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)

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.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Rice Crisps by Mister Potato Review :-)

Got to tell you all. I have a weakness to fried potato either in the french fries form or the crisps. Oh, who needs a diet when there are those around?

I can certainly sneak in some french fries or crisps into my eating plan via a drive-through or even a necessary stop at the petrol station :-) and say hello to an ever expanding waistline. You can also always find a packet of crisps in my mini fridge for daily nibbles. So, when Mister Potato announced a "reduced" version for guilt-free munching RICE CRISPS, I was more than curious to know. Would the taste be up to par with the real thing?

Mister Potato Rice Crisps
Available in 4 flavours. Original, Sour Cream n Onion, BBQ and Hot n Spicy.

First of all, I have to say that the packaging really stand out from other "crisps in upright container" on the supermarket shelves to me. Cheery colours with the dominant lime green against white background. I'm a sucker fro anything in lime green. They were also noticeably higher taller than the rest.

Mister Potato Rice Crisps

They even printed Extra Tall on the packaging.

So, what do I think as an eater?

Packaging look:
5-star! Lime Green sure is a winner to me. Extra tall is certainly a welcome feature :-)

Mister Potato Rice Crisps
Lime Green is a cheerful "sunshiny" colour :-)

Packaging "ease-of-opening" factor:
This is important to me as I normally hop into my car after buying my crisps and open the package immediately. I can't do that with this packaging though. It's so strongly sealed that I risk ripping apart the container if I continue forcing the foil top. I have to go home and use a knife to poke through and then carefully peeling it off. The good thing is, you are assured of your crisps being fresh upon opening :-)

Mister Potato Rice Crisps
The sealing was so strong, I almost ripped apart the container.

Mister Potato Rice Crisps
So, I had to do what I had to do. Poked it with a knife.

Mister Potato Rice Crisps
Aahh! The crisps were alright despite the bumpy ride in my car on the way home :-)

Thicker and crunchier than potato crisps. How to say it exactly? Potato crisps are sometimes delicate to touch and they break easily. Heaven forbid that your crisps container falls to the floor while you're eating. The crisps would break into pieces. The rice crisps are sturdier and maintain the shape better. I know because I accidentally dropped mine xD

So, let's now talk about the taste....

Mister Potato Rice Crisps
The Original & the Sour Cream n Onion

Reminds me of tapioca crisps. Really. Yes, folks. I think about our own"kerepek ubi" everytime this enters my mouth.

Sour Cream n Onion:
I tasted this second to follow its potato equivalent and the likely Western equivalent. This one actually tastes more like potato crisps. My sister would approve this as she is a big fan of the Sour Cream n Onion flava.

Mister Potato Rice Crisps
The BBQ & the Hot n Spicy

BBQ Grill:
Next I tried was this. Of all the flavours, this one is actually the one with the strongest flavour. It has the spices of the BBQ sauce, salty, sweet and savoury at the same time. The colour was a little darker than the other flavours too.

Hot n Spicy:
I tried this last as this one is obviously for the Asian taste buds. It is spicy but it certainly isn't hot at all. Your little kids would be fine with this. They wouldn't complain about it being burning their tongues for sure.

I was expecting the Hot n Spicy to be the spiciest one but as it turned out, the BBQ was the one. I'm happy with the texture and I certainly like the fact that these crisps are sturdier than their potato counterparts. Less worry about your crisps smashed to smithereens if you accidentally drop the container. Not that the rice crisps won't break at all but not as "crash-happy" as the potato :-)

Now, since these are cholestrol and trans-fat free with 20% less fat, you can be assured that these will be adorning my mini fridge looking pretty and satisfying my the guilt-free craves when I need to.