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Showing posts from 2008

looking book back on 2008

[pssst! check out my other blog for a retrospective on 2008, and a pic of my niece!]

So, if I'm seeing my list on GoodReads correctly, I (only) made it through 49 books this year. Coincidentally, that's the same number as last year. Heh, if nothing else I suppose I'm starting to read at a consistent rate?

2008 was the year I actively hunted down vampire-related books, or at least some sort of "darker" angle to the fantasy I usually read. I really enjoyed the Noble Dead series by Barb & J. C. Hendee, where a half-vampire and her elf companion, accompanied by an elemental reborn "dog" form, start out being fake vampire hunters, then real ones, then finding themselves enmeshed in a much wider web of deceit... On a totally different angle, I found Vicki Pettersson's Sign of the Zodiac series promising: its romance elements were not overwhelming, and did not detract from the plot (unlike Lois McMaster Bujold's foray into the romantic fantasy are…


h/t: Ian @ My Big World of Crap

... click here to read this news article on what can only be described as an incident of Movie Rage...

ok, you've read it?

here's what I keep stumbling over: the dude went back to watching the movie!


Remind me never to go to a movie theatre in Philly... or never go unarmed, at least.


If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to my feed,
and checking out my other blog: a malaysian abroad

humped and tongued on Christmas!

Things that happened to me on Christmas:

1. Got humped by a dog. This was at a yoga pal's house, it was their pet. At first I thought Wolfie was really excitedly sniffing at me because he smelled evidence of the psycho kitty,, but then he "hugged" my arm... and when I pushed him off and stood up, he proceeded to "hug" my thigh. Thankfully the critter was a small breed, because at least I could push him away pretty easily. But ugh. I guess *those* jeans go straight into the laundry basket! Didn't have the opportunity to ask his owners if this was a common behaviour of his, or if I was his type :p

2. Bit my tongue. Hard. What distracted me, I don't know. But this is a reason I rarely chew gum - when I did, the insides of my cheeks were a mess because I'd keep accidentally biting them! Getting the tongue is a less common occurrence, but hey, it happened. And right now I feel as if I should be talking with a major lisp, because, gah, that one…

have a merry maury christmas, y'all!

Remember, it's not about materialism or commercialism, but about celebrating an important birth (even though we all know Jesus wasn't born at this time of year, and this event was hijacked from the pagan winter solstice celebration, etc etc etc).

H/T: Ritualistic (image source)

To those who believe/celebrate, I wish you a Merry and Peaceful Christmas. And to all, have a great rest-of-the-year! May 2009 be a challenging yet fulfilling year for us all :)

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to my feed,
and checking out my other blog: a malaysian abroad

three FAIL!s in one product!

.. continuing along the theme of windshields ...

The inside of Kosh's car is a tad grungy (I won't ask how many times it's actually been properly cleaned since he bought it back in '97!), and during wintertime the windshield tends to get a little fogged up with condensation. I don't like it, it interferes with my view of the road.

So quite a while ago, I saw this product at a local Target, and got Kosh to buy it.

The first FAIL! occurred when trying to open the Moisture Lock Snap Pack: the little ring you're supposed to pull to get to the wipes? It came off. Just the ring. No way to get to the wipes.

So back we went to Target, and got a replacement.

A few months later, (we are nothing if not procrastinators), it's cold, the windshield is threatening to get foggy, so we finally open the pack and wipe down the insides of the windshield and front windows. The wipes were very wet, so we could cover a huge surface area with it... but it turned the glass all fogg…

does your car freeze on the inside?

Okay so technically winter doesn't start till 22nd December.

But if it's not yet winter, explain why it's been snowing steadily all day today?

If it's not yet winter, explain why it was so cold yesterday that ice formed on the inside of the car?

Yeah, this is the picture I snapped yesterday while waiting for the poor car to warm up in the sub-zero (Celcius) temperature. All that "fog" is ice, on the inside.

The lines you see were made by me trying in vain to use the ice scrapers: they didn't do diddly.

So, ummm, does your car get ice on the inside too?

