Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Gandalf The...Kiwi?

I have just discovered, much to my amazement, that there is someone who is actually, legally, called The Wizard of New Zealand. He even kinda looks like that famous character from The Lord Of The Rings too.

Sort of.

Nevertheless, he's a real person (and yes, still alive) who's made a reputation of himself by speaking publicly in Cathedral Square, Christchurch. He's even got his own website and Wikipedia page. In fact, in 1990, he was officially invited (and which he obviously has accepted) to become The Wizard of the whole of NZ by Prime Minister Mike Moore, right smack in the middle of his electoral term. The only reason why that fact would be interesting is because he was only Prime Minister for 2 months, then went on to bigger and better things (I think).

Naturally, you won't be able to read anything of this minute size. Click on it to open it in a new tab/page, then click again to enlarge.

Anyway, back to the original topic. Here's another interesting fact. The Wizard is also a 'living work of art'. Literally. He even went on display at the Auckland City Gallery. The medium of art? The 'artist's corporeal substance'.  

cor·po·re·al (kôr-pôr'ē-əl) adj.
  1. Of, relating to, or characteristic of the body. See Synonyms at bodily.
  2. Of a material nature; tangible. 
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
Copyright © 2009 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved. 

Once again, rinse and repeat open in new tab, and click to enlarge.

I think he's abit used to the fact that most people don't believe that The Wizard of New Zealand is his legal name now. He was born Ian Brackenbury Channell, but I guess he wasn't too happy with his name and decided to change it.

In any case, ever seen what a wizard's passport and driver's license? Wait, on second thoughts, ever seen a wizard have a passport and driver's license?

"Grandmother, what big eyes you have!"
"All the better to see with, my child."

So...there's a Kiwi version of Gandalf. I wonder if he has a white stallion too?

Monday, June 14, 2010


Well, as you can see, I've changed my template. Blogger's come up with some fabulous new configuration options (and about time too!) and I just had to take advantage of them. Despite the huge selection of templates and backgrounds, as well as the several hours I spent on tweaking it, there haven't been all that many major changes. Guess I like things simple and user friendly.

Not that anyone would be interested, but just for my future reference (because I stupidly forgot to take a screenshot of how my blog used to look like), here are the major changes I've made:

1) It used to have a plain black background, but now its just a grey-black pinstriped background. More striking and less drab, no?

2) I also now have an additional sidebar on the left, and rearranged some of the widgets and deleted others which were only there because I have itchy fingers. I'm pleased to note that I've finally gotten around to deeming them unnecessary and deleting them, mainly because I am abit of a packrat and tend to collect useless junk.

3) I've added the Nuffnang ad units as widgets instead of spending ages to hunt through the mass of html in the Edit Template section and painstakingly adding them one by one...only to have to re-do them each time I want to update my template. The only exception is the 'Large Rectangle' ad unit that cannot be made into a widget because it only appears at the bottom of the 1st post.

Additional edit: 4) Also added a widget which allows me to view the live traffic on my blog. Most people probably won't even glance at it, but its interesting to me because until now I'm still fascinated that there are actually people out there (besides Nic, who reads it to see if I did anything naughty behind her back) who are interested enough to actually take time from their busy day (pure assumption here) to read the crap I put out. ;P

Everything else is pretty much the same, but I don't think anyone will be able to notice any further changes. I love tweaking my template. Lol.

If any of this stuff bores you (and I'm pretty sure it did), like I said, it's mainly for my reference because I didn't take a screenshot of how it looked before. :( How am I supposed to see how much my template's progressed if I don't know what it looked like previously? Silly me...

Monday, June 7, 2010

Something Good...Something Positive.

As I've previously mentioned quite some time ago (this post has been half written for a loooong time), I've been addicted to an online daily comic strip for the last several months. Its called 'Something Positive', by R.K. Milholland. I cannot for the life of me remember how I came across this comic, but whatever or whoever it was, a thousand blessings upon your equally twisted soul for sharing it with this kindred spirit (I mean me).

The reason why I feel compelled to plug this comic strip is for 1 simple reason...its damned good. If you enjoy sarcasm and quick wit, close relationships between the characters that you can relate to, along with a thinly veiled sexual innuendo or three, then Something Positive is the comic for you. As per Wikipedia, "The comic is characterized by a cynical tone and off-beat humor, including its portrayals of geeks, gamers, and goths."

