Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ask Nicely, Can?

Recently we just got this text message from a friend (that has a way of, well, irritating people with his attitude) that goes:

Janvier i got fren moving to KJ. Plz show him around, esp food spots. Name [Friend 1's name] n [Friend 2's name], tel [Friend's tel no]

Right. We still remember the last time he asked us for a favour, which include asking us to bring our collection of boardgames to introduce to some of his friends...which turned out to be the majority of his church friends in one of his friend's house. Awkward? Yes. It sort of felt like we were the entertainment he was suppose to bring for the event, sans balloons, monkey-playing accordian and the likes.

Now this. We think he overestimates our friendliness and ease at mixing with people. Just because we can get along with some people doesn't mean we're immediately able to talk to anyone.

The overestimation of our friendliness (if indeed that's what it is) we can take but we're irked at the way we were asked to do this. No phone call or text message to ask if we we could do him a favour, he's got some friends coming down to stay in KJ, if we were free could we show them around, especially when it comes to food areas (the emphasis for food spots here we gather is due to our numerous MEALWHAT(tm) updates on Facebook we suppose)?

But nooooo...just a, "Janvier, I've friends going over. Please show them around." Like we are only too please to do your bidding as and when you want it.

We're not saying that we don't do favours, or that we want people to bend over and grovel, but, ask nicely, can?

The style of the text somehow reminds us of womenfolk in church, who will ask other churchmembers or their children to do these kind of favours (and will do them if asked by others). The only difference here is that we aren't related to this friend nor does his attitude cause one to feel ready to help.

So anyways we're actually incline to refuse, because our normal eating hours will be some 3 hours later than everyone else (say, 10.30pm for dinner?) and we don't think his friends would appreciate waiting till then to discover food spots.

And we're tempted to just reply:

Hi we got horny gay fren moving near your place. Plz douche before meeting him, don't worry he likes it tight and is gentle. Name [fictitious name] tel [fictitious mobile number]

Friday, April 23, 2010

The Curve, Disconnected

Sunday came along and we found ourself at the Curve for lunch without our acPhone nor a book to keep us company. Double ouch especially since there's free wifi at Winter Warmers. Thankfully there were magazine to help occupy us even though they seem to be dated 2008, and after lunch while waiting for mum we decided to walk about the outdoor bazaar rather than wait in Winter Warmers.

Walking about with nothing much to see and buy, we paid attention to the singers (we can't really think of them as buskers now, can we?) entertaining the shoppers with golden oldies. The selection of songs actually reminds us of the singers that sing in the Klang Club restaurant, songs you'd hear on Light And Easy.

We spotted an old man happily singing along to 'Stand By Your Man', a smile on his face without a whit to what others may think of him. Seeing him enjoying himself put a smile on our face as well, as we caught ourself also singing along to the chorus (or, at least, to the line 'Stand By Your Man' since that's the only lyrics we know to that song).

We wonder: in the future will we end up like that old man, sitting about singing old songs to singers at a mall, and better still, if they would be performing Lady Gaga's Bad Romance for us to sing to?

Monday, April 19, 2010

Video Games Live In KL!

Ok the first time we heard of Video Games Live was after when we missed the opportunity to go hear Distant Worlds perform in Sporeland. VGL was coming up in Sporeland and we could actually get tickets, but we weren't too sure about it. One thing was because VGL featured music from loads of video games, including games we've not played like Metal Gear Solid, Kingdom Hearts and Halo.

Went to iTunes and found that they have an album out there, and checked the songs. Out of the lot, we were only really inclined to listen to the Civilization IV Medley. We're not really sure how the other songs would sound, and we aren't even sure if the Civ IV Medley would have Baba Yetu in it.

Anyways we skipped the VGL concert in Sporeland as we weren't too sure of the venue they were performing in and moped over the loss of Distant Worlds but got over it...

Then about a month back lad informed us that VGL was coming to KL. Since they were coming here, we made a spontaneous decision to go and immediately bought tickets for lad, esteban (the two most likely to enjoy video games music among the lot heh), and for Chief and us. And every now and then we would get paranoid that we would forget to bring the tickets on the day itself.

Come last Saturday, we drove everyone down to KL, making a dinnerstop at Yellow Cab near Asian Heritage Row for dinner.

So...we couldn't decide what size pizzas to order, and had the waitresses bring out all the pans so we could see just how large a 10" and a 14" pizza would be, and ended up ordering two 14" pizzas to share among the four of us - an anchovy pizza and a mushroom pizza.

Verdict? Rather good, but rather pricey at over RM40 per pizza heh. And these aren't the meaty options with chicken, beef pepperoni and salami and the likes. We've yet to try those. But they were filling, and the four of us were definitely full after that.

Headed straight to KLCC with barely fifteen minutes to spare! Arrived at the Plenary Hall just in time to seat and let the show start.

What can we say about the concert?

Ninty to ninty-five percent fanboy attendance. Rest, fangirls/girlfriends/wives.

The opening had everyone excited. This concert was one where no one sat quiet throughout the performance. Everyone was cheering and clapping at every point of the show! Hearts were plucked at nostalgic 8-bit games coming up on screen with the music supplied by the orchestra, everyone laughed to see Tetris played as the screen slowly filled up with Tetraminos (accompanied by music from the NES version of the game, oh and there was a choir too! They had to shout 'HEY!' at the end of the Tetris piece!), everyone shouted to see old games pop up.

In between performances there were videos from the composers, a Skype conversation with the creator of Pong, and games! One dude was invited on stage to play Space Invaders, he had to wear a t-shirt with the picture of the spaceship and ran left and right about the stage to shoot the incoming alien invaders. He didn't manage to win the top prize, but the goody bag he got had pretty good premiums too! Portable Space Invaders, an Earthworm Jim CD, he got to keep the Space Invaders t-shirt... The fun bit was the orchestra playing the background beat to Space Invaders, which got consecutively faster as the invaders approached closer, and the audience clapped along as well...

It was when the host asked for the winner of the Guitar Hero competition held earlier that we only found out that we missed out a fair bit going on before VGL started that night. Anyways, the winner was invited up on stage where he got to play Guitar Hero: Van Halen. The song? "Jump", accompanied by the host, Tommy Tallarico on electric guitar, the orchestra and the choir (who shouted "Jump!" at every point in the song hahaha). Initially the winner was supposed to play the song on Hard, but the entire audience made him play it on Extreme - which he did quite well!

So there were music from Metal Gear Solid, Mega Man, Kingdom Hearts, Halo (this one we found the music very good even though we've never seen or played the game before), World Of Warcraft (there are more choral pieces than just A Call To Arms!), Sonic The Hedgehog (the choir even sang the "Sega!" bit at the start!), Super Mario, Shadow Of The Colossus, God Of War, a special appearance by Norihiko Hibino (composer for the Metal Gear Solid songs) playing 'Snake Eater' on the sax, and Laura Intravia dressed up as 'Flute Link' playing a medley of Zelda songs, and at the end...

Tommy (host): The company is...Square Enix!
(Audience goes wild.)
Tommy: The composer...Nobuo Uematsu!
(Audience goes wilder, shouts, cheers and whoops.)
Tommy: The game...Final Fantasy!
(Audience claps, cheers, shouts out their favourite series.)

Jack Wall, that is, we think it's Jack, the conductor, raises up one finger. No response from Tommy. Two fingers. Three. Four. Five. Six. Seven.

Tommy: ...SEVEN!
(Can audience go crazier? Apparently so.)
Tommy: THE SONG!
(Tommy and audience in unison, audience in fevered pitch, we too guiltily shouting along.)
Tommy and audience: ONE! WINGED!! ANGEL!!!

Seriously, has there been such fanaticism ever for an orchestra performance? Even for the Lord Of The Rings Symphony everyone was civil. No screaming fanboy singing along to 'The Bridge Of Khazad-Dum' or 'The Black Rider' for that matter. This was a rock band concert kind of audience reception to an orchestral performance.

There's only eight choir members which meant that they couldn't really be heard that strongly but the sound set up was very good. Lyrics from the original One Winged Angel, with music arrangement from the Advent Children movie with electric guitar bits. Absolutely grand.

For their encore performances, they gave us not only one, but TWO encore songs! First was a forum request for Chrono Trigger, which sent lad straight to heaven as he loves the game and wasn't expecting them to perform it. The second? Castlevania, performed by the orchestra, Tommy and Jack on guitars, Norihiko on sax and Laura on flute.

All in all, an awesome performance. Now...merchandise.

When it comes to musicals we would normally get the programme and probably the CD as souvenirs. But for this event, the programme booklet was RM25 for photos from their past concerts, no text, no credits to the National Symphony Orchestra or the VGL Choir or such. It really didn't feel something worth getting. As for the CD, it was the same one as we would find on iTunes, except almost twice as expensive. Somehow we refrained from getting it too. Could have gotten something else since they had other merchandise, like t-shirts, but we walked away with just our tickets and the event leaflet.

Now it turns out that members of the YKLS Chamber Choir were singing as the choir for VGL! This, we did not know as we decided to take a break this year. Met the bunch of them after the show where they let loose some steam over the short period of time they had to learn the songs, the difficulty of some of the shop, basically.

Would we have joined as part of the choir instead of the audience if we knew? In this case, we think we best enjoyed the entire thing as audience. The choir couldn't see the screen to see what was showing when songs were playing, so it was hard to make out why the audience were all so hyped up. The energy may be infectious and you'd feel chuffed up for the performance, but the experience just would not be the same.

Plus, asides from Warcraft's 'A Call To Arms', the chanting from the epic-sounding pieces of Halo, FFVII's 'One Winged Angel', we don't think there was much songs we missed singing. Hmmm if they performed 'Baba Yetu' it might be touch-and-go between audience and choir...

For Distant Worlds, if they need choir members, oooh yes count us in straightaway!

So, will we watch this again? Sometime in the future, yeah!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Angels And Demons Go Vietnamese

Now just last weekend we celebrated the birthdays of March babies esteban and CherubCel. While most of the planning was done early thanks to OC lad, and it marked the return of thematic birthday parties (as we chose to keep ours simple and somehow it didn't happen for Puddy's birthday). The theme was chosen rather late as everyone chipped in their suggestions and it was up to both birthday boy and girl to agree on a theme.

What with the venue being Cungdinh Vietnam Restaurant at One Bangsar, certain suggestions like 'Topless Night' and 'Tarts And Vicars' certainly spelt Bangsar Social Suicide. And in the end, it was decided that the theme was 'Angels & Demons'!

And the cool bit? Lad informed us that we were to decide which side we were suppose to be on, but not to tell the others. And the end result was that our party of 14 had an even number of angels and demons! Even with the short time to prepare for costumes, everyone had props, and were either dressed in pure white or black and red! Even the birthday boy and girl were on opposite teams! The theme turned out to work surprisingly well!

...yes, we had the other diners giving us double takes and grinning. But we all had good fun.

On the good side...

And at the other corner...

The food at Cungdinh was excellent, and the service was wonderful. Waiters and waitresses discreetly made their way around clearing the table and setting dish after dish, and each dish came with its own specific sauce! The price, we suppose, would also be excellent. Lad has yet to tabulate the bill...

And once everyone filled their stomachs, it was time to parade our costumes, haha.

"Good morning Charlie!"

'Course, not everyone followed the stereotype Christian-depicted angel or demon. Here we have otousan as...we're not sure, but it was horrifying nevertheless.

And everyone started playing with the props! Goes to show that angels can be tempted. Here we have a good girl gone bad...

And the good girl was carrying a rose instead of a wand or a harp (interestingly no angel brought a harp or horn or flaming sword...). She gave that up, which the Angel Of Death (on the demon's side) used to become Tuxedo Mask instead...

And the Angel Of Death's scythe went to the Angel Of Music instead, who took over the role looking far more appropriate...

Demonic transformations were aplenty, leading to otousan changing to The Horny One with three pairs of horns...

...and the rare appearance of the unihorn. Unlike the unicorn which can only be tamed by a virgin maiden, we guess the unihorn tames virgin maidens instead.

It was a merry night and after the present-giving ceremony, the birthday boy and girl went aside to discuss whom should win the Best Dressed Award. The winners?

The winged ones! Germ, with her wings tied to her dress for the angels and lad, with his DIY unfoldable wings for the demons! In fact poor Germ couldn't dismantle her wings until she got home, she had to sit rather uncomfortably in the car on the way to and from the restaurant! Imagine if she had to park at Bangsar Village and walk all the way for everyone to see. Or if we all decided to continue the night by going clubbing or something.

Happy birthday again to esteban and CherubCel!

Friday, April 09, 2010

And The Parents' Job Is Done

When their kids get married. And then they can celebrate and be happy and joyful. Which was made very obvious in the case of Ivan's wedding.

What can we say? More Klangites are getting married this year. There's gonna be...three? Three weddings, are we right, 'Nic? Or more? It's getting more and more obvious that we're falling out of the loop when it comes to news from the Klangites.

Anyways. We attended Ivan's Klang wedding last weekend, but we can't make it for his upcoming Penang wedding (to the same girl, of course).

Had to get up early for 'Nic to pick us up to make our way down to Klang for hengdai duties in the morning. While waiting for the groom and to head off to the bride's place, some of the others actually mentioned that they were keen for the challenges the zhimuis would throw at them - because they hadn't had breakfast and were hungry! This of course reminded us that we too were hungry, and the mental image of a celery with condense milk kept popping up in our head (courtesy of ethancya and Renzze's wedding!).

Interestingly, since the bride's family stayed in Penang, the bride and her zhimuis actually rented an apartment to hold the challenges! We wonder if they had to rent the place for a month, or for a couple of days only, or how did they go about that...

The challenges were...mild. We put this down to not having enough time. And to top it off, everyone spoke in Mandarin, which left us as the bemused but uncomprehending hengdai.

It started off with the zhimuis applying lipsticks to the hengdais, after which they were supposed to kiss a cardboard until the heart-shaped bit in the center was all covered in kisses. Something to remember: the zhimui applying the lipstick started off by putting on the lipstick properly on the first hengdai...but after that she started going haywire, making everyone else look like the Joker from The Dark Knight.

The most interesting challenge would be a game of Suck-And-Blow using seaweed strips instead of a name card/credit card. This game failed as the seaweed strips tend to stick on the tip of the nose more often than on the lips! The zhimuis at least put some thought into this one, choosing wasabi seaweed strips instead of the normal flavoured ones. There was a good profile photo of NJH and Ty smooching, 'cos the seaweed strip couldn't be seen!

Oh well. The hengdais hit the table spread of food while the groom had his younger brother translate a paper full of chinese proclaimations of love which he then shouted out into the bedroom.

So, the challenges were mild. This was a good thing, because cal_el brought along his Thai girlfriend for the challenges, and she was certainly busy taking photos and notes of the happenings! Their wedding will be coming up later this year and we wonder if she will want to have her own hengdai/zhimui challenge...if the challenges were much more 'creative', imagine what the Thais would come up with!

After the morning's activities and lunch back at Ivan's, we headed back to shower, change, and rest up before the dinner back at Klang.

Leaving the Chief's place in the evening to head for dinner, we decided to head down the Federal, once past the toll after Subang and somewhere along Shah Alam, cut across to get to Kota Kemuning and onto the Kesas Highway, then continue our way down to Klang. We used to do this during our uni days, but have long forgotten the exact route.

And as expected, we got lost.

And found ourself at Alam Idaman. Trying to find our location on Google Maps showed forests with no roads, and calculated routes always took us to Klang via Federal Highway rather than via Kesas. And so we gave up and took the Federal into Klang...

...we could feel our soul slipping away as we slowly crawled our way towards the Klang Bridge.

Miraculously when we arrived an hour late for the dinner, it still has not started! And once seated a Carlberg was put into our ready hands to restore our soul! A cold beer does do wonders for low traffic EQ.

And it was here that we come to realize how happy parents can be when their kids marry. While yes, of course, parents should be happy to see their kids finally tying the knot, most of the time we observe parents either getting sentimental or being rather reserved. Ivan's dad was bursting at the seams! It was obvious where Ivan got his humour and happy-go-lucky attitude from!

Do we need to wish the couple happiness in years to come? Probably no need. But we'll wish them all the best and many great years ahead!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Angry Birds Catapulting!

Ok so every now and then, like on late Tuesday afternoons when the iTunes Store puts in fresh material, we'll take a looky for free music, vids, and app recommendations and the likes. Occasionally they'd recommend something that we like, occasionally we'll start from one app, head on to 'apps like this' or 'apps others also bought' and browse till we give up at the sheer amount of apps available that we have no interest in.

Or we might end up with a few different apps, mostly (if not all) free. A good thing is that there's always a 'lite' version of an app, which lets us know if we'd ever buy the app, keep the lite version or delete it.

Especially now that otousan has gotten himself an iPhone, and we're both still fresh comparing apps when we meetup, even we get to know a few more apps that we never noticed before. Well ok mainly otousan downloads games, and the games (as we notice) that normally grabs our attention are well-known games or PC games (ie Monopoly, Command & Conquer, Monkey Island, Beneath A Steel Sky, Zooloretto) while the new games that crop up don't usually get our attention, or, if they did, we've only put in about an hour of gameplay before we forget about the game.

So sometime last week we were hunting about the iTunes Store when we came across the lite version of Angry Birds. We'd never clicked onto the app to see the description of the game before and so, judging from the fact that it spent quite a while on the top 10 paid apps (for the Malaysian iTunes Store that is) we thought we'd give the lite version a try.

Turns out that it was a catapulting game. And to think not too long ago we just pooh-poohed another catapulting game otousan was showing to us. Anyways, we played the free six stages offered, and we thought we would forget about the game after a while.

And given the fact that a stage takes less than a minute to play, we've been replaying this game nonstop.

And paid the skimpy 99 cents for the full version.

Hello, the cause of our battery draining even faster. Who knows how our battery will last when they finally make Street Fighter 4 for the iPod Touch much more worth it...