Saturday, March 31, 2007

Althorp Night Out

On Thursday night, my team at work arranged for a night out as some members of the team are leaving next week.

Right after work we drove to a retail park around 15 minutes away from the hospital. There's a movie theatre and several restaurants around the area - ideal for a night out.

(Illuminated buildings are so incandescent at dawn)

As was pre-planned, we all agreed to watch the latest movie - 300 together at the Odeon cinema. We bought tickets for the luxury seats, lots of popcorn and coke and all of us truly enjoyed the movie. The movie itself was really excellent, I can't wait to get it on Bluray.

Afterwards, we went for a meal at the Indian restaurant nearby.

My friend is fascinating to watch when he's talking - he's becomes so animated.

Ordering our dinner

Above is our order

It has been an excellent team - it's a pity we have to say goodbye to a few members.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Althorp Ward

Before you guys read any further, I'd be honoured if you guys wouldn't mind jumping over to my fotopages to see the edited version of these photos. Thank you. They are much better than these Picasa processed ones.

I haven't updated for a while, so let me reveal that I am currently working in endocrinology, now as a senior senior house officer (SSHO).

Yup, it seems that the hospital I work in has seen it fit to promote me to a more senior level despite in my opinion that there are so many other superior candidates there. I've heard the rumours several days before I was actually officially informed - and I was quick to the rumours as impossible. I was EXTREMELY shocked when the clinical director stopped me along the ward corridor to offer the promotion. I humbly accepted. I've now worked as a senior for around 2 months. Initially I didn't post about it on this blog as I myself couldn't believe everything and it has taken all this while for it to sink in.

Honestly, being a senior does change many things. There are slightly more responsibilities, and there are many more opportunities to do the "fun things" during oncalls (my first night oncalls as a senior SHO we had to insert a cardiac pacemaker - a process that took 6 hours! It was darn exciting).

That's the explanation why my return to Malaysia has been slightly delayed - but just for several months. I am definitely, absolutely, positively going back to Malaysia very, very soon - frighteningly soon, in fact. My parents seemed to encourage me to gain experience training in a more senior post.

Anyway, I am so happy to be working in my current ward. My colleagues are absolutely amazing to work with - the nurses and doctors are all hardworking and friendly. The ward is extremely efficient and our consultants are cool & very supportive. It really is a great team - it probably is one of the best wards I've worked in so far.

All the pictures above were taken today in my ward. The first few pictures are the doctors having what we call "journal club", which is a code we utilise to indicate "having a break for tea or coffee while occasionally discussing medical matters".

The first four pictures are of the other doctors in my team, the second last picture is of some of the nurses. The last picture is of the ward, my favourite ward Sister and our House Officer.

Remember, better pictures on my Fotopages.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Photoshop CS3

Night Outing & Planning Amar's Birthday

Just an excuse to post these photos here really. These were taken as we were leaving the house last night aiming to go for an early night outing at the local coffee shop. In retrospect it was a bit silly - the temperature outside was 3 degrees and by the time we reached said cafe, it was closing.

Amar's birthday is in around one and a half week's time and we are all planning his birthday already - I have a feeling it's going to be a good one. Sarah is incharge of making the birthday card - we are going to get her the crayons, glitter, coloured paper and stickers for it this weekend - and PMS and Sarah are already planning what cake to make. They plan to make it themselves, just like Auntie De did - and imagine how much fun Sarah would have decorating the cake with icing, chocolate flakes and glitter!

As for me, I'm overseeing the entire operation. Today we'll be going to Tescos to get the balooons and stuff, and I have already bought Amar one of his presents (wait for it! you guys will laugh - guaranteed). Today we're going to Toys'R'Us to get a few other things.

Anyway, I can't wait to take pictures of everything - of Sarah making the card and the cake, of Amar on his birthday. I have a feeling it's going to be legendary!

Last night I saw Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 2007. It was good, recommended. The best TMNT movie so far.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Banana Cake Tastes Better When...

While I was busy at work seeing cardiac arrests and attending poorly patients, D came over to our house with her children for a pre-arranged tea party with Puan Mama Sarah and the rest of the family. The piece de resistance was D's banana cake, pictured above.

I only had some after I eventually came back from work, but the banana cake was absolutely freaking delicious. Well done D! Now that I'm working in endocrinology and seeing lots of diabetic cases I keep thinking of insulin resistance especially after eating something like this - nauzubillah.

Looking forward for more lovely desserts by Puan Mama Sarah and D in the future. Come often , D!

Both pictures above were taken by - who else? - Puan Mama Sarah. I love the 2nd picture of D's four children. Her kids have such attention pulling eyes which sparkles in photographs. Notice Amar sitting solitary in the background. The photo really captures his character, where while excitement is happening elsewhere, he is happy to sit by himself watching Toy Story.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Weekend in Solihull, Birmingham

This weekend, Arep & Dina invited us to explore Solihull, in Birmingham. The town is around 30 minutes from where we live and we were all nicely surprised at how pleasant the town was - the layout is tidy, with great shops and also a shopping centre; Touchwood. In fact, the town reminds me a lot of Chester near where Auntie and Uncle De used to live.

Touchwood shopping centre.

Touchwood is great - it all the famous and necessary shops on the ground floor and restaurants on the top floor. It has nice architecture - especially the interiors where each wing would feature a unique theme and design.

We convened with Arep and Dina for lunch at Wagamama. I had the chance to try out Arep's camera and vice versa.

... oh yes, and the food was delicious too.

Amar was pampered Arep & Dina.

Trying out Arep's Canon 350D and new Sigma 10-20mm lens.

Even Puan Mama Sarah had a go (see Dith? She looks like a pro already doesn't she?)

Puan Mama Sarah managed to do some shopping, I offered her a new handbag for as something for herself as I had bought the lens but she didn't take up on the offer (???)

Even Sarah enjoyed herself on the various rides around the city centre.

It's enjoyable to explore other towns nearby - some look remarkably different from Coventry, it's quite refreshing really. Easter is coming up soon and there's a 4 day holiday. Looking forward to going somewhere if the weather looks okay.

I've updated my fotopages as well with some pictures from yesterday. Have a good weekend everyone.


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

24-105mm F4L IS USM

Urgh, It's been a while hasn't it? I'm so sorry but I'm afraid it's another photography post, despite I normally post stuff like this on my Fotopages. Sorry!

Anyway, I've been looking into replacing my retarded "kit" lens for ages. The kit lens is really terrible in terms of poor resolution, relatively slow speed & distortion. I was considering getting the Sigma 18-200mm F3.5-6.3 with Optical Stabilisation - yet to be released, unfortunately.

Lately, Puan Mama Sarah has been asking if it's okay for her to get a Nikon D40 for herself. She's been into photography too - especially taking pictures of the children & of food. I was seriously considering to get Puan Mama Sarah the Nikon D40 (around 250 pounds) and the 18-200mm VR (around 500 pounds) and the Nikon 50mm 1.8 prime (around 60 pounds) totalling to around 800 pounds.

At first, to me buying a new DSLR is okay especially to support Puan Mama Sarah's hobbies. Talking to most of my friends though, they all say that it's a waste of money to buy another DSLR, but of a different brand. We might as well buy a new lens. You could get a nice L lens for less than 800 pounds.

Well, the rest is history. For Puan Mama Sarah, I present the Canon EF 24-105mm F4L IS USM. It arrived today, only a 3 day wait. We tested the lens in Jessops and were both so impressed with it that I felt I just had to get it (word of warning Arep & Rosli, DON'T test this lens!)

The lens came supplied with a carrying pouch, a petal type lens hood and the instruction manual.

This is the new L lens compared to my old 18-55mm kit lens. Notice that the 24-105mm L is significantly bigger, wider and heavier...

... but, it is also way better constructed with weather resistance, metal mounts, metal body etc2. My kit lens is not yet obsolete though, as I still need it for the wide 18-23mm lengths.

Let's put the new lens to the test:

The 24-105mm L is sharp and has good resolution.

Colours are very nicely conveyed.

I finally have longer reach with 105 mm but I found that even at that length, it is not long enough to take good close ups of wild life. The range of 100-400mm would be better.

At 105mm F4, the background is rendered nicely blurry (also called bokeh). Having Image Stabilisation really helps as well - especially in my unsteady, caffeine perfused, hands. I find that at 105mm, a speed of 1/13 would be sufficient for sharp pictures - not bad eh?

Am I happy to have this lens? Yeah, I'm kind of happy.

I'm happy to finally get a sharp lens, with quite good zoom range from 24-105mm and with Image Stabilisation. However, I cannot help but feel the best money-to-performance ratio would be the Sigma 24-70mm F2.8:

The Sigma 24-70mm F2.8 (example image above) has excellent resolution and quite fast at F2.8. It's branded as a macro lens as well and the picture above was taken at the closest focusing distance.

Compare with a shot using the 50mm F1.8 prime lens, below:

and finally the 18-55mm kit:

Anyway, can't wait to further experiment with the new lens.