Sunday, August 31, 2008

Beautiful Sunday.. Well, almost..

Mrs Samo and the Coonster
Birthday Gurls : Chaos and Queenie
The KFC clan with their birthday cake
Naughty having a go at the special doggy cake
My boy in post Siberia

Merdekaaaa!!!! Yes, its a lazy Sunday, we got up rather late than the usual. Got the kidz ready for their outing at 1 Utama's Central Park, where their fellow working dogs Chaos, Fawkes, Kosmos, Milo, Dasher, Boogah, KiKo and two new pups Milo and Axl are waiting.

It's the Siberian Husky Club's outing to celebrate Chaos and Fawkes' birtdays. Well, this time round, we took our time and arrived at the park rather late.

But being as it is, it was a holiday, so, no need to rush for parking spaces cos there were plenty. We found a spot at the middle of the field and set base there.

Club prez Debby did a good job by organising the foodstuff cooked by her fiancee' Andrew. We provided soft drinks and disposable plastic cups.

And since our boy is a domineering alpha pooch, we anchored him far away. The day went down smooth till my office recalled me back to work.

Otherwise, it has been a good day. My body is aching and the brains are numb! Hahahahahah!!!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Shrooms on my yard..

Ah! Rain and rain and rain. It's been a soggy affair these coupla days. I was prepping my kidz for our farm trip and my wifey said : "Hey! There is a big mushroom here!"

One corner of my mind was thinking out aloud : "Wah! Here also got puffballs ah?"

Well, it turned out that four long stems of shrooms just shout out from the grass where the boy and gurl poo and pee.

And without any hesitation, I grabbed my camera for a close-up photography opportunity.

Then, I cut up the shrooms to preserve it for posterity. Its not that often we get visitors of the shroomy kind at our yard. Only thing is that fearing it was toxic, we didn't eat it..

My gurl turns two today!

Seems like yesterday when we brought back Dame Queenie from the breeder. My fine pooch turned two today and we are very proud to have her as part of the family...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Shroom season?

The puffballs as seen from a distance
A close-up shot of two puffballs
A view of the exploded puffball

Rain in this time of the year brings funny things. First, there's the flooded low-lying areas.

The road in front of my house isn't flat, so, the indented parts usually fills up with water.

I hate to walk on the flooded parts cos it screws up my footwear. And well, on the grassy sidewalk, some strange plants gets a chance to blossom.

This evening while I was walking the kidz, I saw a crop of mushrooms by the roadside.

Some, the size of a ping-pong ball while the large ones are as huge as a tennis ball.

The fungi are fragile and not as tough as they look. I kicked it and one if it literally exploded - releasing millions of spores into the air.

I guess that's what it was waiting for. For a dead shroom, millions will come to its funeral.

According to my Practical Mushroom Encyclopedia authored by Peter Jordan and Steven Wheeler, the said fungi was a 'Giant Puffball' or Lagermannia gigantica, but I won't put my money on it.

Said to be edible, the puffballs has solid white flesh. That's not the case when I saw the innards of an 'exploded' shroom.

There are many of these puffballs lying around. They go wasted after its short lifespan.

I wondered if any of the folks here have collected and eaten it. Possibly fatal with delirium attacks...

Walk! Walk!

The Kidz waiting for their walk
Enroute to the end of Road 26
A common sight - a Labraspitz hybrid
The Coney Dogs
Naughty taking his water after a long walk...

Already Tuesday and well, I have to say that the soggy weather didn't really help in getting some good shots for my food trail.

Furthermore, the Ramadhan (holy month for the Muslims) is a time for many outlets to rest. So, I think writing a food trail story would be a tough cookie to crack.

That said, I headed home early to to spend the rest of my time with my kidz. All I need to say is : "Walk! Walk!" and I can see the ears of my gurl going 'toinggggg!!!!'.

Since I don't have to work, I had the time to take my dogs out for a walk. Usually a 1.5km loop covering about 23minutes of walk time. We start from our gate, proceeding to the end of the road where an irritating Indian-Muslim bugger stays.

