Tuesday, July 29, 2008

'Throwing in a cup of coffee too'

Got a couple of Avenue Q - The Musical tickets to let go. Bought them a few months ago when they just went on sale. But due to unforeseen crap, I have to let them go otherwise I have to watch alone.

They are a pair of S$120 tickets K26 and K27, Nov 8 (Saturday) 8pm at the Esplanade. I got them for S$111 each cos of M1 discount. But I’m selling them for only S$110 each. It’s a real funny musical, kinda like an RA Sesame Street with puppets, won a couple of Tony awards and all that jazz. Drop me an email if you want those tickets. I wouldn’t mind throwing in a cup of coffee too if we meet up. Thanks in advance!

One of my favourite sites has closed. The Waiwai section of Mainichi Daily News. I wrote bout it being one of my daily must-reads in one of my waaaay earlier posts. It’s freakin’ Japanese sleaze, the articles (no pix) are usually bout sex-related tabloid stuff, like stories bout the sex industry in Japan or something equally kinky. So I guess if you read the reasons it’s really no surprise why they shut it down. But damn, it sure took them a long time. Hah!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

'A game of mystery food roulette'

So last Friday my friend asked if I wanna joined in for the Star Wars: The Clone Wars Midnight Madness sale at Toys r Us. A group of us were at the Episode 2: Attack of the Clones and Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith midnite sales but for this new cartoon feature ... I figured I'll passed on the staying pass midnite sale. Another reason was between our local comic con and going Brisbane for Gen Con Oz, we all kinda seen enough guys in Star Wars outfits for awhile. So none of us went for it in the end.

But I did manage to find some Midnight Madness sale pix from the Columbia, Maryland and Mission Bay in the US.

Anyway, the next day I read the forums and there was quite a crowd as expected, the department stores started stocking them on Saturday morning and the scalpers were grabbing everything in sight.

Still I managed to find at a heartlands store. I didn't wanna start another new collection but got General Grevious cos I was thought he was kinda cool and this figure didn't look as cartoony as the rest. And also that little '1st day of issue' tag does look pretty cool.

Here are some of my other exclusive Star Wars figures that I had to Q to get. The holographic was a freebie for taking part in the last midnite madness for Revenge of the Sith.

Dinner on Saturday nite had to be one of my Top 10 most ‘colourful’ and memorable dinners. Hmmm….where should I start?....read bout the opening of Hokkaido Sushi a couple of weeks ago from Imp and then the review from m.

Now I tried to get through to make a reservation at 7pm. Tried calling between 5.30pm and 6pm, kept getting the answering machine. Told myself, never mind, I’ll still go try my luck, if I can’t get a table, I’ll just take the bus or train to Kuriya at Raffles City.

Luck was with me as I got a table! And so begins our little tale of patience and misdirection! Ok, let me start by saying that the food and service were all excellent. The things that went wrong were I guess more logistical stuff. The dropping and breaking plate/bowl (not me!) at the start wasn’t a good sign either.

All right, there were a bunch of technical and logistical problems that nite. To be fair, I don’t think I wanna go into them as I think by the time anyone reads this, those problems would have already been fixed. But it all kinda reminds me of beta testing, you know when a software or game (I’m looking at you Age of Conan!!!) that’s not yet complete, still with some bugs but it’s released to the unsuspecting, paying public and chaos ensures.

But I think I will talk bout what I found funny that nite. The yakitori orders were nixed cos the grill couldn’t fire up or at least that’s what we were told. I thought it was kinda funny when the teppanyaki chef seemed pretty free compared to everyone else. Then when the defunct yakitori orders were redirected to him, he got buuzeeee real fast, together with the yaki chef who came out to help him. Well, I had 2 whole hours while waiting for my food to keep myself amused.

After the first hour, it became a game of mystery food roulette for me. ‘Which one of my orders will they cancel next?’ ‘What will they substitute for it?’ ‘What mystery food will they now serve me?’

I was also suddenly reminded of the Titanic. Maiden voyage and I bet at some point during the journey the kitchen was in chaos too. Hey, like I said, I had to keep myself entertained and I don’t have my DS or PSP with me.

