Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 22, 2010 - "Self-extubation"

After a particular event last night at the hospital, I'm confused as to how I'm suppose to feel. Aidan decided that the ventilator tube that's helping him breathe was uncomfortable. Surprisingly, he was strong enough to dislodge the tube by gripping it with his hand and then twisting his head away from it. Not surprisingly, he wasn't ready to breathe on his own just yet. Nurses had to spend half an hour reviving and retubing him. Sigh!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 21, 2010 - "Being cute. That's what we do"

A few shots of the boys 19 days after birth. They're still very tiny but they're hanging in there. Just need more time to grow.

Here's Ethan. Just sleeping in this shot. Both of them likes to stretch around a lot. When he stretches, he flicks his tongue. Ethan particularly likes to use his free hand to play around with his tubes.

Here's Aidan. He was sleeping but just happened to open his eyes to peek at us here. Aidan likes to raise his hand and blows bubbles while stretching.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec.14, 2010 - "Please be ok"

He looked a bit better than yesterday.
He's given a bit of milk but not digesting any yet.
Diagnosed with pneumonia which the doctors will treat with antibiotics.
Back on blood pressure drugs.

Hanging in there. Not much difference from yesterday. Which means, he's doing just fine!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 13, 2010 - "Under the weather"

No more heart murmurs! But will need to wait for further examination by cardio guy.
Unfortunately, he's now feeling a bit ill. Similar to how Ethan was several days ago. Similarly, he underwent a spinal tap to rule out meningitis. Poor baby...
Still no milk today.
Breathing fluctuated wildly again today. Ventilator went up to 95% before settling for 40%.

Digesting milk very well. Up to 10 meals a day with 5ml per meal.
Ventilator dialed down to 21%.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 12, 2010 - "Save us"

Started digesting milk today! He did it faster than expected. Aidan needed several days of feeding before he finally started digesting.
Breathing not as well today. Respirator dialed up to about 30%.

Still no milk today because he is still on the heart medication. Today is the 3rd and last day of treatment. The cardio specialist will examine him to see if the valve closed properly.
His breathing fluctuated wildly during the visiting hours. The nurses had to adjust his ventilator from 30% up to 45% before settling back on 35% when we left.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 11, 2010 - "Could use a hug"

Ventilator dialed up from 25% to about 30%. Not significant enough to start worrying.
Weight dropped a bit, but it's because he's not had milk for the last 2 days because of the heart medication.

Still a bit drowsy.
Started having milk again today. Not digesting, but it's good nonetheless.
Ventilator also dialed up.

We stayed there almost for the full 4 hours of visiting hours today. We took turns at each child so that there's very few moments that one of them is alone. We brushed their heads, held their legs, and let them grip our fingers. Just a couple of quality hours of bonding.

Can't wait to give them a hug. If anyone in this world needs a hug, it's them. But can't get ahead of ourselves. Just got to take it one step at a time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 10, 2010 "...Two steps back"

Not feeling well. Drowsy looking and temperatures fluctuating.
Lumbar puncture (spinal tap) done to see if he is suffering from meningitis. We won't have the full lab results until a week later. But preliminary results, which are 90% accurate, should be available 3 hours after the test. We were told that we would be notified if there's anything serious. It's now 6 hours since the test, so I take this as good news...
Respirator back in his throat so that he may relax and recover from his illness.
No more milk for now.

Heart murmur found today. Started in same treatment as Ethan previously. This means no more milk for now.
Very tiny bit of swelling in right hemisphere of brain. Often goes away on it's own. Will be closely monitored.
Breathing not as well as yesterday, again.

Fortunately, we were able to bump into the 2 doctors looking after our boys during visiting hours. Neither of them sound particularly concerned. Everything that's happening is well within their expectations.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 9, 2010 - "Thriving"

Started having milk today.
Took a poop by himself.
Ventilator dialed up a bit.
Some sort of minor infection by his eye. Eye drops regularly applied.

Finally started to digest milk.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 8, 2010 - "One step forward..."

Not much change for Aidan today.
He no longer requires the UV light therapy.
He's still not really digesting milk. The doctors will likely give him more serving per day but cut down on the quantity per serving.
He's still on the respirator but it no longer pulsates.

Great news for Ethan today. His heart murmur is gone! Relief!
Another good news is that his respirator is now connected to his nose rather than directly into his throat. This means his lungs have improved to the point where they can afford to use this less efficient method to assisted breathing.
(Edit: What I was trying to describe here is CPAP)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 7, 2010 - "Incubators"

After a day without the UV light therapy, his jaundice worsened. So the light is back on.
Today is the 1st day since he was started on the cardio drug. Full treatment period is 3 days. We'll have to see how he responds to it.

Still not taking the milk very well. But that's to be expected and they'll keep trying to give it to him.

Good news for both the boys today is that they're now inside a plastic incubator box rather than being enclosed in cling wrap. Being in the cling wrap box allowed doctors and other medical staff to have a larger space to work on the babies. So, being moved to the incubator means they don't require as much medical attention, which is good. Plus, it allows us to get clearer shots of the boys!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 6, 2010 - "Ups an downs"

The doctor tried to reduce the dosage of his blood pressure meds, but it appears he's not ready for that yet. So, they maintained his normal dosage.
There used to be a machine that pulsates his lungs to assist his breathing. That's no longer required.
He also no longer requires UV light therapy for jaundice. Presumably, his liver is developing.
Heart murmur is still there, indicating that there's an major blood vessel in the heart that's underdeveloped. A cardio specialist prescribed a drug that will hopefully stimulate the growth of that blood vessel. If he doesn't respond to the drug treatment, he may have to be transferred to Queen Mary Hospital for surgery. This would be the worst case scenario.
He's able to have a couple ml of milk at first, but because of the cardio drug, he has had to stop.

He started having a bit of milk yesterday, but his body was having trouble absorbing it. But they'll keep trying and eventually, he'll take it.
He was taken off the blood pressure meds yesterday and his blood pressure is still stable.
Aidan still has the UV light and pulsating respirator thing. Hopefully these 2 things can go off tomorrow.

