Amber Room – A little bit of Hong Kong

I have never been to Hong Kong. I don’t count passing through the airport twice in my life as a visit. However, if the food is like the Amber Room in Wentworth Point, I’ll pack my bags now. There is a great culinary experience to be had.

I didn’t know what to expect at a Hong Kong style restaurant, but the Amber Room delighted me. There is a diverse mix of Asian and European dishes on the menu, with some great daily specials on their blackboard. To add to this joy are also many interesting drinks to try. What I love beyond the diversity of food is the portion sizing. The food serves are a generous amount. I have never left a hungry man or gotten home and gone to my fiancée; I am hungry again (Haha the usual response being we just had dinner).

All the staff are welcoming, attentive and friendly. It is really relaxing just sitting out the front with a cool breeze off the river in warm weather and inside with the cheerful vibe of the restaurant. I have been to the Amber Room quite a few times since it opened and am enjoying exploring its menu. I can easily say I will keep coming back.

Here is some of that yummy food:

Portuguese Chicken RiceDSC_0155
DSC_0156

Satay Beef Sub – From their specials menu
I would absolutely love a whole plate of this yummy satay with chicken and rice. Satay dishes are one of my all time favourite treats.DSC_0499

dsc_0500.jpg

Curry Beef Brisket on Rice
Sadly I smashed the neat pile of rice already and took a picture as an after thought.DSC_0522

Homestead Chicken Fillet
I chose to have it with the mustard sauce.DSC_0527

Singapore Noodle
20180308_184555(Image curtesy of my Fiancée – The Nail Chronicle)

My Fiancée and I have also had other dishes like the Katsu Curry and Pepper Noodle. I really love how the Katsu Curry came with a side of steam vegetables, it really rounded off the dish. Haha, have you had your two fruit and five veg? A must mention also is their soups are really yummy! Their soup of the day is a great add on course to your meal.

Anyway I had a lovely time eating here (Writers do eat, when not writing). Feel free to like or comment. If you have you been here too, I would love to hear your experiences.

Links to the restaurant if you want to check them out:
http://the-amber-room-restaurant.business.site/
https://www.facebook.com/amberroomonpierside/

If you are into nail art or want to see more pictures. My Fiancée’s website is here:
https://thenailchronicle.com/
https://twitter.com/NailChronicle

YouTube – The Channel Launch

Well here goes nothing! I made an intro for the channel. Pressing public across the board!

(Well that auto embedded, nifty)

I don’t think it is as concise as I would like it, but you know that is alright. I chucked in a few game recordings in the background for a jist of what games I am going to be covering. You get the general idea of what my YouTube experiment is about.

Surprisingly, the Europa IV clip lagged at some points in the recording, so that required a bit of extracting. I was deep into the Thirty Year war when I recorded, so I guess it kind of makes sense. A gazillion tiny nations in the Holy Roman Empire and outside all going each others throats, is bound to make the CPU cry a tiny bit. Especially when everything is being effectively generated twice and when you think about it EUIV is an intensive number crunching game. Not that I experienced any in game lag, it was purely in the video feed.

It is kind of ironic, because Star Citizen is more intensive on resources. If anything was going to have video lag, it should have been it.  In many ways that is the problem with recording, you could have amazing content, only to find it has lagged on the cutting room floor. It will probably see me eventually change to my server pc, sooner than later.

The main thing stopping me is:
A. Wrestling with it on my TV
B. The keyboard and mouse setup is a bit of a lame duck, as it was originally meant for Netflix/YouTube and running a server (Albeit it is a beast, 32g ram, 8 core processor and a damn good graphics card in it).
C. Buying a monitor for my standing desk and decent wireless keyboard to alleviate A and B.

Overall, making the welcome video was rather relaxing. Especially the Cities Skylines part. I was like, right, lets just jump on one of the trains and roll around a city. I might actually do some city tour videos, after they are constructed, mainly from the perspective of a citizen or vehicle. The most annoying part about the camera, though is it bobs every time you hit a power line or a traffic light. As you can imagine, hit a city street full of intersections or a part of your train track filled with road bridges. Bump bump bump bump, teeth rattling.

Anyway, that wraps it up for now. I am going to go back to my morning writing, I have almost finished another short story. Amidst the pile of work and many other interruptions.

