Neko

Friday, June 30, 2006

Talks, Rats and LEDs

Some folks from QUT visited yesterday. They set up some booths outside the lecture theatre and gave talks inside.

Me and my class attended the two of the talks: "Is it Murder?" which gave a true story of an investigation of the kidnap turned homocide (no, not murder), and some insights into forensic science. Very interesting.

Then, there was "Biotechnology in Human Health and Diagnostics", given by the same speaker. No story this time, so its less interesting, hehe... But its still a very good talk, an applause for the speaker please. (Err... what's his name?)

Next came a terrible prank. After asking some questions, snapping group photos (no, I'm not the photographer) and such, Simone suddenly mentioned that I liked photography and blah...blah...blah...... and the QUT staff (don't know what's her position, but obviously had something to do with marketing) recommended me to drop by at their Creative Arts Faculty's booth. Suddenly my classmates became very "nice", opened the door for me and carried my stuff, and ushered me over to the booth.

Great... just when I really needed a toilet break. Grr...

Today, I had the most memorable lab session, for the wrong reason. Rat dissection. At least its already dead, so I don't have to kill it myself. The gross-o-meter shot off the scale, having masks and gloves provided some comfort, but... ewww.............

AND THAT SMELL!!!

I should have had a piece of mint flavour chewing gum in my mouth! We were spraying air freshener all over the place (including on the rat) and all it provided was just momentary relief.

I'm baffled. How on earth do my friends in med school cope with dissecting the same cadaver (Human!) all year long.

At least I didn't cut any blood vessels, although I think I severely damaged the lungs when I removed the rib cage.

I took some pictures, but I wouldn't be showing it here for obvious reasons.

When I had dinner after the lab session, it was really hard to swallow. Cooking is good, but I've already lost my appetite. The meat (poultry, not rat meat) was especially hard to chew.

Hope I don't die under suspicious circumstances. I certainly don't want a coroner to do the same to me.

Oh ya, just wanted to share this website with you folks. LED lit buildings. High on style, low on power. Nice stuff:
http://blog.wired.com/ledarchitecture/index.album

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Reunion!

Woohoo! So many my classmates last year made it back to college. 14 of them in total!

So what chaos did we stirred up? Well... I've already had a table booked last week, but as the numbers swell, I ran out of my class during a break and booked an extra table just an hour before noon, when the party begins.

Philip was an hour early, and there were a few others who were early too. They even managed to find where me and Chin Lin were having our class and waved at us from outside. What a distraction, makes us can't wait to storm out the door and go nuts. Anyway, the rest were late :p

As soon the class finishes, we went to the Cybercafe. Some lecturers dropped by to see us too. We tried to set up a webcam to broadcast this to our friends aboard, who sorely missed the cybercafe food. Muahahaha... unfortunately, our evil schemes did not succeed. Damn connection!

No matter. We still have photos of good food! Hehehee... >)

Next, we terrorized the lecturer's rooms and classes, starting with Sera's business class. They stormed into the classroom while I went to see Mdm Yap in her office (I didn't study business last year anyway). I heard they went into the class partly because they wanted to meet Mike's girlfriend, who was out at the time. Anyway, I also heard Sera was introducing my friends to our juniors one by one.

Next up, Angeline's new office. Its hard to keep our voices down, but we had to. Principal's office isn't far away. Since Mike didn't show up, although he said he would, we called him from Angeline's office phone, and took turns to scold him. Especially me, for mistaking my voice for someone elses. I'll make sure he remembers my name PROPERLY when he comes to college tomorrow.

Then we went to terrorize Mr. Leong's class in the Physics lab. We've got a special request from Yi Charn for this one. You see: if Mr. Leong is busy talking to us, he wouldn't be teaching! lol. We met him outside the lab though, so spoke with him there. Didn't get to storm the lab :p

Finally, it's Leela's turn. When she dropped by at the cybercafe, she granted permission for us to "attend" her class. She introduced us to our juniors and said we've been scolded badly by her last year (Rowdy seniors, in unison: "Yeah~~". Yi Juin: "But we learnt something"). Then she told us that the juniors complained about it (Rowdy seniors, in unison again: "Boo~~"). Then she went on about the "sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind" routine (Rowdy seniors CHEER!).

Then she continued class, teaching about how to prepare a standard solution of Na2CO3. Yi Juin managed to point out something Leela left out, lol. Good memory. See what good can a little scolding do? :p

The last stop is the brand new Biotechnology Lab. No classes there (no supervision either, we just get the key from our lecturer), just wanted to check out the new equipment, especially those we wished we had last year (namely: Autoclave machine, which we substituded with a pressure cooker last year, and a laminar flow cabinet).

Well... that's all....... There's good bye for every gathering. Just hope there will be a another one coming soon! Hehehe...

PS:
Gave Yi Juin a shock today. What happened? She just learnt that I understand Chinese. Oh, it gets better. She learns that I speak Chinese too. Woohoo! Yet another victim. Oh no... I've lost count how many :p

--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Other news:

My friend studying in Russia dropped by with gifts. How thoughtful of him! Mmm... chocolates....... plus a military style cap with all sorts of pins and insignias on every inch of it.

I've tried out an open-source encryption software, downloaded from http://www.truecrypt.org. Nice piece of software. I don't have anything to hide at the moment, but I'm certain it'll come in handy one day.

There's a photography competition in college, open to students, former students, and staff of INTI group of colleges, sponsored by Kodak. The rules require participants to submit 3 4R pictures, taken on Kodak film, processed at Kodak shop, and printed on Kodak paper.

Problem:
I've abandoned film long ago, and I have no intention of buying a film camera and film just to participate in a competition. Who's still using film anyway? I'm not saying film is bad, but digital is so damn convienient, especially to those who want their pics on a computer but don't have access to a drum scanner.

Digital is cheaper too. Surely the total cost of ALL my photographic equipement is worth less than the film, ink and paper for the 9589 pictures I've taken so far.

Prizes ain't worth it too. They didn't give any details, just "RM3000 worth of digital camera and other products". Eww... I don't want a Kodak digicam...... That noisy piece of junk! And I don't want the trouble of trying to sell it either!

Why don't INTI get Canon as a sponsor. I could use a Canon SLR. Now that's a fine piece of silicon (no offence to Nikon fans, please don't flame my blog).

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Some lame test...

Your Birthdate: March 11

Spiritual and thoughtful, you tend to take a step back from the world.
You're very sensitive to what's going on around you, yet you remain calm.
Although you are brilliant, it may take you a while to find your niche.
Your creativity is supreme, but it sometimes makes it hard for you to get things done.

Your strength: Your inner peace

Your weakness: You get stuck in the clouds

Your power color: Emerald

Your power symbol: Leaf

Your power month: November

My creativity dragging me down? Guess so. Got scolded my dad once for being too engrossed into taking some artistic (and failing) and forgot to take some holiday shots.

Inner peace? 2 of my classmates call me "sifu". Why? Too calm in the days before exams/tests.

I'd guess I do get stuck in the clouds. My primary school teachers generally agree that I'm daydreaming about UFOs while they're teaching.

Emerald? They're green right? I'm rather partial to cyan, and sky blue.

Public Outreach and Field Study

Well... that went ok.......

Alright... mostly ok

The lab demonstration at PCGHS started a bit late. We had a traffic jam on the way, but we managed to arrive early anyway. But apparently the nobody was informed of the demo, so we found ourselves waiting outside the biology lab until a class finishes before we could begin setting up our stuff. Those boxes are heavy...

I think we put on a good show, not bad for first timers (although me, Chin Lin and Benjamin are 2nd timers). There are still some fiascos though. A slip of tongue, and Benjamin became the inventor of a new antibiotic that kills viruses, lol. Then, most of my class aren't familiar with aseptic techniques, practically everyone made at least one mistake. Me? I was just there taking pictures, setting up projectors, and give my friends that horrified look when things go wrong (like when antibiotics suddenly can kill viruses).

The stuff we did in the lab has the horizontal gel electrophoresis and test on antibiotic/antiseptic sensitivity of E.coli. (PS: Ethanol kills bacteria by breaking down its cell membrane, and denaturing its DNA. Scary isn't it? So who some beer?). Once that's done and we start packing, some of us went upstairs to the auditorium where Dr. Ooi is going to give a presentation. Once again, preparations didn't go smoothly. The extension cord we were provided didn't work. We've got a replacement later, but its wasted time.

After Dr. Ooi is done, its my turn to step out of the backstage. No more supporting roles for me, I'm the speaker. Ladies and gentleman, welcome to my first presentation to a live audience since Standard 5, except this one is unrehersed. To the audience, I showed them how to do vertical and horizontal gel electrophoresis. No hands on activities for them, unlike the folks down at the lab, hehe. However, I managed to rig Chin Lin's video camera transmit what I was doing to the LCD projector, live.

I did ok I guess. Table's too small for me to put everything. And for some reason, not everything's on the table (still in the lab). Since we're replacing polyachramide with water, I'd guess we should have added some dye so they could see it clearly.

The audience is mostly dead wood, but at least they laughed at some of my jokes (e.g. "Polyachramide is toxic. We don't want to risk turning you into X-Men".). No questions from them, which is a bad sign for me. From my experiance being on the receiving side of such talks, this could mean:

  • I'm so good that I've answered all their queries. Or,
  • They're so good that they already know everything I talked about. Or,
  • They just want a bed. Or,
  • I left them so blur that they don't know where to start telling me about it.

When I'm done, I followed a teacher to one of the offices (The counseling room?) so that I can give her the pictures I took. We chatted a little on the way and it seems that my English was so good that she thinks I couldn't speak Chinese. Imagine her surprise to learn that I'm from a Chinese school, lol. Another victim.

I've tried asking my friends about my talk but all I got was a thumbs up. Great, what am I supposed to do with it? Bite his thumb? Sigh... It was the night of the following day when I finally hear some comments I could use to improve myself. FINALLY!

After our little stunt in PCGHS, we went to the botanical gardens to study some plants. Too lazy to sketch them, so virtually everyone brought a camera. We took the oppertunity to take some of the most interesting group photos too, including one which involves forcing Chin Lin to lie down on sun-baked rock, muahaha. (Participants of last year's IICP HSC Summer Carnival may remember the place as "Music Tower").

Mmm... that was fun, although tiring. :-)

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Preparations

Preparations for the lab demo aren't going so smoothly. We tried to see if we can run a vertical gel electrophoresis (used to seperate proteins) with agarose gel, instead of the stronger, and but highly toxic (sigh... the stuff in our lab are almost always expensive, mutagenic, or a combination of both) polyacramide gel.

Apparently, agarose didn't like the idea of being molded into a 0.75mm (yes, millimeters) sheet. And I broke some equipment too, ops. DiE.

Oh well, at least we'll always have the horizontal one. That worked well every time.

In other news, the science fair has been postponed till next January due to poor participation. Only 4 schools have signed up and it looks like (based on the abstract) PCGHS was going to steamroll the competition. The competition is NOWHERE near their level of innovation. Yikes!

Recently, I've getting addicted to turning photographs into water paintings. Made 11 so far (not including those I deleted) and I like the results. Still occasionally searching through my photo album for picture suitable for conversion.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Lab Demo

Had a long discussion on what to do next week. Next Friday I mean. The whole class is going to hit the road for a public outreach program. First, we're going to perform some experiments at PCGHS (public). Then Dr. Ooi is going to give a talk, followed by a trip to the Botanical Gardens (to study plants, not sightseeing. That's what a botanical garden is meant for, right?)

Can't wait to perform those experiements. I love lab work, remember? :p

So far, we have electrophoresis in mind, as well as showing off some bacteria in agar culture, and show them what an antibiotic "kill zone" is looks like on the culture. We're also going to ask if they have any special requests, which we would try on best effort basis.

We're not going to play by the rules in the electrophoresis part though. As Chin Lin puts it, we're going "cheat little kids".

Since the gel documentation is so big, heavy, and EXPENSIVE (!), we're not taking it there. So, it didn't make sense to add the highly toxic ethidium bromide into the mix, saving ourself the trouble of disposing the stuff in an incenarator, and avoid turning ourself or our audience into X-Men for no good reason too.

Heck, no ethidium bromide, no UV rays (from the gel documentation machine)...
We might as well not put any DNA samples! (That's decided)

In fact, we're just putting some dye and let them watch it move. Hehe... They won't notice the difference anyway (neither can we, if we didn't know better).

I just hope Chin Lin would concentrate on this rather than chatting. Last time we went to PCGHS (Ind.) to perform some lab demonstration, there was one part where I get to place acidified potassium dichromate (IV) soaked filter paper around the school. Chin Lin knows the place so she gets to play tour guide. Whenever she bumps into a friend, I'd just stand at the back, watching and waiting, getting more and more uncomfortable in those latex gloves that seperate me from yet another toxic material.

Oh well, can't wait :)

New Subject

Die... As if I don't get enough headaches, muscleaches, heartaches and whateveraches, here comes a new subject I have to study, right in the middle of the semester some more!

The new subject is:
EAT128

What's that?

Energy Acquisition Time "Want to eat"

Yes, this blog entry is meant to share a joke. :p

It started a few days ago when my chemistry lecturer asked whether we have any classes after his class.

Just to bluff him, we said "yes".

"What class?"
"Eat"

It wasn't long before we gave lunch breaks its own subject code:
EAT128

Then, we did a little backronym and EAT became:
Energy Acquisition Time

lol, we're surely a cheeky bunch. Hope you folks had a good laugh.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Rejoice!

WOOHOO!!!

Why am I so happy?

I've just got a conditional offer letter to study at UQ!!!

Yayz~~

*Slaps self*

Alright boy... slow down.......
Its just a conditional offer, they won't hesitate to kick me if I screw up.
Even if I'm in for real, its just the beginning of the story, and not nearly the end.

*Deep breath*

But still, its really cool. So happy and unexpected.
Best news I've ever got in my email.

My heartbeat is still racing with joy

Weeee.................

Sunday, June 11, 2006

There goes my beauty sleep.


Normally, my hostel's TV room is closed after midnight, but it looks like they're making the World Cup and exception.

I don't care about football. In fact, I couldn't even be bothered to flip to the sports page. Even watching news on TV, I always switch it off right before the sports (which happened to be the tech news. Lovely~)

I hope those watching it pay extra attention to the "keep TV volume low" and "no shouting please" part, especially when I'm trying to sleep. Otherwise, I'd be very tempted to come down the stairs and make them SCREAM.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Bad morning

Once upon a time....

Erm... Thursday actually.

My alarm clock was set for 8.30am. Class is at 10am.

When I woke up, it was just slightly past 8am, about 20+ minutes to go. So, I decided to have a little more shut eye before my alarm clock bugs me.

When I opened my eyes again, its still a little pass 8 only. I can't really tell what time it is though, since I wasn't wearing glasses. No matter, back to bed.

*Wakes up again, feeling refreshed*
What? Not time to wake up yet? Oh well... Zzzzz......................

Wait something's not right...
Is some black hole distorting time here? Nope, I'm so near to the clock. Should affect both of us and I shouldn't notice anything as a result.

Couldn't it be.... Could it?
Oh no.....

*Jumps off bed and checks alarm clock*
Oh no, its dead!

*Checks watch*
Oh no, I'm late!

So... that's how I missed biotech class. Sigh... Why can't people just invent an alarm clock with more than one power source, or simply warns people when its getting "power hungry" before it dies off. At least I had spares in my bag, no need to buy batteries at the moment.

Oh ya, did I mention I forgot to take off my glasses when rinsing my face moments after?

Oh well, at least I had good sleep.

666

The tittle is 666, but I'm not gonna blog about its significance, other than it being Dr. Ooi's birthday.

Didn't celebrate though, since he wanted to spend time with his wife. We did however, gave him a birthday card and a small potted plant to decorate his office. We originally intended to get him a small potted cactus, but we couldn't find one. But it turned out his wife was looking for something like the one we gave too, lol.

Everyone wrote something on the card, and here's what I wrote:

Another year older,
another year wiser.
May you be another year richers,
and of course, another year happier.

So much for 666. Now for 766:

The next day, we (Dr. Ooi included, hehe. You think we're going to just leave the birthday boy alone?) went to a nearby Japanese restaurant for lunch. Yummy. The funny thing is, the skinniest person in class ate the most, again.

Back in college, we went to his office for some cake. Our card was pinned to the wall, as wall as 2 "Happy Birthday" emails from Chia Pei and Jia Kai. I was told someone (can't remember who) went as far calling Dr. Ooi all the way from Australia to wish him "Happy Birthday". lol.

Later that day, there was a seminar on Wi-Fi technology by D-Link. The enginner who did the conducted the seminar was looking at the PowerPoint slides the whole time and was just reading from it like a robot. Heh, I've heard of text-to-speech synthesizers (computer programs the read out text) that can perform better. Before I know it, the lamest talk I've been to is over. My response: What the... (no I didn't finish that sentence).

Then the Branch Manager took over and started all over again, in Chinese, but he's definately a much better speaker. Later there was also another enginneer who conducted the Q&A session. I asked some questions about upcoming technologies and security issues, and was quite satisfied with the answer. I got a water bottle for my participation. Good, people were thinking that I drink from a ketchup bottle, since my current water bottle is red in colour, and happen to be a squirt bottle.

So, I learned something very important for the seminar: The importance of "soft-skills". Even if you have all the knowledge and technical expertise in the world, it simply won't do if you're just going to go "ga..ga..." when you're supposed to tell the world about it. Good thing my spoken language skill are quite good, just hope I don't get nervous in front of crowds.

PS:
There was this moth in the hostel that night that sat very still. So I took pictures of it and uploaded it for a competition:

http://www.velocity-media.net/forums/index.php?showtopic=9420

I don't expect to win though, just hoping to learn from other's comments. Competition is stiff... :(

No surprise... the grand prize is a darn good camera (TIPA 2006 Awards winner!) and a very sharp prime (read: can't zoom in and out) lens.

The Tiring Weekend

Man... the last weekend was really tiring. And now the next weekend is just not far away. How fast time passes...

The morning after I got home, the family went on a surprise trip to Sg. Sedim Forest Reserve. The main attraction is a Canopy Walk, the longest and highest of its kind if I'm not mistaken. That's about 900+m long and about 18m above the forest floor in some places. The funny thing is, there are some signboards scattered about to tell you how high you are about the forest floor, in millimetres, lol. A way to shock visitors who don't know how to convert it into metres? (its easy actually, just divide by 1000)

Oh ya, if you're planning a visit there, prepare a fat wallet. Entry is RM10 for adults, RM6 for kids. They didn't say how they define "kids" though, so my 16 year old sis entered with a ticket with "Kanak-kanak" printed on it, lol.

After the long walk, we had a picnic by the river. The signboards give me the impression that is a good place for white water rafting, but I don't see any kayaks.

I've snapped some photos, but not really impressive. In fact, I got scolded because my parents wanted the typical "been-there-done-that" holiday shots while I was trying to get creative (which didn't turn out nicely most of the time). I'll process it when I find the time, and share any that's worth sharing (if there is anything to share).

After that, we went to a lakeside restaurant in the middle of nowhere for lunch before going home. So tired...

The next day, me and my sis went to a hotel near my house (walking distance!) to watch the finals of the INTI Cup National Chinese Debate Competition. Dr. Ooi was there as INTI's representitive. The headmaster of my old school (the one I know is already retired though) is there too, and I was supposed to pass a letter to him, from Dr. Ooi. lol. So I just passed it back to Dr. Ooi and introduced him to the principal.

