elb's hovel of thoughts

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Storage problem solved

How would you struggle to keep a watermelon stable in your fridge? The unexpected, logical way would be to grow the melons in such a way that they would be stable upon storage. Hence the Japanese, a few years ago, invented a unique way to grow the red-inside green-outside delicacies. The end result?

Saturday, July 24, 2004

Free Rolex, anyone?

Earlier this morning, I went to pick my siblings from their computer class at Taipan USJ. My car was parked on the side of the main road on the part when cars are supposed to inch their way through to the road after exiting at a turning.

Suddenly this Malay chap appeared from out of nowhere and knocked on the front passenger window. My attention focused on him, he was gesturing with his right hand to an object wrapped in a green handkerchief that he was holding in his left hand and trying to say something. I apprehensively opened the window a little to hear what he was trying to say.

"Rolex, dik! Rolex!" (Rolex, boy! Rolex!)
*cue blur look*
*low and desperate voice* "Ini mahal punya!!" (This is expensive!!)
*impassive look*
"Beli lah!!!" (Buy from me!!)
"Kasi tengok kejap" (Let me see for a minute)

At this point he slipped in the watch. I was careful to handle it only along the handkerchief, should the article be the real McCoy and was stolen. I looked at it. It was heavy, always a good sign when trying to determine genuine watches. Stainless steel, with some gold on the bezel and a simple white dial face and some gold along the stainless steel bracelet. In-built magnifier above the date, which suggested that the watch belonged to a 40-something year old businessman who had difficulties looking at the otherwise small date. I estimate the watch to worth at least RM12 000 brand new. Further solidifying my belief that it was real (albeit stolen) was his overtly suspicious behaviour; the desperation to get rid of the watch as his eyes darted all over the place should the police suddenly arrest him, the desire to be able to disappear as quickly as possible after getting rid of the watch.

With the watch in my hands, I was so tempted to drive off with the watch there and then. Why not? I was in a car that was running, traffic was light, and most importantly, I had the watch (which I believe to be genuine especially looking at the character's suspicious behaviour) in the car with me and the window was only open by a couple of inches. What an opportunity! But something held me back; probably the knowing that I was doing was wrong and I could get into all sorts of trouble if I were to bring the watch in for repairs. I wanted to take a picture of him and inform the police. But fear of the police, who are known to treat informers as suspects, made me think otherwise. Fear of getting detained and getting all sorts of nonsense from the uniformed men. Fear that the guy would track me down and 'get rid of me'.

I returned the watch back to him (still being careful to not touch the watch itself) and he was gesturing at me, pleading to me to buy from him (which I wouldn't have anyway). At that point, I had noticed my brothers coming and I told him to buzz off (pergi lah!), and he gave a disappointed and desperate look, clenched back the watch and moved away, looking around wildly for someone who was more willing (and less straight) than me. Anyway, I personally think that the watch is ugly; mine is so so much better. I wouldn't have paid a couple of thousand for that gaudy piece that looks better on my uncle then my young youthful wrist, eventhough it might be a Rolex. Watches like Rolex and Patek Phillipe are for uncles, for crying out loud! Tag Heuer and Oris are the way to go!

Thursday, July 22, 2004

So tired

Two days ago, I had the dubious honour of driving half a megametre in under 14 hours. Or to be a bit more dramatic, 500 kilometres, give or take a few tens of kilometres. It was conducted under extreme conditions, being that it was done under a questionable mental state for at least half the length; and also through pitch black darkness and rain madness from which you could see at most, 20 metres in front of you. Yes sir, the perilous day trip to Ipoh.

The trip was conducted when I had serious lack of sleep, no thanks to a bout of flu and sore throat which caused me to have a grand total of around 3-4 hours sleep the night before. But there was no turning back, we were all committed to making this trip. After picking up Steph from her place, we had brekkie and started the drive upwards. Somewhere in South Perak, we hit a thick wall of falling water that limited visibility severely; and the car's pathetic wipers didn't help much either. Nevertheless the weather improved nearing Ipoh, and after initially getting lost we met up with Esther.

Then it was off to do what people would do in that city: eattttttttt! And drive around. And get lost in Menglembu (a small town right next to Ipoh best known for its roasted peanuts). And got the opportunity to observe and hear some very, very interesting behaviour. After dinner, we left for the journey home in pitch black darkness, which wasn't as difficult as the journey up, thanks to me being able to catch some winks at Esther's place after the meal of nummy ngai choi kai.

