Wednesday, January 30, 2008

SURPRISE, SURPRISE

I was supposed to post this up on Monday, when the story was still relevent but somehow it got delayed...

You only turn a certain age once in your lifetime, and once that particular age has gone with the passing of the year, there is no way you can return to it.

About a few weeks ago, my aunt had called us and shared the news that she was planning a surprise birthday party for her daughter (who is my cousin, and we'll refer to her as Dav) who would be hitting 21 this year.

(I don't know what it is about this age that everyone seems to love it so much... is it the freedom that comes with it? (yeah right - insert bitter snigger in here) or is it that there's the possibility of everything being legal at this age? (Hahahaha!) Or is it some people's insane obsession towards keys? Ok, I've got to stop here)

Anyway, on the 26th of January, that is exactly a week after her real birthday, the party was held, after many lies were told (mostly by some of her close friends and her direct family). As we screamed "surprise" over the song that was playing in the background, we were greeted by a genuinely surprised young lady. (Yay for my aunt!) I bet my aunt was delighted at the fact that her daughter did really get surprised.

The party was a success. The food was excellent, especially after 2 weeks of attempted dieting, (it would have been excellent even without the dieting, but don't we all love some drama and exaggeration?) and it was very easygoing and pretty smooth even if there was a mix of relatives and friends at the party. I've always wondered how people managed to divide their attention equally among their relatives as well friends, but Dav moved around as though it was a non-issue. (Yeah, it most probably is a non-issue, just me thinking that it might be an issue) As usual, we, the cousins got excited at meeting each other because we rarely get to meet up, seeing that almost everyone is busy with school (everyone else) and work (only myself)

After the toast, dinner, a couple of speeches (short and sweet), a slide show which revealed all her different facets (including one of her being a thumb sucking murderess! If Dav reads this, I'm dead... hehehe... but I couldn't help it. My fingers ran away with this post!!!) and the cake cutting event (her cake was rectangular, by the way, instead of the typical key shaped one), they opened the floor for dancing. Hehehe... Some people could really dance well... including Dav (and surprisingly her sister as well who led us to believe that she had two left feet about two years ago!! Tsk tsk...) but there were many others who were hopeless! One of her friends took the task of dragging those sitting and watching to get off their asses and onto the dance floor even if they had not much knowledge of dancing (after all, I believe you do need some practice to pull off
bhangra type moves especially if you haven't done so for at least 5 years!) This was all for moral
support, by the way...

All in all, the party was tremendously enjoyable, fun and lighthearted. I bet everyone had a good time that night. Cheers for surprise parties :)

Friday, January 25, 2008

THE WORKAHOLIC

Competition is tough, and things like quality time away from work are almost non-existent. In fact, you'd find people staring at their computers late into the night just to get that nasty report to sound nice so that no one throws a rotten egg at them the next day. Ok, maybe I'm exaggerating a bit.

Anyway, this story was shared by one of my colleagues the other day when we were waiting for a meeting to begin (somewhere in the late evening)

In December 2006, this guy's son was born. Having worked till about 7 he rushes off to the hospital to see his wife and new baby. Excited and (most probably) distraught at the time, he had asked the nurse which tank his wife was in instead of which ward/bed.

(We work in a paint manufacturing company, and our products are made in tanks, so whenever we are asked to investigate problems the first question asked is always 'which tank'?) And I may also add that the reason why I'm blogging about such a lame story (it was funny at that time!) is because I promised myself that I'll blog more this year.

Monday, January 21, 2008

ORHAN'S MEME

I was checking out Orhan's blog earlier today when I came across this meme he sort of started. And I quote directly from his blog the rules to this meme...

"There are no fancy rules just the basic paste and comment approach. Take three posts from your blog or website that you feel has had the most influential impact amongst your visitors and comment about your overall reaction. I will know you have taken to this meme by leaving a comment on this post yourself."

Now, my blog is somewhat on the lighter side, and I try my best to make it so, leaving the heavier stuff to the pros. Therefore, it was somewhat a challenge coming up with an idea of what could have had any influential impact on anybody at all. That and the fact that I don't really have that many readers to begin with, so who am I going to influence? Hehehe...

Anyway, I've chosen 3 posts that may have had some sort of impact or another, and if it didn't change anyone's life, it's alright, because I had fun putting them up in the first place and apparently some folks enjoyed it enough to put up their 2 cents worth ( that would be RM0.07)

Adieu leatherback turtle - When I wrote this, it was to lament about the ignorance of certain people regarding the dwindling numbers of the leatherback turtle. The local newspapers had mentioned in passing about the suspected extiction of those turtles and I just had to air my feelings towards their disappearance. The reaction to this post which I put up back in 2006 was one of the most amazing, because there were people who volunteered to stop the bad guys from further harming our animals.

Who Would it be? - This post was in response to an SMS I received from my cousin, but I couldn't answer it through that medium seeing that I had way too much to say. I thought that the response to this post was one of the most adorable ever. I also noticed that a few of my blog friends had similar opinions on whom they wanted to finish off in a jiffy.


When I grow up... - I tried being sarcastic in this post, painting my displeasure towards the nonsensical way my country was wasting tax payers money, but evidently that attribute was lost when it came to the responses because everyone got excited about pulled tea. Instead, this post became somewhat of a cultural comparison among the nations where my blog friends hailed from. It seems that we do have more similaraties than differences.

And those are the three posts that I thought could have contributed some sort of impact. And even if they didn't I do hope that they at least were entertaining :)

Sunday, January 20, 2008

'39

I'm beginning to think that I was somehow born a little too late because I seem to have missed out on plenty of good music (good old rock), and good movies as well. The popular songs on the radio nowadays annoy me, and I keep looking back to the days that have long gone to look for the 'good stuff'.

Right now, I'm stalking Queen, and this particular song is a current favourite of mine... many years too late (but it's alright, I guess, as the saying goes about better being late than never!)

So anyway, I've attached the video below... this one's sung and played by (Dr) Brian May.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

OF FULL BLADDERS AND DOORKNOBS

This is my attempt (I'm guessing it's going to be pretty lame, so please bear with me) at explaining why drinking coffee and water as well as only having one bathroom does not benefit anyone at all.

In the reality I've created for myself, things like coffee and water are basic necessities (what we learnt in elementary level science was food (water included), shelter and clothes were the basic necessities (what about oxygen??? I suppose our minds were not critical enough back then - and sarcasm was a totally adult thing) Anyway... taking in these items sometimes increase the need for bathroom visits (coffee being a diuretic drink, and increased water intake no thanks to the coffee and hot weather we're experiencing right now) and this is where the problem starts...

See, I spend most of my waking hours in a place which only has one women's *bathroom as there are only about 9 of us who use it. And today, I was in a very uncomfortable situation as someone was hogging the bathroom (the door was closed) for more than an hour and a half! I really don't understand how anyone could use the bathroom for so long, unless they're having diarrhea. It's small, and cramped and is obviously not the most comfortable place on earth. Of course I could have used the men's which was right next to it, but the last time I used it (also when someone was hogging the women's bathroom) one of the guys whom I work with was waiting outside and gave me that raised eyebrows look when he saw me come out of the men's bathroom.

So in the end, I decided to try to turn the knob, in case the person inside was sleeping/crying/dead... and to my surprise it opened, and instead of having someone accuse me of violating their privacy (they should have locked the door, okay...) I was greeted by an empty bathroom, totally devoid of any living beings (ghosts, I can't be too sure)

Oh! What a relief.. So, the moral of the story is... when you really have to use the bathroom, just turn the knob. You never know what you might find!

* The bathrooms I'm talking about are the single type, unlike common public bathrooms with many cubicles.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

OF BOTHERSOME THOUGHTS IN THE DEAD OF THE NIGHT

If there was one thing I could wish for right now, I'd wish for 'them' to stop bothering me and allow me to sleep in peace. I really do (forget about wishing for world peace or loads of $$$, etc)

As if the crazy bouts of sleeplessness (which I've referred to as insomnia in the past) is not enough! I'd like to assume that the sleeplessness that has been causing me misery has decided
to take a break, thus allowing me to sleep like any normal human being. And true enough, I've been sleepy enough the last few days to actually fall asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow instead of staring aimlessly into the darkness wondering why I never got those glow in the dark stars pasted to the ceiling while allowing the few precious hours of the night to slip away into nothingness and having to overdose on coffee the next day just to keep things real.

But I digress...

The thing is, my much needed sleep has been intermittently disturbed by the craziest dreams
ever, one of them (on Saturday night), where an aquaintance whom I've never met in person before was chilling with me and my grandparents in their old house while watching the A-team which surprisingly was playing the theme from Airwolf. We even unanimously agreed that Mr.T from the A-team was the man behind the current craze of wearing 'bling' (Now this dream may seem normal enough, but my grandpa's been dead for the past 12 years, whereas the house we were in was sold a few years ago. And then there's the crazy mix up of theme songs... and not to mention the acquaintance who suddenly decided to make an apperance. Weird!)

The next day, I was woken up disgruntled by another dream. This one involved me having to work in a light house (sans light) in the middle of the night. I remember my mom was there, saying that she'd accompany me in the light house. No thanks to the light house, I had to pass
on another duty to my assistant. Suddenly it became daylight and most of colleagues were at this place where I used to live a long time ago. I can't recall why we were there in the first place, but horrors of horrors, I was in a terribly heated argument with one of them regarding an issue which I'm annoyed about. Imagine waking up to this and having to go work after that!

And last night, after watching House on tv, I trudged off to bed, tired out by the happenings of the day... and my sleep was once again disrupted by yet another insane dream. This time I was on my way to work when the road I usually take on this one particular bridge (the lousiest stretch of road ever) suddenly was made of wood, and it was almost impossible to drive on it, because I kept falling off the road. And through my car, I was having a conversation with someone in the car behind me and were complaining about the road, and how we were gonna be late for work. (I have no idea how this was even remotely possible,but dreams do have the tendency to have lots of vagueness in them)

This is crazy... the dreams have got to stop!

Monday, January 14, 2008

THE BAND MEME

This is a strange place we live in... first I got myself a guitar before 2007 ended, and now I already have a band - with a uber cool band name (if I may say so myself) and an equally intriguing title. I wish!





Well, Queen Mimi (who happens to be the reigning Queen of Memes) tagged me with this meme, and it's all about bands. Seeing that my head is still full of clutter, I thought that this would be fun. (It was! Really...)








Here's how it goes. You are about to have your own band's CD cover. Follow these directions to the letter.

1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special:Random

The first article title on the page is the name of your band.


2. http://www.quotationspage.com/random.php3

The last four words of the very last quote is the title of your album.


3. http://www.flickr.com/explore/interesting/7days/

The third picture, no matter what it is, will be your album cover.


4. Use your graphics program of choice to throw them together, and post the result.




Here's my brand new album cover: We're called Al Bahah which means something in Arabic (didn't read the wiki post, being the idiot that I am) and the album title is... And Savor The World (in this part of the world it should be savour, but I wanted to stick to the original)
All I have left to do is is get a few band members (must be willing to make a fool of themselves) and err... learn to play music (or sing)
Ok... gotta tag some people, and they are:
Aunty Helpful Dictator
and
Silversabre

