Saturday, December 31, 2005

Gameboy Advance Micro 20th Anniversay Edition

Not that I want one of these as I am not a Game Boy fan but it's just that I saw the new Game Boy Micro in Fry's the other day and I was instantly impressed how the have scaled this thing much further. It's basically the same as Game Boy Advance but in a new packaging. And the 20th Anniversay Edition brought a smile to my face. It's removable faceplate is designed to resemble the old Game & Watch. Does anyone still remember Game&Watch? Donkey Kong? Donkey Kong Juniour? Octopus? What else? There's one where people jumped out of a building on fire and you played the firemen below using a trampoline to bring them to safety.

Nice design Nintendo!

Less than 24 hours

.. and I received an email stating that my package is shipped via FedEx.
I should be getting it soon.
I am so excited...

I am also extremely impressed by the speed and service. I mean, I have engraving and yet the product was shipped in less than 24 hours.

WOW..

Friday, December 30, 2005

Everybody has it...

and I want it. My precious, my preciousssssssss..............

On Christmas day, I saw it in Best Buy. I pick it up and try it. It is indeed what they say it is. It's just so beautiful, so perfect. The texture, the feel, the smooth curves and those cute little sound it made. At that point, I have decided that I want one but alas, there was no stock available. Not in Best Buy, not in Fry's, not in Target, not in the whole Grapevine Mills Mall, not in the whole Dallas! People I know asked me to check out the website. I did and for the past 3 days, it's not available! It's sold out! The whole of USA have it. Everyone I know is carrying one. Except me! 2-3 business week, the web Store said. My hopes dashed. My spirit broken. I gave up...

Until I made another attempt today. And guess what? The store reads "3-5 business days" Wooo hooooo! I picked up the phone and dial the number. I know I could not order from the web because they needed a valid US billing address.

I talked to Ray. He said that "it's 2-3 weeks shipping, sir."

"But your website said days, not weeks. You might want to check it again because yesterday it says 2-3 weeks. Today it said 5 days."

" Really?", Ray asked.

"Yup.."

"Golly, you are right! You know more than me. I'll have to throw in a free Shuffle for you then..."

Of course I made up the last line. Anyway, after 10 minutes of giving my details and insisting on a free engraving, I have it! The order number placed on 12/29/05 - 01:25 PM Pacific Standard Time. I will get it in a week's time.

WOW!

The guy on the phone told me that next time I wanted anything from the web, I could just put the US city that I am shipping to in the credit card section and that will fool the system. Heh... dirty fella...

So I am a happy man... though deep down I know this will turn into a white (heh heh) elephant but who cares. It'll last me a year.. I hope.. and if I were to get the accessories (and I TREMBLE at the thought of this), I may just extend it's usefulness... like maybe in a car.. or home stereo.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Sunny Christmas

Seems like the sun is not going anywhere. It was sunny today when I went to my colleague's house for Christmas lunch. She said they don't get such a nice weather during Christmas. Heh.. Lunch was a typical American lunch she said, whichs made up of ham, turkey breasts, whipped potatoes, salads and ice tea. To me, these taste pretty standard. Nothings special here. She heats them up and "fixed the food". My other colleagues, who is from India, likes to tease her American friends. She said Americans don't cook. They buy pre-packaged stuff from the supermarket and "fixed" them. That's why we hear Americans saying, "you want me to fix something for you to eat?".. Heh.. funny, that.

Anyway, I went for a movie after the luncheon. Went to see Memoirs of a Geisha. It's wasn't great but it's still a good movie. I guess the fact that Michelle Yeoh, someone from home, is there in the big screen, is reassuring since I am watching this movie alone. When she made her first appearance, the lady beside me exclaimed, "she's beautiful". I am like, huh? She's old! Zhang Ziyi is beautiful!

I remember my manager telling me that Dato' Michelle Yeoh were her classmate during secondary school. When she came back to Ipoh a couple of years ago, they had a reunion and she emailed her. She came and later my manager went to her hotel for chat. She said Dato' is still very down to earth. Imagine that.

Back to beauty... perhaps one of the reasons why Dallas is so, so boring is that, there's NO pretty girls around here. I mean, where's all the hot chicks we saw in TV or movies? All I see everyday are HUGE people. When I say huge, I mean really big. Their thigh is as big as my whole body. It's disappointing, really. I want to go home!

