Top 5 things to experience in New Zealand

Christchurch holds a lot of memories for me. I went to high school there when I was 15 and in a sense in was my first great escape. A stranger in a strange land with no parental supervision.

fuckyeah

I did my first tattoo there, my first piercing there (on my septum), and experienced a lot new and wonderful things. I daresay it’s the one of the best times of my adolescent life. I’ve been back a couple of times and have never completely done all the things and seen all the sights the country has to offer.

However, if pressed, I would say that these are the top five things to do in NZ:

1. Do Dunedin

penguins

It’s home to Otago University and the place is actually pronounced dun-nee-dern. It is also close to the southernmost tip of the South Island of New Zealand so you can see yellow eyed penguins and seal colonies.

steepest road

Dunedin is also home to the steepest residential road in the world.

baldwin street

I swear you have to put a brick under your car when you park on Baldwin Street.

2. Go glacier hiking

glacial hike

New Zealand is one of the few places in the world where you can do this. It’s a wonderful experience walking on a large body of ice that has been slowly building for centuries. I personally recommend Franz Josef Glacier over Fox Glacier. I’ve been to both and the ice falls at the former are more sublime. Bring your cold weather gear or you can rent it at the counter.

3. Relax in Rotorua

nz rotorua

You just gotta love the smell of sulfur in the morning. It starts as soon as you reach the fridges of Rotorua – that rotten egg smell that assaults your olfactory senses. However, you get used to it after a while and you’ll be raring to hit the various natural hot pools around this volcanically active area.

rotorua

Note that some of the pools have insane temperatures like 52 degrees Celsius. The first time I was there, I was only 13 (first landing for a NZ permanent resident visa) so I wasn’t allowed into those pools. There are signs posted all over and it took me a while to figure out why – the scalding temperatures might harm your still developing family jewels. Heh.

However, if you’re not a minor, there shouldn’t be a problem.

4. Try Bungy jumping

bungee jumpin

Hello nurse! I’m kidding, this is an extremely safe sport and where better than to do it at the home of commercial Bungy jumping – New Zealand! Yup, AJ Hackett popularized the sport back in the ’80s while jumping in Auckland. The term “bungy” is apparently Kiwi slang for “elastic strap”.

bungee jumping

Check out the world’s first permanent commercial bungy site at Kawarau Bridge Bungy in Queenstown.

5. Go Punakaiki

pancake rocks

No, I wasn’t swearing at you. Punakaiki skirts the Paparoa National Park and it’s main claim to fame are the Pancake Rocks. The Pancake Rocks at Dolomite Point is a marvel of nature. I was quite impressed the first time I was there.

blowhole

There are also blowholes during high tide where you can see the sea surge explode vertically from the underground caves.

Feel like having an awesome vacation there? AirAsia X is running a contest where you can win a trip of a lifetime to New Zealand!

You can choose the type of traveler you are:

aax

and create a team of 4 like-minded people or just go solo.

It’s all done through Facebook so you can pick 3 buddies to have a go at the game – more people, more brains, more fun. Or just go at it solo if you’re the independent type and prefers relying on your own (vastly superior, or so you think) skills.

The online games and trivia will start on 8th December so sign up now at The Great NZ X-Cape. There are NZ trips to be won for both teams and individuals so let’s see how good everyone is. Come join the contest and win the trip of your dreams! ;)

Santouka Hokkaido Ramen @ Tokyo Street Pavilion

santouka ramen pavilion

I headed down to Santouka Hokkaido Ramen in Tokyo Street at Pavilion a couple of days ago to check out their acclaimed premium pork cheek and ramen goodness.

santouka ramen

Santouka Ramen is an actual franchise from Hokkaido in Japan and I heard a lot of interesting anecdotes about it from Julian and Inggrid.

roasted premium pork cheek

Roasted Premium Pork Cheek (RM 17)
This came heated in a ceramic mesh. Santouka Ramen also has the same treatment for char siu but I found the pork cheek to be slightly better. It still maintains its juiciness despite the thin slices and the tender pork cheek comes encrusted in charcoal goodness.

santouka roasted pork cheek

Next up came the parade of the different ramen they have:

shio ramen

Shio Ramen
This is translated as “salt” although it is best described as the original taste of the pork infused ramen base. It’s my favorite, hands down. It comes with a small ume (plum) on top.

santouka gyoza
An side order of gyoza to go with your ramen.

