October 31, 2005

Birthday Boys

Here's a birthday shout-out to my boys, Ah Boy and Albert.

Courtesy of Care2.com

Happy birthday, guys. Many happy returns.

Help, I’m A Junkie!

The weekend had been rather abysmal. Didn’t go to Tokyo. Pretty much hung out at the shopping malls of Takasaki. Takashimaya and HMV must love me by now. Ever since I discovered the foreign magazines section of HMV, its business must be blooming since I buy one almost every week. The Japanese don’t normally buy their magazines, which is odd, because there are huge sections of bookstores dedicated to Japanese magazines alone. They prefer to pick them up, and read them (and it’s not just a 10-second flip-and-go; some of them stay there for ages, reading without buying) and leave. What’s amazing is that the sales clerks do not shoo them off. I can’t imagine doing that at home without the salesperson shooting me dirty looks. Anyway, I believe I’ve gone back to the days when I was a total magazine junkie in the UK. And to think I’ve left those days behind. Hello Cosmo.

Denial. Not a good thing.

So the weekend had pretty much also been a makeup-shopping bonanza. Although I have to say, it WAS rather hellish trying to buy concealer from the salesperson at
Estee Lauder, who couldn’t speak a word of English. Still, it was a good experience to see how cosmetics are sold here (department store-type of cosmetics, not the ones sold at drugstores). I was able to take my time and try out EVERY single piece of makeup at the counter, and the salesperson would still be beaming at me. And after I was done, with the back of my palms full of makeup, I was offered tissues AND a hot towel to clean it off. I was also given free samples without my having to ask for one. At home, I’d probably be lucky if I was even offered a tissue.

This place has seriously turned me into such a vain pot. Pre-Japan, I couldn’t even be bothered to slather anything more than moisturiser on my face before I head out. Post-Japan, I cannot imagine leaving the house without the full-on goo. I now have a proper makeup bag, with slots for brushes and stuff, together with my cosmetics. I have pots, tubs, jars and bottles of goo. Tsk tsk tsk.

Hello, I’m Tine (“hello Tine!”). I’m a mag-aholic AND a makeup-aholic.

PS: I’m also a bag-junkie, but let’s leave that for another day.

October 26, 2005

Buzz! Pfft!

I was blog-surfin’, and I stumbled upon this. As one of the similar profession, I just have to share it with those who are too.

An Engineer’s Love Poem

I was alone and all was dark,
Beneath me and above
My life was full of volts and amps
But not the spark of love.

But now that you are here with me
My heart is overjoyed,
You turn the square of my heart,
Into a sinusoid.

You load things from my memory,
Onto my systems bus.
My life was once assembly code,
Now its C++.

I love the way you solder things,
My circuits you can fix.
The voltage across your diode is,
Much more than just point six.

With your amps and resistors,
You have built my integrator.
I cannot survive without you,
You are my function generator.

You have charged my life,
Increased my gain and made my maths discrete.
And now I'll end my poem,
Control, Alt, and Delete
Somehow, this just doesn't do it for me.

Internet Heroes

Thanks to Tim Berners-Lee and Jeff Bezos, I managed to get the first and fourth season DVDs of Coupling (I bought it from Amazon UK; it was a lot cheaper than Amazon Japan, including p+p). The package arrived yesterday while I was at work. I was actually having a bit of a bad day at work yesterday, but all moodiness and feelings of wanting-to-kill-the-world vanished in an instant when I saw the lovely, brown Amazon box lying on top of my shoe cabinet, waiting for me. I spent the entire night in tears of laughter. Not a bad pick-me-up, eh?

I also ordered My Family and Smack The Pony from Amazon. Ooooh, it's going to be fun watching all the British comedies I sorely missed.

Protect Your Equipment

There's been a lot of hoo-hah going on about the new iPod Nano, and about how it's flimsy and it's screen is scratched excessively during normal usage. Apparently, the Nano's defectiveness is on the film of the plastic resin that covers it to protect it from damage. Previous versions of the iPod were coated with thicker and stronger resin.

