Prompt – I Have Confidence in Me

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “I Have Confidence in Me.”

Prompt: “Are you good at what you do? What would you like to be better at?

Hah, this is a perfect prompt for me to show off my skills (as usual). Let’s see, what am I good at? I’m good at programming, I think. Anything with instructions or linear ways of doing things. I like black and white stuff, meaning there’s a clear distinction between doing it right and doing it wrong, no halfsies.

I like programming because it’s like that. It’s just simple logic of writing instructions for the computer to understand and execute. Anything other instructional, metric-measured task is easy enough to follow, like Sudoku puzzles or cooking. I can cook well enough to feed myself, but it actually takes a lot more estimation for things like temperature and time. Following a recipe seems straightforward in theory, but we all know that in practice it’s a very different story.

Speaking about outcomes differing from expectations, I would have thought that planning stuff would be up my alley. Obviously, it’s not so. I can plan well enough, but executing a plan (especially when it involves other people) is a lot more difficult. This is why I have a love-hate relationship with organizing activities. I like to plan things, because being able to accommodate everyone’s schedule perfectly is very satisfying. But there’s always unseen circumstances and variables that mess up a perfect plan.

“Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.”
-Murphy’s Law

I think one thing I’m good at that doesn’t quite fall into the “come’s with instructions” category is my knack for finding stuff. I’ve mentioned this before, here and there in many of my posts. I mostly find coins on the floor, but I’ve also found thumbdrives, earphones, a wireless mouse set (which I still have and use) and even people. I’m actually a pretty decent stalker, and being a stalker is not such a bad thing.

Being able to find out lots of information about someone given only very little clues is a fun and rewarding hobby of mine. It’s a skill that’s served me well, especially when I’m about to go on a “blind” date where all I know about is one of her names, age, job and what she looks like. That’s usually enough clues to get me started and, as long as the information is on the Internet and is public accessible, I can find it. Most people don’t realise how much of their life they share online, and a lot them don’t keep their Facebook or Twitter or Instagram accounts private. I don’t do any actual hacking, I just uncover what’s available to the world. Anyone can do it.

Having information is only half the battle though. I’d like to be better at knowing how to use that information in the best way that I can. I still haven’t got the creative mind of Patrick Jane, how he sees patterns and connects the dots so effortlessly, then devises a cunning plan to lure the culprit(s) out. My own mind isn’t that flexible and fast yet, but I’m constantly working on it.

I’d like to be better at reading people too. That’s another thing I’m learning and practising from The Mentalist. How to read people and detect deception, seemingly reading their minds. It’s a very weird skill that doesn’t quite fit with my mostly black-and-white view of the world. There’s a lot of estimation, trial and error, and no fixed method of doing things. I know; I’ve searched for it.

“Suckin’ at something is the first step to being sorta good at something.”
-Jake, from Adventure Time

I just have to keep practising.

-Jace

I’m Tired

I’m tired of being sick, allergic to so many things, sensitive to dust and coughing and sniffing these past few days. The area under my nose is raw from repeatedly blowing my nose. My head is fuzzy from being so drugged up on Panadol and Chlomine and yet I still have things to do.

I’m tired of friends whom I want to help but they won’t let me. People who I want to be around but don’t seem to want me and people who I don’t want to be around but I’m forced to interact with.

I’m tired of always being the one who does the planning, and then having those plans getting cancelled. It would be nice if someone asked me out for a change, instead of me suggesting things all the time. But I want to do stuff that need people to do them with.

I’m tired of things not working the way they should, or when they should. Of people not working the way they should, when they should.

I’m tired of constantly meeting demands, however reasonable they may be. I don’t hold it against whoever asks me for anything, I’m just tired of of doing so many things for so many people, to the point that I’m sacrificing some of the demands I make of myself.

I’m tired of feeling like I have to justify whatever I do or don’t do, whether or not I have to. It’s just so much easier to stay in the dark, where it’s peaceful and quiet, and nobody sees me doing whatever I’m doing. Sucking up whatever I can just to avoid any conflict. But then again, if no one sees what I’m doing, how can they appreciate it?

I’m tired of all these warring, contradictory feelings inside me. This mess of emotions I usually can keep under wraps by tacking them onto external factors I can’t control and thus freeing myself from my own judgement.

I’m tired of appearing strong and happy all the time, like nothing can really get to me. It’s a positive mindset and big part of my identity, but it’s a shield against negative things and it’s so draining to constantly keep it up.

