Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Suspicious Manna

...from heaven, so far. Causing us some confusion.

See, today as we were doing some online banking, we noticed that one account had a sudden noticiable increase in balance. Surprising and noticiable because we rarely do much with that account.

We called up the bank and was not able to trace the source of money - customer service informed us that it was their policy not to reveal the source. The best we got was a vague assumption that it was either some form of salary or dividends.

Not that we know of any of that sort going into that particular account, no. And the description on the transaction made no sense to us too.

The Chief denies having anything to do with it. We've yet to check with our parents, however, if it were from family we would have been informed of it earlier. Oh, not to mention for the family it's normally through a different bank. And we've not joined any contests from any banks or anywhere, and for those we should be getting some prior notification.

So here we are with a little bounty. And next thing you know, we get word on Facebook that the Nintendo 3DS has landed on our shores. Limited stocks and all that. Prices out and confirmed.

mmm. We're tempted. Confused and tempted. We could go on a spree, only to find out much later someone coming to lay claims about that cash, like our mum probably suddenly telling us that we should be expecting some paid dividends or interest in our account soon, that's actually belonging to our aunty, please help withdraw and pass it to her, or something to that extent.

Sigh. Admittedly if it was the announcement that the iPad 2 has launched and is available right now we would have probably gone and get one on impulse.

For all we know this could really be a little present to us for us to take and enjoy, and here we are doubting it!

Update: There's something wrong with the WYSIWYG on IE9, hence we'd to reedit everything via HTML!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Breakfast At Janvier's

Last weekend. Woke up to the sound of someone playing Cooking Dash in our room. The sound alternates louder and softer, as the Chief brings the iPhone nearer to and further away from our ear.

Freshen up, head downstairs, halve scones, plop scone halves into the oven, take butter out from the fridge to warm, decided on Lipton tea instead of the lemon scented Twinings tea, drop in sugar cubes into two cups and pour in hot water, get the honey out as well as the honey server, get out the breakfast plates, remove buns from Bread Talk from their wrapping.

Wait for the oven to go ding! signalling that scones are now warm. Apply butter to warm scones, use honey server to apply a bit of honey at the center of each scone halves, press halves back together, place scones along with buns on breakfast plates, set on table mat on the kitchen dining table, remove tea bags from cups, clear clutter.

Simple breakfast is served.

Chief: So we will have breakfast like this when we stay together?
Janvier: Ya.
Chief: Yay!
Janvier: But only if you wake us up.
Chief: ...
Janvier: And only on weekends.
Chief: ...
Janvier: Well you'll definitely wake up before us what!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Dangerous Reads I: The Unsatiable Hunger

Last year Junior gave us one rather dangerous book to read as a birthday present.

Julia Child's My Life In France.

Let us take an exerpt:

"The pièce de résistance for the evening was a mammoth galantine de volaille, which took me three days to creat and had been adopted from a recipe in Larousse Gastronomique. First you make a superb buillion - from veal leg, feet and bones - for poaching. Then you debone a nice plump four-pound chicken, and marinate the meat with finely ground pork and veal strips in Cognac and truffles. Then you reform the chicken, stuffing it with a nice row of truffles wrapped in farce and a fresh strip of pork fat, which you hope ends up in the center. You tie up this bundle and poach it in the delicious buillion. Once it is cooked, you let it cool and then decorate it - I used green swirls of blanched leeks, red dots of pimiento, brown-black accents of sliced truffle, and yellow splashes of butter. The whole wasthen covered with beautiful clarified-bouillion jelly."


When we first started reading the book we immediately had to stop after a few chapters, when Julia Child started talking about her arrival in France.

She has this passionate way of writing and describes food with such detail that, if we were not hungry or eating, we would be while reading her book; and if we were eating a meal and reading her book, we would still get hungry because her meals sounds so much better.

Either way, we lose.

Which is why, while we had this book since last year and Junior's waiting on us to finish the book so he can borrow it, we've yet to finish it (and us being able to finish a book relatively fast). It's like, um, having to lick envelopes to seal them, with the adhesive being salty that for every envelope you lick and seal, you have to stop to drink lots of water, and unable to continue for a while.

We really wonder how to finish this book.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Dispensing With Automatic Impulse Buy

Just during the weekend we'd to rush into Tesco to grab some vanilla ice cream, ice cream cones, and a bag of ice for a potluck event, and we chanced upon this as we headed to the ice cream aisle.

Dettol now has an automatic handwash dispenser, that runs on batteries. We'd only time to snap a photo, check a bit of the details, then head on to get what we came for.

So during the potluck, we had the chance to tell the Chief about the handwash dispenser, and our interest in getting one.

The Chief was agreeable when we said that we were interested in getting one until we clarified that we wanted to get it for ourself, to be placed in our bathroom, rather than for use in the office.

The Chief then gave us this look that covered the entire range from Got So Much Money To Burn Ah?, You Very Itchy Fingers Ya, Whatever For?, Waste Of Money, and probably Like That Also Fun all in one, and had us bursting out laughing. We aggravated it some more by miming washing our hands.

But seriously we might just get one, depending on just how efficient it works!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Auction Awareness

There's just somethng about the PC Expo auction that had us being slightly reckless and needing to consciously keep ourself in check. Thank goodness the Chief was with us, really, to help figure out a limit to how much we were willing to spend on the items we were interested in (it was either the Garmin Nuvi 1350 GPS, the desktop, the Samsung Galaxy Tab or the Panasonic 42" LED telly).

Of course, the emcee would first inform us of the normal retail price and the promotion prices of the item to be auctioned, to make sure we were level-headed enough to not bid over the normal retail price.

Initially we never did plan to buy anything from the PC Expo, and then we saw some things we were interested in. So we planned to just take part in the auction, with half a mind to bid just for fun.

Bearing in mind, of course, that unlike playing some boardgame with elements of bidding (where sometimes the idea is to hike up the price of some item to an unreasonable price just because you know another player desperately wants it), if we bid too high a price in this auction, we were going to have to pay for it if we end up winning the bid.

And then somehow the Chief thought that we should actually try and bid for the GPS - we might be able to get it for, perhaps, around RM350 (normally RM545), or at the most, RM450.

And so the bidding began!

Everyone took part in the fun because the emcee enforced a minimum RM1 and maximum RM50 bid, rather than let some bloke bid a price that would just shut everybody else up, turning it into a game of The Price Is Right instead. And we must say that for items not too expensive, having everyone participate can be rather fun.

Because everyone would bid initially, and the starting bid of RM1 would just go up, and at some point most people would drop out, leaving only those who were actually interested to continue.

This was what happened to us! At some point past RM350, it came down to only us and another bloke bidding for the GPS. It's quite a feeling, when you realize everyone's stopped bidding and are watching you and your opponent duke it out.

And with a competitive streak, it's hard to stop sometimes! There we were nicely suggesting a price we were comfortable with paying, and then this other feller starts bidding at RM10 higher! Indignantly we would then raise the bid by another RM10 (because raising it by RM50 would only bring it much closer to the actual price which isn't our intention), and this will go own until we nearly lose track of how much we were willing to bid the item for.


And we let the other fellow have it at RM460. Or RM470. Towards the end when we were both bidding at RM5 increments there were longer and longer pauses as both of us were considering if we should keep raising the price (competitive as we were we managed to keep ourself in check), and while the both of us were at opposite ends we had a clear view of his anguished face every time we raised the price, forcing him to deliberate if he could afford to pay another RM5 more.

And no, we didn't stoop so low as to bid just RM1 higher. No patience for that!

Anyhow it's interesting because when we first entered the PC Expo, we never had the intention to get a GPS! See just how dangerous auctions can be? One minute we're walking in, figuring out a budget for a new desktop, next thing we know, we could have been happily forking out RM500 for a GPS!

Oh well. As for the rest of the items, we lost interest when the bid went higher than half the original price, and saved ourself from an impulse buy.

Monday, March 07, 2011

The Year Of The iSlow

This weekend proved to be somewhat tiring, or perhaps we're slowing down, but it's certainly noticeable that the moment we reach home and head up to our bedroom, we can actually just lie in bed and fall immediately to sleep without changing or taking a bath.

Friday night saw us around Cheras after work, so we decided to head to Leisure Mall for our workout and dinner before heading to Old Town Kopitiam Cheras for some boardgaming. We'd no problem getting to Leisure Mall due to some handy directions on taking the back roads rather than going through the main highway, but it was our journey from Leisure Mall to OTK that was a navigating nightmare!

We left Leisure Mall at 9pm only to reach OTK at almost 10.30pm!

Got home around 2.30am, knocked out straightaway when we laid down in bed.

Saturday now, we had the Chief drop us off at Midvalley for a quick look-see at the PC Expo (the Chief already visited the Expo on Friday didn't join us as it was too crowded).

Less then an hour and we were out of there, having made a quick skim and taking catalogues of what we were interested in. Then we headed down to Subang for pork noodle at Pomander before mooching over to Subang Parade, where we managed to get a pouch for our iPhone and a present for our niece (a good shopping experience aided by a bargaining-savvy Chief!).

After that the Chief brought us for dinner at Betty's Midwest Kitchen at Aman Suria!

There's something about us eating at such porky establishments...prior to this we dined at Blue Cow Cafe at Plaza Damas, and now at Betty's Midwest Kitchen, we order as if we were never coming back to the establishment and wanted to try everything in one sitting.

Hence we had the Classic Meatloaf as recommended, the Pig-In-A-Blanket, Crispy Bacon, the Roasted Chicken and Onion Soup, and the 'Dog Food' (fries in cheese and gravy). While we had to wait some 10-15 minutes to get a seat, our order was taken while we waited and upon sitting at our table all the dishes came almost immediately! We suppose most of the dishes were already prepared and just needed some heating up - especially because of the bacon.

The bacon turned out dry and crispy and not really salty, while we were actually expecting fried oily bacon with the fatty bits still on it, the whole thing crispy and oily and salty enough to cause our arteries to panic as we enjoy the sinful bit of meat.

Stuffed ourselves silly and, once home, napped a while before summoning up the willpower to go shower and change and catch up on our Cityville before sleeping.

And on Sunday, we had two performances to attend! First up, the Tribute To John Williams by the MPO.

A great and lively performance! Theme music from Superman, Star Wars, Indiana Jones And The Raiders Of The Lost Ark, Memoirs Of A Geisa, Close Encounter Of The Third Kind, Hook, Jaws, Yes, Georgio and E.T., and for the encore, the march from 1941.

Then we'd to rush off to find St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church after that! Just earlier last week we came across a Facebook event for a performance of Faure's Requiem, and we were keen to watch the performance. Turns out that it wasn't just any performance, but a tribute to the late Armando Chin Yong too, performed by Cantus Musicus.

We had some issues, although we're not a professional singer or musician...small issues like certain Latin pronunciations and the little mishap during a repeat performance of Agnus Dei at the end of the performance, where the organist and the sopranos/altos got jumbled up due to a miscue. The biggest issue we had was with one of the tenors, whom we nicknamed Mr Expressive. His face! Goodness he had his eyes opened wide and focusing so hard on the conductor, and his mouth always forming an O either 2 beats before he's supposed to sing (so we know when he's going to sing if we didn't already know the requiem) or when he's pronouncing certain words. It's amazing, even when pronouncing the 'em' in 'requiem', his mouth forms an O.

His singing was good but it was very, very distracting watching him. It was better after we took off our glasses.

Immediately after the performance it was back to MidValley for the auctions at the PC Expo! Arrived just in time for the auction, and was only interested in the bidding for the Acer desktop, the Dell laptop, the Garmin Nuvi 1350, and the Samsung Galaxy Tab. In all cases we didn't win the bid, although we were close with the GPS as it was within reasonable limits (we stopped at, what, RM460 for the GPS, which we were told costs RM545?).

This time we weren't as tired as the past two days, but still we found ourself dozing off the moment we were horizotal!

This may be the year of the iPad 2, but it's also the year where we start slowing down!

Tuesday, March 01, 2011


It's a bit of a predicament.

With our Nintendo DS, our games were basically limited by, firstly, our wallet, as games here are not cheap (easily anywhere between RM150-RM200 each for a popular game, goodness we've sunk quite a fair bit into this), and secondly, there aren't too many games so we can basically just focus on what we want most (which would mainly be the Mario and Zelda games, can't go wrong with those, and we must say the Castlevania series on the NDS were entertaining enough with better replayability than the former in our case).

Since we've gotten our NDS (good gosh, when was this? Late 2004? Mid-2005?) it's earned the title of Most Valuable Gaming Asset - trumping PC gaming and all the consoles whatwith the ability to play games anywhere, anytime, even before going to sleep.

Then the iPod Touch came out, and the App Store in all its infancy never did have much games that would cause us to impulse buy. Yes, well, much later on as the App Store started growing and we started using the iPod Touch for more than just mobile surfing we deliberated lenghtily before buying anything on the App Store (because it's in USD and not RM!). The most expensive app we bought back then was probably ToDo, at USD4.99, after trying a few other free to-do apps. Motion-X's Poker Quest was probably one of the first few games we ever bought, too.

Then Tap Tap Coldplay came along and we didn't deliberate for very long. Tap Tap Coldplay's probably still one of the best Tap Tap apps, featuring their best songs from all their albums, unlike the disappointing Lady Gaga Revenge which only featured songs from her first album The Fame, hence there were lots of remixes that weren't to our fancy.


Time goes by and the App Store starts filling up with more and more games. There are ports of old games which hit our Nostalgia button and may probably hit our Impulse Buy button at the same time (ie The Secret Of Monkey Island Special Edition), there are boardgames converted over to the iOS that we will access before going for the Deliberate Buy (Carcassone being the poster boy of a game well done), and then there are games that, due to their popularity, we may just buy if we like the gameplay (like Angry Birds, which we would never had bought if we never did get to try out their Lite Version beforehand, and Robot Unicorn Attack, because of Erasure's 'Always' admittedly).

We've just counted 71 game apps currently on our iPhone (inclusive of the Inception app). There's more we left on our pc without syncing over to the iPhone, due to us not playing them ever (like the Rolando series) or because we have to play something else first (like Simon The Sorcerer 1 before we can play Simon The Sorcerer 2), or perhaps because we've finished the game (like Beneath A Steel Sky).

The point is, thanks to Touch Arcade (and their AppShopper app), we've been on the lookout for more games! More and more games!

So much so that we've no time to finish all our old games! Both remakes of Monkey Island sit unfinished, especially after we've inexplicably lost our save game files and have to replay from scratch, while we spend an absurd amount of time replaying Devil May Cry 4 Refrain, Street Fighter 4, Seventh Guest and Battleheart!

And the games keep on coming especially when they are either priced at USD0.99, or they go on sale from USD9.99 to USD0.99 (the very unexpected Street Fighter 4!)! App pricing? A topic for another time.


And it's not as if we've stopped playing games on our NDS (asides from the fact that there aren't any new games that would cause a Near Impulse Buy), but The World Ends With You does keep track of when we last played, and suffice to say it's not three times a day. Or even once a day.

After all that rambling...

We're actually considering the Nintendo 3DS. Sold out on day one in Japan. Coming out in US next month. Wondering how much the price tag will be once it hits our shores. Should be higher than our NDS, but will it cost almost the same as our Wii? And asides from Super Street Fighter 4, what other games are there? Will it be worth it? Or shall we drown in more iOS games?