Friday, December 26, 2008

just a nice video for Christmas

something a little different from the usual Christmas fare... a pleasant rendition of Sleigh Ride from Relient K

Monday, December 22, 2008

something retro

and just because I feel like it, I give you one of my favorite cartoons when I was growing up



and this one too:



let's get dangerous!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Naturally!

Just found this group, another a capella group and they're pretty good! They're called Naturally Seven. Check out the guitar solo one of them does. It's pretty amazing.

Monday, December 8, 2008

almost there!

a long, hard term has come to an end, and freedom is nigh...

yes, after 14 weeks of a difficult first term - learning to deal with kids, lots of paperwork, enduring heat and humidity in the school field, we finally reach the end of term. Just a couple of days in the office for meetings and other preparations for next term, and then I get to rest at home for the next few weeks.

mind you, it's totally, completely necessary.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

on/off the plate: Sushi Zen at the Gardens Midvalley

so, I finally got to try this place that I've been eyeing for quite a while. Whenever we go to the Gardens generally I'd head on to Din Tai Fung, or maybe the Malay or Thai restaurants or even Shihlin. Finally today I got the chance to try this place out.

First, the good news. Right now they're having a promotion on their sake sashimi (raw salmon), the usual price is RM15 but they're offering it now for RM7.50. Since I love that dish, how could I pass it up? The salmon was sliced thick and was fresh enough (but not the best I've had, but it was okay). So, the salmon sashimi was great value, 7 thick juicy slices of salmon for RM7.50.

Then it all went downhill. In addition to the sashimi, we also ordered an oyako don (cooked chicken and egg on rice) and a beef curry rice dish. The sashimi came quite quickly (I mean, how long could it take to slice 7 slices of fish?). Then we waited.

and waited.

and waited.

the restaurant was far from being full, even at the most it was barely half full. Most of the cooks in the kitchen (open kitchen concept) weren't really doing much (although, I do appreciate that, if you're a sashimi chef, you wouldn't really be expected to be frying tempura and all).

My oyako don came after 45 minutes, after having to bug the waiter a couple of times. It was alright, not great, but edible at least. Still no sign of the beef curry. I was trying to eat slowly, Alice was practically dying of hunger already. So we continued to wait.

and wait.

and wait.

After ONE HOUR, we bug the waiter again. He called into the kitchen to find out what was going on. No change in kitchen activity, and there was no return of the waiter to reassure us that our food was going to come. At the very least he could have come back and told us that they were swamped and they would try to get it out ASAP? Nothing of the sort.

Finally, after one hour, we just decided to forget it and told them to cancel the order. As expected (ALL restaurants try this) they said it was being prepared, but we wouldn't have any of it, we insisted that they cancel the order and we paid for whatever we had already consumed and left. Honestly, I don't see how they could take so long just to prepare on rice dish. Even if there are technical difficulties, at least have the courtesy to reassure the patrons that action is being taken, etc.

All in all? Usually I can forgive most places for a one-off visit and generally give places a second chance. This is one place that doesn't deserve one. No second visit for me (I'll stick to Din Tai Fung, or try out Canton-i which just opened)

3.2/10 from me, and that's only because of the sashimi, otherwise it would have gotten much lower. 2/10 for service and that's only because they were at least civil and apologetic, and not downright rude like some other places.

Monday, November 17, 2008

A Capella tribute to John Williams

Something a little amusing, and more than just a little freaky!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A plea

In my head, questions, so many questions

What happened to the dreams?

What happened to the hope?

What happened to the talent everybody said you had?

You have been blessed, yes you have. A loving wife, two affectionate dogs, good parents, a comfy home, a nice car, a stable decent-paying job.

But questions, still so many questions.

What am I doing?

What should I be doing?

I don't know.



What happened to life?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Urgent! Zander missing




This cute l'il fella is missing!

He was last seen at SS1 (Kg. Tunku) area and escaped from his home (supposedly). His name is Zander and he's a wire-coat Jack Russell Terrier. He's the brother to my Kirby (well, the biological brother) and has been missing since last Wednesday (October 15th).

It's urgent, and this puppy's life is in greater danger by the day, especially now that it's the rainy season and the weather is so unpredictable. Even more dangerous are the roads (especially with the crappy malaysian drivers) and the immigrant workers who consider puppy meat a delicacy.

Please pray for this cute guy's safe return, I know the chances are slimmer and slimmer each day but I really hope that he'll be returned safe and sound to the rightful owners.

Any information or questions concerning this puppy, please do call (012) 415-1524 or (012) 770-7490. Thanks a bunch!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

on the plate - KAMPACHI!!!

Kampachi! After so many years of hearing about this place, I finally get to go, on a Sunday lunch buffet... Kampachi is located in Equatorial Hotel in KL and Bangi, and also has a restaurant in Pavilion KL.

but we went to the one at the Equatorial KL. I guess they don't have buffets all the time, only on Sunday lunch apparently.

first impressions was that it was rather messy. The dining area spilled out of the actual restaurant (due to demand, I guess) and just outside Chalet (their Swiss restaurant) and all the buffet lines were also located outside the actual restaurant.

to be honest, I had heard good things about this place many times and (probably unwisely) had high expectations of this place. Honest to goodness though, this place didn't disappoint!

starting off with some lovely fried chicken wings and corokke (croquettes), the chicken wings fried to juicy and crispy perfection while the corokke was, well, juicy and crispy too!

and then there was sashimi...
and some sashimi it was. Nice, fresh, smooth sashimi. The tuna sashimi was a little rough though, but the salmon and butter fish were absolutely lovely. Don't mind that black looking thing on the slice of butter fish, it looks like a fly but it's not, it's actually a stray piece of teriyaki sauce from some teriyaki chicken. No worries ;)

next we have some hand rolls...
unagi and soft shelled crab hand rolls. Good stuff, but nothing really out of the ordinary, honestly.

and the absolute star of the show, the teppanyaki counter. Most teppanyaki counters are standard fare, not very great (exception being Momo's beef teppayaki, but even that is mass-produced). This place had all teppanyaki made to order, and it was absolutely delicious!
the salmon teppanyaki was crispy on the outside with a nice buttery taste, while the inside was smooth and yummy and not even the slightest hint of fishiness. And the skin was crispy (yes, the place with all the Omega-3)
and the beef teppanyaki was done to order as well, I had mine medium. Pink on the inside, it was better than most steaks I've had. No frills, just the wonderful natural flavor of the meat with some butter for a bit of kick. Who could resist?

and the orange juice... pure, fresh squeezed orange juice with no sugar and no water added. They've got an industrial strength machine there that takes entire oranges (without needing to peel them) and voila! out comes natural orange juice, hassle free. I'd love to have one of those, but unfortunately, one machine like that would probably take up an entire dining table.

they've even got fresh dorayaki (Japanese pancakes) with red bean or peanut butter filling. Also made to order :)

so! The damage for two people was a lot less then I thought it would be. About RM172 nett for two people making it work out to about RM86 nett per person. Much better value than places like Shogun which serve up great variety but crap quality. Almost everything here was top notch and those that weren't, at least were on par with most other decent Japanese places.

Verdict? 8.5/10 and I'd definitely come back again. Definitely!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

argh!

unbelievable!

Mamma Mia! is coming to KL!

aaaaaaaaaaaargh!

must... go... can't... miss...

another month

and yes, I haven't updated in over a month again.

don't blame me, I've been busy

just for the uninformed, I've started work teaching music at elc International School. It's a school in Sg. Buloh following the British National Curriculum.

so far, it's going alright. Quite a challenge as it's a huge difference from lecturing at the university, but I guess I'll be able to adapt. The only thing is that sometimes the little kids drive me up the wall. If this job was supposed to teach me patience, it's severely not working! :p

also, the challenge of waking up early. Now I have to wake up just as the sun rises, whereas that used to be the time I'd be going to bed!

for all those who sent in birthday wishes last month, sorry this is late, but thank you all so much for your wishes. I'm sorry I couldn't respond to everybody personally, but do know that every e-mail, facebook post, and text message is appreciated.

for now, it's a Saturday night and a good night to be able to stay up late :) Just came back from a wedding at Parkroyal Hotel in KL. The food wasn't very impressive at all, except for maybe the fried rice. When the fried rice is the best thing at a wedding banquet, something is seriously wrong with the food!

tomorrow Jap buffet lunch at Kampachi, Equatorial Hotel KL. Sashimi, here I come!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

updates!

Okay, so I realize that it's been almost a full month since I last updated this blog. It's not that I haven't really been too busy, but I guess it was a case of being too lazy. I have plenty of research to do while I'm working from home for the most of this month, so updating blogs hasn't really been high on the list of things to do on my mind.

