Friday, December 22, 2006
The Maximuzz and Merciless Production Team and their band of merry action figures wish each of you a Christmas filled with adventure, ACTION and food! But remember to watch that FIGURE!
Remember to click on the gallerycard below and sing along with it! :)
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
I wonder how I was ever the GA (Goal Attack) [being of less than ideal height for a shooter] and she, the WD (Wing Defender). We only realised that our birthdays were days (if not a day) apart when I was due to leave school for the land of the rising sun! [as if that was such a significant discovery! haha! Kids!]
We wrote each other back in the old school days, but then we kinda lost touch. It wasn't til recently that our paths crossed again at a Quick Release Duathlon event (I was helping out and she was racing).
It was then that I realised that not only is she is 1 of the few school mates of mine who'd gone into extreme sports, but she is THE IRONWOMAN OF MALAYSIA!
Ohhh [put both hands in bow down many times].......we're not worthy!
Did some homework and dug out some old interviews.....below, one of her featured in a 26 July 2004 MTB Asia article titled "A Dentist with a Passion for Th(drills)". Haha! By the way, she's a dentist if you haven't gotten that figured out!
In another interview, she was mentioned as having qualified 4 times for Hawaii (and I take it to be THE Ironman Triathlon)....and it looks like she'd qualified for 2006 as well!
As if Iron-ing was not enough, she's also an adventure junkie and has managed the Malaysia Eco-Challenge team, as well as taking part in the extreme of all races...oh...and the Xterra too and....the list just goes on...and on!
Ok backup chorus, you're on again...."we're not worthy.....we're not worthy"......
I'd just like to wish her a happy belated birthday....and here's to many more adventures in the year 2007, Fiona!!! :)
Brad and I have something in common. We were born on the same day....a couple years removed though.
A whimsical question : What are the chances of meeting someone else who shares the same birthday as you? And I wonder if 2 people who were born on the same date will share the same fate...and future? Well, so far, I guess Maximuzz kinda reminds me of Angelina....or rather, the Max I know of in his younger days is probably closer to the Jolie in Laura Croft! hee hee!
These were thoughts that DIDN'T come to mind, especially if mind is occupied with work, work, and more work!!! Yessssssssss, burrrrrrrn that midnight oil coz Europe is awake and I should be too, despite the stars telling me by their twinkling that it's day over there and night over here...but oh I forget, it's been raining so I wouldn't know if they were sending me a message...
I was beginning to wonder it this was one of my worst birthdays, being stuck in the office til the wee early hours of the morning, with work eating into my mountain biking and other play time.....
Til the kind office folk threw me a quickie party, which lasted all of 5 mniutes...coz immediately after the singing of the birthday song and the Awfully-Chocolate cake feasting, it was back to punching the keyboards again...sigh...
Then it was off to home at 9pm, wolfing down that wonderful surprise gourmet birthday dinner that Maximuzz made *yums*....but before long, back to the keyboards again!!! Yikes!
I thought I'd never see the end of this tunnel vision til early next morning, I received a surprise sms from Karen, my ex-colleague. She'd given birth to her son on my birthday! She also reminded me that the newborn and I share the same Chinese and ang mo zodiac sign! I smsed her "You poor thing! Good luck to you! :)"....
Yesterday, Wang Cheng, another ex-colleague of mine, also popped...and guess what, her baby was born on......exactly the same day!
And both of them were my fellow work mates from different phases of my life, and were introduced by me to each other at our wedding last year. I even placed them on the same table!!! Unbelievable!
I did a little research about people born on the same day :-
Website : http://www.astrouniverse.com/faqs.php
Q : Does two people born on the same date will have the same future?
Many people are born on the same date but at a different hour. Many are born on the same date and in the same hour, but not in the same place. An individual's horoscope is calculated using all three of these variables. Every four-minute interval produces a slightly different chart, and even twins are rarely born within such a narrow space of time. The horoscope is indeed a unique chart; no two individuals have the same one.
Merciless says : Yeah, now I have to go find out what time Brad was born...since they didn't add in the variable of the same year? By the way, those typos should really be changed...
Website : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Birthday_paradox
In probability theory, the birthday paradox states that given a group of 23 (or more) randomly chosen people, the probability is more than 50% that at least two of them will have the same birthday. For 60 or more people, the probability is greater than 99%, although it cannot actually be 100% unless there are at least 366 people. This is not a paradox in the sense of leading to a logical contradiction; it is described as a paradox because mathematical truth contradicts naive intuition: most people estimate that the chance is much lower than 50%. Calculating this probability (and related ones) is the birthday problem. The mathematics behind it has been used to devise a well-known cryptographic attack named the birthday attack.