I hope you all have a lovely Friday and an amazing weekend!!!! Hahaha, I know I will. I’m yet another year older. Feel free to comment below or on my videos, happy to chit chat or discuss things and constructive feedback is a gift. Will see you around.

 

Gosang’s Tunnel and Mermaid Inlet

DSC_0233

So here we are on a journey to Gosang’s Tunnel and Mermaid Inlet. This is about a 2hr 20 minute trip, south of Sydney, along the coast. A great daytrip or if your like me and want a weekend away, a great point for when you are holidaying at Jervis Bay. I’d pack a water bottle and perhaps give someone the heads up on your plan. The area is bush tracks and some of the amazing areas I saw, it was nothing but dirt, rocks and wild. So pack some good shoes, as there are actually a lot of places if you have the time to explore.

From that sign, it is a two second walk to where the tunnel starts.

DSC_0223

As you can see it starts off pretty open mouthed, but you are quickly confronted by this.

20170805_124606(Picture was taken by my Fiancée, her webpage is https://thenailchronicle.com/)

I am about 6 foot, leaning towards 6 foot one. I found myself quickly in a crouch and almost hands and knees. In the end I gave up about half way and opted for a spider crouch crawl with my hands. Oh yea, watch your damn head! There are some pretty low hanging odd shaped bits of rock jutting about. I didn’t hit my head, but I am sure there are plenty who have in the past.

Crawling, crawling, oh wait the end. Oh look, I have secret travelling companions.

DSC_0224

You are suddenly confronted with a choice. Which side you gonna choose, left, right or down crevice.

Let’s look a little to the left.

DSC_0225

And now a jump to the right.

DSC_0227

Here we have out the other side and the sea cliffs.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

(These 3 pics were taken by my Fiancée, her webpage is https://thenailchronicle.com/)

That concludes the tunnel part, but I think worth a mention is also Mermaid Inlet. It’s a little walk on from the entrance of the tunnel. The track goes along the side of a bit of a sharp cliff face and is a bit more rugged, but well worth the journey.

Here is on my left.

DSC_0240

On my right a bit of a drop.

DSC_0235

But now we come to the water.

DSC_0236DSC_0237

Look at that view. Looks like someone really big has just come along and snapped it off. Would not like to have been flattened by it or caught down there in the water. It really is amazing. Like you are in the bowling alley of some deity.

DSC_0243

Looking back, here is a bit of an idea of the track taken.

DSC_0244

It is definitely a bit rugged to say the least. The wind was whipping along there. Still that said it wasn’t face to a cliff left foot right foot business. On another note, here is a map of the tracks and area. I found it along the way.

DSC_0219.JPG

I well reckon its worth a trip to go see this part of N.S.W. I mean even if you are just visiting Sydney, hire a car an off you go. Have you done the trip before? It would be great to hear what you thought of it. If you found this useful feel free to comment below.

*Please don’t use this as a guide to gauge the safety of the journey. This is just my own experiences. I strongly advise you to do some research before you set out on a journey.

 

Writing Update – Sharing is not publishing – A sunken ship

Time for a writing update.

I have wanted to share my work with you guys for sometime. It always feels to me like here I am blogging away and tweeting. Making grandiose claims to word count or amount of writing work I am doing, without anything to back it up. So, as I said I would, I investigated with the outlets I intended to publish at, if there was a limit to what I could share with you guys.

Sadly, I got a very gentle tap on the wrist so to speak. It appears for purpose of sharing my work on here, that even extracts or voice works of the extracts count as prior publication. Which means there is no look in to being published at an already small amount of outlets to get short stories published and from what I can tell, the big publishers are pretty much the same policy. If I think about it fair enough, they need something that nobody has seen, so people will pay money to read it. I mean why pay money, if it is already free somewhere on the web.

DSC_0189.JPG
(Naturally, yet unexpectedly, my front doorstep provided a sunken ship)

It does not mean, that I won’t in the end share with you guys. It just means that the only things that I am going to share are from work that has been knocked back by everywhere conceivable. I am working on a checklist and there might just be a few stories, I am willing to chuck up extracts from, in a few months time.

A man with a plan, as they say. I am going to in the final act, end up creating an anthology of all the works that didn’t quite make it into places of publication and probably E-Publish. Which kind of makes me feel just that little bit sad, because I don’t feel that it is the achievement of truly getting published then. Before I reach that stage, I am going to get a bit more beta reader feed back.

