Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Morning Update: My Brain is Diffusing

I actually got up quite early today and the time I'm updating my blog I already had my shower and will have my breakfast later. I went to bed quite late (not really for my standard) as I watched the Olympics games (review). I still think it was a bit disappointing for the team GB losing their silver medals from Japanese who appealed the result and managed to get second from fourth position. Undoubtedly, the Japanese team had been consistent in their performances except their last gymnast did a mistake in the last round.

Anyway today I hope to be able to start the source code of my algorithm plan. My MatLab skills are still very basic and I don't know how the heck I'm going to do that. I pray to God to help me and light along my way while doing my PhD. I really don't think I can do it but I believe with a very little hit from God I am able to do it. Huh..sometimes it makes me think why should I be doing all this. Although I'm enjoying my research so far but at certain points I feel a little bit not quite right and feel a bit fed up. But I know who I am and I was in this situation before.

Anyway, I should be leaving home now and going to the office. My watch shows 9.30AM and I should be arrived in the office just before 10AM if the road is clear. I can see a little bit sun here but it's raining and I don't think this is a good summer at all. In fact the worst summer ever. It should be hot everyday and I hope to see more sun as summer is almost over (a month left or a bit more). Sometimes this is quite depressing but luckily I signed up for the Gym on campus which allow me to do some training with unlimited access. I go to the gym from Mondays to Fridays and sometimes Saturday if it happened I go to the office.

Okay guys..leaving you now and I will update this blog again tonight. My Brain is diffusing and I wish it was singing....

Another Weekend Treat and Little Monday

 After a long 12KM hiking (not that long actually) and we got back home I cooked for dinner. Yummy!!! I love cooking and being a restaurant owner is still one of my ambitions. Still long time to go though but I am making it. Oh yeah!! Anyway, I cooked two very different dishes which were duck and mixed vegetables. The first one was mixed vegetables which consists of baby tomatoes, mushroom, onion, park choi and courgette. I deep fried each of those vegetables and then I put them on the plate. Then, I started to make the gravy and sprinkled dried parsley on top.
The second dish was roasted duck cooked with sweet black pepper. I put sugar in its gravy to make it sweater because the taste of black pepper of itself kind of a but boring. In fact I made the gravy with chillies in it to make the flavour just a bit spicier and not boring (if it come only with black pepper). Both dishes got 4.3 stars from me out of 5 stars. My only complain was I think I overcooked the courgette and also park choi. They should be a little bit crunchy and greener (looking fresh).

Anyway, what I've done in the office today a little bit disappointing. I mean not that much because the 10M synchro diving was quite distracting. Most of the PhD students in the office was watching their favourite spots live on from the internet and I didn't want to miss mine as well. So for about an hour I was watching 10M  synchro diving. But then what I've done today was much better than doing nothing because at least I managed to plan for my algorithm to achieve the first objective. I also had as short discussion with my Spanish friend, Raquel who gave me some idea how can I do some parts of my plan.

After office I went to the gym and had my work out. I did 3.5KM run with 15% gradient on treadmill and I climbed 250 floors in 30 minutes. I am still working on it to climb 1000 floors.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Brecon Beacons 12KM Hiking

 My weekend was full with two very different activities. On Saturday I went to Brecon Beacons National Park climbed the mountain which is 886m height and has seven peaks. We started quite late actually about 1.45PM and just managed to climb three peaks instead of 7 peaks. Or maybe we can do all peaks if we walked a bit faster but it was more about enjoying the mountain rather than chasing to climb all peaks. In the terms of difficulty I would say the path along the ridge was fairly easy compared to a few mountains I've climbed before. It was about 12KM or a bit more and we completed it in about 4 hours 30 minutes. We finished about 6.15PM but on the way back home we had to drive about two hours because of the road was a little bit congested at some parts. Maybe because many families have finished their first week school holiday and they were going back home.

 Anyway, on the way up to the mountain we took a lot of pictures and sometimes we forgot that we should be going fast while the weather was nice. Sometimes the wind blew quite strong and it felt a bit cold. But I was pretty okay with my silly t-shirt. I knew I should be putting on my sweater but I didn't want to look silly in my pictures as the weather was nice. I just kept walking so it made me sweating. So that should be okay except when we were taking pictures because we had to stop and it felt a bit cold. As you can see the picture above I was laying on the flat rock and it actually felt a bit cold because sometimes the wind come and blowing. In fact, on top of the mountain the wind was blowing quite hard.
 One of the attractions of this mountain is it has a long ridge and as you walking on it you can see the many different things such as the valley, fields with different colours, lake and also peaks from different distance. I must say it was astonishing and all the peaks look so beautiful. The paths were not difficult. In fact they were just long gentle slope. The visibility that day was fantastic and as we walking along the ridge you can see many other walkers walking along the ridge and some of them were going back already and some were ahead us.
 This picture was taken just about 0.3KM before the peak. As you can see on the picture above the peak behind me was one of the seven peaks and the visibility was really great. I wish we've done all the peaks but then the rain came just before 6PM and we finished three peaks at 6.15PM
 This is the first peak I did and when we reached the peak there were many people already there together with their children. They were quite many people actually walking that day. In fact many different people were on top and by just looking at their body shapes or figures it really tell you how gentle this mountain is compared to many other mountains here i the UK.
 This is the second peak. Not really far from the first one as you can see it behind me. I think we walked about 15 minutes before managed to reach the second one and again they were many people at there already. On this peak it has different views and it has lake next to it.
 Going down from the second peak and ready to the third peak. As you can see here it's not very steep the path is quite nice as well.
 I had to put my sweater on at last after our lunch. Although the sun made the weather warm but the wind really made it cold. In fact my palms felt too cold until I put my blue sweater on.
This is the third peak we reached and just after this peak, dark clouds were forming and coming from the other side of the peak. We then quickly get down from the last peak and hurried to the parking space. We kind of lost our way but managed to get back the way back to the parking space. I will update my blog again tomorrow with what I've cooked. Yumm..yummm...

