, so...ok. That evening we brought over the Secret Recipe White Chocolate Macadamia cake over to Checkers, and...yes, the waiter did misunderstood, thinking we wanted to have the party on Friday instead 'cos we saw the tables set out for 10 upon our arrival.

Thankfully that problem was settled without a fuss, and come Saturday went well!

Then came the following weekend (this is the first year where the Chief's birthday parties were celebrated on different weeks rather than the previous years where it was done on different days on the same weekend), where we hoped the Chief's allergies were subsiding, as the venue was at Oriental Banquet, Section 17 with the TTDI gang. The possibility of shellfish was worrying. The venue was kept a surprise from the Chief, who kept asking if we could change the venue to somewhere like Chan Char Teng at SS2 (where we could also order the giant milk tea meant for birthdays!). We kept mum and just drove.

The only concern we had with Oriental Banquet was that when we went over to make our reservations, we were informed that there would be a wedding celebration going on at the same time. We also had a couple of phone calls from them and a fax of their menu specials, advising that if we could, we should preorder our meals first. Since it involved a number of people, we didn't preorder and hoped for the best.

Turns out that Oriental Banquet had plenty of pleasant surprises for us! We got ourselves a room with a waitress to tend to our every need; instead of going for their set menus, we ordered ala carte dishes, and those were served at impressive speeds (we think we didn't wait more than 15 minutes before the food started coming in!) especially since a wedding dinner was going on outside; and the room was equipped with a karaoke machine and mikes!

Cor. Admittedly we didn't expect more than a round table on the first floor, and we were impressed with what we got! Oriental Banquet would be a nice place to go to again for celebrations.

After dinner at the Oriental Banquet, it was off to...Chan Char Teng at SS2 after all. Heh. Because not a single one of us had ever tried the giant birthday Milk Tea before! To qualify we needed to order it three days before or after the birth date (or on the actual day itself) and we needed to order at least RM30 of food and/or drinks. There was over 10 of us, but there was more than enough milk tea to go around as some were lactose intolerant (like yours truly) or had too many drinks already.

Big thank you to everyone who could make it for the parties! Here's to more to come, and that we plan them much earlier! With balloons! And confetti! Probably a pinata!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Selamat Datang Di Nusa Dua Bali

Because we've never been to Bali before, and prior to this trip we were quite busy and so did not have the time to look up what Bali has to offer, our only plans for this trip were to get daily massages, the Hard Rock Cafe Hurricane Glass for the Chief, and then see what else is there to be bought in Bali. We've already two wooden puzzles from Bali courtesy of the Taman Tun-ites when they went to Bali not too long ago, plus we already have the Bali Starbucks City Mug thanks to our sis and otousan.
What else is there to do in Bali? From what we heard, surf (hence there's a beach if we want to tan and swim), and look for babi guling to eat.

Sad to say, Nusa Dua is more of a place for us once we are bored of exploring about Bali, or tired of bargaining when we shop, and just rather stay in whichever hotel we checked in. The only avenue for shopping and dining within Nusa Dua was Bali Collection, while it may be a nice place for shopping for boutique stuff, we don't really think we'd get souvenirs there when you can bargain elsewhere.

Nevertheless, Nusa Dua is pretty with lots of greenery and the hotels were enough to make us think we were there on holiday instead of attending some congress - really, we needn't drool over the Hanging Gardens in Ubud. No dodgy streets or dark alleyways.

As we weren't in Bali for a vacation, our only free time when in Bali was after 6pm - and by 6.30pm, it's dark, similar to 7.30pm back here in Bolehland. Thus we'd only got to spend most of our time at Bali Collection for dinner before heading back to the hotel to soak in the tub (we bought bath salts the very first night!) while watching Dexter on our iPhone.

Quick aside: just when we thought 9 episodes of Dexter was more than enough to keep us occupied for the three nights we were in Bali, we finished everything in two nights. Thank goodness we had the pilot episode of Stargate: Atlantis as well for our final night in Bali. Must work faster in converting telly shows for our iPhone!

