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Example comment by rhobsleinrhobslein, 19 Apr 2011 23:46
be your own bug
rhobsleinrhobslein 19 Sep 2010 09:51
in discussion news / september 2010 » be your own bug

This just cracks me up somehow…

Now you can be a travel bug!

tbhuman.png
be your own bug by rhobsleinrhobslein, 19 Sep 2010 09:51

Managed to get my hard drive to respond. Turns out the choice of connector cable can be very important!

The cat's name is Lucifer, by the way. Read it in "Birth by Sleep: Ultimania" XD

Re: kh: birth by sleep by rhobsleinrhobslein, 30 Jun 2010 12:36

I'm so excited! Thanks to my good friend Jay1, I've rediscovered Kingdom Hearts in the form of the upcoming English release of Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep (I keep typing Birthday). Check out the promotional video here:

Birth by Sleep trailer

I absolutely love the series and can't wait to see the newest installment - a prequel which supposedly traces the origin of the stories that played out in Kingdom Hearts I and II. Not surprisingly, the game has been under development for a long time. I first saw it while I was on exchange in Japan in 2008! We had to get tickets for a session that was a few hours later, to play a short "excerpt" from the PSP game. In our case it was a scene from Cinderella where you have to fight that horrible cat - what's its name again? I was proud because I was the only one who successfully defeated it in our session - with a little help from my friend the Japanese host and the triangle button.

Anyway it's already been out in Japan for a while, which means I really need to avoid YouTube so that I don't "accidentally" stumble across the entire cutscene collection. Hopefully the game will live up to the hype, and the new characters will be as cool as the old ones - I'm loving the casting of Christian Bale for Terra, that's perfect! They look the same!2 Sidenote to Squeenix: We can has strong female lead? (for once…)

Well I've babbled on KH enough for one night. It's not even related to treasure hunting! Or is it? It's late. I should be writing an essay. Go buy an installment of Kingdom Hearts - it's awesomer than your face!

p.s. I'd share some photos but both my hard drives/computer are being dorks and won't connect. Storage fail…

kh: birth by sleep by rhobsleinrhobslein, 16 Jun 2010 20:20

Despite the price, I've opted in on the chase - look out for the report in a few weeks.

Re: city chase sydney by rhobsleinrhobslein, 06 Mar 2010 06:50

I mentioned a while ago that I'd post the tips from the very cool Manual of Detection by Jebediah Berry. So here they are - read them, and maybe you'll get a few tips on how to improve your detective skills. All credit for the text to Jebediah Berry and his Random House publishers - go read the book, it's awesome.


The Manual of Detection

On Shadowing
The expert detective’s pursuit will go unnoticed, but not because he is unremarkable. Rather, like the suspect’s shadow, he will appear as though he is meant to be there.

On Evidence
Objects have memory, too. The doorknob remembers who turned it, the telephone who answered it. The gun remembers when it was last fired, and by whom. It is for the detective to learn the language of these things, so that he might hear them when they have something to say.

On Corpses
Many cases begin with one - this can be disconcerting, but at least you know where you stand. Worse is the corpse that appears partway into your investigation, complicating everything. Best to proceed, therefore, with the vigilance of one who assumes that a corpse is always around the next corner. That way it is less likely to be your own.

On Clues
Most everything can be divided into two categories: details and clues. Knowing one from the other is more important than knowing your left shoe from your right.

On Memory
Imagine a desk covered with papers. That is everything you are thinking about. Now imagine a stack of file drawers behind it. That is everything you know. The trick is to keep the desk and the file drawers as close to one another as possible, and the papers stacked neatly.

On Leads
Follow them lest they follow you.

On Suspects
They will present themselves to you first as victims, as allies, as eyewitnesses. Nothing should be more suspicious to the detective than the cry for help, the helping hand, or the helpless onlooker. Only if someone has behaved suspiciously should you allow for the possibility of his innocence.

On Surveillance
It is the most obvious of mandates, to keep one’s eyes open, but the wakefulness required of the detective is not of the common sort. He must see without seeming to see, and watch even when he is looking away.

On Documentation
It is not enough to say that you have had a hunch. Once written down, most such inklings reveal themselves for what they are: something to be tossed into a wishing well, not into a file. 


On Infiltration
The hideout, the safe house, the base of operations: you may assume that your enemy has one, but not that it is to your advantage to find it.

