Monday, January 29, 2007

Our Little Cat-astrophe

Flu Is In The Air
Just when I feel like things are a little better now after waking up this afternoon from the dose of medication for my Saturday Night Fever, a little family crisis has arrived here.

To avoid infecting my family I slept alone at the living room these two days... but it was not good enough, because our son caught the flu virus on Sunday night.

At 3:00am in the morning, he woke up complaining of blocked nose and feeling cold all over. I was not aware of it as I slept like a log. Wifey woke up and took care of our son; giving him his fever medicine.

I only realized he was sick too when I woke to the alarm clock to wake him up for school. He was still feverish, so we had to let him skip school. His first for this year... just like me, barely a month into the new year. Sigh.

Wifey wanted to take our son to the doctors today and let me rest, but I would rather she had her rest instead. She is the only healthy one and needs to keep her immune system up. I took our son instead.

Wednesday Licking Her Wound
Before we could leave for the doctor this morning, a meow at the front door signalled that Wednesday was back from her night prowl and wanting to come inside.

To our surprise, she came in limping... her right front paw a little swollen with three punctured wounds. Oh boy! Were you in a gang-fight?

We could not do anything for Wednesday as she would not let us touch to examine her paw. She came in to eat, drink and like always wanted someone be around her while she sat licking her wound until she dozed off on our son's sofa bed.

Now we have to monitor how Wednesday is doing these few days, else she will have to visit the vet herself too. Ooh... end month is not such an ideal time to fork money out, you know. Ouch!

Everyone including my Office PC except Wifey needs to be fixed these few days.

Tampines St 71 Sunshine DayI convinced Wifey to be better off at the shop, away from the sickness or risk being infected too.

So today will be nothing special, but a quiet "medicate-and-sleep-through-day..." day. A total opposite of what the weather is like outside. Breezy, with sunshine and blue skies.

Pity we have to miss it being knocked-out by antibiotics.

Oh yes, Mom called this afternoon to find out that we were under-the-weather. So too, it turned out; my eldest brother and youngest brother-in-law... down with flu and on medical leaves for today.

Flu is indeed in the air.

Like a festive season sale, business at the doctors now should be brisk! The family clinic was packed with patients on Sunday, as crowded as this morning. Wow!

Had your flu jab recently?

Sunday, January 28, 2007

My Favourite Things

I have been tagged by Ellen from Coffee Granules and will have to answer these questions while recovering from a fever. So the answers will not necessarily be 100% accurate as it may be influenced by the medication. Anyway, here goes:

Favourite thing to do on the net (besides blogging):
Read snapshots of local & world news and checking out on the latest techno gadgets coming my way.

Favourite leisure activity:
Spend time with family outside the home, especially at the beach... getting a tan while at it.

Favourite meal:
Tom Yam Seafood Noodle. A spicy Thai dish that is healthy and non-fattening... thank God I can pig-out with this dish! Can't leave a food-court without it.

Favourite pudding:
My eldest sister's Sliced-Papaya Pudding. Heaven, pure heaven!

Favourite drink:
You guessed it Ellen... coffee! A cup is needed every morning or I'll resemble a tree stump in the afternoon. Only that a tree stump has more character.

Favourite book:
I don't read that much. I don't read novels, period. Thus the flaky write-ups... but does PC Magazine count? I subscribe to its monthly issues.

Michelle Pfieffer, Hot!Favourite film:
Will be a very long list. To name a few... I Am Sam, What's Up Doc, As Good As It Gets, Sleepless In Seattle, Ice Age, Star Wars, Terminator... anything with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Harrison Ford and Michelle Pfeiffer in it... oh, Michelle. Ahem. Anyway... silly as it may sound, from my teen years... Grease. Don't laugh at me, but I still think it is a cool musical!

Favourite music:
U2, Sade, Madonna, Anita Baker, Rick Astley, Jojo, Snow Patrol, Richard Marx, Hoobastank... concert in Singapore on Jan 28th 2007. Any genre depending on my mood at the time.

Favourite quote:
"Never know you had it until you lost it." Can't remember who said that, but it always reminds me to not take things for granted.

Favourite colour:
Sky Blue. Means wide-open and free-spirited as the limitless sky is what life is to me.

Rafflesia Largest Flower In The WorldFavourite flower:
Iris. In fact all flowers make me happy, even Rafflesia... it stinks, literally. I like taking close-up pictures of them. Heaven's beautiful creations put on earth for every living thing to enjoy... err, unless you're allergic to pollens.

Favourite blog:
Refer to Brilliant Blogs on the right-hand side on my site. These are the sites that make me read and share thoughts I can learn and sometimes develop my strengths from.

Saturday Night Fever

Yes, that was what I got... fever on a Saturday night!

It would have been much enjoyable watching young John Travolta strutting his dance moves, instead a ton of brick seemed to dance in my head... throbbing so intensely that was all too much to bear.

For no apparent reason, I started to get light headaches around 4:00pm yesterday. I brushed it off as nothing to be worried about thinking maybe I was staring at the computer monitor a little too long.

The headache became more intense after my son came back from his Malay Tuition class as 5:30pm... and came the painful throbbing in my head with all my joints aching in pain.

Had a dose of panadol to relief the pain and slept in the afternoon. I could not sleep anymore so I curled up on the sofa to watch some TV.

I remember sleeping through Madagascar and came to in time to watch Tom Cruise in War Of The World on HBO.

I had no appetite to eat dinner, so had only a hot cup of cereal instead. My son had his early dinner at MacDonald's before he came home.

