March 29, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

So, Earth Hour came and went. How was your Earth Hour?

No fanfare or party where I was. I had already promised someone that I would cook pasta for dinner last night.

After visiting DCIM at Midvalley briefly (and coming out of the exhibition hall empty handed), we did a bit of grocery shopping and went home before the massive jams started outside. I was glad to have an assistant "chef" to do all the chopping and cutting. :-)

All that hard work in the kitchen paid off! This time I think I've found the right recipe to make a yummy pasta sauce... ;-)


The ingredients for the pasta was simple - other than the Prego pasta sauce, I added extra garlic, onions, minced beef, Swiss Brown mushrooms and a few chopped cherry tomatoes. Salt, pepper and sugar (as the sauce can be quite sour) was added to taste. Of course, the ingredients were cooked in olive oil too.. :-P

I added extra cherry tomatoes, parsley and a few drops of olive oil to the pasta assembled. The yellow cherry tomatoes really made the dish quite cheerful.


Of course we didn't just have carbohydrates alone. We had to have some salad to accompany our meal to make it balanced. So, my graceful assistant quickly sliced up some butterhead lettuce and cherry tomatoes.


When 8:30pm approached, I decided to take a photo around the neighbourhood where my friend lived to see if there were any supporters of Earth Hour... :-)

At 7:52pm, the picture below was taken from my friend's balcony...

At 8:34pm, I took the next photo...

Not much difference.. MySpace

Maybe the folks around her neighbourhood were not aware of the campaign or perhaps, there are more lights on during the normal weekdays as folks are home from work? Oh well, we did turn off the lights and watched a show in darkness. We happened to be watching the first pilot episode of Fringe - an X-Files-like series from the Sci-Fi (or SyFy - to be rebranded in July) channel.

So, how was your Earth Hour like?

March 28, 2009

Snoopy Poses For The Camera

The office's Internet speed was awful this week, hence, I could not upload any photos. Anyway, I think the IT support team are "snooping" around the network to pinpoint if there are any issues as we've been having some problems connecting to the UK servers from Malaysia.

I meant to put up a post about one of my dogs - Snoopy, who's a real darling.

Ever since she was a pup, we've trained her to not be afraid of the camera and ever since that training session, she loves the camera! Or rather, choose to ignore it. Kekeke...


The picture is blurred as I was lying on the bed. The background is distracting and I should have used the 50mm lens for nicer bokeh.


Snoopy ignores the camera... Actually, the neighbours' dogs were barking and she was listening intently to their "conversation".


This has got to be my most favourite shot of Snoopy to date. I used my 50mm lens to take this shot of her while she looked at what her brother Rusty was doing.

She's a quiet dog and not as active as what her Jack Russell Terrier traits expects her to be but then, I'd guess it's because in her mind, she's the QUEEN OF THE HOUSE.

By the way, do remember to turn off the lights tonight at 8:30pm for Earth Hour...

March 24, 2009

Sure Delicious Pasta @ Sure Pizza

I had a slight craving for Italian food and remembered this little gem of a place near Mont Kiara called Sure Pizza. I went to this place a couple of times when I used to work around the area some years back.


When I first tried this little restaurant/pizza parlour, the one thing which struck me was the Vespa sitting outside the shop. During that time, when Plaza Damas was just opened, the place was brand new and the owner, an Italian was very eager to ask us to try his food.

We tried the garlic bread where the bread was made by hand and had lovely garlic, parsley and olive oil on it. I was hooked.

Anyway, after some time, I decided to revisit the place. I wasn't disappointed.

Tomato Bruschetta

We started off with tomato bruschetta, which was made with fresh tomatoes, basil, garlic and olive oil on top of home-made french loaf. The bread was warm and tomatoes chilled slightly which was a perfect appetizer to get our appetites going.

We thought of sharing our main meal but as it turns out, someone didn't want to share her food as she was too hungry. LOL!! So, in the end, we had our own separate pastas.

