Monday, September 27, 2010

Braun Series 3 Electric Shaver

Ever since i had enough hormone to grow some facial hair, i've always wanted a cool electrical shaver. I could not afford it ever because good ones cost a lot and it could meant i might spend a whole month's allowance/pay just to get one.

For as long as i can remember, I have been using disposable razors. Those you can get for RM1 each. While i like the idea of a complete exfoliation that the razors could give, and how close a razor could give.

But at the expense of in-grown facial hair that sometimes turn ugly and cause a whole load of infection.

Whenever i googled for "best electrical shaver", it always points to Braun being the brand of choice. No doubt the best ever Braun any money can buy also meant you will spend top-notch cash to obtain. So, i looked at those that comes close second and they are Phillips.

Last Saturday, i went to an electrical supply shop and looked at these electrical shavers. having RM300 as my max budget (yay! i can finally afford to buy one!) i started looking at those from Phillips. They all fall nicely within the budget if i go for the more average ones. RM275 gets me a decent one with two circular head. I was eye-ing the top notch one which unfortunately will cost me RM799 to get.

Then, the sales person asked if i am looking for a shaver. She was quick to tell me that Braun has sales and is offering up to 50% off from selected model.

I was still not convinced as i know even with "sales", it will still be out of my budget.

"But sir, it starts from RM265", She said.

I tried hard not to appear like some cheapskate and went over to see the Braun.

Was : RM530.
Now : RM265.

I then asked the differences and i must give it to the sales person that has no facial hair telling me the differences on how to use each shaver.

I was sold on the Braun (and not helping that it was actually wet and dry application as well)

And for the second day today, i have nick free, ingrown hair free and cut free shaving. Braun Series 3-340 is as good, if not better than the mid-range Phillips!
It comes with a casing and cable to charge the NiMH battery. Each charging of 60minutes provide a 40minutes of cordless operation. It also comes with a clipper that trims/shape those goatees or mustouch or sideburns. The sales person went as far as saying "trim armpit hair". But enough said, the last application does not apply as i am clean shaven there too (so i could shave off 2 second on that swim???)

This is not a sponsored review and i proudly paid for an electrical shaver which i have always planned to buy since i was 17!

Project 365 : Day 115 of 365

No matter what you believes in, religion teaches only good things. I classify myself to be a free-thinker that takes in all good from every religion. Suffice to say that i feel and think religion are man-made (yes, this will cause a lot of comments from all of you). I believe there is a God and i pray to the God in my own way via many other mediums. Please do not mistake me for an atheist, as even an atheist would still say "oh my God". ;-)
Tools: D90+18-55VR. ISO200. F4. 1/350.

Newton 25KM Challenge : Race Report

I've decided to write the race report tonight while waiting for the washing machine to finish washing Ryan's comforter in another hour. Poor boy woken up in the middle of his sleep thinking he was in the toilet and pissed on himself and his comforter and pillow. He obviously did not know that was not the toilet. So, thanks to that, my plan to rest early tonight, failed. Might as well pen in something since all i have to do now is wait for the machine to finish washing.

25km. This will be my longest run since Ironman and Wifey's longest since her debut 21km during SCKLM.

There were a lot of apprehension for this race due to the route, which had everyone (that i know) worried due to the hilly course and roller coaster like route. But i know as with every race, these are just your own mental barrier. Remember how i said that Double Hill was flat? Well, they certainly are looking flatter now that my blood iron is going up and up and up ;-)

The race started with me forgetting to pick up the race kit as i was in Singapore for the adventure race last week. Of course i was worried. This race will be used as a gauge for me and wifey's preparation for the upcoming Kinabalu Run Up The Sky end of October. If Wifey could not take the 25km i would not force her to do the Kinabalu run, but will let her take it easy as she has not been to Sabah in her entire life.

For me, it was again, road to recovery. After running 15-20km twice over the past three weeks (not including the run/walk/cycle/push in Singapore of 45km~50km distance) and me definitely smiling every morning to see my palm not just pink, but red, i know if i were to push this race, i would wrap it up within three hours with moderate effort. Not that i am boasting or talking "big", but i guess i am finding my old self (and fitness) back and as a amateur athlete that constantly strives to better my mental and physical limit, it is very important that we believe in ourselves first. Half the battle are won when we believe we can do it.

Back to Wifey, i know she was worried. With less than enough training, it is almost suicidal to push through. But i know this woman. "NO" is just a way for her to express her modesty.

"Ai-yer...Don't show off la. Nanti you can't finish then you know!!!", she always tell me.

Been racing for years and I've always finished any races no matter how the ball is passed to me and on whichever side of the court it comes or goes. I know many others that has the same drive and concept. It is not a race against your friends. It is not a race against anything or anyone but yourself.

With that, wifey was out to prove to herself that 25km is just a number (very much like age ;-))

The day started off pretty well with us reaching the race start by 6am. We managed to get my sister to come over to help babysit the two kids. Thank you Svun!

As we walk towards the race start line, we saw familiar faces. It is always nice to see familiar faces at race. Not just friends, but acquaintances.

The first 8km was pretty alright. The hilly route looked more menacing that they actually are. Infact, if you keep moving forward, it is really just a long road with slight upgradient - which is mild even when compared to the Bukit Tunku route.

See, not that bad isn't it? Remember, it's all in the mind. Saying you can't already meant you lost half the battle and in races such as these over distance that exceed normal training run or weekend run, it is sometime best to just NOT know what lies ahead.

With the race entry to be RM60/person for the 25km distance, it is by far the single most expensive running race in the country, to be followed by StanChart. However, unlike StanChart where you were given things you don't need...or rather, not given anything would be more accurate, this run comes with a newton running vest and a 2XU compression socks. These two alone already cost more than just RM60. This is also the first time i tried the socks though i am no stranger to the calf guard and the long thighs already. I swear by the benefit of the compression these technical wear offers.

The sun started coming out by 830am. It was then that taking photos was extremely tricky without risking washing it all off away by overexposing or the camera metering going haywire. That also spelt potential trouble as i forgot my usual cap and sunnies. This would meant merciless run as the hours tick passed.

Is this how it will be light when you die and "go towards the light"? I hope they will allow me to bring my camelbak bottle with Ribena...

By KM8, we chance upon the 12km runners making their U-turn at their 5th or 6th KM run. Suddenly, the whole road is filled with humans sweating it out when they could actually sleep in on a non-working day.

But i guess everyone there was a sucker for pain. How else would anyone sign up for a race where the route is unknown? Oh ya, it was the socks/freebies factor. Typical Malaysians.

Along the way, there were a lot of makcik selling Nasi Lemak and morning breakfast. Boy was i tempted. I have RM30 in my pocket and a lot of time. And not helping was that each stall smell really nice! I was hungry by then with only having 4 dates for breakfast at 6am in the morning.

At 10km, me and wifey clocked timing of 80minutes. Typical of our usual 10km stroll along Hartamas. There was no rush really as there was another 15km to go. Experience tells me to conserve the energy (or rather, train wifey to learn to take things a bit easier as it will be equally important to keep some energy for later) and to keep hydrating.

One complain though - there wasn't and it really wasn't enough of water stations. It's ridiculous to have one water station only after what seems like 5km...i only went though 7 or 8 water stations and that works out to be 4km each; which technically speaking is within the IAAF's regulation. Credit to be given that each water station has icey cold water and have enough of water. So that is certainly welcomed. Only wish is that there was more water and electrolytes, especially at the finishing. Late finishers will not have enough to drink as they cross the line.

I ran with a 750ml bottle. More than sufficient for a 10km run. Wifey has with her a 120ml bottle, which is good for a 4km distance between water stations. But as the day grow hotter, the 120ml was not even enough to cool the face. Especially so when you do not even have a visor or sunnies! It was hot hot hot!

We did 21km in about 3:10, which is pretty decent as her PB for 21km was flat 3:00. Taking into consideration the terrain and how hilly it was (though i did say it was flat - but it was really to trick the mind to believe it). 3:10 for her second 21km distance was decent!

Many would think the last 4km would be a stroll, after all, what is 4km more when you already completed 21km?
Second bottle of ice water over the head to cool down the body.

I was rather enjoying the heat to be frank. It has been some time since i last had a decent tan line. Triathletes would agree with me that those tan lines are sexy though you can appear like a Tapir sometimes. No worries here, as ugly as i am it is too late for wifey to say no. :P
Officially surpassing the longest distance she ever ran.

The last 4 took us almost an hour to complete. By then, there was a lot of walking as the heat gets unbearable. That 750ml of iced water become so ever important as i found my initially drenched body starting to dry up. Got to save these for wifey. I know i can stand the heat a bit better - having raced in insane heat in Langkawi for a good part of the day three years in a row.

As wifey keep telling herself that "I will finish this", i felt a bit guilty for pushing her past her usual limits. The tenacity she showed reaffirmed why she was special to me. Got to keep up her pace then!
With 2km more to go, Bandit in his cheery self showed up to cheer Wifey on. On race course like these with familiar faces, everyone almost always look forward to bump into friends that will understand why you are doing this and offer encouragement and some "reverse physcology".
Knight in shining Red Jawbone and Blinged out Nike Pegasus Special Edition.

Bandit then proceed to run with wifey a bit and went off to look for both Chief Kutu and Farouk. The last i saw Farouk, he was zoning out and i know for a fact he is pulling all his mental strength to finish the race. Unfortunately i can't support him as i have to ensure Wifey keep moving. Him being a Budak Boy was my only reassurance that he will pull this off no matter what. He did. No doubt.

So, in 3:56, me and wifey walked and crossed the finish line hand-in-hand. There was no fanfare and definitely no more medals for us to collect. Luckily there was finisher Ts which made the whole race a little bit more worth it.
My hair all dried up under the heat and it's obvious that wifey's hair was still drenched. She still manage to pull a smile. Which made it all really worth it.

With that, and the comforter just finished washing, that is my signal to end today's posting and bring the laundry out to dry.

Now, where is the sun when you need it?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Project 365 : Day 114 of 365

Got this shot at the break of dawn (not sunset) along Gurney Drive. The few sampans that belongs to local fishermen shows that despite all the industrial and also development there is on this Island, there are still those that stick to more traditional vocation. Without them, we won't get our seafood. But the Straits of Melaka is getting very polluted. Up towards the other end of Gurney is a river that feeds into the sea. It is nothing short of brackish and pray to tell that the hotels and establishments are not discharging their waste directly into the sea.
Tools: D90+18-55VR. ISO400. F22. 1/90. ND8.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Project 365 : Day 113 of 365

Superman is Back
I'm back. Lets hope superhero will be here to stay.
Tools: D90+50mm. ISO200. F5.6. 1/30

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ace Adventure Sunset Race 2010

I was in Singapore over the weekend to team up with two friends in the above race. This also marked my third time in Singapore and my first ever race in the Island Republic. Thanks to Afri and Adeline, i was given first class treatment by the two Malaysians which are Singapore PR and has called the Island a "home away from home".

My adventure started with me driving down at 9pm down to Singapore. I reached Tuas or the Second Link at about 1.30am. I was so worried about not being able to drive over in case my car was too dirty for the island or if i am short of paperwork that was needed.

Valid roadtax. Checked. Car grant. Checked. Petrol. Checked. Passport. Checked.

As i entered the Johor side of the immigration, i did the stupidest thing. I told the Malaysian officer that i do not have Autopass. He looked at me, amazed, and it was only then i realised that i was talking to my own countryman.

Then, i was officially in the brightly lit Singapore complex. Everything just looked...different. It is like...another different country (duh!), but you know what i really meant here, right?

The officers were friendlier and even asked if i won't get enough rest for the race because i arrive so late (they asked me about the two mountain bikes in my car) and i told them i do not have Autopass. I was told where to get it, which i then totally did not know where to stop, but all the way passed the other security checkpoint.

Which gave me a chance to walk about 200m back to the LTA office and took this photo.

Imagine my suprise when the LTA officers asked me where was my car. Apparently, my car grant is not as important as the Roadtax, so, i had to walk back another 200m to the care, which was already on the other side of the complex, snap a picture of the roadtax, and walked back to the LTA office. Along the way, i had the other Auxillary Police asking what am i walking around their complex at 1.45am and the Narcotic Bureau asking if i am lost.

THen i had to spend 15minutes with the auntie officer from LTA while she took the time and effort to explained to me how VEP works - which i appreciate. It was my first time driving into Singapore afterall.

So, after that was sorted, i drove cautiously and very conciously at 80km/h along PIE to Adeline's place. it was close to 2am already by then.

I reached Ade's place and she warmly welcomed me with a whole booklet of parking coupons, which we then spent close to 15minutes how to use them. I then had it lined up along the dashboard to validate my parking from 2am until 10.30am the next morning.

At about 11am, Afri reached Adeline's place and we went to send our bike to Dairy Farm Park, which was the place for bike drop off.

Look, this is a funny race. The bike, The starting point and the Ending point are all at different location. Why?

But who am i to complain, afterall, when in Greek, do as the Greek does.

After the bike drop, we had to find way to Kallang, where the ending point is located. As it was a Saturday and many Singaporean drivers were on the road, with my car number plate sticking out like sorethumb...i somewhat felt harrassed, though i am not. I constantly think the car behind is driving too close for comfort and one car cut right infront of me without signal. I refrained from pressing the horn, i am afterall, a guest.

As the PIE was jammed, we decided not to drive to Kallang but dropped the car near Afri's MIL's house. Free Parking. :D From there, we took a taxi to Ngee Ann Politech.
Trying to get a taxi when all of them are mostly going for their shift change was a challenge. Thanks to quick thinking Afri, we went over the other side of the road and managed to catch one cab to Ngee Ann after waiting for about 15minutes.
I was pretty amazed how well equiped this place is and how it seems to open to public. There was no guards like those local universities in Malaysia taunting the students or visitors. Infact, i felt welcome. The track was a Beautiful Blue rubberised track that was well maintained and used. You see people running at 2pm in the afternoon and even 2am in the morning (i saw one running the day before at 2am). Truly a running nation.

The race did not start until about 3pm and between those time and start time, myself, Afri and Adeline just sat around, looking at the map, trying to figure out where to go and how to go. We can't help but to noticed that everyone was lean and mean. The only part we won was fat content.
It was also then Afri noticed that we will be crossing the same place at least twice. We were also told during the final briefing that the total distance would be 45km and "you are required to run around the track or you will fall short of 400m and only do 44.6km".


Sharp at 3pm, the mix team then all gathered at the starting point (the all men and women already flagged off at 2.30pm).
To the first CP, we were supposed to be running on the road towards Bukit Timah Park. That was an easy 4km stroll that did took about 30minutes. I was introduced to the more affluent neighbourhood with bungalows twice as big as those normally found in KL.
Running in town reminds me of the AXN Urban Challenge. Only difference is that it's not familiar to me.

It was both enjoyable and also a leisure race for the three of us. I am still wary and do not want to overdo this and become a baggage to both Afri and Adeline. But somehow, the afternoon hot blistering sun leveled everyone down. I even told myself that this is how it is like for Ironman such as Faris Al-Sultan - to be running a 42.2km at 3pm in Langkawi. I was suddenly inspired.
The terrains was undulating. Which added a bit more fun and unpredictability.
Then, we reached CP1, which marked the start of the "trail" portion. The real race begin, or so I think.
This is Dairy Farm Pass. It is a straight 1.5km route towards the other side of town. The rolling hills was beautiful the first time i saw it. Little did i know, we will be running across this portion not once, but three times. Since I am already in the race, so why complain?

The route then took us into Bukit Timah Forest Reserves, which was pretty cool. It was like FRIM, only less people (well, at 4pm...)

We walked, climbed, joked as we run a little and walk a bit more. The trail was not challenging and navigation was of more importance as there are many ways around the park, which meant a lot of ways to get lost too. We spend a bit more time to ensure we are on the right track, as from experience, going the wrong way is not only energy sapping, but morally draining as well. The rest of the race was pretty much the same scenery over and over again.
 With the same two monkeys, no less. :) My day was so much brighter with those neon bright tops and their cheerfulness. :D

As we make our way to CP3, which is where the bikes were placed, we found out the camwhoring we did and the slow and steady pace we put in placed us as the second last team at the CP. So typical!

But of course, as the race move from CP to CP, we slowly caught up with everyone else and i believe was placed in the middle of the pack by the time we cleared CP6.
We caught up with the all men team which was ahead of us. But from the look of it, they know they will not win, and thus, took it really very easy, infact, i think they bailed out at CP3.

The biking took us through Dairy Farm Pass the second time around.
Then, the most interesting thing happened. Adeline had a tyre puncture. Excitement! Some adventure at last!

Then it was turning right towards Rifle Range Road and Rifle Range Link before ending up at, well, Dairy Farm again. At that point, i was really thinking this race should be called the Dairy Farm Challenge.

