27 November 2006

'Tis The Season To Go Shopping

And so, December finally arrives, along with Christmas and all the sales of the season. It's a time for giving and receiving, although I quite prefer the latter any given time. Above all else, it’s that time of the year when one doesn’t need an excuse to go shopping and spending more money than a shopaholic can earn.

Alas, that is my curse, my cancer. I am a crazed shopaholic. Money spending frenzies are far from uncommon in my book, and I love every bit of it!

They say that to overcome a problem, you first have to admit it is a problem. Well, I admit it – I, Mervyn Tan, am a shopaholic. Now what? Where does one find therapy for retail therapy?

One interesting solution to this problem – earn more money than I could possibly spend. That would take my impulsive spending off my list of problems. Now wouldn’t that be nice? Wouldn’t we all like that?

Shucks, all this talk about the almost-impossible is making me depressed. I think I’m in need of a little retail therapy already… just a little. *snickers*

"I lost my credit card. May I borrow yours?" *evil grin*

21 November 2006

Reverse Engineering... Or Not

It seems I got some info wrong... my BC is the newer version of TUSA BCJ1600 - BCJ1650 (redesigned apparently). Found out when I read the label while having one of those stupid moments. Stupid is too mild a word actually.

When I was young, I had this annoying (annoying to my dad) habit of unscrewing stuff, taking it apart, and then trying to reassemble it later. I like to think of it as "reverse engineering" because it just sounds so cool!

I guess I picked that up when I started messing about with Lego. Needless to say, there were many times when things didn't quite fit together again; they didn't appear as before; there were leftover parts; or they simply didn't work anymore.

Just as there is a bright side to everything, my reverse engineering instincts have given me the know-how of building PCs from scratch (or at least with a manual).

Anyway, the kid in me lives on. When my gear was finally dry, I got to packing it away neatly in my cupboard. On examining my newly purchased BC, I realized that it's actually possible to disassemble it... without any tools! I'm still not wise enough to hold back on such impulsive acts, and it took a mere 15 minutes to remove the straps and pull the inner vest off the bladder & backplate.

But of course I wouldn't be posting this on here if I didn't fuck up. And that's exactly what I did... I fucked up. Thinking that I'm brilliant, I didn't bother to document which straps go where, and how, and wound up spending a good 30 minutes trying to piece everything back together.

It still didn't look quite right though. A closer examination showed that the straps were simply too loose (means the tank would probably swing around when I put it on). Spent another 15 minutes trying to tighten the straps as best I could. It took that long because some of the straps go in really hard to reach places (sounds like some toothbrush ad).

End result - looks as good as new (I know it's a stupid thing to say when it really is new). What's lacking is the confidence that it won't give me problems when I'm lugging 25 kilos of scuba gear around. *fingers crossed*

20 November 2006

Resolutions for 2007

New Year resolutions seem to be a fad around December to January or February. And like any season, it comes and goes and no one really thinks much of it after, until the next time it's in season again. Don't believe me? How many of you can remember (without checking) the resolutions you made when kicking off 2006?

I'm starting my resolutions a little earlier this time. Actually this would be the first time I'm actually setting resolutions. And as recommended by all wise people, goals & targets should be written down. I choose to pen mine down here so that you guys can poke fun at me.

I just collected my medical report after a series of tests at Damansara Specialist Hospital. No, I didn't contract STD or some form of terminal illness... you needn't worry. Call it an annual 'employee benefit' working where I work.

From my meeting with one Dr Azmi Abdul Rashid, Consultant Neurologist at DSH, I'm inclined to have the following medical resolutions for 2007.
  • Gain weight - Yea, I'm underweight. On seeing me without my shirt on, the doc instantly commented and insisted on measuring my waist size. That obvious apparently. 23 inches, shiiiiiettt!. 172cm & 54.5kgs. Target for 2007 - 58-62kgs! Hopefully can achieve that without ruining my perfectly good cholestrol levels.
  • Spectacles - It seems my eyesight has deteriorated further. I'm short-sighted but I gave up wearing specs when I bought my Oakley sunnies. It was just too expensive to get ice blue Oakley power lenses, and too troublesome to swap between the two. Target to get a new pair of specs before 2007 Chinese New Year. And of course, must pakai la!
  • Hepatitis B vaccination - plain and simply, it's necessary, but I don't have it yet. On asking, Hepatitis B is contracted through injections or sexual intercourse. My colleagues are harping at me - "no sex till you get your vaccination done". That shouldn't be too hard, I guess. Haha!
The weight gain target might take as much as the entire year to achieve. Getting spectacles should't be much problem. Vaccination needs to be done over a course of 3 months so I guess I should start now just in case I get 'lucky'.

Other resolutions will come in December.

