Friday, November 26, 2004

snow snow snow & gobble gobble gobble!

It's the thanxgiving weekend!!! this is one of THE "balik kampung" seasons here in the U.S.... and so yesterday drove up to one family gathering .... today we are recovering a bit before going to yet another house... i am stufffffffed.....

oh.. and it rained all morning on wednesday... by noon snow was mixed in with the rain... after lunch it was just snow (and STRONG winds!!)... by 5pm there musta been an inch of snow accumulated already.... brrrrrrrrr!!!! hasnt snowed since, but it's still pretty cold!! will need to get myself some proper footwear for this weather.. keep my already cold extremeties warm!!

Friday, November 19, 2004

What is a Thylacine?

Clicking around Yahoo!News today brought me to an unusual article about a "Tasmanian Tiger." When I read the first few paragraphs, I was thinking "Oh my, this sounds like the hunt for bigfoot or something"... imagine: a creature with the head of a wolf, the pouch of a kangaroo and the stripes of a tiger?! Well it blew my mind to know this creature actually DOES exist (or HAD existed, depending what you think).

... have spent the last few minutes searching for pictures/photos on this animal... thot I'd share them with you... for your own education, dear reader :-) I think it's amazing to come across reference to an animal I never knew ever existed!!

For a short page to get you started, click here or take the Tasmanian Tour.

For a much more comprehensive guide to this animal, check out The Thylacine Museum which labels itself as an online reference guide to the thylacine. Its mainpage is rather busy, but here are some noteworthy pages:

  • The Fleay Photograph: excellent photo of a thylacine, in particular because it captures a thylacine showing off its ability to open its mouth to an unusually large width

  • A page devoted to Benjamin, the last captive thylacine. See more pictures, and read up on the history surrounding Benjamin and her (yes, her) captivity.

  • I havent even attempted to check out the films they have... (i have no faith in dial-up ; it sux :-p ) anyone with DSL/broadband can probably enjoy this feature better.


ok folks, so that's your trivia education for today :-D

Thursday, November 18, 2004

... wake-up call: life is short ...

Just received news that an ex-colleague of mine, from my past life in [PGB], passed away ~7am on Friday 12th November 2004.

While I was never "close" to her, she always struck me as someone who easily befriended everybody she met. Bubbly personality. Kinda in-yo'-face but at the same time u knew she wasn't being mean about it. It seems she'd been kinda battling w her health for a few years; 2 years ago she was diagnosed with having fibroids and underwent an operation to remove it/them/whatever. Could not remove all of it. Took a turn for the worse in early November, and then, well, you already know what happened on the 12th. I have no idea of her exact age: am guessing between 35-40.

I was tempted to type that she was "too young" ... but then again... while ideally one would want to live to a ripe old age, you just know that in this day and age, it gets tougher for us to aspire to such lofty goals.

The water we drink: how much JUNK is in it? What with all the pollutants in the air, that get brought down to earth and seas when it rains.... the fish live in it... we drink it (don't for a minute tell me you TRUST what comes out of the tap in your house!)... And our body is what, 70% water? ugh... imagine how much of the junk stays in our system... and just what does it all do to us...

And what about our food? Bird flu in chicken... Chicken being injected w antibiotics... That JE thingy in pigs... cows being fed dead cow parts resulting in mad cow disease... fish with mercury and who-knows-what-else in 'em...

That's just food/drink... what about other "wild card" factors such as reckless motorcyclists... floods... 9/11-type attacks... falling victim to snatch thefts... being victim of a burglary-gone-wrong... cancer... heart failure... you name it!

No, dear reader... no such thing as "too young" to die ...

But life *is* short.. so please: live every day to the fullest, so that whenever it *is* your time to go, you can leave with minimal regrets... perhaps you could keep this in mind as you start off your day in the mornings:


"Today is the first day of the rest of your life"

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Is Aidil Fitri truly "meaningful" to you?

This is a quickie-post for today.... while this is being typed, I bet most people in Malaysia are stuffing their faces celebrating the end of the fasting month! And I also bet many of you are expecting me to be all homesick, what with being away from home and all.... well... the "raya mood" has yet to ever strike me... never has and probably never will. Don't cry for me argentina...

Many thanx to all of those who sms'ed me raya greetings over the past few days - they were greatly appreciated, it is nice to know I am thought of even when halfway across the world from most of you! ... btw I sent out greetings to almost everyone in my phone's address book - so if you did not receive an sms from me, that means I dont have you on my phone - so sms me NOW!! ;-)

And whether or not you were a recepient of my SMS : that does NOT prevent me from wishing all my readers (heeeheheheh i wonder just how many readers i *do* have!!) a safe "DeepaRaya".... yes, my dears, let's not forget the multi-racial and multi-religious country of ours! Happy Deepavali to those who celebrate that occasion, and also a Selamat Aidil Fitri to, again, those who celebrate that occasion: Maaf zahir & batin.

While we're on the subject.. Let us take some time to step back from the hectic day, and reflect on what Aidil Fitri means to you...

... Do you truly look forward to the visits to / by your relatives as strengthening silaturrahim, or it is to collect money on behalf of your kid who fasted thru the month without really knowing why?
... Or to compare and attempt to outshine the other ladies with your new Raya Baju Kebaya?
... Hey, do you even look forward to the entire clan get-together, or is the "duty" of balik kampung something that you do so grudgingly, such that you've infected your children with a keen distaste for this event and for the family?
... Or is Raya all about celebrating the start of being able to eat/drink/smoke normally again???

Please do take a minute or two to ponder upon your answers... Is Aidil Fitri truly "meaningful" to you?

Saturday, November 13, 2004

Something Malaysian :-)

Stumbled across some interesting links tonight, thot I'd share them with my readers:

1. Here's a perspective of a Penangite: My Malaysian way of life....

2. From him, I found my way to this excellent site: Inconsiderate and hopelessly lousy drivers.......

3. Which in turn led me to the Pandu Cermat page. You *have* to check this one out.. if you upload a picture, you may choose to input the "No. kenderaan si sial"!! LOL!!!

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

"safety" certainly NOT first for Malaysians!

I was just plain disgusted at this recent news article I read:

Imagine that: the 6-yr old kid had it right! Be safe, cross the road using the pedestrian bridge! But the “adult” “parent”, the one who is supposed to role model correct behaviour, pooh-poohs the kid, and insists on crossing a SIX-LANE highway, in the pouring rain, because the gap in the divider will make it “faster,” … and proceeds to get them all mowed down by a passing vehicle.

My dear reader: please, take a few seconds to ask yourself : “What would I have done in the same situation?” There you are, with your two precious kids in tow : would YOU have jaywalked across a highway in the pouring rain?

I’m sorry, but I feel so GOOD to see something like this happen. I feel badly for the affected family and all, but, well, you reap what you sow, right? Maybe, just maybe, thanks to this incident, Malaysians in general will think twice about simply jaywalking any which where they please? Maybe, just maybe, Malaysians may let go of that illusion of invulnerability and invincibility they seem to suffer from most of the time (hello : just LOOK at those bloody motorcyclists!!). Maybe, just maybe, “safety first” may suddenly be not just some stupid slogan to mouth around your boss, and actually is a principle to live by???

I’ve always felt I’m one of those abnormalities: While I share Malaysians’ general disdain for following rules, I DO take safety seriously:
- hence my insisting on seatbelts being worn in the car (although not in the back seat lah… that’s taking it too far in Malaysia! I buckled up once when sitting in the back seat and got the driver all insulted! Go figure!)
- and I do not approve of driving while NOT using a hands-free set (… yes yes yes I DO (DID actually) sms while driving – but that’s when I was using the phone which was SO easy to text with!!! Heehehe)
- and as far as possible I wait for the green man to appear before I cross the road at the designated pedestrian crossings…. Or at least make very very sure that it is safe to jaywalk! Oh yeah: and I cross in a straight line (it’s the SHORTEST distance to the other side!!) instead of crossing in a diagonal manner that would bring me to the sidewalk a few steps closer to the final destination. I don’t understand – MY objective is to cross safely, THEN get to my destination! Perhaps it’s me who can’t multi-task? Haaahaha no I don’t for a minute believe that.

I think I have my priorities right, unlike most other Malaysians.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 09, 2004

... self-boosting one's ego?

This is SO amusing... how many of us look for all sorts of things to boost out self-confidence, our sense of self-pride? Here's how someone I know boosted her own ego:

This is part of her "signature" which gets appended at the end of her e-mail... at 23 lines long, it's usually longer than the body of the mail itself!

