November 30, 2008

Thursday Night Dinner

Mom decided to prepare a simple dinner of 'Fish and Chips' minus the chips last Thursday night.

Mom had some prepared frozen fish bought from the store since she had to go out that day. So, with some cabbage, carrots, onions and potatoes, my mom prepared a coleslaw and baked potato.

Home-made coleslaw with cabbage, carrots and onions

The coleslaw is pretty simple. You do not need a lot of mayonnaise, just about 1 tablespoon for a large amount of cabbage. Half a lemon is squeezed to add some 'twang' to the slaw. Simple!!

My mom did not deep fry the fish as it already has been deep-fried before the fish was frozen. So, with a bit of olive oil, my mom pan-fried the fish just to heat it up.

Pan-fried Fish

As for the potatoes, it was boiled and mashed before we added a bit of butter and olive oil to the mash. Then, for something different, my mom decided to add a bit of cheese and baked it in the oven for 15 minutes. My mom didn't like us taking a lot of potatoes, so, she just boiled 3 medium-sized potatoes.

Small dish of Baked Potato

It was a balanced meal where we had some coleslaw leftover for sandwiches the next day... :-) We had some home-made bread too but my Dad had cut up the bread before I could take a picture of it.

Sometimes, it is just good to have simple food at home.

November 28, 2008

How's Your Christmas Preparations?

Traditionally, the Christmas season for me and my family begins the 1st week of Advent.

This year, my family doesn't seem to have any big plans except for a couple of things...

1. Rusty's Neuter Operation (ugghh)
2. Rusty and Dad's B'day a few days before Christmas (yeah, they share the same b'day)

My eldest cousin is very lucky to share the same b'day as our Lord, Jesus Christ. And because of that, he's always felt a very deep and special connection with our Lord.

Snoopy finds it hard to get into the Christmas Mood...

I know I have a tonne of things to do during the Christmas season. It's not the parties with family and friends but also to do some works for those who need it more than ever. Gosh, I got to talk to my Dad about that too.

I think I may have harped on this many times that Christmas should not be the one time of year to do all the good works we need to do, but it should be done all year round.

Anyway, with the impending recession and bad times ahead; I find it hard to get into that Christmas mood. More so, after this morning's meeting at work where the bosses harped over small issues. *sigh*.. It's not a good sign when that happens as it pisses off the employees which just speeds up their exodus from the company.

November 25, 2008

Two Years Ago...

Two years ago, I took this picture...


I happened to have taken a trip to Edinburgh, Scotland with some colleagues while I was working in Derby, UK at that time. It was a very very long journey but worthwhile. Edinburgh has that mix of medieval charm with metropolitan flair.

It is also a university city and reminded me of Melbourne, Australia very much.

Anyway, this is my first attempt at "tilt-and-shift", which is a cool way to miniaturize your subjects. ;-)

Come to think of it, I never did get to Part 2 of the post. LOL!!!

Funnily though, tonight's post is exactly two years from that trip.

November 24, 2008

Cake Obsession

I would have to admit. I have a slight cake obsession. 
The reason why I say, "slight" is that I do not normally idulge in cakes everyday or every week.
However, EV has a very very passionate cake obsession.

EV: I'm hungry
Me: You're always hungry.
EV: Let's have tea.
Me: It's almost dinner time, if you eat now, you won't be able to eat dinner.
EV: I don't care... I need CAKE... DELICIOUS!!!

EV and I are pretty ardent fans of Delicious. Sure, some folks think the food is so-so but I kind of like their menu, especially some of their salads. 

EV: I want to have chocolate and carrot cake.
Me: Wait ...wait.. You're suggesting that we eat TWO cakes???
EV: Yeah, why not?
Me: I can't finish two cakes let alone one. My stomach can't take it.
EV: Wah... Your stomach shrank. Good for you! More for me! 

She tries to convince me that carrot cake is "healthy", except for the cheese topping. Yeah, but she forgets the amount of butter and sugar which goes into the cake as well.. 


Moments later...

EV: Oh no... I can't finish it!!
Me: See, I told you so...

