Saturday, 31 January 2009

CNY 09 pt. 5

1st day of CNY. Slept quite late, woke up only at around 10.30am. Quickly took shower (refreshing!) and change into new clothing bought from Giant. I usually make it a personal practise not to purchase anything over MYR50. Afterall, I am gonna wear it for the 1st 2 days of CNY only...and further more, it can be quite hot and humid. So it is usually a singlet or thin cotton tee for me. This year I managed to get an interesting tee which has Union Made printed on it with pic of chaps digger, an interesting tribute to the repros I reckoned.
Esther and I gave Chloe and Dylan the angpows, followed by mom and pop, as well as to the cousins and relatives. We could not make up any witty CNY greeting lines, so usually we will just say Kong Hei Fatt Choy, San Thye Kin Hong ie Happy CNY, Healthy Always. Chloe wore a dress and Dylan has a nice shirt and khakis short. Both looked so adorable! Whilst Chloe always say "don wan" or no to everything including angpows, Dylan is quite keen and eager to grab as many as he could.

Ah Lek Chee Cheong Fun.

Without fail, I always line up for a pack or two of Ah Lek's Chee Cheong Fun, Teluk Intan style. The place curiously open from 6pm till 5am in the morning only, with customers coming in from all over the places to savor this delicious meal, even in the middle of the night. I could see the chee cheong fun making process from the outside. The only complain is that a pack of these has sky rocketed alot, and mom kept telling me not to buy it anymore...but once or twice a year is alright I reckon. Located in some dark corners of the town, the chee cheong fun is freshly made for take aways only. The difference between this version and the other favourite version of mine, the Penang, prawn paste ladden type, is that this Teluk Intan style are thinner, wrap around some fried garlic (I think) and dry shrimps to go with some green chilies. Nice~~~~!

CNY 09 pt. 3

On the eve of CNY, a prayer usually is held for the ancestors for luck and auspicious beginning of the year, followed by lunch where traditional chinese dishes are served, such as steamed chicken, fished, prawns and assorted veggies. More importantly is the dinner whereby everyone gathered for reunion. This year's is more or less the same as every other years. In the pics are my paternal grandpa and grandma. I am not really close to them as I was brought up by my mom's side in Penang but I try as much as I could as I really don't see them often, perhaps only during CNY...

Vietnamese moonshine.

Ah Pak has rented out some of the rooms to a group of Vietnamese...they also celebrate CNY. I discovered that they also have the knowhow to brew "moonshine" using some basic DIY materials and fermented rice...this stuff will most probably corrode your stomach and kill ya!

Friday, 30 January 2009

CNY 09 pt.2

After Bidor, usually drive about an hour into the heartland of the Silverstate before reaching Teluk Intan proper, passing numerous kampungs, lined alongside both shoulders of the trunk roads with local tropical fruits like rambutans and durians. On certain time of each year, one could see DIY stalls sprouting up everywhere hawking rambutans and langsats. In full bloom, it could be quite a scenic route as the rambutans "adorned" the trees like red bulbs. Chloe did not feel well, and actually threw up quite a number of times. By the time we reached granpa's place, she actually felt better and back to her norm self.
Frankly, I usually do not enjoy spending CNY in granpa's place. It is hot, although the rain (not a usual occurance this time of the year) helps abit. The low ceiling, zinc roofing really pushed up the temperature by several hundreds and I always felt like being in some life size heater. Although mom and pop installed air-cons into our rooms, something about the place which always made me edgy and moody. Perhaps it is the boredom which will eventually creep in as well as the surroundings, I really don't know. Also, with the govt banning firecrackers in its upteenth year, it is one of the quietest CNY I had gone through.
We had dinner at this nice restaurant for a change where I wolfed down nearly a large steamed fish head all by myself, as well as some stir fry ginger frog legs (my fav, yummy). Chloe did tried some but not much, and I am getting worried occasionally. Dylan, well he has to wait for another year before he can enjoy all these.

Chloe ~ Abalone meal.

