Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Real Man

Most guys like cars and everything to do with them - car shows, mods, F1, WRC, GT Queens and so on. I like only GT Queens. I'm just not that much of a car guy. In fact, for most part of my life, I can never identify a vehicle I see on the road. In fact, I can identify kitchen utensils more than automobiles.

Lately, however, I had been given the task of recommending some cars for the company. And so I took on the task industriously - as I do with any task given to me. *ahem* And over the last month or so, all I have been looking at are brochures, catalogs and automotive websites. As a result, I now know more cars than I used to.

"That's a Alfa Romeo 156," I tell Mae. She nods knowingly and so I add smugly, "Yes, I recognise them now," and added a little "Hmph" for effect.

"Wow," Mae exclaimed animatedly, "you're like a real man now." Like.

I shall have to educate her tonight. After I'm done fixing the kitchen faucet, repairing our vacuum cleaner and doing all the macho shit I have to do all day.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Where My Damn Pix!?

It's obvious that I've exceeded my bandwidth at Photobucket. Now I'm not techy enough to know exactly what that means but I assume that's happening because many people are looking at my pictures (or picture). Which leads me to my next conclusion. Since I do not get that many hits, or have that many readers, I have deduced that someone out there is hotlinking my pictures. I feel so violated.

This sucks. Get your own picture hosting, dammit!

I'm a visual kinda guy. I need to see pictures on my blog. Pictures. It is the very reason I prefer television to music, DVDs to CDs and comics to books. Gimme back my pictures!!!!! *sigh* I know I should really consider paying for hosting but knowing me, the whole damn site will probably get shut down after one year cos I forget to pay. In case you're new to this blog, yah, it's my thing. I forget to make payments and stuff. I've had my car repossessed, my electricity and water supply cut and my mailbox ocassionally stuffed with warning letters from lawyers, banks and credit card companies. Heh. So, no, that's never gonna work. I guess I'll just have to rough it out.

Thankfully, this will soon pass. According to Photobucket, my pictures will be up once again when December comes round. Meanwhile, I will have to live with this horror everytime I look into this site. So will you. Forgive me.

Friday, November 25, 2005

I Want Cheese

I. Want. Cheese. Three little words that could get Jesse-boy a little sibling to play with.

I've been thinking that it's about time Mae and I tried for a little girl. Jesse is 15 months now. If we behave like horny responsible adults, then we ought to give the boy a little sibling to play with. I mean, the boy seems so lonely sometimes, it's almost heartbreaking. *ahem* Besides, Mae and I aren't getting any younger. I don't want to be working through my 60's just trying to put my kids through college. So it's perfect timing that makes perfect sense. To me, at least.

"But we only just got Jesse," Mae's concept of time continues to perplex me. Two years to have another kid if far too short. Me sitting on the john for a measly 20 minutes is far too long. As far as Mae is concerned, she's never ready for any kid. Come to think of it, if I hadn't forced myself on her the last time, we wouldn't have had Jesse.

I'm kidding. I promise. :)

Being an awfully good negotiator, I cut a deal with the wife - when the boy starts talking, it's time. "No, when he says his first intelligible sentence," Mae counter-offers. "Okay, okay, when he says 'I want cheese', okay?" I craftily suggest. It was failsafe. Jesse loves cheese and he know what I'm taking about when I say the word. And so we shook on it. Like business people do.

Unfortunately, sometimes I'm too smart for my own good. The boy can't say 'Cheese'. He can almost say 'I love you' but no, not 'Cheese'. It's driving me nuts. I should have picked a simpler sentence. *sigh*

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Walking Tall

For the last few months, Mae and I had been wondering when he'd finally let go of our hand and walk off on his own. On Saturday, just out of the blue, he upped and walked about flashing all of his 8 little teeth, smiling at everybody.

Expectedly, we're overjoyed. It's like striking the jackpot. But without the money and the glamour. And the hot chicks trying to score a rich boyfriend. Still, we're euphoric. Heh!

