日曜日, 10月 31, 2004

Look who's back

21 days and counting for HTDAAB!

now i want the edge's '72 tele custom, adam's '75 jazz bass, larry's yamaha kit and bono's... err... D&G sunglasses.

Moh berbuka! (part 3: revenge of the nasi lumak)

[this is dedicated to ecrivez of (near) seattle. hehe. and i can't stand it anymore, i need to post a food-related blog. :P]

Bang zohor pun belum lagi, beb. *evil*

remember me saying something about necessity being the mother of invention? this time, if you're willing to go that extra mile (literally), mother invention would be quite happy indeed. found this warehouse in manchester filled with goodies like the fluffiest pandan swiss roll, yeo's cincau in cans and daun pisang. when i went back to kl in september, i totally forgot to have my favourite nasi lemak. this is my vengeance: sambal sotong, ayam goreng kunyit and kari daging. my only gripe is that they didn't have pandan leaves (for the life of me, why? why? why?) for the nasi. oh well. i was in iftar heaven last week anyways.

also bought myself a bamboo steamer. next mission: pau. [as they say, give a man a pau, he'll smile for a day. learn to make pau, his smile (and belly) widens for a lifetime.]

The song remains the same

[i have to fill this annoying gap on this page. that's my excuse for writing this, anyway. currently listening to silverchair's slave whilst transferring led zep's disc 2 of their bbc sesh onto my notebook's hard disk (my version of the iPod).]

The Epiphone Les Paul Custom. In a room somewhere in Birmingham (1998).to be truthful, i've not played my guitar for a while. actually, i do play it (them) from time to time. just not as religiously. work, amongst other issues, is my main excuse for not playing. i miss the days when there were more of us around to jam in the weekends (and the occasional weekday). the last of our kind (hah!) has left for the reality that is working life in kl last september. probably another reason for the ennui. i still have my pearl jam dvd's to jam with anyday. see what i have been reduced to?

The Epiphone 635i. Tin Pan Alley, Sheffield (1999).i remembered how i struggled to achieve that elusive tone from a guitar. despite the adage that says it's all in the fingers, i opted to cop out by trying out various pickup setups and effects units. my first venture into the world of multi-effects was one yamaha unit (for the life of me, i can't remember which, but it belonged to a mate of mine). i then went on to the boss me30 which served me well in a couple of gigs. the thing was, at that point in time, i thought i nailed the tone that i needed. in actual fact, i never did. that's the problem when one analyses everything with the retrospectoscope. i was in mookie, a pearl jam tribute band made up of a bunch of other friends from leamington spa, and during rehearsals, i always thought i'd gotten it. then i'll hook up to the half-stack at the rehearsal room only to find that it's too trebly or too loud. as they say, it's always hit-and-miss when it comes to using your own effects unit with different amp types (a very good reason why every musician worth his salt should have his own gear on the road!). the me30 was a good unit, and it wasn't until after performing this megadeth set in sheffield, my brother told me i had to have the amp simulator on. aaargh. now i know why all this while my pseudo-mesa boogie distortion had this zzzzhnngg zzzzhngggg (like a certain band who claimed that they were aiming for a heavy sound, only to fail miserably... mastering the songs in australia won't help! *evil*) sound. also, being the unadventurous/unimaginative person that i can be, i never thought of tweaking the volume and tone knobs and fully utilising the pickups i had installed. and there i was, watching the sheffield gig video, going, "... why does the clean sound during foreclosure of a dream went twang twang twang aah?". silly boy, use the neck pickup lah next time. now i know. that's my lot in life, always getting to know the tricks after a gig.

The Squier Strat. Pria Mambo, Sheffield (2002).as far as experimenting goes, eventually i'd done quite well, after getting my current multi-effects unit, the gt-3. i know, i know. i still haven't learnt from the aforementioned adage of the fingers+brain=tone thingy (heck, ajie of acidiz uses just an me33 when i saw them perform with sheila majid at planet hollywood a couple of years back!). before you analogue aficionados start heckling, i have to say the tones that come from the gt-3 are quite good. hey, a certain producer we all know has testified that it's not far off from the pod (sekarang awak boleh bayar saya lima ratus paun!). as long you take time to tweak them. i also noticed that the tone does change with the guitar. the gibson(s) are absolutely spot on, but the epi and the fender (*a-CHINA SQUIER!!-hem*) strat would vary. in fact, these days, i can simply could do without the gt-3 when i play the les paul or the tele. there is a reason why you have to pay good money for these babies!

so, whenever i play, say, the strat, i'd just have to use specific patches which boost certain frequencies not otherwise available (god knows what kayu the chinese factory used on that strat... at least it's a proper solid block of wood, as opposed to my plywood epi strat copy...*sob*). i would never part with any of my guitars, no matter how cekai. i'd upgrade the pickups or any piece of hardware to optimise whatever character they have. the clean tone on the fender, for example, is lovely, in my opinion. that doesn't mean i won't buy an american/mexican 70's strat in the (?near) future. lalalalala. also, my brother gave (gave, kan, not lent? hehe) me his 7-band eq pedal which does wonders, especially for the kering sounds of my strat.

