30 June 2005

Time After Time

I recently discovered Eva Cassidy, a great singer who died from melanoma at the age of 33. Her voice is like a songbird, and she does great covers of old hits. My absolute favourite is her rendition of Time After Time, Cyndi Lauper's hit song. It sounds much more soulful and poignant. Try to look for it if you can.

Time After Time
Lying in my bed I hear the clock tick,
And think of you
Turning in circles confusion
Is nothing new
Flashback to warm nights
Almost left behind
Suitcase of memories,
Time after

Sometimes you picture me
I'm walking too far ahead
You're calling to me, I can't hear
What you have said
And you say go slow
I fall behind
The second hand unwinds

If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you I'll be waiting
Time after time

If you fall I will catch you I'll be waiting
Time after time
Time after time

After your picture fades and darkness has
Turned to grey
Watching through windows I’m wondering
If you’re OK
And you say go slow
I fall behind
The drum beats out of time

If you're lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you I'll be waiting
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you I'll be waiting
Time after time
Time after time

mmm…time after time
Oooh…time after time
Time after time

Thank You For Your SMS, WF

It's a great relief to read your SMS. I can now resume my normal life.

In other news, my term as Vice Secretary of Buddhist Society is coming to an end next Wednesday. I am kinda relieved it's finishing, but my President is asking that I stay another year. I of course decliened due to the coming Final Year, but I can't get that nagging feeling out of my heart that I should continue propogating Buddhism.

It's been my principle that I must do what's right, not what's convenient. However, this time, I must do what's right for me, not what's right for the society. I'm sorry, guys!

Not in the Mood

Every year, the college Leo Club will organize the Lecturer's Award Presentation. Last year was the first time and it was a huge success. I didn't go then, but seeing as how it well it went I had planned to go to the 2nd installment tonight. However, I finally chose not to. Partly because of the sad event that just came to light, and partly because of my unfinished assignments.

29 June 2005

Sudden Storm

It came suddenly. This morning, about 6.50am, a rain storm woke me up. It has been a long time since I experienced a storm, as we have been experiencing quite a drought this year. Even if it rained in the past, it wasn't very heavy. But this morning, Mother Nature showed its full works - heavy rain, thunder, lashing wind, etc.

It came suddenly. I learned yesterday that a friend of mine is really sick. And it's beyond cure.

Just, suddenly.

28 June 2005

Why I Stay In The Closet

No, not literally, of course.

As I celebrate my blog reaching the big two-oh-oh without needing my intervention (I swear!), I would like to share with you a bit of myself. As you might notice from the blog, there is very little personal information about the author. I try not to reveal too much, especially concerning my friends. And you don't see any photo of anything now, do you?

I'm sure some of you Curious Charlies\Charlenes are thinking, why does ZemieN keep such a tight lid on his life? Is he:

    An alien?
    Just forging his entries and copying it from someone else?
    Leads an enitrely different life during the day as a superhero, but turns into a geek at night?
    Wanted by the FBI, CIA, DOD, and your local mata-mata?

why? Why? WHY?

The answer: I'm just lazy.

Do you know the sheer amount of work I have to go through to take photos, edit them, and upload it onto some adware-infested service? If I didn't leave anything to your imagination, I would need some real JPEGs to show off what I'm describing about. Therefore, I keep things vague and talk about events, rather than people or places.

Someday, somehow, I will emerge from the closet, baring EVERYTHING.

That is a promise.

Lullaby Lecture & Warm Waffle

A student fell asleep during this morning's lecture. Worse, he snored. The best part? He was sitting in front.

I haven't heard anyone snore in class, though I suppose that can't be helped. Of course, I've been guilty of catching a few winks during boring lectures myself, but to expose your misdemeanour in front of everyone, especially the lecturer is just too much.

I don't know him that well, because he just joined the lectures around 2 weeks ago. He was supposedly a resit student. These two facts do not give a good impression on him. First, you fail your exam. Then, you don't even come to class for the first half of the semester.

Anyway, after class I milled around the trade fair to see who to support today. Of course, mill is not the proper term as one could not walk slowly around the concourse without getting swamped by promoters. It's just scary. One must either stick in groups (safety in numbers), or dash through the carnival quickly.

I decided to buy the waffles as I have not had it for a long time. I love it when they put kaya (coconut jam?) on top and fold it up, so I ordered that. Of course, first I had to vie for their attention as they were somehow blind to this one customer standing in front of them. Then they used one that was already on the chopping board, so that means it won't be steaming hot. Halfway through applying the kaya, they suddenly told me I had to choose another topping as (so they say) this kaya does not go well with the waffle. Whatever happened to "The customer is always right"? Annoyed, I asked what other choices there were. Unexcitingly, they were blueberry, chocolate, and peanut butter. I didn't like those 3 so I said if it's so then I'll have to pass. They finally relented and said I'll get my kaya waffles.

Well, I did get it, and paid a hefty RM2 for a warm starchy waffle. Seriously, I have yet to eat something truly delicious in this trade fair. Most are all flash without substance.

27 June 2005

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Teenagers are lazy nowadays, and it brings me pleasure to see young people putting in their effort to do things that were never required of them. One such example are the trade fairs held every semester in college. Business students will open up stalls and sell things. Mostly deal with food but some aim for niche markets.

I always buy something from the fair (though not from every single stall) to show my support. This time was no different. There were actually more stalls now than last sem, but... from the things that I have bought, the food is more expensive and less tasty. They are also starting to employ bizarre marketing techniques that have nothing to do with the product. One event went all out by having the female students dress up as pseudo-Hawaiian Bunny Girls, with matching pink ears and straw skirts. But they were selling Chinese herbal drinks (tong sui), not Playboy magazines!

Other items, like the muar chee is overpriced at RM2. The curry puff and egg tart is OK at RM1 each, but I don't fancy the other things. I'll probably go back tomorrow for the bak chang, which, at RM3 is also expensive but something which I know will be nice. Now, if only they had moon cakes...

Oh! The Sweet Taste!

For the first time in more than a year, I sunk my teeth into a delicious bowl of cereal and milk. Wow, that sure brings back memories! I used to have this as a breakfast during my schooling days, and I do miss it.

The cereal (Honey Stars) have been bought for about half a year, but I never had the chance to take it as my fridge (ok, ok, cooler) wasn't with me at the time. But now it is, and I bought those 6-pack milks and cut one open for each bowl. Sure, the costs are quite high, but it was worth it.

26 June 2005

No Longer A Star

Statistically speaking, I only buy one newspaper a year while I'm studying. I get updated on what is happening locally via The Star Online website, and it was working fine until.... the online edition turned 10 years old. They went out on a massive redesign that was even worse than the last one.

The last one, from a user-centered design perspective, is too cluttered. There was quite an information overload, but the new edition outdid itself by having too much whitespace. Perhaps they were trying to minimize the cluttered look, but the content is still too packed together in some areas... and too far apart in other areas. This creates an unbalanced view, and my eyes never know where to focus on.

Don't get me started on their navigation bar. The old one had at least 3 distinct navigation bars on its homepage. That was bad. The new one had only one distinct navigation bar on its homepage (good) but they made them into drop-down menus (BAD). Drop-down menus disappear whenever the mouse moves away, and the user is forced to memorize the contents under each section. Worse, I don't know where to find the Columnists section, as I need my weekly fix of Mary Schneider's But Then Again columns.

(Sigh) Overall, a great disappointment. If you are a webmaster of the Star Online website, do contact me for consultation services :P I'm beginning to sound like Jakob Nielsen, the father of web usability.

To Do What Must Be Done

David and I finally got our lazy butts up to do some cleaning up. We have neglected our room for the past 3 weeks, and it's starting to look like it.

Top 3 Reasons Your Room Needs Cleaning:
3 - You wake up to find yourself covered with dust from the ceiling fan.
2 - Cockroaches avoid your room as they'll get stuck to the floor.


1 - Indiana Jones comes in to look for hidden treasure.

So, we did a complete job of cleaning the fan, windows, tables, and the floor. It took us less than 1 hour what we have been dreading for 3 weeks. Ah, the crippling power of housework.

C'mon People! You Can Do Better!

It's already the 25th, for goodness sake! My hit counter stands currently at 181. I managed to top 100 visitors last month, and I plan to do so again. So c'mon my dear readers, I'm sure you can do better than that! Come more often! It's not like I update once every 5 years!

Do me proud, or I'll be forced to 'F5' my way up to number '200' before the midnight of the 30th.

Yes, I'm that sad.

Long Time No See, Ronald

Most of my friends left me alone to go to Midvalley Megamall. I don't really mind, at least Alex is still around. I haven't gone out with him for weeks, so we had a nice time catching up over dinner at McDonalds. I tried their Grilled Chicken Foldover for the first time, and I gotta say, it's the first time I felt full after eating any of their burgers. Even the apple pie (yummy!) had to wait till I got back.

I don't really like to go to McDonalds as it doesn't really allow me to keep to my vegetarian diet (unless you count the porridge + pie + sundae as a meal). Plus, the documentary Super Size Me has got me really scared, and I only go to the Golden Arches once every 3 months or so. You should reallly watch it if you can. It's not officially available in Malaysia, but I'm sure you'll find ways to fulfill your needs.... ;)

Progressed quite well in my assignment. Plan to finish the question by tonight so I can focus on another subject's assignment tomorrow. Man, the work is surely heading towards me now! To make things harder, I've filled up almost 50GB of my new hard drive with boundless entertainment options! The L Word, Queer As Folk, Lost, The O.C., CSI... all of them are beckoning me closer towards my demise!

25 June 2005

Pungent Fingers

In Mahayanese Buddhism, one is urged, or shall I say, forbidden to eat any of the 5 Pungent Spices. This includes onions, garlic, and 3 others that I don't remember. The reason is the smell of the spices repel devas and attract hungry ghosts, plus it acts as an aphrodisiac. In short, it deters one's cultivation and practice.

Well, if that was true, then my left finger tips must be a new attraction for ghosts. I can still faintly smell the onion and garlic my left hand touched during the cooking competition on Wednesday. It is pretty strange as I have cooked with those two spices before, but I don't remember having their smell linger for more than a day. Plus I use Protext antibacterial shower cream everyday... what's happening?

And also, I'm going to change browsers to Mozilla Firefox. I've been a staunch supporter of Opera for many years now, but lately the new versions are getting out of hand. It's been incurring 100% CPU uitlization plus its eating up more RAM every second, even when I'm not doing anything! From the Windows Task Manager, I can see that Opera is now taking up 69,352K of memory. Oops, it's now 68,800K. Nope, it has just increased to 69,000K. All this is unreasonable, ESPECIALLY IF IT'S NOT DOING ANY PROCESSING! Even as I'm typing this entry into the browser, it takes about 1 second for my pressed keys to bceome alphabets on the screen.

We've come a long way, Opera, but the fat lady has sung, so it's over. Welcome, Firefox!

24 June 2005

Gigabyte Heaven

Sorry I didn't post for the past couple of days. I was caught up in some work and also gigabyte heaven. It's a kind of sickness that only happens when a person buys a new larger hard disk. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I just got myself a 120GB external hard disk. I bought it from the pseudo-ICT fair here in my college. I know it will be more expensive than Low Yat, but the time and money saved on travelling is priceless. So the final price is RM400. I had set a target on RM380, but he wouldn't budge below RM400, and the fact is, I'm not a good negotiator. If I were to compare myself with Dad, he would be on top. I would be so below you wouldn't see me.

Anyway, I spent the whole of yesterday configuring the device and going on a downloading mania. There is a problem with the USB cable supplied - it doesn't work all the time. I shall be exchanging this later. But once I got it to work, I began filling it up with multimedia junk - complete seasons of The L Word, Lost, The O.C., Smallville and lots of other movies finally found a home with me. I'm now running Azureus and getting up to speed with the latest episodes of CSI and Queer as Folk.

Of course, the main reason I got the hard disk was for backup purposes. So during the weekend I'll be using Ghost to create a nice snapshot of my system so I can come back to it in the future.... if any LiveCDs screw me again.

Speaking of being screwed, I have had no time at all to study for the test today. It's going to be at 2pm, and here I am still typing this. The hard disk is partially to blame, my lack of self-control lately might also be responsible. I mean, I actually contemplated on eating a beef burger last night at 11pm! That's just way off!

And what about the singing performance we were supposed to do? It appears something has happened to the venue, and the people we were performing for had to cancel the event. Which really bums me, because I lost my solo opportunity, and we've spent more than 8 hours practicing... when I could be doing my long-due assignments.

And speaking of assignments.... I'm screwed there as well. Sigh.....

On another strange note, David's old Nike shoes were stolen yesterday! I have no idea who wants it either. Probably the foreign cleaners, but it would be too convenient to blame them for every social ill we have now, isn't it? At any rate, David's upset, but I look at it as the fruition of karma. Oh well, only he knows what he has done...

22 June 2005

Wait... That Doesn't Look Right...

Have I told u guys that I joined a cooking competition today? Well, now you know. David and I competed with 7 other teams to emerge, surprisingly, in 5th placement, bagging ourselves a consolation goodie bag.

This was pretty surprising because we didn't manage to cook exactly what we had planned. As I said, there were a total of 8 teams, but there were only 4 sets of cooking utensils. Therefore, we split into two sections. David and I were Team 8, so we got to sit out during the first round and plan our dish. We were throwing ideas off each other as we surveyed what we were given. We were provided with oil, sugar, salt, cornflour, soya sauce, and oyster sauce. For ingredients, we had a small chicken breast fillet, garlic, onion, carrot and tomato. Off at the side were some spring onions, lemons, ginger, green bell pepper, and eggs that we could take if we wanted. There was a limited amount of each, and that became a problem as we didn't manage to get the ginger needed to make our.... ginger fried chicken.

So we quickly changed recipes on the spot. Instead of ginger we'll just have to go with onions. Generally what we did was to fry the chicken in 2 different batters - one with flour and another with egg. It was David who suggested the double batter thing, and while it impressed a judge, I still don't quite get the point of it. There were some panicky moments in between, such as the time when I realized our golden brown chicken turned black when fried with egg and onion. Furthermore, we were the last group to put our dish on the table, and I only prepared the sauce in the final minute. David got a sauce recipe from his mum, but what he produced looked like water plus mud, so I quickly minced some garlic and stirred in the chilli sauce. That worked pretty well.

We also had to give a name to our creation, and I had to pull something out of my ass and name it (drumroll please) "Flavours of the Orient". I figured that since it contained a rojak of everything easternly, might as well call it that. Though a little corny, it sounded better than other names such as "Confusion", "Honeymoon", and "Mummy's Recipe".

When the winner announcement came about, surprises were abound. Obviously, the first group called out for the Consolation prize was us. But the second consolation prize was also a surprise as it went to "Confusion". I seriously thought they would clinch the top spot, as their decoration was really nice, and the chef acted in a very professional manner. However, when the event ended and we finally went to try out each other's creations, I discovered that Confusion was too salty where there was too much oyster sauce dabbled on it. But I'm also surprised that the first prize winner's dish tasted surprisingly mediocre. I think our dish tasted more unique, but we definitely lost out because of the decorations.

For all our effort, we got a Lee Kum Kee (they were the main sponsors) goodie bag containing...

1. Large bottle dark soya sauce
2. Large bottle oyster sauce with dried scallops
3. Sauce sachet for Black Pepper chicken
4. Sauce sachet for Sweet and Spicy Beef Ribs
5. Cook show VCD

Obviously all that stuff is worth more than the RM3 entry fee. I am really happy that we did pretty good for something I'm experimenting for the first time. As a celebration, I'll be cooking Black Pepper chicken this weekend for my friends, using the free sauce of course. And since I'm not constrained with the 30 minute time limit, I'll put more effort into doing a special popiah as well.


Inconsiderate Bastards

We practiced singing till 11pm at one of the society member's apartment next door. I never knew what time the power came back, as everything was back to normal when I returned. It was a tiring practice session, and the singers weren't very disciplined - people were moving to their own beats all the time. There were a few close moments where I wanted to step up and take control of the group, but that would be disrespectful to the leader, although she has declared her frustration out loud.

But I'm not talking about those inconsiderate bastards. No, I met another three when I came back. I heard professional singers rely on honey for their clear voice (and probably a few shots of dope as well). So I went to the pantry to prepare a glass of warm honey to soothe my vocal cords. When I went there I was shocked to find the kitchen sink faucet on full blast, and the tap water was overflowing from the mug that was placed underneath it.

There were two other residents there, both from China (you can figure out from their accent). I initially thought it was one of them, but by the time I filled my cup with hot water, neither one did anything. I scooted over to the sink and turned off the tap.

How stupid and inconsiderate! First, the guy who left it running without even taking his own cup, and Second, the two Chinese who went on chatting with each other as if nothing was out of place! I'm more infuriated with the Chinese, because they were so non-chalant. That is why the environment is getting worse! It is no wonder that both of them were smoking at that time.

It is also true with a particular water fountain around the college. The button was malfunctioning, so the fountain won't stop unless you manually pull it out. But I've passed by it countless times when the water was gushing out non-stop, and I had to take the initiative to pull it out myself. My goodness, I can't imagine what kind of effort they put into their life and studies if they can't do a simple thing as appreciate free water and just spend 10 joules of energy to stop the water they drank. It's not like they're not having enough to eat or anything...

These reflections really make for a bad closing to the day. I'm gonna leave my rant here, and take my peaceful self to sleep. Zzzzz....

21 June 2005

Lights, Fans, Off!

So there I was in my room, practicing my solo part for this Thursday's performance when the power went off. Not just my room, but the whole freaking college was plunged into darkness. This is the first time a blackout has happened this semester. Last semester, the power was cut off a record-breaking 3 times. Rumours are rife that the management has not been paying their power bills, but I highly doubt that.

At any rate, I was heading out to singing practice. It's held in a separate building from the accommodation area, so it is possible that there is still power over there. Either way, we're singing it acapella, so we don't really need the CD player. But then again, how are we gonna read the lyrics?

20 June 2005

Petaling Street Here I Come!

I'm not referring to the K.L. Chinatown, but to Project Petaling Street (http://www.petalingstreet.org) a Malaysian website about Malaysian bloggers for Malaysians. You can know when a new post has appeared on some of the most influential and funny blogs in Malaysia. I've just recently joined, and I hope I can be noticed by more people, and also to find out what others read about.

I'm currently addicted to Kenny Sia's blog (www.kennysia.com). Most of the top bloggers in Malaysia are funny or influential or interesting. I'm half-funny, sometimes-interesting, and not-influential.

But hey! That's me - a blog for the uninspired.

19 June 2005

Happy Father's Day

To my Dad, a very happy Father's Day! You have been a pillar of strength of my life. And on looking back, I realized how true that was. I can't imagine how scary it would be for you when Mum left, and you were stuck with me. I was your first-born - you wouldn't be very experienced in bringing children up. But you strived on, and my success today is a testament to your ability in making the right choices for me when I was younger.

No words, actions or thought can ever repay your deeds. And I truly love you!

P.S. And thanks for approving of my plan to purchase an external hard disk. Hehe =)

The Lost Post

(This post was recovered from my Palm after the 'aftermath')

Right now, I surely hope that all successful people have to go through lots of silly mistakes and stupid decisons, coz boy oh boy, I've made one today.

Being a curious computer student, I'm interested in learning Linux. And the safest way to do that is to use LiveCDs, a miraculous technology that fits an entire Operating System onto a single CD. Basically, you can boot Linux from that CD and use it as if it was installed already. When you are bored you could just reboot and go back to the safety of Windows.

The basic premise of LiveCCDs is that it won't need a hard disk, so it is not supposed to modify it unless explicitly told to. I've tried a few LiveCDs, like Knoppix, Puppy Linux, and Ubuntu.

Then, last night I downloaded Linspire. It is a mistake I'll never forget. The details are hazy, but when I was booting it up the second time (first time was fine) the loading process hung. It is a normal thing to happen, and usually a restart is all that is needed. However, when I tried restarting to Win XP, it showed the dreaded message:

NTLDR is missing

Any good technician will tell you that those 3 words spell "fuck". I'll save you the gory details, but the bottomline is that all my files are gone, and GoBack could not help no matter how many times I restored to an earlier time.

So in the end I had to reinstall Windows, all my software, search back all the sources I found for my assignments, and redownload all those TV series (Smallville, Lost, QAF, L Word..). A very bleak evening indeed.

I of course threw the Linspire LiveCD away, but it still remains that it was one of the better Linux distros, and I won't mind installing it for good on my PC. But I just can't trust their LiveCD ever again.

Servis Tergendala...

Sesuatu telah berlaku kepada komputer saya semalam. Pendek kata, saya terpaksa reformat cakera keras komputer saya dan memuat turun semua filem TV sekali lagi. Ini memang satu pengalaman yang amat menyedihkan. Walaupun begitu, saya berasa syukur bahawa semua kerja rumah saya telah pun dibackup dalam pen drive. Tetapi, masih banyak lagi fail-fail yang berguna telah hilang...

Alright, enough of Malay for today. That was the first complete paragraph of Malay I've written in a very long time. I have a more detailed post regarding what happened stored in my Palm, but I may not get it back if I do not restore all my handheld software correctly, so I'll update here again once I have my machine singing back the same tune.

BTW, we had our Old Folks Home visit today. It went pretty well but we were overwhelmed by the amount of work. We couldn't do a lot of the interacting parts and used up most of our time focusing on the sprucing up process. I'm still glad we went, and it was my first time holding a paintbrush (a real one, not one in Photoshop) since my Kemahiran Hidup days. Ahh... the smell of thinner...

But my formal job description is as the photographer, and I borrowed two 256MB CF cards from David to complement my own 256MB card so that I could take more videos. And I certainly did. The sun was out in full force, which was good for drying up the paint but not so good for me. Lucky I managed to avoid moving around big and heavy stuff. Some commented that I was in such a comfortable role, but I digress. Taking a photo extends beyond pressing the shutter.

17 June 2005

Ooh That Feels Good!

Heard from my friend Joey about a really good car wash nearby. Went there this morning, and he was right!

For RM9, they will manually foam wash your exterior including your tires, followed by your car mat. They will vacuum the carpet, and really wipe all windows and mirrors clean with a little cleaning solution. Finally, a little wax shine on the dashboard and a few bursts of air fresheners gave my car a new lease on life. Even I don't get such good treatment! I like the effort they put into it, unlike the cheap car wash machines where all the colourful spinning sponges only scratch the paintwork.

I like and appreciate my car, but I'm not crazy about automobiles like most males. That may explain why I haven't washed my car for 7 weeks already.


I had a very disconcerting experience in the toilet today. Since I still have a little of my flu left, I opted to take hot showers in the morning. As usual, there'll be other people waiting to use that single shower stall with the water heater, especially if it's close to class time (8am, 10am, 12pm...).

Anyway, after showering I'll go brush my teeth, fix my hair, apply deodorant, and shave. That's my usual morning routine anyway. This morning, though, there was this Indian guy waiting for his turn for the hot shower. He was standing about 5 feet behind me, but from the mirror I can see that he's eyeing me, and the person standing to my right as well. That was so damn disconcerting! I could hardly go about my business. And one point, he got tired of looking at me and turned to face the other side of the mirror. He undid the towel wrapped around his waist and admired his own body and 'package', which was safely tucked in his briefs. I mean, I do it sometimes too, but not when there are 2 other people in the same place!

Mr. Narcissistic rewrapped his towel (phew!) and turned his attention back to me. He did this indirectly by watching my reflection from the side mirrors. I could guess by the angle of his eyes that he wasn't gazing into blank space. I finished shaving, and got my freaked-out self back to my room. Lucky we don't stay on the same floors.

16 June 2005

I Have Gone Soft!

I went to the mock interview today. I had to prepare a cover letter & resume to submit in the process. Generally there were some niggling mistakes in my resume as expected, but the highlight was of course the interview itself.

I answered to a panel of 3 people. They asked very predictable questions for about 10 minutes & spent the other 5 commenting on my resume & interview. One comment that stood out for me was that I didn't sound assertive enough. I said all the right things- but didn't sound convincing!

That really hit me hard. I KNOW I can speak well, but where's that part of me that believed it? I still remember my debating days where I ate up my opponents with my sharp tongue. And also that time I gave a talk & managed to get the rapt attention of 80 people.

But it seems that my cultivation & mindfulness has taken that edge away. I barely entertained the audience with my monotonous voice during my talk at the last youth camp. Heck, I even declined to witness an exciting debate by saying that it is pointless to provoke our emotions (something that ALWAYS happens when you watch debates).

My goodness- what happened? I now resolve to be more of a lion's roar, not a cat's meow.

14 June 2005

Those Special Dumplings

Sigh... it's that time of the year again. We Chinese celebrate the Dragon Boat Festival around this time of the year. But I don't care about the boats, I only have my heart set on the rice dumplings (zhong zi in Mandarin and bak chang in Hokkien) that is eaten to mark the festivities.

I really like them, although I know I shouldn't eat too much. But they are only second to mooncakes in my personal list of all-time favourite traditional food. They get pretty expensive around this period as well, from RM3 onwards for a medium-sized one. Luckily, that's where our personal contacts come in.

A few of our friends went home last weekend, and came back bearing a few of these dumplings for u. I know I'm sick right now, but a little won't hurt, right? The girls have volunteered to heat the dumplings up for everyone tonight, so we'll be having our own little celebration later.

I feel much better right now so it's back to the trenches. Otherwise known as the Assignments.

13 June 2005

Two Sickos in The Same Room

It's official - both David and I are sickos.

We both woke up this morning with the flu. It's not serious, thankfully, but I'm experiencing a little of everything - fever, sorethroat, cough, running nose, lethargy... etc. Still haven't got my antibiotics, will drive there after class at 6.

My clique went down to Seremban yesterday evening (minus me) to visit an old friend and also try a famous porridge there. I'm not someone who will travel just to eat overcooked rice, but I played safe and asked them to bring some back for me. They did, and I kept it till this morning for breakfast. It was quite a large portion and had many bits of fish. Overall, it was good. Not great, but good. Not oily and not too salty. But the fish was a little hard at the skin edges - I'm not sure why.

On a positive note, I am now entitled to take those small little yellow pills (Chlorpheniramine) for colds. I like them because they send me straight to sleep about 30 minutes later. Of course, I can't take it during the day, else I'll risk sleeping off in class or driving into a ditch, but it'll help me sleep better tonight.

12 June 2005

Dead Sunday

Woke up this morning with a sorethroat that was worse than yesterday's. Could not sleep well as a consequence. Decided to start my antibiotics. Had 3 pills left from last time. Need at least 10 for a 5-day course. Planned to go to pharmacy to get dosage. Went to 3 pharmacies. All closed. As well as most stores besides food outlets. Could be due to the time (9.30am). Could be due to Sunday. Wasted 30 minutes outside. Returned, feeling dejected. Have to start assignment now.

A fragmented Sunday, this is.

11 June 2005

Recognizing the Power of .NET

That was the theme of the Microsoft .NET Day held at my college today. It was a free seminar organized by the college Computer Club, and it featured 4 sessions. Only one was done by a Microsoft employee (Mr. Lai), but the other 3 was conducted by Microsoft Student Ambassadors from other colleges. They did pretty OK, but the last one was quite lame, undirected, and boring. At any rate, I did learn more about .NET, especially regarding mobile applications and Web Services.

Since it was free, no lunch was provided. There were, however, souvenirs given to those who asks questions. I'll probably get the award for most souvenirs given! I asked three questions, so I got three items. At the end of the last session, there was still a heap of assorted items so when all of us were invited to come down and take what we wanted - I took another 2 items.

So, the final checklist of my plundering adventures:

  1. Keychain

  2. Lanyard

  3. Visual Studio.net Knowledge Pack CD/DVD

  4. HP Post-It notes

  5. O2 Xda II phone marketing gimmick (It's a confusing block that can turn here and there - pointless and useless)

On the downside, I'm having a minor sorethroat. It's not tonsilitis yet, so I'm bearing it with it until it (hopefully) settles by itself. But I'm ready to act anytime by buying my usual treatment of Augmentin antibiotics. I wanted so much to swim today, but it's really not advisable when I'm having my sorethroat. Plus, I've got my assignments to start on.

Argh, welcome home, Stress.

Argh! Those Egyptian Schemers!

I hate the guts of the people who plan up pyramid schemes. Even more, I loathe the people who try to reel me into their grand plans of achieving the target of two subscribers. As I was walking back from campus just now, I bumped into a person I knew from my swimming class last semester. I wasn't particularly fond of him then - he had a habit of not accepting others' views - but I'm definitely not fond of him now. I knew he was one of the so-called converts, and he started talking to me about the 'fantastic' plan. Yeah, right.

But I couldn't shake him off, and he just kept hanging on to me and asking for more of my time saying how this plan doesn't depend on selling (yeah, right) and you need to get only 2 people (yeah, right), and they will work for you (yeah, right).

Finally, I cut him off firmly by saying I had to go, thanks for your time, and good luck. I promptly got the hell out of there.

Well, the tribe has spoken - I'm never conversing with him again. I might give a genuinely fake smile, and perhaps a forced grin, but if he ever tries to sell me his idea, I'd walk out of the conversation.

10 June 2005

Egyptian Building Conspiracies

I'm referring, of course, to pyramid schemes.

These useless schemes can be found in many places, especially places with lots of people who have too much money they didn't earn themselves (read: colleges). I was having my dinner at the college cafeteria when a guy came up to me. He introduced himself and started telling me about this scheme. He showed me his card, and I immediately recognized the company's name as the one that has been circulating around the hostel DC++ network. They were holding a seminar on how to make tons of money while doing nothing at a nearby hotel. He was explaining how they will sell things, etc but I have already tuned out by then. I said that I was busy and he asked me to visit the Flash presentation on his website.

The fact that these short-lived schemes keep on appearing is because there are people gullible enough to join it. They make most of their income from the sign-up fees paid by Ordinary Joe and Boring Jill. Of course, there ARE people who can earn a lot of money.... but I am pretty sure that they have a lot of acquaintences and very few friends.

If anyone of you know me personally, please be informed that I'll keep a 10 feet distance from you if you EVER try to enrol me in these schemes. Be forewarned.

I Am SO Gonna Cry!

Not for a sad reason, oh no.... My heart is just SO ELATED!

I have just found a heavenly slice of software, and it's called Java Gui Builder. It allows spoiled programmers, such as myself, to create the GUI for our Java program by dragging and dropping objects. This is very similar to what Visual Basic does (and is famous for).

I am SO SO SO happy because I never knew it existed - even Sun's own IDE software sucks at placing GUI objects. Plus it's free! This software deserves more recognition than it gets, as it does put Java in a better position as a quick development tool.

This is gonna help me so much in my assignment where I have to build a software. I had some reservations about telling my coursemates, but I am reminded to be selfless by the Buddha - so I'm gonna proclaim the good news later!

Speaking of Buddhism, there is a new english music group called Messengers of Dhamma. I heard they're really good (and modern) but I have yet to listen to any of their tracks. I am currently downloading their sample MP3s. I do hope this will push a revolution in English Buddhist hymns. Victor Wee & his Wayfarers have been around for far too long.

09 June 2005

Reading the Newspaper

In my 1+ year studying here, I've only bought the daily newspaper twice. Yes, that's right. The first was last year, and the second was today. I hardly have time (and money) to read the RM1.20 newspapers everyday. Even back home where the paper arrives daily, I do not go it through cover to cover - there's just too much stuff to do!

I get my news reports either through a local news portal or the Yahoo! News RSS feeds. Even my daily comics come via my RSS aggregator.

Anyway, I bought the newspaper for a specific reason. I wanted to look through the Jobs section to find a job advertisement that fits my future skillset. I'm not planning to apply for any job, of course, but it is for the mock interview organized by my college's career counselling centre. They do this every semester for final year students, but I'm signing up for the 20 minute session now. Better to be safe than sorry, I always say.

One of the things I have to bring is the job advertisement to which I'm applying for. I wanted to be a lecturer, but since the counsellor said that usually lecturers need a Masters degree, I had to look for a simpler job. I'm more interested in the experience, not the job itself.

I am quite surprised and disappointed to see so little job adverts for programmers, system analysts, software engineers, etc. Didn't they all say they are short on IT labour?

Spending RM20 in His Sleep

My roommate, David, is the common teenager that thinks 8am classes are torture. Of course, I'm also a common teenager. The difference is that he has the will to skip those classes if he feels he wants to continue sleeping, while I will get up no matter what.

This semester, he has 4 weekdays with 8am classes. I believe he skips about 2 every week. Like today, he is still in his bed while he should be in class. As every class costs more than RM20, he's just sleeping it away... A real waste, if you ask me.

Of course, the night before, he'll have every intention to go to class. He'll set the alarm and go to sleep early (12am being 'early' for him). But the next morning, he'll snooze the alarm for a few times until he decides whether to go or not. If he decides to sleep, he'll just turn off the alarm, and off he slumbers till 10am.

07 June 2005

Weight Gains & New Resolutions

Some friends and I went for dinner, and after that we drove (more like I drove) to the nearby hypermarket. Don't let the name fool you though, this 'hypermarket' is smaller than most major cities' supermarkets.

Anyway, you know how these places have weight scales that charge about 20 cents? During dinner, the conversation somehow went around the issue of weight gain, and they decided to find out for sure how much they gained. I didn't join them as I was too busy choosing between instant oats and quick cooking oats.

Some of them, especially David, was shocked to learn how much more heavier they are now. He claimed he gained 18kg since he came here, but I doubt that. He has gotten fatter, yes, but not to the point of 18kg! At any rate, most of them made new resolutions to exercise harder (especially David) and even asked me to park a little further so they could walk back to their rooms.

Me? Well, I'm glad to say that since coming here, I've lost 3kg, moving in a totally opposite trend from my friends. :)

05 June 2005

A Very Warm House

Unlike most of my friends, I do have some family members staying nearby my college. My mother's uncle's family stays nearby as he works for Air Asia in KLIA. They are really a distant family so I only visit, like, once a semester just to say hi and have lunch. They've only moved to this area for less than a year, and this evening they invited me to their housewarming open house. Their house is situated in a new township and is a gated community. The architecture is good, and their interior design is even more elegant.

Anyway, I went earlier to help them out. Though it rained heavily this morning, by the time I went there at 2pm it was back to the usual hotter-than-hell weather. I sweated by the time I finished helping them setup the tables under the tent. They asked me to take a shower so I agreed and just lightly showered so I don't smell like fish by the end of the evening. I didn't bring a housewarming gift, so I volunteered my photography services. Turned out it was the only thing that kept me busy as I barely know any of the 100+ guests that streamed it consistently from 4 till when I left at 7.

The hosts catered the food, and it was Malay fare all the way. It wasn't half-bad, really, and the satay was abso-freaking fantastic! Big, juicy, and tender! But the generally-spicy food plus the one piece of durian I was forced to take plus the lack of drinks made me feel uneasy in the throat. Luckily I brought a small bottle of water with me.

All sorts of people came - neighbours, co-workers, friends, and family. Some were quirky too - there was a Datin who claimed that she attended 4 weddings today while there was a girl who had not yet reached puberty but has hair that rivals Sharifah Aini.

I left at 7.05 after saying my thank yous, and almost killed a kitten on the drive back. It just dashed out of the road! Luckily, I breaked in time, but I didn't think it was all that good on my break pads.

04 June 2005

A Close Call...

It was a pleasant Friday morning, and I finally went to the Post Office to send the photo to the crazy lady. I also indulged myself by having Dim Sum for breakfast, and ended up paying RM11.20 for it!

Anyway, I went to class at 2pm and as usual I started feeling groggy halfway through the lecture. Usually when I begin my notes on a new page I will write the date on top. This time, I felt a little strange as I wrote down 3/6/05. There is something about this date....

Oh, shit. It's Mum's birthday!

I barely felt sleepy as I quickly entered a reminder to call her after class. Now I understand why Mum called me 2 nights ago! With the camp and everything occupying my mind, I've misplaced that important date. But then again, I've never been good with people's birthdates. I always fall back on my friends to remind me. But I don't have anyone else to remind me about my parent's birthday but myself.

I quickly made the call and wished her Happy Birthday. Of course, she thought that I had forgotten. And of course I said I didn't.

Hey, a white lie never hurt anyone! But it was a REALLY close call this time.

03 June 2005

Welcome Back, Messenger

Chatting is an on-off pastime of mine, but it's still important for a college student to have an IM client for any quick messages. I used Trillian last semester, and it was great as it could connect to MSN, ICQ, and Yahoo all at the same time. It was definitely better than having 3 separate software open at once.

However, when this semester started, some changes were made to the network and I could not connect to anything when using Trillian. My other friends who used the standalone clients managed to connect normally, but I still resisted installing their latest versions as it will pretty much eat up my RAM and slow down my computer.

But after 5 weeks of not being able to chat has forced me to install MSN Messenger 7.0 yesterday. MSN is now much more popular than ICQ, and most of my peers are using it, so it'll be the one and only one that I use separately. It seems that I can still connect to ICQ with Trillian, but the slowness of Trillian is no longer worth it once it can only connect to one client.

RM5? That's all?

Within my close clique of friends, I'm one of 2 people who have cars. But lately, I don't join them for their get-togethers over dinner, tennis, mamak, etc. So it was inevitable that they do not have enough space in that one car, so sometimes they request to use my car. I always agree reluctantly for various reasons. Today, I was asked for my car again and I just nodded and sounded extra-reluctant. So David (roommate) said that they'll reimburse me on petrol. I of course said that it wasn't necessary, along with the fact that they always offer when I've just filled up my tank.

Anyway, a few minutes back David gave me RM5 and said it was for the petrol they have used. I took it with a silent thank you - David was not someone who took 'No' for an answer. I gave a silent and confused thank you and kept it in my wallet.

But I can't help thinking - RM5? That's all?

Beyond that, petrol was never my concern. Sure, prices are increasing but my main concern when I let them use my car is that they will get into an accident. If anything happens, the situation gets stickier than a boys' PE locker room. I'll have to report back to my father and then there is the issue of who pays for the damages. And obviously, if an accident does happen, I won't be able to trust the car to themselves again, which puts a weight on the whole "friends trust friends" issue.

Thankfully, their record is perfect, but I find myself fearing the worse when I pass them the keys.

02 June 2005

Oh Dear....

Some of our subjects have lab classes, and these lab classes are taught by different tutors. For one particular networking class, the lab tutor has just resigned. He wasn't a very good teacher, but very knowledgable in networking so we hoped that his replacement would have both skills. However, when we found out who the replacement was, everyone in the classroom was caught totally off-guard - it was a former lecturer of ours, who had neither teaching skills nor practical networking knowledge! I was quite disappointed myself, but decided to wait and see.

We had our first lab today, and right from the beginning he fumbled. He didn't even know what the login name and password was! Then we found out that the network settings have been changed and he went around aimlessly enlisting the help of more knowledgable students to resolve the issue. At one point when he was over my shoulder, he referred to a group of students and said that they are already so good that he cannot control them.

Oh dear...

The only consolation to the whole class was that in the last 10 minutes we got to see a cable crimper. I've never seen or used one before so it was quite nice to actually feed the 8 wires into the connector and get a grip of how the process works. Of course, those "networking wizards" would have been bored to death. Indeed, by the end of the class we had two groups of people playing video games.

He actually came over to us and asked us not to install any games. But we were playing Pinball! He has not seen it before, much less played the game. Who has not grown up with computers AND played the built-in Windows games? Seriously! He hasn't even played Solitaire.

On another matter, a minor flu virus is spreading around us. 4 of my coursemates have fallen ill to it. I'm not taking any chances by consuming more Vitamin C and trying to avoid being cooped up in a room for prolonged periods of time.

01 June 2005

Idiot Camera Shop! And Idiot Me!

Remember the crazy lady I mentioned about during the Wesak weekend? Well, yesterday I sent the JPEG, along with 30+ camp photos to this nearby camera shop to be developed. I spoke in my best Mandarin and managed to get the message across that of the 37 photos, 2 has to be printed as 5R. I paid the RM10 deposit and went back. It was my first time trying out this shop, but I hoped that it was better than the other camera shop, which always gets the colour wrong.

I realize now that it's always better the devil you know.

When I went back just now to collect the photos, I was surprised that most of the photos were not the camp photos! He told me that there were 300 over photos inside, and he didn't know which to print. I was puzzled for a moment, and then realized why - my photos were all in the "Photos" folder, and he didn't only look in that folder. There were other folders inside of my various other files, and they had other photos. He wasn't sure what it was that I wanted, but he was smart enough not to print everything as he remembered that I only said 30+ photos.

I then realized why he didn't see the Photos folder - he is using an Epson printer with a CD-ROM connected to it. It has an in-built LCD screen and he's doing all the navigation through that tiny 1.5 inch screen. The software would scan the entire media for photos and not organize them into their original photos, hence causing the confusion. Even when selecting individual photos, the display shows its own labelling such as Photo 158 and not its original filename of, say, IMG_8274.

I helped him choose the correct photos again, and then he asked me to come back later. I walked away feeling frustrated and disappointed, both at the shop for using a home colour printer to do its business and at myself for forgetting to tell him which folder to print from. In my nervousness at conversing in Mandarin I had forgotten about the essential information.

I'm not sure if he would charge me for the 30+ wrong photos that he had already printed. I hope not. I really hope not.

Back at my car, I almost felt like letting them keep the RM10 deposit and not coming back. Sort of like cutting my losses, you know? But integrity ruled the day, and I'll be back at 10pm to get my photos.

One Month Anniversary

Wow, it's almost one month since my first post here, and I'm really glad it breached the 100th visit mark within that period. I'm not sure how many of you are regular readers, but I want to thank anyone who stops by here and is darned enough to snoop around my private life! :P

However, with the completion of my camp, my real college work has taken over my life, and it's time for me to put my 100% into it. Therefore, I'll have less time for this blog and you may see less posts, although I hope to update it as much as possible.

The society is having a Gathering Evening today, an unprecedented event! I'll be emceeing the event in English, although I realize that there are many who are better in Chinese. We don't have much of a choice, as we may be seeing a lot of the Student Body representatives, and they highly encourage the use of English within the campus.

I've had no time to prepare for it, but it is a small-scale event so I'll just talk as I go along, and hopefully be able to entertain as well!