The Martian

The Movie:
Damn good movie, but felt some scenes were gone such as Beck and Johanssen's romance, why Mark stopped communicating with NASA during the journey to the Ares IV MAV. But seeing his face on enjoying Cmdr Lewi's least DISCO music was worth it. Reminds me of BangkokBoi.

The eBook (OK, I might want to buy the real book)
Fills in much of the 'missing' stuff from the movie. But  no Iron Man. The ending was well, not so dramatic compared to the movie.

Watch the movie then read the book and not the other way round. Both complements each other unless the soon to be launched 'Extended Cut' version says  otherwise.

The Martian's 'ARES III' Crew from Blastr

24052016 Getting All Wet in the Dark

I'm starting to adjust to the solitary life (or rather, the things I need to do in the evenings, as a hermit) that sneaks up after office hours. It's very simple really. We stop work at 1730, and I wait in the office for the next hour until my colleague/s, who have transport are ready. I am no longer taking the evening Company Van back because the 1730 slot was gone months ago. I either have to take the 1700 or the 1900 where the latter is usually full. Compared to the simple normal life as a KL-lite I had back home which was to rush home through the evening jam, rush through another evening jam to pick up the kids from their tuition, help with the dinner, and if all is well, hide in the Works room where all my electronics and models are. Or if necessary, suffer through some more jams to go to some Hobby Shops or the Post Office to mail stuff  out. Then again, I usually end up hiding in the room, which is my private little World until midnight where its quiet and I can either concentrate on my stuff or take a nice shower and doze off next to my Wife.

Anyway, by the time they dropped me off, its seven-ish. Provided I did not ask to be off dropped at the Supermarket to top up my food supplies or donate extra cash to other shops. A quick cooking session using the prepared sauces in the freezer and with the pasta boiling in the pot means I can eat by 1930 or so. Unless I wanted to make something extra with the dinner, that is. Watching some movies from the HDD (thank goodness the Samsung has a built-in media player which can play most of the files) and lazing around completes my evening at around half-past nine or thereabouts. Then it's time to start the water heater for my shower while I go through the Laptop to see what else I can do from the day's work before going to bed. Alternatively, I can just do the dinner and start the water heater at the same time but then, I would have to content with lying in the bed for the next three hours. Alone.

And that's usually how I spend my evenings unless there's work or I was at the Supermarket, or some emergency laundry needed quick drying at the Laundromat or well, some other stuff. And basically, that's the most exciting things that can happen i an evening.

At 2135 or so, the power went out.


I hate being in the dark.

At first, I thought the cause was that flickering bulb outside my room or the power socket at the lounge and, who the heck is drilling at night? Quick thinking means the drilling from the neighbours means they have power. As I came to the fuse box, right away I noticed the drilling sound came from the kitchen sink. OK, now I know the source of the problem, I'll deal with that later. Getting power back on is the main priority.

Isolating all the circuit breakers and testing them one by one, I came to the conclusion that there is no power to the unit
(phew!) and it's not my fault (hooray!). As I ventured out half-naked (it was dark and I was too lazy to get my shirt and pants, etc.), I noticed some neighbours were sitting outside talking while the whole block was in darkness. Did I mention that of all the 5 or 6 blocks, mine was the only one that was affected?

I also realised there is a stark difference between a blackout in KL and the blackout here at where I currently staying. In KL, with the power being out, you WILL feel the heat and stuffiness within minutes. But over here, tonight, the was a cool breeze. And in most nights, even if there weren't any, you won't break out in a sweat unless you really work on it. Compared to the place here which is quite near to the sea in the North (OK, about 45km or so away) and living on ground level with other units above me as sunblocks, I'm cool as a cucumber. Things would be very different in KL where we're away from the sea and the closest semblance to the sea was a Port about 40km or so in the Southeast. So, yeah, it's hot like hell and the only way to cool off was to lie on the cold tiles while the mosquitoes feasts on you. Surprisingly, over here, the mosquitoes are the normal ones and they're not really greedy at all. Most of the time, they're just like flies on a holiday. So, actually sitting around or taking the evening stroll can be quite enjoyable.

While the Guards were patrolling and waiting for the SEB to come, I decided to deal with my second problem; the noisy faucet in the kitchen sink. I am not sure why its making that vibrating sound but it's weird. I think its the rubber part that has failed or something as the faucet was really hard to close. I really had to push it tight to stop the water. Worse of all, I can't even locate the main water valve. After going about the kithen and eventually outside the unit, I figured that the main valve could be in the ceiling above, and I don't even have a proper ladder. And so, using the only screwdriver (my precious but fragile test pen), I managed to get the cover of the tap open and that's as far as I can go without making things worse. Stupidly, I used a layer of plastic bag and screwed it tight with the tap's outlet. Yeah, it stopped about 20% of the flow before ripping  open. With all the water splashing around, I was really thankful for the power trip.

Only did I realise that today, with last night's power trip, the electrical water pump was not working and so, I was dealing with weak water pressure, which was just strong enough to 'push' the weak rubber seal tight but not stop it completely, hence the vibration. In the meantime, after communicating with the Maintenance Office and all, I'll just the Company's Admin sort it out in the meantime.

Guards are patroling the area and residents are coming in and out, after realising the Lifts are not working.

Nope, nothing I can do here.

10 minutes or so later, the power is back compared to TNB where you wait for hours if you're lucky.

Thank Goodness for cable ties but I had to rummage a few to get the decent ones working. It seems like at the places where I shop, its very common.

22052016 Howling Winds

As I was working in the afternoon, I noticed a very peculiar sound as if there was a Jet Engine nearby. Since I am staying near the Airport, this was quite normal but today, the sound was louder. As if the Jet Engine was nearby. Suddenly the doors were slamming and it was not just mine. The room was quite breezy too.

So, yeah, there was a strong wind blowing and it lasted for more than 40 minutes. And the howling was scary...

I was afraid of the window pane exploding towards me if I start to climb up and close off the upper window. So, I left it alone and luckily, I did not open the window behind me or else... The wind flow in the place today was not a straight one but from the bottom to the bedroom upstairs (behind).

Half an hour later, there was a loud crash and this tree branch fell. Luckily the roof held and there was no car parked below.

When the storm abated, all was well until I noticed the kitchen's counter top was dirty. I had cleaned it more than an hour before. Which means, the wind was so strong, it kept blowing at the windows, freeing up any blocked debris in there.

So, any utensils that was not covered were affected.

On the next morning, it was time to go to work and survey the damage. I did not go out the evening before as the sky grew very dark within minutes. Although the wind was fierce, the rain that came with it was surprisingly mild.

The debris in front and all the while, I can actually feel the wind coming from the bottom at very high speeds.

The clean up crew will have their work cut out  for them today.

Lots of debris

Add caption

And so, this is my first time weathering a Windy Kuching Storm. And with the strong howling, I was very afraid of the glass imploding without warning and getting shards of them in my face.

22052016 Extending my pipe

There is one thing I hate with those liquid pump dispensers when the liquid is at its minimal level. We're all been there where we just kept pushing that poor dispenser down repeatedly hoping to get all the liquid out. And the poor little thing could only spit out bubbles and small blobs. Its not a problem if you have the same type of refill but when its a different one, yeah, like moi, I'd like to get them all out before the cleaning.

And the worst thing? Opening that damn thing when your hands are wet and full of suds just to pour out the precious last drops of detergent to prolong the inevitable. Yeah, no one hates to clean it for the next refill.

Anyway, after more than two decades, I have found the perfect solution. The previous ideas of using flexible hose was great except for one minor detail; no one is going to sell you 12 inches or less for your washing fetish. And so, I did not think much about since I'm a sadist when it came to the pump dispenser.

But through a chance conversation, a certain colleague in the electrical department introduced me to some very nice flexible hose. It has the right diameter (and is a possible component for the Ghostbusters Proton Pack prop).

And so, here is it, the 8mm hose which is quite strong too. When I have the time, I'll look into the Ghostbusters Proton Pack to see if this is the right hose as well.

I don't believe in mixing the liquids and so after some nice cleaning/flushing, I filled the 'Goat's Milk' with 900ml of ZIP's 2014 International Award Winning Lemon Verbena, awarded by The Chicago Anthenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design. In other words, the snap-locked cap was PITA to open.
Yeah, so now I can keep on pumping and my rigid pipe will take care of everything.

22052016 The Onion Dip

One thing I like when I comes to crispy stuff such as well, crisps, tortilla, plain biscuits or even slices of vege is that I like to add sauce to them. The most simplest of all would be to jsut squeeze the ketchup bottle. But then, I'd be thinking, how about adding  some chili sauce too (my usual McD habit and at one time, pepper as well). Once that spark fired up, ideas such as experimenting with Thousand Island, Kewpie, mayo, other sauces and ingredients came into the picture. It would be great if  I can have all the right sauces for the right crisp but hey, food is food.

In the end, I settled for what I can make, with what's in the fridge...

The usual suspects for the onion dip. (L-R)L Crunchy Squid (the crunchy prawns are more common though), some garlic chili sauce, Lingam's Thai Chili sauce, ketchup, mayo and pepper mix. Of course you don't have to get them exactly, just make sure there's your basic ketchup, chili sauce, mayo and white onion.

This is how the sauces looked without the mayo, of course.

I love this knife which I can chop the onions smaller. Getting a blender would be nice but then the onions would be too fine.

Onions into the mix. Two pieces of raw garlic is for that zing to the tongue. If you like it, add more but don't talk to me.

Added the teaspoon of mayo. At this stage, if you want it to be sweeter, add more (sweet) ketchup. If you want it to be hotter, well, how about tabasco?

Tastes great with carrots! One day, I might want to add a few drops of lemons too.

22052016 More Salad!

Although I'm due to go back to KL in less than ten days's time, I still need to make sure there is food when I come back from work. And if no one switches off the electricity, then whatever food kept in the fridge would still be OK when I return. Anyway, I still have some pasta sauce and curry to last me more than 10 days. Yeah, I am slowly changing my diet to more pasta instead of rice since I get them during the day.

So, here are the components for the simple salad again. Ever since I know how to use that slice knife (3rd from right) it was a breeze slicing stuff provided I am careful. My curved knife (2nd  from right) was great for cutting vege stuff to small bits.

This time, I am going to finish the whole Marina Tuna. This was quite good and with the lemon and pepper in the oil, imagine how it would taste when you add a tablespoonful into a place of hot rice.

Yeah,they look weird right? Its actually normal and that's how it looked straight from the can.

Finally! After two tablespoon of mayo, its done! Of course I can add the roasted sesame and seaweed but its best to add them before serving and not before.

I love adding them to biscuits.

OK, nothing special about this. The Jacob's Wheats and Hup Seng's to me are much better. This is much sweeter and spoils the taste with the salad.

The four potatoes and eggs, plus some turnip, a cucumber and a carrot made enough for one and a half container which I hope to finish in one week as three week old salad tend to smell and makes you suspect your stomach's digesting abilities.

22052016 The Turnip

Seriously, I have never known that the thing I bought in my hands was a turnip. I have read about them in stories (The Largest Turnip, etc), drank some soup and that's it. It did not occur to me that the
thick 5mm to 10mm slice of white crunchy fruit I had as a boy was actually a turnip. A vegetable.

aka Sar Khok

You know, that white slice of crunchy deliosio thing which the auntie will spread some dark rojak sauce (no its not Marmite) and then sprinkle with some sugar and crushed peanuts. Yep, its that Sar Khok.

So, I bought a modest sized one for RM3.69. And after figuring out how to take off the skin, I relived my childhood ignorance once again. The turnip, for my purpose, is a great replacement for pears. Both were crunchy but the sweet weepy pear tends to leave its juices everywhere. I know its also been added to rojaks (Ok, I know. I know) but I have yet to experiment when making soups. Definitely not to be included in curries except before serving, though.

Yep,this is the turnip and the sign at the vegetable section said so. Its full of earth, and dirty as if it came out from the ground

After some careful slicing, this is the result. Man, that feels satisfying!

Since I do  not have rojak sauce nor sugar nor crushed peanuts, it going into the salad I'm making next.

20052016 It's mine!

Why Watermark your images?
Are you so afraid that no one knows your work and you need to put some text or symbol over the photos to remind everyone? Or are you so happy to share your images with everyone all over the World as you believe they won't use it in the wrong way.

In an uglier point of view, this is your claim to fame, right?

Sadly, in today's age of the Internet and more importantly, Social Media, you NEED to watermark your images. When you upload a very nice photo, everyone and anyone who likes it, will download it for reference, as wallpaper, etc. All of us has been there and done it. Daily.

Now in the era of Blogs, Social Media and Clickbaits, your images, will be used time and again, and no one knows whom it belongs to nor do they even care. Imagine how you feel when your friend sends you a nice image which is 'hot' amongst the Group you're in, not knowing it was yours. And imagine the amount of effort needed to convince your friend and the Group that it was yours.

Ha. So now you're starting to put small itty bitty logos, web addresses and names at the corners of your images and if you're good, on a background of varying shades. Why? Its so that because if someone wants to remove your logo and place theirs over it, it's noticeable.

That's image theft and its rampant like the air we breathe.

But let's take it a step further. From a Business point of view. Sure the watermarks are obnoxious, insulting and even destroys the image. But it is a necessity to prove that the image was yours. And so, little cute logos at the corners are useless for those stubborn plagiarists. You have to put that semi-transparent watermark in the middle of your image. Heaven forbid! No!

OK, let's imagine that you drove a hundred miles and camped three nights on a mountain before you got the image. Then you spent hours selecting and editing that perfect image. Two days later after you uploaded it, you heard someone paid thousands for that image from a site you hardly even heard of, and a week later, it was all over the Net.


So, the Watermarked image not only protects you but also, tells the interested parties where to legally get the original image from. You think established newspapers and other advertising companies are always honest? Think of it as free advertising. Anyone who downloaded your image, can only view it and know who's its from. They can't replace their logos as its everywhere and will destroy the image.

Think of it as signing your Art and also saying "it's mine!". OK, think of it as a Branding exercise too. For your Business. Really. No use crying over spilled milk later.

And how big or beautiful or hidden your watermark, I leave it to your imagination. Afterall, its your Art and Effort.

I'm not famous yet, and also depending on my mood, here is a watermarked image of the last project I was working on before going overseas to Kuching for work. Yeah, this is from my FB Page, PIscean Works.

18052016 Celcom helped changed my Life

'Living' with about 3GB of Data per month is something I seriously have to deal with, now. Being so used to 'unlimited' data and then realising there is a monthly limit, really annoys me. Everyday, I need to be careful and be aware on how its being used. 3GB means a max of 100MB a day, and when your phone needs to be connected, an average of 10MB or so would be 'leeched' into the datasphere. Which is no fun at all for someone who is really addicted to Social Media and the Internet. And Pinterest. Yeah, although I have an account long ago, I never really looked into it until now. Its like Facebook for Artists. So, I behaved like a grumpy data miser.

The question now is, how do I keep on partying with limited electricity? You know that awful kicked-back-down-to-Earth-reality feeling when everything goes black halfway and the music stops. That was what happened to me, 10 days before that monthly 3GB of Whoo-hoo data top-ups and I only have less than 200MB left. So, each day was a torture seeing the precious megabytes leaking away. It was so bad that things went spiraling downwards after the 29Mb WeChat installation gobbled up my remaining 25Mb and by minus 36 hours before the D-Day, I was already being data-throttled.

There are two choices I can make, or rather HAVE to make to retain my sanity: Either I pay more for the Party to continue or, I just don't give a fuck.

Yeah, choosing the latter was more fun. So I quit cold turkey and I reflected, what has the Internet and Facebook given me apart from robbing my time with real people and rewarding me only with likes? Sure there were some progress in my Hobby in the past but that's it. OK, so I do get to make new friends but the more I go into it, its like really being an invited voyeur with no control how your Host behaves. So, I minimised (OK, I can't stop) contact with Facebook 10 days ago and nothing bad happened. I stopped liking things, destroyed chain mails, refused video messages, and guess what? I'm still alive!

Then I went further by limiting and eventually disconnected Facebook, Web Browsers, App updates, etc. from my ASUS phone. And then, whoa... I have a lot of time for other things.

So, for this month, I am going to see how things are with just Messenger, WhatsApp and eMail. Yeah, you know how to contact me. And best of all, the office's firewall blocks almost everything which is unecessary for work.

Oh, and by disabling email and other notifications from Facebook meant my Phone and Laptop sounded 'quieter' too. Especially at night.

And I can sleep longer.

And so, over the weekend, I've reached my limit. And things started to go sour...

