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My Invisalign Journey Starts Again, for the Second Time!

February 26th, 2012 Posted by Beauty, Featured No Comment yet

My journey in invisalign stopped for a year and I’m embarking on it again. Yes, my SECOND attempt in invisalign, in three years!

Previously, I started invisalign on Sept 2008 and stopped around July 2010, 22 months later.

My last dentist was Dr. Ellis at Central Park Spa in New York City. The insurance company did not pay her when she submitted the claim forms late. She held my aligners hostage and I stopped my treatment with a few months away from the final aligner.

I wore my last aligners for months, read again, the same aligners for a few months before I lost them. (For those who have experience in invisalign knew that that is pretty disgusting.) How did I lose them, that’s another story, which I would like to share the blame with Dr. Ellis. To cut it short, Dr. Ellis did not give me a plastic holder and I eventually lost the aligners when I wrapped them up in tissue. As I have predicted in one of my previous posts. If you are interested on how I get started in invisalign, you could follow my first journey here.

I have three choices:

1. Forget about fixing my teeth. Let them be it and accept that they could be in better shape and I did not fix them.

2. Fix my teeth with traditional braces and save some money.

3. Restart my journey in invisalign.

I decided to choose between 2 or 3, leaning towards 3.

Having learnt my lessons from dealing with the previous dentist, I decided to be really careful in choosing a new invisalign dentist. That was back in New York, since then, I have moved to Singapore.

What have I learnt?

1. Work with an orthodontist (versus a dentist, note that Dr Ellis is a dentist.) if possible, unless you are talking to a very experienced dentist offering a deal-not-to-be-refused.

2. Pick an invisalign provider who have been given:

Platinum Elite Provider (at least 80 cases within 12 months) or

Platinum Provider (at least 40 cases within 12 months).

3. Interview a few providers and ask them about their specific experience in invisalign (versus their partners’ or their clinic’s experience).

So now, the self-professed-fussy-and-experienced-invisalign user is on her search for a new orthodontist/dentist in Singapore. Here we go, again…

Mira

Copyright 2012 by Farting Camel

Ancient Tibetan Rites of Rejuvenation Review – Week Two

March 24th, 2010 Posted by Featured, Five Tibetan Rites No Comment yet

In our rediscovery series on health, we examine the benefits of Peter Kelder’s Five Tibetan Rites.  As we document our experience and progress, we hope you could observe and benefit from our experiment and review of the five tibetan Rites. Or maybe learn from our mistakes and hopefully look forward to the results, if we do see them in us!

Day 8

Howard:

As the second week rolls on, I’m still doing 6 repetitions on the 5 Rites.  I noticed that my back is getting stronger; proof came from being able to sit up-right longer.  Other improvements came to my notice are: able to fully relax after each Rite and breathing slowed considerable.  My body isn’t producing a lot of heat as compared to the first few days.  I also noticed I’m not as hungry as before – I ate about the same as before but stayed fuller longer. Similar pressing issues remained: bulky stomach and now very mild tiredness.

Mira:

Week two! I increased my repetition to 7. Surprisingly, it was not as much different from 6 repetitions except for Rite 2. I corrected my mistake and at the same time doing it slower than before. I actually felt some muscle ache in my abs in the afternoon. I am proud of ourselves that we have not rested for one day since we started 8 days ago.

I was trying to see any tinge of ‘youthfulness’ re-emerging in the mirror but I guess it is too soon! Another thing I noticed is that I get very HUNGRY soon after a meal. This is different from most people’s experiences I read. Howard, in contrast, felt less hungry in between meals since he started. I am also started to feel less giddy after Rite 1. But I still cannot imagine doing it for 21 times which we aim in a few months! Watch this space.

Day 9

Howard:

I kept at it and I felt better, so I increased the Rites to 7 repetitions.  It was easy today.  I’m not sure if I had benefited from doing the Rites.  I’m just so glad that the jet lag feeling was now gone.

Mira:

I increased my repetition to 8. Rite 5 is surprisingly easy. I don’t have strong arms and I felt it in my arms when I first started doing the rites 9 days ago. Today, I felt that I could just go on and do another 8 for Rite 5!

