Thursday, December 31, 2009

Almost a month to buy a notebook?

Recently placed an order for a Dell notebook. Ordered on 23 Dec, paid using credit card. Maybank only called to verify the purchase on 25 Dec.

Yesterday checked the order status, the order is only confirmed on 29 Dec! Today checked again, the notebook has been built, but estimated shipping date is 15 Jan 2010! That's almost a month from the point of placing the order!

I don't know about you, but for me, when I already decided to purchase something, I want to get the item as soon as possible. The fact that I decide to buy at that time, means I need it already. Reminds me why the old fashioned, non-virtual, face-to-face business dealing is always better.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Proton vs Suzuki

The story of my sister's Suzuki Swift.

She bought the Suzuki Swift as a replacement for her previous Gen2. Fed up with the small problems she had with it. That car had creaks and rattles at a few places. Something that I think is unavoidable in anything that moves over KL's roads. She had the driver's seat adjuster broken. I still wonder how that happened, but my sis had a reputation of breaking things. Then some other minor problems which I've forgotten the details.

But this morning, the Swift simply refused to start, again. Had a quick look and nothing that I can do about it. The battery was fine, it was cranking OK, just that the engine did not catch fire. Actually this is the second time it happened in about 3 years. The mileage on the car is just around 30,000km. Push start is not an option since it's an auto. I don't think using jumpers would help as well since there's nothing wrong with the battery.

But the Gen2 with all it's problem, never, I mean never once, did the car refused to start in the morning. It just reliably start with a crank or two.

I don't know about you, but for me, I would rather live with a car that rattles rather than having a 'solid' car, but I have to pray and hope that it starts when I crank the engine in the morning. Imagine if the engine refused to start in the midnight, some way from home. It would not be something nice to happen. Especially to a lady driver.

Since it is a Suzuki, I'm sure a lot of people would just say, something is wrong with the car only. Just send it back etc.. etc.. But if it's a Proton, suddenly everybody becomes an industry expert and say Proton QC is bad lah, engineering not good lah, old technology lah, etc... etc...

So please people, not just Protons break down. Other cars can too. Just that people tend to listen more stories of Protons breaking down simply due to the fact that there's a lot more Protons on the road. Widen your perspective before condemning the work of others.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Kids nowadays...

Today results for PMR is out. PMR is for 15 year olds. Of course I don't yet have a 12 year old child, nor a close relative this year. But this is what I overheard from my colleagues at the office.

One colleague her child got 8As in the PMR, the reward is going to London. Another colleague also chipped in and mentioned her daughter requested for trip to Disneyland if she got good results for UPSR, that's a 12 year old, my friend. Another then came and mentioned her child also got good results and the reward is iPod touch...

Kids nowadays are very 'carrot driven', overly pampered. Obviously they'll get a harsh wake-up when they eventually get to the real world when they grow up. No wonder even adults nowadays whine of not enough 'reward' for what they 'feel is a good job from their bosses. They're used to that.

Hopefully I can teach my future children well.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Looking forward to F1 2010 season!!!

In 2009, for some reason I lost interest in F1. Even though it was a year littered with many scandals and controversies, right from the start, double diffusers, McLaren's lie-gate, Renault's crash-gate, Massa's horrific accident, etc.. etc.. but I didn't find myself rushing back home to watch F1 race live on TV. Probably partly due to Ferrari was not doing particularly well last season.

But I'm already looking forward to next season's F1. For 3 reasons

1. Lotus F1 Team 1Malaysia
Naturally, a new team backed by Malaysian magnate, Tony Fernandes. I know some quarters are saying it's a waste of 'people' money, but I still think this is a good effort for Malaysia. Malaysians will get the chance to be an F1 driver and engineers can have a chance to get trained in the highly competitive F1 world.

It has also been said many times, the government has no investment in the team other than moral support. It's Mr. Fernandes' money and effort to have the team on the grid. And knowing F1, they're so particular about everything, especially related to funding, I doubt anybody can dodge the system. So way to go Lotus!

2. Petronas backing current championship winning team, Brawn GP
It was in the news yesterday, Petronas will become title sponsor for Mercedes GP, previously known as Brawn GP. The team will now be officially known as Mercedes GP Petronas Formula One Team. Petronas has been well-known in the motorsport arena and have previusly backed Team Sauber and later BMW. This will just lift their reputation even further. May even consider of personally switching to use Petronas if they manage to win the championship next season. Considering Brawn won the championship this season with limited time and budget, hopefully with such good backing they can repeat their success.