So...Bali Collection. Only on the final day before leaving Bali did we get to explore the rest of the place, and only then did we realize our three nights there we only explored about one third of it...shy. Luckily our flight was late in the evening, giving us plenty of time to explore the rest of Bali Collection. We found a Sogo in there, which got us something unexpected!

Somehow or other we never could bring ourself to spend more than a hundred on sports shoes, the last time we bought sports shoes was in...August 2007. And because we don't remember how much those pair of Reeboks costed us then, we did remember that there was a very good discount on them (checking back and it's 60%!) and somehow thought that we paid less than a hundred for them (who knows, maybe we did). Hence we've not gotten any new shoes before this even when the Chief took us shopping in Sporeland where shoes were going cheap too (but still above a hundred after conversion).

And in the end, we didn't even get our daily massages because we balked at paying Nusa Dua rates. Sigh. Nor did we get any babi guling.

Next time, we'll go specifically for a vacation and get our daily massages!

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Dhoby Ghaut

Now this happened when we were in Sporeland. We've noticed at some point that at certain MRT stations, the name of the station would be written in either just English, English and Chinese, or even in Tamil (or Hindi, we're not too sure).

Given the multilingual aspect of Sporeland and Bolehland (although we hear mainly English and Mandarin in Sporeland), this bit of what would otherwise be background noise during our commute caught our interest:

"Dhoby Ghaut."
Oh, so they announce it in Chinese too.
"Please mind the platform gap."
Reminds us of the Tube's deep voice, "Miiind, the gap!"
Right. So they alternate between Chinese and English!
"The happy-happy warm platform."
What the hey?
"(Some mutterings we could not make out.)"
Was that the Chinese equivalent?

Now initially when we started paying attention to the announcement we somehow fancied that instead of just the one lady saying it in different languages, there were two announcers, one English and one Chinese. And with that in mind, we had this image that the English announcer would speak first, then the Chinese one would translate, then back to the English announcer, etc. And then the English one would suddenly throw a curveball by uttering a totally random sentence to be translated, and the results couldn't be made out.

We mentioned it to the Chief, and while initially critical about our assessment (of course), the Chief couldn't make out what was exactly being said too what with being slightly affected by our 'happy-happy' idea. This bugged the both of us a while until one point, the Chief got it:

"Berhati-hati di ruang platform."

And the last one was in Tamil (or Hindi).

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Mobile Supplements

So the other day Maxis calls and offers us something for being a loyal customer: we were offered a supplementary line, with free texts and calls between the principal and supplementary line at no extra charge, so long as our monthly bill is above RM100 - which is no problem since we have a data plan in addition to our monthly plan. So we agreed to them sending us the supplementary line sim card.

Of course, the reason for the supplementary line should be obvious.

The Chief now holds the supp line, along with our L'amour. We're not sure if we ever sent a thousand texts (each) to each other in a month, but we're not so bothered keeping an eye on the character count now for texts!

Unlike our Belkin, we're not so sure if this ends with some happy ending or not. So far, we're texting and calling as normal (although using the supp line now unless we're out), but we're gonna have to keep an eye on our next couple of phone bills first before we write this off as a pleasant treat for being a loyal customer.

There goes the notion of switching over to Digi. Why doesn't Digi have single-year contracts anyway?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sometimes, It Pays pay a little more.

When our modem got fried we were left with no wireless solution, we were grateful that we'd gotten ourself the Belkin with the lifetime warranty. Honestly, we'd only used it for about four months only and it got zapped! Imagine if we'd opted for a slightly cheaper one and it didn't get zapped till after the warranty expired!

It took us some three weeks before we got word that they've replaced our modem (then again, factor in the Raya hols and the brand-new Malaysia Day too), and were we in for a pleasant surprise:

We'd expected them to replace our fried modem with an exact same model, but hey! They've given us one of the newer models! To think we were slightly sore over that fact since they released the newer models about a month after we bought the modem!

Once again, Belkin's packaging showed who their target market was. Honestly's quite a pleasure to unbox as they made everything easy to understand.

And even provide a card where you can jot down the network name and password and slot it underneath the Belkin, just in case you forget!