The Gibson Les Paul Standard. Near West Street, Sheffield (2003).so, now what i do have are tools to make sure the guitars would sound just as good, regardless of their make. of course, playability differs (gibsons are like soooo easy to play) but at least, none of my guitars are di anak tirikan. i have also recently acquired the ibanez ts-9 (only to be upstaged by king kiasu's ts-808, but what is new, eh? *evil, again*) which i use during (any little) solos that i have to play. i also read that by switching on the ts-9 with the drive at 0 would still boost the guitar volume nicely (SRV does did this apparently). i still have my gt-3 linked in the effects chain, its main function being an amp simulator, volume pedal, tuner and the occasional time-based effects unit. i have also resurrected my dunlop crybaby wah pedal (i have it before the ts-9... i like it that way) which was collecting dust.Boss' digital delay, the DD-3 my effects chain is by no way original, as thanks to guitargeek and synergy, i got to see how stone gossard's set up is like. the neon was kind enough to give me his dd-3 as a souvenir and that made my day. now all i need is the diaz tremodillo, a univibe and a sal trentino amp. hahaha. i wish. well, before i have further delusions of grandeur, i better sort out how i'd like to add the dd-3 to the chain. after the gt-3 or have it in the marshall's effects loop? we'll see.

A familiar rendition of what I am currently using. The Marshall combo is a VS100R tube/solid state hybrid.

i have learnt so much now, and i'm sure there's still so much more to learn, when it comes to achieving tonal nirvana. i can (so far) now play happily with one setup and tweak the tone knobs and pickup positions to achieve (roughly) what i need. now all i need is a chance to play live again. whenever/wherever that'll be.

金曜日, 10月 29, 2004

Episode III teaser next week

it's official.

Padme! Padme! Where fore art thou, Padme?

the teaser for revenge of the sith will be available for download at the star wars site on november 4. the thing is, though, you need to access the (rip off) hyperspace section of the site. anyhoo, us mere mortals can go watch it the next day (november 5) when they'll show the teaser before the screening of pixar's long awaited the incredibles. expect a horde of fans going to the multiplex, only to leave after the teaser itself (remember the last time?).

finally, man, after 27 long years.

水曜日, 10月 27, 2004

British radio's greatest gift to rock

... was the most important person in British music since the birth of rock 'n' roll - Andy Kershaw, The Independent
1 9 3 9 - 2 0 0 4

金曜日, 10月 22, 2004

Moh berbuka! (part 2)

i was feeling like having my iftar at pizza express this evening. i love the place. it's a chain but each establishment has its own look and ambience. i like the newcastle one, for example, as its dining area is surrounded by bookshelves; kinda like a ristorante in a bibliotheque. i'd imagine a quiet meal, after a long day. winding down with some ice-cold orange juice, baked dough balls for starters and a pizza cajun. not forgetting, their to-die-for plain but heavenly cheesecake with the yummiest vanilla ice cream.

so, there i was stuck behind this peugeot when i noticed that my nearside headlight bulb was busted. what luck. i ain't gonna have the cops stopping me for a busted headlight. besides, i don't feel happy driving blind in one eye. :P

well, if i can't go to pizza express, i'd just have to bring it back home.

they don't do take-outs (i think), but sainsbury's have 'em. got my doughballs, a 12" margherita and a dozen bottles of j2o orange and cranberry/passionfruit, and i was good to go. after buying their pizzas at the supermarket, i was taught to drizzle a little olive oil on the pizza before bunging it into the oven. it does make a difference to the taste (i now drizzle the extra virgin on even the skankiest deep-freeze pizza known to (wo)man). add some freshly ground black pepper to season. the doughballs took just under 3 minutes to warm up in the oven, and they even threw in their garlic/olive oil/butter dip with 'em balls. a bottle of j2o in hand, my pizza express experience for the evening was in front of the telly, re-watching episode IV.

if only they made their cheesecake for take-outs. i'd be in heaven.

