Thursday, January 29, 2009

"Cello Scrotum" and "Guitar Nipple" - What's this?

i came across this article today, and i couldn't stop smiling sheepishly (yes, am still the immature me)... this is the first time i've heard of such ailments - cello scrotum, guitar nipple, fiddler's neck.

although the article reveals that cello scrotum is indeed a medical hoax, thought up by Elaine Murphy in the BMJ in 1974, these are some ailments i found while googling:

cello scrotum - apparently cellists suffer from the painful complaint caused by their instrument repeatedly rubbing against their body.

guitar nipple - some guitarists suffer from inflamed nipples because the edge of the guitar was consistently pressed against their chests, a condition otherwise known as irritant mastitis.

fiddler's neck - occurs when neck skin in contact with a violin or viola becomes thicker and discoloured, giving it a leathery, bark-like appearance.

other ailments include allergies to rosin (stringed instruments), cane reeds (clarinet, saxophone), and nickel (flautists, brass and string players) which cause dermatitis of the lips, chin or hands and sometimes chronic eczema.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Another year passes without much notice

it is that time of the year again for my birthday post. i think i might have missed out on last year's, since my blog died a natural death at the time...

as usual, i'm pretty surprised that i'm another year older... but unfortunately not much wiser nor matured. sometimes i just feel like a kid (and most people do treat me like one too... a certain colleague keeps insisting i'm still in my growing age! that one must have totally failed his biology paper in high school!!! haha)

but jokes aside, upon internal retrospect, i think i have become more worldly (or perhaps a better word would be 'street-smart') since graduating from university. and the months before only prepared me for the crossover from studying to working world. i guess unconsciously, my mind had prepared me for change (that's why i felt i wasn't so serious about studying in my last semester in university). also, i feel that my parents have started to become more flexible with my goings in-and-out. as a result, i've been going places (only in malaysia) these past few months.

admittedly, i feel my job isn't one that literally "dumps" you into the working world... i'm pretty sure the environment in this company is like 'day to the night' when compared to the real rat-race working world. so i don't think at the end of the day that it really prepares me for what's out there - the worst of the worse!

ok, back to how i celebrated my 24th year of habitation on earth. since coincidentally, chinese new year falls on my birthday, i didn't really have a celebration per se. the only activity of the day that somewhat resembles a celebration is the drinks we had as a family in starbucks taipan. mum got me the starbucks cny keychain at the spur of the moment - it's now hanging on my bunch of office keys.

starbucks cny keychain

i read in the sun newspaper a week or so ago, that there was supposed to be a solar eclipes on my birthday - 26th january 2009. i had set my phone alarm for the time stated in the article, which was 4.30 pm. when 4.30 pm came, i was still at the flat in ampang... so i tried looking out the balcony as often as politely possible, but could only see a cloudy sky with a bright hot sun shining down. we were on our way back home around 6 pm and although we didn't see an actual eclipse, we did see the sky go unusually dark for a sunny day. it was dark and bright at the same time - if that's possible. this is what we saw... imagine a solar eclipse occurring behind the clouds!

imaginary solar eclipse

chinese new year was as usual - adults talking, kids eating cookies and some falling asleep in the process. there were alot of pork dishes on the menu this year! braised pork this and that... and on the first day, we went to the house at jalan traverse, had bak kut teh - ordered from klang.

my lunch plate for cny 2nd day... look! pork here pork there!

after that we went to uncle harry's house. and the journey there was literally a whole rounding of kl city! my eldest aunty was our guide. mum kept saying that the house was in wangsa maju, and so we travelled all the way there - passing the very jammed zoo negara, gombak and a couple more areas in the process. then turns out the house was in ampang! so we went the long way round to get to ampang...

it was the first time in a very very long time since i saw my aunty. i'd only seen her once after her stroke, and i was quite taken aback at the change in her demeanour. she used to be the chatty sort, but now she rarely spoke few words. but praise God, she has been saved. i remember hearing of her baptism a few months ago, but could not make it for the ceremony.

on the second day, we had dinner at the royal selangor club in kl. it's been years since i've been there, perhaps more than 3 years! and i can honestly say that nothing has changed! it's quite unbelieveable that they have not made any rebranding or face-lifts for their verandah cafe. walking into the place reminded me of places like H&H (in damansara utama) or coliseum (near kamdar kl)... like it's a time capsule where there is no time and space continuum. the service was well... ermm... let me give you a narrative of what happened (reader warning: massive dose of sarcasm ahead. continue reading at your own emotional risk. the author indemnifies herself of any hurt feelings that may arise)

