Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And So It Begins


The view from the room



Cats on a road island. What's interesting is that the word Kuching is the Malay word for cats, and there is also a cat museum tucked somewhere in Kuching



A dish of Kolo Mee. This one had chicken and mushroom topping, slightly deviating from the original barbequed pork version.


This adorable 'don'ts' signage was photographed through a window of a building that may someday become a pub. I thought it was too cute to be not shared ;)


It has been said before that a vacation every now and then, no matter how short will always make you feel better about life, and give you the push you need to move things forward, to work better and generally keep your sanity in check.

After some planning, reading countless reviews, worrying (unnecessarily, unfortunately), and having a mad Wednesday that seemed to move too fast for my own good as I spent it worrying about a lot of things, from the fact that the advisers date of arrival has been pushed forward to Monday instead of the original Tuesday, to the fact that I had not completed packing as well as the feeling you get right before embarking on a journey to the unknown - where you're excited and yet you can't help worrying if there's something which will crop up at the last minute and destroy all your not so carefully laid plans. I finally completed all the work I had to do at work, got back and finished packing my stuff for the trip. An unbelievably light bag induced more worries (like what have I forgotten?), but all was cool until I accidentally woke up at 4.00 am when waking up at 6:30 would have sufficed.
Anyway, Thursday morning turned out to be a good day for travel, nice weather, the train came in on time, everyone involved was there and seemed jolly enough and things in general seemed to be moving smoothly. Even the plane left the airport on time (this particular airline is rather famed for it's delayed flights)
Finally at about 1:30 pm we touched down in Kuching International Airport, and what was really funny was that the pilot announced that we had landed in Kuala Lumpur International Airport instead which was greeted with laughter from us, the passengers. Naturally he corrected his mistake immediately, but it was funny nevertheless.

The roads in Kuching looked immensely clean and the traffic flow was so smooth. Honestly I'd move there if I could just so that I can leave all the traffic jams behind. We checked in into the hotel at about 2pm where we met two others who were part of the travelling gang (they had travelled earlier due to their decision to book their tickets later) Leaving our bags behind, we hit the road in search for food armed with a small road map as we were very very hungry at this time. It turns out that most places close around 3 and it was already 3 pm by then. After several disappointments, we finally found a place that had local cuisine which was still open. The place is called Chenxiang and that was the first time I tried this dish called Kolo Mee (lit translation: Kolo Noodles), which every Sarawakian food blogger talks about. A friend of mine tried Laksa Sarawak (another noodle dish served in a bowl of curry)

The food was pretty good. More walking around later - as some of us needed to stock up on bottled water as yours truly had decided to ditch carrying water thinking that the water, aerosols and gels ban on aircraft also applied to domestic flights. Silly me! We continued walking and realised that the destination we were earlier looking for (the food court) was nearer to our hotel than we thought. We had just mistakenly entered the wrong street and circled the whole area on our first afternoon there due to missing the streets on the map!

We checked out the area, walked into the shops there, laughed at a bar called Latino, checked out Hilton which was just opposite our budget hotel (they were having a live band performance in their lounge which we decided to check out later that night), and finally went back to our rooms for a quick shower before heading out again for our evening plans.
To be continued

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Answers


Click to check the answers

Through a bit of research, and with some help from a friend, here are the answers to the "guess the names of the bands so that you can spend some time cracking your brains and spoiling your eyes" quiz.

http://www.sethjones.net/?p=345

http://uk.download.yahoo.com/plus/fu/oa/answers.jpg (courtesy of Sreenivas)

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Rock Yourselves Out

Ahem! If you're a reluctant procrastinator like myself, I implore you to stop reading right here and click on the exit button, because I assure you that if you do continue, you will end up procrastinating, like I did.

Anyway, the picture above was in circulation over the net a few years ago, stating that there are about 75 bands hidden in the picture, all under (or formerly under) the record label Virgin Records, and I had spent a few good hours over several weeks trying to figure out the bands that were rather cleverly hidden there after seeing it on this blog. I managed to get a few before giving up because I started seeing stars, but no one seems to know if they are right or wrong!

So, what you've got to do is to see if you can identify the bands/singers listed above and then place your answers in the comments section. Further discussion will ensue when I get back :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weekend Procrastination and Things to Panic About

Let's begin with the worries

1. There's only three days left before I begin my three day adventure with a friend, an acquaintance and a stranger in the land of the hornbills, and I've been scouring the web looking for information about the places we could visit, how to get around etc, and the news is not good... apparently, activity ceases at about 7pm, and public transportation may not be available. So do we rent a car? I don't know...

