Thursday, October 17, 2019

Hello Again After A LONG Hiatus

So it's been a while hasn't it ? I looked at my last update 10 years ago and how things have changed. Since the last post, I've expanded the family - 2 more kids , bringing the grand total to 3 (And speaking of expansions, my waistline also increased by a couple of inches to match)

I've also recently in 2019, left my 15 career in Oil & Gas and moved to Singapore with my spouse and am currently playing house husband while looking for a new job.

More updates as soon as I figure out what I am going to be doing with this formerly defunct blog.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Changes - Lots and lots of them

Yes, it's been far too long since my last post and Blogger is probably targeting my site for decomissioning due to inactivity. For anyone who actually reads this site , accept my apologies for the long period of radio silence.

So what's new with me ?

  • Am married to my wonderful wife Maureen
  • Am a daddy now to my beautiful daughter Caitlin
  • Changed jobs - well divisions more like but still the same
  • Will be moving out soon (if the contractor ever completes the renovation)
  • .....and nearing the end of the MBA - assuming I can find time to write up my

So yes, it's been a hectic past 12 months and if the last few months has been anything to go by, it's going to get a bit worse before it gets better.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Still Alive !

It's been almost 2 years since my last post but hey, I'm still alive and well.

So what is new with me ?

Job : No change. Still where I was 2 years back. Some role redefinition but ultimately nothing major to report

MBA : The end is in sight- 80% thru the taught modules and thinking about the dissertation

Personal Life : Unmarried but currently attached . Nuff' said.

Family : Alive and well.

Political views : Still apathetic.

Religious views : Read above.

Anyway. Not sure who reads this blog but I figure I'd better post something new before Google deactivates it.


Friday, October 12, 2007

So where have you been lately ?
I was in Dubai last week on a business trip. It is true that this is probably the worst time to visit the city given the fact that it is the fasting month and the UAE being a Muslim country severely frowns upon the consumption of food or water in public during the day and most of the entertainment type places are closed too. However I did manage to have a good time.
The city itself is very surreal. All these sparkling new buildings and everywhere you look there's construction going on. I had a couple of days off so I took to the streets. This of course was a stupid stupid idea. Dubai => Desert Climate => Thirsty Traveller Who Can't Get A Drink Because It's Ramadan - Duh .

Anyway, here I am at the Gold Souk (souk=market) near Dubai Creek looking a little worn out.

The market itself looks almost exactly as how you would imagine a Hollywood movie portraying a Middle Eastern bazaar would look like with the exception: Instead of local Arabs attending the stores, most of the store workers are either Pakistani or Filipinos which I found to be the case everywhere else in Dubai.

The goods stacked outside of the market in the photo are transported along the Dubai Creek to somewhere on these exhaust fuming junky looking boats.

So that was the old part of the city, imagine my shock when I went to the new part of the city. The contrast was somewhat jarring.

Anyway, I heard a lot about this shopping centre with a ski slope in Dubai which I had to see for myself. Bizzare does not even begin to cut it. It was 40C outside and suddenly, you see snow and people renting winter clothing to get into the ski slope complex.

Of course, no visit to Dubai would be complete without a cursory trip to Burj Al-Arab and I must say, the building is as impressive in real life as it is in photos.

Only in Dubai I suppose, the same country that is in the midst of constructing a whole set of man made islands shaped like the world and will soon have a shopping centre/amusement park called Falconcity that will have a mini-eiffel tower among other tacky gimmicky attractions.
I also took a Desert Safari where they take you out to the Desert in a beat up 4WD. Exciting to say the least as you would expect.

And I have to say this, the desert is not for the agoraphobic. With no landmarks anywhere for miles, it is only too easy to lose your way.

Just before I left , I made a trip to Jebel Hafeet ( Jebel means mountain ) , about 1 1/2 hours from Dubai and apparently a popular local weekend get-away for most of the Dubai city dwellers.

And yes. That is in fact a palace in the mountains.

