Saturday, December 31, 2005

g'bye 2005!

How we are celebrating the end of 2005 & ushering in 2006:

Staying at home,
pigging out on chips & dip,
watching tv,
reading SK's It (me) and playing with shreddage (Kosh).

Huh? Shreddage?

here's the story: We ordered Magic: The Gathering Betrayers of Kamigawa Rat's Nest Theme Deck from a place called trollandtoad.com less than a week ago. It arrived today.

And what was the packaging material used to stuff the box it came in?
    Their own shredded paper! And it wasn't even cross-cut either!
And what has Kosh been doing since the package arrived?
    Piecing the long pieces of paper together.
Ah, I am unworthy! I thought *i* was the master of procrastination and time-wastage, but boy was I wrong... :p

Jokingly, he said he was going to mail the put-together pieces back to the company with a suggestion that they not use their own shreddage for packaging; or at least make sure there's no risk of identity theft... I'd do it. After all, it looks like there may actually be some credit card numbers on some of the pieces of paper!

~~~

Oh, it was really weird yesterday: we were at Kosh's office for about an hour yesterday evening. It was cold but no indication of any inclement weather.

We came out to see BIG FAT SNOWFLAKES falling: there must have been about half an inch of it everywhere!

So we got in the car and drove, barely able to see anything, and the car threatening to slide around on the extremely slick surface, and headed to the library to pick up some stuff. From the library, I look out and don't see no snow falling no more; whoohoo!

But then we realise it turned to rain instead! ugh!! So we run through SLUSH back to the car.

We then drove to the bbq place for ribs. When we got outta there, it was snowing again, but this time nothing but very light & small bits of snow.

Later that night, it turned to heavier rain. So there was NO snow at all this morning: if we hadn't been out at that time, I wonder if we'd have believed anyone if they told us it had snowed at all!

~~~

Currently listening to: The Rasmus' Hide from the Sun
(yo, bro: that's your b-day present to me, btw. Thanx!!)
It sounds slightly darker/heavier than Dead Letters; a few tracks seem to stand out; still too early to tell whether this surpasses Dead Letters... need more listening time :-)

Also just received F.R.I.E.N.D.S Season 10 DVD.
I suppose it turned out well that they were late releasing Season 10 on VCD in Malaysia, so in the end I didn't get around to buying it. So now, for the season that matters most (well, just because it's the LAST season), I have it on DVD :-) Along with a 45 minute gag reel and whatever other special features they have there. Whoohooo!

Of course, one slight blemish on the above: our DVD player is starting to run amok! Most of the time it refuses to load the DVD, making weird noises that make us cringe instead! Sometimes it loads the disc, only to say "wrong disc." It's getting really frustrating! My quest to re-watch my Babylon 5 DVD's has been put on hold because I'd start to get really mad at the absurd situation.

The player was a cheapo free gift, so maybe it wasn't designed to last more than a year?? I'd rather fix it than buy a new (and branded, more reliable?) one: as far as possible I don't want to be part of a "throw-away" society... but then again, getting it fixed in this country would cost a lot just for labor charges, so it's probably more worth it to just go ahead and get a new one. Sigh.

~~~

New Year already happened in Malaysia and that part of the world...

we're about 3.25hrs away, if I have my math right. I'll be getting offline, and fixin myself a drink or two soon...

On a related note, here's Modern Drunkard Magazine Online's 86 rules of boozing.

Have a good 2006, everyone!

Friday, December 30, 2005

Smile! it's the end of 2005!!

Here's a fantastic photo that captures the spirit of my family:
smile

Gotcha!!


But talking about smiles...

Ever heard of a brand of toothpaste called DARKIE?

It got changed to DARLIE in 1989 or so, and only then did I think about what an offensive brand it actually was!

Take a look:

For some reason I was thinking about it the other day, and did a bit of research about it... I had always thought this brand was one of the many products "inherited" form the British, but it turns out this was a local Asian brand originating from Hong Kong. Apparently its founder had come to the US in the 1920s and seen Al Jolson in his blackface show, and had been impressed with how white Jolson's teeth looked.

Then Colgate-Palmolive bought it over, but didn't change the name until P&G threw some bad publicity their way..

They finally changed it to a less offensive name, and made the man on the package "an abstraction of indeterminent race."

The amusing thing, though, is that it's only the English version of this product that got changed... the others had the image changed, but the translation "Black Man Toothpaste" still lives on...

Here are some reference articles on this topic:
1. Whole Pop Magazine Online
2. New Internationalist Issue 195, 1989

[update 20080801: new photo used, sourced from toothpasteworld via wiki]

Miracles of the season!

First, to put a smile on your face:
An Irish priest is driving down to New York and gets stopped for speeding. The state trooper smells alcohol on the priest's breath and then sees an empty wine bottle on the floor of the car. He says, "Sir, have you been drinking?"

"Just water," says the priest.

The trooper says, "Then why do I smell wine?"

The priest looks at the bottle and says, "Good Lord! He's done it again!"


Second: today (well, technically YESTERDAY since it's past midnight) was a culinary experiment... once I woke up this morning, I started chopping veggies (broccoli, carrots, celery, onions), and dumped them into a crock-pot along with pre-washed & sliced mushrooms, 3 chicken breasts and half a bottle of barbeque sauce, and let it cook for 8 hours. It's my first crock-pot experiment! Turned out okay... the broccoli florets were pretty much disintegrated, and the chicken was slightly dry I think because it was cooked a bit too long, and it needed to be at the bottom of the pot in order to be soaking in the sauce... but still totally edible :-)

We are going to experiment with the crock-pot more: need to prepare more meals at home in order to control portion size and to reduce the amount of times we eat out (or carry out) weekly!!

And once the crock-pot had been set-up, I sauteed some chopped onion and a sliced smoked polish sausage, then poured into the pan a mixture of 3 eggs, 3 tsp milk and some garlic. Scrambled the mixture. Loaded it with shredded cheese, so it would melt into the eggs. mmmMmmMMmMMmmmm!! Split that with Kosh for a late brunch.

Tomorrow (Or technically later today) is BBQ Beef Ribs day again, whoohooo!

Kosh wondered the other day: if this item was available EVERY day, would I insist on getting it as often as once a week? In other words, do we make it a point to get it every Friday only because it's only available on Fridays? Yeah, probably :p

Gosh darn it, it's less than 48 hours to 2006?!

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Measuring up to TIME...

Even though I am a voracious reader, there's something in me that just rebels against the norm... I don't like reading books "expected" of me; neither have I ever felt the need to read "critically acclaimed classics"...

I remember a friend of mine being totally shocked that I had yet to read Pride & Prejudice: this was in high school; 15 years later, I still haven't had the urge to, and probably won't ever.

It didn't help, I guess, that "English Literature" as taught during my high school days involved reading abridged versions of things like Little Women, Silas Marner and Shakespeare's works, which probably didn't bring out the true richness of the literature in question. And I doubt that the teachers I had any true appreciation of what they were "teaching" either, and therefore did a crummy job at passing on any appreciation for these works....

But if I stumbled upon a book, or series of books, on my own, I would probably go all out and explore the whole thing. For example, I know that at pretty young age, I already owned almost the entire series of books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (yes, there were many more than the one Little House On The Prairie), and while I don't remember details, I know I also explored all those Oz books by L Frank Baum (again: yes, there were many more than the one The (Wonderful) Wizard of Oz!)

Anyways ... a few weeks ago I stumbled across TIME magazine's list of all-TIME 100 novels and all-TIME 100 movies.

While I'm not too worried about the results, seeing as I know my tastes differ from the average Joe/Jane, I took a look at them to see how many of these works I have actually read / seen.

And the result? Not many, LOL!

In fact, of the 100 movies, I've seen 10.5!
  • E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
  • The Fly
  • A Hard Day's Night
  • It's A Wonderful Life
  • Kandahar
  • The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
  • Psycho
  • Pulp Fiction
  • Star Wars
  • Unforgiven
  • the 0.5 = The Purple Rose of Cairo which I watched with one eye when it was on PBS some time ago
And of the 100 novels? Only TWO "true" reads:
  • Animal Farm by George Orwell
  • 1984 by George Orwell
Whoa... both by George Orwell??? I never realised that till now! Cooool!!
And the "untrue" reads?
  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding (err... well... I *started* reading it... I don't even remember how far I got...)
  • The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien (ugh... another thing I *started* ... it was just too verbose for me... pages and pages and pages devoted to the description of the shire??? aarrrgghhh!! I know I stopped just after Frodo and friends get feted in the mountain by the elves... figured I'd be more appreciative of the scope of the tale via Peter jackson's movies, and I was right)
  • Does it count that I've seen a cartoon version of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis? And I *am* going to see the movie that just came out...
  • And I think A Passage to India by E.M. Forster was made into a tv mini series which I vaguely remember watching in Malaysia (hopelessly censored, of course...
  • And I've seen Stanley Kubrick's excellent movie version of Anthony Burgess' A Clockwork Orange.
I'm totally amused at the "low" rating I got... but I'm not concerned: I've read so many other books that I thought were excellent, that have affected me deeply, that have helped me become the person I am today...

But since I have the lists, I figured I'd identify some books & movies from there that I have been meaning to read/watch:
  • Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
    I know what a "Catch-22 situation" is, but I'd like to read about it in its original appearance...
  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
    a reference made in the movie Conspiracy Theory, about this being the book of choice of presidential assassins or what is used by the authorities to identify subversives, has always amused me and I'd like to read for myself this "subversive" text
  • Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
    I keep hearing the author's name mentioned here and there.. maybe I'll give him a try... the description sounds good
  • The Spy Who Came in From the Cold by John le Carre
    I keep hearing about this book/author too... I've never been much into this spy/intrigue genre (Clancy? Ludlum? never read 'em! I *have* read Forsyth's Day of the Jackal, tho..) but maybe I'll give him a try...
  • Blade Runner
    I can't believe I still haven't gotten around to see this movie!
  • Dr. Strangelove: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
    The movie's been mentioned in Jeopardy a few times recently, AND I'm kinda wanting to explore Kubrick's works (have seen Clockwork Orange and The Shining already)
  • Goodfellas
    If I have to sit through one mafia movie, let it be this one... I've been told it's one of the best, rivalling the Godfather. Wonder how it stacks against Once Upon A Time In America?
  • Lawrence of Arabia
    Just one of those classics that I actually do want to see one day...
  • Schindler's List
    Didn't watch it when it came out cos I was in Malaysia and even though it was finally allowed to be shown I think there were so many cuts made that the film was essentially ruined. Also, I dunno if I am "strong enough" to watch it without getting too emotional...
  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest by Ken Kesey
    Kosh has the movie on VHS - I may just go ahead and finally watch this one...
So there you have it... 10 books & movies that I am going to keep in mind for reading/watching next year... perhaps this is my pseudo-resolution for 2006? ;-)

A World of Whines...

Caught the movie Sideways many moons ago, and was quite disappointed... it was so painful to watch, I wonder why it was such a "runaway hit" when it came out... the only good thing about it was getting a mini education in the world of whine wine...

I know of someone who has taken wine appreciation classes, and has gone a few times to California for a wine-tasting holiday. While watching the movie, I couldn't help but wonder how they behaved compared to the folks in Sideways, teehee!

I've always been reluctant to get involved in the world of wine, because there is such an aura of pretentiousness around it... people who want to show off what they know about the type of grapes used, the ground in which the vines grow, the weather conditions for that particular year of harvest, the mixture of tastes that only a well-trained palate could discern, etc etc etc...

If it tastes good, drink it lah! No need to show off, eh?

Anyways, the reason I'm mentioning this is article How to order wine without looking like an asshole by Waiter Rant. Check it out, it's humorously blunt advice from a waiter on this topic :-)