Anyway, lemme introduce you to a new l'il addition into our lives
meet Kirby, a Jack Russell terrier, just over 3 months old now (we got him at just over 2 months old), and a little ball of non-stop energy. He's been terrorizing Speedy, well, all the time and keeping him on his toes. At least Speedy gets some entertainment!

Anyway, for those who aren't in the know yet, I've started a job as a teacher at elc International School. (I know, the website isn't much to look at). It's located in Sg. Buloh, not too far, just off the highway so it's not too troublesome to get there. The MAIN thing that I have reservations about is the 7.45am starting. To me, as a night owl, nothing, and I repeat, nothing exists before 10am for me. I guess I'll just have to adapt to it!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

at the font conference

fun video about a bunch of fonts attending a conference



Wingdings, Futura and Comic Sans save the day!

Nobody uses Microsoft Works! Watch the video and you'll know what I'm talking about...

on the road: Best Western Seri Pacific KL

Ok, technically this really isn't on the road since it's still in KL, but it was still a trip, so it counts.

Someone was kind enough to give us a lucky draw voucher for a one night weekend stay at this Seri Pacific Hotel, located right across the street from the Mall (this hotel used to be the Pan Pacific, I think). So, of course, I'm always glad for a hotel stay, especially when it's a decent hotel (anything 3 stars & below need not apply) so despite the high occupancy rates, I managed to secure a booking for this past weekend (thank you for the voucher, aunty Evelyn!)

Anyway, the hotel is in the midst of refurbishing, and so some of the rooms were already refurbished, some were still the old rooms. Unfortunately, we could only get one of the older rooms on the 23rd floor, but it was still ok. When we reached the door, I was rather puzzled. There was no slot whatsoever to slot the keycard in. Strange. But I soon figured out that it was actually a contact card and just tapping it on the lock actually unlocked it. Pretty cool!

The room smelled of cigarette smoke. I guess it wasn't a non-smoking floor. The furnishings and all were rather on the old side, especially in the bathroom which was alright but not overly impressive. We did have a nice view of KLCC (which was nice) and the Klang river (which was bubbling and frothy and not so nice). Such a contrast, hi-tech lock on the door but old furnishings (not tastefully antique, just dated like, 20 years ago).

So, the room was okay, let me get on to one of the main highlights of any hotel stay - the buffet breakfast!

Zende restaurant is the location for the international buffets at this hotel. And it was hopping with activity. I guess they weren't joking when they said they were almost fully booked up. Anyway, breakfast was a great surprise. I've often denigrated hotel buffets in Malaysia as they have to be halal-fied, so there's no bacon or ham or pork sausage. This one more than made up for any lack of pork with some wonderful alternatives, such as tasty grilled salmon (yes, they had that!), good fish porridge, tender chicken sausages, and one of the best ever roasted baby potatoes I've had. Add to that a very good, stuffed and cheesy freshly cooked omelette, among some other good stuff, and it was a breakfast to savor. The only complaint is that I'm getting old, so I couldn't stuff in as much as I could before. Too bad!

The trip was made complete with not just one, but two trips to Pavilion KL which we hadn't been to before. One of the best discoveries was Mercato supermarket, which sells a whole bunch of stuff that I hadn't seen for years (read: since I came here from Canada). Found out that they have a branch in Hartamas Shopping Center, I'll definitely go there since Cold Storage is getting average! Oh, and also a quick lunch at Ichiban Boshi, a great Japaneses place also with the conveyor belt system. Even Sushi Zanmai can't compete with that. Again, if only it had a branch in PJ!

Anway, back to Seri Pacific Hotel...

Room: 6/10
Bathroom: 5/10 (really old shower head & fittings)
Service: 4/10 (took them over an hour to deliver a comb!)
Food: 7.5/10 (good stuff at the breakfast buffet!)
Overall: 6/10 (an average stay but not really one of the better hotels I've stayed at)

on the plate: Pasta Mania! at Pavilion KL

First time at Pavilion KL, with so many high-end boutiques (and high-end dining to match). So, where could we eat without breaking the bank?

The answer came like a shining light down on the shopping directory, in the form of a little entry called Pasta Mania!

Pasta Mania! is a Singaporean concept, serving decent pasta and pizza at good, cheap prices. We knew the restaurant in Singapore was good, but, like many other restaurants, would it survive being Malaysianized? Well, only one way to find out.

The place, surprisingly for a Saturday evening, wasn't packed, which didn't really bode well. However, what we saw on the plates of diners looked pretty good, so we ventured in. The waiter gave us menus and took our order a few minutes later. Alice was getting hungry, so I was confronted with this:

















a hungry woman is a dangerous woman. Pay attention, guys!


Yeah, Alice was getting hungry.

Anyway, we ordered a pasta, a pizza and a combo set (which was an add-on consisting of a bowl of soup, garlic bread, and a soft drink). The soup and garlic bread were okay, and the ice lemon tea that came was, well, typical iced lemon tea that you usually get bottled.

The pizza (supreme) we ordered was a small sized one, which cost about RM15.90. Pepperoni, ham, pineapples, capsicums and mushrooms, it was nice, I'd say better than most other generic pizzas due to them being a bit more generous with their toppings.
















But the real star was the pasta. There's a reason why it's called Pasta Mania, and this is it
















Alfredo pasta! Rich creamy sauce with ham, chicken and peas, oozing goodness all over the decent-sized portion. And only RM14.90. How cool is that?

My only real complaint about this place? Is that they halal-fied this place, so there's no real pork in the ham or bacon. No doubt a sensible business tactic coming to Malaysia, but it kinda kills the joy of having real bacon on your pasta. Oh well.

Anyway, all in, this is a decent place to get a sensibly priced feed, especially if you're into pastas (and to a certain extent, pizzas) without having to empty your wallet and all your spare change. I'd take this place over Itallianie's any day, any time. Locations right now are Pavilion KL, Aeon Bukit Tinggi in Klang, and some mall in Penang which I can't remember. I wish they'd open one up somewhere around the PJ vicinity.

Food: 7/10
Drinks: 5/10
Service: 7/10
Pricing: 8/10
Overall: 7/10

Thursday, July 24, 2008

on the screen: Journey to the Center of the Earth 3D

Last night we went to TGV at Pyramid (we seem to be going there a lot more now that we live relatively nearby) to catch Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D. Paid RM36 for two tickets, so it had better be good.

Anyway, the movie itself was not bad. I wasn't really expecting very much in terms of intelligence, just a wild ride, and really, that's what we got. Brendan Fraser, who happens to be pretty much my favorite actor, is, well, Brendan Fraser. I mean, how could you have a movie starring Brendan Fraser without his trademark wide-eyed, "now we're in deep shit" kinda look? The rest of the casting was good as well.

The movie does try to follow the premise of the book as much as possible, and it does, to the most part, succeed. The only way to make this entertaining without making it too technical was to make it an effects tour-de-force, and that's really what they did. Nothing much in terms of storyline, and there was no dialog that was in any way memorable, but the effects eye candy combined with the 3D glasses was really what made the movie.

If I had any grouses about the movie, it would be that it was just all over too fast. Many parts that would have been the ride of a lifetime, like the mine cart ride, the underground ocean and the T-rex chase, could have been drawn out a little bit more to make it more of an exhilarating ride. In this movie it was kinda like, "whee, this is fun... huh, that's it? it's over?" Maybe they didn't want to draw comparisons with Jurassic Park or Indiana Jones or the ilk, but this is one ride that ended just too abruptly to be honest.

Anyway, decent acting, great effects, but way too short. Bring on the Mummy 3!

Acting: 6/10
Storyline: 4/10
Effects: 9/10
Overall: 7/10

off the plate: Deli Nasi Lemak at Sunway Pyramid

before going to the cinema last night we had a quick dinner at the Deli Nasi Lemak, since Alice saw they had asam laksa and she wanted some. It's located on the 1st floor, near the entrance to the cinema

so, she had the asam laksa and I ordered a nasi lemak with beef rendang. Sadly, the asam laksa was very small and just wasn't fresh. They used canned pineapples and the soup was just dubious and tasteless. Just not worth the RM7 we had to pay for it!

the nasi lemak was okay. Also a rather small serving for the price of RM7, and the beef rendang was a small portion and was all chopped up to make it look 'bigger'. The only redeeming factor was the sambal which was quite tasty & nice.

definitely another one for the 'no second time' list.

food: 3/10
drinks: 5/10
service: 4/10
overall: 4/10

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Groove Dynasty - Ready to Fly

I may have posted this before, but it's good enough to post again (yeah, I'm getting old, I can't remember so many things)

this is a good group, I think it's a collection of some of the best musicians in Japan getting together for a concert. They're pretty good. And they have 5 drummers. Count them - 5



I really love the electric guitarist on this video. He's so exuberant and his excitement is infectious, with a wonderful bright, clean tone which seems rather rare *squinty eyed glare at Max*

Beaker "sings" Ode to Joy

an absolutely awesome video of Beaker, Beaker, Beaker, Beaker, Beaker, and Beaker.

watch it and you'll know what I mean.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

off the plate: Station Kopitiam at Cineleisure Damansara

Just before going to catch Hellboy II, we decided to try this place at Cineleisure. At their entrance they display a whole range of their dishes which is quite extensive. It's located right beside Luca's Pizza, which we tried before and was quite bad.

