Monday, June 30, 2008

Futility in Motion

Hi guys and gals. Our regular programming will be halted for four days pending potentially unfruitful discussions with our sponsor in Bangkok. In the meantime, enjoy our the numerous reruns we have in store for you in the archive section. We hope to see all of you again next week. Stay tuned!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Don't Put That In Your Mouth


STAR LRT
Swiped from hairil77.
I take the LRT to work everyday and I never fail to see people put the LRT card into their mouths. Seems like the logical thing to do when your left hand is carrying your bag and you need your right hand to put your wallet safely back into your pocket. Let me reiterate that I take the LRT to work everyday and I ALSO see people do the following with their LRT card:
  1. pick the dirt from under their fingertips
  2. drop it on the floor
  3. scrape their skin with it
  4. and of course, put it into their mouths

If you're banking on LRT companies sanitizing the card everytime they release it into circulation, do think again. Happy commuting.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Moussandra

Potato Bill made a visit to Malaysia again it was nice to catch up with him for a bit. As most of you know, the odds of meeting up with me is about as remote as meeting up with Lifebook (accurate mou?). Since late nights and clubs are not my style, I met up with him over dinner at Moussandra. A very hidden place, squatting precariously at the edge of KL Plaza. I would never have guessed it was there. Subtle signage. The place is dim with an avalanche of melted candlewax over wine bottles on every table. By the time I arrived, Potato Bill, SK and Apollo had already ordered. Food arrived just a little after I sat down and had a sip of their sangria (a little watered-down). Dinner consisted of tapas (Mediterranean dim sum as my brother put it) and several main courses. Truth be told, I was full after the tapas. We had garlic prawns (nice!), prawn and asparagus skewers, baked mussels, chicken liver pate (poor man's foie gras), lamb meatballs (good texture), garlic chicken (very fragrant and the breast meat was as tender as thight), babaganous (the hummus I think), fried mozzarella (quite mild), beef bacon pizza, mix souvlaki (the red meat wasn't quite marinated well enough, but once again, the chicken was very tender), olio mushroom fettucine (very peppery) and moussaka (sorta like lasagna sans the pasta but with added eggplant and potato. Very flavourful). No pictures to share as this was the dreaded dinner where Bill's digicam was last seen.

A few days later, I had lunch with Bill at Dragon-i, The Pavilion. As with their other branches, service was not up to standard. Ordered their steam rice with chicken and chinese sausages. I love the chicken, memang sedap. Had a side order of xiao long bao as well. Finally managed to down them without spilling the broth inside (thanks for the tip, Kenzon!). Recently read that the dumpling is wrapped in a jellied broth that melts during steaming. And I though they somehow injected it in. Such a simple solution. Had a serious discussion with Bill. Kinda turned a little depressing, but it wasn't that bad. He somehow managed to lighten things up a bit. Until we meet again....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Nephew


Cyan
Swiped from williamnyk.
Statistics:

Name: Cyan

DOB: 16th of June 2008

Sex: Male

Weight: 3.59kg

Place of Birth: Serdang Hospital, Selangor

The newest addition to my family, Cyan (cikgu-cikgu dia mesti bengang camno nak pronounce nama dia. I think it sounds like a country singer's name. :P). I'm officially an uncle. Oh well. The cute little tyke was born via c-section as his neck was caught in the umbilical cord. Luckily it didn't interfere with his breathing. It just caused everyone a LOT of anxiety because he seemed to be taking an extended stay in the womb. After two days of waiting and worrying, the eviction notice was finally issued. In the looks department, he inherited my sister's ham chim peng face and my family's trademark slitty eyes. His mouth is his father's. So far, he has just been sleeping, eating and shitting a lot. The lazy bum sleeps mostly during the day and causes havoc for his parents at night. Luckily it's EURO 2008 on TV these days. His eyes are really heavy and he just opens one at a time. He's perpetually hungry and my sister doesn't carry him much coz everytime he smells her, he'll automatically go for her boobs! Treats his mum like a walking milk bar. My mum is currently helping out during the confinement period.

Should I be the good (spoil him!) or the bad (discipline him!) uncle?

