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Words of Wisdom

In life, we have to choose between the jeans and the cookie jar. Liz Hurley chose the jeans and I chose the cookie jar

~ Nigella Lawson....(on women's body image and her own voluptuous body)

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"I'm too young for school!"

Every time my 4-yr-old nephew misbehaves, we’ll tell him that he needs to be sent away to school to correct his behaviour. He insists that he’s too young for school. Ok. Let’s see.

Dihar I Told U So

In the old days of my old old folks, we didn’t really have the facilities to monitor the track of time. Therefore, they sometimes devised their own unique ways to identify days, weeks and years.

For centuries, our homeland was occupied by colonization and my ancestors lived from one war to another. Due to this, basic life aspects such as Education and Healthcare were not well-standardized. As a result, kids of various ages attended school yet registered into the same class. Due to lack of proper birth records in the old days, they had this difficulty identifying which of their kids were old enough for school.

A cute story as told by my mother:

Their solution was:

Asked the child to lift one of his arms up ==> held it close over his head ==> asked him to try touching the ear on the other side of his head.

If he couldn’t reach the ear, then he was too young. Once he was able to reach the ear, then he would be deemed old enough to go to school.

In their unique observation of a child’s physical growth, they managed to come up with a cute quirky solution for this despite not having any watch, calendar or proper birth records, only driven by the desire to see their children have a better life than the one they went through.

Now back to my nephew, I decided to test him to justify his claim.

Dihar Not Old Enough for School 1

Ok. So, the cunning little cheeky wins this time

Monday, July 28, 2008

Doodling in the Office


Talking about the office, I've been a bit adventurous with pencil and paper lately.

Different people do different things to relieve stress.

I've been reminiscing of my younger days when I was always lost in my own world when I drew or painted.

One day, I was feeling the pressure at work and I started to doodle.

This is what I ended up with.

He just came to my mind.......Bill Kaulitz. I love the fact that he actually looks like a Manga character in real life and I'm inspired to do this.

The most fun part is the hair of course!

I want to do more and more of these. I've been in this Engineering job for too long, I'm missing my arty roots.





Bill Kaulitz in a doodle

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Lick my Arse.......!

Last Thursday was an important day in my working history. Somehow, me and my colleague had successfully won a "war" against our Japanese boss.

We were dissatisfied and awfully annoyed that he recently accepted a task from our Japan Headquarter which was not supposed to fall under our Division's responsibility. We are in the Incoming parts control but the assignment was for the Outgoing product control.

My Itchy Butt

Mess with me again? I'll say "leck mich" (lick my arse)!

After a heated "meeting", we succeeded in stopping the task from becoming ours much to the chagrin of the Jap boss. He wasn't happy that we "overrode" his decision. Well, wrong decision is a wrong decision regardless of who decides it.

The Jap boss wouldn't talk to us the next day. Like we cared! Serves him well for not discussing things with me and my mates.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Animals don't mind your Grammar....!

In an attempt to sing and understand those German songs and interviews I've been listening to on You Tube, I have become quite attached to this Learn German book by Charles Berlitz. Bought it in 1998 from a discount bookstore in Sheffield, UK at a bargain of GBP1.99. Cheap!


There's this one section in Chapter 14 which makes me laugh every time I read it that my stomach hurts. It's on using the formal "sie" and informal term "du" for "you".


Here it is:

The use of "du"
.........the informal du is used between members of a family, close friends, young people talking to each other and generally in informal situations...........

When speaking to animal
As we recommend using the du-form when speaking to animals one might ask whether animals would notice if you use the right form - du for the singular and ihr when speaking to more than one. Although animals don't care about grammar ............................................if you used the formal "Sie" to talk or give orders to a pet or a horse, the onlookers, if not the animal, would certainly give you a curious look.

Ha...ha...ha.....

This reminds me of this cute cartoon strip by Gary Larson from his Far Side Gallery collection.


Copyright belongs to Gary Larson - The Far Side Gallery

My uncle brought this book back from the States many many years ago and I remember him explaining this strip to me.

Yeah, those animals don't mind your Grammar.



More lessons........

....but watch out for the "party animals" though!

This vid will tickle your funny bone....




