Sunday, May 30, 2010

no more BP for me!

Remember the Brent Spar debacle? I didn't land firmly on either side of the battle, but it did put the environment vs oil&gas companies in a back burner in my mind.

A few years later, Shell (in Malaysia, anyway) came up with a new formulation for their petrol ('gas' to you Americans!) and started a really off-putting Vrooom Power campaign. How off-putting? So off-putting (the way they said "Vroom pah-wah" grated on my nerves so much just thinking about it now still raises my blood pressure!) that I stopped using Shell petrol altogether and started going with the local Petronas petrol instead.

Then my life journey brought me to the U.S., and I eased up on the "no Shell" stance... until late 2008 when we ran into a bad product and atrocious customer service for a product that fell under the Shell group of companies. Kosh was so incensed by it all that he called for a household boycott of all things Royal Dutch Shell.

I was amused at how these things happen... it's as if Shell was destined to not be my oil&gas company of choice!


... and then ...


...and then came BP ...


Ever since they rebranded themselves to stand for Beyond Petroleum, I'd always cut them more slack than other O&G companies out there, kinda buying into their image building propaganda of an environmentally responsible company... but then came April 20th 2010 and the Deepwater Horizon blowout which now has the dubious record of being the largest offshore spill and biggest environmental disaster in the U.S.

... and over a month later IT'S STILL NOT FIXED?!!!
In fact, fix after fix fails to stem the flow of oil gushing out of the well, while Mother Nature gets cloaked more and more in a layer of filthy chocking oil.

and now hurricane season is about to begin ...

... while the high winds and choppy water can help accelerate the biodegradation process required to get the oil out of there, what *I* see happening is the oil getting spread into an even wider area than it already is in. This will come to include land as well, remember!

The damage already incurred, and impending, is horrendous!

[clap] [clap] [clap] [clap]

way. to. go. BP.

Hopefully my action steps will be more effective:
  • No more gas purchases from BP.
  • Heck, no more visits just to the convenience stores that are part of the BP gas stations either!

You hear that, BP?

I am cutting you out of my life.

It's the least I can do to you for the damage you have wrought upon my Mother.

.... ... but before you ask: Kosh and I are not the typical American family with a gas guzzling vehicle each ... we have a 13 y.o. car with decent gas mileage ... unfortunately since moving to Springfield I find myself using the car more often than when in Chicago when I could use the L to get almost anywhere I needed ... but still ... we are way-below-average gas consumers ... and now that it's summertime we're going to use bikes more and the car less ... I consider myself NOT part of the problem that caused high demand that led to offshore drilling in order to satisfy said demand.

How about you?

image credit: epkes.com

Saturday, May 29, 2010

squeee!

Thanks to blog buddy Kim I found out about Tarma Designs back in mid-February, and totally fell in want with their Om drop pendant...



... guess what was waiting for me in the mailbox when I got back from #bloodymarymafia today???

sometimes Kosh totally surprises me with stuff like this ... thanks hun!!

squeeeee!!!!


... and on that note: have a great weekend, everybody!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

What I did on my (summer) vacation

Surely I'm not the only one who immediately thinks of this when someone mentions summer vacation? (and don't call me Shirley!)
    On the first day of my summer vacation, I woke up.
    Then I went downtown. to. look. for a job.
    Then I hung out in front of the drugstore.

    On the second day of my summer vacation, I woke up.
    Then I went downtown. to. look. for a job.
    Then I hung out in front of the drugstore.

    On the third day of my summer vacation, I woke up.
    Then I went downtown. to. look. for a job.
    Then I got a job keeping people from hanging out in front of the drugstore.

    On the fourth day of my summer vacation ...

