Apr 7, 2010

Back to the Basic Fundamentals

Type: Cardio/Core
3pm, home

Yes yes, I know that “basic” and “fundamentals” in the same sentence is an oxymoron. But I couldn’t resist the 1980s Japanese game lingo (like “All your base are belong to us”).

image

I took a few days to rest and work on my core. In fact, today my first run around in a week. Not very “Wah” I know but the drop off was quite steep. It’s harder to breathe and my leaden legs refuse to move.

Regardless, it’s one step in a long road to full on exercise routines again. 

Exercises for the day

Cardio:

  1. Run (2.3km; 12.23min)

Core:

  1. 3 sets X Torso twists (20 X)
  2. 3 sets X Draw-in crunches on exercise ball (20 X)
  3. 3 sets X Supine bridges (30 sec)
  4. 3 sets X Lower abs (15 X)

This is why I don’t eat junk food

Nonna Joann over at Baby Bites did a little experiment where she bought a happy meal and left it on her shelf for a year.

Happy Meal Photo taken 1 year ago.

Here’s a recent photo that she took:

Happy meal 1 year later  Photo taken 3 Mar 2010. 1 year later.

The Happy Meal didn’t decompose! In her words:

NOPE, no worries at all. My Happy Meal is one year old today and it looks pretty good. It NEVER smelled bad. The food did NOT decompose. It did NOT get moldy, at all.

 

This morning, I took it off my shelf to take a birthday photo. The first year is always a milestone. I gave it one of my world famous nonna hugs as we’ve been office mates for a year now! (Okay, maybe my sanity is in question.)

Now that’s why I don’t eat McDonalds. And neither should you.

Apr 6, 2010

Will the iPad blend?

Hell yeah!

Will the iPad blend. By BlendTec

Read about it at Slashgear.

PS: the comments are hilarious!

Apr 5, 2010

iPad Teardown

The iPad’s out and it has incited a rush for it. Kind of like MacDonald’s Hello Kitty debacle way back in 2000.

Hopefully when it appears on our shores, we won’t go cluster-f**k over it, yeah?

Anyways, this post is about tearing apart the iPad in a methodical manner. Both of which (tearing apart the closed-mouth i-whatever and the methodology) appeal greatly to my senses.

ifixit.com specialises in ripping up and tearing down i-products to find out what makes it tick

We got a sneak peak inside the iPad yesterday, when we were able to un-redact the FCC's test photos. Be warned, however: what you see there is with a pre-production unit, while the photos here are from a unit purchased at retail.

If you’ve the time, destructive tendencies and money for an iPad, pop over to the ifixit site for a lesson in deconstructing the latest fad.

iPad

Back to Koh Phangan – Part 2

The Koh Phangan tourist brochure stated that Had Yuen, the next beach, could be reached via the Green Dot Trail. Just follow the green dots on trees, meander through jungles and clamber over hills. It should be two, maybe three, hours of trekking.

Simple enough.

I packed some water and set off just after dawn. It felt good to do something else apart from drinking myself silly and ogling barely-clad women on Thailand’s party island.

I didn’t complete the trail.

But I found someone who came and never left the island.

Green Dot Trail

Sawadee Ban Phun Born

“Welcome to my home.” grinned Uss the Swiss. His arms were spread out as I slid down into his ditch. A colourful sign above him proclaimed: Sawadee Ban Phun Born.

This white man in his orange Hawaiian shirt intrigued me. I had spotted him shifting blue pipes in a little pool of dirty water from my perch on the dirt track.

“The Thais stole my water.” His French accent lingered gently on every word. “When I wasn’t here they cut into my water and sealed this canal with concrete. Now I have to cook my rice with dirty water. Look how thin I am now.” He flexed his forearm, it was sinewy and muscled. His cheekbones stuck out from under his eyes.

Uss the Swiss: Sawadee Ban Phun Born

Uss looked almost fifty. His beard was speckled with white and deep furrows lined his eyes. Yet he impishly pranced around me and gestured expansively.

