Monthly Archives: August 2013

Chapter 1: Dinner and shadow.

I was all alone at home. The street is rather busy tonight. Different groups of people are walking on the street and there are more cars than any normal days. Of course, it is Saturday night. There is a night market at the end of the street.

As usual, mum and dad have gone out to work. Their working hours are dictated by their prospective clients or clients. This is how life is when you are in the sales and service industry.

I do enjoy the serenity at home albeit streams of people walking up and down the street. Quiet and alone always give me the illusionary power as a master of the house and no one could disturb or stop me from doing what I want to do.

And what’s more tonight is Sat night. My favourite TV show will be shown in about 5 minutes. I still have enough time to prepare my dinner so that I could enjoy my favourite food whilst catching my favourite show. I know it is pathetic but that is how I like it.

So without wasting another second, I quickly fill one-third of a small pot with water. I turn on the gas to high heat, as I don’t really have a lot of time. Swiftly I swing my body around to the fridge and take out the “choy sum” a Chinese leaves vegetable, an egg, and a packet of my favourite instant noodle, Cintan mee curry. I moved my hands quickly to wash and cut few stalks of the vegetable and waited impatiently in front of the pot. From afar, I heard the music of my favourite TV show.

“Gosh, I am a bit too late! Argh.. bad timing! ” I open the cover of the pot and it is still not boiling yet. Just some steam. I put the cover back, while alternating between my legs and at the same time all ear up to the music from the TV.

Soon enough, the music ended and my first instinct was to rush to the living room to catch the beginning. I thought to myself that once Horatio and his team goes back to their office, I will rush back to cook my dinner. I just can’t miss the opening as that is always where a lot of clues may appear and not noted by the detectives. There were a few episodes that I noticed the clue and Horatio and his team has to go back to the scene again. So I definitely don’t want to miss any leads or clues.

Now I am not all glued to the TV set, I did glance over to then kitchen and assure myself where I am standing now have a good view of the pot. And I make a quick mental note to look slightly up the pot to notice any steam coming out from the pot. Nope!

Great, without wasting a second, I turn to the TV again.

“Oh what a gruesome killing tonight. But hey, hang on.. what’s that on the floor!?” I thought to myself. I wanted to have a better look, and so I moved over to the sofa facing the TV.

“Oh before I forget… Ok, I still have a good view of the pot. And nope, it is still not boiling!”

“How could you miss that clue?? It is staring into your face! Oh come on, …..what’s that??!!”

Suddenly I felt my senses came back to reality.

“That can’t be real! Should I turn my head or not?”

“Let’s have a quick look again! But it moves too fast for me!”

“Right Eleanor. Braved up and see what’s that”. I tilted my head slightly but careful not to have a big movement in case that alerted it. But I can’t see anything at all. !Maybe it is just some illusion.”

“Oh goodness.. there’s a little baby underneath the …. ”

Oh no.. what could it be?? My heart starts to race….

“Ok. Stay calm. Take a deep breath! I know it is the seventh month of the Chinese calendar but it is not the 14th today.. can’t be the “eeekkK” …. Oh.. but some say that the hell door opens on the first day of this month, and … they can be anywhere…. ”

“No … don’t scare yourself, you little gutless prick… think… think… what should you do?”

My heart is still pounding hard and fast on my chest.

“Ok, take a deep breath. Right…. let’s see. There’s a baseball bat behind the shoes cabinet. Go and grab it.”

“So if it is the… “eeekkk”… what use of that?? .. arggh.. don’t think too much,… just go and grab it!”

I slowly raise my body up from the sofa, and slowly, almost tip-toeing, walking towards the shoes cabinet. I don’t know why I felt compelling to tip-toe but whatever it is, it must have gone inside the kitchen now.

My heart is beating quicker every step I tip-toed and I am dead sure if I have had the heart beat reading now, it would have shoot up to over 150 beats per second. Ok, that is a bit exaggerating. But I feel as if my heart is going to jump out from my mouth, slightly nauseated.

Soon I am at the shoes cabinet and I quickly grab the bat. My legs started to feel like jelly yet when I tried to lift one by one up to walk towards the kitchen, they are so heavy as if tons of metal chained to them.

“Will it still be in the kitchen? Do I walk fast enough? But why is the distance to the kitchen is so far tonight. The house can’t be that big. Maybe I just walk too slow. I need to quicken my pace, .. but if I walked too fast, I might alert it, whatever that “shadow” is.”

Whilst I was debating in my head, I found myself at the entrance of the kitchen. I peeked through the little window to the kitchen. I couldn’t see anyone but I know I have to get in as there are some blind spots through the window.

Although I have an average built frame, I have attended some kick boxing and body combat classes in my local gym. I am sure my practices of upper cut or leg kicks would be useful. Hopefully “it” doesn’t have any other weapon and I could react quickly than it does. In any case, I don’t have any more choice except to march forward.

Or if “it” is an “eeekkk…”.. well I guess I just have to shout some mantra… and oh.. take out the kuan yin pendant hanging from my neck… that should do… “ohm mani padme hum.. ohm mani padme hum… ”

“Take a deep breath and go in the kitchen” I instructed myself and slowly my left leg stepped into the kitchen followed by my right leg. I walked another few steps and looked around, raising up the bat, getting ready to lash at whatever I could see, continuing mumbling the mantra.

“Where could it have gone to? The windows and door are still shut and there is nowhere to go….. except ….
…THE STORE ROOM!!”.

I glanced over to the left and turned my body and I walked slowly to the store room.

“It can’t be in the store room, the lock is untouched …. unless….. OHM MANI PADME HUM.. OHM MANI PADME HUM.” I chanted loudly as I realised the lock remained on the door.

As my eyes were frantically scanning the kitchen, all of sudden, something else caught my eyes.

“Oh goodness…. shite! shite!…! THE PPPOOOTTTT!! Oh dear..mum is going to be so angry!!”

I have completely forgotten about the pot! It has now dried up and from outside of the pot, the bottom has burnt till it is all red-orange colour. Quickly I turned off the gas and I let it cool down. Now I wouldn’t want to risk my hands to get burned.

I didn’t realise I have watched the show for more than 5 minutes. I was so into it that I have lost “consciousness” of my surroundings. I didn’t realise the burning smell now that it slowly crept up to my sense. It is just unbelievable. Mum has always scolded me whenever I am watching TV, I just don’t care about what is happening around me. I always thought mum just likes to nag for the sake of nagging.

“THE SHADOW!” I have completely forgotten about the shadow. I quickly gather my composure and assess every corner. It can’t be going anywhere without my notice.

“Well if it is “eeekkk…” it is a good “eeekk”…. Or it may have been my guardian angel, trying to alert me of the pot. Whatever it is, thank goodness for the shadow! Or else I could have burnt down the house or worst, kill myself in the flame.”

-End of chapter 1 .. to be continued-

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Categories: Fiction, Romance, Short Story | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Conquering Groovy (Installation to launching)!

I can’t help but have to document this down, in case I forgot how to do it again. I am currently learning some basic computer programming using Groovy language. The reason I felt I have to write this down is because it is not as straight forward as clicking few buttons on the installation prompt. In fact, this has set me out to learn a lot of other things about computing.

I was given a set of instruction on how to install and use Groovy, however it wasn’t complete. So along the way, I have to figure out a lot of errors and fix it one by one. It is by no means an easy task as I have very minimal to zero background on this. Whilst internet searches help me to finally to figure this out, I couldn’t find a complete step-by-step instructions on how to install and laucnh Groovy, well, in a layman term. I guess that is probably due to most of the users have more knowledge about computing than me.

Yet I refused to give up as I found this so addictive that I couldn’t let go until I found the answer.

Here are the steps, in case I have forgotten.

1. Installation:

Required:

a) Latest Groovy (as of now, the latest version is Groovy 2.1.6)

During installation of Groovy, do remember to change the directory of where the files are going to be stored. For some reasons, Groovy doesn’t work when there are space in the name of the file. Under normal circumstances, installation of new programme will be automatically stored in C:\Program Files or C:\Program Files (x86). Note there are space in between Program and File. This, based on my research on internet, is where Groovy may not work. So change the directory of where the files are going to be stored to C:\. Please refer to the following picture:

Groovy

Another important step is to ensure that the path is linked to the command prompt file. During the installation process, the following box will be shown:

Add to pAth

Do check the “Add to Path” box.

Then click next, and you will see 2 small boxes, the top one is checked and the bottom one is not. Don’t do anything here, except click “Next” or “Finish” (can’t recall now which one it is).

b) Java Platform (JDK) 7u25 (see note 1)

I downloaded Java SE Development Kit 7u25 (Windowsx 64 bit – as per my laptop).
(This is also where the note I was given didn’t specify which environment I should download. Painstakingly I finally found out different environments available and which environment I have to use.)

Note 1:
There are 3 different environments in Java. Simply put, if you just want to view and do not do any development, then just download JRE version (Java Runtime Environment). Java runs on a lot of platforms such as phone, TV, video, music, online games, etc.
JDK environment is basically for development purpose (Java Development Kit) and JRE is included in JDK too. That means by installing JDK, JRE will be automatically installed as well.

For Java, it is a normal installation process, just click some buttons to proceed each step. You’ll be prompt with whether you want to change the directory of the Java files will be located once it is installed. Check the box if you want to, otherwise just proceed.

2. After installation:

During the installation of Groovy, you may be prompt with the following information:

“Cannot identify Java installation. Assuming 32-bit”

I searched for answer, and the consistent answers are to do the following:

1. Go to Control Panel>System and Security>System>
2. Then select Advanced system settings and you’ll see the System Properties pop-up box tab Advanced, as follows:

System properties

Then click on “Environment Variables”and you should get a box, as shown on the left of the picture. This is where you are going to add the path (as in the location of where the files of Groovy and Java you have stored). Click “new” on the top (not below System variables) and you should see New User Variable prompt (right box on the picture:)

Environment Variables

For Groovy, I found it only works if I input $GROOVY_HOME/bin to Variable Value instead of the directory of where it was installed. I am not too sure why.

Contrary to Groovy, I found that by inputting $JAVA_HOME/bin to the Variable Value doesn’t work, so I tried to input the directories of where Java was installed. To be precise, I actually had to try few directory paths, i.e. C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_25\bin, C:\Program Files\Java and C:\Program Files\Java\jdk1.7.0_25, and only the last one worked. The other paths didn’t quite point exactly to the path where the JDK.exe file is located.

The following picture summarised the sequence and what it should look like once you have added all the paths:

All

Once you have done this step, restart the laptop/ computer as the paths will only be added/ take effect after restarting the system.

Now that installation is completed, the next hurdle for me was how to launch Groovy. This is where I learnt to use Command prompt for the first time. Anyway, once Command Prompt has been launched, follow these steps:

3. Type cd\ to change the directory and you can start to type the following:
c:\groovyConsole.bat

Groovy Console will be launched.

4. It is advisable to write the programming script on a Notepad. To launch a Notepad, type
c:\Notepad

5. After the script has been written on Notepad, save it and make sure to add extension .groovy at the end of the file name in order for Groovy to identify the file. Close the file.

6. Back to Groovy Console that has been launched. Now open the notepad file, by performing the following task:

File>Open and select the location of where the file is stored and open.

7. Once notepad file is opened, the script should be shown on the top part of Groovy Console:

Groovy Console

8. Click “Execute Groovy Script” as circled in red on the following picture:

Groovy-runscript

Also note the that the bottom pane of the console is now repeating the instruction, and waiting for the input of a word.

This script is programmed for the user to key in input through command prompt. So launch the command prompt again and type in a word.

I have typed “I fell hyper!” and pressed Enter (this is important otherwise, Groovy doesn’t know you have finished typing). The output is then displayed on the bottom pane of the console:

first input

See there’s another prompt to enter another word. It is waiting for the user to key in another input, and so I typed another word and press enter, as shown below:

2nd input

Note at the bottom of the pane:

“Execution complete. Result was null.”

This marks the end of the script execution!

Categories: Computer Science, Computer Science, Groovy, Java, Life long learning | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Happily Ever After? (Fiction)

“I don’t love you any more, do I, love?”
“No, love”, she replies, nonchalantly.

There was a brief pause and silence.

“Where am I, love?”
“We are at the hospital, Roy”.
“What are we doing here?” asked Roy again.
“We are here to see doctor. You had an accident few months ago, and now we need to come back for your follow-up.”

I stood and observed the conversation between this couple. When Roy was admitted to the hospital few months ago in an accident, his head was all bloody. He was conscious and kept on insisting that he had to get home to his wife. It was his wife’s birthday. He has planned a surprise for her birthday. But the paramedics knew too well that his condition wasn’t good. Roy didn’t realise the jelly-like on his hair had caused much alarmed to the paramedics.

Well it was still a surprise, except it wasn’t a pleasant one. His wife was all tears when she was at the hospital. Her frail body was supported by her friends who were summoned by Roy a day before for her surprise birthday party. Typical. She could barely speak nor stand when she was attempting to listen attentively to what the doctor had to say to her.

The doctors shook their head and told her to prepare for the worst. Roy was unconscious now despite all the best efforts of the doctors to stitch him back. He looked lifeless on the bed. Eve cried uncontrollably but composed. Perhaps her frail body was too weak, she eventually passed out from the cries. Her friends had to take her and let her rest on the chair.

I could not do much except to observe from afar. My tears were rolling down too without my realisation. They are the most loving couple I have ever known in my life. How could one of them be gone, forever? That is not true. The God is testing them, again. Roy does not look like one who has such a short life. That is not Roy on the life supporting machine now.

Roy and Eve had gone through a lot to be together. Roy’s mother is a superstitious person. She disliked Eve for no reasons, as far as I am concerned. All I could guess was she must be some kind of control freak. She dislikes any girls who go out with her sons. It wasn’t just Eve her mother “attacked”. Roy’s brother, Sam, had the same predicament. She “attacked” Roy’s sister-in-law, then Sam’s girlfriend too.

Eve had gone through tremendous mental torture from her. Every evening at almost the same time she will be going home from work, his mother would drive to her apartment to stalk her. She always get a tip off from either Sam or Roy’s sister, Manny. This always set her in fear and she would then have to stay longer in the office, until she got the “clearance” from Roy.

There was a time, Roy’s mom would come knock on every door in her apartment as she didn’t know which unit she lived in. She knelt before the security guards and pretended to cry begging them to let her in. That was one fateful night that Eve couldn’t escape this torment. She found her unit eventually, and she too knelt before Eve begging her to let go of her son. Eve could see her crocodile tears and also begged her to go. It was the most embarrassing moment in her life. It was as if Eve was having an affair with a married man and now his wife came to beg her to let her husband go. Obviously that wasn’t the case.

There was another incident whereby his mother waited for Roy at Eve’s apartment. The moment she saw Roy came out from the apartment, she went berserk. In one hand, she was holding a lighter and another was a bottle of liquid. Roy didn’t know what it was until she pour on her very own son. Roy smelt petrol and immediately backed-off when he saw his very own mother tried to lit up the lighter. She was screaming and shouting something, which Eve couldn’t hear clearly from afar. She was so afraid but before she could do anything, the security guards came to the rescue and threw Roy’s mom out from the compound. Roy was furious rather than scared.

After that incident, Roy decided to move out of his own house and found a place far away from his mom. He took Eve with him as he knew his mom wouldn’t let Eve go. And so they moved to another country, to where they are now. They got married and as the fairy tales go, happily ever after.

Or do they?

Categories: Life, Short Story | Leave a comment