If you're not sure what I'm referring to, check out Cheech & Chong's Sister Mary Elephant skit. I swear you'll never say "thank you" the same way ever again! :)

But back to *my* vacation... here's a quick of list of all the activities I crammed into three weekends in Malaysia and 2.5 days in Singapore:
  • Fri 23rd: arrived; ran some personal errands
  • Sat 24th: gatecrashed my mother's yoga class; gatecrashed my friend's mother's birthday party
  • Sun 25th: late night coffee with Als
  • Mon 26th: morning walk in the park; bought my BlueBerry phone; met with Mandy; bought tea & chili sauce to bring back
  • Tues 27th: in the KLCC area for personal stuff plus Rachel's performance, and caught up with Rik as she and hubby gave me a ride back after the concert.
  • Wed 28th: followed-up on phone-related issues; #chickenwingtwtup
  • Thurs 29th: debilitated -- I blame dirty ice! Canceled appt with Lan as a result.
  • Fri 30th: Coffee at Bangsar Shopping Center with Als and Mars in the evening, followed by meet-up with Chewbies and some of her friends at a mamak in the Bangsar Village area.
  • Sat 1st: the ankle incident and hospital visit :(
  • Sun 2nd: the reunion! 1 2 3
  • Mon 3rd: hospital follow-up; impromptu massage/torture session with Sunny as my ride and co-victim!
  • Tues 4th: dinner with Veya and Lan; joined by Baby Angel for coffee later.
  • Wed 5th: lunch with St Marians Airnon, Ija, Sally and Rik; dinner with PWC: another St Marian, a long lost senior :)
  • Thurs 6th: tea-time with Rachel
  • Fri 7th: TK-217 photoshoot; foot spa; bbq beef ribs for lunch, ka-ROCK-k in the evening: hail St Marians!
  • Sat 8th: breakfast with Veya; follow-up massage/torture session; mamak catch-up with Chewbies
  • Sun 9th: follow-up with Mandy; tea with Zu
  • Mon 10th: Singapore here I come! Many thanks to Moomykin for hosting me!
  • Tues 11th: lunch with Prasana and Kin; tea with Lin; dinner with Connie & sig other.
  • Wed 12th: pre-lunch with Bea and Kin; dinner with Kin's family; packpackpack!
  • Thurs 13th: the LONG journey back to Springfield that started at 3am in Singapore, ended at 9pm in Springfield with the Woman in 5D incident.
Want some pix? If you're friends with me on Facebook, look for the MY2010 album!!

I'll be filling in the blanks and adding links back to this list, so if you're interested in my mundane minutiae and navel gazing, by all means please bookmark and revisit/refresh this page over the next week or so, k?

Ciao!

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

BOH Seri Songket flavored teas

For many a year, boxes of BOH's Seri Songket flavored tea have served as handy buah tangans for relatives and friends in Switzerland and the USA, providing exotic teas in an exquisite bit of packaging. I'd not tasted any of these teas for myself, though, so this time around on my trip to Malaysia I made it a point to get me a few boxes of my own.

I picked three: Earl Grey with Tangerine; Passion Fruit; and Lime & Ginger; and have tasted two out of the three so far. According to Moomykin, the unlikely Lychee Rose combination is surprisingly good, so I'll grab that next time. Other flavors available in theory are Cinnamon; Clove & Cardamom; Mango; and Vanilla.

Review of the Seri Songket Passion Fruit flavored tea:
    I've had this twice so far.

    When you open the sachet, the smell/flavor is rather overpowering. But it all disappears when the teabag is steeped in hot water.

    The first time, I used one bag to make 4 cups of tea. It seemed a touch watery, and tasted just like plain old black tea to me. They did say on the box that you need to sweeten the tea in order to get the flavors to emerge: a tablespoon of honey later, I guess some flavor did emerge, but overall I wasn't impressed.

    However, I figured there was an easy way to jazz it up, based on my past chai experiments: the next time around I did all the same things as before, but added a pack of Equal and two sticks of cinnamon.

    What a world of difference!
    Even Kosh loved the impact of the cinnamon.

Review of the Seri Songket Lime and Ginger flavored tea
    I have had this just once so far, in between the two passion fruit sessions above.

    When I didn't get much of a whiff of anything much upon opening the shiny green sachet, I wondered if this too was going to taste just like plain old black tea too. I decided to go ahead and jazz it up pre-emptively: a nubbin of fresh ginger was grated and added to the container with the tea bag and freshly boiled water. A generous but not overwhelming amount of honey was used as sweetener.

    The verdict? Well, it was certainly ginger-y!
    Was there just a hint of lime in the background? ... perhaps... maybe next time I'll use just half a nubbin of ginger and see how it turns out.


So far, two out of three seem to require some jazzing up before being palatable. As such, I'm not that impressed with them. I'll qualify my future buah tangans with the recommendation to jazz it up a little. That goes for Jeanette too, who won a box of the Passion Fruit tea today.

... well at least now I know!

Disclaimer for the FTC: this review is 100% my own --unsolicited-- opinion.

Friday, May 14, 2010

To the woman in 5D

To the woman who was sitting in 5D on last night's much-delayed flight from Chicago O'Hare to Springfield IL:

    I remember when no cell phone / electronic device use was allowed at all while on the airplane, whether in the air or on the tarmac.

    Now, it seems as if the airlines bend over backwards to accommodate customers who insist on being connected at all times, who can't survive without their own music, who can't stand the thought of having quiet time to themselves, etc.

    BUT there are specific times when use of such devices are utterly prohibited. Not just to show you who's boss, but for our own safety. Sure, the legendary 1995 incident of a laptop suspected of interfering with a 747's auto-pilot couldn't be replicated, but still... all electronic devices emit radio waves that potentially can interfere with the navigation equipment on board a plane... I'd rather be safe than sorry on this one: wouldn't you?

    So when it's time to switch off your electronic devices before takeoff, it's not about the airlines inconveniencing you, it's about the SAFETY of everyone on board!

    ... and yet there you were, continuing to SMS/email on your BlackBerry even after the plane door had closed, and it was obvious you KNEW you were not supposed to be using the phone because you hid it under your arm as the stewardess made her rounds checking for safety compliance! And when your concerned neighbor finally pointed out that you should have the phone off you mumbled something and put the phone away WITHOUT TURNING IT OFF! How do I know this? Because IT STARTED RINGING... AND YOU ANSWERED THE BLOODY THING AS WE WERE TAXIING FOR TAKEOFF!! WHAT. THE. EFF!! I wouldn't be surprised if the phone was on the whole entire flight.

    I was torn between confronting you directly and siccing the stewardess on you. In the end I took the let-it-all-boil-inside path, trusting that the odds were in our favor and that your selfish assininity wouldn't lead to 'complications'. Thankfully we all arrived in one piece, incident-free.

    However, I humbly ask that in the future you inform me, somehow, whenever you know of when you'll be making other plane trips somewhere, anywhere... because as far as possible I'll plan my own trips around yours so that I have to share neither plane nor sky with you, ever again.

    Like I said before, I'd rather be safe than sorry.

    ... not that you'd relate to that in any way ...

    Yours sincerely,

    *lynne naranek*


Images from MS Office clip art

Friday, May 07, 2010

The box of tapes revealed!

Wow how time flies... I'm almost flying out of Malaysia already and never really did get the time for my threatened mix tapes revue... well I guess that means my next trip is going to have to be a much longer one! In the meantime, here's a peek into what was in my box o' tapes:

Bought/Originals
    Rima Rashidi – Pabila Kurenung Potretmu
    My schoolmate! Can’t say I like the cover – why on earth would the record folks dress her up as a bride?? Ugh! Keep.

    Milli Vanilli – All or Nothing, the U.S. – Remix Album
    I am one of those who didn’t care that they were lip-synchers. I liked the songs, I liked the image. So there! Didn’t bother to explore “the real Milli Vanilli” who came out after the cat was let out of the bag. I do have the ‘regular’ album in CD format. Keep.



    Good Morning Vietnam- Original Motion Picture Soundrack
    Loved not just the songs but the Robin Williams as Adrian Cronaur bits as well! I now have this on CD, one of the first gifts Kosh got for me when we were remote dating! No need to keep the tape. Discard.

    Def Leppard – Slang
    Umm, if I were to say I have absolutely NO recollection of this tape’s contents AT ALL, how badly does that reflect on this album? Especially knowing how fanatical I was about Def Lepp?! I gave it a listen, and omg it's warped *and* insipid. Discard.

    The Beatles – Please Please Me (discard) The Beatles – “1” (keep) The Beatles - Greatest Hits I [pirated version] (discard)
    I had plenty more Beatles tapes – did I get rid of them as I got their CD equivalents? Or did I play them so much they died? I was in the process of getting every one of their albums on CD. I have six of those, plus the #1’s compilation, and the 2-disc anthology. I’d keep the “1” tape just for the cover art. I’ll still go through all the songs and make sure I have them on a CD or in mp3 format somewhere before discarding them.