Is this another indication of us being content with "fame by association" rather than acknowledgement of our own worth? You decide:

[name deleted]
Mobile : [deleted]
Email : [deleted]
Website : http://[deleted]

*Personal Domestic Assistant & sister-in-law
to YBhg. Datin Seri Paduka [name deleted]
(wife of [name deleted] Minister of Malaysia,
YB Dato' Seri Paduka [name deleted])

*Part-time Vocal Instructor/Trainer
@ [company name deleted] (formerly [company name deleted])
a company owned by [name deleted]
(vocal instructor for Akademi Fantasia)

*Managing Director
of [company name deleted] Sdn Bhd
(an entertainment production company)
Address : [deleted],
Taman [deleted],
68000 Ampang,
Selangor , MALAYSIA.
Phone & Fax :+603 - [deleted]
2nd Line :+603 - [deleted]
Email : [deleted]@hotmail.com
Website : http://[deleted]

*your one stop entertainment center!*

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Airlines: hoot @ security

yes yes this is about a month old but i *have* to post this!! I had two surprises awaiting me upon my arrival in Newark - one humourous, one slightly disturbing...

First the disturbing one:
In a previous post, I had mentioned something about an 8hr layover in Newark airport the day I arrived in the U.S.... well I spent most of that time in the "public" area of the airport, just because I didnt want to enter the waiting area until I had to. Well, soon came the time I needed to get to the gate.
Walked over to the security scanning area...
and was promptly thankful that I always build in so much buffer in case I'm late for some reason! The line didnt seem to move: I mean, what's so difficult about putting your carry-on luggage on that belt thingy, and walking thru the arch thingy? Well, let's see.. how about expecting everyone to take off their shoes to be scanned??!! And I guess they were actually closely watching the x-ray screen: took forever for each person to get their stuff out the other end of the machine!
... i finally got through that without setting off any alarms, whoohhooo!! But that whole experience just left a sour taste in my mouth. ... and also was dealt with a reminder of how 9/11 had impacted the country, the airlines, and the people...

On a lighter note:
... as we touched-down at Newark airport, rolling across the runway, taxi-ing up to the terminal building... i looked out the window... and thought my eyes were deceiving me.... There among the Deltas and Continentals and whatever other airlines out there... was a HOOTERS? That's right, Hooters Air?!! Well I though I was mistaken, but once in the airport proper (once past that immigration officer) I did see a poster advertising HOOTERS AIR - I kid you not! Did snap a picture of it,


but found better proof online:


So for your next trip to the U.S., maybe you would like to check out this brand new airline? ;-) I bet the crew are as well-endowed as their land-bound counterparts...

Friday, November 05, 2004

… the idiot box rules o.k. !

Am getting back in touch with some long-forgotten TV programs, as well as getting acquainted with other shows I never really got into before, plus discovering shows that probably never got to Malaysian TV. Yep, if I wanted to be glued to the idiot-box all day, I could! Here's just a small sample of my daily fare:

Re-run heaven:
Happy Days: The Fonz doesn’t look THAT sexy no more. Sooooo outdated! This was before my time even when eye was growing up!
Magnum P.I.: Talking about outdated - hilarious to see Tom Selleck in those shorts and curly-wurly hair!
Friends: so what if I have Season 1-9 on VCD? Always good to catch any episode! :-D Just wish I could catch Season 10!! No sign of those when I left KL L

Getting to know you again:
The Simpsons: an adult-oriented cartoon, featuring Bart the irreverent kid, and Homer the d’oh nucler plant operator. Famous for the phrases “Cowabunga, dude” “Eat my shorts” :-D
Everybody loves Raymond: so-so series, good to pass the time away while waiting for evening to fall :p
Seinfeld: A major hit when I was studying here, but I never bothered to get into it because it seemed to be enjoyed by the same people who loved MTV’s Beavis and Butthead. I can appreciate the humor a bit more now :p
Matlock: I must have caught this back in my college days… or was it actually on Malaysian TV? A very aged Andy Griffith stars as a lawyer who gets in deep with cases he defends. Simplistic, yet refined.

What’s new (to me):
Will & Grace: a so-so gay-related comedy
Joey: a very disappointing Friends spin-off
Family Guy: another adult cartoon, featuring a super-intelligent baby out for world dominance
Angel: Spin-off of Buffy the Vampire Slayer; right now he’s got a son and it’s in danger. Good stuff!
Enterprise: The latest incarnation of the Star Trek series. I had downloaded and watched mostly Season 2 episodes, tho I think what I’m catching on TV is now the 4th season.

Wish List:
Babylon 5: I think this is better than the Star Trek family of series. Got hooked during my Senior year in college here, then it was shown (short-lived) on Malaysian TV in 1995. Random videos found at Desa Pondan’s Speedy Video helped fill in some blanks. Would love to be able to watch the story in its entirety! L
South Park: used to get my fix of South Park thru my “supplier”, (wink@ “joe”) while over here I don’t get access to the Cartoon Network! Sob sob!!
Animaniacs: Ah yes, the Warner Brothers Wakko & Yakko, and the Warner Sister Dot. I liked their quirky sense of humor! Always felt this was more an adult-oriented cartoon too. It stopped playing on the air a loooong time ago... bummer!

