Saturday, February 23

Bedtime story

I didn't read much when I was a kid. And when I read, I only read Malay books, to be exact, those translated Enid Blyton's books. I never knew they were translated. I thought Enid Blyton was a Malay with a weird name. And I also thought that Enid is a male's name. How wrong I was at that time! And it was easy to get hooked to any of her books, since most of the times, you can relate to the character in the books, or imagine that you were one of them.

My favourite series would be the Secret Five. I'm sure almost all of you would have at least read one of the series. In Malay, it was translated to Lima Penyiasat. The main character is Gemuk, who was a master in disguise and always outwitting the local policeman, Encik Goon. He was assisted by John, Mary, Samy and Saroja and also at times, his dog, Buster.

There were a few tricks that they did in the book that was quite impressive. I still remember some of them, which includes the invisible ink trick (supposed to be lime juice) and to reveal the ink, you need to iron the message. Also the one where they were locked in a room, and what they did was slipped a piece of paper underneath the door, and poke the key out until it fell down onto the paper (of course the key needs to be in the keyhole on the other side of the door).

And I remember Gemuk has this shack where he hid his disguises. And he would disguised himself as different characters and walked around town to fool people (especially Encik Goon). Somehow, Goon and his bicycle always provide the humour in the story (with Buster occasionally barking and biting his legs).

Other than that, another one of my favourite is the Lima Sekawan series. This one is about Eddie, Dean, George, Mona and their dog, which I can't remember its name. Also about kids playing detective, but it is more like stumbling into a case rather than looking for one. Eddie, Dean and Mona are siblings, with George (Georgina is her real name, but she prefers to be called George, and likes to wear boy's clothing) being their cousin who lives in a house near the sea. So there were plenty of secret caves, islands adventures with the occasional pirates and treasures.

I think that was why I yearned for adventures and mystery during my childhood years. I even formed my own detective club in school, with our secret meetings and codes. But we didn't solve any mystery. It was more to creating our own mystery and solving them with our imagination. Something like role-playing (of course at that time, we had no idea what Dungeons and Dragons were). But all in all, we had a lot of fun. I still have our membership card, tuck safely in my drawer back at home.

I think I shall rummage that drawer the next time I'm home.

Friday, February 22

The long road

It has been a while. Come to think of it, it has been almost 3 years since I last frequented the MRR2 during peak hours. And this week, I was on it twice.

A few years back, I used to drive to Cheras from Sunway thrice a week. Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday I would leave work and head straight to Cheras for our weekly basketball game. The road was long and torturous. At times, I can be on it for more than an hour. The deadly stretch was along the Sri Petaling area, where the crawl normally starts. I found ways to entertain myself during the long crawl, and I also learnt the best lane to be in when stuck in a jam. Of course, what made it worst were the drivers who kept on changing lanes every five minutes or so.

But normally, after the Bandar Tun Razak exit, the crawl subsided. And then there is the infamous Pandan Indah stretch. Because of the stupidity of the planner, somehow there is a bottleneck where the three lanes become two, and that is why every evening, the crawl will start at least two kilometres away. Then, if there is an accident, or a stalled car, things can get from worse to really ugly. The crawl can start from 10 kilometres away. At that time, you could spend 2 hours just to get past that stretch.

Luckily for me, I only encountered minor crawl this week. Not that there were less cars on the road, or the road has become wider. I think it has to do more with my luck on those days. But I dread the next time I have to travel on that road during peak hours.

I think that time will be next Tuesday.

Wednesday, February 20

Stay of execution

There was a huge sigh of relief after the game last night. I think everyone in the stadium were happy with the results at the end of the game. But they had to wait until the last 5 minutes of the game for the first goal, and it was a double relief when the skipper blasted another cracker at the stroke of full time.

But of course, Rafa must have had his heart skipped a bit or two during the whole game. It was frustrating watching the home team having the mighty lion of possessions, and playing with an extra man (Inter was down with 10 men on the 30th minute), but was unable to get the goal they desperately needed. Shots after shots on goal were off target, and if they were on target, the keeper did well to save them. Rafa then brought in two attacking players for more firepower, and it finally paid off when a cross from one of the substitute was met by Kuyt who volleyed in his second goal in two games for the long awaited breakthrough.

