Saturday, January 31, 2009

A small family emergency

My wife complained that her right eye was blurry. She couldn't see anything. Alarm bells rang and I got her to two of her regular clinics that were closed.
Having thought far and wide, the best thing to do, is to head straight to an eye specialist. This took us to the Tun Hussein Onn eye hospital.
When we got there, the crowd was already swelling. Lucky for us, Michelle was a patient there. 
And the agonising wait began. She got treated by noon where most of the crowd had dissipated. 
The eye specialist told her that the blood vessels in her right eye were blocked. Her pupil was dilated for a closer inspection.
All that wait, we only managed to leave the hospital by 2pm and had late lunch in Jaya 33. 
At the same time, we got her watch batteries replaced. That said, she has a follow-up appointment in three month's time.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Stomach flu...

I think Michelle and I had been stricken with stomach flu. We had breakfast and packed lunch yesterday and the symptoms started showing that very night.
My wifey vomitted and had the runs. I was fine today until late in the afternoon, I too had showed some strange symptoms.
I was lethargic and felt kinda weak. But to push on with the day, we went shopping for food and retrieved the ASTRO decoder from the cable TV's appointed service centre.
We learned that the decoder was ready in three days. But it took us nearly one and a-half months to get it back because the sales person did not call me.
The girl who manned the counter said she called a few times. That was a lame excuse because her calls never came through.
She sounded like an East Malaysian and well, having heard her excuses, I guess native folks have better buck up if they ever want to compete in the real world.
Later, Michelle rang up ASTRO and gave them a piece of her mind. Our decoder was out for a month and the bill kept on coming. 
Like I said earlier, the collection of monthly fees was outsourced, so, its no surprise if you get an asshole over the end of the phone line using a 'private' number to get through to you...
Anyways, its gonna be a long-long week ahead. We can wait for the fucking ASTRO to be re-connected again.

私のwifey vomittedし、実行していた。私は今日の午後遅くまで、私も変な症状を示していた一部の罰金だった。 
私が言ったように、毎月の料金の収集、委託されたので、その場合は当然まで取得するには、 ' 'プライベートコードを使用して、電話回線の最後には嫌な奴になる... 

Thursday, January 29, 2009

mopping up..

Frog season begins!

The kidz at rest..

I have a week's break and frankly, it felt as if the holidays are over. 
There are chores to be done, banking and bills to pay. We did the laundry this morning and in the afternoon, will be headed over to IOI mall to sort out our ASTRO thing.
Mrs Samo is fuming over the poor customer service and we'll have to see what will come out of it.
The dogs are also pretty much settled in. They are resting in the living room. As for me, well, my trip to Kelantan was shelved. 
Dates were set to mid-February and I hope to find some Giant Malayan frogs there.

Penang - Part 3

Picking up the kidz from boarding...

Leaving Penang

Lunch on the move

Break time 

Our sleepy pooch..

The alarm bell rang and well, this marked our last day in Penang. Its amazing that so far, we've survived two nights in the Pearl of the Orient with our dogs.
Seems that the kidz behaved very well at their boarding home. After loading up our gear, we set off to Tg Bungah. 
Our plan was to have breakfast in the locality before picking up our dogs. We found a wet market and a coffee shop located within the vicinity of the boarding home.
We packed some lunch and had breakfast in a coffee shop. And since it was the fourth day of the Chinese New Year, the eatery was packed to the brim.
Michelle and I shared some kari laksa, hokkien mee and char koay teow. After filling up, we went to the boarding home.
Our kidz were excited to see up. Queenie was barking to greet us and after saying good bye to Kim, the owner, we set off to the mainland.
The drive took about 30-minutes and the first thing we did, was refuel the Husky mobile. From Penang, we made a pit stop near Simpang Pulai. The dogs were given their walks and were anchored on a tree. 
We had lunch and took a 20-minute break before hitting the road. The drive was pleasant as traffic was really heavy. 
Our drive from Penang took nearly five hours as we made our approach to Subang Jaya. The weather in the Klang Valley was wet and humid as it has been raining. 
I for one, am glad to have completed my mission. Michelle too was happy that the kidz was able to make it on the road trip to Penang. 
Way I see it, there will be plenty more adventures in store and Penang is definitely on our visit list in the future.