Have a bone to pick about these ridiculous “reality tv” shows ... but that’s another blog all by itself! Tunggguuuuuuu!

A must-see: "Office Space"

Calling all people who relate all too well to Dilbert cartoons! Check out "Office Space" and discover a surprising movie with a large cult following, from the creator of… MTV’s Beavis and Butthead?! Ugh!

B&B were NOT my fave cartoon characters at all, and I had next to no respect for anyone who found them hilarious. So of course, when I was recommended to watch a movie by B&B’s creator, I was like “Uh, yeah, sure, uh-huh, I guess I could watch it one day.”

I was obviously turned around, or else I would be writing this, would I?

Most of the actors are unknowns to me, except Jennifer Aniston who plays a waitress (SO much like her job at Central Perk! that one time in Friends).

Won’t divulge too much about the storyline. The main character is someone who has decided to “let go” in relation to his job, just at the time when the company where he works hires consultants *gasp!* to improve efficiency (a.k.a downsize :p ). Battles with bosses, fax machines, and “the system” abound!

I related all TOO well to most of the interactions the main character had with his boss and the consultants... had visions of my CSS and ITA/ITP days just flashing thru my mind... *not* a pretty sight!! :D

My most enjoyable scene was the rather cathartic one out in the field on the last day of work (you gotta watch it for yourself – then tell me what you think!).

It's not *that* outstanding a movie, and yet I bet you can SO relate to it... I dunno whether this is easily available even at your friendly neighbourhood VCD/DVD supplier. I suggest trolling around iMesh or other P2Ps for opportunities to download this movie… Take it from me: it’s worth the effort!

Team America : F**k yeah!

I certainly wasn’t planning on catching “Team America: World Police” anytime in the near future; glad an impromptu invitation last Saturday fixed that!

The opening scene had me already muttering angrily about the typical stereotype Arab-terrorist character as perceived by a typical American… but it then proceeded to expose the short-sighted arrogance of a typical American too! Imagine the members of Team America expecting the French to be grateful for their intervention at countering a terrorist plot yet remaining oblivious to the sacrilege they had committed by blowing up the Arche de Triomphe, the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre! (I wonder how many Americans actually UNDERSTOOD that part of the scene?!) Anyways, so that scene reminded me of who the makers of the movie were: none other than the creators of South Park! So who was I to expect anything less than irreverent sharp witty satire? Especially from a movie that claims to "... put the "F" back in freedom"

With that in mind, I sat back and made ready to enjoy the rest of the show.

I bet if any news of this movie has made its way to Malaysia, it’s mostly related to outrage at the negative depiction of Middle East terrorists. Hmmph! Take a number! After all, the Middle East “country” in this movie is some “Durka-durkastan” while THE bad-guy (who happens to be a very “rone-ry” guy) is real-life North Korean dictator Kim Jung Il: if anyone deserves the most outrage, it is him! (a reviewer describes his character in this movie as an adorable mix of Dr Evil and Elmer Fudd - you get the idea!) Alex Baldwin, Matt Damon, Susan Sarandon, George Clooney, Liv Tyler and a whole slew of actors are another group of people also waiting in line to express their outrage, I’m sure!!

I bet, however, the real reason this movie would NEVER make it to Malaysia is the gratuitous sex scenes! Yes, sex scenes in a marionette/puppet movie!! Ooooohlala, what I saw in the theatre was HOT! I dunno if even PORN "cums" close! And I hear that they actually had to CUT sex scenes just to get its “R” rating! That’s it! I’m getting the “uncut / uncensored” DVD once it "cums" out! Teehee!

But then again… Watching Gary puke, and puke, and puke, and puke and puke and puuuuuuuuuuuuke and pass out in a lake of vomit was just stomach-churning! And I never knew how graphic one could be with these puppets! The all-too-realistic depiction of (LETHAL) injuries is amazing!

See IMDB's entry on this movie here and Yahoo's review of it here.

Do check it out (aiyah – it being banned wont stop ya! everyone has their fave source of VCD/DVDs maaah! If nothing else: download it off the net lah!), and tell me what you thought of it, okay? But hang on – this movie doesn’t take itself seriously, so neither should you. If you are able to suspend your pride; if you are able to just kick back, relax, and enjoy the ride: then Team America: World Police is for you!