On Bluffing
Answer questions with questions. If you are caught in a lie, lie again. You do not need to know the truth to trick another into speaking it.

On Interrogation
The process begins long before you are alone in a room together. By the time you ask the suspect your questions, you should already know the answers.

On Cryptography
The coded message is a lifeless thing, mummified and entombed. To the would-be cryptologist we must offer the same advice we would give the grave robber, the spelunker, and the sorcerer of legend: beware what you dig up; it is yours.

On Nemeses
There is no better way to understand your own motives and dispositions than by finding someone to act as your opposite.

On Skulduggery
If you are not setting a trap, then you are probably walking into one. It is the mark of the master to do both at once.

On Apprehension
Woe to he who checkmates his opponent at last, only to discover they have been playing cribbage.

On Solutions
A good detective tries to know everything. But a great detective knows just enough to see him through to the end.

On Dream Detection
Among the many dangers associated with this technique - if it may be so characterised - is the possibility that its practitioner, upon waking, may wonder whether everything he has seen was real or simply a construct of his own fancy. Indeed, the author of this manual cannot claim with certainty that the technique described in these pages actually exists.

Bonus: Mystery, First Tidings of
The inexperienced agent, when presented with a few promising leads, will likely feel the urge to follow them as directly as possible. But a mystery is a dark room, and anything could be waiting inside. At this stage of the case, your enemies know more than you know - that is what makes them your enemies. Therefore it is paramount that you proceed slantwise, especially when beginning your work. To do anything else is to turn your pockets inside out, light a lamp over your head, and paste a target on your shirtfront.


Happy detecting!

t&s #3: be a good detective by rhobsleinrhobslein, 06 Mar 2010 06:43

Except the price bites.

Re: city chase sydney by rhobsleinrhobslein, 04 Feb 2010 11:43

And sometimes treasure hunts just happen across your path.

citychase.png
city chase sydney by rhobsleinrhobslein, 04 Feb 2010 11:42

I just finished reading The Manual of Detection by Jebediah Berry, and it was awesome. On the surface, a detective mystery with all the twists and turns to keep you guessing; below that, a carefully crafted blend of clever language and insights that keep me reading - and it takes a lot to keep me reading these days. It also read as if it were made to be a wonderfully dark film noir, and left me wishing it was already in production. You know - the kind of film that stands out because it's unique, somehow distinct from all the others out at the same time. Leave the book at this: highly recommended. It's riddled throughout with tips on the art of detection, a nice touch. I'll try to post them up at some point.

Anyway I'm not sure how likely it is to become a book-turned-film in the near future. So I decided to play director and put together a main cast of who I'd see starring in the film. It was pretty hard in some cases, because I only had vague characterisations in mind while I was reading it and so placing a face to these was difficult. The only one which really came easy was the casting of Penelope, not sure why. I'm leaving out last names because that would just ruin the plotline.

And because I can't figure out how to get the gallery to display captions (is there a way?), the characters cast are written below.

1. Charles - the hero clerk of the whole escapade.
2. Travis - the detective gone AWOL.
3. Penelope - the woman in the plaid coat at Central Station.
4. Sam - the detective who sets Charles on his adventure.
5. Cleo - a criminal/ally at the centre of the mystery.
6. Emily - Charles' new, knowledgeable assistant.
7. Edwin - a museum attendant with a secret.
8. Enoch - a long-lost nemesis of the Agency.
9. Arthur - a man with many dark secrets.

And how is this all relevant to treasure-hunting? Well, the book has nice tips on detection techniques. This casting garble? Less relevant. But cross your fingers that someone makes a movie out of it!

I was on the hunt for something today, and this took me into the mountains. I came across a store in Glenbrook called Summit Gear (if I remember correctly), which was a little bit outside of my glaringly unspecified search scope but I checked it out anyway. The most interesting section to me in these kinds of outdoor stores is usually the adventure gadgets section - the stand where you find your compasses, your travelware, your collapsible kitchen sinks, etc. I'm always impressed by the cool things people have come up with to try and make camping more tolerable.

The thing that stood out today was a product by the brand Sea to Summit. I haven't heard of them before but their website shows they manufacture quite a lot of novel products, definitely worth looking into further.

They call it a map case, and it seems to come in two sizes: small and large. I went for the large option, because I figured you at least want to cater for your biggest maps and the smallest maps will fit anyway. According to the label, it's freeze-proof, UV-proof, waterproof and dust-proof, making this a very neat way to carry around any important documents, not just your standard maps. I can imagine this could be very useful, and it's just got that cool factor. I really want to test out all the 'proofs' of the packaging, but -40º doesn't really sound like much fun.

