Friday, May 29, 2020

Cavalock and The Cat Who Knew Too Much

Dropped by Plaza Singapura the other day cos it was the place where my bank was open during the Lockdown. I mean it was the nearest one from my home so the Baker-at-Home and I took this opportunity to drop by Japanese grocery store Iroha Mart to stock up on some supplies. Unfortunately  still no Japanese bread flour for the Baker-at-Home. But I did spot some pretty fancy booze that were way outta my price range. Beer from Karuizawa! We were there couple years ago!

One of the interesting by-products or effects of the Lockdown are the weirder than usual dreams I been having. Gawd knows I have always had crazy and often 'action-packed' dreams since I was a kid but last week was the first time I had a theme song in a dream. It was 'She's a Beauty' by The Tubes and I was in a freakin' sitcom. I shit you not. There were other equally weird bits but I can't remember them.

And speaking of more weird stuff, you know us humans aren't the only ones affected by the Lockdown when this is the scene unfolding before your very eyes. So that evening I was waiting for my Grab ride when I saw this neighbourhood cat just inches behind a seemingly oblivious pigeon. The cat actually did a double take when it saw me! Was this the equivalent of ninja-zooming a meeting in the animal kingdom? Like it was actually surprised to see me. Was it talking to the pigeon? Then it just locked eyes with me. Now we all know you are not supposed to avert you eyes when caught in a death stare with a wild animal. So for about a whole minute, we just looked at each other and we both tried not to make any sudden movements. I only gingerly managed to snap that single shot before my ride arrived!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Cavalock and The Lockdown Role-Playing Escapade

Like I said in an earlier post, this is a pretty good time to be a gaming geek. While the nasty jocks are caught in a helpless fetal position, trapped in the knowledge that their precious bars and sporting events are either closed or cancelled, us geeks are still gaming like there's no tomorrow. So the media has recently been going on bout how gamers are entertaining themselves online and there was an article in the local papers that mentioned more folks than ever playing role-playing games like Dungeons and Dragons online.

There's a site called Roll20 that lets you meet up with your friends and together with the characters you all created on another site D&D Beyond. At the moment I am in two Dungeons and Dragons role-playing campaigns where we meet up online (we talk via Discord) on those two sites and spend around three to four hours per session. I'm not running the campaigns as in I'm not the Dungeon Master, I'm one of the players going through the adventures and it's really fun. I have been into Dungeons and Dragons since I was a teenager but never really played the game until years later as a working adult. On my shelves are so many Dungeons and Dragons as well as other role-playing books, magazines, gaming aids that I have bought and collected over the years.

Right now I'm putting together a horror campaign based on another game system. First time running one. It's a narrative system so it's more immersive storytelling than fighting creatures and I'll be running it, most likely after Lockdown as I prefer running a narrative game in real life than online.

Over a month since the Lockdown started and the Baker-at-Home is still cooking up a storm. And that means it's time for another home-cooked college! Oh, plus it's our wedding anniversary today!

Monday, May 18, 2020

Cavalock and The Curse of The Buzzless Booze

It took a Lockdown and a worldwide pandemic to make me finally take a swill of alcohol-free beer. And while it definitely wasn't the best thing I ever drank, it wasn't as vile as I thought it would be. It tastes kinda like beer with the added bitterness and all that, but minus the subsequent buzz which is the whole highlight for me. Man, that is some weird shit! Now the only reason I drank the alcohol-free beer was cos it came free with the food I ordered online. I can't understand why would anyone pay that much money for alcohol-free beer in the first place. What freakin' purpose does alcohol-free beer serve in the grand food chain of life? I mean, if you want an alcohol-free drink, there's a gazillion other cheaper and better-tasting ones out there.

