日曜日, 1月 30, 2005

Moh makan!(part 4): Bacon and egg sarnie

Cincai.simplicity.

when tasty food can be made in such a cincai manner, i just love it. ever since we had beef/turkey bacon in malaysia, i finally got to relish in the joys of the eponymous british fry up. well, this one i had whilst cooking a bastardised jambalaya (not worth talking about, as it comes from a bottle. hehe.). i can only get bacon of the quorn variety as none of the halal places here sell any of the beef/turkey variety. a runny fried egg and two slices of bacon should do the trick, splashed with tomato and HP sauce. oh, sandwiched between two slices of fried bread, best made by frying any ordinary sliced roti with the oil made to fry the egg and bacon. roti bakar tak main, eh.

one of the better cincai things than maggi/indomie when i feel lazy. bliss.

金曜日, 1月 28, 2005

Cinta sana, cinta sini

Elegant film-making.as atonement to the disruptive and perverted noise made during the screening of 2046 in screen 8 last sunday, i have just watched wong kar wai's 2000 effort, in the mood for love (fa yeung nin wa), on DVD that came in the post yesterday. the verdict? as far as a love story goes, i was totally blown away. i don't watch that many love stories. most wayang chenta that i've seen are okay, bordering on the realms of cheesiness. perhaps i've not been watching the right ones, but this one was really good.

set in 1962 hong kong, this prequel to the ill-fated (for those present last sunday) 2046 tells the story of chow and his neighbour, su lizhen (bells ringing!). both are living in dead-end relationships, living their mundane lives with their respective spouses being unavailable most of the time (one works late shifts while the other spouse works abroad for weeks on end). things begin to get interesting when events revolving around the absent wife/business-tripping husband comes to light.

in some ways the story is simple, but like in real life, love between two people never is and this was beautifully portrayed by tony leung and the exquisite maggie cheung. the camerawork was absolutely beautiful, with each frame looking like it was painstakingly composed. i love how the characters are always framed by their surroundings, may it be the claustrophobic corridors of their rented HK apartment or the oval window of mrs. chow's workplace. and what's a film without cigarette smoke (it's one of the elements in films that intrigues me ever since watching films the likes of reservoir dogs).Let's go for meehoon soup, honey. i also loved the unexpected usage of slo-mo and the freeze frame in some of the shots. watching the film was certainly a visual feast of sorts and how am i not surprised to find out that it won the best cinematography and editing category at cannes. music-wise, shigeru umegayashi's waltzy violin theme had such a french feel to it, and the movie was also peppered with good ol' nat king cole. maggie cheung's character of su lizhen was ever so elegantly poised throughout, reminiscent of my cheongsam-ed teachers in primary school. li zhen had more changes of her cheongsam than padme amidala would ever have during a conference on coruscant.

the story was conveyed in nice little vignettes and the flow was alright, although i did feel that the ending was a little abrupt. then again, after what happened between chow and lizhen, it was perhaps an apt way to end the story. unlike 2046, the protagonists were more, shall i say discreet and well-behaved: the film only has a PG rating. also, in the mood for love was not as 'bizarre' as 2046. the significance of the number 2046 is briefly shown (albeit mentioned in the sequel itself).

what can i say? a classic. i do find myself, after watching this, not in the mood for love, but for meehoon soup. oh well, maggi ayam would do nicely on this cold night anyway.

Cuai

Hik hik huaaaaaaaah!!!

just don't ask.

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This house is cleeeeaaann...on a lighter note, i bought this with my gaji last night. it's my SX9000 swedish sure-grip suck machine new dyson (getting an iPod is way on the backburner at this rate). it's so like cyclonus from the transformers (trabye can attest to this) and i had great fun assembling it last night. even tested it over a square foot of carpet (it was past midnight).

yes. i take great pleasure playing around with a vacuum cleaner.

dodgy or what.

水曜日, 1月 26, 2005

A murder of one

by lmsn rds

The Awe (Part 1): “Me, the innocence… playing cards by the swimming pool”

June 1994

Red red wine.First of all, how troubled the musical scene could be then when a guitar solo is named after... food? No, the real question should be: could that even be considered a solo? His bizarre tone was everywhere: every tune had this same loose, pointless and dull tone. In the CD inlay is a blurred glimpse of the culprit: this tall long-haired guy with this... beard!

Superunknown was then recently released and a certain Kim A. Thayil was hailed as the new god in the guitar solo business. How could this be? Well, this was way before the time I realised the value of great tone and technique in guitar playing, the time when that I learnt that he was playing a 1973 Guild S100.

Whilst most of us aficionados would go for an Ibanez RG or a Les Paul (occasionally the choice of a Strat pops up), I felt I needed to dream of something different. Hence, a dream of owning gitar mat benggali tu! But none of my mates knew what make it was, how it really looked or who else was using it besides this Thayil chap. Me? Like them, I was absolutely clueless (in fact, to this day I don’t even know who else uses an S100).

Sheffield: “The Real Revelation”

September 1997

The first ever time I set my feet on UK soil. A few hundred steps later, these feet of mine were inside the (in)famous London Virgin Megastore with my eyes glaring at the week’s issue of Kerrang!. The cover was emblazoned with SOUNDGARDEN: Truth Or Dare. Inside was this tiny photo of Mr. Thayil caressing a this white guitar.

“So this is how she looks like… pretty weird!”

Pretty weird to me as she doesn’t have a trem bar, she had no pointy headstock and no resemblance whatsoever with the likes of an Ibanez. It took me another couple of months to finally realise that this is the one for me. I will own her no matter what (his title of King Kiasu title was awarded after the persistent use of that last phrase - Ed.).

The Awe (Pt. 2): “The Sun Still Shines Even When You’re Gone”

December 1997

The Christmas hols brought me back to London.Two DeArmond humbuckers on this slab of mahogany. The place this time around - Denmark Street aka Tin Pan Alley. But she was nowhere to be found (these guitars were well out of stock by that time due to Fender's take over of Guild - Ed.). It was later during the day when I found her. She was collecting dust in a dimly-lit corner of a small guitar shop when it struck me how could such majesty be treated this way. When i held her, I had a renewed sense of awe. This red baby was beautiful beyond words. Mesmerising. Tingling every nerve in my body. I was frozen in that catatonic state for a while when I saw the tag that was hung just behind her headstock.

£1399.

I had to leave her after struggling to keep myself together and kicking some sense into my head. I didn’t even have the chance to plug her in and play, much to the fear of scratching (let alone breaking) something as costly as my collective 5-month JPA allowance. I needed to re-think a new strategy. How on earth could I find that kinda money? I came back to Sheffield the very next day. A week went by after which I dropped by good old Ace Music near West Street. Had a quick chat with Pat (who's always ever so happy for one) and with the £300 I originally saved for her, I got myself a cheapo black Epiphone SG Special. I hadn't given up on her. Probably it was just a way of expressing my frustration.

The Silver String: “We’re lovers, dear. We are. Honestly.”

February 1999

By this time, I’ve gotten way over her. I had bought and sold selling several guitars. Looking back, I was more likely trying to subconsciously be happy with something (or anything) I thought I could afford. I was at a carboot sale when I came across a dark-brown leather guitar strap in immaculate condition, and yet still possessed some kind of vintage quality. I could hardly make out what the make was, but when the price was only five quid, you can't lose. It was later when I realised I didn't really have much use for it as all my guitars already straps om them, especially when this recent purchase wouldn't even fit any of my guitars.

“Oh well, I’ll just keep it then. Maybe something good would come around."

I didn’t have the slightest idea then that the strap was this silver string that’d bring fate closer.

The Foreplay: “Leave Me All Alone I Wanna Touch You”

April 1999

I’ve been missing most (read: all) of my classes to go work in the Hazelwood food factory in Rotherham. It made me think of why was I reading medicine in the first place?

"I should be out there selling a gazillion albums and be on tour.”

By the end of the semester with the money I made, I had a black Ibanez RG7-621, a surprisingly good cream-coloured Korean Squier Tele (which had undergone this huge transformation process entitling her to pass the American Fender QC standard [yeah, right - Ed.]) and a sunburst Epiphone Les Paul Standard.

“This bunch is good enough. I don’t think I need a 4th guitar.”

The Filey Street Kiasu Clan, that was what we were.Nama, beb. Nama. Buying a guitar (or getting a guitar transformed) was like a weekly tradition. Kudo bought his Gibson Explorer, Syatir got himself a Jackson, Bagak was happy with his Ibanez RG, A.J. revamped his Precision bass and Strat… the list goes on. I wasn’t really excited by this whole new guitar-acquiring craze. Instead, I got myself a set of Arcam/Mission hifi separates. Somehow, there was still a cool £600 left.

I’ve never tried the second-hand guitar market other than the ones in stores. A friend then introduced me to Ad-Mag, which I scoured through for days on end. I then came upon an ad from some chap called Ian in Mansfield who was selling a near mint Guild S100 for a mere GBP400. Manna from heaven.

The Awe (Pt. 3): “To see a blind man looking twice before he crosses the road”

July 20, 1999

Kudo and I made our way to Mansfield in the infamous kereta kerajaan/polis (sial la lu, mat - Ed.).Note the out-of-phase toggle switch. I went into this farmstead on my own. From the second The Red Beauty was taken out of her case, I simply couldn’t steer my eyes away from her. What I heard next was the sweetest-sounding tone emanating from the guitar after she was plugged to this old Ampeg amp. When Ian told me that she was an original 1973, I almost blacked out as this was the exact guitar that Mr. Thayil was using on the Superunknown album! Hell, she even has the same color. The current (then) model would have 7-digit serial number but she only has 5. Ian also removed the pickup cover and in it I saw the numbers ’03-20-73’ etched by hand. I made my payment, dealt with the pleasantries swiftly and I was in heaven.

"Kau perasan tak semua gitar 'elite' kat Sheffield colour merah?"

As soon as I got home, the old brown leather strap was finally being put to use. The journey was over. It was simply magical.