木曜日, 10月 21, 2004

Skin trade lagi

Pyongyang commie!

time for change. just felt like it.

i like it anyway.

Bitten by the bug. Again.

this is dangerous.

Much cheapness(?). Shamalitaktak!

if i do take this path again, i will do it this way.

月曜日, 10月 18, 2004

Terima kasih

Laksam with a couple of keropok lekur. Nearest local vendor is more than 6ooo miles away. Thank you!

土曜日, 10月 16, 2004

Napanee girl done good

[still having the sniffles. currently listening to sleep now in the fire.]

this 34-year old rocker git had unashamedly bought two front standing tix for avril lavigne a few months back (ash, you missed a great gig! *rubbing it in*). i did, for a moment, thought how weird it would be like attending a gig filled with screaming teenage girls (and their parents), but then again, i did see this girl woman perform a few months back, and that's another story.

Gig ad. Sheffield's the last date in the European leg of her tour.

another little worry i had was whether or not she could give a good, rocking show. forget the fact whether she is really a skater/hardcore/punker or not. if anyone remembered her rendition of metallica's fuel at MTVicon a year ago, you'll know what i mean. she can sing, but god, did she look nervous (then again, try performing any metallica song in the presence of metallica themselves!).

Simple Plan rawking it out.her support act was simple plan, a pop/punk band from montreal. i've heard of them, when i went back to kl early this year (saw 'em perform on the MTV asia music awards on the telly). typical radio-friendly pop/punk fare, especially with the current climate of bandwagon-jumping bands (regardless of genre), i wasn't surprised. i'd say they were more bowling for soup, with a pinch of sum 41 thrown into the mix, as opposed to blink 182. the only recognisable tunes as far as i was concerned were addicted, perfect and i'd do anything. they were really good, not mind-blowingly original, but good. and i noticed that they use cornford amps, but amps will be a subject to talk about another day!

a large screen was dropped as the crew was sorting out simple plan's gear. when the lights go off prior to a headliner's performance, i'd usually hear:

aaaAAAAARRGGHH!!!! yeaaahhhh!!!!!woooHOOOOOOOO!peeeeee-wiiiiit![band name here]!!!!

however, when the lights went off this time it was:

[in the highest decibel register you can think of!]

the unmistakable silhouette of miss lavigne playing a tele was projected on the said screen, with her playing the opening riffs to he wasn't. the screen dropped to the ground, and surprisingly enough, the crowd went nuts but in a milder british manner. hehe. evan taubenfeld was nowhere to be seen on the guitar (apparently he left the band in september). and, boy, they rocked big time. avril looked so petite onstage. thank god for the platforms they had in front of the stage. it didn't help when, as usual, that i carry the jinx of always getting a bleedin' 7-foot wookiee standing right in front of me at gigs.


clad in a simple black tee and jeans, she belted out a few of her current stuff, including take me away and my happy ending in the first half hour of the show. it's when she got going on her material from let go, that i noticed a certain friend of ours was singing sk8er boi word-for-word. shock! horror! unlike some artistes (yes. them.), avril does seem to not wield musical instruments as mere accessories. she ain't no liberace, but when she played forgotten on the piano, she played well (unlike this woman. hahaha.). she also played how does it feel, i'm with you and anything but ordinary solo on the acoustic gibson. for me, when it comes to music, if the musician plays decently and honestly, (s)he will be in my good books. no virtuosity, albeit impressive, needed. apart from a slight out-of-key moment due to her in-ear monitor, her singing was up to mark.

Avril and her many musical instruments.

for the encore, the band had avril on the drums, belting out an excellent rendition of blur's song 2, with david desrosiers (simple plan's bassist) on vocals. the second cover of the evening (the first being simple plan doing the darkness' i believe in a thing called love), the crowd lapped it up with much fervour. avril then sung the ever-popular complicated and finishing off the show with the sombre slipped away on her piano.

whilst i may not rush (we'll see. hehe) to get gig tix the next time she comes to town, i had a great time. it made me forget my revision for a good couple of hours, and that's a good enough indication.

[the bottom two pics are courtesy of black. for more pics of the show go here.]

金曜日, 10月 15, 2004

Moh berbuka!

it's day one of puasa and i'm nursing a cold. oh well. better now than later. had fish and chips for berbuka. not up to fixing something in the kitchen. need my aspirin and paracetamol/decongestant cocktail, a little music and the duvet. that'll do the trick.

