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Saturday, 28 March 2009

Did You Switch Off Your Lights?

28th March 2009, 8.30pm, local time.

Earth Hour.

Some people say that Earth Hour is merely a publicity stint, and does not save much energy.

Well in my humble opinion, being a publicity stint is exactly the aim of Earth Hour. Many people don't put high priority in energy conservation, and a world-wide activity like this reminds everybody that Earth needs our help.

Even preschoolers now are energy conscious, thanks to Earth Hour.

Did you participate? If your answer is no, you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Yet don't be sad. You can prove your loyalty to mother Earth by saving energy every day, not just one hour a year.

Ways of saving electricity:
1. Use the Standby function of your computer. It turns off all components, except the RAM. Turning it back on from Standby is fast compared to a fresh startup. Laptops running on battery can last for days on Standby mode.
2. If you're using CRT monitors (or televisions, ONLY the display), turn them off when you're not using them. They are easily rated at over 100 Watts of power. In comparison, an average laptop (not just the monitor) consumes only 60 watts of power.
3. Thomas Edison is smart, yet not energy conscious. Dump traditional light bulbs and get energy efficient ones. A 13W energy efficient light bulb is just as bright as a 150W traditional bulb. Lasts much longer too!
4. Turn off the lights during day time. Don't just turn on the toilet light at noon just because you're used to tapping the switch before entering the door. If you can see properly without the lights on, you don't need them.
5. Instead of using the air-conditioner, why not take a nice cool shower? If you even care to switch off the water heater, you really save a lot of energy.
6. Don't be spoiled - don't drive everywhere. If your destination is within 15 minutes' walk away, just walk! Don't complain that's far, I walk much more than that. We're young people, and we should appreciate our ability to move before it's too late. If you insist on driving, get your friends to ride along to share your carbon footprint.
7. Don't just throw aluminium cans away - make sure they are recycled. Place them next to trash cans, and there'll be people who treasure them. It takes a lot of energy to refine aluminium.

Be a friend of mine and do what I do (yes I practise all 7 points). If you have more ways of conserving energy, share with me!

If you're the type of people who think "aiya, never mind lah, electricity bill is not paid by me", then I'm sorry mother Earth gave birth to someone like you.

April Fool's Coming

I can't believe it's the end of March already.

Christmas 2008 is still clearly imprinted in my memory. I was at home, trying desperately to cram as much contents into my brain as possible.

I still remember celebrating New Year's Day. I was stuck in school until over 2am at night because of the stupid rain.

I also remember the election day of America last year. Was quite impressed by Obama's performance.

And then there's Chinese New Year. I spent a few days in Singapore trying to improve my skills with the Rubik's cube.

And then a quarter of the year's gone. Time to check out the quarterly performances of companies you have share on.

What have you done this year so far?

Oh, and then there's April Fool's day coming. Maybe I'll tell others that I'm not straight that day.

Monday, 23 March 2009

Free Gifts

Up to this point of my life, I've never found free gifts to be especially attractive.

Just not long ago, I went to MidValley to buy my friend his birthday present. After much consideration (and discussion with friends sharing this present), I picked a DVD off the shelf and went to the counter to pay for it.

The DVD itself was rather good. I can't deny that I myself would like something like that for my birthday.

I paid for the DVD, and was surprised (pleasantly) when the two kind cashiers threw in a box of freebie into the cute Doraemon bag, saying that they were having 'promotion'. I was stunned, and could say nothing else except "thank you, thank you!"

Apparently the Doraemon bag was part of the promotion - it was listed as "Reusable bag RM0.00" in the receipt.

One common sense is not to check out the free gift in front of them, so I grabbed the bag and walked out of the shop. Once out of their sight, I ripped the bag open and took out this.

Oh. Ah haha. A toy.

An Ultraman toy. Which makes sounds. Made in China. To play with it, you press a button located right in between Ultraman's buttocks.

And then his eyes and his 'life indicator' will blink, accompanied by low-frequency sounds of explosions and shootings and such.

Oooooohhh damn.

What am I supposed to do with it? I should have turned down the 'gift'! What's more, the stuff I bought was smaller than the Ultraman, and they were put inside a Doraemon bag. It's like the DVD was the free gift instead!

Something hilarious about it is, of course, the usual top-notch English instructions printed on the back of the box.

Upon reaching home, I discovered yet another surprise. A small clockwork Doraemon was bundled with the bag.

Well, at least this one is cuter.

My friend Yin Jen came over some days later. I wished him happy birthday and gave him the Doraemon bag, along with everything that was inside.

Hope you like the Ultraman! If you're wondering how old this Yin Jen is, he's just turned 20.

PS: Happy birthday to the March trio - Jen, Sean, and Stan!

Thursday, 19 March 2009

Equine Vocabulary

Horses have live alongside humans for thousands of years, and this has led to the creation of many words, describing different horses of different genders, age, colour, physical appearance, etc.

I've recently watched a horse-related film, and it took me several reference to my dictionary to make out the meanings of the following words.
1. Horse
2. Stud
3. Filly
4. Pony
5. Mare
6. Stallion

Well don't laugh at me. You think you know what pony means? Well a pony isn't a young horse - it's a small horse, referring to the physical size, not its age. Take the following quote to convince yourself.

In modern times, Sugar Puff, who had been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's oldest living pony, died in 2007, aged 56.

A visit to Wikipedia's horse article uncovered many more words. Foal, yearling, colt, rig, gelding...

Well, we're surprised by the range of vocabulary related to horse because we don't really interact with them much any more. Maybe one day, when people drive flying vehicles or have warping ports, our grandchildren will be surprised with the many terms associated with cars, like MPV, SUV, CRV, convertibles, van, sedan...

Sunday, 15 March 2009

Three Things I Thought I'd Never Do

One year ago, if you were to suggest any hairstyle to me (other than the usual military-style), I would have laughed and say you're crazy.

My usual self, taken three hours before this.

And yet, believed it or not, I used hair-gel to styled my hair last week.

If you think I'm joking, well, I couldn't believe I was doing it either. The small tube of gel came with my face wash as a free gift. I thought I could keep it for years, but then I quickly noticed its expiry date, which was written to be in 2010.

The face wash and the hair gel.

Well, want not, but let's waste not, right? Might as well put it to good use. After all, I've done my personal Chinese Calligraphy exhibition, and if I could pull off that trick, there's nothing in this world I couldn't do.

So I stood in front of the mirror, squeezed some gel onto my palm, and started to run my hands onto my hair. I laughed and laughed like a maniac while doing it - I am so not used to seeing me that way.

The expiry date of the hair gel.

Ten minutes later...

I stood still, looking at the mirror, my jaws tired of laughing. OK, perhaps I'd do better as a Calligraphy than a hair stylist. Then I spotted the camera sitting on my table, and that's when I did the second thing I'd never do.

Self-portrait photography.

I mean, if I could be a hair-stylist, I could definitely be a self-portrait photographer like the next girl you meet on the street, right?

I picked my Nikon up, and immediately felt ultimately stupid - I'm shooting myself with the camera! Once again I felt like bursting into laughter, but my jaws were just too exhausted and I sniggered instead.

Well it appears that shooting yourself is easier with the gun. I kept missing myself with the camera!

Oops! Missed!

And it's no wonder why girls always complain of themselves being too fat. The fish-eye effect of cameras really adds pounds to your weight.

Gawsh! I'm 30 lbs heavier!

OK, at last I got a satisfying shot, after dozens (literally) of tries. So now what? Maybe I'd put it up to my blog.

And I thought I had "durian" hair!

Oh wait, I can't stand all the zits I have in the photo! While I'm a self-portrait photographer, why not edit my own photos as well?

I can't believe that I was actually thinking about it.

I don't have Adobe Photoshop at my disposal, but my Ubuntu Linux comes with GIMP, which contains most of Photoshop's features. I clicked on it, and disappeared behind my laptop for about 15 minutes.

Some time later...

What next? Thicker neck? Stubble?

Whoa. I felt like I was doing Before and After.


Don't see any difference? OK, I'm neither a hair stylist, nor a self-portrait photographer, nor a photo-editor.

Wednesday, 11 March 2009

How I Plan to Spend My First Paycheck

Ever since I entered university I began day-dreaming on graduating and getting myself a job. Maybe because graduation is within the horizon now (yeah right, I still have 27 more months to go), or maybe because of the excruciatingly expensive school fees, I don't know, but I do know that I've made plans on how to spend my first paycheck.

1. treat my family and friends to a meal
This is a must! They have always stood by me all this while, gave me a shoulder to lean on, legs to hold, and bodies to hug. Skip this and they'll serve my head for dinner. I'm gonna bring them to some place glamorous, like a five-star restaurant in the city centre with personal waiters and live music performances. Whoa...
Price: RM500? Depends on number of people involved.

So far: RM500

2. get a new Casio Tough Solar watch
I love my G-Shock watch my mum gave me 11 years ago. But it's pretty worn out now, and although I still love it, I figure I'd need a more decent looking one for more official or serious events.
Price: RM500

So far: RM1000

3. get a new QWERTY phone
I've always wanted a decent QWERTY phone, but these phones are just too expensive for me to afford now. I should be able to afford one by then.
Price: RM2500?

