Thursday, November 26, 2015

Run For Fun

So the Chief noticed a particular charity run and was interested in joining. As it was a 5km fun run, we thought, okay, why not, let's support the Chief and run together even though we never found could see what was so fun about a run.

Less than two months before the run, we'd some preparations to make: mental preparation was one thing, we had to start training a bit to make sure we could survive a 5km run!

Our first time on the treadmill to see how well we fared walking/jogging a single kilometre showed just how bad our stamina was. So we figured, all right, it's time for the treadmill every day where possible till we can ensure we finish 5km under an hour.

Well motivation wasn't easy and we soon started feeling our age, or more like feeling our knees.

We never did get to finish 5km on the treadmill but did find we could average a kilometre in around 10 minutes, so we thought we should be fine (for our expectations).

Come run day itself, thank goodness the Chief is the early bird as we had to get up around just before 6am to make sure we could reach the venue before the run started at 7am. It's tough when you're not a morning person and not even a running person, but there's always a first time for everything (it's the following times that will see more resistance).

And so the run started, and we walked/jogged/ran and yes, managed 5km in...checks website...45 minutes 40 seconds! It was easier to run on the road (plus we set our own pace rather than trying to keep up with the treadmill's speed of 10km/h) and having some goal to set made it easier (let's jog until we reach that 3km u-turn checkpoint, ok walk uphill then jog to the next junction etc).

The Chief finished in 40 minutes 5 seconds and looked no worse to wear, unlike us.

Some observations:
- the water station painted a bad picture of runners: cups were everywhere littered after the station. On the main road within a housing area. Given this is a charity run, we're not sure if the people manning the water station were volunteers or not, and even so we don't think it's expected of them to be cleaners as well. True, there weren't many litter bins set up but honestly it just painted a bad picture of runners that day.

- there were kids who finished faster than us. Hey, start exercise early in life, you won't regret it...

- there was a mother who had to carry her child while wearing a knapsack because the kid was too tired already. Salute.

- the field where the event was held was muddy. And with everyone walking on it to reach the registration booth or luggage drop/pick-up, we ended up with mud seeping through our shoes and was walking around with mud soaking our socks!

- if it wasn't for the fact that the gym was nearby and we could shower after the run, we may not have opted to join.

- yes, there is that sense of accomplishment from having completed the run within our expected time frame. probably isn't enough for us to consider joining more runs.

- our legs didn't hurt badly during the following days (but then again we were too busy to notice).

So. We now have our first finisher's medal for a 5km run. Would we do something more serious like a 10km run? Possibly not. Because...why???

The Chief has already signed up for another run (reason for joining partly because there's a very nice medal design), and it being a night run we may possibly drive beside the lot and cheer.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Apple TV 2015

So we couldn't resist, and ended up getting the new Apple TV.

Even though the price has doubled from the previous model and, what with us being in Malaysia and thus not having convenient access to services such as Hulu and Netflix and BBC iPlayer, there really isn't any convincing need to upgrade from our current Apple TVs, really.

Although, ever since we've moved the Apple TV at Chateau le Chief from the living room to the bedroom...we must say that that particular TV has seen less use due to earlier bedtimes (although finally being able to stream videos directly has made nighttime movie watching a far more comfortable experience!). The living room could do with another Apple TV...

Anyways. We probably wouldn't have bought the new Apple TV if we hadn't someone planning to buy one of our current ones.

Bought it via the Apple Online Store, it showed up 2 days later, and setup was amazingly fast. With the previous Apple TV we were used to using the Remote App on our iDevices, so the new remote felt familiar - except that instead of tapping the surface we had to click it down. Back to the setup - just holding our iPad close to the Apple TV and letting it set up the network connections and all that was just so easy.

We got ourself the 32GB model because we don't think we will be storing that many things on it - the odd game or so (so far we've Crossy Road, Alto's Adventure, Oceanhorn and Rayman), YouTube and Ted. For everything else, we'll let Apple TV stream it off our Mac Mini.