The following day, the day after Christmas aka Boxing Day, I went to Fry's and Best Buy at 10am. People say that Boxing Day is where the REAL sales is! They say that I have to go early and grab the stuff. People say that the Asians, particularly Indians, will camp at 7am to wait for the store to open to grab USB drives, disk drives, printers, etc.

These people are LIARS! Fry's and Best Buy were so quiet. There was no long queue. There was no sales! But they did condorn a huge area in anticipation of returns and exchange. That's it? Disk drives were not on sale. Printers were not on sale. I wake up early for nothing!

Anyway, I watched another movie - a Steven Spielberg directed movie called Munich. It sucks! What a boring show. I don't know.. is it me or is the quality of movies are not as good as last time? The previews all made up for it. I saw preview of M:I:iii (Mission Impossible III), Mel Gibson's Apocalypto, Denzel Washington and Jodie Foster's Inside Men and one Harrison Ford movie which I can't seem to recall the title. Next year, we will have X-Men 3 also. Wow... good year? Or is it going to be flop?

I did end up buying a Logitech notebook mouse for $9. It's a really cool mouse where I could wrapped the mouse cable around the mouse for storage. Check it out.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Dry City

I was invited to a colleague's house for Christmas lunch tomorrow. I wanted to bring a bottle of wine. I went to Kroger and could not find any wine nor beer. I asked the customer service and guess what? There's no alchohol being sold in the city of Irving! An American city. No alchohol! WTF?

Some Pictures

The first two pictures show the inn where I am staying. The next two pictures show autumn trees with falling leaves. Aren't they beautiful? Look at the bright, sunny sky...

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas to my dear readers in Malaysia ... It's still Christmas eve here so I still have 12 more hours to go.

Christmas eve in Dallas is boring.. no white Christmas.. no fireworks..
Oh well.. I am going to the Galleria (a high class shopping center) later so I will see if the deco is as nice as they say it is.. Will take more pix.

Car

Another thing that really makes sense in USA is the car-related designs. Little things about the cars which I'll explained below made so much sense it boggles my mind why we didn't adopt it in MY. For example, the remote control has the same features as our car in MY - lock, unlock, unlock trunk and warning (red). As you walk to the car and press unlock button in the remote, the headlights, in-door light and back lights all lit up for 10 or 15 seconds. Only the driver door is unlocked. The passenger door, the two back doors remained locked. This is a safety feature as only the driver can get into the car. Press the unlock button the second time and all the other 3 doors will be unlocked. Makes sense? This is especially useful in dangerous Kuala Lumpur.

Inside the car, when you closed the door, there is a pleasant beep sounding to remind you that you need to buckle up and that the hand brake is up. If you start your car and get into gear and move with the handbrake on, this beep will sound again. Make sense?

You reached your destination and get out of the car. You press the lock button and the car is locked. Pressing the lock button again will cause the car horn to honk once (and the lights lit up). This is useful in two count - one it is an audible sound to let you know that your car is locked in case you are not sure if it's locked. Also, when you want to locate your car, you can press this and the car honked. I know we can always press the red button to cause the alarm to go off when locating your car but why do you need the whole alarm to sound when a simple honk and light suffice (especially in a shopping complex)?

Finally, handbrakes and gear. The modern world is all about automatic transmission. So, why in the world do we still need the damn gear in between the driver seat and passenger seat? It's auto, you don't need it there. The Ford that I drove has the gear in the place where the car light stick used to be (i.e. just behind the steering wheel). The hand brake is just a pedal on the far left. This free up the space in between the driver seat and passenger seat so you have more space if you want to. Currently, they put in a hand-rest with a "container" for your drinks and keys. This hand-rest can be pushed up so that you have more sitting space if you want to.

Doesn't all this make sense to you?

If so, why aren't we using it?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Random Ramblings

Every morning when I drive to work, I usually made many observations .. or I reflect back what happened the previous days. I thought I should share some of my observations with you.

I found out that the reason the phone charger did not work is because US has a different voltage requirement. They are the only country, as far as I know, that uses 110V, where as the rest of the world, including Malaysia, uses 220V (or is it 240V?) .. anyway, that’s US for you – everything have to be different. I’ll have to find either a power converter or someone in the office who has a Nokia who happens to have a charger too. And I believed I have found someone who has it!

Having said that, perhaps there is a reason to be different. I find that the traffic/road system in US makes a lot of sense. For example, and I am putting this in a Malaysian context, when you are in a cross junction with traffic lights and you wanted to make a left turn, you could do a left irregardless if the traffic light is red or not as long as there are no cars coming from the right. Makes lots of sense right? Why would you want to stop when you can turn if there are no incoming cars.