Saturday, January 12, 2008

JAPAN PART 4 - KYOTO TRIP

The Kyoto Road Trip started early in the morning. By this time, our Indonesian friends were on the way to the airport. Our friends from Thailand were with us until the train station where we parted ways. Those left were the Malaysians and the Singaporean. We were requested to take the 7:52 am bus from the bus stop near the dorm, but thanks to the unofficial party the night before and a bad case of having the wrong time on the handphone by one of our party (Japan is 1 hour ahead of us, so go figure) the 7:52 am bus had come and gone. Nevertheless, we got into another bus which brought us to the Hankyu train station.
From there, everything was a blur, as we were practically running from one train stop to another, switching trains at unbelievable speeds, and racing through the tourist destinations as if there was no tomorrow… which is partly true, because we were bound to be back in Malaysia on the next day. If we had participated as a group in the Amazing Race, we’d win hands down. Seriously…
Nevertheless, I shouldn’t be complaining as we were brought around on a pro bono basis by one of the Malaysian Japanese.
Upon touching down in Kyoto (I can’t remember how many trains we switched) we walked along the streets which seemed to be filled with culture. We passed along a dance theatre (Kabuki) and walked ahead to one of the shrines
Yasaka Shrine - from across the street
Yasaka shrine was the first one we visited. Here we had the chance to experience the ‘cleansing ritual’ one goes through when visiting a shrine. And you can drop a coin into the pit, and ring the bell (and most probably say a prayer, I guess)
The cleansing ritual
20 minutes later, we left the Yasaka shrine and hit the road again. The scenery was amazing, the narrow cobbled streets looked like a scene from some old movie (Kyoto is an old town, very old indeed, in fact, the word ancient would be much more appropriate) Our next stop was Kiyumizu Dera. The scenery here was gorgeous… It’s a shrine which is supported by wooden beams arranged together and supports the weight of hundreds if not thousands of people at any given time. We were here for about ½ hour before we had had to rush out again.
Kiyumizu dera, as you can see, it's fully supported by wooden beams
We took a hike, got into a bus, and then another train station and err… (like I said, it was all a blur) and we then headed to Kinkakuji aka the Golden Pavillion. My memory fails me at this point, as I cannot remember whether we had our lunch before or after this, but I think it’s most probably before. I had this dish called sapporro – sort of similar to our fried rice except for the part where I had to break in a raw egg and mix it all up with the rice before eating, but I seriously was getting bored of food by then (despite being hungry!) and I just left the egg untouched. Instead I showered my food with a large dose of seaweed powder. It rocks!
Kinkakuji shrine
Anyway, Kinkakuji is believed to have a coat of gold all around it, and with all the leaves flapping in the wind in all the different degrees of redness, the place looked awesome. It was one of the prettiest buildings I’ve seen in a while, though I must admit that the word pretty seems to be not good enough for it. We also hung around this place for about 20 minutes, and continued with our mad dash to the next destination… the Arashiama bridge.
This is basically a long scenic bridge across a river with a gorgeous view. Once again, the forest at the foot of the hill looked like a colourful woolen blanket of greens, browns, reds and yellows. I didn’t really catch the significance of the bridge (historical or aesthetics?), but they had all this touristy places on the other side. Sadly time was not on our side and we were given about 10 minutes for shopping. Sad!
The scene at Arashiama
It was another long train ride back, and darkness enveloped us.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

TERRA'S POSTGRADUATE DREAM AND A VERY STRANGE REQUEST

I’ve never been to an education fair in my life, ever… not even when I was supposed to initially decide what I wanted to do after secondary school. (The thing is, I highly doubt they had such things back then) I applied for my course at the university like how I’d pick a book at a bookstore. It was almost a stab in the dark. The only difference is, I believe I picked up better books than the course I decided to pick way back then. But that’s a different story!

So my visit to the higher education fair on the 6th was something quite new in my experience. It was mostly filled with teenagers and their parents, looking for the right place to secure what everyone imagines to be a good future (or you could say that in a way, they’re helping any particular industry get a brand new slave in a few years time)

I’ve been toying with the idea of continuing with my Masters for the past few years, but have always been uncertain about how to go about it. Even after all those years, (4 to be exact) I still cannot make up my mind if I want to do it locally or overseas, part time or full time, research or coursework, and the most crucial of all, either in chemical engineering or get myself an MBA. Seriously, the thing that can drive anybody mad these days are the choices that they’re given! It’s pure insanity.

On another note, I had assumed that the exhibition would be something quite big, but instead it was quite small, and my sis and I used only about an hour plus to check out the booths and get most of our questions answered. This I guess was probably because most of the universities that set up their booths there did not have what we were looking for.

Something quite strange happened, then…

Anyway, after getting the postgraduate information, we headed to the bookstore (which I particularly like because it’s so huge, and you can find almost anything you want – except today, of course. Just my luck!) Well, I was browsing and checking out some stuff at one of the aisles when this woman (a total stranger) asked me just out of the blue if I had the bookstore’s membership card. I immediately said yes (which was true), as I did not want her trying to force me to become a member (I’m afraid I am slightly paranoid about things like that) She then proceeded to ask me if a particular book was on sale. I gave her a bewildered look but answered her anyway, saying that I was not really sure, and asked her to check if the book had any stickers on it saying that it was on sale.

This woman then said that she’d ask the staff at the counter and asked if she could use my card to get the discount, if there was any. Although this request seemed terribly strange to me, I nodded in agreement despite the fact that I’m pretty sure my face would have betrayed a small amount of skepticism and great disbelief. I learnt later that the book did not have any special discount.

As for the postgraduate dream, the stuff I collected is still in the bag I put them in, waiting for me to take action. Ah… decisions!

Saturday, January 05, 2008

STARDUST

Despite the fact that Tristran Thorn's journey was an amazingly long one, I couldn't say the same about my own journey, though. In fact, what took them weeks and months took me merely 2 and a half days, which I spent traipsing behind Tristan and Yvaine (aka the Star) as they made their way through Faerie.

Just because life is unfair, and the taste of Malaysian movie goers is kind of skewed (not to forget that another fantasy/fairy tale movie came out around the same time), I missed the movie which carries the same name, and I did want to watch it because I heard some pretty good reviews about the movie. Alas! And since books do not really get outdated as quickly as movies do, I had no choice but to read it instead... (not that I'm complaining as I'm totally crazy about books)

In a way, I'm glad that I read the book, because one of the reviewers mentioned that the ending differs in the movie, and I personally think that the ending in the book is simply delightful, and wouldn't have been able to accept anything else. But we are not supposed to go there yet!

I suppose what the book tries to tell us is the length that people go through just for the sake of love, which is how Tristran describes his journey into Faerie as a way to get anything he desired from Victoria Forester, whom he thought he was in love with after he had found a fallen star which the both of them had seen falling. (Too bad his feelings were not reciprocated at that time)

His journey takes him through an enchanted land known as Faerie, where he meets several interesting characters. He does meet the fallen Star, but is somewhat surprised to find her in a human girl form with a broken leg. At certain intervals, the author allows us to have a glimpse at the going ons in several other places and the activities of certain characters (a unicorn and a lion, a witch and her bird - which is actually not a real bird, young lords of a land called Stormhold that carry the cutest names ever that have intentions to kill each other, a boy and his stubborn billy goat - where the boy gets turned into a goat himself by a witch queen or Lilim) that will all somehow meet each other in their own journeys as they all seek the same thing... but with different motives and rather shady objectives.

There is a secret about Tristran which he himself is unaware of, and in his journey (or more appropriately, at the end of it) the secret is revealed to him. He also learns as well that he's not as in love with Victoria Forester as he thought he was but was instead in love with the star (Yvaine), which was a good thing as Victoria was about to get married to someone else.

In conclusion, this is one of the sweetest books I've ever read recently. It's the kind of book that makes you feel all warm and happy inside for no apparent reason, which has led me to believe that I'm in love with love itself! I really have to find something serious (preferably something dark and mysterious) to read now to get back on solid ground.