Saturday, July 28, 2007

FUN IN THE SUN

Err… the only thing missing was the sun, because it rained.
It started out as a warm sunshiny day. A big group of people in teal coloured t-shirts were gathered at one of the pergolas waiting in excited anticipation for the event of the year (the proof lies in the fact that for the past two weeks at least, if you met someone else and intended to have some small talk, the obvious fodder for conversation would include: A) who you are bringing along for the event; B) what do you plan to wear (obviously the teal coloured t-shirt is compulsory, but what goes with it is entirely up to you which gave some people the notion that maybe you didn’t have to wear anything with it!) C) Memories from two years ago)
After a rather hurried officiating, a commonplace breakfast and a hilarious conversation with a child, we were gathered again to watch some games that were organized including a particularly funny one that went by the name lay an egg. It seemed as though everything was rushed through, compared to the program that was provided to us, and lunch and the grand lucky draw was unceremoniously brought forward. I was hanging out with a fellow PE and some of the purchasing staff who was wondering which poor unfortunate soul was going to get the hydroponic set.
A conversation that would most likely happen on Monday.
A: So man, what did you get that day?
B: Sigh… the hydroponic set. I don’t even have time to take care of my children. My daughter will soon start calling me uncle (a colleague of mine once actually said this, but it had nothing to do with hydroponics), and now they want me to plant vegetables!
A: rolls on the floor with laughter
The clouds gathered quickly as the official event was reaching the end, and as soon as it was declared over, the rain just poured down in torrents leaving the big crowd of teal coloured t-shirt clad people looking in aghast at each other and the sky.
The rain sort of ended, tubes were rented, stuff chucked into the locker, and we dived straight into the Zambesi. Now, even though I’m terrified of water, I still love it. The key is the feet must touch solid ground! On and off, we got in, came out, went to the pool which simulates the sea (where I got pushed off my tube and almost died in another theme park two years ago) But the simulated sea was a bit too much for me, because the waves just push you and if it gets too deep, then you’re quite doomed!
Later on I checked out some water slide thing, where you hold onto a water mat for dear life as you shoot at high speeds along a slide with a few curves that send your head in a frenzy, stops your heart for practically a few seconds which feels like minutes anyway, and pumps a crazy amount of adrenaline into your blood system that could leave you reckless for the next few days!
At about 3 something (the rain had stopped by now, but the day was cloudy, so it was really very nice weather) we decided to give the water games a rest rather reluctantly, as the dry park beckoned us. After hitting the showers and changing into a fresh set of thankfully dry clothes, we proceeded to check the dry park out. The suspension bridge was closed no thanks to the rain that poured earlier but we took the escalator up. Here we met Sheeba, a pitifully bored tiger that moves in her cage and shows her rear to the public. I felt very sorry for her. She belongs in the wild, moving swiftly through the dense rainforests and not get ogled at by the general public.
Moving on, there was a rock exhibition. It looked like a cave, only that we know it may be fake. The thing is I feel as though this whole thing is for those who seek adventure, but don’t really want to travel too far away from civilization at the same time!
We got on the roller coaster at buffalo bill’s, which was quite nerve wrecking actually, especially the sharp corners although we think that it’s actually for kids judging from the large number of children versus adults lining up for the ride. And finally we got on this other ride where you get suspended upside down for a few seconds with nothing except a bar across your body that supposedly holds you in place. By then my blood stream was probably filled with way too much adrenaline that I started giggling (though this could have been contributed by endorphines) and yelling “oh my god” and “oh shit” all the way up, down, forwards and backwards. Oh, and the heart stopped beating for a few seconds again!
Sadly, that was the end of the so called urban adventure. Or fun in the non-available sun as the title suggests :)

Monday, July 23, 2007

HP AND ALL THE DRAMA


JULY 21st marked the long awaited world wide release of the seventh Harry Potter book, which is also the final in the series.
There's a whole big fat marketing strategy involved, where major bookstores held pre-order sales for fans to book their copies months ahead to avoid disappointment of sold out books on launching day. To make things more interesting, they promised a small discount plus threw in a freebie and a possible invite to a mad pre-launch party.
Of course, initially when the first book (HP and the Philosopher's Stone) was released, there was not much ado. Many years later, books 1 to 3 were shoved right under my nose, and hence began my interest in the books, where I was fervently looking for a copy of GOF to read (I was still a student back then and buying the book was quite out of the question) I got it in electronic format though and spent a few days straining my eyes over the computer screen, but it was all well worth it.
It was however, the launch of OOTP (Order of the Phoenix) that sort of caught my attention, as it was only then I realised that the fans are crazy (lining up for hours at the bookshop entrances to get their hands on the books) and that there were promotions all around and stuff. Having still being quite penniless at that time (I was temping at a place in SJ at that time), I sort of stayed away from the crowds, and read the book when my sister managed to borrow a copy from one of her friends... I only bought the book almost a year later when they practically slashed the price by half.
Even for HBP which surfaced around July 2005, I thought that buying the book upon launching was not a wise decision, as I was waiting for the paperback edition due out the following year. Besides, someone had spilled the beans about the death of a certain prominent character (but not how or when) But then, just about a week after the release of the book, a friend of mine gives me the book, and I'm suddenly in the thick of the action!

This year however, things were different... firstly, it is the final book. Crazy anticipation like this most probably will never happen again in this lifetime and I decided (rather impulsively on a certain depressing weekend, that I did want to jump onto the band wagon of pre-orderers) I thought that maybe for just this one time, it would be fun to join in the crazy anticipation for the book, maybe dress up as a witch or something.... Mostly, I didn't want my fun to be spoiled by unscrupulous rumour mongers who will leak out the plot without any regard for others (It happened last year in the STAR newspapers... twas a big drama back then too!)
Just my luck, though... this time around, the hypermarkets decided to crash into the scene. "No need to pre-order, just join us at 7 am. Bloody breakfast will be served" so they said on the radio. To top it all off, they've slashed the prices by a whopping 36%. So now, the major bookstores have decided to go on a protest by not selling the books, but they will honour the pre-orders though no extra discount is offered, the usual pomp and fanfare that accompanied previous launches were not there, no posters were put up, maybe even the party which was supposed to be on Friday night was cancelled. All there was was a note of apology to the customers for the cancelled festivities as well as some information regarding their protest and the non selling of the books!
So in the midst of all these drama surrounding the most anticipated book of the year, who is on the losing side? Seriously, I'm not too sure myself. Maybe we should ask Penguin Malaysia.
The book is currently in the house right now... my sister read it first and I've just completed reading the book in an 8 hour span... Boy, do I feel empty right now... :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

WHY CAN'T I BLOG?

Though ideas aplenty
My head is kinda empty
Like a dwindling pantry

I could just be lazy
While everything is hazy
Or maybe claim to be crazy!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

AN OVERDOSE OF CHOPSTICKS

A sudden decision saw me heading down to our southern neighbour on Sunday. The journey was a long drive reminiscent of certain Sunday afternoons of the not so distant past.
The main reason behind the unexpected journey (I say unexpected because I was only informed about it officially on Tuesday) is obviously a tad too boring for a blog post. Suffice to say that it involved hours spent in the lab mulling over non complex formulations and the testing of said formulations.
But the interesting part I should say, is the food...
The organisers of the training took care of us pretty well in terms of nourishment. For four days, lunch and dinner times saw us at restaurants serving cuisines from different parts of China. Shanghainese and Szechuan among others. And 'The Boss' (as how he was referred to -kind of makes you end up thinking of mafia like scenarios!) took the task of explaining about each dish as it was served. For instance Szechuan cuisine has an extremely hot and spicy flavour to it (beats cili padi anytime!) and the 8 herbs tea helps balance the heat. And there's this fantastic dish of aubergines cooked in a curry like gravy which was simply fabulous. Just for the record, in actual life I actually despise aubergines on most occasions. A fellow friend commented that the food we were eating is the kind that used to be served to the emperors in the older days.
In that 4 days we ended up eating almost everything that moves under the sun. From fowls to fish and frogs and mushrooms (of course mushrooms don't really move on their own because they can't but we'll just pretend this one time that they can, aight?) and an assortment of appetisers and deserts. I must say that the people of S'pore are slightly obsessed with mangoes. (All of them... it simply amazes me, and they were pretty horrified when I said that I don't eat mangoes. They think it's very un-Malaysian of me to not like mangoes. Well, that's stereotyping for you....)
Meanwhile, as Chinese food became part of our daily ritual, my chopstick using skills improved dramatically (they were a bit rusty due to lack of use) and now I can say that I can pick up a slippery piece of lettuce without the help of a spoon! Hooray!
The whole culinary experience was exciting in its own way. But I think I've had a good enough dosage of Chinese food to last me for the next few months. Right now I'm thinking of some delicious nasi lemak (can't seem to find a place that sells great nasi lemak anymore. Sigh..)