Lawsuit claims iPod Nano scratches easily

Now, being an owner of an iPod Mini and an iPod Nano, I do admit that the Nano is a lot flimsier than the other versions of iPods, but that does not mean that I'm going to allow it to be damaged that easily either. The iPod Nano was built for versatility and mobility, which means you can carry it around on your front and back pockets of your jeans without the unsightly bulge. I know it's small, but it would definitely be a good idea if you REMEMBER to take it out of your back pocket when you're sitting down. Also, be sensible - do not put your Nano and keys in the same pocket. Due to the way the Nano is made, you cannot avoid leaving fingerprints nor scratches on the metal back, but there are ways to prevent scratches on the screen.

Friends would tell you that I have a case/pouch/bag/sack/etc for simply everything - I have a pouch for my mobile phone, MP3 players (I actually have three MP3 players, but two were gifts, so there), PDA, electronic dictionary, etc. I even have protective bags for my bags, for goodness' sake (okay, that's probably not such a good thing to reveal to the world, but hey, they're very important, okay? I value my bags!). My point is, if you're going to splash thousands of ringgit on something, then have the right mind to protect it. I'm not saying that you have to spend a lot of money to buy extra protective accessories for your electronic items. My iPod Mini's leather case cost me over RM100, but the case for my Nano and mobile phone cost me RM5. A dear friend gave me an expensive PDA metal case once, and once that was worn out, I used a RM10 case on it. Invest on protective screens for your digital camera, iPods, PDAs, etc. They may be expensive at first glance, but believe me, the scratches you get on them instead of your electronic items will save you a LOT of heartache.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to scour the Internet for a cool case for my Nano ;)

October 24, 2005


Today, I stumbled upon a blog which I've been occasionally reading. I was dumbstruck for a moment, because this person's latest entry struck a nerve in me. For privacy reasons, I shall not link this her blog to mine. It's confounding to know that she's going through the same thing that I am, in many ways.

I shall not divulge the intimate details of what she went through, nor mine, but suffice to say, we're both pretty much on the same boat, spiritually, I mean. Now, I normally do not leave comments on blogs of people whom I don't know, but for the first time, I left a note on her blog, shared a little, and wished her all the best.

Now I know the liberating feeling of sharing your intimate secrets (not in full detail, of course) with a complete stranger, just like you do with your shrink. At least, I do not have to pay $150 per hour for this.

October 20, 2005

Condolences To The PM

Just a short note to convey my heartfelt condolences to our Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and his family in the passing of his wife, Datin Seri Endon Mahmood.

About the rumours of a public holiday on October 24, I sincerely hope that it does not come to pass as I believe the nation will just make a mockery of the day (they already have by making a big deal out of the rumoured holiday, more than the sad news). This has nothing to do with the fact that I'm here in Japan. I'm all for taking a day off from work, as a day to relax, but not in the expense of "oooh, the PM's wife died. Got holiday ah? Got holiday ah?"

Just my two cents.


The Japanese archipelago is located in an area where several continental and oceanic plates meet, which is the cause for frequent earthquakes. However, in the 8 months that I've been in Japan, I have NEVER felt so much as a tremor. My colleagues have felt it so many times, it was no longer a big deal. I was oblivious to any shakes or tremors. Either I sleep through it, or ... heck, I just don't feel it. When the earthquake that hit Aceh in December 26, 2004, the aftershocks could be felt all the way in Penang. My friends told me about the buildings shaking, etc. I felt absolutely nothing.

Imagine my delight (?) when I felt my first tremors yesterday. I was playing Age of Mythology (yeah, I know, old game) on my notebook yesterday, with my back leaned against the wall, when I felt the entire building shaking. It lasted for almost 10 seconds before the tremors stopped. I was actually more excited than scared. How freaky is that?

Checked out the news this morning, and read this: M6.2 quake hits Kanto, Tohoku.

Aaaah. I wonder when I'll feel it again.

Yeah, yeah, I know. Oddball ;)

Hey, It's OK ...

