11 November 2009

Safari auto-suggest FAIL...

I started to type in "Can you..." into the search bar on the Safari browser on PC, and got the following suggested searches:


Click to see bigger image...

09 November 2009

Halloween 2009

Over the years, it's been a tradition at Gamebrains to dress up for Halloween. This year, there was even a themed lunch to match the celebrations.

Unfortunately, only 4 people wore costumes this year... This would be the first year I'm dressing up as something, and I decided to dress up as:

...my boss.

Unfortunately, Brett (the boss) wasn't around that day, which robbed us of a chance to take a side-by-side photo. Maybe next year, i suppose.

And then, there's Jeff:
...dressed as a butcher from Cheras.

And there's Javier, who dressed up as:
...a gay elf (Link)

Jeff asking for a raise.

And then, there was Eugene, who's photo I haven't got. He basically wore a fake dagger poking through his head.

We then walked to this restaurant called Departure Lounge for our themed lunch.
The only drawback with my costume, is that i had to remove the mask to eat.

Elaine and James joined in as well. Elaine's supposed to be a Jester and James is a tiger.

Eeeeeee... so cute!

We were offered severed fingers/penises for appetizers


Jeff eating the said severed finger/penis

Our swampy beverage...

So, yes... that's my Halloween.

23 October 2009

Where old Formula 1 teams go to die...








Poor Minardi. God bless its battered soul...

12 September 2009

Solution for the Broadcom WiFi adapter + Linksys WRT54G issue

This is a bit of a departure from my usual posts, but hopefully it will be of help to somebody out there, frantically Googling for a solution.

I recently bought a Dell Inspiron Mini 10v netbook PC, brought it home and found that, while it could see my router (It's a Linksys WRT54G v2.2 router with DDWRT firmware installed) via WiFi, it could not acquire an IP address.

The Windows XP taskbar tray icon then reports that my WiFi has limited or no connectivity.

All of the other computers (even a Wii and an iPod touch) in my house can connect to the router via WiFi with no problems, and all of my connection settings were correct.

So I went online and found that loads of people had the same problem but no solution. Nevertheless, I followed most of the prescribed 'solutions' to the problem, which didn't work:

1. I updated the driver for my Inspiron mini's WiFi card (a Dell Wireless 1397 WLAN card manufactured by Broadcom).

2. I used the default Windows XP Zero Config WiFi manager (instead of Dell's bundled WiFi manager) to connect to the network.

3. I tried using a static IP address.

4. I updated the firmware for my router - resetting and rebooting a few million times.

As it turns out, the problem is due to my choice of WiFi security / encryption - I was using WEP, which apparently the Dell's Broadcom WiFi card has a problem with. After switching to WPA Personal security settings on the router, everything worked fine!

Now, the frustrating thing is that this problem seems to be quite widespread (judging by the number of posts online), and the blame is almost always laid on the Linksys WRT54G router, though I'm now more inclined that the problem lies with Broadcom.


The Linksys WRT54G: Convenient scapegoat


The other annoying thing, of course, are a whole bunch of 'experts' in various forums who keep on prescribing the same 'solutions' over and over again without even reading the original posters' posts properly.



Example:

Expert: Did you update the drivers on your laptop? I find that usually fixes the problem
Victim: Yes I did, you moron!!! Can't you read???
Expert: Oh, so maybe you didn't enable Wireless Networking on your router...
Victim: I DID, you retard! I just said that other computers on my network are able to connect via WiFi!!!
Expert: Are you sure you're connected to the Internet? You should check your PPPoE settings
Victim: Oh my GOD!!! What the hell, can't you read? I can see the bloody network but I can't get a LOCAL IP address. It's got nothing to do with the Internet!!!!
Expert: Maybe you should get a new router / WiFI card


    And sadly, that last solution seems to be the course of action taken by most people; who may end up with a brand new router and the same ol problem again.

    And it's thanks to the large number of retarded experts that it took me a whole week to finally find the solution: (http://en.community.dell.com/wikis/networking_internet_wireless/recommended-wireless-router-settings.aspx)


    So there you have it - if you have a Dell notebook PC with a Broadcom WiFi card and a Linksys WRT54G router, and you can see your WiFi network but cannot get an IP address, try using the above recommended router settings before downloading and installing firmware and drivers - it may save you lots of time.


    01 September 2009

    Headwear

    Caryn puts on a weird-looking helmet

    24 August 2009

    I need RM60k a year to prevent James from becoming stupid...