Yah, so we are all still in Lockdown mode and the Baker-at-Home has been cooking up a storm. But we still got to order out and we had dinner from Mustard Seed two weeks in a row. Thank gawd we also had some really great REAL beer and sake with our orders. The Baker-at-Home camped at the iMac just before 10am and managed to book a totally awesome weekend dinner. Good hearty restaurant food that reminds you of home.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Cavalock and The Revenge of The Lockdown Nerds

So I'm thinking this whole global lockdown situation is kinda like a real-life Revenge of the Nerds. Y'know that old classic comedy movie from the 80s bout college nerds getting bullied by the nasty sports jocks. Today it's not about college but you got the nerds who are more or less 'equipped' to handle the lockdown cos they got their books, games and hobbies as well as other forms of indoor entertainment to keep them occupied. While the nasty jocks are all moaning and groaning bout all their precious sports events being cancelled and their bars closing. Geddit?

Anyway here's another home-cooked meal for the Lockdown photo album. The Baker-at-Home made some dashi rice with salmon the other day. An excellent recreation of one of our favourite Tokyo meals. A really lovely meal. It's usually our last breakfast at Narita Airport before taking the morning flight back. For creatures of habit like us, it's almost ritualistic if you ask me. Hah!

In my last post, I showed the big big box of miniatures that I bought. Here's what I managed to build over the weekend. Wasn't an easy paint job even though it wasn't the first time I was painting this  creature. But it was incredibly satisfying to hold that fully painted miniature in my hand. Painted another similar figure couple months ago. I could just field one but I wanted to field two of them in the game I'm playing Age of Sigmar, or at least hope to continue playing once the Lockdown ends.


Friday, May 08, 2020

Cavalock and The Guilt-Free Lockdown Spluge

A little treat for myself last week! Ordered my favourite gnocchi from Cicheti, that's like a five minute drive away so it arrived nice and hot. Been awhile since we dined there. Did it really take a pandemic to rekindle a food craving? Hah! Missed them forest mushrooms and truffle ricotta, all so deliciously creamy. This is the kinda meals that make a Lockdown bearable although the Baker-at-Home and I are doing alright. We have been splurging a bit on delivery meals these days. You thought you could save some money during a Lockdown but you can't.

So me and the guys, all six of us, we were supposed to head to Indianapolis in the US at the end of July for the gaming convention Gen Con 2020 but for obvious reasons, we had to cancel it. As of today, 8th May, it's still happening. Unfortunately, everything was already paid in advance so right now, we are trying to get back every cent we can. I mean, between the random assaults on Asians in the US and the virus running rampant in the country, it's just crazy to be anywhere near there now or anytime soon. And I haven't even mentioned the possible quarantine periods we have to look forward to there as well as coming back home. Our 4-day convention could very likely become a month-long (mis)adventure!

Out of the six of us going, two of us have been there twice already, the rest haven't, it would had been their first time there. Damn, I had an absolutely wonderful time there, back in 2014 and 2016. But seriously, at the convention we were all packed like sardines, all 70,000 of us. This is the kinda convention where thousands of players sit across each other to play games, pass cards, roll dice, move miniatures, you get the idea. It is definitely not the kinda place you can practise safe-distancing. Oh well, it's really out of our hands.

We are all doing whatever we can cope with the present situation. And with almost another month of Lockdown to go, I got myself a big box of Games Workshop miniatures to build and paint! These are to supplement my existing Gloomspite Gitz army. Costed me just over $200 even though it was on sale. Wish me luck!

Monday, April 27, 2020

Cavalock and Another Lockdown Home-Cooked Collage

Been a few weeks since I posted a collage of the glorious meals that the Baker-at-Home had cooked up for the two of us during the Lockdown. Believe it or not, it's me first time having quinoa, and I'm enjoying it. The Baker-at-Home is a fan of quinoa for awhile now while I have been avoiding it until now. Hah!

Am so glad I have been buying all them Japanese face towels whenever we were there over the last couple years. I have at least a dozen and they all came in real handy as I'm using them everyday. Being in Lockdown means no more chilling in an air-con office or mall environment which leaves me sweating like a rain god to all the bugs around me. So of cos, I have been going through the photo reel in me iPhone cos what else can I do besides gaming, reading, painting and watching YouTube during a Lockdown? Some snapped last year, same earlier this year.

