Post-2010 and 2011 thoughts.

So.

I just sort of realised that I’d missed out the 2010 post. dayum.

So here goes an summary of 2010, not in chronological order.

  • The brother Stan came over to study and bunked in with us. Excellent addition, never complained about helping.
  • V bought her first car, the Honda Jazz Vibe. Expanded the amount of weekend travelling we did.
  • Got hailed on for the first time in my life, not fun. Experienced Melbourne flash floods for the first time too.
  • Cheered the Celtics on throughout the course of a gruelling season, and watched them lose to the Lakers in a heartwrenching series in the NBA finals.
  • Spent an entire week coding SpendTrack into existence, a big first.
  • Watched Jersey Boys again, this time with Stan. Which rocked.
  • Caught West Side Story, which sucked. It sucked so bad, I fell asleep.
  • Ordered my first ever MTM (made to measure) suit, which is a big milestone in a man’s life. Thanks to Adriano Carbone for assisting with this milestone.

  • Took a little weekend trip to Daylesford with V, where the possibility of marriage was brought up. Lost sleep, watched The ShawShank Redemption that night. Excellent classic, kept my mind off reality for a bit.

  • Bought the iRobot Roomba 560, awesome housecleaning gadget.
  • Bought my first smartphone, the HTC Desire. KOOL!
  • Decided to get married, so yes I bought a pretty little solitaire that cost a chunk and asked her the traditional ‘would thou hath me?’ at home. (I was paranoid about being mugged on the streets on a public proposal scenario.)

  • Began planning for the wedding in earnest, which was about seven months down the track.
  • Celebrated a lot of birthdays with friends, and had a great party for mine and Stan’s at a KTV session

  • Had an excellently prepared Christmas dinner at Andrew’s. My first time having turkey!

And 2011 has been a considerably more milestone-ey one.

  • Went over to the US of A in a legendary two-guy trip with Stan, catching NBA games across three cities (New York, Boston, Chicago), including witnessing the recordbreaking Ray Allen #2561 three pointer in a Celtics v Lakers game. I have to transcribe my travel notes from the trip onto this blog sometime soon.

  • Got married at the RBG, great day. Months of planning and guitar practice, kudos to everyone who attended. More especially the people who flew down. And most especially the guys who helped, you know who you are.

  • Formed a basketball team, joined a local league. Tough learning experience, not an easy road but we made it through. And got runner-up.

  • First time on a roadtrip up to Canberra with the family plus Lester. First time voting for the General Election at the Singapore embassy. Which turned out to be inconsequential since the votes were not counted pfft.

  • Went back to Singapore. Twice. Caught up with many friends, which was really great. Got fever on both trips on the last day, which sucked bad. Really, really bad.

  • My little girl Elly being born in December. Became a dad – dayum. 99% of the credit goes to V for pulling through like a trooper. It’s an amazing feeling being someone’s dad. Granted, not so amazing when she poops while I’m in the middle of changing nappies but.

Not forgetting my thanks to all the friends in Singapore who have stayed in touch, despite me being overseas for five years now. And to thank my friends over here in Melbourne for being around. And to my family for putting up with my random quirks. All of you are awesome.

And lastly, I would like to thank whoever’s up there for making every year a great one. I may have had minor hiccups like falling sick or getting pissed off over random bits in life, but the contentment and joy I receive from every day of my life in Melbourne is immeasurable, and for this I give thanks without reservations.

Here’s to 2012 beating 2011 hands down!

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A walk in the park.

So.

A pretty hot day today. Seeing as I have been neglecting Cookie on her walks recently, I took her out for a much-needed walk. For her and for myself as well.

In these years of being in Melbourne, the park has always been a place of peace and enjoyment. I see people just sprawled on the grass, not giving two shits about anything else and just getting some shuteye in the shade. Couples who often bring two glasses and a bottle of wine, just enjoying in each other’s company. Families having a little picnic together. Dog lovers who risk getting caught by the park rangers (me included) by unleashing their dogs for some romp time. And the skateboarding fellows who are working hard on their tricks as always.

