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Archive for February, 2009

Angkor Wat… At Last!

February 28th, 2009 No comments
Leading To Angkor Wat

Leading To Angkor Wat

Date: 24th Feb, 2005, 7:45am

Location: Angkor Wat, Siem Reap, Cambodia

Finally! After 3 weeks’ tiring travel linking us from Kuala Lumpur to Bangkok, to Chiang Mai, to Huai Xuey, Luang Prabang, Vientiane, Pakse, Veun Kham, Phnom Penh, we reached the climax of the trip – at Angkor Wat.

This is my favorite photo of the Angkor trip. Not one of those must-have-sunrise-over-Angkor Wat photos – I have those too, but to me, the photo above has something special that I can’t describe. At least it is not one of those.

We made it, finally. Save the best for last.

First Ray of Light on Mt. Kinabalu

February 25th, 2009 1 comment
First Light on Mt. Kinabalu

First Ray of Light on St. John's Peak, Mt. Kinabalu

Date: Mid Oct 2005, 5:57am

Location: Summit of Mt. Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia

The Story: 2nd time is much easier. I was not the first ones to reach the Summit of Mt. Kinabalu that day, but at least I have enough time to capture the moment of the ray of light hits the mountain. A few climbers already sitting down, chilling out (literally). The sun gets out from the thick clouds, paints the left side of St. John’s Peak with orange color. The magic moment is short-lived, though – the sky turns bright soon and before long, the orange color is gone, replaced by blinding glare.

Accidental Srinagar

February 23rd, 2009 1 comment
Dusk at Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir.

Dusk at Dal Lake, Srinagar, Kashmir.

Date: Oct 2005

Location: From the boat house, the view of Dal Lake at Srinagar.

The sun has just set. Late autumn evening is getting colder by the minute. Dal Lake is as calm as it can be, but can’t say the same to Srinagar, the Summer Capital of Kashmir – the disputed state that has multiple blasts that killed and injured many, before and after my visit. Srinagar is so beautiful at this time, it must be amazing during the Spring time when the flowers blossom. I wish I would have chance to revisit the place again, in Spring. I hope.

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General Information & Expenses: My First Sipadan Trip, Aug 2008

February 22nd, 2009 4 comments
Sipadan Island - Tiny but Famed

Sipadan Island - Tiny but Famed

It’s been a while – 6 months to be exact – since I came back from my Sipadan trip, but it is just like yesterday, that I can still remember details of the trip. I had my best dives, not saying a lot as I have just over 50 in total, but the memories of this trip will not go away for a very long time. Because the trip is very special to me.

So, I am obligated to write down some notes about this trip, on one hand to record down my memories, but on the other hand promote our own little Malaysian islands – Sipadan, Mabul and Kapalai – to the rest of the travelers and divers. Not that these famed islands still need any more promotion, though.

Some trip information for my 5D4N Sipadan trip last August (8/82008 ~ 12/8/2008):

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Great Barracuda!

February 21st, 2009 No comments
Great Barracuda, length of 1.5m or so

Great Barracuda, length of 1.5m or so

Date: 11th August, 2008; ~1pm

Location: one of Kapalai’s dive sites

Equipment: Canon Powershot A620 in Canon WP-DC90 waterproof housing, Inon Z240 single strobe

It was almost 50 minutes into our 2nd dive of the day, at Kapalai (near Sipadan, Sabah, Malaysia). 6 of us together with our dive master ascended to ~7m, getting ready to do the safety stop and call it an end to another great dive. Thus far, the dive is excellent – among other sightings, I saw my first ribbon eels – 2 adults in blue and yellow colors, and one pitch black juvenile. I spent quite some time with one of the adult ribbon eels, trying to get a good shot of it but not really successful. My buddy Bill was not helping at all in that regard, but that is another story.

