Sound, water, final

I sounded out my sisters on wanting to come out to parents. They suggested instead to help me test the water. They had a couple of suggestions and we finally settled on my youngest sister gossiping about one of my gay friends. FYI, earlier this year, I already had permission from this friend to tell my parents about him being gay, as a conversation opener. Honestly, I forgot about this but luckily my sisters didn't (thanks!).

Initially, it didn't go that well. My youngest sister reported that my dad commented that it was unnatural and that a guy shouldn't be without another guy. My mum was silent. My sister did respond appropriately but that was that. Oh well, at least we tried this, instead of me coming out right away.

The next day, I called my parents to wish them happy anniversary and to my surprise, my dad brought up the topic of my friend being gay. Amazingly, he was positive about it: he accepted that being gay is in-born, and all that matters was that the person does good, treats his parents well, doesn't harm others. Later, my sister reported that after dinner, he brought up this topic once again and my mum this time chimed in with positive comments. I highly suspected that my mum had a hand in changing my dad's mind.

I then discussed with my sisters what to do next. Wasn't this as good as it gets? Shouldn't I just come out to them already? There was a small risk that they may not be that positive if it involved their children. My b-i-l suggested waiting till after CNY so that we could drop more hints. I on the other hand thought that they probably had small clues here and there throughout the years already and the above topic about my gay friend was just probably the final clue they needed.

I had yet fully recovered from an illness and had initially wanted to wait till I'm well. However, I feared that I may lose courage once again, despite the favourable conditions. Also, there was lots of work to do too and so I didn't want this major item hanging around my head any longer than it should. I figured it was as good as any time to tell them.

So I called them and made sure they were on speaker phone. The initial conversation went like this:

Me: Ma, Pa, I have something to tell you.
Mum: That you're married already ar? *in a joking manner*
Me: *laughed* Oh yes, married already. *Ban's eyes widened* Not legally though.
Mum: I know that already lah.
Me: Yah, well, my parter is Ban.
Mum: Yes, I know.
Me: You both are ok with it?
Mum: Yes, we are.

The rest of the conversation was filled with positive comments, affirmation of love for each other, repeat of what they told my sister (as above). There were no drama (although I nearly had tears in my eyes), no "are you sure?", no "what if..." etc. I told them that it was because I care and love them that I took a long time to come out to them. They were understanding and assured me that they were fine with that.

It was also confirmed that my mum did indeed talk my dad into changing his mind, as she had done so numerous times throughout our lives. I'm so glad my dad has changed with times for the better and that made it all possible for this coming out to be successful.

Thank you mum and dad for loving me and being understanding. For certain, I have my sisters to thank for their support and understanding all these long years and playing a huge role in this success. I love all of you.

Mr Shabu Shabu

Each time I visit my sister in Canberra, she would ask me for a wish list of food that I would like to have. On the recent trip, I asked and had lamington (from nearby bakery), lamb kebab with garlic mayo sauce from Allibaba and udon from Ka Sushi Ramen.

One day, while she and her husband were discussing dinner options for their family, she reminded me of Mr Shabu Shabu where previously I had shabu shabu and a couple of salmon sushi which I thought was good. That jolted my memory (see, sis, your memory's not bad what :) ) and I readily agreed with that dining option.

Mr Shabu Shabu 1

Mr Shabu Shabu 2

Mr Shabu Shabu 3

This time, I went for sushi only :) Yes, they were delicious although the quality control could be tighter as the sushi pieces were of different size. AUD3.50 gets you 2 pieces of salmon sushi and if I recall correctly, the 2 pieces of tuna sushi cost AUD4.00.

My sister had a plate of mixed sushi while her husband had shabu shabu, both of which they liked. For the first time, the kids looked and chose for themselves their meals :) One had chicken curry rice while the other, after some hardsell by his dad (hehehe), had shabu shabu. They boy loved their food (phew!) although they claimed they could have more after they were done @@

Well, it's definitely a place I would go again while I'm there.

Sorethroat, phlegm, cough: its back!

If I have been diligently blogging my illness, then it would seem that it was more than a year ago since I had this sequence of symptoms. I started having sorethroat 4 days ago. It was as though the throat was badly scalded or something (maybe by acid reflux?). On a hunch, I went to see a doctor, who prescribed me anti-histamine, anti-inflammation and a  short course of antibiotic.

