Thursday, July 31, 2008

Banana from my garden
I didn't really take good care of the banana tree at the beginning. So the bunch was a small one. But then, I cleared the grass and put on urea. So the fruit wasn't many but large.

So I think we have the nicest little bunch this time!
Mummy has problematic throat
Mummy complained of problem in her throat. So the doctor did a complete examination of her throat and found inflamation which causes the irritation.

A scope is put through her nose after the doc sprayed some local anesthetic on her.

This is what I saw.... just part of it!
Slowest SMS ever and random stuff

1st random stuff - slow SMS
This morning I received a SMS from Stephanie in UK sent on 25th July 2008 at 2:06:13 AM. Today is 31st July! Wah... that is 6 days. So it must have broken all records. Fortunately there is nothing important about the message.

2nd random stuff - Pork price increase, etc
Prices of pork is going up by another RM2.00 per kg starting tomorrow. Just about a year ago, I paid RM10-12 for a kg of belly pork. Last Saturday, it was sold at RM16.00. Tomorrow it will be RM18.00. I think this price is the same for most cut.

I was told last week that animal feeds have more than double in price over the last one year.
Fertiliser price has gone up from RM40/bag of 50Kg to about RM200 now.
Weed killer (herbicide) price has gone up from RM50/4 litres to some RM400 now.

But prices of vegetable has not increase by 4 times yet. So how can farmer survive?

So, I was told, there is now shortage of veggie and also pork. Anyway, I planted my own veggie (50% sufficiency) and eat "China sweet" cabbage. How long can this last?

Perhaps, being a hi-tech farmer is the way to go!

3rd Random stuff - flying car
This morning on the way to work, I saw a long slow traffic thinking that there must be quite an accident in front. To my amazement, I saw a mini car, landed in the opposite direction on the other side of a 6 feet monsoon drain! The car seems to be in good condition and still on four wheel.

So the car must have been driving very fast, skipped, and flew over the drain and flipped around.

4th random stuff - 7% inflation
Do you know that the basket for computing the country's inflation rate is an "official secret"?
That means that you have no idea what is in the shopping list. But the government came out with just 7% inflation for this year. So to come out with just 7% means that a lot of things in the list are actually not the "normal stuff" that we use everyday. Or perhaps, 7% is just taken from the air. Everyone knew that we are now a lot poorer. haih.... the poor will suffer most.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Cheap milk = lots of Yogurt
During the weekend, one of the hypermarkets in town had a big offer for fresh milk, normal price was RM6+. But on that Saturday, it was RM3+. Why? Because the expiry date was the day after. So mummy pestered me to make yogurt! After much convincing, I agreed and she bought 3 cartons (altogether 3 litres)

On Sunday night, I made 2 litres of yogurt. Ah Jon observed how I boiled the milk, etc. He commented that I should not cook the milk until 100 deg C. Perhaps he is right. But then I was just cautious as the milk will expire the next day.
The above is 1 litre of yogurt I made.

I tried to convinced all the boys to eat the yogurt on Monday morning. But was not successful as they were unsure whether it is nice. However, on Monday evening when I returned from work, one whole pot had been consumed! They all think that the fresh yogurt I made was fantastic! So they pestered me to make the last litre of fresh milk! They were all very keen to see how I made them. Well, it is so easy that you won't believe it!

First, I bought a box of natural yogurt from the supermarket - 900gm for RM23!! Very pricy! Anyway, I can used it many times.

Pour the fresh milk into a pot and heat it to 80 deg C (or you see the milk started to bubble at the side of the pot), stirring continuously.
Then cool it down quickly by putting the pot under running water to 40 degC or just warm.
Scoop 4 tablespoons of fresh natural yogurt into every litre of milk. Stir and mix well.
Transfer the milk to a glass jar (or whatever you have or leave it in the pot if you are lazy to wash), and cover it with a cloth or something. (I use aluminum foil).
Leave the milk in a warm place for 4 hours or overnight. Or wait until it is firm.

I actually transfer the jar to the oven and set the temperature to the lowest (just warm) and the yogurt was ready in less than 4 hours!
Seven wonders of the World are:
To See
To Hear
To Touch
To Feel
To Laugh
To Love
And the greatest of all is:
God's amazing love for mankind in sending His only son Jesus to set us free and give us everlasting life.

Remember that the most precious thing in this world is not man made but those made by God!
Fun Sunday - Ministry Fair

On Sunday, we have our ministry fair, which is part of the 40DOP event. All the major ministries set up something to promote the ministry. One of the booths did "face painting" and it was such a success. Children simply love them!

Children learn to share at a young age...

This is the "face painting" booth.

Aaron, Abel and Rosaline (mum) hahaha...

One of the artists doing self painting!


... how cute they are!

One of the stars of the event...