Like a pro, my son "nursed" me with a thermometer and an ice-pack to treat my fever while I lay in bed. I had a 38.2 Deg Celsius reading and felt so cold, but another dose of panadol 4 hours after brought much relief to the aching joints and throbbing head.

The ice-pack on my forehead felt like heaven.

My son had 3 ice cubes wrapped in a hand-towel, and tied with a rubber band. He placed the ice-pack on a saucer and placed it at the side of the bed. He opened the window slightly ajar to ventilate the room since it was raining all day long, and switched off the lights to let me rest comfortably.

I heard Wifey came back last night but was just too sick to talked too her until I woke up this morning. Still groggy with a slight tension on my nape, I guess I have to go to the doctor to get me fixed-up soon.

First my office PC went bonkers on me, now my body. Everthing needs to get fixed.

What a way to spend a weekend! Arrgh!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Boom, Crash, Burn

Those fragile hard-disk platters
It was 8:00pm on a Friday night and I was stuck at the office still second day in a row!

I was in my office trying to repair my work. Yes, my whole years of work that is contained on the rotating platters inside the small box on my desk.

My hard-disk has crashed and all forms of work ended as I know it!

No significant enough sign to think that it would go bonkers on me on Thursday morning after slowing down when shutting down my Excel spreadsheet.

After two days of investigating which drive was bad and salvaging whatever valuable data I had stored in my D drive, with the help of my colleague's PC, we were able to restore my PC as before with a new hard-disk and without my PST Outlook data file.

At the late end of what was left today, I was still installing some applications to complete the restoration of my work. I was like a new hire, with no history of correspondences. My MS Outlook congratulated me with a welcome note. Sigh.

Come Monday, I know I have a daunting task of collecting whatever emails I sent and many important emails with attachments for me to try getting up to speed with what I have worked to date.

Work at the mercy of Hard-disksHard-disks are so powerful, but so fragile. IT has informed that my hard-disk has had hardware failure and nothing can be done to it anymore.

Boom! It shocked me Thursday morning. Crash! It destroyed years of my correspondences.

Burn! Either trash the hard-disk away or burn a big hole in the pocket if I wish to send it to a professional recovery centre.

Recovery of data will range from a minimum of S$400.00 to about S$2,000.00 for extensive damage. An evaluation of S$90.00 will be charged for evaluation either way.

I was lost for words and "lost for work" without my PC!

That is how dependent I am and am sure everyone is with their PC in their work... to depend on those rotating disks that bound to fail after several years of use.

No decent amount of work could be done these past two days. I was there just staring at flickering boot-up screens after boot-up screens, and installations messages after another to bring-up my PC as before. Scary, just scary.

Burn! Back-up my data and burn important ones onto CDs. Yes that is what I have to do from time to time from now on.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

A Little Kamus-ion!

CompassPoint Shopping Mall in Sengkang
Right in front of me, finally the dictionary is here!

Spent the later part of Sunday hunting the elusive Kamus at CompassPoint Shopping Mall.

For Primary 6 students, our son requires a specific Malay dictionary recommended by his school for his mother-tongue lessons.

The Kamus or dictionary in Malay, is published by Dewan dan Pustaka in 2005 with its Edisi Keempat or 4th Edition endorsed by the Malaysian Ministry of Education for National Language, the dictionary is adopted by the Singapore Education Ministry for Malay language.

The Elusive Kamus DewanThe default place to get one would be the book buying at his school during the school holidays, but due to shortage of supply, it was not available then.

The default and most popular bookstore for school books and stationary in the heartlands would be... well, Popular Bookstore.

We could not find it at its Tampines Mall branch, nor was there a trace at World Bookstore at Tampines Street 81. We had to look around for it at several other bookstores, until it became quite an ordeal... a commotion even.

We would need to venture out to Times Bookstore and MPH if all the regular bookshops and stores had the same "out-of-stock" news for us.

Since I was meeting my Sis who leaves in Compassvale in Sengkang, my son and I went to CompassPoint to look for this elusive brick of a book there and do some weekly groceries shopping as well.

We took Service 27 and transferred to the driver-less LRT to CompassPoint where Sis was already waiting for us there.

Sengkang Driverless Light-Rail Transit
Like the many dictionaries and thesaurus books I have bought throughout my student years, I was expecting it to be less than S$20.00. To my surprise, the thick, red, hardcover dictionary was priced at S$47.25! What!

Without the membership card that would have saved us 5% off the tagged price, it was too expensive to me for a book. I have never bought a single book that costs that much before.

Wifey was shocked about it too when I told her over the phone. Since the publisher was Dewan dan Pustaka, Wifey knows where to buy this Kamus directly from it own branch... at Masjid Kassim along Changi Road.

Wifey called me at work yesterday to inform me of a good news. On her way to our shop, she stopped by its branch and found it selling at S$35.oo. Wow! I thought and told her to buy it immediately before it was sold out. She called me again to inform of a further discount given and paid only S$32.00.

CompassPoint Chinese Lion Dance on Stilts
A S$15 difference! I can exclaim "Wow!" twice and actually mean it.

Phew! Never can do without my favourite Superwoman!

That led me to think how the lower income families cope with such expensive school materials for their child. More so, when they have more than one school-going children.

The hand-me-downs of used school text books and uniforms will somewhat lift the financial burden off the parents, but still a tough stretch.

Fortunately there are numerous assistance schemes given out by schools, grassroots organizations as well as government grants out there for student, to ease their parents' financial burden.

