Kev (abr. Kevin)
Irish, Gaelic orgin. Caoimhin.
1. adorable. 2. gentle one

Walkabout (walk-a-bout)
1 (in Oz) - a walk in the Outback by Aborigines that lasts for an indefinite amount of time. 2 (chiefly British) - an informal stroll among a crowd conducted by an important visitor e.g. a monarch. 3 a walking trip.

Sunday, 30 September 2007

Canberra walkabout - super long post

Canberra I saw, I heard, and I felt. Whoo hoo! Finally my Canberra trip has materialized and yesterday (28th Sept 2007) was the day! Woke up at about 6am, and left the house with OP, my housemate at around 6.45am. Since the school isn’t populated in such an early morning, I took the opportunity to take some iconic pictures of UNSW to start the day off. And what better icon for UNSW than the previous UNSW law library but currently general UNSW library? And another icon of UNSW would be the quite recent scientia.

Anyway, reached the main gate of UNSW at around 7.10am where the coach arrived just as we did. Jim boarded the bus about 5 minutes later. And within the next 5-10minutes, the bus was nearly full – there must have been like 25-30 people onboard. And finally, my walkabout to Canberra has begun! Yeah! Although I booked the tour through the International Student Service, the tour was conducted by the colourfultrips instead. Well, I quite recommend colourfultrips tour if you happen to be in Sydney, and based on my previous and current experiences, their tours were very good – friendly and knowledgeable tour guides and bus drivers.

Canberra is like more than 300km from Sydney, and so we slowly inched our way to the capital city of Australia. After passing the Botany Bay and suburbs like Campbelltown and travelling along the Hume highway through Australian bush, the tour guide, Debbie pointed out to us that the Wattle trees or also known as Acacia, that is along the divider in the highway is Australia’s National flora. And she also pointed out that Australia is experiencing extreme drought for the past 5 years, which is why the grass and some trees along the highway are all brown! And she further illustrated the extreme drought condition by saying that some areas in Australia hasn’t have rain for 4-5 years! And she carried on commenting that the animals and even little children less than 5 years of age who has never seen rain before were petrified when some rain did manage to fall in that area! LOL… So funny, but so sad too!

After like 1.5 hours into the journey, and before turning into the Federal Highway, we stopped by Goulburn for a 30minutes refreshment break. And the moment I step out of the coach, I was like “Wow!” because the wind was so strong that the jackets in my hands were nearly blown off! And what’s more, one can feel the resistance of the wind if you walk against it! LOL… Anyway, there were like MacDonald’s and Subway in the pit stop, and we (OP, Jim and me) decided to head off to Subway. Well, this was my first time trying out Subway, and it was a rather delicious experience! LOL… Tried their Ham and egg sandwich for just AUD$3.25 – pretty cheap and worth it! Anyway, it appears that each of these little suburbs/towns that specialized in a certain industry tends to build big statues/structures to celebrate their industry! And for Goulburn, their main industry involves sheep! Therefore, they have this big merino just beside Subway. And I’m an Aries… =)

So after our pit stop for our stomach, we branched off from Hume Highway into Federal Highway. And along Federal highway, we came across this vast stretch of flat green pasture where sheep were seen gazing. And it is so huge that this piece of flat green pasture covers one-third of the Australia Capital Territory (ACT)! And just as OP was wondering why there is like no development etc in such a flat piece of land e.g. probably a farm or something, the tour guide and the driver revealed the answer. According to them, this piece of lush flat green gazing pasture for sheep used to be a LAKE!

What!? A Lake!!? Did I hear wrongly?! Apparent it was called Lake George, and the water has receded several years ago due to the drought and thus this huge piece of land become a gazing land! Wow… simply unbelievable! And, the only time when it will be fill up will be during snow falls etc, and only to be evaporated soon enough as the lake is huge and swallow while the weather can be dry with strong winds. But seriously, unbelievable! Oh one question – if it rains or snow, what will happen to the sheep?? I hope they can escape out of the lake in time! LOL.