I’m just so tired.

-Jace

Flirtationship

I’m bored of going on simple dates that always end the same. No spark, no chemistry, and so no follow up. So I want to change that, and I think I might have a way to do so to my liking.

My intention is to create a situation that skips most of the boring awkwardness and causes any attraction to surface immediately, if it’s there. And if it doesn’t, it’ll just be a double confirm that a relationship won’t work out. Besides, it sounds more fun than just sitting at a table and talking to each other.

I thought about this while lying in bed one night and let my mind mull over it while I slept. Here’s more or less what I’d like to say on my next date.

Hello.

This is only our first date, but I have a crazy idea: Let’s pretend we’re in an actual relationship, just for today. What I’m saying is, we treat one another the way we’d actually treat our partner. So anything that might be creepy or forward in a first date but normal in a relationship (like hugging or holding hands) would be okay.

I don’t know much about you, nor you about me. But the way I see it, we’ll either end up going for a second date or never speak to one another again. So I figure, why not take a risk and have some fun? There’s nothing to lose.

See, the first date is about finding the spark, seeing if we have chemistry, if we “click” together. Why not do that by taking a glimpse of what it would be like to actually be together?

Yeah, it might be a bit uncomfortable at first, but I like to “fake it til you make it”. Besides, the tension will ease after a while. And if this doesn’t work out or you find a deal breaker, you’re free to just leave at any time. Of course, I have that too. I’m hoping neither of us will use it. If you’re not comfortable with something, just tell me and I’ll stop doing it. But I should think that this would allow us to test one another’s boundaries and seeing what is normal for the other person.

And no questions about the past. Let’s focus on the present or what we’re gonna be in future. I think we should know someone for who they are now, not who they were. Actually finding out details about the other person can come later. Gradually. I’m a big fan of learning on the job. Besides, if we’re pretending to already in a relationship, we ought to pretend to know most of the other person’s background anyway.

What do you say?

-Jace

Pitch Perfect 2

WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!

Stop now if you haven’t seen Pitch Perfect 2 and don’t want to be spoiled.

I watched Pitch Perfect 2 with my friend Song in the cinema on Monday. Why? Because Anna Kendrick is hot. We both loved the first Pitch Perfect, so we made a deal to watch the sequel together when it came out.

I preferred the first one. It was tighter, had more substance and the characters were more relatable. Anna Kendrick is just as hot in the second movie, but her character Becca was just weird. She was so different from the Becca in the first show. The plot of second show was a lot more messy, and there were a lot more cringe-worthy moments, starting with Fat Amy’s “big reveal” barely five minutes into the show.

Even the songs were weird, but that’s a matter of personal taste. I didn’t recognize or like most of the new songs in the show, although the final version of Emily’s Flashlight was quite nice. Not as catchy as Cups, but pleasant enough. Not enough to redeem the whole show though.

Okay, I’m rambling randomly. Let me systematically hit PP2.

Cringe-worthy moments
Like I mentioned earlier, there were a lot of cringe-worthy moments, a lot more than the first movie. Come to think of it, I can’t actually remember a single moment in Pitch Perfect off the top of my head right now (I re-watched the first movie the day before with my parents), whereas I can recall several from the second like:
-the opening performance (wayyy too many props and very unlike the Bellas)
-Fat Amy’s crotch reveal at said performance
-the performance at the old people’s place
-Every scene regarding Fat Amy’s and Bumper’s (very) forced and awkward romance
-Becca’s weird attraction to the DSM’s female leader
-DSM’s not very bright second-in-command
-the weird riff-off that felt like a rip-off of the original riff-off and which the host made me think of Balls of Fury

I could go on. I get that it’s a comedy/musical chick-flick, but the plot and character development could have used a lot of work.

Character Development
Becca – The first movie was about Becca and how she fit into the Barden Bellas and made them better. She kept to herself, but eventually became a natural leader. In the second movie, she spends most of her time interning at a record producing company, getting coffee and burritos for everyone else. It was so different! Even when she spent time at the radio station in the first movie, she kept actively trying to get her music on air. Not in the second movie. She just kept to herself until she spontaneously mashed up Christmas carols with Snoop Dogg and the boss had to ASK her for submissions. Also, Jesse could have been played up a lot more.

