Winter Storm Jonas 2016

Snow:New York :: blue:sky

What gets me going is when the city “shuts down” over a bit of snow. As a New Yorker that has been here for a good 20+ years, blizzards and winter storms aren’t my first rodeo. So here comes Winter Storm Jonas and everything comes to a standstill. Broadway? Shut it down! Mass transit? Shut it down (albeit only above ground EL service)! Roads? Shut. It. Down! No one should be traveling on the roads, your government has decreed it. Who cares if you have to get to work or come home from work? You should be glad that the government cares enough about you to tell you what to do and stay home (don’t expect them to compensate you for any loss wages, however). It’s for your own good, remember that.

The only good thing is that walking around was not banned, but recommended that you not go outside. Not one to shy away from snow, of all things, we opted to walk around the neighborhood and check just how much plowing went on (not much). We were out for a good 4 hours, and NOT once did we see a DSNY plow or salt truck. The air was crisp, the snow wasn’t heavy, and traipsing around made me feel like one of those foxes in the Nature specials, jumping in the snow for field mice.

While at some junctures, the snow did come up to my knees, it really was no threat nor obstacle for my overprepared self. Nothing like a good set of layers and good pair of boots (Bugaboots by Columbia, what is cold?) to help you tackle Mother Nature’s wintry fury.


It wasn’t the worst blizzard I’ve walked in, but it was pretty enjoyable for a day off and something to do. Take in the sights and frolic in the snow like a kid again.

The Titanosaur!

Much like many things in New York (1 World Trade, Empire State Building, Manhattan Bridge…) we do things large and in style. Our museums are no different. Grand, magnificent displays, intricate and detailed dioramas, classic descriptions of the days old, the American Museum of Natural History have unveiled their latest and greatest display– the Titanosaur.

The Titanosaur– a dinosaur so enormous that it does not have a proper name– is now the newest resident of the museum’s fourth floor, right with its other dinosaur brethren.

Disclaimer though, the skeleton currently on display does not contain the actual bones, but a fiberglass replica, as the fossil bones were too heavy to be mounted. They do have an original bone, a femur, for a limited engagement at the museum that is on display. The display itself is awe inspiring. The Titanosaur is so big that its head sticks out of the entrance. A very apt welcoming indeed.

According to the display information (click here for more information from the AMNH), the Titanosaur spans an impressive 122 feet across, and in its heyday, weighed 70 tons.

To put that into prospective, for example:

  • An elephant weighs 11,000 lbs, or 5 tons. A Titanosaur would be equal to 14 elephants, roughly.
  • An Orion VII transit bus weighs 42,540 lb, or 19 tons. A Titanosaur would be equal to 6 Orion VII buses.
  • The Brooklyn Bridge weighs 14,680 tons. The weight of 210 Titanosaurs would equal the weight of the Brooklyn Bridge

Boggles the mind. That and the fact of the existence of this gigantic beast. It drew a huge crowd on its debut, so I wasn’t able to take many pictures but I did manage to get some nice ones as seen below. The exhibit floor was pretty dark, they were showing a movie as well at the time. Lucky for spotlights and the occasional flash.


Panoramic of the Titanosaur (click to expand)


Hello there!

I will definitely be making a return visit hopefully with a better camera and get more pictures of the Titanosaur.

Review: Inspire your Inner Cat Lady/Man with Neko Atsume (Android/iOS)

I stumbled upon this game when I was reading Kotaku one day and they reviewed it. Either I’m not as unique as I thought I was or that there are more people like me out there (I’m leaning towards the latter).

Neko Atsume is a game that is low maintenance and pretty darn rewarding. You play as an unknown person that leaves food out for stray cats who visit and leave presents for you. It’s very cute and the fact that you don’t have to check in every few minutes is a huge plus. That way you’re not tethered to the phone (as if you needed another reason to these days) and you still get rewarded compared to someone who checks it religiously.

Note: the game is in Japanese, but it’s very easy to play once you get the hang of the icons. Trial and Error helps in this case.

Without going into a full walkthrough (instead check Welcome to Wonderland for a very comprehensive walkthrough), this is just to touch upon how fun this game is.

When I first started out, it felt pretty empty. After a week I think I attracted 2 or 3 cats. It felt pretty sad and I thought maybe I did something wrong. Just keep leaving food however, more cats will come. As long as you keep the food coming, so will the cats. The more cats that visit and the longer that they stay playing with the toys you leave out, the more fishes they leave you. More fishes = more currency to purchase higher value foods and toys. You have a choice of using real money to purchase in-game fishes but the way that it is, you really do not have spend your money as long as you’re patient. Suggestion: when you start amassing gold fishes, start saving up so you can buy an extension to your house to hold another food bowl and more toys (price: 180 gold fish for extension, 280 gold fish for different remodeling types).

After a while of attracting “regular” cats, “special” cats started visiting my yard. These cats are uniquely looking. You’ll know it when you see it. One looks like a Musketeer, another looks like what I would imagine if Anna Wintour was a cat, another is a Sphinx cat. It’s a treat whenever a unique cat visits your little yard. In addition to taking care of the little cats, you also have the ability of taking pictures of them and storing those photos in an album. The toys that you put out has different interaction scenes with the cats and it’s animated as well; if you experiment, you can get some of them in some nifty poses. Special cats that are only attracted by one type of unique toy will only have one unique pose, however.

The only drawback I found to this game is that you can only take pictures in landscape, and you can’t rotate the camera in portrait to take pictures of some cats that stand vertically (eg: the samurai cat, the noble looking cat, the mountain climbing cat). You end up cutting some part of them out of the picture. Other than that little pesky thing, the game is overall pretty fun.

Some screenshots:

My first yard...

My first yard…

First house extension

My first house extension


Individual cat file: Coraline in the cowtube


Individual cat file: Panda(cat) with the little butterfly tether toy

Netflix and Being Outside of Your Comfort Zone

Isn’t it weird to have something for so long and never really use it?

That’s me. I’ve had Netflix for a little under a year and have never really used it much. Nothing really, just never had the inclination to watch anything. I did use Netflix to watch old staples such as Frasier. I really liked that I didn’t have to dig out the ol’ DVDs. I never watched anything else, either because my Netflix search skills suck (or their search sucks, one of those) or because they didn’t have what I wanted to watch.

This weekend, I am pleased to say that I officially binged on Netflix. I don’t recall watching as many movies/series as I had in my history of having it. The downside is that my whole day went because of it.

And it all started with Poirot. I watched one episode last week and got a little hooked. That led me to watching it from the start (which was a bit disappointing, because in the episode that I watched he seemed really nice, but then he wasn’t in the beginning). Those first few episodes weren’t really notable to be honest. That then led me to jump around and find some other shows. I ended up watching Death Comes to Pemberly, which if you are a Jane Austen fan, you may enjoy for it continues the saga of the Darcys. The acting was good and the plot was believable. BBC makes such great shows (such as Doctor Who– which I tried watching the classics, but just could not get into) when you think about it. They make you think and keep you on your toes.

Segueing from that, I watched an Indie Comedy just to spice it up. Ended up watching The Station Agent, starring Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones), Patricia Clarkson (Claire from Frasier), and Bobby Carnavale (Vincent from Will and Grace). It was a really good movie, despite its seemingly disappointing ending. Being conditioned with watching your mainstream movies, I kept watching and waiting for the romance to happen only to find out that everything was truly platonic, a rarity in films these days.

All in all, just like how you can get sucked into the rabbit hole in Youtube, you can get sucked into one on Netflix too. Don’t even bother with worrying about the time and just enjoy the ride. You never know what you may be opened to and who knows– end up liking.

Review: Zoho Sites – a website builder for newbies that is truly free


When I purchased my first domain name, I was happy (yay, personalized email) and then I was shocked and sad (wait, what? I have to purchase a domain and a web hosting for a website?!). Then after heading to The Googles (yes, the almighty search engine) it directed me to Zoho.

Zoho is a company based in India. They specialize in websites for business. They also specialize in freemium products it looks like. Don’t get me wrong, they sell you add-ons for your business (CRM support, price for added webforms and web space) as well as domain names if you need one, but it all starts off free and with no real catch. A company after my own heart.

Because I learned that nothing in life is often free, because it always contain catches/strings, I still gave it a shot because hey– they had me at free.

Continuing on, so at that moment all I had, was a domain name (thank you hellodotnyc) and no clue where exactly to proceed after that. Reading up a little, I saw that I had to get email support (which was another separate charge) and web hosting if I chose to have a website.

Zoho seemed to have everything I needed. Following their instructions, I effortlessly set up my domain with their email and now I had email support. I also linked my domain with their site builder and now I had a website– all for free.

Caveat— while free, the themes for the websites from Zoho really (I kid you not) look like they came out of the early 90s. They look like the sites that spammers purchase and spoof real legitimate websites to fool the elderly and novice users into visiting. However on the other hand– it’s free– and the workaround is that it allows customization– if you know how to do CSS or HTML (but there’s a limit to the customization that you can do, as you still have to retain some parts of the themes that you may not really care for). Another thing I didn’t really care for was that some of their website add-ons (Twitter button to fetch your feed) doesn’t display correctly when you add it onto your site. It also happens to a lot of their other third party add-ons as well. Until they fix that, if that is a big deal to some, you may want to just spend money to have hosting that truly support it. The developers had posted that they are working on it, but that was a year ago and still it looks unresolved.

So in conclusion? While it has its limitations, Zoho really is a good starting point for a newbie looking out to create their own first website. If you’re inclined, you can check mine out: Just Lok’s Little Website.


  • Free
  • Website support
  • Email support
  • Features online tutorials to help you build
  • Custom themes that support customization


  • Limited 90s themes
  • Website builder GUI is laggy at times
  • Third party add-ons do not display correctly (8/12/15 Edit: Third party add-ons do work, just make sure your adblocker/any other privacy add-ons are disabled)

Game App Review — SimCity BuildIt by EA


For those who has always sucked at the SimCity game franchise, you would be glad to know that this latest incarnation by EA Games isn’t so annoying… once you get used to the mechanics. Or maybe it was just me that sucked way back when. In any case, SimCity BuildIt is a much more easier (and less stressful) game for both Android and iTunes.

Starting out with your brand new city:

In the tutorial, you start off building a road. After that, you are asked to place a residential building next to the road in order to start your first residential household. What I instantly liked about it, is that there aren’t any zoning regulations and you are able to build anything next to each other (mixed usage land). Building is pretty simple: as long as you have the supplies that are asked for (steel, wood, seeds, plants, chairs, etc…) you are able to expand without any other requirements. To know when you qualify for an upgrade is when you see a yellow helmet with a check next to it. A plain yellow helmet (like in the picture above) just means that they want to build but material is missing. It is then up to you to tap on the factories to acquire that material. You can also request that the architect draft up new plans which will set you back 30 minutes but will randomize other materials that you may have to expand.

Materials and Money:

Getting materials are pretty simple. There are no prices to getting material. The only thing you have to lose is time by waiting for them to build. Your basic materials are: steel, wood, seeds, minerals, and plastic (I think there’s one more expansion but I haven’t leveled up enough to unlock it as of this post). With subsequent level ups, you unlock other factories that create more complex materials such as nails, hammers, shovels, chairs, and such. Those more complex materials are used in expanding hi-rise buildings with higher property values. Those materials take a lot longer to create compared to the basic materials (30 mins to create a hammer compared to 30 seconds for steel). Of course with many games out there nowadays, you can always speed that up with in-game dollars (that also cost real money to purchase if need be).

To build, you can tap on the various types of buildings on the right hand side of the screen to choose what you want to build. You have roads, residential buildings, commercial buildings, factories, and governmental buildings. Leveling up will allow you to place more diverse buildings around your town. Many buildings are purchased with in-game currency that is generated through taxes or selling your excess materials and others are purchased through keys that you gain when you start exporting materials through the city’s seaport. You can also obtain money by utilizing the Global Trade HQ, which allows you to visit another city to purchase their excess supplies or the Trade Depot, which allows you to place for sale your excess supplies and advertise so others would see your items when they go to their Global Trade HQ.

Your Citizens:

Compared to the old SimCity, you do not really interact much with the residents. You can see that they are unhappy by the little smilies or unhappy smilies that float off the buildings. There is also a little display that shows your approval rating (which affects the amount of taxes that you can receive per day). Sometimes you’ll get bubbles that display from the buildings. When you tap on them, you may even get a little reward– which could be an item that helps you expand the city’s storage building to house more items or to expand your land possession– so do not neglect to tap on anything. Usually any blue icon in a bubble signifies good thoughts whereas red icons mean that those residences need something and you must place something nearby to satisfy their needs. Outside of figuring out the placements of the buildings to get optimal happiness, it really is not hard to satisfy your citizens. Just keep the nasty buildings (smoggy factories, smelly sewage treatment plants) away and keep the good ones (parks, schools, firehouses) nearby. After figuring that out, my citizens are happy and I’m not seeing yellow ‘meh’ faces and more green ‘yay’ faces. Not too shabby.


The game is fun, it is not much of a hassle if you are in the ‘set it and forget it’ mood with your games. I like that I am not rushed to level up or complete quests (although the cargo ship seaport quests do have a time limit to them). I have played other freemium games that require you to check in much more than this one and I have to say, this is much less stressful compared to them. Give it a shot, who knows, you may enjoy being the Mayor of your own little cybercity.

If you are inclined to visit my humble little town, my city’s name is “Bad Wolf”.

2015 is upon us!


Just like 2014 and the years past, resolutions are made and are rarely kept. That’s me right there. I barely kept any of my 2013 resolutions is partly because I had gotten a job. Suddenly the time that I had allocated for all those niche activities were now spent getting up, commuting, and working, then the reverse commute back home, sleep and be all ready to rinse and repeat for the next day.

I will however say this: I will definitely try to accomplish at least 1 out of the multitude that I have on the list this year.

With that, shall we see what we had for 2014?

  1. Learn to code (js, c++, html, ruby, completing any one is acceptable) – 2014: Started HTML around Oct of 2013, slowly but surely learning. 2015: Have been working on this in 2014, yay Codecademy! 32% down! Hopefully will finish this year
  2. Use the Yashica more (and look for better developers as well) – 2014: Took a few pictures in 2013, but haven’t yet finished that one roll (did finish a roll… but kind of screwed up and lost all 24 pics). 2015: Hopefully the camera will be used moreso this year. 2014 was an LG g3ography year.
  3. Hang with friends (even with all my time, hanging out is rare) 2014: Total fail. Hung out with absolutely no one. Damn work. 2015: Now with a car, maybe a road trip is in order to visit dear friends?
  4. Use a sewing machine (no more needles in my fingers!) 2014: Moved, so no access to a sewing machine. Did use a needle to sew a button on a sweater though. We’re going to strike this one out for good.
  5. Take Trouble to the park more – 2014: Moved, now I walk cats. 2015: Still will walk cats. Maybe will walk Trouble once a week.
  6. Learn to crochet – 2014: Did learn to crochet, but haven’t picked it up since I moved. 😦 2015: That bag of yarn will become something, dammit.
  7. Learn to knit other patterns (learn to read patterns) – 2014: Haven’t crocheted, haven’t knitted. 😦 2015: See above
  8. Learn a new language (Spanish & Mandarin, completing any one is acceptable) – 2014: Started using Duolingo to refresh my Spanish and after, will start to learn French. I still refuse to pay for Rosetta Stone. 2015: Continue with Duolingo
  9. Be more positive – 2014: Working in the new job where it seems positivity is something that definitely gets you through the day. Accomplished this in 2014 for the most part.
  10. Update this blog more 2014: Total fail, haven’t really updated since starting a job. 2015: Aiming to update more
  11. Volunteer more (but don’t spread self too thinly) – 2014: Fail, haven’t volunteered at all in 2013. 2015: This could go either way

So what really am I aiming for this year?

  • Job: either move off the phones to somewhere that I have more responsibilities (and freedom) and can stretch my legs, or move to another job path – DONE, was promoted off the phones. Couldn’t be happier.
  • Spend more time with my family now that I don’t see them much – WIP although attainable
  • Spend more time with my SO – DONE for the most part
  • Work more on #s 1,8,9,10 from last year