Thursday, March 30, 2006
Also in the picture are my esteemed team mates or "family" as my Registrar likes to call us. I'm so lucky to work with such a funny, active, fun-loving, friendly, supportive, tea-loving and intelligent group of people that it's a pleasure to go to work everyday.
Sitting at the front to the right is my Registrar, also from Malaysia. He was teaching all of us the right technique of using chopsticks but it was really ironic that while all of us struggled to eat the rice, he was using a spoon! He said eating rice with chopsticks is difficult unless you bring the bowl to your mouth, which would look inappropriate in a proper restaurant. The right way is to eat with a spoon.
Hmmph! All this while I thought there was a secret-special skill that you have to learn to eat rice properly with chopsticks.
Are you guys good with chopsticks? I've always thought I'm not too bad but all this while I've been holding it wrong. The proper way is to immobilise one stick by balancing it on 2 fingers (small and ring finger) and to control the other stick using the remaining three fingers (thumb, index and middle). All this while I've been controlling with 2 fingers (thumb and index) and immobilising with 3, which is more like holding a pencil. I have to say, holding it properly does make things that much easier.
It was a perfect night and the food was delicious. In the picture we were all smiling. But the picture hides the fact that the occasion was actually sad as 3 amongst us are leaving for different hospitals, and that would be the end to our resplendent team, the team of Naseby Ward.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
I simply love tea. I’m ashamed to admit I’m probably a tea addict. In a day I would probably have a minimum of 5 cups of tea (morning, afternoon, back from work, dinner and then bedtime). I’m actually trying to cut back, by drinking just plain hot water but so far I’m only moderately successful. Nothing beats that perfect cup of tea.
Not many people know this but; there’s actually a proper way to make tea. So how could we make that perfect cup? Well:
- “The first tea bag is always the best”. I find tea tastes its best when I have just opened that new pack. To maintain the tea’s freshness, I normally keep them in an airtight container.
- The water has to be boiling hot. Tea leaves brews best when the water is at 100 degrees (In contrast, for coffee, boiling water will scald the beans and decrease the flavour). Some people argue that different types of tea have different optimum temperatures in which they brew best, so it’s best to experiment.
- After pouring boiling water, leave the tea to brew. Tea leaves releases its flavours after brewing for 2-3 minutes. However, brewing the tea for more than 4 minutes will release bitter tannins and should be avoided. I find brewing tea for around 1-2 minute would give me the right balance between thinness and flavour.
- Lastly, add milk and sugar to taste. Try tea without sugar as sugar tastes quite strong and masks the flavour of the tea. Milk also masks tea but personally I love just slightly less than “too much” of milk. I know of friends who takes their tea with half a cup of milk (should I say, take their milk with tea) and some take their sugar with milk: 7 teaspoons of sugar, in one small cup of tea!
For extra geekiness in making tea, some of my friends (but not me!!!) would:
- Warm up the teapot or teacup with boiling water beforehand.
- Warm the milk before adding it to the tea.
The best everyday tea I recommend, in order of preference, are:
tea. I first had this for breakfast while I was staying in Assam for a clinical attachment. Morriston Hospital
- Tea Direct, a free-trade tea I discovered served in Costa Coffee, that day when Dyanna visited.
- PG tips special blend limited edition tea, a blend to commemorate 75 years of the company. I was attracted to this tea because it was packaged beautfully in gold (paper), and had the words “limited edition”. I discovered this tea while shopping in Tescos.
- Tetley’s tea, my all time favourite as I’ve stuck with this brand for 6 years now. This is my everyday and “for all occasions” tea.
- Twinnings tea.
Typhoo, Marks and Spencer’s
Tea would taste so distinctive, that I would normally remember when, and at what place I’ve tasted the tea. All tea tastes different and I find, tea tastes uniquely depending on who makes the cup. So it’s nice to experiment not only with different types of tea but with different people to prepare the tea.
