Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Google Chrome Sticker :)

When I was a studying in the UK (I was very young then), during the holiday I would have to go and stay with my guardians, they were great and I was totally lucky to have them looking after me. Sometime ago I realised how Google is like a guardian to me, through the various services Google knows me better than my real parents ever could... Contacts (friends and acquaintances), e-mails (most of my communication), Searches/Browser (my questions and queries), Blogger (my life), Buzz (my thoughts, not much here, preferred to follow than be followed), Photographs (my important events (picasaweb))... hell, if I have amnesia all I need to do is log into 2 sites (of course I would have also forgotten my passwords), Facbook and Google that should cover 95% of my entire life, how sad/dangerous is that?

Anyway, weeks and weeks ago I found myself ‘liking’ Google Chrome on FB, and they were giving away free Chrome sticker... Of course being such a worshiper that I am, I had to apply for one, I think they were only giving away 2,000 pieces. At that time I never thought I was going to get one, just went through the mechanic of filling in the form and clicked send... then wiped it totally from my mind.

Then at the middle of this month (14.08), a large envelope arrived at the door step from Google, and having totally forgotten about the sticker, I had no idea what it could have been... ‘an invoice for all the services I am using?’, ‘a letter saying ‘we have lost all of your data?’’, ‘a questionnaire?’... After the reveal I was of course over the brilliant moon... :)

GSticker As I don’t have a notebook at the moment, and so I am still thinking where to put the sticker, but even if I have a notebook I doubt if I would put this sticker on it, notebook only lasts 3 years max... I am planning to put this where the hardware lasts forever... and it came to me last night...

The new Fridge... is the perfect place! Just bought a new fridge for the new place, it has a titanium metallic grey shell, it will lasts well over 10 years (I hope it will lasts many years longer especially considering how expensive it was), it will get great visibility... it is perfect... now all I have to do is to get the permission from the wife :)

Squashed Frog?

Squashed Frog

Woke up one morning to find you still sleeping but in this foetal position, obviously had to post it on facebook, one of the friend from the UK coined the term ‘squashed frog’, and it seemed perfect as an description… :)

What a Great Idea (Little Gym)

Jumping Matt Your mother had decided to move your Little Gym session from thirteen thirty to ten fifteen... and what a great idea that was :) Firstly, the roads have less traffic, finding a parking space was a singe, we could walk without bumping into others... At the end we have decided to keep this time slot... I mean just look at your face :)

Certainly not a Hunger Strike…

You have no idea how stressful we are all feeing at the moment, for some strange reason you had decided to stop eating solid food, whereas before it was so easy to feed you. We are still deciding on the reason for this sudden change, may be you just got bored with the menu... Luckily you are sucking down more milk than ever before...

Your mother is putting on a brave face, but inside she is screaming... she had gone to the end of the earth to dream up of new menu, but all you do is chew, then after a while spit it all out (now and then you would swallow to the cheering and clapping of your mother and me). It is certainly not a physical thing, so we are all kind of stumped...

Decided to do a little research and talked to my guardian (she used to be a Health Visitor), your reaction is certainly not unique, we just have to remain calm, there are a few things we are doing apart from giving you new menu. We now sit down together to have our meals, we let you feed yourself (although most of it ends on the floor), put on a brave face and keep the meal time relax and fun...

We are hoping you’ll snap out of it soon; by the way today was your first day at proper school... (Kindergarten)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Google Image Swirl?

I mean how many of us have heard of this? Google Image Swirl is a part of Google Labs (a place of Google’s new ideas), recently I had created a new bookmark folder named ‘Google’ due to the dizzily great number of sites that is so captivating (sometimes useful and sometimes useless, but exciting nonetheless).

