Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

VOTE EARTH

You must have heard about this by now. Saturday, March 28, 8:30-9:30pm. The world is switching off its lights for one hour. Earth Hour.

I must admit, I was very skeptical when I first heard of this. First of all, if it was an effort to reduce global warming, why not turn off air conditioning or other air polluting devices instead. Why lights? Secondly, these sort of things are always just more of a hype. So what if people turn off their lights for one hour? The very next day or the next hour even, the usage would probably be doubled. The extensive promos and events have probably cost more than the would be savings for one hour without lights. Then of course, there is the much debated notion of 'In Sabah especially, we are always having Earth Hour' - on account of the very common power shortage problems we have endured all these years! I saw this on many Sabahan friends' FB status. Biasa sudah kan...tau sudah bah mana tu lilin sama torchlight kana sedia simpan. Hehe..

Well, I got to thinking. I guess turning off the lights is symbolic in that it makes you think about living in a world of darkness. Literally being in the dark and also being in the dark in the sense of being ignorant or not caring about your own lives and the lives of people around you. Not such a nice state to live in. And so turning off the lights did make sense. Plus it is something simple that everyone can do. And as insignificant as it may seem, you gotta start somewhere, right? Some organizations have even pledged to turn off all their electrical equipment, schedule downtime for their servers and websites and so on.

This thing has received so much hype though that I am really really really hoping that something good does come out of it and that it doesn't just end up being a one day thing. WWF is hoping to reach a target of one million votes and to present this to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this year.

I hate to say this though... on my drive this afternoon, what did I see at Jalan Kolam.. The road lights were switched on! In the middle of the scorchingly hot and bright day! Oh dear.. macam mana ni Tok Bandar..Earth Hour is on Saturday night time but if you can't even have the lights switched off during the day... please do something about the control system for these lightings in KK. It's such a waste to see the lights turned on during the day!

So folks, Have a Happy Earth Hour on Saturday. Not too late to spread the word.

Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth.
Leaving them on is a vote for global warming.
This is a call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet.

VOTE EARTH by simply switching off your lights for one hour,
and join the world for Earth Hour.

8:30PM local time, wherever you live on planet earth. Saturday 28 March 2009.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Feeling Busted?

I saw an article recently on the effects of inflation on our lifestyle. Twenty years ago, you could probably get one cup of coffee for 50 cents. These days, a cup of coffee is most likely around one ringgit. Another ten years from now.. you guessed it... a cup of coffee could probably cost double or more! With prices of goods going uphill and the economy going topsy turvy, it is more important than ever to start practicing frugal spending habits. We need to decide between necessities, wants and luxuries.

Personally speaking, I love shopping. It's hard to go to shops and not leave with something. Anything. A few years ago, I would buy new clothes and accessories almost every month. Even grocery shopping was exciting. Well, I've barely bought new clothes in the last year or so. Grocery shopping is done mindfully. Especially since I left my previous job and am not on a fixed monthly salary anymore. It's tough but I've realized that it is a luxury I need to fore go at the moment. I know that our country's economy has not been as hard hit as some others but there has been a lot of talk that it is on its way. Some friends who are business owners have already mentioned that it might be a tough year ahead for them. How about you? Has the economy left you feeling busted? Miss going on those shopping sprees?

For you guys who are in the States, Sears is offering 75-80% OFF original prices on fall and winter apparel from now till April 18th. Although it's spring and coming to summer soon, you can still take advantage of this sale and be ready for the coming fall and winter.

If you are a mommy and in dire need of a makeover, check out bustedmoms.com and become a fan of Sears Busted Moms on Facebook. Tell your friends about it and go ahead and enter - you could win a $2,500 prize package from Sears. To enter, you just need to write about why you should win the Mommy Makeover Package. I'm sure you can dream up a million and one reasons why! You can also follow Busted Moms on Twitter - @bustedmoms will be giving away Sears gift cards to people that the economy has left feeling "busted" and providing updates on hot deals going on at Sears. If only Sears was available in Malaysia!

I want a makeover! Hmm..when is the next Mega Sales again???

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Luki'

My open uni classes ended about two weeks ago. I've finished marking the student assignments and entering their marks but I haven't submited it yet because the students are still allowed to participate in the online forum which also garners them marks. I opened up the forum this morning and found two students complaining about the marks I gave them. I didn't know that they could actually see the marks before I submit them. I even included comments for some of the students on why they got the marks I gave them.