News: Formula news

3. Schumacher to return to F1!!
And the biggest news, the great Michael Schumacher is returning next season! He tried to this year, which at that time got me excited, but an injury stopped him. But now he's returning, and he's going to drive for the Mercedes team mentioned above!

News: The Star sports news

I'm way excited! Can't wait for March 2010

Friday, December 11, 2009

What's up with us?

Nowadays you can get sued by cancelling an engagement...

We're becoming more and more like in the US where you can get sued just by sneezing in the elevator. A blatant misuse of the legal system. I would say, the legal system has other more important issues to deal with rather than petty issues like this. During courtship time, everything is nice and happy, then when things turn ugly, go to court, for something as personal as a marriage *sigh*

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Trip to Sydney - 19 Nov 09

My 4th day in Sydney. As the day before, went out running again late afternoon, on the same 10km route. This time with a camera. All pics in previous post and this post were actually taken on this date.

Weird looking cruise ferry, Starship Sydney docked at Kings Street wharf

My run took me underneath the Harbour Bridge

The water looks clean, but does not mean it's safe!

Right in front of Opera House. Tired already by now

Funny eh? Normally we're asked to keep away from the grass, but at Sydney's Royal Botanic Garden we're asked to walk on the grass

On the pedestrian bridge back to the hotel, overseeing the Darling Harbour. All spent and tired

Later that night, spent a bomb on souvenirs. *sigh*

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Trip to Sydney - 18 Nov 09

My 3rd day at Sydney, which would turn out to be a great day! The symposium went on as usual. Nothing interesing to report there. I'll try to post a separate summary of the symposium itself, for those interested.

After the symposium ended, which was already around 5:45PM, I was determined to go out running! The weather was so nice, it's a waste if I don't go out at least once. Anyway, I already brought my running shoes with me.

So I laced up and with a sketchy mental map of Sydney, I just went out. Starting from the Darling Harbour, take a detour to Tombaloong Park and decided to turn the other way to the north. So turned back to Darling Harbour, went around it. Ran past the nightspots on the right and the marina on my left. Past the, already-closing-at-6:30PM Sydney Aquarium & Wildlife Park. Then on to the King Street Wharf with a few more nightspots on my right. Darling Harbour is like Jalan Bukit Bintang in KL, a happening place, if you like that kind of happening.

The Tombaloong Park. Actually a roughly 50m diameter grassy area only hehehe

Darling Harbour marina at dusk

The nightspots by Darling Harbour

Then left the seaside and went on to the road where I get to see the more relaxed part of Sydney. Past some residential areas all the way to the tip of Sydney. That's where Harbour Bridge is. From afar, on foot, the bridge look magnificent. With the massive steel structure with the two towers on either side. Then I found out the route I was taking take me right underneath the bridge! I was so excited! There across the bay, the Opera House sits proudly as the landmark of Sydney. Too bad I did not bring a camera with me. Not even a phone. All pics in this post was actually taken the day after.

Don't know what this is about. It's a roundabout

The sight of the majestic Harbour Bridge from afar, on foot

To give you a sense of scale of the bridge structure

I proceed with the run past The Rocks, which is the oldest part of Sydney, facing the international passenger terminal, with a huge 7-8 storeys passenger ferry berthed there. Less than a 100m away. It's not everyday I can see such huge ferry from such a short distance.

The Rocks

Continued to run around the bay to the Circular Quay ferry terminal, my first option to return back to Darling Harbour. But I decided to carry on all the way to the Opera House. There saw quite a number of other joggers, so decided to follow them. That brought me right up the steps of the Opera House (great!) and over to the other side. Which took me to the entrance of the Royal Botanic Garden, surrounding another bigger bay.

A different perspective of the Opera House. Taken right from in front on the entrance

Just jogged by the seaside going round the bay all the way to MacQuaries Point. By now, I was already so far away from my hotel, no option to turn back. Worse case have to take a cab back hehehe Then ran past the naval dock yard on my way back to the city center. Had a detour to the Sydney Hospital and Parliament House before I finally found my way to St. Mary's cathedral. Remembering where it is on the map, I made my way to Hyde Park to get to Kings Street which should take me back straight to Darling Harbour.