You started off just like Google Image search

I love bananas (especially when they are in pyjamas)… here is the normal drop down box :)

So here is the first set of result, nothing exciting here… please note the ‘organization chart’ like at the top of the page…
Click the tile once more and you’ll get…
Just a new way of representing search result for images, but what can I say, there is no way I am going back to the plain old images.google :) On a more serious side, to be able to see linkage and alternative associate pictures just widens one’s horizon, to me it is just like Thesaurus when you are just searching, very, very useful. 
Of course you could click and dig down further, each time the pictures rotates and expand the part you have just clicked… There are not delay, the transition is smooth so in terms of execution it is very good, although as expected the time images are quite low res but suitable for you to make you decision if you are interested in that picture or not.
So here is another bookmark in my Google’s bookmarks folder… :)

(Note (25.08.10): not all terms are searchable on ‘swirl’, I tried to search for ‘Sony Nex5’ and what I got was “<Sorry, this query not included in the demo>”)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Suddenly Missing England…

I was riding pillion again this morning, the sky was really blue and the sun was more cheerful than usual, the air was cool due to the recent rain and the traffic was light enough so the motorcycle taxi didn’t need to pretend it was doing the downhill Alpine slalom, which was a nice change (and relief).
Suddenly there was a familiar smell of freshly cut grass, just like all those Hollywood movies... fade to ‘flash back’ :) there were several images in my mind, with one single thread between them all, England.
And for a moment I was totally missing England, after spending my most important years there (10 to 20 (something)), it has been just a little over ten years since I had left, but now and then something would trigger the fond memories, and today it was the smell of the freshly cut grass, what a way to start one’s morning.
Lately things have just been piling on and on, at work, moving home, the baby being poorly (although not anymore), now and then I could sense the panic attack edging ever so close, close enough to be whispering in my ear... feels like a huge weight being slowly lowered from above and showing no sign of mercy. The heart pounds harder and harder; air thinning all around, making each breathe more difficult than the one before.
I’d guess all that made me missed England even more, back to a simpler time where the only responsibility I had was to show up to class on time and get good (passable) grades :) Of course that could never be again nor would I want it again, as I wouldn’t trade my family for anything.
Responsibility is mandatory in life, it is a part of growing up, at the beginning my parents had to sacrifice the things they enjoy for me, and now it is time for me to be ‘responsible’, to be a good son, to be a good husband and father, to be a good friend, to be a good colleague, to be tied down to the monthly mortgage that is anchoring one to a job that one doesn’t particularly enjoy.
Logically there would always be someone in a worst or better situation than us, and many will say you shouldn’t complaint; others are facing worst things... I totally agree, but if everyone was logical I’d guess there would be fewer suicides around the world, sometimes logic just doesn’t come into play, it just sat on the bench begging to be put on the pitch.
Rambling a little too much now, hope things will improve for others who are feeling down in the dump, although they are probably better off than so many others... of course that would include yours truly as well.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Summer School :)

IMG_181112.07.2010 was your first day at school, admittedly it really wasn’t proper schooling only a ‘summer school’ (for the time being) at Noddy Playgroup, real schooling will start in September also at Noddy :) We have started preparing for this day, one week prior, and as I have told you earlier one of the biggest things we had to change was your daily schedule, and this week long dress rehearsal paid off beautifully.

The iPhone started screaming at 05:30, stumbling my way out of the warm cosy bed, down the stairs, along the short corridor and straight to the kitchen. The routine was well rehearsed, the night before I had already put three full spoon of brown rice in a small dish, this saved about two minutes, and of course every minute counts. The rice go into the saucepan, rinsed once then filled the pan back up with water, put it on the stove with the lid and cranked up the heat to full... 5:40... and counting.
To the freezer is next, since you were born we had carefully prepared and categorised the meat, liver (pork and chicken), minced pork (rolled up in palm size ball laced with flour and light seasoning), pieces of chicken, spare ribs, beef (not anymore) and so on, all contained in individualised Tupperware stacked neatly in the freezer. For this today’s breakfast, I needed mince pork and a couple of spare ribs, all that went to the microwave straight from the freezer, 5 minutes on power level 1…

Vegetables (by the way all of the menus come from your mother, I am just the hands here :)) fresh spinach and fresh coriander… After carefully picking only the tender leaves to fill about a handful, then chopping it up nice and fine… ‘Ding’, the meat (now thawed) and vegetables are now ready to be put into the boiling brown rice… (Note to self: must not forget to lower the heat).

The cat comes next (no, this isn’t a part of your menu), recently we had adopted a cat, actually for the past couple of months I have been climbing over into the neighbouring house, to feed this small kitten (it’s mother had disappeared for a few days, before I decided to do something), and last week it was big enough to climb the fence and now it is living under our roof, he is super cute, and you love to play with him, so we let him stay :) Putting the food out for the cat took about a minute and another nine minutes to play with it :) 05:55...

The next 30 minutes is freestyle, a pray, watering plants, washing up and so on :) the time I was waiting for was 06:30, this is when you (usually) wake up. Of course your mother would have already been up and got herself ready... From now on the precise timing goes out of the window, everything is in your hands...

IMG_1755We needed to get to Noddy before 09:00, ideally we would like to be there by 08:45, this would give you time to mingle with your friends before your ‘good morning song’... So the wheels need to be turning by 07:30 (at the very latest), in that hour from you waking up to us putting your little arse in the car seat, your mother had to be on her top form... and she usually was. In an hour you had to be fed, washed and dressed, trust me it is easier said and done, one needed a patience of a saint, footwork of Pele + Maradona + Messi + Mohammed Ali, hand speed of Bruce Lee and strength of Hercules... No wonder your mother is in such good shape :) 
IMG_1729Believe it or not Noddy is only 25 Kms away, but the traffic is so bad we have to allow at least an hour and a half for the road (that is why we have decided to move). Making it there in an hour and a half is an achievement in itself :) to see you lined up with your friends and (trying) to sing your ‘Good Morning song’ was totally worth all of the effort... :)

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

NEX5 (& Photoscape): Road Test :)

20100817 P'Nij BDJust happened to be one of our colleague’s birthday today, as usual it was a chance to stuff our faces with cakes and coffee :) and time to have a quick break from the grind of Tuesday afternoon :)

The NEX5 came in handy, the focus speed was quick, only took one shot and it turned out to be not too bad.

For post processing, decided to use Photoscape, it had been recommended by a friend, and I can understand why, simple and straight forward (usually I would load this up in Gimp (another fav. of mine).

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Feeling pretty bad…


It must have been last week when your mother took you to the doctor, on that morning she discovered that your hair was falling more than usual, a lot more than usual.

The doctor decided that the hair thing was nothing to worry about, but he was a little concern with  your cold that have been very persistent (almost 2 weeks now), and that your temperature was still a tiny, tiny bit higher than your normal.

So you were given loads of medicine… I would rather put both hands, as well as my head in a bowl of boiling hot oil than giving you your medicine…
For a while it was simple, we just added it to your milk, then you got wiser so that strategy went out of the window. Ran out of idea so we decided to go back to how the nurse did it… syringe… squirting it into the cheek of you mouth… like all things, theory = simple, in practice = f-ing impossible.

When we did it the first time, you puked up your dinner and all the medicine… note to self… never give medicine after meal, even an hour after meal. Talking about a mental barrier, we hate giving you medicine… things are slowly getting better, but I think I am squeezing your mouth too hard (feeling rather bad about it at the moment), well it’s like a learning curve on both sides, you are now very skilful in pushing out medicine with your tongue, and I am getting in better in my timing… only to inject the medicine when you are not crying… So, I am sorry baby, but you need your medicine to make you better… :)

Continuous, fixed exposure & focus

Test Nex5

Traffic was just a little too slow, so there was time to whip out the cam. (Nex 5), decided to test the continuous drive… quickly, dove down into the some what confusing menu (could be because I have not used a Sony system before), found what I needed ‘Speed Continuous’ (simply, fixed exposure and fixed focus).

Composition was tough, decided that I must have the rear side mirror in view, after that the composition was kind of decided for me… Putting this .gif together was easier than drinking a pint of bitter on a rainy Sunday evening, using Gimp and a few clicks… that was it.

What a lark… not a bad camera, I wished they could have made it more ergonomic, surely a couple more dials couldn’t hurt (lol, only kidding Sony). Because of this model, I am now paying a lot more attention to the rest of the Alpha line… Perhaps their full frame??? only if the keep their pixel density LOW… :)

Monday, August 9, 2010

Fantastically Cheeky :)

For the past few months we had spoilt you when it comes to television, not in terms of the amount that you watch but the channel, whenever we sat down together we always watched either the shopping network or the AF channel, if your mother and I tried to change the channel you’ll run to the little black box, do your magic with your thumbs and always turn it back to either of the two channel.

Well, we decided set a new boundary here, so last night when you ran up to the black box to change the channel, I decided to pull you back again and again, of course what followed were tears and cries and lots of it, all I did was to remain stern and unyielding. Your mother took you aside into another room then patiently and slowly explained that the television needs to be shared.
After a few minutes you seemed to understand what your mother was trying to say, and eventually you came out and ran towards me. Very suspiciously you plopped yourself right next to me on the floor, I had the remote control on my lap, and I could see your little arm reaching underneath my arm and with you little fingers pushing furiously on the buttons, to my curiosity I allowed you to execute your cunning plan... eventually you managed to change to channel nine... as soon as that happened you looked at me and started to repeatedly push your right fist in the air in triumph and all the while joyfully screaming... I was laughing so hard I almost had a heart attack... :)
I decided to change the channel again, this time you did not go to the black box, but instead ran to do something more interesting... you ran to the television in the kitchen :) the battle was won but the war is definitely isn’t over... haa haa haa.
Love you,

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Got it at last…

Although things are a little tight at the moment, but I just had to get it :) I’ve been without a decent camera since the D90 was stolen, I actually had the ‘soon to come’ (or so I’ve heard) replacement for the D700 in mind, even budgeted for it… Alas, like all great plan, the actual unfolding of events is of course absolutely no where near the original plan.

DSC00084Well, the D700’s replacement never showed up, then this little pocket rocket came from Sony, the NEX-5. I’ve been told that the body is actually produced in Thailand while the lens are from overseas… I think the supply was a poorly managed, I had to wait for over a month, and last Friday the lady at the shop called to tell me that the camera had arrived… even before she had put the phone down, I was on a motorcycle heading at warp 9.99 to the shop.

Like all the things I’ve read, and expected, I do miss all the dedicated physical dials and buttons… going to the menu to do almost anything was a bit frustrated at time, but the ASP-C sensor, and the pixel density of 3.9MP/cm squared, was too tempting…
By the way, here is a picture of you eating, of course you’ll have no idea on why this is such a big thing for us, for this is the first time you were eating by yourself (with a spoon, and not just randomly stuffing things into your mouth), it is just another sign that you are growing up… just like the first time you tried to put on your shoes, I still find myself mesmerised by your determination to put on your shoes, and yesterday I found myself smiling from ear to ear when you decided that you were now capable of putting on your own trousers… let me just say, stuffing both legs down one leg of the trousers, and from the feet to the waist… baby you couldn’t have got it more wrong, so I’d guess you’ll be needing my help just for a little while longer :) lol

Friday, August 6, 2010


Plog Photo Blog I’ve been told time and time again to look/study tons and tons of photographs, as this will help you to improve your photography… Today a friend had posted a link on my FB that pointed me to this site ‘Plog Photo Blog’, wow, I am not expert enough to comment on the techniques but the story/content came out with both hands and choked me hard, of course all of us have seen pictures of the War in Vietnam, but I have not seen this collection (141 photographs) before (well, except for a few)… and it just blew me away, with the emotional punches it manages to deliver was just amazing.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Suddenly becoming a father of two :)

I am not exactly sure of the timing, but it all must have started a couple of months back, when one morning as I was lounging around on the patio on the right side of the house, where an old washing machine sits stubbornly and unblinkingly staring at the gleaming silver water tank which stands further down the side of the house.

Out2 Suddenly there was a small, and tiny... ‘Meaw’... it came from over the fence. Next door is now empty, for well over a year now, the family of four who my parents kind of knew through a relative had moved out, although we were next door neighbour, like all modern and developed society, we just didn’t talk to each other, of course we often smile and nod our heads but that was as far we got, to be fair I could have made more effort, and so could he... we just didn’t click... well, at least we didn’t hate each other. 

From the information that I got, they moved because it was just more convenient to be closer to the city, especially with two young children, like the dilemma we are facing right now, getting you to school on time would be impossible if we continue to live here, so like this family before us, we are also moving.

Out1Anyway, back to the ‘Meaw’... their storage room was immediately next to our house, the door was slightly opened, it was dark even in blazing sunlight, but one could make out a small movement, adding this to the ‘Meaw’ you didn’t need to be Sherlock Holms to deduct that it was a kitten... But where was its mother?

I asked Pui (house keeper) about the mother cat, but she hasn’t seen the mother for at least three days. Somehow my imagination ran wild, ‘Three days without food/water/milk, OMG it will die soon if we don’t do something, NOW...’.
We have been putting out cat food for big stray cats for several months, and there are three or four regular customers, but that food is for grown up cats and certain not suitable for kitten... Luckily I am familiar with ‘Tom and Jerry’, and Jerry loves his milk... (light bulb flashed brightly above my head).

Decided to climb over the fence, and it was obvious that my ninja ability was still there in abundant (not), next door’s floor is slightly lower than ours, so not anticipating that the drop was further at their end, meaning when I expected the floor to be there, it just simply wasn’t... the end result was not pretty, lets just say I made it in one piece.
Their storage room was dark and messy, the air was stale and damp, I could not find a light switch and the ‘Maew’ had suddenly stopped... Being as wise as I am, and when faced with this situation, I am sure everyone would have done exactly what I did... I began my well practiced ‘Maew’ call... It worked (to my surprise).

A little kitten poked out its head from a pile of old boxes, it was tiny. As soon as it came into view, we executed our action plan, Pui managed to find a small plastic tray, Gio was carrying Matt (2 year old), who was wide eyed and with both hands holding on to the fence. A tray full of milk was placed at the storage room’s door, another try was filled up with water... then I left, making note to get some kitten food...

So for the next month of so I had to climb over to the kitten once a day, usually in the morning to give it food and change the water, when it was a little older it began to venture out, but still sticking very close to the storage room. After several weeks of climbing, I found myself having to go overseas on a business trip, “Who on earth was going to climb over there now”, I certainly didn’t want Gio to be the one who had to climb over the sharp spear liked fence.

With MacGyver as my mentor, it was simple to put a couple of holes onto each side of the plastic tray, then lodging in a thin stick into the holes turning it into an anchor point for the plastic rope, now there was no need to climb over anymore. While I was away for about a week, Gio had the task of pulling up the tray each morning and filling it with Kitten food.

Forward a few more weeks, the kitten, let me be more precise here, it is a red/ginger/orange tabby, and it was so pretty, but we weren’t sure if it was a boy or a girl, and to avoid attachment to it I had decided not to give it a name. Well, soon it was climbing over the place, and one morning it was climbing on the fence then coolly jumped into our side of the fence.

Well that was it, we decided to feed it over on our side, and day by day it was getting prettier and prettier, to be correct handsome... Only found out it was a boy a few days ago, I never knew that it was impossible to tell at the beginning stage of development.

Boon Num at vet A few months on, Gio decided to name it ‘Boon-Num’, I’d guess a direct English translation would be ‘lead by good blessing?’ please note the question mark :) Anyway, last Tuesday Gio ran out of idea on how to keep Matt occupy, so she decided to take Boon-Num to the vet to get it vaccinated, apparently Matt was so excited and super hyper, however Boon-Num was just the opposite. Once back home, it ran away and sat quietly by the front door, and remained there for the rest of the day. 

Boon Num motherI was worried, but by the time I got home he was back to his playful self, Gio had bought it the coolest collar (bell and all). I just realised that I may have taken a photo of Boon-Num’s mother back in March, I wonder where she is now, all of us hope that she is keeping well somewhere out there. 

Here is the latest picture of Boon-Num taken a day before it went off to the vet… he is beautiful, more importantly Matt loves to play with him, as much as it is now built into his routine :) totally adorable :) Soon we are going to move, and now we have the task on how to keep on feeding Boon-Num during the week days, no solution have presented itself yet, but I am sure we’ll find a way as he is now a member of our family :)
Boon Num