I was out on an appointment in the morning. Mae called me and announced the good news. "Today your son is walking," Mae said proudly, "and all on his own."

I was a bit sore that I had to be out for a meeting. But unfortunately, Daddy's gotta help put food on the table. And as though he understood, when I came home, the boy gave me a little treat. He got up, walked to me and put his arms around me and buried his little face in my neck.


Some things are better than hitting the jackpot. Not many, but they're there.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Famous Ipoh Beansprouts Chicken

a taste of Ipoh

Unless your dietary orientation forbids it, you can't ever go to Ipoh without having the city's famous Beansprouts Chicken Kuey Teow. And famous, it is. Tourists arrive by the busloads, and city folks here never seem to have enough of the stuff.

The last time Mae and I had this at Ipoh's famous Lou Wong Restaurant, Jesse was just a couple of months from being born. And despite Mae voracious appetite at the time, we were not impressed. Despite our mild disappointment the last time, we decided to give Lou Wong another chance and this time around the folks at Lou Wong completely redeemed themselves!We ordered the standard poached chicken, beansprouts, pork meatballs and Ipoh's famous Sar Hor Fun (Kuey Teow) noodles.
The chicken is perfectly done, cooked just well enough to retain a juicy smoothness that is often absent from overcooked chicken. Similarly the beansprouts are poached just right, removing any taste of green but retaining its crunchy goodness. And characteristic of Ipoh taugeh, the sprouts are stout and crunchy. Both are drizzled with a combination of sesame oil and a delicious soy sauce mix. And in that mix is the secret of Lou Wong's success.

Lou Wong's porkballs were excellent - springy, rubbery and tasty, the hallmarks of any good balls. *ahem* And of course, we ordered ourselves a bowl of Sar Hor Fun each. It must be said that the noodles here differ from KL's ever so slightly with it's slightly translucent look and superb slippery smooth texture.

So, yes, this time around Lou Wong came through for us. We're not sure why our previous outing was a letdown. Perhaps it was the peak holiday season and the guys here decided to water down their stuff; or maybe they have re-discovered what made them famous in the first place. We may never know. :) Anyway if you're looking, Lou Wong is located on 49, Yau Tat Shin Road. It's somewhere in between Syuen Hotel and Super Kinta.

Note: By the way, some Ipoh folks have told me that other places actually serve better Beansprouts Chicken, like Ong Kee Restaurant across the street and this other one on Coven Street. I have, however, learnt that people's personal taste should not be trusted. Go where the crowd is. Thousands of people can't be wrong, right? :)

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Pachyderm Phallus & Other Photos

The Taiping Zoo is a lovely place to watch animals banging ... erm... doing animal stuff. We took loads of pictures but here are the ones approved by the Home Minister of our home. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves, while giving you my witty (*ahem*) commentary. Yes, yes, I'm trying to give Sashi and Zoo Melaka a run for their money.

"Just airing the balls, nothing to see here! Move along."

"Sorry Harry, I'm not spending a lifetime with a cold-blooded animal like you."

"Are we there yet?"

This could have been a better shot had I been quicker on the draw. There were a whole bunch of them - about 6 - walking in a line. Oh well.

"Come home, Juliet, it could never work out. You're just too different."

"Zebra is ze piece of clothing to hold up ze boobs."

I was so close I could almost touch this guy. And for some reason, this fella just stood there while we took photos and stuff.

"Whatsamatter kid? Never seen a guy skinny-dipping before?"

Jesse really loved the otter display. He was almost falling asleep when we got here and seeing the otter perked him right up. Otters have showmanship, I'll tell you that much. That's Grandma's hand on Jesse's head, guiding him towards the otter. Hehh!

"No Entry, okay!? I'm still sore."

"All that hump and no action... *sigh*"

"Is that another trunk or are you just happy to see me?"

We were walking up to the Elephant display when Mae told Jesse, "Look boy, elephant shit-shit!" I had to educate her, "Look again, honey!" "Whoaaa!!!" I guess we're just not getting the most of our Astro Animal Planet subscription.

This one is of Jesse enjoying himself stepping on the paw-prints they painted on the ground. All in all, we enjoyed ourselves. There's nothing like watching animals caged-up like... erm... animals. But seriously though, I think the Zoo in Taiping has done a pretty good job. The animals are well cared for and their enclosures very well designed to resemble their natural habitat.

Clever people, these Taiping folks. Heh!

Monday, November 14, 2005

Monkeying Around

Whenever we go home to Taiping these days, we always go to the zoo. It's like an unwritten parenting rule of some sort. So there we were over the weekend introducing Jesse to his animal friends when suddenly Mae grabs the boy and starts running towards some monkeys.

"Jesse, see! The monkey piggy-back his friend!" Mae shrieks excitedly in broken English to the equally excited boy. We had been carrying him on our backs and so he understood the term, piggy-back well enough. And so, mother and son ran enthusiastically towards a group of monkeys roaming around the zoo compound.

And then, Mae made an about-turn. "Okaaaaay," she rolled her eyes, "they're NOT piggy-backing!"

It's never a pretty sight when animals do what animals do to make more animals. I whipped my camera and ran towards the subjects but alas, Guy-Monkey came before I went.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Up North

Yesterday Mae, Jesse and I along with Roma packed up and left for a short vacation up north. Actually, it would have made more sense to go during the DeepaRaya break but I wasn't terribly excited with the prospect of travelling with hordes of Malaysian on their Balik Kampong exodus. So here we are, going home a week later.

And since every trip up North is mostly a makan trip thinly disguised as an act of filial piety (*ahaks*), we decided to stop for the night at Ipoh. This was so we could sample a taste of Ipoh's famous Dim Sum. Which is also why I'm up and about so early during a vacation. We had breakfast at 6:30am this morning. We have heard of the legendary Foh San Dim Sum but quite a few Ipoh folks have pointed out that Yoke Fuk Moon was way better. Anyway, expect some photos and reviews will follow when we return. :)

We have the rest of the day to explore Ipoh's culinary delights before we head on up to Taiping. Thanks to the wonder of Wikipedia, we have adequate recommendations [click!] to keep us busy for the rest of the day. All you Ipohans out there, if you're reading this and think you can do better than the Wikipedia, we'd appreciate your recommendation in the comments - ideally with explicit instruction on getting there.

There goes the diet. Oh well.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Old Wives' Tale?

For the last couple of months, Jesse hasn't shown very much interest in the solid foods that we've been giving him. He used to chow down a small bowl of porridge when in the first few weeks that we fed him solids but lately we're lucky if he can manage half a bowl.

Roma says that toddlers do that, especially when they're about to start walking. Apparently, kids have some kind of biological sensor that tells them they should slim down to facilitate an easy start for their first steps.

"Old wives' tale," I dismiss the story, pointing out to Mae that it's a little bit of a stretch. "But that's what Kim's Chinese babysitter told them as well," Mae, too, was perplexed. Thereafter, we heard the same theory in a few other places as well. Which makes me wonder if enough people believe in this, would it make it more true?

Meanwhile, Jesse has gotten quite thin. Yet, he's still not officially walking just yet - just a few occasional steps here and there, which I suspects he makes just to humour us.

If there's any truth to that story, then the boy had better get cracking before he withers away. Already, he's starting to look more and more like those creepy little guys from Mars Attacks!

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

Too Little For Chicken Little

look ma, no pants

"You've never brought Jesse to the cinema?" my sis Sue asked, her eyes opened wide, almost pulsating out of her sockets. "Not even once?"

Indeed we had not. We just never felt ready to bring Jesse to a cinema. What if he cried? What if he whinged and whined out loud bugging all the nice folks at the auditorium? What if the other patrons started throwing popcorn and Coke at us?