Station Kopitiam serves mostly regular local food, like varieties of fried rice, fried noodles, rice with dishes, and some basic western food. Surprisingly, they also serve stuff from the Mr. Teppanyaki next door, so I guess they're under the same management.

So, we had a serving of beef noodles, and a mixed beef and chicken teppanyaki. The service in the first place was quite mediocre, the server was mumbling and we couldn't really make out what he was talking about. Then when the beef noodles finally came, it came without cut chillies which usually accompany this dish. Asking for the chillies took quite some effort, with one waiter forgetting altogether and when it finally came, it came without any soy sauce that it's usually soaked in. The beef was hard and was definitely not fresh and the serving size was rather puny.

The teppanyaki fared slightly better, although by the time it arrived, we had already finished the beef noodles. At least this one was edible, although it arrived with no sauce or gravy or anything either.

This place is definitely a place where there will be no second time.

Food: 3/10
Drinks: 5/10 for some okay tasting barley and some cheap sachet of green tea
Service: 2/10
Overall: 3/10 and we're definitely not going anywhere near that place again

on the screen: Hellboy II

2 hours of madcap madness from Guillermo del Toro? Bring it on!

Last night we went to watch Hellboy II at Cineleisure Damansara. With all the other movies that are out right now, Hellboy II wasn't really high on my list of movies to watch, but it was one of the only movies that was showing at a later time because some preview of the Dark Knight was taking up most of the cinemas -_-

Anyway, the movie was just alright. Nothing much to shout about, with some action, few laughs, and not much of a storyline. Couldn't fault the special effects, but good effects does not a good movie make.

So where did those two hours go, anyway? The storyline was insipid at best, while the acting was decent, all the characters and especially their powers were criminally underused. Why does Liz Sherman need a gun when she can shoot fireballs from her hands? So much more effective. And throughout there are only 3-4 actual action scenes. I left feeling nothing for the characters nor for the action or storyline. Maybe if there weren't any other movies to watch and if it were cheaper tickets, I wouldn't mind so much, but paying RM24 for such insipid fare while there are other, better flicks out there is just not my cup of tea. However, there were some nice rides so it wasn't a total washout. A scene where Hellboy and Abe Sapein are singing Can't Smile Without You while drinking their sorrows away is especially delightful.

Verdict
Story: 5/10
Characterization: 4/10
Action: 6/10
Effects: 7/10
Overall: 6/10

On a side note, which blooming idiot at Cineleisure Damansara decided to schedule for like 6-7 cinemas to end their movie screenings at the same time? That created a massive jam, at the escalators, auto-pay machines, and in the car park. You can generally have movies start at the same time, cause people will come at differing times, but having several movies end at the same time and with the awkward parking system at Cineleisure just makes for a bad idea.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

this one's for the dogs

Looking around for appropriate food for our doggies, we stumbled across this website, Dog Food Analysis. Basically what it does, is to analyze the contents of every kind of dog food they could get their hands on, analyze it and review it according to its contents (and for many of them, experience as well).

It's scary sometimes finding out about supposedly 'premium' dog foods that actually have crap content (including the pet food scare involving Eukanuba and some other brands recently). I was at the Pet Safari at Ikano recently looking around and overheard a couple looking for pet food, with an employee guiding them around. He was showing this food and told them it was RM26 for a 3kg pack to which they replied "oh, that's too expensive". Wow, if that's expensive, I wonder what crap they feed their dogs.

To put it in perspective, we feed our dogs Orijen and Eagle Pack Holistic. For the 3kg pack, Orijen costs RM50 and Eagle Pack about RM60. I know it's a big expense, but if you love your dogs, you wouldn't feed them crap that kills them, right?

What a life to be a dog. They eat even better than we do. They get premium organic & holistic stuff, we eat... mamak food, fast food burgers, cheap economy mixed rice, hawker food... to be a dog in a good and loving home is really living the life - eat, sleep, poop, play... what a great deal, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

all these ... things (or applications, as they call it)

on Facebook...

Actually, I enjoy Facebook. I'm not obsessed with it like many other people, but I do check it regularly and enjoy being able to communicate with friends, and once in a while challenge them to a game of something or another. Plus, I love the Superpoke application.

But some of these applications are plain annoying. So, they get you to take some questionnaire, to determine what animal you are, or what instrument you are, or what kind of tool you are. Fine. However, what really annoys me is the audacity of some of these applications to demand that you invite your other friends to participate in these shenanigans before they show you the results. End result in my case? Just hit "cancel" and log out of Facebook.

I strongly object to being forced to inflict all these applications on my friends just to get the end result of some silly questionnaire. It's just not ethical. I would only invite friends to applications that I think they would enjoy using, and if I feel that nobody would like it, I invite nobody.

the dog winds

Speedy farts

especially in the car

and it stinks

AND HE SMILES ABOUT IT!

although, I never thought that anyone would come up with the idea of coming up with a website with this URL.

on the plate: MAPs barbecue at my home!

Last Saturday we had the MAPs people over at our place for a training session for the whole day and then to have a barbecue at night for dinner. This was the first barbecue we've had since we moved into our new place, so it was quite an anticipated event, at least for us. I spent quite a long time marinating and preparing all the food over the couple of days before that, so I was hoping that it would turn out alright.

So! With hickory wood chips and fresh rosemary sprigs added to the fire, things were smelling wonderful and tummies were getting hungry. As usual, I don't have pictures as I don't have a camera, and HP imaging sucks, and I really means sucks hard, especially at night.

Let's go through the menu...

Tequila lemon prawns - 4/10 - alright, but not really enough flavor to really make much of an impact. Also they ended up rather small after cooking. Maybe next time more lemon and bigger prawns.

Whiskey'ed chicken wings - 6/10 - also okay, tasted decent enough

Bacon wrapped chicken parcels - 7/10 - when barbecued, quite good with the bacon adding wonderful flavor and with cheese and herbed butter inside the chicken. Leftovers which were baked instead were woefully dry

Marinated peppers & mushrooms - 7/10 - marinated in olive oil and herbs and then barbecued. They were quite a hit

Roasted potato & pepper salad - 8/10 - by far the best thing that I made that night. Roasted potatoes, roasted peppers, boiled eggs and celery in a rich, creamy dressing was just simply wonderful. I gotta make that again sometime.

Things I didn't make were the sausages (cheese sausages from Ayamas, quite good and gooey when done well), and the lamb (bought from Cold Storage and Jusco. One of them does their marinade really, really spicy, but I couldn't tell which one it was. They were not too fatty and tasted good)

Friday, June 27, 2008

on the stage: Beauty & the Beast

at Kuala Lumpur Convention Center

Finally, a musical of worldwide acclaim comes to Malaysia (let's not even talk about Cats, which is feeble at the best of times). This is momentous because most musicals of any note or quality go straight to Singapore, and bypass this place. Possibly due to censorship issues, red tape, and probable demands for bribes & handouts from politicians and customs and immigrations officials and their kind.

Anyway, Beauty & the Beast is running at the Plenary Hall of the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center for the next week or so, I think most tickets are sold out by now. We got the RM250 tickets, but with the CIMB credit card we got a 20% discount on the tix.

The venue was a nice and large one, but we had to sit quite far away from the stage, so we couldn't really see the actors very clearly. At least the view was unobstructed. Air-conditioning was adequate but the foyer area was rather too small to handle such a large crowd of people.

The story is quite obvious, it's the same as the Disney movie (this musical is also produced by Disney). So I'm not going to bother going into details about it here. They just had to add additional scenes and songs to extend the production (you wouldn't pay hundreds of $$$ just for a quick 1 1/2 hour show, would you?!)

For the most part, the production was alright. Definitely not the standard we'd expect from an international production. The sound system was poor, highs were overly amplified, bass was not sufficient, and voices cut in and out occasionally. The balancing between voices was also quite poor. Sometimes one voice would overpower the others.

