Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sentosa Adventure and UFO Catcher at Iluma

I had so much fun yesterday. Aside from the fact that it's Olga's fabulous day, Agnes' brother arrived in Singapore which spells fun to the next level.

We had lunch first at this cozy and a bit pricey Marche but a well deserved one since the food are really gastronomically succinct.

After the food feast, we then went to tower two of Harbourfront for we were going to Sentosa via it's cable car service. We arrived there a bit fidgety already. Actually the plan was to first checkout Da Vinci's exhibit but then we were not able to make hay earlier so had it cancelled. So let's proceed.... Out first stop was at the shooting house - Desperado, aka wanting to feel like a sheriff in the cowboy days. Ofcourse, we were not using any real guns as everything was electronic. It was fun shooting some gangster displayed in this huge monitor and it was so exciting. After the shooting activity, we had to take some breaks. We then went to have that great Luge Ride and Sky ride. It was fun speeding up and another fun of watching the great view from above. We did it twice for both combo ride as it was part of the summer package we had. After steep slope ride and back, we proceeded to the Tiger Sky ride. It was that exciting but the view is really good. You get to see the Singapore skyline in a different way as the ride would rotate at this manageable slow pace while it tried to ascend. After the ride we had take another break. Our next stop was to go feeding the birds but the not-so-good in directions in me who tried to check for the location of the spot lost it. We did not have much time and since we wanted not to be late for The Songs of the Sea, we decided to take that activity instead. The Songs of the Sea would have to start at 7:45 but then we arrived at the queue area about 45 minutes earlier. Since we still had calamares, so ate it. After the waiting it, was time for us to get inside. The clock was still on 7:30. We found our seat a few rows like on the 10th row from the front show area. When the show began, it was a bit of singing so the crowd wasn't that participative. Then the Fire Lord showed up and because of Lee's voice he was back to his powerful state. He then showed his fiery magnificence. I was amazed at how the fire balls were sent up to the air. Then some other characters showed up and finally the princess. the water and laser light show is really beautiful for beginner like me. I think they should change the story line from time to time so there would be variety and so it won't be boring for second or third timers. Anyway, we need to go back to the mainland as it was about dinner time already. The walking distance is a bit uphill so we arrived a bit long. we again rode a cable car and this time it was dark, obviously. It got scarier to those who are afraid of heights and not me hehehehe.... Well, the ride was fun. After that Sentosa adventure, we went for an MRT ride going to City Hall. Our next destination was to have dinner at Makan Sutra which is just beside the Esplanade. It was Olga's treat. The food were really tasty. I even ate this big crabs in sweetened chili sauce - I'm allergic to crustaceans you know. Anyway, some of our friends arrived. We had more fun talking and updating our individual lives.

Since the title has with it UFO Catcher, my hooked housemate went to Iluma all by herself. I don't know if I got the correct spelling of Iluma, a mall at Bugis district here in Singapore. But yeah she played there all alone. I tell you guys, my friend was able to harvest most of the toys in there and she got a bunch of them. She even gave a really cute toy to Olga as a present. This adds the list of UFO Catcher centers here in Singapore that's winnable and really not rigged. I'll be playing there some other time with the rest of the UFO Catcher addicts.

Note: Photos to follow as they were still on my friends' cameras :) Ciao!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Vacation to Cebu, why not?

How much do I have to put-up of trying to re-assure myself that I do not miss home?

I am actually planning to have a vacation to the Philippines. Sad to say, I need to find a good schedule and a nice timing for that. Somehow, I still am connected with my friends from the Philippines. In fact, yesterday, a friend of mine from Cebu has arrived in SG to work.... Is Singapore the new land of milk and honey?

Well lots and lots of "pasalubong" - translated as gifts, from Olga will be about to go to my belly. She has some sort a bit of flu though but not the media hyped swine flu.

Another great thing was, my best friend MJ had a card for me and a pooch stuff. A great smile was painted on my face while reading it :) Grrrr I need to fly to Cebu now! Hehehehe.

Speaking of swine flu, I heard from a friend that in the Philippines, the infection has gone high but then there's not even one reported fatality, which is a good thing. I have never heard of any fatality here in SG as well but based on the news yesterday, three newly reported cases where because of local transmission of the virus.

Hoping the vaccine is on its way. Hoping that my sooner vacation to Cebu will be realized. I have to really save and save more thus, I'll have to start growing money-trees.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Business Trip to France and UFO Catcher, again ?

My project lead buzzed me and since I was on my earphones, listening Jason Mraz's album, he went to my seat and called my attention. I then took out the earphones. He asked me if I have read the email and I simply replied, "No", to him. I then checked what was on the email.

The email said that my trip to France has been cancelled and according to the scripts, it will be moved on some other date. The trip was actually scheduled three weeks ago and my flight would be this coming Sunday, 21st of June. I felt a bit relieved. I did not know who to talk to other than my project lead. I told him that it's okay. He just said that we have prepared a lot already. I told him that it's fine with me. So my project lead just went to his seat.

I still do not know what to do so I sent a message to Jax about the cancellation. I would have told Agnes first but her status on her messenger was away. I then sent the message to Jax. He then called me if I was just joking or something else. I told him I was not joking.

Instead of going to the gym after the office hours, I went to church and just thank God and entrusted to Him the things I have no control over with. I went with Jax at a church in Bukit Timah. After that we ate dinner at Chua Cho Kang. This time we did not play UFO Catcher but instead just watched people playing. We hop from one machine to another. We actually saw the lady who we saw the last time we were there. She even recognized Jax and had a bit of fun talk with her. She was actually holding a stitch stuff toy which she won.
Jax and I were in control as we were not able to play UFO Catcher at that time. But wait, we have actually planned to go to Yishun to play there.... hehehehe.

Anyway, we arrived home a bit late as Chua Chu Kang is a bit far. I was at peace already and that fear and excitement all wrapped into one, in going to France was gone. But it was not totally cancelled so I will still be sent there probably next month. By that time, I will be more prepared, hopefully.

Tomorrow is a weeked and there lots and lots of things to do. It's a super blessing in disguise as my friends from the Manila and Cebu Philippines will be coming here in Singapore for a vacation. I'm actually glad that my business trip was cancelled as I will be able to join Gemalto's team building. Hehehehe. Thank God you are so kind to me... hehehehe.... Hmmm see you my great friends these coming few days :)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Schengen Visa to France has been approved

Monday, June 15, I went to the French embassy to submit my passport. I brought with me the summary of my insurance policy which was what they wanted from me. The one I have submitted the first time I went there did not contain the complete information they needed. It was a quick processing as it took me just 30 - 45 minutes. I took a bus and I went home directly instead of going to the office as it was 11:30 when I got near Buona Vista. When I arrived at the office, I told my PL what happened.

Wednesday, June 17, I went back to the French embassy to get my visa. I arrived there around 9:20 as I again took a bus. The first time I went there was I rode a cab. I was a bit sweaty because I had to walk 300 meters or more from the bus stop going to the embassy itself. Anyway, I arrived just on time and I got my queue number. The visa section was not crowded and my queue number is one. So when the officer saw me, she then called me and I just gave her my claim slip and then she gave me my passport. There it was, the Schengen visa pasted on a page of my passport. It's validity is 3 months.

Everything just came flowing in my head. There was literally traffic jam in my head. I was like riding the bus and don't exactly know what to feel, how to say it, how to react. I was excited, afraid, a bit numb and clueless. When I arrived home, since same thing, I did not go to the office immediately, I opened the television just to make sense of the world. I then watched the news about the AH1N1 pandemic then this nuclear threat from Korea and this election frenzy in Iran. At that moment, I was a bit relieved.

I went to the office and simply told my PL that the visa is ready and approved. He then prepared some things that I needed for the trip. I also studied some slides and some technical papers.

Actually, I still don't know. The business trip to France is really so big for me. I should be thankful right? And yes I am but, I feel that it's too much. How I wish it were a vacation and I should rejoice it all the more, but it's work. Since I don't know what to really do because aside from the fact that there are other reasons why (real reasons and speculative ones), I decided to go to church yesterday to have enlightenment and guidance from the Great Divine.

Friday, June 12, 2009

UFO Catcher at Lot One

Believe it or Not! Yes, my friend Jason and Analyn checked on me while I was in the office doing some software validation. It was like 7PM which was the right time for me to go somewhere. Indeed, the call to apply the knowledge in UFO Catcher machines has gone to an unstoppable queue of my itinerary of the night. I dropped the idea of going to Suntec City for the IT Show and did not go with Olga to the airport.

When the clock struck sharp 7PM, I hurriedly locked my PC and turned off my flatscreen monitor. I said good bye to my officemates and off I went to Choa Chu Kang. The mall called @Lot 1 Mall has these unrigged UFO Catchers. I was in a hurry so I went to the bus stop just in from of the company. I was there waiting and di not see the Bus 91 so I checked for the company bus. It was there parking and some Gemalto employees were beginning to camp already. I decided to ride the company bus. Note that it was raining a bit so I wished that it would stop somehow. I made a phone call to Jason, checking them where were they. They were already in the mall. Excited that I was, I couldn't hide the feeling to already jump off the bus. Heheheh just kidding... just to get to any of the UFO Catchers. The company bus arrived at the Buona Vista Station after 7-10 minutes I guess and I hurriedly went my way up to ride the train. Just few minutes of waiting, the train arrived and I get inside the train so quick. It was a 20 minute ride going to Choa Chu Kang Station. When I arrived at the station, I made another call to Jason. They were waiting for me at the food court already... I could not deny the fact that I was hungry as bear so I made no protestation as the UFO Catcher machines won't run :D.

I went to food junction was it and there I saw Jason and company. I saw Michelle a friend from Cebu and one of their friend. Analyn was with them also. I can see in her face that excitement so we did not waste any time and ordered our food for dinner. We ordered he same food and that is roasted chicken rice. I was satisfied with the food I ate but then my mind was focused on playing those UFO Catchers. After some photo snaps, we moved to our main goal and that is to play. We need to go one floor up and off we went. We tried our first try on the UFO Catcher and failed. Analyn gave a try on the penguin stuff and failed. She then try a bit more and tada she won it. I tried the machines at the back and lost 5 SGD. I had no more coins so I had my 10SGD changed into coins. I then saw these huge Stitch toys. I dropped the first coin and nothing happened. A tried another one and still nothing happened as it only moved the toy a few millimeters. I did not give up and on the fifth try I won a Stitch stuff toy on that UFO Catcher machine at the far left side. I still have 5SGD and try again but lost my 3 Singapore dollars. Jason gave a try but lost. Analyn gave a try and lost. I only have 2 Singapore Dollars left and the Stitch stuff toy on that UFO Catcher is so near the hole and I gave my all. With that last penny, I won my second Stitch toy.

We went out of the mall with smiles in our face and really had a bit of fun... We were not over yet as we were still talking about what happened while we were going out of the mall and while going for the train ride home. We were not over of this UFO Catcher stuff as we are going to hit Bugis some other time or even the very far Yishun on the red line.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

UFO Catcher Tips

I'm not over yet with UFO Catchers. In fact, the link which my friend told me about was there on youtube and so the most logical thing for me to do was see the video myself. She is a Japanese lady who I think lives and breathes with UFO Catchers.

To those who are very much eager to learn UFO Catcher strategies, this is a better watch :

This UFO Catcher is designed from Japan so it might be totally different with the ones designed in America. Actually, I so happened to see the machines in the US where in it is doomed to fail for a certain number of tries like 10 tries. Doomed to fail here would mean that the catcher grip is so loose that it would be impossible for the player to pick the toys. But then, after that specific number of tries, by the eleventh count the grip becomes tight and with the right skill, one can abduct those adorable toys.

The one at East Coast Park was of a Japanese design. That was the reason we got so many toys. It so happened that we were able to discover some few tricks of our own which actually is close to what the video from above has shown. We actually tried the UFO Catcher at Plaza Singapura and they were a bit rigged. You can't make a full control of the UFO Catcher as there were like an inch or two long stoppers at every edge of the levers - too bad.

My friend will be actually checking the UFO Catchers in IMM or in Centerpoint, malls in Jurong East and Boonlay respectively. We are also planning to check-out the machines in Vivo City. I might have another post regarding these machines if we can give them a good try, probably this weekend :)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

UFO Catcher at East Coast Park

Last weekend, my housemates and I went to East Coast Park. It was the first Saturday of June. The itineraries would be biking, bowling and having dinner. There's no fun if there's no blooper. In fact, we rode bus number 48 to East Coast and we were kind of lost because we were not able to stop at our destination. So we decided to stop at the terminal and then got a cab going to the East Coast Park B I think where the most conspicuous mark would be McDonalds. Anyway, we rented an overnight bike for ourselves. We rode from one end to the other. There were too many people out there all coming in different ages, color and size?

Anyway, the highlight of our trip was playing at this UFO catcher machine. The first try was a lucky one because we won an elmo stuff toy. The next succeeding tries brought home like 10 very cute stitch stuff toys.

I think we were hooked already of the game simply because we have never tried this one when we were in the Philippines. In fact, my housemates are actually searching at Youtube for all the tutorials on techniques of playing this machine, and I will be checking them out myself.

My coming home to the Philippines will have to be spent at any big mall in Cebu playing UFO Catcher machine. Come to think of it, in Singapore it's worth 1SGD which is 30 PHP and in the Philippines, one token would cost 6PHP. Just do the math :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Changing blogger template

I am changing my blogger template. Sad to say that I'll be changing this new theme as I have learned to like it but then when I try to open my blog through Windows IE, it will just crash that browser.

I believe I can somehow edit stuffs on the html level and the javascripting but then some scripts were actually just hidden from me. The scripts were accessible from a third party.

I also notice that some of my google ads were formatted to be linked to the third party's site which is not good for my adsense stuff.

Anyway, forgive me if this site is going to the old days but absolutely not in the dark ages. If I will have enough time, I will try to redesign this site :)

Any suggestion would be very much welcome :)

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

One fine Monday

I can consider my Monday so great today so maybe I should say one great Monday instead.

Anyway, I came to the office just on time. I actually woke up around 8:20 already and my roommate woke me up because he seemed to notice that I was going to be late if won't get up and start the day right. I pulled myself from bed and went to the bathroom. Good thing there was nobody there so I would not have to queue. I managed to do the morning ritual so quick but since I had to go to the gym, it took me some a bit of time to prepare. I was able to get out of our flat at around 9:30AM. Haven't I told you guys that I have received an email from my project lead regarding the my infraction of coming to the office at around 10 AM? Yes, I do not want that to happen to so I have to get a bus ride quickly.... It so happened that the bus arrived at that time so my being late was a bit far from happening again. Arriving to the office just fine, logged in to my PC and then started opening the programs that I will be using. Then came the mail from my project lead that I will be doing some validation of the project from my Indonesian teammate. I have been using the program he created so I'm a bit familiar about it and a bit familiar with the code as well. But I could not start doing what I have to do simply because there was no documentation where to base my validation. There was no base document. I have asked my PL about it and the engineer but then the document which came was only the existing test plan... So I thought I can manage it so I decided to start the task even if I am not convinced with it. Anyway, have to hurdle this one out. Noon came and we were supposed to have a team lunch together with the boss of my manager. He is the big guy. So there, the excel sheets were untouched and the documents were still lying there waving at me. I love the idea of eating out and the idea that it's for free. The group planned to have our lunch at this cozy and chic Italian restaurant at Tanjong Pagar, called Capricci. So I left my seat and went to the toilet to attend this simple call of nature... and then my phone was ringing and it was difficult to answer that call. I was planning to just leave my mobile ringing on my side pocket but it was persistent. So after my call of nature thing, I answered the phone without washing my hands. It was Olga and she's telling me that they were waiting at the lobby of Gemalto. I actually sent an SMS to Agnes but I think she did not notice that or I don't know so I just told Olga that it's our team lunch with the big boss. Anyway, after washing my hands, my teammates were waiting and preparing for the lunch trip. We got out of Gemalto and took two cabs. We arrived at the restaurant just on time as it was like 12:30 already or just around that time. Then we ordered some finger foods. Most of them I don't really know. Our boss ordered some salads. It seemed that most of my teammates do not eat salad so I was the one who finished them all. Ofcourse we had some interesting and yucky conversations about taboo food and some vegetarian diet and diets which has some significance to religion. Anyway, I find it very interesting simply because our talks revolved around those things and not on each other's work or task at the office. We then started ordering our main course, and I had carbonarra with seafood. When our teammates had their orders, we then talked about our boss' family basically his childre. We also talked about food again. It was kind of very great non stressful talk - very light but interesting and fun one. Our food were served and then we were beginning to mellow on our talks as our attention were glued to what we were lunching. I find the food really good but since it was like a huge serving, it turned out something else but still I finished my food. After the main course, we had our desserts and I ordered fruta tiramisu. It was served after a few minutes and again, the dessert is heavenly.... should I call it sinful ? Yeah my tummy was already bulging at that point. Our talks then centered on coffee and then Java then to our teammates iphone then to our boss' HTC. Somehow we were satisfied with what we ate and we finished lunch at 3:56PM in my wrist watch. I can't be mistaken because I counted the hours left for work after that. I also noticed that the bill was at a hefty 450 something SGD which was for 6 persons. That's a huge sum actually because it can support a family of 3 in the Philippines for a month. I maybe wrong but that's how I imagined it.

It was really hot when we got out of the restaurant and worse, there were limited cabs passing by. So we had to wait for 10 -15 minutes just to get a ride going to the office.

When we arrived to the office, my sleepy eyes were making another stint. I really could not help myself and it was so embarassing. I do not like to take coffee because of my hypertension and I do not know what to do.... It's affecting my work... gosh I need to consult to a sleep expert or any of those experts out there who could better help me. Anyway, at around 6PM my brain began to function and then I started working and thinking really fast so my fingers were already typing things... I finished one worksheet which was good thing. The deadline of the project would be tomorrow or later wahahha as it is 12:38AM already. Then I sent a private message to Agnes if she's going to the gym. So off we went to the gym together. I was so lucky to see this really beautiful creature which nearly caused an accident.... Anyway, we proceeded to the gym with all these remarks and chitchats.

Gym gym gym.... cardio and some weights ....

Right now my body is still active but my eyes are sleepy. I am still waiting for MJ to be online to have a nice talk with her at this very late hour....

Oh I forgot to mention that I had a new haircut and new look and good bye to my old long hair.

Monday, June 1, 2009

I think I am going to Paris, France

My company is going to send me to Meudon which is south of Paris, France. Should I be excited or not?

I love to go to different places for vacation but not work. I don't like to mix things up. I like things sorted.

Anyway, I woke up today a bit earlier, like 7:30AM. Since my housemates were to go to their jobs early, I had to let them go first. I finished all the preparations at around 9AM. Since we were due for the house rental today, I had to go to the bank first and deposited the money to our landlady's savings account. I was able to transact everything at the bank around 9:10AM. I had to go back to a bus stop near our block because it was more convenient there. I did not know what bus to ride so I had go for an expensive taxi. I had written the address of the French embassy on this piece of paper which I torn from my office notebook. Anyway, the driver was a Malaysian man in his late 40's I think and he noticed that I was a Filipino. He was a very pleasant person and interacted to me by saying some of the words I knew which happens to have the same meaning in Bahasa. I told him a bit of our history that there were 10 Sultans from the Malay Islands who came to the Philippines and establish Sultanates. Then we were colonized and stuff and we were converted to Christianity. The good man then asked me of my age, what I do here in Singapore. So to show courtesy, I answered him very honestly.... He also talked about his desire of growing old in Malaysia for his retirement. I asked him if how many years he has been working here and he said it has been 15 years - quite a long one actually. As for me, it has been 6 months only and I don't feel liking it much. Anyway, since he knew that our thank you in the Philippines is, "salamat", he said that to me and I replied back to him "salamat".

I arrived at the French embassy on time and it was 9:30-ish something already. The place was not that big actually but it looked secured and neat. When I got inside, the security officer gave me my queue number and it was 20. When I got inside, there were two windows but the one at the right was the only section in service. The number being served was number 11. I the average serving time would be 5-10 minutes depending on the applicant's papers and type of visa and in between, the visa officer had to call on for those who were there for collection since it was a priority. All the seats were occupied so I had to stand at a corner near the glass door. The place was a bit quiet actually when there came a girl then came two white guys and they started talking which made the place a bit noisy. I did not have any book with me nor anything in particular which interested me to do just to kill the waiting time or to make a bit of fun.... When the woman with badge 13 had her turn and left her seat, I decided to occupy her place. There was this Singaporean who smiled and I smiled back. She then asked me if what I will be doing in France and I told her about it. And then I asked her about hers. After that short conversation, I stood up to stretch my legs and then transferred to another seat. The officer was now serving number 16. I would have enjoyed eavesdropping conversations of the three people as I have told from above but then they were talking in Spanish - so didn't understand them. The kid on my right was playing need for speed in his PSP. The woman beside me was eating something crunchy because I was able to hear everytime she chew the food. I was slowly getting drained and tired and you know what it means, I am sleepy. I then realized I did not take my medication. I then planned what to do next after the French embassy thing. After some few minutes, it was already number 18. Then the service became too fast and when the clock struck at 11 AM it was my number being called upon. I then went to the visa officer. I gestured a smile and then gave my papers. She then checked everything. Since, I only photocopied my pass book transactions, she asked me if I have it, so I gave it to her. The she checked and noted something in my application form. I was actually applying for a multiple entry Schengen Visa even if I am only going to France not really on any other EU member country. Good thing I had a photocopy of my Singapore E-pass as she was trying to verify it as well. Then everything went smoothly and returned some of the documents and ofcourse, my passport and passbook. She told me that I needed to pay 120SGD. She then explained to me that my visa will be processed or verified for 10 days and it would take another two days for them to give me the visa. She also added that I need to bring my insurance policy coverage and info the original one as the one I submitted to them was something photocopied and did not have complete information. The officer then gave me the receipt and she wrote there what I needed to bring on the day that I will be claiming my visa.

I was surprised as there was no interview and so I thought maybe it will be on the day I come back together with my insurance policy. It was 11:30 when I got out of the embassy.

I don't really know if I will be approved of the Schengen visa or anything. As I have asked myself, I am not sure. I know it's going to be exciting but then it's going to be work. The pressure would be on me. I know that they are sending me there because they don't have a choice. I am so negative on this because of the fact that I am not really into this project. If I had a choice, I would have wanted someone to be in my place. But then, it's here already, I need to be back to the B.S. robotics mode and function to my intended programming. And besides that, the paranoid in me is yelling about this AH1N1 because it's just lurking around the corner.