Merciless says : Gong xi mi? This Birthday Paradox is too convolutedly worded for Wikipedia...or at least to someone who shys away from numbers! Yikes! Let's try another one...u know, something more laywoman, like how stuff works...
Website : http://www.howstuffworks.com/question261.htm
Someone told me that if there are 20 people in a room, there's a 50/50 chance that two of them will have the same birthday. How can that be?
Merciless says : Aha, finally, a website that speaks the same lingo! Amazing theory, isn't it! But that's all that is, right? A statistical formula? I've been in the same room as 20 of my friends and family members dozens of times, and none of us ever shared the same birthday.
Website : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/December_18#Births
In the Gregorian Calendar, December 18 is the 352nd day of the year (353rd in leap years), at which point there will be 13 days remaining to the end of the year.
Merciless says : Amazing! I type in the relevant date, and Wikipedia even has the birth and death statistics of the rich and famous! See, Brad is right there! And so is Christina Aguilera, not that that really matters....who the heck is Cowboy Troy?
I could go on and on, but work beckons! Sigh.....and I have lots of updates to complete before the year is over!
I'd just like to say though that at the end of the day, it really did turn out to be quite a special day...for the 4 of us (Brad included). And the good news is that both mummy and the 2 newborn 18 December doggy babies are doing fine!
Congrats to the mummies and daddies! If you ever need any help psycho-analysing your kids when they grow up, you know who to call! :)
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Singaporeans visited by aliens and UFOs in the 70s...and even now?
Delusional characters and real life encounters and interviews!
Which is fact, and which, fiction? Decide for yourself!
If you are having trouble viewing the above video, click here. It's over 20 mins so it will take some time to view.
Above was the first film that I ever made (on land, at least), drawing on the multi-talents of my friends, family and pets. It was screened at the Goethe Institute as part of one of the previous year's film festivals....and also distributed in a CD to our wedding guests! Heh heh!
Wana know more? Go to the related blogs :
Aliens and UFOs - Frontpage news of the Straits Times?
Neville, the New Zealand Prophet!
Orang Kenit, the 70s allien?
Saturday, December 16, 2006
One of the 2006 participants in India sent me the above bull article (words in white)...and prefers to remain anonymous...in case you're too lazy to click on the pages above, I've reproduced the article (without the captions) below :-
"MTB Himachal finished in Manali, HP two days ago. The 700km and nine day race involved most evenings finishing with riding rough back roads in the dark due to occasional shambolic organisation by MTB Himachal race staff. On two separate nights dinner was supplied before 10pm.
The prize giving in Manali was presided over by the Governor of Himachal Pradesh. During the race the three Hungarian competitors lost in the jungle in the night were found by a lost race marshall after only two hours. Five riders were attacked and nearly gored by an angry bull. Three leopards andone bear were seen but none was fast enough to injure competitors. One competitor was bitten by a dog and completed a series of rabies vaccines. The truck that capsized due to overloading only injured one man who is still recovering in Kullu.
Of the 56 competitors starting the race only 33 people finished. This was in part due to hunger, exhaustion and sleeplessness related to organisation issues with event. The men's section was completely cleaned up by the Indian army while international competitors were lost in the jungle.
There were vigorous protests by international competitors as the Indian army participants could not ride any technical sections and instead lifted their 20 kg steel Hero cycles onto their shoulders and ran and jumped past technically able riders, beating them on technical downhill sections. The protests were ignored by race officials."
Friday, December 15, 2006
Well, me spent last weekend in the office...and it's been late nights ever since! @$)&@)$(@)$(& Burnt ze midnight oil til 4 am this morning! Yikes! Ok, at least it's past the witching hour when one starts to see things fly....I wana go outside and join them!!!
This video was alerted to me by Mingloid this morning....
Despite the working gripe, this is my delightful respite! It is soooooooooo amazing! It's stuff like this though that keeps one indoors! But then...you can't have your chalk and ride it too!
[if you can't view above video for some reason, click here]
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
[If you can't see the video, click here]
Yikes! I thought December would be a relack month in the office....guess I thought wrong! It's become the busiest month so far, and I hardly have time to breathe!
