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Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year! (because I don't think I'll be in any state to blog 2moro)

I'm pretty much all ready for my trip back to KL.

Sold my car yesterday, sold my aquarium (fish included), sold my office chair (currently sitting on crappy plastic stool), sold my sculptures (my dad then says that 'oh' he wanted one... oops too late pops, next time I make one it's yours), gave away all remaining living house plants (thanks to Mick for keeping the numbers nice and low hehe).

Yep, I think we're on course to depart on Wednesday night.... there were times where I wouldn't have thought so, but "touch wood", here we are.

Sydney weather has been uncharacteristically cool & pleasant for this time of year... i think it's teasing me, knowing what the weather is going to be like in KL.. it's clearly a last ditch effort to make me stay.

I haven't quite been able to catch up with everyone, the time of year not really helping as many are out of town. I'll be back in March, and won't have so much packing & selling to do then, so hopefully can get to mingle a little more.

listening to : Broken Social Scene - Anthems for a seventeen year-old girl

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Parasite makes men dumb, women sexy

A common parasite can increase a women's attractiveness to the opposite sex but also make men more stupid, an Australian researcher says.

About 40 per cent of the world's population is infected with Toxoplasma gondii, including about eight million Australians.

Human infection generally occurs when people eat raw or undercooked meat that has cysts containing the parasite, or accidentally ingest some of the parasite's eggs excreted by an infected cat.

The parasite is known to be dangerous to pregnant women as it can cause disability or abortion of the unborn child, and can also kill people whose immune systems are weakened.

Until recently it was thought to be an insignificant disease in healthy people, Sydney University of Technology infectious disease researcher Nicky Boulter said, but new research has revealed its mind-altering properties.

"Interestingly, the effect of infection is different between men and women," Dr Boulter writes in the latest issue of Australasian Science magazine.

"Infected men have lower IQs, achieve a lower level of education and have shorter attention spans. They are also more likely to break rules and take risks, be more independent, more anti-social, suspicious, jealous and morose, and are deemed less attractive to women.

"On the other hand, infected women tend to be more outgoing, friendly, more promiscuous, and are considered more attractive to men compared with non-infected controls.

"In short, it can make men behave like alley cats and women behave like sex kittens".

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Xmas to all !

... some more excellent Calvin & Hobbs xmas cheer.

...have a happy and safe xmas and new year.

I've just returned from Xmas lunch with my sister and her family. Really nice, had a roast turkey lunch and homemade Xmas cake for dessert. I'm sporting my Xmas belly, must have that evening snooze I think.

I got to play a little with my nephew Evan, he's grown so much since I last saw him. 22 months old? yeh i think that is what my sister said...

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Two sleeps till Sydney..

I'm leaving KL around 10:40pm Wednesday night, arriving in Sydney about 9:30am Thursday morning. Straight to bed methinx. I tend not to sleep on flights, and certainly not soundly, so I'm planning on feeling pretty wrecked when I arrive. Perhaps disorientated with all the familiarity?

It's been a while since it happened, but every now and then I've caught myself identifying a little piece of the environment, an entrance to a freeway here in Kuala Lumpur, for instance as being from near my home in Sydney. I have to shock myself back into reality that this simply cannot be the case. It's weird the little tricks the brain plays on itself. And why? To give me a taste of the familiar?

...So we don't freak out suddenly because we're so far from everything and everyone we care about? Is that why this hasn't happened to me for a while, because I have new cares here? Who know... perhaps who cares? Maybe because things here are starting to become familiar... I'm starting to slot in.

Being here has really made me look at so many things that I took for granted in a new light. Things are exciting here, because they're so chaotic... Sydney is organised and graceful by comparison.

I guess it's the familiarity of our expat nations that draws us together... It's that common sociological ideal that we cling to when things get a bit nuts.

Perhaps that same thing that keeps the foreigner in us.... The idea that when that market gets that bit too crowded, when the traffic that bit too noisy, or that meal just that bit too unidentifiable, that we crawl back to our safety blanket of memories all those in-flight movies away.

I'm not saying that it's particularly a good thing... it stops up from truly experiencing the wonderful alien environment that we find ourselves in... it stops up from truly embracing the friendly smiling people who wave to you from their cars and bikes (ironically perhaps because I am a foreigner?), and stops us from embracing another way of life that we really have so much to learn from and also so much to share with.

