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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Sunday Home Cooked Lunch


This post has been sitting in my draft folder way to long - it was one Sunday way back in March when we decided to have a home cooked lunch. My hubby didn't know what to cook so I suggested that we go to the nearby supermarket to have a look. Only then shall we decide on what to cook. So when we were at the supermarket, we decided to have potato salad, stir fry vegetables and butter-grill chicken marinate.
When I used to help my parents buy groceries, but I rarely look into the price of each individual goods. When former Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej visited our local wet Market way back in April 2008 neither did I realize the significance of his visit. But now when I'm buying groceries for the both of us did I realize that it's the prices of essential items in the market that shows the exact economic situation of that country. The items that we bought were carrot, cucumber, capsicum, potatoes and two pieces of chicken legs - all totaling less then MYR10. When I was looking at the food, I realized that the price (per kilo) of chicken legs and capsicum is actually the SAME! 
Anyway, I wished we had taken more pictures because when I de-boned the chicken leg, my hubby gave me the strangest look I've ever seen --> O.o When I asked him why he gave me such a look, he said he didn't know I knew how to de-bone a chicken! Oh well, I know I'm rarely seen in the kitchen so it's easy for him to assume that I can't cook! (^^,)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

X-Men Origin : Wolverine

6.00pm sharp, we closed for the day and got ready for our trip to GSC in Queensbay Mall where the movie is shown. We arrived at Queensbay at about 7.30pm (which could be earlier if not because of a stalled car in the middle of the bridge) and headed straight to Sushi King for dinner.

It's a good thing that this ticket is allowed to be kept. Cos seriously, this isn't one of those regular GSC printed ticket!


And right after dinner, we headed straight to GSC. However, when we arrived it looked as if there were more CIMB staffs than actual card members that redeemed the tickets.
So the movie started like just any regular movie - with the exception that quite a number of GSC staffs were in the cinema with us watching the show also!
Anyway, before I start talking about this movie just to let those of you who are planning to watch this show that it's rated 13PG and you WILL see Hugh Jackman (Wolverine) naked butt (but I must say that it's a well toned sexy butt...*evil grin*)! Now X-Men Origins is not a continuation from any of the previous X-Men movies. This two hour show is all about how a mutant who can't die named Logan became Wolverine. Prior to watching this show, all I know is that Logan/Wolverine is a mutant infused with Adamantium (some kind of metal) in an experiment and is indestructible (can't die unless you chop his head off). Watching this show has pretty much explains how he became what he is.
I really like the story line - unlike movies like The Matrix where I end up having more questions in my head after the movie. However the graphics is only so-so. I don't know if it's the cinema equipments or the actual film, but I noticed some scenes looked as if it's a pirated copy (fuzzy and blur) while some 3D graphics (like the war scene and the only scene where Charles Xavier appeared) looked as though it was hastily pasted together.
So would I recommend people to watch? Well, it's an interesting show but don't expect so much out of it. And if you like a little bit (I really mean a little bit cos it's nothing like Texas Chainsaw Massacre) of slashing, punching, shooting and beheading? Go see. Oh, and the ending ending is like Pirates of the Caribbean : At World's End - so stay put!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

X-Men Origin : Wolverine


Having stayed in rural areas of Penang for past one and a half years, the two of us had only been to the cinema twice - to watch Wall-E and most recently Fast and Furious 4. Today is a little special. While the entire nation waits for X-Men Origin screening tomorrow, the two of us had the pleasure of watching it TODAY! It's the first time the two of us have ever watched any movie BEFORE the entire nation. Usually we avoid newly screened shows and only watch them a week or two after it's premier just to get good seats. But since this ticket was almost free and we didn't have to queue up, it should be a good experience. Anyway the tickets are actually courtesy of CIMB Bank Credit Cards (which I happily own one) - but they are not exactly free. I had to spend a minimum of MYR100 to be able to redeem these two tickets and there was a limit for one card main card holder can only redeem two tickets (so stingy).
On 1st April, I saw on BBC news that an incomplete version of this movie was leaked onto the Internet. How funny when I would have thought this might be an April Fool's Day Joke. However when one of the many people that saw the incomplete version was a US columnist who then wrote a review on the incomplete version and subsequently led to his dismissal at his workplace at Fox News - I realize it was no joke at all. Anyway, the columnist mentioned that this show was beyond his expectations but I guess I have to watch it tonight to find out actually how good is it.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

New Lenovo Net Book

Meet Little Black (小黑). My hubby's new 'baby' - a Lenovo mini netbook. The Little White (小白) laptop that's sitting at the bottom is his old Mac iBook G4. Ever since our first holiday together to Sabah way back in 2007, he's been saying he wanted to get a smaller (and value for money) laptop which is convenient to take along while traveling. And when we were in Bali it was really difficult for him to surf from his hand phone (Nokia N82) since he decided not to bring the Little White along due to security reasons (the current value of a Mac Book is more than twice of a Lenovo mini net book).
The size of this little black book is smaller than a regular magazine. It's keyboard size is slightly smaller making typing a little inconvenient; so typing errors are common - unless of course I type with two fingers. Compared to some of our friend's laptop, this net book loads softwares very very quickly. At the moment we've only used this machine in the confines of our own home (been spending the entire Sunday at home) and even after 4 hours of continuous listening music (with USB powered speakers) it's battery still stands at 23% left. And one interesting feature in a Lenovo machine is the face recognition software which my hubby seems to enjoy playing around very much. However in dim lit areas recognition is difficult.
So I guess we will be able to stay connected during our Phuket holiday this coming Raya (^^,)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

PC Fair - People Mountain People Sea


人山人海

That is the only phrase I can think of when I saw the crowd on last Sunday's PC fair. The Chinese phrase actually means the place is packed or if read word for word it says "people mountain people sea".  It was so packed that I've decided to find myself a seat in the upper floors and wait for my dear hubby to make his purchases. Most items during fair period is reduced greatly while some remain somewhat unchanged. 
Initially the fair was created to create awareness among the public about technology and also to promote individual company's new products. However, as years gone by it's becoming more like a night market (pasar malam) where exhibitors scream and shout cheap price quotes for their products just to get a customer's attention. It's a good thing microphones and hailers are prohibited or else it would have been deafening. And if it's a good bargain, everyone will clog the exhibitor's booth and thus blocking the entire walkway making it almost impossible for others to pass by. Some paths are just so congested that it literally requires a muscle man to push his way through. 
When we left the place there was still a long queue of cars entering the compound while people from all walks of life make a bee line to enter the complex. This time it was rather obvious that it wasn't very successful as many people left the place empty handed. Business wise, I think it was too early for fair as for most local university students because April/May is the end of semester. New semester beings in July and it's the perfect time to catch freshmen who would most likely need a computer or even lap top. Anyway, at least it still attracts people.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Maxis 3G Broadband - Full signal but Slow Rate


Yesterday was a good connection day for me. Finally, the connection was good enough that I can visit all my favorite sites. However today is horrible. Count me lucky if I can actually upload this post. The image above shows my broadband connection which the signal is at it's maximum. However the transfer rate is very slow. At such rate, it's impossible to load facebook or those blogs with plenty of pictures. But since I can surf on BBC, I'll take the opportunity to read up on those previous news that are more often then not left out by our local news papers... For example this news on Wearing underwired bra saves life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

MAXIS Liar



In August last year, my hubby decided to get me a 3G broadband so I can surf the Internet during working hours. As before we had the broadband, I used to complain that I am rather bored during working hours and having nothing much to work about (especially in the middle of the month). Anyway, before he got me the broadband, he asked around and compared between two companies that provided such service - Maxis and Celcom. Many people we knew were complaining about Celcom and how they restrict their users bandwidth despite subscribing to the unlimited package or the fact that their signal range is rather short making people living in the outskirts (ie Nibong Tebal, Jawi, Simpang Empat) are 'out of range'.
When we were at a Maxis center in Sunway (Penang Sunway, not Selangor Sunway) the staff there told us that there is no such restrictions for Maxis unlimited package users and the entire Penang (island and mainland) has 3G. Happily we registered for the package.
However things took a turn beginning this month. The line was becoming unstable or utterly slow (slower than slugs on the wall) and more often than not we got disconnected. What was even more annoying is that mostly happens when my hubby is in his mids of performing Internet banking transactions. And this week alone, going on to youtube.com or even reading BBC News is something impossible. Annoyed, my hubby called the service center to complain about the problems only to be told that we had reached the bandwidth limit for the month. Stunted he asked about his previous months of 'no interruption' and suddenly there was a bandwidth limit despite us subscribing to the unlimited package. Moreover, before we subscribed for a line, the staff there claims that there is no limit. What really made my hubby angry was that the idiot on the other end of the line told us that the limit is 3Gigabyte per month which equates to about 100Megabyte per day! I was just wondering what on Earth can you do with 100MB per day?! It's not even enough for me to surf on BBC alone!
So now we are left with one option - wait for WiMAX to be available in our area. While Maxis so-called unlimited package should be redefined as Unlimited-Lies.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Bridal mood

Suddenly I went into Bridezilla mode even though knowing my wedding isn't until NEXT YEAR~! So while surfing, I came across this funny clip on YouTube.