Go check out Summit Gear in Glenbrook if you pass by the area, I'm told they also stock Vaude bags (though they're sold out at the moment). There's still a small map case left there!

map/document protecter by rhobsleinrhobslein, 03 Feb 2010 08:06

In the spirit of the sudden clustered updates I've put on the site (can you tell I'm supposed to be reading papers?), I thought I'd add to the sad little one-entry tips/skills section.

You might dismiss this post as being trivial - after all, what does it matter what kind of accessories you choose? - but it's not really. Part of being a good treasure hunter is acting the part. Of course, "being" is better than "acting", but you have to start where you can. The accessories of a treasure hunter range across many different items, forming your arsenal of equipment, tools and devices. These include your bag, your clothing, your watch/clock, your contact device (mobile phone, pager, etc), your navigation method (maps, the sky, GPS, etc), and so on. And your choices of these will play a part in how effective you'll be as a treasure hunter. Obviously this post can't cover everything at once, so we'll start with something smallish.

The bag.

If you're going to go on a treasure hunt, or even on an investigation, it's pretty much a necessity to have something to carry around your things. Even if you travel light, it's best to keep everything together and organised so you can access it easily.

Some choose to go with a utility belt design, which is definitely useful if you want to keep your hands free; the main downside is that this tends not to blend in too well in a contemporary city culture. A treasure hunter is not such a far cry from a detective, and to stand out may not always been a good thing. In this case, the traditional utility belt design might not be the best choice. Fortunately, some savvy designers picked up on the need for usefulness and fashionability in one design, so you can find "fashionable" utility belts out there. I'm not so convinced. The pregnancy market has even been tapped into, and this is one area where I can definitely see the advantage of being fully-equipped at all times. A limitation to keep in mind here is that utility belts can only carry so much - you're not going to fit your iPad in here1.

The backpack is also generally a good option. A clear benefit of the backpack (or rucksack) is the balance of weight, and the fact that you can adjust it so that the weight is equally distributed. This is tied to the advantage of being able to carry a lot more in a backpack than anything else, save a suitcase or a duffel bag (too inconvenient for the typical treasure hunter). There's a reason the people you see wandering around with tanks on their backs are called "backpackers" - because those monstrous rectangular prisms apparently fall into the backpack class. Personally, I have been there and done that with backpacks every time I travel, and I always regret packing them too full. It's difficult to access everything if it's jammed in, despite the coolness of being able to say you actually do carry your kitchen sink around. I think a backpack is the most useful if you do need to carry more things than average, but it's pivotal that it be easy to access the things you need and that the weight isn't too much. Keep in mind the disadvantage that you'll always have to take it off to get things out, and that your most important belongings may be facing behind you throughout your travels.

Finally we come to shoulder bags. I might be a little biased here, but I think for the average treasure hunter (one who is not going on the kind of expedition that warrants a backpack every day) they are perhaps the preferable option. I live in a city area, where the downtown world is dominated by guys with only their wallets in their pockets (because it's the thing to do) and girls with the girly shoulder bags. Don't get me started on girly shoulder bags… they are not a good option for a treasure hunter unless the said treasure hunter needs to be undercover as a civilian. Honestly I'm not a fan of having my belongings wedged under my armpit, and half the time the bags don't close properly anyway2.

So my clear recommendation for a typical treasure hunter (and this is on the basis of scouring hundreds of bags in dozens of stores until I found one I liked) is a shoulder bag that sits at your hip, with a strap rather than little handles. The bag should be flexible and soft, rather than stiff, because it will be easier to carry around this way, and it's best to get one that can be as sealed as possible. It definitely needs to be sturdy, or you'll find yourself regretting the purchase soon enough! Waterproof is a definite plus, and the more compartments the better because it will keep you more organised. It should also be big enough to carry the things you need inside it. A drink bottle holder is an advantage. Muted colours as opposed to bright gaudy shades blend in better and will keep you from standing out. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for colour, but there are places and times where it's suitable. If Rainbow-Brite treasure hunting is your niche, by all means go for it and please send me photos :)

You're probably wondering which bag I decided on, finally, after a fair few hours of looking in total. It was a laptop bag in the end, by Vaude, standing out because it met a lot of the criteria I later realised I'd unconsciously settled on. I considered leather but most of them were too stiff or poorly designed, while a very cool faux-leather design by Sportsgirl was undermined by a terrible choice of colourful striped interior. Those typical shoulder bags aimed at teenagers are just not cool, because of the 'cool' logos they put on them. They also tend to be low-quality.

