Friday, August 31, 2007

A New Pair of Red Running Shoes...yes..RED

A little more than a year ago, I bought a pair of Adidas Uraha running shoes, to replace the previous pair (affectionately known as the RED Adidas shoe..because it was red and silver in colour).

The RED shoes had a pretty illustrious life, having spent most of their time running in jungle trails, and in the badminton court, and off the beaten track, got bashed up hiking up Gunung Irau and spent a washing machine of a time in the rapids of Sungai Kampar.

The replacement pair, the Urahas, had no less of a crazy time as well. Other than the usual trail running and badminton court action, they were stuck (purposely) in the sand dunes of the Dubai desert, spent almost everyday for two weeks being worked out in a Dubai gym (because the owner can die running outside in Dubai's summer heat), walked the streets of Bangkok just like its predecessor and this year alone participated in 5 10 kilometer road runs (well 4 runs and a walk).

The end was near for the Urahas when it came to a point whereby my left knee was in a world of hurt right after my third 10km run and it became a common occurence after that. Hills (uphill and downhill), left hand bends and even roads that tilted to the left became my running banes.

At first I thought it was just over-stressed from all the pounding or from the nature of the course, but come to think of it, I wasn't a stranger to that kind of road conditions (especially going up and down hills), and I probably have a harder time running on gravel/earth trails compared to running on tarmac.

Then I happen to read a small article in the Runner's World magazine (the mag makes for good reading for runners). Quoting directly from the magazine:

"Running is bad for your bones and joints."

FICTION. Lots of people assume that the high-impact nature of running must take a negative toll on your bones and joints. Yet scientific evidence suggests the opposite: High-impact activities such as running, can help increase bone mass, thus improving bone health. In addition, numerous studies have concluded that running does not increase the risk of joint disease and osteoarthritis-even after sveral decades of participating in the sport. Physiologists agree that humans were built to run. So when we run with proper form, and a good pair of running shoes - our bodies are strengthened, not town down as we log the miles. - Jeff Galloway, Runner's World August 2007 issue.

So, having crossed out my form and road conditions for being factors for my knee pain, it was time to focus on the shoes. The rest was easy, I went out and bought a new pair yesterday and broke a long standing tradition of sticking with Adidas for my running shoes.

The new Asics Gel-Cumulus 9 pair, felt VERY GOOD when I hit the trails this morning. Sure, they were a little stiff since they haven't been broken into yet, but they felt so good...and there wasn't any pain in my knee.

The colour scheme that I chose was purely for nostalgia though, it reminded me of the Red Adidas shoes I had. Bright shiny red apples...anyone?

Optimash Prime and Nine Over Ten 9/10 wishes you a Happy Merdeka Day!

Last night's traffic was pretty sucky with so many people driving towards the city to celebrate our nation's 50th anniversary of independence. I had the opportunity to play traffic analyst from my vantage point at the Old Town Kopitiam facing Jalan Cheras.

When it was time for me to hit the road, things were not as rosy as well. Traffic was slow moving on the MRR2 in both ways (heading towards Ampang, and heading towards Kesas) and there were those confounded Mat Rempit weaving in and out of traffic. At least they were waving the Malaysian flag and wearing it in unique ways (like a biker's bandanna or scarf).. how patriotic.

I know this sounds abit cliched... but I'm gonna type the two paragraphs above in BM. Afterall, it's Merdeka and everyone seems to be doing this.

Keadaan trafik semalam amat teruk apabila orang ramai berpusu-pusu ke pusat bandaraya untuk menyambut ulangtahun ke 50 kemerdekaan negara kita. Saya berpeluang untuk melihat keadaan trafik apabila berada di Old Town Kopitiam yang menghadap Jalan Cheras.

Keadaan trafik masih teruk apabila tiba masanya untuk saya memandu di jalan raya. Trafik bergerak dengan perlahan di kedua-dua arah pada MRR2 (arah ke Ampang and arah ke Kesas). Terdapat juga Mat Rempit memandu keluar masuk di celah-celah kenderaan sambil mengibar Jalur Gemilang atau memakainya dengan bermacam-macam gaya. Sungguh patriotik!

Enough of the typing. I'm trying not to talk ala Pak Cik stim betul...tak pakai bahasa rojak...kita kan orang Malaysia? Siapa yang malu...mereka dan keluarga mereka yang malu. Hehe. That should prove my BM credentials beyond any doubt.

Okay, Optimash and Nine Over Ten 9/10 would like to wish Malaysian all over the world, no matter where you are, a Happy 50th Merdeka Day!!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Starscream's Identity Crisis and ASOBLOCK.

Guess what happens when Starscream of Transformers fame watches too much Robotech/Macross? Well, a light bulb goes off in his head and he'll be kiasu to think that "Hey...whatever those Veritechs/Valkyries can do, I can do better, even that infernally hideous looking guardian/gerwalk mode!".

So here goes:

The shots are taken at my desk in my office. Yes, Starscream is permanently based there because project management simply demands long hours and posing the robot in funny ways is one way to mitigate stress and to think outside the box. I've got my own room, so I've got a free hand on putting whatever I want on my desk, or in my room for that matter.

What else do you see on my desk? From the pictures you can probably make out a stress ball (from Milo), Furuta's super small model of Star Trek's USS Excelsior, DVDs, papers, a calendar, Starscream's missiles (I do not load them into the robot, because simply turning the arms will cause them to launch) and something that you don't normally see, a box of ASOBLOCKS.

You've probably heard of LEGO and LASY building blocks, both are from Europe and are pretty cool on their own right. But there's a new building block in town, the Made-in-Japan ASOBLOCK. A proper description would be: "Lego/Lasy on steroids".

I haven't got about making anything out of the blocks yet due to a lack of time but this Merdeka weekend promises some really crazy things.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blizzard Entertainment DVD Collection: Starcraft, Diablo II and Warcraft III - A Review

For more figurine and collectible reviews/highlights, head over to the brand new

The only DVD collections that I used to buy were pirated ones such as CSI Seasons 1 and 2, but sitting on my desk now is a unique (and original) DVD Collection which is not a compilation of feature films or tv series, but of in-game cinematics from three of the biggest computer games in history. Hints: Orcs, Elves, Demons and Very Ugly Aliens.

The name of this collection, if you haven't guessed it already? Blizzard Entertainment DVD Collection.

A realtime strategy (RTS) game that took the world by storm in 1998, Starcraft introduced three distinct races but with the benefit of balanced gameplay. More than 9 million copies of Starcraft and its expansion set Brood War were sold (Wikipedia article).

From the back of Starcraft Widescreen Cinematic DVD (which features cinematics from both Starcraft and its expansion set Brood War) case:
  • 60 minutes of cinema-quality digital animation rendered in widescreen letterbox format
  • Exclusive director's commentary
  • Original development artwork and never-before-seen storyboards from Blizzard's Cinematics Team
  • Cinematic trailers for StarCraft, Brood War, Diablo II, the Diablo II Expansion Set, and Warcraft III
Blizzard's 2000 release, Diablo II, is the sequel to 1996's hack-and-slash RPG hit, Diablo. This game has the distinction of being the first game to put me to sleep in front of the PC. It must have been an allergic reaction of RPGs. The other RPG to do that was Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time for the Nintendo DS.

The Diablo II Widescreen Cinematic DVD disappointingly doesn not feature cinematics from the Diablo II expansion set Lord of Destruction. Anyways, from the back of the DVD case:
  • The complete Diablo II game cinematics digitally re-mastered for enhanced picture quality on your DVD video player.
  • 24 minutes of cinema quality digital animation, rendered in widescreen letterbox format
  • View storyboards and listen to audio commentary from the Blizzard Cinematics Team.
  • Original cinematic trailers included, as well as early samples from the Blizzard Cinematics Vault.
Warcraft III probably needs no introduction. Released in 2002, its still being played today and along with its expansion set Frozen Throne, rates highly among contemporary RTS games.

As with the Diablo Cinematic DVD, the Warcraft Cinematic DVD does not feature cinematics from the Warcraft III expansion set, Frozen Throne. From the back of the DVD case:
  • The complete Warcraft III in-game cinematics, digitally remastered for enhanced picture quality on your DVD video player.
  • Over 17 minutes of cinema-quality digital animation.
  • Over one hour of bonus footage including trailers and a sneak peek at "World of Warcraft"
  • Director's commentary
  • Widescreen 16:9 letterbox format
  • 5.1 Dolby Surround Sound option
  • Bonus: History of Warcraft and Warcraft trivia game.
If you are buying this DVD collection, it's best that you skip the Starcraft cinematics and head over to the real meat of this collection, the Diablo II and Warcraft III cinematics. The Starcraft ones are exactly like the way you remember them to be...old, chunky and slow. The sheer horror of them all....

