04092016 Goodbye from a Victim

What a shock when I woke up this morning.

Through Facebook, a friend announced that a person whom I knew had passed away. The strange thing was that for decades I have never thought to look for him nor care about his life. And it was this good friend of mine who confirmed it. And not surprisingly, the rest of the cliques actually did know him. And his Wake is tomorrow at Nirvana Sg. Besi, a ceremony which I cannot  attend.

Everyone knew it.

Except me.

I guess that it's just me.

When we were in Ireland, it was never a happy time for me, first of all being by myself and facing this fella and his 3-man gang everyday, and realising that I was a spoilt brat many years later even when I was in Scotland. I won't say I regretted not changing myself for the better for the next few years then but it rankles, which brought on to more misery when it came to social activities.

Still, this is one chapter I cannot close as its too late now to make amends. It's sad and it took a long time for me to heal.

After all these years, I hope you had a great life and did what you always wanted.

Goodbye, Ujin Goh

100082016 Thorn among the Roses

Yep, transferred to a newly set up Department and will be in a critical position in there. And I'm married. Darn it. Can''t I just have 9 Wives?

23072016 The Slightly Soggy, Very Hot and Almost Burnt Stovie

Making Stovies can't be that difficult.

Yeah, right, especially when you're NOT doing Laundry and NOT scolding your kid over the phone.

This is my second attempt with making stovies. I jut can't enough of this simple Scottish dish. The recipe is very simple (To me, that is):

1. Cook/stew the goddamn potatoes.
Here, I'm slicing them thin and put them in a steaming pot of dun.. er, water, along with half a cube of chicken stock (I know, its supposed to be beef but don't have a cow, man)
Separate the colour from the whites and make sure you add in the softener

2. Fry the onions and the meat
Simple, right? But no, I have to make it 'better'. So, in goes the smoked garlic, then the onions, followed by the chilies. I should have stopped here but for some incomprehensible insane reasons, I added TWO kinds of chilies. One of them is normal hot and the other is, 'OhmyGodMytongueisf*ckingburning' hot.
Dial the HOME number and not you're Wife's, then wait for your kid to pick up

3. Add the fried garlic/onion/meat to the pot of boiling potatoes
But before you do that, if you think there's too much liquid, you need to drain some off beforehand and not listen to what your kid said about last night. This is where I totally forgot about the liquid and so, dumped in the whole onions/meat.
Make sure the tap is on or the machine's going to go nuts with your clothes.

4. Lower the flame and keep the pot simmering
I plan to do this in the hopes of the extra liquid boiling off and no, it's not good to argue with Mom, Okay? Just make sure the clothes are balanced every now and then or the machine's going to beep like crazy

5. Let the pot simmer for about 30 minutes or so.
And now would also be a very bad time to read your  emails too.
Because after 40 minutes, the goddamn stovies developed a smoky flavour. And yeah, go say sorry to Mommy now. Yes, I mean now or else...

Once again, I have no beef with any meat and so, this poor can of corny beef became my object of hey, I told you to say sorry, right? Now go do your homework after Dinner, K?

For a quick cook, I sliced the potatoes as thin as I can while there's only enough soap for one more wash. Thank goodness I bought a refill pack.

This time, I did not put in the whole can of corned beef but rather, about a quarter The sequence is garlic, then onions, then chilies and then the corned beef.

Forgot to drain off the liquid while the 2 week old kiwis tasted quite sweet. And yeah, I'll need to stock up on the pasta too. But I think I can make this last for a few days as long as I keep it in the fridge and don't take a bite every now and then.

Don't mind the pot which I am soaking it to get rid  f the burnt parts. I was just in time before the whole stovie turned to blackie as you need to stir the pot every now and then. Darn. I forgot to add in some pepper. Salt's OK since the salty corned beef took care of that. Yes, go tell your sister to stop bothering Mommy. Now. Yes, now.

Simple guide to adding the right chilies.

20072016 Star Wars Rebels

During the years that the Star Wars Clone Wars Animation was on, it was quite a nice departure from the nightmares that was Episodes 1 to 3. It was also something which I would look forward to, during the lapse of Star Trek episodes. But there was something missing. I can't put my finger on it but all I could remember were Clones dying and the boring Darth Maul story arc which, to me, felt like I was watching some kind of Extended Universe Fan Production. I don't mean the quality but somehow, it was the story which just went off-tangent away for no reason. In a much cruder sense, it's like as if someone wanted to sell more Darth Maul toys. But hey, like the title says, Clone Wars. Clones. In a War. Get it? Its not Star Wars Half Maul.

But things got better with Ahsoka story arc which I liked a lot. Right up to the cancellation. Yeah, its to pave way for Episodes VII to IX and Star Wars Rebels.

Speaking of which, Rebels was 'nicer' for me since its timeline was about 5 years before the REAL Star Wars timeline starts, which is Episode IV. Again, I was late into this due to a lot of things, namely securing work but thanks to friends, I was able to watch the first two Seasons of Rebels recently. Right from the start, the first few episodes got me hooked. And with some subtle jokes on Stormtroopers, it was quite fun to watch. Except I hate Sato.

The very first moment I laid my eyes on Hera's Ghost it was just basic shape which reminded me very much of the escape pod from Alien. What I did not like was the mini shuttle, imaginatively called the Phantom. Having a shuttle looked like a very good idea and all, plus it was used extensively in most of the episodes. The Phantom's simple yet clunkly design is a sure tell tale sign that a toy is coming out. Where else would you have foldable wings, extruded weapon barrels and simple engine stuck to its rear? I still hate Sato.

Revealing Kanen as an "Order 66" survivor, Ezra's 'I never thought of that' unconventional Lightsaber design and with the war-torn AT-TE being used by the surviving clones was a hit for me. And the slow introduction of a few original characters was well done too. Oh, you have to watch the final episode of the second season, which helped clear off some irritating minions uisng lightsabers as helicopter blades or blenders. Unfortunately, Sato is still around.

Still, there is something which bothered me. It's not about the helmet collector Ezra's bluish hair nor how he lives off the streets and yet stays in a high tower a fair distance from the city. There is something else. It's not even about the off-screen censored killing nor being injured for 'real'. It's not even about the colourful Mandalorian who loves loud explosions nor the Lasat hulk who can speak English without any problems. It's not even about Agent Kallus who is starting to doubt his allegiance to the Empire nor the fact that Sato is still being a dick.

I can't put my finger on it but.. oh yeah, now I remember. There are not enough Episodes.

12072016 The ARB 2011 Diary

When I was working in the bespoke Diary industry, it was a very tough struggle for me. I wanted to challenge myself in Sales, something which is terrifying for a technical person like me. But If I kept on believing the fact that it is very difficult for technicals to shift into the sales, I would not have done it. I just want to test myself to see how it feels like, to work in a job that has no manuals or a definite answers. But darn it, it was like walking in the goddam Park from Hell, with every step full of thorns and shifting landmines. So much for braving into the unknown. But I did learn a lot of things, some which is still puzzling me until today. And some that scarred me into buffoonism. In summary, I just can't tell a good lie or make stuff up that the customer wants to hear.

One of the best things I got out from these traumatic experiences, apart from customer praises were the Diaries or Notebooks. These Diaries are beautiful works of Art and I have never seen books in this light before. From the design of the PU to the embossing to the paper to the page design, holding it in my hands was bliss. The journey of the Diary was long but what I loved was the fact that I am involved in most stages of the design process. From the selection of the cover to it's design, to it's colourful front pages till to the actual diary itself, I really enjoyed it. That is, if the customer signed the dotted line in the first place.

Anyway, it's part of my f*cked experience now, which I shall lock it up as "Do not enter and Salesmen are still scum". Throw away the key? The darn thing sholdn't even exist in the first place. So, with me not having a care anymore, its time that I start to use one instead of letting it rot (really). This is the Amanah Raya Bhd's 2011 Diary which coincides with their 90th Anniversary. It took me too many trips to see the decision maker who is always not in but once I got them interested with the cover material, the process was much easier.

I remember going there many times with the material swatch file to get her to agree on the specific Bluish hue, fighting internally with another colleague to get them reserved once the customer signed it. Plus, the correct stamping logo which had to right before going off to be made.

This was also one of the times I had to learn how to make sure the Artwork looks good since it was printed on a yellow background.

I had to convince her the yellow paper looks warmer and welcoming within the folds of the blue covers instead of the clinical white. As for the page design, I just left it with simple grey thin lines and nothing more because sometimes, if you put too much sugar on a dessert, it would taste like crap. So, no Mondays, Tuesdays, etc. tick-offs, no fancy quotes or wavy lines. Just, simple, lines, and that is all you'll need without any distractions.

The yellowish/brown Calendar cum Bookmark was inserted into a special glued-on envelope. I loved this design because although we only used one colour, the combination made the simple calendar a joy to hold and look at. Maybe because it reminds me of vanilla and cookies....

When I looked back, it was the creative process which drove me on while coming to terms that working in Sales is like holding a ball full of holes with firecrackers burning inside; you just won't know which hole it will come out and burn you.

02072016 Salad gone bad

Ok, so my method of preserving freshly cut ingredients for salad has its limits. I mean, they can be stored up to a max of 10 days or so before every piece decided to become sociable and go bad. Yeah, I could have put them in the freezer but I plain forgot about this fact

Making salad from defrosted ingredients might taste a little weird. And it's no difference from putting salad sauce/mayo into a packed of frozen mixed vegetables. It tastes of... laziness.

But in my case, it tastes of stupidity.

Next time, I'll need to buy the correct amount of ingredients, make the salad on the day itself and consume them within three days. There should be no leftovers unless there's some left and you don't mind coming over for them....

So, its the turnip and the red peppers which got the salad party called off.

01072016 Corned Beef

I can't stand it any longer and so, I bought and opened a can of corned beef.

It's been decades since I have any ever since I replaced some some meat with corned beef in one of those recipes and it was a disaster. I have never seen a can of corned beef do so much culinary damage before.

But tonight, oh, man, it was heaven! A spoonful of that salty, melting, oily stuff in my mouth was bliss. OK, maybe not so bliss since it was salty but it was perfect for crackers. Man, maybe I need to make a dip out of them!

And so, I mixed the newly bought Worchester Sauce with some thinly sliced and chopped onions, it was so good on the crackers to the point, I realised I had eaten more than a third of the crackers....
But I have plans for the rest of the corned beef....

28062016 Papaya gone bad

Well, what do you know. Papayas are very sensitive to being left alone.

All I did was just left it alone inside a cupboard as normal. Really. And a few days later, when I decided to take a peek to see how it was doing, I must say, it was not doing very well as it's skin was full of fungal sores...

And sometimes, people complain I never leave them alone....

So, this means, whenever its inside the cupboard, I need to make sure it not wet with trapped moisture, water or anything.

Full of sadness, it must have been crying itself out in the plastic bag and so, got some fungi to keep it company. Fungi = Fun guy, get it?

And so, I had to cut away a lot of the meat since it was going soft and rotting. So much so, in the end, I only salvaged about 60% after the cuts.

20062016 What's yours is mine, Sucker!

I have your cake and I can eat it too

A topic just came up today and it really was a shocker. OK, so this has been happening since God knows when, or well, China.

Let's say, I came up with a very nice artwork for a decal and a decal manufacturer is willing to get it printed for me. So, off the file goes and into their hands. Halfway through the run, they told me that they wanted get in on the action too or else they bump my MOQ to a serious number.

So, that, left a very bad taste in the mouth. At least, they were very 'honest' about their intentions. But don't fret, this did not happen to me but to a friend of mine. The worry now is that his latest design is in their hand and to be honest, there is nothing he can do about it. (Hint: We're in Malaysia and they're International)

These are the options open to him:
1. Make the deal Printer as the Distributor of the decals. Printer wins, friend loses
2. Make the files Public Domain and make sure everyone knows it through Forums and FB. Printer loses, friend loses
3. Cut his losses, go to another printer. Printer still wins as the files are still with them, friend still loses.

Whatever the choice, I left it to him to decide as I can only do so much.

People can get away with things when no one's looking

Think about it. When we are entrusted to do a Job, there will be a time where we will betray that trust. The problem is not why but when. Afterall, we are only human. And when we realise that NO ONE is there watch over us or, are too far away to do anything, we become bolder. One step at a time and pretty soon, its business as usual, without  even batting an eyelid.

So, what is stopping the photo-etch guy, the resin casting guy, the curcuit board guy, the decal guy, the manufaturing guy and so on from not taking a few of your designs and hock it off? What is stopping them or their staff from playing with your rejects or giving them to their friends or relatives?

Yeah, nothing. And if you're lucky, you won't even know about it.

Don't tell me about trust and ethics, either.

At the end of the day, this is what everyone wants it does not matter to some how it was gotten

12062016 RedHot Curry

Time to make curry again but this time, I'll be using a different curry mix. The previous ones were good but this is slightly different. Then again, if you ask me about them, they're all the same to me.

Anyway, the difference this time, apart from the new pre-mix is that I have been authorised to add in three full chillies. Full as in WITH the seeds.

This curry marinated onion/chicken was int he freezer since April...

The pre-mix stuff I had and some left by my Wife on her last visit. Actually the two on the upper left does not count. I am going to use the RedHot brand on the right.

The usual procedure begins, which is to ignore the instructions on the package, followed by the frying of garlic, (yes), onions and then the curry marinated onions/chicken. Yeah, the pre-mix look like those sambal chili which you add on your curry mee or what nots.

At this time, I am wishing I had some petai to go with them. It looked red hot (but not the taste)

Finally, I added in three stir-fried medium anorexic brinjals into the mix.

And with my Wife's blessings, I am allowed  to add three  chilies WITH  their seeds into the mix

Simmer and boy it does not taste hot at all

More simmering while I take a shower

Finally, add some milk when mot of the liquid has been boiled off. Yeah, the long simmering made the sauce thicker, and with the help of the potatoes, of course.

Finally, 8 large boxes (with meat) and four round ones (with brinjals) ready for the freezer.

Update (30 minutes later): Still doesn't taste hot and could have done better if I used santan (coconut milk) but that would spoil the curry very fast. Maybe I should have  let it cool overnight for everything to flavour in as well instead of straight to the freezer (I was sleepy already)

12062016 Advanced Salad Preparation

Salads has to be fresh and eating those that are weeks old are not adviseable. And depending on the sauce you used, its all soggy and brown in the end. When you see  it, you know you're playing with the diarrhea roulette.

The salads tends to juice out after a day or so and its not a good thing. So, this time, I am going  to try another method; dice all the fresh stuff but  don't mix them yet and store them all in the fridge. Only when I really need to make the actual salad, I'll boil the eggs, potatoes and add in the sauce/mayo.

Red Pepper Grenadine. Tasted more normal

I am starting to get the hang of removing the turnip's skin.

And so, there you have it. The diced cucumbers, carrots, turnips, onions and chillies, ready to go into  the fridge.

This is the other half of the Roasted Chicken which my Wife bought for me from Giant. Since it  was in the fridge, the cold had literally frozen everything which made it easier for me to remove the flesh (or dismantle it)

Yep, I'd say they qualify for the salads or a new one. But in the meantime, into the fridge they go.

This would be my weekly fruits. Wife aid to leave the skin on so that they last longer. I think I'm going to slice/cube some and add them to the ice-cream...

Apple juice and cubed kiwis. Horrible
So, technically, for the next 10 days or so, I will have fresh salad.

12062016 My IKEA Linnmon Table (aka The WORKS Table)

I'm not as limber as I thought and so, if I need to sit down and do some 'work' for more than 10 minutes, I need to do it on a proper table. The place where I stayed has one which suited my needs but its a common table downstairs for everyone to have their meals. And so, with the new housemate who arrived last week, this is now no longer an option.

Weeks ago, I wanted a stable RM212.90 Melltorp with rectangular legs but when I came back from my Holidays, it has been reserved. So, the RM169.90 Linnmon which was 2 feet shorter, was the best I could do for my back. I could pay another RM25 for a 6 feet version but its stability was more of a concern since the table itself is not made from actual wood.

I needed a table, not only to work but also to continue on my Piscean Works stuff. Without a car or the Family here, most evenings can be really boring to the point you just want to stare at the dropping paint flakes on the ceiling or meet Mr. Sandman earlier. I could also enjoy myself with some movies downloaded for me through my friends but I do not want to watch it the whole night/morning I am doing this to make sure I do not fall into other temptations which I do not want to be a part of.

How IKEA stuff came to Kuching, I don't really know. There is no IKEA Centre here either but then again, it beats going around second-hand shops and depending on taxis all day. This alone would have more than doubled the price of the table.

Luckily the Van still does its marketing round the next day (Sunday) and I was able to get the problem sorted out. All I had to do was to talk nicely to them, showed them the receipt to prove that the purchase was still withing the two day warranty period (but no refunds, though) and it was settled with smiles all round.

Carrying the table was not a problem since it was lightweight. The anorexic Van driver could even carry it. It's just... cumbersome. So, on a nice Sunday mid-morning, I am enjoying myself with some brief DIY and ignoring a cup of RTFM at the same time...

Then the problem started. I forgot to check the parts yesterday as I was too excited, convincing myself that the Van was waiting for me. So, understandably, when I came back in the rainy evening for a nice screwing about, only to be foiled my a missing part.

The only consolation was that the staff told me that had the last set of black legs for the table instead of the usual blue which I gladly accepted. And so, today, by hook or by crook, if there's any exchange, I really want  to keep the black ones.

Let's set the timer and throw away the instructions...

The table is Linnmon because the sticker said so.

And the legs are called Adils (not Adelle...)

A quick glance at the labels and its all in Chinese, Korean, Thai, Taiwanese and non-English. It hasn't hit me yet.

Hmm... there  is something wrong with this part. They gave me five screws yet I could only get in four. Even the instructions said so... weird

All the other three metal plates have five holes, which is a relief.

Looking back at the packaging again with languages designed to defeat a Banana, I think they got these stuff from places other than Malaysia...

Finally, after 20 minutes of screwing around and getting a strategic blister in the middle finger, the Works Table is set up!

Boy, the amount of plastic and pulp waste for just a table

In the end, its more or less, goodbye to sore backaches and a more enjoying session with the table.

Oh, yeah, what a difference 2 inches can do to your back in 15 minutes. But this would mean one less person sitting for dinner... (OK, until I get my own chair, that is)

08062016 BBQ Salad

Guess what I did with the chicken I dismantled the night before?

Yep, its going to be a new salad. At first, I was thinking of starting afresh with new onions, potatoes, chilies, red peppers and even some dates. But then my Wife made me realise that I have already made some potato salad which will last me for two weeks.

Not only that, this new salad will cost me money. So, might as well use the ones I have already made...

After work I got one green pepper and some chili. I could not get the red pepper at they costs more.

I need to remove the seeds from both green peppers and the chilis. Trust me on this, for every step you do, please wash your hands thoroughly and no rubbing your eyes or picking your nose.

Thank goodness both the pepper and chilis were fresh and they're crunchy even when being cut. It was such a nice experience. And the taste was quite meh since I only added about 4 tablespoons of the Heinz  BBQ sauce. Also, for this salad, the  mayo was a little less too.

For the biscuit test, it tastes great and not too hot either, thanks to me for removing the chili seeds. Maybe I should retain the pepper seeds next time or crush a teaspoonful of chili seeds and add them back in. You know just for fun..

I did not add the dates into the salad but this is ok for me.