Unfortunately the illness proceeded on the same path as a year ago:

1. Sorethroat
2. Sorethroat worsened, sneezing
3. Bad sorethroat, runny nose
4. Sorethroat less painful, runny nose, phlegm accumulation while lying down
5. Sorethroat, white thick mucus causing sinus pressure, phlegm accumulation, post-nasal drip
6. Sorethroat, yellow thick mucus causing sinus pressure, phlegm accumulation, post-nasal drip, cough, fever (new!)

Didn't have proper sleep past few nights due to phelgm and backdrip. Had to try to rest as much while sitting up :(

Once again, I suspect the anti-inflammation was causing excessive amount of phlegm production and so I stopped taking it. Coincidentally or not, phlegm was progressively getting lesser. I should remember to stop the doctor from prescribing this medicine to me.

I've been drinking lots of honey. Also, upon Ban's suggestion, I did a few sinus rinse which did help in getting rid of the mucus stuck inside. A relative recently reminded me of gargling with warm water with salt.

Oh gosh, I hope I'll get well very soon because I have a Christmas potluck (and secret gift exchange) to attend and a brunch with my aunties.


Closer to coming out

The urge to come out to my parents is getting stronger each time I think about it once in a while. My main reservation is the potential of disturbing the "peace". After decades of ups and downs, we have come to a stable state, so to speak. Internal strife is minimal and next year we'll be entering a new phase of "financial support arrangement".

It is, however, getting tedious to maintain this charade. I so want to introduce Ban to them as my partner and it would be much easier to speak with them from then on about us (rather than being "housemates") and our activities e.g. going on holidays together as we did recently. I am also thinking about the future where Ban and I may move to another state or even another country.

I'm quite sure my mum would be ok but I'm uncertain about my dad. My dad was of the traditional China-man type but he has come a long way to change his ways. I'm just afraid this is just one too many "modern" phenomenon that he's willing to accommodate. Even worse, he may start thinking that it's better to revert to "traditions". I don't know :(

The timing may be questionable as well. Besides the above new phase, there may be a major relocation for Ban and I and consequently a different lifestyle. But if I wait for the "right" timing, it may never come because I may be less courageous by then. I should just do it when I feel sufficiently courageous, shouldn't I? @@

OZ Nov15: Batemans Bay Day 3

We were supposed to check out at 10.30am on our third day but upon enquiry, the holiday house owner allowed us to check out late because she didn't have consecutive bookings. Hooray!

What made it even sweeter was the weather finally reverted to its expected sunny-beach-friendly temperament :) So we drove to Surf Beach and found this scene:

Batemans D3_1

Batemans D3_2

Batemans D3_3

Oh yes, it looked like a beautiful day for beach goers. I tried the water but it was shockingly cold for me lol. The constant wind was not helping either, with sand and water droplets clouding my glasses @@.

It was relaxing though, doing nothing but just watching...except I did something later. It has to do with these:

Batemans D3_4

Batemans D3_5

Batemans D3_6

I chased the seagulls for a while to protect our food and picnic mat hehehe. It was silly but quite fun :)

We had some seafood from the nearby fish & chips shop for lunch. It was delicious and reasonably priced too.

Although my sister's family enjoyed this beach visit, I wouldn't choose to repeat this again. It's not that I was miserable. It's just not for me. The cold water, the chilly breeze, the windblown sand + moisture. Nah, not for me.

It was overall a fun enjoyable mini-vacation within my vacation :)

Robocraft: Kaevik's Kae Bone

My medic hover, Lovebeam Mercy, is currently in its 3rd version but I'm still not happy about its instability. Too many times it kept spinning around upside down and up when bumped by other bots.

So I checked out the CRF for some medic hovers, based on combat renting and/or rentals/sales. I was contemplating between 3 of them and decided to try Kaevik's Kae Bone:

Kaevik's Kae Bone 1

Kaevik's Kae Bone 2

Kaevik's Kae Bone 3

Kaevik's Kae Bone 4

It isn't shielded all around like my Lovebeam Mercy but it certainly looks tough with (what appears to be) tri-forced block spam.

It also have 8 guns and their placement is such that at least 2 guns are on the same planes. This make them quite vulnerable to plasma or rail damage given how closely they are placed to one another. I hope that there are some tri-forcing within its body that increase the pathways between the guns.

What I am particularly pleased with this bot is that there's very little gun clipping and it's easy to avoid it. All guns can also heal any bots flying/hovering above Kae Bone, but of course this also means all of them can be targeted by fliers.

