Sunday, May 31, 2009

Nonsense Stories

I like telling stories. Stories that no one else bothers to remember but provides laughter during a gathering. It's like the little widget on my blog on Useless Knowledge. Hence my little stories about my family, Eric's Misadventures and nature stories like the lampreys.

So on Friday during an office lunch, I regaled the tales of Mike the Headless Chicken to my colleagues. They were disbelieving until I showed them the link.
Little did I realise Mike's Festival was just held a couple of weeks ago. Yes, they have a holiday and an event every year to mark this remarkable chicken's life.

Alas, none of my co-workers had any nonsense stories to tell me. I've already told them about how Kopi Luwak is derived, how salmons swim up the river to mate and die, some of the best of Eric's Misadventures, how fine sugar can cause an explosion just to name a few. Humph, so much for sharing.

Anyone care to share some stories?

Renewing Touch 'n Go Card

Twelve years ago, the Touch 'n Go card made its appearance in the Klang Valley. Similar to the Octopus in Hong Kong, the Oyster in the UK, Touch n' Go is used for trains, buses and car parks in the Klang Valley. I got my card about 10 years ago when the Putra LRT started intergrating it into their system, hence the design of the card.

Anyway, just about a month ago, I couldn't upload it at my usual LRT station and was that it had expired. Yes, there is an expiry to this card so bear in mind if you own one.

So I made my way to their office in KL Sentral and as I was queuing for my train, it struck me that this card has been with me constantly for the last 10 years.

The layers were peeling off at the corners, the card itself was slighly dented due to having sat on it while it was stuffed in the back pocket of my jeans, and you can tell its age by the patina. Heck, even the Touch 'n Go phone number at the back was still in seven digits!
Goodbye, dear companion. You are now stuck on some form, waiting to be destroyed. You've been replaced by this shiny brand new card. I can assure you I don't like it as much because I feel like I'm advertising for the eTiQa brand.

And by the way, it sucks that I could get back the refund for you but I had to PAY RM10 for this new card. Why do I have to pay for the card when I'm giving Touch 'n Go income by just using it?

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Book Warehouse Sale

I wasn't expecting to spend anything today but when I walked into the Book Warehouse sale at Atria, guess what I bought:

Lovely. Now I'm going to take my time looking at the photos now. On hindsight, I should have bought a picture book of Rome with explanations instead.

By the way Ron, I also got Katy Reich's Cross Bones. You can read it the next time you're here.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Three Movies

Summer movies are here! Over the last week, I watched three; Angels & Demons, Star Trek and Terminator 4.
I was terribly excited about Angels & Demons since the illustrated book hooked me for an overnight read. It was definitely a better movie than The Da Vinci Code as this was more action packed. However, the illustrated book was much more enjoyable as I got to stare at the pictures of the statues while the movie just skimmed over the beauty of the statues.

Star Trek, despite not being a Trekkie, was rather enjoyable too with surprisingly quite a few funny parts. Sylar was too close to mind whenever Spock appeared.

Terminator 4 was a different experience. We had sponsored tickets but since KS couldn't make it at the last minute, I went with Jan who was so excited at getting premiere tickets and slightly star struck that we were in a hall full of famous Malaysian bloggers.

What's more, we were allocated like the best seats in the hall. It made me realise how we've been so used to getting them that her experience made me appreciate the privilege we have been enjoying.

As for the movie, erm... let's just say I wouldn't go out to watch it again. There was too much Transformers and Matrix-ish feel to it that it didn't feel like an original.

Next up, I'm hoping to drag the whole family to watch Aliens vs Monsters in 3D. I can so see Mum saying, "Go watch a cartoon? I'd rather do shopping and meet you all later"

Thursday, May 28, 2009

English to Chinese to English

Pirated DVDs are notorious for having poorly translated subtitles but this takes the cake. This is what happens when translation is done from an English movie to Chinese and then from Chinese to English subtitles.