The Prime Minister has already vowed that no children will be deprived of compulsory education. That is a good promise, for the sake of the children and the country that banks on its people resource.

Now, for a Dwibahasa Kamus - an English-to-Malay and Malay-to-English translation Dictionary. Another hunt goes on...

Monday, January 22, 2007

Joost Your Life?

As if we do not spend much time at our computer, there is another distraction from family time together.

Singapore will be part of the many countries that will receive free-airing TV programmes via the Internet. In its beta stage now, but will make its debut here in March.

Like Demand TV or pay-per-view, the programmes are downloaded from a series of programmes available for watching. Other similar concepts have have been long operating this elsewhere in the world for all I know, but still an interesting concept to... watch.

So, if your computer is fast enough and that you have a broadband connection, you can multitask it together - doing your work or whatever that you use your computer for while watching a TV programme that runs on a small screen on your desktop.

I have not downloaded the beta testing software yet, so I am still ignorant about it, but have registered for its progress and updates newsletter.

Not mainly because I need more time to spend on my computer already, but mostly for the technology part of it. It is so interesting to know how things work and how it will revolutionize TV watching specifically in Singapore.

Whatever philosophical good or the downside to it is still debatable. You just cannot escape technology... a two-edge sword of sorts, but how well you can manage living in balance with technology riding most part of your daily life for yourself, your children, and your family.

TV has somewhat replaced most part of human communications especially from a family. Everybody may be in one room, but few words may be spoken as the focus is on and eye glued to the screen. The Internet, makes us glued to the monitor instead.

So we have more time saved with technology helping us out our daily chores, we seem to have less time with one another. 24 hours does not seem enough for one day as it moves too fast to here.

Joost may take off like a rocket or may be just another fad.

It may become an integral part of our lives here, or it may just blow-over like bubble tea kiosks phenomenon in Singapore a few years back; or the Internet bubble that burst the dot-com companies around the world into obscurity.

Somehow, after the disintegration, something new is continuously being reinvented... for the better?

Will just have to watch the wave for ourselves as it comes... starting this March 2007.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

My Urban Legend

Hectic Urban Living
How times have changed since my family grow from receiving a baby boy to a pre-teen boy of 11 years old. Much has changed since then...

From a ritual of family outing to the beaches, the zoo, the weekend shopping, to just spending time together at home... the numerous times spent together as a family have drastically reduced to only attending important functions or celebrations.

We trade it for our livelihood

More Work For More Money
Since we decided that we wanted a small business of our own to sustain ourselves just in case I was not "needed" at work anymore, we would go into this business with me joining her full time. Expand it to sustain at least two people's salary.

This business is also Wifey's life-long dream come through of owning a business... never mind the scale of it, but it is at least a start to gather experience and live out a dream. This dream is hoped to flourish and we can expand further to sustain the family comfortably in the future.

A reality now, that is needed now, more than ever as I age and work becomes more difficult to find if I ever be laid-off.

And with this business, it has taken Wifey's time off from the family's. She is juggling it very well though, dividing her time between the family, house chores and the business. A very determined and strong-willed lady. The second I have personally known after my Mom. Awesome ladies.

I could only enjoy her company on weekend mornings before she leaves to tend the shop and late at night when she is back from the shop, just in time for bed.

We know it is for our future, so we bear with the little time we have together and make the best of it however we can.

He's no longer a baby

More Lessons For More Achievements
My son is 11 years old this year. In his senior year in primary school. A lot is riding on his grades if he wants to go to a good secondary school. He wants to go to Raffles' Institution, one of the best secondary schools in Singapore.

You have to have almost perfect grades to get in and there are plenty of students whose parents are aggressively making it happen for their children, like it or not.

I, however am happy that he wants to go to this school, but for an honest desire to be the best that he can be... befitting his intellect and academic capacity. I believe he is capable to achieve that. He is a smart boy and is in the best class in his school for primary 6.

Not because his friends are going for it because its prestigious to be a Rafflesian which proves that you are the academic cream of the crop.

Also not because that is what he thinks we want to hear.

I only told him that he needs to work extra hard if that is what he really wants. I can only encourage him and facilitate with tuition for his "weaker" subject - Malay Language.

He is also taking tuition classes for his English and Math. These are meant to get him skilled to the techniques of the lessons and score better in his exams, a different approach to learning the subject, other than the traditional classroom lessons.

No Science tuition for him though. He always aced the Science without trying too hard. His natural inclination to reading science and technology books rather than story books, make him well equipped for any science questions.

So with all these goings-on, plus whatever extra-curricular activities he has after school, he is left with only Mondays, Tuesdays and Sundays free to do what he wants to do... that is after he finishes his homework, of course.

Making the best of things

More Need For A Vacation
Coming back to family time together... we have lesser now, simply because everybody has their own important life's tasks to do.

Life in Singapore seems to be quite predictable as the newspapers have reported...

Both parents are out to work, the children are either at day-care or home alone. And alone seems to be predominant word in this family... and other families too I reckon.

On a normal weekday, once our son has gone to school, I will leave for work. Wifey will be alone at home till after lunch time when she leaves for our shop.

Our son will return home to an empty house after school for the whole afternoon, until I return from work in the evening. Get some time with him talking about how his day went and help him with his homework sometimes, until it is his bedtime at 10:00pm.

I will be alone till about 11:00pm when Wifey is back from her shop. We will talk awhile while she has her late supper before I retire to bed about midnight.

