Bartley Residences Work-in-Progress: April 2014

The last two weeks were so hectic and tiring. The moment I got back from the March term break, I was swamped with works. One of our staffs is going on maternity leave (yes, it is four months now!), and we were so busy with handovers and delegation of responsibilities.

Today, I dropped by the construction site and took some pictures. How time flies! It feels like just yesterday when I wrote about the progress in March 2014. The two major progresses that I’ve seen now are: 1) the block facing the main road (7A) is two storey higher now and 2) the blocks behind 7A (1 and 1A) have been painted white.

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The Bodhi tree is between these two blocks

It’s probably another 1 to 1.5 years more to go before we can shift in. I can feel the excitement already – especially when I have to walk pass the site every morning to send our boy to school. I witness the development day by day, and in awe!

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There will be two side gates along Bartley Road

One issue that concerned us when we purchased the unit two years ago was the main entrance that is located at Lorong How Sun (not Bartley Road). Lorong How Sun itself is a very small road – one lane each way with cars parked at the road side from the private houses. We’re worried about the traffic congestion during peak hours. Hopefully it won’t be a major issue when we move in.

The plot of land for this development is located on a gentle slope – circling a heritage tree (they called it a Bodhi tree). Boardwalk with viewing deck will be built around that Bodhi tree, and to me, it’s a fantastic area for an evening stroll. This is one of the things that really attract me.

Boardwalk
The boardwalk around the Bodhi tree. Picture Credit: Bartley Residences Brochure

I’m a big fan of nature, but interestingly, I don’t like my balcony to be facing the Bodhi tree. Don’t ask me why though, but I prefer my unit to be facing the pool. Our living hall balcony is partially facing the pool and master room balcony will be facing the picnic lawn. The BBQ pavilions are located next to the picnic lawn. It’s also very near to the gym, steam room and kid’s splash pool.

Living Room
The living and dining hall (small, I know). Picture Credit: Bartley Residences Brochure
Kitchen
The kitchen. Picture Credit: Bartley Residences Brochure

And so, I was telling V that we should start planning on things to buy for our new apartment. It’s always good to plan early rather than doing a last minute job. Most importantly, we need to buy furnitures and electrical appliances that suit our needs and well-within our budget.

We started-off with the electrical appliances. These are the appliances that will be provided by the developer:

  1. Built-in convection oven
  2. Cooker hob and hood
  3. Free-standing fridge
  4. Free-standing washer and dryer
  5. Multi split air-conditioning system (living, dining and bedrooms)
  6. Hot water supply to all bathrooms and kitchen

Electrical appliances that we plan to purchase:

  1. Ceiling fans
  2. TVs 
  3. Induction cooker
  4. Coffee maker
  5. Water filter system
  6. Cordless vacuum cleaner or steam cleaner
  7. Massage chair
  8. Air purifier
  9. A personal computer for Edison

We will move our current Pioneer home entertainment system to Bartley Residences, and we don’t intend to buy a new system. This system serves us very well, and there is a significant increase of father-and-son bonding time over war movies ever since we installed this system. Read my review HERE.

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They go gaga over war movies. And they talk about guns, fighting enemies, wars and whatsoever weapons – the only ‘talk’ that I don’t participate in. It’s a delight to see them enjoying a good movie at the comfort of our home with our fantastic Pioneer system.

Will update again next month. Have a nice weekend, everyone!

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Drowning Myself with TVB Dramas Again

Do you still remember this?

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Yes, it’s a VHS tape. I grew up watching Hong Kong TVB dramas in this format. I would cycle to the video rental shop every day after school, hoping that the new episode has been released, and if yes, I would rent it, hurry home and pop it into my VCR.

I recalled the best business in a small town that I grew up was TVB VHS video rental business. I can still vividly remember how the TVB drama addicts would knock at the video rental shop to find out whether the rented tapes had been returned so that they could rent it.

The first thing to do after I rented the tape was to rewind it. It took about 10 minutes or so, and after that, we would sit together and watch. Occasionally, the VHS tape was jammed in the VCR, and it annoyed us to the max.

Besides, TVB drama series were often topic of conversations in school where we would gather and discuss about the intense happenings in the series.

Those were some of my happy moments back in the 80s and 90s. Does this sound familiar to you too? Today, I’m feeling a little nostalgic thinking about them.

VHS tapes were no longer being produced since 2008, and they have been replaced by DVDs, Blu-rays, pay TV, online streaming, etc. With modern technology, audio-visual entertainment has been greatly enhanced, and today, we enjoy stunning high definition entertainment with high-end audio at the comfort of our home.

For the past five years, I rarely spend time watching TV. As a matter of fact, I didn’t clock more than an hour of TV time in a month. And obviously, Little Edison watched more TV than I did. This is because I wanted to spend more time after work with him, rather than watching TV.

But recently, I’ve been drowning myself with TVB dramas again. Every night, I laze on my couch and watch dramas after our boy goes to bed.

The main reasons are: 1) the boy sleeps early now and so I’ve more “me time”, and 2) I enjoy watching TV on the new Pioneer home entertainment system that we’ve installed late last year.

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One of the most fantastic features of our Pioneer home entertainment system is smartphone connectivity that allows me to stream videos directly from my smartphone. I’ve never been able to do that with my old system.

Occasionally, my colleagues will share with me dramas in MP4 format. I copy them into a thumb drive and conveniently plug it into my Pioneer blu-ray player to watch. It’s so easy! In addition, the surround-sound is rich and crystal clear.

After a long day at work, nothing beats relaxing at home with a good movie and good home entertainment system. That’s when I relish in some quiet couple times with V too.

I’ve been an avid fan of TVB dramas for as long as I can remember. And I’m so delighted to be watching them again. Since last month, I’ve watched Triumph in the Skies II, The Hippocratic Crush II (didn’t finish though) and Bounty Lady. I enjoyed Bounty Lady so much, and it’s certainly one of the best series in 2013.

I’m watching Coffee Cat Mama now, and I’ll watch Outbound Love after that. Any TVB drama fans here?

Over a lunch conversation with my friend, she mentioned that TVB dramas are not as good as they used to be, as compared to the 80s and 90s. Personally, I don’t think that the newer dramas are not good, it’s just that TVB is lack of some very iconic dramas that will leave deep impressions to the audience. Like these:

TVB

And then, we talked about the best TVB dramas that we’ve ever watched. To me, they will definitely be The Greed of Man (Chinese:2) starring Adam Cheng and Sean Lau, and At the Threshold of an Era (Chinese:1) starring Gallen Lo, Sunny Chan and Roger Kwok. And also Detective Investigation Files (Chinese:3) where I watched all the four installments.

What’s the best TVB drama that you’ve ever watched? I love to hear from you too!

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Our New Home Entertainment System from Pioneer

If I asked you what the three most important things in your home were, what would be your answer? To me, they would certainly be sofa, bed and home entertainment system.

Sofa is very important because it can freshen up the entire living room and provides a comfortable place for the family to sit in. Bed is definitely important too because it will affect our quality of sleep. Lastly, a home will never be complete without a home entertainment system. Do you agree?

When we moved into our current apartment six years ago, we were tight in budget and thus, purchasing of furniture and system had to be scaled down. We settled with some mid-range sofa, beds and home entertainment system.

Thankfully, we’ve also been somewhat prudent in the last few years to have chalked up sufficient savings to clear out our outstanding home loan, and still have a good amount in our savings. So, our plan now is to slowly upgrade the furniture and system in our current apartment.

And we start off with our home entertainment system!

Purchasing a high quality home entertainment system is important because it will ensure that we have a powerful sound from our TV. Well, that’s what everyone says. To me, I need a system with smartphone connectivity as the previous system that we bought 6 years ago didn’t have that capability.

Ever since we installed our new Pioneer home entertainment system, we turned our living room into a world-class theatre! And the best thing is – we’ve been staying home a lot more now. Why waste money on movie tickets when we’ve got the best right here at our home? We really enjoy watching movies together as a family and at the comfort of our home.

And that’s probably the most stress-free activity to do with the family, considering how packed the shopping malls are these days, the hassles of hunting for car park lot, and the inconvenience in taking a public transport with kids if you don’t drive.

Edison dislikes cinema because it is dark. That’s another reason why we should upgrade our home entertainment system so that we can continue to enjoy the latest cinema releases at the comfort of our home.

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Our new Pioneer home entertainment system comprises:

  1. VSX-923-K AV Receiver
  2. BDP-160 Blu-Ray 3D System
  3. S-11 Speaker Systems
  4. S-51W Powered Subwoofer

When the system was delivered to our home, we excitedly opened up all the boxes. There are so many components in the system, and everything was nicely wrapped. We’ve planned to set it up all by ourselves, but at the end, we failed miserably. Not because of its complexity, but more on our inexperience is putting up a surround sound system.

So, we called Pioneer and the next day, they sent an expert and had everything wired up nicely for us. Phew.

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VSX-923-K is an excellent AV receiver for our home theatre system with 135 Watts of clear audio reproduction across 7 channels. It has smartphone connectivity and is ready to pass through 4K Ultra HD video signals to produce the highest quality picture available today.

It has built-in AirPlay too. AirPlay (previously called AirTunes when it was for audio only) is a proprietary protocol stack/suite developed by Apple that allows us to stream music, video and slideshows to devices that have the AirPlay feature.

This is how our AV receiver looks like. This video is from Pioneer’s website. I can’t find the exact same model, but this one is the closest to the one that we get.

Since VSX-923-K is technically a receiver, it also serves as a high quality radio and conduit for playing DVD’s, CD’s and MP3 players. As mentioned, we also got the Pioneer Blu-Ray 3D System, subwoofer and speakers along with the receiver to create our own surround-sound entertainment system.

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Close-up view on one of the little speakers

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The subwoofer

The speaker system comes in five speakers. The long one is placed on top of our blu-ray player, and the four little ones are put at the four corners near our flat screen TV. The subwoofer is quite big, so we tentatively put it on the floor now.

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Our boy likes to line-up his LEGO figures and toy cars on the AV receiver

So far, we’ve been more than impressed with the features and sound quality of this system. It has several surround-sound settings for us to choose in different circumstances, which can be easily toggled once a movie begins. We can choose the sound that we like best, and then sit back and relax.

The sound is truly surround-sound, and it reverberates around our living room and right behind us. What I like best is that the sound is rich, deep and clear, and with a tone that is just right! The system produces high quality sound no matter what the volume is. It emits soft piano tinkling as effortlessly as it replicates eardrum pounding explosions. It’s simply amazing!

The interface is quite easy to use. There are functional buttons on the player itself, as well as the remote control. Even though there are quite a lot of buttons on the remote control, but it’s quite easy to get used to it. Even a 6 year-old kid like Edison knows how to use the remote control now.

The 3D blu-ray player allows us to play ultra high definition videos, and it also has the Wi-Fi Direct feature where we can directly connect our smartphones and tablets without having to use a wireless router. It can never be easier to stream our favourite YouTube videos to our TV now!

Still, there are several more functions in this system that we’ve yet to explore. We’ll share more about it when we go along. If you’re looking for a high quality home entertainment system that is fairly affordable, do check out Pioneer. I’m sure it will not disappoint you.

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