Other than the three DVDs, there's nothing much in the way of extras. However, I guess that Blizzard fan-boys (and girls) would lap this up, with the knowledge that their favourite cinematics are now worthy to be shown on their giant LCD TVs.

The DVD is region-free and it's available at Play-Asia. Click here for details.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Cheap Xbox 360 Games

Here are some cheap Xbox 360 games of note, having gone through the online bargain bin with a fine sieve. The criteria to be listed include having a price tag under USD 30, preferably compatible with the Asian version of the Xbox 360 and of course the game has to be in English.

Some of the games listed below do not have region protection (yay!)
  • Bullet Witch - Asian Version - NTSC-J ~ USD 24.90 (click here for details)
  • Moto GP '06 - Asian Version - No Region Protection ~ USD 24.90 (click here for details)
  • Perfect Dark Zero Limited Edition Tin Box - Asian Version - NTSC-J ~ USD 14.90 (click here for details)
  • Prey - Asian Version - No Region Protection ~USD 17.90 (click here for details)
  • Quake 4 - US Version - No Region Protection ~ USD 24.90 (click here for details)
  • Shadowrun - Asian Version - NTSC-J ~ USD 29.90 (click here for details)
  • Test Drive Unlimited - Asian Version - NTSC-J ~ USD 29.90 (click here for details)
So for the price of one "Trash Talk" from Datel, you can probably get one of the games listed above and for some of them, will leave you with some change to spare.

With so many Xbox 360 games available and the promising potential of Play-Asia's
bargain bin, you would probably be asking why have I not purchased that console yet? It's simple, I don't wish to be shafted by the 3ROD syndrome that is afflicting Xbox 360s worldwide. Therefore the Xbox is not in my list of must-haves this year... but I'll definately get one in 2008.

Hopefully Microsoft would resolve their hardware problems (with a new revision perhaps?) by t, as they are already giving Windows users the shaft on a daily basis.

How Did I Spend My USD 10 Voucher at Play-Asia.

I don't usually like keychains, for they are bothersome and more often than not, difficult to put up for display, unlike figurines. But once in a while there would be an interesting trinket or two that would catch my eye and its not everyday that I get to spend a USD 10 voucher courtesy of my favourite online retailer on all things videogames and collectibles:

Yesterday I ordered a Gameboy Advance SP keychain which has an accompanying cartridge (The Legend of Zelda). There are other GBA keychains as well, with different accompanying cartridges such as Ice Climber and Super Mario Bros. Click here for the entire list.

I've also ordered one of these Legend of Zelda Minish Cap Figure Gashapon keychains. I didn't order an entire set, the reason is already mentioned earlier in this post. Anyway, what would I do with an entire set of 7 keychains? One would suffice.. and besides, I only had USD 10 to spend.

And to top it off, I bought another Dot-S puzzle. This time it features that old Namco game, Mappy. It's gonna complement my existing Zelda and Bomberman Dot-s Puzzles. Click here for the entire list of Dot-S puzzles available on Play-Asia.

There you have it, my way of spending a 10 USD voucher and paying a little extra to cover up the difference. I didn't buy any video games this time, because I figure that I already have enough games to keep me occupied and I would certainly want to focus on other things... e.g. running.

Do note that each purchase from Play-Asia comes with a USD 5 discount voucher (well, most of the time), applicable for your next purchase over USD 50. Click on the links above if you are interested in any of the items I ordered, or head over to I've also 3 USD 5 vouchers in hand, so do drop a line if you want one.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Pinjam Basikal Untuk Powerman Malaysia 2007..can?

So what's next after the Subang Jaya 10km Run 2007? Well, there's a host of runs to pick from this coming Sunday but I decided to give them a skip and with the help of a friend, submitted my entry for the Mizuno Wave Run 2007 instead.

The run is less than 2 weeks away, but I'm already looking forward to entering the Powerman Malaysia 2007 which is in November. But here's the thing, I don't have a racing bike.

What I do accomodation. Anyone want to loan me a bike for the race in exchange for accomodation throughout the race weekend? The accomodation in question would be a 3-room single storey house in Sri Manjung, strategically located near makan places and a shopping mall, amongst other things and more importantly, a short drive from Lumut.

This offer is pretty much good to go should I fail to source for a bike (buy, get sponsored (lol), steal...lets hope it doesn't come down to that) within the next two months.

Check out my previous post on the Subang Jaya 10KM run here and here.

R4DS - A Pictorial Guide for n00bs

For more R4DS guides for the Nintendo DS, head over to the brand new

It has come to my attention that the R4DS isn’t exactly noob friendly when it comes to getting it up and running. I don’t have a problem with the manual in the website, but the following is a pictorial guide for anyone who is having trouble using it. Pictures are clickable to reveal larger versions.

Just some general requirements:
  1. Make sure that the MicroSD card is connected to your PC/Laptop
  2. This guideline utilises a blank SD card. So if you have one, format it. We are starting from scratch here.
  3. Download the latest R4DS kernel from the R4DS website. Click here.

Part 1: Getting the R4DS up and running
  1. First up, examine the contents of the R4DS kernel that you have just downloaded from the R4DS website. This is a compressed file so you might need software such as WinRAR or 7zip to open it.

    Uncompress it (I don’t think I need to write a guide about this, no?) to a folder on your desktop. Shown below is an example of the uncompressed contents:

  2. Now, using your Windows Explorer, open the MicroSD card. It should be empty since you have just formatted it.

  3. Now, copy over the _DS_MENU.DAT from the R4DS kernel folder shown in Step 1 to the MicroSD card. The result should look like this:

  4. This is followed by copying the moonshl folder and _DS_MSHL.NDS (from the R4DS kernel folder in Step 1) to the MicroSD card. The result should look like this:

  5. Now, the last step would be to copy the _system_ folder (from the R4DS kernel folder in Step 1) over to the MicroSD card. The final result should look like this:

  6. Remove the MicroSD card from your PC/Laptop and place it inside your R4DS. Place the R4DS into your Nintendo DS Lite and switch the console on to see whether it works.

Part 2: Running ROMS

First, let’s get this out of the way. Both homebrew and pirated games for the Nintendo DS exist as ROMs. Running them requires the same method and there’s no distinction other than if you are running pirated games, you are basically stealing.

For the sake of this example, I’m using a ROM file for New Super Mario Bros. I have the game in its original cartridge, so I guess its ok. For those of you who don’t, find another ROM file to experiment it (some R4 users justify their use with the term "playing back-ups" when they are "backed-up" to a get an original game so you can play back-up with. lol)

Most of the time ROMs are available on the Internet as compressed files (.zip or .rar), you’ll need to uncompress them before you can use them. The following is an example on how a ROM file looks like.

How to identify a Nintendo DS ROM? Nintendo DS ROM files have the .NDS extension with them.

Copy this file over to your MicroSD card. The result should look like this:

Remove the MicroSD card from your PC/Laptop and insert it into your R4DS. Start the console, and under the Game category, select the ROM file and the game will start.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Subang Jaya 10KM Run - 1 Hour 1 Minute and 12 Seconds.

I got up at 4 a.m. (my usual time when it comes to running races) and it was raining. By the time I left home at 5.45 a.m. I was wearing a jacket driving the car to MPSJ.

The turn out to the run was pretty good. There were people parking cars in the residential areas surrounding MPSJ and also in front of the HSBC building. As it was still very cold, I ran up and down a portion of the stadium's track before stretching. No point stretching cold muscles, yes?

Out of the 6 entrees that I submitted, 4 of us showed up. It was a pretty good turn-out considering the two that didn't turn up had an interview and class respectively.

The race started somewhat on time, and suprisingly there wasn't any enclosure for us to enter, we just needed to stand at the starting point on the road in front of MPSJ. The start was okay in my book. The narrow road made for a bit of jostling around for some clear space to run in but after several minutes things did clear up.

The track..or circuit as my friend called it, that we were running on was a very fast one. Consisting of long stretches, the roads were generally flat, and I ran the first 3 km without before slowing down to take a Power Bal gel. By the time I reached the half-way point, I was already proceeding at a better than normal pace...but where was the drink station?

