Archive | June, 2009

Celebrate Like A Champion With Smirnoff!

For Manchester United fans the ultimate pilgramage must be one to Old Trafford. The legendary home ground of The Red Devils.

Old Trafford

Well nows your chance to win a trip there sponsored by Smirnoff!

Smirnoff has released a limited edition promotional pack design in Malaysia, where consumers and fans alike can participate in a contest to win a trip to Manchester to watch some of the greatest footballers of our time play at Old Trafford!

To participate, consumers can either log on to https://www.thespiritofchampions.com or SMS the correct names of the four Manchester United players on the promotional pack, and share in maximum 25 words how they would celebrate with Smirnoff.

For those who opt to participate via SMS, they also stand the chance to win attractive weekly prizes, including Manchester United Malaysia Tour match tickets, Manchester United Jerseys and Caps, laptops, MP3 Players, Mobile phones, and Digital Cameras!

Only 12,000 bottles of the Smirnoff limited edition promotional pack will be available at selected supermarkets and entertainment outlets nationwide starting July 2009, selling at a recommended retail price of RM160 per 75cl bottle.

A Exclusive Treat For Bloggers residing in Malaysia only!

In addition, as a special treat to all internet-savvy consumers in Malaysia, especially those with a personal blog or website, there will be a 2-week contest named “Celebrate Like A Champion” running on https://thaiboxingirl.blogspot.com from now till 8th July 09. There are attractive prizes are up for grabs, including Smirnoff Manchester United branded merchandises, including 2 VIP Manchester United VS Malaysian Selection match tickets (on 18th July) worth RM 308 each, 10 RM98 match tickets, exclusive invites to party with 2 Manchester United legendary footballers on the 17th July and many more!!!

Interested? This is how to participate:

Part 1: Answer the 4 questions correctly:

  1. Name 4 of the Manchester United legendary players.
  2. Name the founder of Smirnoff Vodka, and the country Smirnoff originates.
  3. Complete this sentence, stating the partnership between Smirnoff and Manchester United: Smirnoff is the official _____________of Manchester United.
  4. What is the latest Smirnoff’s Limited Edition bottle called?

Part 2: Take picture of your most glorious CHAMPION moment and insert it into a prefixed
Smirnoff Photo frame provided in thaiboxingirl’s blog. In your most creative style, caption how this was your most glorious champion moment.

The Prizes

For the prizes, there will be a set of Grand Prize, 2 sets of second prizes, 3 sets of third prizes, 5 sets of special prizes and 5 sets of consolations prizes!!!!!

1st prize : 1 Jersey + Smirnoff limited edition promo bottle + 2xRM308 VIP tix
+ 5 party invites to hang out with 2 ManU Legendary Players
2x 2nd prize : 1 Jersey + 1 Smirnoff limited edition promo bottle + 2x RM98 Match tix
+ 5 MU party invites each
3x 3rd prize : 1 Jersey worth RM150 + 2 x RM98 Match tix each
5 specials : 1 Cap (worth RM80) + 2 x RM58 Match tix each
5 consolations : 1 Cap each

Contest is opened to 18-year old and above, non-Muslim bloggers residing in Malaysia, at least within the period of 25th June 09 to 19th July 09. To participate and for more details please go to https://thaiboxingirl.blogspot.com.

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Continue Reading · 6 Comments · Advertorial, Parties & Gatherings

What a Weekend

Ok for once I’m just gonna write something here without any pictures, like blogging used to be…a stream of consciousness I believe it’s called.

I had quite a weekend, on Friday I drove down to Penang – arrived around 8pm and had dinner with the contestants and crew for Discover Smile, Zoom, Malaysia TV show (it’ll start showing on 8TV on 29th July).

I think were were the 4th episode, so we should be airing around the end of August.

Anyway it was a fairly smooth drive down, not too much traffic, no accidents and no major roadworks.

Found out the Aishah Sinclair was to be the host for the show!

After dinner headed to the room to catch up some reading and catch a nap before the briefing, Ted arrived pretty late (my partner for the race).

So we were briefed on the race mechanics and how it was going to go down, to our dismay we found out wake up time was 5.30am!

Quickly grabbed a shower and went to sleep…got up about 5.45am the next day, let the camera man fix the interior camera in my car – had some quick breakfast and got ready for race flag off at 7am sharp.

Then it was race race race all day long, I didn’t take many pictures but I have a few. Will update more about the race later.

Finished up about 6pm, then headed to final destination. Was wrapped with final interview and everything by about 8pm.

Then our accumulated Smile Points through-out the race (totaled about RM500) we spent in the Esso station to buy some provisions for the Penang Children’s Protection Society.

The kids were so happy! It was great to see them smiling.

After that it was off to G Hotel for some late dinner (it was about 9.30pm by then) with free flow beer at the buffet 😀

I was stuffed to the max after that..

Then back to the hotel by about 11pm.

Shower, watched some of the MJ tribute concert showing on 8TV and slept before midnite for once.

Woke up the next day marginally before midday feeling really really stoned, aching shoulders and suspected a bit of heatstroke (had a minging headache all day).

I needed to get back to KL for a wedding dinner on that very Sunday night, so no time to hang around.

Checked out and hit the road, stopped at a petrol station to fuel up my body with essentials (caffeine, sugar and salt).

The correct order is like this:

1 can of strong iced coffee – one chocolate bar – one pack of salted cashew nuts – one gatorade.

That woke me up for sure. Then it was onwards and homewards, reached back to KL around 4pm.

Had to take the laundry, pump petrol, drop the dog at the dog sitter (of course grabbed a couple of goes on Guitar hero first) and then time to get ready.

Left home about 7 to reach Westin KL at about 7.30pm for the glorious wedding of Kim Ong and Josiah Ng in the grand ballroom.

You can catch her on Twitter too @kimongsk.

What a glorious wedding it was, it was beautiful and classy and very enjoyable for once. It melded Eastern and Western traditions together well and Josiah’s father was very entertaining.

I have to say it was probably the most fun wedding dinner I’ve been to so far, plus I guess it makes a difference how close you are to the person getting married.

The better you know them the more meaningful it is.

Got home about midnite, watched the first episode of True Blood Season 2, then time for sleep.

Man….I’m really having a sleep deficit now.

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Continue Reading · 11 Comments · General Nonsense

My Lurve Affair With Photography!

As you probably know if you read my blog regularly I have a GREAT passion for photography, I’m either doing it, reading about it, dreaming about it or talking about it.

It’s almost a year since I posted 2 Years Into Photography, that means next month I’ll be coming up to 3 years. Perhaps that deserves another post of what I’ve achieved in the past year.

I’ve spent a huge amount of time (and money) on photography, not just the gear but the accessories, the workshops, the books, the software – the list is endless. After 3 years my passion still hasn’t died down. Currently I’m dreaming of owning a couple of Westcott Apollo softboxes..

Another thing I happen to like is the Lurve multigrain chips, I’ve been buying them for quite a while now. They are a little more costly than other similar snacks but I love the flavours and the fact they are multigrain, which makes them very healthy – so I think it’s worth it to spend a little extra.

Photography is a long and tiring job, shooting the pictures is very enjoyable and exciting but it can be very tiring being on your feet for so many hours. Always carry some candy bars and some salty snacks to keep your energy up when shooting.

Photography

When you’re feeling weak and have a moment to spare, have a munch!

Twisties Lurve

What people don’t realise though, is that is only part of the story. Really that’s the easiest part..after you’ve finished a full day event for example you can easily come home with 800-1200 pictures or even more (if you have a heavy trigger finger).

That’s when the real work starts..cataloging, selecting, archiving, backups and then of course processing! I shoot everything in RAW because I always want to achieve the very best results possible with what I have. So every picture has to be processed after selection, correct the white balance, minor exposure/contrast adjustments then output sharpening – save the high res then re-size for a web version. Imagine that if you have a tough client like Robb breathing down your neck.

That’s when I need snacks to keep me going, plenty of snacks and plenty of coffee. Especially Lurve “Hot ‘N’ Spicy” can really wake you up!

Post Processing

Well that’s my passion!

Do you have something you are particularly in love with? If you do you can participate in the Lurve’s “What’s Your LURVE Affair?” Contest.

It’s very easy to take part, you just need to do 2 things – as follows:

  1. Write a blog post titled ‘My LURVE Affair with XXX’ in your blog. Somehow if you could relate your LURVE Affair to LURVE Multigrain Chips, that would be even better!
  2. When you’ve published your post send an email to lurveaffair@nuffnang.com with the following details – your full name, IC number and the permalink of your written blog post.

You stand to win the chance to be on TV if you’re one of the top 3! A 4 minute video to be exact shown on 8TV and an interview on 8TV Quickie (don’t forget to pimp your blog). I’ve been on TV a couple of times and believe me I want to do it again!

The GRAND PRIZE will be a Mac Book Pro (13″ – 2.26GHz) – I want, I want! Photographers have a Lurve Affair with Macs too – so it suits me!

The Lurve Affair Contest runs from 23nd June 2009 till 12th July 2009. For more details on the T&C please visit the site here.

Enter now:

https://www.nuffnang.com.my/lurve-affair

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Continue Reading · 11 Comments · Advertorial, General Nonsense

Car Safety – Honda G-CON Safety Technology

I was engaged by Honda to research the GCON Safety Technology.

Car safety is an important issue and something that I do consider when purchasing a vehicle, the ‘International Standard’ for car safety is the Euro NCAP.

Most local cars (like Proton) don’t even have a current NCAP rating, which is part of the reason many people (especially those with young children) will opt for foreign cars.

Honda as you can see generally scores highly on the safety chart.

Part of this is thanks to the Honda G-CON safety technology that improves road safety for both the passengers and driver of a vehicle and any pedestrian the car might impact during an accident.

Honda G-CON

There are various aspects of G-CON on being the crash-compatibility which provides mutual safety for 2 vehicles involved in a collision. The crash compatibility design basically makes vehicles more equal during a collision and removes the factors which can negatively effect vehicles during a crash such as different frame heights, different weights and different strengths of the vehicles.

Crash compatibility body

Honda Crash Compatiblity Body

By doing this Honda has developed a crash-compatibility body that uses multiple frame components to form an impact-absorbing surface that ensures frame contact which then disperses collision loads and improves energy absorption. All of these mean a safer experience for the occupants of the vehicle.

It’s also good to know that if you did happen to collide with a pedestrian the G-CON system would make it more likely they would sustain less serious injuries.

This is aided by the following technologies designed to absorb impact:

  • Impact absorbing wiper pivots – The pivot bends on impact absorbing impact
  • Impact absorbing hood hinges – The hood hinges bend on impact absorbing impact
  • Impact absorbing hood – Space between the hood and the engine gives the hood room to deform and absorb impact
  • Impact absorbing bumper – Space between the bumper face and its beam gives the bumper surface to deform and absorb impact
  • Impact absorbing fenders – The brackets to attach the fender bend on impact absorbing impact

Remember to consider the safety aspects when purchasing a vehicle as it could save your life and those you care about if you were to be in a serious accident.

You can find out more on Honda technology here:

https://www.honda.com.my/advancedtechnology

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Continue Reading · 7 Comments · Advertorial, Cars/Motorsport

Movie Review – Coraline – Dark

Coraline

Coraline Jones is a girl of 11 who is feisty, curious, and adventurous beyond her years. She and her parents have just relocated from Michigan to Oregon. Missing her friends and finding her parents to be distracted by their work, Coraline tries to find some excitement in her new environment. She is befriended–or, as she sees it, is annoyed–by a local boy close to her age, Wybie Lovat and visits her older neighbors, eccentric British actresses Miss Spink and Forcible as well as the arguably even more eccentric Russian Mr. Bobinsky. After these encounters, Coraline seriously doubts that her new home can provide anything truly intriguing to her, but it does; she uncovers a secret door in the house. Walking through the door and then venturing through an eerie passageway, she discovers an alternate version of her life and existence.

I recently got around to watching Coraline, as a fan of Neil Gaiman it was something I was looking forward too.

And I have to say I wasn’t disappointed, Mr. Gaiman released the novella to quite some acclaim netting himself some awards in the process.

The book was faithfully reproduced in stop-motion animation and released as a film (novellas always convert better to movies due to the their non-epic nature). If you’re read American Gods or Anansi Boys, imagine trying to make them into movies?

Anyway Coraline is doing very on IMDB with a score of 8.1 and I’d imagine given some time it will enter the top 250.

It’s definitely one of the better animations made in our era, along with Wallace and Gromit of course!

The settings for the film are very atmospheric and it’s generally quite dark, it could be consider in the horror genre (not slasher or jumping out of your skin horror though).

It’s very subtle and menacing but spectacular too.

Remember be careful what you wish for!

Definitely 100% worth a watch if you haven’t seen it yet, do it now!

I give it a button-eyed 9/10.

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Continue Reading · 11 Comments · Movies

WordPress Back To Default Install State – wp_options Table Corrupted

If you read my blog every day or so you may have noticed a couple of times in the past week or so it just showed the default WordPress installation screen.

Wordpress Install

Some people seem to think they’ve been hacked when they see this screen as it indicates the database is totally gone. The most common cause for this however is that the WordPress table wp_options has crashed or become corrupted and needs repairing.

If you have logging and access to the server you should see something like this:

./loginname_blog/wp_options' is marked as crashed and should be repaired

I have a simple control panel for my blog (DirectAdmin), most hosting will offer you something like this or something more complex like CPanel. You can find out what is corrupted by pressing the ‘Check’ button, if you just wish to go ahead and fix the problem use the ‘Repair’ option.

Repair Database

After the database is successfully repaired you should see something like this:

Repaired Database

A similar operation can be done with MySQL via command line or via PHPMyAdmin quite easily.

Now this is all well and good, but it doesn’t fix the source of the problem. You can’t keep repairing every time your database crashes, it started happening to me almost daily.

From my research, it seems that having too many records in the wp_options table can cause things to get funky and make it likely to become corrupted. Mine had a staggering 6234 records, a ‘normal’ wp_options table should have about 500 maximum.

Now what I didn’t realise that was every time I installed or tested a new plugin, it left a bunch of records in the wp_options table and when I removed it…it didn’t remove the records.

So I had all kinds of junk in there from the past 4 years of upgrades and experiments plus a whole lot of RSS hashes (which you can get rid of too).

My recommended solution is to use Clean Options, which is a plugin for WordPress that allows you to clean up your wp_options file.

Wordpress Clean Options Plugin

Just PLEASE PLEASE do some research and use it very carefully because it can destroy your install, I recommend that you backup your database before you start fiddling even if you’re very sure what you’re doing.

Before you delete anything do use the Google option and check out what created it, remember if you’re using WordPress 2.8 there are transient entries that are not orphaned they are part of the new WordPress DB structure.

If you find anything from a plugin you no longer use you can safely delete it, you can ditch all the RSS hash entries. You have a far cleaner wp_options table after that!

I managed to take mine down to 234 rows, it’s back up now due to the rss_hash entries but other than that it’s pretty clean and slick and hasn’t crashed since I’ve done the tidy up.

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Continue Reading · 15 Comments · Internet & Tech

Hannah Tan – Passion and Dedication – Honda Our Challenging Spirit Contest

If there is one person in Malaysia who I personally know who I admire greatly for both their Passion and their Dedication it’s Hannah Tan.

Hannah Tan

She never gives up and she never stops working, seriously she’s none stop. Even with that and the fact she’s expanding her career to Japan she still has time to think of others and organize fantastic initiatives such as H-Factor to benefit the next generation of people who will be contributing to the creative industry. H-Factor is a creative youth workshop meant for some wellknown celebs and people who have succeeded in their industries to share some tips and experiences with the youngsters of today. You can see Harith Iskander talking at H-Factor here:

Even her tagline “Making a difference” shows that she cares about improving things in a positive way, she’s not just about self-benefit and fame – which is very refreshing to see. Even with her being considered a succesful performer and playing on the same stage as big names like Shaggy and Whitney Houston at Live and Loud she’s still extremely humble and always willing to give back. You can see her at Live and Loud here:

That’s why I’d like to nominate and vote for Hannah Tan in the Honda ‘Our Challenging Spirit’ contest. Incidentally she also drives a Honda, a bright yellow Honda S2000!

I truly think she fits the theme of both passion and dedication and on top of that’s she’s a genuinely nice person. If you have a blog do help write about this and support Hannah!

You can read more about Hannah and her achievements on Wikipedia here.

More here:

https://www.honda.com.my/ourchallengingspirit/

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Continue Reading · 6 Comments · Advertorial, Serious Issues

Subaru S-GT 2.0 Turbo – Test Drive In Malaysia

So, lucky me! I got to test drive a 2008 Subaru S-GT for 2 days a couple of weeks back and boy it was fun (and makes me want to urgently change my car to something with slightly less rigid suspension).

The S-GT is what is known as the Subaru Impreza WRX with an automatic gearbox basically, so all the power but less of the effort.

As for the looks as always with Subaru, some hate it and some love it. This time it’s reversed though, regular people love it and Subaru fans hate it. It’s much more ‘normal’ than the previous sedan models with a smoother hatchback look.

Subaru S-GT 2.0 Turbo

It has one problem though, which is it looks rather small in pictures. It’s certainly not in real life though It’s a formidable looking vehicle with the biggest bonnet scoop put out by Subaru so far! The whole package gives it a refined but still muscular appeal, where as the previous versions were considered by most as performance cars (hey it’s not supposed to look good too right?).

Subaru S-GT 2.0 Turbo

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Continue Reading · 14 Comments · Cars/Motorsport

Stand Out with Nuffnang & Tiger at HQNine TTDI – Official Pictures

Nuffnang really knows how to throw a party! Their latest event was Stand Out with Nuffnang & Tiger at HQNine in TTDI Plaza.

Registration was quite happening early on with people showing up on time (mostly).

Stand Out with Nuffnang & Tiger at HQNine TTDI

And of course the Nuffnang team was there in force.

Stand Out with Nuffnang & Tiger at HQNine TTDI

There were all kinds of cool costumes like Cleopatra.

Stand Out with Nuffnang & Tiger at HQNine TTDI

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Continue Reading · 21 Comments · Parties & Gatherings, Photography

Movie Review – Angels & Demons – Fairly Thrilling

Angels & Demons

When Robert Langdon discovers evidence of the resurgence of an ancient secret brotherhood known as the Illuminati — the most powerful underground organization in history — he also faces a deadly threat to the existence of the secret organization’s most despised enemy: the Catholic Church. When Langdon learns that the clock is ticking on an unstoppable Illuminati time bomb, he jets to Rome, where he joins forces with Vittoria Vetra, a beautiful and enigmatic Italian scientist.

Whatever people may say about Dan Brown, he can write. I’m not saying he’s masterful or poetic, but he knows how to churn out compelling, easy to read mainstream crap.

He hooks people with the religion and the history (most of which aren’t familiar enough with it to know some is bogus). But then that’s the mark of good fiction (outside the realms of Fantasy and Sci-Fi of course) isn’t it? To blend the real with the faux seamlessly.

And after Davinci Code, now we get to watch Angels & Demons. It has a fairly high rating on IMDB, but I think that will go down over time as more people will brains rate the movie.

All in all it’s a decent film, it’s quite long but the pacing is reasonable. It feels like a thriller more than anything else and it tries to be as gripping as possible (dashing from beautiful location to beautiful location).

As Eyeris mentioned, Tom Hanks definitely has much better hair this time around.

And the anti-matter genius just happens to be a hot chick (not as hot as Audrey Tatou though). Ewan McGregor is great as the Camerlengo, I really think he’s growing as an actor and I hope to see him take up more serious work (No more Dan Brown pls).

After Star Trek though everything is tending to seem a little underwhelming, I haven’t seen Wolverine or Terminator yet (and haven’t heard good things about them either).

There’s not much plot to speak of in Angels & Demons but then that’s what you expect from the franchise, don’t expect a masterpiece and be forgiving.

It’s the kind of movie a 5-year old will be awestruck by, so let that inner child enjoy the film and don’t be a mean old whingebag.

Worthy of a watch anyhow, I give it a 6.5/10.

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Continue Reading · 15 Comments · Movies