2 persons ordered chicken chop at 8pm. at 10pm and after countless (at least 10) reminders to the waiters/waitresses to check on the order, the food hadn't arrived. by that time, the rest of us - about 15 people - had already finished our meal. those who came late and ordered last had finished their food and still there was not a whiff of chicken chop to be had! perhaps they had to force feed the chickens in order to speed up their growth and consequently be ready for the slaughter house so that their thighs could be chopped off, grilled and smothered with mushroom sauce and served with a side serving of boiled carrots and deep-fried potato chips! how i wish that was the reason, but no... it's because the cook reckons that he'd already cooked the 2 chicken chops. if so, then where were the 2 chicken chops? certainly not in the 2 hungry people's stomachs. somewhere along the way, someone must've mixed up the orders or served the chicken chops to some other customers. so who's to be blamed? the 2 hungry customers? what a swell way of treating your customers! kudos!!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Blogging Bad Habits

i've this terrible habit of creating a post and only finishing and publishing it a long time later. there's always a couple of posts on pending in my dashboard... normally the unfinished posts just sit there for 1 week or so, but i have left one post pending for more than a month before. therefore, it is a norm if you suddenly find that there has been extra posts... but all really postdated.

this is another habit i need to beat. along with the "..." habit... which you can observe clearly that i haven't gotten rid of!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I have found the name of the Evil Nut!

if you are an avid reader of this blog (cough cough yeah right!), you may have read this post in 2007. after one year and three months of ignorance, i have finally found what the evil nut is... it's Trapa bicornis, or in layman term - Devil pod or bat nut or goat head or bull nut or buffalo nut. this 'nut' is the seed pod of an aquatic Asian plant. apparently the raw nut contains toxins which must be destroyed via boiling. i've tasted it, but did not find it delicious or repulsive... just tasteless.

it seems this nut was eaten as food in Neolithic Britain, although its centre of origin is China. nowadays, the nut can be found growing as a weed in slow-moving water systems, such as in the Caspian, India and Sri Lanka.

so far, i've only seen this nut less than 5 times in my life (i think it's pretty hard to get hold of). and usually they are served during mooncake festival as accompaniment to sipping brewed tea and partaking slices of lotus mooncakes under the full moon.

Facebook Junkie

ok, i'm a little ashamed to say that i have quite alot of free time at work to surf the net... this may sound like i'm a pain in the ass, but i prefer to be busy rather than lazying around the whole day - i feel more productive when tasked with alot of work. of course when there's too much lined up for me, i'll get my allergic reactions to stress. like the time in YV '07 and thesis writing - eczema on the legs.

so yeah, back to the topic of this post. having said that i have free time, the natural thing to do every morning to beat the boredom is to login to facebook. my affair with facebook started a long time ago. i'd accidentally signed up for facebook when a friend sent me an invite (sounds like how this blog started!). thinking that he wanted to let me view his profile, i unwittingly created an account. this was back in my uni days... i can't recall when exactly, so my facebook account is probably about 2 years old. for a very long time i didn't access my facebook account, in fact i had forgotten i had a facebook account... until one day (about a year ago) i tried logging in to it and found that i had a couple of friend requests. after that, the facebook craze started.

i really have to give credit to CCMC for promoting facebook to our 'hyperactive chatterboxes' gang... if it weren't for her, we'd all be facebook-less. now only rachel is resisting the temptation of facebook! we are all working hard at trying to recruit and convert her into a facebook addict!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Belated Post: Weekend in Penang

i was browsing through a friend's blog and found a post about our weekend in penang. reading it and viewing her photos reminded me that i hadn't blogged about our roadtrip to penang!

so, when was this? 9-11 jan '09
who are 'we'? becca, solomon and i
what's the occasion? just for the heck of it... no, we went there to be force-fed! hahaha

we rushed home from work, met up and started off from shah alam at around 8pm with solomon behind the wheel. we had dinner at mcD along the nkve. the drive was long and the night didn't help matters, but i managed to finally see how cute becca and solomon are together! haha (to keep records, i've witnessed rachel & chris, and becca & solomon together in reasonably long periods of time... and both couples are so sweet together!)

we got a little bit lost in the mainland when trying finding the penang bridge. but in no time we were back on track and crossing the penang bridge. with vikki's incredibly detailed sms directions, we found our way to her apartment near the turf club.

it was already past 12 midnight but vikki insisted we go for supper. so she and her "friend" took us to gurney drive. the food court place was in the midst of closing up but we managed to sample the famous fruit rojak whilst basking in the sea breeze. one thing i must note here is that everytime i see the sea at night, i have this feeling of dangerous calmness with a tinge of melancholy... i felt the same in port dickson during new year (that warrants for another blog post!) and in chagar hutang during my seatru stint.