Come to think of it, the race details didn't mention anything about a drinks station. Shocking eh? It might be trivial to some but I think most people would appreciate the sight of a drinks station during a run. No matter, I proceeded with the 2nd half of the run with a even better pace.

The only problem I had during this run was the big left hand curve in the second half. I'm pretty wary of these kind of road conditions as they only serve to aggreviate my left knee. But the good thing is, the knee didn't act up during the run, although now I'm sitting with it bent..straightening it will only cause pain.. a lot of pain.

One of my church members is aware of my knee problem from the previous race and asked me this morning about it. I told him I just ran another race this very morning. Hehe.

During the final stretch nearing MPSJ, passing the HSBC building, I lost abit of focus as I thought, the end was near and I already been expanding my energy to finish off the race (my watch showed 52 minutes), but I forgot that the 10 km runners have to run pass the MPSJ building before making a U-turn back!

Brr. So much for thinking that I managed to dip under an hour for this run...I'll get that in the next run. Anyways, I arrived at the finish line at 1 hour 1 minute and 12 seconds. Which is not bad, an improvement actually over the previous one. My friends came in a little later.


Some people ask me why do I run? My answers usually would be to get a better time, and to enjoy the scenery. Actually is more of the former than the latter, since the focus is on the road and on my pace and staying out of other people's way.

And there's a bonus of the camaderie among participants. I find it easier to say hi and pick up a conversation with a stranger during or post-run, rather than someone on the street. I spoke to one uncle at the parking lot, and he commented that the competition was tough this year. Apparently the last person to receive a medal ran a 48 minute race!

This uncle ran a 50 minute race..and was abit disappointed for not getting a medal this year, unlike previous years. No problem uncle, there's always next year to prepare for :).

Subang Jaya 10KM run

1 hour 1 minute and 12 seconds. That's my time for this morning's Subang Jaya 10KM run. Hehe. Much better than my 1 hour 6 minutes and 41 seconds time for the Adidas King of the Road run. I'll blog more about this later.

Stay tuned. Check out my pre-run post over here.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Political Correctness and the Subang Jaya 10KM Run

In this age of political correctness, I didn't expect the organisers of the Subang Jaya 10KM Run 2007 to pack a bottle of "Biocare Multi-Purpose Cleaner" for each female participant's goodies bag.

But I shouldn't be so surprised; afterall we are living in a country with an affirmative action policy that favours a certain ethnic group instead of benefitting disadvantaged people from across the entire ethnic spectrum. Yes, political correctness doesn't apply here in my beloved country which coincidently is celebrating its 50th anniversary of its independence.

Nevertheless, Singapore-born me will gladly take up the Malaysian flag and recite the Rukun Negara because despite an artificially propped-up playing field, we are toughened by adversity. That's the Malaysia we should strive to be in...with a back bone and not with a crutch. Aye?

Back to all matters tarmac and running. Several weeks ago, I submitted 6 names to the Subang Jaya 10KM run. 3 of them are my colleagues, one a friend of a friend, another is a regular running partner of mine and then there's yours truly.

So imagine the weight of the goodies bags I've to collect today including the one which had a bottle of cleaning solution inside. Each bag consists two cans of Sting energy drink (whoever thought of the name should at least be sack, the word is normally associated with scorpions and snakes..), one can of herbal tea, some Fisherman Friend sweets, biscuits, chocolates, pamphlets, California Fitness pass, T-shirt, vouchers for Gardenia and spectacle lenses.. quite worth the RM 10 entry fee eh?

And the ladies get a bottle of cleaning solution! To The Star newspaper, and other event organisers, for the sake of political correctness... I want a bottle too. KTHXBAI

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Blizzard of CGI Goodness is Coming

I happen to chance upon the Blizzard Entertainment DVD Collection on Play-Asia and thought "Why not?".

It contains the remastered intro movies and cinematic cut-scenes from their box office trinary of games: Diablo II, Starcraft and Warcraft III and some extra stuff that you normally associate with buying a movie DVD.

It's selling for USD 19.90 on Play-Asia and it comes with free shipping. Click here for details. has this for sale as well at USD 19.99 but folks over here in Asia would have to pay for shipping.

Estimate time of arrival for my copy? Next week :)

Having Another Go At Link, Zelda, and Friends

For Zelda fans out there, the Legend of Zelda Minish Cap Figurine Gashapon collection is now back in stock in Play-Asia.

Unlike the latest collection which features characters from the game Twillight Princess (my review here), this collection features Link and other characters from the GBA game and consists of 6 + 1 secret figurine.

For more information and purchase details, head over here.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Optimash: Transform and Spud Out!

Optimus Prime: “Freedom is the right of all sentient beings”
Optimash Prime: “Fries are an essential accompaniment to every McDonalds value meal”

Optimus Prime: “No sacrifice is too great in the service of freedom”
Optimash Prime: “No French fry worth its salt will shirk from being dipped in ketchup”

Optimus Prime: “Until the day, ‘till all are one”
Optimash Prime: “Until the day till all are boiled, mashed and stuck in a stew”

“Quite pointless”. That was the comment my friend gave when I told him over IM that I was getting an Optimash Prime. A what?! Well, it’s a parody of Optimus Prime featuring Mr. Potato Head.

I figure that since everyone and their dog are getting all those movie Transformers toys, I might as well do something different. And thus a RM 39.90 Optimash Prime is sitting on my table. Hehe...transform and spud out!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tapenade...TA..PE..NA..DE.. People eat that!

Somewhere around this time last year, a couple of colleagues and I were put up in a rather posh hotel nearby the Mall of the Emirates, and within sight of the Burj. Coral Boutique Hotel...anyone?

The hotel, despite being rather new at the time (and having the distinction of being the first 5 star hotel in Dubai that DOES NOT serve alcohol), and having a rather limited menu, served up pretty good breakfast. The lunch and dinner items were good as well but imagine having like a handful of main dishes to rotate with for two get the idea.

Anyways, back to breakfast. The hotel's cafe serves thin, hard bread and pastries accompanied with tapenade! Say what? Repeat after me... According to Wikipedia, it's a dish consisting of pureed or finely chopped olives, capers and olive oil.

It goes very well with the bread and until today, I'm still missing the feeling of eating tapenade. Maybe I should make a batch of that stuff myself. Now where can I find capers?

Speaking of the all things Middle East, my client from that region called up earlier. It was lunch time over there while I was already pushing 8 p.m. over here. I found out through our chat that the place she's located at hasn't seen rain since March. And we are having rather gloomy weather right here in Malaysia.

Now, on to things that are much closer to home, the kind people at Nuffnang (love the new logo) sent me 2 complimentary passes to Ratatouille! Nice, the only problem is it's a Monday to Thursday kind of pass, and I usually watch movies on weekends. But on a more positive note, I have two tickets, and you most likely don't, it does pay to be a Nuffnang exclusive blog eh? :)

With such a big blogosphere, I doubt any other recepients will be reading this lil' old blog of mine. Hehehe.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mouse Problem

My mouse seemed to have gained a life of its own after the last Halo CE match I had with Aaron. Too much clicking (the consequences of using a slow laptop and having bad lag) has since caused it to send double click (or even triple click) signals whenever I tap the mouse button. It's that hyper!

As much as I hate to say this, this IntelliMouse has probably outlived its usefulness. I like the convenience provided by the 5 buttons and it works well with the MouseRug mouse pad that cost a bomb when I bought it in Dubai; I should probably get the same model as a replacement.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Day Malaysians Became Japanese, Indonesians and China Chinese.

I went to watch the World Badminton Championship semifinals yesterday, and to say that it was disappointing due to the lack of Malaysian participation (with exception to the men's doubles) wouldn't be fair as the Chinese, Indonesian, South Korean and even the Japanese players served up some very good badminton.

The atmosphere became really electric during the men's doubles match between Malaysia's Choong Tan Fook-Lee Wan Wah and Indonesia's Markis Kido-Hendra Setiawan, not surprising since they (Tan Fook/Wan Wah) were the only Malaysians to reach the semis.

Badminton matches are unlike squash or even tennis matches. Here the crowd was raucous and seldom pause to allow players to serve in peace whereas I've seen a squash player or two hold up play in order to get the crowd to shut up. If you were to ask me, I would say I prefer badminton matches :P.

