Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Summing Up 2009

This year, I didn’t list down my new year’s resolution in my blog but at the back of my mind I had two main goals:
1. Visit someplace new (which is our annual goal anyway)
2. Donate blood

So with just these two targets, I must say 2010 was packed with events that became major points in my life:

1. FREE U2 Concert in Wembley
2. Visited Bali, London and Paris
3. Getting our house in PJ
4. Donated blood at last!
5. New job which is nearer to home

Now I’m listing down my goals for next year and it’s a lot longer than this year’s. Maybe seeking for a yearly miracle like this year’s U2 ticket win isn’t too far fetched? Miracles come in many forms, it’s whether you’re on the lookout for it or not.

Will share my 2010 goals at the end of next year when I do my review. :)

*Wow! Just discovered I can blog from the office!!*

Monday, December 28, 2009

Fantastic Feasts!

Merry Christmas!!


This year for Christmas, it was a bit quieter for us since the two boys aren't around. There was no Christmas tree, the Christmas presents were a bit less (see my small stash below), our family gathering on Christmas eve and Christmas morning was also quieter, with no kids running around.



For Christmas eve, Ron cooked us some Greek lamb with some very delicious potato salad and green salad. He roasted the lamb just the perfect way I like, medium so it was juicy but not bloody.


On Christmas Day itself, we headed off to Melaka and KS family prepared a feast of two succulent roasted chickens, stuffed turkey breast, smoked salmon, ham, baked pumpkin and potato, fresh salad and three bottles of Champagne.

And to make it more Christmassy, my in-laws went and bought a cute Christmas tree, complete with blinking lights! And played carols throughout the night.

After that, we walked to the Portugese Settlement to take a peek at their Christmas deco:

Notice how Aik Cheong (the local coffee) has its branding all over the place?

Anyway, we had absolutely amazing Christmas dinners. I can't quite tell what I liked best because they were all good. Seriously. Only missing was Yen and Grace + family :)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Blue Icing


A few weeks ago, one of KS’s business partners gave them a lovely box of cupcakes, the icing depicting the corporate logo of a pitch KS’s company just won. The logo has dark blue as a major part of it and somehow, the blue colouring was more potent than any other colour.

They made one of their colleagues eat the blue icing, watching in fascination as his teeth, tongue… his entire mouth, turn blue. He only realized it after they all laughed at him and tried to wash it off. He also rubbed it with tissue but his teeth remained firmly blue, never mind he had an important presentation that evening. It was only until he went home and brushed his teeth that it came out.

So when KS brought some home, we discarded the cardboard box with some smeared blue icing in the kitchen dustbin.

The next day, I noticed 3 droplets of watery blue colouring on the kitchen floor. Thinking someone had eaten one of the cupcakes, I cleaned it up and didn’t think twice about it.

The day after that, Dad asked me if I had eaten one and when I said no, he said he also discovered 3 drops of watery blue colouring on the floor that morning.

By the afternoon, we noticed yet another blue drop of colouring, this time in a tiny hardened form.

And we still haven’t eaten the blue cupcakes. We haven’t found out how this is happening, with the only conclusion drawn that a lizard had consumed the icing from the box and had diarrhea over 2 days.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Supermarket Sweep with a Twist

When we went to Paris, Ron had asked us to get him specific brands of sardines and foie gras. Before our trip, I Googled for pictures but couldn't find the picture of the foie gras tin, only the logo, Valette, which I thought would be good enough.

So we headed to the recommended Le Bon Marche on the morning we were going to leave Paris. When we walked into the food section, everything was in, well, French. But soon enough we spotted a whole shelf of canned items including the liver. Of course, we had to pick every tin up to check:

1. if it was foie gras
2. if it was the Valette brand

Most of them were foie gras alright but none of them were Valette. Then we walked around and found many more tins scattered on almost every other shelf! Grief! With time ticking, we split ourselves up, eyeballed every tin but could NOT find it!

In the end, I had to approach an employee with the only French sentence I know, "Do you speak English?" and not caring that he gave me a cold look, I plundered on to ask the availability of the brand. Needless to say, I was sent in circles to 3 other staff before I gave up and decided to just get any brand.

