Friday, September 26, 2008

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The One With The Workplace

Got bored at work, since everyone was already on a holiday mood and left me alone in the office, so I took some test pictures with the new camera. Nothing artistic or anything … just shots of the empty office of where I work. Referred to around these parts as “The Dungeon”, my seat in the office faces the big glass windows that gives me a clear an unlimited view of the … WALL!

Due to the nature of our work, we only get to see the sun when we come and go from the office. Other times we are not aware of what’s happening beyond our office. Being outsourced staff contracted to be on-site support, we are normally left alone to our devices until the clients needs us. Sometimes we can forgiven if we wondered if anyone above us actually knew we existed since we never see anyone except for the group in and around the area. But then again in our line, no news means good news and silence means tacit agreement.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Ready For Your Close-Up?

After years of borrowing other people’s camera when I need to use one, I finally forked out the necessary amount to purchase the Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX38 digital camera as the latest addition to my gadget collection. It took me a while to research all other possible offerings in the ultra compact digital camera offering so much so that my head was crammed with pros and cons of almost each model that I looked at. I finally pared it down to 3 brands that I was interested in and thanks to a camera-head friend who came camera shopping with me, I decide that this sleek and sexy camera was definitely the one for me.

I decided to get a compact camera (or as my camera-head friend derisively put it, “a ladies camera”) instead of a DSLR mainly because I didn’t feel that I want to put in that much of an investment for something that I may or may not be that interested in pursuing as a hobby. I wanted something that I can carry around when I go out or on my travels which I can use easily to capture those memorable moments. I’ve never been one to mess around with camera settings to get that perfect shot. I’m just happy when everything is in focus!

Does buying a camera means that I would have more pictures in my blog? Possibly but don’t look out for pictures of myself in them. Those I would keep for my Facebook account.

Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX38

Digital Camera Features

Optical Zoom - 5x
Camera Resolution - 10.1 MP
LCD screen size - 2.5 in
Digital Zoom - 4x
Video capture - Yes
Focus Type - Autofocus
Focal Range Telephoto (cm) - Infinity
Focus Length Telephoto (cm) - 10
Lens Aperture Telephoto (cm) - f/8.0
ISO Speeds - 800, 1600, Auto , 100, 200, 400
Max Shutter Speed - 1/2000th of a second
Min Shutter Speed - 60 seconds
Fixed Image Resolutions - 1920x1080, 1600x1200, 2560x1920, 3072x2048, 3072x2304, 2560x1712, 2048x1360, 3072 x 1728, 3648x2736, 2048x1536, 640x480
Image Sensor Type - CCD
Image stabilization (Optical)? - Yes
Continuous Shot? - Yes
Focal Range Wide (cm) - 50
Focus Length Wide (cm) - 2.8
Lens Aperture Wide (cm) - f/2.8

Digital Video

Digital video format - Motion JPEG
Video resolutions - 848x480, 320x240, 640x480
Video speed (fps) - 10, 30


Length (mm) - 22
Width (mm) - 94.7
Height (mm) - 51.9
Weight (g) - 146


Supported Memory Media - Secure Digital (SD), Multimedia Card (MMC)
Supported Picture File Formats - JPEG

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Workout Journal - Fasting Month Challenges

I have been going to the gym this past week during the fasting month but I have yet to get into the grove of finding that perfect balance of preparation for a proper workout. I’ve been adjusting the amount of food that I take to break my fast with hoping that I wouldn’t feel too full before my workouts but that’s still an elusive success. Currently I’m down to having my iftar with dried figs, dates, RM2 worth of kuih, protein shakes and red bean porridge and still I feel like I’m carrying undigested food when I work out. I’ve tried to completely stop eating by 8pm since my usual spinning class starts at 9pm but it seems that the hour doesn’t seem to be enough to digest the food. I’m fairly certain that my metabolic rate has started to slow down during the fasting month as I am not eating as often as I usually do outside of the fasting month.

As for the workout itself, I’m happy to note that with a little adjustment, I could keep doing the same routines that I usually do. I still do the same hour long spinning class to begin the workout routine which has become one of my favorite things to do. Thanks for the late meal, I usually find myself struggling a bit by the 7th track when I start feeling a little bit of heartburn happening. I did try to work through it but I’ve found out that it just made it worse so I dial down the resistance and continue spinning my legs instead when that happens. That usually seems to help reset everything so that I can jump into the flow of the spinning class again once the next track starts which is good. Last thing I want happen is if it gets too bad that I feel like I want to puke.

After the spinning class, I usually focus on a particular muscle group for my weight training. I usually do chest, upper back and abs in one session then do shoulders, bicep, triceps and abs on a different day as well as a total upper body workout in another session. I find that I could go through them and be done within 30 minutes since I don’t really do a high rep/set regime. I keep to a 3 sets with 15 reps for almost all of them except for abs which usually be 3 sets of 30 reps of abs crunches. Most of the time I keep the weights around the mid to high exertion levels which works fairly well for me as long as I keep my form during workouts.

I’m fairly happy that I’ve manage to keep to the workout routine on the days that I get to go to the gym. There are so many buka puasa invites and good food to eat this month that is distracting me from my gymming. Thanks to the lower metabolism, all that will definitely go straight to the waist if I didn’t go and make the effort to work out. It’s a challenge to do but the returns, both physical and mental satisfaction after a workout, more than pays for the effort.

Fasting Month Workout Routine

Session 1
Spinning class – 1 hour

Weight Training – Chest & Back
Chest Press (reps – 15/15/15, weight – 85/100/115 lbs)
Lat Pulldown (reps – 15/15/15, weight – 70/70/70 lbs)
Pec Fly (reps - 15/15/15, weight – 60/70/80 lbs)

Abs Crunch Bench (reps – 30/30/30, weight – body weight)

Session 2
Spinning class – 1 hour

Modified Upper Body Endurance Workout (3 supersets with minimum rest in between)
Dumbbell Side Raise (reps – 15/15/15, weight – 15/15/15 lbs)
Dumbbell Front Raise (reps – 15/15/15, weight – 15/15/15 lbs)
Dumbbell Lateral Raise (reps – 15/15/15, weight – 15/15/15 lbs)
Dumbbell Shoulder Press (reps – 15/15/15, weight – 15/15/15 lbs)
Dumbbell Bicep Curl (reps – 15/15/15, weight – 15/15/15 lbs)
Dumbbell Triceps Extension (reps – 15/15/15, weight – 15/15/15 lbs)

Abs Crunch Bench (reps – 30/30/30, weight – body weight)

Session 3
Spinning class – 1 hour

Weight Training – Bicep & Triceps
Standing E-Z Bar Bicep Curl (3 position – continuous without rest between position change)
- Low to Elbow level (reps – 9/9/9, weight – 40/40/40 lbs)
- Elbow to Chin level (reps – 9/9/9, weight – 40/40/40 lbs)
- Full extension from low to chin (reps – 9/9/9, weight – 40/40/40 lbs)
Cable Triceps Extensions (reps – 24/24/24, weight – 11.5/11.5/11.5 lbs)

Abs Crunch Bench (reps – 30/30/30, weight – body weight)

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Belated Ramadhan Entry

The past few days of Ramadhan has been quite hectic for me.

Thanks to the 3 day Merdeka weekend, I get to spend the 1st day of Ramadhan with the family. Of course that meant us coming together and hashing out our plans for the month as well as for Hari Raya at the end of the month. I actually like it when we can get our plans for the month sorted out in advance so we can arrange our own private schedule around the family appointments. Of course that means that I would not have any excuse for missing any family gatherings this fasting month.

Thanks to my last minute decision to make a new pair of Baju Melayu for this year, we all were rushing to get clothing material from our usual place and try to convince our family tailor to take our last minute order. Fortunate for us, he was willing to take them but could only promise us delivery on the eve of Hari Raya which would definitely be cutting it quite close. It seems that he has been taking orders for Baju Melayu for the past 2 months for Hari Raya which was good for him seems that business has been good for him lately. Just to be on the safe side, we paid in full so he has to deliver our Baju Melayu to us before Hari Raya.

I will be making the dodol again this year for the family. I already have that penciled in for the last weekend of the month. Haven’t really decided how much of it to make this year but since I’ll have the help of my brothers, I think we can manage somewhere around 5kgs of it. It may sound quite a bit but based on previous years experience, it goes fast once it’s divided up among family and friends.

Haven’t been to the gym yet this past week and I have a distinct feeling that everything that I have eaten in that time is going straight to my waist. I was just starting with my gym experience during the fasting month last year so I didn’t really push it back then. I’m heading out to the gym tonight to try and see if I can stick to my normal gym routine of 1 hr spinning class and ½ hr weight training for the fasting month which I hope I can. I’m already going to have to cut my Sunday afternoon workout session out due to the fasting month since they don’t have a spinning class in the weekend evenings at my gym.

Here’s to a good Ramadhan ahead, folks.