~~~ And while I was typing all this, my mind ran away with me and I uncovered a long-buried memory of a tale I must have read decades ago...
it's about some nasty aristocratic wine connoisseur who visits a family, decides he wants one of the daughters, and sets up a wager: if he successfully identifies a wine that the head of the family gives him (and I mean identify EVERYTHING about it: year it was made, type of grape, etc etc etc), then he "wins" the daughter. Then this connoisseur proceeds to somehow cheat by sneaking off to find the bottle of wine in question, so he already knows the answer before the wine ever touches his lips... but somehow he is found out, so the "winning": of the daughter is invalid, and he is thrown out of the house.
So, does this tale ring a bell for anyone? If anyone can point me in the right direction to re-read this tale - author, title, whatever - please please please drop me a line in the comments, ok?

In the meantime... hope y'all are enjoying the last few days of 2005!!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Food for thought?!

Christmas Eve was spent relaxing, watching tv:

Pleasantville: getting sucked into your favourite tv program and stuck in tv-land isn't really a novel idea - but if you're stuck in a black/white/grey tv-land, and your helping people discover themselves makes their world turn into color? Now THAT's different.

Forrest Gump: I can't help it, every time this is on I start talking like Forrest too! I totally just *have* to talk in that southern alabama drawwwwwwl... drove Kosh crazy, LOL!

X-mas? Also totally uneventful :D I think I spent most of my time reading (am currently re-reading The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley: will "review" it in another post)

But today, we went up to Chicagoland for the gift-giving season with Kosh's family. Lots of fun!
Now everyone is asleep recovering from the food and drinks - I'm being a night owl :D it's always fun to take advantage of hi-speed wireless internet access here :-)

Before I go exploring others' blogs, here's some, err, food for thought:
Dangerous food
A Doctor was addressing a large audience in Tampa, Florida. "The material we put into our stomachs is enough to have killed most of us sitting here, years ago. Red meat is awful. Soft drinks corrode your stomach lining."

"Chinese food is loaded with MSG," he continued. "High fat diets can be disastrous, and none of us realizes the long-term harm caused by the germs in our drinking water. But there is one thing that is the most dangerous of all and we all have, or will, eat it. Can anyone here tell me what food it is that causes the most grief and suffering for years after eating it?"

After several seconds of quiet, a 75-year-old man in the front row raised his hand, and softly said, "Wedding Cake."
Yep, that was another e-mailed joke I felt was worth sharing, teehee!

But... I wonder,,, what is the "correct" answer to the Doctor's question?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Weeweechu!

One beautiful December evening Pedro and his girlfriend Rosita were sitting by the side of the ocean. It was a romantic full moon, when Pedro said, "Hey, mamacita, let's play Weeweechu."

"Oh no, not now, lets look at the moon" said Rosita.

"Oh, c'mon baby, let's you and I play Weeweechu. I love you and it's the perfect time," Pedro begged.

"But I wanna just hold your hand and watch the moon."

"Please, corazoncito, just once, play Weeweechu with me."

Rosita looked at Pedro and said, "OK, one time, we'll play Weeweechu."




Pedro grabbed his guitar and they both sang.....




"Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, Weeweechu a Merry Christmas,

"Weeweechu a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year."

Here's wishing you a Merry Christmas...
... and get your mind out my gutter!


Ah yes, we've passed the Winter Solstice, or Midwinter, recently. The days will start getting longer again. A long time ago in a galaxy far far away, in simpler times, when John & Jane Q Public had no idea about the rotation of Earth on its axis and its orbit around the sun, it was around this time that everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief - the world was NOT coming to an end, or at least, it was NOT going to be plunged into eternal night!

A celebration was definitely called for!

A festival which was later usurped adopted by the Roman Emperor Constantine in one of many changes made to bring more people into the fold.

So, no, Jesus was not born around this time 2005 years ago.

But it's been called Christmas for so long, I just consider it as the "official" birthday of Jesus as marked by the Christians. Doesn't detract from the "spirit of the season"... after all, reminders of life and vitality in a time of cold and darkness are always a cause for celebration, eh?