But I have discovered this new software which manages to reduce the size of some the videos which I made in the past and upload it to the internet video hosts.
Above is one such video. It is the first of a three-staged marine conservation project I joined back in 2001 with the ultimate aim of establishing a marine park in Cambodia to promote local ecotourism.
Footage was taken mostly by yours truly (in my eager beaver video-crazed days), then a participant, and underwater shots also captured by Karen, the scientific officer and moi. Video was edited by Merciless for the Cambodian government.
Story goes that when the "official" video was edited, I gave the final cd to one of the expedition leaders so that they can deliver it to the Cambodian govt. I also gave them one with additional clips of us goofing around, doing and saying silly things which were not exactly PC (hmmm...shall I put those on the net? tempting). I specifically reminded them NOT to mix up the 2 cds!
You can guess what happened....when the presentation video was over, the "extra" footage appeared...and the government officials were probably wondering what the heck was going on! :P Heard the video was a huge success though! Phew!
For more info about this project, go to following website : http://www.reefcheck.org/news/newsletter07/newsletter7.htm
Shall be back with a vengeance on the rest of the stories about India, NZ, Kiara, Penang, our adventure races of 2006...laterz....
Monday, December 11, 2006
Speaking of songs, below is a farewell song with lyrics tweaked by fellow biker, Mingo....to be sung to the tune of "Knockin' of Heaven's Door"...
Momma, take this bike from me
I can't ride it any more
Its really hard, to hard to see,
My shiny 'ol Blur sittin' on the floor...
sit-sit-sittin' on the floor,
it ain't going out the door,
sit-sit-sittin' on the floor,
just long-long-longin' for some more.
Momma take my shorts from me,
I can't wear them any more,
I let this guy touch me on my knees,
Gave me a couple of electric shocks...
let-let-let-let letric shocks,
He was rubbin' on my hocks
let-let-let-let letric shocks,
Supposed to make me bust my jocks
Mingo and all of us wish Chi a good hiatus from all the wheelin' and dealin' and hope that the Penang weekend's walk-ride-eat-rub-laugh session was as good for him as it was for all of us!
[in case you're wondering about the electric shocks, Angela's album should tell all!]
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
Let me abide by an old famous Indian proverb which goes like this....
"The way to overcome the angry man is with gentleness.
We overcame an angry bull with....our chewy gums and an NGC van?
The evils of diahrroe, with the goodness of wholesome food!
The misery of basic living, with....hey, did it say "miser"?
And now, let's tackle the simple "truth".
The truth of the matter is that it is difficult to draw the line between lies and deceit...and miscalculations and misjudgment, a very sensitive topic which led to the whole 11-men strong Singapore contingent pulling out of the MTB Himachal 2006 on the 6th day!
Let's look at the press releases for example.....
Above article boasts "over 160 international and Indian riders"....hmmm....I recalled there being only 56 competitors, with only 33 crossing the finish line! That's 200% more than the actual turn out, unless they were counting the organising team, cooks, porters, drivers ...and the band members! Hmmm....
It spoke about "travelling 600 kilometers" but our Indian sources could have sworn it all added up to a grand total of 700km - 100km off the mark! I recalled cycling over 100km off-road on each of 2 separate days, so it is probably not far from the truth!
Now, this is a good one. "Everyday will begin at 8.00 am and riders will be expected to reach the finish line by 6.00 pm." I remembered more often than not the day starting much later in the hot gruelling sun, and ending way into the darkness of the night!
I wonder where they got all this info from?
Here's another article about this year's race. "...participants from the USA, United Kingdom, Brazil, Belgium, Hungry, Hong Kong and other countries"...
I dun recall seeing no united nations bikers....except for the 11 Singaporeans, 3 Hungarians, 1 Australian and 1 New Zealander! The rest were Indians.
I guess you could count the Hungarians as "Hungrys", as that was probably how they felt when they were lost in the woods after sundown during one of the stages. A rather serious aftermath after a series of rather suspicious events! Now, that's a real story to tell....in another blog!
Oh, and here it mentions "650 km with an elevation gain of 12,000m". 650km? or 600km? It's only 50km difference? No big deal, really, especially when you're on a bike and have to push some of the ways (on the uphills AND the downhills)!
In this write-up, "the total kilometers of the course this year have increased; covering 650 km in nine days with a peak altitude of 3600 mtrs and 1200 mtrs of total elevation gain". This was largely extracted from the Himachal website.