But the joy of being connected wirelessly again! Everything is good once more!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cover Story

Let's take a look between this:

And this:

And finally, this:

Photos are credited to We prefer our cover to be number two, where you can see Lone Wolf standing on the pedestal (and not looking scary, waif-thin and unheroic...come on, he's trained for battle, why is he looking so fragile?!).

We can't say we like the cover art for the Lone Wolf books that were distributed in Bolehland (which is cover art three), but we didn't know that there were alternate cover art until we saw the books at an old schoolmate's house. Compared to the ones we've got, we were impressed with the artwork and the fact that they actually drew out the character of Lone Wolf. Turns out, those nice artwork covers were the American release edition (with grayscale map instead of colour maps and, in some cases, abridged) while the ones we got were by the UK publisher showing some artsy perspective of a monster.

It was only after some 15 books that the UK version came out with art depicting Lone Wolf...but a faceless Lone Wolf it was. Perhaps it was so you can stick a photo of your own face in place, since you'd actually be playing the role of Lone Wolf.

While the US cover art were drawn by different illustrators so Lone Wolf looks different from cover to cover (yes, yes even after factoring in age as he goes on to becoming Kai Grand Master).

Recently we were just in Mage Cafe and came across the Legends Of Lone Wolf Omnibus, covering the first two novels based on the gamebooks (hmmm we should check if 'Ward still has most of the novels) and that brought on the nostalgia for the gamebooks. Our collection of the Lone Wolf gamebooks (and the Fighting Fantasy gamebooks) were all given away when we shifted, and we've not gotten back to buying those books because, honestly, who actually honestly plays those gamebooks?

We've tried. But at some point or other, we lost track of which section we were supposed to turn to, or died in combat, or died out of nowhere, we went, "Ahfuggedaboutit!" and just read our way through the books.

And now, since we're feeling nostalgic, we feel like playing reading them through again. But we're lazy to do it at Project Aon (which is a cheaper and easier way to play the Lone Wolf gamebooks) and we're rather not keen on buying the books again yet (for collecting purposes).

For Summerlund and the Kai!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Legend Of The Chinese Movie Formula

We just came back from watching Legend Of The Fist: The Return Of Chen Zhen and boy, the show seemed a tad too ambitious in what they were trying to do. There was Chen Zhen acting as the Prince of Persia at the start of the show, then moonlighting as a masked crusader, there were Brits and Japanese forces in China, there were resistance fighters, plenty of gratuitous kungfu violence, and Donnie Yen making those high-pitched yowls and taking off his shirt for added strength.

We were thinking that the focus was going to be more on Donnie Yen pulling off a secret superhero identity while dressed like Kato from the Green Hornet (we think it's some kind of nod to Bruce Lee, since this show was suppose to be the sequel to Fist Of Fury), but somehow there were too many things going on when they have to add in the somehow-required Chinese Movie Formula script.

Oh yes. The CMF. Something we've been noticing in the kungfu films. For that, throw in the following:

One. A historical time of oppression, when China is under the iron fist of some other country.

Two. Some form of resistance, probably led by a newspaper editor. Said newspaper editor, and his office may at some point in the show be attacked by the oppressors and they may beat him up and probably say, "Write nasty stuff about us, eh? Let's see you write like this!" while crushing his hand.

Three. A Chinese police officer forced to work under the oppressive government. Probably able to speak their language too, but most of time is able to speak in rapidfire Cantonese or Mandarin and still be understood. And Chinese officer will be accused of being ineffectual and the oppressor's lackey.

Four. Chinese propaganda about how the Chinese will never give up and become slaves to the oppressor, and people saying about how it's okay to die as long as it's for something honourable.

Five. Oppressors are always shown to be violent, heartless and cunning, resorting to underhanded measures especially for point six. Unlike the honourable and compassionate Chinese.

Six. There will be a showdown finale between the martial arts savvy protagonist and a martial arts savvy oppressor. The oppressors, even though confident that they will crush the protagonist with ease, will either drug or poison, overwhelm to weaken with underlings, or cheat one way or another. Protagonist will still win in the end.

Seven. The show ends with text telling slightly more of what happens to the protagonist, and that the war is far from over...