Of course, when you are in a country like Malaysia, that barely experiences changes in seasons (hot, hotter, hottest? humid, humider, humidest? rain, ranier, raniest?) let alone in length of days, such observances are simply not something traditionally done. All the fuss about X-mas and its white (as in snow) decorations in countries close to the Equator is a fantastic example of commercialism at its ugliest best.

Then there's the political correctness fuss about not offending non-Christians during this time of year by wishing people "Merry Christmas" and instead referring to the Holiday Season, sending people Season's Greetings, and whatever. Hmmph! I think that all this dancing around not wanting to offend people has gotten way out of hand... I come from a country that has public holidays for not only Muslim holy days but those for Chinese, Indian, Christian, Bhuddist, etc .. Christmas is just one of many holy days that Malaysians mark, if not celebrate. But on the other hand, I can also understand getting irritated at people who just assume that *everyone* "celebrates" Christmas, y'know?

Anyways. Here's Kenny Sia's take on the topic.

Here's a selection of other festivals that occur around this time of year:
    Winter Solstice-related stuff
  1. Dong zhi - the Chinese winter solstice festival
  2. Karachun - the Slavic pagan winter solstice festival
  3. Saturnalia - the Roman winter soltice festival
  4. Yalda - Birth of Sun God Mehr - the Persian winter solstice festival
  5. Modranect, or Mothers' Night - the Saxon winter solstice festival

    Others...
  6. Hanukkah - eight day festival commemorating the miracle of the candles after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem
  7. Kwanzaa - a week-long observance observed mostly in the United States from December 26 to January 1 honoring African-American heritage. (something more at The Ranting Raven's View From The Nest article "Sacrilege?"
  8. Festivus - for the rest of us! ;-) had to see if anyone was paying attention!


Have a good weekend, everybody!

"what is it? it's it!"

Yes, another e-mailed joke to share.

Subject: A beer before it starts

A man came home from work, sat down in his favorite chair, turned on the TV, and said to his wife, "Quick, bring me a beer before it starts"

She looked a little puzzled, but brought him a beer. When he finished it, he said, "Quick, bring me another beer. It's gonna start." This time she looked a little angry, but brought him a beer.

When it was gone, he said, "Quick, another beer before it starts."

"That's it!" She blows her top, "You bastard! You waltz in here, flop your fat ass down, don't even say hello to me and then expect me to run around like your slave. Don't you realize that I cook and clean and wash and iron all day long?"

The husband sighed. "Oh shit, it started."


A case of a self-fulfilling prophecy, eh?

And for those puzzling over the title of this post... well, perhaps you know of Faith No More? Their song Epic? No? Go hunt it down. It's GOOD! Old, but good. :-) If you like my taste in music lah :p

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Getting it on!

We are working on the friggin paperwork that will eventually result in some tying of knots sometime next year. Yes, finally got Kosh to sit down and work through the requirements. I hate government bureaucratic red tape, but looks like he hates it too; go figure!

For a sanity break, I looked up something I haven't done in a while: Unconscious Mutterings' Word Association for Week 150
  1. Replenish:: thirst
  2. People:: power
  3. Trend:: fad
  4. Girlfriends:: (image of the recent Family Guy take on The View: the girls are pluck-pluck-pluuuccckk-ing like chickens (hens))
  5. Spirit:: of freedom
  6. Banshee:: scream
  7. Oasis:: water, rest, scorching sun & heat
  8. Thrills:: spills
  9. Fountain:: of youth
  10. Boxes:: of books
Nothing really exciting this time in my responses... maybe it's my braindeadness? There seemed to be a water & air theme this time: oasis / fountain... banshee, spirit... hmmmm...

Okay, my turn to compose my personal statement... whoohooo!

pie in the sky?

Got this from Samantha Burns:
You Are Mud Pie

You're the perfect combo of flavor and depth
Those who like you give into their impulses


The mud pie at TGIF *is* to totally die for, so I suppose this kinda fits me...

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

quickie update

12:15 last night/early this morning - finished the x-mas/new year/holiday/season greetings/whatever cards! Combined, me & Kosh are sending out - count it - twelve cards, LOL! But hey, they all have the breast cancer research funding stamps on them :-) And one of them is an attempt to re-establish contact with a friend who's been out of touch since 1998: found her parents snail mail address online, so am sending them a card in a card... we'll see if anything comes out of it... we'll also have to see when the cards actually arrive, seeing as it's already December 20th here :-D

After a few days of putting it off, Kosh and I are heading to the gym today! Whether it's gonna be another round of racquetball, or cardio, or both, will remain to be seen... but it should be about an hour of exercise... followed by food, LOL!

My "why a fire engine is red" post had lots of responses - pretty cool! But, just to clarify: i didn't *have* to memorise it! I *chose* to memorise it. And it was something I picked up in a book somewhere, it was not school/education-related at all! Just me manifesting my off-the-wall taste from very young :-D

Speaking of off-the-wall, something else I remember. Here's something someone picked up while she was schooling in the U.K.: it *seems* the kids would sing this to the bus driver if someone needed to pee (or wee-wee) while in transit:
We wanna we wanna wee wee wee
If you won't let us off
We'll do it in the bus
It'll trickle down the aisle
and YOU'LL GET YOUR FEET WET!

Ah, the memories of youth!

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Why a fire engine is red...

I'd like to share a very convoluted reason as to why fire engines (fire trucks to you Americans) are red in colour.

But first, here are some cool links I came across today worth sharing (thanx to Linky & Dinky):
  • Play 20 questions. Topic = TV Shows. I tried Star Trek: Enterprise, and it got it on the 2nd try. Very simple set-up, and mildly entertaining...

  • This I am afraid to check out too deeply: fanfiction.net, a place where fans create their own episodes of their favourite shows.... As I type this, Babylon 5 has 616 entries... I tried to look for which had the most submissions: i saw a few at 2000+, one at 4000+, but guess who's way out in front? Buffy the Vampire Slayer at 28,082! Oh my....!

And now for the feature presentation: Why is a fire engine red?
A fire engine has four firemen and eight wheels
Four and eight is twelve
Twelve inches make a foot
A foot is a ruler
A ruler was Queen Elizabeth I
Queen Elizabeth I knighted Sir Francis Drake
Sir Francis Drake sailed the seven seas
In the sea there are fish
Fish have fins
Finns live in Finland
Finland is next to Russia
And the Russian flag is red

so THAT's why a fire engine is red.

In case you were wondering, this is something I memorised / remembered ever since primary school, maybe ~1983 or so. Yes, even then I was already intrigued by unusual connections and plays on words... :-)

New Definitions

Got this in the mail today...I really doubt it has anything really related to the Washington post OR Mensa, but what is DOES do is give you a good laugh.

I like plays on words, what can I say...
The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again asked readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are 2005's winners:

1. Intaxication: Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.

2. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.

3. Bozone: The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.

4. Foreploy: Any misrepresentation about yourself for the purpose of a successful hit.

5. Cashtration: The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period.

6. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high.

7. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.

8. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.

9. Hipatitis: Terminal coolness.

10. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)

11. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.

12. Decafalon: The grueling event of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.

13. Glibido: All talk and no action.

14. Dopeler effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.

15. Arachnoleptic fit: The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.

16. Beelzebug: Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.

17. Caterpallor: The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

18. And the the winner: Ignoranus: A person who's both stupid and a pain in the butt.


My fave in this list? Sarchasm :-) Bozone's a close second.

(If anyone can give me a link to a legitimate source for this list, please drop me a line at the comments section, 'cos a quick Google search turned up numerous blogs with the same article as what I've reproduced here)

The big three-oh!

No, not my age.... I just realised I have *t*h*i*r*t*y* draft articles in this blog's dashboard!

some funny, some serious.

some currently exist as just a link to an interesting article, sans write-up; some are just in need of a bit more tweaking before publishing.

Many fall in between.

Maybe I'll get through one or two today...

For the rest - well, I suppose you'll just have to drop by to see if I got them out yet or not, eh? *grin!*

An Italian Boy's Confession

Just sharing another email I thought was pretty funny...
Bless me Father, for I have sinned. I have been with a loose woman.