Penang - part 2

The Penang Hill hike

Mrs Samo and the Grinchskies

Approaching station 3

Naughty and the kidz

Dinner with the Goh family

Our second day in Penang was special. 
We set out to Tg Bungah to pick up our kids and made a pit stop at Fettes Park for breakfast. The pace here, well, was slow. 
It took nearly 10-minutes or more for our hokkien mee breakfast to be served. After filling up, we picked up our dogs from the boarding home.
The owner told me that Sir Clifford McNaughty and Dame Queenie was well-behaved. It was unsual, but I guess in their new environment, they have to adapt.
I found that the air-conditioned pen in the boarding room kinda helped. Naughty and Queenie shared their living space with four other dogs.
There is a long-stay guest at one of the pens. It was a black and white colored mongrel which was very timid. I learned that the pooch was boarding for 14 days. Fuah!
After picking up our kids and outfitting them with their ruffwear doggy packs, we shot off to Air Item to pick up Eric Yee, Michelle's best buddy's hubby.
Our mission was to trek up the Penang Hill via the moongate trail. It was a seemingly moderate trek that takes about 45-minutes.
Once we've arrived at the Penang Youth Park, we found a sign that says: "Di larang membawa anjing ke trek ini" (no dogs allowed on this track).
One corner of my mind told me to fuck it. After all, we've driven nearly 400 kilometres and took a five hours drive to be rejected? No way.
There are two stages in the trail. We need to reach a point of referece called 'station 3' where there is a rest area for hikers. 
Enroute to the station, we came across a group of hikers with a little pug. It was trekking off leash. 
Queenie made friends with the toy pooch while the more aggressive Naugthy observes from a distance. There were a pack of strays in the area too. I came prepared with OC Pepper Spray and my trekking pole. 
From station 3, we hiked to the peak in the area called station 5. This was our goal and we reached it in the speculated time.
The view here isn't as breathtaking as some of the previous hikes we've done, but well, we needed the activity to expand our doggy's energy.
From the peak, it was another 45-minute hike downhill. Now, if you are taking a leisurely stroll, its fine. But when a dog is pulling on the leash, the strain is on your toes (braking) and knees (controlling the descent).
This made me realise that I am not young anymore. Pushing forties, I think there's plenty to be done - especially managing my weight.
The descent was faster than I had imagined and the scorching weather in Penang didn't made it an ideal day for trekking.
Nevertheless, we've fulfilled our mission. The rest was history. Our journey back to the Goh's residences took a while because this island state was experiencing some heavy traffic jam.
And I must say that Penang drivers are absolutely fabulous. I mean, they put racetrack drivers to shame. They jump queues, perform maniacal stunts on the road and so on. 
We've made it back to Air Itam in time for lunch and Magdaline (Michelle's bosom buddy) mum had cooked up a storm.
And in days like these, you'd appreciate some good home cooking! The dogs looked very settled after the hike. I spent some time with them and the kids at the Goh's residence.
Later, we tried to bring the Grinchskies to a public beach, but our attempt was futile. We took them to back to the boardig home instead and I noticed that the kidz did not resist. 
Having them cared for overnight in a place far away from home came as a blessing in disguise. With the dogs properly settled, we had plenty of time to move around. 
The Goh family hosted dinner for us and well, it was time to part ways with our friends. Perhaps in a year or two, we will meet up again.
After the dinner session, I hooked up with my buddy CM Khor and his wife Suan. We went to a coffee shop for some drinks and chatter. 
Just minutes before midnite, it was time to hit the sack. Cos, the day after that, we had a long drive back to KL.

Chinese New Year with the Grinchskies..

The Grinchskies at their boarding house in Tg Bungah

At the Goh's residence in Air Itam

The highway journey

Doggie pee break at a highway layby

Getting ready to hit the road..

This is a very special year for us and the dogs. Been nearly four years since we brought back Sir Clifford McNaughty, our first Siberian Husky.
Usually, we leave him at home during Chinese New Year for our excursions. This time, it was different. 
Instead of just me and Mrs Samo, we brought along our dogs, Sir Naughty and Dame Queenie.
Both are a handful, and the challenge is to keep them well-behaved during the long drive. Our destination was Penang and the journey there took us nearly five hours. 
Here's the lowdown: 

Day 1

Woke up at 6:00am, hit the shower and organised the dogs. We had a roof rack and box system installed for this trip. This meant more luggage space without sacrificing some essential human and doggie gear.
We hit the road at about 7:30am, stopped to top up fuel and pack breakfast from McDonald's at the nearest highway layby.
Naughty and Queenie were a bit edgy and about 45-minutes into the journey, we took a break with the dogs. We chose a secluded spot so that they could pee and poop.
Our dogs were not used to the long journey and this was the first time they were travelling out of town. 
We chose Penang because there were boarding facilities and found one in Tanjung Bungah. I sensed that the pricing was right (RM30 for a dog, additional RM15 for the second pooch per night).
The plan was to drop them off in the later part of the day and proceed with our plans in Penang.
Our agenda was to visit Mrs Samo's best friend and her God Daughter. We arrived in Penang at 2:00pm. Checked in at the hotel first before proceeding to Air Itam for the Goh's residence.
The kidz were well-behaved and I sensed that they too had felt that they've travelled far from home. 
In Penang, the weather was unusually hot and humid. Unbelievable because Subang Jaya was hit with rain and flash floods.
At the Goh's residence, we settled in pretty well, had a late lunch and caught up with the rest of the clan.
Later in the day, we took the dogs to their boarding place. I was pleasantly surprised with the clean setup.
Their doggy pen was also air-conditioned with an air ioniser. I felt pretty good about leaving my dogs in the hands of a complete stranger. Hard to explain the vibes, but everything felt just right. 
The plan for the evening was dinner at the Goh's residence. Home cooked food was part of the agenda along with some after dinner conversations.
By the time we got back to the hotel, it was already late. Michelle and I decided to head down to the streets and check out some coffeeshop food. 
When the clock struck midnite, we hit the sack...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Prey drive

