Sunday, December 31, 2006
And so it was with much difficulty that I finished my last article, Stepping into 2007 Strong, Wise and Full of Faith, and with much pride that I still finished it the way I earlier intended it. On the bright side, I shall be grateful that I receive a closure beyond doubt that I may now let go and like all the great figures I mentioned in the last article, including Jon Arbuckle, I shall stand tall and look into the future.
I would like to end this post with a timely New Year dedication I received.
The year is almost gone but it has also made us strong.
The path was long but we walked it with a song.
There were fears and tears but we also had reasons for cheers.
Wishing you Happy Memories of 2006 and have a Great 2007...
I am once again watching some of my (more important & personal) resolution dashed. It was so depressing all I want to do is give up. But thanks to a long talk with a good friend, I emerged from a state of shattered hope to one of renewed faith.
We all been through this, when what we are aiming for is so far beyond our reach we find that we have nothing to hold on to. And when our grasp on that which we desire weaken, we are tempted to just let go. After all, we are already too excessively exhausted from holding on for so long on merely faith and optimism alone.
To be or not to be? That is the question. The answer to this question is the question, "How much does this mean to you?"
While we are regularly bombarded with ever positive advice to be strong and keep fighting, letting go, sometimes is the wise choice. Our answer to the above question will be the deciding factor. How much your dream means to you? For if it means the world to you, a day will surely come when you will rue letting go of your dream. The only acceptable closure to a dream is try everything humanly possible, to exhaust all avenue and when you have given your all, yet the dream you seek cannot be achieved, there be no regret. But until that day, we shall continue to dream, and we shall continue to strive to realise that dream.
Colonel Sander did not sell his recipe to the first restaurant. He visited well over a hundred restaurant before one would give him a partnership.
Honda rise during one of the most difficult time in Japan and only through the sheer determination of its founder, overcoming obstacle after obstacle that would collapsed any lesser men.
Seabiscuit started his racing career in defeat after defeat and was forever the joke and underdog of any race before he started winning.
And the most inspiring success story (ahem) of the year 2006, geeky Jon Arbuckle finally, not only got a date with his dream girl Liz, he is dating her! This is almost as good as Charlie Brown finally getting a homerun.
"Everybody loses a couple. And either you pack up and go home or you keep fighting!"
Keep fighting everyone, till there is not an iota of energy left in you. Keep fighting even when noone understand and the whole world is against you. For there is no price you would not pay to see your dream come true.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Sunday, December 17, 2006
OK... I admit, just trying to do some promotion for my deviantart site at http://keelin77.deviantart.com
Friday, December 8, 2006
Fondly? Yes, because you see, the twist of the event is quite funny.
I stopped in front of another car at a red light. Expecting the light to turn green soon, the car started to move forward, leaving maybe half a car-length of gap between us. I did not bothered to fill that space. That's when the Perdana behind me honked. I quickly looked at the light again. It was still red. What is this guy's problem? I turned my head around to look at him but he was already steering his car to the lane on the right, just as the light turned green. However, there was another car on that lane and despite being on the fast lane, the aunty driver inside moved very slowly. I maintained the same speed and the Perdana was stuck behind the two of us. What a laugh. Unfortunately at the next traffic stop, the Perdana already honked at the aunty and obviously affected, she drove faster this time. I thought momentarily to keep up with her and keep the Perdana behind us but what's the point? The driver's an idiot. I let him overtook me.
Then, there was the time I was driving back from Penang. I was just overtaking a slow vehicle when I noticed a car flashed at me. How far away was this car? So far away it looked like it flashed at me the moment the driver saw my car's rear lamps but it is coming at me fast and furious. I know I do not have enough time to overtake the two long trucks in front before that BMW is at my tail so I gave way. But as the BMW approached, the two trucks decided to moved over to the fast lane, thereby, blocking the BMW. My friend urged me to maintain my speed, trapping the BMW with me on its left and the two gigantic trucks in its front. This moved on for quite a distance and to give some credit to the driver in the BMW, he did not sound the honk or tried in anyway to get me to slow down. Eventually the two trucks overtook an extremely slow Kancil. I too, have to slowed down as the Kancil was in my way. That was when the BMW came into my lane and overtook the two trucks. After that, the two trucks decided to returned to the left lane. My friend and I agreed that the two truck drivers probably did that on purpose because maybe they were miffed by the BMW driver's arrogance. Flashing your lights from a whole kilometre away IS arrogance.
It was satisfying in a small pleasure kind of way to see these drivers humbled by such situation. That's all it is though, small pleasure. Nowaday, I usually chose safety first. You never know if one of these crazy drivers may do something stupid and caused an accident.
Damned speed demon.
In one incident, a customer called in close to 6.30pm and requested the shop to stay open a little longer as she is on the way. She only arrived at 7. That's alright, at least she is courteous and appreciative. Well, some are fake and act nice only so they can receive a favour but let's not dwell too deep into that for now.
Then another called at almost 7, when all employees should long have been gone but still demanded that they wait for her. C informed her that they are still open but they are closing soon. They will however, continue to serve her if she arrive before they leave. Reasonable?
Not to to this customer. She started making noise and demanded that they stay open. When C thought she should let the manager take the call, even the manager will not take it and told C that they are closing now. The customer was upset and scolded C for not willing to wait another mere 5 minutes although she never informed earlier that she is that close by. She even asked C if C is trying to get her into an accident by rushing her to come over quickly, although C never did rush her. Reasonable?
As an employee, we are obliged by contract to serve the customer during our shift and by sheer goodwill beyond our shift. On one hand, we understand if a customer could not come earlier if he/ she worked far away. One the other hand, which God dies and gave customers the right and power to treat any other human as anything less? To expect the courtesy of being served beyond the opening hour is one thing, to be a bitch about it is quite another. The shop is opened on Saturday till 6 pm, which is always a viable option. Of course as a customer, she does not care if others are working past their shift as long as she does not have to sacrifice any time from her precious Saturday day off to visit the shop.
Customers have their rights but just as there are many traders who take advantage of an ignorant customer, there are just as many, if not more customers who abused their right. Perhaps the above are lousy examples but the topic here is not about consumers' right but about treating others, including those below you as the human that they are instead of as some hungry broken dogs begging you to feed them. THEY. ARE. NOT.
There is also another who put up a full-fledged diva act everytime she comes in. If you thought some of the diva attitude of celebrities that we read about in papers or magazines are unreasonable, imagine having to face them. A Mrs knows-it-all who speaks loudly as if she owns the place and expected to be treated like a queen. She treated everyone there including C, like they are nobody. Forget that she goes to the same church as C, she is probably to proud to be associated with anybody of "lesser status". Bitch.
I worked as a customer service representative before and have more than my fair share of experience with customers who treated others as dirt but I been known known for my high tolerance and have put all of this behind me, save for one.
This Mr B called in the moment I started work and keep bombarding me with the f-word. I was serving Singapore while he was calling from Australia. While it was not my fault that the call was wrongly routed to me, I recognise that it is definitely the company's fault so I held on. I certainly do not need to put up with his language, especially since the company's policy was that we have the right to tell the customer to refrain from using those words or we will hang up. But I was in a good mood that morning and was feeling generous. The company been good to me so I want to give the customer an "outstanding customer experience". Silly me. At the end of the call, he demanded for my name because he is not happy with the way I spoke to him. WTF?
I gave him my name in full and spelt it out for him but my manager never ask to see me regarding the call. And I still have a happy birthday the next day.
Sunday, December 3, 2006
WE ARE NOT CHEAP. WE ARE ECONOMICALLY SENSIBLE.
I am not too familiar with Italian dish apart from the occasional pizza at Pizza Hut and spaghetti cabonara at Murni mamak restaurant in SS2 so I intended to try a wider variety of pasta that night.
There were four of us and we were seated at a small square table measuring no more than 3' x 3' by my estimate. A Chinese restaurant would never get away with such small table. There won't be enough room for all the dishes. Small as the table may be there is still enough space for four plates of pasta and glasses of drink with room for everyone's elbows too :)
The ambience is warm and cosy and the service isn't too bad either. I don't frequent this kind of joint too much but they are definitely better than those buffet restaurant we can find in any 5-stars hotel in the country. In fact, for a 5-star hotel, I thought the service is horrible, not just in the restaurant, but in the reception as well. Unfortunaely we have all seems to accept that as the local standard of service. Another story for another time.
The format for the buffet is simple. Choose a pasta, choose a sauce, choose a topping, waiter will bring you the food and when you are done, repeat again. For the first round, I chose... Spaghetti Cabonara with chicken chunks. Yeah, yeah, I have that all the time but it's good for comparison sake. For my taste however, Itallianies paled in comparison with the cabonara served at Murni.
Unbelievable. To begin with, I don't know if that is the way to serve pasta but I like my food hot. Murni served a plate hot, generous with sauce and chicken chunks and sausages. In comparison, Itallianies's was warm enough with just enough sauce for the spaghetti and a relatively frugal amount of chicken chunks. No sausage. OK, OK, that didn't matter. Truth is, it wasn't that bad- I just like my Murni's spaghetti better.
I was more adventurous in the second round, ordering Linguine in aglio olio with salmon chunks. I wanted to try an oil based sauce and I heard seafood goes with this best. Somehow they messed up my order and it did not arrive until all my friends were done with round two. Computer glitch konon. Or are they trying to prevent a round three?
I was initially worried that I will not like this sauce, that the oil will be too thick. It wasn't. The sauce was quite mild but pleasant enough, and the pasta is served hot this time, with very generous topping of salmon. The only reason I did not finish it was that I was already full. no room for round three.
Despite the pasta buffet night, I noticed most people were not there for the buffet. The pizzas seem to be a popular choice. Must try that next time. Still, it is very feasible to select the buffet menu as a single plate of pasta normally goes for more than RM30. Unless of course, they served tastier pasta from the al carte menu. The pictures definitely looked more appetizing.
To sum it all up, the food and price is acceptable, service is good, I like the atmosphere and the girl who held the door open for me is quite cute too. I just might come back here again soon.
Here it is, the first puzzle I solved, found in a copy of Malaysian Today, finished in under 15 minutes as I snacked on nuggets and slurped on Sprite in a Burger King outlet.
Hey, that's pretty quick, and easy too. Or didn't you notice what is written above the puzzle?
Not very challenging but I could use the encouragement. I tried another on The Star newspaper. This is much more difficult, took me about an hour but there is no rating given.
See how much messier this puzzle is? Not as straightforward as puzzle # 1, that's for sure. Called for a lot more brain power but I enjoyed it. I got so hooked that I went through the stack of old newspaper for more sudoku puzzles and stayed up late into the night cracking the puzzle. I can proudly say that I can solved most of the puzzle between half to a full hour.
When I got my hand on the newspaper on Saturday morning, again I looked at the new puzzle. OK... this is a hard one. I made a single mistake and could not solve it. Tried again until I reached a deadlock. There just simply isn't enough clue to go on and I have went way past the time frame of one hour. I digged out more puzzles, hoping to learn some new trick from them. Every time I solved one, I went back to this difficult puzzle but I was still stuck.
With nowhere else to turn to, I visited www.sudoku.org.uk for some hints. However, every tricks they taught there I have already learnt from previous puzzles and none can get me closer to solving this puzzle. However, the site advised that when all else fail, pick one square with 2 possible answer, choose one and see where it takes you. That's it? The sudoku puzzle is reduced to a game of trial and error? I always thought the puzzle can be solved wholly by logic but apparently, there are what is known as diabolical puzzle with plenty of dead ends that require "advanced solving stategies or intelligent guessing". This must be one of them, albeit a relatively easy level of a diabolical puzzle. I think.
But I guess life's like that. Sometimes we are faced with choices which each seems equally good (or equally bad) and all the analysis and reasoning and pro & con weighing in the world are not able to help us make a decision. Rather than be stuck in a deadlock, it is best that we make a quick and firm decision and see where it takes us. After all, in life, more often than not, we regret more about the things we didn't do than the things we did. How enlightening.
Sudoku. Fun way to spend your time and gives you live lesson as well. What more can you ask for? Oh, I did solve the puzzle in the end. If you are interested to see that, look for the puzzle published in The Star on Dec 2, 2006. I recreated the puzzle here as well. As you can imagine, my original copy is pretty messed up.
Monday, November 27, 2006
I wasn't quite sure how to write this review. I thought that the movie is brilliant but you see, I don't quite like the ending. The idea suggested in the end was too mind-boggling to grasp that somehow, I felt cheated because I could never have seen it coming. This, despite that the ending was hinted before it was revealed but the concept was just too fantastic that I rejected the notion, and looked forward to other more logical explanation. This is akin to the experience I went through when I read Alan Moore's "The Watchmen".
Therefore, I found it difficult to write this review without revealing the ending because without it, I would not be able to describe how I feel. Yet, I do not wish to spoil the ending for anyone who had not watch it yet.
Hugh Jackman and Christian Bale played two magicians who started off as friends but ended up as enemies, whose rivalry grew deadlier with time. Jackman's Angier is more a showman and less a magician, and strictly abided by his principle of not getting his hands dirty, like killing little animal for the sake of performance. Bale's Borden, on the other hand, a superior magician albeit with poorer showmanship, believes that sacrifice must be made and literally lived his trick in his everyday lives, even keeping the secret of his tricks from his beloved wife.
When the movie begins, Angier drowned to death in a magic trick gone wrong. Being present at the crime scene, Borden was eventually convicted for his murder. The story then unfolded through a series of flashback on how they both began their carrer as magicians and how they became the enemies that they were, leading subsequently, to the murder of Angier. Of course, like the magic tricks that are the theme of this movie, nothing is as it seems. Watch this and be astonished, not unlike watching magic itself.
I used the word earlier and I will use it again. Mind- boggling. Do not watch this when you're having a headache.
Sunday, November 26, 2006
"Shaken or stirred?"
"Do I looked like I give a damn?"
Well, I heard this is going to be a very different Bond. He is, tough as nail and extremely dangerous. I am guessing that everyone has either watch the movie or read its review so I will just skip the part of the storyline here.
For the record, I like Brosnan's Bond for no other reason than he is super smooth and suave. I like smooth. Connery's Bond is universally accepted as the best while the others who ever (attempted to) played this characters are pretty forgetable. Unexpectedly, Craig just managed to slips in the ranking between Connery and Brosnan.
This is by far the most realistic Bond film I saw and it calls for a new tougher and harder hero. With a little of Connery's charm, Brosnan's suaveness and a whole new level of unprecendented toughness, Craig will erase all doubt casted upon him as the new Bond. Everyone is loving the new Bond and I do wonder if they are going to maintain the hot-headed character portrayed here or as the films progressed, will he evolve into the Connery's Bond we have all come to know.
As with all recent Bonds, the producers tried to give a Bond girl more equal to Bond himself and they succeded admirably here. But instead of merely being merely smarter or tougher than the classic Bond girls, they create one with strength in character instead and it is easy to understand how Bond could falls in love with her.
I am not sure if I am the only one complaining here but I am not too impressed by the villain though. Sure, at one point he orchestrated the capture and torture of James Bond but beyond that, he never struck me as dangerous. It was also quite a dissappointment that as a professional gambler, he would has such a tell-tale sign of bluffing. It's a wonder Bond is the only one who caught on to it.
I would like to mention about Chow Yuen Fatt in "The God of Gamblers". In that film, the villain observed that Chow has a tendency of subtly touching his ring whenever he bluffs. He tried to uses this knowledge, along with a series of dirty tricks to defeat the God of Gamblers only to find out in the end that Chow deliberately played out this habit for an entire year in order to mislead him. Brilliant... but I guess most of the world are just not obsessed with gambling as the Chinese are?
OK, back to Bond. Like I mentioned earlier, I like smooth. Craig is a little weak when he played smooth but for what he lack in suaveness, he more than make up for in gritty toughness. An enjoyable movie overall.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
It wasn't easy drawing for children. Not to me anyway. I grew up drawing superheroes afterall. I was struggling with the correct proportion but in the end, I pulled through, thanks to the unrelenting and uncompromising criticism my dear sister provided. The whole look is quite inconsistent but I think I am getting the hang of it. The publisher is pleased too.
The moral of the story; Criticism is good. Listen to it and use it to improve yourself.
I am grateful to land the job and just as glad when it's over. I am still holding a full time job and only had time to complete the drawing in the night. For almost a month, I went to bed only at 1 am and woke up at 7 am for my day job. I practically do not have the time to see any friends outside of work.
I can't wait for my next project on Feb next year.
My first piece, also the piece that got me the assignment. This is one of the piece that worked out as I hope but the boys look like they are older than 4. No big deal though.
A family portrait. This is exactly the piece I did. No changes although I realise (after submission of my work) that there is no shadow on the floor. Gasp... a floating family.
Two pieces on emotion.
Some other selected images. I kinda like the one with the three friends. Original drawing was very small though, only about 5 x 5 cm so there isn't much room for detail.
Two pieces of maze that I need to do. I have to make sure it's not too challeging for 4 years old though. I enjoyed creating these mazes. Maybe I will make one with higher difficulty just for the kick of it.
Well... like it? If you have any commission work to offer me, let me know.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
About a month ago, I noticed there was a stain on my second premolar tooth on the upper right quadrant. Terms I learnt from my current job but since I am the one who just got a filling along with a warning that I might need a root canal, I am not feeling too cocky.
I intended to get a checkup on this but which doctor should I look for? In my line of work, I have come to know several dentists whom I know is really good but premium services comes with premium charges. Also, knowing the benefit of laser tretment, specifically, laser supplied BY my company, I intended to only look for a dentist with similar equipment. This eliminate the only dentist I know who is delicately careful but charges reasonable rate simply because he hasn't own the laser yet. In a case of knowing more than I need but less than I want, I kept delaying the dreaded visit to the dentist. Furthermore, I brushed my teeth twice a day and there was no pain or sensitivity whatsoever. Surely it can't be that bad. Maybe just a bit of decay that can easily be sterilised and the tooth remineralised?
Well, a friend went to a polyclinic for checkup and scaling. registration is only RM 1 and the scaling for RM 2. Very cheap. I came up with the ingenious idea of going there for check up and then deciding later, which doctor to visit for treatment.
I visited them today and the dentist told me I need a filling. Not just on the tooth I mentioned but also another on a tooth on my upper left quadrant. And when she proceed with the filling, I did not object, having totalling forgotten at that time that the girlfriend of my friend just had a filling redone as the first one fell out. Premium dollar for premium care. I just paid RM 2 for this filling. What type of service am I getting here???
To give the dentist credit, I thought she did a good job although I really wish she didn't keep asking her nurse how many patient is waiting outside. I don't doubt her skill but I do wonder if she care more about my oral health or about going home early. She did not even do the filling for the other tooth, telling me to return again. She never tell me what she is doing and what my option is but followed her Nike syndrome to "just do it". Whatever answers I have, I got by staying back and asking. Apparently, my teeth grow very close and tight so it is difficult to remove food stuck between. But I always check, that is how I notice the stain. She answered all the questions I can think of but I got the feeling like I was holding her captive against her will.
"What is wrong with this guy? Let me see my last patient so I may go home!!"
For some people, I guess it is OK. By some people, I am referring to those people who don't care about their teeth and went to the dentist only when they are seriously aching. I am not one of those people. I want to be able to smile with a full set of my natural teeth when being photographed on my 90th birthday celebration. So much for that wish. Served me right for never visiting the dentist all this time, for arrogantly believing that good genes and low craving for sweet is all I need to maintain my teeth. Afterall, my father smoked and only brushed indifferently once a day and he is still able to chew through fresh sugarcane.
And the moral of the story is; take good care of your teeth and remember to visit your dentist. I felt so silly because my previous company has a dental plan but I never use it. I only thought of going for a scaling when I was resigning, then feel guilty about using the company resourses so I didn't. Bodoh.
And when you are visiting your dentist, ask if he/ she used laser. Better still, tell your dentist you prefer laser treatment for your teeth under the precision of magnification of a microscope, then tell me which clinic and where. Heh heh.
Damn, treted tooth feels a bit cool now. I hope it's just my imagination.
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Before that, I just want to add that the date of birth for this site of 11 November is no coincidence. I chose this date of double eleven. However, as I was trying name after name that turned out to be taken, and passing the intended birthtime of 11.11 am, it never occur to me to try the name double-eleven. I came up with pencilmanlives.blogspot.com instead.
As it turned out, it wasn't so bad. As an artist (OK... an aspiring comic artist), I started most, if not all my drawing with a pencil. The name indicated a comic book superhero character and the title itself is like a movie name, which, being a movie buff of sort, is quite complementary.
The Pencilman Lives - um... kinda cheesy actually. Oh well...