Sunday, 21 September 2014



When you read the title of this weeks blog you were a little confused. No, you're eyes aren't failing you and no, I'm not blogging under the influence. That's a word in Russian and it's pronounced as “nenalyublyu”; when translated into English it means "I love you but I hate you in this moment."

At least, I think that's what it means. I'm not 100% sure; I found out about it from watching Reginald D Hunters stand-up DVD and I later Googled it. And since I don't have a Russian speaking friend I can't really verify its accuracy. For all I know it might be a very rude word that I would use to describe Vladimir Putin.

Anyway, I digress; what I really wanted to say is that the phrase "I love you but I hate you in this moment" best describes my relationship with the board game Monopoly. As a guy who enjoys his fair share of computer games I still have a soft spot for it. A friend once described how they would play board games with their University roommates and I was more than a little jealous.

My love for Monopoly stems from the fact that I was an only child. That's not strictly true, I have a older sister but as fate would have it I was to be born 10 years after her. Which meant that when I was old enough to appreciate board games my sister was too cool to hang out with her little brother.

I grew up never really playing board games with..(cue Akon's “Mr. Lonely”)..anyone. I did play with my cousins but they weren't really interested; back then they just wanted to play with the Playstation. I would play draughts/checkers with my Dad, usually this took place when he was half-asleep on the couch. I won a lot of matches. Because I'm that good...(it has nothing too do with the fact that my Dad let me win so he could get back to napping)..

Last year I bought myself a Monopoly board game determined to play and I did; with my sister, her husband and my nephew. This was the point when the “I hate you in this moment” part set in. As much as I love Monopoly, it took a really long time to finish a game. Roughly 5 hours.

By the end we were a little bit cross with one another; usually down to the fact that we refused to sell or trade a crucial piece of real estate to one another, giving one player an advantage. Which only made the game last a lot longer. My poor nephew was caught in the crossfire when he had to choose between who he would sell his property to. When the game did finally end we were all pretty glad.

Right now, my Monopoly board game is in my closet. I still look forward to another game. Just not any time soon.


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Lost and Found

I know, I know; it's been a while (a little over 3 months) since my last post but a lot of things have happened since then:

1) Lost...

A little over two weeks since my last post “No good deed goesunpunished...” my hamster decided to eat her young. Either that or they got “poofed” like in TV show “ The Leftovers”; all I can say for sure is that when I went in to clean the cage, I didn't find them. I'm not really sure why this had happened (maybe stress), a few weeks later she did give birth to four more hamster pups and this time she didn't eat them. Sadly out of the four two later died. But the remaining two are enjoying life with their mum.

2) Found...

Two months ago I adopted two kittens into the family, so now I have four cats in total. The first cat, which I named Lucky I found on the main road just outside the school where I dropped off my nephew. The first thought that came to my mind on seeing a cat on the side of the road was that it might have been roadkill. As I approached the kitten raised its head so I stopped and brought it into the car with me and took it home. And she's been here ever since.

Saying "Hello", sort of

Enjoying a nap

And just a little over a month after Lucky was found another kitten showed up; this time right outside my front door. She wasn't doing too well at first, she was a little skinny and since I didn't have the heart to ignore her I brought her as well. I named her Ollie after Oliver Twist, since he was an orphan as well. While the older cats aren't exactly pleased with the new arrivals, Lucky and Ollie have gotten on very well together; they're practically siblings and can always be found close to each other. A vase did end up getting smashed; blame Lucky for that.

Enjoying the new hamsters as well

Lucky now

Ollie now

3) And then there were Moar...

Just a little over a month after bringing in Ollie a stray cat brought all her newborn kittens into our garden. Apparently she decided our house was a nice place to raise her litter. Well, we didn't exactly have the space (or the patience) to put up with so many cats so we decided to let them stay while we tried to find them a new home. I'm happy to report that we did find them a new home and recently sent them over to their new family.