The only time we have together will be on Sunday mornings when all three of us are at home and awake, having breakfast and lunch together as a family.

We need to figure out for more time together. This family needs a vacation alone, just the three of us!

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Blessed Muharram

Happy New Year! Muharram 1428

May Allah Bless You & Your Family
With Peace & Good Health
This New Year 1428

Friday, January 19, 2007

Showers Of Rainbow

Sunny Showers With A Rainbow
Friday was a slow day at the office, unlike at the operations where it was hectic with the increased volume. There will be overtime over the weekends for these people. A very good sign indeed..

After yesterday's announcement, there chip on our shoulders were lifted somewhat. All were in good spirits and Fridays feel like a blessing to me. The weekend is near, I can taste it at tea break!

An intriguing thing happened on my way back from work.

Opened the door to go home and was greeted with a heavy downpour with strong winds, with thunders too.

Nothing strange with the weather we have been having lately, but this evening rain is special, it rained brightly with the sun shining.

I had to take some snaps of this "little phenomenon."

Sunny Showers On Friday
Friends I met along the way to my usual bus stop smiled with unbelievable gesture how strange the weather was. One colleague was saying it would be interesting to see if there will be a rainbow afterwards.

Sure enough there was one! At the bus stop, a huge rainbow spanning across the horizon appeared. It was beautiful for the rainbow to appear while the rain was still heavy.

The rained stopped and the rainbow disappeared with it. Strange, even with a valid scientific explanation with the sun at a 170 Deg angle to deflect light... blah, blah, blah.

The rain, although gloomy is not always a bad thing. The rain nourishes and cleanses every living thing that it touches. It passes to a sunny and beautiful day to take its place... sometimes with a spectacular rainbow even!

That is how I feel today summing-up the happenings for the past few weeks.

Interesting weather to remind us that tomorrow is the New Year for the Muslim Calendar - Muharram 1428.

May This Year Bring
Peace & Joy To Us All!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

What A Relief!

Alright. This may come across as silly and trivial, but it is for my sanity more than anything else.

I need my mind to be at peace from the many things that are happening to me. A few things revealed itself that gave me some peace of mind. Few resolved... few more to go.

Silence Of The Dog

Jack Russell Terrier
Firstly, the 3rd floor neighbour whose dog I thought was devocalized in my earlier "Barking On Silence" post. I saw it at its front door yesterday while on my way downstairs to work.

It ambushed me a little too late. Before it could appear before me, I was already down another flight of stairs. It did not bark at me though. I was quite concern that it had indeed being debarked.

This morning, I was ambushed by it with loud barks! Thank goodness! It barked at me!

I felt such a relief that it, in fact did not have surgery to be devocalized. Never thought it felt so good to be barked at for once. So... I will continue with my usual "morning ambush" ritual by this Jack Russell Terrier of a dog.

I have no idea why it did not bark several of those days with that strange collar on it. It may be the debarking "silencer collar" Lizard Princess was telling me about.

Not sure if those collars are sold here, but yes I saw an article on it, and it may be a good compromise if the dog is too irritable even for the owners themselves. At least a temporary measure, nothing permanent.

That settled! What a relief!

Home-Coming Cat

Wednesday Back On Wednesday
We recently were visited by a cat at our home a few days ago; our son named her Wednesday, from my "A Cat Calls" post.

Well, it came back again after two days, after we let it out by following our son off to school in the morning. We never saw her again after that!

Interestingly she found her way back to our front door, meowing to our son who had just returned from school a while back, to be let inside. She came back to our home on... you guessed it, Wednesday!

Like before, she seemed inseparable from our son, tailing him around the house, asking to be carried and purring and giving cat massages when he did. Very endearing antics.

We reached a compromise with Wifey.

As long as Wednesday does not disturb our sleep with her loud meows at night, she can remain indoors and sleep with our son in his room. Another important condition is that she does not claw on the furniture!

Wednesday is toilet trained! The recycled paper bedding we use for HamsterVille was used for her. She eats only Friskies and drinks plain water.

She is not afraid or wary of humans like stray cats are. Since she has no collar on, and her left ear was already snipped by the authority indicating she was a stray rounded-up, neutered and released back... we figured she may probably be abandoned by her previous owner.

Other than that, she just tails my son around closely. She is always somewhere near my son whether in his room or at the living room watching TV. I am still fascinated by the "bond" this cat has with my son.

Like some have said... the cat chose our home and especially our son for some special reason. It is mind-boggling.

She is in her probation period so we are hoping that she behaves and become our first pet cat.

Ahh... what a relief!

You Light Up My Life

There Is Hope Yet
We recently had an Operations meeting and our business guy recently got confirmed orders that secure us for the next 3 months out of the 6 months forecast.

What is good about it is that the present customer is increasing its volume 3 folds from their usual order. They are exploring to give us a new project which we had given a presentation recently to.

A customer leaves, another customer drastically expands its presence here... so we will be busy with our jobs to fulfill and hopefully exceed their expectation of us.

There is a light at the end of a dark tunnel it seems now, even if it is only for the next 3 months. Nonetheless, things are looking up.

I thank The Almighty for this blessing. Thank you for your prayers out there for our well-being here.

Wow... my mind, what a relief!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

In Your Dreams!

Meeting Madness In Our Dreams
This may be the most silliest of all propositions, even though it was only just a dream.

I have a friend whom I go for tea and lunch breaks together in a group of 8 people. He is probably the least known person of all as he hardly gives himself away from beyond his car plate number.

