Better year ahead!

2011 has been a roller-coaster for me, with the second half being much more challenging than the first half...or maybe just that my memory of the first half is blurry now hehe.

Anyway, some of the notable events/incidents I can remember are:
  • Bought secondhand Myvi and drive around PJ, Seremban and occasionally KL. Driving skill improved...I think.
  • Tutoring my student, who failed his Math exam before, to an A for his UPSR. Was a little stressed when his performance dipped in between
  • Went to OZ with Ban during the cold April/May period. Really shouldn't go anywhere near winter, no matter how low the airfare is
  • Went to OZ again for a record of 1 month in Oct/Nov, chiefly to help my sister. Overall, it was great but admittedly I did miss Ban :)
  • My grandfather passed away in August. Wasn't as emotional for the mourners compared to the death of my grandmother. My guess is that his death had been expected for some time (for more than a year) and so everyone had time to come to terms with his eventual passing
  • Birth of my nephew, the latest cutie-pie of our extended family
  • Read many more books compared to when I was working, which is great!
  • Significant changes to my stock investment portfolio. Been lucky to have a relatively small realised loss that's easily offset by a large amount of dividend received thus far. Stopped accumulating. Priority now is to built up an emergency fund that can last me for a year and at the same time, to read investment book to begin investing properly (rather than relying on superficial research and other people's analysis)
  • My assets are too heavily skewed towards property and so am now selling one of them in Seremban and hopefully there's a buyer soon! Twice, I agonised over whether should sell the one in Singapore and twice I decided not to, after thinking hard about it for a few days. Really hope the rental fee will remain more or less stable during these expected trying years
  • Dengue fever. One week of boring stay at the hospital. Wasn't helped by the fact that the iv drip needle was inserted incorrectly and thus caused pain and swelling to my left hand. They didn't switch to my right hand, despite my parents and I voicing our concern about the pain occuring each time I move my hand
  • Ever since the dengue fever, I just have no mood to do anything, including routine stuff e.g. reading news, investment, books, playing computer games. I suspect I'm still weak from the illness and also due to lack of exercise. I'm forcing myself to at least do the routine stuff and also to meet people. Gradually getting back into the exercise routine
Here's wishing everyone a much better year ahead!

The Windmill Station

On Christmas, I had dinner with my family at The Windmill Station at S2 Seremban. We had a horrible start because there was confusion over the directions my dad received from the restaurant. It took us an hour to go there! Much later on, when it was all over, my brother-in-law confirmed that it was indeed quite easy to get there from Jaya Jusco. For certain, I will want to have him in my car next time we're going there hehe.

Windmill serves Western meals at prices that are generally cheaper than other Western restaurants. For example, Fish n Chip costs only RM9.80 nett (there weren't any sales tax and service charge). For some of the dishes, like those shown below, there is set meal deal for each of them which costs about RM3 more whereby you get a small bowl of soup (it was mushroom soup that night) and a glass of cold drink (from a short list of selection, I believed).


Hot n Spicy Fish
Hot n Spicy Fish


Grilled Chic
Grilled Chicken


Gordon Blue
Gordon Blue


Special mixed
Special Mixed

I had the Hot n Spicy Fish, which was not spicy at all. I'm not sure whether it was a mistake or not. My sister, who had a taste, too concluded it wasn't spicy but merely a little pepperish. In any case, it was oily: there was oil residual clearly underneath the piece of dory fish. The flour crumbled too easily. The taste was so-so only.

We shared a plate of chicken wings and a small basket of onion rings. The former was not too bad but nothing to shout about, whereas the latter, though taste-wise was ok, was obviously oily. Again, I'm not sure whether normally they're supposed to be like that or whether the restaurant was rushing to cook because of the crowd.

I had a taste of Gordon Blue, which was mildly interesting to me and I would try that if I'm there next time. I didn't try anything else but everyone else loved their meals. So I guess you should just avoid the fish :)

Not sure whether there is a Windmill restaurant in PJ/KL but apparently there are 3 of them in Melaka, of which I did sight one at Klebang Kecil/Besar on the left on the way to town.

Books 2011

On top of the Actuary magazine I read each month, here are the books I read this year:
  • The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
  • The Towers of Midnight - Robert Jordan/ Brandon Sanderson
  • Stone of Tears - Terry Goodkind
  • Blood of the Fold - Terry Goodkind
  • Temple of the Winds - Terry Goodkind
  • The God Delusion - Richard Dawkins
These are the books I've started reading but haven't finished (with the first one my current priority):
  • The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham, revised edition updated with commentary by Jason Zweig
  • Mythology: Timeless Tales of Gods and Heroes - Edith Hamilton
  • How to Think Straight about Psychology - Keith E. Stanovich
  • The World Affairs Companion: the essential one-volume guide to global issues - Gerald Segal
I'm fairly certain I have left out one or two books.

My baby

Each time I go away for more than a week, I'll get Ban's help to water my baby, the money plant. My poor baby has shrunk a lot for reasons unknown to me :( So the latest thing I did was to trim off the excessively long scrawny stem, making the pot much less crowded and hope that more leaves will grow than die.

I have a reminder in my phone that will alert me every Sunday at 1.45 pm to water my baby. So, when I'm away, I would text Ban to do it, which he said he would always do it the moment he read the sms. I would also ask about how it's doing and usually Ban would say they look the same.

This time, after I've been away for about 2 weeks...

Me: Hey honey, I thought you said my plant look the same
Ban: They do
Me: Come here and look at this *Pointed to a dried up leave and another leave that has turned completely yellow* See those? That's not good. It means they are dying
Ban: Oh, is it? I always thought it's natural for them to do so
Me: ......

Dengue, then malaise

I've been missing in action due to a few days of high fever and subsequent hospitalisation. It was one of the most boring mind numbing things I've ever done.

I just didn't have mood to do anything. It didn't help that that they stick the iv needle right next to my wrist and thus the slightest movement was painful. Even after I complained a few times, I was assured that that I wasn't used to it. A nurse even called me a baby! It was a few days later that another nurse astutely observed that my left hand was swollen and thus quickly got a doctor to shift the needle to the right hand and nowhere next to the wrist either. What a world of difference it made.

Everyday, I was given medication injected directly into my blood stream - once around 8am and another time around 8pm. Thereafter, I would fall asleep. Each day, I just looked forward to the result of my platlet count. Such a dull period.

After exactly a week of being in hospital, I was finally discharged. Thank goodness! I'm beginning to wonder why there are no more people going crazy and jumping down from a hospital building.

However, the malaise continues at home. I have no desire to watch any particular tv, read papers, read books, eat anything, drink anything. Everyday I'm just going through the motion just to live yet another day. So strange lah.

I'm now racking my brain to come up with reasons/excuses for me to get back to KL (to be with Ban) after my mum is discharged, scheduled to be on Tuesday. Any ideas?

Growth stock selection

The reader will understand from these instances why we regard growth stocks as a whole as too uncertain and risky a vehicle for the defensive investor. Of course, wonders can be accomplished with the right individual selections, bought at the right levels, and later sold after a huge rise and before the probable decline. But the average investor can no more expect to accomplish this than to find money growing on trees.

- Benjamin Graham, in the book "The Intelligent Investor"

The wonders of KL

KL traffic

Stucked in a 4km traffic jam for 40 mins. Then spent 50 mins to find a parking bay at Pavilion through 5 storeys of car park. Hours later, spent another 20 mins trying to get out of the car park.


DSC00049

Also, on a separate occassion, the delayed (so typical!) commuter train to Seremban was so packed that I couldn't get on it. Same story for the next yet-another-delayed train, which arrived about half an hour later. Frustrated and ended not going back to Seremban that day.

Don't you just love KL?

Inflation

Americans are getting stronger. Twenty years ago, it took two people to carry ten dollars' worth of groceries. Today, a five-year-old can do it.

- Henny Youngman

Insomnia 2

Following on from my previous post, on that day itself (Thursday), I already felt tired just past 8pm. Ban pointed out that this wasn't unusual since I didn't have enough proper sleep.

Instead of sleeping, I decided to stay up so as not to ruin further my sleeping/waking pattern. Also, I decided to do some yoga exercise to sweat it out and to properly stretch and relax my body, in the hope I could sleep better that night.

At 9pm, I did yoga for about half an hour, with about 5 mins of relaxation. Although the latter didn't work as usual (my mind was wandering all over the place!), the yoga exercise was great. I didn't do much upside down poses (where the pelvis is elevated above the heart and not necessarily directly vertically above) as I had blocked nose but I stretched my legs a lot and did a few twisting poses. The great news is that I finally did a difficult pose (sorry, I forgot its name) which I have been trying from time to time. Yay!

I went to bed just past 12am and probably fell asleep within half an hour. This time, fortunately, I had proper sleep for about 6 hours. I suddenly woke up just before 6.30am and just couldn't sleep any more. Similarly, I slept for about 6 hours on Friday night and no more. However on Friday night, it was 6.5 hours. I wish it was enough but it wasn't as I was still tired. Just couldn't sleep any more.

Hopefully my sleeping hours will normalise soon. *cross fingers*

Insomnia

It's been a while since I couldn't sleep throughout the night, not due to problem with the stomach/digestive track. Probably more than 2 years? *shrug*

On Monday night, I slept just before 12.30am (early Tuesday morning) but prematurely woke up before 6am. Tried sleeping again but ended up just tossing and turning until about 8am. Had breakfast, surfed net and then back to bed at around 9am. Couldn't sleep and so permanently woke up at about 11.20am.

Managed to nap at around 5.45pm but had to wake up at 7.15pm for dinner. Stayed up till midnight, which is my usual bedtime. Couldn't sleep throughout the night, although I was very tired. In fact, so tired that I had restless leg syndrome.

Inevitably, during these sleepless periods hunger pangs occurred. Drank milk. Had bread. Once past 6am, I had breakfast.

Not sure why this happened. I did the usual relaxation/meditation/stretching exercise before sleep. Made sure I wasn't hungry.