“I have been here for twenty years.” Uss stated. “I told my partner to close my business and I will go into the jungle to smoke my marijuana. I live with my wife and there are my trees. We grow mostly fruits. Some lemons, some durians.”

I saw grass and a smattering of slim trees around us. He pointed to my left and right. His fingers were stained with grey earth. “That durian tree is 20 years old. This rubber tree is 19 years old. You can’t see it now but I live in a big hut further up.”

“20 years ago, there are very few tourists here,” continued Uss, changing track without warning.

“50 families grew coconut trees and sold coconuts there and there.” He pointed in several directions behind me. “Then more tourists came and they sold off their land for some money. Now they have motorbikes and TVs. Many bills too! But no chili to eat.” His fingertips closed on each other as if holding up a chili padi and he laughed, delighted at his cleverness. His torso bobbed in time to his laughter.

Uss ran from the world a long time ago.

The nine-to-five life annoyed him and he travelled extensively until settling in Koh Phangan. He spoke about his trip to Singapore in the 1970s.

“I lived at a dorm in Arab Street 23 years ago. And I smoked opium with the Chinese.” He mimed lying down and puffing on a big pipe.

“They would serve me tea as I smoked opium. That was the only time I was in Singapore. Now it’s very clean isn’t it?” Uss shrank away from me. He seemed to expect a beating but his eyes twinkled merrily under his shady trees.

My head hurt to keep up with him; there were so many things that we talked about during that hour. Koh Phangan: Before the tourist hordes. Singapore: harshly critical of skinny white guys. The unchanging office: Escape. Thailand: living with Thais and the jungle. The world: As it was a lifetime ago.

Before I left, I took a snapshot of this unusual white man. As the shutter whirred and clicked, Uss the Swiss stood proudly in front of his colourful sign. The one that proclaimed: Sawadee Ban Phun Born – “Welcome to Phun Born’s home”.

Originally written for Youth.sg (2006); re-edited (2010).

Apr 4, 2010

Interview with Bey Kok Cheng: Wheelchair bound & livin’ it up

Bey Kok Cheng is a smiley man despite being in a wheelchair. His positive vibe is quite infectious and it’s probably why he lives life as if he wasn’t wheelchair bound.

That’s my first impressions when I interviewed him.

The 34-year old entrepreneur started two business ventures, gotten married, and started a Facebook fanpage to share his thoughts on living. I think that he’s the epitome of looking on the bright side even "In brightest day, in blackest night".

Comments welcome and I'd appreciate your candour.

Interview with Bey Kok Cheng: Wheelchair bound & livin’ it up

Link to article: Akan Datang!

Back to Koh Phangan – Part 1

Koh Phangan. I remembered fire-dancers spinning acrid flaming weights into mesmerizing patterns. I remembered peeing vast quantities of booze into the sea under the big sliver moon. I remembered a hundred different beats and rhythms. I remembered hobnobbing with people from around the world in buzzing cafes.

That was the Koh Phangan that I remembered: the massive Full Moon Party, a Peter Pan lifestyle where no one grew up and the rest of the world was reached through their respective citizens.

Four years on, I’m still foolish, less able to hold my wine and unlikely to stay awake after midnight. I should have crossed the island from my list of places but I was nostalgic.

So I went back to Koh Phangan once more.

imageFull Moon Parrr….taaaaay! by Vigi 

En route on a mud road

“The party’s on the 7th, this Thursday. Were you expecting a quiet time?” answered one of the British youths. I had wondered aloud about the many farangs (western tourists) on the ferry to the island. We were in a Song Thaew to Had Rin, where the full moon party would be held. The road climbed and dipped steeply. We hung on for dear life as the Song Thaew roared past other pedestrians or growling scooters.

It was almost sun down. Hand-painted signs tacked to a tree pointed in all directions like an absurd signpost transplanted from Alice in Wonderland. Some brightly declared “warm-up” sessions to the actual Full Moon Party at pub XYZ while others extolled the virtues of a nearby resort/bungalow/guesthouse/pub.

“I tried the buckets that they were selling. You know, the ones that chuck a bottle of Thai whiskey, coke, red bull and ice in a little plastic bucket.” the British youth said to his friends.