And coming down the mountain we made stop at a hot springs oasis which only reinforced the surreal element I was talking about earlier. Sand sand sand rocks rocks rocks and bam suddenly lush green .

Anyway...It was an experience. My advice to anyone who wants to go there for a holiday is : Don't go during Ramadan and be prepared to shell out a lot of Dirhams, Dubai is expensive.
So what else is new ?
Just started my part time MBA so felt a bit guilty about missing classes when I was there. It's not as bad as I thought it would be. A couple of night classes after work, some course work. Bearable.
Anyway...more on this some other time I suppose.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

So what’s new with you?

Well this is going to be a short entry. Unfortunately this post will not have any photos. No travelling this past few weeks which may be a blessing I suppose. Still stumbling my way thru life from one indecision to the next. Single obviously. A little older this month (It was my birthday two weeks back ) Not sure whether I’ve gotten any wiser though.

What have you been listening to ?

The new Magic Numbers album – Those The Brokes . I have to say I am quite sorely disappointed. There are a few strong tracks on this album but a lot of the tracks are very formulaic. (I.e Three part harmony, a lot of “oooohhh-ooooohhh-ohhhh” and jangly guitar riffs ) Still “Take A Chance” is a catchy tune in a shoe tapping type of way. You might want to check out their web-site though…they’ve got a cute cartoon version of themselves

I’ve been going into a back catalogue mode. Was doing some research on Feist the other day and thought I’d check out her ex-band. Broken Social Scene. “Bee-Hives” (2004) . Some of the tracks are a bit on the post rock side but generally I was more surprised that Feist used to be in this band. She sounds nothing like them! Probably best listened to when chilling out after a long day or on a Sunday drive somewhere.

If anyone has been keeping up with the British music scene, you may have noticed Kate Nash as well. She sings with a very very strong London accent sort of like that other Londoner myspace starlet made good – Lily Allen. That’s where the similarities end. Kate Nash’s music is a slice of fresh air (Yes-I’m mixing up my metaphors again). It’s not ground-breaking but the somewhat quirky lyrics make her material highly listenable. “Right, birds can fly so high, or they can shit on your head, Yeah they can almost fly into your eye and make you feel so scared. But when you look at them, and you see that they're beautiful, That's how i feel about you”

So what have you been reading ?

Got a couple of new books. Mostly non-fiction. I am halfway thru The Last Oil Shock by David Srathan. It’s about how all the oil majors and governments are covering up the shocking fact that the world’s supply of oil has already peaked or will soon and we are going to be in deep trouble if we don’t at least acknowledge it and get some plans in place to survive the “oil shock”.

Centres on the idea of peak oil, the point or timeframe at which the maximum global petroleum production rate is reached. After this timeframe, the rate of production will enter terminal decline. The nasty part is that this is not sometime in the far future but IT HAS ALREADY HAPPENED. I am not sure what to think. Being in the O&G industry myself, I have been fed with some internal propaganda as well via the company communications so I am approaching the book with some skepticism. We will see I suppose.

Anyway, the concept is interesting :

Watched anything interesting lately ?

Funny you asked, I got this DVD from a colleague of an old film called: “The Cook, The Thief , His Wife and Her Lover” I really liked the film. It’s about this woman who is married to a brute of a husband , a gangster of some sort, and they keep coming to this restaurant that her husband owns which is run by this French chef and another strange quiet diner who has no lines until 1/3rd of the movie who she has an affair with. But wait….lest this sounds dull, perhaps I should add the fact that the costumes are all designed by Jean Paul Gautier and the piece de resistance , an epic ending involving a very well cooked human carcass. It’s shocking yes, but it suits the tone of the film

Sunday, July 15, 2007

So what’s new with you?

Well, I’ve been traveling again on business. I was just in Australia (Sydney first and then to Geelong) and then to Singapore (Yes, exotic Singapore) last week.

More work than play this time I am afraid so not as much photos as I would have liked. I however had a chance to take a long weekend in Melbourne where I graciously lodged in the living room of a friend’s place in a location that defies pronunciation.

Paarhan ? Parahan ? Praharan ? Oh wait it’s spelt Prahran but pronounced Puh-ran. Obviously. C. dearie, if you are reading this, I wikipedia-ed Prahran and apparently “Prahran is also home to a large portion of Melbourne's gay community, with several gay nightclubs on Commercial Road” (Don't believe me...? Read it yourself : )

Bet you didn’t know that. Actually scratch that, I think I’d be worried if you did know that. Then again, wikipedia isn’t exactly a repository of reliable information. I remember looking up my own neighbourhood and reading “Taman Tun Dr.Ismail , or as it is commonly known “the hood” is a main township in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia…” This entry has thankfully been excised from the existing article but it was hilarious when I found it. Picture a tourist telling the cabbie. “Can you please take me to the hood?”

But I am rambling of course. So what is new with me? Without delving into the details, I thought I found something but it turned out that I thought wrong. Do I hurt? Maybe a little. It’s difficult to tell these days. Mostly I feel kind of numb and anesthetized emotionally.

Right….enough with the emotional nonsense..any pictures of where you’ve been ?

Well. I was in Rosehill for work. That’s not too far from Sydney but I only saw the airport and was there for too short a time to actually go into Sydney proper so the most exciting thing I saw was the race-track at Paramatta. I have no pictures to speak of so here is a shot of the view from my hotel window instead.

I then went to Geelong which a nice quiet town an hour from Melbourne that overlooks Corio Bay. I had a chance after work to walk around Geelong town. I figure that it is probably very nice in the summer but since it was winter, it was awful. What was interesting was that the town was home to the Australian National Wool Museum. Doubtless I would have had oodles of fun it was open.

So as I mentioned I was in Melbourne next. It’s a nice place. Very livable? Clean and new-ish looking to boot. I didn’t really do much sight-seeing but I had a nice time strolling up the river Yarra, watching a chess game on the street and wandering around the extremely over the top Federation Square, a mass of steel and concrete desperately trying to make a statement of some sort in the middle of Melbourne city.

I had a day trip to the Dandenong mountains with some friends of my friend which was pleasant. Note the amusing warning sign below.

As a foot note, I should probably mention the wedding I attended in Singapore of some old friends before I shot off to Australia. It was such a nice feeling to see the both of them tie the knot especially since I knew them when they only started dating five years ago. Reassuring that love does work out sometimes. I unfortunately do not have any photos of the event as apparently there was a ban on external non-approved photographers snapping pics within the church. Go figure.
The only picture I managed to bootleg was a shot of the very cute wedding car complete with the Hello Kitty hood ornament.
I was back in Singapore last week for work again unfortunately I left my camera at home so I have no pictures even though I thought the city looked really pretty as I has a night out on my own after work that I spent strolling in the Esplanade/Raffles/Marina Square/Suntec City area. Next time I guess.
What are you listening to ?

Well, there’s this Swedish band “Loney, Dear” ( Not Lonely ! Loney ) that I am currently into. ( ). Strong layered melodies on most songs. The lead singer has a sad expressive voice. This of course is a prerequisite for personal soul baring tunes which the band has plenty of.

I was also listening to the new Bjork album - Volta.( ) Weird as always. Just when you thought the stuff couldn’t get stranger than her last album Medulla, she tops it by coming up with an odd tribal track in the form of Earth Invaders which apparently was written when she visited Indonesia just after the tsunami in 2006. It’s not too bad, save for a few of the duller songs that were jointly produced with Timbaland and Bjork, however to be honest, I prefer her earlier material she co-wrote with Tricky.

The new Travis album – Boy with no name.( It’s nothing new or groundbreaking but then again, I wasn’t looking for that anyway. The tracks have the familiar Travis folksy touch with a banjo riff here and there. I watched the video for their single off the album “Closer” ( ) (Yes, I am too lazy to paste the video here so you will just have to hyperlink your way there) which had them working in a supermarket with Ben Stiller cameo-ing as the supervisor which was very out of place to say the least. Or maybe that’s just me. On the whole I guess it’s alright for easy listening but Travis may need to come up with a new sound soon or risk being lost in the sea of brit-poppy bands with the same sound that ironically they helped to popularize.

