Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Pearl Jam vidoes anyone?

My current obsession is downloading PearlJam vidoes from u-toob.
Not being satisfied with just watching them on the site, I am downloading and saving them on my hard disk using this site.
Now I have an array of pearl jam videos in a folder labeled, what else, 'pearl jam' on my computer, and I can watch them whenever I want.. !


p/s Thanx, Firhad, for the links :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Beef Stew and Mashed Potatoes

Kel wrote a post a few weeks(months?) ago that got me craving for some stew with mashed potatoes. A few days later I made lamb stew but my husband brought the camera to work so I couldnt take a picture to make a post out of. Furthermore, I didnt make any mashed potatoes, we just ate it with garlic bread.
This week I had some beef leftover from making soy beef, so I decided to make beef stew, and I had some potatoes, so I also made spring onion mashed potatoes to go with the stew. The stew is easy to make, but it takes a while because you have to let it simmer for a while (hence the name 'stew'). I usually start making it in the morning to have it for lunch.

Beef Stew

125grams beef, cut into chunky cubes
2 tbsp plain flour
2 pip garlic sliced thinly
1 medium onion, cubed
1 carrot cubed
2 stalks celery cut into small chunks
1 red bell pepper, de-seed, cut into chunks
1 bay leaf
1 stalk rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
2 cups beef stock
1 can tomato soup
1 cup peas (frozen or ready to eat)
3tbsp oilive oil
sugar, salt and pepper to taste

Coat the beef with flour. Heat up the olive oil and toss around the beef in it till slightly browned.
Remove beef and set aside, without turning off the heat.
Saute garlic and onions till wilted.
Toss in the vegetables, bay leef and rosemary. Saute for 5 minutes.
Return the beef into the pot, pour over the beef stock and tomato soup. Scrape the bottom of the pot with your ladle as you stir to mix well.
Bring to a boil, turn down the heat and let simmer while covered for at least an hour or until beef is tender.
Add sugar (it cuts the acidity of the tomatoes), salt and pepper to your taste.
Toss in the peas.
Simmer uncovered till the stew reaches your desired thickness (I like mine slightly soupy).

Spring Onion Mashed Potatoes

One large potato or 2 medium sized potatoes
One stalk spring onion
a splash of milk
a pat of unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Peel the potatoes and cut into large cubes. Boil till tender. Drain and return to pot.
Slice the spring onion into small pieces, toss into pot of hot potatoes.
Pour in milk. Add in butter and salt and pepper.
Use a masher to mash potatoes and ingredients and mix them around.

I ate the beef stew with the mashed potatoes only, but my kids ate them with some toasted bread.
Good dish to heat you up during the cold/rainy season :)

Sunday, November 25, 2007

curing cravings and other conundrums

The only way to cure a senseless craving is to gorge until you're sick.
I am officially cured of the Lee Dong Wook obsession.
I will now return to obsessing only over my husband. *smacks lips*

This morning after the kids have left for school and Taufik has left for work, there was an unexpected ding dong on my doorbell. Peeking out from behind my curtains, I saw it was Afzal the bus driver.
Oh no, what have I forgotten now? I wasnt even watching anything remotely korean!
I was still in my jammies, so I just pulled an abaya over it and slipped on a scarf before I opened the door.
"Ma'am, Anis sleep in bus" , he said.
So, what's new, I thought. She is always sleeping on the bus on the way to and from school.
"The bus monitor all finished, I come back, hear uhuk uhuk", he continued.
uh oh.
"I think what sound? who? I see, Anis!", he flailed his arms indicating suprise.
"You mean she is still on the bus??" I asked him, half-shocked, half-embarassed.
"She is on bus, sleeping!!", he answered in his half screaming, half laughing way.
So I went upstairs to pick up Izani who was watching Tikkabilla and walked to the bus with my jammies peeking out under my abaya. Thank God for abayas.
Afzal the bus driver made another attempt to wake up Anis and by the time I got to the bus, she was awake and was standing on the bus steps almost crying.
"why arent you in school?" i asked, trying not to sound too angry.
"nobody woke me up" , she cried.
Poor Anis.
I asked her why her brothers didnt wake her up, and she said they didnt sit with her, they sat with their friends. They're surely gonna get an earful from me when they come home.
Obviously the bus monitor also didnt check if all kids had left the bus. I tried calling the lady on duty today but she had gone out. I'm not going to scold her or anything, just wanted to point out the possibility of this hapenning again, perhaps even to another child, so we bus monitors have to be more vigilant. Plus, i need to tell her that Anis didnt make it to school so that she wont be searching for Anis when she goes to pick them up this afternoon.

