August 27, 2008

Trying Out New Recipes

I'm not a good cook. Sure, I can cook better now that I'm cooking almost on a daily basis, but I'm not naturally good at it. That is why I buy foodie magazines, check out recipes online to try out new dishes so that I don't bore my husband to death with the same stuff I cook every week (mostly the dishes I like to eat; I can eat my favourite dishes on a daily basis and not get bored). One of my favourite foodie blogs is Hochiak! Delicious Asian Food. The recipes remind me of the home-cooked food I get in Malaysia.

A great recipe I tried out, which Tim and I thoroughly enjoyed, was the Pumpkin and Luncheon Meat Combo.

Pumpkin and Luncheon Meat Combo

Delicious ripe pumpkins were easily available at Coles, and I snapped up the ripest Kent pumpkin I could find for this recipe. A can of SPAM, some dried shrimps, lots of shallots, toss them all in, stir-fry up a storm, and voila! A hot, yummylicious meal on a cold winter's night. I chose a pumpkin of the brightest orange I could find as that would guarantee sweetness of the pumpkin. It wasn't easy removing the tough skin from the pumpkin though. A lot of near accidents there, that I'd tell you.

Pumpkin and Luncheon Meat Combo 2

I don't normally create great successes when it comes to food, but I have to say this was a real achievement. It was absolutely delicious, and I was so excited about it that I immediately took a photograph of the dish and emailed it to Pablopabla (the author of the blog), raving about his recipe. That was just a little over a month ago.

From then on, I continued trying out his recipes, and so far, each had been a success.

Oh, and if you're interested in winning UD$100, do check out Delicious Asian Food now, and start cooking! I can't wait to see what goodies you came up with ;)

Honeymoon Hiatus

Honeymoon Sticky NoteI'm finally off for my honeymoon!

As such, I'll be on a blogging hiatus for about three weeks. I won't be able to reply comments or emails quickly during that time, so don't be too alarmed, eh?

I should be able to update my Twitter every now and then, so do check it out.

Till I see y'all again, be good! ;)

August 24, 2008


I'm raring to go back to Malaysia. I really am. I haven't seen my family and friends in what seems like ages, and I'm beyond excited to be leaving for the States in a couple of weeks. But the one thing that is really making me dread going back is this one question that I know every single person I meet up with will ask me.

"So, have you gotten a job yet?"

If you're asking me if I'm working as an engineer yet, the answer is no. But if you're asking me if I'm working as something else, on something else, then the answer is yes. It took much deliberation over the past months to finally come to the conclusion that I don't want to go back to that field. Ever.

Well, surprise surprise. It was never something I was good at, nor something I was interested in. In fact, every day back then was a challenge to keep a straight face that I've been fooling everyone with, that I was actually good in what I do. I wasn't. Engineering never came easy for me, and it was a struggle to keep up with. It was a challenge all right.

But see, I can take challenges. Don't get me wrong there. Challenges keep my mind sharp. But I'd so much rather be challenged in something that I'd love to be challenged with. Not something I have to struggle so hard to only keep up with. I don't want to just keep up. I want to excel. It really doesn't take a genius to guess I'm never going to do so as an engineer.

Again, don't get me wrong. I do have technical skills. I have strong ones, in fact. Just not in designing a chip, or troubleshooting equipment. I know how to do them not because I already knew how to, but from experience on the times that I screwed up. The technical know-how just does not come to me easily. It's bloody frustrating, that much I can say.

My mum thinks it's a disappointment that I'm leaving that field. Oh what a waste of money on your tertiary education and all that. You see, everyone expects me to be an engineer because I graduated as one. Because I worked for four years as one. It's just sad that no one ever took my second degree, a Masters degree mind you, seriously. The degree that I wanted to do, not something I had to do. And it's from the second degree that would be a start of a whole new career. Perhaps not as financially appealing as an engineer's, but it's what I want. It's time I finally do what I wanted to do all along.

I've already started on it. It's not officially launched yet, but at least it's a beginning. It's never easy venturing into something new, but dammit, I'm finally good at something, so I'm taking this challenge head on. Yes, I will be working from home for the time being, but I'm not complaining. Not yet anyway. I'm going for courses to brush up and improve my skills. I'm doing something.

So what am I going to say, in response to that question?

I'll let you know when I see you.

August 18, 2008

Come On AUD, You Can Do It!

Oh this is not good.

AUD to USD 15 August 08

Why is it that only when our trip to the US was finally confirmed, the Australian dollar has to weaken? :(

August 17, 2008

The Dark Knight On IMAX

If you thought The Dark Knight was good, people, try watching it on IMAX.

Batman The Dark Knight

Oh. My. God.


No wonder tickets were almost always sold out. There was quite a number of movie sequences that were created specially for IMAX. And watching it that many stories high just made it so bloody awesome. The action sequences did make me a tad dizzy since the screen was so freakin' big, but the 2.5 hours was worth it.

Heath Ledger, what can I say? Sigh.


August 12, 2008

We're All Going On A Summer Holiday!

I've been keeping this under wraps for quite some time now, but now that I've finally gotten it, I can finally let the cat out of the bag. See this?

US Visa

It's my visa to the US. Tim and I are going to the US for our honeymoon in September! Initially we wanted to go to Europe, but with the strengthening of the Australian dollar, we decided that the US would be a more feasible destination.

San Francisco on Map

We'll be visiting my aunt and her family in California. It'll just be two weeks though, as Tim can't get too many days off.

Kuala Lumpur on Map

Before the US, we'll be heading back to Malaysia for a dear friend's wedding. I'll be leaving for Malaysia earlier at the end of this month to spend more time with my family and friends before Tim joins me.

Flight Centre Air Tickets

This is so exciting! You can't even imagine how long my shopping list is. We're so looking forward to checking out the factory outlets. Hello Levis jeans for USD10! :p

August 11, 2008

For the Love of Books

When Paris tagged me on a meme about books, it was something that I gladly jumped upon, because the love of reading is something very close to my heart.

Do you remember how you developed a love for reading?

My parents bought me my very first Enid Blyton story book on my seventh birthday, and I was hooked. I can't recall the exact title of the book; I think it was the Orange Story Book. Before then, I've never read anything by Enid Blyton. I had those very thin fairy tale books, like The Magic Porridge Pot and Rumpelstiltskin, but got over those because I finished reading them too quickly. I loved that book, and that also started the habit of re-reading story books, because I read that book over and over, until the hard cover fell off. It was then that I fell in love with reading.

My dad doesn't believe in buying me toys; he thought those were a waste of money (unless it's LEGO). But he never said no when I wanted to buy a book. Better yet if the books were encyclopedias. Imagine his shock when I asked him to buy me a book by Amanda Quick called "Seduction" when I was 15.

"Why on earth are you reading about seduction haaaa???!!!"

He still got me that book in the end. It was rubbish, but it still holds fond memories of that day with my father.

What are some books you read as a child?

Books by Enid Blyton were a godsend. I've read almost all of her books (there were a few Famous Five books which I missed). I loved her Secret Island series, and even more, the school stories. I wanted to be Darrell from Malory Towers who studied at a boarding school and had all sorts of crazy adventures. When I was 11, I was introduced to Sweet Valley Twins and Sweet Valley High when I was 12. I loved those books (I'm not ashamed to admit it now). I remembered begging my mum to get Sweet Valley Twins books for me for my 12th birthday, and she did. I remembered being naughty once, and she took those books away from me. I cried for days. When I was 13, I moved on to Judith Mcnaught, Barbara Cartland and Georgette Heyer. What a huge jump, huh?

Upper Bookshelves

What is your favourite genre?

I don't exactly have a favourite genre, because I read anything that piques my interest. Romance, thrillers, chick lit, etc. Although it is easier to read chick lit these days. I feel that you don't need to use so much of your brain then :p I really enjoy thrillers too. Sidney Sheldon, Tess Gerritson and Ben Elton are a few of my favourite authors in that genre.

I also have my own genre of books - "Books That Make Me Cry" and "Books That Make Me Smile When I Reach The End". I have a lot of those. Cecelia Ahern's PS I Love You and Where Rainbow's End would fit right into those categories.

Do you have a favourite novel?

I don't have a specific favourite novel, but I simply adore any book by Sophie Kinsella. I have all her books.

Where do you usually read?

In bed. Thus the sky-rocketing power of my glasses.

When do you usually read?

At night before I sleep. I tend to sleep better after reading a chapter or two of anything. Oh, the loo too. I think a book's read at its best on the throne :P

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?

This was a habit which I would not have condoned years ago, but now, yeah, I do have more than a book which I'd be reading at a time. When something else sparks my curiosity, I'd delve into it. I have several books with bookmarks still in them because I haven't even finished reading them yet.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?

In a way, I do. When reading fiction, I tend to glance over some words, because you get the gist of the story anyway. In non-fiction books, especially autobiographies, I read into the words more. This also means that I take a lot longer to finish a non-fiction book compared to fiction novels.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out of the library?

I mostly buy my books. I'm utterly addicted to the smell of new books (hence my immense attraction to Borders), and love bringing one home and introducing it to my shelf. I also borrow books from the library, especially the thick and heavy ones, like reference books, cookbooks, etc. Mostly the ones which are too expensive for me to buy.

Do you keep most of the books you buy? If not, what do you do with them?

I keep them. My books are like treasures to me. I have enough to start my own library. For those books who, unfortunately, get the chop (and it breaks my heart to have to do so), I donate them to charity shops.

Lower Bookshelves

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them? Were they some of the same ones you read as a child?

Definitely Enid Blyton books. I kept a lot of them in good condition, in a dark and cool place, so that should last for quite a while. None of 'em Harry Potter crap. I like the Harry Potter books, don't get me wrong, and I think they make great reading. But I want my children to also experience the wonderful world Enid Blyton's books can bring one to. Not just wizarding stuff. It's sad that a lot of bookstores do not even sell Enid Blyton books anymore. The Borders bookstore in Queensbay Mall, Penang, has only one side of a small shelf with Enid Blyton books. It's sad, really.

What are you reading now?

Air Kisses by Zoe Foster.

Do you keep a TBR (to be read) list?

Not really, unless it's a book that I'm waiting to be published.

What’s next?

I just bought Salem Falls by Jodi Picoult (another excellent author) over the weekend. Can't wait to delve into that one.

What books would you like to reread?

I can't remember the number of times I've re-read the Shopaholic series by Sophie Kinsella. Tim finds me very odd on that one, because I can still laugh over the same jokes I've read over and over. There's also this book which I read many times over, which is Of Comb, Powder and Rouge by Yeap Joo Kim. Excellent book, which never fails to make me cry.

Who are your favourite authors?

All those that I mentioned in the questions before this one :)

What are your thoughts on reading?
Constant Drama

August 04, 2008

Photo Selected for Schmap Melbourne Guide

A photograph of mine on Flickr, which I took at Fort Nepean a couple of years ago during my first trip to Melbourne, was selected for inclusion in the newly released fifth edition of Schmap's Melbourne Guide.

Fort Nepean

The photo was snapped on a Canon IXUS 65, which is a point-and-shoot camera. I knew the photograph was shortlisted, but I didn't expect it to be chosen to be in the travel guide.

It's weird how happy this makes me :p