Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Cuba try test

Posting this today but dating it to yesterday. I never thought of doing that. Unlike scheduling future posts, backdating seems more like cheating with regards to the idea of writing every day. Like, are you doing it for the sake of actually writing, or just to fill each day on the calendar?

Monday, March 30, 2015

On planning

We have arranged a food tasting! Based on our number of guests, our venue coordinator suggested a buffet instead of our originally intended served (table d'hôte?) dinner, which would give our guests something to do throughout the evening.

Things just become more real the more deposits you put down.

I'm looking at clothing now. Those who've met me will twist their brains into knots trying to picture me in a sweet feminine dress. I know that because my head still hurts. I looked at (in no particular order), Zalora, Twenty3, Femme-Elegante, and Lazada (a navigational PAIN IN THE ASS) last night, and nothing in particular caught my eye. There's the gorgeous stuff at RAD, but none of it looks like it's my size.*

I can see how planning can be fun, and I also see why bridal support forums are so popular.

*I have supermodel limbs and a regular-sized butt, also: short...

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Minor miracle

I've caught on all my work and have completed this week's modular assessment re: short online course. I have nothing scheduled today. I'm sure I've forgotten something major...*

What did you do during Earth Hour last night? I and everyone else at the mall forgot about it.

That said, service at Chili's 1 Utama was stellar, and so was the food. We had the Texas Cheese Fries with Beef Chili and Jalapeño Quesadillas with Guacamole, which were tasty and filling and non-bank breaking.

I like it when food descriptions are accurate. Both items came with jalapeño chilies, which are the big green fat spicy ones, and not the longer narrower ones you find in yong tau foo. They didn't skimp on the beef in the beef chili, and it was a joy to actually be able to see the spicy beef slices in the quesadillas. You know how it is at some places: you get a mere whiff of bovine goodness and that's all.

Maybe we were seated in a good corner, but our server and the section manager seemed especially attentive despite the weekend crowd.

*We have not arranged a food tasting.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Different wavelengths

I heard a radio ad the other day. It was something about a contest and having the guy plan the wedding with a budget of RM30k.

I could totally work with that sum. Of course, mine is a small do, so maybe some of the contestants will have to do a catered thing under a canopy-type event if they have a longer guest list.

Anyway, my point is, after the ad was played, they played a clip where they'd asked a girl something or other (I don't know what her profession was) what she thought of the guys' ideas. And she basically called them idiots for thinking they could plan a wedding in that short a time and with that budget and have fun doing so. I think she also said "nightmare", which is kind of giving too much weight to a wedding.

I mean, it's just one day (or so, depending on your budget). Unless you engage Ron Ben-Israel to do the cake (which averages out to US$15 per slice), Maroon5 to perform, and Trappist monks to brew bespoke booze, it's just 1 day out of the year. Your special day, of course, but still a speck in the grand scheme of things.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Player maker

Enfant Terrible and I decided against a band or singer at our reception. The obvious reasons are that it would cost more, take up space that could be used for guest tables, and we've not heard anything that impressive. Also, we probably wouldn't be able to afford anything that impressive, and we'd run the risk of an awesome band stealing our limelight, haha.

I actually looked at wedding DJs, but the scene here is nothing like what it is in the US, where options abound. Here, your options are masters of ceremonies (who may or may not sing or be outright terrible and out of place) who work with the sound engineer, who may or may not come up with their own playlist. You might find the two separately, one party might suggest the other, or your wedding planner might suggest them to you.

In our case, we're going to engage a sound engineer, who comes with an assistant and requisite sound and sight equipment. He has a playlist (nice) though we haven't heard it yet, but so does ET.

In fact, ET has vetoed all of my song suggestions unless they're the same as his. You should have seen his grimace when I brought up Pharrell Williams's Happy. I'm not sure I want to spend the rest of my life with a person who looked at me sideways when I said I wanted some Jamiroquai either...

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Sweating the small stuff

Contrary to my own expectations, I'm still pursuing this online course! Module 1 was a snooze fest because it was so basic.

However, Module 2 is about viruses, my favorite aspect of microbiology I love to hate because I can't wrap my head around the idea that something that isn't "alive" as we understand it can exist and cause illness and/or death.

