Friday, December 16

O Holy Night [Winter Solo Recital @ Kerr Cultural Center - Dec 16, 2011]

Wonderful time at this recital. My daughter has certainly improved in her playing and style. She has been able to deliver an excellent performance.

Merry Christmas to everyone out there!

Monday, November 21

Football Season is over...

The season is over and we had a party. We put up a video slideshow for the players and a video of the coaches.



Thursday, November 17

She Swam Well!

Another wonderful swim... what I like the most was not that she won, but when she got out of the pool, jumping and was absolutely happy.

Tuesday, October 25

Support Spartans Football - Playoffs @ St. David [Fri Oct 28th, 7pm]

We're going to St. David, Arizona this Friday to support the Spartans in their 2nd round playoffs against the St. David Tigers.

Another very challenging game ahead.

Sunday, October 23

Vote for Connor McKenzie [Play of the Week]

The Spartans played a superb playoff game on Friday night and came out with a convincing win 60-7 against the Bagdad Sultans.

One of the plays has been nominated for Play of the Week.

If you like this play go here to vote - click here to vote

Wednesday, October 19

Recognizing Seniors at my Son's High School

Great student athletes!

Last week was just wonderful for us, and an experience as well.  My son is a senior at Scottsdale Preparatory Academy and last Friday was Senior Night, but before that, the students from the school came over to our house and decorated his room with streamers, brought nicely designed cookies and cupcakes, and it was just awesome.

The gifts and decor surprised him when he got home and he was just thrilled with it.







Senior athletes were recognized at halftime...



Just love to watch my daughter play...

At a recent recital at Steinway Piano...



Friday, October 14

Northwood Music Watermelon Man

The gentleman on the piano was my daughter's piano coach in Singapore... Enjoy!



Tuesday, October 11

This Friday is my Son's Last Senior Game

Time flies.... it's the last game of the regular season, and the Spartans are 5-1 and heading to playoffs after this game.

Friday, October 7

Another Good Race!

Another good swim... she has never swam this event before and she has always tried to skip swimming the butterfly stroke.

I encouraged her to take this on and I think she took it positively and made the best out of it.



Monday, October 3

Two Games Until Playoffs

We went up to Heber, AZ to play the Mogollon Mustangs and we just ran into a better team.  We are 5-1 and 3-0 at league.  So we want win the next 2 games to make sure we are clear for the playoffs.  I think the boys will gather themselves and move on quickly to this Sat game.

We do have injuries and I pray that they heal quickly and get back into the frame by mid-week.

I've put up another video slideshow to support these fine young men playing as a team.



Monday, September 26

Support Scottsdale Preparatory Academy Spartans Football Team!

We're going up to Mogollon this Friday. We're going to pray for a good performance and a victory for the SPA Spartans Football Team.

We just love the young men playing this game. They are just fabulous to be around with... their enthusiasm rubs on to everyone. I think the coaches have done a great job in their development not just physically but mentally as well.

Just beautiful watching everyone including parents and friends getting together and cheering them on at every game.

This weekend is no exception, they will be travelling 2-3hrs to Heber, Arizona to take on the Mogollon High School Mustangs. I'm told this will be a tough game as Mogollon traditionally has been a good football team.

The Spartans is only playing in their 2nd year, never had a football program before last year, and they don't even have a field to practice on. Every week they take whatever is available and in the Arizona heat, they just play on, maintain their academic grades and practice hard.

This is no ordinary team!  Watch this support video....

Sunday, September 11

Our Trip to Northern Arizona

Our recent road trip to northern Arizona. The trip also took us into Kanab, Utah. Our trip this time is to support my sons high school Spartans football team playing against the Fredonia Lynx.

The scenery was just breathtaking, even the school (Fredonia High) had the mountains right in their backyard.

 Enjoy this slideshow....

 

Thursday, September 8

Yay! Another Victory and our road trip.