He occupies a corner lot and was very vocal when folks walk their dogs past his home. I think this guy is a retard. Everything about his looks says it all.

From the corner, we work our way down to the guard house. This is roughly about 650 metres.

Then, we proceed to the end of the fencing. There is a little gate that leads to the USJ 23 school.

I noticed that there was this corner house neighbour who has at least 10 dogs. Now, that's violating the local by-laws. I hope he won't get into trouble.

When I was walking the kidz past, I saw a puppy. This lil pooch is bow-legged. Musta been some bad in-breeding at hand. Poor dog.

From the corner, we worked our way back to road 2t6/1D where we live. And on the way, I went to road 26/1E to check out the 'Coney Dogs'.

No, its not the Tuesday A&W fast food specials but a pair of dogs that are perpuetually in cones.

The owner may think its cute to dress his pooches in T-shirts and cones, but I think the act is too much of an animal abuse case lah..

Oh well, all good things said and done, Tuesday is already kaputt! Tomorrow, I need to go into the office to file in my food trail story...

Monday, August 25, 2008

There goes my Monday...

Had a slow start today. Need to get the car serviced, so, I picked a workshop at USJ 20.

Seems to be a purty decent place to send the car cos Perodua's service outlet only does their customer service for 24-months. The rest, you can literally go to hell..

Anyways, the mandatory oil change was way overdue. I mean, way, way overdue. I was supposed to have sent in the car when it hit 32K on the road.

I last checked, it was 52K. Yes. I gambled and well, after the mechanic checked it out, he told me that there were no wear on the engine.

I was surprised to see the oil level which was still good. The car had its air, oil filter, transmission fluid, brake and radiator fluid changed.

And the oil change too! The workshop guys recommended a thinner blend of motor oil for the MyVi.

Total damage - RM235.00, which is not bad at all. It did not exceed my expectations.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Sunday soggy Sunday..

'Lil Sandy Socks
Naughty and Coonkid checking out their new furry friend
The Seafood noodles stall in SS4
At RM19 a bowl, I'd say that this is a helluva treat
B&Best coffee shop at SS4

Had a bout of heavy drinking last night. Never felt like waking up early. After some effort, I hauled my carcass to the shower to get ready for a visit to the in-laws.

We brought our dogs to let them socialise with the Lau family dogs. Naughty was okay and the Coonkid, as usual, was restless in the car.

Took less than 15 minutes to get there and by the time we did so, the Lau family dogs are already playing in the yard.

The baby of the family lil Sandy Socks was quick on getting acquainted with our Coonkid.

We left them and took off for lunch at SS4, where we had seafood noodles. The fare was palatable but due to communication breakdown, they got some of the orders wrong.

I'd say that the place is above average in terms of the variety of high quality fish that they serve. I learned that the ingredients were imported mainly from Indonesia.

Lunch was quick and by the time we got back to the Lau family home, it was pouring.

The kidz got wet and soggy playing in the rain. By the time we got home, I was already half past-dead.

Laid down on the floor with my thermarest mat and passed out for more than two hours.

When I came to, it was the routine dinner prep. Took less than 20 minutes to get things organised and dinner was served by 7:30pm.

I craved for a hot drink and the macha came at great timing. Tomorrow, its time to get the car serviced before our farm trip on Thursday.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Saturday's mission..

Bathe the dogs, laundry and housekeeping. Everything is in order. Looked like a gloomy morning by the ray of sunshine brought hope.

I started with Naughty and then moved on with the Coonkid. She's the hardest to clean because she could never keep still.

Guess the trauma started when she was a pup. She hated the water. Anyways, there is a sackload of backlogged laundry to be cleaned.

Started with the coloured one and I think it would take at least two and a-half loads to finish.

Well, the day is still young.. There's still dinner with the in-laws and I dread the prospect of bashing up my liver again cos there's gonna be plenty of alcohol tonight.. *ugh!*

Day 2 - 8 more days to go...