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to my feed,
and checking out my other blog: a malaysian abroad

This one, this swan!

"Have you ever?" - as found at MsRay's Woman On A Journey blog.

Have you ever been on TV?
Ummm, no, I don't think so.

Have you ever sung in public?
Numerous times! It's all karaoke's fault! :) Totally out of practice now, though, don't think I could tarik those high notes anymore... no more Fantasia Bulan Madu for me! :(

Have you ever dyed your hair blond?
No. Light copper goes well with my complexion; but haven't dyed my hair since 2004.

Have you ever eaten frogs' legs?
Yup. Then I find out I'm not supposed to because it's haram. Yay!

Have you ever received a present that you really hated?
"Hated" is such a strong word.... nothing comes to mind, but I'm sure I've received gifts that might have disappointed me before; however, I make it a point to appreciate the thought more than the gift itself.

Have you ever walked into a lamppost?
Lampost, no. Bedpost, yes.

Have you ever cooked a meal by yourself for more than 15 pe…

Blast from the Past: Boney M!

Music has always been a HUGE part of my life, especially in my early childhood and teenage years. I grew up immersed in the sounds of The Beatles, ABBA and Boney M, the latter two being quite different yet the same in terms of disco Euro-pop bubblegum sweetness. Surprisingly to me, Kosh hadn't heard of Boney M.

No Brown Girl in the Ring,
... no By The Rivers of Babylon,
... ... no ra-ra-Rasputin,
... ... ... no Daddy Cool,
... ... ... ... no Bahama Mama!
OMG has he been missing out!! :D :D :D

I've been craving Boney M recently, no idea why.

Rhapsody helped a bit, but I notice I've got a total of 25 free plays. Blah. Besides, they didn't have one particular song I remember from the Boonoonoonoos album, the one vinyl my parents have of them, that stood out in my head and gave me goosebumps every time I heard it.

Thank goodness for YouTube!

I'd recommend you not pay attention to the visuals, and just close your eyes and let the music take you away. Kinda like what I did pe…

a broad malaysian?

... as I've mentioned off and on over the past four years [HOLY COW it's been FOUR years??!!], Life After Work was created as a means of staying in touch with friends and family after I upped and left them for the U.S. ... I later realised most of my target audience wasn't cooperating, but I went on blogging anyway, soon turning this blog into a real mixed bag of topics, which was fine with me, but sometimes I felt it could do with a little bit less fluff and a bit more meaningful content.

Thus the birth of a malaysian abroad. Here, I intend to focus on observing, comparing and ultimately celebrating the differences and similarities that exist between Malaysia, Switzerland, and the USA.

I talk about my reasons for wanting to do so here.

I think I've made this topic broad enough that I shouldn't run out of topics anytime soon, yet narrow enough that I hope I can lend a unique voice to a focused perspective.

So please swing on by and check out my other digs! And if…


Anyone got suggestions as to where I can get my bag fixed?

Okay, so Kosh calls it my purse, and I suppose that is what it is called in the US. In Malaysia, it is usually called a handbag. I, however, don't like either term. What I have is essentially a rugged yet delicate small leather backpack-like thing, bought in Switzerland in 2003. It's a bag. Nuff said.

Thing is, one of the thingamajigs broke (circled in red - click to embiggen).

What's broken isn't obvious in the photo right now, because we have tried to fix it. You see how there's a male and female component? Well, the female component, the ring, had a little piece break off. So we glued the piece back on (with male component in place within it), made sure it dried properly, all that jazz. I used the fixed bag once and ooops whaddayaknow, "he" slipped out of "her"!

I have no idea how to replace the thingy, even if I knew where to source a replacement. I don't even know what t…

... will we never learn?

Sorry, this will be a short and incoherent post.

Yet another landslide in the Bukit Antarabangsa area.

The knee-jerk reaction? Banning new hillside developments. Wow. That is something that should have been done at least fifteen years ago, after the Highland Towers landslide.

But you know what has got my blood pressure up? Reading that Pak Lah has the gall to say "Malaysians never want to learn from past experiences. They want good views while developers only seek to profit ... no one takes safety and soil stability into consideration."

ummmm... wait a minute... there's at least one other player in this fiasco... or are you telling me that there is no government agency that is in charge of town planning and development? None that is in charge of checking, vetting and approving the profiteering developers' proposals, including looking at pesky little details such as safety and soil stability? That has the authority to can projects that are unsafe, or force projects…

Foody Friday: mega-pumpkin bread!

A few weeks ago, as I was strolling up and down the aisles of the neighborhood grocery store, it was full of specials relating to the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday. For some reason -- probably due to subliminal advertising or something, wouldn't put it past stores these days -- it popped into my head that I wanted to make some pumpkin bread.

But, I don't *like* pumpkin! Okay, not really. I don't mind it. But I've never been a fan of pumpkin pie - it's just way too slimy, and overwhelmingly pumpkin-y and spicy.

So I picked up a box of Pillsbury's pumpkin version of their Quick Bread... but almost immediately started thinking about how to jazz things up a bit. I mean, just plain old "bread" would be a bit boring, right?

I noticed that they suggested adding either cranberries or walnuts into the mix. "Hey, I have both at home, how 'bout both?" I said to myself.

And yet, I still felt like there was more I could do.

"How 'bout…


I'm baaaaccckkkk!! Survived the in-laws despite a four-day exposure, LoL!

... my waldorf salad was a hit, as was my pumpkin bread :)

And got back in time for snow to finally hit Chicago, and STICK.
Out come the snow boots!

I need to get caught up with what's been going on in the world. I know something really bad happened in Mumbai, gotta read up on that. Putting that off a bit though, I know it's going to be grim.

So in the meantime, here's a nod of thanks to my top Entrecard droppers of the last month or so, made especially more meaningful considering I had been rather lax this past month, what with naNo and all...:
Is 8 Enough? (31)Journal of our homeschool family's daily activities and general happenings.
Lofty Matters (31)A general collection of what I find interesting
MJG's Rambling Thoughts (31)My rambling thoughts and stuff. Such as Music Videos from You tube, Photos, Awards, Prayer Requests, And my rants.
On The Bricks (30)People, Places, Things, Ne…


I'll be away from the 'puter for most of the weekend.

We'll be shuttling from one relative to the parents-in-law to the sister-in-law and back over the next few days. Wish us luck - both with surviving the trip and the people associated with it, LoL!

Back on Sun or Mon.

See y'all then!

Saturday Snapshot

So this morning, I thought the elevator was filled with bags of garbage.


If this sight were to greet you as you approached an elevator, what would be your first thought?


Turns out that while they were indeed garbage bags, they weren't bags of garbage.

Someone was moving in on a budget, or didn't have access to boxes, I guess.

Whatever works, I suppose....

I just hope he/she/they reuse the bags, that they will be set for a few months' worth of bags for their actual garbage. Because if all these bags end up in a garbage bag and get thrown out... well... that's a big OUCH for Mother Nature!!

winter is coming!

... and I don't mean right now that the seasons are turning yet again... although they certainly are... it was a few days ago that I spied a bunch of snowflakes dancing in the breeze, fluttering in the air as they drifted slowly down to the ground, as I huffed and puffed at the elliptical machine in the gym. The snow didn't stick, and it was just a little flurry thingy anyway... but yeah, that 8would* indicate that winter is indeed coming ...

... but that is NOT that I'm referring to!

Anyone know? Anyone?

Hmmm... okay so how many of you have read George R R Martin's Sword of Ice and Fire series? If you haven't, please do. It's an awesome series, each book (4 so far) is an extremely satisfying read, even though *sniff!* the wrong people diieeeeeeeee *waaaaaaah!!* but that is what sets it in a class all of its own ... this is no cookie cutter fantasy. Cetta over at Ritualistic lists a few reasons for you to pick up the books: go here and read them, and tell…


... I've been neglecting this blog (and my EC duties!) ... sorry!! my other personality is busy participating in NanoWriMo, you see ... maybe this year she'll do better and actually make the 50K mark... we'll see...