"Why don't we go for a matinee show at GSC's Gold Class?" Ah Fook, the ever-inspired brother-law-asked. "If all of us went," he reasoned pointing to my other siblings and our parents, "we'd pratically take up the whole auditorium." In principal, it was a good concept. There'd be no one outside our family for Jesse to annoy. And so, at 11:50am on Sunday last week, we saw Chicken Little at One Utama. There were two other couples there. And they brought their toddlers too.

For some reason, everytime the trailer came on TV, the little fowl reminded us of our own little guy. Besides, Jesse always perked up when they played that Chicken Little teaser with the strangely infectious Numa-Numa song. So we thought he might enjoy the show. Unfortunately, our boy just wasn't ready for such an outing. He got disinterested quickly enough and just started messing around with the popcorn and coke. Thankfully, though, he didn't kick up too much of a fuss.

And so at RM35 a pop, it cost us RM105 for Mae, Roma and me. Plus refreshments and lunch, we spent a small fortune for last Sunday's outing, only to learn that our son isn't gonna be ready for another cinema outing for another year. *sigh*

You know what they say - a fool and his money are soon parted. Yes, an idiot and his wife are RM170 poorer.

Sick Help

For as long as we've had Jesse, he's never gotten really sick before. Maybe a little flu here and there, and a bit of cough once in awhile; but never really sick. Until yesterday.

Poor kid got the sniffles on Sunday night. That rapidly developed into a cough and a little fever. As if that wasn't bad enough, he had diarrhea too yesterday. It broke my heart into little pieces seeing the little guy suffer like that. And suffer, he did. Mae and I had to take turns watching him all night. Here's what we learnt, courtesy of our Pediatrician, Baby Center and good old fashion Momma's Advice:
  1. A little Vicks Vaporub on the chest can help with the nasal congestion and apparently, cough too. Jesse couldn't sleep cos he had trouble breathing. A little Vicks and shortly after, he was out like a light.
  2. Diarrhea will leave the kid dehydrated. Your doctor can prescribe an electrolyte solution. Otherwise, 100 Plus works too. Open the can, allow it to sit till it gets flat (no more gas), and serve. Jesse prefers 100 Plus.
  3. Yoghurt also works for kids with Diarrhea. Some live cultures can help the kid get better quicker. Our doc gave us some in granule form. Otherwise, try Yakult.
  4. A cold compress on the forehead can help rid the fever. Kool Fever strips help too. Just make sure you're not too sleepy to read the instructions. Mae and I spend a good half hour wondering why the damn thing didn't stay on Jesse's forehead. Peeling off the back sheet helps. *ahaks*
Anyway Jesse's fever has subsided. And the diarrhea is gone too. So far, the boy seems to be holding up well. Ah, perhaps we'll get some sleep tonight.

Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Mixed Festivities

dei thambi!

For the recent holidays, we decided to give Jesse a little Indian Kurta. He looks like a tiny little Amitabh Bachan minus the facial hair and macho wrinkles.

We would have gotten him a Baju Melayu as well, if he didn't keep tripping over the sampin. So that wouldn't have worked too well. Besides, these days he seemed adversed to having anything placed atop his head and a songkok would have been a problem as well. And so we took the boy visiting in his new outfit. Unfortunately, however, we didn't know anybody who celebrated Deepavali in KL. So he wore a Indian costume for Hari Raya instead.

And then there was Roma. Mae and I had decided it would be a nice gesture to give her a new outfit for the Hari Raya and so we brought her Baju Kurung shopping around town. Unfortunately, the picky girl couldn't decide on an outfit and instead settled for a Chinese number. So there we were at Elin's house during Raya lending a very muhibbah flavour to the event.

