Lilypie - First Birthday

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas shopping!

It's New Year's eve, and it feels a bit slow-paced in the office today. Many people are still on leave, and the few remaining ones, like me, are feeling a bit out-of-the-mood to really do any work today. :P It also feels kinda weird to be 'picking up the pen' to blog again... after not blogging for such a long time. Feel like dunno where to start, and feels like I'm going to do a boring job at this post.

Anyways, I finally made it a point to go visit Pavillion KL during my six days of Christmas leave. Thanks to Ethan and Nicholas for fetching us! We met up with Leonard at Coffeebean. What can I say! All that hype about Pavillion was correct... all those high class brands: Juicy Couture, Coach, Hermes, etc mixed with some affordable brands like Giordano and Esprit... makes (window)shopping there such a pleasant and eye-opening experience! Kok Shin took us for a quick tour around Pavillion, must-sees: the 6-storey tall Christmas tree centrepiece, the stairs, Kenko reflexology and fish spa to see Dr. Fish feasting on dead feet skin, GSC cinemas, RedBox, Tangs, high-class Parkson, J-Co (didn't go in, don't have a huge fancy for donuts...)and the outside eatery walkway designed after The Street. Leo and I brought my mom for dinner at Sakae Sushi (which she hasn't tried before) at Pavillion. The menu there has newer additions compared to other outlets.

Classy lights!

Carollers standing on the Christmas tree!

Three of us also dropped by the YTL-owned Starhill to take a look since we had never been there yet. There was artificial snow falling from the floors above! Starhill was soooo quiet compared to the hustle-bustle of Pavillion. It's no wonder! There's no mixture of affordable brands here... everything is so expensive! We went to take a look at the eateries at the basement. Loved the ambience... the restaurant area was designed so uniquely!

Up to the stars!- Starhill

The next day, we went to The Curve, then Ikea to do some Christmas shopping. I bought 2 pairs of jeans from August 8 (fabulous boutique if you wanna get flirty dresses) and a casual top from G2000 Blu! And also some items from Ikea... :)

Snow Cabin in The Curve

Frosty the Snowman

Our first Swedish meatball with 'Lingam'-berry sauce

Somehow and somewhere along the way, our supposedly romantic trip was turned into a family trip. Hahaha... Thanks to my dearie for being so loving and understanding. :-)

Dear Santa, although I've been a good girl this year, I need not want for anything this Christmas. Because I have my dearie with me. (All I Want for Christmas is You!)

Dear God, thanks for sending Jesus Christ into our lives. And thanks for answering my prayers.

And to everyone, have a Blessed Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

My First Paintball Experience

*Me in paintball gear*

Paintball is a game for us lucky b*stards who don't have to serve in a battlefield for a wartorn country, or failed as aspiring policemen or soldiers.

On Monday, we geared ourselves for an exciting game of paintball at Kompleks Belia dan Sukan opposite USM. It was a teambuilding event which consisted of 8 teams, 32 players. The total fee was charged according to boxes of paintball pellets - RM250 per box of 2000 pellets. We consumed 4 boxes.

Paintball pellet - gives a gooey yellow texture after being crushed

Paintball mask

Marker - we have to cover the muzzle when marker is not in use and lock the safety catch

The weather was great - I had prayed and prayed for the sun to be gentle and for rain to not come. My wish was granted, we did not have to play in sludge. I liked the playing field. It was dry, and the combat feel was exciting as I looked eagerly around for tyres and barrels to hide behind, and wooden huts to hide in. It was really a new experience for me.



Panoramic view of paintball field in KBS

We were divided into 8 teams, A-H. I was in Team F. Everybody had 3 rounds to play, and the last two teams with the highest marks would have the pleasure to play another round.



My team in red: (from left,) Willetts, CP, Me & CN

One of our opposing teams in blue: (from left,) WM, GS (askar), ML & CH

Game Start

First game. I crouched low behind the huge tin cans, barely daring to breathe as paintball pellets flew past me. The first few minutes where we marched into the field seemed like history to me now. The marshall was correct, I thought, 5 minutes does seem like a long, long time in here.

"Pong pong pong"... many pellets hit the tin barrels with a merciless rhythm, while some simply bounced off onto the grass on where I lay. I could view my opponent from the little gap between the barrels, yet I was afraid to stick my gun out to shoot... lest she shoot me first in the head. I didn't dare yet experience how that would feel.

I turned my head over my shoulder to where CP was stationed at; I wanted to get a clearer picture of how the situation was like out there. Suddenly, I heard cries from the crowd from outside the safety net: "Run! Xiaowei! Grab the flag!" With a burst of courage that came out like a thunder from the blue, I rushed forward like a ferocious young bull and grabbed the piece of plastic flap and ran for dear life. As I was running I could see my opponent on my right - I swung my gun for aim and bang! she was down... my pellet had somewhat surprisingly landed right on her knee.

By the time I dashed to the opposing board, I was already giddy with a sense of heroic euphoria. As I made it back to where the marshall was checking our markers, I took off my mask in exchange for some fresh air. Alas! I had forgotten I was still in the field. "Mask on! Mask on! Minus 20 marks from your team!", the marshall shouted. And due to that, our team ended up with -20 + 15 (for grabbing flag and tacking it on opposing board) + 3 (3 players still alive) = -2 marks. :(

Second game. We trotted happily onto the field, each hoping that we could gain back some marks, and that this game would be better than the last. I resumed my original strategy, brimmng with confidence that I would, again, clinch the flag and bring it to safety. In the midst of the game, I suddenly lost track of the opponents in front of me. Frantically looking in front, all over, I could not see a trace of them. Have they all been defeated? A happy thought. But something tugged at my heart otherwise. It was not until CP suddenly shouted from my left, "Xiaowei! Look out! Cheng Hui on your right!!" And as soon as his warnings left his lips, I was gunned down by Cheng Hui who had already taken hold of our white hut. Not once, but twice. Until I hurriedly surrendered myself in shame. Luckily we won by virtue of CN who grabbed the flag and brought it to the opponent's base.

Test-firing my marker before game starts

Third game. I suddenly realised that I hadn't been inside the white hut as yet. It seemed good to try, so I told Willetts I would be good inside. And what a good hiding spot it was! I was in full coverage from my opponent (unless he tried to creep up on me) and I could shoot as I please from 3 different angles. I was focusing on the opponent in front of me until I saw a commotion on my left. There seemed to be 3 silly guys hovering together in a corner, in full view! I immediately took aim, and managed to hit one. Another one, aha! I gleefully recognised as my nemesis - WM - I took aim, and shot his arm. However that fella wouldn't succumb, and I gave him another shot, this time, on the head. Ha! He immediately surrendered after that.

Having gunned down 2 opponents (the third was also dead), I summoned up my courage to venture out of my safety zone. I crept behind my usual tin barrels, and tried to gun down the remaining opponent in front. I was trembling at my knees already from all that excitement and stress, yet I was hoping for a chance to outdo my opponent who is actually a real soldier. The flag was barely five feet away from me, I rushed out to grab it but was chased back by shots from my opponent. Practically diving headlong into the grass for shelter, I gave a second attempt at the flag. This time I got it! At that moment, CP shouted, "Run to the endpoint!" And with a sudden rush of adrenaline, I ran... CP also ran ahead to engage in close combat with our opponent, and I ran to what seemed like a white board to me and shouted in all my glee... "Yes!!!"

But it was not until I caught the glances and heard the shouts of people outside the fence "Xiaowei, you're not there yet!" that I turned back, and looked, to my horror, that I had mistook the white board in front of me as my endpoint! And so clutching the flag, I ran again... and was just one foot away from the endpoint when BANG BANG BANG! My opponent had shot me dead... one at my waist, and one at my ass. I think he really hoped me dead.

White hut in which I hid

My last opponent who gave me a pain in the butt

Needless to say, we weren't one of the teams to enter the finals. CN told me that we just fell short of a few marks. However, I had great fun during my first paintball game. Hope that there will be more chances to play paintball in the future... :)

Friday, December 07, 2007

Hitz FM Joke

Have you heard the Hitz FM joke?

DJ: What is the common household name for sodium chloride?
Caller: Err... err... dunno... Any hints?
DJ: It is something you shake on your bf's eggs every morning.
Caller: *Confident* I know!! Talcum powder!

.....
....
...
..
.

DJ: The answer is salt. -_-'''

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sayonara, Sensei!

Karate Group

Thanks to Yee Yong (3rd from right), I joined the Intel Karate Group not long after I started work. I still remember what Yee Yong said to lure me to join, "Xiao Wei, faster join lar... the sensei is very handsome...!"

And so I joined. Even though I hadn't picked up martial arts since I stopped my Taekwondo training after Standard Six. Of course, apart from can see leng-jai, the most important thing is that I'm able to do some physical exercise, train up my stamina, concentration, and discipline, and also maintain a healthy lifestyle as well as learn some kick-ass manoeuvers.

Me in action! Style or not?

I feel happy to have a fixed training schedule every Monday. I feel more at ease with group martial arts training than play ball games, because my hand-eye coordination is not good.

From a white-belt novice, sensei and my other senpais patiently trained me into the bluebelter I am today. 'Cept that sensei says I still bounce up and down, Taekwondo-style, while doing my kata.

More of my groupmates in action...

Senpai Seng Chee - slap kick


Senpai Abdullah - front kick (this fella geng...)

Poster gal Shee Loo doing a side kick

Taekwondo master Yee Yong maintaining a side kick

Some new people joined in, and new friendships were forged. I feel happy to see them whenever I bump into them in front of the toilet or at the water cooler.

Girl power!

Training session - yes serious, I know I shouldn't smile... :P

Dragon-ball Z

But now sensei is leaving Intel. It came as a bolt out of the blue. Suddenly feel sad... it's like your fate with someone is just so predestined and so limited. Also, reality is really harsh at times.

Sensei and the girls...

Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end. Sensei, we wish you all the best... hope you get a better job, and a bright future ahead. Hope that our paths will cross again, God Bless!

Never thought our 2nd group dinner would be the last...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

PDC Annual Dinner

I was halfway back to my cube from the toilet when it suddenly dawned on me. A mug. A plant. And a dinner. That basically summed up my first ever company annual dinner.

By God, was that uneventful.

Engineers need mugs. I like the color tho. :)

The cup was given to each of us because some of the engineers just aren't environmental-friendly and like to use paper cups just for a sip of water. (Can't blame us, we're electronics engineers and not environment engineers.) There's a new coffee machine too, but that's another story.

Nice poster...

I liked the poster design very much. But, ever since I got to know the dress code was casual, I hadn't felt much excitement about the dinner because I wouldn't need to dress up, which was good in a sense because some of us were so busy with work and would really prefer a no-fuss, no-stress dress code; yet, boring in the sense because all along I had anticipated a glossy dinner event which would be quite becoming for a department of this stature. (Nevermind that we are all engineers!!)

So here comes the "dress-up, dress-down" worry on the day before the event. Actually I already had a plan what to wear all along, and there's a voice in my head mimicking my girlfriends Berry and Kelly, if they were here, they would say, "Dress up lah! Don't care..." And at a hotel function, I guess you can't go wrong...

So I wore like this. Tea-time in the garden.

The venue was at Bayview Beach Hotel, Batu Feringghi, and the weather was hot. I was already sweating profusely in my black strap top and flirty green skirt. Furthermore we were standing under a big tent where the air was stuffy, and later we had to go on a hunt for some hidden snowmans. Loved the garden tho. Wish I had brought my bikini so that I could dive into the pool for a quick swim.

Looks like a chapter out of our biology textbook. Hey, one got lucky!

Fortunately for us who were melting in the sultry heat, we were allowed to enter the dinner hall fairly soon. There were balloons everywhere. Suddenly, it felt like prom night to me.

Jin Wen and her happy balloon.

We had an 8-course Chinese style meal, listened to a self-indulged emcee/ failed-stand-up-comedian crack political/ Ms. South Carolina/ Canadian jokes, watched some bands play (the boyband was great!!), watched some models parade down the catwalk in recycled material, and listened to a lecture about how to save Mother Earth.

I'm not trying to be sarcastic here. I dunno-lah. Just feel nothing special about the whole event.

*Me*

*Another shot of us both*

*Me looking scared of Wee Meng*.. haha :P

*My group from work*

*Me with the model who won*

The whole affair ended quite late and no, I didn't win any lucky draw again... as expected.

Nice and special door-gift in line with the "Live Green" theme.

The only thing that made the whole thing genuinely special was the doorgift the next day. It's so nice, I put it in my bedroom where it can absorb plenty of sunlight.

Perhaps next year I should get myself involved or something so I can feel some sense of excitement and accomplishment.

That's it, my rather uneventful first company annual dinner.

Monday, December 03, 2007

Visit to Optimax Eye Centre for LASIK Examination

I'm pretty sure by now everyone has heard of that wonderful technology called LASIK used to correct vision. We might even have somebody around us - perhaps a friend, colleague or relative, who had already gone through this procedure. But still, LASIK remains a mystery to most of us who haven't gone through it - a space age treatment that could alter our lives forever; yet shrouded by many 'what-ifs', if something were to go wrong, and if we, unfortunately, were to end up in that 'non-successful' percentage group.

Lucky for me, I had the chance to undergo a thorough eye examination at Optimax Eye Specialist Centre, which is the most established centre for LASIK in Malaysia. The eye examination usually costs RM120, but was given to me free of charge, as per their promotion at my company recently.

The Optimax centre that I went to is located in Island Plaza, Penang. Previously, I had also paid a brief visit to their HQ in TTDI as my best friend is working there as an optometrist.

Comfortable waiting room

The first impression that made its way into my mind was that the eye centre was immaculately clean, comfortable (with its dim, warm lighting and plentiful armchairs) and professional-looking. I felt like I had stepped into an episode of those Hollywood dramas where the divorce lawyer's/ doctor's office looked exactly like that. It had to look professional, right? To be able to gain some confidence from the many (prospective) clients that walked in those doors everyday.

Before I went for my eye examination, I was requested to discontinue my use of contact lens for a week. Leo had to discontinue his for 3 weeks because he is using toric lens (for astigmatisme). He was the first to go in to get his eyes examined, while I filled up some personal details (eye power, disposable soft lens, etc.) and a sheet to test your understanding about the LASIK procedure.

Then, my eyes went through a series of tests using various machines to find out my power, air pressure (whether I have glaucoma), cornea thickness, external examination (whether I have scars in eye), pupilary function, eye mapping, etc. I hated the air pressure machine because it was like having to endure air gun shots in your bare eye, and your eyelids are being forced open. In short, it was gym day for my eye.


What is LASIK?

After the tests, the LASIK and LASEK procedures were explained to us by the optometrist. She was very helpful, and everything was done very profesionally and our queries answered clearly. There are two types of each: conventional (RM1,688) and custom (RM2,688) LASIK, and conventional and custom LASEK. All prices are per eye, after discount. The difference between conventional (normal) and custom is the software. The generic type of software will be used during conventional LASIK while custom-made software to suit your eye profile will be used in the latter. Of course, custom is the better one as it is tailor-made for your eye.

Eye anatomy

A person becomes short-sighted if his/her cornea is too steep. The LASIK procedure basically involves cutting a thin flap on your cornea until it hinges on one end; and zapping the cornea with a laser beam to flatten it so that it is no longer steep. After that the flap is placed back, and it will start to heal by itself almost immediately.

The thin flap is cut using a small knife in LASIK. The procedure to cut the flap using laser is named IntraLASIK. There is a third procedure involving alcohol which is LASEK. Both my corneas are thick (>569 micron), so I am eligible for the LASIK procedure to cut a flap in my cornea. Thin corneas are not eligible because your vision might be overcorrected (scared cut too deep), they have to go for LASEK instead. LASEK is a procedure to soften the outer layer of the cornea with alcohol, then scrape off (not cut off) a flap, then laser it flat. After LASEK, the healing takes 4 days longer and you will have to put on a special contact lens which you cannot take off for 4 days (and nights).

Speaking of contact lens, the optometrist told us that wearing contact lens long term actually poses more dangers than undergoing the LASIK procedure once and for all, because we are prone to infection from dirty lens/ dirty solution everyday. Also, the possibility of contact lens contamination makes LASEK more prone to infection than LASIK.

Scary eyeballs

Afterwards, she dripped some anesthetic eyedrops into my eye to dilate my pupils to gain a more accurate examination of my pupil size and eye power. Depending on your pupil colour, some people can dilate very fast and some very slow (~a few hours). Mine were very fast, cos I have light brown colour pupils. It took Leonard 6 drops to get his pupils to dilate. Like I tell him everyday, he has black, beady eyes.


Sorry, not the most beautiful eye in the world :P

Last of all was the real doctor's examination, consultation and recommendations. After that both of us drove back (he drove, I observed road conditions) all the way to Bayan Lepas in a hazy daze. So, if you're planning to go alone for the eye examination, better get somebody to fetch you back.

I'm positive you'll ask me whether I'll be taking that LASIK procedure. Haha... well, the answer is no. Because my eye power is only -3.50 for my left and -3.25 for my right. Not too blind. And I still want to wear those funky spectacles! But yea, Leo is seriously contemplating it. So, are you?