… to still care about the state of your pedicure, even if the only person to see it this time of year is you.

… to believe only the thin mirrors.

… if you don’t come from one of those enviably close families. You have a lifetime to build your own.

… if dirty talk kind of skeeves you out.

… if parallel parking remains a challenge. That’s why God created bumpers.

… to dump a perfectly nice guy. So what if he’s kind, responsible and his ancestors all had full heads of hair? That doesn’t make him right for you.

… to get seriously annoyed when someone tells you to smile. (What are you, a doll?)

… to only really feel thankful once the whole Thanksgiving hoo-hah is over.

- Taken from Glamour, US (Nov '05)

October 19, 2005

Mind Yer English

This reminds me of some people whom I know cannot help but mis-pronounce their words and phrases. I do admit I'm guilty on some level too.

100 Most Often Mispronounced Words and Phrases in English

"Thats mean ..."*, anyone? ;)

* What he was trying to say was "That means ... "

October 18, 2005

Low, Very Low

I hate my job.
I hate myself for being such a wuss and agreeing to stay back to do something I know shit about.
I hate being here alone.
I hate going back to an empty apartment.
I hate feeling sorry for myself.

I just want to go home and scream into my pillow.
No, scratch that, I just want to go home.

Persecution of the Wrong Pooch

This is just sick to the eyes.

RM100 fine for dog abuse

The idiot neglected his pooch to be infested with ticks, did not give the dog any medical attention, and when vets could not save it, the poor mutt had to be put to sleep. And for that, the owner just had to pay RM100 for getting on with his life whilst the dog had to pay with his life.

Now I'm not much of a dog fan. Sure, I coo at cute puppies (come on, wouldn't you?) and I pat the occasional dog, but most of the time, I'd prefer if they keep their wet tongues away from me, that they poop in the right places, all that jazz. That's why my dog isn't too keen on me, but then again, he and I had an agreement with each other. I feed him at the right time, with the right food (and no dog biscuit crap either - it's GOT to be fatty meat), and he doesn't lick me. Period.

But to neglect your dog to such poor conditions, now that's a crime. You know what the biggest crime committed here is? It's that the idiot was only slapped on the wrist with a measly fine of RM100. It's inhumane, I tell you. If tables were turned, e.g. the dog bites the owner in the ass, would the dog be given a light punishment? Nope, he'd be put to sleep too.

I'm not saying that dogs and humans are equal, but justice has to be served. And a RM100 fine for such a heinous crime is just plain insulting.

May the poor pooch rest in peace.

Cheap Service

What the hell is the world coming to these days?

School gardener paid girl RM1 for oral sex

So apparently, you thought you could get serviced for a meagre sum of RM1. It's the good thing the girl reported the gardener's sorry ass to the authorities. Perhaps this time, he'll get to service his fellow inmates for RM1.


October 17, 2005

Office Dos and Don'ts

There are just a few things you just don't do at the office:
  1. Listen to classical music in the afternoon, right after lunch (unless you want to show your boss the best way to give you the boot for sleeping on the job, listen to Black Eyed Peas* or something).
  2. Read funny blogs - not such a good idea when you're biting your lips and tongue till blood spew out of your mouth to control your laughter, and your colleague sitting opposite you starts to think that you're possessed, and speed-dials his psychic (I think the dude sitting opposite me is contemplating that `cos he kept giving me weird looks. Either that, or both his eyes are lazy).
  3. Chat with the clerks in the restroom during their "breaks" - ladies, it's the TOILET. It's where you do numbers 1 and 2. There are perfectly good chairs by the vending machines. How about you do bitching about over there, and let me use the loo.

But then again, this you can do at the office:

  1. Read funny blogs - those circuit simulations take ages, see? That dude had better get used to the blood frothing at my mouth.
  2. Coffee, coffee, coffee - man, the afternoons can just drag on ...
  3. Take frequent walks - hours of sitting at your desk and staring at the monitor just isn't healthy. The company doesn't want you to end up suing them now, do they? Just make sure you carry a folder or a book (work-related, please), in case you bump into the boss-man, and you can say "Oh, I was actually looking for you. Do you know ...[add technical mumbo jumbo here] ... ?" Chances are, he'll give you a blank look, and then ask you to check with your colleagues (Ker-ching! Breaktime! Bring out the snacks!).

