Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Battleground Brunei

A client of mine in Brunei was very pissed with a bug in their mission-critical system. The problem was related to bad code on a poorly-maintained database that was shared by many others. My CEO got so pissed with the overall architecture that he convinced the client to let him carve it out. Once we got the green light, I was at the forefront of the internal resistance to the change. Since the owners of the problem were reluctant to do it, we had to drive it. I kept documenting all that was needed to be done, and circulated the proposed design for discussion. Most of the time, I was greeted with silence. I pushed on anyway. In the end, we got the owners to endorse the solution and implement it. We pushed it all the way to the UAT cycle where our client took their sweet time to test. They had already missed two so-called unmovable dates to sign-off, so when the third date came, it was firm.

Rainy BSB

On the day I arrived in Brunei, even the items that could have been done weeks before were not completed. What's the point of me coming out with a detailed checklist if you don't plan and act accordingly? I was flabbergasted. At least each affected system sent support staff. Thankful for that. I knew it was going to be a long night, so the team went out for a nice dinner at Restoran Fuchow. Funny thing was, the Fuchow guy who was with us commented that the menu looked like any ol' menu in a Chinese restaurant in KL. Maximum 10% Fuchow delicacies.

Red Wine Residuum Pork

Sayur Manis

Kong Pia

So on that Monday night (and who does a major migration on a Monday night anyway?!), the migration activities dragged on till 4:30 AM. Best of all, the team had to come in to support at 7:30 AM. I woke up zombified after two hours of sleep, shoveled food into my mouth, and upon reaching the office, I couldn't even check on the system health because none of my client's staff were there. Lol. What?! And I even dropped my room key card somewhere. Couldn't find it although I retraced my steps. Perhaps some hunk found it and would return it to me that night.

Nocturnal

Thankfully, only two minor problems surfaced during the business hours due to some missing configurations. It went better than I anticipated. But I heard another shocking thing during the day-- they were going to swing to their disaster recovery site on Wednesday, just one day after such a major migration. What!? Their IT risk people do have a huge risk appetite. Think they need a crash course in kiasi-ness. Anyway, I was going home on Wednesday afternoon anyway. Couldn't be bothered. My colleague in Brunei bought some famous buns from Chop Jing Chew to celebrate. Their Roti Kacang Kahwin is really heavenly, but oh so sinful. By 9:30 PM, I couldn't keep my eyes open anymore, sleep like a baby till the next morning ...

Roti Kahwin Kacang

P.S.: Because I had a bad flu before my flight, and I forgot to refill my medication, I decided to buy it at the airport. A generic antihistamine that costs MYR1-2 outside was sold at MYR5, and they forced me to take two strips! And I also found out that those blister packs can actually cause the metal detector to go off. So put them in your bag. Haha.

Flu Meds

Monday, November 27, 2017

A Late Birthday Breakfast, An Early Halloween Huddle

Avocado Toast

Mum was back at the dentist for her follow up appointment. He declared that her gums would take another two weeks to heal following the tooth extraction from her last visit. He just did the usual scaling and polishing. We would probably visit Datuk Dr. Wong (rare to see a dentist with a Datukship) again in the coming weeks because mum wants to get some dentures in.

Flamingo Egg

My sister arranged a birthday breakfast with me at Bacon and Balls at Happy Garden. According to BIL, the kids had been there weeks in a row! Food reviews on Foursquare were pretty mixed with many complaining that they were overpriced and lousy. Luckily for me, my breakfast experience was pretty good. Big Monster knew exactly what he wanted-- Pork Lasagna. After tasting it, I wasn't surprised why. His brother's requirements were pretty simple too. Just get him scrambled eggs and lots of streaky bacon. On top of that, we got the Flamingo Egg, a yummy baked egg with red sauce. Also Avacado Toast and Smoked Salmon toast. All of those items came with thick slices of bread.

Pork Lasagna

At noon, I dropped mum off at her center for a Mid-autumn festival event while I went to March Azalea for a drink. I chose to sit at the long table at the back where the red brick walls are lined with potted plants. The space was bright and airy as the ceiling was punctuated with sky lights. I ordered a glass of vegetable juice and did some reading.

Long Table

Later on, I fetched Wai over with Uber (thank goodness for promo codes), and we had lunch together there. He had a carbonara that was served in a soup bowl and I had a Nu Skin Trim Shake. He updated me on the latest drama happening between him and his bestie. When it was time to pick mum up, I sent Soon Wai home on the way.

Vegetable Juice

Been a while since my last visit to the pool, so I dug out my olive Aussiebum swim trunks and drove to my apartment. As usual, there was no eye candy, just pesky kids who only spent their time jumping in and out of the pool.

