Sunday, June 29, 2008

Sushi for breakfast, Sushi for lunch

My Monday meal prepared on a Sunday night. (Talk about getting ahead of time!)

Flower-shaped kampyo maki

I can't remember when was the last time I had sushi. All I know was I had a craving for it since Friday I decided to prepare a treat for myself (and my mum) to start the week ;)

Kamyo maki-s in a row

Pictures were taken at night so the lighting wasn't really good but I kinda like the outcome, the slight blur somehow gave the rice a translucent feel. Almost as if the images were painted...

Which got me inspired to try out different efffects on the pictures (lol!) using Photoshop and even ended up with sushi, manga-style :P

Manga style kampyo maki

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Project MOV3 - Glimpses..

Let the pictures speak for me :)


(Click picture for a larger view)

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Project MOV3 - The Kickoff

House-moving After consulting the cosmos and the alignment of the stars, I am ready to announce that the entire family is moving. Yes, MOVING! To a new home, new neighbourhood, new faces...Actual date yet to be decided but definitely before the year ends.

After 25+ years in the only house I ever know, I must admit this isn't something easy to swallow. I guess it's harder on my dad, afterall almost half a century at ONE home is no mean feat. But all said and done, we decided on this as a family and we will stick through it as a family. Once the reality sinks in though, it's actually kinda exciting and absolutely major..

Some of the changes/similarities from the current to the new place:
  1. New address, OLD postcode

  2. No more backyard scenic seaview. Well, I still have a bird's eye view of the sea from my room but it's definitely not a 100m walking distance anymore. (But hey, tsunami-danger zone no more too *winks)

  3. No more buying breakfast/lunch/tea from just across the street. However there's a market right below the new place so more variety for breakfast I guess. (Oh and booboo, next time I can find you to makan outside your home in the afternoons LOL)

  4. No more walking distance to order cheap-but-yummy satays. (Pat, next time you'll have to order yourself ya :P)

  5. No more car-filled area making it hard for those who are not used to driving in and u-turning. (SHuey, don't have to worry about knocking into other cars and probably no reversing needed too so guess safe from another "why-car-cannot-reverse!" situation :P)

  6. No more parking right outside the house. Now I have to take the elevator. (Or flight of stairs for some calory-burning!)

  7. Almost the same distance to work, similar routes, same old traffic jams...

And the most significant difference of all...the SIZE! Definitely a case of "Honey, I shrunk the HOUSE!" Over the years, I've accumulated quite an amount of - call it what you want; junks, treasures..I prefer to name them - memories. Thus, the upcoming months are gonna be pretty buzy ones as I have to walk through these stuff and decide if the time has come for me to let go of the tangibles....

Lastly, I hereby officially kick off my Project MOV3.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Out by Natsuo Kirino

What happens when you cross the line...
...when you discover a taste for the unthinkable?
Could you be drawn into a murder?
For friendship?
For a way out of your dreary existence?

In Out, we take a step back from the rosy pictures painted of Japan particularly those of kawaii teenagers/adults with hillarious love stories we always see in Japanese dramas, and we find ourselves thrown into a creepy world of violence and seedy subculture of lower middle class Japanese workers, faraway from the lights and glitter of glamorous Tokyo.

4 women, co-workers working punishing graveyard shifts at a box lunch factory in the outskirts of Tokyo, formed an unlikely bond, each having her own form of desperation, be it inattentive husband, unresponsive children, strained economic situations, or emotional loneliness. When one of the women, Yayoi Yamamoto, killed her abusive, gambling husband, the four came together to perform a gruesome act in a bid to dispose the body while attracting the least attention possible - dismemberment.

A series of indiscretions and careless mistakes led to the body parts being discovered. However, the police is not the only thing they have to worry about as more unforeseen dangers await, in the form of a revengeful, ruthless nightclub owner, whose life had been brought to shambles when he became the prime suspect in the murder investigation, and a yakuza (japanese underworld)-connected loan shark who discovered their secret and is determine to make something out of it.

A well-written book by Natsuo Kirino with realistic characters and interactions, albeit a dark and disturbing one that gives us a glimpse into the back alleys of Japanese life. Guess not everyday is a sunny, beautiful rainbow day in the Land of the Rising Sun...

Also, the writing sets the pace for a thrilling, energetic page turner. Believe it, I finished the book still on the treadmill but not in one session of course, seeing that it is a 500+ page novel. Even if my mind could take it, my legs definitely wouldn't!

My Rating:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

MiNdBOx - Wind Beneath My Wings

May and June, the months of Mums and Dads, and what better way than to serenade them with a song or two :D

Bette Midler's signature song, Wind Beneath My Wings is one of my all-time favorite oldies. The meaningful lyrics, at the right occasions, can certainly bring tears to the eyes. And now I have discovered a pop-opera duo performing the song albeit in a more soulful and operatic way with soft piano and violins. Both versions sure are nice in their own ways.

RyanDanRyanDan is a Canadian musical duo made up of identical twins, Ryan and Dan Kowarsky, and who have been touted as a cross between Il Divo and Westlife (that was what caught my eyes & led me to search for their songs in the first place :P). Their self-titled album, RyanDan, shot to #7 in the UK album charts in 2007, making them the first identical twin duo with a top-ten on the British charts. What's more, an article I stumbled on in The Sun said the duo bear a resemblance to Frank Lampard, the Chelsea midfielder..haha though I don't really see it.

It must have been cold there in my shadow
to never have sunlight on your face
You were content to let me shine, (that's your way)
You always walked a step behind

So I was the one with all the glory,
while you were the one with all the strength
A beautiful face without a name for so long
A beautiful smile to hide the pain

Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and everything I would like to be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
for you are the wind beneath my wings

It might have appeared to go unnoticed,
but I've got it all here in my heart
I want you to know I know the truth,
I would be nothing without you

Did you ever know that you're my hero,
and everything I wish I could be?
I can fly higher than an eagle,
for you are the wind beneath my wings

Happy Father's Day & Happy Belated Mother's Day!

My Rating:

Thursday, June 05, 2008


Guess it's old news by now, the new fuel price. I got the news at ~5.30pm yesterday while still in the office, preparing to go home at 6pm & then to the cinema later on ('Twas cheap movie Wednesday). Breaking NEWS!

Well, I'm usually not the kinda person that rushes straight to the nearest petrol station before losing out on a cheaper petrol price. According to my analytical mind (I had just double confirmed on that personality in the Emotional Excellence class today..), the amount you save from that last minute still-cheap-fuel will never offset the amount of time one has to waste waiting in line outside the petrol station. In fact some believes Time is money too. Furthermore, how much can you really save from that final pump? Say it's 20cents saved per litre - that's about the max price hike previously - and a full tank requires 30 litres (taking an easy-to-multiply number here), which means you'll save a mere 6bucks. 2 plates of char koay teows alone will have costed more.

Anyway, I realized my fuel level was almost down to 'E' while on the way home. Also, I'd passed a few stations as well and my, my, the queues sure were building up. "Hmm..maybe I should be pumping too" popped in my mind (Analytical mind kicking in -again). First, my fuel was reaching zilch. Plus it was a 78cents hike this time around! Besides, my movie would only start at 9.30pm and it was only almost 7pm then. I decided I would go home for a refreshing shower and join the crowd after. BUT not without preparations of coz! Girl Guides motto: "Be Prepared" :P

I had buns and a book to wait with me. I believed I was the only car with the interior light on after it had gotten dark outside!

Let's start QUEING.. My latest read..keke Buns for dinner

~1.5 hours and a few chapters later, the station's signboard was finally visible. And thankfully, lady luck did not desert me either..Who knows, the station might ran out of fuel as my turn came up! Wouldn't that be Horror of horrors?!

Destination in sight! Yay, I'm NEXT! Half hour left to 'lepak' still ;)

All's well, ends well. And I still had time to spare to browse in a bookstore before the movie ;)

To wrap it up, this is an experience I wouldn't mind to miss LOL. If I had had a half tank of fuel left in the first place, I think I'll still be sticking to my first analysis result and stayed at home instead. I can't believe there were still cars queued up when I was heading back home at ~11.56pm. Precious final 4 minutes indeed!

A colleague told me today that she and her mum was one of those queuing up at 11plus pm but sadly it was 12am before their turn came up. And guess what? The petrol station's attendant literally walked up to every car in queue, knocked on their windows and informed them "Harga sudah tukar, ya." ("The price has changed, ya.")
Talk about immediate effect!
Well, some cars went ahead to pump too..consolation for a 2hours wait NOT!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

In love with violins

southern california violinistsLately I've discovered how much I'm into violins - intense violin music that is. The intesity somehow deepens the impact of a song or an instrumental composition not to mention gripping the listeners (me in this case) and making sure the song/instrumental piece stay put in their minds.

I'll share with you 3 examples; 2 songs and an instrumental composition.

Numero uno goes to One Republic's Apologize. Actually, the one that's been playing on airwaves everywhere is the One Republic featuring Timbaland's version, which I had thought was a nice song the first time I heard it. Then one day I stumbled on the original One Republic's version and had not gone back since. That violin piece at the start says it all.

Oh, and One Republic performed the song during the American Idol Grand Finale with David Archuleta which was kinda cool..

And which brings me to the 2nd song; David Cook's version of Mariah Carey's Always Be My Baby. Unlike real fans, I don't follow American Idol from the start, audition and all. Usually, I'll pick up when they are at the Top 3 or Top 2 because by then, the performances are great and so are the songs. Also, I look forward to hearing the winning songs which are mostly powerful ballads that are so my cup of tea..hehe.

Well, this year was an exception because of this particular performance. David Cook performed this song during the Top 7 (I think) and it totally made me a follower of the show (Recipients of American Idol performances mp3s from me should know I'm not lying LOL). His rockish version is even better than the original Mariah's, at least to me. But most captivating of all, yup, intense violins during the start of the first chorus just did it for me. Too bad they dropped that in the studio version of the song. It's still nice (why wouldn't it be seeing that it comes from THE American Idol 7) but somehow a teeny, weeny piece is missing..Oh, well.

Lastly is one of the many instrumental compositions from the anime Fate/Stay Night soundtrack. The anime, awesome (the review is late though :P). So is the soundtrack. The violins come in towards the end but overall this is one mesmerizing piece that you can't get tired of - I played it over and over at work when I first got the mp3.

Crazy? Maybe.

Or perhaps I just have too much tension pent up inside that needs to be channelled out and intense violin pieces are the green exit signs LOL. Whatever the reasons may be, these songs and music are staying in my playlist for a long time to come :)

My Rating: