p pol The Adventures of Carboman: September 2006

Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Sentinel Review

Inevitably compared to the other movie about the Secret Secret agency - the excellent In The Line Of Fire (ITLOF). Where the Clint Eastwood started its story with the assasination of President Kennedy, The Sentinel kicked off with the attempted shooting of President Reagan. One POTUS (acronym for the President Of The United States) died while the other survived. Both protagonists are grizzled vets, Eastwood's character more affected by his experiences while Douglas' Pete Garrison seemed to be enjoying himself with an on-going affair with Kim Basinger's FLOTUS.

Duties of the Secret Service is also not well explored. Besides the usual protection detail unit (even past Presidents are still protected), Secret Service agents also perform wide ranging duties such as investigate threats to the President, counterfeiting cases, various enforcement programs, etc.... While we get glimpses of the technology the agency employs, it's unfortunate that this area wasn't explored. There wasn't much character development either. We didn't get to see the stresses these dedicated men and women go through when executing their duties. Eva Longoria was merely a mannequin in most scenes. She wouldn't be missed.

Several loopholes were noted. While fully aware of the threats to the President, why weren't the agents wearing their Kevlar vests? How come only 1 was seen using his sub-machinegun during the shootout at the basement? The ending seemed rushed and tied up too easily. Why on earth would the handler grab FLOTUS when his target was actually the POTUS? If he wanted to kill the FLOTUS, wouldn't it be better to just shoot her?

When compared to his earlier S.W.A.T. however, Clark Johnson's direction seemed to have improved a tad. Some aspects such as some arty cut scenes were better left out but generally this story is entertaining enough if you don't think too much. S.W.A.T. was so bad in my opinion, that I was angry about the wasted opportunity. All the pouting by the S.W.A.T. operators didn't help either.

Carbo Man's verdict: 5.5/10

Friday, September 29, 2006

The Resistance Runners Go Thru

What Alonso Fook posted in his blog are real. Runners, at least in Malaysia, have it tough. We can expect caustic, sometimes unintended and well-meaning, remarks from uninformed folks about the sport we love so much. It hurts even more when the remarks are delivered by people close to you - the very ones whom you hope will encourage you. 
I've learnt not to take them too seriously. I think I'm knowledgeable enough to know what I'm doing so when such cases arise, I'd just smile and continue what I'm doing. Only runners know why they wake up at unearthly hours to run. Only we know why we have to run when it's pouring out there. Only runners know why they run twice a day.     
With these resistance towards the sport, is it any wonder how it fails to thrive here in this country. We don't have to look far, only to Singapore where the conducive infra allows one to bike or run to work. Where running at lunch time will not be frowned upon and where the Singapore Marathon this year attracts a record 30,000 runners.

Runners are generally a tough lot. To those newbies who face such remarks, just think of each statement as a pick-me-upper, say an energy booster tablet (or JP-8 fuel). Each time time you find yourself in rough waters be it in training or races, just imagine popping one to sustain your effort.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Blueberry-Pineapple Mooncake

By now, you would've seen yet another cultural commercialism (is there such a term?) in full swing. By that I don't mean the foodstalls selling Buka Puasa (breaking of fast) fare but the shops and stalls peddling mooncakes. If you're not from Malaysia or Singapore - I'm assuming our neighbours down south too have similar tastebuds - mooncakes today no longer come in the traditional lotus paste "flavour". Even the mooncakes are subjected to the forces of globalization, so we now have multi-flavoured mooncakes. This can only mean more choices, although these experimentation often result in missed affairs, for the consumers. More choices mean more dough (pun intended) for the sellers. A mooncake will set you back between RM6 to RM16 on how exotic it is and depending on where you buy it. A box of 4 goes for around RM50. Read more about the Mid-Autumn Festival here and how it influenced the appearance of the mooncake here.

The not-so-humble, and definitely not-cheap mooncake

So to add to the lotus paste versions, we now have durians, pandan, single/double yolked, combos, ice-cream and many more. Don't forget the Blueberry-Pineapple version too which I had the misfortune to sample just now. I'm expecting a wider variety of flavours to come for the humble mooncake. If Bubba from Forrest Gump can think of so many ways to cook the shrimp, I'm sure the enterprising scalpers will think of greater things for the round confectionary. Can't remember what Bubba said? Here it is: "Anyway, like I was sayin', shrimp is the fruit of the sea. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. Dey's uh, shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo. Pan fried, deep fried, stir-fried. There's pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich. That- that's about it."

