Fuel Shack at eCurve


Fuel Shack

Ummmmm I don't think this is a good marketing strategy lol.

Ban and I tried this for lunch after gym one day. It was so-so only and for its price, you're better off with Subway even at full price.

Last minute

I am fine (or at least try to be "fine") with people requesting change in plan due to emergency i.e. unscheduled interruption in electricity, sudden flooding, accident etc. I can also consider requests for change for any other reasons.

What gets my goat (except in emergency cases, of course) is the last minute man-made decision to change plans without discussing with me even though I'm a major participant in that plan and sometimes I'm the one who's needed to ensure the plan succeed.

I'm especially miffed when it happens to big plans i.e. plans that take days to materialise. To make last minute changes simply because the requester thinks is "convenient" is definitely not so. Big plans require some coordination in logistics and time management.

First chemo

Following our suggestion, my dad tried morphine again, preceded with oat and took Dequadin after. No vomit. The next one, he took oat and pork floss respectively. No vomit! Thereafter, he was ok.

He did, however, vomit a few times due to gas in his abdomen. Upon the hospice's nurse advice, we got him Gaviscon for it.

The hospice nurse's first day here was spent mostly on information gathering but she did answer all our queries and provided relevant advice regarding, say, constipation, vomiting, abdominal gas as well as services that hospice can provide. She is friendly and seems experienced. The following week she would probably bring along a doctor.

On the first day of chemo, we arrived at Penang GH about 8.15am. After registration, nurse weighed dad, took his blood pressure and took some blood to test for Hep B and C (only on first visit). Then waited to be called by the oncologist, who asked about his condition and whether he needed top-up for existing medicine. As a result, she prescribed medicine to manage the vomiting, the abdominal gas and the constipation. She also advised him to double the morphine dosage just before bedtime. Similar to the hospice's nurse advice, she also asked dad to take note the frequency of "breakthrough" morphine i.e. ad hoc morphine taken in between scheduled times.

Then he, along with other patients, were given fluid drips for hydration. According to the patient next door, the chemo drug (oh, only gemcitabine prescribed for my dad), is given to all patients at the same time once all patients are present. It was eventually given shortly before noon and done about an hour later. Rapid hydration for next 20mins and then it was done.

Only side effects dad felt were "hotness" and, shortly later, weakness. Still, he could walk by himself. Hopefully future chemo sessions would not be too bad.

Pre-chemo

Once home, dad tried the prescribed morphine. Vomitted less than a minute later. I googled and according to UK's NHS, some patients vomit after ingesting morphine. They advised these patients to eat some food before taking morphine and that this effect should be gone in a few days.

So, on his second try, dad had some oat before morphine and then a Dequadin pastille after. It worked! 4 hours later, he also took oat but not the pastille. Unfortunately, about 50 mins later, he vomited during dinner.

Henceforth, he was afraid to take morphine and went back to Tramadol. Instead of taking it only when he felt pain is coming, he took it every 4 hours. He still took Gabapentin before sleep. Seems to work well at first but later the gap had shortened to 3 hours. So upon my sister's and my suggestion, he would try morphine again similar to his second try i.e. oat before morpone and Dequadin thereafter.

Meanwhile, we got our dad registered with Penang Hospice Society. They would send a nurse soon to advice us and, presumably, also gives us opportunity to ask questions, especially in regard to the care and need of my dad during the chemo treatment. We may need to borrow a wheelchair during the second-half o the chemo treatment period.

Discount to free

I laughed when I read this:

Discount to free

Plugged, not charging: Part 2

(11) Thought of system restore but had error "System Restore error 0x80070091". Searched online and tried this solution but the last step was unsuccessful because the file already existed.

(12) Meanwhile, rolled back audio driver and the headphone jack always works now!

(13) Re (11) above, just renamed slightly different (added "2" just after "old"). System restore worked but didn't solve the low muffled audio problem.

(14) New problem: when I played Faeria, Overwatch and Atlas Reactor, at least one of these happened:
(a) flickering
(b) discolouration
(c) patches of monocolours
(d) entire screen filled with coloured lines of varying width

Strangely, these didn't happen to Paladins, Small World 2, Guild Wars 2 and Crusader Kings 2.
Was advised by Dell to choose "on" for vertical sync setting in NVIDIA control panel (although I would think the default "use the 3D application setting" is better) and to use the given installer to install some drivers. Didn't work.

(15) After trying out some solution online, finally this works in fixing (14) above: use the compatibility troubleshooter. I was not satisfied though because they were working perfectly fine with Windows 10 before the change of motherboard. Would get Dell engineer to fix this using original setting i.e. not running compatibility feature.

(16) Dell engineer: changed motherboard for the 3rd time. Unsuccessful because it couldn't be charged @@. New problem: CAPS Lock is indicator is permanently lighted up regardless of whether the function was actually switched on or not.

(17) Flickering was back, despite (15) above, although not as bad as before.

(18) Dell engineer: changed speaker. Wanted to change motherboard but noticed cable connecting to motherboard is damaged. Laptop cannot be used :( I'm puzzled: why it could be used before the supposed attempt to replace the motherboard? He spoke with Dell at length. Dell would order parts and engineer would come within a week with parts to fix it. List of problems grew once again!

(19) Dell engineer: replaced the damaged cable (refer to point (18) above), although Dell ordered 6 other parts! @@ I wanted to check audio by playing a video file and/or youtube video but computer hung (not a good sign!). Did ePSA Pre-Boot System Assessment: it was ok. Did a quick sound check. Nope, couldn't hear the 8 different sound that the ePSA supposedly played. Booted to Windows. Played video file, Youtube video and Faeria. Yay! Sound was back to normal.

(20) All problems, except the original issue, were solved. Engineer advised me to get new battery but I told him that the previous engineer had twice asked Dell to send me quotation for new battery but I received none. He said he would ask them too. Well, we'll see.

Next phase

Recently, I accompanied my dad at his follow-up appointment with Penang GH's oncologist. Surprisingly, we waited only 1 hour before being called into the room, crammed with 3 doctors @@

(1) Renal function test results seem ok, just below borderline.

(2) Tumour marker (pancreas) level has increased again, from 80+ to 133.

(3) When asked by oncologist, dad said yes to chemotherapy. When asked by dad, the oncologist also recommended that treatment since dad is (relatively) healthy. If the response rate is good, the pain in his leg will likely be gone. I have strong suspicion that that's just a guess on her part.

(4) Will start chemo 2 weeks later. 6 cycles. 1 cycle: chemo on day 1 and 8, and then rest until day 21.

(5) Dad will need to go for blood test on the day before chemo and to bring the results to hospital when going for chemo.

(6) If during chemo treatment dad falls sick e.g. fever, he is to go to emergency ward (of any hospital) and inform doctor he's under chemo treatment.

I forgot to ask which chemo drugs they're prescribing (will it be 1 or 2 drugs?).

Waited for another hour before the palliative care unit specialist met us.

(5) Asked quite a number of questions about leg and history.

(6) Interestingly, there were quite long pause in between (at least 30seconds) where he was seemingly deep in though.

(7) Prescribed morphine, to be taken once every 4 hours and on adhoc basis if pain appears in between; constipation medicine, taken before bed, in anticipation of side effect from morphine; and Gabapentin (painkiller), to be taken at night before sleep.

Waited another 20mins before collecting medicine. Overall, it was quite a fast process especially for a public hospital. The most time consuming bit was traveling in the morning and so our errand took a total 6 hours.

Kopitan Classic

Kopitan Classic 1

I had this chendol (RM4.90) at Kopital Classic while waiting for my sisters, b-i-l, nephew and niece to finish cycling at Occupy Beach Street.

Noticed something odd? It was ice-blended instead of shaved ice. So strange. No large chunky ice for sure. Unfortunately, many other chendol are better than this especially given its price.

Plugged in, not charging: Part 1

(1) From 100% to 40+%, then slowly increased to 53% before plummeted to 3%! Now back to 6%.

(2) Bios: battery operating normally. Dell Support Assist: passed batter test.

(3) Used Ban's laptop adapter. No change.

(4) Dell engineer: changed motherboard and the power input jack.

(5) Dell engineer: changed motherboard and power adapter. Advised to get new battery but he would ask Dell to refund me if that doesn't solve it.

(6) Meanwhile, discovered sound is too low and muffled, similar to previous incident. Informed CSO of this and (5) above.

(7) Then discovered my laptop was performing like a tortoise, similar to what I experienced before. Checked IRST: disk wasn't accelerated. Accelerated it. Still started slow and programme started slow initially but subsequent usage was normal. Saw the RAID cache volume's cache mode is off. Don't know that's normal. Tried to find out but no success. In the end, updated driver of the SATA RAID Controller and it worked. Note that Windows kept saying the driver is updated but the software Driver Easy found the latest version (happened many times before).

(8) IRST app then didn't work. So downloaded directly from Intel. In there, it said that by default the cache mode is off. That's good to know!

(9) Headphone jack now rarely works :(

(10) Dell said they have no battery in stock for my laptop. What?! Also, "Dispatch has got Delayed due to part at backlog" Omg @@.

Japanese rose

One day, many moons ago, after a seafood meal at a rather rural area in Penang, we saw this plant at that restaurant. We are already familiar with it and so my sister (thank you!) decided to...errmm...take some sample to cultivate them at home. Do not need the entire plant; steam will do but make sure there is at least 1 node so that it can branch out.

They have flourished well, taken care by a few people in the household:

Japanese rose plant 1

Japanese rose plant 2

Seeing them always make me feel a little bit more cheery :)

Udon Kobo Min Min

Arata has already closed down years ago and currently Udon Kobo Min Min is operating at that shop lot.

Udon Kobo 1

This is ChaShu Udon (RM19.90). There were 3 slices of chashu which tasted ok. When it arrived, I couldn't smell the soup but I guess it's normal for udon soup? The soup was clear and just right in taste i.e. lightly salted. Unfortunately, the udon was not soft enough for me.

There was yuzu peel inside this dish! First time ever for me. I'm not sure whether it actually enhanced the dish or not but it wasn't bad at all. Certainly different.

Udon Kobo 2

I decided to be adventurous that night and ordered, for the first time, yuzu sherbert (imported). It was aromatic and had yuzu peel in it too. I highly recommend this dessert.

I may dine here again in future and perhaps try a different udon dish. For sure, I will have their yuzu sherbert again :)

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Unexpected advice

About a week after meeting Dr D, my dad had a appointment with the oncologist at Penang GH. Surprising, he did not recommend chemotherapy and instead would continue treating symptoms. The only pain right now is on his left leg. The specialist recommended upping the Tramadol dosage from 3 to 4 times a day. If that becomes ineffective, then small dosage of morphine will be prescribed.

With regard to the tumour at the lymph node, he acknowledged that it has grown bigger but it's still small. Also, there was no further spread of cancer.

When the time comes for chemotherapy, he would recommend 6 cycles but with only 1 type of drug (rather than the 2 types that have been consistently recommended by the other 3 oncologists) so that it's less harsh on the weaker organs.

He asked dad to go for tumour marker tests and to meet him again in a few weeks time to look at the results as well as to get an update on my dad's left leg.

Currently I have reservation about this because we've been following Dr D's advice and knowing how much she prioritises quality of life, I put lots of weight on her recommendation of chemotherapy. I hope my dad understands that the risk of delaying this treatment is that his health may deteriorate even further when he finally goes for it and so he may even feel worse.

Family vacation on Penang island

My youngest sister surprised us by saying that there was another family vacation planned for the next weekend after the trip to Ipoh. This time it was a two-night stay on Penang island (we spent 3 nights in Ipoh).

Here's a summary of what we did on Penang island:

(1) Had curry mee made by the Two Sisters, and the famous asam laksa next to the market, both at Air Itam. Both are good. The former was unlike any curry mee I know (not that I had many though). The latter was not as spicy as I expected.

(2) Had oh chien (oyster omellete) Joo Hooi Cafe (I had some egg and no oyster haha), and the famous Teochew chendol just beside the shop. Love the egg part of the former (not an oyster fan) and, as usual, love the chendol.

(3) Had kway chap with duck meat and pork innards at Kimberley Street. Delicious! Later, had soupy dessert and bought some Nyonya rice dumpling. Both were good although the latter lacked some spices.

(4) Took funicular train up to Penang Hill. Fun fact: cheap entrance fee at night. Didn't spend too long there as it was getting cold for parents and we didn't wear shoes for walking.

View from Penang Hill

(5) Shared a bowl rough mee hoon soup with prawns, a bowl with pork and its innard, a separate bowl with pork and bittergourd and 2 bowls of yam rice at Hon Kei. Quite delicious although I wouldn't request a trip there for myself.

(6) Went to 1st Avenue and Prangin Mall for a variety of reasons. Fun fact: there is no supermarket in either of these malls @@.

(7) Went to D'seafood Paadise (first time trying, first-choice shop closed) and had ikan bakar (bbq-ed fish), soft-shell crab deep-fried with flour, stir-fried belitung (obtuse horn shell), bbq-ed cockle and stir-fried mixed vegetables. They were all delicious. The best was the soft-shell crab which was hardly greasy. The stir-fried belitung was too spicy: burnt lips, burnt tongue. This despite us choosing black-pepper over chilli (we were given only these two choices when ordering). Looked too red for black-pepper. It was much later we were told by a waitress and the cashier that there were other non-spicy options. The least satisfactory was the vegetables: too expensive for its portion. Still, it's the best dining experience of this trip for me.

(8) Went to Occupy Beach Street. Had delicious coconut ice-cream while some family members rented bicycles and cycled the kids around.

(9) Had Chinese dishes with rice at Tek Sen Restaurant. Pretty good, especially the claypot tofu with mixed vegetables.

Leg, kidney, CT scan

Two months after the radiotherapy, the pain in my dad's left leg came back. This time, the pain was a little different (I forgot what's the difference). It started very mild but become increasingly more painful such that he needed to take painkillers 4 to 5 times a week. The pain also started to spread.

Naturally we suspect it could be due to the growth of residual tumour there. We consulted her. After asking some questions and checking my dad, she discussed a couple of options and ended by recommending a CT scan. Since dad was going to have an initial appointment with Penang GH's oncologist in about a week (his aim was to have chemotherapy there when the time comes), she recommended an almost whole-body CT scan so that the results could be used by Penang GH's oncologist immediately (rather than ordering one for an update).

Firstly, she ordered blood test to check his kidney function as he has only one kidney now. Unfortunately, the indicator has fallen from 64 and 53. Hence, she ordered hydration for 2 hours before the CT scan and another hydration for 4 hours after it. The hospital would charge us a full day stay at its ward regardless of whether he wished to stay overnight or not. Since it would be late at the end of it, he stayed overnight and Dr D would see him in late morning the day after with the CT scan results.

This was unexpected and so we didn't make any preparation for the overnight stay. It takes about 55mins to travel from Butterworth to the hospital and so it's not practical to go back and forth. Poor dad.

The next morning, my sister and I arrived and waited with my dad for the discharge process to be completed. Then later, we waited to see Dr D to discuss the results of the CT scans, once she received them.

Good news: there's no discernible growth in his leg and so it's the pain is unlikely caused by tumour. He's advised to tone down his walks substantially e.g. start with half and hour gentle walk before increase its intensity and/or duration gradually. Meanwhile, use Tramadol to manage the pain.

Bad news: the tumour at the lymph node has grown. Dr D said this might be a good time to have chemotherapy given that dad is still healthy and before he experience more pain (probably referring to his leg). So the next step is to see the Penang GH's oncologist, with the expectation that he would recommend chemotherapy. 

3 meals

Simonlover: It's actually better to eat 5 meals a day but in smaller portion. People usually have normal meals 3 times a day.

Ban: Huh? 3 meals? *started counting on his fingers* Lunch, dinner and ... ?

Derek: Breakfast lah! You wake up late, that's why you don't have it.

Everyone laughed hahaha.

Family vacation in Ipoh

A quick update as a background: since the last update, my dad underwent radiotherapy and successfully reduced the tumour significantly. Dr D said no further treatment needed. Pain's gone and my dad can walk again and exercise although not as good as previously.

My sister from Australia then came here for a 3-week visit. My youngest sister then planned a family vacation (only for 5 of us). After some discussion with parents, they settled on Ipoh.

Sister arrived in KL, where Ban and I got her at KLIA2. The next day, she and I took ETS to Ipoh. I was pleasantly surprised that they gave use a brown bag containing 2 packets of different biscuits and a small packet of Milo. I thought I bought Gold class, instead of Platinum.

Here's a summary of what we did in Ipoh:

(1) We stayed at a suite at Kinta Riverfront.

(2) Share a variety of food (char kuay teow, satay, hor fun soup, steamed chicken) at the shophouse next to Thean Chun for lunch upon arrival.

(3) Swam (almost?) everyday.

(4) Bought salted baked chicken, bread and lettuce for dinner on first day.

(5) Had dim sum at Foh San (twice!). The best dim sum I ever had in Malaysia. So worth it. But should arrive before 8am to get seats.

(6) Had yong taufu at Big Three Yong Tau Foo Was not bad but nothing to shout about honestly. Maybe because I didn't take their fried items? I had sorethroat.

(7) Had the smoothest and softest taufufa at Lost World of Tambun. Experienced hot springs for the first time. Nearly fainted haha.

(8) The most fun we had was at the Funtasy/Trick Art Museum.

(9) Had steamed chicken with rice/hor fun at Onn Kee. First time had normal chicken. Second time had "wu shou" chicken, which is what the shop is famous for. Still prefer the normal one.

Atlas Reactor: Tol-Ren

I tried a few combination of mods initially (starting from playing in PTS) and I settled on these ones on my road to first 5:
(please refer to this Wikia for description of abilities and mods)

(1) Twin Slashes - Honed Blade (3 loadout points)

Unconditional extra damage. Flexibility e.g. broad slash at the front and top-down slash at the back.

(2) Ren's Fury - Way of the Monkey (1 loadout point)

Good survival mod. Since it's free action, you can use this (and nothing else) and then use full movement to get to safety. Combo well with Second Wind.

(3) Spirit Rend - Spirit Master (3 loadout points)

2 cd range ability? Great! Sacrificed slow but I prefer consistency.

(4) Rushing Steel - From Very Angle (2 loadout points)

Due to how this dash ability works, this mod increases your chance of not getting hit by your target.

(5) Showdown - Spirit Wrack (1 loadout point)

Sometimes you might ulti next to the target and he is still alive next turn. This helps you survive better against his attack. I actually prefer Veangence Seaker but not enough points.

Some gameplay:





Atlas Reactor: first 5 a third time

Whenever there's a new freelancer, I'll try to be the first 5 players to level it to level 20 if I like it and can play it competently. Back in April, that freelancer was Tol-Ren.

I wasn't sure whether I could be make it because there was a day of interstate traveling and for a couple of weeks I was helping family members doing various tasks. Nevertheless I gave it a try and managed to be the 5th player to do so.

Tol-Ren lvl 20_1

Tol-Ren lvl 20_2

Tol-Ren lvl 20_3

Unfortunately, I forgot to screenshot the broadcast :(

So now I have 3 freelancers with such achievement (Grey and Khita as 4th player). That's pretty good, eh? :)

Barred outgoing calls

I still have my Singapore Starhub mobile prepaid sim card, on a cheap simple Nokia phone. Every 4 months I will top up its credit so that it doesn't expire. The only reason I keep this is my Singapore Citibank credit card which earns me miles points, which can be used to indirectly redeem air tickets. As for the credits, whenever I call Singapore, I'll use that phone.

Due to some problems purchasing movie tickets online, I tried calling Singapore Citibank with that phone but I couldn't because "all outgoing calls are barred". Why??!

Called Starhub a few times and we did the following but none is working so far:

  • Take out battery and put it back
  • Use another phone with that sim card
  • Tried *116* (instead of +) to call
  • Cancel "Call divert"
  • Cancel "all barrings" but "request not completed"
  • Reset roaming
Starhub checked and confirmed that my account is still active. There's credit. So I'm stumped...and so does Starhub @@

Update: after the last failed attempt (reset roaming), I called Starhub again. This time, the officer informed me that their technical team advised me to get a sim replacement card because (apparently) 2G service is no longer available. Question: why didn't they call me to tell me this??

Since I have no plans yet to visit Singapore in the near term, I asked help from a friend who visit Singapore quite regularly. He agrees to help me (thank you!!). The Starhub officer said I could get a friend to do it if I I provide him a letter of authorisation and my original NRIC.

More update: hold on! I found this. Specifically,

" 7. I am currently using a 2G device. What are my options to prepare for the 2G network closure in 2017?

2G services will be available until March 2017, so you can use your 2G device till then.

If you are a postpaid customer and eligible to re-contract, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of our latest mobile offers. Please visit any StarHub Shop for assistance.

For business mobile customers, please approach your StarHub Account Manager for assistance if you wish to find out the latest mobile device offers available for you.

For pre-paid customers who wish to buy a 3G or 4G phone, please visit any of our over 40 authorised dealers across the island for the latest offers."

That means I need to upgrade my phone??? Grrr.

Cholesterol 2017: Part 2

Since the last result, I tried to exercised more consistently to bring down the cholesterol level. Emphasis on "tried".

Earlier this month, I went for general health screening, which included lipid profile test. Here's that test result compared to previous one:

                               Feb 2017          Ref. range          Feb 2017          Ref. range        
Total cholesterol           6.0                 < 5.2                      6.4                 < 5.2
HDL ("good")               1.62               > 1.04                   1.50                > 1.04
LDL ("bad")                  3.7                < 2.6                      4.2                 < 2.6
Triglycerides                 1.4                 < 1.7                     1.6                  < 1.7
Total/HDL ratio            3.7                 < 5.0                      4.3                 < 5.0

Not good! Bad cholesterol went up whereas good cholesterol went down. Omg @@

I showed the health screening test result to my GP. Other "red flags" are to be monitored (as this is my first time doing this, they become sort of a baseline) and retested in 3 months time, but naturally for the high cholesterol, he recommended medicine after ascertaining that my diet and exercise regime were appropriate. This time, he prescribed Fenofibrate 160mg, once a day. Apparently it has less side effects? *shrug*. This GP has been good and spot on in his diagnosis so far for both Ban and I, and so I trust him on this.

Update: Some information on fibrate vs statins. Sounds like a mixed bag...

Headlamp wiper?

Headlamp wiper

So cute! I wonder whether it's easy to get replacement or not.

NSK Seremban

The first hypermart in Seremban was Makro, before such concept became popular. It started off by charging membership fee but later removed this requirement. It couldn't survive though.

Later came Giant, Tesco and Rapid. The last one also closed down. Giant have 2 branches but in my opinion, Tesco was more popular...until NSK came along this year. This new kid offers fresh food at lower prices. I'm so curious at how they can do it.

Anyway, this post isn't really about its main source of business. Instead, it's about the restaurant attached to it: Citarasa Seafood Market Steamboat.

NSK 1

NSK 2

Among its menu are sets of food that are suitable for different number of people, priced as low as RM9.90 that's suitable for 1 pax. Soup is charged at RM1 per person. You can also choose from its shelves various add-on such as eggs, noodle, tofu, lettuce etc.

Now, the rather unique thing about this restaurant is that you can purchase raw food (there are live prawns and fishes too) in NSK hypermart and bring them over to the restaurant for them to prepare suitably for your steamboat. They charge a service fee of 10% of purchase price. My father said that it's much cheaper to do that than to buy their sets of food.

I've compared some food (hypermart with 10% surcharge vs restaurant): tofu RM1.65 vs RM2.00, a packet of lettuce RM3.30 vs RM6.00.


NSK 3

We had fish, prawns, bamboo shellfish (pictured above; am I using the correct term?), lettuce, noodle, enoki mushroom, tofu and cut rock melon (which I think it's expensive!). Including the surcharge and cost of soup, it came to about RM17 per person, which is pretty good for steamboat with fresh ingredients. The only "normal" feature of the steamboat is its soup i.e. nothing to shout about.

For steamboat lovers, I highly recommend you try this at least once and get the food from the hypermart itself to maximise value for money. Maybe I try the set of food next time for comparison.

Atlas Reactor: Su Ren

Honestly, I'm more comfortable playing, say, Aurora and Orion, than Su Ren because the latter is a short-range character. That means she is (well at least one would think so!) harmed more often than a long-range character.

However, she has at least 2 things (that I can think off at the moment) which help her survivability:

(a) She has 2 dashes but the second dash has to be used the turn after the first one; otherwise it's wasted and the cooldown starts.

(b) The dashes and buff/debuff ability give her lots of energy while her healing can also give lots if hit multiple allies. This then hastens the time to get her ultimate, which is a good protective ability.

The build (and only one) I'm using is as follows:
(please refer to this Wikia for more details on his abilities and mods)

(1) Martial Master - Zen State (3 loadout points)

Doesn't seem to be a popular mod. I see players usually take Bo Staff Skills (get ultimate faster) or Forceful Strike (default). 3 health may look small but it does help her survivability e.g. just need to survive that turn and ultimate is up next turn, and occasionally saves her life (as evidenced by the video below).

(2) Serenity - Close to Greatness (2 loadout points)

I prefer Gaia's Blessing but there are not enough loadout points and so I stick to this default mod. This means that I can't go for clutch healing and instead should top up allies hp as often as possible, which makes this mod equally as good as Gaia's Blessing when played this way.

(3) Shifting Winds - Swift as the Wind (2 loadout points)

I know many players prefer Protector for clutch healing but I prioritise my survivability a little more. Dead support is bad for team, don't you think so? However, having said that, the reason why I switched from Protector was because the number of times my second dash was wasted was just significant enough to warrant this change.

(4) Spirit Bend - Chi Overflow (1 loadout point)

Give ally energy? Great! Spiritual Journey is better but too expensive as it would mean giving up some other mod choices. In any case, often time this ability is used only if there is nothing else better to do.

(5) Karmic Justice - Gaia's Chosen (2 loadout points)

As a friend said, this default mod gives the team a win-win situation (provided the target's not dead): if target takes damage, it gets to deal damage next turn. If target does not take damage, it gets the full healing.


And now, behold the power of healing mod on the primary ability :)

Missing petrol

On a recent trip back from Seremban, I stopped at a Shell petrol station at the Seremban rest stop. I was at kiosk 11 and wanted to go inside the shop to "order" RM50 worth of petrol. However, I was instead attended by an attendant who just finished helping a customer at the kiosk just in front of me. As usual, I gave him RM50 and Bonuslink card and then he swiped the card and his access card to start the terminal. He then told me the petrol pump was ready for use. He then sauntered towards the shop.

However, when I inserted the pump into my car petrol tank and pressed its handle, no petrol came out! I looked at the screen on the kiosk: the petrol volume and cost figures were not moving (coincidentally, it was showing RM50, presumably from previous customer). The smaller screen initially stated that the terminal was "processing" and then a few seconds later it was "closed".

In the meantime, I was looking around for help from any attendant. Two of them told me I had to go into the shop for help. Coincidentally, the attendant who helped me earlier walked towards me. After I explained the situation, he asked me to move my car backward to kiosk 5. He managed to obtain a receipt, presumably from kiosk 11, showing the time 12.13pm and that it indicated that RM50 worth of petrol was offloaded. My watch at the time showed 12.24pm and so I thought the receipt was legitimate.

I then showed him my car petrol meter. It had only 2 bars and so it was impossible that I had RM50 worth of petrol because it would had shown all bars! Even if I started the tank near zero, it would had shown so many more bars than just 2. That was when he brought me into the shop so that he could alert his supervisor.

His supervisor said nothing like this happened before and highlighted that some customers had faulty petrol meter. Nevertheless, to further ascertain the facts, he asked his colleagues to get ready to test the kiosk petrol pump while he checked the CCTV. While we were waiting for him, upon request, I showed the petrol meter again. Yup, still 2 bars.

The supervisor emerged and told me that it was confirmed I was at the kiosk holding the petrol pump but I pointed out that I was frantically looking around for help instead. Then another person (his manager?) asked him to cross-check my Bonuslink card number with that on the receipt. In addition, he asked the attendant to end shift so that they could reconcile the cash amount he had with the figure registered in the system. He asked me to drive my car back to kiosk 11 (because there were other customers wanting to use kiosk 5), gave me a bottle of chilled mineral water and invited me to sit in the shop while he checked.

Lo behold, the card number was different! Also, the attendant had RM50 more than that registered by the system. Further check on the time of the CCTV showed that I was there at 12.16pm, not 12.13pm. Hence, it was clear that the receipt was not for me. He apologised profusely and instructed his colleague to fill my car with RM50 worth of petrol. He said that since this had never happened before, they were quite at a loss of what to do. He would ask Shell to look into this. I suggested that they close this kiosk in the meantime.

I think I spent about 30-40mins there @@ I am glad it was resolved in my favour. Phew! FYI, this was all done in a professional manner and in fact, the supervisor was quite friendly.

Farmer's Street

One Sunday evening, Ban, his brother and I were on the way to Uptown to have chap fan for dinner when it started raining quite heavily. Hence, upon my suggestion, we went to Tropicana City Mall instead.

We considered both Simple Kitchen and Farmer's Street but chose the latter because its menu was more suitable for Ban.

I ordered Nyonya Curry Chicken (RM13):

Farmer's Street 1

It had 2 large pieces of chicken, including a drumstick, and 2 small pieces. It was delicious, with sufficient amount of spices to differentiate it from normal curry chicken, although a little spicier too. A little aromatic. It would be better if it came with, say, at least half of a hard boiled egg or more cucumber.

Later, upon my feedback, the manager/boss said that next time I could ask for more cucumber. The reason why they gave only 2 slices because some customers don't even finish them!

Farmer's Street 2

Their Specially Brewed Milk Tea (RM 5) was quite normal and so that's good enough.

I would definitely bring my parents here for the curry chicken.

Ikan Ayam

Ikan Ayam 1

Ikan Ayam 2

Ikan atau ayam? (Fish or chicken).

When asked, my dad said this fish tastes like chicken. What??? @@

Photo album

Recently I cleared my room back at my parents' place (since they'll be relocating soon) and came across long forgotten photo albums. Photos before the advent of digital camera and camera phone.

My initial thought was to throw them away because I hadn't looked through them for years (about 7 years) and so why make space for something you don't even make use of? William suggested digitising them. At first I thought this was a good idea but now less so because I don't even look at the digital photos I have on my laptop.

A few more people, mostly my family, asked me to keep it for memory...for them, I supposed, since, like I've said, I don't look at the photos.

Honestly, I'm a little surprised at myself since the fact that I kept them in the first place (and some of them I brought all the way from Singapore) meant that I valued them in the past. I guess I'm for living in the present and plan for the future. I supposed that things I remember matter much more than things I don't remember and so is there a point trying to remember them by looking at photos?

Anyway, in the end, I did bring all of them back to Ban's place since we recently bought a cupboard and thus there's some space. We'll see when and who will look at these photos next.

Paladins: some stats

Here are interesting stats, with some commentary, of a few games:

Seris 1

Normally, team without at least a tank loses but the enemy team made up for it by playing so much better than our team, overall. Miraculously, we were on the verge of wining: we just needed to push the payload for like maybe 3 more seconds.

I remember I had to use my escape ability (as Seris) because was under fire. I went behind the enemies and noticed that they were focusing on keeping my team mates from advancing. Soon our tank, Torvald, died. However, there were no enemies at the payload. So I took advantage of my 5 seconds of stealth and invulnerability to push the payload to victory :)

Torvald 1

This time my team did so well that I didn't die at all hehehe. In fact, I dealt the most damage, as Torvald, and had the joint most eliminations.

Inara 1

As you can see, enemies put out stupendous amount of damage and high number of eliminations. At first, I tried to stay reasonably close to Makoa and Seris. Later, I tried to protect Seris. Didn't work so well.

Then midway through 3rd round, I decided to help our Viktor and Maeve because I noticed that enemies tend to kill them first before going after our tanks and support. I played much better from then onward. In the 3rd round, I told team that I would continue to do that.

Previously, I noticed one particular path that at least 1 enemy took to flank our Viktor and so I went on that path to deal with him. Yup, there were 2 of them. They retreated and thus our Viktor could focus on protecting our Makoa and Seris at point. I guess they too were desperate to play more often at point this time because whichever team that captured it would win.

We won though :) I was quite surprised that I had the highest eliminations and by far the highest damage too. Woot! The best Inara game so far.

Kimi-Ya & Inside Scoop

I almost forgot I had these photos and so by no I remember very little details about the food @@.

William and Derek arranged to meet Ban, Simonlover and I for dinner at Kimi-Ya chiefly because they couldn't make it for my birthday dinner.

Kimi-Ya

It was quite an expensive Japanese restaurant but the food was good. Sorry, forgot what I had haha.

Then we went next door to have ice-cream. Apparently it's established by an actuary!

Inside Scoop_1

Inside Scoop_2

Inside Scoop_3

Inside Scoop_4

Unfortunately they didn't have any sort of coffee ice-cream. I ended choosing 2 scoops of 2 different flavour, recommended by a staff there. I like them but would have preferred coffee ice-cream hehehe.

Atlas Reactor: Garrison 2

It's been nearly a year since I blogged about this freelancer. Since then, I have experimented a few combination of mods and my current favourite loadout is as follows:
(please refer to this Wikia for more details on his abilities and mods)

(1) Piston Punch - Force Capacitor (3 loadout points)

Haste on an ability with no cd! Great for FL to chase down enemies since most FLs *cough* except Brynn *cough* have very short range on their primary abilities.

(2) Hand Cannon - unequipped

Unfortunately, there are no more loadout points left for this ability. Even Tracker Rounds would have been good. Also, with haste on primary, it's less of a problem to hit at least an enemy and so even though Big Shot is still a good mod, it's less important here.

(3) Missile Barrage - Double Trouble (3 loadout points)

Increased chance of hitting a few enemies. Often, I think, get more energy too.

(4) Heavy Metal - Frontline (2 loadout points)

25 shields until end of next turn is just too good to pass up. I know some players like to use Quake Slam for its root but I prefer shields for more survivability.

(5) Shockpod - Juiced up (2 loadout points)

More survivability for myself, my allies or both. I use it primarily for that purpose, rather than damage unless it can confirm kill(s). Of course as far as possible, I try to do both i.e. heal allies and damage enemies.


Here's a video of a recent gameplay. This was after I was away from the game for more than a week (was playing Paladin and trying to maximise the benefit of a booster).

Some breathing space

It's been about 9 months since the last false alarm. Yes, that's 9 months of missing rent! As briefly mentioned here, I finally have a tenant who not only signed a 2-year tenancy agreement but also at a rental rate that's slightly above the minimum rent that my agent and I agreed upon.

However, there are a few caveats:

(1) 6-month diplomatic clause
(2) Bidet spray in each of the 2 bathrooms
(3) New TV (which I've always wanted to replace anyway)
(4) One stand fan
(5) Replacement of an old single-bed mattress
(6) Tenant is required to service aircon once every 4 months, instead of once every 3 months, because they claim they won't be using much of it (there's just no easy way to check this, is there?)

Well, at least for the next 6 months, I will have rental income. I've asked my agent to continue to look for buyer though. Earning rental income is not worth it given the non-resident tax rate. In any case, all along I aim to start looking to sell it off starting from 2020 due to its age. It's a leasehold property and so I'm trying to sell before the inevitable relentless fall in price phase.

Paladins: Grohk 2

I rarely get Top Play and yet each time it happened, I almost always forgot to record it. The first time I remember was when I was playing Grohk. The next time I remember was exactly a week later when I was playing...Grohk too hahaha:



This time, however, I used a different build:
(for details on the abilities and cards, please refer to Paladins Wiki)

Build name: Gale
- main aim is to reduce cd of Healing Totem

Wraith legendary card
- for survivability because, frankly, the default Ghost Walk is not enough

Gale IV
Healing Rain IV
Outreach II
Totemic Rescue I
Haunting 1

To make up for the lack of healing (because not using Totemic Ward legendary card), I used Healing Rain IV.

Outreach II is to cover a larger area.

Haunting I is to reduce cd on Ghost Walk so that it's available again to be used to save myself as well as reduce cd of Healing Totem.

Totemic Rescue I is survivability.

Notably, I dropped Crackle because usually the increased duration does not give out as much benefit as I like to since Healing Totem's duration is naturally already 6s.

Paladins: Grohk

Grohk was either the first or second champion (mixed up with Seris hehehe) that I unlocked using in-game gold currency. He is now currently level 7.

The reason why I'm blogging about him instead of Seris (which I believed is a slightly better healer) is because I have only one video clip recorded and that's of him.

For details on his abilities, please refer to this information from Paladins Wiki.

My default build is as follows:

(1) Build name: Totemic Ward
- main aim of this build is to heal

Totemic Ward legendary card
- mainly for the increased amount of healing
- the 2s cc is a bonus

Outreach IV
- totem is always placed at your feet i.e. you can't just lob it to heal an ally in a distance
- this card is useful to increase the chance of  healing as many allies as possible
- also useful when you want to move back a little away from any intense exchange at the front and shoot from a safer distance

Crackle II
- more healing via increased duration

Shamanic Might II
- since he has to move close to ally in order to heal, increased hp helps him survive better

Totemic Rescue III
- with the increased hp above, his total hp is now 2900
- at, say, 20% max hp, he'll have a total life of 20%*2900 + 600 = 1180 for 4s
- should be able to withstand at least a single shot from a primary attack (Evie's primary shot damage is 900+)

Gale I
- you use Ghost Walk because you're in trouble and so this card enables you to get back Healing Totem asap to hopefully use it on yourself and allies soon


However, if I notice there are enemies whose ultimate abilities can pretty much kill me, then I use another build:

(2) Build name: Wraith
- main aim is to use the legendary card Wraith to survive such one-shot kill ultimate ability and yet have cards that help to buff up healing in the absence of the bonus 50% heal from legendary card Totemic Ward

Wraith legendary card

Outreach IV
Crackle II
Shamanic Might II
Gale I
- same reasons as in the Totemic Ward build

Healing Rain III
- for increased healing amount per second, to compensate for the loss of bonus healing from not using Totemic Ward

Paladins, Champions of the Realm

Recently, my online friend from Atlas Reactor, TheJoker, asked me to try playing Paladins. It's a game similar to Overwatch but with cards to customise the champion's playstyle (similar to Atlas Reactor's mod feature).

It has a free-to-play version where 8 champions are unlocked at the start. They are:

Fernando (front line)
Cassie (damage)
Drogoz (damage)
Kinessa (damage)
Tyra (damage)
Viktor (damage)
Pip (support)
Skye (flank)

You can then use in-game currency (gold), earned in game, to unlock other champions. You can also buy the game and unlock all current and future champions.

Here are the official website of Paladins, a wiki website I often refer to, and a deckbuilding website.

I like the game as much as Overwatch i.e. as much as a non-fps player would like :) It then comes to no surprise that, like Overwatch, I gravitate towards champions who do not require good aiming. One such champion, which I often play, is Grohk (support).

Here's my first short recording (because I kept forgetting!) of top play highlight featuring my Grohk, where I killed a few enemies while healing our front line, Inara, and myself in a circular area:

NVIDIA GPU not detected!

One day, my laptop inexplicably had BSOD (blue screen of death). Unfortunately, by now I have forgotten what the error code was @@.

Later, when I wanted to record a gameplay with GeForce Experience, I was told that a NVIDIA graphics card was needed. I was confused, of course, because my laptop has it! So I brought up Device Manager and there was no NVIDIA card among the display adapters! What's going on @@

So I performed a stress test using Dell's Support Assist and, as expected, everything was ok. Using their website, I was told all drivers were up to date.

I tried this and this set of steps that worked for others but not for me. In fact, the BIOS could not detect any discrete graphics card.

I thought maybe the graphics card had loosen and so just needed to be pushed back in. Unfortunately, I learned that for Alienware 14, it is soldered onto the motherboard @@.

I had no choice but to ask Dell for help via e-mail.

However, I can't remember how or why, I decided to try a system restore and voila! It worked! Phew.

Share investment Apr 17 Part 2

Here are the dividend yields on cost for shares that have paid out dividends:

Share investment Apr 17 Part 1

For ease of calculation, I've changed the method of calculating its denominator and it's erring on the conservative side i.e. likely underestimated.

There are 6 share counters with dividend yield less than 5%. ST Engineering is still yielding than 4% since the last update and it was just above 4% 2 years ago. Hmmm I'll observe for one more year given the change mentioned above. Kingsmen Creative and Silverlake Axis are also put in on my red list haha. Saizen Reit will be delisted soon.

