Monday, December 28, 2009

Angels We Have (maybe) Heard!

I've gotten a few requests for the weird (and maybe funky) chord progression I used for the Christmas service on Angels We Have Heard on High. Well here it is, for anybody to try out.

F                      C/E         F
Angels we have heard on high
Dm        Bb      F/C      Dm
Sweetly singing o'er the plains
F/A       Bb          C    Dm
and the mountains in reply
Bb   Gm        C        F
echoing their joyous strains

Dm7 C#dim7 F/C G/B  Bb2
F/A          Dm  C
in excelsis Deo
Dm7 C#dim7 F/C G/B  Bb2
F/A          Dm  C   F
in excelsis Deo

There you go. If you give it a go, let me know what you think.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

on the plate - Ninja Joe @ Tropicana City Mall

Anything to do with pork is relatively scarce over here in this country. For fans of "the other white meat", it can be hard to find pork outside of Chinese food, so having burgers with REAL bacon (not the beef bacon stuff) or decent pork chops or baby back ribs (Tony Roma's, yes, I'm giving you the evil eye for forsaking your signature dish here) is a rarity, comparatively.

Surprisingly, pork makes pretty good decent burger meat, so some places do serve a good pork burger (Sid's Pub, Ribs@Oasis) but pork burgers are also quite costly as pork is pretty much the most expensive locally produced meat here (let's not count Australian beef, but face it, how many burger places actually use that over Indian or local beef?).

Enter Ninja Joe, another unique joint to Tropicana City Mall (is it just me or are there so many good places that are only in this mall?). The menu is simple. Pork burgers. That's about the extent of it. Seriously.

The burgers are pretty small, about the size of a colonel burger at KFC (just for reference). The pork patty is tasty and has onions in it as well, and garnished simply with some lettuce and a slice of tomato. You get a choice of flavors - original, black pepper, teriyaki, oriental, sweet & sour or spicy. One burger costs RM5.95, two will set you back RM9.95, three costs RM12.95, and well, you get the point. The more burgers you order in one order, the cheaper each burger gets. The idea here since the burgers are small is that you can order more than one, and try different flavors.

In addition to that, you can also make it a combo meal by adding RM3 for a drink and fries. You get to choose between cold green tea or lemonade, and you get crinkle cut fries. They also sell shuriken, which are nuggets made of mashed potato and pork (I tried that, and it was more potato than pork), green salad is on the menu but they haven't started selling that yet.

I haven't had the opportunity to take pictures yet. Will add them sometime! Ninja Joe is located on the LG floor of Tropicana City Mall, if you're facing Carrefour, it will be towards the right, just keep heading down that way and you'll see it around the corner.

Food: 6.8/10
Drink: 6.0/10
Service: 7.0/10

Thursday, October 29, 2009

How to parse "Total Eclipse of the Heart"

 friend of mine posted this on Facebook and I couldn't resist putting it up.

Some of you might remember the song Total Eclipse of the Heart, it was a popular song in the 80s if I remember correctly. It's a nice song, but a little overwrought, at least in my opinion. Some person has made a proper flowchart of how the song goes

This is best viewed with this video for complete enlightenment and understanding.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Friday, October 23, 2009

How to get up and get ready for work in 5 minutes

unbelievable, but this guy proves it can be done :p

I really gotta learn how he does that necktie thing lol

twins, J & S Lee

a real pair of twins, Korean Australians Janice & Sonia

their Youtube channel can be found here.

they do music videos (simple, personal ones) and they're pretty decent! okay, they're not professional musicians, but they are sincere in what they do.

here's them doing their rendition of Hosanna

and an ever effervescent, Bubblegum Song :) my favorite part is at the end... you kinda just have to watch it till the end to find out.

another thing I wish I had thought of doing, hahaha

then again, I don't have a twin or anyone else to sing or play with!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

better, not so sickie

Feeling better now. Still coughing and sniffling a little bit, but at least there's no more fever.

Finally Thursday is over, (at least the work day) and there's only Friday left.

To which we say,
a resounding "hooray!"

Craving sashimi at Sushi Tei. Argh.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

a Googley workplace?

would you like to work for Google? the perks... the perks! why are we all still working for chinaman companies that squeeze you dry with a pittance salary for compensation, and not much else?

Monday, October 19, 2009

sigh. sick

Must've caught the bug going around. So, no work today. Even if I did go, I don't think I would've lasted anyway. Dizzy and all that.

So that leaves me a bit more time to rest, after a really hectic weekend. Why are weekends sometimes more hectic than weekdays? Don't answer that.

Excuse me while I go hack a lung out.

What I'm trying to say is... wait... what was I trying to say?

I have no clue. I'm getting old... and senile.

Been thinking of taking up another instrument. Something more affordable than the oboe, which I really love, but will destroy my bank account and credit cards and everything else I own. Been thinking of the trumpet or clarinet... any suggestions? Of course, I already do play the trumpet, but I haven't been going anywhere with it, since I don't have one of my own. I'm thinking my neighbors would really hate me for it too, if I started practicing! lol

Also, I'm still thinking of getting an acoustic guitar. The classical one I have is murdering my hands and arms. Get it away! Then again, if I got any of these, I wouldn't be able to get a keyboard, which is really what I should be concentrating on, right?