P.S.: The collage includes a pic of Cyan's dried up umbilical cord.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Singapore Business III: Father's Day


collageWahiru2
Swiped from williamnyk.
On Sunday morning, KH and Jeremy argued about whether it was Father's Day. Well, it does fall on the third Sunday of June and after squabbling, they both went off to wish their fathers in their own ways. It didn't occur to me then, but come to think of it, although I have not celebrated Father's Day for close to eleven years, I should have wished my late father too...

Well, after breakfast, we were all lounging on Jeremy's king-sized bed when we noticed that his mattress was really quite worn out (from regular humping?!). Too soft. Bad support for the back. And so that got Jeremy into the mood to shop for a new mattress. We all took the bus out to nearby mall to check out the Courts Mammoth there, only to find that we have to go to their megastore to get mattresses. And so after a quick lunch at the food court, we took another bus to the Courts Mammoth Megastore. We took the scenic route as we didn't get off at the right stop and the bus whizzed down to the expressway. :P. Tried out a whole bunch of Sealy mattresses (hard, medium, soft, firm... felt kinda like Goldilocks in a men's sauna) and Jeremy was quite smitten with a SGD3500+ model (rich, hor?). Jeremy couldn't decide yet and all the lack of sleep and nocturnal activities and heat gave me a giant headache, so we decided to head to the IKEA cafe next door.

While KH was queueing for the Swedish meatballs (non-halal) and chicken wings (my first try and I must say it's yummy!), Jeremy was kind enough to give me a head massage. It really helped a lot. Then it was KH's turn to get a headache. :(. After finishing th food, we quickly got home. I tucked KH into bed. I thought I would accompany KH until sound sleep came, but I myself fell asleep (I don't usually take afternoon naps). We woke up a couple of hours later and was already late for our dinner at Wahiru, Katong. Small, woody and quaint. Quite out of the way with a small clientelle. Dinner was on Jeremy. :). We ordered salmon sushi and sashimi, ama ebi sushi (raw shrimp where the heads are deep fried and served as a separate dish), various kushiyaki (most interesting was mochi wrapped in bacon), chawan mushi, stewed pork belly, ebi tempura, yellowtail sushi (chewy texture) and green tea ice cream.

It was my last night in Sweltering Singapore, and KH and I made the best of it. The following morning, we got up early and went to Lavendar to catch my bus. Before boarding, had a quick lunch at a Hakka restaurant nearby. Tried their YTF (really literal, just beancurd, no other variety) and stewed beef noodles (with radish, but the gravy was too thick for my liking). On the bus back to KL, I practically slept the whole way. Just woke up a while to munch on steamed peanuts and finish reading "Wicked".

Baby, see you again soon...

P.S.: Left a T-shirt in KH's room and forgot to bring back SK's pandan bread. Heard that KH finished it while eating a green tea McFlurry (eeeeeeee...)

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Singapore Business II: Zoolander


collageSingZoo
Swiped from williamnyk.
Early Saturday morning, we dragged ourselves out of bed and headed for Singapore's Mandai Zoo. I was there during my last trip, but KH never did visit it all this time. Being a blood donor, KH got a free pair of tickets, so we made it a date. We invited Jeremy along as the official spotlight and photographer. Hehe. Was supposed to meet POD and Nic there, but we didn't see them until later as they started earlier and the crowds were really atrocious (school holidays, Great Singapore Sale and free tickets!). Nothing's changed in six months, but at least I visited the exhibits that I missed the last time due to exhaustion and rain, for example the reptile section and the African animals. KH was running around taking pictures of every animal while Jeremy and I followed closely behind. Some interesting sightings:
  1. Two Amy Winehouse wannabes were spotted at the Australian Outback section
  2. A woman dressed like a zebra was found roaming outside the zebra enclosure
  3. Giraffe skulls actually look like Menos Grande

The heat and humidity was really stifling and by 2:00pm, Nic and I were ready to give up. Fanned ourselves with any pamphlet we could get our hands on. We caught the bus to Ang Mo Kio and hung out a while at POD's place, watching Gigolo Wannabes. Dinner was at Mellben Seafood Catering where the queue starts as early as 5:30pm. We waited close to one hour (due to the slow cooking process and the crowd) and devoured some Otah (a bigger version of Otak-otak Muar) before the main dish of Butter Prawns, Cereal Crab and Crab Vermicelli came. Of all the dishes, I liked the Crab Vermicelli the most. The large crabs (costs around SGD55 per crab) were simmered in a milky soup (something like KL's Fish Head Vermicelli) using claypots and served with thick vermicelli. The crab meat was sweet and thick and went well with the creamy soup. However, with all things this rich, it is best to keep portions moderate.