meh.. so i guess that's another adventure in mommy world.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Easy Peasy Soy Beef

(a.k.a Keranamu Lee Dong Wook)

Watching all those Korean dramas had me craving for soy beef. They're more like Japanese than Korean, actually, but eating them in a bowl with steaming hot rice using chopsticks is enough to make me believe that I was having my lunch in Seoul.

Easy Peasy Soy Beef

125grams beef, sliced thinly
2 tbsp sweet
dark soy sauce
2 tbsp oyster sauce (or salty soy sauce)
2 pips garlic
chopped finely
1 inch ginger sliced thinly
1 medium sized onion sliced
into rings or wedges
pepper taste
2 tbsp olive oil (or vetgetable oil)
optional -
1/2 cup beef stock or water
1 carrot cut to your
preferred shape
a handful of french/holland beans, cut in an angle into 1
inch pieces.

Mix beef well with the sauces,
garlic and ginger. Let marinade for at least half an hour.
Using medium
heat, heat oil in a pan/pot with a lid, add in the beef and all the marinade.
Stir for a whiile, then cover to pull out the juices. Ocassionaly stir to ensure
even cooking.
If you like the beef to be slightly dry, cook till sauce is
If you like to have a little sauce with the beef, add beef stock or
water, and bring to boil. Season to taste.
Add in onions and other
vegetables, let simmer till vegetables are cooked, stirring ocassionally.
Serve with steaming hot white rice.

My vegetables got slightly overcooked with this one.. :P
But Yummeh nevertheless :)
To get really thin strips of beef, slice them while they're 3/4 to half frozen, with a really sharp knife.
You can also splash a few drops of sesame oil towards the end and sprinkle toasted sesame seeds before serving to give it a chinoise edge.
Add in sliced dried chillies with the vegetables to get a spicy zing.
The thinly sliced ginger tastes a little bit like the pickled ginger you find in sushi restaurants.

aww man, I'm getting hungry again.

Happy trying :)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

apakejadah?? (wtf??)

I dont usually comment on how the S@udis run their country, but this piece of news really got me pi**ed off.
To summarize, a 19yr old was r@ped a year ago, and after the trial of her r@pe, the panel of judges sentenced the men involved to prison time ranging from 2 to 9 years, and she was punished with 90 lashes.
Her lawyer and her protested and went to the papers, so the judge increased the sentence to 200 lashes and her lawyer was stripped off his legal license.

Apakejadah nya??? (the malay equivalent to 'wtf??' but without the expletives)

Granted that she was punished for breaking a pre-existing law (un-married women are not allowed to travel without a male relative in this country) and not for supposedly 'inviting the r@pe', but still, there is some thing called 'discretion' and 'compassion'. The girl had been violated and traumatized, for god's sakes, have some feelings. Yes, she had broken the law, but it's not like she had robbed a bank or killed someone.
And if they're so hell bent on implementing islamic law, why weren't the men stoned to death for their crime?
Sometimes I wonder what kind of upbriging these muttawas have. Did they not have mothers, sisters? Do they not have daughters? They seem to have such low opinion of women and such a high opinion of themselves. Did they not know that even arrogance is considered a despicable trait by Allah?

grrrrrrrrrr... even now I am still seething!!
grrr.. if i were the hulk, i'd be green and bursting out of my underpants by now.
nasib baik lah ada Lee Dong Wook to cheer me up..

We're planning to have lunch with one of our S@udi friends this weekend. I'm gonna ask him what he thinks of all this.

Edited to add:

What angers me as much as reading this news, is reading some of the reactions expressed about this news. While i can understand the anger for the injustice (because, as you can tell, I am angry too), I cannot understand the muslim bashing.
I see comments all over the internet saying "This is proof that islam is not a peaceful religion", "Muslims are all sexist pigs", "Saudi = Bad, Saudi = Islam, therefore Islam = Bad" and other hateful comments along those lines.