    I've sort of known that government schools have been shite for quite some time already - but with our education ministry's constant flip-flopping of policies and the downward spiral of academic standards, it's becoming a very real problem for me.

    Or rather, for James...

    While I've always assumed that private schools are an alternative, it seems that even that isn't an option for some parents these days - because they're still tied to Malaysia's retarded education system (Today's SPM English paper is sooooo easy, I could probably score full marks on it when I was 12 years old!).

    After reading this article on the Malaysian Insider, it has suddenly dawned upon me that, unless I can set aside RM60k a year to send James to International School, he might end up stupid. Holy shit.

    James: needs RM60k a year to remain clever

    And yes, it starts out at "only" RM10k a year for pre-school, but with 2-year waiting lists and ever-increasing tuition fees, you might as well budget for about RM60k a year to fight inflation. There's no way I'll afford that as long as I'm busy play... i mean MAKING video games for a living.

    So what are my options, then?

    1) - Send him to a private school
    Hopefully, it won't cost as much, but it'll still eat into my wallet. And if Elaine and I have another kid, that's an even bigger financial burden. The worst part, though, is that there's no guarantee that the quality of teaching is any better.

    I studied A-Levels in Taylor's College, and most of my lecturers there were AWFUL. And my parents paid good money for that. Plus, I was also a lazy dumbshit so my parents had to spend even MORE money to send me to private tuition classes. In hindsight, the irony is amazing.

    The other problem is that James would end up socialising with stuck-up, spoilt brats who get dropped off by drivers in Toyota Alphards (which are only driven/owned by assholes). I don't want James mixing with sons of assholes who are probably assholes too.

    Toyota Alphard: driven exclusively by double-parking, queue-jumping, tail-gating assholes


    That, and he'll probably be crap at sports since its a known fact that rich kids are rubbish at sports, so he won't have any competition to play against. He needs to be beaten soundly in sports so he'll know the feeling of defeat and knows that he has to work harder so he can then have a rematch and totally pwn the other asshole's son.

    2) - Bite the bullet and send him to government school
    This actually makes more sense because it doesn't cost me any money, and James will probably end up more humble and/or well-rounded since he'll meet kids from all walks of life; that's one thing I remember from government schools.

    However, his teachers are guaranteed to be shit, and he'll probably end up giving the English teacher private tuition. That, and he'll probably end up playing football, since most basketball/tennis/volleyball courts in government schools have now become makeshift hockey courts/ car parks.

    Oh, and most government schools have totally shit facilities:
    A typical multi-purpose hall in a government school


    He'll also probably be the only Chinese kid in his class; which technically shouldn't be a problem - except that he'll probably have difficulty fitting in due to cultural differences.

    Any other Chinese kid would probably only speak Mandarin (which James won't understand, since nobody in his family does), the Malay kids will be speaking proper Malay (as opposed to the sterilized Dewan Bahasa that we're all taught in school) - which he won't understand either - and all the Indian kids will be speaking in Tamil, which for some funny reason I think James might actually pick up.

    This scenario is likely, simply because all the English-speaking kids are studying in private schools. I don't think James will forgive me...

    3) - Move to Australia and take advantage of free education there
    This is actually a very, very good idea - and James will no doubt love the fact that (for some reason) Asian girls who grow up in Australia end up becoming hot. Of course, he could end up with a white girl and fulfill Elaine's dream of having half-cast babies (in this case, grandkids) who will end up looking very beautiful and being casted in TV ads or as VJs on Channel V.

    Also, there's no way the Australian education system is worse than ours. Also, James will probably be very active in sports, which is good.

    The only downsides are that Elaine and I have to completely uproot our lives and attempt to make a living in Australia; which might be a bit hard for me since nobody will understand a word I say and then automatically assume that I've just got off the boat from China.


    However, this remains one of the most appealing choices; especially if things turn out well.

    4) - Move to Singapore
    I like Singapore Zoo. I think James will like Singapore Zoo too. It's also the safest city in the world, which is a big plus. It's also very close to Malaysia, so visiting friends/family would be easy.

    No idea how good their education system is, but i hear it's basically a more efficient version of ours.

    In other words, James will come out of school wanting to be a lawyer/engineer/doctor/accountant and will be totally rubbish at sports. The difference from doing it in Malaysia is that ALL of his classmates will be exactly the same: highly efficient-but-soulless individuals with fantastic credentials on paper.

