28 August 2007

Flu Season

I've been having a mild flu since last week, and with the arrival of the monsoon season it's not getting any better! Thought of getting vaccinated but apparently there are many undocumented side effects (increased risk of cancer anyone?) and it's only temporary. The central air-conditioning at my office isn't helping either!

The worst flu "tag-along" symptom is the cough. I haven't had a cough for years but it decided to say hi to my lungs on the way out, and last night I woke up twice due to an annoying bout of cough. *Hack! Hack!*

24 August 2007

Blame the Pothole.. or the A**hole?

Well, I don't really consider him to be an a*hole, but it just rhymes with pothole. Just in case the link disappears (emphasis is mine):

Pothole that cost a life

JOHOR: It cost a life to get a pothole patched up. 

Tan Cheng Ming, 20, was riding pillion on a motorcycle last Friday at 4am when the machine hit a pothole that was about as wide as a manhole and 5cm deep. 

The impact caused Cheng Ming to be thrown off the motorcycle, and he sustained head injuries upon landing. He was rushed to the Sultan Ismail Hospital but died there. 

His friend, Tam Tok Wei, 20, who was driving, escaped with minor injuries while the motorcycle was barely damaged except for some scratches and a bent front wheel. 

Cheng Ming's father, Robin Tan, said the Johor Baru City Council (MBJB) patched up the pothole in Jalan Daya, Taman Daya, about two days after the accident. 

"When there is a loss of life, only then will they act. We have to bring this up to the authorities, because we don't want others to lose their loved ones, too. 

"The street lights along that road are also not so bright as they are shaded by trees, so the rider might not have seen the pothole at night," Tan told The Star

The 53-year-old taxi driver said that with the exception of highways, many roads in Johor Baru are riddled with potholes. 

Tan said they had started planning for Cheng Ming's 21st birthday celebration next month when the accident occurred. 

"Twenty years of love, and just like that, because of other people's mistake, my son paid with his life," he said.

As I said, I don't really consider him an a*hole, but he died from a head injury. Isn't that what helmets are supposed to protect from? There are only 2 possibilities - helmets are overrated, or that (*gasp!*) he wasn't wearing one!

If he wasn't wearing a simple helmet that would protect him from a simple fall from the bike, does he deserve half the blame? I haven't been involved in a motorbike accident (hopefully never) so I can't comment on how well a helmet will work.

At any rate, condolences to the family for losing a son. Always a hard thing.

22 August 2007


Not the kind of truck you wanna drive behind... Who knows if Nemesis is hiding inside, ready to pounce?

21 August 2007

School's Out, so Driving is Fun!

They really should just ban schools. I'm trying to savour this whole week as the traffic jam has been cut by 70%. I didn't know school-going children is contributing so much to global warming!

20 August 2007

Contents of a Hacks Cough Candy

Those black Hacks candy are so old-school, it's hard not to love them! I have a few lying around so I decided to check out the ingredients listed on the wrapper (all in Malay):
  • Glukosa
  • Sukrosa
  • Mentol
  • Minyak Kayu Putih
  • Minyak Adas Manis
  • Pati Marrub-Marrub
  • Cecair Tolu
  • Sebatian Tinktur Benzoin
  • Pati Tussilag-Tussilag
  • Pewarna yang dibenarkan (Karamel cecair BE45, Pes Hitam H9669)
I've never seen any candy with so many medicinal herbs! At least, that's what I assume from the weird names (tolu, tussilag, marrub...). But in the end, those herbs are worthless because they only form 0.52% of the candy. The contents based on percentage:
  • Glukosa - 63.7%
  • Sukrosa - 35.78%
  • Mentol - 0.18%
  • Minyak Kayu Putih - 0.15%
  • Minyak Adas Manis - 0.11%
  • Pati Marrub-Marrub - 0.03%
  • Cecair Tolu - 0.02%
  • Sebatian Tinktur Benzoin - 0.02%
  • Pati Tussilag-Tussilag - 0.008%
  • Pewarna yang dibenarkan (Karamel cecair BE45, Pes Hitam H9669)
Pati Tussilag-Tussilag must be a super-rare herb! Probably need to hike 40 days and 40 nights to find the plant, plus a sacrificial lamb or two before bringing it back to be formulated in Hacks candy.

Jokes aside, I'm concerned about "Sebatian Tinktur Benzoin". Isn't benzoin some kind of alcohol? And not the overpriced ones they charge at bars either.

17 August 2007

Cheated! Part 2

Lacking anything interesting to blog, let me just extend my criticism of Hotlink's SMS Super Savers.

The question that begs to be answered is, "Who sends 400 SMSes in a day?" More specifically, between 1am - 7pm (the only time it is active). In fact, I think most people never send messages while they are asleep from 1am to whatever time they wake up.

Take the average case of someone who wakes up at 7am (me!). That means I have 12 hours to send 400 SMS. A quick calculation* reveals that I need to send 33.33 SMSes every hour, or basically once every 2 minutes. Can YOU type a full SMS every two minutes, for 12 hours non-stop?

Even if I were to stay up from 1am and SMS non-stop, that would require me to send 22.22 SMSes every hour.

So the question is, who would benefit from this? I'll tell you who - SPAMMERS! By unfallible logic, we can deduce that Hotlink supports spammers as they are the only ones who can actually send out that many SMSes per day.

Shame on you, Hotlink.

* On a sad note, I now use Windows Calculator even for the most rudimentary of divisions.

16 August 2007

Trying Hard Not to End Up on WTF

I'm trying to solve a tricky programming problem involving timers, knobs, and acceleration. I can't think of an elegant way yet. I can only hope I don't end up as a Worse Than Failure article.

On a side note I really loved their recent article about The Cool Cam. It's one of the few articles with a happy ending. More importantly it goes to show that bosses must trust their developers sometimes. I'm printing it out and sticking it on my wall!

15 August 2007


I loved Hotlink for its low rates, but now I feel cheated by their SMS Super Savers program. 400 SMS for RM2 - fantastic deal right? But nowhere in the radio ad nor the EasyMenu did it state clearly that it is only valid for one day. Who sends 400 SMS in one day?

14 August 2007

Something's Fishy

It might be triggered by the salmon pizza we had at Itallianes, but last night I had a peculiar dream where I ate 6 large blocks of raw salmon. In real life I hate sashimi, and I avoid them when eating Japanese. But somehow in the dream I was enjoying it, and barely felt the sting from the wasabi (another abnormality).

If you were a dream therapist charging RM50 per hour, what's your analysis?

13 August 2007

I Found My Priceless Moment

I finally found my Priceless moment:
(Warning: Major camwhoring)

For dinner we went to this mamak place Murni SS2. Some pretty interesting combination of dishes. But the Roti Bacon I ordered is overrated. Gary joined us there but I forgot to take another group picture. Also missing from the photos is Jay, who joined us for lunch at Itallianes and then took off.

The day went almost as planned, except I forgot to factor in travelling time. I'm too used to Penang, where going anywhere takes 15-20 minutes max. But it took us almost 45 minutes to get from Pudu to 1U. Lesson learned.

P.S. I tagged this under "Family", cause that's what they are to me. :)

10 August 2007

The Farewell of Friends

I don't know how many of my ex-coursemates are reading this, but this is just to inform them that Joe has passed away. I just got a call from his sister.

I'm too shocked to react emotionally.

When I visited him at his house on CNY he looked much much better.

For those who want to attend his funeral service, it'll be this Sunday morning starting from his house.

The Value of Friends

I'm going down to KL tomorrow to meet up with my ex-coursemates. I miss them *thaaaaat* much! I have promised to visit several times but the catalyst that made me go was Alvin. I wrote about him several times. He got a job in Singapore and will be moving there next month.

I'm extremely happy for him as I have great respect for him as a programmer. Hell, I don't mind admitting I did several projects with him so that I don't have to touch any source code. Yeah, that shows how good he is. And how well I'm suited to management (bwahahah!).

Singapore is just another 600km from KL, but it's different, separating us by two seas. I'm gonna miss him.

08 August 2007

Does Not Qualify As A MasterCard Ad

Car repair - RM323
Insurance premium - RM405
Nike shoes - RM270
Credit card bill - RM350
Upcoming KL Trip - RM100+-
Upcoming Cameron Trip - RM200+-

But... where's my "priceless" moment? Mana?

07 August 2007

New Shoes

Wow, Paolo Nutini's star fizzled out faster than you can say "supernova". I heard his song "New Shoes" on the radio for several weeks and then... nothing. Anyway this post isn't about the song, it's about my new Nike Air Edge!

At RM270 it is the most expensive shoe I have bought, but the search for this shoe did not come easy.

I've been looking for a good pair of cross-training shoes not long after I started teaching. I read up on some websites and found that running shoes are not suitable at all for doing aerobics and gym work (unless you only run on the treadmill). But look around any gym and you'll find 90% of people wearing running shoes to do their heavy lifting and aerobic classes. I can personally attest that this is probably due to ignorance.

You see, running shoes are running shoes because they are optimized for, well, running! (That was an example of how you can lengthen your blog posts) Running shoes allow you to move forwards comfortably, and part of this is to make your foot naturally roll outwards in each step.

This becomes a problem in heavy weight lifting and aerobics. Especially in heavy weight lifting, you want to have an equal distribution of force on your feet, not just the outside. Using running shoes put you at risk of improper form, which in turn risks serious injury.

When it comes to aerobics, the diversity of movements (front to back, left to right) mean that running shoes are not suitable as the natural outward roll of your foot can put you off balance. Next time when you're barefoot, try walking side to side on the outside of your feet, and you'll see why you're at risk from ankle sprains. Thus, having a cross training shoe that has lateral stability (stability when moving side to side) is beneficial.

Frankly, I've never had much problem from the Admiral sports shoes I bought last year, but now that I'm an instructor (ahem) I think maintaining proper form and being a good example is of paramount importance. Plus I wouldn't want to sprain my ankle while doing lateral movements. That would be so UNCOOL.

At first the Nike Free 7.0 caught my eye but they ran out of my size (UK 11 for those of you looking for my birthday present...)

Another shoe that I fancied after looking around was the Nike Free 5.0:

It felt very soft and comfortable. When I put it on it felt as if I'm almost barefoot, but it also felt kinda tight and strange. So I didn't buy it and went home to do some research. Apparently this "cross training" shoe is optimized for running, and is meant to simulate barefoot running. Luckily I didn't buy it! Or it's be back to square one.

I only saw my current shoe the third time I went looking. This time I was more knowledgable about what I should be looking for. I initially hated shoes with leather but now I understand it gives the shoe rigidity and stabilizes the foot. After trying a pair of tennis shoes (not flexible!), the salesgirl recommended me the Air Edge.

Suffice to say I fell in love with it the moment I slipped it on. Talk about a Cinderella match! It is my first Nike shoe and now I know why they're so popular. It's not just the upward curve logo, guys. In fact, it was so comfortable I didn't need to break in to the shoe - no chafing or crampness at all.

The only thing I needed to get accustomed to is the feel of the shoe. As weight is more evenly distributed it uses different leg muscles and my posture has to shift slightly as well. But once I get that down I'll be unstoppable!

P.S. Today's long post is to buffer up the past few days disappearance. Been pretty busy. Could be quiet the next few days too.

02 August 2007

Cardio Dance Videos Part 2-3

Final video post this week!

Track 8: BodyJam 39 Dance4Life Part 1

The cardio block in BodyJam 39 is actually quite short if you cut out the fillers, and that's why I decided to start easy by teaching this first. I'll be cutting out the final few songs, and extending the third song to cover the whole choreo. This video just shows the first song (Faith Evans - Mesmerized) as I have yet to learn the next two songs.

Track 9: Cooldown

Normally choreography is done using pop hits. I must clarify that this is the other way round. I used Amy Winehouse's Rehab as a cooldown song before most Malaysians even heard her name. I knew the infectious "no, no, no" chorus would be a great call-out, but apparently my participants are too jaded to shout it out this week -_-

01 August 2007

Cardio Dance Videos Part 2-2

Today's videos consist of a Step track and a aerobics peak track.

Track 7: Girls Aloud - Something Kinda Oooh

I did the choreo wayyy before I knew BodyStep 68 was using that song too, so this is definitely a coincidence. I simplified the choreo by quite a lot. The 'around the world' move is supposed to go both ways but looking at how they're still getting confused (poor cueing maybe?) I only start it from the right.

Track 8: Rob Thomas - This is How A Heart Breaks

This choreo is heavily inspired by BodyStep 64's peak track (same song, different remix). I wanted to create a non-step peak song but didn't know how so I changed the single taps to skis instead. I got lost (again!) in the middle when I did the easy option and I forgot how to join back with the normal option. See if you can catch me wincing with embarrassment. Well, I haven't done it for a while so I'm forgiven, right?