Anyway, about 45 minutes after Lake George, we crossed into the ACT. Yeah! Ok, for those who have no idea what ACT is, ACT refers to the Australia Capital Territory (sort of like a state), where its city Canberra is located. Specifically, Canberra is located in the Northeastern part of ACT. Anyway, first stop before going into Canberra after crossing into ACT – Mount Ainslie. Mount Ainslie is part of the Canberra Nature Park, and overlooks the whole Canberra city! Wow… the view is magnificent, and Canberra is so small!!! Hmm… probably Orchard Road in Singapore might be longer than Canberra! LOL… The red rectangular road is Anzac Parade which is part of the land axis, as will be mentioned later. And directly beyond the Anzac Parade after the river (water axis) is the old parliament house, followed by the new parliament house. And the jet of water shooting upwards to the sky over to the right of the river is Captain Cook’s memorial, as Captain Cook was the first Europeans to ‘discover’ Australia!

Anyway, Canberra is a city designed by Walter Griffin back in 1911 where an international competition was held to select the best city design. And according to his plan, there is this 3 axis that basically are the pillars of the city – Land, water, and municipal axis. All these 3 axis forms a parliamentary triangle where all the government offices such as the parliaments are located, and the ‘invisible triangle’ converge at Mount Ainslie.

After awing at the smallness of Canberra from Mount Ainslie, we proceeded to the Captain Cook’s memorial jet before walking a minute or two to the Floridae 2007 site. The Captain Cook’s memorial jet is simply just a stream of water that is being shot upwards towards the sky. As the wind are strong, you can see the water being blown away – either that, or that the jet is slightly tilted at an angle to make such an effect! But seriously, it isn’t any big deal – simply just a jet of water. But I guess what is nice is the tranquil lake that the memorial jet is in. And over at the far end, but still on the same side of the lake, there are some school kids rolling down the slope! LOL… Not that they were accidental being pushed down, but they deliberately lie down on the grassy slope and start rolling down! LOL… looks like they were having so much fun! Anyway, there were also some flowering sakura trees along the bank as well – beautiful, but I’m not really a fan of sakura! LOL… But still it’s hard to resist taking photographs of these beautiful flowers!

Soon we headed to the Floridae 2007 site. Wow! There are simply so many flowers!! Red, purple, yellow, white, big, small – flowers every where! Coupled with the afternoon sun, their colours were even more attractive and bright. Simply gorgeous, but the organizers should have put the names of the flowers on the flower beds as well! All throughout the exhibition, I could only recognize tulips, and I kept wondering what the rest of the flowers were! So, you can forget about asking me what the flowers in my pictures are!

Probably you think I’m bragging, but I seriously think that the pictures of the flowers were very nicely taken. I would say they look very professional! LOL… Seriously I didn’t realize that they will turn out so well. After all, I’m an amateur when it comes to photography. Armed with only a digital Casio EX-Z850 camera, I know nuts about lightings etc when it comes to taking pictures. Hmm… which is my favorite picture? Hmm… it’s really very difficult to decide which is my favorite as they are all so well taken! LOL… Hmm… but among all the flowers in Floridae, the one I like most would be the yellow tulip. And… I still cannot choose which of the following picture I like best! Argh… Maybe the yellow tulip picture is the nicest. No, the one with the truck in it is nice as well, having the different colour schemes within the same picture. Hmmm… no… one on the flower buds is very nice too, so that might be my favorite… but wait, I think I prefer the tulip… No… yes…. Argh!!!

But one thing is for sure – the Floridae wasn’t as big as I though it will be! And the flowers were predominantly tulips. Therefore I think it would be nicer to have more varieties as well. And, according to the organizers, their theme was ‘Aussie icons and myth’. So naturally I expected to see flowers arranged into designs of Aussie icons like the opera house etc, but I guess my expectation was too high for them! They have opera house alright. But it is made of clothes with some kind of plants growing on it. Yucks… how disappointing! I really wonder what the organizers were thinking!