It's almost 12AM now and I'm going to bed. Monday is waiting for me tomorrow and I'm not sure if I like it. But then thanks God because I don't have to go to the office before 9AM. Yay!! I love it. I like it because I have flexible time but as usual my Monday is always not really good for me because my brain is always left behind from my lazy weekend.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Fantastic Olympics Opening Ceremony

I got up quite early today and arrived the office about 10AM. There were a few students already doing their work. I think there were about three of them already there and I thought I was early but not really. I spent about 7 hours in the office non stop today. Yes it was non stop and as always I skip my lunch. I just had my banana and apple in the office together with the milky tea I made from home. I printed out a few journals and read them. I also printed out a book which I download from the internet. It was a book about Matlab (another one). I think MatLab is quite okay and not very difficult but the thing is I still a bit unclear about how to do image processing using MatLab. I can process images by creating the source code and run it. But I think I'm not quite sure how actually the code does the process. So there's no point knowing how to code it without knowing how the code does it. Huh!!

So I was quite busy and very tired today. In fact after in the office that was about 5.15PM, I went off to the gym which is just about 3 mins walk from my office. So I had quite hard training as well. I completed 3.6KM on treadmill with 15% gradient, then I had 110 sit ups on the floor followed up by 130 flours climbed on the machine. I was quite hungry after that as I had only fruits in the afternoon. I drove back home, had my dinner, had my shower and bath. Now I am watching the Olympics Opening Ceremony. It's fantastic. Basically what they did was introducing the history of the UK to the world from the very early age until the year of 2000's. It was very creative and I must say fantastic ceremony. I never seen such a fantastic ceremony. Usually you can except things but London did very differently. I wish I could go to London and see some of the matches especially the 10,000M, Badminton, and any of them to be quite honest. But I don't really want to waste my time for a few days because I would rather spend my time in the office doing my research. I have just about 4 months to achieve my first objective and I must do that. I really want to show to my supervisors that I deserve the scholarships I received not only from the department but from the university.

Okay, That's all for my update today. Tmrw I should be climbing mountain and going to have a very very long walk. I'm not sure how long though but I would guess maybe about 15KM??? I can run and finish it in less than 3 hours ha ha ha ha...But I want to take a lot of pictures so I can upload on my facebook. So I just walk and enjoy the sun. I hope the weather will be good or I'm not happy walking in the rain. Okay guys I'm off to bed now and see my update tmrw about my long walk if I'm not too tired :-)

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Something on Thursday

I got up quite early today and had my shower just before 8AM which was very unusual because most of the time I will get up at 8.30AM and have my breakfast at 9PM. But today I had my breakfast at 8.15AM and went off to the office at 9.15AM. When I was going off and started my car I realised that more birds' shits on my car especially on the front mirror and also on the bonnet. I didn't like it because I remember last Monday when the car was clean as soon as I parked the car in front of the department building just an hour ago I saw there were a few splash of white marks on it. I thought someone thrown a paint on my car. But then it was the birds' shits all over the car. Yucks!!! I can't really do anything about it anyway because the other cars also had the same.
Can you see the shits on my car??
So I came to the office today about 9.57AM which was quite early and unusual for me because I usually came to the office about 10.30 or 11AM (sometimes a bit later than that). But I never had a lunch break or coffee break. Once I came to the office I will just do my work until 5.30 or 6PM. I always skip my lunch and all I had during lunch time was just coffee I made from home and put them in a flask with fruits (apples or bananas). I like it this way because I don't really want to end up with a "big belly" after completed my PhD in 3 years time. In fact, I need to lose some more weight to improve my stamina for next year's Glamaig Hill Race in Scotland.

So I was the first one came to the office and the funniest thing was the office was still locked and I had to unlock it with my key. It was funny because I never did it before. So as soon as I came to the office I started the machines and I did a few emails and also filled in the form to claim my substances and travelling expenses. I quickly went to my supervisor's office and put them under his office door. I didn't even knock his office door because I knew he's not there. He's always away on Thursday anyway. I went up back to the office and printed a MatLab note. It's about tips and tricks in MatLab. After that I started doing the coding again. Still learning to do it and based on a few sample codes I found on the internet I managed to improve my segmentation result. It was really good actually and it segments the image quite accurate. But the problem is it's not very generic. My first objective is to develop a generic texture based segmentation. I have about 4 months left and I really hope that I am able to develop the methodology before next year.

Segmented result

Red Kite Bird
This is one of my favourites 
After that, about 2.15PM I went out to a lake to see the red kite birds feeding together with a friend Jonnie one of the PhD students in the office. He did help me a lot in many things. He's a nice friend although we never really (or because we haven't got the time) went out for an evening social. We arrived at the place (I can't really remember the name..I know how to pronounce it but don't know how to spell it) about 10 minutes before the feeding show at 3PM. So I would expect something very fascinating to see especially birds feeding show which I never seen before. A few minutes before 3PM, a man came with two full bags of meats came and I saw a few red kites coming. It seems like they knew that every 3PM it's time to eat. I was expecting there were more coming when the man came and throwing the meats on the ground. Unfortunately, there weren't many red kites came to the place. I would say maybe only about 20 of them and I think one one of them did go to the ground and struck the meat. Half an hour later we decided to walked around the lake. It wasn't a big lake but it was quite nice. But it must be nice if they had a stall selling ice cream yummyyy..I like walking ice cream in my hand licking it from time to time. Mmmmmm...nice...love it!
Not very clear because I was taking this with a glass mirror in front of my lens
The duck
Anyway, we heading back to town just about 4PM or maybe a bit later. I dropped Jonnie in town and I just drove back home. I wanted to go back to the school but wasn't in a mood already. In fact, I was quite tired and didn't really feel I want to do anything. So I just drove back to Aberaron and as soon as I arrived my eyes were so heavy and fell asleep on the sofa. Huh!!! Must be very tiring!!!! Anyway..it almost 11PM here and I'm going to bed. I think I will go to the office early again tomorrow.  After office I need to resume my training again in the gym. I skipped it today and can't skip it tomorrow.

Good Progress on MatLab

MatLab Edge Detection
Hello all, it's andrik again updating his blog in his room. This is actually an automatic update (scheduled post). The time I'm updating or writing this post it's almost (already) 1AM but I can't close my eyes. I am quite tired at the office and I had about an hour session in the gym but for some reasons (I don't know what are they though) I just cannot close my eyes. I should be dreaming on my bed right now. Anyway, some very good progress I've done today in the office. I did quite a lot of things on MatLab pratical work in three days. I never thought I could do as much as what I've done so far. So basically MatLab is easier than Java or C++ (or maybe because this is the beginning which tend to be easier). I still can feel there will be a great obstacles in my PhD research though. I'm not sure what are they are there will be some in the future.

So today was pretty in the office but I successfully implemented a few noise reduction techniques and edge detection techniques. I am so happy about that and then my next plan is to do some practical work on image segmentation. I hope it's not too difficult or at least understandable. Some programming languages have ridiculous syntaxes and you can hardly understand them. Oh just not the way I like. I remember when I first learning C++, it was just like something totally new and I had no idea what the lecturer taught. But eventually I quickly picked them up.

Anyway as you can see on the picture above I implemented Sobel and Canny detectors on an image which I downloaded from the internet. The original image is on the top right conner followed by different techniques of edge detections. One this I'm not sure though is how reliable those methods are when applied to an image which has many different colours. Can they still do it? Well, I'll have to test it.

Okay, today was sunny and it was really great in the office because it wasn't bloody cold. I know someone in the office who likes to low down the air con temperature to 15 degree or more and less. I find it annoying and I feel like talk to him but I am new and I think I should leave it happens as long as I put my sweater on. Okay..okay..I'm going to bed now (i'm in bed already actually) but I mean to sleep. Bye bye folks and good night..........my body is quite tired and he needs its rest............

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

I got two scholarships for my PhD

A pdf letter I received in my email this morning
Okay guys, I'm updating my blog from my desk in the office. I mean I should be working on MatLab and not updating my blog (this is after office hour). While I was busy doing final edits on my slide this morning I received an email from postgraduate office. At the beginning I just ignored the email as I thought it must be one of those emails that I can expect already. Something like just an announcement or probably newsletter from them. About an hour later and my slide was finalised with a few changes and notes, so I just clicked the email. With no interest at all I persuaded my reading line by line. I thought something good and this email is telling me something. Then I read the email again and I scrolled down to download the attachment. I opened the downloaded file and read the letter slowly. Then I can't believe (at this time I know It's a scholarship offer) that but then I read it again. I thought I misunderstood or maybe some of the sentences were not clear. So I email the letter to a British friend (just in case if my english is not good enough to fully understand the letter). A few minutes later he replied my email with a short sentence saying "Fantastic. Well done". It wasn't really what I wanted to hear from him because I would expect some sort of explanations from him. So I replied to his email asking about something whether my understanding was correct or not. He replied to me yes it's correct. Then a few minutes later my supervisor came to the office and congratulated with a big grin smile to me. He helped me to read it and yes it means that I received two scholarships. Not only to cover my tuition fee for three years but also will cover my monthly expenses and travel expenses.

Well I should be very grateful to my supervisor Prof.Reyer and Dr.Bernie also my previous supervisor in Hatfield Dr.Trevor. Family and friends who have been giving me support since last year. The most important is friends, Micheal and Jonnie who were so helpful although we never met that time(this is before I come back to the UK). It wasn't easy to get those scholarship because the competition was fierce and I either one of the best or maybe just being lucky. Whatever it was I should be thankful to God for giving me continuous blessing since I came to the UK. He is always with me giving me a light walking in the dark street of my life. Thanks God once again! The news I received this morning makes my day happier than any other day. This is probably my happiest day ever in my life and this will remind the best in my heart.

P/s: Today's presentation went really well. I'm glad I did it and all went smoothly :-)

My Weekend Treats

Park Choi Beacon with Salad 
Onion Oyster Sauce with Salad
Last weekend was a great treat for myself. After a visit from the ladies who fancied Malaysian cuisine but mild. So I made something very mild to them and they liked the food very much. In fact, the next morning they sent a card thanking for the great food. Anyway, after a busy weekend (not really busy but I was tired and had my nap which I usually don't have). I cooked something for dinner and they were duck and Beacon. Mmmm, they were delicious great presentation too. I would consider they were very simple to cook as long as the sauce is the most important. Make sure that your sauce tastes great to make the whole thing delicious. I roasted the duck for a couple of hour and while the duck was roasting I was having my snooze. I got up after an hour and I had time to do some preparation for the second dish.

Anyway, I had a great weekend. Everything was really great the food and weather was fantastic. Arghhh..in fact I had my almond chocolate ice cream which was really nice. I was imagining myself having the ice cream sitting on a bench facing the sea. Urmmmm.....lovely and must be nicer if had a smooth mango juice or watermelon juice. Fantastic!!!!! Okay now I need to do final check on my slide presentation before presenting it to the group this afternoon.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Bosou and Bambangan in Scotland!!

The red chillies are delicious with Bosou
Bambangan with red onions are fantastic

Oh My God!!! How I misssed these dishes very much! I wish I could fly back to Sabah bring some of them to the UK. Although I have lived here in the UK for almost three years but I still cannot forget Bosou and Bambangan. I have tried and cooked so many dishes but those are just unbeatable. Maybe just because me but honestly being an authentic Sabahan means you cannot forget your root such as language, culture and the food. When I flew back to the UK in May 2012, I brought Bambangan with me but then I have already finished all of them and it's an empty cleaned container left now. Every time I look at those pictures it makes me think how much I miss my country apart from the hot weather. I lived and those food was my main dishes together with boiled rice when I was a little boy. We had we to to the jungle to find the Bambangan and we had to go to the river or sometimes rice field to find the fish for the Bosou. That day, mum and dad couldn't afford to buy palm oil  for frying food. So we had to eat anything boiled or maybe roasted. Anyway, that was about 15 years ago or even older but I still can clearly remember our poorness that time. But sisters were very strong to lift up the family and thanks to them. They are women but they are stronger than many man in this world! Well, life is not easy. Some people have very rough life and some have the other way. But then my life has changed me to be someone stronger and Bosou and Bambangan are two dishes that I never forget and still two of my very best dishes ever!!!!! Because of them my family survived from hunger. 

Some scientists said God was never exist or he's dead but I say God is watching you because he knew you can do it.

I can't sleep thinking about something

Because of something on my head I just cannot sleep. I was a bit sleepy about 10.30PM but then when I come to my room and listening for this one particular song it reminds me about the whole thing in my head. It was something sad and something that I never expected would happen. But it had happened and it stays on my mind most of the time. I have tried to forget it but it went temporary and when I'm listening to a sad song it comes straight to my head. Sometimes, no matter how tired I am or how busy I am it always appear on my mind. Sometimes I feel guilty and sometimes it makes me think that I am a selfish person. I remember every single moment just before I left the person in the airport. I remember the tears and I remember the last call before the plane took off. Everything changed when I came to the UK in 2009. Anyway, every people has memories and the best usually stay longer. Some people say we don't have to forget all the memories with someone to forget someone because the memories are like colours that colouring  your life. Which is true indeed but the thing is, we don't need every colour! Huh...I am tired I need a rest now......

Monday, 23 July 2012

Biggest flower in the world

Quick visit to the biggest flower in the world
It wasn't very big that time but it was much bigger compared to other flowers in the world
When I was in Malaysia about a couple of months ago I had just a very little (I almost mossed the opportunity) chance to visit and see the biggest flower in the world. Although it wasn't big enough the time I visited the flower but it was much more bigger compared to the other flowers in the world. Some of there were dead and that was the only one left that time. I should have been to the place last year. I mean, I have seen many sign boards displayed about Rafflesia Blooming but I never had the time to go inside the jungle and look at it because I was very with many projects in Malaysia. The money was good but I was working like I never cared about my health and fitness level. All I did was with my laptop trying to complete all the projects as soon as possible.

I remember after I finished all the projects I started my work out training again and my first training was bloody tiring and it seemed like I was so unfit. But I gradually build up my stamina again before May came which had even more projects. Wow!!! That was just so unbelievable !!! Anyway, now it makes me think that being a freelancer doesn't mean you have the freedom to work especially the time flexibility. I thought being a freelancer would allow you to work at any time you want. Being a freelancer means you have to work very hard on your own to give the best satisfaction to your customers and that's not easy to do! Some customers are so bloody fussy and some of them are very straight to the point. Fussy customers sometimes could be very narrow minded and they won't accept your opinions unless you have proved it.