Chloe – Another major character shift here. Chloe was the voice of reason and encouragement to Aubrey’s controlling ambitiousness in the first film. Now she’s the one obsessed with winning? Another thing: How old is Chloe? How long has she been in Barden University? I’m assuming she was at least a third-year in an average four-year college course, and since PP2 took place three years later, Chloe has been at Barden Univeristy for SIX years. She also mentions she failed a subject several times just to stay in BU. Like, damn.

Emily – I’m not sure what was going on with Emily. The blossoming romance between her and Benji was sweet, but it could have been developed lot better. I would have liked to see less of Fat Amy-Bumper and more Emily-Benji. I felt like Emily should have been more of the focus of the show, but then again I guess it could be argued that it would have turned out to be like a Becca V2 (i.e. new member pops in, saves the group and makes it more awesome than it was before).

Overall Plot
I felt like there was too much going on with the show, right from the get-go. Their opening performance for the President of the United States was so bad, even I could tell. I mean, what happened? It was more of a circus act than an a capella performance.

The change in music style was very obvious as well. In the first film, there were a lot of memorable and recognizable songs. Sing-along-songs. In PP2, not so much. Maybe I’m not a music nut, but the number of songs I recognized and was able to sing along to is significantly greater than the number of songs I knew in the second movie.

DSM, the new antagonist, was also very… weird. Competitive I can understand, but downright mean and straight up rude was just overdoing it. They didn’t even have any wit. Their song style was also very military, with strong, rigid movements and sounds, but that’s only one angle. They had so much more diversity in the riff-off then in their performances. How could this have been Europe’s top a capella team?

I’m happy that Pentatonix made a cameo near the end, but it would have been fun to have them as an actual team in the show. Heck, they could have been the “villain” instead of DSM. It would’ve been so much more believable.

I must say I’m pretty disappointed with the whole show. It didn’t meet the expectations and the hype, and it lost its connection to its audience via relatable songs. It did have some cool new elements like a brief beatbox battle, an original song and bringing back generations of Bellas at the finals, but the rest… bleah. I hope they don’t make a third movie.

The first show was so much better, it was perfect. Pitch perfect.

-Jace

The Quest Continues…

In my last return to blogging post, I mentioned I’d do a post about the traits I look for in a potential girlfriend. This is it.

Let me start by reiterating why I’m doing this. I’ve noticed a trend in the girls I’ve dated that really irks me, so I want to break down and analyse my actions and decisions. I don’t want to keep making the same mistakes over and over. Also, I hope that this post will be a reminder to myself on what I’m striving for.

This is the first post I’m doing that I’m not completely sure that I should share on my blog, but I’m going to do it anyway, just because. Some people might find it offensive or insensitive or pretentious. I don’t know. Some of my views and opinions might change in the future. But for now, this is my list of things I look for in a potential girlfriend.

First impressions count and, like it or not, I’m always going to judge someone by their appearance first. It’s only human nature. Physical appearance is important to me, because I feel it’s a matter of personal pride and confidence. When I look good, I feel good. I don’t necessarily have to look good for someone; as long as I think I present myself the way I feel I’m best presented, I feel confident and comfortable with who I am. I would want my partner to treat herself with the same self respect.

More specifically, I have a strong preference for athletic, fit and proportionate body types. Sure, I don’t have perfect abs, but I’m definitely athletic and fit. My partner can’t be too fat or too thin, because body type is a choice. If she’s over- or underweight, I view it as choice to be unhealthy, i.e. a bad choice in my eyes. I’m not saying it’s an inherently bad choice, I just don’t like it and I’d want my partner to be on the same page as me about this.

Physical size isn’t a complete deal breaker, but it is a major factor, and three of the last four girls I dated weren’t up to my standards so, coupled together with my next point, I had no reason to ask any of them for a second date. So, first thing: she has to be fit or at least, proportionate.

“We may love with our hearts, but we first lust with our eyes.”
-Erica Flynn, in The Mentalist

The one major thing I noticed (which IS a deal breaker for me) is that they were all unambitious and indecisive to varying degrees. As I’ve said before on my Facebook wall, I’m a sucker for women who save the world (Kim Possible, Katniss Everdeen, Tris Prior etc). I’m attracted to someone who knows what she wants and does whatever it takes to get it. Someone goal oriented and passionate. Sure, there might be some people who have many goals or goals that change frequently, which might be an indication of indecisiveness, but I would want a woman who knows and actively pursues what she wants at any given point in time.