In the end, she ta-paoed the leftover cake. 

Now, EV is not that unhealthy. She only had stir-fried vegetables and some fried loh see fun for lunch. However, when it comes to her sweet tooth, she can't help but succumb to these yummy things...

Of course we finished the chocolate cake first... (^.^)

November 20, 2008

Sentimental Thursday - Lucky

I really really like this song. Brings back a lot of sweet memories. :-P

Here's the lyrics, if you're not interested in the song.

Do you hear me,
I'm talking to you
Across the water across the deep blue ocean
Under the open sky oh my, baby I'm trying
Boy I hear you in my dreams
I feel your whisper across the sea
I keep you with me in my heart
You make it easier when life gets hard

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again

They don't know how long it takes
Waiting for a love like this
Every time we say goodbye
I wish we had one more kiss
I'll wait for you I promise you, I will

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
I'm lucky we're in love in every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday

And so I'm sailing through the sea
To an island where we'll meet
You'll hear the music, feel the air
I'll put a flower in your hair
Though the breezes through trees
Move so pretty you're all I see
As the world keeps spinning round
You hold me right here right now

I'm lucky I'm in love with my best friend
Lucky to have been where I have been
Lucky to be coming home again
I'm lucky we're in love in every way
Lucky to have stayed where we have stayed
Lucky to be coming home someday

Ooohh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh
Ooooh ooooh oooh oooh ooh ooh ooh ooh

I do agree with the song, it is very lucky to find a best friend to be in love with. Someone who knows how to make your life easier when it is hard.

These days, with crisis here and there, little pieces of such joy should be held very dear to us.

Not to fear... Friday is ALMOST here!!

November 18, 2008

We Saw This Coming... Didn't We?

Rusty sure looks worried - I would be too if I see the cost of my kibbles and treats are going up...

CNN seems to be using this word very often these days - the dreaded "R" word which folks in the financial world have been trying to avoid for some months now.

Well, the world's 2nd largest economy has shrunk again in results for another quarter, and that means, it's technically in RECESSION.

We all knew that the big "boom" period would not last forever. What goes up, must eventually come down.

However, judging from the BIG crowd at the shopping malls, I don't think the Recession reality has hit our local Malaysian consumers. Sure, they noticed that price of goods are going up despite price of petrol going down. But, do they understand why?

I've explained to a colleague last night that the price of food is not just dependent on petrol alone. Many other factors are also included such as the price of animal feed which uses grains such as corn, has been scarce due to an increase of production for bio-fuel usage as well as environmental factors such as drought or global warming effects which has affected crops. Indirectly, these factors has attributed to the price of food.

Of late, I've also noticed that a lot of companies in whichever sector has been pushing hard to close deals/sales, initiated committed projects with clients and tried to forecast the future; in anticipation of getting enough monies to "ride this storm out".

It's the same with my company as well where the boss has been EXTRA PUSHY to get us to close deals with clients who are already quite hesitant to commit to anything. I'm very afraid that with TOO MUCH "CLIENT BULLYING", we just might lose the client. It's good to be persistent but not to the point of irritating the client.

Anyway, have you started to cut back spending or are you still oblivious to the economic turmoil around us?

November 17, 2008

Software Conflict - VMWare Server 2.0 vs Apache Tomcat

This post is solely for software developers...

I just spent around 30minutes trying to figure out why my 'ol reliable Apache Tomcat failed to start up properly. Granted that it's been 6 months since I've used it. LOL!!! I had been "flirting" around with another application server... IBM to be exact.

After updating my version of Tomcat (previously, it was at 5.5.23 but now it's 5.5.27), the server still failed to start up.

Digging through the logs, I found the following:

17-Nov-2008 17:36:57 org.apache.catalina.core.StandardServer await
SEVERE: StandardServer.await: create[8005]: Address already in use: JVM_Bind
at Method)
at org.apache.catalina.core.StandardServer.await(
at org.apache.catalina.startup.Catalina.await(
at org.apache.catalina.startup.Catalina.start(
at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke0(Native Method)
at sun.reflect.NativeMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(
at sun.reflect.DelegatingMethodAccessorImpl.invoke(
at java.lang.reflect.Method.invoke(
at org.apache.catalina.startup.Bootstrap.start(
at org.apache.catalina.startup.Bootstrap.main(

The main error to take note is the Address already in use: JVM_Bind. This usually signals to me that a port is in use.