From there onwards, CP6 was on the other side of the nature reserve passing Belukar Trail.

It was also at CP6, where the Chestnut Hill trail was placed, we had the first technical rope test. Two team members were made to climb up rope ladder and abseil down from the top of the flyover highway.

Afri was fast on the rope ladder, with me lending my fat heavy weight to keep the ladder stable.
Then, it was Adeline's turn, which she did pretty well going up and coming down. :) I was spared of the ordeal and had to save energy for later tasks.

Checkpoint 6C was closed as it was getting dark and technically speaking, some teams should already been cut off. But the organiser allowed everyone onwards and that was when headlights, lights, bike lights, blinkers all came out. We were all ready to go the last final 5km on bike in total darkness in the trail.

These discovery of trails sort of confirmed where the coming TNF race will take place. I concluded that Bukit Timah is a very big forest/nature reserve. The other trails and percieved parks are just part and parcel of the whole Bukit Timah reserve. The mountain bike trails are so rideable it make FRIM looked like Kiara for any KL MTB riders. I suprised myself when i rode almost all the way, stopping only because i could not get past slightly technical humps/bumps.

That old trusty rusty Fuji 2002 that cost me RM300 (after splitting with Bandit the parts and wheels) was holding on very well. I am impressed!

Then as the night grew darker, more lights from other racers brighten the dark trails.
 And we brighten our own way...passing/crossing Dairy Farm for the third time.
By then, we had caught up with many other teams. We noticed the first men team blazing down the trail towards CP7, which was at the end of Rifle Range, bordering the trail that leads to MacRitchie, we had to leave our bikes and walk/run the next 6 or 7 KM through more trails and exit at err...Pan Island Club.

As we exited the trails, it was then road navigating through the streets of Singapore to locate Bishan Park and find block 219 for CP8. It was a long long walk but we had a bunch of girls to keep us entertained with their endless chattering.
We were just glad to be out of the trail and some civilisation. More so when Dairy Farm is already like my middle name to start with.
Thank you three!

From CP9, we reunited with the bicycles and was asked to get to CP10, the ending point using the Park Connecting Network (PCN), which was one of the more impressive thing i found in Singapore and it comes with a traffic light for BIKE CROSSING!

The total length was 5km through HDB flats area and it was such joy to see all the people out exercising one way or another.

There was a few area where we need to carry the bikes up pedestrian flyovers. Jaywalking highly NOT reccomended.
We cycled and finally reached Shine Centre at Kallang. It took us about 8hours over 45km minimum and finished the race. But the finishing was rather anti-climax la. It looked like you just blend into the one would know you finished, or DQ, or anything.

But whatever it is, we were happy that we finally finished the race. Thank you organiser and volunteers!
We had out fun and the most important aspect of this race was for both Afri and Adeline to have their LSD and they now know it will take them 8hours if they WALK all the way in this weekend's TNF race. Both now know what to expect better and for me, it was a good race with better company and most of all, i get to see Singapore not from a tourist perspective!

Thank you Afri and Adeline for making this trip memorable!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Nikon Battery Grip MB-D80 Problem

I love my Nikon D90. I save 13 years for this. While i still take crappy photos i can't resist to look "pro" doing it. While a friend has spoken about the differences between a real Mc-Coy versus a "Joe With Camera" (herewith refered to as JWC), it is only natural that every JWC aspire to be a real "photographer".

I have my D90 for almost 18months. Shutter count close to 25K. The battery grip was bought about two months after, meaning to say, it is also close to 18months. Both has their warranty expired, though i can still get it serviced at Nikon Malaysia if i wanted to.

Here is my problem, which i was in silent denial.

From Day TWO i used the battery grip (BG), i had a problem. Not so much of a problem per se (Nikon produces good camera and better lenses), but it is a pain in the JWC-finger (can't say butt as i use my finger to snap).

Whenever i hit the bottom of the BG, or knock it a bit hard, or sort of moved it (like trying to pry it off the body - don't ask me why i do that, maybe it was the pain in the finger kinda thing), the camera will register the battery as EMPTY!

NOT GOOD! Not when you are sports photographing and suddenly due to some movement only the camera body could register, it goes off! Then you find yourself opening the BG, or removing the batteries or anything to make it work again.

I have lost some award winning sports shot because of that could had made me Photographer and not just JWC.

Which was also why Jason Contador Hue refused to use my camera if the BG is attached to the body.

"Bring to J-One and change it la, under warranty, why you so like that?", he always said that and i can still hear this echoing whenever the BG failed on me.

It was not until i read some discussion in PhotoMalaysia that it strucked me about something. A forummer had problem with his battery or D90; which despite how many times he charge his batteries, the camera will register it as empty (or no power). He changed it a few times and I have even questioned if the battery was original and not with a Nikon sticker.

You see, my frustration with the BG has made me remove the BG for my trip to HK about 3 weeks ago. Today, i took the BG out, wanting to place it back on the D90 and to tell myself to use the 501.8 lense that has been sitting in the dry box for a very very long time.

I then noticed something peculiar.

The BG's battery contact, the one that goes into the D90 battery hole has three points of contact. I noticed that the outer contacts has marking on them but not the middle one.

Noticed the left and right has more wear/contact than the middle?

I then checked with my battery and noticed that all three contact has wear/contact scratches that shows proper contact with the camera body.

I check the other battery and it too, has the same scratch marking on it. What allowed the battery to stay in contact is because the battery contact goes beyond the edge and still allow the contact in the camera body, which is spring stay in contact. The BG has contact point that does not extend beyond the edge like the battery does - this is evidence as the middle wear mark goes very close to the edge!

It suddenly occurred to me that this might just be the problem!

It was not the bloody BG but the D90 battery contact!

I think when Nikon produced D90, which was an upgrade from D80, or made to replace D80, they went a bit lazy and decided to use the D80 BG. They then most probably went another notch lazy and did not change the battery contact in the camera, which then caused this issue.

But i don't believe it happens in all BG or in all D90. I might just be unlucky to get a lemon D90.

The fix?

Simple. It is what i would call a straight forward solution.

Buy a new camera.

Or you can do like me. Stick your middle finger into the hole, fiddle with the middle contact and aim to bend it downwards. But if you got fat fingers like me i would reccomend you to use a small screwdriver or a Victorinox (i have one that has been with me for 7 years) blade and apply pressure to bend the middle contact downwards, so it would have more chances of staying in contact when the BG presses it down.
Remember, only the middle one only and bend downwards!

It looked risky and like there are chances of anyone doing this spoiling the contact. To a certain extend it is true. Just don't apply any HULK effort to bend it and you will be fine.

I reattach the BG and did the "shake, knock, trying to pry open" test. Waddaya-know....My almost 18 months RM450 problem has finally been solved.

Now, can i go and buy that fullframe camera with awesome F2.8 lense?

Project 365 : Day 112 of 365

Macro, Not.
I took my 50mm lense out to play again today. It has been some time since i use it for the simple reason i was smitten by the 35mm and had my hand itchy for the 20mm. While i am using a crop sensor camera or DX, the 50mm is essentially equivalent to 75mm on a fullframe or 35mm camera. Nevermind the jargons. I did not bring my other flash and ended up using very closely to overexposing the photo. Good lesson learnt. I love the blue hue of this dragonly by the way. Way cool.
Tools: F90+501.8. ISO100. F2.8. 1/200.

Project 365 : Day 111 of 365

I love this photo. I've used it at least three times for my work presentation and i have submitted this for the office photo competition. Everytime my colleagues from other countries asked me where it is, i ended up saying, that is my wife hiking with me at a secret location. Lets hope this place remain as pristine as this forever. Wishful thinking?
Tools: Panasonic Lumit DMC-FT2

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Project 365 : Day 110 of 365

Cats. Domesticated animal. Tout. Tonto. Bullies.
Tools: D90+55-200VR. ISO3200. F9. 1/50. Pussy.

Cat Invasion

What was that funky smell that smelt like overfried stale fish.

I exited my car as i returned back from work to find the porched stained with cat shit that my car wheel rolled over as i drove in.

I had enough.

I can tolerate them cats scavenging through the uncovered rubbish bins that some neighbours do not bother to cover.

I can tolerate them sleeping on my car warm bonnet and scratching them as they move away.

I can tolerate looking at those cute paw marks on my car windscreen as they tried to get a grip coming down from the roof.

I can tolerate the funky urine smell they left around the neighbourhood.

But I had enough of them shitting right outside my house gate and in my cactus pot.

Do you all know that cat shit is one of the most toxic around? While this is debatable, i would not want to take the chance with this. Any shit is toxic, but cat shit is the shite.

I have two toddlers at home and i do not want to risk exposing them - or myself and wifey to possible diseases that could be contributed by strays.

The strays in my area populate faster than rowdy horny bunnies. These pussies (no pun intended) get pregnant right after they gave birth (or so it seems), then you get at least a litter of 10 kittens meow-ing away for the next few months before some end up as road kill - which then contribute to MORE issues with animal carcasses on the road.

And the smell...well, i don't think anyone would want to live in what seems like a morgue, right?

I Goggled for cat repellent and all i get is animal lover trying to pussy-foot(again, no pun intended) and gotten all scadery-cat(opps) over these tyrants.

Short of poisoning them with paraceptamol or with anti-freeze, which i know will draw a lot of flakes from all of you (and i don't think i can sleep at night if i do this)...i really do not know what to do.

A friend said to keep a dog, but that won't solve my problem as dogs (as opposed to cats) are not very welcomed to roam in and out of the house area.

Another said to use sulphur...but that won't work, i don't think so (and verified by those cat repellent website that never mentioned anything sulphur).

I don't have the luxury of time to sit outside and aim water at them everytime they come close.

I am lost as to what to do.

What will YOU do?

Monday, September 13, 2010

Project 365 : Day 109 of 365

Rows and rows of hampers, each valued at no less than RM100 lined up at a local supermarket waiting for buyers. This was pre-wrapped for Hari Raya. The next day I came back, they were all gone. Who could had afforded the extravagance? But maybe, to some, RM10,000 worth of gifts is nothing compared to the return they will get making 100 people happy. Sound familiar ain't it?
Tools: Panasonic Lumix DMC-FT2.

Catching Up

I've been using this blog as a photolog for my mediocre photos and has been neglecting the passion for writing (and drama, some would say) for the past 108 days. In the "religious" way of comparing, I had deviated from the "real" teaching on why this blog is up in the first place.

I know some of you comes to this blog to read about my ups and downs in life - in particular about my training and my quest to be an Ironman. I am still a wannabe. Yes. I've completed three Ironman. But that is about it. I have just "completed". Yes, it is a sense of achievement. A personal glory. A song to sing. But when the radio plays the same song 25 times a day, it gets tiring for the listener (are you vomiting on Nobody yet?).

I came to work early today. Earliest i could recall for the past six months. In my email on Friday was a conference call with a client at 8. But in my tiredness and blurriness, i thought it was AM. The mere fact that i can write about this now meant that the call is tonight, not now.

And just like a sign of some sort. A divine intervention to prevent me from sleeping past 8am and get to work earlier...i have decided to dedicate the next 15 minutes to ramble about more things incoherent in many coherent ways.

So, how much do you all misses me?

For someone as loud and narcissist as me, it's hard to miss or ignore. While i am not busy in this blog, i am stuck on Facebook many times (read: all the time). This social networking stuff is changing the way we are communicating. I no longer need to call a friend to know what is happening as i can read it right from their "wall" everyday. I now know when my friends kid can crawl, walk, run, talk. I even know if the friend just broke up from his/her relationship without them telling the obvious - all by just looking at the small nitty-gritty changes in their statuses.

It was also through Facebook that i was able to expand my network of friends. While i admit in the 1194 people that i have as "friends", i maybe only know 30% and kept in touch with about 5% of them. It is a number game after all.

Do i have intention to cut off the fat? Maybe. But this takes more time that to add people back. Should i ask them why they want to add me in the first place? But what is the point of not adding if i am already in Facebook?

So, with my updates constantly on Facebook, it is pretty obvious why this Blog is taking being neglected.

I am sorry about that. Not everyone has Facebook. It is not compulsory like the Identification Card that every Malaysian should have.

Someone i know recently has been asking advices about a few gadgets and i was very happy to be able to help him/her with it. More so by recommending the place to get it, i sort of help another friend to make sure he/she can put food on the table to feed the family. So, i thank you all that has helped friends of mine and in return, gotten what you want.

It was later then i gotten another request to reccomend shoes, the running type. This friend has been told to lose weight, or lose his life. This is serious. While i complains about those extra kilograms I have put on over the past six months or so, this friend has a even bigger task to lose weight equal to half my weight or pay for the consequences.

Losing weight is not easy. What more if you have to give up the food you love. The drinks you crave for. The snack that makes you happy.

Running as an exercise is even worse. The pain in the joint. The feeling of the heart popping out of your heart's cavity. The heavy legs feeling. The pain of not being able to accomplish. The giving up. They are very real. It can make a grown man cry.
Also, for the past one year or so, I've gotten people walking up to me - people i do not know, telling how my stories and my writing inspired them. How reading and emulating what i did changed their lives. While some scratched their head over those 'extra hours' i have in the day that never existed to do the things i love and still make everyone happy.
I am truly flattered by the compliments.

So, yesterday, I re-lived what I am training wise. Those of you that knows me will know that i have been struggling to get my blood iron up. Some thought i am anaemic. Some thinks i over trained. Many even think i am just covering my none-performance with this excuse.

Let me assure you that i am not any of the above. The loss of blood iron is very real. It is not something i want and not something i planned. It took a whole year (first detected in August last year) to recover from it. The past 6 weeks has been rewarding as i finally gotten my "glow" back.

I met up with Jabir, Farouk, Ezan and another friend of theirs at Bukit Aman at 6am. There was a large crowd usually found on a Sunday morning in Bukit Aman. The hardcore runners, the beginners and of course the wannabes like me. I felt good despite not clocking in enough hours of sleep the night before cycling through work materials. This is one thing i need to get to use to - Work and how the new responsibilities is changing my life from now onwards. It is like saying i will finally have a career. (But is this what i want to do?)

The first 5km of the run from Bukit Aman was good. it was a HIIT over the undulating route. Wrapped up the 5km in just under 30minutes with average pace of 6:00/km and managed to push it up to 5:11 on some hills portion. But of course, that is just OP Sofian "The Legend" Ismail's pace on a Sunday non-racing morning (he did a 4:18 at Perth Marathon).

I was very excited that my HR stayed below 90% the whole while and peaking at 94% when i stopped near the Jalan Duta Tennis court. I was feeling a-OK. No dizziness, no fainting. Just pure joy.

And i have another 15km to go. Ouch.

The next 5km was pretty alright, other than me having issues to keep the dinner i ate the day before down. The gasping and active breathing (aerobic mode) i did somewhat made me swallowed more air than i should (into the stomach). I have burping urge and i know if i burp while running, i will spill my guts content out. So, i went slightly easy, trying to imagine the joy of burping and coaxing it out. By then, Jabir has already went all the way upfront and has reached Plaza Damas. He was fast and maintained a steady 6:00 pace up the small little bump towards Plaza Damas from Segambut.

Then i saw Tey. The first thing that came to my mind was...IS THERE A RACE happening?
Guessed not. I found out later that Pacesetter club has a LSD training, which explained the crowd that took onto this route (usually, weekend warriors will just do double hill route and call it a day).

We finished the first 10km in about 1:10, meaning I've slowed Jabir down by a good 10minutes for the next 5km. I was still feeling good. If you ask me this about 18months ago, i would be pretty upset for clocking 10km in more than 60minutes. Yesterday, i was proud as i still have energy for the remaining 10km.

We rested for about 5 minutes and started running back to Bukit Aman after bidding goodbye to Farouk. The return run was much better as the bottle of gassy 100+ made me burp. It felt good to be able to burp all the misery out.

At 15km mark, I was holding on and holding strong. Smiles was all over my face and i guessed it tells when Jabir said i was actually smiling. I was running at about 12mg/l of blood iron - slightly better than the couch potato that has a weekly dosage of "walk the dog" as workout. I was still OK until the last 3km, which i walked.

And there was certainly nothing shy of me walking...or crawling.

It was a long one year journey of heartache (literally and figuratively) and frustration and i am glad that i am catching up with my old self again. Soon, the only excuse i will have if i don't perform to my own expectation is that i am simply un-fit.

Yesterday, i covered 19.5km (but it should had been 20 or 21km in about 2:25 with Jabir. It was a good outing for me, last long run was also with Jabir which i struggled. Good to say that yesterday, the Hills was looking much flatter! Now, lets steam roll it within the next 1 month!
Farouk found a new kickass hill

And for the rest of you reading, i will post more than just my lame Project 365!