Anyway that’s were publishing extracts goes for me. It is off the table for now.

YouTube Channel Update – Best laid plans…

Alright folks, as the saying goes, ‘the best laid plays go astray.’ I hit a minor hurdle with the banner, well not a super hurdle, but an annoying one. YouTube tells you its recommended banner size is 2560 X 1440 pixels. What it doesn’t alert you to, is the fact this is the banner size for all mediums, specifically it has TV’s in mind. So when it comes to looking at the banner on a laptop, you miss pretty much everything, but the centre. I tested out that first nebula field background experimentally and I only got blue and some stars. I am not saying it’s terrible, but considering the hard work that went into making planets happen, it was a little bit annoying.

That’s easy fixed though, just means moving in the planets, adjusting the background here and there. She’ll be right again before we know it. Onwards and upwards, I did a little bit of research into recording software and tried out FRAPS and OBS (Open Broadcaster Software). FRAPS doesn’t seem to like windows ten or at least doesn’t like my laptop. I jumped straight into a game of Stellaris, hit record and all I got after I had finished up, was sound and a black screen. It’s highly likely it could be my knowledge of the program, but it seemed to be working perfectly fine.

So back to the drawing board after FRAPS (It was the main one I knew). I had a hunt around, looked through forums and posted on the website for the organisation I am a part of for Star Citizen. I even managed to get into contact with ‘BoredGamer,’ a YouTube veteran I’m subscribed to.

After a few really helpful people chucked in their two cents, I did some more research, ummed and ahhed, then tried out a few more recording software. I am currently on OBS or Open Broadcaster Software, freebie and open source.

OBS

I’m no video techie, but I managed to get it recording, utilising different sources e.g. my display, video camera and Stellaris. The quality out the other end was brilliant. Most of the hard yards was done by a setup wizard which is in beta, but I had a bit of a looksee in the settings.

Stating the obvious, you don’t want to change your file format to one with any compression for recording, lose quality (Think lossless image format like PNG then going to JPEG or something) and if it’s like any video software I used back in 2006….. Very bad things happen.

Here is a link to OBS if you are interested: https://obsproject.com/

Anyway, when plans go astray, just come up with a new idea. At present OBS is it, my placeholder draft banner can be modified and the next stage is finding some video editing software.  I will probably start by looking at Adobe Premiere, cause that’s what I know, but I will most likely do research and throw my net wide to find the best thing for me. Most likely a free open source alternative to begin the experiment.

If you have any thoughts on good video software, free or otherwise, feel free to comment or tweet me.  Happy also for any advice, video editing, banner creation etc etc.

Take care now.

Seb

 

 

YouTube Banner – A human needs a ship

There is of course the most important feature missing from my universe designs. That is a spaceship. What sort of spaceship? Well I am thinking of maybe trying to create a spaceship for one of my races in my sci fi universe from my stories. Going with sleek and elegant with a very advanced tech feel that outpaces humanity by a crazy long time.

What inspires me for ships currently well at the moment one of my favourite ships is a Romulan D’Deridex Warbird out of Star Trek the Next Generation onwards. I love the profile and the sleekness of the vessel and whilst it is sleek it is also intimidating in appearance. I mean look at them wings and profile. See that decloak and you sure as hell are not going to hang around for long.

Here is a picture of a model I own:
warbird
You can see a much cooler picture, which Memory Beta have used here: https://goo.gl/images/bBVPAS

My next inspiration is Star Trek Voyager, I mean Voyager is a real smart looking ship that also gives it an air of speed. The slight ovoid primary section and streamline nature of the vessel just is cool.

If you haven’t see Voyager before, here is a link to Memory Alpha’s picture of it: https://goo.gl/images/bgDygZ

Ok ok, so from that info we know I’m a fan of Star Trek (My childhood), but I also have inspirations from outside that.

