Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Changing Of Voting Address Part 2

I posted on February 22 that i had issue with changing of my voting address to Selangor from Kuala Lumpur. True to my expectation that the government agency will work on 5-working days turnaround, i received a reply from them on the morning of Feb 28, 2012.
It seems that i am now back to be a valid voter, according to the email. I can also now change my address, again, in the Post Office.
Thank You Yusniati and SPR!
So, during lunchtime on Feb 28, 2012, i went to the Section 14, Petaling Jaya Post Office again to change my voting address.
Handsome boy
I came out disappointed, again. I am again, despite what SPR said to be SAH (Valid)...i am still Belum Di-Sah (Not Valid).
Familiar screen eh?
So, i came back and emailed SPR again. This is my 3rd time emailing them on something this simple i.e. to change my voting address. If this fail again, i shall start emailing all the email trails and request to higher party, thanks to OP Afdal's sharing of email addresses of Civil Servants at higher places - and that includes the Election Commission boss. Until then, i will give them the benefit of doubt that they have not "updated" the system as yet - though they claimed that the electoral rolls are ready.
As usual, Lets give them the KPI to reply within 5-working days.
ps - the website do not accept symbols such as / or - to be included into the communication. I had to re-edit after i screen capture the above to send it out.
Is our system so complicated that a simple address change requires so much usage of manpower (mine and theirs) and this reduces productivity?


Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Best 1-Mile Timed Effort

The US Navy SEALS classify their qualifying 1.5mile run to be completed within 11minutes 30 seconds in full boots and pants. The SAS (Special Air Services) or UK Special Forces requires you to complete the 1.5mile run in 10minutes 30 seconds, also in boots and pants.
The civilian me has always dream of a sub-7min30secs 1mile (1.6km). My best ever was 8:14.
Why 7mins30secs?
Logic is with trainers and shorts, i should technically able to complete the whole 1.5miles within 11minutes30secs. With an average pace of about 4:30 or 13km/h, i should be able to lock in that 1-miler in 7:30 and eventually, the 1.5miles in 11mins30seconds.
Fresh from running 20clicks n Sperm Loop the day before, i was hungry for a run, despite the rain and ran. There was no turning back the moment i press START on my heart rate monitor (without warm up...opps!). I recalled my HR to be at about 68bpm when I started and it keep going up for the whole duration of the 1.6km that i ran. It max-ed out at 173bpm, somewhere and i recorded a high 85% HRave throughout.


There was no letting off the pace and i really put in my 110% into the run. I pushed and i swore saliva was dripping off from the corner of my mouth as I superhyperventilate forcing my legs and lung and heart to put in the effort.
almost consistent throughout if converted to Km/h 12-13km/h. *proud*
I used to be able to keep a 5:00 pace pretty well and did (on record) a 48:44minutes 10km before, but i guess those days are very well over. Maybe the route was under-distanced ;-)
I really did a 48:44 in 2005!
So back to my 1-mile conquest, i pushed through the lactic acid build up and consciously even prevented landing on the heel but on the forefoot to spring off as fast as i could. But alas, i could only obtain an-OK 8:25.9.
But it is decent enough in many ways - and i will break that PB of 8:14 in a month's time. 11seconds is like an hour on the athletic field, but nothing is impossible.
I will be tracking my level of effort via this blog and a simple Excel sheet, which will provide a better visual to what i am trying to convey above.
So, having completed a 1-mile run in the fastest timing i could afford to do, i decided to follow it up with a 5km speed/HIIT run. With the heart rate in Zone 4 already, best not to waste it. I intend to push as much as i could to get back my racing fitness.
The intensity of the speed work is such that my heart rate will not dip below 150. It has to stay above that and the only way to do it is to run fast enough to keep it there and slow enough so it will not drop below 150! Ya, i know, what a way to torture one-self on a weekend ain't it?

It was 158bpm average - CHECKED. Pushing through the 5km on speed work, i even managed to go faster than my 1-mile speed on the final 100m sprint (HIIT: 1km-1km-800m-800m-400m-400m-200m-200m-100m-100m; in alternating slow-fast pace starting with 1km slow)
4:30 sprint as opposed to 4:47 1-mile effort. :P
I wrapped up the 5km in a decent 32minutes - drenched in both sweat and rain. 6.6km total in 32+8 = 40mins. Luckily the elevation was pretty flat.
Why am I doing all these? Well, because since 2004, i was in a quest to be the sports person i wasn't. And 8 years down the road, it is still not too late at all. 1-mile in 7:30 and 1.5miles in 11:30. Bring it on.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Blackstrap Molasses Burger

Certainly sounded like a Pirate Burger ain't it? The quest to eating healthier has went on to find different ways to incorporate healthy ingredient into the meat dishes prepared at home. Nothing beats burger patty that are home made and you control the ingredients that goes into the marinate and preparation.
I have previously made some basic burger such as the one here and here.
Yummeh
TGIF or Chillis don't come close - ever
While the process in making differs minimally. The differences, again, is in the marinate. No burgers you buy or eat outside, as much as they claim to have marinate, doesn't. Only reason why you won't know is because the burgers are smothered in dressing and sauces.
Here is my marinate for Blackstrap Burger.
300grams of lean beef (Australian beef at some supermarket would offer the lean variety, about 5% fat)
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon Blackstrap Molasses
2 clove garlic, diced
Olive oil with Balsamic vinegar immersed herbs - to taste
Looking good already, ain't it?
Mix all the ingredient well in a deep bowl. Use a fork as the Blackstrap Molasses will be messy if you mixes it up using your hand. For your info (FYI) i mixes my meat and marinate using hand, just like how a man should do it. But this time, with the sticky sweet molasses, a fork will do as well.
Well mixed up
Leave the preparation in the fridge for at least 4hours (so dinner time will be 8pm) for the meat to soak in the Blackstrap Molasses and the olive oil with balsamic vinegar. This will be a DARK burger.
Now, i know some of you are wondering what is Blackstrap Molasses. To put it simply, it is a thick viscous dark liquid which are obtained during the process to obtain white table sugar.
It is bittersweet and contains a lot of minerals and vitamins that would be readily absorbed by the body - as compared to artificially derived multivites and minerals supplements. Natural is the way to go!
Taken from this website
Impressed with the mineral and vitamin contents in just two teaspoon of Blackstrap Molasses? Simple sugar or the able sugar that most of us use are stripped off all nutrients except the simple carbohydrate in form of sweet sugar. To know why Sugar is bad for you, read this.
I believe replacing the usage of sugar with Blackstrap Molasses will great increase minerals readily absorbed by the body as opposed to spend more money to buy multivites and minerals. However, there are different school of thoughts on this and the decision is yours to take.
Back to the burger, 4 hours is bare minimum for any marinate to work. Longer would be better definitely.
Remove the preparation from the fridge and roll the mixture into two or three round meatball. Each portion should be about 120grams or a quarter pounder (or about 170grams or a third pounder if you make two) with the addition of all the other ingredients and would make a decent burger patty.
Heat up the pan or grill pan on medium heat. There is no need for oil for grilling as there are the fat in the beef and olive oil used for marinating to keep it from sticking to the pan. Here comes the interesting part - as the meat is in a ball shape, press them down slowly until you obtain the unmistakable burger patty shape.


Lightly grill each side for about 2 minutes and flip it two times (cooking time 8 minutes total) if you like them to be medium well. Flip it the third time (for total of 12 minutes) for well done. My preference is always towards medium well as eating too raw of meat could potentially be dangerous; especially if the meat is not fresh (however, the minced beef we got is packed the day we bought).
Blackstrap Molasses caramelized! Sweet! This is second flip!
Remove the patties from the heat once cooked (to your desired status) and leave it for a minute of two before serving. This is to allow it to cool down a little and to let the juice in the patty to settle a little. Eating too hot of a food could be bad (unsubstantiated, but based on observation on occurrence of Chinese loving hot soup and having higher statistic of throat/esophagus cancer).
Slice up some irresistible Avocado to be placed on top of the patty, the creamy texture with the bittersweet patty would be heavenly.
The burger was served on a slice of sprouted grain bread, it will provide additional calories for a dinner.

Nutritional information (per 120 gram serving on a slice of sprouted grain bread with half an avocado)
500kcal of goodness. By the way, a BigMac is 700kcal, for comparison.
Enjoy this other alternative to binging on heart-stopping artery clogging fast food! Here are some pics to tease your hungry tummy!
Food presentation not colorful enough
Moist, Tender, Juicy, Bittersweet, Creamy and with Mustard Seeds that burst in your mouth.


Friday, February 24, 2012

How To Choose Avocado

Avocados are tricky fruits. They are pretty daunting to buy and some do not know how to eat them. But for sure, we all know Avocado is good for health.
Read it here
Buying and eating Avocado is daunting if you have never bought or eaten them before. But once you learn about it and how to choose them, you will want to make this fruit part of your diet intake.
First thing you must know is that Avocado do not ripen on the tree. It will only ripen when you pluck it from the tree. Of course if you leave it long enough on the tree, it will eventually fall off and then will ripen and perhaps even grow into a tree.
Rule of thumb - Avocado that is green is not ripe. Avocado that is ripe is not green.
Fresh is green, not purple or black as they are ripe, possibly overripe
Just to clarify one more step, there are a few variant of Avocado available commercially. There is the Australian Hass Avocado and there is the New Zealand Avocado. Biggest differences is the size of the seed. Hass has smaller seeds which meant you get more flesh. New Zealand has slightly bigger seed (about 10% bigger). To put it into perspective, it is like comparing the new Malaysian 50sen coin (representing the Hass) with the old Malaysian 50sen coin (representing the New Zealand).
Image from Today-Malaysia.com
The local variants - found in abundance in Sabah, has much larger seeds and obviously much less flesh. Justifiable with the price that usually sold in kilogram; typically RM12/kg (and you get about 6 to 7 fruits). Compare this with the imported variants that will typically sold at RM10 for 3 (typical in market) to RM15 for 3(highest i have seen at MBG Fruit Stall). Expat supermarket such as Jaya Grocers are selling them between RM3.99 to RM4.69 each. Lowest i have bought so far RM10 for 4 at the local wet market.
Image from Lynx-with-a-backpack at blogspot. Advice not to drop by there, as there are malware detected on the blog page, please be informed.
Now that you are more informed about the local and imported avocados, how do you choose which one to buy? Which one is ripe? How long can you keep them? Here is a guide to choosing and buying, storing, and eating Avocado. This updated entry has more up-to-date tips on choosing/using Avocado compared to the post here.
Choosing and Buying
Specific to the Hass, New Zealand and Local avocado, they are usually green when unripe. If you purchase your Avocado green, It will typically take up to 5 days to ripen. If the Avocado is slightly darker and turning purplish or reddish, they are at the stage known as breaking and is about 2 days to ripen.
Breaking! Breaking! And 4 Avocados for RM10! WooHoo!
While color could be a good indication of the ripeness of the Avocados (it turns from Green (raw) to Rich Purple (ripe), to Black (overripe) the best determination is by using the pressure test. When choosing an Avocado, do not press it with your thumb or finger as you will bruise it and that spot will turn darker faster. Instead, hold them in your palm and squeeze it. 
Green Avocado will be firm (using steak analogy, very well done), Breaking Avocado will be slightly firm (well done), Rich Purple Ripe Avocado will be slightly soft (medium), and overripe black Avocado will collapse under firm pressure and felt mushy. With some exposure and experience, you will be able to tell when the Avocado will be ready!
Storing
Avocado stores well in the fridge and it slows down the ripening process. Use this to your advantage as you can then plan your Avocado consumption, especially when you buy them in bulk like I do. A Green Avocado will ripen up to three days slower when left in the fridge, giving you up to a week of storage time. When you are ready to eat it, always plan two or three days ahead. Remove the Avocado from the fridge and leave it outside of the fridge. The Avocado (which should be at the Breaking stage now), will start to darken and ripen within the next 48-72hours. Leaving it near the window sill where the sun shines will fasten the process.
From experience, Avocado can exhibit the same color between Breaking and Ripe but the firmness of the fruit changes. Always give the pressure test on the Avocado stored outside the fridge that was placed/prepared for consumption.
Eating
Avocado is fantastic with anything. It gives a different texture and subtle taste to the food you pair it with. It is great alone and even better with some other food. To use Avocado, choose a ripe fruit and halve it around the seed. You do not need to cut through the seed as that would damage the flesh inside due to the cutting/pressing pressure. After cutting around the seed, gently part the Avocado and one side would still have the seed stuck on it. Use the tip of the knife, carefully poke into seed and pop it out. Again, careful not to poke too hard in case it misses the seed and cut through the flesh - not the Avocado, but YOUR HAND. Keep the Avocado flesh light green and not with red stain.
That is how you do it!
With that done, you can then take a spoon and scoop the Avocado out and use it for your food preparation! Here is a few suggestion for consideration
Alternatively, you can slice up some Avocado and toss them into your usual home Salad for a fantastic healthy meal option!
As per my Instagram upload
Or drop a can of Tuna into the Salad and perk it up with Avocado!
Seen in my Instagram upload
Happy Choosing, Storing and Eating Avocado. As usual, if you find this useful, share the blog post around!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lamborghini Aventador In Malaysia

Coming back from lunch yesterday, me and my colleagues saw a spanking orange-red car parked at the Valet parking of Jaya 33. While it is usual to see the few exotic makes outside the office with even more exotic number plate such as the one spotted yesterday on a Lexus.
as seen on my instagram
So when a less than usual car, or to be more accurately classified - sports coupe was parked outside the building, it drew my attention to check it out.
Limited to maybe 4000 in the world as each carbon fibre monoque mold could produce only 500, and it was said that only 8 of these molds were made. As a comparison, the previous flagship model, the MurciĆ©lagos had 4099 made. Numbers or quantity aside, the car started production in Feb 2011 and was said the factory is already overbooked for the next 12 months, with the first production car available only mid 2011, the owner of this spanking new LP700-4 (as it is otherwise known) must be a very rich Malaysian business person with a lot of extra cash to spare.
6.5liters V-12 : 700horses. Not registered yet. 
Thanks to Kanthaa, i was told that this coupe is the latest and perhaps, the only one currently in Malaysia. This has not been seen on the road yet. Named Aventador as a tribute to the legendary trophy-winning bull in the world of bullfighting in Spain (however, no notation if the Bull survived or the Matador won). 
This beast is rated with 700horses under those Plexiglas bonnet and perhaps grunt like a horny teenager idle and scream like a banshee when all ports are opened. Definitely a joy to listen to. Too bad I am not privileged enough to hear it roar.
And those wannabe super sports car want to boast about having 200hp or 500hp even?
Capable to go from 0-100km/h in a mere 2.9seconds (driver skills dependant), that is way faster than me digging my nose (TSB-style, RIP bro) in the Malaysian traffic. I believe the joy of digging the nose for a full 3seconds would not be able to beat the exhilaration of the coupe going to that speed in that amount of time. I might even pee in my pants. I hope the leather seat are treated with sufficient waterproof material in case i ever get a chance to sit in them.
Better be baby soft when sit man...
With a recommended retail price of GBP225,000 or about RM1.2million before duty, excise and taxes (30% Import Duty, 105% Excise Tax and 10% Sales Tax). Working on that logic, the car will be roughly RM1.66million, not inclusive of road tax and insurance.
Online calculator here
Well, if i am well off and has those extra cash around, the price doesn't seems to be too high after all. Put in the insurance, road tax, freight charges to ship this coupe in, you will still have some loose change with RM2Million. We all know there are many Malaysians with those money, cash, ready.
Four Exhausts. YOu need a large orange if you want to block them off. Just saying.
So, why would someone wants something like this, apart from telling others that "I can afford this, can you?"
1. To start with (at the risk of overgeneralising all rich people, apologies in advance), yes, it is to say "I can afford this, can you?"
2. Then, i believe whoever that bought this knows his/her cars. He/she have passion for all things fast and exotic where owning a Thoroughbred horse is like having a pet dog at home - why have ONE horse when you can have 700horses that only drinks fossil fuel and not poop?
3. But i believe, the real reason for anyone wanting to own this piece of masterpiece...is really because they can. This will be a conversation starter in any home - works better than that piece of wood carving or stone sculpture they paid heftily in that corner shop in Bangsar (which by the way, closed, maybe the owner bought this car instead!)
Holy Moses! Lamborghini Aventador in Pearl Effect Avancio Argos color.  Just pay a bit extra lah. What is another RM40K if you already paid RM1.6Million?
Rated with a top speed of 350km/h, it is unmistakeably useless in Malaysian traffic but more relevant in tracks or if you can get (or pay) the police for escort to clear the road for you to really test the 350km/h top speed out. Then again, if you are that rich, you will ship this car to Germany to drive on the Autobahn - i read there are people that ship their cars overseas to drive it - sort of like a (lame) achievement; not very much different from my Ironman title. Well, if you are driving something that is inspired by the F22 Raptor Stealth Fighter, you have every right of way to blast down the highway. After all, the safety features in the coupe is said to be two generation ahead of any cars sold by Lamborghini with a carbon fiber monoque body and F1-style suspension system. I bet even F22 do not have that.
Credit to Joe McNally. Photos available here
Here is the video of the LP700-4 Unveiling at the Geneva Car Show in Feb 2011. My photos above did no justice to the coupe.
My knowledge of cars is limited to what i drive. No way in this lifetime i would be able to own this one - or silly enough to part a big chunk of dough on this. The blog entry above is based on some research using uncle Google. However, i am still in awe of the 700horses under the hood inside the 6.5liter V-12 engine - as this Bull will surely has no where to go in Malaysia traffic jam. So, if you see this Avancio Argos Lamborghini Aventador running down the road next to you - you know it is not just any Lamborghini, but the best possible latest one.
Update Feb 23, 2012
The chap in this following video is having an orgasm while driving the coupe from 0-310km/h. Awesome.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Changing Of Voting Address

I have requested to change my voting address from Ulu Kelang to Damansara Utama in 2011. Luckily i saved the form which i applied for the change at the post office in One Utama (as proof that i did requested for the change)

So, when i still don't see my address/voting constituency changed after almost 6 months, i decided to check with them.
No changes on the area of voting. I been voting here for the past THREE General Elections since i turned legal age (1999, 2004, 2008).
Then, i scroll down and saw that my application was rejected due to protest from the constituency i request to be moved into.
I queried them on the email/contact list and received an email about a week later, stating that they was no record of my application to change the address. (???) For your info, I have changed my address since moving to Petaling Jaya and has been staying here for the past six years.
So i gave them the benefit of doubts, that the Post Office clerk did not change my address or submit the form officially since 2010 August 2011 (but it is computerised, by the way) and made a second attempt to change my voting address to Damansara Utama again, at the Section 14 Post Office.
A short wait (they have grown very efficient nowadays - WELL DONE!) and i presented my IC to them for verification.
"Cik baru mendaftar ke?", the clerk asked (me if i just registered as a voter)
"Takdelah, dah tiga kali mengundi", i told the clerk (that i have voted three times)
"Tapi sini kata masih belum disahkan", the clerk said (that i am not a verified voter)
No kidding!?
Now, from not able to change my voting address, i am apparently not a verified voter! What is happening? I will now scan all the documents and will send it to SPR to query them on this abnormality. Short of going to SPR in Putrajaya, i am really hoping this could be solved online in this age and time. I find this rather disturbing.
Will i be able to vote in the coming General Election? Will I ever get to change my voting constituency?
My advice is if you are in the same predicament like me, and you want to change your voting address, do so soon and don't always believe what you saw in the SPR website. It is not as simple as filling up a form, but requires follow up every now and then.
What really intrigue me is how i went from being a "VERIFIED" voter to a "NON-VERIFIED" voter!
With General Election coming, best to ensure your rights as a citizen eligible to vote, remains as such. Looked like a simple "i want to change my voting area" has become "please verify me as a voter, again"!!!
Update Feb 22, 2012 10.58am
I sent an email and also an online query to SPR separately to ask them to check on this abnormality. With the increased efficiency by the government agencies, i am sure i will get a reply in within the next 5 working days. I will await the reply and will post it up here again. Stay tuned.

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