But then! There were so many types of foie gras! Bloc? Mousse? Puree? Entier? Less than 100gm? d'Oie? d'Canard? Anyway, after a dozen SMS-es to Ron, our little adventure ended happily with the correct tins:


After that, KS and I came up with this idea of hosting a game show similar to Supermarket Sweep. We get locals who don't know how to speak/read French (or any foreign language) as a criteria, send them into a French (foreign) supermarket to look for a list of groceries unique to the country, with a limited time.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Bragging...

Just wanted to brag about one of my London photos going into the Schmap London Ninth Edition. They found it via my flickr. Hehe...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Gift Exchange

It's the time of the year when we have gift exchanges. Over the years of receiving strange gifts which are still stacked up somewhere in a moulding box under the stairs, we have made each one give a list of 3 things that they'd like to receive (with a fixed budget of course) so that when we actually receive the item, it would be something you'd have wanted in the first place.

However, while this is most practical, most people don't like the idea of taking the surprise out of the gift. So this idea has been shelved for some time now. And we continue to receive an eclectic mix of gifts. And, as a friend said recently, why don't we have Boxing Day here in Malaysia where we can go back to the shop to return gifts we don't need?

KS has this idea of having a gift exchange after the Christmas season. You know, when you bring all the gifts you won't be using and exchanging it with others. For example, I have this HUGE rice cooker which can cook for like 10 people but I don't cook, neither do I have to constantly feed 10 people. So if I can put it up for an exchange with something more useful to me, wouldn't that just make sense?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

First Fortnight

I've completed my first fortnight at my new workplace. The first thing to note is that I really feel welcome there, with two familiar faces and good friends to ease the transition. My immediate team members are smiley happy people, very pleasant and potential to be gila folks.

Secondly, the work is something I'm familiar with. Going to a meeting to represent my boss at the last minute still had me understanding what they were talking about! It feels good to be able to nod knowingly and ask slightly smarter questions than before.

Thirdly, I love the distance to work! It takes me about 20 mins with not much jam along the way, with only traffic lights slowing me down.

And lastly, it is simply quite amazing to discover the little township there. It looks like it's been plucked from one of those old fading small towns like Kampar or Bidor with shops selling an eclectic mix of items. Thank goodness there are lots of food options there too.

So, so far so good!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Chocolate Cake Experiment

Yes, yet another baking experiment. Now the house has two types of cakes and one batch of cookies uneaten. Thank goodness my parents have guests staying over. They have no choice but to politely eat them! Muahahaha!!

This chocolate cake recipe was given by an ex-colleague last year. I never tried it because it had chocolate to melt plus it had ground almonds, uncommon ingredients in my baking larder. Until after I experimented with the orange cake and choc cookies. The ingredients were just enough so I decided to try my hand at it.

Moist Chocolate Cake

Ingredients:
200g butter
140g dark cooking chocolate
125g castor sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 eggs, separate yolks and whites
125g self raising flour
25g ground almonds/walnuts (optional)
Milk, agak-agak

Method:
1. Melt chocolate and set aside to cool.
2. Beat egg whites and set aside.
3. Beat butter, sugar and essence. Add yolks one by one.
4. Add in melted chocolate.
5. Fold in flour and nuts
6. Whisk egg whites until fluffy. Add milk until dropping consistency is achieved.
7. Bake for 60-75 mins in 25cm x 12cm loaf tin in oven at 170ºC.

Verdict:
A very non-sweet cake in my opinion. Mum says it's ok but I prefer it sweeter. Also, it didn't turn out fluffy. Hmm... I'll try other chocolate cake recipes next round.

Of Toilet Paper

Last night while we were gathered with some younger people, we had a detailed description of how we used toilet paper. Our sides were aching with laughter as one described how he folds six squares into one and uses it to wipe just ONCE. This made another person extremely curious as to how clean can this be. This followed another discussion on types of sai accompanied by shouts of laughter.

All the while, KS had his head flung back on the sofa shaking his head and wondering how a simple getting-to-know-you question of "Do you scrunch or fold your toilet paper?" had gotten so out of hand. So, it seems there are many people out there who talk about this topic.