Spaghetti with Beef Meatball

The dinner special was Spaghetti with Beef Meatball. The portion was large and the spaghetti was cooked al dente, which was firm with a good bite to it. We expected the dinner portion to be more expensive but the dish was priced at RM15.50. The meatballs were home made and tasted like minced beef, unlike some places which had a lot of fillers.

Turkey Ham and Mushroom Fettuccine

I had the Turkey Ham and Mushrooms Fettuccine. The portion was larger than the spaghetti and I was a bit worried that I couldn't finish it. I loved the sauce and the way the pasta was cooked. I often have trouble cooking fettuccine as it often comes out a bit too hard due to incorrect cooking times. This was priced at RM25.95, I think. Again, it is a bit pricey but the portion is large enough for two folks to share.


The last photo sums it up! The food was satisfying and marvelous. I do feel guilty about taking so much carbohydrates in one sitting but it was worth it.

The place was bustling that Saturday night and many families were there having their evening meal. A good alternative to other big Italian chain restaurants and other smaller, expensive ones.

March 21, 2009

Catching Some Zzzzz

Okie... So, this one is a meme from Tekkaus. Thanks for informing me about the meme. (^___^)

Some years back I suffered from a mild case of insomnia due to a very irregular sleeping schedule. It was bad because you feel exhausted during the day due to lack of sleep. Your mind feels foggy and you can't concentrate properly.

Needless to say, sleep is important. Without sleep, humans can die in a matter of days!! Besides that, new research suggests that lack of sleep can increase risk of heart attacks! Eeep!!

So, here goes the meme...

~How do you sleep at night?~
Is your sleep affected by the national angst? Do you drop off easily, as you always did? Or does it take a while to get to sleep?
It depends. If my mind is distraught about some stuff, I will be tossing and turning in bed for hours before I can fall asleep. However, most of the time, I fall asleep without knowing that I did - especially when I'm reading or watching TV.

~What strategies, if needed, do you use to get to sleep?~
Pills? Sheep? Late night television show? And/or…?
Deep-breathing exercises and a dark room. For a while now, I was having poor quality sleep because I left my table lamp on. When I started to turn it off about 10 minutes before I sleep, I find that I doze off easier.

What strategies do you have to get back to sleep?
Reading a book...

~Are your dreams affected? ~
Are they more anxious than before? Do they wake you up in a sweat? Or are they peaceful, innocent, undisturbed by the general malaise?
Certain foods like strong teas can make me more alert while gas-inducing food makes me feel uncomfortable when I sleep. Most of the time, my dreams are affected by events of the day or some thoughts which I would like to place in my sub-conscious at night so that my conscious mind in the morning will know what to do. Hahaha.. Basically, I try to dream good stuff so that my conscious self is reprogrammed accordingly.

OK... I'm having a slight neck and head pain due to a poor posture while sleeping last night. So, will be taking some stuff to relieve the irritation.

Shall I pass this meme on? Hahaha.. Hmmm... *thinking*

Snoopy sure knows how to enjoy her nap!!

March 18, 2009

Keeping An Eye Out

Snoopygirl & Rustyboy keeping an eye out

I know...It's been a while since my last update. I've been preoccupied with some stuff which came in from the client. The stuff which we discussed has been given the OK and so, we're more or less scrambling to finish it.

Beyond the usual development and testing rounds, there's also a whole lot of documents to prepare or update. I'm not sure about you but some developers find documentation a great pain. This is not the standard code documentation but the business documents which we pass to the client/user. So, the tough part is to write it simple enough so that the users can understand it. However, to ensure if the user reads it is another matter.

So, aside from that... I've been... keeping an eye out for...
From last week's list...

1. The tag was in Facebook. So, that is done. (^^)

2. I have to edit the photos from Katherine's wedding last weekend. Oh yeah, have to zip and send those mugshots photos to some friends.

3. Yes, yes.. Man United lost... We can't win them all sometimes. :-)

March 13, 2009

Quick Updates

Quick updates on what I'll be up to this weekend.

1. I believe I still owe someone a tag... I'll have to find out who.

2. My good friend Katherine is finally getting married. I wish both Katherine and JC congratulations and many blessings as they begin their journey together.