Monday, September 25, 2006

Everyone's In The Thick Of Action

Almost all of my running buddies are training hard for the major year-ending races and there are no shortages. All you need is to take a look at the events calendar in RunnersMalaysia. If you're the speedster, there's the SJ 10K. For the adventurous, there's the KRI 12K which is run over various terrains. Then there's the road Bidor 21K, a well-organized small event and a week before the mega Singapore Marathon is the Penang 12-Hour International Walk. All these are cramped in November and 1st week of December.
It's a bit awkward for me this time around and I admit feeling a little out of place because this has been traditionally one of the most hectic period in my training program. Except things are a little different. It's as if I'm now on the outside looking in. Like I've passed away and floating outside the realm of the living and surveying the goings-on of my running friends and the friendly rivalry that's building up. Oh, he's doing his long run today...Hey, you're running too fast for a long run...I see his training is coming along nicely.. Trust me, it's a surreal feeling.
I remember that at this time last year, I'd be a few weeks into my base refresher period. I'd be running 5 days a week with the obligatory Sunday long runs capping off the weekday 6-8Ks and the Wednesday 13 to 15K. I'd be hovering on a weekly mileage of 50K and doing a few tempos to stave off the boredom. There'll be no problems with the rainy season as I'd have put my rain jacket and cap to good use and I'd feel my leg muscles tightened from all the workouts. There'll also be the occassional pockets of "laziness" but these are easily overcome.
This time around, I'm not besetted by guilt of missing my runs, nor insanely early morning drives to the Lake Gardens on Sundays. I
And to those wondering what in the world am I up to, well, I'm doing some stuff now to look after my 2Ls (Lungs and Legs) - you know what they say about jogging...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Magic Numbers


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

I Just Lost My Cousin-In-Law To Cancer

While reading the morning papers barely 40 minutes ago, I received a call from my aunt. In between sobs she told me that her daughter-in-law, my cousin-in-law had passed away at the hospital after losing a 4-year battle with the disease. Just last Sunday at the Terry Fox Run, Yasmin Yusoff posed this question to the crowd, "How many of you know someone or have lost someone to cancer?". To which so many hands were raised. Diseases like cancer will not go away anytime soon. If this is nature's way of punishing humankind for the pollution, hate and moral degeneration, it has certainly got the wrong person. Then again, cancer doesn't discriminate.
If you had known my cousin-in-law, you'd have been charmed by her. She was one of the most easy going family member (even though not an immediate one) I have had. Yet she moved and spoke with such grace and tenderness, it's difficult not to be drawn to her. An attractive and intelligent woman in her mid-forties, I saw that she had plenty of strength in character in her when I stayed at her home for close to half a year when I moved to KL 15 years ago.

Her 2 daughters Samantha and Vanessa, and all who knew her will definitely miss her.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Double Barreled Sunday: Mizuno Wave Run

"Not being an ostrich, I couldn’t stick my head into the earth, so I had to suffer the indignity of being passed, dropped, left for dead, what-have-you. There was also the odd remark about a younger runner losing to an older one – which was always a kick in the nuts, whether told in jest or not." 

To read the complete TNS, CCB, TNMCH, KNN, HKC, HKFK, LLM report, click here.

Friday, September 15, 2006

A Weekend To Look Forward To

See the photo below? This Sunday most of them will be at the races - well, 1 race and 1 charity run. Those training for the Singapore Marathon will probably take this as a diversion from their long runs and a chance to catch up with friends while those rarely running will see this as a chance to release some pent up frustration!
After the Mizuno Wave Run, many will be making their way across to the Lake Gardens to lend their support for the Terry Fox Run.
To all of you, have a great time out there and hope to see you!

Filepic of this year's PAR Run. Photo courtesy of KC.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Very Happening Ear Buds

For those who depend on their portable media players to keep their sanity, you may want to check these out: http://www.ultimateears.com/ . These babies definitely don't look cheap and they're so good that some reviewers said that they can't even hear a bawling baby directly next to them. Rock stars also use them on stage. Naturally as with most things hip, they are not available in Bolehland. To check them out, you've got to head down to Singapore. For more info just go through the above URL.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Come Out Stronger

When you shock the body and mind to the extreme you certainly come out a changed person. While entering oneself in a race in an untrained state could hardly be called an extreme measure to, say compared to an emotional trauma of a death in the family, it is still a jarring experience from which one could either submit to the battering or, get this...come out stronger.

Last Sunday's Putrajaya Half Marathon was that experience for me. My lungs and legs were put through a shock therapy. As the early miles passed, the initial feeling of dread subsided, giving way to renewed confidence and hope. Holding together the two feelings are the spirit of competitiveness and never-say-die. Race experience took over and by keeping a cool head there was control over my surges.
However in a distance race, there could be no hiding from the fact that one was unfit. There are instances where a person has such a high tolerance level that no amount of pain nor breathlessness can impact his performance. But these are exceptions, so it's not in our context of discussion here. While the human body is an amazing machine, there's only so much you can squeeze out of it. The in-built defence mechanism will automatically kick-in when the body is pushed past the discomfort threshold into the territory of pain and in my case, breathlessness. My intake of breath grew shallow and try as I might I just couldn't get enough O2 into my body. That's when the untrained one starts to walk. And curse. And finish among the slowest in his peer group and risk some remarks (intended or not) about losing to an older person.
All these are circumstances beyond our control. If you're unfit, you'll be slow and you can't really stop people from talking. That's all natural. But that's no reason to fret. You can control how you react to all the "negatives". By seeing things in the right perspectives you can thrive in it and use it as a sustenance even. You're you. You run your lives, not the naysayers. To all those inadequately trained or slower marathoners who dared to toe the line last Sunday and in future races, and whose indomitable spirit see the distance through, I salute you. May you come out stronger in body and spirit.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Putrajaya Half

Even before reaching the starting line, I was thanking my sensibilities of not singing up for the full marathon. I don’t know what but bad juju seems to be plaguing me for this race. Last year’s 2:05 was the result of flu and some heavy antibiotics. This year, I was healthy but totally not race-ready. When 21K seemed a big task to tackle you know that you’ll have to be prepared for the worse.

To read the rest of the report, click here.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Guess The Sex Of Carbo Kid II

Just for fun, I'm asking you to guess the sex of Carbo Kid II and I'll post the results next week. So far only 2 or 3 fellas know.


The title of the Project Management book is: Project Management: A Systems Approach to Planning, Scheduling, and Controlling instead of as stated in the previous posting. You can check out the book here. The book costs RM259 from Amazon but the MIM sells it for RM81. If you're in Project Management, get this book while stocks lasts!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Application Of The Spirit Of Pia

Frequent readers of this blog will have been acquainted with The Spirit Of Pia. However this no-holds-barred, take-no-prisoners attitude is not only limited to racing. Indeed I put it to good use today. It all started last night when we got home and found the upstairs bedroom (unoccupied but adorned with Carbo Kid's drawings on the wall) water-logged. Water was dripping from the ceiling and the tiled floor was wet with dirty water. That can mean only one of 2 things: the heavy rain seeped through the roof tiles or a leaking pipe in the roof. Since I thought that although the weather had been wet the past few evenings, the rain wasn't torrential enough to cause the seepage. So I deduced that it must be a leaky PVC piping. After mopping up the mess, I laid out 5 buckets to contain the drippings and got everyone to take their bath and do all the washing up in the bathroom and kitchen so that I can shut off the mains.
The next morning, there were no more dripping. The ceiling board had been badly stained and I'd to take a day's leave to wait for the handymen to arrive. In order not to waste the day off, we packed off to the gynae for our monthly medical check-up and was provided a detailed scan on the baby. As tired as I was from last night's cleaning up, I was very anxious to find out if the baby is OK. After waiting for close to 4 hours due to the doctor's delivery duties, he finally was able to run a thorough ultrasound close to noon and gave us the thumbs up and announced that the kid is perfectly normal. I heaved a sigh of relief.
Then we hustled to lunch at a nearby McD's and went home. The workers had already called and was arriving in 40mins' time. That meant that I've absolutely no time to rest. While waiting for them to arrive, I washed the car. Their job thankfully was very efficient, thorough and quick. And the charges very reasonable I might add. Nothing near the amount that I feared that I'd be charged. They finally left at 4pm. That leaves me with just 30mins left to rush to the USJ15 local bank to collect my checkbook. My wife asked me "Isn't it too late to be going?". Typical of the never-say-die attitude of runners, I replied "Never try, never know". In any case I was ready to employ a backup plan should I be late. Alas, I took the wrong route. I ought to have taken the SS19 way or even the Sunway Pyramid way but instead I ended up on Jalan Kewajipan. Not only I had to battle traffic lights but road hoggers as well. I got to the bank at 4:33pm (believe you me, it was like racing - trying to meet the cutoff time for medalling!) and leaped out of the car and nearly pleaded (that was my backup plan!) with the bank officer to allow me to collect the item. I was a little desperate because the bank doesn't allow the first checkbook to be collected by a 3rd party even though he/she is authorized! And since they don't open on Saturdays, I've to waste another day's leave just to run this crazy errand. While they have ridiculous processes, dealing with smaller branches does have its advantages sometimes such as the officers can be a bit lenient if they want to. In the end I'm pleased to report that I went home with the book in my hands. Phew! My day has been a productive day already! That was a make or break situation and it's proof to not ever give up so easily.
I'm really pooped as I'm typing this and there are 2 more good news waiting for me tomorrow at work. Nope, not the nearly 100 emails that I'm expecting waiting for me. They're the 2 books which were delivered to me at the office. One's the Guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge (a bible-standard piece of work but a damn mouthful) and another one on the Bowerman which after some timely intelligence by yours truly one night, PM19 was able to execute the extraction of the only 2 copies from the Kino bookstore.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Playing Catch Up

After not blogging nor checking my emails over the weekend, it was refreshing to read all the updates from the sites that I frequent. There were a few Awana Trailblazer reports (RWM's blog can always be depended on for photos and eye-opening reports), a-mini-race report from Rohaizad and a revelation from Justin. Managed to put in 2 short runs on Friday and Saturday and wanted to continue the trend on Sunday but ended catching up on some stuff which I've not enjoyed in awhile ie reading and napping. The napping part fell very short even by napping standard as I think I managed only 5 minutes before Carbo Kid pestered me for his afternoon milk! I'm back at the daily conference calls and am munching Post's Honey Nut Shredded Wheat to stave off my lunchtime hunger!