Finally I found the Vaude bags, and have since been more than happy with my purchase. A couple of additional details to note is that the bags of this specific range are partially constructed from recycled PET bottles (how neat is that?), and are designed to withstand hiking conditions. The strap is fully adjustable and seems to be fairly strong, which is a pivotal factor when choosing a shoulder bag. It is designed to carry a laptop, which gives it a higher weight rating than your typical shoulder bag. And it looks cool too, which I admit is something I value about it.

I guess in short, regardless of what bag type you choose to go with, I'd recommend sticking with something linked to the outdoors. Buy your treasure hunter bag from a camping/adventure store, or make sure it is going to withstand more than daily life if you're anything like me. Don't compromise utility for style, and vice versa. Look for the balance, and eventually you'll find something. I did!

thbag.jpg

Been meaning to post about this for a while, and stranded here in Taipei sounded as good a time as any to do so. Facebook is home, as everyone surely knows either through their own or their friends' means, to many a flash game, from Farmville to Happy Aquarium to Restaurant City to Yoville. I know because I occasionally play some of them. Most are tolerable, sometimes tedious depending on the day and my mood. Happy Aquarium can be quite the source of frustration thanks to friends notifying you of your hungry fish!

My latest find is a pretty cool one, and in the spirit of treasure hunting it's more than appropriate. It's called Treasure Madness (check it out if you haven't seen it already) and for some reason it's maintained a fairly low profile in the scheme of Facebook games. At least in my circles - only four other friends have it added. I found out about it through an innocuous ad on the side of my Farmville bar, which said "Tired of plowing your farm? Hunt for treasure" or something thereabouts. I do like treasure, after all…

Here's one of the opening screens:

It sounded pretty catchy from the get-go to me, and it's not too bad as it turns out! It's a little bit like the Underground from Pokemon Diamond/Pearl, where you dig for treasures across chosen spots (all types of islands). Here, 'random encounters' result in treasure, gold, health or nothing at all (this is my least favourite outcome, obviously). To win a treasure, you have to play a mini-game and complete it within a certain time, otherwise you get a big stamp of 'LOSE' which really sucks. Some pretty random treasures turn up too, especially with the current Christmas theme.

The goal of collecting treasures (as if collecting treasures wasn't cool enough on its own!) is to complete a set of 5 treasures in a particular series, secure them with the museum and gain some museum money, as well as fame and bragging rights and all that. Pretty neat I think. So far I've completed 3 collections, but I've only secured one because I like seeing all the pictures there. They fade out once they're secured, as you can see with my candlestick collection.

Only downside, and maybe this is a testament to the game anyway, is that you run out of health points (HP) way too quickly. And then your treasure hunting minutes are over, to be replenished slowly in 35-second intervals. Kind of annoying, but it stops you from getting too bored too quickly. Collecting treasures is just such a cool novelty, and the game itself plays out well to its further credit. I do recommend giving it a shot, but if you don't like collecting things you may end up being immune to its charms.

I'm hoping to complete a few of the Christmas collections (they're so neat) before they run out, so I guess they'll be keeping my business for a little while longer!

treasure MADness by rhobsleinrhobslein, 26 Dec 2009 14:00

There is a friendly christmas tree wandering the neighbourhood this year, bringing good cheer through ambient lighting and even earning a honk or two. A treasure of sorts! I may never understand my brother XD

xmastree.jpg
found: christmas tree by rhobsleinrhobslein, 15 Dec 2009 12:23

This is more of a mini-report than a full adventure, so it only made it as far as the forum. I was at Kmart looking for not-saline solution for my mum, and was trying on a discounted dress when I overheard a conversation the fitting-room-lady was having with someone on the phone. I gleaned enough that there was a missing santa hat, and that it hadn't been found.

Aha! A quest!

On coming out of the room, I asked her if there was something lost. She said yes - a pink santa hat. Okay, I replied semi-confidently. I told her I'd give it to her if I saw it. I wasn't planning on looking very hard, but a treasure hunt is a treasure hunt, so I was definitely interested. I walked off too soon though, without really thinking it all through. And it was as I started to look that I realised all the questions I should have asked, I hadn't.

