Hehehe gosh, good thing Ban pointed this advert out to me. It's hilarious.

Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf 1

Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf 2

Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf 3

Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf 4

Three Little Pigs & The Big Bad Wolf 5

Incompetent client

I've been assisting the actuary on a routine project for a client for the past few years. Basically, we perform quarterly and yearly valuation.

There was of course teething problem initially but at least they learned quickly, especially the finance manager who was our point of contact. So things went quite well thereafter. Unfortunately, she was transferred to another department at the end of last year. So from this year's Q1 onward we were dealing with the new finance manager.

There are 4 major sets of data (A, B, C and D) that they normally send us. In the past, there was rarely problem with the data and at most a revised set (of 1 or 2 of them) may be sent after they discovered errors upon our queries.

However, in Q1 itself:

Set A - 6 versions
Set D - 3 versions

I had hoped that they would learn from this so that Q2 would be better. Towards the end of Q2, here's the situation:

Set A - 5 versions
Set B - 2 versions

(Set D is not ready yet and I really hope it'll be correct from the start).

All these revised data are exclusively due to our queries. In fact, after they gave us 3rd version of Set A, I specifically asked them to re-check and confirm the accuracy of the data, of which they did. Yet, subsequently I found more mistakes. Arrrgggghh!

Coffee art decoration

I rarely drink coffee and when I do, rarely the coffee is decorated.

One night, after a farewell dinner, some friends and I had drinks at a cafe (VCR). I was quite impressed with this art work. The pattern may not necessarily be great but it was the execution that impressed me. Refined and delicate. The taste was quite good too.

Coffee 1

Coffee 2

Sinus at work

Oh yes, the busy period of work is underway and guess what is competing for my time? My sinus. Or pseudo-sinus, as I sometimes call it because I had it checked before and the ENT specialist confirmed there was nothing blocking my sinus passage. The symptom I typically exhibit is stuffy nose (without mucus stuffing my nose!) and sometimes it gets worse by causing headache. I often feel drowsy too and without medication, I can sleep many hours without feeling better.

Years later, someone alerted me of vasomotor rhinitis. "Vasomotor rhinitis occurs when the blood vessels inside the nose expand (dilate). Dilation of the vessels in the nose produces swelling and can cause congestion." (from Yup, this is it. Unfortunately, there is no known cure for it.

What works best for me to manage the symptom is Ceterizine. What a lifesaver...and cheap too compared to other medication :)

Normally when I'm healthy, I can work 3 shifts of 45 mins with 5 mins break in between before I need a longer break (20-30 mins). Then I start the cycle again. According to my timesheet, a typical workday would mean 3.5-4.5 hours of pure work (excluding meals, shower, toilet break, phone calls etc), which is just about 1-1.5 hours short of what I used to accumulate back at my ex-workplace. It is such data that convinces me that I can work full-time.

However, when I have sinus, oh boy, it was torturous. To even last for 45 mins requires great effort and sometimes I feel like vomiting too. Remember, I will feel drowsy and sometimes I have sinus headache too. I would definitely need to take medicine and a nap. Despite this, I usually able to put in close to 3 hours of work.

This makes me feel appreciative and grateful for such stay-at-home work opportunity and lifestyle. Yes, I was a good employee and I dare say I was above average but there was stress of compensating for poor health (by making sure I worked harder on healthy days and to hand in above-average work quality).

Of course one huge advantage I have now is that I get to spend lots of time with my family and Ban :)

Robocraft: Fly, Forest, Fly!

Since the previous post on Robocraft, I have built a few plasma bombers :) But boy, it was so troublesome.

So many things could go wrong: inclined too much upward, nose-dived too much, not fast enough, not agile enough, too agile, too fragile, can't fly after 1 or 2 hits etc.

Initially, I tried to copy Lathland's "Mittens" (the plane featured in the video link in my first post) but I couldn't make it stable until Ban stacked the aeroils together (the longer wing). Since then, I figured out one crucial step to substantially stabilise the plane: align the aerofoils with the pilot. Even after that, I still needed to adjust a little here and there, mainly using thrusters.

Here are the results:

Robocraft Baby Forest

Robocraft Forest Jr

Robocraft Forest

Robocraft Forest Sr

Robocraft Forest Elder

As you can see, they are basically the same design. All of them, except for the T10 bomber (the last one), have stacked redundant aerofoils and rudders i.e. 2 on each side. Forest Elder (the T10 bomber) has 2 pairs of 3-stacked rudders and 2 pairs of 2-stacked aerofoils and 1 rudder underneath that stack (idea from Lathland). Yes, redundant wings are important because it's important to still able to fly despite losing a wing or two.

So besides SMG tank and plasma bomber, I've also tried railgun walker but despite playing it about 10 times, I couldn't do well with it. This is Ban's favourite and he's good at it :) I love plasma bomber the best but SMG tank is easier to play.

As at now, I've scrapped the T9 bomber to build Rosefall's Juggernaut i.e. a SMG hovercraft. My main problem is controlling its movement. Played maybe 3 times with it and twice I did well despite my dodgy skill at manouvering a hovercraft lol. I attributed its success to the design. I'm still giving myself sometime to practise with it before deciding whether to keep or discard it.

I still keep the lower tier crafts as the meta is a little different from the higher tiers. Also, in higher tiers, especially T10, there are a few elitist players and I just can't stand rude players. Thank goodness I found out that there is a ignore list, which I made use of it diligently :)

Grocery Store Wars

Hehehe this is so funny. I watched this years ago and someone recently showed me this again. I especially love the classic scene between Skywalker and Darth Vader.