Each "class" is a bit longer compared to that in Module 1 too, though the material is still virology 101 stuff. Again, it's a good refresher. I've collected more badges as well. I'm not sure what my motivation is right now.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Just shoot me

It's nice to feel wanted once in a while. Like when half a dozen guys are jockeying for position, gunning to be the service shooting your wedding party.

Of course the price is a big deal to me. It's for one dinner, so I can't even begin to imagine how some photogs charge up to RM8k for it. Unless they come equipped with a mobile studio/lab, in which case more power to them.

(It seems like Malay photographers charge less than Chinese, and I found only one Indian photographer. I'm not vetting by race, obviously, but it's interesting to see the racial breakdown and whether styles are similar in one race of photographer.)

If you look at enough portfolios, you come to realize that wedding photos have a distinct style. I don't know what they looked like, say, 10 years ago, but right now it's #filter #grainy #washout. When one photographer does it, it's unique. But practically everyone I've looked at applies the same approach, so you have to wonder about the disparity in prices.

PS I'm tired of shots of the shoes and the clothes hanging out waiting to be worn. Maybe the photo should suggest something more salacious for me to be interested, heheh.

At the moment, I'm getting good feeling about this one service based nearby. Their photos are more about capturing the moment (er...) and they're not edit- and filter- crazy like the others seem to be. One niggle is that one of the photographers contacted me on his own after I'd made enquiries through the main channel, so it looks like he's trying to undercut the others. I suppose it won't matter if the photos turn out great, but it still feels odd.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On invitations

(Of course I intended to type "invitations", but with the letters being right beside each other, I spelled out "incitations" first, which is actually a good word for the feeling you get when sorting out your wedding invitations.)

I've heard of dashedly cavalier couples (in Malaysia) who photocopied their wedding invites. As you (now) know, copying paper weighs 60 grams per square meter (gsm), sometimes less. It's more suitable as flyers because it's flimsy.

Lest you think I'm an invitation snob, I would rather have Whatsapped/texted everyone I invited. Unless you got the wrong phone number, the message would go directly to the recipient instead of potentially getting lost in transit or having the ink smeared following exposure to bad weather.

Imagine if I had gotten a wrong number though. That might actually liven up things on that day...

My friend did a Facebook wedding page, which is great in theory, but I don't want Zuckerberg and minions tracking my business. Also, not all of my guests are on Facebook, so that kind of defeats the purpose.

So yes, we have hardcopy invitations. We did them ourselves. As in, I drafted the text,* edited it to fit the intended card size, and found and applied a free card template. Enfant Terrible the dictator director signed off on it. Then, we went to Art Friend and looked at their 200 gsm cardstock (perfect weight), and squabbled over the color. I concede that he has a better eye for pretty things (heheh) than I do.

We got a few pieces and burned through them in virtually 2 hours doing the test prints. We learnt that borderless vs. bordered printed can differ vastly. Always ensure that your ink cartridges are filled, as this affects the result when you do high vs. standard-quality and borderless vs. bordered prints. Do nozzle print checks before anything else. You will save time and parking fees and cardstock expenses.

Then, print all the copies you think you need, address the matching envelopes, and get sending. We bought the entire pack of cardstock, which is just as well, because I've had to print a few more pieces since the first run.

Cost-wise, the price per invite is lower than if we'd gone to a purpose-specific card supplier,** envelopes included. But then, ours is a no-frills, double-sided invite (the material is gorgeous). Personally, I couldn't care less about cards with gems and ribbons and other embellishments. I imagine that one of my favorite fiction characters would say they're "too fiddly", because that's exactly what I think. I do like a nice print as much as the next girl though, so that's what we did. I hope damask borders aren't overdone, because that's what we used.

*There really should be a typeface called Swirly Wedding to make everything easier. I used Vivaldi and Candara inWord, FYI. So budget.
**Some will charge for every single piece. They might offer a bulk discount, but still charge for every single piece.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Food post

Enfant Terrible has complained that I'm all up in his face over this wedding. Hey, I suggested that we do it next year but noooo, and I'm the one stressing him out? I just want to get the details and vendors down at least month before the event, is that too much to ask?

Anyway, imaginary comfort eating has been the order of the day this weekend because I'm fascinated by Mr. Donut at Aeon 1Utama. I know, the booth has been there for years, but I only visited it last week and you know how people like me obsess with new things to the point of hypersaturation.

