Sunday, August 30, 2009

EPL Crunch Match: Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Arsenal go into the game on a back of a good run of goal-scoring.

Starters for Arsenal:
Almunia, Vermaelen, Gallas, Clichy, Sagna, Song, Denilson, Diaby, Arshavin, Eboue & van Persie

Everyone is talking about the Eduardo dive, and frankly it has left a sour taste in the mouth. Eduardo is on the bench today.

1) 7' Valencia elbows (looks deliberate) Vermaelen during a challenge for an aerial ball. Looks like it hurt (Vermaelen, I mean)
2) Feeling like an early goal from Man Utd. would really crush the Gunners' spirit and I hope it doesn't happen. It's a familiar emotion felt by gooners.
3) Man Utd. seem to be more dominant in the opening 10 minutes.
4) Red Devils are marking the Gunners tightly, so play is not as open as it will be when legs begin to tire.
5) The Man Utd jersey doesn't look so right with the black "V".
6) Giggs has been around forever.
7) Valencia's a dirty player, but at least he's good at being a little discreet.
8) Crucial tackle by Sagna on Nani in the penalty box. Red Devils are pushing hard
9) Arsenal need to compose themselves more
10) 19' Arsenal enjoying a little bit more possession the past few minutes
11) 20' Gunners push up for a free kick by van Persie. Nothing. I'm anticipating something will happen soon.
12) Not much space to move about but Arsenal have more possession.
13) Song earns a yellow card for bringing down Valencia who was weaving down the right flank.
14) van Persie almost scores save for a deflection to a corner. Arshavin can't keep down a shot that was almost going into the top right corner (of the goal, that is)
15) 26' We need a goal soon to make this game an exciting one. Hopefully it's an Arsenal goal (and I don't mean an own goal)
16) 30' Great ball-stelaing actin between the two teams. Free kick to Man Utd. in a dangerous area just outside the penalty box. Thanks, Gallas. Thanks to Rooney for putting it rather wide.
17) The Gunners have to work on those stray passes. Less of that, please.
18) 34' Things begin to heat up and Patrice Evra gets a yellow card for a tackle from behind. Nobody's hurt, though.
19) Arsenal seem to be more composed and have more possession. Now to spend more time in the Man Utd. half and get some shots on target.
20) Kumho Tires are advertising in Old Trafford. They must be a big company not from Malaysia.
21) 38' Can we see an Arsenal goal before the break?
22) 40' Goal!!! Arshavin strikes a super shot from distance and scores at the top left corner. So pretty! Man Utd. 0-1 Arsenal
23) 45' van Persie earns a shiny yellow card for a harsh tackle. Man Utd. have another free kick in a dangerous area but nothing comes of it. Still Man Utd. pile on more pressure
24) The whistle blows for the break. Arsenal lead by 1-nil but United have looked threatening.
25) 2nd half begins and it should be more interesting than the 1st.
26) 47' van Persie alsmost scores. Foster just about saves it. Great action!
27) 50' Eboue misses a golden opportunity to make it 2 up.
28) Man Utd. seem a little uncertain about themselves, but I'm sure they could score anytime. Hope not!
29) 53' Clichy displays great speed to put the ball out of touch. Corner to United, followed by another corner that leads to naught.
30) 55' Eboue gets a little overzealous and just escapes a yellow
31) 57' Penalty to Man Utd. as Almunia brings Rooney down. Rooney converts. Man Utd 1-1 Arsenal. This game is exciting and I really hope Arsenal win!
32) Wes Brown gets a yellow card for bringing down Diaby who made a really good run. Arsenal free kick taken by van Persie. It hits the crossbar!
33) 62' Valencia comes off for Park
34) Diaby scores an own goal. Man Utd. 2-1 Arsenal. I've got that sinking feeling.
35) 65' I think it's time for a substitution or two for the Gunners.
36) 69' Arsenal need to recompose themselves as Man Utd. start to get a grip of the game. Evra almost scores.
37) Eboue gets a yellow for diving.
38) 70' Bendtner comes on for Eboue. I like to imagine that Bendtner tends to score late goals.
39) This would be the time I would settle for a draw...
40) 74' Sagna gets a yellow for not agreeing with the referree
41) Six yellow cards for Arsenal so far
42) 76' Arsenal on the attack
43) 78' Eduardo comes on for Denilson. Can I feel a goal coming soon for the Gunners?
44) 80' Corner for Arsenal. 10 minutes left in the game. Aaron Ramsey comes on for Arshavin
45) Clichy skies one. There's a reason he doesn't score many goals for the Gunners
46) 84' Corner for Arsenal. Not much time left. Vermaelen heads high over the bar.
47) 85' Giggs comes off for Berbatov.
48) 88' Corner for United.
49) Five minutes of injury time announced.
50) 90+2' Berbatov misses the goal with only Almunia to beat.
51) 90+4' Nani loses the chance to bring United 3 goals
52) The ball goes into the net but the linesman says offside.
Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger is sent off into the stands.

Game Over

Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal, and the Gunners come back to reality.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Champions League 2nd Leg Qualifier: Arsenal 3-1 Celtic

UEFA Champions League Qualifier: Arsenal vs. Celtic at The Emirates Stadium, London

Arsenal starters:
Clichy, Gallas, Vermaelen, Sagna, Bendtner, Denilson, Diaby, Song, Eboue, Eduardo.

Arsenal go into the game with a 2 goal aggregate lead and are expected to comfortably qualify for the group stages of the Champions League.

Random comments:
1) Diaby chewing gum. Can one do that and still concentrate on playing the game? Could you accidentally choke on gum while running?
2) Bendtner made one stray pass so far. I'm watching you, Niklas...
3) 28' Penalty for Arsenal. But come on, Eduardo, there was no contact. Shame, shame (my Twitter friends agree). Eduardo converts penalty, 1-nil.
4) Denilson is an improved player this season
5) Half-time, it's Arsenal 1-0 Celtic
6) 53' Excellent play by the Gunners. A clever flick from Bendtner leads to an eventual goal by a weaving Eboue. Great stuff! Arsenal 2-0 Celtic
7) Celtic jerseys blend in too well with the green pitch
8) Aaron Ramsey comes on for Abou Diaby
9) I should be sleeping
10) Eduardo & Eboue come off for Russian Andrei Arshavin & Jack Wilshire (17 years old, youngest Arsenal league player to feature)
11) 74' Brilliant passing and teamwork lead to another goal, this time from Arshavin, who just came on to the pitch
12) Possession at 50:50
13) Aaron Ramsey is off injured?
14) Donati scores a superb volleyed consolation goal before the final whistle. Arsenal 5-1 Celtic on aggregate.

Coming up this weekend (Saturday late) is the game against Manchester United at Old Trafford. Exciting!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Merdeka! Malaysia Independence Day

It was 31st August 1957, 52 years ago, that Malaya achieved independence from British colonial rule. In Stadium Negara, Kuala Lumpur, the first Prime Minister, Tuanku Abdul Rahman, led in the famous proclamation, "Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!", which means freedom/independence. Since then, this multi-ethnic country in South East Asia was renamed Malaysia with the addition of Borneo states Sabah & Sarawak in 1963.

Today, Malaysia has a population of under 30 million mainly of Malay, Chinese & Indian ethnicity, with the major market centres in the Klang Valley (which includes the capital Kuala Lumpur & Petaling Jaya), Penang (Dell's factory is located here) in the north & Johor in the south. It enjoys good diplomatic relationships with neighbouring countries Thailand, Indonesia and Singapore.

For tourists, among the places to visit would be the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur (until recently the tallest building in the world) and Melaka (our historical state). The main attraction to our country, apart from the diverse cultures, would be the food. This is the place to be if you enjoy exploring different types of cuisine. The currency exchange rate also makes Malaysia an attractive and affordable tourist destination for many.

To Malaysians, I wish you a Happy Merdeka! We have a long way to go, but let's strive for a better Malaysia for all Malaysians (and visitors, too!).

Monday, August 24, 2009

A(H1N1) Swine Flu Prevention

Good communications received via e-mail regarding H1N1 prevention:

Most N95 respirators are designed to filter 95% particulates of 0.3µ, while the size of H1N1 virus is about 0.1µ. Hence, dependence on N95 to protect against H1N1 is like protecting against rain with an umbrella made of mosquito net.

Tamiflu does not kill but prevents H1N1 from further proliferation till the virus limits itself in about 1-2 weeks (its natural cycle). H1N1, like other Influenza A viruses, only infects the upper respiratory tract and proliferates (only) there. The only portals of entry are the nostrils and mouth/throat. In a global epidemic of this nature, it's almost impossible not to come into contact with H1N1 in spite of all precautions. Contact with H1N1 is not so much of a problem as proliferation is.

While you are still healthy and not showing any symptoms of H1N1 infection, in order to prevent proliferation, aggravation of symptoms and development of secondary infections, some very simple steps (not fully highlighted in most official communications) can be practised (instead of focusing on how to stock N95 or Tamiflu):

1. Frequent hand-washing (well highlighted in all official communications).

2. "Hands-off-the-face" approach. Resist all temptations to touch any part of face (unless you want to eat, bathe or slap).

3. Gargle twice a day with warm salt water (use Listerine if you don't trust salt). H1N1 takes 2-3 days after initial infection in the throat/nasal cavity to proliferate and show characteristic symptoms. Simple gargling prevents proliferation. In a way, gargling with salt water has the same effect on a healthy individual that Tamiflu has on an infected one. Don't underestimate this simple, inexpensive and powerful preventative method.

4. Similar to 3 above, clean your nostrils at least once every day with warm salt water. Not everybody may be good at Jala Neti or Sutra Neti (very good Yoga asanas to clean nasal cavities), but blowing the nose hard once a day and swabbing both nostrils with cotton buds dipped in warm salt water is very effective in bringing down viral population.

5. Boost your natural immunity with foods that are rich in Vitamin C (Amla and other citrus fruits). If you have to supplement with Vitamin C tablets, make sure that it also has Zinc/bioflavonoids to boost absorption.

6. Drink as much of warm liquids as you can. Drinking warm liquids has the same effect as gargling, but in the reverse direction. They wash off proliferating viruses from the throat into the stomach where they cannot survive, proliferate or do any harm.

All these are simple ways to prevent, within means of most households, and certainly much less painful than to wait in long queues outside public hospitals.

A(H1N1) Swine Flu / Mexican Flu Symptoms

When children have fever, the doctor will prescribe fever medicine to be consumed within 4 to 6 hours. Normally, the fever will subside, but it will return within 3 to 6 hours.

For H1N1 infections, the fever will not subside after taking the medication and will consistently stay at a high temperature for hours. If this condition continues for 48 hours, the possibility that it is an H1N1 infection is very high. In the case of consistent high fever for 48 hours, the doctor should immediately give the patient the H1N1 antiviral treatment, i.e. Tamiflu over a period of 7 days.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

English Premier League: Arsenal 4-1 Portsmouth

The Gunners continued on their fine start to their English Premier League season with a brace from Abou Diaby and one goal each from William Gallas and Aaron Ramsey at the Emirates Stadium.

With a different starting line up to the previous games, the Arsenal featured Eboue, Diaby, Kieron Gibbs, Eduardo, Almunia, Denilson, van Persie, Vermaelen, Gallas, Fabregas & Arshavin.

Johann Djourou, Tomas Rosicky, Samir Nasri are still unavailable due to injury. Fabregas was taken off at the break today (substituted by Aaron Ramsey) after suffering a knock.

The game was open and Portsmouth allowed Arsenal to play their regular free flowing style of football. Rather enjoyable if you're a gooner, or even a neutral. Not so much if you're a Portsmouth fan.

Next up is the 2nd leg of the Champions League qualifier vs. Celtic at home, followed by a big crunch match against Manchester United, who won 0-5 away at Wigan tonight. We'll see if they really do miss Cristiano Ronaldo.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

A2DP Stereo Bluetooth Handsfree Kit

A bluetooth hands-free kit is considered a necessity for anyone regularly on the road and on the phone at the same time. I've used mono systems for quite some time (Samsung & iTec), and found that sound coming in only at one ear can be a little annoying and disconcerting.

In the past I used to think that stereo bluetooth headsets were too costly. That was why I was pleasantly surprised to find a Sony-Ericsson HBH-DS200 A2DP (Stereo) Bluetooth hands-free kit from Sony Ericsson at only RM120/US$35 (at the time) in Sungei Wang Plaza.

I've been using it a while and would recommend it for busy and frequent users of A2DP-compatible mobile phones. It delivers a comfortably balanced, crisp audio, plus it keeps your hands free for you to concentrate on driving, typing, sewing, etc. I like that any 3.5mm stereo earphone jack can be used with this device. You can also pair it with your computer to listen to music. The sound quality is pretty good for a device in this price segment.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

It hasn't been a week since I got my Sony a330 dSLR and I've mostly been taking close up macro shots. I ask myself what makes a good picture and conclude that it's very much dependent on one's preferences. Of course, blurry images and under/overexposed shots don't make good viewing, but a photographer's skill is in being able to make one just pause and admire the beauty that we can find in God's creation.

Arsenal Back-Scoring & Foot-Borrowing

Arsenal emerged 0-2 victors in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League game away from home this morning at Celtic. William Gallas' back deflected a free kick from Fabregas into the right side of the Bhoy's goal just before the break, while Caldwell, who showed an otherwise good performance let in an own goal while trying to block a tricky low cross in the second half.

The Gunners began with the same starting line up which demolished Everton 1-6 away over the weekend. The first 40 minutes in Glasgow was closely contested, albeit with the visitors having more of the possession. Celtic were quickly closing in on the Arsenal players and allowed little room for them to play.

The second half saw the play open up significantly as the Gunners were allowed more space to move and run. However, the only other goal seen this morning was an own-goal by Caldwell. More could be expected of the Gunners, but the result shows two wins out of two so far this season, and one can't complain about that.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

First Shots On Sony A330 dSLR

Exploring macro shots with the Sony a330 dSLR. No regrets getting the model with Live View as it makes it more convenient to take pictures, even from awkward angles.

There's lots to learn about shutter speed, aperture priority, ISO settings and the different types of techniques for various environments. The camera has not disappointed so far, although questions will always linger as to why not Nikon or Canon. Fact is, Sony's pretty good as well.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Arsenal Take Everton To The Goodison Park Cleaners

A fluid Arsenal performance allowed them a solid 1-6 victory over Everton away from home with goals from Denilson, debutant Thomas Vermaelen and William Gallas in the first half. Fabregas scored a brace with Eduardo sealing an excellent opening day win after the break while Saha scored a consolation goal for Everton during injury time.

The home side seemed to have made the Gunners look extremely comfortable for most of the game, with coach Arsene Wenger having the luxury of making a triple substitution in the second half with Aaron Ramsey, Emmanuel Eboue and Eduardo coming on for Fabregas, Bendtner & van Persie.

On Sunday, Liverpool lost away from home at White Hart Lane, with Tottenham Hotspur winning 2-1, much to the glee of the other Big 4 supporters.

It's early days and English Premier League fans are in for another exciting season of mesmerising football. For Gooners, hopefully a year of silverware after 4 barren years of disappointment.

Friday, August 14, 2009

the Sony a330 dSLR Deal

I'm back from the Boeing Camera Fest at Sungei Wang with my new Sony a330. This is the package that was offered:
a) Sony a330 kit with 18-55mm lens
b) 2GB card
c) Screen Protector for 2.7" LCD
d) Tripod
e) UV Filter
f) Sony Camera Bag

Price: RM1,999.

You can convert the package into 12-month installments at a charge of 6% interest. Looks like I'll be busy with this for the next few days :)

Sony dSLRs Not A Priority For Selangor Foto

I was at Selangor Foto in Pertama Complex, Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman, this morning and I chanced upon an opportunity to visit Selangor Foto. This establishment has been around a long time and it's where I bought our Canon Ixus V3 about 6 years ago.

They were just opening the store when I went in, and I saw that they obviously have Canon and Nikon as their main brands. They did not even seem familiar with the Sony a330 I asked them about. Still, the gentlement who attended to me referred to his price list and offer RM2,000 for the Sony a330 with a 2GB card and camera bag. If I wanted one, they could place an order and get the unit to the store within an hour.

I'm certain I would be able to get good deals if I were looking for a Nikon or Canon, but this time around I will not find the Sony deal here.

Looking forward to this afternoon's venture to Sungei Wang for Bo Eing's Camera Fest 2009!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Camera Fest In Sungei Wang 12th-16th August 2009

A camera fest! Looks like it may be time to make that purchase. I've to decide between the Sony A230 and A330 and it's leaning towards the latter. Will be visiting Sungei Wang Plaza with my buddy Jason during lunch time on Friday and I may return with a new dSLR if the deal's decent.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

sony alpha 330 in sungei wang

Enquired at a shop in sungei wang plaza today. The sony alpha 330 sells at rm1,999 with a 2gb card and camera bag.

That offer does not come close to the shop at low yat plaza that's throwing in a 4gb card, tripod and camera bag for the same price.

the new economy

i'm figuring out how to put feeds from twitter in this blog. at the same time, i need to know why.