I'm so fascinated by this comic that I even had fun reading the Wiki on it. Yea yea I know, lame right? =.="

In any case, my favourite character in SP is, of all things, a boneless, hairless, PINK cat called Choo Choo Bear. Yes, that's right. A pink cat called Choo Choo Bear. When he was first introduced, it was just weird. He was described as a 25 year old cat, with a bone disease that "makes him extra huggable" and lost all his fur because of chemotherapy. He also doesn't say 'meow' like all other cats. Instead, he goes "Murrrrr". You can view his introductory comic here. Heheheh.

This guy is so good at what he does that he's been doing this as his day job for the last 6 years. Now that takes some talent! I love his work so much that I've read it from his first post in Dec 2001 until his latest. It's awesome. Go read it. Seriously. Go. Like, right now.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Penang Again – Day 5 – Japanese food in Penang sucks!

With Nic being the ultimate fan of Japanese food, we absolutely had to give a chance to another Japanese eatery while we were up North. We decided to go to a restaurant just down the road  from our hotel which came recommended by my aunt. It's a chain of eateries which I've never heard of before but was apparently well known by Nic. Having had bad experiences with this particular chain at some of the Klang Valley outlets, she nevertheless decided to give it a try anyway. Honestly though, it was a waste of time and money. 

Nippon Yataimura on Burma Street. Do NOT go there. 

Now, don't get me wrong, the food wasn't too bad...if I were eating at a Japanese food stall in a food court. I  also wouldn't have had too much of a problem with the food if the prices were lower because the portion sizes were meant for smurfs children.

DSC00572 Salmon Sashimi...freshness wise-it was okay, but each slice was very thin and about the length of my pinkie (bear in mind I have short fingers!)...RM16.90.

DSC00576 White Tuna Carpaccio...very, very good, but fucking TINY! ...RM6.80...or was it RM16.80?

DSC00578 Aspara Bacon...this was good, but again (sigh) very small. It's such a close up, but yet you can already see it's a small pile...RM15.
DSC00580 Teppan Style Tofu...all I can say is 'okay lah'...RM8.

DSC00581 Garlic Rice, served in a heated stone bowl. The presentation on this one was good. Taste wise, it just tasted like garlicky fried rice. And again, portion size was meager...RM11

DSC00584Teppan Beef...tough, overcooked, puny and generally a waste of good beef...RM18(!!!!)

DSC00585 The decor wasn't too bad. Each table was a booth seat, and they had wooden plaques of each menu item mounted on the wall in rows. I would recommend reading from the actual menu though..unless you wanted to walk the entire restaurant just to decide what to eat. 

DSC00586 They had a long piece of glass which divided the restaurant in half lengthwise and a conveyor belt running around the 2 rows of booths in the centre. But what I really don't get is, why are the headrests on the back of the booths so high? Fashion...or failure?

DSC00593 Being as hungry and unsatisfied as we were, we naturally had to have a couple plates of extra food... 

As bad as the experience was, just before we left, something else occurred that really left a bad taste in our mouth. In attempting to ask for the bill, we waved at a passing waitress. "Wait." was all she said, before walking to the end of the row to spend 5 minutes chit chatting with someone from the kitchen through the food delivery window. To make matters worse, there were no other waitstaff in the area for us to flag down. Finally the manager saw our near futile attempt to attract some attention and brought us the bill. 

When the bill came, we saw that they had overcharged us for something that we had ordered, but was never delivered to us. Nic was so pissed off that once we'd paid the bill, we immediately went to the counter to speak to the manager. Halfway through her diatribe, she suddenly stopped. I thought she simply couldn't think of the right word to use, and continued on her behalf. I discovered later that she'd actually been so angry that she was seeing red and was at a loss for words (a rare, but entirely possible occurrence).

After dinner, in an attempt to grab some internet time, we went to...

DSC00598 I nominate this my favourite place in the whole of Penang! Segafredo Jalan Burma! XD

Saw this stuck on the inside of someone's car on the walk over to Sega's. 

Despite drinks and a shared dessert, our tummies were still unsatisfied so we decided to go food hunting for some 'supper'.

DSC00602 We ended up in a huge joined coffeeshop with lots of choices. Which rather surprised me, because it was pretty late already by Penang standards.