Don't be fooled by a disabled husky

One of the facts about Siberian Huskies is that they are primitive dogs with a high prey drive. Since Sir Clifford McNaughty and Dame Queenie had settled in at our humble abode, we had little issues with rats, roaches and geckos. 
My handicapped gurl took care of things. And since her prey drive is extremely high, no small animals are safe.
Last nite, she scored her first cat kill. I went out to check on a loud commotion and found out that the dogs have worked in pack to take down a stray cat that was caught stealing food from the gurl's crate. 
So, far, they have not been successful in bringing down the thief. But last nite, the cat's number was up. I heard some loud hissing, the silence. 
The gurl had chomped her prey and grabbed it in a tight lock on its neck. Tried to pry her jaws off her victim and by the time the cat had hit the ground, it was too late. 
Whatever life from the critter was draining away. As a hunter myself, I know it. Minutes and seconds are ticking away as the cat fights for its life. 
I already knew that its just a matter of time the cat would succumb to its serious injuries. It was vomitting blood at the drive way. 
Being the home 'cleaner' I bagged the cat's carcass and disposed of it. The coonkid got even because all this while she was very frustrated cos her food got stolen all the time. 
Now that a larger prey had made it into their kill list, I don't think any cats would stray into our home and think that they could get away eating the Grinchskies food.

Getting ready for the road trip...

arriving at home with the kidz

Beers with my father in-law

The coonze soze at her usual spot

Cleaning up before the road trip

Mrs Samo got up this morning to help clean up the Husky mobile V2.0. There's plenty of doggy fur to vacuum from this lil car and cleaning up took half the day.
Anyways, we tried to realign the Thule roof rack which took even longer. I concluded that the instructions didn't reall tally cos the rack foot didn't fit snugly as expected. 
With time running out, we finished up and proceeded to Mrs Samo's parents home for a pre-Chinese New Year reunion dinner lunch.
We had the dogs over and my gurl gave me a jolt when she bolted out of the house. 800 metres later, I caught hold of her and walked her back on her leash.
This was her second escape attempt. It never happened before. After lunch, we head home and took some time for an afternoon snooze before the reunion dinner with my side of the family.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Tick control

Its Saturday again - which means bathing time for the kidz. Today, I have a task to perform and that is tick control.
Previous attemp to reduce the tick population was futile. I spent a lot of money with the Frontline spray system. 
Never seems to work. The veterenarian recommended a water soluble chemical to treat the kidz.
Bathing them is one part which can be time consuming. After mixing 1:10 parts with water, I douse the boy first with the chemical. 
He seems to be okay with it. But the toughest part here is my gurl. She is stubborn and never seems to like bathing.
She was last and after spending half an hour on them, I hope to see some positive results. 

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Bangkok Dangerous

Bangkok Dangerous. Yes, I saw it yesterday after feasting on dinner.It stars Nicholas Cage, some Thai guy and Hong Kong singer/actress Charlie Young. On a scale of 1 - 10, I'd
rate the flick 6 for its storyline and cinematography.As for the action, well, I think the Pang brothers who directed this can do better. Nick Cage had put on a brilliant
performance as a heartless killer seeking salvation in Thailand. Charlie Young, who had a big part in the flick as a deaf and mute lead actress had pulled it off. She does look
Thai in a way.The chase scenes in Bangkok Dangerous is kinda cliche'd and the only part I like, is a scene where Joe the killer
(Nick Cage) went to drown a notorious gang leader. There is a scene of a topless chick which wasn't censored. On the whole, this is a 'watch and forget' movie and frankly, the local company that bought the rights to distribute
the film in Malaysia didn't do a high quality transfer to DVD. So, the resolution quality sucks! I am looking forward to catch 'Wanted' this weekend..

Sou kung!

Finally, the day has arrived. Sou kung time! I've been working six days straight without a break and from
tomorrow onwards, I'll be taking my Chinese New Year leave until Feb 8 and 9 where I am required to report
back to work for two days and continue my leave till Feb 14.This is my highly anticipated break and some time will be spent on the road. Michelle, the kidz and I are heading
to Penang where we will spend at least two days there.Then, on Feb 4, I will be shooting off to Kelantan to check out Post Gob. This would be an interesting trip since
my last visit in 2005.

The interview...