Executing a netstat - a command at the command prompt, I found out that port 8005 WAS IN USE!!


Then, I suddenly remembered that I've just recently upgraded my VMWare Server application from 1.x to 2.0.x. The new version of VMWare Server utilizes a web-based console which is installed in a "light" Apache Tomcat too. This Apache Tomcat came embedded with VMWare Server installation package.

Now, in order to minimize conflict, I had to modify the settings for the external Apache Tomcat server, which is found at [TOMCAT-INSTALLATION-FOLDER]/conf/server.xml.

Look for the following line,

<Server port="8005" shutdown="SHUTDOWN">

Modify this port from "8005" to whatever non-conflicting number you can find. I would suggest 8006. (^___^)

The reason why I would suggest modifying the external Apache Tomcat instead of VMWare's Apache Tomcat is that the VMWare Server application starts up automatically. Since I'm already familiar with good 'ol Apache Tomcat, we might as well modify that file.

Grrrr.. *sigh*... It's just Monday Blues...

November 16, 2008

Weekends Are For Relaxing

It is obvious that we work for the weekends, i.e. we spend all our waking time to make a living for ourselves. Of course, we also "work" for the weekends.

Unlike my dogs who take time out to relax everyday, I can only relax during the weekends. I wished that there were more days in a week where we can just relax. Somehow, I'm thinking about France and how those folks work about 3-4 days per week.

Anyway, in Malaysia, most companies will enforce a 5 day work-week. However, some unfortunate modern slaves (to coin's zewt's favourite description of modern-day office workers), have to put in 5.5days per week. :-(

So, in this 2 or 1.5 days of bliss, how do we Malaysians spend our time? Most will just stay home to catch up on chores as well as spend quality time with family. Others have a jam-packed schedule of shopping, yumcha/makan with friends as well as those gym fanatics; who will put in 2-3hrs at the gym in sweaty heaven. (^__^)

My latest weekend activity is just to go out and snap as many interesting photos as I can.

Since EV's favourite past time is to go "jalan-jalan cari makan" or walkabout looking for nice eats; these days, I tend to take more photos of food... Hmmm...

This weekend happened to be the start of the Malaysian school holidays. So, you would expect most malls around PJ and KL to be jammed packed with window-shoppers and their kids. Yep, it's like a zoo out there.

Honda's ASIMO (Advanced Step in Innovation MObility) robot happened to be in town this weekend and me, being the ultrageek, managed to squeeze some time to see ASIMO in action! **claps hand with glee**

Before that, I had to do something for EV. She needed a lift to KL Sentral as she had a flight to Miri for work, and so, I obliged to give her a lift - provided she chia me breakfast. (^___^)

We went to this restaurant in Taman Tun Dr Ismail which is famous for their Ipoh Hor Fun. It used to be situated at the shop lots where Pizza Hut was but they have relocated to the row of shoplots next to the DBKL office in TTDI.

We had the Ipoh Hor Fun soup, with Steamed Breansprouts and Chicken. It was heavenly. If you are not watching your cholesterol points, you may just try the steamed chicken skin which is like a piece of silk just sliding down your throat. *slurp*

Breakfast came to RM23, which included drinks. Why it was so pricey, well, we ordered the steamed chicken drumstick + thigh combination... KEKEKEKEE

After dropping EV off, I "rushed" over to 1Utama to see if I could see ASIMO in action. When I got there, a sizeable crowd gathered in front of the stage and I was very lucky to be able to grab a spot at the right-side of the stage. The show started at 11:30 and I was there at around 11:55am. Talk about luck...

The doors opened, and ASIMO steps out to greet the crowd!!

I thought ASIMO would have been a lot bigger but it was no larger than a 10-year-old kid.