What's to like? Siri's limited but gosh scrubbing feels so unnecessary now. That's all for Siri (again, Malaysia). The remote is so much more handier (still need to get used to there being a Home button) especially with volume controls. Games we already own are free on tvOS. Holding the Home button for a few seconds brings up the option to put the Apple TV to sleep, which also turns off the telly.

What's not to like? The on-screen keyboard is a nightmare - with this glass surface remote why didn't they stick to the grid keyboard and instead made this single row? Also, Remote app on iDevices not compatible anymore and honestly that was the only way to type stuff (especially searching through YouTube). Oh well here's hoping typing gets easier one way or another.

 Next up, a MFi controller so we can play Oceanhorn.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Boardgames Haunts

This couple of years have seen us getting back ever so slightly more into the boardgaming scene because there are choir members who are also keen on gaming, as well as the occasional gaming with wingedman (who hoo boy is pretty up to date without being a distributor!).

Not to mention it's much easier when there's a new gaming joint nearby (hello, All Aboard!) if we don't end up playing games at YCA.

So this Halloween we so happened to be free and was just keen to do something (it was one of those nights were we just wanted to go somewhere do something rather than stay at home), and while initially nejustmo suggested we head to Alexis Ampang for drinks and listen to Mia Palencia, the sudden storm that started just as we were about to make our way to KL dampened our plans.

No problem - an alternative suggestion for a game of Mansions of Madness to celebrate Halloween was put forward. We don't really recall if we played Mansions of Madness (we rather think we've played it once at least with our brother-in-law) but we were game for it. At least it was something to do (to be honest we don't really recall much of what we do on Halloween, the only memorable Halloween we can ever recall immediately is that one year where we were at the Curve and they were giving out free tickets for the screening of The Covenant (and we didn't even plan for that).

So. Mansions of Madness. Venue? McDonald's Bandar Utama, because it's open 24 hours. And while we were setting up at one end of a long table, another group of guys were setting up for MtG on the other end.

Without spoiling the scenario (even the prologue was pretty vague, as investigators we were all in a bar and was shown a dismembered finger still wriggling alive in a box by the bartender, and so was to head to the cemetery in search of some fellow to learn more about it but heck as players we all just wanted to get into the house and search for loot) we all got in, picked up loads of stuff, fought monsters, and won against the Game Master! To be honest we (the investigators) thought we were doomed and was fighting to draw to a stalemate as apparently the GM couldn't win too.

Met up at 10.15pm, game setup and rules briefing til 10.45pm, game til nearly 2am. Turns out to be quite a good Halloween night in the end.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Write Something

We guess it started with letter writing.

There was a time when we decided to write letters when we were staying in hotels using said hotel's provided stationery to the Chief (if we were on our own) or to others. We wrote to Alex at one point, and one fine day he sent a picture message of the Lamy Joy pen he bought to write back.

The Lamy Joy. An italic nib pen meant for italic or blackletter calligraphic writing. Since calligraphy demands practice to obtain pretty penmanship, we never ever got that letter from Alex.

Well, it was Alex who introduced said pen to us anyways, and somewhere not too long back we finally bought the same pen. It was great fun (although we didn't put it to much use ourself). and since it was our first attempt at using an italic nib, we decided to play safe and picked the 1.5 mm nib to practise with.

Not too long later we bought the 1.1 mm nib as well, swapping between the two depending on which we felt like writing with. Personally we're finding the 1.1 mm nib very comfortable to write with, even for normal day-to-day writing.

Then a friend saw what we were doing and caught the calligraphy bug herself, and next thing you know we finally found out about flex nibs - we were too lazy to search them up before and never knew the actual term to call them, instead describing them as 'nibs for copperplate writing' and also probably asking in the wrong places.

Also, to be honest we weren't to enthusiastic to invest more into flex nibs and oblique holders and such because they require a lot of effort to get good penmanship and isn't really all that practical. At least with the Lamy Joy we can do some rather nice uncial fonts asides from italic text when we send greeting cards or write birthday cards or something.