Just look at the friends I hang out with. The people I value the most are the ones who I admire the most because they know what they want in life or are at least making an effort to figure it out. I think there’s only one friend I have who doesn’t fit into that mould, but I consider her a friend for a completely different reason: she believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself and for that I am grateful. She’s eternally frustrating, but I pride myself in my loyalty to whomever I commit it to, so she has my friendship and help whenever she needs it.

So anyway, that’s the second thing I look out for: passion and direction. Okay that’s two things, but they go hand in hand. You can’t have passion without something to be passionate about and I wouldn’t want a total dreamer (having nice goals without working towards them). All four girls I dated didn’t have the level of passion I was looking for, but I did ask one of them out on a second date because I thought I saw potential. I didn’t ask her for a third date because I didn’t feel like she wanted to be with me and I didn’t feel any chemistry between us.

I want someone who wants me. Not need me, wants me. A standard question I ask all my dates is, What are they looking for? All four said something along the lines of “see how”. This already gave them demerit points in the goals section, but doubly so because I felt like I wasn’t appreciated. I would have accepted any firm answer, like, “I would like a relationship and if something forms between us, so be it”, not “I don’t know, see how”. I’m putting in the effort to take it as far as it will go, and I’d like to see some effort on my date’s part as well. Gender equality and all that, you know?

Another example of appreciation would be when I pay for the meal. I don’t need my dates to do the cheque dance; I’m happy to pay for a meal or dessert for them. But what I would like is a “thank you”. It’s just basic courtesy, and if I don’t get that, then I don’t feel validated. None of the girls I dated actually said thank you, but the one I asked on a second date did bring me gifts of sweet treats, so I guess that was her way of saying thank you, and I accepted that. Also, apart from second-date girl, no one else said anything like “I had fun, let’s do this again”. It’s a small matter, but it gives me encouragement. So third thing: appreciation and courtesy. Also deal breakers if she doesn’t have them.

The last major thing I look out for, that none of my dates have shown, is the ability to challenge me. Likewise, I have to be able to challenge her, meaning we should be able to have rivalry in some areas and help to build each other up through that rivalry. Both physically and mentally. I love me a good debate, especially about something inconsequential, like movies or characters, because it’s a debate without severe consequences. I also like someone who has a physical abilities or skills that I don’t have. Could be dance, or martial arts, or speaking different languages. I want my future girlfriend to at least have some things I can learn from her, that pique my interest.

Perhaps I’m asking for too much. I know I’m not perfect, and it may be unrealistic of me to expect that a woman who is everything I want would be interested in me. But I’m going to hold on to my standards, at least for now. I’ve got a few more minor points I look out for, but they’re just bonus points. Good if she has them, but it doesn’t matter if she doesn’t. And that list I think I’ll keep to myself.

-Jace

Prompt – The Satisfaction of a List

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “The Satisfaction of a List.”

Prompt: “Who doesn’t love a list? So write one! Top five slices of pizza in your town, ten reasons disco will never die, the three secrets to happiness — go silly or go deep, just go list-y.

I play a lot of games, especially mobile, board and card games, but I do like to keep the list of games I play as short as possible. So without further ado, here are the four games I keep playing.

1. Magic: The Gathering aka MTG aka Magic
Hmm… I’ve just realised that for all my posts about Magic events, I’ve never actually done a summary, review, or history of the game and my relationship with it. Ah well, now is a good time to start as any.

I started playing Magic because Daddy brought back two starter decks from his trip to America. I can’t remember if I went on that particular trip, but if I did, I was too young to remember. Anyway, at the age of eight, Daddy, my brother and I started playing. I hadn’t realised it then, but I’d thought Magic was a closed game. It never occurred to me that there were other pieces, other cards, or that you could mix and match deck colours. I wasn’t allowed on the computer much as a child, and the times I was, I spent it playing games, so I didn’t know how to ask Google for answers. Besides, in my world, Mummy knew everything.

Because it was a closed game to me at the time, we eventually got bored of it and put it aside. It wasn’t until about six years later, when I was in Secondary Two, that I saw some guys playing this game at my school. I was so excited that I made friends with them and brought my deck to play with them the next day. Of course, I lost badly, but I had a group of friends who played the game, and I was introduced to new cards and stories. There was this one guy, Brendan, whom I revered, and who started our little team to go for Magic events like FNMs and Prereleases. He taught me everything I knew and before long, I was trading cards and making a profit. At this point, I still hadn’t learnt to use Google, or even the right questions to ask. But I did come to realise that I idolized Brendan a little too much, that he wasn’t right all the time, and I began to break away from him.

