Thursday, February 25, 2010

Cooking Up a Storm and Becoming a Cobbler

On Tuesday, I had a plan in mind. I was going to wash my car for the first time since Chinese New Year! However before leaving for home, a number of errands cropped up and I had to get them done. While I was on the LDP, it started raining like it was the end of the world - I could only see 1-1.5 cars in front of me, max! It was THAT heavy!

After dropping my colleague off at Sunway Pyramid, I took the KESAS back home and surprisingly, my area had not experienced one drop of rain! There was still some daylight, so I quickly washed my car - even climbed up a chair to wash the roof! When I woke up the next morning, there were rain droplets on my car :S
Why does it always rain after I wash my car! Personally hand-washed, mind you!

Later, mum got back and she was in the mood to cook a Vietnamese pork dish (which she said she watched Grandma cook when she was a child). She had verbally taught her colleague to cook this dish but had not physically done so for more than 15 years! So she made me dig out the ingredients from the refrigerator (because I'm the one who reorganise a.k.a spring clean the fridge from time to time, effectively throwing mum off track on where she stores certain things).

So what goes into this dish? Pork belly (three-layer pork), chili padi, ginger, onion, belachan, dark soya sauce and spring onion as garnishing.

It is a simple dish to cook, but the fumes it produced... suffocating! I helped mom stir-fry the ginger, onion rings, chili padi and belachan till the mix was fragrant. And the both of us had our senses ambushed by the stinging fumes produced. One second we were fine and the next, we were doubling over, sneezing, coughing, tearing... It was uncontrollable! Although our bodily reactions were getting the better of us, we couldn't help bursting out in laughter at how silly the whole scenario was! Here we were half guessing what to put in and how much of each ingredient was needed that we'd forgotten to make sure the kitchen was properly ventilated! It really was a "huru-hara" experience but the result was great!

Later in the evening, something got hold of me and I decided it was time that I mended my shoes (those that required minor repair). There were altogether 5 pairs, of which the repairs ranged from gluing the sole back with shoe glue, repairing the spit seam of a pair of fabric shoes, sewing a faux gem which had dropped off a pair of gold slippers and hot-gluing a faux gem to another pair of embroidered sandals. I didn't have a clamp (like the ones cobblers use) to hold the shoe in place while the glue dries. I had to improvise and use rubber bands to tightly tie the shoes so that the lose sole would be properly glued back. I hope it works!

The missing jewel in the shoe

Growing Up With Sesame Street

This post is long overdue. I was planning it out in November 2009 and now it's already February 2010! What triggered this sudden compulsion to post about Sesame Street? It all started with Google Chrome. As you know, I was converted to a Chrome user not long ago and Chrome's default homepage is Google's search page (as opposed to Firefox's default Firefox-Google search page). So, I get to see the change of Google logos whenever they change them. One morning, it was a pleasant surprise to see my favourite Cookie Monster when I launched Chrome. Clicking the logo, I found out it was Sesame Street's 40th anniversary! I never knew Sesame Street was that old! (Hmm... actually, come to think of it, I do remember the video quality and wardrobe fashion were pretty 70s looking - so, yes, I guess it's justifiable - 40! Besides, I was watching it in the 80s and 90s)

Below are the Google logos dedicated to Sesame Street which ran from 4th-10th November 2010 in various parts of the world. They're taken from their logos site (click for link).

I have many fond memories of this children's educational programme. But the most memorable one was learning how to pronounce "-tion" words through a song! As a result, I learned to read words like 'creation', 'irrational' and 'distortion'. Imagine, if not for Sesame Street, I would be pronouncing 'emotion' as "emo-tee-on" HAHAHA

Another song which comes to mind is the Count counting numbers with his purple felt head bobbing forwards and back. I used to dream of touching Snuffleupagus' straggley brown fur and his tassle eyelashes were just so 'drama queen' charming! And Big Bird... where do I begin!?! I never really knew whether Big Bird was a he or a she, but according to this Muppet Wiki page, Big Bird is referred to as a 'he'. That Wikia site offers info on all the Muppets characters (if you have the time to research on them).

A couple of years back, our local McDonald's came out with a range of Sesame Street Mini Bean Pals as the toy which comes together with a Happy Meal. There were 24 beanies in the collection and you could buy a red felt wall display unit with labelled pockets to store the individual bean pals (I did not buy that because it was quite expensive for a girl on student budget, as I remembered). Anyway, I ended up eating Happy Meals every week just to collect all 24! Boy, did McDonald's marketing strategy really work on me (and countless many more!). Well, the result was a total swear-off McDonald's for a few months and the subjects in the pictures below.

And all of them together:

CNN had a special coverage on Sesame Street's 40th anniversary. They even temporarily renamed a street in NYC. Below is a photo of Zoe, Oscar and Cookie Monster at 123 Sesame Street from the AC360 archive.

And another of Elmo with Anderson Cooper! Both equally cute! ;)

And this article on CNN is a good read on how some of the Muppets characters came about. I think Oscar would look every inch the rebel even if he was bright orange, but his olive green fur does actually give the impression that he lives in a trash can and is an old grouchy monster. Did I happen to mention that I love Kermit the frog too?

In a seemingly connected, but actually disconnected, matter altogether, this below is a cool video to watch! It's the Muppets' take on Bohemian Rhapsody - I just love it!

As a quirky dessert to finish off this post, here's a twist on Cookie Monster, Bert, Ernie, Elmo and Grover. Someone really had a lot of time to cook up this terrorist spoof picture!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Sender: Me

Every day I open my Gmail and there's at least 10 spam mails. I have to click 'Spam' in order to get onto the page where I can delete them, and in the process get an eyeful of what spam has been sent to me.

It's really amusing that these spammers think that I would send emails to myself (sender listed as "me") trying to sell acai pills, viagra pills etc.! Perhaps they're thinking of fooling the less tech savvy into believing that for some 'twilight zone' reason they have been sending mysterious emails to their own email address...

Well, spammers, you've got to be more creative than that to get me! ;P

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Are our politicians actually sane adults?

I know I'm supposed to be picking up important news, but this is what caught my eyes when I glanced at The Star frontpage today. Below is the portion which got me LOL (laughing out loud)! I mean like SERIOUSLY!?!

Selcat hungry for the truth but Liu is just plain thirsty

SHAH ALAM: The Selcat public inquiry on the annual allocations issued to state assemblymen looked like a scene in a classroom for a moment where the school teacher reprimands a student for drinking water without permission during lessons.
Selcat chairman Teng Chang Khim, became irritated with Pandamaran assemblyman Ronnie Liu for constantly taking sips of water during the inquiry.
He ordered the bailiff to take away Liu’s water bottle.
“Do you need to drink some more water?” Teng asked after the bailiff placed Liu’s bottle a few chairs away from the latter.
When Liu replied “yes”, Teng then called for a five-minute recess to let Liu, who is also a DAP leader like Teng, quench his thirst.
Liu, who was approached by reporters after that, said he was taken aback when he was not allowed to drink water.
“When you talk for a long time, your lips become dry,” he said.
Teng also sounded Liu off for interrupting him several times into the inquiry.
“Yang Berhormat, I am the chairman of this committee. When I am talking, you listen,” Teng told Liu.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Red-faced Alcohol Consumer

Not being a fan of alcohol, the number of times I've drank alcohol can be counted on my fingers (okok I'm not that innocent - plus toes too, I guess hahaha). To me, any sort of beverage containing alcohol tastes like medicine - yes, even shandy (a little). So I think it is the alcohol component of the drink that I don't like (ethanol - yuck for me, but somehow diluted ethanol used for sanitizing lab equipments smells quite ok!).

Another reason I don't fancy alcohol is because I turn really red really fast and start feeling very hot! Then I'll start itching around my neck (initially I thought this was an allergic reaction, but after thinking it over, I suspect the itching comes part and parcel with the intense heat release from the skin). Anyway, I remember having conversations with different groups of acquaintances about people turning red, green or no reaction when getting drunk. The conclusion was always that people who turn red can down more alcohol and I'm always opposing that statement. It had something to do with fast metabolisation of the alcohol, so you don't get intoxicated fast.

However, after reading this NewScientist article, I guess I'm wrong and there is an explanation to the flushed face after all! And I've learned that what I experience is common in Asians and is believed to be a genetic mutation in the gene that codes for the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase. This enzyme acts like a catalyst, speeding up the metabolisation of alcohol in our blood - which means it is removed alcohol from our blood quickly and we won't feel tipsy easily! Well, what a pity I don't drink right? I could've been great at it - after all, it's in my genes!! hahaha