Short Retreat to Gemas

Who would have thought that Gemas makes a good place for a short retreat, even if it’s for only a couple of days? ๐Ÿ™‚

I read an article about Gemas earlier this month and like many people, the only impression I knew of Gemas was the KTM station every time the Intercity Train passes by.

After pulling off a lot of online projects and not to mention the countless hours I spend behind the computer, I decided to call for a time-out as I was in dire need of a good mental break. So last week I packed off for a one man adventure in Gemas, Negeri Sembilan.

14th December: Arriving at Gemas

Gemas KTM Station

I arrived at the sleepy town in the ‘deadest’ time of the day – afternoon.

The Train Station

I was lightly packed; I ditched my laptop, work, you name it. Even my note book where I would scribble my ideas down. I needed to put my mind away from business for at least 2 days. So all I had were enough spare clothes for a day, wallet loaded with liquid cash (because I wasn’t sure about finding ATM machines in the rural area) and a printed article from the online newspaper.

Posing near the old train

Since I came alone, I took very few pictures of myself. However I couldn’t pass up posing near the old train, that has been sitting in the off-track since almost forever. Good thing I learned how to use the ‘self timer’ feature. I can be such a noob with technology. ๐Ÿ™‚

Exploring Gemas Town

Life here in Gemas is slow pace. And veeery quiet.

Quiet Gemas

It really felt like I was going back in time. Interesting to note: I saw a few computer shops but they were all closed down. I guess computers are not really a popular thing over here.

Going Off Road

As I could use some exercise, I started exploring Gemas – the off roads, quiet neighborhoods and wherever the roads lead to.

Not a soul in sight after hours of walking

There are many old folks and senior citizens but I saw very few young people.

After spending most of the day walking around, doing self reflections and of course marvel at nature – I bunked in at a hotel 5 minutes from the Gemas station.

Tropicana Hotel

I also had my late night supper at the Gemas Station canteen and tried out the RM1 nasi lemak that was raved about in the newspaper article.

The Gemas Station Canteen

Granted it’s cheap, but there’s really nothing to it. However most of the items on the menu are easily RM2 and below, the most expensive being an alcoholic drink for RM7. Most of the things sold here are cheap too.

Whoa, I walked that far huh...

By nightfall, all of the old pre-WWII buildings in town were covered with birds. Literally. On every roof, fence and electric cable. I’ve never seen so many birds in my life. Perhaps a good scenario for a horror animal movie? ๐Ÿ™‚

15th December: The Journey Continues

I woke up unusually early today – 6:00 AM. Very unlike me. ๐Ÿ™‚

After having breakfast at the nearest mamak stall, I set foot for a path I was saving from the day before.

Walking alongโ€ฆ

I wanted to visit the Kelemah River War Memorial – which was about 10 kilometers away from the hotel. However the taxi driver I talked to told me that while he could send me there, there are hardly any other taxis passing by so going back would be difficult. Thus I passed up the chance. Maybe some other time.

So I spent the next 2 hours in the morning walking along the winding road, which I wonder where it would lead me to. ๐Ÿ™‚

Want to take it to the court?

Greenโ€ฆ

And more greenโ€ฆ

After the long hours of walking about and using a good exercise, it was time to check out of the hotel by noon and leave for home.

Granted, there’s nothing hip and cool about Gemas. But it makes a good retreat for those who are mentally drained. ๐Ÿ™‚

$10 Million Dollar Business From Home โ€“ Possible or Not?

I’ll probably get some flak for even thinking out aloud on this bold subject line (more on that in a while). Maybe some jealous folks out there are secretly wishing ill for me. In fact, a local celebrity blogger came by this blog a couple of months ago and called me a ‘wanna-be’.

But then, I’m not in business to please everyone.

As I am writing this, I am in the middle of registering for a US company and working towards centralizing my affiliate program and network of sites under the AMLOH banner. (FYI AMLOH is the initials for “Aik Mun LOH”, my Chinese name in reverse)

I need to get a fax machine too, on top of several other requirements to prepare myself for the next phase of expansion in business. Trying to grow my business on a local sole proprietorship is like trying to grow a tree in a small tupperware. I am going to maintain the Work from Home order and lifestyle in spite of peer pressure (which I’ll talk about that some other time).

So building a $10 Million Business From Home… Is It Even Remotely Possible? That’s about RM36.2 Million to Malaysians.

I want to find out and I’m making a run for it. ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve heard of 3 such people so far earning an 8 figure annual income working from their home office. 2 of them being Internet Entrepreneurs, and the other one a multi-talented entrepreneur.

I also realize that my vision paper that I’ve stuck to my wall needs a minor change – I should be adding another zero there, really.

Wait… let me add it now.

Okay, I’m done. ๐Ÿ™‚

Now…

A former mentor of mine once told me that if I wanted to dream BIG, it must not be only something I really want, it must also be a little bit intimidating. When I was 16, the idea of making a million Ringgit took a long stretch of imagination. A couple of months ago, I wanted to take the stake to a million in US Dollars. But to be honest, I don’t feel the intimidation. With some hard work and a clever strategy, I know I would get there. And maybe because of the weakening Dollar, the goal seemed too achievable all of a sudden.

So I re-issued myself a more daring, more challenging, more intimidating goal….

The 10 Million Dollar Mark!

Now on another level of brutal honesty (besides feeling very intimidated right now), I haven’t planned out my strategies to achieve this goal yet.

I know a few things for sure:

– Being a ‘PLR Extraordinaire’ isn’t going to be enough, NOT AT ALL.

– Making $10 Million needs a totally different strategy from one on making a $1 Million.

– I need to be a better business person.

– I need a new and more expanded network of business people.

– I need to explore other avenues of business besides Internet Marketing alone.

And I will find out:

– If I will ever make it…?

– If yes, how long will it take? 5 years? 10? 15? 20? … Or forever?

Whether I would give up my Work from Home lifestyle in this pursuit would be worthy of even my own speculation. I could see the need for engaging full-time staff, nonetheless. Many believe that it’s not possible to grow a $10 Million Dollar Business from home, though I’ve already seen at least 3 people proved otherwise.

I’d really like to see if I can be the 4th person in my own books or not. Or is working from home to build a $10 Million Dollar business like growing a tree on a tupperware too?

What do you think?

Review: Dead Space

Dead Space

Third game review in a row. Boy, you’re lucky. ๐Ÿ™‚ My full deck of reviews won’t be complete without mentioning this game, really.

I read about this game in the newspaper and I’m glad I got this game quite early since it was released only last month. And I suspect it will grow to have a cult following. ๐Ÿ™‚

So what’s Dead Space all about? Let me sum it up…

– The plot and storyline is film worthy. When you mix Alien, Event Horizon and The Thing (1984 film) you get Dead Space.

– The game play is third person shooter like Resident Evil 4.

– It’s really scary…

– You face your fears as you battle for survival aboard the doomed USG Ishimura – the 1,000 strong crew had turned into hideous, grotesque monsters!

– Oh, and did I mention it is reaaaaally scary?

Basically, you control space engineer Isaac Clarke. You and your 4 men crew arrive at USG Ishimura on a repair mission after receiving their distress call. USG Kellion had a rough landing due to the damaged gravity tethers and you and your crew land on flight deck hastily.

You are half expecting (or maybe not at all) the flight crew to come and assist you and action happens real quick: the monsters known as Necromorphs attack your team and very quickly, 2 men die. You run for your live as your remaining friends, Kendra and Hammond, disperse from the lounge.

The rest of the game is on surviving the ordeal while putting the pieces together, fixing the ship to stay alive while battling the monsters that were once human.

I won’t explore the rest of the story here, partly because there’s a whole lot more to the game’s plot than just a few paragraphs to sum it up. I’m going to warn you though: the graphics are disturbing and you might need time to get used to it. (read: the corpse were designed after developers studied car crash accident victims, and the monsters are truly icky)

And the music is just as disturbing and frightening. Think of the Alien film.

This is my current craze right now and I’ll probably spend some nights on this game, with the lights off. I’ve finished the game already and played 2 more rounds. However the scare has yet to wear off fully, even though I know the drill.

(And did I neglect to mention that when I played the game for the first time, I wanted to give it up right away after the monster pried through the elevator door to get me?) ๐Ÿ™

I had to have my sister accompany me for the first 2 rounds, really. That’s HOW scary it is.

As a side note, I wasn’t aware of my sister taking this video with my handphone when I was battling the Hive Mind in the final chapter. Hope you don’t mind the ‘lame’ scream, and yeah I did get trounced quite a lot.



Overall Rating: 9.5/10 – a MUST GET. And those who think they’re brave, I challenge you to play this game in the dark alone, and preferably with the volume up. I dare you. ๐Ÿ™‚

Review: Company of Heroes Opposing Fronts

Company of Heroes Opposing Fronts

It’s probably no secret that I enjoy playing Company of Heroes when I’m not working. ๐Ÿ™‚

And it was only recently I figured out how to successfully install the expansion pack on my hard drive. And there you have it – my review on Opposing Fronts. This game was released almost the same time last year and while the game engine, Essence Engine, remained the same, Opposing Fronts see 2 new sides added – the ‘potty-mouth’ British of the Commonwealth forces… and the mighty German Panzer Elite.

I also figured out how to fuse both the original Company of Heroes with this Expansion Pack together, so I could play any of the 4 sides anytime in Skirmish games:

ALLIES – American or British
AXIS – Wermacht or Panzer Elite

Game Play: RTS (Real Time Strategy)

The Plot: Based in the settings of World War II, the player can play either side i.e. German Panzer Elite or British Commonwealth forces. (This is unlike in the original CoH where you can play only the American side).

The German campaign focuses on Kampfgruppe Lehr’s struggle to repel Allied forces in Operation Market Garden, the largest airborne invasion in history. The British 2nd Army will see the liberation of Caen, but not without a big cost in lives.

Why This Game Rocks: if you’ve been playing the original Company of Heroes, you’re going to be in for a surprise. Depending on how you see it, of course. Because the 2 new factions require a different school of strategies to fully tap into their offensive and defensive advantages.

For example, the British Army is totally unlike the rest. Your mobile HQ (yes I said mobile) is portable and you can set up your HQ anywhere on the field. And if you’re taking control of the Panzer Elite, your grenadier infantries are totally multi purpose – they can build base structures and repair vehicles.

I have to hand it that their unit speeches – especially the British units – are more hilarious and uhm… foul mouth. ๐Ÿ˜‰ (The Infantry Section sounds like Ewen McGregor and the Cromwell Tank sounds like Professor Utonium from Powerpuff Girls, lol)

And Why Not: There’s been quite some changes to the newest version of CoH and Opposing Fronts that rendered my past gameplay knowledge and strategy obsolete. For example, the T-34 Sherman Calliope is no longer capable of firing its main cannon and used solely for artillery (why not BOTH?!) and the commander points have been changed a bit depending on which commander tree you choose in your faction. Might upset people who don’t like certain changes, like me. ๐Ÿ™

Overall: I give it a 7 out of 10. While I’m excited about the new changes, the new factions, the new missions, new skirmish experience, and what not… at the same time, I couldn’t forget some of the nice ole’ ways I grew accustomed to when playing the original CoH. But if you’re into CoH or a WWII history buff, don’t miss this game for sure. By far the best WWII game I’ve played.

Review: Crysis and Crysis Warhead

I’m leaving for KL in another 9 hours or less. And since I’m taking a break from ‘graveyard hour’ business, thought I’d better chalk out some quick reviews on some of the games I’ve been playing lately.

I can’t go into much detail this time so I’ll throw out a quick blurb with an overall personal rating for each of the games I’ve tried out lately – on the scale of 10 – starting with Crysis and Crysis Warhead.

(Other games will be covered in subsequent blog posts…)

Crysis

Crysis

Gameplay: First Person Shooter

The Plot: Set in a near future, a mysterious alien spacecraft hit the surface of the Earth – near the coast of Korea, to be exact. Since then, the Koreans have guarded the island in which the spacecraft landed and kept their activities there a secret even from the United States.

The player assumes the role of Nomad, a Delta Force member who wears a multipurpose nano suit that allows him to cloak, maximize his strength, increase his speed, and increase his armor depending on how the player uses the suit’s energy, and the ability based on the combat situation.

In the first half of the game, the player battles through the waves of Korean soldiers to uncover the truth behind the heavily guarded island only to discover that the aliens within the spacecraft are very much active and prepped for invasion (as seen in how they commandeer the Exosuit and the designs of the flyers). In the next half of the game, the player will battle the aliens as they are fully awake then.

Why It Rocks: There’s a variety of configurations you can do to your weapons, like adding the tactical attachment to shoot ‘sleep bullets’ (good if you run out of ammo) or switch to the grenade launcher and wipe your foes in a sweep. Your shotgun can be tweaked for precision shot or spread-out approach. And how you utilize the suit in combat situations will decide how you’re going to survive since it’s a one man vs. the whole army and a fleet of aliens kind of game.

Why It Doesn’t: For some reason, the storyline just doesn’t grab me. Fighting Koreans and then aliens from outer space? ๐Ÿ˜‰ In spite of the multitude of configurations, I think the player could use some more new weapons. Maybe that’s just me.

Crysis Warhead

Crysis Warhead

The Plot: Not to be confused as the 2nd part in the trilogy the developers planned for, Crysis Warhead is rather a stand alone Expansion Pack, running on the same time line as the events in the original Crysis.

This time, the player assumes the role of Psycho, another Delta Force member working with Nomad, the hero of the first game. Like Nomad, Psycho utilizes the same armory and nano suit – except that his adventure on the other side of the island is… more aggressive, and not to mention new weapons too, like the dual SMG. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Overall Rating: 7/10 – worth getting both of them if you’re a die hard FPS player.