Tag Archives: 2010

2010 – Year In Review

Happy New Years all my blog readers!   I can’t believe how fast 2010 has gone.   Or the 2000’s for that matter.  Suddenly we’re in another new decade!   I wonder what we’ll call it – not the naughties, maybe the teens?

I spent the last week feeding myself silly..  well, not as much as last year – definitely tried to eat less this year so there’d be less to lose in the coming months!

Since I’ve started a trend with myself, thought I’d better continue with my year in review!  So, here’s the good and bad of 2010!

The Good!

Violin

I think the violin went well in 2010.   I don’t know how I managed to, but I’m really proud of learning/cramming in the first movement of the Tchaikovsky Violin Concerto in time for the Fremantle Eisteddfod.   This together with becoming a finalist in the YouTube Symphony Orchestra and an orchestra gig made 2010 feel productive on the violin front.   However, I wish I had the time to have had a violin lesson or two, and play in one of the community orchestras.  Maybe in 2011?

Bike/Fitness

Well, it started quite well with doing the 60km HBF ride, riding weekly and later the Ride to Work day.  I managed to get up to Kalamunda a couple of times, but it’s really highlighted that I need to develop my hill climbing power!   Unfortunately, in the last 2 or so months, my riding has decreased.   I hope to cycle more in 2011 again.  I really need to get a bike computer so I know how much I’m really doing, and maybe a heart rate monitor too..

Community

For me, my community giving in 2010 was to my daughters’ Primary School.   Many hours went into work for the School Board because of the Building the Education Revolution program, but by the end of 2010, I decided to it was time to quit and re-balance my time back to the family.

Photography Business

2010 will be the year that I started to make my hobby of photography to start earning something!   Overall I’m still making a loss  as my equipment and time outlays far outweigh any profit, but at least I can fund some smaller equipment purchases from sales – allowing me to take and process better photos!

Travel

Even though the total number of getaways with the family was less in 2010 than 2009, travel was still a highlight because of our family trip to Japan!   We had such an awesome experience in the amazing culture there – I can’t wait to go back!

Digitizing Home Videos

My big project of digitizing our home videos is practically finished!  All handycam videos from Video8, MiniDV and the new AVCHD HDD camera are now all on the computer in iMovie!   Yes, it’s slow doing it in realtime, but it’s doable.

The Not So Good

Dates

Aarghghghg!  I don’t know what happened, but dates with wifey really suffered in 2010.  We were meant to do a dinner date once a month on our anniversary day but that fell apart.   I’m DETERMINED to make this work in 2011.

Me Time

Well, I guess I made my violin time my “Me Time” earlier in 2010.  But as for PS3 gaming, considering I still haven’t finished Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2 or Assassin’s Creed 2, not so good 😦

Lindyhop

The number of times we went out dancing can fit on one hand.  Unfortunately 2010 was a poor year for swing dancing.   One night of Hullabaloo, a few times at the Mustang, some DJ gigs at the Deen…   and that’s about all 😦  Even for the 2010/2011 New Years Eve, it’s the first time we didn’t go dancing in 10 or so years…

Neither Here Nor There

Movies/TV

What did I watch in 2010?   It will be the year that we watched  Mad Men Season 2, 24 Season 7, Caprica Season 1, more So You Think You Can Dance and Australian MasterChef, but the show that we really got hooked on and watched most of in 2010 – True Blood!

Books

Ah, my night time habit – reading in bed before I got to sleep.  Probably not the best thing to do when I want my brain to slow down, but it’s the only time I have.   In 2010, I read all of the fantastic Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series, Ender’s Game sequel Speaker for the Dead, Lance Armstrong’s It’s Not About The Bike, Dan Brown’s The Lost Symbol, Daniel Levitin’s This is Your Brain on Music and Lee Child’s Gone Tomorrow.    Currently next to my bed is a few book’s on parenting teenagers – The Princess Bitchface Syndrome by Michael Carr-Gregg and Michael Riera’s very useful Staying Connected to Your Teenager

2011 Resolutions?

Yep, I’ve sat down with Wifey to write a list of changes for 2011!   One of the things we’ve put down is an idea from a friend in Singapore – parent dates with individual kids!   We’re aiming for one a quarter – hopefully it will work out!

Advertisements

Photos from the World Wide Photowalk 2010

On the weekend, I joined about 100 other photography enthusiasts on a walk around Perth city to take photos.  It was one of the local events for the Scott Kelby World Wide Photowalk day.

I decided to pull along my father-in-law as I know how much he loves photography.  Armed with our cameras, we parked near the Perth Concert Hall and walked to the meeting point.  I was wondering – who would go to these things?  Are they all going to be real photo geeks, clothed with multi-pocketed photographer vests? 

But all was OK – just normal people with a variety of equipment from point and shoots to SLRs.    Great to see Martin there with his kids, who introduced me to this event.