Beadwork

In the evening, I brought mum to Javian Kitchen to sample some indigenous east Malaysian cuisine. We weren't so adventurous as to try sago worms, so we ordered Umai Tenggiri, Ayam Lulun Cara Pansuh, and Midin Goreng Belacan. Mum gave her seal of approval. She also bought a bottle of Sarawak white pepper. Their Bintulu belacan is also pretty good, but mum rarely uses that anymore.

Umai Ikan

Midin

SK invited mum and I to join her and her ex-colleagues at Street Cool Cafe and Lounge at Taman Equine after dinner. Although I had passed by that place several times, I never walked in. It's located at a very quiet row of shops near the Taman Equine Honda service center. Since Halloween was around the corner, they put in decorations and provided props for customers to fool around with. I provided art direction for SK and Co.'s "Scary Movie" shoot. On weekends, they also have live music at their al fresco section, but it was truly to hot outside to be comfortable. The girls finished five bottles of Sommersby apple cider, while I went for chamomile tea since I was still on my Nu Skin TR90 plan. Plenty of laughs that night.

Halloween

Friday, November 24, 2017

Care For Your Life

37th Birthday

What to do after you turn 37....? Go for a medical check up. Been postponing my regular health check for a while now, so I took leave on a Wednesday to visit Life Care Diagnostics with mum. Thankfully the drive to Bangsar South only took 35 minutes. With the road works completed on Lebuhraya Bukit Jalil - Puchong, traffic out of my neighbourhood is now longer drives one crazy. We were greeted by their staff as we walked in, and they confirmed my appointment. But I found it funny that a walk-in customer actually got registered faster than mum and I. At the counter, they took down our details. While waiting for them to punch in everything, I overheard something very interesting from customer beside me:

Staff: Mr XXX, what would you like to do today? Perhaps a head MRI?

Mr. XXX: Head MRI? Didn't I just do that last year. Can you please check my record?


Staff: Ohhhh yeah. Hmmm, what else... How about a heart scan? It's very good!


Mr. XXX: OK la.


Traditional Sign

Lounge II

Goodness. People who sign up for their VIP packages actually do all sorts of diagnostics for no reason, just because they had paid for it. Yikes. Once we had registered, we were directed to give the samples for the pathology tests. Once that was done, we moved further in to a large waiting area with comfortable sofas, and lots of paintings. From there, we moved from room to room for chest X-ray, ECG, and breath test. All of it was done by 9:00 AM. Their staff then brought us to the cafeteria where we were given a complimentary breakfast of turmeric chicken pasta and a pandan drink that was crafted by their dietitian. Just 326 calories. LOL.

Pasta Breakfast

Lounge I

From then on, it was a long wait till our results were out. They had a medical officer around who explained the results to us. On top of that, the doctor's task was to cross-sell further diagnostics. Haha. Anyway, no red lights and my cholesterol levels were still under control. Higher than my last reading though. But that's understandable since I had halved my dosage. And my average blood sugar levels seems to be getting higher as I age. Next, we met up with the dietitian who probed us about our eating habits. She noticed I had ketones in my urine, so she asked whether I was on a diet. Must be the Nu Skin ageLOC TR90. Everything was concluded by noon.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Babi Before Birthday

Welcome

In an attempt to copy the success of the Marian Exhibition at Air Salak, my parish set up their own version at the church roof top. Compared to the Church of St. Mary, we had more floor space, but I think they did a better job. Wanted to let mum try the Mee Kolok at 7th Mile Kitchen, but by the time we arrived, they had already closed. Just hopped over to Restoran New Yew Sang to find something to eat. KH met us there and passed me some lovely chai kueh from Chemor. When we left the kopitiam, I thought I left my car keys on the table. Ran up and down to find them, Turns out that the keys were in my shirt pocket. On the eve of my birthday, I was reminded that I was getting old!

Our Lady of Fatima

Chai Kueh

As one ages, birthdays seem to lose their significance. For instance, my 37th birthday was quite a low key affair. SK told me to decide on the venue, and make the reservation myself. Even the guest list was up to me. KH had an early flight to Tokyo the next morning, so spared him from attending the Sunday dinner. Anyway, he had celebrated with me a few days ago. I didn't choose the venue until the very last minute. Really no idea where to dine. KH gave me a most unexpected suggestion-- a meat place in Cheras. Yes, Cheras. That ghost place. Although I didn't fancy Cheras, I followed his suggestion anyway. I was too lazy to think of any other place. So it was a table for five at Anne Elizabeth the Deli Restaurant.