So, after spending about an hour and thirty minutes in the floridae, we bided farewell and headed back to our coach. We next proceed to the new parliament house where parliamentary debates are held, and bills are debated. However there was no parliamentary session when we visited, else we would be able to see how the debates are, and see the Prime Minister of Australia live! LOL… To sidetrack a bit, lots of people hate the current primer minister John Howard, and I personally don’t think he will be reelected in the upcoming elections as well. If I’m an Australian, I will definitely not vote for him! LOL… Anyway, the parliamentary guide briefed us on the history of Canberra, Australia’s parliament, and talked about their voting system as well. Thereafter, she brought us to the two houses of the parliament. Parliament in Australia is very different from that of Singapore. In Australia, there is a House of Representative, as well as the Senate. According to the guide, all bills that involves money has to go through the House of Representative, while the Senate deals mostly with non-financial issues e.g. moral issues such as stem cell cloning etc. And in the House of Representative, each member of the house represents a certain number of the electorate, and doesn’t take the area of the land into account. In the Senate however, each state will have equal representation, and the total number of members in the Senate should be as close to halve of the Representative number as possible. In this case, equal representation within the Senate will give states with less popularity an equal voice in the parliament as well. Anyway, we concluded our parliamentary tour by going to the roof of the parliament house. And the view from the roof is spectacular! Initially in the morning, we looked at the parliament houses from Mount Ainslie and in the afternoon we were looking at Mount Ainslie from the roof of the parliament house! LOL… Truly spectacular view…

Next in the itinerary is to look at the different national embassies that were in Canberra. Well, I guess the easiest embassy to recognize would be China embassy! This is because the architectural design of their roof – typical Buddhist temple touch, and having a garden with pavilions and bamboos if I’m not wrong! Singapore’s embassy is well… plain and very governmental style of building… how disappointing!

So, final stop of the day – Australian War Memorial. Our coach reached the War memorial at around 4.05pm if I’m not wrong, and so that leave us less than an hour to browse through the stuffs in the memorial. Well, essentially the Australian War memorial is to commemorate Australians who died during the wars and in particular the two world wars. In fact, there is this ‘tomb of the unknown soldier’ where an unknown Australian soldier lies. But strangely enough, the tomb reminds me of India’s Taj Mahal when looking at it from the outside the tomb! LOL… Anyway, the war memorial also includes exhibitions of WWI and WWII relics, and anything related to that. I was looking through them with interest, but time didn’t permit me to look through everything. By 4.50pm we were asked to leave the exhibition to gather in front of the tomb for the bugle call titled ‘Last Post’. Well, it was an apt way to end our tour to Canberra as well.

Basically, I had fun and the tour was very informative and an eye-opener as well. Awed at the size of Canberra, saw lotsa of flowers, taken hundreds of pictures, learned about Australia parliamentary system, visited the tomb of an unknown soldier – all for a price of only AUD$79. It is definitely money well spent, and most importantly, I enjoyed myself. =) And finally, ended the day with the sight of a full round moon on the way back to Sydney from Canberra, as mid-autumn festival was just a couple of days before the trip – it is always a couple of days after the mid-autumn festival where the moon is the brightest and roundest. Lastly, head on to my online photo album to see all the 130 pictures for the Canberra trip! =)

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Dial a flight

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Dry ice bomb

Gosh, people might mistake me to be a terrorist with this post! LOL… I am not ok? Even if I am, I would be a terrorist against those freaking terrorist that kills the innocent. Who knows, I might just place a dry ice bomb to scare them off! Anyway, in our lab, the correlation between dry ice and a sudden ‘boom’ is pretty simple and straightforward – someone had made a dry ice bomb! Due to the nature of our work, we require reagents to be delivered to us at cold temperature at -80 degrees Celsius to be exact. And therefore what the vendor/supplier does is to put our enzymes or reagents in a dry ice-filled Styrofoam box for delivery to our lab. And being mischievous people at times, or simply being nuts from all our experimental work, we tend to go crazy. And crazy people do stupid things, which include making dry ice bombs and putting them nearby an unsuspecting victim. And the next thing you know… boom! And the victim will be like: “what the hell?!”. LOL… You know what is the best part? The best part is that the bomb is literally traceless. No one can trace the bomb to you unless the bomber own up – ‘cos the whole bomb would have disintegrated without a trace!

Now, how do I make the dry ice bomb? Hmmm… I don’t think I will disclose any details, as it can be quite dangerous as well. And people might get hurt too! Anyway, HuiFen was like commenting that she has no idea how the bomb was made, or how it works. So, I made one and left it on her table. Of course, I let her know in advance as I wouldn’t want any nasty thing to happen! As my bomb was rather of a low dosage, it takes like a minute or two to explode. Meanwhile, I happen to went over to look at it to see why it hadn’t ‘boom!’… and I saw that it’s going to happen soon! And so I walked away. At this moment Huifen decided to take it up to have a look, and I said “be careful!”.