Daging merah, sayur campur chinese style, ikan bilis with bawang and cili kering

The way mom used to make itit's days like this that make me think of home-cooked food. buka puasa at home also would include kuihs bought from the guy in front of ravoof anuar (his seri muka is zhangggg!), and sirap with biji selasih (aka telur katak... hehe). i guess everyone will claim their own mother would be the best cook in the universe. damn right, too. however, since my mother's passing, the culinary baton was unofficially passed to my brother when it comes to providing the gastronomic delights at mealtimes. over the years, i'd say he has clinched our late mom's style of cooking. nowadays, whenever i get home to kl, i'm in for a treat. so, coronary arteries, watch out! we do still eat out, but with the thought of health(ier) eating in mind, doing it oneself is so much better. it's cheaper to boot, especially when one lives in kl.

i also found that dad's not too bad in the kitchen himself. he's a dab hand at making us goreng pisang for afternoon tea. downed with teh O, it'll make my day. over here in blighty, i just can't nail the goreng pisang recipe (even with the adabi batter!) as the common or garden embun-type bananas from central america that they have at the supermarket just doesn't do it (so i say). they aren't as sweet as the raja or abu, and they seem to soak the oil making 'em ever so fragile. i usually end up making cokodok. i remembered mashing them by hand in my frugal student days, and after being found out by my mom who then sarcastically commented over the phone, "mmm... sedaaaap". i haven't lenyek-ed them the same way ever since. hehe.


as for myself, i usually cook the real basic malay fare, or look it up in a book. standard malay cooking for students 101. when i really can't be arsed, those bottled pastes of rogan josh or creole sauce would do me fine. and when i am really desperate, i experiment. not in creating newly-fangled haute cuisine, but trying to create dishes that one otherwise buys at the pasar malam (which i have a penchant for). i've bastardised a buttermilk pancake recipe once to make apam balik, to no avail (can lah... with some imagination). but one d-i-y dish i'm really proud of is my home-made murtabak.

Piss easy to make!

i know that the murtabak is simply an overglorified omelette, so i would beat up an egg with loads of onion and add in some leftover lamb/chicken/beef curry; then goreng. my then housemate recommended that we should use popiah skins as a substitute for the roti canai dough. and it worked like a charm. six years later, i tried it again. i happened to have made a curry out of mince lamb over the weekend. fry it with a couple dashes of the extra virgin in the frying pan. it'll even look like your run-of-the-mill murtabak, i assure you. and for some funny reason, the popiah skin does have the bog standard murtabak skin consistency and doesn't actually become garing like the popia goreng.

i had to have more than one. in fact, i had four. with teh tarik.

Kurang manis guaranteed when I make it :)

they do say necessity is the mother of invention.


Ramadhan mubarak

So sayeth the Pemegang Cap Mohor Besar...

i have no gastric acid-releasing/witty pics to put up. khere and khere are some nice ones.

selamat berpuasa to all.

水曜日, 10月 13, 2004

My happy ending

This small girl can rock. Really.

日曜日, 10月 10, 2004

Moh makan!

[*moh=perak slang for jom. this is a follow up to my eh, lapar lah series; i've lost count, hence a new one. hah!]

whenever i'm in nottingham or manchester, i would always try make some room in my tummy for wagamama. my first wagamama experience was at their first london establishment in bloomsbury back in 1993. people are sat on long benches like the kantin sekolah, and orders taken by your friendly waiter are transmitted electronically to the kitchen. as it gets pretty busy, customers are encouraged to leave a.s.a.p. post-prandially. cool or what.

Top right: ebi chilli men in all its carrot-y glory; bottom right: ebi gyoza and ebi katsu

wagamama is not really japanese. it has its roots from traditional japanese ramen stalls, and i'm sure those who are into real japanese food can tell (i can't. haha.). fast food, japanese-style and made in britain, if you ask me.

This has wasabi in it!i usually go for the ebi chilli men which is soba noodles with prawns in a chilli/carrot sauce. if i feel like something soupy, the seafood ramen is just yum. the stock has pork in it, so you can ask for the vege stock instead. my favourite side-dish would have to be either the ebi gyoza or the ebi katsu (prawn dumplings and deep-fried prawns with sos cili lingham chilli sauce, respectively).

green tea is the usual order of the day for most people, but i just love their fruit juices: the apple/cranberry or apple/orange combo goes down really well for me. their desserts are pretty much fruit-based, but they do have the conventional western ones. like the chocolate fudge cake with the cream laced with a hint of wasabi. nice one.

it's a lovely place to go for simple and tasty food. it's a little pricey, so best to go after payday if you want to indulge yourself. it's worth the money, in my opinion, cos i usually have to stagger out of the place, due to kenyang-ness, after a meal. and i don't drink sake.

