Sorethroat, phlegm, cough: revival?!

Following on from my last post, I was getting better to the point where I stopped taking Cetrizine (yes, switched from Clarinase since didn't need the latter's strong dose). Sorethroat and cough were almost gone.

I was itching to exercise again but instead settled for 3 rounds of slow sun salutation and stretches during yoga. I barely broke a sweat.

I was fine the next day (Monday) but for some strange reasons, my sorethroat worsened (and throat felt drier too) after a nap. Phelgm volume increased at an alarming rate as Ban was driving us to Sushi Tei for dinner. Quickly took Cetrizine in between gulp of sushi pieces. Felt much better an hour later.

The next day, however, I woke up feeling tired. Couldn't focus much on anything I do. Took a long nap (1.5 hours) and yet still felt tired till the extent that I had to take a shower at about 8.45pm to stay awake (too early to sleep!). Felt a little refreshed but still tired :(

The next day, I felt better and even tried the stretching exercise again. Yes, I know that I could be risking lapsing back into illness but I seriously was itching to exercise and so this was a compromise. It wasn't enough but at least it was something.

Thursday marked yet another improvement as I noticed that I didn't cough any more. Yay! Moreover, I was tutoring that day too and this time I could drive there myself (the previous week Ban helped to drive as it was, on retrospect, the onset of my illness).

Today I woke up feeling extra tired. For some reasons, I suddenly woke up at dawn and didn't have good sleep until the alarm clock rang. Humph! I would need to take nap later. Goodness, when will I fully recover?

Sorethroat, phlegm, cough

It started off with me not having a good night sleep on Wednesday. Woke up with sorethroat on Thursday that progressively worsened throughout the day. So I consulted a doctor and took medication.

There was increased in phlegm production throughout Thursday evening and night which then prevented me from being able to sleep :( The next day, Friday, I consulted the doctor again. Turned out that one of the side effects of the anti-inflammation medicine was production of phlegm. However, for my case, it was worse than normal...or so I think I got this information correctly from the doctor. He prescribed a stronger medicine (Clarinase) to replace an existing one (Cetrizine). Phlegm did reduce substantially but evidently it wasn't enough stop it from causing me to cough as I struggled to sleep on Friday night.

I was so exhausted and desperate. So I took a tablet of Cetrizine after having light breakfast (at about 5am). Finally, after 2 days since I last slept, I fell asleep shortly after 6am, right until 1pm. Phew!

Since my throat was less painful than at the start, I took the chance by not taking the anti-inflammation medicine the following day. Whether it was sheer coincidence (maybe I was already recovering anyway) or not, the phlegm amount was significantly lesser and thus I could sleep throughout the night without waking up to spit it out or woken up by cough. I continued to make do without it and finally got back into rhythm of sleeping throughout the night. Yay!

Gradually the cough was less frequent but phlegm was thicker with less volume. Thus I'm still avoiding fried food and cold drinks/dessert for now.

Investing in dividend-paying companies

Through the investment blog Investment Moats, I came to know of Singapore's version of Motley Fool ("Motley Fool SG"). Years ago I do follow the original Motley Fool in US but I'm happier following the Singapore version since I buy shares that are listed in Singapore.

Recently, I read an article on Motley Fool entitled "How to Find Great Dividends While Relaxing By the Coast", which then talked about a recent post by Eddy Elfenbein (an investment writer and analysis) where he published a short tweet on how to screen for dividend paying shares:

1. Screen for 3%+ divs.
2. Delete names with too much debt
3. Sit by pool.

Motley Fool SG then adjusted criterion no. 1 to suit the Singapore context and performed a quick screening. The important takeaway is at the bottom of the article:

" But crucially for most Foolish investors, this is not the end of the work to be done.

For the astute investor, the screened names simply represents the starting point for more study to be done. Avid Foolish investors may instead want to dig further, and look at the business behind the ticker.  My colleague Ser Jing also would encourage dividend investors to look at the track record of dividends, payout ratios and free cash flow.

Mr. Elfenbein’s overarching point should not be lost, though. And, that is, whatever element you choose to screen for, the companies should reflect high-quality and a cheap price. "

This is good advice.

SSD accelerator cache device

Following my call to Dell regarding the error "Check media [Fail]", an engineer came over to replace the hard disk and install Windows as well as the typical drivers for Alienware. I was happy that the error was no longer there.

Later, however, I noticed that the laptop was running much slower than before. So, due to my previous research, I checked Intel RST (Rapid Storage Technology) window and lo behold it reported that the cache device, the SSD (solid state drive), was inaccessible. I did a reinstallation to factory setting but the problem still persisted. So I called Dell support again.

The technician didn't seem to understand what SSD was. I had to ask him to google "SSD accelerator". He guessed that physically disconnecting and reconnecting the SSD may solve the problem. He asked me whether I could do it and I said that I wouldn't want to do that because I'm IT illiterate. He then asked for some time to figure out how to help me and said that he would either call or e-mail me.

I was quite distressed by then. It was past midnight and so I stopped trying to troubleshoot (via research on the net) and slept.

Next day, I tried googling using different keywords and stumbled upon an explanation and solution. It seems that the SSD should be temporarily disconnected before Windows is installed. Regardless of whether this explanation applies to my case or not, the solution worked for me. I needed to get into the Configuration Utility (by firstly changing the boot type from UEFI to Legacy and then Ctrl-I) and choose Option 4 to change all disks to Non-RAID. Then I got into Intel RST window to choose acceleration again.

Thank goodness it worked! My laptop performance seems to have reverted to the quick performance it used to do. Although I suspect this configuration is suboptimal, I'm happy with it as I can't tell the difference if it does exist.

Although I'm disappointed in the competency of the engineer (but at least he did what he could and it appeared to solve the initial problem), I'm most unhappy with the technician who didn't call or e-mail me at all.

Hopefully this is my first and last bad experience with Dell. Hopefully my laptop will be problem-free from now on *cross fingers and toes*

Toilet for the headless


It's either that or you come out headless *shiver*.

Check media [Fail]

Recently I noticed that my laptop was slower in starting up and in shutting down. Also, just before it started Windows, there was a message at the top left that said, "Check media" and followed by "Check media [Fail]" after a few seconds.

This bugged me quite a bit since it was not supposed to be like this. I tried looking for solution on the internet. Firstly, I came across this:

Problem is that the I don't know how to get to the RAID BIOS to disable the acceleration.

Later, I discovered that there were a few people who said that the problem was due to the BIOS switching the boot source priority and all they needed to do was to put the hard drive back as the first priority. I did that (or so I thought) but the problem persisted.

Since my laptop was still under warranty, I called Dell technical support for the second time for this laptop.

After I told him that I had already run the diagnostic test using the programme pre-installed on the laptop as well as the one from Dell's website, the technician got me to run the one from the BIOS. That took almost 10 mins while he was on the line @@

All tests showed nothing was wrong. So guessed what he did next? He scheduled an engineer to come over to change the hard disk. Well, that was a surprise to me. I really thought he could help me fix it over the phone especially someone else reported that was how he got his fixed.

Hopefully the new hard disk will work well.

Inaho: 4th time

The third visit wasn't good and seems to indicate fluctuating quality. I totally forgot that I was supposed to order the same food as a check on consistency. Instead, this time I ordered something that I normally wouldn't order if sushi is available:

Inaho 4th rd_1

Inaho 4th rd_2

For some reasons, I was hunkering for ramen and so I decided to try their Shoyu Ramen (RM 18).

At first glance, I was a little disappointed with the amount of ingredient. I first tasted the soup. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty soup was. I believed I had shoyu ramen before but this somehow was better. Interestingly, it was darker as well.

It had chunks of chicken with unusual shape but it was nice and not dry. There were seaweed, bamboo shoot and leek too. Surprisingly it was filling, especially this was after attending yoga class. It may be better if there's an egg.

I will definitely have this again in future and hopefully they still maintain (if not improve) its quality.

Fear to lose

I believed all of us occasionally have the fear of losing. It is not always a bad thing e.g. fear of losing your savings if speculate in share. It can, however, be debilitating in other scenario.

Imagine that you are naturally smart or even a genius. You can do things easily. Success come easy for you early in your life. People praise you and soon enough such easy success is a given in their eyes.

Later, you suffered a loss at a particular activity. People are shocked but most, if not all, will probably brush it off as an extremely rare occurrence. You then simply stop doing that activity. What's worse is that it's possible you'll do that even without other people's reaction and simply due to your perception of how people may react.

Oh, it is real. There are people who refuse to play a game again (e.g. sports, computer, card, boardgame) after losing only once.

On a closely related topic, it is thus important that when we praise a child, we praise him not for his success but for his effort he put into achieving the success. Yes, raising children is a minefield lol.

I like to believe that as I get older, the fear to lose in a game diminishes greatly. Sure, I may be a little unhappy at losing but it won't stop me from playing it again especially if I still enjoy playing it with other people.

As for fear of losing money in investment, I view it as a positive behaviour. It motivates one to take the necessary precaution, planning etc. before investing.

Hokano in July

Sometime in early July, Hokano shifted to another location within the same area (still in Uptown). They are now above the shop Living Food Restaurant (just after HSBC bank, I believed).

Possibly to coincide with the move, they had an ongoing 20% discount on all food (both ala carte and set) and drinks for the entire month of July. Too bad I discovered this only much later. Nevertheless, I still managed to sneak in 3 visits with Ban.

Hokano 3

Hokano 4

In my previous blog post, I stated that the salmon sushi cost RM 3 each piece and white tuna sushi cost RM 5 each piece. I must had been mistaken because for these past 3 visits, they cost RM 4 and RM 3.50 each piece respectively (before discount). Strange.

In all the 3 visits in July, I ordered exactly the same thing (as above): 6 pieces of salmon sushi and 2 pieces of white tuna sushi. Their quality has been consistently good. Yes, it's expensive but by far among the top 3 sushi I had in KL and beating some of those fine-dining restaurants.

Ban had their beef, chicken and cooked salmon and no complaints so far. The fact that he's willing to go there repeatedly is a good sign :)

I'll still go there in future despite the end of the promotion but probably not as often hehehe.

Actuarial prediction vs clinical prediction

Wagenaar and Keren (1986) illustrated how overconfidence in personal knowledge and the discounting of statistical information can undermine safety campaigns advocating seat belt use because people think, "I am different, I drive safely." The problem is that over 85 percent of the population thinks that they are "better than the average driver" (Svenson, 1981) - obviously a patent absurdity.

- "How To Think Straight About Psychology", by Keith E. Stanovich