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)

Monday, December 27, 2010

My car is back from the workshop with a new life.......and God knows how long would it be

Yup. I got my car back after a long hiatus. It went to the mechanic for a month to have the engine replaced. With a car produced in 1992, there is no way we can get a truly "new" engine. It's a used engine from God knows what year just to enable my car to move. My father is already telling me he saw some oil leaking on the garage floor after my car repair. I think it could be the Gear oil. Oh, the exhaust has been emitting smoke again barely 2 days after the engine replacement.

Well, I guess the "stingy" genes do run in my family...ha..ha! My friends at the office have been nagging me to buy a new one. In fact, I, myself declared on this blog a year ago that I would be getting one by the end of LAST year. Well, it's been a year after and I still am taking my rides on a "rusting piece of steel" I call MY car. Everyone is puzzled over my attachment to my car.

Ok. In tandem with my "stinginess", I am contemplating whether to get the cheapest car in Malaysia right now which is a Viva 660 which is a petrol super saver OR just upgrade considerably to its 1.0 Automatic sister. The 660 Model has no power steering, no power windows, no hand grips at the back seat and no stereo system. I don't really give a toss about "accessories" like reverse sensor or alarm. My trusty (rhymes with rusty....xD) old car has no such things. However, I DO need power steering, power windows (front seat), hand grips (all seats) and stereo system. If I do get this "sardine can" Viva 660, I will have to spend a bit to have these installed.

Well, it's not really those extras that bother me. They can be done. It's the being tied with another hire-purchase loan that bothers me. It's no fun getting into your 40s still having to pay for your ride.

Well, life's like that.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Mad about Ben's the Chronicles of Narnia Voyage of the Dawn Treader!

Went to watch the new Narnia movie last night after work......because I fell in love with Ben Barnes from the last Prince Caspian Narnia installment :-)

Not going to really make a review about the movie here. I just want to talk about the people in it....mmmm ;-)

The trailer. Oh, little Lucy has blossomed!

Blossoming into a young woman brings insecurity to Lucy this time.

voyage-dawn-treader-georgie-henley or lucy-aslan

Wishing she looks like her sister Susan.
I wish Lucy was a few years older in this movie actually. Read on to know why.

Hmm......I think actress Georgie Henley has grown into a very pretty young woman. Oh, just look at how they styled her hair. Beautiful. Now I wish mine could look like that!


I always have a thing for long-haired pretty boys.
Thanks to growing up in the 80s :-)

Hey, I DID say that I went to watch Ben Barnes primarily. Yup! I'm very satisfied with what I'd seen.


Oh, he looks good from any angle.
Caspian greeting Edmund.


I wish CS Lewis paired Lucy up with Caspian instead.

Throughout the movie, I wish Lucy was older. Older enough to be paired with Caspian. Personality-wise, she was the one who would be good for him in the long run. I know that's not how the book is but the thought just crossed my mind when Lucy coyly asked Caspian "had he found his Queen?"

ben and little georgie during filming break

In real life, however, it would be like pairing brother and sister if Lucy and Caspian got together.

This is a shot of Ben and Georgie during a movie break in Prince Caspian. Aww!


What's a movie nowadays without some comic sidekicks?
Btw, I think Eustace stole the show in this movie.

Now this is what ruined my Ben Barnes moment in the movie........and the reason why I wish Lucy was older.

voyage-dawn-treader-lucy-ben-whoever her name is -edmund

Why the HECK would they make a Paris-Hilton lookalike as Caspian's potential love interest? Duh!
Please at least change her makeup.

Grrr.........those movie people! You guys spoiled my "out-to-see-Ben" night!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My first Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

I did it! I did my first Vegan baking on Friday night. It's Vanilla Soymilk Cupcakes. Totally vegan. Not that I'm a vegan but I've always been curious about vegan cakes. How good could they get without the eggs?

Here is the recipe I did.

Vegan Vanilla Cupcakes

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcakes


1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup soymilk (I actually used sweetened commercial soymilk in a bottle)
1/2 tbs sugar cane vinegar (you may use any type of clear vinegar I think)
1/4 cup vegetable oil (all I had was cheap palm cooking oil)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcakes


1. Mix together the dry ingredients in a bowl. I like to use a whisk here.
2. Pour the vinegar into the soymilk, stir a little to mix it and let it curdle.
3. Pour the oil into the soymilk mixture and stir well.
4. While still stirring the soymilk/oil mixture, pour it into the dry mixture.
5. Carefully mix it all together till there is no lump.
(I am scared of over-mixing because of previous gluten disaster cake batter)
6. Fill up your cupcake liners of choice.
7. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 deg C or 340 deg F for about 15 mins.

I managed to yield 9 cupcakes on a Standard-size Cupcake liners. About 3 1/4 oz size.

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcakes
The texture is pretty fluffy for an eggless cuppie.
It will never be a sponge cake but not as dense and heavy as I expected it to be.

How did it turn out?

1. The milk thing

I think the kind of milk you use will affect how this cupcake will taste. My cupcake tasted like soymilk. I know some vegans avoid any soy which I will never understand why. It's one of my favourite drinks since I was a kid along with chrysanthemum tea, sugar cane juice, lychee, grass jelly. I haven't yet tasted almond milk or rice milk but I'm sure what those taste would greatly define the final cupcakes if you want to eat unfrosted.

2. Light sweet tooth

There is something that feels really light about this. There is no rich taste of the normal recipe with eggs and cow's milk. The egg and dairy cakes are rich and delicious but to an average person, after 2 or 3 cupcakes, you have to stop. It gets too much. With this vegan cupcake, I found myself easily putting 4 cupcakes into my mouth and not feeling this was too much. They were like sweet bread to my tongue. Meaning it will be much easier to pair this cupcake with any frosting you want.

3. Texture and all

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcakes
What happened when I tried to peel off the cupcake liner right after baking.
The cake got peeled off too. Ha..ha!

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcakes
Look at the cake ending up on the liner!
The cake is moist. Very moist. The oil and soymilk must have done it good :-)

4. Better after they cooled down in a few hours or the next day.

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcakes
This is the cupcake the day after.
The cake did not come off like it did when peeled off hot.

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcake
The inner texture. Better than some of my non-vegan cupcakes.

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcake
I think I have made something non-vegan similar to this .
If I can achieve the same result minus the eggs, then I think I would rather go for the Vegan version. More convenient and less calories.

Vegan Vanilla Soymilk Cupcake
It looked and tasted better the next day. Soft and moist.

5. Why vegan baking appeals to me?

Eggs are tricky to keep fresh if you don't have a fridge. I would rather fill up my mini fridge with fruits. Butter is too expensive and also take up space in the fridge but we have plenty of cooking oil in stock everyday. I haven't yet tried things like Canola Oil and the likes but other than Peanut Oil , I think most oils are pretty much tasteless.

6. Would I make them again?

YES! Definitely.

What? No posts for October?!

I can't believe I didn't post anything in October. I'm not proud of this, you know. It means I couldn't even pull myself away from getting too immersed in my busy October schedule for my personal life. I'm guilty of not replying yet to my friend's email. I owe her that.

So, what happened in my life back in October?

1. I went through a series of Audits and Customer meetings. Had a "verbal tension" with this lady from Purchasing. Actually, I do like her but sometimes, when it comes to work, she treats me like I should be chanelling all of my time and resources for HER agenda. When she didn't get what she wants there and then, she would start rattling off words which boil my temper hot. Hey, I can't just split myself into 4 lady!!

2. I got a new boy in my Section. A cute boy and he drives me nuts. No, not that! Ha...ha...! It's just that he's got what I call "the today's generation's syndrome". Meaning, today's kids are pretty spineless expecting things to be served to them on a silver platter. These kids live in an age of the Internet and cellphones. Nobody left schools nowadays without knowing how to use the computer. These kids want things easy and crumble easily at any hint of hardship. So, what's my gripe on my newest boy? Well, he's polite. They all are. However, he drives me insane when he feels the need to come to me EVERY time. Oh, another big gripe of mine about kids nowadays is they have UGLY handwriting and this boy is no exception. I hope by the end of the year, he will be more and more independent. I probably can't do anything about the handwriting though.

3. It's hard not to want to shout profanities at work to some nincompoops in the Administration for making our lives super difficult.

4. For the umpteenth time, I wish the Alien would just DIE! Anyone who knows my blog for quite some time would know who the Alien is. There is an Alien parading around in our company HR as a human. That creature is the most INHUMAN being I've ever known. This is what happened. I got my latest Payslip and saw that they cut out TWO HOURS of payment for my two overtimed Saturdays. As it turned out, the Alien had instructed (this is not written anywhere in the company rules) that any employees in my salary threshold will lose ONE WHOLE HOUR of payment if we scan in our employee card at even ONE MINUTE over 8.00am!!!! Crazy!!! The thing is we only get paid MYR6.25 per hour which is less than USD2! This is insane! Guess what? I have a new wish for the A*****e. I hope he dies of some anal disease or something.

21st Anniversary Buttercream Cake

My company's recent 21st Anniversary Buttercream Sponge Cake.
I burned my fingers accidentally while lighting the candles.

5. I finally got through the company's Annual Celebration. I was forced to work alongside the Alien closely yet again this year for it. What a nightmare! The only good thing I got this year is the fact that my friends took some great quality photos of me. I actually looked good without the metallic weird makeup they put on me last year. I made my own face and I looked like myself and that's the way I like it.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Some people just pride themselves on being A***holes

Sometimes I wonder whether our Creator created some people specifically to be a**holes to the rest of us to "test" us or to "balance" the otherwise extremely peaceful and easygoing normal us.

Has it ever puzzled you why some people just do whatever it takes to make other people's lives hell?

Makes me wonder too every time, just what is wrong with being nice and understanding?

I am having a hard time at work at the moment. As one member is resigning soon, I am in the process of arranging another remaining member to help take over her workload. So, I already got the Clerk to issue an application to put this guy to 12-hour shift next week.

When the Clerk made an enquiry to the HR office about this, the snotty motormouth HR Assistant Manager that nobody likes, challenged my request by saying, "Can't you just train him in normal hours?!" over and over. Look, I don't know how his "logic" works but I am essentially making ONE person do the jobs of TWO people. That's why those extra hours for my subordinate are crucial to my Section. This workload that I am in the process of transferring to this boy is exactly the area that our Customer SONY Japan is going to look into next month!!!! I can't risk letting those people scrutinize our work to find "incomplete reports" and jumbled up "monitoring lists" or even "missing inspection parts" simply because the new boy has not been given enough time to totally understand and do the job properly while proceeding with his daily job of inspecting the new samples for Customer Approval.

As usual, I answered back with the argument I brought up for few years already to the HR people every time they argued that my Division is nothing more than a "supporting Division" or in their actual term "the non-money-making Division". I told him that the Management should have been aware that my Section being at the helm of Part Approval is actually doing one of the Cores of TS16949 Five Core Pillars. So, how on earth is the Management still looking at us as a "supporting" Group simply because our Division is NOT producing any products? If the
Management don't understand the principles of our Quality System, then they shouldn't have pushed us to achieve it in the first place. Stupid people! I challenged him back to send me face to face with the Top Management people to explain this matter and that was when he said something like we are "little people" and nobody would listen to us.