The priest asked, "Is that you, little Johnny Parisi?

Yes, Father it is.

And who was the woman you were with?

I can't tell you, Father. I don't want to ruin her reputation.

Well, Johnny, I'm sure to find out her name sooner or later, so you may as well tell me now. Was it Tina Minetti?

I cannot say.

Was it Teresa Volpe?

I'll never tell.

Was it Nina Capeli?

I'm sorry but I cannot name her.

Was it Cathy Piri?

My lips are sealed.

Was it Rosa Di Angelo, then?

Please, Father, I cannot tell you.

The priest sighs in frustration.

You're very tight lipped, Johnny Parisi and I admire that. But you've sinned and have to atone. You cannot attend church services for 4 months. Now you go and behave yourself.

Johnny walks back to his pew, and his friend Gino slides over and whispers, What'd you get?

Four months vacation and five good leads..

Have a good laugh!

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A feast indeed!

From GRRM News page, 27 November 2005: The American hardcover of A FEAST FOR CROWS was released on November 8, and immediately shot to the top of all the lists, making its debut at #1 on the NEW YORK TIMES bestseller list for hardcover fiction. ... also hit #1 on the WALL STREET JOURNAL and PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY bestseller lists, and #2 on the USA LIST (which combines fiction and non-fiction). Amazon, Border's, and Barnes & Noble also had FEAST ranked as #1 in hardcover fiction.

Hey, if you haven't already picked up this series, please do!

Yes, it's fantasy, but don't let that cloud your judgement if you're a non-fantasy-reading person...
  • it's an excellent tale so far, and doesn't follow the usual "black vs white good vs evil" structure.
  • Sometimes you don't know who you should be cheering for!
  • Then there are lots of people to remember, but somehow keeping them all straight is MUCH easier than the characters in Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time tale.
  • And best (or worst!) of all - THE WRONG PEOPLE DIE!!
So yeah, it's fantasy, but it's realistic within that fantasy setting, y'know?

Am looking for information on when A Dance with Dragons is coming out, but can't seem to find anything yet. I guess everyone's focussed on the fact that Crows is finally out! And yes, it is a big deal - the previous book in this series was released five years ago! It's been a long wait, but totally worth it. I believe Dragons will be out if not end 2006 then early 2007.

While it's relatively fresh on my mind, I wannat jot down stuff relating to what I just read:
Warning! Spoiler Alert!
Warning! Spoiler Alert!
Warning! Spoiler Alert!

I saw two references to Cercei’s dresses getting tight around the waist… granted there were reasons provided for it (the one I remember is that the dress in question was an old one…)… but still… maybe Cercei is unknowingly pregnant? If so, who on earth would the father be? Not Lancel, since we know he never “spilled his seed into her womb”… so one of the Kettleblacks? If she’s even pregnant lah! Damn, gotta wait till at least Book 6 to find out…

The author seems to want us to think that the queen that will topple Cercei in that foretelling is little Margery. I think it’s Daenerys. We’ll see how things pan out. In the meantime, that showdown with the main ladies being held by the High Septon pending investigation and trial on their virtue and honor was an excellent twist. Cercei’s plan backfired on itself, and I can’t wait to see how she gets out of it…. after all, if it’s Dany who topples her, then she needs to survive this situation first, eh? Oh, and with the powers she had granted the religious order, I expect to see in Book 6 a new twist: a Holy War.

Brienne can’t be dead! No way! The last we read of her, she’s being hung from a tree but “…she shouts out a word.” What word does she shout out? I fervently hope it’s something that somehow gets her and Pod cut down from their hanging trees…. After all, what with part of one cheek chewed off an already unattractive face, the author will have excellent opportunity to explore more of her problems: will people shun her cos this freakishly big woman is now uglier than ever, or will this “battle scar” somehow turn people around to grudgingly accept her chosen path?

Arya blind? No worries, I bet it’s the start of her training as an assassin.

I didn’t get the reference to Arianne of Dorne’s betrothed having been victim of a pot of molten gold until I read the sneak peek of Book 5 at the end of the book, and was reminded that that was how Daenerys’ brother, Viserys, had met his end. And this totally floored me, that beneath the superficial loyalties pledged to the current “king”, there were Houses that were in reality deeply loyal to the true rulers of House Targaryen. It had somehow never occurred to me before. So then I wonder, apart from Dorne, who else will rally to Dany’s side once she does make it to Westeros?

Add to that what was revealed about the Maesters in the Citadel: that somehow they refuse to acknowledge the truth of Dany and the dragons’ existence, and therefore their mandate is perhaps not just to be counselors to the rulers? I imagine we’ll find out more about the inner workings of the Citadel in Book 6 when we follow Sam as he learns what is needed for the forging of his own Maester’s chain, as we will about the hidden few who are loyal & true to the Targaryen line…

And what about Jaime? This series may well be, in the end, a tale of his redemption. He starts out as an arrogant cad, but by the time A Feast for Crows comes to an end, he seems to actually be turning into an honorable person. I have a feeling that in the end, he will go willingly to face Queen Daenerys to be punished for his crime of being the Kingslayer. We’ll see….

Will it be in Book 5 or 6 where at least two emissaries from Westeros seek an audience with Dany? One to seek her hand in marriage on behalf of the Ironborn. One to act as counselor from the Citadel. The clash of Dany and the land of Westeros has to happen soon…

End of Spoiler Alert!
End of Spoiler Alert!
End of Spoiler Alert!


All I can do now is wait for Book 5, which is actually Book 4 Part 2. Crows only dealt with characters centered around King’s Landing. A big part of Dragons will of course be about Dany: that I’m not looking forward to that much. Her dilemma with her freed slaves and the cities that regressed back to slavery as soon as she left is getting irritating and boring, and that’s just from the one sneak peek chapter! I hope this part of the tale gets resolved fast. I’m more interested in the other characters: since there was no direct story about Tyrion in Book 4, this means the Imp is not there at King’s Landing: so where is he? And how goes Jon up north, juggling Stannis’ presence and the threat of the Others? More importantly, will we hear ANYTHING about Bran???

Sigh.

On a lighter, less agonising note: I'm amused by fans who name their kids after their fave characters (or maybe just their fave unusual names) in books / tv / movies, but I can't make fun of them too much, chances are I'm gonna try and do the same if ever I have kids.

From B5, for example: Delenn would be too obvious; Adira more subtle. From GRRM's series, I certainly like the sound of Arya. Funny how they are all girls' names, LOL!

But you know what, no matter what, I would NEVER do THIS to my kid! You can check out more of GRR's fans' stuff HERE.

Look, *I* have trouble fitting my full name into spaces provided when filling out forms and such, I would never subject my kid to the same problem. NYMERIA DAENERYS CERSEI SMIGRODZKI indeed!

Poor kid!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

My house, in the middle of my street...

'tis madness,I tell ya!

YOU try drawing a house while using not a mouse but a touchpad type thingy!!

Here's what I got:



But wait, I get a personality analysis based on my drawing!!
Based on your drawing and the 10 answers you gave this is a summary of your personality:

You are sensitive and indecisive at times. You are a freedom lover and a strong person. You are shy and reserved. If you've drawn a cross on each of windows, you always want to live alone. You are very tidy person. There's nothing wrong with that because you're pretty popular among friends. Your life is always full of changes.

You will avoid being alone and seek the company of others whenever possible. You love excitement and create it wherever you go. You see the world as it is, not as you believe it should be.

You added a flower into your drawing. The flower signifies that you long for love. It also safe to say that others don't see you as a flirt. You don't think much about yourself.


Hmmph, not very accurate. But fun :-)
Many thanx to Ask For Fun for featuring this fun site! I joined him on Peng You Street, maybe you wanna join us there? Or start your own street HERE.

This is cooler than Mr Picassohead!

super size ESTO!

Saw this snippet of trivia in a local paper a while ago:
Did you know that you can work off the calories ingested with one Big Mac by sleeping?