Monday, July 19, 2004

British efficiency

Lo and behold, who could have thought that the British are as efficient as Malaysians? Let me quote the following incidents:
My mobiles. Two cases for this. I requested that both my mobiles were to be unlocked from Vodafone in mid June. For your information, certain phones which are 'network exclusive' can be used for only that network; to get it to be used elsewhere you need to unlock. For a fee. Guess what? I still have not gotten my codes. 

Case one: I requested the guys at the Vodafone store to unlock for me phone #1 a week before I was to go back. Over two weeks later, no news had come so I was forced to make a long distance call. After waiting for over 10 minutes, I finally spoke to the guy at the other end who told me that the assholes in the store did not process my order. Naturally my button got triggered and I had to control myself extremely hard from using profanity. At the end of it though, I bloody ordered him to go ahead with the unlocking, which he said would take one week. Its now been 10 days and no sign (I called back 2 days ago and the stupid person said it would take 14 days. WTF????)

Case 2: My other mobile. Also Vodafone, but under a different company called Singlepoint. No worse company when it comes to after sales support. I requested my unlocking code over a month ago but it never came. I was forced to make a long distance call to them.

Guy: Just a second, I'm taking a look at your order
Me  : Sure
Guy: Can I have your IMEI number please?
Me  : *finds phone and rattles off IMEI number*
Guy: Ahhh, the IMEI number you passed to us was wrong (only one of
          the digits though). That's why we couldn't process your request
Me  : *losing temper* Excuse me, I gave your company my e-mail
          address so that you can notify me of my unlocking code when it was
          obtained. (WHY THE FUCK) Couldn't your company have
         informed me of that problem?
Guy: We're sorry. 
Me  : I don't care. I expect my code within 2 weeks at latest
Guy : This will take *gets cut off* (wanting to say '3 weeks to process')
Me  : I want my code in two weeks. Your company should have fucking
          of such problems. You have my bloody e-mail address, no?
Guy: I cannot guarantee that sir.
Me  : Well I don't care. Your company fucked this up. Put a note down
          along with the order dammit.

Fortunately I have access to another mobile for the time being. I was supposed to have passed it to another friend, who is buying it, last week. I need the stupid codes grrraahhhhh!! No more fucking Vodafone for me anymore. Good thing too, I tend to associate M.U. with Voda.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Burn baby burn

With deep regret I have to inform that a surge of electrical energy has fried my modem and I am thus rendered impotent (not the biological kind, mind you). Until it gets fixed, don't expect much regular updates. Apologies :P

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Desa Hartamas' smudge

Those of you here would undoutably have heard of the treble assault/ murder onto law student Darren Kang (I was pretty amazed that a couple of my friends haven't heard of it. How on earth?). The incident happened on the day I returned (or was it the day before?), and the first thought that sunk to my mind was 'die-lah, I always hang around that area.'. In fact my favourite hang-out spot there was a mere 30 metres from the incident.

However, that did not stop me from patronizing the area last Thursday night. The store where the battery occured was, as predictably, closed, no doubt from the fact that most of the employees were detained by the police for investigations, or maybe as a sign of respect (?). Maybe there were less people than usual (I can't even say so for sure since I have not been there for 9 months to begin with!), but in subsequent visits I have made (no less than 5 times since!) I have certainly noticed an increase in visitors as the crowd is trickling back.

One thing that is peeving me however, is how the papers keep mentioning that 'the VIP's son has yet to record statement' 'the VIP's son was there when it happened' et cetera. It makes it sound that as if that guy was implicated in the whole mess, when there is no proof at all (after all, investigations have just started). Are they just picking on him because he happens to be the offspring of another leader-crony? Even so, they should not be practicing the guilty until proven innocent junk.

Another annoying bit are calls for by some people for eateries etc to close by 12pm (or was it 1am?) to prevent 'social disorder' or something along those lines as a result of the murder. Excuse me, but I believe that me catching up with friends at 1am in a public eatery is no public offence. Unless talking and laughing are punishable offenses *eyerolls*.

But anyway, the lessons are: 1) Public displays of affection can be hazardous and fatal. You've heard so many times why they should not be done, and this murder should drive the message home. 2) If people utter unsavoury comments at you, just ignore them. It could just save your life. 3) Bouncers, who should be helping out, instead turn out to deliver the killing blows (probably due to the fact they found it simpler to pick on a single solitary bleeding figure on the floor rather than fight 10 armed employees). Don't ever rely on them for help. 4) Responses like closing eateries at 1am are just plain stupid.

Monday, July 12, 2004

£22k.. hmmm..

