Monthly Archives: May 2014

GEMS of Life

Over the last two weeks, I’ve been hit with all sorts of inspiration, ideas and epiphanies. Not just topics to blog about, but also tips and tricks that I can apply to my life as problem solving tools or design mechanics for games. I decided to start a (yet another) personal project I call Project GEMS:

Guides, Epiphanies, Mechanics and Shortcuts

The idea would be to keep a record of anything and everything I learnt and classify each lesson into one or more of the four categories. I was thinking of writing them down into a notebook so that in future, when the notebook is filled up, I’d have a book of tools I can consult when I have a problem I can’t solve. It would be good to just go through the book again and see what solutions or combination of solutions I might be able to apply. Perhaps this would also be a source of inspiration when I need it too.

Guides
I would put in here any step-by-step procedures I think I might need later in life. It will be filled with things that I don’t regularly use, but will come in useful in future. For example, I tend to forget how to do origami, but some objects are pretty useful to make as gifts (paper flowers) or practical things (temporary paper box). There’s a little overlap between Guides and Shortcuts, but I’ll cover that later.

Epiphanies
These would mostly be thoughts that occur to me or that I read about. Stuff that blow my mind, just because I never thought of it before, or never saw that particular angle before. The aim is to help me initiate changes my perspective when I need it, usually when I cross subjects. That is, to bring an idea from one field and apply it to another. This category is related to the Mechanics category as it serves as the main source of ideas for game.

Mechanics
This category mainly concerns game mechanics that I make or discover, but will also include blueprints for stuff and how and why things work. It’s going to be pretty technical and practical, but will also hold a lot of possible design ideas, although design theories will be under the Epiphanies section.

Shortcuts
Essentially, this is just life hacks. Not necessarily the “proper” way of doing things, this category will comprise of ways to do things as efficiently and as quickly as possible.

I wanted to use one of the giant A4 sized notebooks that I got as part of the package I received for joining SCS, but I felt it was too big to lug around everywhere. That made me procrastinate starting the book, but now I can’t anymore. See, when I went to Rachel’s Safari themed dinner, I received an A5 sized white notebook as a door gift. It was the perfect size; not too big to carry around and not too small that I couldn’t write in it.

I’m going to be recording everything I learn in the order I learn them. The book is going to be filled with notes, mistakes and bad illustrations, much like how I imagine a mad scientist’s notebook would look like. Once I reach the last page, I’ll reorganize everything into a new notebook (still written and drawn by hand) by category and create an appendix for reference. But I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

I just realized that each category fits quite nicely with the four elements of Air, Earth, Water and Fire. I’m quite a sucker for flavour (when things fit together thematically and aesthetically) and thus a typical Vorthos. Guides, Epiphanies, Mechanics and Shortcuts are Water, Fire, Earth and Air respectively. They all fit so flavourfully.

Water guides me to where I want to go, like a river or stream.
Fire provides flairs of insight and inspiration for epiphanies.
Earth is how I will understand the mechanics of things from the ground up.
Air finds the most direct route to success.

Hmm… I seem to have a thing for the four elements recently. And it all started with Avatar: The Last Airbender.

I can’t wait to start collecting my GEMS of Life.

-Jace

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Punintentional – A Makery

I’m on a pun roll right now and I recently had some inspiration: I should open a pun bakery. I even have a good name for it: “Punintentional”. I think the name works and if I can expand past my own country, I can always change the name to “Puninternational”.

I call it a Makery too; I make stuff in a bakery, but it’s a mockery of other things.

Anyway, here’s a list of the kinds of treats I’d sell in my pun bakery.

Pun Buns and Puncakes – These would be buns and pancakes, each with a different pun written on them in icing, melted cheese, chocolate or toasted. I could just have a set of puns that I reuse over and over and change the set only once a month. I could also serve butter for the puncakes in the shape of bums. Get it? Butter.

Cut and Pastries – A play on the phrase “cut and paste”, this would be a section in my shop where customers could make their own pastries by picking the ingredients and “pasting” them together.

Sweet Cakes – Cakes drenched in syrups and have compliments written on them, like “You look fabulous!”, “Smokin’ Hot!”, “Atta boy!” etc etc. Hence, Sweet Cakes

Cheesecakes – Similar to Sweet Cakes, these are actual cheesecakes with cliche romantic phrases written on them in icing, so we have cheesecakes.

Love Muffins – Heart shaped muffins! Perfect couple snacks.

Pies – Of course we have the obligatory nerd joke; Pies in the shape of Pi, sold for $3.14 apiece. Or maybe I can hide the pies among the different foods and call them “sPies”.

Tarts – These would be fruit tarts in the shape of lingerie or prostitutes. Get it? Tarts are Fruity? Hmm… might have a PG or M18 rating on them though… Never mind, I’ll just have an empty shelf with the label and never fill it up. Because they’re always tardy, get it?

Hot Cross Buns – Spicy bread in an X shape.

Cookie Dough – Cookies in the shape of coins! Cookies are already in the shape of coins, you say? *gasp* What coin-spiracy is this???

Donutella – Turtle-shaped bread or cake with Nutella spread on top.

Fruit Punch – This is actual fruit punch… or is it fruit punch?

I’ll also have a shelf of fake donuts with a sign saying: “DONUT TOUCH!”

To encourage people to come in, I’ll give free cotton candy to those who understand the puns.
Because Caught-On Candy!

-Jace

The Bedok Maze

This post was first published on The London Traceur’s blog on May 02, 2014. I’m putting it here as a backup copy. Click here to see the original post.

01 The Bedok Maze
The Bedok Maze

One of my favourite places to train in Singapore is the Bedok Maze. Just look at this place! The walls are all about knee or waist high, so it’s wonderful to train precision jumps, vaults and overall flow. It also helps that this is just a five minute walk from my home, so I can just drop (and roll) by anytime I want. The bricks also give it a sort of rustic feel to it, as if this place was built explicitly for parkour and freerunning a very long time ago. The surrounding buildings are residential and sometimes we have elderly people scold us because they think parkour is dangerous and that we should be studying instead.

Sometimes jams are held here on the weekends and it’s great to see experienced traceurs teaching the beginners. It’s also not uncommon to see groups of teens training here even on weekday afternoons after school. Personally, I like to avoid the crowd so I usually come here on weekday mornings to train. Or at least, I used to before I was conscripted enlisted to serve my National Service. It’s not that I don’t like training with others, it’s just that I prefer being alone or with just a few friends. For me, training time is also partly reflection time and it’s easier to focus and work through my personal problems and obstacles alone, rather than having a bunch of rowdy strangers around.

02 Me Myself and I
Just Me, Myself and I

One of my personal favourite things to do here is navigating the maze on my hands. So far I haven’t been able to hold the handstand until I reached the end, but I’ve progressed a lot ever since I first started. It’s difficult to train because handstands are so intensive for me and I can barely do two to three walks before I tire out. I usually move on to precision jumps. There are varying distances between any two ledges in the maze, so it’s pretty easy to find a spot that caters to your current jump limit. Once you’re ready to increase that distance, another pair of wider ledges are conveniently waiting to be discovered nearby.

Just beside the maze is a small exercise spot with monkey bars, rings, pull up bar, sit up bench, etc. It’s a great spot for switching to conditioning training when you’re done with vaults and jumps, or for some floor work on the rubber surface.

03 Hanging out at the bars
Hanging out at the bars

If you need to work on vertical wall runs, there are pipes on the surrounding buildings about three to four meters above the ground. The pipes are at a pretty decent height which I used to be able to grab with ease, but the lack of training recently has left me only just able to touch the pipe. The run up is quite short, so this really makes me rely more on muscles and technique rather than on momentum.

04 Reach

I usually put in only an hour or two of training in any one sitting, but the various activities make me use all my muscles so I always wake up with my whole body aching the next day. It’s a good ache and makes me feel like I actually did work out, more so than going for a run or skate.

-Jace

Puns, or “Peculiar Pragmatic Post Portrays Powerful Paronomasia Pretty Proficiently”

SAY THAT FIVE TIMES FAST!!

Okay fine so there wasn’t a pun in the title. But it’s the longest alliteration I’ve made yet.

It’s the longest P I’ve ever had.

According to Wikipedia, there are seven types of paronomasia, or puns: Homophonic, Homographic, Homonymic, Compound, Recursive, Visual/Graphological and Morphological. The definition of a pun is a word, phrase or sentence that can be interpreted in multiple ways, due to multiple definitions of said word, phrase or sentence, cultural references, inside jokes or sentence structure.

