Thursday, December 15, 2005

Itchy Shutter Finger :p

I woke up to answer a phone call. Then, I went on to have breakfast and stuff. Mom had me mop the living room, then peel garlic for her. While I was peeling it (takes a long time), someone banged at the door. It was my uncle! With the kids of course. Wait, its not one uncle, but 2! One from KL, and the other from England (Where are my aunts?). I chatted with them while I kept peeling the garlic. Without cutting my fingers of course

Grandpa was surely happy to see my uncles. When he came, I was concentrating on the garlic and my uncles. Then, my hears were blasted with a loud, hearty "HELLO!!!". lol, I almost went to heaven earlier than my grandpa (heart attack. Nah, just kidding).

By the time I've finished peeling the garlic, my uncles, and grandpa went out for a while. They plan to visit as many relatives as possible while they're here. Meanwhile, I went upstairs to check on the kids. Emile and Nicole (is there an "e"? Oh ya, no relation to a particular celebrity here) are here, but Ines went to camp. Aww... too bad. My sis was missing her. They were playing with the PS2, and later watching cartoons on the PC.

Later, its lunch time. My uncles and grandpa are back. While having lunch, it rained. Watching the water rushing down the drain pipe in the garden, inspiration hit me hard in the head. As soon as I finished washing the plates, I ran off and came back with a camera...

My first try at shooting raindrops. Not bad eh?

Look at the one at the bottom shine!

No two shots will ever be the same! Look at the crystal clear droplet near the middle.

The shiny droplet may be pretty, but if you look closely, you can actually see a rainbow under it!

The drain pipe, and mom's precious potted garden. The pot on the far left is the one where I rescued some fishes.

Who would have thought raindrops can be so interesting? ;-)

It didn't take me too long to start editing it and showing it off, hehe. Some of my shots were shot at maximum ISO. Noise Ninja did a good job removing it. If the Alumni Nite calls for some action photography, I'm ready for it!

When I'm done, I read some photography articles and went to bed. In the meantime, mom went to our granduncle's home for a visit. A miniature family reunion dinner with our uncles. Mom sent the kids there too. Guess they're not staying over tonight.

At night, I've made some subtle changes to my template, completely destroying it in the process. Fortunately, I did my template editing in Ms FrontPage. Its only a matter of hitting the "undo" button several times until I reach the point where think things went wrong, and do the "copy and paste" routine. Now, it looks just the way I wanted.

Better go to bed, because I'm supposed to drive myself to the party tomorrow (its almost 5am!).

PS: Of course, I've posted larger version of the pictures at my photo album. I recommend you see it there. The thumbnails are too small for anyone to see it in its true glory.

PPS: With the even larger original version, it has been fun zooming in at the droplets and just starring at it...

Wednesday, December 14, 2005


Since I finally managed to get some good sleep, I woke up rather early today. Early enough to see my dad off to work. I resume blog typing (and praying I don't have a mob of angry fans waiting. If I have any fans, that is) until my brother decided he had enough PC games for a while, and decided to take a break. Unfortunately, mom was watching TV, so he played Civilization IV with me for a while until mom is done with her show.

As promised, Zi Yun wrote me a testimonial. She had the same problem I had yesterday, but was smart enough to save it first before posting it on the first try. Of course, I approved her testimonial, since it didn't say any bad things about me, hehe :p. Of course, I'm not the sort of person who will reject testimonials with the slightest hint of negativity either. Of course, the more outrageous ones are simply begging for rejection (but I haven't seen any of these yet).

I was told that my cousins are coming tonight, not December 15. All a sudden, there were so many chores to do. Eek!

After sending songs via Bluetooth to my sis' handphone, I went to bed. Too sleepy...

Much later, I'm back at my laptop again, chatting. My bro was playing with the PS2 while my sis surfs the net. All the sudden, the electricity got cut off. TNB is acting up again. Fortunately, my laptop's batteries kicked in an continued to power whatever I was up to. The batteries weren't fully charged, but will last 1 1/2 hours if I switch off wireless mode. Why switch off wireless mode while I'm chatting? Because the blackout knocked out (no pun intended) the modem and the router! There is no point keeping in on!!! Grr... I was chatting!!! *Chokes an imaginary effigy representing TNB*

*Sigh~ Continue blogging*. Moments later, dad came home and called TNB. Apparently, they weren't aware of the blackout. Dad said the moment he stepped off his car, our neighbor rushed to him to inform about the blackout. When my dad asked why didn't he tell TNB instead, he was speechless. My dad believes that he was counting on him to tell TNB about the blackout, which seem to be affecting our block only. Even the street lamps and houses across the street are unaffected. Hmm... Do you think it has something to do with the fact that my dad is the only university graduate here (hence better educated and better able to handle bureaucrats)?

Preparation for college life must have made me more dependant on battery powered devices. I have my laptop to keep my occupied, and an LED flashlight that can run for days for illumination. Both were very important to keep life going in the dark. By 11.00pm, just when my laptop batteries was about to run dry, power is restored. Immediately after that, a call came asking whether we have power back. lol, talk about customer service :-)

Reminds me of Mr. Ranjit's experience when buying a refrigerator from Seng Heng.

Chat and blogged at the same time, and helped find a song and a score sheet for use during the Alumni Nite. Hope everything is in full gear now. Another alumna signed up, bringing the number of alumni coming for the party back to 10. Woohoo~. Mike thinks I did a good job, but I disagree. Last year's class was as big as this year's. Let's say, for the sake of easy calculation, there were 100 of them. If 10 are coming, that means the market penetration is only 10%. Very bad considering we don't have competition (Ei, since when I'm a business student?).

My cousins aren't here yet. I'm guessing that they're staying at granny's place first before coming over. Yayz~ Can't wait!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

End of 3 Days War against "Writter's Block"

Ahh... Monday. What happened on Monday?

Mom wanted me to clean up a pot in her garden which she used to filled up with mud, freshwater weeds, and fish. Apparently, the fish all died. A miniature version of eutrophication perhaps, or an endemic. I guessing its most likely the former, considering all the green stuff floating around. While I'm at it, I rescued 3 fishes and relocated them. Talk about "Survival of the Fittest". Hmm.... I'm feeling like UNHCR already, lol.