It took me almost a week to set up an interview with Selangor police chief DCP Datuk Khalid Abu Bakar.
We have never met and this is the first time in six years I've conducted an interview with a high ranking police officer.
My last stint was in Johor with Tan Sri Musa Hassan who was the Johor state police chief back in 2003.
On Wednesday, I received a phone call from DCP Khalid's personal assistant, and after consulting my boss, I confirmed the appointment at 2:30pm today.
Last night the desk had a social session and I didn't want to drink too much. After securing the interview, I prepared my questions which was faxed to the CPO's office earlier. 
When I got to his office this afternoon, I was greeted with a smile. The man is one of the nicest high-ranking cop that I've met so far.
He took the questions and ran through it one by one till our session ended about 30-minutes later. 
DCP Khalid gave me some insights in the gang issues plaguing the state and provided information on them
I found his wit and humour pretty impressive. Later, I took off and headed home to file in the cover story which is expected to see print on Saturday.

セランゴール州警察署長は、ほぼ1週間DCP Datukカリドアブバカルとのインタビューを設定してくれました。 
私の最後のスティントでジョホール州タンスリムサハッサンでは、ジョホール州警察署長は、 2003年に戻っていた。 
20日には、私は、 DCPハリドの個人秘書からの電話を受け、私の上司と相談したうえで、私は今日午後2時30分の予定を確認した。 

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Huskymobile and normal Perodua Myvi comparison

A Perodua Myvi (left) with the Samopack Huskymobile (right)

The height on my new roof rack and box is kinda worrying. But surprisingly, it cleared the basement ceiling.
Right now, I have about three feet of hardware added to my car roof. The box system proved to be a sturdy vessel to transport baggage.
Lucky for me, I scored the Thule Pacific 100 instead of the older Thule Contour which is already out of production.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Huskymobile V2.0 rollout

The roof rack and box after mounting

Front view of the Huskymobile

The Thule Pacific 100

My Perodua MyVi was upgraded with a Thule roof rack system today. After two years of anticipation, the Samopack Huskymobile is ready to roll! I committed to Perodua's service
centre in Glenmarie, Shah Alam by paying a deposit of RM1.4K on Monday and took delivery of the Thule
system.To my surprise, what I received was the latest roof mount. The 'Perodua Myvi' vehicle compatibility was listed on
the box. The whole set costs RM995 while the Thule Pacific 100 roof box came in at RM1,772. Lucky for me, my wife
shared half the payment. This of course - will be a long term investment.When I got to the Perodua facility, the roof rack and box system was already waiting at the workshop. But to my
disappointment, not of the foreman and mechanics there knew much about the system.Lucky for me, I used to own a basic Thule roof rack. This was used on my Suzuki Jimny about 16 years ago.
Back then the Thule stuff were affordable.It took me about 45 minutes to mount the roof rack. Some assembly was required. But since I was all alone,
progress was sluggish. By 1:30pm, the roof rack was mounted on the car, followed by the box. It weighs about 12kgs and can be fitted
by a single driver.The only setback was the height of the box. It was higher than usual. After rigging the box kit, I left the service
centre and took a 8km drive back to the office. With the rack and box mounted, there were hardly and wind resistance. The only thing that I fixed last was the
lock on the roof rack aerobar. Took me a while to figure out how it works and the rest was history. When I reached the office, my main concern
was the height clearance. The Thule system passed with flying colours with just enough room. So, all things said and done, I can look
forward to driving up to Penang next Tuesday!

Eagle YOTE

Eagle industries' YOTE pack is set to be a hit this year.This sleek daypack has everything that I could ask for. A hydration bladder and some cargo space for a dayhike.
The only thing that separates it from the rest of the pack, is that its built to military specifications. That said, the packs are now backordered. US military units serving in the Afghan and Iraqui theater are given

The Northern run

I less than a week, our patience and luck will be put to a test.
We are bringing our dogs to Penang and this is their first long haul. Michelle and I had planned to minimise our rest stops and search for a secluded places where we can let the kidz out and take their pee and poos.
This means, no more detour to small towns and well, that said, I think Penang itself, is a challenge.
Fortunately, I found a boarding place that accepts our kidz and we will be housing them there for two nights.
My only concern is the boy who doesn't like other male dogs and is a proven escape artist. The gurl on the other hand, is more friendly and sociable.

Announcing the arrival of the Big Four-O!