After dinner, went to Ang Mo Kio Mall to get some Body Shop stuff for Apollo and KH went to the office for a while (poor thing). Walked around and POD regaled us with some tales of "wild days". Hehe. Jeremy couldn't find his tennis shoes there, so Jeremy and I called it a night and went home. My legs felt like they were floating by the time I plopped on Jeremy's chair. Felt like I had to peel the clothes off my back. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz.....

collageMellben

P.S.: Had breakfast of soft-boiled eggs at Simei Food Court and I was shocked to find that it is eaten with dark soya sauce rather than light soya sauce! Eeeee....
P.P.S.: Lunch was over-priced Indian food at Forest Fare, Mandai Zoo.
P.P.P.S.: Tea was a vegetarian bento set at Ang Mo Kio (just found out it means Red Tomato?!) that had a very fragrant beancurd BKT.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Singapore Business I: Family Affairs

The last time I met KH was during CNY. In those long months, we merely communicated via SMS and phone calls. Sometimes an e-mail or two. And the even rarer but meaningful surprise greeting cards in the mail. In those long months, we missed each others' physical presence immensely. Whatever snuggling, cuddling, hugging and kissing had to be done via abstract means that although serves the purpose, but it onviously doesn't quite cut it. To connect, one had be there in person. Hence, to avoid exhaustion in the relationship, I visited KH during a weekend in June. We were both extremely busy (with uncertainties in my work schedule, my sister's delivery due date, KH's exam and work), but we both welcomed the reunion. Things were much easier this time round as KH had already moved in to stay with Jaded Jeremy. No more yappy dog and weirdness around KH's ex-landlord's family. We got to be ourselves.

The night I arrived at Singapore, was supposed to watch "The Hulk" with KH and Co. (Anson, James, Roman, Jeremy, Benji, Riven), but due to unforeseen circumstances, we scrapped that plan. Jeremy picked me up from the bus station and brought me to Bugis Juction where the rest were already waiting. Anson and Roman queued for 45 minutes to get a place at MOF (Ministry of Food). I never bothered to queue long at a place, but it seems to be the norm at Singapore. I was told that since I was coming, everyone made a concerted to make an appearance. So flattered. Thanks guys. In my opinion, food was good, but definitely not queue-for-45-minutes good. LOL. Had Tan-Tan Ramen (nice, porky goodness) and KH had a beef sukiyaki set where the NZ beef slices were dipped into raw egg after being cooked in a hot pot. Post-dinner activities had us at Liang Siah Street having tong sui. Had my first taste of walnut paste. Cam-whored a little (a family portrait as Anson put it, :)) and and we all went our separate ways.

Jeremy's place was really nice. Cosy and airy. Had a good look at his collection of anime and Transformers figurines too. :). Also witnessed the banter between KH and Jeremy. The cute bickering and clash of lifestyle. The mutual accusations of OCD. Weirdness against weirdness (hehe) A real test of friendship. To be a friend is easy, but to live together can be a challenge. Hehe.

The day ended with me in KH's arms...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Nikko


collageNikko
Swiped from williamnyk.
Another one bites the dust.

My colleague of three years has finally thrown in the towel. In exchange for the departure of an experienced colleague, I was recently given two newbies fresh from colleage. People at the office say that one of 'em looks like me and the other looks like my peer in Jakarta. Though I am all for teaching and guiding, but I it depends on the situation. If the pace of things are relaxed, I do not mind it, but if things are hectic, my patience grows very thin. So far, they're both infuriating in their own ways (one knows not what he is programming and the other brings out his employment contract to question my accuracy when I tell him about company policy), but they do have their uses. Better than nothing, that's what I always say. The next generation of cheap labour. Oh well, that's how I started out anyway.