This morning, while we were eating our breakfast, he suddenly blurted out that he dreamt of me the night before!

Ahh... I was in his thoughts. What happened?

He dreamt that the whole office was in the meeting that was chaired by me. Nothing strange about that, though I do not normally call everyone in, just by project basis maybe. ... but I was their boss! Our Operations boss and the manager were laid-off and I took over operations!

In the meeting, I was stern-looking and serious, listening to their presentation, but not being impressed or happy with it.

He suddenly woke up at about 5:00am in the morning and could not fall back to sleep afterwards... either probably from a distraughting thought of me being at the "helm" or the fact that we are facing another "restructuring." The latter is evident.

I burst out laughing spontaneously. Honestly I thought it was one of the most absurd thing that could possibly happen in real life. Impossible and silly!

Meeting To Justify Our Existence
I was told that superstitious Chinese believe that whatever happened in the dream will happen in real-life; only in the opposite manner. That probably translated to me being fired! Yikes!

The good thing about it is that it was just a dream and I am not Chinese. I am also far from being superstitious. Phew! Hopefully Phew?

Well, eventually time will tell if any of us will become redundant once one of our Customers has finally pulled out starting end January and if there is nothing new to justify our existence there.

To me, this dream is one manifestation of our worried minds since the shocking revelation that one of our biggest customer had to pull out for a much lower cost manufacturing in China.

I knew how the Americans and the Europeans felt when we went over to do project transfers to Singapore. With that, they lost their jobs to a lower cost country. That was then.

And now, we get to actually feel how they felt within my lifetime, that such thing is happening to us in Singapore; projects migrating to China. A vicious cycle, I guess.

I have to admit I harbour fear of loosing my job too with a recent dream of mine.

All Caved-in Nowhere To Go
I dreamt I was trapped in a cave with another colleague that I have the least contact with. He and I, and two Caucasians were all in our office attire, trapped in a leaky cave with a big boulder blocking what it looked like an entrance... or our exit?

We were all trying to find our way out, but my colleague was the most panicky; climbing up and down the big boulder trying to find a crack for a way out. I was there looking at him helplessly and trying to console him that things are going to be alright.

I take it that the two faceless Caucasians were our Customers that came here to announce their pull-out, and maybe that big boulder is something that could force them to stay put.

If I leave it to the Chinese interpretation of the dream, it would be the opposite. I would be the one panicking! Maybe I was trying to convince myself?

I think that many dreams are silly and meaningless to me. The many past events and lingering thoughts; fears and happiness all fused together in a haphazard way to form a somewhat, silly sketches in our dream.

I know my mind tells me to go take a piss when I dream of going to a very dirty toilet that I cannot go. I had to find a cleaner one to do my business... that sort of silly triggers.

Then again, if there is that one chance in a million years that his dream came true, and I was the helm of operations, wonder what kind of a boss will I be... hmm...

Yeah right! Dream On!

Sunday, January 14, 2007

iWant iCandy iPhone

iPhone By Apple
Like it read my mind, at last, the ultimate gadget that I have been searching for, the innovative iPhone from Apple Computers.

Like all Apple products, the sleek and ultra modern design is not just iCandy, but matches or even surpasses expectation with its contents and features.

The bright and sharp screen, that large screen... I am sold!

Anyway, just have to wait for the launch in Asia, especially Singapore will have these beauties available next year while the US will have it this June 2007.

All the gadgets in one phone just like my present Dopod C800, only better.

I love my PDA, but Apple's intuitive and easy navigation takes the cake! Apple's signature features and innovations made easy and so ahead of its time, always.

iPhone iCandy iWant!
Wonder how the people behind these great gadgets look like? Smart and savvy people... maybe with some alien DNA or technology... traceable to the Roswell? Just joking.

My mind wonders sometimes... anyway, awesome creations that are not just out of the box, but out of this world! Another great product hands down.

What has stopped me from owning any Mac, Power PC or even iPod all these years is the steep price that comes with it. Only the elite or the deep-pocketed people are privileged enough to own the experience of its innovations.

This iPhone, however seems reasonably priced... below S$800.00 is outstanding!

That is my phone next year. I will definitely be waiting to own one. Enough time to save some money for a new all-in-one iPhone by next year... that is if I still keep my job, of course.

Praying hard... to keep the job, I mean.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

It's A Cat-fish?

Brown Walking Catfish Photo by Hang Zhou
This weekend will be a dreary one too. The weatherman said so.

Taken the prospect of the rain, heavy rain that is, that has made a comeback since Thursday when all the sunshine and the birds were making their presence felt just a few days ago.

Since it is more comfortable to spend time at home with all this wetter than wet weather, I had several choices to make the weekend count... watch DVDs, blog surfing or get some exercise - a gym workout maybe.

The choice was obvious. With a hot drink, watch DVD and TV all day long!

Nah! I decided to clean up a few of the hamster cages instead. Wonderful choice! Sigh.

Having 10 cages to house 46 hamsters in HamsterVille, I figured staggering the clean-up of a few cages at a time, I will not have to spend the whole weekend stuck at home cleaning after these "citizens."

A Mayor's job is never done... clean-up the town!

Though it was hard work, the task was quite enjoyable made possible by one interesting pet. Catty, out always excited, interactive catfish. Yes, catfish.

Googled a few and found in a website dedicated to catfish called Planet Catfish.