What can £22k buy you? Maybe 44000 bars of chocolate like Snickers for example. Or maybe 22 sets of haute couture? Or perhaps a spanking top of the range Vertu mobile phone and a leet Grand Canyon computer system (forget Alienware, it pales in comparison to that). Or maybe a small 75cl bottle I came across in Heathrow, as seen below.

The words have gone really blur when I resized it, here it is:
Of the forty originally produced, only twelve now remain and we are priviledged to be able to offer one of them here for £22 000.

Filled to the cask in 1926 at the Macallan distillery in Speyside , the 26th bottle was released for sale in Glasgow this March reaching the record price of £20,150.

Please speak to a member of our staff for more information.

Personally, I'd rather use the cash to get a Skyline (yes, £22k is sufficient to get an R-33, a couple more grand and you can get the R-34) Or as a deposit towards my first house. Not on a bottle of aged alcohol older than my grandparents. But heck, alcohol connoisseurs might beg to differ. But are they even that mad (unless they really have the cash to spare)??

Sunday, July 11, 2004

No place like home

Most of you would have known by now that I'm back in the phallic-shaped country on the Southeastern Tip of Asia :O Those of you who don't ought to slap yourselves across the face for not being good friends :P Have just only managed to fix my internet connection to my laptop yesterday. I apologize to my avid readers :p

Nothing much new around I suppose, the most notable change being that Subang seems to have attracted cars like ants to honey. It seems to be jammed everywhere during times where I recalled last year there were no jams. If this goes on, I won't be surprised to see the market value drop. Perhaps one of the big colleges could *cough* shift away *cough* and take away some of the traffic *cough*. Also of note is the NPE highway, which I have already used from Subang - Bangsar. Pretty cool and nifty and fast, but mad expensive. Oh well, there is no free lunch.

Haven't really lost my sense of direction yet; still managed to remember the route back from the airport and could remember how to go to Berjaya Times Square. Not bad not bad :p Discovered to my (very slight) joy that Bangi is only 20 minutes away and not an hour as previously thought.

Also my pool skills haven't deteriorated as much as I thought they would have... muahahaha.. :D Also the jet lag didn't affect me as much as I thought it would, I promptly went out until 3am on the day I came back :O However now I think I'm suffering from lack of sleep. Oh dear.

That said, I miss(ed) driving. I miss(ed) pool. I miss(ed) Malaysian food. I miss(ed) lying in my huge comfy bed. I miss her. I do not miss the worsening traffic crawls; and I certainly do not miss the hot stuffy clothe-sticking sweat courtesy of high humidity in sweltering conditions.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Move aside Haagen-Dazs

As I was walking along Regent St during my last visit to London, I came across this cafe which stopped me because of the most delicious things that stared out at me from their little frozen world. I looked at the price list. A whooping 2 pounds for the first scoop, which made it even more expensive than Haagen-Dazs, and another pound per subsequent scoop (they do up to 4 scoops if my memory serves me right). Pricey though that may seem (partially because its London after all), looking at the (home made?) ice cream, I'm sure some of you will agree its well worth it:

Look at those swirling ribbons of ice cream and fruit to decorate (and even get to eat, if you ask nicely)! Yummy!

More yummy stuff.

After agonizing for over 5 minutes at which flavour to pick, I chose watermelon. As he scooped it out I was already salivating in anticipation. It came out on a cone slightly melted (which is how ice cream should be)and boy, was it delicious. Ice cream utopia!! Even better than Haagen Dazs!!

Directions to the best ice cream in the world (Edit: Has been identified as Cafe Concerto)

Walk down Regent Street from Oxford Circus Tube Station. Pass Hamleys on the left, and you'll see it shortly thereafter on your right. Its happens to be a sort of restaurant as well. If you approach from Piccadilly Circus you might not be able to see the ice cream (unless you peer backwards every now and then)

Saturday, July 03, 2004

Are you a trekkie

I was browsing around in Swindon just a couple of days ago (basically to return the pair of shoes I didn't like and to take another pair) when I came across a long queue in one of the shopping malls there. People were being admitted one or two at a time into this shop dealing with movie memorabilia. Out of curiousity, I asked the crowd-control people what was the queue about, and one of them pointed out to me the following poster:

I apologize for the lack of clarity in the picture; I did not bring my digicam so I had to MMS a compressed version of the picture taken with my phone to my email.

I have been reliably informed that Max acted in Quantum Leap; no idea about Alice. Alas I wasn't a trekkie fan. Otherwise I would have jumped into the end of the queue. I did toy with the idea of gathering the autographs and selling them off to interested people, but I didn't exactly have anything for them to sign on plus I was rather tired at that point.

Friday, July 02, 2004

World's Funniest Tattoo

Sent to me by Wong: