Saturday, October 30, 2010

FREE StealthGuards for your Digital Device!

A came across a link today from a local forum and found out that you can get the StealthGuards free of charge. All you need to do is just pay the courier charges (USD2.45) and it will be sent to you.
It looked valid and i ordered (or more accurately, requested) two!

I got a confirmation email within the next two minutes of making the payment using my credit card (as the Paypal link was down). I did not want to miss out on it, as the retail price is USD14.99.
I recalled a friend bought this online via ebay and paid close to RM90 buckaroos for this.

So, what is this thingamaging? It is apparently the same material people use to wrap the helicopter's blade to protect them from minor damages.

Simply put their answer to what is this thingy is "Invisible Military Grade scratch protection for your gadgets"


I am someone sucker for anything military and i was sold that easily.

I will update again once i receive the items! Meanwhile, click here to go to the site and get one (or two) for your gadget. They have wide selection of precision cut guards for your digital device.





Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Web Smartest Savings Club

I chance upon this website a moment ago while looking for online shopping experience. Initially i thought the site is an online shopping until i realised that Billy.com is an online site that offers money saving tips!

With inflation and pay that never rises, it is a constant challenge to actually "have your cake and eat it" kinda situation. More often than not, something got to give.

There is a nerdy geeky looking guy, which i supposed is Billy that will appear via some sort of javascript which sort of reminds you of the dog or cat in Microsoft office "helpdesk". Sort of putting some "live" into an otherwise boring online experience eh?
OK, so what does Billy.com offers?

Advices. Tips. FREE coupons. And these items are things related to what we need or use everyday. it goes from Insurance to groceries. Cars to entertainment. In fact, i have not even finish browsing through the page but i thought of sharing this with you.

Those that know me know i am a major bargain hunter and a ferocious budget animal. I used to scan the aisle in the local hypermarket for bargain items, or mostly wrongly priced item.

While Billy.com is pretty US centric, i do not discount (no pun intended) that they might actually include Malaysia in their saving database?

Currently they are heavy on promoting savings on movers. Friends in Fresno and San Franciso should check them out as it is apparently the moving out season there now ;-). So, if you are looking for Fresno relocation services or SF moving company, hop on over for a good deal!

Hop over to Billy.com and check it out yourself. There are some practical money saving tips...something that i always know is the right thing to do, but never did! It serves as a good reminder too!



Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TriKidz i-City Night Adventure Race

"TriKidz is proud to bring you our first ever NIGHT ADVENTURE RACE. Held in the beautiful technology park of i-City Shah Alam, we promise a fun filled event for the whole family. This adventure race comprises of teams of 2 : Adult and child. Each team will have to make yourselves at 10 different stations across the park. At each station you will be given a task to complete. Winners will be based on fastest time and most correct questions answered."


Date: 5 November 2010, Friday
Time: 6pm - 11pm
Venue: i-City, Shah Alam, Selangor

For more information and registration, click HERE

Kinabalu 24th Climbathon 2010 Race Report

It all started somewhere in April this year when Yusran asked if anyone is interested to join the Climbathon as he was bulk booking the hostel at the Park HQ.

Kinabalu. I last climbed up in 1992 when i was in RMC. I am proudly holding the old height certificate of 4101m. It was in 1997 when they re-surveyed the height and found out that they over declared the mountain to be 6m higher.

Fast forward 18 years later, i found myself at the mountain again, ready to conquer her within the stipulated cut off timing that i believe not every human could achieve.

Involuntarily, i signed wifey up for the run. RM60 to climb Kinabalu is a big major bargain. RM60 to just get a chance to hike up Kinabalu is a bargain. Never mind if we could not reach the top.

Without much thinking and thoughts, i signed up for myself and wifey, not knowing what to expect, or not to expect.

"training how?", it was the constant questions i get from wifey when i broke the news to her.

"I set you up for SCKLM 21km, then Newton 25km and it should be good milestone to gauge if you are ready for Kinabalu", i tried to convince her, obviously signing up the other races without her "aye-ing" as well.

"In fact, i get you a trail shoe and i bring you into the jungle just to get a feel of it", i smiled.

She knows it's all too late to say no.

"Air ticket booked", i told her two months later.

Too late.