Turning to Star Citizen, the Endeavour class science ship. I love the fact she is big, sleek for a big ship and still manages to pull off a science look. Even with out bio domes attached, it looks pretty damn nifty. Gives me the feel, of older science fiction. Big lumbering behemoths, ploughing through space. Very very cool.
Image with bio domes: https://goo.gl/images/1UFtE4
Image without: https://goo.gl/images/dt4sED

I really like the reliant from Star Lancer, for similar heavy set old school feel that isn’t too old school sci fi. It of course like that D’Deridex is more military focused.
Image: https://goo.gl/images/DwQyvf

So these inspirations, what does that bring to the table? Well it brings me sitting at the table, trying to remember how to sketch and draw, another skill I haven’t used since the dawn of time.
DSC_0175

Let’s just say work in progress. I also need to devise how to turn an end product sketch into a fully blown 3Dish ship for the banner. But you know, I’m sure I will either figure it out or find a tutorial for that. I think it extends a bit beyond my grade 8 or 9, digital production skills.

I really want that advanced exploration feel, without dipping into old school or completely retro sci fi ship concepts/hard sci fi (E.g. no big rings for gravity or super bubble ships).  But we shall just have to see were my imagination takes me on this one.
Anyway, I am all up for tips, any thoughts or advice, feel free to comment.

A YouTube Banner – Designing Begins

On to banner design for the YouTube Channel. Time to dust of the old skills, unused since 2005 or was it 2004. I don’t quite remember, that’s how long ago it has been since I have done digital imagery things. I guess somethings you learn in school do stay with you, even if they are lost in back half of the filing cabinet of the mind.

So this will take a bit longer I think. I’m not sure were I want to take it yet, so it will involve playing around and experimenting. So let’s start with what I think I want shall we. That would have to be, to make the banner, science fiction to the max. There needs to be stars, endless universe, maybe nebulas, a few planets and well what’s not more space opera than having a starship!

Let’s begin and see what GIMP and my rusty skills can do.

Here is me playing around with a few design ideas:

I wasn’t sure about this first design. That primary star and planet looked a bit odd and the scene looked a bit overcrowded with the nebula. I was going to put in a moon as well, but it isn’t in there for the same reason. I think it will fit a starship coming in from the right hand side though. Would really enjoy putting in a few more planets and make it a larger star system. What do you guys think? I feel like its a not bad effort first effort, got a long way to come but we are getting there.

Space background 1

My second design:

I think the stars are a bit dull. You kind of need to zoom in to see them. I am loving the blue gas giant though. I found a really useful texture website https://www.textures.com/. It essentially gives you x amount of free credits to download textures usable in anyway you choose, pretty much, except reselling them as textures (Their website has a full FAQ on what they will and won’t let you do with it). I completely forgot about using textures to be honest and used some internal gimp effects on the previous planet. I’m loving what the texture pulled off. Bit of Gausian Blur and some motion blur really altered the ice texture to look like layers of gas.

I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to make planetary rings in GIMP, everything was coming out a bit like lines, but you know the internet provides (http://www.scottphotographics.com/creating-planets-and-planetary-rings-in-gimp/). That link takes you to Michael Scott’s website and step 6 is were I learnt how to do the whole planetary ring thing.

Part of me is not liking that I seem to keep these planets to that lower left hand corner, but I guess it is as good as any.

attempt with rings

Third design so far:

So here is my third design so far and I am loving the ice planets. Main issues in this one really are the overcrowding. I was going to try and fix up the spacing so I can put in a star with GIMPS supernova effect and the use lighting effects to have the shadows across the planets, but then I won’t be able to fit a space ship in. Once again the background stars seem to be a problem. Too dim.

A new attempt

Overall that is my first three designs, I am not sure were I will take the next design. I might try and go for a multi-planet view with better spacing. Experiment more with nebulas. Do I want asteroid belts? Naaah I probably don’t want asteroid belts. Most importantly, I need to design and stick in a spaceship.

On a side note on the software I used:  GIMP is a free open source editing tool. Pretty much download and off you go. If you need more scripts or bits and bobs just add em in there. It appears to have a huge crowd of people around it. So far I am really satisfied with the program, considering A. my rusty skills B. Macromedia Fireworks is extinct. It is a close enough substitute for my skills and knowledge so I can’t complain. In all honesty in this case, it’s not a case of you get what you pay for. It’s a pretty damn good program and I am a happy chap. If this experiment is a success, I may move to photo shop or something else later.

Anyway, here there be planets. Feel free to offer any tips, thoughts and advice in the comments section. Have a great day!

P.S. This is actually surprisingly a really fun challenge. I mean I know stories will be my thing, but this has definitely been a fun adventure so far.