Keppel Corp is experiencing hardship due to downturn in the O&G sector. Hopefully things will pick up soon.

The overall dividend yield on cost weighted by invested amount is now 5.6% but partly affected by the change in calculation method.

Here's the breakdown of my portfolio according to percentage of amount of investment in each share counter:

Share investment Apr 17 Part 2

Compared to a year ago, I've severely reduced holdings in Sembcorp Industries due to a glitch.

Here is the average cost of each share counter compared to its then prevailing price as at 21 April 2017:

Share investment Apr 17 Part 3

The most significant change is probably the huge increase in price of Venture. Oh wow. Unfortunately, I do not know why haha. Yes, yes, that's bad of me.

Here's the breakdown of my portfolio according to market value as at 21 April 2017:

Share investment Apr 17 Part 4

This is useful as a starting point for me to look at when deciding what to sell next.

Share investment Apr 17 Part 1

Time had been hard since the last update. Good new is that recently I managed to get tenant for my condo in Singapore. Yay! I still prefer to sell it though, given the extremely unfavourable tax rate on non-resident.

Due to absence of rental income for the past 8 months and the huge additional income tax that IRAS asked me to fork out, I had no choice but to divest some shares to pay for my expenses:

(1) Sold remaining SBS Transit shares since the first tranche of bus services was awarded to a foreign company. It would appear that being the incumbent was not good enough to win the tender. Morever, its dividend yield was still low. Managed to gain profit from this.

(2) Sold some Sembcorp Industries shares simply because it was the largest component of my share portfolio then. Unfortunately, due to momentary glitch I ended selling twice the amount that I wanted and hence I have very few shares left. Sembcorp Industries is still struggling amidst the fallout effects of the low oil & gas price. Sold at a huge loss.

(3) Next largest was Venture Corp shares, where its price had shot up dramatically over the past year. Trimmed its holding. Sold with profit.

(4) Sold significant number of M1 shares ever since a 4th license was awarded to operate in Singapore. M1 is the smallest telco in Singapore and its revenue comes exclusively from Singapore. It had cut dividend too. Its future is quite bleak. However, I left some shares there as a "wait and see" strategy. Perhaps there might be a buy-out? Sold with profit.


As at 21 Apr 17, I have investment in 26 companies (I've also indicated whether their source of business is solely in Singapore only or not):

AIMS-AMP Industrial REIT (Singapore only)
Ascott REIT
Ausnet Services
Boustead Singapore Ltd
Cache Logistics Trust (Singapore only)
CapitaCommercial Trust (Singapore only)
CapitaMall Trust (Singapore only)
CapitaRetailChina REIT
First REIT
Fraser Centrepoint Trust
Keppel Corp
Kingsmen Creatives
M1 (Singapore only)
SATS
SIA Engineering
Silverlake Axis
Singapore Press Holdings
Singapore Technologies Engineering
Saizen REIT
Second Chance Properties (Singapore only)
Sembcorp Industries
Singpost
SingTel
Singapore Shipping Corp
Venture Corp
VICOM (Singapore only)

Crusader Kings 2: a new high! (Part 4)

It was only in the immediate previous campaign that I "discovered" these statistics and only in this campaign that I made use of some of them.

CK2 25Mar17_13

Yes, as shown before in map format, Catholic was the overwhelming dominant religion in this campaign, in terms of realm size. Hardly a surprise since my realm, Empire of Alba (the largest realm!), HRE and Mongol Empire were overwhelmingly Catholic.

Shocking statistics: Hindu was the next dominant religion and the only other religion with 100 moral authority. Oh yes, Shia and Sunni had fallen a lot in this campaign. In fact, the heretical Sunni religion, Yazidi, was the most powerful Islamic religion here. Orthodox Christian was almost wiped off. Instead, its heretical religion of Paulician was 3rd most dominant religion, mainly due to Byzantium Empire.

CK2 25Mar17_14

In terms of realm size, I had the most by far (1214 vs 734) :)

CK2 25Mar17_15

In terms of demense size, it was my indirect vassal, Earl of Carrick, that had the most. His predecessors had consistently directly held 10 counties, with early adoption of Primogeniture succession law. I was surprised that his liege, a duke, didn't attempt to curtail his power or that the earl himself didn't attempt to take over the duke's title.

CK2 25Mar17_16

Almost all of them were my vassals. The notable exceptions were Duke Maoilios of Nidaros (Norway) and Duke Zula the Ill-Ruler (Abyssinia).

CK2 25Mar17_17

King Edward of England ruled over the largest realm by far among my direct vassals simply because the Kingdom of England was still quite huge despite a few counties ruled by others. He himself, however, had only 1 county within the kingdom. If the game had continued, I don't think our dynasty member would be the next king (Elective Monarchy). I had this situation before and I did manage to wrest away the title from the then rebelling king but simply couldn't hold on to it long enough change the succession law that would benefit my dynasty because I was constantly suffering the effects of being over vassal limit.

CK2 25Mar17_18

At first glance, there was no difference between this and the above statistic. What was captured here, and not before, but not shown was the emergence of Earl of Carrick with realm size of 35.

I used the above 2 sets of statistics to help me decide how to give away excess counties with the aim of not creating powerful vassals. There were some situation where I was tempted to do so for convenience sake but didn't do so.

CK2 25Mar17_19

It was only within the last 50 year or so of the campaign that I had unequivocally the largest army. Curiously, the Papacy had nearly 33k army with only realm size of 15! How did that happen?

Incidentally, at this point, there was a revolt in the Empire of Carpathia. If they reunite, then a united Carpathia should be place at around the 3rd position.

CK2 25Mar17_20

In terms of ream size, the top two spots were the same as that measured by army size but there were changes to the 3rd, 4th and 5th positions.

CK2 25Mar17_21

It was in the last few decades, I managed edge ahead in terms of score.

CK2 25Mar17_22

These were the titles I held directly :)

That's it for the incredibly outstanding campaign I had. I surpassed by miles the largest empires in terms of realm size and army. A personal score that was about 70% higher than the previous high. Ruled over a very stable realm; never had major rebellion. Oh gosh, can I top this in future?

Crusader Kings 2: a new high! (Part 3)

There's a new game mechanic that was new to me: threat level.

CK2 25Mar17_7

I've reached 100% threat level a few times @@. Every now and then, especially when they wanted to arrange marriage with someone in my court, some rulers temporarily left their defensive pacts. I would quickly checked whether they were rulers that I had been wanting to declare war on as that would be the chance to do so without triggering the defensive pacts.

As often as possible, I offered to join vassals' wars to minimise increase in threat level and avoid triggering defensive pact.

CK2 25Mar17_8

The yellow coloured land is my land i.e. Empire of Alba. The light grey coloured land belongs to Christian defensive pact states while green coloured land belongs to Muslim defensive pact. At one point, when they were still around, there was also Pagan defensive pact against me @@. This significantly reduce the expansion of my empire.

CK2 25Mar17_9

This shows land of "direct vassals". My direct vassals consisted of some kings and many dukes. So in the above, for example, the land labeled "Fes" is either directly controlled by my Duke of Fes or by his vassals (earls/countesses). The land I controlled directly is labeled as "Alba".

This mode of map was very useful when I was awarding newly conquered land so as to avoid concentration of power among my vassals.

I tried to confer titles to kinsman as far as possible. Later, when I was reasonably powerful, I took note of plots discovered by my spymaster. If the plotter was someone whose title I wanted to transfer to someone else (especially a kinsman) and the chance of success at imprisoning was very low (e.g. 1%), I triggered the imprisonment attempt so that I could put down the ensuing rebellion and thereby empowering myself to legitimately revoke the rebel's title. It was only at the the end of the game, I discovered that I could legitimately revoke 2 titles!

CK2 25Mar17_10

Yes, once again the Catholic religion was the most superior of them all. I had only a few counties left to convert at the end of the game.

CK2 25Mar17_11

Naturally, I tried to convert my vassals and consequently the populace to Scottish to eliminate cultural penalties and risk of revolt. I was, however, thwarted by my Anglo-Saxon and Irish vassals a few times if I didn't check on them regularly. I needed to bribe every now and then to appoint Scottish guardians to their heirs.

Oh, on a related note, the very first crusade was for Jerusalem (it almost always is the case) and for the first time in my games, a duke won it! Yes, an Irish duke. Goodness, I don't know how they did it.

CK2 25Mar17_12

This shows territory by dynasties. Yes, House of Zee Mau was prominent :)

Now vs Later

We informed Dr D that my dad decided to undergo radiotherapy for his leg at that hospital ("MM Hospital"). The quoted fee was RM500 cheaper than that at Dr A's hospital ("Adv Hospital") i.e. RM7500 vs RM8000.

So recently, we arrived there in the morning where they took a "planning scan" of his leg as well as some blood for tumour marker tests. Surprisingly the total fee, including the tests, was just over RM3k. Much cheaper than quoted. Something about using only a "fraction", rather than a few fractions @@.

We also requested to speak with Dr D because we were not clear about why she suggested doing chemo later rather than now. Despite her busy schedule, she managed to squeeze us in, patiently explained to us till we were satisfied, and did not even charge us for that! My dad is comfortable with her because not only is her explanation is detailed, it is also clear to him.

To summarise, her points are as follows:

(1) My dad's cancer is mucinous adenocarcinoma, which is quite rare. There's also few studies on this cancer. So in terms of treatment, specialists based on what they know of adenocarcinoma pancreas. In short, efficacy of treatment is a guess.

(2) Condition of patient is usually stable initially ("flat line") for a while before it gets worse exponentially ("exponential part"). Since for the past 6 months, the only notable development is suspected cancer on his left leg and a small dot of suspected cancer in the lymph node, it's her opinion that my dad's condition still lies in the early stage i.e. the early part of the flat line. Hence, having chemo now would not improve the current condition. Moreover, it's hard to determine the success of the chemo treatment as it's only a small dot to begin with.

(3) If undergo chemo now to treat that small dot (left leg is treated with radiotherapy), the cancer cells may develop resistance to the preferred chemo drugs when chemo is really needed (the start of the exponential part).

(4) So her aim is to catch the inflexion point i.e. condition about to worsen exponentially and then recommend chemo to treat the (expected) several spots of cancer.

(5) Throughout the discussion, she regularly goes back to her aim of treating stage 4 cancer patients i.e. prolong life, quality of life and control/manage symptoms.

Some concrete steps

So we met Dr A and here's what he said:

(1) Re my dad's red eyes: nothing to do with cancer but need to seek help from an ophthalmologist immediately.

(2) Re my dad's left leg: almost certain there's cancer on the neck of the left femur. As at now, it's not endangering the bone but if left untreated, it can cause fracture of the bone and that will be catastrophic since it's a weight-bearing bone. "Strongly" suggested radiotherapy to treat it.

(3) He was worried about the spot in the lymph node near the right kidney bed. So at this stage he recommended chemotherapy that helps to control the growth of the cancer. There is usually no or only mild (and hence tolerable) side effects. He, however, did advise us to take a little time to consider whether dad wanted chemo or not.

We asked what's the expected remaining life. He asked whether we really wanted to know and which party wanted to know. My dad confirmed that he himself wanted to know as he would want make plans accordingly. Answer: 2 years. Without chemo, it's 1 year. He, however, encouraged my dad not to give up as there were patients who lived for, say, 5 years.

As we know the treatment at that hospital is expensive, Dr A was understanding when we said we wanted to check out another hospital and he recognised Dr D from that hospital ("ah yes, she's a nice lady"). Our plan was to have chemo at the nearest public hospital if there's no long waiting time. If not, it'll be at that other private hospital. Dr A is willing to write a referral letter if needed.

Since we had few hours before meeting Dr D, we quickly visited Dr W, an ophthalmologist, at Dr A's hospital. After 2 check-ups (the second time after dilating the pupils and waiting for 30 mins), Dr D concluded that it was an infection. Prescribed medicine and asked us to get Johnson Baby No-More-Tear shampoo for cleaning.

Hours later, after giving Dr D all the necessary info, she said this:

(4) Aim of treatment during stage 4 cancer is to (a) prolong life, (b) maintain quality of life, and (c) manage symptoms. So she too recommended radiotherapy for the left leg.

(5) On the other hand, she differed in opinion on the likelihood of cancer in the lymph node. Given the aim stated in (4) above, she recommended an initial 2-monthly CT scan to check for anything serious.

(6) The eventual chemotherapy programme would be the same as what Dr A recommended. We can of course to choose to start anytime we like, instead of waiting for when there's multiple metastasis.

For certain, dad wants the radiotherapy to treat his leg as it's causing him severe pain and affects his sleep significantly. As for chemotherapy, we'll wait until his leg has at least significantly improved.

On our side, we have many things to do to enable my parents to permanently move to my sister's place in Butterworth.

I'll always love you

When I'm at my younger sister's home, I volunteer to read storybooks to my nephew each night before he sleeps. Usually, he'll ask me to choose books that I haven't read. Recently, I read this book:

I'll always love you

I know that my sister chooses books that are age appropriate for her children and so, as expected, the words used in the book are of course simple to me. However, the way it is written and its content itself effectively convey powerful message about showing your love and care to your loved ones while they are still alive.

Although this is not a typical light-hearted children story, it is done in a gentle matter-of-fact manner. It's realistic too, as I'm sure many dog owners would agree :)

You can read some reviews here in Goodreads.

Interlude: Subway's interesting promotion

Subway 12.20

Here's the interesting bit: some of these sandwiches were priced at RM12.20 from the ala carte menu. So basically, Subway was paying customers RM0.30 to take one of these drinks.

Mispricing? Or competition was simply too strong that they had to do this?