Sunday, November 30, 2008

Been a long day...

I have an evening meeting to attend to decide what goes on our pages in tomorrow's section. It might be a simple one, or if there are any changes to be made - a long and drawling session.
Otherwise, work has been kind to me as I slowly ploughed through the day to meet with the dateline given.
\Well, more to come as December will turn out to be a really tough month to shoulder..

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Will Rocks!

The simple folding knife
My damascus blade and its evil twin sister..

Knifemaker Will Zermeno never ceased to amaze me with his work. Recently, I picked up my early Christmas gift - a fixed blade and a folder. 
I was very impressed with the finished small blade that I received recently. It felt good on the hand and has the right length for use in the field.
Not only the choice of stell use was awesome, it has a thick and stout profile. Sorta like a mini pocket bowie.
As for the folding knife, I was totally blown away with the blade thickness and how Will had rounded off the spine to give it a nice and sleek curve.
These babies will see some carry action as I prepare for next year's excursion into the jungle.. 

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

My aunt's cooking..

Stuffed eggpland
Pig's trotters soup! 
A generous spread..

There's nothing like good ol homecooked food. I was expecting to take my aunt Lorraine out for lunch today, but she had some surprise waiting.
She raised me from young and I lived with her till I was 35. Four years after moving out from my aunt's home in Setapak, I still make my regular visits.
One of the highlights - was lunch. She took some effort to cook and I was pleasantly surprised with her skills on the wok.
Today, I had yong tau foo (stuffed vegetables Hakka style) and roasted pig's trotters soup with white raddish. 
And man, the food was amazing. Since she live alone and has a boyfriend visiting her regularly, there's enough good stuff to last her for days. 
Like any loving mother, aunt Lorraine will nag a bit, and asked how I coped with my married life.
I left her home in mid-day after finishing some of her excellent home cooked food. The rest was a rush to get doggie shampoo for my kidz, lightbulbs and some gravy to cook curry chicken for dinner later tonight..

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A year ago, today...

I made a critical decision on my future. The months to come became a pivotal point to my transition from a
mere worker to a supervisor.That said, I went through a total revamp. No baggage from the past. Just be a team player and chug on.
Many were surprise with the move.In the first few months of this year, I had to prove myself. There were plenty to learn and for that, I am glad to
have taken the first step.The road is long and winding and there are plenty of obstacles along the way. The only thing that I can do,
is to persevere and be patient.It took me a year to learn to walk again, I guess this is a piece of cake. Come December, I can look
forward to some rewards from my work.To sum it up, I am glad to have taken the bold move. I won't forgive myself if I am still stuck in the rut, in a
place where I am not appreciated for my work.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The day is done..

The kidz at home..

My day is almost done. It was a breeze as manpower on the desk was at its peak. With the school
holidays, the drive to work was a joy.It was not as congested as I would have expected, so, I got in early and went around my chores of filing the
daily report.After sundown, I am looking forward to be home with my wife and kidz. And not to forget, there's cooking to
do as well...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Seven years ago, today..

My left leg after a final surgery to remove the foot long bone implant
The Gilera Runner 180SP which I rode on that fateful day..

This very day on the same date seven years ago, I spent a month in the hospital recovering from coumpound fracture of my left tibia and fibula.No word can describe the pain and despair I went through. Alltogether, I spent a year learning on how to
walk again. I give my thanks and gratitude to friends who came and visited me during my time of solace. The
experience also taught me that when you expect your company's managers to be humane, they never did a
thing. The experience showed that only friends and family members who care would do something to take away
the feeling of helplessness.That same year, I met my wife-to-be and as for the recovering leg, I underwent four major and two minor
surgeries.In November 2002, I finally had a foot-long bone implant on my left leg and three screws removed. Now,
that was a relief!

There goes my weekend...

The kidz
A winged visitor at our porch..

Spent the weekend with my wife and our dogs. First thing I did on Saturday morning, was give the kidz their much needed bath.
After a few days in the rain, they started to smell. After completing the task, we went out shopping. 
The wife needed to get some kiddy books for her god daughter in Melbourne. We had plenty to eat and wound up the day by having a simple dinner at home. 
On Sunday, I had to do some marketing chore. Made a trip to the SS15 market to get some meat and vegetables. 
We also checked out the Sunway Pyramid and bought some stuff from Ace Hardware. I need to replace my damaged garden trowel. 
Tomorrow - its back to work.. Three days on and three days off! Couldn't have asked for more.. 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The high cost of living

Well, literally.
I caught wind from my colleague who had his heart fixed three weeks ago that a close buddy of mine was admitted to the hospital for chest pain.
He was diagnosed with three blocked arteries. This is the guy I have my beers with and a constant eating companion.
With the news in hand, I rang him up to get confirmation. He sounded chirpy and admitted the fact that he will undergo angioplasy to insert a stent in his heart in the weeks to come.
What made it more traumatic is the fact that a buddy of his died in his arms due to congenital heart failure...

Someone's hurt...

I love fan mail!

Dear Mr. Sam Cheong,

On 15/11, two days after reading your “Chicken soup to make your day” (STARMETRO, 13/11), I sent you an e-mail and suggested that you could have made a mistake in giving the address of Q-up Coffee Shop because I could not find it anywhere near Goodyear Court 6.
You did not respond. Anyway I went around and finally found it. You gave the address as “Goodyear Court 6, USJ 2” but it should be “Subang Perdana Court 2, USJ 6”. Oh what a mistake, or should I say mistakes.
What disappoint me most is, with those mistakes in your Food Trail, you did not even make an effort to apologise to those faithful readers of yours and give the correct address as a footnote in your Food Trail on 20/11. How then do you expect them to find the Q-up Coffee Shop and try the hor fun there?

Cheers, Bernard Lau

Note to self : Shoot me!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The roof rack solution..

The Thule carrier
Don't be fooled by its look, this simple system can cost a bomb!

Our family may hit the road North next year on a tour of Penang. Since my car has a limited boot space, I have been thinking of adding a roof rack system on it.
And after a long wait, I found one at the Thule showroom in Ikano Power Centre. As a matter of fact, I had a Thule system before. 
It was used on my Suzuki Jimny 1300. To my shock, I found the new racking system for my Perodua Myvi priced at RM2,700. 
Speak about inflated prices, I wonder why the Thule showroom in Ikano Power Centre is still surviving. 
With a high pricing factor, I don't think the Thule racks are an accessory for anybody. You need to mint money to land one... 

Logitech V10 and V20 laptop speakers

The V20
Logitech's V10

I found the Logitech laptop speakers to be quite interesting. They feature direct power from the USB port and was also highly rated on ZDnet's site for gadgets.
But here in Malaysia, people are getting ripped off by retailers. The V10 sells at USD$22.88. Here, it goes for as high as RM235.00 a pair. The lowest price offered is at RM195.00. 
With a premium price set on this product, I was very surprised to see that it was sold out. Amazing! 
The V20, a bigger and better version of the Logitech laptop speaker, is going at USD$46.79 which is roughly about RM170.oo. I don't want to imagine the price here cos its gonna be a major rip off! 

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cool stuff

I was aisle browsing at Campers yesterday and found some really cool packs from Gregory and Arcteryx. Both are US and Canadian made military assault packs and they carry a price tag of SGD$450 and above.
Now, that is something that I found very amusing. And best of all, military packs have a big following in Korea and Japan. These are the countries with the spending power. Despite a looming slowdown in the economy, the particular outfitter in Singapore is doing rather well.
I don't know what the months ahead will hold, but the packs are going strong! 

The Singapore run

The Wine and Cheese session
My buddy - completely zonked out
Lunch hour in downtown Singapore...

This is something that I have been doing for years. Jump into a car, shoot down across the border and return on the same day.
Its the most taxing trip ever - both physically and mentally demanding. Since the exchange rate is not favourable for a night stop, the most sensible thing to do, is to get in, round up the get list and bug out by sundown.
Today, my buddy Lawrence and I did it in record time. We shot down to JB at 5:30am, reached the causeway at 8:45am, had breakfast and moved across.
As expected, the traffic was smooth. We went to Serangoon to run some chores before parking the vehicle at Capitol building at North Bridge Road.
I think we spend plenty of time at Campers Corner, an outfitter store which is owned by an old friend of ours Calvin Tay.
He and I became friends two decades ago and well, we are still chugging along. I had some time out to look around for a travel tripod, but didn't have any luck scoring one.
We ended the day with some wine and cheese at Campers and by 7:45pm, was done and moved on to the Second Link in Tuas.
Lawrence and I had late dinner in Skudai, Johor, where I briefly lived for a coupla months before touching down at my home at 12:20am. Fantastic! And we will be doing it again! 

Sunday, November 16, 2008

My father in-law's birthday..

Aaaahhh.. the pork knuckle..
My boss deciding on her dinner
My father in-law (left) and my brother in-law (right)

I had a cold yesterday and wanted to get some rest. The wifey wanted to know if there is a place where we could bring her dad to for his birthday.
Since he loved German beers so much, I suggested House of Frankfurt in Jalan Telawi, Bangsar. Its owned by a German guy by the name of Peter Karl who is pretty hands-on with his job. There is a steady stream of German clientele there and its just the perfect set-up for a meal. 
We ordered roasted pork knuckles, smoked pork, pork fillet and pork sausages. And German wheat beer of course! 
The bill came up to a staggering amount, but to my wife, it's her social responsibility. This is something she does without question every year.. 

Slow day..

My lazy kidz, and yeah, the carpet needs to be vacummed. Both of them are shedding like mad...

With the morning shower, I guess it was much worse than I had expected. The weatherman was right. Gloomy, gloomy with strong overcast... The kidz were sleeping in the living room as they took advantage of the cold floor and weather.. 
Naughty nudged me a coupla times, so, I let him out. The gurl was rather dormant, she slept through the cold morning. 
Well, there's laundry to be done and I doubt that it'll get dry anytime today. This gloomy weather really creeps up to you.. 

Friday, November 14, 2008

Hawke E&E Bugout Bag

I have been searching for a pack small enough to hold some essentials and personal gear for the purpose of bugging out.
Guess the Hawke pack is one of the contenders. The only thing that I don't like about this bag, is the metal link between the shoulder strap and the bag.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Doggy Folder..

Plaza Cutlery did some really cool stuff with their Chris Reeve knives. One of their special edition was the Sebenza with dog paw print. 
I've been putting off the idea of scoring a CRK Sebenza for a long, long, time. Since they are no longer being produced, its time to haul in at least a few. Hahahaah!!!
The Paw print Sebbie is an endearing folder.. Melts the heart too since I have two dogs.. Pricing isn't that attractive, but I guess if I saved up enough, it will land on my lap.

The ONE!

Three variants of the Strider
The Gunner Grip version.. 

Aaah.. I finally found a picture of my dream knife. Hopefully, a long overdue 'pat on the back' Christmas gift to meself... 
A Strider MT-SS-GG. Hahaa! It's based on the early Mick Strider 'Mantrack' design with a serrated spine. I have the large MT in my keeps which was also one of my first Striders. Bought it from a collector in Bangkok, Thailand. 
The MT has been updated and upgraded with a double gunner-grip, a trademark of the late knifemaker Rob Simonich which Strider helped develop.
I love the texture on the GG which I handled at the Tankstore in Bangkok. Well, like it or not, it's just a matter of time before I nail this sucker! 

Les Voorhies Camp Knife

Differential tempered.. Now, that made me creamed in my pants. Les is a budding knifemaker and he's doing very well.
Prices are reasonable with a good craftmanship. Someday, I ought to score at least one or two of Mr Voorhies' fixed blades. He's also pretty good with making folding blades..

G-10 madness...

I have been pining for Strider fixed blade. Preferably with G-10 handles. These babies don't come easy
and are usually sold out the very moment the hit the shelves.Our weather does not permit knives with high carbon content and smooth handles. I've singled out Striders
for their reliability and performance.Anyways, for a fixed blades, there no moving parts and the Striders are built like a tank. You whack em,
they just keep going and going and going.Best of all, they offer an unconditional guarantee - if you break it, they will fix it. That's with hard use of

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Smart ass

It was mealtime during a flight on Alaska Airlines. "Would you like dinner?" the flight attendant asked John, seated in front.
"What are my choices?" John asked.
"Yes or no," she replied.

A flight attendant was stationed at the departure gate to check tickets. As a man approached, she extended her hand for the ticket and he opened his trench coat and flashed her. Without missing a beat, she said, "Sir, I need to see your ticket not your stub."

A lady was picking through the frozen turkeys at the grocery store but she couldn't find one big enough for her family. She asked a stock boy, "Do these turkeys get any bigger?"
The stock boy replied, "No ma'am, they're dead."

The cop got out of his car and the kid who was stopped for speeding rolled down his window.
"I've been waiting for you all day," the cop said.
The kid replied, "Yeah, well I got here as fast as I could."
When the cop finally stopped laughing, he sent the kid on his way without a ticket.

A truck driver was driving along on the freeway. A sign comes up that reads, " Low bridge Ahead." Before he knows it, the bridge is right ahead of him and he gets stuck under the bridge.
Cars are backed up for miles. Finally, a police car comes up. The cop gets out of his car and walks to the truck driver, puts his hands on his hips and says,"Got stuck, huh?"
The truck driver says, "No, I was delivering this bridge and ran out of gas."

SMART ASS ANSWER OF THE YEAR A college teacher reminds her class of tomorrow's final exam. "Now class, I won't tolerate any excuses for you not being here tomorrow.I might consider a nuclear attack or a serious personal injury, illness, or a death in your immediate family, but that's it, no other excuses whatsoever!"
A smart-ass guy in the back of the room raised his hand and asked, "What would you say if tomorrow I said I was suffering from complete and utter sexual exhaustion?"
The entire class is reduced to laughter and snickering. When silence is restored, the teacher smiles knowingly at the student, shakes her head and sweetly says, "Well, I guess you'd have to write the exam with your other hand.


My lunch...
The stall...

It's the middle of the week and progress has been steady. Despite the battle against lethargy in the
morning hour rush, I managed to close the regional pages for Friday.Then, it was time to shoot off for lunch and stock up for my food trail column. I picked gerai no 17 at Medan
Selera Seksyen 14 for this purpose.It kinda rekindled an old acquaintance at the place who served me some really good Nasi Padang when I
worked in Section 13. Now, that is nearly two decades ago! Lunch was good and fast and for RM4.50, I cannot complain. Later, I
checked out the Digital Mall and cruised the place in search of a Lenovo mini lappie. I am very interested in it, but as the rules has it, better hunker in and wait. He who waits, always gets the
best bargain...

Monday, November 10, 2008

MIGF : Zing Restaurant @ Grand Millennium

The Shark-fin soup

This is my fourth year trying out the Malaysian International Gourmet Festival food. My wife and brother in-law sponsored the meals to commemorate my father in-law's birthday which is around the corner.
Out of all the participating restaurants, they picked Zing Chinese restaurant at the Grand Millennium hotel which was formerly known as the Regent.
An old place with a new look. Well, being a typical hotel outlet, I'd say that the decor and ambience in this makan place is kinda within my expectations.
Service was so-so, the beers we ordered came in stale. Anyways, that was quickly fixed. For starters, there's the three lil bite-sized creations, mixed vege dumpling, fried shrimp with goose liver and scallop with asparagus. Verdict - just barely scraping the 'okay' mark.
Then came the soup - shark's fin and ginseng. What I find interesting in this presentaiton - is the smoothness of the fin. Taste wise, overpowering. The Ginseng is kinda strong and it killed the sweetness of the chicken broth.
For main course, I had the grilled Cod. Taste wise, it's good. But the tatami iwashi that came with it didn't match the overall taste.
Accompanying the main course, was a noodle dish. They called it cat's ears. Well, it kinda looked like shell pastas.
There's a strong dried shrimp taste on this one. Perhaps too strong. On a scale of 1 - 10, I'd give it a 4.5.
Lastly, dessert. Fried yam dumplings with white chocolate filling. Not bad. Then there's the rice pudding. Not my bag. What made this sweet after meal dish unique - is the gold foil.
Overall, I think this outlet rates a 6 out of 10. There are better ones out there, hopefully, I'll snag at least one more try.
I saw the guide book and well, sad to say, it's filled with some really pretentious folks and con artists. Only a handful are cool folks..

Just another day.. Again...

Another day almost done. It was a slow drive to work with the usual Monday morning traffic and I managed clock in at 8:30am after the rush.Assigned all the stories for my advanced page and closed up to page 5 for Thursday. The story queue is slowly drying up and no news from the old guy who had the enlarged heart.That said, I think it will be a stressful time at the desk. Today, I had to do double duty manning the Central desk and assigning reporters.I can look forward to the ride home, hopefully not too late and get some food to put on the table..

Saturday, November 8, 2008

What a crazy weekend!

With the Forum committee
Me with the MKF's vice-Prez Mr Yen
Me and old Bob 
With the forum knives and some goodies from CLB

And so it ends. Just one and a-half day's break. Spent Saturday morning bathing the kidz, the do thelaundry and head off to work.
Was back by mid-day to keep the clothes and shot off for dinner with the MKF folks at LaLa Chong's in Subang. 
By the end of the day, I rushed off to the LCCT to pick up Mrs Samo. My day ended at 2:30am
Then today, we shot off to Mid Valley Gardens, had lunch at Esquire kitchen, did a little bit of window shopping and that was it. 
The highlight of this week was my screwed up schedule. Then tomorrow, it's another day. Back to work.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Shit happens...

When you least expect it, shit happens. I received a call yesterday noon from a colleague. He told me that he was admitted to the hospital for an enlarged heart.
This meant two things. More work and less time out. I've had my break, and was gunning for seven days. 
With one person down, the troubleshooting part kicked in. I convened with the bosses to decide. 
I don't mind pulling the extra working days. This means, my original off days had been yanked off. 
The position in which our downed colleague held, is of importance. He sets the regional pages - controlling six states. 
Whenever he is on his break, I fill in. When I first started learning the ropes, I got my ass kicked. 
The guy who is laying out the pages is meticulous. No mistakes. Yet he made more by being extra careful. People are people. 
Anyways, I am looking at a long month. Possibly flow over to the next coupla months. 

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Google chrome

I've just included a new browser called Google chrome on my laptop. Seems like a cool thing to play around. Plenty of rough edges, not as many controls as the IE 7 or Mozilla Firefox. 
But I guess it'll be fun to have it cos it's also quite fast. I love the google stuff and had since used their search engine as a default page on me office IE browser. 
Hopefully, it won't get boring and I hope the developers of this browser would improve it further.

The poorman's dinner

Finished early today, so, the first thing on my mind was to head home and get some rest. 
Need to feed the dogz and cook a quick dinner. Instant noodles. That will be fast and filling. 
Since my wife is not in the house, it would be a waste to cook rice and eat alone. The fastest solution is noodles.
The meatballs and fishballs including some stale veges came in rather handy for the quick fix. 
I sat in front of the TV to savour my meals while the kidz chilled out in the living room. I had expected to come home late today, so, I fed them a little bit in the day.
Lucky for me, I don't have to work late. It took me about an hour to get from Section 16 to USJ 26. 
Once I got in, my mind is set to hole in and stay in the lockdown. TV was also purty boring. There weren't much except for a science fiction movie on Star Movies. 
Tomorrow is gonna be another day.. I just hope to get it over and done with..

Restoran Selero Negori

Terung with sambal tumis
Kari ayam

The spread with steamed rice (sorry for the lousy shots..)

It was one of those days when I crave for a fix of good Malay food. So, after putting much thought on this, I
decided to head to AMCORP Mall in Petaling Jaya.The said makan place was Selero Negori, a minang and Negeri Sembilan restaurant located on the
second floor.I tried this place twice and found the food to be really good. I mean authentic. They have cow tendons in
curry and some really spicy sambal tumis.Compared to what I had in Indonesia, I would say that this makan place is very close. As a matter of fact, I
love the way they serve the dishes in small plates.Pricing? Well, to rent in AMCORP and earn a decent living, I'd say that the prices here are in the high side.
Why? Overheads. But the good taste and effort put in made up for it. If you have more than a few makan kakis, I would
recommend this place!