3. I need to figure out what to write on my blog next...

Have a great weekend folks!! Titans will clash this weekend between Liverpool and Manchester United. I'll most likely miss that because of #2.

March 11, 2009

Simply Red

There used to be this popular band in the 90's called Simply Red. However, that's not what we'll be talking about.

EV was excited to catch Watchmen and treated me to the movie. However, at the end of it, she was sorely disappointed. I sort of enjoyed the movie as the effects were really great; the movie replicated what was described in the novel. Lots of folks said that at the time the novel was written, movie technology was not advanced enough to replicate the effects.

Aside from that, EV decided to chia (treat) me lunch!! We decided to try the new cafes at the newly refurbished wing at 1Utama. After looking through the few stalls, we found Penang Flavours.

EV ordered the Mee Rebus, while I went for the Prawn Mee. We also ordered the Pai Tee or Top Hats, a favourite Nyonya delicacy.

Prawn Mee, costs RM7.90

Mee Rebus, can't remember how much it costs.. (^^)

Pai Tee (Top Hat), costs RM4.60

After the movie, we stumbled upon the Shell showcase which displayed the Shell Ferrari F1 car as well as the ultra-cool and sexy Ferrari too.


I'm not a fan of F1, neither do I know how to take great photos of cars; but since the opportunity arose for me to practice my hobby, I was thinking, why not?


I just love the prancing stallion...

What's the model of this Ferrari again? :-P

Me being so excited about the car forgot to look at the specifications but it turns out to be the 599 GTB Fiorano. I'm no auto-head but don't you get excited should you spot the odd Ferrari on the highways?

March 09, 2009

Gloomy Day

On the 3rd of March, there was a massive downpour in the Klang Valley which resulted in flash floods around the city.

I was lucky to be still working after 6pm as I was on late shift duty which ends at 7:30pm. Since it happened to be my colleague's last working day; we planned to stay back later than usual for dinner.

After the downpour, our office building seemed to be surrounded by clouds, which provided a surreal view that we were floating in the skies; but also masked our view of the horrendous traffic jams which were going on the ground below.

I took this from the window near my work area... The next shot is even more eerie...

Of course I've edited the photo's colour curves to give it a more eerie effect. Sure makes you feel rather cold, right?

March 06, 2009

Looking At The Bright Side of Life

Economic crisis, political debacle... It sure gets people feeling down.

I just got news from management that my team will be the "economic sacrificial lamb" to take the "no-bonus" and "pay cut" for the entire company. The 5 of us, (out of the 9 I "used" to manage) will be asked to work 3 days a week. Hence, the pay will be pro-rated accordingly as well.

Oh well, it's not too bad. At least I still have a job.

The better news is that should we find better opportunities out there, the termination notice will not be enforced by HR.

You can say that I should be relieved that I've not lost my job. Well, I am in a way.

However, the other side of me is really feeling quite angry with the boss as he failed to understand the technology our team implemented and didn't know how quite to sell our skills. *sigh*... In fact, we've always felt like the step-kid in the entire company.

Anyway, I'm trying to be upbeat above all this. I still plan to hold a celebration with my team members over the project completed. It'll be a smaller celebration but I feel that we need to celebrate that the project was done.

As usual, my favourite wisecrackers - The
Monty Pythons has a cheery tune to help me kick the blues...

It's a long weekend folks, enjoy yourselves!!!

March 05, 2009

Check Your ATM Transaction Print Outs...

During such harsh economic times, every single penny counts. And so, even when we use the ATM to do our banking or reloading transactions, it's important to check your ATM transaction print outs.

Last night, I nearly got a heart attack while reloading my Touch N' Go card at the ATM.

I usually reload my card every two months and so, for each reload, I go for RM200, since I'm already down to my last few ringgit - RM3.61, which isn't enough to get by the tolls I pass through each day., to and from work. :-(

I went through the motions and da... da... da... Everything went as normal. So I thought.

When I touched my card, the ATM screen showed that I've reloaded RM2000!!!!


Well, when I got the print out, it confirmed what the ATM screen showed. I've reloaded my card and instead of RM203.61, it showed RM2036.14!!??