Why am I always getting blocked every time I challenge someone of superior to send me direct to the highest Management? I'm not afraid of speaking up. For me, they're the ones who don't have the balls to stand up for what is right.

Oh, by the way, everyone is my Section is essentially doing TWO-person jobs each now. Even my own Manager has not even asked me about our manpower situation. Such is his concern for this Division*sarcasm*. Here we are, a group of overworked and underpaid people who actually are concerned about performing our duties right and proper for our company and yet there are people who question it and are totally clueless on what good management is all about.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Trying to tell myself that "Life Is Beautiful"........

Yeah people.

I'm trying to tell myself that "Life Is Beautiful". Those familiar with my rantings here would probably be able to smell that every time I write something like that, it means I'm being sarcastic. At myself. At life.

Things are not going well at work. Back before July, I blew the roof with my management when they tried to get me demoted. They wanted to split my Section by promoting my colleague to the same position as me meaning I would no longer be his Section Leader. The Management was trying to kick me out of my own Section. Another thing that angered me was their reasoning that it had been a long time since my colleague was last promoted. Excuse me?!!!! His last promotion was in 2006 and my last promotion was in 2005. Were they trying to throw it right at my face that to their eyes, my work isn't up to par to be given any acknowledgment?

I have slaved myself for the past 10 years, representing my management who always went AWOL every time there was an Audit or when some direct Customers coming over for new projects, being stationed away at our Suppliers' premises for Quality matters as the only woman working to wee hours alongside men, extra hours that I gave to the company (unpaid!), working my asses off coming up with new ideas bringing improvement to our Division, dedicating myself to giving education & training to new members to bring out th best in them for our Division and standing up for my colleagues when other people tried to stomp all over them.

In the end, I'm being paid back by getting demoted. Nowadays, my heart is not there anymore. Apart from my Section, I don't care about anything at my workplace anymore.

Below are several more reasons why I keep telling myself that "Life Is Beautiful" just to keep me consoled and positive (hope is a good thing):

1. One of my subordinates is leaving soon. She'll be no more with us starting October. I wish her well because this company holds no future for her.

2. My Section will be reduced to only FOUR people and the Management still hasn't found us the replacement manpower I requested months ago. Not to mention having stolen my Clerk from right under my nose.

3. My car oil is leaking badly and the exhaust has been emitting terrible smoke for weeks now. I'm torn whether to pool my money to overhaul the old engine or to put as downpayment for a new (but far less equipped and accessorized) compact car. I hate having to commit myself to car payment again but at the same time I feel now is the time to get a new car since before the interest rate goes further up.

4. There will be a Green Procurement Audit by SONY Japan in October and my soon-to-resign subordinate is the key person for that particular area that those SONY people want to scrutinize. *sigh*Why oh why must she leave at this time?

5. My car Stereo has "blown up". At first I had my Mp3 Player but suddenly it stopped working yesterday. exactly one year after I started using it. I saw its tiny LED screen bleeping while I was charging it yesterday and then "blank". The horrible thing is I have no backup over the songlist I put in it. So, I may have to put up with at least ONE WEEK of silence in my daily drive to and from work since I have no time to look for replacement during weekdays.

I feel empty each and everyday. So, in order to keep my sanity intact for the following week, this will be my reigning life soundtrack. Though Mr. Sixx wrote it about his heroin addiction, however, just like he did, I feel like my life is being taken away from me with each passing moment. Thanks Nikki.....for this.

"Life Is Beautiful"

You can't quit until you try
You can't live until you die
You can't learn to tell the truth
Until you learn to lie

You can't breathe until you choke
You gotta laugh when you're the joke
There's nothing like a funeral to make you feel alive

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

I know some things that you don't
I've done things that you won't
There's nothing like a trail of blood to find your way back home

I was waiting for my hearse
What came next was so much worse
It took a funeral to make me feel alive

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Just open your eyes
Just open your eyes
And see that life is beautiful.
Will you swear on your life,
That no one will cry at my funeral?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

My Rock n Roll books arrived....yeah!

Look what was waiting for me when I arrived home from work yesterday.

My rock 'n roll books order from Amazon! Hurray!!!

Book Order from Amazon!

Been wishing for these since May. I talked about it here.

Inside my Amazon package

Ordering from Amazon may cost a bit more in terms of shipping but they always arrive safely within 2 weeks.

Ok. I just lamented on the fact that middle of every year always seems to make me broke yet I willingly ordered these books from the US. I couldn't resist the lure of the dropping US dollar currency against our Ringgit. After keeping these books in my Amazon Wish List for awhile, the exchange rate finally dropped to below RM3.20 for USD1. It was more than 3.4 at one time. Sadly, Bobby Blotzer's book went out of print the minute the rate dropped to 3.15. Holy cow! So, I ordered them at 3.17. It was agony having to wait for Bobby's book to be in stock again while watching the exchange rate go up point by point.

Rock n Roll books I bought

Bobby Blotzer's Tales of a Ratt, Stacey Blades' Snake Eyes and Nikki Sixx's Heroin Diaries. Motley Crue's The Dirt was bought on a whim though xD

Leafed through each and for a moment I was overwhelmed by me eagerness to pick to read first. After some thoughts, I decided to read them in the following order:

No. 1
Stacey Blades' Snake Eyes: Confessions of a Replacement Rock Star
The lightest in volume and the largest font that even I can read at one-arm length. Sadly, the pictures are not in colours like the sneak peak version on Amazon.

No. 2
Bobby Blotzer's Tales of a Ratt
This one has the easiest on the eyes and cleanest font and layout to me.

No. 3
Motley Crue's The Dirt
A thick book but oh dear, the font is tiny. It feels like holding Tolstoy's War and Peace in my hand.

No. 4
Nikki Sixx's The Heroin Diaries
I did say that I wanted to see how the layout and artwork used to present this book visualize the heroin addiction story. Oh, my words can be such a prophecy. If that is really their intention, then they have successfully done it. I got dizzy just by leafing through this book. I had to put the book away because I knew I would start to feel nauseous if I didn't. The colours and the graphic made my head swirl. Is this what heroin can do to you? So, I'm going to read this last.

I don't know how long will these take me given my crazy working hours. I mean, I just finished Mitch Albom's Tuesdays With Morrie after about 4 months or so.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

I'm a romantic but the Twilight saga just isn't IT to me

Went to see the 3rd installment of the Twilight saga last month. Eclipse. What I'm going to say next may make millions of teenage girls angry.

Ok. First of all, I did enjoy the first movie tremendously as it was beautifully shot and there was a good balance of teen angst, mystery, action and high school girl-meets-boy thing amidst the excellent cinematography. At my age, of course I knew almost nil about what's hot in teen girls' literary world. Yes, I'm one of those people who discovered this through the movie.

So, out of curiosity, I went and purchased the book to see how the written work was translated to the big screen. Got all FOUR books and...........I wish I hadn't. I have seen countless debates online from both parties who criticise the books and the die-hard fans who defend
them vehemently. After finishing, I must say that I'm in the critic group.

I will always tell people that I'm a romantic at heart and being that, there's where I found the problem with the books; Edward and Bella's relationship just ISN'T love to me. The "love" described in the book feels more like and OBSESSION of a teenage girl with a member of a boyband. Why am I saying this? Just read the first book and see how Bella describes Edward every chance she gets. How "perfectly muscled" he is, "beautiful hair", "male model features", perfect skin etc etc. So much so that I don't even know what is the characteristic of Edward as a
person that she falls in love with. Even actor Robert Pattinson said in an interview that Bella is "obsessed" with Edward. See? Straight from the mouth of the guy who should know.

So, why are the movies bearable to me? It's because it was obvious from the first big screen installment that the two lead actors are not keen on playing the characters the way they were written in the books. They both wanted to interpret it their way. Kristen Stewart didn't want to
portray Bella as weak. Yes, the Bella in the book is so meek and clingy plus sex-crazy. If one just watch Kristen's potrayal without reading the book, one wouldn't have guessed how weak Bella is in the original story. Robert never made it a secret how, back in school, he hated guys who behave like they are the hottest handsome men around.

Back to the movies, I have to admit that it becomes more and more cringe-inducing with each subsequent installment. That scene of Edward and Bella running in the woods is a celebration of romance galoria Bollywood style xD. My sister and I burst into laughter the moment THAT
came on screen. By the 3rd movie, you see more and more scenes of the two lovebirds on beds of flowers. Just one step away from Bella and Edward suddenly bursting into different multi-coloured clothes and prancing around the trees xD

On a side note, I am still puzzled as to how many young women who had watched Harry Potter 4 movie did not notice Robert Pattinson as Cedric Diggory. How can you not notice the actor who played Cedric? Isn't Cedric described as the popular gorgeous guy in the book? The guy who won the heart of Harry's first love, Cho Chang? What did you imagine? When I first saw Robert in Harry Potter, my reaction was like, "Woh! That is far beyond my expectation for Cedric." Anyway, his looks aside, the young man actually has talent and depth.

Back to the Twilight saga, anyone with a sane mind would find that the most likeable character is Jacob. In fact, it is Jacob who challenges Bella to say what is it about Edward that she loves so much? That is well into the story as in........ Book No.3? Maybe Ms. Meyer wrote Jacob to be the "common sense" to this Bella-Edward's notion of "romance". In fact, had it not been for Ms. Meyer's decision to let us delve into Jacob's mind by writing certain chapters in Jacob's first-person's view, I might have gone straight to the last chapter of Breaking Dawn just to end the story. I have to agree with some critics' opinion that turning the gentle Jacob into this guy who forces himself on Bella from time to time seems designed to make us readers dislike him in favour of Edward. He's a wolf now. Hence, his beastly tendency. How convenient.

There are some issues that other critics found problems with but I don't. Feminists tend to blast Bella's home-maker side as she prepares dinner for her father and always making sure both her parents are well taken care of. In fact, that detail of how Bella takes good care of her family is the admirable thing about her before she turns into this spineless clingy damsel in distress as the story progresses. Bella is independent in Book No.1 and she doesn't need anyone to cling to initially till she meets Edward of course. Some people have problems with Edward's over-protective nature over Bella as controlling. I don't have problems with that as Ms. Meyer makes it clear that Edward has old-fashioned values, coming from a century-old era. The problem is I don't feel what they have between them as "love". I was a teenager once and I have had my fair share of teen romance books. Twilight just doesn't make me shiver or send that tingling down my spine. I wanted the books to have that effect on me but to the end, not even a low vibration. Let along tingling down my spine. Forget throbbing in the groin xD

However, I will continue watching the movies at the cinema to see how the next installment shall translate to the big screen. Besides, I have always liked Kristen Stewart since the first time I saw her playing Jodie Foster's daughter in The Panic Room years ago. Any young girl who could hold her own opposite a powerhouse actress like Ms. Foster deserves respect. As for Mr. Pattinson, I'm glad he has found this fame and money quite early in his career as this means he can now afford to choose any project that can suit his range as an actor, which I think is very wide. Again, how could people not see the star in Robert Pattinson during Harry Potter? Now suddenly, he's this major heartthrob. How fickle young girls can be. I'd say to Mr. Pattinson and Ms. Stewart,
"milk as much out of the cow now while you still can".

Lastly, I stand by my opinion that if I had a daughter, I wouldn't recommend her to read Twilight at all.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Murphy's Law strikes again!

What is it about June every year that brings me financial bad luck?

1.   Had to spend more than MYR700 to fix my car.

2.   Then, of course, the insurance and road tax renewal which fortunately cost only MYR111.

3.   My PC gave up on me. Hwaahhh!!! The motherboard was probably overheated from intensive usage that my PC tech uncle said that the ICs melted. Had to choose a motherboard I could afford from a catalog. My fear is what if I need to replace the Processor too?

Whatever it is, my biggest concern is my hard disk as all my files are in there. My MP3s, all the pictures from my Kodak C653 cameras, all the receipts for the online banking I have made, various cake decorating photos and videos I have collected from the Internet, various recipes collection, home deco pictures, my digital artwork project files etc.

4.   I lost my chance to win the passes to MTV World Stage 2010 featuring Tokio Hotel because my Netbook isn't strong enough for the Java-heavy MTV website.

5.   One rainy morning, I forgot to switch off my car headlights so had to call my brother that night after work to help after everyone else from work was already happily relaxing at home.

6.   While charging my car, I heard a loud exploding noise. Boom!! My stereo had stopped working since. No money to replace it for now. Have to use my little MP3 player instead directly to my ears. My car speakers are at the end of their working lives anyway.

7.   Of course, helping me with my car means using my father's car which I had to refill right after. Cost me MYR20 (worth 3 days meals!) to kiss the old man's butt.

8.   Found out that my car motor oil is leaking again. I don't know why. Now, this, I can't afford to fix at the moment. This might involve overhauling the engine which is very costly and it might take more than 2 weeks. For a car like mine, finding the spare parts isn't easy.

What makes me very very unhappy about these is I have to delay my plan to get those rock n roll books I want so much from Amazon. I had already planned to purchase them in July but with all the craziness going on in my life, I probably have to delay my plan up to December even. Oh, how sad!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Just when I thought I was a cake wrecker, I saw Sandra Lee's Kwanzaa cake....

Just when I thought only an amateur like me can wreck a cake, I recently discovered this lady from the Food Network who actually gives me hope that anyone can have a cooking show. Ha...ha...funny is I read that she attended the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu. None other than Sandra Lee!

Of course her show is not aired in my country but hey, that's the beauty of the Internet. Thanks to so many people on blogs on video sites, I was able to see the cake that made her famous in the wrong way. Anthony Bourdain referred to it as a "TV atrocity that can burn your eyes" or something like that.

sandra+lee+kwanzaa cake
Sandra Lee's notorious Kwanzaa Cake!
Despite her good intentions, sticking the big candles directly into the cake like that just make me think .....eeww

From what I understand Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration and the word comes from a Swahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza" which means "first fruits". that explains the red and green candles to me. Ok. WikiAnswers states that "the colors are of the African flag (bendera): black for the people, red for their struggle, and green for the future and hope that comes from their struggle." So that clears it.

The cake is basically an Angel Food Cake baked in a Bundt pan. So, Sandra poured in Apple fillings in the middle because Bundt cakes have holes in the middle. She also covered the cake with Chocolate Frosting. Since she used ready-made stuff, I am sure the Chocolate Frosting must have been super sweet the way Americans usually make theirs. I normally halve the sugar content in a typical American frosting recipe. It's that sweet. Then, she sprinkled around some nuts and grains. I'm not sure what those were really. Looked like peanuts to me.

Bundt cake pan
A Bundt pan
(Picture: Wikimedia)

In all honesty, I don't think the cake would taste bad especially if one has an awfully sweet tooth. As for me, I do love Apple fillings very much. However, the way she puts things together is really odd to me.

Anyway, I've seen quite a volume of her work after I stumbled upon that Kwanzaa cake and I have to agree with many that her recipes are certainly not something I am looking forward to trying at all.

However, to give her justice, I do find something I like about Ms. Sandra. Her kitchens!

sandra lee pink kitchen
Isn't the kitchen fabulous? So girly and cute in pinks and lime green.

sandra lee pastel kitchen
This one is fab too! Pastel candy like a life-size Barbie kitchen set.
Thanks to foodnetworkhumour for this.

Ms. Sandra Lee. She may make unappetizing recipes but I'd love to be in her girly kitchens any day. Ha...ha..!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hello Kitty buttercream cake for my niece

As my baby niece was approaching 1 year old, I was quite excited to try to make a girly cake. She has shown a lack of liking for dolls and figurines, so a Barbie cake was out.

Then, I saw this video from this Portuguese cake decorator I subscribe to on YouTube. Looked simple enough. So, I thought I'd give it a try. A Hello Kitty cake.

This pro makes it look easy!

In order to just concentrate on the cake decorating part, I decided to buy a ready-made cake from Giant supermarket with durian flavour. If the deco turned out a failure, at least the cake wouldn't.

I knew that my buttercream piping skill is a novice level at best but what I ended up with was downright abysmal xD

Hello Kitty Buttercream Cake
This was what I ended up serving for my niece's birthday.

Hello Kitty Buttercream Cake
It was my first try at using the frozen buttercream method.

Hello Kitty Buttercream Cake
Put coloured chocolate buttons to cover the bad "smoothing" on the surfaces

Hello Kitty Buttercream Cake
Oh....just look at that awfully distorted Hello Kitty.
Good thing is at least it's not as ugly as my Ben 10 cake for my nephews xD

Anyway, everybody enjoyed the small celebration. My niece got sleepy right after tasting the cake. Oh, well.