Wah! I can't believe it. The day is almost done. With the little daylight that was left, I managed to walk the kidz, prepare a curry dinner for my lovely wife.

Over dinner, I told her about that asshole friend of hers who called me a bastard.

She said perhaps its a 'friendly' way to gesture a message. I told her that such is no way to communicate to folks you hardly know.

Anyways, she cleaned the kid's ears and got them huddled together..

It's how you treat people...

Took the kidz out to my aunt's place this noon. Had lunch there and plenty of catching up to do.

We talked a lot during the meals and one of the topic was how I am faring with the new set up.

I told her that things were fine and that I made the right choice by moving on. Leaving behind some burden.

With a professional team at hand, its easier to get the job done. While we were at it, I also told her that the people at the old set up were sadists.

They seemed to have a taste for seeing certain people fail. They have nothing nice to say when you do good and produce.

Most of the time, they gather and bitch about how the good guy is going to screw up.

I witnessed this when three senior female reporters got back from lunch. One of them, my former section head was ranting about it and little did she realise that I was at the lounge reading a newspaper.

I heard everything. Inherently, this was the 'order' of execution from the old regime. Three ladies who ruled the features desk.

One of them was so bad, she screams on top of her lungs to get the message across.

Ultimately, every dog has its day. This one went to a small corner and eventually faded away. Shameless as she is, I found her wandering around the setup's library - doing things for the then MP of Lembah Pantai.

I recall that she made it very clear that I don't have what it takes to get overseas jobs. So, that was my motivation.

With her clear words, I made my way to Japan, the Falklands, North America and Europe.

Again, this is what she asked for, expecting failure in a grand scale. I guess she had her moment when my team missed a story in Malacca.

"But you failed..", those were her words. All I can say is that I am glad that this character is behind me. I don't have to report to her like I owe her a living.

I guess in life, its how you treat people. If you are sincere, people value you. If you are a phony, you are just like the rest of the garbage.

I told a senior management guy once : "The good guy always finish last. But at the end of it, the taste of victory is sweet."

That, I learned from 15 years of preserverance in an organisation that is utterly racist and unprofessional.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Day One..

Nine days left. Back to work that is. It was a rainy morning and there's really nothing much that can be done.

I spent the whole morning chilling out with the kidz. Later, a trip to the supermarket to stock up some food.

There weren't much action on the knife forum either. I guess everyone is waiting for something to happen.

Which comes to say that one cannot expect too much from a crowd that has no initiative and drive.

Malaysian knife collectors in general, are a selfish lot. They get what they want, but hardly share their findings.

I notice this even on at the international level. Now, how many folks from Malaysia are really outstanding?

That aside, I just took off one name off my facebook's friends list. The guy who called me a bastard.

Yep. He's history. On a more positive note, I took the kidz out for their much awaited walk.

We did a whole loop, about 1.6km including a trip to the USJ 23 secondary school.

Sounds like fun, and I guess we'll have to excercise more. Can't believe that the whole day is gone.

Gotta get down to the kitchen to prepare food for the Mrs. Otherwise, its a good day!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The best pork noodles in town...

I've been eating at Peking Hotel's coffeeshop for some time and the real treasure there was a pork noodles stall.

Its called "Peter's Pork Noodles" and frankly, they are the best in KL bar none. I am yet to come across any peers that can compare to this guy's rendition of the chee yuk fun.

Now, before I proceed, I just want to mention that I strive on the word 'freedom of choice'. We are free to pick and this made things worthwhile.

After writing about street food for a few years at the old workplace, I was slapped with an email from the top saying that pork should not be glorified.

My loss their gain. But a week later, a Mat Salleh contributor wrote a piece on German pork knuckles and was given a picture spread.

Double standard? I gave up completely and when I was asked to deliver food stories, I simply told the desk head that I don't eat Malay food cos there's no pork in it. End of the story.