Day 10

Howard:

I woke up as usual – no longer tired.  I increased the repetitions to 8.  I later realized I did Rites #3 incorrectly; did not bend at the waist.  I’ve gotten the wrong information for a website.  When I went back to the book and reread the instructions – I realized my mistakes; going forward I’m just going to follow the book.

Mira:

It’s getting easy! Completed 8 repetitions in no time. Another thing I noticed is that I’m not as giddy doing the ‘twirls’ in Rite 1. It’s definitely a marked improvement when we first started when just 3 twirls already made me giddy. Howard pointed out a mistake I had in Rite 3. I kept my hands throughout at the back on my thighs. I should put them next to my thighs when I restart every repetition.

Day 11

Howard:

I felt great this morning.  I had a lot of energy; rather unusual.  I decided to take the opportunity and increase my repetition to 10.  This is a stark resemblance to the first few days – felt mostly drained.  The opposite was true this morning – 10 repetitions was easy.  I could have done more; so I thought.  I didn’t realized how tiring my muscles were.  I had to climb flight of stairs a few hours after breakfast.  It was then that I realized I could barely lift my legs; yes, all true.  Incredible.

Mira:

I also did 10 repetitions today. I can feel that I’m getting stronger, especially in my arms. I was already finding the last Rite, Rite 5, (which is similar to yoga upward/downward dog) getting easier a few days ago. I literally felt like an elastic band doing that Rite!

Day 12

Howard:

I stayed with 10 repetitions this morning.  I didn’t noticed or felt anything different.

Mira:

10 repetitions with no sweat!!

Day 13

Howard:

Against my wishes I stayed with 10 repetitions again, and I was glad I did – felt tired in the end.  I realized that my abdominal muscles are getting stronger; the Rite #2 are done with ease now, while Rite #5 remained mildly difficult.  With almost two weeks into this exercise, my confident is increasing; perhaps I might be able to accomplish the daunting task of doing the Rites 21 times. In any event if I really wanted to, I can split up this now seemingly difficult task into two session; one in the morning and another in the evening.  Thinking about it at this very moment – I should have a definitive goal of the end date when I would be able to do the Rites 21 times a day; getting overly confidence now.

Mira:

One thing that I noticed as we advanced onto our 5 Tibetan Rites experiment, all the Rites get significantly easier day after day. Even though we are only into week 2 of our experiment, my stamina and strength has noticeably improved! Today I noticed that I’m much less giddy doing the ‘spins’ in Rite 1. I still recall the first time I tried it on Day 1 with only 3 reps, I was so giddy I have to hold on to the wall after trying it out. I’m amazed at the progress, at the moment, just at the physical level: Stronger and more energetic. No one has mentioned we look younger!

Day 14

Howard and Mira took a day off from the 5 Rites.

New layer…
New layer…

Animal Lovers, I’m Not Calling You a Hypocrite

March 20th, 2010 Posted by Featured, Health No Comment yet

Omnivorous Animal Lovers. Omnivorous Environmentalist. Omnivorous Health Enthusiast. (Omnivorous: feeding on both animal and vegetable substances)

What’s do all of the above have in common? They are all oxymorons!

I have been a vegetarian for just over two years. Very often, I have been asked “why?” Intellectually, I knew that eating another animal or creature is not right. However, often times, because of convenience and/or pursuing my senses of taste, I did not stop consuming meat and fish for many years. And surprisingly, if you ask me what my favorite food is when I was an omnivore, I will tell you ‘tofu’. I was never a big meat eater to start with.

It wasn’t until I met a teacher and many friends who are vegetarians. They recommended me some books that explained the consequences of eating meat, which finally convinced me that I was going to go 100% lacto-vegetarian.

I decided that it was time to stop consuming meat that inevitably causes animal suffering.  There is already enough pain and suffering in the world.

I was never a big animal lover or an avid environmentalist.  But after converting and being exposed to vegetarianism, I slowly realized the impact it makes in both arenas! Animals (meats, fish and poultry) suffer when you kill them for food. They can feel the pain. Can you imagine consuming your own dogs, cats or any of your pets? What kind of pain do we inflict on them?

I believe most people, at the back of our heads, know the inhumane methods of handling and slaughter that is going on in many animal farms. Animals are starved or forced fed or moved by electrified rods, etc. However, this knowledge has remained very often, at the back of our heads. So please do not preach to anyone about helping stray dogs, polar bears, dolphins, etc., if you are not at the very least, trying to eat less or no meat at all.

Some people argue that dogs and cats are different from pigs and cows. Are they really? If you are an animal lover, you obviously cannot group certain animals into a different category just because they are ‘not cute’. Or in a worse case, kill and eat them with no guilt because of that!  Let’s face it, you simple cannot be a true animal lover and consume meat, fish and poultry at the same time!

Health wise, probably as I wasn’t a big meat eater before, I personally didn’t have dramatic differences in how I feel.  However, as I read more about diseases in animals that are passed on to humans, and the toxins and hormones that are injected into livestock production, I was already thinking twice about eating meat even before I turn vegetarian. Remember Mad Cow, E coli?

Where do all these toxins and hormones end up in the animals’ bodies? They are usually stored in their fat tissues. With the catastrophic amount of toxins used nowadays, even when you try to eat organic meat most of the time, these toxins will find their way to your system and guess where they will mostly end up? It will be stored in your fat tissues, and probably in your most precious fat tissue of all, your brain.

Some people argued that you need proteins to live. Yes, we do, however I would rather get it from vegetables, beans, soy and other healthier sources than toxin laden animal proteins. Sometimes, I wonder if the ‘I-need-protein-to-live’ is a big excuse (for not being able to give up meat) or a propaganda that has been successfully instilled in our minds by the meat industries.

When I was a teenager, one of my friends told me that we are not ‘built’ to eat meat.  It made a lot of sense to me then. One of the clearest signs, she said, is the shape of our teeth; they are clearly teeth of herbivore (plant eaters), just like goats (think of the cheesy goat smile) and cows. They are obviously not shaped like the sharp pointed teeth of tigers and lions. Also, our digestive system is built ‘herbivorous’, we have long intestines with mild acid meant to digest vegetable matters and not the short intestines with strong acid in carnivorous animals that are meant to digest meat.

There were a lot of studies and claims that if everyone on the planet were vegetarian, we will have enough food to feed everyone and famine will not be an issue at all. Apparently, majority of the crops harvested in the world are used to feed animal livestock breed for our meat consumption.

According to an article in New York times, the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization estimated that  livestock production generates nearly a fifth of the world’s greenhouse gases. A fifth? That is more than transportation in total! Also an estimated 30% of the earth’s ice-free land is directly or indirectly involved in livestock production.

In the same article, it was also mentioned that “the National Institute of Livestock and Grassland Science in Japan estimated that 2.2 pound of beef is responsible for the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide emitted by the average European car every 155 miles, and burns enough energy to light a 100-watt bulb for nearly 20 days!”

Enough said, this article is not meant to list down all the reasons and supporting statistics or written to convince anyone of vegetarianism. It is meant to be just a spark of thought for some ideas, which we all take for granted at times. Ideas like, “Omnivorous Animal lover, Omnivorous Environmentalist, Omnivorous Health Enthusiast. “

I’m not calling you a hypocrite.

Are the above the reasons why I became a vegetarian? Maybe. But I guess sometimes you do not need reasons to do the right thing.

Yankees Ticker Tape Parade along Canyon of Heros!

November 12th, 2009 Posted by Featured, Photo Journey No Comment yet

Ticker Tape Parade

New Yorkers know how to organize a ticker tape parade! I was at the corner of Battery Place and Washington St and could barely get a standing spot at the barricade. Finally, I saw a spot available and quickly ran towards it.