Aliyah Vignette
The birthday girl!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Stumbling my way to the MTV World Stage 2010

My computer tech uncle said my PC motherboard is spoilt. He added that this is normal for any "chicken-brand" component. "Chicken-brand" is the term coined by Malaysian youth for "non-high-branded items". Well, the PC had served me well. Too bad it reached its expiry date in June which is the month that I usually need extra money to renew my road tax and car insurance. I had spent hundreds on repairing my car before that.

There is ONE very big problem not having a PC. There will be an MTV World Stage Concert in July and the only way to get in is by winning the pass from MTV website. Confirmed artists so far are Katy Perry, Tokio Hotel and the Wondergirls. The catch is one must go to the page linked by MTV from the email they sent out and wait for the small JavaScript Icon to appear in the shape of this character named Junior or this Bumble Bee.

I have no choice but to resort to my light-duty Samsung N150 netbook for my Internet activities. This is where I came to a stumbling block.

1. MTV pages are c***load full of heavy graphics, JavaScript, ads and what-nots making them very slow to load.

2. The netbook screen size of ONLY 1024 x 600 pixels means one is not able to view the page in one full view at a time. You have to scroll up and down just to read everything.

3. The Junior or Bumble Bee icon is supposed to appear either at the Top or the Bottom of the page.

4. I am able to view only HALF a page at a time!

5. In order to constantly watch out for Junior or Bumble Bee, I have to keep scrolling up and down in case they appear at either Top or Bottom.

6. Since the page is darn heavy, scrolling gives slow refresh rate meaning the probability of catching Junior or Bumble Bee is double difficult.

7. Nothing I could do to speed up even after upgrading to 2Gb RAM as the processor of the Netbook is only 1.66GhZ.

8. The next PC Fair is in August.

9. The concert is on 31st July!!!!


Monday, June 21, 2010

If Hollywood Vampires exist, they'd look like LA Guns

I’m back down on memory lane to the late 80s. My favourite time for music.

OK, ever since I linked that LA Guns video playing the acoustic version of Ballad of Jayne, I’ve been watching a lot of their old videos on YouTube lately. Their video for Ballad of Jayne is one of my all-time favourite videos. All my siblings like that one too. How can you not like something so beautiful? Great song, pretty men in black and red roses.

Oh, I am reminded of how beautiful they all used to look like back then. In fact, to me, collectively, LA Guns classic lineup of Tracii Guns, Phil Lewis, Kelly Nickels, Mick Cripps and Steve Riley were the prettiest band ever to come out of LA. Other bands normally have 1 or 2 pretty faces but LA Guns was visually appealing in each. I mean, Phil was like a Manga vampire doll and Kelly was basically a Warren DeMartini lookalike back in the day. Mick was the one with the Johnny Depp cheekbones and pout. Steve and his piercing blue eyes. Tracii made the short floppy hair look cool in a metal band a few years before throngs of teeny boybands adopted that look to wow girls.

What I liked about them visually was their dark hair as the frame to their piercing eyes and the myriads of tattoos giving them the edgier, vampirish and more mysterious look compared to other bands at the time. No blonds for LA Guns back then. Even today, a blond in the band would stick out like a sore thumb (yes, it’s you Marty Casey). Let’s face it, blonds don’t look dangerous.

I was once so visually taken by the band that I even wrote a teen novel with 5 characters in it named after the band members with Tracii as the lead character of a troubled teen. I didn’t finish it of course because I ran out of ideas. I read out the story to a friend and she asked me “Why are the guys’ names like girls’?” Yeah, that’s another unique thing about LA Guns. The girly names. They used to have Tracii and Kelly and now there’s Stacey in there.

At the moment, I am addicted to this video. LA Guns and their song Malaria.

Heck, even the video looks good to be in the 90s and even today. No corny cheesy scenes. Just a band rocking out in raw performance.

I don’t know about other people but to my ears, this song can fit well into today’s music. In the 90s, guitar solos found no place in rock (sadly) but this song has very strong rhythm section which is the way I like it. Thumping bass lines and drums. Add to that the Egyptian-sounding guitar solo. So my taste :-)

Of course, here are the visual excuses for my "addiction" ;-)

Phil Lewis Malaria 1

Manga came to life......

Phil Lewis Malaria 2

Picture perfect

Phil Lewis Malaria 5

What a doll!

Phil Lewis Malaria 4

This was no comic book from Japan

Phil Lewis Malaria 6

It's Phil Lewis

Phil Lewis Malaria 8
Was he for real?


Sunday, June 20, 2010

After 18 and a Life later........

I'm doing a "spring cleaning" with my bedroom at the moment. It's all messy. Too messy. For the past 2 years, I feel like I've been living in a dumpster. You can hardly see my bed! Haha!

I have moved my sister's stuff and I haven't told her yet. At least now I'm seeing the missing half of my bed again :-)

While rummaging through things and sorting out which one to throw and which one to keep, I came across a short "assignment" from my computer literacy class back when I was 18. My first year of college.

Our lecturer had asked us to type out an "introduction" of ourselves to see our proficiency in typing correctly. Me knowing how narcissistic I am when it comes to talking about myself (as far as I know, I'm the only one among my friends who blogs actively), this was the perfect assignment. Reading through it, I smiled thinking is there really any difference between me in my 30s and me in my teens.

Here is what I wrote:

Butterflies Graphic #119

"Ever since I was a little toddler, I have always considered myself as a unique kind of person. I hated doing things that many other girls seem to enjoy doing. I mean, I was once a 'tomboy' with hair shorter than my brother's and I wore shorts and pants all the time. I even hated my name S******a and I wanted something that sounded more boyish. Anyway, everyone has been calling me S****y ever since I was born, so there's nothing I could do about it. Now, after finishing my secondary school life, I have become more and more feminine. Well, sometimes I can even turn myself into a female "chauvinist" which is contrary to what I was before.