When I entered Poly, I stopped playing Constructed formats (events where you bring a pre-made deck as opposed to making a deck on the spot) and stuck to Limited events (like Booster Drafts and Sealed Decks). I managed to become an official Rules Advisor, making me the go to Rules guy of our playgroup. I was very obsessed with the rules of the game, as well as things that made sense thematically. This is also known as “flavour”. That also started getting me obsessed with colour pie philosophy or, knowing what each colour does and represents.

Fast forward to the present day. I don’t play Magic often any more, mostly because I don’t have time. I don’t trade any more either, for the same reason. Now I’m just a collector; I collect Sphinxes and Sphinx-related cards, as well as Prerelease cards. I also love drafting too much to give it up completely, but now we play Cube, which is a closed set of cards that we make stacks of 15 cards from and draft. Sometimes, we update the Cube by replacing cards with those from the latest set. Lastly, I play Commander. I’ve made two Commander decks: Brago, the Eternal, and Lazav, Dimir Mastermind (which was dismantled from The Mimeoplasm).

Magic helped me in a lot of areas in my life: quick decision-making, philosophy, self-improvement, finance, and understanding game theory and game design. Most of who I am can at least partly be attributed to some part of Magic.

2. Hearthstone
I started playing Hearthstone early this year. I’d found out about it a while back in one of the Digital Life insets, but never got around to getting it. I understood that it was very similar to Magic, completely free and no secondary market for trading. I only started playing this year because the guys in my guardroom play it and this was something I could use to bond with them, similar to my learning of Dota to bond with my Polytechnic classmates.

Hearthstone was right up my alley: it was a turn-based card game, free to play and it even had the drafting element (called Arena). Over the years I’ve learnt that card games are my favourite genre of games to play, beating Adventure and RPG, which I used to play every opportunity I got on the computer (Runescape and Maplestory, anyone?). I definitely didn’t like Dota or any other real-time reaction based games. I like to sit and think and play games without perfect information, because I feel clever when I outsmart my opponents and successfully predict what they play.

Most of my experience with Magic carried over; I understood card advantage and board control, but a lot of things were different. In Hearthstone, damage stays on a creature (or minion, as they’re referred to) over multiple turns, and your minions can attack your opponent’s minions (in Magic, your creatures attack your opponent directly and it’s up to him to decide how he wants to use his creatures to block). This means that removal spells aren’t held as high a premium as they are in Magic. I had to relearn a few things, especially how Hearthstone’s triggered abilities work (protip: they trigger in the order they were played, not using the Stack and not in APNAP order like Magic).

Hearthstone is my new favourite game and the reason why I dropped to just being a collector in Magic; it’s free, I get to play what I want (the Arena), and I don’t have to make arrangements with friends to play. That’s especially true now that it’s on mobile. I also like the fact that I can “pause” an Arena run, instead of having to complete all my games at once with a person like I do in Magic drafting. The only bad thing I can find with it is that it drains a lot a my battery.

3. Little Alchemist
This is another card game on mobile that my friend Jia Kiat introduced me to about a month ago. Well, he didn’t intentionally ask me to play; I just saw that it looked interesting and downloaded to play it. This game is about creating card combos to deal damage to your opponent, but you have to research the combos in real time first.

I’m pretty good with Google now, so the first thing I did after I learnt how to play was to find guides and strategies on the game. Turns out, there’s no wiki page or guide, only forums. The game is still too new and most of the content I found was for the web version of the game, which is similar, but not quite the same.

I do like the fact that I don’t feel any obligation to play the game, although I do wake up in the middle of the night for 10mins to use up my energy. It’s also partly why I like to do middle-of-the-night duty slots. Usually with games like this that require recharging energy in real time, I stop playing after a while because it takes up too much of my time. But this one seems different. Based on my energy refill, I only play every five hours for a 10min window, or go into the game to set the next combo to research. I don’t feel the urge to play outside of those windows. Now, with the new update, energy for ranked play fully recharges in ten hours (instead of one hour), so I just play that whenever I come back to play adventure or set the next combo to research.