I took some pix but I don’t think I wanna post them. Maybe the next time when I’m there again…

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

'We are keeping this post PG-rated'

Heh, yap, it’s still with the food loot I hauled from Brisbane. The packs of instant coffee are pretty good. Far as I know you can’t find these here. You can however find the regular cappuccino flavour here at The Marketplace Raffles City but the one I bought is the sweet cappuccino that comes with a free cocoa powder shaker.

The Chai Tea tastes almost exactly like the one I had at Coffee Bean a couple of years ago. Dunno if they still have it on their menu. Very very flavorful, nice and spicy if you like it that way.
Hmmmm….. the fabled Chicken Salt…..only A$1.90….why can’t you find it here? Is it banned here cos it’s like some super sinful salt that’s really bad for your health or something?

I was told that you can find the Latte Tim Tams at our local Candy Empire, very reasonably priced too. Trust me, everyone who had one loved it. My friend's colleagues even offered to buy some off him. This here’s my last unopened pack.

Ahhh…licorice… had my first taste many years ago and found that it to sometimes have quite an ‘interesting’ effect on me, we are keeping this post PG-rated now. So when I saw someone decided to cover it in chocolate, hey, it’s like pure freakin’ genius man!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Geez, after 6 posts on Gen Con Oz, what else can I say about it? If there are any gamers out there who wanna know more bout the event, you can always email me at cavalock@yahoo.com well, I was real lucky to be with a bunch of guys who knew how to eat well too. But I think I posted all the food shots I got. I still got a few more Brisbane shots that I’ll post below.

Funny stories to tell? Yah, there were more than a couple of those. But most were usually the ‘ya-gotta-be-there-ta-get-it’ kinda stories. Like how one of the guys fell asleep mid-sentence at a gaming table in the middle of the afternoon, “So how do you … * nod * ...zzzzzzzzzzzz….”, first time any of us saw something like this.

Then there was the Friday nite we had free soft porn showing on cable. Bare Naked Desires, you can’t ever forget a title like that. We had the movie running while playing the boardgames we bought earlier. After gaming, two headed back to their room down the hall cos we couldn’t get adjoining rooms (snorers in one room, non-snorers in the other), me and my friend went straight to bed while the other 2 guys continued watching the show in their room. Was kinda funny cos the next day, one of them looked real tired and at that time we thought it was the other guy’s snoring that kept him awake. ...er... like I said, you gotta be there to get it.

We went ‘HAIL!’ when we saw this.

This actually led to a passionate discussion as to whether or not that was an accurate to scale, life-size T-Rex or not. Really.

Metal stuff.

More metal stuff.

My room shots! Not a bad service apartment Riverside Hotel. Right between the convention area (nice and laidback) and the shopping casino district. Little less than A$500 each for 4 nites.

The food loot pix, taken back home after I unpacked. Got home bout 7am in the morning.

Headed to Orchard for lunch a few hours later. My S$50 Kuriya lunch at Shaw. Already planned for a major Japanese lunch before I left the country! Hah!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

'Just for the cheap lobster'

Alright, as promised here's my little writeup on my nite at the Treasury Casino. It was our second nite in Brisbane, we left the convention about 5pm I think and headed to the shopping district. You can't miss the casino, it's the first big stoney-looking building when you cross the Melbourne Street bridge.

After dumping our bags in the locker (goodbye A$5!), we hit the main gambling hall. One of the guys brought us to the Wheel of Fortune table. That was like the easiest table to play, not counting the machines. OK, I don't really know how to write a play-by-play rundown of how the gambling went ... I lost almost everything there, walked around a bit. Like I said before in one of waaaaay earlier posts, I kinda got a gambling problem, used to bet LOTS on soccer every weekend a few years ago but have since stopped. I know how it feels to lose $$$ on bets so I wasn't that worried bout losing at the Wheel.