Of course, you would have to sleep 9 hrs 25 mins to do it lah :D
Hmmm, if I had nothing else to do, I suppose that would be a cool weight management plan: Eat one Big Mac, sleep 9.5 hrs, wake up, eat another Big Mac, sleep another 9.5 hrs, wake up, eat another Big Mac, well, you get the picture…

And for a weight LOSS plan: eat something of fewer calories than a Big Mac, sleep 9.5 hrs, wake up, eat something of fewer calories than a Big Mac, sleep 9.5 hrs, wake up, eat something of fewer calories than a Big Mac, sleep,,,, you get the picture… LMAO!

Where am I going with this? A review of sorts of Super Size Me, that pseudo documentary about this guy Morgan Spurlock who eats nothing but McDonald’s for a month. Within that month, his weight shot up, his cholesterol numbers went totally haywire… but what grossed most people out was that special feature where he conducted another “experiment,” this time on the decay of some McD foods: it freaked so many people out that the French Fries seemed to never go bad…

For one reaction, check out Adam's blog on the topic.

I saw this movie maybe 6 months ago, and while I like the idea of proving to McD that their food is not “good” food, the set-up of this “experiment" was a bit flawed, was it not?

Key ingredients to a healthy lifestyle include balanced food/nutrition, and regular appropriate exercise: Caloric input vs expenditure provides the big picture balance sheet for weight management; how much food consumed vs how much expended via activities. But choice of foods, plus exercise, also play a huge role in determining the “internal health” stuff like cholesterol & blood sugar numbers.

So let’s look at the exercise thing first:
Prior to starting the experiment, did he state clearly what his activity routine had been? Does he walk around town, or drive? Does he go to the gym? Does he take the stairs, or the elevator?

So, does he usually exercise, or not?

And if so, did he continue to do this during the experiment? From what I remember, there was no indication of the guy doing any exercise during the month in question.

This would of course skew the results of his experiment, eh?

And what about the balanced food / nutrition aspect?
We know he was dating a vegan, but had it been stated whether he followed her dietary habits, or if he was minimally carnivorous, or if he consumed meat daily? Because, lemmie tell ya, all of a sudden consuming greasy burgers and fries after being used to lighter foods certainly WILL result in some pukage, so no surprises in relation to him upchucking early on in the experiment…

Did he take diet cola, or the sugar- and calorie-laden regular stuff?

Also, he outlined the “rules” where he wouldn’t consume anything on their menu more than once (or someting like that…)… if this is so, well, I don’t recall ever seeing him eating any salads, and McD has some good salads on their menu, right?
It’s little wonder to me that the results of his experiment came out so disastrous for his body!

How about another perspective?
  • See HERE for someone on a McDiet who has lost weight on a more than 90-day McD diet.
  • See HERE for analysis of nutrition intake of two other McDieters who lost weight during a 30 day McDiet.
You make your own decision. Keep in mind that Super Size Me was sensationalistic in nature. The others paint a more subdued, but certainly less polarizing, picture of McD.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a big fan of McDonald’s or any of these other fast-food chains: they are an all-too-convenient source of food that’s not good for you. Like I’d said before, I like the idea of proving to McD that their food is not “good” food.

I really do, however, object to putting the blame squarely on the corporation…
Hellloooooo, if you don’t know by now that grease-laden foods are not the best source of nutrition and should be taken in moderation, well, maybe you need to be better informed…

If you take French fries with every single meal, is it really the corporations’ fault if your arteries are as hard as a rock by the time you reach 35?

Is it McD’s fault if you order not only a Big Mac Meal, but succumb to the server’s suggestion to supersize it? And that you eat it all????
Sure, these corporations are not blemish-free, but a line must be drawn somewhere. In this day and age, you can’t plead ignorance anymore. So please, take some responsibility, people!

Take heed of the message of Super Size Me by all means, but please think for yourself, and make your own wise decisions…. After all, it’s no use boycotting McD only to replace that meal with KFC, or greasy fried rice, or nasi lemak, eh?

Sunday, December 11, 2005

sunday sundayyyyyy

I lied.

I may have gotten off the net just before midnight, but didn't head straight to bed... I switched on the tv just to kinda wind down: and stumbled upon Star Trek: Enterprise! And it was the first episode ever (Broken Bow Part 1) too! So I just *had* to watch it, and make a mental note to program the VCR to tape that hour between 12mn - 1am on channel 10 from now on *grin!*

In my previous life, when I was using iMesh and hanging out at my beloved Coffee Bean which at that time was eqipped with a high speed wireless internet connection, I had managed to download lots of ST:E Season 2 and some of Season 3. And when I got here last year, I was glad to know Kosh was following the series, so I managed to watch its final season too.

I'm a Star Trek fan, but not fan enough to just go out and buy the series DVD just to watch episodes I'd missed (unlike Babylon 5, for example). So now that Channel 10 is playing reruns from the very beginning, I have the chance to watch it from the beginning! ... And we all know that the beginning is "a very good place to start" (Thanks, Maria, of Sound of Music fame!)

~~
My procrastination skills are working as well as ever: reasons not to go out to the gym today include the fact that the temperatures for today will hover just around the freezing/melting point, so a walk anywhere is going to be wet, slushy and dirty with very high chances of getting splashed by cars running through dirty puddles of melted snow... teeheee!

I may just work out indoors here instead of braving the outdoor slush... need to up my metabolism a bit, feeling kinda sluggish no thanx to the friggin cold I've been suffering from. bleeeeaaaaahhhh!

~~
Whoohoooo!! Kosh will be back today. It's a 6-7hr drive from Cleveland to Urbana... the only benefit is he'll "gain" an hour once he gets back into this state (or is it when he gets into Indiana? I never know WHERE the "pacific vs central time line" is!). He's already stated a craving for the bbq turkey leg from my fave bbq place, so chances are we're having turkey tonight! yummy!!

~~
And to day is my MOL's bd - HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
MOL, u ask? Well, Kosh and I aren't married (yet!!); if we were, then she'd be my MIL.

Get it?

MOL = Mother-out-law.

teehee :-)

Aaaand on that note, tis the end of this post. If I'm bored (if?? haaaahahahahaha!) I'll get back online and work on those many draft posts that have been languishing on my dashboard since forever...

ciao!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

2hr 53m 20s and counting

I glanced at the connection time and was quite surprised to see I've been online for almost three hours!

That's for this particular session only. Was online for another two hours or so earlier.

So long I didn't go to too many "heavy" sites, I didn't suffer too much from the dial-up connection. Kewl!

Most of my time has been spent visiting and exploring blogs (added quite a few to the sidebar - welcome, newbies!)

Finally remembered to do a bit of "research" for future posts about
- Narnia as Christian allegory?
- my issues with the supersize me "movie/documentary"
Stay tuned...

Didn't make it out of the apartment today - was still nursing a very snotty nose :-( Maybe tomorrow... the nose seems to have have dried out a lot through the day today, whoohooo! So my Darth Vader impression is pretty much shot, along with any potential I had to make prank heavy breathing calls, LOL

Yawwn... it's about quarter to midnight, I might as well sign off and head to bed.

G'nite!

It may just be the world's longest!

Okay.. please bear with me... read this long disjointed story, and see if you can find anything of significance about it... ready? go!
Star? Not I! Movie – it too has a star in or a cameo who wore mask – cast are livewires.

Soda-pop straws are sold, as part-encased a hot tin, I saw it in mad dog I met. Is dog rosy? Tie-dye booths in rocks.

All ewes lessen ill. I see sheep in Syria? He, not I, deep in Syria, has done. No one radio drew old one.

Many moths – I fondle his; no lemons are sold. Loot delis, yob, moths in a deli bundle his tin. Pins to net a ball I won – pins burst input. I loot to get a looter a spot paler. Arm a damsel – doom a dam. Not a base camera was in a frost, first on knees on top spot. Now a camera was a widened dam.

Ask: Cold, do we dye? No, hot – push tap, set on to hosepipe. Nuts in a pod liven.