Well, colour me green! I never knew that's how brussels sprouts are grown before picking this up at Isetan a couple months ago. Now there's this rice spoon or scoop I spotted in Tokyu Hands that measures the amount of calories in each scoop. I thought that's pretty cool. And fluffy chicken in me Dad's neighbourhood.

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Cavalock and The Bulmuda Waffle Confluence

Really fortunate that my friend dropped by my place several days ago to gift us two pairs of her popular frozen waffles as well as two tubs of ice-cream to go with it, from her shop. Been awhile since I been to Creamier so this was a most welcome treat during these apocalyptic times. No dire situation a generous serving of yummy waffles and ice-cream can't help alleviate.

We toasted the waffles in our Japanese Bulmuda Toaster and although there is no degree setting on the toaster, it turned out golden perfect. Same setting as when we toast our morning breakfast bread as there's a setting for 'toast' and no aluminium foil needed. Absolutely delicious after dinner dessert and we are saving the final two for another day. Once they are available to the public again, we are definitely buying them.

If you really bored and got a printer at home, you can check out some complete print and play games over at Asmodee's page. The games are all free and most are simpler versions of actual boardgames.

One of my favourite solo boardgames right now is Metro X, the Tokyo and Osaka edition. It's flip-and-write game based on the Tokyo or Osaka train systems in Japan, where you turn over card after card from a deck and depending on the number of the card revealed, you decide where to add stations on a special sheet of paper. However the number of times you can add stations to each line is limited and that makes this tiny little game a real brain burner.

"In more detail, each player has their own sheet of paper, with all players using either the Tokyo or Osaka map. Each sheet shows an interwoven subway system, with the system consisting of many subway lines; each line has a name, a number of indicator boxes, a number of empty station boxes on the subway route, and two bonuses. On a turn, a player reveals the top indicator card from the deck of twenty cards, then each player individually and simultaneously chooses a subway line, then does something depending on which type of card is revealed. Once all the indicator boxes are filled, the game ends. In solo mode, you try to beat a certain high score."

Monday, April 20, 2020

Cavalock and The Lockdown Fridge Discovery

Well, the country is still in a dismal Lockdown but life goes on and there are still things to do. Things like while clearing out the fridge, the Baker-at-Home found this forgotten gem in our fridge that we bought back in Tokyo last year! Honey Miso Garlic Dip!

We got this little bottle of miso dip from a small shop near Tokyo Station specialising in all kinds of honey (L'abeille means 'honey' in French) and sauces from Japan. It was one of those fascinating shops that we happened to stroll past and just decided to enter and then leave with a bag of new stuff. Y'know, the kinda shop that locals frequent, and you know there are some local treasures inside. Hah! A tiny little spicy kick from the garlic but so much flavour, and goes so well with the veggie sticks. Should have bought the larger bottle. You should see how we are rationing this during meals, it's hilarious! Ah, reminds me of all them past yakitori restaurant dates, until the Lockdown ends I guess this all we have for now.

Thanks to me foot operation last year, I reckon I got some practise with being in a Lockdown as in being immobile and having to stay indoors for a couple months. I can understand if you are over 60 years old, how sucky it can be when you are forced to stay indoors but if you are young, healthy and with access to the Internet, come on! Take it from a certified introvert, the outdoors are way overrated. Alright, I'm kidding, maybe it's just a little overrated.

Been getting my daily doses of boardgaming at the free Boardgame Arena site. Am simply loving the boardgames here. Gotta keep them grey cells working. Mostly gaming with my friends in the afternoon when they can take a break from working from home or in the evening. Although you could just log on and pick a game with strangers instantly. You just stroll through the games you like and you'll see tables opening up for folks to join in. Been playing 7 Wonders, Puerto Rico, The King's Guild and several others. Like I said in my last post, the interface is brilliant, with game instructions and everything.