Perhaps we're exaggerating but there's a familiarity that bores a bit after a while. The best thing we can do to enjoy the film?

Switch off brain. Enjoy gratuitous violent kungfu battle scenes. Applaud that Donnie Yen's allowed to go even more freestyle compared to his affable and reserved Ip Man role where he doesn't kill everyone. After that, remember only the fighting scenes and don't question the script.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Casinos & Universal Studios, Sporeland Style

So during the end of last month we made a trip down south to Sporeland with a few things in mind, and among the planned activities were paying a visit to the two new casinos and Universal Studios! Even though we'd planned for a nice long weekend there, the days were packed with walking and commuting and games from morning till late night, that we were quite grateful that we'd arranged our trip to leave on Monday night (by the overnight train, of course) and arrive back on Merdeka Day, giving us a day of rest before starting work again.

Imagine. By Monday our legs and feet were aching even after a leisurely stroll and by noontime we were considering heading back to our sis' place to rest instead of going about shopping. If we stayed till Tuesday, and headed back on the overnight train and arrived home on Wednesday, we would be in no condition to do anything productive.

So anyways Thursday night we made our way down, arrived in Sporeland on Friday morning, headed to settle our luggage and freshen up and our sis' place before heading out to have lunch at Kuishin-Bo. We were starving when we left our sis' place that we would have stopped for lunch at Suntec's Food Republic, where we did stop for a while to take photos of the decor.

If we recall this is not the first time we'd noticed the library-like decor at the Food Republic, but it's the first time we're paying attention to it. The Chief hurried ahead to leave us alone to suaku take photos like some awestruck tourist.

Propaganda attack: Dollar for dollar, you can enjoy a nice Japanese buffet lunch for $20-something, unlike back here where you have to break a fifty, or two.

Kuishin-Bo Suntec had this lunch offer where if you're done eating in under an hour, you pay only SGD21.90++, otherwise it's SGD28.90++ (we think we got the prices right). Certainly had our fill as we were already starving! A lesson learned here is to avoid the little chocolate desserts if we plan to make full use of the buffet spread in under an hour.

A leisurely walk around Suntec City (and our first hands-on on a working, jailbroken iPad) and Raffles after that, and by night we were back at our sis' for boardgames with the bro-in-law and his group of friends.


Saturday noon was off to Marina Bay Sands! Only, we forgot to bring our passport along, and so wasn't allowed entry into the casino. So we walked about the shops, took photos of the rain oculus, and like many other people, threw coins. Except we weren't throwing it at the eye, but trying to roll the coin in a spiral towards it. Fail.

Then later inside we saw the rain oculus from below. There were boat rides going on, and we wondered if anyone in the boats got hit by coins (honestly we keep picturing rich tai-tais screaming in pain as a coin pierced through one eye). The Epicentre there was full of people so we didn't get another chance at the iPad, and so we made our way to Orchard before heading back to get our passports. The night before's gaming session told on us as every time we commuted or whenever we sat down to eat, we would go into standby mode now and then. The Chief, patient martyr, let us rest and either played Mega Jump on the iPod Touch or looked out for when to get off the MRT/bus.

The Marina Bay Sands Casino was nice, and quite modern in some ways too - like for Baccarat Punto Banco, the croupiers at Genting Resorts World had to key in the results, while in Marina Bay Sands the system somehow catches the results (we're not sure how, the Chief suggests via CCTV) and displays it automatically without the croupier doing anything. After about nearly an hour on the main floor, we explored the upper floor and discovered the non-smoking section. Bah.

As we had to make our way back to get our passports, we ended up at Marina Bay Sands rather late, and so left rather late too (no, we missed out on heading up to see the infinity pool on the rooftop) and had to catch a cab (fairly quick and easy from the hotel) back. Where we found our bro-in-law and friends having another night of boardgaming.

We showered, played Starcraft a while on the bro-in-law's pc, joined them for a round of Agricola when they started a new round, and ended up sleeping at 4am.

Sunday was to Universal Studios! Initially we planned to go Universal Studios on Saturday but they were sold out for then, so Sunday it was. And since we were going to head on to the Resorts World Casino after Universal Studios, we packed along an extra shirt, predicting our time at Universal Studios to be rather sweaty.