Out in the garden

Off to their new home :)

That's it for now, as for me I'm planning to start writing again on a regular basis. Unless I get distracted by more critters showing up.


Sunday, 4 May 2014

No good deed goes unpunished...

Food, Glorious Food!

I've always associated the 1st of May with a holiday. Depending on where you live, you might be celebrating “May Day” or “Labour Day” a.k.a the slightly more socialist sounding “International Workers Day.” For me, the 1st of May will also be known as the “Fuck Me!, My Hamster Just Gave Birth Day” or just “Labour Day” for short.

Let's start at the beginning. The point when the Universe was created, the Big Bang. I'm kidding of course; you should really check out Cosmos: a spacetime odyssey if you haven't already. It all started with my nieces birthday just over a month ago. She had just turned 2 years old and her mother/my sister who I love and respect (even though sometimes she can be a bit of a numpty) decided to buy a pair of dwarf hamsters for my niece.

Now I wasn't happy with this because having a pet is a big responsibility. And as much my as I love my niece and respect her (even though sometimes she can be a bit of a numpty), I didn't think hamsters were the most appropriate gift for a child that age. And I told my sister that. And as much as she loves me and respects me (even though sometimes I can be a bit of a numpty), she said “Never mind, she'll be okay.”

And sure enough, just slightly over a week later I had the pleasure of adopting the hamsters. And I didn't mind much since I already have two cats and when I was younger I had two mice and a hamster. My niece had named one hamster “Hanna” and since she never got around to naming the second hamster I chose the name “Sparta.”

Because I'm a manly man and a bit of a history geek and not a 2 year old girl I named the hamster after the Greek city-state made up of bare chested warriors (according to the historically accurate movie 300); plus I was quietly hoping that if anyone ever asked me what my hamsters name was I would be able to shout “This is...SPARTA!” (that's a 300 movie reference...)

It's been a while since I had a hamster so to get reacquainted with the responsibilities involved with being a hamster owner I decided to turn to Youtube to look for some guidance. I quickly realized two thing:

  1. Based on the amount of videos available, hamsters seem to be a favoured pet of girls. Not that there's anything wrong with that. But next time just to up my manliness credibility I'm thinking of adopting some wolves or maybe a great white shark.

  2. The cage that was provided was clearly too small, especially for a pair of hamsters. I could buy a bigger cage but those cost quite a bit. Or I could go with the less expensive alternative and make a bin cage.

I actually liked making the bin cage. My hamsters have a lot more room to run around in and making the bin cage was also satisfying for me. I don't think I'll ever move to Alaska and build myself a cabin in the woods but at least I can make a bin cage for hamsters. Plus I already have a beard, which is relevant to me for some strange reason.

It's still a work in progress since I'm still waiting for the hamster stuff that I ordered from to arrive e.g. silent spinners, igloos, chew toys etc. And that's all I had to look forward to; the hamsters were not biting my hand as much when I fed them and my cats seemed to really enjoy their company.

But as I already mentioned at the start of this post, on the 1st of May I opened the bin cage to clean it and I'm staring down at a small pink newborn hamster. And then I found all the other small pink newborn hamsters. About four in total.

Aww..that's so..cute?

Well, I was not prepared for this revelation. This will be the closest feeling I have to a parent who just found out their teenager is pregnant; unless of course I get married, have a child or children (I want to have options) and then have a teenager who tell me that they're pregnant or they got someone pregnant. Remember kids always be safe, “One night stands may be over by mornin' but syphilis lasts a last time”; Robert De Niro said that once in a movie. Which means its true...just like in 300.

Now this was quite a surprise since according to my sister she had two female hamsters. And so in a less than happy mood I called her to “discuss” the current situation. Well, apparently the store kept all their hamsters together and didn't separate them by their gender. So Hanna might have been pregnant when she was bought. Or most likely, the employee didn't really know the difference between a male and female hamster and randomly picked Sparta who is actually a male hamster.