Anyways, I've seen Markis Kido play before (on TV) and the way he smashes the shuttlecock... "giler babi" would be the proper term for it.

One of the Chinese female players, Gao Ling featured in both the mixed doubles and women's doubles matches. She had a pretty tough time in the semis as we watched her and her respective partners being stretched to rubber games before winning.

The Japanese men's and women's doubles players proved to be a study in contrast. The women's doubles pair, Kumiko Ogura and Reiko Shiota preferred to play long rallies and really persevered against China's Gao Ling and Huang Sui. Even though they lost, they managed to drag the match on till the rubber set and had the crowd backing them in earnest!

On the other hand, the Japanese men's doubles pair of Shuchi Sakamoto and Shintaro Keida were really more flash than anything else with their attacking game (although it was interesting to watch them revert to their occasional "blur" mode), and is this the pair that beat our pair of Koo Kien Kiat and Tan Boon Heong in the semis?

Don't tell this to anyone... but I find that hard to believe, but of course I missed watching that quarterfinals match due to work commitments.

The Bao Chunlai - Lin Dan match wasn't really interesting, since it was akin to the former rolling over and die. The match between Hong Kong's Wang Chen versus China's world number one, Zhang Ning in the women's singles match was a rout, as the world number one did a Bao Chunlai and lost rather shockingly. My friend commented that she might be injured or something.

The Sony Kuncoro vs Chen Yu match was overshadowed by the "feature" match on the next court but the chap from Indonesia gave a good account of himself.

The other women's single match wasn't of note, as it was a China vs China one (and I'm not the only one who finds China vs China matches boring..they tend to look like they are sparring), and quite a number of people took the opportunity for toilet breaks and to visit the merchandize and food stalls outside.

I bought a bunch of very noisy whistle like things that made sounds akin to blowing a horn. The muffins served by the Coffee Bean stall were very nice, and they had cute miniature racquet bags at the Yonex counter.

This was the first time in a long time I've attended a badminton tournament and a large one at that, the only other times were during my childhood, watching my mum play. The crowd was sporting enough to cheer on players from other countries even when our local heroes were no longer in competition. And the matches were of quality. Well worth the ticket price, although we were missing the fancy score display that you get to see on Astro. Hehe.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Head Count!

I hit a milestone recently, having expanded my library of original Nintendo DS to a whooping 26 titles. Some of them are really nice games to play, some are perfect time wasters and some are utter disappointments. The following is the entire list, and how I came about to obtaining each title.
  1. Animal Crossing: Wild World. This game was officially bundled with my Nintendo DS when I bought the DS in Dubai.

  2. Super Mario 64 DS. This was my second game, and my first secondhand game.

  3. Mario Kart DS. I paid a premium for this secondhand game (RM 100), but it was worth every cent.

  4. Metroid Prime Pinball. The one and only game purchased from the Nintendo counter at Jusco Midvalley.

  5. Brain Age: Bought this at Sonig video games shop at Midvalley at the insistence of my mum. Turned out to be quite enjoyable.

  6. Electroplankton: Probably one of the most expensive games in my collection, having bought it at Play-Asia, this one should be every music loving DS fan. More music and art than game.

  7. Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam: Got this third hand from a friend. A bit expensive though for some SSX-experience on the DS.

  8. Metroid Prime Hunters: This came all the way from it's original owner in Sarawak. Second hand title.

  9. Mario and Luigi: Partners in Time: Second title purchased from Sonig Midvalley, and yes, premium pricing as well.

  10. Advance Wars: Dual Strke: Got this from the owner of MPH (see 8.) when he came down to KL.

  11. Winning Eleven DS: Brand new title with a super low price due to some crazy fire sale at Play-Asia. Great value for money.

  12. New Super Mario Bros: Got this for Christmas courtesy of mum who bought it from Sonig Midvalley.

  13. Kanji Sononama: Rakubiki Jiten: Not a game, but a DS title nevertheless. Bought this Jap-English dictionary from Play-Asia.

  14. Atarimix: Happy 10 Games: The first compilation of arcade hits that I bought, and it was during a cheap sale at Play-Asia.

  15. Worms: Open Warfare: Bought this secondhand... didn't like it very much.

  16. Club House Games: Not bad for a secondhand time-waster.

  17. Custom Robo Arena: This second hand title was put into cold storage after the first few tries.

  18. Final Fantasy III: Bidded for this second hand title and won it on a local auction site.

  19. Nintendogs: Bought this second hand just for the fun of it.

  20. Ouendan: Got this from the seller who sold Nintendogs to me.

  21. Yu-Gi-Oh: World Championship 2007 - Bought this new from Play-Asia, and it didn't disappoint.

  22. Konami Classic Series Arcade Hits: Couldn't get enough of arcade compilations, so bought this from Play-Asia.

  23. Planet Puzzle League: My first Nintendo DS puzzle game and worth every cent it was purchased from Play-Asia.

  24. Magic Taizen: This came with a deck of cards, and had a super-low price tag during Play-Asia's sale.

  25. Picross DS: The second game in my collection under the puzzle genre, and like Planet Puzzle League, it was purchased from online retailer Play-Asia.

  26. Elite Beat Agents: The latest edition to my games library, purchased from the previous owner of Club House Games and Custom Robo Arena.
Online retailer Play-Asia has played a big part in the extension of my games library, mostly due to their sales, weekly discounts and their bargain bin titles. Also, a number of my titles are second hand ones, although I do wish that the secondhand market in Malaysia is a little bigger. Too many people are going the way of the flash cart rather than to fuel a second hand market.

Yoda Says: Salty...these fries are...

I don't fancy french fries at McDonalds, particulary the ones served at the outlet on the lower ground floor of Midvalley Megamall. Those are really salty, so salty I leave the following Star Wars characters to do the talking (yes..saltiness to the point of galactic proportions)

And the Malaysian government wonders why health problems such as high blood pressure are on the rise. I say terrible fast food, and a lack of exercise are the main reasons.

If the manager/franchise holders for McDonalds in Malaysia is reading this, do take note that you are serving killer meals, pun fully intended for all intents and purposes.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


No, it's not Grandpa Simpson screaming EPAAA!!! in church, but hey, if you are a Nintendo DS owner: Agents are Go! Go! Go! I snagged a copy of Elite Beat Agents for RM 30 today. It's an old game and most Nintendo DS gamers would know it to be the English remake of that Japanese game known as Ouendan.

For this remake, the same developers, Inis, took out the quirky J-pop soundtrack of the original game and replaced it with a rather eclectic English one, amongst other things and they added a save replay option as well!

The funny thing is, with the leap into the English language, this game loses the appealing quirkiness its predecessor had.

Those of you who are familiar with Ouendan would feel right at home here, even more so since the language barrier is no longer present. I'm abit hopeless at Ouendan, and that fact translates pretty well on EBA, but I did manage to complete a couple of tracks without coping out the first time. Hehe.

If you can't get this secondhand (look for DS gamers with the "hungry" look, they are more than willing to offload their copy), head over to Play-Asia for a brand new copy. Click here for details.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Fancy A Nintendo Tee?

Imagine my surprise today at the post office when I found out that the kind folks at US-based sent not 1, not 2, but 3 videogame-themed shirts to yours truly. And the best part is all three t-shirts are Official Nintendo merchandise!

First up is the "retro-but-oh-so-8-bit-cool" "Go Zelda on You" t-shirt. Good for old-school gamers in touch with their inner erm, 8-bit selves.

I'm pretty much a fan of Gap t-shirts, with their abundance in our local cut-label stores, but the quality of Gap t-shirts is dwarfed by these t-shirts from Very nice.

For Zelda aficionados (this is dedicated to you, Anthony, if you are reading this), here's one t-shirt that you would probably want framed somewhere.

According to the 80stees' website, The History of Zelda Collage t-shirt features a distressed print of things that can be found in all of the Legend Of Zelda games as well as how the appearance of Link has changed over the years:

I don't know much about Zelda, but this looks like a piece of art with a t-shirt as the canvas. Hence the talk about framing it earlier on.

Last but not least, this is probably my favourite among the three (and having a cheeky tag-line does help). The "Call Mario Brothers Plumbing" t-shirt has the tag line "We'll Clean Your Pipes" and it was my first choice when I was asked to pick some t-shirts for this write-up.