Monday, May 25, 2009

U2 Trip Confirmation

So I called AirAsia today and established:

1. Yes, this is for real.
2. We will be flying either on 12 or 13 Aug for the U2 concert on 14 Aug.
3. Two AirAsia staff will be following us for the duration to record our experience.
4. We can extend our stay there.

Sigh. August, come quickly! I'm going to sound like a broken record for just a bit. Promise to attempt to write about something else soon.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

My 2009 Miracle

A couple of days ago, I received an email from AirAsia regarding the U2 contest. Since I don't have access to Gmail (I can only see the first few words of my Gmail inbox via iGoogle), I had to ask KS to open my Gmail and check what it was. It was an email that said I was shortlisted as the winner and asked for my contact details.

Not wanting to get our hopes too high, we didn't think much about it. Then, as I didn't have access to Gmail for the rest of the week, I opened my Gmail only today. When I read the congratulatory email, I couldn't believe my eyes! I checked with a friend who works in AirAsia to confirm if there is such a person working in AirAsia, just in case this was some kind of prank.

Then I saw this on the AirAsia facebook site:


Saturday, May 16, 2009

Europe Travel

Since I haven't received any email from AirAsia to say that I have won the U2 contest, that means, I didn't win it. Cheh.

Anyway, I'm still pretty excited about my back-up U2 Concert/Europe trip. Never mind that the H1N1 virus is looming. That should only mean air tickets should get cheaper, shouldn't it?

However, after surfing for the best flights, I suddenly discover it is SUPER expensive to fly from KL to London and Venice back to KL (we're thinking London for a few days, head to Paris on the train, then to Venice to finish off our little tour). MAS is cheap only if you fly return KL-London-KL.

Sigh. Anyone heard of Etihad Airways? Apparently Visa Platinum is having a promo for flying to all European points. I'll have to find out more about the fine print when the travel agencies open on Monday.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Great Brownies

Last Christmas, I got my nephew a packet of Betty Crocker's Walnut Brownies. Grace then told me how much they enjoyed it and actually went out looking for it in Singapore.

Right after speaking to her on this, I flipped the papers and saw an article on brownie reviews on the best brownies in town. Betty Crocker's was voted the 2nd best. That drove me to grab a pack.

It was fantastically easy to make, of course. Just a few spoonfuls of water, some oil and two eggs. I brought it back to Melaka for Mother's Day and Yen, who was prewarned of the coming brownie, bought Baskin Robbins vanilla ice cream. We had our warmed brownie slices with a scoop of the ice cream and a dash of Baileys. Mmm... Sorry, no photos as they didn't survive long enough for photo taking.

So gila over it that I bought two more packs. Yummm...

Perak Switcheroo

Perak - What a mess. The quest to determine who the actual Menteri Besar continues with the latest fiasco of the switch between the Barisan guy to the Pakatan guy, and back to the Barisan guy. All within 24 hours.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

To See Boyle?

"We're going to London to watch U2"

"Oh! To see Susan Boyle?"

"??? Er... Why would we travel all the way to London to watch Susan Boyle?"

After repeating ourselves, my friend finally said, "Oh! I thought you said you were going to London to watch YouTube, which I thought was really strange"

Sigh. Reminds me of the U2 Top Ten List on David Letterman.

So yes, we got the tickets. We still haven't figured out how long to stay. Plus how many months we'd need to feed on grass. Of course, if, by a stroke of unimaginable luck, I somehow win the AirAsia contest...

Anyway, some trivia which I'm ripping off the Malaysian Cleo Magazine May 2009 issue p. 237 untitled "Are You Stupid?":
In a US study that compared students' SAT results - a test taken by students wanting to enter college - with their fave music, fans of Beyoncé's music came out second last. At the last spot are fans of rapper Lil Wayne. Classical music fans scored higher than anyone else. Also credited with above-average intelligence are fans of bands like Radiohead and U2. Fans of Aerosmith and Nickelback, however, scored rather low.

Jennifer Anniston Quote

I've seen this supposed quote by Jennifer Anniston a couple of times now in at least two magazines:

"I even brush my teeth while I shower" to apparently save on water and heating.