4. Ingress
Ingress is the only non-card game that I actively and consistently play, and I’ve made several posts about this game since I got it. I did four posts (parts One, Two, Three and Four) on my relationship with the game and what it is.

I like this game because I have to actually move around in the physical world, which gets me to exercise. One Ingress walk makes me hit about 4-5km per session on average, and that’s not even playing Missions. Sometimes I skate and the longest I’ve ever skated to play Ingress is 14km. This is an individual game, but I get to meet people too, mostly from Resistance members when I’m fighting them in the field. I do meet Enlightened agents in through the community though.

But let’s focus on the missions. Before Ingress had actual missions, we had community based missions. Sometimes we’d have different groups of Enlightened agents competing to create the biggest field or longest link or some other high score, just purely for fun and bragging rights. My dad even organized some of them.

Now that we have actual missions with each mission having a picture, some mission series have come together so that if you do them in the right order, the individual mission pictures form a bigger picture. Daddy was very happy about that, so we started doing mission series together and I’ve been blogging about each one we’ve done. So far, we’ve done four of them. I’m doing this partly because I like to use them as content for my blog, and partly because I hope to build a comprehensive guide for future players to use.

-Jace

Ingress – You Mad Bro? Mission Series

Fourth mission series! This brings my total missions up to 95, so I’ll definitely get the Gold Spec Ops badge once we complete the fifth mission series. Created by Enlightened agent MelvinChen, this series was set in Toa Payoh and was actually pretty fun and funny.

The whole image is made up of 18 missions in two 3×3 blocks. One block forms a troll face and the other forms the internet meme catchphrase ‘You Mad Bro’.

01 You Mad Bro Complete

Mission Series notes:
– All missions are around Toa Payoh Central and Toa Payoh Sensory Park
– Mostly Hacking but there are several Capture/Upgrade Portals, Create Links, Create Fields, Passphrases, and at least one Install Mod
– All mission waypoints have to be completed in sequence
– Two missions are Hidden Waypoints with Passphrases
– Passphrases and answers to the clues to find the hidden portals are included in the guide
– Took Dad and I three and a half hours to complete, mostly on foot
– There are lots of repeated portals, so start the next mission before you hack a non-mission portal, and make sure you don’t fully upgrade or mod any portals until you finish the whole series
– Prep MultiHacks, Heat Sinks and Jarvis/ADA viruses in case you mess up (I had to use two ADAs myself and a few multi hacks)
– There are two ‘O’ missions (for the O in ‘YOU’ and ‘BRO’). Doesn’t matter which one you do first, but I recommend following the order we did
– I also recommend going with only one or two other people, since it’ll be easier take down enemy portals and you won’t have to fight so much over linking or deploying mods

SPOILER ALERT: THIS IS A COMPREHENSIVE GUIDE TO THIS MISSION SERIES. ALL ANSWERS TO THE QUESTIONS WILL BE PROVIDED.

We completed the whole thing on Saturday night (2nd May), starting from 10.30pm and finishing at 2am. We started out driving, then walked when we met a portal that we couldn’t access from the road (the B mission), then it rained and slowed us down. Averaging out all the time taken and I think you should take around the same time we did if you go completely on foot.

The first six missions were really easy. Just hack-in-sequence waypoints.

02 O Mission
‘O’ Mission Map

03 R Mission
‘R’ Mission Map

We started off driving to complete the first two missions, but when we hit the third mission, we realized we’d have to get out of the car, so Dad parked at the car park beside the Toa Payoh interchange.

04 B Mission
‘B’ Mission Map

At this mission, we had some problems because the portals were under shelter and we took some time to drift over to the right ones. I think MelvinChen purposely chose this location to make it difficult for us (i.e. trolling XD).

Important Note!
Do NOT install any mods on the TP Giant Coin portal in the ‘B’ mission. You’ll need to install a mod on it later for the first part of the middle face section, just after the ‘M’ mission.

Anyway, after that, Dad and I continued on with the bottom of the troll face. Pretty straightforward and much easier since the portals were all out in the open.

05 Face Bottom Right
Bottom of Face Mission #1 Map

06 Face Bottom Middle
Bottom of Face Mission #2 Map

07 Face Bottom Left
Bottom of Face Mission #3 Map

So that took us down and then back up around Toa Payoh Interchange and I took a screenshot of our progress.

08 Bottom Row Complete

We moved up to the Toa Payoh Library for the next three missions, ‘D’, ‘A’ and then ‘M’.