Shoyu Ramen
This is the soy sauce version, which tastes pretty good if you like a bit of saltiness to your ramen. I still prefer the shio though.

Miso Ramen
Yup, you know what this is…it’s just like what you’ll expect – ramen in miso (fermented soybean) soup.

kara miso ramen

Kara-Miso Ramen
This adds a twist by adding a bit of spice into the miso soup. It’s quite interesting but can be overwhelming to the palate if you’re looking for more subdued ramen bases.

Each of the ramen bowls comes with char siew and a sprinkling of sesame seeds – the number of slices and amount of noodles differ according to the size you’re ordering. The prices are RM 22.50 (Small), RM 25 (Regular) and RM 29 (Large) except for Kara-Miso Ramen which runs slightly higher (add RM 2).

premium pork cheek ramen

I highly recommend you order Santouka Ramen’s specialty – Tokusen Toriniku Ramen. That’s Premium Pork Cheek Ramen and they only have a limited quantity per day since you can only harvest about 200 to 300 grams of pork cheek per pig.

premium pork cheek

The Premium Pork Cheek Ramen (RM 36 for Regular) comes with a side of tender and decadently fatty pork cheeks slices. It’s different from the roasted premium pork cheeks and I found that I enjoyed this one more. The pork cheek slices goes well with the ramen and absorbs the flavors of the ramen base perfectly.

komi tamago

Don’t forget an order of their famous Komi Tamago (Flavored Boiled Egg – RM 2). This decadent slice of heaven is a boiled egg that has a semi-runny yolk. The flavor and texture is orgasmic and you have to order at least one or two to go with your ramen. Guaranteed satisfaction for all egg fans.

santouka us

Thanks for the lunch! I will definitely be going back for the melt-in-your-mouth pork cheek, shio ramen and komi tamago (the breakfast of champions).

Interesting facts:

  • The broth gets tested every single day coz the amount of fat per pig is different
  • The ramen at Santouka Ramen is “al dente” coz that’s the way it’s supposed to be in Japan
  • The komi tamago had more than 50% wastage when they first started making it
  • Santouka Ramen actually had the owner and chef from Japan come over to ensure quality control
  • The chopsticks are even tested to make sure it doesn’t have a smell and grips the ramen properly
  • Each bowl of ramen is prepared individually
  • The char siew meat must face you when they serve the ramen
  • It started 23 years ago and Santouka Ramen has the same bowls and pretty much tastes the same all over the world

tori karaage
Tori Karaage – some good ol’ fried chicken as the appetizer.

Santouka Ramen
Tokyo Street, Pavilion KL
Lot 6.24.03, Level 6, Pavilion,
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang,
55100 Kuala Lumpur,
Malaysia.
Tel: +603 2143 8878

santouka food

——————————————————————————–
Want dessert? Head over to Suchan for some awesome cakes. I actually bought the previous offer from MilkADeal and the cakes are superb!

suchan
RM25 instead of RM48 for Award-winning 5″ x 5″ Cake at Suchan Bakery Specialty Cakes, Jalan Universiti. Choice of Tiramisu, Moist Chocolate Cake or Eggless Chocolate Cake [48% OFF]

Grab the offer while you can! :)
——————————————————————————–

Wherever I may roam…

photos

I have a couple of things that I always carry around – a camera is one of them. I usually have a compact digicam which I use to take photos of everything that, er…catches my eye.

However, that is just one of the gadgets I carry. I have to lug around a dSLR, a tablet, and cell phones while I’m on assignment. I’m a freelance writer for a couple of publications so usually I carry this battered and gaudy sling bag which totally clashes with my outfit 9 times out of 10.

north face

It’s red. It doesn’t go well with any color (except maybe red). The North Face sling bag can get rather heavy when it’s fully loaded too. I have always wished for something that just integrates everything…

…and I’ve found it! :D

samsung galaxy note

The Samsung GALAXY Note is very high on my list of stuff to get right about now coz it has just about everything I want. The 8 MP back camera beats the image quality of the digicam that I usually carry around. The 5.3” screen makes it easy for me to jot down notes while I’m covering an event. It also happens to be a cell phone that you can easily slip into your pocket!

People always ask me why I don’t use pen and paper. Well, the answer is quite pragmatic – writing on a tablet saves you from having to transcribe it again – it’s already in digital format. I can even write an entire article and send it to my editor on a tablet, but then again it doesn’t solve the integration issue. #firstworldpains

The best thing about the Samsung GALAXY Note is that it offers all the performance, functionality and features of a tablet in a portable smartphone!