I have a lot more to share*, but let's save that for another day. I just realised that none of these have anything to do with actual work, but hey, let him/her/other who's without sin cast the first stone.

* I don't actually listen to Black Eyed Peas; it was the first thing that popped my mind.

** I shall not be held liable if any of these renders one jobless. Me included.

Reluctant Daughter

My song of the day:

Jesus, tell my Father
I want to be His child again
Tell Him what my name is
In case He's forgotten

Tell Him I'm the woman
At the well
Drawing water
And I'm sorry if I've been His
Reluctant daughter

Jesus, tell my angels
To keep me in their prayers
Remind them how I need
To feel them everywhere

Tell 'em I'm ready to drink
Living water
I don't want my angels to think
I'm His
Reluctant daughter

Jesus, tell my Father
I want to come to heaven
Tell Him to shout my name out

So I won't be forgotten

- Martina McBride,

Click here to listen.

October 16, 2005


Now, there's your misers and skinflints. And there's just plain cheap-as-hell.

Blood Suckers

Japan is the land of the plentiful. They have Fuji apples the size of small melons. Grapes the size of rambutans. Etc, etc. 

And most of all, they have humongous mosquitoes. How would I know? Well, I had the misfortune of being bitten by huge mosquitoes all night. I had mosquitoes making their sweet music by my ears. And I now have welts the size of 1-yen coins as souvenirs on my legs and arms. If I was back in Malaysia now, I’d probably be dead from dengue.

Damn you, Japanese mozzies, to HADES!

On the lighter side, I did manage to squash one this morning. That’s retribution for you, you blood suckers!!

October 14, 2005

All The McD Goodness

Following up with my Super Size Me post, McDonald's in Japan is coming up with its own version of shrimp burger. Well, it's about time too, since Japanese fast-food chain, Lotteria, already has their shrimp burgers selling like hotcakes. Apparently, McDonald's Japan is also testing other additions, such as chicken salad and yogurt.

Well, I'm glad to say that McDonald's Malaysia isn't doing too bad with its own local tastes. Where else can you find McBubur (questionable taste though) and the famous Prosperity Burger (I can't believe this stupid burger is seasonal; it's so good!)?

I wonder when they'll start making McNasiLemak, McRendang, McKoayTeow ...

Nobody Loves Me Like You Do

My song of the day:

In the morning
In the evening
Anytime at all
I'll be ready, baby when you call

In the darkness
I'll be waiting
With nothing but a smile
You got me crazy
I just want what's mine

I don't need another love song
You're the only thing that turns me on

Nobody loves me like you do
Nobody understands, everything I am
Nobody else could ever take your place
You're all that I want
I'm in heaven now
Nobody loves me like you do

Don't be tired
Don't be late now
Don't forget your key
I'll be right where you should be

Don't you know you're taking too long
You're the only thing that turns me on

Nobody loves me like you do ...

You got something that's so true
I need your loving like a heartbeat
You're my everything cause I believe

Nobody love me like you do ...

- Bellefire, Spin The Wheel

Click here to listen.

PS: By the way, I think Bellefire's version of "You Were Meant For Me" is better than Jewel's, but I'll leave that for another time.

Grrrr, And Not In A Good Way

I am feeling absolutely wretched today. I have two collosal pimples on my face, which no amount of makeup can conceal, a canker sore at the back of my mouth, which I cannot reach with salt and to top that off, my colleagues are returning to Malaysia today, which leaves me alone in Takasaki. Not that I ever needed their company, which I never had; yet, it was at least a little comforting to know that the person sitting next to you in a foreign office is someone you know from home. Get the drift?

As if things cannot get any worse, I'm having problems with my work which did not appear when my colleague was doing the same thing. And now that he's about to leave, and hand it over to me, the problems crop up. What gives??