The dry ice bomb went off.

She was quite shocked when it goes off, but luckily she never really faced the bomb. So, it can get quite dangerous to unsuspecting victims! Anyway, am glad that nothing nasty happen and I was laughing away as well… LOL… I know I’m bad… but she’s really very unlucky! The moment she hold it and it went ka-boom! Not a moment earlier or later! Maybe she can buy 4D already.

Since it has past midnight, I will be going to Canberra tomorrow! Yeah!!!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

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Monday, 24 September 2007

Good old children's tv program and Food

Haven’t had a rest day for 3 consecutive weeks already – but yet my work has bounced back to square 1! Sqqquare One! LOL… this reminds me of an ancient children educational show akin to Sesame Street, called Square One. I remember watching the show, but couldn’t really remember what it was all about. But one thing I vividly remember is the slogan: Sssqquareee… One! LOL… Hmm… a search in Wikipedia reveals that it was a television show that teaches children maths, back in 1987 to 1992! Oh gosh, that is like 20 years ago! I am really old, very old, very very old. And you can check out what Square one is all about in this webby. =) And if it rings a bell, it means you are ‘O’ ‘L’ ‘D’! Hahaha…

Speaking of such dinosaur age children educational television program, I remember watching this show called ‘Lamb chop play along’ or something like that… Can’t really remember if that is the exact title, but there is this song that was kinda stuck to the back of my head ever since I saw the program. And the song has this phrase ‘lamb chop play along… ‘and sometimes when I’m bored etc, the tune will inevitably creep up on me! LOL… scary huh… Let me see if I can wiki it out….Oh! Found it! Hahaha… Oh boy, it sure brings back memories… and the ending theme is called ‘The song that never ends’ and I remembered that it literally is a song that goes on and on forever! Haha… check out the video! LOL… My gosh… I really miss the good old children’s television program! Two thumbs up for Lamb chop play along!!

Song that doesn't end...
Lamb chop play along!

Anyway, I have been on a craze with canned peanut soup, and cookies from the October Fifth Bakery (十月初五饼家) lately! The peanut soup is really yummy – the peanuts are soft, and the soup is sweet but not too sweet. And a can of it cost only AUD$1.75! Have been eating it after my dinner as a dessert… yummy yummy. And as I was doing my groceries in Randwick oriental, I came across this very stylish packaging, for cookies. It came across as high ended sorta biscuits (especially since there are French words on the packaging as well), or at least the brand should be quite famous in Macau. But I may be wrong. But anyway, the coconut cookies are nice and crunchy and there are many other varieties to choose from. So, I think my craze with the cookies will go on for quite a while.

Talking about food, I managed to try the ‘Penang Laksa’ that was located in Mathews Arcade in UNSW, on the very last day of it’s operation! The Arcade was to be closed for renovations etc on last Friday, and hearing how Dom was praising it like some heavenly food, Cat, and I decided to give it a try since we haven’t tried it before. Together with other students in the lab like Huifen, and friends like Kuan, we headed down to the Arcade to try it. I ordered a beef laksa, and guess how much it cost? It cost a freaking AUD$7! Gosh… that reminds me of why I never have lunch at all. Having a decent 3 meals a day in Australia would cost a bomb! Anyway, the laksa was quite yummy, and the beef were quite tender too. On top of the beef slices, there were beef balls too… nice… but I don’t think that is really laksa, or least according to the Singaporean standard. It looks and taste more like beef curry noodles to me! At the very minimum, I think Laksa should have a characteristic reddish-based soup (due to the use of chilly oil?). However, this ‘Penang Laksa’ has a brownish kinda soup, sorta like those curry noodles. I have no idea if it is really an authentic piece of Penang culinary, but bottom line – it is a yummy bowl of beef noodles! =)