BUT I still got 2 chips left, after walking around, decided to head back to the Wheel to place one chip on a second last longshot, 23 to 1 odds (longest was 47 to 1). KAA-CHING!! Longshot worked, I won back my $$$ and I figured I better stop while I'm ahead. So I pretty much broke even on my first nite at an Aussie casino. ;)

BUT that's not the end of our casino adventure! The casino restaurant was having a members' special, A$9.99 lobster meal. Non-members pay A$19.99. So guess what, two of my friends decided to join the casino! Yes, just for the cheap lobster meal, hah! Membership was free and instant too so they signed up.

I thought of not ordering the lobster since I couldn't get the member price but luckily our waiter explained that we only needed one member at the table for everyone to enjoy the offer.

We also made sure we had veggies to go as well. Ordered Cesar's Salad and a plate of stirred fried veggies too. See? As a bunch of gaming geeks on vacation, we do know how to take care of ourselves. How good was the lobster? Well, we came back on our second last nite for another round. And this time we stayed clear of the gambling hall.
On our last nite, we grabbed dinner at the little restaurant down at our apartment cos we needed to head right to the airport after that. I had the baked pork loin in macadamia nuts. The skin was nice and crispy, thanks to the nuts. Was almost perfect cept that a huge chunk flew onto my sweatshirt while I was cutting it. I changed my outfit immediately but I still can't remove the stain till today. :(

Oh yah, my regular caffeine intake was taken care of with my orders of Flat Whites wherever I could find them.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

'We just luuuve the gravy'

So did 4 guys on a gaming expedition do anything else besides gaming? Hell yah, we went shopping and eating and gambling!

Of cos we spent a small fortune on games but we also spent quite a bit on grocery shopping and eating well. I spent almost A$100 on Aussie snacks aka gifts for the folks back home. Latte Tim Tams were everyone’s favourite when we tried it one nite in the apartment. We would always open some new snacks when we got back to the apartment every nite, while trying out the new games we bought. Anyway, we all agreed Latte was the best, I think together we bought like over 20 packs over the next couple of days when we re-visited the supermarket.

Day 1 breakfast was the home-cooked sausages and eggs. Day 2 was 5 (or was it 6?) slices of white bread, cheese, Tasmanian pâté and a glass of fresh milk for me. The pâté was excellent. Only the Orange and Brandy mix (the one on the left) sucked. Recommended by one of the guys who studied there. I liked it so much I bought a pack home too, found one without the Orange and Brandy! Still in my fridge, haven’t opened it yet.

Day 3 was a simple pack of instant Indo mee for me. Was pretty good if I do say so myself. Been awhile since I fixed myself a packet of instant noodles. Thing was for these first 3 days, we all signed up for 10am morning tournaments. So breakfast had to be a quick one in the apartment.

But on the last day, we had nothing on that morning so we went looking for a really big breakfast. Found it at nice little Greek place down the road from the convention centre. We were served by a Borat-lookalike, really.

Food wasn’t as cheap as we expected it to be. Cheap steak was something we were looking out for but not much luck finding any. The guys who studied there brought us to some of their familiar food joints like Red Rooster. We just luuuve the gravy.

Next up we got more food and a nite at the casino...

Monday, July 14, 2008

'I have a kitty litter in my room'

There were lots of other stuff going at Gen Con Oz besides the games. I was the only hardcore comic book fan in the group so I spent some time at the artists’ section where I met lovely Australian comic book artist Nicola Scott who’s handling the art chores for the upcoming DC comic Secret Six.

I brought my Birds of Prey trade paperback for her to autograph on Friday and came back again on the last day Sunday just before closing to buy some original page art pieces. But decided for a couple of character sketches instead. She did a Batman on-the-spot for me while she was doing that, I figured why not have a Catwoman too, facing him. Think that’ll look pretty neat on the wall.

Time for some of the more eye-catching pix featuring cosplay and other dubious characters coming up.

Babysitting services at the convention was a hit.

“Who’s your daddy?”

Halo guy or Headlights-Man?

Halo guy sneaking up on Clonetrooper guy.

“My, what a big, long gun you have.”

Chewie needs a shave.

A$50 lets you learn how to ‘Fight like a Jedi” apparently by the guy who taught the swordplay in the Star Wars movies. For A$50, I wanna at least get to keep the lightsaber.