Oh, and in case you wondering about my choice of Blog titles for this entry: awww I'm just lifting the lyrics off the theme song! teehee!

Thursday, November 04, 2004

I cooked again!

Yes I did! And this time it was more sophisticated than fried eggs and cheese!

Last Monday, 1st November 2004, saw me cooking Thai Red Curry that came out yummy! Many thanx to Brahim’s for a great yet easily prepared dish! Whoohoo!

Yes, I had tried out that other brand (Mdm Khoo’s Deli?) recommended by “Madam” before I left Malaysia, but it somehow wasn’t that impressive. Perhaps that’s because I forgot whatever it is that I was advised to add (in addition to the existing instructions on the pack? Heeeheh! Well, I didn’t have to add anything to the Brahim’s one – aaaaah, heaven for a reluctant chef J

Will keep y’all informed of any further inroads I make in the kitchen area :-D

FuRtHeRiNg mY bLoG eDuCaTiOn

This blog-queen-wannabe has succeeded in the following:

1. you may have noticed i've made my blogs on this main page as "expandable summaries" this means that you get some "teasers" of each blog, and would need click on the link to get the full story. Did that cos I myself found it bothersome to have to scroll down and down and down to get to the next blog entry.. hopefully you appreciate that too.

2. At every item page (where you end up when you click the read more link) I've also added a "back to main page" link. Yes sure you could just hit the back button on your browser... but let's say someone sends someone else a link to just that one item page... I'd like for that someone to easily get to my main blog page :D

Problems:
1. I like to have my text "justified" - however, mixing the expandable summary feature with hustified alignment gives me problems :-( Instead of the "read on" link on the next line, it appears after many many blank lines :-( couldn't figure how to fix that - spend most of the day just attempting to clean up the "LHDN" and "eggs" blogs that seemed the worst affected.

2. Have to figure out how to NOT have the "read more" link appearing on short articles... right now it will appear whether or not I put in the expandable summary function... (like this one...)

3. Have to figure out how to make the "read more" link appear immediately following the last word of the teaser... I dont like how it is on the next line :-(

yes so I have a long way to go to learn HTML... but this is a good first step :-)

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

… and the winner is …

… and there you have it, L&G… Dubya wins it in a pretty close race, and continues as president of the u.s. of a for another term.

Quite a few of you would have received my panic sms at my 230am that indicated dubya (*) was lookin like the winner… at that time he was at 230-ish electoral votes while Kerry had barely reached the 200 mark… and already then it was known that Ohio was the decider, i.e. if Kerry got that state, he had a fighting chance… but if Bush got that, he was pretty much guaranteed the presidency… and at 230am it was “too close to call” but looked like it was going Bush’s way…

If nothing else, I had a slight thrill when I woke up, checked the status, and saw that they were BOTH at around 250 each, with Ohio still in the balance (Ohio would provide the 20 electoral votes needed for either one to become the next prez)… Reading on, with a sinking heart I saw that Ohio was essentially Bush’s but they were in the process of tallying up the provisional votes and absentee votes and whatnot. Oh well… And soon after that, Kerry conceded to Bush.

Considering the fiasco of the Florida recount in 2000, I think Kerry made a wise decision. Yes yes yes I am sure many will provide lots of political justifications / conspiracies / whatever about Kerry not doing what one would expect a typical American to do… but I’d like to believe that ultimately, his priority is not HIMSELF but THE COUNTRY. It is already a given that whoever it is that leads the U.S. for the next 4 years has a LONG way to go in healing this nation, and for the election to be marred yet again by controversy that would further divide an already divided nation… well that just helps no-one…

I must say I am disappointed by the results… I am disappointed in the many Americans who swallowed false propaganda and believed that Kerry had no proper plans on dealing with Iraq / Medicare… Perhaps Kerry should have really focused on addressing those accusations… because while many people were disenchanted with Bush, they weren’t going to simply vote for Kerry instead: they still had to be convinced that Kerry would be different from Bush. Sigh. Oh well…

So… with THAT out of the way… we’ll see what Dubya does, in both domestic and international aspects, for the next 4 years…

(check out some interesting reads here and here from Jeff Ooi's blog relating to this election)

(*) : NOTE : hey… for those who didn’t know who I was talking about when I referred to “dubya”… I apologise for any confusion I caused ya… but perhaps you may wanna consider expanding what your base of knowledge? Then again, I know I am one of those who just LOVES useless bits of trivia… :p
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