Learning some manners for the LRT & MRT

Gurmit Singh, aka Phua Chu Kang, gives a bit of a lesson on proper manners to follow on the train

definitely something most Malaysians & Singaporeans need to learn - manners!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Awesomeness at DUMC overnight prayer October 17-18th 2009

First time I play for DUMC and it's for the overnight prayer meeting, 6 hours straight. 9pm - 3am

it was an awesome night with over 300 people coming (many stayed the entire 6 hours), and people crying out to God for revival & forgiveness. The presence of God was very real there.

Great time of worship too. Kudos to all in the worship team :)

I can't feel my arms anymore, playing for 6 hours straight :p

Thursday, October 15, 2009

much respect for Victor Borge

one of the granddaddies of musical comedy, this Danish pianist has been entertaining people the world over for decades. He's also an extremely talented pianist.

yeah he's improvising there. and not having played that piece before.

also give this a whirl, it's pretty short

his most famous routine, phonetic punctuation (the second half of this video)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

long time, no update

that's because I've been busy. Work's been taking up a lot of time, and I'm usually just exhausted by the time I get back.

and I'm gonna be playing for all night prayer meeting at church (9pm - 3am). My prayer for now is that I'm able to stay awake for that long!

on a happier note, Igudesman & Joo are coming to Malaysia! They're performing at the DFP (Dewan Filharmonik Petronas, the home of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra) on Nov 16th with Gidon Kremer and his orchestra, and on Nov 17th on their own - their own show called A Little Nightmare Music. I've got my tix! I'm excited :)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

blue... blue... blue...

yes, it's been renamed... for the time being at least. I'll see if I like it and want to keep it.

meanwhile, just deal with it :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009


Heard a radio station playing Eminem's Slim Shady earlier today.

Normally I wouldn't pay much attention to it, sometimes I just leave the radio on for background noise while I do work or do other stuff.

But this time was different. You see, the radio station censored a whole bunch of words from the song, up to the point where it was getting annoying cause there'd be so many lapses in the song (here they just cut out the censored bits, rather than add a *beep* to it).

I can understand taking out the expletives, but even less "harmful" words like "idiot" were cut out. Like I said, it got to the point of being very irritating. I mean, if you're going to cut out half the song, what really is the point of actually playing it on air? It's not like any of the listeners doesn't know what are the words you've cut out anyway. If it's offensive up to the point where you have to cut of like half the song, just don't bother playing it.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lovin' the oldies but goodies

Was just looking through for music for the students recently, and I was reminded of my admiration for Gene Kelly's work. He's not the greatest singer, but he's just an absolutely amazing dancer, the best I've ever seen. Here's an amazing sample of his work, one of the best choreographed scenes in film ever.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

as a new school year approaches

(for me at least)

it's good to remind ourselves why we go through the difficulty of educating people...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

argh THE sandwich

Just found out recently that Quiznos has set up shop in Singapore.

Oh please let them come over to Malaysia. Subway is great but Quiznos > Subway, anyday!

Please please please :)

Friday, August 14, 2009

on the plate - Popeye's Fried Chicken & Seafood

This post has been long in coming. Yeah I know lately all my posts have been about food. Oh well, c'est la vie.

Anyway, one fine day when I heard that Popeye's was making an appearance here on Malaysian shores, I was really glad. For too long all we've had was KFC, which would make me feel sickly almost everytime after eating it. Oily, greasy, and overall just nasty (and the chicken pieces have been shrinking steadily year after year as well), it wasn't really a place I would really like to go to on a regular basis.

Enter Popeye's. I remember having this when I was back in Canada, and it was good. Miles better than KFC in fact. I silently prayed that the locals wouldn't screw this up like they do many other franchises.

The first branch opened at Taman Tun (or TTDI for short), and I duly went to try it, and wasn't disappointed. Granted, my memory of Popeye's was a bit better than what I had there, but it wasn't bad at least, and it was significantly more pleasant than KFC.

Anyway, some shots of the food.
the Three piece chicken combo. Note the chicken is significantly larger than the typical KFC chicken.

the mashed potatoes have chicken pieces in the gravy. It's smooth, creamy, and definitely tasty & yummy.

Even the coleslaw is wonderful, something even those who don't normally eat vegetables, would turn to. Not too creamy, not overpowering, just fresh and tangy.

To me, personally, I found the chicken to be much more tender, juicy, and much less oily than KFC. It's also much bigger than KFC. Some people have commented on the price, but hey, a 3 piece combo at one place will cost RM11.40, and leave me full but bloated, sickly and feel like puking. The other place will cost me RM11.95, and leave me full and contented, and with the good feeling of having had a good, hearty meal. I know which one I would pick. Also, Popeye's uses Coke, which I prefer miles over the Pepsi crud that KFC serves.

I tried the fried fish on another occasion. It's very nice, juicy and tasty on the inside, crispy on the outside. The fried shrimp is fresh, however, it's nothing to shout about, especially if you've been to Bubba Gump recently before that.

Popeye's has opened their second branch at Sunway Pyramid already (right beside Dunkin Donuts, where Delifrance used to be) and is in the process of opening their third branch in Midvalley (where Shakey's used to be, they're gonna share the space with Domino's, they're under the same franchisee).

Food: 7.2
Drinks: 6.5 (standard fast food options)
Service: 6.7 (many are still trainees, but it's alright. What else do you expect from fast food?!)
Value: 7.9

Monday, August 10, 2009

on the plate - Sushi Tei, Tropicana City Mall

I'll admit it, I really like Japanese food. Granted, it's not the most affordable, but it's something that can be done on a budget if you order wisely.