09 D Mission
‘D’ Mission Map

10 A Mission
‘A’ Mission Map

11 M Mission
‘M’ Mission Map

For the ‘A’ Mission, there’s no need to cross the road for the first two portals. You can reach the second portal from the Library side before turning southward to the last two portals. You do have to cross Toa Payoh Central for the ‘M’ mission though, but you don’t need to cross Lor 4 Toa Payoh.

Now, the missions get tricky. The Face Middle Mission #1 is the first mission I’ve encountered to have hidden waypoints. Luckily, all the clues were very easy to workout or Google. At this point, it would’ve been a good idea to head back to the car for a drink of water before continuing on. But ah well, hindsight.

12 Face Middle Right
Middle of Face #1 Mission Map

So yeah. That’s all they showed for the hidden waypoint missions. This was a Capture/Upgrade portal waypoint, which we passed easily. The next waypoint was the clue: “Biggest Coin in Toa Payoh”. If you tap on the nearby portals, you’ll find one named TP Giant Coin, slightly westward. Once you get into range, it’ll tell you to install a mod.

13 Clue - Biggest Coin

This was the problematic portal because it was under shelter. I had to drift to ADA it because I’d maxed out mod spaces, then we had to take it down, then drift over it again to plant a mod. Sigh. That ate up a lot of time. This should totally have been a mission on it’s own.

Thanks a lot MelvinChen

After we completed walking around and waving our phones in the air installing the mod, the next clue was: “Top transport service that will break down now and then”. I couldn’t help but snigger; it was obvious this was the MRT, so I tapped around for the Toa Payoh station portal, which turned out to be northward.

14 Clue - Top Transport Service

Once we reached the TP Station portal, a passphrase popped up. The clue was: “In what year did the squatters start to move out?”

15 TP Station Passphrase

It was an easy Google search for “toa payoh squatters move out” and I found the answer in the first hit. On the Wikipedia page in the History section, it says that the squatters started moving out in 1962.

We typed that in and passed. The clue to the next portal was: “Tree that fell in 2013″. I started Googling for it, but before the results came back, Dad had already found a nearby portal and guessed it.

16 Clue - Fallen Tree

The portal is Banyan Tree and it’s northeast of the TP Station portal. I think it’s the unclaimed portal in the screenshot above. When we reached it, this passphrase popped up: “In which yeah did Queen Elizabeth II first visit Toa Payoh?”

17 Fallen Tree Passphrase

Again, I flipped to Google and again, before the results came back, Dad had figured it out by guessing. The answer is 1972, and I found it in the second result. And just like that, we completed the mission.

The next mission also is a hidden waypoints mission, with the first waypoint being a Capture/Upgrade Portal as well.

18 Face Middle Middle
Middle of Face #2 Mission Map

After we completed that waypoint, the clue was so straightforward that it was an actual instruction: “Travel North East 55 Degrees”. Small note here: Cross Toa Payoh Central road northward when you finish this waypoint. The next portals are all on that side of the road.

19 Clue - Travel Northeast

There was only one portal North East and close by: Sun Floor Mural. In the screenshot above, the Sun Floor Mural is the portal near the COMM tab. We moved down a bit, without crossing the road, and this passphrase clue popped up: “How do you write Toa Payoh in Malay?”

20 Sun Mural Passphrase

Now this was the best troll waypoint ever. Toa Payoh in Malay is Toa Payoh. I had no idea and didn’t even think to guess that before turning to Google. I hadn’t even loaded up the screen yet when my Dad guessed it successfully. In my defence, I was busy taking screenshots and making notes of the mission. Since he’d already put in “Toa Payoh”, I put in “toapayoh” to check for case sensitivity and whether the space matters.

It doesn’t. My answer was accepted and the next clue appeared on screen: “Also a mural, but it’s not a Sun”.

21 Clue - Also a Mural

See the only blue portal in the picture? That’s the portal you need to go to. It’s called Flower Mural. Now you know why I told you to cross the road first. And the passphrase clue for Flower Mural is: “Name the TV show on Toa Payoh”.

22 Flower Mural Passphrase

Hah! Finally something Daddy couldn’t guess. I Googled it and found the answer in the second hit: Home in Toa Payoh. Actually, the answer was also in the Toa Payoh Wiki, but I tapped on the second one first.