A perfect cup of tea is what it takes to enliven a weary body, soothe an angry heart, or to calm a cluttered mind. No wonder in
Link to the controversial video Disclaimer:If you are very pure of heart and gets offended with general rudeness and swear words, please DO NOT click the link. Otherwise, yes, it's quite funny. .
Disclaimer:If you are very pure of heart and gets offended with general rudeness and swear words, please DO NOT click the link. Otherwise, yes, it's quite funny.
Sunday, March 26, 2006
Guys, I've just this discovered this new site. It's a site by microsoft featuring videos mainly on the topic of tech lifestyle. I recognize some of the presenters are from techTV. It's really worth checking out so head on over. What's slightly strange is that it's site from microsoft, but uses Apple's Quicktime for the videos. And it's quite open too, for example, there's an option to share all the videos on blogs, digg, deli.ciou.us, or send it via email. I think the site updates daily at 10.
Try it out guys.
Also just discovered this amazing video, showing PhysX enhanced gameplay on Ageia's site here. It's mindblowing! Just in case you don't know PhysX by Ageia is a "physics processing card" you can add to your computer, much like a video card or a soundcard. Promising to be one of those essential things in the future of gaming, it offloads physics calculations off the CPU. To put it simply: exploding stuff, falling objects, fog and particles will look pretty amazing in future games!
But I'm pleased most other things I planned worked:
1. I installed XP on only a 5Gb partition, in the hopes that if I have to re-install, I only have to destroy 5Gb worth of data (instead of 200GB)
2. I've managed to make another 5Gb partition and installed ubuntu linux (click picture above for more info).
I was surprised how relatively painless it was, although I almost had a heart attack (unstable angina, hehehe) just waiting through the install screen as everything seemed so alien. But now, I'm actually writing this blog on my new linux system. And I have to say, so far I'm really happy with it. I'm still playing around with all the available software. It's cool that Firefox (my favouritest browser) and openoffice (a Microsoft Office alternative) is bundled. I was so surprised that ubuntu managed to auto-detect all my network settings so I was able to connect to the internet from the get go.
If any of you guys know more about linux, and would like to share, do email me or leave comments. I would like to know of any useful/cool software available for me to try.
I hope all goes well ...
Alas, everything ended up in disaster. While installing linux, apparently I had overwritten the Master Boot Record, so WinXP wouldn't even start! In the end I had to REINSTALL XP again last night, I finally finished at 5.30 this morning ... so tired now. Another thing is; I'm starting to think it's a baaaad idea to install WinXP on only 5Gb of disk space as it's fast running out! Oh well, next re-install I'll rectify all that.
Saturday, March 25, 2006
While Sarah was busy watching DVDs, I was busy making them. I was still ever so frustrated this morning as my Windows XP decided not to work anymore and that means a reinstall. Thank goodness my DVD burner is still working. I'm currently busy backing up 80Gb worth of data and after that I will have the "pleasure" of reinstalling XP as well as ALLLL the drivers and programs I've lost. There goes my weekend ...
However, reinstalling XP also has it's advantages. For example, I may finally get rid of that persistent trojan/virus/whatever that's lurking in my PC. Also, I'm finally able to get rid of all the junk that's building up and clogging the hard disk. This reinstall I'm planning to:
1. Repartition my drive and allocate just 5Gb to system files (e.g. Windows etc)
2. I'm going to partition 5Gb and try Linux, yipeee, I've always wanted to try Linux.
3. The rest of the drive would be partitioned to my data files
4. I'm going to set 2 accounts: one administrator account and one normal. I'll be using just the normal account from now on so that viruses could not make system wide changes.
Even though a reinstall is never ever fun, at least I have something to look forward to at the end of it. After a reinstall the PC always seem to run that much faster, and everything just feels so fresh.
1 messed up house, 2 repeated runs of Spirited Away, 3 hungry people and 4 backup DVDs later Nisak finally got back home, and guess what she bought for me? hehehe ... a sushi lunch!
Friday, March 24, 2006
But, on the flip side it's the weekend! As I normally spend weekdays at where I work, I decided to spend a little extra time with the hyperactive 2 year old tonight. While Nisak was putting Amar to sleep, we decided to sneak out together to the local Tesco's :)
We have a little project in mind ...