Acting was average at best as well. Nothing overly stood out in terms of the acting quality. The choreography was really poor, while the stage was really too small to hold something of this caliber and magnitude. It really caused problems with the movement and I think really stretched the audiences' suspension of disbelief.

Let's see, what about the music? It is a musical after all, and a Disney musical to boot. I'd say that the music was also very average. The actors for Belle, the Beast, Lumiere and Lefou were alright, but Gaston was really unsuitable and underpowered for the role, and he tended to fudge the higher notes (and he was definitely not ripped like the real Gaston! He actually looked kinda scrawny). Besides a few real instruments like the trumpet and double bass, most of the orchestral parts were synthesized and it really showed, especially in parts like the strings. Also, many of the songs were done too slowly, resulting in a very insipid tempo and performance.

All in, it was a good experience to finally get to see this (after 14 years, this debuted on Broadway in 1994) but it left much to be desired. I wish we could get some good musicals with some actual quality. This production really wasn't actually worthy of the Disney name, and certainly didn't live up to the standards that Disney would have required from their Broadway or West End productions.

Venue: 6.5/10
Acting: 6/10
Orchestra: 4/10 *fail*
Choreography: 3/10 *fail*
Sound system: 2/10 *fail*

key roles
Belle: 7/10
Beast: 8/10
Gaston: 2/10 *fail*

key songs
Belle: 3/10 (much to slow to be effective) *fail*
Gaston: 1/10 (really, really insipid performance) *fail*
Be Our Guest: 2/10 (really disappointing and bad choreography) *fail*
If I Can't Love Her: 8/10 (really the best performance of the evening)
Beauty and the Beast: 6/10 (ok performance by Mrs. Potts)

overall: 5/10

P/S: yes, folks, I did bump into people I know there. As many of you say, it's inevitable.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

brush wash wash

don't hate me, but

this song is just too addictive!



it just won't stop playing in my head!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

it's here!



oh...

my...

goodness...

HTC Touch Diamond...

I'm speechless.



irrational desire to own this developing fast

Monday, June 16, 2008

on the road: Club Med Cherating Beach

last weekend we got to have the Club Med experience at Cherating Beach, courtesy of Shell IT International's desktop team. Yes, perks of working at a large multi-national. Altogether, over 600 employees and their spouses got to go on the trip, fully sponsored. Not too shabby!

all this included a little goodie bag (but only for the employees) which included a weekender bag, Club Med t-shirt and a brand new iPod Shuffle (good perks, in my opinion). So my wife gets these freebies. Nothing for me, but hey, a free holiday, who's complaining?

6 buses were provided for the journey, in addition to the many who chose to drive on their own. Many people decided at the last minute to drive on their own, and neglected to inform the organizers that they would not be taking the bus, making everybody wait and the organizers had to call them to check if they were coming or not. WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PEOPLE?! Don't they have any sense of responsibility or remorse? Making everybody wait for over an hour for no reason is not a good thing to do.

All in, the bus journey took about 5+ hours. Rather tiring. Leaving Cyberjaya at about 10am, we reached Club Med at about 3pm after a 45 minute break along the way.

Club Med is an all-inclusive resort where all your meals, drinks, entertainment and activities are included in the price of the stay. So, every meal is a buffet meal (breakfast, lunch & dinner), drinks at the bar are free-flow and absolutely free and you can participate in kayaking, sailing, archery, golf, rock-climbing, all free of charge.

The place is at a gorgeous location along Cherating Beach (near Kuantan on the east coast). They have their own private stretch of beach, and it's kept pristine clean by the resort, pretty nice compared to the filth we normally find on typical Malaysian beaches. Just to give you an idea of what we're talking about...Sorry... HP imaging...

anyway, it was very enjoyable, with a nice swimming pool as well (as the sea is sometimes too rough for swimming), and GOs generally pretty cheerful and helpful.

Yes, the GOs. Short for Guest Officers or something like that, they are mostly young people from around the world (probably taking summer jobs) and they man stuff like the retail shop, reception, bar, and the various recreational activities.

Every night there's a show put on by the GOs, so the same people you see at the bar or at the archery range during the day are then dancing and acting at night.

Like I said, every meal was a buffet, and they have a very wide selection of food. Roast meats at the carvery, Japanese, Korean, Italian, European, local, Chinese, kids menu... just a huge selection of food to choose from. Most of the noobs kept to the Chinese section which offered stuff like char koay teow, or yong tow foo, etc. We avoided that section, mainly because it was too crowded, but also, unless it was exceptionally good, what's the point of eating the same stuff you eat almost every other day? It's mind boggling when there's a bewildering array of other food around.

The food was hit and miss, however. It's to be expected of most buffets, especially of this magnitude, that some items would be sub-standard and some would be quite good.

The main problem I had at the place, besides the fact that it was just too crowded with Shell people, was the air-conditioning. It's a hot and humid season, and for the most part it was just too hot to be anywhere (although there was a nice breeze at the beach itself). The room air-conditioning was quite poor, without any temperature control, and although the room itself was nice and cosy (with the smallest bathroom I've ever seen in a high-end place) with a nice and very comfortable bed, the heat was just too much for the air-conditioning and the only place of refuge was a very nicely cooled lounge right next to the bar. Perfect :)

All in, Club Med Cherating Beach is a nice place to go, they really just need to do up the air-conditioning properly. Other than that, no complaints, it would be a great place to be with a small group of friends. Going with 650+ other Shell employees of which we didn't really know that many wasn't a very fun time.

Beach: 8 (out of 10)
Food: 6
Rooms: 7
Air-conditioning: 3 (only the lounge saves this score)
Activities: 6
Entertainment: 7
Overall: 7 - I'd go back again (if I could afford it), this time with a small group of friends, preferably.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

making sense

it is just me, or was CSI:LV last night just completely whacked?

3 separate cases, which turned out to be completely interlinked, people with green blood, spontaneous combustion, and to top it off, a completely delightful appearance by the guys from the Mythbusters team! I guess they were there for the spontaneous combustion experiments. Good stuff.

What sobers me is the prospect that another CSI team member is gonna leave the show. This time for good. Yes, CSI:LV is killing off one of its members, quite shocking and unexpected. I mean, Sara was kinda always with one foot out the door (and half unhinged anyway) but this is really sudden. For those who don't know who it is yet, keep watching. It will come in a couple of weeks.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Langkawi trip

last week my wife's cousin came back from the US and so the entire family (my wife's parents, siblings, cousin, uncle & aunts, nephew & nieces) all went for a holiday at Langkawi

We stayed at the Sunset Beach Resort, which is a nice little boutique resort on Pantai Cenang, on the west coast of the island. Squeezing everyone in a Toyota Hiace van proved a bit of a challenge (11 adults and 3 kids) but we managed to putter around with that.

The resort was a nice quiet place that had a clientele of mainly western tourists, some of which stayed there for weeks or even months. That is, quiet until our family descended on the place (true to their Hakka origins). I hope none of the other guests were too put off by our presence. The rooms were basic, having an air-conditioner, hot water shower, a mini-fridge and a tv (although ours was spoilt, we didn't really care as we don't watch much tv anyway). No shower screen to prevent the rest of the bathroom from getting wet.

Breakfast at the resort was basic but okay. It consisted of fruits and toast (both unlimited), and 2 eggs with half a sausage (yes, I know, half a sausage is rather pathetic). Sunset Beach Resort has access right to the beach, and the breakfast place is right next to the beach, so it's nice to have breakfast while watching the waves crash on the beach.

The beach itself is ok. Being Langkawi, there's the odd occasional alcohol bottle strewn about but other than that, it's relatively cleaner than most other Malaysian beaches (which isn't saying much, most other places are cleaner than Malaysian beaches). We had fun hanging around in the water and waiting for the waves to come crashing in and jumping with the waves. The downside was that the water was quite sandy and everyone would get sand in their swimming costumes.

Food, as expected, was expensive and the first few meals were disasters. The first meal which was a lunch in Kuah town cost us over RM300 and didn't have anything much, and wasn't very good either. Dinner which was down the road from the resort wasn't much better, and by the second day some of us were really fed up with Chinese food (although, some of the older ones only ate Chinese food, and the kids were extremely unadventurous and picky). We managed to celebrate Father's Day on the second day when we went to another restaurant which was also managed by the Sun Group, which was called Sunvillage Grill (adjoining Matahari Malay Restaurant). The funny thing was that only 3 people ordered stuff from the grill, whereas most people ordered food from Matahari (since they're managed by the same company, they allowed cross-ordering). I ordered the surf & turf, craving for a nice steak. What came was okay but quite a disappointment. The steak came all chopped up and probably griddle fried, teppanyaki style. The shrimp was okay but the potato salad that came with the meal was rather good. The Malay food there was pretty good as well, and came in abundant portions. By the end, nobody was able to move.

We also went adventuring and ended up at Sun Cafe (also by the Sun Group) which served international food. We had desserts there two nights out of three and they were good. Chilled lemon mousse cake and crepe suzette were good there. Second night we went back there to have the same things again.

On the third day, since it was more of a free and easy day, some of us younger folk went to adventure further and went to L'osteria, an Italian restaurant nearby. The pizzas and pastas there were pretty yummy! Although the pizza bianca (with smoked salmon and rocket lettuce) was an acquired taste.

We went to Underwater world as well and it wasn't really as good as previous years, mainly due to the fish poisoning case last year, I guess they hadn't restocked everything yet. It was quite unpleasant as well with many Malaysian kids running around and screaming their heads off. Can't Malaysian parents just take care of their kids and not let them scream all the time? Kids littering, banging on the display glasses (and stressing the fish) and worse, the adults were doing it too! And using flash photography! Are these people actually educated or did they just buy their way through school?

Dinner on that last night was some decent Chinese food (finally!) with some really huge mantis prawns! Although it cost about RM420.

One final note, this was the only time I actually semi-enjoyed flying with Air Asia. The reason being that normally Air Asia flights are overly crowded and without any seat assignments, everything goes chaotic when it's time to board the plane.

surprisingly good, surprisingly bad

I've been busy the past couple of weeks. Will try to update as much as I can in this session.

a couple of weekends ago, my parents wanted to go to a place in Puchong called Shabu Shabu. Shabu Shabu means swish swish in Japanese, in which you cook thin slices of beef in broth. This place doesn't really fit the description, but, hey, it was pretty good.

Shabu Shabu is beside the Bandar Puteri Giant, I don't know the address. For RM25+ you can opt for the buffet, with which you get your own pot of broth, and you get to take plates off the conveyor belt ala Genki/Sakae Sushi style. They've got various meats and vegetables that you can choose from. I immediately thickened my soup with cauliflower, onion and egg, which made it wonderfully flavorful and thick. I then proceeded to fill it with all manner of beef, mutton, chicken, pork, and various meatballs and crab sticks and vegetables. The deal also came with drinks, which was good value for just about RM27 nett or so. I'd definitely go again!

Conversely, on Sunday went to Bubba Gump for lunch after church with some friends. We were seated outside in the corridor as the tables inside were all taken up. We seated ourselves (first sign of bad service!) and were not given any menus. I had to peep around the corner and signal to the girl at the front desk for menus. After we were ready to order, I flipped the sign (either Stop to get the waiter to stop by your table for service, or Run to tell the waiter not to disturb you) to Stop, and waited.

And waited

And waited

finally I managed to get the attention of the girl at the front desk again, she asked another waitress to come and see what we wanted. I told her we wanted to order, at which she replied "oh, I'll get your waiter".

What?!

Okay, if our table has an assigned waiter, how come we hadn't seen him for the past 15 minutes?

Anyway, the waiter finally came, took our orders. One of the huge disadvantages of Bubba Gump is that they don't have any cheap drinks. Not the bad quality ones, mind you, I mean casual drinks like Coke, or something that's not as pretentious as all the expensive ones they have on offer. So waters all around. The waiter also made some feeble attempt at entertaining us with some trivia from Forrest Gump (which was nowhere as well presented as the first time I went).

The food finally arrived. May's Lt. Dan's fishwich was not good (according to her). She chose the charbroiled fish which was nowhere near as large as the bun it came in, which made it look rather bad and substandard. Neo's hamburger looked much better and smelled good, but he said that it was salty in certain places and only so-so.

I had the clam chowder which was excellent as usual, and the Dumb Luck Coconut shrimp, which I really regretted ordering. Now, don't get me wrong, it tasted very good, but paying RM38.90 for seven shrimp and some fries and a bit of coleslaw just isn't my idea of value-for-money. For RM44.90 I could have ordered the Shrimper's heaven, which would have included coconut shrimp, and various other types of shrimp, much better value.

And onion rings were excellent! That's at least one thing that is consistently good

Anyway, in a nutshell... the food was okay and the service was absolutely terrible, something that really surprised me. I think I will swear off going to Bubba Gump in the daytime and stick to only going at night, when the service I had twice was very good.

Monday, May 26, 2008

the Gump has descended!

Obviously a shameless effort to capitalize on a popular movie, Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. is the latest franchise to arrive on Malaysian shores. Taking a good idea from the movie - shrimp is the fruit of the sea - Bubba Gump is a good old fashioned American style restaurant that emphasizes on... what else, shrimp!

Alice and I went there for our anniversary on a Saturday night. The place was quite packed and we couldn't get reservations in time, so we had to do a walk-in. The front door guys told us it would most likely take about 30-45 minutes, took down my number and promised to call me when they had a table free. We returned after 30 minutes and sure enough, the guy was just about to dial my number as a table had just been freed up.

So far, so good, the restaurant takes up two floors in a section of the Curve. For the uninitiated, it's on the 1st floor, opposite Marche, although with the bright neon lights it's kinda hard to miss it.

The menu does have a whole lot of shrimp dishes, but also fish, beef and chicken. We had the Run Across America sampler, the Bourbon Street Barramundi and a side caesar and clam chowder.

Sorry, no pictures until I can get my digital camera! Blame HP imaging for putting a crappy camera in that model of phone. Bah.

The Run Across America sampler was rather huge, it had a selection of several of their different appetizers, including fried shrimp, hush pups (kinda like a croquette made of shrimp, fish, potato and corn), buffalo chicken strips, chilled shrimp and a great spinach & artichoke dip with corn chips for dipping. The dip was excellent and so was the shrimp, but the buffalo strips were just a tad too sour and spicy, they kinda overdid it with the sauce.

Bourbon Street Barramundi came with two decent sized pieces of the fish, on mashed potatoes and with a Bourbon-based creamy sauce and grilled shrimp. It was excellent for the most part except for the fish being slightly fishy in the middle. Could not fault anything else about it though, as the dish tasted excellent and was filling (and I love mashed potatoes!)

The side caesar and clam chowder was a big, big surprise. The side caesar salad was as large as most other large caesar salads at other places. I don't even want to know about what the regular one looks like. It was plain, though, but tasted good. The clam chowder was very good, bursting with clams and potatoes and goodness, and they even served good crackers to go with the chowder.

Drinks were innovative but limited in selection. We had a mango sparkler (sort of like mango juice with soda) and something called a spotted lemonade, it was lemonade with either strawberries or blueberries. Of course, we had strawberries with it.

After all that, dessert was out of the question, so strawberry shortcake will have to wait until next time.

While we were waiting for our food, one of the waiters came and entertained us with trivia questions from Forrest Gump. The waiter then went off to check on our food, good service. In fact, this was one of the very few times I felt compelled to actually tip the waiter on top of paying the service charge, just because his service was excellent.

The atmosphere is quite casual and fun, rather ala Chili's and Friday's. They have the movie showing on screens and all the decor is inspired by the movie itself. Even the paper they serve the food on is a fictitious paper from the movie. They even have a souvenir shop just outside the restaurant selling t-shirts, magnets and stuff related to the movie and the restaurant. The glasses are nice, you can buy them from the shop or in the restaurant, just with paying a bit extra you can bring home your glass that you had your cocktail in :)

All in all, it was a pleasant experience despite the crowds (once inside, it didn't feel crowded for a single moment) with great food, and good service. Since Friday's has gone down the drain, and Chili's is getting rather mediocre as well, this is probably my new favorite place for casual dining. The bill for both of us came up to RM127, pretty okay since we kinda splurged on the food.

P/S: while we were there, we saw the serving of onion rings. It was enough to make me salivate. A whole stack of large, thick cut onion rings piled almost a foot high. Will try it out when I go again.

Overall, I'll give it an 8.3/10 and I'll definitely go back again, hopefully before it starts going downhill like most things that are Malaysian-run...!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Giant Kelana Jaya Quali food court

is bad. Actually it looks decent. Until you actually taste the food and experience the service.

had stomach problems after that. Rather not go back there again.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

stop this unmusical madness!

if I hear Sean Kingston's Beautiful Girls one more time on the radio...

that has got to be one of the most annoying hooks ever written.

makes you soooooooooooicidal >:(

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Friday, May 16, 2008

annoying! annoying! annoying!

Sometimes people really make the internet a really annoying place to visit. These people seem to care only about themselves, and impose their views and opinions on a long-suffering public and the internet seems to make them more bold since now they can reach a greater audience. I see this quite often in Malaysian-based forums, for some reason.

I used to, for a while, trawl and participate in a forum at puppy.com.my. They do a wonderful service there, from sharing information about training and caring for your dogs to spreading information about dogs for adoption, etc. Suddenly one of the members went crazy and started accusing another two of being dog abusers, liars, running puppy mills, etc. The thing is that I know the person who was being accused personally and I know that she's not doing anything of the sort. But this earlier person kept up the vile accusations through almost every topic in the forum that she could post in, leading to a lot of threads having to be deleted by the forum moderator. In addition to that, a lot of the members overreact to stuff. When a newcomer comes into the adoption forum asking for a pedigree purebred, when happens is a lot of the regular forum posters flame the newcomer, often until the newcomer just leaves in disgust or starts to fight back. One even went to the extent of accusing the newcomer of flaming simply because he/she dared to answer back and say they meant no harm. To me, that really constitutes a breakdown of logic. Needless to say, I don't go there much anymore.

Another time was when a friend of mine did a webpage for one of the telcos here. He published this fact in his blog, which got him a reprimand from the telco representatives (which he promptly removed, which is to his credit. I know, it's a matter of professionalism to not reveal who your clients are in some cases). Everything seemed fine as he removed that post from his blog and the telco was satisfied with the end result. However, in this forum, some idiot named kit**** (real name suppressed just in case anyone does some search and decides to flame me) who is a staunch supporter of this telco and some mobile phone dealer in Penang, decided that my friend was a fraud and decided to call him an asshole in the forum and keep flaming him, and made some very grand claims that he had no right to make. I have no idea what this guy had against my friend, but most of the peons in that forum believed this idiot anyway since he was a well-known and established contributor. I reported him to the forum moderator as he was using a lot of abusive language, but all I got was an acknowledgment from the moderator stating that my complaint had been received. Most likely the idiot got off with no punishment at all since he was probably in cahoots with the moderators and stuff. No justice.

And just recently I find this gem. Searching around looking for information about the latest craze in spas, which is a fish spa, I find this conversation on someone's blog. They had just seen a fish spa being promoted at a new place, and they were writing about it. Most people were commenting saying that they dared not try it because their feet were smelly, etc. This idiot named wayne shows up and starts accusing the blogger of setting up a business that uses imitation fish (!!!). The blogger calmly says that he/she wasn't running the thing, just commenting on it. This Wayne dude continues to slam everyone, saying that they are employees of the fish company, they are using imitation fish, etc. And everyone else is just trying to have a normal conversation. To top it off, he contributes this gem of material:

"Is that what you mean? FISHO is practicing unethical business here. In China, people are not knowledgeable to condemn this Chin Chin because they do not know what Garra Rufa is all about, but remember, this is MALAYSIA, more intelligent people that can speak and read ENGLISH. If you are having another comment on their side, you are confirm FISHO personnel and trying to protect yourself. So, Abchye you want to be a smart consumer or a stupid consumer now? Think about it…….."

Firstly, like I said, anybody who dares to say anything that contradicts him is against him
Secondly, his concept of English is rather flawed, I think it really brings shame to Malaysians if he feels that he is championing Malaysian English.

Not convinced yet? Check out another gem contributed by this joker in the pack.
"Well, i think you really need to read more and do more researches on Garra Rufa before you telling all the nonsense here. Also, if you do have the money travel to Turkey and find out the reason of Garra Rufa is being used in Fish Spa and not the Chin Chin (Tilapia Fish) which simply claims it can nibble and call it Doctor Fish (use Gold Fish instead, is more colourful and nice). Is the Tilapia Fish being used here has any scientific proof of healing? show us if you have... Garra Rufa named Doctor Fish by the industrial experts and professors, but Chin Chin try to steal this name."
and
"I’ve been an expert in this fisherie line for so many years, your tilapia fish can’t lie to the world. Someday, it will definitely surface. Before the day, we all fisherie industrialists wish you could con as much money as you could from the public."

Flaming idiot. I really hate those who just try to antagonize everybody by their brainless words.

I could go on and on, but I think that I've ranted enough for now. photos of Chiang Mai later when I have the time to post them!

Malaysian politics... meh again

I've generally held a rather dim view of Malaysian politics. Many politicians tend to shoot themselves in the foot, sometimes promising one thing and then not delivering or delivering something different altogether, or say the silliest things.

The recently concluded Parliament proceedings proved a point. They show the first half hour of the Parliament meeting live on television, and you would expect the peoples' elected representatives to be on their best behavior in front of the entire nation. Nothing could be further than the truth. They were bringing up trivial issues and blowing them up out of proportion, calling each other rude names, and generally making a nuisance of themselves. This kind of childish behavior can be excused for elementary school kids, but I hardly believe that elected representatives of the people (who, I might add, are paid a hefty salary from the peoples' taxes) are acting like 7 year olds.

On the bright side, it didn't break out into fisticuffs like the Taiwanese Parliament, but that brings an entire new level of childishness into politics, and we won't get into that here.

So, what are we paying these politicians for? To sit in Parliament and call each other names and talk about trivial stuff while the society at large still suffers from greater malaises?

Monday, May 12, 2008

quickie update

yes, I know I tend to abandon my blog for weeks on end and then just post a quick update but well, just humor me for a bit.

finally finished almost 2 1/2 years as a lecturer at UCSI (pronounced yuck-see... just kidding) toward the end of April. I miss the colleagues and most of the students, but not much else. I really hated the stupid hill it was built on, and it helped give me additional problems with my feet, something called plantar fasciitis, so I definitely don't miss the place.

I do miss Samosa Cafe though. It was one of the few places that actually had decent food around the place.

Went to Chiang Mai in northern Thailand for a holiday with the wife for a 5D4N holiday. Thankfully it was off peak period so there weren't too many people (especially not too many Malaysians. it's a preference). We stayed at the Holiday Inn, a 4 star hotel which was outside the town, so getting anywhere required taking a tuk-tuk (basic motor-taxi for two passengers), but it wasn't too bad. It was a nice, quiet place. The total cost for flight and hotel (4 nights) was RM1,500 or so (for two), which was quite good.

I'll post more on Chiang Mai later. Tired and worn out as too many things are happening at the moment!

Saturday, May 3, 2008

I'm free!

well, I have been for a couple of weeks, but have been busy.

so I'm actually not really free.

ah, whatever

pics to come soon!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

one more week

and counting

till I finally leave this hole of a job

actually it's not so bad. sometimes the students really do make it worthwhile to take all the crap we get from some of the university & management. but finally enough is enough and I'll be free from having to live every weekday dreading the start of the day and longing for 6pm when I can just get into my car and go home (after climbing that damned hill, of course).

at least for the time being, until I find a new job.

then again, hopefully the new job will not have a stupid hill.

the hill does not give me exercise, its main function is just to make me aggravated. simple as that.

one more week. I can do it!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Coca-Cola WoW commercial

and this one too... Chinese pop group SHE in a Coke commercial

Toyota Tacoma WoW commercial

haha
hahahahAHAHA
HAHAHAHAHAHAHA
I just find this so funny



this was an actual advertisement for the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck that aired in the US recently

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

food review: Wendy's Sunway Pyramid

Wendy's is back! Finally after a long wait. I remember many years ago they had a branch in Sg. Wang that I used to love to go to, then they mysteriously disappeared.

now they're back, the first branch has opened in Sunway Pyramid. I went there yesterday since I had a day off and was wanting to see if they had maintained their standards and all. I used to go to Wendy's quite often as a student in Vancouver as well and really missed it when I came to Malaysia.

so! for the longest time they had the boards up at their premises at the Pyramid saying they were going to open soon, a short wait became a long wait, etc.

finally they opened just last Saturday, I think. The menu is quite extensive with choices of their famous square hamburgers (the patties are square, not the bun), grilled and fried chicken sandwiches, chicken nuggets and fried chicken, fish sandwiches and even a shrimp sandwich. Also baked potatoes with toppings. And who could forget, chili! No, not the typical Malaysian chili sauce. Real American chili, with beef and beans.

prices are comparable to upper McDonald's/Burger King prices. The combo for the single burger is about RM9 or so, for a small combo (which is equivalent to McDonald's medium). They even have a triple burger (yes, 3/4 pound of meat. droolz :p) which comes with a price tag of about RM17/18 for the small combo. Chili is RM5 for a nice sizable bowl, so you can create your own chili fries (minus the cheese) and never have to complain about the small amount of chili that you get.


double with cheese combo with a bowl of chili. yummmmm...

Wendy's is open at Sunway Pyramid, old wing, just beside the ice skating rink. In between McDonald's and Delifrance. Good stuff!

Friday, April 4, 2008

and the day is...

FRIDAY!

the end of the work week. Thank God. I'm already worn out from working and searching for jobs. Get to relax a bit tomorrow, bring Speedy to meet some new friends, maybe get a bit of gaming in. And most importantly, sleep in a bit :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Ka Wha Korean Barbecue... again!

I just love this little place in Bangsar called Ka Wha Korean restaurant. It's not very well known, so thankfully there are no throngs of people there. Essentially, they have a set menu for lunch (but I'm never in Bangsar around lunch-time so I can't vouch for it) and at night, from 1730-2200 (that's 5.30pm till 10pm. I'm just used to using that format for time) they have an all you can eat promotion.

The new price for the promotion is now RM48++. Sounds a bit steep, but for an all-you-can-eat a la carte buffet it's alright, considering the stuff that you're getting. If you have four people, the fourth person gets to eat for half price, and if you have five, the fifth person is free!

I went just this past Sunday with my wife and some friends, celebrating a birthday (not mine). This is the third time I've been there and I've never been disappointed.

As usual, I was hungry, and my phone camera sucks, so no pictures. Since I changed from the Treo to the HP iPaq I haven't really been taking any photos simply because the digital camera on the iPaq is just so bad. If I ever get a phone with a better camera (or even an actual digital camera) I'll resume taking photos.

Some of the good stuff on the menu:
- beef rib eye
- pork belly (when done well, it tastes exactly like bacon :)
- chicken fillet (marinated wonderfully!)
- chicken drumstick (also with a very nice marinade, non spicy)
- bulgogi (not too fatty, and in a very nice gravy)
- pa jeon (korean pancake with squid and spring onions)
- marinated lamb shoulder
- mushrooms (they're wonderful barbecued!)
- raw beef, pear and egg yolk salad (I know it sounds disgusting, so I never tell people what it is until they've actually tried it. and then they all say it's wonderful)
- spicy beef soup
- fried glass noodles with beef/pork

the only thing I would give a miss the next time is the potatoes. They just don't really do very well on the barbecue. When they were finally done they were half burnt and simply tasted like burnt hashbrowns.

even with the new price, I still consider this one of the best deals in town :)


Ok, ok here's a photo from a previous visit to the place, with some of my church mates :)

Ka Wha is located at Jalan Telawi 2 in Bangsar and can be reached a +60-3-22847762. For ease of parking, I usually just park at Bangsar Village II and take a 3 minute walk over. Much better than circling around Bangsar trying to find a parking space!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

let me introduce you to...

Speedy! I know, I talk about my doggie once in a while but very few pictures of him. So, without further ado, let me post up a few nice pics of him
gimme food!
favorite prey - bath towels


practicing my commando walk. gonna stealth over to my neighbor's house and ninja his giant koi!

Friday, March 28, 2008

awesomeness personified

omg... this is nothing short of awesome. Terry Fator, a ventriloquist, on a reality show called America's Got Talent. I know, a ventriloquist, but watch and see



not amazing enough? check this out

Monday, March 24, 2008

crisis...

I know I haven't blogged for a while... going through a minor crisis... will update later

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

local fast food

one of the things that I've been quite interested in is finding out what localization fast food outlets do in each country. take, for example, McDonald's. here in Malaysia, they serve fried chicken, which is a Malaysian staple (which is also why KFC outsells and outgrows McDonald's here, the only place I can think of where this happens)

in Canada, where pizza is popular, we have McPizza (although, with the logo they used, turning the M's to create the Z's, we used to call it McPimma). in Frenchie Canada (sometimes known as Quebec), they sell poutine (if you don't know what poutine is, or haven't tasted it before, you don't know what you're missing out on)

McDonald's in Germany serves beer, while McDonald's in Japan serves sushi. In Thailand, pork burgers! they even serve different specials in different parts of the US (like McLobster for the Boston area).

KFC here serves a hot & spicy version rather than the extra crispy ones that are served in other places

so, question is, any other localization examples of McDonald's? I'm interested to know how they localize their food. I heard somewhere that they serve lamb burgers in India rather than beef, although I don't know how true that is exactly.

if you know of any other localization efforts, do post here. I'd love to know :)

Thursday, February 28, 2008

bleh

have so much work to do

but don't feel like doing anything

just kinda feel lost and directionless right now

just milling around doing nothing much in particular

even though I'm up to my neck in work

help

Friday, February 22, 2008

hopping on threes

even before we got Speedy I saw that sometimes when he ran, he hopped on three legs. Asked the previous owner about it and she said that he probably got it while digging for something.

anyway, what happens is, sometimes when he's running or walking fast, he will start running on three legs instead of all four, keeping the left rear leg off the ground.

so, a few weeks ago we brought him to see the vet to take a look at it. Also because he has been shedding and scratching a lot. Vet says he has a luxating patella, which means that his kneecap sometimes goes out of joint, which is when he starts hopping on threes.

we're hoping and praying that his knee will recover, as it's really sad to see him hopping. But even so, he never complains or makes any noise about any pain. (actually, he doesn't complain even when he gets an injection... doesn't even seem to be in pain)

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Malaysian politics... meh

I've never really believed in Malaysian politics since I was young, and I still don't. I realize that this is some contentious stuff, but bear with me for a bit...

MP for Kelana Jaya, YB Loh Seng Kok has been dropped from the candidates list for the coming general election (note, the papers say that he's "retiring", but then again, I don't believe everything I read in the papers anyway), possibly due to his speaking out against impending extremism within the BN ruling coalition, or just some silly power play or 'strategic shuffling' within the MCA. He's been a voice for the public, especially his constituency, and now he's being shoved aside for someone else (who is also a good public servant, wow, so rare these days) but still, the manner in which he is being put aside is shameful and shouldn't have any place in a properly run ruling party. This proves that Malaysian political parties don't really care about the people, they care about "toeing the line" and "not creating waves".

Who then will be a proper voice for the people in the parliament?

What? The opposition? The DAP is dropping Fong Po Kuan, one of the best and brightest young politicians in the country, so that someone's brother who's "higher up" can have that "DAP stronghold". Stronghold, my ass. The reason why they have it is because Ms Fong is a capable public servant who has build a rapport with the constituents and actually makes sure the peoples' concerns are heard. And now she is not going to contest that seat, so I'd like to see that "DAP stronghold" disappear simply because of their arrogance. This also proves that the DAP is not really interested in serving the public, but is only interested in grabbing as much power as they can, and sharing that power between themselves and their relatives or cronies.

Mind you, I'm not an MCA/BN or a DAP supporter. I would vote for anyone who is a capable servant who serves the people first and foremost OVER blind party directives and politics, whether it be someone from the BN or the DAP. But these recent issues only make the taste of Malaysian politics even more bitter. Who to vote for? Does it really matter since nobody really seems to care about the people now?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Groove Dynasty

prepare for the awesomeness that is... Groove Dynasty!

more of this please!

usually when we read the papers all we see on the front page headlines are bad news: disasters, scandals, politics, shootings, kidnappings, etc.

imagine my surprise when, for once, the Friday paper headlines was something much more cheerful.

read it here

this guy who's an advertising executive splurged RM40,000 on a billboard to propose to his girlfriend, and also bought her a RM14,000 diamond ring. Not too shabby, eh?

at least it's something heartwarming to start the day, rather than the usual fare :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

WoW guild names XD

I was casting around looking at the best guild names for World of Warcraft and I came across this Guild Name Generator. What it does is that it analyzes guild names from several WoW servers and randomly generates 100 fictional guild names. The scary thing is that many of them look plausible. Wouldn't be surprised if I actually see some of them in-game.

Speaking of which, a friend of mine is making a guild, any cool suggestions for names?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

doggy wasabi?

oh my.

just as a gag, after dinner, I gave my doggy some of the leftover wasabi on my finger to taste. He licked all the wasabi off! Then I gave him a bit more, and he ate all of it :p

so... my doggy likes wasabi?! He ate a whole finger scoop full of it, and he stood the test of wasabi :) hahaha

no more Nagisa?

heard from someone that Nagisa is no longer at Sunway Lagoon Resort. Is that true? No more Nagisa?

brainless people alert, part 1

last Tuesday I went to Jusco at One Utama and it was really crowded. Had to go to the supermarket to get some stuff.

so, my wife and I were waiting in line, waiting to pay at the line next to the express lane. As we were nearing the cashier, we overheard a conversation between the Jusco cashier at the express lane and a woman who had an entire basket full of stuff.