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Anglian Home Improvements

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Busy busy busy

Had been rather busy for this couple of weeks, and hadn’t had a rest day at all since like 15 days ago? Yeah, it should be somewhere around there. Why? Because my experiments are proceeding nicely forward (shhh…. Keep it to yourself, else if you let it know that you know it’s working, it will purposely fail!), and that I’m rushing to complete as much as possible before I come back to Singapore come Jan 2008 – I had a schedule to adhere to. Furthermore, Rick said somewhere along the line that it’s up to me if I wanna go back to Singapore during Jan 2008 and he is ok with me taking 6-weeks off my work. BUT, as long as work is being done and is progressing, and ultimately the project/PhD is mine! Argh well… I sense some undercurrent going on, but heck, I will take it as it is on the surface. I hate having to guess the subtle meanings behind a conversation. Furthermore, although I always come into the lab around 11am-1pm, I sacrifice my lunch hours and stayed till 7-8pm at times to do my work, and even come back to the lab over the weekends as well. It is just that he didn’t see it, but still my conscious is clear – in that I work hard and that things weren’t going too well before. It’s not that I don’t want to do my work etc… But anyway, I will continue to work hard and I just hope that they aren’t many hurdles for me to cross, and have at least achieve my targets before going back to Singapore.

Anyway, even if I were to slack, it is ok to do so as according to Jorge Cham! LOL… the power of procrastination can lead to great things! And as he mentioned, procrastination is not equivocal to lazy, but rather taking things at a much slower pace, and thereby allowing yourself to reflect more on a certain problem etc… LOL… Just as Newton is procrastinating under the apple tree and not doing work, he came up with the law of gravity! And, how about Kary Mullis? While procrastinating in his car, cruising along the Pacific Coast Highway, he comes up with the concept of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), now an essential tool in molecular biological work and Kary Mullis was thus awarded the Nobel Prize. So, maybe I should procrastinate as well! LOL… Anyway, the talk by Jorge Cham on last Monday (10th Sept 2007) is really hilarious. Really brings out the worries of a PhD student in a comical way, and yes, we are not alone! Or rather, I am not the only PhD student with problems. And one thing that was mentioned, and I remembered vividly was – successful researchers or Professors weren’t successful because of their work when they were PhD students! They were successful for their work after their PhD candidature! This is really quite true, and it’s so simple that I didn’t realize it! Another point that I remembered was on the stipend that PhD student received in the US a few years back. Generally speaking, a PhD student would only earn $15 more annually if you compared it with a person who works in MacDonald’s instead! LOL… See? We are just poor students! LOL… I really enjoyed that talk, and I bought the whole series (3 books) of PhD comics. Had Jorge Cham autographed on one of the book, and had to wait for the other 2 books to arrive from US… I hope they arrive soon!

Anyway, my little collection of the plant life in Australia! Enjoy! =)

Argh.. couldn't get Flickr to display the flickr badge here within a post! Anyone knows how to do it?? Or, just go to to look through the pictures! ARgh....

Monday, 17 September 2007

Anonymous Email

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Saturday, 15 September 2007

I am super duper happy!

I am so happy now... .super duper happy!!! yeah! yeah!! I had been having trouble cloning my gene (id:0963) into the pET101-DTOPO plasmid... and had previously failed in all my countless attempts to clone it! And yesterday, I prepared fresh PCR product from my gene0963 and cloned it with the cloning kit (FOC replacement since the previously might inherently be problematic) from Invitrogen. And I screened 7 colonies to see if my gene is inserted into the plasmid...

And I was feeling extremely nervous when I'm about to see the result in the gel-doc room... Will there be any positive result that i hope to see? If there is still no good result, what will become of me!? And the moment when I see that 2 out of the 7 bacteria colonies has got my gene0963 insert, I almost jumped for joy! You wouldn't have imagine how happy I am! After all these weeks of not being able to get it in, today I finally manage to put the gene into the plasmid! Despite another gene (id:0695) of mine apparently didn't managed to be cloned, still I couldn't be any more happier (since this is only the first attempt to clone 0695).

And as I was walking back from the gel-doc room to the lab, I couldn't help but keep on smiling at myself... Luckily it's a Saturday and there isn't a single soul along the way, else they might think I'm nuts! Hahaha.. but I'm very happy! yeah! yeah! And today is the 4years 6 months anniversary of my relationship with my dearly Limin. Indeed, as she said, the anniversary might have brought me luck!

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Imagine you are a registrant for an event, and that you need to pay fees for it. So naturally you would expect that the registration website is credible, in that no personal information will be leaked out such as credit card information! Although some claim to be secure, not all have the same high level of security. however, has reached the highest level of PCI compliance – meaning that has the highest encryption for credit card information, strongest access management system, and will regulatory monitor and tests their system. I am sure with Regonline, more participants will be willing to participate in an event knowing that their important information are protected when they do their event registration.

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Food, food and more food!

And I thought that baby octopus are suppose to be small, babies! LOL... gosh was I wrong! I had always seen Coles selling frozen baby octopus, but never buy it at all. After all, I would prefer to have a pack of seafood mix then a pack of pure octopus. But, I have no idea what came over me last Sunday, and bought a 1kg pack of frozen octopus - and it cost me AUD$7.99. Well, since it said baby octopus, I really thought it would be small. You can guess how shock I am when I actually open up the pack and see that the 'baby' version is as long as my fingers, and some even more! If these are the babies, the adults must be damn big!

And I had Sara Lee Strawberry cheesecake as well... very superbly nice. Sara Lee hasn't disappointed me so far with their cheesecake products. But I wouldn't know for their pound cakes... might try it someday!

Sometimes it's damn boring and very troublesome to cook a meal. I mean, it's just a meal and I'm the only one eating it. Why go through the trouble of cutting this, frying that to have just a simple meal! Argh... so noodles are my best friend when I'm feeling lazy or too down to cook. Just dump whatever you have into the boiling pot of water, let it boil and that's it! Top it up with some can food, and that's it - a simple meal. Arrange it nicely, and it looks far more appetizing than it really is... LOL...

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Raven’s Project Management blog

Have you checked out Raven’s Project Management blog? Raven is a thirty something project manager who resides in Settle, Washington in the United States. Her blog has a tint of humor, as well as some useful information on how to manage people, and how to be a leader etc. After all, she is in the management field! LOL…Do check it out.

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Tuesday, 11 September 2007

of Spring and Sesame ball

Now, following up on a previous post on how to recognise winter, I shall write about how to recognise springy Spring! Foremost, Spring is the season after winter! LOL... everyone knows right? Anyway, as mentioned previously, the leaves are all gone come winter time... but in spring, miracle happens. And every where you look up at the trees, you will see young leaves coming out from the branches of winter-tormented trees. And for those evergreen trees, spring is blooming time and so you will see flowers of various colours blossoming... very nice! Besides this, another obvious difference between winter and spring is the weather! In winter, it gets cold no matter it is the day, or night. However in Spring, it gets warmer in the day, but still remains relatively cold to cooling in the night... yeah.. very nice weather! But wait a minute, judging from the trend, does that mean summer is gonna be hot in the day and night as well!? Argh.....

Anyway, having been to Aussie for more than half a year, what I miss most is the food! Can you imagine my delight when I see this little fellows in the oriental supermart?? Oh man, I absolutely have to buy and eat it - even if it means I have only $5 left and have placed $5 worth of groceries in my basket, I will sacrifice one of the items in exchange for the sesame balls! yum yum... too bad it's in red bean flavour as I would prefer the peanut or the green bean ones... but I don't care! I'm just gonna finish it all!!! Don't you dare to snatch it away! argh....

Just a random shot of the main UNSW walkway... the ever so famous picturesque of UNSW where I'm sure you will see a similar, but more professional shot in brochure and handbooks about UNSW! LOL...

Anyway, stay tune for more updates coming up this couple of days! =)

Friday, 7 September 2007

blah blah blah on holidays, new hobby etc

It’s a public holiday today only in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Yup, you never read wrongly. And public holidays in Australia are really puzzling (to me), ever since I first came to Sydney about half a year ago. In Australia, some of their public holidays e.g. Queen’s Birthday and Labor’s Day etc can be on different days of the year depending on which Australian state one is in. That’s the thing! Since all of the different states are unified under the country Australia, why aren’t the public holidays etc be on the same day as well? Since it’s a joyful occasion, shouldn’t it be made a country-wide affair rather than just a state-wide celebration? Hmm… anyway, in essence one can celebrate the same holiday twice in a year! LOL… so no fear of missing a public holiday here in Australia since you can always check out when the same public holiday will occur in other states! LOL…

Anyway today’s public holiday isn’t because of some local festive celebration or of historical significance, but rather it is to coincide with the APEC meeting that is held in Sydney! Yup, and because of the APEC where leaders from 21 countries are meeting up, the Sydney city has been ‘locked down’ for the week. And probably to make the NSW state government’s life easier in managing the event as well as security issues, they decided to declare today as a state holiday! Yeah! But… I still went back to the lab to do my work! =( … That’s the life of a nerdy PhD student… there is no such thing as holidays and the only enjoyment we have is when our experiments worked! See my picture on the left? There I am wearing a mask because I’m preparing some solution (10% SDS to be exact) else my lab colleagues might find me lying on the floor when they come back after the weekend! LOL…

And speaking of nerdy PhD students and our limited enjoyments in life, Jorge Cham is the author of a PhD comic series, and he will be in UNSW to give a talk on the book, and on PhD life etc! Yeah! I so look forward to the coming Monday for his talk! And I planned to buy the whole set of comics on Monday as well! It’s gonna be hilarious! PhD – Piled Higher and Deeper! Yeah! LOL… for those who are interested but do not wish to get the book, you can check out his comics online too!

Anyway, I found that I have been subconsciously engaging myself in a new hobby! And my new hobby is to collect…

Fifty-cent coins from Australia! Coins – an everyday currency that people just dig from their pockets to pay for their bus fares or newspapers etc… but do you ever stop and look at the coins? I did, and I found that the image at the back of the fifty-cent coins in circulation comes in many different design (as shown) to commemorate events such as Australia’s involvement in World War II, and the XII Commonwealth Games in Brisbane! Cool huh! Yup… I’ve decide to collect fifty-cent coins of different designs, and who knows my collection could worth thousands in a decade or two! LOL… wishful thinking again!

Oh! I’ve finally register for the Canberra trip two days ago! Yeah! For just AUD$79 per person for a day trip, I think it’s pretty reasonable! And they will be bringing me to the Floriade – a huge annual flower festival where the theme of 2007 is Aussie icons, myth & legends. Hmm… so I think I can expect Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge then huh! LOL… Besides Floriade, the trip will take me to Mount Ainslie where I can get the view of the entire Canberra city! Let’s hope the weather will be fine on that day!

=(… my very last piece of my yummy snowskin mooncake… =(

My Digital Camera

I am not really a gadget guy. In fact, I know nuts about digital camera. All I know is that I needed a camera and since digital allows me to choose and keep the pictures I want, and delete those that I don’t want, and so a digital rather than conventional film camera is for me. Anyway, I owned two digital cameras thus far – first a rather primitive but cheap 3-in-1 (webcam, digicam, video cam) creative camera, with a 3x digital zoom! I can still remember thinking wow… my very first digital camera, and with 3x zoom! But soon I realize what it means by digital zoom! LOL… Anyway, just before I came over to Australia, I invested in a better digital camera – a Casio EX-Z850 – an 8.1 megapixel with a 3x optical zoom digital and video camera! But too bad I don’t know anything about shutter speed or lighting etc, but I would sure like to pick up some photography knowledge and skills if there is a chance!

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Tuesday, 4 September 2007

One of the better days

Hmm… besides my dear, I didn’t really think anyone would be reading much less chasing after me to update my blog! Yup, I’m glad and happy that there is at least one more soul out there who a fanatic for my blog! LOLok, not really a fanatic lar… but it sure does feel good to have someone chasing me to update my blog! Thanks Rhonda for your support! LOL

Anyway, the past couple of days have been good to me as compared to the previous few months. Firstly, Invitrogen has agreed to replace my cloning kit with new plasmid vectors and cells free of charge! Yeah! That means that I wouldn’t need to waste grant money to buy a new kit etc, and there is hope yet for my cloning experiments! Lately I’ve been trying to map out the 5’ region of the gene transcript using 5’RACE (Rapid Amplifications of cDNA ends), but am facing some problems as I have no experience with it. Being doing it and learning at the same time all on my own as to why steps have to be in certain order or why e.g. the 3’ end of the oligonucleotide DNA adaptor has to be blocked etc… And my creative side (which rarely shows itself) came out with an idea to map out both 5’ and 3’ end of the gene transcript! LOL… but don’t think it will work out in reality. Might try it out when I have the time! Who knows I might just be able to publish an article in Biotechniques etc if it works! LOL… me and my wishful thinking.

Just 2 days ago, a Sunday (2nd Sept), I have the mood to cook myself some western food. Though I have been living in this westernized country for slightly more than half a year, I hadn’t really eaten western food at all. Well, only once in Ciel Rouge during French Bastille Day which cost like a bomb! Every time I pass by this fish and chip stall, I’m very tempted to go in and get myself a fish and chip of the day which cost approximately $9 to $10, depending on what is the fish-of-the-day. So expensive! I can’t bear to part with my AUD$10 note to eat the fish and chips. =( So I always ends up cooking at home, or worst case scenario – ultimate burger meal from KFC that cost only $8.45 whereby unlike the fish and chips, it comes with a drink! Anyway, back to the point, yup – and so ended up cooking western food for my dinner on Sunday. Deep fried breaded chicken, pan fried garlic bread, boiled carrots, and diced mushroom scrambled eggs – my very first home cooked western food! LOL

Anyway, I went down to the International Student Services counter at around 2.45pm with Jim, hoping to register for the Canberra trip come this 28th Sept 2007. Argh… the counter is closed! Went up to the office to ask when the person-in-charge will be back, and those people can’t be sure as well – maybe 3 plus? Earlier OP, who is going on the Canberra trip as well, went down at around 11+ in the morning, and the counter was already closed. Wah… damn slack! Argh… gotta go down to the ISS counter again tomorrow!

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Tag tag tag...

Ok... Have been tagged by Fiona for ages but only have the mood to do it now.. =) So here goes the tag!

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:

1. sourrain
2. Mistyeiz
3. wuching
4. Bobby
5. ahbong
6. Miss Personality
7. she saw someone making love:)
8. jeemee
9. kastum
10. narrowband
11. Kev-walkabout

Select 5 people to tag
1. Minny
2. Chee Hsien
3. Kif
4. Jun Jun
5. Zhenie

What were you doing 10 years ago?
Hmm... 10 years ago I would be 17 years old... and a 17-year old me would be studying in Ngee Ann Poly at this time of the year! =). Guess I would still be wearing very orbit clothes then huh... haha

What was I doing 1 year ago?
Hmmm... oh, I would still be serving time with the Singapore Government! LOL... not in jail lar, but in NS! I had disrupted from my NS eariler on to study for my degree in NUS, which ends in May 2006. And thereafter I went to the Police HQ in Irrawaddy road, to finish up my NS lor. =) Very sian about doing NS, but at least it's admin job and no need me to run up the hill!

Five snacks you enjoy
1. 'Tam Tam' that can be bought from Sheng Siong
2. Arnotts biscuit from Oz
3. Muffin minis
4. Doritos Nacho chips
5. M&M peanuts

Five songs that you know all the lyrics.
Haha asked the wrong person... I can't sing and can't remember lyrics... oh I know, I know the lyrics to Singapore National Anthem!

Five things you would do if you were a millionaire
Check out in this tag of mine!

Five bad habits
1. I like to only go to sleep at around 4-5am in the morning.
2. Therefore I always wakes up at around 12pm! Must change must change!
3. Only eat a meal per day now that I'm in Oz... pity my tummy...
4. Like to eat KFC... on average once per week
5. Very competitive at times, even with my Limin!

Five things you like doing
1. Sleeping
2. Travelling
3. Eating seafood
4. Drinking burbon cola
5. and of course to be with my Liminy always!

Five things you would never wear again
1. Shirts or pants that are too small
2. Shirts with pictures on them.. (yup I like plain clothings)
3. Red or pink coloured shirts, or pants/shorts for that matter
4. My NUS undergraduate graduation robe... (those wear once then can throw away but I still bought it! wasted money.. =(.... )
5. Sunglasses... I look yucky with sunglasses.

Five favourite toys
1. Toy trains
2. Toy planes
3. dolls/bears.... yes, back when I was very very young... =)
4. Toy soldiers.... and I would simulate a battlefield and then they will kill off each other... lol
5. Plasticine! I would say this is my favourite, as since moving back to Singapore at the age of 7 with my mum, we were quite poor. And so no toys for me, and a plasticine then is the best there is. I can mould it into many different shapes e.g. dinosaurs and play with it. If I'm sick of it, just mould it into other stuffs... =)

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