... watch this space!
“Have you ever heard about the cave and the eel? There are times when a man’s eel wants to visit a woman’s cave” – Mameha (Michelle Yeoh) in Memoirs of a Geisha.
Urgh, you can tell from my intro paragraph that this is going to be a poorly written, uncultured review of the latest movie I’ve had the pleasure to see; Memoirs of a Geisha. Written, directed and produced by Western personalities, I was amazed at how this movie succeeded in capturing that elusive “soul” of the East on film, something that I think is lost in The Last Samurai but present in Lost in Translation, another movie I admire.
I wonder how Arthur Golden, writer of the book this movie was based on, had so much insight into
Picture: The young but talented Suzuka Ohgo.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
You guys can read about chopsticks manners here.
(I'll try and publish pictures from last night soon)
For advanced lessons using chopsticks, she's the master:
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
An hour passed with no movement at all. People were stretching their legs and lorry drivers were chatting on the motorway. After 2 hours I began to feel desperate for the toilet and was already eyeing the bushes by the wayside, a tempting solution (but I was afraid if the traffic would start again while I was still "finding relief"). Bored of waiting, I just got my laptop out of the boot and managed to watch most of Princess Mononoke before the cars started to move again.
In the end the traffic jam lasted 4 hours (I arrived at work around 12 noon). Apparently there was an accident involving a lorry somewhere, but the wreckage was fully cleared when I passed.
Picture: the congestion as captured on my cameraphone. I was enjoying Princess Mononoke too much to be that bothered.
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
Howl's Moving Castle is the latest anime made by Japan's transcendent Hayao Miyazaki who previously directed such anime as Princess Mononoke and the Oscar winning Spirited Away (2003's Best Animated Feature).
This is my confession: I have never ever, EVER been a fan of Miyazaki's anime (although I have seen most of them. I'm not that enthusiastic of his character's art style and all his stories seems too far fetched (the kind that you need psychotropics to appreciate - sorry Miyazaki fans!) I've had this DVD in my collection for a very long time, and I wouldn't have watched it at all were it not for kenakelayan's almost obsessive fervour for the title. I decided to give the DVD a try after my tiring day oncall, and ...
Wow ... Just Wow!
The story is set in a world where magic is just another form of technology used in everyday life (even bought over the counter!) Sophia, a timid hat-maker evoked the wrath of the Witch of Waste and was cursed with old age. She employs herself to be Howl's housekeeper, in a castle that trawls the countryside on four mechanical legs. Ironically, it is in this mature guise that we see her character shine. Together with her eclectic, quirky group members she enrolls in an adventure full of magic, war and love. As is typical of Miyazaki's anime, you could never really predict the story, as the plot takes unexpected twists and turns until the very end.
I was entranced from beginning to end. I have never ever seen a more delightful anime. I smiled in glee watching how nicely the flame Carcifer was animated and Markl (the Wizard's assistant) is just charming. So much depth is put in even one side character that it overshadows most main characters in other animes! The scenes are breathtakingly beautiful. At certain points (especially the flower field) I was inclined to pause the movie to fully appreciate the meticulously (hand) painted scenery.
When the movie ended, I was left awed. Not only was I entertained but I was touched by the Director's anti-war message subtly conveyed throughout the movie. A discussion of the underlying themes, that I found interesting could be found here. It's amazing that a religious site would discuss the message conveyed in, of all things, an anime.
I've finally seen the light. After seeing this anime, I went straight off and bought DVDs of Miyazaki's past titles Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke and Kiki's Delivery Service. Can't wait to watch them!
Rarely is an anime this magnificent, beautiful, emotive and imaginative . The underlying themes are relevant to today's issues and are thought provoking. This anime gets my full recommendation.
5/5 - a must see.