Butcher

Since it was raining when I left the house, traffic was naturally worse. Although there was congestion here and there, I made it there in 35 minutes. The traffic and parking 'crisis' in the vicinity of the restaurant really reminded me of Sri Petaling. Thankfully, we were blessed with a parking space just a stone's throw away from the restaurant. The concept of the place is pretty simple. When they seat you, you will be given a table number. With that table number, head to the chiller to make your selection. Don't be daunted by the huge selection of sausages, ribs, and other cuts of meat, because an expert is on hand to help you make your selection. The expert will explain what is what, and advise on the combination, portion, and degree of doneness. At the chiller, you can also order salads, and other appetizers to go with your mains.

Pork Ribs

We started ordering after SK and Gratitude arrived, thinking that it would take a while for the food to be served. When Apollo arrived with QueerRanter-D, I had an 'oops' moment because I didn't think there would be anything suitable vegetarian options for him. Luckily for me, things turned out well anyway because they found a bigger for us, and there were actually suitable items on the menu for herbivores.

Pancetta

If you ever dine there, I suggest that you start with the mushroom soup. So thick and creamy, and perfect with a sprinkle of crispy bacon. The Pancetta is also highly recommended, a very tender rolled pork belly slice. We also tried some of the specialty items, specifically the Iberico black pork. Tried two items-- Iberico Abanico (cut from the frontal part of the carcass, between the collar and the pork back fat) and the black pig meatball in a blanket. Although both were specialty items, I still preferred the Pancetta! Next was sausages. SK goes crazy when she sees sausages. We tried three varieties, which was the Anne's Cumberland, spicy Italian, and Bangers.

Black Pig Meatball in Blanket

Business was very brisk at Anne Elizabeth. After we paid the bill, both floors of the restaurant were still full, and there were people waiting outside. The people on the waiting list had sweets, haw flakes, and sunflower seeds to snack on while they waited. Not bad at all.

Sausages

Determining the venue for coffee was as hard as determining the dinner venue. In the end, we settle on I One Cafe at a very quiet part of Taman Supreme. Completely opposite from what we saw in Taman Segar earlier. I ordered a a spicy mango latte, the weirdest item on the menu. There were hints of the fruit, but I really couldn't detect any spiciness. Mum whipped out a bag of peanuts from her bag, and we continued our yumcha session there.

Mugs

Monday, November 20, 2017

Love Thy Lanterns

Fish Cakes

Once in a while, Nalanda Buddhist Society would organize a pindacāra event at the OUG morning market. Several monks would be making their rounds collecting alms-food. As the alms bowl can only hold so much, volunteers trail the monks with carts. Bumped into an elderly couple from church, and they told us that they were waiting for their son to fetch them home. Since they had to wait for another couple of hours, we offered to send them home instead. A great opportunity to visit their new home in 16Sierra. Previously, they lived at Paragon Heights, and made the move to 16Sierra because their grandchildren were now studying at Rafflesia International School ($$$).

Pindacāra

Quite a funny story really because when we arrived at their gorgeous semi-detached home, the old couple were unable to open the door! It used an electronic key, and even with all the beeps and whistles, we were unable to gain access. Loitered outside for about an hour before their son arrived to save the day. Actually there was no problem with the electronic lock. The elderly couple just didn't realize that there was a secondary lock. The home was very-well designed. All the doors are much taller than usual, and all the windows and doors are protected with security mesh. Wood and steel is the theme, with much use of hidden doors, and partitions.

Balcony View

In the evening, we had to help out at the church's Mid-Autumn Festival. We were one of the two people who helped our 'artistic director' set up the tong sui stall. The theme of the stall was "Reunion" where a replica of a family having reunion dinner was set up. We even had a fake moon overlooking the table. Other BECs and ministries also set up food stalls-- roast pork, kuih-muih, fishballs, radish cake, cotton candy, vadai, steamed chickpeas, etc. In addition to that, the church provided a buffet line for dinner. All hell broke loose when it was time to eat. Some famished folks tried to eat our table decorations, and the adjacent stall's decorative radishes were also filched!

Mung Beans and Pandan

RCIA Stall

Well, it wasn't only about food, there was also a cultural aspect to it. Artistic people could participate in the creative lantern contest, and intelligent people could try their luck with the lantern riddles. Kids had their own story-telling corner, and the main stage was graced by musicians, singers, and other performers. Could hardly believe that there are kids in my church who can perform on a unicycle. At the end of the night, our stall was declared as the winner!!! Glad that all the hard work paid off.

