Monthly Archives: June 2008

A-typical breakfast

Hash browns, and brownies (no, not hash brownies). Not quite the typical combination for the morning meal, huh?

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Presenting… my new blog, I once was lost! (referencing, of course, that famous hymn) This site is mostly done now, but needs to be tidied up somewhat (mostly the formatting). I was originally planning to keep working at it, but decided to just move in here and finish with the little details along the way.

To-do list

  • Fix/replace broken images
  • Edit styles (e.g. formatting of archives and google shared reads)

Gold Lounge & A380

I’ve been in Japan for nearly a week now, but I’ve been caught up, uh… playing Mass Effect. I’ve been getting bored of computer games recently, but I must say that this game’s so good, it’s really revived my interest in them (looks like it was just a phase – I was merely waiting for the right one to come along). It’s so good that I plan to purchase it for myself, though probably ebaying a Thai copy or something (they’re a lot cheaper, though the packaging and documentation are all non-English). Shockingly enough, the MacBook Pro handles Windows gaming extremely well – I suspect even better than my desktop PC does! Money well spent, then.

Anyway, with my newly-acquired Elite Gold status, I was able to check out the lounge at Changi Airport before flying, though they actually do have a separate lounge for the business/first-class passengers and for us frequent cattle-class flyers, so all I saw was the inferior one.

At the entrance, a Singapore Girl cutout welcoming you to the Gold lounge. Wonder if they use real ones instead for the Silver Kris lounge (the one for business/first-class flyers)?

And, well, it was pretty good for an ‘inferior’ lounge! Better than the one I was in at Manchester Airport, anyway. It was still essentially rather basic – an area with lots of comfy armchairs and some food/drinks. But the spread was quite a bit better than Manchester’s – they were serving baked chicken with potatoes, I think! Wonder if it’s because I was in Manchester during its breakfast hours? There was also quite an extensive drinks section (which was present at Manchester too actually, just that I didn’t really feel like drinking in the morning).

So I grabbed myself some ‘Indian potato salad’ and Tiger beer, and proceeded to do some lounging. Which mainly consisted of using the internet on my laptop using the free Wireless@SG. Not too shabby, but frankly, the lounge is a luxury I think I can live without quite easily. Unlike the nice comfy business class seats – those are something I definitely did miss on my flight to Japan on the A380!

The A380 is supposed to be the world’s largest passenger plane, and the seats on it (for all three classes of travel) have been upgraded as compared to older standard flights. Economy class essentially gets slightly more legroom (supposedly – I didn’t really notice it) and a larger viewing screen – this change I definitely did notice! The viewing area’s a lot bigger now, though I did wonder if this was necessarily a good thing, since I was (embarrassingly enough) watching Sex and the City on the way to Tokyo, which wasn’t exactly something I wanted to broadcast to my fellow passengers. Hey – with the movie showing in cinemas now, I was curious what the hype was about! Didn’t really find it all that great though, but that might be because I was watching random mid-season episodes rather than from the beginning.

I did like that the controller was now holstered below the screen rather than the side of the seat – I used to accidentally press a button while watching shows previously (yes, with my fat butt). The controller also now comes with a QWERTY keyboard for some word-processing and other productivity programs built into the console, but would it have killed them to add some basic web-browsing capabilities?

All in all, quite a comfortable flight, but not that much better than a standard SQ flight. Nothing I’d pay extra money for – good thing it costs the same thing as their standard flights, then!

KrisFlyer Elite Gold

Guess what I got in the mail today? =P

It’s kinda shiny and blingy for my taste, but I’ll probably never see it again (in my name) during my lifetime. Guess I’ll be reviewing some lounges/flights for my next visit to Japan! Hopefully it helps with getting that elusive free upgrade, but I guess that’s hoping for a little too much.

Or is it? -fingers crossed-

Back to Mac

So, because I was sian of having to restore my Dell to its former glory, plus the USD-SGD exchange rate is really favourable right now, I got myself a MacBook Pro (many thanks to Xianna and Weiyi who helped bring it back from the States for me).

It’s been awhile since I’d last owned a Mac, and back then I had some pretty bad experiences with it. I like how OSX handles multitasking, but my major complaint was the comparative lack of options in terms of applications (and of course gaming). Now that Apple’s switched to Intel, though, dual-booting and even emulation of Windows is now a possibility.

And so after some tweaking, I’m now running OSX on my Mac and simultaneously running Windows on VMWare Fusion under ‘Unity mode’, which is pretty nifty since it allows you to pretty much run Windows programs almost-natively (with some slowdown of course). You can see Picasa, µTorrent and Internet Explorer on my dock (at the right-hand side), which are (currently) Windows-only apps (I don’t actually use IE much, but it’s almost a requirement when testing website designs, since the overwhelming majority of people still use it for browsing).

I’m still using Firefox right now, it’s a little sluggish on OSX though – I’m thinking of switching to Safari, but I guess I’ll wait and see how Firefox 3 (which is supposed to be better-optimised for each operating system) handles before making any big changes in browsing behaviour.

Wedding bells

As some of you already know, the main reason I’d scooted off so shortly (just 5 days after handing in my final paper) was to catch my cousin’s wedding. I’d really have liked to visit Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic, but I guess that’s a trip for another time, now. I’ve not actually been in regular contact with her, but I think that side of the family is relatively close having sorta grown up together, so it’s definitely more important than a holiday plan lah.

I still came back pretty late, so I don’t really have many duties to perform (Yay! Blood ties aside, I’m still a slacker at heart) – and half of them were done today. Basically, I drove my dad’s car to a wedding studio thingy to get it decorated.

Not a particularly earth-shaking task, but it was pretty fun (and weird) driving a dressed-up car on the road. Thankfully that task falls to my brother tomorrow (the actual wedding day), and all I really need to do is to open the groom’s car. Once. I think.

Final flight

Woohoo! I’ve struck gold at last!

So I’ve left the UK for the last time now – the next time I go there, if ever, I’ll likely be a tourist. For the final flight back, I’d used some of my miles to redeem an upgrade from economy to business class – I actually did this quite some time back, and had considered cancelling it after I was bumped up for free recently, but there was a penalty fee (in air miles) involved so I figured that having a comfortable ride home wasn’t really such a terrible thing after all =P

This time round I actually had full boarding pass privileges (previously they gave it to me only at the last minute, prior to boarding), so I was entitled to use the Fastlane for the security checks (essentially cutting down a 15min wait to a 2min one), as well as airport lounge access.

Unfortunately, the lounge at Manchester Airport wasn’t all that exciting. To be fair, it wasn’t a Krisflyer (or Star Alliance even) lounge, hopefully those are better (I’ll be finding out in a few days’ time), but at least it gave me somewhere comfortable to sit (and use complimentary internet), as well as providing a little bit of food to nibble on (as opposed to the usual airport BK breakfast). Much better than what I’m used to, but still nothing to shout about, really.

Lunch on board the plane certainly was (worth shouting about), though. With satay and a smoked fish salad as appetisers, followed by beef fillet for the main and ice cream for dessert, I was left a very happy passenger post-lunch.

I’d posted a picture of the business class seats before, but here’s one demonstrating how much they actually recline (when converting into sleeping mode). There’s a shell which stays pretty much stationary (so the passenger behind, if any, doesn’t really notice much of a change) but within the shell the seat somehow flattens out into a nearly-flat bed-like thingy. Not quite a proper bed, but definitely a far cry from economy class (note also the fluffier pillow provided).

Breakfast was not quite as delicious as lunch, but still pretty good anyway. I had the bubble and squeak, which is possibly the last English food I’ll be having for some time, which was surprisingly pretty good.

And so I’m back home now. Next flight review – the A380 to Tokyo! I’m booked for economy class, hoping for another free upgrade – but what’re the odds, really? Maybe that new-found Elite Gold status will helps. If not, well – at least there’s lounge access!

Photoshoppin’

I’ve been meeting up with some people before I leave for good, so there’s been more than my average share of photo-taking these days. Yesterday I met Charmain, Shan and Yiwen for lunch, and we took two separate shots – quite nice on their own, but not quite enough to convey the idea that we had the meal together. So with my new-found freedom, I went on to create a semi-panorama on Photoshop.

It’s not quite perfect, but given the limitations of the source material I think it came out rather nicely! It really got me into a photoshopping mood though, and since I’m hoping to move this blog to my own domain sometime soon (on self-hosted WordPress), I started thinking up a fun Photoshop project for the title graphic of the new template.

Which ended up with the idea of pasting pictures of myself in various positions trying to catch a football, taken back in Australia when we were trying to create poser shots with the football in mid-air. It’s not quite complete (there were about 15 shots in all), but here’s a sample of what the final product would be like. I’m thinking the green colour might be troublesome to coordinate, though.

Comments, anyone?