I ran from this side of the bay to the other side (left hand side of the pic). About 2.5km

Sydney city skyline, at dusk

The naval dock yard

Pics of St Mary's cathedral

Then I was pratically running through the city center, together with all the people leaving home from work, but nobody seems to be bothered. Try doing that in center of KL, I guarantee you stern look from other passers-by. I was right and the road took me all the way back to Darling Harbour. When I reached my room, it was still quite bright outside. My guess would be latest 7:15PM, but I was shocked to see it was already 8:00PM! Summer time...

View of Darling Harbour at late dusk

I was so satisfied with the run. But determined to do it again tomorrow, with a camera!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Trip to Sydney - 17 Nov 09

First day for the seminar. Woke up late, after being embarassingly woken up by Razman when he called my room's phone. Luckily the event venue is just a 5 minute walk away.

Sydney Convention Center in the background. The symposium venue

These a few things I noticed at the event:
1. Attended mostly by middle age guys with balding grey hairs. It was an event attended by industry leaders, CIOs and the like. Felt a bit 'small' in such company

2. Almost EVERYBODY was using iPhone or Blackberry. If you just landed from Mars, you may think Apple and Blackberry were the inventors of mobile phone. Very few people seen using normal phones like Nokia, SonyEricsson and the likes

3. Coffee, cold drinks and light food served free flow. But I had to survie on Pepsi and juice only for the whole duration of the seminar

4. Airconditioning at venue was so cold, had to run out during lunch break, but it was even colder outside! Had to run right back in. The cool surroundings was very comfortable for me. I hardly broke sweat, even with jacket on. Back home, I would've been drenched in like 2 minutes.

5. During the interview of an industry leader, the guy simply took sips of mineral water from the bottle itself. No need for glasses. And he's CEO of Telstra, one of the major telecommunications company in Australia. It's like having Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan, being interviewed on stage, drinking right from the bottle. Not gonna happen here. We're a bit more polite I guess, while they're more open.

Sydney 2000 sculpture in front of the convention center

Another funny thing, just realized I still had the tag inside my jacket which I bought the day before I left KL. Lucky nobody noticed hehehe

Later after the seminar, went out, alone. Discovered the first downside, the shops close early! They all close at 8PM or earlier. So just spent the rest of the day relaxing on the platform around the harbour. It was really cold back in the hotel room, even with the heater at full blast.

Trip to Sydney - 16 Nov 09

This is kind of late. Just don't have time to update my blog. I was at Sydney from 16 - 20 November. Paid trip by the company hehehe I was sent to attend Gartner Symposium there, together with my boss, Mr Razman. This is my travelblog.

Arrived at Sydney airport around 10AM, after an 8 hours flight. Was so excited!

Boring view out of the plane window for most of the flight

The moment I get there, the first thing I was eager to know, how cold is it? It's now summer in Australia, but it's still around mid 20 degrees, which to my delight felt really nice, cool and comfortable. Especially when the wind blows. Stayed at Novotel on Darling Harbour, which has a very nice harbourside view. Expensive as hell, it costs AUD$259 per night which at current rate is more than RM800 per night! Lucky for me, the company pays hehehe To give some idea how expensive it is, later that day, bought a loaf of white bread and a bottle of Gatorade at a convenice shop. That costed me more than AUD$10! Even without translating back to ringgit, it IS expensive.

The hotel room, Novotel on Darling Harbour

Darling Harbour behind me

Right after we checked in, went out to the city, on foot. Since Razman have been to Sydney before, so he led the way. We went from one shopping complex to another. From one shop to another. Due to the price, nothing caught my interest. Spent like 3-4 hours walking almost across the length of Sydney, from Paddy's Market in the south, all the way to the Circular Quay ferry terminal at the north tip! On the way stopped at Starbucks Coffee for drinks, which tasted exactly the same as in Malaysia. But note that there's no free wi-fi at Starbucks in Oz-land, unlike here.

Chinatown behind me

The long walk ended with a very nice ferry ride back to Darling Harbour, departing from Circular Quay terminal, in between the two famous Sydney landmarks, Sydney Opera House and the Harbour Bridge. The ferry ride then took us right underneath Harbour Bridge where we can have a magnificent view of the steel underside structure of the bridge. It's much more grander than it is in photos! Marvelous!

Harbour Bridge!

At the famous Opera House!

Getting onto the ferry

Great view of the bridge underside

Great view of the bridge and the Opera House

Sydney city is nice. The atmosphere is relaxed. Not so crowded, nor is it rushing. People are quite laid back and things go calmly. Not much vehicles on the road and there was hardly any traffic jams. The city is also very 'touristy' with lots of interesting places to see. Since the city is not so crowded, we have people running right in the city center itself on the walkway. And quite a lot of cyclist sharing the road with other vehicle. I would say, with the weather and traffic condition there, I wouldn't mind cycling as well.

Also I noted most of Sydney people (they call themselves Sydneysiders) are Asian. Mostly Chinese. I would say, only half of the population are caucasian.

Picked up an Australian Optus mobile phone pre-paid package for AUD$30, but got a total value of AUD$300 usage actually. Great! Later at night, had another frappucino at the Starbucks nearby our hotel.

My AUD$10 dinner

Nice view of Darling Harbour at night

Another angle

Expenditures (AUD$)
$14 - van from airport to hotel
$30 - Optus 'yes' pre-paid
$6 x 2 - Starbucks frappucino
$10 - souvenirs
$5 - ferry fare
$20 - travel adapter & bandage (yikes!)
$10 - bread & gatorade (yikes! again)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Powerman Malaysia 09

As per my previous post, Powerman Malaysia 09 was last Sunday. Again, held at Manjung.

The day started early, 5:00AM since the race starts at 7:30AM and I stayed more than 20km away from the start line. The result of late booking and undecided of doing the event.

All smiles before the sufferings...

11km run
Was very nervous right from the start. But met a few familiar faces although most of them are now much leaner, with their consistent training. Out of a sudden, the race was gunned off. Some were still chit-chatting at the back of the pack.

Right in the first few hundred meters, I was drifting towards the back of the pack. In my head, I just wanted to keep to a comfortable pace and complete the race. I wasn't racing anybody else, except myself.

A few of the elite athletes even overtook me before I started my 2nd lap, which was a clear indication of being slower than last year. Nevertheless, managed to sustain the run till the end without stopping or walking. Consumed only a pack of Powergel albeit a bit late into the run.

Time - 1:09:13

T1 Transition run-bike
Just took it easy. Not rushing. No incident during transition. Out of the area in 2 minutes 22 seconds.

On the way out to the bike course

64km bike
As usual, my favourite discipline. Right away was overtaking a few competitors. Was doing a steady and easy 30+km/h, with no intention to push. Planned to save my legs for the last run. Even the various climbs over the bridges was surprisingly easier than I thought! Overtook many others on the climb. But was also overtaken by an elite athlete no. 002 on the bridge.

My cyclometer actually read 33+km for the 1st lap. But I was off for the 2nd lap. Still maintaining good pace at easy effort most of the way. It was only on the way back in that I felt slight cramping in both quad muscles, especially on the climb. But managed to keep it in check.

Ater a long 66+ indicated km, entered transition.

Time - 2:06:41

T2 Transition bike-run
Again, took it easy. Very tired too by then. Took 2 minutes 14 to get out of transition.

10km run
Tried to jog the first few hundred meters, but cramped both quads. So had to resort to walking. Still had about 100 minutes to finish the last run. So targeted for 10min/km pace to ensure of qualifying.

Both legs felt really hot under the scorching sun which doesn't help with the cramping. The route was almost open with only tall trees lining up on the sides giving the slightest form of shade from the sun.

Virtually walked all the way to the first water station, 2km away. At the station, totally drenched my body with mineral water. Also on my thigs to try to soothe the cramps. That did help! Immediately afterwards, felt a bit more comfortable and started to jog-walk a bit. So I devised a plan. Walk through the shady area and jog through the hot patch. At least, I wouldn't get baked for too long!

After the 1st lap, I was 8 minutes inside my target time! The plan worked! That gave a me a renewed motiviation. Continued with the bathe-at-water-station, jog-at-hot-patch & walk-through-shady-patch routine all the way.


Nearing the finish line, still can barely walk. Anis was waiting at the finish, with the finisher's medal, passed to her by the man in charge.

Run time - 1:24:10

Total time - 4:44:43

Completing the race!

I was 15 minutes off my last year's time, but I was not worried. Considering the amount of training I had this year to last year, I was satisfied. Yay! ;)

All smiles and relieved after the race

Powerman Malaysia 09 - the summary

The burden is off my shoulder! Powerman Malaysia was last Sunday. In short I managed to finish within the 5 hours cut-off time, barely. My watch time says 4:44:44. 15 minutes slower to last year's, but with the amount of training I did this year, I can't ask for more. Being a classified finisher was more than good enough.

I'm so happy!!

Me at the finish line! Thanks my dear Anis for the pic :)

More detailed info to come...

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Wish me luck!

Powerman Malaysia is TOMORROW!

I'm all pumped up and nervous at the same time. But I'm just sooooo busy nowadays. Last night was in the office till 11:30PM. Only managed to clean & lube up my bike last night at 12:30AM! And as of writing, 11:00AM Saturday, I'm also in the office. Well, what to do.

My race kit

Hopefully I can get enough rest tonight so I can be ready for tomorrow.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A day at Putrajaya 2

Yesterday at Putrajaya, desperate for more cycling mileage, went for a training ride at Putrajaya. Not a good day for me it seemed.

The moment I parked the car, realized I left the socks at home. OK fine, not really a big deal. After I struggled to remove the bike from the car's back seat, had a really disturbing stomach discomfort and really had to go. In went the bike again. Luckily lately I always park right in front of a public toilet for my rides.

Already getting late. Few minutes into the ride, noticed the cyclometer was acting up. My speed was over the place. From 30km/h to 19km/h to 31km/h to 22km/h to 33km/h over a few seconds. It just messed up my average speed and recorded distance. Damn it.

Less than 5 km into the ride, again, the dreaded puncture. It was the rear wheel (again). Stopped and removed the tyre using the tyre levers I just bought the day before. They worked like a charm and it was much easier than before. Every rider should have a pair!

Pedro's tyre levers

On goes a fresh inner tube, put on the tyres and try out my, also newly bought shiny & sleek Topeak pocket pump. Then I found out the valve stem was too short the pump can't lock on the valve! I was damned. A 5 km walk looked inevitable.

Luckily a group of young boys cycled past. They stopped to check me out. And to my luck, one of them had a long stemmed spare tube. Offered to buy it from him, but he refused. Just ask me to exchange with my short stemmed tube. About 5 minutes and a handshake later, thanked the group and made my move. BTW, the Topeak pump worked well and managed to pump higher pressure than my previous Zefal ASV. Very small in size, yet very efficient. The cyclometer then continued to act up and was so fed-up I removed it.

Topeak Micro Rocket ALT

But the string of incidences wrecked my motivation. After maybe 15-18 km or so decided to call it a day and retreated back to the parking lot.

A really bad day it was indeed.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

10km @ 1:05

What a training run! That was on Saturday night, 4 laps around Titiwangsa. In streaming rain. It has been sometime I did that kind of time on a training run. Not just that, lap times were

17:27 - 16:44 - 16:01 and last lap, 14:56!!!

It was ages since I did a sub 15 minutes lap around Titiwangsa! Great run!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A day at Putrajaya

Last Sunday, went to Putrajaya again to cycle. Really desperate for cycling training nowadays. Was enjoying it. Weather was nice, my legs felt good, my cyclometer was working again. But right before reaching 20km, the dreaded puncture!

It was the rear tyre. And due to the cheap Panaracer tyre, it took me like 1/2 hour to change the tube. Wayyyy too long. If it was a race, the race would've been over already for me.

But I managed to change it anyway, not without very, very sore thumbs. Completed 47km averaging circa 31km/h, not bad considering the hilly terrain. Have to find solution for the problem. May need to buy new tyres or maybe re-tape the wheels.

Luckily the saving grace after that, discovered an Autocross event in Putrajaya. Spent another hour or so watching the event. Now I know where those small modified cars do their stuff. It's in Autocross event where big cars are not really suitable for. No wonder I seldom see them at Sepang track.

I took some video using my phone, but the quality was very bad, they're not worth to upload.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Training update - Powerman 09

Powerman Malaysia is less than a month away and my training is still in haywire.

Last week, only did a total of 18km of running. Shorter than the distance I have to do on race day! And then last Sunday, finally managed to drag myself out of bed and drive to Putrajaya to cycle. But the moment I reached Putrajaya, this awaits me:

Dark cloud all over. In the end, had to 1 1/2 hours before it started to slow down to a drizzle. But it was worth it. Have no idea of the distance since my cyclometer died. But covered quite a number of climbs.

Last week also bought this:

A new pair of running shoes since the last 2 years or so. It's a Nike Pegasus 25, to commemorate Pegasus' 25 years history.

BTW, a tip to buy running shoes, especially Nike. Never buy current year models. Last year, the shoe above was priced at RM349. But now, it's only RM210 after 40% discount. This is how I buy all my shoes. Always buy last years model, at steep discount. Not that there's a lot of improvement with the new model anyway.

Hopefully, the shoe will see the start line on 8 November!