It also keeps you connected and entertained with games and all the email, messaging and social media applications you’re used to in today’s stay-connected world.

Here’s some of the awesome features that Samsung GALAXY Note has:

android gingerbread

Android 2.3 Gingerbread running on a 1.4 Ghz dual-core processor
It’s one of the fastest Android smartphones around

screen

5.3” HD Super AMOLED display
It’s like the Goldilocks story – not too big, not too small, just right! You can slip it in your pocket (try doing that with a full sized tablet) and it has enough high resolution screen real estate to work (and play) with

camera

8 MP camera
The cameras in smartphones nowadays are so good you don’t even need a separate digicam for regular use. I notice that you tend to take far more photos when it’s easy e.g. just whipping out your cell phone, instead of digging around for your digicam. Catalog every minute of your life! :)
There’s a 2 MP front camera for Skype or video chatting too.

Anyway, I’ve been lusting for the Samsung GALAXY Note ever since they launched it on the 11th of November at La Bodega in Pavilion. I’ve done a bit of research and Celcom’s plan sounds like the best among them. You can get a Samsung GALAXY note for as low as RM 1,368 (normal retail price is RM 2,299) with the Celcom Exec 250.

celcom

My cell phone bill usually goes slightly over RM 300 per month so this would be the ideal one for me. I need that 5GB of data volume per month and you can’t go wrong with Celcom – it has the widest network coverage in Malaysia. The network quality is awesome for data and calls and the connection stability is rock solid.

Get more details and find the perfect Celcom Samsung GALAXY Note plan Find out more about the Samsung GALAXY Note packages that Celcom offers and get more details on the pocket tablet here.

You’re hot and you’re cold

karina

I have a problem with normal medicated plasters. It gives me horrible rashes due to the plastic/glue material. I seem to have an allergic reaction to them. It doesn’t matter what kind is it – from your Band Aids to cooling relief pads – it’ll give me an angry, red and swollen rash within a couple of hours.

Allow me to illustrate:

bandaid

I stuck on a generic Band Aid during dinner at a friend’s place. Yes, I did this intentionally. I did not have a wound, I just wanted to show my allergic reaction to plasters.

allergic

I took it off after a few hours and you can already see the redness of the skin under it. It grows progressively worse and worse even though I’ve washed the area with soup and water.

rashes

Here’s what it looks like 12 hours later. The skin under the plaster is swollen and itchy. This isn’t the worst part. It’s going to get even worse over the days.

Imagine walking around with an irritatingly itchy rash like that for about two weeks. Now you know why I’m so hesitant about using any type of plasters. I can only use cotton pads with sterile hypoallergenic tape without producing an ugly rash since I was a kid.

adhesive backing

However, I was curious as to how I would react to Tiger Balm Plasters.

I reckon that since I might suffer an allergic reaction to it, I might as well get something out of it and have someone else put it on for me, preferably hot. smirk

stick on

Hang on, let me rephrase that. Heh. I meant the plaster, not the girl. It’s the Tiger Balm Plasters – Warm with capsicum extract.

(although Karina is pretty hot too – thanks for helping me stick it on!)

It was over midnight before I took it off so the plaster was on me for over 8 hours.

no rash

I did not get a rash from it! :D

I love it – the Tiger Balm Plasters are awesome! Now that I know I can use it without allergic reactions (think I know why – more on that later) here’s a short description if you’re wondering whether you should get the Cool Plaster or Warm Plaster:

Cool Plaster
Pain e.g. muscular strain, sprain, and backache.

Warm Plaster
Chronic pain e.g. back aches, muscle pain, arthritis and rheumatism. Contains capsicum extract.

As a general rule of thumb, use the Cool Plasters for lasting relief from the kind of pain you get from straining a muscle while exercising or backaches after a long day at work sitting in a rigid chair. The Warm Plasters are for those stubborn backaches and pains that just won’t go away.

tiger balm cool

I love the smell of Tiger Balm – it’s something I grew up with and the brand is trusted (and used) by generations. I didn’t realize they have plasters until a friend told me. It’s very easy to put on – except on your back la, that kind of thing isn’t something you can do alone. ;)

Here’s how you can easily apply the Tiger Balm Plaster by yourself (when you don’t have someone nearby to help you out) on tricky areas like the knee and the elbow:

step 1

1. Put hydrogel plaster on additional adhesive after taking off the backing and lay it out on a flat surface e.g. a table

step 2

2. Lower your elbow into the hydrogel bit.

step 3

3. Finish up by using your other hand to stick the extra large additional adhesive around the area.

There you have it! Three simple steps to independence! :)

The additional adhesive that comes with the plasters. It allows for an extra strong hold on movable parts of your body (elbows, knees, joints) and the hydrogel plaster contains the unique Tiger Balm formulation that delivers long lasting relief from muscle pain.

adhesive

I also noticed that the adhesive works very well for me – it doesn’t cause any allergic reactions. I think it’s coz of the high quality adhesive they use. It also allows for ventilation and is stretchable. The non-woven material is very gentle and comfortable to the skin – I should know, I have embarrassingly sensitive skin – and it peels off easily to boot.

tiger balm warm

I’ve used both the Warm Plaster and the Cool Plaster. I like the feeling of the Warm Plaster. I didn’t feel anything at first but after a couple of minutes, a warm sensation started to spread on my shoulders from the capsicum extract and it’s a really, really nice feeling. I don’t know about you but I prefer it to the Cold Plaster.

tiger balm plasters

I do have back pain from my posture while sitting so it’s I really like the plasters. It comes in a new packaging now and you can get it for RM 6.80 (Large) and RM 5.20 (Small). It’s available at all chain pharmacies like Guardian, Watson and Caring, and also your neighborhood pharmacies.

back

I think it’s awesome stuff. It’s great value for money since each pack comes with two plasters. I can just get one from the pharmacy and put it on for lasting relief from the muscle aches on my shoulders. It’s just RM 3.60 for one of the large ones, much less than what I pay for my lunch. ;)

You know what the hardest drug to quit from is?

tak nak

Nicotine. Yes, it’s been well documented that it causes physical dependency. I have quit a lot of addictive substances in the past but the only thing that I haven’t managed to quit is smoking.

You know, if tobacco was discovered today, it’ll be illegal due to the health risks and addictive potential. However, it wasn’t and thus we have an entire generation of smokers.

I count myself among them. My first experience with a cigarette was during Chinese New Year when I was 7 years old. My grandfather was a chain smoker with cartons of cigarettes in his personal desk. He never stops smoking, not even in front of us. Of course, back then the awareness level of second hand smoke is quite a bit lower than today.

firecracker

Anyway, back when I was a kid, he gave me a lit cigarette to use to light up my firecrackers. I’m a naturally curious person and I know I wasn’t supposed to smoke it…but I did. It’s just my personality. I wanted to see what it feels like for myself, even at such a young age.

Of course, I didn’t know how to inhale back then but my parents smelled the smoke on me and gave me one hell of a thrashing.

I come from a family of smokers. Both my paternal and maternal grandfather were chain smokers. Notice the past tense?

Not surprisingly, they both died of lung cancer. My paternal grandfather kicked the bucket when I was 12. My maternal one hung on for 1 year longer before he went six feet under.

mom

Cancer genes runs in my family. My mother is battling lung cancer even though she has never smoked a single cigarette in my life. I do believe second hand smoke had a lot to do with it though. It can’t be much fun to live around chain smokers.

Myself? I picked up the habit in my early teens. What started as social smoking turned into a full blown addiction in two years. I couldn’t get out of bed without first smoking at least two Marlboro Reds, with deep inhales and I’ll be craving for a cigarette by 10 am.

I smoked in school like everyone else and they all thought I was cool. See, when you’re an impressionable teenager, being one of the “bad boys” who smoked behind the toilet seems like just about the most awesome figure to look up to.

It is not.

I have tried to quit a lot of times and never succeeded. It isn’t a “cool” thing to do, no matter what you think when you’re a teenager or in your early twenties. Just coz everyone does it doesn’t mean you should. Wouldn’t it be cooler if you didn’t smoke? You’ll be the exception instead of the ones trying so hard to fit in.

I won’t preach so I’ll keep this short but let me just tell you the ways smoking WILL affect you when you get older. I speak from personal experience.

yellow teeth

Yellow teeth
Tar stains your teeth. It looks ugly and although you can bleach it all you want, smoking will continue to stain your teeth.

breath mints

Bad breath
I’ve often heard people say that dating smokers are like kissing ash trays. I notice that I do have bad breath but it never quite sunk until I dated a smoker who chain smokes and you literally have to air out the room whenever she speaks. It’s just not sexy to have bad breath.

aging

Aging
Yup, smoking also ages your skin. I’m lucky coz I have great genes in the youth department (possibly to compensate for the high rates of cancer that runs in my family) but you will most definitely age faster when you smoke.

When you’re young, all you want to do is to look older and more “mature”. Trust me, the opposite will be true once you hit your mid-twenties. You’ll give anything to look younger. You don’t want to start smoking and do all that damage to your youthful complexion. You can’t quit smoking as easily as you think.

erectile dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction
I’ve always thought this was just government propaganda thrown out to discourage smoking…until I discovered the medical journals who confirmed it. I still was in a state of denial though – I just pushed it out of my head. Now that I’m finally in my 30′s the effects become more and more apparent.

The quality of your erection drops and it can be hard to get it up sometimes too. This one is the real banger (no pun intended) – if you want to have a healthy sex life until you’re nice and old, smoking is not one of the things you want to pick up.

I can’t tell you what to do. It’s just not my style. I’m all about personal experience and experimentation. I know better than to convince people who doesn’t want to be convinced. You just push them the opposite way. I was like that too. When someone tells me to quit smoking, I just laughed and dismissed them.

You have to figure it out for yourself. You can do that the easy way or the hard way. I’m just telling you that it’s not easy to quit smoking unless you’re very dedicated so if you want to start, just think about what the “future-you” would want.

Surf on over to http://www.facebook.com/TAK.NAK.MEROKOK if you plan to quit.

Now for the fun stuff! There is a contest running where you can win:

  • Grand Prize – RM 1,000 cash
  • 2nd Prize – RM 700 cash
  • 3rd Prize – RM 500 cash
  • 4th Prize – RM 300 cash
  • 5th Prize – RM 150 cash
  • Consolation Price – Voucher worth RM 50

just by sending in a picture. The most creative picture that shows Tak Nak to smoking/smoking kills/the dangers of second hand smoke will win. The winners will be determined by votes (50%) and judges (50%). The only rule is that the picture must not show cigarettes or a cigarette box.

Get more information from www.gayahidupsihat.my

Destructive relationships

The first time someone broke up with me was when I was 17. I was really in love with her. I’m a bit of a self-destructive sort back then so it spiraled into a haze of binge

drinking

that lasted for months. I guess you’ll call it

puppy

love at that age, but with hormones raging and all that, the emotional instability causes you to think it’s worse than it is.

Anyway, I started dating this girl after that who I guess can be called a rebound-turned-into-a-long-term-relationship.

However, 2 years later when the original came back and asked me if I wanted to try again (her words) I didn’t even think, I

dumped

the rebound.

The original girl I was so infatuated with dumped me 3 days after that for her old boyfriend. #bossplayer

That’s a two year relationship wasted for just 3 days of happiness. Rose tinted glasses does that to you.

The only other time I can remember being so #epicfail was when I was working in Kuching. I was dating this

pharmacist

who I literally

worshipped

I thought she was perfection personified. She was The One (TM). I was happy for several months before I discovered that she was dating me for all the wrong reasons.

She dumped me for her old boyfriend (notice a trend here?) and left me devastated.

I

camped

outside her house for an entire night until her mom came out with water and

sandwiches

for me. She on the other hand, never even bothered to look out the window. #likeaboss

I once again started a self-destructive methamphetamine habit (which I quit for her) and doing reckless shit like

injecting

90 cc of crystal meth with just 10 cc of water using the cold shake method. I also attempted

suicide

to get her attention. Little good did that do, hell, I’m even embarrassed to admit it now.

Anyway, since then I think I have zero meaningful relationships. I just messed around a bit (okay, a lot) and skated on thin, surface relationships.

I think in that period all my relationships can only be politely described as being with people who are

easy

However, about a year back I started to think more about serious relationships. Not all of them worked but at least I stopped being such an asshole. I think that’s a really great start.

I guess life is like a box of

chocolates

You never know what you’re going to get. smirk

Bistro 42, Bangsar Village II

bistro42 bangsar village

Bistro42 is a quaint little dining place in BVII that has a weird seating arrangement consisting of regular tables and chairs with a plush sofa (complete with comfortable pillows) flanking the side. It also has a quasi al fresco area outside the main restaurant:

bistro42 bvii

You get what I mean when I say “al fresco” right – it’s smack dab in the middle of a shopping mall so it’s not a real open air dining area. That means no smoking, no cooling nighttime breeze (unless you count the central air conditioning) or any other activities you’ll associate with the phrase al fresco.

bistro42 bangsar

However, Bistro 42 does have pretty good food. I’ve been there a couple of times and if the place looks slightly familiar to you, it’s because it used to be T Forty Two. It now comes with a revamped menu and I went there last night with Kim to check it out.

bistro42 kim

Anyway, the story behind dinner with Kim is quite interesting in itself. I met her in 2008 while on a vacation in Miri. There is a funny story somewhere in there but that’s a bit of an #insidejoke. Heh. That was over 3 years ago and she came over to KL sometime last year. I didn’t know that and while hunting for photos from when I got out of rehab, I stumbled upon one of us and put it up. Kim had just started reading blogs again, saw it, and we got in touch and made plans for dinner.

bistro42 bread

…and that, my friends is the totally irrelevant background as to how I had dinner with Kim in Bistro42 last night. smirk

bistro42 waygu beef cheek

Slow Roasted Wagyu Beef Cheek (RM 45.90)
I knew I was going to order this when I saw it on the menu, It’s served with carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes and mashed potatoes. It sounds pedestrian from the description but when the dish came out, it looked (and tasted) wonderful.

wagyu beef cheek slice

The wagyu beef cheek is superb! It’s melt-in-your-mouth tender. The beef cheek literally falls apart when you slice into it – you can even eat it with a spoon! The sauce it’s swimming in complements the juicy slab of beef cheek perfectly. Kim tasted this and says it totally kicked her dishes’ ass.

tiger prawn linguine

Grilled Tiger Prawn Linguine (RM 49.90)
This is in a reduction of lobster bisque and finished with a touch of cream. The size of the tiger prawn is pretty generous and I was amazed to see that Kim can actually peel the shell off the tiger prawn using nothing but a fork and knife:

shelling tiger prawn

peeling tiger prawn

No shit. I’ve never managed to master that.

bistro42 wine

Anyway, I found this pasta dish quite good actually. I like the lobster bisque reduction – it goes well with the seafood based linguine. It’s the perfect pasta sauce. My only complaint is that it only has one tiger prawn. Granted, it is rather large but still…

bistro42 food

Bistro42 has a small but satisfactory wine list. The bottles starts from RM 100 so expect your meal to be in the RM 250 – RM 300 range if you have wine with your dinner. Bistro42 also has a very interesting cocktail called Lemon Meringue Martini. It’s made with vodka, Limoncello, lemon juice, sugar and fresh milk. It’s like a dessert cocktail – check it out if you’re there.

Contest: Coca-Cola limited edition Heritage bottle set giveaway

Psst…wanna score some coke?

sell coke

Not that kind, my friends…this ain’t 1903.

I know people who collect Coke cans from all over the world.

Thus, I lug a can from wherever I’m going – London, Georgia, China, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Australia etc back for my friend.

Well, if you’re into collecting vintage Coke bottles, I’ve got something for you. Coca-Cola is running a video on the world’s largest full color LED screen – which is right here in Malaysia at PWTC.

I’ve got two very limited edition Coke Heritage bottle sets to give away. All you have to do is to comment on your fondest Coke memories and the two most creative ones win.

coke heritage

These Coke limited edition Heritage bottle set looks really good. I’m half tempted to filch one but no worries, I won’t. Heh. Just comment and I’ll give out two of them. :)

Samsung GALAXY Note – the phone-tablet hybrid

notebook pencil

I get a lot of questions about what I’m doing right now. I’m actually a freelance writer. I do assignments for a wide range of publications around the world.

Now, this is all well and good, but as anyone can tell you, the tools of the trade for a writer is…

(No, not a notebook and a pencil, that was 20 years ago)

It’s a tablet.

However, I’ve always found tablets a bit clunky to carry around. I have to bring a special tote bag when I interview people and cover events and it’s just a bit too unwieldy. I need something a bit smaller and yet does everything a tablet can.

samsung galaxy note

Thus, I’ve been eying the new Samsung GALAXY Note with a lot of interest. I have been hearing a lot of good things about the new it and the first thing that impressed me was the size:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Portability

It fits in your pocket! The same goes for all smartphones but what differentiates the Samsung GALAXY Note is the sheer size of the screen. It’s a 5.3-inch HD WXGA resolution (1,280×800) screen!

That makes it just about perfect for work – you can slip it inside your pocket but the screen is still large enough so you don’t have to squint whenever you type.

Samsung GALAXY Note full specifications:

Network

  • HSPA+ up to 21Mbps 850/900/1900/2100
  • 4G LTE
  • EDGE/GPRS 850/900/1800/1900

Processor

  • 1.4GHz Dual Core Processor

Display

  • 5.3” WXGA (1280 x 800) screen
  • HD Super AMOLED

screen

Platform

  • Android™ 2.3 (Gingerbread)

android gingerbread

Camera

  • Main(Rear) : 8 MP with LED Flash / Front : 2 MP
  • Action Shot, Beauty, Panorama Shot, Smile Shot

camera

Video

  • 1080p Full HD video recording & playback
  • Recording: 1080p @ 24~30fps/
  • Playback: 1080p @ 30fps
  • Codec: MPEG4/ H.263/ H.264/ DivX, Xvid, WMV, VC-1

Audio

  • Codec : MP3, AAC, AMR, WMA, WAV, FLAC, OGG
  • Music Player with SoundAlive
  • 3.5mm Ear Jack, Stereo FM Radio with RDS

Multi Input

  • Full touch
  • + S Pen (Advanced smart pen)

s-pen

Connectivity

  • Bluetooth® technology v 3.0 + HS
  • USB 2.0 HOST
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Wi-Fi Direct

Sensor

  • Accelerometer, Digital compass, Proximity, Barometer, Light

Memory

  • 16GB Internal memory
  • + microSD (up to 32GB)

Size

  • 146.85 x 82.95 x 9.65 mm, 178g

size

Amazing right?

The Samsung GALAXY Note is the most talked about Android phone on the market right about now. I can see how the Polaris Office works for me too:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Polaris Office

It has the full range of features you’ll expect to find in an office productivity suite on the PC. It’s perfect for someone like me who writes for a living! It’s compatible with the Microsoft Office suite, has handwriting recognition and I can just send off articles to my editor right from the phone itself.

Also, for those moments when you feel a need to catch up with your friends on your social feed, there’s always the Social Hub and Reader Hub:


Samsung GALAXY Note – Social Hub & Reader Hub

It’s perfection! The Samsung GALAXY Note is just the thing I need for my work (and play) – it’s not too big, not too small, and does everything I need it to.

This feature packed pocket tablet launched on 11/11/11 in Malaysia. I looked around and the retail price for it is RM 2,299. You can get it for cheaper if you sign up with one of the telcos.

galaxy note

I really love what the Samsung GALAXY Note has to offer. I wish I have one so I can carry a single device instead of a tablet and a smartphone. It has an awesome 8 MP camera too so it can probably replace your digicam for everyday use.

I want! smirk

I’M A FINALIST FOR BEST LIFESTYLE BLOG!

awesome

I got a phone call while I was sleeping just now.

Fresh: Did I wake you up?
Me: Yeah, but it’s okay. What’s up?
Fresh: I just want to tell you right….you’ve been selected as a finalist for the Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards in the Best Lifestyle Blog category.
Me: (stunned silence)
Me: REALLY??? OMG!!! FUCK!
Me: (incoherent happy blabber)
Fresh: Erm…that was not the reaction I expected.
Me: (continues blabbering happily)

…and then I dropped back to sleep coz I was volunteering for a soup kitchen till the wee hours of the morning last night.

soup kitchen

I don’t even know if I dreamt it at first when I woke up the second time. *inception music

I looked at my email and…

best lifestyle blog

YES, IT HAPPENED. :)

Thank you all for nominations everyone! You totally made my day, week and year. :D :D :D

I’ve been blogging for a long time now. I started in April 2002 back when I was studying in Melbourne. Why should you vote for me in the Best Lifestyle Blog category?

Well, I do a lot of crazy shit like the above and it’ll be nice to know that I’m risking arrest to provide you with quality content and my work is appreciated. smirk

Browse through the Best of sixthseal.com category and have a look around if you’re not familiar with my blog and if you like what you see, I’ll very appreciative if you could cast a vote for me.

vote

Two years ago, I sat #foreveralone at the tables while I watched the nominees win.

This year, I have a shot at going up on stage.

It is admittedly a long shot, but with your help, maybe, just maybe, I’ll be standing up there at the Nuffnang Asia-Pacific Blog Awards 2011.

The voting period starts from 15th November and will end on the 27th November. I’m under the category Best Lifestyle Blog.

finalist

Vote for me please?

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