It looked more like we had our festivals mixed up. Perhaps we'll dress the boy up in Iban gear next year. :)

Some Announcements

For some reason, I have so much to say that I'm almost bursting at the seams. So expect a barrage of posting in the next couple of days. First up, here are some announcements:

Brownie the Colleague from Hell, who now owes me a PaanMein, made me plug this so here it is. Project Privilege is a blog that aims to help the victims of the South Asian-Pakistan/India Quakes. They are holding a charity event to help buy tents for the victims there.

Disclaimer: I do not know the owners of the Project Privilege personally and therefore cannot vouch for their credibility. If you're donating, do take special care to ask all the relevant questions.

Peter Tan, in case you didn't know, shaved of his locks to raise RM 5000 for the Penang Hospice-at-Home Programme. He has since raised RM 5170 for the programme and is now a shoo-in for the role of Professor Xavier in the next installment of X-Men. If you missed the boat, do not despair. You can still donate and who knows, perhaps Peter might shave other parts of his body. Heh! I think I just grossed myself out.

Some weeks back, I urged you to buy Pandan Chicken to help this little family have a good Raya. And buy, you did! In all, Elin managed to sell a whopping 70 boxes of Pandan Chicken. Special thanks to the folks who purchased over 60 boxes!! Special thanks also to the wonderful lady who texted Elin to tell her she loved the Pandan Chicken. Bless your kind hearts. The family had a better Raya this year because of you. I had a pretty good Raya too since I had my fill of Pandan Chickens when we visited the family.

Okay, I'm done. Move along now, nothing more to see here.

Monday, November 7, 2005

Practical Skills

At fourteen months, some kids can do plenty. Wave bye-bye. Blow kisses. Point out their eyes, nose, mouths or whatever. And then there is Jesse.

"Look at that Baby Jubbs - pointing out his eyes and mouth and nose. Our son can't do any of these," Mae gestures with her thumb to the boy sitting quietly in the back seat with his Kakak Roma. Jesse doesn't make a peep. It's almost as if he agrees.

"Yes, but our boy has practical skills," I protested, pointing out that despite Baby Jubbs ability to blindly follow the instructions of silly adults he has yet to learn to walk. Mae makes a monkey face at me.

"It's true," I explained, "Imagine if Jesse got lost in a jungle with Baby Jubbs and a tiger shows up. Our son will be able to run away while Baby Jubbs will be busy pointing at his eyes, nose, mouth and his pee-pee."

"Awww... you're jealous," Mae give me another monkey face, this time more condescending than the first. For some reason, it comes easy to her - the monkey face, I mean. Anyway, when we got home, Mae proceeded to educate Jesse on the aspects of his anatomy. Me, I think I'll teach him something more practical. Like grabbing a smart-aleck kid by the nuts or something.

Okay, okay, I'm jealous! Sue me.

Wednesday, November 2, 2005

Swede Nothings

the best thing since Abba

If you've ever bought anything at Ikea Kota Damansara, you would have noticed an eatery right after the check-out counters. It's a small cafe at the exit area named, quite aptly so, the Exit Cafe. Heh!

Yesterday, having run out of places to entertain Jesse, I brought him in to the section where they sell Swedish goodies. In fact, if you like any of the Swedish stuff you eat at any one of Ikea's 3 restaurants, chances are you'll find them here. Yes, even the meatballs and the brown sauce mix, and the little berries on top!

But what caught my attention was the squeeze-tube shrimp cream cheese! It's cream cheese with little bits of shrimp in it and it comes in a metal tube, just like toothpaste. (Actually it's more like tile-grout since toothpastes no longer use metal tubes.) I bought a tube of the stuff along with a pack of Swedish crispbreads.

I love it. The crunchy healthy-tasting crispbread! The creamy cream cheese. And the little bits of shrimp. Plus the convenience of getting in a tube. I'm half tempted to brush my teeth with the stuff. Or squeeze the whole tube in my mouth when no one's watching. Whoa! I bet Jesse would love it too, but I'm not sure if I'm ready to share yet. Heh!

Ahhhh... I love Ikea!