In break of all tradition, the farewell dinner for my colleague was done at Nikko Hotel! The reason being that the buffet dinner at Cafe Serena Brasserie now costs only MYR45++ on weekdays for Citibank Credit Card holders. The second reason is that my other colleague is treating me. Hehe. Can never say no to a free dinner, can I? It's an international spread with predominantly continental fare. All the Western food was quite mediocre really. The beef medallions were tough. The fish dishes had bad texture and smelt really hanyir. The raw oysters weren't fresh too. However, the sashimi section was excellent and the cheese platter much to my liking (had lots of brie on crackers). Other surprises included a white and dark chocolate fountain with a selection of fruit and marshmallow skewers. Unfortunately, the ice cream was a melted glop in an ice-bath bucket. Other goodies were their glutinous rice with shredded coconut, beef sukiyaki, prawn in garlic sauce and scallops with tartar sauce.

If you're paying MYR90++ for it, don't bother. But if you have Citibank privileges, go give it a try.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Tower of Babel

Read Saturday's The Star and you'll see an article about the "towering achievement" of the Shian Yang 219th Kinta scouts troop. Basically, they spent MYR40,000 to build a 40.26m tall tower made of 5,000 pieces of mangrove wood and 300kg of rope. That "motivational and inspirational" white elephant earned them an entry in the Malaysian Book of Records. Whoopeeeeeee! I'm not sure whether I'll earn the ire of the scouts or anything, but I find the structure a real waste of money. And the mangrove trees that were sacrificed to "commemorate the 100th anniversary of the World Scout Movement"-- apalling. It would have been more meaningful if they had built a bridge that would have served some sort of purpose for the community rather than just some grandiose structure to stroke egos. And you know what? This is their 19th attempt. Well done!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Sweeney Todd


Sweeney
Swiped from williamnyk.
I'm due to have an appointment with my hairstylist. My hair is already to thick to style with the mud I have. It all just flops down. Might have to resort to adhesive or high-voltage shocks to bring "life" to my hair if things continue to drag on. The reason for this delay is because my stylist is no longer with Snips. He has spread his wings, becoming his own boss. Apparently, his new salon is still under renovation. He assures me by the latest mid-June. There better be an opening discount.

Since I'm on the subject of hairstylists, I just recently watched Sweeney Todd: Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Come to think of it, I have not seen a single haircut in the movie. Oh well. I found the movie quite enjoyable really. Nice twists. The singing was fun, not too long-drawn. Helena Bonham Carter looked great with her smoky eyes and wild hair. And the same pallid complexion for Johnny Depp. So Edward Scissorshands. So Sleepy Hollow. So Corpse Bride. So Tim Burton. However, my favourite character is Beadle Bamkins-- the weasel-y henchman of Judge Turpin. Love his swagger and the flourish of his telescopic walking stick. And as expected, there are characters that I hate, namely Johanna and Anthony. Johanna looks more 30 than 15 and Anthony is just plain annoying with his patin lips and brash, love-struck antics. Their love just seems so shallow to me. Anyhow, I like the pace and the ending. On the blood-- the first kill kinda helps you raise your threshold as the rest just pale in comparison.

P.S.: Just look at the pic, a real CLOSE shave.
P.P.S.: I'm the King of Late Movie Reviews.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Back in Business

After numerous late night discussions and heated negotiations, several lucrative deals have been closed. KH Pte Limited will remain as the sole distributor of Nyk Feelings in Singapore and Nyk Sdn Bhd will continue to source a steady supply of Love for KH Pte Limiteds manufacturing meds. The MoU signing was witnessed by Dato Jaded Jeremy. Operations shall resume tomorrow. Thank you for your patience.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Closed Shop


Closed shop
Swiped from ArminBxl.
This blog will not be operational from this Friday till next Monday. The owner will be down in Singapore transacting important business deals with his sole strategic partner. All inquiries will be attended to after negotiations are complete and details finalised. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Advertise Me


5th Series PLKN
Swiped from Anan Amri.
It's been ages since I complained about annoying advertisements, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. The top in my list right now is Maxis' Activ Ten radio advert.

Ten, Ten, Ten, Ten, Ten, I got Activ 10. Ten, Ten, Ten, Ten...