Everytime I peeked at my ASUS, this message reminded me that the Party's over

And this occasionally came up whenever I opened one of those 'Internet' things

Which is not so bad because ASUS did help me from falling further into despair. But Celcom does not stop the data flow but throttle it.

And after more than two days, the fun began again...

But after stopping almost everything on the Phone, 3GB suddenly is a lot. Oh well, let's see how I handle this month and if its good, then well, who needs Facebook anyway.

This WeChat screen was so apt for the past few days, representing how I feel. I can see the whole World yet I am alone.

04052016 I can't kick no one no more..

On the third day, I was wondering why my left toes stung and felt very sensitive. For every step that I took, I felt is if the soft socks were like those scrubbing sponges, chafing the skin.

And so, when I looked down, the sight was a little shocking as the skin has turned brownish. They were tender to the touch as well. So, this must be the burnt area from Sunday's Fireball. I'll have to apply some more antiseptic cream. The weird thing was that I felt no pain in betwen these two days. Maybe now its healing....

Yep, toes #2 to #4 are.. toasted

04052016 The Last Minute StupidityThank goodnes

One thing I love to do is to be lazy. I would delay and laze around until the deadline jumps from it's corner and is about to eat me alive. Sometimes I get my ass chewed and sometimes, I survived.

But the main thing was, I realised, that my brain sort of went into higher gear and got more stuff done. And sometimes, I get new ideas on how to solve a particular problem in a flash. But more often than not, it all boiled down to luck.

Just like tonight where when I came home, the stench of the drying floor mat pereated the room. It was so bad, I thought some rat came in and took a piss. Eventually,I traced the stench to the floor mat which I accidentally soaked while I was cleaning the bathroom last Sunday.

I've calculated five floor mats (and missed one) and realised that cleaning floor mats is not going to be fun, moreso on a work night. So, I took a risk and threw them all into the washing machine. And with a last minute stupidity (I seem to have them by the truckloads nowadays) I somehow thought that it was great idea to wash my shoes at the same time too...

Thank goodness everything survived the washing machine. So, for luck, I gave it another dry spin..

02052016 Ant Man

Well, finally, I got to see this  movie. Some time ago, I was watching it and the first few minutes were kinda bland. It  was so boring, I actually paid no heed to what was going on. On the second attempt, I was more interested in seeing how much Megabytes I can remove from my Hard disk. I mean, how can this movie be so exciting with some old men punching faces and making meat jams?

Then, when they started on the Heist, I was paying attention. Because, of all things, Hollywood just love to use Velleman Electronic kits for those DIY circuits. And when he got into the bathtub... whoa! Ant Man rocks!

Anyway, I have heard of Ant-Man in the comics and I know that this movie is slightly different. But it's still quite close to the comics. I mean the characters are all there but in better circumstances. I thoroughly enjoyed the Movie although I was months late. My last two Jobs did not allow me the luxury of going to a lot of Movies and social events. Michael Douglas;s voice was great and when his daughter, Hope (Evangeline Lilly) first showed up, I thought it was Bryce Dallas Howard. But anyway, the most enjoyable parts were when Scott broke into Pym's home, first tested the suit, his training, the fight with Falcon, and more importantly the scene with the Wasp. That's about it. The fight in the end wasn't that great apart from the slight comedy of distractions and the ants crawling over the BIOS battery in the servers.

For those who wants to know, the middle (ready soldered, gosh!) green circuit board is a 9-volt Velleman Sound-to-Light kit (MK103), sitting inside a Velleman (Not Storm nor Pelican) EPC022 Waterproof Case. I am not sure why they needed the two project cases on the left as it was not used in the movie. Unfortunately, I could not recognise the other circuits actually used in the Heist itself. Velleman Kits were no stranger to movies ever since we noticed in from Christopher Nolan's Batman where the Joker used them as bomb triggers.
This is the part which always irritates me. There are, as far as I know,fingerprint scanners do not have a scanning bar going up or down. It's Hollywood's idea of telling people hot it works. Some thing like Main actors needing to take off their helmets (Judge Dredd) to remind the audience who he was.

I like Hank Pym's Prototype Signal Decoy
It looks like a very nice idea for a keychain

I wonder if anyone has made one already
The Blueprint of the Prototype
See the credits for the role of a Writer. It's Anna Akana!
Who's Anna Akana? This is Anna Akana!