The Universal Studios Globe.

And the Store, where we spend a long time inside but ended up with not much.

We'll say that Universal Studios Singapore is actually not that large if compared (rather hazily due to poor memory) Universal Studios LA, but it worked to our favour as we could cover everything in one trip. We arrived at noon (thanks to yours truly who stayed up late gaming) after brunch, and managed to go for all the rides, save the kiddy ones found at the Madagascar and Lost World bit and the Battlestar Galactica rollercoaster as it was under maintenance. If we arrived when the gates opened, we could probably fit in extras like taking photos with characters (we'd only managed to get photos with Beetlejuice and some Egyptian guard as it was) and seeing a few other shows.

What we really liked about Universal Studios was how thematic it was, down to the small details! Umbrella stands were made to look like a barrel to hold weapons in the Far Far Away, in the walls of the Lost World you see amber with mosquitos in them. Of course, if you never watched the shows, you might not appreciate some of the details, but there's lots of other stuff like how toilet signs and decor differ depending whether you were in Madagascar, Far Far Away or in Ancient Egypt, that help make you feel like you're in some fantasy land and more importantly, feeling like a kid again.

We went trigger happy with the camera taking photos when in Far Far Away!

And the stuff we came across the Lost World were a tickle, from their clothes shop...

To the refreshment counter!

When we arrived at Ancient Egypt, we were quite taken in with the effort in making monuments and impressively large statues. And then we came across guards on stilts that reminded us of fauns and satyrs.

We'd no idea who he was suppose to portray, since he was off duty and was heading elsewhere ignoring a gaggle of girls who chased after him.

We didn't find anything we'd buy from the souvenir shop, and we wonder who will actually buy this throne for SGD2,800.

We went crazy at Sci-Fi City's souvenir shop buying a few Battlestar Galactica themed souvenirs. Didn't get anything that read What The Frak, though. There's more souvenirs we're keeping track off that we didn't get this time, well, because we thought the Universal Studios Store near the entrance would have all the stuff we might come across in the other stores at their respective areas (obviously not). Good thing we decided to get the BSG souvenirs when we did, otherwise we'd have to run all the way back to Sci-Fi City to get them!

After Universal Studios, our legs needed a rest and we headed for dinner, and then we were off to the casino! A quick stop at Bread Story just outside the casino showed that thematic settings didn't just stop at Universal Studios...

Resorts World Casino doesn't have that posh feel that Marina Bay Sands has, as seen by the less formal way the gamblers dress, but at least upon entry we were in the non-smoking section. And we came across the Star Wars: Light Side slots machine there! Genting has the Star Wars: Dark Side slots, and we weren't sure if there was a Light Side version till then! And we won SGD50 playing it!

That night, once home, we played Street Fighter 4 with the bro-in-law until somewhere 2am, we think. After that, we helped him get his iPad up and running, which he bought that day and left to charge till night. There was the installing of iTunes and setting up and account which took a fair bit of time, and after that we left him to play with his new toy while we went to bed.

Come Monday, it was supposed to be a rather free-and-easy day and the Chief took us around town. First up, to Sporeland's Ikea for a look-see. We haven't been there for some four years now since our sis took us there once, and remembered it differently (perhaps because our sis brought us there at night), but we found it smaller compared to the Ikea here.

After that, we crossed the street for the Katong Laksa, ate using only a spoon. Even though our legs were hurting by the afternoon we still managed to cover Queensway Mall and Chinatown before heading back to pack up our luggages!

Sis and bro-in-law then brought us to Oasis for Taiwanese porridge dinner. The place is situated at a rather nice park, and would make for rather scenic walks if not for the humid weather.

After dinner it was time to rush to the train station! It was a close call as we arrived on time with only a few minutes to spare, and we were held up by our own customs people until another officer hollered to them to let us go and stop holding up the train.

Can't remember. Think we slept throughout Tuesday. Heh. We'll be heading back to Universal Studios probably in a couple of years, when the Battlestar Galactica and Transformers rides are up and running!