Thats about it! I would certainly recommend to anyone looking for video-game themed t-shirts and accessories. Head over to their website to view their wide selection of t-shirts for all things from the 1980s such as cartoons, tv shows, movies, and video games. Like their tagline says: Great t-shirts for the kids in us all!

CARE Package

If my hunch is correct, my "CARE" package from the US has arrived in Malaysia and is awaiting my pick-up at the post office! Here's a hint on what it might contain:

Hehe. Stay tuned for updates! Note: It always rains whenever I need to go to the Post Office to collect something.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Filling-in and Crossing Boxes with Picross DS

Another month, another Nintendo DS puzzle game. This month it's Picross DS which I got for a rather cheap price from

So how does this game work? Basically it's a game of marking squares in a grid to reveal a picture. Numbers line the columns and rows of the grid to indicate which squares to mark (or cross off). The first bunch of grids are pretty simple to solve, but once I got to the 15 * 15 square grids, things got really challenging.

Besides solving Picross puzzles, there's the daily Picross challenges and the My Picross mode where you get to create your own Picross puzzles. This takes advantage of the Puzzle Exchange service where you can trade your creations with other friends. The Nintendo WFC service allows players to download classic Picross puzzles and play them (although I don't know the definition of "classic Picross").

The graphics are pretty much functional and the soundtrack might be a little repetitive but as a puzzle game, Picross DS has it up there with the other big game to be released this year, Planet Puzzle League.

Anyways, I'm having fun with Picross DS, it has replaced Planet Puzzle League and Warioware Twisted as the game of the moment. It might be an acquired taste for some and I recommend that potential buyers check out, an online version of the game, before deciding on purchasing Picross DS.

Picross DS is available at Click here for details.

Monday, August 13, 2007

That Black Box Known as the Xbox 360 Elite

Xbox 360 fans in this region can now rejoice, as the Asian version of the Xbox 360 Elite is now available on Not only it is a cool looking black casing with matching wireless controller and headset, the Elite also features a 120 GB hard disk drive and a HDMI port. Nice?

Click here for purchase details.

Two words

Two words can describe what I really don't want to happen anytime soon: "biopsy", "needle"

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Alternatives to the R4DS

For the latest R4DS articles for the Nintendo DS, head over to the brand new

Look about the Internet and you would probably read reports/rumours that the R4DS is not readily available for sale. Now, the R4 has an unsavoury light in my books when it used to run pirated ROMs, but as a device that enables the use of homebrew on the DS, it's pretty top notch. And with the demise of the R4 forums, I probably need to go somewhere else for my homebrew fix.

All things considered, what are your alternatives for running homebrew on the DS? As far as Slot-1 solutions are concerned, there are plenty of choices.

First up you have the nearest cousin to the R4DS, the M3 DS Simply. According to one flashcart website, this is manufactured by the same factory as the R4DS and both are identical. However, do note that R4 firmware won't work on the M3 and vice versa.

Second would be the new kid on the block, the CycloDS Evolution Slot 1 Enhancer. A mouthful of a name with a feature set geared at pirated ROMs, it appears to be a good alternative to the R4 when it comes to homebrew. Amongst other things, it has support for SDHC (bigger storage space possible).

I remember reading in a forum that this particular Slot-1 solution doesn't boast a good built quality so caveat emptor.

Third up would be the G6 DS Real. This is probably for people who don't like using external media such as micro SD cards with their Slot-1 solutions. My R4 in particular is sometimes finicky and makes for an excellent SD card launcher. Talk about being as crazy as a spring. This on the other hand comes with 2 Gigabytes of internal flash memory, more than enough to store tonnes of homebrew and media files. Cool isn't it?

Last but not least in this feature is a Slot-1 solution from the very makers of Supercard themselves, the Supercard DS(One). This is probably one of the more common offerings at local game shops to "uninformed" buyers when it comes to "lowering the cost of ownership" for the Nintendo DS Lite since the R4DS is now hard to come by.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Whatever Happened to Mr Potter..and Other Characters - Full Transcript

This is a long one, the entire chat transcript for J.K Rowling's webchat with her fans on the 30th of July 2007. I've blogged abit about this previously with regards to Harry Potter and his two friends, but this here is the full transcript whereby she addresses as well the fate of Teddy Lupin, the Malfoys, and other characters.

J.K. Rowling: I’m here and I can’t wait! Bring on the questions!

Leaky Cauldron: What, if anything, did the wizarding world learn, and how did society change, as a direct result of the war with Voldemort? (i.e., not as a result of Harry, Ron and Hermione’s future careers.)

J.K. Rowling: The Ministry of Magic was de-corrupted, and with Kingsley at the helm the discrimination that was always latent there was eradicated. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Ginny et al would of course play a significant part in the re-building of wizarding society through their future careers.

Ryan Love: From your fans at Weren’t we supposed to see Ginny display powerful magical abilities in Deathly Hallows and find out why it’s significant that she’s the seventh child? Was her main role in the books only to be Harry’s love interest?

J.K. Rowling: Hi Ryan! Well, I think Ginny demonstrated powerful magic in the final battle, and that for a sixteen year old witch she acquitted herself pretty well. I don’t remember ever saying that her ‘seventh child’ status would prove particularly important in the last book, though — are you sure I said that?!

Georgina: Did Lucius Malfoy, and all the other escaped Death Eaters, go back to Azkaban?

J.K. Rowling: No, the Malfoys weaseled their way out of trouble (again) due to the fact that they colluded (albeit out of self-interest) with Harry at the end of the battle.

Elisabeth: In the chapter of Kings Cross, are they behind the veil or in some world between the real world and the veil?

J.K. Rowling: You can make up your own mind on this, but I think that Harry entered a kind of limbo between life and death.

Renee: From reading about the original owners of the Deathly Hallows, the Peverell brothers, I’m wondering if Harry and Voldermort are distantly related Voldermorts grandfather ended up with the resurrection stone ring?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, Harry and Voldemort are distantly related through the Peverells. Of course, nearly all wizarding families are related if you trace them back through the centuries. As was made clear in Deathly Hallows, Peverell blood would run through many wizarding families.

Fomy: What did you feel when you finally wrote the kiss, awaited so much by the fans, of Ron and Hermione

J.K. Rowling: I loved writing it, and I loved the fact that Hermione took the initiative! Ron had finally got SPEW and earned himself a snog!

Angela Morrissey: Why is it that Albus Dumbledore can see Harry under his invisibility cloak at certain moments? (during the series is the cloak only infallible to those who do not own a Deathly Hallow).

J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore, who could perform magic without needing to say the incantation aloud, was using ‘homenum revelio’ the human-presence-revealing spell Hermione makes use of in Deathly Hallows.

Jamie Lewis: What ever happened to Winky?

J.K. Rowling: She’s still at Hogwarts, and she was one of the oncoming house-elves who attacked the Death Eaters in the final battle.

Katieleigh: Does Hermione still continue to do work with Spew and is life any better for house elves!

J.K. Rowling: Hermione began her post-Hogwarts career at the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures where she was instrumental in greatly improving life for house-elves and their ilk. She then moved (despite her jibe to Scrimgeour) to the Dept. of Magical Law Enforcement where she was a progressive voice who ensured the eradication of oppressive, pro-pureblood laws.

Tineke: Did Teddy grow up living with his grandmother?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, Teddy was raised by Andromeda. However, unlike Neville, who was also raised by his grandmother Teddy had his godfather, Harry, and all his father’s friends in the Order, to visit and stay with.

Blodeuwedd: Hi jk, first of all thank you for all the books I have enjoyed each and every one of them could you tell us what professions Harry, Hermione, Ron, Ginny and Luna go on to have did the trio do their final year at school and take their newts?

J.K. Rowling: Thank you! I’ve already answered about Hermione. Kingsley became permanent Minister for Magic, and naturally he wanted Harry to head up his new Auror department. Harry did so (just because Voldemort was gone, it didn’t mean that there would not be other Dark witches and wizards in the coming years). Ron joined George at Weasleys’ Wizarding Wheezes, which became an enormous money-spinner... After a few years as a celebrated player for the Holyhead Harpies, Ginny retired to have her family and to become the Senior Quidditch correspondent at the Daily Prophet!

Camille: What or who is Peeves exactly, is he linked with the bloody Barons story?

J.K. Rowling: No, Peeves is not linked to the bloody Baron’s story. He is a spirit of chaos that entered the building long ago and has proved impossible to eradicate!