Anyway..back to the post Rafflesia flower is the biggest flower in the world. In north Borneo we have many Rafflesia centres. Next time when I go back to Sabah I must take a chance to look at the flower again especially when it's fully bloomed. Well, it's Monday so everybody hates Mondays I guess. I personally don't like Mondays but as a PhD student I would not mind at all because I can go in and out of the office at any time. Anyway..I must get back to my MatLab work now...bye and see you in my next post xx

Sunday, 22 July 2012

So What I've Done Today

Today is very nice and it's very warm and the breeze is making the weather even better. It's not cool and it's not hot but this is what I call just right. Malaysia is quite hot although I can take it easily but the weather here today is perfect. It's so lovely and very very comfortable. So here are a few things I've done today. I got up about 9AM and the sun was very strong already and I thought it was in the afternoon. I quickly got up of my bed and look at my watch on the table. It shows 8.55AM! Oh that was good because I intended to get up early today just because I knew the weather will be nice whole day so I don't really want to miss it. I had my shower and got down about 9.45AM.

I had very British sort of breakfast and it was very unusual actually. It was two slices of brown bread with thick jam on top and also mocha. I liked it but not really my type of breakfast. Anyway, after breakfast I decided to clean up the kitchen. It was clean but things were every way made me feel a little lazy and not in a mood to cook. So I cleaned up the kitchen and I made sure all the unnecessary things in the cupboard were thrown away. Believe it or not it took me hours to do it all. There are still a few things I need to do but I feel a bit sleepy and I'm going to have my nap later after updated my blog. 

I am updating my blog in the conservatory facing the sea. It's lovely with the warm weather! After I finished cleaning the kitchen I had to do some wiping on my car because there was a cat with his filthy feet walking on my car and left lots of marks with mud on the car. It made me really upset. If only I saw the cat I would chase him and put him in the oven LOL! No..not really I am joking. I just chop his head off !! Ha ha ha ha

Okay guys I need my snooze now and my eyes are very heavy updating my blog. After snooze I would need to do a dinner. I think I'm going to cook Duck Rice!!! Mmmm..should be really nice with salad. If I had cucumber it would give the dish a blast but I don't really want to drive for a few miles just for the sake of cucumber. Anyway..I'm off now...

My Blue Nissan Car Got His Wash

Nissan Micra
Washing the Micra
 Yesterday was a bit busy although it was Saturday. I did quite a few things until the time I'm updating my
blog. After I had my breakfast and updated my blog, I quickly had my shower and went to the school. I came to the office about 11.30 AM or maybe a bit later and my friend Zhili was there already doiing her work. I think she said she has just got in. I then started my MatLab work just doing some of the tutorial but different types of algorithm. I actually implemented two different  algorithms. Both of them were noise reduction algorithms. It was fascinating seeing the results.

Small car but very reliable
After I implemented all the algorithms I went to the gym but I was a bit late. I thought the gym closes at 9.30PM on Saturdays.But then they close 4.30PM which was much early and I was very late already because I came to the office at 4PM. So I had only less than 30 minutes training in the gym. After the gym I quickly drove back home and before I had my dinner I managed to spend about an hour to wash my blue Micra car. That was my first time ever washed the car. I should have washed it last week but I was so bloody busy with so many things around me with my PhD project, summer school in Manchester and also many projects from Malaysia. I had to finished everything and my life was so bloody busy. I thought I was living in a prison. Arghhh!!!!! But I'm glad I did it everything and now I am much more relax and I am now have more time to my PhD research. I am glad to myself because I have completed my PhD proposal in less than 2 months and I am now on my achieving my first objective. I hope to achieve before by the end of this year because that is my plan.

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Top 10 Thoughts On Saturday

Well, well, well..I just got up and made myself a cup of strong milky coffee. I just had my four sausages as well and now I feel quite full. I don't usually have breakfast but recently I find it quite good for my diet because I can skip my lunch. It's very good to have a run on training in the gym with very light food (I usually have soup, apples or bananas) in your tummy. Especially when you are running for a long distance (more than 5KM) you don't really experience tummy problem (or don't they call it stitch?). Anyway there a few things on my mind today...

1. I think I want to make a call to mum and dad also my sisters, nieces and nephews. I think I miss them all. My last call was about two weeks ago.

2. I want to go to the office to do some MatLab work. I find MatLab is very interesting and the syntaxes are not that difficult anyway. So it is a great environment to do image processing manipulation. I have just started it yesterday and I loved it. So I want to carry on with the tutorials I downloaded from the internet.

3. I can't make up my mind whether I want to do a long run (15KM) on the sport centre or shall I continue my work out steps together with my run on treadmill (15% gradient steepness)

4. I think I fancy a hot chocolate with cream on top from Costa. I wish I have someone who I can go out with.

5. I think all my shirts need to be ironed but I don't think I'm up for it..

6. I want to go to the town and sit on the bench with milkshake!

7. I fancy to eat noodles but something very delicious not a boiled noodles.

8. I fancy raw salmon. I would like to put some ginger, chillies and lemon and eat the raw meat. Mmmm..

9. I fancy a bottle of beer after my work out this evening (not very healthy but a bottle is not too bad)

10. I hate the fact that my knee cut off from my last week race in Scotland hasn't fully recovered yet. So my knee is not very strong now. I hope by next week am back again!

OK...I just finished my coffee and now I need to get ready to do some MatLab work then going to the gym this evening.

Friday, 20 July 2012

My Off Day and Cooking Time

Roasted Chicken with oyster sauce with mushrooms
 Hello guys, I'm back again from my boring posts about Manchester (But I like it). So this post is completely different because last Thursday I had a day off from the office. I could have go to the school but I thought I need enough time to do the preparation and I don't really want to rush back from the office or thinking that I needed to do something after the office while I'm doing my work. So I decided to have a day off and I am quite all right with my PhD research anyway. In fact, at the moment I am ahead of my plan so that's a good starting point. As planned before, a group of friends will be visiting and my friend emailed them that I will be cooking Malaysian food for them. Initially six of them would be coming but on Wednesday only three of them confirmed. So only three of them came for the dinner.

Prawns and bamboo shots with chillies
 I started the preparation about 3PM but I didn't start the cooking until about 5.15PM. When they came here, my friend opened a bottle of champagne for us. I had just a glass of it and I quickly rushed to the kitchen. I started my cooking and I was very careful with the spicy ingredients because I have been told the night before that two of them can't take spicy food. So I made it very mild and only one dish was a bit spicy (but for them it wasn't hot at all..Thanks God!). I finished the cooking about 6.40PM which means they waited form about an hour before the dinner. I was a bit late actually because the plan was to start eating at 6PM. But never mind because I made the food tasted great. It wasn't perfect but good enough.
Duck with plum sauce 
 If I was a judge and someone cooked those dishes for me considering the presentation and tastes, I would give 85% out of 100. Or maybe a bit less. I was a bit disappointed actually because the roasted chicken wasn't really to my standard because the chicken went a bit crispy and some of the meat became quite dried. So I should not leave the chicken in the oven after I roasted it. Although the sauce was very nice but the chicken wasn't tender. I was expecting the chicken to be really good but it was my fault leaving the chicken in the oven for an hour.
Chicken drumsticks with coconut milk
 So we started the dinner at 6.45PM (quite late but for me it was a perfect time). I introduced them each of the dishes. I cooked six different dishes. So when I was telling to them about the dishes they were quite impress with the different mixtures and colours. For example using coconut milk in cooking was quite unusual for them. Other than that, cooking prawns with cheese was also very strange for them.  I would assume they never had bamboo shots before because when I told them the prawns were cooked with bamboo shots they were like "ouhhhhhhhh....". Very funny actually and made me think "I'm not sure whether they like the food or not". Anyway.......Bon apetite!!
Prawns cooked with cheese and park choi
 I was very surprised!!!! because they really enjoyed the food. One dishes to another I always hear either one of them keep "yumming" or "mmmmm". Ha ha ha ha ha...in fact, they spiciest dish wasn't too bad for them because they liked it and I think their favourite was the duck and also the chicken cooked with ginger and lemon grass. I think they liked all the food anyway and they enjoyed it. I can see they ate a lot that night and for some reason I don't know why I didn't eat a lot. I mean I usually eat quite a lot but not that night. Maybe because I was nervous and my mind was quite tired trying to make sure the food was mild enough for them. Basically I was trying to predict what sort of food or flavour they can take and they can't take. So I was very careful selecting the ingredients and not to put all what I have bought.
Fantastic table setting
Anyway, it was nice although quite tiring (not really actually). Serving only four people wasn't really a great deal or challenging but making sure your food is acceptable and likeable by your guests is the main challenge. But I did it and I made it. They liked it and they said the food was delicious!!! So a great credit for me. I'm still learning cooking and still improving my skills. I hope not too long from now one of my ambitions would come true. Become a restaurant owner is a great ambition and I hope a Jungle Boy like me could make it a real dream despite my interest in research. Okay all...am off to bed now. Night night!!!!

Early Birthday in Manchester

What a surprise!!! My genius friends are so kind!

Cutting off the cake
Here's another post from my previous summer school BMVA in Manchester. Those of you who are connected my facebook might have seen those photos. But those who are not my facebook is "Andrick Rampun" and I will approve you if you have clear face picture profile or I will just ignore it. Anyway, I stayed in Manchester over the weekend after the school ended. Probably one of my most memorable moments in life when my friends did an early birthday party. What a surprise eh...We had our dinner that night in an Indian restaurant not far from the university. We had something with curry and I must say it wasn't the best curry I ever had but I would say it was just an average. I bet I can cook much tastier but then they were nicer than nothing and much better than what I had when I was a little. So be thankful/grateful Andrick!

After we had our dinner, we were just continued drinking beer as we've ordered a few bottles and needed to finish them before moving to a pub to watch the football match (Spain Vs Italy). A few minutes later after we had our dinner and getting ready for our desserts, I heard people singing "Happy Birthday" then a few seconds later my friends at the table singing the song as well. I was thinking something weird is happening and mimicking myself singing the song. But as the waiter was approaching our table I saw him looking at me and smiling. Then I said to myself "It can't be me!!" but I was completely wrong when the waiter came to me and put the table on the table and my friends continued singing the song to me..Oh man!! that was the greatest surprise ever!!!! Thank you so much friends and I love you all xxxx

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Drinking Beer in Manchester

Drinking Beer in an English Pub, Manchester
Here's another photo taken when I was in Manchester. That night we decided to go to the city centre for a  batter fun (basically just wanted to see the city really). Manchester is probably one the the livest cities at night  other than London. Or maybe because it's summer makes more people hanging around at night longer than in the winter. We came to the pub about 7.30PM but they closed quite early about 10PM which was a little bit disappointing because we wanted to stay longer. The pub was quiet anyway so maybe that's the reason why did they close it earlier. Missing them although some of them were not in this picture but it was nice meeting with all those genius people from different universities. I wish we stayed longer in Manchester but then I didn't really like the school because the scope was very broad and some of the topics are not within my interests. So maybe a week duration for a summer school is enough. Well, in August we have some sort of reunion with those PhD students in London but I'm not sure whether I can make it or not because I might be busy with my project. On the other hand, Aberystwyth University is a long way to London (maybe 8 to 9 hours on the coach). Taking the train is quite expensive so not sure if I can make it or not. But I hope to attend the reunion because I miss to have a laugh with them and do all the crazy things!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Done the slide and I'm ready to go

PhD Slide Presentation
I have just finished everything related to my slide presentation to the VGV group. I completed this last week just before the race but I made a few changes based on my supervisors' comments and feedback. It was very nice of them to look at my slide despite of their busy schedules. Today I think this is the final slide and I'm going to practice this (I don't know why do I bother to practice this really because I've something scarier than this). I mean there are only about 15 people or a bit more and it's actually very small number of audience compared to when I was in a debate team at school. But people say practice makes prefect! So that's what I'm going to do! I have about a week time before the actual presentation so I think I am far ahead in the terms of time. All I need to do now is to read more journals or published papers to enhance my knowledge about my research.

I had quick look on matlab tutorial and it doesn't look very complicated and it looks similar like other programming languages such as C or C++. My last programming language I did was ASP.NET but I've done several programming languages before such as Java, C++, PHP and a few more.

I can't wait for my hospital educational visit which is in August or early September!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Glamaig Race 2012 Report

Glamaig the day before the race
I just got back from Scotland and it was such a long journey (10 to 11 hours journey driving by car).
I don't really know where shall I start this post but let's go straight to the point about Glamaig Race 2012.
It started last year when a friend of mine emailed a website link about this race. I quickly googled about the race trying to find out as much information as I can get but none of them actually covered thoroughly about the race. There were a few posts on several blogs covered about the race in 2011 and 2010 but I didn't get what I wanted. I actually was looking for the hill's steepness level and the exact elevation as well as its distance. I saw a few blogs covered about these things but I don't think they are accurate enough for my expectation. In fact some of the information are inaccurate. So here's the report......

The day before the race.....

The day before the race I stayed at one of the B&B houses not far from the hotel where the race will start. I had a pre run to the top of the mountain and down just to familiarise myself with the path and surface. Actually there wasn't a clear path on the way up and down. So basically local knowledge is very important  to choose the shortest route. I had a chat with Robert who is my friend's builder. He was one of last year's runners and timed himself 1 hour 25 minutes. I asked him about the best route to go down and what sort of food did he eat before the race as well as types of shoes. He briefly pointed out the ascending and descending paths. Didn't get much info from him but as long as I know what way up and down, that's more than enough.

Pre run the day before the race
After a few minutes chatting with Robert McQueen my friend drove his car to a parking space which was not far from the hotel. I started my pre run from the  road probably a few hundreds meters from the hotel. First of all I started at the wrong turning point where exactly the race should turn the the bog path. Anyway, I  continued my fast walk just trying to familiarise myself with the path. A few minutes later I reached the hill and started my climb slowly. Then about 15 minutes later I realised the path was getting steeper and harder. But it was still okay although my breath was getting harder. I was trying to control my breath and would give a "full blast" after the first peak. The hill has two peaks but it looked like it had only one peak. After 45 minutes climbing I almost reach the fake peak and my legs were too weak to continue. I must say it was very tiring and very very hard climb. I pushed myself to reach the fake peak. At last after 5 minutes struggling I reached the fake peak in 50 minutes and took another 8 minutes to reach the peak of. Going up was really hard especially on the scree because the surface was very loose and not strong enough to support your body weight. So you think you did two steps but you move just not far from where you were. It was very cold and windy on top of the hill. In fact, there was very thick fog caused the visibility very poor. Thanks God I put my jacket on so it covered me a bit.

On my way down I went to the wrong direction. What I should have done is to go back where I came from then turn to the left. But what I did was completely rubbish because I just went straight to the other side of the mountain and ended to another mountain. Well, never mind at least I had some practice of scree running. It was not that difficult but must do it very carefully because a single mistake could hurt you a lot. It was very very steep so make sure you don't fall on the scree. If you do then the scree are very sharp and will cut your skin. Once you slipped or fall, you can't really stop yourself from sliding 10 to 20 meters. Anyway, I lost my way and I had to go around the hill to find my way back. I managed to find my way back after 30 minutes running along the river (or maybe just a little stream). I finished in 1 hour 44 minutes and according to my Garmin watch it showed 7.3KM. That was an extra 1.1KM from the actual distance.

The actual race begins here...

Dunvegen Castle Dungeon, Isle of sky Scotland
I woke up about 8.30AM and getting ready for my breakfast. I had yoghurt, sausages, eggs, mushrooms and  a tomato. My friend drove up to the Dunvegen Castle Dungeon and it has very interesting history. I liked all the silvers displayed in the living room and I like the swords from their chief officers. The most interesting part was the dungeon! It looked a bit scary and I can imagine someone's life being locked there for years. Must be very suffering!!!

About 12PM we went to the visitor centre not far from the hotel where the race will begin. I had soup of the day and a hot chocolate (and garlic bread of course). I felt quite okay actually but after I had my soup and hot chocolate I was getting nervous. Very strange but I tried to calm down. The weather was sunny in the morning until about 2 hours before the race. It was heavy rain and thick cloud covered on top of the hill made me think whether I should go for it or not. Luckily about an hour before the race the rain gradually slowed down but I still put my jacket on because I didn't really want to run to the mountain with cold wind blowing me. It was quite cold based on my pre run experience. So I left my jacket on with my number 119 on it. About 30 minutes before the race began, I was getting nervous and I tried to take it easy. I went to the toilet 3 times before the race.

A minute before the race, I was ready and was thinking to just follow the other runners. I took the last part of the other runners which wasn't a good decision. 30 seconds before the race everybody was nervous and I can hear and feel the other runners' nerves. Sharp at 3PM the siren was on and everybody was sprinting like they were having a 100 meters run. But I was quite relax and I just followed my pace. I was behind from many other runners. This year almost 200 runners and the highest number of participants (I think). The race started at the hotel and we had to run on the road for about half kilometre before the turning point to a muddy (bog) path for about 1KM before the real climbing began. Everybody was quite fast but I gradually overtook some of the runners one by one. But then I lost so many energy just after 200 meters from the climbing point. I slowed down and just follow my own pace. I did stop a few times and I felt my legs were to heavy. It was very uncomfortable fast walk. My hands were on my knees most of the time supporting my legs and hoping to increase my pace. But that was far to go to the top. So many professional runners were struggling as well and I can see many of them are fast walking uncomfortably. After about 50 minutes struggling I reached the fake peak and some of the runners were going down already and that time I realised I was way behind them. Many runners had overtaken me but I continued my walk after 8 minutes I reached the top in 58 minutes

The ascent has just began!!!

I'm running to the finishing line
From the top I thought time to give everything left! So I started with fairly good speed with my "jelly legs". I saw there were quite many runners running on the scree fairly slow and I said to myself this is my best chance to overtake many runners. I jumped from one path of the scree and just let myself slid and at the same time I was running like I never fear about the steepness of the hill. In less than five minutes I overtook more than 10 runners. I looked ahead and there were many to catch! I continued running on the scree on a very steep path until I reached the bog and managed to overtake another 10 runners. I one point, my legs were too tired and I accidently kneed the scree and cut my knee. I saw about 10 runners ahead me on the bog area. I speed up as much as I can and one by one I got them until on the main road there was another runner ahead about 50 meters. I tried my best to chase her and about 70 meters before the finishing line I got her and timed myself in 1 hour 20 minute 20 seconds, 6.3KM with 2450 ft elevation gained. I was 10 minutes late than my target. But I was happy considering only one week training before the race.

His (Alex) age is 60 ish but he's so tough. He's 6 minutes ahead me wow!! But I will catch him next year
Pointing my bleeding knee
I had 3 times running up and down cadair Idris mountain and 4 times running on the circuit at the university sport centre. It was not enough at all as I had very little physical exercise in the last 2 or 3 months. I was quite busy with my PhD research but I gave it a try for next year's experience. Now I know exactly the route and my stamina level for the race. I really need to do more training on a steep path. My next year target is to finish it under 1 hour 10 minutes.

Can you see the mountain behind me and my coaster as one of the finishers
Anyway...I did Glamaig hill race 2012 and I am happy with my time 1 hour 20 minutes 20 seconds with only 1 week training. It wasn't too bad considering myself as a PhD student with lots of workload on my research and additional projects from Malaysia. But I'll be back next year with much better stamina!!!

Glamaig hill race 2012 coaster
Glamaig Hill race 2012 steepness
P/s: After the race I realised my knee was bleeding, a few scars on my legs and blisters under my feet. So lots need to be improved!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

My first mountain race in the UK

Credit for the pic. This is the mountain and in a few hours time I will be running up on it

Today is the official date for Glamaig Hill race. I know I don't have enough training but I think I just give it a try for the experience running up and down a mountain in the UK. I have climbed more than 15 mountains in the UK but I never really participated myself in any mountain races. Back in Malaysia I ran a lot on different hills including the Kinabalu Mountain. Today, for the first time ever I'm going to compete with more than 100 fell runners from Wales, England and Scotland. I don't know how well and how fit my legs are but I had just about a week training. I had my mountain training on Cadair Idris for only three times but I didn't go to the top. I just went to the third highest peak which is 791M high. It has similar height and distance with Glamaig hill. My first attempt was 1h 15 minutes followed by 1h 24minutes and 1h 15minutes in my last attempt. But then the weather wasn't very good that time. In fact, it was heavy raining and thick fog on top. My expectation is to finish Glamaig in 1 hour 10 minutes but maybe I have underestimated the mountain. I don't really know because I never been to the mountain although I've been to Isle of Sky.

Anyway, I have been reading and trying to find any information about the hill's steepness but could't find any. So I would guess I will be the first one to cover about the mountain trace in detail together with data analysis from my Garmin watch. See you guys and wish me all the best....I would guess for a first timer my target is to be in the top 30 or the worst in the top 40.

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