Kaevik's Kae Bone 5

Kaevik's Kae Bone 6

Kaevik's Kae Bone 7

It was a mixed bag for the first few battles but later on I won more than I lost. So far, I like this bot. More stable than my Lovebeam Mercy, more healing due to gun placement (thus less clipping) and quite tough too. I should especially consider its gun placement when I remake Lovebeam Mercy.

OZ Nov15: Batemans Bay Day 2


Batesman D2_1

This is the sunroom at the holiday house. It was also the best place to get good internet connection on your phone :P It was where we played Boggles. I found a set at the rack and taught the kids to play it. Their parents soon joined us.

Batesman D2_2-5

The weather was once again not the beach-friendly type. Nevertheless, we checked out the nearest beach (for future refence), Corrigans Beach, which was a mere 5-min walk away. My sister and her hubby decided that it wasn't suitable for the kids to play at.

Batesman D2_6-9

The tide was fierce. Gloomy weather.

Batesman D2_11-16

We then made our long walk to the town area. We passed by some tennis courts, belonging to the local tennis club.

Batesman D2_17-19

University of Wollongong's Batemans Bay campus, which basically consisted of 2 buildings @@. A skatepark was just a short distant away. There were some skaters and cyclists around.

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Walking past the marina.

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Seagulls!

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We lunched at The Starfish Deli after my sister found some good reviews of it. It looked crowded but thank goodness we had seats right away.

Batesman D2_34

The seafood platter (AUD56 for 2 pax) was delicious! I tasted everything there except for the fresh oysters. Shared this with my sister and one of my nephews.

Batesman D2_35

Pizza for my b-i-l and the other nephew. Heard that it was good.

Batesman D2_36-40

We then walked to the Mini Golf course. We purchased the Family Pack (AUD45) for 2 adults and 2 children (my sister sat this out to conserve energy for the walk back). We had plenty of fun, although at the end one of the boys were whinging about his scores lol.

After that, we had ice-cream. Remember the gloomy weather? Yes, it was getting a little colder by now and yet it was so warm in the ice-cream shop. Cunning lol.

I had Vienna coffee ice-cream. I hadn't had coffee ice-cream for a long time. It's one of my 2 favourite ice-cream (the other one is chocolate).

Batesman D2_41

I remembered to take a photo of the Eat Siam restaurant where we dined the night before. The restaurant was at the second floor of the building on the left, one top of a fish & chips shop.

Halfway through our walk, it started raining and started getting colder. Good thing we brought umbrellas and also that it wasn't as heavy as tropical rain :)

We ended the night with home-cooked dinner and games of Boggles. Such a long and tiring day but fun!




































Talisman Digital Edition

I have never played the hardcopy version of this boardgame. I was interested in it after watching Aavak played with 3 other youtubers.

The aim of the game is to be the first person to reach the last "tile" and use the Crown of Command to case the Command spell. To get there, you absolutely need 2 things: sufficient strength or craft to open Portal of Power, and a talisman to pass through the Valley of Fire.

It took me at least 115 rounds (each round = 1 turn per player) to finish the game. So, assuming it took a mere 5 minutes to finish a round, that translates to nearly 10 hours of play! The youtubers took about 2.5 hours.

Now, 2.5 hours for a boardgame is nothing unusual but the amount of grinding and luck involved made this game tedious.

Talisman Digital 1

Let's say you want to get to the village to see the mystic to improve your craft stat and it's 4 tiles away. You would first need to roll a die and you must get exactly 4 to move there. You can spend many rounds before finally getting there. If you're there, again you need to roll a die to get what you want i.e. to improve your craft stat. At some places, you can either get nothing or even worse, get something bad like being turned into a toad or lose a stat. As you can see, it can take ages to get what you want.

Your immediate aim is to buff your stats either by directly increasing them or equip objects or followers. However, with such troublesome RNG (random number generator) mechanism as described above, it can take ages to get the right amount of stats.

Talisman Digital 2

After about 100 rounds, I was finally at the second last tile here. The power shifts were incredible. Initially I was at the forefront and then because of a toad curse (instead of getting useful stats), I became almost useless. Then the Troll and Wizard went toe to toe in the Inner Ring until the former hammered the latter in strength combat.

I then rose again followed by the fall of the Troll. The Druid was slowly gaining power (in the above screenshot, he has the second highest strength).