Its common name is Brown Walking Catfish. It belongs to a species called Clarias Fuscus, found mainly in Japan, Taiwan and China. Also introduced to the Philippines and Hawaii. Having a lifespan of 1 to 4 years. It can grow up to about 10 inches.

Either I identified it wrongly or the last data was misunderstood. The one we have already is beyond 10 inches, and its not even 6 months old.

What is at the back on my mind is how big will Catty get. That was after a concern whether it has venomous spikes in its pectoral or dorsal fins. Fortunately not this species.

This stow-away catfish always reacts excitedly whenever we are around. Most certainly asking for more food... it eats like a pig, never full.

Always following us along the aquarium when we pass by and will react excitedly if we put our hands against the glass following our hand around. Very interactive fish.

Catty Playful Cat-Fish
What is so interesting now is that it somehow has learnt a new trick to attract out attention. It will spit water out to whom ever is near the tank ignoring it.

Our son had his first experience while he was playing with the hamsters. He thought Catty was splashing water with its tail like we have seen it before, but when ignored further, the splashes were hitting him more accurately.

Observing it, he got to see it spat at him, asking for food. It got want it wanted.

Wifey had her splashing experience too, just like me but never being well, spat on. So this afternoon's encounter with the spitting catfish was amazing to me!

I was spat on several times while cleaning the cage. After heeding Catty's request by giving it more food, it stopped its new-found trick. Instead, it started what looked like... playing!

I may be grossly mistaken, but it looked so... adorable, playing. It made me stopped cleaning the cages for a while, observing its antics instead.

Catty Excited When People Are Around
A plastic piece from the air pump came loose and floated around in the aquarium. It would push it around with its mouth like a toy. On and off it will take the plastic piece down into the water and let it float back up again and push it around more.

It very well thought that that was food. It was entertaining to watch.

I guess, Catty has to keep itself entertained. After all, being stuck alone in a 2 foot tank all day is not exactly good living. What do you do after meals?

We decided to leave the plastic piece in the tank to be its toy. Fortunately it has not learn hypnosis, else I would have not completed my task of cleaning HamsterVille.

Let the cat... errr, fish play with it.

Cat-fish, pet-fish, whatever.... it will not end up as food in this household.

Hey! I just realized that I have been writing about animals these last few posts. Hmm...

Friday, January 12, 2007

Barking On Silence

Jack Russell Terrier
This is just a thought... a suspicion, maybe.

I am not judging or have a place to say this. I may be jumping the gun here or just mistaken, but just want to satisfy my curiosity... and guilt too, if this becomes true.

You see, everyday when I go to work, I take the stairs down instead of the lift. Everyday, I will pass by my 3rd floor neighbour's front door which is in near the staircase.

Almost everyday, I will pass their opened main door, but with the metal gate closed, as they also prepare to go out for work. And almost everyday, their dog will be there to ward-off passers-by with its loud and vicious-sounding barks.

Almost everyday, I will face this barkings, but no matter how many times I get the warning barks, I still cannot get use to being startled by it.

Worst times are when you thought the dog was not there, but it suddenly ambushed you by running and barking towards the front door out of nowhere! It freaked me out several times and several times I would retort spontaneously "Oh My God!" and once regained my composure with "stupid dog!" or something.

The owner may have heard my remarks thought. I am sorry, but that was my honest reaction to these "morning ritual" ambushes.

The Downstairs Neighbour
I had almost been attacked by this dog twice before. Once when I was coming back from home and somehow the owner was too. He opened the door and the dog dashed out and climbed up the stairs to attack me.

My natural reaction was to swing my bag at it as a "weapon." The dog retreated back to its owner when he called it back sternly. The owner did not apologize, although the dog "invaded my territory."

Another time was when they were at their front door going out as a family. The dog was out at the corridor too. When I climbed down the stairs, the dog suddenly came up to attack me.

Same thing again. It retreated when the owner called out to it sternly. I was not able to climb down the stairs as it kept barking at the corridor without a leash. I would definitely be attacked if I advanced further.

I had to actually tell the family to restrain their dog before I could go on my way. They did, but no apology as expected... they did not even look at you to acknowledge. Snobbish neighbours, but I have no qualms with them.

My experiences with the dog is not quite unique to me alone. Wifey had her fair share of surprises too. I also heard surprised screams and startled curses from other neighbours who use the stairs when I leave my front door opened on weekends.

Barking TerrSo! After that lengthy background, I experienced something different and puzzling this morning...

When I saw the dog at its front door after several days of no show or ambush, it had its neck bandaged, and it was not barking or jumping up and down.

The sight made me curious, restless even... with unpleasant thoughts during my journey to work.

I am suspecting either the dog is sick, or had gone through a miraculous behaviour modification through a crash-course at obedience school, or worse... had been devocalized!

Please let it not be the last one!

I cannot help but feel that it is inhumane to do such a thing to a pet!

Like I said before, I may be mistaken and jumping the gun here. I hope I am. I would rather have the dog go through an obedience school to stop the neighbours from complaining of its incessant loud barks and attacks.

I will feel guilty if I was a part of the decision made by the owner to "silence" their dog permanently.

Maybe it is just my wild suspicion. Hopefully.

I think I should give it several more encounters with the dog and also see if there are any barkings during the weekends as usual.

Wonder if this is the best route to go?

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A Cat Calls

Wednesday On the Sofa
No. Nothing sexy about this, just adorable.

A Unexpected Visitor

I came back home this evening to find a cat sitting and facing right in front of my closed front door. It noticed me and started purring and sliding itself on my legs as I rang the doorbell.

My son came to open the door and told me that it was the cat he told me over the phone earlier in the afternoon. As I went in, it stopped at the door and started to meow repeatedly.

"Come in!" I said as I looked at it slapping my hand on my thigh inviting it in. It came in and went straight to my son... looking up at him and as if talking to him with its constant "meowing."

Ah... the cat either understand English or the gesture I did... but we did not understand what it was trying to tell us.

It seemed to be very fond of my son always tailing him around as my son moved around the house. It will not stop meowing for reasons we thought it was hungry.

Danish With Wednesday In The Kitchen
The cat looked like a female Oriental Tabby, with white and patches of gray coat. Very clean and domesticated.

Feeding it with bread, biscuits and even rice with anchovies, but it would not touch the food at all. Neither did it touched the milk and plain water we gave. It constantly was tailing my son around and meowing still.

We realized that it will only stop its irritating meows when we picked it up and carried it in our arms. It would then purred and did a "cat massage" with its two paws on my son's arm. Such a adorable cat!

Definitely it was someone's cat as it only eat Friskies my son got some from his next block friend, but it had no collar on it and its left ear was snipped as an indication that it was neutered by the authority and released back as strays.

A Scented Trail

Wed On Living Room Carpet
Generally, the cat was clean. Bright green iris eyes, clean nose, ears and coat, long beautiful wiskers, but its legs were a little dusty-looking from the walking outside... finding its owner, maybe?

Since it was fond of my son and only my son, we figured its owner would have been a kid. Someone is definitely missing this cat very much!

My son told me that he went from floor to floor with the cat tailing behind him, to see if it recognized it owner's scent and return home, but it followed my son around everywhere instead.

Just as it had followed my son's scent to our 4th floor home. My son met the cat at the ground floor and stopped to pat it. He then took the lift up and left the cat looking at him as the lift door closed.

Changed out off his school uniform and started his homework after watching some TV. For about more than an hour, he soon realized that the cat had traced his scent by climbing the stairs up to our front door!

Well, it should be a piece of cake for the cat to follow my son's scent trail as he just came back from physical exercise all afternoon. I expected the cat to find its way sooner!

The whole evening was focused on the cat.

It "toured" the house and was startled by the hamsters in the cages... too many cages maybe?

It did not seem to have the killer-instinct of a cat as it just stayed clear off the cages; looking at it only from a far... curious even.

It was even scared of the big catfish we have in out tank. Looking up, it stared at the fish swimming and ran away when the catfish splashed the water. We figured that the cat definitely belongs to someone and may seldom venture outside of its owner's home.

It slept beside my son on his bed last night. All was quiet until Wifey came home. Hearing the door, it woke-up and "welcomed" her at the front door. Wifey was startled to find the cat in our home.

A Cat Nap

Wednesday Sleeping On Danish's Bed
She disapproved of another pet... 46 hamsters and a pig of a catfish is more than enough responsibility of pets a home can accommodate.

Respecting her wishes, we decided that the cat could only stay for the night and to let it out when my son goes to school in the morning.

It woke both Wifey and me up when it started meowing loudly at the toilet door. My son was in the toilet and it wanted to follow him into the toilet too... scratching the toilet door trying to get in. So attached, so soon. I cannot understand.

It was kind of adorable and heart-warming to see that it was so fond of my son and would not let its newly discovered "companion" out of its sight for some reason.

Wifey thought otherwise. She believed it would be a nuisance and a potential burden. I can appreciate her concerns as a pet cat is a handful to care for, not to mention the potential damage of clawing our furniture. Sigh... poor cat.

My son had already named it Wednesday which it would respond with a meow back at him, and only him. Mysterious... lovable cat, but unfortunately we cannot take it in.

We will let it out when the morning comes. Hope it will find its way back home, is all I can pray for this lost creature.

For tonight, have a restful nap, Wednesday... Sigh.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Sunny-Windy Sun-Day

Sunny & Windy Sunday
Woke up this morning to a beautiful Sunday.

The sun was shining, the air was cool and so, very windy.

Clouds in the sky seemed to open-up and reveal the blue sky. Excellent day. If I had known better, today could possible be the perfect of all days.

Not sure if it is my happy mood talking, but the day seemed brighter, clearer and well, very windy. So windy it blew the day curtains up so high and strong and made the table lamp on the side table toppled.

Had to close all the windows except the one in the middle. The day looked perfect. I felt great just looking at the courtyard.

Sun Shining & Wind Blowing In
Like a body of water, looking at trees swaying with the wind... quietly listening to nothing but the rattling of leaves, seem to have a therapeutic effect on me.

Tamed urban nature, but nonetheless sunny days are here again!

It was also a perfect day... well, I just have to anyway, to clean the cages of HamsterVille as I have postponed it yesterday to do it today.

While checking on replacement stocks, found that the bedding was not enough for all cages, hamster food was running low and then the air pump for the aquarium went dead! Oops!

I said a perfect day too early?

Regardless. The day is still perfect! A minor setback. Nothing that cannot be fixed. Just buy the food stuff for humans and hamsters... and a new pump too for the fish before they start gasping.

Guess I have to make a trip to NTUC Supermarket and Pet Lovers' Corner at Tampines Mall, since groceries were running low too.

Sunny Sunday
Armed with a long grocery list given by Wifey, I braved the marketing alone. The whole heavy load of it all, including the jumbo-sized recycled-paper Kitty Litter I use for the hamsters bedding.