    Disclaimer: Of course, I'm basing all this on the stereotypes we Malaysians have of Singaporeans. I've met Singaporeans who are totally unlike this (Hi, Colin!)

    I have no idea how much it will cost to have James study in Singapore, so I'll still have to think about this. Singapore Zoo.... Mmmm...

    5) - Keep complaining until someone does something about it.
    Given the way the country's been run for the past 50 years, it's easy to forget that free, high-quality education for our children should be a basic right.

    The root of the problem is our country's diversity; we all speak different languages, come from different backgrounds and have different priorities in life. And in spite of this, the education ministry continues to attempt to find a one-size-fits-all solution, which is impossible.

    Browse around the web and you'll find a lot of people (me included) who believe that re-introducing English-medium schools will solve the problem; simply because the decline in our education system's standards seem to coincide with the introduction of Malay as the primary medium of instruction. But that's basically because we are English-speaking, so of course we'd want to see the return of English.

    But as long as we have history lessons that only briefly touch world history, physical education classes where the teachers don't know anything about sports, art classes that only teach you how to paint and science classes that completely ignore the revolution of the Internet, our education system will remain completely irrelevant.

    And as long as we treat teaching as a profession for people who aren't qualified to do anything else, any syllabus that the government comes up with will never be effective.

    The day the government realises and fixes these problems, I'd certainly send James to a government school.

    And on that day, me and thousands of others wouldn't have to write blogs or post comments about this matter anymore. On that day, I would consider Malaysia a developed nation.
    "Umm... Do you think they heard us, arr...?"

    24 July 2009

    19 June 2009

    James in motion

    ...or passing motion, in some of these videos.


    James laughing and trying to shit



    James with mom / grandma / outside grandma




    James staring at a baby mobile



    James lying prone: part 1




    James lying prone: part 2




    James in the "Super shitting position": part 1




    Tracking daddy with his eyes




    James in the "Super shitting position": part 2

    16 June 2009

    Fiat 500 lands in Malaysia!

    Spotted this Fiat 500 at the Fiat Service Centre in Keramat. Apparently, this is a unit for the mechanics to toy around with.

    "Say my name... SAY MY NAME!!!"


    I'm not sure if it's actually on sale yet, but the guys at the workshop say it'll be priced between RM120k to 140k, which is ridiculous when you consider that you can buy one for just 8000 Pounds in the UK. Even after the over-inflated taxes, it should still cost only about RM90k at most. Me thinks the local distributor is trying to milk as much out of the 500 as they can...

    Needless to say, i love this car. Will test drive one once i get the chance :)

    10 June 2009

    Microsoft being funny...

    I'm currently downloading the release candidate for Windows 7 (that would be the next version of Windows, in case you've been living under a rock. Like me).

    It would've been a routine thing if it weren't for one tiny thing (click on the following photo to see the full-sized version):



    Microsoft is using JAVA to distribute Windows 7!!! (Note the little Java icon on the smaller window).

    This is quite ironic, if you consider how Microsoft routinely bashes Java in favour of their own C# language and .NET runtime environments. I've been to a couple of Microsoft TechEd seminars in Malaysia, and they'll always have one session that shows just how superior C# and .Net are to Java.

    Funny how the world works... :)

    06 June 2009

    1 month later...

    I guess it's a testament to how busy I've been – that little James was born more than a month ago and only now do I find time to actually write about the experience. Although the irony of it is that I'm probably busier now than I was a month ago. But more on that later.

    Me, Elaine and James


    So... Yay!!! James was born on 3rd May 12:45pm, after about 12 hours of labor. 12 very long hours. Ask Elaine about it. She has a much better perspective of the experience.


    Elaine in between contractions. Zzzzzz...


    With the help of a vacuum suction device thingy, James ended his nine-month tenancy in Elaine's womb with a brief cry.

    He then stopped, and scanned the sterile delivery room with his little eyes. He had a look on his face which basically said, “What the hell is THIS?”

    Fresh out of the oven


    He was blue, had a cone-shaped head and when the nurses put him on Elaine's chest, the two of us smiled at each other but thought, “Erm... he looks weird.”

    All his fingers and toes were in place, he was breathing fine and he generally looked like a healthy baby. Except for the fact that he was blue.

    “He's kinda blue, isn't he...?Hello? Erm, sorry... Excuse me, why is he blue?” I asked the doctor and the nurses, who I believe were trained to ignore any questions asked by the father (i.e. me). And rightly so, because I was probably getting in their way.

