Wednesday, 29 April 2009

Britain's Got Talent - Season 3 Episode 2

While Susan Boyle is an amazing singer, Mama Trish is weirdly amusing. His real name is Peter Coughlan. Check him out!  :D



For the convenience of those of you who missed my earlier post on Susan Boyle, check her out at http://blackie007.blogspot.com/2009/04/britains-got-talent-2009.html


Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Swine Flu: What it is, how to fight it

Picture source: Parkway Health Primary Network

The article below is extracted from:  http://tinyurl.com/d9fb4n

Swine flu: What it is, how to fight it
By Liz Szabo, USA TODAY


It's a common respiratory ailment in pigs, but this strain appears to be a subtype never before seen in pigs or humans. Here are answers to questions you may have about swine flu.

Q: What is swine flu?
A: It's a common respiratory disease in pigs that doesn't usually spread to people. When pigs catch this flu, many get quite sick, and 1% to 4% die, according to the World Health Organization. In the past, people have sometimes caught swine flu if they worked directly with pigs.

Q: How is this swine flu virus different?
A: This strain appears to be a subtype not seen before in humans or pigs, with genetic material from pigs, bird and humans, according to WHO. Unlike most cases of swine flu, this one can spread from person to person, said Richard Besser, the acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, at a White House press conference Sunday. One of the confirmed cases in the USA caught swine flu from a spouse, who had been to Mexico.

Q: Were pigs the carriers of this virus?
A: It's closer to say that pigs were the mixing bowl for this virus. Birds can't pass bird flu to people. But pigs are uniquely susceptible to getting flu viruses that infect birds. 
Experts have long worried that a pig would catch a bird strain of the flu and then the virus would mutate inside the pig to a form that could also infect other mammals. That may be what happened in this case. Pigs can also be infected with more than one influenza virus at a time, allowing the viruses to share genes, called "genetic reassortment," creating new & potentially much more virulent viruses.

Q: Can you catch swine flu from eating pork?
A: No, according to WHO. Pigs coming in to slaughter facilities are monitored for flu symptoms, and those that are ill are not allowed to enter the food supply. Cooking also kills the virus. People who work with pigs, however, can catch the virus. The Department of Agriculture is conducting tests to confirm that the food supply is safe, said Janet Napolitano, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Q: Is there a vaccine against swine flu?
A: No, but government scientists could try to create one, according to the CDC. "We've identified the virus," Besser said. "Should we decide to manufacture a vaccine, we can work toward that goal very quickly." CDC scientists don't know if this year's flu vaccine offers any protection.

Q: What about antivirals? Can they prevent swine flu?
A: This strain of swine flu does appear sensitive to the antiviral drugs Relenza and Tamiflu, but not to amantadine, or Symmetrel, and rimantadine, or Flumadine, Besser said. With normal seasonal flus, if taken within the first 48 hours after symptoms appear, antivirals can help people recover a day or two sooner. Doctors sometimes prescribe antivirals to household members of people with the flu to prevent them from getting sick.

Q: What are the symptoms?
A: The most common symptoms are fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing, although some people also develop a runny nose, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea, according to the CDC.

Q: What should you do if you have these symptoms?
A: Stay home from work or school, to avoid spreading your illness to other people, Besser said. Don't get on an airplane. People should call their doctors to ask about the best treatment, but should not simply show up at a clinic or hospital that is unprepared for their arrival.

Q: How can people protect themselves?
A: As always, people should wash their hands frequently, Besser said. In the past, the CDC has said there isn't conclusive evidence to support using face masks. Surgical masks are designed to prevent the wearer from spreading germs, but may also catch large respiratory droplets if someone sneezes nearby. In a 2007 statement, the CDC said these masks could be worn if someone needs to go to a crowded place, such as a grocery store, for a short time. 
N95 respirator masks filter out 95% of particles to prevent the wearer from breathing them in. These must be fitted properly around the nose to create a seal, so they can make breathing difficult.

Q: What does it mean for the government to declare a public health emergency?
A: While the declaration "sounds more severe than it is," Napolitano said Sunday, it will free up funds and allow health officials to use medications and tests that aren't normally used. The government also issued a public
health declaration during recent floods in North Dakota and Minnesota, she said, and noted that the government often issues such declarations when hurricanes are approaching. The federal government is also releasing 25%
of the 50 million doses of antiviral medications in the nation's Strategic National Stockpile, Napolitano said. The Department of Defense is also making 7 million doses available.

Q: Why has the virus been so much deadlier in Mexico, where 1,300 have become ill and more than 80 people have died, than in the USA?
A: "What we've seen in this country is not anywhere near the severity of what we're seeing in Mexico," Besser said. Doctors don't yet know why cases have been milder in the USA, where only person has been hospitalized, although 20 cases have been confirmed, Besser said.

Sepang Gold Coast

Prodded by CazzyCazz's post in February this year, we finally managed to check out Sepang Gold Coast a few Sundays ago. 

So, what is Sepang Gold Coast? Any connection to The Gold Coast in Australia? No. Sepang Goldcoast is a 4621 acres of seafront land mixed development project spanning 22 kilometres out to sea.


The entrance from land


It is a mixed development with residential, retail and restaurants, in the shape of a palm tree. The "trunk" of the palm tree is Sepang Walk, and will be lined with retail shops. If you missed the last water cab from the ferry terminal to your home, it is a long walk to your villa at the top of the "trunk". If you live here, you certainly do not want to stay out too late into the night.  


Golden Palm Tree Water Villas

The Water Villas kind of made me nervous about pirates, though. It is easily accessible from the sea if you have boats, ships or yachts.


Easy access by pirates or tsunami


The actual Palm Tree under construction


A closer look of the construction


Although the "trunk" and "branches and leaves" aren't ready yet, the base of the trunk is. There are a few restaurants where you could eat and enjoy the sea-breeze or sunset.  





Other things you could do at Sepang Gold Coast are archery, bird-watching or simply sleeping on the beach.

Archery


Bird-watching


It takes two to rock the baby to sleep  :)


Or, just stretch out and sleep if you don't feel like talking to the wife  :)

Monday, 27 April 2009

Some Funny Pictures From Pakistan

My uncle forwarded me some funny photos today, and here's a few that I found hilarious. Enjoy.... :)




Neno's Award....Thanks!

Lazzybunny has forwarded me this award to cheer me up, after a rude awakening by some less than scrupulous business people. Thanks, LB, that's very sweet of you.  :)


The award came with this mission :

* As a dedication for those who love blogging activity and love to encourage friendships through blogging.

* To seek the reasons why we all love blogging!

And it comes with some rules!

* Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it

* Don’t forget to mention the person who gave you the award

* Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging

* Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like

* Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post

Why i love blogging?

Hmmm......got to put on my thinking cap for this lor.......oops, cannot find my thinking cap, will my broken glasses do??? 

Broken glasses on and thinking.....still thinking.... :D

Ok...got it! I love blogging because:-

* That's the only time I can put on my glasses and express my intellectuality.

* It's great to be connected to other pets, and to share tales of our exploits or of our slaves.

* It's quite eye-opening, to read and learn about things that the mainstream media would never publish, that is, from those blogger friends who blog about life's happenings.

* And lastly......my blog serves as my diary, useful for recalling events or situations in my life....yeah, it's my extended memory cells..... :)

And this award is forwarded to these friends whose blogs have never failed to put a smile on my face:-








Now that's out of the way, let me stop my slave from using the toilet. 
Yeah!! She has nowhere to place her feet, hehe. 


Friday, 24 April 2009

Removing Wu Travel

I am removing Wu Travel banner from my blog as they have yet to pay me. When they approached me to place their banner ad on my blog, they said they would pay me within TWO days of my putting up the banner ad.

More than a week has passed --- it's almost two weeks now, and they have yet to pay me. I've emailed Stella twice, and there is no reply from their side.

This is so different from the beginning, when they wanted their ad on my blog. They respond within a few hours, but now, after having placed their banner ad on my blog, they have chosen not to reply my emails.

So....Stella and those in Wu Travel, I have removed your banner ad until you deposit the money into my Paypal account.

Updated on 31 August 2009
Still no reply nor any payment from Wu Travel. They know about this post, but I guess they have chosen to remain mum.

Unanswered questions from day one which should have warned me:-
Claim #1: They said even if those that came from my blog did not buy on the spot, but bought from them later, they can track because of the cookies they placed in the person's computer.

My question: How do you track that when most browsers removed all cookies when you close the browser?

Claim #2: Even if the cookies are removed, they can track by ISP.

My question: My ISP code changes each time I log online. The modem resets and look for the next available ISP. Also, when you switch internet services, you'll have a completely different ISP. So, how do you counter this problem of the same user not having the same ISP all the time?

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

Blackie's Onboard Signs

Two packages awaited me today when I opened my mailbox. They are gifts from Clement, a friend in Penang who makes onboard signs and sells them on the internet.

The first one is a DIMB Petfinder Award. To find what this award is, check out this link.

Custom-made Onboard Sign

This second one is a private bet between Clement and myself. We had a private game and if Clement won, I would buy him a drink when he visits KL, and if I won, he would give me a Black Label Limited Edition.

Black Label Limited Edition

Aren't they beautiful? So, if you guys see a car with either of this sign, you know it's me behind the wheel. Just give a short, soft honk and wave at me, yeah?  :-)

If you'd like to order these signs, just visit Clement at www.petmysite.com

Monday, 20 April 2009

Britain's Got Talent 2009

Britain's Got Talent was created by Simon Cowell, the Pop Idol/American Idol judge in 2007.  Britain's Got Talent 2009 kicked off on 11 April, and there will be seven audition shows on consecutive Saturdays before a week of nightly shows so fans can pick the two finalists to battle it out on 30 May 2009.

And one of the contestants, Susan Boyle, is someone worth watching......I must have watched this yuotube clip at least 5 times today! I saw Les Miserables when I was a student in London, and Susan Boyle is definitely another Elaine Page! Or maybe even better!!

A must-watch..!!!!!  