ASIMO in action, more pictures here.

ASIMO is a technological marvel in robotics as it moves in a very human-like manner. Now, you're wondering why a car manufacturer is pouring money into research for a robot but this robot has many uses in manufacturing as well as for other medical-related uses.

Research into ASIMO's mobility is helping scientist understand better the mechanics of movement, things we take for granted each day. By developing a robot which can move freely on its own, in future, perhaps quardipelgics or amputees may make use of robotics to gain the ability to move freely again.

Anyway, more information about ASIMO can be found here -->

The geek in me was very happy to see this in action. However, I was quite sad that I couldn't get any merchanise. Would have been nice to have a little ASIMO on my work desk.

November 14, 2008

Can People Change?

Snoopy has changed from being "goody-four-paws" to being a naughty dog. She's not supposed to be sitting on the couch...

This is an update to my previous post - "Nightmare Colleagues?" ....

Now, I'm not sure if anyone has tried to advise or understand these people but what happens if this type of person has decided to change?

In addition to this person's cockiness and brutish ways (He likes to burp after every meal and never excuses himself for it... ewwwww), The Village Idiot is also quite tight with his purse strings.

A couple of days back, someone told me that he actually took some orders for Roti Boy (a popular Mexican bun from a local Malaysian bakery) from some team members and went down to buy it. Now, previously, whenever he was hungry, he would just make a loud announcement and just grab some snacks for himself. Hmmm...

Stranger still, he came back with all the Roti Boy and REFUSED to accept money from the team members who ordered them! *jaw drops*

Immediately after that, it started to rain quite heavily... *KAKAKA* (Unrelated matter)

The BIG question is, can people change? If so, should we be cautious or hope that it will persist?

November 10, 2008

Nightmare Colleagues?

If you have noticed from my blog, I'm a big geek. The reason why I am so, is not because of the thick glasses (made slim by a wonderful technology called High-Index Plastic); but because of my job scope.

I'm currently a team lead working in some IT company in KL, supposed to be working on some mid-level management stuff (without the title); but deep down, I'm still a techie developer at heart.

I've seen many young developers come and go; worked with many seniors within the technical scope and have seen my fair bit of personalities while at a job or project.

This article about When Good Developers Go Bad, certainly sparked something in me to write this article.

Now, a common assumption or "mis-assumption" of folks about IT workers in general is that, we all tend to be loners, unfriendly, introverted, and some what know-it-all cocky geeks but not all are like that. In fact, just like people in all other industries, our career choice does not govern our personality traits; nor does the personality trait govern what type of jobs we do.

Ironically, I've met folks in the IT industry who are the complete opposite stereotype of what people perceive an IT worker is.

Anyway, I digress.. as usual. (^___^)

So, you're working in a large IT corporation. You will bound to meet someone who has the following traits:
  • Cocky/Arrogant
  • Show-Off
  • Unhelpful
  • Highly Critical
  • Highly Argumentative
  • Illogical - strange but true...
This type of individual likes to boast about how great their code is, how lousy everyone else's code is, and how; if management were to just see his wonderful-ness, he would change the very way we work, i.e. be a complete jerk and hire other jerks like himself to run the show.

I have this colleague, whom I coin as the "The Village Idiot" as he's someone who loves to challenge weaker members of the team and then; put them down by saying that they're lousy and should just go and die. Whenever he gets a little bit of praise, he'll shout to the heavens (and hell) about his awesome greatness.... *rolls eyes*

Now, whenever a significant challenging task which he has to pick up DOES APPEAR, we often like to shove the "crap" to him with the remark such as "You're so smart-mah, you go and solve the issue-lah...". To which, if he sees that he can't handle it, he'll scoff and say, "This one is not my level.. I don't deal with such problem one..." **rolls eyes more**

In terms of reporting to him, I have been so unlucky not to experience that. However, one of my junior team mates has and it was a nightmare. His brilliance was so overpowering that he kept changing his designs on the fly; confusing the junior member to the point that he nearly wanted to "take out" his supervisor. Due to the constant change, the junior member couldn't deliver his work on time; causing "The Village Idiot" to make remarks such as, "You are so lousy. So simple thing you cannot deliver-ar?"