After that, I followed my sis to Pizza Hut on foot. Not to feast (Kedah got 2nd place. Ceh...) but to reclaim my camera's charger which was accidentally left in her friend's possesion. Hmm... at least its not gone for good, unlike the RM300 worth of stuff that got stolen during her week-long stay in Kelantan. She got scolded again and again for not knowing how to take care of her belongings. Me? I just joked that its because she haven't got a laptop stolen from her before, hehe.

Next up (this day just wouldn't end, wouldn't it?), the whole family went to grandpa's favourite restaurant in Bukit Mertajam for lunch. The setup was lousy, but gramps loves the very fresh fish.

Then, I went for a little gathering with my high school friends at night, at a friend's aunt's house because its empty. The party starts at 8pm, but I had to go back to the hostel at 8.30pm. So, I went early and bugged my friends during preperation time, and negotiated to go back at 9pm. Transport was courtersy of a friend of mine, with whom I carpooled with since secondary school (my bro carpools with his sis too). Really owe him and his family a lot.

It was a BBQ party, plus steamboat, plus karaoke night. I didn't have enough time to enjoy the steamboat, and I can't sing, but I managed to sit beside the fire long enough to cook some satay, and burn myself. Ouch. 1st degree burns I think, but I'm recovering well. A drop of hot honey dripped from the satay onto my left arm. At least its not as bad as the guy who accidentally ignited (read: set ablaze) his satay, by putting too much margerine and putting the satay right in the flames. He didn't hurt himself though, thankfully.

When the party was just starting to warm up, its time to go. I managed to gather everyone for a group photo, explaining I've got to go. When they asked why, the answer was: "I've got a Bio test at 8am tomorrow". Yeap, its a test tomorrow morning and I partying. Their response was: "Wah, so 'give face' ar". Actually I just missed them. No idea when will I see them again.

So back home I go. Grab the bags I've already packed in advance, and the books I just couldn't find time to read, then head back to hostel (and get some badly needed sleep on the way, because I'm going to burn the midnight oil when I get to the hostel).

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Beyond Paranormal

What happened yesterday was totally beyond paranormal (no, it has nothing to do with chatting with an old friend, although it was a very pleasant surprise, thank you).

It started in the biotech lab. My class, being a very small one, was sticking together like glue as usual. 2 of us (not me) were cleaning the water bath while the rest mind our own business. It was break time btw.

I'm not sure how it happened, but I think it started with some chatter about where to go during the holidays in August (lol, its June and we're holiday-sick already). Then I heard some mention about shopping in KLCC. Then some comments about Benjamin's jeans and how badly he needs to wear belts (you don't want to know why). And then there was a joke that I should give him my belt. Then someone said that I couldn't do that because I need to hang all sorts of stuff on my belt... ect.

Now... trouble starts. Suddenly, someone (I think it was Wen Tyng) realised she has never seen me wore jeans, and started a little Q&A session about why I don't wear jeans, followed by a lecture on why I should wear jeans, ending with something that sounded like "shop for jeans for me". Yikes... I'm not looking forward to the holidays.

Ok... what's abnormal about that? She sounded EXACTLY (almost word-for-word in some instances) like my sister, who spent years trying to get me to wear jeans (but I don't like jeans!). I really coulnd't believe what I was hearing. Was my sis doing some mind-control tricks or something!? Wait, my sis don't even know this gal. omg... This is so creepy.

When I told my mom this story, she was laughing so hard that she was holding her stomach. Dad was driving when I told him this story. If he shows too much emotion, I'm already dead. My sis? She was "cooking poridge" over the phone again when I was telling the story to mom (my sis was just behind me at the time), so not much reaction from her.

Ish... I can't sleep......

My personel message on my MSN:
The word "supernatural" doesn't even begin to describe what happened...

PS:
Sorry if my recollections of what happened sounded vague and confusing. I was reading the newspaper until I realised I was the centre of attention. Talk about "Shock and Awe" -_-"

Thursday, June 01, 2006

New bloggie...

I've just set up a photoblog at:

http://bugdashutter.blogspot.com

And yes, please do spread the word to your friends. I could use a huge audience :D

I'm not posting any personal stuff there, and neither does that blog links back here, so feel free to tell just about anyone. Those with constructive critism are particularly welcomed :)

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