We arrived KK on Thursday. Stayed a night in KK town just to soak up a bit of the city that i grew fond off when i was working in Sabah about 2 years ago.
With wifey catching a flu and started to have fever, i was a bit worried. But she was determined to do the run/walk/crawl. Some of her friends said she was crazy to do it without training. Some were just lost for words. Her mum was worried she will pushed herself so much she might have a heart attack going up.

Panadol became her good friend and despite not feeling top of the world, seafood dinner was something that no fever can stop us.
Not helping was the hotel we were staying had bad rooms. We changed a total of three times before we decided to just stop changing despite the last room has a leaking aircond that threaten to flood the room if i did not put the rubbish bin under it.

The next day, we checked out and made our way to the Sabah Tourism office along Jalan Gaya. Organiser has free transfer from KK to Park HQ. The transfer alone is already more than the entrance fee (Park HQ is about 90KM from KK town).
Talk about being Kiasu. We registered ourselves in the waiting list the day before! Luckily they allowed us to do it!

At the tourism office, we met up with Leonard and his friends, which later became our friend too. Hi to Gavin and Denagharan!
The journey up from KK to Park HQ took about 2.5hours. Along the way, i met up with Allan Lee, a friend i know in Facebook, but not in real life. So, hello Allan!
Not forgetting, in the plane, i met up with Wendy's friend, Pui San, which recognises me. I sometimes felt like an idiot for not paying attention to people i actually know in Facebook.
Once we reached the park, we went to register ourselves. No hassle here and it was pleasant to find out there is a t-shirt for participant. There were none last year. So, this is considered to be pretty inconsistent for an international race that was held for 24years already.

Then, we moved ourselves to the hall for the race briefing. By then, I've already met up with Yusran and Shiraz. I've known Shiraz for some time through the races we entered, in particular the Langkawi Ironman for my past 3 years. This present good opportunity to know another friend. Not too bad for RM60!
We went for dinner soon after the briefing. Got to load up and eat. Have to force to eat. It's too early for dinner at 6 freaking 30 pm!
Wifey's cold/flu/fever did not show any sign of subsiding. But she said she was alright and excited to do the race the next day. Way to go!

The next day, we got up at about 5am and got ready. It was a short 4km ride to somewhere near Timpohon gate where we will be flagged off. By then, participants has already gathered at the starting line. It was a jungle party!
Sharp at 7am the race started! The men veteran and women open was flagged off with at least 300 participants tearing down the road towards the old summit trail. I followed wifey for as far as i could, or the marshalls allowed me to. Armed with my dSLR and more things that i should be carrying, not forgetting the wrong clothing gears, i looked more like a tourist than a racer.
Kilometer after kilometer passed and wifey hiked up higher and higher. At 2km mark, it took us 1hour to covers. That could meant we can be at Laban Rata within the cut off period if we keep moving.
Wifey's spirit was high, but the fever and flu looked like it got better of her. Me following was just to ensure that she is alright; it wasn't planned.
Women and veteran has up to 3.5hours to go up to the peak before being cut off and asked to start descending. At KM3, we were still good and i kept assuring her that Laban Rata is very do-able. At KM3.5/KM4, the terrain started to change and so does the trees/shrubs around it. The knee high steps that we had climbed the past 2 hours suddenly looked more welcomed compared to what lies ahead from KM3.5 and beyond.
Realistically at 3rd hour of climbing, we know we won't get to Laban Rata. It took us almost 20minutes to move 500m. I guess physically wifey was worn out and with more challenging terrain, it became increasingly difficult especially if you have never faced terrain like these before. Still, we kept moving until they cut us off.
As expected, we managed to reach KM5 in 3.5hours. Something that i am very proud of wifey for being able to achieve this despite all the conditions that she was in the past 48hours prior to the race. In fact, i know for a fact that she is still elated and find it hard to believe she actually did scale that high to 3001m, that is already twice the height of Genting!
3.5km shy to the peak and there was not any regret not able to reach Laban Rata at KM6. We then slowly find our way back down, which took equally as long as wifey was not confident enough to run down/move down faster.
Along the way, more and more people that has reached the top or those that has been cut off overtook us. We just took our time and took a step at a time, literally.
We finally reached Timpohon gate, which we took a 15min break before walking back on very weak legs, downhill on tarmac to Park HQ. I know wifey was in pain as her knee and ankle threaten to give way and cause her to fall. Luckily, with about 2km to go, the sweeper truck came along and took us back with them.
We crossed the line as a customary practice to end any race and this time, it should be an exception. We walked across the finish line and went back to the hostel. 

Tired and after a shower plus dinner at 5pm, we fell asleep at 8.30pm - with me resting for my race the very next day.

That, i will cut it short as the laptop battery is drying up. Enough said that i have only 2.5hours to reach the peak, a feat that i don't think i could even do. I have very realistic target and i went on my race with very clear knowledge that i will only go as far as my body will allow me to go. Infact, i told myself to only go until KM3.5.

Happy to say that i went past that and came to the same spot at KM5 before they cut me off officially after 2.5hours of the race. This was a bonus enough as i was battling fatigue from the climb the day before with wifey. There was no regret of escorting wifey up at all. I ran down from KM5 to Timpohon gate and it took me only 45minutes.

I ran/walk the last 4km. Pleasantly suprised to find the finishing line was very much alive and cheering for people that has finished the race or attempting/participating it.

I crossed the line and got myself a medal. Wifey was waiting for me at the finishing line. And i know that the medal belongs to Wifey for her brave attempt in the climbathon.
My calves was stiff like a log for the next two days. I fully recovered today as i am typing this. I will attempt this again next year. I will continue to attempt until i get to reach the peak. Then i will continue to attempt to reach the peak AND finish the race in 4.5hours cut off for men below age 40.

Along this trip, i met so many wonderful people. People i've seen along my racing years but never actually talk to them or make friends with them. Zahrin, Aik Liang, Leonard, Khalil and of course the legion of new friends in Denagharan, Pui San, Gavin (congrats!) and even a foreigner from Austria, Gunther Huber that had 9th placing!

Over the two days, i managed to cover 5+5+5+5+2+4=26km in total or almost 32K steps taken. That were decent mileage!
Kinabalu. I have high respect for you. You never fail to keep me in awe of your sheer greatness. I will be back to tame you. Just you wait.
Wifey - you on again for this?





Monday, October 25, 2010

Project 365 : Day 117 of 365


Lost Cause?
Tools: D90+10-24mm. Cropped to throw away foreground and irrelevant background.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Updates

This update is about me not updating my blog. Been busy with work, which is a good sign that i would be able to keep my job still. I never believe anyone to be indespensible, though at a certain point of my career for the past 11 years there was a few times i thought i would not be replaced.

I have accumulated many days in my leave bank and i have actually taken off today to pack for this weekend race in Kinabalu. I was kind of expecting the usual barage of emails but what i least expected was a client being ultra demanding and "you have to get this done like now" kind of attitude.

So, being someone that makan gaji and can't tell the client to f-off, i spent the rest of the late morning and up till now to do the work.

I managed to put aside some clothes that i want to bring. It will or should be good. I am not prepared for the race and i don't think wifey is prepared as well. Going up Kinabalu is not very physically taxing but it's mentally torturing as it's just steps after steps after steps. I set my expectation to reach ONLY at Laban Rata and that would be mission accomplished. I have 5 hours to do so and wifey has 6.5hours to do the race. Going beyond Laban Rata would be like getting six months bonus (which i have never gotten before).

So, wait up. I will update the blog with photos (I have a 10mm-24mm F3.5-4 lense to play with to capture Kinabalu) and i know i will enjoy the trip this time around.

It will be wifey's first KK trip as well, and with the expectations and stories i told her (about KK), i hope i can  show her enough to match that expectation.






Monday, October 11, 2010

Things That Makes You Smile - In MIDDLE OF NIGHT

"Achooooo", Nadia imitated a sneezing sound when i asked her to blow her nose.

With her eyes half closed and she kept pointing to her stuck nose, she told me repeatedly that "papa, nose stuck".

She throw a half-hearted temper as she struggled to breathe with her flu-ridden nose and i held her small button nose between my thumb and index finger between my half closed eyes and ask her to blow.

"Hmmpfh Nadia, Hmmpfh", in between my sleepy eyes.

"Achooooo..."she said again, literally.

I then did the only thing i know, which my mum did to me when i had stucked nose when i was a toddler; i literally tried sucking those mucus out from her nose.

Yeap, gross i heard some of you said. If you have kids and they are not able to sleep in the middle of the night and you have to wake up early the next day to get to work or dial into that darn time-zoned-differently conference call, you do whatever it takes to sleep.

I sucked on her small button nose and got nothing out except her small breathe.

"Much better?", i asked.

"hmmmmm...", she hummed and fell asleep again.

Wifey could not help but to smile and this really made me smile in the middle of the night.

She slept in between us for the rest of the night.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Romantic Penang Ferry

I can not recall if i ever ever set foot onto this ferry services when i was a kid. It was just too long ago and ever since everyone prefers to use the bridge, the ferry service has sort of became second choice.

Moreover, it is technically cheaper to use the bridge as it cost RM7 compared to RM7.70 for Ferry. And not helping, the new highway that was made towards Butterworth Ferry Jetty has added in an extra RM1.30 should you want to take this route.

On my last trip to Penang, i decided to take the Ferry to cross the 6km strait from Penang island side.

I drove into the jetty and waited for my turn.
I was smiling as i was waiting for the attendance to signal me into the ferry. I felt like I was about to travel back to time.

I felt like a small boy with a driving license and a car.

As I parked the car, pulled the handbrake and killed the ignition, i came out of my car and could felt the excitement as the ferry started to move.
I was told that the Ferry service operates whole day except during midnight to early morning and each trip takes about 20minutes. This is about 10minutes slower than taking the bridge but all i can say is it was darn worth the extra 10 minutes i lost crossing the strait.
The ferry services has been operating at a loss due to commuters preferring the bridge mode of transport. However, it serves the pedestrians and motorcyclist and cyclists as crossing the bridge walking (i don't think this is possible), riding motorbike (dangerous with the Penangites bad sense of driving) or cycling (also not possible) would definitely no a safe option.
The revenue generated by serving the pedestrians and two wheelers are not enough i believe to keep these historical ferries afloat. Already, i saw one being in the shipyard being repaired and actively only 4 (out of six) were plying the straits.
So, in your next trip to Penang for holiday, do consider to take the ferry from the mainland and help to contribute to keep the services of these ferry (since 1920s) going so that your children and my children will be able to know this part of history that made Penang this special.

My 20 minutes journey in history came to a quick end, i secretly wished it would be 30 instead. I did not manage to move to the top deck as i was just too intrigue even on the lower deck - and many about 150 pair of eyes watching this Malaysian Tourist snapping happily away on his Nikon D40+18-55VR on x0.45 wide angle converter.




Sunday, October 03, 2010

Project 365 : Day 116 of 365

A Cuppa Or Two
Sharing a cup of coffee with wifey over late TV Show. Made more special with the inclusion of Cambodia Palm Sugar in the sinful brew.
Tools: D40+18-55VR. ISO800. F5.6. 1/60. 55mm.


Cambodia Palm Sugar

A colleague went to Cambodia and came back with a souvenir for me. It came wrapped in some palm leaves and looked pretty unique.
He told me this is what the Cambodian put into their coffee to sweeten it.

My initial thoughts would had been sugar, but some what already thought it to be palm sugar. The same type that we in Malaysia let it to ferment a bit and call it Air Nira. This is what it becomes Toddy drink when it is left for a few more days to ferment.
Image taken from http://eatingasia.typepad.com/eatingasia/2007/11/freeway-refresh.html. Thank You!

But if the palm sugar are collected and cooked soon enough, it will turn to what we know as Gula Melaka in Malaysia.

However, as there are many species of Palm in the world and even the type used to make Nira, Toddy and Gula Melaka differs, the Cambodian Palm is obviously different as well.

Palm tree is the national tree in Cambodia and the travelogues I've read or visited very much mention how Cambodia landscape is lined with palm trees and more palm trees.
I also read that Cambodia palm sugar are more complex in flavor and has lower GI value, hence it suits people with diabetes and it burns slower which allows the energy to be released slowly and more sustainable. In short, it will not give you the "sugar high".

I make a mug of coffee using the Kluang Coffee powder and let it steep for a while. Sieve two cuppa for myself and wifey and dropped in a 20sen coin size of palm sugar into each cup.

Stirred the coffee and waited for it to melt - but it does take a longer time. It reminds me to melt those hydrated honey or rock sugar.
Sustainable : Wrapping made from eco friendly palm leaves too!

Took a sip and the coffee tasted slightly different. The palm sugar did give the coffee a light sweetness unlike those associated with using brown or refined sugar or condensed milk. It doesn't make you go icky (and this is coming from a sugar lover himself).

A straw of the palm sugar brought back by my colleague has about 8 pieces of sugar in it. My stock is good for six more cup. :) Slowly enjoy it definitely!










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