Meanwhile, I am taking back the lynne naranek persona for a few minutes over an hour to talk about my attempt at getting Kosh and I to eat fewer dead animals. We've tried Boca burgers or equivalent, but have not really been impressed. More recently, I experimented with blocks of firm tofu, which while edible, was also not outstanding.

Tried morning star farms' fake meat strips - pretty sure they gave us bad gas!

... Fake ground beef, however, seems to be the way to go. I blogged and posted pix of dishes using textured vegetable protein a while back: this post features a "beef" & macaroni bake and "meat"loaf using 1 lb fake beef and 1 lb ground turkey.

Since then, I've experimented with...

1. Tater Tot Casserole, found on T…

I participated! and other book tales

A first for me: I submitted my review of Alex Beldsoe's The Sword-Edged Blonde in the 4th Edition of the Book Review Carnival :) Do click on over to find short descriptions and links to a whole slew of books you might want to check out. And if you like, go ahead and join :)

And on to other book-related news... so yesterday I had a really great meditation session at the local library, and after that I went to pick up this book that I'd ordered last week on a whim: The Existential Joss Whedon: Evil And Human Freedom in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly And Serenity. Yeah, a mouthful, LoL! But I figured what the hey, seeing as enjoyed every show/movie (the Buffy movie doesn't count!) in the title, and seeing as I'd like to produce (a) novel(s) of similar intelligence and wit, I think it would make for good reading.

Of course, I can't really jump into it till NaNo is over...
Hmmmm, I think my timing is just a *wee* bit off... LMAO :D

After all, I'm s…

booking through history, shredded fingers and book presents!

In 2004, I had been in the U.S. for just a few weeks, starting out in my new life with Kosh, when the Bush vs Kerry election was held. I remember sending out sms'es (phone text messages) to a whole bunch of folks in Malaysia saying something like "Hmmm looks like Dubya's going to win" on the assumption that 1. they cared about the elections, and that 2. they knew who Dubya was. Lesson learnt: don't assume! Every time I think back to that day, I find myself shaking my head in incredulous disbelief at how many either emailed or sms'ed back "Ummm, who or what is Dubya?".

But in 2008 ... what can I say? Even though I couldn't participate in making it happen, I saw everything unfold, and saw history being made. I love the pics that PolitiGal posted - made me all a-teary-eyed :) Makes me believe in America again, y'know? Obama's got a tough road ahead of him: the economy needs addressing, yes, but perhaps more importantly, the…

a rambling review of The Legend of the Seeker

So Saturday November 1st, 2 - 4pm, WGN premiered the pilot of The Legend of the Seeker. Found out about this by chance, watched the trailer, and wasn't too impressed - it seemed like typical fantasy fare, looking like every other fantasy that makes it to the (big) screen nowadays. And the dude playing Zedd looked nothing like how I envisioned Zedd to be, y'know? See for yourself!

But I went ahead and set the VCR (yes we're old school!) to record it, and watched it yesterday.

Okay, firstly I suppose I should say that I have enjoyed Terry Goodkind's books. Okay okay, just the first few in the series.
Okay okay okay so the first book, Wizard's First Rule, was the best, as far as I remember. I found having Richard conveniently learn the Wizards' Rules through his experiences, one book per rule for perhaps the first three or four, to be really really contrived. But I kept on, because there were enough things going on that had me wanting to know how things were …

two months on entrecard...

... and what an interesting ride it's been!

Firstly, a big *hello!* to Monique: I remember hers was one of the first drops (and ad requests) I received, and I was like wow, if all the blogs I come across are like hers, I am set! I have really enjoyed her posts, which can vary from funny to deadly serious, but always with that pleasant easygoing style. She also happened to be my top dropper for my first month on board (that would be for September, if you were wondering. Yes I'm two months behind. I am nothing if not a major procrastinator, LoL!). Thanks Monique!