Monday, April 13, 2020

Cavalock and The Post Easter Sunday Post

Hot-crossed buns! Been awhile since I had one and the Baker-at-Home did her very first batch this Easter Sunday afternoon! I remembered I had the occasional hot-crossed bun when I was growing up in the old family home but today's buns were nothing like the ones I had as a kid. For starters, they had rum-soaked raisins in them! They were soaked late last year but we had our home renovations back then so the Baker-at-Home didn't have time to bake her usual Christmas fruit cakes. It was only a small jar this time so she decided to attempt baking some hot-crossed buns with them, using a modified Mary Berry recipe I believe.

Yah, 12 freshly baked hot-crossed buns for just the both of us is a lot! But they taste great so no complaints at all.

So believe it or not, I haven't painted a single miniature since the Lockdown started. Gawd knows it's not cos I haven't got anything to paint. Still got a backlog of bout half a dozen figures to paint. I did paint a couple little treasure chests to use as objectives in future tabletop games.

Well, I been playing boardgames online at Boardgame Arena. It's a site where they got digital versions of popular boardgames like Carcassonne, 7 Wonders, Tzolk'in, Saboteur, Stone Age, just to name a few. And it's all free, well, you can pay to be a premium member to get some other benefits like voice chat and a wider selection of games. It's async too so you can make a move today while your opponents make their moves later in the day and you can continue the day after. Or you can also play in real time. It's that versatile and the interface is extremely user-friendly as well.

Thursday, April 09, 2020

Cavalock and The Home-Cooked Collage

Home-cooked meals are the order of the day during this here Lockdown. From beef don to chicken noodles, the Baker-at-Home has been stellar in putting food on the table over the last couple weeks. A guy can't be more blessed than this. For breakfast, we were lucky to have purchased one them big ass blenders with them power blades earlier this year, specifically to blend nuts or almonds to be exact, into jars of nut butter. A thicker and richer spread than the nut butter you find in your grocery stores, and I suppose it's healthier too cos it's all natural.

It's very unlikely that we'll be doing any traveling this year so no more obligatory vacation food collages but here's a home-cooked collage instead.

The Baker-at-Home is now also the Office Worker-at-Home cos her office just delivered all two big monitors and they are both now occupying the study table. My iMac is now a fixture on the dining table, yah, the same table that I host my Warhammer tabletop sessions with me friends. Well, anyway it's not like I can ask them over any time soon. Hah!

Some new bird pix by me 85-year-old Dad before the Lockdown. Mostly taken at Jurong and Botantic Garden.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Cavalock and The Lockdown Hobby Rant

Well, this is pretty much all the hoarding we did over the last week. Five cans of SW tomatoes, well, cos cans of the rare Cirio Cherry Tomatoes (our usual brand) are nowhere to be found, online and offline. We didn't exactly hunkered down and we only bought our usual groceries. But it is kinda scary to see all them naked shelves in the supermarket.

We aren't in lockdown (yet) but we are coming close to one. Reports of how folks in the West aren't taking too kindly to lockdowns are somewhat hard to fathom. How they value their freedom to do whatever they want regardless of the consequences and how they think it's 'unconstitutional' to do be told what to do by their governments, it's all rather mind-boggling.

As a nerdy introvert gamer all my life, doing things on my own or finding my own amusement is something I'm very familiar with. And when I hear people saying they don't know what to do when they are forced to be at home is quite amusing. I'm not making this up when I say I know successful working adults who are moaning about the fact that they have no hobbies. Seriously, they are saying in this desolate voice, "oh, I just realised I have no hobbies besides work and watching Korean soap operas." Frankly, I'm surprised too. I go "What you mean, don't you like to read or something?" "What did you do in the last 20 or 30 years of your life that you actually enjoyed, besides working."