Tell me, when you're in the shower and brushing your teeth, aren't you doing nothing but stand with hot water running while you brush your teeth? Especially in cold weather, you'd NOT want to switch off that hot water and stand shivering while you brush your teeth, would you?

So, either my imagination isn't big enough or there has to be a way to brush your teeth in the shower to save water. Hey, maybe she should be introduced to the Malaysian primary school method, brush your teeth with a mug. THAT will save water.

Photography Preference

Recently, Dad and I shared photos of our recent trips to Beijing and Bali respectively. After a few minutes of looking at mine, he exclaims why none my photos had "humans" but scenery after scenery.

In stark contrast, 99% of his photos had pictures of everyone in his tour group. Never mind that pictures of the people took up 80% of the photo with a few slivers of the background to give you a hint of where they were posing in front of. "You'd want to take proof that you were actually there at the Forbidden City".

True. I mean, how can I lay claim via photographic evidence that I was actually in Bali?

However, I still prefer scenery photos. Maybe I'm reading too many photography newsletters and taking it as an "art" rather than photos for memories sake. Maybe for our next outing, I'll attempt to incorporate ourselves into the photos.

My boss concludes me as having low self confidence by not wanting to see/show photos of myself when I went through the photos at work. Probably. I wince when I see photos of myself, just like when I listen back to my recorded voice.

So just out of curiousity, what types of photos do you normally take?

Friday, May 08, 2009

Price of a Desire

How much are you willing to pay for something you want really dearly?

We're seriously considering buying General Admission (standing) tickets to U2 in London in August on ebay. The one we're aiming goes for GDP150 for 2 tickets plus shipping. That's RM800. Air tickets on AirAsia is about RM4,300. Haven't included the 12 days we have to be there to enjoy the cheapest plane tickets.

This is also because I'm still stumped with the AirAsia free U2 contest slogan. And contest ends this Sunday. Dang.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Cookie Attempt

A couple of Christmases ago, I received a lovely Christmas cookie cutter set. It sat in my cupboard, waiting for the perfect recipe for them to bring life into.

Well, I stumbled upon this recipe from Karen Cheng's blog which seemed ridiculously simple. I mean, just 4 ingredients, how difficult can it get? Plus, she mentions it took her about half an hour and I dig recipes I can double to use up one block of butter. It irks me to have different sizes of chopped butter in my freezer when I never know when I will use it (my baking bug has abandoned me for some time).

Everything was going well until I realised she mentions chucking the whole mixture into the fridge while cleaning up. Shrugging it off, I followed her instructions to the dot.

THEN! As I tried to use the cookie cutter, I realised why it needs to be in the fridge. It melts fairly quickly and while she was in Perth with cool temperatures, it is extremely hot here in Malaysia. Here's how my "stars" and "bell" turned out. They look like decapitated turtles and a triangle.

In the end, I used the surest and fastest way of making cookies, ball them up and press them with a fork. Ta-dah!!

Now I await my victim a.k.a. Jan to come back, who will surely eat these experiments. They taste like how they are meant to taste, flour, sugar and butter. I mean, she does eat cat food...


Despite having watched at least eight cartoons from the Studio Ghibli collection, when a store offered a half price for the DVD set, we bought it on an impluse. Upon closer inspection (yes, only after we bought it - smart), we pleasantly discovered we had not watched quite a few on the new collection.

So for the past two nights, we've been immersing ourselves with the cartoons. If you're familiar with Studio Ghibli, you would know that the movies are a hit or miss. Last night we watched The Cat Returns, which I thought the cat Baron was quite handsome. It was a hit on my list.

But tonight. Tonight we confused the heck out of ourselves with Tales from Earthsea. It left us with jaws agape and a "Wha... wha... WHAT??" reaction. Was she really Eternal Life that transformed into a dragon? And why were there two dragons fighting at the start? I'm so perplexed by the storyline that I'm actually trying to Wiki it to find out what it actually means.

Yawn. It's late and Wiki isn't helpful. I'm going to sleep. At least I enjoyed Wolverine this afternoon. Look out for Agent Zero. Mmm...