WARNING
This post might be a little dry and/or advanced, so I apologise. I just really love puns, etymology and linguistics. I wanted to do a little educational post, so that I myself can understand puns a little better and also to show off my punning skills. Puns are my best and most lethal asset I have in my repertoire of joking skills.

“Do your best” and “Do your worst” mean the same thing.

I really like puns because most of the time they’re ridiculous and almost always get a laugh, snort or at least an eye-roll from the people who get it. They’re the easiest one-liners to remember, making them flexible by throwing one related to the current situation, or as a self-contained joke. I also like the fact that they require a large vocabulary to understand, allowing me to filter people who are on the same frequency as me.

Puns are usually how I make and connect with new friends. If you get my puns, I’ll like you and I’ll focus more on our friendship. If you can banter with me, I’ll love you.

I especially love boxing with someone, throwing punches at each other.

There may be seven types of puns, but I want to discuss what I think makes a pun funny. I’m going to classify them in four groups: Poor Puns, Partial Puns, Perfect Puns and Polysemantic Puns. But first, I’ll summarise the seven types, so that you, the reader, can have an easy reference without having to actually flip to Wikipedia. I’ll also add an original example of each type of these seven puns.

Homophonic
Homophonic puns (aka polyptotons) are words that have similar sounds or pronunciations, but have different meanings, like “scent” and “sent”. Also, any pun that results due to speaking a word with a different accent (and thus rendering the sound of the word a little differently) are always homophonic.

When I was born, my parents gave me a pair of denim pants that they had made together when they first met. I inherited their jeans.

Homographic
Homographic puns are words that are spelled the same but have different meanings or sounds, such as “read” (as a verb) and “read” (as simple past tense).

I gave my girlfriend a ring.

Homonymic
Homonymic puns are a combination of homophonic and homographic puns. These are the most common types of puns I use because the parallels of meaning and spelling make me feel clever.

I cried when I found out my macaroni had expired. It pasta way.

Compound
Compound puns are are sentences with multiple puns in them. I’m not able to make these often, but this I get the highest “high” from successfully making an original pun of this nature.

Never scam in the jungle; cheetahs are always spotted.

Recursive
A recursive pun is one that requires understanding of an element of the first part to appreciate the second part of the pun.

Fourth of May is International Star Wars Day. May the Fourth be with you.

Graphological
Graphological puns, or visual puns, are puns that are made up of pictures or symbols, rather than words. This is most common in cartoon strips, especially political ones, when the illustrator wants to hint at a subtle second meaning. This also applies to non-phonetic languages, like Chinese. The pun is made by exploiting similar shapes of characters, even if the sounds are different.

Okay I’m too lazy to make a visual pun, but I’ll paint you a picture. Imagine a rabbit with a halo standing in front of a set of gates. That’s Saint Peter.

Morphological
Morphological puns play on word combinations, grammar, idioms and punctuation to show multiple interpretations of a sentence or phrase. I’ll admit it took me a while to understand what morphological puns were, but now that I do, several pop into mind.

I asked this illusionist how he was able to stop producing all his bodily fluids. He told me that a good magician never reveals his secretions.

So what makes a pun funny? I think that the level of funniness scales with the level of cleverness, complexity and clarity of the pun.

Poor Puns are the least funny. This pun is made by awkwardly forcing words together, or making an obvious pun. It’s only a pun purely because the sentence could be interpreted two ways, but this has no cleverness and so lacks humor.

People who pun are punks.

*shudder*

Partial Puns are made when a sentence has two meanings, but the second meaning doesn’t apply to the context. This breaks the flow and aesthetics of a pun. This might be a little funny but a still awkward. Homophonic and homographic puns generally fall in this area.

Sex is pants down the best thing in the world.

Perfect Puns are the opposite of Partial Puns and are made when the the pun flows, is aesthetically pleasing and is quite ingenious. This is marked by the word having the same meaning, spelling, pronunciation and fits perfectly with the sentence without having any awkwardness.

Hey babe, are you tied up tonight or would you like to be?

Okay I meant awkwardness due to sentence structure, not from the content. Perfect puns are mostly derived from idioms, famous sayings and quotes, so homonymic, recursive and morphological puns generally fall into this category.