Of course nothing is complete without food... for fellowship. As the bible said... "we have meals together"

A little oily, but everyone simply loves this!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Three Girls in Edinburgh

I have hijacked the photos from Stephanie's Facebook and tweaked them in Photoshop.

After tweaking, the sea is now visible and the hill in the background is more green.
To do this in photoshop, here is my technique:
1. Trace out Stephanie using Magnetic Lasso
2. Select Invert (CTRL-SHIFT-I)
3. Copy selected area to a new layer (CTRL-J). Click on the new layer
4. Image-Adjustments-Level. Adjust the right bar to the left. May also experiment with "Curve"
Timothy's school craft/project

When I was in primary school, I don't remember doing this type of project or in fact, hardly any craft work, especially in Primary 5. We make them at home ourselves, eg, kites, etc.
Then, last Thursday evening at about 8:00PM, Timothy asked me to read two Chinese characters in his book. Then he said ... "Daddy, I need it tomorrow morning". You know what, he wanted me to get for him two bamboo sticks for making kites. It was one of his projects in school. Ok, we live in housing area and bamboo is nowhere to be found. So how? I told him to go to school without the bamboo stick and keep his fingers crossed that someone will bring extra.
True enough, when school finished, he proudly showed me two fresh bamboo sticks. Now, he is pestering me to buy the paper and to assemble the sticks to make the kite.
But why am I so confident that someone will bring extra? I don't know whether Esther still remember when she asked me to catch cockroach for her biology class so many years ago. I know where cockroach hide themselves and in great number. So I armed myself with Shelltox (insecticide) and the girls followed behind me. When I open the lid of "something", I saw multitude of cockroaches and immediately spray Shelltox on them. Many died and the bigger one "fainted". So, I caught a couple of them and asked Esther to bring to school because I know that some others might need them.
I also remember that when I was in F5, I went into the field at night armed with a light chasing after frog. Again, I was so skillful and fast at that time that I caught extras. One for myself and one for a girl in the class who is now my wife! Haha.
10 More Hours to go

This is the first time we see canopy being set up in front of our church. It is not for open air concert or food sales. But it is in preparation for the Ministry Fair tomorrow. I will be in charge of the cell group ministry and we hope to attract more people to join the cell ministry.
Note: This photo has been photoshopped. To see the original, go to brother James' blog. I just find it amazing what Photoshop could do to enhance the picture and remove thing that "should not be there".

Long fingers
This is a story related to me by my colleague.
Warning: Do not click on the black box below until you read the full story.

My colleague went to Bintulu and stayed in one of the rather new Company's panel hotels. Thinking that he must have a good break from the office, I asked him how was the trip. He told all of us that other than work, his trip was good. The problem was his first night stay. Somehow he had problem sleeping and woke up almost every hour! At one point, he "dreamt" that there was a beautiful lady with long hair sleeping next to him! We all said wow!!! Then he said, the "girl" showed him her long fingers! Oh.... that is not something ordinary.

So, do not click on the black box above if you don't want your imagination go wild and can't sleep tonight! You have been warned!

Footnote: I used to travel a lot and I also heard and know that many hotel rooms are "unclean". There are "spirits" floating around; spirit of lust, violent, etc. Sometimes, my goosehair will stand on end! What I would do on first arrival is to command in the name of Jesus for all spirits to leave the room! At night, I would never switch off all the light!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Creative procrastination is one of the most effective of all personal performance techniques. It can change your life.

The fact is that you can't do everything that you have to do. You have to procrastinate on something. Therefore, procrastinate on small tasks. Put off eating smaller or less ugly frogs. Eat the biggest and ugliest frogs before anything else. Do the worst first!

Everyone procrastinates. The difference between high performers and low performers is largely determined by what they choose to procrastinate on.

Since you must procrastinate anyway, decide today to procrastinate on low-value activities. Decide to procrastinate on, outsource, delegate, and eliminate those activities that don't make much of a contribution to your life in any case. Get rid of the tadpoles and focus on the frogs.

Learn To Say...No!

One of the most powerful of all words in time management is the word no! Say it politely. Say it clearly so that there are no misunderstandings. Say it regularly as a normal part of your time management vocabulary.

Say no to anything that is not a high-value use of your time and your life. Say no graciously but firmly to avoid agreeing to something against your will. Say it early and say it often. Remember that you have no spare time. As we say, "Your dance card is full."

For you to do something new, you must complete or stop doing something old. Getting in requires getting out. Picking up means putting down.

Creative procrastination is the act of thoughtfully and deliberately deciding upon the exact things you are not going to do right now, if ever.

The above is an excerpt from Eat That Frog by Brian Tracy. A gift book can be purchased from Mac Anderson of the Simple Truths.

Be on the watch out

Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Happy Birthday Esther

How time flies.... Happy Birthday to you Esther... From everyone at home. There is a special chocolate cake from a friend but unfortunately you are not at home to enjoy it...