I had no idea whose hat it was (a baby, a kid, a girl, a boy, an teenager, an adult?), nor what it looked like (what shade, style, size?), and not the vaguest clue where to start looking. Of course, the woman at the fitting room1 might not have known all or any of the answers, but there might have been something there.

I went through the clothes section, toys section, Christmas section and underwear, before finally and grudgingly admitting to myself that I wasn't going to find it. I felt a bit stupid for not even asking any more information about the hat, because even the smallest hint might have narrowed the potential search. As it was, I didn't find it. But that's not to say a valuable lesson wasn't learnt, showing that I am sadly still quite the novice.

Always make sure you have all the information available before you even start!

Hope whoever it was is reunited with whatever it was >.<

hunt for the pink santa hat by rhobsleinrhobslein, 13 Dec 2009 12:30

How cute is this? Unrelated, but it's all win.

xbus.JPG
christmas pay bus by rhobsleinrhobslein, 03 Dec 2009 10:25

I came up with this section to share random tips I come across, or describe some skills all good treasure hunters in training should aim to develop. A better title for the section is probably random because that's what it'll end up being. In any case, it might end up also being interesting or useful, you never know!

A chance encounter with a lost person in a stairwell prompted this particular entry. I sometimes cut through random buildings at university to save travel time, so if someone asks me for directions while I'm doing that, chances are I might not have any idea where the room they're looking for is! So I was a little apprehensive when she gave off immediate signs of "help me, knowledgeable resident!"

Still I figured I might be able to help in any case. She might have been looking for the nearest bathroom, and I'm quite the expert on those.

Turns out she was looking for "N…", and when she checked the number, it was "221" or something thereabouts. I immediateably remembered some Japanese classes I'd had in another fairly old building where the room started with "N" as well. And I thought, hey, there's a trend there.

Here is what you should keep in mind when dealing with random room numbers:

  1. For a room XXX, the first X very often tells you what floor the room is on.
  2. A quaint thing people used to do (maybe they still do?) is label rooms according to where they sat on a compass: northern rooms (NXXX), southern rooms (SXXX)… you get the picture.
  3. It's generally not that random!1 So look for a system and you'll probably find one.

I can't think of any more off the top of my head.

Check these rules out in action in a map of the building I was in today:

nmap.JPG

So that's about it for this particular edition of t&s. Hopefully this section of the forum will be updated as I come across more tips and skills to write about, so check back at some later time :)

t&s #1: know your map-lingo by rhobsleinrhobslein, 03 Dec 2009 10:17

Today I visited my old highschool physics teacher who gives tours at Victoria Barracks1, and he informed our small group of three that somewhere under the old barracks hospital (now the sergeants' mess) is a foundation stone containing a bottle of wine, some coins and maybe postcards (I forget the exact details). The catch is, no one has any idea where it is! Granted, you'd be pretty hard pressed to find the stone underneath a fair amount of building. If it was in the grassy grounds, a metal detector might have a chance. But foundation stones tend to go in foundations, as it turns out.

It's probably a lost cause, because even if you somehow found it, a very angry heritage trust would stand between you and digging it out. Still, a neat thing to find out :)

Actually it's probably the Royal Botanical Gardens, though I can't explain why they kept emphasising 'park' so much. The RBG were founded in 1788 and apparently are the first official farm in Sydney

Re: it's a me, mario by rhobsleinrhobslein, 02 Dec 2009 09:49

Yeah it was a shame that way huh? Sorry you also missed out! Did you try again at Belmore Park today? I chose to work on my thesis and have a nice little Chapter Three happening now :)

To be honest, tomorrow's clues are really ambiguous. The only famous park I can think of is Hyde Park, because Bicentennial Park is way too obscure for it to be a serious contender, surely…

Thanks for your comment!

Re: it's a me, mario by rhobsleinrhobslein, 02 Dec 2009 07:08
it's a me, mario
Gavin (guest) 02 Dec 2009 04:58
in discussion visitors / comments » it's a me, mario

Hello fellow treasure hunter. I was there, in the crazy lineup last Tuesday 1st dec.

I was quite close to the front.. but still not in reach of the 10 people that were "picked" for the free game. When I could see my quest was going to fail, I just left the melee behind. It was just so badly organised and run.

it's a me, mario by Gavin (guest), 02 Dec 2009 04:58
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