The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Peter Jackson brought to life J.R.R. Tolkien's epic tale, The Lord of The Rings 11 years ago with breathtaking CGI & wowed us with the spectacular plot, not to mentioned stellar casting for all the important characters in the books' trilogy.

 

A decade later, the director is bringing back the magic to screen with The Hobbit which is a prequel to the incidences in The Lord of The Rings. Feeling the pressure to stay loyal to the book, Jackson decides to stretch the story into a 3-part film. I was ecstatic when it was announced that the first movie, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey will be released in December 2012 after a long wait.


Barely a month before the movie release, I pored through the books; turning one page after another as I was pressured to complete the book in time. Otherwise, it would seem strange that I read the book half way & expect the movie to fill in the remaining gaps. I guess I regretted a little reading it before stepping into the cinema because everything about the movie was exact enactment of the book. So it was a total spoiler. -.-"

Still, nothing beats having the opening sentence of the book narrated out loud in the film. Listening to Ian Holm's voice as the old Bilbo Baggins began with the phrase, "In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit..." sent a rush of excitement, marking the start of an epic adventure. Those of you unfamiliar to Tolkien's work will find the first 30 mins a pain to watch because of the slow, lengthy pace at Bilbo's hobbit hole & the introduction of every dwarf (who looks & sounds alike) which is bound to leave you in a confused state of mind.

Skip all those & the movie becomes more exciting as Bilbo began his journey with the group of dwarves led by Thorin Oakenshield & accompanied by Gandalf to the Lonely Mountain. There you have it, Jackson's showcase of Middle Earth using state-of-the-art CGI that will take your breath away. If you have an eye for detail, I would recommend to watch the 3D version filmed in high frame rate which claims to have the highest definition for 3D movie. I'm not a fan of 3D movies & wouldn't bother putting on a pair of 3D glasses to witness orcs running towards my direction. It is already a headache trying to deal with wearing extra glasses on top of my own spectacles.


Overall, the movie looks great & I'd have to applaud the work for its grandeur & cinematic appeal. Somehow it struck me as a more serious film for adults rather than the innocent nature of a children's tale on hobbits. Honestly, the book seems to have some sort of identity crisis because the writing style is pretty dense (though not as heavy as The Lord of The Rings) but it's definitely not the childlike kind where you find in the Harry Potter series, yet Tolkien himself wrote it for children. If this is true, I'm very impressed with the literacy level of children those days.

Also, the book only has one volume whereas Jackson took it a little too far by stretching into a trilogy. This movie already feels maxed out to its limit just to meet the 2 1/2 hour length. Nevertheless, The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey is still an enjoyable piece to be cherished & rejoiced for the casts' brilliant acting skills. Given the choice to pick my favourite scene, mine would be Riddles in the Dark - the scene where Bilbo & Gollum first met & exchanged riddles. Best scene ever. Just like in the book...

Now I need to wait patiently for the 2nd instalment next year as the anticipation builds up in unveiling the creature living in the mountains that breathes fire. I wonder which actor will play Bard the Bowman, a significant one in the next film. Can't wait!!


Pic courtesy of MovieposterDB.com

The reversing car

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

It was raining while I was driving home from work at about 8pm. There was a slight jam at the traffic light interchange near Batu Tiga toll, which is a usual during a downpour. As I approached the traffic light, I stopped behind a yellow Ford Intercooler Turbo & waited patiently until the light turns green. For some odd reason, the yellow Ford started sliding backwards & moving frontwards as if the driver was struggling to balance the clutch.

As soon as I realised his car was getting a little too close, I pressed on the honk just to give him a wake up call. However, he didn't seemed to notice his car had started rolling backwards. I honked loudly & continuously, praying hard that he would just pulled the hand brakes to put a stop to his reversing car. Unfortunately, my prayers was not answered & his car hit on my front car, leaving a long scratch just below the grill. On the other hand, his car was unfazed with the kangaroo bars attached to the back.

I was really pissed to the roof but even more so because I couldn't get down from the car to confront the culprit as it was still raining heavily. We were stuck at the traffic light in the middle of the road so there was no way to park aside in order to do the talking. I whipped out my phone to snap a picture of the car with the number as a backup if I plan to make a police report. He moved few inches to the front knowing that he was at fault. This cunning man took the opportunity to escape by sneaking through the heavy traffic & sped off. Such a coward!


Upon arriving home, I complained to Dad about the situation & expressed my need to make a police report immediately. Sadly, Dad said to forget about the idea because the whole incident was not in my favour. Why?! Because I was hit on the front by the back of the culprit's car. Our police will still fire at me, accusing that I tailgated & stopping too close to the front car. Malaysian police recognises the back car will always be guilty, irregardless of the back car actually hit or was being hit by the front car. In their eyes, each driver must be focused on looking at what is ahead of you.

With that, I left the incident aside & didn't not file any report against the culprit. But this incident left me fuming mad for weeks about how unjust our judicial system is. Made me realised the importance of getting registered to vote & fight for a change. It will have to be the next elections.

Cooking Swedish

Sunday, December 02, 2012

Two months ago, I signed up for Cooking British class which is to be held in October. Unfortunately, I received a call from At 19 Culinary Studio team while I was away for business trip explaining that the aforementioned class had to be cancelled due to low participation. Apparently, there were many participants who made cancellations & I was the only one left to attend the class. As stated in their rules, a minimum of 3 participants are required for class commencement as scheduled.

Due to this, I was offered to select another class of equivalent value or get a full refund if there isn't any class of to my liking. In the end, I picked Cooking Swedish which is a favourite class among most members. When the day arrived, I totally forgot that I had actually signed up for it & was rudely awakened by my alarm clock at 9am (not early but I'm not a morning person). Already running late, I scrambled to wash up & drove as fast as I could to the culinary studio. Upon arrival, I cooked up a white lie that my car had some problems just so that it didn't look too embarrassing that I arrived fashionably late. Nevertheless, the class didn't receive overwhelming response as I thought it should be because there were only 3 students who turned up (including me).

Chef Khai was the one who conducted the special Swedish cooking class for Ikea's contest winners. Due to overwhelming response, Chef Khai decided to organise a similar class for At 19's students. We started off with Jansson's Temptations, a fancy name for potato pudding. In essence, the potato pudding is made by cutting slices of potatoes & arranging it layer by layer together with anchovy fillet or bacon in a baking tin. Next, cream is poured into the baking tin to cover up the layers & then it's popped into the oven to bake to perfection. Garnish with some English parsley & voila! You have a new dish ready.


The second dish is a main course called Lindstromare with pickles cabbage & onion sauce. Lindstromare refers to beef patty in Swedish language for those of you wondering what it means. If you can't consume beef, mutton can be used as an alternative. First, the meat patty of your choice is marinated with egg, beetroot, onion cube & chopped parsley then seasoned to taste. The patty is then pan-fried until golden brown. Next, the cabbage is sauteed with butter & balsamic vinegar, season to taste. To prepare the sauce, we sauteed the onion until brown followed by black pepper. Demi glace is added & simmered until thick while adding seasoning to taste. No idea what a demi glace is? It's actually double cream. Finally, the patty is plated with pickles cabbage & onion sauce. Yum!