“Really lady, I have a kitty litter in my room, just follow me.”

Some fantasy chick fulfilling some guy’s fantasy.

Transformer chick with Bumblebee (who’s a chick too).

“Well, I’m still waiting for one of you to transform.”

The Guitar Fairy?

Slash makes a comeback. Not.

Nice Blood Elf lady teams up with lame Spidey.

Yah, that’s more her type.

No idea who they are but they sure look tired.

Must … resist … making … jokes … bout … people’s weight.

Saving the pretty ones for last.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

'Breakfast of champions'

We got off to a hearty start on the first day of Gen Con Oz. one of my friends prepared breakfast for us in his room. He cooked up an unforgettable morning feast for us. We call it the Breakfast of Champions cos later that morning, he took the first prize for our first strategy game, Ticket to Ride! So remember people, good things happen to you if you make breakfast for me! We signed up online for 2 award-winning strategy board games and 1 fun fantasy card game, plus 1 World of Warcraft collectible card game over the counter while we were there.

One strange thing we noticed was that we seemed to be the only Singaporeans attending the thing. I mean, we thought we would run into some familiar local faces here. Well, anyway we had a blast.

And at the end of the entire convention, we did pretty damn well in the games too. Two of my friends won the Ticket to Ride (10am Thursday) and Puetro Rico (10am Saturday) strategy games. 4 groups with 5 players in each group, total 20 players. 2 rounds, after each round, players would randomly switch groups. Total high scorer wins a championship title, a cert and vouchers.

I must give HUGE props to all the Aussies gamers, very polite, very nice and great gamers. We joked, shook hands and had a great time. One thing my friend said bout the Aussie players was he was kinda surprised by the way they played, as in most (but not all) of them don't try to 'screw' the other players during the game. Not screw as in cheat or anything like that but in these strategy games, it's normal to attempt to make counter moves, block someone else's moves and so on. Well, there was this one guy who was pretty pissed off by my friend's moves in Puetro Rico, after losing the game the guy just walked off. Heh!

Cutthroat Caverns was the lighthearted fantasy card game that ran on Friday nite. The friend who won Puetro Rico was also one of the 3 winners for Cutthroat Caverns and guess what, that day was his birthday too.

The Warcraft ccg was a last minute game we decided to play. We all enjoyed playing the game so we figured why not play with some Aussies while we were there. It was the Aussie National Qualifiers. Top 8 guys will qualify for the Aussie Nationals later this year. My 3 friends made it to the Top 8, I didn't. :( But 2 of them decided to quit cos we were very tired and there wasn't really any point in us qualifiying since we weren't gonna be around for their Nationals. We just played for fun.

On with the pix! Alright, most of the cool shots of us in action, I can't put up for obvious reasons, unless I learn how to do those headless shots like Imp. Hah! Oh, I brought my little camera for the trip, not the big one.

Day one crowd. These are the guys who don't believe in signing up online. That's like 30 mins of your life spent Q-ing that you'll never get back.

One of the coolest things bout the convention was the huge boardgame area. There were dozens of boardgames there for anyone to just pick up one, bring it to one of the many tables there, open the box and play. We played bout 20 new games, some we liked more than others and ended up heading to the stalls to look and buy them. Here we were Aqua Romano and the one below is Ra.

Some of the many stalls.

Wizards of the Coast with their Magic, D&D, D&D miniatures and Heroscape too I think.

LAN gamers in action. Team Fortress I believe.

Not for sale yet but here's a sneak preview of the World of Warcraft miniatures game. I can almost see my money walking out of my pocket already.

The role-playing arena. That's about as close as we wanna get. Heh.

Some kinda seminar I guess. "So do we all know the difference between a blue box and a green box?"

Hey, you are never too old to game!

The miniature wargamming arena.

But learn how to paint those little lead guys first, and here's a place where you learn how to do just that.

Yes, it's a guy in robes playing a giant Jugga game.

So Apollo and Baltar from the new Battlestar Galactica TV series were supposed to turn up as the event's main celebrity guests (really!) but they couldn't cos of their filming schedule, so instead we got ... who? ...