my camera is like, better than yours

I have in my hands a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ15 — 9.1 Megapixels, 10x optical zoom, 28mm wide angle… I guess that just about covers all my point and shoot needs! If I am not mistaken it retails for RM 1399.

So I stood at one spot in my boss’ office, looked out the window and took a photo.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ15 - normal
Mode: Intelligent Auto. Tarak zoom, nothing, nada, zilch

Then at the same spot, I took it again at 5x zoom.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ15 - 5x zoom
Mode: Intelligent Auto. Zoom 5x

And again at 10x zoom.

Panasonic Lumix DMC TZ15 - 10x zoom
Mode: Intelligent Auto. Zoom 10x

:D

You can click on the photos above for a slightly larger version. Some quality loss from photoshop, but not too drastically a lot, I’d imagine.

hk june 08 – food food food

1) All photos taken using my super duper sibeh canggih Nokia N82.
2) You can click on the photos to view a larger version. It’s okay, we are all a bit blind sometimes.

When we touched down at the airport, the first thing that came to my mind was… KRISPY KREME! Well, what to do… we don’t have it here in Malaysia (yet) and all you people kept going on about how marvelous it is and how delicious and how everything, that I felt I ought to give it a try. Not VERY affordable, okay… half a dozen for HK$110 for freakin’ doughnuts!

Hong Kong - Krispy Kreme outlet at airport
The Krispy Kreme outlet at the Hong Kong international airport

Erna and I bought half a dozen to be shared. And this is my Krispy Kreme New York cheesecake doughnut that I could not finish consuming, because my family has a history of diabetes and I didn’t want to take my chances.

Hong Kong - Krispy Kreme New York cheesecake
Got my saliva somewhere

My colleague tumpang a dozen from me. When he received and tasted it, he remarked that the Hong Kong version was too sweet — apparently he got some in Jakarta and the sugar level was very much acceptable. But not the Hong Kong one. I am sticking to Big Apple for my doughnut fix :P

We stayed at the BP International for our first night in Hong Kong. Package included breakfast, so…

Hong Kong - breakfast of champions
Breakfast of champions!

Erna was very amused by my sandwich. It tasted awesome! The bacon was crispy and crunchy, the omelette had cheese and mushroom and ham and capsicum, the thousand island sauce because I am Malaysian. As I bit into my very delicious sandwich, I could feel my arteries clogging up. But it was worth it. I suppose in 20 years’ time I’d look back and slap myself for wittingly screwing up my internal organs but that’s 20 years away!

Second evening in Tsim Tsa Tsui, we decided to eat cheap(er). Wandered into a random restaurant but the only available table was next to the toilet. So we decided to tar pau balik to our hotel room instead.

Hong Kong - beef ball noodles
Beef ball noodles with oyster sauce

You know, when it was written ‘beef ball noodles with oyster sauce’, I didn’t expect beef ball noodles WITH oyster sauce… I thought they’d at least mix the sauce like how we get our wantan mee here. I suppose I should not take such things for granted. It doesn’t look very appetising, right? Well, it wasn’t.

One evening in Central district, we walked back to Lan Kwai Fong for beer, and decided to have our dinner at a German pub called Schnurrbart. Mostly because it was cosy, we were tired and lazy to go elsewhere, beer is always fantastic, and the bartender was very helpful with giving us directions to Stanley etc.

Hong Kong - sausages, potatoes, sauerkraut
Typical German pub food – PORK sausages, fried potatoes and sauerkraut, yum!

We also ate at McDonalds once, at Burger King once and a quick sandwich at Pret a Manger. And a English breakfast set on the morning before we left for home. Familiar stuff can be comforting, heh.

Another noodly meal at one of the roadside restaurants:

Hong Kong - roadside noodles
Bread, egg, and noodles with pork chop

We had our last evening meal in Hong Kong at a restaurant located a short distance from our hotel. Looked promising because there were a lot of people eating there. Heh, that’s almost always my gauge for edible (hopefully food) food. A typical conversation would go something like this:

“Let’s check out this restaurant/ food place!”
“Oh? What do they sell?”
“No idea. But there are lots of people in there! Shouldn’t be too bad.”

We got an order of deep-fried chicken wings because we saw it being delivered to one of the customers. Apparently the restaurant was well-known for it. Not bad.

Hong Kong - deep fried chicken wings with spices
Deep-fried chicken wings with spice

And more noodles! Thankfully this one was a bit different, with the soup being of the hot and sour kind. Plus you could add whatever ingredients you wanted — assorted parts of the pig, sotong balls, etc.

Hong Kong - noodles with assorted toppings
A big bowl of noodles in hot and sour soup

I bought back some ‘lou poh bing‘ because Pinky insisted that I get some to try. Hmmm… tasted like any Chinese pastries that I can get here in Malaysia :P I shared it with some noobs and they seemed to like it :P

noobs eating wife cake
Noobs eating wife’s cake

For the record, Kim had only one. I took two photos of her eating that single one, that’s all :P

.::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::. .::.

All blog posts on this trip:

- hk june 08 – the obligatory ‘i waz there’ photos
- hk june 08 – food food food
- hk june 08 – things you can buy with money
- hk june 08 – what little alcohol tales
- hk june 08 – when relieving yourself is not a relief

- Flickr set for Hong Kong 2008 trip

felt i should jump on the 080808 bandwagon

… and update my blog. The Beijing Olympic Games begins today, right? Trust the Chinese to select such a date. Yesterday my sister asked me if I knew what time the opening ceremony starts. I told her I have no idea because I don’t care about the Olympics (in so many words). I think she rolled her eyes, but I couldn’t be sure because I was already telling her about the small shelves that I want to get for my bedroom.

The only time I was excited about the Olympics was when Tiesto played a 90 min set in Athens in 2004. The album unbelievably outstanding, I think I had tears in my eye.

Tomorrow I am watching Wall-E at 1U. It’s a charity screening, tickets bought by TNB in support of the Malaysian Nature Society. I’m bringing Ryan along, and after that we’ll be meeting up with Peter Tan and Wuan somewhere @ 1U, most likely at Waffle House between 12.30 – 1 pm. Come join if you like.

Watched The Mummy 3 with le Spongefox and Rach. If you have yet to watch the movie and would like to watch it, you should stop reading this post just about… now.

I read countless reviews on the movie, and how sucky it was, Brendan Fraser was only cashing a pay cheque, bla bla bla. They were all correct. But because of those negative reviews, I went into the cinema hall with high expectations that it would suck. And it pretty much did! The cast members had absolutely zero chemistry. You can’t pay me $100,000 to believe that Brendan Fraser and Mario Bello’s characters were a loving married couple. It was very difficult to take in that Brendan Fraser didn’t seem to age at all padahal his son was so grown-up. Luke Ford should get another day job. Most of the CGI was colourful, but unbelievable. Did I mention Luke Ford? Well he should never speak Mandarin again, ever.

Jet Li, Anthony Wong and Michelle Yeoh were great though. I guess not so much Jet Li lah, since his acting has always been wooden anyway. But when he could be bothered to fight… sigh I live for those moments.

Despite noobness in the acting and plot, I really enjoyed watching it. Hah! One of those no-brainer, don’t have to think at all kind of movies. I even enjoyed watching the cringe-worthy moments, because I kept laughing to myself thinking how cheesy everything was. Damn best, I tell you. I think I am going to watch The Mummy 1 and 2 at home tonight.

Admittedly I am a bit slow, but I just found out that you can purchase tickets and select your own seats via GSC’s website. I have been living in the past when you call to book movie tickets via the phone for too long. This is so much fun! The site’s a bit slow to load though.

Sometimes I wished I had enough balls (figuratively speaking) to tell the people seated next to me/ behind me in cinemas to shut the fuck up/ stop kicking my chair. Too many people are immune to angry glances.

Need to spend some time and rearrange my blog’s categories, etc. And to delete irrelevant entries from back when. Need to clean my room and throw out a lot of stuff. Need to finish writing *that* blog post. Need to figure out what to eat tonight. Need to get a haircut.

Oh yah, remember my review on Chris Blake’s Wave? Hah! Guess he found my review, read it and liked it. Check out what he blogged on his MySpace ;)

*kembang beribu juta*

Oh while still on the entertainment topic, I am watching the making of LOTR 1,2,3 again. Bit by bit la, there are 7 DVD discs in total. Why not watch the *actual* movies instead of the making? Well, I’ve seen those a few times too. But I always love watching ‘the making’ more, because they went on great lengths about the fine details of things. Costumes, make-up, sound, miniatures, special effects… it allows me to better appreciate the movies; like a documentary on actual places and events, and not something from Tolkien’s mind.

Also maybe because I can’t stand Liv Tyler, and I’ve always thought that Arwen should not have so much screen time. Cate Blanchett played an elf too, but she didn’t speak as if she was out of breath all the time. Don’t like, don’t like.

But my biggest grip with LOTR: RoTK was the near-ending, when Aragorn was crowned and Elrond brought forth Arwen. Then Aragorn rushed out to take Arwen into his arms and they kissed and every man, woman, hobbit, elf and dwarf smiled and clapped their hands. z0mg, worst scene ever, makes me hate RoTK the movie. Why couldn’t Peter Jackson make them hold each other tightly and leave it at that? Makes me wish that a fell beast would crash land there and then and wipe them off the face of Middle Earth.

What’s your most-hated scene in any movie?

chris blake – wave

In one of Sashi’s blog posts, he included a video and called it “Biggest Regrets” . I followed all the necessary links, and found out that it was a proper music video for a Chris Blake song, titled ‘Someone Else’.

Clicked on link, clicked on link, clicked on link. Landed on Chris Blake’s MySpace. Listened to ‘Someone Else’ on repeat for the rest of the day. Told random people about it. Clicked on link, got to his CDBaby page. Clickety click, thought it over for a long while, clickety click, made payment etc. Now I own a legit copy of Chris Blake’s second album, Wave ;)

Chris Blake Wave
Well, I chose the ‘no plastic cover’ option

In a nutshell, I find his voice rather husky; perhaps not as soothing as Jack Johnson’s (then again, not many people are) but no less relaxing to listen to. Someone reviewed this album on-line (can’t locate the link now, sorry) and said this, “The lyrics are simple, straightforward, and sweet as are the melodies and harmonies.” I couldn’t agree more.

Some of my favourite tracks:
(which you can listen to at his MySpace or on CDBaby)

The first track Phantom Love is a slightly guitar-heavy, can be a bit commercial rock-ish. The nearest similar song I can think of now is Chris Cornell’s You Know My Name. Maybe some of the guitar stuff they did in Audioslave. But lyrics-wise, not as dark lah. Following that is Party On The Last Iceberg, a song about environmental concerns. At first I thought that this song was damn weird. Like some robotic chant that is terribly annoying and stupid. After a while (4 hours, maybe?) it grew on me and now I really like it. Well, when I first heard Coldplay’s Speed of Sound, I hated it with a vengeance. Then I saw the light.

Trains and Blow Away have a distinctive 90s feel to them, sort of fit right in with Blues Travelers. Don’t know why, but I always feel like listening to Howie Day’s Collide after ‘Trains’. Mean It Now, a beautiful harmonisation with these simple yet poignant lyrics, “Ah the perfect embrace, but let me see your face, and the crease above your brow, that says you really mean it now”. You can imagine the scene in your mind.

I guess the #1 crowd pleaser is Someone Else. “Goodbye, she said to me.. so how was I to know she didn’t want to go… I stepped aside so she could leave… never thinking if I held her then, she’d never leave again…”. Brought a scene from the movie ‘The Parent Trap‘ to my mind, when the divorced couple rehashed the past:

Nick: Why did you leave?
Elizabeth: Why didn’t you come after me?
Nick: I didn’t know you wanted me to.

I know a couple of people I can dedicate the song to! Hah!

There’s also this number in the album, How Journey Saved My Life. I can’t make sense of it, not being a Journey fan/ didn’t grow up in that era. Steve Perry is a big thing? Har? It’s like telling fans of those pseudo rock band wannabes with band members wearing way too much eyeliner that they should appreciate Jakob Dylan. Well okay, maybe not exactly the same. Anyway that’s the only song I skip in the entire album.

Well, that’s it. Not much of a review, I know. Who really cares? Just wanted to get the word out that I have this CD and I love it. And to prove a point to the movie and recording industry (yes, here’s me waggling my finger at you giants and moguls, pass me another delusional pill) that people do part ways with their money, but only if the products don’t suck. So stfu about piracy being your biggest headache; you have bigger problems than that.

the birthday boy with his birthday cake

We had a little party for Ryan on Sunday. Funnily enough, none of his friends were there :P So I guess it was just an excuse for the grown-ups to get-together, and gobble up the ‘taufu far’ made by my brother-in-law’s mom. Heavenly!

As mentioned earlier, me and my eldest sister got him a specialty cake by Min. I brought FA with me to collect the cake, so it could sit on her lap while I do my usual F1 stunts. Min asked me what Ryan likes, and the first thing that came to me was ‘Cars‘. Maybe I am out of touch with him, seeing that he loves guns now. But a cake that resembles a gun seems wrong for a 3 year old, no? Anyway Min got to work on the cake, and…

Ryans birthday cake by Mamamin
Click on the photo above for a larger version

The above is a scene from Cars the movie, when Lightning McQueen fell into the ditch in an unsuccessful attempt to win at a race against Doc. Mater stood by, ready to fish McQueen out. Everything is edible, except for the toy cars and the paper signboards, hand-made by Min.

Ryan with his birthday cake
The birthday boy with his birthday cake!