A meal is never complete without a wonderful dessert. In traditional Swedish style, Chef Khai demonstrated how to prepare a simple dark chocolate kladdkaka which is known as chocolate cake to the Swedes. Kladdkaka is a fairly simple cake to bake. All we needed was eggs, sugar, butter, unsweetened cocoa powder, self-raising flour, water, salt & vanilla paste. The eggs & sugar are whipped until smooth; then flour, salt, vanilla paste & water is added & mixed until well combined. Next, we put a few knobs of melted butter & cocoa powder into the egg batter, whisking it until glossy before finally adding in a teaspoon of vanilla paste. The batter is poured into a lightly greased 9 inch tart dish & baked in the oven preheated at 150 degrees Celcius for 35 minutes. Once ready, set aside the cake to cool slightly & finally dust a layer of icing sugar to serve. Just look at how beautiful the cake turns out...


Each of us took back our own creations to savour at home. The class ended at the perfect time at noon, when it was time for lunch & had plenty of appetite to gobble up all the dishes. Even then, I was struggling to finish my creations because the meal was wholesome. Now I just need to find time to practise & replicate this dish to perfection. XD

Cheesecake Galore Part 1

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Two months ago, I attended a workshop organised by At 19 Culinary Studio in conjunction with their series of Open Day demos to attract new students to sign up for the various classes available. Being eager to improve my baking skills, I registered for Cheesecake Galore Part 1 which was conducted by Sandy who is a cake decorator. The class focused on 2 recipes - Baked Japanese Cheesecake & Chilled Blueberry Cheesecake.

There were 6 of us in the class, naturally we were divided into 2 groups of 3 each. We started of learning how to prepare the Japanese version of the baked cheesecake. This cake is known for its soft, fluffy texture & less cheesy compared to other cheesecakes. It is technically challenging to bake this cake because every step is crucial to achieve the softness & fluffiness of the cake. One mistake made will spoil the texture & the mouth feel becomes less satisfactory. According to Sandy, we will not have problems with making other cheesecakes or baking other cakes if we're able to master the techniques required.

True as it is, one of my group members made a mistake by pouring the melted butter into the sponge cake mix before combining it in a mixer. The right step would be to pour the melted butter partially while mixing the sponge cake mix in the mixer. With that mistake, as a result, the sponge cake layer was tougher than it should be & less spongy than we hoped for. A lesson well learnt as it allows us to understand better each & every step & to differentiate what's the right or wrong cake texture.

After baking the sponge cake layer which serves as the base, the cream cheese mixture was poured over the sponge cake layer in a cake tin foil. We put the cake tin into the oven to bake for about 30 mins at 160 Celsius. The cake was baking beautifully inside the oven while we moved on to the next recipe.


The Chilled Blueberry Cheesecake, like all other chilled cheesecakes, is a fairly simple recipe for amateurs like us to master. There is no need to bake the cake & it's all about making sure the ingredients are combined well or risk having lumpy texture. All cheesecakes require a biscuit base in order to hold the cream cheese layer in place & this one is no exception. As soon as the ingredients were combined, we poured it into the prepared cake tin foil. Then we spread blueberry jam evenly over the cream cheese layer & immediately store the cakes in the chiller. Meanwhile, our Japanese cheesecakes were ready & left to cool on the rack.


Due to time constraint, we had to remove the blueberry cheesecakes from the chiller only after half an hour. By practice, chilled cheesecake needs to chilled overnight to allow the cake to set in before serving. It still can be consumed, the only thing is it will taste more like a cream dessert rather than a proper cheesecake. Each of us get to bring home our masterpiece. =D


Although my Japanese cheesecake turned out to be stiff & heavy, it still tasted good in the mouth. Yesh! Whereas the blueberry one tasted heavenly...more than enough to satisfy my midnight craving. XD


Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy

Monday, November 19, 2012

The most anticipated event of the year (among fans) is none other than Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy. For the first time, the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) has decided to perform selected soundtracks from our all-time favourite video game saga - Final Fantasy.


WL wanted to purchase the CD but too bad it was sold out quicker than expected. The only thing I managed to grab is a copy of the performance set list. No words can describe how we felt (me, my sis & WL) the minute we entered the Dewan Filharmonik Petronas (DFP) to see young men & women in their late 20-30s. This is indeed a gathering of fans who once grew up playing the Final Fantasy series, be it on the earlier Nintendo platform to the most advanced PS3 or Xbox platforms.

Among all the MPO performances I attended previously, this show was different because it contained visual display projected on a large screen. I think this is a plus point - not only preventing boredom among first timers watching orchestral performances (I bet 60%-70% of them in the hall are "orchestra virgins") but also doing us a fan service to remind us of all those classic moments in each series.

The show lasted for almost 2 hours with a 20 mins interval break. Good for the audiences to stretch their legs while the musicians take a breather before preparing for the next performance. Towards the end, we were treated with a surprise encore performance as a token of gratitude for our never ending support. What was the most unforgettable performance yesterday? I'd have to admit there were more than one song, actually. My favourites are definitely the ones listed below:
  1. Memoro de la Stono by Stephanie Van Driesen & Dithyrambic Singers
  2. Opera: Maria and Darco by Ho Chi Mei, James Long Cai Hunt & Mak Chi Hoe
  3. Suteki Dane by Stephanie Van Driesen - encore performance
  4. Fallen Angel - encore performance
Kudos to the conductor, Arnie Roth for being so passionate & enthusiastic in bringing the sounds of Final Fantasy come to life. For your info, Arnie Roth has worked with the legendary Nobuo Uematsu & Square Enix as Music Director & Conductor for many Final Fantasy related orchestral performances. I couldn't help but shed tears of joy for such a heartwarming experience. It was definitely an afternoon to remember...


Pic courtesy of Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra (MPO) Facebook

Dumb & dumber

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Ever since I took up a new job at this company, I've realised that a lot of work processes are not in place. Not only getting a certain task done can be a rocket science, seems like I have to downgrade my English proficiency just so people would not misunderstand me another word.

Most of the time, the culture is like this - people do not "listen", they "hear". In other words, they do not take your words seriously. Most of them take things for granted too & assumed that they will not be held responsible if things go awry. That's just because nobody reprimands them anyway.

And then there's the GM whom behaves like your father who gets too worked up & personal over work matters. The non-stop nagging will follow suit which could last until an hour or so. The next thing you'll know is that you'll never get a piece of advice out of it. His words are a mumbo-jumbo of words from none other than a typical old man venting his frustration.