    “It's normal,” said Elaine.

    “Ok.”

    Elaine holding James for the first time


    My first photo with James


    Now, the best part was, I had been anticipating this moment for as long as I can remember – the moment when I'd lay my eyes on my child for the first time. The mere visualisation of it in my head was enough to tug on my heart strings. I like kids. I've always wanted a kid of my own.

    But as I stood there, staring at this little blue guy gnawing away at Elaine's mammaries, I didn't have the rush of emotion I thought I'd have. In hindsight, it's probably because of the many months of anticipation – I guess I was expecting fireworks and a big brass band playing in the background.

    After a day, we brought James home, where he and Elaine were put under the care of our hired confinement lady, Kew (not sure what her full name is). For the whole month she would bathe James, change him, put him to bed at night and watch over him AND continuously prepare food for Elaine and made sure she got enough rest.

    Elaine after successfully pumping out 4 ounces of milk in a single sitting for the first time!


    This was a bit of a weird time for me, the dad. Because every time I tried to help out, I often found myself getting in the way. There wasn't much I could do other than run some errands (buying supplies), helping to carry stuff around and generally providing emotional support.


    I'm waaaaatching you


    I couldn't carry James because he was sleeping or needs to be fed. I couldn't talk to Elaine much because she needed sleep. And to make matters worse, I was at the tail end of a project at work so I had to divide what little time I had.

    I guess I felt kind of left out. I did insist on learning how to change diapers (which I am now a pro at doing – even if he starts shitting midway), how to feed him from a bottle, how to bathe him (though I've only done that once). But for the most part, whenever I tried to do something, somebody else will almost certainly come along and 'relieve' me of my duties.

    So when friends asked me “How's fatherhood...”, I didn't really have an answer.

    A James hotdog


    But now that the confinement period is over (it normally goes on for 28 days or a month), I've been finally thrown into the deep end. The sleepless nights have finally begun, and I've changed about 20 diapers in five days and have woken up several times to warm up bottles of milk.


    James going in for a routine pitstop...


    And in spite of the sleep deprivation, I'm feeling happier than before, simply because I'm now a part of little James' life rather than a bystander.

    And for the first time in month, I finally had a chance to have a quiet moment alone with him. I was trying get little James to sleep one day – he had been quite testy and had been crying – and I had been carrying him for about 30 minutes already, gently patting his bottom and talking to him (babies like it when you talk to them).

    As he was drifting in and out of sleep, I finally had the emotional moment I was waiting for. This little guy in my arms is my son - and I love him to bits :)


    * Queue 'Awwwws' *


    Me and James in synchronous sleep


    On another note, fatherhood does strange things to a man (or me, specifically):

    1. I'm suddenly more aware of my mortality – I think more about consequences before I do something potentially rash. I'd drive below the speed limit all the time, and I now tend to let idiot drivers on the road have their way rather than confronting them. I want to be there for James as he grows up, and that means not putting myself in harms way.
    2. I suddenly have and urge to learn how to fish, so I can bring James fishing when I grow up.
    3. When I meet other new parents, I find myself more interested in how they raise their kids.
    4. I'm suddenly able to function with less than 8 hours of sleep a day.
    5. I have a newfound respect for women who exclusively breastfeed their babies (i.e. no infant formula). It's a very though thing to do. Elaine's a tough girl :)
    6. I find myself peeking into baby shops, eyeing rather sporty looking strollers, cool toys and other cool child-raising apparatus. I even saw a baby monitor the other day with a bloody camera on the transmitter and an LCD screen on the receiver! If you're a gear head, having a child is an excellent reason to buy tons of cool stuff.



    Now for some videos:



    James at 6 days old




    James being a 3-week-old baby





    Me bathing James for the first time!

    13 April 2009

    Good things come to those who wait...

    This year, for the season of Lent, I had decided to be a very good Catholic and fasted.

    Of course, the Catholic definition of fasting is somewhat conveniently abstract - unlike the Muslim month of Ramadan, where you can be punished for eating or drinking during daylight, most Catholics fast during Lent by means of 'abstaining' from something of worldly pleasure. Stuff like smoking, drinking (alcoholic beverage), playing videogames, sex, etc...

    I decided to give up the one vice i rely on the most:

    Coke Light


    No joke, Coke Light is my cigarette / coffee / cocaine. Prior to Lent, i was drinking Coke Light at a rate of about three cans a day - that's roughly a litre of the black stuff each day. And if you think THAT'S bad, i used to do the same with full-flavoured, sugar-rich Coke. I did it while I was in university and while i was working in the Star. And it made me fat.