The other least likely scenario is that I had somehow upset this person in the past and he came up with a brilliant plan of getting a job at a pet store and waited for the right time for my sister to walk in and buy a hamster for her daughter. AND THEN he purposely gave my sister a male and female pair, knowing I would end up with the hamsters and I would have to deal with the problem. Touché sir, your plan worked perfectly...

Thankfully, there are a lot of forums and websites giving advice so I sort of know what to do. I still don't know if Sparta is a male or female. It's really hard to figure out the gender of a dwarf hamster. Right now, Sparta is in isolation in her/his own cage until I figure things out. It's not because she/he did anything wrong, Sparta just fits a certain profile and I want to be safe rather than sorry.

The good thing is that Hanna knows what she's doing so as long as I don't stress her too much or accidentally touch the babies, she won't eat them. Yes, apparently that's a thing that hamsters do. I will probably have to make a lot more bin cages and probably look for new homes for them. Or I could just let them out and play with my cats...relax..I'm kidding of course! Anyway, this is a few days late but happy Labour Day everyone...

To the employee at the pet store I have this to say to you:

I don't know who you are. I don't know what you want. I can tell you I don't have money. But what I do have are a very particular set of skills; skills I have acquired over a very long career. Skills that make me a nightmare for people like you. I will look for you, I will find you, and I will kill you.”

Again, that's not one of mine. It's another movie reference; Liam Neeson from the film Taken with a few changes made.

Here are some links:

Sunday, 20 April 2014

A slip of the tongue reveals my Oedipus complex?

A few days ago I had to take my mother's car to be serviced. Now for most people this isn't such a big deal. But from someone who has some social anxiety (or maybe just shy) it can be a little more difficult. At least in my mind.

As far as service centres go this particular Toyota service centre is pretty agreeable. It has a large customer lounge with plenty of seats and tables available to ignore all the other people getting their car serviced. Well, service centres aren't known to be sociable places in the first place. Plus there's free coffee, the gesture is a nice one even though the coffee might not be. If you expect Starbucks you will be greatly disappointed. 
For some reason I get reminded of visiting the clinic whenever I have to get the car serviced. First you have to book an appointment. When you get to the service centre you have to hand over your service book to receptionist, then wait on a bench until the service adviser calls you. On this particular occasion there were just 3 people waiting to get their car serviced since it was early in the day.

When the service adviser is done reviewing the service book he will then call out the number plate of your vehicle. Now, since I was bringing in my mother's car I didn't immediately get up from my seat. It was only when I saw that the people around me weren't responding that I realized he was calling me and I finally got up, still somewhat unsure. I had a quick look outside to make sure that I wasn't making a mistake.

You take another seat at the service adviser's desk and then he starts to tell you all the things that are going to happen to the car. As he listed everything I just nodded my head and said “OK” every time and boy was it a long list. 
Since this wasn't my car I was only half-listening as he went through the list; he could have said “and then we're going to send your car to the junk yard to be crushed” and I would still have said “OK.” It's not like there was much to say in the first place, “Well Mr. Faiz we will be changing the engine oil” and I would ask him “That sounds nice. Is it synthetic or mineral?”
Since the car is registered under my mother he needed my name for the form. And after giving my name he asked “So Ms. Blank is your husband?” For the record he made the mistake first; of course, I was going to say that she was my mother but for some reason my mind thought I was playing a word association game. 
I told him that “Ms. Blank is my wife” and while he was in mid-sentence apologizing for his mistake I had to interrupt him “err no..actually she's my mother.” Sigh..why can't life be easy? At least I managed to get to the customer lounge without incident and proceeded to spend the next 2 hours on my phone launching Angry Birds at evil pigs and ignoring people. Just the way I like it.

On a totally separate note I think I'm getting older, I think one of the signs is when you've missed the point of listening to music. On the way back I was listening to the radio and Coldplay's “The Scientist” came on and instead of enjoying the song it reminded me of the music video and I started analysing it. This is what I came up with:
  • poor guy, he probably has a concussion
  • the truck driver fled the scene of an accident, which is like really illegal
  • he managed to walk a REALLY long way from the scene of the accident
  • that mattress didn't really look too bad considering where it had been left
  • Gosh, I wish I could go back in time

In short I over think things and I'm awkward in public. Welcome to my life...