One of the student that complained, I know that I gave him a zero for one of the questions. WHY? Well, the question called for the students to write a short essay about the evolution of production technology encompassing the areas of transportation, healthcare, communication and food technology. Do you know what that student did? His whole assignment was about a 100 pages thick! There were only 7 questions in the assignment and all the other students submitted at most 10 pages. This guy, the bulk of his assignment was attachments of various articles and leaflets referring to that essay question. He did not write anything of his own. He merely wrote the title keywords on each attachment. And he's complaining of why I gave him a zero. I did comtemplate of giving him one mark but when I thought about it again, he didn't really answer or do anything on his own. Do you think I'm too harsh? In the forum he mentioned that this is his usual practice for submitting assignments and never been questioned or not given marks before.

I was marking part of the assignments at my mum's house and when she saw me giving low marks she said, 'Don't be too luki' (stingy)' But I explained to her that I do have to uphold some quality for the university. I can't merely give marks where they are not due. And what if my work is checked and they find that I am giving marks to wrong answers. I would have to answer. And I marked down most of the other assignments too when it seemed so obvious that their answers were merely copied from some other source. Being in the 'marking industry' for the past 7 years, I've developed quite an eye for knowing which answers are done by the students themselves or those that blatantly taken from somewhere.

Here are some tell tale signs:
-You'd have one paragraph with the most bombastic words and perfect grammatical arrangement and then the next ones would be the most tunggang terbalik with spelling, grammatical errors all over the place
- Suddenly there is reference to the current situation of some country like India or Australia or some other place that absolutely has no relevance to the question at hand
- Use of abbreviations that are uncommon and not even elaborated or explained
- The answer contains lines like 'In this chapter...' What chapter? You are just answering one question, you are not writing a whole book.. Nampak sangat la copy saja from some book or article
- The answer never directly answers the actual question, it just sorts of hover around the general idea of the question
- When I was marking lab reports last time, I noticed that students would usually give the textbook conclusions for the experiments and not based on the conclusion of their own experiment. Even if the outcome of the experiment was wrong or not exactly as it should be, still, that is the outcome they should write about, right?

For the open u essay question, most of the students seemed to just give definitions of what the keywords meant. They didn't really answer based on their opinion. I find this is the case with engineering or technical students, they don't really know how to express their own opinion. And that is why I marked them down. Harsh?

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Word Quota

My friend delivered a speech entitled Word Quota at our Toasties meeting last Thursday. According to him, men have a word quota of 2500 words per day and get this, women have 8000!! And so this is why, when you talk to men, they'd sometimes respond with one word answers like 'mmm'. If you call that a word. And this is also supposedly why we women can yabber on and on and on... Is this true? Supposedly, it is all in our genes and this dates back to the cave people days where men would go out and hunt and women were left to gather food and take care of the family. Men had to minimise their talking so as not to frighten away their prey whereas women had to share their knowhow on how to cook, which fruits or plants were good as remedies, etc etc etc. He did mention that this is also why women are smarter and have better brains than men! Now that sounds right!! So the next time you're in the mood to talk and your guy just lets out a grunt, maybe he's already used up his quota for the day!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Today's Thoughts

I'm supposed to be writing and practising my speech for tonight's Toastmasters meeting. Entah why la I volunteered to deliver a speech when I haven't even written it and I don't even know where my speech evaluation notes are. Kalau join Sabah Society, ndak payah jua pikir-pikir pasal tulis speech kan..hmmm... I'm actually thinking of joining SWEPA (Sabah Women Entrepreneur & Professionals Association) as well... They're a lot of fun and good networking!

Oh, I'm getting sidetracked here. I actually wanted to write about the sad passing of the actress Natasha Richardson. I was shocked to read this morning that she had passed away. A few days ago, it was just news that she had a head injury from a fall during a skiing lesson. Somehow I am remembering Liam Neeson's character in Love Actually, his character also mourning the loss of his wife in the movie. Kesian. And so sad for their kids as well.

Last week hubby told me about news of someone who died crossing the road near RTM. And in the picture, it was shown that the overhead bridge was just behind him. If only he had used it. That's such a loss of life, don't you think.

On a totally different note, yeiiyy Danny Gokey, Kris & Anoop Dawg!

Monday, March 16, 2009

It's My Computer

Yasmin can now use the computer, on her own! She's no longer just watching tv or entertaining herself with her toys, she plays computer games, watches videos and even switches on the computer by herself! Hehe... terkejut the nenek suddenly seeing the computer is on again after she just switched it off. Yasmin's favourite sites are Playhouse Disney, Nick Jr, Charlie & Lola and even YouTube! She clicks through the bookmarks list to find links that she wants. She's gotten quite adept in maneuvering the mouse but she does get frustrated if she can't get the mouse to move as she wants. She'd either throw it or give out a big sigh. If she accidentally clicks on something like the printer icon or the desktop icon, she'd call us saying, 'Look what I did, look what I did..'

I'm slightly afraid to say that she is quite addicted to the computer now. She'd want to play with it first thing in the morning, all through the day and even before going to sleep (when I can clearly see that she's already a tad sleepy). I wonder who she gets this addiction from..hehe... In a way, it's good that she entertains herself and we get to watch our shows or do our own thing at the same time.

She was having her sweet time on the computer yesterday morning when I (finally) managed to get her to take her bath. So during her bath time, daddy came and took over using the computer for a while. Once we finished her bath, she saw daddy and said, 'Huhh?? That's MY computer!' Hehehehe...budak...budak!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fish in the Pocket

Bro in law came home from work yesterday evening and as he was about to enter his room, he ran frantically back out, mumbling some unrecognizable words. I wondered what went on. He came back in and said that there was a fish in his pocket! His shirt pocket, I would imagine. And that it was still alive! And it swam when he put it back in the aquarium! I thought that was rather funny. He's a fish lover you see, has two aquariums at home, nicely kept and decorated with real plants and sand and stones, with gadgets such as cooling fans and lights and temperature sensors, the works. He'd feed the fish first thing when he comes back from work. My only guess would be that one of them fishies took the leap of faith and landed in his pocket. Maybe it just saw Finding Nemo..Hehe.. Imagine asking, 'Whatcha got there in yer pocket, sonny boy??' 'Oh nothing..just a fish... A FISH??!' Hehe... made me chuckle. Hee..I'm easily amused. Haa..I need more entertainment!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Aunty Linachu

Attended hubby's cousin's family friend's (or more commonly known in the family circle as si twin) wedding on Sunday at Tabung Haji and found out a few things. Oh yes..the guy who got married is one half of a twin. Anyway, supposedly all weddings that are held there must be catered by Sinar Mustika - so for all you who are still planning your wedding, this is some info to hold on to. For all you SBPS pals, ingat lagi tu ikan jeket and roti goreng diorang tu dulu? Hehe..

Also, apparently I no longer qualify as a kakak.. a young girl handing out wedding favours, addressed me as Aunty. Ouuwchha! At the moment the word flowed out of her mouth, it seemed as though time stood still..it was like one of those slow mo scenes in a John Woo movie. Are all young ladies with children automatically aunties? Hubby suggested I go for a drastic makeover. I think he used the word 'ranggi'. I went to the wedding dressed casual, in my old beloved red tunic and a soft cotton tudung with little red flowers. And all the makciks (the real ones) were donned in their satin and laced kebayas and beads and their tudung ekins. Not to mention their bling blings. Yes..perhaps, I do need a makeover.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Peter Petrelli

... you can fly me off any time!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I Can Drive

...with Yasmin in the car.

Hubby went for a short business trip to KL last week and we decided it would be nice to pick him up and welcome him home from the airport. You see, all this 3 years plus, I have never driven alone with just Yasmin in the car. She's a curious girl you see, she couldn't sit still and didn't want to sit in her car seat when she was younger. Recently though, hubby did drive with her in the car and said that she sat nicely through the trip. So I decided to try it too. I packed along her pillow and favourite toy and a bagful of her stuff in case she wanted to explore.

And yes, she did sit nicely during the drive. I kept talking to her all the way, asking her if she was ok, making small talk. And she would answer, as she does nowadays - we can have a good conversation going already. It's nice to have someone else to talk to!

She would ask me, 'Is that the airport?', 'Is daddy at the airport already?', 'Is KL in the airport?' :) The last question made me think, maybe she thought that daddy was just at the airport all along. Maybe kids see airports as this portal where their parents magically appear again. Isn't that a nice thought...

Tech Support

You techies out there, help me out. I had actually liked my previous blog template, the only thing was I didn't like that the line spacing seemed too small. Is there any html code for line spacing? Also, is there any html code for using lower case letters only? Checked online, couldn't find any info on the above.