They took it badly and this led to me taking my trade elsewhere. So, back to pork noodles! I must say that Peter is very generous in using lard and pork rind.

The soup is clogged with pig's fat and its an experience to slurp up the hot broth that comes with sliced liver, meat and pork mince.

What made this experience memorable, is the extra blast of chee yau char or pork cracklings. And at RM4.50 a pop, you cannot argue with the man lah!

The colour accent function

This is a shot of Amirrul @ Yap in partial B&W
The colour accent mode uses a strong skin tone as its strong hue and the background is in black and white
Philip Lim and seefu Loh on B&W
With the colour accent mode

I learned a neat trick with my powershot G-7 and G-9. It has a 'colour accent' function that enables stronger hues to stand out in a black-and-white shot.

Sorta like colour tinting without all the messy work. The effect is cool and I first used it at Michelle's cousin's wedding (a sucky affair).

Anyways, there are even more functions on the G-9 that I hardly use. The B&W accent mode is something that I would try from time to time...

The long break..

I am taking 10 days off from work. Firstly, to rest and secondly, to catch up with some leisurely dos. Top priority is to meet my aunt and bring the kidz over. We have plenty to catch up.

Then the dogs needs to get their baths and front-lined for tick and mite infestation. My boy has been scratching a lot.

Last on the list, is a visit to the farm. Maggi and her kids will be anticipating this. We are spending a night over there and come back for the weekend to celebrate Chaos, Fawkes, Naughty and Coonzilla's birthdays!

Before intermission..

Aaahh... Last day at work before the break. The guys are talking about reporters and their low mortality, health, food and what to makan and so on.

I've been on desk duty for a coupla days and well, strangely, there has been some really annoying calls.

There was this reader who rang up for directions to the MAHA show. So, I told him it is being held in Serdang.

He went on rambling about : "Next time ah, I support the Star ah, this and that and this and that and this and that and the other."

So, naturally, I hung up the phone. No more assholes. Then, I uploaded some photos on my facebook album.

One of the shots was a 'char koay teow' photo. Now, that picture gathered some reaction and little did I expect Mrs Samo's former uni friend to say : "You bastard!".

If I knew him for 15 years, I can excuse the bugger. But I hardly knew the guy and I think, only met him in person once.

A case of misntrepretation? You call a person 'bastard' in a friendly way? What the FUCK? The same word was used when I was in Malacca and the Portuguese decended folks nearly set my bureau office on fire.

So, in this case, thread carefully. Doesn't mean you are my wife's friend, you can call me a bastard. Even my close friends don't do that. What the blue fucks is the world coming to?

Oh well, if I think too much, I blow some blood vessels. Then die of a heart attack and stroke. So, fuck it, he can lick the peanuts out of my shit.

Kiku Matsuda

I think this is one of Japan's most prolific knifemakers. He specialises in tactical knives and well, I guess it'll take a lot just to like them cos when I posted a shot of his knife over at the Malaysia Knife Forums, some shithead said : "Oh, I won't buy that.."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Three years with Sir Naughty...

Our boy when he first came to our home
This is a priceless pix of lil Naughty
Naughty, aged 2

Wah! Life is wonderful. Michelle and I are blessed with two kidz with Sir Naughty as the oldest pooch in our homestead.

Naughty came back in late 2005 when he was a five month-old pup. Purty big for house breaking, but I guess he adapted fine to his new environment.

And with a Sibe at home, life is never dull. Despite all the surprises - our stuff destroyed, holes dug everywhere and the occassional bolting out of the gate, we love our boy.

So, here's wishing you a very happy birthday and for the many many good years ahead! Poppa Samo loves ya!

Monday, August 18, 2008

K-9 Dingo

Knifemakers Daniel Koster and Tom Krein had teamed up with a remarkeable design - the Dingo. And their initial run of 50 mid-tech fixed blades were gone quick.

What I like, is the functionality of the design and its appeal for hard field use. And pricing too was a factor that moved the knife.

Daniel told me that he had filled up orders and will put up another list for a new batch of Dingos as the earlier ones are completed.

I think this will be a really exciting project to observe. Better still if he uses some high speed steel like S90V!

Heeeree comes the crunch!

Whichever way I see it, I am screwed..

There's less than 13 days to go before the month's end. I dread it. Today, I was very lucky to have the Deputy Boss paying for lunch at a meeting with the bureau branch reporters. We had a meeting to weed out operational matters at our Star Media Hub in Bukit Jelutong, Shah Alam.

Met the crew there who had plenty of things to say in terms of their day-to-day operations and well, I guess as their managers and supervisors, there's two sides of the tale.

I have to put in two more days before breaking for 11 days which I will spend at home with the kidz and my wife. We are heading out at the end of the month for an outing and hopefully maintain a low expense.

Right now, I am merely surviving on spare change. Its been a tough month and I think things are gonna get even rougher. Funny thing is, my old man has yet to harass me for his monthly cash drop.

Way I see it, I think he might have been on the dough from the Lim Goh Tong charity fund my aunt Lorraine was talking about...

Another death in August..

I guess the Hungry Ghost Festival went into full swing with another journalist called to the other side. Earlier, motoring columnist Louis Cheang passed away. This was followed by Tan Hong Tatt @ Chin Soo Har, our former photo chief. We lost crime reporter Kuldeep Jessy this afternoon. He collapsed while having lunch with Eddie Chua, my buddy.

Kuldeep is survived by his wife whom he married barely a month ago. My thoughts and prayers goes to Manjit and his family members. It's a very difficult time for them.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

7 months : 1 hour : 15 mins

Part of my team with Y.P. Sivam, Fred Fernandez, Stuart Michael, Salina Khalid and Lim Chia Ying

Time flies! I can't believe it that I have been working at The Star for seven straight months. It was the best decision I've made in my life.

Yesterday at lunch, I met an old friend. He replaced a senior manager who was asked to leave by the New Straits Times for an alleged RM100,000 claim scam.

I was asked if food was my main bread and butter. Since the guy was okay (can't trust a Chinaman at the top of the scale there), I told him that I am now deskbound.

We avoided the unpleasant conversation about our indifferences. After all, 15 years of being treated like a third-class citizen was the max I would give at the old workplace.

He tried to gauge the stregth of my desk, asking a lot of probing questoins. I gave the sheer numbers and told him that even with the weakest link in question, its still a lot more better than his top reporters who are mostly spoon-fed.

I am very proud of my present team. They are young, motivated and professional. That is the saving grace in the nation's number one English daily.

They knew how to make the necessary sacrifices in pulling things together. This you won't find a the NST, a goner by today's standards.

But I guess with small circle there is, I would be meeting more and more ex-colleagues. To those who got left behind, I can only wish them all the best..

The Nessmuk - My take

The modern Nessie made by Siegle
Form follows function - My jungle camp knife
Ah Pan, my buddy showing off the Nessie in kg Halak, Gua Musang, Kelantan

The Nessmuk has been around for more than a century. Popularised by outdoor columnist George Sears, this knife has seen some frontier action in the North American Far West.

What I like about Sear's design, is its functionality. With a blade length of 4", this is an ideal field tool for preparing food as well as some light cutting chores at camp.

I believe that the original Nessmuks are hollow-ground for strength and durability. As recent as two years ago, I commissioned knifemaker Bill Seagle to make me a Nessmuk in high speed steel.

Its the only piece I believe, that utilised the S30v stainless steel. It has a good edge retention quality and well, I must praise Mr Siegle for his awesome work with the grinder.

His knives are hair-popping sharp.

The Nessmuk was used in Kelantan for food preparation. While at home, I was impressed by its ability to 'shave' off a young coconut shell.

My only beef with the knife, was the sheath. Its loose and rattles a lot. Something which can be fixed by heating up its thermoplastic shells.

This is the only Siegle-made knife left in my keeps and well, having seen what it has done and can do, it'll be a keeper!