I am looking forward to getting home to everyone... I look forward collapsing into a heap for hours, then getting up and just staring off into the sky a bit more often than usual, but I'm definitely also looking forward to getting back over here and starting this adventure all over again.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

~ Lasse Gjertsen ~

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

~ Henry Rollins ~
Letter to Ann Coulter

Monday, December 11, 2006

Awesome Fire Escape sign

Fire exit

...see in "The Weld" Jalan Raja Chulan

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Strange Fruits ~


Found the above red bananas at a street stall near Petaling Street. Just had to buy them and see what they were like. Rool Good! Taste a little more creamy that ordinary bananas. An excellent find. I'm going to buy these every time I see them.

Now, for our next contender...

The Durian...

Wikipedia says: "The durian is the fruit of trees of the genus Durio. There are 30 recognised Durio species, all native to Southeast Asia and at least nine of which produce edible fruit. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market; other species are sold in their local region. The durian fruit is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and a formidable thorn-covered husk. Its name comes from the Malay word duri (thorn) together with malay suffix that is -an (for building a noun in Malay), meaning "thorny fruit".

The fruit can grow up to 40 cm long and 30 cm in diameter, and typically weighs one to five kilograms. Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown and its flesh pale-yellow to red, depending on species. The hard outer husk is covered with sharp, prickly thorns, while the edible custard-like flesh within emits a strong, distinctive odour. Some regard this odour as fragrant while others find it overpowering or offensive."

This thing tastes like creamy onion flavoured custard. I bought the smallest portion I could find and I still could only eat half of it. Yeh it's got this creamy, onion fuel taste. I can't compare it to anything other than a bunch of stuff that you've never thought about eating in the same week, let along the same mouthful.

New e-passports highly secure: Australian Government

Australia's new passports are highly secure, the government says, despite claims that information contained on an embedded microchip can be easily copied.

Parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs Teresa Gambaro says there have been no reports of tampering with new e-passports in the year since their introduction.

Ms Gambaro said contrary to media reports, the e-passport is a highly secure document which adopted the standards of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).

She said access to personal details on the chip was not in itself a matter of concern as it only contained the same information that was on the data page at the front of every passport, including the holder's digital image.

"Possession of this information on its own would not be sufficient to manufacture or replicate an Australian passport in that identity," she said in a statement.

"It is of no greater use than a photocopy of the personal information page of a passport.

"The e-passport chip is actually intended to be read by a wide range of authorities worldwide, in particular border control and airline authorities and is not meant to be secure against reading."

The ABC earlier reported the information on the microchip was readable by readily available equipment which could also copy that information without the owner's knowledge.

But Ms Gambaro said it was not possible for the passport to be read remotely.

She said each e-passport chip contained a digital signature which made any attempt to alter or manipulate information on the chip immediately apparent next time the chip was read by a border authority.

"The e-passport chip is just one of a number of advanced security features in an Australian e-passport," she said.

"When combined, these security features give a high level of assurance that the document is original and has not been tampered with or altered in any way."

Information security company Cybertrust endorsed assurances that e-passport information was secure.

Cybertrust general manager Anne Robins said it was impossible for data on the Australian e-passport chip to be randomly scanned as claimed.

"The reality is that there is more personal information on a driver's licence than there is on a passport," she said in a statement.

"Drivers' licences and traditional passports are easily and frequently forged, making them far more vulnerable than a digital identity such as an e-passport."

Ms Robins said information on traditional identity documents was not authenticated, validated or secured to the same rigorous standards as digital identity documents are.

"Digital identity documents offer governments and holders a far more secure way of ensuring that the personal data held on the identity document's chip is protected and secured using strong digital authentication technology that cannot be tampered with," she said.

...Of Sneezes & Shopping

new ring purchased from Sungei Wang
new ring bought from Sungei Wang plaza

Only spent about a half day at work yesterday as I have a cold. Erk. Did some work from home Friday morning, but had to go in to do a couple of things that I couldn't get to from my apartment. Minor disaster with one of our customers tools that was my responsibility, so had to take that on the chin.

A pretty quiet Friday really, went to the sauna before going to work, trying to sweat out my fever. I think it worked a bit. The air-conditioning at work did its best to undo any good work though.

I Woke up around 8am this morning, feeling a bit better, went for what has become my typical Saturday morning ritual, swim and sauna again.
My swimming is really improving, I swam 26 laps this morning. It's a 25m pool btw. Ok, I'm not a very strong swimmer and that's why I'm practicing, ok? Ok. ;)

Improving my swimming is one of several things I have on my shortlist that I want to concentrate on improving while I'm here in KL. You just don't get the opportunity back home to swim daily like you do here. Not that people don't have pools, many people have pools. Just that I don't have a pool. ;)

Afterwards I went for what is becoming at times the second part of my Saturday ritual, and that's buying pirated dvd's from one of the local shopping centres.

Had a nice, although very late lunch. I couldn't avoid it, I just had a craving for duck. Bought the above ring from Sungei Wang too, it's made from stainless steel, which seems to be a common medium for men's jewellery here. I guess you'd call that a traditional Chinese design eh? Whatever it is, I happen to think that it's pretty darn cool.

This evening has basically involved taking it easy indoors, drinkings lots of green tea and waiting for the storm in my nostrils and head to subside. Either it gets worse with the cooler evening (what cooler evening?) or I've overexerted myself today, but i'm feeling the worse that I have all day. Studying Cantonese is a delightful uphill battle that I appear to have started on... Also decided to really throw myself at the Dojo toolkit and see what it has to offer.

Dinner was the excellent chicken caesar salad from room service within my hotel. Can't get enough of it, it really is excellent.

While I was roaming around in a brief moment of clear-headedness this afternoon I took a few photos of some of the great architecture in this area. Check it out:





Saturday, December 09, 2006

Wish for straight teeth ends in deaths of girl & her dad

KUALA LUMPUR: She wanted to straighten her teeth since she was nine but 15-year-old Irween Fairuz Zainuddin’s appointment with her dentist yesterday was not kept.

On the way to fix braces on her teeth, she was killed together with her father when the motorcycle they were on rammed into a stalled factory bus on the New Pantai Expressway.

KUALA LUMPUR: Seah Wong Chong does not regret killing his three sons with rat poison on Friday.

Neither is he remorseful over the suicide attempt by him and his wife, Kau Mei Lin, immediately after the children passed out.
The 38-year-old tour bus driver said he and and his wife were forced to take the drastic measure after encountering problems, including those involving finance and debts with Ah Long (loan sharks).

"I gave my children poison until they became unconscious. I was forced to take this action as other family members could not help me resolve my problems," he told a reporter from a Chinese daily at the Hospital University Kebangsaan Malaysia (HUKM).

...and we're complaining about the rent....

Sydney city rents predicted to soar

RENTS in Sydney could increase by up to 10 per cent next year as the stock of new investment properties dries up, economists predict.

Open Source at 90 MPH

" Inspired by Linux, the OScar project aims to build a car by tapping the knowledge of a volunteer team. It won’t be an easy ride, but their journey is important..."

...Click the logo to go to the official site of the project, or click here to read more.

Friday, December 08, 2006

...Drawing on a roll of paper...

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Swivel is the "YouTube of Data". Graph your data and compare it to graphs of others. Surprisingly interesting for non-geeks, and well, geeks love this stuff don't they (errr... we)

"The number of page views your website generates. Or a stock price over time. Weather data. Commodity prices. The number of Bald Eagles in Washington state. Whatever. Uploaded data can be rated, commented and bookmared by other users, helping to sort the interesting (and accurate) wheat from the chaff. And graphs of data can be embedded into websites. So it is in fact a bit like a YouTube for Data.

But then the real fun begins. You and other users can then compare that data to other data sets to find possible correlation (or lack thereof). Compare gas prices to presidential approval ratings or UFO sightings to iPod sales. Track your page views against weather reports in Silicon Valley. See if something interesting occurs.

And better yet, Swivel will be automatically comparing your data to other data sets in the background, suggesting possible correlations to you that you may never have noticed."

Stem-cell bill passes Australian parliament

Australian Parliament has voted to overturn a ban on therapeutic cloning.
The bill would allow scientists to create embryos through therapeutic cloning and extract their stem cells for use in medical research.

Dog Barks Reveal Universal Language

What do dog barks have in common with bird tweets and human baby cries? All appear to communicate basic emotions, such as fear, aggression and submission, in somewhat the same acoustic way, according to a new Applied Animal Behavior Science study that suggests a primitive communication system may unite virtually all mammals.

essentials of expat life ~ Malaysian style...

essentials of expat Malaysian life...

orange & lemon juice, orange & peach juice, sweetened condensed milk for coffee.

I'm not sure if these juice mixes are available in Australia, I haven't seen them, but maybe I haven't been looking hard enough.

In 2 weeks i go back to Oz to pack up my room in preparation of moving over here for a while. Going back there is going to be good, but quite strange.

...It's going to be amazing to see everyone again. They're going to be disappointed though, I'm afraid I don't have too many amazing adventure stories to tell.

I might just have to make stuff up I think.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

White & Nerdy - Weird Al

Monday, December 04, 2006



me, reflected

frank and mich

Sunday lunch at KLCC with Frank & Michelle. It's the start of the Mega Sale, so there are amazing bargains, and thousands of people everywhere. A really fun afternoon, thanks guys.


I found Vegemite at Cold Storage supermarket at KLCC !

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Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tonight's Photos



Odd Search