If you don't already know, they sell 2 types of donuts. As in, one is made with regular wheat flour or whatever, and the other is made with mochi flour and is called "pon de ring". I can't even begin to imagine what that means. Why didn't anyone tell me about mochi donuts earlier?!

Just so you know, a pon de ring donut is shaped like a baby chew toy or a closed chain of cocci bacteria. Round segments in a ring. They're chewy and not at all fluffy, and stick to your teeth. They give your jaw a good workout. I think I'm fascinated with them because the first ever one I had was something divine with a white glaze topped with candied orange and almonds. So Japanese it hurts.

Naturally, ET doesn't share my interest, so I will just have to ignore him rolling his eyes and sighing heavily the next time I'm deciding between the green tea and strawberry glaze pon de rings (pons des rings?).

Sunday, March 22, 2015

On spirits

I'm figuring out how much wine I should buy for my wedding. "Enough" is a really poor answer, by the way. First thing is, the vendor should accept returns of unopened bottles though, right? On the other hand, the extras make good gifts a few years later.

[ETA] The new term I've learnt is "NV", or "non-vintage", meaning it's ready to drink immediately (hurrah) it's from a non-vintage year (how do you decide that?) and is blended. The Kitchn said so.

If you browse "western" wedding advice, it says to estimate 0.5-0.75 bottles per guest for a 2 hour dinner or something like that, assuming each bottle holds 750 ml.

Or, you divide the number of guests by 2.15. I guest guess that assumes your guests don't drink all that much.

On the other hand, a local wine supplier advises 1.5-2 (750 ml) bottles per 10 guests. I suppose this is based on the number of people you'd have per table at a traditional Chinese banquet, and that the servers do the pouring. This one actually provides the lowest estimated bottles needed.

Also, not everyone will be drinking, though I assume those who are cabbing it to the venue will request refills more frequently.

I have to arrange tasting sessions too. If only we could just go with the nicest estate/varietal names and be done with it.

I can see why people elope.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

No shampoo: Day 3 and 4 (belated)

Day 3: Three days into just rinsing sweaty hair and scalp with cold water and I still look like a sane human being. I've only told the internet as yet, because Enfant Terrible will look askance at me if I did, I think. Or maybe not, as he has his own eccentricities. It's been almost a week since my last shampoo though, so I should probably suds up soon.

Day 4: I have shampooed my hair! It smells of my shampoo (Tropical Rain by Indochine Natural, of course). I didn't oil it. It doesn't feel different compared to Days 1-3. HOWEVER, we must remember that when I started this no-shampoo lark, I had already gone 2 or 3 days without washing my hair. I think that means plain water makes that much of a difference.


Friday, March 20, 2015

All creatures great and small

As you may not have known, I signed up for an online course. It's an entry-level type of thing to get my feet wet. I'm not a good independent learner. Left to seek study resources on my own, I'd likely wind up browsing sites entirely unrelated to the course at hand. AND I'd tell myself that following links is a form of education, i.e., I'd learn something new (but it'd be unfocused and unrelated, duh).

Anyway, the course involves a series of video lectures accompanied by interactive transcripts (you can scroll to specific time points by clicking on the corresponding line in the transcript). The topic is microbiology. I feel a kinship of sorts with microbes, seeing as how we're both small and kind of fiddly at times.

... Moving on.

There are 4 modules to the course, and if I'm brutally honest, Module 1 is a snooze because I learnt the stuff as an undergrad. However, the refresher is good. There are 1-question multiple choice (whee!) pop quizzes after each lecture, and there will be an assessment after you've watched all the videos in the module.

The fun bit is that you receive badges every time you answer a quiz or forum question. I dropped out of the Girl Guides in primary school, so this is a nice activity.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Cool bananas

This is the best news I've heard all week, considering what we woke up to exactly a week ago (Sir Terry Pratchett had died):


(Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman are going to have a baby!!!!!)

(The child will have the most incredible godparents and a worldwide army of fans ready and willing to do its bidding. Take that, Hiddles.)

Wednesday, March 18, 2015


Any article will tell you that other than the venue, the guest list determines a lot of what you do for your wedding. Mostly how much food to order, because that's why anyone ever shows up at these things. It's not as if we have a long tradition of lonely strangers hitting it off at weddings in Malaysia anyway.