So far: RM3500

4. get a new laptop
My 2-year-old ASUS A8j is magnificent. It's still doing well and I have yet to format it for the first time. However, everybody knows that computers have a limited lifetime, and I would definitely need one after I graduate. How can I live without one?
Price: RM4000?

So far: RM7500

5. get a Digital Single Lens Reflective camera (DSLR)
I'm currently stuck with my dad's old Nikon 3200 point-n-shoot, which has rather poor specifications. For you idiotic megapixel-inclined people, it's a 3.2MP camera. But I'm unhappy with its lack of flexibility, ISO (maxes at 200), aperture and shutter speed (no manual configuration), dynamic range, zoom...
Price: RM3000?

So far: RM10500

6. get a girlfriend
Nobody wants to be single. I don't think it's appropriate to get a partner now, because my mum's paying me to study, not for me to spend it on someone else. Of course, when I'm earning my own salary, it'll be a completely different story.
Price: more than I can afford

So far: RM...

Oh wait, my first paycheck isn't gonna be that big.

Perhaps I'll just make do with the family and friends treat.

Friday, 6 March 2009

Calligraphy Exhibition: Thanks!

Opening ceremony crew holding my writing.

My solo exhibition is finally over. Yay...!!!

I've been preparing for this event since June 2008. And I'm proud to say it has concluded satisfyingly.

Of course it wasn't just my effort. Thanks to the organising committee of this event - mainly the chairperson and the two hosts of the day.

Chairperson of the event.

For Klang Gan Association, I don't even know where to start. Without you, we wouldn't have today's MoDian to start with!

Oh, and to Instructor Kerk too, for his patience throughout the decade, as well as his efforts on this event, such as the stage decoration and the newspaper articles.

A short article on the opening ceremony, appearing on Sin Chew Daily on 3rd March, Monday. My teacher, Klang Gan Association bigheads, and me are all in it.

Many thanks to Yv Mei (玉妹) aunty too, for her help in post processing my works. You did a fantastic job, despite a little hiccup on er, one of my many works. Oh, and I love your gift too!

Thanks a lot for Yv Mei (玉妹) aunty for this brush stand! Love it!

Lastly, thanks a lot to my friends, family, relatives, calligraphy-mates and their families who have stood by me all this while. Especially those who have took their time to attend the ceremony! Some even came down from as far as KL. I've invited many people, and you're the few who turned up, and boy, you made my day.

Oh, then there's calligraphy-mates' parents who brought in delicacies too. I really appreciate your help and support.

Me and my few cousins.

OK if I drag on and on it would be like I have just won an Oscar. I hope you enjoyed the event!

PS. I've made another seal for the exhibition. It is a much better one compared to the one I'm currently using as my blog header, seeing the fact that I'm now more experienced, and also that I've had help from my teacher and calligraphy-mate C. Y. Tan in the process (many thanks!). See the picture below, and leave a comment!

The new seal sucks when put on dark background! Which one do you like more?










以及 Aunty 玉妹,为我的几十幅作品一一托底。还做得不错嘛!对,也多谢您的礼物。






PS。我为这个展览做了另一个印章,比起之前的好了䓳多。我不只经验多了一些,再做这个印章,我也得了郭老师及书法同学 C. Y. Tan 的帮助(多谢!)。样本在此,觉得怎么样?

不适合放在暗的地方! 你喜欢哪一个?

Tuesday, 3 March 2009

Geeky Jokes

This January, I went to MidValley Exhibition Centre (MVEC) for a Jobstreet's Careers Fair. I stopped by F-Secure's booth, and got this very amusing set of stickers in return.

If you haven't even heard of F-Secure before, you can stop reading this post straight away - the remainder will definitely not amuse you in any way.

Interpretation of some of the lines shown.

1. "Most of my unsolicited email comes from my boss."
- My spam filter is so powerful that the only spam mails I receive are from my boss.

2. "Gone Phishing."
- Phishing is an act of stealing sensitive information such as usernames and passwords.

3. "My other PC is your PC."
- Your firewall sux so much that I frequently use your computer as backup.

4. "* HONEYPOT *"
- A honeypot is a trap to catch hackers.

5. "There is no place like"
- is the IP address for localhost. In other words, there's no place like home!

6. "Backups are for wimps."
- My security system is so strong I wouldn't need it!

7, "You don't need to see my identification."
- Otherwise I wouldn't be called a hacker!

8. "Protected."
- Yeah right!

9. "Will break CAPTCHA for food."
- CAPTCHAs are those nonsensical images containing a few letters or words to deter access to non-humans.

10. "I've forgotten your password again, could you remind me?"
- Nice one!

11. "Owned"
- For your computer. From me.

12. "Use ROT13 twice for added protection!"
- ROT13 is both an encryption and decryption process. Using ROT13 once will encrypt it. Using it again will er...