And the goal from Gerrard was like the icing on the cake, and with a comfortable lead to take to San Siro, Liverpool must now be counting their chances of progressing to their 12th European Cup quarterfinals. Of course, anything can happen in the second leg, but now it's up to Inter to make things happen.

Hopefully this win will be the start of a good run, and maybe, just maybe, we'll be in the running again for that elusive top spot in the league.

But most importantly, it means Rafa won't be going anywhere for the time being.

Not yet.

Sunday, February 17


I remember vaguely the last time Barnsley beat Liverpool. It was years ago, and it wasn't in Anfield. Anfield used to be the stronghold for Liverpool Football Club. Walking out of the dressing room, the infamous 'This is Anfield' sign used to give butterflies to those players playing on that sacred ground. But I guess that was during the glory days, when Anfield was a mighty fortress. Plans for a new stadium has demolished Anfield status and aura indefinitely. Nowadays, playing in Anfield is the same as playing anywhere else.

Anyway, the last time Barnsley beat Liverpool, it didn't happened in Anfield. And it didn't happened in Oakwell Stadium either. Come to think of it, it didn't even happened on English soil. It happened in Championship Manager 3 (CM3) and I was the manager of Barnsley at that time. It was also a cup tie, and the scoreline was the same as last night. Having been managing the team for 3 seasons at that time, it was a sweet victory for me, beating Liverpool at that time to advance to the semifinals. I think I lost the semifinals to Arsenal at that time, but that besides the point.

In reality, Barnsley did beat Liverpool once before. It was 10 years ago, the one and only season Barnsley played in the Premier League. But yesterday, it knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup. Already being written off for the Premier League title, and knocked out of the League Cup, their only silverware now lies in the prestigious Champions League, which they are up against Inter Milan this week.

Maybe that's why Benitez rested Torres and benched Gerrard. It's only Barnsley anyway, and they have one of the worst record in their division playing away from home. But sometimes, magical stuffs happened in the FA Cup. And it definitely happened last night.

With the score tied at 1-1, with virtually the last kick of the game, Barnsley did the unthinkable. Captain Brian Howard dashed the Reds dream of FA glory and added mounted pressure on Benitez. Already been broiled in controversy, he must be wondering how much longer is he going to survive before getting the sack. The results haven't been on his side lately, and it's only a matter of time when a better candidate emerges as a successor to him.

Of course, this can only mean one thing. The game against Inter Milan will be crucial, as failure to advance to the next level could spell an end to Benitez's job. But Inter Milan must be thanking their luck to draw Liverpool, instead of the other English giants. Manchester United might be faltering a bit in the league, but they have a strong team, and Arsenal and Chelsea are very consistent. Out of the four teams, Liverpool is proven to be the weakest of them all.

At the end of the game last night, Rafa had no words to describe the lost. "We had a lot of chances but it was the same situation as in other games, we cannot take our chances to finish games. Today was the same," Rafa Benitez moaned.

I think it has been the same for a very long time now.
Could this be the end of Rafa-Torres partnership?

Friday, February 15

Rainy day man

I love the rain. Sometimes, I just sit outside and watch the raindrops fall from the sky. I always dream of lying down on the ground and watch the rain falls into my eyes. Tried it before actually, and discovered that dreaming about it is more pleasant than actually doing it.

Lately, it hasn't been raining as often as before. It used to rain almost everyday, heavy evening rain. Not a good time to be on the road, since rainy days mean bad traffic. Nowadays, there is more sunshine, and the mornings can get really hot. Parched hot. The kind of hot that makes you want to spend the day indoors in an air-conditioned room, or maybe soaked in the swimming pool. And definitely not stuck in a bad traffic crawl in the car with the air-conditioning not working.

The wind has also make limited appearance nowadays, preferring to blow someplace else instead. With the hot sun and no wind, temperature has been high, and the same can also be said with some people's tempers. Weird how the word temperature seems to come from the root word temper. Not that it has any relations, come to think of it. But if there was a research done to study the relationship between temper and temperature, I'm sure the results would show that they are proportional to each other. In other words, it would show a linear relationship.