Another big win for the team. This time against the Fredonia Lynx, score was 46-6. It was a long drive up north all the way to the Utah border. In fact our hotel was across the border in Kanab, Utah. The game was in Fredonia, a small town with a population of about 1800, just 15mins from Kanab.

On our way back to Scottsdale, we took highway 89A, it's a scenic route and where the Grand Canyon North Rim is. Some wonderful scenery... here are some pictures.

Thursday, September 1

SPA Spartans Football

The SPA Spartans 1st game of the season... they won resoundingly 84-40. My son's position is Outside Linebacker and he's been waiting anxiously for this. We're going to Fredonia, Arizona this weekend for another game. It's right at the Utah border, a long 6 hr drive.

Wednesday, August 17

Early morning....

at my daughter's 6am school swim training...



They've got a great coach who was the team captain at UCLA and swam with Quah Ting Wen.

She was saying that Alison's breaststroke reminds her of Ting Wen.

Friday, August 5

Sad Day and a Day of Testimony for Me

Today is a sad day in my office, but also a day of testimony for me. I'm seeing people being let go. It all started last year when it was announced that our competitor was going to takeover the company.

On the day that my friends gave us a farewell party and 2 days before we flew off, I received an email saying that we're going to be merged with our competitor.

Anyway, there was nothing I could do. And by Faith I traveled with my family over here. So, we've kept Faith and prayed after months of waiting and agony it has finally ended.

I'm safe and there is no change in my compensation package. I will have a bonus as well, and I know the Lord has blessed me.

But I write with sadness for my coworkers who have not been retained.

I pray that they get rehired or find a new place to go soon.

Tuesday, August 2

My Son & Teammates Lifting Weights to Raise Funds

Bryan with his teammates at SPA Spartan Football "Midnight Madness" lifting weights to raise funds for their football team.

Interesting how sports are over here for some schools. They go out to raise funds for the team equipment and their uniforms.

Tuesday, July 19

Friday, July 15

Passing League

My son's with his high school football team @ Passing League, scrimmaging with other teams.

Wednesday, July 13

My Daughter's Summer Intrasquad Championships Swim Meet



This meet marks the end of Summer swimming and next week they will go into stroke development clinics. She gave her best, got 4th position, she just loves the competition and I'm sure she will do better next time around. Very happy for her! :)

Tuesday, July 12

Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit

"Sometimes, saving money is all in the timing, and Wednesday is the day for discounts on everyday items. Here's a rundown of four items that usually reach their best prices on Hump Day."

Yahoo! Finance - Financially Fit

Saturday, July 9

Finally...Facebook with Video Calling

With Facebook's recent announcement with Skype, they've now enabled video calling within FB's chat window.

So, if you're installing it the first time, you'll need to have to install a plugin.   Of course, your computer should have a webcam attached or built-in.  You can still install it, but you'll only be able to speak and you'll be able to see the other party if they have a webcam.

Before you go to the link to download the plugin... finish reading this step-by-step before you start installing.  I have a tip further down.

So go here to get the plugin - https://www.facebook.com/videocalling

After you've done that you can call any of your chat buddies.  Your friends would not need to install (like you just did) the plugin.  All you have to do is click on the "video calling icon" (grayed-out - see the chat image below).


Your friend will get a pop-up asking to install/setup video calling.  Once that is done, you can start using video calling.

Tip: If you know of someone who has already setup video calling, just ask that person to call you, and a pop-up will appear at your end.  Just click setup and the plugin will be installed.

What I like is that you don't have to setup a Skype account.  Easy and fast.

Have fun!

Friday, July 8

Ondeh Ondeh

Singapore Local Favourites



I really miss this!


Recipe - How to make Ondeh Ondeh

No sure if I can get the ingredients. Will checkout the Asian supermart.

Wednesday, July 6

The Dust Has Not Settled...

We need the rain to wash this off... about 10:50am today.



This was yesterday...time lapse.