Talisman Digital 3

Once you get to the Crown of Command, whatever stats you have built up is useless other than defending against attack by another player who venture into the same spot. As you can read above, it is entirely luck-based. Exactly 50/50.

It was so boring for me that I folded clothes while waiting for my turn to come as all I needed to do was to click a button 3 times.

Talisman Digital 4

Throughout the game, no one even pass through the Valley of Fire to get to where I was. Was it because the opponent stats were lousy and thus couldn't pass overcome the obstacles? Partly true but it was also partly because of the huge RNG influence on where they could get to and what they could get once they were there.

Talisman Digital 5

Round 97. Goodness.

Talisman Digital 6

Druid finally died due to my command spell.

Talisman Digital 7

At last! I finally won lol.

Now, compare to a boardgame that I'm familiar with: Mage Knight, a game that usually takes around 3+ hours for 2 players to complete the normal scenario. Is there RNG involved? Yes, you do not know what you will draw from the deck that you build but you know exactly what cards are there in it and keep track. Same goes for the skill tokens.

You know beforehand what are the available Advance Ability and Spells on offer but what you don't know is the next card that will replace any that's taken.

You don't use a die to move. You use movement cards. Even if you don't have any movement cards, you can use any card as 1 movement. Same goes for attack, defend and influence.

The major RNG in Mage Knight is the mana dice that are used to power up your cards but again it's not a must. You can always use the basic version of the cards except for spell but it's ok not to be heavily spell focused. Other cards are equally useful. Besides, mana can also be generated in other ways.

The mana dice are also used to determine reward for certain battles but unlike Talisman, no results are bad.

This makes Mage Knight a much more enjoyable game, far less tedious than Talisman even if it ends up longer (think 6 hours is the record for me).

OZ Nov15: Batemans Bay Day 1

I accepted my sister's invitation to join her family on a weekend trip (Friday evening to Sunday afternoon) to Batemans Bay in South Coast, New South Wales. It has the nearest beaches to Canberra and yes, their main intention was to play and relax on the beach.

I can't even remember the last time I've been to a beach. It could have been nearly 2 decades ago and probably one of the beaches in Sydney lol. Since I had never been the Batemans Bay before, I decided to try something new and accepted her invitation.

Batesman D1_17-21

We arrived at the holiday house on Friday past 6pm and quickly placed our stuff...and go to toilet of course :) I had time to take some pictures...of pictures and some other parts of the house. Since we were in a hurry, I intended to take more pictures before we left on Sunday (that's for another post).

The house was quite small. It had 2 bedrooms, a bathroom, a small kitchen, a laundry room, a small space for the dining table and chairs, a living room that was sufficiently large but the additional feature that I didn't expect to see was the sun room (picture in the next post). It was overall a nice and clean place to stay.

Batesman D1_1

We then dropped by Village Centre to grab some grocery sufficient for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday. My sister had packed some food for a meal, bread, fruits and other snacks.

Actually, my b-i-l and the twins went shopping while my sister and I walked to a Thai restaurant that my sister found on the web earlier. We were on the verge of being hungry grumpy and she began to lose her capacity to think. So need food fast!

Batesman D1_2-7

Unfortunately, weather wasn't kind to beach goers, as you can see from the photos above. It was very cloudy and cold. It looked like it was going to rain any time but luckily it didn't while we were walking.

From a distance, I saw some bird statues on some lampposts but on closer inspection, they were actual live pelicans! Wow, I didn't expect such large birds to perch on lamppost. Too used to seeing only small birds :)

Batesman D1_8-10+16

After a good 15 minutes walk, we arrived at Eat Siam. It was a cozy restaurant and nicely decorated. I was surprised to see portraits of the king and queen of Thailand on its wall. It was later we found out that the chef (and possiblly owner) and a waitress there were Thais.

Batesman D1_11-15

While waiting for the rest of the group, I decided to order Pad Thai so that my sister could grab some of it and thus satiate her hunger a little. It was, unfortunately, the wet version of Pad Thai. It looked like it was stir-fried with tomato sauce. Although similar to the one served at Black Canyon in PJ and Seremban, it was lighter in taste and thus was better.

I was surprised to see "roti" but according to my sister, it didn't taste like roti at all. Made of tapioca flour? *shrug* Another dish I didn't taste was the chicken green curry.

The star dish, as agreed by my sister and her husband, was the grilled calamari. It was succulent, tender and juicy. I rarely eat squid but I absolutely loved this!

OZ Nov15: Mall

A few photos taken at Belconnen Mall:

OZ Nov15_13

Yes, not only was the Christmas decoration up, Santa was there too.

OZ Nov15_14

Of course there were children around. I would say this photoshoot session was a successful one. There was, however, one poor toddler who was crying while his/her parents tried to distract him during the photoshoot. Poor thing :)

OZ Nov15_15

Not sure whether I noticed this roof structure before. I like it as it allows natural sunlight to stream in.

OZ Nov15_16

Ban spotted this poster of "Attack on Titan" anime. Coincidentally, we were watching this anime together with my sister on most afternoons. Ban was surprised that I like it, given its rather dark gory nature. I thought it was just right.

Absence

Whenever we are apart, Ban's daily routine goes a little haywire. He'll sleep late. Feel restless. Foggy. A simple direct explanation is that when I'm around, he usually goes to bed when I do and I usually don't sleep late (still trying to improve!). I also have my meals at regular times.

But we both know he misses me, and I miss him too :) Just that I have not noticed similar symptoms on my part until recently: my sister commented that ever since Ban left OZ and went back to KL, I was less chirpy and missing a spring in my step. Truth to be told, I was feeling a little under the weather but I do not discount the causation. How can I not miss someone who makes me laugh and feel loved every single day? Someone who smiles the moment he sees me in the morning.

I love you, honey bunny. I'll be back in a few weeks time!

OZ Nov15: Cubes

OZ Nov15_9

From afar, I guess that this was a barbeque pit but evidently not. Still no idea what it is.

OZ Nov15_10

Obviously someone felt strongly about skating :)

OZ Nov15_11

Pretty curvy patterns, don't you think so?

OZ Nov15_12

This is just outside a school. Shockingly, just a few days before this photo was taken, the tube-like structure was open and there were little circuit boards with electrical wiring. I can't believe nobody was looking after it while its inside was exposed like that. No mischievous hands expected?

Robocraft: Cluly's Nerf Bomb v4

There are a few bot designs that are viewed as menace in the game. To me, they are Thruster Sticks (TS) SMG and Nerf Bomb (especially the plasma version). Since I believed my albatross-like plasma bomber is simply not sufficiently competitive, I decided to rent Cluly's version of Nerf Bomb and try to see what's the fuss about.

As an aside, I understand from Lathland, a popular youtuber for Robocraft, Cluly is not the first to create the Nerf Bomb but he popularised it by putting up tutorial to build it. He continually improves it and it's now version 4. His version is so popular that Nerf Bomb is nicknamed as Cluly's Ball :)

It took me quite a while to learn to pilot it properly. I tested it in all modes except for The Pit. Here's a video of a quick Battle Arena (only 9mins 15secs!):


The part I have most trouble is to get it to fly off once it crashes to the ground. The only way I discovered (via trial and error in the "Test Bot" mode) is to press S+space bar and, once in the air, immediately press W. Difficult.

It certainly takes skill to pilot this but once you grasp it, it's a great bot. Once, Ban watched me play and praised me for my maneuvering skill at evading rail/SMG shots. I told him that I was trying to turn away and to have stable flight at the same time. The evasive maneuver was incidentally. Wonderful, isn't it? :)

What I'm guessing that some players do is to think this bot is invincible to damage simply because of the shields. That'll be a mistake. You still have to play smart i.e. take cover, hit and run, evasive maneuver, rather than go straight on.

I had great fun playing this bot and I salute its designer for its ingenuity. Currently, it's no longer in CRF and so I built one based on Cluly's tutorial for its second version, modified a little to take into account the additional 5 connection points on the pilot seat as well as some protection at its front. I'll blog about this bot next time :)

OZ Nov15: Nature

OZ Nov15_6

I know that (and experienced it during my 4-year stay previously) it often rains during early spring but this is late spring! It made the weather so cold. Brrrr.

OZ Nov15_5

This was taken at the same time as the 1st photo. No, I'm not kidding :) This was on my left while the 1st stormy photo was on my right.

OZ Nov15_7

Quack! First ducks I saw on this trip, at Lake Ginninderra.

OZ Nov15_3

Sunshine in the arid land :P

OZ Nov15_4

These wildgrass's flowers are pretty and cheery.

OZ Nov15_2

Looks more like autumn, if not of the green patch grass.

OZ Nov15_1

This is more like spring!

OZ Nov15_8

These leaves look almost white in the bright sunshine. On closer look, they are very pale green in colour. Interesting.