The cake was most delicious! We got the moist chocolate, and it was very rich and rather awesome, heh. You can get your own specialty cake from MamaMin, just check out her blog and Flickr for oodles of photos.

As for Ryan, the kid grows up so fast. His punches are beginning to hurt. Wish I could freeze him at 8 months old.

maybe it’s just me, but i feel a bit cheated here

So Maxis sent me a booklet filled with discount vouchers for things such as hotel rooms, mobile phone accessories, clothes, food, spa.. those type of things. Normally I discard these things as I can’t afford RM1630 for a 4D/3N stay at Club Med (not including club membership fees), even if getting there and back is free. Well, that was just an example taken from the booklet lah.

But my dearest Pinky just informed me that she will have a week off in late August, as part of her transition to a new job. As she thinks that I am a rather awesome person, she wants to spend that week in KL/PJ with me. She also suggested a trip to Penang, as she has never been there and would like to go try their most wonderful and delicious local fare. After all, appreciation for good food is just one of the two traits we Malaysians share with Singaporeans; the other being giddy with happiness at securing a good (usually shopping-related) bargain.

I remembered the Maxis discount booklet, and something about cheaper rates for a hotel room in Penang. Turns out that the voucher is for the Parkroyal Hotel in Penang. The offer states that you can ‘get a 50% discount on accommodation and receive a complimentary upgrade to the next room category’. Sounds rather awesome, right? I’ve stayed at that very hotel before, and it was a really nice experience.

So I checked out the website, and the rate for a ‘Deluxe Twin-Bedded Seafacing Room’ costs RM420 per night. Fantabulous! Upon confirming the dates and rates with Pinky, I called the hotel to book our room.

“RM 450++ a night AFTER discount.”
“Huh but the rates stated on your website is RM 420.”
“Oh, those are website rates. Already on promotion.”

1. I know that rates on websites are always slightly cheaper. But by a full half price?
2. *Already on promotion* did not appear anywhere on the site
3. I am more stunned than angry.

So maybe it’s just me. But I still feel a bit cheated. And friend told me that I should blog about it, so here it is.

on-line road tax renewal via myeg… nice!

If you’d remember, I had the opportunity to cam-ho with Maya Karin earlier this year. She wore a red hot leather suit and was friendly in person. If you need to refresh your memory (and another chance to be totally and completely envious of me), here you go:

Suanie with Maya Karin
Maya Karin with Suanie. Maya Karin with Suanie. Maya Karin with Suanie… :P

Months passed and now I can finally reveal the reason she wore that red hot leather suit. It was all for MyEG‘s services; MyEG is a local company set up for Malaysians to perform on-line government transactional services via its E-Government initiatives. Which means that using MyEG, you can do stuff such as renew your road tax on-line, opt to collect it at the nearest e-Service centre (full list available at the website) or have it delivered to you (with a minimal delivery charge) and you’re good to go!

How does this work?

1. Go to http://myeg.com.my. See the ‘Road Tax Renewal’ link on the right hand side as exemplified by this lovely screenshot below that I took? Well, click on that.

myeg-1

2. If you’ve bought your car insurance earlier, you may proceed with this step – fill out the form with your details and submit your request, then make payment etc. If you have yet to purchase your car insurance, this won’t work for you (as I found out by experience). See no. 3.

myeg-2
Click on the image above for a larger version

3. If you’d like to renew your car insurance via MyEG (currently they offer CIMB’s Aviva Tafakul Berhad and Maybank’s ETIQA Tafakul Berhad), click on the ‘CLICK HERE TO BUY INSURANCE’ link on the main MyEG page, or the link from screenshot no.2. Enter your details etc, then I guess you’d be able to make payment (via credit card, pre-paid payment or direct debit) and stuff. I don’t know because I am a spoilt brat who has someone to do all these things for me. You, who may not enjoy my lot in life, you who have to do all these tedious but necessary things in life yourself, now have the option to do it all on-line and have everything delivered to you :D Lucky you, eh? ;)

Well I think it’s pretty straightforward. You can also check for any outstanding JPJ or PDRM summons and make payment for them; unless it’s an expired warrant, then you’d have to make your way to a traffic police counter near you. In any case, they have a pretty good FAQ, you can check it out here.

Looks good, try it :) This is a pretty good time to do so too, because MyEG is currently running an introductory promotion that allows you to stand a chance to win a FREE road tax renewal. You’ll need to renew your car insurance using MyEG, and… follow the instructions at this page. Looks no-fuss to me. Or you can call them at 03-78018888 if you have.. uhmn problems doing things on-line.

This promotion ends on the 31st August 2008. You have… *looks at calendar* one month left. Get on with it already!