Haboob (Sand Storm Scottsdale AZ 2011) TIMELAPSE from Steven Esparza on Vimeo.

Frame by Frame.

Google Deleting Private Profiles by July 31 | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Go to your Google Profiles and check if it's set to "visible search", if not you'll have to set it.

Google Deleting Private Profiles by July 31 | News & Opinion | PCMag.com

Tuesday, July 5

Dust Storms moving into the valley...

Watch as the dust/sand storm moves into the valley...



This is time lapse..


This is outside my apartment...

Monday, July 4

Trip to Grand Canyon (July 2-3)

We took the Grand Canyon Train from Williams to the South Rim.

It was sunny in the early afternoon, but completely changed in just a couple of hours.  It started to rain and strong winds.

We still had fun and we particularly like the train ride.

We stayed overnight at Williams, AZ at the Grand Canyon Railway Hotel.  Very nice hotel and very good service.

Food around the area was pretty good and cowboys walking around town, and horse carriages you could get on (for a fee).

On the Train...






Train Robbery...


This video is about 15mins long... it's the Wild West Shootout by Grand Canyon Railway.

Thursday, June 30

...Taxi Driver...

Taxi Driver

A British passenger in a taxi in Dublin leaned over to ask the driver a question and tapped him on the shoulder. The driver screamed, lost control of the cab, nearly hit a bus, drove up over the curb, and stopped just inches from the edge of the bridge over the Liffey River.

For a few moments everything was silent in the cab, and then the still shaking driver said, "Be-Jesus, I'm sorry, but you scared the devil out of me."

The frightened Brit apologized to the driver and said he didn't realize a mere tap on the shoulder could frighten an Irishman so much.The driver replied, "Will the Saints in Heaven forgive me, it's entirely my fault.

Today is my first day driving a cab I've been driving a hearse for the last 25 years."

Wednesday, June 8

Listening to God Of My Days...

I'm re-posting this which I originally posted way back in Sep 2008.  Worthy for us to remember... His Love!


this is a wonderful song from New Creation Church...

Here are the Lyrics:

I’m held by Your love, upheld by Your strength;
On Your shoulders You bore me, by Your faith I stand;
Cherished by You, Lord, treasured in Your sight;
So close to Your heart, held firm in Your hands.

So awesome is Your love, so mighty is Your hand;
On eagle’s wings You carry me;
Your grace shall be my strength;
So perfect is Your love, You sacrificed Your Son;
Amazing love reached out to me;
With joy to You I come.

Not by my wisdom, not by my strength;
Gently You guide me, lead me by hand;
Total surrender, Jesus, I am Yours;
Now and forever, in Christ I now stand.

Monday, June 6

Wednesday, May 25

Saturday, May 21

Finally...

Even now he has difficulty saying it...



when he was running the transportation portfolio, he did the same with COE, ERP, etc...

Somehow, he comes across arrogant, I'm not sure if he understands that each time he makes a decision and brushes off feedback/complains (famous... market forces to decide....), that the policies and statements actually hurt many Singaporeans.

What was he thinking when he made those decisions on pricing of HDB flats... bake the cake and eat too!

My daughter...

Really happy for her... got herself placed on Honor Roll as well as getting the motivation award.




Tuesday, May 17

Saturday, May 14

Hamlet.... To Be or Not To Be...

My son playing Guildenstern...

We enjoyed it very much... at first I didn't think much of it because they did not have much time for rehearsals. But these kids are talented and really played their roles very well.

The boys you see here are also basketball and american football players.  My son will also play football this fall.

Great job kids!

My Daughter in Sing America Sing...

I thought its a great way to learn and have fun at the same time.

Thursday, May 12

In San Diego for work..

I'm here in San Diego and have been here since Mon... working at the ETA Annual Meeting & Expo at the San Diego Convention Center.

It's a lot of standing and talking, my feet are killing me, I need new shoes.

But the area is beautiful where we are, it's called the Gaslamp Quarter, its the historic part of San Diego downtown.

Lots of restaurants and parks, and very close to the coast just along the Harbor Dr.

This is where I'm staying... Residence Inn Marriott... rooms are not too bad, breakfast isn't great, as usual scrambled eggs (for the last 3 days), sausage, ham (2 days), cereal, bagels, make your own waffles....



The rooms, it's very nice, the rate that I have is $179/night, but maybe its a corporate rate.... so check it first.

Very good Chicken Vegetable Soup at the "The Broken  Yolk".
If you don't have breakfast at the hotel, you can have it just across the street at a place called "The Broken  Yolk" not too bad.  They serve breakfast and lunch only.

Here is the "gate" to "Historic Heart of San Diego" or "Gaslamp Quarter", very nice... 


The "San  Diego Convention Center", its just across from the "Gaslamp Quarter"

And I got to participate in a discussion with Steve Wozniak... special guess!






Friday, May 6

Speaking English...

I was having my lunch and wanted to catchup on the Singapore GE 2011, so I downloaded an app on my Android phone called "MeRadio".  Here is a link to MeRadio - http://www.meradio.sg/

So, I was listening to 938live, and a program called "A Slice of Life" was on and they had Heather Hansen, who runs training for corporations in the area of communications, specifically English.

Anyway, I just found the interview very interesting, and I want to share a link to the interview here - Interview with Heather Hansen on A Slice of Life

Download the interview in MP3 here (Right-Click and Save) - http://englishpronunciationcourse.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/Hansen-Slice-of-Life-Interview-May-11.mp3

She is on Facebook as well... https://www.facebook.com/hansencommlab

And you can pickup some free tips here - http://www.hansenslt.com/index.html

Live Streaming on Polling Day



Live streaming for Singapore GE 2011 can be found here:
You can also get updates at your mobile at this link - http://m.ge.sg/


Monday, May 2

Singapore GE 2011

It's GE time in Singapore... so vote wisely...

I'm not going to put any links here because you'll get lots more if you google it....

How to Watermark your Digital Images

Quite often we (like me) put up/upload our digital images onto the web (photobucket, flickr, picasa, facebook, etc) and we're quite liberal with it.

But there might be some pictures that you may want to have ownership... that is to say that you're the one that shot this picture and if someone uses it, your "name" or "watermark" is on that picture.

Well, I've been looking at this for quite awhile, and there are many solutions to this like using Photoshop, GIMP, etc.  First of all Photoshop is expensive, and I think it's requires too much of our time to learn how to use it.

GIMP is free, but still takes time to learn this as well.

I've been using a graphic tool called IrfanView and just out of curiosity I googled "Irfan Watermarking", and voila... there are tutorials on how to do that and even one on how to watermark a batch of images.

So for those wanting to use the free utility IrfanView here is the website for it - click IrfanView

And for those wanting to watermark a single image, click Watermarking a Single Image

And for those wanting to watermark a batch of files, click Batch Watermarking using IrfanView

Here is a sample, note watermark is at the right bottom corner...

Friday, April 29

My Son's Prom Night

what an experience for him, his first prom night.  Everyone is so well dressed!  Very nice indeed.










Thursday, April 28

Back to the subject of Video Rotation... but this time better!

I was trying to see if I can enhance the quality of the videos as well... so went googling again..

I found this software called vReveal... it also gives you the ability to rotate your videos as well as enhance them.

here is a sample..

one of my favourite Youtube P&W singers, Daniel Choo singing "Your Love Oh Lord (by Third Day)".



This video was done in 2007.  I used vReveal, just did a auto contrast, auto white balance, sharpen, and gave it vivid color as well.  I did not change the resolution, which is 240p.

video

Some old videos...

Recorded this with my old cell phone.  The location is Cancun, Mexico.  Recorded I think in 2008.

video

Used vReveal to enhance...
video

without vReveal...
video

after vReveal...

video

Rotating your Videos before posting to Facebook or anywhere....

We have some videos recorded using our cell phone and it was in Portrait setting. You know what I mean.

video

I was also looking for a utility to rotate my 3GP videos (I have a mytouch4G).

I found this free utility "freevideoflipandrotate" from DVDVideoSoft.com

Link to FreeVideoFlipAndRotate

Just some notes:
1. During the install, it has an option that ask if you want to "...Plasmo web search as my homepage..." - for me I unchecked this.
2. Before you use this utility, I suggest you convert your video to avi, or mp4. When I tried rotating my 3GP, it worked, but it changed the speed of the video. I used "Format Factory" to convert my videos first. It's also a free tool.

Rotating a 3GP video directly to a rotated AVI video, notice the speed...
video


Here is how the video turned out... not too bad.

video

Tuesday, April 26

Get a New Gadget!

Just received this VoIP ATA (Analog Telephone Adapter) from Amazon and just got it setup for Google Voice.

Amazing, works great and I can make calls from a normal telephone (corded or cordless).

The device is called OBi100 VoIP ATA & Voice Service Bridge by Obihai Technology, Inc.


They also make another model OBi110, this model provides an additional connection for your landline (if you have one for your current home phone).

I'll have a picture of it on the setup, it's simple and cheap.

I considered using the Cisco SPA Voice Gateway, but the cost is higher and I didn't really like the reviews on it.

The folks that makes the OBitalk devices were from a company (Sipura) that Cisco bought over that makes the original Cisco SPA hardware.

So you'll need an internet connect (everyone has this...), a normal corded or cordless phone, a spare ethernet port on your router/switch, and a power socket for the OBitalk device.

Of course you should have Google Voice, if not, you'll have to set this up, btw, you'll need a telephone number, that Google Voice requires for call forwarding, I use my cell number.

Some information about ATA click here - Analog Telephone Adapter.

Oh yes, you know what's great?! It provides an app on your Android or iPhone that allows you to call your OBitalk device via wifi or mobile broadband, so if you're in a hotel or a place that provides free wifi, you can call your OBitalk device. OBihai provides a device number like a phone number that you can call.

----------------------

Update... you can watch a video of it... Here

Sunday, April 17

Hot N' Cold (Katy Perry) by Alison

Alison playing at Scottsdale Piano Academy 2011 Popular Repertoire Spring Recital.

She was amongst a group of 39 pianist.

The recital was held at Kerr Cultural Center at Scottsdale, Arizona.

We had a great time and was treated to a wonderful display of talent.

Thursday, April 7

Arizona board approves steep tuition hikes

"TUCSON — Despite recent student protests, regents for Arizona's public universities voted Thursday to dramatically hike tuition, but also will offer rebates to some students to help ease the financial strain.
The Arizona Board of Regents' vote raised tuition and fees at the University of Arizona in Tucson by 22 percent to $10,027 for in-state freshman undergraduates in the fall. Those costs will jump by 19.5 percent, to $9,716, for in-state undergraduates at Arizona State University in Tempe and by 15 percent, to $8,824, at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
The increases are far larger than average tuition hikes seen last year, when public universities nationwide increased in-state tuition and fees by an average of 7.9 percent, with the average price at $7,605, according to the College Board, the nonprofit group that runs the SATs."

Read Full Article - Arizona board approves steep tuition hikes

Tuesday, April 5

Buying a Used or New Car In America

I'm planning to get a car sometime in June/July time, so I went search for tips on buying a used or new car.

And came upon this website "CarBuyingTips", which I thought is really excellent.

It gives you details of "scams" by car dealers and tells you how to avoid it.

Here is the link CarBuyingTips.

S'poreans to get letters on growth dividends & other payouts - Channel NewsAsia

Here is the news article.
S'poreans to get letters on growth dividends & other payouts - Channel NewsAsia

So if you're reading this and you're Singaporean, you must go check it out at Grow & Share website (click).

You'll need your SingPass.

Monday, March 28

Third Day - Your Love Oh Lord

Visited a Church this weekend, was introduced by my son through his classmate whose father is a Pastor there. Church is Shiloh Community Church, an "Evangelical Free Church".

We sang this praise song... enjoy!

Sunday, March 20

Family Time in Disney California Adventure Park

What a wonderful place... this park is just next to Disneyland and the rides are more thrilling. I had a joyous time with my family and going on rides with my son.

Tuesday, March 15

She is right & wrong...

it all started because of this video from a UCLA girl, Alexandra Wallace, she has a point, I don't think it's racism, but she is definitely ignorant about the Asia culture.

Listen to what she is saying... especially about not being able to fend for themselves... listen to her (she is right & wrong) and then listen to the next video, he is right as well.



Sunday, March 13

NBA Game

Just got back from an NBA game, Suns vs Orlando. It was disappointing, it was a blowout, playing at home, the Suns just didn't get going. 88 to 111 scoreline.




video

Friday, March 11

Contact Info for Singaporean's In Japan Who Needs Assistance

Singaporeans who require consular assistance should contact the Singapore Embassy in Tokyo or the MFA Duty Officer (24hrs) at:

Embassy of the Republic of Singapore, Tel: +81 90 3208 4122 / +81 90 2435 5543, Email: singemb_tyo@sgmfa.gov.sg

Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Tel: +65 6379 8800, +65 6379 8855

ST Interactive

Currents hit Califonia

Japan hit with a 8.9 Earthquake

Let's our prayers be with the people in Japan, this is scary, and we pray that they are safe.

- Eyewitness Footage -



CNN Video



Wednesday, March 9

SIA Loses Top Spot

SIA loses top spot... can't believe it that the top spot has gone to Delta.

Delta tops the world's most admired airlines

The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

I subscribe to this website called TechRepublic, just want to share this really good article about "The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs"...

Not sure if you have to sign-up to download, here is the link anyway:
The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs

The man who wrote this Carmine Gallo, check it out here -
A STEVE JOBS PRESENTATION BY THE BOOK

BBC World Service - About Singapore



As you listen, you realize who they selected for interviews.

Link to BBC World Service - What Can I Say? Episode 4 - Singapore

Is it so wrong to have stability.

Chee Soon Juan.... What!

Siew Kum Hong... he was never an MP, but an NMP there is a difference!

Martyn See... his banned film has since been lifted...
Martyn See's "Singapore Rebel" film gets green light

So if you want to say something, you better be able to back it up!

Mr Brown... you know what he is funny... that's it!

Alex Au... promoter of homosexuality

Catherine Lim... writes books...

Kishore Mahbubani... listen to him!

BBC talks about Indonesia... so what is happening to Indonesia now!

Things are changing in Singapore... it takes time and if the opposition can do better the people will vote for them!

Tuesday, March 8

Satisfy (Daniel Choo) Desperation Band

So beautiful... PTL!

What am I Reading?

Just got my daughter setup for swimming training. Trying to get her out of the house and away from the computer & TV, so decided that it was time she started her swimming training again.

But I wanted her to have fun and at the same time got the exercise she needed.

So, I've enrolled her in Swim Neptune, and her coach Joe Zemaitis is the 2010 Arizona Age Group Coach of the Year.

Really nice coach and I really liked his program.

On the very next day he sent us his book called "Joe's Rules: How Every Parent Can Help Their Child Excel in Life - Through Sports".

I can identify with his approach and I think if you're a parent and you're not sure where to begin, go pickup his book. Great pointers in there.

A quote from the book... ""Fun" means different things to different people; discover what it means to your child."

I like this one "Remember: Motion can change emotion." He was writing about our mental state and emotional state, saying that when you are mentally stressed, physical activity can change it with a resurgence in energy and making your mental and emotional states become more positive.

Saturday, March 5

Some Family Time...

Cycling, walking, basketball... pictures taken using my HTC myTouch4G