After I'm done with that, I continued the head scratching session. I've also came across some camera reviews... and found my dream camera: Canon EOS 350D Digital Rebel. A prosumer camera with interchangeable lens. To me, its main attraction is the interchangeable lens (which leaves the possibility of attaching it to a telescope via an adaptor), very low noise even at high sensitivity, and a "reasonable" price (considering other cameras of its class) of around RM4000. Now, where on earth can I cough out RM4000? Nowhere, apparently T_T

Let me guess. You folks are gonna gasp "omg, so big!". Am I right?

I've got mail. 2 of them. One is a letter describing how my UAI is calculated and other stuff. Too lazy to bother. The other is an advertisement (huh? With my name on the envelope?) to study advertisement design. Blek~ They've got the wrong person, I failed arts. Although I've got 1st prize at school in Standard 3 (or 4? Bah! That's too long ago to remember) in an art competition, but that's ancient history. The more recent ones says I'm lousy, and the last one has a "D" written on the back.

At night, I finally managed to piece together what would be Zi Yun's testimonial. I clicked the appropriate button to submit it, and ended up at my Friendster homepage, instead of receiving a notification that my testimonial has been submitted and awaiting approval. Feeling that something is amiss, I asked Zi Yun to check if she has received it. She hasn't, that means I'll have to retype the whole thing. Crazy Friendster~. When I'm done for the second time, the same thing happens. Fortunately, I've copied the text this time, and its only a matter of pasting and posting it. This time, I've finally got the notification, as well as time to start blogging again...tomorrow......

Assasinating Noise

Not surprisingly, I woke up at 2pm, and that's only because mom woke me up. Yawn~

I overheard mom telling my bro that he got enrolled for driving school, with classes starting this Thursday (which happens to be when Alumni Nite is held). *Watches bro plays the game Need for Speed: Most Wanted, as he causes enough damage and break enough traffic rules to warrant a 7-digit sum for his arrest* I think I'd better start praying for him...

I spent much of my time, still scratching my head over Zi Yun's testimonial. So unless I say otherwise, always assume I'm still trying to piece together her testimonial while doing all the stuff I'm about to describe:

My sis is finally home. But she didn't do anything much, except collapse in front of (not on) the bed. Hmm... sleeping on the floor is becoming endemic in this family isn't it? First, me when I get too tired when using the laptop. Now, my sis. And it's not like we don't have a proper bed or anything!

I've tried out that Noise Ninja. Pretty effective, but its not freeware, except I've managed to find a key generator for it. As usual, some sneaky guy also added a Trojan Horse to it, but my anti virus program had little trouble detecting the hitchhiker and putting it under quarantine.

According to the manual, Noise Ninja works best if I build a noise profile for the camera I use, preferably one for each ISO setting. I have no problems with that. All I needed to do is to take an off-focus picture of a chart they provided, and upload it to my laptop for analysis, then save the data. Piece of cake~

Noise Profile Chart at ISO400, my camera's maximum.

Dad came home with a needle at night. A needle for me. Its for something that's growing on my head for some time. Dad thinks its an old scar from too much head scratching, back in the days when it looks like I've got enough dandruff to bury myself alive. It wasn't painful. To me, injections never were. But it took so long... I has about to ask "Are you done yet?" when he let me resume whatever I was doing at my laptop. I felt dizzy for a while, but its better later on. I just hope this works...

Now, back to that testimonial...... *Repeats most of what happened last night until 7am*

Spring cleaning! (Ei? Since when Malaysia has Spring?)

Oi! You pig! What happened to your an entry a day policy!? You blog has been untouched for 2-3 days! Eating your own words already ar?!! Go to Hell!

Hehe~ Relax people, everything is still in order. Just that I had some prior engagements I need to attend to. But now, I'm back. Let's see now, what happened last Saturday...

The family woke up early, with the probable exception of my sis who is at camp somewhere. We had Dim Sum for breakfast before dropping by at a recycling center to recycle some stuff. Proceeds of this center goes to running a hemodialysis center on the same block. Talk about working towards a good cause. In one swoop we helped save the environment, and some lives. Woo hoo!!!

Next, we went to grandma's home in Lunas to do some spring cleaning, although dad started with cleaning the car because our home is a pre-war building which doesn't come with a porch, until granny's place. Most of our work at granny's place involve ruining many a spiner's web, and probably kill a few as they get sucked into a vacuum cleaner. Come to think of it, its a horrible way to die. Of course, we helped removing the curtains for washing too.

We needed to paint the house next door while we're there, which happen to be our property too. The paint isn't there to look pretty, but to protect the wooden parts (doors, window frames, ect) from decay. It is deteriorating already. Dad told us the previous tenant used the place to make pirated CDs, and ran away when enforcement officers raided the place. That explains all the extra 3-pin plugs (I lost count, don't ask me how many) I see. I thought tenants aren't supposed to modify the place without the landlord's permission, but why would they care anyway? They're gone!

There is also a cardboard box filled with empty beer bottles. Dad ordered me to load them into the car for recycling. Eww... beer....... I don't want to be seen anywhere near these. My only consolation is one of the empty bottle is a Ribenna bottle. That's supposed to be rich in Vitamin C and non-alcoholic right? Just hope dad doesn't order me to unload it at the recycling center later (thankfully, he didn't)

A friendly neighbour told us that thieves are on the prowl in the area. A house not too far away got ransacked, while the local market gets hit by thieves once a day. I really hope he was exaggerating. Above that, I hope they leave my granny alone.

For lunch, we had noodles at a nearby stall. A childhood favorite, except the "Tauke" smokes. We also had ice cream for dessert! But nothing fancy :-(

When I'm done with my work, I took a bath. I was the only person smart enough to bring my own towel so I could bathe here, hehe~. When I'm done bathing, I was told to walk to a garbage bin some distance away and toss the trash there. Great... I'm all washed up and now he tells me. To make things worse, it started to rain when I'm halfway there. But thankfully, my bro came with an umbrella before the rain becomes too heavy. Wait a minute, is the paint dry yet? *Slaps forehead*

Well, guess that's all. It won't be long before our parent pack up and drive home. So my and my brother waited on the car. Big mistake, our parents were far from done. It wasn't long before my brother fell asleep. Feeling bored, I went out (leaving the car door open so my bro can breathe) and watched TV on granny's flatscreen. No prize for guessing where that TV came from.

Much later, as the rain subsides, mom wanted me to trim the shrub in granny's garden. She wants a round shape. *Looks at barely alive shrub with many protruding, large branches*. How am I supposed to trim this? I'd rather kill the miserable thing and start over. Obviously, she doesn't know a thing about gardening. This became more evident when she try to break a branch I was trying to saw off. I'm no expert, but at least I know it's supposed to be cut cleanly at a 30 degree angle (but don't ask me why)!

When my parents FINALLY decided to call it a day, it was raining cats and dogs again. We can barely see the road. On the way home, there were a line of teens wearing the same green colored T-shirt running in the rain. Probably some camp with a crazy commander. Wait, isn't there my sis (the secretary) running with them? o_O''

She's in trouble

When I got home, I started surfing and my bro started killing (err... not killing in real life of course). Meanwhile, Zi Yun suggested that we write each other a testimonial, starting with me. Hmm... a chance to get a testimonial which actually says something useful, not junk that gets passed around like chain mail...... WHY NOT! Unfortunately, the combination of hunger and fatigue quickly caught up, and I had to drag myself to bed. That testimonial will have to wait.

I woke up at about 9.30pm for dinner. Burgers for dinner. The sort that's is sold in roadside stalls. Mmm... the only other burger I like so far, is the Big Mac (sanitary concerns aside, and assuming neither had chili sauce added). Oh well, back to work! Got a testimonial to write. Problem is, its harder than I thought. I'm a poor judge of character perhaps. Maybe this has got something to do with the fact that I flunked the Spot-A-Fake-Smile test.

*Scratches head until 5am, but reads lots of photography related articles and downloads a noise removal program (called "Noise Ninja", based on a recommendation made by a reviewer, after he looked through 22 programs.) in between.*

Saturday, December 10, 2005

All about Pisces (ie. me)

My friend passed a whole bunch of stuff Pisces-related stuff, and asked me if its accurate. Let's see, shall we? For the benefit of non-Chinese readers, I've translated it to English, since the original message was in Traditional Chinese. As usual, my comments are in blue.

  • Most nostalgic
  • Most romantic
    Too bad. I have no one to whom I can express my romantic side, if I have one :p
  • Most pessimistic
    Err... I guess.....
  • Most easily fooled
  • Acts like a spoiled brat
  • Most accurate "sixth sense"
    Accurate like laser... hehe~
  • Most imaginative
    Ops, sorry. Drifted away. Could you repeat that?
  • Least likely to look down on people.
    Sure! Unless you smoke, drink, do drugs, steal.... ect.
  • Most compassionate
    Not sure about "most", but otherwise, yes. (Fact is, I'm not sure about all the "mosts" and "leasts".
  • Best memory
    Yeah right... I'd wish.
  • Most nervous
    Exams failed to scare me so far, but oral exams and presentations do. So I'd guess that's a yes.
  • Bookworm
    Definately (but these aren't my textbooks!).
  • Well liked
    Well... that's up to you folks. What do you think :D

Here's what the original text says anyway, just in case I mis-translated something:

  • 最念舊
  • 最浪漫
  • 最悲觀
  • 最易被騙
  • 最愛撒嬌
  • 直覺最準
  • 最愛幻想
  • 最不勢頭眼
  • 最有同情心
  • 記憶力最好
  • 最易神經質
  • 最有書卷味
  • 最會討人歡心

So out of 13 things, the information my friend found is correct 7 times. Bah! That's by chance!!! Of course, among the other 6, some are uncertain...

Yippee! Its done!!!

I woke up REAL early to a very loud bang. Apparently, my bro punched the wall in his sleep. It wasn't long before he woke up, and explained what happened. He had a dream where someone attacked him and managed to grab his left hand. However, my bro easily broke free, saw an opening, and dived his fist into it. That's when a huge bang woke me up. Sigh, whatever~ I'm just glad he didn't punch the other direction, or he would have cracked my skull or something (we shared the same bed for as long as I could remember). No hyperbole here.

Despite his thin body, he regularly does weight lifting. Like me, he has a black belt, except I dread the moment when our instructor called out both our names during sparring lessons. This guy is fast and tough, and can take a lot of punishment (another reason I'm thankful he hit the wall instead). There was one occasion where a kick from me threw him back a meter and a half. He simply landed on his feet and darted back at me like a spring. Had the instructor didn't stop the us to check whether my bro is ok (it was as if nothing happened, nothing at all), he would have caught me off-guard.

My bro played with the PC for a while, then went for the PS2 when our parents woke up (imagine how early we were). I tinkered with my laptop a bit, but soon fell asleep.

Much later, I had lunch, nap, and continued working on the photography guide. While I was at it, my bro called me to watch something. When he was playing with the PS2, he has been switching from one game to another. In Resident Evil 4, he managed to hoard 1 million in game currency today, and spent it on a rocket launcher with unlimited ammunition. Then, he was laughing like a maniac as he blasted the once hard-to-beat mutant cultists into oblivion. Well, at least all of his enemies are neither human nor nice.

Late night, I've finally finished and posted my very own photography guide, with material sourced heavily from outside, lol. Well, I just hope I didn't miss anything or make any mistakes in my haste.

Mom has confirmed the date my favorite cousins are visiting: 15 December. Looks like I won't be here to greet them, but I guess I can always say "Hi" when I get back, since they like to have sleepovers here.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

More work...

Today, I'm in bed when I'm not supposed to. I slept until lunch time. Later, well after (I'm just thankful that I can't replace those 3 words at the beginning of the sentence with "soon".) lunch, I slept again until dinner time. Plus, I probably woke up only because mom cooked my favorite dish. Its potatoes, some meat, herbs, and lots of gravy. Hehe... I like potato based dishes, most of them anyway.

I spent some time surfing and chatting before I started working on that photography guide. While looking for reference material, I found not one, but two (be sure to check out the "learn" button at the bottom) guides that almost completely eliminates the need for me to write one myself. All that is left for me to do was to point them to the websites, tell them what they should pay attention to, add in what they left out, and I'm done! But it wasn't as easy as it sounds. I had to first delete 370 words and a picture's worth of hard work. Then I had to read all those websites have to offer and arrange a "curriculum" for them. Then, I had to add in what they missed (of course, I have to spot what's missing first).

While working on these, Michael told me 3 things. One is that our booking at Evergreen Laurel came with a free room. Problem is, we have no use for a free room. So, the management compensated by offering us their spa instead, and everyone in the organizing committee gets to go! Yayz~! Wait a minute, I've been gaining weight since enrolling into college. Uh oh... better shed some of them in the week!

Secondly, I was appointed as the official photographer of the event. Sigh~ lessons from Prom Nite has told me that I should place eating on a higher priority than shooting. Apparently, I've learnt nothing! Guys, please save some bread pudding for me. If it wasn't for me, virtually none of the Prom Nite pics would be of the performances (since everyone seems preoccupied with group photos). Please~ (attempts "big shiny eyes" trick). Oh yeah, there will be some games too. I wonder if it involves lots of moving around. Hmm... low light+ action photography. Sounds challenging.

Then, Michael said he wanted me to write photography tips for the current HSC students too. He said he'll dedicate a whole column for me on college open day. Ok, now he's pushing his luck. What's next? Put me on the front page of "The Star"? Reject~

Birthday Clown: Me! :D

Argh... I should have known better than hoping for my bro to forget the PS2 for a while after finishing his Resident Evil 4. This game still has a bunch of minigames and unlockable features (among these, my bro is particularly interested in the unlockable weapons), and my bro wants them all! On top of that, he still has A STACK of other games.

Oh well, I will always have my laptop. Although I've lost interest in PC games for the moment, there is still some surfing to be done. So I just ran my laptop on battery power and sat beside my bro as a kill-or-be-killed scenario unfolds on the TV screen. Big mistake. Being connected to the internet and sitting right beside him, he periodically demanded tips and hints about the game. Sigh...

However, I did come across something interesting. A gamer testifies that if the game's hero stands at the bottom of a ledge while Ashley (President's daughter/prisoner being rescued/mini skirt wearer) is on top of the ledge, and looks up, the hero will get scolded. lol, an interesting bit of detail from the game developers. But what I find more interesting is: Why would he even try to get an upskirt view of her (especially considering this is a game)? lol, this guy is sick!

I did eventually have my turn with the PS2, since my bro wanted to return to his massacre of online gamers. Unfortunately, it wasn't long before mom wanted to watch TV. Makes me wonder what happened to the TV downstairs. At first, there was a smaller, but flat-screen CRT TV downstairs. Later, grandma's TV broke down at the flat-screen was moved to her place while her TV was being repaired. When repairs are complete, the old TV was moved here and the flat-screen stays and grandma's place. Later, when both TVs (the one upstairs, which we used for our PS2 games, and the old TV downstairs) broke down and sent for repairs, only the TV upstairs was returned. The fate of the old TV is unknown to me. It'll be nice to have it back, so my games don't get interrupted.

When the clock struck midnight, I congratulated 2 girls on their 18th birthday. One was Jasmine, the other was a high school friend, Shan Yun. Jasmine didn't give me much trouble, but Shan Yun demanded presents (she didn't like the gift box emoticons I sent, nor the wallpapers I made). After a LENGTHY discussion and brainstorming session on how to deliver the presents (I'm the sort who barely leaves home, so please understand), she revealed that its a joke.

It was only then when she realized I was seriously tackling the logistical nightmare, but I said since it was a joke, never mind. It didn't took her long to threaten me that she'll tell our friends that I bullied her if she doesn't get a present. Eventually, I agreed to treat her for a meal at Pizza Hut. *Prays no other friends drop by and think we were dating*. Then, she revealed that it was a joke, again!

Omg, how on earth did I let myself get played like a puppet! Twice! By the same person! Within less than 2 hours! OMG! Oh well... at least she got her present: A barrel of laughter, and an interesting tale to tell (I don't mind letting this story spread, hehe). Seriously, do birthdays gifts get any better than this? Very rarely, I believe.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Blur~ @.@

Today, I've just realized something must have hit me in the head (REAL hard) recently. Bah! As if that wicked kick that got me in the cheeks and sent me crashing on the cement floor early this year, wasn't enough brain damage......

First, I failed to notice any of my friends at the PC Fair. with the exception of my ex-neighbours (I would have missed them too if they didn't greet me first), even though one of them was standing at a booth promoting MP3 players all the time, going nowhere.

When reading the comments on my blog, I realized that Juin Hui sent me some SMS during the PC Fair! 2 of them, in fact! On top of that, I had 3 missed calls (from other people), some recent, others are ancient. Omg... so blur...... Why would anyone bother dialing my number anyway? Sometimes, months (note that its plural) go by without me EVER talking to the phone. Why so special these days?

Next, I originally intended to call my Taekwondo instructor about resuming my classes today. But I totally forgot about it until classes have started! Too late! Then again, what time the classes start anyway? Was it 7.30pm? or 8.00pm? Grr... Last year, I had enough enthusiasm to continue with the classes DURING my SPM, even on the eve of the most dreaded Add. Math exam. Now, I can't even remember what time it starts! Speaking of which, I've also forgotten much of the patterns and techniques, my stamina has somewhat degraded, and my joints are not as flexible as it was. Now I can just raise my leg just high enough to kick at my head level. Pfft... this won't do at all......

Fine, there is another class tomorrow. Maybe I can join them. Oh wait, isn't Tuesday supposed to be Senior's (as in belt level) Class? And Wednesday is...... oh no....... Well, at least I remember that.

You all familiar with the proverb "It never rains; it always pours" (or something like that)? I'm starting to wonder if "pours" refers to oil tanker sized meteorites, not rain.

