Birthday Dinner @ Payung Cafe Sibu

Payung Cafe Sibu

Don’t you want to go to some other place?” I asked my better half. She’s been eating at the exact same two places last time she was here – Aloha Cafe for lunch and Payung Cafe for dinner, so I suggested Baba & Siam but she really liked the durian ice cream we had last time at Payung Cafe so we ended up here for dinner, three days after we had another huge dinner with my sister and her family (who also loves Payung). smirk

This is my birthday dinner – my dear had flown down from KL to celebrate slightly less than 24 hours with me and we had:

Guava Salad (RM 8)

Guava Salad

This is our starter. Payung Cafe has a range of salads and most of them are great. I especially recommend the Herbs Salad (RM 8) but since it was a hot day, we went for the Guava Salad. It’s a lovely dish of guava with calamansi lime, crushed nuts and other herbs. It’s extremely refreshing!

Mushroom Roll (RM 8)

Mushroom Roll

This is a dish that has gone through many, many recipe tweaks since it was first introduced 8 years ago. I was among the first people in Sibu who first came when Payung Cafe opened in 2008 and spread the word that it was a great al fresco dining place offering the best of South East Asian (and a couple of Western) dishes.

Starfruit Prawns (RM 16)

Starfruit Prawns

I love this stuff – it’s starfruit (carambola) cooked with large prawns. There are three inside and the rest is cut up starfruits and other vegetables. It makes for a good combination. My dad ordered this one.

Thai Green Curry Chicken (RM 19)

Thai Green Curry

My better half’s order – she didn’t even have to think twice. Thai green curry is usually very spicy (at least if you eat the original from Thailand) but this is a much more muted interpretation meant for sensitive local palates.

Otak-Otak Fish (RM 12)

Otak Otak Ikan

This is a Payung Cafe staple that we all ordered to share. It’s homemade and all of their dishes comes with rice (RM 2) and we also wanted to have otak otak so the owners were kind enough to deduct RM 1 from our fourth dish – we ordered four in total for a party of 3 so we didn’t need the extra. It’s usually RM 13.

Sour Chicken (RM 18)

Sour Chicken

This is one of their daily specials. I’ve had the duck version and I like how they use Cambodian spices and herbs to make this dish – it’s quite nice. Payung Cafe also uses chicken legs only in their dishes so you’ll get cuts of drums and thighs.

Mulu Ice Cream (RM 10)

Mulu Ice Cream

We ordered one dessert for each person – this is mine, the ever-changing Mulu Ice Cream. This too has gone through several revisions, it used to be round, then a square slice, then a rectangular slice. It’s not cake – this is a sandwich of two chocolate ice cream layers with muesli in between, which is then topped with vanilla ice cream. I really like this coz of the textural aspects, there’s muesli sprinkled on top too.

Durian Ice Cream (RM 8)

Durian Ice Cream

This is a delicious concoction of homemade vanilla ice cream with durian paste. It’s delicious when they’ve just made it and it tastes like real durians instead of dodol (a local confection made with durians). It’s the reason my better half loves this place.

Jelly Pisang (RM 8)

Jelly Pisang

This is a classic Sibu dessert – it used to be served with shaved ice and bananas and Jello. Nowadays, it’s almost extinct. To the best of my knowledge, there’s only two places who still serves this – Peppers Cafe @ Tanahmas Hotel and here. This is the higher end version with homemade ice cream. It’s pictured next to Roselle Juice (RM 6) – a refreshing drink made from the roselle plant. It’s misspelled as Roxelle Juice in the menu.

Payung Cafe Birthday

It’s a wonderful dinner, made even better with the awesome company – my dad and my better half. My dad insisted of picking up the bill and treating us to the meal since it’s my birthday. The total for the three of us came up to RM 132 which is very reasonable for the amount we ordered and true to this word, the owner took RM 1 off the bill. :)

My birthday conspiracy (which makes for reasonably good reading)

It’s times like these that I think there’s a higher power somewhere looking out for me. smirk It just so happened that I was back in my home town during my birthday (which coincides with Ching Ming) so I didn’t have much to do on Saturday night. I thought I’ll give a friend of mine a call and get some ketamine and treat myself to a nice k-hole for my birthday.

He didn’t pick up when I called him.

(I learned later this was a blessing in disguise)

Right after that, I went down and my dad asked me to pick someone up from the airport. That’s highly unusual, especially since he didn’t say who (my sister and her family had already gone back).

I pressed him for details and it turns out that my better half (whom I love to death) is coming to Sibu to celebrate my birthday with me. My dad had known since Tuesday (!!!) when she contacted him to arrange this conspiracy surprise.

The phone rang right after he told me – it was my friend, calling back. He said he missed my call since he took his daughter out and asked me what was up. I said nothing much and hung up.

*PHEW*

If you have skipped the beginning of this tale, this is the same friend whom I was about to arrange to get some ketamine for a personal birthday treat to myself.

What would have happened if my dear had arrived smack dab while I was in a dissociative state where I was thinking more about 4th and 10th dimensional beings and pondering the reality of our existence?

(or maybe that she was some kind of ketamine induced visual and auditory hallucination)

HAHAHA

Like I said, there is a God.

I’m kidding. That’s a heavily Photoshopped picture of salt (sodium hydrochloride) crystals packed in baggies to look like the real thing. It was pink Himalayan salt to boot, which had me adjusting all the contrast and levels and RGB details to make it look white and similar to ketamine crystals.

(either that, or I really digged out the real thing from my photo archives from years and years back action)

This is a highly elaborate running inside joke that I have with my dear, I seriously have quit all recreational substances, pharmaceuticals and anything that might even remotely alter my state of mind. No wink wink, nudge nudge stuff, this is for realz yo. I don’t even drink much anymore.

There’s no ketamine.

I love my dear to bits and she’s everything to me – I have always been true to her and haven’t touched anything mind-altering for almost three (3) years, ever since I have been with her.

Sarawak Laksa

Me and my dad picked her up from her airport and we went to Aloha Cafe to eat her favorite Sarawak Laksa.

Payung Cafe

The three of us also had a very nice dinner at Payung Cafe at night.

Braun Buffel Birthday Gift

She came bearing gifts too – a Braun Buffel wallet and a UNIQLO shirt.

Braun Buffel Grey Wallet

My wallet has been a sad specimen for a long time and I think she noticed that and got me a really expensive and nice grey one from the German premium leather designer.

Frankfurt Passport Stamp

I love that she has a passport stamp of last year, when we flew to Germany and France – it’s dated 5th of April 2014, my birthday.

Sibu Passport Stamp

This year, she has a stamp on 5th of April 2015 but this time in Sibu. It’s small things like this that means a lot to her and a lot to me too coz it shows how much she cares that she spends every birthday with me (despite telling me she will not this year coz she’s busy with GST to make the surprise better).

I love you dear. I’m glad you flew down all the way to surprise me and planned it with my dad. Thanks for all the gifts and most of all for gracing my birthday with your presence, even if it was just one day.

Birthday 2015

It’s the best birthday ever! You make my life better and you make me a better man by just being in it. <3

3 delicious pork jerky sandwiches a.k.a. How to use up your CNY bak kwa

Pork Jerky Sandwiches

I bought a lot of bak kwa (pork jerky) for Chinese New Year and we’re still eating them now! Part of the reason is that we’ve gotten gifts of pork jerky as well so the stock keeps on piling up. Fortunately, I like bak kwa and I’ve made three (3) sandwiches made with pork jerky that would satisfy any tastes – one is hot, the other is room temperature and the last one is cold.

1. Open Faced Pork Jerky Sandwich with Gui Fei Meat and Pork Floss in an Omelet

Open Faced Pork Jerky Omelet Sandwich

This is a hot sandwich that I like to make in the evenings. Gui Fei meat is another popular product during CNY – it’s Chinese bacon, smoked with spices. I’ve been baking a lot of bread lately and Red Bean Toast is one of my favorites. I got the idea from a Taiwanese bakery, it makes the bread slightly sweet. I’ll use two eggs with a splash of milk to make the base and add in the pork jerky, Gui Fei meat and sprinkle some pork floss on it before buttering the thick slice of bread and grilling it. It’s delicious!

2. Pork Jerky Sandwich with Pasta and Arrowhead Chips

Pasta Arrowhead Chips Sandwich

The best thing about this sandwich is that it goes very well with arrowhead chips (ngaku chips). I use whatever leftover pasta my better half has and pile it on top of a slice of minced pork jerky. This works best with minced pork jerky instead of the tougher sliced pork jerky for some reason. Just put another slice of regular bread on top and serve with lots of arrowhead chips for a quick late night snack.

3. Bagel with Pork Jerky and Salad

Pork Jerky Salad Bagel

This is my favorite cold pork jerky sandwich! I use a bagel shaped bread (it’s actually more like a brioche) and slice it in half before adding a slice of sliced pork jerky. I like carrots so julienning 1/3 of a stick with a mandolin works for me. I also added some thick sliced cucumbers and mayonnaise on top. There’s lettuce on the bottom of the pork jerky and some sweet corn on the side. It’s a perfect cold sandwich, eat this chilled for the best effect!

My Little Helper

It’s quite fun to think of new combinations! I have one hot, one cold and one room temperature sandwich which I can modify around. Best of all, I have my own little helper! Haha.

The 2015 Chinese New Year Fireworks Roundup!

Fireworks

This year, I decided to get a *massive* fireworks cake instead of multiple small ones like I usually do. I thought it’ll be nice to have a ginormous fireworks cake that requires two (2) people to move and blow all of my budget on that one single glorious aerial barrage. It was already in my mind the previous year and thus I made the necessary orders to get it done.

Fireworks 2015

This is all that I’ve got for Chinese New Year this year – one ridiculously large custom-made 27 kg fireworks cake, one 128 shot fireworks cake and two fountains. There are no firecrackers this year in respect of my late mom’s passing.

Happy Boom 333 shot 27 kg fireworks cake

333 Shots Fireworks

Behold! My centerpiece for this year! It’s 27 kilograms (about 60 pounds) and comes in it’s own box.

27kg Fireworks Cake

This is a custom-made display firework. It’s a divert from a licensed pyrotechnics show, which explains the 1.3G Display Grade sticker and it cost the average monthly household income around here but it’s worth it!

Largest Fireworks Cake

The sheer heft and dimensions dictates that two people was required to lug this monster out and all my cousins (and neighbors) came out to see it coz it’s not everyday someone gets such a huge fireworks cake.

Huge Fireworks Cake

This is one of three custom orders that came in and I managed to snag one of them. Just look at the size comparison to an iPad.

It measures 62 cm x 59 cm x 20 cm and when I lit it, it produced a full four (4) minutes of glory. There’s all sorts of aerial breaks in this 333 shot cake – green, blue and red starbursts, brocada crowns, green bees, white glitter, red chrysanthemums, sparkling willows and golden palm fronds that just blankets the entire sky from the angled fanning tubes in the middle.

I accidentally pressed stop while filming coz I thought it was over but the fireworks cake was merely shifting to the finale, which is an additional 1 minute in duration. You really have to see this video – it’s an *amazing* fireworks cake, the best I’ve ever purchased and it’s well worth the money I paid for it. :)

Happy Boom Magic Fountain

Magic Fountain Happy Boom

This is a gift that I got from ordering the 333 shot fireworks cake. It retails for RM 30 and it was thrown in as a thank you gift. It should be noted that Happy Boom is a very generic name for fireworks and firecrackers and it’s used to describe everything from Happy Boom novelty packets to Happy Boom salutes.

This one has small aerial bursts in addition to fountains but it malfunctioned and ended up burning to the ground.

Burning Fountain

It’s not unlike the Italian Horseshoe Fireworks Fountain I got in KL – they’re prone to overheating due to the stress the gerbs are subjected to (heavy and sustained spurts instead of the lift charge that a fireworks cake produces).

London Bridge Fountain

London Bridge Fireworks Fountain

I really liked this one! It’s beautiful and I wrote about the new London Bridge firework fountain in more detail in another post. You can see the video here:

The gerbs produces bright and varied effects and the unusual colors that came out of this made this the most interesting fountain I’ve seen this year. It retailed for RM 50 but I got it for RM 30 with the bundle purchase of another fireworks cake (reviewed below). That might sound like a lot to pay for a fountain but this was really worth it due to the spectacular display!

Silvesters Pass & Rock ‘N Roll! Pyro 128 shot fireworks cake

Silvesters Rock N Roll Pyro

This is a Swan fireworks item which retailed for RM 120. Silvester is actually the name of a Roman Catholic holiday celebrated in Germany which coincides with New Year’s Eve. This is supposed to be a “new” cake but the catalog number (KT 122) has popped up before so I suspect it’s a re-badged KT 122 with new effects…

128 Shots Fireworks Cake

…and I was right! It wasn’t as grand as my wonderful 333 shot fireworks cake but it added bulk and entertainment for my niece and nephews who were back home for the Lunar New Year holidays and missed the 333 shot monster I let off on CNY Eve.

KT122 Fireworks Cake

The effects of the Swan KT 122 has steadily improved over the years – this one had two series of fanned tubes to angle the aerial shells and there are some new breaks that were too expensive to be put in previous years, like the starting silent comet tail strobes (one of my favorite dramatic effects) and the crossette breaks.

This one is the best in the KT 122 series I’ve seen to date. I love the pace and the dramatic use of strobes – there are actually a lot of them in this cake, so much so that they had to skimp on the other breaks but if you love a beautiful (and not too loud) strobe cake, this would do you just fine. My niece and nephews loved it!

Hope you all had a great Chinese New Year! Enjoy the videos and Happy Chap Goh Meh everyone! :)

London Bridge fireworks

London Bridge Fireworks

I found this marvellous fountain on sale this year! It’s a new one called London Bridge and it comes in a large semi-circle format with the lyrics and sheet music of London Bridge printed on top. I’m not usually easily impressed by fountains coz they’re rather boring compared to the beautiful aerial breaks of a fireworks cake but this one is gorgeous!

The retail price for this is RM 50 which is quite high for a fountain. The latest 13” conic volcano shaped fountains are half that price. However, the format is relatively large and I got it for RM 30 so I figured it was worth checking out since it looked quite promising.

I wasn’t disappointed! I set it up on top of my ginormous 333 shot fireworks cake and lit the fuse:

The gerbs shoots outs vivid pink, orange and blue jets of flame across the arc. These are not very common colors and it’s wonderful to see such a brilliant color come out of a consumer firework. It turns to yellow, green and red and ends with plenty of sparkling rain.

Pro tip: Always elevate your fountains to get best effect. Don’t put them on the ground. It’s a lot more dramatic when a fountain is placed high up e.g. 3 feet off the ground so you can see the sparks fall longer before they hit the ground.

London Bridge Fountain

I thought this was quite a decent new arrival this year and I saw more than a few houses get it despite the price. It’s worth every cent with the rare colors. The sheer brightness of the arcs of flames overloaded the CCD on the camera but you can still see what a beautiful fountain it is from the video. :)

15 Chinese New Year visiting photos

CNY Visiting 2015

1. Food! I went to just a few open houses this year – close friends and relatives. The good thing is that more people are serving hot food, which makes for a more substantial meal than snacks and cakes and such – it’s a nice savoury change.

Prawn Fried Noodles

2. This is a thin fried yellow noodle with hints of Thai chilli sauce and prawns. It’s very good, so much so that I went back for second (and third) helpings.

Beef Satay Sauce

3. There’s also beef in satay sauce…

Ketupat

4. …with the accompanying ketupat.

Kacangma Chicken

5. Arthur also broke out the kacangma chicken. I was reminded of a joke another friend told about cannabis, he said he accidentally pulled out a packet of the good stuff to pay for a meal and only later realized it wasn’t a wad of cash. Luckily the auntie who was the (unintended) recipient said “What’s this? Kacangma herbs?” smirk You just had to be there.

Baked Chicken Wings

6. This is some great baked chicken wings to complete the feast. I had an awesome lunch here on the first day.

HB Arthur

7. Here’s a photo of me with Arthur!

Honeydew Cake

8. One of the more unusual cakes I had – the lowest right is a honeydew cake! It’s not sweet at all and just had a hint of the melon. Delicious! I had this at Alex’s house and was happily munching on some macadamia nuts he had on hand too (love them, they’re my favorite type of nuts).

Huge Nasi Briyani

9. Huge pot of nasi briyani at another friend’s house.

China Snow Beer

10. An unusual Chinese snow beer that weighs in at 4.7% alcohol. Very refreshing stuff, you can’t get it outside. Funny story, as we were visiting this house, there was another guy which I didn’t know there. The host suddenly brought up the topic of weed and how it relates to sleep. Thus, I joined in and said “Yeah, ganja is a lot better than alcohol, at least you won’t have to wake up at 3 am to pee” and saw my friend laughing. He later asked me “Do you know who the other guy is? He’s with the police and he’s in Narcotics.” -_-

HB Eddy Jona

11. With my bro Eddy and his wife. I hung out here most of the time, it’s nice to feel truly welcome instead of having someone be snarky and calculative behind your back. Eddy has always been solid, he’s always got my back regardless of what I did and I’ve learned a lot from him. You can tell the ultimate measure of a man by the friends he has in real life and this person probably has more than anyone can count.

Macallan Whisky Makers Edition

12. Drinking The Macallan Whisky Maker’s Edition.

Philippines Pork Belly

13. Pork belly cooked with a spice mix found in the Philippines that’s the most awesome thing I had – ate here three meals in a row.

Philippines Food

14. It went very well with the daging masak hitam (beef cooked in black sauce) too. Tons of flavor!

My Niece

15. Me with my niece, who’s getting bigger now! :)

My Chinese New Year Eve Diary

0800

I usually let my fireworks stash dry out a bit to wring out any excessive moisture during sea transport or storage. I’m quite proud of my piece de resistance this year – it’s a 27 kg (60 pound) fireworks cake with 333 shots. This is a 1.3G display grade item and it was amazing! Here’s a video of my fireworks cache this year. I have some interesting items here.

1300

Sanbanto Pork

Sending out the last of my Sanbanto pork jerky. These are gifts meant for friends and family – I don’t have much space so I could only bring back 14 packs. One of my friends in particular has been very kind to me – Cydney from Melbourne so I made sure to bring her one. She also brought back heaps of Adriano Zumbo Tim Tams for me.

1800

Reunion Dinner

The reunion dinner commences with a bottle of wine! Here’s a photo of me with my dad and grandma. I had packed ang pows for them and got some from my uncles. My cousins came and we played a bit of Blackjack – changed the rules to casino style Blackjack rules so being the dealer, I didn’t lose as much this year. smirk

2200

Cousins Waiting

My cousins came back to my house with several of my aunties to watch me let off my monster 27 kg fireworks cake. The neighbors were watching as well – one of them came up to me and asked me how much it was since it’s so ginormous. I also had another neighbor come and compliment me for turning my back from my wayward past (how she knew is a mystery to me).

2300

Here’s where I let off my huge 27 kg fireworks cake – it took two people to haul it out since it’s more than a 0.62 x 0.59 meters in size. It’s beautiful, I wasn’t disappointed in the money I spent for this, check out the video above – this is a vertical take, I have a proper horizontal take (2 of them in fact – got one of my cousins to help me film) uploading.

0000

This is what Sibu looks like at the stroke of midnight. I still haven’t let off all my fireworks so I’ll do the full roundup in a couple of days. I was quite happy with a fountain I got too, the colors were intense and I’m not usually impressed easily by fountains (prefer aerial repeaters) so it’s quite an interesting new item that I’m glad I bought on a whim. The video isn’t up yet due to slow broadband but you can see the item in the first video in this post.

0001

Happy CNY 2015

Happy Chinese New Year everyone! :)

2015 Chinese New Year Fireworks Roundup in Kuala Lumpur

2015 Fireworks Collection

Yup, I’m going to do two fireworks roundups this year – one in KL where I work and one in Sibu where I come back for the Chinese New Year holidays. Truth be told, there isn’t a lot of fireworks in Kuala Lumpur compared to Sibu, the stock is pretty meagre and the large firework cakes are twice the price of what we pay here.

Fireworks Stall

However, I did want to put on a nice little show for the kids and my better half so here’s what I got:

25 Shot “Your Wish in Flowers” Fireworks Cake

25 Shot Fireworks Cake

This is a 25 shot compact fireworks cake called Lu Yi Zhi Hua which translates to “Your Wish in Flowers” – very apt considering Valentine’s Day is around the corner and Chinese New Year is coming up.