Stupid lyrics. Annoying voice talent. Interspersed with idiotic tribal chants. A real keeper.

Have you guys been watching the prime time news lately? Keep your eyes peeled during Buletin Utama and you might just catch the promotional advertisement for the National Service. It seems that portraying the NS like a musical is supposed to make it look important. Kids with dumb expressions and exaggerated gestures. Dancing with brooms and marching like they have fire ants down their pants. I'm sure the NS will be taken seriously now.

I'm sold.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Mighty Joe Young

Finally met Joe, the self-proclaimed President of My Di Association. He had finished his exams and flew in from KK for a short visit. I ffk him the first time due to unforeseen problems at work, but as luck would have it, I managed to see him before he went back to continue studying. With SK and Apollo with me, we met him and Pikey at OKR, our usual haunt for steamed fish head and BKT. Unfortunately, during that visit, the fish head was too big (flesh not smooth lo) and the BKT soup too salty. I must say that he looks a little different from his pics, but has admitted that all his pics are carefully posed for and selected before released into cyberspace. The vain little boy. It has really been a while since I met up with Pikey too, so it was good.

After dinner, we adjourned to Old Town Kopitiam at 3 1/2 Mile Square. It was quite happening for a Wednesday night. The drinks tasted different from the outlet in Central Market (best in my book) and Seri Petaling (watered down drinks :(), so they definitely have a consistency problem with the franchise. Oh yeah, the staff a 3 1/2 Mile Square weren't very attentive too. Either bring a loudspeaker or a flag to attract attention. We chose a booth with a great view. Two eye-candies berturut-turut sat in front of us. ;P. Cam-whored a bit. But it was a complex affair with complaints of incorrect angles and shaky hands. Pengz. The conversation was basically on online socialisation during our teenage years. Remember IRC? Remember ICQ? Those were the days. Pikey and Joe left for round two, and we went home to get some rest.

Question of the week: How long does it take to finish 2GB of porn?

Monday, June 09, 2008

Dante's Cove

Other than the annual dinner, the only other event that my company spends "unnecessary" money on its employees is the team-building getaway. Hence, I make it a point to attend these things though they may seem boring and a waste of a good weekend. Being unsure about my schedule, I postponed my participation until the third batch and just so happened to clash with Apollo's big birthday bash. Having booked my place in the trip earlier, I had to forgo the party (sorry, Kawan!). When Avillion and Port Dickson is mentioned in the same sentence, it usually elicits gasps and looks of awe and longing. That is what happened to me when I heard about the venue for the training.
(Finally, my company is actually appreciating us!)

Unfortunately, that sentiment didn't last long. Turns out that the training was to be held at Avillion Admiral Cove rather than Avillion Resort. The former is a budget version of the luxurious latter. To cut a long story short, I hopped on the bus PD (the bus was changed at the last minute and driver didn't even SUSPECT that a whole bunch of people with luggage was his passengers) and arrived an hour plus later. The place doesn't have a beach. It's basically a pier for a whole bunch of yachts and boats. The usual drivel about the importance of teamwork, clear communication, problem-solving, yadda-yadda-yadda. Luckily there were plenty of food breaks interspersed. Outdoor activities included aqua soccer (supposedly the only hotel in Malaysia that has it-- think of it as soccer in an inflatable pool) and telematches in the sweltering sun (nearly fried my brains). Gave the banana boat a miss as the dehydration nearly got to me.

Food was so-so. Recognized a couple of recycled lunch items during dinner. Their psuedo-infinity pool is nice though. And later at night after a boring presentation by my GM and technical manager (hijacked two hours of our free and easy time!), we were plied with red wine and vodka. Sleep came easily though I had the unluckiness of getting a smoking room. Everything else was nice enough as it was newly renovated. Simple furniture. Sliding wooden panels. LCD TV. Kitchen sink (san the kitchen!). On the bus home, we devoured three large hampers of junk food. My homecoming was interrupted by TV3's Jom Heboh. So felt like driving a tank across the stagnant traffic and droves of people. That would have been really MOTIVATING.

Avillioncollage1

P.S.: Till now, I do not know the title of my training programme. :P. But I did learn how to tie a reef knot. Handy for SM?

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Exams, Books and Us

After a month of studying, I finally took my Microsoft exam at a training center at Amcorp Mall. It was quite stressful as I did not have much time to finish the syallabus and do the test questions. Had to resort to late nights and whipping out my laptop in the LRT. Not much chance to steal time at work too. Luckily I passed the exam, or else I would have burned MYR300 as I did not register for the second shot voucher (free retake). Having finished my test early, I roamed the secondhand bookshops while waiting for a lunch date with Janvier. The first shop I entered was typical-- books piled mile-high, the smell of dust and yellowing paper with a hint of dessicated silverfish. Found a book, but I deemed it too expensive. Walking out, I stumbled across BookXcess. Spacious. Clean. Plenty of new books at prices lower than that of the ancient archive I had exited from. Bought Anthony Swofford's "Exit A" for myself and "Material Girl" for SK at just MYR19.80! Why are the books so cheap?

We stole them.

The kid at the counter was trying to be funny. Seeing that I didn't laugh, he explained that they were surplus books from the publisher. I forgave him as he was kinda cute. Noon came and Janvier decided on a Japanese place called Ume-Tei. Rumoured to be owned by a Japanese chef and his Malaysian wife. I suspect that the wife was the no-nonsense woman taking the orders. Ordered an unagi omelette bento set and Janvier had their salmon battayaki bento set. Food was quite good at MYR22 and MYR19 respectively. Ever the alcoholic, he urged us share a small bottle of sake with him. Not bad really, but we had kinda let it go cold from our lively conversations on relationships, compatibility, family, friends and gossip. Rarely had the chance to talk to him like that and I feel that it makes me know him better. I light-headedly bade him farewell and swayed back to work...

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ho Ho Ho Fun Fun Fun

Lunch on Sundays is always a big question mark. Restaurant A, boring. Kedai Makanan B, yuck. Stall C, ugh. Where to eat? Where to eat? Where to eat?! As a result, we always end up eating at some place random after mass. Something we have never tried before. Some place that looks inviting. Some place with a healthy crowd. Having gotten a bit wary and weary of the eateries at Aman Suria, we have now ventured into SS2 (don't really like the place as it confuses me and the crime rate is high). Tried a Restoran Ho Fun. From the name, it's obvious that it's a shredded chicken hor fun specialty shop. Ordered the signature dish, but with whole pieces instead of shreds and it was quite good. The first thing that you'd immediately notice is that the soup tastes and smels like prawn noodles. Even better than prawn noodles as it is quite concentrated. The compulsory kau choi was present and the chicken extremely smooth, but bland. The hor fun did not have any flour-y or preservative taste which is a plus. They serve it with preserved green chillies and I find that it is not suitable as the sourness will camouflage the subtle flavours. Mum had their curry noodles and it was also quite good. The creamy variety with shredded chicken and prawns. The price is a little above average, but the portions are quite generous, so it evens out. Go drive around SS2, and you might just stumble upon it like I did.

Monday, June 02, 2008

0530

After months of late nights, the toil is finally over.... not. Oh well. The system that my team and I had been working on had finally gone live on the 19th of May. Things were seemingly hunky-dory, but there were some critical errors that really put some serious doubt into the minds of the ends users. They were already resistant to change of operations, and thus they took the opportunity to sink the ship by complaining to the President directly (some vindictive bastard is pretty well-connected). Instead of sending my system to the depths of abandoned software, it survived by a thread. Instead of the 22 branches that it is deployed in, it is now constrained to 7 branches. I am now under public scrutiny. Well, the problems started from a bad server configuration. The database was not allocated enough space, the maintenance plans were not in place, the servers were not time-synchronized, the NLB was creating havoc with the viewstate verification and the identity we choose for the application pool somehow cause the .NET framework to crash multiple times during the day. The cumulative effect of these problems most probably cause erratic and erranous behaviour and we had a hell of a time patching the data. My General manager sat with us till 5:30am! The lot of us went for a dim sum breakfast and later went home to sleep before getting back to work again after lunch. :S. Things seem better now, but I wonder if it's because the load has been lessened. Have to continue monitoring the server logs... Sienzzz...

P.S.: This happened last week, so I have recovered. Jangan risau. :P