Within seconds, I realized why it was available, it was right in front of a sewage vent and it sticks real bad! A lady walked past it and said, “someone just farted’”and I just looked at her and smiled. She must think that it’s me. I clinged on to the spot anyway, bearing the motto in mind, ‘This too will pass…’

There was so much to see to be bothered by the stench. Groups of marching bands getting ready, Irish pipes group practicing, Giant Yankee T-shirt balloon being set up, policemen controlling the crowd (with unusually huge smiles), the excitement was contagious!

I waited for another 45 minutes. The stench actually went away (or I got used to it). The parade has not started. Some ‘pre-confetti’ were being thrown from the buildings nearby,  shredded paper, bathroom paper and whatever paper-like items . I have no idea flying bathroom paper can conjure so much joy in me!

The parade started and everyone went crazy. I read that some people lined up along Broadway as early as 5 am! I have not seen so much paper falling from the ‘sky’ in my life before, it felt almost like snowing, what a sight to remember!

The cleaning up process was a sight to behold as well. Blowers, oversized brooms, tractors were standing by and within hours, the streets were spotless. I’m actually more amazed by the clean up than the mess up. (See the pictures below for the ‘happy’ mess created)

According to officials, the parade cost more than $300,000. Apparently, the city only funded less than 10% and the rest came from donations. More than a million fans lined the route of the parade. Seems like a big sum of money for a parade in this economic climate, but this breaks down to just 30 cents per person.

Do you think it’s worth it? Perhaps it was. It has been a long time since I saw so many happy people in Financial District. (Beside those-you-know who are reaping in record breaking bonus again…)

Players:

Where: Financial district, New York City

When: 10:15 am to 1:50 pm, Nov 6, 2009

Mira

Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel

Farting Camel’s Guide to Stock Picking – Investment

October 23rd, 2009 Posted by Featured, Stocks No Comment yet

Investing Principles and Methods Series (IPMS)

This is perhaps the biggest part and the most important element in this series – the outline or format which will keep me in line as I present my work to you in a more practical aspect of stocks investment.

I have thought about this process more than you care to know.  This represents the administrative part of the series in which I’m laying out the rules.

I have isolated the list of important requirements that will let me evaluate and determine the merits of US public companies for my investment purposes.  I have decided on a new grading method isolating key areas in the target company that allows me to quickly determine an investment merit from a glance.

The four key areas in determining an investment merit in stocks are:

1)     Ethical Issues
2)     Owner’s Reward
3)     Debt Management
4)     Value Investment

My analysis will follow an overall pass or fail grading system.  The final assessment of a ‘pass’ grade will only be rewarded to companies which pass all five key areas under scrutiny.  A company not meeting these stringent criteria will fail the grading process.

What does a pass or fail grade mean to me?  This list of companies with a pass grade will be shortlisted for investment consideration, and may ultimately be placed in my investment portfolio.

I will track and present the investment results for you to view at your convenience under the sub-category ‘Portfolio’ within the main ‘Stocks’ page.  The goal is to present at least one company per week.

Howard

Copyright © 2009 by Farting Camel

Celebrities Sighting in Lower Manhattan – Labeouf Mulligan

October 23rd, 2009 Posted by Featured, Photo Journey 6 comments

Labeouf Mulligan

I was taking my own sweet time adjusting my camera, hoping to get a good shot of the entrance of the Irish Hunger Memorial. Just couldn’t seem to get it right.

Finally I got a decent shot and I started walking out of the tunnel-like entrance and I saw them! It took me an instant to recognize them as they appeared too vigilant of their surrounding to be ‘normal people’…

Seizing the opportunity to get a picture with a celebrity (yes, that’s unlike me) as I never had a camera whenever I saw one, I asked, “Excuse me…err”, the lady paused for a split second and the guy pulled her away. Sensing the animosity, I stopped. I had wanted to ask, “Excuse me, are you the Transformer guy, can I take a picture with you?”

Yes! It’s Shia Labeouf and Carey Mulligan. They were holding hands and appeared just like a couple. I guess I might be luckier if I was carry a small point-and-shoot camera instead of hanging a giant DSLR with a humongous zoom lens down my neck. I do look like one of the Paparazzi. I turned around and snapped a few shots but did not follow them into the Memorial.

Apparently, they are in town shooting the Movie, “Wall Street 2, Money Never Sleeps”. It is set to release in April 2010.  And to answer the question, do they look like co-stars hanging out? No, they definitely looked like a couple on a date.

Mira, the unusual and unwilling Paparazzi just taking her morning walk….(Check out what I saw after this.)

Where: Irish Hunger Memorial, Battery Park City, New York City

When: 11:05 am on Oct 23, 2009

Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel

Invisalign Review and Pictures Update!

October 14th, 2009 Posted by Beauty, Featured 1 comment

Oct 14, 2009 Week 9 Day 2 (Aligner 5)

Upper: 5th out of 9 aligners

Lower: 5th out of 16 aligners

Problem Teeth Update (Crooked Teeth)

I’m half way there for my upper jaw. I definitely can see that the two upper  front teeth are more ‘lined up’. I do have a slight overbite and I can only see slight improvement.  However, I could see distinct results on my two lower front teeth. They are being ‘pushed out more. (See pictures below).

I have to confess that when I saw the final and 9th aligners for the upper jaw at the dentist, I was mildly disappointed as I thought that the overbite would be corrected more than what I imagine it to be. I hope to be wrong. At this point, we can only hope for the best!

(If you have a serious over bite problem, I suggest that you research more and talk to a few dentists or orthodontists about your issue, or you can check back on my result in two months’ time)

I started to receive comments from friends who didn’t even know that I was wearing Invisalign. Compliments like, my chin ‘seems narrower’ and my teeth ‘look straighter’. All good stuff!

Funny thing is that the ‘improvements’ I saw are not that obvious on the pictures. Can you see the difference though?

When I first started on Aug 18, 2009, with aligners.

Picture update on Oct 13, 09, one month later, with aligners.

Other Teeth Update

On the flip side, I have noticed that my other teeth, which I thought were pretty straight to start with, have started to look ‘unruly’. They seemed to have ‘shifted’ to make space for the problem teeth.

I guess it makes sense that my teeth will look worse before they look better!

If you can notice from the pictures, the ‘spaces’ between my teeth is more noticeable now (the gap that is nearest to the gum). It seems almost like I have some food stuck between my teeth!

It is easier to floss now compared to when I wore my first two aligners. During that time, I felt that the teeth were being ‘squeezed together’ and they were ‘too tight and sore’ to floss.

Picture Update on Oct 13, 2009 without aligners

Clincheck

I found out that the ‘Invisalign video’ is called ‘Clincheck’. I will definitely asked Dr. E again it. I will insist this time.

Attachments Update

Since I had the attachments two weeks ago (the start of my 4th aligner/ tray), I am slowly getting used to them. Luckily I have only two attachments. They made it really difficult to wear AND pull out the aligners. I have a little trick of putting the front teeth part first and then bite the molars together to ‘click’ it into the correct position.

I actually don’t see how these attachments help the aligners to ‘grip’ better, unless they have been precisely put on which is not in my case. Read my previous post on how Dr. E put the attachments on my teeth, ‘The Attachments and How to Avoid the Frustration!’.

I noticed that one of my attachments is ‘rectangular’ and the other one is more like ‘triangular’, which Dr. E used sort of a ‘drill’ to sand off part of the attachment. I also noticed that part of my teeth seemed rough. I hope that she didn’t drill part of my teeth or enamel off! Dr. E!!

Cleaning

I have mentioned earlier about cleaning the aligners in my earlier post on “How to Clean Invisalign Aligners?” Since my last visit to the dentist hygiene last week, I’m much more diligent now!

I knew that some Invisalign users clean their teeth at the dentist 4 times a year. I’m not sure that is necessary. But having these aligners definitely make you over-scrutinized your teeth like never before!

I brush and flush at least 3 times a day (Instead of 2 when I first started). As I’m too lazy to brush more than that, I just have to limit or eliminate my snack! Now, I simply cannot put my aligners back without brushing my teeth!

If you are reading this and have any questions on my review or pictures, please comment below.

Til the next update, good luck to your Invisalign Journey (or Research)!

Tips #10: Brush and floss more than you want to! (Every time you take off your aligners, if circumstance doesn’t allow, try rinsing with water at the very least!) This tip will override Tips #6. Guys, we are stricter now!)

Mira

Copyright 2009 by Farting Camel

How to Rent Smart in New York City?

July 17th, 2009 Posted by Featured, Real Estate No Comment yet

Do Not Judge An Apartment By The Rent!
bedapt

“Do you know anyone who is renting out their apartments in New York?” – It’s the time of the year again where New York apartments become hot commodities.

Yes, no doubt, the current economic crisis has dampened the rental markets and has brought down the rent in many areas in New York City. However, many people still finding it hard to secure that perfect apartment!

Renting in NYC could be a challenge especially if this is your first time in the city, with so many ‘noise’ in the market: diverse neighborhoods, various price levels, different kinds of buildings, lingos, fees, criteria, etc.

To make things easier for you, I came out with a list of criteria for you to think through before you sign on the dotted line.  This could save you a lot of time, headache and regrets and most importantly, get your dream apartment within your budget!

Rent smart by going through the following important criteria:

  1. Convenience
  2. Comfort
  3. Effective Cost
  4. Terms/Finance
  5. Case Study
  6. Rent Smart Checklist

CONVENIENCE

How Far is the Nearest Subway Station?

One of my first questions in any real estate transaction in NYC is always, “How far is the nearest train station?” Wait a minute you might say, shouldn’t the neighborhood be the number one question. Yes, it seems like it but do you really want to stay in a fringe of a great neighborhood that is a dreary 15 minutes walk away from the nearest subway station. For those who haven’t been to NYC in winter, nope, it’s not a good idea. And you don’t want to lug home those OJs that weigh a ton from the subway station.

I have friends who rented great apartments in Manhattan that are a distance away from the subway station for pretty affordable rent. However, you will, and trust me, YOU WILL, take cabs in many occasions from wherever you are or just from the subway station back to your apartment or maybe you are just running late. May it be after the late night party, dinner, or just hanging out at your friends’? When you add up ALL the money spent on cab, you are just better off upgrading yourself to a much better apartment in a more central location. Maybe the cab money can even ‘buy’ you a doorman? Elevator? Gym?

Is it in Manhattan?

When I first came to New York, I had wanted to only rent in Manhattan (though I might have to eat less and play less). I ended up sharing a 2 bedroom in Queens, that is literally 2 mins away from the R & W train. It took me only 15 mins to get to my midtown office door to door, the shortest commute among my colleagues living in the upper east, midtown west, downtown, you name it.

Queens could be a choice when your activities circle around midtown. I paid 1/3 of the rent I would have if I stayed in Manhattan, that left me a lot of change to enjoy what New York has to offer, Broadway shows, great restaurants…

However, a point to note is that a lot of great restaurants and activities are located downtown. I hangout in Chinatown a lot (food!!) and it is a pain to go from Queens to Chinatown. Another point to think about. Where will you be hanging out? Brooklyn might be a choice if you hang out downtown.

The key point is, don’t just decide that you will ONLY rent in Manhattan or you will ONLY rent in Queens or Brooklyn. Rents in Queens and Brooklyn should be generally cheaper than Manhattan for the same kind of building. The savings could be worth it for some and not for others. You have to decide. And sometimes, you might be able to get a really great deal in Manhattan! I have friends who paid the same rent for a one bedroom in Brooklyn and two bedrooms in Manhattan.

For the same price, you might get a 4th floor studio in a walkup in Manhattan with a 20 year-old bathroom with squeaky floors or an almost new studio in Queens with granite kitchen counter top.  What would you choose? Read on.

Gallery

Shia_LaBeouf_Carey_Mulligan_holding_hands Shia_LaBeouf_Carey_Mulligan_Memorial_1 Shia_LaBeouf_Carey_Mulligan_Memorial_2 Shia_LaBeouf

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