The Verdict: “A Murder Of One”

Eternity

She is a beauty brushed in red wine. The odd scratch only makes her look more sumptuous, magnificent & defined. The well-distributed weight of the compacted mahogany makes her pleasant to hold. Her fretboard was made out of Brazilian rosewood emblazoned with squared mother of pearl inlays. Whilst the Gibson SG would bear a thicker neck, Guild has somehow manufactured the neck to fit leaner & longer fingers, which sometimes baffle me till now on how to really nail down her playability. Her headstock is studded with six Gotoh machine heads. For some, this might not be the best guitar to play. Personally, she’s a simple yet elegant guitar.

She might be old but she is one feisty mother! With the tone and volume controls similar to that of the Les Paul, tone defining can be a walk in the park.Take that. Beeyatch. Her pickups are a pair of DeArmond ‘buckers from the late 60’s era, and I can assure you that these bitches can make my 7-string Ibanez (which has Dimarzio Revolutions on them) sound like a kapok. And with the out of phase toggle switch, you can make it sing with either a distinctive dry or lush sound, especially when playing her with a clean tone. Plugged into a Fender Deluxe Reverb II, she will make any Stratocaster cry home to momma. Or give the Paul Reed Smith Custom 22 a run for its money.

Let's be honest, to compare her with giants like the Les Paul or the Stratocaster is actually unfair. Her tone’s not as intense as a Les Paul, nor as meticulous as a Strat or even as versatile as a ES335; but she is what she is. She may not be my number one but she is always there in my heart.

Alive in the superunknown. First it steals your mind and then it steals your... soul.

It reminds me of how great it was to be different, and after a journey such as this, how can I simply forget?

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guild has since stopped production of the s100 series, as you can see from their official site now run by fender. you can do a google search for more more information on this uncommon guitar.

火曜日, 1月 25, 2005

Gelang si paku gelang

Wanna dress up for that Jimmy Eat World gig? CLICK HERE.


many happy returns to the day, jim!

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for the uninitiated, go here. by the way, ini emo yang lain macam tau, the neon. :)

日曜日, 1月 23, 2005

Ngilu (hidup makan tidur mati donut)

Brekkie.despite four hours of sleep, we woke up early for a roti canai brekkie at malaysia hall. well, with nasi lemak and popiah basah on top. hoho. i've to say their popiah basah is gorgeous. the roti canai was crisp to perfection too. the nasi lemak was simply ok: the ikan bilis was a tad salty and liat. we were later joined by our resident emo-king before shooting off to harrods to get some donuts.

now, if any of you have been reading this donut-crazy woman's entries, you'd see these two words simply everywhere. krispy kreme. sekotak dapat duabelas: biasa £6.95, campoq £7.95. beli tiga kotak dapat diskaun £21. amal amal ya gulu' amaan, galak kayu lawan tangan indeedyDiabetesland.. so, what's the fuss with these donuts? apparently it's an in thing stateside, with only a handful of places in london that sells them. they have these vaguely brittle exterior with a melt-in-your-mouth kind of interior, which happens to be quite nice. the classic krispy kreme is glazed as opposed to the regular ones you get in your local sainsbury's. whilst queueing, they'd give you a free glazed donut and it was then when it hit me. sweet just doesn't describe it. it's not sickeningly sweet but eating more than two in one go could possibly kill you. and damn, they're superb. one thing, though. the donut is such that you feel that you could just crumple it into a wee ball and pop it in your mouth. banyak angin, someone once said. donuts bought, there was one more thing. dad wanted a bear. of the harrod's variety. yup. just don't ask. :)

just across the road from harrods is eat, a pret a manger-esque kinda eaterie. not pricey at all for a knightsbridge joint. had a light snack comprising a simple fish pie and one of the best iced vanilla latte i've ever had thus far. i think i was the only one among us who actually ate. kanak-kanak riang perlu membesar dengan fish pie.

Melantak can't even describe it, man.

hmmm. fish pie.

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here's my review of wong kar wai's 2046.

Sweaty. Smokey. Sexy.........................................
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.......................uunnNH!!



[to make up for it, i've bought the prequel, in the mood for love, on play.com. when 2046 comes out in may, i'll buy that too.]

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i decided against going back to sheffield at 1900 since sitting on a train back to lovely ol' steeltown whilst everyone's tucking into a thai meal at a restaurant in kensington would send me into perpetual depression. i've one thing to say. never rely on the damn rail enquiries. it ain't like the way it used to be. i think i got through to some call centre in india, and god, are they useless. everything had to be s-p-e-l-t o-u-t. i was told many different things to do with my ticket if i were to travel early monday morning (it turns out that my ticket was valid for the peak hour anyway). that's the effect of bloody cost-cutting, i tell ya.

Nice but a little too mahal for my liking.

by that evening, i knew damn well i had a little too much to eat. that aside, the portions at the papaya tree was enough to inflate your tummy into a pseudo-keg. the fried rice was lovely but nothing to write home about. the prawns were large enough and the squid was plenty. the pad thai noodles was okay. i can't say much more about it since i've never had pad thai before. i think everyone who was there would agree that the meal was a little on the pricey side for what we had. next time, nahar eh? hoho. i'm sure you'll agree.

immediately after makan, a repeat performance of the 2046 incident occurred. peaceful, it was. early morning tomorrow.