Thanks for the lessons...............................love and kisses!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Steven Adler busted for drugs - victim to naivety

The news abound when former Guns N Roses drummer was arrested for drugs and sadly after he just finished filming the VH1's Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew.

Steven Adler 2

First, I must say that I wasn't exactly a big fan of Guns N Roses (that "Rape Scene" poster is forever unforgivable!) and I had a certain dislike for singer Axl Rose even back then. It wasn't my prejudice but he was the one who liked to portray himself as a big jerk. However, I have always liked Steven. To me, he was the only one in the band without an air of arrogance around him. You could see it in his face, his eyes.

Guns N Roses Classic Lineup 1

Guns N Roses classic lineup. Steven on the right....the most innocent-looking among them.

Rock and metal world exposed vulnerable souls like him to drugs and alcohol. Isn't it sad when a young man had a stroke as a result of his drug abuse? He's 43 now which is still too young to be a former stroke sufferer with his speech impaired too.

Steven Adler 1

Steven during his days in GNR before the drugs took him over.

Here I am still loyally following the ups and downs of all the rock musicians who still rock my world. I'm a world away from you all and can only read about it as many of you fell into the abyss of drugs and alcohol problems. Reading an interview about his suffering and drugs helped me understand more about his world. It was easy to be surrounded by the wrong people and once you're in, you might never come out again without a strong helping hand to pull you out.

Born in 1965, Steven is the same age as one of my favourite drummers Ingo Schwichtenberg of Helloween who tragically committed suicide in 1995.

Ingo Schwichtenberg

The infectious smile of Ingo.
Ingo Schwichtenberg the Helloween drummer was the same age as Steven and fell victim to drugs too which ended with his tragic suicide in 1995.

Even sadder as he was also suffering from schizophrenia which was further worsened by his drug problems. Ingo was an excellent drummer and still highly respected even to these days. Looking at his photos, it's rather puzzling how such a smiley, good-looking and talented young man would end up the way he did.

As Steven frankly said it, at one point, he wanted so much to die but somehow God still didn't want to take him. He said, musicians like him were so naive about the dangers of abusive substances and what they could do to you. In those days, you couldn't find much about the darker side of rock and roll life in magazines.

Dear Steven, you may not be reading this but it's a blessing that you are still here. I'm hoping that you will be alright again and may someone with a good heart help you through this difficult time.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Russicher Zupfkuchen (German choc cheesecake)........finally the recipe works!

This is a type of Chocolate Cheesecake which I first saw on a video of the German band Tokio Hotel. Yes, it's Tokio Hotel. Not a a recipe site or anything.

TOKIO HOTELTOKIO HOTEL

It was the lady cook in the video who was responsible for the catering on their Zimmer 483 European Tour who showed the cake in the video and I hunted for the recipe in no time.

I'm hoping to find the video again on You Tube and I'll link it here once I found it.

This cake has been described as "the grand way to expand your waistline in style"! Haha, with that chocolate base and the cheese with butter. Sure, it's not kind to the calorie-worriers.

The normal version of the cake. Click here for its origin.

In Germany, it's called the Russian Cake whereas in Russia, it's called the German Cake. Hence, the name. Weird, huh?

Russicher Zupfkuchen 1

I made mine in Cupcake form so it would be easy to divide the portions.

Recipe from Dr. Oetker.

Ingredients:

For the base and top sprinkles:
375 g flour
40 g cocoa powder
200 g butter or margarine
150-200 g caster sugar
1 medium egg
3 level teaspoons baking powder
3 drops vanilla essence

For the cheese filling:
250 g melted butter (use pure butter....it's decadent)
500 g soft cheese (I use Philadelphia cheese)
200 g caster sugar
3 drops vanilla essence
3 eggs
40 g custard powder, vanilla flavour or corn starch plus 1 or 2 egg yolks (I totally forgot to add any of these in mine which explains why the batter was so runny and my cake turned out like this picture)

Russicher Zupfkuchen Cup size

I halved this recipe actually and the cupcakes lasted a few days enough for me to take to the office daily. I highly recommend the cupcake form.

Method:
For the base:
Mix the ingredients starting with wet ones before the dry ones till you form a dough. Mine turn out really soft that I kept adding flour to it. The original recipe asked for 30mins refrigeration which I did not bother to do because I was too impatient.
Divide into small balls with enough left to be the sprinkles. Flatten the balls into the cupcake paper-lined muffin tins. Leave enough dough to be the sprinkles!

For the filling:
Add all the ingredients together. That's easy because they're all wet.

Putting them together:
Pour the filling into the base and pinch the leftover dough and drop them on top of the filling.

Heat the oven to 180 degree C and bake about 50-65mins. Ok. I never monitor my baking time actually. I monitor by eyes only. When it looks cooked, I take it out. That's it.

Russicher Zupfkuchen Half Eaten

Taste? There's only ONE word for it. DECADENCE! It's rich and delicious.

Get to know the fans of this cake. The super-skinny Kaulitz Twins. Did I say about the cake as "the grand way to expand your waistline"?

TWINS

Expanding your waistline? This is proof that we are not created equal.

For those unhappy about why these pretty boys can eat for Germany and remain in those figures, just accept the fact of life that we are so NOT created equal. Deal with it.

The best Snow in the World is in Malaysia!

Snow Ice that is!

When I was studying abroad, the thing I missed most about Malaysia is the food. We have a great variety here from Asian to Western. Believe me, if aliens somehow choose to land here, we would have their restaurants sprouting all over instead of spaceships.

ABC Special JJ

The "ABC Special". Sounds like a US TV Channel except this is better. Haha!

The most popular form of Snow Ice in Malaysia is called "ABC'.

ABC = Air Batu Campur

Air batu = ice (literally translated as rock water or water rock!)

Campur = Mix

Therefore, ABC = Mixed Snow Ice

.....and what a mix it is!

Typical ABC:

1. Snow ice
2. Evaporated milk
3. Heavy syrup from coconut sap (or you can make heavy syrup by caramelizing sugar with water)
4. Heavy syrup made of sugar boiled with water with a dash of rose water for aroma and red colouring
5. Boiled red kidney beans
6. Corn kernel or creamy corn (whichever you prefer)
7. Fruit cocktail
8. A myriad of Chinese fruity herby mixture like which I do not know the English names for such as Len Chee Kang mixture, red dates, etc
9. Grass Jelly or "chincau" as we call it here
10. Any scoop of Jelly that you like
11. Peanuts
12. A scoop of ice cream
13. A sprinkle of chocolate rice OR a drops of melted chocolate

OK. The version with the Ice Cream on top is more known as ABC Special. If you order without mentioning "special", you will not get the Ice Cream.

ABC Rainbow

They name this ABC Rainbow although I do not see any "rainbow-y" thing about it compared to the usual ABC Special. I ordered this at a Food Court at a nearby Jusco Shopping Mall.

You can get the ABC everywhere in Malaysia. Huge Shopping Malls, roadside stalls, restaurants or villages.

ABC Special Puteri Beach

Of course they come in different shapes and sizes! I had this ABC Special at a seaside stall near my workplace.

Yes, my office is very near the seaside. A popular spot for "Water Festival" every year where people compete for things like who catch the biggest fish. Mind you, the fish around this West Coast water are not as big as the ones on the East Coast of Malaysia.

ABC Chendol

This one is a Chendol Snow Ice Special. Yeah, the ice cream is melting here because the lady at the stall prepared it way too early.

Chendol is the "Green thingy" you see there. Chendol is made of rice flour mixed with water and pandan leaves for aroma and colour. The whole thing will be stirred in a a hot pot till it turns sticky. Then, the mixture will be pushed through a "strainer-like" device resulting in the "noodle" look.

Yeah, I told ya the best Snow is in Malaysia. Wa-hey! Wink....wink....wink....... ;-)

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Fruit Season is here!

I have a reason to celebrate. It’s the fruit season!

Rambutan season is here

Just open the old door on the left side of my parents’ house and you will see two Rambutan trees. One is so low to the ground and one is at the back there where the monkeys party like an open Zoo.

Little boy under the Rambutan Tree 1

So low to the ground that my 4-year-old nephew can easily pick a fruit off of its branch.

Picks of the Day Rambutan

Our 'harvest" for the day

Rambutan is a tropical fruit which got its name from the Malay word "rambut".

Rambut = hair (due the hairy look)

Therefore, “rambutan’ means “the Hairy fruit”.

Little Boy and the Rambutan Tree

A candid shot of my nephew when I called his name.

Little boy under the Rambutan Tree 2

Look at that cheeky smile!

I'm grateful to the Almighty that my nephews still have the chance to live where trees are like friendly arms that hug us and keep us safe.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The "Jekyll" in Hyde of L’arc En Ciel Photobook – the man and the spirit within

Found this at a branch of Popular Books in Jusco one Saturday afternoon. I couldn’t resist it. Got to have it.

Hyde Photo Book Cover

Japanese singer Hyde is the lead singer, principal songwriter/lyricist and guitarist for J-rock band L’arc en Ciel and the photobook, published in 2003, beautifully captured the spirit of the singer.

Hyde Photo Book Content 1Hyde Photo Book Content 2

He was snapped in various locations and situations with some pictures look naturally unposed even though I believe a great deal of planning had been put into the concept. Maybe that’s what the photographer intended.

Hyde Photo Book Content 4Hyde Photo Book Content 5Hyde Photo Book Content 6

The only words in it are excerpts of English translated lyrics of the band’s songs which are sung in Japanese. The songs are listed at the end of the book in Japanese.

“Horizons rise here in my eyes

A sound of silence calls

But in my heart, a distant hope

Is mine forever more”

~Hyde~

I found the photographing techniques used in the book very fascinating. It’s a beautiful representation of a rock singer and his music with the use of red and orange tones throughout which seem to symbolize the vibrant and dangerous life often lived by rock stars. The use of blue tones especially on pictures where he’s away from the stage balances and clearly split the life of a rock star into two. One, the star we see onstage. Two, the man behind the music. Jekyll and Hyde, anyone?

Hyde Photo Book Content 7Hyde Photo Book Content 8Hyde Photo Book Content 9

Some pictures had been arranged in collages of Hyde on stage, backstage, dressing room where he is the star to places like market places where he is unknown.

Hyde Photo Book Content 3

Every time I leaf through it, I feel like I’m on a journey into his world where he expresses his thoughts in his music.

“Can you trust me when I’m mad

Have no time to set things right

Can you love me when I’m sad

I have no plan but that's alright"

~Hyde~




Form the Government Today, Reduce the Oil Price the Next Day

In a move that was the first of its kind in this country, the leading Opposition figure and former Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and the current Information Minister Dato’ Shabery Cheek went head to head in a public debate shown live on TV on July 15th 2008 with the topic I translated as ‘Form the Government today, reduce the oil price the next day’.

Overall, the debate was conducted in a fair manner with each debater given 4mins at a time to present their points. Despite a reminder by the Chairman/Mediator, it certainly didn’t take long for the Ruling Party’s rep to start personal attacks on the former DPM. He defended his action as “to create doubts and questions over the credibility of the opponent” especially the former DPM’s rebel years as a student activist in 1974 and his terms as a Minister and later DPM in the ruling government. Anwar chose to keep the personal attacks on his stride and went on to present his facts and figures the way he used to during his time as a Finance Minister. *Anwar was taken into police custody the day after the debate to testify against the sodomy charges upon him and released on bail on the day I wrote this*

For me, a public debate between TWO opposing parties has long been a turn in my country’s democracy (or lack thereof) I have eagerly awaited since my days as a student in the UK.

When I just arrived in the UK, the country was gearing up towards a National Election that would determine the fate of the then Ruling Party the Conservative led by PM John Major (the successor to Iron Lady Ms. Margaret Thatcher).

What I was fascinated by were:

1. The THREE major parties (Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat) were each given a fair “campaign time” on national TVs to promote their parties and persuade the voters as to why they should be elected.

2. When I registered myself for a UK National Security number in my 3rd Year, I had a major surprise of my life when a letter arrived two days later informing me of which polling district I belonged to despite my status as a mere student.

3. The live airtime of the Parliamentary debates on TV where you can see the MPs showing their true colours and actual level of intelligence *sarcasm here*

At the same time Stateside, the presidential race was on and the one I certainly was drawn to was:

The series of Public debates between the candidates on their policies and major issues should they be elected.

Imagine my shock when I came back to Malaysia to face the following:

1. Even with my registration as a voter, the government conveniently made a rule that new voters had to wait 8 months from date of the registration to allow it to “mature” first. Then, you are qualified to vote after the maturity period was over. ~ Is there such a thing as a Database of people’s names that matures? What sort of crap is that?

2. Students were blocked from getting involved in any political parties because the powers-that-be claimed that “students are obliged to remain neutral and should concentrate on their studies and prepare themselves in building the Nation” ~ How hypocrite! I was once dragged by a friend of mine to vote for another student acquaintance in the ruling party’s sub UMNO UK division election. No politics for students? Hello! As long as it’s not in their home country.

However, we were not as stupid as they thought. It was obvious that:

They knew the young voters were more likely to have different views of the political world than the veterans and vote for the Opposition. It was further fuelled by the fact that Anwar was very popular among the younger crowds and this was acknowledged by many. It was risky for the ruling party and the stupid rule was implemented amidst outcries from the younger generation.

Despite his shortcomings, I still salute the Information Minister for his guts to come forward to speak for the ruling National Coalition party. It is due to his open policy that Malaysia’s top political Bloggers now have their chance to air their views on TV. One wonders though, why sent the Information Minister? Why not the Finance Minister? Or better still, since Anwar is the leading figure in Opposition, the PM or at least the current DPM should be the one to face him.

Nah!

Anwar? His true match will be and has always been the equally intelligent and formidable Tun Dr. Mahathir the former Prime Minister himself. *Here is Dr.M and his wife at the back in this sweet photo*

Maybe the Almighty sent Anwar to this world for this purpose. If it wasn’t for him and everything that happened, our country might not have been alerted to shift gears. I still see this as a step towards a more open democracy (without foregoing the Islamic values) and there is no need to call upon the Information Minister’s resignation as some Malaysians have called out for since the debate on 15th July. This country needs more gutsy leaders instead of the cowards who choose to live in denial (I won’t name anyone but any sane Malaysians understand what I mean).

My dream is for this country to flourish with an uncorrupted democracy with a healthy balance of Islamic values and leaders who always put the people first and foremost.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

When Dishonesty becomes the Policy

Got a feedback on my previous post about the dual-bands.

Rather than sexuality, it really is about dishonesty and how it hurts
innocent people.

The post was inspired by a dear friend of mine who shares his thoughts,
laughter, fear and tears with me everyday. About how he has been
manipulated sometimes by dishonest people he meets online and offline.

In fact, my blog is partly my way of showing him that there is sincerity
and beauty out there if he really wants to see it. That happiness does
not necessarily need to be sexual and it's ok not to have someone to
cuddle you to sleep at night.

Also, I'm frustrated with the way some people in my country Malaysia
take advantage of the conservative society here and use sexuality to
destroy anyone whom they see as threat to their positions.

It's the most convenient way. Currently, a leading figure in the
Opposition is facing another sodomy accusation to stifle his comeback
into Malaysia's political arena. A few years back, certain quarters
tried to accuse a rising politician who is also an unmarried intelligent
lady lawyer of being a lesbian just because they were jealous that she
was personally picked by the then Prime Minister to be in the cabinet
and lead a Top Post in the party's women's wing. She got to the top for
her impressive resume and not dirty political game.

Though I never intended for my blog to be a political vent, sometimes I
can't help speaking out when I see innocent souls getting hurt by
dishonesty.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Dual-Bands justify my left-wing ideology

A friend of mine recently told me that he had been receiving a series of angry SMS from the wife of one of his Internet contacts. She wasn’t happy finding racy photos in her husband’s phone and blamed my friend whom her husband regularly contacted.

My friend wisely chose to calm the storm by saying it was all meant to be a joke. She seemed to accept it. Then, my friend told me about the actual story. Apparently, the “contact” posted his profile publicly onto the Internet claiming to be single and looking for “guys” to “connect” with, if you know what I mean.

I was shocked as it meant this guy, whose wife said would never divulge anything to her, really is living as a “dual-band”. That’s a term coined for people who swing both ways. It angered me as I felt that my friend was victimized by the situation while the culprit got away scots-free.

“Next time, just send the wife the URL!”

How does this relate to my left-wing political tendency? It was well-known in the international political arena how Malaysian’s former Deputy Prime Minister was charged for sodomy back in 1998. It was dropped years later after they thought his political influence had waned and even the former Prime Minister (the one who owns the Loaf) himself publicly declared that his former DPM didn’t do anything wrong.

Now, in another bizarre twist, the former DPM, who’s now the main force in the leading Opposition side, has landed in hot water again when his former assistant of 3 months claimed to have been sodomized by him.

Now, this is where the drama started. The former assistant is a young man of 23, tall and lean. The former DPM is now a grandpa already in his 60s with reports of having a bad back during imprisonment. The young man claimed that it happened a few times and it drove him mad to the point of going suicidal.

The young man’s fiancĂ© declared to the press that she’ll stand by her man. It means she will still accept a guy who has had sex with another person (while being engaged to marry her) as her future husband. Hey, gay or straight, sex is still sex. Wake up girl!

I know that Malaysian right-wingers would certainly want to believe that it’s all true and want to see the former DPM gone for good. I just want everybody to take a moment to think of this.

1. How come a young man of 23 couldn’t even fight the sexual advances of a 60+-yr old man?

2. Are you people totally clueless about sex? Do you know how the act of anal sex is actually done? Do you honestly think that it’s easy for a 60+ yr old man to get someone taller than him to drop his pants and get into that submitting position where he can be unwillingly “entered”? (The young man certainly portrays the thing as non-consensual)

3. So, is the young man going to prove that it was forced or rape? Shame on him for not being man enough to physically fight back. Calling himself a man? I’m not talking about a boy who has been manipulated like many of the pedophile cases we’ve heard. This is a fully grown educated man who should’ve been able to use his better judgment.

Why my left-wing view is justified?

Being a left-winger means I believe that the act didn’t happen and that a 23-yr-old man and a 60+yr-old grandpa are NOT the Dual-Bands who cheat on each other’s fiancĂ© and wife respectively. That another educated young woman isn’t stupid enough to think a man who could let himself be “sexed’ by another is still a man worthy of being the father of her future children.


Vanilla Muffins Recipe 1

This is my third attempt at making Vanilla Muffins. I liked the crispy outside or was it my oven?

Vanilla Muffins

Ingredients:
360g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp soda bicarbonate
125g caster sugar
125g butter
125ml fresh milk
2 egss beaten
2 tsp vanilla essence

Method:
1. Beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy.
2. Add in the eggs one by one then the vanilla. Continue beating
3. Add in dry ingredients i.e flour and soda. Mix well.
4. Add in the milk little by little till all the lumpy bits dissolve.
5. Bake till brown. Please ensure that the oven has been pre-heated first to 180 deg C.

The recipe can yield about 24 normal-sized muffins.

Vanilla Muffins inside Texture 3

I actually halved the recipe fearing I might waste more food if the recipe turned out a disaster.

Fret not. My siblings demolished the things in no time at all.


My parents' gallery of wedding favours

Weddings have become a more and more expensive affair nowadays. It's a big business and there are people who quit their jobs so they can enter the lucrative business of being a wedding planner, supplier, makeup artist etc. After all, recession, inflation and what-not, people still get married.

My parents have a fascination for collecting wedding favours especially those which we are highly unlikely to buy ourselves.

Wedding Favour 4

The Egg casings made of porcelain and printed with flower motives.

Wedding Favour Pot Pourri cases 2


Porcelain Pot Pourri Cases. Super pretty but I think my father would go mad if I ever try to take any of these.

Wedding Favour Pot Pourri cases

Pink, cream and gold.

Wedding Favour Gold Basket

That golden basket is a tiny little bag for an egg. The White Tiger is mine. I won it at this Grabbing machine in Meadowhall Shopping Mall, Sheffield, UK. I wouldn't mind plushies for a wedding favour though.

Egg Flower Bouquet

Recycling the Egg Flowers.

These are given out all Malay weddings. My parents collect them and turn them into a multi-coloured Egg Flower Bouquet. When we have any little feast, we take them out to be given to guests. Recycle....recycle!

Wedding Favour 2

Wedding Favour 1

The Flowers upclose. Made of various materials. Fabrics, rhinestones, beads etc.