The Little Princes

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Sunday, November 30, 2008

San Diego

Yes, I am travelling again. This time it is for a one week business trip to San Diego. It's going to be a pretty hectic five days of discussions. Will be there with two other colleagues. There's no time allocated for any sightseeing but we will probably be able to visit a mall or two in the evenings.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Cayden's Swimming Adventure

From his bath time and the fun he had in Bintan, we can see that the boy loves being in the water. So the first thing we got for him after the family trip was his own swim diapers, swim suit, kiddie sun block and "deluxe" starfish kiddie float!

We took him downstairs for a short while in the late afternoon today and boy did he have fun!

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Congratulations!

Congratulations to Kenny, Hee Young and little Lim Yae-Na!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Family Trip

This trip was mooted over half a year ago and "some" planning had gone into it. We haven't had a family trip since ... well, I can't remember ever really having one!

Anyway, since we are no experts in family holiday logistics, we decided to have ours "nearby" in Bintan. And as there were about 10+ of us, a nice "community" type place to stay was selected.

The place, a three bedroom hilltop Indra Maya villa at Nirwana Gardens Bintan.



We were originally deciding between Banyu Biru and Indra Maya villas. In the end, we decided to up our budget and go for the more "luxurious" Indra Maya as it came with a private pool (while the Banyu Biru did not).


Day 1:

The ferry was departing at 2pm so we went to Tanah Merah ferry terminal before 1pm as instructed. Parked the car at the ferry terminal. Unfortunately, bro Dom (who had all the tickets) was a bit late. This resulted in a "mad rush" (well, at least for me ... ) to check in our luggages and to board the ferry. We were the last to exit the gate and were also the last in the queue to board!

We managed to get ourselves seated nearby each other (free seating). The ferry ride was less than an hour but will seem like an eternity to those who are prone to seasickness.

We reached Bintan at 3pm (2pm Bintan time). By the time we collected our luggage, took the shuttle bus, checked-in and drove our buggy to the villa, it was coming to 5pm.

villa_pano3

The villa itself had a rustic charm to it. Yes, it looks and feels a bit old and worn down, but still pretty acceptable. After a brief orientation of the villa, sleeping arrangements and a little freshening up, it was time to prepare for the BBQ. Bro Dan, GF and another cousin arrived via a separate ferry later in the evening after work.

The BBQ food was from City Satay which we brought over from Singapore. The raw food in Bintan is expensive. Anyway, our City Satay "Set A" + some of our own raw food was more than enough for 10 adults. In fact, there was quite a bit of left over for the next day.


Day 2:

Woken up by the boy at 7am (his usual timing). The BBQ from the previous night attracted several visitors, two of which are large monitor lizards! Of these 2, one became a regular and kept coming back several times looking for food.

Breakfast was at the nearby Mayang Sari Beach Club. Breakfast buffet was unimpressive, feels like a canteen.

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After breakfast, it was exploring time. All of us managed to squeeze into the villa buggy for a trip around Nirwana Gardens. We were surprised that they had a mini "zoo" on the grounds which showcased some of the local wildlife. We also took the opportunity to visit the main resort to have a look around before going back to the villa.

After lunch, it was swimming time! All of us had a great time in the private pool. Even Cayden had his very first swimming experience! The rest of the afternoon was spent chilling out around the pool area. What a relaxing day!


Day 3:

From our recce on Day 2, we found that the main resort had a much better restaurant for breakfast. So we proceeded there instead of the "canteen" at Mayang Sari, and we were not disappointed. The variety and quality of the food was much better.

Before checking out, we managed to get about an hour or more of swim time at the public pool at the main resort. More swimming fun for Cayden! This time, we even managed to dunk him underwater (although he wasn't too happy about that).

Finally we checked out of the villa around 1230hrs (Bintan time). The journey back to Singapore was pretty uneventful until the ferry ride where little Nikki decided to puke ... :-P

Anyway, all was well and everyone reached Singapore safe and sound. The total cost of parking for 3 days and 2 nights was about $38. The skies opened on the way back and we had a nice cool drive back home in the rain.

Bintan (Nov 2008)

The photo album slideshow is available HERE.

I wonder where we should go the NEXT time ... :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

"Zhng Chia" #1



First performance mod, RS*R down springs. Made in Japan. Lowering: 1.4" front and rear.

Was considering Eibachs when the special offer for RS*Rs came about. Eibachs would have cost 1.5 times more.

Result:
- Looks better without the big gap between the wheels and the fenders
- Springs stiffer but ride quality still very good
- Not too low so no scraping of bodykit with the floor or speed bumps
- Better handling especially at high speed (less air going under the car) and cornering

There was no alignment done, will have to monitor for uneven tire wear and woolly steering, but so far so good.

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Kerb Rash



:-(

Kerb Rash ... got it two months ago at City Hall basement carpark entrance. Looks pretty severe from this close up but luckily it is not noticeable from a distance.

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Picasa 3

If you don't already know, Picasa 3 (non-beta release) is available for download. This new version has lots of cool features. Some of what I like (after playing around for a few minutes) are:

- viewer capability (can acts like a photo viewer)
- new fully customisable collage creator (can move, rotate, size and bring forward and backward photos in the pile)
- post entries straight to Blogger



Download your FREE copy today ... :-)

Sun and Moon



A collage of photos from several visits to the Sun and Moon japanese restaurant at Wheelock Place.

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Smarties



Testing the N78's camera produced this Yummy shot.

Only Smarties have the Answer!! (so are you a smartie?)

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E1111E



I think this Hyundai Matrix has the coolest license plate number in Singapore. The number itself should be worth much more than the car!!

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Parking Idiot in 6SNA5



Taken at 6 Serangoon North Avenue 5 basement carpark.
Having plenty of lots in the carpark shouldn't automatically translate to irresponsible parking ...

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Another new car gadget

Have been using this "Rear View Mirror DVR" product now for about a month. I think it beats the el-cheapo "Drive Recorder" which I bought earlier this year.

Here are some general comments:

Pros:
- Overall package is quite nice
- Build quality is not too bad
- Wide angled adjustable camera
- Auto recording start upon ignition on
- Capture until last second upon ignition off
- Loops recorded video in first-in-first-out fashion (1GB can store approx. 100 minutes of video)
- The recorded files can be saved in 1 min, 3 min, 5 min or 10 min blocks
- There is also a feature where you can "lock" files to prevent them from being deleted / overwritten
- This thing can support 2 cameras. You can put a second camera for your car interior, or facing the rear. When there is power to this camera, the DVR and LCD will take this as the input. So by hooking up the reverse camera to the reverse lamp (for power), you can have a reverse camera view on your rear view mirror with DVR recording! You can do the same thing with the interior camera by hooking it up to the interior cabin lights (for power). That way, the interior is recorded everytime any of the car doors are open (great for taxi driver safety)!
- The unit captures audio too, not sure if this is a pro or con cos your conversation in the car will also be captured! (Good thing is that you can turn this feature off)

Cons:
- Mirror is quite big and bulky so may have a problem for those who like to use the sunshade, or those with small original mirrors which hang high
- Resolution too low (320x240), would have liked at least 640x480
- Prompts you to format SD card every 7 days, suspect it is to clean up any bad files that could have been created during ignition off
- There is date/time on the unit but somehow it cannot be captured in the video. It is used only for timestamping the recorded files
- The fast forward and rewind functions are buggy
- Price is not cheap

Although the video is not as hi-def as I would have liked, I think it would still come in handy as evidence should any accident occur through no fault of yours.

Anyway, have attached some interesting videos captured by the unit on YouTube. The quality is slightly better in the original file than what can be seen online. As you can see, both videos are of taxi drivers ...

1) Idiotic taxi who cuts into my lane, slows down, and then recklessly swerves into filter lane to avoid red light!!




2) Another taxi which abruptly cuts queue inside yellow box ...