Polysemantic Puns are puns that have three or more interpretations. This group is not mutually exclusive to the previous three, although the previous three are mutually exclusive among themselves. This is a special category of puns which gets it’s humor from the sheer number of interpretations the phrase or sentence could have, regardless of whether each interpretation is humorous or not. Usually this stems from any combination pun types together with inside jokes, cultural references and literary tools. It’s not necessarily the funniest, but it’s the punniest.

My puns are like the girls I chase; they’re just plain hard to get.

It’s a little difficult to spot more than two meanings from a pun, since that’s the most common way a pun is spun. I’ll explain this one, just to show off.

The first two meanings are literal references, using the word “hard” as the connection to show the parallels. It’s hard for me to successfully ask a girl out and my puns are difficult to understand. The third meaning is a little subtle, using the word “plain”, which is a homophone of “playing” and references the phrase “playing hard to get”.

There were a couple of theories I read as to why people groan when puns are made. First is obviously because a poor pun was made; the awkwardness and obviousness of the pun makes people groan in pain. The second was because the audience is jealous; they get “why-didn’t-I-think-of-that” moments and they groan with envy.

Anyone who is with me can safely assume that all my jokes are Punintentional.

-Jace

Museum of Serial Psychopaths

This post was first published on my Tumblr on Nov 4, 2012, and is now updated with my experiences since then.

Yesterday I went for my first ever Halloween event: The Museum of Serial Psychopaths, organized by the TP Japanese Culture Group (TPJCG). I went with Jermain, who was nice enough to pay for my ticket.

There were five rooms in total, each featuring a different killer. The first three had long lines, so we went up to the Jack the Ripper and Soap Killer rooms. I was hoping for some puzzle games that we could solve and the first one didn’t disappoint.

In the Jack the Ripper room, Jermain and I had to find six pieces of a puzzle before we could exit the room. We managed to find all six, so we escaped unscathed, but I wonder what would’ve happened if we hadn’t managed to…

Moving on to the Soap Killer room, we were given some background. The killer was a chef who’s hobbies included soap making. That was a little confusing to me, but hey, I rolled with it. We entered the room with two other girls and, being the only guy, I was pushed to the front. Not that I minded. *wink* I was hoping for another puzzle here, so I was frantically looking around doing my best to memorize as much as I could. There was a recipe on the board for chocolate cake, beside another recipe on how to make soap. Sadly, I couldn’t remember it all. Turns out it was unimportant anyway. The chef was showing us how to make the chocolate cake when he “accidentally” dropped a dismembered arm from under the table. His boss came and shouted at him and we were chased to the last section of the room. We could still hear them arguing about a key, so that was when I figured out we needed a key to escape. There were “bodies” all around, coming to life and Jermain managed to find the key. She immediately passed it to one of the “bodies” before I could stop her. I had a sinking feeling that we shouldn’t have done that, but they let us out anyway.

After we “escaped” the two girls we were with asked to interview us. It turned out that they were from Singapore Polytechnic and were doing this as part of their project. Jermain and I obliged them and we were on our way back down to the last three rooms.

We queued for the Doll Killer room first, because that had the shortest queue of the remaining rooms. When we went in, the butler told us we had to crack a lock by deciphering a riddle and finding clues around the room. Now THIS was what I was hoping for. Of all five rooms, I liked this one the best. The clue said we had to find three numbers, first the hands, then bodies, then clothing. I over-thought it and started counting the number of hands, bodies and clothes around the room, but realized it was wrong when I hit two digit numbers. The lock we were shown only had three single digit numbers. Anyway, I felt quite dumb after that and the butler had to clue us in. Turns out the numbers were written on one of the hands, bodies and on a skull hidden between the clothes. *facepalm*

After we escaped, the Geisha Killer was next. This room had no puzzles, it was just a show for our entertainment and we left after it was over.

The last room was the Skin Weaver and I think, the most gruesome room yet. This was actually the first room and having saved it for last was lucky. While the attendants were explaining to us the history of the Skin Weaver, the power went out by accident. THAT was scary, but I thought it was a nice touch, even if it was an accident.

I think the whole thing was awesome, although I definitely over-thought a lot of things. Heh.

-Jace