What are you reading ?

I am halfway thru “ Fooled By Randomness” by Nassim Taleb. It’s very clever but also very snobby. It’s about randomness and how the human mind is not built to accommodate randomness when we think we are rational. It’s also about him ranting a lot and being very clever and well-read. Some bits are useful but some bits are just acerbic.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

So what have you been up to lately? It’s been like ages since you last wrote….

I’ve been busy. Or rather I’ve been a touch lazy more like. Also it’s difficult to keep on writing. A quick review of my past material here has left me to conclude that most of my posts are insipid and devoid of any real emotional content. Sure it’s about stuff that I’ve done or places I’ve been to but it doesn’t really seem to capture the experience well. It’s a bunch of words really.

Right……so where have you been?

I was in the States for the large part of March on business. Was in New Orleans, Houston and then Washington. I was also very fortunate that I had a day off at each city so I could do the whole sight-seeing thing.

New Orleans, Louisiana

I had a walk along the Missisippi ( I know I’ve probably mis-spelt it ) river.

Paid a visit to the French Quarter (Unfortunately I was a few weeks too early for Mardi Gras) where they have all these really old looking houses.

The place was a bit run down looking but I think that was the whole point really.

I also checked out this cemetery where supposedly this famous voodoo lady, Marie Laveau is buried.
Actually I didn't really intend to go there but I was wandering around the city and found this congregation of tourists milling about what appeared to be a graveyard entrance so I sort of tagged along.
A creepy image crossed my mind while I was there. A local cabbie told me the day before about how at some of the New Orleans graveyards, bodies and coffins started surfacing when Katrina/Rita hit the city. Brr...

I didn't really dare take a picture of her grave for fear of what might turn up on the camera later so here is a sidelong shot of the rest of the cemetery instead.
Get the dirt (har har) on her story here:
The city is still in the state of recovery from Katrina and you can see the signs on the repair works going on and the quietness of some neighbourhoods once you venture out of the tourist districts. Below you can seee workmen repairing the roof of the French Market and some road-works at Canal Street ( I am not sure whether the road works were Katrina related though...)

I also had a chance to try out some of this Cajun cooking and surprisingly, I was quite impressed by some of it. Gumbo and Jambalaya was so-so …it tasted like peppery stew but I quite liked the Crawfish Etoufette. It’s this rice dish with teeny tiny crawfish (They are like miniature lobsters) tails in a peppery gravy sauce. Nice.
Unfortunately, I left my camera back in the hotel room so I have no photos so you will have to enjoy this wikipedia entry instead :

Houston , Texas
It was apparently the middle of the Spring Break so the Museum District was crawling with all these families thronging the museums and the zoo and the park. The weather was amazing. Sunny and breezy but amazingly not too humid. It was so nice I actually decided to have an ice-cream and chill-out on a park bench in Hermann Park.
I also had a great time at the Museum of Fine Arts where strangely enough I went to an exhibition on French Impressionism which was on loan from the New York Met ( Yeah, I know, visit America and get a slice of French culture ..who would have thought? )
The night before one of my local colleagues decided to take the visitors from out of town to the rodeo. I was a little apprehensive at first but that soon changed once I got there. The rodeo was in this fantastically huge stadium and all around the stadium there were stalls selling
paraphernalia and food.
What was most amazing was the sheer scale of everything, the stadium was massive, the farm equipment on display was huge, and the enormity of the food portions was only matched by the general size of the American locals. This statement was generally true for everyplace in the States but especially obvious in Houston.

Washington D.C
I really did the tourist routine.
I took the walk down "The Mall" starting from the Abraham Lincoln Memorial down to the White House
and the War Memorial (The toothpick obelisk )...
then to the Smithsonian Museum(s) ...where they had really funky outdoor exhibits...
...Capitol Hill ...
....and then to Chinatown.
I think of the three cities I was in, I liked Washington D.C the most. There is something very cosmopolitan about the place. I think I like the busy-ness of the town. There looks like there is so much going on everywhere.
Actually, I’ve been to Washington before ages ago when I was about fourteen or something. Strangely enough I have little or no recollection of the trip. Another one of those memory lapses that seem to dot my long term recall for personal events I guess.

Wow…sounds like you had a good time..

I suppose I did.

Listening to anything interesting these days?

I bought a couple of albums when I was in the States. I got this new-ish Sufjan Stevens album called Avalanche ( which is basically a sequel album to the Illlinois album made up out-takes and remixes. I really like it. I mean it is obviously more of the same stuff but hey who’s complaining right ?

I also liked Regina Spektor ( so much I bought two of her albums Begin to Hope and Soviet Kitsch. She is adorable. She has this really retro look to her and I like the New Yorky accent that comes up in some of her songs. I’ve talked about her music in one of my earlier posts I think but I still think it is amazing that she put all her material up on the web for free.

I have the latest Aqualung album, Memory Man ( but it is a bit of a let-down really. I think Matt Hale is trying out a louder more mainstream sound, which is not a bad thing considering that some of the material in the past album was really sleep inducing more than anything else but it’s a bit of a hit and miss affair.

The biggest disappointment of course is the new Beth Orton album I bought, Comfort of Strangers ( .I am used to the stuff she put out during her Central Reservation period and this total about turn to “folk-sy” music was really surprising. There are one or two songs on the album which I think are worth repeat listens (Shopping Trolley and Conviction) but a lot of the other songs are somewhat forgettable. Kinda makes me wish she would go back to the William Orbit days (ala Galaxy of Emptiness type songs)

I am also quite into Leslie Feist. She has a new album out called Reminder ( It didn’t register at first but then my sister kindly pointed out that she is the lady in the Kings of Convenience album covers. This Canadian has an impressive list of credentials having collaborated with a host of people and was in a band called the Broken Social Scene. Starting from there I’ve been surfing a lot of the Youtube/Myspace pages for the Canadian indie scene. It is way cool. I mean all this while the only think I knew about Canadian music was Alanis…

Went for a gig recently at KLJamAsia with the coolest name “Tell You Boss You Had A Late Night With The Clients Discussing Multi Logistical Developments (Whatever That Means )”. I was there mainly to watch Furniture but the other bands were not too bad either. Playing that night were Silent Scenery, LightCraft and Azmyl Yunor.

Azmyl Yunor got some chatter from the crowd with his silly banter but he is a showman through and through ( Complete with the guitar playing solo on his knees act ) .

LightCraft were alright but they sounded a bit like a medley of lots of indie Brit bands.

Slient Scenery isn’t really my cup of tea. The band has a really nice looking bassist who I offered a stool to that night as she was about to sit on the floor. Unfortunately I could not think of a good pick-up line to go with that ….

Furniture is beginning to sound a bit tired. I have seen these guys perform a few times already and I think the lead singer should really just stick to keeping most of the songs instrumental or at the very least continue to let the feed-back drown out his singing.
I am sorry but his voice is really quite difficult to listen to in it’s raw unedited form. It’s whispery and kind of lame. Aside from the duet that he does with the keyboardist ( Who is really cute I might add) all the other songs with him singing distracts you from the otherwise surreal-sonic experience

So read anything new recently ?

I picked up a book at the airport to keep myself busy. Oil on the Brain by Lisa Margonelli. ( It’s a good read for anyone who wants to get up to speed on America’s addiction to oil in a hurry. It covers everything from the O&G business from the gas station to the refinery to the wells and then to the stock market floor.
The narrative is simple and to the point, written in an easy to understand style. It is especially interesting for me I suppose because I am in the business of O&G. It was a lot better than that Tom Friedman (Mr.I-won-a-pulitzer-prize-The-World-Is-Flat ) documentary called Addicted To Oil which I thought just glossed over a lot of issues and went straight into the renewable/unconventional energy technologies.

Anything else to add...?
If I think of something I'll let you know but for not really.