Given that Sushi King is really, really bad, and Genki Sushi has died a slow, painful death, the main Japanese restaurant I would have gone to would be Sakae Sushi. Although, it has gone down in its quality (check that though, I hear they've made efforts to up their standards again). Enter Sushi Tei, another Singaporean chain, with its first outlet in Tropicana City Mall.

Tropicana City Mall is fast becoming one of my standard hangout places, mostly because it's near my house and also because it's never too crowded and I can easily find parking (please don't let that change).

Sushi Tei is a decent place that's not really the cheapest around, but it's quite value-for-money considering what you get. Some of my favorite dishes:

Chicken Karaage (RM6.80), juicy, succulent pieces of chicken lightly battered and fried, and it even comes complete with a side salad.

Salmon Sashimi (RM9.80), my perennial favorite. It's one of the most ubiquitious dishes in any Japanese restaurant, and can probably be used as a yardstick of the quality of the place. The salmon sashimi here is top-notch, definitely fresh, with thick, juicy cuts that please the palate rather than the miserable skinny cuts that you get at many other places.

It's firm, juicy and has got nice marbling, and it's very fresh, absolutely no hint of any fishiness at all. This is a close-up look.

All in all, it's not the cheapest, nor would it lay claim to be the best, but to me it's a happy medium of quality and value that is an elusive combination to the F&B industry here. It'll remain one of my favorite hangouts for the forseeable future.

Food: 7.6
Drink: 7.0
Service: 6.4
Value: 7.3

on the plate - Fong Lye, the Gardens

one of the places I enjoy hanging out at is the Gardens at Midvalley, mostly because it's a lot quieter than Midvalley next door, and also because there's plenty of good, decent food options there.

Fong Lye is a Taiwanese food chain that people tell me also has a branch in Sri Hartamas, however, the branch at the Gardens mostly only does set meals. Most of them are pretty yummy, although, seemingly, the Taiwanese like to have spare parts (internal organs, like liver, intestines, kidneys). I don't like them, so there.

The food is pretty good, the sets generally come with the main dish, rice with some meat topping and sauce, some appetizers and a bowl of soup.

Baked Taiwanese sausage - this is the generic Taiwanese sausage, it's also not really as spicy as the ones in the night market. Okay but rather bland.

the set looks like this. The main dish is kept warm with a burner underneath the little wok. Not bad, eh? This is the 3 cup chicken dish (RM19.80). It's got basil, chillies and garlic in it. Although, the heating isn't always a good thing. The chicken eventually gets burnt if you leave it in there for too long.

A close up of the chicken. It's pretty yummy, with a nice gravy to go along with the rice, and the chicken pretty tender and juicy.

Not everything here is really great, but it's a good place for something a little different from the norm. Just a word of warning though, if you want to dine here, you'll have to go at off-peak hours. During regular meal times it gets jam packed and has a long queue.

Food: 6.9
Drink: 6.0
Service: 6.8
Value: 6.8

Sunday, August 9, 2009

on the plate - Ribs @ Oasis

Ok, so I finally got my rear in gear and actually brought my camera to a restaurant! Last night we celebrated mine and Yennie's birthdays at this tucked-away-in-a-corner restaurant called Ribs @ Oasis.

It's in a very short row of shops in BU4, right near the new wing of 1Utama. It's easy enough to find, with some directions. Someday I'll put up GPS coordinates like my neighbor KY. That will require more effort on my part though :p

Anyway! This place is a simple, no-frills and pretty unassuming joint that serves simple, unpretentious fare. It makes no pretence at being high-class, or haute cuisine, just hearty, tasty food that is pretty good. Without further ado, here's how the food went.

An appetizer of sausages fried with onions and chilies. Be cafeful, these are birds-eye chilies (or cili padi locally). They're spicy. The sausages weren't anything to shout about.

The ham and pea soup. Generally I love ham and split pea soup. This didn't really taste anything like it, although it was decent, it just wasn't really thick enough and I didn't really taste enough of the peas or the ham to really enjoy it.

The mains were the stars though, so here we go -

Fishermans Platter - it was good, had crayfish (or slipper lobster as they called it), pan-fried fish, prawns, scallops, calamari, with bread to soak up the juices and corn. For RM33, it's a pretty good deal. The seafood was fresh and succulent, although I heard the calamari was slightly chewy.

This was the OMG platter. Reverse Pork Burger (RM29) has TWO huge pork patties sandwiching a slice of toasted bread with cheese, bacon and other fixings. The last time I came here I saw someone else having this and I thought to myself "I gotta try me one of those". So I did. And it was good. Very good. The pork patties were juicy and the whole thing was an explosion of meat that went very well with the provided mustard. It was so good that I was absolutely full by the time I finished it.

The Pork Loin Chop (RM30) was what I had the previous time I was here. Now, I really miss having good pork chops, and when I had this, it was like complete bliss. The pork chop is grilled till it's slightly charred on the outside, pink on the inside, and with a nice layer of fat on one end that keeps everything juicy and moist. It's served with a lovely applesauce (apples and pork go together like... hand in glove, horse and carriage, well, you know). and some fruity salsa that complement the pork wonderfully. Honestly, this was the best restaurant pork chop I've ever had in this country (home made ones excepted). By the way, if you think that you've got a healthy appetite, this chop is huge. And I mean it.

