Overwatch: Junkrat's weakness

Few months ago, I heard from youtubers and some players about a particular weakness of Junkrat: he cannot ensure kills. His quarries often escape and healed by the opposing team's healer, thereby giving ultimate charge to the latter.

At first I was quite puzzled as to why this should be peculiar only to Junkrat because surely it's applicable to any hero? I mean, anyone playing, say, Soldier 76 or Reaper, cannot ensure kills each time they engage, can they?

Later, after observing some gameplays, I conclude that Junkrat is more susceptible to this weakeness because he can (and some players do) lob "blind" grenades. That is, he can stand, say, behind a wall and lob grenades over it and "hope for the best".

I almost never use such "blind" tactic and often engage enemies only after my team mates start the engagement (because I don't want enemies to hunt me haha). Hence, I don't think this "weakness" applies to me but nevertheless I am now even more conscious of it now i.e. engage only when there are team mates who are engaging the same enemies and thereby significantly increases the chance of killing the quarries.

Here's a good example of what I mean :)

TheJoker <-> Owl

Remember the Orion build I blogged about? Well, when I played Orion with an online friend, TheJoker, and I cast Fate Transference on him, he sometimes said, "What?! Only 50%? You selfish *******." Lol. Funny, nice fella and quite easy going.

Recently, I came across this:


When I first watched this, I laughed and laughed. The owl immediately reminded me of TheJoker. I quickly did this:

TheJoker_Owl

Christmas at Butterworth

This year, I join my parents and my sister's family in Butterworth to celebrate my parents' wedding anniversary. My sister, as always (thank you!), organises a nice value-for-money dinner at a restaurant. New place. Hopefully it's good :)

There are a few ways I could go to Butterworth. First, I ruled out driving because Ban is not going as his family celebrates Christmas in KL. I don't relish driving alone for that long. So tiring.

The ETS would be great except that there's no way of knowing whether it would be cold in the train or not. Sometimes it's the train that goes to Butterworth and sometimes it's the returning train. It could get so cold that my legs felt cold despite wearing long pants.

So I decided to take an airplane. Yes, it's extravagant given my current circumstances but this trip was worth it. I checked Firefly and Malindo Air (to fly from Subang airport) for price and time. I was surprised that the latter was significantly cheaper than the former by about a third. So I bought a one-way air ticket for RM89.04, which automatically included check-in luggage of 15kg. Besides my laptop, they allowed me to bring on board a rolled-up yoga mat but it had to be tagged.

The flight went smoothly. They provided a cup of water but no snack, unlike Firefly. Well, it's ok since it's much cheaper :)

It started raining when boarding and it started raining when the plane landed. Yes, the rain followed us from Subang hehehe.

Then came the most expensive part of the journey: RM103.30 for an airport taxi. The trip went well except that it started raining quite heavily. The taxi driver, a friendly chap married with 5 children, drove into the porch and quickly took out my luggage from the boot. I shook his hand and thanked him.

It's great to see my sister and her family again. My niece had grown talkative and rather strong. She would remain firm and retaliate against her elder brother in a fight lol. My nephew is as hyperactive as before and seems to be a little more accepting of consequences (rather than full tantrum).

Credit scores -> relationship longevity

New research from The Brookings Institute, The Federal Reserve Board, and UCLA shows that one of the best predictors of relationship longevity is … your credit score.
Credit scores predict relationship longevity in two key ways:
  1. Higher Is Better.People with higher credit scores are both more likely to get into committed relationships and more likely to stay in them over time.
  2. Similar Is Better.People who have similar credit scores are more likely to have relationships that last. For example, if you have a credit score of 750 and your prospective partner had a score of 450, you are several times more likely to break up within the first two years of living together than if your scores differ by fewer than 75 points.
Why are credit scores so eerily effective at predicting relationship outcomes? The authors posit that your credit score is a proxy for trustworthiness and commitment to obligations. "

Atlas Reactor: Gremolitions (immersion)

Gremo immersion

Gremo immersion 1

Still within means

I buy whatever I want, whenever I want. The trick is that I want very little.

- Anita Dhake

Atlas Reactor: Aurora remade

Since my last post on Aurora,  I have experimented with different sets of mods based on my observation of other Aurora players. In the end, I adopted 2 sets (we can save 2 sets and select them in a jiffy). You can look up the exact mod descriptions in Prep Phase.

Set 1
- Vain: heal self
- Invigorating Cloud: also heals allies
- Seeking Flare: through walls
- Laser Designator: reveal
- Focused Radiance: increases potency

Set 2
- Vain: heal self
- Invigorating Cloud: also heals allies
- Seeking Flare: through walls
- Tenacious: unstoppable for self and allies
- no mod

The impetus for the change is Invigorating Cloud. It's good for situations where enemies stick to Aurora or her allies. Use Ion Cloud to both hit enemies and heal allies.

Vain and Seeking Flare are just too good for me. I know Surging Flare is a very popular mod but, again, I don't like it because of its conditional extra heal.

So the leftover 3 loadout points are then allocated among Paralazer and Heart of the Storm. First set is my default mod set, swayed by the choice of Focused Radiance for larger heals for multiple allies. Second set is specifically to counter Helio's Black Hole Generator + Disruption Matrix wombo combo, as shown in the video below.

Atlas Reactor: tournament players

Every now and then, I'm matched with/against some popular Atlas Reactor tournament players. Most of the time, the game could go either way or at least my team could win slightly less than half of the time.

However, there was one notable exception: appearance of Avaki, of the top team Thrash, playing to his strength i.e. firepower freelancer. I noticed that the team that won was the team that had him in it. He was in my team once and we won. Two other times he was in the other team and we lost. The second lost was bad because he had his Thrash's teammate, Cranor, in the team too.

So when I saw him again in the opposing team, I told my teammates about this "carry". Runebreaker said perhaps Avaki could have bad teammates this time. One could hope so haha.

So we were happy when this happened:

Won at last!

Won at last!_2

Won at last!_3

Yes, we won :)

Later, I had a game where there was a tournament player Babymillie, playing support but always played frontline in tournament, and a developer in my team. On the opposing them, three of them were tournament players from team Outplayed. Babymillie used to be from that team but left weeks ago. Atharyia was playing firepower but he always played support in tournament.

Vs 3 OP

Yes, we won but I didn't do as well this time.

Why not both?

One up

I saw one other car did this too. Anyone know why?

Love's Coming

Love's Coming is quite a fun and light-hearted gay-themed Thai movie but with an important message of acceptance which makes it touching.

It focuses on a group of tight-knitted teenage friends who suspect one of them may be gay. Half of the movie is about how 3 of them try various ways to find out the truth while the other half is about the blossoming relationship of the suspect and his neighbour.

There were plenty of funny and sweet moments, with occasional serious but heartfelt moments. I would imagine most gay people would recognise the anxiety and fear of being found out, the trepidation of considering coming out to great friends, and the utter hopelessness of finding love in a society where it's still "boys only like girls" culture.  For those fortunate ones among us, we would identify with the feeling of relief and love when family and friends accept who we are; for the rest of us, we wish that will happen when the time comes.

After watching it, I was feeling warm and fuzzy inside :) I like it so much that I hope to buy its DVD (and somehow bring it to Malaysia...hmmm), with English subtitle of course.


The best had passed

My first job was with an MNC life insurance company. I was in the valuation team. Later on, I learned a little of the product team's tasks. I wondered, "You mean that's all there is to do with actuarial skill?"

My 2nd job was with a consulting firm and oh boy, it was when I learned that actuarial skill could be used in so many tasks/projects! I was involved in general insurance valuation, pension valuation, M&A business research and appraisal, design + establishment + maintenance of pension funds, stock option valuation, audit, establishing regulation, design stock option scheme, design insurance product etc.

More importantly, I was blessed for having worked with (yes, worked with; not worked for) a great boss. He was always ready for discussion and listened to all opinion. He believed in work-life balance (it was difficult for everyone) and respected each of us. He never demanded respect but we willingly gave it to him. He never "warned" us not to slack nor did he demand long hours but we willingly tried our hardest to do our very best (if bad boss ar, just do the minimum lor and wait to get another job haha) so that client would view, firstly, him and then, next, us favourably. It helped that he had good humour too :)

I learned a lot from him, not just technically and from business point of view, but also how to be a great team leader (without the usual aloof/I'm-your-boss-so-only-my-opinion-matters/hot-tempered/stingy/etc attitude).

So I was sad to learn that he had passed away recently. RIP David. Thank you very much. You will be deeply missed.

Light Up My Life

This song resonates with me as it somehow describes my love life :)
 


So many nights I'd sit by my window
Waiting for someone to sing me his song
So many dreams I kept deep inside me
Alone in the dark but now you've come along

And you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song

Rollin' at sea, adrift on the water
Could it be finally I'm turnin' for home?
Finally a chance to say "Hey, I love you"
Never again to be all alone

And you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song

'Cause you, you light up my life
You give me hope to carry on
You light up my days and fill my nights with song

It can't be wrong
When it feels so right
'Cause you.....you light up my life

Seremban Beef Noodle

One of the food dishes that Seremban is famous for is beef noodle and as expected there are several places that you could go.

The one that my grandfather, his children and grandchildren had/have frequented the most is Fatt Kee (stall no. 742) at the main market in town. I usually order their gravy version. Over the years, they had reduced the amount of ingredient and increased its price. Obviously not a popular move with customers.

For a much cleaner and comfortable place, I would recommend Quinn Seremban Beef Noodle at Kemayan Square. It's in a proper shop lot and air-conditioned, and so more expensive. To be honest, I don't find much difference between this and Fatt Kee's. Maybe it has to do with the fact that the owners are related.

One other shop, highly recommended by relatives, is King's Beef Noodle at Jalan Dr Krishnan. I understand that the owner is the patriach to the other two operators above. I've yet to try because, apparently, he operate on fewer days. Semi-retirement, I supposed.

My dad recently switched allegiance to a stall in a kopitiam in Temiang. Reason: cheaper and bigger portion, but I personally think it doesn't taste as good as the first 2 stall/shop I mentioned above.

Rebuffed

My father tried many times to call the primary hospital (where he had his surgery recently and follow-up for past 8+ years) to find out the procedure to get the kidney sample but only managed to get through twice and was put on hold until his phone nearly ran out of battery @@.

We thought the most appropriate specialist to talk to would be the urologist. My dad said that the next clinic day was Tue morning. On that day, upon his enquiry, the nurse at the registration desk told him that there was no more kidney sample since it had been 2 months after surgery. We were surprised because the oncologist with whom we sought second opinion with (Dr A) said that it should be kept for 7 years. So after some discussion, the nurse arranged for him to meet the pancreas specialist as a walk-in patient because, as it turned out, urologist's clinic hours were in the afternoon.

The pancreas specialist quite readily said it wasn't a problem to seek second opinion on the histology of the kidney sample but we had to speak with the urologist (as expected). He, however, was confident with the accuracy of the histology and agreed with his oncologist colleague's recommendation of starting chemotherapy as the next step.

We turned up in the afternoon, as walk-in patient, but urologist had no time to meet walk-in patients as there was major surgical operation conducted that day.

So we returned on Friday morning. The same nurse sort of reprimanded my dad for coming back with the same request despite her answer (that they didn't keep the kidney sample). We responded by saying that the pancreas specialist said it was possible. Since, once again, my dad was a walk-in patient (next appointment is in late Dec), she had to ask the urologist whether he could meet us later or not.

He refused to see us. According to the nurse, all they did was to input the medical report given by the pathology lab and never took the kidney sample. I then said that all we wanted to know was the procedure of getting the lab to send the sample to another hospital. I even emphasised that my dad had cancer and thus it was urgent. "You mean there is no one here who knows how we can get this done?", I asked. They (I presumed she was representing the urologist too) said that since the pancreas specialist was the one said it was possible to do so, we should ask that specific pancreas specialist.

Now, being a public hospital, we were never assigned specific specialists and I couldn't possibly remember all the names. To ask us to seek that specific pancreas specialist (whom already said we should, rightfully, ask the urologist) is an impossible task. We got nowhere with this and so we left.

In the end, we met a urologist (Dr B) at a private hospital. Showed him latest reports and scans that we had. Unfortunately, we didn't have scans taken by the primary hospital since public hospital does not automatically give you scans.

He too (consistent with a few other specialists, formally and informally) concluded that the 1st step, a very important one, was to get a second opinion on the histology of the kidney sample. He wanted to write a letter for us to bring to the primary hospital but we told him of our problems of trying that route. He then explained that while it was true that the kidney itself was not kept, the slides containing the sample should be kept for years.

Dr B then called the primary hospital's pathology dept to enquire how to get the slides. At this point, my dad and I separately thought, "Omg why didn't we think of that?". Hahaha. A form was faxed over (like an hour later), completed by both Dr B and my dad, and passed to us to hand in the next working day. Dr B wrote a letter too, in case we needed it. The slides would be ready for collection within 10 working days from submission time and the pathology dept would call us to collect it.

So the procedure turned out to be far easier than we thought. Although the primary hospital's nurse and urologist were correct in saying that they don't keep the kidney sample (it should had been the slides we asked for), they should see through to our intention (which we stated clearly) i.e. getting 2nd opinion. As a specialist friend said, the urologist (whom he labeled as an arrogant ass) should had just taken 5 minutes to talk with us and then give us instructions on how to get this 2nd opinion going.

Still searching

Since the false alarm, I am still looking for a tenant. In fact, I have asked my agent to lower down the rent as much as needed to secure a tenant especially since I've already missed half of my rental income in the last 14 months :(

Besides the rent, I'm also prepared to replace the old tv and mattress, and maybe get some small pieces of furniture if requested. However, I can't do that one thing that recent potential tenants complaint about: the highway. Mind you, there are trees and a field in between my condo's window and the highway and so the "noise" is not significant, something that my ex-housemate, Ban and my parents can attest to. Haiz.

It's truly a renters' market in Singapore :(

Differing

My dad did seek a second opinion from an oncologist and he, along with some other specialists that my sister spoke to, pointed at the histology as the first point of review. Although he was impressed with the recommended follow-ups, he was puzzled on why they guessed the primary site is the pancreas. His primary reasons are:

(1) My dad's kidney cyst (which turned out to be cancerous) was first detected 9 years ago and had been growing gradually. If it is true that the pancreas is the primary site of the cancer and that it then spread to the kidney, the cancerous pancreas would already had caused, among other effects, much pain earlier but even to today, my dad experiences no pain whatsoever.

(2) The gradual growth of the cyst with no other effects is consistent with kidney cancer.

Of course the primary oncologist relied on the pathologist's report to conclude that the cancer metastasised from somewhere else and the high tumour marker supports this. Hence, it's important to get another review of the kidney block. So the tricky bit is to be as nice as possible in requesting them to send the sample to another hospital and hoping that they wouldn't be offended.

Another recommendation is to dad to go for OGDS and colonoscopy to rule out stomach and colon cancer as one of them can turn out to be the primary site. This will be done in Seremban and at a price that's at least 50% cheaper!

Meanwhile, redo tumour marker tests once every 3 months to observe the trend.

It is quite possible, however, that all these will result in the same conclusion i.e. cancer in kidney metastasised from somewhere else and the primary site remains unknown. In that case, follow-up with the 3-monthly tumour marker tests, and look out for loss of appetite and weight. If elevated, go for the necessary scans. Chemo is an option, if my dad wants.

Listen to the skele

Skeleton nerve on spine

Enjoy life

Enjoy life_1

Enjoy life_2

The Fat Fish

Ban and I normally do not dine in KL unless friends organise a get-together. Just not keen on the whole heavy traffic business :) So when a friend did invite us for dinner with a few other friends, we right away agreed.

One of the guests had been recommending and raving about this restaurant for sometime and so I was especially keen to try it.

The Fat Fish restaurant reminds me of Sydney fish market: fresh seafood for you to specially select and they cook for you. Of course the latter is more in selling the fresh seafood rather than cooking. Moreover cooking is plain and simple: fry :)

The Fat Fish, however, had a variety of food on its menu (including many that you simply do not "choose" the exact fish). It was quite expensive though when considering its price vs portion. After contemplating for quite a while, I ordered garlic cream with smoke salmon pasta (RM25 gross):

Fat Fish 1

Instead of the normal slices or bite chunks of smoked salmon, it had minced salmon. Prawn roe was another unique touch. Frankly, I prefer sliced/chunks of salmon.

It was heavy in pasta and light in ingredient. Fortunately, it was tasty even to the end. Sometimes, I get "jelak" (bored? not sure whether there's a proper English translation) when eating cream-based pasta and therefore would need to take a short break midway. Not this one though.

Would I have it again? Hmmmm I'll try some other dishes...when I feel generous :)

Duel of Champions: Final Call

As foretold, DoC ended on 31 Oct 2016 :( Such a great pity.

Uraxor arranged for a Twitch stream hosted by Cucu for the community to come together one last time:



Unfortunately, it was very late for me and so all I managed to do was to pop a hello and then a goodbye a few minutes later. Sad day :(

Atlas Reactor: Orion guide on Prep Phase

The Orion build I'm using apparently is not common. Yet, despite trying out other more popular builds, I didn't find success nor enjoyment until I settle on this build.

I thought that surely there are other players like me. I did encounter players who used the Quantum Core + Astral Fusion combo.

Hence, I decided to put in a guide on Prep Phase. Hopefully it'll help some players.

Puzzle

My dad underwent PET/CT scan at Beacon Hospital. I was hoping that it would detect the primary site of the cancer to be somewhere where it's feasible to operate. However, it detected nothing abnormal or found unremarkable signs.

So at that point, we thought that either the scan was incorrect or the initial diagnosis was incorrect i.e. the cancel cells did not originate from somewhere else and so the kidney was indeed the primary site.

We then met the oncologist. Actually, he wasn't the oncologist that my dad was assigned to. I guess he was assisting the doctor in-charge? *shrug*

We answered all his questions and before he went off to consult the doctor in-charge, I asked whether it was a good idea to get a second opinion on the test of cancer cells in the removed kidney. I blundered in the way I asked hahaha ("maybe the pathologist made a mistake?") but he got it in the end and said he would include that in discussion.

However, after he came back, he merely recommended a 6-cycle palliative chemotherapy. Tumour marker blood tests would also be ordered to track progress. Their best guess of the primary site was the pancreas and that the cancerous cells were too small to be detected by PET/CT scan. What? Really? Goodness!

We asked him for a referral letter (to be collected only next day, unlike other doctors who wrote there and then) so that my dad could undergo the treatment in Penang.

Separately, my dad planned to get a second opinion from another oncologist. This oncologist, upon learning my dad's intention, advised him not to do "shopping".

Pillar

I find this amusing :)

Serai pillar

Atlas Reactor: Orion

After I became the fourth player to level up Grey to 20, I tried to level up Gremolition too and aim for the last 2 slots i.e. 4th or 5th player. I knew, from the game's Discord channel, there was one other person trying the same and he was very close to doing so. So the moment it was announced a 4th player did so, I knew I had no chance and thus abandoned it. Honestly, I was looking forward to play other lancers because somehow I felt I wasn't contributing as much as I would like to as Gremolition.

So next I aimed to level up Orion since there was only 2 too. I was a little hesitant because during Beta phase I was much better as Aurora and Quark. I fiddled about some mod combination and I finally found one that I am comfortable with.

First off, the list of his abilities and available mods can be found in Prep Phase site. Far easier than reading my wall of text :)

Mods I've been using are:
(1) Devour Energy (default is Amplified Eruption)
(2) Shared Agony (default is Rebuild)
(3) Benevolent
(4) Intervention (default is Enhanced Reconstruction)
(5) Refresh The Source (default is Energy Accumulation)

In my opinion, primary role of a support is to minimise damage through heal, shield and, in Orion's case, transference. This is the guiding principle of how I finally settle on this set of mods.

Unlike other freelancers (to date anyway), Orion doesn't get energy (to charge up ultimate ability and, more importantly, to gain shards) by using abilities (unless you purposely choose such mods). He gains energy mainly from taking damage. Hence, the second ability, Fate Transfer is a favourite use by many players to gain energy and at the same time minimise damage received by an ally.

All mods, except one, of Fate Transfer would transfer 75% of damage to Orion, mitigated by shield. However, once you do this, what do you do next to heal yourself? It's not an issue if you were at full health but what if you were not? Do you then cast Astral Fusion on yourself? Doing so means not fully utilising your healing ability.

That is why I use Shared Agony. Yes, it transfers only 50% of damage but ally also gain some shield. I've calculated, based on damage of 40 and 80 separately, this mod in fact has the highest damage mitigation. It's cheap too: 1 loadout point.

After using Shared Agony, you shouldn't be in dire need of healing and so casting Astral Fusion on an ally is enough to heal yourself too for that turn.

By the way, Fate Transfer can also be used simply to help you survive as it gives substantial amount of shield. Just cast it on an ally that is unlikely to be hit :)

Intervention overall gives the best healing in terms of total healing (i.e. heal on ally and you). Innate Potency is better only if you have only one or no shard. Enhanced Construction is better if you have 4 or 5 shards but it has smaller first turn heal on ally, shards or no shards. Usually the first turn is crucial to securing the life of an ally. What's the use a second turn heal if he's dead in the first turn, right?

Naturally this means that Quantum Core (free action) is cast only on ally which you will also cast Astral Fusion on. Remember, the goal here is to keep the ally alive. Benevolent is the best mod to give a little bit of survivability to the ally.

I use the ultimate ability when I'm down to, say, 75hp to help top up my health and reduce cool down of all abilities, especially the support abilities, via the Refresh The Source mod. It will be cast earlier if I'm in greater danger or to help kill enemy(ies).

Oh wait, if you gain less energy (unless you're being hit directly, in which case you're in deep trouble!) because less damage is transfered via Fate Transfer, how are you going to build up energy and shards? Use the energy mod, Devour Energy, on the main ability. After all, this has no cooldown. Just spam it away. It can save your life too because you may need just a little more energy to cast Cosmic Flare and thus refreshing your support abilities. True story :)

To end this post, here's a video of a recent match:



N.B: there is already a 5th player who managed to level Orion up to 20. I right away said, "NOOOOOOOO" in the team chat. Oh well, back to sampling other freelancers :)

Spiral downward

Following the shocking news, our next appointment was with the colon specialist. By then, the tumour marker blood tests ordered by the urologist were already out:

  • normal for liver and prostate
  • normal for colon but was high prior to removal of kidney
  • high for pancreas but was 10 times higher prior to removal of kidney
Colon specialist was not particularly worried about colon but because polyps were discovered during the last colonoscopy done a year ago, he ordered for another scope done.

Pancreas specialist ended with them (she consulted her "boss") referring my dad to the oncologist for treatment. They surmised that since previous scans couldn't detect cancer, it must be small and yet potent in spreading. After some discussion, aside from the 3-part CT scans (upper, middle and lower body) scheduled in Dec, my dad will be going for PET/CT scan soon. Thereafter, there will be follow-up appointment with the pancreas specialist and of course we'll show the results to the oncologist too.

According to the pancreas specialist, the cancer is at Stage 4 since it had metastasised from somewhere else. As a response to my query on prognosis on a "best case scenario", she said around 1 to 2 years :(

We'll see what the oncologist say. They'll get back to us within a week to fix an appointment.

Naruto opening cover

For Naruto fans. Enjoy the nostalgia :)


I love it!

Shocked!

My dad's tumor markers for colon and pancreas cancer have always been high but subsequent CT scans, ultrasounds, upper and lower scopes, and biopsy had shown no indication of cancerous cells. By sheer coincidence, it was one of these scans/ultrasounds that picked up sign of kidney cyst. So our family are shocked to learn that the biopsy on the kidney removed during the recent surgery revealed some cancerous cells. Not only that, those cells originated elsewhere i.e. they were metastasised from another part of the body.

According a friend who is a doctor, he said that it's rare for cancer cells to spread to kidney. I later read an abstract of a research paper (found in Pubmed) stating, "Although the frequency of metastases to the kidney in cancer patients is 7-13% in large autopsy series, incidental discovery of a renal metastasis as the first manifestation of a primary tumor is a very rare event."

One one hand, it is bad luck for my dad to get such cancer (because now need to hunt for the primary site!) but on the other hand it's fortunate that it shows up in the kidney (given how rare it is!) as otherwise we wouldn't have known there's cancer elsewhere.

So now, the specialists suspect colon or pancreas as the primary site and this is further supported by my dad's family history. We'll be meeting the respective specialist soon (expecting long waiting time!) and hopefully they'll push for urgent CT scans a.s.a.p. Hopefully they can pinpoint the primary site very soon and administer successful treatment.

Atlas Reactor: first 5

Apparently I misunderstood the "first 5 players" to level up a character to 20. Yes, they were watching out (and announced whenever it happened) for the first player to level up the respective 21 freelancers ("world first" and already done!), they are also taking note of the next 4 players for these freelancers.

Once I knew this, I checked a list maintained by a moderator of the Atlas Reactor discord channel and concluded that I could possibly be among the first 5 players to level up Grey to 20. Henceforth, I played her exclusively and grouped with in-game friend whenever I could. I forwent playing any other games, notably Overwatch.

Just very early this morning (I panicked after a 3rd player managed to level up Grey lol), I managed to be the 4th player to achieve this :)

Grey first 5 ingame

This was the immediate reaction when the broadcast was made at the end of the game (our team was steamrolled, unfortunately).

Grey first 5 discord update

This was the announcement made by the discord channel's moderator.

My win/loss stat is 93-44 i.e. a win rate of 67%. Not bad for me hehehe. Yes, I'm quite proud in reaching this achievement.

Perfectionism

One of our greatest collective weaknesses is a strive for perfectionism and imposing that on others, pioneering actuary and Rhodes Scholar Ian Pollard told delegates at the Institute's Leadership Development Seminar on Monday (8 August).

- Actuaries Digital

Hmmm food for thought.

Atlas Reactor: Headstart

All those who purchased Atlas Reactor before the official launch were able to play earlier (hence the "headstart") since 30 Sep.

On the run-up to this date, I dusted off Guild Wars 2 and started from scratch i.e. a new character since there were significant changes. I tried necromancer and quite like it. I now have separate builds for PVE (minion master) and PVP (condi + boon corruption) since boon corruption is usually useless in PVE.

However, I'm sad that Arena.net (the developer) has broken the game with the introduction of the last expansion, Heart of Thorns ("HoT"), which comes with a new specialisation tree. It seems that (at least according to forum, reddit etc) it's always the case that the best builds utilise this new tree. That means non-HoT players are at a disadvantage especially in PVP. It also severely reduces the variety of builds.

On top of this major flaw, they also increased the amount of grinding for opening up desired traits. This actually frustrates me more than not having the pay-to-win expansion.

So it's no surprise that I have not played Guild Wars 2 since 30 Sep because I was busy playing Atlas Reactor.

1st pvp match Headstart top contri

This was my 1st PVP match and I was the top contributor despite not having the mods that I wanted (didn't have any mod tokens yet) :)

Since then, for PVP matches, I had also played Quark, Grey, Lockwood and Zuki. My W/L record thus far is 10-11. Not really good but I still enjoy playing this game. Hopefully I'll get better.

They have added broadcast recognising certain achievements. Currently, they're watching for the first 5 players for each of these category:

  • level up a character to level 20
  • win 1000 PVP matches
  • reach season level 500
I was aiming for the first one but it's probably too late already as I personally read broadcast for Helio, Blackburn and Elle. Moreover, I can't play many matches in a row especially since there are other things I want to do :)

Fitness First bags

FF bags 1

When I first saw this from afar, I thought it was just a normal advert for FF's bags. But on closer inspection...

FF bags 2

Those were actual bags! Though the small bags on the right didn't really fit together with the photographed scene, the backpack did. Clever.

Atlas Reactor: final test and launch

Atlas Reactor ended its Beta phase with 10-day Open Beta from 15 Sep - 25 Sep. I was happy to see an influx of new players and some even bought the game during this period (as I surmised from the presence of many players using the title "Founder").

During the last weekend of this Open Beta, they conducted a second round of ranked match playtest. The 1st round was conducted weeks ago, where I played only 4 matches. My heart couldn't take it lol. Old already :)

Needed 10 placement matches to get initial rank. Fortunately, they counted matches from previous round and so I needed to do only 6 more but that too took me a while (because of my damn heart beating fast!). I played Aurora when no one on my team wanted to play support. Otherwise, I played Grey, which I was most comfortable with at that time. At the end of the placement matches, I was ranked this:

Ranked playtest

According to their first post on the 1st round of playtest, there were 7 divisions altogether i.e. Bronze to Contender, and 5 ranks within each division i.e. Rank 5 to 1 However, I didn't see any rank "V" and surmised that they might had reduced it to 4. Anyway, I was quite pleased with the rank. No doubt that team's win/loss counted a lot but I wonder whether individual "contribution" did or not count (counted in Overwatch, I think) and, if they did, to what extent.

The game will be launched on 4 Oct and the USD10 discount (USD19.90 instead of USD29.90, for the cheapest package) is still applicable before the launch date. The Free-mode version (i.e. an extended demo version where you can play a certain number of freelancers rotated weekly, open loot once in 36 hours, and not allowed to play Ranked matches) is available for those with Beta Access (as stated in their website). I supposed that means anyone who managed to play during the Beta phase? *shrug*

So if you like X-Com, or something like chess but infinitely more exciting, I highly recommend this game to you. Do check their website and other resources to get more information on Atlas Reactor.

N.B: I realised that I had played this game from Alpha phase till the soon-to-be launched phase and yet Robocraft is still in Alpha. I plan to play Robocraft again once they move to Beta as there were too many major changes.

7th anniversary

I was so busy on the day my dad discharged from hospital (recuperating at Ban's place) that for the first time ever I forgot Ban's and my anniversary until late at night @@.

Since Ban had family dinner celebration the next night, I planned to have a more-expensive-than-usual dinner to celebrate two nights later but was concerned about my dad's condition. Fortunately, my dad was fine with our plan and in fact both my parents encouraged us to go out to celebrate by ourselves. For that, I'm grateful :)

We had a wonderful time dining at Kinpachi. Besides the usual salmon sushi and amaebi sushi, I also had fried soft-shell crab (with an unusual mild spicy taste) and salmon handroll. All were great but I probably wouldn't order amaebi sushi again (if I can remember!) because of its small size and so it's better to order salmon sushi which is cheaper. We chit-chatted about a variety of topics, taking our time with our dinner.

We used Garmin to get home but we took a wrong turning (damn multi-storeyed roads :P) and so took a little longer. I wanted to have chendol at Aman Suria's Lotus Curry House but they ran out of it. So thought of trying it for the first time at Original Kayu but they didn't have chendol (or ran out). Ended buying Pearl Milk Tea from Chatime hehehe.

I love you Ban! May we celebrate many more anniversaries together :)

Well on the way

I visited my dad the day after his surgery during lunch time. Although he sounded weak, my mum and sister said he looked better than the night before. However, he was briefly alert when telling me about a powerful Pokemon he caught lol.

There is this device that helps patient to exercise his lungs. The goal is to blow hard enough to float all 3 plastic balls to the top. At that time, my dad claimed that he could only support 2 balls but about 5 mins later, he managed to get all 3 balls up :)

In the late afternoon during my second visit, yet again he looked so much better. I had high hope that he could be discharged earlier than norm. My only concern was that he felt a little stressed staying in hospital, because of pain (28 staples!!!), bloated stomach, constipation and a bed that caused pain at his lower back (apparently experienced by a few other patients too).

Doctors who attended him generally agreed that his pace of recovery was faster than norm. In fact, the head of the doctors' delegation (the big boss!) joked that my dad must be a mechanical engineer and somehow manipulated the balls lol. Hence, he was discharged 5 days after his surgery and now recuperating at Ban's place.

Next step is to remove the staples 9 days after discharge. I hope it would be as painless as possible.

Long wait in the dark

On the day of my dad's surgery, I arrived at hospital at 12.15pm and discovered that my dad was wheeled into the operating theater at noon. Earlier, we were told that the operation would take about 3 hours. Given what happened to my mum, my dad wanted me to stay within the hospital compound during the duration of the operation. I was in the ward, reading a book and snoozing.

At about 4pm, I was a little worried because no one told me anything. I figured that if I didn't receive any emergency call, that meant there was no problem. However, at 5.30pm, I asked a nurse in the ward for status update on my date, pointing out that it had been 5.5 hours since my dad left the ward. In short, she didn't know the actual status but she did say that sometimes patient is left in OT to rest before sent back to ward. Also, she spotted a doctor involved in the surgery and surmised that the operation was already over.

About 3 hours later, I again asked for news. This time, they told me that my dad would only be moved back to ward once they receive a call from the OT. That still told me nothing about my dad's surgery status. My mum wanted to stay on until my dad was back. Since only 1 person was allowed to stay on past visiting hours, the rest of us went home and waited for my mum's call. When I left, it was a total of 8 hours of stay in the hospital and yet my dad wasn't out. More importantly no one updated us anything.

My mum called at about 10.30pm and said that my dad was back at ward. It appears that they waited for my dad to wake up before sending him back to the ward.

I agree with my sister that it was inconsiderate of the hospital staff not to provide any update at all to family members who were worried sick about the patient. At the very least, once the surgery was over, shouldn't we be informed? I would be contented with news as basic as "surgery is over and he's resting".

Supplement

In a past Actuaries Digital issue, Geoff Dunsford wrote to the editor giving his opinion "on feedback the Institute provided to the Government on its March Discussion Paper on the Objective of Superannuation."

Among the things he said were:

" The Actuaries Institute letter suggested that one of the objectives of superannuation should be “To supplement the Age Pension in order to provide a combined level of income that allows Australians to live a dignified retirement”.

This statement suggests that the Age Pension is a fixed (universal) amount, whereas for most people on retirement, and for many years after, it will only be a part pension they receive. This is provided in accordance with the Means Test rules then current and there are no guarantees how these might change from time to time –  for then existing pensioners as well as new ones. To suggest that a part pension is the primary element in the superannuation system is arguably misleading. "

Andrew Boal, Convenor of the Institute's Superannuation Practice Committee (SPC), replied and among the things he said were:

" I can confirm that the Actuaries Institute statement does not suggest the Age Pension is a fixed (universal) amount as we clearly understand and agree that for most people on retirement, they will only be eligible for a part pension. Also, the Actuaries Institute has not suggested that the part pension will be the primary element in the superannuation system. "

I believed Andrew is missing the point. Yes, the institute didn't explicitly say that part pension will be the primary element but the usage of the word "supplement" implies so.

Conventionally, supplements means to add to something bigger or more important. For example, income from my actuarial services supplements my rental income since the latter is the primary source of income. Incidentally, this does not violate dictionary's definitions but merely a subset of them.

Yes, by strict definition, the institute is correct to use it as above without inferring the difference in size between superannuation and Age Pension. However, remember that this concerns all working Australians and usually people in general will adopt conventional definition. So given how all actuaries are trained to consider the various stakeholders involved in an issue and that we must consider perception as well, I am surprised the choice of word the institute has chosen.

Maybe a better word is "complement" or reword the objective entirely and use the word "add" or "in addition to".

I am also surprised at the rather defensive tone the convenor had taken in his response.

Surgery and after-care

My dad is scheduled for a surgery to remove a cyst very soon in PJ. As a standard procedure, there will be a follow-up appointment 2 weeks after discharged.

After staying at Ban's place for a night, he finally accepted my suggestion for him to recuperate here. He didn't want to because, understandably, he's more comfortable at his own home but ever since he discovered there are many Pokemons here...@@.

So the plan is for my parents to stay at Ban's place and I'll be there until bedtime to take care of him. Ban and I will then sleep at his brother's place and return to Ban's place as early as possible in the morning the next day. After 2 weeks, I'll bring him to the follow-up appointment. The plan after that will depend on how well he recovers.

I hope his surgery goes well. My mum had a near-death experience while undergoing a simple surgery and also during recovery and so it took us (my family) sometime to calm my dad's anxiety.

I also hope he recovers well as he cherishes mobility. Hope everything goes well for all involved.

Colour of My Love

One of my favourite songs, especially its lyrics.



I'll paint my mood in shades of blue
Paint my soul to be with you
I'll sketch your lips in shaded tones
Draw your mouth to my own

I'll draw your arms around my waist
Then all doubt I shall erase
I'll paint the rain that softly lands on your wind-blown hair

I'll trace a hand to wipe out your tears
A look to calm your fears
A silhouette of dark and light
While we hold each other oh so tight

I'll paint a sun to warm your heart
Swearing that we'll never part
That's the colour of my love

I'll paint the truth
Show how I feel
Try to make you completely real
I'll use a brush so light and fine
To draw you close and make you mine

I'll paint the truth
Show how I feel
Try to make you completely real
I'll use a brush so light and fine
To draw you close and make you mine

I'll paint a sun to warm your heart
Swearing that we'll never part
That's the colour of my love

I'll draw the years all passing by
So much to learn so much to try

And with this ring our lives will start
Swearing that we'll never part
I offer what you cannot buy
Devoted love until we die

Under one roof

I mentioned in the passing that Ban and I went to Butterworth. We stayed at my sister's place. More importantly, my parents were there too. Yes, it was the first time we stayed together with my parents after I came out to them

I believed the 2-week stay went quite well, although Ban said it was quite "challenging" because of the new experience. My dad even took the trouble to remember what food Ban couldn't eat and what he didn't like to eat. My mum made the effort to converse with him. Ban himself made the effort to chit-chat with them.

We both read bedtime story books to my nephew at night. My niece was so attached to Ban that on the day we left, she pleaded with him not to "go home" and then later cried wanting to go with us. Poor girl.

My parents stayed a night at Ban's place (Ban and I stayed over at his brother's unit) and the next day had lunch with us as well as Ban's mum and brother. It went well...except that twice my dad played Pokemon during lunch and the second time he excused himself to go to toilet and didn't come back for a while. Haiz. My mum and I reprimanded him.

Labels

Previously all life insurers had a Chief Actuary who typically reported to the CEO.  Of more importance than the formal reporting line was the role the Chief Actuary played.  The Chief Actuary had the necessary seniority, authority, serious board engagement and strategic contribution, that today APRA is requiring. 
Over time many or most companies replaced the Chief Actuary title with the AA title. 
Subtle though this change has been and minor in terms of replacing the word “Chief” with “Appointed”, I am of the view that this change has been a contributor to the “decline” in seniority / influence from this key actuarial role.  The focus somehow shifted to the listed duties of the AA and hence complying with prudential standards rather than the needed senior, authoritative, strategic contribution at senior executive and board level.

- Lindsay Smartt, President of the Institute of Actuaries of Australia 2016


Interesting.

Labels affect people of all ages - from children to adults - and across all walks of life.

Tardy MyEG

Just before we departed for Butterworth, Ban realised that his car road tax hadn't been renewed. Since it was going to expire during our stay there, I suggested using MyEG. For past few years, I had been using MyEG to renew my road tax and they had always delivered it the next business day. While that was true for Klang Valley area, their website stated that it would take up to 3 business days to deliver elsewhere in Peninsular Malaysia.

Ban ordered his on Tuesday but due to some website/system/internet/goodness-knows-what errors, he ended paying four times. Had to call to get them initiate refund all but one (processed in 2 weeks...hopefully!). Yet by end of Friday it hadn't arrived. According to their website, they can be contacted "9am-7pm daily except for nationwide public holidays" but no one answered his call on Saturday despite trying for half and hour!

On Monday, he managed to get them and they said that his road tax was printed on Thursday but they couldn't get a runner to deliver it then. OMG! This is bewildering! Supposedly there was a runner on Monday but again another day passed without delivery.

Given that his current road tax expired on Friday, Ban called them again on Tuesday. As an aside, coincidentally, The Sun reported that "MyEG Q4 net profit doubles". He was repeatedly put on hold for quite a long time and passed to another personnel before finally being asked to call the Penang branch using a phone number that turned out to be wrong. Gah!

He called the main phone number again (in KL) and this time, after explaining that the Penang number was incorrect and much waiting again, it appeared that they had connected him to the Penang office and the latter confirmed that a runner was going to leave at 2.30pm that afternoon to deliver his road tax.

The runner had yet to appear by 4pm. Once again, Ban called and this time they gave him the runner's phone number which turned out to be the wrong runner! Fortunately, for once in this entire saga, this runner quickly texted Ban the phone number of the correct runner. The latter confirmed that he was just 10 mins away and true to his word, he arrived shortly. Phew!

Oh wow, oh wow. Either I have been lucky thus far with MyEG's services or they are currently experiencing serious system/manpower issues, as evident by complaints posted on their Facebook.

PhoStreet @Paradigm Mall

I finally managed to dine here after planning to do so a few times. I recently went there with Ban and his brother. Previously, I looked through their menu and determined that the prices were reasonable.

PhoStreet 1

PhoStreet 2

I chose their Pho Beef Combination (RM18.90) as a test case of their food.

PhoStreet 3

When it arrived, I had expected to be able to smell the beef soup but I couldn't and so I was a little apprehensive. Fortunately, the soup was quite delicious and more fragrant than the usual.

PhoStreet 4

Another feature that set it apart was that beansprout and mint leaves were already inserted into the soup (rather than on a separate plate). Both looked fresh.

The noodle itself was quite normal. Beef ball was tasty but seems small. There was, however, a clump of rather tough beef: quite a glaring aberration.

Overall, its soup is better than that of Vietnamese Kitchen but portion seems smaller.

Since it wasn't too bad, I would try again to ascertain its consistency. Incidentally, sadly Du Viet has closed down :(

Passport & IC

In the process of applying for a job in Singapore, Ban discovered that his passport had expired nearly 6 months ago @@. We were worried because it was a hassle then to renew passport due to limited number of passports issued at each immigration office. If I'm not mistaken, this whole debacle came about because the passport vendor printed passports that didn't meet the new features. So that resulted in severe shortage of passports.

After enquiring with friends and family, Ban decided to start queuing at the Kelana Jaya office by 6am @@. The poor guy didn't sleep well the night before and ended sleeping only about 4 hours :( There was already a queue when he reached there. As these queue slots were so precious, an attempt by a man to jump queue was quickly rebuffed and reprimanded. Yay!

Once office opened, Ban managed to get queue number 41. Despite lack of sleep, he was alert enough to ask the officer at the queue counter whether it would be a problem if the chip on his IC couldn't be read (had that problem before). He was advised to get a new IC before renewing passport. Unfortunately the NRD is not at the same building.

The plan was to get new IC and rush back to the immigration office to renew his passport using the queue number he obtained earlier. By the time he set off to the nearest NRD office, it was already office rush hour and so there was bad traffic jam :( Not only that: due to the change of traffic flow on certain roads (one-way street), it took even longer to get there.

Once there, there was a sign that system was "offline". Oh gosh. He was given a queue number anyway. Fortunately, it was "online" soon after. Phew!

After doing what he could, he was told to come back in 2 hours to collect it. So he went home, rested and then had lunch with me and his brother. After lunch, I drove him to collect IC and then off we went to try our luck with the immigration office at Kelana Jaya. I dropped him there and went looking for parking space.

Meanwhile, in the office, he was questioned about the longer-than-expected time he took to get a new IC. He just pointed out to the 2 hours wait and thankfully they just proceeded with his passport renewal. More than an hour later, he collected his passport. Yay!

Atlas Reactor: Aurora

When I first started playing Atlas Reactor, it was still free-to-play but restricted to a handful of freelancers on a rotational basis. I gravitated to the only support character available during that particular rotation: Aurora.

Soon I found her quite difficult to play, despite the supposedly "easy" difficulty classification. Later I found out that except for Quark, all supports do not have any Dash ability. Hence, playing support was difficult without that obvious escape mechanism.

Perhaps because of this or not, Quark became my choice for support. But much later, for reasons that I forgot, I tried Aurora again and prioritised trying to survive should she be cornered or chased by enemies. Hmmm I vaguely remember one particular game where I was amazed by how good an Aurora player survived onslaught by enemies. Perhaps that was an impetus to revisit this character.

Aurora Shock Therapy

Her main ability (with no cooldown) is Shock Therapy (Blast), which damages enemies and heals allies in a fairly straight line. The default mod is Vain which heals herself for 5. I use this mod since it is a consistent way of healing herself slowly.

Aurora Ion Cloud

Ion Cloud (Blast) deals direct damage to enemies in a 2x2 square on cast and indirect damage to enemies who pass through it or starting their turn there. It lasts for 2 turns.

The default mod, Overcast, reduces its cooldown by 1. I tried and actually favour Invigorating Cloud which also heals allies in the cloud but due to choice of mod for her ultimate ability, I choose Radiant Mist which reveals enemies for 2 turns. This is useful against enemies who hide in the brush or have abilities to be invisible.

Aurora Healing Flare

Healing Flare (Prep) heals allies or herself and then knockback enemies next to target in Blast Phase. I stick with the default mod, Seeking Flare, which enables this ability be cast through walls i.e. don't need line of sight. This is very useful to quickly help allies in need and yet she herself is safely behind walls.

Another popular mod is Surging Flare which provides significant additional health if cast on allies with less than 50% health. Sounds great but I would think that the default mod is more consistently useful i.e. target could be behind wall and/or health is hover above 50% (could be killed by focused fire).

Aurora Paralazer

Paralazer (Prep) weakens enemies and shield allies. Useful debuff and buff combo. Since I also use this as one of the means of surviving attacks (the other major one is of course Healing Flare), I stick with the mod, Gravity Well, which also slows enemies.

Aurora Heart of the Storm

Her ultimate ability, Heart of the Storm, shoots out quite broad cross-shaped beams that damages enemies and heals allies. The default mod, Focused Radiance, increase the damage/heal if the beam only hits one target. Instead, I use the mod, Sudden Jolt, which reduces all active cooldowns by 1.

So in conjunction with the catalyst, Brain Juice (reduces all active cooldowns by 2), I increase the frequency of which I can cast the 2 Prep abilities above that are lifesavers.

I have come to enjoy playing Aurora and I believed that I'm quite competent too. Maybe as competent as I am at playing Quark, despite both being wildly different.

Below are the stats of a game my Aurora had the highest contribution:

Atlas Reactor Aurora 1


Atlas Reactor Aurora 2

Potential move

Back in June, I tried to renew my REP online (expiring in Sep this year) but predictably it wasn't successful. "Are you currently living in Singapore?" No. "Are you currently working in Singapore?" No. (N.B: questions aren't verbatim).

However, recently I re-read the e-mail response and noted that I will lose my Singapore PR if I remain outside Singapore without a valid REP. In other words, I get to keep my PR if I stay in Singapore, right?

I then e-mailed ICA on a Friday night asking this question and stating that I plan to move back to Singapore in a few weeks time. In addition, I would establish (have to do this anyway) a sole proprietorship business to provide freelance actuarial work for qualified actuaries in Singapore. On Saturday morning, I then re-applied online to renew my REP but this time adding some information explaining why I was not working in Singapore and that I plan to move back to Singapore after my dad's surgery in September.

To my amazement, ICA replied on that Saturday afternoon itself in 2 e-mails: one was a direct reply to my e-mail enquiry and the other notified me of the result of my online application. In short, after having considered my situation, they renewed my REP until end of this year to give me time to relocate. Subsequent renewal depends on my contribution to Singapore's economy and status of my residency.

Consequently, both Ban and I were headless chickens on that Saturday, trying to figure out the best way of doing this. After a few twists and turns, we decided to wait for the outcome of his job application (there is only one job in Singapore for him!) and then get accommodation. If all go well (including my dad's recovery from surgery), I'll be in Singapore by 1st week of October and be there continuously at least until late December.

Wish me good luck!

Love and care

Uncle Saba's 1

My mum bought this recently from Tesco and knowing that I like this snack, she left some for me. The taste is quite good. Not too salty and can taste the lentil.

However, what was more interesting was the writing on the package such as "guilt free", "And all this stuff also lah..." and the best part was in its list of ingredient: "plenty of love and care".

Kudos to designer!

Overwatch: Torbjorn

Similar to Bastion, Torbjorn is also a scourge of newbies. Actually, it is both Torbjorn and his turret and at times, it's only the latter that matters.

His turret is unique because it'll automatically turn and shoot, with unerring accuracy, at enemies that come into view. Obviously that means positioning matters but that itself is not easy to determine because ideally it should be positioned such that it can shoot as many enemies as possible and yet protected from range guerrilla attack. Consider corners and rooms. Maybe even on higher ground but you have to watch for enemies walking up the same way you did to place that turret.

When Torbjorn first places the turret, it's only level 1 and has 150 hp with slow firing rate. With 6 swings of his hammer (when it's at full health), he can upgrade it to level 2 with 300 hp and faster firing rate. Level 3 (800 hp and even faster firing rate) can only be temporarily obtained by using his ultimate ability Molten Core.

Torbjorn's rivet gun left-click fires arching projectiles while its right-click fires shotgun projectiles. Newbies often underestimate the potency of his rivet gun, especially the shotgun projectiles.

Unique to Torbjorn, he can collect scraps dropped by fallen enemies, allies and Torbjorns' turrets. Using these, he can fashion wearable armour pack that gives 75 armour, which is a lot.

His ultimate ability, Molten Core, not only temporarily upgrades his turret for 12s, it also temporarily gives temporary armor and additional health to Torbjorn and increases his attack speed. I often use this to repel enemies' big push, whether I'm there or not. Also, when this ability is up, I can go even further away from the turret (instead of being close by to repel enemies trying to destroy it and to repair it) because I can use Molten Core at a pinch to save the turret if needed. In this mode, Torbjorn is monstrous and the general advice to newbies is to just wait out this period.

Here are some highlights/Play of the Game/Play of the Match:



Quadruple kill (plus a rip tire) during molten core. Unlocked "Raid Wipe" achievement :)



OAM (youtuber) said there are several factors in choosing PotG. One of them is the time close to the end of the match, with some kills. Think this is a good example of it.



In this PotG, I was so tired horsing around with my turret that I had to nap :P



1st time played Torbjorn in competitive match and this was King-of-the-Hill map. Didn't change throughout the 3 rounds. Yes, team won first 3 rounds. Got Play of the Match :) Thanks team!

False alarm

Actually, it's not an alarm. Turns out that my lucky break is false :(

My agent said that the (potential) new tenant didn't confirm. He had been quite meticulous in his job so far and hence for this to happen (i.e. to tell me he had "secured" a tenant and yet later fell through) is quite puzzling.

So now we're back to marketing my condo unit for sale and rent. Upon my request, he sent me links to the advertisements he put out in a popular website. I noticed that unlike the one for rent, the sell advert had old photos that were taken when I was still staying there. They were the same photos used for the rent advert almost a year ago which resulted me in requesting more recent photos to be used.

I immediately asked him to use the most recent photos (or at least the same ones as those in the rent advert) for the sell advert.

Hopefully I'll get a genuine lucky break soon!

Lucky break

Sometime last month, I received bad news from my agent that tenant that we got since Feb had invoked the diplomatic clause because his company his sending him back to home country :(

As usual, I checked Propertyguru and URA to get some data on current market rental rate but this time I also checked market selling price too. To my surprise, although the former had dropped significantly the last 2 years, the latter hadn't changed by much. Doing some calculation, I determined that the proceed of a sale at current price - less money to be returned to CPF, outstanding home loan, legal fee, agent commission - could earn more than the current rental rate (net of relevant ongoing expenses and taxes) if invested in shares with dividend yield of 5%.

So far, the historical dividend yield of my portfolio is 6% and so 5% is a little conservative. Sounds good, right? However, that would mean all my investment will be in shares and that's scary given the fact that I'm not an expert at prospecting shares (which is why I go for diversification as one of the safeguards).

On the other hand, I did not wish for yet another long wait (it was 3 months previously) for a new tenant and so I had asked my agent to look for either tenant or buyer, whichever comes first.

Recently, I received a piece of good news: my agent has secured the next tenant, with a nominal 2% increase in rent. They will move in right after the current tenant leaves i.e. there will be no gap in between. Fantastic! However, the downside is that they asked for a ceiling fan with lights to be installed in the master bedroom and that their employer (once again) requires the 6-month diplomatic clause despite the 1-year contract. Normally such clause appears in contract of at least 2 years. Times are bad. Renters' market. What to do.

However, I am grateful to have this piece of news. Hopefully they'll be good tenant and stay much longer than the current one.

Ongoing thievery

Imagine you own a company that manufactures and sells bread making machines. You're approached by another company that wants to make and sell bread but doesn't have the machines to do so. They want to lease your machines to do so. You then proceed to make the appropriate calculations and quoted them a leasing fee, which they accepted.

Years later, your client decided not to renew the leasing agreement. In fact, they are going to make their own machine just to produce and sell bread. They then propose to engage you to perform regular quality assurance checks on both the machine and the bread. You determine that this cost much lesser than leasing out your machine and so quoted a significantly lower fee for such checks.

In the course of your review, you notice striking similarities between their and your machine. In fact, they even copied your unique identification number of the machine you leased to them before. How will you feel? Furious, right? You would have earned so much more if they purchase your machine - machine that you had spent time and effort to create and refine.

That's what happening in the consulting world, especially in the less developed country. Actuarial spreadsheets and reports are copied abundantly without appropriate compensation. Often these spreadsheets/reports are created and refined without being charged to any particular client (how would you feel if you are charged very high fee simply because you're the very first client?) and the cost is slowly recouped through providing consulting services, teaching clients how to create sample spreadsheets (not the full version) and reviewing them, or simply outright sell such products (if permissible). To just steal them is morally and, usually, legally wrong.

This recently happened to the actuary and I but the thief in this case could have been our associate (we worked together with another consulting firm in that foreign country). There is no way that the client could have gotten those spreadsheets. Since neither the actuary nor I did it, only suspect left is our associate. It may be common practice in that foreign country but this is detrimental to all actuarial consultants as that just make us poorer (by not getting fair compensation) and perpetuate the notion that this is acceptable practice. Humph!

Children and colouring book

"-grateful that he's healthy," Rahim Khan was saying.
"I know, I know. But he's always buried in those books or shuffling around the house like he's lost in some dreams."
"And?"
"I wasn't like that." Babab sounded frustrated, almost angry.
Rahim Kahn laughed. "Children aren't coloring books. You don't get to fill them with your favorite colors".

- "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.

Real sin

"Now, no matter what the mullah teaches, there is only one sin, only one. And that is theft. Every other sin is a variation of theft. Do you understand?"
......
"When you kill a man, you steal a life," Baba said. "You steal his wife's right to a husband, rob his children of a father. When you tell a life, you steal someone's right to the truth. When you cheat, you steal the right to fairness. Do you see?"
......
"If there's a God out there, then I would hope he has more important things to attend than my drinking scotch or eating pork. Now, hop down. All this talk about sin has made me thirsty again."

- "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Hosseini.

Dave's Deli @Atria

Dave's Deli 1

I've been meaning to dine at Dave's Deli ever since I looked at its menu at its outlet in One Utama. However, since I wanted to help my parents to buy a particular muesli at Atria's Village Grocer (which, as it turns out, they don't stock any more!), I went to the outlet there instead.

Food were all pre-cooked and so I got mine immediately. I had to order and collect at the counter, similar to fast-food restaurants. Guess that explains why there was no service charge.

Dave's Deli 2

I had their Dave's Original 1/4 Roast Chicken (RM19.60 nett) which came with mashed potato, salad and coleslaw. I also ordered a glass of warm filtered water (RM0.50 nett).

Dave's Deli 3

The mashed potato was smooth and tasty. The salad (well, it was strictly only lettuce) and coleslaw were quite normal but of generous portions. The chicken was unfortunately a little dry despite it being made up of drumstick and thigh part. Imagine how dry the breast part would be. However, that was sufficiently compensated with delicious gravy.

Overall, it was a filling and quite good value-for-money meal. I would try other dishes if I dine there again.

Overwatch: Junkrat

Junkrat is one of my favourite heroes I use mainly for King of the Hill (KotH) maps and some Capture Points maps when on defense. In fact, for the competitive mode, I only use Mercy, Lucio, Junkrat and sometimes D.Va.

His Frag Launcher, with no cool-down, throws out grenades. He can throw out 5 grenades before needing to reload. It has both direct and splash damage (the former is bigger). Due to its splash damage, it takes less aiming than, say, McCree or Soldier 76 but on you still have to learn to aim at a certain area to hit them as those grenades would bounce maybe twice before exploding on their own. Since I'm not a good FPS player, this suits me better :)

He can also throw Concussion Mine (with cool-down) and manually explode it to damage enemies. It does the same damage as the direct damage of his grenade but with an additional effect: it bounces enemies up in the air. It's great to change the direction of enemies' shot especially then they're using ultimate. Imagine doing that to McCree when he's about to trigger his shots during Deadeye :)

The mine can also be used to let Junkrat jump high up in the air (without hurting him) in a particular direction depending on how his movement at the point of detonation. I actively use this to quickly get away from enemies that are dangerous to him (e.g. Winston, Symmetra).

The last non-ultimate ability is to lay down a Steel Trap (with cool-down) that damages any enemy who steps on it. It partially sinks into the ground and so enemies need to actively look for it to avoid being trapped. Once trapped, there is no way of getting out for a few seconds, not even Tracer's Blink and Recall. Once triggered, I would be notified and I can try to finish off the trapped enemy.

A favourite tactic is to also lay down the mine in it and detonate it as soon as the trap is triggered. That will certainly kill any squishies. Another favourite use is to use it to alert me of enemy trying to get to me when I am, say, lobbing grenades from higher ground.

Junkrat's ultimate, Rip-Tire, can kill anyone with its direct damage and all squishies with its splash damage. However, it has only 100 hp and can be destroyed. So it's better to take indirect path to ambush enemies.

Finally, even in his death, Junkrat can kill his killer: upon death, he drops 5 grenades. That's more than enough to kill any squishies. So do get closer to enemies when nearing death :)

I have recorded, to date, 13 highlights/play-of-the-game and here's a selected few:



Unlocked the achievement "Roadkill": kill 4 enemies with a single use of Junkrat's RIP-Tire in quick or competitive play.



I thought killing Bastion in his tank mode with rip-tire was worth it. Mercy was a bonus :) Remember, Bastion is a priority for your team to kill. Game lasted only 3.5 mins. I had ulti only once.



One of my favourite places in Dorado map. Together with a team mate or two, I killed enemies with grenades and mine.


A successful kill of Reinhardt-Bastion-Mercy combo.

Upgrade to Windows 10

As I mentioned in the passing in this post, my laptop's OS qualified for free upgrade to Windows 10. Since Microsoft will stop (or has stopped already) supporting Windows 8, I really don't see the upgrade as a choice and so I upgraded.

It was quite a fast and painless experience. Dell made it easier by telling me my Alienware laptop was ready for the upgrade without issues as they had checked and tested the model. As usual, I searched the internet and changed some settings to suit my personal taste as well as minimise privacy intrusion (especially information passed to Microsoft via Cortana!).

Upon completion of the upgrade, this was what I got on the screen:

Upgrade to Windows 10

Okkkkkk. Good to know, I supposed. But wait a minute: why would they want to insert this message?Does this mean in previous upgrades, some files were moved?

Atlas Reactor: Asana (incredible!)

Atlas Reactor Asana 838 Grey 316 others 500s

For almost two weeks, Atlas Reactor (still in beta) was open to everyone and it was great to see many new players trying this game. Even better, I personally heard some players planning to buy or had already bought this game after trying it out for a few days. Awesome :)

In the midst of this open access period, they also introduced a new Freelancer: Blackburn, a firepower. So I, along with many people, was keen to try him out. Unsurprisingly, there were duplicates regularly and sometimes I was forced by the game to choose another Freelancer. Seeing that my team didn't have a frontline, I chose Asana whom I've been actively leveling up recently.

This game was spectacular for a couple of reasons:

(1) We had no death! Yes, we won 5-0 on turn 15. Mind you, I didn't think we were stomping over the opposing team. I suspect that we somehow did more focus firing than them. At the end of the game, our Quark player was amazed that no one died - a first for him as a support :)

(2) My Asana had the highest contribution among both teams: 838. The lowest was 316 by enemy's Grey. The rest had contribution of about 500+. Yes, I did exceptionally well :) Noticed that despite being a frontline, I did the most damage, with team mate Lockwood came in a close second.

Advertising reduced discount?

Confusing discount

Such a curious advertisement. It appears to say that previously you saved RM11.80 but now you save "just RM1"?

Of course it's not meant to be that way but I can't make head or tail out of this. What do you think it should be and how it should have been better stated?

Atlas Reactor: Radium Quark

My Quark has finally hit the max level of 10! I then get to unlock what I think is the best skin (Radium) that can be purchased with in-game currency.

Atlas Reactor Radium Quark



The default starting skin is Xenon, which is not bad looking.

Atlas Reactor Xenon Quark



This level 6 skin, Radon, is too garish for me lol. So I never use it:

Atlas Reactor Radon Quark



This level 8 skin, Neon, is the next best in my opinion although someone did say that it makes him look like a candy @@.

Atlas Reactor Neon Quark



Oh, I also started using a different modifier for his ultimate ability Positronic Surge. Previously, I used the default modifier, Power Surge, which grants allies might for that turn. However, at times this was a waste because my allies were running away instead of dealing damage to enemies. This is not surprising though because Quark's ultimate ability heals allies and so I try to use it when healing is needed for multiple allies.

So now I use the modifier Luminosity which heals allies for 5 health a turn for the next 2 turns. I believed this is more consistently useful than the default modifier. As usual, I prefer consistency :)