    Traveling Wilburys – Vol 1
    Discovered Roy Orbison thanks to this amazing collaboration; got chills when the video for End of the Line featured an empty rocking rocking chair during his solo in the song. I now have a bootleg CD of this album courtesy of dating-years Kosh, so don’t need the tape no more. Discard.

    Warrant – I Saw Red
    A cassingle!! O. M. G. I remember buying a few of these during my first year in the U.S.!! I am so over cookie cutter hair bands tho. Discard!!

    Amir Yusoff – Some of this is Real
    A fellow Malaysian/Swiss mutt, this was his debut album that came out around ‘95. It’s a highly listenable set of tunes, as I recall. Will hold on to this until I get hold of a CD! Keep.

    Tommy Page - Tommy Page
    O. M. G. What a blast from my high school teenage crush years!! I SO had to play this, despite the slight warping and straining by the player! I have two CDs of his, but not of this, his debut album (I think).

    Phil Collins – No Jacket Required
    Really? I mean, I know I enjoy the many hits from this album, but I actually bought the tape? Meh. Discard.

    Nico – [self-titled 1993 album]
    Nico – [self-titled 1995 album]
    An ex-bf who broke into the music scene as a Malay rapper in the 90’s. Really not my style, but will keep for s’s and g’s.

    Raihan – Puji-pujian
    They were the original ‘modern nashid’ group, a capella songs of Muslim worship a la Boys II Men --absoluetely beautiful to hear -- that I really enjoyed. Of course their success spawned imitators who oversaturated the market. I didn't bother with any other group or albums after this one. I have this CD, so will discard the tape.

    Sudirman – pilihan sentimental emas
    Ah, the late Sudir... amazing voice, lovely songs. I do hope this tape works, but will be kept anyway – uness/until I find a decent compilation CD of songs I like lah. Keep.




Own / mix tapes

    Xtension Chords – Shock Value
    Is the the a capella group from U of I? Can’t remember! I know I liked this, tho, so keep!

    TNT plus various artists
    O. M. G I did record this on tape!! I remember trying so hard, unsuccessfully, to find this particular album on CD while a student in the US. I’ll take a listen to see if it’s worth the effort to either locate the CD or get the tunes online. Keep.

    Recordings of songs from American Top 40 (mid- to late- 80’s): 4 tapes!

    From my Swiss pals: 3 tapes of compilations of various European faves from the late 80’s.

    The St Charles Mixx
    I vaguely remember this - I know I stayed over at a friend’s place in St Charles during Xmas break freshman year... so I guess I created this for myself while I was there, using her CD’s?

    Easter Mixx ‘92
    Recorded on April 17 & 18, 1992. Side One is mainly Led Zepplin, Side Two is mostly Extreme. Seeing as this was still my freshman year, I suspect I was recording some of my dorm roomate’s CDs. Up until then, I’d only caught Led Zepp on the radio, so this was my opportunity to finally get me some LZ to myself. Ah, good times!!

    KMGL Magic 104 Tour, October 4th 1990
    From my year in Oklahoma: we arranged for a visit to a radio station that all of us Malaysian students loved to listen to. It was our first time listening to format radio, and this easy listening station was what appealed to all of us – my housemate and I kept calling in requests so often the DJ knew us well by voice, LoL. Had a major crush on him but he turned out to be not a nice guy, ugh. I don’t recall what’s on this tape, so I’ll need to take a listen, then I’ll probably discard.. next time!


... catch ya on the flip side of my trip!!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

... of casts and crutches

My previous post talked about the three incidents that happened to me on Saturday... now I’ll elaborate on the ankle event, and explain why I am now sporting a half-cast and wielding crutches... there’s only so much I can or want to share 140 characters at a time!

Upon getting back to my parents’ place, I took my shoes off, limped my way up the stairs, studied what looked like an apple under the skin of my ankle, took a nice long shower, and once I was refreshed and dressed, went to hunt for ice, bandages and a cushion. Spent most of the afternoon lying down with the bandaged appendage slightly elevated with the occasional hobbling foray to the next room for some internet time.