Thursday, 16 April 2009

The Disappearing "Werewolf" Moon

Last  night, or was it early this morning, depending on how you interpret the clock, while standing at our balcony, sipping our hot Milo (our tradition before we turned out the lights for the night), hubby and I felt that the moon that night was rather interesting.

It reminded us of those moons in movies where men turned into werewolves. Hurriedly, I set up the tripod ---- the secret to taking good night scene photography. 

Unfortunately, by the time the tripod was set up, the moon no longer resembled a werewolf night moon. However, we did capture some interesting shots, within 5 minutes, before it disappeared from view.






Life Is Grand

The Fluffies has sent me an award...... I'm not sure how I'm supposed to go about doing this, but I guess the first thing to do is to copy the image and the rules & paste them here. 

The 'Life is Grand' Award comes with these rules:
  • Give five reasons why you think life is grand
  • Pass it on to 5 more blogs



Why life is grand? Hmm....let me think....


1) A bed that I call my own, although I'm kind enough to share it with my slave. 



2) My very own sofa




3) Anything that my heart desires
Slave: What would you like? Milk or warm water?
Master Blackie: Milk, please. Shaken, not stirred



4) An obedient slave
Slave: Here's your milk, shaken, not stirred, as you requested.
Master Blackie: Put it down between my paws.



5) A safe window ledge to watch those silly birds from



Hmmm......is that all? If so, I'm gonna sleep now.



Snore...zzzzzzzzzzz


And I'd like to pass the award to.....

Monday, 6 April 2009

Great Books At Reduced Price

Last weekend, Payless Books had another one of their warehouse clearance sale. This time, it's held at the YMCA, Brickfields, KL. Their sale is known to be way better than other major book retailers like MPH, Times or Popular Bookstore.

So, on Sunday, after Qing Ming, hubby and I popped over to the YMCA. I bought the following eleven books at a total of RM50. Cheap, huh? 

Three Hard-cover Fiction for RM18
1) "O" is for Outlaw by Sue GraftonItalic
2) The Cat Who Brought Down the House by Lilian Jackson Braun
3) The Cat Who Smelled A Rat by Lilian Jackson Braun
(no. 2 & 3 are a Jim Qwilleran detective story where a male cat, Koko, has an uncanny intuition that can tell right from wrong, and frequently sniffs out the evildoer)

Three Hard-cover Fiction for RM20
1) The First Wives Club by Olivia Goldsmith
2) Dangerous To Know by Barbara Taylor Bradford
3) Midnight by Dean R. Koontz

Five Paperback Fiction for RM12
1) First Avenue by Lowen Clausen
2) Op-Center by Tom Clancy
3) A Game of Spies by John Altman
4) I'll Be Seeing You by Mary Higgins Clark
5) Dixie City Jam by James Lee Burke

No doubt some are old books, but hey, with newer paperback fiction being sold at RM32.90 to RM34.90 each, it wasn't possible for me to read all the books written by every single favourite author of mine when they were first made available. And I do gobble up books like a camel gobbles up water.

Qing Ming in Malaysia

Yesterday was Qing Ming. In China, people visit the graves of departed family members, sweep the tombs and plant trees at the grave sites. They also celebrate by flying kites, singing and dancing. And they do this on Qing Ming day itself.

In Malaysia, people start visiting the graves of the dead 10 days before Qing Ming, and continue doing so until 10 days after Qing Ming. In Malaysia, there is no singing or dancing parties, neither are there kite-flying or planting of trees. 

So, what do Malaysians do at Qing Ming? Well, a picture is worth a thousand words, so I'm just going to be economical and post pictures instead.


An onslaught of incense and candle smoke greeted us upon our arrival.



Saw a family overcome with emotion.....must be their first Qing Ming.



Mini "planter-boxes" (sorry, don't know what they are called) were provided by the temple for devotees to sacrifice food and burn joss sticks to the dead.



Where are those people going, with joss sticks in hand?


Hmmm.....let's follow them.


Oh I see.....they are going upstairs to call the dead from the columburiams to come downstairs and eat the food they have brought.


A close-up look at the food....some brought beer, too!!



And.....if there's a prize for the most expensive offering, this family should get it. A roast pig!! Wow, the dead has better food than me....Lol..!!!


While the dead is munching away on the food, the living is taking a rest under the shade. My mother-in-law told me that the dead has finished eating when the joss stick has burned out.


And what is this?? A city council dumpster on fire??


On closer look, it is paper cars, paper money and paper clothes being sacrificed to the dead. 

Some families wanted to make sure those offerings get delivered to their departed family, so they wrote their names and address on the boxes. Well, that was what they told me when I asked them about the yellow paper with Chinese writing on the boxes. 

It was also a hey-day for the beggars who lined up the roads & pavements at Kwong Tong Cemetery. In anticipation of a good day, they came armed with huge, plastic containers (about 10" in diameter). They weren't disappointed as their bowls are filled to the brim with RM1 notes. I saw them bunching up the notes and stuffing them into their pockets to make room for more donations. Too bad  I forgot to take a picture of them. It was hot and the smoke was getting into my eyes, and I was getting a bit grumpy.  :(

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