The clue for the next portal was last of the hidden waypoints for this mission series and also the most obscure: “It’s near a MSCP”. I was about to Google “MSCP” when my genius Dad kicked my butt in the guessing game again: MSCP stands for Multi-Storey Car Park. Looking around, we saw the MSCP and headed to the portal nearest to it: Birds on a Grill.

23 Clue - Near MSCP

The passphrase clue that showed was: “Who is the Minister for Toa Payoh?”

24 Birds on a Grill Passphrase

Now, the accepted answer is Dr Ng Eng Hen, but we tripped up a bit here. When I Googled for the answer, I misspelled his name, adding a “g” at the end, so it was wrong. Dad and I puzzled over this for a while, but finally figured out my careless mistake.

I’m concerned: What if this changes? Is there a way to alter the waypoint clue? Also, I’m not sure if “Dr” is required. Can you leave it out and just put Ng Eng Hen? Can you enter “Doctor Ng Eng Hen” instead? Someone try and let me know, thanks!

Finally, back to normal missions!

25 Face Middle Left
Middle of Face #3 Mission Map

I was quite happy to find this complete map. But this one is not just hacking! Here’s what you need to do:

26 Face Middle Left Waypoints

Do note that when you create a field, you must stand on the stated portal and close a field from there. My dad had the same keys I did but there was only one field available, so I let him close that while I jogged to collect keys and create another field. Simple enough. Once we finished that, I took a screenshot of our two complete rows.

27 Two Rows Complete

I saw that the ‘U’ mission was back at the Sensory Park, so I suggested that we head back to the car, have a drink of water (man, we were parched), and drive over, so that’s what we did. Also, it had just started drizzling and we were hoping to complete the rest of the missions by car. I didn’t want to have to go home with only two rows and have to come back again another day.

28 U Mission
‘U’ Mission Map

29 O Mission
‘O’ Mission Map

30 Y Mission
‘Y’ Mission Map

The ‘U’, ‘O’ and ‘Y’ missions were all back to hack-in-sequence waypoints, so we cleared those quickly. Or, at least, as quickly as the rain would allow. The rain became really heavy just before mission ‘Y’, so Dad parked at the start of ‘Y’ and we took umbrellas out of the car.

It was a nightmare completing the last three missions under our umbrellas, but the rain didn’t dampen our spirits, only our pants and shoes. Besides, it was just three more missions and like I said, I really didn’t want to go home without completing the series.

31 Face Top Right
Top of Face #1 Mission Map

32 Face Top Right Waypoints

This mission was a harder one, starting with a Capture/Upgrade portal waypoint that my Dad and I had already fully upgraded and modded. I had to use my second ADA virus to recapture the portal and complete the waypoint. The second portal was shooting a link, so since we had a bunch of keys, we passed this waypoint easily. And the last two were normal hacks.

33 Face Top Middle
Top of Face #2 Mission Map

All hack-in-sequence. No trouble. Do note that the third portal is in between the first two, so focus on hacking in sequence, otherwise you might be stuck there for five minutes. That would be okay if you had a heat sink or it doesn’t rain, but we didn’t have that luxury. Luckily I snapped a screenshot before we hacked the first portal so I was able to warn my Dad.

34 Face Top Left
Top of Face #3 Mission Map

35 Face Top Left Waypoints

Last mission! This was pretty okay. We had shelter for the first portal, but the rain got a little lighter so we didn’t have much trouble hitting the middle two waypoints. Since they were Resistance portals, we were able to take them down and clear the waypoints easily. Install Mod and Create Link respectively.

The last waypoint of the mission was past the car, but I noticed it was by the roadside, so we headed back to the car and then Dad drove us to the portal. Since it was near 2am, there was hardly any traffic and we were able to stop by the road side for a few minutes to upgrade the portal.

36 Three Rows Complete

And we’re done! Now might be a good point to let you know that there’s a 24hr MacDonald’s near the library, so once you’re done, you can pop in for a midnight snack. It was still surprisingly crowded at 1.30am.

Overall, I think this was a pretty good mission series and heck of a lot easier than the first three series we did. It had just the right amount of complexity, humour and required time to complete. We didn’t have to drive so far like we did for Uniquely Singapore, nor do it over several days like the Land missions, nor even walk 15km for Perdition’s Road.

Very satisfying indeed. Although the shelter at the TP Giant Coin was very annoying.

You Mad Bro?

-Jace