The thing that should not be

it's a film about people. people and the relationship with those around them. you will see sadness, anger, laughter, resentment and therapy sessions. no, i ain't talking about the sopranos.

i got my free tickets to see some kind of monster, courtesy of the good folks at metclub and tartan films, last tuesday. i was sceptical with the numerous taglines pitching this docu-drama (rockumentary, if you will, to quote marti di bergi). i was supposed to see metallica as never seen before: bared with warts and all, as opposed to the biggest rock band on the planet and a money-making factory. i also wondered if this was all a marketing ploy to show the more human side of the 'tallica. perhaps fans will now be more forgiving for the napster debacle. and the unwarranted firing of jason newsted. and the album that is st. anger (hehehe).

Good old Jason. Oh well...

Cliff Burtonone thing for sure, i saw metallica as a band comprising three (then) guys who are, as acclaimed, human beings with their own foibles. three guys who just needed to sort themselves out before the band goes the way of the dodo. metallica as a band had to realised that they have not moved on since the death of cliff burton, bassist extraordinaire, in 1986; a factor that led to the estrangement of sorts of jason till the day he left the band. james hetfield had to wrestle with his inner demons, battle his consequent alcoholism, and open the creative doors more to his bandmates. lars ulrich was still the motormouth, seen arguing with james over... drum beats. with weird time signatures. yes. and kirk hammett. good old kirk was always stuck in the middle, being the more sensible bandmember telling the two kindergarten kids to back off and do something more productive. like finish writing the songs.

like jason's comment in the film, i also felt like asking, what the hell do you need a fucking therapist for?!!

enter phil towle, a therapist who had helped the likes of baseball and american football players. these are sports in which there big egos, and when egos the size of jupiter clash, it'll be bad news for these teams where money-making is the main order of the day. phil is good at his job. well, he must be if he charges metallica $40 k a month. apart from his psycho-wank-babble in the movie, i was much disturbed by his car boot sale jumpers. worst still, seeing him nodding his head unconvincingly in rhythm to james' guitar riff during the st. anger recording sessions.

James, Lars and Kirk at The Presidio.as disturbed(!) as i was watching these therapy scenes, i have to say it worked for the band's betterment. we get to see lars opening his heart to his bandmates, and as part of his therapy, confronting dave mustaine, the guitarist they fired in new york during the recording of their first album, kill 'em all. the band also managed to sit down together, writing the lyrics: a job done solely by james for the past 20 years. james didn't look comfortable with it initially. that wasn't the only thing he was uncomfortable with: he wasn't too happy with the film crew following him around at first, nor was he happy with lars and bob rock, the producer, working outside the four-hour working time limit imposed on the band (which was part of james' rehab programme). there were many memorable scenes, but the one that stuck to mind was the one when jason snubbed lars, kirk and bob backstage after an echobrain gig. meoww!

The St. Anger recording sessions in the HQ.

anyhow, the st. anger recording sessions continued after james' hiatus at their new studio called the HQ. once the album was near completion, they then hired rob trujillo (methinks the audition scenes were edited in such a way to make the other candidates look kinda shitty, imho. hehe), who was then playing for ozzy osbourne. ironically, jason was asked to play bass for ozzy. talk about twist of fate.

this is a must-see for any fan of metallica. even if you aren't a fan, the film touches on the human relationship, as well as a spot on observation of group dynamics, especially in one that has been together for a good twenty years, churning out some of the best tunes in rock.

Doing the thing they do best.

The Wind-up Bird Chronicle

Nejimaki-dori kuronikuruever seen dali's the metamorphosis of narcissus? if you've not heard of the myth of this vain chap who stared at his own reflection in the river for the longest time that he turned into a flower (something like that lah), you may be a tad hard pressed to understand what the painting is all about. i suppose if you try looking at one section of the painting at a time, you'll be entranced and are able to make out things like narcissus himself, hills, an egg for a head, a bunga; then after scanning (as well as enjoying) every inch of the painting, you take a step back and go, "ahh... i get it. err... i think".

that's what i said after finishing haruki murakami's the wind-up bird chronicle.

i do reiterate. i ain't no literary connoisseur. i read books like the average joe. when i do have the time. this murakami tome was recommended by a friend who's really into john irving. i've never read any of irving's work, but i gather his stuff's a little quirky: take his the world according to garp as an example. anyway. i digress. again.