Even though I'm not Christian nor do I plan for such wedding styles, I've learned one very important lesson - be careful where you select your wedding venue!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Living near the jungles

Sometimes I just can't help but feel amazed by mother nature. Every year, tourist from all over the world flock to Malaysia to enjoy nature. Tourists that tour Penang would sometimes take the opportunity to come to Nibong Tebal just to see colonies of fire flies along the banks of Kerian River (Kuala Selangor if you're in the state of Selangor). Of course those fire flies are really small and not really bright.
So yesterday night while I was doing house chores, a brightly lit little bug flew by. This species is rather different from the ones by the river. It's a lone ranger or sometimes (if lucky) you'll get to see a pair or more flying around. But never in hordes.
Fire Fly
I guess this fella got a little confused, or maybe lost it's sense of direction and flew head on against the wall. So I swept it up and place it in a dust pan for a little impromptu photo shoot. Those dust and dirt on it's body actually came from the dust pan. And just to take a shot at it's underbelly, we some how caught this 'FREEZE! Hands In the Air' pose.

Fire Fly Surrenders
Using night mode and setting the exposure time to 8 seconds, when clicked moved the camera around in a circular motion to create those multiple dots. So it may look like there's plenty of buys when in actual fact, its only one little fella flashing its butt at us!
Fire Fly at night mode
Note: I left the bug back in the garden after the photo shoot. So whether it flew away or got eaten by the household lizard, it is unknown...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Celebrating Earth Hour - Focusing on different points

We celebrated Earth Hour with an ulterior motive - let those light-loving insects dwell on our neighbors' for an hour! I'm guessing that now I have my OWN home, I've been having this funny obsession to try keep things clean. Still everyday I reach home I can find some 'dirty spot'. What's worse, things gets dirty faster then I can ever clean them!

So while waiting for the hour to pass, Dennis decided to teach me more night photography with our Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ1 or as we called it Lumi. In a night shot, everything may look pitch black on the photo (like the ones below and also the cactus photos). But if you use those photo editing softwares to increase the brightness and contrast, you'll get a slight glimpse of the background. Try download the Cactus Flower number 5 and you might catch the ceiling lights of my home at the background on the right. Plus on the left you might just make out the window grills and the air condition out door unit.

According to Dennis, to create different views (like the ones above shows the entire candle, the floor tiles and the tuna can, compared to the ones below that shows only the top part of the candle and everything else is black) is due to the focus point. The thing about cheap point and shoot (PNS) camera, the settings options are limited compared to their expensive counter-part or DSLRs. So to get professional-like images, we've got to do a little cheating - that is to cheat the camera. In a dim-lit area, the PNS will automatically decrease the shutter speed giving the picture more expose time. While in brightly lit areas will cause the PNS to automatically increase the shutter speed thus giving the picture less exposure time. The first picture above is done at 1 second exposure time while the seond picture is 1/15 seconds. Both pictures are taken with the camera's focus point pointing at the darker parts of the candle (the body part right below the flames)

The picture above here is taken at 1/640 seconds. The one below is 1/10 seconds while the last picture is 1/125 seconds. All three pictures are taken with the focus point pointing AT the flames. So when the camera's focus point is pointing at the flames, the system will detect as a 'bright' image, so it will automatically set the camera's shutter speed so not to over expose the image.
Taking pictures of candle flames are really really unique. The image below is taken using a much higher ISO (400 instead of the previous pictures at only 80). However taking pictures at high ISO does have it's risk, for instance over exposure. Or the picture turns out purple-ish-pink-ish - somewhat like the first picture.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

When the going gets tough

The though Eats Ice Cream!
Seriously. I really envy those who seems to enjoy their life like they have 48 hours a day while my 24 hours looks more like 12 hours. We have moved into our new nest some two months ago. And the cleaning seems never ending. Perhaps it's because I'm living in the jungle and more often than not, the occupants in this house has never quite been 'just the two of us'.

Before we moved in, we had to deal with the nightly menace of a young female fruit bat at the back of our house. She loved to eat and poop at the same spot which is very troublesome for me to clean. Not to mention the hazards! So we Google-ed for ways to get rid of it without harm - putting grease on the beams, placing moth balls (naphthalene), adding extra lights. But none of these methods worked. So my FIL suggested hanging fishing nets, but he warned that putting up those nets would mean killing it. I guess I don't have to elaborate on what we did or what happened...

While cleaning after that bat, I've come to realize we have a regular visit by the neighborhood cat. I wasn't sure who's the owner, but I knew from the collar, it was pretty much 'domesticated-NOT'. And one day, while I came over to clean the house I saw a rat carcass. From that day on, a bottle of Dettol disinfectant liquid became my very best friend. However, once the 'smell' of the disinfectant wears off, a NEW carcass is BACK! It was seriously annoying, and naphthalene balls just doesn't work on that *censored-word-goes-here* cat, as if it's immune to it. So I clean that particular spot with undiluted disinfectant liquid every once a month just to avoid seeing another carcass nicely hidden beside the washing machine.

So we have bats, cats, rats and loads of household lizards and insects of various shapes, sizes and colors. But since the previous owner was obsessed with privacy, the five foot perimeter wall seems to work to keep out other uninvited guess - like the obese monitor lizard that treats my in-law's garden like it's second home!