2. I tried doing some packing last night... because I know for a fact that I cannot trust doing anything on work nights, especially since I won't be around at work on Thursday and Friday, I'll have to work extra to cover the lost days... which when you look at it, seems to mean that taking a vacation or break sort of beats the purpose...

3. The combination which I thought I set for my luggage does not seem to be working. Now I can't lock my luggage, and although I'm not exactly carrying anything expensive - it's a semi-backpack thing, I guess... this worries me.

4. Forget the combination lock... I actually overworked my thumb last night trying the combinations one by one until I gave up... a small lock can't be located either at the moment.

5. This is not related to the trip, but Kodak Gallery is being a pain in the ass (with threats to delete the pictures I've stored there) with their minimum $4.99 thing... to be honest, if I was a resident in the United States, this will be a non-issue at all, but since I live here, I don't see how I'm going to purchase stuff from the Kodak Gallery shop!

6. With all these panicking, I've decided to procrastinate... Level 10 of Sneeze! seems to be an impossible task at the moment...

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Presumably Popular Reads

I have a feeling I've done something like this before, way back in 2006, but since time has passed since then and so has the number of books I've read increased, I'll do this one more time.


BBC believes the majority of people will have only read 6 of the 100 books here.

1) Look at the list and put an ‘X’ after those you have read.
2) Tally your total at the bottom.
3) Tag a few people you think would enjoy sharing similar information about their book interests.

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (x)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (x)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (x)
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (x)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (x) Revisited at least once a year
6 The Bible
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (x)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (x)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (x)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (x) Promised to make you laugh till you cry
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (x)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulks
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (x) Absolute favourite
19 The Time Traveller’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (x)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (x)
26 Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (x) the most painful book I ever read
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (x) utterly and hopelessly depressing
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (x)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (x) one of the longest books ever
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (x) decades ago, can't remember the story though
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis
34 Emma - Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (x)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (x)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel .
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (x)
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time - Mark Haddon (x) Curiously fascinating!
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (x)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (x)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (x)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (x)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Bell Jar - Sylvia Plath
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (x)
80 Possession - AS Byatt
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (x)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchel
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom -
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (X)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton (x)
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute (x) except for two pages that were missing from the book
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas (x)
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (x)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (x)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

I've read some books off the list (more than 6, definitely), planning to read more, of course, especially Goerge Orwell and more of Austen, and attempt Shakespeare's complete works. I'm also not really tagging anyone, so feel free to flick it off here to add into your own blogs if you want to
An observation I made revealed that out of the four of us who did this tag, none of us have read less than 6 books. BBC got it wrong, baby!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Oh, Gullibility!

It was over 24 hours ago when I discovered something and I've not been able to stop myself from flashing an idiotic grin each time the very thought of the thing crosses my mind, and if you know how my mind works as well as I do, then you'd know that it means I've been grinning to myself at least once every hour.

See, I came across a wonderfully exciting post in a blog I read almost on a daily basis and actually thanked the blogger for such an enlightening post. I even went as far as recommending the post to another blogger. The only problem with the whole thing is, the article was meant to be a joke - a pretty obvious one, really... if and only if I had read the label/tag at the bottom of the post, which I obviously didn't do the first time, and only noticed it when I visited the blog the second time to share the link! It did cross my mind for a fleeting moment that the words "stuff I made up" didn't seem so right, but I just ignored that feeling, only to really discover the next day that it was indeed a joke post. Oh, how I laughed!

Oh, the gullibility!

Note to self: ALWAYS read the tags and labels on blog posts!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Lullabies and Fragrances


There I was, sitting in an air conditioned meeting room (but the label outside the door said Library) amidst a few computers, some people and a trainer, wondering what substance could possibly be in the fragrance (which I believe was placed there because someone assumed it smelled nice -I thought it was strangely minty, and that's pretty strange coming from someone who thinks that mint rocks!) that was released every 5 minutes or so because it seemed to induce an indescribable feeling of needed to sleep right away.