土曜日, 1月 22, 2005

Dirgahayu

prologue: phew. just got on the 0727 just in the nick of time. midland mainline does not have wi-fi. i was told that only GNER has it (?first class). i wonder if virgin has it ,too, with it being a hi-tech train service of sorts as compared to the other rail companies. i've even tried using my T610 via infrared. it was connecting but no response from my ISP. oh well.

it's absolutely freezing this morning. had no time to scrape the thin blinding layer layer of ice on the windscreen. demister was switched on full blast and off i went, hoping not to hit anything, mobile or stationary, as i was late like the british rail service i've been using for the past 16 years. will be meeting up with friends, some old and some new. don't really know what we'll doing yet, though.

later.

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i've not hung out with my friends in the smoke for a while. i know. i've only just been, but it's usually for day trips. this weekend has been dubbed a blogger's weekend out, a term coinned by some non-blogging mates of us. yes, blogging is like being in a cult for some. hahaha. geeks unite! not. :)


Portobello market.



portobello market was our first port of call. and i was starving 'cos some people had their breakfast already. hah! :) anyways, had this pizza slice which was more of a ciabatta chunk.Kinky vinyl! being ravenous, i couldn't really complain. i then checked out this record store to see if they've any vinyl worth getting until someone loudly exclaimed, "eh, backstreet boys tak de ke?". nanti kau. we left in a right laughing fit soon after. i don't really wanna know what the store owner was thinking. a cheap tee later, we went off to have lunch at the new malaysia hall at bayswater. bayswater (like kensington) has always been a bastion for affluent malays since time memorial (in my case 1988. hehe.). like the old one in bryanston square, the basement entrance to the cafe was ever so familiar. the cafe is smaller and apparently is run by someone who used to run the eponymous satay house down the road. the nasi ayam was great and the cokodok was... oh well, no gerai/kedai in the world can ever beat mom's own, right? the teh tarik has definitely improved.Malaysia Hall. in the old bryanston square days it was simply sweet white tea poured from this flask. from like a lil' height to create a 5-second froth. i was thinking of creating a teh tarik ranking system but then after being to only two malaysian establishments serving teh tarik of late, i decided otherwise as don't think my evaluation would be that statistically significant (sample = 2, whaddaya expect?).

went to whiteley's to catch clint eastwood's million dollar baby.Cherita perumpuan di-kelab boksing. Chukop baik cherita-nya! i've to say this past month, i've seen some really cracking films. clint was being clint: ever grouchy, rarely cracking a smile. hilary swank's mo cuschla was fit as horses downright convincing, lacerations included. check out the nose-correcting scene (right, idlan?). i have to say, however, i loved morgan freeman's cool and calming one-eyed eddie (he's always playing some kind of cool and calm person if you think about i, but i ain't complaining!), especially when one of the members of the gym found out how uncodger-like eddie is, the hard way. oh, and not forgetting the wacky danger (you may remember him from earlier roles like vic the (also) wacky led zep fan in almost famous). apparently clint did the soundtrack himself and throughout the film you can't help being reminded of the unforgiven. worth a watch.

i managed to dissuade the guys from bowling to partake in some pannenkoek at high holborn.Besar gila. hehe. the place is called my old dutch and i stumbled across it whilst reading this blog. since being back from the netherlands, i just felt like pigging out on some more pancakes. why not drag some people with me while i'm at it. the online review for the place was kinda mixed, but what the hey. the pannenkoek were absolutely massive. my only gripe was that the apple in my apple/cinnamon/vanilla ice cream combo wasn't cooked prior to it being added to the pancake mix. i better stop complaining before someone hurls the go-masak-sendirilah message down my way. the belgian waffles ain't too bad either. the place was not that busy despite it being a saturday night. oh, and guess what we were supposed to do next after all this.

go for makan at nahar's.

we had like a couple of hours to shove the food deeper into our GI tracts kill before adjourning to paddington. i have been living in this country for like 16 years and never once had i eaten here. now, when one is abroad, one shouldn't expect satay to taste like the one made by haji ibrahim kartono in kampung jenahak or nasi lemak by makcik asiah at batu ampat.


The end of a fantabulous Saturday.



well, this place has an awesome cashier kuey teow goreng, in regular or mamak stylee. can ask for no taugeh some more. full marks, man! their teh tarik was just as rocking (now i've been to three UK establishments with rocking teh tariks), if not better. nasi ayams, nasi gorengs and kuey teow gorengs aside, the company was absolutely great. we were joined by a couple of mates of seventudjoh's. five of us happened to be bloggers, and boy, we were in for a hard time, verbally abused for having such a sad great hobby. hah! just you wait! hehe. also received a couple of pleasant surprises and i've to say a great big domo arigato, people!

after all that food and non-stop maniacal laughing, i can assure you i went to bed tired as hell, with a smile carved on my old mug.