Got some abalone from lunch with customers, let Chloe and Suetch tried it. They savor the sauce but not the abalone itself! That's quite true. As with shark fin soup, the taste actually lie within the sauce or the ingredient use for the soup. Shark fin tastes like cardboard and I prefer scallop or other shellfishes than abalone which can occasionally feel like as if I am chewing on an eraser.

CNY 09 pt. 1

We began our trip back to Teluk Intan on Saturday morning, at about 6.30am. Esther was pretty anxious about the notorious CNY exodus traffic jam along the North South PLUS Highway, so we try to make it as early as possible (mom and pop actually left at 4am on the same day!). Her anxiety was unfounded as the traffic was pretty much clear and smooth flowing (unlike the last 2 years), only traffic built up was somewhere near Bidor interchange. The weather is cool and was quite misty at certain stretch. We stopped by the usual place for the delicious khon lou mein with fish balls, beef tendons and fried toh foo but the place was closed for CNY, but we found an alternative further down the road in Bidor town itself which is pretty much alright.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Indigo gears

With all the denims in hand, matching gears to bottom :
a) Converse sneakers ~ Jack Purcell black in leather + Chuck Taylor in off white hi cut. Originally I searched hi and lo for the Kurt Cobain JP distressed leather version until I came to my senses that it is just a marketing ploy and it goes against the spirit of punk/DIY...I think.
b) Evisu black double prong thick leather garrison belt ~ I think it is called Doukojin Belt (ど根性ベルト) (ブラック)whatever that means...originally I wanted red but they ran out of stock at that time so I settled for black instead.
c) Unknown matt black spec frame.
d) Casio G-Shock, not shiok ~ Model GW-5625AJ-1JF as part of their 25th Anniversary JDM release only but alas it is made in it from Yahoo! Auction. Been wanted to get a 5625 model cos I couldn't afford it when I was a I am an old kid, get only lar...
e) Redmoon ~ long wallet in black calf leather model BM-02C "Brassman" with solid brass chain and hook.
f) Red Wing ~ Model 2902 lace to toe monkey boots with Vibram sole with hand made, oiled upper calf leather in burgundy. Got this locally at the only RW shop in this country which is located at Pertama Complex...been wanting a RW since I saw one back in the 90s, didn't realise its popularity (then was DM's golden age) and heritage value, actually wanted model 877 with the classic creamy colour crepe sole but no sizes, so I settled for this model which is also in my radar for a time.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Ip Man

It's been quite some time since I saw a kung fu movie which is effectively and beautifully choreographed like this. About the real life Wing Chun school of kung fu, Master Ip Man, the fight sequence is lovely to watch, not like the MTV, shaking, heavily edited movement so in favour right now, which is a pain to watch. The fight sequence reminded me of the early 90s favourite of mine, Once Upon A Time In China (1991) and its sequel (1992 ~ incidentally also starred Donnie Yen as the antagonist, opposite Jet Li, the end climatic fight stand out to be my favourite fight scene of all time, apart from, SPL (2005), again, by Donnie Yen...he's quite prolific recently). I realized under the right direction, Sammo Hung as well as Yuen Wo Ping's action choreography could be breathtaking. Wait a minute, back in 1985, Yuen Wo Ping and Donnie Yen actually appeared together in that movie called Mismatched Couple, about a break dancin' Donnie going after May Lo's character (Jacky Cheung's wife). Ip Man was often linked to as a one time master of Bruce Lee, but I think he deserved his recognition in his own right. Ip Man is simply one of the better, contemporary kung fu movies out there.

Monday, 19 January 2009

Pre-CNY re-union dinner at Melaka.

Went back to Melaka last weekend. All of us decided to have earlier than usual reunion CNY dinner from Esther's family since Kar Yau and Pauline are going off to Sibu for several weeks during CNY. Esther's mom can really whip up nice meal. I think I added on several pounds each time I go back. She also made some delicious char siew pau for breakfast. I think I ate about six...Will and Karen also went back, gave Chloe's some nice stickers as gift. Simple but nevertheless the most important thingie is the thought that counts. Went to Charles Cham's Orang Utan House to get this year of the Ox t-shirt. Also last year's Rat t-shirt but they ran out of M so I settled for L. In black. I very much prefer white but it's alright. But it also means that I could not wear it during CNY as intended. Pantang you know. As usual Jonker's Walk is filled with tourists and such but not as packed as during the Christmas weekend. Must bring camera back next trip. Nicole...well kinda changed in behaviour, more naughty than the last we met. She actually refused to share her toys with Chloe this time around as well as also retort back at all of us rudely. She speaks like an adult. Hhhmmm I am worried Chloe and Dylan would be like this too...hopefully not. Melaka is very windy this time of the year, due to the Bayu eh...I forgot, just say gotta do with the monsoon. Esther's Vios suffered the same problem as my ex-car City, ie the air cond fan gave we had to come back much later during the evening instead to Subang so that it would be much cooler.

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Aretha Franklin.

SAVE ME! yeah, Pleazzzzzzzzeeeeee, SAVE ME! Calling the Caped Crusader, Green Hornet and Kato too. I'm in so much trouble I don't know what to do. ~ Save Me by Aretha Franklin.
Bought a collection of hits from The Queen Of Soul recently. Can't stop listening to it. Esther got hooked too. And now, she insists that the CD be permanently placed in the car only, so she can listen to it whilst going to work. Aretha Franklin may now be "BIG" in both stardom and physical sense but it is her music that counts and back then, she is untouchable. RESPECT.

Esther ~ Chocolate cookies.

Time ~ 12.30am. Place ~ living room. Suddenly smelt the sweet sweet aromas of cookies being baked wafting from the kitchen. Wat da? Is my mind finally gone? No, thank goodness as Esther had a sudden "inspiration" to bake some chocolate the middle of the night! Although the cookies are not baked to exact sizes...who cares? It tasted reeeaaal gooood....yum yum.

N.Ampullaria ~ new additions.

Got these 2 babies from Fauzi last Saturday evening, both N. Ampullaria, variants ~ green speckle on red, and red lips (red peristome but not the hot lips variant, slightly lighter in red shade). Also proud to say that I ahem, assist Fauzi to close a sale of Hookerania to a lady...although the lady's nice lookin daugther (I presumed) dented my ego abit when she addressed me as unkle...doesn't anyone appreciate the cool art of wearing black plastic horned rim frame anymore?

Dylan ~ AT-AT

Dylan and his All Terrain Attack Transport.

Mahjong ~ 打雀英雄傳

To the lyric of Sam Hui Khoon Kit's Mahjong Playing Hero...

打雀英雄傳曲:劉傑 詞:釩a傑/黎彼得 編: 六嬸 三太公 大眾開台啦面似蓮蓉 又放工 打擭j 圍埋砌幾圈論呀論英雄 誰是大英雄 落手 三隻東 度到都三叫二五六筒 截正糊 真陰 顫顫震嬲到面呀 面都紅 上下家 搏曬懵 依牙松槓斬眉斬眼打籠通 系咁松 正衰公 難為沊仔 浸呀浸蛟龍 亂咁質 真勢凶 學到足關帝座鎮華容 恨滿胸 裹蒸粽 貢好似大 呀大燈籠 大相公 小相公 遇老千章法亂曬大籠 食詐糊 包出沖 沊沊轉好似大 呀大灰熊 執位 起過風 移燈換洗手食煙熨櫃筒 轉運 確唔同 連隨唷幾舖我 露牙露歡容 混一色 碰七筒 一簡白板發財做眼槓紅中 六八筒 叫卡窿 原來咁 橋囧t呀系七筒 掘尾龍 起勢攻 大戊萲峆n北西東 做牌 講天聰 頻頻滿糊我 做呀做英雄 時勢造英雄

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Batman & Joker : Eternal Conflict.

After watching The Dark Knight (2008) the Batman sequel by Chris Nolan, I retrieved some old comics and graphic novels, which have been stashed away for quite some time. The best Batman vs. Joker story, in my own humble opinion, which also, I think bear similarity in theme with the above movie, are as follows :
a) The Dark Knight Returns (Frank Miller, Lynn Varley, Klaus Jansen ~ DC, 1986). Originally published as "prestige format" series of 4 books, this is my first "proper" introduction to the world of Batman, albeit taken place 50 years into the future. Bruce, now past his prime and in his 50s, has retired his Batman alter ego, possibly forced or co-erced by the US govt and the numerous legislatures in place. Most of the Justice League members had also retired, briefly mentioned in the storyline as Diana (The Wonder Woman) went back to her people, Hal (The Green Lantern) gone to the stars. The most interesting arc of this series is the one whereby Joker, also old and hadn't spoken for several decades, in a near vegetative state of behaviour, is "revived" by the re-appearance of Batman. He has been in Arkham Asylum for years now, but after catching the news on telly that Batman has returned to Gotham City, his mental state of mind and old sociopathic behaviour are sparked off once more. He escaped after cunningly deceived a psychologist to allow him to appear in a certain talkshow, whereby he slaugthered hundreds of the audience with his trademark "laughing gas". He further fatally poisoned a dozen of so boy scouts on top of several dozens more during the climatic fight between him and Batman. As Batman always abide by his code of "not taking lives", Joker, severely injured, used his last ounce of strength to twist his own neck, a suicidal last "gift" to his eternal foe, but ultimately to ensure that Batman would be hunted by the law in proper, now that he has taken the life of the Joker. It would eventually caused Batman to showdown with Superman, now a US govt agent and President lackey. Excellent reading. I like the illustrations too (before Frank Miller changes his style in Sin City : The Dame To Kill For). I got the out of print tradepaper back version with book one cover. I hope that I would eventually be able to afford a copy of the 1st printing series in its entirety, and also if I could locate it...
b) The Killing Joke (Alan Moore, Brian Bolland ~ DC, 1987). A "one-shot prestige format" graphic book, about the origin (which has since been "revised") of Joker. The storyline took place in present, but alternatively flow back and intertwined with how Joker came to be. Taken place during one of "numerous" escape from Arkham Asylum, he took Commisioner Gordon hostage, and crippled his daughter (Batgirl) Barbara in the process. His motive? To prove that the "average man" when confronted with the horror of the real world, would take refuge in the realm of insanity. He subjected Gordon through a number of pyschological torture before confrontation with Batman. After being defeated by Bats, whilst waiting for the police to arrive, Joker and Bats had an interesting conversation whereby it strongly hinted that both of them may be doomed to be eternally locked in enmity. I am lucky to obtain a 1st printing copy in mint condish from a senior at UWA, Perth for AUS30.
c) Arkham Asylum : A Serious House On A Serious Earth (Grant Morrison, Dave McKean ~ DC, 1988). A hardcover graphic novel in its original format, this book hold a serious sentimental value as it was a birthday gift from my dad who happpened to visit KL during a business trip and dropped by the now defunct The Mind Shop in Damansara to get it. We were staying in Penang during that period and there was virtually no comic shop there. About the origin of Arkham Asylum and its founder, again, the storyline go back and forth in the present and past and how it all fit in the climatic end pages of the book. Dave McKean visually "revised" nearly the entire Bats' Rogue Gallery in this one. The Joker is visually scary, as well as other infamous inmates such as Clayface, Killer Kroc, Dr. Destiny, Maxi Zeus...not so much about The Joker, but more about Bats and his own fear as well as Armadeus Arkham, the founder. Yet, it is worth mentioning as this is the scariest Joker on book I had seen thus far.

Friday, 9 January 2009

The Dark Knight

I missed the theatrical run of The Dark Knight, the highly anticipated sequel to Batman Begins as Esther and myself were too busy, so courtesy of the local pirate, we finally managed to watch it, with the late Heath Ledger (1979 ~ 2008) as The Joker. He turned The Joker into an impressive watch, as crazy and sociopathic as he could be. Undoubtedly, The Joker and Heath Ledger is the main highlight of the movie in my personal opinion. The movie's storyline though, was quite abrupt, moving at fast pace, although at about 2 hours long, we found ourselves struggling to understand the plots occasionally. Aaron Eckhart's Two Face is ok...but the transformation, not physically, but emotionally and mentally is also worth watching. Now I wonder whether or when the 3rd one will come out...words around the campfire is that The Riddler and The Catwoman may make their appearances...