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)

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Another good reason for me to adore Tom Kaulitz ..... ;-)

I have another good reason to adore this honeybun :-)

I just have a soft spot for multi-instrumentalist musicians. There's just something about being able to handle more than one instrument that just fascinates me. Chris DeGarmo tinkles on the piano very well. I know even Ingo Schwichtenberg kept a keyboard in his apartment for him to play.

I know Tom is not the best of musician there is but that's not what he is about. He's just a guy who loves playing music the way HE wants to play it and NOT what others think he should. What he does is just perfect for the music his band is playing. It's those haters who are missing the point.

This is Tom practising the piano piece he has to play to accompany little bro Bill for the song Zoom.

Sure, this being Tom, he was talking dirty. That's ok with me. He isn't as vulgar as some guys/girls I know. Besides, I don't think he wants people to see his more serious side. It's his right to keep his real persona private.

Way to go Tomi :-)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My father's diagnosis is in....and it's exactly what we suspected

His results had been revealed to him yesterday at the hospital. It had always been what we suspected when he started urinating blood. The cancer was detected at the urinary sack which is now swollen with red
dots on it. My mother who is a surviving cancer victim is all too familiar with the terms and symptoms.

The doctors listed out THREE possible treatments either radiotherapy, chemotherapy or surgery. My brother said, why not surgery and then chemo? That's like taking the things out and then kill any remaining virus and bad cells just like they did to our mother. Well, it is still up to the doctors to decide.

My mother also informed me that my father might be treated in the capital city. Apparently, all the specialists in our home state have all gone to private practice to earn more money due to the paltry pay to doctors by our government. True. All the doctors at the hospitals are 'juniors'. The specialists are 'imported' from the capital city or private practice and available at certain dates only.

So, my parents would leave us all here. This is hard to even imagine. My weekends would be spent on trips to the capital city after this? Somehow I feel that the doctors are going for the surgery option.

The only thing that's bugging us right now is which stage of cancer is my father at? He'd been going to the hospital since 2007. 3 years had passed without any conclusion from the doctors. They couldn't detect it and his cell test result came back negative. My mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer after 4 years of trips to the hospital without them being able to see anything. Could my father be at Stage 3? It was when 'microscopic-type' camera was used on each case, then my parents both got their diagnosis.

Maybe it's because we already had gone through this with my mother before, the family members are much calmer this time. Not as shaken as we were when my mother's results were revealed. We are more prepared this time. Of course, it is still a sad thing to know that both your parents got cancer. I have been preaching to whoever cares to listen to start watching what we eat after age 25 and especially after age 30. As much as I like to eat, I certainly do not want this horrible disease in my body. Any disease at all. My health is one of the Almighty's best gifts to me and I want to keep it till the day I die.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

HE answered my prayer! (My package from Japan arrived.....the bilingual Queensryche Empire Tour Book)

God the Almighty answered my prayer from last month! The missing package I talked about here arrived safely finally. I am so happy :-)

My Package from Japan
My package arrived!

I have always felt that my liking for hard rock and heavy metal music or any kind of music all these years may be conflicting with my faith but I have not yet found any concrete argument or verses/hadith forbidding us from listening to it. All I knew is God asked us to know our priorities and boundaries. HE asked us not to enjoy too much that we forget HIM.

I started buying hard rock/metal the year I started attending Islamic school full time. I bought what I could afford with the very little pocket money I had.

However, I do limit my listening from certain elements. Excessive sexually exploitative and distasteful lyrics/visuals, satanic imagery and extreme anti-God sentiments. Those are things I cannot find myself relating to anyway.

I cried when my package didn't arrive after two weeks. Of course I did. How could I not? The package contained my Queensryche Empire Tour Book the Japanese bilingual version and some old cuttings from BURRN Magazines. Those are rare things nowadays. Some are over 20 years old.

In my desperation, I went ahead with the only thing I resort to each time I'm in that situation. Asking for help from God. I woke up at night so I could perform the prayer. I hope I wasn't abusing what that particular means of asking help. I am well aware that God does not simply grant me my wish without teaching me lessons.

Amazingly, when my father was checked into the hospital, my determination to get the package faded pretty fast. I felt that if I got it, it would be good but if I didn't, my life wouldn't be over. I'd be okay. my family is WAY more important. I was pretty willing to let go of the package at the time thinking it probably was not written in the sky for me to own those items.

I entered my room last night with a package waiting for me on my bed. It was received by none other than my father!

My Old Burrn! Copies
Everything pristine!
Carefully wrapped and labeled by the seller.