I wonder : why they increase? Hmm....
When Winnie told us what a breeze it was to pull through each day in the 2005 event, we didn't think much about not being able to complete the daily dosage of pain!
What we didn't expect (and neither did the organisers, so we were told) was that the increase in total distance was a gross miscalculation on their part as they had expected us all to be of the standard of the Champion, Norbert! Can we all fly past each stage like Norbert? Come on - get real! Apart from the superfit Indian army folk and the speedy seasoned mountain bikers, the rest who signed up were the regular mountain biker on the dirtroad!
Until recently, I had never carried a Catsye in my life! I never knew how fast I was riding, and what distance I had covered! My aim was to go from point A to point B in my personal fastest time!
The Catseye changed my riding style...somewhat! I would eagerly await the briefing at the beginning of the day, and one of the important things that really mattered to me was how long I'd have to cycle to complete the course so that I can gauge how fast or slow I should be riding - sustainability is all there is to it! Plus the knees may give up half way!
Turns out that the ride briefings in the morning were grossly inaccurate, sometimes off the mark by over 30 km! Sometimes the description of the terrain was off too! I suspect the race director hasn't even ridden the route before!
And to make matters worse, some of the marshalls were advocating the "ai gao liao" (almost there in Penang Hokkien) attitude, it makes the Penangites seem like angels in comparison! For instance, it doesn't really help when they tell you you have 16 more km left to go when the Cats eye tells you you have reached the finish line? There you are....after almost 70km of cranking....you're no longer smiling nor enjoying the ride, your knees are about to give way, you're hungry and almost out of water, AND you have to watch the road before you carefully in case you run into drunken villagers or mad dogs in the dark, or in the worse case scenario, fall off the cliff! Your body won't be found til 2 weeks later if you're lucky!
But then I ask myself : are we a product of a safe and efficient Singapore which overvalues safety, efficiency, comfort, accuracy (better or else I sue you)? Can we not close one eye and take a set of instructions with a pinch of salt? Can we not let our guard down and go with the flow...whichever directions the wind blows? Are we not built for adventure, not tough enough to overcome the perils of the wilderness?
One happy-go-lucky Indian (who obviosuly doesn't need a Catseye) says with a big smile, "my goal everyday is to start at 8 am and finish by 8 pm". Can we not adopt this attitude and just roll with it?
Another's justification statement really tickles me, "we paid only USD300 and instead of 80km each day, we get to ride 100km per day! Now, we got more than we bargained for!" Great value for money, indeed! Hee hee!
Well, at the end of the day, whatever doesn't kill ya, will make you stronger! And to tell ya the truth, save for the incidences which led to our withdrawal from the race, I truly enjoyed myself during this trip!
"The way to overcome a trip gone wrong is to see the many rights it brought to light".
Mountain biking experts Cara Coolbaugh from the US and Cass Gilbert from the UK spent over three months designing the track - and they are difficult taskmasters.
...Riders, including three women, were from the US, Belgium, Hungary, South Africa, Denmark, SINGAPORE the UK, and India. Norbert Szenthihlosi from Hungary won the championship title after beating the 22 other spirited challengers...."
The Singapore girl featured in the above article is none other than gutsy Winnie, who has been globetrotting solo for the past year or so. You can read more about her travels here
She humbly mentioned in passing that she'll be joining a mountain biking ride event in India. Turns out it was an inaugural 9-day enduro MTBing race called the "MTB Himachal 2005" covering hundreds in distance and thousands in elevation, of kilometres over the Indian trans-himalayas! Hats off to Winnie the Pooh!
We learnt that she'd spent a thrifty USD100 for the whole event! O man! That's less than the entry fees to a half-day Action Asia Challenge in Singapore! What a fantastic deal!
Winnie spilled all about how fun the ride was, how fantastic the traildesigners Cass and Cara were, how she'd met the Hungarians, friendly Indians, organisation was great etc. etc.........and how we should all go for it!
So, in October 2006, 11 Singaporeans decided to bite the bullet and head for our first multi-day enduro event! Rina and Steve, Nik and Pling, Becks and her support crew (and sister) Ruth, Smokin' Babe, Chee Han, Foo, Chiku and moi were in for THE BIG EVENT of our lives....and we got more than we bargained for...literally! :P
Akan datang...in next blog!