I don't know whether I should be proud or horrified with this. I'm sure you guys have heard on the news or in papers about MRSA or "methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus", a strain of bacteria which is immune to powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics and hence the newspaper nomenclature, the "super bug". Guess where MRSA was first discovered in this whole world? Yup ... a hospital I have worked in before (Sakki wa uso! Sonna koto wa boku no ima no byouin desu yo!) ;) Hmmm.
Ok ... next (the explicit story).
Unstable angina is a medical term used to describe a heart attack like chest pain in patients with ischaemic heart disease. The prominent characteristic is that this pain occurs at rest therefore the term unstable as opposed to stable angina which occurs on exertion (or stress, emotional tension etc). Having unstable angina is a medical emergency and is a serious matter, the patient may end up in the coronary care unit for urgent treatment.
Over the weekend I had to see a patient who came in with severe chest pain and also bleeding from her, you know, "women's bits" (also known as "down below"). After I had finished, a nurse asked me, "Doctor, could this patient by sent to gynaecology?" Horrified, thinking the nurse didn't realise just how critical the patient's state was, I answered "This patient has unstable angina! I think CCU would be more appropriate." Clearly surprised, and looking at my poor handwriting the nurse went, "Oh ... I thought you wrote Unstable Vagina".
Yup, true story.
Now that I've started I might as well finish. Different story now. Yesterday I was so embarrassed passing Tesco's summer wear section when Sarah, the cheeky 2 year old cried at the top of her lungs, pointing and reaching "Babah! Mama nye panties!!! Babah, PANTIES!".
Sunday, March 12, 2006
The story is about two 17 year olds who are both treated in the same hospital for severe medical conditions. The fact that no giant robots, swords or super quantum powers are involved is so refreshing! It's a story of how these two develop a relationship inspite of their illnesses. It captures the essense of regret, loss, love friendship and sacrifice. It's amazing thinking how an animated picture could be so touching. Unlike some other animes, the stories of most of the characters are fleshed out making us, as viewers, relate and sympathise.
Seeing only 10 minutes of the 1st episode, I'd already guessed that the ending is not going to be very happy. And I warn you guys, this is an anime that relentlessly tugs at your heart strings and therefore not for those of weak foundations (only joking about the weak foundations part ;) ... watch it with lots of tissues, you'll need them.
Overall, I recommend this anime wholeheartedly. Although the animation and drawings are not cutting edge, the strength lies in the story.
Rating: 4/5 - recommended.
In retrospect, Amar did suddenly splutter and cough after eating the yoghurt, and we noticed he did develop a slight temperature. However, his distress settled merely a few hours after the onset, which seemed more like an asthma attack. I don't know - without a chest xray I can't tell (but he is much better now, essentially back to normal).
Pictured above and in the post prior are the salbutamol inhaler and the aerochamber (or spacer) . How it works is you enclose the aerochamber around the baby's mouth and nose, and then spray the inhaler into the device as shown. It ensures, hopefully, that all the medication would be breathed in by the child and relieve the asthma.
Lastly, we would like to thank the medical professionals who helped us, uncle and auntie De who came to visit us after the scare and of course thank god, things could have been much worse.
Pictured above is what an aspiration pneumonia would look like on an adult chest xray (circled).
Saturday, March 11, 2006
Amar has been wheezy before, and we had seen our doctor. But our GP suggested we wait and see as she thought that Amar wasn't that wheezy. Today, Amar's chest sounded like a sandstorm; a classic sign that his airways were severely constricted and he was crying and struggling as if he was drowning.
We really panicked! A call to our GP was useless - the darn business was closed. A call to NHS Direct also proved useless, it took them 10 minutes not to answer our call. A smashed phone later, we thought of creating a makeshift nebuliser, by putting Vicks into lots of hot boiling water in a small pail. I was hoping that the warm steam and the menthol from the Vicks would help buy us time while we got ready. We had no medications for asthma in the house at all ... and I had seen asthma killing a 17 year old before, so you could forgive me that I was thinking of the worst (although I noticed Amar did not turn blue to indicate he's deprived of oxygen).
All of us jumped in the car and I drove (as best I could to stay calm) to the hospital. It felt like a long journey, and Amar was still wheezing and spluttering in Nisak's clutches. Sarah was also apprehensive as she had never seen Amar in such an agitated state before.
Today was the first time I'd experienced the NHS from the "receiving" end and goodness did it &%^$. We had to wait around 2-3 hours to meet the doctor. The doctor saw us for 5 minutes, then we had to wait another 1 hour for the pharmacy to dispense our medication! I thought to myself "kalau betul2 serious, dah lama mati!" However, I am familiar with the system and the delay was all but expected. Amar was triaged (a process where they categorise the severity of your condition based on objective measures like your blood pressure, pulse and temperature) as not serious. In the end, Amar's wheeze subsided in the waiting room, around one hour after we registered in.
The astute doctor who saw us recognised me as another and she prescribed Amar a salbutamol inhaler, a medication crucial to most asthmatics. I was relieved. My worst fear was at the end of the 3 hour wait, the doctor would just say "go and see your GP, your baby is perfectly healthy." By the time he was seen, Amar had perked up and the wheeze had long dissipated.
We were so relieved Amar had gotten better that we almost didn't mind the one hour wait for the inhalers to arrive. And Sarah was so behaved that it made the wait that more bearable. Poor Amar, who had to suffer through the ordeal, missing his bedtime and lunch fell asleep in Nisak's arms. We drove home in silence...
Afterwards, looking at the children playing happily at home we let out a heavy sigh of relief while offering a prayer in gratitute.
Friday, March 10, 2006
Check out his work by clicking the photo above (linking to his photopages archive). It was hard for me to choose one photo that would represent his work so I decided to choose and obscure one of his son. Bear in mind he is only using a consumer-level Sony camera (but is planning to buy a more professional level camera very soon).
Keep up the good work, and keep us informed!
Can't resist including the picture of the model he photographed. "Nisaaaak ... nak ambik photography degree jugak boleh???" ;)
Originally, I planned to write a guide about my top 10 favourite Firefox extensions myself. However, I stumbled upon this article from InternetWeek titled Firefox Essentions: 10 Must Have Extensions and I thought the author had done a much more better job than I would have in writing the article and I just would like to get you guys to read the article and find the extensions you like.
As you all may know, Firefox is considered by many to be one of the best internet browser available right now, way better than internet explorer. Firefox is supposedly more secure and the tab function is nice, but my favourite reason for using Firefox is the ability to add extensions which are basically additional small programs you can download and integrate into Firefox as additional tools.
Here is a link that will take you directly to a summary of all the top 10 extensions.
Other extensions that are not featured, but are my favourites are:
Forecast Fox installs a tiny and unintrusive bar in the browser that displays the local weather. Always useful to decide when to finally get out for a breather from anime or web surfing sessions (hmm, do people still say "surfing" the web nowadays?)
All-in-one gestures allows you to go backwards and forwards from the current page by inputting mouse gestures instead of reaching for the forward and backward button (trust me, it saves time). You can also gesture other inputs like close browser, or open tab etc.
ps - A gesture in firefox is when you press the right mouse button and literally draw on the screen to execute a command instead of pressing a browser button.
ps 2 - click the Firefox picture above to download the latest version of our favourite browser.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
The story is almost exactly like Neon Genesis Evangelion (read: complete rip off). Listen to this: Aquarion is about a group of kids (check), belonging to the military (check), who pilot mechs (check), fighting "angels" (check), to prevent the end of the world (check!) This anime has hindu mysticism, vampires, ESP, reincarnation, angels (why do the angels have to fight using mechs too?), world destruction, Atlantis, "manly love", sibling love and Japanese kanji as the underlying themes.