A chasm regrets a motto of a fine veto of wars. Too bad – I all won. A sadist sent cadets – a war reign a hero derides. A bad loser, a seer, tossed a cradle – he begat to cosset – a minaret for Carole, Beryl, Nora. We’re not as poor to self.

I risk cold as main is tidal. As not one to delay burden, I don’t set it on “hot”. A foot made free pie race losses runnier. As draw won pull, eye won nose. Vile hero saw order it was in – even a moron saw it – no, witnessed it: Llama drops – ark riots. Evil P.M. in a sorer opus enacts all laws but worst arose. Grab a nosey llama – nil lesser good, same nicer omen.

In pins? No, it is open. If a top spins, dip in soot.

Madam, as I desire, dictates: Pull aside, damsels, I set a rag not for a state bastion. A test I won e.g. a contest I won.

~~~
oh I just could not put anyone through the whole thing.. deleted LOTS of lines.. HERE's the complete thing.. but go on and read the rest in this article first, k?
~~~

No, it is opposite. Yaks I rode wore hats, albeit on deity’s orders. Rats age more held in a trap, nip and I know it – set no cage now.

It’s eta; no, it’s a beta – Tsar of Tonga rates isles. Mad Ed is all upset at cider, is Ed? Is a madam too? Snip? I’d snip, spot a fine position, snip nine more cinemas.

Do ogres sell in a mall? Yes, on a barge so rats row tubs.

Wall last canes up or Eros, an imp, lives to irk, rasp or dam all tides sent. I won’t – I was no Roman – even I saw tired row – a sore. He lives on. “No!” we yell.

Up, now! Wards are in nurses’ sole care. I, peer, fed, am too fat? Oh, not I, test no dined ruby ale; dote not on salad it’s in – I am sad.

Locks I rifle so troops atone re war. Only rebel or a crofter animates so cottage beheld arcades, so trees are sold, abased. I redo, rehang, I err – a wasted act; nests I’d – as an owl – laid. A boot’s raw foot, even if a foot to master, germs (ah!) can evil do.

Pan is tune-pipe – so hot notes, paths up to honeydew.

Odd locks, a maddened (I was aware) macaw on top, spot no seen knots, rifts or fan, I saw. Are maces a baton, madam? Oodles, madam? Rare laptops are too late – got too lit up.

Nits rub – snip now, I’ll abate, not snip, nits I held.

Nubile Danish tomboys I led to old loser as no melons I held; no fish to my name. Nod lower, do I dare? No, one nods a hairy snipe. (Edit: one hairy snipe, eh?) See silliness, else we’ll ask cornish to obey deity’s or god’s item. I, God, damn it! I was in it! To Hades, acne trap, sad loser! As warts pop, a dosser I – we – vile rat, sack! Same row, oh woe! Macaroni, rats, as a hoot, tie. I vomit on rats.


Now go get yourself some lonely Tylenol or something for your headache! *grin!*

Feeling better?

I bet you zoned out and started hitting Page Down soon after the first few paragraphs, didn't you? No worries, I did the same!

Got any guesses on this significance I mentioned?

Hint #2: it's possibly the world's longest.

Anything?

Hint #3: look at the start and the end...
Star? Not I! Movie...
...I vomit on rats


Yes, ladies and gentlemen, that passage is possibly the world's longest palindrome!

Amazing, huh?
I wonder if this is the same person who played with all those anagrams...
Someone with waaaaaaaaay too much time on his/her hands!

... And to think that before this, the only palindrome I really knew was
Madam I'm Adam


tho by now I think I'm starting to remember that racecar is also a palindrome
r a c e c a r


I was surfing thru some palindrome sites and found a few short ones to add to my list of remembered phrases:
  • Go, dog!
  • lonely Tylenol (that was Hint #1, btw)
  • I prefer Pi
  • Sad, I'm Midas
Veya, you'll like this one:


Plenty more at palindromelist and palindrome connection. The latter has an amusing palindromic drama right at the bottom ofthe page, where every sentence uttered by the characters are palindromes.

Have fun!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Mmmmmmmmmmm, ribs!

So I trekked thru the snow to get to my bbq beef ribs… and what a trek it was!

On the positive side, I didn’t feel it was as cold as I thought it was gonna be when the weathermen kept saying “And Friday will be COLD,” you could hear the capital letters and underline when they said it!

But… all effort so far has concentrated on getting the roads cleared & salted. To my dismay, the pedestrian walkways were untouched! I had to trudge through in about 4 inches of snow, such that often I’d have the snow up to my mid-shin. Which by itself wasn’t so bad, if only I had higher boots – mine are ankle high. So I was getting lots of snow in my boots despite my best efforts not to. My toes were quite frozen by the time I made it to the bbq place.

For the walk back, took a different route that thankfully was not as snowy.

Had the ribs while re-watching Season 1 Disc 1 of Babylon 5.

I immediately recognised (again) David McCallum, who was a guest on the last episode on Disc 1 (Ep 1.04). He was in this very old, short-lived, tv series called Sapphire & Steel. I only vaguely remember it, I was kinda too young to really understand it, but somehow it left a great impression on me. Maybe i can invest in the series DVD....

But anyway... the whole recognising someone in another tv show thing reminds me of some recent events relating to Kosh…

Recently I’ve become quite hooked on this Canadian tv series Da Vinci’s Inquest. Yes, it’s another cop-type show, but the title character is a very committed coroner who “speaks for the dead” so it’s a slightly different take on things. Plus, it’s got lots of story arcs, i.e. while there are some episodes with stand-alone deaths that are solved/resolved, there are lots of other things going on, that take a while to resolve, or are actually little pieces of a much greater whole! And that greater whole is something you’ll find out much much later… Another reason I like it is that it’s not slick. You don’t get me? Okay, think CSI and its derivatives: those are so slick, after a while every episode looks the same.

Anyways.. so a while ago I watching DVI, where this guy was arrested, suspected to be responsible for the disappearance of prostitutes over the past few years. Kosh glances at the screen and goes “Hey, that’s Max Headroom!” I’m like, “Matt Frewer? Hmmm… I dunno… I can see why you would say that, but I don’t think that’s him.” A while later, we catch another episode, also involving this guy. Kosh then gets online and starts searching for information. To make a long story short: he was right. I’m kinda pissed that I didn’t recognize ol’ Max Headroom myself, I really liked him/it despite his short career (killed off because of its association with the failed New Coke).

Another example of Kosh’s vast knowledge and quick recognition of the trivial: A recent episode of Smallville featured Jonathan Kent’s brother, some senator or something, visiting the Kent farm. In a car that is the same make as The Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee. Already Kosh starts speculating out loud about a possible “internal reference” to the Dukes of Hazzard; after all, isn’t the guy who plays Jonathan Kent one of the brothers from the series? (Me, I wouldn’t know, I’ve only heard about the series, seen some spoofs of it on Family Guy, and refused to see the new movie.) Back to that Smallville episode: there was a scene where Jonathan Kent drives the car rather showily/recklessly, then invites his brother to hop on in. At this point Kosh goes “Go in thru the window! Go in thru the window!” and yes, he hops in thru the window. Kosh gives out a whoop and declares that there MUST be some sort of connection with the original Dukes of Hazzard, maybe the senator guy played the other brother… Again, he goes online to check (again needing my help to point him to tv.com – imdb.com is too unwieldy for a specific search like that), and yes indeedy, turns out that Jonathan Kent’s brother is played Tom Wopat, the “other” Duke of Hazzard. Someone was SO proud of himself that day, LOL!

Moral of the story?
If ever you play Trivial Pursuit, you wanna have Kosh on your team. His brain is overflowing with all these trivial facts. Don’t ask about all that doctor stuff he’s supposed to know, though, LMAO!

btw, Kosh is driving to Cleveland OH right now, another interview tomorrow, this time for Case Western. He called to vent about MapQuest's screwy directions that had him driving around Indianapolis wasting lots of time. Poor baby! Hope he arrives safe and that the interview goes well.

