Saturday, September 27, 2008

We Are Going On A...Business Holiday

The difficult thing we find about packing when it comes to trips for work is that we have to pack more clothes.

...Ok so that's not really true. Given that we don't handle tropical climate well, it's no wonder if we go through two sets of clothes (or more) in a day. On a business trip at least one set of clothes would be work attire then. And to pack leather shoes instead of Crocs (so crap we don't have any sandals for easy wear).


Work attire for 4 days.
Casual wear for 6 days.
Ah hell, cram slippers into same shoebag.
Toiletries. Hmmm that shaving kit from our last trip could be put to use here.
FF bags for laundry.
FF Passport to visit the branch in Barcelona should opportunity rise.
Check if there is a FF branch in Barcelona.
Chargers for L'amour, iPods, iXus and NDS.
Bloody heavy laptop with bloody heavy laptop bag that cause calluses.
Travel plans, e-tickets and other work-related documents to make bloody heavy laptop bag heavier.
Spare bag to be packed in luggage bag.
Time Out Barcelona guide book.
Wet wipes. Ironically we think this will be one trip where wet wipes aren't necessary.
Sunglasses. And glasses. Contact lens already in toiletry bag.
Check if rain falls mainly in the plains.

While everything has been tetris-ed into the luggage, somehow because it's work-related we feel that there's something missing or essential that we're forgetting. Fingers crossed!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

PaperCraft - Chief's Birthday Cards

Now we'd spent the week in Sporeland making the Chief's birthday cards (which was why we could leave our NDS in the Chief's care), and while we had the idea in mind to make such cards weeks before, it took some time for us to prepare the materials.

First, a trip to Papier to pick up some basic things. Picked up some cardstock, a bit of decorative cards, alphabet stickers, album pockets to keep the cards in. Then back home to scavange for our craft scissors, ribbons and a mini photo for size reference. After seeing what we lack, it was to that paper shop at The Gardens to pick up glue, a wooden letter (darn them to have no stock of letters for a full first name), and felt paper.

Then we'd picked up some craft magazines from them cheap magazine shops in Amcorp (RM9.90 per mag, old editions of course) to get some ideas for layout and designs. The Chief probably thought that we were going through some creative phase akin to our ambigram phase.

Then it was choosing photos to print out. We'd basically chose nine assorted photos, group pics of Team Layton, of our Camland Trip, of our Bangkok trip, and a few of the Chief. Arranged it so that it's all wallet-size to fit onto an A4-size paper (oh you know, just select 9 photos, right-click and select 'Print', you'll get what we mean). Had it printed at a photo shop then cut out.

Then we'd run about to lad, Esteban, Puddy, otousan and Germ getting them to write their wellwishes on small pieces of cards.

With the bare basics, we packed it all in our luggage so that we could work on it in Sporeland. Only, once we'd unpacked at the hotel and looked through our inventory, we realized we forgot to bring a few essentials. Blade. Ruler. Normal scissors. Glue stick (we'd only brought glue paste). Scotch tape.

So we asked at the hotel front desk for scissors, ruler and scotch tape. Somehow we'd thought room service would send some up later, but instead we had the fellow attending to us rummage about the drawers of the front desk looking for the requested stationery, also with a reminder that we had to return it back to the front desk and not leave it for room service to take it back. Very pa pai folks. Good thing when we checked out we did bring down their things too, because they had a note stuck to our account requesting them back. Yeesh.

Oh, we also bought photo corners from Borders at Wheelock. Very useful things. We'll need to check Borders The Curve one day to see if it's available here.

Given that we've set up a worktable in our hotel room, it was time to start working on the cards. Truth be told, we'd no idea about the layout. So we took them cards that already have wellwishes on them, and worked our layout based on the cards' shapes. Struggled slightly with space, but somehow we managed.

Pasting card to the cardstock wasn't easy with glue paste. We had to spread glue along the edge using our finger.

With one card down, we then started on the second card. We wanted to make use of the piece of felt that we bought, and somehow decided to make a sort of plant motif. A slight mistake on this was making the photo frames leaf-shaped, as we then had very little space for wellwishing. Still, the basic layout was done.

Only, it felt as if it lacked something - namely decorative text, those letters that you stick on to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY and the likes. That's where we were lucky to stumble onto this shop in Wheelock Place.

What caught our interest was that they had a rummage basket where alphabet stickers that were damaged were sold cheap. We picked up two large alphabet stickers of different fonts for SGD8, with only a few letters probably not as sticky as they used to be. Still perfect for our needs.

And the results...aren't gonna be posted up here, unfortunately. Anonymity required.

With the cards done, it was time to bring them back and have them sent out to be signed by everyone before the party.

And so that's the first two cards. We plan to make more of whatever occasions for the Chief in the future. Hmmm. This also mean that we know what to get next as a present - a craft album!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Chief Celebrations 2008

"What a tangled web we weave, When first we practise to deceive" -Sir Walter Scott

So we've been lying to the Chief lately. Just a few white lies. After all, what the Chief doesn't know would not hurt, right?

Well it started off when we received an email from YKLS regarding a jazz performance by Finn Peters at Alexis Ampang. That got us hatching a plan that we, um, rather the Chief didn't know about. What better alibi or premise then to say that we were keen on attending the performance as we heard it was rather good? Given that it was also at Alexis (and the Chief loves their tiramisu) we thought buy the story.

Of course, it turns out that we couldn't keep it as simple as we hoped. Things got messy and we soon needed to lie a tad bit more. But we must be rather good at keeping a straight face because the Chief never suspected anything.

Until, of course, Saturday night itself when we arrived at Alexis Ampang. The both of us walked into Alexis only to be greeted by a long table of friends and a birthday cake.

See, come the end of this month it's the Chief's birthday, and we won't be around to celebrate it as we'll be in Barcelona for some work thingy. The Chief was not happy the way things have been turning out really for this month. So we decided not only to celebrate early, but to make it a surprise too.

So with emails sent out, an initial reservation for ten set, the theme thought out (bowties, not necessarily formal etc), a Tiramisu Torte (with brandy!) ordered from FBB, the birthday card collected by Junior for everyone to sign, the stage was set. We started with dinner at a deserted Shanghai 10 in Sungei Wang (the food was still good) before making our way to Alexis. Unfortunately, we forgot to factor in traffic and we ended up 45 minutes late. Sorry ya guys!

After drinks (Salisbury Cabernet Shiraz 2006), cake, presents and listening to the performance, it was off to Marketplace as the Chief has never been there before. More drinks, a quick tour, hellos and then we headed home.

Results? A slightly stunned Chief that didn't show too much expression in being surprised, but yes the Chief was definitely very happy.

Oh well. The more lies bit? We told the Chief that tonight mum was gonna be hosting dinner for her friends, and we needed to go collect a turkey from Porto Romano. And we wanted the Chief to help us to carry the turkey, deposit it back home and then we could both go off for dinner.

Oh, and that we'd need to dress up as well because Porto Romano wouldn't let us in for any reasons if we didn't dress nice, even if it was just to collect a cooked turkey.

As the both of us entered we were greeted by another table of friends and two empty seats.

The results of more emails, reservations for six at Porto Romano, a theme to dress in blue and 'guys wear scarves and girls wear ties', lad helping us to buy the birthday present and get the birthday card signed by everyone, and a stop to Baskin Robbins for an ice-cream cake 45 minutes before the Chief was due to arrive to pick us up.

The Chief, seeing the table, thought that it was a coincidence and headed for the kitchen. We'd to forcibly push the Chief into a seat. After dinner, birthday song and presents, the group of us headed to lad's place to play a bit of Guitar Hero and House Of The Dead on the Wii.

All in all, this weekend we managed to pull off two surprise birthday parties for our Chief. Oh, and next year we think we shall look for venues where there's ample lighting. Both places that we chose this year had nice candlelit ambience but made for horrible photo-taking. And now, the thanks to the following peeps:

Paul, Alexander & Jin, Sam & Lance, Adrien, Lifebook, Earl Gray Tea & Daemon, William, Apollo and SK - Thanks for making it for the party and waiting for us while we struggled through the traffic!

Jason - Muchos gracias for having to drop by to collect the card as well as getting the cake!

FBB - Loved the tiramisu. Could smell the brandy as the Chief was cutting the cake!

Lemon, Esteban, Juangtis - Mierci beaucoup for making it for the dinner!

lad - Thanks ya for all the trouble of running about getting the presents and signatures!

It's because of you guys the Chief is very happy.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sporeland Sweat-Out

Yet another trip to Sporeland and it didn't disappoint - we've soaked all our clothes just by being out in the open for over a couple of minutes.

Of course, to be fair, it isn't really just Sporeland that we find hot. Bangkok had us sweating buckets too, and if we'd to travel in KL as how we have to in Sporeland and Bangkok (public transport and walking to destinations), we're sure to be griping all the way.

This Sporeland trip being not for leisure, we've decided to keep activities simple - we're staying at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront, located goodness knows away from familiar grounds that is Orchard Road. Still, that we've our laptop, our music scores to learn up, a book, our project, and work (the primary reason why we're in Sporeland the first place), it should be more than enough to keep us busy the entire week.

So let's see, what we've been up to since touchdown on Monday.

Checking in the hotel and checking the hotel. How we wish that there was a bathtub so that we could just immerse in a tub of warm water to wash of the day. But no go. And the room felt a tad empty with no Chief. Zouk was just behind the hotel, but obviously the place would be rather quiet during the weekdays.

Stepping out of the hotel with our bag 'o gym togs and stuff for the sis, we asked the bellboy for the nearest MRT. Bellboy goes, "Outram Park, 10 minutes walk." We should have just hopped into a cab at that point, but somehow we'd foolishly decided to brave the walk. That the sky was deceptively overcast with a cool breeze also contributed to our folly - within 3 minutes we were drenched in sweat.

Visited two Fitness First branches. Make that three, if we count the brief stop into Fitness First Paragon to pick up the timetable for all branches. In fact, we would have just stayed in Paragon if they had BodyJam at a suitable time slot - given that we'd to meet sis before 9pm, choices were limited.

In fact, we've managed to visit two new branches - FF Cathay and FF One Raffles Quay. Initially when we headed to FF Cathay we thought of joining Combat, but by the time we found the place they were already doing track 6 so we took a quick shower before heading off.

Bumped into Ms Long Leaping at One Raffles Quay when we entered the lift to head to FF. Yes, it's a lousy name we've thought up here but it's been a long week.

One Raffles Quay was slightly more interesting - asides from supplying towels they even asked if we needed gym togs! So we don't actually even need to bring gym tees or shorts! Instructor Naila's quite energetic and easy to follow, and with choices of old tracks we were happily satisfied. Oh and the lockers here are similar to the ones at FF Bukit Tinggi - electronic ones where you lock/open using the membership card.

Met up with the sis. Only a while. To pass her stuff and see the wog they had. Then the both of us left for different agendas - hers to meet some agent and ours to head for BodyJam. See this visit no time to meet for dinner too.

Eaten well. Akashi Restaurant at Orchard. Hai Tien lou at Pan Pacific. Jumbo at the Quay. Tiger beer, warm sake, Heineken, Yering Shiraz Viognier, more Tiger beer...

Swam at the hotel pool. Unlike the infinity pool at The Gurney, it's a smaller pool with a view of construction wherever you look. Also the only people there were the angmohs who were there to tan and take a quick dip.

Cave in and subscribed to the hotel broadband. Because there isn't any Starbucks or Wireless@SG spot nearby! Our emails and blogfeeds are piling up!

Coming back home on Friday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Gas Food Poisoning

Woke up yesterday morning and was soon bent over in a foetal position with a few theories running through our head:

1) Gastric attack.
Egads the PAIN. Only, the pain is not at stomach level but somewhere in the intestines. Yet we haven't started feeling like letting loose hell from the bowels.

2) Food poisoning.
Only at the time nothing felt like coming out urgently.

3) The mamak left a piece of blade in our roti kosong banjir.
Because that was how our stomach felt like. And now the blade was cutting up our insides as it made its slow progress to our bowels.

Course, the first course of action was to get going to the porcelain throne and see if anything was gonna come out. There were results but pain still persisted. Hence there goes theory one, since there were results, and also theory three, since there was no blood.

That left us with number pun intended.

So there was the purging, the pain, the trip to the clinic once we felt better (and secure enough to visit the clinic without needing to stop by any Janvier-approved toilets), the sleeping on the couch while waiting our turn, the getting of medicine and the more-important medical chit and receipt, the getting home to gulp in meds and sleep...the usual routine one would take for these occasions.

Once home, medicated, showered and back into bed to rest from the morning's ordeal, we logged on Facebook via our iTouch and left the following status:
"Janvier...gas food poisoning."

Trust the iTouch's predictive keyboard to dramatize our situation at the expense of grammar.

Still, one thing we did notice was that we've gone from being in our third trimester to our usual svelt self once more as a result of the food poisoning. Something good after all, although we don't think we'll treat it as a regular solution to putting on weight.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Concentrico Va-Va-Voom

So last Sunday the Chief took us to Mont Kiara for a little look-see about the Vogue tower of the Verve Suites. Turns out the Chief received a preview invite from Direct Access and so we went there to take a look (and get freebies).

Was the Chief finally into getting a place to stay?

Would the Closed Door concept soon not matter?

Well, didn't happen that Sunday. But no matter.

The location is pretty. And quiet.

The concept model was pretty.

The concept rooms were pretty. Both of us liked the single-bedroom design of Centro Jazz and the two-bedroom Metro Bliss. Rooms come fully furnished, and the in-built shelves were done in a way that made the, um, 430 sq ft single bedroom units look more spacious. Nevertheless still very pretty rooms.

Interesting thing that the Chief noticed was that in all rooms, asides from the front door, there were no locks or latches. While there may be a swing door to the bedroom, or sliding door to the bath, drawers and such, there's simply no way to lock them. Very Open Door concept - you can't live with strangers here.

Interesting. You don't have to fool around with the motorized blinds to view into the bathroom to watch someone enjoying the sunken tub. You can just walk into the bathroom and join in.

The usage of the rooftops made the Verve Suites very pretty. Each tower has access to all the rooftop places, and there were already 4 swimming pools (normal, heated, kiddie and exercise pool) amongst other facilites set up - theatherette, mini jacuzzi tubs, al-fresco dining setup...

Too bad the rooftop preview was only model scale-size.

We were practically drooling the entire tour. Prettiness called to be acknowledged.

Something else we couldn't help doing was thinking how long the bookings must be for the rooftop amenities. It could be that the theatherette would be booked all the way till the middle of next year.

So we had some fun looking around the rooms and such. Then came the next interesting bit: looking at the prices. And hooo-wee! We're wondering if RM450k would justify the nice furniture and small size of a single bedroom unit, and we're definitely too poor to look at the RM990k two bedroom unit. Not to mention that the better-located rooms were all sold out anyways. Turns out that the letter Chief received was two months late.

Chief says to wait for the next tower next year before we come back next year for another look-see.

Till then we're gonna plan for Showroom Days where we'll go visiting developers and viewing places. :P

Monday, September 08, 2008

Browsing For Choice

Starts of with our sis mentioning that she's trying out Chrome today as we were finally back online as normal, and we just filed that little fact under without giving it much thought. After all, sis and us were discussing our different browser usage not too long ago - sis sticks to IE7 and FF3 (which we keep thinking Fitness First at first) while we use all three browsers: Internet Explorer, Firefox and Safari.

We've always used IE. Bugger the fact that it can be buggy, it crashes or hangs. Since IE comes with Windows it's of course the first choice for browsing. We don't mind IE really, and IE7 makes things much neater being with tabs and all (finally jumping on the bandwagon with everyone else). Only in our experience, IE7's the only browser ever to crash on us (especially, especially during a download/email drafting/upload).

Firefox was good, being customizable and not problematic. Only why is there a need to have a Downloads Box appear separately?

Then Apple had Safari for Windows - and seeing how we were using the iPod Touch then, we thought to give it a try as well (since we would be syncing our bookmarks with Safari too). Safari initially while aesthetically pleasing, lacked in a few areas. From the lack of being able to play Flash plugins (no embedded YouTube while reading blogs!) to where it's currently at now - we're currently using Safari as our primary browser, regardless of the fact that it too pops up with a Downloads Box and that their Bookmarks isn't quickly accessible.

Then again, we are slowly being brainwashed into buying things Apple. :P

When Juangtis too happened to put her personal message as 'Chromed', we admittedly got curious as to what Chrome was all about. So we searched.

Turns out Google's out with their own web browser! Cool.

So we're giving it a try as well. Sis says it's fast. What we're interested in (so far) is the fact that if a tab crashes, only that tab is affected and not the entire window. Will Google Chrome do for web browsing what GMail did for email?

Otherwise, so far we'll just stick to Safari for general browsing and IE7 for blogging (because we like the html format) and for work.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Deprived And Overdone

So when a poor guy has been deprived of his usual gym cardio schedule due to more commitments (at the moment) and rather than take the prudent measure of suspending his membership, what can he do

Overdo it when he does get the chance to go for class, that's what.

With the choice of either Combatting with FCI at Axis or going for Line Dance Funk with Bernard at The Curve, we opted for Combat, well, because since we've been away for quite a while (3 weeks or more?) and since we've to now choose our classes, we might as well head for something familiar. And yes well it was also nearer. Leaving the office at 6.50pm for either class that started at 7.30pm, it does help us decide where to go.

We've long avoided the Axis branch for a couple of reasons: 1) the idea of driving down even that small stretch of the Federal Highway from Amcorp to Menara Axis gives us the shudders; 2) the studio's lack of proper ventilation can very well suffocate us in a packed Combat class. Been there, done that. But things worked for us this time because there was no traffic and the class isn't as packed as we thought.

FCI almost blinded us with his orange top. And got us puzzled when he asked about a certain sexual position (that still seems impossible to us).

So. Yes. Well. Dahlah we more than three weeks never go for class, jumping straight into the first three tracks all gung-ho we know we'll well pay the price later on. Then there's the shouty bits of course. The restrain from shouting came from the fact that by track 5 we were very out of breath...our poor old heart. Amazing that nearly 4 years of cardio classes and our stamina still hasn't improved.

Then he puts on Black Parade. There goes tomorrow's choir practise. No high notes for us.

Not only we've overdone the intensity level and the shouting, we also drank too much. There were moments when we felt like throwing up. But we needed our 100 Plus after class!

To help ease our muscles, we took some time off in the sauna. Now if ever you wanted a good hot sauna, the closet room sized sauna in Menara Axis should do the trick. In there, one ladle of water does the trick what would take 5 scoopfuls in the other gym saunas. We sorta had the impression we came out like a boiled lobster.

Waiting to use the shower, we heard Nut receive a compliment about his bum. We guess RPM does do wonders heh.

Then back home for a filling dinner before calling it a day. Must say that the cardio today did us much good - them sessions that normally have us falling asleep straight after dinner normally do.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Merdeka Marathon Makan & Movie

Otherwise known as the MerdekaMoodyMondayMovieMadness. Given that till now we've not been online as usual, we haven't been keeping up properly with our emails - we've only skimmed the contents as thus haven't really followed much of what everyone's been planning.

We'd skimmed so much that even when the gang has been planning some meetup thingy with an alliterative title that's five words long, all that registered was that there was an alliterative title. Details of the event didn't stick. Thus when 'Vin called us to ask what we were bringing, we were admittedly still rather blur about the whole thing.

Luckily it turned out to be a potluck event, and when 'Vin ticked off the names and food being brought, no drinks were mentioned. So we quickly offered to bring drinks. Bought Sarsaparilla cordial (honestly, what's the difference between Sarsaparilla and Root Beer cordial?), F&N Orange, F&N Ice Cream Soda and Kickapoo.

The food layout was VERY generous (somehow we find potlucks tend to be, heh) as 'Vin cooked one and a half bags of nuggets, Esteban brought to bowls of pasta (made with half a bag of garlic - lad said they took an hour to chop it all up), Canadian 2-for-1 pizzas, 30 currypuffs from Paandi, baked bacon rolls, salad and ice-cream.

And to wash it off, we made ice-cream soda floats topped with sarsaparilla cordial. Sweet.

Initially we started off with lunch followed by Hellboy II, which we found much better compared to the first movie as there's more eyecandy this time. Still, like the first movie, not that memorable.

After Hellboy II it was back to the food for Round 2.

Then we all decided to make it a movie marathon and put on Kung Fu Panda, in English. That it was starting to rain heavily helped make the decision to stay much easier too.

Then Round 3 with the ice-cream floats.

We'd left soon enough while the others started warming up the PS2 - the weekend saw us up late and we were soon crashing. Still - we'd a spanking good time celebrating this year's Merdeka!