Stay-home guide for Thursday: Have an online party, gaze through strangers' windows and more


1. Play: Have a party online

Houseparty's popularity skyrocketed and was reportedly downloaded more than 17 million times in March last year. PHOTOS: HOUSEPARTY

In-person house parties area no-go in these parlous times, but one can do the next best thing - take the party online.

Free for download on Android and iOS devices, the Houseparty app allows users to set up an online room, invite friends in and conduct a virtual happy hour or game night over a video call within minutes. Each room can host up to eight users.

When much of the world went into lockdown mode because of the pandemic last year, the app's popularity skyrocketed and was reportedly downloaded more than 17 million times in March the same year.

The app has games such as Quick Draw and Chips And Guac. Quick Draw is an online spin-off of popular game Pictionary, while Chips And Guac is a take on Cards Against Humanity.

Houseparty also offers online karaoke with categories such as Best of Boy Band and Rap Battle.

There are also some single-player offerings such as a trivia game and Magic 8 Ball, in which you can shoot random questions at a sphere on your phone screen.

"Will I get to hit a bar with my friends again any time soon?" The Magic 8 Ball's reply? "Cannot predict now."

Info: Houseparty's website

2. Watch: Villain Loki gets his own series

New episodes are being released every Wednesday. PHOTO: DISNEY

Popular villain Loki has a new series named after him.

British actor Tom Hiddleston reprises his role as the trickster god from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The six-episode debut season launched on June 9, with new episodes released every Wednesday.

The highly anticipated series delves into a storyline that occurs after the events of the movie Avengers: Endgame (2019).

It follows Loki on a mischief-filled trajectory in which he lands in the hands of the Time Variance Authority - a fictional organisation that accords itself as protectors of the MCU timeline.

Senior writer at lifestyle website BroBible Eric Italiano tweeted: "Sharp dialogue, sneaky emotional plot points, great range from Hiddleston, awesome score, definite crime thriller vibe. It's a crash course in multiverse rules."

A second season of Loki is reportedly already in the works.

Info: Disney+'s website

3. Explore: Views through a stranger's window

WindowSwap is a website featuring thousands of views from strangers' windows all over the globe. PHOTO: WINDOWSWAP

Sick of the same old view working from home? WindowSwap - a quarantine project by Singapore-based husband and wife duo Vaishnav Balasubramaniam and Sonali Ranjit - might be just what you need.

The website launches with the click of a button to "open a new window somewhere in the world" - featuring thousands of views from strangers' windows all over the globe.

In a scenery roulette of sorts, the screen could open to a raging snowstorm in Moscow, Russia, then change to a peaceful, panoramic sunset in Seoul, South Korea, or a sun-drenched backyard porch in Portland, Oregon.

Each recording lasts for 10 minutes, but those eager to visit multiple destinations can hop from California in the United States to Osaka in Japan and more in the same time period.

Complete with the sounds of everyday life - such as birds chirping and traffic buzzing - the videos provide a therapeutic escape from reality, even if only temporarily.

Users can contribute to WindowSwap by recording a 10-minute high-definition video of the view from their windows and submitting it on the website.

Info: WindowSwap's website

4. Comfort Cooking: Taiwanese-style Three Cup Chicken

SPH Brightcove Video
STFood Online Editor Hedy Khoo shares her recipe for Taiwanese-style three cup chicken

Get a taste of Taiwan at home with Three Cup Chicken, a dish on CNN Travel's list of 40 of the best Taiwanese foods and drinks.

There is no clear answer on the origins of the dish, which is said to be from Jiangxi province in China and which was brought to Taiwan by Hakka settlers.

Taiwanese history blog, run by a group of historians, has a lengthy post written in Chinese that disputes the theory of the dish's Jiangxi origins.

What is generally agreed upon is that the dish's name comes from its supposed use of one cup each of sesame oil, wine and soya sauce.


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