Everything was there. The package was perfect. Not the slightest damage in any way. The book was almost like new. Not even a trace of visible dirty fingerprints. The magazine cuttings? Hard to believe that some of the paper already existed for more than 20 years. They are still pristine.

Thank you. Thank you the Almighty.

Now, I did promise HIM something which I have to do now that he already answered my prayer :-)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Prayer for my family and when is this awful heatwave going to end?

I'm still nursing a bad cough resulting from a fever I suffered last Sunday.

How sad! I was all set to enjoy my Chinese New Year holiday break at home. The factory didn't give long break for CNY this year. However, the Chinese employees, I heard, were given the choice to extend their holidays either BEFORE the holidays or AFTER the holidays. Those who chose the pre-CNY extension would not get the post-CNY one. Me? I'm due to be back at the office tomorrow.

My fever was really bad last Monday. We held a Quranic recital and prayer for our beloved grandpa and my father at our grandparents' place that evening. My normally high-pitched voice at family recital went unusually low almost like a whisper. I was weak and the heat was not helping.

Anyway, that did not stop me from sampling one of my aunts' delicious Beef Stew she made specially for the occasion. Unfortunately, I totally forgot to take a picture of it. Thus, you won't be able to see it here. The stew was flavoured by the marrow from the bones. I didn't ask how long she cooked it. It was nice and thick with carrots and celery in it and pieces of beef. I am so sure she put a generous amount of well-fried onions in it. I could taste it. I just LOVE crispy fried onions. It adds flavour and aroma to any savoury dish.

�Q�m���v Stewed Beef
Since I didn't have any photo of my auntie's beef stew, I had to "borrow" from Webshots. The stew looked a bit like this but thicker and richer.

My fever went really bad as Tuesday turned to Wednesday. It was in the wee wee hours of Wednesday when I just HAD to wake up as I felt my head was like on the verge of exploding. My head literally felt hot on the INSIDE. It scared me. I don't want to be one of those people who suffered brain damage due to extreme body temperature rise. So, I sipped some plain water and directed the fan in my room directly on my head. My hair was still damp from the towel I wrapped my head with before sleep.

I went to work with wet hair and the car air-cond at the max that morning. Something I had never done before. Yes, it was THAT hot. Even at 7.30am in the morning. The nurse at the clinic told me my body was at normal temperature. Thank you the Almighty as I certainly didn't want to be given sick leave. If I went home, I'd be back to suffering the frigging heat again. How pointless. At least, the office was air-conditioned.

I'm hoping for the coughing to heal before Wednesday. I'll be having a VIP lunch with external Auditors on that day. It would be embarrassing if the coughing doesn't stop by then.

My father is going to receive his result on 23rd Feb. Basically the doctors hinted about having seen something reddish and dots but they will only explain everything in person at the hospital. My mother is a Stage 4 cancer survivor and maybe that's why my parents received the news calmly. My mother said, if there is a need for chemo, we'll just go through it. I take her word for it.

Dear Almighty, please help me and please bless my family.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Oh no they didn't.............Queensryche 'cabaret' show?....aaarrgh..... me this is not happening. Oh, it happened already.

I am deeply bummed out. Queensryche did a 'cabaret' show with scantily clad girls (one of them Geoff's stepdaughter) and drag queens.

Didn't I just lament on the fact that they deserved their own musical on a real theatre stage when I talked about the Grammy 2010 just several days ago? That they could only manage the visual representation of their music at their own concerts? After all these years and fans' hope, they came to THIS?

There are some fans who are liberal enough to welcome this with open arms and rationalize it as just another 'branch' of the band's 'creativity'. That those who watched the show said 'it has a storyline' and 'the girls did well'. Ok, the contortionists deserve credits but the 'Go-Go dancers?'

What message do you get from women wearing this swaying her hips onstage?
There is only ONE type of lyrics that go with THIS 'visual presentation'.

(Credit: Sloggi underwear is from Triumph International)

Look people, I'm a woman and let me say this. There is absolutely NOTHING creative about scantily clad women 'writhing' onstage for all to see. Women swaying her semi naked hips with her legs open and her hands touching herself relay only ONE message. You know what that is. It disgusts me that the girls actually think they are artists who represent the musicians' work in the name of 'art'. Women have always been manipulated as sex objects since we were created and it amazes me how many women just can't seem to see this.

No, I will not put any link to the show here. You can find them on YouTube. Blabbermouth put everything together in one page too.

I find it deeply disturbing that the DJs on the Bob Rivers show tried to liken it to the Beatles show in Vegas. That's different. That's Cirque de Soleil. Now, THAT is art. There is a huge difference between visual art and sleaze.