the book chronicles the events in the life of one toru okada over the span of two years and a bit. set in the mid-80's, the story starts off with the loss of his mog (with a bent tail to boot) named after a much-abhorred brother-in-law. we get to see toru's humdrum daily life revolved around househusband chores (status currently unemployed). from page one we are also introduced to several unconnected characters (excluding his wife, kumiko) whose lives later on becomes somewhat intertwined with that of toru's: the friendly limping teenager who works for a firm that makes wigs; an unknown woman who insists to have phone sex with toru while kumiko's away at work; the extremely bizarre kano sisters, one of whom is a psychic prostitute who looks like jackie kennedy; an old retired army lieutenant with one hand; a widowed fashion designer with her mute (and OCD-esque) son.

and there's this thing with wells (as in perigi). and a baseball bat. and wet dreams (complete with post-ejaculation y-front cleaning in the bathroom sink). and more bizarre dreams.

and a bird that goes creeee-eeeakkkk.

i can go on. you'd think david lynch is doing a cinematic interpretation of this book right now in tokyo. or possibly a bizarre anime.

the word surreal just doesn't do justice to explain the events surrounding toru's life. things never seem to get better for him. and when it seems like light is discernible at the end of the proverbial tunnel, something else happens that put him back on square one. the tale is not as despressing as i am portraying it to be. i thoroughly enjoyed this read. one chapter at a time. in little parcels, wind-up bird was compelling, especially with the crazy cast of characters added into the mix. i have never read contemporary japanese literature before, but i gather that murakami's writing is quite westernised: among others, you could see it from the music references to herb alpert and van halen. music seems a recurring theme in murakami's work (like bears in irving's). you'd never have thought that all his works are translated from the japanese. the nuances of the writing would never have made me think that this was originally written in nippon-go (original title: nejimaki-dori kuronikuru).

as for my next dose of murakami, i will start on sputnik sweetheart once i'm done with hornby and err... jenna. i mean, after my exams in november.

try this book. you may just like it.

木曜日, 10月 07, 2004

A Les Paul chick for Uncle Trick

NO PEDALS. Just the Marshall.

By jove!

i am going to write about a trip to the supermarket.

before you worry about whether my next entry will be on the joy of brushing my gigi in the morning, or what position i adopt when i'm having a... well, i am not going in that direction. hohoho. i just came back from a newly opened supermarket called waitrose (mentioned here before). so, what's this fuss about an overgrown grocery store? waitrose is (one of) the pride of the south of england. to those who have lived in britain would know of the north-south divide. the southerners would call any place just north of watford (check the atlas lah) the north. go figure.

a large proportion of upper middle class britain lives in the south. with their range rovers, barbour jackets, children in public schools, flats in SW1 and names like tarquin/portia banyard-smith. and they call their moms mother, and have supper as opposed to dinner. okay, i'm just stereotyping. i wonder what the people down south think of stores like waitrose opening their doors in the north (they have taken over safeway, a well-known chain of supermarkets). i remembered the big hoohah they had among the toff circles down in london when harvey nicks opened a branch up in leeds a few years ago. the horror. i simply cannot believe why one would get upset over such matters.

exclusive london stores are now opening up a few more branches up here in the north nowadays. now, mancunians and brummies (and the people living within a 200 miles radius) can enjoy shopping at selfridges. harvey nicks have also opened a branch in edinburgh. affluence have reached the north in greater heights for the past ten years, with better employment and increased investment in northern businesses. also, london professionals who are fed up with the smoke are known to be moving as far up as newcastle upon tyne. i remembered when i was a student in newcastle, wine bars, chic cafes and haute cuisine were non-existent.

Susu segar yang sungguh posh sekalithe supermarket opened today and it was filled with customers that i swear would never have shopped here when it was safeway. you'd think half the population of ranmoor and dore (rah! rah!) had descended down to humble old ecclesall road this afternoon. so, there i was, scanning the shelves down the aisles, getting some bread and semi-skimmed milk.

milk from cows that are from a select group of farms in eight counties in southern england.

now, is that class or what.

Domo arigato, sashi-san!

sashi is the man.

if you can haul ass to the uk by next tuesday, you got yourself an avril lavigne ticket. if you can't, you have my utmost thanks.

thanks again ever so much, man!

Urgent help needed, puh-leeeeeez

i've had it. i'm fed up. i really need someone to help me sort out the bleedin' html code! ONE TICKET TO SEE AVRIL LAVIGNE UP CLOSE** AND PERSONAL IF YOU DO!*

i've tweaked the code for my blogger template to accommodate haloscan's comments but as you can see, if you access this blog by clicking the permalink of an entry or via petaling street, the haloscan comment option ain't there. you will be faced by only the default blogger comments option. therefore, i have been missing interesting comments made by some of you kind readers out there.

therefore, what i need is for the readers to be able to access to the haloscan commenting system without having to go to my blog's homepage.

i'm sure it's embarassingly easy. everyone else's blog seems to have it sorted. i know squat about html. damn.

*you need to be available to collect the ticket (** - for FRONT standing) in sheffield as the gig is next tuesday, 12 october. doors open 1830 hrs. the html code needs to work, if you want the ticket. really.

水曜日, 10月 06, 2004

27 reasons why...

Wanna see my picture on the cover
Wanna buy five copies for my mother
Wanna see my smilin' face
On the cover
The cover of the Rollin' Stone

- Dr Hook

日曜日, 10月 03, 2004

Advent children

it's been a while since i last played the ps2. i bought star wars: battlefront a couple of days ago on a whim whilst grocery shopping (damn you, sainsbury's!). have to keep it low-key. exams, remember? in fact, recently i reached out for my old final fantasy VII discs, and continued where i left off. it has been almost a year.

Cloud Strifei was first introduced to final fantasy by my then housemate, leQ. that was ffVII, in the days of the 486 pc's. haha. i noticed that he'd be glued to the CRT screen for hours on end, and i wondered what the thrill was all about. watching it was interesting at first, but it got tiresome after a wee while. what's all this battling monsters at no end. and get on with it lah! i can't wait to see what happens next.

hoho. little did i know that day in 1996 that i was to turn into a monster-battler-so-as-to-increase-your-character's-attributes in the few years to come.

i bought my ps2 as a reward for getting the part 1 exam in 2002. after hearing rave reviews from another friend of mine, i decided to try play final fantasy x. and i was hooked soon after. you can tell i've been playing ffX if you see me in a stupour. being a lazy and unimaginative git, i opted to play with a walkthrough. i buy 'em cause they make gameplay easier (kiasuness also has a role in this) and also, they have pretty pictures in 'em. hahahahaha. yuna... lulu (much better!)... rikku (err... jailbait) *hmmmm*

oh, where was i?

Cloud and Aeris, Squall Leonheart and his gunblade, the eidolons Bahamut vs Alexander over the city of Alexandria, Yuna solemnly performing the Sending

to the unitiated, the final fantasy series are developed by square and basically involves a single character on a quest, which mostly involve saving the planet/universe, and forming a party as you go along with the storyline. it's like LOTR, basically. in fact, role-playing games have been around for a long while since the days of dungeons & dragons, later evolving to the likes of the eponymous ultima series developed by origin in the 80's (repond! pontori! anju semanr!). before you can even say g.e.e.k./n.e.r.d./t.h.i.c.k.g.l.a.s.s.e.s., RPG's are pretty much mainstream in these day and age. really.

the final fantasy series aren't sequels (bar two: ffX and X-2) and have different stories and characters. there's always the protagonist (usually a kid with some kind of attitude problem, wielding some large sword-like weapon) and the girl (who becomes the inevitable love interest, usually with a dark secret), followed by a motley crew made up of (wo)man and beast. in short, the usual group dynamics you see in most japanese anime (haven't you noticed it's usually made up of two handsome blokes, one beautiful girl, one fat guy and one kid... go check it!). all the games involve the ability to summon gargantuan god-like entities (their names are different with each ff instalments in the series) with enough firepower (ice, fire, thunder, wind... dan sebagainya) to decimate the himalayas. why do you need 'em? 'cos at the end of the game you battle the biggest mofo' known to man. you know the drill.

The great Bahamutthe gameplay is usually linear. the newer ones like X-2, the online XI and possibly XII allows the player more freedom to pursue the quest in any way they like. for the first time in my limited experience of game-playing i actually finished ffX. in fact, i got the characters in X powerful enough, i killed the biggest mofo' dengan sekadar batuk sahaja. i even woke up the next morning, replayed the final battle and recorded it on the vcr. sad, but true-waAH! from that day, i started to play the back catalogue from square. IX, VIII and currently (if you can call it that), VII, apparently the best story in the series despite the purba psONE engine.