Here's a link to check out:

Sunday, 6 April 2014

I am...a woman

I just want to clarify a few things. I'm not having a existential crisis or trying to come to terms with my gender identity; I'm proud to say that I am still happy to be a man, whatever that means. Get back to me in a couple of years. I recently discovered Duolingo and I'm currently learning German..because you's the language of the future? Maybe I should have picked a different language.

Anyway, I was using Duolingo; in case you are unaware Doulingo is a free language-learning app. And it's pretty easy and fun way to learn a new language, even one as hard as German. The lessons usually involve being presented with individual words and later phrases and translating them from German to English and vice versa. Occasionally, you would have to speak into the microphone on your phone/tablet and translate a sentence.

On this particular occasion I was sitting in my car with the windows down, waiting for someone and I decided that I would brush up on my German. And on one of the lessons I had to translate the phrase “Ich bin eine Frau”; the English translation being “I am a woman.” For some reason my microphone wasn't registering my first and second attempts. So on the third attempt I really went for it and shouted out “I AM A WOMAN!”

The good news is that the microphone did pick up what I had said that time. And so did the man who was walking by the car. What the man thought about this revelation as he looked at me I wouldn't know; he didn't seem too intrigued. If anything he might have walked a little bit faster but that might have been my imagination.

On a totally separate note one on my favourite TV shows, How I Met Your Mother has finally come an end. I don't want to spoil it for you just in case you still haven't seen it yet. All I'll say is that I found the season finale of The Walking Dead to be less depressing than the last two episodes of HIMYM. And then, I got depressed when I realized I had to wait a few months for the new season of TWD and maybe a year or two for the next season of House of Cards.

Last weeks Grey's Anatomy proved to be pretty uneventful. Maybe it's time for the show to end? Over the years I've learned a few things after watching Grey Anatomy:

  1. On-call rooms are NOT meant for rest but strictly for sex
  2. Re-enacting the Second World War with live ammunition is a really bad idea
  3. A lot of bad shit happens to the staff of the Grey Sloan Memorial (formerly Seattle Grace) Hospital

And on last weeks episode I learned two more things:

  1. Phones in the future suck

  1. Ross should not grow a Goatee and should stick to contacts

P.S. I feel like I have to explain the first photo. Yes it is real and yes it is a photo of me. All I'll say is that I have a older sister. Sometimes she would dress me up in her old clothes and on other occasions apply make-up to my face (those photos shall never see the light of day.) This was back in the early 90's so there wasn't much to do and we got bored easily. Plus I was about 6 years old and children of that age aren't known for using good judgement. Sometimes I like to relive my childhood and dress up in women's clothes.

Some links to check out:

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Still waiting...

I've seen a few of these posters hanging around; at the restaurant where I have breakfast, on the pedestrian overpass on the highway and at the entrance at my nephew's school. They're all different in design but they have the same basic message. Pray for MH370. And for the families of those on that flight there is little more that they can do.

Last week a friend suggested that I write a post about the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. I decided against it at first because Flight MH370 was still missing at the time. I didn't think that we would be where we are today. It was/still is a pretty depressing story. And almost two weeks later the news hasn't improved much.

After all the press conferences, we still haven't been left with much useful information. So far the only useful piece of advice has been “not to speculate”. And of course that's the first thing everyone does. The ever hungry 24 hours news media has managed to contribute even less and have only added to the speculation.

There have been numerous theories put forward as to where the plane crashed and to how it may have crashed. Various “experts” have come up with many opinions explaining the disappearance of Flight MH370. The first theory that I saw said that the plane might have crashed due to a explosive decompression. Later a different “expert” said that the plane may have experienced a slow decompression instead. And then someone said that the passengers with the stolen passports may have been involved and that was quickly ruled out.

The most elaborate theory I've come across so far was put forward by “a self-identified hobby pilot and aviation enthusiast” (that right there should have raised a few red flags.) Keith Ledgerwood claims that Flight MH370 could have hidden itself by flying really close to another Boeing 777, thereby masking its radar signature and was able to fly over India and Pakistan.

Sigh..seriously expected better from you. Even I'm embarrassed to have repeated this stor..“theory.” A spokesperson for the Taliban in Pakistan told Reuters that they weren't responsible for the missing flight and he also added “We wish we had an opportunity to hijack such a plane.” I'd never thought that I would trust the words of a member of the Taliban over anyone else's. Sorry Keith....

The Daily Mail published a story about a flight that took place several years ago when the co-pilot of Flight MH370 had invited her and her friend into to the cockpit and according to the story published in the Daily Mail they had “smoked, chatted, and took photos with the young women.” The woman also claimed that the pilots weren't even facing the front of the plane; I'm even less of an aviation enthusiast compared to Keith Ledgerwood but I'm pretty sure that's what autopilot is for. What does this story prove? That men tend to use poor judgement when dealing with women? Maybe..but it's not news. And neither is the Daily Mail as some might say..

You'd think CNN might have some better material. But you'd be wrong. On one particular news bulletin they spent a few minutes talking about Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah's Youtube page. He had uploaded a few videos explaining DIY projects. And that proves what exactly? Other than the fact that he seems to be a really nice person like his friends and family have said. What did it have to do with the missing flight? I can't answer that, you'd have to ask CNN. Seems like they're grasping at straws, in an attempt to stay ahead of the competition. And according to the New York Times it's working.

Besides, how much can you tell about a person just by looking at their social media? If you went through my Tumblr or blog all you'd see is that I am a fan of Luclyn, Animals wearing clothes and funny Gifs. Hard to even judge the cover of a book with just that..

Lately the news has been focused on the home “flight simulator” found in Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah's house. So he liked to play Microsoft Flight Simulator X? (Other flight simulators are avialable.) I hope the investigators realize that you can buy most of the parts to create home flight simulator on A pilot who likes to spend his time on a flight simulator doesn't seem so strange, at least to me. I happen to be spending most of my free time playing a “combat simulator” a.k.a “Planetside 2.” It doesn't mean I'll to be going to war any time soon. But we'll just have to wait to see where this investigation by the police leads.

I've seen a few comments on Facebook and news websites where people have said that “they're embarrassed to be Malaysian” which seems a bit over dramatic. They're entitled to their opinions of course. I'm by no means a patriot or a nationalist but there are numerous things that embarrass me; like the time I walked around a shopping mall not realizing my fly was open. But being a Malaysian hasn't been one of those things.

Plus it's not like you can really do much with your nationality, at least when you're born. I guess when you were in the womb they missed the memo about wanting to be born in a different country; to avoid future potential embarrassment. Your parents just happen to be where they are when they had you. Don't be too hard on yourselves guys..

It WAS slightly embarrassing/funny when that shaman turned up at KLIA to “help” find the missing plane. I'm no expert on such things so I'll just say that his methods were very..interesting. He did tell a local online newspaper that “he thought MH370 was either still in the air or had crashed into the ocean.” Well, that helps narrows it Earth.

The Malaysian government has come under heavy criticism from U.S. And Chinese officials for not being secretive and not transparent in communicating with both countries. Again they're entitled to their opinions and I happen to share a few of them myself. But isn't this the pot calling the kettle black?

Sure, we all remember that time when President Obama called Chancellor Merkel to tell her to watch what she said over her phone because it was being bugged. As for China? Well, it's so transparent it's like looking through a glass menagerie. Governments make mistakes, not everything is a slam dunk. Can't we all just get along? Seems the only person in government who's not good at keeping secrets is Mayor Rob Ford.

Sadly this blog and blogger is guilty of the same thing as the news organisations mentioned above. Apart from some sass and snarky opinions it doesn't add anything to the fact that the Flight MH370 is still missing.