Of course, the psycho kitty thinks he's coming back tonight, and is hanging out by the front window waiting for daddy to get back. Sorry kitty, no daddy till probably Sunday!

In the meantime, I'm kicking back dividing my time between sudoku, DVI, Bab5, miscellaneous tv shows and reading George R R Martin's A Feast for Crows. Tomorrow I *will* brave the cold and make the trek to the gym. It's been waaaaaay too long since my last workout, no thanks to the nasty weather followed by thanksgiving and poor health. I'll do cardio but also will soak in the spa pool. Mmmmm, can't wait!! Gotta get back on-track!

See y'all later!

My first REAL tag & meme! FOOOD!!

Whoohoo, bring out the booze! I actually got tagged with this meme about 5 childhood memories of foods... kinda challenging, I must not have had much association with foods when young (btw, till what age is “childhood”?), but I will try... so here goes...

1. Rarebits
Yes, rarebits (not rabbits): take a slice of bread, put a slice of fake cheese* on it, and put it in (under?) the grill, where you’ll get the cheese all bubbly and the bread toasted, both at the same time.

I remember my father going on an on about these rarebits, I think he musta really liked them back when he was in England or something. Or maybe he was Tom Sawyering us kids into preparing it? Well, it was a really easy-to-prepare snack, and we’d usually have it as part of a light dinner on some Sundays.

I can picture the kitchen at the Jalan Ampang house, and the electric stovetop-cum-grill-cum-oven in the corner, where we’d make this “delicacy”.

My age? My tweens and early teens, I guess…

Btw, later, I found out that this was very different from a Welsh rarebit, which is deepfried or something – ugh! Even later, found out that the Americans would call this an open-faced grilled cheese sandwich.

* fake cheese : what I call those pre-sliced majorly-processed Kraft singles or equivalent. It’s been forever since I’ve tasted that crap: I insist on REAL cheese.

2. Half-boiled eggs
Put raw eggs, in their shells, into boiling water; take out after three minutes.

This makes normal half-boiled eggs, nothing special right?

But then you put them into the egg-holder.

Crack the top of the egg, take off the shell up there so you have a hole large enough for a small spoon to fit through.

Put in a glob of butter.

Stir it all together.

Consume.

Mmmmmmm.

We’d have this for “high tea” on Sundays, or for that light dinner.

I always looked forward to when we’d have the eggs in this manner… I suppose I always liked runny yolks :-) Can picture myself sitting at that round table in the dining room of the Jalan Ampang house with the egg in front of me. Mmmmmmmm!

Anyways, later in life, I found out that that is NOT how Malaysians (or Malays, anyway) consume their half-boiled eggs. (In fact, there were so many things I was raised doing or observing in my immediate family which I then found out were not at all how Malaysians do things… and me, the half-breed who didn’t belong anywhere felt even MORE out of place at these times… but that’s a totally different story for another time…)

So how do Malays take their half-boiled eggs?
First, they’d break the eggs into a bowl,
Then add in soy sauce and pepper, (ugh!!)
Finally they’d put the bowl to their mouth and drink it down! (double ugh!!)

What for add soy sauce and pepper, I ask you. I find the yolk flavourful enough as it is, and I actually don’t like how soy sauce changes the taste.

I’m thinking no wonder many people think I’m crazy when I say I like runny yolks: if I’d been forced to consume eggs by “drinking” them, having the semi-raw egg slide down my throat all at once, ugh, I probably would not be such a fan of half-boiled eggs and/or runny yolks.

3. chili padi / chili api
For those who don’t know, the “chili” comes in many shapes and sizes. There’s the very tame capsicum (red / green peppers), there’s the jalapeno peppers, and there’s also the chili that I’m familiar with in Malaysia.

The most potent of them all is a teeny chili less than an inch long, called chili api (“fire” chili) or chili padi (“paddy” chili, an indication of its size like a grain of rice, exaggerated lah).

For the longest time, I’d obey instructions to not eat hot spicy foods. In fact, only my father was served his belacan (a hot chili paste) during meals; it was just understood that us kids couldn’t take such hot foods.

One evening, there was a dish prepared using these tiny chilis, and us kids were instructed to not touch them. I was sorely tempted to try, though, probably just to show that I didn’t want my parents to simply assume they knew I couldn’t handle it.

So I took one chili, brandished it for all to see, and popped it in my mouth, and immediately chewed on it.

My mouth burst into flames! Or felt like it, anyway!

Even better: in my rush to get to the bottle of water, I knocked it over instead!

So much for my tolerance, LOL! My pride was severely bruised that night :p

But that was my first real step towards eating hot and spicy foods. Today, I beat so many true-blooded Malays when consuming “pedas” dishes.

Not that I don’t experience a burning mouth anymore… but now, such discomfort is part of the fun. To find me wiping tears away while eating a spicy dish is a rarity, and if it happens I am SO happy to have found a dish that can challenge my taste buds!

Yes, me = weirdo :-)

4. School canteen food
Ah yes, the oh-so-nutritious food available at the school canteen… When I was in primary school, my allowance was something like 20 sen a day, so it’s not like I could buy much except junk food:
  • The green&yellow Twisties (chicken flavour?) was my favourite.
  • Cheezels too, but only to emulate the advertisements for this product: put one thru every finger then eat them off one by one.
  • And I know I used to drink Kickapoo Joy Juice too, and was surprised to find out later that this was actually the name of one of the Native American tribes!! I’m amazed at the political incorrectness of it, and I wonder if the drink exists anymore in Malaysia…
To be fair, the canteen wasn’t all that bad lah… it got upgraded, and there was an effort by the school (maybe due to a directive from the Education / Health ministries?) to ensure more nutritious food was available. So in addition to the usual junk, we then had fresh fruit & juices, nasi lemak, chee cheong fun, and even a mamak selling roti canai! Of course, this was by the time I was in secondary school.

The school is now closed, but that canteen has been transformed to a mamak restaurant. So you have office workers in their power suits and dresses sitting on benches like they were in school again. A funny sight, I’ve been told.

5. Raclette
A nod to my Swiss heritage… raclette is a cold-weather meal involving grilled cheese. Nowadays, there are these raclette gadgets where there are these little pans to put in your thick slice of raclette cheese, then you place it under the little grill, and once the cheese is melted and bubbly you scoop in onto your plate and eat it with potatoes, onions, and I dunno what else.

I’ve always liked this dish, and have actually had it more often in KL than I have in Switzerland. Something about cheesy gooey bubbly melty cheese just does it for me!

I had the opportunity once to experience the old way of eating raclette:

The cheese is usually one large round thing about 2 –3 inches thick: So it is cut in half. Then the exposed part of the cheese is subject to heat, until the top part of the cheese starts to bubble and melt. This is then scooped onto a plate to be consumed; then the cheese is exposed to the heat again, wait until it melts, scoop onto the next plate, heat, melt, scoop; heat, melt, scoop; heat, melt, scoop.

So in this “traditional” set-up, one or two poor fellows are in charge of the cheese, and the others pretty much have to line up and wait for the cheese to be scooped onto their plate.

I suppose this would have been fine for a small family meal, but my one experience with this was totally unsatisfying because this was something my uncle had organized… for a whole bunch of people! And unless you wanted to get in line for half an hour more than once, you just get one helping of the cheese.

And… that’s all folks! Maybe some other (better) entries will pop into my head now that I’m done with it… but lemmie tell ya, this took me quite a while… and now I’m hungryyyyyyy!

So before I sign off, let me complete this meme with instructions and tags:

1) List down 5 childhood memories of food.
2) And in the tradition of this meme, list the 4 previous taggers before yourself and then your own name at no.5.
3) Tag 3 (or more) other bloggers to continue this meme.