And no wonder my brown cookies weren't very popular that night.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Well-Loved House

Exciting times ahead! We just got our new “old” house, near to my parents in PJ. The house hunting was quite an interesting process as we swung from wanting a small single storey terrace to a huge double storey, drawing up a list of requirements and finally having reality hit in our faces on what we can really afford. My Dad was terrific, scouring the papers every single day for the last 2 months, calling and narrowing down the selection so that we saw only relevant ones on weekends.

In the end, we settled for a smaller double storey unit which I first saw with my Dad at the start of our search. Actually, it turned me off at first despite Dad saying this is a really good buy! Strangely, Dad and I seemed to compare most houses with this one to a point that I had to make another appointment just for KS and Mum to see for themselves.

The surprising thing is that although it was in the market for some months with a few agents appointed looking for potential buyers, it was never sold. Houses in the same area going for about the same price or slightly less with termite infestation seemed to have buyers snapping them up in a short time.

It doesn’t face a junction plus it is very well looked after with renovations which were quite tastefully done. We figured it was because the house number is an undesirable number for Chinese, which we are only slightly worried about resale but that will be a worry for the far future. Mum just says it was waiting for us.

While another house met almost all our requirements for the same price compared to this house, this house had a “feeling”. So my house-hunting experience now tells me it’s not just about what makes sense, but what your senses make of it. KS said it feels like there was a lot of love in that house. The (deceased) father had actually built an attic for his kids to play in (how many would?), the home lovingly kept, carefully designed during renovations with no ugly pipes sticking out of the walls. Plus KS and my Mum love the kitchen floor tiles (!).

So yeah, our new home comes with an attic, a solar heater which gives hot water into the kitchen, has two gigantic aquariums, an electric gate, has ample parking outside for visitors. Just haven’t figured out where Ang Ku will be kept yet. Very excited about it!

Anyway, we don’t have photos of the place yet. Now begins the interesting process of purchasing a house.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Melaka River Cruise

Last weekend, we took my parents on a little discovery tour of Melaka. Yes, although Mum is Malaccan, the little town has developed tremendously since she actually stayed there years ago.

We took them on the Melaka River Cruise, a ride my Mum initially did not want to take "See Melaka in a boat?". Anyway, I think she was glad that she didn't miss it because the river bank has been given a facelift with new walk ways.

The boat ride took us almost 45 mins. Here are some scenes I captured along the way:

This is Kampung Morton, a beautifully restored kampung with the houses given fresh paint.

One example of the kampung house. Wish we could have stepped into one.

Common scene along the river.

The new walkway along the river.

The Red Bridge, so called because during the Japanese occupation, they beheaded thousands of locals on this bridge. During the Hungry Ghost Festival, people still pray for the souls who were lost then.

This is our local Leaning Tower, a Catholic Church that is leaning on one side. It is packed on Sundays.

Refurbished shoplots along the river, making it look like it's a scene taken from somewhere in Europe, doesn't it?

A newly built fort to add more stuff for tourist to see along the Red House area.

"Noah's Ark" - the restored Portugese shipwreck now used as a museum. Never been on it before.
Some random windmill, which they claim is exactly like the windmills you'd find in Holland.

KS said he was proud to be Malaccan after the ride. Although it was a good ride, it could be further improved by having stops along the way ie. seeing the houses at Kampung Morton, having souvenir shops along the river to encourage visitors to stop by, a stop at the small theme park, which was absolutely bereft of any visitors as we passed...

Instead, they are building a monorail along the river to compete with the boat ride. Doesn't seem to make sense.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Totally Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

With a title like that, which chocoholic could resist? Anyway, this was my second new recipe I've just tried out, taken from Nigella Lawson's site. Someone told me her recipes are easy and yummy.

So I gleefully set out, bought myself an ice cream scoop over the weekend and went crazy buying expensive chocolates in the baking shop.

Ingredients:

250g dark chocolate
300g plain flour
60g cocoa
2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp salt
250g butter
150 brown sugar
80 white sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs, cold from the fridge
A few handfuls of chocolate chips
A handful of hazelnuts

Method:
1. Melt dark chocolate (it's so easy using a microwave for this!).