On one of those forays, though, the ankle decided it REALLY didn’t like any weight on it! There was pain.. nothing I couldn’t handle, but I didn’t like its presence... so decided to get it checked out.

Fyi, it wasn’t just a Saturday evening - which already had me wondering where to go since I figured most clinics would be closed by this time – but it was also the 1st of May, or Labour Day, hence a public holiday, again upping the chances of not finding anything open. ... so we went to a nearby hospital emergency room instead.

They put me in a wheelchair so I wouldn’t have to hobble around to the different places they needed to take me: the nurse’s checking station, the x-ray room, the doctor’s office, the pharmacy, the cashier.... and in between every stop I was pushed back into the waiting area and parked facing the TV – I found that rather telling :p

Anyways, so the ER doc wasn’t sure what she was seeing on the xray: might be a chip, she said, but wasn’t sure,,, and the radiologist wasn’t around to interpret the film... so I’m supposed to go back on Monday and see the ortho guy...

... in the meantime the swelling was pretty bad, and the doc speculated about damaged ligaments, then fixed me with a backslab(?) half-cast thingy and told me to keep the foot elevated as much as possible, and sent me off with muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatories. They would have sold me a pair of crutches too but we already have a pair from a while back, when my dad had a motorcycle run over his foot.

So what was the damage to my wallet? Read Healthcare in Malaysia: my ankle woes to find out and weigh in on your own hospital experiences!

... So all this happened on Saturday... and Sunday was my school reunion, which I attended with crutches... more on THAT in another post!

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Jamais deux sans trois, again

Saturday morning started off with a gecko handshake:
I was up early, and wanted a drink a glass or two of 100Plus (a sport/isotonic drink) before heading out for tennis. The bottle of 100Plus was on the kitchen counter, so I grabbed it and pulled it towards me... only to feel something soft and squishy wriggle in my hand. I tore my hand away at once, and a 3” gecko went flying to the floor and ran off. Bleeaaaaah!

Immediately went to the sink and washed my hand... but it took a while before it stopped tingling - psychological aftermath of having not just come in contact with, but having squished, the little bugger. What a way to start the day, eh?

Then came the injury:
It was the first time in years that I was wielding a tennis racquet, and I’d been wondering just how badly I was going to be playing... turns out all that racquetball hadn’t corrupted my game anywhere near as badly as I’d feared. In fact, the main ‘issue’ I had was disbelief at just how ‘heavy’ the ball felt upon contact with the racquet which also felt rather weighty. I was handling myself pretty well, though, if you ignore my running backwards trying to position myself to return a high-bouncing lob, only to run out of tennis court and run into the chainlink fence! The ball embedded itself in the fence about a racquet’s lentgh above me. Ha!

A huge difference between racquetball and tennis is the area that you need to cover. Tennis requires a lot of up and down as well as lateral left and right movement. So there I was, chasing down a shot to my backhand: not sure if I got to it and returned it, or stepped awkwardly just as I got there, but then it happened: I felt my left foot twist under me, and I swear I heard a pop! that freaked me out despite there being no pain. I quickly reversed my direction, made myself fall on my behind, taking all weight off the foot.

It was then that I started wondering what #3 was going to be... they say these things come in threes, right?

Cat bite fever?
So Z and I went off to breakfast, chooing a nearby mamak that she not only drove me to, but insisted on dropping me off at right at its entrance so I’d not have to limp along more than necessary. I was the stubborn one who afterwards insisted on walking back to the car rather than enjoy the VIP treatment of getting picked up from the place. Yeah, typical me :p

We then hung out at her place for a little bit, catching up on news etc: can’t do that when you’re across the net: too far; or at the mamak: too noisy! I was paying lots of attention on two of her cats, especially Noir who it seems really loves attention, but also gets very particular about just where she wants to be petted, and will bite to show she wants more. Umm, yeah, she did the clamping down on my hand twice, the second time felt a bit more painful than expected, but I didn’t think twice about it, to busy chatting... when I got back I realised the cat had left five puncture wounds in my right pinky finger; she had actually drawn blood! No wonder it was so pedih!

With Cat Scratch Fever playing in my head, I washed my hand – the same one that had squished the gecko, btw – and hoped that this was #3.

More on that ankle, and why I'm sporting a half cast and wielding crutches, next. Stay tuned!
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