It’s a pretty decent multi effect cake, heavy with a nice mixture of crackling willow, whistles and beautiful pearl breaks. I thought it was worth the RM 40 I paid.

100 Meteor Shots Shots Crossfire

100 Meteor Shots

This is a Saturn missile battery with 100 shots. I got it for RM 20 coz I combined this purchase with another fireworks cake. I wanted to show the kids what a classic firework from my youth looks like – this can actually be fired during daylight or at night since it doesn’t make much difference.

100 Shot Saturn

It really has 100 shot but it’s just a whistling effect with a comet tail streaking up into the skies – you can see the array here.

Here’s the video of the 100 Meteor Shots Shots Crossfire Cake.

5 Minute Horseshoe Fountain

Fontana Ferro di Cavallo

I actually reviewed this in another separate post which I put up last week. I had to do a bit of research to find out what this new firework was and why it was called this so check out my writeup on the new Italian horseshoe fountain fireworks this year.

Single Shot Mine

Single Shot Mine

This is sold in a package of six (6) and has six different effects. It’s a non-reloadable pre-packaged single use mine and as you can see, the diameter is quite large (around 1.25”) which can be larger than most high-shot-count firework cakes. What this translates to is a bigger and better aerial break.

This one is a triple effect with report – there’s a comet tail, sparks and a double bloom with crackling willow which is really quite nice for the price. A mine is the same thing as a single/multi shot aerial shell but the effects packed into it are released all at once instead of in sequence. Mines are not that popular nowadays coz it finishes in 3-5 seconds max. I remember having one in 2006 in a mine cake format.

This is just RM 10 each or RM 50 for a six-pack and I thought it’s the best firework you can purchase this year. It’s not chained together like a fireworks cake so there’s no “display-in-a-box” but for the price, the shell is beautiful and the aerial break is quite remarkable. I would get this again if I see it! :)

New fountain fireworks from Italy that lasts 5 minutes!

Illegal Fireworks Stall Malaysia

I was shopping at the local wet market during the weekend when I saw a fireworks stall that has something very unusual – it’s a boxy fountain “cake” format firework that has all Italian writing. Best of all, it’s *new* – the manufacture date listed is 2014! This was the only shop that carries it and the person didn’t know the price, that’s how current the stock was.

Fontana Ferro di Cavallo

There’s actually two groups/gangs selling fireworks there – one has a yellow tablecloth and the other blue, but their stock is essentially the same. I was given a brochure listing all their products and everything was similar. However, this stall had one interesting stand-out that no other stall had – a strange Italian fountain. I knew it was a fountain coz it doesn’t have the holes/tubes that aerial fireworks shells has, but it’s in the format of a cake.

New Italian Fountain Fireworks

I was quite intrigued by the firework seller’s cell phone notes which goes “Lasts for 5 minutes! Price = ???” and since he couldn’t reach his boss for the actual price and no one else was selling it, I compelled him to let it go for RM 25. smirk I thought that was a great bargain for a new firework that I’ve never heard of.

Fountain Fireworks Mechanics

I let it off for my better half and the kids to see since Chinese New Year is coming up soon – it didn’t last 5 minutes, but it was close, it was over 4 minutes! It’s basically an array of 3 rows of 5 firework fountains chained together into a cake, as you can see when I tear off the top. You can see the Sunsong Fireworks logo at the other (bottom) side of the top cover, it might have been an OEM for Jupiter Fireworks. Here’s a video of the new Italian firework:

It’s an interesting mix of traditional fountains and some shooting effects and the color mixture is nice, but it’s the duration that’s the USP – I’ve never seen a fountain last this long for commercial fireworks (not counting professional ones). It might have really lasted a *full 5 minutes* as the packaging Italian text suggests since the original format seems to be in a horseshoe shape and apparently radiates outwards in an arc before coming back, easily adding another minute to the display.

Horseshoe Fountain

This Jupiter made Fontana Ferro di Cavallo (Horseshoe Fountain) is an awesome buy (and a hell of a deal) for RM 25 but I suspect it won’t be that price when they finalize the price list – it doesn’t make sense to sell 15 fountains for RM 1.60 each (it’s 5 fountains x 3 for a 15 firework array). Even the 12” cone fountains already retail for RM 35 and doesn’t last nearly as long.