Similarly, if you are at the cross junction with traffic light and you wanted to turn to the right to the opposite lane, they have a special traffic light for that. In this traffic light, it has two green light. One is just green. There is a sign that says if Yield when green to turn. This means that when the light is green and there is no incoming cars, you can turn to the right. If there are incoming cars, you yield and wait. After a while, the other green light will lit up. This light has an arrow. When you see this light, you know FOR SURE you can turn and don’t have to yield. Again, makes so much sense and alleviate a lot of traffic woes.

Then people here actually adhere to speed limits and if they do, certain parts of the system works. For example, every morning I have to pass through this road where there is school. Over here, the limit is 20mph.. around 30 km/h. So there are cars which will turn into the school to drop their children and then they turned back out and drive over to the opposite lane. Now any incoming traffic has to go at 20mph which allows these cars to drive over to the opposite lane. If people don’t adhere to the limit, there’s no way these cars can come out of the school, thus causing traffic jam. Fortunately, people here do adhere and cars just move in and out like a breeze.

Actually when I think about it, a lot of these traffic rules depend on the people’s mentality. I believe it will not work even if it is implemented in Malaysia because Malaysian drivers do not yield. LOL.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sun

I cannot believe that I am saying this but I am so glad to see the sun today! It's a beautiful day. I don't think I have seen the sun for 5 days! The office is brightly lit. It's nice. I'll post pictures later..

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

My inn

I am staying in one of those inns or suites that are pretty common in Dallas - perhaps because they have many big companies who have many assignees (read Indians) who came to United States for a few months to learn the ropes. The inn's setup is usually like this:

They have one main building where the reception is located. There are many satelitte buildings behind or adjacent to this main buildings. In the main building, you find the reception and this lounge decorated like a house's "living room". This lounge has sofas, nice oak tables and chairs and a huge fireplace. This is the place where I eat my complimentary breakfast every morning. I'd love to take a picture of this lounge but I had no opportunity currently because every morning, there are many kwai los having breakfast there and I don't want to look jakun.

Behind this building are the satelitte buildings. They are all built like homes and it looked like a huge mansion. Inside these buildings are the hotel rooms.

The rooms usually have a small living room with a sofa and TV. There's also a kitchenette with dishwasher, fridge, microwave oven and a dining table (see the picture above). There will be a bedroom and a bath, all tastefully placed to make this place cozy and homey like.

Both pictures were taken while I was standing behind the entrance. The second picture shows the bedroom. I have a huge King size bed. Nice! Oh ya.. in my room, just above the TV (if you zoom in) you will see a game controller. I could play Nintendo Gamecube game for a fee. It's expensive.. $6 per hour. Celaka. Anyway, just thought I should mention it.


The picture on the left this was taken from the bedroom to show you the dining table and the entrance. So it is a pretty nice room for US$71 per night. I find the price pretty reasonable especially since I get free broadband. In comparison, Mariott Seoul charges US$200 per night and no free broadband. Broadband in Mariott Seoul cost US$21 for 24 hours. Crap!

Shopping

Today is my 3rd day in Dallas. My Indian colleague advised me that I should do some shopping like buying chips and drinks and bring them to office instead of buying them from the vending machine. She said Americans love to bring food to work so they save money that way. Otherwise, eating out is very expensive.

Wise words..

So I went Target to do my shopping and I bought a few stuff.. one of them is this miniature 6-pack Diet Coke shown here.

I am not sure if you believe me but the Diet Coke in USA taste much, much better than the Diet Coke (aka Coke Light) in Malaysia. Not sure why but it really taste better. However, I usually can't finished a can and this miniature Diet Coke just fits the bill. Behind the Diet Coke are Starbucks coffee. I bought two boxes - one box contain 4 bottles. The black label is Mocha Frappucino. The green one is Minty Mocha Frappucino Limited Edition. I bought a few boxes of Tamales for Mystic Grey.. bought a dozen miniature Pringles and Lays Potatoes chips. Bought a few boxes of microwave food.. All in all, I spent around US$40 on food, chips and drinks. I hope it is money well spent.

Anyway, the reason you see 7 bottles of Starbucks coffee is because as I was transporting the bags of stuff from the trunk to the hotel room, one bag slipped my fingers. Of all bags, it was the Starbucks coffee bag that fell and one of the bottles broke. Celaka.. didn't even get to drink already tumpah...