Well, have I got news for you:

1. Saying Saudi equals Islam is like saying America equals Christianity. Saudi laws, even though they claim to be 'based on Islamic Sharia law', is not purely Islamic Sharia law. They are very much ingrained with arabic tribal culture and practices. Same goes for any laws in any country. Even Malaysian laws (which claim to be an Islamic country) are not fully islamic.
2. Muslims, and Saudis are human. Believe it or not. Muslims make mistakes, have bad judgement and sin just like the rest of the world. Just because a few muslims are jerks, doesnt mean every muslim is a jerk. Just because a few saudi men are chauvinist pigs who qould put down a woman every chance they can get, doesnt mean all of them are. I've met Saudi men who go out of their way to help me and Izani cross the street without even waiting or expecting a thankyou, just like I've met Malaysian/european/american men who turn a blind eye when someone is obviously in need of help.
3. If i were to judge all christians just like muslims are judged nowadays, I would have to think that all christians are war-mongering, money hungry folks who dont care about anything else but themselves. But I dont.

With the vast availability of information the web, and the opportunity to actually get to know people from different backgrounds, religion, culture, country, beliefs, upbringing, races, profession, music and food preferences and sexual orientation, I am suprised that some people are still ignorant.

as PD would put it, So ner.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Tadi, time tengah syiok mahsyuk tengok ceria korea lagi (Just now while I was immersed in watching yet another korean drama), suddenly someone ding donged my front door bell.
I was irritated and wondered who in the world would be ringing my doorbell at 2pm. I thought to myself, it couldnt be my kids coz they dont get home till 3pm, when the realization hit me like a ton of camel dung on a hot day.

I am the bus monitor today and I was supposed to be on the bus at 2pm to pick up my kids from school!!

It was the bus driver at my front door!!!

I jumped off the sofa, ran to my room tearing off my clothes and changed into my pants and long shirt at a speed rivalling The Flash, shrieking dammit dammit dammit while listening to the doorbell being ding donged more urgently each time and quickly wrapped a scarf around my head, scooping izani up as I went downstairs and opened the door, screaming "Sorrrreeeeeeeee!" at the bus driver. I quickly slipped on my shoes, grabbed my sunglasses and sling bag and izani's faux crocs.
I boarded the bus, apologizing profusely to the bus driver for my tardiness. He asked whether I was asleep and I couldnt lie and told him I was watching TV and totally forgot. I commended myself for being able to get ready at lightning speed and thanked God that I wasnt in my baju tidor and bedak sejuk sambil makan limau, but I still felt bad for being too engrossed in the korean drama that I neglected my duty. I was never ever late for the bus before. In fact, I had always been the one waiting for the bus instead of the other way round. What is wrong with me????
ini semua penangan drama korea nih...
I nursed my guilt all the way to school, where to add to the pain, we were not allowed to park at our usual spot because we were late. We had to park outside where the traffic is higher than inside. Due to that, I had to carry a sleepy izani (bus rides put him to sleep) over my shoulder and walk to the gate to herd up all the little kids and sheperd them to the bus, praying with each step that none of them gets run over or something. I had to post one of the older kids to stand near our usual parking spot to tell the other older kids that the bus was parked outside, not inside.
My only consolation is that I got everyone home safely and the only thing that was lost was izani's left faux croc. (RM5.99 from Giant Kelana Jaya).

Ya ampunnnn aku sudah tobat!
Besok kena limit to satu disc aje. Takleh lebih2. Tonggang terbalik dunia aku di buat nya!