Horseshoe Fireworks

I suspect this is a Chinese divert though, the original is really in the shape of a horseshoe and has about 3 of these connected together, as can be seen in the Jupiter 2014/2015 Italian catalogue (Page 17). It’s common for Chinese manufacturers to divert and resell partly assembled fireworks to other countries – a horseshoe shaped firework cake would be really hard to package economically, especially when it’s illegal here so it’s cheaper and more effective to smuggle in and sell one flat section.

Burned Fountain

It has a bit of a flaw though, maybe due to the departure from the original horseshoe shaped design – the firework fountain got REALLY HOT at the end (unusually so) and it ended up *burning up* after it was finished. This could also be due to the strong wind though, but I suspect it was meant to go a lot further down the arc before coming back which led to the overheating issue.

Fountain Fireworks Italy

Still, the diverse colors and crackling effects makes this a pretty awesome sequential fireworks fountain cake…and you can’t beat the price! :)

Race Against the Machines: The first drone vs human marathon!

Race Against the Machines 2015

I drove down to Putrajaya over the weekend to witness the first human versus drone 6 km run! This is particularly intriguing to me since the concept resonates with the post-apocalyptic genre of movies and books (which I love). The basis of Race Against the Machines is that flying drones chase all the runners and people can control and view the drones on their smartphones to try and kill hunt the runners.

Putrajaya Flesh vs Steel

The 100PLUS Outrunner 2015 runs also feature traditional 12 km and 9 km runs in addition to the 6 km Race Against the Machines fun run.

100PLUS Outrunner Putrajaya

I could feel the energy of the crowd of people gathering around the square beside Putrajaya Palace of Justice – everyone was excited to begin the run and I was kindly furnished with a t-shirt for the run. I also got the new 100PLUS bottles with the contours and bumps at the end to form a better grip for runners.

100PLUS Putrajaya Run

100PLUS is the organizer behind this event and there was a really cool place where you can get a sticker on your face (or any other part of your body) – the transfer was really vivid!

I watched the 12 km race being flagged off to fireworks…

100PLUS Outrunner 2015

…as well as the 9 km race.

Race Against the Machines

I heard the PA announce that the first finisher for the 12 km run came in less than 45 minutes after the race started. The three races all have staggered starts and my interest was towards the 6 km Flesh vs Steel Race Against the Machines.

I got it on good authority that the flying drones were controlled by a 100PLUS truck that acts as a sort of pacer vehicle in front of the pack of runners. People at home who couldn’t make it could also view the runners from the cameras mounted on the drones. I imagine this is what Predator/Reaper pilots (and Wikileaks aficionados) must feel like.

100PLUS

There were obstacles in addition to the flying drones and I saw families having lot of fun – there are participants from fit marathon types to families pushing a stroller and even a gentleman in a wheelchair. The atmosphere was amazing!

Shelter Zone

The runners in Race Against the Machines can also “hide” at designated Shelter Zones. This is when the cameras from the flying drones go “dark” and the runners are effectively hidden from the people who’re trying to hunt them. This sanctuary is very important as the drones fly at a speed of 57 km/h – much faster than a human can possibly run!

100PLUS Drones

The drones are “armed” with powerful searchlights and high definition video cameras that allow the Drone Masters (people at home) to search and hunt the runners. Drone Masters have 25 shots to fire from the flying machines – that means if they manage to take a clear photo of your barcode, you’re “captured” and 1 Life is deducted.

Flying Drones

The barcodes on the front and back of the participants in Race Against the Machines act as an identifier/target – it keeps track of who got tagged by the lasers and who survived till the end and I thought it’s an amazing idea. Each runner had 3 Lifes (a bonus Life is given for those who’re carrying the 100PLUS New Grip Bottle) and they must cross the finish line with at least 1 Life remaining.

100PLUS New Grip Bottle

100PLUS Outrunner 2015 is a great concept that manages to satisfy hardcore runners with the 12 km and 9 km runs and also the highly innovative 6 km Race Against the Machines. It brings casual runners or people interested in the concept of running from a post-apocalyptic army of drones (think Skynet) to push their limits and live a healthy lifestyle which includes exercise.

100PLUS Outrunner

…and that’s always a good thing! :)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...