DSC00601 I don't know what this stall was selling, but the things were very nicely arrayed. See if you can find the red crab. (Hint: near the top of the photo)

DSC00607 And then, it was finally back to our hotel...
...for SUPPER!

DSC00609 Boiled see-ham (cockles) with chilli...

DSC00611 Fried oh chien (mini oysters?) with egg and some gummy stuff (starch?). This one had too much gummy stuff in it till I had to dig it out in big blobs and throw it away because I was eating more gum than egg.

DSC00614 Curry mee (or prawn mee, as the locals call it), which was my favourite item of the night. Rather surprising, as I don't normally like curry very much.

DSC00612 Sotong kangkung! (Or squid and..uh..veggies? WTH is kangkung called in english?)

DSC00617 Mmmm...tongue...-I mean, prawn. Yes, I meant to say prawn!
It was all in all, a lovely cholesterol-raising evening.

So far, my gastronomic experience in Penang seems to be failing more than succeeding. On the bright side though, it just makes success all the sweeter. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Penang Again – Day 4 – I drive 300 km to go to a pasar malam.

So Day 4 fell on a Saturday. Nic knew of a huge pasar malam (night market) that took place opposite the Tesco in the Bukit Gambir area from her last trip, so we had been planning to go there to check it out. I wanted to see how different Penangite pasar malams were from the KL ones. 

So we parked opposite the pasar malam in the Tesco parking lot. As with most good pasar malams, parking is always a headache, so we grabbed an empty lot after a short hunt.
At first glance, it was just like any other pasar malam.

Then I noticed, gosh, it was right outside the houses! Not at main roads or in front of shops like the usual ones here (as far as I've seen anyway). And of course I was too polite to take photos of the old uncles and aunties sitting at their front porches people watching.
Of course, some of those houses had also been converted into interesting looking...erm..cafe's? Home by day, cafe by pasar malam?

And of course we had to buy our favourite rojak buah with the delicious, delicious(!) prawn paste sauce.
There were lots of stalls selling the local version of what we had back in KL, but I was so busy walking, munching and looking around that I forgot to take photos most of the time. One thing I can say though, stuff was cheap! And the pasar malam was pretty big, though the layout was rather weird. It was shaped like a huge H, so instead of being able to walk in a continuous circle, we had to stop when the pasar malam petered out and make our way back to the starting point.

After the pasar malam, we made a quick stop at the Tesco because I was feeling guilty about parking there and not buying anything we had some stuff to buy before heading home. I ended up buying several packs of instant noodles to eat in the hotel. That was the first real admission I had made toward how bad most of the food was in Penang. So...I wonder why people keep saying that it's a food-lover's paradise?

Work, work and more work!

I've been putting off blogging lately mainly because I've been working so much. It even feels like I never left the office to go on leave at all. I don't understand why my fuckin dumbass managers can't utilize more of my annual leave and give me more time off instead of making me work like a dog and leave my annual leave just sitting there when we're supposed to clear it before the end of June. Instead, my schedule has been frenetic, with singular off days sandwiched between 2-3 days of continuous 14-15 hour work days.

In addition, we've been so bloody busy in the office lately there's no time for trivial pursuits during working hours. It's just work work work work and more work from the moment we turn on our computers to the time we can finally clock off for the day. And even then, all of us have been staying back an extra 1-2 hours a day just to finish our assigned tasks.

It's not that the caseload has increased exponentially, it's more like the number of difficult cases that we currently open have suddenly decided to converge and hit us all at once. I've been going to work tired coming home wiped beyond exhaustion for the last week.

A spot of good news, however. My darling Nic has finally gotten a new job after dozens of lame interviews and several near misses in the last four(?) months since her bitch of a boss crossed the line between being  merely unreasonable to deserving to have a telephone pole shoved up her arse *cough cough* painful retribution beyond anything she's ever felt before.

The best part? It seems to be a great job with an awesome multi-national corporation located in KLCC. I'm so proud of her. She never gave up on herself and got depressed like most people would have after so many disappointments and tribulations in the last half year with money, illness, finding housemates, and heck, even a damn ghost in the house.

On the other hand, I'm so used to having her at home all the time, now that she's working again I'm kinda at a loss at what to do with myself when I'm home and she's not.


Computer games and various other computer-related-thingies, here I come!