Monday, January 31, 2011

Birthday Wishlist

February is coming. Water is flushing out the Aquarian jug, the rabbit is coming to chase the tiger away, and Cupid has restocked his supply of diapers and arrows. As people get excited over getting either a red packet or Forrest Gump's philosophy of life, I am left to ponder one important (at least to yours truly) question: will people remember it this time?

Having a birthday so close to V-day and being actually born in Victoria on the disastrous Ash Wednesday bushfires of 1983, I am already used to people overlooking the anniversary of the day I was welcomed by my parents, the doctor, and Sister Morse to this world in a now non-existant room of the now-demolished Queen Victoria Women's Hospital in Melbourne.

Anyway, never mind that. Facebook is now here, and people will know on the day itself or one day after anyways.

Therefore, I made a list with this wishful thinking, that somehow someone would take this list into consideration, and I will in a few weeks be happy to get ever so close to being three decades old.

Here is the list, in no particular order.

1. Camera + Laptop bag

I have a Nikon D60 that I carry in an old secondhand camera bag whose zipper gets stuck 100% of the time and is bursting at the seams because I keep putting more stuff in it (extra lens, flash, remote trigger, extra battery, charger, lens cap etc). I'd like a backpack camera bag that can fit a laptop, my DLSR, at least two lenses, a speedlight flash, and a battery charger. Some examples below:

Lowepro CompuDayPack. Photo taken from

Lowepro FastPack 250. Photo taken from

2. Decent looking watch

The last watch I had snapped on me (the strap I mean) and I haven't worn a watch ever since (that was about four or five years ago). I rely too much on my handphone for time and it's a hassle sometimes, especially when I have stuff in both hands and the handphone is in the pocket.

I'd like something with a black strap (leather or rubber, doesn't matter) and the face doesn't look juvenile (no G-Shock or Baby-G please). Examples below.

Nike Triax Swift ADX. Photo from

Fossil AM4296. Photo from

3. Polarizer filter, graduated filters and holder

I am constantly frustrated with overblown and overexposed skies and clouds whenever I shoot landscape. Neutral density graduated filters, circular polarizer filter and a universal filter holder would help a lot.

Cokin universal filter holder and square sunset filter. Image from

4. Portrait macro lens

A lens that can be used for both macro and portrait. I have my eyes on the Tamron SP AF 90mm Di Macro lens for Nikon.

Photo from

5. A bicycle

Maybe I can save some money on fuel and ride a bicycle to and from school. My car will then only be used for when I need to bring stuff (like piles of books to be marked) or help drive people to their destinations. Or going home to Seremban or when it rains. One more step to being greener.

Dynamic Outback. Photo from

And since I am all about safety on the road, I'd want a bicycle helmet thrown in as well.

Photo from

I have more, but it will go into the realm of ridiculously pricey presents (think bigger lenses and cameras, smartphones, Apple laptops, etc) so let's just stop here.

We'll see if any of these make it into the box this year. *Prays*

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rare Parrot Desperate to Breed [video]

The kakapo is a very rare flightless parrot species that live in New Zealand. So rare that there are currently less than 150 of these birds in existence. The kakapo has a long life and almost all of the kakapo that are still alive today are named.

Watch the video as the kakapo Sirocco desperately tries to revive its species... by taking on a wildlife photographer.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Hair Issues... Again

Recent comments about my hair made me wonder... (again)

Should I grow it long again?

Or keep using this hairstyle I often wear these days?

Go botak or really really short?

Or wear a headgear so I won't worry about the hairstyle?

Or maybe just keep having different hairdos every day...

Hmm, decisions decisions...

And I'm still thinking about keeping the 'tache and the 'tee...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Vomiting Spider

I remember bringing in this spider for an impromptu photoshoot almost two years ago. It was just chilling there, underneath the ping pong table when my little bro spotted it. I immediately took a white printing paper and scooped it up, brought it to the coffee table of my living room and started taking photos of it using reverse lens macro technique. I think I did more than ten shots from different angles, all with undiffused flash, before I noticed something peculiar.

The spider vomited.

Probably because of the endless bursts of blinding flashing lights that I keep bombarding at a small creature with eight eyes, and a makeshift white studio made from white paper definitely did not help to comfort the little arachnid from the confusion and dizziness I might have caused it.

I felt guilty and took the spider out and let it free in the front yard of my house. Still felt bad afterwards, but at least I did what I can to not add to the poor guy's suffering.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I Really Miss Snowboarding

Mt Breckenridge, Colorado, Winter 2004

Wish we have snow-capped mountains here in Malaysia. But we do not.

So it will be a long time until another self-photo of this sort can be taken.

Friday, January 21, 2011

What About Me?

That's how I feel sometimes. Left out.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Weekly Routine

Three piles of Addmath books to be marked last week.

Marking books. Many books. Piles of books. This has now become my weekly routine.

It's a hassle. Takes up a lot of time that could be otherwise spent on less meticulously boring things. But it has to be done.

Marking books is one way educators can get to see students' work on a particular subtopic individually.

Everything in the homework tells a bit about the student. The neatness of the handwriting, the systematic (or non-systematic) method of presentation, extra scribbles of notes on the side. You can also know if they copied from each other once you have marked enough number of books. You can tell if they have done the work lazily, meticulously, carefully, carelessly, stressfully, etc. The students reveal themselves to the teacher through their homeworks in more ways than they know. Even unfinished homework tells the teacher something about the student.

This is why I would never delegate this routine to anyone, not even when family members offer to help. The amount of info that I would otherwise gain would be lost should someone other than myself mark these books for me. Therefore even if it's a hassle and a meticulously boring load of work, I will always mark all my students' work.

So students, don't always be cursing your teachers when they give you a lot of homework or assignments. For they usually teach up to maybe 120 - 150 students every week. So for every homework one student submits, that's one homework to mark. Imagine doing 150 homework assignments every week. That's more than all the homework you do per month for all the subjects you take in school.

But I am not complaining though. Work is work, and I won't be doing this if I don't somehow enjoy it in some way or another.

Keep those books coming, guys! I can handle this!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Math Stuff - Composite Function Calculator


On the sidebar to the right is a composite function calculator I edited using Wolfram Alpha.

Just input the two functions f(x) and g(x) you want to compose as fg(x). Use the hatch symbol # as the variable instead of x. The calculator will display the simplified version of the answer, plus other alternative simplified versions if they exist.

I hope this will help in checking your answers for questions regarding determining the composite function fg. If you want to find gf instead, just input the two functions the other way round.

Thank you for using the calculator, and any feedback is very much welcome!

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