Jessie: Were the Deathly Hallows based on any realworld myth or faerie tale?

J.K. Rowling: Perhaps ‘the Pardoner’s Tale’, by Chaucer.

Alicepie: What happend to Luna, did she get married who to?

J.K. Rowling: She ended up marrying (rather later than Harry & co) a fellow naturalist and grandson of the great Newt Scamander (Rolf)!

Rosi: What does in essence divided mean?

J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore suspected that the snake’s essence was divided — that it contained part of Voldemort’s soul, and that was why it was so very adept at doing his bidding. This also explained why Harry, the last and unintended Horcrux, could see so clearly through the snake’s eyes, just as he regularly sees through Voldemort’s. Dumbledore is thinking aloud here, edging towards the truth with the help of the Pensieve.

Superhans: What was Dudley's worst memory?

J.K. Rowling: I think that when Dudley was attacked by the Dementors he saw himself, for the first time, as he really was. This was an extremely painful, but ultimately salutory lesson, and began the transformation in him.

Casey Kunze: Who killed Remus and Tonks I think if I knew this, I would get some closure over the very sad, but understandable, death of two of my favorite characters.

J.K. Rowling: I’m so sorry! I met a couple on launch night who had come dressed as Lupin and Tonks, and I felt dreadfully guilty as I signed their books! Remus was killed by Dolohov and Tonks by Bellatrix.

Laura Trego: Was the absence of Snape's portrait in the headmaster's office in the last scene innocent or deliberate?

J.K. Rowling: It was deliberate. Snape had effectively abandoned his post before dying, so he had not merited inclusion in these august circles. However, I like to think that Harry would be instrumental in ensuring that Snape’s portrait would appear there in due course.

Stephanie: If the wand chooses the wizard, then why do wands work when passed down from father to son eg Neville had his fathers wand?

J.K. Rowling: As established by Ollivander, a wizard can use almost any wand, it is simply that a wand that chooses him/her will work best. Where there is a family connection, a wand will work a little better than a wand chosen at random, I think.

James Farrell: How did Umbridge manage to conjure a Patronus while wearing the locket when Harry wasn't able to?

J.K. Rowling: Because she is a very nasty piece of work. She has an affinity for this horrible object, which would help rather than hinder her.

Tineke: What happened to Percy - did he return to his job at the ministry?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, the new improved Percy ended up as a high-ranking official under Kingsley.

Su: How did Neville get the Gryffindor sword, is there a link to the hat?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, there is very definitely a link to the hat! Neville, most worthy Gryffindor, asked for help just as Harry did in the Chamber of secrets, and Gryffindor’s sword was transported into Gryffindor’s old hat — the Sorting Hat was Gryffindor’s initially, as you know. Griphook was wrong — Gryffindor did not ‘steal’ the sword, not unless you are a goblin fanatic and believe that all goblin-made objects really belong to the maker.

Steph: Will Azkaban still use Dementors?

J.K. Rowling: No, definitely not. Kingsley would see to that. The use of Dementors was always a mark of the underlying corruption of the Ministry, as Dumbledore constantly maintained.

Smallbutpowerful: On behalf of all Harry Potter fans who consider themselves to be Hufflepuffs could you please describe the Hufflepuff common room as it is the only common room Harry hasn’t visited.

J.K. Rowling: The Hufflepuff common room is accessed through a portrait near the kitchens, as I am sure you have deduced. Sorry — I should say ‘painting’ rather than portrait, because it is a still-life. It is a very cosy and welcoming place, as dissimilar as possible from Snape’s dungeon. Lots of yellow hangings, and fat armchairs, and little underground tunnels leading to the dormitories, all of which have perfectly round doors, like barrel tops.

Camille: How is George getting along without his twin?

J.K. Rowling: Well, I don’t think that George would ever get over losing Fred, which makes me feel so sad. However, he names his first child and son Fred, and he goes on to have a very successful career, helped by good old Ron.

Jessica Lynn: Did Hagrid have to be able to see Thestrals in order to train them if so, whose death did Hagrid witness?

J.K. Rowling: Hagrid has seen many deaths in quite a long life, so yes, he can see Thestrals.

Allie: What did Dumbledore truly see in the mirror of erised?

J.K. Rowling: He saw his family alive, whole and happy — Ariana, Percival and Kendra all returned to him, and Aberforth reconciled to him.

Snapedinhalf: You promised that someone will do magic late in life in book 7. I’ve now read it three times but cant work out who it might have been! Please help!!

J.K. Rowling: I’m sorry about this, but I changed my mind! My very earliest plan for the story involved somebody managing to get to Hogwarts when they had never done magic before, but I had changed my mind by the time I’d written the third book.

Christiana: How did Voldemort get his wand back after he was in was exile?

J.K. Rowling: Wormtail, desperate to curry favour, salvaged it from the place it had fallen and carried it to him. I admit that would have been a bit of a feat for a rat, but they are highly intelligent creatures!

Amanda: Hiya, I've grown up with Harry and the gang, did any of the characters change in any unexpected ways as they grew up?

J.K. Rowling: They all became pretty much what I expected/planned them to become. Of course they changed as I wrote, but nobody surprised me very much!

Ravleen: How much does the fact that Voldemort was conceived under a love potion have to do with his nonability to understand love. Is it more symbolic?

J.K. Rowling: It was a symbolic way of showing that he came from a loveless union — but of course, everything would have changed if Merope had survived and raised him herself and loved him. The enchantment under which Tom Riddle fathered Voldemort is important because it shows coercion, and there can’t be many more prejudicial ways to enter the world than as the result of such a union.

Lechicaneuronline: Do you think Snape is a hero?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, I do; though a very flawed hero. An anti-hero, perhaps. He is not a particularly likeable man in many ways. He remains rather cruel, a bully, riddled with bitterness and insecurity — and yet he loved, and showed loyalty to that love and, ultimately, laid down his life because of it. That’s pretty heroic!

James Farrell: Voldemort never told anyone about his horcruxes, so how on earth did Regulus Black discover his secret?

J.K. Rowling: Horcrux magic was not Voldemort’s own invention; as is established in the story, other wizards had done it, though never gone as far as to make six. Voldemort dropped oblique hints; in his arrogance, he did not believe anybody would be clever enough to understand them. (He does so in the graveyard of Little Hangleton, in front of Harry). He did this before Regulus and Regulus guessed, correctly, what it was that made Voldemort so convinced he could not die.

Jaclyn: Did Lily ever have feelings back for Snape?

J.K. Rowling: Yes. She might even have grown to love him romantically (she certainly loved him as a friend) if he had not loved Dark Magic so much, and been drawn to such loathesome people and acts.

Boggo: Would you choose the Hallow that is the cloak, like you're supposed to, and would you be tempted to use the others?

J.K. Rowling: My temptation would be Harry’s, ie, the Stone. But I believe, as does Harry ultimately, that the greatest wisdom is in accepting that we must all die, and moving on.

Cornersoul: So what happens to all the Dementors where will they go will they be destroyed if so, how?

J.K. Rowling: You cannot destroy Dementors, though you can limit their numbers if you eradicate the conditions in which they multiply, ie, despair and degradation. As I’ve already said, though, the Ministry no longer used them to torment its opponents.

Michael: Why didn't Fawkes come back to help Harry? I would have thought that since Harry was so loyal to Dumbledore, Fawkes would have been Harry's new pet?

J.K. Rowling: Something had to leave the school for good when Dumbledore died, and I decided that would be Fawkes. Dumbledore was a very great and irreplacable man, and the loss of Fawkes (and the fact that he was ‘non-transferable’!) expresses this symbolically

Roseweasley: Why was Colin Creavey still a student at Hogwarts when he was muggleborn surely he would have been locked up and interogated, not allowed back to school therefore, he shouldn't have died?

J.K. Rowling: Colin wasn’t a student. He sneaked back with the rest of the DA, along with Fred, George and the rest. He ought not to have stayed behind when McGonagall told him to leave, but alas — he did.

Delailah: How does Dumbledore understand Parseltongue?

J.K. Rowling: Dumbledore understood Mermish, Gobbledegook and Parseltongue. The man was brilliant.

Jessie: Will Lockhart ever recover?

J.K. Rowling: No. Nor would I want him to. He’s happy where he is, and I’m happier without him!

Annie: Does the wizarding world now know that snape was Dumbledore's man, or do they still think he did a bunk?

J.K. Rowling: Harry would ensure that Snape’s heroism was known. Of course, that would not stop Rita Skeeter writing ‘Snape: Scoundrel or Saint?’

Vio91: Is Teddy Lupin a werewolf?

J.K. Rowling: No, he’s a Metamorphmagus like his mother.

Nippy23: We see socks a lot throughout the series, such as Dobby’s love for them and Dumbledore’s claim to see them in the mirror of erised, what’s the reason behind all the socks?

J.K. Rowling: Nothing deep and significant, I’m afraid. They’re just a comedy item.

Lady Bella: Whose murders did Voldemort use to create each of the horcruxes?

J.K. Rowling: The diary — Moaning Myrtle. The cup — Hepzibah Smith, the previous owner. The locket — a Muggle tramp. Nagini — Bertha Jorkins (Voldemort could use a wand once he regained a rudimentary body, as long as the victim was subdued). The diadem — an Albanian peasant. The ring — Tom Riddle snr.

Sampotterish: Why did Dumbledore want Ron to keep his deluminator?

J.K. Rowling: Because he knew that Ron might need a little more guidance than the other two. Dumbledore understood Ron’s importance in the trio. He wasn’t the most skilled, or the most intelligent, but he held them together; his humour and his good heart were essential.

Carol: Do Dementors have souls

J.K. Rowling: No, that’s what makes them frightening!

Jess Mac: What was the third smell that Hermione smelt in the amortentia potion in hbp (ie the particular essence of Ron)?

J.K. Rowling: I think it was his hair. Every individual has very distinctive-smelling hair, don’t you find?

Natalie: Are house divisions as prevalaent in Harry’s childrens' Hogwarts as in the previous generations?

J.K. Rowling: Slytherin has become diluted. It is no longer the pureblood bastion it once was. Nevertheless, its dark reputation lingers, hence Albus Potter’s fears.

Nithya: Lily detested Mulciber Avery. If snape really loved her,why didn't he sacrifice their company for her sake?

J.K. Rowling: Well, that is Snape’s tragedy. Given his time over again he would not have become a Death Eater, but like many insecure, vulnerable people (like Wormtail) he craved membership of something big and powerful, something impressive. He wanted Lily and he wanted Mulciber too. He never really understood Lily’s aversion; he was so blinded by his attraction to the dark side he thought she would find him impressive if he became a real Death Eater.

Alborz: What does it mean to be the master of Death?

J.K. Rowling: As Dumbledore explains, the real master of Death accepts that he must die, and that there are much worse things in the world of the living. It is not about striving for immortality, but about accepting mortality.

Barbara: I was very disappointed to see Harry use crucio and seem to enjoy it. His failure to perform that kind of curse in the past has been a credit to his character why the change, and did Harry later regret having enjoyed deliberately causing pain?

J.K. Rowling: Harry is not, and never has been, a saint. Like Snape, he is flawed and mortal. Harry’s faults are primarily anger and occasional arrogance. On this occasion, he is very angry and acts accordingly. He is also in an extreme situation, and attempting to defend somebody very good against a violent and murderous opponent.

Nicole: What do you think is the funniest moment you have written in the series

J.K. Rowling: It sounds very vain to answer this! My favourite in this book is probably that line of Ron’s ‘really captures the scope and tragedy of the thing, doesn’t it?’

Courtney: What child did Harry give the marauders map to if any?

J.K. Rowling: I’ve got a feeling he didn’t give it to any of them, but that James sneaked it out of his father’s desk one day.

Karin: What did Petunia wanted to say to Harry at the end of the Dursleys departing?

J.K. Rowling: I think that for one moment she trembled on the verge of wishing Harry luck; that she almost acknowledged that her loathing of his world, and of him, was born out of jealousy. But she couldn’t do it; years of pretending that ‘normal’ was best had hardened her too much.

Leaky Cauldron: Please pose and answer the question you’d most like to address about the series! (a ha, turned it back on you.)

J.K. Rowling: Oooo, you’re tough. I must admit, I always wondered why nobody ever asked me what Dumbledore’s wand was made of! And I couldn’t say that, even when asked ‘what do you wish you’d been asked…’ because it would have sign-posted just how significant that wand would become!

Nora: Is Auntie Muriel's tiara important?

J.K. Rowling: No, sorry… except to illustrate what an old bat she is.

Nigel: Can Harry speak Parseltongue when he is no longer a horcrux?

J.K. Rowling: No, he loses the ability, and is very glad to do so.

Nikki: How did Sirius' twoway mirror end up with Aberforth or is it another twoway mirror?

J.K. Rowling: You see Aberforth meeting Mundungus in Hogsmeade. That was the occasion on which Dung, who had taken Sirius’s mirror from Grimmauld Place, sold it to Aberforth.

Tierney Roth: If Moody got a magic eye, and Wormtail got a magic hand, couldn't there be some way to form a magical ear, if only to cover up the hole and make George look more symmetrical?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, he could wear a false ear (I’m starting to giggle at the thought. Perhaps he’s better off with the hole!)

Lucy: What is Dumbledore's boggart?

J.K. Rowling: The corpse of his sister.

Pablo: What is toadface Umbridge doing now?

J.K. Rowling: Glad to see you like her as much as I do! She was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned for crimes against Muggleborns.

Tina: Do the muggles notice that there aren't any weird things going on now that Voldemort's gone?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, the world seems a much sunnier place (literally — with the Dementors gone the weather gets better!) We are having a heavily Dementor-influenced summer here in the UK.

Katie Mosher: How exactly do muggleborns receive magical ability?

J.K. Rowling: Muggleborns will have a witch or wizard somewhere on their family tree, in some cases many, many generations back. The gene re-surfaces in some unexpected places.

Maggie: Is Rita Skeeter still reporting?

J.K. Rowling: Naturally, what could stop Rita? I imagine she immediately dashed off a biography of Harry after he defeated Voldemort. One quarter truth to three quarters rubbish.

Maggie Keir: Was Hermione able to find her parents and undo the memory damage?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, she brought them home straight away.

Lola Victorpujebet: Was Minerva in love with Albus?

J.K. Rowling: No! Not everybody falls in love with everybody else…

Rachel Nell: Jkr, thank you for such amazing books! I would like to know how come no one seemed to know that Lily and Snape were friends in school they were obviously meeting for chats, etc didn't James know their past?

J.K. Rowling: Thank you for your thank you! Yes, it was known that they were friendly and then stopped being friends. Nothing more than that would be widely known. James always suspected Snape harboured deeper feelings for Lily, which was a factor in James’ behaviour to Snape.

Abbey: Will the Chuddley Cannons ever win the Quidditch World Cup?

J.K. Rowling: Bless them, perhaps. But they’d need to replace the entire team and down several cauldrons of Felix Felicitas.

Hayleyhaha: Why did Regulus have a change of heart?

J.K. Rowling: He was not prepared for the reality of life as a Death Eater. It was Voldemort’s attempted murder of Kreacher that really turned him.

J.K. Rowling: Scorpius has a lot going against him, not least that name. However, I think Scorpius would be an improvement on his father, whom misfortune has sobered!

Stephval: Is Scorpius as misguided as his father, or has Draco improved and taught his child(ren) better?

J.K. Rowling: Sorry, technical hitch — just answered a question before seeing it! I am clearly getting better at Legilimency.

Lona: Did Draco and Harry lose their animosity towards eachother when Voldemort died?

J.K. Rowling: Not really. There would be a kind of rapprochement, in that Harry knows Draco hated being a Death Eater, and would not have killed Dumbledore; similarly, Draco would feel a grudging gratitude towards Harry for saving his life. Real friendship would be out of the question, though. Too much had happened prior to the final battle.

Hannah: Why was Snape so badly groomed?

J.K. Rowling: Hmm. Good question. Poor eyesight? Did he look in the mirror and believe he was gorgeous as he was? I think it more likely that he valued other qualities in himself!

Ea: Will the stone ever be found, since it was left just sitting on the forest floor?

J.K. Rowling: I think not. I imagine that it was squashed into the ground by a centaur’s hoof as the centaurs dashed to the aid of the Hogwarts fighters, and thereafter became buried.

Adwait313: Has the jinx on the dada teaching post at hogwarts been lifted?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, at last! Incidentally, I know some have asked about Quirrell with regard to this question. He was teaching at Hogwarts for more than a year, but NOT in the post of D.A.D.A. teacher. He was previously Muggle Studies professor.

Emily: What ever happened to Aberforth?

J.K. Rowling: He is still there, at the Hog’s Head, playing with his goats.

Lee: I recently purchsed Nimbus TwoThousand. It has a terrible knack of veering left. Is their anything I can do (wihout the use of a wand it was broken by a hippogriff) to repair it back to it original straight flying state?

J.K. Rowling: Hm. I would advise a trip to Arkie Alderton’s Kwik-Repair Shop. Never attempt to mend a broom at home, the consequences can be disastrous.

Abjoppotter: Is Narcissa Malfoy really a Death Eater?

J.K. Rowling: No, she never had the Dark Mark and was never a fully paid-up member. However, her views were identical to those of her husband until Voldemort planned the death of her son.

Emzzy: Did Mr Weasley ever get around to fixing Sirius' motorbike?

J.K. Rowling: Of course, and it ended up in Harry’s possession.

Lulu: Do you think Dumbledore was a little more fond of Ron than either Ron or Harry believed?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, I do. Through Harry’s account of Ron, and from reports of the professors who taught Ron, Dumbledore understood Ron better than Ron ever knew, and liked him, too.

Chelatina: Was Firenze ever welcomed back into the herd?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, the rest of the herd was forced to acknowledge that Firenze’s pro-human leanings were not shameful, but honourable.

Kristy: What was your favorite scene to write in Deathly Hallows?

J.K. Rowling: Chapter 34: The Forest Again.

Chely: James' Patronus is a stag and Lily's a doe. Is that a coincidence?

J.K. Rowling: No, the Patronus often mutates to take the image of the love of one’s life (because they so often become the ‘happy thought’ that generates a Patronus).

Jon: Since Voldemort was afraid of death, did he choose to be a ghost if so where does he haunt or is this not possible due to his horcruxes?

J.K. Rowling: No, he is not a ghost. He is forced to exist in the stunted form we witnessed in King’s Cross.

Angela Morrissey: Were there seven horcruxes not six as Dumbledore intimated to harry if so, does this mean that Voldemort had an 8 part soul not a 7?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, Voldemort accidentally broke his soul into eight parts, not seven.

Laura Trego: Did Hermione really put a memory charm on her parents she says she did but then about 50 pages later tells ron shes never done a memory charm?

J.K. Rowling: They are two different charms. She has not wiped her parents’ memories (as she later does to Dolohov and Rowle); she has bewitched them to make them believe that they are different people.

Maura: How come Voldemort was no longer employing occlumency against Harry, as he was in the 6th book?

J.K. Rowling: He is losing control, and unable to prevent Harry seeing into his mind. The connection between them is never fully understood by Voldemort, who does not know that Harry is a Horcrux.

Gandalfxj9: Did Krum ever find love?

J.K. Rowling: Of course, though he had to go back to his native Bulgaria to do so.

Twinkletoes: Why did you feel that Hedwig's death was necessary?

J.K. Rowling: The loss of Hedwig represented a loss of innocence and security. She has been almost like a cuddly toy to Harry at times. Voldemort killing her marked the end of childhood. I’m sorry… I know that death upset a LOT of people!

Lecanard: Will we see Harry and his friends having their own history on chocolate frogs cards?

J.K. Rowling: Definitely, and Ron will describe this as his finest hour.

Mike: What is the incantation for creating a horcrux?

J.K. Rowling: I cannot possibly tell you. Some things are better left unsaid.

Samantha: Was Snape the only Death Eater who could produce a full Patronus?

J.K. Rowling: Yes, because a Patronus is used against things that the Death Eaters generally generate, or fight alongside. They would not need Patronuses.

Jess: How did Nagini could see Harry and Hermione if they were under the invisibility cloak?

J.K. Rowling: Snakes’ sense are very different from human ones. They can detect heat and movement in a way that we can’t.

Chucky: Have you had another alternatives as book title apart from Deathly Hallows?

J.K. Rowling: The two other possibilities were ‘the Elder Wand’ (used instead as a chapter title) and ‘the Peverell Quest’, which I decided against quite quickly. I think the word ‘Quest’ is a bit corny!

Iglooanne: What would your Patronus be?

J.K. Rowling: I’d like an otter, like Hermione, but I’ve got a feeling it might be a large dog.

The Stoic Cycle: Why is it that Voldemort is unaware that the gaunt ring is a hallow, when he has worn it (such as in the memory the diary shows Harry in book 2)

J.K. Rowling: Wearing the ring would not make the stone work. The stone existed outside the ring originally, and to use it you had to turn it three times in your hand.

Finchburg: Does the dark mark remain on those that Voldemort has branded after his death or does the tattoo dissapear now he is gone thanks for considering my question!

J.K. Rowling: My pleasure, Finchburg! The Dark Mark would fade to a scar, not dissimilar to the lightning scar on Harry’s forehead. Like Harry’s, these scars would no longer burn or hurt.

Katie Mosher: How is the Quibbler doing these days?

J.K. Rowling: Pretty well, actually. It has returned to its usual condition of advanced lunacy, and is appreciated for its unintentional humour.

Camille: Dear Mrs Rowling, while I'm here I want to thank you for making me laugh, cry (a lot! Most of all for Sirius!) since I'm 11 quite a long time for me as I'm 20 Harry's magic and yours will be with me forever! Thanks!

J.K. Rowling: Thank you very much, Camille, and I’m sorry about Sirius. That man’s got a lot of fans. Mostly female, I might add.

Nicofr: Does Winky still drink a lot of butterbear?

J.K. Rowling: She’s dried out a bit now.

Isabel: Did Bellatrix ever love her husband, or did she have love only for Voldemort?

J.K. Rowling: She took a pureblood husband, because that was what was expected of her, but her true love was always Voldemort.

jenny: How did Snape keep his Patronus secret from the rest of the order?

J.K. Rowling: He was careful not to use the talking Patronus means of communication with them. This was not difficult, as his particular job within the Order, ie, as spy, meant that sending a Patronus to any of them might have given away his true allegiance.

Darchey: Did Voldemort ever love a girl?

J.K. Rowling: No, he loved only power, and himself. He valued people whom he could use to advance his own objectives.

Leo: What would your wand be made of?

J.K. Rowling: I’d like Harry’s wand — holly and phoenix feather.

Brian: Did the DA keep the coins?

J.K. Rowling: Naturally. They would be like badges or medals of honour — proof that the owner had been at the heart of the fight against Voldemort from the start! I like to imagine Neville showing his to his admiring pupils.

Tracie: How relieved are you that you can finally talk about the series no more secretkeeping!

J.K. Rowling: I’m elated! It is great to be able to do this at last, I’ve looked forward to it for so long!

Lou: How did Snape get into Grimmauld place to get the second half of the letter, if there were protection spells on the house stopping Snape getting in?

J.K. Rowling: Snape entered the house immediately after Dumbledore’s death, before Moody put up the spells against him.

Koen Van Der Voort: Why is the scar on Harry's forehead lightning shaped?

J.K. Rowling: To be honest, because it’s a cool shape. I couldn’t have my hero sport a doughnut-shaped scar.

Louie: Did Marietta's pimply formation ever fade?

J.K. Rowling: Eventually, but it left a few scars. I loathe a traitor!

Katie B: Why was Kings Cross the place Harry went to when he died?

J.K. Rowling: For many reasons. The name works rather well, and it has been established in the books as the gateway between two worlds, and Harry would associate it with moving on between two worlds (don’t forget that it is Harry’s image we see, not necessarily what is really there.

J.K. Rowling: We seem to have over-run. We’ve had over 120,000 questions, I’ve been told! What can I say? Thank you so much for sticking with me, and with Harry, for so long. You have made this an incredible journey for Harry’s author.

J.K. Rowling: I like this question, so I’ll take it for my last.

Tess: What muggle song do you imagine would be played at Dumbledore's funeral?

J.K. Rowling: Surely ‘I did it my way’ by Frank Sinatra.

J.K. Rowling: I’m very aware I haven’t answered everything… keep an eye on my website, and I’ll try and answer some more questions in due course!

Thanks very much everybody, I’ve had a great time, and I hope I’ve covered some of the outstanding questions (I hear a distant roar of ‘YOU DIDN’T GET TO MINE!’)

That’s it… I’m Disapparating. Bye.

So there you have it. An extended epilogue of sorts. In any case, the transcript can be found at the Bloomsbury website. Click here to view.