I supposed that I can tolerate as you can never choose your boss unless you work for yourself. But to actually downgrade my working style to get accustomed to most people here (who are barely qualified for their job role) is totally unacceptable. *sighs* I wonder how long I go on like this without getting a heart attack. =(

The Secretary

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

It's interesting & even more frustrating to know that the secretary cum personal assistant of the GM is bossier than you can ever imagine. And what's worse than being the receiving end of her confrontation over a small matter just because I mentioned that the attendance list for a press conference was approved by the GM. She conveniently marched over to my desk & gave a nasty lecture (equivalent to scolding) for lying about what I said earlier, then warned me against using the GM's name to show authority.

Which part of the story that proved my lies? All I genuinely did was sending out email invitations to the respective HODs,  hoping for their presence to support the event. The secretary doesn't seem to understand the basic idea of invitation - that it doesn't expect a compulsory attendance from the intended party being invited. It's certainly not wrong to send invitations to anyone without prior knowledge that each individual has other appointments.

I was fuming mad that this lady is here to stay; being a bitch & making a huge deal on almost anything under the sun. The ugly truth is the GM is siding & will always side her, unreasonably. The world is so unfair. *sighs*

Ted

Monday, October 29, 2012

The moment WL saw the movie trailer of Ted, he had immediately tagged it as the must-watch movie in 2012. I was eager to watch too because it does look like a hilarious show.


The movie premiered much later in Malaysia & it must be going through serious censorship for its explicit scenes & profanities. We bought a copy of the DVD at a dirt cheap price while vacationing in Bali during mid July but the quality turned out to be appalling. Shouldn't have expected any better than that because the movie only premiered not long in the US.

When Ted finally came to our cinemas, we bought the tickets without hesitation. The movie was hilarious as expected but it kinda left much to be desired. Part of the reason could be due to our strict censorship rules leading to an entire scene laden with sexual jokes to be snipped off. Sometimes I wonder if such move is even necessary. I mean, why bother rating 18SX when the explicit scenes will be censored anyway?

For a start, strict rules should be enforced to prevent underage viewers to purchase the 18SX rated movies, what more allowing them entry to the cinema halls. Whatever the Censorship Board is practising is definitely not doing us a favour, instead ruining an entertainment & still not solving the root cause of social problems nowadays. Back to the movie, the movie was entertaining & do not raise hopes on the plot being fantastic. It stayed simple without trying too hard. Also, the teddy bear is indeed adorable & huggable but honestly, I wouldn't wish for a talking bear for Christmas because it sure is freaky.


Pic courtesy of MoviePosterDB.com

Missing flight (almost)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I've been travelling frequently for the past 2 weeks for business purpose & for the first time in my travelling experience, I'd nearly missed 2 of my return flights home. The first time happened when I was in JB last Friday for a day trip. I didn't managed to check in my return flight so I thought I could go to the airport earlier to get it done. Little did I expect that I had to go for market visit, then having to rush to the airport during the evening rush hour. I arrived just in the nick of time for check-in & rushed off to the departure hall. 

About 10 mins before boarding time, I only realised that the boarding pass didn't belong to my name. Feeling panicked, I walked to the boarding gate counter & told them about my issue. Thankfully, they willingly re-printed my boarding pass. You must be thinking what a klutz I was for not verifying my boarding pass. Let me ask you - if you're already running late for check-in & almost had a heart attack due to risk of missing a flight, would you have realised that the boarding pass wasn't yours? Perhaps it was my mistake for not checking & it was a lesson well learnt.

On my 2nd trip to KT yesterday, I nearly missed the return flight again because the colleague who was supposed to drive us to the airport arrived late. So much for being more prepare this time by checking in online & ended up having someone else to almost spoil my travel plans. To sum it up, I've definitely learnt to arrange travel plans earlier & give myself extra time to travel to the airport just in case unforeseen circumstances arise. And most importantly, checking in online to save the trouble of not holding a boarding pass if I happened to miss the check-in time.

Hooting of a car horn

Sunday, October 07, 2012

I was out attending a shoot yesterday at a paintball field nearby my house when something really peculiar happened to my car. As I was turning my keys to ignite the engine, the horn gave out a short, loud hoot. I was puzzled because I didn't press the car horn at all. Turning around to check if any curious onlookers were giving me the annoyed look for disturbing peace in the morning, I quickly turned my steering wheel to drive away quickly before things got worse.

Shockingly, each turn of the steering gave a long, honking sound of the car. Puzzlement became more like embarrassment as other drivers are walking close to check out who the lunatic is pressing the horn while driving. A Malay guy came by to ask out of concern & the only thing I could mutter is, "Saya tak tahu lah...". He finally deduced that the wires in the car horn might have short-circuited & the steering cover needs to be removed in order to temporarily pull out the wire.

It wasn't an easy task opening the steering cover, especially there was not tool at hand. Along came an elderly Chinese man who was as curious as the Malay; asking what was going on. He suggested to open up the car bonnet & remove the car horn plug so that it won't sound anymore. Both the Malay guy & Chinese elderly man helped opened up the bonnet & pulled off the plug. Yay, the sound went off! The latter advised me to send to the mechanic for a check on the steering wheel or the plug. Meanwhile, I'd have to put up with driving without a car horn which means driving more cautiously than before.

I thanked them & was glad that these strangers are genuinely offering their help. I couldn't imagine what it would be like to receive help from fakes who would take the advantage to rob me on the spot. On a sad note, I only realised that I lost my favourite cap during this panicky situation. Sighs...

Up & about

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

It's my 2nd day of work at my new place. Although there are ongoing projects, I wasn't able to start working on the task assigned due to the absence of laptop. Nevertheless, my schedule has been pretty tight these 2 days as I was having back-to-back meetings for almost the whole day. I'll be attending two shoots tomorrow, thankfully at the same venue so there's no need to drive elsewhere.

No doubt exhausting but I'm not too stressed out yet. It's a huge change from the last company I joined whereby I was expected to handle several projects alone within the 1st week. My superiors are pretty friendly & seems to me are willing to guide me in every way possible. It's not like I have a choice who I wish to work with. At the moment I'm not complaining.  =) I'm not expecting it to be an easy journey taking a higher position but here's hoping for a smoother journey ahead.

Back into the employment game

Sunday, September 30, 2012

As you read this, you could be very well informed that I was unemployed for almost 2 months. I left the last job without securing a new one; not that I take pride in that because seeing my hard earned savings depleting so quickly to pay up bills & other commitments is indeed one hell of an experience. Now I can truly relate to people I know who have took this path once. A lesson well learnt - to persevere & never quit before getting the next job. Umm...I could say that my scenario was an exceptional case.

The reason I'm dedicating a post about my career again because I'm so relieved that I finally found a job! After countless rounds of filling up application forms & interviews. Cumbersome it is, but the so-called never ending process makes one weary & panic if you're not called for the 2nd time. You start to question yourself: am I lacking something? Why are these people not hiring me? Did I say something wrong? These thoughts weigh you down miserably, making you feel useless inside out. There wasn't much self-esteem left in me back then.

Fortunately, my luck has taken a turn for the better. Tomorrow will be a new journey for me. I'll be working further from home & it'll be a totally new experience. Is it a good thing? I hope so. Since I'm in need of moolah, I'll just have to bear it for some time. Who knows if I'm gonna fit in better this time? By the way, WL is also starting at his new place too. Praying for a great start for the both of us. Do wish us all the best... =)


P.S. Just found out about my colleague who joined 2 weeks earlier than me in the previous company had also left. I dared not ask her reasons for leaving but I think kinda know why... *winks*

MM Cafe @ Happy Mansion, Section 17 PJ

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The only good thing about being unemployed (for a temporary period) is that I have lots of free time to do the things I enjoy most. And spending time with my old folk, in this instance. The experience gets better when you have extra moolah on hand. A filial grandchild at heart, I took Grandma for another eating out session because her eagerness never seem to wane.

I drove her to MM Cafe, a little restaurant situated or should I say hidden in the heart of Section 17, PJ at this apartment called Happy Mansion. I used to patron this cafe quite often when I was still working in Section 13 because the price is decent & the food is decent. It turned out that there are a couple of new addition to the menu which is definitely a nice change. I ordered newly added Spaghetti Arabiata & picked a healthier selection, Grilled Fish with Lemon Butter for Grandma.

The food usually arrives pretty slow especially during lunch hours. Strange enough, our food still arrived late even though it was almost 1.30pm as the lunch crowd slowly dispersed. My dish is actually spaghetti cooked with mixed seafood & tomato in pasta sauce. It tasted pretty good with the spaghetti cooked al dente. The amount of sauce topping the spaghetti was just nice to my preference, not soaking wet like a bowl of soup. At RM14.90, I couldn't complain at all because the dish was satisfying.


Luckily, Grandma liked her dish pretty much or else I would be in deep trouble as she would obviously express her dissatisfaction on our journey home. I didn't manage to snap a photo of her dish since she couldn't hold on to her hunger any longer & begun chowing away. Her dish is priced at RM15.90 which is another plus point!

I'll probably bring Grandma to MM Cafe again when she craves for outside food again. I mean, she yearns to eat out all the time so hopefully she doesn't mind eating decent, affordable food for the next round.

Address:
AG-1, Ground Floor
Block A, Happy Mansion
Jalan 17/13
46400 Petaling Jaya
Selangor.

Contact:
03-7931 8728
mmcafe88@gmail.com

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Sundays, 11:00am to 11:00pm

Gay guidelines

Sunday, September 16, 2012

After a short hiatus for my Krabi trip, I logged in to Facebook & learned news about two organisations distributing guidelines on tackling the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender (LGBT) among students in a parenting seminar held recently in Penang. The guidelines caused an uproar & among netizens, not just local but abroad as well due to its unjust classification of LGBT.

Quoting the phrase from The Star's article, parents were given outlines on how to identify "symptoms" that their children might be suspiciously gay or lesbian. It was suggested that gays have a tendency to wear tight-fitting, sleeveless or V-neck shirts, even colourful attire to show off their muscular bodies. They also have a penchant for carrying man bags or large slingbags. For the girls, parents were warned to pay closer attention to their daughters who prefer hanging out with female friends because they may be suspiciously lesbian.

The Ministry of Education had denied endorsing the guidelines, emphasising the seminar was organised by "concerned" NGOs. Personally, I thought the guidelines were ridiculous & a big joke. Not to mention classifying LGBT with symptoms gives an impression that these NGOs view LGBT as a disease that needs to be corrected & treated. And to be cautious about daughters hanging more frequently among females? If I'm the mother, I would be more worried if my daughter is among the presence of male friends who may take advances on her. I'm utterly confused & the guidelines are just plain bollocks.

These NGOs are obviously not well informed or probably have not done their homework prior to the seminar. Or else they wouldn't have produced such subject of ridicule. What they have failed to understand is that each individual has different sexual orientation - male, female & sexual minorities or LGBT. By categorising LGBT as a group needs to be correct is downright sexual discrimination. To begin with, how can these NGOs educate the public when they themselves are backward thinking & couldn't accept everyone's social backgrounds? There are more problems to tackle as we speak, such as providing proper sex education in schools to curb teen pregnancies, STDs & etc.

Source: The Star Online

Step Up Revolution

Friday, September 07, 2012


Sequels, sequels! Haha. Another Step Up movie~ *squirms* A guilty pleasure that I never dared admit - I can't seem to get tired of the franchise. XD This is the first time me & WL actually paid for tickets to watch a Step Up movie in the cinema. We were out shopping for supplies for our upcoming Krabi & that activity didn't take much time to complete. Catching a random movie was the only way to make good use of the parking fees & the only viable choice is a movie dedicated to dance.

The plot is cliched just like its predecessors, but come to think of it, Step Up Revolution is even more outrageous. It's about Emily Anderson (Kathryn McCormick), daughter of a wealthy businessman who travels to Miami aspiring to be a professional contemporary dancer in a production. She meets Sean (Ryan Guzman) who is the leader of flash mob crew called the MOB (*rolls eyes*) & eventually falls in love with him.

The MOB initially strives to win a YouTube contest with the grand prize of a major sponsorship deal. However, the crew turn around their tables when Emily's father decides to buy over the neighbourhood & build a large hotel, eventually forcing the community to move out & lose their jobs. Their theme has evolved from just showing off their dancing prowess to defending their neighbourhood. Don't you think this idea is outrageous? Dancing alone can stop a project development?

You can easily guess what happens next so I shall elaborate no further. One thing that must be mentioned is how hot Ryan Guzman is. XD Superbly hot...

Ryan Guzman (first row, middle)

In person, Ryan can't dance to save his life but he possess the physique because he practises martial arts. He did his own dancing but some of the more intense moves are probably a dance double. Whereas Kathryn was in 3rd placing in So You Think You Can Dance. The rest of the casts are real dancers & I supposed this ain't surprising. Is this fourth franchise better than the previous franchises? Based on personal preference, I preferred Step Up 2 because of the dance moves. Though I'd have to point out that the flash mob choreography in the art gallery is awesome.

Pics courtesy of MoviePosterDB.com & MTV

The Teapot Cafe @ SS2, PJ

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Grandma has been very eager to eat out for lunch because she hardly had the chance to do so ever since Grandpa suffered from a chronic condition. I decided to take her to The Teapot Cafe at SS2 since she wished for it many times.

I couldn't remember the last time we visited the quaint little cafe. The last we dined in there convinced us that it was not worth the next visit because the food was less tasty than before & not to mention the price getting steep. I thought to myself, perhaps the quality standard might have improved over the years.

I ordered a grilled chicken dish for Grandma while I opted for a pan-fried fish fillet topped with cream sauce. About 15 mins later, the waiter served my dish. Just take a look at the portion.


For the price of RM20+, this is the amount of fish fillet you get with some vege as side dish. The fish fillet appearance looked a little too brown for my liking. It blended well with the cream sauce, however, the fillet must have been pre-marinated with salt, hence rendering the final product too salty. I would've preferred the cream sauce provide natural seasoning flavour to the fillet & a slice of lemon is given to allow me squeezing in some juice for that extra zesty texture.

I couldn't comment much on Grandma's dish because I only took a bite on a small piece of chicken on her plate. Overall, it tasted ordinary. Again, the portion is too small & not worth the given price tag. I don't think I'll ever return for the next meal on my personal visit with friends or WL. Unless it's for Grandma's sake that she finds personal comfort in reminiscing good old times here.


Address:
169, Jalan SS2/24
47300 Petaling Jaya
Selangor.

Contact:
03-7875 3024

Opening Hours:
Mondays, 12:00pm to 6:30pm
Tuesdays to Saturdays, 12:00pm to 10:00pm

Open Day Demo 1: Modern Style Cuisine

Sunday, September 02, 2012

Another Groupon offer caught my attention & this time, it's a cooking demo plus bread & pastries workshop at this school called At 19 Culinary Studio. For a RM50 coupon, I was entitled a workshop & a complimentary cash voucher worth RM50, not forgetting a free one-year membership with the cooking school. I signed up for this workshop which features a chef conducting demonstration on modern day cuisine.

When I arrived at the school, I was impressed that they have a nice kitchen where cooking/baking classes take place. Prior to the cooking demo, we were given a short education on bread & pastries. It turns out that handling bread & pastries is so easy that even frozen types can taste as good as you find from bakeries. It was good to know the secrets behind bakeries & how they create such soft & sumptuous treats.

Soon after that, the chef in charge appeared & introduced himself as Chef Khai. He had worked in several international hotels overseas & even undertaken the role of executive chef during his career. Now he has taken a more subtle role by conducting cooking classes & teaching in a college majoring in culinary arts. Since this was only a workshop & not a hands-on class, it was mainly notes taking & observing Chef Khai cooking the dishes for taste testing. The actual classes will cost more as ingredients & equipment are provided.

Chef Khai showed us how to prepare Roasted Pumpkin Soup which is the appetizer today's showcase (unfortunately I didn't managed to snap a photo because I was too busy taking down notes). He was very generous to share tips & different methods in preparing the same dish. Bravo! What's a meal without a main course? Well, fret not as he quickly moved on to demonstrating to us the steps to preparing Chicken Roulade with Mushroom Sauce. Delicious smells filled the air & everyone got hungry fast as it was close to noon. Before everyone started digging into the chicken, I quickly snapped a shot of Chef Khai's creation.


I have signed up for Chef Khai's class, Cooking British which will be held in October. The recipes will feature Prawn Cocktail, Lamb Sheppard's Pie and Bread & Butter Pudding. Yums! Can't wait for next month to arrive... =D

For more info, log on to www.at19culinary.com.

The Bourne Legacy

Saturday, August 25, 2012


Not another sequel, you asked? Well, it is & be prepared as it's already an "It" trend in Tinseltown. So, how does this fare compared to the previous Bourne series? Gah, another comparison & I know...it's inevitable. I'd have to say The Bourne Legacy is by far the less exciting of the Bourne series. It's not like Jeremy Renner is less convincing as the next secret agent/tactical espionage. The whole film doesn't feel engaging enough. It must be the plot...somehow less intelligent (please don't hate me).

In short, this film is a spin-off whereby the timeline is concurrent with the incidents happening in The Bourne Ultimatum but based in a different location. Aaron Cross (Renner) is a member of the Operation Outcome, a program which enhances physical & mental abilities in field operations through pills. The public exposure of Treadstone Project & Operation Blackbriar by Jason Bourne's actions in Ultimatum has led to immediate closure of Operation Outcome - massacre of all parties involved.

Aaron faces life & death; struggling to survive from the assassination plan & also suffering from the side effects after lacking consumption of the "blue" pill, which boosts intelligence. He rescues Dr. Marta Shearing (Rachel Weiz), sole survivor of Outcome's research team & pleads for her help to cure his condition.

The solid 2 hour movie doesn't seem to have much premise especially during the chasing scenes between the assassin & Aaron/Shearing felt like it's taking forever to come to an end. Draggy is the word. Frankly, I was whispering to WL & literally begging for it to be over for good. Worth the watch? It depends. Don't bother watching if you didn't watch the previous movies starring Matt Damon because that's how the Legacy's platform was built. To those who have loyally followed the series, watch this to add another title to your have-watched list. But beware, it's not that exciting.

Pic courtesy of MoviePosterDB.com

My first bikini

Friday, August 24, 2012

It's been a long, long time since I last put on a swimsuit; the last I recalled was during my childhood days when I used to play in children's pool at hotels during family holidays. Now that my family hardly spend holidays together & I never had the courage to sign up for swimming lessons probably due to aquaphobia, I really didn't see the need to get fitted in a new piece of swimwear as I grew older.

Recently, I've changed my mind & decided to buy some swimwear mainly because WL & I booked two island vacations for this year. I bought a 2-piece swimwear (a halter top & skirt bottom) which barely got wet in Bali because I was too chicken to take a dunk into the pool at night with WL (who swims at night anyway?). For the upcoming Krabi trip, we're expecting to get even wetter as the main activities involve island hopping, jungle trekking & soaking up in hot springs. I've concluded that one swimwear is not enough for all the wet activities so I took a bolder step & looked up on nice bikini designs online & retail.

Generally, bikinis made from good material do carry a hefty price tag especially brands like Rip Curl, Billabong, Roxy & Schwarzenbach come to mind. The Groupon offer on the Victoria's Secret bikini couldn't have appear at any better time than this & I quickly ordered one (silently praying that the smallest size will fit my skinny frame). The price is RM99 which is definitely cheaper than retail but I started to wonder if it's genuine. Oh well, screw it...I shouldn't be demanding more, right?

The bikini top is the Daisy Push-up Triangle Top design which comes with removable padding. Honestly, the padding doesn't give much push-up to small chest girls like me. As you can see below, the top looks perky because I've replaced it with a thicker padding. It has removable bow & ties at the neck as well as the back.


Moving on the bikini bottom, it has adjustable drawstring side ties with moderate back coverage. Thank God this one fits me well without much tightening needed.


There were 4 colours for sale - black, pink, purple & blue. I chose blue as it stands out more from the rest. So far so good; it does look original with its care label intact but I noticed some typo errors. Doesn't matter. All I care is I can't wait to wear it for my upcoming Krabi trip. =D

The Expendables 2

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The action heroes of the heydays are back with a sequel, The Expendables 2 injected with more heart pumping action scenes & silly antics. What else can I say about the movie?


The action stars from the 1st instalment reprise their roles in this sequel with a new addition to team, Billy starring Liam Hemsworth. Both Bruce Willis & Arnold Schwarzenegger had more screen time than before so you'd be sure to have loads of fighting & gun shooting scenes.

In short, the Expendables team has been called upon for a mission which leads to a supposedly easy paycheck. When one of the members is murdered on the job, the team led by Barney Ross (Sylvester Stallone) is set to avenge their comrade in a deep enemy territory. Van Damme is the villain called Vilain (seriously...) is the enemy head with greed, power & devastation in his mind.

Basically, the story about the good going up against the evil is nothing new so don't get your hopes high that this sequel would be any different. In fact, I felt the storytelling is rather weak compared to the 1st movie as it focuses more on ensuring all the old action heroes are shown kicking enemies' asses. It was hilarious watching how they incorporated witty & cheesy dialogues with snippets of each actor's own actual biography. Chuck Norris also made an appearance & sure did made the movie more nutty than ever.

Watch this movie for its pure fun entertainment. The Expendables 2 was not intended to be a serious film, anyway. Bet that you'll have a good laugh watching it. =D


Pic courtesy of MoviePosterDB.com

L.Table, 1 Utama

Monday, August 20, 2012

WL & I were hanging out in 1 Utama after catching afternoon movie but we parted ways for a short while because I wanted to shop for some personal items while WL was desperately searching for a seat to rest his tired feet. Feeling a little hungry, I initially planned to buy a pastry from my favourite bakery, Lavender & leave for dinner elsewhere. I guessed my shopping took a little longer than expected *sheepish* & WL ended up inviting himself into the bistro inside the bakery, found a table & waited for my arrival.

In case you're wondering what's the name of this bistro, it's called L. Table under the Lavender Bakery group. L. Table at 1 Utama is the only outlet so far that is hidden behind the bakery which serves contemporary global cuisine. If you've ever purchased breads & pastries from this outlet, you'll immediately notice that the interior & ambience is different from Mid Valley's outlet. This one is posh & cosy to cater to the more affluent customers that patron the mall.

It was about 5pm when I got seated at the bistro. We weren't too keen on main courses & decided to order the Afternoon Tea Set. The tea set is nicely presented on an L-shaped platform, representing the bistro's identity.


Each tea set consists of 2 slices of squarely cut cakes, mini croissant, mini sandwiches, mini biscuits & raisin scone filled with cream. Customers are served with a choice of coffee or tea. The portion is not too dainty & it's absolutely perfect for 2 person who prefer something light in between meals.

Apparently the Afternoon Tea Set is a random daily selection from the bakery. Customers won't be able to choose nor have any slightest idea what will be served for that particular day. A pretty refreshing approach enabling customers to try a variety of breads & pastries without getting bored of the same flavours. That's when you plan to visit L. Table more frequently than I do.

The selection we had for the day - raspberry vanilla cake, tarte au citron cake, ham & cheese mini croissant, tuna & egg mini sandwiches, pineapple mini biscuits & raisin scone with cream. I shall start with the cakes; I love how the vanilla cake is soft & light but I'm not a big fan of the raspberry mousse for its sweetness & creamy texture. I prefer the tarte au citron cake (cool & tangy lemon custard on a buttery crisp base topped with creme fraiche) as it's generally lighter & slightly less sweet compared to the raspberry vanilla cake. Next, the dainty mini pineapple biscuits are not bad & the sweetness is on the right note. Mini sandwiches tasted good so there's not much to comment. According to WL, the raisin scone was way too sweet due to its cream. The good news is that the mini croissant was baked to perfection & tasted great.

We opt for rose tea drink since both of us are not that into coffee. The rose tea emits a fragrant scent & once sipped, the flavour has just the right amount of lightness unlike the stronger English Rose tea that I've consumed before. Tea is served in a tea pot & the quantity is sufficient for 2, no more no less. The Afternoon Tea Set costs RM28 which is pricey for the average person. On a personal note, neither WL nor I could afford this too often because we're more of a savvy spender on food. We are firm believers of price tag comes with portion in order for each dish to speak volume of its worthiness. Perhaps I'm rattling too much since the once-in-a-blue-moon indulgence doesn't do much harm, does it?

Address:
G213, Ground Floor
Promenade, 1 Utama Shopping Centre
47800 Petaling Jaya

Contact:
03-7728 6933
info@lavendergroup.com.my

Link:

Opening Hours:
Mondays to Fridays, 10:00am to 10:00pm
Saturdays to Sundays, 10:00am to 11:00pm

Off to Rio in 2016

Monday, August 13, 2012

For the past 2 weeks, I've been actively following the London Olympics while searching for jobs. As a result, my biological clock as gone wonky due to the 8 hours difference. Anyways, this Olympic Games sure is an interesting one - world records broken, scandals involving doping & match fixing, etc. Eighteen badminton players were disqualified for match fixing & was reportedly suspended from the sport for 2 years.

Despite all that, athletes like Michael Phelps made history by being the most decorated Olympian with 22 medals in which 18 are of gold medals. Usain Bolt, nicknamed "Lightning Bolt" became the first athlete in track & field to win gold medals in 100m & 200m for two consecutive Olympics. My favourite & one of the most beautiful sport, rhythmic gymnastics has its fair share of success story. Evgeniya Kanaeva representing Russian Federation is the first gymnast to defend the title of individual all-around Olympic champion. Watching her performing routine & scoring mostly 29 in 4 apparatus was absolutely amazing. Just look at her physique & beautiful posture~


Our Malaysian athletes managed to garner 2 medals - silver & bronze medal for Datuk Lee Chong Wei & Pandelela Rinong respectively. Datuk Lee did put up a good fight with his nemesis, Lin Dan to try clinch the gold medal but however still could not defeat the unbeatable, defending Olympic champion. Still, a silver medal is better than no medal; Datuk Lee made the country proud. Pandelela's bronze medal in the women's 10m platform diving event was a surprise win as competition was stiff. She made every Malaysian proud of her & crafted her name in history by being the nation's first female athlete to win a medal at the Olympics. Congratulations to the both of them for all their efforts to leave an impression in the world arena!

Nevertheless, all good things do come to an end. The 17-day event closed big bang finale which as quoted in Yahoo! Sports - the "symphony" of local flavours. Pyrotechnic firework displays lit up the London sky during the closing ceremony featuring several British stars - old & new. Just to name a few of them who performed include One Direction, Annie Lennox, George Michael, Jessie J, Taio Cruz, Spice Girls & more. Even supermodels Kate Moss & Naomi Campbell made an appearance strutting their stuff on the stage at the centre of the stadium.


The next Olympics will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016. As part of the formality of each closing ceremony, a brief performance is showcased as a sneak preview to what to expect in the next 4 years. It sure is gonna be an exciting summer Olympics after catching a glimpse of the renowned samba dance by the Brazilian counterpart. I'm definitely looking forward to it~


Pics courtesy of Yahoo! SportsWikipedia

Total Recall

Saturday, August 11, 2012


Total Recall is the remake of 1990 film of the same name loosely adapted from the 1966 short story We Can Remember It For You Wholesale penned by Philip K. Dick. Whilst the 1990 version starred Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 2012 edition features Colin Farrell, Kate Beckinsale & Jessica Biel.

The story starts of at the end of 21st century in which Earth is divided into 2 territories - United Federation of Britain (UFB) & the Colony (Australia) after a chemical warfare caused colossal damage to other parts of the planet. A gravity elevator called "The Fall" was built to connect both territories, ferrying residents from the Colony to work in factories in UFB.

Factory worker, Douglas Quaid (Colin Farrell) who's married to Lori (Kate Beckinsale) is frustrated with his recurring dream of him as a secret agent struggling to escape with his female partner from being captured. Out of curiosity, he paid a visit to Rekall, a company which implants artificial memories; hoping to find out more about the dream. Things take a turn for the worse when Rekall employees were shot by SWAT team. Following that incident, his wife attempted to murder him & a start of a dog-cat chase in the entire movie.

The whole plot became more complicated when Douglas was actually an agent working for UFB Chancellor, Vilos Cohaagen but eventually defected to the Resistance movement. I shall not elaborate further as the plot had thicken & created much confusion. I did enjoy for the fact that it's still an action movie but however, the story just didn't stuck by my head; feeling rather dazed as soon as I left the cinema hall.

It wouldn't be fair for me to compare this movie with the 1990's version & make a judgement as I haven't watched the latter. Personally, watching the 2012's release is mind-boggling enough - what more doing a comparison? I'd have to rate this movie as so-so. I don't know where went wrong. Just didn't know...


Pic courtesy of MoviePosterDB.com

The Amazing Spider-man

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Am I the only one who's not embarrassed to admit that I just watched The Amazing Spider-Man movie yesterday? Don't ask why it took me so long & it can be depressing just thinking about it. Now that I've FINALLY watched it before it leaves the cinema for good, here's my take on the movie.


This version is a reboot from the previous Spider-Man franchise directed by Sam Raimi with slight deviation to the plot. It is a tale of teenage Peter Parker - focusing on his family issues, relationship & how he became the wall-climbing superhero. So how did this movie starring Andrew Garfield fare against Tobey Maguire's portrayal of Peter Parker? Both did a great job in projecting the character in different age group effectively, I supposed as envisioned by the each director. Maguire & Garfield are both nerdy, which is good, just that the former seems to be more convincing at it because he's a natural dork (looks wise). Nevertheless, Garfield was fabulous being a shy & dorky but genius teenager despite his age at 27.

I have no issues with the castings as they are all generally well suited for their role. The problem here is how the story unfolds. The movie tends to drag on unnecessarily in certain scenes especially on how Peter is fumbling in his words when being around his first high school sweetheart, Gwen. While it did make sense to capture those emotions which happen during teenage years, I found it rather tacky & unsophisticated to be related to teens nowadays. Correct me if I'm wrong...or maybe I'm too old for the teen crushes & what not. To begin with, why place emphasis on teen angst & the idea of growing up? The movie somehow became too emotional & dark which is not the essence of Spider-Man.

I'm on the fence for this movie - it's kinda weak but still worth your time watching for its fair bit of entertainment value. Forgot to mention that the new suit looks awesome. Thumbs up for the costume designer! At least I've got  a new eye candy to look out for. Andrew Garfield's cuteness does grow into you as you watch on. *smiles*

Pic courtesy of MoviePosterDB.com

Freedom

Monday, July 30, 2012

Alas, I smelled freedom! Seriously, I couldn't comprehend a mere 2 months could make me feel like a caged animal finally breaking free. In case you have no idea, I left my job 3 days ago. A move I felt was much needed to break away from the agony I was experiencing.

No matter how I explained the reason why I left, there's always opposing opinions about my decision. It's a pity to quit too soon. But I supposed no one knows how I'm feeling unless they're in my shoes. I'm done with explaining because it's a tiring process. Enduring the work environment in my job was already exhausting.

One great lesson learned from the short stint at this company is the working relationship with any superior, in which all this while wasn't a major concern in my career. I never had any issues working with my previous bosses although we may have conflict of interest on an occasional basis. But it wasn't anything major like feeling fear for my superior & not wanting to go to work for fear of seeing her.

Unfortunately, I find my boss less approachable & the type of species who tells you something but says another thing the next day. And to find her in defensive mode when you kinda gently remind her about the previous discussion with her snapping loudly at you. Things go wrong & she indirectly puts the blame on you. Her working style or rather her attitude is definitely not helping me in the transition of familiarising with the company's complex operational process. Either I quit or not, I'm meeting my doom.

Hence, I quit to end all the suffering. Most people thought that I was being too rash or exaggerating my reaction (ie sleepless nights), but then again, as I've emphasised from the beginning; my reasons were never meant to gain any sympathy or criticism from people who never try to understand. Some people might be able to withstand my boss' style but sad to say, I lack such tolerance. Let's just say we didn't have chemistry working together & umm...I don't feel sorry about it.

London 2012

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Four years ago, I blogged about the Olympic Games held in Beijing with its spectacular fireworks display & showmanship that was like no other. Now in 2012, London set forth to bring us another grand sporting event. Only not as colossal as Beijing. Despite the looming economic gloom, London still managed to pull off quite a feat.



The different time zone made it rather difficult to catch the live telecast but thank God for repeats, I had the chance to watch the highlights of the ceremony. For a surprise, the ceremony featured Daniel Craig as James Bond & Queen Elizabeth "parachuting" out of the helicopter above the stadium. Don't be too surprised, they're only stunt doubles =P


Artistic direction was led by Danny Boyle with the theme "Isle of Wonder" taking centre stage, celebrating how British contributed to the world from industrial to digital revolution. Picture here below shows children dancing in the British rural meadow scene.


One segment of the ceremony shows how the giant rings joined together to form the Olympic rings with fireworks raining down was quite a visual display. But the dancers dressed in costumes of the Industrial Age moving their arms up & down in a robotic style looked a little disturbing. *shrugs*

Alas, the most important part of the ceremony was the lighting up of the Olympic cauldron. The cauldron was designed by Thomas Heatherwick, which consist of 204 copper petals representing each competing nations attached to a long pipe. Seven young & upcoming athletes selected by the British Olympians lit the petals with torches, thus spreading the flame from one petal to the next. The petals slowly rise upwards to form the cauldron.


Quite a brilliant idea to light up the cauldron~ But I still prefer how Li Ning sprint mid-air holding the torch to light up the cauldron high up in the stadium back in Beijing 2008. Like I mentioned earlier, no nations would be able to match China's enormous scale but albeit all that, London 2012 is still an interesting watch. I mean, which Olympic Games wouldn't be exciting to watch? It's the shortest sporting festival where you can witness so many events in action for 2 weeks. Let the Games begin!

7 days with Galaxy SIII

Friday, June 29, 2012

My good 'ol iPhone decided to die on me & I was left with no access to "civilisation". Umm, not literally. But you know the withdrawal symptoms that surrounds you when you're away with your smartphone for far too long. Yeah, you get the idea. I do have a spare phone, a Nokia 6100 that uses a standard size SIM card which my micro SIM stands no chance in fitting snugly into the compartment.

Whilst my phone was sent to the shop for repair, my cousin bro's gf was kind enough to lend me her brand new Samsung Galaxy SIII for a week. Yes, you read it right! A week~ I was cautious enough from leaving any smudge on the gorgeous large screen because the phone was barely...2 weeks old?

How did it felt being an Android user for a week? It's a breath of fresh air, if you ask me. A huge change from the rather rigid iOS that it does get a little dull after 2 years of usage. Not if you had your iPhone jailbreaked. Anyways, the functionality & flexibility on the Android or specifically the Galaxy SIII is vast that it does take quite a bit of time getting used to. The screen is pretty sensitive & half the time my fingers accidentally brushed on the soft keys, unwillingly activating some menu or functions. It does get pretty annoying after several days.

The huge 4.8" screen is gorgeous & my iPhone looks inferior next to it. The Koreans have outdid themselves by designing a phone with beautiful lines incorporating a large screen without compromising the thickness. I was really tempted to get the SIII myself but didn't because that would cost me RM2,199 at retail. Besides, the repair fees for my iPhone was only RM300 so I chose to be more prudent instead.

When it was time to return the SIII to its rightful owner, I couldn't bear to part with this baby. Can you imagine that? It did grew on me pretty quickly. Since I won't be able to hold it anymore, I took a picture of it & sharing it here. SIII, you have served me well. One day when my humble iPhone reaches its final journey, you'll know what phone I'll be looking for.


Snow White & The Huntsman

Monday, June 11, 2012

For the first time, there are 2 movies with Snow White-themed movies being released in the same year. One of it is a comedy while the other tells a darker version of the childhood fairytale. I ended up watching the latter called Snow White & The Huntsman.


This movie is not your typical princess meets Prince Charming, who later falls in love with each other & an evil queen who threaten to murder Snow White with the poison apple. The story is about the evil Queen Ravenna (played by Charlize Theron) taking control over the kingdom after killing King Magnus. During the commotion, Snow White (Kristen Stewart) failed to escape & was locked up in the tower for several years. When she managed to escape, Queen Ravenna hired a huntsman to assassinate her. This is because the magic mirror revealed that Snow White is now the fairest of them all & will soon rise to fight the Queen for the kingdom.

The Huntsman (Chris Hemsworth) obviously oblivious to the Queen's intention when he is hired because all he cared was the monetary reward that entails. As soon as he discovered who the victim is, he changed his mind & decided to help Snow White instead. While the movie maintains the main elements of the fairytale - poison apple, the 7 dwarves - the twist is that Snow White actually learns how to fight & lead a group of army to the battleground.

What I found strange & awkward about this movie? The on-screen chemistry between Kristen Stewart & Chris Hemsworth just didn't work out. Hemsworth is undoubtedly attractive & effective as the rugged Huntsman but Stewart as Snow White may be beautiful but her acting skills play against her. I hate to say this...she always seem to look constipated albeit trying to portray a painful, emotional expression. Not to mention, she lacks expression most of the time in the movie. On the other hand, Charlize is ravishingly beautiful & very, very evil. She's probably the reason why I bought the tickets in the first place.

The verdict? It's still fine to watch for its entertainment but don't expect it to be great. I just couldn't imagine having a sequel though. I mean, how else can the story extend from this movie since I felt it's ended for good. *shrugs*

Pic courtesy of MoviePosterDB.com

Overwhelmed

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Just barely 2 weeks in my new company & I'm already loaded with work. As in loaded to the brim~ =( I've never joined any company - this is probably my first - that I was expected to get settled down on the job fast. I broke down into tears as everything was becoming overwhelming. I hardly had time to breathe.

Everyone is given a laptop to work which can eventually cultivate a bad habit. Weekends are starting to become another work day & it's an unhealthy activity. What's more, I even stayed up late just to work on a weekend. I thought weekends was supposed to be lazy days or reserved for my own chores at home, as a way to unwind from all the work stress.

For the past 2 weeks, I started to doubt my choice to be so eager to join this company. No doubt getting an interview was tough to begin with. Surviving was another issue altogether. The only good thing I'm motivated is the income I get for slogging every day & the workload is more than enough to keep me occupied from unnecessary distractions ie office politics & gossips. Thank God for that! At least I have one less thing to worry.

First baking class

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

I've always thought that cooking/baking classes are costly & one wonder how much you can gain within a 3 hour class. Since Groupon featured a promo for baking class specifically on mille crepe (location a pull factor too), I jumped at the opportunity.

Upon arrival at the location, it was actually a small group class conducted in a house kitchen. The chef organising the class is Nicholas Pillai. His name doesn't ring a bell? Nicholas is a food writer, recipe contributor & food stylist on various local publications. We were divided into 4 groups to work on the mille crepe based on the recipe given.

As a matter of fact, making mille crepe cake is a tedious task even though baking is not required. The chef has advised us to split the preparation into 2 days - getting the crepes ready on the 1st day & chilled overnight, then making the cream the next morning. Mille crepes are best done in the morning because the cream melts easily considering our hot Malaysian climate.

I shall not elaborate further on the recipe as it'll take too much to explain here & I don't have a lot of pictures to accompany each step. I'm willing to share some of the tips that may be useful for other recipes that you plan to experiment. During class, we all learnt how to brown butter which is then mix together with other ingredients to form the crepe batter. The chef recommended us to use Amul butter (shown in pic) for it's the purest of butter - made from pure milk fat. It's fragrant due to its pure milk fat content & slightly salted to give a savoury flavour to your food.


I do agree that Amul butter is fragrant but it's a tad too oily for my liking. We can replace with alternative brands as we please to suit our taste buds, just have to take note the outcome might taste a little different. When browning butter, the pot has to be on low fire to avoid butter from burning. The pot has to be constantly shaken gently to ensure that the butter is properly browned. There are 3 stages of bubbles to look out for during this process. Once there are signs brown colour at the sides, the butter is ready & needs to be removed from the fire.

Stage 1- The butter has melted & starts to boil & bubble up

Stage 2 - More bigger size bubbles can be seen

Stage 3 - The bubbles become foamy

Final stage - The browned butter should have a nice caramel colour.
Picture shown above is slightly burned.

When it's time to cook the crepes, the process is exhausting because we need to pour the batter to cook layer by layer. We did it in groups of 3 or 4, hence it's a breeze to complete the task. I can now imagine how tedious to accomplish this step alone. In addition, it takes practice to make the crepe perfect - thin & light but just nice to hold the cream later.

Another tip I've learnt to keep the cream as cold as possible in case my kitchen's ventilation turns nasty warm is to put the cream in an ice bath. I didn't expect it to be so easy =D


After 3 hours, our final product is ready for tasting. The chef taught us how to caramelise the top by sprinkling some brown sugar & torching it until it turns brown. I preferred to have left the mille crepe as it is because the caramel layer looks rather messy.


My group's mille crepe looks aesthetically pleasing once sliced. But our crepe was too thick so it didn't tasted as good as we hoped. Oh never mind, practice makes perfect & I'm sure I'll be able to make a better one next round.


Overall, it was a fruitful class. I'm looking forward to attending more cooking or baking classes in the near future because it sure is so much fun. =)
DESIGNED BY ECLAIR DESIGNS