Four previous taggers and myself:

1) Teh Tarik Satu
2) Beer Brat
3) Single Guy
4) Burgwaki
5) *lynne*

Three bloggers that I'm tagging:

1) Lion3ss
2) Malapetaka
3) New Journey

Now, I *know* NewJourney loooooooooves to feature food in his blog, so I really hope you will do this meme some justice. Lion3ss & malapetaka, would be nice to see your thoughts on the subject too... Hmm I just realised I tagged all malaysians... oh well...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Star Wars personality test

Luke Skywalker
You scored 75% airiness, 63% squishiness, and 31% edginess!
According to our patented JawamaticTM technology, you are most like Luke Skywalker in personality.

Luke is a dreamer and a romantic. He's excited by possibilities and has strong core values that affect all his decisions. Luke is loyal and idealistic, always coming through for those he loves.

Luke is, in a word, heroic.

(The polar opposite of Luke Skywalker is Yoda.)
Link: The Star Wars Personality Test written by MiguelSanchez on OkCupid Free Online Dating, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


Tip o the hat to : A Cuban in Ohio for this quiz! He got Chewie, and while I was taking the quiz I found myself convinced I'd end up a Jedi, and so I did! Kinda. I was hoping for Ben Kenobi, but I suppose I'll be fine with Luke too :-)

Cheer up and enjoy the Joke of the day: Senior Dealings

Feeling down in the dumps? Think people just don't appreciate you? Well, be blue no longer! Click HERE to get cheered up! Type in your name when prompted, and sit back and smile! (Tip o' the hat to 45-Caliber Justice)

And here's the Joke of the Day, from an e-mail I received relatively recently:
Senior Dealings
Two elderly residents, a man and a woman, were sitting alone in the lobby of their nursing home one evening.

The old man looked over and said to the old lady, I know just what you're wanting. For $5 I'll have sex with you right over there in that rocking chair.

The old lady looked surprised but didn't say a word.

The old man continued, For $10 I'll do it with you on that nice soft sofa over there, but for $20 I'll take you back to my room, light some candles, and give you the most romantic evening you've ever had in your life.

The old lady still says nothing but after a couple of minutes, starts digging down in her purse. She pulls out a wrinkled $20 bill and holds it up

So you want the nice romantic evening in my room, says the old man.

Get serious, she replies. Four times in the rocking chair.

I can breathe again!

Wow, I was knocked out of commission for quite a few days... hence the total blog/sms silence for the past few days....

It had actually already started last week, that thanksgiving weekend, where Kosh’s parents were nursing some sort of cold. Maybe we caught it from them? Once we got back to Urbana, I was feeling slightly under the weather, but Kosh was actually really sneezing, sniffing and having a high temperature. It got better, but still dragged on; in fact, he was still feeling like crap that day he went for that interview at Northwestern.

Me, on the other hand, felt like my immune system was putting up a relatively good fight, and not allowing the cold much foothold in my body. A slight fever (99.4F) was my only symptom. Then came the day after Kosh’s interview: woke up feeling like crap – as if my defenses had given up some ground to the cold. Ugh.

So THAT dragged on for a few days. We got back to Urbana on Sunday. Monday I woke up with a temperature of 100.6F. And felt SO crappy. Stuffed nose. Sinuses so painful that breathing felt like a knife was cutting thru them. Bloody snot. Ugh.

Really didn’t help that the weather has turned COLD cold (remember the unseasonably warm autumn weather I’d enjoyed earlier? Well, now we’re having 20F BELOW seasonal temperatures! Yikes!!)

I surrendered and took Tylenol, slept most of the days Monday & Tuesday, musta gone through a whole box of tissues already… Wednesday felt slightly better, but today, Thursday, I can confidently say the worst is over. I can breathe again!

Maybe I'll feel so much better that I'll be willing to battle the cold and snow (4 - 6 inches of snow expected between 10am and 12mn today!) to get to my extra hot bbq beef ribs tomorrow... yummmmm!!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

Weirdos in my Life #1

14th Feb 1991: a total stranger walks up to me at the bus stop and wishes me a Happy Valentine's Day.

It was my first year in the U.S., taking a semester of general classes at the University of Oklahoma, and enjoying how different life was...

So, this total stranger - he was from Nigeria, I think.

I thank him, and wish him the same. We talked a bit, and would bump into each other at the South Oval bus stop every once in a while.

One day, I was hurrying to catch my bus, saw that it was filled to overflowing with people, and decided to just walk back to my apartment instead. Not a big deal, wasn't that far off anyway.

Then who hops off the bus but Mr Nigeria.

Who walks towards me, and asks in a loud voice "How come when you saw me on the bus you decided not to get on the bus?"

I was like "Huh? You were on the bus? I didn't even see you."

"No, don't lie, you saw me, then you decided not to get on the bus! Why? Are you avoiding me?"

I say to myself "Well, I am NOW!!"

I say to him my decision to walk was based on the fact that the bus had been too full, and that his presence, which I had NOT noticed anyway, had certainly NOT been a factor in that decision.

I dunno what his deal was... maybe he had waved at me from the bus or something, while unknown to him I usually walk in my own little world oblivious to anything else unless it comes up and hits me on the nose: therefore it's very possible I might have seemed to him to be looking straight at him while all *i* saw was a friggin bus!

Maybe also he'd had a bad, discriminatory, day? Cos I had the impression he was playing the race card or something... me, racist? me, the person who makes it a point not to judge people except by their actions? play th race card on me? get real, dude!

My memory ends there, but I probably just turned and walked away from the whole thing. And if I ever saw him again on campus, I bet I put on my stone-face and just looked through him. One doesn't make a scene accusing me of something so ridiculous and expect me to not blacklist you.

Ugh. pun not intended.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Engineers' Conversion Tables

No, I am NOT an engineer! I graduated in Chemistry, and p.l.e.a.s.e. don't say "same difference"!!

But I freely admit I *am* kinda geeky/nerdy in some ways, AND I like puns, which is why this really made me laugh. Got it in an email recently, and thought I'd share with y'all:
Engineers' Conversion Tables

This is pretty heavy scientific stuff......converting units:

  1. Ratio of an igloo's circumference to its diameter = Eskimo Pi
  2. 2000 pounds of Chinese soup = Won ton
  3. 1 millionth of a mouthwash = 1 microscope
  4. Time between slipping on a peel and smacking the pavement = 1bananosecond
  5. Weight an evangelist carries with God = 1 billigram
  6. Time it takes to sail 220 yards at 1 nautical mile per hour = Knotfurlong
  7. 16.5 feet in the Twilight Zone = 1 Rod Sterling
  8. Half of a large intestine = 1 semicolon
  9. 1,000,000 aches = 1 megahurtz
  10. Basic unit of laryngitis = 1 hoarsepower
  11. Shortest distance between two jokes = A straight line
  12. 453.6 graham crackers = 1 pound cake
  13. 1 million-million microphones = 1 megaphone
  14. 2 million bicycles = 2 megacycles
  15. 365.25 days = 1 unicycle
  16. 2000 mockingbirds = 2 kilomockingbirds
  17. 52 cards = 1 decacards
  18. 1 kilogram of falling figs = 1 FigNewton
  19. 1000 milliliters of wet socks = 1 literhosen
  20. 1 millionth of a fish = 1 microfiche
  21. 1 trillion pins = 1 terrapin
  22. 10 rations = 1 decoration
  23. 100 rations = 1 C-ration
  24. 2 monograms = 1 diagram
  25. 4 nickels = 2 paradigms
  26. 2.4 statute miles of intravenous surgical tubing at Yale University Hospital = 1 IV League
  27. 100 Senators = Not 1 decision

Have a good laugh!

Ugh!

Kosh left at 850am to catch the 900am train to chicago, for an 11am interview.

Ugh, I'm all tense, he had better have made it to the train!

Nevermind that the train station is less than 5 minutes from his sister's place: road conditions are kinda crappy right now - light snow greeted us this morning, so the roads are slippery. Yay.

If he misses this train, we're gonna have to do some sort of rushed drive up to Chicago in order for him to arrive on time.

Yep: this is another residency interview thingy. This time at Northwestern.

All the best, Kosh!

Update: 9:05am: he's on *a* train, hopefully the *correct* train! :p
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