Gu Zheng

Moon Cakes, et al

Lantern Competition

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Be-earlied Birthday

Rainbow Roll

It's been increasingly hard to meet KH these days although we are no longer in an LDR. But that doesn't stop us from putting in extra effort to make things happen. In a few days, he would be taking a flight to San Francisco for the Nu Skin Global Convention in Utah, so he took me out for an early birthday dinner. At first he suggested an Italian restaurant near my office but I felt that it was too expensive. In the end, we went to Komura in Corus Hotel (an option for a post-dinner check-in?). Neither of us dined there before, so it would be a surprise. Komura looks like a small Japanese village with cobble stone walkways and thatched roofs. There are no tables in an open area. Every table is enclosed in a tiny 'house' (tatami room). Such a concept gives privacy to everyone (smooch all you like, but keep an ear out for a rap on the screen door), but if you're claustrophobic, then its not the place for you. Food quality was pretty good, and the waitresses did provide good service.

Sashimi Moriawase

Grilled Hamachi

Little Village

P.S.: Do a booking via Eatigo to enjoy a 20% discount at Komura.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

October Eats

Grilled Vegetables

On a whim, mum and I went shopping at One Utama after Sunday mass. Lunch was an Espetada Carnival at Nando's which surprisingly mum couldn't finish on her own. There was also a free cup of galão and a piece of brownies in my Peri-vilege account, so I attempted to redeem that. Believe or not, they ran out of coffee and brownies. But the nice waitress offered me some replacement items-- Elderflower Cooler and a medium side. So totally different right? I took the offer anyway.

Espetada Carnival

At the center court, there was a mid-autumn festival sale going on. All the reputable bakeries were trying their best to sell their mooncakes amidst an atmosphere that reminded me of the Lunar Chinese New Year. The mall management probably recycled the decorations from CNY.

Mid-Autumn Festival

While wandering around the mall, we noticed an interesting kiosk that created a marriage between coffee and cookies, aptly named C&C Cookies and Coffee. I saw someone raiding the cookie counter with a large bag, and the Cookie Monster in me immediately activated. I bought a coffee and cookie combo, and was given a bag... a wee bag that was no where near what I saw. What a rip-off. Anyway, mum and I did our best. The coffee was really quite aromatic, and the cookies were good because they were straight out of the oven. Yummy!

Cookies and Coffee

Mother and Daughter Team

In the evening, SK joined us for dinner at Rumah Makan Cibiuk. As she had yet to try this Sundanese restaurant, she ordered some stuff that I had not tried before. But the recurring theme is of course spicy and deep-fried. Good for the waistline, great for the throat!

Tilapia Goreng

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Food at Frank's

Cold Platter

Been trying to arrange a meet-up with Nicky05 and EJ for ages, but it never materialized. Our underwear exchange was really long overdue. Don't get me wrong, we weren't exchanging used underwear or anything kinky. It's all very innocent. About a year ago, Nicky05 tumpang-ed some 2EROS underwear on MySale account, so that has been collecting cobwebs in my room. On top of that, EJ recently tumpang-ed some Andrew Christian underwear on my MySale account, so it's nearly the same story. Not only that, EJ had helped me to get 3 pairs of underwear from the recent Private Structure warehouse sale, so I had to collect that from him (I had really forgotten about it). In the end, I only managed to arrange dinner with EJ on a Friday night. Last minute additions were both our hubbies, Buttias and KH, so it was kinda like a double date.

Iberico honey mustard ribs

Our dinner venue was El Iberico, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, a new restaurant, just 3 months old. The dining experience there was very memorable due to the head waiter, Frank. His service standard was very North American, and very, very friendly. Can tell that he's very enthusiastic about his job. The guy actually took the trouble to remember our names, he actually sang, and showed us pictures from his Elvis impersonator days. The food there was pretty good too, but truth be told a little pricey. The damage would have been worse if there wasn't the 30% discount on several items. We started with the cold platter, which was a playful mix of flavours, and textures, from marinated octopus, olives, to ham, and melons. Another starter was the escargot that was served on mushrooms, but I wasn't impressed. Meat-wise we had the Iberico honey mustard ribs, and herb-crusted lamb rack and loin. The former was excellent, but the latter was a bit too salty.

We bid Frank goodbye and headed up to J&D Espresso for some coffee. As usual, the place was very quiet, making it perfect for us to buat kecoh. For some reason, our conversation that evening was very vain, all revolving around weight loss, jawlines, collagen fillers, etc. And of course some gossip about Nicky05.

Flat White

P.S.: Nicky05 made up for his absence with a whole lotta snacks from his trip to Thailand. Seaweed, sweets, Thai milk tea, Pocky, spicy squid snacks, etc. That fella really knows how to shop! 

Thai Treats