"Paging Mr Samo, please collect your birthday suit from the service counter..."
Yes, today, I am 7hours:41minutes:05 seconds old. What most guys with one foot in the grave fear, is a visit from father time who came knocking on my door and gave me a list.
It starts with grey hair, inevitable hair loss, wrinkles, low sex drive, no more raging hard-ons in the early morning, pain, aching joints, blurry eyes, fading hearing, bla-bla-bla and bla.
Jokes aside, the big Four-O has arrived. Forty years of existance. Personally speaking, its a personal achievement for me.
I lived that long and will continue to do so if God is willing. I woke up this morning and my soulmate wished me: "Happy Birthday".
Being groggy and all that, I muttered: "Umm..ghhh..." Birthday or no birthday, I've got to start my engine and head straight to work.
We celebrated last night with a dinner at a local Tex-Mex restaurant. I treated my wife to a juicy piece of steak. And it was good.
Way I see it, when you have a forty year old stomach, its harder to digest red meat. So, from now on, I don't see steaks as a regular thing on my eat list.
And being a year older, the regiment is having oats for breakfast every morning. Less fatty food, if I can avoid it. Hahahaha!
My first mission of the day as a 40-year-old, is to beat the traffic. And with the advantage of time (at 6:15am, most people are still in slumber) I had smooth drive to the workplace.
A birthday wish come true. Speaking of celebrations - well, for starters - birthdays has never been a big thing to me.
The past one and a-half decade of my adult life, this auspicious day was noted and kept in low-profile. No presents, surprises or pre-planned parties.
My gift for this year is a loving wife and two healthy dogs. And a roof rack system, a pending purchase of the Canon powershot G-10, some knives, possibly a new Eagle YOTE pack and etc, etc, etc... Hee-hee!
I am happy to be alive, glad that my efforts had bore fruits. And with a few good years ahead, barring sudden death, a crippling injury or getting fatally crushed by a falling piano while walking the pavement, I am going to live the remaining years of my life fruitfully.
Yes, more adventures with Mrs Samo and the Grinchskies, more jungle bashing, and well, more knives and gear.
The drinking and over eating part, well - time to ease up a bit. No trip to the operating table will be worth it. So, moderation is my theme this year and hopefully, in the years to come!

Monday, January 19, 2009


Twelve hours to go before I cross over to the big Four-O. Haha! Never thought I would see this day. At 39.9 years old, I feel like an old man. Lack of sleep, some health
issues made me look haggard.Anyways, come what may, there's work to be done and food to be put on the table. No work, no pay. My 39.9
years of existance has been fruitful.I endured plenty and tasted some glory in my life as well as career. I have a beautiful and understanding wife, two
kidz and a stable job. So, can't ask for more.A After hitting 40, there is no stopping. Make or break, I am gonna make good use of time.

High expectations..

If you work for it, you will reap the rewards. My company gave a small token to all its employees. It was a gesture
for the coming Chinese Lunar New Year.To me, it was an added blessing. A relief to my financial burden and suffering. Prior to the announcement, I was
living on my reserve cash. For many folks out there, this year would be a test. Some will lose their jobs while others would have to do
without any gratuity payments.I am used to that because for the last 15 years, I have only seen it a couple of times. And being down the line with
the rest, it was a pittance. Nevertheless, I was grateful that the meager sum became a sustenance. It was bare to the bones. So, my
expectations are never high. If the company gives, I take. There are some folks out there who are ungrateful. They are not team players and expect to be rewarded for
sitting on their asses.This is wrong and the way I see it, only the strong will come out unscathed. Fakes and phonies would go under. In
a world that is ever changing, there is no room for slackers.If you fall behind the line, you must pick yourself up and start all over again. I see this economic mayhem as a
means to punish false and pretentious people. Its just too bad if they slid into the skid row. And for the prudent and strong one, they will thrive in the face of
adversity no matter how hard the situation is.

Early bird

When you work long hours, your time at home is really short. Every minute and hour counts as you take your
much needed rest to prepare for work the next day.This morning was slightly different. I woke up at 5:30am and hit the shower. By 6:00am, I was alread in the
kitchen preparing a light breakfast.Nowadays, my liquid diet is an oatmeal drink. Its flavoured and sweetened. I would only take it that way. By the
time my wife was down at the dining area, it was already 6:15am.Our dogs came into the house and as usual, the boy would clamour for attention. My wife gave me the remainder
cash to pay up for my Perodua MyVi's roof rack and box system. It was my birthday gift and I am very grateful for that. So, at 6:30am, I left home. The traffic was unusually heavy in
the early morning.From USJ 26, it took me nearly 25 minutes to clear Persiaran Tujuan and down to the Federal Highway. It was
already choking with traffic and by 7:20am, I am at my desk preparing my daily report. I love the advantage of time. Besides me, there is another early bird. Its the annoying old fart who mans the
regional pages. He comes in daily at 8am but work is only done at 11am. The rest of the day, my friend will be watching videos
on his computer, facebooking, chatting and doing all sorts of things except work.To my surprise, this deadbeat got away with it. Well, thankfully, he is retiring this year, so, good riddance to bad

Rush hour traffic...

Just when I thought the coast was clear, I got stuck in the rush hour traffic enroute home. 
Two factors made it my longest drive ever. First, it was the detour. Instead of using the normal route, I made a loop behind my office to join back into the highway.
That ought to be fine if I did not make a second detour which was my ultimate mistake. It took me nearly 40-minutes to drive up 2.5km of traffic.
And when I saw a break, I made an illegal turn to get back into the highway. The rest was history.
In total, I spent about one and a-half hours trying to get home. Lucky for me, there was a warm meal waiting at home. Thanks to my lovely wife...