    So i switched over to Coke Light and - would you believe it - i prefer it to normal Coke. It's even supplanted Vanilla Coke as my favourite variety of Coke. This is a very big deal, especially if you consider my tastes a couple of years ago (Click here for my diet-Coke shootout)

    Anyway, back to Lent...

    Yes, fasting.

    I gave up Coke Light for the entire season of Lent this year. Except for weekends when I'd take a swig from a can that I'd asked Elaine to buy... and except for that one time at work where I'd bought myself an 8 ringgit bottle of Dr Pepper Zero (which is actually pretty good too) as a substitute. And that one time in McDonald's.

    But yes, i fasted. And i swear i started feeling some sort of withdrawal symptoms - neither coffee nor sweet drinks could quench my thirst, and whenever anybody nearby drank an ice-cold can of Coke Light on a hot day, it shook the very core of my soul. It was difficult. it didn't really do anything spiritually for me (other than leaving me in a semi-vegetative state for most of the day).

    Although it has reminded me of something - that good things come to those who wait.

    So Good Friday came and went, followed by Easter Sunday. And then, i rewarded myself with the Coke Zero that I had asked Caryn to buy when she was in Singapore.





    Coke Zero?

    Yes... if there's one thing that i probably like even more than Coke Light, it's Coke Zero... which is widely available in Singapore, of all things. And after the local Coca Cola boys started putting the 'Zero' branding on Coke Light, I was dreaming of the day that Coke Light would officially come to Malaysia - so I wouldn't have to plonk down 5 ringgit for a can (that's almost THREE times the price of regular Coke Light).

    Anyway, back to the end of Lent.

    Yes, I've since consumed half the 1.5L bottle of Coke Zero, about a third a 1.5L bottle of Coke and about four cans of Coke Light in the past 48 hours. And after all that fasting and restraint, the Coke actually does taste a lot better.

    So i guess the moral of the story is... erm....

    We should be thankful for Christ's ascension into heaven (which is what Easter is about, in case you didn't know. It's got nothing to do with bunnies and shit) because He makes Coke... erm... taste better?

    There! I've made a connection between Jesus and the Coca Cola company.

    Happy Easter.

    13 March 2009

    Never meet your childhood heroes...

    If you know me well enough and started a conversation about cars, and asked me what's my favourite car off all time, i'd say it's the Honda NSX:

    An original 1990-spec NSX (picture from Wikipedia)


    This has literally been my dream car ever since 1990 (when i was 11 years old). I first saw it in an issue of Car and Driver and fell in love with it, and i was overjoyed to see one in real life in the first KL international motorshow a year or two later.

    I love this car because of the motivations behind it, its history and the technology that went behind it. Honda had just won several constructors' championships in Formula 1 and, i guess, they wanted to show the world that they could do a kickass sports car too. I think one of the original goals was to beat Ferrari at its own game (which it succeeded in doing - the NSX was superior in every way to the Ferrari 348 which was released at about the same time. Rumour has it that it was the NSX that spurred Ferrari to make a decent car for a change, coming up with the awesome F355 in the process).

    During the design process, the car was tuned using feedback from the great Ayrton Senna (the best F1 driver EVERRR) - who was a huge Honda supporter. You can see a YouTube video of him testing the first NSX Type R around Suzuka Circuit here:



    The technology behind the NSX was really impressive too - it had a lightweight, normally aspirated 3.0-litre V6 with variable-valve timing (rare for a production car in those days) and could generate 270BHP, do 0-60MPH in 5.7 seconds and had a top speed of 168MPH (I quote all these figures by memory, so pardon me if they're slightly off). Some say this is still the best sounding V6 ever made.

    The car's advanced, all-aluminum chassis and suspension was (and still is) a thing of wonder - it allowed the car to achieve a low kerb weight of about 3000 pounds (or about 1,340kg), which was very light for a sports car of its profile. It's also one of the most rigid monocoque chassis designs at the time. The original 1990 model didn't come with power steering either.

    I remember how car magazines of the era waxed lyrical about the NSX's handling and performance. Even though turbocharged and bigger V8 / V12-engined cars could outrun it in a drag race, few could take corners as well as an NSX. Few cars were as involving. Even when as the car finally went out of production around 2005 ( bowing out with the awesome NSX-R), motoring journalists were still impressed with its handling against newer cars such as the Ferrari F360 and the latest incarnations of the Porsche 911.