2. Sieve flour, cocoa, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a bowl.

3. Cream butter and sugars. Add melted chocolate and mix well.

4. Add vanilla extract and eggs. Mix in the dry ingredients. Then add the chocolate chips and hazelnuts.

5. Scoop out the batter with the ice cream scoop and place them 6cm apart. Do not flatten them.

6. Bake for 18 mins at 170º C or until skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool slightly on baking sheet for a few minutes and transfer them to cooling rack to harden.

Some people who have tried it out commented that it turned out exactly like in the photos posted on her site. Now, seen here is the photo from her site:


See the lovely brown and round cookie? Now, here's how mine turned out:

Fat, flat and black.
It's huge! As I tried to take this shot, the cookie crumbled, it is that fragile!



Verdict:
It tastes good so far (I forced Dad to take some when it came out of the oven and he said, "Good! Anything that is fresh from the oven is good!" Cheh.) Now, as they all sit on top of one another, they are slowly conforming into a single mass of black cookie.
Still, this could be a repeat if I only knew what made it so flat and fragile.

Orange & Almond Cake

I've been baking a couple of stuff since I'm on leave. Usually, I bake the usual stuff I make so that I know there will be people eating it after all my effort. Plus, it takes me HOURS to prepare new stuff as I'm unfamiliar with the processes so I'm usually lazy when it comes to trying new recipes.

However, the free days has allowed me to experiment and I've tried 2 new recipes so far, one of which is a new cake found on http://www.lachinvasion.blogspot.com/

Orange & Almond Cake:

Ingredients:
3 whole oranges
150g castor sugar
250g ground almond
6 eggs
1 tablespoon plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

Method:
1. Wash oranges and place them whole in a pot. Cover with cold water, place over high heat and bring it to a boil and let it simmer for 15 minutes. Drain the oranges and refresh the water and repeat the process again 3 times. This took me over an hour.

2. Let oranges cool to room temperature. Remove seeds and pith. Blend oranges in blender until fine puree. Since my blender is pretty small, I chucked the orange puree into my mixer and added all the other ingredients to mix.

3. I used a 21cm round baking tin, bake in a pre-heated oven at 170 degrees celcius for 50 minutes, or until skewer comes out clean.

4. Cool cake in the pan completely before removing. It is best to leave the cake overnight to allow the flavour to intensify even further.

This is the first cake I ever baked without oil and it was such a pleasure to wash the utensils after that!

Verdict:

It came out extremely moist and had a sugee cake texture, which I don't quite fancy. Maybe if I had placed the almonds into the blender it would have been better. The sweetness was just right, although my sweet tooth would prefer it to be just a slight bit sweeter.

This cake went to Melaka over the weekend when my parents visited my in-laws. Unfortunately, since this was the first time I made it, we didn't realize it needed to be refridgerated after one day.

By the time I took this photo on Day 2, there was a disgusting putrid waft that smelt of vomit emanating from it and I was gagging as I took this photo. As I threw it away, there was mould already growing beneath the cake. Ugh!


Mum and Dad liked the cake and would eat it again. KS said it felt like he was chewing a wet blanket. I am not particularly keen on this cake either but well, let's see if there's enough quorum for me to do another one next time.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

For Pork Lovers

If you love pork, then here's a recommendation, a little place to eat called Sanbanto in SS2, Petaling Jaya. It's along the same row as KTZ, if you're familiar. They don't have many seats, the menu is limited, it's slightly on the pricey side (RM12-15 for a burger, RM38 for ribs). BUT! It is so yummy!


Check out this bacon with pork patty burger. I had a bite of it and it tasted sooo good. This is one of the Chef's Recommendations.

Seen here is another Chef's Recommendation, the pork ribs. It had generous amounts of meat and fat, which gave a melt-in-your-mouth texture, bursting with BBQ sauce and slides off the bones quite easily.

The only other comparable ribs I've had was more than 10 years ago in NZ. That one, we had bibs to help protect our clothes as we gnawed the flesh off the bones. Felt quite primitive holding the 14"-16" bone with two hands, sauce smeared all over your face, all dignity out of the window as your hunger desperately made you rip and chew what little meat there was clinging to the rib. So yeah, in terms of better ribs, I'd recommend this one. Plus you don't have to go all the way to NZ for the other.

