Wah Piang... A Cicak!
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Hello world. A lizard is living in Alicia's Proton Iswara dashboard right now.

After slumping onto the passenger seat and closing the door, I happily put on my seatbelt and waited for Alicia. We were on our way back from dinner. Ej and Lw had already settled themselves on the rear seat. All doors closed now. Before the ignition key was turned, I thought I saw something. I thought 'Hey, cool new fake reptile Alicia bought'.

The next thing I knew, that 'fake reptile' just freagin' moved. It was about the length of my wallet - measured diagonally. *Pukes pukes* The black lizard was elusive alright. It conveniently ran and hid in one of the aircond vents. Incidentally, Alicia had a pair of bigass bamboo chopsticks in her car - don't ask me how they got in there.

I heard Alicia screamin' when she saw the lizard. Lw, upon noticing my exiting from the car, was somewhat freaked out too. We tried to coax the elusive lizzie out of the vents (using the... err, chopsticks?), but to no avail. Alicia decided that she wouldn't drive, lest the lizzie suddenly jump outta the vents and scare the shit out of her. She asked me to take the wheels instead. Considering that 4 lives were in the car, I obliged.

Lw sat with both feet on the seats. The lizzie is still in the dashboard as I blog this.
My Lumix
Sunday, February 19, 2006
A friend today asked me "David, what happened to your blog?". Aiyo, I also don't know what I've been up tothese days. Sometimes when I've something to write, I can't seem to find time (and mood) to actually sitand compose an entry. By dusk, I'd have forgotten about that entry. Worse, sometimes I discard an entry after just one paragraph.

Since it's Sunday, I'm gonna just write an entry or two to wrap up the week (actually, I planned to take a nap :p). One of the things that has been keeping me busy has got to be my new toy.

You know the feeling of opening a new packaging, or any box/wrapper containing something you've just bought? I'm just gonna share that with you, from the box right down to the camera itself - a Panasonic Lumix FX9.

It comes bundled with the usual stuff, which include USB interfacing cable, AV cable, CD-ROM, charger, yadda yadda... I've been reading the manual. Some of you might wonder "Who on earth reads manuals?!?". In fact, I have friends who don't do that. Actually, if you want to squeeze every ounce of features that come with the camera (or any other electronic device), the manual helps a great deal. Make full use of the camera's capabilities mah.

Imagine the ecstasy when the sales assistant opened the box to check the contents. This little thing, still in its wrappers, was as if screaming for me to hold it. It's colour - black - was clearly visible from where I stood. I picked black over silver. The black surfaces are kinda rubbery, and they feel grippy. Maroon was not available at the time of purchase. I wasn't interested in maroon colour anyway.

There is also a carrying case supplied - and it's made of leather. I thought it was uncle-ish. Sis also pointed out to me that the case could be strapped onto a waistbelt. That confirmed the uncle-ish-ness of it all. But then again, a carrying case/pouch made of soft fabric wouldn't be able to properly protect the camera. Besides, the fabric may rub against the surfaces of the camera and the friction may cause some electrostatic reaction. This is why we're also provided the microfiber cloth to clean the camera.

Finally, the Lumix is out of the box, and its wrapper. I've never owned such a sophisticated cam before - you can say that it's an upgrade from the previous camera we bought (duh, who'd go for a downgrade?). Some of the features that come with it are interesting, and very cool. For example, you can set the light exposure, shutter speed (in one of the night modes), add audio recording to your photos taken, and so on.

The manual also provides tips when taking various types of photos. I love taking in macro mode, where the focus is on small objects, leaving the background slightly blurry. That large LCD screen is amazing. It's about 3 to 4 times larger than my old camera. The buttons (that up-down-left-right one) are quite closely-spaced - with a fat thumb like mine, usually the finernail works best.

Don't be fooled by the size of the flash. It's quite bright, really. Leica is one of the leading brands in camera lens manufaturing. The view from the front... sexy, isn't it? Woo~

Those 4 holes are the speaker, and the single hole is a microphone. The camera records videos in Quicktime format. The package comes with a 16MB SD Card, and the sales lady also offered a 512MB one. I asked for a 1GB card instead, which was about RM100 more than the 512MB. Other miscellaneous stuff include the LCD screen protector and straps.

It's one helluva camera - I love it to bits! From now on, this is gonna be one of my main blogging tools!
And So Was My CNY...
Sunday, February 12, 2006
A relative in Rawang threw an open house party last night, in conjunction with CNY. It was a bungalow quietly tucked away from the bustling city of KL. Quite a well-to-do family, they drive luxury cars and own a few bungalows in that area alone. Another relative who was also at the open house, talked to me about career options and stuff like that. You know that if you're in your early 20's, and when you attend a gathering such as this (esp during the CNY!), you're bound to draw questions like "Finish studying already?", "Got girlfriend already?", "What course are you studying?", "How long more?"... you get the idea.

One of the most common ones has got to be "When's your turn?". Only three words, but it can almost be universally applied. It could mean "when's your turn... to marry", "..to be xx-in-law", "..to give ang pows", "..to be grandma", etc. I hate it when the questions pertain to me - either on studies, relationship or career (or any combination of the three). As for Sis, usually they stop asking at the point where she says "Oh I'm now awaiting my STPM results". Only a few continue to ask her about her choice of study, and even fewer ask her whether she's in a relationship. She has a boyf of more than 4 years (I think. I've lost count), while I am currently unattached. Why don't they ask her instead of me, argh..

The lamb served was absolutely delicious - they bought a whole lamb for this party. Guests included neighbours, family and friends - really muhibbah and multiracial. We left early and took my grandma home all the way to Kajang, where we'd picked her up in the morning. With all that highway driving, I can only hope that I've not been caught speeding. RM10.20 per trip to Rawang, another RM4.00 to Kajang and back to Subang - our 'ang pow' to the highway concessionaires. (As I was telling Candy, these places end with -ang in their names! Oh, today we drove to Klang also).

Brief stopover at a welfare home in Klang
As the 15-day period of CNY draws to an end, gifts and donations continue to pour in at Gracehome, a social welfare home somewhere deep inside Klang. During our visit there this afternoon alone, two groups of visitors dropped by with assorted items. In addition to foods, angpows were also given to the occupants - largely made up of elderly Chinese and Indian women. The home receives a larger number of visitors during the CNY period, mostly relatives.

One particular occupant was around my age. According to a caretaker, she was brought to the home for close to 5 years now, and her family members had never paid her a visit. Sad isn't it? A very friendly and bubbly person, she could easily pass as a caretaker instead. During chatting, she told us about herself, her pastime, how she could not get a job, her boredom living in the home, and that her family has never seen her for 5 years now. I was told that she suffers from some kinda mental disorder. But as far as I could tell, she was just like one of us.

Another occupant, a much older one, later sang songs - much to the delight of everyone, or so it seemed. The other folks (plus the young woman) put on smiles that make you wonder if they were ever this happy throughout the rest of the year. A torrent of thoughts came crashing in my mind as I thought about the folks while walking out of the place. I wondered if their relatives had paid them a visit this year. I wondered if there'd be visitors even though the CNY period is over. I wondered what'd I do if I were them. I left the place hoping that our visit had brought them at least a glimmer of joy.
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