Argh. Shoot me. Just shoot me now.

October 13, 2005

Meat Bone Tea

So like, right now, I have, like, a major craving for, like, bak kut teh.
Y'know, like, the oily soup, the greasy "yau char kuai", gross pig entrails, and stuff. I am sooo going to, like, cook that this weekend.


Yeah, whatever.

October 12, 2005

Super Size Me

I recently had a very interesting discussion with a colleague, about the rising problems of obesity in the US. What with the movie, Super Size Me, a lot of hoo-hah boils down to one factor: fast food consumption. Anyway, just a summary of Super Size Me:

Why are Americans so fat? Two words: fast food. What would happen if you ate nothing but fast food for an entire month? Filmmaker Morgan Spurlock does just that and embarks on the most perilous journey of his life. The rules? For 30 days he can't eat or drink anything that isn't on McDonald's menu; he must wolf three squares a day; he must consume everything on the menu at least once and supersize his meal if asked. Spurlock treks across the country interviewing a host of experts on fast food and an equal number of regular folk while chowing down at the Golden Arches. Spurlock's grueling drive-through diet spirals him into a physical and emotional metamorphosis that will make you think twice about picking up another Big Mac.

All this reminded me of a conversation I had with a Japanese friend not too long ago. She told me that the Japanese government (some kind of ministry) has decided to raise the height of the loop thingies (for the love of me, I have no idea what they are called) you hold on to in trains. Apparently it was due to the reason that the current generation, and the upcoming generation of kids are growing to be taller and bigger-sized than the average Japanese a few years ago, no thanks to the growing number of fast food chains in Japan. Now, my friend is rather ... err ... vertically-challenged, thus you can imagine her chagrin when she heard of the news.

This brings to mind a thought - even the Japanese are growing in size (they are stereotyped to be rather small in size ... well, most of them anyway), apparently due to fast food consumption. It's a well-known cliché that the Japanese are rather small in size. Not anymore.

However, my colleague did bring up an interesting point - we Malaysians consume fatty foods too, such as the much coveted nasi lemak, roti canai, char koay teow, etc. Look at the amount of grease which is in these foods, and I'm sure it will send health freaks running the other way. Have you ever tried patting a piece of roti canai with a paper towel? I have, and I had to use a few pieces just to soak the oil up (note that I am NOT a health freak; it was just a "health" experiment ... before I devoured the roti canai, that is).

Malaysia is well known for the vast variety of good food. In general, with that fact in mind, most Malaysians are not health freaks. I mean, hey, we like our nasi lemaks and teh tariks in the mornings, nasi kandars in the afternoon, and char koay teows in the evening just fine. Having said that, with the amount of fat consumed, why do Malaysians not have an obesity problem?

Let's return to the movie Super Size Me for comparison. Spurlock had to consume only McDonald's fast food for a month, and he was to SUPERSIZE his meal if asked. Have you ever been to an American restaurant? Have you seen the portions of food served in an American restaurant? They are HUGE. There is no way I could finish my meals in American restaurants. It's baffling how most Americans can.

This brings me to the point - it's not just the TYPE of food consumed which caused the obesity problems; it is the PORTION. It's the amount of food consumed, which causes us to blow up like a balloon. If I were to eat super-sized portions of curry mee, rendang, etc. for a month, believe me, I would look worse than Kirstie Alley post-Look Who's Talking.

Yet, I would not conclude that it is a good thing that Malaysians are spared of obesity problems, and that is all. Yes, we do not have obesity issues, but the high number of Malaysians with heart problems, diabetes, etc is worrisome. Thus, we may be consuming a regular amount of food, but the types of food we chow down are rich in saturated fats. How many of us do not have at least one family member with high cholesterol problems? Not many, I can tell. My father has very high levels of cholesterol as well, and had to take medication to curb it.

It is all about a healthy balance of the type of food AND the amount of food we consume. I believe that we can still have our delicious, pretty unhealthy Malaysian food, but in a moderate amount. Pair that with regular exercise; we should be able to curb all these health problems. Still, it would be interesting there was a Malaysian-style Super Size Me. Then we shall see which foods are really the killer here.

Having said all that, methinks I'll have a full-on-grease nasi goreng tomyam for dinner tonight. Eat, drink and be merry. Tomorrow, I shall diet.

PS: No one was forced to eat huge portions of food in the writing of this blog *munching on Doritos*

October 11, 2005


A couple of days ago, a Japanese friend introduced the music video to the song 桜色舞うころ by Mika Nakashima. Now, I normally do not give two hoots about music videos, especially J-pop ones, as I admittedly stereotype them to be candy pop music with cutesy female singers shaking their tootsies, exaggerating their emotions on the video whilst singing belting their thing. I mean, how many videos have you seen where the singer actually cries? Not many, I can tell. There's this one, 大好きだよ by Otsuka Ai, where she held her on-screen lover's hand whilst he slept, and wept her love to him. Initially, I thought he died or something for her to cry like that in the video. Get real. Geez. Hey, I'm all for the song (it's quite tuneful), but I draw the line at the soppy video.
Anyway, I digress. The Mika Nakashima video was introduced to me during a karaoke session in Shinjuku during the weekend. My friend told me about the video before, and how sad it was, that it made her cry after watching it. I have to say, I was entirely skeptical, amused even, at her confession. Heck, it was just a music video. How bad can it be?

The video featured Nakashima in a long, white, flowing dress, on the piano. Surprisingly, you do not see much of her in this video, as the storyline was based on Playdoh-like characters (very retro, actually). The video started with two children, a boy and a girl, playing around a tall, sakura (cherry blossom) tree. They were best friends, and were always together, playing by the sakura tree. Time passes by, and these two children grew up to be teenagers. They fell in love, and spent most of their time under the sakura tree, talking about their lives, planning a future together. Suddenly, the time came when the girl had to leave home (I'm not sure where to, and what for). They bade their sad farewells to each other, promising that they would meet again, under the sakura tree. The girl's father finally pried her away from the boy, and drove off, leaving the boy under the sakura tree.

The years went by. The boy grew up to be a handsome man. He waited everyday under the sakura
tree, hoping that his love would return to him. He waited everyday, and as time went by, everything around him changed. The old village he grew up in slowly became a city, with old buildings torn down, and replaced with skyscrapers. Everything changed, but his love for his sweetheart remained, and so did the sakura tree. He waited by the tree everyday, until there came a time when construction workers came to chop the tree down. He threw himself in front of the tree in protest. It worked, and the tree remained.

The boy we once knew was now an old man. He walked to the old sakura tree, back bent, with a walking stick. He never gave up waiting for his love to return to him. His sweetheart finally appeared in front of him, but as a teenaged girl. She smiled at him, and he walked towards her, becoming the young man himself. Sakura fell upon them, as the young lovers walked hand-in-hand.

Needless to say, in the midst of the noisy karaoke singers, I had tears in my eyes when the video was over.












Click here to listen.

October 06, 2005

Long Weekend (And A New Phone!)

My first post after being MIA for a while. I'm back in Japan, and things are going okay. So far, that is. The weather on my first week here was rather crazy; it was cold one day, and blazing hot the next. Didn't go too well by me; I fell ill on the first week. Came down with the flu, and bad stomachache. Geez.

Oh, I did manage to get myself a new toy though. Bought a new mobilephone here. It's a Vodafone V401D by Mitsubishi, and it's got to be the fanciest phone I have ever used. Ironically, it was also the cheapest phone I have ever bought (10290 yen). It was rather odd that I had to buy the phone at a convenience store. Vodafone outlets only sell the el-cheapo prepaid mobile phones, but not the fancypants ones. Only convenience stores stock the good prepaid phones. If only our 7-Elevens and D-Limas sell such items, huh? ;)

This weekend is going to be a long one. I'm off work this Friday, and next Monday (whoopee!). Will be heading down to Tokyo with a couple of Japanese friends. Gonna paint the town red!