I checked the balance at the ATM again, (cost me another RM0.50 to check... GRRRRR) and Thank Goodness, it showed the right balance - RM203.61. *Phew*

The funny thing is, where did that 0.004 come from??? Hmmmm...

If I had really reloaded RM2000 for my card, I would have called up the bank to give them an earful about their programming error. I don't mind reloading my card with that large amount as it would save me the hassle of reloading it for the next 12-15months, but to lose RM2000 from your account is just painful!

So, better check your ATM transactions carefully.

March 04, 2009

Turning "Manual"

After reading drewnity's article on "Shoot in M" as well as an article in January's issue DCM (Digital Camera Malaysia), I've been trying to experiment the "M" mode on my camera as well.

I've been learning the differences between the Aperture Priority mode ("AV") and Shutter Priority mode ("TV") and so far, I seem to favour AV modes when I'm outdoor and TV mode for action shots.

Snoopy proved to be a very willing model for me. I think she had too much to eat in the morning and was not moving as much. Anyway, she's a wanna-be supermodel dog, so, she's a natural with poses. :P

Snoopy taking a nap on the cool floor... 50mm, F/2.8, 1/8sec, ISO-200

Snoopy taking a sunbathing session - 50mm, F/22, 1/25sec, ISO-100

My sister's dried flowers - 28mm, F/5, 1/99sec, ISO-100

Awww... Two puppies - 50mm, F/2.8, 1/8sec, ISO-200

These were my first few attempts. I still have a lot more to learn especially dealing with shutter speeds and white-balance settings. In the camera LCD, the shot looks good but on computer, while looking at an uncalibrated monitor, the colours seem to look quite messed up. :-(

Oh well, practice makes perfect. I quite enjoy taking photos in "M" mode but I need to learn a lot more about the settings to what makes a great shot. My goal is of course to take a good photo and not do too much "dark room techniques" to spruce up/correct the photo.

March 02, 2009

YC's Delayed B'day Celebration

Whenever my friends have a gathering of sorts, we often gather around food. This is no exception when it came to our dear friend YC's birthday celebration for 2009. I shall decline to state how old she got because it is a sensitive matter.

At Juelle's request, we gathered at The Banquet @ Bangsar Village 2. I've passed by this place and somehow, the ambiance of the place struck me as a meeting area for tai-tai to have tea.
Being a Sunday, the place was pretty packed with families and so, the waiter seated the 6 of us at a more isolated location away from the screaming youngsters. That itself was brilliant planning!

I haven't had coffee in a while, and this cafe latte was what I needed to wake up at 1:30pm. The espresso is strong and goes well. Usually, my cafe latte is served the other way around, with the milk sitting on top of the coffee, but this makes for a very nice shot.

Tuna Tostada - starter

The food served at The Banquet is a mixture of asian and western which offers a huge variety of food to taste. We were quite interested with the sets but since we missed the cut-off time, we couldn't try the Champagne breakfast set... :-(

I ordered the pan-fried salmon which was cooked just right. Some people tend to overcook salmon, making it dry and flaky, but this piece was cooked to perfection, with no hint of fishy salmon smell. The sauce had some rosemary which made it a meatier dish overall.

Juelle ordered the oven-baked butterfish which was moist and lemony. The fish still had some fishy smell but otherwise, it was buttery and tasty.

Another fantastic dish was the Penne with funghi or mushroom penne pasta. The sauce was creamy but not overwhelmingly creamy, and neither were the mushroom too "mushroomy" (for lack of a more descriptive word).

My friend CPP ordered the Spaghetti Vongolle, which is basically clams with pasta done with some white wine. Spaghetti was aldente and clams were steamed nicely.

The Penang Prawn Mee was delicious as well. Although it was expensive by our standards but for RM15, the noodles came with large prawns and is very tasty. However, if you know how to cook prawn mee at home...

We didn't stay for dessert. We went to another cafe for our cake fix. Here's a pic of it...

We had our Oreo Cheesecake and Carrot cake from Marmalade. *slurp*... I'm just drooling now, thinking about the cheesecake.
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