After a group photo, there was a quick explanation of the day and some ground rules.  Apparently we’re allowed to take photos inside St Mary’s Cathedral!  My first D’oh!  I should have brought my tripod along. Now I’ll have to rely on noisy higher ISOs, bracketing and panoramas by hand.

And then we were off!

Or not really. 

Photographers really take their time.  You do not want to be going on a photowalk if you’re in a hurry to get to the end point!  Everyone had spread out like crime scene photographers trying to capture as much of the expansive real world onto a few inches of film or digital chip.  I wonder if in the future someone would be able to recreate a virtual copy of East Perth from all our photos.

I see a great opportunity for a photo in the middle of St George’s Terrace with blurry traffic passing by.  But I nearly got run over by a car when crossing back.  Note to self – holding a camera does not make me invincible to the laws of nature.

Then I got excited by some nature in the concrete city – a tree reaching up into the sky!!  I tried to snap it from various angles hoping to get a good shot.   I looked around and then realised I had lost our group leader.

People were taking photos of all sorts of things – storm water drains, bins, buildings, trees – basically EVERYTHING!  It was funny to hear a pedestrian couple walk past saying, “There’s a lot of people taking photos here?!?”  Were we that obvious?  Did we look like a bunch of bus’d-in tourists?

We turned up past the Mint and I suddenly realise we were in an un-picturesque part of town.  But luckily we then turned towards the recently renovated St Mary’s Cathedral and I knew there would be a plethora of things to shoot in there.

Seems like the Organ Society of WA is having a “meet and play” and majestic chords and runs of pipe music is spilling out of the church.   Luckily it helps to mask the constant chatter of shutters going off inside the church.   I take a few hand held panoramas inside and vertoramas outside, and a few 3 shot brackets – hoping that I can fix it all up later.  Photographers are lazing around the front of the Cathedral, chimping and comparing shots.  My right hand is starting to get sore.

And then it was all over.  Coffees at Dome with my father-in-law and we discuss the post-processing that we need to do and when the next photowalk is on that we can go to. 

At home, I’ve downloaded the photos, straightened and cropped and then used some of my presets in Lightroom to increase contrast and turn some into black and white.  The next step for me is to process the panoramas and HDR/bracketed shots which will take more time.

I have enjoyed seeing the others shots taken by participants that day.  It’s amazing what things you don’t see that are right in front of you, and how other people can view the same objects in ways you never imagined.  And I was also pleasantly surprised by the number of interesting things I could take in 2 hours on that side of town.

My Flickr set of shots so far is here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jasechong/sets/72157624578903906/

And here are some of my favourite shots from the day:

Masterchef 2010 finally over!

So our family gathered around the box for the grand finale of Masterchef 2010 last night.  Although it’s not really a box, it’s more 2D like a rectangle.

The kids are already barracking for Adam.  Wifey and I have boycotted internet news or social sites so we don’t get any spoilers.  Our family is in a good mood after many laughs thanks to Ten’s new import show of Modern Family and about 10 minutes of has-been Dancing with the Stars.

First up, basic skills and knowledge.  Not good for Callum who has hardly any years of experience.  At his age, I was playing Quake and Doom, eating Chicken Treat and McDonald’s and the only kitchen and food skills I had was cooking toast and cereal! 

Like a quiz show, we’re shouting answers at the TV, but neither Callum nor Adam can hear us.  Adam gets ahead.

Second, it’s the invention test three ways.   Wifey and I look at the end results and think YUM!!!  Pork belly is one of our all time favourites.  But I’m wondering if Adam really did it 3 ways?  Great ad though for a pressure cooker – I’m sure a few thousand people will run into Harvey Norman next weekend to buy one.

The judges play chicken and score them both exactly the same.  Shouldn’t Callum get more for doing peas two ways?  I’m wondering how much collusion there is between the judges outside of what we see.

Sometime around now we see the extended Director’s cut special long edition of the Perfect Italiano ad.  It brings back good memories, but it’s getting a bit old now.  It’s really clever, but not as good as the new “Old Spice” ad.  I was hoping for the grand finale they would do something totally different.

And then last up, they introduce a special guest chef Peter Gilmore who presents a desert and the girls all go, “What the?”.  Channel Ten cut to an ad break, clever cross advertising happens, I reach for the Tivo remote but realise we’ve caught up to live TV and can’t forward anymore.  

Seems like Peter has created some weird egg looking desert but Miss 9 and Wifey complain that it doesn’t look as hard as the Adriano’s V8 cake.   Callum looks like he’s not quite getting it together, and loses part of his desert on the floor.  I’m thinking, “Use the 3 second rule!  Just wash it under running water!”  Hmm…

But I wonder why Peter is there – he just loiters around not doing much.  Adam cleverly uses him as a lifeline once, but does Callum?  Why isn’t Peter judging it?  I’m confused.  I wonder how much this desert is to order at his restaurant.