Battling sinspawn, and on the right, Ifrit, the fire aeon

final fantasy VII was so good that the brilliant people at square are releasing an all-CG movie called final fantasy VII: advent children this year. when rumours about the sequel to VII was released initially, avid ff gamers were coming in their pants, to put it mildly. details are still sketchy today, and the movie will be released sometime later this year on dvd (due to the unexpected flop that was final fantasy: the spirit within).

Yuffie Kisaragi, Red XIII, Tifa Lockheart, Cloud Highwind, Barrett Wallace and Vincent Valentine

the premise of the sequel revolves on events set two years after the game. square has released some images from the movie, and the trailer was awesome. the trailer shows the main character, cloud strife, battling some silver-haired man, similar in appearance to cloud's arch-enemy sephiroth. pics of cloud's compadres have now been released; whether or not they play some major role in the sequel is yet to be seen.

Cloud battling Kadaj

Aeris' back?there are rumours abound of the return of aeris, the flower girl.

will she be back?

watch this space.


go here for more updates on FFVII:AC.

土曜日, 10月 02, 2004

Jalan-jalan lagi

i had my walk.

View from inside Cafe Ceresthe sun was out. windy too, but it wasn't that chilly anyway. i was planning for a little walkabout today anyway. i was driving to work a couple of days ago in the rain and i thought i'll take some shots of autumn scenery. sod's law dictated today. the sun was up like it was summer. besides it's only october. guess i've to wait till the end of the month to see more red/orange/yellow leaves!

my walk brought me to the nearby little shopping precinct of the suburb i live in. nether edge is pretty nice, it's not too upmarket nor is it a dump (like some student-y areas, and this comment is not only limited to sheffield!). it's in the southwestern part of the city. someone once told me the reason to why west sheffield is so much nicer. sheffield is famous for its steel industry. apparently, for most of the time, the wind blows in an easterly direction, bringing the soot emanated from the steelworks with it. therefore, the wealthy cutlers had their mansions in the west while the poorer working classes lived in the east. a cutler by the name of george wostenholm used to own the nether edge area. his 19th century mansion is now the marriott where the snooker players stay during the annual world championships. i digress.

for a small suburb, i quite like the shops they have. small and personal. decided to have a late lunch of the fattest (in both size and content) cheese and mushroom pastie i've ever seen (for those who've been to the UK: the 63p excuse for a pastie just doesn't cut it), accompanied by a salad dressed with some wholegrain mustard/olive oil combo. like it'll make the pastie any healthier. it did make it look classy, though, and it went down well with my hazelnut latte. there were a couple of new shops that i checked out. like this neat deli called dish, which sells a multitude of italian stuff like semolina, arborio rice, pasta (both dried and fresh, even the black squid ink 'uns: pasta nera): you name it, they (might/most likely) have it. they also had amaretti biscuits, which reminded me of tiramisu. hmmm, tiramisu *leleh*

Click for more pics.

a trip to the record store was fruitless; no interesting secondhand items. i almost had a fit seeing a copy of hendrix's are you experienced, only to find out that it was a reissue. you know it's one when you see a barcode on the sleeve (geek alert! geek alert!). got nick hornby's high fidelity (no, i haven't seen the film) and marquez's cholera from the kedai buku lama, though. oh yes. the neighbourhood is also moving further up in the world: waitrose is opening where the old safeway is. ooOOOoo.

Kedai kopi merahparallel to the shopping precinct is ecclesall road which is lined by trendy eateries and wine bars/pubs. food-wise, they've got everything from doner kebabs to... err, lobster. i haven't tried all them places, but one memorable place i've tried was slammers, which serves some of the finest seafood dishes i've ever tasted. i had to book two weeks in advance and they have like a two-hour turnaround time. go figure. ecclesall road will be pretty chock-a this time of the night, as i am typing this entry.

i didn't know much about nether edge when i first moved here. all i knew that it was not far from the hospital, and when i first drove around looking for property, the first thing i noticed was its leafiness.

leafy is good.

i must say i was lucky, though. i wouldn't move elsewhere.


by the way, i saw this on a shop window this afternoon. anyone interested?


The bucket strikes!

Baldi ini sekarang berbayar

photobucket has now introduced a premium account. for USD25 a year. this is bad.

now, do i upgrade and pay (it's just like £1 a month, thereabouts), or look around for another freebie. i may not need all that much space, but then the pics in my (very) old entries won't be there anymore.

yeah, like i will go back and read 'em everyday. but i need to know the pics are there. aaargh.

decisions, decisions.

off for a walk. will write when i come back.