    Plus, i love the way it looks, of course. It's a pretty understated car, which means that it has aged pretty well.

    God, I love this car...

    Which is why it was really frustrating when i tried to sit in one the other day AND COULDN'T FIT INSIDE!!!

    There's a 1993/94 model currently on sale for just RM148k in a showroom in SS2, Petaling Jaya (near the roundabout) and I just HAD to take a closer look. I giggled like a little girl as I climbed in, leaned back, and had my head wedged against the roof.

    Fine, I'll just recline the seat, then. I did. And my head then hit the rear glass screen. The seats were already pretty low, and didn't offer any height adjustment either. Dammit!

    This was all a shock to me because I had sat in an NSX in the Birmingham Motorshow, UK in the year 2000 and it fit in fine - but then, I remembered that it was the targa-top version of the NSX. And I hate Targa tops because they compromise the chassis' rigidity and generally come with detuned engines. AAARGH...!!!

    I guess that's one more dream car to strike off my list...

    However, speaking to the guy in the showroom, I managed to gather some interesting facts about the NSX in Malaysia (though I'm not sure how accurate they are).

    There are only about 20 to 30 NSXs in the country and only TWO of them have manual gearboxes, which means that all of the others (including the one in this showroom) were Hondamatic models with the detuned version of the 3.0-liter V6 (producing only about 250BHP or something).

    So there you have it - never meet your childhood heroes.

    24 January 2009

    My new toy...

    If there's one reason why the iPod touch is cool, it's because it let's me blog while lying down.

    Being a regular mobile phone web browser user, I must say that Safari on the iPod touch / iPhone is the best handheld browsing experience at the moment. The way it displays pages, zooming in and out seamlessly, puts everything else in the market to shame - and it's been in the market for almost TWO years already.

    And from the looks of it, it's also a pretty viable document editor - the on-screen keyboard is incredibly easy to use, thanks to its clever auto word correction algorithm. Haven't tried it out with google Docs yet but so far do good - at least it's good enough for me to write this blog entry :)

    Just got this iPod a few days ago, actually. It's supposed to replace Elaine's aging Palm Zire and so I can watch movies, play games and surf the web while I'm doing a number two. I'm pretty sure I'll find something to hate about it soon enough but so far, so good...

    OH... I've got one: I hate how the ipod touch doesn't seem to have a file system, so I can't save files from the web other than photos. And how you can't receive files from phones via Bluetooth. And you can't upload stuff either - like photos.

    ...

    Gee, that didn't take very long...

    (UPDATE: I tried the iPod touch with Google dogs - it doesn't work... T_T )

    09 January 2009

    Complicated injuries...

    I played basketball last night for the first time in... ages, and managed to get myself a little souvenir within the first 5 minutes of play:

    "Oww..."


    Looks rather nasty but it doesn't really hurt that much. In fact, it doesn't really bother me at all - until you ask me how i got it.

    I fell on a net.

    ...

    And yes, this is precisely when people start asking, "How the hell did you manage that?"

    And that is exactly the trouble i've been getting with injuries, lately - i seem to be getting injured in such incredibly complicated and unusual ways, that I often end up sounding like I'm making things up. Which is annoying, of course. Don't believe me? Try this:


      I intercepted an inbound pass but tipped the ball out of the court. So i ran for the loose ball, jumped before the out-of-bounds line, caught the ball with one hand and tried swinging it back into the court before my foot touched the ground. Which would have happened without incident if there wasn't a futsal court next to the basketball court. Now you see, futsal courts have these nets wrapped around them to keep the ball in - and i was about to land on one of these nets. Usually this wouldn't be a problem if I was approaching the net square on since i could just land on it. Unfortunately, i was approaching it at an angle, which meant that I'd scrape diagonally across it unless i landed on my feet. Which I couldn't because of a long, thin, wooden plank that fastens the net onto the floor. i couldn't step on anything without risk of breaking my ankle because - with the hard and strong net fastened to it, it had formed a VERY uneven surface beneath my right foot. So i tried shuffling my feet as i was falling, but still couldn't get a foothold - and all the while, my whole body weight was supported by my right elbow, which was now scraping itself diagonally across the net as i fell down into a crumpled heap. Which is how i got this massive scar...