Sorry guys. That is just stooping too low. Besides, if I want to watch semi-naked women with hot moves, I'd rather watch Pussycat Dolls. The girls are WAY hotter than those at the Queensryche show. Or I can watch Lady Gaga. The girl can sing and in her eccentric way, she really puts spectacular show each time she comes onstage. Or the best 'hips-don't-lie' queen Shakira. Not to mention Beyonce or even JLo.

Never would I imagine that the day would come when I watch a Queensryche video on YouTube, a Pussycat Dolls video would be listed as a 'related video'.

I feel bad for Michael Wilton. Sure, QR is his main bread and butter. Maybe that's why he stays. But I feel uncomfortable seeing him in that sleazy setting. He never made it a secret that he prefers the earlier sound of QR and the way they were as a band back then.

Michael Wilton interviewed by RatPak image
Whip, you deserve better.

Now, I never thought I would say this but maybe there is a blessing behind all this..


I can finally say this...........

chris degarmo seattle 2002
Chris, I'm grateful you're not in QR anymore. I don't want you to be part of that 'sleaze'.

I made Red Velvet Cupcake with Cream Cheese Frosting

I felt like making these little red cuppies again for quite some time. Honestly, I do not know how Red Velvet is supposed to taste like.

I bought a can of evaporated milk on Friday and decided to use it. You're supposed to use buttermilk but I'm not bothered to buy a small pack of heavy cream to make buttermilk (nobody seems to sell buttermilk in my country). So, I'd just sour that evaporated one with vinegar.

So, here is my actual recipe because I was not bothered to buy expensive cake flour to mix with baking powder. Self-raising flour would do. At least I knew the cake would rise.

Red Velvet Cupcake (using evaporated milk)

1 1/4 cup self-raising flour
good pinch of salt
1 1/2 tbs cocoa powder
2 tbs red food colouring
1/4 cup butter
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 egg Grade A
1/2 cup soured evaporated milk (1/2 tbs vinegar + enough milk to make 1/2 cup)
1/2 tsp red cane vinegar (you may use any vinegar)


Creaming Butter for red Velvet Cake
1. Cream butter and sugar

Cocoa-added red velvet batter
2. Add cocoa and mix well

Red Vevet Batter with red colouring
3. Add the food colouring

4. Add the flour and slowly carefully fold in with a 'manual mixer'.
red Velvet Batter
(Actually I was scared of overmixing!)

5. Spoon the mixture into the paper cups
Red Velvet before baking

6. Bake at 180degC for 10-15 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Red Velvet after baking
The Red Velvet Cupcake after baking
(Picture taken at night with dining room light and no flash)

My Cream Cheese Frosting

1/4 cup butter
8oz size cream cheese (I used about 270g ha...ha..)
2 1/2 cup icing sugar (I used only 1 1/4 cup of sugar only as that's the max sweetness that I can take. Western recipes are always oversweet to me)
2 tsp vanilla extract (I'm crazy when it comes to vanilla extract)


1. Beat butter and cream cheese together till soft and fluffy.
2. Add vanilla extract.
2. Add sugar 1/4 cup at a time till you get your desired sweetness. Some recipes even call for FOUR cups of sugar. Not me.

The Texture

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese
I don't like the 'air vents' in the middle. I want an all-around dense cupcake but I've noticed each time I use milk, this would happen to me.

They rose well. Thanks to the fool-proof self-raising flour. Make sure the flour is fresh.

The Moistness

They cupcakes stay moist when I kept them in a covered plastic container.
The ones I left exposed to open air dried a bit on the outside but the inside and the Top remained moist.
Bear in mind that I live in Malaysia where it is scorching HOT at the moment. Even the fans at max speed blow only hot air on your skin.

The Colour

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese
I'm satisfied with the colour. This picture was taken using natural daylight. Now I know the proportion of colour I need to use next time.

The Taste

Red Velvet with Cream Cheese

The milk taste is pretty noticeable. Maybe it's because of the evaporated milk which is denser than regular fresh milk though not as dense as heavy cream.

The cream cheese frosting tasted first.

I don't know whether it was the heat causing some bacterial reaction or I really was supposed to add that much sugar. By evening, I slathered the frosting on the cupcake and tasted like vomit.

I don't remember the frosting tasting like that in the beginning. Thank God I kept half of the original mixture in the fridge right after preparation. I checked that one in the fridge and it tasted like cream cheese.

Lesson learned

Never ever leave your cream cheese frosting in the open air if you live in a hot country like mine. Our 'room temperature' is from another level.

Vanilla Cupcake using Vege Oil

I am still in my search of the perfect Vanilla Cupcake.

Thought I wanted to experiment one night upon returning home from work so I concocted an impromptu recipe.

Vanilla Cupcake (using Vegetable oil)

1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tbs baking powder
3 eggs (I used Grade A)
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk (I used powder milk + water. Didn't have fresh milk with me)
1/4 cup Vegetable oil
1/2 or 1 tsp max salt (I used 1 3/4 tsp and the saltiness became too strong)
A drop of almond extract


1. Beat the eggs and sugar together until fluffy. Mine somehow didn't go fluffy. I admit my eggs weren't fresh. Maybe that's the reason.

2. Sift together the flour and the baking powder.

3. Add the wet ingredients and the dry flour mixture to the batter alternately. Mix till incorporated. (I used electric hand mixer at the time)

4. Pour into cup and bake till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

This is what happened.

Vanilla Cupcake with Vege Oil
The cupcakes were quite flat!

The batter didn't look good actually. I had expected flat cakes from it.

Vanilla Cupcake with Vege Oil

I got the dense texture I wanted. However, the cakes were a bit tough.

The Taste

Since I overdosed on salt, it was a bit difficult to judge the actual taste. Also, I regretted putting the almond extract as it overwhelmed the vanilla. The 3 eggs were actually more than enough to give the cakes volume but they didn't at this particular trial. So, that's why people use fresh eggs for baking. Mine were not very fresh.

Vanilla Cupcake with Vege Oil & peanut Butter topping
However, when I piped some Peanut Butter on top, the cupcakes tasted pretty good.
The PB took over everything I wasn't happy with the cupcakes.

Lesson learned

Next time I definitely will change a few things.

1. I'll use self-raising flour.
2. Use fresh eggs.
3. Use heavy cream or fresh full cream milk
4. No almond extract.
5. I'll be careful with salt.
6. I'll beat the eggs and sugar till really fluffy high up. I know how this should look like as I have done it before.
7. Use spatula or 'manual whisk' to incorporate the flour especially if it's all-purpose. I believe I had overmixed the all-purpose flour. That's the problem with AP. It can still develop gluten. I went through this disaster once before. Overmixing the AP. The resulting cake could cause a dog to die of a major trauma if you threw it at one.
8. Peanut Butter will always save the day :-)

Till the next adventure :-)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Our old man is back home :-) and the prayer priority

Went home to see my father's car missing from the garage.

Where could my brother take it? The hospital visiting hours were already over. Not long after, we heard the engine sound and my mother's voice.

There! Our dear old man was standing by the dinner table...........with a bag full of medication, no less.

I was just so happy and relieved to see him back because I never like the feelings each time somebody in the family has to spend time at the hospital.

Gave him a big hug.

I know he won't be back to his healthier younger physique but it's a relief to know that at least he's right there in front of our eyes.

I just feel that maybe the Almighty God wants me to prioritise my prayer to something more

Ok, got to admit. Prior to my old man's hospitalization, I was heavily praying for a missing package in the mail to somehow be found by the Post Office people and sent to me. There is a Bi-lingual Japanese Edition of Queensryche Empire Tour Book in it. Now this is where I learned my lesson. Being a cheapskate, I tried to use the cheapest mail possible in order to save the total cost. The risk is the mail could go missing since it would be untraceable. I started praying for it to arrive. Then, BAM! My father was checked into the hospital. Suddenly, the missing package didn't seem to matter much anymore.

Queensryche Empire Tour Book Collage

It's ok. The 'queens' and their 'empire' can wait :-)

So, now that the Almighty God just knocked some forgotten sense back into my head in a major way, I certainly will be prioritising my family first when I say my prayer. I can always buy another Tour Book but I cannot buy another family.

The Grammy, Queensryche and the rock opera that should have been

I managed to catch the Grammy 2010 re-run last Saturday.

2010 grammy logo picture

Honestly, the only time I was excited about the Grammy was when Michael Jackson was the King of Pop. My high regards for the Grammy went downhill the year they started nominating Britney Spears and Backstreet Boys several years ago.

Look, I love pop music but leave the glamourous artists to other award shows like MTV Awards or American Music Awards and such. I have always viewed the Grammy as something more serious with high prestige. I enjoy watching Britney and BSB. In fact I have a lot of BSB CDs in my collection and I went to see them TWICE. However, the Grammy is NOT the place I want to see them. The pop artists who deserve to be there to me shouldn't be the 'bubblegum pop' type but real talented credible ones who can invent something new like MJ or George Michael.