It was only after we started checking out the price of flex nibs and such that it didn't seem too expensive to try it out. And so...we got ourself some nibs (the Nikko G for beginners), a normal nib holder, ink and some pretty thick paper, and we're now practising calligraphy.

Right now we're learning to get used to the nib and all, so our penmanship ain't pretty, and soon we'll have to get back to basics and practise drawing lines and curves until we're consistent (right now just trying it out freehand our letters are all in different angles and heights and spacing it's a nightmare really).

Good grief, so much work. WHY.

Because it's pretty. Much prettier than using an italic nib. So let's see if we can stick to it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Chief Celebrations 2015: Big Birthday Bash

Early on this year we'd already decided that we wanted to have a big celebration for the Chief instead of the usual separate group parties we hold every year. And so as usual we told ourself we would start planning a month in advance (meaning about August).

And as usual that meant we only started planning in September.

The Chief by now pretty much knows that we never let on what we plan for the birthday parties, except for the dates (it takes a lot more coordination to pull off an actual surprise birthday party so we will keep that as a rare surprise if we can), and so the Chief also made sure to let us know which dates were no good.

This turned out to be almost every single weekend in September. The good news is now we do have a whole month to prepare (phew)!


So...venue, guests, food, cake, and activities.

We decided that this year we wanted to book an entire venue and have everyone attend in a single party. So we needed to get a venue that could fit...around 40 adult and some kids. Which also means we need somewhere kid-friendly. We started by asking the previous YKLS Cast Party organisers about costs and all so we had a rough budget to work on, and then it was time to start hunting.

First choice we found online was the Greyhouse Bangsar. The corner bungalow in Bangsar looked to be suitably located, big enough for our needs we could have food catered outside and the rooms inside to chill.

The problem was that we were told that it wasn't available as it was undergoing renovation. And there was that added factor that there wouldn't be sufficient parking space... So we opted to take a look at their other choices: the Canvas (a smaller space) and the Penthouse (a much larger space).

We were quite keen on the Penthouse after taking a view. Large space, wifi, sound system, a pool table, foosball table and even a ping pong table...we could have quite a party! Given the space of the Penthouse, we could invite more than just the usual birthday groups - we were already planning to extend the invitation to choir members who knew the Chief. Given how the Penthouse could accommodate a hundred people or so, we could even invite the recent choir members as our guests to the party!

However, someone did suggest Marmalade to us so we decided to take a look there as well and got them to give us a menu choice and quotation.

And in the end, we decided on Marmalade. We liked the fact that not only they gave us a choice of 4 menu selections, but we could pick and mix from the different menus as well. We guess we didn't want to spend too much time picking a caterer if we did go with the Penthouse. Also, Marmalade seemed large enough to fit the number of guests we were aiming for.

With the venue settled and the date confirmed, the last thing to do was to send out the invitations via email and create a Facebook event so we could keep tabs on the headcount of those attending.

Note to self: do not take for granted that sending an invitation via Facebook event would mean the invitee actually is aware of it. We had quite a number of people unaware of it until a few days before the party because we texted them to check. Must say we ourself were to blame for not checking sooner too.

We had MJ make cupcakes for the party, given his talented skills at making pretty confectionery.

Deciding that planning activities weren't necessary, we decided to provide wine instead after checking with Marmalade on corkage. Finally, more balloons (we just can't resist getting helium balloons).

Fast forward to the day itself, and the Chief's face upon realising we'd booked the entire restaurant for the night (and the implication of why the entire restaurant was booked), the initial stress the Chief had upon realising how many people would be coming, the extra stress and awkwardness when there were guests coming in that the Chief didn't know at all (our choir guests)...well, that made us feel that yeah, we could still surprise the Chief even after 7 years of celebrations. Of course, once most of the guests arrived and the Chief had eaten, stress gave way to entertaining friends at different tables and it was all good.

But we were pretty much happy that most could make it to celebrate the Chief's birthday (so much so that we couldn't get from one end of the restaurant to the other during the cake ceremony). We were too busy running around (because we were itchy enough to want to print photos for guests to sign) that we didn't have much of an appetite to eat (even though we were starving as we were driving to the venue!), and regretfully we didn't take as many photos with everyone as we would have liked to.

Playing host at the birthday party did remind us how our past Christmas parties went...and the Christmas party to come. Gosh.

Once more, a big thank you to all who came and made it the big happy party that it was. A big thank you for your thoughtful presents (even to those who don't know the Chief!). We're sorry we didn't get to spend more time catching up with everyone who came. We hope you had great fun and had good food!

Monday, August 31, 2015

Clan Chief Capers

So the other night was dinner with the Clan Chief again, and the Chief's youngest nephew is now old enough to speak and is less shy in public.

Once we were seated, said nephew (who arrived earlier) started greeting the family members that just arrived...

Nephew starts with the Chief's aunty and works his way down the line...

...greeting Chief's mum...

...greeting Chief's dad...

...greeting the Chief...

...and then draws a blank when he comes to us.

Yes well it was too be expected.

Monday, January 05, 2015

Resolutions 2015: AppRes/15/0105

We've not been doing any resolutions because: it never gets resolved by year end.

And apparently when we do plan for resolutions it turns out to be for stuff that requires organizing ie album art, scanning photos to digital copies. As it is these kinda of organising work never ends. When we think of how we want to reorganize our photos from our iPhone to our Mac, renaming them and then moving them to separate folders...we're not fully sold onto iPhoto (not to mention how iPhoto isn't getting any more love with Yosemite and iOS8).

So. Let's try for this year.

We are aware that we're quite the hoarder: memorabilia and souvenirs are one thing but having that mentality of 'we should keep this, we should be able to repurpose this in the future' meant we have lots of used papers (to re-use as rough notepaper), ribbons from presents (for future presents if the ribbons match the wrapping and is long enough), the packages of things we've bought (we're staring at our hard drive boxes as we type this), pamphlets and magazines and reading materials and...gah. Our tabletops never really get to enjoy being left clear of things.

We are aware as to why we hoard: we're aware our memory isn't the clearest and so we tend to keep lots of stuff to remind us of things we've done, places we've been to, things to do...

Only, we're never great at clearing away stuff that can be cleared away once we don't need it any more. We were holding on to brochures and marketing aids about oral contraceptives from 9 years ago, for goodness sake! Every time we think, oh, we should read this up again one day, and yeah that day never did came.

And that's a topic that was brought up in Marie Kondo's book: not knowing how to let go off stuff you don't use any more. Better yet is how it also mentions about how some of these stuff, instead of being discarded, gets given away to someone else (who may not want it either) to dispel some of that notion that you are being wasteful by getting rid of something still useful. So when it comes to cleaning now we have a slight awareness that we really ought to just throw away stuff that we know we would keep but would never use. If we need it rarely (or if ever) we can just get a new one then. We shouldn't need to thank every single thing for its purpose before discarding, because we don't want to anthropomorphize everything in our life.

Thus our resolution this year would be to tidy up our workspace. Because we really do spend a lot of time at our table and honestly it would be nice if we have the space to wrap stuff again without having to shift the mess about.

It's just too bad that there's no way we can get rid of everything that doesn't spark joy from our worktable.

Saturday, January 03, 2015

3,679,200 Minutes

It's 2015! Time really flies near the end of the year, and honestly we really felt the final quarter of 2014 just zip past.

Last year we tried something new, following the footsteps of marsyparsy (who's done this for 2 years now) and alakzen (who only tried it for 2013 and decided it was enough) and post a photo a day on Instagram. Except we weren't satisfied with just posting a photo and using the caption to state the date, we had to find extra work for ourself by:
1. Editing the photo to place text, specifically a hashtag and the day;
2. Publishing first on Tumblr;
3. Getting the Tumblr link, then only publishing on Instagram.

Thank goodness for IFTT and Instagram having the option to post directly to Facebook, otherwise we would have given up sooner or later with all that trouble we found ourself.

So, for 2014, we've captured a moment every day in pictures. Most days were mundane, some days couldn't be captured in just a photo. But the idea there was just to jot down: here, look, today was an experience, don't forget it, don't let the day just go by. Blogging used to be how we kept our memories of what happened (well, this blog has survived up to now) and is probably still one of our best repositories of what we've done. Facebook? Endless scrolling and scrutinising posts if we ever wanted to find something from years past - it's great for the present, not the past (unless you've specifically made a photo album of it). Instagram would be slightly easier provided you've used an unique hashtag to categorise your own photos, and thumbnails are easier to scan compared to blog titles.

Currently we are writing using a Bluetooth keyboard paired to our iPad, which means it isn't easy linking words to events that happened (we guess in this case linking to our Tumblr posts) like we used to do (three years ago). But it would still be good to list down highlights for the year (we'll just update this post later once we refer back to our photos):

To start, we'd stayed on with the Young KL Singers for the third year (since joining back in 2012 for the 10th anniversary production), with the start of the year seeing us perform 2013's production, YKLS.Period, in PenangPac in January, before starting our new production: Incantations. Boardgaming made its way back with a higher frequency when the occasional Fridays saw some members of YKLS coming to YCA for the occasional gaming session. In more choir-related happenings, a bunch of us got together to sing an a capella version of Everything Is Awesome from The Lego Movie. A bunch of us got into the Shake 'n Take craze. Performed and experienced the Yayasan Sime Darby Arts Festival at KLPac, which was a great eye-opener. Followed a bunch of choirmates to the Henessey Artistry event. YKLS then performed in DPAC before heading up to PenangPac a few weeks later to perform, which was an awesome experience with more members driving up this time (and it being a more intensive food trip)! To round up the choir year, we managed to join all the carolling sessions this year at 1 Utama.

We decided to start watching Doctor Who, starting from Series 5, working our way to Series 7 before going back to Series 1-4 to tide us over while we waited for Series 8. Then started Being Human after that, both the BBC and US remake (although only for the first couple of seasons in both cases. Sailor Moon Crystal finally started showing much to our excitment. The Hobbit trilogy finishes and we're left feeling it would have been better off as a two-parter instead.

Chinese New Year this time we experienced our first pun choi. It's been agreed among the TTDIans that birthdays should now be just a makan celebration without the stressful part of pooling and getting presents, and while we managed to avoid celebrating with the January babies (on account on being sick), we celebrated a belated version with the March babies instead. As for the Chief's birthday, we were slightly slow at planning it but managed to pull it off starting with a joint celebration with the TTDIan's, then a quiet date at Way Modern Chinois trying out their truffle roast duck, and pulling off a surprise party with the guys (featuring lots of spinach). There were also a couple of weddings, leaving only a handful of collegemates and schoolmates that haven't tied the knot (and speeches warning said folks that the hengdais are no longer as young and active as they used to be so don't take too long). More friends are also now proud parents although this year we couldn't make it for the full moon celebrations. The Chief also brought us along to attend the gala dinner event of A Journey Through Time.

Played Diablo III (again, only as far as the storyline was concerned). Attended the Professor Layton vs Pheonix Wright launch at Berjaya Times Square. Dropped our portable hard drive containing our iTunes media, and lost most of our recent music and videos (thank goodness our photos were backed up to the laptop instead). Got our first Mac Mini and started moving over to the Mac. Bought not just one, but two Logitech bluetooth keyboards (they are so worth it). Won a Lenovo Yoga tablet running Android OS. Finally found Ultra Street Fighter 4 on sale on Steam.

Made a couple more trips to Penang and a number of trips to Singapore! Finally made full use of our Universal Studios Singapore season pass before it expired. Also, experienced Guangzhou for the first time and once again walked for hours due to excellent weather.

Finally ended the year on a quieter note as we didn't have a Christmas party this year (due to a hectic December), and a simple New Year's Eve with friends for dinner and games.

Gosh. We must say that the photo a day project does help in reminding us of the many things that did happen in 2014! Here's hoping there's plenty more in store for 2015!