On a lighter note, my sis has (FINALLY!!!) brought home the camera's memory cards. *sob* missed them so much. So much that I'll be looking for something to shoot at tomorrow! Hehe~

In addition, my brother has finished his Resident Evil 4 game, after painstakingly killing 700+ parasites and their hosts (which are unfortunately human, most of the time) and dying 30+ times. That mean's he'll take his attention off the PS2 for a while (at least until remembers the other new games he haven't finished) and go tinker with the PC a little.

True enough, it wasn't long before he came to me bragging about his exploits in his favourite online game. He said something about his 2 team mates sitting at the back relaxing while he does all the damage. That means its 3 vs. 1, but as usual, numbers isn't always the deciding factor of battles. It took the 3 so much frustration (and pain) to kill my brother's character that when they did, one was cheering: "I killed Doom! I killed Doom!" (My brother's nickname is, very appropriately, DoomToAll). But it wasn't long before his opponents had enough punishment and left the game.

My dad did his own bit of bragging too. He had a 2 year old patient who got a foreign object (I think my dad said it was a bead) stuck in his nose. There are tools that doctors usually use to remove foreign objects like these but dad had a stroke of genius and improvised a new tool on the spot. It worked like magic, and his staff sitting behind the dispensary was surprised to see my dad walking out of the surgery room so soon. She had expected it to be long and difficult, considering the boy won't stop crying nor sit still. I won't say what my dad did, but I wonder if he could improve it a little, patent the tools and technique, and live off the royalties, hehe. If this works out well, he might just go into early retirement, lol.

I've got a mail saying that an alumnus can't make it to the Alumni Nite due to an appointment with his/her dentist. That brings the number (of our special guests) down to 9. What a shame, I was just think how nice it was to have 10: Just enough to completely fill up a table. Then again, The Star newspaper has been running a series of articles about how special the number "9" is. Maybe I should pay more attention to these articles, lol.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Intruder alert!!!

Not much to say today, unlike yesterday, lol. Yesterday's entry was real long!

I spent part of my dad trying to type a little document that teaches digital photography. Its not much, but I hope it'll help the alumni grab some good photos. They haven't seen each other for a while so I'd guess they'll hate having their memories spoiled whenever the auto-mode processor screws up. Its gonna be quite a bit of work.

I was interrupted when my bro wanted to watch some cartoons on my laptop with his friend. Its in PC DVD, and the only computer here with a DVD player is my laptop. I surrendered, and played Harvest Moon (Yay, gonna get married soon!) while they watch the show beside me, so that I can supervise it. Unfortunately, mom wanted to watch some Korean dramas, and since my sis is using the PC (official business), I was left with nothing to do.

One thing I really hate about Hong Kong/Korean serials, is that one show comes after another. So, I was kept away from the TV for a long time. Another thing is, they don't interest me. I'll have Discovery Channel over this any day, any time.

By the time the COUNTLESS hours tick away, my brother wants to try out his new game: "Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones". I had little choice but to save the game, surf the net, chat, and watch him play. Quite interesting to watch my brother pressing the wrong button each time he wants to backstab his opponent, only until I reminded him that he's supposed to press the "Square" button, not the "X". lol

By the time my parents want to go the bed, we had to shut down the PS2 and I have to move my laptop. The PS2 and my laptop were in my parent's room, you see. The good thing is, all I need to do is pick a chair, and continue whatever I was doing. Ahh... the convenience of mobile internet, even under the same roof!

While typing this blog, I noted a toad at the staircase. As puzzled I am on how it got here (this is not the first time an amphibian found its way into my house, but every time I found them, its at the very same spot.), I'm more concerned about whether its poisonous. I see a pair of thick orange stripes, so I'd guess its dangerous. Eww... I won't want anyone to step on it tomorrow morning. Or worse, I won't want my dog chewing on it! That's it, this toad must go!!!

So I wrapped a plastic bag around my right hand, grabbed it as lightly as I could without letting it slip, went to the back of the house, and threw it as hard as I could towards the dark sky, and listen to the faint *thud* in the distance. I think it landed on the roof of the city's traffic police HQ, lol.

When I checked the bag I used as a glove, its got some slime with it. There is more on the spot where I attempted to capture it too. Probably something it secreted in self-defense. I'm just glad that if that's poison, no one is getting any trouble from it, other than me, who has to clean the slime on the stairs. I'll sign off now, before the slime hardens or something.

Identity Crisis!

About yesterday's router purchase, sorry for the shroud of mystery I put there, you'll find out why later. After price hunting all over the place, I know where to get the cheapest wireless router, and the cheapest Linksys wireless router (the price difference is quite big, up to RM80). In the end, we decided not to save some money to buy a lot of frustration. There will be no compromise in quality this time, only the best of its class will do!

The price tag for the cheapest Linksys router was RM239, but the promoter was holding it in the air, screaming: "Linksys wireless router, RM230!" To keep up with the competition, I guess. RM80 price difference is quite a lot, and not many have read a PC Megazine article comparing the pros and cons of many wireless routers. They divided it into 3 categories: Fast (Wireless G standard), Faster (G+) and Fastest (MIMO, Pre-N, ect). In all 3, Linksys obliterated the competition, and each of the 3 different products of the same company were crowned "Editors Choice, 7 July (or was it June?) 2005)

However, still looking for a bargain, we asked for a discount. The promoter (who is probably also the boss, I guess) looked around, punched the number "220" into his calculator, and told us: "This is Sunday's price, it can't get any cheaper than that. You don't need to come back tomorrow. Prove me wrong and I'll give you a full refund." We snapped the offer like a school of hungry piranhas. While packing our newest tech toy, he asked us to do him a favor: Don't tell anyone. Hence, we kept quiet about it, until the fair is over, at least. He might be acting to get us to buy it, but who cares! We're aware this is a good bargain, even without haggling the price.

My brother's friend visited today. He is 50% Kadazan, 50% Chinese, 100% welcome visitor. Mom even let him stay for lunch, and gave him tips on what to do after SPM (he didn't do so well).

I spent most of my day playing Harvest Moon, and have JUST STARTED to break even. Started with 3000G ("G" is the in-game currency) and now I have slightly more than that. Oh ya, spring is over. Next time I start the PS2, its summer. Overall, I think I'm a bit slow paced.

Yet another of my friends asked me to recommend some IT related stuff. This time, a laptop AND a PC. This is the 3rd or 4th time someone asked me for such advice. Not get me wrong, I'm glad to help! But I wonder why so many people!? And don't even ask me about the numbers including those who asked before the holidays (because I lost count)! Oh ya, don't ask me why she asked after the PC Fair too. :p

Thinking back, I wonder how people look at me? Do they see a very generous soul who would help just about anybody, willing to go the distance yet never expected payback?

Or, am I merely a walking encyclopedia? Pointing people to the right direction, whatever knowledge they're looking for.

Or worse, an arrogant walking encyclopedia, eager to show of page after page of knowledge, and won't hesitate to boast about it.

Or, perhaps I'm a hypocrite. Reducing the heads of many a foe to a fine, pink mist with a shotgun in one game, dropping nukes like rain drops (a more precise rate would be 1 minute intervals, 15 nuclear warheads at a time) on the next, then suddenly switching to another game that involves fighting fires, controlling emergencies and saving lives, another that involves feed the poor in a crisis area, and yet another one featuring peaceful farm life!

Or, am I a vain mind, worrying too much? :p

Whatever... just don't try to persuade me its alright solely because I think its ok to do what I've done, and think what I thought. You'll have to come up with a better reason than that. Besides, when history gets written, it is based on how people see you, not how you see yourself.

Bah! Enough of that. I'm rambling like an old man! I certainly won't want to get silver hair decades ahead of time. Otherwise, the nickname Yi Charn gave me (A Pek) would suit me all to perfectly, something I won't want to happen anytime soon.

I've been informed that my post in the Alumni Night 2005 Organizing Committee has been renamed to "Marketing Director", lol. I wonder what the interviewers would think of that if I bring my certificate to an interview. I wonder if I would have to show them that certificate at all, lol. I can imagine all the awkward questions and answers already!

Saturday, December 03, 2005

PC Fair!

After waking up, and watching my bro butcher (or was he getting butchered by) cultists in Resident Evil 4, I went downstairs to get my teeth brushed, and fill up my stomach. Then, I was greeted by something unexpected: A brand new, HUGE, vacuum cleaner. "Industrial strength" my dad said, "Besides, the old one is broken." Hmm... does is has anything to do with my furry dog?

I called my sis' friend, hoping for some good news about my memory card. The good news is, she's playing badminton at the local Chinese Recreation Club, and the cards are with her. The bad news is, how do I get there? I can walk there if I want, but certainly NOT in the 10am sun. She added that she can send it to me by 1pm. Problem is, I'm leaving at 11-something, morning. Sigh... another day then.

The whole family went out at about 11.30am, except my sis who is practicing her "Liu Qin" at school until 5pm. The plan is to check out the prices at PC Depot, have lunch, head to college (canceled, didn't wanna bother to check if its open), visit the PC Fair, and use any spare time left to buy New Year clothes. Chinese New Year, of course.

Whispers to brother: "Must burn more time at PC Fair, to avoid shopping."
Brother whispers back: "Must avoid shopping..."

(Is it by coincidence that some friends of mine are shopping like crazy recently while I'm typing out some anti-shopping sentiment?)

We stopped at PC Depot and got a brochure with all the prices, then we start making suggestions on where to eat. We couldn't agree at first. I wanted to try out the Orange-Peach thing at McDonalds (processed peach is one of my favorite fruits), but my bro just went to McDonalds during his "lepak" session yesterday, the very same branch in fact. Then, my dad suggested "Secret Recipe", and everyone agrees in unison! (Shh... don't let my sis know we went to "Secret Recipe" without her.

I won't blog the details, lest my visitors end up damaging their keyboard with their never-ending flow of saliva. I had lasagna with beef, my bro had kebabs, my dad had chicken with black pepper sauce, and mom had gourmet pie. Everyone shared a piece of mud cake for dessert. I had to help with my bro's kebabs because he couldn't finish it. Dad couldn't finish his meal too, but I wasn't interested in cleaning it up. (Note that I didn't mention the taste, so consider yourself lucky to be spared!)

On the Penang Bridge, mom told us of an accident that happened here recently. A car ran into an empty security van, and burst into flames. Fortunately, no one was killed as the driver of the car managed to escape before being BBQed. Then, we passed by the scene of the accident. Omg, the metal blinds installed in the middle of the bridge melted away! I can see traffic on the other side!!! Then, we passed by the wrecked vehicle (not vehicleS, because the security van survived) which was dragged into an emergency lane further down the road. Eek! Its just a pile of grayish-brown pile of scrap metal!!! So fortunate that the driver didn't lose consciousness in the crash.

At the PC Fair, our parents let me and my bro loiter around the place first while they meet up with the interior designer of our house outside. Later, we met up inside and continued searching, before going to the cafeteria to have some drinks and discuss. Finally, we've decided to snap up that offer on an ultra-cheap Linksys Wireless Router that I wanted so much, even though its definitely not the cheapest wireless router around (that would be a Netgear brand, selling for RM165). My bro wanted an MP3 player/recorder so he could use it for his lectures, but he decided to wait. Besides, he has to worry about National Service next year. I won't disclose details about the purchase until tomorrow though, hehe~. Special price. After that, we found out that for purchases above RM300 in a single receipt (or RM200 for students) we can get a stack of free CD-R from PIKOM. Thanks to my Student ID, which is supposed to say "bye bye" open getting my deposit from college, I'm eligible! Then again, if that's already gone, I still have my high school student ID card with me, lol. But when I filled up the forms, I just remembered that I forgot my own handphone number. Had to refer to the phonebook in my watch for that. Tsk...tsk...tsk... how embarrassing.

Its a bit disappointing that so many of my friends are coming, yet I didn't meet anybody. Wrong timing I guess. The familiar face I met, was my ex-neighbor/childhood friend, Doreen (pretty as always, except her hair is not as dark as it was. I wonder what happened to her.), her sis and her mom. Its been months since I last saw them. They (not the mom) were looking for MP4 players too. Their mom was just the mobile ATM machine today, hehe.

By then, its around 4pm, no time to shop for clothes, so we went straight home, yay! Well... not that straight...... mom wanted to stop by at a supermarket on the way, to buy some toilet paper on sale. Omg, every direction I look, there are SEVERAL security cameras in view. I'd swear there isn't a single square meter of the shopping area that is not under watch of these cameras. Hey, this is not even a big supermarket! Where did they get all those funds!!!

When we got home, I quickly installed the wireless router and gave it a test drive. Yes! It works!!! And much better than the old (fried) one too!!! Unfortunately, I didn't have much time to enjoy the fruits of my labor (and months of patience). It wasn't long before we (mom, me, and all my siblings. Dad didn't come because he had to attend a symposium or something) went to our friend's house warming party. My sis had other things in mind but she canceled it because she didn't want to be left alone at home again. We also had to detour to pick up my bro's friend, because his car broke down at this untimely moment.

The buffet style party was good. Met lots of friends from high school, mostly my brother's classmates since our host was my bro's classmate too. My physics tuition teacher was there too! I don't like red beans or canned corn, so I asked for a "special" ice kacang without these ingredients. Hmph! I can see the caterer trying (in vain) to hide her smile. There was a kid who somehow got himself hurt (fell down?), and got some injuries on his leg. I called my sis to help him, since she was already so experienced with giving kids first aid. Unfortunately, there is no medicine or first aid kit in the house, so my sis can do little more than cleaning the wounds. *Wags finger* Tsk...tsk...tsk... every house should have one of these white boxes.

Raymond (the host, same person who gave me 2 weird dinosaur-related nicknames) plans to go to Singapore for his studies, like my bro. Being a PTS high-achiever, he skipped a year of classes and was therefore a year younger than the rest of his gang, and get picked for NS only next year, unlike my brother (Ying Yi, I'm sure you understand his position perfectly). He intends to get Singaporean citizenship while he's there spending his years studying, and hopefully avoid getting kicked into an NS camp somewhere. lol, I just hope he doesn't end up trading one National Service for another, since Singaporean NS is 3 years long and much more unforgiving. Hehe~.

Back at home (and after sending my bro's friend home), my escorted my sis to photocopy a few things, before washing up and surf the net, wirelessly! All the convenience of going online anywhere at home, and not having to fight with my siblings to use the internet, all back in my hands. All that with the added benefit of staying online! Apparently, this wireless router is definitely better than the old one. Its much user friendly and the connection seems very very stable. I'm almost glad that Zeus smitten that TrendNet junk, lol.

Harvest season is here!

By the time I woke up, my bro has already finished his SPM, officially. It was around noon, and he's already dressed up to lepak. Soon, he's on his way with some friends. My sis has a meeting since 8am, and will last till afternoon. That leaves me alone with the internet and the PS2. Yay~ What joy! Actually my mom was at home too, but she doesn't touch either of these. The worst she could do is to order me to do chores or watch TV (thus preventing me from playing PS2).

I started with my laptop, surfing the net for whatever information I can find regarding a certain game I'm about to play. Of course, I chat too, but that soon turned boring due to slow reply speed, and the person with whom I was chatting with eventually had to tend to other matters. Things went from "boring" to "dead" when that happened. But fear not!

When I'm done loading all the pages with the information I needed (so I can view it offline later), I put my laptop on hibernate mode and carried it to the master bedroom, where the PS2 is. Then, I played the game. "Wah, what's this game? So interesting?" You may ask, and you won't believe what I have to say. The game is called "Harvest Moon: A Wonderful Life" and its a farming simulation game. That's right, the infamous arm-chair general who has conquered the galaxy several times over has traded his army of fierce warriors and his sword, for a flock of tame sheep and a watering can.

For those not familiar with the series (I'm a huge fan!), the game is about farm life. You have to plant crops and water them, take care of various livestock and milk them (or if they're chickens, collect eggs), and many other stuff. This is harder than it sounds! Of course, this game is about farm life, not farming. You can also befriend the villagers, buy and sell stuff, help out with an archeological excavation, go fishing and er... *ahem* woo the village girls, get married, and start a family.

It doesn't sound like much, and the things can be repetitive at times, but its also strangely addictive. I hope its not because of my total lack of success in the real life "woo the girls" part, lol. Otherwise, I should REALLY see a psychologist. Anyway, my only complaint about this game is: Everybody seems to be moving so slow!

PS: For those twisted minded individuals thinking about "In-bed activities" other than sleeping and dreaming, this game is rated "E": Suitable for boys and girls of all ages, not for 18+ perverts only (in fact, the latter will get bored to hell with the lack of "action").

Much later, my mom took me to the hair saloon for a hair cut. Grandpa's (the one on mom's side) birthday is tomorrow, and so is my friend's house warming party (or, at least I think its a house warming party). But first, we had to pick up my sis from school. First thing I asked was: "Where's the camera's memory card?" The camera has been returned since her previous camp, but the memory cards were still with her friends. It was supposed to be returned today and my sis seem to have forgoten about it. What she said next was even more frustrating, but I'll type that tomorrow.

After my haircut, my sis kept screaming from time to time and won't stop taking pictures of me via her handphone. I'd guess that's a good sign, hehe~. But then, my mom told me she failed to see the point of spending hours on the road to stay just long enough for lunch, and rush back home to attend the party, so we're not going to gramp's place tomorrow. That leaves us time to visit the PC Fair instead. Yay~, maybe I can deal with the unfinished business at college too! (The original plan calls for a Sunday trip, but it's not very convenient because my dad would be at work and the college would be closed).

I spent an eternity waiting for my brother to give up the internet today, when I got home. But all that, only to have my sis to say that see has official business to take care of, and takes over the PC from my brother. Grr... I know I'm getting a new wireless router tomorrow, but that doesn't mean I have to suffer the WORST part of not having one on the last day! *Waits a total of 4 hours, falling asleep on the floor in the process. No, I'm serious.*

Since my bro's exams have officially ended, dad brought home a whole bunch of DVDs he has been hiding from us, dating back as far as Fantastic 4 and Batman. No recent movies though, but that's gonna give me more means to burn time. Unfortunately, I can't play PS2 while anyone is watching the movie, unless I let them use my laptop without my supervision, which is totally unacceptable!

Let's see, tomorrow, before going to the PC Fair, me and my family needs to send sis to school (yet another meeting? Or is it some sort of intensive training camp organized by her Chinese Orchestra?), get my precious memory card back, inspect the new leak on the roof, check out the price of a wireless router at PC Depot (my dad said they were running an advertisement claiming they're selling at lower than PC Fair prices), and maybe get my deposit at college. So, I'd guess I'll be around at noon then, I guess. I'll be keeping an eye out for a LinkSys brand router, although I'm didn't make up my mind of which model. The choice was based on the highh praise it won from PC Magezine, and Philip (friend and fellow computer geek). Well, cya guys there, I hope. Really missed my friends.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Work you lousy bunch of 0's and 1's! WORK!!!

Woke up real early to play PS2, first thing in the morning. It wasn't long before I finished the game "Spartan: Total Warrior". Phew! Finally! Time to delete the save file from the memory card (HOW COULD SUCH A LARGE OBJECT CAN HAVE SO LITTLE SPACE AND EVEN LESS PERFORMANCE!) to make way for other stuff. My bro has tonnes of new games, and I'm interested in one of them.

My brother went to school to return his textbooks and came back with his friends. That's when I had to go tend to my precious laptop. That reminds me: My HSC textbooks are still with me. What to do!?

The game "Brothers in Arms: Road to Hill 30" won't run, some sort of error preventing be from even starting the game. Digging through the internet found many suffering the same fate, and still suffering. *Sigh*

As for its sequel, "Brothers in Arms II: Earned in Blood", the DVD wouldn't even run. The Photoshop tutorials didn't run very well, will try again. Sigh... RM35 hor? Hmph!

Before my sis even wakes up, the phone chimed for her 7 times! 7 Freaking times!!! Honestly, by now, I'm developed a severe phobia of answering phones. So folks, when contacting me, avoid using the land lines. Use my email, MSN, or handphone (its on vibrate mode, ALL the time).

My bro, under my sis' influence, started playing Gunz too. Except he's a natural killing machine. Its only a matter of time before he gets enough practice to butcher the opposition.

Meanwhile, I downloaded Food Force, an educational game (Aren't I too old for education games? Think again!) developed by the United Nation's World Food Program. You know, the one that created one hell of a media fuss. Its actually kinda nice, but the graphics part is sadly lacking (Psst... Ying Yi, you think it'll work on your PC?). But then again, its free! And meant to be downloaded in a relatively short time (For me, less than 1 1/2 hours). I finished the game, twice, and submitted my high score. But when I went to the high score website to check, my nickname was nowhere to be seen! Oh well...

When I was about to type my blog, nature called, so I got up to start running. As I stood up, I knocked the table near my sis' bed, and a nearly empty bottle of skin lotion fell on my sleeping sister's head. Ouch~. She rose from bed like a released spring and just look around before starring at the wall. When I got back from you-know-where, she was trying to go back to sleep but can't. So she punished me. The price of giving her a painful wake up call at 1am was: Chat with her. Naturally, I wouldn't want to blog what we talked about, but it was enough to keep me from blogging until 3am. *Yawn* cya.

PS: The answer for the riddle a few days back was: Norway. Get it? No way, Norway. Hehe~

PPS: To any Norwegians who might be reading this: No offence intended, just a silly joke.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Malaysia's own Dictator: Boss Soon

I woke up at 1pm, guess all my sleeping troubles are over, hehe. My bro was at home for lunch at the time, getting ready for round 2 and 3 versus his Biology paper. My mom told me to drive him back to school but she ended up driving there herself. 30 minutes notice wasn't enough for me to get dressed up.

Later, since I've already changed my clothes, I went out to fetch my bro from school, on foot. I was planning to go buy some games with him but I met him soon after leaving the door. Apparently, he left the exam hall early and has already bought his DVDs. Well, guess I'm going alone. I came home with an expansion pack for my Battlefield 2, Brothers in Arms and its sequel. I also got a DVD which is supposed to teach Photoshop CS2. Over 8 hours, it promises. Of course, I don't intend to watch the whole length of the tutorial. In general, the deeper you go into using Photoshop, the more effort you spend for minimal improvements in your picture. Things like calibrating my monitor with a colorimeter is one of the things I certainly don't want to try. I just wanna retouch my photos, to make something to be pasted on the giant billboard by the road.

When I got back, mom wanted me to accompany her. She was going to meet someone who will do the pest control part of our (hopefully) new home. Specifically: Termite control. So, she drove me to meet up with the guy at the golf club before going to the empty lot where it will be build. Learnt a lot about keeping termites (and a little about the other creepy crawlies) away from home, but half the conversation was in Hokkien, so I only understood the English half.

Next, mom let me drive all the way home, but first she wants to go the electrical store we went the other day. I was reluctant to make the turn into the parking area near the shop lots, because I knew when I step inside, I'm just gonna end up starring at the camera accessories with big, shiny eyes. While inside, I also noticed a piece of paper pasted on the file cabinet behind the counter. The title says (in Chinese): "Boss Soon's 6 Commandments". lol, this looks interesting, what else? (roughly translated from Chinese, based on vague recollections)

  1. The boss is never wrong.
  2. If you see the boss doing something wrong, there must be something wrong with you.

lol, look like we have an autocrat in the building. Eek! Call the cops!!! Its Saddam!!! Oh yeah... He's gonna enjoy his stay here, lol. Okok, I let my imagination strayed too far. Too bad I had trouble reading the rest of it without going to the other side of the counter. But then again, if I read the rest, I'd probably end up in a hospital for losing my breath due to excessive laughing. Hehe~ better not be nosy and find out what's the other 4.

When at I got home, its gaming spree. My brother was already wiping out entire mobs of players, although not as efficiently as he did early this year. He soon requested the PS2 from mom and continued his slaughter there. Meanwhile, my sis downloaded a game called Gunz, on a friend's suggestion. I told her she wouldn't like it but she wouldn't listen. I was right. She's complaining. Hehe... there are better games than this, even free ones.

Well... well... well......, no one answered my little quiz eh? Guess I get to keep my money, lol. I'll consider it a small consolation for myself then, after spending a hefty RM35 on discs. Blek~

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