Hmmm... did I just discover a remedy for insomnia?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Tiger in the Backyard

Right...so while the rest of the country talks about learning science and maths in English, or more accurately the plans to discontinue learning science and maths in English for various reasons that I shall leave alone, because
a) I have long left school
b) They most probably will change their minds again
c) Everyone else is talking about it;
I figured that I might as well touch on something else I found while checking out the papers today, which is about a proposed tiger park in Penang

Rethink plan to build tiger park, Penang urged
By PRISCILLA DIELENBERG
GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government has been advised to reconsider its intention to build an ambitious tiger park in the state.
Malaysian Nature Society Penang Branch chairman Kanda Kumar said setting up the park would not be right as Penang had no record of the animal’s existence.
“Most tourists would rather spend on heritage and food, not see animals in cages. Land-stressed Penang can do with more houses and recreational parks instead,” he said.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said on Sunday that if the 40ha project materialised, it would be the first tiger park in the country with a “whole lot” of tigers.
Penang Tourist Guides Association president Yoong Suh Yen said she personally felt that a tiger park would not be a top-dollar tourist attraction.
Shopowner Ahmad Talib Sham­sudin, 42, who runs a business in Relau, was worried because there would be big trouble if the tigers escaped from their enclosures.
Engineer Penelope Chan, 28, a resident in Sungai Ara near Relau, said that if the state was able to create a very good enclosure mimicking the natural habitat of tigers, the plan would be more acceptable.
“However, the state should work on capitalising its existing arts and culture,” she added.
Student Jack Ng, 16, who lives in Relau, said a tiger park would be a good tourist attraction, adding that children today only got to see tigers in movies or on television.


Now, the tiger is our national animal, so to speak. I have always found them fascinating, mysterious and somewhat beautiful, although if the only place you have seen tigers is the zoo, then you can add extremely bored into their description as well. However, I find the idea of building a tiger park (and of all places in Penang) to be something downright absurd. First of all, Penang doesn't seem connected to the tiger is any way whatsoever. There are no forests to speak of, and a tiger park seems very misplaced. It's as bad as say, ahving a penguin sanctuary in Singapore or something.

Furthermore, tigers are not meant to be kept in enclosures, they're supposed to roam free in the wilderness, skulking under trees, waiting for quietly before stealthily pouncing on their prey. I've not heard of this tiger park plan before today and therefore have no idea what the plans are, ie: how big is the park going to be (I can't picture 40ha), or how many tigers will be in there, or what species/sub-species are going to be placed there, or is it going to be a research centre for tigers, or is it just a place to put the tigers so people can ogle at them from a safe distance. All I can say is that if the park actually materialises, I do hope it's more of a research centre, gets plenty of good funding with enough space for the tigers (instead of sad cages), and will not be abandoned due to a lack of sources.

I must say though, that the moment I saw the title, my very first thought was about the tigers escaping and roaming the streets in Penang. "Help, there's a tiger in my backyard"

News source: The star

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Creepy Ladies at Night

We receive a staggering amount of input on a daily basis, through all our different senses, and it is a wonder that none of us has crashed due to an overload, well, except some people, perhaps but that is not what this post is about. Now, the way I see things, I find that stories of creepy nature creep me out the most when they're located nearer to me, for instance, when I was a wee kid of five, I had gone to the bathroom late at night, and on the TV was a local Malay horror movie, and at that very moment I looked at it, an image of a woman with long black hair and fangs looked back at me from the screen. At the same time, the story about the sounds of animals in chains late at night in an Australian Outback (the animals were apparently ghosts), although gave me the creeps when I first read it a few years ago seems to have not much of an effect on me these days.

Yesterday, while I was reading one of the blogs I usually read, I came across the blogger's fear of monsters and things alike, which reminded me so much of myself - watch a horror movie and sleep with the lights on, or get someone to accompany you to the darker parts of the house at night, where shadows lurk. I always have this fear that if look out the kitchen window, I'd see something scary out there! The thing is, in the past few months or so, I've been scaring myself silly (with the help of G, my sister) to the point where scary things supposedly don't scare me as much, and me being the kind of person I am, offered some advice. I believe my actual words in his comment box were:

I am/was scared of scary stuff as well. There was a time when I used to sleep with the lights on because it was creepier when dark.

Anyway, I've overcome it now.. how? Scare yourself silly. Watch episodes of A Haunting on Discovery (Saturday nights,, 10 pm), or even you tube them. Overdose yourself with scary/horror movies/shows, and one day you'll realise that you're not scared of that shadow in the corner anymore! :)


Later that night, we ended up watching about 4/5th's of a horror movie, locally made about a haunted house in a kampong (the spelling here is inaccurate) which involved a game of congkak late at night. I got my first scare when a little girl started screaming when she saw an old lady outside her window. The old lady and her then became friends because of the board game, and they used to play it late at night. The members of the family succumbed to the hauntings one by one where the older daughter was possessed by a spirit, the younger daughter befriends and old lady in a game of congkak, and the mother faints in shock after the old lady shows her her face. (What happened is a mystery, and my description makes the movie sound so cheesy, but it is not... I actually enjoyed it while I was watching it with the lights on!)

I also happened to have a bad headache last night, and after I went to bed I figured I'd better take some panadol so that the pain will be gone by the morning, and guess what? I kept seeing images of the lady in my head and I had to turn on the lights to get the medicine which was only about a 15 steps away from my room (I usually have no problem moving in the dark because there is a small salt lamp outside my room)

I guess that means that my method of getting rid of getting creeped out easily does not apply to local horror. Oh well...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

By (Ahem) Popular Demand


When they say put in a pinch of salt, how big is the pinch? Or even worse, salt to taste... whose taste exactly? What if you were brought up in a household that used less salt, then what? That was one of the reasons I never took cooking seriously, plus I spent most of my adult life practicing precise measurements, and a pinch (of anything) would get you in serious trouble. What's really funny though is that we at work liken making paint to baking a cake - well, more of the mixing of the cake batter than baking, although we have ovens at work, but not for food. And yeah, we make paint... and they call the formulas recipes!

The other day Trauma Queen suggested that I follow Aunty Helpful Dictator's footsteps and include recipes for the stuff my sister and I slaved near the kitchen for (there was not enough place in the kitchen, so we made use of the dining area for some of the work!) and I figured why the hell not, although I'm afraid that our bastardized versions of the recipes might shock the purists to a certain extent ;) Please note that neither of us researched the real recipes


Bruschetta
1.What you need is basically two french loaves (depending on the size of the loaf, but we figured two will be the safest bet) which needs to be cut a day earlier so that you get a bit of the stale bread effect. If you have a bread knife then, excellent. Considering that bread comes sliced over here, a bread knife could not be found and a normal knife was used. I bet my right biceps and triceps were thankful for the little workout I gave them while cutting/sawing the loaf into 3/4 inch thick slices!

2.In typical Jamie Oliver fashion, cut a couple of cloves of garlic and rub them against the bread the next day. Lay them in the tray and drizzle about half a teaspoon of olive oil (extra virgin, virgin, or non-virgin doesn't really matter) on the bread. Heat up the oven to a 150 C. Then toast the bread in the oven for about 8 to 10 minutes depending on how brown you like your bread. We did ours for ten minutes.

3. To prepare the dressing, dice about 4 tomatoes after removing the seeds. Choose the sweet variety because they are bright red and much prettier. Chop up a few pitted black olives (I used those from the can because there were no fresh ones available) and we had to ditch the idea of using capers as well because we couldn't find them. For the actual dressing, we used a low fat ready made Italian dressing dressing because we weren't sure about the type of vinegar to use (besides, there would have been alot of balance, and we don't use it in our day to day cooking, etc) - but it saved us a whole lot of time! We used just enough to cover the surface of the chopped tomatoes and olives in the bowl.

4. Finally we chucked in 1 sprig of Italian parsley and 1 sprig of mint (after chopping them, of course) and stirred it with a fork. It kind of lacked flavour at first, but we decided against adding salt.

5. To serve, scoop up a bit of the dressing and put them on the toasted french loaf. There's your bruschetta all ready to eat. Funny thing is, on the bread, the dressing seems to much more flavourful, so I suppose it was a good point to ditch the extra salt.


Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
1. It's supposed to be baby Portobellos, but we could only find the adults... so that was it. It was cleaned (wiped dry only as the label said there were no pesticides - keeping fingers crossed, and it does seem that everyone at the party is still alive, so we're safe!), stalks chopped off and chopped finely for the vegetarian filling (my mom's a vegetarian)

2. Since we couldn't find Italian sausages (why?), we had to opt for local sausages. Looking for sausages was an adventure on it's own. We have a very famous local brand but it was nowhere to be found! Finally, a lady who was giving out samples approached me and guess what, she had sausages of all kinds! So we picked two variants - two pieces of sausages of cheese and black pepper, and some minced chicken for the filling. I am now a de-boning champion... We stir fried this over a low heat with some onions and garlic, finally adding in some Worcestershire sauce.

3. For the vegetarian filling, we added some button mushrooms, also finely chopped, but skipped the sauce because there's apparently anchovies in it. This was also stir fried over a low heat with onion and garlic

4. The mushrooms are laid out on a buttered pan, the oven heated to 180 C. Drizzle some olive oil in it (we did this to ensure the mushroom got cooked well), put a layer of tomato puree on it which is supposed to act as glue, followed by some mozarella - more glue, and then the filling. Pack it in, and add the parmesan cheese powder to hold it in, but we also added mozarella because we could.

5. We attempted two methods of cooking it in the oven. The first one was to cover it with aluminum foil so that it cooks by convection, but it ended up quite soggy (I'm anti-soggy, so I was not very thrilled by this) Secondly, we tried cooking it without the aluminum foil and it seemed to have turned out just fine, though still almost soggy-ish. This was cooked for 10 minutes in the oven, and allowed to sit and was then placed in a tray with Aluminum foil at the top and the bottom.

Both the recipes were meant to serve 13 people.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

25 Random Things

Otherwise known as "I have no Life"

So, after 2 hits on Facebook and a few hours of cumulative procrastination, this is it, the 25 most random things about yours truly which I had put up on Facebook and decided to put up here as well...

1. There are a few street lights that go off or on each time I pass under them. Even more recently, I discovered a light that went out at work when I walked under it. This will be fun until it gets repaired

2. I started using glasses since the age of 7. Since then I've broken a few, lost one in a bus and even temporarily misplaced another for two weeks

3. I got my drivers license at 18, but never really drove actively until I had to at the age of 24 when I desperately needed to and got my own car because I was a bit scared of driving. Soon after that my sister gives me the nick name Evil Knievel!

4. A group of Singaporeans once asked me if I was really a Malaysian when I said that I don't eat durians!

5. Most people who have communicated with me at some point or another would definitely end up exclaiming "You're crazy!!"

6. In March of 1999, I had 8 continuous days of disaster. It started with my wallet being stolen followed by my scientific calculator (a week before finals, mind you), was helplessly 'blind' for over a day, had a disastrous C programming assignment and had to act in a play which took up so much time. I had wanted to blog about this period in my life since 2006, but never really got to it, except the wallet story, that is.

7. Growing up, I was rather tall for my age, but I slowly ended up being of average height by mid/late teens. People who saw me last back in primary school (circa 1992) express surprise when they see me now. "I thought you'd be bigger"

8. I am horribly quick tempered but also cool down as quickly. I still haven't decided if it is something I like about myself or not. I also had a lot of anger in me when I was younger. As a result a Rubic's cube barely missed my sister

9.Which reminds me that I had never got the colours right on all the sides of a Rubic's cube

10. I am insanely scared of big and deep bodies of water. I still shudder at the thought of the raging river I crossed during a recent training in the jungle

11. I have never had a pet :(

12. I cannot stand seeing people being bullied. I feel the need to protect my parents from the horrible neighbours on the left hand side and therefore assert myself to compensate my parents giving in attitude much to my mother's dismay and as a result my sister hums the tune to Gangsta's Paradise whenever she feels like it!

13. I had walked out of a moving bus once. I assure you it was not fun.

14. I can get a bit obsessive about things. The other day, I was awake until almost 2 am tweaking a template. In 2007, I spent a few hours listening to One Way Ticket to Hell and Back for a few hours repeatedly after looking for the album for a long time. And way before that I was very obsessed about the song Baba O'Reilley that it even came in a dream!

15. Growing up as an only child for almost 5 years, I created an older sister for myself, and told about 'our big sis" to my younger sister who believed every word I said.

16. Despite having good friends in school , I did hate the secondary school I went to and its totalitarian rules which I suspect contributes to my current aversion towards authority.

17. I currently find the words "He's a nice boy" to be a bit of a turn off. Why can't they say something like "He's someone you might find interesting" A point to ponder, eh?

18. I'm a tad bit worried about the perpetual tiredness I'm facing at the moment

19. Signs that I'm under tremendous stress: The area where I think my kidneys are located hurt, so does the back of the neck, and a bit of the shoulders. I keep looking for food, patience is wafer thin and I procrastinate by thinking of random facts about myself

20. Despite the things I've said above, I'm generally amicable and have a lifelong mission to make people laugh

21. Despite the insecurities and a generally almost crappy life I lead ( I don't have one, really), I still like myself most at this age (well, the person I've become, at least) Please note that I may say something to contradict this in the future

22. At the age of 6, I fell down and hurt my head badly. There was a lot of blood that dripped onto my t-shirt which was one of my favourite t-shirts back then, and the place where I received the stitch still has a bump (and possibly a scar, but since my head is full of hair and I can't seem the back of my head, I can't really say)

23. My love for the environment began in 1992 when I sat by the window of a different school and wrote an essay titled Why I love trees. I won first prize. That also made me think that I can write, something which I really want to do.

24. I am what people in Malaysia would refer to as a coconut. I can't really speak my native tongue fluently because I have to translate my thoughts from English, find the proper word from my (very) limited vocabulary and then fit all the words in the sentence structure. And even after all that trouble, people say it sounds weird. Tough stuff.

25. My mind refuses to stay still. It is always thinking of something and never leaves me in peace. Worse is when more than 1 thought fights for attention, and I get all muddled up and confused. Sometimes, I think my body works independently without me.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Barbie and the Birthday

It was meant to be a birthday bash for a cousin who turned 21 less than a month ago, but because all families are somewhat weird in their own special way (where ours involves family members going into silent mode never to be heard from by not answering calls and declining all social events for at least a year for no apparent reason), it ended up being a little barbeque party for a 29 year old and a 47 year old! And a small cake cutting ceremony with the birthday song but no candles! (We would have needed about 76 candles!!)

Why cancel a party just because the original reason for throwin the party was not around?

So, we spent the morning right up till the evening preparing stuff for the potluck. Cutting and chopping, washing and well, working in general! My sister and I picked modified Italian food as our theme with a dish of our version of Bruschetta. Next we decided to make Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms using local ingredients (ie substituting Italian sausages with Malaysian made sausages) and making up the recipe as we went through with the process.


Stuffed Portobello mushrooms

There was a barbie pit with the fire roaring, sting ray cooked with lots of chilli made by an aunt, some jellies, one made by my sister and I and another made by my mom, and a few other things. Some music, and whole bunch of lively people, worries about work and exams forgotten for a bit

A pretty good way to spend a day...


From the top: Mom's mirror jelly, a somewhat mutilated cake

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The 29th Year

It was in the late afternoon, almost evening-ish on the 8th of March 1980 when a woman in labour was wheeled into an empty waiting room thanks to a negligent nurse. Not much later, a little baby girl was born in that empty waiting room while her family was anxiously waiting for them elsewhere. That baby was me. *Somewhere out there on a radio playing in someone's house, or in a car, or even a restaurant, one of the many radio stations would have been playing the song "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"

Many years later a few hours before she officially turns the unseen page of age 29, she sits in front of her laptop listening to some music while figuring out what to write to document that particular moment in time. It's been an interesting journey and she wonders what the final year of her third decade has in store for her. She reels back in amazement at the speed time has flown by, but she knows that she wants to make this year one hell of a memorable one... As o how she's going to make that happen, we'll just have to sit back and see.

She thinks that it's pretty cool that she shares her birthday with the International Women's Day, and co-incidentally, the bookstore in which she is a member of has decided that ladies get a 25% discount off books (only selected titles, though) until the end of the month! Her phone service provider tells her that she gets 50% off phone calls made on her birthday as long as the calls are to the same service provider. Now isn't that fun? Her only problem is that she's not very fond of talking on the phone!

Strangely she also shares her birthday with one of her country's most irrelevant politicians. She fervently hopes that she doesn't ever end up like him when she turns 70! He would have had a tremendous blow on his birthday the previous year when the General Elections were held and he lost at the constituency he was contesting in for the first time ever in his political history. For her, the previous year's birthday was spent in front of the laptop awaiting the official results of the General Elections. She also shares it with Freddie Prinze Jr.

* A little browsing around in a **website revealed that the #1 song at around that time in 1980 was "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" by Queen. It can't be denied that she is a little crazy about Queen. She also wonders if there is anyone out there who wants to share what song could have been playing at the moment they were born.

** main website

Note: Happy International Women's Day to all women and err... Happy Birthday to me!