Although the hand drawn art and animation are wonderful, the CG animation is abit stiff and unimpressive. I also like how the weapon system of the Aquarion is infinitely flexible as the Aquarion amplifies the emotions and psychic powers of the pilots so a new attack is created every few episodes or so.My favourite parts are when they are about to combine to form the robot hehehe, it's hilarious! The anime is worth watching just for those parts :)
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Further info: www.mahou.org/projects/aquarion
More pictures: http://www.aquarion.info/chara_mecha/mechanics.html
Today, after a 3 months struggle, I have finally finished watching the japanese TV-drama H2, based on a popular baseball manga (I have all the manga in possession but have yet to read it). It took me 3 months to finish watching the series as I didn't think the drama was particularly interesting to watch. I thought the focus was tooooooooo heavy on the main character Hiro, and the stories of the supporting characters were less fleshed out. I also didn't think much of the acting especially of the main characters.
That aside I like the look of this actress's hairstyle and I thought it would look good on Sarah (my 2 year old) . Nisa was saying this particular hairstyle is called a "layered cut". I've been trying to look for a step-by-step guide for the haircut on the 'net for Sarah but mitsukemasen ;(
Picture: the hairstyle from several angles.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
Lately, most of my friends seem to be interested in Digital SLR cameras. At first I was unequivocal about these cameras as it seems a bit too over the top for my needs. Until I saw the quality of the photos these cameras could produce - it's phenomenal! A picture my friend took with the Nikon D50 had no shutter lag, the colours are more accurate, and picture noise is much less compared to my current Sony point-and-shoot. The camera I want is the Nikon D50, which goes for around £500 (with telephoto lens).
A good website for viewing nice photos is www.deviantart.com. They have photos uploaded by people, for public viewing and what I like about it is that the photographers would normally detail how a certain photo is shot - giving all the f, aperture, and iso values. The site has a wide variety of photos as well, grouped into portraits, art, landscape, interiors, architecture etc.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Picture: my spaghetti bolognese with fresh spinach leaves, a sprinkle of parmesan, extra virgin olive oil and spanish olives in brine.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
If you guys are interested to see how the little ones are doing, then please head over to Nisak's blog on www.nisakzin.blogspot.com. Here you can find pictures of Amar & Sarah, both old and new. It's the best place to find out what the little ones are up to lately ... for example, Amar just took his first step today!
Also, I would like to make you guys aware of a blog by a friend of mine kenakelayan at www.kenakelayan.blogspot.com. She sees herself as a big fan of Terry Pratchett, and a big fan of Miyazaki's anime as well.
Truth is, it's these two people who made me really itch so much to start a blog. Oh and I have a secret to share as well: Have you guys noticed I've always used the nickname mynn, in my emails and practically everything related to my internet identity. Let the truth be known that I actually stole the nick mynn from kenakelayan ... hehehe, many222 years ago. Apparently, "mynn" is the name of a character in a book she read but I liked the name soo much I had to "borrow" it from her. Hope she has forgiven me.
Oh and do you guys know as well that kenakelayan met her at that time would-be-husband through "mynn" (the fictional character that is, not me).
I dedicate this blog to all my friends who I respect and admire. The main reason I created this blog is because of my busy schedule I find it hard to make time to contact my friends (I normally love to email). So by writing here, I thought it'd be a great mechanism for you guys to keep updated and in touch.
Also, as you guys know an itch is "gatal" in our language and "gatal" has several meanings including "miang" and so forth. That IS NOT the reason why the blog is called "itchiness" :) hehehe. By itch here I mean "impulsiveness". The reason I started this blog was because of an itch, an itch to write. And in this blog I plan to share with you guys stuff I itch for ... in gaming, technology, anime, photography, books, podcasts, movies and entertainment. Another reason is "ichi" means "one" in Japanese, a language i love, and itch sounds like itchi (...what that has to do with anything I don't know!)
As I've said before, this blog is dedicated for my friends, my friends who share my interests and I really hope for your feedback in things that I put forward.
Please look forward to my reviews on stuff, top 5 lists (oh, I love my lists!) and current happenings.
Disclaimer: of course as with anything, my thoughts on this blog is 100% subjective. Feel free to disagree. Also, if pictures on this site seems familiar to you (i.e pinched from you) and you'd like me not to put it up, do say and it'll be removed.