Anyway, Sanbanto says they serve English Roast in wine on weekends. Sounds mouth-watering!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Moving On Yet AGAIN!

I’m starting a new job again, back to cards. It’s been a horrendously short span of time but the year passed painfully because I'd prefer make people spend money, rather than save. Well, almost.

While I will miss the team and the company with it’s many benefits:
• flexi hours (I come in at 9:30am!)
• free coffee/Milo & biscuits,
• Cisco IP phones (only a handful of companies use these, I swear!),
• forcing everyone to go home early on Fridays,
• Facebook connection,
• trainings on self-improvement, which is quite practical although I dragged my feet for some , (actually, one of these trainings helped me make my decision to leave)
• fantastic brand new office with a view over the KL city skyline


St Paul's Church

The old train station

KL Tower & KLCC
The famous Masjid Jamek junction where two rivers meet

Pre-war shophouses

Dataran Merdeka

And the location:
• next to a major LRT stop,
• near my favourite book rental shop,
• many wholesalers where I get my 10 large packs of Cheezels/Twisties,
• Central Market with its quirky offerings
• KS drops me off at work so I don’t drive

If anyone wants to work in my current place, I would say this is the best company to work for as they really take care of the employees. So why am I leaving???

I look forward going back into more familiar territory. I miss the friends in the industry and want to (hopefully!) slip back into my old skin.

So now I have 2 weeks off before I start. Hmm… what am I going to do besides meeting friends, running around for the house matters, watching Lord of The Rings trilogy (my annual must-do dosage), baking, FaceBook-ing, going to Melaka… okay, okay, that sounds like a pretty long list to keep me occupied.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Boomz & Shingz

KS has been absolutely fascinated by Miss Singapore 2009 and has repeatedly asked me to watch her interviews on YouTube. I must say, Miss Universe has lost it's Boomz on me since... 2 decades ago but this has got to be one of the more interesting contestants in recent years.

Anywayz, watch and learn the new Miss Singapore lexicons. Or should I say, lexiconz. And check out some essential Hokkien phrases she uses on reporters who ask about her name. I can only say she has a whole Shingz load of confidence.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

AirAsia & Us

Just to update that I posted my blogpost on the AirAsia blog on my London trip. Oh, and they've uploaded a video of both of us chanting the "Have you flown AirAsia lately?" clip, right after the professional clip done by The Saturdays. Click on Media at the bottom right and then click on the 4th video.

The Perth winner managed to escape with only him doing the talking in the next video. Cheh.

Speaking of that, U2 telecasted their concert last Sunday night on YouTube. Awesome!

My 1st Blood Donation!

At the start of this year, I told myself I’d find an opportunity to overcome my fear of giving blood. Some opportunities came by but somehow the timing wasn’t right. So when I saw some nurses setting up deck chairs at the Masjid Jamek LRT on the way to work last week, I went ahead and just did it.

Expecting to feel faint, I was pleasantly surprised to find that I was fine, just with tingly fingers after a few hours, nothing serious. So how was it? It felt great! To be able to contribute, to experience a great nurse who left hardly a scar and really, that it wasn’t as painful as feared! Just don’t look at the needle, it’s larger than the normal jabs you get.


Yay! Maybe a yearly affair?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Waikato Weeks - Uni Mate Meets

It’s been a fantastic 2 weeks with 2 uni mates who visited from Sydney and Auckland. It gave us locals the excuse to round everyone up and meet for food. One strange thing to note is that we hardly meet unless someone from outstation/overseas comes back then only we catch up. So it’s a good thing we have friends living overseas so we locals can meet when they visit.



Heck, for some locals, we meet them less often than we do the “foreigners”. Spotted here is a rarely seen creature, my ex-housemate, who’s been hiding in some cave hence his pale skin.

Anyway, for the span of the last fortnight, we have had 4 eating sessions. It’s exciting when someone has done well and it’s astounding when they remain humble exactly like how they were back in uni. So many of them are shaping up to be the movers and shakers of their chosen field. Meeting them is like being given an extra boost of adrenalin, you leave feeling energized.

Some have gone off to do out-of-this-world stuff. Kelabit Language Preservationist? Okay, he’s my uni mate’s brother, so not counted. Or wait, didn’t he do some studies in flying planes in Hamilton or Auckland? Ah, I believe every Malaysian who has a Kelabit friend is truly blessed, believe me, they’re amazingly interesting folk. Or maybe it’s just this family.

Sorry, I always seem to digress when it comes to Kelabits. Anyway, I truly appreciate these friends because from what I hear, not many uni mates still keep in touch or worse, some still hiss and scratch when they bump into each other.

So here’s a cheers to my uni mates who, after a decade, are still the same bunch of supportive, interesting and humble folks. Now go study in New Zealand while I plan when to visit the kampung of the Kelabits - Bario.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hunting

Besides travelling every weekend, we've also been busy looking for a house since we returned from our London/Paris trip. Currently, we have a lovely place in Bandar Botanic, really strategic to amenities, great jogging track along a lake, beautiful landscaping. Unfortunately, we work in KL and it takes us 1.5 hours excluding increasing tolls along the way. We tried that for the first 2 years of our marriage but found we were absolutely exhausted by the time we reached home at 10pm onwards.

So we've been looking for a house around Paramount, Sea Park, SS2, Chow Yang... somewhere near my parents, church, accessible roads to work, amongst other requirements. We've had a lot of comments from huge restoration cost to is there a real need not to be a nomad but we've really thought through about this and are quite firm on our decision.

It has been rather interesting to walk into other people's house and try to imagine what they were thinking when they built a particularly weird structure. It's also been stressful because some houses were going for really cheap that area but still beyond our budget or we would like to have some time to consider. And people were making offers within the afternoon itself!

My parents have been a tremendous help, combing through the classifieds, calling and sieving through potentials, setting appointments on weekends for promising ones. We're excited about looking for our next home but also concerned about financials.

Oh well, we just need to commit this in prayer. And if you know any houses for sale around this area, do give me a buzz.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Management Jargon

Been uninspired to blog. I usually try to keep this blog to remember happy things and it's been quite trying to look at the silver lining. Anyway, here's a Dilbert cartoon that made me laugh because I was in a meeting once where this guy kept saying exactly this:

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Rompin Raya

During the Raya holidays, we contributed to the crawl along the Seremban highway to get to the Summerset Resort near Kuala Rompin. To be honest, I thought Rompin was located to the east of Johor, but found out later that it is in Pahang, south of Kuantan. It took us 7 hours to reach there, couple with the Raya jam towards Seremban.

Fantastic billboard. Certainly caught MY attention!

Bleaarrghh...

It was a weekend away with the Youth Leaders of my church. Summerset Resort, unfortunately was a little run down. Furniture looked old and some rooms were not even cleaned, dusty floors and cobwebs. Our room had everything functioning and had a splendid sea view and could hear the sound of the waves from our room.


Loved the huge bathroom!

Room view

While the agenda was rest and relax, we had fun nights playing Cranium. Well, fun because my team won for both nights while KS had to endure two nights of defeat! Nyah nyah nyah!… his team kept getting lousy throws at the dice and crawled along the board.

Local resident

It took me a while to figure out what this sign meant until I saw the matching pair below...


And on the last day, we played paintball. Now, the first and last time I played paintball was in 1997 in New Zealand. I remembered the fear that drove me to crawl on my elbows in the mud so naturally, I was not really excited about this time around. Bah, none of my shots hit anyone. Instead, I had two major bruises on my thighs which turned purplish a few days later. Give me Time Crisis any day. Sorry, Kelvin, I know this is one of your favourite sports.

Our battle scars

It was fun getting to know some of the Youth Leaders better, many of whom I know by name and face. And of course, a good holiday getaway even though it’s so far away.

Friday, September 25, 2009

BB Creams

Sorry, I've been distracted by some silly games I'm addicted to in Facebook. And since Facebook is going through an upgrade at the moment, that frees me up to blog just a bit.

I'm just being introduced to a new cosmetic, called BB Cream or Blemish Balm Cream. Apparently it's been quite a rage since last year but only last weekend when I happened to stumble upon Cleo Magazine's Sept 09 issue on Cleo's Beauty Hall of Fame. It listed Etude's BB Magic Fresh Cool Mousse as the best BB Cream. I was like, "What on earth is BB Cream?" and it didn't help that it didn't explain what it was.

So I spent some time Googling it today and it happens to tickle my fancy. If you know me, I don't wear make up unless I'm forced to. My lipstick is now 3 years old, at least, and it's still halfway through only. So this is something out of my league.

Anyway, in short, BB cream is like a foundation/tinted moisturizer that does more than that. It repairs your skin so the more you use it, your skin improves. Doesn't it sound irresistible?

I'll be hunting it down in a couple of weeks just to find out what's the big deal about it.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

U2 360 - Magnificent

I’ve been procrastinating on my review of my U2 360 Tour Concert experience. Since this was my first time to a rock concert, there were a few things which I learnt which I’ll explain along the way:
  1. No one brings a backpack
  2. If you’re going to be standing, stand to the front as much as possible especially if you’re in a country where you’re considered short.
  3. Bring something to eat

The reason why I brought my backpack was because I had my bulky camera, water bottle (which I had to throw away because they didn’t allow people throwing bottles at the stage), jacket, wallet, handphone… well, I had everything except the kitchen sink. But I did use them! Still, I was the rare one holding a backpack looking like I just stepped out from a kampong.

It took us close to a full hour to reach Wembley Stadium from London city, passing through smaller parts of London, which was quite interesting. By the time we caught our first glimpses of the stadium, our excitement climbed a few notches higher. The stadium is gorgeous! And huge, of course. It was a sold-out night, filled with U2 fans to its full capacity of 88,000.

The Claw, rising 164 feet high, fitted just nicely in this huge arena but I can imagine if we were in a smaller stadium, it would have looked like an alien ready to take over the place. It takes 120 trucks to transport this moveable steel structure, takes about 44 hours to tear down and it costs USD50mil each (they have 3 so that they can move from one location to the next quickly). There’s a complete description of this structure somewhere on the internet but I’m not too bothered to read about it.

We chose our spots, surrounded by tall Caucasians guzzling beer. KS told me we would be pushed forward the moment the concert starts. However, when the concert started, no pushing happened as everyone politely stood where they were. I ended up doing the slight pushing because right in front of me was this couple who kept kissing and making out as soon as Bono started singing. So I had to move myself to put them out of my line of sight. Hello, I was there to watch U2, not to watch you two!

Unfortunately, U2 started off the concert with one of my less favourite songs of the new album, Breathe. I must say though, throughout the concert, I didn’t feel a wow factor, nor did my hair stand on its end like when I watched the DVDs. Perhaps the fact that we were dwarfed by everyone else which limited our views of the stage contributed to this. Still, I kept reminding myself that I was actually looking at them with my own two eyes. However, when I watch my small bits of recordings of the concert now, I get little thrills just remembering that I was there.

I can’t remember exactly what songs they played but I was darn glad they played Mysterious Ways, one of my favourites. Of course they played “Where the Streets Have No Name”, “Pride (In The Name Of Love)”, “Sunday Bloody Sunday” staples for every U2 concert. For “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For”, Bono let the crowd sing the entire first verse. That was amazing, just hearing the chorus of voices singing. They also played a remix version of “I'll Go Crazy If I Don't Go Crazy Tonight” (I just realised they have really long song titles) which was simply awesome! It gave Larry the chance to walk away from his drum set and had funky beat to it.

At one point, Bono wore a jacket that had LED lights running all over it. He also held on to a hanging microphone which swung him around the stage, much to the delight of everyone trying to reach out to touch him!

I noticed for this concert, Bono didn’t pull anyone from the audience up on stage as he normally does. Either that or I couldn’t see anything. It would have been nice to have that bit of engagement with the audience.

The two hours passed like nothing at all. Thank goodness the granule bar was enough to pacify my tummy as I didn’t feel hungry for more food, just hungry for more of the concert.

I met the other AirAsia winner, Mark, who is from Perth. He’s crazy, he had seats for the next night too, which made me wish we had our tickets from eBay for the next day too. Yeah, thinking all these while we watched the Baroque performance in St Martin’s the next day.

Would I want to watch them again? Maybe in Australia, where they plan to park one of their Claws there as a permanent concert stage. Or who knows, if I visit Grace in USA and they happen to be performing nearby…

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