So we decided to eat the lot on your behalf.
Love from your brothers, mummy and daddy.
Visit to Burger Sam - Roti John

ISO 280 1/60 F/2.8 EV:+0.7
Very often, when I went to Ming Cafe, I will drop by Burger Sam to buy their Roti John! It is delicious and nice to eat! So, tonight, I decided to drop by and asked their permission to take a series of pictures showing the preparation process. So here it goes...

ISO 640 EV+0.7
This is Burger Sam towkay... aiya, forgot to ask his name. Perhaps I should call him uncle Sam.

ISO 5000
Premix was poured onto a hot plate...

ISO 2200
... evenly spread out...

ISO 1400
Spread out the halved "roti" onto the premix.

ISO 1600
... nicely arrange them...

ISO 1100
... press them ....

ISO 1400
... separate them...

ISO 1100
... press again...

ISO 2800
... done ... with the cooked egg, meat, etc nicely "stuck" to the roti.

ISO 1600
A closeup view...

ISO 1800
... sauce is then applied...

ISO 200
... must be chili or tomatoes and cream ...

ISO 1250
... close up the halved roti and 'chop" it up...

ISO 2000
Wrap in plastic and is ready to be sold.
Cost: RM3.50 a piece. Where: Next to Ming Cafe along North Yu Seng Road.

Camera: Nikon D3 taken with the available light at the store.

ISO varies between 280 to 5000. Constant 1/60 sec F2.8

Monday, July 21, 2008

Shooting Brilliant Sunset Photos (2)

I talked about shooting brilliant sunset photos in my earlier post. I noticed that the sunset look best immediately after the sun has gone off the horizon and for the next 20-30 minutes, the sky will display a series of most brilliant colors if the atmosphere is "correct".
In my earlier post, I used the fully automatic mode, ie, on my Nikon D200 it is called Program mode. Note that different camera program P mode (or Auto mode) differently. But I think the technique remains the same.
In this post, I am using Manual mode on my Nikon D3. This time I was armed with an external flash. But even if you have a build-in flash only, I personally believe that you still can take nice picture. Just do some experiment.
First, set it to Manual mode and here I used center-weighted metering because I wanted to read the exposure of the brighter spot. Then I take a test shot like above. As expected, the person in the picture was just a dark patch.

Satisfied with the result of the background, I switched on the flash and shoot! No metering compensation of any kind was applied here. No post processing on the above photos.
Note that manual mode is best (or at least I preferred it) for shooting this type of photos.
Time: 18:32; Metering: Center-weighted; 1/250 sec; F/9; ISO 400; Flash sync Mode: Front curtain; Auto white balance; Exposure compensation: 0EV; Exposure mode: Manual. Flash: SB-800.
Your constructive comment is appreciated.
Shoot Brilliant Sunset Picture (1)
All the pictures here have no post processing.

The above was the colour of the sky at 6:35PM. I applied flash for filling in. Otherwise the person would just be a dark patch.

Five minutes later, I took this picture. Again, I use flash for filling in. But for exposure, I set EV to -0.7 and for the flash unit I set it to +0.7. If the exposure compensation wasn't set to "under expose", in this case by -0.7, the sky will turn out to be "pale" like the top picture.

This picture was shot with EV -1.0 and the flash unit at +0.7.
The exposure mode was set to "Programme" mode, ie, fully auto and the flash was set to "slow sync TTL". Make sure that the flash mode is set to "slow sync". Otherwise, used the "Manual mode" described below.
An alternative to "slow sync" mode is fully manual mode setting. In fact, for experienced photographer, I recommend M mode:
1. Set the camera to Manual mode.
2. Point the camera in the direction of the intended framing.
3. Check the exposure (Speed & Aperture) , multi-pattern, ie, average metering. Then bring the exposure down by approximately one stop (say EV -1.0).
4. Switch on the flash. Set the flash compensation in the reverse order to the amount in step 3 above (ie, EV +1.0)
5 Test shoot and do some finer adjustments.

The above was taken with a Nikon D200 with the built in flash. I forgot to recharge the external flash unit. The technique should be the same for all cameras.
To further enhance the picture, some post processing can be applied.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

My humble garden

This flower is actually from a "tree". It really smell - whether it is good or bad smell is very subjective. This season, it has so many flowers and the smell is very strong all day long. During my childhood day, I can always remember that women used to "wear" this flower on their ears. In the 60s, perfume wasn't easily available and this is a natural substitute.

If you have flu and a little giddy, you better stay away from this flower. You may feel even more sick smelling this flower.

I thought this flower is going to die because it was in bad shape due to neglect. But with some care, beautiful flower started to sprout again.

In my earlier blog, I talked about a huge gap of some 20 years that my garden produces no papaya. So, this year, this tree produces many. New fruiting flowers are everywhere!

... and baby papayas are all over the tree...

.... the first fruit. It was sweet and the flesh is firm.

The humble chiku which has been flowering for many years now.