Water-droplet-shaped mochi @ Ichiban Boshi

Last month I blogged about our close encounter with this interestingly shaped dessert. Ban and I decided to try it just to fulfill a friend's wish :)

Ichiban Boshi 1

Ichiban Boshi 2

Ichiban Boshi 3

I was prepared to be amazed by discovering the starch/flour bit and the sweetened peanuts once I cut into the "cake" but it turned out that this dessert was a deconstructed version of mochi. It had the ground peanuts and the syrup separated from the "cake". The cake itself wasn't even made of flour: it was jelly! So the "wow!" factor degraded substantially. Yes, it was still a good effort, especially in conceptualising the water droplet but I guess my expectation was unrealistic? *shrug*

The waiter was kind to show us how to consume it: sliced the jelly into smaller pieces, then sprinkled the ground peanuts all over jelly and then lastly poured the syrup all over them. It tasted quite nice, definitely not as sickly sweet as some traditional mochi could be. The jelly was very smooth. However, I don't think mochi fans would like it because the jelly didn't taste remotely like the mochi's flour/starch.

An interesting experience. I would recommend everyone to try it at least once.

Oh, and here's an interesting name of a wifi network:

Ichiban Boshi 4

Jul - Nov work

For past few years, I had been assisting the consulting actuary on projects with a particular client (client A) whereby we were engaged for quarterly and yearly valuation. This year was no different.

However, there is another client (client B) that engages us only once every 2 years for (only) annual valuation and, yes, it has been 2 years since the last exercise.

Hence, my work schedule would be continuous for the next few months would be:

2nd week of Jul - 1st week of Aug: A
Last week of Jul - 2nd week of Oct: B
2nd week of Oct - 1st week of Nov: A

There could be some complication (and thus lengthening the work period) for B's project because they are in the midst of data migration to a new system. Pray that the data would be clean.

There will be a month break before the yearly valuation for A starts in early Dec.

Busy 4 months ahead!

Untidy sushi

Recently Ban and I had dinner at Hokano. Naturally salmon sushi was among the food I ordered :)

Not sure whether I was mistaken or not but this time the sushi pieces looked a little smaller than usual. Sushi Tei's sushi could be the clear winner here but I would need to observe carefully the next time. Perhaps take some photos to compare.

One thing completely new was that there were 2 pieces of salmon sushi with irregular shaped slice of fish. It had a small piece attached at one end of the fish. Just before I left, I informed the lady boss of this (she apologised), expressing my concern for the condition of the knife used. Hopefully that was good enough to get her to remind her chef not to be that careless in future.

A few days later, I again was served untidy salmon sushi but this time it was at Sushi Zanmai @Paradigm Mall. What was up with these coincidences? Knives at various Japanese restaurants are expiring or something???

Instead of having that extra small piece, this time the sushi had jagged edge on one side of the fish. I didn't complain when I ate the first defective sushi but when there was another, I decided to flag one of the managers. I showed her the piece (she apologised and thanked for my feedback) and similarly I advised her to check the knife. I declined her offer to change it but nevertheless she asked to have it to show to the chef.

I was thus pleasantly surprised that she later served me a plate of 2 pieces of salmon sushi (with apologies) and the fish was sliced cleanly :) Not sure whether he was exaggerating or not: Ban said that it was obvious the chef took the time to do a good job this time hehehe. The manager did enquire once I finished eating them and once again apologised and thanked me for the feedback.

Well, I hope all Japanese restaurants start checking their knives now. Alternatively, they could just remind their sushi chefs to be vigilant.

Shoulder ache, so cannot walk?

I try to exercise on a daily basis but I take a break a day after yoga classes. Otherwise, it would be a couple of yoga classes, an-hour treadmill session and 3.0mins walk/25mins swim in between.

Sometimes I asked Ban to join me in the walks and at times he does join but usually he doesn't. Exercise is not something he does regularly. Here's a recent example:

Me: Honey, want to join me walking?
Ban: Hmmm *starts rolling his shoulders*. My shoulders still feel sore.
Me: Huh? But that's from gym 2 days ago already wor.
Ban: *with serious facial expression* There's usually a delay reaction mah.
Me: Ello? What does your shoulder have to do with walking ar? Do weights, then can't walk? One has nothing to with the other.
Ban: Hee hee hee

Lol, oh well :) But he did join me though and so that was good :)

Sushi, wasabi, soy sauce

As far as I know, in Japan, wasabi is automatically inserted, by the chef, between the slice of fish and the rice in a piece of sushi. Hence, all the diner has to do is to dip the piece of sushi (holding it with chopsticks such that its the fish portion that is dipped into the sauce) before savouring it.

I vaguely remember that when I first had sushi in Singapore, it did have wasabi within it. However, soon enough, chefs there and in Malaysia forwent wasabi and instead provided it to diners to add it to their liking. Perhaps there were complaints of sushi being "too spicy" due to wasabi? *shrug*

Anyway, not sure how it came about but what prevailed till today was the act of mixing wasabi and soy sauce in a saucer before dipping sushi in it. Apparently this is something frowned upon by Japanese and anyone who appreciates Japanese culture. One reason is that this method severely masks the taste of the fish which is supposed to be the main ingredient.

However, given that wasabi is left out by chefs in making sushi, how can one remedy this? One way is to do this:

Wasabi & soy sauce

Yes, separate them. Take some wasabi and place it on a side of the sushi. Then dip the sushi piece (remember it's the side where the fish is) in the soy sauce, without the wasabi sullying the sauce.

I tried it the last few times I had sushi. I admit that it had much less "kick". Somehow wasabi that is already mixed in soy sauce is spicier. However, it does result in a a different taste. I can taste the fish more clearly and thus better in differentiating the different fishes.

Obviously the overall taste is milder but I'll continue this way for a while.