And there’s the odd act every now and then. I remember seeing a bunch of guys practising parkour on some park decorations, really cool. Not to mention this guy who tied rope between two trees for tightrope walking practice. And this bunch of people who played a game of hockey on unicycles, fascinating. And the interesting patron of the day, a bloke who’s working out the kinks in his bartender cocktail tricks; he’s really not bad juggling those bottles and mixers.

Cookie’s been really improving recently, she’s learnt to look around for me while running free and come sprinting back, tongue wagging and panting in excitement. Compare this to the past scenarios where she would run and totally forget about the existence of her owners. Well folks, this took like four years to accomplish! Slow progress but we got there in the end. I’m still wary of letting her off the leash at road junctions though, especially when the park is right opposite. She has this idea that the quickest way to the park is a straight diagonal. Which is entirely correct if cars and traffic lights did not exist.

It makes me happy that Cookie enjoys herself on walks. And I get to take a break from staying in the house all day long. Time for another walk soon.

The tale of the Roomba and the thumping noises.

So.

The Roomba began making these weird thumping noises a few days ago, and would stop with an “Error 2. Open Roomba’s brush cage and clean brushes”. Cleaning it out the usual way proved to be of no help.

So what would you do? Google time of course, as is the trend for the troubleshooter of today.

iRobot support offers this troubleshooting guide on brushes. It sort of sounded like the CHM (Cleaning Head Module) was the problem however.

So my search led me to this forum post on the Error 2 problem. This article proved to be very helpful in cleaning the Roomba’s CHM and fixing that persistent Error 2. It just takes patience to carefully dismantle the Roomba and its CHM, stow the screws away and clean the gearbox and any other dust/hairs you find along the way. Be warned, the gearbox is a little greasy.

Cheers to Fraggboy and Vic7767 for the guide! The Roomba is now running on all four cylinders and roaring its way to cleanliness in the house once again.

Additional Roomba cleaning guide via Robot Reviews.

Baby steps: An early surprise!

So.

The estimated due date (EDD to the abbreviation junkies) was the 18th (Sunday), but V started having contraction pains on the night of the 13th, and by the next morning it had progressed to “backbreaking pain”, as she called it and judging from her face I knew she wasn’t kidding.

So we called the hospital to confirm admission and charged down. Got admitted at the delivery suite, and that was our home for the rest of the day. Contraction intervals got down to two minutes, V was writhing and gasping in pain every time it happened. Got a pethidine jab to reduce the pain, laughing gas did not help.

Dilation was at 0 cm when we checked in, but miraculously went to 6 cm by the time the obstetrician dropped by after lunch. He checked things out, broke the waterbag and everything went much better after the epidural was injected; dilation went to 10 cm (10 cm = ready for delivery) and V managed to get a couple of hours’ shuteye before the final push began.

What was I doing in the meantime? Snapping a few pictures here and there with the 50D, sending real-time updates via messages and pictures to anxious and supportive friends in Singapore and Melbourne, who were keeping a very close eye on my updates.

You can tell that they are really very supportive. It’s probably not everyday that you get a live commentary on a baby delivery, with people screaming PUSH! on the chat.

Of course, I was also simultaneously helping the midwife with whatever was needed. It’s the least I could do, even if it just involved little things for the most part.
Like shouting at V to “take deep breaths, INHALE. EXHALE.” while she shuddered with pain.
Or pulling her legs apart to get her pushing easier, which she did with great fortitude.
Holding her still while that needle for the epidural feed went in.
Or just standing there to watch the entire childbirth process, even when the episiotomy was done. Lots of blood and needles, not for the faint-hearted. I was regaled by tales of husbands fainting, turning pale and throwing up during labour hour – I was very amused by them stories, more especially when the obstetrician and midwives kept asking if I was feeling fine.

(I think the midwives must have been laughing inside to see this fellow holding his wife in labour and still texting incessantly with the other hand, or running off to grab a camera to snap a quickie here and there.)

The sight of my daughter arriving into the world? Some moment indeed. And I’m so very proud of V for roughing it out like a trooper, despite all that pain and exhaustion.

I’m also very thankful to the wonderful Epworth Freemasons midwives Melissa, Kerry, Laura and Jo. TBH I was kind of skeptical on private hospitals previously, but this experience has shown me that the maternity staff at Epworth Freemasons do indeed exhibit a tremendous level of professionalism to their work, which I am really very impressed with. Even the post-natal care has been excellent so far, nothing to complain about and I will absolutely recommend the place without reservations.

Thanks also to the anaesthetist Alison, and most of all to Dr Ian Barabash our obstetrician, who worked like a battle-tested field surgeon with the cool of a man out on a Sunday morning walk. Thanks too for offering the opportunity to snip my daughter’s umbilical cord.

And of course, to our family and friends for their support throughout the course of the day, and for the flood of well-wishes; I’m really happy that everyone’s sharing the joy.

So.

Say hello to Ellein. My little bundle of joy, anger, trouble, mischief and so much more in the years to come.

Keinian ideals: 坚信之道

So.

All Chinese for a change. This is an attempt to explain keinism in Chinese, but the elegant economy of the language allows for the same significance in fewer words, with poetic structure. Or so I am inclined to believe, with the rather fair grasp of my mother tongue I possess.

For those who hate Chinese, skip. For the others, enjoy!

本人的生存原则,自名为坚信之道

决意志,念不移之道路》

心灵,如止水。
态度,处之泰然。
办事,不离二字 – 计划。
求助,须先自省。
进步,先克服对未知之恐惧。
尊重,以礼相待。则不缺体恤,容忍,坦诚。

梦想,就是自由,也是飞翔的羽翅。
恋情,求缘分。婚姻,须包容。
命运,无可避。可遇不可求。
生活,就是勇气。未投降,不低头,往前走。
万物,乃过眼云烟,无需执着。
人生,是成长之旅。终结之时,无需哀过。只求不悔。

你,是否也坚信?

Baby steps: Almost there!

So.

I’ve managed to wrap up the last bits at work, and am officially on leave. Meeting with the obstetrician this morning, who says delivery will be anytime from now on, and inducement will be done on next Thursday if our little one decides to stay put.

Nothing else to do but to twiddle the fingers, and wait.

Tweaking little odds and ends.

So.

I did some housekeeping on the blog’s layout; not very noticeable at first glance but it still took a bit of time for everything to be done right.

  • Added three more pictures of Cookie! Now totalling 24. Previous total of 21 had one picture hanging out like a sore thumb.
  • Reduced posts displayed from 12 to 3; this is a bit of legacy from the times when I used blurps (aka asides) a lot. Imagine how empty three blurps would look on the index.
  • As a direct consequence from above-mentioned change: added an Older/Recent posts navigation link, making it easier for visitors (including me) to read older posts.
  • Removed the About page that used to be displayed at the bottom, moved some content to the sidebar at the top. I decided the page didn’t do much good hanging around at the bottom.
  • Moved some of the content from About page into the kein and keinism page, makes more sense. Also rewrote that page a little, added more trivia.
  • Added a Twitter feed widget on the sidebar. I wanted to put it higher, but ultimately decided that my Twitter feed isn’t that interesting to warrant a top spot. Cookie’s pictures still = full of win.
  • Removed the Brazillion Dollar Home permalinks on the side bar; I’m never going to do a part 2 anyway. Stopped using the bag due to its weight, caused my left shoulder to be lower than the right after prolonged usage.
  • Updated the MEL v SIN series with the new post’s permalink, will add more topics as I go along.

More to come when I get bored again.