... Or do we?

In my opinion, you should have the guest list ready first before picking the venue, though Enfant Terrible and I did that backwards. Still, it's a small venue and we have a short guest list, so that works out for us.

If I had to advise anyone planning their wedding in this regard, I'd tell them to hunt down the principals as early as possible to finalize guest numbers and names. "Principals" refers to the parents of the couple, because they're your source of old people names and contact details.

It's easy for this task to become a "my side/your side" thing, as parents are individuals who will answer the same question ("May I have [Relative's] contact please?") differently.

My mum said she'd list her siblings' names, phone numbers, and addresses. Two weeks later, I asked if the list was ready and she wrote it down there and then. And the phone numbers or addresses were missing for half of it.

Enfant Terrible's mum wouldn't hand over her phone, saying she'd tell us who we should invite, and then listed a bunch of names when we had no recording instruments on hand, not even pen and paper. Eventually, I cornered her one morning, and she produced an address book (that she's had the whole time!!!) she'd compiled when Enfant Terrible's sister got married a few years ago.

As I'm superstitious, I only feel comfortable recounting this because we've pinned down our relatives already. Coming up next will be the rigmarole of deciding which of Enfant Terrible's father's friends we will invite.*

/prickly thoughts

*We're inviting them in honor of his father, who passed away last year, so "why his friends only and not other friends?" is not up for discussion.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

No shampoo: Day 2

Yes, this is really happening. I did the same thing in the shower yesterday (rinsed hair with cold water only, quick scalp massage, applied no oil or conditioner, air-dried hair). My hair still feels clean. TMI My scalp doesn't itch at all, which tends to happen during warm weather (but no longer, right now).

It's still only Day 2 though. We'll see what it's like next Monday! I haven't seen anyone else documenting this, so this could be very good or very bad.

PS. Caffeine is a stimulant. I ran out of coffee one morning and forgot about it. I spent the rest of the day in a sluggish haze, wondering why I couldn't get started.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Plain and simple

Guys, baking soda shampoo and vinegar rinse worked great for me, but I was bad at keeping it up. So yes, I use commercial shampoo now BUT they don't contain sodium lauryl/laureth/laureate (?) sulfate. Not that I'm plugging them, but I've used The Mane Event shampoo bar from Kinder Soaps* (RM22) and the shampoos from Indochine Natural (RM40... YA RLY).

Caveat #1: I tended to shampoo the same spot with the Kinder Soap bar because it's in bar form and doesn't glide over hair as it would on skin. You can use it as soap too, by the way. And I'm wild about how spicy it smells; I think it's the tea tree oil.

Caveat #2: Yes, RM40 for 250 ml, i.e., 1 measuring cup, is fucking costly for a low-budget person like me (and low-budget people everywhere).

I feel a bit regretful over my "lapse", although going back to ultra-basics was the last thing on my mind when I was browsing a gossip blog. I came across an article about Shailene Woodley of The Fault In Our Stars fame. She seems to be part of the Gen Z (or whatever millenials are supposed to be labeled) new hippie tribe and once said something about sunning her vagina to obtain vitamin D.** (Which opens her up the floor to all sorts of terrible jokes about what she does to get the D.)

Anyway, she claims to wash her hair once a month. It works in the winter I guess, so I'd like to see her do that in the (Western) summer. She didn't elaborate on her efficient haircare approach, but it reminded me of a "tip" I read when I was teen. The premise was that as most of the dirt in our hair is water-soluble hair product (this was the 1990's, mind), it would be enough to just clean your hair with plain water. I tried it then, and the grease was horrific.

As all things are with time, my hair is different now. It was also due for a wash, being about 3 days since the last shampoo. I decided to rinse again. Using cold water instead of warm though. No conditioner, not even a light oiling after. It's been 24 hours and my hair is actually (still?) unoily and actually feels washed. My scalp feels fine. I will rinse again today and see how that works out. If it does, this could be the money-saving tip of the year!

*Enfant Terrible and I still argue whether it's pronounced "kainder" or "keender".
**If you don't already know, the skin is the largest organ (heheh) we have, and the UV it absorbs from mere minutes of exposure to sunlight is enough to activate your vitamin D, so you don't need to go to any extremes, and guys need vitamin D too. #health

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Click-through rates

Following links tends to lead you down corridors of the internet you'd never have dreamed of. Like this website; I'd started out looking for a recipe for durian paste and discovered that there's an expat couple conducting durian tours here!

By the way, I'm neutral on durian. Anyone who tells you it's purely a love or hate thing is probably white full of it.

That's for "leisure" or "lifestyle" topics though. Looking up things related to freelancing will net you several variations on a theme: why you should freelance, who should freelance, when should you freelance, and whether you should freelance at all. A perennial (aren't they all?) topic is the pros and cons of freelancing. If you ask me, you might as well call it "the pros and cons of having a job".

I'm sure freelancers in every country have niche information, such as what tax entity you are (self-employed, not running a business, make deductions for office equipment and private retirement fund), whether your income is taxable (if your earnings exceed the stated threshold, yes), and what you can do when a client doesn't pay (depending on the amount, debt collectors might be a good idea).

As for me, I'm still working on an easily customizable template pitch. I'm quite sure there isn't such a thing though, but one can try.

PS If you don't already know, click through rates refer to the number of people that click the link(s) embedded in an article, which is usually written for marketing purposes. What do I get out of telling you this? NOTHING. Most marketing articles are crap though. I should know; I used to be a broker for them. Ugh.

Friday, March 13, 2015


Writing is enjoyable when you're not worried about the result. (Please don't use "end result" because that's redundant, and I hate redudancies.)

(I like writing sentences in parentheses too. It's something I picked up from my friend Neil. As in Gaiman. I don't know him of course, but I like to think that we could probably have a chat over a nice cup of tea. After I've finished vomiting from nervousness, naturally.)

Also, don't worry about commas. Conventional wisdom says you use them where you would pause while talking. But guess what: everyone talks differently so comma* a sentence the way you see fit and your copy editor (me) will sort it out. No, seriously.

I have to say though, browsing Tumb1r for an extended stretch is quite wearying. It's like people there are over-caffeinated and/or on sugar highs all day every day. Or at least whatever gets the most notes and reblogs.

*I like verbing nouns. Verbing in general.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

A whole new world

We went to Low Yat Plaza yesterday. Enfant Terrible wanted a new gaming setup and I was reminded why I coined his nickname in the first place. We actually spent the entire day there. Indoors under the fluorescent lighting amid 6 floors of computers, mobile phones, and their respective components and add-ons. Maybe that's why you don't see anyone aged over 30 years working there, unless they're   management or security.

The place is like the United Nations of technology. Some kiosks are staffed by south Asians, others have what look like Indonesian or Myanmar kids asking what mobile phones you want, and there are Malays assembling computer systems in the back while Chinese sales personnel put together quotes for the rainbow of people out front, including 2 big black guys looking for surveillance cameras (!). Everything is still made in China.

There are still very few females though, both buyers and staff. Imagine an outlet catering to women exclusively that goes beyond stocking items in shades of pink?! Anyhoo, they all want to sell you stuff and nobody gets cussed out for not buying anything (anymore).

There's a food court on the lower ground floor; unlike the grimy greasy nightmares of yore, it's well-lit and looks inviting. Caveat: I haven't been to downtown KL in a long while, so anything that doesn't look like something out of a Hong Kong crime drama set looks like a nice place to me. But seriously, they have J.Co whatever donuts there!

Being provincials, we opted for the ever-reliable chicken rice. (Like other local foods, versions can be excellent, good, average, bad, and mediocre.) The curvy 2 ladies working there were clearly the main attraction, being dressed in form-fitting baju kebaya and gauzy headscarves and wearing trowels of makeup.

If you've been there, you'd have recognized my description of Noor Chicken Rice in an instant. The Quran verses are still on the walls, but otherwise, based on earlier pictures taken by other writers, the place looks very different from its initial warung style. In fact, I braced myself for a mighty hit to the wallet: they have a mini chandelier and the chairs are the heavy, gilded "French" type so beloved of aspirational homeowners with more money than taste.

To be fair, not all of the furniture was like that, but the theme was white and gold (reminiscent of a recent dress debate), and there were rolls of damask wallpaper in a corner waiting to be hung.

The most important thing though, was that the food was (still) very good. I've read some comments that "Chinese" chicken rice is better than halal chicken rice but come on, apples and oranges! The Hainanese chicken I ordered was as close to the textbook description imaginable (dip-cooked 7 times each in boiling and cold spiced water; sometimes a clear gelid substance remains from the chicken fat or collagen; the skin is thin, spiced, and tanned, like the skin of a mummy but tastier and more tender... Er). The rice too is different from other chicken rice places, Chinese or otherwise. The menu said it's cooked with lemongrass, ginger, some other spice, and schmaltz. SCHMALTZ. AKA rendered chicken fat.*

The accompanying soup was run-of-the-mill (biasa), but the fresh-cut spring onion made all the difference. Perhaps best of all, their chili sauce is the type that can burn a hole in your tongue if you eat too much of it at once. Too many places use a heavy hand when sweetening their chili sauce** and these are places I would not deign to mention.

Also, we got the rig. We'd arrived at 11 and left at 5. FIVE PM.

*You can cook the rice in chicken broth too, but toasting it in fat is key.
**What's the point of making something that's supposed to be spicy if all you taste is sugar, eh?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


The thing about yoga is that it forces you to focus on what you're doing ("living in the moment", eh). Seems self-evident and intuitive enough, but putting it into practice is something else entirely.

You (or I, at least) can't draft a mental to-do list while doing, say, sun salutations because you'll forget which salute it is, whether you started with the right or left leg, or whether you're expanding your ribs correctly. (I made that last one up, but I wouldn't be surprised if a yoga instructor somewhere has actually said it.) If your attention wanders to anything else other than your earworm of the moment when in warrior or any other pose (Animals by Maroon5...), you'll lose track of how long you have held/are supposed to hold it, which wastes time.

Truthfully, I've been trying to open my hips and elongate my spine, as I've been feeling a kind of block in the middle of my back that prevents me from doing deeper backbends without pain. Would you believe that hokey-sounding stuff actually made a difference? I can't, but it did! I mean, I've been bending from the waist to go farther back, but that's probably not how you're supposed to do it, I imagine.

Even now, I can hear my yoga instructor's ominously calm voice saying, "That's wrong," and I can practically see her wafting over to correct my pose. Brrr.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Elastic, man

I've been doing yoga for almost half a year now, and I find it pretty amazing that I've stuck to it and that it continues to interest me.

It's different from road/trail running obviously because there's virtually no impact,* though you do get sweaty if you're doing things properly. It's also a good excuse to buy more exercise gear.

At the risk of sounding hippy dippy, yoga is an inward journey. Come to think of it, so is long-distance running: when else can you hear your inside words clearly than when it's nothing but you, the trail, and the occasional monkey/big ass** monitor lizard. Eventually, you start wondering why you're out among the trees like a lost would-be elf when you could be binge-watching something at home and having something nice made from chocolate.

The answer is that you can do all that after your run, and feel happy about the fact that you've experienced a bit of how our paleo ancestors lived. Or something.

Running is about going farther (bear with me, ok) whereas yoga involves elongating and expanding within your present form. Did that make sense? Thought not. I tend to imagine my non-physical self moving elastically beyond confines of my physical self when I do yoga, if that helps.

That said, the only time my yoga instructor's advice makes sense is after I work out how a move is supposed to be done. Maybe that's where the appeal lies.

*Jnless you fall out of your headstand, unconscious.
**Saying "big-ass" means that the lizard eats more than it needs.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Planning a wedding seems oddly similar to moving into a new home. For both instances, the first and apparently most important thing is the location. A small wedding venue makes it easier to keep the guest list down to your tightest and whitest. In our case, and it's not because we hate people, we're inviting only our families and possibly my late father-in-law's friends.

If you're talking about an actual home, then mine is in a pretty remote location as far as this born-and-bred Klang Valleyite is concerned. The address says it's in Sungei Buloh, but the post office has it in Kuala Selangor, i.e., the next district. I hear the seafood there is pretty good.

Still, we made a commitment to the place (and to the mysterious wedding venue) becasue we, to use a cliché, fell in love with it (them?) at first sight. That is, we drove to the construction site and had a look around (and we drove into downtown Kuala Lumpur to recce, as it were) and decided that yes, this would be nice.

If the construction is completed as scheduled, then I look forward to hosting a housewarming party next year, and you can hold me to that (I quite like Indian food, so I hope my guests do too) :D

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Cyberspace, the final frontier

Thanks to a link from Snuze, I have begun exploring the big wide world of MOOCs. I dont know what makes an online course massively online though. How can something be more online than it already is? Is this the advent of Philosophy in Cyberspace 101?

Browsing the course options is fun. It's so easy to imagine spending 5 hours a week at most, in most cases, and gaining brand-new knowledge, maybe even a certificate (the price of which ranges from US$49 and up, btw).

Of course, the courses at EdX look fantastic, and there's also Coursera, ALISON, Udacity (computer science and programming stuff), OpenLearn, just fyi.

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Not that I intended it to be a daily 30-minute exercise, but writing is a nice way to pass coffee time each morning. Also, my handwriting is really crap right now.

Friday, March 6, 2015


Guys, I finally renewed my driving license! It had expired last year; a week later, it became the ridiculous sad exercise of "I'll find the time to do it next week" which, naturally, stretched into this year. Fortunately, it was still within the 3-year renewal period, after which I would've had to retake my driving exam. Even back then, I had to repeat it, and barely squeaked past the passing grade. If that isn't ample proof I don't do well in real-world situations, I don't know what is.

I renewed it via that MyEG site. That itself took 3 tries, as I got error messages the first 2 occasions. Maybe the site is incompatible with tablets or other mobile devices, but I got the transaction done on my laptop.

The best bit is that it was delivered the very next day. What makes it even cooler is that my transaction took place after 12 noon, and you know how some businesses say they process orders at  certain times. So this was quite brilliant. Or maybe it's my tax ringgits at work. Either way, it worked for me. Now to remember what those pedals do.

Also, would you still need a driving license if/when self-driving cars become the norm?

Thursday, March 5, 2015


I've just realized that the thing about working faster is that it frees up more time, which, against the agency deadline you meet, gives the impression that work has slowed down. It's like the Freelancer's Theory of Relativity (TM).

Anyhoo, it still means you have more time for all that networking and business-type stuff, which can be fun after you've had the above epiphany and a good night's sleep. Throwing off a lingering cold (as it turned out) is also v helpful.

Since I'm here, can I just ask why it seems like more (local) blogs are shilling things now? Are we finally catching the search engine optimization (SEO) wave? I was riding it about 5 years ago, and even then, it didn't seem sustainable.

I mean, Google got wise to the whole keyword stuffing thing pretty quickly, and subsequent would-be SEO mavens just didn't put in any effort to make their blogs look remotely legit or blog-like, as in, "Hi, welcome to my blog, I hope you like it! By the way, I have product links in my posts, but it's all good, right?"


So, to hell with that sort of "marketing" and the content mills/farms that accompany it. It might be quick easy money for those involved, but it burns out quickly, and the pay isn't worth it, not even to make ends meet.

But I got sidetracked. I was complaining about product promotion on blogs. Promotion in itself isn't a bad thing, but I'm from the old school of readers who want to know about your life and your work, and aren't keen on clearly commercial posts if yours is a personal blog, unless you state up front it's a promotional post.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

In like a lion

My inbox has gone a bit quiet this week, which of course led to the typical freelancer worrying that work was drying up (the plants definitely are, in this weather). Rather than fret and check said inbox every 30 minutes, or surf even more, I tracked down some dusty online accounts and forgotten passwords, tidied up some blog accounts, reviewed my résumé, and turned to the time-honored and thoroughly terrifying practice of cold emailing.*

Do people even cold call anymore? I don't know, but contacting a complete stranger out of the blue, by whatever means, is never easy. More so when you're contact phobic** like me. It's not as if you're disrobing in public; you're just telling the (hopefully) nice stranger that you're [insert freelance occupation here] and that you were wondering if they were looking to add another person to their team.

However scared you feel, just do it (let that email sit overnight though, just to be certain), and the practice is always worthwhile. The wait for replies is actually worse, but you'll get through it and possibly gain a new contact! Ina worst case scenario: treat yourself to a nice bottle of red (or white, as I do; or chocolate. Whatever you like).

*I'm not sure about what it takes to have honed it into an art.
**I work long hours alone, so spoken English is almost a second language for me now D: