Thursday, July 29, 2010

Starcraft II

First, a quick word about Starcraft and its expansion. Sadly, not everyone knows this game on the PC released by Blizzard TWELVE years ago. A game still played a lot until very recently. Until Starcraft II was released two days ago.

With that out of the way, I shall talk about the two tragedies that have befallen me.
The first, not very important, is that I actually knew of the release TWO WHOLE DAYS after!!! Unforgivable!

The second, more serious one, is my Battle.net account getting hacked...
The reason for this is that Blizzard also made another phenomenal game called World of Warcraft, a game I played for a long time. The thing is however, that you have one account managing all your Blizzard games.

I have not been playing World of Warcraft for a while now, but somehow, I did something stupid, and got a trojan virus. And so some jolly fellow stole my Battle.net account info AND my Hotmail account info that is linked to my Battle.net account.
They did this because World of Warcraft is such a huge success, that people actually sell the in-game currency (or gold) for actual real-life currency (or dollars).

The bastards proceeded to change my Hotmail password and secret question to something in Chinese, so that I could not login and reset my Battle.net password!
Thus began the long story of contacting Microsoft people to get my Hotmail account back, and from that get my Battle.net account back, and then change all info and passwords everywhere.

Then proceeded to check PC for viruses and adware and malware but found nothing...
So long story short, my Battle.net account is disabled until I send them an email from a new email account, but I don't want to do that until I find the root of the problem...
This however means I can't buy the new Starcraft game :'(

Raynor will have to wait (until I download the game on torrent for now, until I can actually buy it).

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Bicycle business

So, it's really late, but I'm feeling quite generous tonight and as such will give the common people a quick update, basically about my bicycle lol. And of incoming changes!

Last week, I opened Google maps, and traced the route I take everyday from my dorms to the university, and learned that it's approximately 4km each way. Doing very simple maths (nijma3!), this amounts to a minimum of 8km a day, around 16ish on days I go to the gym (which hasn't been happening much though).

8km à pied, ça use,
ça use.
8km à pied,ça use les souliers!

Only I'm not walking, but the concept remains unchanged, and so I use that fact to make myself feel less bad about the 3rd bicycle I've so far kinda broken or ruined...

First one was the old crappy one my very nice friend gave me (I'm really not being sarcastic here), didn't take me much effort to ruin the chain so that it came off every other block. Returned it and she actually was nice enough to give me another one.
Condition was better, but not much... it wasn't ME riding it when the chain actually broke, but I paved the way for it.
The last one, which I bought second hand from the Co-op, seemed more promising, in much better condition. It seems however, that it is a bit small for me. I should have realized this when my feet would brush the ground when I would be banking right or left lol, but I just assumed the road was uneven.

Last week, the main suspension (under the rear seat) actually broke... Seems it wasn't meant to carry me + my books + my laptop for a total of 80something kgs. Go figure.
Asked the nearest repair shop, turns out it costs nearly as much to change it as it would to buy another second hand bike... So I fixed it myself. It's not a very good job, but it seems to be holding out for the time being. I just need to make sure everything's still in place every couple of days, and avoid carrying my laptop with me lol. And maybe stand up when there's a bump in the road. And maybe not jump off the sidewalk when there are many people there. That might help a little haha (no seriously wasn't doing that, maybe only once or twice. Now I just avoid streets with many people).

Good thing is however, that this long ride is amazing exercise. Especially since I'm always late in the morning! When I first started making the trip maybe 2 months ago, I'd get there tired, now I can very easily go full speed the whole way back and forth one go. So I started to find other ways to make it a challenge, like standing as much as I can (while avoiding straightening the knees of course), or not using my thighs and stuff like that.
There are days however, when all this is unnecessary. Days when the wind is more than enough challenge! Days like today.

Once the wind was so strong, it actually stopped me in my tracks, from nearly top speed! Had to walk my bike... but this only happens at the riverside for some reason. Maybe coz of lack of buildings that shield you.

Well anyway enough of silly and uninteresting stuff. Winter is coming (Song of Ice and Fire reference... if you don't know what that is, shame on you! But worry not, you do not need to read them, HBO is making a series based on the books! Books will be better of course, but I digress again). Therefore, bicycle riding will be somewhat hard. Add that to the million reasons living in these dorms (or any other dorms) sucks, and you get enough incentive to move to an apartment! I say apartment, but it's basically a bigger room lol...


Et voila! My new apartment. A couple minutes away from my lab (on foot!) and on the 8th floor (8 being my favorite number). I'll be missing out on the daily workout but I can think of many many more positive sides to the move. Like: hotel Tah is now open for visitors! Well not yet, but as of August 21st (or a week after that). Come one come all! I won't pay for your ticket :P but you'll have a place to stay, and a guide for the bestest foodz hehe.

Enough rambling for now, so much to write about, so little "jalad" to do so :)
Uploaded many pix on FB though so check them out.
Moo.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

GAD DAMMIT I'M NAT FAT! >>.<< !

We got the results for the health examination we did a couple months ago, and it seems I'm fat! Lel. BMI (Boday Mass Index?) never really applied on me coz I'm quite dense. Physically people physically! So when I had myself checked at the gym and results came up less than 10% body fat percentage, at 72kgs (with clothes), I wasn't really fat :D
So now, haven't gotten taller (unfortunately), but have gotten 2 kgs lighter at 70 kgs, and my BMI is 25.2; the average here should be between 18.5 and 25.
So I got a comment that I'm a bit fat (or skinny.. stupid computer automated message) and that I should watch my diet lol. Getting quite hungry just thinking about it. And coz it's 2 AM and I haven't eaten anything in a while! Like 6 whole hours... weather got hot all of a sudden and I just woke up hot and sweaty, and not very sleepy. Thus the update. And the incoherence in sentence structuring...

And finally, not nice to have an entry with no photos! So! The school visit I spoke of last entry was not done yet and we had to write a thank you letter! Seeing as I'm quite lazy and couldn't come up with much to write, I decided to just go buy a brush and some ink and draw a big THANK YOU in kanji! Nice right? No. After getting the stuff, found out the letter's addressed to the kids (7-year-old don't know the kanji for thank you, don't think anyone uses it...) so we came up with another idea. Don't remember if it was Wulan, Pen Pen or Vangie that threw the idea out as a joke, a joke I found to be quite serious!


Et voila! Just drew a couple names and a quick thank you and it turned out quite nice.


Ehab, my palms (or palm to be more precise) still blacker HAH!
And I think I'll go back to sleep now. Peace.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Big ass bruise!

Since I'm on a roll and uploaded all the photos I've been too lazy to upload for the past month, I'll accompany them with a quick explanation here. Won't be uploading same pix though.

Yesterday's post was a short one and I'll not consider it as the "return", so since THIS is the new beginning, I decided to make it special, and kick off with a rather humorless and pretty rude pun. Thus the title.
Now we all know the best way to get someone to do something is to tell them NOT to do it.
"Don't look down!"

And you went and did. Obviously. So I'm sure my next few words will have the opposite effect but I'm just gonna say it: at the end of this post I am posting a photo of a big ass bruise I got a couple weeks ago... on my ass! Get it? Haha. Ehm ya SO you were warned! If you've known me for more than a month, chances are you've already seen my ass ;) but in case you aren't yet of the few [un] lucky people here's your chance. Basically I slipped and landed on a step and had to share the pretty pic hehe.

On to other news. Those that read my last post about my new earphones, will be delighted to know that I just found the ones I "lost" today... and now I feel a little less good about buying the 40$ ones, but am not gonna return them coz they're just too frikkin awesome.

Soooo actually I find myself too lazy to write anything about Hokkudai sai (food festival at our uni), Yokasoi (dance festival in Sapporo), Maruyama zoo and mountain (with the breathtaking view of Sapporo), and Zenibako (beach), since the photos are more than enough info me thinks, and I'm quite lazy.

With that out of the way let us begin with the miscellaneous things:


Saw these guys while going to class lol. Stuck around till they finished thinking they'd climb up when done, which was pretty silly of me in retrospect, since they basically just went down a meter or so and were on the ground lol... ah well...


This is a gorgeous house right outside uni, with an old woman always gardening. Might have posted a photo of it before but it's definitely worth seeing again :)

Another gadget I wouldn't have thought I'd ever see: a USB fan... yes lol. Very cool :D


This is pure genius! Ever eaten ice cream or anything wrapped in paper and had to gradually tear the paper while you ate? Well this little baby is already ready to very easily tear in a spiral, conveniently uncovering the important stuff: the FOODZ!

Now on to less random stuff. A Shinto shrine: quite old.


Very gorgeous.


So you go to the altar throw some money and pray for something, then ring the bell so the gods can hear you. Then you can pay the equivalent of a dollar and get your fortune. If you don't like it, there's a place where you can tie it and it won't come true. So take someone who can read it with you. Don't know if you take it and have someone translate it, then don't like it and come back to tie it, if it will still come true since you took it out in the first place :P Not that I really think it will come true anyway.


Outside the shrine. You can see summer in its full effect. I'm pretty sure I have the same photo in the winter somewhere but I can't be bothered to find it and compare :)

Finally, was riding my bike back home, and had my earphones on full blast listening to something loud, however, I still heard something. Took off my earphones, and the sound was pretty low, surprising with the volume of the music (probably the silence between songs), so I went in the general direction of the music and found this:

video

Asked, and seems (correct me if I'm wrong) this is an Omikoshi (Mikoshi but the O is added for respect in Japanese), which is basically a vessel used to transport the deity from the nearby Shinto shrine around the neighborhood, so the deity can check it out. I felt very lucky to have wandered there by mistake. A very pleasant experience.

Of course can't keep the tone very serious! So this is me in flashing mini mouse ribbon yay!


And this is me posing for my new haircut yay!


And this the sheep dog again! I just love it!


Saw it down by the river and sprinted to take another photo of it. And it just walked up to me and started sniffing and licking me! So cute! And huge!

Finally, would like to talk about the school visit last week. Each year, in this intensive Japanese course we're taking, the teachers organize a trip to a nearby Japanese middle school. The aim is to see how the Japanese educational system works, and have a nice Japanese experience. The school benefits from an international exchange, since we all prepare presentations about our countries.
We can't post photos online because of Japanese regulations regarding the schools, regulations I'm surprisingly very comfortable following (!!!) I'm sure they have their reasons, but if anyone wants some, just let me know on FB or drop a comment (with a name or email address if your nickname is something vague!) and I'll email you some. Sharing photos with family is OK but not posting them publicly. And believe me it's worth it! I chose the youngest class, 6-7 year-olds and they were TOO. FRIKKIN. CUTE.


The whole class (both sections) sang "We Are The World".


That's us practicing the night before at one of the dormitories.


So we got there and were each greeted by a student and led by the hand to the gym, where all the students and parents (?) awaited our arrival. We entered to a Michael Jackson song lol (forgot which though) and after lots of talking (in Japanese of course), they started with the interviews. I naturally forgot to read up on the questions they would ask us, and messed up mine by answering something totally different but humorous (I think meh).
After that we sang, then they sang, then we all danced... the MACARENA lol!

Then it was off to the classes and the presentations we prepared (all in Japanese of course...) Mine was about famous places in Lebanon. Took me a while to prepare it, since I had to download a trial version of Office 2010 to get PowerPoint, and learn how to use it since the last version I've used was 2000. Add to that the fact that it was all in Japanese, and you have a recipe for hours and hours of work for 10 minutes of presentation lol. It was fun as hell though, and except for the last couple slides (where I became lazy), I mostly had the full attention of 7 year-old children. A feat in itself!

We then began playing games, none of which I fully understood, all of which I was running and screaming and being all-out-silly in though :D

We had lunch with the students. They have lunch in their classes. Carriages are left in front of the class, with food and milk cartons, and of course utensils. The students then wear the funniest looking hats and clothes and assorting table cloths on their desks, then make lines to have the ones on duty serve them food. Too cool. Very cute pix here :(

After lunch, more games, dancing, singing and lots and lots of fun! The extra attention is a bit annoying, especially for my class, where it's the first time for many of them to see a foreigner. And so they were all over me, touching me and trying to get my attention, and of course I couldn't understand 90% of what they were saying. It was even tougher for our African friends haha, since their skin is even stranger to the kids than mine! And were even asked many times why they were black.

Finally we drew big notes of thanks to the kids and were on our way after a long and exhausting, but very very fun day.

Oh and nearly forgot the promised photo! Haha.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

How to... : part I


Since it's been a while, let us begin with something simple, as the title suggests, a tutorial of sorts. Without further ado:

How to buy 40$ earphones without feeling any guilt:
  1. Lose your old (perfectly fine, great and comfortable) earphones
  2. Go scouting for new ones
  3. Buy 29$ earphones that even have a mic in them (very cool since I listen to music on my iPhone and it helps to not have to hold it up to my mouth or remove the earphones altogether)
  4. Try them out and realize they have absolutely rubbish bass! Can't even listen to stupid Lady Gaga and JayZ without base, let alone Metal or good Rap/HipHop...
  5. Go back to the store and ask to replace them (they actually DO that here unlike in Lebanon where you'd be chased off at gunpoint hehe )
  6. Get the 40$ smashing Philipps earphones you had noticed before, that openly advertise the something something air flow that gives real and deep bass
  7. Forget about the previously paid money and convince yourself that you only paid 11$ for the new earphones
  8. Enjoy the amazing sound on these babies! Had to really drop the volume though coz they pretty badass

They even come with their own elegant case, and are very short (guessing that helps for jogging?) but come with an extension cord to reach longer. I miss my sound system JUST A LITTLE bit less now...