I couldn't intervene then as it was just out of my scope but ultimately, decided that his leadership skills were not up to par and so, minimized his contact with the other junior members of the team. I feared that should he work with more junior members, he will demotivate more than motivate them to do better.

So, I'm trying out a workaround as suggested by the book "No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn't"; i.e. minimize his contact and give him assignments only he himself can complete.

Do you have any nightmare colleague stories to share?

Ohhh... In addition to his cockiness, "The Village Idiot" in my team thinks that he speaks the Queen's English after spending 1 year in the UK. His latest Facebook status states that "Economy very bad, have to tighten bell..." (^___^)

November 08, 2008

Can You Get Into The Spirit of Christmas Now?

You know its close to the end of the year when you start seeing Christmas decorations spring up in the beginning of November...

This is odd because usually, the hint that Christmas is coming in the US comes around mid-November when Thanksgiving is celebrated there.

Anyway, since Hari Raya Aidilfitri and Deepavali festivities are over, retail outlets here in KL have turned their attention towards Christmas.

I just happened to pass by some interior decoration shop at Bangsar Village 2 after my workout last night and noticed that the shop has started to sell Christmas decorations. Besides that, the shop has put up the usual secular message of "Seasons Greetings" at their storefront. The customary Christmas tree with lovely red, gold and white coloured ornaments adorned the Christmas tree.

Yep, Christmas will be coming here in 46 days, 23hours and 38 minutes... at the time of writing this blog entry. (^_^)

This year will be especially hard for everyone as the global recession makes its way around. Parents will have to explain to their kids about cutting back on holiday reverie, employers have to tell employees not to expect a big bonus at the end of the year, and lots of people will be struggling to make ends meet.

A depressing picture, when you think about it, huh?

However, the retail outlets will be EXPECTING consumers to pick up on spending for the holiday season. A tough message to sell when people are losing their jobs and homes now.

When I think about it, I'm also starting to feel a bit depressed because it will be a gloomy Christmas for a lot of folks out there. But Christmas is NOT about the material things, it's also about family, friends and above all God; how He loved us so much to give His only son to save us.

Officially, the church is winding down the liturgical year and soon, we'll be entering the season of Advent. A time to get close to God as He gives us His only Son, Jesus Christ.

Well, at the end of it all, despite the doom and gloom of what is going on in the financial markets; perhaps we should take time to lift our heads up and march towards a brighter future. Let God lead us, like how He led the shepherds that night with the light of the star towards Christ.

I hope to get into the spirit of Christmas. For me, the season will be a time for me to reconnect with friends and family after going through such a busy year.

November 05, 2008

So, What's Next?

Mama Cat - She's wondering what is going to happen next...

It's another political tsunami... But then again, we all saw it coming. (^__^)

The next question is, what can the 44th President do within the first 100 days in office? The Democrats have taken back both the Senate and House of Representatives, which means they have the bigger say in the US government.

Anyway, interesting times ahead. Mr. President, let's hope you set out to do all what you have promised to do for your nation, and in consequence the world. All eyes are on you now.

I wonder... would this be a catalyst for us in Malaysia?

November 04, 2008

Chillis Can Fly?

EV: Do you know that chillis can fly?
Me: Chillis fly??? You mean like fire coming out of your butt when you eat too much chilli padi? (^___^)
EV: What rubbish you talking about??

Kekeke.. This conversation never happened of course. It was entirely fictional. It just happened that we were @ Gardens, MidValley on Sunday to see if we can catch a movie and grab some lunch as well.

We both don't get out too often these days. For me, I've been staying home; following the Canto drama on DVD - Moonlight Resonance like crazy over the weekend. :-P EV, on the other hand has been stuck with work. She's one of those modern slaves where she will take 1 day out of her precious weekend off to go back to the office to just do some menial job like replying e-mails or completing her time sheet.

So, after a lot of persuasion, she decided to go out.