His eyes lit up, “It got me drunk so quick! Pure pleasure!”

Now that I think about it, it was mostly farang who were on that stretch of road.

Had Rin Town

I lucked out on finding a cheap guesthouse in Had Rin, especially with the Full Moon Party just days away. It was perched on a hill behind the beach. Clambering up to my little hut sapped my breath and energy. But once there, I had an excellent view of Had Rin and the beach town.

The little town had sprawled: more new buildings, paved roads and concrete bungalow skeletons climbed up the hillside. There just wasn’t any more space near the beach.

There were plenty of sounds from the sprawl. During the day, I heard metal clangs, happy yelps and longtail boats as they sped between beaches. The night was boomed with loud trance and techno from the shoreline pubs; what few lyrics were crystal clear to me from my bed.

And it was appropriately quiet in the morning; the town slumbered beside the uneven blue-grey sea.

Night-time in the Village

Had Rin is Holland Village doped up on Speed. Everything was ostensibly catered towards party nuts.

“Bucket of Joy – 200 bht!” shouted a sign in neon-red paint.

The main sprawl was dominated by cafes, Thai massage parlours and tour operators. They line the main street connecting Had Rin Nok and Had Rin Nai. Internet access at jacked-up ADSL speeds can be rented at 2 bht / min (120 bht or SGD$5 / hour) at all decent shops. Message parlour windows are plastered with messages of commendations in Nihongo; well and good for the Japanese-literate. Cafes are chic and versatile, d├ęcored out in beach bum fashion and attracting the same.

“Pizzas, shakes, Israeli breakfast, Fish and Chips, Thai food!” cried another sign just outside a busy cafe.

The sprawl was crowded. Buffed boys and gorgeous women showed off beautiful tans and physiques with precious little coverage. Others were red faced from peeping at the sun for too long. A couple, chattering in Hebrew, strolled past me. Packs of “one-day” friends debated in English with different accents. Their table was packed with drinks and more alcohol. The busiest queues were at booths selling banana pancakes and fruit shakes. Everyone had come in from a day out at the beach and they were buzzing with incredible energy.

A shake-seller slipped me a piece of paper. “Mushroom Shake” was penned on it in blue ink. I smiled back and slipped him back the paper.

My senses were frying from the noise and party universe. I fled back to my hut on the hill. It was four days before the Full Moon Party.

Now what?

Two days in Koh Phangan and I was getting antsy. The days and nights were unfailing similar. I would head to a beach to swim for a bit and burn under the sun, go into the sprawl for food and drinks, then back to my hut at night where I would write my entries. There didn’t seem to be any variety apart from drinking or talking to other tourists. After a while, everyone looked the same to me. I couldn’t tell them apart and I didn’t want to either.

I needed something else. The island couldn’t just be one big party place.

Or was it?

Originally written for Youth.sg (2006); edited (2010)

Apr 3, 2010

Overtraining & recovery

Type: Weight training
9.30am, Delta Sports Complex; 2pm, home

We are defined by what we do. But overtraining just kills it. That happens when you push too hard and rest too little, and it builds up over several months.

It’s like binging – oddly pleasurable but never useful.

Overtraining symptoms include: Disturbances in rhythm and flow of movement, diminished powers of endurance, strength, speed. Increased irritability, obstinacy, tendency to hysteria etc (more at Brianmac.co.uk).

imageI think I’m on the threshold of overtraining. I’m tired, it’s a chore to lift, and my knees and hamstrings ache and ache (that’s why I just worked on my upper body today). Bugger.

So for the next week, I’ll take it easy: Rest and functional/core workouts and keep it low-intensity. I’ll probably head out to get a massage (Tui-na & Balinese works wonders) and douse myself in cold-hot showers.

I’ve been reading Shayananna’s post on recovering from overtraining. I’ll pick out the parts that I’ll use:

  • Avoid excessive use of eccentrics and/ or exaggerated eccentric rep tempo. This doesn’t mean not to use these methods, it simply means to vary your rep tempos, mixing in periods where the eccentric portion is actually de-emphasized. A change from a 3-1-1-0 tempo to a 2-0-x-0 tempo would be an example of this.
  • Allow for periods of lower intensity training. Remember that your muscles will gain strength much faster than your tendons will. Failure to observe this fact will lead to tendons that are weak in comparison to the muscles they are attached to. This will lead to a very real possibility of a major injury to those tendons.
  • Lots of sleep - and try for good sleep. I don't recommend this all the time, but if you're feeling EXTREME exertion, you may want to consider a sleeping aid for a night or two. I've used Valerian when I get there and really NEED nice deep sleep.

Give me a shout if you have any remedies that I could use. Thanks!

Exercises for the day

Morning set (no compound/leg exercises):

  1. 4 sets X Flat Benches (11 X 17.5kg per side)
  2. 4 sets X Crossover push ups (10X)
  3. 4 sets X Seated Rows (12 X 110lbs)
  4. 4 sets X Assisted pull ups (8 X 50lbs)
  5. 4 sets X Bicep curls to Arnold presses (10 X 10kg)
  6. 4 sets X Push ups (10X)
  7. 4 sets X Roman Chair (12 X)
  8. 4 sets X Shrugs (15 X 22.5kg per arm)
  9. 4 sets X Lateral raises (12 X 7.5kg)

Afternoon set:

  1. 3 sets X Torso twists (20 X)
  2. 3 sets X Crunches on exercise ball (30 X)

Apr 2, 2010

Hangover cure

Three litres of beer, two cocktails and a few fags. Down down down. Equals a pain-stained morning of hangovers. Horrible.

By mid-morning I was aching for a hangover cure. I’ve heard it all before: Stay drunk (hair of the dog); deep-fried whatever; massive bowl of spicy whatever; a greasy lock of sausage, eggs, muffins (MacDonalds anyone?); climb into bed and hibernate. (About.com’s Urban Legends has more folk cure remedies)

They never work.

Hangover cure

In all my years of boozing like a fish, the one hangover cure that I can rely on is exercise. I know your head’s pounding, your tongue’s all furred up, and the stomach feels like it’s on a bad acid trip.

In fact, you could just die… well, suit up and die running. Harsh words, yes, but according to Health911.com:

Exercise will help get rid of your hangover by helping the body rid itself of toxins. The increased circulation gets blood and oxygen to your oxygen-starved brain.

 

A good, brisk walk will also increase circulation with the results mentioned above.

And that’s good for that pain-stained morning.

Exercises for the day (Hangover special)

  1. 3 sets X Dumbbell hacks (10 X 12.5kg)
  2. Run (800m)
  3. Basketball shooting drills
  4. Lots of water & 100 Plus!

Apr 1, 2010

Hacktivism: Warfare 2.0

Funny how reality catches up.

Three weeks ago, I wrote two advertorials on internet security for TODAY, it focused on how malware, adware, all the bad-ware worms their way into our computers and leaves the door open for criminals and bad people.

image

It includes governments as well.

In today’s news, Google’s engineers stumbled upon malware that “has been used to spy on Vietnamese computer users opposed to a controversial bauxite mine”:

Google engineer Neel Mehta wrote in the posting, "these attacks have tried to squelch opposition to bauxite mining efforts in Vietnam, an important and emotionally charged issue in the country."

Sources: Vietnamese speakers targeted in Cyberattack | McAfee’s blog post

This is what security folk term as “hacktivism and politically motivated cyberattacks” where hackers deface or bug websites to promote their ideology…or control information.

When it happens, I think of bombs.

Tick tock charges that decapitate and drag you to “die for my <insert worthless cause>!” But hacktivism is a lot quieter; electron text moans and giggles :) replace the BOOMs and the BANGs of bombs.  And I’m appalled at how easily and quickly the information superhighway is rapidly trolled by toll booths, detours and dead end(er)s.

Despite having spent four years learning bits and bytes, this is a new fight to me. One that I’m not equipped to win. What can we do? Install the latest McAfee? Pull out from the internet? Set Nannywatcher to filter out bad words like “hacktivism, or cyber attacks”?

What say you?



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