Beware of road debris

I am not kidding you. Beware of road debris, especially when you're too close to a vehicle in front of you, say, 20 feet?

It happened to us when the lorry in front "scooped" up a piece of corrugated cardboard a few inches into the air with its air pressure. And we're right in front of the cardboard when it landed. Smack! Crack! And that's it. I know something is very wrong when I do not see the cardboard from my rear view mirror.

So, we took some cardboard from the van, pricked some
and used some telephone cables to secure it until
we're free to
get it replaced.

Dinner at PJ Seafood

Since everyone was away, we decided to eat out and so, this time, it was PJ Seafood. We used to go to this place a lot years ago and suddenly coming back here, was a bit weird. Although the place did not change much but somehow, the people in there have. Still, it was a nice dinner.The only reason why I liked this place so much was that they serve cheese crabs. Yeah, those crabs cooked in some kind of cheese/milk/curry leaf combination. I am sure other places have it but this is the only place I know.

And so, because Wifewanted some seafood, we ordered ONE cheesy crab. Yeah we ordered one because the waitress said its a very big crab. And boy was she right. The crab was full of meat and Kristine had a great time eating from the pieces I gave her.

Kristine pointed out Kaelynn's work with the hammer
Later on, we decided it was better to hide them
from the girls

At the Elephant stone mural

The damage? About RM80. It was the crab and the
fish slices which cost a lot.

Meeting up with an old Friend

While we're still in Mid-Valley, I saw the Toshiba booth set up by my ex-company. Of all the staff manning the booth, 99% were new faces except for ol' Kirby who just came back from leave and was shanghaied with booth duty. After some talk, I decided to walk about the booth a bit. Halfway reprogramming the PABX system (since no one was attending that segment) and I was about to re-initialise it, I heard a familiar voice calling out my name. Damn! Caught red-handed.

Anyway, it was my old friend, Jeff and his family, who were also walking about Mid-Valley. After my resignation, it was hard to get in touch with him. We would occasionally text each other, or just E-Mail, with the once in a blue moon phone call. It is weird because back in the old office days, I would just pick up the phone and intercom him.

Anyway, he looks a bit haggard and very much older but I guess this must be the cost of working in that company. Not that its torture but we're used to stress, I guess, and maybe, even liked it. It was fun meeting him face to face now because chance of this happening is quite rare. In fact, I can say, its an annual occurence. His (almost) two year old boy is quite cute too and his wife is a beautiful as always. Because both our wives were "busy" we had to cram years of absence to within a few minutes which is quite precious to us.

The news from the company was both delighting and some were dissapointing. For example, one of my ex-colleague was demoted back to a normal Sales Exec while a familiar ex-ex who went back is facing problems too, which I suspect was due to non-performance. I also got to play with the Toshiba e910 PDA phone and so one but thats about it. Still, its a great opportunity to see him.

And right after that, I got an SMS from Roy too, who was having dinner with Paul and mentioned that my name cropped up several times. Talk about a night of coincidences. Or maybe Fate has something in store for me in the near future?

The faces have been ironed out to protect the guilty

C-Jade, what?

There was this restaurant in Mid-Valley which we're longing to go since it opened years ago, but never had the chance. Except tonight because Wife wanted something different instead of the usual MacDonalds, Pizza Hut or the Food Court on the third floor. So, I quickly suggested the place.

There were a lot of people in there and the queue was quite reasonable. After 10 minutes, we got a place. I can say that the service here is quite fast. In fact, lightning fast. While waiting in the queue, we were handed out the menus ala Kim Gary which we were required to tick the dishes of our choice. I know its difficult to do since we were standing and with the two, beautiful kids of ours running about. But once we settled down and got our orders from the polite waiter, the first meal came within minutes. With so many waiters running about and each and everyone of them alert, it was really a nice surprise. For example, when I was about to pay for the bill, everyone sort of instinctively knows about it, even when I was hiding the bill (heh).

Then, everything went downhill. Really. First, the air-con was quite cold and so, you need to devour the food as soon as it arrived or else you'd be eating something that was brought out of the fridge and left at room temperature hours ago. Which is a bit feat because we had to make sure Kristine and Kaelynn got the food into their mouths and nowhere else. Maybe we had high expectations of the place of maybe its the still undigested glutinous rice I had for lunch but the food served there did not agree with me. For one, the baked rice I ordered was technically it, but I was expected something like those from Kim Gary's. And there is the problem with the set meals which was plastered on the flat screen TVs and somewhat difficult to locate on the menu which really made us just want to order anything that resembled food, swallow it and try to get out of that place as fast as possible.

The only saving grace was the "sauce" section where I guess, everyone helped themselves to it. You have the normal ketchup, chilli sauces. And then, there were the four extra sauces which I liked: chopped chili and (garlic?) in say sauce, the sweet (plum?) sauce, the green ginger/spring onions sauce and the wickedly red hot chili/sambal/oil sauce. The last two sauces were great and if I were to go back again, I would sneak in some fries to go with them.

But the big question is, would I go back there again? I don't think so. Maybe next year.

Kristine and her noodles. Trust me, the meat or whatever
it was that resembled meat (mutton?) tasted like nothing
on this Earth. Even Kristine does not want it.

The Malaysian Toll System

We're paying a lot for Tolls, aren't we? And who are the actual "beneficiaries"? I am not sure but I have a cynical view on this. What I am surprised is to why the Government needs to pay "compensation" to these Highway Concessionaires. Anyway, how it actually goes, I am not sure but this is my theory:

Crony wants some money and so, saw potential from
a piece of empty land. So, crony buys the land and
gets the Government to help

So, the Government "approves" of the Toll. And creates
a Company to do it. The Company then starts to charge
for the toll. The consumer has no choice but to pay.

And the Company then compensates the crony for the
use of the land while
the consumer looks on helplessly.

And if possible, the crony also wants to take everything
But the consumer also has other ideas

The consumer knows it can fight the crony and if
possible, expose them for what they are, by using
the Law.

And can even send them packing. The Government will
try to help but ti will be too late.

True or not, I am not sure (since these are the only photos that can go along with the story. Ha ha ha ha!)

Gettingback our Baby

OK, after a week we got back our car and our fourth Sis-in-Law got her Vios back. Damn, I am going to miss the excellent sound system, the braking and also, the acceleration. Although I have driven it for two days, I immediately understand why Vios is such a nice car, compared to a Honda City. No frills, just the business of getting you from A to B but with a bit of naughtiness thrown in.

But how the heck can 500KM do this? Were they running
a Rally to up North? Sheesh. Wife was very very silent.

Another socket to me, Baby!

A customer called me to attend as soon as possible as one of their phone extension was out and they're expecting a huge last minute client rush due to the Hari Raya Celebrations one October First. So, after looking at the problem, the solution was simple and the conversation went like this:

Customer: So, can fix or not?
Me: Niamah! You know how to take care of your phone or not?
Customer: Hey, not my phone, ok? I just use them.
Me: So, its not your problem, la. If you do not know how to take care, dun use la, pundek.
Customer: Wei, smelly crab, I asked you to fix, fix la.
Me: You mother's smelly v*****! You dare talk to me like that? Want me to smash your face issit?
Customer: F**k you la. I am the customer here, I ask you to fix, so you fix la. Or else
Me: F**k you la. F**k you and your F**king shop and your F**k, etc.

And then I punched the fella in the face, and in front of his customers, I kicked his stomach before overturning the counter. On my way out, the security guard tried to stop me and I pushed him in front of a oncoming car, but it was doing a 20Kmh.

OK, so that did not happened as I imagined. But sufficed to say, the unfortunate conversation below took place:

Customer: My phone is not working la. Is it spoiled?
Me: Don't worry sir, please step aside and give me a few minutes to assess the problem.
Customer: Thank you very much, I hope I did not bother you with this last minute call.
Me: Oh no problem sir, we always try to attend you our customers as fast as possible.

After looking at it, I found the problem:
Me: Sir, this is the problem. Your cabling connections are placed in this cavity on the floor and when your cleaner gets too enthusiastic with the mop, this is what happened:The excess water entered into the cables and caused minor electrolysis on the contact points.
Customer: Oh dear, I hope you can repair it and its not too expensive.
Me: No problem sir, I'll just cut away the faulty cables, put in a fresh connector box and re-crimp the connector. It will be right as rain in a few minutes.
Customer: Thank you very much, your service is very good.

The problem is quite bad. This is the first time I have
a connection turning black. Usually, its greenish
blue (copper
sulphate). So, I had to cut about an inch
into the cable. With
my experience, I knew the whole
box would have to be changed.

And just as I suspected, the connector and its plug
was affected as well.So, it will definitely have to be

Petrol Price: RM2.450 per litre

Yes! The petrol price is down by 10sen!
Yes! I get 0.8 extra litres of those precious fuel!
Yes! Now I can go 0.8 Km more!
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Actually, NO. This is so stupid. Time to support the Opposition more.
We should not be celebrating for something which should not have happened.

TGIF! or Thank God its (oh) F**K its Wednesday, not Friday

We love to have dinners. Whatever the occasion and when budget allows, that is. This time, we got enough and also, breathing space to have a small dinner during the Puasa month. And so, after trying Victoria Station, Chillies, and buffets, we decided to try TGIF. Originally, we wanted it to be on a Friday (something special?)But for the past two weeks, it was impossible since we're working like heck. And so, we did it on a Wednesday.

The TGIF we went to was located on Section 14, Petaling Jaya, right smack in front of the Digital Mall. Yeah, I wanted to go there as early as possible but with the evening jam where everyone rushed back to break fast, it was impossible. So, halfway while waiting for the rest to arrive, I sneaked over to the Mall. This was because I wanted to look at the prices of second hand PDA Phone with at least a GPS and Windows Mobile 5.0. I can't wait that long for the Android phone to stabilise or even become more than Version 1.0.

The problem is, by the time my salary came in two days ago, the phone I wanted (for Rm555) was already gone. So, it was time to scout around more places and hope that all the information I keep on pieces of loose paper does not lose itself anymore than it should. Yeah, Iam pissed off.

Very pissed off because of my salary which come very late, as if I am a Government servant now. Pissed off because I cannot even commit for a monthly installment plan due to my late salary. Pissed off because there are so much bills to pay. Pissed off because I cannot even it buy on-the-spot due to limited cash. Pissed off because I do not have enough cash to start my money making projects anymore. Pissed off because my old phone is going nuts and I do not want to change SIM cards everytime I receive/send SMS.

Anyway, back to the dinner. Everyone there were friendly and eager to serve us. And one thing I liked was the Refillable softdrinks. The food was delicious except for mine because my Chicen Caesar Salad was more of chiken and pieces of lettuce with cheese. Nothing like Chilies. But on a positive side, while waiting for my boys to arrive, my Boss and I devoured a lot of snack foods like those tostada or something. So, when my salad came, I was already full and so, had enough to finish half the plate. And so, my Wife get the other half but she too complaineda bout the salad. OK, this time, if we're ever going to TGIF, I am not going for salads (I usually at these places) but meat.

Unfortunately, we also decided to celebrate one of my boy's
belated birthday which was unfortunately, a month ago. But
the embarassment he endured during the TGIF style was
This just struck me when I was at the car park. But by the time I got the camera, the gentleman went back in. It was very quick. And so I waited some more and some more. But eventually, I decided not to since I do not want to be roadkill even in a car park and the charges are really expensive. RM3.50 for the first hour and RM3.00 for the subsequent. However, because I was at the customer for quite some time, I was charged the maximum of RM12.00. Haih.

Yes, the Nikon D50 can do 16:9 shots. Bwhahahahahah!

Photos from the roof

No, not from Bangsar's The Roof or whatever shit name its/was called now. Or if it still exists. I don't really care. Anyway, I was waiting for a customer who was a bit too busy with his phone calls. And since I am outside his office which is literally the roof. So, I decided to use the 300mm lens.........

Inside a Lift-room

OK, this is the first time I have ever been inside a Lift-room before. I am not even sure what the "Official" name but here, everyone just call it the Lift-room. The building here has three lifts and up to date, all three lifts are working properly. When climbed up to the tallest floor in the building, and before the door was opened, I was half expecting to see heavy machinery and those lift sounds (liek the ones you hear in those SimTower games). Boy, what a disappointment.

Ok, here is the lift-room. The front (left) are the main controls
And on the right, there are three lift motors. If you go to the
motors and stand there, you're actually on the top of the lift
shafts. I wonder why they sealed it with concrete.........

A closer look at the controls, but this is just one of the sides

This is one of the lift motors and it pulls five steel cables

This is the other lift motor. Note the yellow protective
cover is in place. these motors are no bigger than about
four feet, I think Now, are you scared of going into the
lifts now? Well, don't worry as there are other safety
failsafes in place

Coming back to where we left off when the roof collapsed,
we are now able to step into the incident area. Note the
red circles, which were some of the physical damage we
can see.

A closer look at one of the damaged structures

Even the glass awnings/shades were not spared and
they will have to be torn down, methingks

The late Mr. Minolta and Mrs. Olympus

Finally, I have found my cameras again. The last time I saw them was two years ago and they're already badly done in by the fungus. Apart from presents from my parents, these are the ones I bought with the extra cash I earned for my sketches and working part-time when I was in UK. And not only that, these are the first SLRs that I can actually say, belongs to me. And these are the same damn things that dragged me seriously (well, halfway) into the World of Photography. But unfortunately, it was at the wrong time.

My two wonderful SLR cameras!

The first SLR was a second hand Minolta Dynax 3000 which I got for a bargain. This is a "beginner" camera which does not have much settings to fiddle with. Nevertheless, it was a great camera for me to start out with. Later on, I got a tripod (still using now, albeit a bit cacat) and a 80-300mm lens. It was from there, I learnt some things about portraiture, and using various types of filters. Oh, and it has one of the loudest motor sounds (when the film finishes) and it is quite embarassing especially when you're in a Public Hall.

So, here it is, the Minolta Dynax 3000, with its small
flash and the filter setup. Looking back at
the lens, its
52mm and if I have found it again,
I would not have to
waste money to get those
UV filters here when I got
the Nikon D50
this year.

Time has not been kind to the camera. Here, the rubber
grip has hardened and peeled off, exposing the interior.
OK, so I did not have the money to get those fancy Dry
Cabinets. At that time, it was either the hamster, the
Playstation or the Dry Cabinet.

Even the 80-300mm is totally destroyed. I can't even
extend it anymore as the rubber has glued the insides.

How I got this one, I am not sure but I just remembered
one certain fatty who asked me to keep it. Now, he is
just a wisp in my memory. Because of the box, this
lens was not really affected by the environment and
fungus at all.

As I constantly need to change between the lens, I got very annoyed since (at that time) I had to carry a lot of stuff in my bicycle. And so, after months of delibration (and no one wanted my Minolta) I got myself another SLR, which is the Olympus IS-1000. This camera at that time was quite advanced. It boasts of a very good lens, setting and best of all, very compact. But to me, the most wonderful thing was its bright viewfinder.

But despite the conveniences if a compact all-in-one SLR, it is frustratingly slow. If you want to know how slow it is, just try manual focusing on a Pro-Sumer DSLR now. But the pictures that came out were very sharp indeed.

This is the IS-1000. I loved its design and especially
the pop-up flash. If I had the chance to go for the
IS-3000, it would be even better.

Unfortunately, like the other camera, it is also
badly done in.

Oho! There is a roll of film in there! Maybe when I
have the time, I'll take it out to be developed
before the film system becomes obsolete.

Driving the Toyota VIOS

Because we're such a fan of Toyota, we're given a 2005 VIOS with a full tank to test for a few days.

Yeah, right.

OK, so one of my Sister in Law came back from Australia with three big, friendly people. And she wanted to show them about. On the first time we brought them over, our Avanza fitted the bill as there were six adults and two kids inside. But after that, they found out that the car rental scene in Malaysia is not only expensive but the quality of the car leaves a lot to be desired. And so, out of sisterly love or whatever its called, Sixth sister asked second sister which in turn got fourth sister involved, who asked her husband and talked to the other husband, etc. OK, the final story is that we get to drive her VIOS in exchange of our Avanza.

And I am so glad because for these six footers, fitting them into a Wira was already a problem and so, the Avanza fitted the bill. Anyway, yesterday was my chance to drive the Vios for real. This the model I loved due to the design on the front headlights and also the rear lights. So, how does it feel?

All I can say is, I loved it!

The first time I got in, the seats were very comfortable and supports my back nicely. Even the braking system was such a joy. Initially, it caused a lot of accidental stops but one I get used to its gradual braking, I felt as if I was really in control of the car. Never have I felt so confident driving an auto car and with its perky acceleration, I was smiling all the way. This is because with other auto cars, when I needed to overtake a car, climb a hill or roll off from a stop, I would need to step on the accelerator hard. But not the Vios. It just followed my desire as if it has known my driving habits for so long. When it came to corners, the car's stiffness was able to take it without me feeling any fear. We spent the whole night driving about the city. Oh, yes, and my Wife was there as well. We were also surprised with the quality of the car's standard sound system which was much nicer than the Avanza.

The car's alrm is also a bit weird for me. The remote is located in the key. So, youhave the LOCK, UNLOCK/PANIC and also BOOT buttons. But I am not so used to disarming the car from such a short distance, though. However, because of its splash-proof designs, this means the layer protecting the buttons tend to get torn very fast.

So, maybe, with some low profile tyres, good shocks, anti-roll bars, meters and modified air-intake system................. well, just maybe, la. After all, its not our car and it wll have to be returned in a few day's time. I must find a way to delay its return. Bwahahaahahaha!

Another thing I liked about the front is that I can take
out the front grill and replace it with those big gaping
hole types. Ha ha ha ha!