I have to repent. It's like worse than being a crack head.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Hantu Korea

Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth for the past three days. I was held hostage by hantu korea (korean ghost). It came in a pack of four dvds, labelled 'My Girl'. I spent three whole days watching all four of them (that's 16 hours, my friends).
teruk betul penangan drama korea nih.
It was all out of curiosity at first. I caught Madam Y on-line in the middle of one night, and found out she was not working, but actually watching korean dramas. She passionately recommended that I watched My Girl. Even gave me the Yewtoob urls for it. A few weeks ago, I saw that a friend had the MyGirl box set, so I borrowed it from her. I started watching it on saturday afternoon, and I could not stop!!
haiyoh!! Tengok sampai tak ingat nak masak lunch untuk budak2!
Best jugaklah cerita MyGirl nih. The drama was not bad. It is a romantic comedy. The girl was cute and a little crazy, the guy very serious and uptight. Mushy and dramatic moments later in the episodes were interlaced with comic relief from smaller supportive characters. A lot of funny moments which got me cackling with laughter, terkekek-kekek. It is always fun watching romance develop but I lose interest once the guy gets the girl and all the swooning and mushy-mushy stuff starts. Thankfully the tear-inducing bits of the drama was all in the later episodes so i endured them jus to see how it all ends.
It also helped that the main male character resembled Taufik a bit. Thin, lanky, serious at work and very stingy. oh and of course, very easy on the eyes :) tee hee.
One thing I noticed that was really cute about the koreans is how innocent and naively the are about public displays of affection. If this was a 'western' tv show, the characters would be making out or even hitting the sack the moment they proclaim their love for each other. The couple in this drama kissed only 3 times (yes I counted), and the rest of the time they'd shyly hold hands. Even then, the kissing is very juvenile, tight lipped and not sensual at all. The girl's simple act of putting her head on the guy's shoulder was surrounded with romantic tinkling of piano keys and blurring of images. so cute.
tee hee. Maybe I'm only surprised because I watch too much american tv shows. tee hee.
I have another korean drama to go through, called 'Stained Glass'. I need to remind myself to pace it this time. I can always pause or stop and watch it bit by bit.

Friday, November 16, 2007

today ...

... she would have been thirty six.

Somehow I still miss her.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

G1rls G0ne W1ld, Ir@qi Style

If there are any niqab w(f)earing women who read my blog, please forgive me if you are offended.
I just thought this was really funny.

It's Evolution Baby

You see that widget labelled as 'Pearl Jam' on the right column of this blog?
Well, it contains news feed about, who else, pearl jam.
About a month ago I had clicked on the link for the video for Hard Sun and watched it and towards the end of the video there was a website address of the fan who made the video. I had saved the website address, but didnt get a chance to visit it then because I got hungry thinking about Chris McEndless (spelling?) and how he died of starvation.

I finally visited the Pearl Jam - Evolution website a week ago, and I have been hooked!
The site is in portugese (I think, coz it's almost like spanish but it's not really spanish) but some articles he posted there is in english so you wont get totally lost. There are a lot of videos and music to download and they are all of good quality.
I am downloading like crazy :)

Thanks so much, Gabriel :)

p/s wow, has it been 17 years??

Monday, November 12, 2007

Why Emm?

Having gone to school at the Un1versity of Ill1nois at Urb@na-Ch@mpaign where 'telnet' was born at their National Centre of Supercomputing Application (NCSA), I am no stranger to chatting on-line.
I remember when chatting online was not done on a graphical browser but on VAX and UNIX machines where everything comes out line by line on your green and black screen (or black and cream if you're using a mac). There were no animated smilies or sound bytes. I remember when there were only 17 people online and most of them were from netherlands. I remember how excited I was to ping 'mto5764' (read: Taufik, who was then my boyfriend studying in Tulsa, Oklahoma) and find out he was online and to be able to talk to him without having to pay a cent in phone bills.
To use a computer, I had to walk to the NCSA building, get into their lab in the basement, sign up and choose among rows and rows of available screens with keyboards that are connected to a server (it didnt have it's own CPU). Even if you had a computer at home (for word processing purposes), back then you dont even have the means, nor the infrastructure to dial-up and log in into the server.
In less than a year, the number of users on-line grew and suddenly there were irc channels, even 2 dedicated to Malaysians, mostly filled by malaysian students studying all over the united states. Still there were no graphical interface. You had to type in a command to see who's online, or ping to see if your friend is.
Back then there was no ambiguity. If you were online, it means you are there and available to communicate.