I suppose if you have kids, you might not have time for your own hobbies but some of these folks don't have kids, and they travel so I guess that's somewhat of a hobby but since you can't travel now. I imagine they are feeling lost and looking for some new ... er... purpose in life? I think a lot of people out there just know how to "work" and when it comes to hobbies, what comes to their mind are "watching sports/movies/TV, eating, travelling and maybe working out". I'm not saying it's wrong or bad, just a little sad to me. But I ain't judging (or am I?), some folks are perfectly fine with not having hobbies. It's them full-grown adult folks who are groaning bout how they ain't got no hobbies and somewhat regretting it now, that just sounds weird to me. Sometimes I just kinda bitch slap folks who ask me, "what am I going to do when I retire? I got no hobbies."

Meanwhile the Baker-at-Home is cooking up some lard in the kitchen. Hah! This is the first time she's doing this. All part of doing something you enjoy, you try something new, maybe you get to create something new and wonderful too.

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Cavalock and The Vanishing Queues Appreciation

Admit it, despite the Co-vid doom and gloom hanging over the city, there is a part of you that is relishing the fact that eateries that were once besieged by long queues of tourists are now free of them. Case in point, Bacha Coffee at ION Orchard. No more snaking lines of Chinese and regional tourists outside the cafe. We finally got a table! I lost count of the number of times me and the Baker-at-Home walked away from the joint cos of the (at least) hour-long wait.

You can also find a table at the food court as there are folks these days as half the office are working from home. I know business is bad and eateries are losing money but I'm thinking, folks still gotta eat so someone has be benefitting from this. Food delivery services for sure. And supermarkets too cos folks will be cooking their meals at home more often I guess.

Since all our travel plans for the year are grounded. No more Japan trips for now. So I have been busy painting as I definitely foresee more gaming hours ahead. Just painted the new Squig hero for my Warhammer Age of Sigmar miniatures army. I actually like how the colors came out for this model. And my special order from the UK, just came in too. More Troggoths! Or trolls to you mortals. I have just based them white before painting in the colors. Some of my friends are working from home these couple weeks and we have been meeting up for gaming sessions. Hah!

Monday, March 02, 2020

Cavalock and The Balmuda Toaster Reminiscent

Probably one of the weirdest Easter eggs I have ever seen. Guinness Easter eggs spotted at Meidi-Ya over the weekend, I guess of the last few times I'll be there before they move out. Although the Baker-At-Home has managed to wrangle some info on a very likely new location for our favourite Japanese supermarket.

Something that we did bought from Meidi-Ya that evening was this tempting six-pack of limited edition premium Kirin beer. Never could resist a new "flavour" of beer especially if each can promises 5.5% of goodness. 

Saw this Balmuda t-shirt at Liang's Court Uniqlo and I knew I had to get it since it serves as a reminder of how we packed an entire state-of-the-art toaster oven in our luggage three years ago. Secured by our holiday laundry stuffed all around it. That was one heavy piece of luggage! Still using it at least once every week or two. Definitely one of our best buys from Japan. Believe it or not, I still get the occasional email bout getting a Balmuda toaster in Singapore, how to get it working with a transformer and all that. While writing this post, I realised that my original Balmuda post had a couple of enquires bout which transformer to use, been ages since I visited that post so I never read the comments. Real sorry but that. Well, I'm using a 1500 Watt, AC to AC converter. Hope that helps.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Cavalock and The Nippon Milo Adaptation

Who knew? They got Milo that's made in Japan. Found these at our local Don Don supermarket. Think its been a couple decades since I had a hot cup of Milo. Not even a bloody Milo dinosaur. Although I reckon if you made a Milo dinosaur out of this, it'll be a Milo Godzilla. Anyway I think I stopped after reading somewhere that it's just another flavoured sugared drink with a rather excellent marketing campaign. But I am still kinda intrigued by Milo that's made-in-Japan.

Been a long while since I posted me Dad's wildlife pix here. He's 86 years old and his camera equipment is getting way too heavy for him to carry around especially on the public buses. So last week between medical appointments, he took over 2,000 photos over two days. His friends told him there were six ducklings at Garden by the Bay, two became fish food before he managed to get there and snap a few hundred shots of them. Four days later when he returned, there were only three left.