19 November 2006

Devastating Combination of Passions

The shopaholic in me never dies and this time the damage was intense. I've been set back by another MYR2,280.

On the bright side, the following have been added to my collection of diving equipment and can now be struck off my shopping list.

Suunto Mosquito (White) - MYR1,380

Tusa Passage BCJ1600 - MYR900

I know some of you may have come across some better offers or bargains elsewhere. But I'm quite comfortable with my source so what's an extra buck right?

This session of overspending was followed by a quick trip to Divers' Den's swimming pool to test and adjust to the new gear. It felt great to get back underwater and breathe air from scuba again. My new toys added to the excitement. The silly thing was that I didn't get a chance to go through my mozzie's user guide before its first use. And thus I had no idea what it was (and wasn't) supposed to do. I can't wait to get underwater in Phuket.

There's only one more item on my shopping list for diving equipment - a regulator. This would of course also be the most expensive item on the entire list. Ranging from MYR2,000 and up, I'm going to have to wait awhile before completing my set. Oh and of course the miscellaneous knick-knacks for diving such as torchlights, surface float & reel, knife, etc will be collected over time.

I love shopping! I love diving! What more is there to say?!

16 November 2006

Basketball vs War... I Choose War!

It must be at least 4 years since the last time I played a decent game of basketball. And that's not to say that we had a decent game of basketball during the friendly sports meet between NMM & Sony. Frankly, savage doesn't even begin to describe the experience. Here's why...

The organizer from NMM doesn't know all that much about basketball (choice of game was GM's idea... not that she knows anything about basketball even). So I did what I could to help.

I randomly sorted the participants into teams for a half court 4 on 4 competition. It was generally a good mix of male & female from both NMM & Sony. We ended up with 8 teams, and got prizes for the supposed champions & 1st runner-up. Alas it never got that far. Actually, it didn't go anywhere at all.

Sony members arrived late due to the traffic so we didn't start till late. The organizers (me excluded) decided to change everything to fully utilize what was left of available time on the court.

They decided to combine 2 teams into one to form 4 teams of 8 players instead. And they even had the nerve to announce 8 on 8 half court matches. 16 players on the court... HALF the court! Wtf?!?!?!?!

I finally managed to knock some sense into them and we kicked off a game of 8 on 8 full court.

The original "first team to make 7 baskets wins" was greatly downsized to 3 baskets only. I guess that wasn't such a bad idea afterall since no one had the stamina to run around like they did.

Did I mention that the game was nothing less than savage? There's just no way to politely describe how brutally the ball & court were abused. I think the only rule in effect throughout the game was "out of bounds". The rest of it was a nasty free for all.

To refrain from being a bitchy twerp, I'll just leave it at that. Although slightly traumatized, I still had fun. There was also a good laugh when after the game, some people complained that they didn't even get to touch the basketball... what did you expect with 8 on 8?!?!

Oh and once again, there's no escaping age... the aches & pains didn't even wait for me to reach home. I was having problems getting up from my seat at the end of dinner. And my left leg gave way while walking back to the car and I collapsed against a tree. Glad there was no one around to notice.

Yea... these days war is a safer activity. Go figure!

13 November 2006

Gearing up for 2007

Have you received a copy of your company’s working calendar for the year 2007? Here’s a summary of mine:-
Total working days – 243
Rest days / Public Holidays – 122

I counted 18 days are either National or State holidays – it’s good to be in Malaysia. The f*cked up part about 2007 is that 5 of the 18 days fall on Saturdays. We don’t work Saturdays. And we don’t get replacements. Wtf man… WTF!

On the bright side, we are fortunate to get 4 off-days from the company – usually during festive seasons or between the weekends & holidays. And then they impose one day compulsory leave as well.

Speaking of leave, I get 12 days next year. If nothing else fucks up in 2006, I will also have 2.5 days of 2006 annual leave to carry forward to 2007, bringing a total of 14.5 days. That’s pretty decent but I want to try saving up my leave and see if I succeed (probably not) in carrying forward the maximum of 6 leave days to 2008. Not that I have anything big planned for 2008, but I figure what the heck!

So effectively… 14.5 days minus 1 compulsory leave day, minus 6 days to carry forward to 2008, leaves me with 7.5 days of annual leave for 2007. That’s a sucky budget to live with. And to think that some of my colleagues have problems clearing their 30 days/year annual leave (perks of loyalty)… 4 times what I have to work with. This is making me feel miserable… I’ll end here.

07 November 2006

Random Thought - Gorgeous Malaysian Women

Over the years, I've been fortunate to meet a whole lot of women. Due to obvious reasons, they're mostly Malaysian. One interesting observation I've noticed is that the gorgeous Malaysian women I've met usually come from one of two places - up north, or far east.