I've always been the kind of person who's very musical. No, I don't think of me as some sort of a musical virtuoso. I don't read music but my life has always been filled with music. There's a song for every event in my life. I can listen to any kind of music as long is it sounds good to my ears but my favourite kinds are heavy metal and hard rock. Needless to say, I'm very artistic. I love art whether it is drawing or painting or designing or singing or acting or dancing. I love them all.

The negative side of me? My heart and head seem to be made of stone. I'm very stubborn, rebelllious, too out-spoken, lazy and even ignorant sometimes. Gosh, all of them have put me in trouble. The good things about me is I'm very open-minded, honest, do not tell lies, forgiving and I love children. I'm also very open to any kind of criticism that people find about me as long as they talk to me in private and they're frank enough. I forgot. I'm also a forgetful person. Rather greedy and I often tend to spend my money lavishly as if I come from a wealthy family.

Finally, dear lecturer. I wish you all the best and I hope you can help me. To tell you the truth, I don't understand a single thing about what you've taught us so far."

(S******* A**** J****)

Class A14

Butterfly Graphic

OMG!!! I was nuts just like I am today.

So what did my lecturer write back? Just these simple notes:

"after a full stop, 2 blank spaces" and "after a comma, one blank space"


At the time, my class was called A14. How on earth did we morph into A12, I can't remember. Man, I think I realy do need to start a Facebook account to get in touch with my old classmates and find the answer to that.

So, back to the question, did anything change with me? Not a lot. Here are they:

1. I thought I liked dancing. No. I can't dance except belly dance because I have the "armour" to do so by nature. My generously large hips.

2. No, I'm not an ignorant person. I thought I was but no. I'm sensitive to other people's feelings most of the time.

3. Forgiving? Hmm....I need to review that. I'm not forgiving. I don't think so. I have high tolerance to people and highly accepting of people's nature and idiosyncracies till they do the s**t on me.

4. Forgetful? That needs to be reworded. I forget because I don't want to remember in the first place. There is a big difference there.

5. The feminist part? After my 5th failed try at having a relationship, I have become more critical of women than men. My last relationship taught me a lot. It was my best relationship so far. The only thing he hurt me was breaking up with me as I would never be the one his mother would approve of due to our age difference. Other than that, I learned a lot about men from knowing him and the way he was fond of me. Now I know what to do should I be destined for another one. Really, men are not complicated like I thought they were.

OK. There you go. A piece of my mind when I was 18 :-)

p/s: No, I did not include any picture in my assignment.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

My PC is on to use Samsung N150 netbook for now

Oh pants oh pants!

I'm so angry. What is it about my siblings that everything they touch will get broken at some point? I don't really mind them using my things as long as they look after them like I do which never has been the case.

I came home on Friday, exhausted but eager to start with my old mag scanning project this weekend. Press the ON button of my PC and ...blank...nothing. No response whatsoever. It was like the touch button didn't touch the power on source at the back. Like pressing a button on an empty PC casing. What the hell was going on? It was fine that morning as I was able to transfer some files to bring to work and did my surfing and emailing the night before.

Got mybrothers to have a look and even called the little bro in the capital city. It seems like there's nothing else we can do except get help from our computer tech uncle who was not home at this time.

So, till the PC gets fixed,I have to resort to my tiny netbook which is decent enough for doing my Gmail, blogging, YouTube and normal surfing. This little machine was designed for those anyway.

However, when to comes to my other computer passion which is photo editing and graphic art, this machine is a miserable little useless gadget.

Here's why:

1. The screen size means the picture to be worked on is Lilliput size.

2. The processor of Intel Atom 1.66 Mhz and RAM1Gb on Windows 7 Starter aren't enough for a good computer art job.

3. I can't use GIMP on this netbook. It takes forever to load with 1Gb RAM. I upgraded to 2Gb RAM and mana after waiting it to load forwhat feels like 5minutes. Even after I managed to open GIMP, I have to resize the Toolbox sizes and during retouching and saving, the Toolbox went blank!

My netbook against my PC
I miss my Samsung 743NX monitor and the more powerful computing that a PC can offer.

My netbook against my PC
Look at the wiring just to have a decent PC experience. Those are the power source wire, the Ethernet to modem connection, the notebook cooling fan and the speakers.

My netbook against my PC
On the other side are the 4-port USB extender with the wireless mouse dongle on it. The other one is my printer/scanner.

My netbook against my PC
Just for the record, that's a video shot of LA Guns guitarist Stacey Blades playing the Ballad of Jayne.

Here's the video, btw. I'm not a fan much really but somehow I like watching them :-)

LA Guns acoustic version of the Ballad of Jayne with guitarist Stacey Blades.
(Somebody uploaded the video with the title wrong)

Famous Amos finally opened in Melaka.....yeah!

I got a nice surprise when I stopped by at a shopping mall on my way back home late last month. As I walked approaching a Pizza Hut outlet and an MPH bookstore, I saw a familiar stall I had mostly seen at airports or shopping malls in the Capital City.

Famous Amos cookie stand! Yeah!!

I think many chocolate chip cookie lovers know how good and delicious Famous Amos cookies are. It's the benchmark I judge ALL cookies against. Seriously.

However, that evening I decided to try something else now that Famous Amos is within easy reach. I decided on the muffins instead. Mainly because it was the cheapest set on display at less then MYR6.99 compared to MYR8.70 for 100g of cookies.

So, here are the muffins:

Famous Amos Muffins
Famous Amos make the best cookies but the ugliest muffins. The taste is far from ugly though. I shot this picture after demolishing one muffin. xD

Famous Amos Muffins
The flavours as I remember them are Blueberry Vanilla, Streusel Top Vanilla, Chocolate Almond and Vanilla Walnut. All jumbled in my mind but those things are there in this set.

The muffins are good. You can trust Famous Amos for great taste of anything they bake. The muffins are a bit on the tiny side which is expected and they do not place these in normal muffin cups. Rather they look like crumpled muffin cones with a blob of muffin batter accidentally dropped onto them.

I hope this cookie stand will stay for a long time unlike my beloved Cinnabon.....sob...sob... :-( Whatever happened to that franchise? Maybe they want me to fly all the way to Seattle, USA to find one.

Lunch Hour at a US Pizza outlet

My car insurance and road tax will expire within several days. So, I took one day off to renew them and thanks Heaven, everything went smoothly unlike last year. It seems like there is an insurance company that is sympathetic enough to accept my 1992 car.

Since I didn't have any breakfast, I thought of getting a brunch in one of the many fast food outlets in one of the nearby shopping malls. After much contemplating, I walked into a US Pizza outlet mainly because they displayed "WiFi Access here".

The reason I wanted a WiFi access is to debut my birthday present I bought for me, the Samsung N150 Netbook for its first public Internet experience.

My Samsung N150 Netbook
Here it is! Proudly presenting my new "baby". Tiny and mega cute Samsung N150 with a matte screen which is a BIG plus for viewing at any location. No glare.

I bought it simply because it has a matte screen. I can't stand the glare type so extensively featured in most of today's laptops and netbooks in this country. It's annoying to see the light fixture on the ceiling behind you so prominently "displayed" on your monitor.

US Pizza Lunch
This is what I had for lunch. Hawaiian Pizza, Mushroom Soup, Iced Tea and Spicy Chicken Salad.

They have a lunch set of a Personal Pan Pizza, Mushroom Soup and a glass of Iced Tea at MYR7.95. So, I added in a plate of Spicy Chicken Salad because I saw Pineapple chunks in it in the picture. The pizza choice for the discounted lunch set is limited to 3 types only. I chose Hawaiian because I LOVE pineapples on my pizza. Sorry I don't remember the other two.

US Pizza Hawaiian Single
The pizza! The picture in the menu has scatterings of chicken pepperoni but I couldn't see them here. Fear not, they were buried under the cheese. Phew!

US Pizza Chicken Salad
The Spicy Chicken Salad. Yum! I'm glad I chose this. Chicken cuts, Letuce, Mayo, Thousand Island and sweet Pineapple Chunks.

The chicken was cold which is the way it should be for a salad. You can't go wrong with Thousand Island either. I am glad they didn't put carbonated drink in the set as the usual practice of many fast food outlets. I don't really take carbonated drinks. Too sweet and it gives me gas, literally xD

US Pizza lunch hour promo is SO value-for-money. The food is pretty good too. I'm happy with my salad and the serving portion is pretty satisfactory for my tummy.

Vanilla Soymilk Cupcakes

It's been awhile since I posted any recipe here. Basically I do that to chronicle my kitchen adventure which sometimes produces disastrous results. Hey, that's why it's called adventure.

This is another of my experiment. Saw a recipe with soymilk instead of fresh cow milk. It's not vegan. It still has eggs and I had adjusted the sugar quantity a bit to suit me.

Here goes:

Vanilla Soymilk Cupcake

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter
2 eggs
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup al-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 3/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup soymilk

1. I used creaming method for this because it is the one I'm most familiar with since childhood.
2. Beat margarine/butter with sugar.
3. Add eggs one by one.
4. Add in vanilla flavour.
5. Add in salt as I find it easier to incorporate saltiness into a wet mixture.
6. Sift together flour and baking powder in another bowl.
7. Using a hand-held spatula, alternately add in the flour and the soymilk.
8. Slowly and carefully mix it all together.
(*I've always been extra cautious when using all-purpose flour as I don't want to develop the gluten)
9. Spoon the batter into paper cups.
10. Bake at 180degC or 350degF for around 15 to 20mins depending on your cup size or oven type or till a skewer in the centre comes out clean.

Since I used commersical soymilk in tetra pack, this recipe is the one of which the sugar is reduced as the commercial supermarket bought soymilk is already sweetened. The original recipe calls for 1 1/2 cup sugar which is too much for 1 1/2 cup flour for me. Maybe the original recipe doesn't use sweetened supermarket soymilk. I doubt it though. Maybe the original recipe writer has an awfully sweet tooth.

I still get those air tunnels! Why oh why?

There is certainly something different with the taste compared to conventional recipe with cow milk. Something a little more fragrant about it. Not too rich or heavy compared to cow milk.

Look at the texture. Judging from the "wetness" of the cupcake top surface, I think they can stay moist even to the next few days.

Take a closer look.

Mine was quite crumbly. I'm not sure whether it was because we all ate them while they were still quite hot and fragile. Normally, if left cold till the next day, the sugar would have moistened the cupcakes and they would hold themselves together better.

This isn't a high-domed recipe as mine turned out. They did rise a little in the middle but still easy enough to frost for those who prefer frosting a flat cupcake.

Decent. Moist enough. Don't know whether the moistness will last the next day as mine were finished up within 1 hour. I don't like things too sweet and this one is just right for me. I mean 1 1/2 cup sugar to 1 1/2 cup flour is overkill.

I think the secret to the success of this recipe is the quality of soymilk. I used a cheap brand and the soymilk seemed diluted. Next time, go for good quality soymilk.