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Internet vs Terra

She took the modem out of the refrigerator this morning, gave it a pat on the back and whispered sinisterly... "you better be in working order tonight"

Connection problems never seem to leave me. All my life (Oh, fine... the past year mostly) I've had to deal with inefficient customer service, disconnections, a broken ethernet port right after my laptop warranty is over, and in the latest "don't let Terra get on the net" attack, my modem decides to act up. I spent about 3 hours last night attempting to connect, but my adsl light kept flickering and wouldn't stay still.

Nothing worked, seriously... and as a result I went through the following processes relentlessly. Hence the three hours....

  • Patted it nicely
  • Tied the connection with rubber bands (the connection port is a wee bit loose, I noticed)
  • Turned it on and off again and again
  • Restarted the laptop (why? I don't know)
  • Changed all the wires I could think off
  • Changed them again (I had three wires to play with)
  • Plugged everything out
  • Plugged them back in and out again
  • Threw the modem on the floor
  • Stepped on the modem
  • Threatened it
  • Called it an asshole
  • Sang "Come on, come on, come on Get through it" from Blur's Tender to the modem
  • Ate a cookie (no connection with trying to get connected, though)
  • Dipped the end of the wire into some water to give the modem a shock, but curiosity got the better of me and I received a small jolt instead
Finally, I gave up at 11:20 pm. I disconnected all the wires, shut down the laptop and chucked the modem into the fridge. What is the point in abusing an inanimate object? What a waste of time... should have gone to the gym instead!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

We Sing, We Dance, We Laugh at things

If nothing has changed, Jason Mraz will be performing tonight - a concert which I did want to go to initially just for the sake of going to a concert, but it didn't pan out due to various reasons.

Anyway, there is this person from one of our sister companies whose job seems to be forwarding e-mails on our internal e-mail program, and most probably had mistakenly included me into his list (our database consists of all the names of all the people in over a hundred companies and there are two of us who share the same first name), and I figured why not share one of them. We could all do with a laugh... no matter how small :D


THE ASS FAMILY
LATE FOR WORK?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Of old fans and fishing poles

I suppose it wouldn't be too far off the mark if I were to tell you that it all began with the economic crisis of 1997. You see, it was because of the crisis that the university upped it's intake from 4000 students to over 6000 students the year I went in by absorbing the MARA scholars who were supposed to further their education abroad. It was also because of that, a dorm room that was meant for two found itself with three people.

And then there was the old fan. Not any ordinary old fan which would creak like joints on a cold day while cooling the air, but the kind of old fan that simply refused to speed up although you turned the speed to maximum. For that reason, we slept at night with the windows thrown open (after all, we were on the 2nd floor and it was a pretty safe place (university residential college) or so we thought), dealing with the consequences of having cats leaving their kittens under the bed by running helter skelter for help from cat lovers to remove cats and kittens alike!

We woke up to the 1st of March pretty early, seeing that we were first years and classes started at 8, and then there's the issue of the favourite bathroom cubicle. Always the first from the entrance. It was a bit strange seeing one of my sling bags missing. Looking out, I saw it on the floor of the ledge outside the window. As I was looking for my stuff to put into my bag for class, I noticed that my wallet was nowhere to be seen, but I was running late so I just went for class.

It was only after twelve when we went back to the dorm and we had found out that about 10 wallets have been stolen from a few of the 2nd storey rooms. Some lost quite a lot of money. All mine had was about RM7 (USD 2.15) and an ATM card, my drivers license and my Identity Card (which had a picture of me that apparently could make even the most depressed person happy again or so my friends used to say)

The thing is this person, whoever they were had took the trouble to walk around the 2nd floor ledge of the block, entered open windows and picked random wallets. Most of us are pretty light sleepers and how did anyone not know what was happening? It was a very scary thing to think about... cats we could handle, but strangers entering the room (or a strange fishing pole for that matter) was something different. What if we had been attacked? Of course we had friends from other residential colleges and faculties, and they started sharing scarier stories of rape cases and stuff, but apparently things were kept well hidden by the university. I can't say if it is true or not, but I doubt people would talk if it didn't happen.

Of course the windows were kept tightly shut at all times after that. As for the fan, we found out a year later that you could fill up a form and they'd come and change the fan for you. :p

Small note: This happened way back in 1999, and this post was meant to go up on 1st March - like a tribute to the old wallet or something, but I guess it didn't happen that way.

The picture was flicked off the Mechanical faculty's website. I couldn't seem to locate any pictures of the block I lived in but it was called M17.