Winter

I like cold weather. I hate the hot sun. But you know what? I hate winter too.. not because it is cold but because during winter, it gets dark really fast and you can't really do anything when it's dark and too cold. It's something that affected me psychologically. It's 5pm now and already it has started to get dark. I don't even feel like going out to shop. I wanted to buy my winter clothes as winter is approaching but I don't have the mood.

I like to analyze things. I am trying to see if my reluctance to go shopping is due to the dark winter nights or if it was due to the fact that I have to shop alone now. I mean, a year ago, I probably don't mind shopping alone. A year with Anne and I can't bear to do things alone now. How le?

So, let me assure myself by saying it's not Anne who's the factor here. It's the darn depressing winter chills and winter nights.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Warm Seat

Sometimes the kwai los amazes me with their ridiculous ideas. I sat in my colleagues pick up today and guess what? Her car seat has this button that when depressed, will warm the seat! So as you sit in the car, the seat gets warmer and warmer and when it reach one point, it will stop heating it up.

I mean, why would one need such a thing? Do we want a cold car seat back in MY? That would add more cost to the car.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Heavy Heart

I am now sitting here, in my PC room, waiting for the cab driver to come to take me to the airport, countless thoughts running through my head. It's weird. For the first time ever, I feel such reluctance from leaving the country. Anne play the biggest part in this, no doubt, but there are some other things that contribute to this. One of them is the fact that when I return, it will be Loochoomus' turn to leave the country - this time to Bangkok, probably for a the next 5 years. I had a mamak session with him just now and while he looked forward to the new life in Bangkok, he's also feel that our friendship will go the way most friendships divided by distance go - they just fade away. It's bizarre how life always take such a turn. Due to my skeptic nature, I am prepare for events like this - I always tell people that friends come and go - but when one of my best friends and companions are starting a new life in a "galaxy, far, far away", well, it's just affect me in some ways. Guess I am still human.

Anyway, I will miss Anne a lot. This will be another blue Christmas and New Year. And work in Dallas, which I forsee will be full of challenges and pressure, is not helping one bit.

Wish me luck.

Monday, December 12, 2005

3 years

Back in 2003, I started this blog to chronicle my trip to Dallas. This weekend, I will be making another trip there and back at the end of Jan 2006. 3 years. Wow!

Congratulations, Lil' Sis...

My sister married on Saturday, Dec 10.

It was a good wedding, albeit a hectic one for my family.

My thoughts on wedding still stand true, though.

This time, instead of being bombarded with questions like "when are you getting a girlfriend?" or "when are you going to Australia?", I have a new, more friendlier, question: "when's your turn?" in which I gave the response "still too early to tell" and people would leave me alone. Phew. I tell you, it's a good change. At least, I am not so stress during weddings and CNYs anymore. Ha ha..

I'll write about it later.. I hope I have the time.. Very busy with work these days.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Harry

My dog Harry is totally usesless. I don't mind if he's useless, but he's also very stuck up. He's like a cat in a dog skin. Have you heard of dogs who ignore their owners? Only a cat does that. Dogs adore owners. Well, not my dog.

Something hilarious happened yesterday night. It was a cool night after a heavy downpour. The wind was blowing and I decided to open the front door to let the cool air into our living room. I left the door open and continue playing Space Rangers 2. Suddenly, there was a loud bang. The wind blew my wooden door shut. I came out of the room to open it again and saw a cat in the living room. The loud noise woke Harry up and he saw the cat and stared at it for a minute. The cat flew upstairs. Harry realized it's a cat and started barking. The funny thing is, he didn't see that the cat ran upstairs. So there he was, running around our furnitures in circles, sniffing and barking non stop looking for the cat. I think that if it wasn't for the noise from the slamming door, the cat would probably be scratching Harry's balls and he wouldn't have known it. What a hopeless dog!

Just the other day, my sister caught him barking at this drain for almost 15 minutes. He just barked and barked and barked. My sister went to investigate. When he saw my sis investigating the drain, he slowly crept towards the drain. When he found that there was nothing there, then he stopped barking and quietly go back into the house. I mean, he must have caught a rat or something in the drain and without using his brains, just barked non stop even though the object of his attention were already miles away. He has no balls to even walk towards the drain and bark. See la? Hopeless or not?

Don't WhatsApp /SMS when driving

This morning, we received news that one of Jane's classmate passed away after fighting for her life for 4 days. She was cycling in her A...