So, each of the boys have their strengths and weaknesses. Ethan has the stronger lung but has the heart complication. Aidan has the blood pressure under control and is working on digestion but his lungs still has some ways to go. But obviously, a majority of our concern rest with Ethan's complication. We can only hope that he responds to the drugs so he wouldn't have to go under the knife...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 5, 2010 - "This is where the fun begins..."

As parents, the best we can hope for is for the boys to made gradual and steady improvements. However, as we found out today, this hope is unrealistic. As with all preemies, it's a roller coaster ride in the NICU. There are days when things improve; and then there are days when there are setbacks.

The setback for today concerns Ethan. The doctor heard a heart murmur. The murmur may be an indication that a major blood vessel in the heart may not be developing properly. This may cause circulation problems. I use the word "may" because things are just not very certain at this point. The doctor will re-examine tomorrow morning and if the murmur is still there, a cardio-specialist will be consulted. This is actually relatively common in preemies. Fortunately, it's a condition that can be treated with drugs.
(Edit: The condition is PDA)

On to the good news...

Ethan's lungs have improved to the point where he was taken off the ventilator for a little bit today. However, he seemed to struggle so they put him back on. Nonetheless, this is a good sign.

Aidan's blood pressure has stabilized to the point where he no longer requires medication for it. He's also allowed a couple of milliliters of milk to give his digestive system a workout.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Twins Blog - Dec. 4, 2010 - "Risks"

I've had a brief chat with the doctors yesterday. I didn't hear anything really unexpected. It's a premature birth and I understand there are certain risks that accompany it. Nonetheless, it's much scarier hearing a doctor say it than from reading it from a book.
1. Lungs not fully developed. So, they'll require a respirator for the time being.
2. Blood pressure is too low. This will be treated with medication.
3. Risk of multi-organ failure. The doctors will be monitoring the babies' urine & excretions. I've watched enough Grey's Anatomy to know that urine & excretions are indicative of liver health which is often the first to go in multi-organ failures...
4. Some preemies will suffer from brain swelling. It will often happen in the first 4-5 days, so these next few days are critical.

Anyway, today is Day 2 since birth and the boys are doing better than yesterday. Both have had their ventilators toned down, providing about 25% oxygen concentration (ambient air consists of 21%). They were at 100% right after birth and at about 50% yesterday.

On to the interesting stuff!

Here, mom is watching over Aidan. Each of them is inside a case enclosed with cling wrap. The hose on top is from a humidifier. This keeps the baby's environment warm and moist so that their delicate skin doesn't dry out.

Sorry, the moisture made it impossible to get a clear shot.

Here, mom is speaking to Ethan.

Ethan's cling wrap was recently replaced which made getting clear shots much easier. Here, we see him open his eyes for the first time. (Opening of the eyes doesn't actually have any significant meaning physiologically. But it did help us, as parents, form a psychological bond to the child.)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Dec. 3 2010 - Week 28 - "Birth"

We had hoped that the twins would be born no more than 1 month premature.  But the boys felt like coming out today (3 months premature) and there's really nothing anyone can do about it. So here we go!

Dec. 3, 2010
Water broke. Ambulance dispatched.

Contractions intensify; spaced about 2-3 min apart.

Ambulance team arrived.

Arrived at hospital.

Examined by OBGYN.

Went into delivery; fully dilated; too late for Cesarean-section and epidural.

3:05am and 3:07am
The boys were born two minutes apart. (We're trying not to let out who's older...)

Since they're so premature they need to stay in the NICU for a while. For the time being, they'll need a ventilator to breath and will be fed intravenously. At this point in time, they're not out of the clear yet. We'll just have to hope that they've got strong wills to live.


Here's Aidan Cheung. He's blowing bubbles. Silly boy. I bet he decided to come out early just to do that...
Newborn Aiden Cheung

And here's Ethan Cheung. He's got a pretty good grip...
Newborn Ethan Cheung

Mom is doing well. Because it was a natural birth, she appears to be recovering fairly rapidly. That's all for now!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Darth Vader is a Wimp

It used to be that Darth Vader was a bad-ass. He defined the scary villian role. The American Film Institute lists him as the third greatest movie villian ever. His unmistakable breathing sounds and heavy footsteps were enough to cause shivers down people's spines.

But his character started to lose a lot of credibility after The Empire Strikes Back...

Bad-ass moments

From A New Hope
"If this is a consular ship, where is the ambassador?!"
In this early scene, Vader shows his superhuman strength by easily holding up Captain Antilles by the throat with one hand.

"I find your lack of faith disturbing."
In this memorable moment, he casually Force Chokes an Imperial soldier just for talking back to Vader by simply pinching his fingers together.

"I've been waiting for you, Obi-Wan. We meet again, at last. The circle is now complete. When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master."
Here, Vader just stood there as if Obi-wan played right into his hands. You can almost hear Obi-wan mutter "oh crap!" under his breath.

"Your powers are weak, old man."
This quote was shortly before Vader delivered the death blow to Obi-wan.

From The Empire Strikes Back
"You have failed me for the last time, Admiral."
These were the last words an Imperial Admiral heard before being Force Choked to death because he inadvertently came out of lightspeed to close to the Hoth system.

"Apology accepted, Captain Needa."
This was Vader's response to Captain Needa's apology for losing the Millenium Falcon. Oh, and Vader also Force Choked him to death.

"We would be honored if you would join us."
Lando betrayed Han by bringing him before Vader. Han shot at Vader with his blaster. Vader simply held up his hand to deflect the shot and Force Pulled the blaster from Han. Pwned.

"Perhaps you think you're being treated unfairly?"
This was Vader's response after Lando suggested that they had never agreed to hand over Han to Boba Fett.

"I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further."
Vader had previously agreed to let Leia and Chewie stay in Bespin but he subsequently ordered Lando to hand them over to him. Lando is just being toyed with the whole time.

"The Force is with you, young Skywalker, but you are not a Jedi yet."
Here, Vader taunts Luke prior to their first duel, suggesting that Luke is simply just not good enough to beat him.

"You are beaten. It is useless to resist. Don't let yourself be destroyed as Obi-Wan did."
As Vader predicted, he severs Luke's hand and defeats him.

From The Return of the Jedi
"I hope so, Commander, for your sake. The Emperor is not as forgiving as I am."
Vader is angry at the slow construction progress of the 2nd Death Star. Upon learning that the Emperor will be paying a visit, the Commander suggested that they will double their efforts.

