Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Finding Angels in the Unlikeliest Places

Just when I thought my day couldn't get worse, it did. Last minute workload detained me at office till past 7.00 p.m. and when I finally got onto the LRT, there was this creepy smelly guy who sat next to me. I could see from the corner of my eyes (I purposely kept my eyes on my book all through the journey) that he was occasionally staring at me. I couldn't breathe properly for more than 20 minutes of the journey due to his overwhelming B.O. Yuck!

Anyway, let's leave that for another story.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

So it's OK to Surf Twitter While Driving?

It's funny how many times I've found my mind totally blank while driving alone. My reflexes would not even involve conscious thinking.

On the other hand, much of my internal deliberations occur while driving alone too. One such that I used to laugh at almost everyday was the traffic update board on the NKVE highway (which has been dismantled since 2 weeks ago). In its earlier days, the board used to display the traffic update on certain parts of the NKVE, such as at the Damansara exit or Jalan Duta exit. The updates used to read something like
Trafik sesak selepas tol Damansara
And then one day they (the highway concessionaire) changed their traffic updates to a standard message
Layari untuk maklumat trafik terkini
 At first I was disappointed that I'd have to reach the toll in order to know the traffic instead of getting the update and avoiding the jammed route. Then it dawned on me how stupid the message was. The Government has been campaigning that the use of cellphones while driving is hazardous and here we have PLUS asking us to log on to our 3G network and surf Twitter for a traffic update, all while driving (because we only remember to check for traffic updates when we see the reminder on the board and the URL is plastered on it!).

Perhaps someone made a complaint and that's why the board had to come down eventually...

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ooh La La! Sensational...

There is this pattern that I gravitate towards. Every few months I'll get the itch to "plan to buy a phone" (but ultimately never get down to buying one). This month's "flavour of the month" is the HTC Sensation.

The HTC Sensation (photo credit:
This will sound superficial: I like this phone primarily because it looks great! Aluminium not plastic. Simple lines without any awkward protrusions. Smooth contours, not sharp edges. And in a way, it has some aesthetic elements of the Google Nexus One (which I still like, but might be a little outdated by now).

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Green Tea Gone Colour Blind!

I ordered Honey with Green Tea (hot) at Pak Li's in Giant, Kemuning Utama today, and I go this instead! I asked the waiter what it was, and he said it's green tea... Well, it doesn't look, smell or taste like GREEN TEA!!! So either I'm colour blind or my taste buds have confused the taste of green tea with teh-O or I'm an ignorant fool? OR they're just too dumb to know what GREEN tea is or they're just a bunch of compulsive liars which claim to have on their menus something that they DO NOT HAVE.

Dudes, if you can't get a green tea supplier (for some reason), why don't you just strike that item off the menus?

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Watching Gruff Rhys Live

Yesterday I skipped BTC's sports club pilates class to go watch Gruff Rhys live at MAPS @ Publika in Solaris Dutamas. Getting there was a trial. We made a few wrong turns trying to get onto the right direction of Jalan Kuching and in the end ended up at the place where mum and I had gotten lost at last year while trying to find Solaris, Hartamas. Anyway what matters is that we ARRIVED and had time enough to grab a bite at Old Town Kopitiam (which charged us extra for food we didn't get! and not to mention the SLOW service).

So happens that we chose a table diagonally situated to where Gruff Rhys was eating with a bunch of other people. Kharlal and Nisha were trying so hard not to stare! LOL! (I was facing the other way, so if I turned to look, it would be so obvious! haha). Well, at least we were being discrete. Unlike another group who came a little later and sat at the table next to us - the ladies actually arranged their chair so that they were facing the headliner of the night! *double LOL!*

When we went in, I was a little taken aback as the place was pretty small and everyone seemed to be sitting on the floor. Kharlal and I were in our heels - to compensate (as much as possible) for the disadvantage of height in a crowded situation - and in the end we didn't need them.

There were two opening acts - Free Deserters and Couple. Maybe it's just me, but I didn't really enjoy Free Deserters. My comments would include:

  • The lead guitarist is shredding when there isn't a need to - it disrupts the audience from hearing the song itself
  • I never knew a Gibson Les Paul could sound that bad! (this was the second guitar after the lead guitarist snapped a string from his first)
  • At times, the lead singer faced his back to the audience (hmmm...???)
On the brighter side, I think their last song was more radio-friendly, hence more palatable to the greater majority of listeners out there. (Sorry, no idea of what the title was)

I would say Couple was better overall. Their set was more of the Indonesian pop rock genre, which of course many would find easy to listen and sing along to. We did not stay for their whole set, but from the little we managed to catch, their songs were catchy and their leader had stage presence. And their female guitarist had either a sunburst Gibson ES-335 or an Epiphone Sheraton (my eyes are not that trained to distinguish these two apart yet).

And then it was the headliner of the night - one man band Gruff Rhys! (or like the Malaysian style: Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals!) What a breath of fresh air! He had a table full of "equipments" which were things like an old-school metronome (named "Trevor", if I remember correctly), a turntable, analogue synthesizers and some electronic children's musical toys we used to play with in the late 1970s or 80s and that sampling module that does repeats (I think Roland/Boss has one of those in their product line).

Admittedly I didn't have time to do my research before attending this event, however the songs that I knew were Shark Ridden Waters and Vitamin K. It's amazing that he could sing flawlessly and play his "modified" guitar 'upside down' (he said because no one told him the right way to do it lol!) with just one or two of his gadgets as supporting background sound/music and sound incredibly COMPLETE. And I didn't know that that 'fading echo singing' ending some verses were actually done lock, stock and barrel by him - without any vocal special effects etc.!

Gruff Rhys and his table of wonders
Rhys did a couple of songs with just this ancient wave synth tuned to a certain key (according to the respective songs) and it created this noise which made it sound NOT like a one-man band! He also had this small toy keyboard (with about 2 octaves or so worth of keys) which had keys that would light up when you pressed them... And this pair of sticks with wires at their ends which made electric lightning bolt sounds, and some bright red and blue plastic gun-looking thing that produced a pre-recorded tune when triggered... he used all these with the sampler.

Gruff Rhys with his "thunder bolt sticks thingy"

Another shot with the sticks lighted up at the ends
I know, I know, I should be talking about the songs he played... but it was just so interesting to see his "theatricks", poker-faced jokes and his multitasking abilities! Ooh, and he performed some Welsh songs, which we all couldn't understand a word of, but sounded so serene and peaceful...

All in all, I had a good time. It's not everyday that one can see musicians stripping down their act to the bare basics and using 'items that we throw out' as musical instruments. This just shows that "Old is [indeed] Gold!"

My ticket and the chop on the hand all of us received!

Sunday, May 01, 2011

My New Job

I've been a month in my new job and so far, it's been great! Perhaps I'm easy to please. As long as I don't fall asleep on the job, I'm happy. Although it's been a lot of drafting minutes, internal memos, circular resolutions, letters and filing, I've learned a lot, especially about the biotechnology industry in Malaysia. I never knew that most of the companies I used to liaise with during my undergraduate research project to order materials and reagents are actually BioNexus status companies.