We ended up at Flying Chillies, one of the many Thai food outlets opened by Sea Cuisine Sdn. Bhd.

We started our meal, by calling a starter - Fried Sesame Seed Chicken Toast, accompanied with a Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce (RM10+)

Close up of the starter...

Stir-fried Mixed Vegetables (RM15)

I persuaded EV to order the Thai Green Curry Chicken instead of going alacarte individually. She thought that since we both wanted to taste the green curry, we should order vegetables with white rice.

Thai Green Curry Chicken (RM15 - chicken, RM18 - beef)

The green curry was much more spicier than expected! Don't be fooled by the single "chilli" icon at the side of the menu item. This curry is hot!! The curry had green aubergines (brinjals) but it wasn't the small variety. Anyway, the balance between the sweet palm sugar and salty green curry paste suited my palate.

Infamous Thab Thim Grob (Red Ruby)

We were both so full after our lunch but still managed to scrounge some space in our bloated bellies to take dessert. :-P We both also ordered the Thai Iced Tea which was RM10+ each.

I can't really recall the price of the dessert as I didn't pay for the meal...... Haha!!!

Oh well, do try this place out. The food is quite good although pricey but that's to be expected for this type of cuisine.

November 03, 2008

Which Is More Irritating... A Boss Who Never Listens or A Boss Who Always Talks?

I just got a very misleading e-mail from my boss.

My e-mail had just asked one item - "Are you available for this meeting?"

His answer was "Please include bla bla in the conc (conference) call"...


What the heck?? A meeting may not necessarily mean a conference call.

Besides that, the attached e-mails clearly stated a request for people to ATTEND a meeting AT A CLIENT'S OFFICE.

Now, IF I wanted to inform him about a conference call, I would have worded my e-mail differently, like so,

"Are you available to join in this conference call?"

I don't like to confuse people. Some call me long-winded but I will NEVER confuse people. A meeting and a conference call are two different items, i.e. apples vs oranges.

Now, this is not the first time that such a thing has happened. There were clearly times when he asked me to clarify a situation and once I got to the office and started to explain. He just interrupted and made his assumptions; proceeded to take action without considering the consequences.

He never gave me any chance to speak up and clearly explain things.

And after that, he will ask me, "Why did this happen?". I can't simply tell him, "It's your fault dumb@$$...", right?

So, which is more irritating. A boss who never listens or a boss who can't stop talking?

He clearly has violated one of the most important rule of being a leader - TO LISTEN RATHER THAN TO BE HEARD.

Clearly, if someone does not take the time to listen to you, he is not showing you any respect.

An Old Faithful - Jaya Noodle House

I'm not sure if many folks still remember the old noodle shop in Jaya Supermarket @ SS14, PJ... But, that shop has moved to Jaya One ever since Jaya Supermarket has closed down.

On Saturday night, EV and I decided to try the food out at this old place.

Anyway, I remember the place being kind of old and dingy, tucked away at the corner past the jewelery store in Jaya Supermarket. Things have changed now that they have moved to Jaya One. The place is clean and isn't as dingy as before as the kitchen fumes didn't flow back to the dining area. Those were the memories of my childhood. :P

I went with an old classic - Char Siew Wantan Noodles (dry). The char siew meat was lean and a tad bit dry but the noodles was springy to the bite. The vegetables was poached to perfection, neither under nor over cooked.

The wantans were ok. Nothing fantastic and it didn't have too much fat. It could have used with a little bit more prawns in the filling.

EV went with her rice accompanied with fried sliced fish and ginger. I didn't take a photo of that as she was terribly hungry. We ordered a boiled soup - Watercress with pork. The shot I took wasn't so good as the ceiling lights got reflected off theh surface of the soup. -_-

I've been having a lot of meat lately. So, a plate of Fried Kai Lan with garlic went well with whatever I was having.

Now, I can remember the individual price of each item but the dishes were under RM10 each, but the total bill came up to RM50; which includes a bowl of Peanut Cream or (花生糊), coconut and ice lemon tea.

I think I'll come back again for their other specialties. :-)
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