I'm pretty satisfied with the pop artists this year. Beyonce (oohh....I knew she was a star when I saw her perform on the Top of the Pop stage at the BBC back when she was about 17) and Lady Gaga (she took awhile to sink into me but now that Madonna isn't as exciting as she used to be....I'd say go Lady!).

Enough about that. There are only TWO things I want to say.

First, I don't think Taylor Swift would win the Album of the Year if it wasn't for that Kanye West incident. Like a local DJ here said a few years ago, ".....we all know how that particular nation has a thing for 'over-compensating'......". Even in the Country Album category (which she won), hers was the least country compared to the other nominees.

Second, yet more importantly, I couldn't help feeling sad when Green Day came up onstage to sing 21 Guns with the cast of the musical based on Green Day songs.


As soon as the performance was announced and the lead girl sang the first line, I said to my siblings, "Queensryche already did this 20 years ago....".

Yes, Queensryche were so ahead of their time when they made Operation Mindcrime and before that Rage For Order. Sadly, the music industry was probably not ready for that in a mainstream way. I feel sad that people who are more musically talented are not there on that stage for the work they deserve the accolades for. Don't get me wrong. I do like Green Day and I'm happy for them to have reached that plateau. However, it's hard for me not to feel sad that a band like Queensryche who have produced far superior work still find it hard to bring their vision to a full musical show (other than their own concerts). A real rock opera. I keep reading, "'s in talks...", for years already.

Green day grammy 2010

I'm happy for the success of the musical based on Green Day songs.......


I also know a group of talented men who deserved that musical show TWO decades ago........

queensryche 1988 operation mindcrime era

Queensryche were too ahead of their time.

Even sadder, Queensryche is not the band that come to most people's minds when they think 'Seattle' after the grunge era.

Sometimes, being ahead of your time doesn't work in your favour. I totally blame the big heads in the industry who dictated what we should listen to. It was cruel. All the metal musicians were treated like they didn't have any fans at all. It was the die-hards who loyally searched and connected with other fans to keep their favourite artists' careers alive. I remember feeling like a part of an underground movement just to get a Dokken CD. The ones I did find in the shop were on imports and ridiculously over-priced.

What's the closest that Queensryche ever got to the Grammy? A nomination for only ONE song I Don't Believe In Love from Operation Mindcrime. Then, the live performance for Silent Lucidity from Empire. Thank God that when every metal band (other than GnR had to resort to sappy big ballads just to get themselves heard on the radio, these men had come up with something a cut above the rest and no real music listener can label Silent Lucidity as a sappy ballad.

I'm grateful for the 'explosion' of the Internet culture. I think we are taking back our rights as music listeners to dictate back to the industry's big heads. It is just unfortunate that the bands I love missed that era by only a few years yet a world apart.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The doctors are having a meeting.....

Went to see my father today. He said the doctors are having a meeting tomorrow to decide what they would do.

Yesterday, they put in 2 pints of blood into him because he keeps losing his blood through his urine. It is strange how the doctors are still unable to detect what is wrong. I don't blame them. I understand that testing and diagnosis must be done following the procedures and they can't simply carry out multiple tests all at once.

It just makes me think, how cruel can an illness be? This is like literally dripping out fresh blood out of a man. Sadly, for reasons still yet undetected.

Worse is, I may not be able to see my father for the next 5 days due to the commitment to my working hours and I can't afford to go back to my normal working time for now. Of course, my old man understands this when I visited him today.

I can only hope and pray.

myspace comments

From us all.........

As usual, my old man keeps saying he's ok. I know him. Sure, he's worried but it's not himself he's concerned about that much but rather the rest of us. His family.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Ayah......may you get well soon

My father was checked into the hospital today and I haven't had the chance to see him.

He and I don't talk to each other very much as our fiery personalities clash too much sometimes that the simplest matter can turn into an argument. However, I did notice that he had been quiet for quite some time. A different kind of quiet. Like something was bothering him.

My father's health hadn't been really good lately. He's approaching 70 and naturally his physique just can't be what it used to be. He's been urinating blood and for the past 3 days, he had been unable to at all. What worries me is that his eldest brother also had the same symptoms. My uncle passed away from complication to his prostate.

From the outside, it might look like I don't care enough since I haven't seen him but the truth is, my inside is totally the opposite. Truth be told, the one man who has been the most influential on me is my father. He has always been the one I rely on.

The scariest thing about growing old to me is seeing my loved ones go one by one. I'm not ready to lose my father. I'm praying to the Almighty to let him stay for many more years still. May the prayer be answered. May the Lord bless us all.

To my father........

Glitter Graphics