金曜日, 1月 21, 2005

Hiba dipeluk

di sini mengelamun hari mendatang
hari mendatang
kiranya ku memeluk hiba,...
'gitu pun beralun hari mendatang
hari mendatang
kiranya ku memeluk hibur,...

derusan kabus ribut yang menimpa
yang mengucap tiba
ku ingin bersamamu sehingga akhirnya

Bloody cool vid, if you asked me.
kabus ribut...
indah berseri-seri
kabus ribut...
bila 'kan sampai waktu

©2004 butter trade music / pustaka muzik EMI sdn bhd


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stills credit: butterfingers.com.my (please note that the video has unfortunately been unavailable for viewing lately).

木曜日, 1月 20, 2005

Ninja wizardry

just check this out.

Selamat menyambut Hari Raya Korban


水曜日, 1月 19, 2005

Normal programming will resume in due course

Daisies on a cold winter's morn.

i have been facing these past couple of days with a heavy heart. the apartment has been really quiet but for the occasional grumbles of the rickety old fridge freezer and the calm hum of the central heating.

the squeaky plastic wheel remains silent, squeaking no more.

much love and thanks to all who spoke, phoned, SMS-ed, e-mailed and commented. you kind souls know who you are. may almighty Allah subhana wa ta'ala bless you all.

salam aidil adha to all.

火曜日, 1月 18, 2005

A simple goodbye



DECEMBER 2002 - 18 JANUARY 2005

who's to say where the wind will take you?
who's to say what it is will break you?
i don't know
which way the wind will blow

who's to know when the time has come around?
don't want to see you cry
i know that this is not goodbye

日曜日, 1月 16, 2005

Ain't no URTV here

i've been a keen reader of guitar world since 1997, when i've religiously bought it monthly without fail (except for a couple of issues, when for some reason they were nowhere to be found in any of the newsstands). i was first introduced to it by my brother, earlier in 1990. my first issue was one with kirk hammett and james hetfield on it (i have all the ones with metallica on it bar one, the november 1988 ish), just when metallica released the eponymous black album. these mags are instrumental in my learning of the repertoire of songs that i could play. as much as i'd love to nail it not-for-note, i also took the liberty of simplifying bits that i can't play. hoho. it was from here i'd learn of concepts like downtuning, drop D's, and most importantly, the ultimate cop out: tablature. they also have a-list axemen the likes of satriani, petrucci and (eric) johnson giving lessons in the mag.

guitar world celebrates their 25th anniversary this year and for their commemorative february issue, they got ross halfin capturing some (not all, unfortunately) of the greatest guitarists around. whilst the editorial board can't exactly please everyone, it saddens me not to see the like of hammett or king on the cover. i'm sure many a disgruntled reader would be sending some hate mail down their way in time for the march 2005 ish.

Click to enlarge.

they also had a reader's poll where jimi hendrix was voted greatest rock guitarist and led zeppelin IV was voted greatest classic rock album. stairway is voted the greatest solo, by the by. SRV is blues icon, if you really wanna know, the neon (clapton came in third after b.b. king). also noticed dimebag darrell in one article and a couple of ads. he probably wasn't dead yet when they were doing this ish (american mags are usually distributed way earlier stateside, as compared to the UK). that aside, for this month you could learn master of puppets and black magic woman, among others.

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on the subject of mags, i also bought vanity fair today. why? the photography is by annie leibovitz, and it's of this:

Click to enlarge.

土曜日, 1月 15, 2005

Quest of the avatar

Rockenggg!!! Yeah, right.i have recently started to use yahoo! messenger, just for the hell of it since some of the people i've known recently use it (yes, you two. haha.). i've been using MSN messenger all this while and i still do, as i find nothing wrong with it. ok, yahoo! does offer "free" calls with BT and the emoticons do actually roll on the floor laughing its ass off. that's it, though.

anyway, i thought of trying out that customised avatar thingy (yes, you two have it. no, not you, the other one). to my abject horror, this thing you see on the right is the best i can get to represent me. no rock/skull tee or combats can save "me" from looking like a macho dancer (google it yourself, i don't wanna risk it. hahaha.). i've got some sino-oid features and the when i tried it, "i" looked so jambu... ooOOoo. tried it out and one conversant on Y!M thought the same thing. when asked why don't i get the one with the facial hair. hahahaha. that one is so chiselled-face, it's so unreal. wait a sec, it's not supposed to be real.

it's back to good ol' bloat the pufferfish, then.

oh. by the way, the penguins are my pets. apparently. hoho.

金曜日, 1月 14, 2005

Moh makan!(part 3): The breakfast club

i always look forward to fridays. apart from the obvious reasons, it's the day you'd see a phalanx of SHOs and SpRs from my department marching down to the cafeteria for breakfastat about 9 am. when i first started working in this place, it was just a handful of trainees together with two of the consultants, one of whom would bring his own bottle of heinz's tomato ketchup (rightly so, as it costs 11p a sachet!). the lab staff would know that the club members would not be available for the next 45 minute to start the surgical cut-up (that's the methodical chopping up of surgically-removed tissue/organ fixed in formalin, small enough for processing to make it into glass slides).Brekkie, NHS stylee. over the years, i've seen the members of the breakfast club (not exactly exclusive) come and go, moving on to new posts and promoted to the upper echelons of consultantdom. on some fridays, the club member numbers would go down to just the two, seen happily munching away on a typical british fry up while catching up with the latest departmental goss or have a big whinge, as we all do. my usual would be either scrambled eggs or fried eggs (runny as hell), two hash browns, a dollop of beans and two toasts. lately, i've opted for the less deadly fried egg-hash brown combo in a breadcake (a poor man's McEgg). nowadays, with most of the members of the original club gone, fridays aren't the same as it used to be.

do you have a makan routine with your workmates?

木曜日, 1月 13, 2005

Teman

pergi jauh dari ku
aku kini ada teman baru
janganlah kau cemburu
aku bukan lagi milik mu
bukankah kau yang dulu
kau lukakan hati ku
sanggup kau tinggalkan aku
kau tinggalkan aku begitu

pergi jauh
jauh dari ku
aku bukan lagi milik
hah!



Sorong papan, tarik papan, buah keranji atas perahu...


last night, i had the pleasure of watching ann arbor's own marha band, courtesy of a certain uncle. this is the way forward: going back to the roots, man.

back to the roots.

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check out gempitafest's official site.
picture credit:
mike ng

火曜日, 1月 11, 2005

Eleanor

by the neon


“WHAT?! You got yourself an eight hundred quid guitar? Are you out of your fucking mind?!!”


That was my then girlfriend’s initial reaction when I told her of, what I personally thought, the good news. Maybe to such a guitar-inclined audience, eight hundred squids for a guitar may seem like chump change. My purchase, however, managed to give meself a generous helping of scathing remarks and are-you-really-that-stupid? looks. It didn’t matter to me because I, sir, was in love. Yes.

Malam Temasya Pria Mambo 2, April 2002.

We’ve seen fads, both in music and musical equipment. Remember how, in the early nineties, everyone wanted a Ja(g)zzstangmaster of some sort because Cobain had one? And can you recall the time when every kid had some kind of patch-job, Marley-wannabe dreadlocks and slung a 7-string Ibanez as low as their knees (I can imagine Lmsn Rds shifting uneasily in his chair at the mention of this)? Or fairly recently, the image of Avril Lavigne smashing a PRS into the windshield of a car.

Is this rock?

Can we frame that moment alongside the immortal gig at Monterey where Hendrix lit his strat at the height of psychedelic orgasm? Or when Page whipped out a bow and used it to play his Les Paul, creating a sonic spin-wash cleansing our dirtied souls? Do we honestly think Miss Lavigne deserves a place in the pantheon reserved for The Gods of Rock after what she did to the PRS in that video?

“Hell, no! Don’t you dare call that thing by my name. Uh-uh!”, was what she said when I wanted to name the guitar ‘lissa, after her.

I wanted something pure. A guitar that carries the legacy. Of course, you have a lot of good guitars with technological fancy-schmancy and a bit of digital-age capability thrown in for good measure these days, but I wanted something basic, lo-fi and solid. So that I don’t have to think about what the countless knobs do, and concentrate more on playing the instrument. I thought only three classic designs made the cut – the Gibson Les Paul, the Fender Stratocaster and the Fender Telecaster.

While I like the LP’s easy-ish playability, sometimes it can get too comfortable. The reason it was ruled out was mainly due to, if nothing else, cost. hehe. It also weighed a ton. It’s an excellent guitar with a really fast neck, but if you were in a sinking ship, it’d have to be one of the first things to go. Moreover, LPs utilise a mahogany neck/rosewood fingerboard combination, and nothing is cooler than fretwear, man! Have a look at E.C.’s Brownie: the first to twelfth frets are completely destroyed!




“You sure I can’t call her ‘lissa?”
You’re talking as if it’s a real person.”
“Well, I like the guitar a lot. Her and that ’67 GT Shelby in that Nicolas Cage movie. That’s a classy car.”
What did he call the car in the movie again?
“Eleanor.”
Name it that, then. That’s a good name.”


It wasn’t much of a showdown between the strat and the tele either. At the time, I was head over heels over the two Jonnys – 19-year old (now 23 - Ed.) blues prodigy, Lang; and the most creative, original and influential pop guitarist of my generation, Greenwood of Radiohead. They both swear by Teles. Greenwood does occasionally use a Starcaster, but he wouldn’t touch anything else other than his prized maple neck, three-tone sunburst American tele. that’s what I got for myself.

I didn’t particularly enjoy my first experience with Eleanor at the guitar shop. She was tough. Unforgiving. Cold. She didn’t sing at all. As I plucked her nervously, she only seemed to squawk all the wrong notes I was playing; an AC30 amplifying these mistakes by, what it seemed, a hundred times louder. Even the wrong notes had clarity. It was twangy, as teles are known to be. It had that chiming ring which gave arpeggios a glassy shimmer. It was my first time playing a tele and I rationalised that I was still adjusting. As I sat there strumming, and picking, and plucking, one thing was for sure – she was an instrument of outstanding, if not flawless, quality. Musical stagnancy would be a fault of my own, and not the equipment anymore.

Eleanor's last gig in Sheffield.

I still wonder how the shop owner could’ve let a man of my technical prowess, or lack thereof, to walk out of his guitar shop with such a lethal musical weapon. It was like selling a Maserati to a Datuk. A Ferrari would’ve been fair, but a Maserati should only fall into the hands of the initiated. I digress.

I had to bring her to work with me on the first day because I was already late. I was a part-time janitor at an office complex. Heh, it took me close to a year and half: fifty quid a month. I felt more like a full-time janitor/part-time student most of the time. In the words of Chris Martin: nobody said it was easy.

That said, along with scorn from the dilettantes, I got something else – respect. A lot of fellow musicians and music-playing individuals complimented her looks and voice. Others thought I had a matured taste, whatever that meant. I will forever remember kudo as the guy who questioned, “siapa upstart yang beli American Standard Tele tu?”. Lmsn Rds was a lot more condescending by saying things that were just fucking appalling, I honestly just want to forget. hehe.

Needless to say, both of them own a tele each now. If you haven’t had the privilege, and before you head straight for the strat/LP rack at your friendly neighbourhood guitar store, try a tele out. I think Fender got it right the first time, too.

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eleanor is a three-toned fender american standard telecaster with a C-shaped maple neck/fingerboard.
go here for the specs of a fender american standard telecaster.

日曜日, 1月 09, 2005

Once

Lies! It's all lies!spent the most part of this weekend in manchester. it's less than an hour away from sheffield and i've to say i've been doing pretty much most of my shopping in this city. yes, i have forsaken the shops of meadowhall for the brighter lights of mancunia.

i was in town to meet up with some people that i've had the pleasure to converse with, but not met face to face. as with most bloggers, i've met a few new acquaintances (apart from the bloggers who are my friends in the first place). where was i meeting them? if not nando's, the halal peri-peri chicken centre of the english north-west, where else (surprisingly we were the only melayu there that lunchtime)? despite the fact that we've never met, the atmosphere was pretty convivial as we shared stories of our days of yore in boarding school, sordid (11pm will always be a time of the day that one of us will be wary of!) or otherwise, among others.

Evening at Jati.


made a dash to the city centre to catch mike nichol's closer at the printworks. it's an engaging film, about relationships and how messed up it can get. the depiction of relationships in this film is quite raw and it looks like something you'd read about in dina zaman's gongkapas times. romantic drama? the drama possibly has a touch of eastenders and those of the minggu ini variety, without the romance in the conventional sense. that aside, occasional moments like the internet sex chat was absolutely priceless. the film also shows natalie portman in a new light. if you think carrie fisher's 80's post-jedi slave girl was the epitome of a star wars geek's wet dream, prepare to come undone in this one.

had a little makan at jati, a nice little malaysian eaterie downtown. well, i did (explains my physique). most of us felt the portions at nando's earlier today was enough to last us the whole weekend. i quite like the place. not too expensive, and the food's of the malaysian/thai variety and, in my opinion, is pretty good.

Brekkie.


i had my usual fare of nasi ayam, whilst our friend from espana went for thai fried chicken and... get this, chips. aiyo, kawan, i thought you'd want to have some nasi since we're in a malaysian place. hehe. teh tarik was the order of the evening and conversations went on until it was almost time for the owners to lock up. i had a great time and i look forward to see ya guys again soon!

this morning, had an excellent fry-up at this quaint place called saints & scholars in didsbury. later, the afternoon was spent meandering around trafford centre. saw some ridiculous price tags (despite the sale) at selfridges today, like this helmut lang short-sleeved black shirt which looked exactly like my cheapo from gap. moral of the story: buy cheap, cos someday it'll turn into something expensive and trendy. zara had the goods but nothing in my size. reiss had the size but nothing that fits my budget. and i ended up buying a non-sale item at muji. sod's law never fails every time in my case. got some spidey graphic novels and the latest arena before gastronomically filling up at jati (again).

and what did i have?

Beneath the flat noodles is the ocean. Really.

金曜日, 1月 07, 2005

Kuey teow COMBAT

since:
  • i am bored,
  • there is no work whatsoever, and
  • for some reason, i was talking about a lake garden that has a zoo in it,

i am gonna ramble on about my favourite kuey teow spot.

Waiting. whilst the one that i frequent most would be in the kelana jaya area (subang ria near FAM, a comot-looking ah yee is the proprietor), the one to die for, for me at least, is kuey teow goreng combat in taiping. the chap's called m. jabardeen whose cooking style includes acrobatic feats involving botol kicap. i've been enjoying his kuey teow since i was like 5. his stall is just at the periphery of the casual market (i don't know what they call the market now, as the term casual market came from the 50's/60's). you'd see it if you walk across the road from the little bazaar. my parents would also have their fare of kuey teow at this roadside chinese stall in town, which we'd go to on the morning before setting off home. until the time we discovered he used lard to fry it. oops.

anyway, combat is the real deal. an order of saya punya tak mau taugeh aa? coupled with ayaq nyoq or barley (from the stall next to combat's) with shredded ice, i'm in heaven. the rojak mamak (apa? minum ka?) and popiah basah in the adjacent stalls are great, too. the last time i visited was in february. that time combat was somewhat in semi-retirement, and in his place was his son. one really good thing i can tell you, combat handed his skills down well. passing the pride indeed.

New for 2005!

if you read the recent thread on guitars, you may have noticed that the comments section had gone on for a bit. i used to run a little series on guitars last year, but it stopped because of the fact i had run out of guitars to talk about! now, i'm proud to announce that my compadres-in-arms will be helping me to extend the series. for you guitar aficionados, watch out for the likes of these:

I'm gonna break my rusty cage, and run!I'll laugh 'til my head comes off...


okay, it's not gonna be thayil and greenwood (yeah, like buggery that they're my guest writers!) but when this series starts, you'll get what i mean.

i don't know about you, but i am excited.

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no pressure, guys. tricksy, do you want in?

木曜日, 1月 06, 2005

Where art thou, o work?

when there's too much of it, one moans. ditto when there's none about. when i was a clinician, we'd never utter the Q-word when we were on call, just in case a million admissions started to come in. with it being soon after x'mas and the new year, none of the surgeons did any major ops. which means all this week in the department, we'll be bereft of specimens like oesophago-gastrectomies and the whipple's, leaving us with measly gallbladders and appendices.

and it's so bloomin' quiet today, that the solitary appendix i reported this morning didn't even wanna look like this.

Transmural acute inflammatory cell infiltrate, with ulceration of the overlying appendiceal mucosa; no evidence of granulomas or neoplasia. Otherwise known as an acute appendicitis.

oh well. i'm sure after all these complaining, a truckload of GP gastrointestinal biopsies will come trundling into the reporting room at about 15 minutes before going-home time!

woo. hoo.

月曜日, 1月 03, 2005

Jeng jeng jeng

did something that i've not done for a long time today. guitar shopping.

before you start pouncing, RR and the neon, it was for a mate. yup, an excuse to do a lil' trip up city road and paternoster row. i won't go for an eBay purchase if i was a first time buyer (eBay is great for second hand guitars, a reason why you don't get to see much choice in the music shop when it comes to second hand stuff). in my opinion, you need to have a feel for the guitar. the playability and the sound are the most important prerequisites. looks and brand come second (yeah, jeer all you want). this is true especially if one is a beginner. if the guitar feels easy to play and it sounds great, even the most benak of students may still have a glimmer of hope yet when it comes to improving one's playing. the snag is, such guitars come in the dearer price bracket.

the guitar in question today was an acoustic. we finally narrowed the choice down to a takamine G series and a fender, both of which were dreadnought electro-acoustics. one a little over the budget and one was way cheap. the thing was they looked, and more importantly, sounded pretty much alike. the easiest route would be to take the cheaper one. well, it wasn't that simple.

The cheaper one.The pricier one.

  • the takamine G series is korean, whilst the fender was made in china. in my books, the quality based on the factory site is pretty much this: india/indonesia/china (nope), north america (yup). korea, japan and mexico (in ascending order) are somewhere in between. don't make a face. just see the price tags, man!
  • the takamine had a solid top, although we weren't told of which wood. for the same price there was this handmade (canadian) satin cedar-topped simon & patrick, but we both agreed it sounded a little light (it did sound fuller if it was played with a stronger attack on the strings). the chinese fender was most likely to have a laminated top (read: plywood).
  • aesthetically, the takamine was way nicer. a ring of abalone around the soundhole, mother of pearl dot inlays etc. however, both takamine and fender had this annoyingly yellowish sheen due to the lacquer. satin surfaces are much better (baby taylor and simon & patrick to name two).
  • the takamine's preamp unit had a built-in tuner (oooOOOooo), whilst the fender had the most rudimentary fishman preamp. also, the input jack was in the preamp. like, what??!!!.


despite the negative remarks i made about the fender, both guitars sounded pretty much alike. merely re-emphasising here.

which one would you go for?

i know which one i'd bring back, and besides, the deed is done and there is one happy owner of a guitar strumming away in his room tonight.

日曜日, 1月 02, 2005

Digitally remastered

i have done a lil' spring clean on my old fotopages entries. in the days without the photoshop CS, i used the stock software that came with my finepix to spruce up any scanned images. the photoshop is way superior and i am quite pleased with the results. of course, some of the pics were scanned/cropped/butchered/edited in such a way, that i could only barely manage to salvage it to the best of my limited knowledge of photoshop.

most of the spruced up pics were from the gigging era of '98-99. if you have seen them before, you may see a slight difference. well, only if you have seen 'em a million times before. :)

Badmotorfinger live at Warwick University, 1998

there is a marked difference. really.

土曜日, 1月 01, 2005

Merpati sejoli*

esok masih ada

esok masih ada

esok masih ada
esok masih ada

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

che-chak!!!

Garuda menyerang, tembak dengan senapang.


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[*] a new year's eve countdown of sorts.