But I digress. It's easy to let your tempers run wild when the conditions are set for it, like a fire being fed with kerosene, or a hungry dog being thrown a piece of meat. And it's a lot easier to just let it loose, and hurt the people around you. But most of the time, it's the people you love who gets hurt, and in the end, all you'll end up with are regrets, and most probably, lesser friends.

There are times when I can feel my temper flaring up, and I would close my eyes and count to three, and take a deep breath. But in that 3 seconds, plenty of things are going on in my mind. I would play the scenario of me losing my temper, and how the consequences would effect me, and the people around me. After a while, that would calmed me down, and I would be able to think rationally.

Of course, it depends on the situation too. I think I lose my temper more when I'm in my car, driving. It's very easy to get angry and start cursing when inconsiderate drivers are all around you. Then again, the AC in my car has gone busted, so that probably explains why lately there were more cursing while I'm cruising along the road.

That's why I'm glad when it rains. Somehow, the sound of the rain soothe the beast in me, and keep my temper in check. And the air is a lot cooler too. It's easier to be calmer on rainy days. Well, as long as there are no flash floods around, because that would make me even madder.

I hope it rains tomorrow, because I miss the rain.

Thursday, February 14

When I close my eyes

Have you ever go to sleep at night and wish that you are somewhere else? Anywhere but here? Maybe a nice island with white sands and nice smelling breeze? Where the only sound you can hear is the waves crashing on the beach, and the only sight you can see is the never-ending vastness of the sea, all the way up to the horizon. And the colour you can see is blue, in front of you, and blue, above you, and white, on both sides. And you can feel the touch of the wind on your face, and you can feel your hair being caressed by the soft breeze, and you lick your lips and you can taste the salt in the air.

And you opened your eyes and it's the ceiling you're staring at, and it's your bed with the light green and heart-shapes bedcover you're sleeping on, and the window with the soft green curtains on your right and a whole bunch of stuffs on your left.

Welcome to reality.

But I do not wish for all that. I do not wish for the white sands and the soft breeze. I do not wish for blue skies and the vast ocean.

I don't mind being in bed. I don't mind being in my own cozy room with the soft green curtains and the hardwood floor. I don't mind being here with the computer next to me and the TV just in front of me.

I don't mind that at all, as long as I have her with me.

Wednesday, February 13

Good love is on the way

I'm sure some of you have seen this, but I would love to share this with everyone.

If you're having trouble to see it from here, you can watch it on YouTube here.

I always believe in love, and I will keep on believing. Good things come to those who wait. Wait and seek. And never lose faith.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12

V is for Valentine

Call me a romantic fool, but I always look forward to Valentine's Day. Not that I celebrate it, since I've been single for as long as I can remember, but it's heartening to read and hear about those lucky ones who have someone to celebrate it with.

Which reminds me, The Imam at the mosque I went to for Friday's prayer last week did a sermon about how celebrating Valentine's Day is haram, since the day originated from a Christian martyr with the same name. But then again, so is celebrating Deepavali, Christmas and other festivities, come to think of it. Well, that's what they said anyway.

Nowadays, Valentine's Day has more commercial values rather than what it is supposed to mean. It's a day when the price of flowers goes up like a rocket being launched, and expensive restaurants become more expensive, and are only accessible through reservations. Flowers and expensive candlelight dinner. I guess it doesn't take much to win a girl's heart nowadays. Oh yes, don't forget that perfect gift (a diamond ring, or a diamond pendant, perhaps) to totally sweep her off her feet.

My first Valentine's experience was a little comical. I think I was only 9 at that time, and it wasn't like I have a girlfriend at that time. But I happened to befriended this sweet little girl who lived behind my house, and we were sort of dating (well, more like playmates). But I would love to imagine that we were dating, since most of the time we were playing house and we always imagine ourselves as husband and wife.

Anyway, come Valentine's Day that year, I gave her some flowers, but since I couldn't afford to buy any, and I couldn't find any pretty enough that I could pluck, I did the next best thing that was possible. I cut pictures of flowers from magazines, and pasted them on cardboards which I then cut into the appropriate shape. And I remember sharing with her a bar of chocolate, which I smuggled out from the fridge in my house. And what did I get in return? Well, I think I'll keep that to myself (get that thought out of your mind, we were only 9 years old at that time!)

Fast forward a few years, when I was in secondary school, the value of Valentine's Day sort of diminished, most probably because I was in a boarding school and we were warned by those righteous brothers not to celebrate it in any way. But being quite popular with the opposite sex, I was showered with the occasional gift, and love letters, although most of them came anonymously.

Anyway, my last Valentine was quite a success. I cooked dinner for my girlfriend at that time (yes, I finally had one, and we were a couple, not playmates). I managed to coaxed my housemates to leave the house for the night (it involved an exchanged of cash) and did quite a romantic setting, with candles and flowers and nice music in the background. My spaghetti turned up well, and she was totally taken by the whole thing. My reward, well, needless to say, it was definitely better than the one I received when I was 9 years old.

So do I have any plans for this year's Valentine? Most probably not. But you'll never know. I might change my mind at the very last minute. But wait a minute, I'm missing an important ingredient for the whole thing to take place. I don't have a girlfriend.

Monday, February 11

Monday teaser

I think the answers to the previous teaser have not been published yet, so here they are. But first, congratulations to Bakawali and Najibest yet again, for getting all the answers correct. Prizes should be in your mailbox in two weeks time.

  1. She is a liar. No liar would would claim to be a liar, therefore she is not telling the truth.

  2. 40 miles per hour.

  3. The chance it will come up heads is 1 in 2. A coin has no memory.

  4. Small (meter is also accepted).

  5. Patty, because all of the others usually either beat her or beat somebody else who beats her.

Now here are today's teasers:

  1. A man wants to grow a tree very quickly. He buys some special tree seeds that double in height every day. On the tenth day, the tree is twenty feet high. On what day was it five feet high?

  2. A man moors his boat in a harbor at high tide. A ladder is fastened to the boat, with three rungs showing. The rungs are twelve inches apart. At low tide the water level sinks twenty feet. How many rungs of ladder are now showing?

  3. You have two pencils, a good one and a cheap one. The good one cost $1.00 more than the cheap one. You spent $1.10 for both. How much did the cheap one cost?

  4. A very fast train runs from A to B in an hour and a quarter, but on the return trip it takes 75 minutes under identical conditions. Why?

  5. Robert and Rose went shopping for presents together. They had a total of $264 between them. Rose had $24 more to begin with but spent twice as much as Robert and ended up with two-thirds as much money as Robert. How much did Robert spend?

Well, good luck! You might need it this time.

Sunday, February 10

I'm pathetic

I'm pathetic, because I bought the perfume that she uses, and when I miss her terribly, I'll smell the perfume and think of her.

I'm pathetic, because I'll type a text message for her, but never sends it out to her.

I'm pathetic, because every night before I go to sleep, I'll think of her and let myself cry sometimes.

I'm pathetic, because I'll dial her number on my phone, but I never press the dial button.

I'm pathetic, because I'll drive to her place sometimes, so that I could catch a glimpse of her car.

I'm pathetic, because everytime when I see her (which is very seldom), I can feel my heartbeat racing to get to her before I do.

I'm pathetic, because everytime I kiss, I feel her lips.

I'm pathetic, because everytime when I'm with another woman, I close myself up because I'm afraid I might cheat on her.

I'm pathetic, because I'm still in love with her.

I'm pathetic, because I watched Lord of The Rings: The Return of The King last night, and I cried at the ending.

Okay, that is irrelevant, but don't mind me. I'm just feeling worthless, and pathetic.

Saturday, February 9

Digging for gold

You can get a lot of things done while driving on the roads in Malaysia. I think it is due to the fact that you spent a lot of time stuck on the road trying to get from one point to another point. And not only do you have to work 8 hours a day on a normal shift, but you also have to spend 3-4 hours on the road getting to work and going home from work.