Women from East Malaysia (Borneo) are simply hot. Their looks, their figures, their dressing, and all other things physical.

Women from Ipoh & Penang... well... they aren't drop dead gorgeous like those from Borneo. But the thing about northerners which really attracts me is their personality... the expressions they show, the way they talk, smile, laugh... the way they dress, the way they dance, the things they talk about. All this can make a plain looking lady look anything but plain.

I haven't made any conclusions yet because contact with women from way east is still infrequent. Hopefully my circle of friends from over there will expand in time and I'll be able to form a decent, unbiased conclusion.

Disclaimer - I'm not saying that there aren't any gorgeous women from other parts of Malaysia, like Klang Valley and all. I have met many from these other places, but in terms of population density, I think there are more up north and way east.

Maybe I should start looking for women with mixed blood... with roots in both North & East. I wonder how I'd feel about them.

06 November 2006

Kippas - M'sian Passport Renewal

The process of getting my new passport is finally done and over with. What I have procrastinated since early this year went very smoothly, much to my surprise. Reason I kept dragging this item on my to-do list is because Malaysian government agencies have made quite a name for themselves in the area of efficiency.

Having a job like mine, I cannot afford to disappear from the office for too long. Short of taking the whole day off, I just couldn't bring myself to get this out of the way. I guess anything is possible with the right incentives. My incentive - Phuket Dec'2006!!!!!!!

Travel dates - 7'Dec - 10'Dec. Old passport expires 5'Dec. Quite a predicament huh?! I'm well aware of the 6-month validity ruling. Just lacked the incentive.

Anyway, KIPPAS (whatever it stands for)... basically is a new system for renewing your Malaysian chip-based passport. The process was simple enough...
  1. What you need:
  • 1pc MyKad
  • 1pc old M'sian chip-based passport (assuming it's not all moldy & warn out)
  • 1pc passport sized photo (hopefully something which remotely resembles you)
  • 2 thumbs (preferrably on different hands)
  • Lots of cash (32pg - RM300; 64pg - RM600)... decent condition RM50's only.

2. What you do (took me 5 mins):

  • Make your way to the immigration department... do check which branches have KIPPAS first.
  • Speak to the attendant monitoring nearby. They will check your old passport, MyKad & thumbprints to make sure they correspond.
  • Place your photo into the envelope they give you, fill out your name, IC & phone number.
  • Proceed to the ATM-like machine
  • Insert passport & MyKad into designated slots
  • Follow on-screen instructions
  • Choose between 32pg or 64pgs.
  • Insert corresponding amount of cash (it was a bit sensitive with my money, but I managed)
  • Insert envelop (with photo only) into machine
  • Remove old passport & MyKad
  • Collect receipt

Your new passport will be ready within one working day. Go back to the same immigration office and head for the counter as indicated in the receipt. You will need to bring your MyKad, old passport & one thumb (I will say nothing should you decide to leave the other thumb at home).

They'll collect your receipt and give you a number in exchange. I waited about 10 mins for my turn. Spent 2 minutes doing verification over the counter then walked off happily with my new passport.

Glad to see the government is making good effort to improve... Malaysia Boleh!

The only drawback to this entire process is that there's just not enough information available over the Internet. Don't believe me? Go ahead and do a search!

01 November 2006

Tripping Thailand

It's on - we're going to Phuket. Although details are still sketchy, there's so much to look forward to and the excitement is seriously building.

Here's the messy pre-travelling plan:
  • AirAsia to be booked within the next 1 week... passport (exp Jan'07) needs to be renewed before that (thank willies the immigration dept has upgraded their passport appication system)
  • Annual Leave application for 7 & 8 Dec already submitted and approved a month ago (it took friggin 3 weeks to get one blardee signature)
  • Research - accommodation, sights, divesites, transportation, other random activities
  • Rob a bank - for the RM300 new passport fee, RM1,000 travel budget & RM3,500 dive junk... who can recommend banks which are easy targets?
  • Get my new dive junk together - BC, mozzie & regulator

Here's the rough itinenary:

  • Late morning flight on 7/Dec, return 10/Dec evening... delays expected with AirAsia.
  • Massages - this'd be the first time I have to pay - must blog later.
  • Bars & clubs - to compare to the KL nightlife scene
  • Trigger happy with the camera so that I can display more than just text here
  • Change of scenery - DIVING... and test out my new dive junk
  • Buy t-shirt(s) with 18SX content, which Mum will probably throw out after the first wash.
  • look into the possibility of a money-losing business venture

Companions - Robert, SY & Simon. I've never gone on an all-guys trip before - ever! It's kind of refreshing that I'm not bringing some gal along for a change.

...pardon the mess above. I'll post another entry once we get organized. Feel free to give advice!