With the advent of chat softwares with graphical user interface, with a click of a button, you're not only logged in, but you'll be able to see who else is logged in and there's a status, to tell you if your friend is available or not. There are bells and whistles, nudges and honks for you to use, not to mention the smilies.
With a computer in nearly every household and internet connection easily and readily available, almost everyone is online, and can be online all. the. time.
With all these, I get a little confused though. Like, when your friend is online and the status is not shown as 'Busy' or 'Idle', does it really mean she is available to chat? I don't know. Maybe she's busy reading blogs. Maybe she's online but doesnt feel like talking. Maybe she's working on an assignment. Maybe she's getting ready to go to a 'kelas karipap'. (tee hee). Maybe she's available to talk, but only to specific persons and not to you. Maybe she's exchanging romantic french phrases with her new boyfriend. *shrug*. Who knows, really?
I could always venture to say "hello" or "assalamu-alaikum", but usually I would hesitate, for fear that I might be disturbing, or worse, intruding.
I always feel bad when I try to get a conversation started and there are no response. I mean, I wouldn't know what happened.. did their internet connection get cut off? Did their boss pop in unannounced? Did they have to leave suddenly? Was I disturbing them? Am I not a good conversationalist? Or is my internet connection all wonkers?
Somehow even with more visibility, I find it all to be more and more ambiguous.

I am really not complaining. I'm just stating my personal observation.
Perhaps I will find out that I'm not the only one who feels this way.
Perhaps if you see me on-line and I dont say hi, you'd understand why.
Perhaps if I do say hi to you, you'd take the time to say hi back.
Perhaps you'd also update your status so that I know when not to say hi to you.
Gosh, it's starting to sound like I *AM* complaining.
tee hee.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Come to our open house!

If you have not heard yet, the Malaysian EFX2 members are having a virtual open house to celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitri on Wednesday 7th November, 4pm-5pm (+8 GMT) at the Malaysian EFX2 blog.

We're going to have a special post with pictures of the hosts and hostesses, and the food spread, and our guests who drop by can post their messages and pictures in the comments section.

You are most welcomed to come, to just take a peek or even stay, have a virtual bite and join in the chat.

We're looking forward to seeing you and the usual suspects :)

I'm bringing desserts! :D

Thursday, November 01, 2007

spiderman and bumblebee

no, not Bumblebee from Tr@nsformers, the black and yellow striped kind.

First, let me answer Ben's question: The Kingd0m does not officially celebrate Halloween, but compounds that are mostly filled with expatriates, would usually have some sort of a shindig, or organize a trick-or-treating parade to show off the kids' costumes. Most of the international schools also celebrate halloween on some level. This year, the British school allowed the younger kids to come to school in their costumes instead of uniforms. The kids in the american school, who dont wear uniforms anyway, wore their costumes to school.

I have never bought costumes for my kids because we dont really celebrate halloween, so they were embarassed to join the trick-a-treating last year.
This year was a bit different, though.
It just so happens that one of my egyptian friends who had moved away this summer gave a spiderman costume to Ihsan. Izani got a bumblebee costume from Che'Ngah (My sister who does not blog) last year and he finally could fit into it. Ilham had bought a Bekham football shirt in florence (pasar malam punya lah) and said he could just put on shorts and a his football boots, and Anis - well as you saw in the previous post, she wore the kebaya bandung we bought her in Jakarta.
So this year, the kids begged and begged to go trick-a-treating.
I was reluctant, thinking about the bags and bags of useless candy they'd be bringing home and the cavities it would produce. And how the kids would be on a sugar high and be hyper for the rest of the evening.
But two of my neighbours' kids kept calling them asking when can they come out and they keep asking me can they go please please please????
So I gave in.
I told them to stay on the sidewalk and watch out for cars. I told them not to eat any candy till they come home and show it to me first. I told them to stick together. I told them to only ding-donged those houses with their porch lights on (that was the agreed code thru-out the compound).
Gosh were they excited!! They picked out the biggest supermarket plastic bags they could find in the kitchen and happily skipped out the door.
About an hour or so later (my compound is not that big) they came home all happy and sweaty and rosy cheeked. They showed me their loot. A bag of chips each (which I let them eat right away). A few galaxy bars. 2 mini-bags of m&ms, 2 mini bags of skittles, assorted toffee and hard candy, lotsa gum, a chocolate cookie (?), and lots and lots of lollipops.
Suffice to say I dont have to buy anymore candy for the rest of the year and hopefully next year too.

p/s izani didnt go trick-a-treating. He stayed home with me.