Sunday, January 18, 2009

A question of timing..

Things kinda went fast-forward today. My paycheck came in early. Seeing as it is, I was already running on
empty. My reserve cash was enough to take me through the week.And since our plan to head North has been confirmed, I went to Perodua to book my roof rack and box. During
lunch, I drove to their service facility at Glenmarie, Shah Alam.When I got there, a clerk took my order and was informed before hand that I was coming. The package price for
the roof mounted rack and box was RM2.8k and I see this as a long-term investment.There will be plenty of adventures ahead with the MyVi. Anyways, I asked about the box and which model are
they selling. Little did I know, there was already a poster mounted on the service centre's wall. They are selling a Thule Pacific
100 roof box. Another shop quoted me RM2.5k for the roof rack and a Thule countour box. This is an entry-level box and in my
humble opinion, was overpriced.What got me was the mark-up and lack of knowledged. The lady who took my order wasn't sure and time was
running out.Perodua, on the other hand, was sketchy about their product. If the box they are selling fits the description, then
its a good price.Anyways, I paid a deposit of RM1.4k today and was told that delivery takes about two days. This buys me
enough time to set up an appointment for the system to be mounted. With the cargo space issues solved, we can travel with a peace of mind. But the drama didn't stop there, the
other shop called and told me that they had taken delivery of the Thule racks.I told them that since they made no effort to call me on the status, I have decided to proceed with my purchase at Perodua. Besides that, they are also giving me an inferior product and was sketchy about the pricing. Since I am running
on a budget, I told them that I have already committed to Perodua.The lady whom I rang up from a 4WD accessory shop in SS2 sounded pissed off. That's just too bad because
she handled the matter poorly.All good things said and done, I can look forward to the trip and enjoy it with the kidz and Mrs Samo.

Quick thinking

And I thought it was an easy day. So, naturally, I took things rather lightly. When I came in for work early in the
morning, there was a sheet of paper with instructions on it.What to do, which stories to assign and where. Easy. So, the first half of the day was rather slow. And when
things started to take shape, the alarm bells rang.I knew that a short story with pictures as big as half the page was used - I am toast. First, I will be publicly
humiliated by the guy chairing the evening meeting (to decide what news goes where).This is video-linked with Penang. The humiliation was my least worry. Its the shortage of time and re-designing of
the pages that would pile up. So, after seeing the follies and with one and a-half hours to spare, I sat down with the DTP artist to re-work the
pages. There were photos to yank out, reduction of image sizes, stories to add on for a 'clean' page. I anticipate being
ass-raped by the guy in charge and my worse fear is that he is a good layout person.Wity my spider-senses tingling, changes were made on the spot. It took the artist about 30-minutes to exact the
changes as I added three more stories to pages 2 and 3.I wanted a clean and 'tight' appearance before presenting the pages to the guys on topside. And when it was
ready, I was 10-minutes behind schedule.Nevertheless, I braved it and showed the page dummies and to my worse fear, the number two man in charge
was manning the show.He saw the page one layout and paused. Commented on the heading that didn't tally with the photo and made
suggestions for changes.On the other pages, he didn't say much about the layout. Half the battle was won with enough time to spare for
the changes to be made and pages to send out.I exited the meeting room with a sense of accomplishment as there weren't much changes to be made.
Immediately, I briefed the chief sub and went on to work to correct the pages.By 7pm, it was all over. We will live to fight another day.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Just a case of bad luck..

Just when I thought I was hit by a spate of bad luck, my colleague got it worse. His car was involved in a road accident on the same day as I.
Well, the lucky part is that my damage was superficial. And I haven't heard from the woman who hit into my Perodua Myvi at all.
Come what may, I am ready to face the consequences and with a little bit of connection, I can get the police fine reduced.
What happened was unavoidable. The good thing is, nobody was injured. Since the passenger side got grazed by a car with a higher centre of gravity, my wife would have been seriously injured if it was a high impact crash.
Drama aside, my buddy had it worse when his car's headlamp, bumper and front fender was completely smashed up in the accident.

Juste quand je pensais a été frappé par une vague de mauvaise chance, mon collègue l'a pire. Sa voiture a été impliquée dans une route accident le jour même de I.
Eh bien, la part de chance, c'est que mon dommage a été superficielle. Et je n'ai pas entendu parler de la femme qui a frappé mon Perodua myvi à tous.
Quoi qu'il en mai, je suis prêt à faire face aux conséquences, et avec un peu de connexion, je peux obtenir de la police amende réduite.
Ce qui s'est passé était inévitable. La bonne chose est, personne n'a été blessé. Depuis le côté du passager se paissaient par une voiture avec un centre de gravité élevé, ma femme aurait été grièvement blessé, si c'était un choc de haut. Drame de côté, mon pote, il a empiré lorsque sa voiture du projecteur, de pare-chocs et les garde-boue avant a été complètement brisées dans l'accident.