Not only is the boot spacious, its deep as well.

The design is OK but somehow, the fuel gauge in the
middle seemed as if it was put there in the last minute

There were the occasional panic of not able to find the
meters on the dashboard, though as they're all located
in the middle now, but once you're used to it, its OK.

Ice Cream before Dinner

The girls just had their bath and for their dinner. This is a surprise for me as usually, its the other way round considering the mess they make AFTER the dinner. So, as not to bother the Chef in the there, they were fed Ice-cream. Yeah, Ice-cream.

Sad to say, later on, with the ice-cream in their tummies, dinner was a very quick affair followed by sugar-high antics such as running around and screams in the house. Sigh.

Kristine with her Strawberry Ice-cream

And Kaelynn too. Note how they sit on their
"favourite" chairs. This is because its theirs
when they want to fight over it. If there is
only one of them at that time, its not their
favourite chair at all. Go figure

And what do you say if I tell you to stop eating the
and start with your dinner now?

Coming of Age

Me thinks Kaelynn is old enough to
progress to her elder sister's bike.
She can push the pedals but needs
help to get on or off. Yeah, she is
trying to do this herself now

The trouble with cables

Today is Saturday and yesterday, late in the evening, a customer called us for service. If I was still in my previous company, my reply would be a big haughty, "I'm sorry we do not work on Saturdays anymore. Perhaps if you pay us more and beg, we might come and see you on Monday." Ha ha ha

But four years later, having dropped out of La-la-Land, any business we can take, we'll take. And so, because its one of our most loyal customer, we promised to be there first thing in the morning. As hindsight, I requested the customer to contact Terrorkom first to see if they could help. One thing about these guys are that they are now very efficient. Maybe because its an ISDN line but one call to them and they're there an hour later. So, with their verdict, it seems that the cable is suspect.

Which is a worrying thing for the both of us. To lay a new set of cables from the basement to the twentieth floor would take days. What caused this was still unknown and we hope it has nothing to with the other floor's renovation where contractors usually cut cables accidentally or not. Anyway, after testing the connection, I decided to start from the beginning, which means going to the Basement MDF room.

I hate doing this because of security issues. It took me more than an hour in total to gain access to the MDF door. I had to go from 20th to 4th to get a maintenance form to issue to the security at ground floor before they can get the key at Basement. Sheesh. Finally, as luck would have it, I discovered the fault, which is mostly due to a weak solder joint which came loose as more ISDN cables were interwined and pulled. All in all, this was an exhausting three hours work of climbing floors and 15 minutes of actual repairing work. Ha ha ha ha!

The lighting in this air-con MDF room
makes me feel so at home. The feeling
of loneliness and isolation encourages
me to do my projects, buy a large TV,
a Playstation 3 and even a bed there.

Can I call this the ISDN post?

Finally, one of the solder joints caused this. And these
are the connectors which connects to your PABX up
in your office.

Winds in the Dark

One of the Security Guards informed about the incident on the roof today. Apparently, there was a strong wind on early Saturday morning which ripped the condo's roof. what happened was that the roof's metal structure was partly anchored and the rest was on wheels.

Since the wind came at it directly, it just lifted the structure and hit it against the wall. Which is good because if it came from another direction, the whole roof would have flown downwards, maybe to other areas where there are a lot of people.

For curiosity's sake, we searched the CCTV for the incident where it recorded the even at about 0229 in the morning. But because it was dark, we could not actually see much except that the cameras started recording once it hit the wall in the dark. Oh well.

They are going to clear the metal structure today and
soon, it would be our turn to see
if the camera suffered
any damage since its
image was all blurry. Even a big
Astro dish
got dented as well.

New Bling blings for my Bengmobile?

I got this sometime ago. Its about RM10.50 for a pair of 4 Blue LEDs. What you do is, peel off the protective backing of the double sided stickers underneath the LEds and stick this to your car. Then you give it 12volts and it would light up.

Unfortunately, the blue LEDs were not that bright enough and secondly, no respectable Ah Beng would use Double sided tapes to stick anything under their Bengmobiles. Just one spalsh of the flood water, a brush with a dog carcass or even a tiny whinny kick from his beloved Ah Lian would dislodge these things.

No, these lights are for other projects which I am now collecting. By the same time next year, you would be able to see the fruits of my (insane) labour.

One set gives you four of these. But I am going to take
them apart and use them independently

They do look very nice when you turn off the lights.
Maybe I should open one up now and replace it with
a cheap 1 Watt Luxeon LED and see what happens,
if it does not melt the plastic, that is. Ha ha ha ha