My drink, the Ribsdelicious (I think it was) - blue curacao, lime and soda. Very thirst quenching (RM6.50)
And for dessert, Apple and Banana Crumble (RM9.90) with vanilla ice cream. It was one of the better crumbles out there, with the banana complementing the apple very well (much better than the ubiquitious raisins that always accompany apple stuff here). A burst of contrasting flavors & textures, warm & cold, smooth & crunchy. Just lovely.

All in, this place is a good, simple place to have a hearty meal, and also won't destroy your wallet too much. One thing though, don't expect extremely fast service. It's a simple operation, and although the waiters and all are very polite and courteous, they may take some time to get things going and worked out. The chicken thermidor is a case in point, I don't have any pictures of it simply because it came so late that I was already hungrily devouring my burger by the time it arrived.

But don't let that stop you from trying this place out. The portions are also very hearty ones, so small eaters may want to share :)

Food: 7.8
Drinks: 7.5
Service: 6.5
Value: 7.6

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Google Chrome

Have been trying out the new browser from Google, called Chromium (Chrome for short). It's not bad, a very clean look, and the address bar doubles as a google search field.

Also, it offers a unique feature - each tab is individually coded, so if one of the tabs hangs, the other tabs won't be affected (in theory anyway... I managed to get the entire thing to hang before)

One of the little niggles that I don't particularly like is that it doesn't seem to handle Shockwave Flash very well. Then again, what does? (don't say Internet Explorer. I left that junk behind a long time ago)

Not bad. Will keep trying it out.

Friday, August 7, 2009

more food at Sunway Pyramid?

There was a point of time where I didn't go to Sunway Pyramid for a few years. Honestly, it was a hangout for students and other 'fashionable' people, had very limited food options (basically, McDonald's and KFC) and the only thing that would have attracted me seriously at that time was the Hartz Chicken Buffet (which is still good and cheap by the way).

A few years later, add another wing, with more relevant tenants (at least to me) such as Jusco and Marks & Spencer, and I started going there again. Nicer, cleaner, less 'beng' (okay, there still is a section that caters to maximum bengness, but I try to avoid that area as much as I can).

And the food options mushroomed. Sakae Sushi, Ajisen Ramen, 1901 Hot Dogs, Carl's Jr., Pasta Zanmai, Pancake House International, Wendy's, Bubba Gump, all entered the picture. Suddenly the mall without much food, had almost all the food.

The latest interesting chain to open an outlet there is Popeye's. Yep, Louisiana fried chicken. In all its goodness. Beats KFC hands down in every single way, from the chicken (which is much more tender, juicier, and less oily), to the mashed potatoes, to the coleslaw. And the fried fish is pretty good as well. Crispy on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside.

To top things off, I saw that Papa John's is gonna open at Pyramid too. I've been wanting to try that for a long time but never had the energy to go all the way downtown for it. I definitely will if it's nearby at Sunway Pyramid.

It's interesting how many of these chains are coming back, or coming in for the first time. (Carl's, Burger King, Wendy's, all were here a long time back, but died out due to several factors) So what's next? I'm guessing maybe Whitecastle or Chick-Fil-A?

on random things

Now that I'm on holiday you'd think that I have lots of time to blog, eh?

Well, you thought wrong.

Not that I really have lots to do, I mean, I do have work to do to prepare for next term and all, but I really should have some free time now.

Anyway, screw that.

I know I put up a lot of food reviews on this blog. It's not really set out to be a food blog, there's a gazillion Malaysians who already have food blogs and they're plenty fine. I don't generally do many food-related posts, and besides, I'm too frickin' lazy to carry my camera around and take pictures and upload them, you know that takes lots of time.

Well, what else is there? I'm not a big fan of politics, I don't watch many movies, or buy many CDs, or play many games, or go to many plays. What I guess I do is my random thoughts.

Of which most are too dark to actually put into print (or cyberspace, whichever applies)

But I digress. Tomorrow we're going to Ribs @ Oasis for PORK. Yeah, to celebrate mine and Yennie's birthdays :) I don't know how excited the others are, but I can vouch that the pork chop with applesauce is lovely, absolutely the best pork chop that I've had here in Malaysia, in a restaurant. (not counting home cooked, fire barbecued ones)

But tomorrow, tomorrow I aim for the reverse pork burger. What is it? You know how in regular burgers, the meat is sandwiched in between two slices of bread? This is the other way around, a slice of bread sandwiched in between two meat patties. Sounds so interesting that I have to try it.

And they'd better have my ham & pea soup this time.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

sweet moves - the evolution of dance

found this on Youtube... it's pretty good, this guy has pretty sweet moves and he takes us through a range of different dances, from different eras. Quite worth the watch :)

and then, there's the sequel

Monday, July 27, 2009

a wedding processional to remember

someone linked this wedding processional, and it's great.

I'd have loved to do something like this if only people around here weren't so serious :p

JK wedding entrance

unfortunately, embedding is disabled on this video, so you'll have to head on over to the link to watch it.

the end of a epicurean era

Many of you will have heard me wax lyrical about a little Korean restaurant in the Bangsar area called Ka Wha, it's a great deal, all you can eat Korean barbecue for RM48+, and the food is pretty good.

Unfortunately, when we went there last night, we found out that the manager, Heidi, had left the restaurant and was working elsewhere. There was no unlimited ice cream to go with the meal (it used to be unlimited ice cream and watermelon slices). And some said the food wasn't as good as it used to be.

Well, honestly, some of it was slightly varied in flavor, but all in all, it's still value for money and the food is still pretty decent, maybe not as good as some other Korean restaurants but still one of the better ones. I wouldn't strike it off yet, but hopefully they'll get their act together and keep the standards up. I know for now, I won't be clamoring to go so often anymore.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Yesus! by True Worshippers

Sorry another video... did this song at DUMC a few weeks ago (I think) and it kinda stuck in the head. Finally managed to find the song.

It's a song in Malay (well, technically in Bahasa Indonesia, or Indon), singing about Jesus. It's really cool. And the church is pretty rockin' too :) with all aspects of performing and visual arts represented.

the lyrics (at least I will attempt with my limited knowledge of Malay/Indon) (the original words are on the video)
The life I've chosen
Makes it meaningful
Because of Lord Jesus
My place of belief and hope

I open my eyes
Look around me
I must speak of
His truth that frees

Because of Your power
Because of Your greatness
I can do great things
that You have promised

Jesus, You're my friend
Jesus, You'll always be by my side
You're the source of my strength
Jesus, You're my friend
Jesus, You've never tired by my side
You're the source of my strength

yeah. and it repeats.
if I've made any mistakes, let me know :)

a trilogy of summer sci-fi

You know the summer is upon you when the blockbusters roll out week after week after week.

Got to watch three sci-fi movies (not including X-Men Origins: Wolverine) - Ster Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and Terminator Salvation.

Of the three, I'd have to say that Star Trek was easily the best of all movies this summer. Or year. Or even ever. It took an ageing and ailing franchise and brought it to where no man has ever gone before (sorry bad pun). Well in other words it was epic. And I'm not easily impressed by movies. This impressed me and left me in awe. Can we have more, Mr. J.J. Abrams? Please? Pretty please?

Transformers 2 (for ease of writing) was good too, not very smart, and Shia Lebouef looks set to take over Keany Reeves' title as shocked dimwit of the movie world. And Megan Fox is, well, nothing really more than eye candy. But it's good entertainment, leave your brain at the door, and enjoy the giant robots battle it out (Sideswipe is still the coolest ever :)

Terminator Salvation just left me disappointed, despite a strong performance from Sam Worthington. Christian Bale just was disappointing and one-dimensional. The story left a lot to be desired, and I'm not sure if I'd like more of Terminator for be coming out.

Also, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (since I'm on a roll)... I'm a huge X-Men fan, and I refused to watch X3 because of the way they butchered the franchise in that movie. Well, this one was pretty good, and Hugh Jackman gives a good performance as always. I also couldn't _not_ watch it as my favorite X-Man, Gambit, finally makes an appearance. Too bad he didn't have much screen time, so can we do X-Men Origins: Gambit after Magneto, please? (Magneto is supposed to be the next X-Men movie)

Coming up... another blast from my past... G.I. Joe! Another one of my favorites from my childhood. I hope it's good...

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Violinist sets world record for speed playing

David Garrett, one of the rising stars of classical music (and crossover music) sets a new world record for fastest violin playing. The entire Flight of the Bumblebee in about 1 minute 6 seconds. Averaging about 13 notes per second.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Endless David Caruso one-liners

I've never really been a fan of CSI Miami, which I call the Horatio Caine Show. Everything just simple revolves around him, and the rest of the team, well, they just seem too irrelevant to have any effect on the show. The chemistry in LV and NY is just so much better with characters inter-playing off each other and everybody, even the lab techs, play such an important role.

But anyway, Horatio Caine is famous for his peculiar style of speaking, especially at pivotal moments, with his sunglasses. I'll let you watch for yourself :p

Friday, June 12, 2009

pleasant surprises

One of the things I missed about coming to Malaysia was the pleasant conversations I'd have while checking out at the grocery shops and supermarkets. Most Malaysians would find it strange, but honestly it was very pleasant to hold a nice conversation with the checkout cashiers, even if it was superficial and short. It just enhances the shopping experience somehow. Honestly, it does, and make grocery shopping just that little more enjoyable.

Now, I've come to not expect anything of the sort here in Malaysia, most cashiers at supermarkets just scan your items through and look as it they've been working non-stop for the past 273 hours without a break and their cat just died on them. Any questions or anything are generally met with total indifference (although there are some good exceptions, but this is generally the case).

Imagine my delight when today, when I was shopping at Cold Storage at Jaya One, the cashier was efficient, friendly and actually could hold a decent conversation. We talked about my usage of the shopping bag (therefore eliminating the need for a couple of plastic bags), freezer bags and maybe one or two other things while she was scanning my items. It was short (probably about a minute tops) and wasn't very meaningful, but it left me with a really good impression. I don't know her name, and I don't think she'll ever read this blog, but whoever you are, you did wonderfully. It brightened up my day just that little bit, but it was significant. Thank you!

P/S:- the name on the receipt says Raminah Makiran. You're a credit to your service. Thanks!

Monday, June 8, 2009

alright, best of's! (or at least recommendations)

I get requests for food recommendations quite often, as people usually regard me as some form of a foodie. However, I can honestly tell you, I'm not much of one, I don't travel far and wide to look for the best food or anything. The real definition of a foodie is embodied by my neighbor KY who's done a whole series of food reviews on his blog (and he even gets invited to food tasting at various places, how cool is that?)

But anyway I digress. For the benefit of those who would still ask me for recommendations of where to eat and all that, I give you... my favorites. They may not be the best, but usually a combination of good quality and decent price.

Bear in mind, these are all from the Klang Valley area of KL, Malaysia, so, sorry Vancouverites and folk from other areas of the world. I apologize for not being able to include your area in this list :p

Another caveat - I don't eat very expensively, so there isn't anything here that would really knock you back much more than RM100 per person. The only meal which I've had that really cost over that was the Prego Sunday Bubbly Brunch at Westin Hotel KL and that was only because we got vouchers for it.

Best of (and some honorable mentions)

Hamburgers : Carl's Jr. (those without any location mean any outlets) (P/S:- I'm dying to try out the reverse pork burger at Ribs @ Oasis. Will do so some day. Will post results here!)

Chicken sandwich : Wendy's spicy chicken and grilled chicken sandwiches

Pizza : Pizza Uno (Centerpoint)

Italian : California Pizza Kitchen (KLCC)

Fried Chicken : Bubba Gump Shrimp Co (the Curve) - if Popeye's (TTDI) is anywhere near as good as it is in the US, it deserves a mention here as well

Steak : Castell Steakhouse (PJ)

Pork Chop : Ribs @ Oasis (BU4)

Budget Japanese : Sushi Tei (Tropicana City Mall)

Premium Japanese : Kampachi (Equatorial Hotel KL)

Korean : Ka Wha Korean Barbecue (Bangsar)

HK food : Causeway Bay (Low Yat Plaza)

Seafood (local) : King Crab (Tmn Megah)

Seafood (Western) : Lobsterman (SS2), Bubba Gump Shrimp Co (the Curve)

Sandwiches : Subway!

Ice Cream : New Zealand's Natural

Satay : Hj. Samuri (Damansara Uptown)

Nasi Lemak : a good one is Sea Park mamak (beside the Maybank)

Pan Mee : Bao Bao pan mee (Aman Suria)

Chicken Rice : Kam Heong (SS14 Subang or Kota Damansara), Ipoh Chicken Rice (Midvalley)

Porridge : Pork Porridge (just outside the OUG market)

Dim Sum : Hong Kee (Damansara Jaya)

Alright, that's all I can think of now. Any suggestions, comments or snide remarks, (or violent protests) leave 'em in the comments section.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

the weekend is here

Finally managed to drag myself past the Friday work day and into the weekend. Waking up early every day is murder on someone who's very much a night person and all. And this week I have to wake up even earlier with my wife away for the week.

Teacher's Day has come and gone. I think the extent of Teacher's Day stuff that I got was one lollipop from one of the older students. I dunno, is it not a big thing here? I always thought it was. Not that it's really important, though. Honestly, sometimes the smiles and appreciation from some of the good students almost makes up for the fact that I'm not a morning person, and I'm not a kid person (I don't like dealing with little kids). Although the naughty ones are pretty nasty and make everything frustrating.

Which makes me wonder, why are some kids really naughty that way? You can order them to behave, but they do stupid things anyway.

A sample conversation from a typical day of mine

Me: Don't touch the instruments
(five minutes later, a student is banging on one of the keyboards)
Me: Don't touch that! Didn't I tell you not to touch any of the instruments?!
Student: Uhh, yeah
Me: Isn't the keyboard an instrument?
Student: Uhh, yeah
Me: Didn't I tell you not to touch it?
Student: Uhh, yeah
Me: SO, why did you touch it?
Student: Uhhh.....
Me: Why did you touch it?
Student: I don't know
(usually ends with me doing a facepalm on myself)

Uhhhh I'm sorry but I have no idea what goes on in the minds of these people. It's like instructions just go in one ear and go out the other.

But anyway, I digress. Just went to a good barbecue with friends, to celebrate Jasmine's birthday. Happy birthday, Jasmine! Good way to wind up the work week, and tomorrow I DON'T plan on waking up early. At all. No way. Nada.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

a twisted ending

a very touching video, featuring a deaf and mute girl who is determined to play the violin... and she does (although not the actress in the video, the violin playing is so fake)

and a very strange twist at the end. you'll have to watch it to believe it. it's a Pantene ad! what Pantene shampoo has to do with violin playing, I don't know.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

an original... "piano" duet

a rather unusual piano duet by two women who dance their way through Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor :)

Girls Rock A Giant Piano
Girls Rock A Giant Piano

Thursday, May 7, 2009

pachelbel, pachelbel!

someone gets sick of pachelbel's one hit wonder. and I mean really sick

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

mashing up

an cool piano & cello arrangement of Love Story and Viva la Vida.

it's quite well done, and neatly arranged.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

typical inefficiency

a couple of weekends ago, our house got hit by lightning.

it was pretty nasty. the storm came quite suddenly. I had gone to the kitchen to get a drink of water when I heard the lightning strike and saw a flash of light from the study.

the end damage meant that my modem, router, and desktop were all out.

the desktop went to the shop for repairs. ends up that the motherboard is out. the shop was willing to lend me a few parts to use temporarily while it's on warranty repair but they didn't have a spare motherboard at the time, so I have to do without a desktop for the time being. fine, no problems.

then came the matter of the modem. I got a new Linksys modem/router, which was supposed to be pretty good. had problems setting it up cause my notebook is dying (optical drive acting crazy, audio drivers and speakers shot, and just found out my ethernet adaptor is gone, and I've already replaced the hard disk once)

tried to set up the router using a friend's notebook (the Dell XPS is a beautiful system :p) but failed to get an internet connection. noticed the DSL light wasn't lit, which means that it wasn't getting any internet signal from the line.