The journey North..

The coonkid is fond of car rides...

I've made arrangements for the Grinchskies to be boarded at a new pet facility in Tanjung Bungah, Penang.
This is their first trip outstation and I hope that they can cope with the long haul. There are more layby areas along the journey. 
Since we are transporting dogs, we don't plan to stop at small towns for meals. And while we are in Penang, the kidz will be with us during the day and boarded after 7pm.
My only hope is that they will be well-behaved while they are at the boarding facility. Sir Naughty is famous for escaping. 

私はGrinchskiesのタンジュンBungah 、ペナンで、新しいペットに搭乗する施設で手配されています。 
私たちの犬を輸送しているので、食事のための小さな町に停車する予定はありません。ペナンの間に私たちは、私たちとの日中kidzされ、 19時以降に乗り込んだ。 

Otherwise, it was a good day...

The damage...

I went to KLCC today with my wife to get her filofax refill. It was an unusually hot day and the weather was great.
Enroute to the destination, we made a detour to USJ 4 for late breakfast. The prawn noodles we had was excellent.
When we got to KLCC, it was already mid-noon. We spent about 45-minutes there and drove back to USJ.
It was a long drive because we took a longer route. Our intention was to head to a new shopping centre at USJ 19. 
At the time the road was jammed up with cars. The school in this area was having extra classes to replace their Chinese New Year holidays. 
As I was turning into Persiaran Subang from Persiaran Kewajipan, I heard a knocking sound. 
On my left, I can see a metallic blue car, just inches away. My vehicle had moved into its path. 
Initially, I couldn't move my Myvi, then with a little bit of effort, I freed my car. I can see a woman waving her hand in the car, I pulled over, about 10metres away.
After getting down from my car, I noticed that there were little damage on it. The lady's car bumber was sticking out. 
She argued that I banged her car and her son had fallen off the passenger seat. I didn't hear any braking and when I saw her car, she didn't stop.
So, I told her to take down my car number and claim insurance. The damage was not serious.
She said she had to change a new front bumper. I told her that if she felt that way, she can speak to my insurance person.
The lady also asked for my ID number and Driver's licence. I said no. "What if this is not your car?" I told her to take the number and the insrance will take care of the rest.
Then, I checked out the new mall. I wasn't in a mood at all to say the least. After a breif stop, we went the USJ 8 police beat and was told that all traffic accident reports must be lodged at the SS17 police station. 
So, Michelle and I headed there and spent about 20-minutes. I wrote down the report in Malay.
The duty Sargeant said since I took the outer lane, I was in the wrong. "You may have to pay a fine if the other party lodges a police report to claim insurance," he said.
I told him that it was allright. There was no point arguing over spilt milk. I gave the lady my cell number as a courtesy. 
I would not give her cash because I don't have much. So, since I paid insurance, she can deal with them.
The incident may have ruined a couple of hours of my day, but I guess, accidents do happen. I was unlucky because I couldn't prevent it. 
All things said and done, nobody was hurt. So, in the days to come, I'll have to see how my luck would hold up.

Here's the version in Chinese:

这是一个长期驱动器,因为我们在较长的路线。我们的意图是为了到一个新的购物中心在日本环球影城19 。 
正如我正在变成Persiaran梳邦从Persiaran Kewajipan ,我听到了敲门声。 
最初,我无法移动我的Myvi ,然后一点点的努力,我释放了我的车。我可以看到一个女人挥舞着她的手在汽车,我靠边停车,大约10metres消失。 
这位女士还问我的身份证号码和驾驶执照。我说没有。他说: “如果这不是你的车? ”我告诉她采取的数量和insrance会照顾其他。 
责任Sargeant说,自从我在外线,我是在错误的。 “你可能必须支付罚款,如果另一方当事人递交警察报告,索赔保险, ”他说。 

Thursday, January 15, 2009

WIP - Spangler EDC

I've just received note from knifemaker Michael Spangler that work is in progress on a special EDC (Everyday Carry) knife.
This is a nice design, which is originally a small pocket knife. I love the clean lines and simplicity and this will work in our neck of the woods.
The Samo EDC will be larger as you can see it in the comparison photos above. This task would be completed in a coupla days or so...