They present their results to the judges, but it’s not a blind taste test – something not right here.  Judges try to make Adam and Callum cry on camera again.   I urk as the judges make wonderful comments on the recipe again instead of the execution, the same way judges on So You Think You Can Dance sometimes critique the choreographer instead of the dancer.   
For the announcement, they bring back all the guest chefs, including Julie.  But Miss 9 immediately notices that Adriano Zumbo is missing.  Was he miffed that one of his desert’s wasn’t used as the final test?

And then it’s all over – there is no way that Adam is going to lose, Miss 9 and Miss 11 are happy.   Gary says something about a “glittery kind of Masterchef life”.  What is that?  I don’t see Julie prancing around in a glittering ensemble?  If anything, Poh, the runner up from last year seems to have more exposure with a TV show and even an iPhone app! 

And then Channel Ten makes a huge mistake – it draws the ending out WAY TOO LONG!  They should take a leaf out of So You Think You Can Dance.  Get the contestants to have last words, announce the winner, shower all with recycled newspaper or confetti, then end the show there!  Instead, they all had to repeat over and over again, “Adam, you are Australia’s Masterchef for 2010!”.   Duuuhhhhh!  You only have to say that once!

But no, it has to keep on going.  I look at the clock and it’s nearly 10PM – way beyond the kid’s sleeping time and I’m sure many families will be late for school tomorrow.  They bring their families in and more tears flow.   Adam’s Dad seems proud, but Wifey and I already have our Singlish accents on saying what’s really in his Asian mind – “Boy, don’t waste your time lah!  You are lawyer, lawyers earn good money and work guaranteed for life wannnn”.   

Callum gets consolation prize at the Press Club.  No iPhone app?

One thing Wifey and I noticed missing – no thank you from Adam to the judges, other competitors, celebrity chefs, producers, etc.  Was this edited out?

Finally, Wifey and I breathe a sigh of relief.  No more Masterchef TV for a while.  Except the kids are super excited about the Junior Masterchef series coming on soon.  Channel Ten are too clever.  

With the World Cup soccer finished, Tour de France over and Masterchef over, I’ll be glad for some PlayStation 3 gaming time now!

Think I’ve worked out the Tour de France scoring scheme

Yay!  Even more sports on TV to watch – now that the World Cup is nearly over, the Tour de France has started.  A chance for me to get inspired by these lycra wearing machines.  I can’t believe they do stages of over 200km day after day, up massive hills, and with overall average speeds over the whole tour of around 40km/h.  This is absolutely crazy.  I can just barely get up to 40km/h as my top speed now!

Mornings of 0 to 2 degrees Celcius have unfortunately stopped me from riding as much as I’d like too. 

Along with the Tour de France comes my total confusion on how the scoring works.  Now that the Tour has just started, I thought, what an ideal time to try and figure out how the different competitions work.   I know there’s different jerseys like the Yellow, Green, Polka Dot.  I know that some are for the total cumulative time, some for points.

So as of today, I know that there’s been the Individual Time Trial, and 1 stage so far.

According to the standings, Cancellara is leading the Yellow Jersey with a time of 5h, 19’38” but Petacchi is the Green Jersey leader with 35 points.

How can this be if there’s only been 2 races?   I was thinking – if Petacchi crossed the line first, then shouldn’t he have the most points AND have the shortest time at the moment?

Looking at the Stage 1 standings, Petacchi came across the line first, and thus scored 35 points.  Points are given to the first 25 to cross, so Cancellara didn’t get any points on stage 1.   However, I noticed that all the top 184 riders all have a stage time of 5h 09’38”, including Cancellara. 

And that’s where something clicked for me – Cancellara AND Petacchi have the same time for Stage 1, but Petacchi got 35 points but Cancellara got none.  It seems points are handed out to riders in the order they finish, but the times for riders are deemed to be the same the gap is less than 1 second – basically, all the riders in a peleton that cross the line get the same time.

So, Cancellara missed out on points for Stage 1, but got 15 points for winning the Individual Time Trial.   Whereas, Petacchi didn’t get any points on the Individual Time Trial, but got 35 points for winning Stage 1.  So this explains why Petacchi is winning on points.

But as for times – since the whole peleton was registered with a time of 5h 09’38”, the time for Petacchi and Cancellara is the SAME for Stage 1.   So the only differing factor so far is the Individual Time Trial where Petacchi was 48 seconds slower than Cancellara’s 10’00”.   So Petacchi’s overall time is 5h 09’38” + 10’48”. 

All make sense?   Or have I made a mistake?

Some useful links:

The overall Tour de France Standings – http://www.letour.fr/2010/TDF/LIVE/us/100/classement/index.html
Wikipedia’s Tour de France page – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tour_de_France
Wikipedia article on Tour de France point classification – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Points_classification_in_the_Tour_de_France
Tour de France FAQ – http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/tour-de-france-rules-frequently-asked-questions-17218