I guess all we can really do is..

Here are some links to check out:

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Let them eat mamak....

I think it's safe to say that Malaysians are obsessed with food. And that may not be such a good thing, considering the expanding waistlines of many Malaysians (including myself.) But I'm not here to lecture you on healthy eating habits; at least not this post, this week. That can come later.

What I want to talk about is the one place that bring Malaysians together. The humble “mamak” restaurant. While there are many other food establishments to choose from I'd like to think that the mamak restaurant is unique to us. Kinda like fish and chips in England. Now you could probably open up a fish and chip shop in KL but it just wouldn't “feel” the same.

As someone who lives in KL whenever I'm in doubt as to where to have my next meal the mamak is where I turn to. Especially since I'm that type of guy who can't/won't cook. This is slightly off topic but while I do subsribe to a lot of cooking channels on Youtube I can never seem to bring myself to actually cook the meal. C'est la vie....

There are certain things that I find endearing about eating at a mamak be it a stall, van or proper restaurant. First of all the mamak is a place where all Malaysians converge; we may worship in different places but whether you are down-and-out or well-to-do, you will visit the mamak at least once during the week. Unless, of course you're a yuppie/hipster; in which case you'll never find yourself outside a Starbucks. Gawd those people annoy me...

Another thing that I quite like is that everyone is called "Boss", from the server to the customer. When you want to order you just raise your hand and call out “Boss” and when it's time to pay get called “Boss” as well; it's almost utopian. Why should we have to use names?

And the mamak is a cheaper alternative compared to some other food outlets, though that's not always the case. Once I got charged RM7 for a mee soup which is scandalous. These mamaks are what we call "cekik darah" and must be avoided at all costs so that they will die out.

The standard meal at any decent mamak is roti canai and teh tarik. Just to illustrate how important roti canai is a few years ago when the Government was planning too reduce the subsidy for flour the mamaks were threatening to stop making roti canai. And over the years the menu at a mamak has diversified, you can now find Thai and Western dishes on the menu. There is even a variation on the basic foodstuff like roti tisu, roti milo, naan cheese, naan keema and many more.

It's not all great. Service and cleanliness can be a factor. The standard excuse at a mamak is 'It's on the way'; once it took forty five minutes before our food arrived. A girl I knew in sixth form told me that once she saw the waiter at a local mamak drop a fried chicken drumstick onto the floor, he then picked it up, brushed it off and put it back on the plate. Another negative in my opinion is the yuppie culture creeping into the mamak (many now have wi-fi). Occasionally you can find people with laptops sitting there (it's amazing that they get upset when you look at their screen); personally I think they should just stay at Starbucks.

Sometimes you can find mamak culture abroad, a friend of mine living in Sydney (Rachel Kelapakepala; that's her actual name) went to a restaurant called "Mamak". She ordered a rojak and paid AU$12 (total rip btw) and she says that over there they eat roti canai with Vegemite; it's not the same. I'd just like to point out that Australian mamak culture doesn't even come close to MALAYSIAN mamak culture which is the best.

Above all else the mamaks serves an important social function as a place where people gather to meet with one another. One of the most frequent sights you see at the mamak are many "Shadow Governments"; these are small groups of mostly retired men (with nothing else to do) sitting at tables discussing how the country should be run. Now I'm not the one who is in a position to judge whether the various ideas on domestic and foreign policies are infeasible or otherwise.

But seriously, when you spend most of your time at a mamak you're probably not going to effect government decisions very much. The mamak also plays an important role during live sporting events; this is because they usually have satellite tv and there is the added convenience of having food and drinks just a few feet away. So during this years world cup you can expect many people to spend their nights there.

My favourite mamak is near Masjid India by the river, it's very small and basic compared to most mamaks but it does very good business. As far as I'm concerned it has the best teh tarik and I do enjoy having a "roti special"; what's so special about it? I guess you just have to go and find out yourself.