    There! You SEE? It sounds like I made it up!!! The problem is that I can't just say "I fell on a net" and leave it at that because it sounds stupid, and I can't just say "I got it while playing basketball" because people will then ask if I fell down, I'd say no and I'd then have to tell them about the net, which would lead me back to square one.

    AAAAAARGH~!!!

    My previous injury was also basketball-related: I sprained my ankle because someone fell on me...

    ...

    "How the hell do you sprain an ankle that way? Don't you have to step on an uneven surface or jump and land wrongly? Or trip while running?"

    "No," I'd respond. "My teammate ran into a screen, bounced off it and landed on my leg right below the knee - laterally. With his whole body weight."

    You see the trend here?

    And years ago, I managed to fall into a huge drain because my mum or dad (can't remember) parked too close to the drain and as i got out of the car, my mum told me not to fall into the drain, thus diverting my attention from the ground at the precise moment where paying attention to where i was stepping would've been quite important.

    You see?

    Why can't i just slip and fall like other normal people? Sigh...

    04 January 2009

    The year that was. The year ahead

    2008. Where do we begin?

    Looking at the statistics on the right column, it appears that I've only posted 14 blog entries in 2008, which is a record low (and about a third the number from the previous year). While the casual observer may see this as a sign of this blogs demise, i have a a couple of good excuses:

    i) i DIDN'T have a convenient Internet connection at work for most of 2008 (due to security concerns, our office desktops were isolated from the Internet).

    AND

    ii) i actually got a proper job - meaning one that actually requires your full attention from the moment you step in at 9am right till you walk out at about 7pm. Or 8pm if there's a deadline. Or later...

    So yes, this blog is still very much alive and kicking-ish. And to make up for all the lost time, here's a summary of the most significant things I've done in 2008 - in approximate chronological order:

    1. I got a new job.
    Gee, did I mention this yet? On a more serious note, this was probably the biggest fear I'd ever overcome in my whole entire life. Not only because I was leaving a very nice, comfortable job, I was also setting myself up for possibly the biggest failure in my life.

    You see, I'm deeply passionate about videogames - all aspects of it. From playing them to making them. As a kid, I used to scrutinize my Sega Megadrive games and tried to make sense of why the games were designed the way they were - from an artistic and technical point of view. I even went to university and studied software engineering for the sole purpose of making games when i came out.

    The problem, however, was that this was a dream job for me. What if I didn't like it? What if it turns out I'm a rubbish programmer? I was really dreading the prospects of living my dreams and actually hating it.


    "This office is dark..."

    Well, it's been about a year since I first joined Gamebrains and so far so good. I've done one Nintendo DS title (though it's still in the process of being translated into several European languages and published) and played a rather big role for a first-timer - I did most of the user-interaction and gameplay logic in the actual game. Although whenever i look back at the code, I'm quite horrified at some of my early architectural decisions (it was after all my first game - and thank God I'm a fast learner!)

    Since then, I've dipped my toes in Wii development and have since moved over to PC/Mac casual games - because it makes a lot more economic sense than console titles these days. I would love to do iPhone/iPod touch games because of the possibilities that platform provides and I've been dropping hints to my boss every now and then. Hopefully, he'll let me give it a shot.

    The working culture here is also completely different to my previous job too. From the moment I step into the office, I'm running at 100% until I go home. Although it sounds stressful, it's actually quite addictive, because programming is like playing a giant game of Sudoku - after you've finished one puzzle, you just have to do another one.

    And if it seems like I'm hiding stuff, it's because we have non-disclosure agreements. Yep. 


    2. Tipped the scales at an all-time high of 98kg
    Not exactly sure how it happened but I managed to get really fat at the beginning of the year - to the extent that my shirts weren't fitting and I could wear my size 38 trousers without a belt. The following photo was actually taken quite recently - after I've put on weight again (due to me eating the stuff that Elaine can't eat during her pregnancy). 

    At my peak, I was worse than this....

    "Goo goo gaa gaa dee dah Han Soooolo..."

    3. Voted at the general elections for the first time.
    Yay! I helped make a difference this year and managed to deny the ruling Barisan National party a two-thirds majority in parliment for the first time in 50 years.

    Usually, I wouldn't have bothered so much. Until I started seeing ad campaigns like this in the local newspapers by Barisan.

    The best advice from BN ever. There was really only one choice, but it wasn't BN...

    The level of arrogance shown by the ruling party was incredible - they even listed a whole bunch of things that they've done for the country, as if to say "You should be grateful to us" rather than "Here's what we can do to improve the country"

    They also clearly had more money than the opposition, and had ads like this EVERYWHERE, each costing tens of thousands of ringgit. And so, it was obvious that a power shift had to happen. It didn't matter if the opposition parties were inept, the fact is that it had come to a point where the ruling party were behaving like rulers rather than public servants.

    I was also spurred by a movie, of all things: V for Vendetta. In particular, the one quote from Hugo Weaving:

    "People shouldn't be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people."

    And so, I voted for change. Hopefully, in four years time, there will be more like me - first-time voters who decided that enough was enough, and that our country needs to change. That's because I love this country and I cannot stand idly and watch it continue to rot.

    Holy crap, I'm patriotic! Who would've thought...?

    4. Ran a half marathon with Elaine.
    This was a rather funny experience because - for some reason - Elaine and I thought that practicing on a threadmill for 20 minutes would prepare us for a 21km run. It didn't.

    "My gawd, my knees hurt..."

    And yep, we'd like to do this again. It seems like every year, we must put ourselves through some sort of physical test as a couple. We climbed Mount Kinabalu in 2007, ran the KL international marathon (half-marathon group) in 2008, and in 2009, Elaine shall experience childbirth...

    ...and she'll be squeezing my hand (possibly crushing it into itty bitty little pieces) while she's at it.

    5. Drove a bunch of fast cars...
    Did a bit of freelance motoring reviews throughout the year, though it seems to have slowed down recently - I simply don't have the time. Didn't drive anything particularly good this year apart from the Civic Type-R (which I drove up to Ulu Yam, but didn't blog about it - there might be some photos floating around in my Flickr photostream).

    Bone-shattering though it may be (it's got a similar suspension set up to a pair of roller skates), I absolutely love the Type-R and it is still the car I'd buy if I had about RM200k to spare. In any case, it's much better than the Jaguar XF I'm kicking here:

    "Take THAT, you stupid British car..."

    6. Married Elaine.
    Yippee! As I write this, we've been married for about 8 months now and things have been great. While it's a good thing being able to get along with someone you're dating - that we've been living under the same roof and still look forward to horsing around, talking, laughing and having $#% every day since is great.

    Us and our frens...

    Oklah, not every day. Of course, it also helps that I love Elaine to bits. Feel like squeezing her now... :)

    7. We moved out into an apartment.
    We've been living together in this apartment ever since we got married. It was previously inhabited by my brother but he moved out just as we were looking for a place to stay.

    Me moving in a birthday present from the wife :)

    Although we're finally settling in, the funny thing is that we'll have to move back into either of our parents' houses soon because we'll need loads of help once the baby comes along.

    8. I learned how to cook steak properly.
    Pan fry for 3 minutes, drain juices, flip to the other side, fry for another 3 minutes... and you're DONE...!!!

    9. I got Elaine pregnant.
    Grow, my spawn. GROW!!!
    (photoshop courtesy of soon-to-be-aunty Joy)

    10. Flossed my teeth for the first time.
    I never knew it, but flossing your teeth can be one of the most satisfying things you can do to yourself - apart from something that's frowned upon by most religions...


    11. Didn't go on our honeymoon (due to the aforementioned pregnancy)
    We were hoping to go to either Japan or Europe for our honeymoon during winter (so we could catch some snow). Looks like that'll have to wait a bit...

    12. Finally bought a new Mac
    Yes, I finally took the plunge! In spite of being a self-proclaimed cynical proponent of the Mac, I've been banging around in my ancient Power Mac G4 since 2001 (which was my 2nd Mac - the first one was destroyed after an unfortunate incident with some bitch).

    It's the new, late-2008 MacBook! My first new Mac in 7 years!!!

    The new Macbook is brilliant - it's got this new, fantastic multi-touch trackpad that's almost easier than using a mouse. It's also got amazing colours from its LED-backlit screen, though the viewing angles are a bit poor. It's also pretty damn fast - been doing some HD video editing on it, RAW photo editing and some programming on it and it's been, well... fast.

    Oh, and it's also super light and portable. Only thing I hate is the lack of a FireWire port, which more-or-less makes my DV camcorder obsolete...

    End word
    So that covers just about all of the important bits. Except for my brother and Michelle giving birth to Ethan, which would of course make me an uncle. And me shifting to a new office (with the rest of the company, of course).

    Ooh... ooh, how about 2009, then? Predictions? Resolutions?

    Well, let's just see what happens, shall we?