As I mentioned two months ago, I joined Entrecard in order to find more bloggers and blogs to read. Yeah, as if my blogroll isn't long enough, right? I already separated some out into "famous folk", "we've met" and the mouthful that is "socio-politico-religio commentary" in order to keep them manageable, and that's barely helping. And now on top of that I'm adding abou…

pill poppin' fool

Okay, saw the allergist.

Having hives for more than 6 weeks puts them in the chronic category (as opposed to acute, usually as a reaction to stress, food, etc), and considering their behaviour, they might be indicative of an autoimmune condition. Gulp. But thankfully, the tests that the GP had ordered two weeks ago covered the things the allergist wanted to check, and they had all come back fine. That means some scary things like lupus or certain thyroid problems can be eliminated already. Phew!

It seems that identifying the cause of a chronic hives is usually unsuccessful, and that the things can go into spontaneous remission fast, or it may take years... oh joy!

But anyway: since the hives are the result of the body producing too many histamines in reaction to this as yet unidentified cause, the first step to relief is to stop them histamines. Using antihistamines. To block the H1 and H2 receptors. Or something like that. I got overloaded in doctorspeak.

Bottom line? I'm…

Book Review: The Sword-Edged Blonde

As I lament every once in a while, I have an official to-read list on Good Reads that's over 100 books long, yet every time I head to the library I end up with some random book choices because I neglect to bring said list along. No real complaints, though. I'm always up for exploring new authors.

Especially when one of my recent forays introduced me to Alex Bledsoe's The Sword-Edged Blonde.

Yeah yeah, I read the title and went "huh?" Actually, I'm still not 100% clear about how the title fits the book. But never mind. Then I picked it off the shelf and again went "huh?" in reaction to the really weird cover. Then I flipped it over and read the blurbs, it all sounded promising, "Sam Spade with a sword", okay I'll try it out.

And proceeded to consume it in one day (and night).

Man I *love* it when a book pulls me in like this one did.

The premise is simple: Eddie LaCrosse, a Private Investigator is hired on the qt by his childhood fr…

this that and the other

So we brought the cat to the vet a few weeks ago for her annual wellness check-up. Remember that it was as a result of the previous check-up (slightly overweight, slightly dehydrated) that we ended up getting her the automatic cat feeder and the water fountain.

The water fountain is great.

The food thingy... well... let's just say we've discovered our cat is probably an emotional eater. Kinda like Daddy and Mommy. When she's bored, she eats. If she's kept occupied, getting lots of lap time, she doesn't really eat much. So it was a challenge figuring out her daily consumption let alone trying to then cut back on her portions. Because she wasn't consistent!

The thing is, and we found this out the hard way, if she feels she needs to eat and there's no food because she's finished her allocation for the day/12hrs, she pees in the wrongs places... to show her ire...

So we stopped trying to cut back, and instead just let her have the portion she s…

What cartoon character are you?

Saw this over at My Kids Are My World, and figured it would do for weekend fodder :)

The Cartoon Character Meme Quiz

Copy these rules to your post.
Link to the person who tagged you.
Keep track of your points. (Don't peek at the answers.)
Add the answer YOU got (and maybe an image) at the end of your post.
Tag some people.

The Quiz:

Which one of the following describes the perfect date?
a) Candlelight dinner (4 pts.)
b) Fun/Theme Park (2 pts.)
c) Painting in the park (5 pts)
d) Rock concert (1 pt.)
e) Going to the movies (3 pts.)

What is your favorite type of music?
a) Rock and Roll (2 pts.)
b) Alternative (1 pt.)
c) Soft Rock (4 pts.)
d) Country (5 pts )
e) Pop (3 pts.)

What type of movies do you prefer?
a) Comedy (2 pts.)
b) Horror (1 pt.)
c) Musical (3 pts.)
d) Romance (4 pts.)
e) Documentary (5 pts.)

Which one of these occupations would you choose if you only could choose one of these?
a) Waiter (4 pts.)
b) Professional Sports Player (5 pts.)
c) Teacher (3 pts.)
d) Police (2 pts.)
e) Cashier (1 pt)

What do y…