Wimpy moments

From The Empire Strikes Back
"What is thy bidding, my master?"
So all this time, Vader was just a pet under the control of Palpatine?!

From Return of the Jedi
"Obi-Wan once thought as you do. You don't know the power of the dark side! I must obey my master."
Again, this just confirms that he's a slave.

"It is... too late for me, son. The Emperor will show you the true nature of the Force. He is your master now."
This was kind of like Vader admitting impotence to his own son.

"You already have, Luke. You were right. You were right about me... Tell your sister... you were right..."
Talk about letting all the air out. This had to be the most disappointing moment in the Star Wars saga. We finally get to see the man behind the mask and he's just an fat, old, bald dude.

From The Phantom Menace
"I can't do it, Mom. I just can't do it."
9-year old Anakin was just a momma's boy...

"Are you an angel?"

Actually, every line uttered by Jake Lloyd as 9-year old Anakin Skywalker just tarnishes more of Vader's legacy.

From The Attack of the Clones
"So have you. Grown more beautiful, I mean. Well, for a Senator I mean."
Smooth talker, eh?

"Attachment is forbidden. Possession is forbidden. Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi's life. So you might say, that we are encouraged to love."

"Excuse me, I'm in charge of security here, milady."
Anakin tries, unsuccessfully, to wrestle control of the situation from his future wife, Padme.

"I don't like sand. It's coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere. Not like here. Here everything is soft and smooth."
The all powerful Lord Vader has a soft spot...

"From the moment I met you, all those years ago, not a day has gone by when I haven't thought of you. And now that I'm with you again... I'm in agony. The closer I get to you, the worse it gets. The thought of not being with you- I can't breath. I'm haunted by the kiss that you should never have given me. My heart is beating... hoping that kiss will not become a scar. You are in my very soul, tormenting me... what can I do?- I will do anything you ask."
I feel sorry for Padme. This has to be the most uncomfortably awkward moment ever...

"You're going to pay for all the Jedi that you've killed today, Dooku."
Unfortunately, Anakin just doesn't have the skills to back up his words and loses his arm in the process.

From The Revenge of the Sith
"You are so... beautiful."
Another smooth line by our powerful Dark Lord of the Sith...

"What? How can you do this? This is outrageous, it's unfair."
What a brat...

"I will do whatever you ask. Just help me save Padme's life. I can't live without her."
Ok. There are two wars going on. One is between the Republic and the Seperatists and the second is between the Jedi and the Sith. Anakin is a Jedi Knight serving the Republic. He decides to prioritize his dream of his wife dying ahead of these 2 wars? That's a bit iffy isn't it?

"You underestimate my power!"
Apparently, Obi-wan knew exactly how capable Anakin was. Immediately after this line, he completely sliced up Anakin's limbs.

"Where is Padmé? Is she safe? Is she alright?"
It's just very odd hearing Vader say this with his mechanical voice...

Of course, how can I leave out the most memorable line of the movie. Like father, like son.

From The Force Unleashed
"I've trained you well, but you still have much to learn."
Vader was wrong as he gets completely owned by Galen Marek. His helmet gets sliced off and suit is all busted up.

From The Force Unleashed 2
"As long as she lives, I will always control you."
Let's recap. A couple of years ago, Vader lost to Galen Marek in all aspects of battle. It was obvious that Galen was superior in both lightsaber combat and in Force abilities. Now, Vader loses to Galen again (albeit a clone). Galen is holding Vader as captive. Considering the circumstances, Vader's words just don't really hold up.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Nov 7, 2010 - Week 24 - "3D scan"

Our first baby portrait!

This is a 3D scan of one of the twins! The doctor couldn't get a good shot of the other one, unfortunately. He was a bit camera shy at the time!

Week 23

Star Wars III Revenge of the Sith: An odd observation

I was re-watching Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith and noticed something in the duel between Count Dooku versus Anakin Skywalker and Obi-wan Kenobi that I've not heard mentioned before.
Did Palpatine assist Dooku by augmenting his Force attacks?
I noticed that everytime that Dooku used a Force attack, the camera cuts to Palpatine who seems to be reacting ambiguously.

The 2 Jedi Knights attacked Dooku together at first. Dooku was able to fend off the attacks but it was obvious that Anakin and Obi-wan had the advantage.

So Dooku Force-pushed Obi-wan away so that he can focus on Anakin. Notice the camera had cut to Palpatine immediately prior to the Force-push.

Obi-wan quickly tried to re-engage Dooku. Dooku held off Anakin by kicking him against a wall and then simultaneously used Force-grip to choke and levitate Obi-wan. Again, the camera had cut to Palpatine immediately prior to this. This time, Palpatine's reaction is very odd. He gave a yelp.

Then Dooku viciously hurled Obi-wan against a wall and proceeded to use the Force to collapse the balcony on top of Obi-wan. This time, the camera cuts to Palpatine after Dooku's usage of the Force. Palpatine's expression appears to be a little strained.

Why would Palpatine assist Dooku in the duel?
Palpatine is unconcerned with Obi-wan. He wants Anakin to kill Dooku and replace him as his apprentice. Perhaps Palpatine wants Anakin to prove himself by defeating Dooku one-on-one. So, he helped Dooku to easily take Obi-wan out of the picture.

Why it makes sense that Dooku needed asssitance?
Dooku was a powerful Force-practitioner. But Obi-wan Kenobi was no chopped liver either. He was one of the more powerful Jedi Masters. I find it quite strange that Kenobi would allow himself to be Force-pushed aside or Force-gripped like he was a padawan. It seems to make more sense if Dooku had his Force attacks augmented by Palpatine's own powers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Some observations 7 days after the start of the 2010-11 NBA season

Bulls look legitimately dangerous.
Derrick Rose (33.5 ppg, 5 rpg, 6.5 apg, 1 spg, 1.5 bpg)
Joakim Noah (16.5 ppg, 18 rpg, 1.5 spg, 2.5 bpg)

Jason Kidd refuses to be washed up yet (Age 37, 11.3 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 11.7 apg, 2.33 spg).

Baron Davis is washed up (Age 31, 10.3 ppg, 3 rpg, 5.7 apg, 3 TO, 32.4 FG%, 11.1 3FG%).

Year by year, Rajon Rondo is earning respect. (10.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 16.7 apg, 2 spg)

Spurs core players are still running strong.
Tim Duncan (15 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 2 bpg)
Manu Ginobili (22.5 ppg, 5 apg, 2 spg)
Tony Parker (16.5 ppg, 6.5 apg, 1.5 spg)
Richard Jefferson (17 ppg)

Why is Daniel Gibson playing 30min a game?

Where's Michael Redd?

Is Tracy McGrady's career already done? (Age 31, 0.7 ppg, 1.7 apg, 2.7 rpg, 16.7 FG%)

LeBron James is averaging 6.3 turnovers per game! Does anyone care?

The Magic's 3-point accuracy is just 25%. That's not going to get things done.

Wow, John Wall is quick.

Ronny Turiaf is averaging 2.67 blocks per game in just 23.3 minutes per game for the Knicks.

Darko Milicic is still in the league and is even the starting center for the Timberwolves. I don't know why that's funny but it is.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are fast becoming the most interesting duo to watch.

The Lakers appear to be head and shoulders above the rest of the league (including the Heat). Too much talent, too well coached, too much size and length, and Kobe's championship drive is unmatched by anybody alive.

Blake Griffin is the real deal (16.7 ppg, 11 rpg).

Greg Oden is a bust. Unless he gets back on the court and starts producing right away, he'll forever be linked with names like Kwame Brown and Darko Milicic. If I were him, I'd rather be associated with guys like Michael Olowokandi. At least the Kandi-Man had one memorable play (ie, being dunked on by Amare Stoudemire). When I think of Oden, I just picture him on the bench.

Chris Paul is back to reclaim his throne as the best point guard in the league. Deron Williams and Rajon Rondo are great, but CP3 is on a whole other level.

Luis Scola? I knew he had skills but I can't believe how he's schooling his defenders for 27.3 ppg and 14 rpg. His offensive skills resemble that of an undersized Tim Duncan.

Maybe Yao Ming should just continue to rehab rather than playing 24min a game and skipping back-to-backs. It's a little sad watching him play this way.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Lebron James: Triple-double season? Not even close.

So, I've read that this year is suppose to be the year Lebron James may average a triple-double for the season.
These articles all look at past stats and current trends in their analysis. But looking at these can only tell so much. Now that the season has begun, we have a better picture of what to expect.

To be on pace for a trible-double average, James needs to accumulate at least a total of 10 pts, 10 reb, and 10 ast per game.

Over 4 games, James is at 62 pts, 16 reb and 17 ast.
Quick math shows that he's behind by 24 reb and 23 ast. That's off by a huge margin. Label me a pessimist but there's no way Lebron averages a triple-double in a season.

Also, when I think of a triple-double, Lebron isn't even the first player to come to mind. Rajon Rondo and Chris Paul are the guys that I think of who are likely to get a triple-double on a nightly basis. A look at their stats shows that they're actually closer to a triple-double average than Lebron James.

Lebron James
Over 4 games, he's at 20.7 ppg, 5.3 rpg, and 5.7 apg
Rajon Rondo
Over 3 games, he's at 10.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, and 16.7 apg
Chris Paul
Over 3 games he's at 17.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg, and 11.5 apg

So if Lebron James, can't duplicate Oscar Robertson's triple-double average, then perhaps he can challenge the Big'O's other record, the top spot in total triple-doubles?

Nope. He won't even crack the top 3.

Lebron currently has 34 triple-doubles over 7 seasons. That's about 4.86 per season.

Giving him the benefit of the doubt, I'll assume he plays 20 full seasons while keeping up his current pace of collecting triple-doubles (this is highly unlikely which just strengthens my point). This will give him about 97 triple-doubles over 20 seasons, moving him past Wilt Chamberlain for 4th place.

3rd place is occupied by Jason Kidd with 105 over 16 seasons. To match him, James will need to increase his current triple-double production by about 12%.

2nd place is occupied by Magic Johnson with 138 over 13 seasons. To match him, James will need to increase his current triple-double production by about 65%.

1st place is occupied by none other than Oscar Robertson with 181 over 14 seasons. To match him, James will need to increase his current triple-double production by about 133%.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Oct 28, 2010 - Week 22 - "Getting large"

Made a scheduled routine visit to the hospital to check up on the twins. We're ecstatic to know that they're doing just fine. (No ultrasound pics, unfortunately)

They used to be oriented vertically. That is, one was on top of the other. But now, it seems that they've shifted and they're now laterally right next to each other. I've noticed this last night when I saw that my wife's belly suddenly seemed wider and more boxed shape.

Also, the part of the placenta that was detached was the uterus wall is now fully healed and firmly attached! Yay!

One of the twins appear to be larger than the other. But the difference is within normal range, so there's nothing to worry about. Each baby has roughly the same amount of amniotic fluid in their sac, so that's reassuring.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Oct 24, 2010 - Week 22 - "Maternity shots"

We decided to do our maternity shooting ourselves rather than paying professionals. It's not too difficult to mimick professional effects with a decent photo-editor. And doing it ourselves makes it more personal. Plus, we can do the shooting whenever we wanted.

I've a bunch of ideas for shot poses but they require an indoors studio environment which we just don't have. I'll have to see if I can find a shop that would sell me a large piece of white fabric for cheap (to use as backdrop).

In the meantime, my wife and I decided to have some fun and went outdoors for a couple of shots.



Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My PC is finally piracy-free

A year after it's release, I finally made the jump to Windows 7 on my desktop. I've been using Windows XP ever since 2001. Skipped the Vista upgrade because of all the negative press around it. Other than getting a more modern and refreshed OS, this represents a significant move for me in terms of ethics.

I've made an internal pact with myself: No more piracy.

Back in the day, I didn't believe in purchasing software. I would buy hardware but I didn't believe in paying more money just to use the hardware. It just didn't seem fair.

Even to this day, it's a bit painful to shell out the HKD 1,550 for Windows 7 Home Premium. But since that's the only piece of software that I need to pay for, it's easier to swallow. For everything else, I'll stick with free and or open-source alternatives. Most work just as well, if not better. If I add up the cost of all the commercial software counterparts, the savings really add up.

Photo Editing
GIMP vs Photoshop
Cost of Photoshop CS5 is USD 699

PDF creator
CutePDF vs Adobe Acrobat
Cost of Adobe Acrobat X Pro is USD 499

Office Suite
OpenOffice and Google Docs vs Microsoft Office
Cost of Microsoft Office Home and Student 2010 is USD 149.99

Optical Media Creation
InfraRecorder vs Nero
Cost of Nero Multimedia Suite 10 is USD 99.99

AVG vs Norton
Cost of Norton AntiVirus 2011 (for one year protection) is USD 39.99

DVD Video Player
Cost of WinDVD 2010 is USD 39.99

7-Zip vs WinZip
Cost of WinZip is USD 29.95

By staying away from the commercial stuff, I saved USD 1,557.91 (roughly over HKD 12,000). Suddenly the cost of the OS seems minuscule. For the first time, all my computing needs are satisfied while keeping a clear conscience.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gadget Retrospective

What type of gadgets did you use to carry back in the day? Ever looked back at them and think to yourself, "Wow, I can't believe how I used to think that was cool"?

Here's my trip down memory lane...
Late junior high years. I used to have a Sony Discman D-133. I thought it was terrible even back then. There was no memory buffer, so the audio would skip all the time. I remember I had to wrap a towel around it while I kept it in my backpack for shock-absorbing purposes. It had a tiny display which wasn't back-lit. It was overall ugly enough that taking it out to change tracks was embarrassing.

Early high school. I upgraded to a D-135 which had ESP (electronic skip protection). Basically, it buffers some of the audio in flash memory so that it can continue the playback even when the device was moved. This feature was pretty ineffective in my usage. I use to keep the device in my backpack and the audio would skip every time I stepped off a curb or went down more than 2 steps. To make matters worse, the ESP feature just absolutely kills the battery. It uses 100% more power than normal. Because of this, I hardly ever turn on ESP. It'll skip anyway, so I'd rather have long battery life. Oh, and the thing was a brick.

Later highschool years, I used to have a Sony MZ R-55 MiniDisc player/recorder. I used to love the thing. But now, the limitations of it are apparent.

  • Each disc was limited to 80minutes of audio which is stored in an uncompressed format. It would have made much more sense if it allowed for mp3 format. That way, you would be able to store 700 minutes of audio per disc.
  • The ability to record music digitally was a big deal back then. Previously, you would only be able to record analog via cassette tape. However, getting digital media on MDs was a hassle. They record in real-time so it was slow. And you had to have the proper equipment (ie, optical cable & CD player that supports optical out, etc).
  • Tagging music. Another big deal back then was the ability to label the audio tracks. But you had to do this manually one by one using a dial on the player. It was such a hassle but for some reason, I had put up with it.
  • Formfactor. The device was bulky. Display was small. Buttons were small. Battery performance was acceptable if it was used only to playback audio. Once you use it to record, battery dies down after 2 or 3 hours.
Right when I started university, my R-55 ended up dead. I moved back to the US; in my attempt to charge the device, I forgot about the voltage requirements and fried the thing. I then switched to the MZ-E80 MiniDisc player. By then the MiniDisc days were numbered as the MP3 format started to take over.

For most of university, I had this on me most of the time: Creative MuVo TX MP3 player with 256MB of flash storage
Actually, this is one of my favorite gadgets I've ever had for the following reasons:

  • Long battery life even though it runs on a single AAA battery (about 12hrs).
  • It has a built-in mic which I used to record lectures.
  • It's ridiculously small and light.
  • Has a backlit display.
  • It doubles has a USB flash memory drive.
  • No wires or cables.
Even if I subject it to today's standards, it's not that bad. The only things you can really fault are:

  • Lack of rechargeable battery.
  • Insufficient storage capacity at 256MB. (But hey, flash memory was a lot more expensive back then)
  • Tiny display
So, that's it. By 2006, I switched to iPods and then eventually smartphones. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Oct 12, 2010 - Week 20 - "Kick"

I felt one of our babies' kick for the first time. My wife has felt the occasional kicking for a while now. But it's the first time for me. Feeling for it wasn't easy. I decided to just lay my hand on my wife's belly until I felt something. Several minutes passed and my wife asked me
"Are you really just going to keep your hand there the whole night?"
To which I responded
"Yes, of course."
A couple minutes later and it happened. Just for a split second, I felt a tiny pulse against my palm. That was it.

Ask any expecting father this and he'll agree. It's not easy caring for your pregnant wife and preparing for the arrival of your kids. Add your day job to the mix and it nears unbearable. But along the way, you are presented with reminders that at the end, it's all worth it. That kick I felt was one such reminder.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Oct 8, 2010 - Week 19 - "From innie to outie"

Everything was fine in last week's hospital checkup; and everything continues to be fine in this week's doctor checkup.

In fact, the doctor has advised that strict bed rest was no longer required. Also, our visits no longer need to be so frequent. For a while, it was every 2 weeks. We'll revisit again in a month. This is great news! (both physiologically and financially!)

On a humorous note, my wife's bellybutton has gone through an interesting transformation. It used to be an innie. Now, it looks like it's transitioning into becoming an outie. It currently resembles a miniature pocket of a marsupial. We're pretty sure she can hide an almond in there.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Public posing on Hong Kong Police motorbikes

A funny bit of news in the paper today. Please see here and here for details.
Here's the quick & dirty rundown:

  • Hong Kong Police were out conducting crowd control on the evening of Oct 1 (National Day).
  • Members of the public decided to pose with the police for photos.
  • Members of the public even mounted the police motorbikes for photos.

Whether or not this is acceptable is up for debate. But here's an excerpt taken from the South China Morning Post article.
A police spokesman said officers were on crowd-control duty at the time and the force required officers to be "lenient and pragmatic" to suit the festival atmosphere. He said officers were allowed to take photos with the public upon request, but police would look into the situation where some people sat on police bikes.
Hmm, I'm going to take a wild guess and say that after careful deliberation, the police would not find themselves at fault for this...

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Sept 30, 2010 - Week 18 - "Anomaly scan"

Another week, another visit to the doctor. This time, we've headed to the public hospital, Queen Elizabeth. So unfortunately, the doctors here don't provide us with pictures from the ultrasound scans to take home.

Anyway, we were not expecting anything unusual. But fortunately, we were right on time to be able to conduct an anomaly scan. It's basically just a prolonged and more detailed ultrasound scan. The doctor checks every aspect of the baby to see if there's anything odd.

We've not had much luck with complications but this time, it went very well!

Babies' length were normal.
Size of their heads were normal.
Both had normal brain development.
Size of abdomen normal.
All facial features accounted for.
No cleft lips.
Each heart had the normal 4 chambers.
All arms, legs, fingers, and toes were accounted for.
Lungs, stomach, and kidneys were accounted for.
Both spinal cords looked normal.

We had another confirmation that they're boys...

Apparently, the fetal movements that my wife was experiencing are Braxton Hicks contractions. We're told it's completely normal.

Nothing of note to worry about. Finally. Thank goodness.

Seriously, are there safe-haven laws in Hong Kong?

On Sept. 28, 2010, a 26-year-old woman abandoned her newborn baby girl in the toilet of a Mong Kok motel room. The baby was discovered by motel staff at around 1pm. She was rushed to the hospital for treatment but was certified dead by 2:30. (Source
Stories like this seem to be a weekly occurance. Considering that there's probably much more unreported occurrences, it's just horrifying.

This child's life just began. Then shortly after, it was snuffed out. Life is resilient but not when being drowned in a toilet bowl.

We all came into this world as babies for a chance at life. Aren't we all entitled to that chance?

Monday, September 27, 2010

The people of Hong Kong are the most arrogant in the world

How awesome is this? A Philippine columnist saying HK is arrogant. Isn't there a written law that says "If your country's police incompetence killed some tourists, you can't insult the tourist's country"? With all the crap coming out regarding this hostage case, you could write an entire manual that describes what not to do during and after a hostage situation involving international tourists. The following text in italics and indented is taken straight from his article.
Why can’t the Aquino government put its act together?
Here’s comes Secretary Ricky Carandang of the Malaca? Communications Group saying the Chinese government would have the first priority in getting the results of the investigation of the special fact-finding committee on the Luneta hostage-taking crisis.
But Justice Secretary Leila de Lima, the committee’s chair, says the Chinese government and the Filipino people, through the media, will be given the results of her committee’s investigation at the same time.
Carandang’s statement that the Chinese government would get the De Lima report ahead of the Filipino public created a stir.
Some lawmakers – notably Senator Joker Arroyo and House Minority Leader Rep. Edcel Lagman – questioned the decision of the Aquino administration in giving the De Lima report to the Chinese government first and later to the Filipino public.
It now turns out it was Carandang, without consulting President Noy (Benigno Aquino III), who made the decision to have the Chinese government get the De Lima report first.
It shows that the Aquino government is composed of several fiefdoms, all acting independently of one another.
* * *
The Aquino government is stepping out of bounds in overly appeasing the Beijing government and the Hong Kong administrative regional government by having them receive the De Lima report first over the Filipino public.
How, when, and to who the government decides to release the report is irrelevant. The fact that there appears to be any discussion at all about this just comes to further show the incompetency of the national government. They don't know how to prioritize. Just release it simultaneously to everyone! Who cares? 
Haven’t we collectively asked forgiveness for the ineptitude of our police and security officials?
Nope. Listen to the Manila Mayor and the Vice-Mayors. None of them has admitted any fault in this. To this day, they believe that their actions were correct. Look at the President smiling on camera at the crime scene. Look at the civilians smiling and posing in front of the crime scene the morning after.
Haven’t we humbled ourselves by practically kneeling down before Mainland China and Hong Kong and being lectured by their people?
When you mess up, you need to be lectured. So, having messed up, you need to suck it up and take it on the chin.
What more can we do to appease them? 
* * *
In trying to appease the Mainland Chinese and Hong Kong people we’re making other countries trample upon our dignity and pride as a nation.
We are feeding on the Hong Kong people’s arrogance by our seemingly servile stance towards them.
Other countries are trampling upon your dignity and pride as a nation because of all the classless acts of blaming everybody else for what went wrong!
The people of Hong Kong are the most arrogant in the world.
Tourists from all over the world have complained of discourteous restaurant servers and department store clerks.
I'd love to see some supporting evidence on how people in HK are the most arrogant in the world. Is there some sort of list that someone compiled using some complicated formula to find an arrogance score for each city? Also, is there a single city where 0% of tourists complain about restaurants and shops?
Several years ago, I approached a Hong Kong policeman standing at a street corner in Kowloon district to ask for directions.
I didn’t know how to get to a restaurant where I was to have an appointment.
The Hong Kong policeman shouted at me and shooed me away.
I don't need to look at the police manual to know that it's not in the cop's job description to give directions to tourists. Some do it anyway, but that's overstepping their boundaries. I'd rather have rude cops that can effectively protect the community than polite cops that throw glowsticks into a bus taken hostage.

INTERPOL Secretary General Ronald K. Noble described the Hong Kong Police Force as "one of the finest and most professional police forces in the world" (source)

FBI Director Robert Mueller III said, "The citizens of Hong Kong are protected and served by one of the finest Police departments in the world. Hong Kong's law-enforcement officers are honest, sophisticated and highly professional, and have made this one of the world's safest cities" (source)

Discourtesy toward foreigners seems universal among Hong Kong people.
Anywhere a tourist goes, he invariably meets discourteous or arrogant Hong Kong residents who never smile.
I was asking for the price of a pair of glasses at an optical shop in Hong Kong when the clerk said I shouldn’t be asking if I didn’t have any intention of buying.
Just seems to me this guy is BS'ing his supporting evidence. A lot of people find store clerks in HK to be overly courteous to the point that you have to ask them to stop hovering. If his experience was true, then he must have either been either acting like a douche-bag or he was in a really bad part of town.

Also, this guy is suppose to be a columnist? What kind of writing style is this? Each sentence is its own paragraph. When he wants to further separate each "paragraph", he uses three asterisks? It looks like I'm reading the thoughts of a rambling 5-year-old.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Sept 24, 2010 - Week 17 - "Getting better"

Something my wife noticed this week. The babies occasionally move around. When they do, one them will bulge out from my wifes abdomen. It's very odd. My wife says it's only happened a couple times and it doesn't hurt. Doctor says that it happens with twins but that we should call him if it happens frequently.

Not much change since last time except that the babies are now larger and the chorionic hematoma has continued to shrink in size.

On to the scans...

1. This shows what's left of the chorionic hematoma (blood clot). The size has shrunk about 20% since last week.
Week 17

2. Twin on top, 11.71cm long.
Week 17

3. Twin on bottom, 12.56cm long. Their sizes are similar enough to be normal.
Week 17

4. The arrow is pointing at the manhood of our boy on top.
Week 17

5. Same for our boy on the bottom. Jeez, how embarrassing for them...
Week 17

McDonald's Rant 5 - Sausage McMuffin & Filet'O'Fish

See here for the other rants.

I suppose this is less of a rant but rather a curious observation.

Why is it that these are the only McDonald's food items that are sold throughout the entire day? Filet'O'Fish is a lunch menu item and yet, it's available during breakfast. Sausage McMuffin is a breakfast menu item and yet, it's available during lunch. Who chose these 2 sandwiches? Why these 2? Why not the Big Mac or the Egg McMuffin?

(This applies to Hong Kong McD's only)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

McDonald's Rant 4 - Commercial

See here for the other rants.

My wife and I were disgusted by a recent McDonald's TV commercial here in HK. Video link here. The basic rundown of the commercial goes like this:
  • Family of 4: Mom, dad, son, and younger daughter.
  • Commercial opens with the son playing alone with his train set. His little sister interrupts him by taking the train off the tracks. He shows his dissatisfaction by telling his sister to stop. The mom sticks her head out from the kitchen and tells her son to yield to his sister.
  • Son tries to show Mom a drawing he made. Mom is busy feeding her younger daughter and tells her son to go away to play by himself.
  • The whole family goes to a park. Both mom and dad focus on their daughter while their son sits alone on the bench sulking. They then look over to their son and realize what they must do.
  • They all go to McDonald's where the dad orders a Big Mac meal for his son.
  • His son shows surprise and enthusiasm (because he's supposedly only expecting a Happy Meal?)
  • His dad implies that he's getting a Big Mac meal because he's grown up and no longer a child.
  • The son happily celebrates getting his "grown up" meal, having completely forgotten how his douche-bag parents treated him like dirt just moments ago.
So, here's what I took away from that commercial:

  • The parents completely neglected their first-born child with the arrival of a new baby.
  • Instead of spending more time with their son, they decided to buy him out with a Big Mac meal.
  • So now, the son is suppose to feel ok with that because he got a Big Mac?

McDonald's seems to be claiming their food is more important than parental care. If so, all parents should forget about giving their kids attention, encouragement or hugs. Just buy them all Big Mac meals. If you really want to show your love, super-size them.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

McDonald's Rant 3 - McNuggets Sauce

See here for the other rants.

Here in HK, if you order McNuggets, the server gives you the default sauce. That is, sweet & sour sauce. They have several sauces. Sometimes, they have promotional periods where they offer special sauces. But even in normal days, they at least have barbecue sauce and mustard sauce as alternatives.

(Why they don't normally have honey mustard sauce is beyond me. They only have it during special promotional periods. At those times, they call it the Singaporean Honey Mustard Sauce. I have no idea how honey mustard is related to Singapore.)

So why is it that they assume that everyone wants sweet & sour sauce? Is it because we're Chinese and they feel we have to use a Chinese sauce for our McNuggets? If so, why not give us oyster sauce or soy sauce? Or perhaps they should just take McNuggets off the menu all together and replace it with McKungPao Chicken!

Ok, I'm not really being serious when I'm implying there's a racial issue to all this sweet & sour sauce business. Anyway...

Try asking for an alternative sauce to the sweet & sour. Rather than just giving you the alternative sauce, the server will replace the sauce they've given you. Even if your order was a take-out and the sweet & sour sauce is in your paper bag under 2 sandwiches with a bunch of fries, they will use their grimy hands to dig out that sauce before giving you the sauce you requested.

Good luck trying to get extra sauce. I can't verify this since I've never asked for more sauce. But apparently, they actually charge you for it.

The Manila Hostage Case - Still nobody with the guts to admit fault

I told myself that I wasn't going to write about this story anymore. But it seems every time that someone relevant speaks up in the Philippines, it does nothing but cause more disgrace to their troubled reputation.

Yesterday, an inquiry report was released which is essentially a transcript of what transpired on that day. It lists out what happened, what went wrong, and who are to be punished. You may download the report here. (Source)

I've never seen these types of reports so I'm not going to judge the contents of it. Everybody already knows what went wrong and who's at fault. But there are a couple of things that just really stands out to me like sore thumb.

1. They seriously couldn't produce a nicer cover page with images that aren't blurry? The image I used on top of this post is from the report cropped at 100% zoom.

2. Have a look at page 4. Is that the norm for these reports? The entire page contains just a quote from the hostage-taker. I felt like this was the beginning of a thriller novel. See image on the right.

3. Check out the signatory page (ie, last page). The report was signed off by the Chairman, Vice-Chairman and 3 members of the investigation committee. Noticed what Vice Chairman Robredo scribbled next to his signatory? It reads:
"did not participate in the deliberations on the determination of accountabilities of the parties cited."
If his statement is true, then why did he sign off on the report? Why is he even on the committee, let alone the Vice-Chairman? How did he contribute to the report? (Perhaps he's the one responsible for photoshopping those images on the cover page?) It sounds like he's scared that the parties at fault will come at him for revenge. Or he knows there's something fishy about the report and he doesn't want to be liable?

Anyway, today's article in the South China Morning Post highlights some reactions of those identified as accountable for that tragic event.

The following is from the article regarding Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim:

...he hit out at an inquiry report that recommended he and his deputy be punished over last month's tragedy.
Lim was near to tears yesterday as he repeatedly slammed a table with his fist during a press conference he called to contest recommendations of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC).
"Only the police would put their lives on the line in such situations and we get this," said Lim, a former Manila police chief. "The vice-mayor's and my inclusion, and even the negotiator, on the list of those found culpable by the IIRC is too sweeping and totally lacking in factual and legal basis," Lim said.
The Mayor of Manila is essentially pouting like a 4 year-old girl. I'm surprised he didn't stomp his feet and say "It isn't fairrrrrrrrrr!" Also, here's the "factual basis" he said is lacking according to the report:
He [1] failed to activate the the city's crisis management committee, [2] was absent from the command post at the most critical time (he was at dinner), and [3] ordered the arrest of the hostage-taker's brother.

According to the article, the Mayor
admitted that "we bungled" the crisis. But he said suspended Manila police chief Rodolfo Magtibay, the ground commander during the hostage taking, was more to blame.
This isn't the first time he threw the police chief under the bus. See here. I'm just surprised he did it again.
He said he was willing to be jailed as long as they spared Manila Vice-Mayor Francisco Domagoso "because he has no fault here. Me, I'm ready to face charges. We can't do anything because sometimes that's how the ball bounces".
When the leader is incompetent, the 2nd-in-command has the authority and responsibility to take action. Therefore, the Vice-Mayor is at fault even though he didn't do anything because he's suppose to be doing something! Also, that's how the ball bounces? Considering that 8 people died, that's just not something appropriate to say.
Vice-Mayor Isko Moreno also said he did nothing wrong and vowed that if Lim was jailed, he would join him. "I don't really understand why we, who managed to rescue nine [hostages] are being sanctioned," he added.
Wow. (Firstly, how many Vice-Mayors are there?) This guy should be jailed just for producing that idiotic utterance. He needs to get his facts straight. They didn't rescue nine hostages. The gunman just failed in murdering those nine hostages.
Moreno was cited by the inquiry for not taking Mendoza's demands to the Department of Justice, whose headquarters was just minutes away from the site of the crisis, as the gunman had requested. Instead, he traveled to the Ombudsman's office three hours away.
It's just shocking. The stories of stupidity of these so-called leaders are just shocking.
The Philippine radio station accused of preventing a negotiator from contacting Mendoza also rejected accusations that it contributed to the tragedy.
Aquilino Pimentel, lawyer for Radio Mindanao Network, criticised the official inquiry's call for three of its staff to be prosecuted for holding phone interviews with the hostage-taker. "The interview by [radio reporter] Michael Rogas gave the hostages an extra few hours to live," Pimentel told the station.
You would think that a lawyer would be educated enough not to say something that inappropriate. But alas, his decorated law degree doesn't protect him from the wave of stupidity washing over all the other Philippines top officials.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

McDonald's Rant 2 - Napkins

See here for the other rants.

In many ways, my rant regarding the ketchup packets also apply to napkins. No matter how much food you've ordered, by default you only get 2 pieces of napkins. You could have ordered 3 trays of food and unless you've asked for more napkins, you only get 2 pieces.

But actually, the amount of napkins you receive should be the least of your worries at McDonald's. Pay attention to how you've acquired those pieces of napkins and you'll see what I mean.

1. The person handling the cash register is the one responsible for placing the napkin on your tray. That same person is responsible for handling the money which is incredibly dirty. And since that person is trained to give you 2 napkins only, each napkin has made contact with his/her filthy fingers. Wait, it gets worse...

2. If the orders gets backed up, the servers sometimes review what's outstanding for each tray. And each time they review a tray, they use their hands to tap on your piece of napkin. So if you think about it, your napkin has already been used by the time you get to it. Wait, it gets worse...

3. Let's assume your order is a take-out. When they've completed packing your order into the paper bag, they use all five fingers to grab your napkin and receipt and toss it into your bag. Congrats, your napkin has just been soiled further. Wait, it gets worse...

4. If your order is a take-out, sometimes they don't even give you a tray. They place your receipt on top of your 2 pieces of napkins and just place it on the counter. If there's a line, your order gets moved across the counter to make room for the next. That means, your napkin has now been used to wipe their counter clean.

Just remember this the next time you use that harmless looking napkin for anything...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

McDonald's Rant 1 - Ketchup Packets

I'm feeling rather antsy these days because of my wife's pregnancy. So I'm going to start a couple of posts on rants regarding McDonald's over the next couple of days.

Using just 1 minute searching on Google, I was able to find that I can buy a case of a 1000 ketchup packets for US $32.79. That's less than HK $0.30 per packet. Consider that a fast food chain as large as McDonald's would certainly buy in bulk and that price would surely be lower.

Then why is it that by default, you never get more than 1 pack of ketchup if your order contains fries here in Hong Kong? You always have to pop the question: 
"May I have some more packs of ketchup please?"
By "some more", you would expect at least 2 or 3. Definitely not 1. Then why is it that the server keeps only giving you 1 more? It's just a waste of time and effort because then I would have to ask them for more again and they have to get me more again.
What's worse is sometimes they respond to your question with another question:
"How many do you need?"
That's the most stupid thing. Firstly, it's rude. Secondly, with the effort they made by asking the question and then waiting for my response, they could have filled my entire tray with ketchup packs. For this very reason, I never answer this question. I just repeat my request for "some more" packs of ketchup.

This whole thing just makes the restaurant look cheap. While McDonald's is certainly no 5-star restaurant, you would think they can afford to generously give away ketchup packets.

Maybe the next time I get asked how many packets of ketchup I need, I should say something like this:
"I'm not sure. I usually use about a pea-size amount per piece of fry. I think that will burn through about 1 packet of ketchup for every 10 fries. How many fries do you reckon there are on this tray?"

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Twin Pregnancy Blog - Sept 16, 2010 - Week 16 - "Mind over matter"

Another week; another visit to the doctor's office. A serious complication was discovered last week. We're back to see if it has subsided.

In the days leading up to the visit, my wife has come to accept that there's really nothing she can do to help the babies other than resting and eating more. She's accepted my suggestion to try to periodically visualize her placenta and uterus healing. Most importantly, she has to truly believe that they will successfully heal. Mind over matter. Sound crazy? I'm sure it does. But if you want validation, look no further than the numerous studies on placebo effects.

Anyway, the ultrasound showed that the blood clot has (thankfully) shrunk significantly in size. In this picture, the clot is indicated by the dark horizontal line in the center of the shot. The risk of complication is still there, but at least this time, we have reason to be optimistic.
Week 16

Anyway, here are what our babies looked like today! They're both just a bit over 10cm long.
First is the twin who has decided to reside on the bottom of mom's uterus. In a vaginal birth, he would probably be born first.
Week 16

This is the one on top.
Week 16