Time magazine named Gengiz Khan top 100 people of the century.
I was amused by this and read the low down. It was told that the great ruler was born clutching a blood clot in his hand.
This, to the Mongols, was a sign of greatness. In the years that pursued, the then Gengiz Khan, known by his real name Temudgin, was raised by his mother to be an expert archer.
When harm came her way, he avenged her by slaying her enemies. And Temudgin became a ruthless leader who united the Mongols who were fighting each other. That was the print version.
I recently picked up a copy of the screen version called "Mongol" starring Tadanobu Asano and Sun Hong Lei. It was directed by Russian Sergei Bodrov.
This flick was something that I had anticipated with a great visual feat. The Russians also worked with Chinese filmakers to choreograph the fighting scenes.
With a Mongolian dialogue, I found it very authentic. And one of the lines that left a big impression with me was the quote: "I won't forget you.."
This was uttered by Temudgin when a Mongol herdsman freed him from a retaining shackle and gave him horse.
Now the story may have differed from its historical and original events that took place in Mongolia sometime in the 11th century.
I found the stunning cinematography and seamless story telling a feat that kept me glued to my chair. Similarly, there is another story on Temudgin produced by the Japanese. But the plot is different.
So, if you cruise along the aisle at your nearest video store, keep an eye out for "Mongol".

Japanese version: 

これは、モンゴル、 、偉大さの表れだった。は、年間では、当時のGengizカーン、彼の本当の名前Temudginで知られており、彼の母親に育てられた専門家の射手を追求する。 
害時に彼女の方法が、彼は彼女の敵を殺害し彼女avenged 。とTemudginは、モンゴル人は互いに戦っていたユナイテッドは冷酷な指導者になった。が、プリントバージョンです。 
モンゴルの対話では、私は非常に本物のを発見した。と1つは、私には大きな印象を左の行の引用されました: "私"を忘れていないだろう.. 
さて、話は、いつかは、 11世紀にモンゴルで行われたという歴史的な、オリジナルのイベントは異なっている可能性があります。 
私は、見事な映画とのシームレスな話は私の椅子に着いて偉業を語っている。同様に、 Temudginにはまた別の話は、日本で生産されています。しかし、このプロットは異なります。 
そのためには、場合は、通路に沿ってお近くのビデオ店で、クルーズは"一眼を防ぐモンゴル" 。

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

R.I.P. Uncle Sam

Uncle Sam, (far left) in a date photo taken at the Star
I came to know the passing of Samani Mohd Amin this morning. He was a great man. Humble, unassuming and thoughtful.
Pak Samani or Uncle Sam as he is endearingly known, passed away at the age of 78. He suffered a fatal heart attack at his home in Port Klang.
When he was the editorial manager while I was working as a pixman in Star's section 13 office, Uncle Sam had always listened to the welfare of the editorial staff. Thank you for the memories Uncle Sam and Rest in peace.

Buyer beware...

It's the same excuse everyday. "Price already increased lah.." I get really fed-up with dealers when they give me
the runaround on their merchandise pricing.Then, there's this 10-second lecture about the world economics. If you put a trader in the same line with a
scholar, doctor and soldier, the one doing business would rank last. Why? These people make money without much effort. They get their goods, mark up prices and reap the profits.
Such has been the practise for thousands of years.So, technically speaking, a lot of stuff that we buy are overpriced. Forget about the fuel hike, transportation woes
and bla-bla-bla excuses. All I want, is a fair price. Nothing less. And usually, places that offers such a thing would not give good service.
For the lacking, they substitute it with a lower price.If you head to Low Yat Plaza to hunt for computer stuff and electronics, you'll know what I mean. This is the best
place to source for all things electronic.My recent spat with Thule and some dealers had raised some questions. The profit margins are sky high and
yet, these folks are thriving.Now, if there is really a recession around the corner, they will be the first to be affected. But really, if it is so, I
don't give a fuck.The same goes for knife and tool dealers here in the Klang Valley. I was shocked to see a production knife sold
at RM1,950. Even the torchlights are being sold past RM1K a piece.So, seeing as it is, the saying: "there is a sucker born every minute" applies. This is where dealers capitalise on
the 'want' factor from a customer.Again, its the 'willing buyer/willing seller' situation which is the deciding factor. Call it the Great Depression II if
you may, and like cockroaches, traders will survive. Some will drop off the face of the earth and some will thrive.
So, buyer beware!

Letting go of the past..

Well, I've just added a few names into my shitlist. Seems that some folks are just not worth my time after all. I
found that through the years, people do change.Even friendship tend to dissolve over petty matters. There are guys I grew up in the list and frankly, I don't like
them since day one.All these years, I played my part doing public relations. But what made me sad, is the fact that some of my soon
to be exiled buddies remarked hurtful things behind my back.How? My wife heard everything when they were bitching about me and another friend. She was disgusted by the
fact that adults can be so shallow minded. So, how would I benefit from the ban list? Firstly, no more group gang bang dinners. Their choice of places for
food is lousy. No more gatherings. I would abstain from any invitation to their baby shower, reunions, anniversary. Death may
be the only courtesy.What nailed it in the head? Their children. I have seen many couples successfully raising their children to be
well-behaved in public. Not the ones that I've just added to my list. No way. This is a piece of the past that I must let go in order to move on. That's life..