Fortunately, I do not fall under that category. Staying just 5 minutes away from the office, I hardly had any problem getting there. However, I do get into the occasional crawl after work, when I'm heading to somewhere else instead, and also on weekends.

Of course, it can get very irritated and frustrating crawling at 10km/h on a long stretch of road. You know that without the traffic, you could get to your destination in less than 20 minutes. Instead, for that same period of time, the distance that you managed to cover is only 100m. And at the end of it, the reason for the long crawl was because an accident happened on the opposite lane. Yes, you heard me right. The accident happened on the other side of the road. But somehow, through some unexplained magical reasons, your lane was as slow as a tortoise taking an afternoon stroll.

Now, no reason to be angry, because you know it will not solve anything. You have just wasted 1 hours or so to cover 20 minutes of distance, and no amount of anger and swearing could return you the lost time.

That is why I am always prepared. Stuck in a jam? No worries, I have my green beans to munch on, the newspaper to read, and the music to keep me company. And if you've seen that car fragrance commercial on TV where the guy got stuck in traffic and he switched on his fragrance and suddenly he was in another place, well, that is all bullshit. No amount of fragrance, doesn't matter if it smells like the forest or strawberry delight can keep your mind away from a slow crawl.

So forget about Ambi-Purr or whatever the name is. Instead, read the newspaper, call your friends (make sure you're on hands-free), eat something, or better still, groom yourself. I once saw a young lady plucking the hair off her armpits during a long crawl. She would pluck one, sniff it and then blow it away. And so on until her armpit was hairless, I assume. The amazing part was she had to sniff every single hair. How weird was that? Well, at least it kept me occupied and entertained for a good 30 minutes.

My favourite thing to do has to be cleaning my nose. Stuck in a jam, ah, time to give the old nose a good poke and nibble. Maybe I'll find something big enough in it to turn into a nice small bouncy ball. Of course, I'm not the only one doing it. All I need to do is look around, and there is surely someone else doing it.

Suddenly I don't feel alone anymore.

So what do you do when you get stuck in a long crazy crawl?

Monday, February 4

The oranges strike back

The problem with February is it's oranges season. Everywhere you go, you see oranges. Everywhere you turn to, there are those round orange fruit lying on the shelves, on the car seat, in the fridges, and in boxes on the floor.

So you grabbed one, peel off the skin, and start eating those sweet little thing. And spit out the seeds all over the place.

Yes, that's the way I do it anyway.

For over a week now, I've been eating oranges. And plenty of oranges. It's like 3 oranges after lunch, another 3 in the evenings, and then another 5 after dinner. Then of course there's the one before bed. Come to think of it, there was one night where my dinner consisted of oranges and oranges only. Suddenly, from a fruit, it has turned into an obsession. I just can't get enough of them. To me, they no more look round and orange. They are anything I wanted them to be. They can be a a double cheeseburger, or a hot chicken soup. And they definitely taste better than oatmeal.

That's the problem. There is an abundance of oranges in my life. I keep getting them for free. I went to the mechanic the other day and he gave me a handful of oranges. I went to the friendly neighbourhood Mamak for a late supper and they gave me an orange. But the source of my endless supply of oranges is my office. There are boxes and boxes of them, lying around just to be taken and eaten. And since I can't see free food lying around waiting to be taken and eaten, I found it as my duty to do justice to the oranges. And so the feasting begins.

Of course, another problem of an overdose of oranges is you keep on going to the toilet. It's like ethnic cleansing for my bowels, they are getting sick of the oranges and they just wanted them out of the system. So, it's orange comes in, orange goes out. The weird part is, now my waste product smells like oranges. It looks like oranges too. And all I know, it might even taste like one too. But of course I wouldn't go that far to proof that!

And people keep telling me that I should stop eating them since they are making my cough gets even worse. Even my mechanic is now acting as my doctor, telling me about how oranges are cold based food, and how they irritate the throat. I guess I should listen to him, since he did a good job fixing my car. Maybe he knows what he was talking about.

So I won't be touching, or eating any oranges from now on.