Jusco cashier: I'm sorry, miss, this is the express lane, only 8 items and below
Stupid woman: But I'm in this queue
Jusco cashier: I'm sorry, miss, but you can't use this lane, you have more than 8 items
Stupid woman: Look, I have 4 types of items: drinks, meats, etc., etc.
Jusco cashier: Sorry, you'll have to join the regular queue
Stupid woman: But the other queues are so long!
Jusco cashier: I'm sorry, miss, but you can't use this lane. You'll have to join the regular queues

at which point the woman puts the basket down on the floor in a huff and walks away angrily

way to go, Jusco cashier! I'm so glad you stood your ground and kept to your principles, not letting that stupid woman jump queue and get away with it. I wish we had more people like you who don't stand for unethical people who try to get ahead at the inconvenience of other people. Thank you so much.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

totally surreal

and then there's this

you know you're in trouble when...

a violinist is teaching you figured bass

an electric guitarist is teaching you rhythm

and...

a drummer is teaching you harmony :p

Monday, February 4, 2008

haih

feel so sleepy today

no I didn't sleep very late. Dunno why, I just feel sleepy. Couldn't get my engine started in the morning. Thankfully my first class of the day was 11am. Must get up earlier tomorrow though. First class is 9.30am.

had a decent weekend. My wifey's birthday was yesterday so we've been having a series of celebrations. On Saturday we went to Andana Spa which is in the Holiday Inn at Glenmarie. It's a per-entry deal, where you pay RM148++ (works out to about RM170 nett) for entry. Upon entry, you get to use the hydrotherapy pools, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, etc. Then after drying off, you get to sit in the lounge with comfy recliners and comfortable air-conditioning. We got a private room that seated 4 of us comfortably and even a DVD player and LCD screen. Besides that, you get a 40 minute massage (either aromatherapy or shiatsu), and limitless food, freshly squeezed fruit juice and Haagen Dazs Ice cream. Not a bad deal, eh? Plus, you get to stay there for as long as you like, the place is open from 10am till midnight.

so we spent almost all of Saturday there. Had to rush to Jusco to get a wok. Yeah, not just any wok. It's a wok that was on a special Chinese New Year promotion, now only RM688 (for a 40cm wok that's normally easily over RM1k), and I got a saucepan and an induction stove free. Not too bad, eh?

Sunday, went to a friend's church where he was spending his first Sunday as the pastor of that church. Pastor Timothy Yap, have a great tenure at Cornerstone Baptist Church & keep preaching God's Word.

we went to Cheras Leisure Mall to meet up with one of my wife's old friends who was around (she works in Singapore so we don't see her very often). Had lunch at Dragon-i (I like that place) and bumped into James, an old high school friend of mine. He even paid for our lunch without our knowing (paiseh, paiseh).

then I went over to the Guitar Store to pick up my new toy... hehehe. Yes, I finally got the Godin Freeway 4 bass guitar. Drooling over it. It's in metallic burgundy. Nice, bright clear tone. Didn't get to play with it though, cause we had to clean house that day *boo hoo*

dinner was at Las Carretas in Taipan, Subang Jaya. Good place and one of the only places to get Mexican food. No pictures unfortunately but the food was good. Will write more about that later. I had a chimichanga while my wife had an enchilada. Quite alright, although not as beefy as I would have liked.

that's all the update for now. Over and out :p

Thursday, January 31, 2008

would I get to rest?

tomorrow is a holiday! Wheeeeeeee!

Federal Territory Day, thank you!

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

bad cookin'

a bit depressed

I wrecked dinner last night. The salmon was too tasteless (didn't have time to marinate), the soup was too salty, and the asparagus was too stringy.

Granted, I don't really know how to make vegetables well, except for maybe cauliflower, broccoli, corn and carrots (probably because I like those more than most others). Plus, I'm not really good with most seafood either, but salmon is supposed to be something that I can do well.

feel like not cooking again for a long time. Dunno. We'll see how it goes.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

marshay!

Just found out that Marche's Crazy Tuesdays are back, and supposedly for the whole year round this time. That just sounds so good.

For the uninitiated, Crazy Tuesdays begins at about 6.30pm or so. It's a RM38++ all-you-can-eat deal, and they have most of their stuff available for this buffet. I love their rosti and sausages, so it's a good deal for me. Also, their grilled salmon, sauteed beef, sauteed mushrooms, smoked salmon salad, all wonderful! Gotta go back there sometime soon... getting hungry thinking about it.

Speaking of all-you-can-eat meats... the last time we went back to Churrascaria was quite a disappointment. Sure enough, it was really mostly the same stuff, but this time the meat and prawns weren't quite so fresh (especially the prawns... they were mushy and smelled funny) and the fish wasn't as tasty. The garlic bread was hit and miss. And we also had service with a... frown?! What's up with that? Probably not going to go there again soon. Maybe in a few month's time or so at the earliest.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Doggie Day!

Last Sunday (January 20th) we took Speedy to the Doggy Day at Central Park, Bandar Utama. It was a fun-filled morning with lots of dogs. It would appear that almost every second dog in Malaysia seems to be either a shih tzu, or an overweight beagle. Go figure.

There were lots of interesting dogs there, especially lots of lovely golden retrievers and even a few beautiful huskies! And also the odd st. bernard or two.

Anyway, we didn't enter Speedy into any of the events. He's not trained enough yet. Took some photos of him with his little doggy clothes that we bought there :)


Yup that's him. Doesn't he look cute?











here he is again at home.

such a cute boy!

Friday, January 25, 2008

gah.

I... hate... hills...

why does this university have to be built on a frickin' hill...??!!

and nobody even think about mentioning the word exercise. not right now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Thaipusam holiday!

yesterday we got a public holiday for Thaipusam! Ordinarily those of us who work in KL don't get this holiday, it's only a holiday for those who work in Selangor (and some other states) but this year the PM announced that KL & Putrajaya would get this holiday as well. It was a break that was badly needed.

Doggy day at Central Park BU on Sunday was fun (although hot). I'll post pics of Speedy enjoying himself there soon. Unfortunately I was too busy ogling at all the siberian huskies and st. bernards and beagles and other really really nice dogs there (while trying to ignore the annoying chihuahuas and abundant shih tzus!)

I had to buy a card reader just to download the pictures from the digital camera. No cradle (I have no idea where it went) so I needed to transfer the pics directly from the memory card. And the memory card used by that camera is an XD picture card. Not good! I'm used to working with SD cards which are more standard. Anyway, the last time I inserted the XD card into my notebook, it destroyed the information on the card, causing me to lose all my pictures and having to reformat the entire card (bad sign that my notebook is on its way out!). So one day when I went to Subang Parade I dropped by the IT center and got a card reader. Got a cheaper one (about RM55) and found out that even though it says XD on the back packaging, in reality it doesn't accept the card at all. Ended up having to bring it back to exchange for a better one (and paying an extra rm20 to bring the total up to RM75). But now it works like a charm, and I can even work with mini and micro SD cards without needed an adapter. Cool!

In unrelated news, my bed broke. Yep, after 5 years of serving me, my RM8 king sized bed broke (yes, you read that right, I bought the bed for only RM8. It was a special promotion that came with the mattress). Hey, what do you expect from a RM8 bed, right?! So last night we had to go and look for a new bed. Tempting to buy a new mattress as well, as our old one is sort of giving way as well (it was one of the cheaper ranged mattresses) but finances don't permit it. Oh well... the new bed is coming tonight. Bought it at Kelana Furniture Mall. Very good and congenial salesman. Plus, the prices there were cheaper than most other places. Yeah, I'm such a sucker for good customer service.

update: the bed came. It looks cool and comfy :)

Monday, January 21, 2008

a perplexing question

some have asked... why the crayons? (in the title section)

the official answer: "I don't know"

'nuff said

Saturday, January 19, 2008

looking promising...

I think I'm starting to like this blogspot service. much faster and cleaner than wordpress, as far as I can tell for now. So, I'll start posting in here for the time being. I think I would post more often if it didn't take like forever just to even start to write a new post like on wordpress.

in unrelated news... I'm glad I survived today's open day at work. Open day is when there are representatives from each school and faculty at the university and people who are interested in finding out more about the university and its programs can come and talk to the faculty, etc. I hate these days. I had about 4 actual enquiries for the whole day that I was there, from 9-5. giving maybe an estimate of me spending maybe 10-20 minutes with each one, you can probably figure out that I was bored out of my skull most of the time.

but anyway, I survived! tomorrow is doggie day at Central Park, Bandar Utama. Or actually, it's called canine day, and there's like events and stuff. I'll bring Speedy and see how he does tomorrow.