I noticed the rainy days... well, weeks we have been having had resulted in shortage of vegetables at the supermarket. Fruits were abundant since those were mainly from China and Australia, but vegetables from Malaysia were quite scarce due to the weather.

Nonetheless, all items checked and I am safely home to get down and get my hands dirty.

Land and water animals... here I come!

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Blending Happy Call

VivoCity Parens @ Gotheborg Entrance

It is time to clean the village as the smell is now noticeable when one goes to the service balcony. Yes, my PDA is alerting the notification too.

Got to get my hands dirty this weekend to clean the 9 cages we have at the balcony. Sigh... it is a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. Me!

I have to get my son to do it too... after all, it started off with his project gone berserk.

The phone rang early in the morning. It was my Mom...

Philips Twist Blender HR1707"I need a new blender." She said. "Your Dad broke the old one and now I can't cook...." she paused and continued with a strain in her voice "he is trying to repair and use it back again."

"Oh. Was there any spark or any smell when it went dead?" I asked intently, "ask Dad not to use it or plug it in to try. It might catch fire."

"Imran said don't fix it..." with some murmuring over the phone, "don't plug it in!" she hollered at Dad.

"Why don't we go out an buy a new one," I suggested "that blender is quite old, right?"

"We have been using it for 5 or 6 year now, I think..." she was counting in her head, "back from when we were still living in Tampines."

I think the blender had given enough of its life-time contribution to the kitchen and the cook for the household, all those years. It is time enough for a new blender. The old blender from National is really a very good brand, surviving all these years.

So, HamsterVille has to wait. The town clean-up will just have to be done on Sunday.

Since I have been meaning to bring both Mom and Dad to the new and largest shopping mall in Singapore to date, it was the perfect time anyway.

Wifey had to tend to her shop and my son was just too tired after coming back from his tuition he started for the first time this year in the morning, at ACE in 201D Tampines Avenue 2, he gave this outing a miss.

VicoCity Parents @ Atrium
So, it was just me and my parents to VivoCity this afternoon.

Mom wanted to take the cab instead of the convenient North-East MRT line. Guess she is a little self-conscious about sitting in a wheelchair locked in the centre of the carriage while surrounded by other commuters.

Well, it cost us S$16.80 which she was adamant to pay for when we reached VivoCity's 2nd floor taxi stand.

"Ahh... I feel free," she exclaimed once we were inside walking around the mall "it is as if I don't have any sickness." She smiled while her eyes looking around the bright new place. She felt a relieve, a liberation of sort from being cooped-up in the house for so long.

Dad just smiled while pushing her wheelchair, looking at the harbour out across the glass walls on the opposite side of the mall. "This place is huge!" Was the first thing he said.

"Let's eat first. I'm hungry. It there Yong Tau Foo here?" Was his second.

VicoCity Parents @ Banquet Foodcourt
Yes, Banquet Food Court was at B2. My favourite place to eat too. Tom Yam Seafood Noodle flashed in my mind's eye.

Once seated, we all decided to eat Yong Tau Foo instead. At S$4.00 a bowl, a big bowl at that. .. it was totally filling. Sat there for some time talking while sipping coffee after our late lunch. It was a nice time as we enjoyed each other's company.

Then onward we went for the blender hunt at Best Denki on the 2nd floor. A huge electronics and electrical hyperstore which was my first time in there too.

"Everything is huge here... impressive!" Dad exclaimed with awe. Mom just nodded in agreement. I nodded too. It was huge for something like this in Singapore, though I have seen even bigger hypermarts while in the US.

We found the blender. They wanted Philips Twist Blender as what Sis has. At $39.00, model HR1707 has a 2-year warranty. It was quite affordable and my parents were quick to decide on buying it.

Uniden Digital Cordless Phone DCT746-2My parents had another item on their shopping list. They wanted a home-phone to replace the intermittent one they are already fed-up with now.

Yes! That reminded me too. The one at home had its 2nd cordless set hissing noisily and the sound has become pronounced, irritating the caller at the other end.

I was looking for something that has at least 3 handsets to put one in the bedroom, the Gym Room and in my son's room.

My parents had their hearts set on a Uniden Digital Cordless Phone model DCT746-2. Two Cordless Handsets with for S$128.00.

I found the Motorola Digital Cordless Phone model ME4052-3 practical for my home. At S$226.00 for three Cordless Handsets for everyone is ideal.

Each handset has its own phonebook, so apart from the common family and emergency numbers programmed-in, the handsets can each be as unique as the personal numbers of friends and others that are important to each of us.

Motorola Digital Cordless Phone ME4051-3
I know my son will have his numerous numbers of friends from school and around the block, while Wifey will store-in her friends and business suppliers in her handset. I will store my office as well as personal friends' numbers in mine.

With the stored name of the caller flashing if he or she calls in, apart from the usual caller-ID... makes it even more convenient at a glance. At the same time, each handset is already programmed with each of our names displayed all the time. A cool and convenient gadget!

Coming back to shopping... My parents were so happy to just sit back and relax on the stone benches along the harbour watching the waves and ferries passing by.

VivoCity Parents @ Harbour Bay
Just soaking up the sea breeze. Watching the sun set, silhouetting the cable-cars and the cruise ships at HarbourFront International Cruise Centre until it was time to go home. Not before more photo taking with my PDA and Mom's cell phones.

Nice day spent with my parents outside... with new a gadget to play around at home now.

HarbourFront International Cruise Centre
Oh yes! Tomorrow is Sunday!