after supper we headed back to vikki's place, washed up and attempted to sleep. however, solomon's interrogation session (by vikki) commenced and well, no one can actually tell how long that lasted! we also found out that vikki's "friend" was actually her bf!!! shocking! but according to her, she has emailed us about him before... that shows how attentive we are! ahaha

anyway, the next day (saturday), we had breakfast and then went to kek lok si, climbed and climbed many steps and saw many many many tortoises. some looked pretty deformed to me. oldage mutant wrestling tortoises (= teenage mutant ninja turtles)! we were pretty sure that some of the tortoises at the bottom of the pond were in fact dead and as for those that were floating with their heads and limbs gone limp, they were definitely in tortoise heaven - no doubt there. we saw an uncle (presumably one of the caretakers) climb into the enclave and stashed a couple of tortoises into plastic bags.

oldage mutant wrestling tortoises

testudines sun-bathing

we saw two giant tortoises swimming in the "mote-like" thing around the temple. these large testudines had coins on its back... some were embedded in the moss growing on its shell. i'm guessing that if you're able to deposit a coin on its back, you'll have good luck.

lucky giant tortoise with coins on its back

when we actually entered the temple, we took quite a number of photos, marvelling at the gaudy intricate chinese architecture. since we weren't buddhists, there was nothing much for us to do and so we descended and had a drink while waiting for vikki to meet us.

kek lok si temple

she then took us to eat the RM2.50 assam laksa outside the air itam market (i think that's the name of the place... may be wrong info though). it was good and the evidence was pronounced int the form of a fat sleeping cat with a delicious smile on his face! he was quietly snoozing in a corner near the stall - with an apparent full belly of ikan kembung.

cat taking a siesta after a feast

RM2.50 assam laksa

to cut things short, vikki then took us to eat sisters char kuey teow, yam cake and ABC (near the new food court CY took me to in 2007, the one near the bakery) and some more yam cake. after that, we had to hunt for a frisbee in toys 'R' us in gurney plaza. to clarify things, here's what happened:

- vikki sees black frisbee price tag (RM14.95), she pulls off the upper tag to find out the old price (RM12.95)
- becca says that the shop will honour the lower price
- vikki says she wants a red frisbee
- i look for a red frisbee with 2 price tags
- i hold red frisbee packet while vikki peels off the upper tag
- vikki pays for frisbee (cashier punches in RM12.95) and quickly shuffles off before someone notices anything fishy

therefore, as opposed to becca's account of the incident, all three of us are to be implicated in this crime! naughtay naughtay - as vikki puts it! hahaha

next on the agenda was watersports at feringghi beach! vikki introduced us to more than 10 of her friends. i'm so sorry but i can't remember all of their names (i don't think they can remember my name too! haha)

vikki accompanied me for the parasailing and jetski (she drove). parasailing was thrilling on the way up, but once you're in the air it's abit boring... and omg we nearly landed in the sea... had to start tugging at the straps (front person isn't supposed to tug)... but finally we landed on the sandy beach... and i slipped and fell on vikki, squashing her!!! i feel so bad about it... but i can't stop laughing everytime i recollect it! saddist!!! the parasailing was RM30 per person.

vikki and i landing after parasailing

view from up above (while parasailing)

vikki's friends taking off

then we went jetskiing. vikki drove (because honestly, i don't trust myself to drive it!). we fell into the sea when the beach guy was teaching us how to use the jetski... he rocked us till we fell in! it wasn't our fault! no fair!! and we were privately telling each other not to get wet (for personal reasons)! so much for our aspirations... so, the whole ride i was grabbing onto vikki trying to wipe away the salty sea water constantly splashing into my eyes, screaming (and apparently laughing hysterically - according to vikki) while we literally bounced on the waves!

becca and solomon jetskiing

watersports was really fun. the whole group spent around RM600 plus which was quite cheap. we almost lost 2 of vikki's friends but they turned up later on a horse! hahaha that was funny! anyway, with salt-caked hair and sandy slippered feet, we ate dinner at a place they called "hong kong". we had ikan bakar, prawn mee, oyster omelette... we were too tired to take photos of the food.

then we retired to vikki's place, taking turns to bathe. and later her friends came over for a hot chocolate party where there were 7 sins, each with a different flavour of hot choc. vikki was sinless - she got the sprinkles! let me see whether i can remember the 7 sins: gluttony (this was yummy... white choc!), greed, lust, anger, pride, sloth and envy. the flavours ranged from mint to cinnamon, chili and caramel (can't remember which is which or whether it's the right spice). then there was a round of charades, where i made a fool of myself trying to act like an oompa loompa but failing miserably. however they managed to guess what i was trying to act out: charlie and the chocolate factory!

sunday was our last day, vikki and her bf, sze yong took us for dim sum breakfast. there were so many people eating there and all was self-service! but the dim sum was nice... especially the "wu kok" (yam thing that looks like a birds' nest with char siew filling) ... come to think of it, i really ate alot of yam this trip! just noticed this as i'm typing now!! later they brought us to buy "tau sar pniah" at ghee hiang (CY brought me there too last time... however this time the him heang was closed... i really wanted to buy the hup loong cook's flour and vegetable curry mix from the him heang shop, but it was closed). then we ate more... interesting wan tan mee (nice! although some people may not like it), chendol (famous stall, pck and other hk stars visited it before) and "chee chap chook", in other words, porridge with pig intestines. surprisingly, the deep fried intestines were nice - abit like "chee yau char"... but the boiled intestines were abit too spongy for my liking (actually it was more to a psychological barrier rather than the taste of it). the mind is a powerful thing!

after all the eating, we went back to pack and head back home. vikki complained that she had abandonement syndrome/issues... but she led the way for us to go back to the penang bridge, and we waved like maniacs that the uncles in surrounding cars were looking at us strangely... solomon drove all the way back, although i think he was already "out-of-his-mind" tired... i really put my hat off to him!

and so our weekend in penang ends! back to work the next morning...

Typo Errors To Valentine's Verses

it has become a common event for my colleagues (the girls) and i to skype each other while in office. we chat about everything... from discussing lunch plans to checking out online shopping blogs to deliberating toilet trips and commentary on the antics we see in the office. this brings me to one chat i had today.

we were chatting about something that i can't recall at the moment... when my friend typed the word "bring" as "brong"... i badgered her for it, and she brought up a typo error i did while doing the malay news yesterday - "pelancong" became "pelancing".

i responded that the letters O and I are very close together on the keyboard. she then pointed out that I and U are also near each other. then suddenly this phrase popped into my mind (i might have read a similar version somewhere before):

U and I are so near each other on the keyboard, so goes for you and me!

i think that would be such a novelty verse to print on valentine's day cards!!! hahaha...

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Cliché Power Phrases

i listen to the radio while driving to work every morning. and lately there has been some sort of advertisement promoting some NGO's effort in collecting funds for the palestinian-israeli war going on in gaza. the advert featured a voice clip of an interview with one of the people serving the NGO. he used such words like "create awareness". immediately, the caps "AIESEC" flashed through my mind! such terms are nowadays getting too commonly used by every tom, dick and harry company/organisation to create some sort of bombastic feel towards their products or campaigns. personally i feel that the effect of these words have been mellowed or diluted by its blatant overuse!

another term which has been prostituted is "management trainee"! i think that job title is the latest "it" thing in the job hunting community... fresh graduates such as myself, look out for management trainee positions, trying to find an opportunity to switch fields without having to take a second degree... or those looking for a continuation to their learning experience. now every company has that position to exploit the fresh grads to do all sorts of odd jobs and what nots... disguising the job load as hands-on learning experiences. although there is truth in garnering more knowledge via hands-on experiences, but a little training wouldn't hurt right?

Monday, January 05, 2009

December was a dream, the New Year is filled with crap

i loved december... in fact, 2008 year end was a pretty good time for me, comparing with my experiences in past years. although the routine was the same, somehow, things seemed more enjoyable while in the past they were bordering on painful experiences. by year end, i managed to carry out quite a few things i've never done before - i started driving, had my first accident and survived without a heartache, managed to snag a pretty easy-flowing job, started reading news regularly, gone on a job assignment trip, take lrt to klcc alone for an interview (ok, this really shows how sheltered i've been! haha), went for an outstation new year party, talked to a couple of cousins i'd never really spoken to before, completed my degree, wrote my thesis and discovered that my writing really really helped me alot (because i honestly think that i didn't have much data at all).

i'm not one for superstitions, but i can't help noticing something peculiar which has been happening to me... ever since the new year 2009 dawned, i've been plagued with a string of unfavourable incidents - from bad service in eateries to almost slipping and falling and then there was the time when i found out that the ICSA class was starting in less than 12 hours and i'd had no time to prepare fees and documents required for registration. that really was the cherry on the sundae - i had e-mailed and called the college for the latter half of december but did not receive any reply from them. i'd learned from BY that the class schedule would be out by new year and had diligently checked their website a couple of times a day. then came 2nd january (friday) at 10pm... the schedule is finally out and the first class was on 3rd january at 9.30am! how wonderful!

i was really upset for the whole night. it's because if i start in january, i'd be able to finish the course in about one and a half years, that'd be around june 2010. however, if i missed this class and started on the next module in march, i'd finish the course in at least 2 years - year end 2010. so, i've decided to start in march - consoling myself that 2009 is expected to be an economically rough year and that the after-effects could last for another year. so i reasoned that graduating early could mean that i wouldn't be able to get a related job easily. but of course, i could always stick with my current job, but i'm afraid that i'd get too comfortable here and that would impede my career path. i need to get out of my comfort zone and push myself up 'the ladder'.