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Some Personal Spending Numbers in 2008

February 15th, 2009 2 comments
2008: Personal Expense Breakdown

2008: Personal Expense Breakdown

Had some time on hand during the weekend, and thought I would go through my last year’s spending to see how I can do better in year 2009. Well, the numbers are staggering – I wouldn’t have imagined I spent that much! Not ready to disclose the actual amount, but here are some numbers:

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Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Export Lightroom2 photos to iPhoto ’09: How to

February 9th, 2009 8 comments

I use Lightroom2 extensively in my Raw digital workflow, including:

  • import photos from camera
  • organizing photos
  • assign flags and ratings
  • adding titles and captions
  • processing
  • export to web gallery

Well, basically I use it for everything, except occasionally for some photos that I will use Photoshop to process and apply sharpening using Unsharp Mask. The introduction of Lightroom has streamlined my Raw digital workflow tremendously. The only problem is, I would like to have the photos exported to iPhoto too. You might ask – Why would I do that? Well, the iPhoto is good in a few areas:

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Categories: Mac Tags: , ,

Google Earth Goes Underwater in 5.0

February 7th, 2009 2 comments

Google Earth

Google has released the latest version of its Google Earth [5.0 (Beta)] with the new features as below:

  • Historical imagery from around the globe
  • Ocean floor and surface data from marine experts
  • Simplified touring with audio and voice recording

As if looking at the landscape on Earth and stars in the outer space isn’t enough, the new Google Earth added more things for us to see: the Ocean layer. This new feature is the one that interests me the most, for me as a recreational diver and marine life lover. In the Ocean layer, there are contents (video/photos/text) provided by BBC, National Geographic and a few other organizations, as well as ocean sports sites mapping (dive sites, surf sites etc).

Great Barrier Reef

Great Barrier Reef (Explore The Ocean)

Great Barrier Reef (BBC Earth)

Great Barrier Reef (BBC Earth)

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Categories: Divings Tags: ,

无事忙中老,空里有哭笑,本来没有我,生死皆可抛。

February 5th, 2009 4 comments

法鼓山创办人圣严法师创办人圆寂于二月三日,享年八十。遗言有偈如上。

A great movie – “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”

February 3rd, 2009 No comments

Just finished watching the romantic love story “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button”. Liked the way how the storyline was being narrated and unfolded by Benjamin and Caroline. Some memorable quotes:

“Our lives are defined by opportunities.”

“… It’s never too late… to be whoever you want to be. There is no time limit, start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing.”

It might be true that nothing lasts in life, but true love will last forever. As Benjamin puts it: “I never stopped loving you.”

A highly recommended movie – go watch it before it scores in Oscar!

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: ,

Ferrero Garden – a clear box of chocolates that you know what you’re gonna get

February 1st, 2009 4 comments
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Ferrero Garden

I was going to get some chocolates as souvenir in the Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport’s duty-free shop while waiting for the flight back home to Kuala Lumpur, and noticed that that there is a different kind of Ferrero chocolates. I’ve seen only one type of Ferrero chocolate in Malaysia – pardon my ignorance – which is the Ferrero Rocher.

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The prestige Strawberry flavor

There, sitting on the shelf, is this Ferrero Garden chocolates in a clear plastic box. Total 18 pieces of chocolates inside, all individually wrapped just like the Rocher. There are 5 different flavors, namely Almond, Pistachio, Strawberry, Hazelnut and Coconut, differentiated by the wrapper color as well as the logo on the wrapper itself. Interestingly the Strawberry flavor has only 2 pieces in all the boxes that I see in the duty-free shop, while other flavors all having 4 pieces each.

I bought a box of the Ferrero Garden, costs me 320 Baht, and it ended up as a souvenir. I did try a piece of the Coconut flavor – it is sweet, white-milky and there is an almond inside. Unlike the Rocher, the Garden’s coating did not have the little chopped nuts, which to me is a plus.

Go check out the duty-free shops when you are in one of the airports around the world, and try it yourself!