I tried everything I could figure out, still couldn't get the DSL light to come on or any kind of internet connection. finally we got TM to come over to check on the line.

I wasn't home at the time, Alice was there. They checked using their own cheap non-branded modem - and it worked... then they told her "your modem is not supported, why don't you get some cheapo modem" (or something along those lines). they then told her to get our modem checked at the shop.

so when I came back, I went over to the shop. they tested it - and it worked fine. came back home, and again, not working. tried it at a friend's place - not working

finally found the workaround in the forums, apparently somebody else had the same problem and posted the same questions on the forum (with the exact same modem, too!)

apparently, I had to change one of the settings to change the DSL mode to a lower one to accommodate TM's outdated technology. what a let-down.

but anyway, I have an internet connection again (albeit, with a dodgy notebook, but at least I'm online), no thanks to TM. First world infrastructure? I don't think so, and this is supposed to be one of the most modern and hi-tech cities in the country. what a laugh.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

well then!

nothing that I didn't know...

General Description
As an Encourager, you are very relationship oriented and respond naturally to the needs of others. You want to be seen as an excellent listener who can respond to the challenge of helping others in practical ways, including solving personal problems.

Typical Areas of Strength
Encouragers, like you, are typically energetic, friendly, encouraging, patient, understanding, loyal, steady, dependable, and are willing to listen to the needs of others.

Typical Areas of Struggle
You often shy away from conflict and may avoid making difficult people decisions, rather than hurt the feelings of others.

Your Preferred Activities
Because you cooperate well with others, you function best with access to people who need assistance, encouragement, development.

Your Communication Style
You communicate through carefully chosen words, gestures, body language, facial expressions, and listening skills to communicate your concern.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

on the screen: Marley & Me

Condemn me if you wish, but I'm a fan of Owen Wilson (not so crazy over Jennifer Aniston, but oh well) and when I got free tickets to watch this it was quite an interesting proposition. The fact that it was in Cineleisure dampened the enthusiasm a bit but hey, it's a free ticket.

Marley & Me is based on the autobiographical novel of the same name by John Grogan (played by Owen Wilson) and charts the roughly 13 years that the Grogan family had Marley, a yellow lab retriever.

The story starts with Grogan getting married, and moving down to Miami where they adopt a puppy and that kicks off their adventures. The dog ends up eating and destroying pretty much their entire home, and tensions arise as the family has children and pressures mount.

I know, doesn't sound like much of a story, right? The fact is, it really does have a good storyline and I was riveted for the entire 2 hours of the movie. There are funny moments (with Owen Wilson, how could there not be?), there are dramatic moments, and there are pretty sad moments. And of course, the main star of the show is always... Marley. Apparently played by many different yellow labs (I guess they couldn't age the dog with make-up the way they could with humans), Marley steals the show and carries it all the way through your heart-strings.

I really did enjoy Marley & Me, even though I left the cinema feeling kinda sad. All in all, it's just one of those movies that isn't really blockbuster material, but still really does affect you in some way.

Alright, ratings! I'd give this movie a 7.2/10. Owen Wilson was reliable as always, and surprisingly, Jennifer Aniston gave a great, powerful performance as well, you almost couldn't recognize her from her role in Friends. And of course, there was Marley :)

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

on the plate: Castell Steak House

how does an amazing, succulent, hot and tender chunk of meat sound to you? It appeals to me, at least

to celebrate Alice's birthday, we headed over to Castell Steak House. Surprisingly, I found no reviews about the place. None, zip! But I had heard a couple of good things about it from some people who had gone before, so it was game on.

the place is tucked away in one corner along Jalan University, and since they built the flyover just at that junction, it's easy to miss the place and not know about its existence.

true enough, the place wasn't very crowded, there was just the two of us and another large party of eleven people or something like that, nobody else was dining (but it was a Tuesday night). We ordered seafood bisque, two steaks and some sauteed mushrooms.

first up, the seafood bisque. It was slightly creamy and had a few chunks of seafood inside, not too shabby but could have been better. I tried to take a photo but since it was too dark and my phone camera doesn't have a flash, there are no photos in this review. Sorry!

the steaks came up next, and this is where the heavens sang. Really. I had the T-bone steak and it arrived with a baked potato and a generous serving of corn (and sour cream and spring onions! yum). The steak was possibly one of the best things I've tasted recently, it was juicy, tender, succulent and was just simply good in all ways imaginable. The steak was grilled plain with some pepper and salt for preparation, and served without gravy or sauce to mask any flavors. So, the flavor of the beef really shone through and boy, was it good. I haven't had steak this good probably since I came back to Malaysia, and that's not a joke.

the sauteed mushrooms came and were bleh, just halved button mushrooms which were sauteed in a cajun marinade, tasted okay but nothing to shout about.

the menu is rather limited in its selection, mostly steaks with some chicken, lamb and seafood for those who don't like to do cow, but then again, that does work in their favor as they can concentrate on what they're good at, and that's really, really good steaks. There is one dish, the prime rib, that really looks interesting, but I don't think I'm gonna try that anytime soon as it's priced at a chilling RM98++ per portion. I saw someone on the other table having it and it looked good though.

so, the total bill for both of us (soup, two steaks, mushrooms and two drinks) came up to RM122, not too expensive for a good steak dinner, but also not something to go to on a regular basis. Unless you're in the business of printing money, I guess.

here we go
Food: 7.4/10 - best steak I've had in a long, long, long time. Natural flavors of the beef shining through and causing taste buds to rejoice
Drinks: 6/10 - my lime juice was good and sour, but not everybody would like it that way I think. Not a large selection but okay
Ambience: 7/10 - nice, quiet place that's dimly lit but tastefully done up
Service: 7/10 - of course, you get good service when there's only two tables that evening. Usually. Not everywhere, but at least here it made sure of prompt and efficient service

Castell can be reached at (03) 7955-0532

Thursday, January 29, 2009

interesting... or not... cello scrotum!

found this article posted by a friend on facebook... very interesting article about a malady that strikes fear into the heart of cellists everywhere... ummm... somewhat

Cello scrotum? It's a load of...

Sunday, January 25, 2009

awesome Dilbert comic - livestock

just couldn't help laughing at this one for today (25/01/09)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

on the plate: New York New York Deli @ 1 Utama

Found this place just outside Cold Storage in the new wing of 1 Utama, where Giant used to be. It looked intriguing, so I thought I would check it out sometime.

I finally found the time to go over there and try it out. Doing some research on the internet (yes, if I am interested in a restaurant I do check it out first) I found out that it's a Singaporean chain. A promising start, especially since Jack's Place and Sakae Sushi, both Singaporean chains are pretty decent establishments. Anyway, the website didn't have the full menu which was pretty disappointing.

The menu was pretty varied, and was interesting for the most part. They serve a variety of Western foods such as pasta, pizza, chops, burgers, sandwiches, and other mains and stuff. I had the Brats with bacon and cheese (sadly, not real bacon, but turkey bacon instead). Didn't look too impressive, and was so-so only. The bratwursts were not real bratwursts (which have real meat inside), but some processed stuff that tasted okay, but it really wasn't what I was hoping for. Gimme real sausages wrapped in real bacon, and some good cheese melted on top, then we'll talk. Okay?

The other dish was the Hawaii teriyaki burger, which didn't look like much (the patty looked really hand-made, which could be more or less appetizing, depending on your preference) and actually tasted pretty good, surprisingly. The beef had absorbed the teriyaki flavor, and there was enough beef to go around for every bite. In other words, a pretty decent and tasty burger.

Pricewise, I'd say this place is pretty decent. Each of our main courses was RM16.50 each, and they do supply drinking water (none of this "no free water here, buy our bottled tap water for RM10 per bottle or dehydrate and die" crap).

They also have this uber burger called the Giant Yankee burger. Supposedly 8" wide, 4" high, and with 2 pounds of beef inside. Really interesting stuff. At the Singapore branches if you can finish it on your own with a bunch of fries, it's free and a root beer float on the house. No such promotion here though. And it costs a whopping RM48.90 or something like that. Saw a group of people at another table order it, and my interest quickly waned as the bread looks really, really thick. I'd rather not be munching on something that's predominantly bread over everything else.

All in all, it's not fantastic, but a decent, comfortable place to hang out and chill (too bad there's no bottomless drinks!) and a widely varied menu, there should be at least something for everyone (especially the cheese fondue and chocolate fondue! I'll be trying those next time, hopefully).

Alright, here's the ratings

Food: 6.7/10 - not great, but not bad either
Drinks: 6.5/10 - a good choice, but too bad there aren't any refillable or bottomless drinks. Huzzah for the plain water though! :)
Ambience: 7.4/10 - a bit exposed to the shoppers passing by, but pretty decent.
Service: 7.6/10 - for some reason one or two of the waiters kept coming to check the order sheet which was placed on our table. Probably trying to check on the kitchen to make sure they were getting our orders ready. If so, good work, guys, but some reassurance that our food was coming would have been great, rather than the silent effort.

More to read about at their official website.

EDIT: I've heard a lot of pretty bad reviews about this place, and a few good ones, so it'll take another visit or two to really get the feel of it. Will keep things posted :p

Thursday, January 1, 2009

new year, same old

So, 2008 has come and gone. Big whoop.

Personally, I generally find that with every year, I'm really glad that it's over. Honestly. I don't know if I have ever looked back at a year and found it nostalgic or particularly wonderful or anything. Yes, good things happen, but just as many or even more bad things happen that just tend to spoil the mood. Or maybe I'm just bitter that I didn't get to go back to Singapore at all this year. Whatever.

But anyway, not to sound like sour grapes. Every new year brings new hope. Maybe one day I'll get to do the things I enjoy. But anyway, for now, it's back to the same old, same old. Work begins again in earnest in three days. Meanwhile, I'm off to try to enjoy my remaining few days of freedom (well, relative freedom) as much as I can.

On the bright side... last night I cooked a major beef dinner for some relatives who wanted beef (they can't eat beef at home for religious reasons). Beef stew, steak, home-made hamburgers, along with my roasted potato salad and a roast chicken for those who didn't eat beef. Those who know me well enough know that I love eating cow, so it was very exciting. So exciting that I didn't take pictures. Again.

So with them not being regular beef eaters, there were leftovers. So this morning for breakfast, the first breakfast of the new year, I heated up and made a cheeseburger for myself. Not too shabby for a brekkie!